This story is set during the summer between seasons 5 and 6. It refers briefly to both School Hard and Lovers Walk, but sets them in the retconned universe where Dawn was born into the Summers family.
"Your turn," Dawn prompted, propping her elbow on her pillow.
Perched on the windowsill, Spike blew smoke into the night. "First time you nicked something."
Dawn giggled quietly. "In L.A. Mom was always at Buffy's psychiatrist's, and I missed my dance class. We went to Walmart to get school supplies. I stuffed a New Kids on the Block CD under my shirt."
"Got caught, did you?"
"So grounded." His low chuckle encouraged her. "My turn. First time you smoked a cigarette."
"At school. Bloke from the upper form dared me. I got sick. Spent the night in infirmary."
Dawn muffled a laugh. "Did you get teased?"
"Already the butt of the class, wasn't I? After Dru turned me, I hunted down the older students and--" he broke off, covering the pause with another drag. "Thought you were going to sleep."
"I'm not tired yet. Your turn."
"First time you knew Buffy was the Slayer."
Dawn's smile faded. "Mom thought Buffy was having delusions, but she had really changed. She was freaky strong. I caught her lifting her bed to look for a shoe.
"One night, I was taking out the garbage and this guy grabbed me. His face was so weird. It was like a nightmare. And then Buffy was there, and she stabbed him, and he dissolved. She made me promise not to tell."
He sat smoking. Dawn wondered how many times he had been the monster in the night.
"First time you knew you were in love with Buffy."
He was quiet so long she wondered if he was going to answer. "Caught sight of her in the Bronze. She shone like the sun."
"Yeah, but then you wanted to kill her. When did you know?"
"You were there, Bit. We were drinking cocoa in the kitchen. Angel burst open the door. Your mum pushed you behind her and stood with her bitty bottle of holy water like she was going to hold back the forces of hell with a garden hose." Dawn could hear his smile. "I was so busy twitting Angel I didn't hear your sis. She had me pinned to the counter before I knew what's what."
"You are such a masochist. You love it when women beat you up," Dawn teased.
"Vampire. Evil." He lit a new cigarette from the end of the first.
The front door opened and closed quietly. Willow's voice and the Buffybot's filtered up the stairs.
"That's Wills home from patrol." Spike pinched out his smoke and swung his leg over the sill. Dawn knew he wouldn't stay, not with the bot in the house like a lingering spirit of their dead.
"Spike," she called softly. He paused.
"We made it through one more day." Let him be back tomorrow.
"Hundred forty-six." He was outlined briefly in the moonlight, and then he was gone.