Author's Note: This story is an alternate version of the events of Season 5 and who Dawn is. I've never been much of a fan of Dawn's which is why I decided to write this story; to try to make her more interesting. I hope you enjoy, and I'd gladly accept any criticism you may have. :)

- WileyDairyGnome


She walks alone in the dark and quiet cemetery. A grave has been dug open from the inside, and she looks for the body. She holds the wooden stake in her hand, her long blonde hair flowing in the breeze. She walks slowly towards the empty grave when -

"Oh, shoot!" she looks at the bottom of her shoe, "Can't anyone clean up after their dog?" she yells, "These were expensive."

As she wipes the bottom of her shoe against the tombstone, a tall pale figure appears behind her shoulder, "Hey! That's my tombstone!"

The blonde turns to the pale man, his sharp fanged teeth as white as the moon poke through his grin, "Trust me, you won't need it," the blonde says before she flips backwards and kicks him in the head as she throws herself over the tombstone. The vampire runs after her with a growl, but she stabs the wooden stake right into his heart, and his body bursts into dust.

"That's it?" I finally say. I appear from the tree I was hiding behind.

"Dawn? What the heck are you doing here, are you crazy?" Buffy yells.

"Sorry Miss. Vampire Slayer, it's not like I got hurt,"

"Yeah well, you could have!"

"I can take care of myself,"

"Oh, please,"

"What, just because I'm your little sister, you don't think I can take care of myself?"

"I'm bringing you home now! Mom is going to be so mad at you when she finds out." Buffy grabs my arm, but I pull back. She's just mad I saw her pathetic fighting "skills". How dare she say I'm weak, she'll regret that.

...

Dear Diary,

Nobody knows who I am, not the real me. No one understands. No one has an older "sister" who's a vampire slayer. People wouldn't go so crazy over her if they had to live in the same house with her every single day. God, I hate it here. Everybody cares about her just because she can do back-flips and stuff, like that's such a hard job, please. Plus, "Mom" lets her get away with everything, "Your sister's saving the world!" I could save the world if I wanted to, but that's not why I'm here. And honestly, what she does is so lame. I mean, killing things with wood? Oh, scary vampires, they die from a splinter! And her old British Watcher, Giles, is always treating me like a little kid.

She still thinks I'm Little Miss Nobody, just her dumb little sister, which is good, she has no idea what I'm capable of. Boy is she in for a surprise.

- "Dawn"

...

"Dawn sweetie, time to wake up," Joyce says to me, waking me from my sleep.

"Joyce, I set my alarm -"

"Joyce? Honey, I think you're still young enough to call me Mom,"

"Oh, right. Sorry... Mom," I reply. Oops.

"Anyway, your sister left early for her training with Giles, so you can have breakfast with me. How about some cereal?" she says as she pulls my curtains open.

"Sure J- Mom." I need to get used to calling her "Mom".

Joyce is cooking me breakfast. Although I love the slave labour, I need to get rid of her somehow; she's just in the way. Should I poison her? Blow her up? Transport her to another part of the world? Or maybe another planet? So many choices...

I empty a whole box of cereal into several bowls, just so there's more of a mess for her to clean, but I claim to be trying to get the pathetic little toy inside. I ask for eggs instead, but she's perfectly fine with it. Man, that slayer must have had an easy life growing up.

"Half an omelet coming right up," Joyce says. She slips half an omelet onto two plates for the both of us. Oh great, I have to have a nice family breakfast with her. Then suddenly, Joyce freezes and acts all dizzy. She looks around until her eyes gaze on me. She looks shocked and utterly confused, "Who are you?"

Oh no, the spell must be wearing down, "Mom?" I say innocently.

"Who are you? Get out of my house!" she yells, still holding onto a plate in each hand.

Shit. I have no other choice at this point. I stomp over to her from my booth and grasp my palm against her forehead. There's a light growing between us, and Joyce screams in pain as I place the curse on her. I remove my hand, and her eyes roll backwards as she falls to the kitchen floor, the plates of eggs falling with her.

I go into "Little Dawnie" mode and call 911. I tell the paramedics she just fainted while making breakfast.

"Hey, how's Mom? Are you okay?" Buffy hugs me at the hospital waiting room.

