Title: Making Our Way Back From Mars
Author: The Artful Dodger / dodger_sister
Category: Altered-Reality, Angst, Crossover, Future-AU, Humor
Characters/Pairing: Spike/Dawn with Angel & Co.
Warnings: Sexual Situations.
Summary: It’s been one year, four months and thirteen days. For Spike, it’s been far too long.
Word Count: 2,059 words.
Date Written: 04/23/2013
Disclaimer: Everything herein belongs to Joss Whedon. The story the words make though is mine. For fun, not profit.
Feedback: Bring it. dodger_sister / TheArtofDodger@comcast.net
Beta’d: By the super-awesome liptonrm, who pulled this shit out for me at the last second.
Author's Notes: Look, straight up, Spike/Dawn is not any place I ever thought I’d go. For real, it’s all vikingprincess‘s fault that this happened to me. I have a feeling she is very okay with that. I already friend-shipped the hell out of these two and now, I’m very cool with them making eyes at each other as well. Also, grown-up Dawn is all kinds of awesome and Spike’s voice was scarily easy for me to write.
Dedication: For vikingprincess, because me writing this pairing is 100% your fault, woman! Also, cuz it’s your birthday and you are beyond the realm of awesome and deserve it! Happy birthday, babe!
Spike shifted in his chair at the conference table, leg tapping away to some long forgotten tune, while Fred rambled on in science-speak about...something. Spike had stopped keeping track awhile ago.
“...the tests in the hyperbaric chamber showed a few inconsistencies...”
Spike looked around the room, mused which of his coworkers might actually have a shot at winning in a fight against him. Thyne, the guy from the PR office, wouldn’t even be worth Spike’s time. And Lorne, Spike actually had no desire to fight him anyways. It would be like wrestling with a cat - could be amusing for awhile, but you always run the risk of getting a back claw stuck in your skin. And Fred, Spike wasn’t willing to discount her completely, because anybody who could run around the lab all day wearing those bloody heels and still end it with a smile on her face shouldn’t be overlooked so easily. There was Angel, of course, but they had already had a battle to see who was superior and Spike was the champion of that - (never mind that once Angel had kicked his ass while in puppet-form). Gunn was probably the only person currently in this room who could actually best Spike though...if Spike were distracted by a pretty face or something.
“Which is why I think we need to recalibrate...”
Spike wondered if he had any beer in his briefcase.
“Hey boss,” Harmony said then, opening the door just a crack and sticking her head through.
Now there was something Spike could do with his time. But he had to consider if he was actually bored enough to bring on the headache that came with it.
“I’m in a meeting, Harm,” Angel said without turning around. “Can it wait?”
“It can,” she said, “but it probably would rather wait in your apartment.”
Angel turned to look at her this time, as did Spike, and everyone else in the room. Harmony pushed the door open further to reveal a young woman standing next to her; roughly five foot seven, brunette hair in wavy curls framing her face, about twenty-six now, if Spike remembered correctly.
“Dawn!” Angel cried in that ridiculous delight he could never contain when he was genuinely happy about something.
Dawn smiled, as bright as Spike’s memories, and let Angel pick her up off the floor in a hug.
“Hi, Angel,” she said into the side of his head. “You look well.”
As soon as Angel set Dawn down, Fred shoved him aside and threw her arms around the girl.
‘Young woman,’ Spike reminded himself.
“I didn’t know you were coming in,” Fred told her and reluctantly let go of Dawn after a moment, so the girl could get a one-armed hug from Gunn and a thorough inspection from Lorne over how she’d grown.
‘Which she hasn’t,’ Spike thought to himself. ‘Not since the last time she was here,’ but he refrained from correcting Lorne nonetheless.
“I didn’t know you were coming in either,” Angel said and pointed an accusing finger at Dawn. “Did you run away again?”
“Angel, sweetie,” Dawn told him, “I’m twenty-six now, okay?”
‘Hah!’ Spike’s brain said. ‘I was right.’
His brain must have not been so quiet about it though, because a laugh slipped out past his lips and then Dawn turned to look at him and it struck Spike the way it always had, even back in the beginning when she was just a stupid human kid that idolized him in some weird way and always made him feel like he wanted to better; at life, at love, at just...being better.
“Spike,” she said and it almost sounded like a sigh.
“Niblet,” he replied in his most refrained and disinterested tone, even if his body was betraying him by launching to his feet and stepping towards Dawn, curling himself around her in some attempt to seep inside every one of her pores.
She was taller than she’d been as a teenager, her head now pressing firmly against the joint of his shoulder as she breathed in.
“Fucking missed you,” Dawn mumbled, so quiet that Angel was probably the only other person in the room who heard it.
“Learn how to use a bloody phone,” Spike told her and shoved the girl away from him, an ounce of affection under it all.
“Learn how to use Skype, or Facetime, or borrow the company jet,” she snarked back, but her face was one brilliant smile and Spike hated how his brain said, ‘Warming this old dead body right up, ain’t it?’
“I’m sorry to interrupt your meeting,” Dawn told Angel then and Angel just shrugged.
“Harmony usually only interrupts when there is some giant creature roaming the halls, eating my employees, so this was a nice surprise.”
Dawn laughed and shook her head. “I still can’t get over you wearing a suit,” and she flipped Angel’s tie up, let it thread through her fingers.
“He has a tailor now,” Harmony said in a conspiratorial whisper that wasn’t really a whisper at all.
“Alright, that’s enough of that,” Angel told them with a full-on pout. “Harmony, take her up to my suite and get her settled, would you?”
