Chapter 9

Tara's light show was doing well holding off the creatures from the house when suddenly a huge orb appeared. Unbeknownst to the occupants of the house it began sucking her upwards with a strong wind that blew just around her. Willow began to panic, all she could think of was danger, Tara maybe being lost forever in that thing, whatever it was. Her eyes darkened quickly as she rose up to the orb.

"Do anything it shatters and she dies!" Shouted a harsh voice.

Meanwhile the power of the scythe had knocked both slayers across the room. Both lay motionless as Anya stood alongside Dawn watching the mayhem outside. "This is so not good." Dawn breathed out quietly.

Buffy was the first to get up, her legs were rubbery and unstable, vision blurred to a slayer's standards that is. A huge void found its way into her heart as Dawn screamed for her to do something because no slayer senses kicked in.

She knew now that she wasn't the chosen one anymore, that her time had ended when she almost drowned in the water. She fought off tears, now she had a normal life but didn't know what to do with it, didn't want it and cursed Xander for causing all this to happen though she knew he did what he did back then out of love for her.

As Willow's fury pounded on the elements outside the mayor suddenly appeared inside the house. "Faithie, do get up, you look so natural though there on the floor." He raised his hands and the house shook as the orb outside did bust sending Tara plummeting to the ground fast and hard, landing with a thud. "Oh Lookie fallen slayer, your girlfriend is being comforted by the true love of her life." He laughed hysterically.

Buffy did turn her gaze outside and indeed Willow was cradling the limp Tara in her arms, Anya had now joined Xander and Giles in the fight and Dawn was heading out to do the same.

Willow's emerald eyes sprang tears that could have opened a new lake in town, her body shook with fear as she looked down at Tara. "See she still loves her, you two were just rebound girls! You can't break true love fools!" The mayor continued his montage of mental blows that were working on the already mentally sore ex-slayer and surely Faith. She'd always been weak in the emotion department and there was no reason that should be any different he concluded as he looked at the dark haired girl laying on the floor he once called family.

The energy swept through Faith like a furious storm, igniting and opening up every fiber of her being. She literally could feel it hum to life as it made its rightful home within her being and body. She struggled to get up, to focus on what was going on around her but was having a difficult time doing so. The only things she could hear and see were the things that cut at her heart, her mind and soul. The thoughts of loosing Willow to her true love.

With a pain plagued mind she knew she had to let the slayer take over, to let it run her body and emotions or all would be lost.

She rose to her feet grabbing up the mayor who was changing into a devilish looking being. "The only way you win boss is for you to kill me." She said confidently seeing the ugly features on the man halt keeping some of his own at surface.

"Not a problem Faithie, you chose your side." He laughed and looked directly into her big brown eyes.

"Not a problem huh boss-man?" She returned his deep gaze. "Then why did you give up the ascension for me, why did you get sloppy when you found out what happened to me? We both got a weakness man and it's family, you treasure family and I never had one but you." Her eyes softened as she looked at the man standing before her, the one who made her feel loved no matter how evil he might be.

Everything was at a standstill as the scoobies for once in their lives stood alongside creatures they vowed to fight to watch the exchange going on inside the house.

"Needless to say, one of us must die to stop the madness, the question is which will it be?" He looked away from the girl, she was right, he'd thought of her as a daughter and enjoyed their time together.

"Faith maybe he made you feel this family bond because he knew it would come to this and he hoped you wouldn't go through with it." A voice stepping out of the shadows said promptly. It was Angel followed by Cordelia. They'd came back to help and were finally able to fight their way through a large pack of demons down the street. Suddenly the demons had stopped fighting as if entranced with a spectacle, now they knew what it was.

Faith stood looking at the mayor processing Angel's words, she wanted them to be true to give her the strength to do as she was called to do but that strange part inside her, the one that loved this man-demon as family knew it wasn't true.

Willow cradled Tara in her arms outside sobbing uncontrollably both for Tara, their missed opportunities and herself, the damage she'd almost done again. She finally turned her attention towards the house. She could see all to well the pain her girlfriend was going through inside the house and mentally smacked herself hard for not being there. "Willow, do go inside," Giles prompted easily knowing the torment the young woman must be going through.

"Tara needs me," she said softly seeing Buffy come out the door as Tara opened her eyes.

"I'll take care of Tara Will, I promise," Buffy said gently. Even if this was her last flicker of a moment with Tara, she knew Willow needed to help Faith emotionally and refused to let her hurt over seeing their love once again shine through stop her.