"I'm okay," I say. I wish she wouldn't hug me. An intern at the hospital tells Buffy that Joyce is doing fine, and that it was most likely just a dizzy spell, nothing serious. Ha! Just a dizzy spell? He has no idea.

...

1 Week Later

Giles drops me off at my house and I get out of his red sports car which does NOT suit him at all. I accidentally cracked my knuckles during training, so they're quite soar. I look forward to wrapping it.

"Bye, Buffy!" Giles calls out to me as he drives away.

I walk through the front door to find the house very quiet. Ha, Dawn must still be at school.

"Hey Mom, do you want me to pick Dawn up from school?" I call up the stairs. No answer. I turn to find her on the couch, "Mom, what are you doing?" I ask. She just lies there staring into space, "Mom?" She's really pale, "Mom?" She isn't moving, why isn't she – Oh no. My voice cracks, "Mommy?"

It's Christmas. The whole gang is over for dinner and we just finished. Everyone has eaten so much, they're all saying they're going to barf, as a compliment of course. I help Mom with the pie in the kitchen which has burned on the edges. Mom is disappointed, and as I try to peel off the edges, the whole pie falls to the floor and we laugh.

Now I look at her stone cold face, pale as a ghost as she lies immobile. Please tell me she's okay. Please.

I call her name as I rush over to her. My heart is pounding fast as I shake her, screaming her name. Why won't she wake up? This can't be happening. What do I do? Please tell me she'll be okay, "Mom!"

I rush to the phone; my hands are wet and shaky. I look at the dial numbers and I feel light-headed. The numbers look bigger than usual and everything around me seems to shrink. I miss the right button as I try to dial 911. After a second attempt, a voice comes on the line.

"911 Emergency," the voice says.

"It's my Mom! She – She's not breathing!" I cry.

"Is she conscious?"

"I, I... No! I, I can't, she – she's not breathing!"

"Okay, I need you to give me your address,"

"What?" My head is spinning, I don't know what she's saying.

"I'm gonna send an ambulance over -"

"Six – uh, Sixteen-Thirty Rovello, it's a, a house," I think that's where I live.

"I'm gonna send a unit right away, are you alone in the house?"

"Yes," I say. Or am I? Where am I again?

"Did you see what happened, did she fall?"

"No, I, she – I came home and she – what should I do?"

"Do you know how to do CPR?"

Yes I do, "No, I don't remember," I weep.

She begins to explain to me how to do CPR. It all sounds very familiar from my lessons with Giles, "Okay, I know this," I say as I walk over to my Mom. "I can do this." I pull her farther down the couch and lift her head. She's so cold, "I can do this." I breathe in her mouth and I count as I press on her chest. Then, I feel a bone crack and I scream. I tell the voice on the phone. It tells me I may have broken a rib, "But she's cold."

"The body is cold?"

"No, my Mom," I cry, "should I make her warm?" I could go get her blankets.

"The best thing to do is to wait for the paramedics, okay?" the voice says softly.

I stand up and look out the living room window above the couch as the voice is still talking on the receiver. There's no ambulance. I need someone. I need someone now, with me, here. I need my Dad. "I have to make a phone call," I tell the voice on the line and I hang up. I click speed dial 1 and it rings.

"Hello?" the man on the phone answers.

"Giles, you have to come," I say calmly.

"Buffy?" his British accent replies.

I can't explain. I don't want to explain right now, I just need him here. "She's at the house," I say before I hang up.

I hear the ambulance arriving, so I keep the front door open. The breeze from outside is cool and refreshing on my warm face. I still clutch the phone in my hands as the two paramedics come in with their equipment. They go straight into the living room and move Mom onto the floor, connecting things into her mouth, doing CPR. I look at a machine that has those pumping things that revive people in movies, they should use that.

"Is this your Mother?" the darker man asks.

"Yes,"

"Does she have any serious health problems? Any history of heart disease or -"

"No. I mean, uh, she fainted, one day. But they said it was just a dizzy spell, and she's fine now. She's uh, she's been fine," I explain, trying to speak calmly.

They do CPR on her. I watch intensely, thinking of what to say, when I hear a cough coming from my Mom. My eyes widen as she begins to move and her eyes open, still coughing. I rush to her and hold onto her hand.

"Buffy," she says to me.

"I'm here," I assure her, squeezing her hand.

The paramedics bring her into the ambulance, her hand still in mine.

