Rating: R. People sitting around buck nekkid, talking about sex.
Characters: B/A, W/T, X/Anya, Spike, and Dawn
Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine. I’m trying to look out for them, though.
Summary: The conclusion of "After a Day’s Work at the NC-17 Studio". The characters deal with a much more serious problem.
Thanks to Sharon and Dana, my betareaders. And a belated thanks for your help with Rites of Spring, the original "After a Day’s Work" and others that I can’t remember right now.
Note: "After a Day’s Work" was meant in good humor, just poking some fun at some of the clichés that our fandom has fallen into (every fandom has a few). This is more of a protest. If you’re writing a futurefic where Dawn is 18 and in a relationship with someone, all well and good. Vaya con Dios. But at the time of this writing, Dawn is, at most, sixteen. She is not of age. Period.
Setting: The NC-17 studio recovery spa. Buffy, Angel, Tara, Xander, Anya, and Spike sit in the large, grotto-like hot tub, Willow stands in the middle, and Dawn—still wrapped in a towel—has just arrived. Except for Spike, all of the elder characters stare at her in blank surprise. Then Willow drops down into the water and most of the rest of the people in the pool start frantically covering up. Anya doesn’t seem to see what the fuss is, and for whatever reason, Spike isn’t bothering either.
Buffy splashes angrily up the stairs, grabs her own towel, wraps it around herself, grabs Dawn and begins to drag her away.
Buffy (Furious): What the hell do you think you’re doing here?
Dawn: I have as much right to be here as you do.
Buffy: You are sixteen years old—
Dawn: Are we sure of that? When is my birthday, anyway? Or did the monks forget that little detail?
Buffy: What are you even doing in this studio?
Dawn (Acidly): What do you think?
Buffy is sufficiently stunned by this statement for Dawn to slip past her and head back toward the pool.
Xander (Nervously, as she approaches): Hey, hey, Dawn—why do you want to come skinny-dipping with your sister and her buddies, anyway?
Dawn: I don’t. I just want to work out some muscle pain.
She takes a step into the water, but doesn’t’ remove her towel yet.
Dawn (Softly): Hey, Spike.
Spike (Equally Soft): Hey, Niblet.
Buffy catches up with Dawn on the steps, but she is no longer angry. In fact, she seems to be running on a stunned autopilot.
Buffy: Dawnie, you can’t be here. You are way too young.
Dawn: That’s what I thought, too. But I guess not.
Buffy: You guess not? You have two years to go, absolute minimum!
Dawn (Angry): What do I have to do to get through the denial, here? Show you a videotape? Some fans decided I was old enough to forget about future relationship fics and get on with the cherry-poppin’ action.
Buffy winces. She was clearly fighting this conclusion. The rest of the pool—except for Spike—reacts with shock and dismay.
Buffy (Bleak): Who?
Spike clears his throat.
Everyone looks at him
Spike (Defensive): What? It wasn’t our call. You all know that.
Dawn (Defiant): I don’t see why you’re all making such a big deal of this. It’s not unrealistic. The guy writing this heard about people starting as young as twelve in his hometown. He knew some personally who started at fourteen.
Buffy: That doesn’t make it right!
Dawn: You were seventeen.
Buffy: Maybe that wasn’t right either, but it was closer. Besides, I’m the Slayer. I’m at constant risk of death, I have to bear adult responsibilities—that all kinda speed-matures you. And let’s not even go into the fact that your actual age is three!
Spike: Bastards didn’t even let me do a good job of it. She has a lot of soreness to work out.
Buffy looks at Spike, then back to Dawn, horrified.
Dawn says nothing, but drops her eyes to the water. Buffy watches her for a moment, then starts past her up the stairs.
Buffy: Somebody dies.
Dawn (Catching Buffy by the arm): Buffy, don’t.
Buffy, still weak, nearly tips over backward. Angel leaps up to catch her, but Dawn is able to steady her.
Dawn: Whoa! (To Angel) How many times did you bite her today?
Angel: Four. And I think Spike got a nip, too.
Glances at Spike. Spike nods.
Xander: Jeez, are they trying to kill her?
Willow: We should get her some food to go with that juice.
Buffy rallies and starts up the stairs again.
Buffy: That can wait.
Dawn: Buffy, please. I’m tired, and it kind of hurts, and I just want to sit in the spa and relax with you guys.
Buffy stops, heaves a shoulder-deflating sigh, turns around and pats Dawn on the shoulder.
Buffy: Okay. If that’s what makes you happy.
