There is one more chapter to go then this story is done - I am sorry for the delays but life kind of got in the way! I am flying without a beta so i am soo sorry for any errors you find .

I own nothing!

Chpt 22

Marcus slowly got to his feet with a chuckle "The man of the hour has arrived" he raked his hands threw his hair pulling at the ends.

"Your Slayer is sweet'' Marcus licked his lips groaning loudly.

Spike felt for a pulse on the unmoving woman he found a faint thread of one, he pulled out his cell phone and called 911.

Angel realizing this was not going to end here said "You are dead I will be coming for you. There is no place you can hide that I won't find you"

Marcus leaned forward in a slight bow "I look forward to it bring your slayer if she is up to it" he laughed as he turned and ran into the darkness.

Angel was at Buffy's side he felt fear as he took in her pale face her breathing had slowed right down, he gently touched her face.

"Buffy hold on don't leave me just yet" he went to say more but sirens filled the air soon both women where carted away.

Spike told Bill Buffy had stumbled upon the attack and was hurt in the struggle suspect got away. Bill looked at Spike he was watching Angel get in the back of the ambulance.

"How did you know?" Bill asked trying to make sense of what he was just told. Spike took a deep breath and said.

"I was on the phone with her she decided to go for a walk she couldn't sleep we were chatting and she heard a noise and went to check she told me where she was and to call it in" Spike looked at the man willing him to accept the story at face value.

"And when you got here the suspect was gone" Bill asked looking around the area.

"Yes when we got here they were both on the ground maybe he heard us and ran off. Listen Bill I get that you are doing your job but I want to the hospital, I've told you what has happened" Spike tried to remain calm.

Bill looked at him a moment longer and said "Ok if I have any more questions I know where to find you" he watched the blond hair man run for his car and drive into the night.

Spike drove right to Willows and let himself in and found Dawn sleeping on the sofa with the TV on. "Love wake up" he said touching her shoulder.

"Whatsa matter" Dawn said opening her eyes. Spike sat down beside her and said

"Its Buffy go get Willow we have to go ill explain everything in the car" Dawn saw the panic in his eyes and did not question him.

Moments later they piled into his car and he explained what had happened. Willow called Giles but got his machine.

Angel paced the floor waiting, Giles rushed in his face pale he saw Angel and ran over he clutched his arm and said.

"Any word" Giles could not hide the fear in his eyes before Angel could respond the others rushed in.

Angel held up his hands and said "We are waiting so everyone get comfortable" he watched them shuffle into the chairs provided. Willow left the room returning shortly with coffee. She quietly handed them out and took a seat.

Willow took a deep breath and focused on her friend calling to her gently seeking her out. To the on lookers Willow appeared to be sleeping in her chair. Spike new better he gently kissed Dawns hand which he held before releasing in to go to Willow.

He sat next to her and took hand and whispered "Go and find her" Willow felt his warm and pushed forward.

Buffy was in a warm place she was comfortable and at peace. She felt someone approaching and smiled

"You should not be here Willow" Buffy said as she floated in her peace.

"Neither should you" was Willows response.

Buffy closed her eyes and spoke from her heart "I'm tired Will, it's too hard, it's time I let go and move on its time for someone else to take up the battle"

Willow blinked away tears "Buffy why do you think you have lasted this long, there is more to do" she pleaded softly.

Buffy signed and turned away from her friend "Please leave me alone Willow" she said closing her friend out.

Spike watched at Willow lifted her head her eyes glazed as she blinked away her tears. Spike stood up and walked toward the nurse's station before he could say a word the doctor was before him.

Giles stood to meet the man; he offered a smile and rested his hand the watchers shoulder.

"She is resting nothing was damaged the only concern is the blood loss." Angel released the breath he was holding he moved closer to Giles

"Is she awake can I see her" he asked not allowing the doctor to speak. The man raised his hand to slow Angel down.

