"She's a dancer."
That's what Luke had said.
Doug looked at the girl. She was short, muscular, and lush, her black curls tied into a ponytail. She'd shown up ready to dance.
"Dance." If she couldn't handle him being short, she wasn't going to be able to handle him.
She set down her MP3 player, turned up the music, and started....
It was dancing, Doug had to admit, but it was just about having sex with an invisible partner. He found his pants getting tighter. Shit. "Not this bump and grind shit," he snarled. "Dance."
She turned around and stuck her tongue out at him, then bent down and changed the track.
She could dance. This was going to be an interesting four years.
"Who's the new girl?" Willow was one of Doug's fourth-year Students, not a dancer, not a monster hunter. His half-brother's former Kept and current beloved.
"Be nice." Doug didn't snarl at her. That would have been sillier than even he felt.
"I'll be nice, but who is she?"
Ana was coming out of the locker room. "Ana. Willow. Play nice."
He expected Willow to Keep Ana, and he was right. It took some of the stress off of him; it put Ana firmly off-limits. His brother's girlfriend's Kept. Only Willow herself was more off-limits. It kept him - ha - from making a fool of himself.
She was a good dancer, a wonderful dancer. Training her was actually fun, actually challenged Doug to remember moves lost in his memory. He was rough with her, harsh; he always was, when he was training. She laughed at him, stuck her tongue out, and kept dancing.
When she fought with Willow - every couple fights - she cried it out in dancing in his studio. When she was freaked out by her powers, by her Change, she danced it out in his studio. It made sense; he was her Mentor. It made him want to protect her. It made him go home and drink.
"Doug, I, ah." Willow wanted to ask him something. Doug waited; he was feeling particularly cranky. "Aleron is coming to visit this weekend."
He grunted. Aleron did that. It was good for him that he was still connecting with Willow after he'd graduated. That didn't mean Doug had to smile about it.
"Ana doesn't want to stay in our room while Aleron's there."
"Don't blame her." Ana was very straight-forward about being second fiddle.
"She wants to spend the night with you, Doug."
"I let her choose. She chose you."
"...okay." What else was he going to say?
He queued up some of his favorite old movies, chilled down some good beer, and paced. Why him? Was she just trying to thumb her nose at Aleron? Doug didn't think his little brother would even notice.
"Cowboy movies." She smiled, contentedly, drank his beer, and slowly snuck closer to him on the couch. By the end of the second movie, she was cuddled against his side.
"I asked Willow. Tonight... anything's okay."
"Is that what you want?" He was holding his breath, holding his arm just an inch above her shoulders. She nuzzled his chest.
"Yes." She raspberried into his chest. "Doug. Sa'Brontosaurus. Yes."
Doug stopped arguing. At least, for the moment.
She could dance, oh, departed gods. This was going to be an interesting four years.
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