From the Desk of Lizzy Rebel

Yes, this is it. The final chapter in EWfS. At times, it seems like we would never get there but now that it's over… well, it is kinda of weird to think I would be working on it anymore. At the same time… I like that fact that I can finally put this baby to rest.

See you at the bottom.


Epilogue

"The sun rose on the Sabbath three weeks ago. The day God rested after creating the world. Quite a ca-winkie-dink, don't ya think?" Willow said three weeks later. She and the others were standing in the graveyard that had doubled as a deadly battlefield mere weeks ago.

Xander chuckled and rubbed his new eye. "I dunno, Will. I thought you worshipped the Goddess, so why do you care?" Willow huffed and looked away.

Xander grinned and locked arms with Tabitha who was whipping a trail of sweat from her forehead with a sigh. She looked up at him with a grin and rested her shovel against the freshly made grave.

"It's weird," Tabitha muttered, resting her head against Xander's chest. "How we've all come together and there's no more fights."

Two weeks ago the residents of Bayville started to return to their town. Many were weary about its safety but after a few days of beautiful sunshine and peace they started to relax. Then, the day before Sunday— yesterday—, they finally started to make the graves. There were some many who had been lost, civilian and warrior, and each deserved recognition for who they had been. Surprisingly, when the citizens of Bayville had come to bury their dead and found the X-Men, Buffy's team, and the Brotherhood already there, there were no fights. Everyone just wearily walked around each other, as if they were too tired to bother with petty hatreds.

Xander looked around at everyone who were digging graves. "Eventually they'll return to normal, but the shock is still there, Tab, so everyone hasn't have time to start to hate each other yet. We still have to bury loved ones."

Tabitha nodded in understanding and looked up at him. "We're leaving tomorrow, aren't we?" she asked and Xander blinked.

"How did you know?"

"I heard Buffy talking to her Giles over the phone yesterday," Tabitha admitted. "I couldn't help but eavesdrop. I could here Giles screaming at Buffy to get back to LA before he has a stroke or he'll have her running laps around the entire state."

Xander laughed. "That sounds like Giles. He's probably already pulled out half of his hair with worry by now. So yeah, we've gotta go to LA very soon. Probably tomorrow." He looked over at his girlfriend, his love, and added, "You don't have to come, you know. I mean I… I want you to come but if leaving all this… you don't have to is all I'm saying."

Tabitha laughed and looped her arms around his neck. "Xander, we've gone over this before. I want to come with you. I love you and I'm being with you, whether you like it or not."

"Ah, the things I do for love," Xander said and shook his head. He grinned and pressed his lips against Tabitha's parted ones.

Faith, who was off to the side and helping Dana and the other Slayers bury Charlotte and May, rolled her eyes. "God, mush sickens me. I want my Robin! We aren't mush! We're pure heat."

Dana and the other weren't listening. Dana knelt down and placed flowers at Charlotte's grave. Bridget did the same with May's.

"We'll keep on fighting for them," Nicola said and Ana nodded her head in agreement.

"And we'll never forget what they gave up so we could all live," Hannah added, looking at the two graves with sadness. This death would forever lay heavily with them.

Further off was Sidney. There was no smile of relief on her face, but pure sadness. She was resting against her shovel and looking down at her three gravestones. Tears sprang in her eyes as she read them.

Jack, Ann and Eve. They had fought bravely and deserved their gravestone in the battlefield where they gave up their very soul for the cause.

Ori and Pyro had helped her dig the hole for the gravestones, though nothing would go in the grave. Pyro was off with Gambit and his fellow Brotherhood members, probably explaining that he was leaving the team. And Ori was… Sidney believed she was talking to Kitty.

Sidney felt a hand on her shoulder and she stiffened. She turned and looked into Ori's pale gold eyes. Ori looked sad as well, though nothing compared to Sidney, and she turned her eyes to the graves she helped set up.

"I'm sorry…" Ori said softly, reaching down to touch the graves. "I never realized how important each of them was to you. I was… I guess I was to busy with… other things. I'm so sorry, Sidney, things changed so fast."

Sidney sighed and looked away. "We grew apart, Ori," she said and Ori looked like she wanted to deny but it was the truth. "In a manner of a few weeks we changed. You found your place… with Buffy and Pyro… and I… I'm still looking for it."

