Pattyanne 's Fic
Kings of Mercia
LoobyLoos' Fic
Jen's Fic

Well, what if.....?




Part One: Follow Your Heart





Pulling back from the kiss, Buffy was surprised

at how little she felt. 


Once upon a time, Angel kissing had been one of

her favorite things to do, and she did it as often as

possible.  Those kisses had made her dizzy with

happiness, the kind of happiness only a sixteen year

old girl in love for the first time can feel.


He was accomplished at the task, knew what he

was doing, and he always projected a deep amount

of affection into every single kiss. 


At the time, she'd thought she'd found heaven in

the most unlikely place.  It wasn't until she'd been

kissed by another vampire, one as different from Angel

as dusk from dawn, that she realized heaven...kiss-

ing wise....was a relative thing.


In fact, even as she'd stepped into it, she couldn't

really say why.  For old times sake, was the best

she could summon up, and it sounded lame even to

her.  Seconds into the kiss, she was already regret-

ting it.  There was none of the old pleasant tingle,

none of the passion she remembered feeling.


"Okay, okay...I'm basked."  Placing one hand on his

chest, she moved back out of reach.  "What are you

doing here?"


"Not saving the damsel in distress," he replied lightly.

"That's for sure."


She almost said, "S' all right. I have someone else to

do that, thanks all the same," but she managed to hold

the words back.


"Oh, you know me."  She leaned over and scooped up

the scythe. Without being fully conscious of doing it, she

held it up like a shield, separating herself from him. "Not

much for the damseling."


For a long time afterwards, she wasn't really able to

clearly recall most of what was said next between

them.  Something to do with her being in distress, a

file folder chock full of intel, and her instructing him to

get the hell out of LA.


Then, like a malevolent Jack-in-the-Box, Caleb

popped back up and knocked Angel flat with a

marble statue.  He turned to Buffy, blood streaming

from his eyes and nose.


"You ready to finish this....bitch?"


Oh, was she ever!


Narrowing her eyes, she invited him to take his

best shot. 


He swung the statue again, which she'd known

he would do. Avoiding it easily, she countered

with the scythe, but he saw it coming and blocked

the swing.


Landing hard on the ground, she ducked as he threw

the statue at her, then scrambled to her feet. "How many

times do I have to kill you?" she asked. "Ballpark figure?"


He glared at her. "You understand nothing."


Maybe not, but it didn't really matter.  She

didn't have to understand him to finish him off. 


"You can't stop me," he added. "You don't have

the balls."


"Oh, you're dead wrong about that,"  she said,

slicing through him so neatly that it took him a

moment to comprehend what she'd done. "Bye,

now." She waggled her fingers as he fell apart

into two separate sections.


Almost immediately, Angel regained consciousness

and jumped to his feet.  "Okay, NOW I'm pissed!" he

growled. "Where is he?"


A childish giggle bubbled from her lips. It was

such a perfect line, how could she not use it?


"He had to split."






She took a close look at the item in Angel's hand,

then shrugged. "I can already tell you I have nothing

to go with that."


"It's not for you."


"Good, cuz it's butt ugly.  Who's it for?"


"Someone ensouled," he said. "But stronger than

human. A champion. As in me."


Resisting the urge to roll her eyes at that statement,

she replied, "Or me."


Angel shook his head. "I don't know enough about it

to risk you wearing it."


It wasn't his call to make, but trust Angel to make it



Buffy wasn't in the mood for an "anything you can do,

I can do better' type of exchange. "So, you're gonna

be with me in this?" she asked, half hoping that he'd

say no.


"Shoulder to shoulder...I'm yours."


She briefly wondered why he hadn't shown up with

this sort of offer the last time she'd needed help...or

the time before that, or the time before THAT.


They'd all been cataclysmic, world ending events, 

and she'd have been grateful for an extra pair of

hands. What made THIS one so special?


Still, he HAD offered. Granted, she didn't really

need him, but it was a nice gesture all the same.


