"Hey T, are you ready yet?" Asked Detective Dawn Summers, into the intercom of a Brooklyn apartment block. She listened as it crackled a few times before it buzzed to let her know she could enter. She ran up a couple of flights of stairs at rapped at black door with a gold number 5. She listened as the bolts were pulled back and the lock clicked open and the door swung open to reveal a shirtless Tara; one foot in a pair of black jeans jumping about on one leg.
"Shouldn't you be ready by now?" Asked Dawn, closing the door behind her.
"I would've been if people didn't keep ringing my door," said Tara, as she hopped back towards her bedroom.
Dawn smiled she was used to her friend's ways. She tried to give over this gruff NYPD officer image, but knew she had a heart of gold.
If it hadn't been for Tara Dawn would never have survived her rookie months. Not that it had started well. Dawn was paired with Tara after her partner had been hurt and the older woman hadn't been amused with babysitting some rich kid from California that most of the precinct had decided was just playing at being a cop until some other fad caught her attention. Poor Dawn ended up with a surly partner who would barely give her the time of day, never mind help and support. It was nightmare.
Things had got so bad for Dawn that she had got to the point where she was seriously considering turning her shield in and going back to school to get a law degree when she finally lost her temper and told Tara that she had won and that she was resigning. The blonde had surprised her by taking her for a beer at the end if their shift.
Tara had asked Dawn why she wanted to join the police force. Dawn remembered staring into her bottle of Coors and not knowing really quite what to say, but Tara asked her again and in the end it became a huge cathartic experience for Dawn. She explained to Tara that she had come to New York to study law because she wanted to be close to her older sister who she had always idolised. Dawn had found it weird that her sister was so protective and read her the riot act about inviting guys to her room. When the whole truth came out about Buffy's attack Dawn felt like a fire had been lit underneath her. She became determined to study harder, but after a while she realised what she really wanted to do was catch criminals. Tara had listened in silence and when Dawn finished she put her arm around her shoulders and told her not to hand in her badge. Dawn retorted that that was fine for Tara who had came from a long line of New York Irish cops and had always been supported in her choice of career.
The older woman had sighed and a look of deep sadness crossed her eyes. Yes, her grandfather, uncle and cousins were cops and a long line of Maclay's before that. No, it hadn't been easy for her. Her father had rowed with her grandfather when she was a little girl and taken them away to live in the mid-west where he had preached as a Baptist minister. Tara's father grudgingly allowed Tara to go back to New York to stay with her grandparents during the school holidays. He hated if she came back with any vestiges of NYPD or the catholic religion that he had turned his back on and she became skilled at hiding anything that would set off his anger. This lasted until she was 17 when her mother died. Tara could not stand to live with her father any longer and headed north to her grandparents. She thought her father would chase after but he didn't so she took the written exam as soon as she was old enough and got the college score she needed. It was her proudest moment when she finally became a member of NYPD when she was 21.
The rest of the night they spent shooting pool and drinking beer. Dawn remembered waking up on Tara's sofa with the worst hangover she had ever suffered from in her life. Tara put the word around that Dawn was alright and her life became a little easier. Although a bad attitude and a smart mouth usually managed to land her in enough trouble all by herself.
"Where were you?" Tara asked.
Dawn turned and smiled at her friend. "Somewhere in the past. You look good."
"It's only an old pair if jeans and tee; nothing special," said Tara, with a shrug.
It always struck Dawn as funny that her friend had absolutely no idea the effect she had on men or women for that matter. Tara was dressed in faded black 501s and a black tank top. On one shoulder she had a small Celtic knot tattooed and on the other a cross of Iona. She had brushed her long blonde hair out straight allowing it to fall over her shoulders.
"Are you good to go?" asked Dawn. "It should be a good night tonight. Buffy was so excited. I can't believe she's finally managed to get this dojo off the ground."
Tara shrugged again, her lean muscles jumping. "I'm not sure if it's my type of thing."
"It'll be fun. You'll love the gym she has there and she is giving especial rates to the boys and girls in blue. Plus I told you about Buffy's friend..."
"Hey, the last thing I need is a woman in my life right now," said Tara, grabbing her keys and going for the door.
"Nope, it's the thing you most need," said Dawn quietly to herself, before following her out the door.