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Author: JoDi
Title: Chosen -3- Hard to Drown in the Shallow End
Fandom: BtVS
See contents for disclaimer and links to all chapters
Summary: Activating all the potentials has an unforeseen effect on Buffy and we find out what it really means to be Chosen.

Hard to Drown in the Shallow End

The bartender was worried. Correction. The bartender was terrified. The cause of this fear was the girl sitting at the bar.
She was slightly tipsy.

In a bar that wasn’t usually a problem, a bars’ sole purpose was to get people drunk, and the bartender’s job was to supply the alcohol. When a cheerleader could drink over two bottles of JD and still be sitting upright; she was a problem. More so when she had two swords strapped across her back.

“Hit me.”

The bartender immediately made her a double JD on ice, it wasn’t a voice you could disobey, and returned to his worries. He’d seen 7ft demons loose consciousness after drinking half as much…

“Hit me.”

At a slower pace... he slid her another drink.

He’d seen those same demons edge out of the bar for fear of being recognized when the girl arrived.

~ ~ ~

Buffy was bored. She sat in the demon bar contemplating her next move and trying her best to get drunk. It wasn’t working, her brain still worked depressingly well as her enhanced metabolism made short work of the alcohol.

In the past week she had systematically slain every violent demon in L.A. Where were all these apocalypses Angel boasted of? It was time to move on.

What do I want to do now?

Everyone seemed to have an idea what she should do. The most recent plan was for the Scoobies to go to guard the new… other Hellmouth.

When she had been uncooperative in their planning of her future, she had been given ‘time’ to deal with the Oracles revelations while her friends planned her life. Didn’t they see that having time was what was wrong?

At least she didn’t have to play den-mom to a crowd of potentials anymore. Somehow the assets of the Watchers Council had been accessed, through some act of computer wizardry… or witchery as the case may be.

Buffy laughed at her unspoken joke making the barkeeper jumped like a startled rabbit at the unexpected sound coming from his stoic customer.

Now all the potentials and remaining watchers had trust funds. A poor replacement for a sacred duty, but they were cared for.

Another shot slid down her throat.

Some of the potentials hadn’t wanted to give it up; they’d formed bands of demon hunters unable to contemplate doing anything else with their lives. But most were put off by their experiences in Sunnydale and merely went to any home they had.

She was glad they were gone. Too many of them hadn’t managed to hide the jealousy they felt that she had what they now knew would never again be theirs. One in particular would look her way with such hunger mixed with resentment that Buffy felt like yelling and shaking her until she finally understood that this wasn’t what she wanted.

That the news had taken Buffys hopes with it along with those of the potentials.

That her being ‘Chosen’ meant nothing. It was a curse not a boon, one she had gained entirely by luck, good or bad. Chosen because when her soul was young she had been past her first blood, a virgin, and biddable.

These were the qualities the Shadow men had looked for when they decided to transform a girl into a hero. The latter being the only trait which wasn’t controlled by mere chance, and compliance wasn’t something she had ever been proud of.

She had been unmarried and out of puberty, somehow this had caused her soul to be tied forever to that well of power, destined to protect the innocent for all time. And for this she had girls glaring at her with murder in their eyes; as if they wanted to test Buffys immortality just for the chance to be next.

Kennedy had led one of the first bands when it was made clear that if she fought with Buffy, The Slayer would make the decisions. That girl really couldn’t stand authority… unless it was her of course. Buffy vaguely remembered it being mentioned that she was heading off to an Indian hotspot.

Memo to me: find out where Ken went and avoid like the plague.

The last orders bell chimed. Buffy held up both hands to the barman and watched as a row of ten doubles were lined up on the bar. Downing them all in a minute flat she smiled as a light haze settled over her thoughts. Sweet oblivion.

~ ~ ~

Walking back to the hotel was annoyingly sobering. The scents on the warm air of a summer’s night in the city. The subtle sounds of the night. The distant awareness of the city’s now sole vampire inhabitant.

Her instincts telling her body to hunt, to fight. That now was the time her prey was weakest, as the suns impending presence stole the power from the night. Adrenalin flowed in preparation, ridding her body of toxins, readying her for the fight.

It took all her willpower to force herself towards her bed. With not only her own memories of Angelus but also those of her predecessors.

Memories of the massacres that spread across countries left in the wake of The Scourge of Europe… reminding her that behind his angelic face lay an enormous potential for destruction. No, The Powers needed all the champions they could get; killing one of the few would not aid her cause.

I can control myself. I am more than a Slayer.

As the front of the Hyperion came into view, Angel thankfully dropped off her senses, and the internal battle dulled. The urge to fight faded, though the desire to hunt wouldn’t completely leave until dawn.

The low mumble of voices attempting discretion filtered through the heavy doors.

“… not sure she can.”

“B..b..but it’s Buffy”

“I’m not entirely sure it is.”

Faith was leaning against a wall, not taking part in her friend’s conversation, but mulling over their words. Giles seemed unsure of how to word his next sentence, and unconsciously cleaned his glasses as he sorted his thoughts.

“She suddenly has the memories of countless slayers. Centuries. Most of which would be a life alone, with a watcher, ending in a violent death. We can’t even begin to understand the effect this would have on her.”

“Angel…” Willow interrupted.

“I know Angel went through something akin to this when he returned, but there’s no way to get them to get close enough for him to be of any help her. It was hard enough restraining her when he came to visit.” And they wouldn’t have been able to if Buffy herself hadn’t been using every ounce of will in her body to do the same. Watching his charge battle the Slayer within had been an eye opening experience, making clear just how much she had been changed.

Xander snorted, “What happened to Angel was nothing like Buff. He was remembering slaughtering thousands of innocents. She remembers fighting to protect innocents. Dead-boy can’t understand her.” As ever the venom in his tone when speaking of Angel was palpable.

“Yes… well that’s beside the point. None of us can understand what she is going through. That’s why I think -”

“Why don’t we get an answer straight from the cat’s mother?”

Faith decided to use this point to welcome the newest participant of the conversation drowning Giles’ words, and looking straight at the subject of their discussion.

“Hey B. Good Night?”

Continue to Chosen -4- Déjà Vu

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