Prologue:

"And that would be the signal for the world is ending." Riley


Riley throws a tiny basketball through the small net on the back of his door making shots with mixed success and thinking about the night before, thinking about Buffy. She's the slayer, a demon hunter just like him, but for whatever reason she had said that because of that they couldn't be together. Their 'fry cook' conversation runs over and over through his head. Riley doesn't understand it; from his point of view being able to share their secrets with each other only makes them more perfect for each other. Riley's train of thought is then interrupted by a knock on the door.

"Come in," Riley calls out.

Buffy opens the door and sticks her head in then slowly walks in the room causing Riley to stand up to greet her. She's wearing a long baby blue skirt and brown tank top, her hair is half up and as Riley watches her enter his room he thinks that he's never seen anyone more beautiful.

"You never called. So I didn't know..." Buffy starts out.

"Oh, hey… I'm sorry. I'm just… I'm a dead man… Secret. Highly… Or it's supposed to be. And… and then you find out. I can deal. You're special. But last night with your friends was a disaster. I mean, could I've been less convincing? I was trained to be sneaky and stuff and I'm like… Hi! Paintball, just passing by! I should have just given them my security code and rank!"

"You have a security code and rank?"

"No. Did I just say..? This is so not good," Riley says with a sigh. "Everybody knows about me. I'm finished. It's the end of the world."

It's at that moment that Riley's pager goes off. The beeping sounds through the air and successfully kills Buffy and Riley's conversation, as it does Buffy's not sure whether or not she should be upset or relieved. She wasn't exactly sure where she had been planning on going with this conversation in the first place. Mostly Buffy had just wanted to see that things were cool between her and Riley, even if she thought that dating wasn't a good idea she didn't want to be on bad terms with him.

"And that would be the signal for the world is ending," Riley says looking down at the number on his pager.

"Bat cave calling?" Buffy asks.

"Yeah… can we talk later?"

"Yeah," Buffy responds as Riley rushes out of his room leaving Buffy standing there alone.

--

Buffy walks back into her dorm room with a solemn face. She quietly shuts the door behind her and looks to Willow who's sitting Indian style on her bed filling her book bag with various texts and notebooks. Willow looks up at her as she enters and notices her best friend's off mood immediately.

"Hey you… how'd talking to Riley go?" Willow asks.

"Fine… didn't say much, he had to go," Buffy says with a little sadness in her voice.

"No smoochies then?"

"I don't know if there were ever gonna be any smoochies… I mean, yeah there was spark-age at first, but I just don't think it could work."

"That's too bad; I was starting to like him."

"Yeah, me too… I think I need to just deal with the fact that having a nice normal relationship is something that's just never gonna happen for me," Buffy says sighing and sitting down on the edge of her bed facing Willow. She drops her hands into her lap to smooth out her long skirt.

"Hey now, none of that," Willow says in a warning tone.

"So what are you up to? Wanna drown sorrows with me in a whole lot of chocolate… well actually that doesn't make sense with the drowning… unless it was melted chocolate."

"Sorry, can't… I'm heading over to Xanders, he hasn't been able to kick Spike out yet so we're going to a movie, wanna come with? You'll be saving me from awkward three's a crowd conversations with Anya."

"Sure, why not…"

--

Riley descends in the bright elevator to the Initiative. A part of him is afraid that someone has found out that he's blown his cover to Buffy and her friends and that he's being called down to be reprimanded. However the more logical part of him tells him that this must be about something else, there's no way they could know about his slip up so soon.

Before the elevator even makes it to the main floor Riley can hear the sirens sounding from below. Then as the elevator doors open red lights flash and the siren sounds louder, a computer generated voice resounds with the phrase 'bio hazard' over and over. Riley steps out onto the landing of the white stairwell and looks out into the Initiative. Before him he sees a sight of total chaos. Screeching screams and the sound of gunfire resounds through the lab. As if he were on auto pilot Riley runs down the stairs to join the fight.

The infected are everywhere and as the Initiative's resistance grows weaker with every life lost the infected forces grow stronger; what's worst of all though is that the infection has already made it above ground. The former humans move with bloodlust as the virus takes over their bodies. They are nothing more then dead animated skin, and the only thing that can stop them is a bullet to the head.

Forest has given up on distinguishing between whose infected and who isn't, he's now shooting at anything that moves as he makes his way through the Initiative. Then he sees Riley making his way down the stairs.

"Riley!" He calls out catching the commando's attention.

"Forest, what's going on here?"

"Project 342… the test subject has escaped and the virus has been spreading like wildfire... Riley, it's reached the surface."

"Has the fail-all been activated?"

"I don't think so… anyone who tries to get close to the command central… well, no one's been able to make it there yet, there's too many of them," Forest says as he shoots at more of the infected.

"How is it spreading?"

"Through blood and saliva, here take this," Forest says tossing Riley a gun, "just don't get bit."

"We need reinforcements," Riley says mostly to himself as he joins the fight.


A/N: Check out a trailer/video for this fic on my website. This fic is finished, I'll post a chapter every few days. For those of you reading my other fic Season 9: The Birth of a new era I'm currently working on Ch.8 and it should be up soon. Hope you all enjoy this.