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Dawn doesn't feel strong today.

She didn't feel strong yesterday.

She doubts she will tomorrow.

(Perhaps she will never be if the latest cult catches up with them.)

With a huff at the turn of her thoughts, she stops brushing her hair, still damp from the shower, and steps out of the bathroom changing into her nightclothes.

But she does think about it sometimes...

She was all mixed in with the Potentials back in Sunnydale. She has seen a girl's face as she is Chosen. It has kept her up at night more than once wondering what exactly that meant - what that felt like.

Dawn doesn't want to be a Slayer. Living with Buffy, seeing her die, and watching her try to live again has made that something she will never dream of.

But she does find it unfair at times. She's full to the brim of mystical energy but all the Key has ever made her feel is powerless. Dawn bites her lips and traces the little flannel sheep on her pajama pants.

Death is the Slayers' gift but it is something the Key seems to brings about by proxy. It is a thing to be protected - a thing to kill for, to die for.

A thing.

She was silly to have thought that was over, to have fallen back into thinking she was a real person for so many years.

"Deep thoughts, Niblet?" Spike asks sitting on the bed next to her still dressed in the only outfit she has ever seen him wear. The very presence of him seems to chase away her crushing thoughts - her self doubts no match for the Big Bad.

She smiles and leans her head against his shoulder with ease borne out of years of familiarity.

He wraps an arm around her. "Don't worry now, pet," he says with a particular gentleness that is singular with him towards Summer women. Pressing a firm brotherly kiss against the top of her head before continuing. "You know they won't find us in the safe house - Red has seen to that. And with 'ole Sis on her bloody tear of vengeance for even daring to threaten you it won't even be morning 'till their all slaughtered," he sounded utterly satisfied at the thought.

Dawn simply closes her eyes and lets his voice wash over her. She still doesn't feel strong, but when she's with Spike she feels safe.