Dust and Bones

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The Hellmouth – it's collapsing, we need to –

Buffy. I'm not going to leave until this is finished.

But – you could take the amulet off – we can still –

Not going to happen.

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A small group of survivors gathered on the edge of the crater that used to be Sunnydale, cuts and bruises forgotten in the face of what they'd escaped. Willow and Xander each took one of Dawn's hands as she whispered, "They really didn't make it out, did they?"

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I love you.

Love you too, Buffy. I always have. But you need to leave. They're waiting for you.

I…

Yo, B, you need to haul ass if you're going to make it out of here!

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"No, sweetie," Willow answered. "They didn't."

"It's not fair," the teenager cried out. "They – I mean. Slayer! And vampire! If anybody should have… I'm here. Xander made it. Even Anya and Andrew got out of there in one piece, and-"

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Most of the Potentials have been sent to Angel's team in LA, Buffy. Only the ones who are prepared to fight have remained behind.

Okay. Then tomorrow we do this.

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Xander squeezed her hand. "It was their choice, Dawnie. They did it to save the rest of us. It was what they wanted."

She wouldn't be consoled. "How do you know that? What if – what if they're trapped, waiting for us-"

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I don't think Willow's spell is going to hold much longer; we're going to have to fall back, find a new –

The amulet, Buffy. Look!

It's wiping out the Turok Han…

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"Dawn. It's terrible. The price we pay as Slayers. But Faith… she made the call," Buffy said, wrapping her arms around her little sister from behind. "She stayed so I wouldn't have to this time. Somebody had to protect him while the amulet did its work, and they wouldn't let it be me. They knew I would be needed here. With you. And no, Dawnie," she said as Dawn opened her mouth to protest, "they're… they're not trapped. They're gone. Nobody could have survived."

"How can you be so calm?" Dawn demanded. "It's like you don't even care!"

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Yo, B, you need to haul ass if you're going to make it out of here!

Faith, there are still more Bringers coming – somebody needs to protect him until the amulet finishes –

Then get your skinny white ass up to your sister so I can get to work already. Arguing with me isn't gonna –

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"You know that's not true, Nibblet," said a gruff voice from beneath a smoldering blanket. "Big Sis will be mourning the hardest of any of us."

Dawn glared at the blanket. "We all know you didn't like him. And okay, I didn't like him. It's just…"

"Too much death," Spike answered. "I get it, sweetness. Maybe me and Angel didn't see eye to eye, but the old man came through in the end. When it counted. And we're all gonna honor him for that. Him and Faith both."

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Stay here, guard Dawn.

Want to be by your side, love.

I can't Spike. I need you protecting her. You know, until the end of the world?

Oh sure, pick Angel over me.

Spike…

Yeah yeah. Little Bit's determined to fight, Big Bad will be by her side. In the sodding hallway.

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"They saved us all," Buffy added.

The survivors stood in silence a moment longer, until Giles said, "We ought to leave. We have wounded to tend to, Potentials to return to their families now that their lives are no longer in danger."

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Dawn needs you, Buffy. Spike needs you. You've had your turn to save the world. Now it's ours.

Angel…

Go.

B! Get the hell outta here!

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With a final glance back at the crater, Buffy said softly, "And somewhere there's a new Slayer to be trained."

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She woke in his arms, snuggled into him.

"Well, pet? Where we off to?"

Where to indeed? They'd settled Dawn in at college over the weekend. Giles was in Cleveland with Vi, the sanctioned Slayer. She and her vampire could go anywhere, do anything. The world was their oyster.

"Dunno. I'm open to anything. What do you think?"

Spike … blushed? "I ever show you where I grew up? In Kent?"

He'd never before shared anything about his human life. Except that one time in London, when he'd dismissively pointed out the house he'd lived in with his mum.

Buffy snuggled deeper into his arms. "I'd love to see it."

"Well that's grand. Seeing as I rented the place for a few months. Thought we might have a vacation there."

"Does this vacation include killing things?" He nodded. "So when's the plane leave?"

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THE END

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A/N: Fooled you, huh? That last prompt - Dust and Bones - could really only be one thing in my mind. A vampire and a Slayer had to die. But I just couldn't do it to Spike and Buffy, not this time. Hope you enjoyed their ride! Thanks for reading!