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Choosing - Chosen -4- Déjà Vu

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Author: JoDi
Title: Chosen -4- Déjà Vu
Fandom: BtVS
Disclaimer:
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.

Déjà Vu

“Hey B. Good Night?”

Buffy slowly moved out of the shadows of the doorway into the foyer of the hotel.

“Hi, Guys”

As her friends seemed shocked into silence by her sudden appearance, she made her way to the weapons storage and calmly started disarming herself while the entire room followed her movements.

Sword and sheath were unbuckled and placed in Angel’s now empty weapons cabinets. Then numerous throwing knives emerged from all over her body with two long slim blades removed from sheaths at the small of her back. Finally a multitude of stakes emerged from the streamlined curves of her clothing.

“That‘s a mighty fine arsenal you got there lil lady… did the Buffinator get much action tonight?”

A scowl crossed Buffy’s features as the reason for her evening on a barstool came back to her but Faith pre-empted any reply that Buffy could have made.

“I’d be surprised if there’s a vamp left in the whole city. I know it’s been days since I could find one.”

She looked up ironically at her fellow slayer “I thought you went to see Angel yesterday?”

“Buffy!”

Buffy looked up apologetically at her sister, obviously this was not the time for jokes. It was harder now, with her hyperactive senses, to ignore the fact that Dawn was not truly her sister. The Key’s energy ebbing and flowing as it’s pumped through every inch of her body. Looking at her sister she couldn’t help but see it and remember the life she’d had without her.

She knew Dawn was hurting from the perceived rejection of her constant absence. Hopefully she believed it was due to their betrayal in Sunnydale, not her origins. Dawn not being human had always been a touchy subject.

She tuned back in to her surroundings as Faith answered Buffy, oblivious to the distraction caused by Dawn’s interruption “… as bored as I am by the lack of anything slay worthy. Damnit B, did you have to scare off everything without a pulse?”

The disgruntled expression returned to Buffy’s face “Well you’ll be happy to know I didn’t find anything to fight either.”

“You didn’t? Then where have you been all night, why didn’t you come back? I‘ve hardly seen you for weeks”

Or not.

Dawns face crumpled, resisting the urge to cry. She had always complained about Buffy’s over protectiveness, but the apathy that seemed to have replaced it was upsetting.

“I’m sorry Dawnie. I know I’ve been a bad sister. It’s just been hard for me.” She tried to pull her sister into a hug, concentrating on the past three years, trying to block the time she now remembered clearly without a sister, but when she drew Dawn shied away sniffing disgustedly.

“You’ve been drinking!” Buffy shied away from her sisters gaze, ashamed now to admit where she had spent her evening… and night. “Is this what you’ve been doing all this time? You’ve ignored your friends,” a sob broke through Dawns composure “family, left us to deal with the potentials, your future, everything while you got drunk??”

Heeding her sisters words she looked, really looked around at the people in the room in a way she hadn’t for the past week and Buffy realized how much she had missed. Xander’s face was gaunt from lack of food and sleep, Willows eyes were red and puffy from tears and even Dawn had a pale tinge to her features, which she hadn’t had before.

They were all mourning people; Anya’s death, Kennedy’s abandonment, Spike’s death. Even Faith had grieved after Robin Wood’s final demise in hospital, and Buffy had magnified all their pain by her actions and her failure in her duties to her family.

Duties, which had nothing to do with the slaying that Buffy had thrown herself into with, abandon since their visit to the Oracles.

Her obligation to stand by her friends and comfort them in their losses. Instead that had been left to Giles who looked lost and emotionally drained by recent events. She came out of her thoughts to hear her mentors’ sad voice reproaching her for her actions.

“…we all know what happened the last time you tried to drown your sorrows.” Disapproval of this new revelation was clearly written over all her friends’ faces.

“Yeah Buff, A revisit to primal slayer really isn’t what we need now”

In spite of her realization of how much she had abandoned her friends that almost made Buffy laugh. As far as they all knew she’d hardly drunk anything since that incident. They knew nothing about her, then successful, attempts to drown her sorrow after her resurrection.

“I’m sorry guys, I haven’t been here for you these past few weeks, I’ve just got a lot to deal with”

“You think we all don’t?” Willow’s resolve face was firmly in place “Buffy, you haven’t dealt with anything. You’ve lost yourself in slaying, so much so that you’ve hardly been here except to sleep. And obviously as soon as you cant forget about it that way, you’ve switched to drinking. This isn’t healthy, you have to accept what’s happened.”

“I know you can move through this. But you cant do it alone.” Buffy smiled sadly at Giles. The time that she had needed his support was long gone.

If he had stayed when they had found out where she’d been before they raised her. He was the only one apart from Spike that she could have opened up to then. Her friends were too guilty about their parts in her resurrection, and Dawn was too upset that she wasn’t glad to be ‘home’.