Dawn doffs her towel. Buffy takes her by the hand and leads her down into the pool, where she sits beside Spike. Buffy sits back down beside Angel. Long moment of uncomfortable silence.
Dawn: That must really suck, getting bitten almost every time you want to get busy, huh? I wonder what would happen if a vampire bit me. I am the Key after all. I saw a Superman comic a couple months back where he meets Dracula, and I just had to buy it. In it, Dracula bites Superman—
Xander: But Superman is a walking solar battery.
Dawn: Right. Drinking his blood was like drinking sunlight. Dracula burned up.
Angel (thoughtfully): You know, that probably is how it would work.
Buffy: If your teeth didn’t break on his skin.
Angel: No, no…vampires are demons. Creatures of magic. Our fangs can get through.
Xander: You’re a Superman fan?
Angel: Since the very beginning. I think I have the first issue tucked away in a foot locker somewhere.
Xander: Angel! Buddy!
Dawn: And what I’m wondering, see, is if my blood would do something like that. Maybe send the vamp to another dimension!
Dawn (Meekly): Not that I’m eager to try.
Willow: I remember being with Oz, our no-biting rule. There’s just something about not being allowed to do something. It got to where I wanted to get bitten.
Spike: And we’re right back with the BDSM.
The conversation slowly warms up again.
Angel (Quietly, to Buffy): You knew today would come. She’s getting to the age where having her First is a viable possibility, and you knew someone would want to be the first to write it.
Buffy: Couldn’t they have waited a little longer?
Angel: Guess not. You should talk to her. Tonight.
Setting: Dawn’s room. Dawn lies on her bed, a pillow between her legs. Someone knocks on the door.
Dawn (Dully): Yes?
Buffy: May I come in?
Dawn: Yeah. I guess.
Buffy enters, closes the door behind her, and sits down on the bed beside Dawn.
Buffy: Do you want to talk about it?
Dawn: Talk about what?
Buffy: Dawnie, you put on a very brave face this afternoon. But you didn’t fool anyone, least of all me. I am the queen of the Brave Face. We just went along with it in hopes of cheering you up for real.
Dawn: It worked. A little.
Buffy: Good. Now, do you want to talk about it?
Long moment of silence. Dawn stares off into space.
Buffy: You don’t have to. Whenever you’re ready, I’m here.
Buffy starts to rise to go.
Dawn: You didn’t tell me it’d hurt.
Buffy sits back down.
Buffy: What was that?
Dawn: My idea of sex comes from health class, romance novels, and our reruns. Why didn’t anyone tell me that the first time was going to hurt so much?
Buffy: Mine didn’t. The next day sucked beyond all imagination, but the event itself was wonderful. I don’t think that’s because I’m the Slayer, either. Willow never mentioned anything about hers that wasn’t good, and Anya…well, I’m sure she told you at least once.
Dawn: More proof that I’m a freak, I guess.
Buffy: Don’t even go there. Spike said that they didn’t let him be gentle.
Dawn: No. But then, he used your ass to knock walls down with in Smashed.
Buffy (Winces, but continues bravely): And that did hurt. Even though I have that whole Slayer toughness thing going for me. Plus I was older, more developed, and more experienced. Look: Angel, Oz, even Xander—they were really careful with us our first time out, and we were all older than you. A year counts for a lot at your age. But you drew a sadistic writer.
Dawn: I didn’t think I’d still have a hymen, what with all the athletic activity we have around here.
Buffy: I know I didn’t.
Dawn: Guess the monks were paying attention to that detail, though. Need that Biblical proof of virginity.
Dawn: Does it get better?
Buffy: Sex? It has its good moments and its bad moments. But even the bad moments aren’t so bad. And the good moments…(Purring smile) can be amazing.
Dawn (Tentative): I have some questions…
Buffy: And if you promise to keep it serious, I have answers. Shoot.
Dawn sits up—wincing as she does so—and starts to talk.
Hallway outside Dawn’s room. Buffy steps out, closes the door. Angel joins her.
Angel: How’s she doing?
Buffy: Okay. No guilt. Some disappointment. A whole host of other crap—but she’s gotten past worse.
Angel: And how are you doing?
Buffy: Now I know why parents dread that little talk. I also told her to feel free to ask me anything, so I’m fearing what’s going to come of that.
He wraps one arm around her shoulders and squeezes fondly, then kisses her forehead. They stand that way for a moment.
Angel: I have the lynch mob gathered down stairs.
Buffy: Tar? Feathers?
Buffy starts down the hall.
Buffy: Good. Let’s do this.