"It's a miracle, a beautiful miracle," the light-skinned man says as he sits with my Mom and me in the back of the ambulance.

Mom smiles at me, "Buffy, thank God you found me in time -"

I continue staring at my mother on the floor, the paramedics still giving her CPR.

"She's cold, man," the darker man whispers to the other. He gets up and walks over to me. Why haven't they used the pumping things?

"What else? What now? What do we do?" I ask.

"I'm sorry," he says. I can't bear to look in his eyes. I stare at his mouth as the words come out, "but I have to tell you that your mother is dead."

The paramedics leave after some words that I don't remember. The house is quiet, empty. But my Mom's... She's still lying on the floor. I walk around the sitting room. I feel very hot and dizzy, and I throw up on the carpet. My limbs feel weak as I get up to open the back door in the kitchen. I stand in the doorway, letting the breeze cool my damp face. I hear kids playing, wind chimes, and the rustling in the trees. It's a beautiful day outside.

I hear the front door open, Giles calls my name.

"Buffy! What is it? Who's here?" he's out of breath.

"I'm waiting. The coroner's coming." I tell him.

"What?"

I don't feel like explaining, "I have to tell Dawn... She's at school... I'll go there."

"I'm not sure I-" he sees Mom in the living room, "Oh God..."

"No, no don't it's too late,"

"Joyce!" he calls to her, about to try CPR.

"No… We're, no… They're coming for her,"

"Joyce!"

"We're not supposed to move the body!" Giles looks at me. My voice cracks as I stand in disbelief, my hands shaking. He rushes over and hugs me tightly. The warmth and comfort makes me want to cry as I stare at my Mom's spiritless body.

...

I wonder if Buffy has found Joyce yet. I chuckle to myself as I paint blackness on my easel. The class is supposed to be capturing the "negative space" around the statue sitting on the teacher's desk. I don't think anyone knows what they're doing.

"Hey, Dawn," the boy next to me eyes me. Ugh, what does he want?

"Hey, Kevin," I reply like an innocent schoolgirl.

"What's going on?"

Wow, what does he think, I'm obviously painting, "Um, negative space," I say cleverly.

"Yeah, what's that all about?" he smiles.

This teacher is freaking wacko, I think. I just giggle.

"Dawn," I turn and Buffy is standing next to me. She looks so broken trying to stay calm, I try to look concerned.

"Buffy? What are you doing here?"

"You need to come home," she says.

"But, I'm in the middle of class,"

"Come on." She leads me to the exit of the classroom. I glance at the teacher who looks at me with concern.

"I thought Mom was picking me up?" I want her to say it. "What's wrong, did something happen?"

"Come on, I'll tell you outside." She brings me out into the hallway.

"No, tell me now." I start to sound angry.

Buffy looks at me. Her lips quiver and her eyes look down. She struggles to look me in the eye when she says, "Mom had an accident,"

I squirm; try to look worried, "Is she okay? I mean, she's okay right? It's serious but…"

Her chin starts to clench, her eyes glimmer. "Dawn, something happened with her, with her brain. They think she had a tumour," she pauses, "Dawn, she didn't make it," she stays strong. Her mouth trembles and her eyes water, but she stays calm, waiting for my reaction. This is my moment, my big acting debut.

"No… No, you're lying! Stop lying! She's fine! She's fine! Why are you lying to me?" I fall to the ground crying, gasping for air. That's when I feel Buffy's hand on my head, smoothly running through my long hair.

...

"We're sorry for your loss" is what I hear all day at Joyce's funeral. Loss? I didn't lose anything. Her death is more of a gain for me; it'll make my actions much easier. Buffy has been ignoring me since the day she found Joyce. I don't know what she's been up to. She didn't find out it was me, did she? Or what I'm up to? No… If she did, she would have confronted me by now, but I need to know what she's up to. What if she really is up to something that could just ruin everything for me? I have to find out what she's doing. I have to stop her.

"I want to go to Willow's," I say to Buffy. Willow is Buffy's best friend who happens to be a witch. She lives with her girlfriend Tara at Sunnydale University. Buffy used to go too, but she dropped out. What a loser.

"Are you sure?" she says. She looks concerned and glances at Willow for confirmation.

