See previous chapters for the rating, disclaimer, etc. Thanks.

Sands of Time

Here it is—the final chapter.

I'd like to thank everyone who read my story, with the spotlight on

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And to everyone who simply read my story, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU times a bazillion! (It would've been nice of you to review as well, though…

OKAY…on with the chapter…the final chapter

Chapter 12

Sunnydale, California 1999

            Cordelia grabbed hold of the handle of the window. "Got it!" she cried.

            "Well, now what?" Giles asked.

            Cordelia snorted. "This is your plan, genius."

            There was a bright flash of light in the library. Cordelia screamed and fell off Giles's shoulders, startled.

            "Honey, I'm home," Buffy said half-heartedly from the library. Giles and Cordelia twisted around from their uncomfortable positions (sitting in a heap on the floor will do that to you) and Giles scrambled for the keys.

            "Here," he said, shoving them through the links of the weapons cage, "Will you please unlock us?"

            Angel strode over and unlocked the door. Giles began to leave the cage, but was shoved out of the way by Cordelia.

            "So where's this apocalypse I'm supposed to be fighting?" Buffy asked.

            "Gone, I'd assume," Giles answered from his place on the floor. "Since you are back in the present time, the past has been altered."

            "Then how come we can remember it?" Buffy asked.

            "Because we were involved in it, I'd assume," Giles answered.

            "Oh hey," Cordelia said, walking over to the Watcher's Diaries, which lay open on the table where she'd left them. "Did you happen to meet someone named Cassandra?"

            Buffy nodded, about to cry. Cordelia barreled on, not even noticing. "'Cause I feel bad for her. The Watcher's Diaries say she was 'totured by those she once called friends,' or something. Listen to this." She picked up the Watcher's Diary, frowned, and began to flip pages. "I don't remember this entry," she mumbled. Then she looked up. "Giles! The whole book has changed!"

            "Cassie died," Buffy said quietly. "I guess we stopped her from being tortured like that."

            Willow patted her friend on the shoulder. "See, look at that! You helped her."

            "Yeah," Buffy said quietly. "I guess. Hey guys, I'm really tired. I'm gonna head home."

            "See you later," Willow said, hugging her. "Call if you want to talk."

            Angel gave her a quick kiss goodbye. "Take care."

            "Bye," Cordelia said unceremoniously.

            Giles nodded his goodbye, and Buffy left.

                                                *            *            *

            The woods. They glowered at her. 'You couldn't save her,' the trees seemed to say, swaying in the wind. 'Too late, too late,' it whispered.

            "Well," Cassie exclaimed. "This sure is a depressing dream if I ever saw one." The scenery around Buffy changed, and she was standing in a glowing light. Cassie was next to her.

            Buffy turned to look at the Slayer. She was dressed in modern clothes: a black miniskirt with blue flowers and a vine embroidered on it, and a sleeveless blue top with cinched straps. The top layer was flowy, see-through material, and the bottom layer was normal fabric, tight. There were flip-flops with blue straps on her feet, and her toenails were painted white.

            And, slouchy on her shoulders and clashing with the rest of her outfit, was the Sunnydale Varsity Football Team jacket.

            Cassie shrugged. "What can I say?" she said. "I like your style. And I just couldn't part with the jacket."

            Buffy finally found something to say. "I'm so sorry, Cassie."

            Cassie shrugged again. "Everyone dies sometime."

            "But I could have—"

            Cassie cut her off with a wave of her hand. "Buffy, listen to me. I'm happy. I'm in Heaven, I think. And I'm sorry…I'm sorry that you feel guilty. You shouldn't."

            "Why shouldn't I?" Buffy asked. "If only I'd…" she tried to pinpoint exactly what she could have done differently, but couldn't.

            "There you go," Cassie said. "You prevented me from months of torture and a horrible death just by coming." She paused. "And don't ask me how I know about my 'other death', so to speak, because I don't know how I know. I just do, and I'm thankful that you stopped it from happening."

            Buffy nodded. She was beginning to understand, despite Cassie's confusing way of speaking.

            "Now listen," Cassie said. "You aren't going to sleep forever. I need to tell you this. Listen carefully.

            "Keep fighting. There is always something worth fighting for. Don't ever forget that."

            Buffy nodded.

            "Now, I have a favor to ask." She chuckled. "As if you haven't done enough favors for me already, I know. But anyway, tomorrow, tell Miss Ford my message."

            "What is your message?" Buffy asked.

            "You'll know," Cassie told her. "At eleven by the sun, the task will be done."

            "Now you're getting cryptic on me," Buffy said, smiling a little.

            "It's my prerogative," Cassie teased, grinning at her. "I'm dead."

            "But I still don't know your message to Miss Ford," Buffy said.