"No. You're not gonna be in this fight," she

said, turning to leave.


He frowned. "Why the hell not?  You NEED me in



She took the amulet out of his hand. "I need

you gone."




**Because I SAID so, that's why.**   "Because if I

lose...if this thing gets past Sunnydale...then it's

days -maybe hours- before the rest of the world

goes. I need a second front, and I need you to run



"Okay."  He crossed his arms over his chest and

gave her a skeptical look. "That's one reason.

What's the other?"


Buffy walked out of the tomb. "There IS no



Angel was right on her heels as she stepped

out into the dark cemetery, lingering at the

door. "Is it Spike?"


The question made her stop and turn around.


"You're not telling me something."  There was a

hint of accusation in his voice, which she didn't

much care for. "And his scent..I remember it

pretty well."


Buffy rolled her eyes. "You vampires. Did any-

body ever tell you the whole smelling people

thing's a little gross?"


Once again, she turned to walk away.


"Is he your boyfriend?"


The devil perched on her shoulder urged her

to say, "No. He's my lover," just to see what

kind of reaction she'd get.


"Is that any of your business?" she asked.


"You in love with him?"


That stopped her cold. No one had EVER asked

her that question before. Even after her stormy

physical relationship with Spike fell apart and

the secret was revealed to them, not one of her

friends had asked, as if they knew what the

answer might be, and didn't really want to hear



They had talked loud and long about THEIR

feelings on the subject, especially Xander, but

HER feelings had somehow gotten lost in the



"Okay, maybe I'm out of line here..."




"....but this is kind of a curve ball for me. I

mean, we ARE talking about Spike here."


That comment irritated her. The words them-

selves, the tone he used, the whole thing..and

she felt a sudden need to defend her lover...


Her EX-lover!  Ex, ex, ex!


"It's different. HE'S different. He has a soul now."


She'd said those words before, in a very per-

functory manner, an automatic response to

whatever accusation or observation that poured

out of the mouths of her friends.


But this time was different somehow, more

heartfelt and it wasn't hard to figure out



"Oh, well," Angel mumbled. "That's great. Every-

one's got a soul now."


"He'll make a difference," she insisted, wondering

why she'd even bothered. Nothing was going to

shut his mouth about this.


"You know *I* started it...the whole 'having a

soul'...before it was all the cool NEW thing."


Unable to believe her ears, Buffy stared at

him for a moment. "Yes. Because it was forced

on you,"  she pointed out. "Twice." 


Angel looked a bit stung. "Hey, I'm getting the

brush off for Captain...."


She cut him off, pointing a finger at him. "Don't

you dare."


He ceased the name calling, but that was all.


"It doesn't necessarily bring out the champion

in me."


"Yes, I noticed. It brings out the twelve year

old child instead."




"Are you just gonna come here and go all

'Dawson' on me every time I have a boyfriend?"


"Aha!" he interjected, pointing at her. "You said



"Yes! I said boyfriend!"   **Oh, my god..I really DID!**



She was almost as surprised as HE was, but in a

much better way.


The word was finally out of her mouth, out in the

open, and nothing terrible had occurred. There were

no flaming fireballs being hurled from the sky to smite

her down,  no plague of locusts, no rivers turning to

blood.  There wasn't so much as a chirp from a noisy



All of a sudden, she wanted very badly to go home

and see Spike.


"Angel...I'm not brushing you off. You did that

yourself, five years ago.  Things....change. I

guess...I guess I'VE changed. Spike certainly

has, and he's very much in my heart." 


"THAT'LL end well," he muttered, leaning

back against a tombstone.


"Oh, shut up!"  she nearly snapped. "That

is REALLY getting on my nerves."


"What?" he asked, genuinely surprised. "What's

getting on.....?"


"You know, WE weren't exactly the poster

couple for successful relationships.

...ANGELUS.  Just think back on all the wonder-

ful highlights and fond memories."


"And you think it'll be better with Spike?"


