* * * *
* * * *
* * * *
Dawn ran as fast as she could down
the moonlit streets of Sunnydale, but before long Spike caught up and
stopped in front of her, blocking his way.
“Dawn, wait,” he panted, grabbing hold of her forearms. She shrugged away
“Stop. Just let me go,” she replied in a low voice. He’d never heard that
tone on her.
“Dawn, we don’t know what it means. Giles could be wrong, he’s been…”
“Oh, please!” she replied, angry tears forming in her eyes. “Are you going
to start lying to me too?”
Spike opened his mouth but no words came out. Dawn shut her eyes and shook
her head. “Just leave me alone, Spike!”
He watched her run off, feeling all hope slip away as the last person who
still trusted him suddenly didn’t. Dejected and betrayed as he may’ve
felt, he couldn’t let anything happen to her. Spike followed from a safe
distance and was glad that she ran back home instead of hiding off
somewhere else. After watching her slip through the kitchen door he moved
towards the porch steps and took a seat.
Spike knew that Giles wouldn’t have written about Dawn being the Key if he
weren’t absolutely certain that it were true. But how could it? Spike
remembered her. The monks would’ve needed to change their memories if they
were going to…
He quickly rose to his feet and walked towards the kitchen door, opening
it without even thinking of what he’d find in there. His lips formed an
‘o’ of surprise at what he saw.
Dawn was standing at the kitchen counter, slicing the inside of her
forearm with the tip of a large knife. Blood was dripping down the sides
of her arm and onto the floor, but she didn’t cry out or make even the
slightest sound. Dawn regarded the bloody mess she was making of herself
with watery eyes, but instead of seeing the pain or anger he expected,
Spike saw the numbed look of someone detached from reality.
“Dawnie,” he managed to rasp out, causing her to jump in surprise. Dawn
yelped in pain as the knife slid across her skin unexpectedly in result.
Spike moved towards her. “What the bloody hell are you doing?” he asked,
walking up to her and pulling the knife from her hand.
“Seeing if I’m real,” she replied in a small voice.
Spike took her bleeding hand in his. Luckily she hadn’t cut too deep; just
enough to draw blood. He didn’t look up when he heard footsteps
approaching from the other room.
“This is blood, right?” she asked, anger ringing through her shaky words.
Dawn seemed to become angrier when Spike didn’t respond. “Go on–taste it!”
she ordered through gritted teeth, shoving her bloody arm in his face and
smearing blood on his chin. “Tell me if it’s real!”
* * * *
Buffy smiled tiredly at her
friends as they discussed past birthday experiences. She wasn’t really
listening, however, as she was too busy remembering her first birthday in
Spike held her close to him as they sat on the edge of his bed, drenched
to the bone from the rain that was pouring down outside.
“You what?” she asked hesitantly.
Spike released a shaky breath. “I love you. God Buffy, I try not to, but I
Buffy turned her head so that she could meet his eyes. “Me too. I can’t
She leaned forward to kiss him, their lips meeting momentarily before he
“Buffy, maybe we shouldn’t…”
“Shh,” she pleaded, pressing her fingers against his soft lips. “Just kiss
And he did.
It didn’t matter that the memory wasn’t real. Or maybe it was, it just
didn’t happen with Spike. She couldn’t remember. The spell that she and
Tara did had opened her eyes to both realities, but what was real slowly
started to fade away, leaving only the lies behind. While she still
remembered what she was shown, she couldn’t feel it with as much power as
she had that night.
All she knew right then was that she missed Spike.
Buffy was called out of her reverie when she heard a yelp come from the
kitchen. She looked to her friends with a furrowed brow, silently asking
if they’d heard the same noise but they didn’t even look at her, so she
assumed that they hadn’t. Buffy stood and made her way towards the
She made a small sound, almost like a whimper, in reaction to what she saw
upon entering the kitchen. Spike was gripping Dawn tightly by the
shoulders as she struggled against him. He had a knife in one of his hands
and Buffy could see blood smeared on it, the same blood that was trailing
down Dawn’s arm.
The same blood that was smeared on his lips.
