Author's Notes: The end is here (finally). I can't tell you how much this story kicked my ass, took my blood, sweat, tears, and hours upon hours of frustration just to write it out until it was done. It isn't an easy feat for me to write a story this long without becoming repetitive and to date this is the longest story (both in fanfic and original fic) that I have written in the half a lifetime I've been writing. I need to give a great shout-out to my beta MikeO for sticking through six months of this with me. Mikey, you helped me create a better story by fixing those pesky grammatical errors I've always had a bit of trouble with and you've helped me become a better writer because I do think (and I hope) I've been learning and growing from said mistakes that I've always made while writing. The chapters have been long, grueling, and I don't think I'll ever write chapters over 6k ever again (or at least for another six months lol). Thanks to the reader's who always reviewed, you guys are great, you kept me going and motivated when I was about to give up on this story completely. And to those readers who never took the time to review, I hope you've enjoyed what you've read :) Onto the next one...
A week after their picnic date at the beach, Faith found herself in the exact same position as last Sunday. She was sitting on the balcony after not sleeping at all, thinking of Buffy, of a way to ask her to marry her, of the ring she'd bought when Buffy thought she'd gone out shopping for food with Xander and Dawn the day before. She pulled the ring, nestled in its small box, out of her pocket and opened it. The ring was simple—nothing more than a silver band with a small diamond setting. It was cliché, or so Dawn had told her when they stood in the jewellery store for three hours looking at rings, but it suited Buffy.
"I'm really gonna do this," she said to herself softly as she closed the box and slid it back into the front pocket of her jeans. "Shit, I'm really gonna ask her. This is crazy."
"Ask who what?" Buffy asked sleepily as she opened the door and stepped out onto the balcony with a hot cup of coffee in her hands. She walked over to Faith and bent down for a kiss, sighing contentedly as she pulled back and sat next to her. "How come you didn't stay in bed last night?"
"What were you talking to yourself about?"
"You are making me sound like a broken record," Buffy said softly as she shook her head. "Why do you keep lying to me?"
"Well you are keeping some big secret from me lately and I really don't like it. I thought it wasn't going to be like this between us?"
"Buffy, it ain't like that and you know it."
Faith could feel the beginnings of a fight brewing and it was the last thing she wanted to happen that morning of all mornings. She closed her eyes when she heard thunder rumbling off in the distance and knew that the day she had planned wasn't going to happen if it rained. Nothing seemed to be going her way and she was trying not to get frustrated and angry over it.
It was so hard for her to keep anything from Buffy anymore. From the time they'd spent together in that world between worlds and afterward, Buffy just knew how to read her too well. In those three weeks they were apart, she'd had a few long talks with Willow about learning to control the empathy that she still had inside of her. She learned she always had some sort of control over it, never able to make others feel the way she does and only feel what the other felt. And now, all she felt was aggravation coming from Buffy and it was making her feel even more frustrated.
"Looks like it's gonna rain," Faith muttered under her breath as she looked out at the dark clouds.
"Yeah...too bad," Buffy sighed as she turned to look at Faith. "I really wanted to go to the beach today."
"Fuckin' ruined my plans."
"Doesn't matter anymore, B. They're ruined cos of the storm rollin' in."
"How come you can't tell me what's going on, Faith?"
"Cos it's supposed to be a surprise, B," she responded softly as she reached out for Buffy's hand. "If I tell ya, it ain't a surprise, is it?"
Faith chuckled as she relaxed. With the ring in her pocket, she was really nervous, more so than she'd ever felt before in her entire life. Once she did ask Buffy, that was it. It was a life changing question, one that had two answers and only one of which she wanted to hear. She kept thinking how crazy she must be to want something that serious with Buffy, but she knew it was what she wanted. She knew how she felt and she knew how real it was, how deep the love she felt for Buffy was. There was no sense in putting it off for months, years even, if that's how she felt. She only hoped that Buffy felt the same way and wanted the same things she did.
The first drops of rain falling from the sky confirmed that her plans for the day were ruined, and Faith morosely began trying to think of alternate ways to propose. Buffy didn't give her much time to think, though, before she was being pulled inside and towards the bedroom with the blonde's lips relentlessly attacking hers. She tried to keep from getting too close to her, not wanting Buffy to feel the ring box in her pocket. That was the last thing she wanted to happen and she didn't want to have to end up asking her that way. It wasn't romantic. It wasn't the way she'd been envisioning it in her head since she first started thinking of asking her.
