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  • Drabbles

    With one exception, these were all initially posted on my LiveJournal for the open_on_sunday community. I didn't like posting them here one at a time, so here they are as a group; it's possible one or two have been posted here before, though.

    I don't believe any of these are above PG-13 in content. I considered arranging them in categories--horror, humor, and so on, but so many of them have twists that they would be spoiled by that category alone.

    All characters belong to Joss Whedon unless otherwise indicated.


    Behind Bars


    Prompt: bars

    The girl with the veiny face didn't need a door. When the soldiers ignored her superstitious foolery about wishes, she vanished in a flash of light.

    A pair of cloaked creatures were in a cell, then still being tasered, then marched through the corridors. In the end, they walked out before they entered.

    She hopes the college "boy" who was sucked through the floor by his angry parents will stay in his own dimension, but how can one tell? He got here once already.

    Maggie Walsh understands now. It will never be enough. She can't keep them all behind bars.

    In Exchange for Her Soul


    prompt: time

    "Because I demand it." Illyria extends the drawing in one leather-clad hand. Her voice crackles, brittle and bitter. "You have the power."

    "I can't." You don't know what you're asking, Willow wants to inform her, though she knows the hellgod understands all too well--better than her, even. "I won't."

    "Your fear of yourself grows tiresome, Willow Rosenberg." She brandishes the bottle of sand. "Power exists to be seized."

    "That's not it." Willow closes her fingers on the Orb. Pushes it away. "What you did was terrible....and I won't do it to you. You're real. The past is gone."

    Final Cause


    prompt: cause

    "So my material cause is, like muscles and blood and stuff, and my formal cause?" Buffy wondered if this would make more sense were she not on her third mug of beer.

    "That'd be your nice, curvy shape," Terrence explained. "Your Buffiness."

    "My efficient cause would be...my parents, I guess."

    "Right. And your final cause would be whatever it is you're here to do. I'm a philosopher--that's my final cause. You can't get away from that one."

    She was stuck, wasn't she? Buffy growled softly and thumped her mug. "There'll be no more Aquinas at this table, mister."

    In Retrospect...
    prompt: cause
    Setting: Sometime during Buffy S4

    "...moreover, though their perdition depends on the predestination of God, the cause and matter of it is in themselves." Spike looked up from his book. "In other words, luv...you can be evil one way, or you can be evil another, but you're gonna be evil. Get used to it."

    "You're trying to snow me," Harmony grouched. "You know I don't have a clue what you're talking about."

    "That's what the man says," Spike said with a shrug. "Not sayin' I believe the rest of it, but he's got it explained about right. So quit whinging already. Demons don't change."

    Whys and Wherefores
    prompt: cause
    Setting: Prior to "War Zone"

    "Look...I ain't done nothin' to you," complained the vampire. She'd risen from her grave only to find herself surrounded by a bunch of angry-looking guys with stakes and axes. "I went to school with you people. We were friends."

    "I ain't friends with no vampire," Alonna said from beside her brother, brandishing her stake.

    "Sorry, Renee," Devon said uncomfortably. "If you were really the girl I went out with, it'd be different."

    "Well," Renee reasoned, trying to ignore her rumbling stomach, "if I'm someone new, how's this fair?"

    Gunn decided he'd had enough, and swung his axe. "Just 'cause."

    Face It
    prompt: oil

    "Don't even think about it, Dawnie." She hated it when Buffy came up behind her like that! "I know it's painful, but not even the Slayer gets to use violence every time."

    "I look at it and I just wanna destroy it, Buffy. It's disgusting." Some things were just beyond evil, that was all there was to it. "What'd I do to deserve this?"

    "Dawn, I'm sorry this had to happen today, but trust me. Don't do it. You'll only make things worse." Buffy pulled out a bottle and handed it over. "This'll clear up your skin in no time."

    Artistic License
    prompt: oil

    It was messy, this slippery stuff, and Angel loved working with it. He didn't, he realized, need brush or pen. All he needed to do was dip his fingers in and smear. This was real art. A streak of red formed beneath his hands, taking shape gradually, conveying precisely the message he intended.

