DISCLAIMER: All BTVS characters belong to Joss, I'm just borrowing them. Couple of OC's in there that are mine.

I-E-H

He hadn't slept at all. He didn't feel like he'd needed it. Buffy had gotten the rest she needed, at least for a few hours and he'd spent the time listening to her breathing, her heart beating, the soft murmurs she exuded in her dreams. He listened to it all in wonder. Wondering how he'd gone so long without companionship; wondering how he'd gotten so damn lucky as to have stumbled his way into her heart. How could a creature so damned as he be so blessed at the same time?

Once upon a time, if someone had told him that he would have linked his eternity with hers, he would have laughed in their faces, then, in all likelihood, torn their throat out. Maybe the other way around. He had been the Slayer of Slayers. He was one quarter of the Scourge of Europe.

Now he was well and truly whipped and surprisingly very, very happy about it.

Buffy stirred in her sleep as the crackling of radios sounded outside their door. They were about to be disturbed. He could hear the bustling of the compound all around him, so he knew that Giles had passed on the message and they were to attack. Spike also knew that it was still a few hours off of nightfall outside, so if they left immediately, he'd be out of the fight until it was safe to emerge from the underground passages. He could go as far as where they had tunnelled but no further.

He positively hated sitting on the sidelines.

He'd hate it even more if he knew Buffy was out there fighting without him.

The Slayer's eyes flew open and she stiffened in his arms as she roused from her sleep. She then relaxed and rolled over to put her arms around her vampire with a bright smile.

'Morning.' She whispered, kissing his neck.

'Morning, pet. Don't rightly think we've got much time to ourselves. There's a bloke out there, umming and arring as to whether he's brave enough to come in here.' He whispered.

A tentative knock at the door made Buffy giggle. She reached down and pulled a military issue sweater over the simple tanktop she wore and called for the perpetrator of the knock to enter. A terrified looking soldier, probably no older than Buffy herself, put his head round the door and smiled nervously at the couple on the bed.

'Orders are that we're moving out in three hours. General want us all amassed for a briefing in the mess hall.' Buffy nodded and the soldier made a hasty escape from the glowering stare of the vampire behind her.

'So this is it.' Spike mumbled, his voice vibrating through her body as he hugged her tight.

Buffy's mouth pressed into a thin line and she nodded. 'Guess so. Time to fight the good fight.' She felt Spike get up and he picked up his clothes, dressed quickly. 'No time for anything else.' She made a sad face at him and stood up herself, pulling her trousers on. Her vampire waited for her to finish buttoning her khakis and then wrapped his arms around her.

'Plenty of time for that afterwards.' He whispered, kissing her neck. She whimpered.

'No fair we have no time now. You should have woken me.'

Spike kissed a trail over her collar bone, pulling the sweater to one side. Buffy moaned into the touch.

'You looked so peaceful, didn't wanna disturb you.'

'Yeah, but….I wouldn't have minded being disturbed by this…' The Slayer panted.

A cough had them springing apart like they were electrocuted and they turned guilty faces on the aged one-armed Watcher at the door. He grinned in an amused manner.

'Sorry to interrupt, but I do believe there is a war we need your participation in?'

Both slayer and vampire nodded, before grabbing their gear and moving past the Englishman like a pair of naughty teenagers caught in a classroom. He smiled and followed them from the room and towards the noisy mess hall.

It was a tight squeeze to fight everyone in for the briefing but it was essential that everyone knew where they were going and what they were doing. Buffy and Spike hovered near the back with Giles, knowing most of the instructions meant nothing to them. They had only one mission – find and destroy Adam. Try not to die in the process. The thought flashed through Buffy's head more then once. She knew what she had to do, and trusted in herself to get through. She knew Spike could take care of himself and that he would meet her on the other side. She just didn't want to lose any more friends through this.

After half an hour of directions and tactics, Buffy spotted her mother over the other side of the hall and caught her eye, motioning for her to go out into the main passage. She let Spike know where she was going and ducked out, finding Joyce waiting for her in the deserted passageway. The two women embraced for a few seconds, before they began to walk away from the briefing. It hadn't meant anything to Joyce, she was staying away from the fighting and back at the compound with other civilians, sorting out medical supplies for any wounded brought back. Her only worry during that time would be the safety of her daughter.

'I've missed you so much, Mom.' Buffy whispered, slipping her hand into her mother's. Joyce squeezed it.

'I missed you too, sweetheart.' Silence reigned for a few seconds. 'Rupert tells me that you…you and Spike are together? In a serious manner now?'

Buffy swallowed hard. 'Yeah. I know it's quick….but he's really been there for me, Mom. He's given me a reason to fight again. I know it's weird vampire crap but this claim….'

'I don't need to know the specifics, honey.' Joyce stopped and patted her daughter's hand. 'I just need to know three things; that he keeps you safe, he keeps you happy and that he loves you.' She looked into Buffy's eyes and smiled. 'And I can see that every time he looks at you.'

Buffy blushed and looked back along the corridor that her mate stood at the end of. 'He's….' She stopped. There wasn't a word good enough for it. Joyce seemed to sense her loss for words and smiled again.

'Not long left now.' Joyce said, sadness tinging her voice. Buffy sighed.

