It had been years since the doll had been a doll, and yet some parts remained. The faint joint lines that betrayed a body of artificial creation, the soft glow behind its light blue eyes, the smooth movements and flow associated with chores it had done thousands of times before. And yet, there was something more. A spark of Self behind the Purpose, behind the Stillness. The Memory was faint, at worst – it still raised its monstrous head from time to time, but its Scars were distant and often forgotten.

“How are you this morning, my sweet? Slept well?” A familiar hand graced the doll’s head, ruffling its soft, dark-purple hair as it made the bed.
“This one – I had nightmares again, Mistress, but I’m doing okay. The house is quiet and it’s a good day to recover from the week,” the doll said as it leaned up to kiss the witch. Her face had grown softer over the years, and her hair had become home to strands of silver-grey. It loved her just as much, if not more, and she was just as beautiful. If not more.

“Please be safe on the way to work, ma’am,” the not-quite-doll added as it kissed her again.
“I always am.”

The doll that was something more than a doll had long struggled to find normalcy comfortable. Days, months, years passed – and the end it had long feared never came. Things were far from ideal, sure, but it was happy, it was safe, and that felt Wrong. Happiness and safety were something for its Betters, not for something like it. And yet, it came to embrace these things, to enjoy safety and love and happiness with its many loves and ever-growing family.

There were times it stumbled, when its old nature left it afraid and alone, but it was never abandoned. Never admonished for acting out.

“I’m proud of you.”
“You’re doing just fine.”
“You’re so important to us all.”

The doll-that-was-not-a-doll had become something more. Not a person – never a person, it had intentionally given that up long ago – but something unique. It couldn’t find the word for it until the witch brought up a need:

“A familiar would help so much with this ritual…”

The doll looked down at its arms: lovingly engraved with arcane channels that once flowed with the energy that kept it animated, now vestigial thanks to the intricate core in its chest. It was, in essence, a walking magical conduit.

“I want to help, my lady. Will you teach me?”

The doll-that-was-not-a-doll had finally found its place. Familiar: loved and loving, needed and needing, helped and helpful.