One shot little fic, Dawn after she discovers she's the key. The idea came to me when I was looking at 100 fic prompts. One of them was "Who?" and Dawn immediately popped into my head, so I just sat down and wrote this. Set in season five, sometime around Blood Ties.
"Who am I?"
Dawn says the question aloud to the empty room. Child's toys and girly posters and personal touches all stare silently back at her. She wants to scream at them, demand that they answer her, that they offer some sort of clue as to who she was. It is the only question she can even consider right then. The who is terrifying enough; the what and the why go too far beyond anything she is prepared to deal with. So she wants to know who. She needs to know.
"Who am I?" she asks Buffy. Buffy, the slayer. Not the sister. Dawn doesn't have a sister. Because Dawn isn't anyone.
"You're my sister, Dawn."
Not true. It couldn't be true. It wasn't. "I'm a key."
"Dawn, how you came to be my sister doesn't matter." Buffy's face is pleading, her voice straining. She doesn't have an answer. "You're my sister now."
But a sister isn't a person. It's something a person can be, but it doesn't define them. Nothing can define Dawn, because she is nothing.
"Who am I?" she asks Xander and Willow. Xander, funny and nice, Willow sweet and gentle. Her friends. Except she doesn't get friends, because she isn't anything.
"You're. . . you know. . . you." Xander gestures with his hands, as if that will give meaning to his empty words.
"I'm the key." The word sends panic into their faces. Their eyes dart to the still-healing wound on her arm.
"Um, yeah, maybe," Willow tries, offering the hint of a smile as if that will disguise the fact that she can give no answer. "But that doesn't make you any less real. . ."
Dawn doesn't want to be real. Anything can be real. Dawn doesn't want to be anything. She wants to be something. Someone.
"Who am I?" she asks Giles. Giles, the watcher. He'd always watched her. He'd watched nothing.
"You're part of our lives." He says it slowly and seriously, but that doesn't give it any more weight or meaning.
"I'm a key."
"You're one of us."
But she isn't. Not really. She can't be one with anyone else if she isn't anyone herself.
"Who am I?" she asks Spike. Dark, fascinating Spike. Her confidant and her protector. Except that she doesn't get a protector, because--
"You're Dawn." He answers without hesitation as though it's the simplest question in the world. He doesn't seem to understand.
"I'm the key."
"Sod the key." He dismisses it all with the wave of a hand. "To me, you're Dawn. Talkative, pestering, too-bloody-cute-for-your-own-good Dawn. You always have been, and you always will be." He pauses and cocks his head, considering. "Wanna play Clue?" he asks. "And this time, I get to be Miss Scarlet."
Dawn doesn't reply. She's used to responding to ambiguities and false assurances. She doesn't know how to answer an answer.
"You can be Professor Plum!" Spike shakes the little piece of plastic at her and smiles. It's a smile that's not for her, it's because of her. Because of Dawn.
"Okay," she says.
So I realize it's kinda hard to play Clue with two people, but whatever. Maybe they'll invite someone to join them, or they'll be creative. My sister and I used to do that a lot.
Review please, if you're so inclined.