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by Bobbi

Rating: NC17
Buffy & Faith
Authors Notes: Okay, this is it. I want to thank everyone who read my story, especially those who took the time to leave feedback. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it, not because it’s a secret, just because I don’t have the words. You guys were great :) I'm dedicating this story to one person, a person who hates having stuff dedicated to her. But really, if it wasn’t for her, “Barriers" would have never been posted. She kept pestering me, in a nice way of course, and she finally sat down at my computer and posted the first chapter for me, all with good cheer in the face of my less than enthusiastic response. So to her I say, “Okay, I admit it - you were right and I was wrong. Posting was nothing but fun, and I should have listened to you a long time ago." But that’s the cool thing about friends. Even though I can be incredibly stupid at times, she still likes me anyway. Thank you, Kelly.

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Chapter One

November 13, 2002

This is probably my last entry. She'll rise tonight and it won't be long before she finds me. She knows all the things we've done to stay alive these past few months, she knows all our "safe" spots, she knows where all our traps are set. She knows every trick we have up our sleeves...she knows everything.

She knows me too. That's kind of what happens when you're best friends with someone for almost seven intense years. It's going to hurt so much when I see her, and I've got no doubt that she's going to make it hurt even more. It will be nothing but fun for her now.

I finally stopped crying about an hour ago, but it feels like I could start back up at any moment. It makes me wonder how many tears the human body is capable of producing, and that's just the kind of silly question I'd always ask her that she'd always know the answer to. Well no matter what the official amount is, I know I'm definitely fast approaching the record.

She's gone, they're all gone now. There's just me, finally all alone and...Okay, no way am I spending my last free hours going over all of that. If you want the details, well that's what the rest of this journal is about.

Everything's written out in the previous pages, first by Giles, then Anya, then Xander picked it up. After, Dawnie took over for quite a while, and she did a really great job
Sorry. Hopefully that's not so smeared that you can't make it out. Anyway, my point is that we've all written in this, I'm just the last to take my turn. That makes total sense, right? I'm Action Girl, not a Watcher in training.

I'm not really sure why I'm even bothering, it's not like anyone's going to read this. Yeah, I'm lying. I know exactly why I'm still writing. Giles said it was imperative that we keep an accurate record of events, so that's what I'm doing. Here I am finally following his orders to a T, and he's not even here to see it.

It will be sunset in just under ten hours. I've already made my plan, but I don't know if it will work. I wish I had someone to bounce it off of, but I don't. For the first time in nearly seven years, I've got no one to help me. It's so weird and it makes me feel strange, like I'm no longer me.

Anyway, back to the accurate record keepage. Currently I'm just sitting on Bleeker Hill, no shade in sight. You don't manage to stay The Slayer for as long as I have if you don't fully appreciate the danger of shade, especially here in Sunnydale.

I can see most of the town from up here, the town I've given my life to protect. Time after time I've put it all on the line, and it strikes me as so ironic that in the end I've chosen to sacrifice it for the sake of the world. Is "ironic" the right word?

The barrier Will put up works great. There's no getting in or out, not that getting out was ever an option for me. It was for them though, and I tried to get them to leave. They wouldn't of course, and I've never been all that clear on what I did to deserve them. But I got them and they mean...They meant everything to me.

I know most likely I won't be able to pull this off. The first problem is that I'm just one person, and I'm pretty sure I won't be able to do everything I need to do in time for it to work. The second problem is that there are just too many variables, way too many ifs and maybes involved. It will only take one of them going wrong to bring the whole brilliant plan crashing down around me, and then that will be it.

So not a good scenario, but it's not those huge problems that are going to trip me up. She's going to trip me up, she's going to be the thing that stops me. She knows the plan, she knows the backup plan, and she knows what I want to do.

I'll deviate from the plans we made, but she knows what I can do, what I'm willing to do, and she knows exactly how my mind works. She'll be able to anticipate any changes I try to make, and no matter what I end up doing, she'll be ready for me.

Of course this should work both ways, I do know her too. But even though I'm smart, and I am, she's way way smarter. She always has been, and that's always worked in my favor before. In fact, it's been one of my biggest weapons since the beginning. That's not true anymore...and how I wish I could ask her for her advice.

They caught us last night. I killed so many of them, she did too, and for a minute I thought we were going to be okay. She was getting weaker, and I made sure to keep her close as I looked for our way out.

I saw it, but then more came and I lost track of her for just a second. It was just for an instant, I swear it was, but that was all it took. That's all it ever takes.

