Disclaimer: Dawn, Drusilla, Angel, Buffy, Joyce, Willow,Xander,and Spike are all property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. The only one that I truly wish otherwise would be Spike, but alas that is one wish that will never come true, so give credit where credit is due. The characters are theirs. The plot is mine.

A/N: What if Dawn Was There? fic. Third Season; Lover's Walk. The whole hot chocolate, repairing Spike's self-esteem thing would have been much more interesting with an eleven year old Dawn in the mix.

"Drusilla is pretty stupid to give you up, Spike," eleven-year-old Dawn piped up from her seat across the table. "You're the biggest, bestest, baddest vampire I know. She's the one who is missing out."

"From the mouths of babes, Spike," Joyce smiled.

Spike smiled back and pulled the little girl into his lap. "You're the sweetest little niblet, you are. Have you got any of those little marshmallow things for the cocoa?"

"Please, Mom! I love them too."

"Let me check." Joyce got up and found the marshmallows.

Topics changed to Dawn's schoolwork and a report on Shakespeare, who Spike claimed to have known personally. All three were startled when a ferocious Angel slammed into the screen door. Dawn screamed and buried her face in Spike's jacket, half-afraid that Angel could get in even without an invite. Spike wrapped a protective arm around Dawn and pulled Joyce far away from the door. "Best take the bit upstairs. He can't get in without an invite."

As soon as his favorite humans disappeared upstairs, Spike proceeded to taunt Angel, only to get slammed into the countertop when an irate slayer entered the house. Angel got his invite and they both had drawn stakes when Dawn reappeared and screamed her head off about Angel. Startled, Buffy released him, and Spike scooped up the trembling child.

"Sensitive kid sis, and you invite the vamp who almost ate her back into the house where she sleeps," Spike said in disgust. Sure Angel had a soul again, but he'd lose it the next time he did something naughty with the slayer. Dawn would never forget how afraid she was at the beginning of the summer, kidnapped and left to Drusilla.

He got a swift black-eye for his trouble but managed to keep a good grip on Dawn. By now, Dawn had calmed herself, although she didn't look too eager to leave the safety of his arms anytime soon. "Don't hit Spike," she demanded. "He's my best friend. The look of horror on the slayer's face was the most amusing thing that Spike had seen in a very long time.

"No, he isn't, Dawnie. He's a vampire and evil."

"So is he," Dawn pointed to Angel.

"He's a good vampire."

"So is Spike."

"No, Dawn. Angel has a soul and that's what makes him good."

"Spike has me and I make him good," the youngest Summers woman defied.

"Make up your mind, Slayer," Spike grinned. "We're either all evil, including your boy-toy, or we're not."

The slayer chose a new argument. "Best friends have something in common, Dawn. You don't have anything in common with Spike."

"Yes, I do. We both hate Angel. We both think that Drusilla is nuts. We both like little marshmallows in our hot chocolate. We-"

The slayer leapt on that. "You know that those things are monkey brains, right?"


Buffy took advantage of the distraction to grab Dawn and shove her into her mother's arms. "Now where is Willow and Xander?"