A/N it all belongs to JW & M.E. etc none of it's mine. If you are seriously bummed by what will be the final ending Episode 7:22, then join me. This is a little fiction I wrote about a month ago, in response to Spoilers I had read at the time. Before I had read the script and had got really pissed off!!!!!

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Out Of The Jaws Of Hell
They were deep in the hellmouth, as they fought against the vampire army, Spike could feel the power of the amulet starting to work. its energy coursing through his body, like a warm glow. Buffy, fighting by his side decapitated another vampire, pausing mid-battle as she saw Spike slam against the cave wall.

"Spike!" she yelled amongst the almost deafening chaos.

The light was getting brighter and brighter, like the sun. The hideous creatures all around them, started to dissolve before their very eyes. She ran to him, avoiding the exploding clouds of dust that had once been hell's mighty army.

"Spike, we have to get out of here, the hellmouth is collapsing," she said urgently.

"No, I have to stay, see this to the bloody end, I am not failing you again Buffy," he replied.

She tried pulling at him; the thought of leaving him alone was too much for her to bear. Even her slayer's strength was ineffective against the amulet's power. She sagged against him in defeat. He bowed his head to touch the top of hers, breathing in her scent, one last time.

"I won't leave you," she sobbed.

"Buffy look at me," he demanded.

She raised her tear-drenched face to his.

"You have to go on living, for Dawn, for your friends and for me; otherwise my sacrifice will be in vain, this is my destiny, I can rest knowing I have saved you,"

He smiled weakly at her.

A large piece of the cave fell only inches from where she stood. Buffy slipped her hand in his and gripped it hard, trying to communicate her feelings to him.

"I love you Spike," she said.

He looked at her, his own love shining there, in his eyes, for her to see. Even though he was in great pain, he squeezed her hand back.

"Thank you pet, you don't know how long I have yearned to hear you say that, but I get it, dying here not stupid, you don't have to say things to make me feel better," he said sadly.

The whole place was shaking; he shoved her as hard as he could, given his awkward position.

"Now go, get out of here and don't look back," he yelled at her.

Buffy stumbled forward, almost falling, the ground was shaking, as if rocked by a major quake, the hell mouth was caving in all around her. She couldn't do it; she couldn't go back into the world without one last look at him.

Slowly turning, she saw him through the dust and rubble. His gaze was locked on her, it was an expression of such utter peace and contentment and most of all love. An agonised wail, tore from her lips, as she scrambled out of the opening, Justin time to see it close forever. She fell to the floor, exhausted. The enormity of her loss, washed over her tired senses.

A hand on her shoulder brought her reluctantly back to the land of the living.

"Buffy, are you okay?" asked Dawn.

"Spike," was all she managed to reply.

"Where is he? Is he hurt?" asked Dawn anxiously.

Buffy motioned her head towards where the opening had once been. Dawn gasped as she took in Buffy's full meaning.

"God, no!" said dawn, in horror.

Buffy held out her arms to comfort her sister, Dawn reared away from her.

"Yes, he gave his unlife, his soul for us for all of us, and now he's trapped in hell forever," said Buffy brokenly.

Dawn continued to back away from Buffy, she wouldn't believe it, a thought, a ray of hope had already started to form it's self in her pain filled mind. She turned and ran out of the ruins that had once been Principle Wood's office.

"Dawn!" Buffy yelled at her sister.

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Dawn ran through the corridors of her school, until she came to the charred entrance of the school basement. Some of the steps down were missing; she carefully navigated them. It took her several minutes to find what she was looking for, due to the dimness of the emergency lighting.

It was still there; the seal had not vanished, as she had feared. It needed blood to open it, and she would oblige it. Dawn looked around for something sharp; she located a scrap of metal on the ground, picking it up; she savagely raked it across her bare forearm. She held her injured arm over the seal, watching in fascination as it absorbed her life's blood.

It was working, the edges of the seal started to glow, Dawn could feel the ground shaking beneath her feet. The edges of the seal slowly began to fold back. Her eyes widened in fear at what she had begun. What if a whole swarm of uber vamps poured out, she thought belatedly.

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Buffy wandered the corridors, searching for her missing sister, calling out her name frantically.

"Dawn! Dawn! Where are you? Answer me," she cried

Buffy paused at the basement entrance, straining her ears, to hear any sound that might be the absent teen. She turned around, as she heard approaching footsteps. Giles walked towards her.

"Thank God, you are alive," He said in heart-felt relief.

"The others," Buffy asked.

"Safe back at the house with what's left of the potentials," Giles informed her.

"I've lost Dawn, I think she may have gone down there," said Buffy, turning her head towards the basement.

"We'd better find her quickly, the seal could still be active," said Giles earnestly.

They scrambled down into the basement, both of them calling for Dawn in its dankness.

