Disclaimer: Needless to say, I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer... but we know life ain't fair, so I'm over it :-)
Set after events of the episode "Homecoming"
Growing up. You haven’t grown up until you’ve had to make hard decisions. Really hard decisions. You aren’t a soldier until you’ve taken a life. Well, Buffy had been a soldier for a long time, but tonight had driven it home in a way nothing else ever had before. It had shown her the true nature of the game. The reality of her situation. The choices she would have to make – probably at least several more times... no, definitely
and for the rest of her life – if she were to survive as a slayer for any length of time.
Buffy nearly threw up when she saw the results of her simple and effective idea. She knew it wasn’t her fault. Knew it had been the right choice, even. They’d been trying to kill her, after all. Still, they were human. At least, approximately. They’d been trying to kill her for sport and for money, so they were far from innocent. Still, they were dead. Dead and bloody, so much human meat on opposite sides of a wall in a place so mundane as a high school.
A dab of toilet paper. That’s all it had taken. To turn their own tools back on them. To feed them a better target than her or Cordelia, who wasn’t even a slayer. Did they deserve death? Did it matter? She’d heard it said that any day above ground was a good day, but she’d had enough sucky days to know that it didn’t always feel true.
Even tonight, Buffy wasn’t sure just how she felt. Well, she felt relieved to have survived. She would get over this. She would not, however, forget their blood, their eyes slowly glazing over; the hands that no longer clutched weapons of such power. There was no power in death. Only power to bring death and the ultimate power that death has over all things that live.
It was a good night. The first time Buffy took human life deliberately and with forethought.
It would be a good night every time Buffy survived. That was what she would tell herself each time. Though the toll was mostly demon, the body count was high and every life had its own tale. Such is the burden of a soldier. Such is the burden of those who survive.
Inspired by a passage in Cordyfan’s story A Sunnydale Summer, part of his amazing seriesA Different Future
- The very best Cordelia centered series ever and one of the best series on TtH.