Disclaimer: I do not own BTVS, LOTR, or ATS.
The intense burning pain in her chest was just enough to rouse Faith into a state of semi-consciousness. Her lungs were on fire and she couldn’t breathe. Feeling trapped a sharp twinge of panic consumed her. She struggled to break through the thick black fog that pressed in making any movement strained and slow. Sheer will power forced her to open her eyes, which were suddenly assaulted by a sharp burning pain similar to the one in her chest. Ignoring the pain she looked at her surroundings, seeing only deep thick blackness all around her, almost missing the far off hazy gray light above her that was immediately blocked out by a dark slow moving shape. Squinting she was able to make out the form of a person. Opening her mouth to shout, she wound up gagging on a mouthful of salt water.
Common sense broke through her panicked confusion, hitting her with the cold realization she was drowning. Dredging up what little strength she could out of her unresponsive muscles, she kicked upwards to the shape above her, grabbing at their clothing and dragging them up with her. Breaking through the water’s surface, her lungs quickly pushed out the water clogging them. Coughing fitfully she managed to turn the body over and was faced with wide glassy blue eyes.
“Oh no… Amber.”
Knowing that she had little time for mourning and had to concern herself with her own safety she kicked away from the dead body of one of the younger slayers, and immediately scanned the area for any signs of survivors.
The distant voice triggered a sudden flash of memory that hit her with such force she thought she had been struck. Fire everywhere, bodies of friends lifeless in front of her, someone’s calling to her through the cries of pain. Hate so thick she could taste it-
The same familiar voice snapped her out of the trance.
“B-Buffy!” She tried to shout, but managed only a weak croak.
Turning to the sound of the voice she made out the silhouettes of the others clinging to a very large drifting piece of wood. Swimming against the large swells Faith burned up the last of her strength getting to them. Once her hand gripped the wood she felt a wave of relief wash over her.
Thoroughly exhausted she laid her head against the hard wood. “Amber… dead.” She managed to push out between breaths.
There was silence for a moment. “I know we lost a lot.”
Buffy’s voice was cold and detached, and when Faith heard it her heart sank. The situation must worse then she thought for Buffy to close off all emotion. Having a good suspicion of what it was the dark haired slayer tentatively began to push for more information, even though part of her dreaded hearing it.
“Xander, Vi, Sara, Jennifer, Taylor and Scott, Connor…”
After the first three names Faith knew exactly what was wrong, and her heart sank even further. Willow and Dawn, if they were here they would have been at the top of the list ahead of Xander. Faith tuned out the rest of the names Buffy was listing, lost in her own thoughts about her adopted little sister and the red headed witch until the blond slayer began to sob.
“We can’t find Willow or Dawn. Giles is so badly wounded we can’t stop the bleeding, and I don’t know how we got here, and everything-“
Faith’s sadness momentarily forgotten as a terrible realization hit her. “How bad?” She tried to control the rapidly growing fear in her voice, as her full attention was diverted now to a completely different subject other than the group’s missing members.
The second oldest slayer had always had one fear and it had nothing to do with the Hellmouths or the deadly demons that she faced. Her fear was of a natural killer more than a supernatural one, and her preoccupation trying to survive and the loss of Dawn, Willow, and the others, had kept her distracted from letting the reality of her current location seep into her brain.
Faith had always hated large, deep bodies of water, where things could come up and attack you unseen and unheard. Deep water was the one place in all the world that the slayer felt powerless.
“W-what?” Buffy sniffed.
“How badly wounded is Giles and the rest?” Faith demanded more than asked as she lifted herself up on the wood part way to get a better look at the ex-watcher.
Confused Buffy stooped crying for a moment and watched Faith curiously. “Giles is losing a lot of blood, the other’s wounds are minor.” She answered.
Buffy was confused to what point Faith was trying make and she watched the slayer she now called a sister glare fearfully at the water. Touching the normally fearless girl’s shoulder she tried to gain back her attention. “Why?”
