Epilogue – The final battle

"Are you sure?" Buffy asked in an almost desperate voice. Giles nodded.

"I have cross referenced and double checked several times, Buffy." He said, looking up at his former Slayer. She had become everything he had ever wished she would be, and more. "This is it."

Buffy sat down in the chair next to Giles and placed her face in her hands. She had known this day was coming for the past sixteen years, but didn't want to believe it was finally here. Tara was still just a child. OK, an eighteen-year-old child, but still. She wasn't ready to face the First.

"OK. We'll come up with a strategy. I'm not letting her fight alone." Buffy declared.

"Of course not. We will all be there." Giles said.

"Oh, no you won't." Buffy said. Giles may have been a Watcher for the greater part of his life, but he was still 65 years old. "I will be there, and Spike and Willow, and we'll get as many Slayers as possible, but you are not going, and neither is Xander or Dawn. I can't lose any of you."

"OK. This is up to you." Giles said. "Just know we will be there if you need us."

"I know, Giles, I know." Buffy squeezed Giles' hand before standing to leave the room.

"When will you talk to them?" Giles asked before she was out the door.

"Tonight." Buffy responded, not turning around. "After all, it seems like I don't have a choice."

xxxxx

"Hello?" Buffy called as she entered the house she had called home for the past sixteen years.

"We're out on the deck." She heard Spike call through the open glass doors, and she made her way over there.

"Hey there." Buffy said, smiling at the sight of her family.

Tara had turned eighteen two weeks earlier, and would be going to college in the fall. They had discovered that she had most of Buffy's Slayer powers, as well as some vampire attributes, such as good night vision, hearing and smell. She had trained at the school since she was twelve, and Willow was also teaching her the art of white witchcraft.

Will was fifteen, he had been born seven months after Buffy and Spike had gotten married a few weeks after she had revealed her pregnancy. He was also studying at the school, and wanted to be a teacher there when he graduated from college.

Lauren and Christopher had come along six years after Will and were now nine and attending their fourth year in school. They were inseparable, and refused to sleep in separate bedrooms, even after they had made the study into a bedroom for Lauren. None of the other children had the powers Tara had, and Buffy was both grateful and disappointed by that.

"Hey mom." Came a chorus of voices as Buffy sat down.

"Hey, love." Spike said, his eyes lingering on Buffy across the table. "What'd the Watcher want?"

"Nothing really, just catch up on some things." Buffy said, while her eyes told a different story. Spike decided to let it go for the moment. "So, what's for dinner?"

xxxxx

"What's really going on?" Spike asked as he helped Buffy clean up in the kitchen. The kids were still out on the deck, so they had some privacy.

"It's time." Buffy said, and Spike knew immediately what she was talking about.

"No, it can't be, she's not ready." He tried to argue, but knew it was for nothing.

"You think I want this to happen?" Buffy asked, tears in her eyes. "She's my baby and I don't know if I can protect her from this." Spike pulled his wife into his arms in an attempt to comfort her as much as himself.

"It's OK, we'll get through this. Don't we always?"

xxxxx

"Tara, you wanna stay down here for a little while?" Buffy asked as Tara and Will headed for the stairs to go to bed. Tara nodded and came back to the couch where Buffy and Spike were sitting.

"What's up?" She asked, looking from her mom to her dad.

"You remember the prophecy we've told you about? The one about how you were born?" Buffy asked, taking her daughter's hand in hers. "About how you will end the final battle between good and evil?" Tara nodded. Buffy tried to continue, but couldn't hold her tears back any longer. Spike took over.

"Giles says it's here, baby. It's time for the battle."

"OK." Buffy and Spike were both surprised by their daughter's calm voice.

"You're OK?" Buffy asked. "You're not scared or anything?"

"Well, of course I'm scared." Tara gave her parents a reassuring look. "But you and grandpa Giles and auntie Willow have been preparing me for this almost my entire life. I'm ready."

xxxxx

"OK, this is the plan." Buffy couldn't stand still, so she was pacing back and forth at the front of the room. "We know where the First is held up, and we know how to make it corporeal."

"Buffy, honey, please stop walking around." Willow pleaded. "You're making me a little dizzy."

"Sorry." Buffy stopped pacing and leaned her hands against the table. "Me, Tara, Spike and group A will go in through the front. Group B, lead by Faith, will go in through the back. Willow and the women from the coven will be on the roof, working their magic. Any questions?" Nobody said anything. "Good."

xxxxx

Buffy stood across the street from the destroyed building, Spike, Tara, Faith and Willow next to her. The First had been defeated, and her loved ones were still alive.

They had lost about a dozen Slayers, but had destroyed the First's entire army of Bringers, as well as the hoards of demons that had been in the old warehouse. Tara had delivered the final blow and killed the First, which had exterminated every demon in this world, as well as closing the portals to other dimensions. The final battle was over.