My So-Called Life: The Dawn Chronicles

Episode Three: Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

Author: Monet

Have you ever known someone for so long and then find out that there's something about them that you totally didn't even know? One time, I found out that Marcy had this weird fear of a piano crashing down on her. I mean, that is like Christopher Walken creepy-weird to me. But it's just one of those things that you'd never think about her because she's one of the bravest people I know.

The other da,y our house got attacked by zombies. It's no joke. I'm not supposed to tell anyone, but who else would read this? So, the zombies... the things I didn't think existed except in old, ancient movies like "Poltergeist" and "Scream." But one almost attacked me. He could've eaten me.

I didn't believe in scary things like that. I like to think there's magic because I've seen Willow read books on it, but monsters and stuff? That was a little too much for me to believe.

Then again, I also thought superheroes were only in comic books and TV.

Then I find out I live with one – sort of. I'm not really sure how it goes because Mom said Buffy hadn't fully explained it, but Buffy said she'd tell us the full story soon.

All I know is that Buffy is something called a Vampire Slayer.

First of all, that means Buffy has these cool powers – or that's what I was kind of told. I mean, she totally beat up this zombie that was Mom's friend. She knows a lot of neat karate moves. She can't fly, though, I don't think. I'll have to check to see if she can.

Second of all, it also means that zombies aren't the only things that are real.

I guess vampires exist, too...

Dawn Summers peeked around the doorway to the kitchen, staring at Buffy as she rummaged through the fridge, looking for things to put in a picnic basket. The youngest Summers child didn't know exactly what she was looking for – only that she wanted to see it.

Ever since she was told that her older and only sister was a Vampire Slayer, Dawn was curious as to what exactly that was. Her mom wasn't really sure since apparently she didn't find out until right before Buffy ran away. But it made Dawn more determined to know all about what a Vampire Slayer did. What her sister did.

It amazed Dawn how long Buffy had kept it a secret. What kind of secret was still lost on her, though.

"I know you're there," Buffy said, not looking up from the rummaging.

Dawn hadn't even set foot in the kitchen. "You do?" she asked, frowning.

Buffy stood up with some cold cuts in her arms, which she brought to the counter. "You never were good at hide-and-seek."

"But I wasn't hiding," she said, trying to sound casual. "And I was barely breathing. Is that part of your superpowers? Superhearing?"

Buffy had already taken out the bread. "I wish you wouldn't call it that," she said. "They aren't that super."

"But you knew I was there." Dawn came up to the counter.

With a shrug, Buffy laid out the slices. "Okay, so I can hear better than most people."

Dawn didn't understand why Buffy didn't want to talk about her powers. Didn't she think it was super cool to be better than other kids? "And what else?"

Buffy met Dawn's gaze. "You want a run down of what I can do?"

Dawn nodded, thoroughly intrigued. "Can you fly?"

That brought a grin from the taller blonde. "Wouldn't that be a neato thing?" She turned and found the mayo in the door of the fridge. "No. Vamps don't turn to bats thus the Slayer has no need for the flight of fancy."

"You don't stick to walls do you?"

"Okay, we aren't running down every superhero that has ever graced Comics-politon, are we?" She put her hand on the lid to open the jar.

Dawn noticed it and pointed. "Oh, that jar is new. Mom and I were trying to open it with everything we could find, and it wasn't working so we thought we'd get –"But Buffy turned the lid easily, even breaking the plastic that surrounded the top. "Uh, nevermind."

Buffy put down the lid, going over to the drawer to fish out a knife.

"So you're really strong," Dawn replied.

"Just a little bit stronger than your average vampire," Buffy said, nonchalantly. She began spreading the mayo on the slices of bread.

"How strong is that?"

"I don't know."

"Well, how much can you carry?"

"Dawn, I don't know." Her voice grew tight.

Dawn glanced out the kitchen window. "Well, let's go outside and see if you can lift the car!"

Buffy looked at her sister in slight exasperation. "I can't lift a car. I'm a vampire slayer, not someone from Krypton."

"Have you tried?"


"Well, then, how do you know? I think we could totally try. We could start small. Like a – uh – Beetle or something!" She was beginning to get too excited. But the thought of her sister being a superhero was just too cool to Dawn. "Then we can move up to an SUV."

Buffy shook her head, though trying to hide a smile. "Okay, we're not gonna do any of that stuff. You want me to break my back before I hit my 20s? You should be getting going to school."

"Well, then afterwards can we try to lift a car?"


She made a pouting lip. "Okay, okay. Fine."

"And anyway, we're supposed to keep it quiet. I told you because I thought you were old enough to know – and not tell."

"I am old enough. And I can keep a secret." Dawn leaned on the counter, not making any indication she was moving to go anywhere. "How many vampire slayers are there?"

"Just one."

With some awe, Dawn's eyes widened. "You mean, you're the only one out there?"

"Yup. That's me. The Chosen One." She closed up the mayonnaise and returned to the fridge. "Now, we'll do the discussing thing when you get home later."

Dawn knew that Buffy was really closing off the talking so she stood straight. "Okay, okay." She turned to go get her bag, pausing but not turning around. "Um, is that why you ran away?" she suddenly asked.

