Dawn opened the door of her dorm room and smiled the best smile she had, the pink lipgloss, "math is hard" smile. "Jason!"
Jason smiled back at her. "Dawnie. So. You ready for anything?" He waggled his eyebrows rakishly at her.
"I always am," she replied, surreptitiously checking that her stake was still in the sleeve holster, because hello, she'd promised Xander that University Dawn would practice safe sex: pepper spray, holy water, a couple of stakes and at least three condoms. Jason had a heartbeat and seemed safe enough; however she knew that at least one frat house was worshipping some minor demon lord and there was a vamp nest under the Student Union, so she wasn't going to take any chances Still, when they got into his car and the Gn'ori demon popped up in the back seat with a pad of something that was probably chloroform, she had to admit she hadn't seen that particular one coming.
"Sorry, Dawn. I never should have bet against him, but dammit, he has the best poker face I've ever seen," Jason said apologetically as she slipped into unconsciousness.
She came to tied to a chair and with a pounding head and a roil in her gut that made her remember the time Spike had let her drink whiskey when she was sixteen. She turned her head to the side, gagged, and barfed a little.
"I apologize for the rough handling," and Dawn looked up into the shadows, because dammit, she knew that voice, that accent. "The boys, they got a little over enthusiastic." Her eyes widened as the speaker swam into her field of vision.
"Teeth!" she said, and the shark's head grinned at her, utterly amiable. "What the hell? Why aren't you dead?"
A wriggling shrug of shoulders. "I keep moving, little girl, I keep moving. That's the secret to not dying. I suppose you're wondering why I brought you here, right? Being a bright girl and all?" He leaned in close, and his breath smelled like fish and blood. "Mostly, I'm a man-eating shark, girlie, but for you and yours? I could make an exception."
Dawn rolled her eyes. God. Buffy was so right. Bad guys, yadda yadda menace yadda. "So why have you brought me here?" Here being, apparently, somewhere close to the city docks, if the general smell and ambience were anything to go by.
"I lost a lot of markers when the Hellmouth swallowed up Sunnydale," Teeth said. "I find myself in need of capital, without nearly enough debtors to fund me. I have some ... business opportunities, but to be honest, girlie, I'm just a small fish in a big pond these days, and when I happened to see you, well ..." he spread his blue hands wide. "It seemed like an answer to all my problems. Because you, you are worth something. Now, provided everyone plays nice, you'll get out of this alive, I'll get the funds I need, and we can just go our separate ways at the end of our business."
Dawn snorted. "Did Jason not tell you I'm a scholarship student? No money, Teeth. Nothing. Nada. I work at a coffee shop and buy thrift and call it vintage, okay? Besides which, my sister and the rest of the Scooby gang are all over the place, recruiting Slayers. Me, not being a slayer? Am stuck here, getting an education."
Teeth grinned at her. "Yeah, I know girlie, I know. But Spike? He's got money, these days, living pretty damn large, and I expect he's still pretty fond of you. Besides which, he still owes me 40 Siamese, the big tick."
"Spike's dead," Dawn said. "He died fighting the L.A. Big Bad."
"Naw, he survived. True, he's not his old self anymore, what with the prophecy and all, but still. He and the Blue Girl got the money left in trust from Angel, and they've been here and there, do-gooding, trying to keep quiet, but still. Blue Girl ain't so good with subtle. So I figure, he brings me an even million, he gets to take you home, and all is forgiven." Teeth circled in close. "And to prove there's no hard feelings, how's about I get you something to eat? I'll have the boys call for delivery. What would you like?"
"I wouldn't mind some Yu Chi," Dawn said, smiling, and Teeth snapped out a laugh.
"Funny, girlie. I like 'em spunky. How about sushi? A little sashimi?" He took Dawn's shrug for acceptance, and waved over one of the vamp thugs from the corner. "Go order the sushi. You can have the driver."
"Right, Boss," he said, scuttling off.
"Gross," said Dawn.
The sushi was pretty good, and Teeth even untied her to let her eat it. About fifteen minutes after she'd set aside the last two California rolls, one of Teeth's vamps came rolling through the door, followed by a puff of ashes. Dawn watched as a blue-haired woman in red leather walked in holding a Fyarl by the neck, even as a dark haired guy about her age double-staked two more vamps. Dawn stood up, tapped Teeth on the shoulder and when he turned, jabbed him with her chopsticks repeatedly in the gills. She followed him down to the ground, digging into the tender flesh and tearing it open. When he'd passed out cold she stood up and staked the vamp that was hurtling towards her.
"Nice to see you're still handy, Niblet," Spike said from the doorway, crouched over a pile of dust with a stake still in his hand.
"Yeah, well. It was nice of you to come, but really, I had it under control." She shrugged. "It's just ... it's been so long since I had good sushi, you know?" She stepped over the would-be kingpin's body, and came and gave Spike a hug. He felt warm to the touch, and she could feel the rapid beat of his heart.
"Angel gave it up. Got his sloppy seconds, once again," Spike said finally. "Meet Illyria, Demon God. And Connor, Angel's boy."
Illyria nodded her head fractionally, and Connor grinned at her. "We've got a little business, called Angel Investigations. Don't suppose you're looking for work?"
"And give up my life as a barista?" Dawn snorted. "I work 15 to 20 hours a week, you pay whatever my scholarship doesn't, and I'm not helping you get into my sister's pants."
"Full time in the summer, of course I'll bloody well pay, and your sister's pants stopped interesting me a long time ago. I love her, but she makes me crazy," Spike replied. "Worse than the bleedin' First ever did."
"She's like that," Dawn agreed. "So. Human. How's it working for you?"
"Mostly human," Spike corrected. "And okay, except I can't eat those onion flowers anymore. Give me the shits."
"And thanks for sharing," Dawn said, making a face. "Does he talk a lot about his bathroom habits, now that he's got them?"
"Incessantly," Illyria said dryly.
"Yaaaaaay," Dawn said, but still, she put her arm through Spike's and held him close.
Buffy was going to be so pissed.
Notes: Yu Chi is shark fin soup. *g*