By her count, Dawn had been a part of Dara's life since March. In those seven months, she had stolen pockets of time from Dara. One week here, one week there, leaving notes and reminders and letters and clues in her wake as she did her best not to leave any lasting damage or have any sort of undue impact on the younger Gilmore's life. But how could she not when she was taking over her life, one week at a time? She tried to fly under the radar and did her best to stay true to Dara's schedule, whether it was teaching or working, she attended family functions to the best of her ability, and tried to keep up with Dara's friends so that none of them grew too suspicious of her whereabouts once a month. She considered herself to be especially lucky that Dara's best friends, Reese and Etta, were going through the same thing, and even moreso that they too were Titans. She took solace in their familiarity and she liked to think that they had fun where they could, even when they were doing their best to save each other (and Boston) from otherworldly beings like the Phoenix Force.
Even with friends and her old team nearby, something was missing. It pained her to think that her other half was not around, and that if they were, they had yet to make their presence known to her. What was Dove without Hawk? Order and chaos were inordinately linked. The two were meant to balance each other out and were more powerful together. Without the other, Dawn felt alone. A key part of her was missing, and though she could continue onward, she felt unbalanced and incomplete. Simon without Garfunkel. Jerry without George. Mary-Kate without Ashley.
And then the unthinkable happened. Dawn woke up one morning, started to go about her day, and then realized that something just felt right. She didn't have to look very far in order to figure out why. She had been tooling around the kitchen, waiting for water to come to a near-boil for the comically large French press that she had setup for coffee. Hailey's doing, as she had quickly learned. Dara's sister had padded into the kitchen and sleepily waved her away, hoping for silence while she began the slow process of waking up. Dawn went about her business, cracking some eggs into a bowl already filled with various ingredients with the intention of cooking up some tasty crepes for the house. What better way to start a Sunday than with coffee and homemade breakfast?
Hailey's second pass into the kitchen was met with a long stare. It hit her. Dawn looked up at the sleepy blonde and handed her a coffee mug but had yet to say anything. Was it...was it true? Was this really happening? Recognition hit her square in the stomach and she nearly dropped the bowl that she was holding. Hailey wasn't just Hailey. Hailey was Hawk. Holly. Dawn's once estranged, now dead sister.
She knew better than to ask how. How was any of this happening in the first place? If the big baddies or whoever they were could displace people into other bodies as they see fit, then what was to stop them from bringing other people back from the dead? Dawn opened her mouth to say something before Holly turned on her heel and left the room again. What exactly could she say after all this time?
I'm sorry that I couldn't save you from Hank. I'm sorry that you had to die just when we were starting to be close again. I'm sorry that we couldn't bring you back.
She had rehearsed the conversation in her head a million times before, but none of it seemed right, not when she finally had her standing in front of her. She finally managed to find her voice. "Holly?"
Well, it was a start.
She knew that it had been too good to be true. They had one shift together. Dawn had tried her best to explain this bizarre new existence to Holly, to help her navigate this strange reality that several of their old friends were experiencing. She had wanted to re-introduce her to the other Titans, to remind her that she would always have a place with them and that they had never forgotten her.
Hailey had been resistant to believing, at first. And who could blame her? Dawn recounted her first shifts with her. The birthday dinner at Dara and Hailey's parents' house in Lexington, where Dara had felt so sick that she was nearly convinced she had managed to grow a malignant brain tumor overnight. Dara had fought her off so hard that first day, insisting that she was well enough to attend her big sister's birthday dinner despite the pounding headache. Then there was the Mother's Day brunch that the two sisters had so carefully planned. A morning at the art museum followed by a long, delicious brunch at Alden & Harlow. Dawn had slept in that morning, unaware of their holiday plans, and Hailey had to wake her up for once. As Dara was usually the punctual sister, the whole exchange had been a strange one, but it was one that Hailey had written off as a side effect of the cold medications that her sister had been taking at the time.
She had explained everything as best as she could to prove to both Hailey and Holly that she wasn't making this all up, that yes, they were bodysnatchers, and no, she wasn't kidding. Holly had finally started to come around to the news as the week ended, and Dawn had assured her that there would be plenty of time for world saving next month. But then next shift rolled around and Dawn woke up in Dara's room, as usual. She had gone into the kitchen to get started on coffee and figure out breakfast and made sure to make extra noise with the pots and pans and cabinets to wake up her sister. But this time, Holly was nowhere to be seen. Eventually, Hailey stumbled out of her room to holler at her for being so loud and slammed the door shut behind her so that she could go back to bed. A terrible feeling settled in her stomach as the realization dawned on her.
She was alone again.