Part XIV

"So what exactly are we gonna do, luv?" Spike asked, "It's not like there's only a few demons to fight. We've got a whole world full of them."

"I'm not sure, Spike," Buffy replied.

Buffy had dug herself into a hole; a deep one. Sure she had promised to lead the human resistance against the demons. She didn't have a problem with that. The thing she did have a problem with was how she was going to do it. She didn't have the slightest idea what the game plan was. She had been trying to figure something out for the last week.

"Okay, so the plan is to invade small demon cities, one by one," Buffy announced.

"We've gone over this so many times before, luv," Spike said, "It's getting old. We need a better plan than that. How are we gonna carry these attacks out?"

Buffy was beginning to get frustrated. Her ideas always sounded good at first, but right before she said them, she knew they wouldn't work. She would always arrive at the same point; about how they would attack small demon cities.

"I don't know!" Buffy yelled.

Grace and Spike were taken aback by her sudden outburst. They both realized what kind of stress she was facing. Her leadership would determine the future of the humans.

"Relax Buffy," Grace began, "We can't have you stressed out. It will affect your leadership skills."

"She's right, luv," Spike agreed, "A stressed leader leads to bad decision making."

Buffy knew they were right. She knew that being people would get killed if she didn't get her act together. But she couldn't relax; not with so much at stake.

"I need to go for a walk, clear my head," Buffy said, rising from her seat.

Spike and Grace sat there, watching her leave the building. Both of them turned to look at each other. Grace then gave him the look, signaling him to go after Buffy. He jumped up and quickly ran off after her.

Eventually he found the slayer. She was sitting on a rock, outside of the cavern, looking up at the dark sky.

"Buffy," he said.

She turned to look at him. She looked like she hadn't slept in days.

"I know this is difficult," Spike said.

"Do you?" she asked, "Have you ever led people into battle against horrible odds?"
Spike didn't say anything.

"Didn't think so," she replied, looking back up at the sky.

"Okay so maybe I've never done something like this before," Spike said, "But I know what you must be going through. You're afraid. You're afraid that these people will all be killed and that it'll be your fault."

Buffy didn't add any commentary. She just continued to stare at the sky.

"Don't be afraid. These people trust you, Buffy. They know what you've done and they have faith in you. Grace has faith in you. If she didn't, then she wouldn't have brought you back. I have faith in you. So why don't you have faith in yourself?"

Buffy didn't say anything for a few minutes. Then she turned back to him.

"It's hard to have faith against these odds," she answered, "The world is overrun by millions of demons and I have a small army of humans."

"You've done it before," Spike told her.

"That was different."

"Not at all. You lead a small army of girls into battle against thousands of super vampires. You remember how that went," Spike continued.

"I won, but not without a cost," she added.

"There's always going to be some kind of cost, some type of sacrifice," he told her, "You should know that after going up against so many apocalypses."

"I don't know, Spike. I just don't know," she muttered, sounding defeated.

Her head hung down. She looked defeated, ready to give in.

"Don't give up!" he yelled, "You can't! They need you."

There was a short pause.

"I need you."

Buffy looked up at him.

"I love you, Buffy," he said, "And I always will. I need you to be strong. I can't do this alone. I need you."

Buffy was now staring deep into his eyes. She could see his soul, shining through. Spike stared back, deep into her eyes. There was something in them that wasn't there before. There was a fire in her eyes.

"Spike," Buffy said.

"Yes luv?"

But Buffy didn't reply. She moved in and gave him a quick kiss on the lips. Then she stood up and walked back towards the cavern.

"Thanks," she said, "I needed that."