Disclaimer: All credit goes to Joss Whedon.

A/N: This is simply a retelling in my own words of the vortex scene at the end of season 5. One-shot. Read, enjoy, review!

Buffy's Sacrifice

Total chaos. The walls between countless dimensions continued to shimmer and quake with every passing second. Total chaos was what the world was becoming.

Buffy stood on the tall, massive tower structure with her sister, Dawn. Nearby, the fierce, angry vortex was raging in the air, the breach between the worlds that would be the death of them all. It dawned on Buffy then as she realized what she had to do. Looking at the glowing vortex before her, a sense of finality and resolution settled over her. Dawn's eyes widened as she realized what her sister was planning to do.

"Buffy, no." Dawn pleaded her.

"Dawnie, I have to." Buffy replied softly.

Buffy's mind was set. This was the only solution. This is what I have to do, she thought. As the Slayer, her life was ultimately doomed from the start to be short. Her time as the bane of vampires and demons and the like was up.

Buffy felt a strange feeling of completeness wash over her. I do this, the world will be safe once more. Giles, Xander, Willow, Dawn, the others…. Leaving the thought unfinished, she thought of each of them in turn, as she resolved to make her sacrifice, her "gift" to the world. That is what the primitive first Slayer had meant, when she told Buffy that death was her gift. An image of the first Slayer popped briefly into her head at the thought. I have to die to stop Glory, to stop the world from going to hell. Because of this, everyone will be saved. Her eyes slightly glassed over a bit.

"But you'll die!" Dawn shrieked, in fear of losing her big sister.

"Dawnie, listen to me," Buffy told her sister in a calm and determined voice. "I have to do this. It's the only way."

Buffy felt regret for having to put her sister through this, but there was nothing to be done. Her fate was sealed.

"Why does it always have to be you?" Dawn choked out, tears starting to fall down her face.

"Because I'm the Slayer." Buffy said simply, in a hollow-sounding tone.

The Powers That Be had already dealt Buffy her cards, and she had no choice but to play the part she was dealt. The wind whipped fiercefully around them, the light from the stars and moon shone on Buffy encasing her in a mystical glow, making her appear angelic-looking.

"Dawnie," Buffy said again, in a soft voice, looking at her sister, her eyes filled with compassion and love.

Just then, a loud roar sounded as a dragon flew by, its large, majestic wings pelting the air above them as it circled the sky before flying off into the distance. The sky was lit up from the swirling energies beyond the tower; blinding, bright otherworldly lights colored the night, making it seem like day. The atmosphere was that of an eerie stillness, reminiscent of the calm before the storm. It would have seemed quite peaceful, if not for the circumstances surrounding it.

Buffy gently grabbed hold of her sister's arms, looking at Dawn straight in the eyes. "All my time as the Slayer, battling the various evils, has all led up to this moment. Slayers were never meant to live long lives. I would love to see you grow up, living your life to the fullest. But I'm afraid I won't be around to see it." Buffy said, her voice slightly wavering. "The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. So, I'm asking you this. Live. For me. Live for me, Dawnie."

And with that, Dawn convulsed in a fit of sobs, her body shaking with deep emotions, as her sister uttered her final goodbyes. Thunder rumbled and the night took on a haunted, dreary quality; the two sisters standing silhouetted in the light from the gleaming vortex of energy which threatened to swallow all sense of order from the world.

Giving her sister a huge bear hug, they stood there for a short time, the vortex of light coalescing and shifting with furious and deadly wrath. Time to end this, Buffy thought with grim certainty. She turned around, and taking a deep breath, jaw firmly set, the Slayer sprinted off in a determined run toward the rift between realities.

Time seemed to slow down in that moment, the air still and quiet as she ran toward the swirling lights, her hair whipping out from behind her. Then she leapt off the tower, straight into the jaws of death. The energies coursed through her, slowly and painfully draining the life from her. For what seemed like ages, she writhed in torment, until finally the portal closed up, sealing the boundaries between the worlds. The threat was over. The world was safe now.

Everyone slowly gathered to fathom what had just happened, as to why the portal suddenly closed up. Up on the tower, Dawn was lost in her grief, the tears flowing freely down her face. Her sister had died for her and Dawn felt the guilt and sorrow consume her in its suffocating grasp.

Buffy was gone.