Disclaimer: I don't own them but I'm trying to look into collecting them.

Rating: PG-13

Updates all round. I have actually written and checked over the last two chapters. I just need to fill in the middle now.

She gave it up as soon as she left her friends. Not for long, just long enough to let go a little. Spike wrapped his arms around her body as she sobbed, "Spike, I don't know what to do. I don't know how to fix it. I thought it was for the best. That we could tell her when she was older...but...but how old would have been right? How long was I gonna leave it hoping it would go away? I was so selfish Spike. I was so..."

"Shh, luv shh." Her words faded as she cried and he was struck by how alone she must feel, even with her friends. As far as he knew, she had never really admitted how much of a wreck she was when her mom had been ill. Moreover, he knew why. She was the Slayer. She was meant to be strong. And she was ashamed to admit that she didn't always know how to fix it.

How had she coped in the past? Spike knew that Riley had never been any real help. How had she not had a breakdown? Spike shook his head to clear it. It was not the time, and anyway it didn't matter. She wasn't alone now. She had him. "Pet listen to me. You don't have to know how to fix it. We'll fix it together."

At his words, she seemed to stop shaking. After a moment, the crying stopped and she lifted her head. "Okay."

Dawn pushed open the swing doors. It was all she could think of. She had to know. And they...they knew. The man outside the magic shop had known and the man at the hospital...and even her own mother. Her mother had known that she was a thing.

Now she wanted to know.

She wasn't scared. At least that was what she was trying to tell herself. She walked into the room. It was filled with mumbling and even though mumbling is an almost soft sound, it sounded harsh to her. Harsh and cold. As though they all knew what kind of 'thing', she was. They knew and she didn't.

She leant over one of the beds, "You see me right?"

She couldn't make out all of what he was saying; it was confused and hard to make sense of, "...all spilled out..."

From the other side of her, another one was repeating the same phrase, "Can't hear it, can't hear it, can't hear it, can't hear it..."

She felt the tears filling her eyes, "You know what I am don't you? You all know. What am I?"

Then she saw him; heard him. "The Key! I found it. Thank you. Thank you."

Dawn nearly fell over in her urgency to get to the bed, "You know what the key is? Where did I come from? Who made me? What...what am I?

The man didn't answer her. She felt her stomach clench in desperation. No. This man knew her. He had to help her, "Please..."

"DESTROYER! The sun...the sun bleeding into the sky..."

It was true, she was evil. She was...no. She couldn't be, "No...no..."

"The key is the link, the link must be severed, such is the will of god. SUCH IS THE WILL OF GOD!"

She fought the urge to press her hands to her ears to shut out the sounds of their voices, all yelling at her. All telling her that she wasn't real, that she didn't exist. NO! "No..."

"Can't hear it...such is the will of god...can't can't can't hear it..."

She spun around and pushed the doors open. Almost crashing straight into Ben.

"Hey Dawn right?"

"Ben...I...I'm sorry..."

Ben frowned as he noticed the marks of tears on her face, "Dawn? Are you okay?"

Dawn nodded and bit her lip. Ben wasn't fooled for a second, "Yeah right. Come on. Let's get you something to drink."

He was nice. He was kind. He shouldn't be sat with her. She was evil. She knew that he was speaking to her and she should try to pay attention. She also knew that she shouldn't be saying the words that were coming out other mouth. They were dangerous. But she couldn't seem to force herself to care. She couldn't make it matter. Ben was sitting her telling her she would be better one day. But why should she be? For all she knew this wasn't real, "It's not real, none of this they made it."

"Dawn..."

"I'm nothing. I'm just a thing the monks made so that Glory couldn't find me. I'm not real."

She was so upset she could barely think straight. But she wasn't so far gone that she didn't see the dawning look of horror on Ben's face. "You're the key!"

How...that wasn't possible. Why should he know? "How do you know about the key?"

"Just go now. Before she finds you. Don't ask me how she knows cause she always knows. You don't understand. You're a kid. If she finds you she'll hurt you."

Dawn desperately wanted to ask what he knew. This guy was sane and he knew about the key. He could help her. He could tell her what she needed to know. But before she could even form a sentence Ben started flicking his eyes around the room, "Oh no. She's here. She's coming. You've gotta get out. Oh, no, no, she's here! She's here!"

Dawn yelped as Ben gripped her arms...and then. Then he wasn't Ben. He was...oh god. He was Glory.

Then her mind began to mist over. She knew that Glory was speaking to her. But she couldn't seem to make any sense of what she was saying.

Wait.

Why was Glory here?

Where had she come from? Wait. She knew that. Glory was...Ben. She was Ben, she tried to make her mind accept it, "You're Ben."

