Twists and Turns Two
by Alan Hitchen
Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon and others.
Information: Set in season 5.
Dedication: To Eliza Lover and Piper. Thanks.

+1=2=3+

PART 1

Buffy awoke from a restless, nightmare filled sleep. She looked about the unfamiliar room in confusion, wondering why she wasn't in her own apartment with Faith.

Faith.

The reality hit her like a sledgehammer. During a routine encounter with a bunch of vamps they had become separated. Faith went missing. Then she returned home. "A new woman," she said, before suddenly changing into game face. She then lunged at Buffy in a hunger-fuelled frenzy of teeth and claws. Buffy got away, but only just.

"I am escaped with the skin of my teeth," she said to herself, recalling Job from the Bible. Only then did she remember she was not alone.

Sitting in the corner was Willow, gripping a cross as if her life depended on it. She was sobbing and quietly whimpering.

"Tara. Oh, my Tara," she said plaintively.

Buffy rolled off the bed and went to her. Willow looked up at Buffy with a face so full of misery and hurt that her heart broke to see it. She didn't think she had a heart left to break after Faith had been turned, but the searing pain engendered by her best friend's distress told her she was wrong.

For what seemed like ages they just hugged each other in mutual comfort. Finally Buffy moved away and looked at her watch, it was mid-morning.

"The sun's up," she said. "We've got work to do."

Willow looked at her as if she were mad.

"Work? What can we do, Buffy? We're the only ones left. The rest are dead - or worse than dead. What can we do? What can we do? What can we do?!"

"Look!" Buffy shook Willow firmly to stem her rising hysteria. "We had a plan. You were going to raise a barrier to stop the vampires leaving Sunnydale."

"With Tara," she replied brokenly. "I was going to raise a barrier with Tara. But she's dead," she said, her voice rising to a scream. "They killed her! They killed her!"

Willow collapsed into her arms again. Buffy held her tight while at the same time secretly envying Tara. At least she was now in a better place. At least her body had been spared the indignity of hosting a ravening demon - unlike Faith. She gritted her teeth, blinked back the tears, and pushed away the painful memories. She had to concentrate on the task in hand. Nothing else mattered now.

After Willow had stopped crying and regained her sense of purpose, they set off for the Magic Box together. They walked down empty street after empty street. The silence was deafening, even the animals had fled.

The authorities had come up with yet another cock-eyed cover story that explained why Sunnydale was off-limits. But that only stopped people coming in, it wouldn't stop the vampires getting out. Buffy hoped that Willow could do that.

The Magic Box was a wreck, but somehow Willow managed to find what she needed. They cleared a space on the floor and set up the paraphernalia. Eventually all was prepared and Willow said the Latin incantation.

"Goddess. All powerful and all knowing. I call upon you aid me at this time of need. Grant me the power to seal off Sunnydale from the world outside. Goddess, I beseech you!"

There was a mighty peal of thunder, Willow shuddered as the power channelled through her, and it was done.

They took an abandoned car and drove out to the town limits. A featureless grey wall barred the way in all directions for as far as the eye could see.

"You did it!" Buffy said excitedly. "Willow, you did it!"

"Yeah," Willow replied flatly, voice devoid of all emotion. "I did it. The world is saved. What now?"

Buffy thought it over. "Are you sure you can't magically restore the vamps to normality?"

"I'm sure," came the dull reply.

"Well, if you can't do that, what about Faith? She's the leader, the driving force. Can't you give her her soul back?"

"Buffy, we've been through this already. She's a Slayer-vampire with huge powers. I can't touch her, let alone restore her soul."

"What then?" Buffy asked, already knowing the answer.

"There's only one option left. We've got to kill them all by the traditional method. But come sundown we'll be being hunted by them. You do realise, Buffy. That we're sealed in too. There's no escape now. It's just us and them."

She knew what Willow meant, that it was just a matter of time, that they were dead already, but she didn't let it show. She handed Willow a stake, smiled, and said:

"Let's get started."

PART 2

They took her last night. We were late getting back to our hiding place when without any warning they grabbed her. I'll never forget what I saw and heard next. The terror on her face, her screamed instructions to me.

"Buffy, for the Goddess' sake, kill me now!"

I had the crossbow. I could have done it, but I hesitated, and she who hesitates is lost. They crowded round her and I couldn't get a clear shot. Then I saw her. I saw Faith. She came closer - then she smiled at me - and I couldn't kill her either.

In my head I knew she was just a fiend in human clothing. Something that wanted to kill me, not kiss me, as I longed for her to do. But at that moment, just to hold her in my arms once again, for that, death would have been a price worth paying.

Then Willow screamed again, bringing me to my senses. There was nothing I could do, there was too many of them, so to my shame, I ran away to save myself.

Willow saved me. How I wish I could have saved her. I'll have to live with that guilt for the rest of my life - all six hours of it.

