The Vulnerability of Faith


by Demona


**********

The day of the fight everyone prepared themselves in their own way. We planned our strategy out and all of us had memorized it. Weapons were made, stocked, and divided among us. We divided up into teams as well with different missions for that night.

"All right. I guess this is the part where I ask everyone if they are absolutely sure that they want to go into this battle tonight. If you don't then you don't have to go. No one will think any less of you," I told everyone there and no one said anything. "All right then I also want to make sure that everyone stays away from Buffy. She's mine. If you run into her yell - yell loudly. Everyone clear on that" I asked while looking directly at Angel. Everyone nodded and mumbled yes. "Good. Teams are important to making sure this night goes off correctly. I have divided everyone up into teams based upon ability and relationships. Team leaders will be given mission objectives and instructions on how to carry out those objectives. It is the role of the leader to make sure that that mission is accomplished at any and all costs. If you are not happy with your group tough shit," I said and pulled out a piece of paper. "Methos, team leader. Mac, Kate, and Amanda are yours. Your objective is hand-to-hand battle. Find the largest cluster of demons and attack them. Kill whatever you can, take out as many as possible. This is a dangerous mission. Kate, if you don't feel comfortable with this then let me know and I'll reposition you."

"I'm good," she told me and I nodded.

"Next leader is Gunn. You have Cordy, Oz, and Lindsay. Your mission is to take down and destroy any ceremony looking stuff. Fire has been known to work effectively. You can look for the path of least resistance or follow the path Methos' crew clears. Whatever you decide Gunn."

"Ok," Gunn answered and squeezed Cordy's hand tightly.

"Last team is Giles as leader with Cassandra and Willow as members. Your mission is magic. Make sure you assist the other teams with magic and break down any spells B might have cast to open the Hellmouth. OK?" I asked them.

"Ok," all three of them answered with confidence.

"You three are to stay mostly away from the battle. I want you alive and capable throughout the fight. You are the backup staff. The *last* line only," I emphasized the last sentence heavily.

"Ok," Giles told me.

"What about me?" Richie asked.

"You know what you are doing. Should we all fail and not return an hour after sunrise then you are to take Dawn far, far away from here. I expect you to protect her with your life and take good care of her," I told him and he actually took it ok.

"Good," he said and I nodded in agreement.

"And Peaches and myself?" Spike's voice came out finally.

"We are to stop B. That is our mission," I told him and Angel nodded. "Spike, you can join a team if you want or you can go solo. Whatever you choose is ok. B is mine though. Angel and Spike are the backup plan should I fail," I got out to everyone, laying my fear out in the open for everyone to recognize and accept.

"Faith, don't you think you should rethink this. Perhaps Angel is the best one for the job," Giles suggested.

"No Giles. She is the Slayer. This is her job Giles. She is the Slayer and she needs to slay a vampire tonight," Spike's voice clearly stated loudly throughout the room. Everyone turned to look at me. I nodded in understanding. Angel was clearly pissed that Spike was backing me on this one.

"I don't want to send an innocent girl to her death!" Giles yelled back at him. "I have already lost my daughter. Others that I consider to be my own children too have been taken from me as well. I don't want to lose Faith too!"

"This is her fight Giles. You know that as well as everyone else in this room. You can't prevent her from fighting Buffy. You can't protect her either. She isn't a child; she isn't a frail little girl that can't protect herself. She is the *Slayer*, which everyone seems to have forgotten during the last week or so. This is her job, her destiny. She knows the repercussions of fighting Buffy and she is ready for them Giles. I know that you look at her as one of your own children and I know that you don't want to lose another but you should be more worried about that beautiful little girl standing in the corner over there instead of Faith. I love Faith and I don't want to see her die anymore than anyone else here, but she is the best option that we have right now. If we send in Angel or myself and they lose then B will have the momentum and probably will be able to take out whomever we throw at her next. Faith has no other place in this fight other than to fight Buffy," Spike harshly explained to everyone in the room. His voice was raw with emotion and his accent thick. "I don't want to see anyone else die tonight Rupert, but unless Faith faces Buffy a lot more will die," Spike softly admitted the last sentence.

"I still think that perhaps Angel would be the best option."