~ ~ ~

Looking again at the group of people standing around her she had the strangest sense of déjà vu. The setting was different, and there were people missing who could never be replaced, but the mood was the same. Forced cheer and rapport between friends who had become strangers. The tension in the air was palatable, once again they had seen her empty, they needed reassurance that she was coming back together.

“It's because they care about you a lot. When you were gone ... it was bad when you were gone. But it'll be better now. Now that they can see you being happy. That's all they want.” Dawns words floated back to her over the years, once again forcing her to comfort her friends.

This time they were older, they had more scars on their souls. Willow had the shadow of Tara’s death, and her reaction to it still hanging over her, Xander was guilty of his treatment of Anya, especially in light of her sacrifice.

Once more she had to force a smile onto her face for her friends, to take away the blame they still felt for their lack of trust.

So she locked up the part of her that had been hurt, suppressed all the new memories, and let the babbling teen out. She had played a part for so many years, hiding the age-old weariness that comes with slaying under jokes and blonde-like ignorance. It was far too easy to once again slip into the role, apologize, smile, tease.

Subtly make them forget that she hadn’t had time to fix herself. That this was just another shell covering up the shattered soul inside. Her consciousness of her actions faded as she retreated inwards, letting her mouth talk inanely for her, distancing her even further from the people in front of her.

The figure that had been leaning casually against the wall, hiding in the shadows caught her eye as it started to edge out.

There was no resemblance to her former confidant, unless you count the sexual prowess that emanated off both of them. But in her eyes was the same mixture of pity, sorrow… and the hope without expectations that had drawn her to the bleached vampire after her resurrection. An encouraging smile crossed Faith’s features, so unlike her normally superior smirk.

Then as suddenly as it had come, it was gone, as was she. Disappearing up into the hotel.

Whatever had been coming out of her mouth must have worked; she was being drawn into a loving hug by her sister and best friend. Tears shimmered on their eyelashes. When she was able to excrete herself from the group with promises of milkshakes with her sister, mochas with Willow and training with Giles, Buffy walked wearily up the stairs in search of the enigmatic slayer.

~ ~ ~

She finally found her on the roof of the hotel; the air was cooler so high up, the breeze taking away the worst of the smell of tar and car fumes that assailed her on the streets. She was sitting on the edge, swinging her legs over the 5-storey drop. Buffy went to sit next to her, taking in the view. They sat there for what could have been minutes or hours, both lost in thought, unaware of time before Faith finally acknowledged her presence still staring blankly over the city

“Already finished the group kiss and make up?”

“No.”

“You should go back to them.”

Déjà Vu

As if in a different timeline Buffy dazedly replied, “I don't want to.”

“No doubt they’ll still be there when you decide you do.” Faith gracefully rose to leave.

“Faith…”

“You don't have to say anything.”

“I was going to leave.” Faith stopped as she was about to climb back in the window of the hotel. “There would have been hundreds… thousands. They wouldn’t need me.” It wasn’t the whole truth; that she’d expected to leave in a much more permanent way than was implied. But it was enough. For now.

“You’ll always be needed B”

Buffy sighed in acceptance “I know. And I’ll always be there… for eternity.” she knew on a conscious level that it was pointless to still grieve the peace she’d lost. She could remember being drawn from it countless times as she was reborn, but the pain of being ripped forcefully out still stung like an open wound.

“Death is your art. You make it with your hands, day after day. That final gasp. That look of peace… Every Slayer has a death wish.”

Even then, Spike had understood her so much better than those she spent her time with. He lived with her in the night. Something inside came alive when she was enshrouded in darkness. He had been the only one to understand the monster within. The effect of the hunt, the kill.

She could feel Faith’s worried gaze on her back. Somehow, after taking the death wish to the extreme of turning against her calling, Faith had found something to live for in redemption. Friends, Family, they were never enough to give a slayer the will to live, but the need to atone, to earn forgiveness for her sins was keeping Faith alive, by forcing herself to survive the next battle, to save more innocents. Until she had earned her gift.

“You don’t have to go.”

“You came up here to be alone.”

Buffy smiled and shook her head, but formed the words that were still appropriate. “That’s okay. I can be alone with you here.”

Unsure weather this was a good or bad reflection on their relationship, Faith awkwardly lowered herself back onto her spot on the roof’s edge. Comforted somewhat by the weary smile Buffy sent her way, she returned to her thoughts, gazing over the city.

The last Slayer and the Chosen One sat together, watching as the rising sun burst over the horizon, heralding a new day. Calmed by the presence of a kindred spirit, tears of regret for her losses started to silently streak down Buffy’s face.

Continue to Chosen -5- A House of Cards

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