Ringworld is property of Larry Niven. All characters from the Buffyverse are Property of Joss Whedon. Everything else belongs to me.
“You’re a good man Spike. You can’t do it, but I can. I remember something I told Xander, when I knew it was time to kill Anya. I told him that the Slayer is alone, that I am the law. I always have to make the tough decisions.” Buffy pressed the button. A surface area equal to three hundred million times the surface area of the earth lit up as trillions upon trillions of people were translated into energy and absorbed into the Ringworld superconductive mesh. But that was not enough.
People are more than just flesh and blood. They are also soul and sprit. The energies of Dawn wrapped around the Ringworld much faster than the speed of light. She opened herself up to them. The magic that bonded Buffy’s soul to Dawn became voracious in its appetite. It leapt across the Ringworld gathering up trillions of souls and sending them back to her. Dawn began to glow. Gold light flowered outward from under her skin. Her eyes rolled back in her head. She was caught up in the ecstasy of consumption.
An angry ball of light that was Ouroboros struck at Spike to no effect. The Gem of Amara protected him. Spike pressed a button and lit up the sun. Electric currents flowed into the Ringworld grid erasing the god of this creation.
Spike tweaked the energies of the sun. Equipment rattled in the room. Ouroboros was still trying to kill him. Spike had to be careful, very careful. The energies of the sun had be to tuned to only effect Ouroboros and leave the stored data patterns of trillions of people unmolested.
When Spike was sure that the trillions of souls were safely aboard Dawn, he cranked up the sun and watched the Ringworld burn. Spike burned a hundred million worlds to the ground.
Later, much later, after they had rebuilt the ecosystem and made sure life would flourish there they reconstituted the digitized bodies of the Ringworld inhabitants. As they did that, they slowly released the captured souls out of Dawn and through magic reintegrated them into the newly formed bodies.
“Death and resurrection.” Spike was heard to say to himself. He was witness to and participant in a one of the most profound acts of creation in the galaxy. He felt like a god himself.
He would often join Buffy at the entrance to the room that held the two Dawns. He still couldn’t get over the view. In a cavern, miles across, two golden suns floated in the middle. Their light illuminated the cubic miles of space. Out of them came a steady stream of golden filaments which were souls returning to their rightful bodies. It took years for them all to be discharged.
When it was done the Dawns lay pale, sweaty and glassy eyed. They were near death.
“You take one. I’ll take the other.” Buffy told Spike.
After the first suicide attempt, Buffy and Spike took turns watching them. One of the Dawns had not said a thing. She had simply taken a scalpel from the medical center and ran it across her wrist. Buffy got to her in time.
“It’s something like postpartum depression.” Buffy held her sisters cheek as she slept. "The Dawns were mother to trillions of souls. She was connected to them. She could feel all of them. Now she’s empty. She has to remember how to be just one person.”
They watched the Ringworld return to normal. It took years. From the command center Spike could see huge whorls of white clouds. Buffy sat shotgun at the station next to his. The years had brightened her disposition some. She actually smiled now.
Buffy monitored the data flow in the superconductive grid. After Ouroboros, there was just background noise in the superconductive network. That had begun to change. Ouroboros was a natural phenomenon. In time, another intelligence would be created, grow and take his place. Buffy pointed out the hot spots on the data screen to Spike. Silently, they agreed to proceed to the next step. They needed someone to sit on the Ringworld throne and rule it with love. Spike pressed a series of buttons opening up the Buffy Protector wormhole.
Willow was happy with her little girl. She had just fed the Buffy baby and put her to sleep. She would have a long talk with her landlord in the morning. Willow smiled to herself as she watched the Buffy Baby sleep.
A portal opened on the other side of the crib. The space there melted and dissolved into the image of Buffy Summers. She wore a one piece black jumpsuit made out of Ringworld superconductive mesh. Her eyes looked kinder than the last time Willow saw her.
“Did it work?” Willow asked.
“Yes.” Buffy answered. “Ouroboros is gone. But we’re still cleaning up the mess. “Buffy looked at Willow for a long moment. I think I can live here.” She said. “I think I can be happy here.”
“I’m glad.” Willow said.
“We need one last thing to finish it.” Buffy stepped out of the portal and picked herself up out of the crib. Buffy smiled at the baby which was herself.
“This should take just a moment.” She said to Willow as she disappeared back into the portal.
Buffy crossed the space from the portal to the disintegrator. The Buffy baby was awake. She squeezed one of Buffy’s fingers hard.
“You’re strong.” Buffy said. “I’ll bet mini me is still a slayer.”
Buffy placed the child in the metal dish. She looked at Spike and gave the hardest command of her life.
“Do it.” She said.
Spike pressed a button. The child was vaporized is a flash of light. Buffy returned to her workstation. What she was looking for didn’t show up for weeks. When she saw that something, that some type of data singularity, had formed in the superconductive network she found that she could breathe again. She cried out of sheer joy. It took them years to raise the child. The mind of the Buffy baby had grown to fruition inside the superconductive mesh. Two days ago it made the waterfall condensate that ran off the edges of the Map-Of Mars flow uphill just for fun. It was testing its powers. The mind of the Buffy baby was a child no more. But it was still young and full of curiosity. With eyes formed of quanta it viewed the sky full of stars and wondered what it would become.
A Queen now sat on the Ringworld Throne.
At a point smaller than the head of a pin, in a density of data processing so complete that answers were formed before time had revealed the question, the mind of Buffy Summers looked out upon the Universe which was her garden. She made changes where she needed to; she planted life where it was needed. And in her garden, she removed weeds. The first thing she did was remove the copy of the Hellmouth from the Ringworld. She was still a Slayer. She kept careful watch over her parents checking in with them from time to time.
“What do you call yourself?” Buffy asked the mind at the center of the Ringworld.
“Dunno.” It said. “I think I’ll call myself Anne.”
“That’s a nice name.” Buffy said. “I used it myself once.”
“Mom, Dad, you have to get ready.” Anne said.
“Why?” Spike asked.
“Ouroboros was right.” Anne said. “A war is coming; the other Ringworlds know what happened here. I’ll do everything I can to protect you.”
Buffy found the courage to ask the question that had been nagging at her for years. “Anne, do you have a soul?”
“Don’t be silly mother, I’m Human. Of course I have a soul.” While she was talking, Anne forced the Ringworld sun to weave for her, as a set of neutrino pulses, a long string of her favorite prime numbers.
The mind of Buffy Summers looked across the totality of space and time and noticed a gap in reality. It accessed files it had locked away since the first day of its creation and returned the contents of those files to their rightful owner.
Willow had watched Buffy take the baby and the portal close behind her only moments ago. Now the hair on the back of her neck stood on end. Something powerful reached into the room. Something tore at the fabric of space before her. A soft white light filled the room as subatomic particles were whipped into an organic matrix. Memories once stored as electronic impulses found their rightful place. The light died. Buffy Summers whole and well stood before Willow.
Buffy stood there a moment collecting her thoughts. The last thing she remembered was being attacked by Vamp Willow and hurled across the living room. She looked down at herself then back up at Willow.
“Why am I naked?”
Two figures stood on the balcony overlooking the Ringworld miles below. Over the years a type of affection and respect had grown between them. She had even given Spike a small taste of her blood. The cosmic connection he had once sensed with the Buffy Protector was still there but muted. They watched over hundreds of millions of square miles of landscape. Buffy held Spike for the longest before she asked him.
“Do you think Spike; do you think that you could come to love me?" She said with the voice of all of the hope in her heart
Spike gently cradled her head in his shoulder. “Of course, always.” He said.