    Okay, so he was never going to get it all off his hands, not to vampire senses. But Angel quickly concluded that he could deal with that.

    "It's kinda flattering," Willow said, trying to be nice, "but, Angel, I really think you should stick to pencil drawings."

    Point of View
    prompt: oil
    Set in the same AU as my "Bringing Gifts"

    "I don't buy this cycle of nature crap," Buffy grumbled. "Vampires are demons. They're not natural."

    "No more unnatural than humans are," Tara explained for the umpteenth time. "Humans burn oil and and spew toxins and exterminate entire species. Are machines more natural than magic?"

    Dawn waited impatiently, silent and sullen, wondering how many times she was going to have to sit through this argument. Buffy always wanted the last word.

    "You're hung up on this good/evil dualism, Buffy. We're saving the world, one human at a time." Tara bared her fangs and sank them into the motorist's neck.

    Bottom of the Barrel
    prompt: charity

    He was so tired.

    Angel just wanted the day to be over so that he could walk into his apartment, drop into bed, and forget that he was running an evil law firm. Failing that, there was always that death ray....

    "No," he said. "I'm not giving you a raise, Harmony."

    "But I found all that information on the contracts for you," she protested. "I showed initiative and I didn't make any mistakes and I deserve a raise."

    Angel stood, looming over her. "You don't deserve anything," he grated. "Not staking you is charity. Now get out before I do."


    Holtz and Holiday
    prompt: charity

    "Yeah, thanks," Ned grumbled as the old man dropped a single crisp bill into the collection pot. "Real generous of you."

    "Perhaps you should look more closely," the geezer suggested amiably.

    Ned removed the bill and studied it. "It's not even real. What's your deal, man?" It was green, sure, but it wasn't even the right size to be the dollar bill it claimed to be. And all the art was wrong, too.

    "Find yourself an antiquities dealer," the old man said with a hint of pique, and walked away.

    Ned sighed. No way was this fresh bill an antique.

    ...And the American Way

    prompt: destruction

    The color of death is white.

    White walls, white ceilings, white floors. White, white beds like the one you're strapped to. White like the doctors' lab coats. White like the lights that glint off a surgeon's blade as he hovers over you.

    "I don't like the way this one's looking at me. This just doesn't feel right. I'm supposed to do no harm."

    The Evil Bitch Monster of Death glares. "It's a sub-terrestrial. You're protecting humanity. You're preserving our country's way of life."

    You really think so, professor? But the drugs have wired your jaw shut.

    The scalpel bites deep.

    She'll Be Waiting in Los Angeles
    prompt: destruction

    There was no point to this exercise. Angel's green-skinned lackey could do nothing for her. Illyria created her own destiny. Nor was it fitting to accept a gift offered "freely"; tribute was exacted by right.

    Yet.... Her home was no more. Vala'hanesh had been a charnel house for so many aeons that only dust remained of her army of conquest. All, save her own person, had been destroyed.

    So she took up an alien meter and the most fitting human lyrics she could recall. "...no, you can't go back to Constantinople, been a long time gone, Constantinople..."

    Faintly, Lorne smiled.

    If At First You Don't Succeed
    prompt: auto

    "I tried," Harmony groused. "I tried that spooky 'Be in me' schtick Spike told me about. It didn't work." Her co-workers nodded sympathetically. "So this geek brought up Star Wars, and I tried 'We're not the vampires you are looking for.' That didn't work either. I mean, I guess I shouldn't give up. But I don't think practice is gonna do it. Thrall must be automatic. Either you've got it or you don't."

    Harmony shook her head. "It's just not cool. I should be able to do that."

    "You should be able to," Cerulean agreed.

    Isabelline nodded. "It's not cool."

