Disclaimer: Pretty much everything belongs to Joss…
Buffy's Little Sister:
At first it had been fear. She wanted the normally arrogant vampire to be scared of her, wanted to prove that she too could be scary, and not the helpless little girl Buffy taunted her about being.
Not that that worked, of course. No matter how many times she burst into his crypt in the dead of night ("Little snacklets like you shouldn't be creeping around graveyards this late.") or practiced her 'scary voice' on him ("Somethin' in your throat, platelet?") he remained totally indifferent to her attempts at provoking him.
Later it had been respect. God knows she was sick and tired of the Scoobies treating her like she was a kid. She wanted to prove to someone that she wasn't just a child anymore.
But of course, he already treated her like that, that was why she loved him, wasn't it? Already treated her like she was worth listening to, worth spending time to. Of course, she still came in second to Buffy.
Then, as she grew up, it became something more than that. She wanted him to notice the changes. Notice how she was becoming an adult. She wanted a totally different reaction.
And this was the reason why she got a summer job. Not because, as Buffy celebrated happily, she was finally becoming a Responsible, Working Adult. But because this plan wasn't going to work without funding.
So she blew all of her wages (save for a few dollars that she felt guilty about later, and bought Buffy a present with) on new clothes. Because let's face it. The glittery kitten top that she made in third grade? Not going to make an ancient, sexy, cocky vamp moan in lust. Which was definitely the reaction she was going for.
So out went the old clothes (she had to admit shedding a few tears over the old pink sweater, but Janice helped pull her through that) and in came the new (shorter skirts, skimpier tops -even a particularly slutty pair of knee-high boots that she had to admit may have been a mistake).
But nothing happened. Seriously. Abso-friggin-loutley nothing. Two weeks went by (two whole weeks!) and she received nothing more than a "Nice top bit. Where's your sister?"
Which of course was when she realised the problem (stupid stupid Dawn!). Buffy. Perfect, blonde, brave, scary, respected, lusted after Buffy.
And this was why she was currently holed up in her room, tub of Ben and Jerry's her lap, very close to tears, and refusing to talk to anyone. Stupid Buffy.
Xander was more beyond confused. A few weeks ago he had found Dawnie's favourite pink sweater in the trash. Now she was locked in her room, moping with his Choc Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. Life with a teenager? Not fun.
"Dawnie?" he called through the door.
"Sweetie? Um, I don't know what's wrong, but maybe if you let me in I could help you work it out?"
"Go away, Xander!" Dawn's voice was muffled through the door, but it was still more than he had gotten in ages.
"Look, Dawnie, um, I really want to help, but I can't help if I don't know what's wrong!"
"Do you know anything about how to get guys to fall in love with you?"
Xander blinked. Of course. Boy troubles.
"Not really. Maybe I could call Tara?"
"Oh. Right. Sorry. Um. I'm gonna go now."
Xander sighed. Who else could he call?
Anya would try to teach her how to disembowel the guy (not good).
Buffy was still busy moping about being brought back from heaven (not going to be any help).
Willow was busy meditating with Giles (trying to escape the mojo with some karmic om-ing).
Giles was stuffy and British (and with no experience in trying to get guys- Xander hoped).
And then there was Spike who was…perfect!
"So what's so important that you felt you had to interrupt my morning nap for, whelp?"
"Dawnie's got a problem," Xander answered, still somewhat doubting his decision to call on the bleached boy wonder.
Spike's head snapped up. "Is she okay?" he demanded.
"She's fine. She's just got some…boy troubles," he mumbled. "I couldn't think of anyone else to call."
"Sod it all, you gonna call me every time the Bit has 'boy troubles'? She's a bloody teenager, mate, this is normal!"
Xander sighed. "She's been up there for two whole days. She's not eating anything I bring her since she finished the ice-cream, and I don't know how I'm going to get her out for school."
Spike gave an angry growl. "Fine. But just this once, mind." But really, he was quite interested to find out exactly what kind of 'boy troubles' the little Bit had.
He wondered about it as he hurried up the stairs, and as he banged on her door.
"Dammit, Xander! I told you to go away!"
The girl sounded like she'd been crying, and Spike knocked again.
Inside the room, Dawn froze. Great. Just who she'd wanted to see.
"Go away, Spike."
"Not a chance, Nibblet."
"I don't want to see anyone!"
Spike sighed. "I am perfectly happy to break down this door if you do not open it right now!"
There was a soft click and the door swung open, revealing an angry looking Dawn in her pink sparkly pyjama shorts, and a tiny tank top, which forced Spike to look away fast, before she could register the hunger in his look.
Dawn slowly walked back to her bed, climbing in and pulling the covers under her chin.
"No can do, Bit."
"Shouldn't you be following Buffy around, or something?"
"Now that's not very nice, platelet. So," he flopped onto her bed next to her. "The Whelp tells me you're having boy troubles."
Dawn peaked her head up from under the covers, wondering what to say. Eventually she took a deep breath and decided to tell him part of the truth.
"There's this guy, you see."
"That part I figured."
She glared at him. "There's this guy, and I really really like him. Like, dream about him every night like him. But he doesn't like me. He prefers…my friend."
Spike felt his gut contort with jealousy that his Nibblet was dreaming about some teenaged hormone charged git, and not him.
"Bit, if he doesn't realise what a sweet person you are, then he doesn't deserve you."
Instead of the smile he was sure that would get, he got a scowl (Sweet. That's what he thinks of me. Just sweet little Dawnie, the Slayer's little sister.)
"But he does! He's so …so…perfect. And I like him so much, and he doesn't even think about me like that. I just…"
She trailed off, and looked up into Spike's eyes. Blue met blue, and Spike knew who she was talking about.
"This bloke. Have you tried talking to him? Asking him just how he feels about your…friend? About you?"
"It's pointless. I know he doesn't think about me that way, and even -mmph!" The rest of Dawn's sentence was muffled by a kiss which- she later decided- was possibly even hotter than the one in The Notebook. And she should know.
Spike pulled back, staring intently into her shocked face.
"Yes, he does."
Dawn Summers (the Key):
At first it had been fear, then respect. But Dawn knew now, looking down at the vampire kissing his way down her stomach, that this was the reaction she had been waiting for.