They sit, side by side in the shop, his voice dying away as he shatters her world with a sentence. His attempts to decipher Giles’ hand writing abandoned, he looks at her quizzically. “You’re not real, Dawn?”

 It’s said in a mildly questioning tone and she chokes back horrified, spluttering laughter. Only Spike could take it like this...
He grins back at her and reaches out a finger to poke her arm. “Feel real enough to me, Bit.”
And as the tumblers fall and the lock opens, as the truth comes out of the box and she lets herself believe, she knows nothing counts anymore, not rules, not allegiances, not loyalty to a sister who’s nothing of the sort. And she snuggles into his surprised but open arms and turns a comforting cuddle into something more with one instinctively placed hand and one carefully tilted head.
As their lips brush, as her fingers tighten, triumph eats up panic.
Power. Even in this form she still has it.


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