Summary: Buffy doesn't want anyone else changing the Buffybot's clothes and it leads to a little self-exploration.
Note: Set during the season 5 finale, The Gift. Imagine they still have an hour to kill after Buffy returns from fetching weapons.
Buffy rounded the bottom of the banisters in the Magic Box basement and groaned at the clutter she had to search through. Oh well, at least the thing was big and shouldn't be too hard to spot.
She set the clothes she had fetched on the work bench in the middle of the room and walked slowly around it, ignoring the shelves and peering into corners and behind boxes. She wasn't in a hurry. They still had an hour to kill if they weren't going to find Glory until just the nick of time and she was getting impatient and agitated being upstairs with everyone else. None of this was their fault but they couldn't see this from her perspective and now really wasn't the time to be arguing with them; not when she asking them to go to the wall for her tonight.
On the other side of the room she jumped when she suddenly saw it. Xander had left it uncovered and those glassy eyes stared blankly back at her.
"Jeez!" She frowned and stepped closer. "How could anyone mistake you for me? You're so, plastic-y looking." She took another step closer, looked harder. "Okay, not that plastic-y looking, but still gross."
Her frown deepened as she contemplated that. If it looked as much like her as all her friends thought then maybe gross wasn't really the word she wanted here. The fact that it had been commissioned as a... as a... sex toy!...was still obscene though. It was... She prodded its cheek.
"Ooh, soft," she said in surprise.
She prodded it again and then tentatively stroked her finger down the thing's face. It really was soft. It felt just like... She stroked a finger down her own cheek.
"Wow, you must moisturize more than I do."
She chuckled, shaking her head in despair, and turned to fetch the clothes off of the bench. Looking at the leather pants on top of the pile, she stopped thoughtfully and then turned back to the robot.
"Actually, you know what? This'll be easier if you just dress yourself." She walked back to the Bot with more confidence than before. "So, do you have an on/off button or what?"
Feeling a little bit distasteful, she felt around the back of its head – resisting the urge to measure the softness of its hair against her own – and then its neck, shoulders, and upper back. It was as she was checking its waist that she felt the wires and then the open panel in its side.
"Not so realistic after all, huh?" she mocked it. "Wait, Willow kept you plugged in and ready to go?"
Shrugging off that annoyance – minor now, especially as it turned out to be a good thing – she pulled the bright pink top it was wearing up to take a look beneath. It didn't take her long to figure out how to pull the power lead out and only a little longer than that to find the red power switch. At least, she hoped it was the power switch because if it was really the self-destruct in five seconds switch they were all screwed.
The thing came to life as if it had just woken up from a refreshing sleep. It blinked once and then gave her a big beaming smile.
"I do not smile that freakily," she muttered.
The Bot tilted its head to one side. "I'm sorry?"
"And I don't wake up that perky!" she added grumpily.
"Hello, Other-Buffy. It's night time. Are we going to slay some vampires now?"
"What? No! And I'm not Other Buffy, you are. No, wait, you're not any Buffy. You're just... a thing."
The 'thing' continued to beam at her. "You sound confused. Would you like to sit down?"
"No, I don't want to sit down!"
Actually, right now sitting down couldn't have sounded better. She couldn't remember the last time she had just sat down, except when she was catatonic but that hardly counted. So, belying her words, she slumped down onto a butt-high stack of boxes.
"So what are we going to slay? We're slayers. We should slay something." The Bot continued in that annoying lilty tone. "It's what we do."
Buffy sighed. "We're probably not slaying anything, unfortunately."
"Oh. That's disappointing. I like to slay."
"Well, you'll get to fight, if that makes you feel better. We need you to keep Glory distracted."
"Glory is evil. And she has nice shoes."
Buffy chuckled bitterly. "She does. You know, right now, I actually wish I was you. Not being able to think beyond slaying and nice shoes sounds really good."
"We have nice shoes too."
Buffy looked down at the ones of her feet. They were okay; stylish but built for slaying, not exactly pretty. She looked at the Bot's shoes.
"Yours are nicer," she said, not happy about that.
