Buffy was in a field surrounded by flowers when Dean got there. She looked so sad; Dean could almost not bear to look at her.
Still looking off in the distance her question whispered in the air around them, “My mother’s dead isn’t she?”
“Yes,” Dean answered simply knowing the grief she was feeling.
“I have to go back don’t I?” Was Buffy’s heartbreaking second question.
“Yes.” Dean once again answered.
“I don’t want too.” Buffy’s voice sounded so small and childlike.
“I know.” Dean said remembering the pain of missing his mother.
“We’re going to end this aren’t we?” Buffy asked as she finally turned to face Dean.
“Yes, yes we are.” Dean answered with conviction.
“Help me.” Buffy implored reaching out to Dean.
“Always.” Dean whispered into her hair as he pulled her close.
Dean slowly gave Buffy control over her mind back and then guided them both back to consciousness.
The scene greeting Buffy as she awoke made her want to close her eyes and block out the world once more. They were back at the mansion, and Dawn was still sobbing into Sam’s chest. Feeling Dean’s arms tighten around her in comfort was the only reason Buffy didn’t break right then. Taking a deep breath she rose and crossed to Dawn’s side. “Dawnie,” She stuttered unsure of what to say.
Dawn raised her head her eyes blood shot but upon seeing her sister up again Dawn threw herself at Buffy and held on for all she was worth.
“Oh Dawnie, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.” Buffy kept repeating the weight of her mother’s death resting on her shoulders.
“Not your fault, it’s not, and we’re going to make them pay.” Dawn sobbed into Buffy’s shoulder unwilling to allow Buffy to bear this burden.
Pulling back slowly, Buffy asked Dean, “What time is it?”
“3:30.” Dean answered checking his watch.
Wiping the tears from her eyes, but keeping one arm around her sister Buffy drew all her inner strength together and said, “That doesn’t leave us much time what progress have we made?”
“Buffy,” Giles spoke gently.
“No, Giles, just no. There will be time to grieve for mom later, right now we have a chance to end this once and for all, and I’m not going to miss our shot. If it makes you feel better I promise to break down after.” Buffy shot her watcher a watery smile.
“I’ll bring the ice cream.” Giles smiled back.
Letting out a short sob, Buffy said, “Okay so what’s the what?”
“Anya came up with a great idea, to use the Buffybot as a distraction. Willow’s working on getting it up and running. Angel’s protected against fire, and I have no idea what Dean’s up to, but I’m assuming it’s a good idea.” John finished realizing that in the chaos of Joyce’s death he hadn’t found out what Dean’s idea had been.
“Oh yeah, it’s a fire truck. The nice guys at the 496th precinct were kind enough to lend us one.” Dean said almost forgetting his own idea as well. “They’re delivering it around five tonight.” At everyone’s confused expressions he clarified. “It’s got it’s own tank that we can fill with holy water…” He trailed off as the group made the connection.
Grinning widely, John said, “Nice idea Dean, very nice.”
“Brilliant.” Angel said grinning before turning to Willow and Tara and asking, “Think you can modify the spell to protect against Holy Water?”
“We’ll get right on it.” Tara replied.
“If someone hadn’t thrown away a certain ring he wouldn’t need to worry about it.” Cordy chided in her own way.
Shooting a glare at his seer Angel simply decided not to answer the very correct observation.
At Giles’s indication everyone slowly left the room to resume their tasks, each person offering Buffy and Dawn a touch or a look offering support and condolences.
Eventually that left only Sam, Dawn, Dean and Buffy alone together, to focus on gathering their strength for the upcoming battle.
Without speaking the foursome sat in a circle with the scythe in the middle. And delved deep with in their minds. It now only took a few seconds before they were once again in the familiar white room. Still without speaking they went deeper and deeper into their combined core. Approaching the pinnacle of their power contained within the scythe, the four still did not speak.