"I don't know." She shrugged. "Can't be much

worse, can it?"  Quiet for a moment, she sud-

denly laughed a little. "Wow," she mused,

shaking her head. "In the midst of all this

insanity, a couple of things are starting to

really make sense. I was always afraid that

there was something wrong with ME...because

I couldn't make it work. But maybe...maybe it

was because I was trying to make it work...with

the wrong men."


Angel was silent for a long moment, and she

knew he was preparing to switch into 'brood

mode', something she had neither the time nor

the inclination to deal with.


"Look, I have to go home," she said quickly,

beginning to back away. "You go on back to

Los Angeles and wait. Be ready for anything."


"But..." He tried to hold her back, even as she

was slipping completely away. "You didn't

exactly answer my question."


"Which one?" she asked impatiently.


"Are you in love with Spike?"


"I told you...he's in my heart."  She smiled

and patted her chest, right over the area she

judged that heart to be. "He always will

be....and no one is more surprised by it than

I am!"


"Buffy, if you're in love with him," he called

after her, "why won't you quit beating around

the euphemisms and just say it?"


Good God, wasn't it obvious? 


"Because," she said, turning to break into a

run. "I want HIM to hear it first!"


Part Two:  Go Where It Takes You




"So....where's tall, dark and forehead?"


She almost had to clap her hand over her mouth

to keep back the spurt of laughter Spike's question

coaxed forth.


All during her long run home, the need to see him,

to talk to him, had swelled happily inside of Buffy like

a brightly colored balloon. It wasn't until she'd turned

onto Revello Drive that the pin had been applied.


What on earth, she'd wondered, was she going to

say to him now? 


The last time they'd had any sort of real conversation,

the night after the wonderfully peaceful cuddle session

he'd treated her to, he'd poured out his heart to her once




** All I did was hold you, watch you sleep...and it was

the best night of my life.**



That little speech he'd made to her had come straight

from his heart, and from his soul. It had come damn

close to making her cry, a thing she hadn't done for a

very long time. 



**Were you there with me?**



She'd said the right words for once and they'd been

truthful ones.  Yes, she'd been right there with him,

feeling it as much as he had...the want and the need,

the doubt and the certainty, the joy and the sadness, the

desire and the fear.


Every mixed up, convoluted thought and emotion she'd

been struggling with had been echoed back to her in his

words and actions.



**What does that mean?**



That was where she'd gone wrong. Instead of admitting

it, of telling him exactly what it had really meant to her,

she had gotten cold feet and turned evasive.



**Let's just leave it.  We'll go be heroes.**



Well, the time for being chicken hearted was over. If

tomorrow really was their last hurrah, she was finally

going to make things right between them.


This night could very well be all they would ever have,

and they had to make it count.


Clearing her throat, she stood at the bottom of the

basement stairs. "Let me guess. You can smell him."


He tilted his head, turning away from the punching

bag he'd been pummeling. "Yeah, that and I also used

my enhanced vampire eyeballs to watch you kissing



Oh. THAT she hadn't known.  Now she doubly

wished she'd thought twice before she'd acted.


"It was a hello?" she ventured, knowing damn well

he'd never let it go at that.


He gave her one of those 'looks'.  "Most people don't use

their tongues to say hello.  Or, I guess they do, but..."


"There were no tongues," she said firmly. "Anyway,

he's gone."


Spike briefly looked surprised, then smirked. "Oh,

just popped by for a quickie, then?"


All in all, Buffy decided, it was a damn good thing

she'd finally realized how much she loved this idiot,

else she'd have broken his nose for THAT crack.


"You know I've had about enough jealous vampire

crap for one night," she informed him. "So knock it



"He wears lifts, you know."


"I know," she said automatically, then glanced up,

her eyes wide when she realized what she'd said.

"One of these days," she forged on, ignoring the

tiny smile Spike displayed at her slip, "I'm just

gonna put you two in a room and let you rassle it



"No problem on this end," he replied. "So, where's

the trinket?"