"No. I'm taking her first. If I fail then Spike and Angel can fight for dibs at her next," I told everyone and stared down Giles.

"Ok," Giles finally relented.

"Good. Now everyone knows the teams and assignments so I suggest that you all go about your own personal business. Make sure you are ready to die and leave your significant other perhaps for good. We leave the house at dusk," I told everyone and walked out of the living room where we were all meeting. Angel followed me down to the basement where I was stocking up on equipment for the fight.

"Do you really feel that Richie should guard Dawn? He could be utilized in the field," Angel asked as he sat down on the weight bench.

"Yes. If something should happen to any of us Dawn needs to be guarded. Richie plays it off like he is babysitting but he likes her and she likes him. They are both Immortal children forever stuck in bodies that will never age. They know each other very well now. No one else is qualified besides Spike for that job," I answered as I continued to place weapons in my equipment vest.

"And sending Kate out with Amanda, Methos and Mac? She's mortal and will probably die Faith. Is this something personal with her?"

"Despite the fact that Kate and I have never managed to get along over the vast amount of time that we have known each other I am not going to rejoice if she was to die. She said she was ok Angel. She's a strong woman and if she is fated to die then by me moving her to another team nothing will not change that."

"So you in theory knowingly sent her to her death?"

"As I knowingly sent everyone else to theirs as well. Everything is a risk Angel. Everyone could die tonight, no one could die tonight, but some of us will probably die tonight. Others – innocent others – have already died Angel. I don't want more to die but they will if B wins and you know that. I won't allow that to happen. If some of our team has to die to save the world then that is a sacrifice I am willing to make. To insure the safety of the world in the future is my number one concern tonight."

"I know Faith; I know," he softly told me and walked over to me. He took the vest out of my hands and set it down on the floor next to me.

"What are you doing? I need to get ready for…" I started to ask him but he cut me off by placing a finger to my lips.

"I'm just making sure I'm ready for battle too. Just making sure my significant other knows how much I love her." Angel pulled my tank top up over my head before I realized his hands were moving. I in turn ran my hands up under his tank top pulling it slowly up his body as my hands slid up his chest. He leaned down and kissed me after the tank top cleared his head and I wove my hands into his hair holding his head to mine. Clothes were taken off with hurried, clumsy hands. Finally when we were both naked he led me over to the weight bench. He laid down on his back and helped me straddle him. He held my waist and helped me ride him until we both reached our peaks and then I collapsed on his sweaty chest, both of us breathing heavily.

"I think you did a good job of making sure I was loved. Thank you," I told him.

"We still are talking seriously after tonight," Angel told me.

"Ok," I vaguely answered him, kissing him once more on the lips and then reached for my tank top.

***********

As the day progressed I made sure everyone had all the equipment and arsenal they were going to need to do their mission. Oz and Willow did a low level protection spell over me, Cordelia, Gunn, Kate, Giles, Lindsay, and themselves to help protect us a little from the injuries we were going to incur. Methos and Mac cooked us a dinner at 3 pm and it was a little weird. It was like the final supper and a changing point for everyone to look back upon. We all ate around the table. Angel and Spike drank blood that I had gotten out of me yesterday for them for tonight's dinner and talked amongst themselves. Giles and Cassandra sat side-by-side hands interlaced as they ate. Methos and Mac tended to dinner and everyone until everything was served and then they ate sitting down across from each other at the ends of the table. Richie sat next to Dawn, his arm constantly touching a part of her. Cordy and Gunn were sitting next to me off to my right. Nothing fazed those two. Gunn was chowing down and Cordy was laughing with Willow about something that happened in high school. I was happy to see Cordy laughing like she was and I was glad to know Willow would laugh despite everything that happened over the past week for her. Oz and Lindsay were whispering quietly to each other at one corner of the table near Methos. I looked over at them and caught them kissing gently between hushed whispers. Kate and Amanda were eating silently. I didn't expect to see emotion out of Kate, perhaps Amanda though, but there was no touching at all between the two of them. Something wasn't right between the two of them and I feared that because of this uneasiness that something bad would happen to one of them. I just watched everyone react to the people that were surrounding them, memorizing the faces and smiles of the people I had grown to love and cherish. I had a really bad feeling about what was going to happen tonight. I knew that everyone wasn't going to come out of this fight alive. Angel caught my eye and broke my thoughts. He just held my gaze for what seemed like forever and finally he just smiled a soft smile at me. I returned it gently and then looked away as Cordy grabbed my arm to pull me into the conversation she was having with Willow. I didn't get another chance to catch Angel's gaze during that meal. After dinner we took turns cleaning the dishes and straightening up the house because Giles said something about not wanting to come home to a mess.

