Dawn hates funerals.

There is nothing odd or special about that fact, she knows. What kind of person would like them anyway?

But there’s something different in the way she hates the funeral she attends today. Maybe it’s because this is the third time in two years that she buries someone she loves so dearly. She’s too young to attend so many funerals.

So, she hates today’s with fury passion. She hates everything about it.

She hates the tombstone for a start. How come they haven’t found anything to engrave there? Just a name. Two dates. Tara deserved better.

She hates the preacher’s speech, even if she is not listening to him. She hates the flowers. She hates the ordinary casket.

She hates the weather. It’s a warm day, nearly as hot as summer and she feels sweat forming in her back and at the nape of her neck. In the distance, she can hear teenagers yelling and laughing as they’re jmping in a swimming pool. She can hear the splashes fo water. She hates them.

She hates everyone who is there. Starting with her sister, supposedly eager to try to protect her but unable to protect what she cherishes the most.

She hates Xander and the way he’s fighting back tears so hard that he stands as straight and looking just as uptight as Buffy does. There are so many good reasons to cry. She doesn’t understand why they would not cry.

She hates Anya would look so unconcerned that Dawn wants to punch her. But she’s been mostly silent lately, so Dawn reasons that maybe this is her own way to be distraught and she just glares.

She hates those girls from the University, the only persons she does not know who attend with them. She wonders who they are, what they have to do with Tara. At least, several of them are crying. One more than anyone else. Dawn supposes she had a thing for the deceased. Dawn knows she should not blame her for that.

She also hates everyone who is not there. Tara’s family. She remembers how Tara’s father answered that he did not have a daughter when Buffy finally decided they had to call them.

She hates Giles for leaving them when they all needed him more than ever. She hates that he has not stayed for the funeral, has packed Willow and left back for England. She hates Willow. For so many reasons that it gives her headache if she starts to count.  But she should have been here to say her final goodbye to Tara. Dawn thinks that’s the least she deserved after everything. But Willow’s not there. So Dawn hates her even more than before.

She hates Tara. Tara should be right there with her to support her in such a terrible moment. She should not be lying in a grave at her feet. She should not have put herself on the path of a stray bullet.

Her dead body crumpled in her and Willow’s room flashes before her eyes for a brief moment. Dawn is sure she will never forget the details. The hapinness she felt as she headed home when everything still seemed to come back right in place, the feeling of dread when she had found the door opened, the exact shape of the pool of blood on the floor right beside Tara’s lifeless body. The scent of flowers coming through the shattered window. The sudden feeling of emptiness in her chest that has not left her since then.

But above everything, Dawn hates herself. She hates herself for trying non-stop for weeks, maybe months, to convince Tara to forgive Willow. To give her a chance. To come back home. She hates the joy she had felt when she had seen them together on that fateful morning.

She’s crying. She’s not trying to hold back her tears. She can’t anyway. She’s not sure she has stopped crying these last few days. This is too much.

Dawn hates funerals.