She made innocent eyes at him. "The who-ket?"


Spike sighed, holding out his hand. "The necklace

your sweetie-bear gave you.  The one with all the

power. I believe it's mine now."


From out of nowhere, Buffy felt a touch of sadness

settle over her at those words. She suddenly did NOT

want the amulet anywhere near Spike, though she

couldn't have given a reason why.  " do

you figure?"


He shrugged. "Someone with a soul, but more than

human? Angel meant to wear it, that means I'm the

qualified party."


Reluctantly, she pulled the amulet out of her

pocket. "It's...volatile," she said quietly. "We don't



"You need someone strong to bear it then," he

told her, his hand still extended. "What, are you

planning on giving it to Andrew?"


** Andrew, to Angel, to the

anyone else but you**


She cleared a painful lump from her throat,

staring at the amulet. "Angel said....this amulet is

meant to be worn by a champion."


Spike began to withdraw his hand, obviously mis-

interpreting her words.  She stopped him, taking

his hand and pressing the amulet into his palm.


Then he understood. "Been called a lot of things

in my time," he murmured."  He turned the amulet

over in his hand, then dangled it by its chain. "This

thing is damned ugly."


Buffy smiled. "I think so, too," she said, then took in

a deep breath. "Faith still has my room."


Spike frowned. "Well, you're not staying here! You

can't buy me off with shiny beads and sweet talk.

YOU'VE got Angel breath."


She was so surprised by the comment that she

nearly put a hand up to her mouth for a sniff test.

"Wha...I do not!"


"I'm not gonna just let you whack me back and

forth like a rubber ball," he added. "I've got my

pride, you know."


Well, that was too damn bad because neither of

them had time for pride.


Figuring she had nowhere to go but up, she

opened her mouth and let the words just fly

right out. "Screw your pride. I need a place to

sleep tonight and....and my place is HERE...with



He couldn't have looked more surprised if an

alien had come bursting from her chest, but he

recovered quickly. "Oh and when did you come to

that conclusion?" he asked. "When Angel had his

tongue down your throat and his hand on your



Buffy's eyes widened with shock, then narrowed

in anger. "That's NOT what happened! If you would



"I saw what happened, Buffy," he interrupted. "You

were kissing him. He wasn't back in town five minutes

and your lips were all over him. I saw...."


It was her turn to interrupt. "I know what you SAW, but

what you saw ISN'T what you THINK you know."




"If you had hung around for another minute you would

have known that it was a kiss GOODBYE...because I

happen to be in love with YOU, you stupid vampire! But,

hey, never mind. You can just get into bed and snuggle

up with your pride instead of me."  Waving her arms in

the air, she turned and headed for the stairs. "I'd rather

sleep on top of the refrigerator than down here with you,

you big, fat jerk!"


She only had one foot on the bottom step when both

feet were swept out from under her as Spike spun her

around and picked her up.  "You know," he said wryly,

"you COULD have said that first thing down the stairs."


Buffy folded her arms across her chest and glared at

him.  "You are SUCH an idiot!"


"Yeah," he agreed, chuckling. "But I'm YOUR idiot,

Slayer, and you're stuck with me."


"Gosh, lucky me," she grumbled as he carried her

across the basement.


"Finally admitted it."  He placed her on the cot,

then stretched out next to her. "Took you long



"Oh, shut up and kiss me."






Someone spoke her name.  She turned over

on the cot and was startled for a moment to see

Caleb standing at the basement window, looking

at the night sky. 


'Pretty, ain't it?" he said.


Buffy wrapped a blanket around her naked body

and swung her feet to the floor. "You're not him,"

she said, joining him by the window.


"No, you killed him right and proper. Terrible loss."

He made a sad face at her. "This man was my good

right arm. 'Course it doesn't pain me too much,"

he added, smiling widely. "Don't need an arm. Got

an army."


"An army of vampires?" Buffy gasped, feigning great

fear. "However will I fight a bunch of....oh, that's right.

It's what I do, what I've been doing for years."