Buffy stopped as she was about to place the top slice of one of the sandwiches. "What do you mean?" she questioned her, continuing on with her activity.

"I mean, did you run away because you were a vampire slayer?" Dawn turned back to her sister, the excited curiosity gone replaced with serious wonderment. "You wanted to stop being one?" She could see the struggle Buffy was going through from the probing.

"That was part of it," she answered, quietly.

"Oh." Dawn stood there a moment. "Did it have to do with Angel?" she asked.

Buffy stiffened a little at the name. "Dawn, I think you should go now before Mom has a fit of fury."

Taking the cue of "off limits subject," Dawn gave a nod. "Okay." She left the kitchen and picked up her bag, waiting patiently by the door, fumbling with the straps of her book bag. She guessed whatever happened between the two of them was major as in the major sense.

Even if she hated Angel for the way he had treated Buffy, like a little sister would, she knew how much Buffy had loved him. They had made such a perfect couple, it about made Dawn gag.

Whatever had happened between them, Buffy took very hard. And Dawn knew she would.

Dawn just didn't know Buffy still did.

"Okay, who's cuter," Marcy began, holding up a picture of two guys at the lunch table that afternoon. "Justin Timberlake or Freddie Prinze, Jr.?"

Dawn chewed on a carrot from her tray as she deeply contemplated the question. "I kinda like blond guys," she admitted, directing her carrot stick toward the boy band member.

"Oh?" Marcy asked, glancing over at the picked. "And gorgeous, tall movie star guys don't do anything for you?" She kissed the picture of Freddie. "Yummy."

They both giggled as they settled back into their school lunches that were barely tolerable.

"So, how's it going with Buffy back?" Marcy asked as their two other lunch buddies, Jessica and Katrina, joined them.

"You're sister's back?" Jessica asked, putting her book bag down. "Since when?"

"A few days ago," Marcy answered.

"Boy, are we behind," Katrina replied. "What's the what, Dawn? You don't like telling us things?"

Dawn shrugged. "I just didn't think it was of the important. 'Wow, Buffy's back'." She shrugged, not letting on how important it actually was. "But things are good. Just have to get used to the sharing thing again. I swear, she hogs the bathroom like no one's business. You'd think she was an only child."

"She's loving it," Marcy said as an aside to the other two girls.

Dawn gave her a half-smile. "Whatever."

"Hey, Dawnie," came a mocking voice from behind them. Even before she saw her, Dawn knew it belonged to Michelle Woodard, and she silently groaned to herself.

"Hi, Michelle," Marcy spoke up, not afraid of her. Which was probably why Michelle hardly picked on her.

Michelle promptly ignored Marcy and looked at Dawn with a smirk. "I heard your sister's back," she said. "And that her party the other night was a total drag. Was crashed by a bunch of weirdoes in masks? Boy, you really don't know how to throw a party."

Dawn knitted her brows together. "It was going fine until the zombies...uh, wanna-bes crashed it. We even had a cool live band there."

"Who? The Dingoes Ate My Baby? Please, that's not even real music." The Michelle–ettes giggled behind her.

"Is there a point to this visit?" Marcy asked, returning back to her tray. "We've got better things to do... like clip our cat's nails."

It was Jessica's and Katrina's turn to giggle.

Dawn winced, knowing Marcy was risking – things – on behalf of Dawn. And it wasn't fair.

"You better watch yourself, Marcy. Things can happen to you." Then Michelle looked back at Dawn. "So what's wrong with your sister? I heard your mom found out she wasn't – well, normal."

Dawn's eyes widened. "What? H-How'd you find out?"

"Doesn't matter how. People talk, Dawnie."

"Don't call me that," Dawn intoned through clenched teeth. "And why don't you just go back to the mall where your real talent is?"

"You shouldn't be ashamed of your weirdo sister, Dawnie," Michelle continued, purposely. "Being gay is PC, isn't it?"

"Gay?" Dawn cried, making the nearby tables turn around. She winced and smiled sheepishly. "Ooops." She looked back up at Michelle. "You're way totally off base, Michelle. You're not even in the base's zip code. I mean, it's one thing to call my sister weird and think you know all about her. It's another to be totally wrong."

Michelle wasn't fazed. "Well, then, what did your mom find out about her? Isn't that what the hollering and hooting was all about before it was crashed? Another one of your messed up, dysfunctional family's fights?"

That heated up Dawn's insides with Michelle daring to talk about her family like that. Like Michelle had any right! "Shut up," she told the other girl. "Don't you talk like that about them."

"Dawn," Marcy warned, putting a hand on her arm.

"I'm just asking what's the what about your sister," Michelle said as if it was an innocent question. "Don't get worked up about it... unless there's something TO get worked up about. What is it, Dawn?"

"It's none of your business!"

One of the nearby teachers came up to the group. "What's going on here?" he demanded.

Dawn and Michelle turned to him, both a little shocked he had come by.

"N-Nothing," Dawn said, downcasting her eyes immediately.

Michelle took a step back. "Sorry, Mr. Skinner. We were just passing through." She flashed him a smile then moved on.

