Snapshots 01
by Aadler
Copyright September 2022


Disclaimer: Characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel: the Series are property of
Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Kuzui Enterprises, Sandollar Television, the WB, and UPN.



i – Point of Focus

Cornered, trapped, gonna die. In (God, the shame!) a Bass Pro Shop.

Her choice, though. She’d called for the Slayer (even if Giles kept saying Joyce wasn’t a Slayer) … but the cowboy vamps in the mall were already stalking, and time lost meant somebody else dying. Which, no. If nothing else, she had to slow them down.

Results? Predictable.

Sorry, Jonathan. Sorry, Theresa. I tried, but it’s time for me to pay up. Hope you saved a place for me.

With a banshee shriek, Harmony jumps out, igniting the Off! aerosol spray with a camp lighter, and charges into Valhalla.


ii – Come to My Window

I’m always searching.

Not knowing why, I still know it must be about the girl I can’t remember, who I picked up in some place I can’t remember, and brought home with me on that night I can’t remember.

I can’t remember, so why can’t I forget?

So I watch for her, everywhere I go, hoping to find her again.

There’s something tonight, but not her: Asian girl, much too young, not my type at all. I wouldn’t even notice her, except she’s noticing me.

… Why does she have that expression?

As if seeing something in me that she … recognizes?


iii – All Ye Who Enter

Night deliveries suck.

The tips are incredible, though, and pay’s nearly double standard rate (because they have trouble covering that shift, with drivers constantly quitting or disappearing). So Benny stays on weekend evenings: a balancing act on a razor blade, and he’s always an inch from bailing, himself.

Yeah, the money’s great — he’s covering tuition with pizza deliveries — but instinct keeps yammering at him. Like now: the hair-gel guy on the corner, the way he’s watching … not even planning anything (Benny knows the look), just marking possibilities, opportunities. Doesn’t actually look dangerous, but those eyes …

Benny shudders.

Quitting. Soon.


iv – Shadow and Substance

Her flesh screams; Torgash rushed it, with tearing haste and a not-sharp-enough knife. Good call: the very memory of blistering agony from the silver bullets is worse than the wounds he inflicted extracting them.

He strokes her shoulder tenderly with a rough palm. “Y’need anyt’ing, cher? Drugs, liquor … cool water?”

She smiles up at him, desperately masking pain. “I’m fine. You take good care of me, always.”

He’ll know she’s lying, but just her being able to lie will reassure him.

… The pale woman hurt her, hurt him.

She ever finds the bitch, she’s going to kill her.


v – Twilight’s Last Gleaming

Whenever she tries to envision a future for them, her mind … stalls.

Even back when things seemed most promising between them, there was always a distance. (Not helped when he screwed that peroxide slut, then acted like they could both just shrug it away.) Their first relationship dying out? no surprise.

Still, he was where she turned when she was desperate. And then …

– He lied to her, and not for the first time.

– She raped him.

– He saved her life, and her soul.

It’s all tangled up, crazy, surreal. She simply can’t imagine it.

But she can’t let it go.


vi – Morning’s Echo

One-time lovers, giving up what they both so hopelessly desire, because of the one they both love even more.

Despairing jealousy, flaming impotent and uncontrolled, and striking out erratically (disastrously) to create the very thing it wants so desperately to wipe away.

A woman making reluctant preparations to turn her back on comfort and domesticity, and walk once more into the arena she so determinedly left behind so long ago.

Deliberate self-sacrifice. Terrible, agonized yearning. Submission to duty that can no longer be ignored.

They burn so bright, these absurd, ridiculous, glorious human creatures.

Whistler loves them all.


vii – Solitaire Till Dawn

Damn him.

Fighting like a berserker, no thought at all for his own safety, erupting out into a totally preposterous heroism … and, through it all, the most pathetic pussy-whipped goddamn wimp you could possibly imagine. Looking at me with so much hope, so much need, and what I need is for him to stand up and be a man.

It’s there inside him, he showed that. It just goes away when it’s us. He can be a man for me, but never with me. I’m what unmans him.

Is it him who’s not good enough … or is it me?


viii – In Ev’ry Angle Greet

It was always going to happen eventually. Once she sees a doctor about her headaches, though —

(Aneurysm, blood vessel ballooning in her brain. Might sit quiet for decades, might blow tomorrow.)

— she refuses to wait another moment.

When they’re done, that first time, he falls back in the bed, stunned, breathless. “My God,” he says. “My God.”

“Being older does have some advantages,” she observes with satisfaction, nestling into him. Then, smiling but very quietly: “As long as you never compare me to Buffy.”

“I won’t.” He grins. “Wouldn’t be fair to her.”

She laughs, and they hold one another.


ix – Hell Hath No Fury

He tries to charm Tiphaine. She manages not to laugh at him, but doesn’t conceal her amusement. When he eases into something else, she realizes he’s decided she’s still young enough to be worth seducing.

Oh, if only he knew.

The entertainment value vanishes once she understands exactly what he’s looking to accomplish. No, thank you, some bears you just don’t poke. She takes his hand to tell him NO, very firmly … and nearly staggers at the possibilities cascading through her inner awareness.

… Much, much too promising to let pass.

“My boy,” she says, “let’s see what we can do.”


x – Objects in the Mirror

She thinks she understands, doesn’t suspect how incomplete is her understanding.

She thinks she knows the fundamental character of the young woman she meant to ride for pleasure and profit, then within whom (incredibly) she found herself a virtual prisoner. Thinks she knows what she must do, and how to do it. Thinks she has enough knowledge of human nature — of her ‘mount’ and of those surrounding/supporting her — that she can wrest back control.

She thinks she still has time. She doesn’t know how little is left to her.

Or what it will mean to be Touched By Glory.
 

Questions? Comments? Any feedback is welcome!
 

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