TITLE: "The Beauty of Morning Light"

AUTHOR: Wicked Raygun

RATING: Just to be safe I'm gonna say an R. But it's no worse then the other two.

SPOILERS: Up to season 5 episode "The Gift" Also it's two predecessors.

DISTRIBUTION: This story and the rest of its parts can be found at fanfiction.net or at least it could be if they weren't suffering from the plague. As for anybody else…No problem. Just let me know where it goes so I can stop by and say "Hello."

DISCLAIMOR: I refuse to believe that anyone here would be unbalanced enough to think I own this stuff in any way. After all, BX'ers are the only logical group of shippers out there. But… to anyone out there who does own a piece of the Buffster and/or her friends and enemies, I mean you no harm. I'm just borrowing your toys for a while to put on a little puppet show. I promise to bring them back in near-mint condition. Even Spike.

FEEDBACK: Everyone needs a little love. It makes the world go around and writers post faster.

DEDICATION: To all of the kind souls who have been kind enough to send me feed back, especially Banquo, and Danii (a.k.a DeBrabant). Oh and Danii, I did what you recommended and took my muses or in my case demons to dinner. A great time was had by all, but I'm afraid that poor fellow at the Sizzler will never walk the same again. I would also like to thank Lori Bush who has been extremely supportive about my writing. I have to borrow a line from Xander and say, "You're my hero." I hope one day I'll be half the writer you are. A special mention to Jai L. The first BX story I ever read was "…But Not Forgotten" by you. It hooked me into BX forever after that. You deserve any and all thanks or blame for me writing today. Also, thanks for not pulling a Rayden and striking me with Lightning bolts. To the great and powerful Oz(mandayus). I told you before that you're work inspires me. I meant it. Michael. Buddy I have simply given up on trying to review everything you post. It just keeps coming… Thanks for that. Lots of non-gay type love (Not that there's anything wrong with that) goes out to Silent Bob R, who really made me feel like I have a place here when he included me in his crazy, insane BX'er fics. He also said that I could have Faith in the next story so I am very, VERY happy.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is a sequel to "Nothing Short of Divine Intervention" which in turn is a sequel to "To Live is the greatest Pain" So please read them if you haven't done so already so you won't be lost. This will be a chaptered story because I have decided on an even bigger canvas. I will be switching between Third and First person views. Whenever it's in First Person you are seeing the whedonverse through the wonderful new technology known as XanderVision (Patent Pending). Also please take note that I do not write. My demons do and I will not be held responsible. You have been warned.



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Prologue
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~~~~~~***~~~~~~


This sucks to all kinds of hell.


My fist connects to the punching bag again as I keep alternating my flow of the same Left-right-left combination. Always the same order just spaced randomly. It feels symbolic in a way.


The order of life doesn't change, just the rhythm at which it flows. Sometimes it's fast and furious others it's merely a steady pace.

Boxing analogies… Man I need therapy.


This has got to be the one thing that really feels like it helps. Well the one thing I can do on my own, anyway.


Talking with my friends helps to a point, but I can't have them around me 24-7. I get fidgety if I'm by myself and I have to do something. Thus enter Mr. Punching Bag. He and I have a very simple relationship. I hit him and he doesn't hit back.


We've become good friends.


The pain hasn't really stopped so much as changed. I can get through an entire day now without falling to my knees and crying for hours on end. I've returned to work and am performing at my normal level of competence.


But that's something that happens during the day when I can keep myself busy.


Night time is the true bitch. I have no escape for my misery there. All the pain and loneliness haunts me in the still silence before I can go to sleep. I just lie there half hoping for and half dreading for my body to slip into unconsciousness.


It's at that time when my mind seems to enjoy torturing me with fantasies where Anya's still alive. I wake up damn near every morning reaching next to me to see if she's there. When I don't find her I get the chance to rediscover that she's gone and she's not coming back.


Oh yeah… My life sucks.


Concentrate on the rhythm. Concentrate on the rhythm.


Left. Good.


Right. That's it.


Left. Alright change the pace. Rapid succession, now.


Left. Right. Left. Again.


Left. Right. Left.


"You're dropping your shoulder."


"What?" I stop hitting the bag and turn my head to see Giles wiping his glasses and staring at me with a slight smirk. How long has he been there?