"Every day our numbers swell," he sneered. "But then

you do have an army of your own. Some thirty-odd,

pimply faced girls, don't know the pointy end of a

stake."  He faked a look of concern. "Maybe I should

call this off."


"Hey," Buffy asked, "have you ever considered a cool

name?  I mean, since you're incorporeal and basically

powerless. How about...the 'Taunter'?  Strikes fear in

the heart...."


"I will overrun this Earth," the First proclaimed, "and

when my army outnumbers the humans on this Earth,

the scales will tip and I will be made flesh."


"Talk on," Buffy said. "I'm not afraid of you."


"Then why aren't you asleep in your dead lover's arms?"

the First asked, looking at Spike. " 'Cause he can't help

you. Nor Faith, nor your friends. Certainly not your

wanna-slay brigade."  He grinned at her. "None of those

girlies will ever know real power...unless you're dead.

You know the drill."  He leaned a little closer, then took

on Buffy's image. "Into every generation a slayer is

born. One girl in all the world.  She alone will have the

strength and skill to....there's that word again. What

you are. How you'll die. Alone."


Even though she was more than a little jarred at the

sight of the First wearing her body, Buffy kept her com-

posure and gazed calmly into the green eyes of her

mirror image.


"What?" the First asked. "No snappy comeback?"


Buffy waited a beat, then turned to go back to the

cot. "Yes," she tossed over her shoulder.  "Fuck off."





Spike stirred when he felt her climb in beside

him. "Anything wrong, love?"


"No," she said, then, "Yeah. I just realized some-

thing. Something that never really occurred to me

before."  She smiled at him. "We're gonna win."


"Damn right we are," he smiled back at her. "Best

slayer in the history of the world. You can beat that

bitch with one hand tied behind your back."


"Oh, baby," she giggled, feeling a little silly and

playful. It might have been a little inappropriate,

considering what they were going to be facing,

but what the hell?  "You're sexy when you talk

about tying things up."


His gaze kindled with heat lightning. "Yeah? Well,

I think I still have those handcuffs somewhere about."


She rolled her eyes.  "Now I'm sorry I brought it up."


Spike laughed, a sexy purr from deep in his throat

that gave her goosebumps. "You brought it 'up' all

right. Give me your hand."   He took it without wait-

ing, guiding it beneath the blankets and down

between his legs.  "Does baby want to play?"


She closed her fingers around his erection, sliding

her hand slowly up and down.


He sucked in unnecessary air through clenched

teeth. "That's my good little baby.  Just for that,

you get a treat."  He turned her onto her back,

sliding down and parting her thighs. "Gonna eat

you all up. Eat you till you scream."


He set one hand above her mound held it

there. The folds of her sex were pink and glisten-

ing, as tempting a treat as he'd ever seen. He made

her wait just another precious few moments, but

when he heard a soft whimper issue from her lips,

he couldn't hold back.


The tip of his tongue licked gently up and down

the cleft, darting inside for a brief inner caress,

then returning to its previous task. 


Extending his middle finger ever so slightly, he

used the tip of it to tease her clit, rubbing gently,

then pressing firmly, until she was whining like a

hungry kitten.  "Feel good?" he whispered, pressing

his lips against her abdomen.


Buffy knew from previous experience with him that

the power of speech would soon be a thing of the

past. No one had ever been able to reduce her so

quickly to a helpless bundle of sexual need the way

Spike could. 


"Tell me," he insisted, kissing her belly again.


She opened her eyes and looked down to find him

staring back at her. "So good," she told him, quite

willing to feed his ego with a solid gold spoon if it

would get him back down to business. "There's nobody

like you, baby...nobody in the world."


THAT always rang his bell, her using pet names for

him. She hadn't done it often in the past, but whenever

she did...whether it was purposeful or a slip she'd

made during a particularly passionate encounter...she

got back lightning in a bottle.


He grinned at her and dropped his head back down

between her thighs, licking and sucking on her sensitive

flesh, moaning against it to let her feel the vibration.


