DISCLAIMER: I don't own the characters nor anything else Joss created, just the rampant plot bunnies.

PREMISE: I caught the end of "Chosen" on Syfy last week. And decided to play. I'm not giving you a summary. You will just have to give it chance. Rated M for swearing and violence.


The question had been asked.

In the seconds that passed, there was no other sound except for the wind, and the creaking of the rubble that lay a few feet from them; the rattling of the engine on the ragged out school bus and if you concentrated really, really hard, you could hear the sounds of the Potentials in the bus, talking quietly and fixing up each other's wounds, quiet sobs mixed in every now and then.

Those seconds seemed like an eternity. The question was out there now, there was no taking it back. It was floating around on the slight breeze, searching for the answer. But there wasn't an answer.

Seven years, she had been The Slayer. Seven years, she had fought the forces of darkness with all her might. She'd loved, lost and loved again. She knew right now she should be feeling something. Wanting something.

For the first time in seven years, Buffy Anne Summers had her future laid out before her.

And she didn't have a damn clue what to do with herself.

The question hadn't been answered. Not properly anyway. Giles had started throwing orders around, and in a daze, they'd just followed the grown-up's lead. It could have been argued that they were grown-ups too but it had always been this way with them. Giles was the grown-up, by default, the only grown-up. Buffy and her friends could be sixty and he would still be the grown-up.

Spike had been one to, in his own way.

But then, her traitorous brain was telling her all sorts of things about Spike that she didn't want to think about right now.

Like the fact you let him die?

Shut up brain.

He could have believed you. But you were pretty much a grade A bitch. So he's dead. And it's your fault.

No. He knew what he was doing. It…

Was your fault.

'Buffy?' Willow's voice forcibly dragged her from her internal argument. She looked over at her red headed friend, whose dark rimmed eyes reminded her that she was not the only one recovering here. She was torn up inside, true, but she had to hold it together until she could at least get into a hot shower and blub until the water was cold. She managed a pained smile at her friend, who only frowned in return. 'Buffy, you're crying, are you okay?'

She wiped at the few tears hastily. 'Yeah. Yeah, fine. Well. No, not fine but we have to get these to safety. That's the important thing right now.'We'll talk later. Willow nodded, the underlying message received loud and clear. Buffy missed the scowl from Kennedy that signified the younger Slayer was not going to get the one on one celebration time with Willow that she had wanted. Even if she'd seen it, she probably wouldn't have cared.

Giles had decided they should find somewhere to rest and recharge for a few hours, before moving onto LA. Buffy had remembered a small motel out on the highway, way away from the destruction zone that was Sunnydale. The crater that held…

I told you to shut up, brain.

Faith's voice floated back to them; she could see the motel. No lights were on. Buffy wasn't surprised. Power plant had been in Sunnydale. So they probably weren't getting any hot water. She felt like crying at that one thing alone. Such a petty thing to cry about. But no one liked being covered in blood and gore. Especially their own blood and gore.

The bus rumbled to a stop, and the application of the brakes made several wounded girls groan in pain. Buffy followed her duty and helped them off the bus, looking to Giles for "grown-up" directions as he came over to them from the office. He smiled fondly at her, and she felt disappointment in her lack of reaction. She still felt a bit betrayed by him, if she was honest. She should probably be taking control of this situation, but she was just too bone weary to care right now. Let someone else give the orders for five minutes. She just wanted a shower.

Not all you want.

'It looks like the owners left in a hurry. There is a power from a back-up generator but it will need firing up. I found the key. If Willow could do a quick check to make sure there are no malevolent presences here and we'll take up residence for a few hours. I want the slayers that are not severely wounded to do a sweep and find the store room, kitchen, anywhere that may have food. There should be running water. I hope.'

Buffy nodded in compliance, and began helping the wounded into rooms. Her slayers senses were not telling her anything was amiss here, and once she had helped where she could and checked in with Willow, she turned to her own needs and located a room for herself, far enough away from the others to give her privacy, but close enough in case anything did go wrong.

There was running water in the room, and with the generator up and running (thank god for small miracles), Buffy took no time in locating the shower and stripping out of her bloody clothes. She salvaged the camisole (even with a hole from her penetrating wound, it was still wearable) and trousers, putting them to one side so she could try and wash them later. The jacket was ruined so she threw it to the side of the room. The running water provided background noise as she inspected herself in a mirror.