Angel still managed to find a moment to get me totally alone amidst the chaos and confront me about everything in the last few days.

"No matter what has happened in the last few days or the last few months I just want you to know that I love you Faith. I need you to understand that ok? I love you so fucking much it hurts Faith. Just remember that when we head out there, despite whatever you may think about my feelings for you know that I love you with all of my mind and soul," Angel told me and then pulled me into a quick hard kiss on the lips and then pushed himself away from me and held me at an arms distance from him. He took in my shocked expression and my lips about to form words and his placed his finger on my lips effectively silencing me. "No words Faith. I just had to let you know how I feel about you because for some reason you have grown to doubt my love. I don't doubt yours. I know how you feel about me. Just remember I love you," he told me again and then walked away from me. I touched my lips gently and then headed out to meet up with the rest of the people to go and head out to find B.

**********

About 15 minutes before dusk we split up into our groups and each group had a vehicle. We left for the cemetery as the sun disappeared behind the horizon. Quentin and his group from the Council unfortunately beat us to the graveyard and to Buffy.

"What do we have here?" Buffy asked as she and her group appeared from the shadows surrounding Quentin and company as they attempted to sneak through the graveyard. "Well, well if it isn't Quentin Travers, Watcher extraordinaire. I thought I told you to stay out of my town?" Buffy quipped as she walked in closer to the group away from her own group.

"Buffy Summers. Ex-Vampire Slayer. I'm here to stop you and your plans. I won't let you ruin this world," Quentin said to her, no fear evident in his voice. Robin then came forward to assert herself and stand next to her Watcher and boss.

"So this is the new Slayer? I think you are teaching her the wrong thing Quentin. My boy told me that she shot Faith not him with the crossbow bolt."

"Faith was going to stake a very important piece of information."

"Even when Xander was alive he wouldn't have told you anything no matter what you did to him. What makes you think he would tell you when he's a vampire?"

"He would have given us everything we wanted. I have complete confidence in that."

"What's her name?"

"It isn't important…" he started to say.

"Robin," she interrupted Quentin. "Remember it because it will be the name of the person that killed you," she snapped at Buffy. Buffy laughed in her face over that comment.

"You are merely a child and yet you threaten me. Do you even know who I am? Who I was?"

"You were a disgrace to the Watcher's Council. You thought you controlled them instead of them controlling you. You dated the very thing you were supposed to kill, a vampire. You fell in love with a demon and chose him over everything else. You were a disgrace to the Watcher's Council and your name is never spoken of highly at Headquarters."

"I'm sorry which vampire lover are you talking about? Angel or Spike? Cause someone didn't do their research. I have dated two vampires. Now, which one are you referring to again?"

"That's right. You dated father and son. That is a little messed up don't you think?" Robin asked Buffy, attempting to taunt her. Buffy took a few more steps toward her and Robin visibly tensed.

"I don't find anything messed up about it at all. Vampires are better than humans. Once you date a vampire a human will never do it for you again. I would suggest that you try that but you aren't going to live through the night so that kinda won't work out for you," Buffy told her honestly.

"I don't think that I am going to be the one not living through the night B. I think it is you."

"What did you just call me?" Buffy asked as she kept advancing on the group in the circle.

"I called you B. The other Slayer, Faith, kept calling you that whenever she referred to you."

"I'll let you in on a little secret that was her personal nickname for me. No one else calls me that," she said and then attacked the group of 5 people inside the group of vampires, renegade humans, and demons. Robin tried her hardest to fight off Buffy's attack but she knew once Buffy attacked her that she was just postponing the inevitable. Quentin and his 3 other Watchers fell almost immediately and were ripped to shreds by the demons that killed them. Buffy didn't kill Robin immediately; she played with her and used her as training practice.

