My So-Called Life: The Dawn Chronicles

Episode Four: It's All Because of You

Author: Monet

I'm in love. I mean, really. I can't believe how in love I am. It's so amazing because I've always wondered how it is to be like this. But here I am, just about smiling my face off. Thinking about him. Him all the time.

He always makes me smile. He makes me laugh. I like being around him all the time, and I hate it when we say "good-bye." I told myself that I'd never get to gag mode like Buffy and Angel did. We'll be a cool couple, a couple everyone wished they were.

I just hope the other girls keep their hands off of him. He's gorgeous. His eyes. His nose. His smile. His lips.

I'm all about that. All about him.

We're going out tonight. Mom doesn't think I should be dating, but I'm old enough. I told her to drop me off at the movies to meet Marcy. It's the easiest way. To just lie.

I mean, I AM going to the movies.

Just not to see her. I feel like I haven't seen her in a long time. But it doesn't matter.

The point is, I am SO in love with Andrew Finch...


"I can't stand Andrew Finch!" Dawn Summers cried, throwing her books on the table. She marched into the kitchen, throwing open the refrigerator, searching for some chocolate. Any comfort food for that matter.

"Wow, sounds like you had fun," Buffy Summers commented, entering the kitchen.

Dawn let out a frustrated sigh, facing her sister. "Is there any way you can THROW someone into a dumpster?"

Buffy leaned on the counter, looking at her sister thoughtfully. "Um, I'm pretty sure that's not nice."

"Well, then, can you NICELY throw him in the dumpster? Over three, for all I care."

"I could - in fact, have before - but I don't think it would go over well with his parents...or him, for that matter." She cocked her head to the side. "Was he the guy who came over a few days ago?"

Dawn nodded. "Yes."

"What's wrong? He was kind of a hottie...from the non-visionline I actually had of him."

"Yeah, in a stalker way," Dawn replied with a roll of her eyes. "Today, he came by our lunch table. And that's okay and all, but he stayed the WHOLE time. So not cool. And Kirstie was even getting annoyed with him."

"Well, have you told him that maybe it's not a good idea to come to the table? You know how guys can't take the hint. They're pretty much hintless."

Dawn frowned. "Well, no. I...I don't wanna be mean to him or anything."

"Yet you want ME to throw him into a dumpster? The usual Dawn Logic working there."

"Well, you could do it. I can't be mean." She thought about how it could pan out in her mind. "Ooo, maybe you can just accidentally throw him?"

"Accidentally?" Buffy gave her younger sister the 'what are you talking about' look. "You mean, pretend I'm reaching for the OTHER guy next to him, but ACCIDENTALLY grab him and throw him in the dumpster?"

"If it works," Dawn said with a shrug. Then she saw she wasn't going anywhere with her sister. "Okay. Fine. I guess...I could try the more direct way." She frowned. "Oh, but what's more direct than – "

"Dawn," Buffy cautioned.

"Okay, okay." With a huff, she proceeded up the stairs and into her room.

You ever try and be nice to someone because you think it wouldn't be cool not to be nice to them? Well, that's what I am with Andrew. He's annoying, but it's not like he's doing anything terrible. He's not hurting me.

That would totally NOT be cool!

Marcy keeps telling me to tell him off. And she even wants to tell him off. But I can't let her do that. I would just be of wrongness. Way wrongness.

Then Marcy told me that if I keep holding it in, it was going to come out in a way harsher way.

I wonder if she's telling me the truth.

"Don't look now, but here comes puppy dog," Marcy commented at lunch the next day. She shifted her gaze away from the approaching Andrew Finch to Kirstie who raised her brows in knowing.

Dawn rolled her eyes as he sat next to her with a goofy grin.

"Hi, Dawn," he greeted her.

"Hi, Andrew."

"Could I talk to you a minute?"

Kirstie and Marcy exchanged glances. But neither looked back at Dawn.

"She doesn't really have time," Kirstie spoke up, still not looking in their direction.

Dawn met gazes with Marcy, who had a different look that Dawn read well. "Actually, okay," she said, slowly.

Marcy gave her an approving nod.

With that, Dawn slid out of the booth and allowed Andrew to lead her out of the lunchroom. She was determined to do this – let him know how she felt. He led her to the courtyard where a few of the older kids were eating lunch.

"What's up?" Dawn asked, fidgeting where she stood. In her mind, she was going through exactly what she was going to say.

