Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or any of the characters. They belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.

A/N: This is based on one of the original ideas that Joss had for Dawn in Season 5. She was originally planned to be able to see spirits.

I See Dead People

As she lay awake on her bed, the fan in the corner of the room continuing to blow some of the cooled air around, Dawn stared at the wall on the other side of her room. Her knees were drawn to her chest, and her brown hair lay around her face and shoulders in an uncombed mess. It was around three o'clock, and yet she knew she wasn't going to be getting any sleep tonight. The dreams had come back, and it didn't take much for her to realize that they would be keeping her up all night if they wanted to.

She couldn't even truly call them dreams. Nightmares was a more accurate term. They made her wake up wanting to scream, only to find that there was no air in her lungs. There would always be a cold sweat running down her back and forehead, making her feel extremely hot, as if she had been thrown into a volcano. It was hard to describe everything the nightmares did to her. Except for one thing.

They came back. Everyone. Every single soul in Sunnydale cried out to her, wanting her to talk to them, to reassure them that they weren't alone in their place of rest. They tried to touch her, make her come over to them in her dreams, and every time, she simply wanted to just wake up. Waking up usually made everything go away, as long as she didn't look outside. They'd be there as well, looking up at her window and waiting silently. As if they knew when she would go back to sleep and they'd be able to torment her once more.

She hated having nights like this. It was even worse when she would sneak out and go out on patrol with Buffy. The graveyards would practically be screaming at her, assaulting her ears with their sometimes wordless cries. And the worst part was that Buffy couldn't hear them. There was no-one that could share the pain she was in from the constant attacks on her brain. Every night, she'd wake up and there'd be no-one to talk to about it. She had thought about telling her mother, Buffy, Giles, anyone. And yet, the words never could come when she tried. What could she say? I see dead people? That'd go over real well…

Closing her eyes, the youngest Summers child curled into the warm bed beneath her, and tried to block out the voices crying out to her.