A thought suddenly occurred to Giles, "Where's Spike, he isn't back at the house with the others,"

"Gone, dead," she answered him, her voice flat and devoid of all emotion.

"How?" he asked.

"It was the amulet, Spike wore it willingly, to help defeat the vampires, but it killed him, he was trapped, he couldn't get out," she told him.

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The sides of the seal; were all bent back, like the petals of an opening flower. Dawn peered over the edge, into the darkness. There was nothing, just an all-encompassing silence. She tore a strip off her t-shirt and bound her bleeding arm. She jumped as she was roughly spun around to face her sister and Giles.

"What the hell are you playing at dawn?" Buffy yelled at her sister.

"Saving Spike! You may have given up on him, but I know he's still alive, don't ask me how, I can feel it," she yelled back.

"But opening the seal, you could have been killed," Buffy protested.

"I am still here, and I am going down there, with or without your help," said Dawn defiantly, pointing at the open seal.

"Fine! But I am coming with you," Said Buffy firmly.

Dawn gawped at her sister; she had been expecting more resistance.

"Giles, we need rope of some kind, help me look," Buffy said.

They searched the various shelves, Giles located a large reel of electrical cord, and he handed it to Buffy.

I think that will do the job," he said.

Buffy tested its strength and handed it back to Giles.

"Right, tie it around Dawn, if anything happens down there, I want you to pull her out," said Buffy.

Dawn opened her mouth to protest, seeing big sister's expression. She closed it again realising all arguments would be futile.

Giles took a flashlight from his pocket.

"This might come in handy," he said passing it to Buffy.

"Ever practical," she smiled, taking it from him.

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Dawn was securely fixed to the end of the cord, the sisters carefully made their way down, inside the seal. Buffy shone the flashlight into it, surprised by the shallowness of it.

It only looks a few feet, I think it would be safe to jump," she told Dawn, doing just that and landing firmly on the ground within.

Dawn joined her seconds later.

"Let's stay together, this place is like a maze," said Buffy, looking all around her.

"Fine by me, it gives me the creeps," said Dawn, with a shudder.

They had been down there for over an hour, still no sign of anyone, just a deafening silence.

"He's not here Dawn, we have to try and face the fact that he's really gone," said Buffy.

"So you are just willing to give up on the man you love? No wonder any of your men never stuck around," said Dawn cruelly.

Dawn turned away from the hurt in her sister's face. She walked forward and fell over an obstacle in her path.

"Oof!" said Dawn, as the breath was knocked from her body.

"Oh my God, it's Spike!" exclaimed Buffy, instantly dropping to her knees.

Buffy shone the flashlight all over him, his trousers were torn, and his hands and knees were bloody.

"Is he okay?" asked Dawn, quickly scrambling off him.

"Well he's not a big pile of dust, so I guess he must be, he must have crawled from where I last saw him, to here," Buffy replied.

"You mean, where you left him," said Dawn accusingly.

"Let's not get into that now, Spike is all that matters, we have to get him out of here and close this place up," Buffy said.

Dawn helped her sister position the unconscious vamp on her shoulder. She bore his weight as no more than a newborn infant. They could see the entrance up ahead. Dawn slipped the cord from around her waist and attached it to Spike. Buffy looked at he in askance.

"Well how else are we gonna get him out of here?" she glared at Buffy.

Dawn tugged at the cord and Spike's inert form started to slowly rise.

"Whoa, Dawn you are getting heavy, better cut down on some of those chocolate milkshakes," wheezed Giles from above.

Giles almost dropped the cord, when he saw the white blonde head appear over the over the edges of the seal. Buffy and Dawn clawed their way up the sides, helping Giles to complete the task.

Buffy heard a slight groan, she ran to Spike, dropping on the floor next to him. She gathered him into her arms, unconsciously rocking him like a baby.

"Quit it slayer, you're making me queasy," he said weakly, opening his eyes.

"Spike," she cried, weeping with joy.

She had really believed that she'd lost him forever, to never have the chance to hold him in her arms again. Somehow she had been given a second chance. they both had. Buffy smiled her gratitude at her sister.

"I knew you would come for me," he whispered.

Buffy hung her head in shame.

"It wasn't me who thought to find you here, it was Dawn. I thought you were dead; well deader," she said.

Spike turned to look at Dawn.

"Thanks nibblet," he said

"Do you think you can walk?" Buffy asked

"I'll bloody well walk out of this hole," he said, sounding more like his old self.

Buffy helped him to his feet, bearing most of the weight, on her shoulders.

"I do love you Spike, I didn't just say it cos I thought you were dying, and if you let me, I will spend the rest of my life, however long or short that may be, proving it to you," She told him firmly.

"Fine with me pet," he smiled at her.

She could see by his expression that he still doubted her; well actions would have to speak louder than words she thought.

"Where are we going?" he asked.

"Home, yours, mine and Dawn's," she said.

THE END