Dawn looked at her packed bags with a lost feeling. This was the end of her week. Tonight at midnight Willow was going to be waiting on the other side to make sure she got home safely. To make sure her spell had worked because there was no way Dawn could manage her own magic. Mixing magic was as dumb and dangerous as mixing bleach with ammonia.
“Hey.” Dawn turned to see Steve standing there with a bouquet of flowers.
“Be careful. My boyfriend doesn't like men walking into my room.” Dawn rose to meet him, taking a deep scent of the flowers before kissing him.
“I'll have to be quick then,” Steve grinned. “Did you get an answer from your sister?”
“Buffy doesn't want to think about it. I have the feeling that they want me safe and out of the way, and independent, but they still want to be in control of how and where.” Dawn flopped back onto her bed, holding the flowers to her chest. “I've been thinking about staying.”
“If you stay and they have to come get you, they'll never let you come back.” Steve took a seat on the floor, leaning against the bed beside Dawn's knees.
“They can't even figure out which universe I'm in,” Dawn laughed. “Maybe I could just send them a quick note? And what if Willow decides to try and block my magic?” Dawn was sitting up now, looking Steve in the eyes. “Or what if something horrible happens and-”
“Dawn, it will all be okay.” Steve kissed her knee before grinning. “Besides, if it comes down to it I'll just go make Reed do his thing again.”
“You are a goof Steve Rogers.”
“I bet you're glad to be home,” Buffy chirped the next morning. “Sleeping in your own bed, surrounded by all your friends and family, and not a single super villain in sight!”
“Except my bed was taken by a slayer, I have no friends and my family is spread across the world.” Dawn was feeling very sullen at the moment. “And lets not forget that only last night we got three death threats from supernatural big bads.”
“We ran out of rooms,” Buffy sighed. “Jules is only going to be in your room until we find a post for her. You can share with me until then. And you have friends!”
“Janice hasn't spoken to me since Sunnydale,” Dawn sang at her. “I miss Steve okay? I miss waking up and making breakfast for the two of us. I miss getting flowers everyday and sitting in the living room while he reads the paper and I translate.”
“You left all your work here,” Buffy spoke, understanding now. “Wait, they have Egypt and demons there too don't they?”
“They do,” Dawn laughed. “But they have a whole bunch of people monitoring that situation. I was just doing it for fun. Like Giles has crossword puzzles.”
Buffy moved to sit beside her sister on the library couch. If anyone needed to find Dawn for any reason, she was usually in the library. But books and prophecies weren't on the menu right now. It was time for sisterly bonding and an overdue gossip session about boys.
“You know, I wanted that with Angel,” she admitted. “I wanted to sit there and do exactly what you just described...only I was looking at vogue instead of a crossword puzzle.” Dawn laughed before mumbling an 'of course' and leaning against Buffy. “Willow says that you shouldn't be allowed to pop back and forth like that. You might go dark like she did. But...I am smart enough to know that you didn't have to study wicca to use magic.” Buffy took a deep breath. “When I jumped from that tower into the rift...it didn't hurt. I felt magic, and I felt you. And it felt exactly the same.”
Dawn looked at her sister in wonder. Buffy never talked about how she died. Never talked about how it felt or what she saw. She didn't talk about much of anything involving that death.
“I can read too. I know that a lot of you think I don't do research.”
“I've never seen you do research,” Dawn interrupted. “Ever.”
“Shut up, I'm trying to be supportive sister right now.” The two giggled a bit, leaning against the back of the couch by now. “While you were gone this week, I went in and reread what we have about the key.”
“And? What does the committee say?”
“I” Buffy stressed “Think that we don't have to worry about you going Dark Dawn on us. I mean, you can't get addicted to yourself...well, maybe Tom Cruise can.”
“And Charlie Sheen,” dawn nodded.
“Oh, I didn't think of him.”
“He's kind of sad, like Willie from Sunnydale.”
“Ah, I haven't thought of Willie in years,” Buffy laughed. “I remember when I went in there with Faith once...”
“Buffy!” Dawn ran through the halls of the castle, shoving slayers out of her way as she went. She honestly wasn't concerned with upsetting them. Buffy had agreed to let Dawn go back to Steve in two weeks. And Willow and the others weren't going to stop her. Even if Buffy and Dawn had to sneak away in the night to do it. There was of course one stipulation.
“Buffy!” Dawn skidded to a halt in front of her sisters room. The blond was sitting there painting her nails and talking on the phone. Strangely normal considering. “Why is Faith saying she's going with me?”
“Because she is,” Buffy spoke slowly. It was half a question. “No not Dawn, I'm talking about Faith,” Buffy told the phone. “Not really. I've got it under control.”
“Why is Faith coming with me?” Dawn demanded walking in and taking the bottle of polish away. “I thought this was a solo trip.”
“It is,” Buffy pulled the phone from her mouth. “Faith needs space just as much as you do and sending her to 1612-
“1016,” dawn corrected.
“Whatever, sending her there will give her a clean slate. No files or cops-” Buffy put the phone back to her mouth. “I said I've got it under control. I'll call you back okay?” Buffy turned the phone off before looking a Dawn. “This isn't a babysitting mission. Steve is one of the white hats. That much is obvious. Faith needs a way out and you say there's vampires over there.”