"He's lying Faith," the mayor blurted out unable to contain himself. "He knows it too, he's just trying to strengthen you for the inevitable, the simple fact that one of us must die today to stop the prophecy repeating itself. Years ago when I began my evil quest, a sorceress put a curse on me that I would either kill or die at the hands of someone I loved to show me great pain as I have inflicted on others. Well it seems she didn't do a clean job at it and you know I hate messes. By doing this, she caused me to have the ability to continue coming back until the right person killed me or I killed them. Not to mention I was already set to only be killed by the chosen one herself, so you see Xander Harris did have a hand in this little incident."

Faith stood motionless outwardly at least as Willow put her arm around her and whispered words of love. She didn't speak nor flinch but inside she was being ripped in half. She didn't know if she had the strength within her to kill this man, as she was his weakness she knew he was hers. She knew few if any would understand this fact but it was true and nothing she could do to change it now.

"Faithie listen to me," he said sternly. "You are my greatest weakness because I love you. I can not kill you darling," for the first time a tear trickled down his cheek. "The fact remains though, I am evil and you must do your job. Please make my soul proud and end this torment for me but know you always have my love. Willow do take care of her, show her it's okay to love, don't let her close up. She has such a beautiful soul, I'm counting on you to mend her as she will mend you. Faith I'm so sorry this happened to you, I truly am, please believe that."

With that he stepped forward engulfing the girl, who defeated him with love, in a big hug. Tears began to flow from both their eyes as well as from the human onlookers outside the house.

"Hey boss," she said looking at him with trembling hands and tearstained eyes. "I love ya man." With that same bravery Buffy once used when ending Angel's undead life, she drove the sword deep within the mayor's body and he began to dissolve into a liquid mass around it then was gone.

After the incident the four women had shared a long tearful hug, each knowing the pain of the slayer for their own various reasons. Willow and Tara both knew now and shared it with their girlfriends that it could never be with them. Yes they had a great love for each other, one that caused destruction for Willow when they got in a bind. So they must part, and that they did. Buffy and Tara had left town in search of what Buffy had always wanted, a loving normal life that next morning.

As she watched them pull out of the drive for what was sure to be the last time, Willow felt for Buffy. She knew she herself had some healing to do. Having the only thing you really ever knew ripped away wasn't easy. Being the slayer was a large part of who Buffy was but Willow knew that was what would make her heal faster. The slayer was always only a large part of Buffy, she had carried other hopes and dreams. As being the slayer was all of Faith, she had no other hopes nor dreams, being in a loving relationship was just an additional bonus to her slayer self. So as she pondered all this out, she knew Buffy would recover fully, after all she had the best helper she could find to get her through the rough spots. Part of her was sad for Buffy while the larger part was glad for her. Glad also that it wasn't Faith who had to have the gift taken away because she knew deep down, Faith would not have recovered.

"Red I only got one request." Faith said holding the woman tightly as she placed gentle kisses on her neck trying to draw Willow out of what she knew were sad thoughts. Willow had tried her best to ease her pain over killing the mayor and Faith wanted to do the same. She knew it had to be hard watching Buffy leave and more so Tara. Tara was a huge part of Willow'f life for a long time and Faith accepted the fact part of Willow would always be with the shy, loving wiccan.

"What's that?" Willow said in her classic high pitched tones/ enjoying the intimacy the two were sharing as Faith's hands made a trail under the shirt gently massaging.

"That you never leave me, never ask me to kill you and love me as much as he did." Faith spoke trying to not tense up with tears.

"I promise all those things Faith if you promise to help me rather than leave me, and to love me even when I screw up and go all black-eyed girl." Willow said quenching back her own pain and fear.

"You got yourself a deal red," she began massaging the breasts as her kisses made their way down to them. "One more thing, I wanna make love to you often, but once in awhile we have to do something uninhibited and wild cause that's so much fun."

"Deal," Willow said as she closed her eyes readying for the passion that was soon to flow between them.

Faith picked her lover up into her arms allt he while not continuing the gentle kisses which were fastly growing more passionate. "I hope you don't have plans for the day Red." She said smiling at the woman closing the bedroom door.

"Well there is this thing about the house, I should make arrangements to have it put in my name or parents or," Willow grinned sheepishly as Faith began the kissing again rubbing her already arroused center. "That can all wait though, I wanna start our new chapter."

"I thought you'd see it my way," Faith smiled as she continued to show her mental feelings with much physical activity.

Outside the house Dawn stood waiting for Anya to pick her up for a day of shopping. She was filled with mixed emotions. Those of missing her sister and Tara, wishing things could have been different more as they were before but deepd own she was taking a liking to Faith and supposed this could be a new time for them all. "You ready Dawnie?" Anya smiled at the girl knowing what she must be going through and hoping to help in some way.

"Yeah, lets make a dent in Xander's credit card." Dawn said racing for the car being glad that some things never change.