Faith stopped looking at the water and sighed heavily.
“B, we’re in the middle of a god damn ocean and we’re losing blood on top of being surrounded by dead bodies that’s got to attract sharks.”
A flicker of some unnamed emotion flashed through Buffy’s lifeless eyes, before she spoke again with the cold and detached voice from earlier. “Dawn and Will are gone, I don’t care anymore what happens,” she paused for a moment, “but we are still responsible for the others. What should we do?”
Faith didn’t flinch when Buffy didn’t express any regard to her safety, she had long gotten used to Buffy thinking of the two of them as being one. The two original slayers had become an inseparable team after the battle with the First three years ago, being officially adopted into the family Faith had taken the Summers last name. Together along with the other Scoobies they had been undefeatable, that is until now. And that defeat had been too much, the wounds too fresh, and Faith wondered if she or even they had the strength to handle more.
Knowing that she would follow along with any decision the blond slayer made, just as Buffy followed her when ever a time had called for it, Faith grabbed the hand of her sister and squeezed.
Willow was not happy.
Who ever it was, be they Slayer, Vampire, one eyed best friend, or Key, if they kept touching her while she was sleeping, she was going to teleport their happy asses to the middle of Hong Kong during rush hour.
Feeling the hands messing with the sleeve of her shirt, she pulled her arm away harshly. “Stop!” She hissed, still too tired and weak to open her eyes.
The hands pulled away and she began to drift off again. Tired. Why was she so tired? She could barely remember. Oh well, thinking bad, sleep good.
A moment later the tugging began again, followed by a loud ripping sound.
Sitting up fully, she held out a hand, and immediately encased the annoying person who had ripped her shirt in a giant bubble. The person screamed something unintelligible. Willow blinked hard against the harsh sunlight that was streaming through the windows into the room, and tried to focus her fuzzy eye sight on the occupant of the bubble that was now hovering near the ceiling.
Seeing straight was proving to be a lot more difficult than it should. Everything was blurry, making the witch unsure of who or what she was attacking. Who ever it was they did not feel familiar.
The bang of a door being swung open turned her attention to a group of people, none of them familiar, running into her room seemingly frantic about something. Surprised by the intrusion the red head blasted them back, some against the wall but most of them back through the door, and with a twist of her wrist slammed the door after them, locking it.
Trying to take stock of her current situation she quickly glanced around her room. ‘Hey, this isn’t my room!’
Her attention went back to the strange group of people still remaining. One tried to approach her murmuring strangely and hold his hands out as if to show her he was unarmed. Willow back up a little though, still uncertain and extremely confused to what was going on.
Using the last of her powers she pushed him back again, but this time not as hard as she had the first time.
This last effort caused her head to spin, and now to exhausted and dazed to care what happened to her next, Willow collapsed back down on the bed.
Feeling something warm crawl down her now bare arm the witch looked down. Blood, she was bleeding. How?
Then as if someone was squeezing her heart, panic and painful realizations of what she last remembered gripped her. The last battle at the ancient temple in the heart of the Congo. The last battle to save Earth’s future. She had watched friends fall, Robin, Angel, Cordy, Wesley, all of them lost along with countless many others. She remembered looking at their dead, glassy eyes, and then the hopeless eyes of the others who were rapidly falling. She wasn’t going to let this happen, she was not going to hand over something that they had all bled for, that they believed in and let the evil corrupt, molest, and destroy. She wouldn’t let the millions suffer any hell no matter how short their existence may be. She would destroy it first. She had felt something powerful snap within her, and accomplished what she had set out to do over five years ago. She had ended it. All of Earth’s suffering as well as all of it’s joy. Permanently.
“Oh Goddess, what have I done!?”
Horrified and completely drained of even the will to live she collapsed back on the bed, withdrawing into herself, she didn’t notice her spell being released and the woman falling to the ground, the many hands that were now on her treating wounds, or trying to draw her from her now catatonic state.