The Best I Could Wish For

Over the hill but hardly far away at all, I pinched the heads off of the flowers that had closed up against the night, while I waited for Twilight. I'd never have survived if I had gone to him. I wasn't certain, then, if I wanted to survive or not but thought that I might.

"Drusilla." He greeted me and I almost replied with his true name but the flowers, scattered at my feet, warned me not to. "Why should I let you live?" he asked but didn't mean. He knew I'd searched him out for a reason so all I had to do was convince him that it was his reason.

"All the brutal butterflies have fled the castle and there are no more fishies in the sea. You'll never find them you know. Not without my help."

"And what do you get out of it?"

Oh, his was a suspicious, suspicious mind, never wanting to accept help from anyone he didn't have control over. Of course, I was used to that after Angelus. Easy enough to give him just a bite of my truth. "The Slayer took both of my pretty boys away. I can't kill her myself, not while she's surrounded by so many sisters, but you, you could do it. If you could find her."

He didn't bother debating me, knowing his men were overconfident and wouldn't be able to track the Slayers on their own. He brought me back to his camp but it was too close to sunrise to start our journey immediately so his little boys had one more day to try their tracking. The next evening, I led them to the valley knowing they planned to kill me when they'd finished their massacre. Thing was, if my own task didn't go well, I wouldn't have minded death, even at their hands.

The Slayers and werewolves were ready for an attack but not prepared enough. The night before the battle, after I'd led the army there, I slipped away, hiding myself from the cruel sun. I knew she'd make it that far, carrying her lover's corpse with her. I didn't know if I'd be able to convince her or not. I couldn't regret my plan because it was my only chance to survive. Her only chance as well although I feared she might regret taking it. Everything was in such a flux; it could go so many ways.

The battle went just as I'd seen it. They attacked at dawn, hidden by the morning mists; confusion, magic, and soldier boy techno-toys overwhelmed the Slayers.

I was singing when she found the cave. "Two little fishies left in the sea. Two little fishies, just Willow and me," but my song was wrong. Kennedy was still alive. I hadn't expected that but it didn't matter. She wasn't long for the world.

Cupping my hands, I brought her beloved water from an underground spring. Willow knocked them apart, spilling the water onto the rocks below our feet, asking why she should trust me. So I told her. "I have no mercy in me."

Taking my meaning, her lips grew tight and her gaze bleak as she stared down at her beloved, cradled in her arms. "Leave us alone," she shouted so I retreated into the shadows while the three of us waited. I'd always wanted to see death but it never worked out somehow. I was disappointed that time as well, at least by missing death. Kennedy said some sweet nothings to Willow that she meant to be reassuring but that turned out to be more suited to my needs.

Hot tears fell on the cooling corpse. I waited as long as I dared. Timing was terribly important; too soon and she'd just kill me but it wouldn't be long before the soldiers found us and then both our worlds would end. "Leave me alone," she growled.

"You're already alone," I told her.

"No. That can't be true," she replied, holding onto one cold hand as if it could keep all the deaths at bay. "Somebody else must have survived. Buffy's out there, somewhere. Regrouping."

"Do you want to see what's out there?" I asked, holding my hand out to her.

"You can't," she whispered, as if that would keep us hidden. "They'd detect the magic."

"Demon magic is different and they haven't figured that out yet. Although they will, if they aren't stopped soon. They'll take all the magic out of the world until it all becomes cogs in cold, hard machines."

I walked towards the back of the cave where the spring had left a pool of water and waved my hand across. Willow followed, dragging the corpse along but I didn't mind, not even one tiny little bit. I knew my Willow would lose her baggage soon enough.

From up on high, the battlefield was full of the dead with soldiers moving in. I took our sight in closer, called to those she'd loved. The Slayer who'd finally gotten her just rewards for stealing my two pretty boys. Xander, whose face had been a poem once, long, long ago. A key that no longer fit into its lock. Two werewolves, whom I didn't know but were also dead, had covered up a small child but a soldier spotted him crawling out from under them and shot him to pieces.

She was primed, almost ready, so I shifted to the last bit; soldiers carrying the bodies away. Answering her unspoken question, I said, "They're being taken away to see what makes them tic toc tick. Shiny, sharp blades in clean, bright labs."

"Dissected? My friends, who saved the world, turned into lab experiments?"

"Or lab rats. Those few that survived the battle but only for as long as the techies let them live," I told her. Ah, that did it. Eyes blacker than night. Hair so dark it sucked light right out of the very air. And off she went, into the sunshine where I couldn't follow.

Knowing what would happen next, I let the vision fade and waited, alone except for the last doll she'd tried to save, who wouldn't speak to me at all. It didn't take Willow long to return to the cave. Walking past me, as if I weren't even there, Willow took one cold hand into hers, once again, and closed her dolly's eyes. Then she stood, as cold in her heart as the dolly was and, with a flash of magic, the dolly disappeared into sparks of light that then faded even from my sight.

"They'll not dissect you, my love," is what she said but in her heart she'd given up on love, or so she thought.

As she started to stride out of the cave, I shouted, "Wait."

"Be glad I'm leaving youwith your miserable life."

I don't want my life, I thought, not if I have to live it alone but neither do you. You're like Spike, like my long lost William. You can't stand to be alone.

"There are more of them," I told her. "They'll keep coming unless you kill them all." Looking up I caught her gaze with my most sincere expression. "You'll never find them all on your own and then all your friends will have died for nothing."

She didn't say a word but settled down next to me to wait for nightfall. After a bit I started humming a tune, a love song that Spike had once sang for me. 'The earth died screaming, while I lay dreaming of you,' were the only lyrics I could recall but it didn't matter. I knew the tune. I saw how it would go. She wouldn't want me at first but she'd start to think of me as useful as we killed all the harmful soldier boys. You and me against the world, in her mind would become want, need, and then love.

I would be cherished for as long as I lasted, and then she, unable to live without me, would call back the Slayer to make her own end. I couldn't wish for anything better.