Mr. Skinner watched Michelle and her group go then met gazes with Dawn. "Miss Summers, I don't think of you as a trouble maker, so let's not ruin that reputation by becoming one."

"Yes, sir," Dawn said, feeling stupid. When he was gone, she couldn't even look at her friends. They probably thought she was stupid and embarrassing.

"Isn't she awesome?" Marcy asked, nudging her best friend with her elbow.

Jessica and Katrina nodded. "Boy, that was way brave," Jessica put in. "Michelle's a witch anyway. She deserved that."

"She deserves rabies," Katrina added with a smile.

Then they burst out into giggles, making Dawn, for a moment, forget about what had just happened.

Today was a cool day. First of all, Michelle didn't bother me at all – not like yesterday. Writing that entry really hurt my hand. I just don't get where Michelle hears about private stuff. I don't tell that many people. But there was a new girl who came into my homeroom. Actually, she's in four of my classes. Her name is Kirstie Hobbins and she's really nice. I think Mrs. Thomas said she was from Illinois or something.

Mrs. Thomas told me to show Kirstie around. And I really liked doing it because I know how it is to be a new girl in school. Of course, when I came, both Buffy and I had to come into the middle of the year. I think I had a better time than Buffy did.

Of course, she got to become friends with Willow and Xander, so it wasn't like she was unlucky.

Andrew Finch did come by our lunch table again. And again, he tried to ask me out. But luckily, Marcy saved me by saying I was doing something with her. We had to tell Kirstie all about him, just so she'd be aware.

She's really nice and she seems to know a lot of things. Almost as much as Marcy. I think she'll be great to hang out with!

"They let you back into school?" Dawn asked at the dinner table that night. She was nibbling on her roll.

Buffy nodded with a smile. "Yeah. Kinda in the cool category."

"Well, let's not count eggs yet," Joyce put in, passing Buffy the dish for the night.

"But they are letting me back in, right?" Buffy asked, suddenly worried.

"Yes, honey. Now it's just a matter of how. I'm sure they'll make you jump hoops, especially since school started a few days ago."

"But it's cool because Buffy's a vampire slayer," Dawn piped in, bouncing in her seat.

"Slaying doesn't really include Snyder. Though, it is a neato thought."

"Buffy," Joyce began.


"So, are you gonna do some slaying tonight?" Dawn asked.

Buffy nodded. "As I've been."

"Can I come?"

"As that'll be never," Buffy quickly said before her mom could say the same.

"Why not? I mean, you'd protect me, right? No vampire can get me."

"I did say there was only ONE vampire slayer, right?" Buffy said, giving Dawn a firm look. "Thus meaning I can't be in a few places at once. Just because it's what I do, it's what I do usually alone."


"Willow and Xander come sometimes."

Dawn suddenly put two and two together. "So, when you weren't here, THEY were the ones who went vampire hunting?"

Buffy's eyes fell down to her plate. "Yeah. I guess so. And Giles, too, I guess."

"Mr. Giles? The librarian? He isn't too old to kill vampires?"

Buffy let out a small smile. "Actually, Dawn, Giles is my Watcher."

"Ewww," Dawn spat, making a face. "That sounds really creepy."

"No. I mean, he's like a teacher for a Slayer. Kinda like a camp counselor, except he doesn't wear that funny hat - usually."

"Can he lift a car?"

"No," Buffy said, getting a little exasperated with Dawn's car fetish. "No one can, okay? Giles is normal guy. He's just really smart and...older."

Dawn was REALLY intrigued now. Mr. Giles was someone, too. She always thought Buffy was just trying to kiss a teacher's butt. Why a librarian's? Dawn never thought about the reason. Now it made sort of sense. "Wow, so... are Willow and Xander something weird, too?"

Buffy gave her an expression. "Weird? You think me and Giles are weird?"

"Well, you do find monsters and stuff. It is weird. I mean, in a good, neat way." She put a piece of chicken in her mouth. "So, are Willow and Xander something?"

Buffy shook her head. "Other then really understanding best buds, no." She quickly downed her drink. "I'm gonna head to the Bronze to meet those understanding best buds of mine." She pushed her chair back. "Then patrol bound."

"Okay, honey," Joyce said, watching her eldest daughter. She reached out and took Buffy by the arm. "Please, be careful."

With an assuring smile, Buffy leaned down and kissed her mom on the cheek. "Always am, Mom." Then she was gone.

Dawn got home from school to the smell of french fries and some chicken dish. She put her books down at the foot of the stairs and went into the kitchen. "Whoa," she said, seeing the dishes her mom was putting together. "Who's coming over for dinner?"

"One of Buffy's friends," her mom answered, tasting a piece of lettuce from the huge salad bowl.

"Ooo! Willow or Xander!" Dawn's eyes lit up.

"Um, no. Actually, she's a new friend of Buffy's. Someone named Faith."

"Faith? Faith who?" Dawn went over to the bowl of fries and began to pick a few of them out.

"Buffy didn't say. She just said her name was Faith. Now, go set the dinning room table."

"Oh! I met a new girl the other day," Dawn said, getting the plates together. "Her name's Kirstie. I was wondering if I could invite her for dinner one day, too."