"Thank you! That means a lot coming from the Other-Buffy."
"Stop calling me...!" Buffy held her hands up, taking a big, calming breath. "We're not here to talk about shoes. I need you to take on Glory. Obviously she's gonna kick your ass, 'cause you're just a robot, but you have to be able to keep her on the ropes for a little while at least."
"I can do that. I'm a slayer."
"No you're not!" Buffy did the breathing thing again. This was a good idea. She just had to rise past the weirdness and get on with it. "What fight moves do you have?"
"Oh, I have all of them."
"Really? Because you kinda look a bit..." Buffy looked her up and down. "...wooden."
"I don't know what that means. Would you like me to show you my moves?"
Buffy shrugged. It probably couldn't hurt to suss out her range of fighting skills. After all, if she sucked in battle their plan was shot and they had to come up with another one. She pushed herself off of the boxes.
"Okay, let's see what you've got, robot-girl." She moved into the biggest clear space on the floor and beckoned her forward.
"Which program would you like me to run?"
"Program?" Jeez, Spike got off on routine programs? "We don't have time for programs. Just come at me, try and fight me."
The robot grinned at her and then stepped in with a fast right hook. Buffy only dodged it because she recognized the tell in the shoulder as one of her own. She ducked to the right and then had to pull off a snake shimmy back the other way to avoid the following swinging left fist.
The robot continued to attack. Buffy hadn't really had any intention of fighting back -- she just wanted to see what the thing could do -- but she was getting a little annoyed with having to work so hard to defend herself. Spike must really been observing her over the past couple of years to get his specs this good. That made it even more annoying, and more than kinda disturbing.
When the Bot got a kick through her defense, catching her on the side of the face, she decided fighting back was a good thing. She still had way too much nervous energy to burn anyway and after killing the punching bag earlier this was her only option.
After blocking the next punch, she powered her own fist through the gap she'd created and socked the robot on the chin. She only used less than half her strength – wouldn't do to kill the Bot too, as much as she might want to – but the thing staggered back anyway.
"This is fun!" it said, and Buffy rolled her eyes.
"It's not supposed to be fun!"
"This is training."
"Training is fun!"
As they continued, the Bot's blocks proving almost as good as her own, Buffy felt herself relax more than she had for a week or maybe even longer. It was therapeutic fighting someone who wasn't trying to actually kill her. She tried to block her mind completely of the horror that awaited once she went back upstairs and concentrated instead on punching and kicking and staying out of the way of the robot's surprisingly peppy retaliations.
It was maybe fifteen minutes later when Buffy held her hands up in a time out gesture and called a truce. It had been fun but she wasn't down here to fight. She wiped a hand across her brow, allowing herself a minute to luxuriate in the warm feeling in her muscles. The impromptu sparring had been just what she'd needed. She had been wound so tight recently but now she felt loose again, juiced even, hot blood racing through her veins, ready for anything. Except...
"I feel all hot."
"Good for you."
"Spike says it's natural that punching things always makes us horny!"
"What?" Buffy rounded on the robot who just smiled happily back at her like that was the most normal thing ever to slip into casual conversation. "First of all, don't include me in that statement! And second of all... What? You're a robot! You can't get horny!"
The Bot's grin just grew wider and somehow dirtier as if she was about to impart some big sexy secret. "Looking at Spike's chest makes me horny."
Buffy pulled a disgusted face. This conversation was weirding her out in so many ways. "Ugh! That just goes to show it's not real horniness, just ick-worthy programming."
The thing squirmed on the spot. "Really? It feels real."
Buffy looked at her sharply. "What do you mean? Feels?"
It started to pull ups its long skirt. Buffy recognized it as one of hers but not one she had worn forever. Spike must have stolen it from the back of her closet.
She took a step back. "What are you doing? Don't do that in front of me!"
"But I thought you wanted to see."
Buffy shook her head, lips curled in a sneer. "See what? You're probably all Barbie-esque down..." she trailed off. That didn't make sense, not if Spike had been using it for what she could imagine only too well he had been using it for. "What do you have down there?"