“Get away from her!” she shouted as soon as she found her voice.
Both Spike and Dawn turned in surprise as she moved towards them. Buffy
punched Spike in the nose and he pulled his arms away from Dawn, the knife
falling to the ground with a loud clank. Buffy slammed Spike against the
refrigerator; her eyes alight with fury as she glared at the monster that
had entered her home. Spike could only stare at her with shocked blue eyes
while Dawn protested shrilly in the background.
“How could you touch her? How could you even think of touching
her?” she shouted, shaking him roughly by the lapels of his jacket. The
impact of his body hitting the refrigerator door caused several magnets to
fall to the floor.
“Buffy, stop! He didn’t do anything!”
It wasn’t long before their screaming drew the others into the kitchen.
“Dawn!” Joyce shrieked as soon as she saw the blood dripping from her
younger daughter’s arm. The others glanced in Dawn’s direction
momentarily, but their interest was currently held by Spike and Buffy, the
former of whom had just been thrown to the floor onto his back.
Buffy glared down at him, her heart breaking as the truth about what he
really was reared its ugly head. “Get out of here now or I will kill you.”
Spike shook his head at the wrongness of the situation. “Buffy…”
She grabbed a wooden spoon from the utensils jar and snapped the handle
off, leaving her with a thin but jaggedly pointy stake. She raised it in
the air threateningly, but she did not attack him.
Spike scrambled to his feet and looked around the room at everyone’s
appalled faces before flying out the door. Buffy stared after him as he
left; her eyes still wide with shock.
“Dawn, baby, are you okay?” Joyce asked, examining her daughter’s arm.
Dawn glared at her. “Why should you care? You’re not my mother.”
Buffy tore her eyes away from the door in time to see the stunned look on
her mother’s face. Dawn’s face crumpled as a sob threatened to escape her
lips and with a growl she pushed past everyone out of the kitchen, and
soon could be heard running up the stairs.
Giles sighed and looked at Buffy. If it weren’t for the confrontation
she’d have to endure with her sister in a few moments’ time he’d insist
that she tell everyone what Spike really was. He found it difficult to
keep quiet himself after seeing what had happened, but something was
telling him that things weren’t exactly what they seemed.
Giles laughed inwardly. Things aren’t what they seem.
* * * *
“Spike didn’t hurt me,” Dawn
insisted as Buffy closed the bedroom door behind her. Everyone else had
left and it was just her, Buffy and their mother up in Dawn’s room. “I
tried to make him drink, to see…Besides, he’s a chip head. Remember?” she
added bitterly, shooting her sister a dirty look.
Buffy wasn’t incredibly surprised by the truth Dawn had just offered to
her, but she wasn’t necessarily relieved. She was too tired and confused
to know what to think about anything anymore. She’d have to apologize to
him, of course, although her favorite option was to avoid him altogether,
but that wouldn’t work if he kept looking out for her little sister.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked.
Buffy sighed. As unprepared as she was to deal with the notion of Spike
attacking her sister, she was less prepared to deal with telling her
sister who she really was. And she’d been working on that one.
Joyce perched herself on the edge of the bed beside Dawn, reaching to take
her daughter’s hand and flinching as Dawn pulled away. “We were going to.
Dawn shot her an angry look. Buffy spoke up.
“We thought it would be better if we waited until you were older.”
Dawn nodded. “How old am I now?”
Joyce smiled. “You’re fourteen, sweetie, you know that.”
“No. The monks. When did… when did they…”
Buffy interrupted so that her sister wouldn’t have to speak the words.
“Six months ago.”
Dawn’s face crumbled slightly. “I’ve only been alive for six months, huh?”
Joyce touched her daughter’s shoulder. “You’ve been alive a lot longer
than that to us.”
“You don’t know that! You don’t know anything. I’m… I’m just a key, right?
Everything about me is made up.”
“Dawn, Mom and I know what we feel. I know that I care about you. I know
that I worry about you–”
“You worry about me because you have to. I’m your job. Protect the Key,
Buffy’s voice took a sharp edge. “I worry because my sister is cutting
herself with a knife and offering her blood to a vampire!”
