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Title: Gifts from Those Departed
Summary: Dawn wonders who she is during the summer after Buffy's death
Rating: Teen
Disclaimer: Something or other

Inside her, there's a hole.

She can never quite find it, that little sliver, that crack inside that gives it away. One day, she thinks, it will splinter, and everything inside her will fall to nothingness.

Because I'm not real.

She tried to fill it, in childish hope and hatred, knives plunged into flesh until the blood slithered from red to black; and now she tries to fill it with stolen things, a necklace or ring in her pocket a silly idol for all the stolen memories crammed in her brain.

But they aren't stolen... They just aren't hers. Not the thoughts or the body or the things in between. Because she is... Who knows?

Glory knew. She knew I wasn't really human, just a thing with stupid skin and stupid bones and all the stupid not real crap stuffed inside.

She only ever thinks like this when she's alone. The duvet cocoons her body like the dark does her bleak thoughts but offers no real comfort. Dawn wonders if she even needs sleep.

In a world of demons and the dead, I'm the thing that's wrong.

She tells herself she's an adult, now, because there are no adults left. In her own house she's become a stranger; and though loved, (Willow and Tara never stop telling her), she's out of place.

The Key that doesn't fit the lock. Funny.

And in that darkened solitude, Dawn knows what she is.

I'm the undertaker. Everything I touch withers and dies and leaves me alone. I bring death, it kisses me and tucks me in at night. It tells me to live in a world where nothing is alive.

Death is my gift.

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