Biting her lip, intrigued all of a sudden, she looked over both shoulders to check the stairs and the direction of the service tunnel. She was alone, but after grabbing the fresh clothes from the bench she pulled the Bot around some shelving anyway for extra privacy and then just stared at her.
This wasn't weird right? She had to get it changed anyhow and it wasn't really any different to looking at herself in a mirror. Only this way she didn't have to contort herself at odd angles to see everything.
"Okay, take your clothes off."
The robot grinned excitedly, "Are we going to have sex?"
"No! Shhhh, keep your voice down. I just wanna... see."
"We could have a threesome with Spike!"
Buffy grimaced, "God, would you stop talking about Spike like that? I don't like stuff like that coming out of a mouth that looks even remotely like mine." She leaned closer, running a finger over the Bot's smooth bottom lip curiously. "Or exactly like mine," she murmured, doing it again.
She had expected it to feel rubbery or something but it didn't. It felt just like hers, only permanently glossed to perfection.
"Wow, you must save a fortune on makeup."
"Yes, it is fortunate that I don't have to waste bloody hours on makeup."
The words came out awkwardly because Buffy's fingers were in its mouth. The teeth were perfectly white and even but they definitely had a slight plastic feel to them. But the tongue... the tongue just felt like a tongue: warm, strong, wet, curling around her finger!
"Hey!" She pulled her finger free from the robot's mouth with a soft sucking pop. "How does your mouth get wet? Shouldn't liquid short circuit you or something?"
"Oh, no, I'm very advanced. I have an integrated lubrication system which reacts with outside stimulation and..."
Buffy held up a hand. "Forget I asked."
"Okay." The things eyes went glazed for a moment as it said, "Deleting five-point-two seconds of memory bank. Deleted." Then it blinked back to life with another wide smile.
Buffy smiled back at it. "I didn't actually mean that literally, but whatever." She was focusing on its lips again. It really was uncanny how real they felt. If she had her eyes closed she'd think she was touching her own lips. She chuckled, stepping back to give the Bot room as she said off-hand, "Wonder if they kiss just like mine too?"
"Oh yes, I kiss just like us."
Buffy frowned as she wondered exactly how Spike could have gotten the specs for that, and then frowned deeper when she remember Willow's spell-gone-wrong the year before. Yeah, she wasn't sure how he had managed to describe it to Warren but he would certainly have the inside scoop on her kissage technique.
A thought flashed through her over-tired mind, causing her to smile and shake her head as she dismissed it as ludicrously, but then the thought came back the other way and camped and lit a fire inside her. Come on, everyone wanted to know what they kissed like, right? And probably hardly any of them ever got a chance like this to find out. It was harmless; no different to when she'd practiced kissing on the inside of her elbow in sixth grade.
She ducked enough to see through the shelving to make sure they were still very much alone first and then quietly instructed, "Close your eyes."
The Bot did so with cheerful obedience.
"You're going to have to stop smiling like that or I'm just going to be kissing your teeth."
The Bot instantly went from smiling like an insane woman to pursing her lips with the slightest of pouts.
"Better." Buffy stepped in close, placing both hands squarely on the thing's shoulders and muttering, "This is perfectly normal. I fight vampires. I'm facing down a Hell God tonight. Kissing a life-like robot version of me is perfectly in keeping with my range of normal."
She leaned in and brushed her lips softly over the other's. It didn't feel weird at all. Okay, so on some deep psychological level it was a whole world of weird, but on a purely physical level it felt just like kissing a... well not a guy exactly. Different to that because of the height and the softness of everything, but it definitely felt... nice, and – She tried it again, pressing her lips to the Bot's for longer – almost normal.
She pulled her head back to look at its face. Eyes still closed, lips still slightly pursed, it looked perfectly content to do this all day. It was too detached though, standing there so still and placid like Buffy had accidentally hit the on/off switch again. If she really wanted to know what she wanted to know, she needed it to do a little more than accept her hesitant kisses like this.
"If this is going to work, you kinda need to kiss me back," she whispered.