“Oh yeah? How do you know? This could just be another fake memory from my
Joyce shook her head. “Sweetheart…”
“Dawn,” Buffy began, but her sister started shrieking.
“Get out, get out, GET OUT!”
* * * *
Spike paced the width of his
crypt, his mind racing. Dawn was the Key, Buffy thought that he’d tried to
hurt her, and now she probably thought he was a threat. This was just…
If Dawn’s the Key, then that means this Glory chit is gonna be coming
after her. But Glory doesn’t know that it’s Dawn, does she? Does Buffy
Spike’s thoughts were interrupted when the door to his crypt flew open and
slammed against the wall. He was very surprised to find Giles standing in
the doorway, a crossbow lowered at his side. Spike looked from the
crossbow to Giles and then back to the crossbow.
Bloody hell, was he here to kill him?
* * * *
Dawn stood from her bed and
started pacing the room angrily. She didn’t have a mom and a sister who
loved her. She wasn’t 14. She wasn’t a girl with long brown hair and her
favorite potato chip flavor wasn’t sour cream. She couldn’t sing well
because a bunch of monks decided that would be a funny little
characteristic for her to have and her dad didn’t leave when she was nine
years old because he was never her dad, and she was never nine.
She’d also never noticed how many diaries she had littering her desk.
Although, she’s only had six months to notice, really, so it’s not like
she was totally unaware of her surroundings.
They seemed to be screaming at her now.
The books on her shelves were never hers. The clothes in her closet were
never hers. Did the monks make all of that, too? Were her clothes composed
of some part of the Key, or did they steal them from someone else? How did
they have time to think of birth certificates and report cards and why is
it that she had to remember having the chicken pox twice?
Dawn opened one of her diaries and flipped through the pages, bitter tears
rolling down her cheeks as she looked at the handwriting that wasn’t even
Nothing was hers.
I asked Mom for a dog today and she said I wasn’t responsible enough
for a pet… Buffy and Willow are having a sleepover and they won’t let me
hang out with them. I don’t know if I’d want too, anyway. Her room smells
Dawn started screaming as she ripped the pages from her diary.
* * * *
“Rupert,” he greeted cautiously,
his eyes never leaving the man as he entered. “This’ll make my night
complete, I’m sure.”
“I don’t want to kill you, Spike,” Giles said threateningly. “But I will
if you force me to.”
“Hang on,” Spike began, his fear growing as the man stepped closer to him.
“Listen, I know what you must think, but…”
“I know what you really are, Spike. I’ve recently begun to wonder why we
ever trusted you, given the fact that you’re a soulless killer.”
“Shut up,” the man insisted, raising the crossbow. Spike couldn’t help but
gulp as he noticed how dangerously close Giles’s finger was to the
trigger. “You listen to me. Buffy hasn’t told the others about you, and I
take that to mean that she’s still in love with you. That makes simply
eliminating you out of the question, so that only leaves one option.”
* * * *
Dawn struggled to breathe as she
watched the diaries and other lies burn in the trashcan. As she slowly
began to calm down she remembered another diary. One that pointed her in
the right direction.
Only those outside reality can see the Key's true nature.
Dawn opened her window and started climbing down the trellis for the
second time that night. She wanted answers, and she was going to get them.
Even if she had to hunt every crazy person on earth in order to do so.
* * * *
Spike still had his eye on the
crossbow as Giles outlined what was apparently his only option for
“You leave town. You never think of Dawn or Buffy again, and if you dare
come back I swear to God I will kill you.”
It took Spike a moment to recover from the menacing threat that was just
thrown his way. He swallowed hard before attempting to speak.
“I don’t know what it is you’re thinking, but you’ve got to be daft if you
think I would ever let anything happen to those girls.”
“Spike, you’re a killer. It’s in your nature to cause harm. We can’t risk
you around any longer.”
“I didn’t do anything to her! Dawn was in the kitchen cutting herself,
Rupert. I tried to stop her and she wigged out.” His anger grew as the man
standing across from him regarded him with mild surprise. “Although that’s
to be expected, since none of you lot found it necessary to tell her she’s
the bloody Key!”