She screamed my name, and as I turned I knew. They had her, good times for them, and something entirely different for us. We looked each other in the eye, and we both knew what I had to do. We'd promised each other if it came down to this, we'd do it. We were both too dangerous to let it go any other way.

But as I stood there staring into her eyes, all I could see was the sweet, kind, shy girl I'd met so long ago. She was my best friend, and she was all I had left in the world. I hesitated, and she yelled at me then:

"Buffy, you have to! Buffy!!!"

So I did it. I raised my crossbow and fired. I aimed right for her heart, but my hand was shaking so much the arrow went wide. The dusting that resulted from my bad shot let me cling to the idea that I could somehow save her.

I started fighting again, trying as hard as I could to get to her, but there were just too many of them. I kept killing them, fighting for our lives like a wild animal until I heard him:


At the sound of his voice, they all pulled back from me, forming a protective circle around him. As I stood there watching, he drank from her and then forced her to drink from him.

I tried again, but I couldn't get anywhere near her and there was no longer a clean shot. I backed up, my escape route now clear, but I couldn't go. I couldn't just leave her, so I kept standing there as I listened to the screaming.

They left without trying to capture me, they had to go because the sun was rising. They took her body with them, and they were gone as if they'd never been there. It took me about five minutes to figure out that it was me who was doing the screaming.

And that's how it is now. I'm sitting on Bleeker Hill in the bright warm sunshine, awaiting my capture that will most likely occur in a handful of hours. Or maybe not, but I think it's safe to say the odds aren't in my favor.

None of that really changes anything for me. I'm still going to fight, if you knew me you'd know there's nothing that can stop me from doing that. I know that in the end it's not going to matter what I do, but I'm The Slayer and I have to try. It's in the job description, and I guess it's in me too.

See, I'm the best Slayer ever. Not modest I know, but it's true. I've done this longer than anyone ever has, and I've saved the world way more times than anybody else. I'm the only one who's come back from the dead, and I've done that twice, well three times if you want to get technical. I am a hero.

I'm also the only Slayer who let the world be destroyed all because I couldn't kill my friend when I had to. Sure I could try and make it something it's not, I could turn the truth completely upside down if I wanted to. It's not like there's anyone left to call me a liar if I put a little flattering spin on the truth.

But I can't do that because Giles told me we have to be as honest as we can be, and I trust that Giles knows...knew best. So that means there will be no painting things in a different light...and what does that mean anyway? Even if you did paint something in a different light, well sure it would look different but you'd still be able to...I guess it doesn't matter now.

So where am I? Well, Willow raised the barrier, and unless I miraculously manage to accomplish the impossible, she's going to take it down. When she does, the Earth is going to be overrun by demons. The Hellmouth is going to open, and the monsters are
going to take over. If anyone survives, they'll be on the run forever. It's pretty much the end of the world, at least the people one.

True, I'm still on the clock and I'm going to give it my best...Who am I trying to kid? My best would have been a crossbow arrow right through Willow's heart. If I'd done that, I could have retained my title. I'd have gone down in history as the bestest, bravest, all-around greatest Slayer ever. Instead I let my personal feelings kill us all.

In just a few hours, my best friend is going to rise. She's going to be a vampire, and I already had a taste of what that's like a few years ago. Add into the mix that she's also the most powerful witch on the planet, well I think you can see why I don't stand much of a chance. Again with the kidding because I don't stand any chance at all.

The good news is that Willow can't lower the barrier without me saying a phrase. It's a secret phrase that only I know, thank you Giles for thinking so far ahead, and Will doesn't have the first clue what it is. Of course we then have the bad news, and boy is it bad. She can take, if not all the time in the world, then certainly a good chunk of it as she tries to get me to say it.

I've thought about killing myself because you can't make a dead Slayer talk no matter how powerful you are, but I can't. If I commit suicide, the balance shifts somehow and the barrier will collapse on its own. They can't turn me either because the second I die, the phrase is invalid and the barrier will remain in place forever. I don't really understand the hows and whys, I just know the rules and so does Willow.

When we decided to raise the barrier, we were all still alive. Giles and Will worked it all out, but then they threw it aside when they discovered I'd have to be inside the barrier in order for it to hold. Again, fuzzy with the details. All I understood was that I was the big force of good required to secure the barrier, and then it was all "blah, blah, blah" from there.

They tried to find something else we could do, but I couldn't let them just cast aside the best idea we had, the only idea we had. In no way did I want to be trapped inside, but I couldn't let that stop us. We had no other options, and time was running out.

Sunnydale was already pretty much a ghost town, and it wasn't going to be much longer before Spiran became a whole lot stronger. We couldn't just let him tour the world, and without people to feed off of, Sunnydale wasn't going to keep him interested for much longer. We had to do something and we had to do it now.