Its eyes sprung open and that sunny smile was back. "Okay!"
"Oomph!" Buffy had been about to lean in again when she was swung around and pressed firmly into the shelves behind her. She opened her mouth to tell the robot to take it easy but by then it was kissing her and all that came out was "Mugglef mubb mu murruf!"
Managing to push it back she repeated breathlessly. "No need to be so rough!"
"Spike likes it when I'm r..."
"No! Don't mention Spike. Not when we're..." She sighed. "Kiss me slowly, like... like you want to take the time to remember every single second of it."
"I can do that. I have lots of memory."
Oh, boy and could it, or she could, or something. As the robot's soft lips were sliding somehow firmly and delicately at the same time over hers and a tongue at least as agile as hers rolled around with her own, Buffy felt her toes curling in pleasure and she grasped the cool metal shelves behind her in her suddenly hot hands as her heart rate picked up.
Realizing just how much – and in exactly what way – she was reacting to this cute, perky monstrosity she abruptly jerked her head back away from the kissage.
Smiling nervously, she murmured, "Wow, I kiss better than I ever imagined."
The robot nodded keenly. "Yes, we do." It took a step back. "And I committed every single second to my memory bank like you asked."
Buffy half-laughed, half-groaned. "I didn't really mean... never mind."
She was still feeling a bit deliciously dazed and heart-poundy after the kiss but she could blame that on having been single and non-with-the-smoochies for months. She was going to blame the fact that she kinda wanted the robot to kiss her again on that too. Luckily they didn't have time for her to settle on that disturbing desire.
She peeled herself away from the shelving. Whoa, her legs were even shaky. It must have been the adrenaline. She'd slayed earlier, and then she had killed the punching bag, and all the arguing with Giles and her anticipation for the battle to come later. Yes, that's all it was. She was just wired.
"Okay, I need you to get ready now."
"Yeah, get dressed."
"But I'm already dressed."
"Yeah, you're a vision in pink. That won't work."
"But we like pink."
Buffy shoulders sagged. Yet another reminder of things she didn't have time to think about any more. Pink was a happy color and there wasn't a whole lot of happiness to go around at the moment.
"Pink is for playing, not for the slaying," she said and then winced at her rhyme. "Come on, take your clothes off."
The robot shed her cute leather jacket agreeably. "I like playing games."
"I bet you do," she muttered, taking the jacket and hanging it over the shelves. "And let me guess, we're not talking Pictionary here."
"No, I like Poker..." The Bot pulled the cerise top she was wearing over her head.
"He had you programmed to play Poker? He was probably gonna take you to Vegas to cheat. Well, at least that's better than what I was..."
The top finally off of her head, the Bot continued, "...especially when he pokes me from behind."
"Oh, God, eww!" Buffy put a hand to her mouth and shuddered but thankfully was distracted by the robot's chest. It wasn't wearing a bra. Obviously it didn't need one but was a little decency too much to ask? This thing had been walking around in public after all. "I'm surprised he didn't move you up a cup size or two."
"That phrase isn't in my programming," the robot said cheerfully. "Would you like to touch my breasts now too?"
Buffy gave a little horrified squeak and clamped her hand over the robot's mouth. "No! What...? How can...?" She looked down at the thing's boobs. They looked just like hers. Technically they were hers. "Eh."
She shrugged helplessly and prodded one of them. It felt kinda real. She had never touched fake boobs before; she'd never touched any but her own, in fact, but she imagined the robot's couldn't feel any less real than implants might. Still you couldn't tell a lot from a prod.
Licking her lips nervously, she ran first the palm of one hand over a breast and then the other. They were warm, soft and exactly like hers. As she got used to touching them her touch became firmer, more sure of itself. There was something that wasn't quite right though.
"Do your nipples not work?"
"Yeah, mine would be all sticky-outy and hard by now and yours... not so much. Do they not do that?"
"I think they do, usually."
