written by Whipper

It's been a little more than two months since you died.

And so much has happened, so much have changed that I can't even hope that it will all turn out be just another whacky, scary dream. Not a moment goes by when I'm not aware that you're gone. I wish I could... you know, lie to myself. But I can't. I just can't. And besides Spike've told me he'll brain me if he even for a moments suspects I'm doing that to myself. And I don't know exactly what you do when you brain someone but it sounds as if it hurts so I'm trying to avoid it.

Anyway, I guess what I want to say is that I miss you. A lot. We all do that. I loved you so much, Buffy. I still love you. And I hope you knew that when you sacrificed yourself for me. For us. I hope you still know that, wherever you are. I love you. We all do. Me and Giles and... everyone.

I'm sorry, had to go check the stairs. I just thought I heard something outside the doors but it turned out to be nothing. I know what you'd do if you were here. "Dawn," you'd say. "If you hear strange noises or there's nasties in the stairs you never go out to investigate. You shut the door behind you and you scream 'help, help and bloody murder!'"

Or... well, maybe you wouldn't say nasties or bloody murder. That's more of a Spike thing to say. But the rest sounds pretty much like you. But the thing is that you don't have to worry about me. Spike's is teaching me how to kick ass. He says I need to know how to defend myself now that you're not around. He showed me all the moves and I'm pretty good. Or at least that's what Xander and Giles say. When I asked Spike he just grunted something that not even I could understand. And I've become pretty good at identifying all the different "Spike sounds".

But, as I said. No need to worry about little Dawnie again. I've even dusted a couple of vamps myself! Not that anyone seemed to appreciate it. They were all just angry and yelled at me a lot. Even Tara, and she never does. Except for that one time. Heh... coming to think about it, you'd probably yell at me to. Get mad and everything. But you don't have to. Get mad. Or worry. Or anything.

I'm fine. We're all fine.

I mean, like today... Giles have been all super-efficient all day, working on some big order at the Magic Box and I think Willow and Tara has been helping him with that. Or at least they was there when I stopped by to see them. They were pretty busy though so I left again. Xander... well, the Xan-man has been at work to. Still at the constructing site... constructing things. Anya, I don't know where she is or what's she doing. Spike's... I'm not sure what he's been up to because he hasn't stopped by yet so I haven't been able to ask. He's probably been sleeping in the crypt all day, as he usually does. Not much excitement there.

And I... I've been just fine too. Haven't done much. Well, maybe I cried just a little but then I remembered what Spike told me before he left last night. You see, he gave me this book and he told me that I should write to you, tell you about everything that's happened to me and the others and to make sure you knew how things worked out. I'm not stupid though, and I'm pretty sure he just did that to distract me or something. But... he did say that I had to tell you that he's been taking care of me, just as he promised you he would. And maybe that means that he really thinks that somehow you will be able to read this.

And he really has, you know. Taken good care of me, I mean. Him and Giles and the others. They've really been good to me. Must have loved you a lot, Buffy, to stay here with your annoying little sister even after you're dead, ey?

Anyway, if I'm gonna tell you everything that's happened I guess I should start with the night you jumped. And I better start now before the day is all over.

I don't remember everything that happened that night. It's all kind of blurry. Except for what you told me before you jumped.

"I love you," you said. "I will always love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles... tell Giles that I figured it out. And, and I'm okay. And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me."

Can you believe that I actually remember that? But the thing is that I've heard you say that so many times, almost every night when I dream and sometimes when I'm awake too. You want to know something funny? Giles won't tell me what that thing you figured out was. And you know how curious I am so I think that's evil of him.

Not in "in need to be slayed evil" but still... not nice.

But I have to hurry up a bit, no more side tracks. I promise. You jumped. You died. We cried. We cried a lot. I did, Giles did, Willow and Tara did, Xander and Anya did. Spike did. We all gathered round your body and we cried together, except for him because you were... no, your body, not you, were laying there all broken in the sunlight. And I went to him because I was afraid he'd try to go to you anyway and then I'd lose him too. And then me and him cried together.

And then all these people showed up and they were talking and shouting. Giles talked to the police and then they took your body away. And I started to scream. I'm sorry, Buffy, I know you wanted me to be all strong and brave like you. But I wasn't. I just screamed and screamed and somebody held me really hard - I think it was Spike but I don't remember for sure - and then I was home, in the sofa with Tara and Willow sitting next to me.

They were really trying to help me even though they were hurting really bad but... I didn't listen. I couldn't. Then Giles showed up with Xander and Anya and we all sat there in the living room until morning came. Then Willow made me something to drink and I guess she worked some kind of magick because then I feel asleep and I don't remember anything until night fell again.

I woke up in my bed, dressed in PJs and my hair in a big braid and I knew that Tara had put me to bed because of the braid and that I was all tucked in. She's such a wonderful person, you know? She really loves me, for real. I'm so glad she's here with us. And that she's all normal again.

But back to the story, ok? (Who would have guessed it'd be this hard to keep to the subject?) So I woke up and I knew you were gone forever and ever. But I didn't cry. For the longest time I just lay there staring at the ceiling, thinking about nothing. And then, all of a sudden, he put a hand on my arm and said; "With time, you'll be fine, princess." He had been sitting there all along, you see. Not breathing or moving or anything so not to disturb me.

He's kind of sweet that way, really. But when he said that, when he said I'd be fine I just got so angry. Because you were all dead and everything was so not fine. So I hit him. A lot. As hard as I could. But, as Spike always says, "hey - vampire!" I did ask for forgiveness later but I don't think I really hurt him. He just let me... vent my frustration on him. Which was a good thing because otherwise I might have taken it all out on Tara or someone. Which would have been major bad. 'Cause they are not like Spike, they wouldn't understand it the same way he does.

Anyway, I hit him and he let me. Then he held me and I let him. And he said all those really smart things and he seemed to know exactly what I was thinking. About how it was all my fault and everything. He understood all that you see... But even though he told me all those nice things it still hurt just as much as it had before so I didn't say anything and we ended up sitting like that, on my bed, pretty much all night. Spike stopped talking about you and instead he told me PG rated stories from when he was still the Big Bad.

Tara and Willow's home so I gotta put out the light and pretend to be asleep. But I'll write some more tomorrow, I promise.

Love you, big sis.

- Dawn.