Glory answered her, but she didn't really hear her. Glory was here, and she didn't know how. Ben had been here and then suddenly Glory was here. How...? She had no idea. But she did know one thing. She had to get out of here before...

Glory's voice cut into her thoughts, "You'd never make it. I'd rip out your spine before you got half a step. And those little legs...they would be much good without one of those..." Glory appeared right next to her face, "Would they Dawnie?"

Dawn's mind spun. She heard the door open and tried to open her mouth to call out a warning to the man, but Glory killed him. She killed him. And she would kill Dawn too. She knew it. Glory was looking for her. Did she want her dead? Dawn shuddered in horror as Glory yanked her to her feet, "What do you say we find a nice place off the beat where you and I can have a long uninterrupted chat?"

"She wasn't brought in."

Xander smiled encouragingly, "That's a good thing right?"

"I don't know...I..."

"You should see him. His head's almost twisted clean off."

Buffy clenched her teeth, "Glory!"

They scoured the hospital. Spike told them that they should split up. But Buffy said no, and as soon as she said it he realised why. She didn't want to leave her friends alone with Glory around. She might not be able to fight Glory but they sure as hell couldn't even try. He nodded to her and they continued on.

"So, this key thing. It's been around for a long time?"

Glory looked a little proud, "Well, not as long as me, but yeah. Just this side of forever."

"So...what does it do? If there's a key there must be a lock right?"

"Yes. We have a winner."

Dawn braced herself, "What does it open?" She knew at once that she had gone too far. Glory had smelt a very large rat. No, not now. Not when she was so close. Sat in front of her was a creature that could tell her everything...or almost everything that she wanted to know. But as she watched Glory's face harden, she knew that it would not work.

"I smell a fox in my hen house. So what? Have you been playing sneaky peek with Uncle Ben? Trying to get a peek at Glory's unmentionables?"

"NO! I..."

"Shhh, I kinda wanna hear me talking right now. Me talking."

Buffy was getting reckless and she knew it. She had already been forced to knock out a nurse who had tried to stop them from going up a floor as it was after visiting hours. She didn't have a choice. She had to find her sister.

Dawn was really scared now. Not only was she in a room with a God from hell who she knew was capable of ripping grown men's heads off, and even scarier, hadn't lost to her sister, she was in a room with a God who was also losing her grip...or so it seemed, "What's...what's wrong with you?"

Glory seemed to right herself a little, "Hey...this doesn't have to be a complete waste of my precious time. I've been meaning to send the Slayer a message. Two birds, one stone and" she clapped her hands in front of Dawn's face, "We have yummy dead birds."

Dawn forced her eyes open. She might not be as strong as her sister, hell she might not even be real, but she was not going to be a coward.

A blur of colour caught her eye as people streamed into the room, "Get away from my sister."

Dawn sank to her knees. She could hear them talking, but now that they were here the whole thing was a blur. She watched her 'sister' and Spike fight Glory, she even watched as Glory took them down. But for some reason she wasn't truly afraid anymore. Whatever Buffy was, she was here and that made her not afraid. What did that mean?

She was so confused that she felt as though her head was literally moving round, as though she was going to pass out. Did she still love Buffy? Yes...yes she did. But why did she? Buffy wasn't...no...she was real...how could she love anything when she wasn't part of anything... "DISCADAI!"

Dawn snapped back to reality as Glory disappeared. She saw the look of indignation on the woman's face. It was almost comic. She felt Buffy touch her arms, sitting her upright again, "Are you okay?"

Dawn couldn't bear it, "What do you care?"

"Because I love you. You're my sister."

Dawn fought the urge to cover her ears, it wasn't true, "No, I'm not."

Buffy met Dawn's eyes and held them, "Yes you are." Buffy pressed her hand to the wound on her shoulder, and linked it with Dawn's. "It's blood. It's Summer's blood. It's just like mine." Dawn felt her eyes fill up with tears. When they had first talked to her after she had found out she had been angry.

She felt that they were trying to convince her of something that wasn't true, but now...She still felt that Buffy was trying to convince her but it was different. She still knew that she had been made six months ago, but the fact remained that she couldn't love these people any more, couldn't love her sister anymore than she did even if she had always been there and they...they loved her. She looked around her at all the faces, the people who had risked their lives tonight to come here and find her.

"It doesn't matter where you came from, or how you got here. You are my sister. There's no way you could annoy me so much if you weren't."

Dawn wrapped her arms around Buffy. Her sister, "I was so scared."

"I know me too."

Dawn felt a hand on her back, "We need to get you home little bit."

Dawn smiled up at him, "Do you still get to call me that?"

He frowned, "Why shouldn't I?"

"I'm actually older than you."

His smirk returned, "Yeah? Well I'm taller."