They circled the whirlwind of power and then Dawn and Buffy closed their eyes and let all of their grief flow out of their bodies and into the torrent of power they shared. The grief came out in stream of navy blue that caused the air to weep and the power to darken. It flowed through them all as they shouldered the pain and tempered it into steel.
Aaquerafet and Glory thought they would defeat their foes through pain, but pain shared is pain split and it would not destroy the slayer or her sister. But it would make them stronger, more focused and determined to win the upcoming battle.
As the pain from Buffy and Dawn was pulled into their power the girls opened their eyes, and with out speaking the boys knew it was their turn. Closing their eyes they let out the pain that they had carried around for so long. Their mother, Jess, their childhood, it all flowed out of them and once again got tempered into a steel that would slice through their enemies leaving nothing in the wake.
In the real world the scythe began to glow and rise to eye level of the foursome that is if their eyes had been open to witness the behavior. As it was the scythe was alone with it’s changes pulling them in and becoming stronger with each burst of emotion.
Elsewhere in the mansion the others were suddenly overcome with a calming sense of peace that soothed the loss of Joyce in their souls. The pain became softer, and more manageable their focus heightened, and their sprits revived.
Watching without being seen the Being that had no name smiled as the healing process began. This would not defeat them he knew, and if he could offer comfort well then that was what he was there for.
The next morning life in the mansion was chaos. Sam had gotten the bright idea to leave the mansion booby trapped just in case the enemy decided to attack earlier. Sam and Dean had given John a hard time about getting the location of the tower from Missouri, and promised to never let him live it down. Wesley had paid a visit to City hall and gotten the land map of the area to better formulate a plan of attack.
The holy water hand grenades, as well as the Holy Fire, as Dean had started referring to the fire truck, were loaded and ready to go. A nervous energy hung in the air as all plans were checked and rechecked as they prepared to head into battle.
Needless to say it was a nerve-racking day.
Walking into the kitchen Gunn found Fred nervously pacing as she muttered to herself out loud as she calculated the odds of the battle plans that the group had devised. Grabbing her by the shoulders and stopping her mid pace Gunn spoke softly, “Hey girl, you need to calm down. No second guessing yourself it will only lead to mistakes.” He cupped her beautiful face gently.
“I know I just can’t help it Charles.” Fred admitted ruefully. “I mean what if there’s a better idea, and we just haven’t thought of it. I’m not used to the world being on the line, it’s a lot different then saving individual people.”
“Tell me about it, and from what I’ve heard this is like the 7th apocalypse they’ve gone up against. I never thought I’d see the day when I thought L.A. was slow.” Gunn admitted as he pulled Fred close and began to rub her back.
Grasping him tightly Fred murmured, “I love you Charles Gunn, no matter what happens.”
“I love you too Winifred, with my whole heart.” Gunn said back as the too contemplated the near future.
Xander and Anya were at the Magic Box, packing up any last minute supplies they could think of while Xander kept grinning like a loon.
Finally Anya could stand it no longer and blurted out, “What’s the matter with you, we’re facing imminent death and you look cheerful.” The ex-vengeance demon looked confused, and if there was one thing she hated it was being confused.
“Sorry, sweetheart, I’m just proud of you that’s all. I mean between the troll hammer, and the Buffybot you really came through for everyone.” Xander said looking at his girlfriend fondly.
“Oh, well that’s all right then. Praise is always appreciated, would you like to have sex?” Anya asked back in her own different way.
“Actually there’s something else I would like to do An.” Xander said suddenly as he took Anya’s hands and dropped down to one knee. “Anya, will you marry me?”
The slap that followed nearly took his head off, and shocked Xander too his core, “Is that a no?” He said as he tried to get feeling back into his face.
“You think we’re going to die!!” Anya shouted furiously.
“What? Honey I don’t know what you’re talking about, I want to get married.” Xander said looking very confused.
“The only reason you would ask me that is if you think we’re not going to make it through the upcoming battle.” Anya sobbed.