Andrew brought out a jewelry box, offering it to her. "This is for you," he said, a smile playing lightly on his lips.

Dawn stared at it, jaw slightly slacked. She carefully reached out for it, taking it out of his hands. With one last glance at his face, she slowly opened it to reveal a pretty gold ring with some sort of pink quartz thingy in the middle of it. It seemed to flash twice in the afternoon sun. She blinked then looked up at Andrew. "Wow. This is... is pretty."

"I figured pink was your color."

"Yeah. I mean, I lean more toward purple..." She closed the box back and handed it back to him. "You know I can't take it, right?"

Andrew didn't take it back. Instead, he just stared at her almost appalled. "Um, why not?"

"Andrew, we're not even dating. Why would you give me something like this? Not that I don't thank you or whatever."

"Because I like you, Dawn. And if we're not dating, don't you think it's about time we did?"

"No, Andrew. Of the truth? No, we shouldn't. I mean, I'm totally flattered that you wanna date me, but... I just don't think you and me could." There she had said it. And as nicely as possible.

"Why not?" he asked, his brows furrowed. "You're not dating anyone, are you?"

"No... but it's not that." She bit her lip. "It's more – well, you." Oooo, so not the thing I wanted to say, she thought, wishing she could take that all back. "I-I didn't mean it in that way."

Andrew frowned, his brows knitting together. "Then what did you mean, Dawn?" His voice was becoming more intense. "What's wrong with me?"

"Whoa, hey, calmness. You're not bad. You're just... not my type is all."

He snatched the box away from her. "What's your type Dawn? That Xander guy you keep talking about who's like 10 years older than you? Is that your type?"

Dawn gaped at him, her slight fear of his actions being replaced by anger. "You leave Xander out of this! And how do you know about him anyway?"

But Andrew didn't answer. "You do know it's not going to happen with him, right? You're just a little kid to him."

"Shut up!" She glared at him then brushed past him. "You're such a loser, Andrew!"

Andrew didn't say anything. He just watched her go, glancing down at the jewelry box. With that, he pocketed it and went on his way.

Dawn sat at the kitchen counter, chewing on some gum and flipping through a teen magazine later on that afternoon. She looked up when her mother came in holding a newspaper in her hands.

"This is so awful," she murmured, leaning on the counter.

"What is it?" Dawn asked, blowing a bubble with her gum.

"It says here that a student from the high school was found in the woods mauled."

"Mauled?" Dawn rose her brows. "What's that mean? Is that like a color?"

Joyce looked at her youngest daughter and smiled. "No, honey. Mauled is like being...torn up really bad."

She made a face. "Ick. I think it was better I totally didn't add to my vocab."

Mrs. Summers checked her watch. "I hope your sister's session went well today."

"You mean when she visited that shrink?"

"Let's not refer to it as that, sweetie. You know how Buffy is about having to see him in order to stay in school. When she comes home, let's – "

"I know, I gentle." She sighed. "Aren't I always?"

Her mother just gave her a look then moved toward the fridge to see what they could have for dinner. "How was school today?"

"Oh, it was okay," Dawn murmured. "I got an A on my reading test." It was sort of hard to remember anything else outside of classes, however. No matter how hard Dawn tried to concentrate... did she talk to Marcy and Kirstie after lunch? But she couldn't even remember what they had talked about.

Something about going to the Homecoming affairs this weekend or something.

She shook her head just as Buffy walked in. "Hey," she greeted them.

"How was your day, honey?" Joyce asked with a smile as she brought out some marinated meat.

Buffy leaned on the counter a bit. "Okay. I mean, aside from the whole going to the shrink part and the actual doing work part."

"See!" Dawn suddenly blurted, pointing at Buffy. "She referred to him as a shrink!" She looked back at her. "So, did you hafta lay down in one of those couches or something?"

With a roll of her eyes, Buffy shook her head. "No. I just sat in a chair. And I talked. Not much 'cause I really had nothing to say." She sighed. "I still don't know why I have to go to him."

Joyce headed toward the dinning room, putting a comforting hand on Buffy's cheek. "It's only for a few sessions, honey. We know you aren't crazy."

Dawn made a coughing sound, slipping a sideway glance at her mom and sister. "Kidding."

When Joyce was gone, Dawn looked over at the newspaper on the counter. "Hey, did you hear about that guy getting mauved in the woods?" Dawn asked, grabbing the paper and holding it up.

