"Dawn, I'm going patrolling," Buffy yells obnoxiously from downstairs, like she hasn't done the same thing almost every night for over five years and Dawn's suddenly supposed to be surprised about it or something.
"Okay," Dawn calls back, not caring if Buffy hears her or not.
"Willow and Tara will be over to watch you in a few minutes."
"Okay," Dawn yells again, rolling her eyes.
"Don't open the door for anyone else." Buffy keeps yelling. She really can't take a hint. "Dawn?"
Once Buffy's gone - finally - Dawn flips the TV on and switches to the channel she likes. Since no one else is home, though, this isn't as enjoyable as it would normally be. With no older sister to complain about the lameness of Dawn's shows and be forced to sit through them, they kind of lose their edge and she gets bored in about a minute or so.
There's this one guy in this week's episode - she can't remember his name, but who cares, he's only a guest star, anyway - and all the girls are totally into him, but Dawn doesn't see why. Yeah, he's cute, whatever, but Dawn doesn't judge on just a cuteness scale anymore. For years now there's been another very important deciding factor for boy-rating that she always evaluates everyone with: what would he do if he saw a vampire?
She bets cute Mr. What's-His-Name would run for the hills.
That's why Xander's so great. Sure, he doesn't really fight vampires, but at least he tries. Riley fought vampires, too, just like Buffy, and that - well, yeah, that was pretty cool of him. And Spike… well, Spike is a vampire, so he's obviously not going to run from himself and he even fights vampire for Buffy - which is way nice of him, especially since no one even gives him a single thank-you for it. She would, if he ever saved her - not that Dawn needs saving, because she can totally handle herself - but if he ever did… well. That might be nice.
She doesn't even remember what's happening on whatever tv show she's watching, because she's distracting herself with thoughts of sleek, pale hair and badass leather and a British accent - not in a stuffy old-person way, but in a non-stuffy young (well, like a hundred years old, but whatever), sexy kind of way. Dawn bites her lip and her face heats up as she thinks about that voice, smooth and clever, hand dragging softly against her thigh. Her legs feel kind of like jelly, and wow, does she have a really good imagination or what, because she can practically hear that British accent right now.
Dawn stands up and flicks the TV off.
"Bloody - ow!" she hears from outside, as she heads over to the window. She just catches sight of Buffy's stupid bouncing pony-tail and Buffy's stupid retreating back heading out of the yard, before she notices Spike kneeling on the ground, clutching his nose. She ignores the little shiver that goes down her back and runs to the front door.
She stops before opening it and takes a deep breath, fixes her hair, and tries to look casual - before reaching out her hand, turning the knob, and poking her head out on the porch. "Spike?" she calls.
Spike looks up. His clothes are all mussed and there's blood on his face, but he still looks totally cool, especially when he stands up - powering through the pain - wipes his face, and says, "Evening, pet," in that voice of his. And when Dawn hears it, she realizes how ridiculously better it sounds in person.
"I - um, you're bleeding," she says, and could she possibly sound more dumb? "Do you want a band-aid, or something?"
Alright, apparently she could.
He stares at her for a few seconds, and then does this little smile-smirk thing that makes her stomach feel funny. "I'm a vampire, it's blood," Spike says, still totally cool and relaxed about everything and not being mean to her, even though he could, because her sister just punched him in the face for what was probably no reason at all, and if Dawn were him she'd be so angry right now. "I'm good."
"Right," she replies, still feeling totally stupid and simultaneously kind of giddy. "Do you want to come in, anyway?" She hangs on the door and gives him what she hopes is a casual smile.
Spike looks around behind him like he expects Buffy to pop out of the bushes and beat him up at any moment, and when she doesn't, he just stands up a bit straighter and wipes at his nose again.
"Right," Dawn says again, but then he's turning and the idea that he's going to leave her with nothing to do but watch stupid What's-His-Name on TV is kind of terrifying. "It's just," she starts, and feels a little thrill when he stops to look at her again, "that Mom and I went to the grocery store yesterday and we got those cookies. You know, the ones with the mini chocolate chips that you like."
"Went shopping for me, did you?" Spike says to her, and his smile is definitely more of a smirk this time.
"No," she says, before she can stop herself, even though his preference may have had a lot of influence on the purchase. "I like them, too. I just thought, if you wanted some…"
He doesn't say anything for a few moments and neither does she, for fear of blurting out something else lame or embarrassing, but when he finally nods and says, "You won't mention it to your sister, will you?" Dawn can't help the ridiculous smile that lights up her face as she shakes her head.