"Start the rituals," Buffy yelled as she punched Robin in the face. "I'll be right with you." She finished her instructions to them. "Keep your eyes open for Faith and her attack."

"Will do," Xander answered for everyone and then he led the different groups into their objectives to opening the Hellmouth.

**********

We arrived about 5 minutes before she killed Robin. We all parked in the same area and then divided up into our groups and then we all moved as one. Our groups went in different directions to keep the demon count from adding up too much on a certain group. I went looking directly for B while Spike and Angel teamed up and were taking out any stray demons and vampires. I beat whatever got in my way on my quest to find B. I found her fighting rather toying with the Slayer, Robin. I didn't really care to interfere, B was about to kill her and even if I did interfere from the looks of things if I had she wouldn't have survived long enough to get to the hospital even with Slayer healing abilities. B was just going to end it and put her out of her evident misery. I walked up about 6 feet from them when Robin made her final fatal move and B grabbed hold of her head and snapped her neck quickly and then latched onto the side of her neck and drained her. She dropped the girl's body and looked up at me locking eyes with me while in game face with blood all over her lips. She morphed back into her human face and licked all the blood from her lips before she even acknowledged me other than her stare.

"So you actually showed up. Damn Faith you brought all your surviving group members!" B laughed at me after she surveyed her surroundings and saw all of my crew attacking hers. "You are really planning on sending all these people to their death?" I rolled my eyes at her.

"God, Spike was right. You have been a vampire for what a week and you already think you are a goddess? B, get over yourself," I snapped at her. Her whole power trip thing was starting to get old.

"Well then tell me Faith…do you ever get one of those nagging feelings at the back of your mind that death is coming?" B asked me. "You know the ironic thing is I didn't get that feeling a week ago when I actually died. I get it for tonight though. I know you're gonna die cause I'm gonna kill you. And I know that I am going to die because I know who is gonna kill me. So tell me Faith, do you ever get that feeling?" B asked. I nodded to her.

"I know the feeling B. I know that you are going to kill me. I know. Only thing is that I am prepared to die. You won't get the chance to get off on it though. Are you prepared to die tonight B?"

"You forget Faith. I'm already dead."

"No B – you are undead not dead yet. You are gonna die tonight. Everyone is gonna die tonight from your team."

"I seriously doubt that."

"Well I'll chase them down then. They won't survive very long B."

"You won't get a chance. You are going to be dead *F*," Buffy mocked me.

"Death won't stop me from making sure you and yours are dead for good - Buff," I told her and she tsked and shook her head in a "no-no" fashion.

"So enough with the pleasantries Faith. I think that we have already been in this position once before. You and me: facing off to the death. And didn't I kill you before too?"

"You tried, but you failed then, and you aren't going to succeed now either," I told her. We came at each other until we are standing face to face. Slayer verses Slayer-Vampire.

"Ready to cut loose?" Buffy asks me, taking my lines from the last time we tried to kill each other.

"Try me," I answered her with her own line from years ago. A time long since passed but never completely forgotten. The roles reversed now each of us on the opposite sides of the line then we were the last time.

"Well I think you said something like 'Give us a kiss'," Buffy smirked.

I blew her a kiss and then punched her in the jaw hard. Her head shot to the side with the blow and then the fight was on. B and I exchanged blows in a frenzy, blocking each other's attack while our own attack was getting blocked as well. It went on like that for about 10 minutes until B landed a solid kick to my jaw. I heard before I felt my jaw break again. She had managed to rip the screws out and dislodge the rods they had placed in my jawbone to keep it in line. Pain raced through my face and I took a few steps back away from her to regain my composure. She didn't let me, however, and attacked immediately kicking me again in the chest sending me flipping backwards over a gravestone. I landed on my hands and knees on the other side. I looked up at her, fighting consciousness, just in time to see her boot connect with my head. It caused me to flip over and cry out in pain. I realized if I survived this night that plastic surgery was going to be a must. She moved to kick me once again, but I rolled away from her just in time. I grabbed a hold of a tomb to pull myself to my feet. I looked at her as I felt blood drip off my face.