Xander came up with the original idea. We were going to trap the vampires inside the barrier, and after they'd been weakened by the lack of available blood, we planned to mosey back in and dust them all. It was a perfect plan until you factored in that I'd be trapped with the vampires. That made it a lot less perfect, at least for me.

We had a huge argument, the biggest we'd ever had, but I finally convinced everyone
that it had to be done. I was The Slayer and it was my responsibility, whether any of us liked it or not. We all agreed with that, and that was when Xander stood up.

He looked so determined, so serious, and I knew what he was going to say:

"Yahtzee or cards?"

Okay, I didn't know what he was going to say. We were all kind of like "huh?", and he explained it to us slowly like we were complete and utter idiots:

"Do we bring Yahtzee or cards? We're going to be on the run, so we'll have to have some way to pass the time. It's not like this town's all that fun even when we're not trapped here, so we're gonna need something small and light to entertain us."

I jumped in right then, explaining in no uncertain terms that they were not staying. It was my job, my destiny, my curse, my whatever. Thanks for the help, but this was where we had to part company. Everyone was quiet until Giles spoke up:

"I am your Watcher and I shan't be anywhere but at your side. There's no need for further debate, my duty is quite clear."

"Yeah Buffster, we're your bestest buds, so we shan't be anyplace else either."

"Listen to me, you guys are not staying. You need to leave and get as far from..."

Dawnie walked over to me and looked me right in the eye:

"You're the Slayer, but we're the Scooby Gang. We have to be with you Buffy. We'd all rather die than leave you here alone."

I appreciated their love and loyalty, but I still told them they were leaving. It wasn't a democracy, we weren't voting, and we weren't discussing it any further. No one paid the slightest bit of attention to me.

"Xander if we bring cards, we're going to need chips as well. Assuming a miracle occurs and we survive, we'll want to settle up our debts just as soon as possible."

"Guys, I mean it! You are not..."

"An honey, we'd just be playing for fun. It wouldn't be a high stakes poker game."

"Oh. Well then what's the point? It's a shame we can't bring the 'Monopoly' game, but I guess there are too many little pieces to keep track of. Still that at least has fake money, and that's better than..."

"None of you are bringing anything! You are getting the hell out of here and..."

"Buffy, see my 'Resolve Face'? You've seen it before, you know what it means. We can't just leave you here, and you know it. Maybe we should, it probably would be for the best, but we can't and we won't. We've all made our choice so just accept it, and let's get cracking. Raising this barrier isn't going to be easy."

And just like that it was settled, they were staying. We all fell right into our familiar places and started doing what we needed to do, just like we've always done. When it came time to erect the barrier, it crossed my mind to insist that Dawnie step outside. Apparently something gave me away because right then she linked her hand with mine and said:


Will looked at me and I nodded, giving her the go-ahead. She started working the mojo, we all did the things we were supposed to do, and just like that the barrier was up. We were trapped, but we were together.

I guess I didn't need to write all of that. I'm sure Giles already took care of it, although when I think about it, his entry's probably so boring you didn't really read it all. Okay then, so Buffy's not irritating and repetitive, she's kicky and helpful.

The main point here is that I can't leave, I can't kill myself, and Willow needs me to say the secret phrase to lower the barrier. I'm going to hold out as long as I can, hopefully forever. But even a Slayer can only take so much pain, you know?

I'm going to stay on the move all night, but she'll find me. Locator spells, little lights of pure blue and green energy will lead them right to me, no matter where I go. There's no place to hide, and I pray that I'm as tough as I need to be. I pray that I'm stronger than any Slayer's ever been.

It's time to wrap this up now. I've got about nine hours left and I want to think about all the good times, the people I love, the funny things we did. Then I'll need some time to get ready for tonight, some time to shut myself down and become The Slayer and nothing else. I'm not sure if I can do it, not when it comes to her.

Anyway, if you're reading this, you're thinking one of two things right now. Either the world's just fine and I seem like a crazy person, or you hate me for not being able to stand the pain. It's definitely a lose/lose for me. The whole "hero" thing doesn't even factor in.

Well that's how it is for us Slayers. We save the world time after time, and very few people ever know about it. I can deal with that, God knows that's what I'm hoping for. I guess by the time you read this, we'll both know how it went.

I'm Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. My Watcher is Rupert Giles. The current members of The Scooby Gang are: Willow Rosenberg, Xander Harris, Anya Jenkins, and Dawn
Summers. Previous members: Angel, Tara Maclay, Jenny Calender, Daniel Osborne, Cordelia Chase, Riley Finn, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, and believe it or not, Spike.

