Hiya! I never thought I'd say this, but I really want to go back to school! You see, during the hurricane we had over three weeks ago, it really wrecked my high school, and so I can't go back until they get power! -- So, I've been really bored, and, although I wanted to wait it out, I decided to update to be fair. What else am I to do?

-Disclaimer-

I do not own Buffy. I do not own Buffy. I've tried convincing myself, but I still can't stop pretending...


Buffy's eyes glittered menacingly. Placing one foot behind the other, she stroke a fighting pose, ready for flight. The rest of the scoobies only watched silently, Willow's eyes narrowed dangerously, while the rest of them, including Spike, scowled.

The Rysterca smiled. He looked incredibly pleased that he would be able to fight, and, thinking he, that he would win in the end. "Dear slayer, if you really do wish to fight me, then we really should make this a fair fight." With a wave of his hands, Xander, Giles, Spike, Dawn, and Willow were are pushed by an invisible force into the fire pillars, each banging fruitlessly against the inner wall of the fire, only causing serious burns in their hands. Looking hopelessly, Willow and Buffy exchanged a significant glance, Willow's eyes moving over towards behind an empty fire pillar. Understanding suddenly, Buffy realized that Anya was not imprisoned, and that she was waiting for the opportune moment.

"So, Slayer," He moved towards the right, Buffy moving towards the left. "If you really think this will be a fair match, then let's let the lady go first." He held his hands in the air, waiting for Buffy to make the first move. Raising an eyebrow, she obeyed.

Jumping in the air, doing a front flip, Buffy made to kick the Rysterca squarely in the chest, but before she could make contact, the Rysterca caught her feet, and, holding her in midair, threw her against the nearest fire pillar, burning the side of her face.

Lifting herself off of the floor, the rest of the scoobies gasped as they witnessed the horrible scorched look on the left side of Buffy's once flawless features. Moving towards the demon once more, she threw a few hard punches, all blocked by the demon. He threw his own punch, heading straight for her face, but Buffy leaned backwards so far that she did a back flip, high in the air. When she came down, she was on the ground, staring up at the Rysterca who was smiling evilly. "Ha ha," he chuckled gently to himself. "Good form. Smart moves. But unfortunately," He lifted her in the air by her waist, spun her around, and threw her to the pillar nearest Xander. "-Not enough strength."

Standing up, she grasped her arm, moaned quietly, and stood up crookedly, holding onto her injured arm.

Spike, watching Buffy's losing streak, yelled out against the fire and night. "Buffy! NO!" He kicked forcefully at the pillar, but received such a shock that his foot caught on fire. Trying desperately to extinguish it, it finally did. Looking up at his slayer, he noticed she was once again fighting the god-like power of the Rysterca.

Buffy was blocking several more hits, crossing her arms against her chest, a small dribble of blood flowing down her chin. As Buffy threw another kick his way, he caught her ankle, and, grinning horribly at her, whispered audibly, "How do you like?" He spun her around so fast, that while she was still spinning, he caught her at her throat, automatically making her hands grasp his arm for support. The box that had been floating during the whole fight, now was summoned towards them. The Rysterca opened the box with one hand, and everyone watched the extraordinary flaunt.

Buffy stared fearfully at the box, her eyes bulging slightly from the pressure of his hand against her throat. The deadly box opened, and as it did, everything around them was quiet and slow-moving. A bright, transparent light emitted from the inside, so pure and untouched by any human hands that it had to be evil. All Buffy could hear was her own icy, frightened breath escaping her lips. Unfortunately, that was not the only thing escaping it. Her form suddenly went limp, and she began to glow scarlet. A single strand of red, silk-like material escaped her mouth, slowing entering the illumined box, before it entered, formed in the shape of a heart, and then disappearing. (1)

The Rysterca dropped her, and she landed with a thud on the pavement, clutching her throat weakly. She watched as the demon moved, her eyes gleaming with hatred. The Rysterca moved towards the edge of the roof and opened the box, the sun-like light shooting towards the edge of town, where until now, none of the others had even noticed the far-away, desolate spit of land that was about to be uncovered. The demon raised the box high above his head, opened his mouth horribly and shouted into the wind, "Hacset sycentente evillies mundo!"

Nothing seemed to happen. Then everything happened all at once. The ground that nothing once stood was now shaking terribly, as if another Californian earthquake was happening. Below the ground, rising, was a stone temple larger than any of them had ever seen. It was so huge and dome-like that it was a mixture of a pyramid and a stadium. But of course, this was not the worst.

Seeing her chance, Anya, who had been moving from pillar to pillar, now jumped out at the Rysterca and tore the box from his fingers. She tumbled about ten feet away from him, and just as the Rysterca moved towards her, she ran towards Buffy. Stumbling, the box slipped from her grasp and slide over to Buffy. Raising the box to her face, she opened it, and was blinded by her own love. She was suspended in the air, and Anya, Xander, Giles, Dawn, Willow and Spike watched in awe as their Slayer's love was drawn back into her soul. Once this was done, Buffy fell flat to the floor, her body lying unmoving, face up.