"Of course you can, honey. Any friends of yours or Buffy's is good enough for me to cook for."

Thirty minutes later, Buffy came through the kitchen door schoolbooks in hand. She placed them on the counter. "Mom? Dawn?" She saw the kitchen's messiness. "Wow, they really did get excited about a new person to cook for."

"Cool," said the girl behind her.

Dawn came in, chewing on a fry. "Hey, Buffy. Hey...Buffy's friend, Faith."

"Kid sister?" Faith asked with a smirk. She gave her a nod as a greeting. "Hey, Kid."

Her jaw tensed at the almost belittling name. She wasn't sure if she liked Buffy's new friend already. First of all, she didn't DRESS the usual way Buffy's friends did. Lots of eye make-up and a tattoo she could see as she took off her jean jacket. "My name's Dawn."

"Be nice," Buffy warned, giving her a quick expression. "Faith's a Slayer, too."

Dawn's eyes widened. "What? Wow, coolness!" Suddenly, she forgot what she thought about the new girl just seconds before. "You're a vampire slayer?"

Faith grinned wider. "Yep." She nudged Buffy. "Guess the whole secret identity thing is pretty much lost on you, huh, B?"

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Well, she just found out."

"Can YOU lift a car?" Dawn asked Faith in anticipation.

"Dawn!" Buffy cried, incredulously.

Faith shrugged, unfazed. "You know, I've never tried. But it would be wicked cool if I could." She actually looked like she was pondering the thought. "Bet I could."

Dawn grinned. "Wanna try after dinner?"

"Yeah, sure."

Buffy rolled her eyes again, taking Faith by the elbow. "We're going patrolling after dinner. There isn't time to do any 'Strongman Challenge.'" She led the other girl out into the dinning room as Faith shrugged to Dawn.

Dawn frowned. "Darn," she muttered.

Faith is really cool. I thought she was going to be kind of scary at first. Like one of those girls you wouldn't want to meet in an ally. But she's totally not like Buffy in the being a Vampire Slayer department. I asked her all these questions about being a Slayer and she wasn't all eeewy about it. She totally talked about it, how cool it was, all the neato things she could do.

Okay, so Slayers can't fly.

But they can jump high, do flips, know every single karate move ever, and can beat up any vampire and person who ever crossed their paths. At least, that's what Faith told me when Buffy and Mom went into the kitchen for awhile. Why isn't Buffy all "yay" about it? From what Faith was telling me at dinner, Buffy can do all these cool things.

It sounded like Faith LIKED being a Slayer a lot more than Buffy did. And every time I was excited about something Faith told me, Buffy made this noise like I shouldn't be.

You know what? I really think Buffy's jealous of Faith. I really do.

Andrew came by tonight, too. It was really weird. He's getting a little scary, though. He came OVER. I never invited him over. I want to be nice to him and everything, but it doesn't mean I want to go out with him. Luckily, with Faith there, I said I couldn't do anything because we had a visitor for dinner. It totally wasn't a lie.

Faith was a dinner guest. Oh, and it's kind of weird that Faith is a slayer, too. I didn't think about it, but Buffy said she was the only one.

I don't think Buffy would lie, would she? And why would she?

I wonder what it takes to become a Slayer anyway...

Buffy looked pissed. Like, REALLY. Dawn could even feel it before she entered the kitchen, the next morning. "Uh, oh," she said aloud as she made a beeline for the nearby fruit bowl. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," she muttered.

"Did you do bad patrolling last night? You know, like baseball players have bad practice?"

"You could say that. One of the team just went insane is all."

"Huh? Faith?"

Buffy nodded. "Totally went locomotive last night." She banged the milk back in the refrigerator, making the large appliance shake.

Dawn watched it weave. "What happened?"

"We got attacked, and here I am busy trying to fight off four of them, and she's sitting there beating the crap out of one." She stood at the counter, recalling the event. "All she had to do was stick the little pointy, wooden thing-a-ma-gigg in the guy's chest and come help me. But she just kept punching him."

Taking a bite out of her apple, Dawn was really intrigued. Mainly because she didn't think Buffy was going to tell her about any slaying foils. "Why?"

With a shrug, Buffy was about to let the subject drop. "Who knows? The girl just is about as stable as a table with two legs."

"Well, that's not fair," Dawn spoke up, picking up on Buffy's jealousy again. "Just because she fights different than you, it doesn't mean she's wrong and you're right."

"Dawn, you didn't see her last night. It's like she went off on that vamp... somewhere not of here."

There was a knock at the door, making both of them turn toward the noise. Dawn's eyes lit up when she recognized the faces. "Willow! Xander!" She rushed over to the door and opened it. "Hi!"

"Dawn-meister!" Xander greeted her, giving her tummy a poke. "What's up?"

Dawn always wanted to put her arms around him every single time she saw him. She was just happy Cordelia wasn't with them. "Nothing. Buffy's just being all jealous of Faith."

"Ah, Faith," Xander said with a sudden dreamy look. "Yes. Much to be jealous about."

"Xander!" Buffy cried.

He snapped out of it quick when he felt Willow nudge him hard in the ribs. "Oh, uh... not that you – so, what's for breakfast?"