As Buffy reached the foot of the bed Faith pulled back and slipped out of her jeans, making sure the box didn't fall out as her jeans hit the floor. Buffy was too busy letting her eyes roam hungrily over her body to notice how nervous she was. Faith tried to shake it off as she pulled off her shirt and pulled Buffy in to her, their lips meeting in a tender yet passionate kiss.
Her hands slid under Buffy's shirt and she broke away from the kiss for mere seconds as she pulled the shirt up and over her head, carelessly tossing it to the floor behind her as her fingers worked on getting Buffy out of her shorts. A low growl escaped her lips when she found Buffy wore nothing underneath her shorts and she tried not to pounce, wanting nothing more than to take her time making sweet love to the woman who held the key to her heart and soul. The rest of her clothes came off in a flash and she gently laid Buffy down on the bed, settling herself between her legs as her lips trailed over Buffy's jaw and neck slowly.
Buffy kept squirming beneath her and she knew that taking it slow definitely would be hard. Not impossible, but hard. She trailed her lips and tongue over Buffy's collarbone, taking a moment just to breathe in the scent that was uniquely her. She smelled mostly like the body wash she used in the shower with a hint of something else that Faith never could quite put her finger on. Vanilla possibly, but she knew it wasn't. She stifled the chuckle that dared escape as she slid down her body a little, eyes sweeping over Buffy's breasts as she watched the nipples harden under her gaze. Her own body was reacting and she was trying to suppress the flood of arousal rushing through her entire body. It was all about Buffy right then and there. Her own pleasure, her own needs, could come after she was done worshipping every inch of this petite goddess.
Buffy let out a moan as Faith circled her tongue over her left nipple, teasing it as her fingers trailed lightly over her right breast. Buffy stopped her before she could wrap her lips around her nipple and the brunette looked up at her lover, puzzled.
"What's up, B?"
"I...nothing. Sorry, just thinking."
"Thinking? Now? 'Bout what, B?"
Faith knew where this conversation would head and she really didn't want this to happen until later. Preferably much later. She ignored what Buffy had just said and blew over her nipple softly, sighing out as Buffy laced her fingers through her hair and pulled her closer.
"Faith?" Buffy tried again and Faith groaned as she moved up so they were face to face. "Where is this going?"
"What do you mean?"
"I..." Buffy trailed off as she shrugged. "I don't know. I just, I don't know what's going on anymore. I know I'm in love with you, I know you feel the same way, but where is this going?"
"You ask that question in every relationship or somethin', B?"
"It's going somewhere, that's all I can say right now, B."
Faith groaned in annoyance as she rolled off of Buffy and laid on her back. She closed her eyes as she bit her tongue, trying not to let herself speak without thinking first of what she was going to say. The day wasn't going the way she thought that it would. She'd wanted to take Buffy to the beach and have a nice picnic. A picnic where she'd end up asking her to marry her before she brought out dessert. The rain had put an end to that before it began. Now there was hot spur-of-the-moment sex, which would have gone a long way toward easing her disappointment if that wasn't also now falling apart on her just as it got started. To top it off, Buffy was getting suspicious and insecure. No, her day definitely wasn't going according to plan.
"Buffy, you know I love you. You know how I feel about you. You know I'd do anything for you. I'd even die for you." Since things seemed to be spinning out of control, she figured she might as well just go for it. "If I say where I think this is going, where we are going, you aren't gonna freak, are ya?"
"What are you saying, Faith?"
"I'm sayin'..." she sighed as she took a deep breath and turned to look at her. "I'm sayin' that I wanna spend the rest of my life with you, B, however long the rest of my life might be. And this is so not how I imagined I'd ask you..."
"Ask me what?"
"To spend the rest of our lives together."
"Oh. Wait...are you—"
"Yeah, I am."
"Yeah," Faith laughed as she leaned over and reached for her jeans. "Like I said, so not how I imagined this, but y'know...shit happens and all that."
"Faith, did you—"
"Yeah," she laughed again as she pulled out the ring box and opened it as she turned to face Buffy.
"You got me a ring?"
"Course I did, B. It ain't much, but—"
"Yes," Buffy said quickly as she snatched the ring out of the box before Faith could say another word. "And the ring is beautiful, Faith."
