Battle Cry

Buffy stood in the darkness, her head held high. The red gown she wore was simple, but not plain, and brushed gently against the floor. It clung gently to her hips, and was smooth over her legs. It lay slightly off her shoulders, leaving her arms bare. She was paler than she had ever been before. Only a frail touch of pink in her cheeks gave her complexion the semblance of life. Her lips were set firmly, though a red silken blindfold covered her eyes. Her hands were bound behind her back.

Angel ran a cool finger slowly down her arm, savoring the warmth he felt there. She shuddered almost imperceptibly.

"I'm sorry, Buffy," he whispered, "I truly am."

He reached for the shining dagger lying on the table.

Lifting it up, he shut his eyes and took a deep breath.

"Great Osiris, I come to thee in supplication. Accept this offering." He slowly cut her forehead and a trickle of blood ran down. "In blood we are born. In blood we die. Let her cross."

He dipped his finger into the blood and painted a pentacle on her forehead.

"This is Slayer, savior of the people. Eternal care of truest hearts. In blood we are baptized. In blood we are resurrected. Let her cross." He lifted a handful of herbs off the table and sprinkled some over each of Buffy's shoulders. "I call you and bend to your will."

The dagger began to glow with a sinister violet light.

"In blood we are different." He sliced open his hand and let the blood run over the dagger. "In blood we are all the same." Where his blood met the dagger it began to pulse. He took a breath. "Let her cross!"

In one quick motion, he slit her throat.

She bled, and it was tinged with an unholy glow. She died bravely and silently, but on her bluing lips was the word 'why?'

"Buffy, I-" Angel began, searching for some explanation he could give the cooling corpse. A word of sympathy, or solace. Something to say. Anything. But he realized, there was nothing he could say.

So he turned.

And he left.