"Damn Faith – I so wanted this to last longer and to be a better fight. I thought you out of all of them would give me that. I'm actually disappointed in you – what a shock! You always have managed to disappoint me Faith," Buffy said to me. I took a shaky step away from the tomb and pulled out a stake. She laughed. "You think you can kill me?"

"No I don't, but I fully intend on hurting you before you kill me," I got out despite my broken jaw. She frowned. I charged her and again we fought heavily. She landed blow after blow to my body, I only deflected those to my head because I figured that my body could take it. Then when I attempted a spin kick on her she grabbed hold of my leg threw me down on the ground and snapped my knee in two over her leg. I cried out in pain and tried to get away and to my feet. I was up on one leg and when I went to take that next step I stumbled and ended up falling. My knee buckled underneath the slightest amount of pressure and I fell to the ground and groaned when the bone cut through the flesh. She laughed and I threw my stake at her in uncontrolled anger. It embedded itself deep in her heart but, as Spike said, it didn't kill her.

"Ouch! Faith, you weren't supposed to do that!" B yelled at me. As she pulled out the stake I looked around desperately for something to save me. I found nothing. The next thing I knew I felt her pick me up and throw me onto the tomb next to me. After I landed I felt my bruised and broken ribs send pain through my body, my broken knee jarred and sent a sharp pain up through my leg, and I had the wind knocked out of me from when she slammed me down on the tomb. I bit my lip, drawing more blood from my body, to keep from uttering any sound for her. She walked up to next to me. I tried to move but the pain in my body left me immobile, an easy target for her.

"I can't wait to tell Angel how you died."

"Go ahead. Make sure he knows that I died without him in my life…tell him how I didn't love him anymore and that Spike and I will finally be together in the open wherever we end up," I told her. She looked confused.

"Excuse me?"

"You heard me B. Me and Spike. We were seeing each other behind your back and behind the Poof's. Did you really think that Spike would love you? Or that I would really love Soul-boy?" I asked her.

"You little slut!" Buffy said and then slammed my own stake that she had just pulled from her body, down in my heart. I realized then that I was going to die this time with no chance of survival. My hands closed around hers and the stake. I looked up at her and smiled.

"You did it B, you killed me," I got out with a small smirk on my face. "I didn't know you had it in you. You never fail to surprise me B," I told her. She laughed evilly and then latched onto the side of my neck. I closed my eyes and a single tear rolled down my face. I felt it all happen but I couldn't stop it at all. I felt my life leaving my body and felt the darkness closing in around my vision. "Angel I'm sorry," I thought to myself - I had no energy left to breathe out the words. I opened my eyes to look up at the stars one last time. I saw Spike tackle Buffy off of me and heard him yell something to someone. Suddenly I felt my death stop, as if it were being merely put off, temporarily delayed. I looked around to see Willow and Cassandra next to me. They were chanting I think and drawing symbols in the air around me. They picked me up after a few moments and placed me in the back of Methos' Land Rover and we were then moving. I don't remember the ride at all but I do know they lifted me out of the car and placed me in the other guest bed at Giles's house. They continued to talk but I couldn't make out what they were saying to me – the blackness was coming back to me and I welcomed it.

**********

Meanwhile…

Spike tackled Buffy off of Faith and yelled for Willow and Cassandra to get her away from here. Buffy managed to get away from Spike and they both rose to their feet, standing, facing one another.

"You saved her? Why Spike? I thought you were *my* lapdog. What was she giving you something I couldn't," Buffy challenged him.

"Yeah, luv, she was. She listened and she cared and she always could relate to everything I had to say. She saved me from death after I escaped from you. She cared enough to save me. She gave me the strength I needed to come out here to face you pet – to make sure you died tonight. And if all that isn't enough for you to understand why I chose her over you then I'll let you in on a little secret luv, she is a hell of a lot better than you in bed!" Spike told her with sadness, confidence, regret, and every other emotion evident in his voice but those ice blue eyes held the truth. He had loved her but she was dead and this *thing* was not her.

"You didn't have the balls to cheat on me Spike. You were whipped to every word I had to say. You were a pathetic excuse for a vampire. Angelus at least had a soul to blame his love for me on, but you, you were worse, you had no soul to blame it on. There is no way that you could possibly love Faith and cheat on me with her," Buffy said confidently.