"Giles there is a small problem; Buffy seems to be in a coma she is not responding to any stimulants. I'm at a loss''.

Spike having heard what the Doctor had said he went in search of his friend, he found her in the last room it was dark the heavy curtains closing out all the light.

He sat down beside her and took her hand in his "Slayer" he whispered as his thumb stroked her hand.

"I don't know where to begin, I need you please don't do this. Don't make me face this life alone, Dawn needs you, please do not cause her this pain".

Angel stood in the door way listening to his friend speak to his lover and he felt great sadness there was not much on what to do when a slayers spirit dies, they never lived long enough for it to matter.

Marcus walked the length of his hotel room rage flaming inside him. He has cleaned his tools twice all the while flashes of the slayer danced before him.

He continued his march ticking off the seconds off until he went on the hunt for her. A smile curved his full lips.

Joyce Summers sat stroking her daughter's hair; her head cradled in her lap.

Buffy was at peace within her mother's embrace.

"Did you hear him sweetheart?" she gently asked again forcing her daughter to respond.

Buffy smiled "Why can't I stay? I don't want to go back" was her response, she lifted her head to look at the woman who had shaped her into the woman she was.

Joyce smiled and reached up to cup her daughters face

"Oh Buffy my beautiful sweet baby girl. It's not your time yet. You have a life ahead of you with the man you love. You just have to reach out and take it." Joyce held her daughters face forcing her to hold her gaze.

"Let it go Buffy let the pain and loss go, your burden is soo heavy because of the guilt you carry. You are not responsible for what has happened everyone has a choice"

Buffy starred at her mother and said "I am afraid I can't do this anymore mom I don't feel it inside" Buffy moved away from her mother.

Joyce followed her and pulled her close "Be who you were born to be, you are more than just a slayer, you have forgotten that"

Buffy realized what her mother was trying to tell her and she smiled. Joyce kissed her softly and said

"When it's time we will see each other again. But until then let me hold you for a little bit longer"

Buffy leaned into her mother letting her mother's love surround her.

"Mom I don't know if I can do it. I am so tired. I'm tired of trying to hold it all together and having it always fall apart. Of having to make the hard choices to do the right thing and always come out the loser"

Joyce smiled as she stroked her hair and said

"That is called being an adult. Buffy I know you struggle under your burden; I know life is a little bit harder for you. But this is your life, you are meant to have a life you just have to allow yourself the right to it"

Angel left the hospital with a heavy heart but he had to find Marcus.

"Spike call me if anything changes I mean anything" the blonde man gave a slow nod he kissed Dawn and left his love behind.

Angel's mind was blank as he drove back to the mansion he need to shower and start digging he needed to find Marcus.

Marcus was out the door the second the sun set, he had a date with the slayer; he already knew that Angel had left most likely searching for him, and if his plan worked he would be very busy.

Marcus held the door open for a woman carrying her baby; he offered a smile at the happy people while the thought of food flashed within his minds eyes.

He walked around the hospital watching looking for that one moment he could slip into the human world, his patience paid off soon he was walking down the hallway in a pair of scrubs and holding a chart.

He smiled as he stopped in at the nurses' station he ran his tongue over his gums tasting the lingering of his last meal. How he loved foreign interns he focused on the plumb blond behind the computer Becky was her name.

"Becky can you tell me which floor Buffy Summers is on, I have a consult with her family. I keep getting lost" he smiled flashing a wink.

Becky blushed and said "S u m m e r s" spelling out the name her eyes taking note of his name from his id badge.

They chatted while Becky searched for the name she frowned and said

"Dr. Wills we have an A. Summers no Buffy. Are you sure you have the right name?"

Marcus smiled and letting his eyes travel over her frumpy body and said "I'm sorry can you repeat that my mind was somewhere else"

Becky smiled and said "Only summers we have is in room 303 3rd floor" her hand came up to cup her chin.