"Mauved?" Buffy frowned when she skimmed the headline of the local newspaper. "Oh, yeah, of course I did. It's all Giles ever tells me. 'Guess what! Someone's dead!' I gotta patrol the woods tonight, see what's up and NO you can't go." She ticked her gaze at Dawn.

Dawn pouted. "I totally wasn't even...going to..." But she stopped and returned to her magazine. "Is Faith going to go with you?"

"No. She'll be doing... something else. But I heard what you and her did the other night with that person's car."

Dawn winced. "Oops." She shrugged. "Well, she did lift it up a lot! We didn't know it had an alarm to it. She runs pretty fast, even with me riding piggy back." Dawn started to giggle at the memory. "It was kinda – "Offing Buffy's hard look, she redirected her statement. "Um, I mean, it was kinda wrong." She knew her sister sort of disapproved with her hanging out with Faith.

Not that Buffy wasn't getting along with her now. but Buffy thought she was sort of some bad influence on her. Dawn thought she was just mistaking bad influence with funness.

"Scott called when I got home," Dawn announced, hoping to change the subject.

Buffy quirked her brows. "He did? Did he want me to call him back or something?"

"Didn't say." She looked at her sister with a small, playful smile. "Are you two dating?"

"Mmmm...maybe," Buffy said with a grin. "Make that actually."

"Ooo, that's so cool," Dawn beamed, glad that her sister had taken the next step to getting over Angel. "He's a cutie. A little skinny, but cute. Not quite as cute as Andrew Finch, though." She sighed, almost dreamily as the image of Andrew entered her mind.

"Oh, so NOW you think he's a hottie," Buffy said with a half-smile. "Yeah, hormones are a funny thing. Well, whenever you two decide to go on a date, I need to meet him before you go."

"You sound like dad," she said giving Buffy a look. But she wasn't sure about Buffy meeting Andrew. What if Andrew liked Buffy better? Dawn so couldn't handle knowing that. Not with Andrew.

Andrew had to be all hers.

"I don't get it," Marcy was telling Dawn right after school. "I thought we were doing something on Friday night."

"C'mon, Marcy, Kirstie thinks this would be a good chance to go out on a date with him," Dawn said.

"I can't believe you even WANT to. A few days ago you were thinking of ways to get rid of him. Plus, the whole 'Mom won't let you go by yourself' thing? That might be a problem."

Dawn couldn't believe that her best friend was trying to stop her from having a date with the boy of her dreams. She frowned. "Marcy, that's where you come in. I'll tell Mom and Buffy that I'm going to the movies with you, then I'll just meet Andrew there. He liked the plan."

Marcy stared at her friend, a hint of disapproval behind her eyes. "Dawn, are you sure about this?"

Dawn frowned deeper. "Are you saying you don't want me to go with him?"

"No. I'm saying you're insane." She saw anger flash across Dawn's face and tried to amend it. "I mean, Dawn, three days ago you were so... non-Andrew. And now- ?"

"Hey, Dawn," Andrew greeted her, totally ignoring Marcy. He came and actually put his arm around Dawn's shoulders in total confidence.

"Hi, Andrew," Dawn said in an almost sigh as she looked up at him.

Marcy wanted to gag. Her eyes shifted from boy to best friend and all she could do was shake her head.

"So is she gonna help?" Andrew asked as if Marcy wasn't there.

Dawn was lost in his eyes, the way his lips moved as he talked. Then she realized she was asked a question and shook out of it. "Oh, uh, yeah, I think she said she would." She looked over at Marcy. "Right?"

Marcy's jaw tensed. "I really didn't decide on anything."

"Marcy, you're the only one who wouldn't make Mom so suspicious. Please?"

"I just thought we were doing something that night. We planned it two weeks ago that you wanted to see all the Homecoming activities at the high school." But she could see that Dawn had no reason in what she said. "Fine. You're coming with me to the movies."

Dawn practically bounced on her heels. It would be her first date ever...and with such a hunk of a guy! What more could she ask for? "Thank you soooo much, Marcy!"

Marcy just glanced at Dawn then up to Andrew, seeing the smile playing on his face. It was a smile she didn't like. "Yeah, yeah. Just remember, I'm not really seeing you Friday. At all." With that she turned on her heel and went out the door.

Dawn watched her best friend leave, a twinge of guilt entering her chest. But it quickly dissipated when Andrew talked.

"She'll get over it," he said, giving her a side hug. "You're not worried, are you?"

