Disclaimer:  I don't own any of the BtVS characters.  No infringement is intended.

Summary:  Faith has been turned.  Buffy must face her toughest opponent all over again and this time Faith is even stronger and more threatening than ever.  Can the Scoobies survive?

Distribution:  Please just let me know of you plan on archiving this story or any of my others at your website.

Authors notes:  This story is a sequel to my story The Gift.  It contains spoilers up through Spiral (the episode where the Knights of Byzantium come looking for Dawn.)  That means that this story does not follow the Glory battle that occurred in the season finale it follows my own version of the Glory battle. If you haven't read my version of The Gift I suggest you do, it's not that long and it will help out a lot although you could still probably follow without doing so.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

The Consequence of Death

Three months had passed and somehow everyone was still miraculously alive, well at least those of them who had made it through the battle with Glory. 

Dawn had died that night, had been drained of blood so that Glory could go home.  Glory had gone home.  For the brief moments after Dawn's blood had been drained and the gates between dimensions had been open, Glory had slipped through, back into hell. 

Tara had also died.  Glory had held the very fabric of Tara's mind.  With that fabric no longer in this dimension, Tara had died instantly. 

And Willow, well she was alive but that was all they could say for her.  Everyone had been knocked unconscious by the gale force winds that the opening of the gates had caused; everyone but Spike who managed to stay awake during it all.  If only he hadn't.  But Willow, unlike the others had yet to wake up from that deep slumber.

With both the witches out of commission there had been no one to help Faith, nobody to stop the terror that was about to befall each and every one of them.  Giles had wanted to try but his experience in the occult was not of the scope that the curse called for and Giles had been badly injured by a spear thrown by the Knights of Byzantium a couple of days before the battle with Glory had even taken place.  Giles was in no condition to tamper with the black magicks.

Spike had stayed; his vampire talents were needed to aid in this fight, but he was only there out of necessity and he knew it.  The Scoobies didn't want him around; they had blamed him for what had happened.  Not a surprise since he was responsible.

Spike had turned a dying Faith in a desperate attempt to repay her for saving his unlife.  She had pushed Spike out of the way so that she could absorb the energy that was the key.  She had bled so that she could close the gates between dimensions.  And as Faith lay in his arms breathing shallowly and preparing herself for her end, Spike had made a decision.  He had made the wrong decision but he had meant well.

Spike had immediately taken Faith's body to his crypt and chained her up.  He had to hurry because he wasn't sure the chains would hold after Faith rose.  Normally even a vampire couldn't break iron chains, nor could a slayer, but with the strength of the two combined, Spike had to be prepared for anything.

Spike had run back to the site of the battle looking for the scoobies.  He wanted Red to work the mojo she had worked on his grandsire several years' back, he wanted her to restore Faith's soul.  When he got there he found every one of his friends, and yes they had become his friends, lying unconscious on the ground.  He ran to Buffy first, to check for a pulse.  He had been relieved to find one.  All of them except for Tara were still alive.

Spike tried desperately to wake them, until finally Buffy began to stir.  Spike immediately went over to Willow and began shaking her violently, commanding her to wake up.  He continued to shake Willow while trying frantically to explain to Buffy.

As soon as Buffy had realized what Spike was trying to say she took about ten seconds to scream at Spike before turning and running off towards Spike's crypt.  Spike looked down at the redhead in his hands then put her down and followed after Buffy.

Buffy was running as quickly as she could, but even with her slayer skills she could not run fast enough.  The entire way over to Spike's Buffy was praying that she would get there in time, get there before Faith rose, her prayers were left unanswered.  Buffy arrived to Spike's crypt to find nothing more then a pile of chains which no doubt had recently held the corpse of the one girl in all the world who was like Buffy.

There were two enemies in Buffy's life that she had failed to defeat, well three if you counted Spike but he no longer fit into the enemy category. Buffy had thought for a while that he might be a threat again. He had turned Faith and she didn't understand how the chip could have allowed that. But she had given Spike a chance to explain himself before she went ahead and staked him. He had told her that the chip only worked according to his intent and he had not wanted to harm Faith. He had explained about how Faith had to bleed to close the portal. And Buffy believed him. After all he had done for her she had to give him the benefit of the doubt. So far, Spike was proving himself worthy of that trust

One of the enemies was human Faith. Buffy had fought her, put her in a coma, but had been unable to kill her. And then Faith had woken from her coma eight months later and had proceeded to steal Buffy's body. Buffy had gotten her body back but Faith had escaped.

