Summary: The conclusion of my trilogy, sequel to "All That's Good and Bad" and "In the End a Beginning". The apocalypse is upon them. Will the prophecy hold true or will the slayer lose everyone including one or both of her mighty warriors before the final bell has tolled?

A/N: This is the third and last story. I'll try to give you a run down of what went on before, but if you haven't read the other two stories, well you might get lost.

Disclaimer: All characters are the property of Joss Whedon and his affiliates. Of course he can't claim my made up characters. Poem following is the work of Lord Byron and titled "The Destruction of Sennacherih".

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What went on before: Spike came back from his excursion newly souled and crazed. Buffy found out and decided to help him with the madness. Their relationship slowly developed over time until The First had other plans and by mind control using the technology of the chip, sent him to rid the world of the slayer. Meanwhile, Giles is back and doing what he does best; Anya is a demon but willing to help the helpless and Xander is by her side; Willow and new gal pal Meg, a modern druidess, has joined the scooby gang; Dawn is feeling a surge of power and knowledge she is sure is coming from her keyness.

Later, Giles realizes Spike is in need of a chipectomy, which frees him to rescue the slayer who is vacationing in the Hellmouth. When the super couple returns, Spike and company recognize that he no longer is in love with the slayer, a dilemma bestowed to him through The First. However, nothing keeps the warriors down when he actually falls in love with the slayer all over again. But The First is still playing games as Angel shows up at the Summers' door with a message that he was beckoned.

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The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,

And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;

And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,

When the blue wave rolls mightly on deep Galilee.

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Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,

That host with their banners at sunset were seen;

Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,

That host on the morrow lay wither'd and strown.

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For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,

And breathed in the face of the foe as he pass'd;

And the eyes of the sleepers was'd deadly and chill,

And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

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And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,

But through it there roll'd not the breath of his pride;

And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,

And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

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And there lay the rider distorted and pale,

With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail;

And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,

The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

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And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,

And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;

And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,

Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

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Prologue

Black as pitch. No matter how you looked at it, the blackness ran deep and surrounded her, engulfed her. She couldn't breathe, she couldn't feel as she struggled to move but it held her down, encased her in its mummifying web. She opened her mouth to scream but she wasn't even sure she was making a sound. Claustrophobia began setting in quickly. She was beginning to panic.

Had to move, had to do something constructive. She reached out blindly with both hands, stretching, reaching for anything in her perimeter to grab and hold onto, to pull her out of this smothering pit of hell. The noise was sudden as if turned on by a switch and growing, whimpers getting louder by the second. Moans of despair swelling, blaring until it filled her head.

A flash of white light off to her immediate right, diminutive but enough to get her attention yet when she looked, the inky abyss had swallowed it up. Was someone trying to get to her, someone or something to help her or god forbid, harm her? Once again a flicker of white caught her eye as it grew larger and wider. A portal possibly but that idea was dashed immediately as she stared at the spot as if it were a television screen. She didn't like what she saw. Blood, crimson carnage spilling out, spreading all over, soaking into the earth, running in rivulets, escaping from the precious bodies that needed it to sustain life. But there was no life here.

Bodies lay motionless, beaten and bruised, sliced open to drain their existence out. She came to realize as she looked closer, the bodies were once people she knew, loved ones, her friends, her family and yes, even her lovers. Out of all of them, Spike was the only body remaining upright though he stood on his knees holding his hand over the gaping wound on his belly as a great deal of blood poured from him.

"Sorry, luv. Too much, too fast, too clever. Wish I could have been of more use but it seems…," his gaze drifted over to the horizon as the sun began to peek over and ascend into the morning sky.

"…dawn has arrived," he finished gruffly as he turned back to her, tears pooling in his pale and lifeless blue eyes and a sweet smile on his lips as he whispered his last loving sentiments to her.

In an instant, particles of dust were floating on air that she could not herself feel and in that moment, she noticed Angel's body was also gone. What remained she could not bear to look at and she tried her best to turn her head away from the grisly spectacle.

"You're alone now, slayer. Just as it should be, don't you think? Not having all these humans and vampires with souls weighing you down. You're better off without this lot, you know. I mean, let's look at the broader spectrum, shall we? You had a Watcher who couldn't even control you in the end, a witch who wasn't comfortable with her powers, so pathetically weak. If it wasn't for her girlfriend, she would have been gone ages ago. The carpenter was really good for nothing and yes, aha, his demon girlfriend who couldn't decide in the end what side to fight on. A sister, more powerful than any of you that you fussed over constantly yet in the end lost anyway. Girls who looked up to you, leaning on every word you spoke. Extra weight you didn't need."

The sinister voice paused as if in reflection. "Finally, the two vampires; the eldest a psychopath and extremely manipulative sadist who in turn became an introvert, withdrawing into himself to keep others safe, afraid to let loose his wrath lest he slip back into maddening immorality. Dangerous and volatile. And lest we forget his protégé, the self-involved sociopath with Machiavellian tendencies, an ambiguous pragmatist if ever there was one with visions of grandeur. What a mouth on that one. You're better off without him around. You are the chosen one, the one who reigns above this lot. You are stronger without the extra baggage. So now slayer, it's just you and me. What's it going to be? I can give you anything you want if you side with me. Hmmm?"

Buffy squeezed her eyes shut tight, blocking out the gruesome images in front of her, hoping also to block out the sweet sinister voice that taunted her. She felt lost, freefalling into oblivion. She gasped out a loud sob as she reached out again this time hitting something solid. She grasped it and held on for dear life.

"Spike," she sobbed breathily.

The voice sneered as the light and dark merged into one. "Idiot! You are so alone yet you are too blind to see."

"So alone, so alone," her mantra continued as cool arms wrapped around her and pulled her into their comforting embrace. Soft kisses placed on her forehead and over tear drenched eyelids brought some relief but the warm, deep voice in her ear snapped her back to attention.

"Buffy? Buffy, luv, you are not alone. Never alone. I'll make sure of that, I promise."

He held her and rocked her until her weeping wound down to just sniffles. A soft knock on the door had them both looking over at it. Slowly it opened and the familiar body leaning on the doorframe peered in. Silence ebbed throughout the room.

Finally, "Everything alright, Buffy?"

She shook her head slightly, wondering if he could see it in the semi darkness of the room even with the pale moonlight streaming in. Her voice quivered as she made an effort to answer him verbally.

"Yes. Bad dream. I'm fine."

"Are you sure?"

Spike sighed roughly. "She said she was fine, Sir Broods-alot. I'm sure we'll discuss matters in the morning, so slither on back to your sleeping quarters."

Angel gripped the door tightly and growled a goodnight before slipping out and shutting the door quietly.

Buffy looked up at Spike with wide eyes.

"Spike, I saw so much blood. Every…"

"Shh, I meant what I said, luv. We'll talk about it in the morning." He pulled her down beside him still wrapped around each other as he continued his comforting touches and words.

"You need to rest now. I'm here with you, right here for always. Just remember that. Always."

Sleep took over her instantly, yet this time the blackness wasn't nearly as ominous.

To be continued…