"Oh, no," Dawn said with a shake of her head.

"I knew you'd be cool about it. Then we can be alone. Hey, do you think you could cover me tonight? I'm kind of low on the money."

"Uh, well. I don't really get an allowance but..." She could see the look on his face, and she quickly recovered. "But I'm sure mom or Buffy will let me borrow."


She peered out of the glass doors and spotted the familiar green Jeep Cherokee. "Ooo, my mom's here! I gotta go." She gave him a departing smile and went on her way.

Andrew stood there, the grin still on his lips.

"How'd you score a date with Dawn Summers?" asked one of his friends, Brad. "She's a hottie, even though she's like only a 6th grader."

"It just happened," Andrew said, absently as he watched Dawn climb into her mom's car. "Kinda like magic."

Brad laughed, clapping his hand on Andrew's shoulder. "You'll be in the talk of the school if you can REALLY score with her."

"I plan to." He looked over at him. "She won't resist." A glimmer in his eye, he grinned even wider. "She won't be able to resist."

Buffy's been acting kind of weird lately. She said she went out on patrol last night but didn't come back until after school today. Mom was all worried, but I think she's getting used to it because she slept a little earlier than usual.

Plus, she was still worried about all these people getting killed. I heard Buffy talking about it with Willow over the phone. They were both worried it was someone, but didn't really say who.

Then Buffy got home – finally – and was all sad about her session with the shrink. She didn't say why, though. She just said it wasn't good at all.

Oh, well...

Today got me all excited about my secret date with Andrew tomorrow. In fact, after school, I was telling Kirstie all about it and she totally didn't seem too weird about it like Marcy. Marcy was all quiet today, but it didn't matter. Just because she didn't like Andrew, it didn't mean she had to be a baby about it.

This is the man I love. Why wouldn't she be happy about it like Kirstie is?

"You are totally being a rebel," Kirstie told Dawn as they sat outside after school. "Sneaking out like that without your mom knowing? That's something I'D do."

"You've done it before?"

"Almost. But I got caught. No big, though. It was totally fun while it lasted." She chewed on her gum thoughtfully. "What are you and Andrew gonna do? Really go to the movies?"

"Yeah. What else would we do?"

Kirstie looked at her as if she should've known the answer. "Come on, Dawn! You and a boy...alone? Lots of things to do!"

Dawn shifted uneasily at what Kirstie was implying. "Oh... yeah..." Then the image of Andrew flew through her mind and suddenly, it was nothing but. "Oh, yeah..." She began to smile at the thought.

"Hey, Squirt," came a voice from nearby.

Dawn glanced up and saw Faith approaching them. "Faith! Hi!" She stood up as the other Slayer approached her. "What are you doing here?"

"Was on my way to the high school to check on your big sis and pals, thought I'd stop by." She grinned, giving slight acknowledgement to the prissy type girl who was looking her up and down. "Hey, ya'."

"Oh, Kirstie, this is Faith. She's one of my sister's great friends. Faith, this is Kirstie."

Kirstie just nodded then stood up. "I'll see ya' later, Dawn. Nice to meet you." She barely gave Faith much warmness in her departure.

"Nice girl," Faith said with sarcasm. "So, what's hanging, D?"

"I'm telling Kirstie about my date on Friday."

"Date? Alright, Squirt!" Faith grinned like a proud mother hen. "And B is cool about this?"

Dawn was so excited about it, she had to tell someone. Faith seemed to be the one person. Her and Xander, probably. "Well, see, it's called a secret date. Mom and Buffy don't know about it."

"Wow. Squirt's a rebel. Mom not too keen on letting you hang out with a guy?"

Dawn shook her head. "Nope. I think Buffy might get all protective, too."

"So who's the lucky dude?"

"His name's Andrew Finch."

Faith gazed at the girl steadily. "You mean the dude who came over that one night when I was there?"


"You were going off on him that night. I thought you hated the guy. Did you change your mind or something?"

Dawn didn't answer right away. Then that dreamy smile spread across her face as she suppressed the memory of that night. "Yep. He's SO hot." She looked at Faith. "Hey, how many boyfriends have you had?"

Faith grinned, then shrugged. "I'm not really the one to ask advice from, D. Why don't you ask your sister? She seems to have a better handle on the whole relationship thing. I've got a whole other philosophy."

"Hmm, maybe. But you promise not to tell anyone about this, right?" she asked the Slayer. "Pleeeease?"

