A/N: *****means flashback, dreaming of the past, or memories of the past. Thanks go to the people who have reviewed and the people that have simply read this story.
In the bedroom Anita had ushered her into, Dawn slept. It was the sleep of the wary, the sleep of the hunted. And deep within her dreams, Dawn dreamed of the past.
***** “Dad, don’t hurt her. Take me instead,” Anita begged. At sixteen, she was well accustomed to pain. But in no way, shape, or form did that mean that she wanted Dawn to become like her.
Dawn watched her sister silently, wishing she could run away and hide but that would attract too much attention. Too much of her father’s attention, to be exact. Only four years old, and already tainted.
“Why shouldn’t I hurt the little brat? My bitch died because of her,” Michael Blake snarled at his oldest daughter.
“My mother wasn’t your bitch!” Anita screamed. “She was your wife! If any of us were or are your bitch, then it’s me! Not Juanita Blake and sure as hell not Dawn Blake! I, Anita Antae Blake, am your bitch!” Too late, she realized that he’d trapped her with her words—and in her corner.
Dawn was now cowering under the couch. She’d watched countless other nights like this one, countless other times when her father had nearly taken her and had instead decided that Anita was a much better person to rape. She knew she was lucky, because even at four, she knew this wasn’t normal.
“Ah, so you admit it,” Michael said with an evil smirk. “Now beg, my bitch.”
“You can hurt me any way you want, but I shall not beg!” Anita may have been reduced to not much more than a sex-toy but she wouldn’t have begged if he was the last male on the face of the Earth. Actually, she probably would have become a lesbian if he was the only male left. That was always how Anita was, no matter what the circumstances. Truth be told, life had hardened her and shaped her to be the girl she was and the woman she would be.
She watched her sister, knowing somehow that Anita wouldn’t have suffered so if she wasn’t around. Knowing that, Dawn wanted so badly to help…or to whimper. To be honest, the little girl wasn’t certain which.
Then she heard the muffled scream that signaled that Anita was being hurt by their father again. Being hurt wasn’t right, Dawn’s brain told her. Stop it! But she had lived in the same house with these things all her life; her preservation instincts were extremely strong. Because of those instincts, she clamped her mouth down on the shout that was trying to weasel its way out of her throat and burrowed deeper behind the worn out brown sofa. *****
Passing by Anita’s bedroom, Cherry heard sounds that almost sounded like scratching. Peering in, she was surprised to see the younger Blake scrunching into a ball and—of all things—burrowing into the covers. All of that, and she was still asleep. Cherry closed the door, having decided that Anita would want to know that her sister was sobbing in her sleep; Dawn’s dream changed.
***** It was really late on New Year’s Eve; Dawn knew that they were both supposed to be asleep. But Anita wasn’t sleeping; she was packing. At seventeen she was fed up with the constant abuse. “Come on, Dawnie,” she said in a frustrated tone. “You have to leave San Francisco with me or he’s going to hurt you like he hurts me. I couldn’t bear it if you were hurt.”
The five year old looked her big sister with an expression that belonged on someone much older. “If I go with you then he’ll get you charged with kidnapping. If you go by yourself, then when I’m older I can run to you.”
Anita contemplated her little sister’s words, wondering for the seventh or eighth time whether or not Dawn had simply been forced to grow up too soon or if, when the monks had made her, they’d included some of Anita’s memories. Even when she’d just been a baby, Dawn always knew better than to cry when their father was about. Now, that maturity was showing up again. “Alright. But you have to promise me that you’ll come to me the instant things get too bad. I’ll send your mail to Leah’s until you set up something different, alright? You’ll always know how to find me, I promise.”
Her sister looked at her knowing that despite what she said, this would be the last time, for a long time, that she would see Anita. “I love you big sis. And one way or another I’m going to come find you the day the court believes I simply ran away, okay?”
“That’s a definite okay, little one. Never forget that I love you. Don’t even dare to, Dawn Elisabeth.” Anita didn’t want to leave Dawn here, but she knew she had to.
“I won’t,” the little brunette promised as the older Blake opened to window.
“Remember that goodbye never means farewell for forever, Dawnie. It simply means till we meet again. Goodbye, Dawn Blake.”
As Anita reached the end of the trellis she’d climbed down on, she heard a whispered, “Goodbye, Anita Blake.” *****
***** “Well,” her father asked, “are you going to deal with your punishment like you should or are you going to cry, like the cry-baby you are?”
Fifteen year old Dawn willed herself not to answer back, knowing that that was what he wanted. And like Anita and Juanita before her, she would not give him what he wanted.
“I’m waiting girl,” he snarled. After Anita had left, he’d started getting drunk more often so the days when he’d only give her a few bruises were fewer and farer between. Even being quiet, was to him, a reason to hurt her.
Even as he started to attack, she kept silent. She’d once promised that when things got really bad, she’d leave. As far as she was concerned, things had gotten bad enough. So, even though the beating left her bruised and bleeding, she didn’t cry out and she didn’t feel down and disheartened like she normally did. She was planning for the moment that he passed out on the couch.
Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, he stopped beating her. Michael gestured for her to leave by, as she’d predicted, passing out. Dawn didn’t look back, grabbing the backpack she’d packed and the plane tickets she’d had her sister’s best friend, Leah, buy for her.
The final thing she did was call in a report of tax fraud since she knew that he hadn’t paid taxes for quite awhile. Yes, she truly was a replica of Anita. *****
Dawn came awake immediately, knowing from years of experience that someone was in the room. She locked eyes with her grinning older sister. “Tell me that he’ll never get me again.”
“He won’t. Jean-Claude came through. Now, however, the entire pard, the pack and the majority of the Circus now wants the entire truth about my past and you.”
“Can’t we leave important details out?”
“No,” Anita said, shaking her head, “because the majority of the people who want to know are lycanthropes.”
“So, they can smell if we aren’t entirely truthful.”
Dawn pouted. “That sucks.”
Anita had to chuckle. “Yes, it does.”
“Well, we might as well go talk to them.” And with that, the two sisters went to face the music.
A/N: Well, how’d I do? Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m out of my depth so all suggestions are welcomed.