Author's Commentary: I don't know what exactly inspired this—I think I was listening to Tantric's 'Mourning' while I wrote most of it, even though the lyrics at the bottom are not from that at all, but from Jimmy Eat World's 'Hear You Me', so that explains the mood—though I was listening to 'Hear You Me' by the time I was writing the end, all of which probably influenced the style of this little one-shot.  I rated this R for violence and darkness, cause it's pretty darn dark, especially for me.  It's not especially any particular ship, but does take from how I see the series to be progressing.  Just picture this to take place around a year or so in the future, with spoilers for Normal Again, and nothing more.   NOTE, this will not be continued, preluded, or explained.  This is one minute in one girl's roller-coaster life, to be examined and contemplated; make of it what you will.

Summary: Take one minute of a vampire slayer's life, a minute which holds a universe of pain and fear and emotion.  Let it revolve around two characters—one who trusts too naively and one on the knife's edge of salvation or damnation, but finally allowed to choose for himself, held back by neither man nor machine.

One Minute In The Life Of A Vampire Slayer
Rashaka

Something broke inside her as she watched her sister step towards the vampire, chin down and still-innocent seeming eyes wide with piercing awareness.  This couldn't be real, of all the things since she'd begun to live again this couldn't be another thing she'd just allowed to happen.  He'd promised, and now the vampire was really going to take away all she still lived for, all she'd rebuilt her life to protect.

            Her breath had stopped and her chest was tight with hurt and loss and the dawning anticipation of the betrayal she shouldn't have convinced herself was impossible now.  The needles of emotion slowly pressing into her lungs tattooed themselves into her soul, far overpowering the merely organic and superficial pain of her broken leg, her bleeding fingers, and her black and blue body.  She should have stayed in that other world she forsook an age ago, should have let the hospital cleanse her mind and the illusory parents soothe her soul.  She shouldn't have to watch this happen, she should never have to watch this happen.  She wanted to close her eyes and wash it all away but the only thing she could do was use her still functional limbs to drag herself forward, watching with a broken heart and one eye—the other too blinded by her own blood—as the dark reared its treacherous self in someone she thought had finally tasted the light.

            Her crawl, as slow and ineffectual as it was, went unnoticed by her sister and the vampire, but was seen by another across the room.  A terrified friend, a woman who would have stopped all of this, if she hadn't burned out and lost all her gifts in an explosion of rage and power mere months ago.  As helpless as a schoolchild now, she still vainly ripped already blistered fingers in an attempt to loosen the bindings that kept her out of the equation.  Over the gag in her mouth the auburn haired ex-everything screamed with her eyes at the Slayer, both begging her to achieve her intervention and pleading her not to make the hell any worse by trying.

            She could do nothing to help that friend—or the forgotten friend sprawled in the corner, blinking in and out of brown-hair and brown-eyed consciousness and handcuffed to the newly exposed full copper repipe.  She could only move another slow, bleeding inch, and watch as her sister, eyes full of unwarranted trust and incalculable fear, reached out soft young hands to cup the her killer's cheeks.

            The vampire, fangs gleaming and the picture of everything anti-human, leaned forward as the sixteen year old gently pulled his head down, both with eyes closed and bodies strung tighter than violin wire.  From her bloody mess on the floor the Slayer could see the way he let his tongue touch the shampoo-conditioned skin of her the girl's neck, tasting, testing.

            She could see the vampires hands clench, see her sister grab those hands in her own and hold them, silently letting the demon squeeze them as well until her simultaneously new and ancient blood dripped to the floor.

            She could see her sister quiver with the pain, her forehead still resting of the vampire's shoulder, her breath hitched, the vampire's fangs still a touch from ripping her apart, frozen above the open offering, held back by something or nothing, only he knew.

            She could see world stopping, the black encroaching like an infection across her eyesight, the movement of time ceasing o be linear and freezing dead-end on this painted representation of pain, love, and choice.

            She could see the—loverkillerwarriorsinnercharmertraitor— vampire touch soft, closed lips to the adolescent neck, step back from end the of the world, and remake himself through the gift of mercy.

            Her final thoughts, amidst the violent landscape her suitor and her enemy had wreaked with cold passion and open eyes, as the demon called concussion pulled her away from the pain of this waking life, was that the world would be different in the morning.  Her vampire walked on knives no longer, yet in the minute of choice and change and paths taken and paths less traveled by, he exercised free will to caress, and not to kill.

May angels lead you in
Hear you me my friend
On a sleepless road the sleepless go
May angels lead you in

So what would you think of me now?
So lucky so strong somehow
I never said thank you for that

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