'You'll be waiting here after?' She asked and her mother nodded. Pulling her daughter into what may have been the last hug ever, she held back the tears that were burning her eyes.

'I love you, Buffy. And I expect you to be back here promptly after killing things.'

I-E-H

She stood with her vampire in a tunnel separate from the main passage that the soldiers were using to reach the Pentagon. They were alone, waiting for the last rays of the sun to disappear over the horizon. The tunnel further down had not been blown yet and wouldn't be for another half an hour. She and Spike were going to run for the Pentagon before the explosion went off, hoping to slip in unnoticed whilst the cyborgs ran for the main army. She tried not to think about her mother, back in the compound. She tried not to think about Giles, down with the generals and colonels and commanders. She tried not to think about what depended on her succession, or lack of.

Tried not to think that it would truly be the end of mankind if she didn't kill Adam.

A few more minutes left. Spike brushed against her arm, and she felt comforted by the contact. She could feel him all over, and it made her feel more confident in her coming fight. He'd have her back. They'd both survive and celebrate afterwards. Rebuild the world.

Keep being positive, that's what they always say isn't it?

Spike tensed and she knew the sun was down. They pushed open the entrance to the tunnel and crept out into the darkness. Keeping to the shadows, the vampire and slayer moved silently towards the Pentagon. It was brimming with cyborgs and a steady hum emitted from the building, which had been reinforced with steel and wires. Only one entrance was visible from their position and Spike swore softly under his breath. He pulled Buffy towards a half-destroyed building and they took shelter for a moment.

'We're gonna have to wait for the tunnel to go up and then run for it.' Buffy whispered. Spike nodded.

'One shot, pet. And we'll probably have to fight our way through.'

'Not an issue.' Buffy slid her machete out of her ankle holster and smiled at her old friend. She'd sharpened it specially for the battle. Spike grinned and vamped out.

The ground suddenly shook and a loud bang shattered the air. Shouts and gunfire sounded and both Spike and Buffy glanced around the side of the building to scout the field. Cyborgs were running into the distance, gunfire lit up the ground and Spike nodded to Buffy. They both stood up and ran towards the side of the Pentagon, avoiding the cyborgs running to the fight. They'd made it within ten feet of the entrance when a shadow fell upon them. Buffy looked up and fell backwards onto Spike as Riley blocked her path.

Or whatever was left of Riley.

She'd seen him the other night, but it was nothing to prepare her for how grotesque he looked up close. His face was half gone, replaced with some spiny demon's part. His arms and legs didn't match, and a massive gun took up most of his right limb. In his other hand, he held a small box, which Buffy looked at questioningly before he spoke and distracted her. His voice had the same sound, but none of the Riley she knew remained.

'The Slayer.' A creepy smile split his face and Buffy suddenly felt an even greater urge to punch it. But a good chunk of that probably came from Spike, who was visibly shaking with rage behind her. 'Adam told me it was likely you'd be here. I was looking forward to fighting you. Now we're on even ground and all.' He looked beyond her, to her vampire. 'And Hostile 17.' The phrasing made Spike growl in anger. 'I have something for you.' He held up the small box that had captured Buffy's attention beforehand and that creepy, evil smile returned. The Slayer eyed the box warily, and tensed as he pushed the button in the middle of it. Nothing happened.

Not to her anyway.

Behind her, Spike fell to the ground, his body convulsing and writhing with pain. He tried to clutch at his head but he was unable to move, unable to make a sound again the agony he was being subjected to.

His chip had never died on its own. They'd stopped it broadcasting. And now Riley had turned it back on, full blast. She could feel the agony he was in, could hear his silent screams.

She had to get that box away from the monster her ex had become.

Turning away from Spike for the time being, Buffy launched herself at Riley, knocking the box from his hand and pushing him back a few steps. She scrambled for the box, but before she could reach it, Riley had her in his grip, trying to crush her in his hydraulic assisted arms. She fought against him, elbowing him in the face. He laughed at her and kept squeezing. She felt a couple of ribs break and strained against the pain, reaching for her machete. With one swift move, she grabbed the weapon and took off his left arm.

Riley dropped her as he roared in anger. Buffy moved for the box and almost had it as Riley grabbed her leg and threw her round into the building. She hit the floor with a thud. Riley stamped on the box, shattering it and Buffy glanced at Spike, her face falling as she realised the destruction of the box hadn't stopped his pain. Riley picked her up by the throat and snarled at her, spittle flying from his mouth and landing on her sweater. The cyborg shouted instructions and several minion hybrids grabbed the writhing vampire from the ground and started dragging him towards the entrance of the Pentagon.

'Spike!' Buffy choked out, pulling desperately at Riley's monstrous hands. 'Spi-' His hands drew tighter and she snarled against the strangulation.

The Slayer could only watch as her vampire was dragged away from her and Riley laughed in her face.

He wasn't laughing so hard when she planted her foot in his face. It took several kicks before he dropped her and she hit the ground, gasping for air. After a few moments of gasping and gulping down air, she looked up.

Riley, his minions and Spike were gone.

I-E-H

I'm bad. I know. I hope this chapter went okay. I'm hoping to have another chapter done by the end of the night but if not, I'm without a laptop or computer for two weeks after today so it will be a while before another update I'm afraid!