Faith put her hands up. "Whoa, whoa, Dawn. I'm not gonna rag on ya'. It's not my style." She gave her an assuring wink. "But ..." She paused as if not sure of her next words. "Just be know, you being a little person and all." With that, Faith walked on towards the high school.

I had this wonderful dream about Andrew and me. He was giving me this necklace and we were standing on this hill that was looking over the ocean. Then he gave me this seemed familiar to me, but it's maybe because I'd seen it in a jewelry magazine or something.

Then he was saying I'd be his forever, and I was sooo happy. Even when I woke up, I was so happy. I can't wait to see him today... and then tonight.

I am SO in love with Andrew Finch...

"So you're going with Marcy to the movies tonight?" Mrs. Summers asked Dawn that morning.

"Yeah," Dawn said casually. She pulled out an apple and bit into it.

"What are you two seeing?"

Frozen from the simple question, Dawn tried to relax herself and shrugged. "Anything with a cute guy in it," she said.

Joyce smiled but shook her head. "I don't know what I'm going to do with you, Pum'kin Belly. Well, be ready soon so we can get there on time."

With a glance at the clock, Dawn hopped off the chair and rushed upstairs. She put on another outfit – after trying three more – then made sure she grabbed some make up of Buffy's. All the while staring at the mirror, all she could see was Andrew. Everything about him.

She couldn't stop, in fact. She had been dreaming about him almost every night since... well, a few days back.

She rummaged around Buffy's dresser to find a particular shade of lipstick and came across a pouch. It was in Buffy's new shade of pink she was into lately, and in it was a $50 bill. Andrew's words suddenly rang through her head, asking for money. Her mom hadn't given her enough for two.

Where reason and conscience should've come in, Dawn just took the money and stuffed it in her jacket. She shut the drawer and met her mom downstairs.

Anything for Andrew...

"So Marcy will be the one to drop you off back home?" Mrs. Summers asked Dawn through the window.

"Yes, Mom," Dawn replied with a roll of her eyes and exasperated tone. She stood right in front of the movie theater. "I'll be okay."

Joyce frowned. "I know, honey, but with all those stories about something out there killing people..."

"I'm gonna be inside, Mom. Lots and lots of people. I'll be okay. So can I go now?" Or can YOU go now, she thought, annoyed. She wanted to see Andrew now.

With one last glance, Joyce pulled the car in drive and pulled away.

Dawn watched the Cherokee disappear. She bounced once on her toes then stood a little out of the crowd of kids already there. She saw Marcy and Kirstie with two other girls weaving through the crowd.

Kirstie caught sight of Dawn, giving her a warm smile of encouragement as she rose her brows. Marcy, on the other hand, met with Dawn's eyes then just turned away.

Dawn knew Marcy was mad. She hadn't spoken to her best friend for almost two days. Kirstie was the only one who was excited about things. She wanted to hear all about it sometime this weekend.

"Hey, Dawn," came Andrew's voice from behind.

Dawn turned around and grinned widely at the boy. "Andrew! Hi!"

He leaned in and kissed her on the lips, making her pause. "That's okay, right?" he asked, meeting her gaze.

Dawn shrugged, forcing a smile on her lips. "Yeah. Of course."

Andrew put his hand in his pocket and withdrew it with a familiar box. "Remember this?" he said, his voice quiet. He opened it up and presented the same quartz ring, glowing slightly in the dim light. "I wanted to give this to you."

Her hazel eyes stared at it, not able to tear away. "Yeah."

"You want it now, don't you?" He took it out of the box.

Dawn nodded. "Yeah." She absently put out her hand.

He held it and slipped on the ring. "Thought so." He nodded toward a direction. "I've got something planned for you, Dawn. It'll be special. Just for the two of us. Then, I'll give you the matching necklace. Then you can be mine."

Those last words were lost on Dawn as the stared at the ring on her finger. Her desire for Andrew grew, and all she could do was look into his eyes, smile, and do whatever he wanted.

Faith walked towards her shabby motel room that, for now, she called home. She was a little sore from the fight with Oz. Poor guy got it good with the tranquilizer gun, but she was almost proud of Willow for distracting her own wolfy boyfriend while she trusted Faith in hitting him with the dart.

She entered her room and flopped down on the bed, checking out one of the bruises she got on her ribs. "Shit," she muttered, even though she knew it would be gone in a few hours. Still, till then, it was hurting like a bastard.