The Rysterca, seething with rage, lifted Anya up into the air and shook her violently. "Insolent human! Good-for-nothing! Scum of the earth, you shall perish for your meddling!" Before anyone could do anything, the demon threw Anya over the edge of the roof, the only sound being the whistling of the wind.

"Enjoy heaven." (2)

The pillars of fire only grew higher. Xander was now leaning against the side of the pillar, watching the spot where Anya fell, the burning sensation of the fire not even beginning to singe his grief. Buffy came to her senses, and, standing with the box in her hand, threw it with all her might against the blaze of fire.

"Go to Hell." (2)

"NOOOOOOOOO!" The Rysterca crumpled to the floor, holding his hands to his face. The bloodied winds swept down around him, caressing his soul and body, taking them from him. They swirled and swirled at a sickening pace, until finally they shot straight into the heavens, disappearing from sight. The only thing left was the Rysterca's dusted form, disintegrating to nothing, being blown away with the cool, night wind. (3)

The pillars of fire vanished, and the captive scoobies were released, touching delicately their burned marks and looking at Buffy. Spike, it appeared, was the worst looking, apart from Xander. They all slowly approached each other, their faces expressionless with shock.

"He is so fired," said Willow quietly. They all released a huffed noise, the closest thing to laughter. (2)

Xander walked to the edge of the roofing, his pain so severe, but not from the burns. Leaving the rest of them to talk quietly, Buffy approached Xander.

The wind roused his wavy hair, his depressed eyes closed gently like a swan's wings over her young. "You won't."

"Won't...what?" Buffy asked softly.

"That was the last thing she said to me. I told her I thought I would sit forever." He looked up at her for the first time in a while, holding out his hand. She took it, feeling the cold despite the raging heat of the flames. His hand was burned badly, the skin raw and very tender.

He turned his wheelchair around, now facing the roof. He motioned for Buffy to stand back. He placed his feet slowly on the ground, shutting his eyes, imagining. He placed his weakened arms on the sides of the chair, and gently lifted his back from the seat. Now looking, the rest of the scoobies watched Xander's endeavor. He fell back, grunting slightly.

"Xander..." Buffy whispered.

He ignored her. Again, he tried to lift himself. This time he was successful. He managed to stand upon the ground, leaning on the edge of the roof for support. He looked down at his feet and a smile lightened his face. "She was right."

Tears were now steadily streaming down Buffy's face. She walked forward and threw her arms around him, holding her friend tightly. Willow and Dawn walked over too and embraced Xander, all crying mutely in his shoulder. When they are disengaged, Spike and Giles came over, Giles with an utterly bemused look on his face. "Where's Tara?"


A few moments back

Just when Buffy had looked like she was defeated, and the Rysterca summoned the First Slayer, Tara used the last remaining powers she inherited to escape her fiery prison. She watched the scene unmoving. Suddenly, just as fast as Anya threw the box back at Buffy, the demon threw Anya over the roof. Reacting intuitionally, Tara flew off the roof after her.

The ground was closing in on them, and Tara's eyes were watering with fright. Anya petrified body was descending sickeningly like a carcass of a dead animal. With not one second to spare, Tara grabbed a lilac colored crystal from her pocket and, with it, grabbed Anya by the shirt, her face inches from the ground. They stopped, their descent ceased like time was frozen on air. Tara let her feet drop to the floor softly, the normal impact would have killed the two girls. Anya knees dropped weakly to the pavement, her singed hair and clothes sticking to her, wet with sweat. Her eyes were glassy, showing no sign of any emotion. Tara helped Anya to her feet, who was now looking wildly about her.

"What the hell just happened? I seem to remember saving the city, then being thrown like a sack over the roof, then landing perfectly safe. What happened?" she asked incredulously.

"I saw what w-was happening, and I used my powers. This crystal," she held it in the palm of her hand, "Saved our lives. It could only be used once though." Tara crushed the crystal in her hand, which broke like a clump of wet sand. She looked at it, then back up at Anya.

"Thanks," Anya said gratefully, her eyes wide with amazement and somewhat scared. "Oh my god. That experience was like almost like sex. Strange at first, then scary, then wildly passionate, and then scary again. Of course, I would never do that again." She looked at Tara, and small smile tugging at her lips. "I'm just glad I'm not dead, because that would cause great discomfort for Xander." Linking arms with Tara, they both ascended the stairs up to the roof, to meet their fellow adventurers.


At the same time

"I don't remember seeing her," Dawn said.

"She couldn't have left." Willow turned to Buffy, as if to prove to her this was true. "She wouldn't have left us."

Buffy placed a comforting hand upon her friend's shoulder. "Of course, she wouldn't, Will."

"Then where is she?" Xander questioned out loud.

"She's right here," came a voice from the top of the staircase. Standing in the threshold was Anya and Tara, both looking extremely exhausted, yet triumphant. "And I think she brought a gift."

