Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

A/N: Because Buffy and Spike have a thing. And the Initiative butts in where it's neither needed nor wanted. And also: sometimes inspiration strikes.

Buffy stared at him for what seemed like forever.

"What?" she finally croaked. For some reason, her wide green eyes looked… horrified. Like she couldn't believe what she was hearing.

"Buffy," Riley said slowly. "The Initiative has decided to terminate Spike."

Again, the gasping sound, and her eyes… and then it was all gone, and Slayer Buffy stood before him.

"Why?" she asked, voice like steel. He eyed her warily.

"They've decided they have no further use for him.

Now she was glaring at him. "No further use for him? What use have they had for him these past few months while he's been running around Sunnydale?"

"They were keeping tabs," he stuttered. Her eyes flared.

"Keeping tabs? What, like he's dangerous now? You've gotta keep tabs on him?"

"Not me, Buffy!" Geez, why was she so worked up about this?

"Buffy," he said, gentling his voice. "You know it has to be done. He really shouldn't have lived this long. I know you have a… history with Spike, and I know killing him when he can't fight back feels… wrong to you, but it really has to be done."

She drew in a sharp breath and fixed him with those suddenly cold green eyes. "I want to do it."

That threw him. "Come again?"

Now she was impatient. "Come on, Riley. I work with the Initiative now, remember? I want to be the one to do it."

"Buffy…" this couldn't be a good idea.

"Please, Riley." And now her eyes were clear, fixed on him, and asking, just asking, that he give her this one thing. He found himself nodding.

"I'll see what I can do."

It was a horribly, unnaturally subdued group of Scoobies that Riley led down into the Initiative (and hadn't that sparked another outburst, when Buffy found out that they'd re-captured Hostile 17 and were holding him in the cells again) two days later. He'd argued against bringing the others, but Willow had put on her resolve-face and Riley had known better than to argue. It wasn't actually so much the fact that they were all coming along that was strange. It was that they were quiet.

Riley knew the Scoobies. They were never quiet.

Xander was always cracking jokes. Anya was saying inappropriate things at inappropriate times. Willow was smiling and happy and giving him warning "I'm the best friend, don't you dare mess with me" faces all the time. Giles was rustling pages and cleaning his glasses and clearing his throat, and Buffy was just… Buffy. Quippy, snarky, cheery Buffy.

And now they were all silent as a funeral, and it was just wrong. It was almost like they were… mourning.

But that was stupid right? They couldn't… they weren't really mourning Spike were they?

The elevator dinged and Riley cleared his throat and stated unnecessarily, "We're here."

Buffy moved past him without a word. The others followed. Riley took a deep breath and trailed behind.

"Miss Summers." Dr. Walsh's voice was cool and collected. "Thank you for joining us."

Buffy's barely polite nod nearly froze the men standing behind the doctor, but the woman herself didn't flinch. "Anything you need will be right here, Buffy. Just tell us how you want to do it."

Buffy's eyes flashed to hers and for the first time, Walsh's gaze faltered a bit.

"Alone," Buffy ground out. "I want to do it alone."

Walsh seemed about to balk, and Riley briefly wondered how she was even able to stand in the face of so much raw, poorly contained fury. But then she nodded, and the moment of fear that Buffy was going to rip her head off passed.

"As you wish, Miss Summers. May we provide you with any weapons?"

In response, Buffy reached into her pocket and pulled out a stake. Riley winced, though he wasn't sure why. Willow's intake of breath beside him said there was a story there, but he didn't ask. Now was not the time.

"Well, then," Dr. Walsh's voice was far too cheerful. "Shall we?" She gestured to the doorway leading down into the testing area, which had been cleared of everything and now resembled nothing so much as the Coliseum.

Buffy gave them all a cold look that said "stay here" so clearly she might as well have shouted it. Then, she turned and walked down the stairs to enter a little holding room off to the side of the arena. The Scoobies followed without asking, and after a look from Professor Walsh, Riley trailed them.

Buffy was shaking her head at something Willow had asked, straightening a little when Giles murmured something to her. She faced Riley then, but didn't say anything.

"Okay," she whispered. "Okay."

To his shock, she began to take off her jacket. The stake appeared in her hand and just as quickly disappeared around her waist, tucked into the waistband of her jeans. She stood before them in jeans and a tank top, reaching up to pull her hair loose from its ponytail. She shook it out around her head, flipped it a few times, and ran her hand through it. She licked her lips and squared her shoulders.

