Disclaimer: All non-original characters herein belong to persons such as Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, UPN, WB, etc, etc, etc, rather than me, myself and I. Watchers belongs to CN Winters and myself, so I don't need permission. No compensation is received by me, only the pleasure I take in writing it.
Distribution: The Mystic Muse: http://mysticmuse.net
Feedback: Always welcome.
Spoilers: Watchers: In Love and War, Luna
Author's Notes: This story was written for Angie who won me in the Watchers Atlanta Auction. Thanks for the idea, Ang.
Summary: Dawn meets an intriguing redhead and suddenly her world is turned upside down.
She was trying to act more mature, she really was – after all, she had been to Europe – but she was still bound to her sister and that irked her to no end.
Always in Buffy's shadow, she thought to herself and sighed.
Buffy heard her and turned her head slightly as she continued to drive toward The Bay School, Dawn's new penitentiary. "It'll be all right, Dawn," she said.
"Why do I have to go to school anyway?" Dawn said and internally winced at the whine she heard in her own voice. She adjusted her tone. "I mean, why can't you just hire a tutor to home school me? We can afford it, you know."
"I know we can," Buffy said. "That's not the point. The point is that you need to be around kids your own age. You need the social interaction."
Dawn narrowed her eyes at her sister. "You've been reading that parenting how-to book again, haven't you?"
All in all, Dawn had to admit, it wasn't a bad school. The classes were small and the teachers were pretty cool. They seemed like her idea of college professors rather than the babysitters she had in public school. And the library…the library was heaven.
Willow would do handsprings, she told Buffy at dinner after that first day of school. It's got this huge section just on dead languages alone. I mean, a total row completely in Latin and Ancient Greek. It's awesome.
Buffy had simply smiled and added more peas to her plate.
"Is The Instructions of Suruppak available?" Dawn asked the librarian for the second time in as many days.
The librarian turned to the computer on the desk and typed in a few keys. After a moment, she said, "It's still checked out."
"I thought it was due back yesterday?" Dawn griped.
The librarian glanced at the computer again. "The borrower renewed it online."
"Thanks." Dawn sighed and headed to one of the library's catalog computers. She pulled up the information on the book she wanted and saw that it was indeed checked out. She thought a moment and then after a quick glance around to make sure no one was watching she started to type furiously on the computer. Just a few Willow-tricks, she thought to herself. No harm done.
"Skye Talisker," she whispered as she hacked into the library's records. A few more keystrokes brought up the student-in-question's home address and schedule. She stared for a moment at the school picture of the redhead, noting the kind eyes and the engaging smile. Finally, Dawn printed the information and logged off, leaving the library in a hurry.
Finding the elusive Skye Talisker proved to be more difficult than Dawn originally thought. She took the BART out to the address she had hacked, but the building's security proved more substantial than the school's computer system. Dawn was then forced to resort to stalking the girl after classes, but since Skye was a senior, it proved difficult. Finally, she caught a glimpse of the redhead in the hallway and hurrying along, followed her to – of all places – the library.
Dawn hid behind a pillar watching the girl as she sat at a table and started removing books from her backpack. She unconsciously licked her lips and moved closer, trying not to notice the girl's deep brown eyes. Ah ha! She spied the book she wanted and marched up to the table.
"Are you ever gonna finish with that?" Dawn said pointing to the book.
"What?" Skye looked up, confusion on her face.
"This…" Dawn picked up the book. "I've been waiting weeks for this and you're hogging it."
"Oh," Skye said. "Sorry…um…"
"Dawn," she replied and sat at the table. "Dawn Summers."
Skye smiled. "I'm Skye Talisker."
"I know," Dawn absently replied, opening up the book and flipping the pages.
"You know?" Skye asked surprised.
Dawn looked up, caught. "Um…I mean…hi?"
Skye looked at her and started to laugh. "Nice," she said and then motioned toward the book. "I'm finishing up my paper so you can have the book tomorrow. That okay?"
"Yeah," Dawn said. "Shall I meet you here?"
Skye thought a moment. "Nah, it's dead here on Fridays."
"Yeah, I've spent enough Fridays in the library, I won't have to worry until college."
"Then how about dinner?"
Dawn's eyes widened. "Dinner?"
Skye shrugged. "Yeah, you know…two people, you and me being the people, eating together someplace, hopefully with a nice ambiance."
"Oh yeah…dinner," Dawn said. "Okay."
"Great," Skye said. "Meet me at the Wharf at six."
"The Wharf?" Dawn asked. She felt like a total idiot.
"Fisherman's Wharf," Skye explained. "You're new here, huh?"
Dawn nodded. "Yeah, my sister and I just moved here a couple of weeks before school started."
"Cool," Skye said. "Just take the cable car down to the Wharf. I'll meet you at the big sign that says Fisherman's Wharf. Right now though, I really need to finish this paper."
"Okay," Dawn said. "See ya. Six…at the Wharf."
Dawn hurriedly left the library, in a daze.
Buffy cooked meatloaf. Normally, Dawn would have teased her sister mercilessly on her attempt at cooking, but tonight she couldn't stop thinking about the redhead from the library.
Dinner, she thought. I'm going to dinner…with a girl.
"The meatloaf okay?" Buffy asked.
"Yeah, it's good," Dawn said and didn't notice her sister's eyes looking at her. Is it a date? Did I get asked out by a girl?