Then something amazing happened. It was like hell froze over, or heaven going off in flames. Maybe it was like the opposite of dying, being reborn. Or, possibly just the opposite of that. Whatever it was, it was beautiful, strange and rare. It was like love at first sight, knowing someone is perfect for you just by one glance. It was incomprehensible and total conquering of the human race, of human possibilities or human limits. It was real, it happened, and it was the most wonderful thing any of them ever experienced: Xander ran to Anya.

Her eyes went wide with amazement and pure joy as she saw the man of her dreams run towards her gracefully, just as if he never was injured. He caught her in his arms, flung her around crazily, and then placed her down on the ground, bestowing upon her one of the most romantic and loving kisses anyone could received.

"What would you call that?" Dawn asked no one in particular.

"-Love," Buffy answered shortly, looking dreamily at the happy couple, reunited once again. Death almost separated them, but life brought them back together.

Tara walked over to Willow, and without a second glance, threw her arms around her and hugged her violently, tears spilling onto her shoulder with a steady flow from the both of them. When they drew apart, Willow and Tara looked at each, their tears flowing bitterly.

As a new tear formed in Tara's eye, Willow caught it in on her finger. "What are you doing?" Tara asked between sobs.

"Envying this." Tara looked confused. "I wish I was your tear, because then I would be born in your eyes, lived on her cheeks and died on your lips."

Tara opened her mouth slightly, receiving this to be an apology. Having never heard poetry so pure from the human soul, Tara once again engaged in hugging her beloved.

If the moment couldn't have been made more perfect, then that would not be so. Buffy hugged her arms around her shoulders, watching all of her friends reunited again. A happy tear trailed down her cheek like a soft river, removing the dust, blood and pain from the tenderness. From behind, a soft, caring arm was placed around her slim waist. She looked down to see it, and could distinguish a red, swelling sore burn, healing quickly before her eyes. Buffy looked up to see that Spike was now in front of her, tugging at her arms, begging her with his eyes to join him at the far side of the roof. She accepted.

The wind was blowing gently, sweeping the golden hair from Buffy's jade chipped eyes. Spike looked adoringly at her, with an air of lost hope and longing. He dared not speak, but instead moved his lips. Buffy could understand every word they exchanged.

"Does this change anything?" He spoke wordlessly.

"I don't know..." Buffy answered, her eyes filling with fresh new tears. Her throat was beginning to itch irritably.

"You know how I feel Buffy. Why do you hide your feelings when they will destroy you if you don't let them loose? Your love was almost taken away tonight, don't let it forever be wasted inside of you. You know how precious it is." He was right, and she hated him for it. But, surprisingly, she only loved him more.

She didn't answer. She looked out into the quiet city, steady and desperate. This was her decision. Should she forever hide her feelings for the undead, irresistible, handsome vampire, or should she walk alone in the valley of the shadow of death, and try to fear no evil? (Sorry, didn't mean to bring up the bible in a monster fic, actually, it's kind of funny, like an oxymoron..) Buffy turned back to him. Only one thing would determine this.

She placed her hand on his cheek, staring deeply into his drowning eyes. She wanted to scream out her love for him, but she held it. This seemed more appropriate. She brushed her lips against his, feeling the same soft, loving touch that she always felt when kissing Spike. When she kissed Angel, it was like a mystery. When she kissed Riley, it was like a ritual. But when she kissed Spike, it was paradise. She knew that she could lose his lips at any moment. It was like opening a box of secrets, everything was open, and it was wonderfully freeing. There was no desperation, no human bond. There was indescribable love and passion. This was a true kiss, she thought.

And now, without any second thought or sudden impulse, she smiled and withdrew. "I love you."


GAHHHH! Cursed be the one who thought I couldn't finish! Wait, that was me.... Um, tehehe? Anyways, I really hope you enjoyed this chapter, because I enjoyed it soo much! Also, to the fact that Bri PESTERED me to finish. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT! I had major writer's block as I wrote this, so thankfully, I took like, two weeks off and came back to it, only to finish! I thought It went well. Did you? If so, REVIEW!

Also, I have three movies quotes in here. They're numbered, duh, lol. Try and guess them, and if you get them right, you'll get something extra extra special!

Reviewer time:

Bri: Lol, I love your reviews! They're awesome. (But everyone elses are too!) I hope I can be a Jedi...yay! Am I now? Huh? Okay, I didn't go near Xander, I only made him better! But I might've touched Anya a little (not the nasty way!), but hey! Now she's a hero! Saving Buffy and all! Actually they're all heroes, except for the girls, which are, indeed, heroines (Lol, from POTC, remember? JD QUOTE YOU SHOULD KNOW!) Lol, well love ya too! Can't wait til Nov. 6th!!

Cordy18: I plan to tie everything that wasn't answered in the next chapter, which might be the last. Thanks for reviewing!

Jobe: Yeah, I would always watch Angel for Spike! drools..again Hehe. Thanks for your continuous reviewing!

Electricgurl: Thanks! Tehehe.

Well, I hope you all liked it. I'm so darn proud of myself! (pats self on back) Good self..sit..stay...

Sorry, lol. Well, til next time, this is Heidi saying REVIEWS ROCK!