Spike worked over her, lapping at her harder and

faster, drinking her in. Wedging her thighs farther

apart, he inched up a bit and sucked hard on her clit,

slipping his middle finger into her at the same time,

pumping it slowly in and out.


He would have been happy to lay between her legs

forever, feasting on her juicy flesh, sucking up every

drop of wetness her healthy young body produced.


"Oh, god...oh, yes...." Buffy moaned, chanting his

name like a mantra. Her back arched as she gasped

for breath.


Spike redoubled the pressure where she needed it,

and she exploded in his hands, her hips twisting

and jerking as she strained to get even closer to his

agile tongue.


He watched as she rode out the furor of her

orgasm. She was so beautiful when she did this,

when she gave herself over into his control, lost in

her own passion.  He stroked her with his hands

and soothed her with his tongue, gently licking her

until she came down to earth again.


She opened her eyes and looked for him, sighing

softly with contentment.  "Spike...."


"Baby, that was beautiful," he whispered, kissing

the quivering muscle of her inner thigh.


Buffy held out her arms. "C' mere."


Placing his hands on her waist, he turned her over

as he slid beneath her. "You get on top, love. Take 

me for a nice, hard ride.


Buffy grinned. "Don't you want me to...?"  The question

trailed off, but she licked her lips, leaving no doubt as

to her intent.


"Go ahead, baby. You do anything you want to. Con-

sider me your personal play toy."


His skin was as smooth and cool as she remembered,

and she wrapped her fingers around his shaft, pumping

it gently.  Drops of semen appeared at the tip, and she

used her thumb to smooth them back into his highly

sensitized flesh, slowly...slowly.....


"Christ...Buffy," he muttered. "Come on, love..."


"What?" she asked, purposely teasing him. "Come

on and do what?"


He chuckled. "What do you think, Slayer? Get that

luscious mouth down here and suck me."


She complied, eagerly.  It was something she had

always enjoyed doing for him. He was so big and so

thick that he filled her mouth, and she liked the way

it felt when he would thrust gently, muttering some

sort of English curse words under his breath in be-

tween his lavish praise of her "talented tongue".


The salty taste of sex, the drops of liquid that

gathered on her tongue, the feel of his hands in her

hair as she slid her mouth up and down his hard was all good for her.


Spike squeezed his eyes shut tight, shivering a

little under her touch.  She pulled his cock deeply

into her mouth, swirling her tongue around and

sucking hard, milking him with her small hand.


He had to stop her, it was too close and nothing

would satisfy him now but the feel of her tightness

sheath clamping down, wringing every last drop of

semen out of him.


With firm hands, he urged her off. She pulled back,

her eyes a little cloudy and confused. "Don't you

want...."  It was as far as she got.


"I do, baby...but right now I want to be inside you



He held her waist and guided her until she was

hovering over him.  Then, he used one hand to

position himself and waited as she slowly lowered

her hips, taking him all the way in.


The pleasure was so intense he felt his eyes

cross behind closed lids. It took every bit of control

he had not to throw her onto her back and pound

into her mindlessly.


But he waited, holding himself perfectly still

beneath her as she rode up and down on him with

long, even strokes.


Clenching his jaw, he reached up and covered

her breasts with hands, squeezing and fondling

them and fingering her nipples.


In the one hundred plus years of his existence,

he'd learned that every woman had her own

special rhythm.  Buffy's was long and sweet,

with slow, sweeping movements of her hips.


Her hair rippled down her back, the honey gold

tresses bouncing as she sped up up.


Spike sat up, sliding one hand behind her

neck and pulling her forward until their mouths

came together. He kissed her sweetly, then

wildly, plunging his tongue into the hot, wet

trap of her mouth.


He took over the rhythm, thrusting his hips

up and sinking in a little deeper with each

hard push. She wrapped her hands around

his neck, twisting and grinding her mouth

against his.


"Say it," he begged, when their lips finally

parted to allow her to breath. "Buffy....say

it again."