She looked dead sexy, and for the life of him, Riley couldn't figure out why.

"Buffy, what are you doing?" he couldn't help but ask.

She pinned him once more with that half-horrified, half-furious look as she said, "I'm making it good for him."

And then she was gone.

Initiative doctors and her friends crowded around the top of the arena, staring down at the macabre scene about to be performed before them. Buffy stalked into the arena, all but prowling around the edges, a spring in her step and a sway to her hips that spoke of lifetimes hunting, preying, fighting. She was in her element, if not her natural habitat, the top of the food chain, and the only real predator left in the room.

Spike watched her from his position –manacled to a pole– in the center of the room and couldn't help the smirk that sprang to his lips. She was magnificent.

She tossed her head, exposing her neck to him for just a second and he knew. The prowling, the hair, the extra skin. It was all for him. This act, was all for him.

He felt the pride well up in him sharply and nearly laughed with the thrill of it. They could make her take him down, but by Joss, she'd do it her own way. The Slayer knew about honor. And she was doing her best to see to it that he got what he deserved.

"'Ello, luv," he called out softly. She was circling him, ignoring everything but him. He had her complete, undivided attention. "Come to give a man his last dance?"

She looked at him them, the barest hint of sorrow in her eyes. "Not much of a dance, Spike."

"'Ey, now," he said sharply. "None of that now." His voice dropped, for her ears only. "C'mon, Slayer, don't let 'em see it hurt."

Her head came up at that and his grin returned. That's it. Got her good an' riled up now.

"Who says it hurts?" she challenged. He cocked his head to the side. "C'mon now, luv, gimme some credit. Been watchin' you for years now, I know when something's botherin' you. It's this whole execution style business. You don' like takin' me out this way."

She pressed her lips together and looked away. Hoping the watching scientists and soldiers couldn't hear what he was saying, he called softly.

"Look, Slayer. If it… if it's any consolation… I'm glad it's you."

She looked up at that, the barest hint of –was that professional pride?– something shining in her eyes.

"I know," she whispered. Reaching behind her, she pulled out her stake, began to turn it in her hands. He watched her move around him calmly.

"It's yours, you know," she said. He raised an eyebrow and she gestured with the stake. "After… after the first time we met, I made this and carved your name into it." She turned it, and sure enough, he could see on the side of it, in surprisingly neat lettering, SPIKE. "I always… I never used it, never even took it with me when I patrolled or went to stop whatever crazy scheme you were cooking up at the time. I guess… I knew it wasn't time yet."

He tilted his head and fixed her with a cocky little grin. "Destiny and all that, pet?"

"Yeah," she said simply.

And then she was close, so close, and the top of her head brushed against his chin when she tilted it back to look up at him. The bright green of her eyes was almost overwhelming this close and he swallowed hard. She smirked at him, just the tiniest bit, but then bit her lip and lowered her gaze to his chest. He could see her mind spinning, mentally calculating the angle and trajectory and velocity and thousand other things that went into a proper staking, all things that she usually did effortlessly, without stopping to think about. She was stalling.

"Slayer," he said softly. "Jus' do it, pet."

Eyes that shone with anger and tears and genuine regret lifted to his and then she was kissing him, her lips gently touching his and her tears wetting his face. He kissed her back, chafing against the manacles that kept him from holding her where she was, pressed close up against him. He felt her hand leave his jaw and slip behind her, felt her drag it up between them, felt the tip of her stake as she pushed it against his chest.

He knew Soldier Boy and probably the Whelp were scowling in outrage, knew that the Initiative scientists were watching the scene in interest and mostly likely taking notes. He knew that Angel would be coming as soon as he felt Spike dust, and he knew that the Slayer was going to have one heck of a bad week.

But he was evil, so he didn't care.

She pulled away, finally, dragging her mouth from his and glancing up into his blue eyes almost shyly. He smiled a little at her, one corner of his mouth turning up. She managed a half-hearted glare.

"I hate you," she said in a totally unconvincing manner. He smiled for real this time, teeth flashing briefly.

"I know you do, luv."

She leaned in and kissed him again, and as she did, she pushed the stake into his chest. When she opened her eyes, her hand was wrapped around the stake, which was hovering in midair where his chest used to be. Before her was a pile of dust.

"Bye, Spike," she said quietly, and then turned and walked to the door.

A/N: I've never written anything like this before. No ghost!Spike here, no shanshu, no maybe-he'll-come-back-with-a-soul-next-season. He's gone. And she's mourning. 'Cause she would.