“Honey, that’s not it at all. I just really really want to marry you.” Xander said smiling gently and pulling Anya into his arms.
“Really?” Anya’s voice was filled with disbelief.
“Really.” Xander grinned.
“Oh Xander yes! Yes I’ll marry you.” Anya shouted as she kissed Xander so hard the two fell over into a heap on the floor.
John and Rupert were once again hanging out in the kitchen sipping some very nice, very old single malt scotch.
“I normally don’t imbue this early.” Giles mentioned wryly, “But in the face of an apocalypse I believe all bet’s are off.”
“That’s my philosophy.” John grinned widely.
“Ah there it is, I knew they got it from you.” Giles said as he grinned back at his new friend.
Shooting Rupert a What the Hell look John asked, “Rupert what the hell.”
A trait of thinking and then saying that strongly reminded Giles of Cordelia. “Your smile it’s the same as both the boys. In fact in sometimes seems to be their only common trait. I made the assumption that it came from you, but you don’t smile very much old man.”
Acknowledging Rupert’s words with a nod John said, “No I guess I don’t.”
“You did an amazing job on them you know?” Giles spoke after a few minutes of comfortable silence.
“Thank you, I wish I could take the credit, but they raised themselves most of the time.” John remembered wistfully.
“I doubt that.” Giles disagreed. “There’s too much of you in them both for that to be the case no matter how you feel.”
“So you say.” John accepted before the two men fell back into silence sipping their scotch and contemplating the evening’s event.
Angel and Cordelia sat in the courtyard so Angel could enjoy the effects of Willow and Tara’s spell.
“How does it feel?” Cordy asked as the blissful look on Angel’s face.
Closing his eyes Angel replied, “It’s indescribable. You can’t comprehend what it’s like to live without sunlight, until it’s no longer an option.”
“You’re not going to keep this spell either are you?” Cordy asked studying the vampire intently.
“No, no I’m not.” Angel admitted.
“God you’re an idiot.” Cordy huffed exasperatedly and sat back and tilted her head towards the sun.
“Yeah okay.” Angel replied back copying her position.
An hour before sunset everyone gathered in front of the mansion before heading off to get into his or her respective positions. It was a somber group, as they all knew the odds weren’t good that everyone would make it through this battle. Shaking hands and exchanging hugs they separated into the assigned groups.
Cordelia, Fred, Xander, Anya & Wesley were on fire brigade. They were taking the fire trucks packed with holy water with orders to spray anything that moved at the left flank. With the addition of Olaf’s troll hammer they were a force with which to be reckoned.
Gunn, Giles, John, & Angel were covering the right flank with the holy water hand grenades and a couple of flamethrowers.
Willow and Tara were going to be positioned in the center well behind the deadly foursome to provide magical support. A wide variety of spells had been practiced to perfection to decimate whatever Glory and Aaquerafet could throw their way.
Buffy, Dean, Sam & Dawn were of course the core, and the only weapon they had was the scythe. Their faces were grim, and their thoughts focused. Tonight one way or another this war was coming to an end.
Sam and Dawn had established a mental link between everyone that would hold throughout the up coming fight, and everyone whispered silent good byes as they drove away from the mansion for possibly the last time.
Buffy could see the lights of multiple fires coming from the other side of the field. It offered an eir illumination of the tower from Sam’s vision. The whole scene made Buffy’s skin crawl with the effects of being this close to that much evil. Hearing both flanks check in and getting the okay from Willow and Tara, the foursome began to make their way closer under the cover of the now dark sky.
With a single incantation Willow called up cloud cover that hid the light from the bright full moon, and only the gleam of the scythe could be seen in the dark.
Buffy gave Dean, Sam and Dawn access to her eyesight which was equivalent to that of a vampires, so they made their way easily through the dark.