Great, she was so out of practice she couldn't even turn herself on. For a second or two that annoyance made her forget she was down here to get the robot ready for a fight, not to fool around with it. Just long enough for her to stoop and run her tongue over the shy nipple. Actually just long enough for her to do it three or four times and then suck gently at the pebbly peak growing between her lips.
The robot let out a breathy sigh, "That feels so good, Other-Buffy."
It was enough to remind her what she was doing and who – or more accurately what – she was doing it with. She straightened up and took a step back, embarrassed.
"Yep, okay, they work," she said, almost as brightly as the Bot's usual tone.
So did hers. Apparently, very well; she could feel them stiff and sensitive against her bra. Really best not to think about the why of that just now, or ever. Best just to get on with the task at hand so they could get going and she could burn off all this inappropriate excitement with a nice... hard... fight.
"Right so," she coughed a little to try and rectify her arousal soaked nervous system. "Time to take your skirt off." The Bot complied without a care and Buffy's eyes boggled. "No panties, either? Wow, robot-me's kind of a slut, huh?"
She resisted the urge for possibly five increasingly rapid beats of her heart before giving in to temptation. She'd come this far, might as well take it all the way. Not all-the-way all the way, but just with the looking. She grabbed the leather pants off of the shelf as she dropped to her knees as an excuse for being down there and then... there she was, sort of.
She tilted her head to one side as she regarded the flawless replica of her own sex. Well, almost flawless. "So that's what I'd look like if I waxed all over. Hmm, something to think about."
Without thinking she reached out and only after she had stroked a finger over the smooth mound did she realize what she had done. She snatched her hand back and looked up.
"Sorry, you probably don't want me..."
"It tickles but I don't mind. Touching makes my insides tingly," she added with a giggle.
"I'm not touching! Just looking. Just... curious. Could you...?"
She encouraged the Bot to move her feet a little farther apart and briefly wondered when she had started thinking of it as a she instead of an it. Probably around the time its 'she-ness' had become extremely apparent. Then she spent a good few minutes intently satisfying her curiosity.
She wasn't sure what she had expected, if not nothing at all then maybe just... she cringed at the crudeness of it ...a hole or something. That wasn't the case. Everything was anatomically correct, or at least as anatomically correct as she was and she had accidentally peeked in the showers after gym enough times to know she wasn't a complete freak down there.
This was fascinating and it wasn't long before she was caught up in watching the Bot's reactions again instead of being aware of what she was actually doing to cause them. Her fingertips ghosted up the silky, toned thighs, feeling them twitch a little just as hers might in the same situation and then lightly dragged one finger between her lips, making the robot-girl gasp and giggle.
"You can even get wet!" She marveled at the slippery liquid coating her fingertip and then caught the scent of it. "Strawberries? Nice touch. This is so..."
She pushed two fingers inside, checking for whatever – a tiny nozzle perhaps – was producing the physical arousal but all she felt was hot-slippery-snug-want and above her the Bot made a wanton moaning sound that startled her more than a little bit and worryingly turned her on more than a lot.
"Oh, Other-Buffy, yes! Take me!"
"What? Take you where? Oh!" Flustered, she pulled her hand from between the Bot's legs and shot to her feet. "No, I don't think that's... We probably shouldn't... I mean, it's kinda..."
"Oh, Other-Buffy, ravish me!"
"Ravish you? I don't think I even know how to ravish... Yikes!" The Bot had her pinned against the shelving again in a flash. "But apparently you do!"
The robot kissed her hungrily and Buffy didn't have a lot of choice but to kiss back or get left behind. She tried fighting the impulse to lose herself in this moment, tried telling herself that the very naked, female (her own) body in her arms was doing absolutely nothing for her, but she failed at every turn. At the end of the day she hadn't had sex in a really long time, plus she was wound about as tight as even a slayer could wind right now and, when it came right down to it, she needed this. She would fight better later if she gave in to this and she was more than happy to make up another hundred excuses on the spot if it meant she got to have this. Please, just ten minutes to let go and do the lose-herself-in-a-crazy-moment thing. However fucked up this was – and right now she wasn't sure which part was the most fucked up, the fact that it was a girl, a robot, or the spitting image of herself – surely it wasn't too much to ask after everything she had been through.