The other was Glory. Sure Buffy had saved the world but the apocalypse was not what Glory had wanted. Glory had gotten everything she wanted. She had killed Dawn and gone home.

And now Buffy was fighting Faith again only now Faith was stronger. The few times Buffy had actually gone up against Faith she had failed miserably. Faith's slayer strength combined with her vamp strength was easily comparable to Glory's. That was a strength Buffy had no chance of over powering, no matter who she had by her side.

Buffy and the others had immediately contacted the council after Faith's turning in order to learn the identity of the new slayer. She was a young Scandinavian girl named Helen, 15 years old, the same age as Buffy had been when she had been called. She was tall, maybe 5'9", and had long blonde hair, a fair complexion, and her eyes as she described them, were "dish water" blue although Buffy had thought the color magnificent.

Angel had also gotten involved in this fight. Giles had called the LA gang to alert them to the situation but that had been unnecessary. Cordy had had a vision that had alerted them to the situation. Angel had already left with Wesley and Cordellia in tow. They had left Gunn in LA. He had responsibilities there but there were other reasons as well. Faith knew Angel, Cordellia and Wesley, had any of them stayed in LA Faith very well could have come after them but Gunn was safe. With all of Faith's old companions is Sunnydale she would have no reason to go to LA, at least not until she'd killed off everyone she knew.

Yet even two of the most infamous vampires the world had ever know and two slayers could barely get an edge on Faith, she must have had the strength of ten slayers. This strength had given Faith free reign over Sunnydale.

The only reason people were still alive was because for once the police had done something sane. After the first couple of nights with Faith on the loose at least a dozen people had died. The Sunnydale police had blamed the deaths on a gang of serial murderers, one person, they felt could not have caused so many deaths in such a short time. A curfew had been imposed that kept people confined to their houses between dusk and dawn. Even the people who normally chose to brave the terrors that they knew deep down, haunted their town, were not stupid enough to venture from there houses after dark anymore.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@


"I can't do this anymore guys! We can't win; she's too strong. It's been three months and she's still out there feeding on the helpless, and I'm supposed to help the helpless but I can't!" Buffy fell back into her chair and put her head in her hands.

"You defeated a god Buffy! Don't tell me you can't do this. You can and you will!" Xander tried to convince Buffy of what he knew in his heart to be true.

"He's right Buffy, how many vampires have you slayed in your day? More than you can even count I'm sure. You're a vampire slayer and while Faith may be a little tougher then your run of the mill vamp, she's still just a vamp." Wesley tried getting through to the girl who's watcher he had once been.

"She's not just a vampire she's a slayer too."

"No she's not! Not any more. I'm living proof of that. If she were still the slayer I wouldn't be here." Helen tried to make Buffy understand.

"Yeah well then maybe you should do this! Heck you're my third successor, Maybe it's time I retired and just let you take over." Buffy knew she couldn't just retire, or run away, or quit. She'd tried it many times in the past. It was just an idle threat she knew it and so did everyone else so nobody even bothered to respond to it.

The room was silent for a few moments and finally Spike spoke up. "I've got an idea."

"Oh yes and I'm sure it's brilliant just like your idea to turn Faith in the first place." Angel tried to hold his anger but his grandson just irked him so much sometimes.

"Oh shut up you freaking bloody poof" Spike shot back at him

"He's got a point Spike" Cordellia hated the bleached blonde vamp but she tried to be civil to him for everyone else's sake.  Still her irritation with him was evident in her tone. "Why should we listen to you at all, you are the one who started this whole mess in the first place."

"Listen I know I messed up but I was just…" Spike decided not to even bother he had tried to explain after it first happened but they didn't really care, and now was not the time to try and make them. "…I messed up. But could it even hurt to hear what I have to say."

"Let him speak" Buffy commanded.

"Force isn't getting it done; we have to out smart her. Now who is she most likely to trust? Well a vampire of course so that leaves me and Angel. Now Angel's got a bloody soul and she knows it so he's out. I on the other hand don't. I don't have any logical reason for being on your side. I can convince her I'm bad again. Plus I am her sire, and we vamps tend to have a soft spot in our hearts for our sires." Spike's head filled with memories of his long lost sire, Drusilla.