Giles lowered the crossbow. “How do you know that?” he asked gravely.
“Dawn knew something was wrong.” Spike let out a bitter laugh. “You all
think she’s stupid or that you can hide things from her, but she knew you
were keeping secrets. That’s why she snuck into the Magic Box to steal
Giles’s eyes widened. “She read my journals?”
“Only the one with the all the information about the Key in it. Bloody
hell, Giles. Does Buffy even know?”
“She’s the one who told me,” Giles responded, becoming slightly more
relaxed. Spike was beginning to seem less threatening, and more like the
man… more like the vampire he’d known for the past four years. “I take it
you were with Dawn when she found out.”
“Yeah,” Spike replied, his eyes falling once again to the crossbow. “Had
to make sure she was safe.”
“Then Dawn must know about you.”
Spike groaned in frustration. “What the bloody hell are you on about? What
Giles’s eyes went wide. “You don’t know.”
* * * *
Dawn stared at the hot cocoa in
her hands as Ben sat across from her. She was tired and groggy and her
brain wasn’t functioning well. Though, given the massive overload it had
undergone earlier that evening she was actually fairing rather well.
Ben was concerned. He’d found her running out of the psych ward, looking
all sorts of freaked. He’d managed to calm her down a bit and brought her
into the hospital locker room.
Dawn barely noticed what he was saying. Something about swiping the cocoa
from the cupboard.
“I couldn’t find any marshmallows. I’ll try to steal some next time.”
She shook her head. “Don’t like ‘em anyway.”
Ben smiled in surprise. “What? Is that even possible?”
“Too squishy. When I was five Buffy told me they were monkey brains, and
And I nothing.
“Dawn,” Ben began, his voice dropped to a concerned level. “Was your mom
brought back in? Is that why you’re here?”
“No. My mom is just fine.”
The bitterness in her voice puzzled him greatly. “Is there anyone I can
call? Your sister?”
She glared up at him. “I don’t have a sister.”
“Oh ... you two have a fight?” Ben smiled understandingly. “It's okay, I
know how that goes. I got a sister too. They can be a real pain sometimes.
I tell you, there've been a lot of nights I wish she didn't exist either.”
“It's not Buffy; it's me. I'm the one that doesn't exist.” Dawn sighed.
“Look, I know it can feel that way sometimes, but when you're older – ”
“No, you don't understand. It's not real. None of this,” she looked down
at her body. “They made it.”
“Dawn – ”
“I'm nothing! I'm just a thing the monks made so Glory couldn't find me.
I'm not real.”
Ben’s eyes went wide at her words and he shot out of his chair. “You're
“H-How do you know about the Key?”
* * * *
“It’s true,” Giles assured him.
“The hell it is!” Spike shouted at him, his anger growing at an
exponential rate. “You think I don’t really love her?”
“No,” Giles replied. “I know that you love her, but only because the monks
“Fuck the sodding monks!” Spike roared. His anger was directed towards
Giles but he wasn’t really angry at him. Spike was angry because he knew
what Giles had told him was true, and he didn’t want it to be. “They can
rewrite history all they like, but they can’t make a person’s feelings.
They can’t make me feel what I felt for her, what I feel for her!”
“And why do you feel for her, Spike? Because of your history together? A
history that isn’t even real?”
Spike stared at him, unable to reply. “So how long we talkin’, here?” he
asked more calmly. “The last few years? The last few weeks?”
“Your entire history with Buffy has been fabricated, much of it
conflicting with her actual experiences with Angel.”
“Angel?” Spike scoffed. “Where the hell does that bloody poofter fit in
Even though he feared the creature standing before him and the potential
harm he could bring upon them all, it pained Giles to tell him the truth.
“He’s the one she really loved.”
Spike had been marginally prepared for the hideous reality that Giles had
described to him, but he just couldn’t take this. “No. No, that’s not… no…
Giles raised the crossbow, sensing Spike’s growing anger as a danger.
“When you first came to Sunnydale, what do you remember?”
“I came here to help her,” he replied, finding it increasingly difficult
to restrain the demon within.
