Anyway,shapinglight thought I should write something in my Black Widow-verse and as I have been itching to go back there:
Title: Limblessly in Love
Word Count: 1255
Rating: PG-15, sex is mentioned
Pairing: Spike/Buffy (from OC POV)
Warnings: None, i.e. nothing like its mother-fic. Dr Fuller isn’t that kind of woman. At least, only with her soon to be ex husband.
Spoilers: Post-Chosen, companion piece to Black Widow.
Summary: When Buffy escapes the military, someone is going to take the flak.
Authors Note: You need to read Black Widow first. Prompt response to the sb_fag_ends prompt from Punk Month: Carcass.
“The Colonel wants to see you. We’ve lost her.”
These are not the words Dr Fuller expected to hear and nor are they welcome. She blinks, then looks up from her work at the soldier standing by the examination table; the blood sample is already congealing on the slide between her fingers. It seems as if the analysis will have to wait.
“Lost? Lost how?” she asks, not getting his meaning. “Dead?”
“No, m’am. I don’t believe so.”
That is a relief at least, but the summons is no less mysterious. “We can’t just ‘lose’ her.”
The soldier is agitated, uncomfortable, but gives nothing else away. The Colonel is probably fuming, she guesses. “I don’t know, m’am.”
The doctor sighs and slots the samples back into their rack in the refrigerator. She presses the door shut, taking a moment’s pause to gather herself. This wasn’t happening, it was just a mistake, she just needed to calm the Colonel down and everything would be fine. Her ass won’t be toast. Not today.
She’s still telling herself this as she finds the Colonel in his office. He’s angry; his jaw is set tightly and his eyes are looking for someone to supply immediate answers.
Dr Fuller thinks this time offense might just be her best defence. She summons up some useful righteous indignation and fires it at the officer. “Where is she? Your people were supposed to be watching her!”
“They were.” The Colonel rises to his feet, his hands pushing him up from the desk in an explosion of raw temper. “Don’t turn this upon my men.”
She shoves her hands into her pockets to remove the temptation to slap him because if it comes to that she won’t win. “What about the tracking device?”
“It’s been removed, or deactivated.”
That’s not good. “Shit.”
“She broke though your programming, Doctor,” he jabs a thick, pudgy finger at her. “You told us it was failsafe.”
She has no problem finding the anger now, but it’s colder than his. The idiot is hitting at her professional pride and that of her excellent team. He barely knows what she’s talking about, how dare he lay the blame on her. “It is. The new AX80 chipset has excellent performance stats and the power cell has a hundred years guaranteed life. Even if it did fail, there’s the Conditioned Reflex Training and the hypnotherapy. She wasn’t going anywhere. She didn’t want to. Why would she? She volunteered for this.”
“Then explain these.” The Colonel flips open a file, hands her a number of glossy surveillance photos.
She flicks through them. They are dark and grainy and taken through a telephoto lens, but they’re clear enough. She’s seen hundreds like them.
There’s a fight with the vampire identified as Hostile 17. He has history with the girl, they know all about that, but even if the sub-terrestrial had recognised the slayer, her chip wouldn’t fail. She wouldn’t remember that old life. “Hostile 17? But I don’t see—”
“Keep looking. He broke through the programming.”
“That’s impossible.” She assures him, but she’s not so sure herself. She keeps going through the wad of photos. The fight goes on. The hostile has a fine samurai sword, but they are evenly matched and neither makes much headway over the other. Yet as they continue, it’s clear that only one of them is truly fighting. The sword never lands a touch and is soon out of play. It’s evident that they are both enjoying this, aroused by the intimate physicality of the fight.
That’s nothing unusual; their girl has played with many this way before. She’s drawn to those she fights it seems and the slayer libido isn’t easily suppressed without the super-ego to control it through social norms and cultural shame. As always, the military haven’t intervened. As long as the sex is followed by the disposal of the hostile, then they prefer her to keep it away from the men, out of the base or confined to her quarters. They learned that lesson early on. She’s an experiment, not a discipline issue.
The coupling appears to be brief, which is the strangest thing about it, their slayer is usually more indulgent, harder to satisfy, but the girl is soon lashing out again, so there’s evidence that the conditioning remained good, even in such close proximity to someone from her previous life.
But then it’s clear something changes. The girl’s face softens as she holds the sword up for a finishing blow. The hard, expressionless resolve crumbling as some kind of doubt sets in. She’s crying.
“Oh,” is all Dr Fuller can find to say. “How?”
The Colonel rubs his chin. “He said her name. Her real one.”
“Oh,” she says again. Her mind rushing through a dozen scenarios, looking for a logical reason that makes something so simple able to undo all their hard work so very easily. “Her scans were normal. The enhancements were all working fine. Pupil dilation during the retina check was a bit off, but that’s normal for her. The only other difference was the firmware upgrade. I can talk to the Hardware Tech, but I don’t think it could be that. She was operating well within predicted parameters. Nothing new was forecast on the graphs.”
“Clearly, she wasn’t operating well.”
“There must have been something we missed,” she’s clutching at straws now, but Dr Fuller knows the science is good; her team are hand-picked and they check and triple-check everything. The Slayer was too valuable and too dangerous to be sent out on the streets without being totally sure of what they were doing. She dumps the photographs back in front of the Colonel. “We know she knew Hostile 17, but what do we really know about that?”
The Colonel sits back down behind his desk. He relaxes into the chair. “What are you thinking?”
“The only real wild card we have is emotion.” She starts to pace, absently twirling her wedding ring around her finger as she thinks aloud. “Emotion is hardwired into our judgement process and although we’ve been using chemical suppression to remove her usual emotional responses, we can’t eliminate them entirely or she’d be useless.” She taps the pile of photographs. “What do we really know of their prior relationship?”
The Colonel leans in to look at the file again, but the both know what it says well enough. “Brief sexual relations. Nothing else.”
“Hmm.” It was easier to think of the girl as something inhuman. Like the sub-terrestrials they were trying to erase. A carcass. A blank template. She belonged to the night as they did; too strong to control in the usual ways, too unnatural to keep free, but human in most ways. They had removed that, yet something in the slayer must still have had the desire for things that weren’t just sex, fighting or death. Dr Fuller looks down that the wedding ring she still wears despite the on-going divorce and the cheating scoundrel of a soon to be ex husband. “Maybe she loved him,” she says quietly.
The Colonel barks with laughter, but she’s serious.
She picks up the last of the photographs again; the one where the vampire and the slayer are just an upset girl curling into the comforting arms of her boyfriend out in the rain.
The tears were more than just fear. She loved him enough to swim up through layers of programming to break through to the surface.
For Spike, Buffy had woken up.