“This is it.” Buffy thought as Dean sent the okay to Willow and Tara, and a blast of magic came through them. The spell was initiated with the two witches in the back, but it was funneled through the power of the foursome picking up speed and intensity till it washed over the camp with decimating fury.
As the camp jumped in outrage both flanks began to attack. Between the barrage of magic from the center, holy water from the left and fire from the right there were very few minions for the foursome to cut through to get to their goal.
Glory’s shrieks of outrage could be heard for miles, and it lit up her location like a neon light in darkness. Aaquerafet was shouting as well, but his voice boomed out instructions to the minions as his powers blocked as many spells and water and fire as he could. There were too many for him to block completely and when he saw the foursome approaching he quickly refocused on them sending all his power barreling their way.
Splitting off into two pairs the brothers faced Aaquerafet, while the sisters zeroed in on Glory with a manic determination.
As they separated the scythe hung suspended in the air between them spinning and destroying any minions that came to close. It was a blur of wood, silver and power, and it was a site to behold.
At the sight of the scythe Aaquerafet paled and contemplated retreat till he realized there was no place for him to run. Grinning widely he shouted to the brothers, “Let’s go to hell together then.” Before sending a huge blast of power in their direction.
It hit the shield Sam had in place with a gong that reverberated though the air, knocking both boys back a step. Recovering quickly both guys continued to advance upon their adversary with long awaited glee.
Glory could care less about the scythe she wanted her damn key. Screaming in outrage she marched towards the slayer determined to rip her to pieces. Glory was shocked with the ball of green energy came flying towards her knocking her off her feet and making her skid at for at least ten feet.
Now looking confused and uncertain the ditzy hell goddess arose wondering how that could be possible. She was a goddess, no mere slayer could defeat her, she would bleed her key until she go what she wanted, I mean after all she always got what she wanted.
Picking up the nearest boulder size rock she threw it with all her strength at the approaching sister duo, watching with no small amount of incredulity as it was destroyed mid flight by another ball of energy. Glory was just beginning to realize that this fight might not go her way after all.
Aaquerafet was reaching the same conclusion as he was once again slammed down into the ground. “It was highly humiliating,” he thought, “getting beaten this badly.”
Sam’s rage was pouring out of him like molten lava from a volcano, and like the lava it was destroying everything in its path. The bother’s moved in tandem hitting Aaquerafet from both sides. Sam could feel Aaquerafet’s power weakening. There was no way the demon could stand against the continued assault for much longer. With that thought firmly in mind Sam and Dean pressed forward again battering their combined power against the weakening shields of their enemy.
Flying through the air for what had to be the fifth time Glory was beyond upset. She was making no head way on destroying the slayer, but was rather getting beaten quite badly. As the assault continued she could feel her strength waning and her weaker half preparing to take over. Knowing should that happen she would be destroyed Glory’s fury propelled her on her feet for one last attack against her adversary. It was futile as both the Slayer and the Key were ready and Buffy’s blow combined with another blast form Dawn, and Glory felt her hold on this world loosening until it slipped quickly through her grasp and she was no more.
Dawn and Buffy approached the now still form of Glory that was now wearing the face of Ben who was quickly fading as well.
Coughing up blood as he looked into the eyes of the two girls standing over him, he whispered a quiet, “Thank you.” Before his eyes dulled and his mortal heart stopped beating.
Aaquerafet witnessed his ally’s fall, and knew his own would not be far behind. Still trying to take one of the brother’s with him as he went, he mounted his last attack. Moving swiftly he put all his power in an attack against Dean knowing it was futile to continue his assault on Sam. The force did knock Dean backwards and there was a frightening crunch when Dean hit the ground.
Sam seeing his brother fall let out a roar of fury and pushed all the power he could channel into the demon before him. Sam watched in amazement as the power burned through Aaquerafet until it finally desinigrated him before Sam’s eyes.
Sam knew Dean wasn’t dead from the connection they shared, but he could tell his brother was hurt. Racing to his side, Sam let out a sigh of relief when he heard Dean cussing up a blue streak as he cradled one arm in his hand.