"Nothing for you," Buffy muttered in ALMOST mock anger. She went over to the dinning room to gather her books. "And stop thinking about naked alligators and naked Faiths."

Xander let out a sheepish grin. "I wasn't thinking about naked alligators." He picked up an apple from the fruit bowl next to Dawn. "So what's with the snippiness?"

"Did Faith do something last night?" Willow asked, concerned.

"Just almost got me killed," Buffy replied. "I gonna tell Giles about her."

Dawn almost choked on her banana. She let out a giggle that she soon had to control from the look on Buffy's already pissed off face. "Sorry."

"What's so funny?" Buffy demanded.

Dawn wiped her mouth and sheepishly looked away from them. "You just... well, you sound like a big, fat tattle tale. Going to run and tell Mr. Giles about Faith? All roads lead to tattle-tale-ism."

Xander and Willow could be seen behind Buffy trying to hold in their own laughter.

Buffy didn't even turn around. "Don't feed into her," she intoned to her two friends who promptly quieted down. "Dawn, you don't know what we do out there. I don't even think Faith knows what we do out there. She runs off after her Watcher goes to some resort? That's not a responsible Slayer thing to do."

"Well, I wanna know what you and Faith do. I wanna see what Slayers do. Can I hang out with Faith before you guys go patrolling tonight?"

Buffy stared at her sister incredulously. "Um, did any of those words above not register, Dawn? Faith isn't playing with a fair amount of cards here. Until I know what her deal is, you definitely shouldn't be hanging out with her."

Dawn frowned, now really annoyed with the jealousy. "Buffy, Faith is cool. She likes being a Slayer and stuff. I bet she'd let me go on patrol with her if I asked her."

"And I bet I'd lock you in your room before I let that happen." She grabbed her bag. "Let's go," she told Willow and Xander.

Willow glanced over at Dawn when Buffy bolted. "She's just trying to cope with the whole Faith thing," she assured the youngest sister. "It's kinda like... a territorial, Slayer thing."

"You think Faith is cool, don't you?" Dawn asked the redhead.

"Oh, yeah," Xander put in.

Willow shrugged. "She's different, that's for sure. And there's nothing wrong with her. But truth? Buffy's still cooler." She gave Dawn a smile.

"Where's Faith staying?" Dawn asked casually. "Is she over at your house?"

Willow shook her head. "No. I think Giles said she was staying at some motel."

Dawn didn't like the idea of Faith staying in some gross place. "Maybe she could stay here. Then Buffy will see how cool she is."

"I don't think the Buffster will go along with that," Xander added.

"Will go along with what?" Buffy asked as she poked her head back into the kitchen. "Are we leaving before 5th period, guys?"

Willow and Xander winced slightly. "Later, Dawnster," Xander said with a parting wave.

"Some motel, huh?" Dawn mumbled drudging up a plan.

I know things are stupid sometimes. I mean, I know I do stupid things. After school today, though, I just have to see where Faith is staying. Maybe she's lonely or something. If Buffy says she does weird things while they were patrolling, maybe Faith just doesn't really know stuff about Sunnydale and all. Especially about Buffy.

I could talk to Faith about Buffy, tell her what a big baby she is sometimes. But if you get over it, Buffy isn't such a bad person to hang around with.

Plus, I could go along with her to see how to slay vampires. I know it sounds dangerous – I know it is dangerous – but I could hide in the shadows and pretend I'm not there. I do that pretty good.

Maybe the vampires won't even notice me. Plus, if Buffy comes along, there will be two Slayers and I bet those vampires will be really scared of two.

Dawn hated to lie to her mother. It was a teeny-tiny lie. She just told her mom that she would be hanging out with Marcy for a little while. Her mom seemed to be better about Dawn staying with Marcy after dinner.

That had to be taken advantage of every once in awhile.

It wasn't a total lie. She did go to Marcy's house after dinner. Buffy was in a hurry to get out of there, too. She said she had some stuff to talk about with Faith. Dawn knew she had spoken to Giles because now, Buffy wouldn't say anything else.

At Marcy's, Dawn just dropped off something and got the name of the only motel in Sunnydale. One thing Dawn loved about the town was that everything was pretty much in walking distance.

She got to the run down motel and sighed. She didn't get a room number for Faith so it was a matter of finding the room. But luck would have it that the door of one was already opened. Dawn hid behind one of the cars to see if that room happened to be the one she was looking for.

She could see some large guy in a white wife-beater shirt talking to some girl inside. A quick glance of the girl's face, and Dawn could see it was Faith.

A smile crept up the 12-year-old's face and she about stood up to walk over when she noticed another figure coming up to the door. Dawn ducked back down, recognizing her right away.

It was Buffy.

"Shoot," Dawn mumbled, hoping she'd beaten Buffy there. Of course, a whole 30-minute head start probably wouldn't have made a difference, much less 15 minutes. She just prayed her sister wasn't going to be mean to Faith.

Dawn thought that maybe if she was there, Buffy wouldn't be so mean. She'd be on Faith's side, no problem. With a deep breath, Dawn stood up and saw the door was closed now. She hadn't taken one step when a hand grabbed her from behind, pushing her against the car.