"I did cheat on you Buffy. Just once. That once was enough to let me know that you were shitty in bed though," he said to her, keeping his eyes on her at all times. She was starting to get mad and angry.

"I should have killed you when I had the chance. You are a worthless piece of shit Spike!" Buffy snapped at him and took a step towards him. "But you are alive still and for that I'm thankful."

"You couldn't kill me even if you tried," Spike retorted.

"I think I did something to you that is far worse than death. You have no balls, no dick, one eye, and no hands. I think that you are worse than dead right now Spike," Buffy shot back at him.

"I seriously doubt that Buff," he told her. They began circling each other.

"You think that you can take me like this? Faith couldn't take me and you think that you can?"

"Yeah, I don't have something that she had," Spike answered.

"Oh yeah, what is that?" B asked him.

"I don't have a death wish. Remember that thing I told you all Slayers have? Well Buff, I'm not a Slayer. I want to live forever," Spike announced to her.

"Too bad, cause I sense your number coming up very shortly. Like now," she told him and then attacked him. He dodged a lot of her attacks but he couldn't beat her. They both knew that. She beat the hell out of him again, reopening cuts that were almost healed. Finally after fighting for only 10 minutes roughly she had him on the ground; he was cradling his now broken arm to his chest and coughing up blood. He looked up at her as she stood in front of him. She was bleeding as well from her fight with Faith and then Spike. She looked tired too.

"This isn't how it should be. You shouldn't be on your knees about to die in front of me. I thought that you were supposed to dance with me and you were supposed to kill me. I didn't think that it would be this way."

"Buffy…" Spike asked looking up at her, hoping perhaps that she was his once again.

"But I guess that it is fitting. I mean, after all I am the Slayer turned Vampire. It is only fitting that I still slay those of my kind that aren't acceptable. Which you are one of those Spike," she informed him and smiled evilly. "I had you there didn't I; I can do this tortured thing," Buffy told him and he looked at her sadly.

"I just want you to know one thing Buffy," he said to her, his voice getting softer.

"Yeah William what is that?" She asked him cockily.

"I have always loved you. I was only with her once and it wasn't cheating; it was just something that needed to be done for Faith's mental health. You are my one true love, the one I would step into the sun for, the one I would die for; you are my everything. I just thought you should know that," he told her and then he closed his eye and took in a shaky breath. He looked back up at her with tears rolling down one side of his face from his one open eye. "I love you Buffy, goodbye," he told her.

"What are you talking about Spike?" She asked him and he raised his head to something behind her and she started to spin around to see who or what he was acknowledging. She made it to see who it was right before the blade cut through her neck, severing her head from her body. The body turned to ash and fell all over Spike, mixing with this tears and blood on his face and body. Spike looked up at Buffy's killer and nodded a curt nod to him and then more tears fell down his face and onto the ground all around him.

"I guess thanks would be a bad thing to say. But I would like to thank you for killing her. She never wanted to be a vampire. I was going to hold her until the day she died of old age. We were going to adopt kids and have a semi-normal family. Obviously that day never came. I am so sorry that you had to be the one that did this. I know how much she meant to you. I um…thanks for saving her and setting her free," Spike managed to get out and then looked back down at his ash and blood covered body.

"I did what needed to be done. She had to die and I knew that you and Faith could not kill her. I'm sorry it had to be me, but it is done. Come on let's get you inside. The sun will be rising soon."

"No need to help me anywhere mate. I am going to stay right here and well, I am going to see one last sunrise old man," Spike said and locked eyes with the man before him.

"Spike, I don't think that this is a good idea," the man argued.

"You always have to be right don't you. Can't you just let me make my own decision for once? Just once that is all that I ask for. I am nothing anymore. I am a vampire that betrayed his kind and killed them. I loved the Slayer, I mated with the Slayer, I killed alongside of the Slayer, I have a soul-happy Poof of a Sire, and my best friend in the whole world that I just recently acquired in this century is a beautiful radical Slayer. She is going to die tonight, mate; I couldn't stop Buffy in time. Faith is going to die and *I* couldn't even keep *her* alive. I want you to promise me something. Promise me that you will look after her. Promise me that!" Spike said to the man. The man looked completely puzzled.

