Last chapter everyone! I plan to post the sequel very soon and I will put an A/N up on this one so those who have alerts will be aware of when it has been posted. Maybe if I get a whole bunch of reviews I'll post the sequel up say much sooner. Not that I'm bribing you or anything.
So I'm going to give you guys some things to get excited about for the sequel because it's even more of my baby then Favors so I want to let you guys to read it so very badly. First off, the third Slayer comes to Sunnydale. Faith gets to be a hero a lot more and embrace her Slayer legacy. Dawn becomes really bad ass. Some very fun things will happen to Willow (evil laugh) and we will see a much more evil First who has almost has a personal vendetta against Buffy. Alot of familiar faces-Wood, Caleb, Kennedy. But for now you'll have to settle for this chapter.
Chapter 14B: You'll Choke On Me
Once night had fallen, Buffy had insisted on patrolling alone. There was only so much she could take and Angel was coming to bring Faith the documents needed so she could begin a new life in Sunnydale. Willow, Giles, and Oz had left in a somewhat bittersweet goodbye. It was hard to watch Xander bid farewell to Willow. Anya who usually had a sarcastic remark to provide was quiet and mostly held Xander's hand the whole time. Not that Buffy ever disliked Anya but watching her stand by Xander like that solidified that Xander had managed to find a good match for him.
She froze when she felt someone following her and growled in frustration. "This whole lurking thing isn't as cute as it used to be," she called out.
Angel stepped out behind the bushes, looking slightly embarrassed. "I didn't come here to fight with you."
"That would be a very wise decision."
"Look, I didn't know that the potion-"
Buffy held up a hand to stop him. She gave him an understanding half smile. "I know. Had some serious side effects though, that's for sure. You been by the house?"
"Yes. You weren't there."
"I was all with the being...elsewhere. It's just been a long day and dealing with my ex-boyfriend seemed like cruel punishment."
"Am I that awful?"
"I'm with Spike now."
He looked a bit hurt but seemed to accept this. "I know. Faith told me. I can't say that I'm thrilled but I don't really have a good reason why you shouldn't be with him."
Buffy seemed surprised. "You're taking this better than I thought you would. You did beat up my last boyfriend."
He scrunched his face in a show of disapproval. "Well I didn't like Riley."
"And you like Spike?" she asked incredulously.
"Spike and I have spent many many years together. Too many. If I hated him I would have staked him a long time ago."
Buffy smirked. "So... You like him."
"I like you happy," he clarified. "Besides you have all the time to change your mind."
"Yeah I guess the three of us are stuck with each other now. Forever destined to have awkward encounters," Buffy teased.
"Immortality is difficult," he said seriously. "You grow cold. The people you love and grow attached to eventually die. Sometimes they resent you even."
"I'll be fine," Buffy whispered.
"Not the first time," he said sadly. "But you'll get used to it. One day you'll understand how difficult it was to care about you, Buffy. To love someone when it's evitable that you'll lose them."
"Is that why you left?"
The dull ache she felt when she remembered him telling her he was going to Los Angeles resurfaced. "Partly."
"And the rest?"
"Do you wish I hadn't?"
His eyes met hers for an intense second before Buffy looked away. "I don't know. Maybe it was for the best in the long run. I just wish it hadn't hurt so much," she answered honestly.
Angel shuffled his feet awkwardly. "I should get going. I'm here if you need anything."
Buffy decided that was enough conversation for the night and watched him leave. She started to head back home herself as Angel's words haunted her. What would she do when everyone looked older then her? Would she have to Dawn's little sister for appearances? She pushed those thoughts away for now but a sadness came over her when she realized that one day she would have to deal with them. She began to run and allowed herself to use her full speed. She opened up all of her senses so her own doubts were drowned out by everything else. The chaos was calming in a way. She found herself at her front porch and tuned everything down.
She was starting to notice little things that disturbed her. She was less human then before. While she did still breathe with her lungs, she was never out of breath. Like now, when she should be. The lack of a need of sleep was confusing too. After Willow had left she had tried to close her eyes, she had eventually forced herself to take small nap. But it more for the peace and quiet and she still remained semi-alert as if to see or feel anyone coming into the room.