"Sidney…" Ori reached out and hugged her friend. "We're still friends. Nothing will ever change that. You're my best friend; you've always been there for me."

"And we always will be, Ori," Sidney said. "But we're two different people now. You have Pyro and I lost Jack. I made decisions that will haunt me for the rest of my life." She raised a hand and placed it on her stomach. "My powers were taken from me. I no longer have them. When I opened the door to Oblivion I not only sacrificed the man I loved and my friends but I gave up my powers as well. And there is something else, something that I couldn't tell Jack or I would hinder him."

Ori's eyes widened and she stared at Sidney in wonder and horror. "Oh my God."

"I'm pregnant." Sidney confirmed Ori's suspicions with those words. "I knew since the first night Jack and I made love. At first I didn't want to tell him because he would be so protective of me and the baby and then Buffy came to us with her plan. I couldn't tell him then because that would make him stay with me. It would keep him from his destiny… to be a hero. Even when he was dissolving in my arms, I didn't tell him. I didn't want to destroy his innocence."

"…" Ori let out a weak breath of air.

"So I will carry this child and birth this child," Sidney went on to explain. "And I will teach it about Jack and Ann and Eve and about the sacrifices made here. I will go back to Maine and with the help my family and Father Tucker I'll raise it. And I will love it enough for both Jack and myself." A single tear fell across Sidney's cheek.

"I'm so sorry," was all Ori could think to say but Sidney turned back to her and smiled.

"Don't be. I choose these things. Don't tell Buffy about the baby, Ori. I don't want her to think that she somehow kept my child from knowing its father," Sidney pleaded and Ori nodded. "You're going with Buffy aren't you? To L.A.?"

"Yeah, Pyro and I decided to see what its like on the true TB. But if you need me I can…" Sidney caught Ori off with a raised hand.

"No, go. I want you to be happy… and we'd drive each other crazy now, Ori. We've changed that much. It's better if we go our separate ways. I'm… I'm going home in a few hours, Ori. I've already called Father Tucker. So, I guess this is goodbye. Send me letters," Sidney said, hugging her friend once more.

"I will, Sid, I will," Ori promised, squeezing Sidney with all her might. "Take care and watch over the baby."

Sidney smiled weakly and turned. Without another word she made her way out of the graveyard and back to the Institute where her bags were waiting for her. Forever gone from the lives of the X-Men.

Pyro watched Sidney walk out and made his way over to his girlfriend. When he reached her, he saw that Ori was crying silently and reached out for her. Ori gratefully fell into his arms. She pressed her face against his chest and sobbed quietly.

"There there, luv," Pyro said, running his fingers in her hair soothingly. "She's doing what she feels is the right thing."

"I know," Ori mumbled and raised her head. "But it's hard to let her go. She was my past, but you're right. Sidney believes this is the right thing. And… and we've changed, her and I. We're different people. My life is with you and Buffy and Sidney's is in Maine with her family."

Pyro pressed his lips lightly against hers and said, "I love you, Ori. You're the only one with the fire I need."

"And you're the only one who can control it. I love you, too," Ori said and hooked her arm around his waist. "Let's go say goodbye to the Brotherhood… even though I don't really know Wanda and Todd."

Rogue watched Sidney walk out the graveyard without so much as glancing her way. Rogue really wasn't surprised. Sidney had changed ever since the battle against Deltoramina. She wasn't the girl she used to be.

But it still hurt that she was leaving without a goodbye…

"You're going to miss her ain't you, mon chere?" Came Gambit's voice as he took her hand in his own. "It hurts to let friends go, I know."

"Yeah…" Rogue agreed but then turned her head up to him and smiled, "But Ah got ya and that counts for somethin'." She chuckled at his mock-insulted look.

"Dis comin' from the woman who said she loved me only a few days ago," Gambit muttered shaking his head. "What am I goin' to do now that I'm in love with a woman who insults me?"

Rogue laughed and pushed herself on her tiptoes so she could kiss his cheek. "Oh, Ah love ya, Gambit. But that doesn't make ya anymore less of as moron."

"Gambit will take it," said the Cajun and cupped her face for a deeper kiss.

Kitty laughed at the two embracing couples and leaned against Lance, who wrapped an arm around her shoulder.