"What do we have here?" a black guy in a slick suit asked. "Looks like a pretty little lady coming out to play."

Dawn swallowed, shaking her head. "N-No. I just... I was just leaving."

"Aw, no, no, sweetie." He reached out and took her by the shoulder. "Word has it you know the Slayers."

"I-I don't know about any Slayers," she said, trying to keep her voice steady. "Please, let me go."

"No can do. Boss wants some thing to munch on after we kill them."

Dawn let out a gasp when she noticed four vampires behind the black man parting to reveal a hulking guy with a distorted face. One of his eyes was permanently gone, leaving behind a huge scar from just about his brow to mid-cheek. He was holding up the guy Dawn had seen earlier in the wife-beater shirt who looked dead, though his eyes were still opened.

She took a step away from them, her hands shaking by her side. "Wh-what are you?" she asked.

"You don't know the mighty Kakistos, sweetheart?" the man asked, turning his head toward the tall man. "Haven't even hear of Uncle Trick? Thought one of those Slayers would tell you all about him." When he turned back, his face had transformed to something with yellow eyes – and fangs.

Dawn almost let out a scream before Trick whipped out his hand and closed her mouth in time. She stared at him wide-eyed, realizing what he was – what they all were.

"Nuh-uh," Trick growled. "You scream, then you'll wake up the neighbors. We came to pay Miss Faith a visit. It's just a drop-in visit. A drop-in and kill her visit. You'll make a nice snack food item, though."

"Yesss..." Kakistos spoke up. "Bring her back to the warehouse. After we kill the Slayer, we'll dine on all our victims."

Two vampires came up and took Dawn easily by each arm.

"Scream, and I'll kill you," Trick warned. "It's better if the killing's right before the eating. So don't ruin it for us." He snapped his fingers. "Get her back to the lair."

Dawn struggled, but it was no use. She tried hard to fight back the tears threatening to fall as she was taken a few blocks away through alleys into one of the abandoned warehouses. She was tossed into a chair and was quickly tied up by her hands and feet.

"Wh-what are you going to do?" she asked in a small voice.

One of the vampires, who looked about Buffy's age, leaned in and squatted in front of her. "What, you've never met a vampire before?" he asked.

Dawn shook her head.

He looked over at his partner and let out a chuckle. "Wow, Gabe. This girl's never met one of us before." He turned back toward her. "Well, you're about to meet a ton of us, kid. Today's just your unlucky day." He gave her one last look before getting to his feet and moving toward Gabe. "Good thing we got connections with the big man," he said to Gabe. "Otherwise, Kakistos would've never found out about Faith."

Big Guy? Dawn thought.

"So this is the Slayer's little sister?" Gabe asked, nodding toward Dawn.

"Word has it. He's got good connections. I bet the Slayer wouldn't be happy to know we have her." The guy grinned, licking his lips. "Tasty, isn't she? All innocent and everything."

Dawn winced as far into the chair as she could. "L-Leave me alone."

"Aw, poor girl's afraid." He drew nearer, the look in his yellow eyes lighting up as he suddenly could smell the blood pulsating within her.

But he didn't get far when the large window across the room crashed through and two figures landed on the ground, roughly. They took a moment and stood up, glancing back out the window not seeming to notice Dawn and the two vamps across the way.

The two vamps ducked a little into the shadows, pulling the chair along with them. Gabe put his finger up to his lips to tell Dawn to shut up or die. Obviously, they weren't planning to go up against the two intruders...

...which Dawn recognized as Buffy and Faith.

"We're okay," Buffy's voice carried over the large, almost open area. She took one more glance then looked at Faith. "What happened?"

"I..." Faith shifted her weight uncomfortably, Dawn seeing the utter horror in the dark-haired Slayer's face. "I was there when he killed my Watcher."

A knot formed in Dawn's stomach, hearing the fear in Faith's usual confident tough talk.

"I saw what he did to her, what he was going to do to me... I tried to stop him, but I couldn't...I ran..." Her voice was so filled with pain, teetering on breaking down right then.

"Faith, listen to me," Buffy began, trying to catch the other Slayer's attention. "First rule of slaying: don't die. You did the right thing, you didn't die. Now do the math: one of him, two of us..."

But Faith wasn't looking at Buffy. Instead, she was looking all around them. "No..." she whispered.


But Faith was shaking her head in terror. "No... this is his place." She gazed at a pile of bodies nearby.

Suddenly, the door near the two Slayers burst open, revealing Trick and four of his companions. Then the door near Dawn also opened, revealing the huge vampire, Kakistos.

Gabe grinned. "Looks like the party's about to start."

"They drove us here," Buffy said in realization. And that's when the fighting began.

Kakistos went directly for Faith, ignoring the fact Dawn was sitting in a corner. He grabbed the Slayer by the neck as Buffy began to square off with four vampires. Faith just let him take her, her eyes wide in terror, frozen in place.

"Don't die!" Buffy demanded as she slammed her foot into one vampire and tossed Faith a metal pipe.

Dawn was amazed at how easily Buffy made it look to fend off two vampires at a time. The moves she made, the strength in each hit... and the courage Buffy had for all of them. She was in control, always sounded in control. It mirrored how Dawn had always seen her, but to a level that was far higher.