"So you're proposing…" Xander began

"That I go under cover

"Hold up!  You want us to trust you to go under cover?  Why should we?  I mean yeah you've been on our side thus far but you have been known to betray us in the past like the little Adam incident or when you struck a deal with Buffy to help her defeat Angelus but instead you booked with your crazy woman Dru.  How do we know you won't go over to Faith's and decide, 'hey I'm a vampire, I think I'll betray Buffy and the others and reek a little havoc with my girl Faith!'?"  Xander was not buying Spikes "plan".

"Well you don't now, do you?  But the way I see it is, you decide to give me a bloody chance to get to Faith or you sit around here and continue to argue about the futility of this situation until you rot."

"You guys!"  Buffy spoke up.  "We should do it.  Let Spike go to her. He's willing to risk a lot in this deal and he's right about one thing.  We've exhausted all our other options, and well being selfish non-slayer capacity Buffy here, I'm tired of fighting her"

"Buffy, maybe we should back him up, you know follow him to Faith's and hide." 

"You know we can't do that Helen.  She'll know we're there, she'll sense us and it'll blow Spike's cover.

"As I said once before when fighting the mayor.  It's pretty much the craziest plan I've ever heard but it's the also the only plan. I say we do it."  Cordellia put her vote in.

"Everyone prepare yourself for a shock.  I agree with Xander."  Angel began and then turned to Spike.  "I don't think you can be trusted to get the job done.  But, as it has also been said, there really isn't any other choice right now."

"Yes well it is your call Buffy and if you feel we should put our fai…" Wesley realized his improper choice of words and corrected himself, "trust in him then we shall do it."

"Yes Buffy, Wesley is correct, you are in charge here and we all trust your decision."  It hurt Giles to see Buffy like she was here tonight.  She was the slayer, the chosen one, and here she was, defeated, at least in spirit.  Giles looked away.

"It's settled then.  Well, it's almost dark, we should all get back to home where we'll be safe.  Wesley, Cordellia, Angel, go back to my place, I'm going with Xander.  I want to see Willow, and give Anya a little break."  The hospital had released Willow to Xander and Anya after Anya pretended to be Willow's sister.  They knew that despite Willow's condition she would be safer at Xander's, where Faith couldn't come.  Anya had taken on the role of Willow's nurse, staying home and caring for her.  She still worked for Giles, although she never actually worked at the Magic Box anymore.  Giles sent the books and paper work over for Anya to look over.  "Spike as soon as it's dark head over to Faith's and remember that if you do anything stupid, you're gonna be hurting even after you're ashes."

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Xander unlocked the door to his apartment and motioned for Buffy to enter.  He himself had gotten about halfway through the door before Anya came running out of Willow's room.

"Oh thank god you're here.  I tried calling you at the Magic Box but you guys had already left.  Oh thank god."

"Anya calm down what's wrong?"  Xander was truly worried about his girlfriend and his best friend.

"Wrong?  Nothing is wrong.  Everything is right.  It's Willow!  She's awake!

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

 "Well if it isn't daddy dearest.  You're here bright and early."  Faith had know her sire was there even before she'd seen or heard him.  She would have recognized her sire's scent anywhere.  Spike was standing in the living room of Faith's apartment.  She had fed off the previous owner and then moved in.  It was one of the nicer apartment buildings in the greater Sunnydale area.  Faith didn't settle, no crypts for her.

"Yes well I had wanted to catch you before you left for a night on the town."  Spike tried desperately to keep his cool but he was scared of his own child.  He hadn't just created a monster; he had created the monster.  Someone that had every vamp and demon with in a fifty-mile radius cowering in fear of her.

"So, those little friends of yours send you down here?  What did they think?  That maybe a little talk from my sire could get through to me, convince me to join in the good fight?"  Faith was walking towards Spike, backing him up.  When she'd finally gotten Spike up against the wall she put her hands up next to him and pressed her body against his.

"Actually, No!  Came here on my own."  Spike gulped.  He was sure Faith could see right through him.

"Why'd you turn me Spike?"

"You know perfectly well why I turned you.  You were dying, couldn't just very well sit there and let you."