“You came here to kill her. Don’t you see? You’re true nature is to kill.
You’re passion for Buffy comes not from your love, but for your desire to
end her life.”
“I don’t want her dead!”
“Then what do you want?”
“I want to save her!”
Giles stiffened as Spike’s words reverberated through his mind. He could
hear the passion in the vampire’s voice, and he did not doubt his
sincerity. Apparently the monks were completely successful in creating an
ally from what was once a threat. Giles lowered the crossbow. “I was
The vampire’s eyes narrowed in confusion.
“You’re not a threat. Not anymore.”
* * * *
Don’t freak out. Calm down.
Stop shaking and take deep breaths…
Dawn inhaled deeply and then slowly released the breath. Right, that
didn’t work. God, stop shaking…
Glory had brought her into one of the labs after snapping a security
guards neck right in front of her.
Dawn couldn’t remember where Ben had gone, and part of her was glad he was
gone. Glory would probably kill him. But the bigger part of her that was
consumed with fear wished he were here to help her.
What she really wanted was Spike. He would help her.
* * * *
Buffy grew hopeful when she saw
her friends approach the graveyard, where she’d been looking for Dawn.
Unfortunately her sister wasn’t with them.
“Nothing?” she asked dejectedly.
“We looked, but no Dawn.”
“What about the carousel?”
“We checked there, too,” Tara replied.
“And no one’s heard from Giles?”
Xander shook his head. “We checked out his place, but he wasn’t there.”
“You don’t think Dawn’s with him, do you?” Anya asked.
“If she is, then something bad must’ve happened to them,” Buffy replied.
She closed her eyes and exhaled. “We should probably check the hospital.”
The others nodded gravely and followed Buffy’s lead.
* * * *
“So Buffy’s been avoiding me like
the plague the past month because she thinks I want to kill her?”
Giles nodded. “It was the trance, I believe, that first tipped her off to
“What did she see?”
Spike knew that he was an evil being, but he didn’t want that to define
him. He’d fought to better himself for years by incorporating himself into
the human world as much as he possibly could, but he knew he could never
be truly good. Being with Buffy had made it easier, but fighting his
demonic inclinations was a daily battle. Still, he feared the answer to
“I don’t know,” Giles replied.
Spike was equally disappointed and relieved by his response. “You said,”
he began, shocked at the weakness of his voice. Vampires weren’t fragile
creatures. “You said that she still loves me?”
Giles smiled sympathetically. “I don’t think she’d be in so much emotional
agony if she didn’t.”
Spike couldn’t help but smile as he released a shaky breath. “What about
Dawn?” he asked. “She’s okay, right?”
Giles frowned. “If you’re referring to her arm, then yes. I can’t even
begin to imagine what she’s feeling right now.”
“I can,” Spike replied honestly, making his way towards the door.
“Where are you going?” Giles asked, fingering the trigger of the crossbow
“Where I’m needed.”
* * * *
“Get away from my sister,” Buffy
Dawn had her back against the wall and Glory loomed over her
threateningly. The Hellgod smiled at Buffy as she and her friends entered
“Hey, we were just talking about you.”
Dawn took this opportunity to run behind Buffy. She breathed a sigh of
relief. She felt safe now.
“Conversation's over, hell-bitch.”
Buffy sprang forward and attacked Glory, but a fist to the face sent her
flying backwards. Once Buffy recovered she looked up to see that Spike had
appeared out of nowhere and wrapped his arms around Glory, pinning the
flailing god to his chest. Pushing aside her conflicting emotions, Buffy
focused and Glory and began punching her repeatedly in the face.
Spike scoffed. “I thought you said this skank was tough?”
Glory pulled up her legs and kicked Buffy across the room before turning
on Spike. She punched him in the face and then grabbed him by the hair and
slammed his head against the wall.
Buffy scrambled to her feet and watched from across the room as Glory
threw Spike across a table covered with medical supplies, shattering test
tubes, beakers and other breakables in his wake. He landed on the far side
of the room with a sickening crack as his head hit the wall and he fell
unconscious to the ground.