"You said yes?"
"What, you thought I'd say no?"
"It was a possibility."
"Are you crazy?"
"Don't ask me that," Faith laughed as she pulled Buffy on top of her as soon as she slipped the ring onto her finger. "And yeah, I might be slightly crazier than I think I am."
"This is so not what I imagined would happen after asking you where this is going."
"Least it answers that question, huh?"
"How long do you want to wait until we tell everyone?"
"Uh, B?" Faith groaned as she closed her eyes, knowing Buffy could be pissed to hear that pretty much everyone already knew.
"They all know, don't they?"
"Yes?" Faith squeaked out, daring not to open her eyes to look at Buffy just yet. "Are you mad?"
Faith opened her eyes and saw Buffy smiling down at her. Buffy leaned in for a kiss and Faith let herself get lost in the sensation of Buffy's lips and tongue. She spread her legs as Buffy's hips began to roll against her own and they both moaned at the intimate contact. It made Faith's whole body feel as if it were on fire, a feeling she knew she'd never grow tired of feeling with Buffy. She craved that feeling more than she craved air to breathe. Buffy had been her addiction ever since they'd first met, even when they'd fought on different sides, and that addiction made every other need and craving pale in comparison.
Never again would they be on different sides. Only one side existed for them now: Theirs, together. They'd still fight the meaningless fights all couples had at one point or another, fights that would end up with them having wild make up sex that made the whole fight seem incredibly stupid. They would fight whatever big bad or even small bad that came their way. The important thing was that Faith now knew that no matter what they'd always be fighting together.
"Baby, stop thinking," Buffy whispered against her lips.
"Got me there," Faith laughed huskily as she stared into her eyes, eyes that seemed darker than she'd ever seen them before. "Ya think we could just not say anything right now?"
"Why...oh," Buffy responded, laughing nervously as she completely stilled all movement. "I'm ruining the mood, aren't I?"
"You are, but it ain't like I'm complainin'. Much."
Buffy opened her mouth as if to say something back, but Faith wasn't having any of it now. She silenced her with a searing kiss as she rolled them over slowly. She could hear the rain pounding outside and she could feel Buffy's heart racing in time with hers, nearly being drowned out by the rolling thunder. When Buffy broke away from the kiss to catch her breath, Faith began trailing her lips down her neck, sucking on her pulse point for a moment before continuing onwards, intent on picking up where she'd left off before.
She had to take a few deep breaths to calm herself, to force herself to keep it slow. All she wanted to do was completely devour Buffy and with the way Buffy was moaning and whimpering beneath her it was proving to be really hard to keep some kind of restraint. One thing Buffy had taught her—though the blonde probably didn't even realize it—was how to keep it slow and make it a hundred times better because it wasn't hard and fast each and every single time.
"I could spend the whole day just like this," Faith whispered against her skin, smiling up at her before she slowly circled a hard nipple with her tongue. "In fact, I plan to do just that."
"Not complaining," Buffy chuckled softly.
Faith leaned up for a quick kiss before she trailed her lips down across Buffy's breasts and over her stomach, feeling every muscle ripple beneath her soft touch. Buffy's hands found their way to tangle in her hair as she trailed her tongue over her bellybutton slowly. She ran her hands up Buffy's thighs, spreading her legs wider for her as she moved lower and settled in between her legs. She kissed along the inside of Buffy's thighs, stopping to nip at the skin, marking her just a little, bit by bit. By the time she reached her pussy, Buffy was absolutely dripping for her.
She licked Buffy's pussy, teasing her, then grinned at the soft whimpers as her tongue circled her throbbing clit slowly. She held Buffy's hips down to keep her from bucking against her face as she sucked on her clit. The smaller girl pulled Faith's hands away from her hair and chose to grip onto the sheets as her dark counterpart dragged her tongue down to her hot, wet hole and plunged it as deeply inside of her as she could. She now found it impossible to hold Buffy's hips down, but she kept the tight hold she had on her as she fucked her hole with her tongue in a way she knew would have Buffy screaming incoherently in minutes.
Buffy was purring and Faith could tell she was holding herself back. She could feel herself about to come just from the immense pleasure Buffy was feeling and she did nothing to hold it off as she kept fucking Buffy's hole with her tongue. She could feel a flood of her own arousal drip out as Buffy came, both of them shuddering as their orgasms ripped through them almost violently. Faith removed her tongue from Buffy's clenching hole and licked over her clit lightly before crawling up her body slowly.