Buffy had this way of being a little quirky. But she showed no sign of it now.

Faith, on the other hand, caught the pipe without even looking, but Kakistos who was reveling in her terror and fear easily slapped it away from her hand. He laughed and tossed her to the side, making her crash into a support beam and cracking a large piece off.

Gabe's grin slowly faded when he saw Buffy take out two vampires. "We better go help them," he told his partner.

Then the two fell into the fray, leaving Dawn behind. She took that opportunity to try and scoot the chair more toward the door. She couldn't help but keep looking back at the fight, watching as Buffy continued to fend for herself while Faith was crawling away from the large vampire.

Come on, Faith, Dawn was urging silently to Faith. She knew the other Slayer had it in her; she could tell just from the one visit she had and the conversation over dinner.

Kakistos just laughed and kicked Faith harshly in the stomach.

"Buffy!" Dawn finally cried, wanting her sister to know what was going on with Faith.

Everyone turned around. But unfortunately, the closest one to her was Kakistos.

"Dawn?" Buffy called, her eyes wide in shock in seeing her sister there. "Oh, God. Get out of –"But Gabe took her by surprise and tackled her to the ground.

Kakistos laughed again and his yellow eye focused on the girl in the chair. He moved toward her, clearly ready to bring her into the equation. "The Slayer's sister," he said. "Such a pretty human."

Dawn's fear factor rose tenfold, and she moved her chair backwards as fast as she could. "Leave me alone!!"

"Dawn!" Buffy cried, throwing the two vampires off of her. She quickly staked them and moved toward the large vampire. But she was met up by two other vampires, grabbing her and pulling her back.

"She said leave her alone," came Faith's voice as she got to her feet and shakily raised a stake to him. The confidence wasn't there yet. But she took the distraction and tried to stake him, only to be hit harshly in the face, sending her crashing against the wall.

"Oh, God," Dawn gasped, her entire body shaking as the vampire returned his attention to her once again. "N-No. Please."

"NO!" yelled Buffy as she pushed the two off of her and didn't bother using the stake for them. Instead, she rushed at Kakistos, ducking as he swung his monstrous arm at her. When she came back up, she plunged the stake into his chest.

But the vampire just grinned, even as she kicked it in deeper. "Looks like you're going to need a larger stake," he teased, punching her in the face.

Dawn winced, afraid Buffy had died from that one punch. "Buffy!"

Kakistos faced the youngest Summers girl, a victorious smile on his lips. From this one distraction, he failed to notice Faith getting to her feet and hefting the huge support beam in her hands.

With a cry of war, the dark-haired Slayer shoved the beam through his back until it went right through him. "Guess I found one, bastard," Faith intoned, letting go.

Dawn watched his face fall into a look of realization, then he burst into dust right before her eyes. The particles fell at her feet as the beam landed with a resounding clatter.

Kakistos was gone – forever. And Trick and whoever was left had fled when they saw the upper hand lost. The three girls just stood there in silence for a moment before Buffy got to her feet and rushed over to Dawn.

Buffy gave her a quick, furious hug before working on the binding rope. Faith moved toward them, sweat beading her forehead but a certain weight lifted off her shoulders.

Dawn watched as Buffy easily tore the ropes, catching a little bit of calm anger in her sister's face. "Um," Dawn began. "So that's what a Slayer does, huh?"

Buffy didn't say one word when we went home tonight. I guess it was good, though, because I really felt like crying. I couldn't believe how close I was to almost being a snack for a vampire. I couldn't believe how mean and really ugly they were.

I couldn't believe how so cool Buffy and Faith fought those vampires. Faith was having a little bit of trouble, I know. But she kicked as much butt as Buffy did.

Wow, I'm still kinda shocked.

I'm kinda afraid of how mad Buffy is at me right now. I guess she should be, especially when she found out I was sneaking around.

And how did that one vampire know I was the Slayer's sister? I didn't think we looked that much alike...

Alan Finch, assistant to the city government, quickly closed the drawer of his desk as a knock came at the door. "Come in," he said, nervously. He didn't want to be caught doing anything for the Mayor at the moment.

"Hi," said the person's voice as he came in.

"What are you doing here?" Alan asked, visibly becoming relaxed seeing who it was. "You should be in bed."

"I know. I just... I heard it didn't go well with the Slayer."

"No, it didn't." He twiddled his thumbs, his eyes darting from side to side. "I-I know he won't be happy. Not at all." His eyes met the other person's. "But... you did good. He actually complimented you on finding the Slayers. Especially finding out about the sister.

The person shrugged. "It's no big. So... will he let me have some stuff?"

Alan nodded. "Yes. But I don't want you playing with it in the house. Your mom would be really mad at me." He handed him a vile and a small container. "You have the book, right?"

"Yeah." The person took the two objects with a large grin. "Wow, thanks!"

"Don't thank me. Thank Uncle Richard. Now go-go on home, okay? I've go a lot of things to do here."

"Okay, Uncle Alan."

"And Andrew?"

The boy turned before he reached the door. "Yeah?"

"Be sure you finish your homework."