"When you come in for the second left jab you drop your shoulder. Try to keep it up or else you'll lose something in the momentum, not to mention the fact that you're showing you're going for that punch too early."


I smile a little as I catch my breath. "It's not like I'm fighting anyone here. I'm just letting out a little pent-up energy."


His smile lessons a little as he comes closer and places his hand on the very shoulder he warned me about. "I miss her too."


I nod. I'm truly grateful for his help. A week ago I was dusting the gym because I really wanted something to do. As I came to the punching bag I decided to let out a small punch just for the general childishness of it. Like hitting that wall after Joyce died. I loved the release and it was definitely more forgiving on my fist then the drywall in Willow's dorm room.


Before I knew it, I was wailing on it. It reminded me of what I had done to that weird Doc demon guy. It felt so good to let everything out. Since I didn't have anyone or anything to blame, I chose to blame Mr. Punching Bag. Giles found me that day crying and my fists bleeding. Since then he's been letting me do this to keep my sanity.


Although he's since shown me the wonderful virtues of gloves.


"Giles I can't thank you enough for letting me do this. Sometimes I just need to let it all out. Holding things in has gotten me into a lot of trouble before. I need this."


"Xander, there's no need to thank me. We all have to find our own way to cope with loss. And this loss cost you your innocence so I understand the need to hit something once in a while." His small smile shows only a little of the guilt he's feeling.


After we buried Anya, Giles told me how he wished that I wasn't the one who had to kill Ben. He thought that it should have been him. It was, by his reasoning, part and parcel of the vow he made to protect this "Sorry world" as he put it.


Sometimes life doesn't flow the way you want it to. I'm living proof of that.


"It hurts Giles. But I'll live."



~~~~~~***~~~~~~



The woman known as Susanna was terrified. She hated feeling like some animal's prey but that was exactly what she was. But the fear wasn't about her own safety so much as for that of the 15 pound little life sleeping in the baby seat next to her.


Her child would live through this she vowed. No matter what happened to her that little girl would survive.


The object of her vow began stirring from her sleep. Blinking a few times, it began to cry. Loudly too.


"Shuuu… Come on, be quiet baby. Mommy's here." Susanna's right hand moved to her little girl and began rubbing her tummy while her other hand stayed on the wheel of her car. Her baby responded by quieting down a little and making adorable cooing sounds that Susanna thought absolutely priceless.


Even in these moments of terror she still enjoyed being with her daughter.


She continued talking out loud although it was more for her own benefit then her daughter's. "Mommy's going to take you someplace where those bad man won't hurt you like they did with Daddy. But first we have to go somewhere and get some money because Mommy's running out." She looked at her disheveled visage in the mirror and commented dryly, "And probably a shower because Mommy feels like the Swamp Thing."


She was still a long way from Mexico which is where she planned on going for now. But without Gas or money she was pretty much screwed.


The sign up ahead said "Sunny Dale 5 Miles Ahead." Well at least it sounded like a cheerful place. She didn't have much Gas and she was going to need the little she had to do the next part of her plan.


She turned off of the road and went straight into the desert. Making sure that she went directly east. She used the onboard compass to do that. After she had driven roughly four miles into the dessert she decided to stop the car.


She was essentially in the middle of nowhere. Once she was convinced of that idea she stepped out, took her cooing daughter and prepared to torch the hell out of her car.


Using an old bed sheet she got from a motel she made a rope, soaked it in the spare gasoline that was kept in the trunk and led it into her gas tank. After placing her child a good distance from the car she returned to it and lit the bed sheet. She then proceeded to run as fast as her legs could carry her.


She made it to her baby just as the car exploded. She threw herself on top of her and hoped that no shrapnel would land anywhere near them.


She was lucky that night.


After roughly 45 minutes she made it back to the highway. The second compass on her watch helping her out this time. She wiped the sweat from her brow and stared at the sign.


"Sunny Dale here we come. Ain't that right baby?" The bundle in her arms stared at something on the highway not looking particularly interested at what was occurring.


She heaved the weight of her daughter on her hip and began walking down the road just as the morning's rays began to peak over the horizon.


A new morning. A new start.



******To*Be*Continued******