Disclaimer: Characters belong to Whedon, Katims, Metz, Fox and UPN. No infringement intended.
Summary: Sequel to A Close Encounter of the Strange Kind. Dawn's all grown up and seeking out her pen pal.
Max twirled his pencil around his finger and turned to his 'brother.' One of them had to remember this date. "Zan, what's the War of 1812 got to do with anything?"
"Beats me." Zan shrugged and adjusted his body jewelry. Ears, chin, nipples and belly. He pulled his shirt over his head and raised his eyebrows. "I'm out."
"We have a test tomorrow." Max protested and rose to his feet. The two stared at each other for a long while before Max relented and let his shoulders sag.
"And I'll scan the chapters in the mornin'. Not too hard. Shay's at the club tonight." Zan wiggled his eyebrows and made for the door.
"Chief!" Max called him back. When Zan turned with a look, Max gave him one back. Max had already learned the hard way to tell Zan when he had mail but without telling him that he had mail. "Check the mail."
Zan ran his eyes over it and plucked out the envelope before shoving it into his pocket. He'd read it later. Shay was waiting. "See ya tamarra."
"Zan." Max sighed but his twin was already out the door… and the baby was already awake. Max shut his eyes and prayed the little boy would just go back to sleep.
"I'm coming." Max shoved away from his desk and went to see to his two-year-old son. "Daddy's coming."
Zan scanned the club for Shay but didn't find her. The blonde might be slammin' but he wasn't waiting around for her. He stepped out into the alley and jumped for the nearest fire escape. He pulled himself up and onto the second tier before he settled down to read his letter.
Guess it's been awhile since my last letter but lots of crazy things have been going on. I'm not going to get into it. It's too much and I know I don't want to hear about it myself.
Good news. I think I've finally been cured of my kleptomania and of the IOUs at all the places I stole from. Buffy's stopped trying to kill Spike. Don't know what that's about, really, after what he did to her. Xander and Anya are friends again. Willow's better… she's been smiling at least. And I met a werewolf.
Bad news. Giles went home and came back and went home again. I miss him. Loads of crazy stuff like I said.
This will probably be my last letter. I haven't really heard much from you lately. Makes me worry a little. I know that you're busy and all that. You'll graduate undergrad next year and all… I'm busy myself, getting ready to graduate and hoping no demons will wreck it like they did my sister's. I've been seeing someone but I'm not sure where that's going. Just thought… I'd say good-bye is all.
Zan rubbed his chin. He had no clue what she was talking about for most of the letter, but he understood the end. Three years was a long time to keep tabs on someone. Three years was a long time to wait and he hadn't wasted much time on waiting. Shay had to have been the tenth girl he'd been with since arriving in Roswell.
It's not like he didn't remember what he told Dawn but he was male and human to some extent. No promise but there was that expectancy. That knowing the other would be there. Three years was a long time to go on faith but it was a deal. Maybe he had humored her at the time. Maybe she was a moment's flirtation, a way to make Sunnydale palatable for a few days. That was before she had helped to heal him. The second she became an other, it shifted the balance of their friendship. It was one thing to take up a friendship with a human, another with a human who knew the truth and yet another with someone who had a secret just as big. It was too serious. It could either work great or badly. Max was a prime example of that.
Shaking his head, Zan leapt from the fire escape and headed home. He shouldn’t have left Max alone to study while the kid was sick. Shay or no Shay, Uncle Zan should be home to keep the kid off Max's back long enough for him to absorb some history. He crumpled the letter in his fist and shoved it into his pocket. "No Shay, no Dawn."
The walk back to the apartment was long, dark and lonely but he pretended he didn't notice. When he finally made it back, Max was dozing with a book in his lap and a kid under his arm. "Bro. Wake yo ass up." Zan nudged him with his foot and reached over to pick up the kid. "You got studyin' to do. It's early still."
"What time?" Max looked at his watch and then his head snapped back up to Zan. "No Shay?"
"No Shay. Bitch. See if I take up another one of her invites." Zan grunted when he hefted the little boy into his arms. "And you gotta stop feedin' this kid. He weighs a ton."
"You taking him?" Max struggled to pick up his book but he was exhausted.
"Yeah. Me 'n' lil' chief'll git some z's. You fill that brain up wit some no-ledge." He thumped Max on the head and disappeared into the room he shared with Max.
"Zan, I want my daddy." Christopher mumbled against the foreign chest. Sniffing a little, wiping at his nose.
"No can do, Chief. Daddy has to study."
"No…" the little boy whined.
"Yes. Come on. You can sleep wit me tonight." Zan stretched out on Max's double and patted the bed. "'Mon. Sleep."
"Chris. Sleep." Zan rolled over and shut his eyes. He didn't feel the boy's weight. "Christopher Robin…." Giggle. "Christopher Robin…" Light weight on the bed. "It's bed time, Christopher Robin." More giggles. Zan rolled over and tucked the pillow under his head. Chris settled into bed next to Zan and shut his eyes, pretending to sleep. Soon enough though, pretend sleep turned into real sleep. Pulling the sheet over his head to block out the night-light, Zan drifted off as well.
In the morning, he was wakened by an arm around his waist and a hand in his pants. He couldn't help it. He arched into the hand, urging her to keep stroking and let out a moan. "Mmm. Cherry, didn't know ya cared."
"What?" She screeched in his ear.
He pulled the sheet down off his head and winked at her. "Knew ya couldn't resist."
"Oh god." Liz rolled her eyes and clambered off the bed. "You're not telling him this happened."
"'tween you 'n' me, Sweets."
"Stop calling me that." Liz whined and found her way into the living room.
"If ya were hard up, all ya had to do was ask." He called after her. Then he switched from teasing to civil. "When'd ya get back?"
"This morning. Where's Max?"
"And the baby?"
"Prolly at Ma's." Grumbling he made it out of bed and out to the bathroom. "Thanks a bunch, Cherry. I gotta take a cold shower now."
"What were you doing in his bed anyway? Is there something I should know about?"
"Bro was studyin' last night, kid wouldn't leave him alone. So we hit the sack. He's a little punk." Zan turned on the cold water and cursed when it hit his skin. "He's got a Pooh obsession."
"Winnie the freakin' Pooh. He thinks he's Christopher Robin." A smile crossed his face when he heard her laugh. "Max don't get home til noon. He's got an hour and a half before work."
"What?" Zan's eyes popped open. "S'not one."
"It is ten after, actually."
"No, no, no." Zan leapt out of the shower and wrapped a towel around his waist. He ran out to the living room and threw open his history book. Hand over the pages, he absorbed everything he could.
"Forgetting your clothes, Zan?" Liz raised an eyebrow at him.
"I'm late. By the time I get to school, the doors will be locked." Zan took a breath and rushed back to throw some clothes on. Shoes. He needed shoes. Where were his shoes? "I'm gonna flunk!"