"Oh but you could have.  You should have.  You're a vampire; I was the slayer.  It was only natural for you to let me die.  No that's not why you did it.  You turned me because, you and me, were the same honey.  Kindred spirits Spikey.  Nobody ever loved you, not as William, and certainly not as Spike.  Even that Dru girl of yours was Jonesen on Angelus.  Seems everyone you ever loved preferred him doesn't it.  But not me.  We're perfect for each other.  What have the scoobies ever done for you?  They just use you because you can fight, just like they used me.  You play back up to Angel in Buffy's life just like I played back up to Buffy in everyone else's life.  But that can all change. We can make a great team.  But hey maybe I'm wrong.  Have any of them ever given you even the slightest hint that they care about you?"

Spike remembered the time Red had stopped him from dusting himself.  He remembered the time he and Xander had called a silent truce, that night in the abandoned gas station when Xander had light his cigarette for him,  "Ya know this'll kill you."  But mostly he remembered the night after Glory had tortured him. The Buffy bot had walked into his crypt and asked him why he had let Glory torture him. He had explained how much it would have hurt the real Buffy if he had spilled about the key.  Then came the kiss and Spike had realized then that it was the real Buffy he had been talking to the whole time, and he had almost felt alive again.  "No!"  He lied.  "They've never shown me that they care.  They don't care.  That's why I'm here.  I want to help you.  I want to make them pay for all the pain they've caused me."

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

"Willow's awake!  Oh my god.  I don't even know...  I mean she's awake."  Buffy ran for Willow's room.

"Buffy!"  Anya called out, "Before you go in there.   What about the curse?  Are we going to ask her to do it?"

Buffy stopped and turned around.  She looked at Anya and then at Xander, Anya, Xander.

"I don't think we should."  Xander broke the silence.  I mean, we just sent Spike out there.  Let him try his thing.  If that doesn't work then maybe it at least gives Willow a chance to recoup.  I mean last time she had only been in a coma for a few hours before doing the spell, this time she's been asleep for three months."

"But Spike is in so much danger.  And like you said, there's always the chance he'll turn on us and help out Faith.  I don't think he will but it's a possibility that we have to consider.  Anyhow, if we go with the Spike plan, Faith gets dusted.  If Willow does the curse Faith will be good and can you imagine having her as an ally?  I don't want to put Willow in any more risk then you do but I think she could do it."  It hurt Buffy to say what she had but she knew it was right.  Asking Willow to do the spell when she was so weak would put her in danger, but not asking put them all in danger.

"I'm with Buffy" Anya said. She was never so direct but this time Anya didn't have the strength to say anything more.  She began to walk towards Willow's room as did Buffy and Xander.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

"Hey sleepy head, so ya finally decided to wake up."  Buffy feigned cheerfulness.  While she was so happy that her friend had awoken the direness of their situation and what she was about to ask, not to mention having to explain to Willow all that had happened since that fateful day with Glory, more then compensated for any joy Buffy could have felt.

"Buffy!  Xander!"  Willow said weakly.  "Has it really been three months?  Anya said it was three month's.  I guess it could be worse, I mean we're still here and no chaos ruling earth."

"I'm not so sure about that last part Willow.  We have some things to tell you."  Buffy interrupted her friend.

"Oh boy let me guess.  Big bad reeking havoc trying to bring about the apocalypse?"

"Well the good news is that this big bad doesn't want to end the world" Anya informed Willow.

"The bad news is that the big bad is Faith.  And she's a vamp."  Buffy didn't want to be so direct with Willow but she knew that if she didn't just come out and say it, it would never get said.

"Faith is a vampire?  She wasn't villainous enough as a human now she's a vamp?"  Willow was rightfully upset.

"Which is why we need you to do the curse.  We can't stop her Will.  We wouldn't ask you other wise."  Buffy felt so guilty about placing this burden on Willow's shoulders but she didn't see what other choice she had.

"But… don't you know?  Guy's I want to help I do but…  the gypsies were very specific.  The curse… it only works for Angel.  I can't restore Faith's soul."

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Angel held Cordellia in his arms but she didn't notice.  She was too preoccupied with a vision and the mind numbing pain that went along with it.  Finally Cordellia spasms stopped and the vision was complete.  Angel helped her to a chair.  "How are you feeling?"

"Oh everything's coming up roses."  Cordellia snapped.  She hated it when people asked her how she was feeling after a vision.  "Horrible visions of death and destruction, paralyzing pain, what's not to love?"

"What did you see?"  Helen had been trained by her watcher since she was eight years old.  She had learned of most super natural phenomena, but the idea of the sight was new to her.  She was genuinely intrigued.