Buffy felt the last of her dissent dissolve as the robot-girl switched to kissing her neck – always a weakness – and warm hands slid up under her top. There was another difference; these hands were as soft as butter gliding teasingly over her skin. She did her best to keep her hands nice but it was fact that carrying around a sharpened table leg for a few hours every night, wielding the occasional broken shovel handle or heavy sword and not to mention all the washing up she had had to do recently, it all took its toll on the hands and the best she could say after five years of slaying was that at least her calluses were always well-moisturized.
The Other-Buffy's – Oh God, now she was doing it too! – the robot's hands had encountered the restrictive material of her bra and were pushing and pulling at it to get beneath.
"Hey, easy. You can't literally rip my clothes off; I don't have time to go home and change."
"But wouldn't it be fun if I did!"
Buffy gave a conceding sideways nod of her head. "Up until I was searching the floor for my shirt buttons, sure. But, look, let's just... let's just do this, okay?" She undid the button on her pants, pulled down the zipper and then guided the Bot's eager hand inside. "You get the idea?"
The hand was suddenly a lot less eager, just sitting there unmoving and for the first time robot-Buffy looked unsure. "I-I don't have a program for this."
Not now! It couldn't lead her this far in and then back out. This had to happen now. Her concentration would be useless tonight if it didn't and they couldn't afford that. So she had to have sex with her ultra sweet robot alter ego to save the world? Yeah, she could live with that reasoning. Right now, skin tingling and already breathless from kisses that just shouldn't have been that good, she could live with a lot worse reasons than that!
So she said as calmly as she could manage. "Neither do I, but I think we can probably figure it out, right?" She moved her hand back between the Bot's legs, fingers stroking slowly up and down between her folds. "Like this, see?"
It – she – whatever – nodded, and biting her lip daintily, copied Buffy so accurately, if she hadn't been wearing clothes it would have been like looking in a mirror. She was wearing clothes though, including – unlike some – panties that were getting in the way of what she really wanted right now. She wasn't pulling them down because if someone came down to see why was taking so long and robot-Buffy was naked, Buffy could just say they'd only just got around to changing, but if someone came down and they were both naked, well that might take a little more explaining.
What she could do though, and did, was take the Bot's hand and steer it into her panties herself. She sighed in pleasure just at the feel of the hand against her hot, sensitive flesh and again, although it was more of groan this time, as the Bot started to copy her movements once more.
Buffy leaned in capturing robot-Buffy's lips forcefully, and noting how it was getting less and less weird to kiss herself, as she pushed her fingers back inside her. She didn't have a clue how much pleasure it might be getting out of her touch, but she knew exactly how much she was getting when the Bot did the same back. She groaned into her mouth and spread her legs a little more.
She set a swift pace, knowing it would be matched. They had been down here too long already but there was no way she was stopping now until she came. She was surprised how easy it was for her to do something like this but she wasn't going to dwell on what that might mean. Not right now anyway, she probably would spend long hours agonizing over it at some point later but it wasn't important right now. The only thing that was was the warmth coiling low in her tummy, getting ready to shoot south any time now.
So she was surprised when the Bot finished first – after all it wasn't like Buffy had any skill or experience in this area – throwing her head back à la Meg Ryan and emitting a series of rising "Oh's" like she was having the best orgasm of anyone's life. Buffy slapped her free hand over its mouth just in time to muffle the ear-splitting scream.
"I do not sound like that!" Buffy panted once the robot had calmed down and was beaming at her again. And then, thinking about the speed and the over-the-top enthusiasm of the orgasm, added in a mutter. "You were so programmed by a man!"
"Yes! Weren't you?"
There were so many ways of answering that but Buffy really wasn't in the mood to discuss idealisms so she shook her head. "Human's don't get programmed. Uh, you can keep going if you like."
"You didn't come?" The Bot sounded surprised and concerned.
"No, it takes some of us mortal-types more than five minutes to have a happy."
