“I cannot believe you!” Dawn hissed, pulling Buffy by the sleeve away from the front hall. “You invited Spike over to dinner? Tonight?”
“You do know I can hear you, right?” Spike called from the door. “Vampire. Still.”
“Spike… shut up,” Buffy said, stepping away from Dawn for a moment to close the door in Spike’s face. Then she turned back towards Dawn. “I don’t know what you’re complaining about. You like Spike.”
“Yeah, but date with Ethan! Really cute guy who is totally into me and does not need a double dose of over-protective parent.”
“Okay, first of all?” Buffy raised a finger. “Spike? Not your parent. Not even related to you. And B? Me? Sister! Not parent!” She glanced in the mirror briefly to make sure she didn’t have mom hair. Satisfied, she continued. “I’m still way too young to be a mom. So you clearly have nothing to worry about.”
“But--” It was too late. Buffy was already opening the door for Spike. Dawn chewed on her lip nervously. This was going to be a disaster.
Or… it already was a disaster. Ethan was already there and Spike was already talking to him. Spike was smiling and acting perfectly friendly except that… was it Dawn’s imagination? No, it definitely looked like Spike wanted to eat Ethan alive. And Buffy wasn’t telling him off at all! This was so unfair.
“Ethan!” Dawn said, pushing past Buffy to grab her date by the arm. “Uh, I see you’ve met Spike? He’s Buffy’s…“ She trailed off, not sure how to explain the mess of complication that was Buffy and Spike.
“Co-worker,” Buffy put in cheerfully. “We work in a co-capacity. He’s here for dinner.”
“That I am,” Spike said. “And to see the little bit off on her date.”
Dawn winced at the nickname. Normally she didn’t mind but ugh, did he have to use such a babyish name around Ethan? “And that’s Buffy, of course, the big sister.”
“Uh… nice to meet you.” Ethan was cute, with straight black hair that came down almost over his eyes. He looked over at Dawn, a little warily. “I didn’t know there’d be so many people.”
“Yeah,” Dawn grimaced. “Sorry. Anyway, bye! We’ve got a movie to catch and—“
“It’s not for another hour and a half,” Buffy broke in, smiling angelically. Dawn hated her. Dawn hated her so much. It was not fair. “Why don’t you two come into the living room? I have chips. And dip!”
Ethan looked so lost as he nodded. Dawn felt sorry for him. She squeezed his hand as they walked towards the couch. Dawn shot Buffy a dirty look as she past, but Buffy just stuck her tongue out and went to get the chips. It wasn’t very mature of her, Dawn decided. Clearly, Buffy was unfit for parenting. If Dawn were in charge, she could totally intimidate Buffy’s boyfriends. Buffy’s… scary, undead boyfriends. Yep, this would work out well. Whatever, Spike had totally gotten scared when Dawn had threatened to set him on fire.
“Ethan was telling me how he’s on the lacrosse team,” Spike said to Buffy as Ethan sat on the couch next to Dawn. Spike sat on Dawn’s other side, and Buffy was across from them in a chair. “And apparently, that’s not a sort of knitting.”
“Oh, sports!” Buffy said brightly. “You don’t do steroids, do you?”
“Buffy!” Dawn squeaked, mortified. “You can’t just—“
Buffy raised a hand. “I’m just warning him of the dangers! I told you about the swim team when I was in high school, right?”
“No steroids,” Ethan said, looking even more apprehensive. “That’s, uh…”
“How about other drugs? Alcohol?” Spike narrowed his eyes. “Don’t look old enough to smoke…”
“Oh my god!” Dawn said, turning towards Spike. “This from you? You’re like a cigarette factory!”
“What are your grades like?” Buffy asked. “Have you ever been arrested?”
“Stop it! Stop it both of you!” Dawn shouted, standing up. “No more interrogation! I’m taking Ethan and we’re going to—“
There was a cracking sound. Dawn turned around in time to see Ethan’s face crack right down the center. The break continued down his front, disappearing under his clothes. Both sides burst apart suddenly and a little prickly purple demon climbed out of what had been Ethan’s skin.
“I was planning on waiting until after the movie to eat you,” the demon said, its high pitched raspy voice nothing like Ethan’s deep baritone. “But I can’t stand another second of this!”
Dawn screamed as it leapt towards her face, but it didn’t get far. Buffy threw a dagger at it. It struck true, and the demon ended up pinned to the wall and wriggling. Spike stepped forward and struck the thing’s head off. Slowly it dissolved into a puddle of purple goo.
Buffy wandered over to look at the mess. “Shoot, that’s going to stain, and look at the wall! Huge hole. We’ll have to get Xander to fix it.”
Dawn just stared at the empty husk that had been Ethan. Or a Demon that looked like Ethan. Or Ethan the demon? She wasn’t sure. “You two killed my date.”
“Your date was an evil demon,” Buffy said. “Ugh, I hope I don’t have to repaint. Maybe if I hang a picture…”
“This is so your fault,” Dawn said. “It’s like, a family curse! Only demon boys are attracted to me!”
“I’ve dated non-demons!” Buffy said. “There was… Riley…”
Spike snorted. “He was just a wanker.”
Buffy rounded on him. “You do not get to say bad things about Riley! He’s gone and married and you aren’t even—“
“Can we go back to how you guys totally suck and are never allowed to meet my boyfriends again?”
Spike glanced over at her. “If we hadn’t met this one you’d be dead.”
“You don’t know that!” Dawn said. “Maybe he’d… I don’t know. Look, I could have taken him!”
“Yes,” Buffy said. “And also I can both afford a Ferrari and get a license to drive it.”
Dawn rolled her eyes and stalked out of the room. “Whatever. I am so done with you two.”
Spike and Buffy watched her stalk up the stairs and listened as she slammed the door. Buffy turned towards Spike, chewing her lip worriedly. “How mad do you think she is? On a scale of 1 to never gonna forgive me?”
“Considering her date turned out to be even worse than we feared?” Spike shrugged. “She’ll get over it.” He stepped in closer, pulling her against him.
“I hope so.“ Buffy rested her head against his chest. “I hate fighting with her. But I can’t help being right.”
“I’m sure.” Spike said, smirking a bit. He pulled her down to the couch, curling his arms around her.
Buffy glanced up at the stairs. “Dawn—“
“—is too busy having a sulk to come down and see what we get up to.”
Buffy glanced up at him for a second, weighing the risks, then kissed him.
Dawn finished climbing down the portcullis and glanced into the window. She rolled her eyes. Spike and Buffy thought they were sooo sneaky, but they were really pretty lame and obvious.
At least they wouldn’t notice her missing for a little while.
She walked away into the night. She wasn’t going to let the lack of cute demon date stop her from seeing that movie.