"Jesus," Buffy panted as Faith looked down at her with a smile. "How is it that it gets better every single time?"
"Cos it just does," Faith chuckled as she planted a light kiss upon Buffy's slightly parted lips. "Better get used to it, B. You're stuck with me forever now...or for however long you'll have me."
"Forever wouldn't be long enough," Buffy whispered, smiling right back at Faith as she swept her hands down her back slowly. "I love you."
"I love you too, B."
Faith rolled over, pulling Buffy with her so she ended up on top. Buffy knew exactly what she needed, but she looked nearly spent as she took long, deep breaths, trying to regain some of her energy. It wouldn't take too long, it never did. Faith would wait forever for Buffy to come down from her high. She'd wait forever because she knew it was completely worth it. Buffy laid on top of her, her fingers stroking over her arm and shoulder ever so slowly. Faith had one arm around her and the other at her side. It was the perfect moment as she looked down at Buffy as she settled in comfortably on top of her.
"I can't even move right now," Buffy sighed contentedly as she lifted her head from Faith's shoulder to look up at her. "How do you do that?"
"Do what, B?"
"Drain me the way you do."
"What am I, a vampire now?" Faith chuckled as Buffy swatted her over her other shoulder. "I dunno, B. Maybe I'm just the best you ever had and it doesn't take much to knock ya out."
"Oh, you are definitely the best I've ever had," Buffy replied with a smile. "And don't let that go to your head, baby. I can only handle that swelled ego of yours so much."
She laughed as she looked down at Buffy and caught her staring at the ring she'd given her with a faraway look in her eyes. She reached for Buffy's hand and intertwined their fingers as Buffy leaned up and kissed her softly. The storm was still raging outside, but she'd fallen so far into her own little world with Buffy that she hardly even noticed the constant flashes of lightning and rumbling of thunder that shook the building. Even if the world decided to end itself now, she'd die completely happy with the woman she loved in her arms.
It was nearly dark when Faith emerged from the apartment and headed down to the training room. Buffy was fast asleep when she'd slipped out of bed and she hoped that she'd be able to duck out for an hour or two completely unnoticed by her. The training room was occupied only by Kennedy, who was hitting the bag repeatedly without pausing to take a break or a breath. Faith grabbed two bottles of water from the small fridge and walked over to her, waiting until Kennedy noticed her before tossing a bottle her way.
"About time you decided to come out of your apartment," Kennedy laughed as she stepped away from the bag slowly and opened her bottle of water. "You two been going at it all day, haven't you?"
"Course we have."
"Doesn't surprise me. Satsu and I woke up to hearing you two and well," Kennedy smirked as she and Faith walked over to the plush purple couch along the wall and sat down. "Let's just say she wanted to try and keep up with you two."
"And we couldn't. Damn, Faith. You two are just..."
"Something like that," Kennedy replied as she shook her head. "So, did you ask her?"
"I did," Faith smiled. "She said yes."
"And when do you two plan on tying the knot?"
"We never got the chance to talk about that yet."
"Figured as much," Kennedy laughed as she playfully punched Faith in the shoulder. "Have you told Jackie yet?"
"No. I haven't really seen her around lately. She's been busy with Giles and Bryce tryin' to learn all she can about the world we live in and the things that go bump in the night."
"Do you think she'll be happy for you two?"
Faith shrugged but nodded her head at the same time. "Yeah, think so. She kinda knew how we were meant to be together and all that shit pretty much from the start, y'know?"
"It's weird seeing you like this."
"So happy and so in love. You do realize how contagious it is, don't you?"
They both laughed as Giles, Xander, and Andrew walked into the training room with a few of the younger girls following close behind them. Faith barely had a chance to say 'hey' before Giles pulled her up from the couch and hugged her tightly. It was slightly awkward for all of three seconds that he had her in the tight hug before he backed away and cleared his throat.
"What was that for?"
"For making Buffy unbelievably happy, Faith," he said with a smile. "I find myself almost in disbelief of just how far the two of you have come in such a short time. That you both are...are in love and planning to get married is nothing short of incredible. I must admit that it's the last thing I ever thought would happen between you two."
"So I take it I got your blessings then?" Faith asked, smirking as Xander moved in to hug her too. "Okay guys, enough with the hugging thing. It's all kinds of weird."