Buffy entered the house to find Spike and Faith in the kitchen. Spike was warming up some blood in a mug while Faith was going through her new documents. She saw Buffy and shoved her license in her face.
"Did you see this?" she practically growled.
Buffy laughed. "Was this Angel's idea of a joke?"
Spike snorted. "Angel was never much for the slapstick humor."
Buffy thumbed through Faith's new birth certificate, high school diploma, and social security card. "It's really not that bad, Faith. You are a wanted fugitive. Besides Faith is still your middle name so we can keep calling you that."
"You realize if you ever call me by my first name I'll kill you right?" Faith threatened. "By the way Xander is on his way over with some news. Hell if I know what that means."
Spike sipped his blood and placed it on the counter. "Seemed pretty torn up about Red leaving."
Buffy frowned. "I know."
Faith grabbed her papers and headed upstairs. "This stays between us! Faith is the only option, got it?"
Buffy rolled her eyes. Spike started to follow Faith. "Where are you going?"
They both looked guilty for moment. "I'm doing you both a huge favor."
Buffy looked to Spike to tell her what was going on and he just smirked at her. "She volunteered to dye my hair, love."
Faith winked at Buffy from behind him. Xander was calling out Buffy's name from the front so she gave them a dismissive wave and headed towards him. She wasn't sure how this conversation would go. They clearly had two different feelings about Willow. Buffy missed Xander. They hadn't been able to really talk since she got back. Spike said Xander wasn't around as much because he was working or helping Anya at the Magic Box.
"Hey," she greeted him. He gave her a half smile and Buffy knew-it was all over his face. He was disappointed in her and while she wanted to be mad at him, she couldn't bring herself to. "Let's talk."
Xander just nodded and sat in the loveseat in the living room. Buffy stood, crossing her arms, and biting her lip nervously. He hung his head and covered his face with his hands before releasing a frustrating sigh.
"I don't want it to be like this," he choked out.
Buffy blinked away tears. "I know."
"I knew Willow wasn't OK and I didn't want to see it. Really see it."
"Of course you didn't want to," Buffy emphasized.
"I'm postponing my wedding. She's my best man and I can't get married without...a best man. I miss her, Buffy. I just got you back and now...she's gone. Tara's dead."
Buffy didn't know what to say to make him feel better. She sat on the couch across the couch from him. "We've been lucky. We've survived. I know it might not seem like enough right now but I'm still here. I think you need to get away from all of this before your luck runs out."
"You're kidding right?"
"It's not that I don't think you're capable. You've saved my life more times then I can count. But you have a chance to have a slightly normal life. You have a fiancee and one day you'll want kids. Willow is out of your hands and deep down you know that. I'm not saying you should leave-"
"What are you saying?"
Buffy looked at the ceiling. She felt the tears coming and she knew if she said the words it would make everything she was feeling all too real. "I'm going to live forever and do you know what I want more then anything for you? What I would have liked to see for Willow?"
Xander reached out, taken aback by her emotional reaction. "Buffy-"
"I want for you to die when you're old with a bunch of grandchildren. And you'll tell like...old man stories about that time we killed that demon. And we blew up a high school...and..." her voice trailed off as she tried to compose herself.
"Old man farts? I heard those are something to look forward to."
Buffy wiped her tears with the back of her hand. "You deserve old man farts."
"So you want me to not fight?"
"I'm not sure exactly what I'm asking honestly."
Xander smiled. "You don't need protecting anymore."
Buffy laughed. "Oh, is that what you were doing?"
"Yes," he answered seriously. "Losing you felt like...there's no words for what that felt like."
"I don't want to know what that felt like," Buffy admitted. "There will be a time where I'm going to tell you to get the hell out of the way. And I don't want any arguments. I just need you to leave. Can you promise me?"
Her gaze was intense and Xander saw how serious she was. And how afraid she was. "Yes, I promise. Buffy, where is this coming from? Because of the First?"
"No," she replied. "I saw-"
Then she stopped and her lips pressed into a tight line. "Saw what?"
"Nothing. Forget it."
He didn't want to push it so he dropped it. "Heard Angel dropped by. How'd that go?"
