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The Darkness Inside

Title: The Darkness Inside
Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Character/Pairing: Buffy, Faith, mild Angel/Buffy
Rating: PG-13/T
Challenge/Prompt: nekid_spike 30in30: Day 27: Never Forget
Warning(s): None
Word Count: 1,456
Date Written: 29 May 2017
Summary:
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.





Never forget. The words echo in Buffy's mind as she watches Faith's body speed away. She can't catch the truck even with her superior speed. The other Slayer is gone, but more than that: She's dead. There's no way she can live through the wound Buffy just gave her even if the fall didn't kill her.

She's dead. She's gone. Buffy is again the only Slayer, unless somebody else gets called by Faith's death. But regardless, the girl who showed her so much, the girl who Buffy once thought was so much like her, is dead.

Never forget. The words resonate in Buffy's mind as her hands curl into tight fists. She won't forget what Faith was. She won't forget who she was. She won't forget her mistakes and won't make the same mistakes she did. Their power isn't a source of freedom, Buffy knows. It's a responsibility, and as old and cliche as that sounds, it's nonetheless true. She won't let the power corrupt her. She won't fall to it like Faith did. She won't fall to her death as she did.

Slowly, Buffy turns away. Her body aches, but the fight's far from over. Faith's life, and their fight, is over, but soon, she's gotta go after the Mayor. There's somebody else she has to see first, though, somebody else she has to face. Perhaps she should have done it from the start, but here now, alone, having seen what the darkness can do, Buffy can finally admit, even if only silently to herself, that she was afraid.

She and Faith aren't that very much different after all. There is a darkness inside of her, one she never truly recognized until Faith sparked its interest. It was always there, though, Buffy knows, always there just hiding underneath the surface. There was a part of her that wanted to join Angel when he became Angelus rather than kill him, a part of her, too, that wanted to take the coward's way out and keep hiding.

But she can't do that. She's the Slayer. She can't hide not from herself, not from her own desires, not from Faith, and not from him. She also can't ignore the fact that the man she loves, who will also be a powerful ally in the upcoming final battle against the Mayor, will die without her blood. She has to give it to him. She has to save him. But that's all she can give him.

This has to stop, Buffy knows as tears fill her green eyes. As much as she loves him, she can not give into the darkness, and it calls her, whispering her name, gnawing at her insides for her attention, roaring to be acknowledged every time she kisses him, every time she lets him hold her close. Every time they're together, she wants to give in. She wants to become one with him even though she knows the darkness that will bring crashing back down across her entire world.

Angelus killed Miss Calendar. Because of him, Kendra is dead too. And yet there's a part of Buffy who still wants to break him free because she understands that being with Angel will eventually lead to his escape again. It's the only way, she thinks. She's got to give him her blood this time, but that's all they can have. She won't let Angelus out again. She won't cave to the darkness again.

"You're just like me, B, and you know it. You know it, and you hate it."

I'm not just like you, Buffy thinks, shivering. But she is a lot like her. There, but for the grace of God, go I. She's heard those words before. It's been a long time, but she's heard them. She's heard them, and she finally understands them.

She looks back one last time at where Faith jumped from the building. She didn't fall, Buffy knows. She jumped. She jumped on purpose. One last temptation, one last threat that hangs heavy, if unspoken, in the humid air around her. She always wanted her to be just like her, but she won't do it. She won't let the darkness corrupt her. She won't be like Faith.

She won't give in -- not to the power, not to the darkness, not to the responsibility, and not to Faith. She will live her life by her own rules. She won't let being a Slayer stop her from having friends, and she won't let being a Slayer dictate who she is or what she does with her future -- and she will have one. She'll have one filled with family and friends, if not the man she loves. It might take Angel from her. She might have to let him go in order to keep from succumbing to the darkness living inside of her every moment, but that's the only thing she'll let being a Slayer do to her. She will live her life on her terms, and when the time comes, she will die on her own terms too.

Buffy holds her head up high despite the tears welling in her eyes. This fight's been coming a long time, and she's not even thinking about the Mayor right now, or about the fight that killed the one girl who could have, and should have, been like a sister to her. She's thinking about the fight against her own self, her own impulses, her own dark nature. She went after Faith's blood because that was the easy way, but she should have known better. She never gets to take the easy way out.

This time's no different, but after it, there will be a difference. She's going to win this fight. She's going to win this war, and not just for all the people who are depending on her but for she herself. She won't succumb to the darkness. She won't let the power do to her what it did to Faith. And she won't forget. Not today, not tomorrow, or even a dozen years from now if she's lucky to live that long.

She won't forget what the power did, what the darkness claimed. She won't forget Faith, and she won't forget Angel even after he's out of her life. She also won't forget what she allowed him to do, what so much of her wants to allow him to do again. She won't forget the darkness, but she also won't bow to it. She rolls up her sleeves. It's time to save Angel, and then she's going to kick the Mayor's ass for good. She's going to go save the world again, but on her terms with her friends and while making him pay for everything he let happen.

She could have saved Faith, she thinks not for the first time. She could have saved her if it wasn't for the darkness and all the Mayor's promises. She was looking for a family when she first came to Sunnydale. That's why she was so jealous of Buffy and her friends. The Mayor offered her that when they failed to do so, but it was all a lie just to get her to help him. There are many people to blame for Faith's death, and although Buffy dealt the final blow, the Mayor's just as guilty as she is.

Maybe she'll let a little darkness rip open on him, but she won't stop until he regrets taking Faith to his side. She won't stop until he knows, once and for all, that a Slayer is a force far greater than anything he should have messed with. She won't stop until Faith's death is avenged, and even after that, she won't forget her. She'll never forget her or the lesson she taught her: The darkness is real. It's inside of her, a part of her always, but she'll never succumb to it. She'll kick its ass just like she does every Demon who makes the mistake of trying to conquer the world from her corner of it.

She'll always fight for the right. She'll always fight against evil, and that includes the dark part of the power Buffy knows is always inside her. Want. Take. Have. The darkness wanted Faith. It took her, but it won't take Buffy. She won't let it. She'll never stop fighting against it, and one day, she'll find a way to make it pay too for taking her fellow Slayer. Faith should have been her sister. They were two of a kind in more ways than anybody else save the two of them will ever know. But she's dead now. She's dead, and the war wages on. Buffy holds her head high and thrusts onward in the battle.

The End

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