"It's Xander.  He's being attacked.  It looks like his apartment.  The monster, it's red and scaly.  Looks kind of like a giant frog only not so hoppy and well, redder.  And Willow.  She's there.  It looked like Xander was trying to protect Willow.  And in the vision, she's awake."

Before anyone had a chance to ask questions the phone rang.  Giles answered.  "Buffy, yes hello.  What's going on… Mmm hmm…I see… well that would explain...Yes Cordellia just had a vision…  You should go see to her.  We'll all come by in the morning."  Giles hung up the phone.  "Well one of our questions has been answered.  It seems Willow has regained consciousness."

"Don't you just love when that happens.  I mean, the way timing works sometimes."  Angel said.

"Well this is great.  If Willow is awake she can give Faith back her soul."  Wesley replied.

"Yes well I didn't ask.  I'm not sure if Buffy has discussed any of this with Willow yet.  And frankly I'm not sure if it's such a good idea with Willow being in her present condition."

"I understand.  But we will have to discuss it with her soon."

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

"Willow, there's something else I have to tell you."  Buffy's heart broke at the thought of what she was about to tell her best friend.

"It's all right Buffy I know"

"You know but… when…how?

"While I was asleep Tara came to me.  And she was whole again, like she was before Glory.  She was my girl.  And we talked for a while, we embraced each other.  I got to be with her again.  And it hurts to know she's gone but I'm OK.  I'm so grateful that she's finally herself again, and I'm so grateful that I got to see her that way one last time."

"Oh Willow I'm so sorry.  I'm so sorry that I let Glory get to her and I'm so sorry I let her die.  I didn't even get to save Dawn.  It was all for nothing."  Buffy began to sob and Willow held her.  They just stayed that way for a few moments until they heard a knock on the door and Xander and Anya came into the room.  Buffy sat up and wiped the tears away from her face.

"How are my girls?"  Xander asked.  He was aware that Buffy had been crying but he knew better then to acknowledge it.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

The gang came by at about ten o'clock the next morning.  Giles had closed the Magic Box and Xander had taken a sick day so that they could spend time with Willow.  The topic of conversation that day had been senior year in high school, the last time they had all been together.  Times had been hard then too.  Ironically enough they were all gathered together now to fight the same foe that they had fought back then.  But this wasn't brought up.  They stuck to happier times.  And for a while they forgot about the war they were waging, and for a while they were happy again.  But the sun can only shine so long before it gets lost again in the darkness.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

The sun finally set and the gang was forced back into the present.  Buffy went to the kitchen to get Willow a drink.  Wesley followed her out.

"Buffy!  I don't want to sound too harsh and unsympathetic to Willow's condition but I need to ask."

"I know Wesley.  I asked her.  She can't, nobody can in fact.  The curse only works for Angel.  Looks likes like we're back to our Spike plan." 

"Did I hear my name?  You know it's not nice to talk about a bloke behind his back."  Spike walked through the door.

"You know I do believe Angel was right about that timing thing."  Buffy looked at Wesley quizzically but didn't bother to ask.  Just then the rest of the gang came out of Willow's room to see what Spike had to say.

"What's going on Spike.  This better be good.  If Faith finds out you're here it could blow your cover."

"Nah.  Our little lady is staying in tonight.   She's ordered up a little bit of delivery.  Hence my visit.  Seems since nobody ventures outside their house anymore and because Faith can't get into anybody's house she's hired some help who can."

"Let me guess, big red toad like demons."  Cordellia remembered her vision.

"Bingo!  Heltar demons.  In think there are three of them."

"Well then we're going to have to stop these Heltar demons aren't we.  We know one of them is coming here, so Angel you stay behind and take care of the visitor.  Helen, you and I will go out and find the other two.  Spike get back to Faith's try to make sure she doesn't leave."  Buffy walked over to a trunk next to the sofa.  The stash of weapons they kept at Xander's.  She handed an ax to Helen and picked one up for herself.   She went over to her purse where she had Mr. Pointy.  Spike watched carefully as she picked Mr. Pointy up and then slid him between the waist band of her pants and the small of her back.


@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

"Buffy?"

"Yes Helen?"  The two girls were walking through Shady Hill cemetery, one of the dozen cemeteries in the greater Sunnydale area.

"How do you do it?"

"Do what?"

