Chapter Twelve: Run Deep
Although Spike argued with her about it every time, Dawn continued to patrol with him. They worked well together and most nights they took down whatever they were hunting. She had good instincts and moved like a true predator; Spike was constantly amazed at the things she was able to do.
It started about a month after they had first argued about patrolling. At first Spike thought it was his imagination, the presence he sometimes sensed, but it was happening too frequently now not to be real. It seemed to be watching them at times, silently observing, but he could never see where or what it was. He hadn’t said anything to Dawn about it yet, but sometimes he could swear she felt it too. Occasionally after dusting a vamp she would stare into the darkness, an odd tilt to her head, as though she could see something in the distance. If she could feel it too her senses must be extremely acute. He wondered if that was normal, just something developed through long hours spent tracking his kind, or if there was more to it than that. He wondered about the intentions of whatever watched them; he feared that something bad was on the way. Things had been perfect for far too long; he knew it couldn’t last forever.
Spike lay in bed after making love one night, thinking. It was late and he thought Dawn was asleep when she suddenly said,
“Something is out there. You know that, don’t you?” Spike glanced over at her, but she wasn’t looking at him.
“Do you know what it is?”
“No, I haven’t been able to get a fix on it.”
“It’s using something to mask itself.” Dawn stared at the wall intently. “It’s waiting; it wants to hurt you.” Spike sat up to look at her.
“How do you know that?” he asked, shaken. She looked up at him pensively.
“I don’t know.”
“Have you known all this time or did you just-?”
“I knew,” she interrupted bleakly as she sat up. “I’ve known for awhile, but I’m not sure how.”
“Has that happened before?”
“The knowing?” Spike nodded. “Yes. It’s not like I get a vision or see anything in my head. I just…know.”
“Can you describe what happens?” She hugged her knees to her chest and shrugged.
“Nothing happens.” She looked thoughtful for a moment then turned to him. “It’s like, say you’re outside and the wind blows. You don’t have to figure out what happened 'cause you already know. It’s sort of like that. It’s already in my head to know, like a memory.” She put her head in her hands. “I don’t even know if that made sense.”
“I think it did. At least I think I understand.” He pulled her against him and she put her arms around his waist. “How long has this been going on?”
“I’m not sure. There’s no big flash or anything so I don’t really notice. I mean it’s just…there.” She looked at him with tears in her eyes. “Do you think something is wrong with me?” Spike stroked her arm.
“Not wrong, necessarily; just different. We’ll figure it out, I promise.” He kissed the top of her head, his voice firm. “I promise.”
Spike wasn’t quite sure how it happened; the lot of them flying out, all he had done was call Xander. He’d thought maybe the gang could do some research or something. Then everyone got concerned, Giles had been called at some point, and suddenly they were all booking flights. He hadn’t meant to cause such an uproar, but he figured a visit from all of them could only help.
“All of them? They’re all coming? At the same time?”
“Yes, Dawn! They are all coming to visit,” Spike said in exasperation. “I thought you would be happy.”
“Happy? Let’s see am I happy that everyone probably thinks I’m a freak? Am I happy that everyone is going to fuss over me like I’m three? I don’t know Spike; do I seem happy to you?” Dawn asked sarcastically.
“You’re being ridiculous! Nobody thinks you’re a freak; they’re concerned is all. They want to make sure everything is alright.” She sighed wearily.
“I love them. I do, but they all, with the exception of Anya, treat me like a child who needs taking care of. I just don’t know if I can handle so much concern at once.”
“I’m sure no one treats you like a child,” he said dismissively.
“Oh yeah? Last time I was home they took me to the circus!”
“So? Lot’s of adult people go to the circus.”
“Afterwards Giles gave me a lollipop and a teddy bear.”
“See, now you’re just making stuff up,” Spike pointed out as he laughed. Dawn gave him a crooked grin.
“Yeah, maybe a little bit. I guess it won’t be that bad; I have missed them. I just feel funny with them knowing that I’m all weird.”
“Would you stop! You are not all weird. If anything you have a gift.”
“Yeah, well, I think I’d like to return this particular gift.” She turned to look at him suddenly. “Are any of them staying with us? With me. Whatever.” Spike looked at her cautiously.