There was a bang on the wall behind her bed. She turned to look automatically. Then she turned back to the television set, contemplating on whether to turn it on or to go back out and do some patrolling. She still had a lot of energy to burn off.

With that thought, she went over to her nightstand and rummaged through it to find a few stakes she had stashed in it. As she hid them among the pockets of her jacket and pants, there was another hit against the wall she shared with the usually empty room.

It made the nasty, ugly wall décor shake. It did it again twice after that.

Faith had to grin. Well, at least someone's getting some 'round here, she thought.

But as she shut the drawer, she heard a muffled female voice behind the fairly thin wall.

"Stop it," the girl had said.

"C'mon," the guy said. "I told you to stay still. I'll do the rest."

"But I don't know if this is what I wanna do right now."

"I gave you the ring, right? Wasn't it pretty?"

The girl paused. "Y-Yeah." She didn't sound so sure about anything.

"And after this, you'll get more presents."

"Bastard," Faith muttered. After the whole incident with Oz's friends, Debbie and Pete, Faith wasn't really ready to hear any more guys treating their girls like shit. But it wasn't any of her business so she continued to get ready.

"Stop it," the girl said again, a little louder. "Please? I-I don't think this is right, Andrew. Please."

Faith froze, her eyes slowly shifting towards the shared wall again.

"Shut up," he demanded. "You wanted this. I KNOW you do. Don't fight it. You're not supposed to fight it." There was another bang on the wall. "Dammit, Dawn, don't struggle!"

Faith was out her door in a flash. She banged on her next-door neighbor's door harshly, rattling the walls. "Hey! You guys are making a lot of noise!"

"Sorry!" came the voice within it.

"I wanna talk to you!" she continued, banging on it again.

"We're busy! Leave us alone!"

Without another moment of patience, Faith kicked down the door, nearly off its hinges and saw what she thought she'd see: a young guy, no more than 15 on top of a girl on the bed. Both his hands were holding the girl's wrists above her head down into the mattress.

The boy looked up and his eyes widened as if in recognition. "Hey...wh-what are you doing?"

The girl's face was barely visible under the light, but it was the unmistakable, tear-streaked face of Dawn. "Help me," she mumbled quietly.

A fury went through Faith then and she stalked over to the bed, grabbing Andrew by the throat and easily jerking him off the bed, pinning him hard against the wall. "What the fuck do you think you're doing!?"

"Don't hurt him," Dawn said, sitting up yet shaking. "Don't hurt him. Don't hurt him."

Faith looked back at the youngest Summers girl as she rocked back and forth on the bed. Something was catching the Slayer's eye, something slowly glowing in the darkness. It was the ring on Dawn's finger.

Andrew struggled hard against Faith's grip, but it didn't faze the Slayer at all. He tried to kick her in the ribs. Even without looking, she caught his foot with her free hand. And to Andrew's dismay, it only pissed her off more.

Her eyes turned back to him, and with no effort, she had the kid hoisted in the air, still pinned against the wall. "What did you do to her?" she demanded.

He fought to find the air to talk. "She wants to be with me," he managed to gasp, his feet dangling helplessly. "She said so. She said she wanted to be with me."

"Right, kid," Faith snarled. "So what's that ring, huh? Why's it glowing like that?"

"I-I don't know what you're –"

"You better think about what you're about to NOT say 'cause I ain't in the mood to hear it." She suddenly saw the glow elsewhere in the room. Her eyes landed on a necklace spread out on the dingy dresser of the room. "There. Same glow. There's gotta be something and I wanna know what."

"Please don't hurt him," came Dawn's voice. Scared. Nervous. Not really all there.

Faith frowned then looked back up at the boy. "I'm asking again: WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER!?" She tightened her grip.

Andrew coughed, his fingers uselessly trying to pry away Faith's hand from his throat. "Sp-spell."

"See, now we're getting somewhere," Faith remarked. "What spell?"


"You little shit." She suddenly let go, making him drop harshly to the ground. He was too caught off guard to land on his feet. "Get rid of it," she intoned, glaring down on him as he sat on the floor, rubbing his neck.

"But she wanted it," he said.

She squatted down next to him. "If she wanted it, you wouldn't have needed to put that damn thing on her. Now get rid of it."

