Author's Note: Huh, I only realized now that this last chapter will be quite short. Bad chapter management on my part… To make up for it, I'll start the new fic on Thursday ;) Now, enjoy! :)
The moment the killer had let out his last breath, his body started to change, deep wrinkles at first beginning to line his face and his muscles sagging, as if time now was catching up, doing to him what he had avoided for so long; then, his skin turned thin and papery, crumbling seconds later, his bones remaining on the wooden floor for another minute until they did the same, nothing than a pile of musty-smelling dust left of him.
"Well, that makes getting rid of the body quite easy", Buffy commented, still holding on tightly to her dagger, some of the dust clinging to the blade; with a look of disgust, she wiped it off, then came to her feet again and turned to look at her friends, raising an eyebrow when she saw the way Pat was still staring at her girlfriend.
"Why are you looking at Willow like that?" she demanded, frowning, making the witch realize that Buffy hadn't seen her brief usage of physical violence; for a moment, she wasn't even sure if the demon had heard her, then the taller woman shook her head slightly as if snapping herself out of some kind of trance, her voice full of surprise when she spoke up, still staring at her partner. "Did I imagine that or did you really kick that guy right in the junk?"
"I did", Willow gave back, not sure why this stunned the demon so much, "why are you so shocked by this?"
"Because I've never seen you do something like that before", Pat pointed out, "that was the last thing I was expecting you to do when he was getting in your face like that."
"I guess he didn't expect it, either", Willow giggled, "and the moment we're back home, I'm gonna wipe that shoe a thousand times. I can't believe he ended up naked after I did that spell to make him solid."
"Next time, also think up a spell to put some clothes on the ghost", Buffy smirked, making her friend giggle again while she nodded; then, a soft groan coming from behind them reminded them of the fact that Jackie was still there, the young girl slowly coming around again, groaning once more before she opened her eyes, only to let out a little squeal when she found herself surrounded by Buffy, Willow and Pat, all three of them looking down on her curiously.
"Are you okay?" Willow finally was the one to ask what they all had been thinking; after a moment she used to make sure all her limbs still were where they belonged, Jackie nodded, then slowly sat up, giving Buffy a thankful look when the blonde helped her with doing so.
"That guy was inside me", she then said, sounding so shocked that it was almost comical, "did you…?"
"We got him out", Willow reassured her, "and killed him. See that pile of dust over there? That was him."
"Willow kicked him in the junk", Pat found it necessary to add, still fascinated by this; smirking, the redhead nodded her agreement, raising an eyebrow at the surprised look Jackie was giving her, the younger girl obviously not having expected such acts from her as well.
"I'll never do that again if it's such a sensation", she thus shook her head, making Buffy giggle heartily; after a moment, Pat smirked as well, and even Jackie had a slight smile on her face, her gaze still grateful as she looked at the three women who had come to her aid, not wanting to imagine what more horrendous things might have happened if they hadn't gotten rid of the spirit within her and of the danger the man had been for all of them.
"Home, sweet home", Pat commented as she entered the apartment almost two hours after the final fight in the Magic Box; after they had defeated the killer there, they had made their way back to the Summers house with Buffy and Jackie, the girl still quite shaken up about the fact that the man's spirit had possessed her body and thus not wanting to go back to the dorm at campus immediately.
"Let's see how long we get to stay here this time", Willow now gave back, putting down her travel bag and stretching, grimacing at the dull pain that welled up in her back at the movement – even though it had been more than two hours since that lightning spell had hit her, she still felt it, and she asked herself how much longer it would take until the pain would be gone fully.
"Don't jinx it", the demon smirked, "or I'll blame you when Buffy calls within the next few days and tells us we'll have to move in with her again because of some creepy new threat."
"Sorry", Willow gave back, smiling as well, "but, hey, you've been living long enough here too by now to know that we hardly ever get long times of peace…"
"Yeah", the taller woman admitted after a moment, "not that I mind much though, it guarantees that I get to beat up creepy crawlies and what not. And you know I get cranky if I can't beat anything up for too long…"
"And we don't want that", Willow smirked, making the black haired woman nod; the two grinned at each other, then made their way into the living room where they made themselves comfortable on the couch, the witch snuggling up to her partner, smiling when immediately, she was pulled closer and into a gentle embrace.
For the moment, she ignored the knowledge that sooner or later, the peace they had brought back to Sunnydale would end again as she allowed herself to relax, happy and content about the fact that once more, they had won against yet another opponent; it had been harder than they had first thought when it had been revealed that this time, they'd be after a serial killer, but as always so far, they still had won in the end, once again making the town a little bit safer for all who lived there and saving God knew how many lives, that alone being worth all the pain and fear they had gone through before this had been over.