Marcus reached out and stroked her arm "I will see you later we will go for a drink" he offered her another smile and made his way to the stairs.

Spike looked up and saw Bill in the hallway holding flowers he smiled at the man and welcomed him into the room.

"How is she? "Bill asked looking down at the sleeping slayer

Spike sighed getting to his feet and walking over to the man who's feeling for the slayer reflected clearly in his eyes.

He didn't know what to say he didn't like to lie this thought made him smile; so he offered "We don't know yet we are still waiting"

Bill placed the flowers on her side table and took her hand Spike stepped out of the room to give him some privacy. Several moments later Bill emerged and said

"I need you to look this over and sign it, it's your statement from yesterday" he handed him the envelope holding his statement.

He led Spike to the nurse's station to use the counter top. Marcus stood off in the corner watching he moved with speed and was in the slayers room. He scooped her up and looked around the room. His planning had not gone this far.

Marcus looked at the window and smiled. Down the hall Spike waved Bill off and turned seeing Willow walking down the hall with coffees in her hand.

"Thought you might like some company" the red head smiled wrapping her arm around his waist, she rested her head on his shoulder. Together they walked back into Buffy's room.

The cups slipped from Spikes hand and hit the floor coffee splashing everywhere. "No no" he chanted scanning around the room. He pulled open the bathroom door "Buffy" he called out panic in his voice.

Willow ran from the room yelling for the nurse, half an hour later the whole hospital had been searched with no sign of her.

Giles stood in the hallway at a complete loss fear making his head murky

"How could you let this happen, how could you let someone walk away with her and not see it" his voice was calm.

Spike sat in the chair unable to move he was shocked to the core. Willow spoke up and said

"That is not fair we don't know anything she could have walked out of here on her own"

Giles looked away he knew he was wrong but he needed someone to blame, before he could say anything Dawn rushed in with Angel on her heels.

"How long has she been gone?" Angel asked looking at Spike who did not lift his head.

Angel stood there for a moment and then stepped forward dropping to one knee his placed his hand on the younger mans leg and said.

"I need your help here Spike. You know Buffy and this town better than anyone. Let's go and find her and bring her home"

Spike took a deep breath and stood up he look at Angel and said

"Ok Willow we need you " he reached out his hand to take hers. The others watched as the three of them left the hospital.

Nothing was said as they got in to the car and made their way to the mansion once inside Spike looked at Willow and said.

"When Dawn was missing you where able to connect Buffy to her I need you to do the same with me. Can you do that" he asked.

Marcus gently laid Buffy down on the table, he was pleased with himself for finding this place, it was an old funeral home just on the outskirts of town.

He gently moved the hair from her face and whispered "I'm so happy to see you again, this time we will not be interrupted."

Marcus moved away from the table and reached for the bag under the table he pulled out the radio and black case. He placed his items on the cold steel counter.

Moments later music filled the room and he smiled he opened his case and smiled at the shiny knives nestled in the velvet lining.

Willow was nervous she was afraid of failing; she had not done magic like this since her relapse. She was a bit afraid.

"Willow can you do this?" Spike repeated holding back on his frustration, he needed to Buffy now.

Angel went to make coffee needed to do something he thought it best to leave Willow with Spike.

"I won't lie to you Spike, I'm afraid but I will do it Buffy would do it for me in a heartbeat" the red head moved to the sit on the carpet and motioned for Spike to follow.

"If this is gonna work you need to relax Spike" she said taking a deep breath reaching for his hands.

Soon her mind was floating "I need you to focus on Buffy" she said as her mind wondered

Joyce held her daughter tight when she suddenly looked into the sky above them she shook Buffy and said.

"You need to go back you are not safe" Joyce she letting go of her daughter. Buffy shook her head

"No mom just a little longer" she pleaded reaching for mother.

Joyce shook her head and said "No you need to go NOW; it will be too late if you wait. You're choice may not be yours any longer if you don't go back" Joyce almost shoved her daughter away.