Glory smiled at the concerned look on Buffy’s face. “He wakes up, tell
your boyfriend to watch his mouth.”
* * * *
Two minutes later Glory was gone.
Tara and Willow had sprinkled her with some shiny dust before Willow
clapped her hands and said something in Latin. Glory disappeared, and
Willow fell to the ground.
“Will, you okay?” Buffy asked, still holding her frightened sister close.
Willow nodded and gave her a dizzy sort of smile as Xander and Tara helped
her to her feet. Buffy glanced momentarily to the corner where Spike lay
and was relieved to see him rising to his feet as well.
“Are you okay?” Buffy asked, turning to Dawn. “Did she hurt you?”
Dawn looked away. “Why do you care?”
Buffy smiled at her the way you smile at someone who’s being incredibly
stupid. “Because I love you. You’re my sister.”
Dawn shook her head. “No I’m not.”
“Yes, you are.”
She lifted Dawn’s bloody arm and held it between them. “Look, it’s blood.
Summers blood.” Buffy pressed a hand to the wound at her shoulder and
winced. Tire irons could sure sting when they ripped through muscle. Buffy
clasped her now blood covered hand to Dawn’s. “It's just like mine. It
doesn't matter where you came from, or, or how you got here. You are my
sister.” She smiled. “There's no way you could annoy me so much if you
Relieved, Dawn quickly embraced her sister. “I was so scared.”
Buffy glanced over Dawn’s shoulder to find that Spike was gone. She
One crisis at a time.
* * * *
Spike sat on the edge of his
armchair with his head in his hands.
What was he supposed to be? Vampire, yeah, but before tonight he’d never
really given much thought to the fact that he was evil. Sure, he liked
that his undead status gave him this whole big bad look and reputation,
and she he enjoyed being a bit scary and intimidating… but did that make
He couldn’t remember killing anyone, but he knew that he had. He knew that
when he was with Drusilla that he’d killed people; that he’d sucked them
dry. He knew it. So why couldn’t he remember it?
The door to his crypt swung open slowly but he didn’t bother to move.
“Here for another chat, Rupes?” he growled into his hand as he clutched
onto his aching head.
Spike turned to look over his shoulder at the sound of her voice. “What?”
“I’m sorry that I thought you hurt Dawn,” Buffy replied. She was standing
awkwardly at the bottom of the steps, her hands clutched at her sides as
if she didn’t know what to do with them.
Spike nodded slowly. “Alright.”
Buffy released a shaky breath. “You okay? You were out for a while,
“Was I?” Spike asked. “It only seemed like a minute or two.”
“I-It was,” she replied. “It just… seemed longer.”
An awkward silence hung in the air as they looked at each other, Spike
reveling in every moment of it. She was standing there, looking into his
eyes, and she wasn’t angry. She did look afraid, though. Maybe he could
help with that.
“I know,” he told her.
He smiled inwardly as the top of her nose crinkled in confusion. “Know
“I know what I… what you think I am.”
Buffy’s eyes widened. “How?”
“Giles told me.”
Buffy steeled herself for something, though she didn’t exactly know what
it was she was preparing for.
“Giles told you what?” she asked.
Spike sighed in frustration. “He told me that our entire history is a lie,
that…” Spike’s voice faltered. “…that it’s Angel who you really love and
I’m just a soulless killer.”
Buffy swallowed hard. Every time she heard it, every time she remembered
the images that had been unveiled to her during the spell that she and
Tara did, she sank deeper and deeper into a world where nothing made sense
and everything was sad and colorless.
“How did he know?” she asked, and before he could open his mouth to
respond she shook her head. “No, I don’t… Spike, I can’t do this.”
Spike watched her sadly as she turned to leave. She stopped in the doorway
with her hand on the door. “I don’t hate you,” she said over her shoulder.
She turned her head fully to look at him before walking out the door.
He continued to stare at the door long after she left. Eventually the
anger brewing within him took control. He knocked his armchair over and
hurled his TV against the wall. The glass cracked and then shattered,
scattering several wiry bits and pieces across the floor.
He may never dream of hurting Buffy or Dawn, but right now at that moment
he wished he could kill something.