Dawn frowned blearily as the muffled sound of hearty laughter pulled her out of slumber, and cracked an eye open to glance toward the bedside clock. It showed just after three a.m.: still pretty early for her sister to be returning from cemetery patrol, but far too late for Buffy and her Slayage partner of the week to be making noise like that on the front porch while Dawn was trying to sleep.
She rolled over and pulled her pillow over her head; then groaned as the murmur of voices continued to filter in through the partly open bedroom window. She'd forgotten to close it before sleeping; no wonder the sound had woken her. She waited another few minutes, hoping the guy would get a clue and take off without Dawn having to actually set a foot out of bed, but no luck. The creepy lawyer's creepy badass brother laughed again, followed by the lighter sound of Buffy's amusement.
It was actually kind of nice to hear, but not the night before Dawn had to make the long drive back to her dorm.
Finally, Dawn heaved a sigh and sat up, swinging her feet over the edge of the bed. She padded over the half-dozen steps to the window, then grabbed the sill, ready to yank it downward. Before following through, though, she paused, getting a good look at Buffy's face. Was she really encouraging the guy? Aside from the obvious, he hadn't seemed like her sister's type at all.
But then again, maybe he was; in some ways, he reminded Dawn of all three of Buffy's serious beaus. He was shorter than Spike, more muscular than Angel, and flannel-ier than Riley, with higher maintenance hair than all three of them combined. The clothes he'd chosen for their little action-date were dark and functional, with heavy boots on his feet, a ponytail restraining all but a few loose strands of wavy, sweat-dampened hair, and a scabbard worn crosswise over his back. He was leaning against the porch rail as he talked, inspecting his blade with careful fingertips: clearly, he was comfortable with sharp objects as weapons. A deep cut and a spatter of blood marred one cheek, but he didn't seem at all thrown by the injury, nor was Buffy fussing over it, so he must also hold the dubious distinction of being able to keep up with a hunting Slayer. Buffy's respect wasn't that easily earned, however fickle her heart might sometimes be.
None of those factors was probably the real draw for her sister, though; the thing that made Buffy giggle at him and casually touch his arm for emphasis as she spoke was probably the thing Spike had accused her of all those years ago. Eliot was a man with a dark reputation even in the supernatural world, who still had the sense to treat her as an equal: monster enough to attract her, but not to raise flags. Dawn remembered hearing about their first glancing encounter in Angel's offices; the clearly deadly guy successfully melting into the background of the meeting had caught the Slayer's attention. Finding out afterward that he ran with a group of Robin Hood types would be icing on the cake for her.
Whether she would let him actually catch her, though-- Dawn wished him luck, but she wasn't going to count on calling anyone brother anytime soon. She rolled her eyes at the pair, then tugged gently at the window sash until it closed.
Then she slid back between the covers, resolutely closed her eyes, and sank into pleasanter dreams.