Snapshots 02
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.


Warning: each drabble below is based on the story listed at the drabble’s beginning. Basically, then, all intended for people who already read the respective story and want to see more. You CAN try to read them without knowing the linked story, but probably won’t get full value.



xi – Whisper of a Moment

Those of the old crew left these days, we still tell the story. We brag about getting our asses kicked … because we know we threw down against something major that day, and lived through it.

The girl was a powerhouse: fast, brutal, unstoppable till she ran out of gas. Afterward, though, we got to wondering more and more about the guy who launched the rescue. Held his own against dozens of us, stayed on his feet, drew us out for his backup, then slipped away while she tore through us.

Whatever she was, there’s only one word for him:

Ninja.


xii – … Than Meets the Eye

This is something nobody knows, not even those who experienced the separate parts.

The Slayer knows she was persuaded to let the vampire girl go, however grudgingly.

The grizzled P.I. knows he sat with his lost love while a song played on an enchanted jukebox.

The youngest daughter knows that breaking the resurrection spell, before the front door opened, saved them from much worse than the loss they’d already endured.

Nobody knows that the summoning of the spirit to the diner delayed the ‘risen’ woman’s return for exactly long enough.

Hell moves freely in Sunnydale. But — occasionally — so does providence.


xiii – Notes on an Opera Program

It’s a loser’s game, always has been; Lilah knows this, and doesn’t care. She chose her own damnation long ago, and won’t demean herself by trying to back out now.

It would amuse her mightily to be told that her machinations will eventually do as much to further the cause of good as the labors of many heroes, but she wouldn’t believe it for a moment. If made to believe, she would be genuinely astonished … but no less amused.

Ultimately, none of that matters. She’s moving toward her fate, knowing its end and determined to play it out with style.


xiv – Tip of My Tongue

The dreams keep coming, nights filled with fire and shouting, blood, death, desperate fear, disbelieving surprise. The strain leaks into her days, for admitting her misgivings would be seen as (certainly fatal) irresolution. She must keep it hidden, play out the scenario, as locked into her role as the central subject is imprisoned in his.

LeRoy seems increasingly sullen, and sometimes she thinks she glimpses something haunted in his eyes, something that might mirror her own growing alarm. Her dealings with Hank Summers are more frequent, but LeRoy’s tend to be more … strenuous.

Awake, Clarke stays silent. Dreaming, she screams.


xv – Each Proud Division

Remembering the episode years afterward, Andrew is startled to realize he’s the only one left.

The four transtemporal Slayers were returned to their home realities.

Tara is dead (killed by Warren, with mumbled explanations from Jonathan — much later — being the only way Andrew even knows she was ever there).

Warren is dead (killed by Willow).

Jonathan is dead (killed by Andrew).

Anya is dead (killed by the Bringers).

Spike is dead (killed by the amulet).

Andrew avoids introspection; fantasy is so much more gratifying, so much less terrifying. All the same, he occasionally finds himself wondering who will kill him.


xvi – the Human Touch

Naturally, there are consequences from that night’s events.

Fresh memories of humanity color Dalton’s consciousness, despite his efforts to remain unobtrusive; this catches the Judge’s notice, with terminal results.

Tucker Wells, scorned and angry, banks his resentments (for now), focusing instead on the study of supernatural creatures.

Harmony, secretly but effectively marked, will be reborn in years to come as a remarkably atypical vampire.

Nancy (not Nancy Doyle, the other one) resolves to never consider any man who doesn’t care for her and for others.

And bands at the Bronze keep being requested to play something from Springsteen.

Repercussions.

Sunnydale.


xvii – Ex Post Facto

In lockup at Stockton, Faith thinks often of writing to Wesley. Not looking for help or forgiveness, but just to apologize.

Yeah, he was a shitty Watcher … but deep down, she knows the man she tortured had already grown beyond the one who narked her out to the Council.

The thought of laying herself out like that makes her cringe. Still, amends means doing what’s right. If that hurts, well, she’s earned any price she has to pay.

In the end, she abandons the idea. She’s part of his past now … and better for him if that’s where she stays.


xviii – the Still, Small Voice

Beth and her uncle barely speak on the drive back from South Carolina. She’s too ashamed to find the words, and he’s equally reticent.

What had she been thinking? Kidding herself, she admits in endless self-recrimination. Making herself believe what she wanted to be true: that she could escape her heritage, as Tara seemed to have done.

Robert Maclay is distant, withdrawn, and she knows of no way to reach him.

In the booth of a truck stop diner, he looks up abruptly and says, “I’m worried about Donny.”

Reaching out to her.

She hugs him, and they weep.


xix – Phase Shift

He’s genuinely angry with her — really angry, even shouting — yet she isn’t upset or offended.

She understands his reasons. The violent disruption of her engagement dinner, the way the huge man and the lithe woman traded blows like something from a superhero movie … sane people should flee that. Quickly.

But, flight or no, he wouldn’t leave the restaurant unless she went ahead of him. And she wouldn’t leave without him, period.

“If anything happened to you, I’d die,” she says finally.

“No.” His jaw sets. “I die protecting you. You die protecting our children.”

Eyes meet, and promise sealed. Forever.


xx – Dusk Over Pompeii

Willow keeps looking at her wrist, to see nothing.

It’s not, not right, somehow. She half-imagines … something, with feathers and wire, though she can’t remember ever seeing any such thing. (Like a dreamcatcher, except made to … protect? shield? She can’t catch the concept, can’t shake the conviction that it’s important.)

And Riley. He and Buffy are so good together, she’s glad for her friend; but whenever she sees him, she gets a weird ghost-memory of … dressing differently. Practical, forceful.

Never happened. But the memory-that-isn’t leaves her feeling oddly wistful.

… And she’s looking again at her wrist.
 

Questions? Comments? Any feedback is welcome!
 

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