“Son of a bitch, this close to getting through this with out energy. I swear Sammy you better have made that bastard suffer, and wipe that grin off your face before I kick your ass.”
“Sorry jerk, you’re just going to have to suck it up.” Sam continued grinning in relief.
Buffy and Dawn raced to Dean’s side and Buffy promptly dropped to her knees and threw her arms around Dean’s neck. Fussing over him Buffy began pampering Dean with everything she was worth.
Suddenly looking much better with the whole injury thing Dean grinned widely at his brother and shot him a wink.
Sam was holding Dawn tightly as she sobbed the last few days away into his chest. Around them the minions were being decimated by the rest of the gang as well as the scythe, which was now glowing as bright as the sun. Calling in to him Sam had to shield his eyes when he finally held it in his hands. Without knowing why, but following his instincts Sam carried the scythe over to Dean and placed the blade on Dean’s injured arm.
Buffy’s shout of protest died on her lips as Dean’s eyes cleared of any pain and he began moving his arms his eyes now alight with wonder.
Sam and Dawn were grinning like loons as after healing Dean the light from the scythe began to dim until once again it looked like it had when they uncovered it.
“Well okay.” Dean said with wonder. “That was damn handy.”
“It’s unbelievable.” Buffy chorused.
Looking around them at the carnage as the last minion fell Dawn sent the all-clear signal to the rest of the gang. The yells of glee and cheer echoed in from both sides and had Dean throwing back his head and howling with laughter.
As everyone began converging on the victorious foursome it was a relief to hear the plan went off without a hitch, and aside from a few bumps and bruises there were no major injuries.
With light hearts, and a supreme gratefulness everyone headed back to the mansion knowing that what had occurred tonight was a victory for the side of good that might never again be replicated. Though evil still existed never before had the side of light won a battle with so few casualties. It was a moment to be proud of, and a moment to relish. In the threat of the apocalypse friendships had been created, old wounds healed, and new love blossomed. Their lives had been changed forever and for the first time no one was sorry for the changes. The sun would rise again in the morning and the world was safe for another day from the forces of evil.
As he marched off the field John Winchester couldn’t stop smiling. He remembered an old Chinese proverb he’d once read that said, “May you live in interesting times.”
Looking around him at his boys and their partners, seeing Rupert in the distance laughing with Xander, and Gunn John couldn’t help but think, “Abso-fucking-lutely.”
OMG!!!!! Ahhhhhhh! It’s over I don’t know what to do. I can’t believe it. I’m immeasurably relieved and sad at the same time. I never thought I could do this, so to have completed this long of a story is a major accomplishment to me. I would like to warn everyone that this chapter hasn’t been betaed so sorry for any glaring errors. I hate waiting, so I go ahead and post, and then once I get the chapter back from my beta I repost. I have two great betas and both are very busy, so I try not to push. I want to thank everyone for his or her support. Hasbia, Tirgress, Super JA, BuffyWinchester, Batmanvinnie, xBlackRose, Kiwi, xpk, krazybabe, simplycharmed, jediclare, imortalwizard, jka1 and of course to the great and inspiring Larabiehn whose email inspired me through this last chapter when I thought I’d run out of juice. I know I haven’t thanked everyone who’s reviewed, and if I missed you I’m very sorry. You’ve kept me going when I thought I couldn’t write one more sentence. And of course to my two beta’s WinchesterLuv, and Moondaughter. Thanks guys you’ve rocked my world. I would also like to thank The Cat’s Whisker, and dragonfan for their amazing writing, whenever I read one of your stories it inspires me to continuously push myself to become better and better.
As far as this story goes if I do a sequel it could be a while. I have a book I’m working on with my sister, that I really want to focus on, but couldn’t before I got this story finished.
Thanks again. And remember keep reading, writing, and reviewing.