"I can make you happy," she grinned impishly. "But you might want to hold on to something."
Buffy frowned at the suggestion but then she really had to hang on. Both hands grasped at the cold metal behind her again as robot-Buffy did something fast and hard and awesome within the confines of her pants that had Buffy standing on tip-toe, eyes wide but unseeing, panting so hard she felt like her lungs were going to pop like pricked balloons at any second.
The breathless gibberish continued to tumble from her lips as the Bot took her higher and higher until she did some kind of probey, twisty thing with her fingers and Buffy bent the metal shelves behind her and unleashed some kind of pent-up primal yell and shook all over from the inside out for what felt like three days. Then, in a ridiculously happy, boneless heap she slid down to land on her butt, gazing dizzily straight ahead at the Bot's bare legs.
"It does that to me too," robot-Buffy confided cheerily. "You should try it upside down."
Buffy giggled and the most intelligent reply she could muster was, "I have really nice knees."
"We do," she agreed enthusiastically, making Buffy giggle again.
Even with her post-orgasm haze still ringing in her ears Buffy heard the sound of the door opening at the top of the basement stairs.
She groaned. "Crap, not yet!" She made it to her hands and knees as she fastened her pants. "Put these clothes on, quickly," she said in a hurried whisper, pushing the pile towards the Bot.
By the time heavy footsteps were coming down the steps, Buffy had staggered to her feet and made it around the other side of the shelving on shaky legs. It was Xander and she called out to him to stop him from coming all the way down and possibly catching a glimpse of the naked Buffy look-alike.
"Hey, is it time?"
"Uh, yeah. We heard a yell." He'd stopped but he was leaning over the banisters so that he could see her. "Is everything okay?"
"Yep, peachy. I was putting her through her fighting paces, you know, to see how good she actually is, and she got in a lucky punch." She rubbed her nose as if it hurt.
Xander grinned. "She?"
"It," Buffy corrected herself quickly. "We'll be up in two secs. She's...It's just getting changed now."
"Okay, Giles says five minutes." He went back up the stairs without seeming to suspect anything untoward.
Buffy gave a sigh of relief and sagged against the shelves again for a moment.
The Bot came out from behind them, fully dressed and practically skipping. "That was fun. Can we do it again?"
"Doubtful." Buffy was already starting to doubt she had actually done it in the first place. Denial was definitely going to be her friend here. She looked it up and down. "I should wear leather pants more often. Okay, come on. Time to kick some Hell-God ass."
She could already feel herself dropping back into panicked sister mode, her mind steeling itself in preparation for the hard, scary battle ahead, but there was no denying she definitely felt way more relaxed now than she had an hour ago.
The robot followed her to the stairs, all bouncy. "I'll ask Willow to do it with me. She's my best friend, and recently gay."
"No!" Buffy spun to her, putting a hand up. "You can't ask or tell anyone about this."
It smiled brightly. "Okay, I won't tell anyone but Sp..."
"But he would really..."
"No!" Buffy shouted the word this time. "Look, I'm sorry, but this isn't something you can talk about, it's not even something I want you to think about. In fact..." She wondered at the ethics of what she was about to do next but then decided that was irrational. She wouldn't feel guilty about erasing something she didn't want to watch from her TiVo. "That memory wipe thing you can do?"
"Can you erase the last..." she thought about it. "...thirty minutes, please? I know it sounds a bit..."
She stopped talking as the robot's eyes glazed over. "Deleting eighteen hundred seconds of memory bank. Deleted." It blinked back to life and beamed. "Oh yes, I kiss just like us!"
"Huh? What?" Buffy blinked a few times herself until she realised what had happened. "Oh, yeah, okay, that's nice." And harmless enough that if she repeated it no one would care. "Now we're going to fight Glory. Do you remember that part?"
"Uh huh." Buffy nodded and then started up the stairs, ready to get this thing done now and really wishing it was as simple to erase the last half an hour from her own memory.
"Hell-God's of the world, beware!" The Bot said confidently as it followed her up to the shop, and then added merrily, "Hey! When did I put on pants?"
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