This Base Control
by Twinkledru J.

"No," she tells creepy librarian guy. Just, "No." Well, okay, not quite that blunt, but that's the gist. Buffy Summers? Not gonna be the Chosen One, because, screw the universe, she's gonna be making the Big Choice this time. And her choice? One word. Two letters. Sounds like "throw", "low", and "show".

Then, though, she goes to the Bronze, and the truth hits her. It doesn't just hit her, it punches her repeatedly in the face. Not gonna be that easy.

What she really wants to do is cry or scream or run, but she doesn't.

She does her duty.


"What are we gonna do?" Willow asks her.

And suddenly, it's almost like Buffy's got a choice.

Except, she really doesn't. What kind of sicko would consider this a choice?

No. She doesn't have a choice in whether she's gonna face the Master, and that, she realizes as she walks slowly toward the library, means she doesn't have a choice in whether she's gonna die.

Except, she kinda does. 'Cuz, she can hide, and wait until he kills her, or she can go down there, and look him in the eye -- yellow eyes to young, wet green ones -- and die.


It scares her, kissing Angel.

It scares her and thrills her, and Buffy loves that. She loves that, and she hates that, and that combination of loving and hating just scares her more.

Her hands, her lips, and the warmth that begins glowing in her core after just so many kisses, they are hers, and they're not hers, because they move and fumble and roam, and she should be patrolling. But she's not.

It's her, and it's not, and she loves it, and she hates it.

And then, suddenly, she has given in, and it might get them all killed.


She tries and tries, every night, to make herself hate Angel.

She spends hours staring into the mirror, into her own eyes, since she cannot open up her own heart and examine it, trying to see what clings to him, to hope, and kill it.

She hears people talk about controlling their feelings, and she wonders what she is doing wrong, that she can't.

And then, suddenly, in a mansion, half-lit by a pale dawn, she has a choice.

Except she doesn't. As always, there is only one thing that she can do, and that is what she has to.


The minute she kicks him, sends him flying, and all the while is still holding back, a part of Buffy knows that things will, when all is said and done, fall apart between her and Riley.

He's right, in the end. There is indeed a part of her that he just can't touch, a part that she can't let out. Even at their most hot, heavy, and mindless, there's a part of her that's distant, that keeps her from losing herself in him.

In the end, the thing that lets her touch him is what keeps him so far away.


She hates herself, from the time when Dracula bites her to the moment that she takes control again. Buffy doesn't want to think that something's wrong, but all the while, her entire being is screaming at her that it is.

It's scary, and it's wrong, and there is something even scarier underneath it all, that a part of her wants to stay, thinks that this is her choice.

But the moment she tastes him, she knows that it's not, and that, finally, is what breaks the spell.

'Cuz, hello, like she'd do something that gross of her own free will.


Riley, she knows, can tell in a second why she's putting so much more work into the Slaying while Mom's sick. Hell, Buffy got a B- in Intro Psych, and she can tell. It's cancer, she can't fight it, and there's this Glory chick besides, so she's looking for something she can fight, and blah blah blah analysiscakes.

She sits in the waiting room, and waits for the coroner's report. She wants to scream, only she can't.

Not can't.

Won't, and that is the smallest mercy in weeks, but it's a mercy nonetheless. Her voice, at least, is still hers.


Buffy stares at the sun that may yet rise, and suddenly, for one glorious moment, knows that she has control over her own life, even if that control can only be exercised in this, its end.

When she wakes, when she wakes, it's like a million alarm clocks tearing at her dreams and nerves. Except worse.

She hates them, quietly, all of them, with a passion she barely knew she had, because they took that one last moment of control from her. They've robbed her of the one thing she controlled, leaving her, as ever, void of all her choices.


Buffy hates them, secretly. So, less secretly, does Spike. And that's a part of it.

But mostly, it's a reassurance to herself. Her friends -- she hates them, and still her friends! -- have taken from her one of the only choices she ever had for her own body. So she will take her body back.

He almost takes that choice from her, too, on the bathroom floor. When she throws him off, it's some kind of victory. Strange, that those horrifying moments woke her more to herself than all their heated interludes, and yet.

For once, she has remained her own.


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