4. The End

Clear as winter ice:
This is your paradise...
(The Clash)

Sunnydale lived up to its name. Somehow the weather was always perfect in the quaint little California town, always warm enough to walk around without a jacket even at night, yet never so hot you couldn't stand it. It only ever rained on those nights when everyone had already decided to stay in and cuddle up with a good book, a movie or a loved one and listen to the rain rattle against the window pane.

Even though she didn't have to patrol anymore, Buffy was out and about a lot; after walking in on Hank and Joyce one time too many – and let's face it, when it comes to seeing your parents making love on the dinner table, one time is already FAR too many – both her and Dawn let them have the house to themselves most of the time. Besides, walking around Sunnydale was safe, and all their friends were here. They would go for picnics, go to the beach, hang out at The Bronze and just generally enjoy being young, free and American.

There were no vampires here... well, no current vampires. Buffy and Angel spent a lot of days at the beach, comparing tans before sneaking off for some truly mind-blowing nights together with no risk of losing anything. William had made peace with himself and his former grandsire, and now spent much of his time convincing Xander to learn to play the bass and form a band with him and Giles. After reading the lyrics to William's songs, Xander would usually find some excuse why he couldn't right now. Most of them involved Anya; they were happier than ever together, as were Willow and Tara and Giles and Jenny.

Buffy wasn't sure how long they'd all been here; it seemed like forever, but no one showed any signs of wanting to leave. Nobody ever really talked about anything else anyway, as if they knew there were bad times behind them but there was never any need to bring it up. Nobody harbored any grudges for things that lay in the past, nobody worried about the future. Days, weeks, months, years drifted by in an easy state of perfect bliss, everyone safe in the knowledge that it would remain like this forever. And there was no pain and no grief and no fear and no doubt.

No pain and no grief and no fear and no doubt. Ever again.

No pain, no grief, no pain pain o God pain...

She woke up.

It was cold. The sun blasting down on her was red, much larger than it should be, and its light seemed unnatural – not really bright, just sharp, every shadow pitch-black, everything else blinding. Her entire body ached, but she could move. She could feel the steel and iron of what was left of the collapsed tower beneath her, and Dawn's still but breathing body on top of her. And she could see the dark figures standing in an impenetrable circle around them. Demons of all sizes, colors, shapes and smells, drooling, baring teeth, cowering, towering... many of them doing things there didn't seem to be any human words for, but all of them more or less silent and staring at the two sisters, perched on top of the heap of rubble that remained of Glory's tower. Buffy and Dawn had a circle about 20 feet across to themselves... the last demon-free zone remaining for God knows how many miles around. How long had she been out? Had all of Sunnydale fallen? All of California, America, the world?

She expected them to attack, but they never did. Instead they seemed to step back slightly as she eased Dawn onto what was left of the platform and got to her feet. Why wouldn't they finish it? As Buffy The Vampire Slayer wiped the blood from her eyes and raised her fists – which had never seemed smaller or weaker – preparing for a hopeless fight against a sea of monsters, a whisper spread throughout the crowd. The whisper turned into a murmur, and the murmur into a chant that grew louder and more confident even though it was spoken in a thousand different languages, none of which was or ever would be English.

Then she realized that she understood anyway. Perhaps some of them were telepathic, perhaps it was some previously unused Slayer power kicking in, but she understood them. They were chanting one word, over and over again.

"Hail."

The demons were cheering the end of all worlds.

"Hail."

The beginning of a new one.

"Hail!"

And the one girl in all the worlds who had had the weakness to make it happen.

"Hail, our savior!"

Panicking, Buffy fell back on what she knew; she scrambled down the heap, grabbed a somewhat humanoid-looking creature and slayed it. If that sounds easy, it's because it was; the beast didn't even fight, it let her take it and wring its neck without so much as a whimper of complaint. She reached for a piece of steel from the crumbled tower and used it to bash the next one's brains in; it didn't put its tentacles up or try to flee or even duck, she could even have sworn that it lowered its heads so she could get a clean shot. Buffy kept killing, the corpses piling up, yet no one tried to stop her. The demons went willingly to her, letting their new God take her tribute any way she saw fit.

Eventually she calmed down. Her white clothes were stained all kinds of colors of demon blood, and yet none of them had lifted a finger in defense or reacted in any other way than to keep chanting and praising her. She hadn't even made a dent in the crowd; if she kept this up for years on end, she might kill a percent of them before she died of old age. She climbed back on top of the rubble and kneeled down next to Dawn, whose wounds seemed to have started healing; they were too shallow to kill her. If there were still any open doors between dimensions, they were open forever.

Picking up her unconscious sister, Buffy stepped off the remains of the mad hell-god's trampolene-o'-doom and began to walk in a direction that seemed as good as any. As she did, the throng of demons parted and let her pass, the blazing red-black sun above them lighting up the ruins of Sunnydale as all the worlds crumbled and bled together. Stumbling over the blood-soaked ground, Buffy kept walking towards a horizon that seemed impossibly far away as the demons' awestruck chant turned into a roar of triumph.

"HAIL!"


Author's note: And this is where we leave her for now. I'm honestly not sure if, when or how I will continue this. I mean, I think I just killed six billion people, which I suppose makes me a super villain, which is cool, but I really don't know where to go from there. I have some ideas, but nothing solid yet. Any ideas appreciated.

Oh, and I'm going to have to write something supremely silly to make up for this.