“Do you want any of them to stay with you?” Dawn looked thoughtful.
“Well, it might be kind of nice to have Anya around, but could you stand being around Xander for so long? I know you’re practically friends now, but you guys still have some of the old animosity going on. And confined quarters? Not so great for strained relations.”
“I’ll be fine. I think a lot of that stuff with me and Xander is just habit. I wouldn’t go calling us best mates or anything, but I think we can survive without killing each other. At least for awhile.” She reached out and stroked his cheek.
“Good, ‘cause I think it will be a lot of fun.”
“Yeah!” he snorted in amusement. “You and demon girl in the same house for an extended period of time; isn’t that a sign of the bleedin’ apocalypse?”
“Very funny,” Dawn grumbled, lunging for him.
“Hey!” he shouted, falling backwards on the couch as she began to tickle him.
A week later they went to the airport to pick everyone up, everyone but Giles; he wasn’t coming in until the morning. The women were full of excited chatter, hugging each other tearfully while Spike and Xander stood off to the side, both with their arms crossed.
“So how ya been?” Xander asked.
“Good.” They nodded their heads slightly and continued to watch the women fluttering about. They all headed to baggage claim as Dawn caught up on what had been happening in Sunnydale. There was no mention of her newfound ability, and Spike was grateful to the others for not starting in with a barrage of questions first thing. He knew Dawn had been worried that they would look at her differently now that they knew.
It was a tight squeeze in the car, but they managed with three in front and three in back. Spike offered Willow and Tara the use of his apartment while they were in town rather than paying for a motel room.
“It’s actually a pretty nice place, and I’m never there anyway,” he said. Then as he realized how that sounded he looked over at Dawn who was blushing slightly. “I mean-” Xander interrupted.
“I think we all know what you mean. It’s no big deal; we figured you guys would be living together.”
“Well, we’re not actually living together,” Dawn explained. Anya patted her on the arm.
“You don’t have to explain anything to us. We’re all adults here; what you guys do or don’t do is your business.
“Yeah,” said Xander. “And I for one could do without any of the details.” They all laughed. They decided to crash at Dawn’s for the night so they could pick up Giles together in the morning, except of course for Spike who would have to stay at home. The guys sprawled on the couch in the living room watching television while the women laughed and joked in the kitchen as they worked on supper.
“How is Dawn coping with this latest development?” Xander asked without looking away from the TV.
“Eh, as well as can be expected. She thinks it’s weird and worries that everyone thinks she’s a freak. I told her it’s a gift, but she doesn’t want or understand it.” Xander glanced at him.
“Is she scared?”
“I think she feels like she can’t control what’s happening and that scares her. She likes to be in control.” He was silent for a moment. “I just hope we can figure out why it’s happening.” Xander nodded his head as he turned back to the TV.
“Don’t worry man. With all of us looking into it I’m sure we’ll find something,” he said confidently, but Spike wasn’t reassured.
They had all settled in for the night; Xander and Anya in the spare room and Will and Tara on the pullout sofa, but Dawn couldn’t sleep. She didn’t want to wake anyone up so she crept into the kitchen without turning on the light and rummaged through the fridge. She left the door open for the dim illumination of the refrigerator bulb as she turned around. When she saw someone standing in the door she nearly screamed before realizing it was Anya. She set down the food she was carrying, stifling a laugh.
“Oh my god!” she whispered. “You scared the hell out of me.”
“Sorry about that.” Anya smiled as she boosted herself up to sit on the counter near Dawn. “I guess you couldn’t sleep either?” Dawn sobered.
“This thing has you pretty shaken, huh?”
“I just wish I knew why it was happening. It seems like a good thing, but I’m wondering if it has something to do with what I am.” Dawn shot her an anxious look. “We never fully dealt with that, you know.”
“You think this is some Key thing?”
“I don’t know; that’s the whole problem. No one really knows what I am. We know what I was, but what am I now? What am I really?” Anya met her gaze with sympathy.
“I don’t know, but I think whatever you are, it isn’t anything to be afraid of. You’re a good person, and whatever this thing is it helps you sense the bad guys. That has to be good, right? If something inside you was evil you wouldn’t be compelled to do so much good.”