Sitting on her bed, Dawn held the pillow tightly against her chest. Some parts of her body hurt from the whole situation. She was a little afraid to close her eyes and go to sleep.

There was a light tap on the door that made Dawn jump. She saw the figure in the doorway. "Faith," she said.

The dark-haired Slayer moved in. "Hey, Kid. How are ya' feeling?"

Dawn adjusted herself to sit up a little straighter. "I'm good. Thanks to you."

Faith didn't seem to know how to take that. She actually fidgeted where she stood. "Hey, you were in trouble."

"Was it scary?" Dawn asked, her eyes filled with concern. She didn't think Faith to be afraid on anything. But the fear she had seen when she first saw the Slayer's reaction to the large vampire wasn't something Dawn could forget.

And the courage Buffy showed was even more amazing.

"Nah," Faith replied with a quick wave of her hand. "I mean, maybe... he did shitty things."

"I'm... sorry about your Watcher. I guess, if Buffy lost Mr. Giles, she would've felt the same way."

Faith gave an uneasy shrug. "Yeah. Life's a bitch, kid. I just wanted to check in. Make sure you weren't too banged up." It seemed she wanted to say more but instead, just gave a small smile and disappeared.

Buffy soon appeared in the doorway.

Dawn shrunk a little into her bed. "Uh, oh," she muttered.

Her sister came and sat down on her bed. "What did you think you were doing?" Buffy said, though not in a firm manner like Dawn expected.

"I... I just wanted to see..." Dawn said, lamely. "You're all hush about being a Slayer. I thought that maybe it was something I'd never know about until I saw it. I didn't mean to see it that close."

"You could've been killed," Buffy said, the firmness NOW in her tone. "Or worse..."

"Worse?" Dawn wondered. Then it hit her. One thing worse than death – the undeath. "Oh." Her eyes fell to the pattern on her comforter. "I just wanted to make sure Faith was okay with you."

Buffy sighed. "She is. She came through tonight, and she's had it rough. I was wrong about her." She rubbed her finger along the stitches of the bed spread. "Giles said that she could stay until things could be worked out."

"You mean, Mr. Giles would be her Watcher, too?"

The blond Slayer nodded. "Of the good, I know." The blue eyes of Buffy met with Dawn's hazel ones. "It was Angel, you know."

"What?" Dawn questioned her, confused.

"The reason I left. Angel... well, things went bad for us. You knew that. And... I was forced to do something against him that I didn't want to do – ever. But I had to. And I couldn't handle what happened."

"Did he turn evil or something? Like did he turn into a vampire?"

Buffy broke the gaze. "Something like that. He did turn evil."

"You...?" Dawn couldn't even say it. Not straight out. "You hurt him?"

"Like nothing I thought I could ever do. But I did. I had to. I had to make him go away."

With an empathizing frown, Dawn scooted over and reached out to hold Buffy's hand. One thing was becoming clear to her: being a Slayer wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. "I'm sorry, Buffy. I wish Angel wasn't like that 'cause even though you two were gag worthy, I know you really loved him."

Buffy put a powerful hand on Dawn's delicate one. "Dawn, about being a Slayer... I mean, I didn't lie to you when I told you that I'm the only Slayer. I'm supposed to be. There's only supposed to be one Slayer."

"So why two now?"

"Well, to get a new one, the old one has to..." Buffy paused, struggling with what she wanted to say. "Has gotta die."

"Die?" Dawn blinked, letting the words sink in. "So, Faith's around because..." They sunk in. She drew in a breath, the thought of Buffy dying something remote in Dawn's mind. "But... I mean, you're alive now, right?"

"And kicking butt. I was only gone for a little while." The thought didn't seem to settle well with her still. "I wanted you to know that because it's one thing for me to go; it's another for you to get hurt. And tonight, I saw how close you were to it. That's why I can't ever let you patrol with me and Faith."

Dawn nodded, things becoming a little clearer to be in Buffy's world. It was a world that was harder to live in more than the real, normal one, and Dawn was a little scared of it now that she knew it and faced it fang on. But it was Buffy's world. And a world that Dawn would never trade for anything – because she did have a brave sister who was cool... and that didn't even include the superpowers.

"I'll be careful," Dawn promised. "But... you will, too, right?"

Buffy grinned. "Always am." She reached over and gave her sister a hug. When they parted, Buffy stood up from the bed as Dawn settled in. Her hand reached for the switch, but paused. "I know it was scary tonight. Do you want the lights on?"

Dawn thought about the question then looked up at her sister. "Will you be in your room the whole night tonight?"

"I think I've done enough night damage tonight. Besides, I'm beat. I'll be in."

"Then, yes. You can turn off the lights." She pulled the covers up to her chest and snuggled in, clutching her stuffed bear close, not noticing the touched smile spreading across Buffy's lips.

Just before Buffy shut the door all the way, without turning her head, Dawn asked, "Can we still see if you can lift a car?"

"Dawn, go to bed."

And she did just that....


NEXT EPISODE: Dawn's in love...oh, wait, no she's not....

AUTHOR'S NOTE: A section of this piece had lines off of the script for "Faith, Hope, and Trick"; so give credit to David Greenwalt.