Scars

Kit's got scars on her arms from the days she used to etch symbols on her skin with her penknife, and she's got cigarette burns from when she'd put them out on her fingers just to impress the other I-hate-myself-and-want-to-die kids, and scratches down her throat from when she used to make herself throw up, because she thought maybe if she did it often enough she'd wake up one day and be thin and beautiful and popular and know the right things to say.

Dawn's skin is smooth and untarnished and perfect, soft and sweet. Kit wonders if she's ever known what it's like to hurt inside. She seems to have the perfect life. Her mom's dead, but she's crazy about her sister. She doesn't admit it, but whenever she talks about Buffy there's this look of pride in her eyes that makes Kit's throat tighten. She wants a hero in her life like that.

She notices an ever-so-faint scar on Dawn's arm one day, asks her about it. She's expecting a story, a reason. Self-inflicted wounds rarely come alone, but she wants to know. Dawn looks down for a moment. "I, um, did it myself."

"Knife?"

"Yeah," Dawn says softly. Like she's just confessed her deepest, darkest secret. Kit runs her right index finger along the scar. Dawn shivers.

"I'm sorry," Kit says instantly, moving away.

"It's okay, I didn't mean to -" Dawn says. "Just that no one ever noticed it before."

Kit always notices scars. But she doesn't say that. She just smiles at Dawn, and they walk to their next class, elbows touching.