She shrugged. "I think we've reached some kind of non-angsty agreement."
"Ahh, the best kind," he teased, his eyes twinkling with mirth.
A very terrified unmasculine yelp came from upstairs followed by, "You stupid bint! Are you trying to blind me?"
Xander raised an eyebrow at Buffy. "What's going on up there?"
"She's dying his hair back."
"And you've been keeping me down here?" and he was off to the bathroom upstairs.
"No!" Spike screamed. "Get Xander out of here. I don't need a bloody audience! I will cut out your eyes and feed them to you if you don't stop laughing!"
Not a single one of them slept soundly that night. Buffy was sitting cross legged on the bed while Spike was fidgeting with his hair. "I need a bloody mirror," he growled. "I'm just supposed to trust Faith that it looks fine. For all I know she dyed it pink and you're all getting a good laugh at me."
When Buffy didn't reply, he saw her eyes glazed over with a faraway look on her face. He knew they both had a ways to go before their personal demons were conquered but he hated to see her like this. He reached out to touch her shoulder and her eyes looked up at him standing over her. She moved her hair behind her ear and shifted so her legs were tucked under her. Embarrassed, she looked away from him.
"Don't have to do that. Don't have to pretend with me," he whispered.
"I saw something right before I woke up from my vision. Something I haven't told anyone about. I'm not sure if I should," she confessed.
Spike sat next to her, giving her all of his attention. "What did you see?"
She closed her eyes tightly, almost as if she was trying to rid herself of the image. Burn it from her memory in such a way that it wouldn't haunt her. Instead it replayed itself and she tried to describe to him how feral they were. How their talon-like nails slashed in the air in frustration from being entrapped. How their faces were what nightmares were made of. Their eyes were void of any emotion except hunger and their mouths were filled with the sharpest teeth.
"There were thousands of them. Waiting."
"Waiting for what?" he pressed.
"To get out."
She knew Spike wouldn't understand. He hadn't seen what she had seen. The First mocking her, taking her form, standing on a high ledge to observe these beasts. It was delighted, smiling in anticipation, but with a sense of pride as if it were looking its own children.
Spike used his index finger to lift her chin up so his eyes met hers fully. She shook him off and excused herself mumbling something about going to the basement to train. As she went downstairs in her full speed, she remembered what Sineya had whispered in her ear before the vision had ended.
In an explosion of frustration, she slammed her fist into the punching bag. She didn't bother to hold back and the bag went flying off of its hinges, leaving a dent in the wall. It made her feel slightly better and she released a breath she wasn't even holding. A quiet and slow hand clap behind her sent chills up her spine. Especially when she turned around to find herself looking at another Buffy.
"Get out of my house," Buffy ordered through clenched teeth. Her eyes flashed green and she was having a problem controlling her anger and bloodlust as the Sultana reacted strongly to the threat in front of them.
"That's rude," the First laughed. "I thought we could chat."
"I'm not interested."
"Do you have any idea what I have planned for you?" it sneered. "Now that I finally can. Thanks to that dumb witch of yours."
"I said to get out," Buffy mostly growled.
"I wanted it to be a surprise. I needed more time to really set things in motion but you ruined that for me. Now you know that I'm here and they gave you all this nifty powers. It's so cute."
"Have you come to taunt me to death?" Buffy asked. "Is this your master plan?"
"Too soon for me to tell you that.I like to play with my food first."
"You'll choke on me," Buffy promised.
The First narrowed its eyes and a horrible grin spread against its face using Buffy's mouth. "You've seen my army. And I've seen yours. You realize you can't win this. That's why you won't tell them what they are really up against. When I'm done with you, you'll pray for death."
The threat was cold and grave but Buffy remained defiant and didn't let on how shaken she was becoming by the omniscient presence before her. The First stepped closer to her but Buffy didn't back down and she met her mirroring gaze stonily. "Sineya tried to warn you," it whispered.
Buffy couldn't help but falter a bit. She remembered Sineya crouched above her, her dirty finger pointing downwards. "From beneath you, it devours."
The First clicked its tongue, amused. "No," it said slowly as mirth darkly danced behind its eyes. "Not it. Me."