"Oh, I'm cool with it. We can uh, I can teach you a few spells if you want," Willow smiles. Buffy looks at her, "Oh, I mean just, floating pencils or something. Nothing big," she reassures.

"Okay," I say quietly. I don't give a crap about stupid floating pencils. While I'm at her place, I'm hoping to get a hold of some good spell books, something that can help me with my next plan.

Tara comes around and sweetly tucks a few strands of Willow's red hair behind her ear, "Ready to go sweetie?" she says softly.

"Yeah, Dawnie is coming with us,"

"Oh okay, I've been wanting to open up a new carton of ice cream, and you can help me empty it," she winks her large sparkling eyes and shyly tucks her own dirty blonde hair. I can't help but smile. Tara's been the nicest to me than everyone else. Well, besides Joyce. I've only been here for a few months, but to them I've always been here.

...

It's the next morning. I'm waking from my sleeping bag when Willow and Tara are about to leave for class.

"We'll be back in a few short hours and we can have lunch, okay?" Tara says.

"Okay, I'll be fine, don't worry," I say.

They close the door behind them and I rush towards their bookshelf. The shelves are filled with old spell books and history on witchcraft.

"Summon thee which I seek," I call, and a large book flies off the shelf and into my hands, "Show me," and the book opens within my hands and turns to a page. It's a resurrection spell... Perfect.

...

It's two days later and I just finished the resurrection spell about an hour ago, so now I wait. Buffy is sitting on the lounge chair next to the couch I sit on and we're watching TV. Buffy is very quiet. I actually don't even remember the last time I heard her speak, she's been out of the house, nosing around probably. I want her to talk.

"So what did you do today?" I ask.

Buffy is silent for a moment, "Nothing. Trained with Giles," she mutters.

"Is that all you ever do?" I mutter. Not really a question, just a way to get her talking.

"Excuse me?"

"Well you're never around, is that all you ever do is train?" I say rudely.

Buffy shuts off the TV and stands up, "I've been busy, Dawn"

"And I haven't? Not like you would know,"

"What are you talking about?"

"All you do is ignore me! You can't even look at me! And you just walk around, training with Giles, going shopping, acting like everything is normal. Mom died, and it's like you don't even care!" I surprise myself. I remembered to call her "Mom".

Buffy's eyes water and her face starts to cringe, "Of course I care! How can you even think that?"

"How can I not? You can't even look at me, you're probably blaming me for what happened, you've just been avoiding me!" I say. But it is my fault...

"I'm not!" Buffy starts to cry. Her voice trembles, and her lips shake. Her face gets beat red as tears runs down her cheeks. "Dawn, I've been working, I've been busy because I have to do these things," her throat tightens and her voice pitches higher, "because if I stop, then she's really gone." Her face trembles as she bawls. It's hard to look at.

That's when the doorbell rings, and a cold, chilling voice is heard.

"Buffy!" says Joyce outside, rapping on the door with her nails.

"Mommy?" Buffy rushes to the front door. This is it, Buffy will see the monster Joyce has become, the effect of the resurrection spell. Her death was not natural; it was created by my curse, so she came back as something dark, something evil and gruesome. It's not her, it's a demon from Hell inside her body. If I'm lucky, Buffy will have a break down, and she'll be out of my way. Or Joyce will kill her which would be even better.

"Mom!" Buffy cries with joy as she finally gets to the door and begins to unlock the latch. She starts to cry in happiness, so anxious to see her Mom again; she doesn't even realize she's supposed to be in the ground. Just before she opens the door, she glances at me. Her face is still red and smeared with tears, but she has a smile on her face, like nothing else in this world matters except for the fact that our Mom is home.

"Open the door," Joyce mutters harshly outside. I can hear the demonic voice in her, but Buffy doesn't even realize.

Buffy turns the knob and just swings the door open when I rip a photograph of Joyce, and there's no one there. Buffy stares into the emptiness of the front lawn, her smile vanishes. She turns towards me, and raises her arms as she begins to sob again. She looks so innocent. She wraps her arms over my shoulders and squeezes me has she cries. I feel her tears run down my back, the heat of her body and breath, her heart pumping as she squeezes me tightly, so I hug her back. We fall onto our knees, and cry into each other's arms.

...