"Get out here and fight evil day after day.   Put your life on the line every night. I haven't fought much since I've become slayer.  All of my experience has been controlled, calculated, safe.  This is different.  I know I have the skill, the speed, the strength, part of the slayer package and all.   But I'm not sure I know how to use those things.  I'm not sure I want to.  I shouldn't question that but I do."

"You saw me yesterday Helen.  I gave up.  Only for a little while but it wasn't the first time and it won't be the last.  When I first came to Sunnydale, I didn't know it was on the Hellmouth.   I was sure I was retired from the slaying business for good.  But you can't escape it.  It's what we do.  And it's scary, and dangerous I know.  But I did something no other slayer did.   I opened up to people.  And my friends are your friends now.  You're not doing it…" Buffy didn't get to finish her last statement, one of the Heltar demons attacked.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Buffy delivered a roundhouse kick to the demon and he went flying back a few yards.  He got right back and charged Buffy.  He jumped towards Buffy.  She bent down and the demon went flying over her.  Helen ran after him swinging her ax.  She hit the demon in the back and he let out a low moan but didn't let it slow him down.  Buffy caught up to them and she threw a few punches. The Heltar demon, more then a little annoyed picked Buffy up and threw her, she hit the side of a mausoleum and fell to the ground.  She wasn't there for long.  She did a back flip up off the ground and ran back towards where Helen continued to fight the Heltar.  Just as she approached the fight she heard a scream coming from one of the near-by homes.

Buffy looked towards the scream, then at Helen.  "I think I found our other demon, can you take this guy?"

"Yeah I've got him.  Go!"  Helen wasn't quite as sure as she sounded but she remembered what Buffy has said to her a few minutes ago.  She had to do this; it was what she did.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

"I want to try guys."

"Try what Willow?"  Xander wasn't sure what Willow was up to but he could tell by the look on her face that it had something to do with Faith.

"The curse."

"But you said it couldn't be done, that it would only work on Angel.  Why would want to try it?"

"Yes but I think I can change it a little.  I just have to figure out which parts refer specifically to Angel and change those parts to work for Faith.  It should take me about a week or so, but I really think I could do it."

"Well what are we waiting for.  Let's get-a-decoding so that we can curse away."  Xander was happy.  He wanted to restore Faith's soul but he didn't want to put Willow in danger.  If she needed time to figure out the curse then it would put her in a better place when it came time to do the spell.

"We have your lap top in the other room.  We were looking up the curse on it a while back.  You can take a look at the curse and see if you can figure anything out now, but we can't get books until tomorrow."

"That's fine could you please…" The Heltar came crashing through the window.

"Looks like our guest has arrived." Angel jumped on the demon who just shrugged him off, throwing him across the room.  The Heltar jumped on Willow's bed.

"Hey get off of her" Xander ran at the demon.  The demon turned around and began attacking him.

Angel moaned and then stood up.  "Angel catch!"  Wesley yelled and threw an ax his way; he and Giles had gone into the other room to get some weapons.  Angel ran up to the demon.

"Anya move!" Anya was beating the demon on the back with her fists screaming for the Heltar to get off Xander.  Angel pushed her away and swung the ax at the demon's head.  The head rolled to the floor and the Heltar's body stopped moving.

"Umm, do you think somebody could possibly help me up here."  Xander said, trapped underneath the Heltar.  Angel lifted the body of the demon up and rolled it off of Xander.

"Thanks."

"Eww, that's gonna be hell to get out of the rug."  Cordellia moaned pointing at the blue blood oozing out of the corpse that lay on the ground."

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Buffy ran through the graveyard leaping over gravestones.  She heard the scream again, louder this time and she knew she was almost there.

Finally Buffy reached the house from which she had heard the scream.  Spike was there fighting the other Heltar.  Buffy came up from behind and swung the ax, taking off the Heltar's head with one swift blow.

"Hey, watch where you're swinging that thing.  You could have had both our heads."

"Sorry Spike."

"Not as sorry as you're about to be."  Before Buffy realized what was happening, Spike had darted behind her and grabbed both of her hands.  He slapped on some hand cuffs he had been hiding."

"What are you doing Spike?"  Buffy was rather annoyed but soon that annoyance was pushed out by absolute terror.  Faith stepped out of the darkness.

"I trusted you Spike.  I let you into my home and my life." 

Spike was behind Buffy now, holding her legs so that she couldn't kick Faith. "Well then!  I guess we've learned a valuable lesson here tonight.  Never trust a soulless monster.  To bad you won't live long enough to ever use that lesson."