Andrew opened his mouth to protest again, but he knew who this really was. He didn't think she was going to be here. He didn't think either of the Slayers were going to be nearby. Did Dawn? He couldn't handle staring the Slayer in the face so he downcasted his eyes. "The ring. If you take it off of her, she's gonna snap out of it."

Faith stood up and walked toward Dawn. "Hey, Squirt. Let's see that ring of yours."

But Dawn tucked her hand under her armpit. "No. Andrew loves me. He loves me and he gave it to me."

Faith grabbed the girl's arm firmly and easily pulled it out, ignoring Dawn's cries and struggles. She uncurled Dawn's small fist and pulled off the ring, throwing it on the ground and smashing it good with her boot.

Dawn cried out. "NO!" and actually tried to jump for it.

But Faith held her back and found herself holding a shaking Dawn in her arms. Awkwardly, Faith embraced the girl, not really knowing how to comfort her. Not really knowing how to comfort.

"Hey, kid, shhh..." she said, as Dawn wrapped her arms around Faith's neck tightly, burying her face in Faith's dark brown locks.

Faith's eyes landed on Andrew, and he slowly got to his feet. Without another word, he used that opportunity and bolted out the door.

"Hey!" Faith called, but didn't make a move to go after him. Instead, she just held Dawn in her arms until the girl calmed down.

It's kinda hard to write. I don't even know what to say. My hand keeps shaking. I just can't believe that Andrew did that to me. I didn't really like him before. But I really hate him now. I hate him so much.

I can't believe he did that to me.

I didn't want it. But it was weird because I did want it.

God, if Buffy ever found out about this...but Faith was so cool about it. She promised she wouldn't say anything to Mom. But Faith was kinda wanting to tell Buffy. She told me she wouldn't say anything but that I should tell my sister.

I think Faith is right. Faith is cool. I was really glad she was there.

"Oh, he's not going to be happy about this," Alan Finch told his nephew, tapping his pen nervously. "He was really hoping everything was scheduled as planned. It was in his appointment book."

"I'm sorry," Andrew mumbled.

"It's okay. We'll just explain that the Slayer just won't see him right now. I guess we'll have to go on with the tribute." Alan looked at his appointment book. "That should make him happy. I just need to call this Ethan Rayne." He scribbled something in the book. "I just hope he can give us what the Mayor wants."

"But the Slayer saw me," Andrew said, his eyes wide in fear. "The other one. I-I don't want to see her again. She-she hurt me."

Alan gazed at his nephew. "Guess it's time for a transfer..."

Dawn knocked lightly on Buffy's door. She noticed that Buffy hadn't really been home much. So she had to take the opportunity to talk to her older sister when she could. She rubbed her bruised wrists as Buffy said to come in.

"Hey," Dawn mumbled. She hadn't been sleeping well, the face of Andrew always flooding her dreams.

Buffy looked up from her schoolbook. "Hey. What's up?"

Dawn fought hard not to burst out into tears right then. She slowly came in and shut the door behind her. "Um, here." She pulled out about $30 in change and approached Buffy with it. "It''s what's left over from the $50 I stole from you the other day."

Buffy lowered her book and let the money into her hand, staring at the money curiously. "You what? Dawn, what...what are you doing pulling the thief act on me?"

"I'm s-sorry," Dawn stumbled, glancing towards the floor. "I needed it for the...movies."

"And Marcy couldn't have paid for herself?" She put the money on her nightstand. "I would've given it to you if you – "

The more Buffy talked, the more Dawn's walls crumbled and she began to cry. She put her hands up to her face, muffling her sobs.

Buffy set her book to the side, slowly throwing her legs over the side of her bed. "Dawnie? What's wrong? Hey, come here."

Dawn rushed into her sister's arms and cried more into Buffy's shoulder. She felt Buffy's arms tighten around her. "Buffy, it was awful." And she spilled into the story, painfully telling every little bit of it she could remember. Most of what was done without her will.

Buffy listened intently, listened carefully, also listened painfully. To hear what her sister had been through...

"I'm sorry," Dawn mumbled. "I'm sorry I lied."

"No, Dawnie. You couldn't help it. Spells like that... they make you do things you don't wanna do." She was trying so hard not to let the burning anger towards Andrew enter into her tone. She suddenly wanted to rip the boy to shreds, breaking every single bone in his body with her bare hands – and slowly.

It was so close to the surface, it scared Buffy a little. But she just pushed those violent tendencies away. "You're okay now."

Dawn let Buffy's words sink in, and in her sister's arms, she knew she was...