Disclaimer: These characters are not mine and I do not claim them to be.

A/N: Written as a fill for Marlex who prompted at Comment-Fic "I hear a voice inside/ It's grown into a scream/ I'm not the next of them/ I am the first of me/ 'cause I can't live the lie/ I am just what you see/ I'm not the next of them/ I am the first of me" which is from "The First of Me" by Hoobastank.

Back when she'd first been called as Slayer, Pike had given her the whole stupid teen drama romance "you're not like other girls" line. And it had been kind of duh and all flattering because he was all hot and had a motorcycle and was "older" (she was fifteen and had no idea that her next boyfriend would be about fifteen times as old as Pike was then). And, come to think of it, Angel and Riley had told her the same things. (Spike had gone for a more 'not like other humans' angle, which, while creepy, was maybe a little more inclusive. Or exclusive. Whatever.)

But back then, she'd really tried. When she was with Pike and Angel and Riley, she'd tried. She wanted to be like other girls. She wanted to date, and swoon, and worry about her hair instead of worrying about her hair and whether the dead bodies buried yesterday would still be buried tomorrow.

She wanted to be like a normal girl because she didn't want to be like a Slayer. She didn't want to be friendless. She didn't want to be cut off. She didn't want to listen to orders from the Watcher's Council. She didn't want to just fight and fight and fight until she died young, with no friend, no family, no joy, no hope. She wanted to go on dates, and hang out with her friends, and tease her sister, and eat dinner with her mom.

She didn't want to be the one girl. She wanted to be a girl.

And now she is. She's not the Chosen One, or one of the Chosen Two. She's one of many. All of them Chosen, all of them powerful, all of them girls.

She is different, she is herself, she is not just another member of a line. She is part of a group, an army, and they are made up of individuals. She is like the others because none of them are like each other. There is only one Buffy, one Faith, one Rona, one Kennedy, one Leah, one Satsu.

And, speaking of… Buffy reaches out with the arm she doesn't have tucked under her head and trails her fingernail over Satsu's spine, ghosting over the pale skin and fine hairs until the other woman shivers.

"Hey," Satsu complains, but she rolls over with a grin.

Buffy tries to sound casual, like she isn't the one opening the conversation; all deep and thoughtful like Satsu'd been the one to try and get her attention instead. "I was just thinking about girls," she says.

"Girls are nice."

"Mm-hmm," says Buffy. "And the 'you're not like other girls thing."

Satsu mimics her pose, one arm between her cheek and her pillow and the other reached out so they can lock fingers on the sheets between them. "Not as nice. Everybody's different. And that's like being a girl is a bad thing. I like girls."

"As much as you like me?" Buffy uses their joined hands to poke Satsu playfully in the boob. Satsu has really nice boobs. And hands. And skin. And she always smells amazing.

"No, ma'am. Never."

"Aww." Buffy smiles and squeezes Satsu's fingers.

If she'd stopped trying to be like other girls, she might have been like other Slayers. She might have pushed Xander and Willow away right from the start. She might have died at the Master's hands for good and she might have never changed the rules.

If she'd been like other Slayers, she would have killed Angel the night Darla attacked her mom and she would never have kissed him or fought for him or loved him. If she'd been like other Slayers, she never would have watched Spike change into the man he became. If she'd been like other Slayers, she never would have even met Satsu and her bed wouldn't smell like cinnamon in the morning.

If she'd been like other Slayers, she wouldn't be as strong as she is. If she'd been like other Slayers, she wouldn't live like she lives or love like she loves.

If she'd been like other Slayers, she wouldn't be the woman she wants to be.