After we'd finished clearing up, I heard footsteps upstairs. Dawn must be awake. I decided the best thing to do would be to go down to the basement; it would be too much of a shock for Dawn just to come down and see me. That unfortunately left Buffy with the task of explaining my return to Dawn. Didn't envy her that.
I sat on the narrow bed in the basement, listening to the clump of Dawn's feet on the stairs, then the clatter as she got her breakfast. I wondered if she still liked the toy out of the cereal, or if she was too grown up for that now. I felt sad. Dawn and I had been close. She was almost like a little sister. But after what I'd done to Buffy, I was sure she must hate me.
I heard a low murmur. Buffy's voice. Then Dawn's voice, slightly louder. I couldn't catch the words, but the conversation went on for some time.
The rest of the day passed slowly. I waited until I heard the front door shut; seemed like Dawn had gone out. Then I went upstairs and mindlessly watched TV for a while, barely seeing the images. My mind felt completely blank.
Sunset finally came. I was eager to leave the house and go out patrolling. It would help, I thought, to kick some demon arse. To feel like I was doing something.
"You wanting to head out, pet?" I said to Buffy. "And... how did Dawn take the news that I'm, y'know, back in town?"