I have to do this. I want to go home. I have to open the portal to Hell so I can go back home. That's why I'm here, that's why I'm Dawn. I'm not going back to that No Man's Land of Limbo for another hundred centuries. I'm going back home. I have to do this. I have to do this. I have to do this.

But first, I have to leave this body. As a Clinger, a demon who can't survive in this world without being in human flesh, I'll only have ten minutes before I combust and get sent back to Limbo, and I must open the portal as a Clinger, not a human, or the spell won't work.

I'm in my room. Buffy is training with Giles till late, so now is the time I can do this. It's 7PM by the time I finish a carton of cookie dough ice cream. I have to admit, human food is pretty good, and this cookie dough flavour that Tara bought me is delicious. When the time comes that I open the Hell Portal and it pours into Sunnydale, I'll be sure the demons kill her quick and painlessly.

This is it. I lie on the couch where Joyce died, and position myself the same way she was. I close my hands, and I feel a tingling sensation in my fingertips, up my arms, into my elbows, across my shoulders and chest and down my legs. I open my eyes. I have no body. I'm just a Clinger again, an invisible creature. I look down on my body – I mean, Dawn's body which still lies on the couch. The body I created and took form in. The body Buffy knows as her little sister. The body with no host and no pulse… A dead body.

I close my invisible eyes and start chanting in my head. I could open the portal elsewhere, maybe a large open field, but I think opening it here in Buffy's house would be more fun. I mutter the words I memorized from the spell book I read at Willow and Tara's. Why would they even have such a book with such dark black magic?

That's when the front door opens.

Buffy walks in, and calls up the stairs, "Dawn, I'm home!"

I stop muttering. She may not see me, but she could still hear me.

Buffy turns to the body on the couch, "Dawn, what are you doing?" She walks forward and gets a better look, "Dawn?" She shakes the body, "Dawnie?" Buffy becomes more forceful and screams in the face, "Dawn! This is not funny!" She feels the wrist, and after feeling no pulse, she falls to the floor and her face has no reaction. It looks as though she's looking far off in a great distance. She begins to rock back and forth, faster and faster.

Then, she begins screaming. She screams things I barely understand. I hear her scream "Dawn", sometimes I hear her scream "Mom", but most of her screams are just noise. Her throat tightens and her voice sounds shrill. Tears run down her red face and wet her shirt. She grabs a hold of the body's shoulders and shakes it uncontrollably, "DAWN! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!" She slaps the body's face and continues to scream.

She finally gets up and looks for the phone. She cries hysterically as she tries dialling, "Giles! I need you here now!" she cries into the phone, her nose running.

That's when she goes into the kitchen. She opens the fridge and throws all the contents around the room. Fruit splatters on the walls, vegetables explode on the floor. A carton of milk breaks against the counter and pours all over the tiles. She opens a drawer and draws out a knife, a large, sharp butcher knife. Is she going to stab the body?

She walks over to the body, still crying. She bends down on her knees, looking straight into the body's face. She cries out words I can't quite catch.

I have one minute! I quietly mutter the spell and I feel the power, I can feel the portal will open, right here, right now.

Buffy kisses the body's forehead and squeezes onto the hand, "Don't leave me."

I stop muttering.

She pulls out the knife and cuts open her palm, and then cuts the palm of the body and squeezes their hands together, "It's our blood, it's Summers blood," she whispers, "It's just like mine. You're strong, you're my sister," she weeps. "I love you, Dawnie,"

She lies her head against the body's chest, still squeezing its hand. My hand... That's me; that was my body. She runs her fingers through its long brown hair; my long brown hair. I remember when she did it to me, how soft and delicate it felt. I felt safe, I felt loved. How can I...

I can't do it, "Relinquish."

...

Dear Diary,

You would not believe the night I had last night. I went patrolling in the cemetery as usual, when all of a sudden, I step in dog poo! On my new shoes! And they were expensive! Mom is going to kill me if she finds out. If only I had someone else to blame, like our own dog, or even a little sister or something. Which reminds me, I had a dream last night, at least I think it was a dream. I don't know, it was weird. It was only snippets, and I just remember this girl with long brown hair, and we were really close. We fought a lot though, and I just remember... I think she was sleeping or something, and I was crying. I don't really know, but it was weird. I think she was supposed to be my sister in my dream? Yeah, I have weird dreams... Hopefully it's not another prophecy.

- Buffy Summers