            "Oh, yeah, it's Mrs. Day now," Cassie reminded her. "That should help you out. She got married. August of '54. It was beautiful. I cried." Cassie grinned. "So did she. I bet she'd never admit it, though." Cassie got a faraway look on her face. "She was so strong," she said, almost to herself. "For both of us. The mother I never had, the sister I always wanted. Tell her that for me, would you?"

            Buffy nodded for what seemed like the millionth time. "I have question, though," she said quickly. "Why can't you just tell her yourself?"

            "These dreams are a Slayer thing," Cassie explained. "There's an advantage if I ever saw one."

            "How come I can't talk to Kendra, then?"

            "Kendra isn't one for fuzzy heart-to-hearts. She says she hopes you're putting Mr. Pointy to good use, though."

            "Tell her I am," Buffy said.

            "Okay. Goodbye, Buffy," Cassie said. She began to fade away, then seemed to remember something.  "I miss you too."

            She was gone.

            Buffy awoke with a start. Sunlight was streaming through the windows of her room. She glanced at her digital clock. Nine fifty-eight.  Wow, that's late, she thought. Well, if you're me.

            She pulled the covers off and padded over to her closet to decide what to wear for the day.  She pulled open the door…and there on the first hanger, was a Sunnydale High School Varsity jacket. 1954.

                                                            *            *            *

            "Are you ready?" Willow asked Buffy.

            "As I'll ever be," Buffy replied, nervously reaching for the doorbell.

            After a few seconds, a woman in her late seventies answered. "Hello?"

            "Miss F—Mrs. Day?" Buffy asked.

            The woman studied her for a moment. "Buffy?"

            Buffy nodded.  "I had a dream last night," she said. "Cassie told me to tell you something."

            "Come in," Mrs. Day said to the girls. "and, uh—"

            "Willow," Willow reminded the elderly woman. It was strange to know that just yesterday she had been twenty-something.

            "You said that Cassie spoke to you?" Mrs. Day prompted.

            "She gave me this message," Buffy said, reaching into the pocket of her coat. Mrs. Day recognized it.

"Her jacket," she breathed. "Where did you get it?"

"When I woke up after the dream, it was hanging in the closet. This was in the pocket. It's for you. I didn't read it." She handed the note to Mrs. Ford, who read it and handed it back to Buffy, teary eyed.

"You can read it."

Buffy smoothed out the note and read it.

"I think you might want keep this," she said when she was finished. "She also said to tell you that you were like a mother and a sister to her. I thought you might want to know that."

"Thank you," Mrs. Ford whispered. "Goodbye, girls."

Buffy and Willow walked through the foyer of the house and past the front garden where the sundial showed eleven 'o clock.

                                                *            *            *

To My Dear Watcher:

I miss you. I miss how you'd always call me Cassandra instead of Cassie, how you'd tell me to mend the tear in my jacket, and most of all, I miss you smile and your laugh.

But I'm safe. I'm happy. I'm with my parents, and they're great, but they don't measure up to you. They know it, I know it, and I wanted you to know it. You were always there. You kept me in line, you kept me safe. And I never really listened. Well, it's your turn now, but listen. Love your life. You don't always have to play by the rules. I didn't, and I loved my life until the end. I want that for you, too.

                                    Love,

                                                Cassandra

P.S. I mended the sweater. I know Buffy will take care of it.

********************************************************************************************

Okay, in the words of some famous actress I forget the name of:

"That's all there is, there isn't any more!"

Hope you all enjoyed. I love happy endings and I didn't want the end to be too angst-y and depressing, thus the dream visitations, etc. I liked it. Did you?? FEEDBACK!!!! Just cause I'm finished writing it doesn't mean I don't love feedback!  PLEASE!!!

Also, please read my other stories:

~Cordelia's Diary    (general)

            Cordelia writes down her thoughts from season one to season three.

~The We Hate Buffy Club    (humor)

            Sunnydale's demons are sick and tired of Buffy, so the unite…and complain.

~Breakfast at Dawn   (humor)

            A nine-year-old Dawn wakes up early to make breakfast for her mom…really early. But not too early to start one of Joyce's 'my-daughter-has-put-me-at-the-end-of-my-rope' days.

~Monkey Brains      (humor)

            Buffy plays a trick on five-year-old Dawn as revenge…

~Staking My Sister   (humor)

            Yet another Buffy/Dawn sister fic from me. Buffy demonstrates what she does on patrol.

And, coming soon…(maybe)

~Prophecies Series     (drama/action/adventure)

     Part I—"Abby"

             A mysterious girl arrives in Sunnydale, seeking the help of Giles. But the more the gang finds out about her, the less they know for sure.

~Correspondence     (general/humor)

            The emails of the Scoobies, post-Chosen.

IMPORTANT!!!

IF YOU WANT ME TO PUBLISH THE ABOVE FICS, EMAIL ME ABOUT THEM OR MENTION IT IN YOUR REVIEW.

Any and all comments are appreciated. Thanks for being so great, everyone!

*mistymidnight*