“There’s evil in Spike, but he does good. Doesn’t that mean there could be evil in me?”
“No, because Spike isn’t naturally compelled to do good; he does it despite being drawn to evil.”
“Yeah, he is kinda special, isn’t he?” Anya nodded her agreement. “Maybe our researching will turn something up.”
“I’m sure we’ll find something. Giles must have some old book that can help.” She smiled comfortingly and they ate the rest of their food in silence.
“I better head back to bed; Spike will wonder where I’ve disappeared too.”
“Alright. I’ll see you in the morning.” Dawn was almost to the bedroom when Anya whispered loudly, “Dawn?”
“We’ll figure this out. Just like we always do.” Dawn smiled slightly and then headed into her room. Anya stood there for a moment, looking after her friend before going back to bed.
Dawn had been prepared for them to look at her strangely, even though they hadn’t; what she hadn’t expected was Giles’s unrestrained excitement. He was fascinated by every facet of her ability, when it started, how it happened, how it felt. It was new to him, and he didn’t know what had caused it, but he was prepared to study and search until he found an answer. The day passed swiftly as they discussed possible avenues to research and decided what each of them could do to help.
“Do you think it has anything to do with my, um, my ‘keyness’?” Dawn asked when they had a moment alone.
“It could be any number of things. You could be accessing a heretofore unused ability of the mind; it could have something to do with the way you were created, or it could be something else altogether. The possibilities are…staggering!” He saw the hopeless look on Dawn’s face, and tried to tamp down his enthusiasm. “Of course, I’m, uh, I’m sure we should have no trouble narrowing them down and, um, figuring this all out for you. You’ll see.” He smiled encouragingly.
“Nice recovery, Giles.” She looped her arm through his and leaned her head on his shoulder. “You don’t have to sugarcoat things for me; I realize that we’re starting this search with very little information to go on. Thank you for trying to find some answers for me. You’ve always been there for me, for all of us whenever we needed you; you mean a lot to us you know.” She looked up in time to see that his eyes were watery.
“You all mean a lot to me as well. I’m happy to help in any way I can.” They embraced briefly and then Spike came in.
“Sun’s going down. Thought I’d take Red and Tara over to my place now; did you want to follow in your car so I can leave mine with them or are you and Giles busy catching up?” Dawn stepped forward to take his hand.
“I think we’re done for now, I’ll go as long as Giles won’t be lonely.” Giles smiled and told her jokingly,
“I’ll be fine. Anya and Xander are probably all the entertainment I can handle.” Dawn laughed and then left with Spike.
The next few weeks passed quickly and Dawn’s abilities seemed to be increasing in strength. She knew more and more everyday; things that just seemed to show up in her thoughts as if they had always been there. She found it a little disconcerting. Xander thought they needed a ‘study’ break so they decided on dinner and dancing. Willow and Tara had gone with Giles to an occult book store he’d heard about to see if they could locate a text they needed. Anya wanted to get something new to wear for their night out. They had rented a car so she and Xander headed to the mall and everyone planned to meet at the restaurant. Dawn went in to take a shower before she got ready. She was washing her hair when she felt a draft. She opened her eyes to see Spike climbing in with her.
“Thought we might save time by sharing a shower,” he said with a grin as he pulled her up against him. Dawn smiled.
“There’s nothing about this situation that will save time.”
“I know,” he whispered against her lips. Their bodies were slick against each other as they came together. Her hands moved over his back and she twined her arms around his neck, pressing herself into him. Spike slid his hands down to her bottom, pulling her tighter. “I love the feel of you. I can’t seem to stop touching your skin.”
“I don’t want you to stop.” His hand moved around to part her gently with his fingers. He caressed her with long sweeping strokes until she begged him for more. He lifted her against the side of the shower, kissing her deeply as he pressed slowly inside her. She moaned and bucked against him. He pressed her into the wall to hold her still and started a slow rhythm, teasing her with his movements. She clawed at his back trying to make him move faster, but he continued to drive her mad with his slow easy thrusts. Finally when he knew she was wound as tight as possible he moved harder and deeper bringing them both to completion. Afterwards they finished showering and dried each other off.