"Buffy think of your life think of who and what you are" Joyce said as she stepped away from her daughter.

Buffy felt suddenly very cold as images filled her head. Images of her life once she found out she was the slayer. All the heartache, all the pain and loneliness, her mind was suddenly filled with images of Giles, Xander and Willow, Dawn and then Spike her family. The laughter, loyalty and love they shared. Angel flashed before her and her love for him surged threw her like lightly.

Marcus slowly ran his finger gently over her belly button having removed her shirt leaving just her bra. He took a moment to appreciate the sight before him; he was a little upset to see her flawed skin.

"Shall we start slayer" he asked not waiting for her to answer. The blade sliced into her tummy.

Willow opened her eyes frustration clearly reflected on her pretty face.

"I can't find her, hell I can't even feel her" she said getting to her feet.

Spike stood up the burden of his guilt almost crushed him he had let his slayer down in the worst way. Dawn how was he to face her knowing if anything happened to Buffy it was his fault.

"Peaches" he called out, when Angel did not response he went looking for him. He stopped in the door way of the kitchen. Angel was leaning toward the counter his back to Spike.

"Angel" Spike called out when his friend didn't answer he moved towards him the closer he got he noticed his friends body vibrating his hands clutched the rim of the counter; his eyes closed his breathing shallow.

"Willow" Spike called out images of when Buffy remembering her lost day flashed in his mind's eye "Angel is having a fit"

The red head ran into the kitchen and without any hesitation placed her hands on Angels back. Images of Buffy and Joyce filled her head.

"He is connected to Buffy" she cried allowing her energy to flow into Angel offering her strength to light the way to the slayer.

Images flashed before Angel he saw Buffy stretched out on a table Marcus and blood his eyes scanned the room looking for something to tell them where she was and he found the clue he was looking for on the table.

Angel snapped out of it as quickly as he was sucked into it, his feet took flight and the other ran to keep up.

Marcus reached for another blade his demon let loose, the hunger in him sang out for more,his mouth sucking her wound clean. He tossed a glance at the slayer's face and was not prepare to see her eyes flash open. A look of confusion filtered on his face.

Buffy did not feel the pain, she moved with speed her leg swung out connecting with Marcus's chest, with the speed and agility only a slayer possessed she was off the table on the attack. It took Marcus buy surprise, it was an all out brawl; the two were bent on killing the other.

"Peaches what did you see where are we going" Spike said as he struggled with his seat belt, Angel was driving like a mad man. Spike was tossed into the door as he took a sharp right.

"Are your eyes open or are you driving with the force" Spike called out as he clicked the belt into place.

Angel tossed him a glance but said nothing focused on his driving.

Buffy crashed through the door she rolled on impact and was on her feet just in enough time for Marcus to tackle her. Buffy saw her moment and reached for the splintered wood on the floor. Marcus saw the stake and rolled away from her. What he did not expect was for the slayer to toss it at him like she was throwing a dart.

Angel and Spike rushed into the building calling out her name with Willow on their heels. Buffy stood proud as the dust settled around her feet. Angel skidded to a stop and took in his mate.

Tears rushed to Spikes eyes as he took in his slayer, the strength was back in her stance, the fire burning in her eyes.

"Slayer" he whispered reaching out to pull her to him, he held her close, his new found heart pounding in is chest.

Buffy smiled returning his love "I love you and I am so very sorry I hope you can forgive me " she whispered into his ear. Once he released her did she look at Angel and say "Lets go home"

Angel reached out for her when she walked past him, "Buffy" he whispered his throat closing as his emotions took over. Buffy stood before the man that she loved and watched the play of emotions cross his face. His eyes a glow.

No words where spoken as she leaned into him sighing as his arms wrapped around her fitting her body to his. His lips covered her in a tender kiss.

Willow smiled blinking away tears as Spike wrapped his arm around her. Buffy stepped away from Angel and repeated "Lets go home"