Her body was paler than it had been before. Her blonde hair hung limp and greasy around her shoulders and her eyes were rimmed in a similar way to how Willow's had appeared earlier. The wounds she had sustained were healing quickly, probably quicker than they should have, but she didn't have the energy or will to care right now. Her skin was stained with blood; probably not all hers. She'd not noticed before the fight, not noticed how her ribcage was visible.

It had never occurred to her how very, very hungry she was.

But the shower was more important now.

The water had been bliss whilst it lasted. After she'd dried off and covered herself in the robe she'd found in the closet, she'd crawled under the duvet on the limpy bed, finding it to be the most comfortable bed she'd slept in in years. Within minutes, the Slayer had been drifting in sleep. But being the Slayer, her sleep was never going to be peaceful.

"You left him." Her doppelganger was staring at her with a vehemence she'd never seen before. So much hatred coming from her own eyes was terrifying. She looked exactly how she had before the battle, all cream couture and bouncy golden hair. Looking down, she was once again encrusted in the blood she could have sworn she'd washed off not a few minutes before. "You left him to die, and all you care about is getting some sleep? He burned slowly, painfully. Could you even give a shit?"

Buffy blinked, shocked at the words coming from her mouth. The other her scoffed and folded her arms over her chest.

"Of course not. Selfish, stuck up Buffy. The one and only. The Slayer. Sacrificing everything for the greater good. Even if it means sacrificing the greater good."

"No. No. Spike knew what he was doing. He knew, I know-"

"He didn't know! None of them knew! You didn't know!" Other Buffy threw her hands up in the air and stalked towards her, poking a finger in the direction of her chest. "He's gone, and you think you've got the whole world waiting for you. It is, you know. Waiting for you to save it. This wasn't the end. This was the prequel. The bigger show is about to start. And you'd better not fuck it up or-" Other Buffy suddenly morphed into Spike, who cocked his head and smiled at her. "-or I really am toast, luv."

And then he burst into flames.

Buffy awoke with a start to a shaking room. Literally. Screams echoed from the other rooms in the motel, and the Slayer in her immediately made her jump from the bed. She discarded the fluffy robe, ignoring her instinct to crawl to the doorframe and shelter from the quake. The shaking continued as she pulled on her trousers and camisole, forgoing underwear. No need for chivalry in the apocalypse. Within seconds, she was stumbling out of the door and heading towards the screams. The shaking was easing off, and several of the lesser wounded slayers, including Kennedy and Faith, were on guard with weapons, looking for the attack. Buffy nodded at her counterparts before asking where Giles was. Faith pointed her towards the room Willow was in, and Buffy noted the concern on Kennedy's face for the first time.

She took off running toward the room containing her best friend. As she burst through the door, she found the Wiccan on the bed, her head in her hands and Giles and Xander stood in the doorway. Willow was mumbling to herself and Buffy inched closer, regaining her balance as the quaking of the ground stopped.

'It'll stop, it'll stop, it'll stop, it'll stop.' Willow was whispering over and over again. Buffy reached down and took her friends hands, ignoring the men as they left the sanctuary of the doorway, and Kennedy and Faith as they followed her inside.

'Sssshhhh.' Buffy said, smoothing down Willow's hair and kneeling before her. 'It has stopped, Wills, it has.'

'Buffy?' The witch asked, looking at her friend with big, green, fearful eyes. 'Buffy….we didn't stop it. We didn't.' Her voice was croaky and tinged with terror.

'We didn't stop what, Willow?' Giles intersected. Willow didn't break eye contact with Buffy as her bottom lip trembled and tears gathered in her eyes.

'The First. We didn't stop it. We gave it exactly what it wanted, playing right into its hands.'

'But, we killed all those Turok-Han. We destroyed the Hellmouth.' Faith said, her voice edged with desperation at the thought of going back in. The entire room held their collective breath as Willow looked towards the Slayers, shaking her head.

'No. We gave it what it wanted all along. Buffy…' She returned her gaze to her friend.

'It wanted Spike.'

A/N: Hehehe. Lemme know what you think. I know where this one is going and it's going to have everyone in it. The whole shebang. This is the end of the world and it won't go down pretty, people! (But there's gonna be plenty of Spuffy to keep you going)