"What are you talking about Spike? You just said that she is dead."

"She is going to die very shortly, in minutes at the most. I gave her something, a present that she wouldn't have asked for, ever. I'm not sure that she will like it. I gave her life, eternal life. I left blood in the refrigerator at the house for Cassandra and Willow to use to save her. I told them if she was drained then to pour it down her throat, lock her up in chains and cast a few binding spells over her until they could get the Orb of Thesulah into the store and cast the restoration spell for her soul. Cordy can talk to the PTB and arrange for her soul to be anchored so she can have eternal happiness and what not. You just have to promise me something."

"What? Why did you do this? She would never want to be a vampire. She hates them with a passion."

"You know so little about her. You really do. I have so much knowledge of her from the limited amount of time that we have been talking to each other. Perhaps she was always honest with me because she knew I would give it to her straight and tell her everything I knew. She would do anything and I do mean *anything* for you. You are her life Angelus…you are her everything. Don't let her die unloved. Don't reject her when she becomes a vampire. She needs your support and your love. Can you give her that? Can you forget about Buffy? Forget about everything in this world except her? She did it for you Angelus… she gave up everything for you, for a chance with you. Everything that she has ever done has been for you since the day that she first saw you. Don't disappoint her in her eternal life. Love her, cherish her, worship her, and don't do her wrong. I know that you have it in there somewhere to be a good guy. That is my dying wish Angelus. Love her. That is it. That is the last thing that I ask of you. Love her no matter what she does or what she becomes. She has had too much pain in her life, help her heal, love her please," Spike begged Angelus. He got to his feet and looked up to his Sire's face. Ice blue eyes locked with chocolate brown ones.

"I hear the sunrise here in Sunnydale is amazing. You will have to tell me about it when we meet again. I have to warn you though you and Buffy will be waiting for a long time for Faith and I. We have a lot of things to take care of before we allow Death to come for us," Angel said to Spike. He dropped to his head and kissed Spike on the lips ever so gently. "Thank you for teaching me how to love her William. Thank you for showing me everything I needed to see," Angel told Spike.

"Love you Sire. Love her as you did me, love her as you did Dru, and love her as you did Darla. Don't love her as you did Buffy. Don't substitute her. She will never be Buffy. She is Faith. She is perhaps better than Buffy. She has some of the darkness and some of the light. She is a figure that has seen them both, touched them both, and chosen to fight in the middle, never fully siding one way or the other. Never let her side Angelus. If she chooses one side over the other then the world will end and hell will be brought forth on Earth. Dru told me that the day before you staked her. Dru knew about the betrayal and that you were going to kill her. She welcomed death and an end to this world. Don't let her side – keep her neutral. Love her, cherish her, and protect her and be ready to die for her. She loves you Peaches for some bloody ridiculous reason. Never forget that she loves you completely – heart and soul. She is everything. She is everything," Spike whispered the last sentences to Angel.

"Goodbye my Childe. Take care of yourself and of Buffy. I don't want to have to kick you ass the minute I see you again." Spike grinned in return, mischief dancing in his eyes. "I love you William. Take care." Angel said to him and then he was gone. He walked away in the opposite direction towards the chaos and fighting still going on in the cemetery. He headed off to continue doing his job and to stop the Hellmouth from opening.

Spike stood there, tears rolling down his face as he cried for his lover, dead and lying around him. He cried for not being able to save her, for not being able to protect her. He cursed everything that he could think of for letting her die and become what she hated and feared. He cursed everything for not giving her a soul when she became a demon and for letting her do the things that she did to him. He cursed them for not allowing him to be able to kill her himself. Then in a moment of calmness and clarity he just realized that perhaps this was Fate's way of allowing him and Buffy to be together in the sunrise and together in the future forever. His last thought before the sun touched his body as it rose over the horizon was of a night he had spent with Buffy on a playground at the Sunnydale elementary school. Buffy had first admitted her love for him that night while they sat together on a swing that night, roughly 2 years prior. He smiled as his body caught fire and burst into flames, his ashes mixing with Buffy's on the ground in the cemetery.



Continued