"Like who'da thunkin that Rogue and Gambit would end up together," Kitty wondered absently, drawing lazy circles on his chest.

Lance chuckled and looked over at the embracing couples who had yet to draw their lips apart. "Well, you can kinda say the same thing about us can't you, Kitty-cat?" Kitty nodded and wrapped her arms around her neck.

"So you're going to start high school again?" She wondered, remembering the talk Lance had had with Professor Xavier upon his return.

"Yeah, but just my senior year so I can get my grades up and go to collage," Lance answered and grinned down at her. "Why? Surprised that I'm making an effort?"

"No. Just very, very happy," Kitty answered and leaned up to kiss him.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer walked along the graves with Logan. They stopped at the grave they had given the Shibita the half-demon. Though normally the two would've been enemies, she had fought bravely for the cause and deserved a grave.

Buffy was surprised to see her sword propped up against her grave. From what Logan had told her he had given the sword to Shibita's right hand man. Perhaps, in honour of his leader, the half-demon had placed the sword at the grave.

"She was very brave," Buffy muttered and touched the grave as a last respect. "She deserves that grave."

Logan nodded and looked at the grave. He didn't touch the grave or bow but there was respect in his eyes. He turned to the Slayer. "So you're leaving tomorrow."

"Early tomorrow," Buffy agreed.

"And you're taking along a few choice mutants with you," Logan pointed out.

"Only the ones who came willingly," Buffy counted and grinned. "Oh and Colossus."

Logan shook his head. "Well, you keep fighting the good fight, kid. Give those vampires some hell for me."

"Sure will," Buffy said and walked away from Logan, leaving him to pay his last respects to Shibita the demon.

Buffy made her way over to Colossus and smiled at him. He hooked an arm around her waist and did the same. Together they made their way out of the graveyard. They had to start packing.

"Things are going to change, aren't they?" Colossus asked, looking down at her with love and affection.

Buffy looked up at him and thought how much she loved him. "Yes, my love, things are going to change. And nothing could be better."

And they made their way to the Institute.

-&-

The sun peeked over the horizon as the group of mutants and the TB stood in front of the bus stop. The silver Grayhound bus pulled up in front of the group of people and opened its dark doors.

Buffy, Colossus, Ori Pyro, Xander, Tabitha, Willow, Faith, Andrew, Dana, Hannah, Nicola, Bridget, and Ana looked at their friends Scott, Jean, Kitty, Lance, Rouge, Gambit, Kurt, Amanda, Logan, and Evan. The New Slayers waved happily and stepped onto the bus. Andrew gloomily stepped onto the bus, still mourning the lost tape of an excellent Buffy fight.

"See you guys." Buffy said as she looked at each one of her new friends. Rogue and Gambit, holding to each other, Lance and Kitty, their arms interlocked, Amanda and Kurt, hugging, Logan scowling and Evan grinning. And Scott and Jean were holding hands. That caused Buffy to raise an eyebrow.

That was something new…

"See you, Miss Summers," Evan said brightly.

"Don't like forget us," Kitty said tearfully.

"We won't!" Tabitha assured her group of friends she was leaving behind. "And I'll be back. Tell Amara and the others that I'm sorry they slept in and missed my take off!"

"I'll be back." Xander said in a bad impersonation of the Terminator. When everyone grinned at him, he glowered and turned to Colossus, nudged him in the ribs lightly. "You say it."

"I'll be back," Colossus said in perfect imitation of the Terminator.

"DAMNIT!" Xander shouted and grabbed Tabitha arm. Waving, they stepped onto the bus.

"I won't forget you," Ori said with fake tears. "You guys changed my life. I'll write! I love you all so much. I—"

"Come on. Get on the bus, luv." Pyro muttered shaking his head and dragging her on the bus. Ori kicked with a pretend tantrum.

"Keep him line, Ori," Lance called and Gambit nodded his head in agreement.

"Better get going," Buffy muttered as the bus-driver started to look annoyed. "See you again."

"Look us up anytime ya need help savin' the world," Rogue said as Buffy and Colossus climbed up to steps of the bus.

"Thank for everything!" Jean called, leaning against Scott who waved. The mutants watched as the bus carrying their friends drove from view. When it had disappeared from their sight they turned and headed back to the Institute, some locked in the arms of those they loved.