    Night Work
    Not everything about vampire "biology" is an advantage...especially when you're undead and job hunting! Set at Wal-Mart, 'cause that's where I have the misfortune to work.

    prompt: screen
    **
    "We never have enough unloaders," the Personnel Associate confided in Harmony. "Some of your answers...well, they're a little odd, but you seem willing to...work." The woman trailed off, and Harmony tried to look anywhere but at the vein throbbing invitingly in her neck. She needed this job, needed any job, or she was going to end up on the street! Stupid Angel and his lame recommendation! "I was wrong about you being strong enough to do this, so there's just one more thing: the drug screen." She tossed a plastic bag and cup onto the table.

    Darn it!

    Good, Be Thou My Evil

    They're out there, you know.

    The monsters. Fearsome, disgusting creatures that live for no purpose but destruction. They hate us for being better than they are. They'll never stop, never, till we're dead or they are.

    Someone has to stop them, to kill them. That's why you exist, why you were made. Why you're special. There's no one else like you in all the world.

    And I'm sure this is all very confusing for you, because to make you, we had to take from them. But you're not like them. You're better, so much better.

    Sleep well, Adam, my son.

    Seeking Asylum
    prompt: doctor

    Setting: Post-"Normal Again"

    As usual, Buffy Summers was doing nothing at all.

    It was his job to take care of her--during the catatonic episodes and the violent ones, too. He had come so close, two years ago, to--well, they didn't say "cure" here, but restoring something of the wonderful girl she'd been.

    So it was time to try something else.

    The new girl was no beauty. Her face and much of her body were masses of unfeeling scar tissue. She hadn't spoken a single word since the fire.

    "Buffy...I want you to meet Ms. Winifred Burkle. She needs your help."

    Ashes to Ashes

    prompt: doctor

    Disclaimer: Doctor Strange is the property of Marvel Comics. All others belong to Joss Whedon.

    "...so, yeah, technically it was black magic, and it was only Doctor Strange's really immense willpower that kept the Darkhold from turning him evil. Casting the Montesi Formula destroyed all the Marvel Universe's vampires, even Dracula, who'd made himself unkillable. They just turned to ash wherever they were."

    The Slayer wannabes were--for once--hanging on Andrew's every word. Bugger, Spike thought. Little git's liable to give someone ideas. "You ask me," he said out loud, "doesn't sound very sporting."

    Willow laid a hand on his shoulder. "Don't worry," she said softly. "Not something I'd even think of doing. Ever."

    Stress Fractures
    prompt: doctor

    Setting: post-"The Body"

    Being a doctor in Sunnydale just didn't pay.

    Neck rupture. Morgue vanishings. The constant evaporation of blood stock. That was just the tip of the iceberg; there were a million bizarre conditions here, ranging from spontaneous invisibility to radical memory transfer, that no medical textbook ever discussed.

    And if all those people were really on PCP, how come none of them ever overdosed?

    No wonder poor Mrs. Summers' followup tests had missed that problem. They were all stretched beyond human endurance, down to the EMTs.

    "I just wish my patients would stop dying," Doctor Rodriguez mumbled.

    "Done," replied the janitor.

    Running on Empty
    prompt: missing

    She'd done what she had to. Not that reminding herself was any help. Since she'd left Willow there was this huge empty spot in her, like something was missing inside, and Tara had no idea how to fill it. The Scoobies all wanted to know when they were getting back together, and there was nothing to say on that subject. She'd talked to her other friends, too--all two of them. And using magic--any magic--made her feel bad for Willow.

    Tara licked her lips twice and let the dead girl crumple. That's what it was. Much better now.

    Missing Links
    prompt: missing

    Setting: Post S4

    "Think Buffy 'n' Riley're okay?" Willow raised her glass again.

    "Why wouldn' they be?" Tara looked tipsy already; Xander wasn't sure she'd ever drank before. "They know their Slayin'."

    :"They'll be fine. What I want to know," Xander asked, "is where you got this great beer, Anya?"

    "Spike," Anya said cheerily, making him splutter. "I don't know where he nicked it from, but I like it."

    "You don't know where he got it?" Xander set his glass down queasily.

    "Wha's it matter?" Tara seemed baffled. "I'ss good."

    Willow's eyebrows crept above her hairline. "Hon, you really don't want to know."

