She smiled against his back, pleased that he knew her by scent alone. Of course, that was the point. And, like I told Buffy... All bets are off, if Xander was single, once I turned 18. Dawn smiled wider as she just snuggled against Xander's warmth. Lucky for me, Xander's single, and I'm 18 as of two months ago.

"Buffy's wrong you know. You can't leave the fight either. The only difference is, she was drafted, and you volunteered. It takes a lot of courage to take on a fight that you didn't ask for, and even more courage to take on someone else's fight because you choose to." She sighed against his back, thinking about how similarly they've been treated by Buffy lately. "Sometimes, the special people, the people with powers, can't see how special we normal people are. They're blinded by the fact that we don't have powers, and can't contribute in the same way that they do. But, I see things too Xander, and I'm so glad we've got you on our side."

Xander turned around and engulfed Dawn into a hug. He bent his head forward slightly and kissed her on top of the head before tucking her under his chin. What Xander wanted to say was, "Damn, looks like I no longer have the market cornered on insightfulness. Looks like I have to excel at carpentry again." But, what Xander actually said was, "Man you smell good."

Xander blushed as Dawn looked up and gave him a dazzling smile. "I'm glad you noticed. A woman likes to be appreciated now and then."

Xander couldn't think of anything to say that wouldn't get him killed by some member of the household, so he just pulled Dawn back into a hug, noticing, and not for the first time lately, how well she fit into his arms. "You really are the superior Summers sister. Accept no substitutes." Stroking her hair slowly he added, "Are you sure that the monks made you from Buffy? Because you're so much like your mom… and Tara."

He felt her tense slightly in his arms as he mentioned Joyce and Tara. Way to go Idiot Jed. Why don't you just go out and kick some puppies while you're at it? Xander hoped to lighten the mood a bit with a joke. "Plus, there's the whole you being a morning person thing. Have you seen your sister first thing in the morning? Not a good sight to behold. You always seem to wake up daisy fresh."

Stifling her sniffles, Dawn appreciated the attempt at levity, but appreciated the comparison to her mom and Tara even more. Well, unlike Buffy, I had an impression to make. Couldn't let my future husband see me with bed hair and morning breath, it just wouldn't do. "Well, I've always said that a girl wakes up like the man she wants to attract."

Xander laughed heartily. "So Buffy was always waking up for a guy on the wrong side of the bed."

Dawn's eyes twinkled. "Angel. Spike. Need I go on?"

He shuddered. "Nope, no reason to make good old Xander give himself an ice pick lobotomy." Grudgingly, at least subconsciously, Xander let Dawn go. He looked her straight in the eye now, his face serious so that she'd know he truly meant what he was about to say. "You're going to make someone very happy Dawn."

As he moved past her to walk into the living room, Dawn was mesmerized by how his ass looked in his work jeans. Yes sir Xander Harris, I'm going to make you very happy. I guarantee it.