"Have you spoken to your mother yet, Faith?" Giles asked her as they all composed themselves. Andrew looked so overwhelmed that he looked as if he were about to burst into tears. Faith could only shake her head no. "She's sitting in the lobby with Bryce having a cup of tea if you're looking for her. I am certain she would love to hear the happy news from you instead of one of us."
"How did you know anyway?"
"Buffy," Xander said before Giles could say a word. "She's with Dawn right now and you know what a big mouth Dawnie has."
"Damn, I've only been down here what, not even ten minutes," Faith chuckled as she ran her fingers through her hair. "Should probably go talk to Jackie, tell her myself."
"Does anyone else find this really weird?" Andrew asked and they all looked at him. "I mean, from what we know, Buffy and Faith had been one-time enemies, never lovers. And now, ever since we've come here, things have changed rapidly. You blink and they are together, blink again and they are trapped in some in between dimension and you blink once more and they are back and totally in love."
"Ya got a problem with that, Andy?" Faith asked, trying to keep from smirking as he quickly shook his head no. "'Sides, what makes it weird? Ain't never had a girlfriend before, have ya?"
"We all know the answer to that question," Kennedy muttered under her breath and Faith found it impossible not to burst out laughing.
"Hey! It's not funny!" Andrew said as he crossed his arms over his chest and frowned. "How do you think I feel with everyone hooking up with each other and there's nobody left for me?"
"Sorry, Andy, nobody here wants to hook up with ya cos you're...well, you," Faith said apologetically as she put her arm around his shoulders. "But I'm sure one of the younger girls would give ya a chance."
The girls that had followed them in there all shrieked and said no at the same time, which in turn made Andrew's face grow red in embarrassment. There had been a lot of similar moments like this in those three weeks that Buffy and Dawn had been off in Italy and Faith couldn't have felt more at home, more of a part of a family, than she did in moments like that. It was a great feeling, one she knew she'd never have to worry about losing ever again. This was her family, her friends. She loved them all and she had no doubt in her mind that they all felt the same way about her. She did wonder if it'd be this way if she and Buffy had never ended up together, but that was something she'd never know.
She left them all there in the training room, ducking out at the first opportunity as Giles got the younger girls to pair up for a round of training before everyone would call it a night. She found Jackie where Giles had told her she would. Jackie was sitting in her usual chair, talking quietly to Bryce while they both sipped on their tea. Faith grabbed one of the graham crackers off the tray on the coffee table as she sat down in the chair next to Jackie. She didn't have to say anything to Bryce, all she had to do was shoot him a look that told him she wanted to talk to Jackie alone and he got up and left.
"Hello, Faith," Jackie smiled warmly. "I hear rumblings that you have some good news to share?"
"I do," she said as she smiled back at her. "I asked Buffy to marry me."
"Did you really?" Jackie asked, pleasantly surprised to hear the news. "Did she say yes? Wait, of course she said yes. Didn't she?"
"She did," Faith beamed.
"Congratulations, Faith. I am very happy you two have found something so deep, so real, and so lasting between you two. I could tell during that time we spent together that you two had something that would end up this way, but I didn't want to scare you off by trying to talk to you about it. I figured if you really are anything like me that you'd need to figure things out on your own and in your own time. I am so very proud of you, Faith."
Faith didn't realize she was crying until Jackie reached over and gently wiped away the tears for her. Everything felt like it was happening so fast and she knew it was, but it also felt very right to be experiencing all that she was. Coming to Cleveland with everyone had been the best decision she'd ever made in her life. Making that decision got her a family, it got her Buffy, and it got her a mother she'd thought was dead and gone as well. The only thing she wished never had happened was everything with Angel. He didn't deserve to go out the way he had, by her hand—and with little more than a whimper rather than the grand bang which would have befitted a champion. She was crying tears of happiness, but also tears of sadness to know that Angel would never be around again and that he would never know just how she truly loved Buffy with all her heart and soul.
She wondered if he'd tell her this was part of her redemption, to win the love of the woman she thought she hated before. She wondered what Robin would have thought if he were still alive. She knew they would have had something together before she and Buffy ended up together, one way or another, and she knew she would have never loved him quite the same way she'd fallen in love with Buffy. She barely even knew him, but she had a feeling he'd be nothing but happy for her and Buffy to have found what they now had together.