“I can do it,” and Spike cursed himself for how eager his voice sounded. “I gotta get out of this room. The science is making my brain shrivel up and die. No offense, love,” he said, the last bit directed at Fred, who merely shrugged like she’d been surprised he had lasted as long as he had already.
“Fine, whatever,” Angel mumbled. “Harmony can get you a key.”
“Already have one,” Spike said and when Angel just arched an eyebrow at him, he added, “Sometimes I like to raid your fridge. Or watch you sleep. Whichever.”
Dawn smiled and reached out, wrapped those long fingers around his wrist and Spike couldn’t push down the image then, of those same fingers running over his naked skin, curling over other parts of him, tugging the way she was tugging on his wrist now.
“Come on, Spikey. Let’s go mosh-pit all over Angel’s living room.”
“Angel doesn’t allow rough-housing in his apartment,” Spike told her. “So let’s definitely do that then,” and he let her lead him along, which he noted she’d been doing since the day they’d met anyways.
He hadn’t carried her bags, because Dawn wasn’t a girl who liked to be patronized like that, as if she couldn’t do the heavy lifting. But he did hold the elevator door open for her, letting his gaze linger on her backside a little too long as she brushed past him and into Angel’s apartment.
“Stop it, Spike,” she said, but it was still happy and light, so he let his gaze hover for another few seconds before stepping out of the elevator and meeting her eyes.
‘Just as good, those are,’ he thought to himself and then wondered if maybe later he needed to go out and kill some evil creatures or something, just to make up for all the pansy thoughts of the day.
“What are you doing in town, love?” he asked and headed straight for the refrigerator, got them each one of Angel’s beers, the good kind, imported from another dimension.
“Got some girls in the area, had to check up on them.”
“I didn’t know there were any slayers operating out of Los Angeles,” he said. It was his job to know things like that actually.
“Naw,” she said and plopped down on the couch, legs tucked up under her in an instant, as at home here as Dawn was everywhere she went. “They didn’t want to be ‘part of the program,’ so they put it. Took off together to LA awhile ago. Which is fine, it’s...whatever. But somebody’s gotta check in on them, make sure they aren’t abusing their abilities and all.”
“I could have done that for you,” Spike said and settled next to her, let his head fall along the back of the couch. That really had been a long meeting, before Fred had even got going.
“I know,” Dawn said, quieter now. “But I wanted an excuse to come visit.”
Spike rolled his head to the side to see her own head ducked down, hiding her face behind her curls.
“Hey there,” Spike said and reached over to tilt her chin up.
“Hey,” Dawn replied, but only one corner of her mouth was turned upwards now. “It’s just been awhile,” she said and Spike could see her struggling not to break his gaze.
‘One year, four months and thirteen days,’ he thought to himself, but out loud he said, “Yeah, definitely awhile.”
“I miss my friend,” and Dawn reached out, took his hand in her own, threading their fingers together, his skin paler than hers, even in the orange glow of Angel’s apartment lights.
“I’m a wanker,” Spike said and let it hang there in the air.
“Yes,” she replied and Spike shoved her, but then tugged her back in again, up against his side.
“Did we ruin everything?” she asked, softer this time, and she was so close, Spike could smell her strawberry chapstick and her cinnamon body lotion and he wanted desperately to soak himself in her, the way they had that night, pressed against each other in the doorway to her studio apartment in Chicago, the rain beating down on the pavement as they melded together like iron and fire.
“Of course not,” he told her and pressed a kiss against her forehead. “You’ll always be my Niblet.”
‘It’s not a lie,’ he told himself, because it wasn’t, even if it felt like one coming out of his mouth.
Dawn laid her head on his shoulder and Spike let himself breathe her in one last time, full and deep, remembering the way it felt when she shuddered beneath him.
“It would really piss Angel off if we had sex on his couch, you know,” he said then and Dawn just laughed.
“Not happening,” she replied easily and Spike shrugged.
“Better off then. He’d try to kill me, I’d have to kill him, it’d be a whole Shakespearen tragedy.”
“Plus, he’d kick your ass,” Dawn told him and Spike shoved her off and glared at the girl.
“Take that back,” he demanded and Dawn just giggled and shook her head.
“Make me, tough guy,” and it was light and teasing and Spike thought to himself, ‘Walked myself right into that one,’ before jerking her legs out from underneath her so he could get to that utmost ticklish spot just above her hipbone on her left leg.
“Foul play, foul play,” Dawn was screaming when Angel walked through the door a moment later.
Spike had her held down on the couch, mind musing over how long it would take to make her pee all over Angel’s furniture, and they both stopped to look at Angel with identical guilty expressions on their faces.
“Get out,” Angel said immediately and Spike jumped to his feet.
“No fun, boss-man,” he answered and then turned to look at Dawn when she reached a leg out to stop him from taking a step away.
“You, me, dinner tomorrow night,” she said and Spike knew he couldn’t say ‘no’ even if he wanted too.
“It’ll be breakfast for me,” he told her and shoved her leg out of the way. “Six o’clock then.”
“Goodnight, Spike,” Dawn answered and he didn’t look back until the elevator doors opened to take him down to where the rest of the world waited.
He glanced back one last time to see her sitting on the couch, showing Angel photos on the viewfinder of her camera.
For an instant, one moment in time, she was fourteen again, on the couch in Spike’s old crypt back in Sunnydale, shoving potato chips in her mouth, the light of the TV flickering behind her as she smiled up at him, all teeth and chip crumbs, while the spot where his heart used to be told him that maybe he can do something else with himself, that maybe this wasn’t his last step down the road after all.
Then she was twenty six again and she’s laughing at something Angel said and Spike’s shoulders were squared when he stepped into the elevator and let the doors close behind him.