    And Pitiless As The Sun
    Prompt: "slow(ly)"

    This brief tale was inspired by Yeats' poem "The Second Coming".

    "But what does it mean?" The acolyte dipped his head low, fearing to look upon his master.

    "My son," said the elder comfortingly, "we do not know. We have written down the prophecy as it was told to us. All we can do now is await its slow fulfillment. Those who live through the events will understand."

    "Hundreds of years from now," the acolyte murmured.

    "Thousands," his teacher corrected patiently.

    "But...a vampire with a soul? A child of vampires? Such things are impossible."

    "Impossible?" The elderly priest's brow lifted. "All miracles are impossible," he suggested, "until first made real."

    Late Adopter
    Prompt: "slow"

    Angel studied the mysterious text a moment longer, then gave it up as a bad job. "Wesley! Some help here!" Fred might do as well or better, but was up to her neck in demons at the moment. Seeing Spike and Gunn fighting their way toward her, Wes broke away from his attackers long enough to glance at the symbols.

    ZOMG! U R L8 4 CONF.! EVE >:-O !
    ***
    "You nearly got Fred killed over a meeting!" Angel fumed. "We were in the middle of a Zahra horde!"

    "Geez, boss." Harmony cringed. "I can't help it if you're a little slow."

    Time Dilation
    prompt: slowly

    Seeing him like this, that was hell. Suddenly so baffled, suddenly so helpless. And it made no difference, she had no choice--the universe demanded a sacrifice. The sword seemed to float through molasses, driving inch by inch toward Angel's chest.

    He would die. Would suffer for all eternity. And the world would escape.

    Just one thrust. It seemed to take forever. And why not?

    Why should she get off lightly for doing this?

    She was killing the man she loved.

    Sending him to hell.

    She deserved
    to suffer
    with
    him.

    Just
    one
    more
    inch.

    Just
    one
    more
    s
    e
    c
    o
    n
    d
    .
    .
    .

    Wake Up!
    Prompt: "quick"

    "Stay back!" Giles' warning came too late; Buffy sank her fangs into Joyce's neck.

    Giles, help! Some tiny part of Buffy struggled to let go--it was her mother!--but succeeded only after the woman went limp in her arms.

    "You despicable filth." Giles came at her, stake raised, and she snapped his neck. The blood still hot, she drank her fill, then dropped his corpse onto the pile.

    And still she was somewhere in there, desperately trying to get out. Her one consolation: at this point the end of the dream always came quickly.

    Buffy waited.

    And waited.

    And...

    Fanfic
    prompt: quick
    Setting: "Buffy", mid-S2

    "Will, what the frilly heck is this?"

    Beet-red, Willow pulled the laptop away from Buffy. "It's just a ficathon. I hafta finish three stories double-quick, 'cause I promised. I keep my promises, y'know?"

    "I thought you weren't going to spend so much time online after we had to kill your cyberdemon boyfriend." Buffy scooted around, trying to get a better look at the screen. "Who's this 'Dax' guy? What kind of a name is Dax, and why's he...doing that to 'Kira'?"

    Willow grew even redder. "I didn't choose the pairing. Though...strangely hot. Now get out and lemme finish!"

    Disjointed
    Prompt: "quick"
    Very weird idea came to me while I was trying to get to sleep. Angel S5, if it isn't obvious.

    She'd come in with the papers, and...and... Sweaty. Silly Harmony, vampires don't sweat...

    "...wouldn't be sitting on our arses if it were Fred, I told Angel, and he hit me..."

    "Sparkly," she murmured. "It was...sparkly."

    Spike squeezed her hand. "'Twas."

    "...don't understand how a vampire can run a fever." Knox, all freaking out.

    "Out!" Spike was shouting. "Just bloody stop poking at her!" Just her and Blondie-Bear now...

    "...Fred's not giving up on you," he muttered. "The others--"

    "Bl--Spike." Shaking all over now. She clutched at his arm. "Make...it quick."

    The stake shattered.

    Just

    her

    luck
    Last edited by Mabus; 07-08-08, 05:35 PM.
    DeadWar: Burden of Proof
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