"What was it like?"
Spike glanced away from the epically bad horror movie they were watching to look at Dawn. "What was what like, Bit?"
"What was it like being dead? More dead, I mean. Deader." She paused and rolled her eyes at herself. "What was it like being a ghost?"
Anybody else had asked that, Spike would have given a snarky reply, if he had answered at all. But Dawn was different for a number of reasons. "Bloody frustrating," he finally said, which was nothing more than the truth, if not the whole truth.
Dawn, of course, wasn't satisfied with just that. "Was it... Did it hurt?"
"Nah. Couldn't feel much of anything." Spike grimaced, his arms unconsciously creeping around himself as he remembered. "Pretty much the problem, wasn't it?"
Which was more than he intended to say. Firmly shutting his mouth, he tried to turn back to watching the movie. It was difficult to concentrate though, when Dawn was studying him like he was one of those ancient texts that she was getting so good at translating.
"It sucks, doesn't it?" Dawn asked quietly, her next words proving that she was adept at translating Spike as she was translating Sumerian. "Wondering if you're real."
That pulled Spike's gaze back to her because that was the secret doubt that had plagued him when he'd been incorpereal, the one fear he hadn't even quite admitted to himself. The one he still didn't want to admit to and was fully prepared to deny...
Until he saw the complete and total understanding in Dawn's eyes.
Of course, someone who had discovered her entire childhood was no more than a constructed memory would understand questioning your own existence. Spike hadn't thought about it because Dawn was one of the most solidly there people he'd ever met. That time where she had struggled and doubted seemed so long ago, even though he supposed it really wasn't. Not in the grand scheme of things.
Looking at her now and remembering that Dawn from a couple of years ago who'd looked so lost, Spike found himself wanting to reassure. "Doesn't matter where you came from," he told her, reaching out to brush her long hair back from her face. "You've always been real to me."
Dawn smiled at him, then moved closer, shifting around on the sofa so she could wrap her arms around his waist and rest her head on his shoulder and still be able to watch the movie. "You're real, Spike. Doesn't matter if I could touch you or not, you'd still be real. If you ever start doubting it, let me know and I'll tell you again. I'm very stubborn; I can keep telling you until you believe it." She tilted her head to look up at him. "Got it?"
The hug felt good, the words felt even better. Sometimes being read like an open book was a good thing, he reflected.
Dawn was still looking at him, waiting for an answer. "Got it," he replied and if his voice held a bit more emotion than he might have been comfortable with, Dawn didn't bring attention to it. She just nodded and turned back to tv.
Just two real people watching a really bad movie.
There were worse ways to spend an evening.