Faith slowly approached Buffy.  "Ya know B, all my life I've never been good enough.  Always being compared.  You were always better then me.  Not tonight, hun.  Tonight is my night.  Tonight, I'm better than you."  Faith had finally reached Buffy and her face changed.  She lowered her head and sunk her fangs into Buffy's neck.

Buffy didn't struggle, she knew it was pointless. She couldn't get free of the handcuffs or Spikes hold.  Suddenly Buffy realized she didn't have to get out of Spike's hold; he wasn't holding her anymore.  Buffy prepared to kick Faith.

Before Buffy could act, Faith exploded into dust.  Through the dust Buffy saw Spike holding Mr. Pointy out in the spot where Faith's heart had once resided.

Buffy just stood there for a moment not moving.  Then she collapsed to the ground and tears began streaming from her eyes.  She pulled her knees up and hugged them.  Spike bent down and started to reach his hand out to her.  He wanted to stroke her hair and comfort her.  But Spike knew he wasn't worthy enough to touch the woman lying before him.   Not after all he'd just done.  He hadn't wanted to hurt Buffy.  He hadn't wanted to make her think that he had betrayed her, but it had been the only way he could best Faith.  If he had tried to kill her and failed it would have been over; he would have lost his shot.  The only way he could dust Faith without her having time to react was if she was feeding.  So Spike had set it up to look as though he was leading Buffy to Faith, but really he was still on the Scooby's side.

"Oh me, oh my" A little old lady came running out of the house.  "Is she all right?  I've called 911."

"Yes ma'am, she's going to be just fine.  You should really get back in you house, the attacker might still be around."  Although Faith was out of the picture, he still knew that it was dangerous for the lady to be outside at night.  The lady turned around and went back inside.

"Oh my god.  Is she OK?"  Helen came running up to the house.

"I don't know if she'll ever be OK.  But if you mean physically, then yes, she'll be fine.  Faith hardly got any of her blood."

"Faith?"  Helen's eyes opened wide with fear.

"It's OK, she's dust now."  Spike looked back down at Buffy.  "You should really get her back to the apartment."  Spike helped Helen pick Buffy up; she was in no position to walk, physically or emotionally.  Then Spike turned and walked away.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Helen entered Xander's apartment carrying Buffy.

"Oh my god."  Angel ran to her and took the silently sobbing Buffy from her arms.  Angel noticed the bite marks, he knew they were Faith's.

"Do you know how much she drank?"  Angel asked Helen.

"I wasn't there when it happened, but Spike was, and he said that she'd hardly drunk anything."

"And what happened to Faith?"  Anya broke in.

"Dust."  Helen replied.

"Well then I guess Willow won't have to figure out the curse after all" Xander commented.

Angel put Buffy down on the couch and Giles came over.  He examined the bite marks.  "Anya, could you please get me some alcohol and a bandage please.  Buffy?  Can you talk to me?"

"It's over Giles!  Thank god.  It's all over," was all Buffy said.

Buffy, along with the rest of the gang had spent the night at Xander's.  Xander had walked her home the next morning.  The two friends entered the Summers' home.

"What's that?"  Buffy asked.

"What's what?"

"On the kitchen table.  It looks like a letter."  Buffy walked over to a piece of paper folded up and placed neatly in the center of the table.  She unfolded it and began to read.

            Dear Buffy,

Last night you told me that you had trusted me.  That is more then I could have ever hoped for.  It is far more then I ever disserved.  I know how much pain I have been the cause of.  Everything that has happened the last three month's has been because of me. You always stood up for me when the other's refused my help and for that I am forever grateful.  But I know you only did it because you needed me to help you defeat Faith.  I stayed and helped not only because I needed to clean up the mess I had created but because I was hoping that if I stayed you would forgive me in your heart as well as your head.  But now I know that that can never be.  It's not because you are incapable of forgiving me; rather it is because I am incapable of being forgiven.  One thing I said last night was true, never trust a soulless monster.  And that is what I am.  While I would never want to hurt you, my nature demands it of me.  I can not stay here in Sunnydale and let that happen.  So it seems the wish you made last Valentines Day has finally come true.  I am leaving Sunnydale. Thank-you for making this town a home to me, but now I must find a new home.  Good-bye slayer, and good luck.

Yours forever,

     William