AUTHOR'S NOTE This is the end! Thank you to all of you who've read this. I'm not doing theme songs anymore, due to Fanfiction's new rules, but it was going to be "Where Do We Go From Here?" from the Buffy musical. (sigh) Oh well.
There will be a sequel type addition to this, to be found in my story entitled "Wedding Bells." It's Max and Logan's wedding, attended by various characters from this story, as well as others. Further, there will be a chapter in my story "Bonnie's Eyes" about Max and Logan's son, to come after the Wedding Bells chapter is posted. Check them out!
DISCLAIMER Don't own them! Never have.
Epilogue: In Which Two Warriors Find Peace
Los Angeles 2021
Logan stopped his car at the cemetery. The sun had just past the horizon, making it a safe journey for Spike. Lorne got out first, followed by Willow, Original Cindy, Alec, Illyria, Spike, Max, and finally Logan. Together they approached the Angel Investigations plot. Tears fell from Lorne's eyes as they stopped. "I'm sorry. I couldn't tell you," he said.
Willow looked at the demon. "Tell me what?"
Willow looked toward the voice and gasped. "Dawn?"
34-year-old Dawn Summers nodded and hugged her old friend. "I'm glad to see you again. Buffy told me I'd have to wait until now."
"I'm so happy to see you!" Willow said. "What are you doing here? Where's Buffy? Did she get back okay?"
Dawn's eyes filled with tears. "Willow…" She pointed toward the plot. Willow choked back a sob when she read the inscription she was staring at.
BUFFY ANNE SUMMERS
She Saved the World
"No! Oh God, Buffy!" she wept.
"I thought we should have the same epitaph as before," Dawn said mournfully. "I thought she'd like it."
"Angel, too," Max said as tears fell from her eyes. She pointed to a memorial next to Buffy's headstone. "Same year. He died in the Pulse after all." Logan put his arm around her shoulders and hugged her close. He took off his glasses with his free hand to dry his tears.
"They died together," Dawn said softly. "They knew the Pulse was coming, but a demon attacked Hollywood and they went after it. I think, in a way, they knew it was the end."
"They are gone now," Illyria said quietly.
"Yeah," Alec said.
Illyria slowly reached for his hand. "I have seen many people die. I do not like death anymore."
Alec squeezed her hand tenderly. "None of us do. It's part of being human."
She turned her piercing blue eyes on him. "Is that what I am now? I have no power left. Am I human?"
He just shook his head. "Not quite. But, I'm not either."
Original Cindy smoothed Willow's hair as she cried. "She's happy now," she whispered to her lover. "She's with him and they're at peace."
Then Dawn did something very unexpected. She threw herself into Willow's arms like a child again, although she was actually older than the witch. "She's happy, Willow," Dawn sobbed. "I know she is!"
Willow nodded and held her dear friend as they cried. Then, one by one, they left the cemetery. Lorne left flowers at both Buffy's and Angel's graves. Alec guided Illyria from the plot. Max ran her hand across Buffy's headstone. "Thanks Buffy. Say hi to everyone for me. I know they're with you in the Good Place." Logan and Max left hand in hand, tears still shining in both of their eyes.
"What are you going to do now?" Willow asked Dawn.
Dawn shrugged. "I'm doing okay. Don't worry about me."
Willow nodded and knelt next to Buffy's grave. She found a few stones among the grass and placed them gently on top of the stone. "This is the second time I've done this, Buffy, but this time I'm going to let you be." Her tears fell onto the damp grass. "I love you, Buffy. You'll always be my best friend." Leaning over, she gently kissed the gravestone and stood up. "Rest in peace." Original Cindy took her by the arm and they left together.
Only Spike was left. Dawn watched silently as he took off his duster – an exact replica of the one he'd taken from the last Slayer he killed. He laid it in front of the stone as though it were gold. "Good-bye Buffy," he whispered.
And then they were gone. Dawn silently stood by the grave of her sister, protector, and friend as the night birds sang softly. Finally she laid a hand on the stone, blinked back a tear, and walked off into the night.
The Last Trivia Answer Is
The lines that Buffy, Willow, and Spike sang to say goodbye were of course from "Once More, With Feeling," specifically from the songs "I've Got a Theory" and "Rest in Peace."
I'd just like to give a huge shout-out to my reviewers, but some of you specifically who reviewed almost every chapter! Special thanks to:
Slash-a-Holic, Black Rose9, Anna, Samantha, LittleDrusilla, General Mac, Gylzgurl, big mak, and StarrLight1 who betaed "some of it but not all of it," as she puts it (grin)