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Title: Virus
Author: Shadow
Rating: PG-13 for swearing
Disclaimer: The Joss One owns the characters within, no matter how many times I ask him to give them to me.
Summary: All it takes is a pinprick.
Notes: Not beta-ed. I'm pretty much a virgin here, so ANY criticism would be welcome at

Science wonk.

Oz liked that about her. It was a first...he was a first. She remembers biology and being fascinated by an entire world of specks, invisible but alive.

At times, watching Xander's eyes gleam at the sight or mention of Buffy, she could empathize.

Even now, years after that high school class, she remembers the surrealistic organelles, pieces of life's puzzle, so simple and yet so complex.

Idealized depictions of zebra Easter eggs for mitochondria, crumpled tissue coral reefs of endoplasmic reticulum.

In my body are many Golgi bodies, she would think, and giggle. Xander (oh Xander look at me why couldn't you look at me the way you looked at her at them it's control isn't it control they had a hold on you I could never have because I loved you too much) would glance at her, not understanding, but the corners of his mouth lifting in a smile, tugged by the friendbond.

But most of all she remembers the virus.

A four-legged spider, no more of a squid, long thin body, bulbous head, tentacles to creep and creep, slow and menacing. The edge of life, her teacher said, a virus is just barely classified as alive since it cannot reproduce by itself--it must take over another cell.

On the razor's edge yes, but alive, oh yes, sentient, pulsing, gliding through the thick fluids of the body, waiting, finding, consuming. She remembers watching "The Matrix", seeing the pod-harvesters and thinking "virus, there it is, it takes and it takes and it takes" (like you Buffy oh hero oh savior yes you take and you take all I have and you fall and everyone pats you and says "buck up good try, we're here for you" but if I stumble it's all recriminations and "you're out of your league, you fucked up, oh Willow why can't you do anything right".

She can feel them, now, here.

Little twitching itches pit-pattering across her skin.

Looking for an opening, just one, all they need is one, and she'll be back, back in the dark envelope, the storm cloud, powerful but alone. I could bend time and history to my will, she thinks. I sauntered up to Death, spun him in my arms, danced past him, power thrumming through me and dragged her back. I could do it again, that and so much more.

I could fix little Dawnie's arm (sorry sorry sorry did that slap make you feel better do it then do it again get in line for the whipping Willow) in a breath, in a heartbeat, in the forevermoment it would take the virus to ease back in, whispering belladonna words hi Willow, did you miss me, yes you did I know I always know shhh shhh I'm here now and you'll never be alone.

I could make the world my own, she thinks, but I can't stop this scratching.

She throws her head back and laughs, wild, broken, at the deadlight of the stars and at some point the laughter becomes sobs, and then all that is left is the papery rustling of fingernails over regretful skin.

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