Dawn rehashed the encounter in the library again in her head. I approached her. We introduced ourselves. We chatted about the book. She asked me to dinner. She probably just meant that she'll be in the neighborhood and everyone has to eat, right? So, why not eat with me? It's not like it means she likes me or anything. Does it?
"How's school?" Buffy asked.
"Fine," Dawn replied absently.
"Meet anyone new?"
Dawn looked up from her plate, afraid for a moment that her sister had read her mind. The blonde was looking at her mildly.
"Um, yeah," Dawn said. "I think I made a new friend. Her name's Skye."
Buffy laughed. "Typical Californian name."
"Look who's talking!" Dawn protested. "Anyway, I'm meeting her tomorrow night at the Wharf."
"Good," Buffy said and scooped some more carrots on Dawn's plate.
Dawn absently mixed the new carrots with the dry meat on her plate. An image of a redhead came into her mind. She is kinda pretty. Dawn tried to ignore the voice in her mind which insisted that Skye was beautiful. She was probably just being nice. And I'm sure it's not a date. The voice asked if Dawn wanted it to be a date.
To her surprise, the answer was yes!
Dawn mingled with the tourists flocking the area and tried to stay out of their photographs. She smiled at the hippy panhandler holding a cardboard sign that read "Will Work for Weed." The hippy smiled back.
"Tacky, isn't it?" a voice said and Dawn spun around to see the now familiar redhead.
"The tourists, the indigents, the smell of fish," Skye said.
"Oh," Dawn looked around. "It's not too bad…I've seen worse."
"Traveled much?" Skye asked, hefting her backpack on her shoulder.
"Yeah," Dawn answered, her gaze wandering to Skye's lips. "My sister and I…"
Skye smiled, causing Dawn's stomach to flutter more. "Your sister and you…?"
"Oh," Dawn tried to snap out of it. "We spent the summer in Europe."
"Ah," Skye said. "You ready to go?"
Dawn paused. "Skye…um…"
"I've got the book in my pack," Skye said absently as she led the few blocks to the cable car turnaround.
The book, Dawn thought. She had forgotten about the book. She was silent as she walked beside the redhead. They waited with the tourists for the cable car to finish its turn and then flashed their FastPasses to the conductor. Dawn took a seat beside Skye and tried not to notice the warmth of the other woman's thigh that sent tingles along hers.
The restaurant was warm and friendly. And expensive, Dawn thought looking at the menu. The waiter called Skye by name who introduced Dawn. As he rattled off the night's specials Dawn assumed he was gay.
This is San Francisco, Dummy…City of the Gay. She glanced at Skye. Is she gay? Do I want her to be? Does that make me gay? Do I even care?
"Dawn?" Skye asked.
"What'll you have?"
"Oh…" Dawn said. "Um…the alfredo, I guess."
"Very good," the waiter said and then placed a hand on Skye's shoulder and bent down to whisper in her ear. Skye chuckled and nodded before he walked away.
Dawn looked at her curiously.
Skye explained. "He thinks you're prettier than the last girl I came here with…and saner."
It is a date!
Dinner was magic. About halfway through the meal, Dawn realized she was having a wonderful time. She and Skye talked about everything under the sun: school, family, music, books, writing. Dawn learned that Skye was bright, beautiful, and witty to the point of snarkiness. Dawn was enchanted.
"How do you like San Francisco?" Skye asked as they left the restaurant and headed toward Hyde.
"It's amazing," Dawn replied. "I love the people, but I miss my family."
Skye thought a moment. "Your dad's in LA, right? That's not too far."
"How'd you know that?"
"Let's see…" Skye squinted at the stars above. "Dawn Summers, legal ward of her sister Buffy Summers, both formerly of Sunnydale."
"You!" Dawn couldn't decide if she was outraged or pleased that Skye had checked up on her.
"You did, didn't you?" Skye pointed out.
"Well, yeah," Dawn shrugged. "But I had a good motive…I wanted that book."
Skye smiled as she turned the corner. Dawn was surprised to realize they had reached her house. Skye stopped at the gate and pulled the book from her pack. "I had motive, too," she said.
Dawn took the book. "What?" she mumbled.
Skye put a finger under Dawn's chin and gently lifted her head. Dawn nearly stopped breathing at Skye's closeness. Oh gods, she smells so nice.
"My last girlfriend turned out to be psycho," Skye said softly. "I like you and wanted to make sure you weren't crazy before I got to like you more."
"You like me?"
"And you want to go out with me?"
Skye nodded again. "Tonight was the best first date I've ever had. I'd love a second. Okay?"
Dawn's heart was hammering. "Okay," she whispered.
"Great." Skye's smile lit up the night. "Tomorrow's Saturday. Wanna meet in the park…Golden Gate, I mean?"
"I got it that time," Dawn chuckled. "Ten okay?"
"Ten's great," Skye paused and looked at Dawn's lips. "Can I –?"
"Yes!" Dawn blurted.
With a smile, Skye leaned forward and gently pressed her lips against Dawn's. Dawn nearly forgot to breathe as she fell into the sensation. She moved her lips to capture more of Skye's and nearly moaned at the softness. After a moment, the redhead pulled away.
"Good night, Dawn," she said backing away down the street. "See ya tomorrow."
"Night," Dawn said. She watched until Skye turned at the end of the block and then ran up the steps.
I've got a date, she giggled to herself as she unlocked the door. A date with a girl…and what a girl!
"Buffy, I'm home!" she called and gave the door a mighty push behind her.
"Don't slam the door!" her sister yelled from the den.
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