In six hours the sun will set. Willow will rise. She will lift the barrier and all hell will be let loose. I can't let that happen.

I have a plan.

I must kill Willow. I must kill the thing that's wearing her face. Then they will be trapped here and eventually die of starvation.

I can't find her in time, so she must find me. The newly risen Willow will be hungry, and I'm the only meal in town. So they'll come to me.

I'm not hiding anymore. I'm going to be the bait in my trap. I've got it all prepared. A large packing case filled with as much wood as I could find, surrounding a few sticks of dynamite and a remote detonator. I got the design off the internet. It's crude but effective. The bomb will vaporise me and anyone close to me. The rest will be shot full of splinters. If I'm lucky I can kill them all in just one stroke.

I'll die of course, but I'll die happy, I'll be with Faith again.

I hope Willow can forgive me, Faith too. You see, I've blamed her for all this, but I know it's not her fault. She made a mistake, got cornered and was turned. I made a mistake, Willow got captured and was turned. Which one of us is the more guilty? Which one of us ran away?

Well, even I can't run forever. I have to make my stand. I have to make it right. Otherwise all these people would have died for nothing. No one living will ever know what I did here. But I will, and that's good enough.

In six hours I will have my chance.

In six hours...

PART 3

From her position atop a large wooden crate in the centre of Main Street Buffy regarded the glorious sunset in wonderment. She knew it would be the last one she would ever see and it was simply magnificent.

However, as the sun sank from view, they began to emerge from the shadows to gather round her. Staring and pointing up at this strange figure of curiosity, the vampires chuckled amongst themselves as they tried to predict her likely fate. Then a hush decended over the crowd and a corridor opened up to admit the new ruler of Sunnydale - Faith - and the remnants of the Scooby gang it pleased her to turn.

How it had happened, Buffy wasn't exactly sure, but Faith had been turned, and one by one, those dear to Buffy had been turned or killed.

With a Slayer gone over to the dark-side, vampirism had exploded in all directions. Those who could fled in terror. Those who couldn't - died. Soon Sunnydale was a ghost town. Only Willow and Buffy remained to fight on as best they could. Together they had tried to stem the tide, but they were so few and the vampires were so many.

There were hundreds of them gathered around her now, but her focus was only on Faith and her companions. Behind her she could see the newly risen Willow looking hungry and confused. Then she caught sight of Joyce and her heart froze. She could barely bring herself to look at her own mother. Once the one she loved, now just a soulless killer like all the rest. And worst of all, she had now taken Buffy's place in Faith's bed. Even Angelus would not have done that to her.

"You still think you can stop me, B?" Faith asked her in a cruelly mocking tone.

Buffy concentrated her attention back onto the attractive brunette, trying hard to balance her love for Faith against her hatred for the thing that now inhabited her body.

"I have to try. I can't allow you to leave Sunnydale. It must end here," Buffy replied in an artificially calm voice, belying the lack of confidence in her own plan.

"You can't allow?" Faith snickered and the others obediently joined in the laughter. "Who do you think you are?" she asked.

"The Slayer," Buffy replied steadfastly.

"Ooh! Scary!" Faith said sarcastically. "Have you forgotten I'm a Slayer too? No, don't tell me, you were Chosen and I was just an accident."

"I never said that," said Buffy sincerely.

"No? I betcha thought it though. Well, this I gotta see. Whatcha going to do to stop me killing you and ruling the world?"

Buffy held out a small remote control unit for all to see. "All I have to do is press this. It's the trigger for a bomb inside this packing case. It'll send out a blizzard of wooden shards for at least a mile in all directions."

As the implication of her words began to sink in, the crowd began to panic and tried to get away, but the sheer weight of numbers prevented them moving.

Faith snarled, changed to game face, and leapt up at Buffy to kill her. But it was already too late. She pressed the button.

In that last tiny fraction of life left to her, as Faith's taloned hands clutched at her throat, Buffy thought of Faith, her Faith, and smiled.

Then the bomb exploded, and she, and everyone else, was no more.

Buffy awoke from a restless, nightmare filled sleep. She looked about the familiar room in relief, she was in her own apartment with Faith.

Faith.

Perhaps it was because she loved Faith so much, and therefore feared losing her more than anything else, that was the cause of this nightmare. It's just a silly dream, it doesn't mean anything, she thought, then snuggling closer to her beloved, she placed a gentle kiss on Faith's exposed shoulder blade.

In a few weeks they would be celebrating their two year anniversary. Two years. Twenty four months. One hundred and four weeks. Seven hundred and thirty days. Seven three oh...

Buffy fell asleep and didn't hear Faith mumble something from a dream they both had long ago.

"Oh, yeah. Miles to go. Little Miss Muffet counting down from seven three oh."

Just a dream? Let's hope so...

The End

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