Lance and Kitty…

Rogue and Gambit…

Kurt and Amanda…

Jean and Scott…

Ori and Pyro…

Colossus and Buffy…

Tabitha and Xander…

The lovers who were lucky enough to know the purest of true love.

Buffy and Colossus settled down in the first set of the bus. To their side was Ori and Pyro, who were humoring themselves by looking out the window. To their left sat Tabitha and Xander and behind Pyro and Ori were Willow and Faith. In the back of the bus sat Dana, Nicola, Ana, Hannah, and Bridget because there wasn't enough room in the front. Andrew sat in the middle, not saying anything. There was a pout on his face as he fiddled with him camera, thinking about how wonderful having that tape of Buffy would've been.

"So," Xander said, looping his arm around Tabitha who settled against him. "We're heading back to LA for some R&R and then off to Cleveland we go?"

Buffy looked at Colossus who nodded. "I was thinking maybe we should hit Vegas before we head up to Los Angeles." She chuckled as everyone's face filled with shock.

"Wait," Willow said, raising her hand. "Isn't that where you—"

"Yep."

"OH MY GODDESS!" she shouted.

Faith hooted and clapped her hands enthusiastically. "Wow, walkin' on the wild side! You go, B! What is the Giles going to say?"

"He won't have a say," Buffy said firmly. "My choice… not his."

"So you two are going to Vegas to…" Pyro leaned forward in his seat and when Buffy nodded, looked over at Ori. "Ori, luv…"

"Don't even think about it," Ori said, pushing her boyfriend into his seat. "You're romancing me before I start to even think about marriage. Some people may find spur-of-the-moment-elopements romantic but I like it traditional! And I want traditional!"

Pyro rolled his eyes but hooked an arm around Ori's shoulders. "That's gonna be fun."

"You bet your—" Ori words were cut off by Pyro's confident lips. She sighed against them and molded into the kiss.

Tabitha and Xander were looking at one another like weary tomcats about to fight over a mouse.

"We're not getting married yet, are we?" Xander wondered.

"No," was his girlfriend's agreement.

"But we probably will?"

"Probably."

"You like me with two eyes, right?" Xander said, changing to subject so fast it had everyone blinking.

Confused, Tabitha said slowly, "Yeah…"

"Good."

"What was the point of that?" Tabitha pondered and Xander shrugged.

"Just wondering," he said and moved in to kiss his girlfriend.

Willow looked over at Faith, who had turned her head to look at her. "Kinda glad we left our boyfriend and girlfriend beyond. Are you?"

"Yeah. Totally, yo," Faith agreed and they fell into small talk about the weather so they didn't concentrate on the kissing couples. Both Willow and Faith sighed with envy, though they claimed not to be, and thought about their loved ones—Robin for Faith and Kennedy for Willow—and couldn't wait to get home. Grins appeared on their faces.

Andrew leaned forward eagerly in his seat and caught the end of Buffy's conversation and figured out what they were planning. He gave a cry and leaned back in his seat sadly. "What perfect film-eg and I don't have any extra tape. WHY DO YOU FORSAKE ME GOD?"

Buffy chuckled and leaned against Colossus. "Happy?" she asked him as she pressed a smile kiss against his lips to show him just how happy she was. She couldn't, Buffy decided, couldn't get any happier.

"Yeah," Colossus answered and took her hand. "I'll be even happier when we're married."

Oh yes, that could make her happier.

"Me too," Buffy agreed and closed her eyes. Colossus rested his head against hers and they fell into a deep slumber, tuning the rest of the world out.

And in that moment everything was perfect.


AN: and that was it. And I am happy. So very, very happy. It was fun to right and I'm am pleased to end it. It was my first big delve into the world of romance and long in-depth plot. Sure, it wasn't perfect. But for the longest time it had been my baby and for that, I am forever thankful.

Reviews

Hellmouth2: I must tell you now. You are the best reviewer I've EVER had. You stuck with this story from the beginning till the end and I probably wouldn't have continued it without your constant support. So thank you so very, very much. You have no idea how much you contributed to this story.

Sierra: I'm glad you liked it and I hope you found the ending enjoyable to read. It's nice to know what people think of my story, you know?