Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

Robotic Quixotic
By Wolfram
For Kat

Most days, she doesn't need a fortune teller. Doesn't need a seer, an oracle, a prognosticator. Doesn't need a Cleo, a Warwick, a psychic friend. Buffy wishes for surprise, for something torrid and shocking, but knows it will not come to her. Her plan is set, and each day's monotony reminds her of death. It is a steady decay she faces. Her itinerary is rot.

Her days are long now, and filled with such lack of inspiration that she wonders if The Powers have writer's block. The cosmic cauldron expels no creativity for her. It is shut, unyielding, and she has no strength with which to pry it open. She is powerless. Desireless.

She hates the daytime. The light is different than she remembers. In her mind, her soft-focus recollection, it was never this bright. When she steps out into it, the cloth of her dress catching on errant wind current, she feels it on her like a gaze, spying, investigating, searching for flaw, imperfection, some barely distinguishable slight of soul. It is a spotlight she does not yearn for. It invades.

If it is hot, it is desert, prickly heat, unforgiving, swelter-flamed. If it is cold, it is arctic, searing cold, unrelenting, lung-frozen.

Most days are just like yesterday, and the day before, and the day before. So when she finds the VHS-C tape adapter, with the small camcorder cassette safely enclosed inside, shoved into a She-Ra video box, she becomes curious. She wonders what journey it made to come down here, to the basement, to these videos, where nothing has been touched in ages. She wonders why it has no dust on it. She wonders why it smells not of must and basement mold, but of Willow.

She takes it to the living room, where nobody sits but her. She listens, to make sure nobody is there, though she knows they are all gone, having left her to their daily efforts, and she is alone, and all doors are locked.

Uneasy, she reaches out for the VCR remote. It feels cool, like a metal street pole in wintertime. Her hands run studiously over the black plastic, and instantaneous effective memory synapses flash instructions to thumb and forefinger. The buttons have no words to describe their function. Only modern technological symbology, arrows and blocks and painted geometric pattern. Her thumb runs over and between the grooves, polished French tips moving across Power, Menu, Stop, Rewind, Fast Forward, and:



The image is fuzzy at first. Scratchy lines of rainbow color descend across the screen. Everything exists in magnetic blur. Then, slowly, it starts to clear. The VCR tracks automatically, self-knowingly. The picture flips into place.

Buffy sees herself, and she is touching Willow. Impossibly, she watches as her mirror-self explores Willow's pale December skin with real, deliberate want. She does not immediately realize what she sees, and then, after a second or two, it is apparent. It is the Buffybot.

But it does not move like machine. It does not jerk and piston. It looks like a girl. It looks like her. Video Buffy does things. Performs acts with aplomb. It is apparent that this was no quick course. She has been programmed well, over a goodly length of time. Willow has taught her many tricks. It must have been a long, long summer.

She watches the thing that Spike used, that Willow uses, even now, and she is envious. She is jealous, coldly, detachedly, infuriated, and watches the robot, the she that she cannot be: She, wary. She, libidinous. She, desiring. She, desirable.

She closes her eyes, does not want to see. Refuses the visual assault, streaming at her worse than truth. She hears it, though. Her eyes are closed but the ears, they are still listening, absorbing, intaking. The sounds are tinny, but easily recognizable. They are sexual, bestial. She listens to herself gasp for air, tortured by programmed pleasure.

Buffy hears, and asks herself if this subtle, blind message is worse than what her mind creates for her. But she settles out the decision, and chooses fantasy over reality. Even if it were tame, which, she knows, it is not---she can hear as much---she would not want to know what and hears the telltale sounds of climax. The orgasm subsides. The complicated erotica of artifice has reached its denouement.

But still they speak. And still she listens, but does not watch.

"Thank you, Willow."

"For what?"

"For getting me out of there. This place might not be paradise, but without you . . . God, Willow . . . it was hell. I wouldn't want to be anywhere without you again. Not even back there, not even in Heav---"



Buffy presses down hard on the button, sending the signal to terminate. She opens her eyes again, and sees their limbs together, their art, their sex. The video cassette tape refuses to come to an immediate halt. The final image flickers and jitters for a second, broadcasts itself in freeze-frame, just long enough for the pixel portrait to burn in Buffy's mind. The VCR whirrs and growls, makes pained mechanical noises as the old machine stops and rewinds. The television screen glows a garish electric blue before Buffy turns it off.

Slowly, she inspects the curtains to make sure nobody is around, closes them tight. She flicks the light switches off. She secures the doors, twice, just in case. She chains the latch.

When the camera is in place, she lays out on the couch, spreads her legs. She wears Willow's lingerie. She has wrapped herself up in borrowed silk and lace, a dark beige that, she imagines, would look classic, sophisticated, on Willow. On herself, she thinks, it just looks dirty.

Buffy's hand falls down, and clasps itself over her flesh. It moves, up, down, through, and in, and she makes noises, low, animal breaths, but it is not real, it is counterfeit, a replica of a remembrance of an idea that never existed. It is as fake as the machine on the video, the machine that is not her but has her face, her words.

Buffy wonders, again. She wonders why the woman, who, so strong and reckless and so in love, would do this. She wonders why Tara, that kind and loving fairy-girl, was not enough. She wonders how Willow knew. She wonders, staring up at the camera, why its beacon red light glares not, why she could not bring herself to press that button, to turn it on. Wonders why she longs for this to burn her, to make her angry or hot or used or anything but all she feels is empty. And realizes, finally, that it is because she, with her flesh and bone and blood and soul, is less than the creature composed of plastic and silicon and metal and wire. She is the machine.

Yes. She is the robot.

For now.

For now.