“You're giving Faith her own universe,” Dawn realized.
“Yeah. I'm keeping the minis and the probees here. Faith's got enough experience to handle it and there's enough superhumans to help her out if she needs it.” Buffy snatched the nail polish back from Dawn. “Do you know if Wolverine looks like Hugh Jackman?”
“I didn't think to check,” Dawn admitted.
“Damn...well, either way, Faith will be set.”
“We'll visit on holidays,” Dawn assured her sister as they hugged. “I promise. Lots of presents and I better get a nephew soon!”
“Shut up,” Buffy laughed. “We're still working through issues. But watch for mail, you get me?”
“I get you.”
Dawn moved back from her sister and smiled before walking over to where Faith was waiting. Sure enough, the dark slayer had been thrilled at the chance for her own world and a new life.
“I'd suggest keeping off of the first man you see,” Dawn told Faith seriously. The only decent single man in the mansion was still mourning his wife and the other two were either diseased or incestuous....although....Faith might get on splendidly with Tony. And that would end badly.
“Why would I jump the first person? I'm not that bad.”
“No,” Buffy cut in. “But Dawn's portals are. Think of all those teen hormones compacted into one go.”
“Well damn,” Faith laughed. “I'll try very hard not to jump your boyfriend.”
“Or his friends.”
“You are no fun.”
“Shut up and hold it.”
Dawn was swaying slightly from opening the portal and trying to keep upright from the effects of it. Faith for her part kept eying Tony like a rack of ribs with a cold beer to the side. Proof of the fact that Dawn needed to work on her landings was the fact that they'd nearly landed in the pool. A pool filled with Tony's new playthings while Jan and Wanda were laying off to he side in their own area.
“Dawn!” Jan flew over to the surprised young woman. “I'm glad you came back.”
“You hate me,” Dawn pointed out.
“Yeah well, since you took off everyone's been fighting and Steve's been moping around like a lost puppy.” Jan looked over Dawn's shoulder to see Faith teasing Tony. “Who's this?”
“Oh, this is my sister, Faith.”
“Hey,” Faith nodded, turning to face Jan. “Little D says there's vampires over here. Where there's vampires you gotta have a vampire slayer.”
Jan nodded before asking Dawn if she needed help with her bags. Steve was apparently off on a mission somewhere with Hawkeye and Pietro was doing some errand or other for someone. She was slightly surprised when Faith hefted all of the bags with one hand. But then the mutant remembered being told about slayers and realized how well it fit in with her own life.
“Just point me to D's room.”
“Alright, Wanda, wanna come with us? The pools starting to get a film to it.”
The mansion hadn't changed much since the last time Dawn had set foot in it. There were a few new walls, replaced from when someone or something had been flung through, and Dawn was pretty sure Tony had bought a new vase.
“Are you going to be staying in Steven's room?” Wanda asked as she walked beside Dawn.
“I hadn't thought about it,” Dawn admitted. “I think he might die from a heart attack if he saw my stuff in his room when he came back.”
“That or he'd jump you,” Faith smirked. “Hey princess, mind showing me where to put this crap?”
“You think he'll notice?” Dawn asked as she looked over the room she now shared with Steve. Faith had helped the girl unpack while Jan and Wanda supervised.
“He'll probably smell your perfume the second he opens the door of the mansion,” Jan set a photograph down. A picture of the Scooby gang taken at Christmas, the only time they'd all been together in the last few years.
“If he doesn't your boy needs to see if his age isn't catching up to his eyes.” Faith shifted the dresser just a tad further to the right, stepping back before nodding in satisfaction. Dawn discovered that the dark slayer had a thing for Feng Sui, a thing she couldn't have told everyone back home about.
“When did you say he was getting back?” Dawn asked.
“I'm not sure,” Wanda shrugged. “But most likely within the week.”
A week had passed and still there was no sign of Steve. There was Faith however. The dark slayer was staying with Dawn until Steve came back and that may or may not have been such a good thing. In ways, she was similar to Natasha, and so completely different. That created a few problems for Clint and Tony both. On the one hand, she liked to have a drink now and then, but she couldn't stand drunks. And with Clint, she wasn't even going to try flirting with him or snarking at him. She respected his dedication and was surprisingly polite.
She had 'accidentally' broken Ultron however. Something about Faith's Slayer abilities blocked her from Ultrons sensors. He could see her, and when Faith spoke the robot could hear her, but at all other times she simply wasn't there. It gave Tony's hardware a problem too and it was a darn good thing that Faith wasn't in the mood for smashing Tony's toys. The only reason Faith broke Ultron was because of what Dawn had told her.
Also because the robot creeped Faith out and triggered her longstanding belief that machine's would take over the world. Dawn had to giggle at that, especially when Hank tried to bully Faith into telling her where she'd hidden all the pieces. When that didn't work he tried to make Pietro fess up, because he must have helped Faith hide them across the world.
“As if I 'd put them all in one dimension,” Dawn scoffed, pulling the blankets back and crawling into bed. Hank was a tard sometimes and Dawn was glad Faith was trying to seduce Janet.
For a moment, Steve wasn't entirely sure that he'd walked into the right room. It smelled like Dawn's perfume and there were things in there that weren't his. But then someone on his bed shifted and he decided he would hurry up with his shower.