She let her head drop back a little, wrapping

her arms around his head and cuddling him

to her breast. "I love you. I only love you, Spike.

Only you...."


He planted one hand slightly behind him,

leaning back on it. "Love you, too, baby,"

he muttered, sending his free hand down

between them to stroke her clit in time

with their movements.


It was the last bit of stimulation she could

take.  The feel of him filling her up and

touching her so intimately sent her over the

edge. When she came, it was so intense that

she had to sink her teeth into her lower lip

to keep from screaming the house down around

their ears.


"That's my girl," Spike whispered, jerking his

hips up hard and fast.  Once she was all the

way through it, he turned her over and began

pumping hard and fast, slamming his pelvis

against hers again and again and again.


Buffy wrapped her arms and legs around

him, murmuring words of encouragement.


He hardly needed it. Sinking into her wet heat

was paradise to him. His head was reeling from

the pure pleasure, higher and hotter than any-

thing he'd ever felt with any other woman.


There simply WAS no other woman.



Burying his face in the fragrant, sweet flesh

of her throat, he couldn't hold back his need.

He tried to hide it from her, but she knew....


She always knew.


"It's all right. I want you to."  Gently. she pried

him away and made him look at her. Her fingers

smoothed over the ridges on his forehead, then

slipped behind his neck and guided him down

again. "Make me yours."


He nuzzled her throat, searching for the proper

place, then pulled back a little. 


The vein pulsed visibly, enticing him.


"Mine," he growled, then lunged forward and

slid his fangs into her vulnerable throat.


When the taste of her blood hit his tongue,

he lost the control he'd been clinging to and

ejaculated, pouring his offering into her willing

body as he drank from her.


He took just enough to establish his claim over

her and no more. Collapsing in her arms, he

groaned as the ripples of pleasure began to

lessen in their intensity, until all he could do

was whisper her name.


It was, without a doubt, the best sexual ex-

perience of his life.


Afterwards, lying quietly in her embrace, he

didn't care if he ever moved again. It was worth



Buffy was worth everything. She was his now, as

he had been hers from the very beginning.  He

had to be with her. He would never survive...never

WANT to survive....without her. 


Wherever she went, he would go, too.  He'd

follow her around the world and back again,

doing whatever she asked, caring for and pro-

tecting her, no matter the cost.


Let whatever was going to happen tomorrow

happen. They would beat it back, as many

times as they had to, just as they had done

before and would do again.














Buffy sat at the rear of the bus, staring out the

back window.  The darkness was like nothing

she'd ever seen before. 


In a city, even the night wasn't completely dark. Too

many street lights and car lights, neon signs and

brightly lit houses.


But out here, on this arid desert highway, the

dark was absolute. 


She sighed raggedly, trying to hold back the

painful memory of what she'd left behind. 


A town...sunken into the opened maw of the

earth...and gone forever.




Her eyes filled with tears.


Every trace wiped out.  Not even the comfort of

a grave to visit. Nowhere to take the flowers to.


All gone now.


But as much as it hurt to dwell on it, she knew

she'd be fine.  The battle was won and life would

go on.


"Whatcha thinking about?" Dawn asked, slipping

into the seat behind Buffy.


Leaning her cheek on her hand, Buffy smiled. Her

gaze flicked briefly around, touching lightly on all

her sleeping friends.  "That I've never been so tired

in my life," she said. "And a little bit about Mom."


Dawn shrugged. "Well, sorry...but you're wanted up



Buffy groaned. "What for? It's not like I can drive this




"You know what for," Dawn said, yanking Spike's coat

off where he'd wrapped it around Buffy, and shrugging

it on herself. "Let him talk YOUR ear off for a while. I

need to sleep. If I have to listen to one more of those

awful poems, I'll stake him myself."


"Slayer! Get your lazy arse up here and keep me com-





~The End~



(Okay, I don't know HOW he survived,

 but he did. Let's just go with it, shall we?)