She found it utterly crazy to have changed so much in such a short time. Buffy had brought out a side of her she never knew existed and she wouldn't have it any other way. She didn't mind being such a sap, she didn't mind being so emotional, and she really didn't mind being able to feel and understand everything that everyone else was going through either. She had grown into being a better person in the three and a half months since they defeated the First and left behind the hole in the ground that was Sunnydale. She'd grown into being the person she always wanted to be, the person she wondered if she even could be, the person she had never in her life believed she would be.
She had her whole life ahead of her—a life with Buffy, a life with her family. She wasn't sure how long that life would be or what evil thing would be the next to get itself dead by trying to threaten it, but she sure couldn't wait to find out.
Faith stood outside on the balcony alone, watching the sunrise. After a day and almost an entire night of rain, it was almost as if she was watching the dawn of a new world coming awake. For the second night in a row she hadn't slept and despite being so exhausted, she'd never felt more alive.
"Morning," Buffy whispered as she stepped out onto the balcony. Faith turned around, smiling as she wrapped her arms around Buffy and held her close. "You do know you need to sleep sometime, right?"
"Workin' on it, B."
Buffy smiled as she leaned in for a kiss, a kiss that was so passionate, so full of love, that it made Faith weak in the knees and her heart race wildly as if she'd just ran around the world and back. She felt the tears of happiness stinging her eyes and she kept them closed as she pulled back from the kiss and leant her forehead against Buffy's while taking a deep breath.
"Come to bed, baby," Buffy whispered against her lips as she slipped her hands under Faith's shirt.
"Can we just stay out here for another minute?"
"You make me so happy, Buffy," Faith said softly as she opened her eyes and let the few tears fall, no longer able to hold them back. "You've changed me so much. Sometimes I can't believe who I am now."
"You've always been this way, Faith. You just never believed in yourself enough that you could be who you are now. It wasn't just me who helped you see that. It was everyone. It was yourself."
"Robin said something to me on the bus shortly before he died," she said softly, closing her eyes again as she sucked in a deep breath. "He told me that not everyone was gonna screw me over in the end and that I had to have a little bit of faith in others if I wanted to know what it's like to fall in love. He told me that we all make mistakes and that we all push each other away, but that's what makes us human. All too human. He made me realize there's more to me than just being a Slayer, than just being someone who made so many mistakes in life that I couldn't find the right path that I needed to be on."
"He was right. Who knew the guy had so much wisdom in him?" Buffy said with a soft laugh. "I'm so happy you finally figured it out, Faith."
"Figured out what?"
"That you are worth it. That you are worthy of being in love and worthy of being the best person you could ever be. We all make mistakes; I know I've made my share of them. It's learning from them, growing and moving on, that makes you a better person. It doesn't matter what's in your past anymore, Faith. The only thing that matters is what'll be in the future."
"You are my future, Buffy. I wouldn't...no, I couldn't have come this far so damn fast if it wasn't for you."
"It's a good thing I grew some balls and kissed you that night then, isn't it?"
"Hell yeah," Faith grinned as she planted a soft kiss on Buffy's lips. "Also a good thing they're just metaphorical balls, cos hello...kinda disturbing."
Buffy laughed as she playfully swatted her across the shoulder. "I love you, Faith. I love everything about you. I even love how you lost yourself years ago, how you turned against us only to finally find your way back to the right side. The side you've always been on, just..."
"Lost faith that I wasn't good enough to be on that side?"
"Never again, B. Never again. I know what side I belong on now and whose side I need to stand next to. Yours."
"And if you ever try to back away," Buffy said with a tone that meant she was serious. "I will kick your ass back into reality so hard you won't be able to sit right for a week."
"Gettin' all domestically violent on me already, B? We ain't even married yet!"
"Shut up, you know exactly what I mean."
Faith laughed again as she just stared deeply into Buffy eyes. Eyes that she could forever get lost in and yet always see the other half of her soul looking right back at her. Everything was falling into place now in her life and in everyone else's.
This was a beginning, just like the fight against the First had been an end and a beginning all wrapped into one. This was the beginning of the rest of her life, a life she'd be spending with Buffy at her side and with the others as a part of the family she always wished she had.
And she no longer had to wish for it. She had it and she was sure as hell going to make sure that everything stayed this way, come hell or high water. She might be a Slayer, super Slayer at that, but she was still human. All too human.