“That was different,” Dawn commented. “We’ve never done it in the shower before.”
“Did you like it?” She smiled languorously and said,
“Couldn’t you tell?” He chuckled as they headed in to the bedroom to get dressed.
“Oh, bugger!” he said as he looked through his clothes. Dawn peeked out of the closet.
“I haven’t got any clean clothes.”
“None at all?”
“No, I’ll have to make a run over to my place; then I’ll do some laundry tomorrow.”
“You should really move all your stuff over here; it would be much simpler.” Spike pulled her close and smiled down at her.
“We’ll have to discuss that idea in more detail later, but if we’re going to make it to the restaurant on time I better run to my place.” He kissed her on the forehead.
“Alright. Make sure you wear something sexy.” She patted him on the butt as he turned to go and he called back,
“Don’t I always?” Dawn laughed and went back into the closet to finish dressing as he left. About two seconds after he had gone there was a knock on the door. He must have forgotten something, she thought as she straightened up.
“Come in,” she shouted. She heard the door open as she reached for her shoes and laughed as she called out, “Why did you knock? Did you think I had run out and locked the door in the nanosecond you were gone?” As the door clicked shut her head came up and she froze in fear. It isn’t him. The thought drifted across her mind and she knew with chilling certainty that it was true. She felt more than heard someone walking slowly through the house. She rushed into the bedroom as a figure appeared in the doorway.
“Hello little girl.” Dawn’s heart sank as someone she had hoped never to face spoke to her in a familiar, lilting voice.
“Drusilla.” A cold, feral smile crossed Dru’s face as they stared at each other. “It was you all along.”
“Yes. I hid myself within the breeze where you couldn’t see. I could feel your mind, searching for me, but I hid and you didn’t know.” She laughed lightly as she spread her arms wide. “I won and now I’ll set him free.”
“You didn’t come here to set him free; you came to punish him for forgetting you and moving on.” Dru’s eyes snapped up to meet Dawn’s, hatred shining bright.
“Either way I get to kill you. The stars will dance when your blood runs dry.” They stood silently for a moment and then Dawn spun quickly and kicked Drusilla in the stomach. She stumbled back and Dawn kicked her again then made a run for the door. Drusilla caught her quickly and took her to the floor, but Dawn twisted and got in another kick, this time to the face. “Shh, you shouldn’t fight; it will be much easier on you if you don’t struggle.” Dawn kicked her hard in the knee and she growled. “On the other hand it’s always fun to work up an appetite!” Drusilla punched her twice in the face; hard, numbing blows.
Dawn struggled, disoriented, and managed to land several kicks, but Dru kept hitting her in the face and soon she was nearly unconscious. “Those ones you fought before; they weren’t strong like me. I watched you, the way you move; you really never had a chance,” she whispered leaning in close to her neck. She pulled Dawn’s head to the side then bit into her exposed throat, drinking deep. Dawn moved, trying to push her away, but she was too weak and Drusilla continued to feed. Dru pulled back when she heard a noise at the front door. She let go of Dawn and jumped to her feet; Spike was back much sooner than she had expected. She looked around for a way out before running back to the bedroom and ducking out the window.
“Hey, I didn’t bring my apartment key and I forgot Red and Tara were out with Giles,” Spike said as he opened the door. “I must have been distracted by-” His gaze fell to Dawn’s body on the floor; he rushed over and dropped to his knees. “Dawn? Are you okay?” Oh, god! She’s unconscious! “Dawn? Dawn! Can you hear me? What happened?” He gently grasped her shoulders and her head lolled back. He saw the puncture wounds in her neck and his face twisted in horror. “No! No! Dawn!” he shouted as he felt for a pulse. Nothing. This can’t be happening. This can’t be happening! He raced for the phone and dialed 911 as he ran back to her side. Please let her be okay. Please.
“911. Is this an emergency?” The dispatcher asked.
“Yes! Please, I need an ambulance at 1232 Crestview. Please hurry, I think she’s dying!” Spike sank to the floor with the phone and grasped Dawn’s hand as he began to shake.