We did our best.



Chapter Two

She'd given up all attempts at being quiet. That time was long past. They were closing in, and she knew that this was probably the end of the line for her.

For the last eight hours she'd been doing nothing but running and fighting, and none of it had done her any good. They were herding her to a spot where she would end up cornered, and there wasn't a thing she could do to stop them. In one way she was terrified, in another she almost longed for it to be over.

The strain and horrible anticipation were draining her even more than the constant physical exertion. She'd yet to see Willow, and the dread she felt as that moment drew ever closer, had her fighting back tears. Still she kept moving.

A vampire shot out of the brush on her left and Buffy whirled on pure instinct, slamming her stake home. She had no time to celebrate as three more leapt at her. One, two, three dusted as well, but then more came.

She soon lost count as the air became cloudy with the swirling remains. She was the Slayer and she focused only on her job, determined to kill as many as she could. After what seemed like forever, a voice broke through the din of the battle:


The vampires instantly backed off, forming a circle around Buffy that quickly parted to admit their new leader. Spiran was no more, Willow had dusted him less than ten minutes after she had arisen. There was no doubt in anyone's mind just who was in charge now.

Willow sauntered forward, her smile a mere perversion of the one Buffy had always loved seeing. Without any hesitation she threw her stake directly into Willow's heart, only to see it burst into harmless splinters before it got anywhere near its target.

"Gee Buff, is that any way to greet your best friend?"

Buffy began looking around for any sign of an escape route, but with over thirty vampires surrounding her, it didn't seem to exist.

"What's with the eager to kill me? You didn't seem into it at all last night, and just between us? I'm thinking that was the only chance you had."

Buffy kept silent, her eyes moving relentlessly as they sought a way out. Willow's smile never left her face.

"Come on Buffy, you can't get away and you know it. It's just a big old waste of time to pretend otherwise, but I have to admit I've always admired how you never give up. I guess that's one of the things that makes you such a great Slayer. Of course letting your personal feelings interfere with your duty, well gosh I'm afraid that's gotta earn ya a great big buncha demerits."

Buffy wanted to talk. She wanted to do her patented cocky smartass routine, but it was all she could do right now to keep the tears from spilling down her cheeks. Willow......

"So what's it gonna be? You gonna surprise us both and take the easy way out?"

"Go to hell."

Willow laughed.

"The hard way it is! I have to say I was hoping you'd make it a challenge. There are so many things we can do together, it'll be fun. Well, fun for me. For you it's gonna be agonizing, gut wrenching torment, but at least we'll still be together. Gotta look for the silver lining, Buff."

Buffy felt like she was being shredded inside, but she let nothing show on her face as she stood perfectly still.

"No one's ever been able to break you, not really. Sure you've bent a little, but underneath it all you've always been 'Buffy'. Heroic, noble, brave, strong, selfless, and oh so determined to do the right thing. I'm going to love taking all of that away from you. I can't wait to see your face when you finally fail the whole world."

"You're going to have a long wait."

"Maybe, but it'll happen. And Buff? I promise you, I'm going to do everything I possibly can to help you get there. After all, what are friends for?"

Some of the vampires were growing restless as they just stood around.

"Want us to grab her Boss?"

"No, I'll handle her. In fact, all of you can go."

"Go?! Are you crazy?! She's the Sla...Aarghh!!!"

He ripped apart slowly, and as his dust blew away in the breeze, Willow turned cheerfully to the remaining vampires:

"I like my orders followed without any questions, 'kay?"

The vampires scrambled away, leaving just Buffy and Willow behind.

"Boy it sure is hard to find good help these days, but I guess you know all about that. Well enough of that painful stuff, we'll talk about it later. Now it's time for you to come here."

Buffy didn't move, her eyes showing nothing but defiance.

"Ooh look, the Slayer's coming out to play."

Buffy began calculating the odds as she tried to plan her escape, imagining a variety of paths she could take to her freedom.

"Ya thinkin' of running? Want me to give you a head start?"


"Come here."


Willow's smile increased.

"One last chance for my very best friend...Come here."


"Oh Buffy, this is going to be so much fun."

Before she could respond, Buffy found herself being pulled slowly and painfully towards Willow. She fought it, but there was nothing she could do to stop her forward progress. The pain was increasing, but still she struggled.

"Just relax. The more you fight it, the more it hurts."

That was no lie, but Buffy continued to resist. By the time she stood directly in front of Willow, she felt as if she were on the verge of passing out. She couldn't move, and Willow pulled her close.

"Wow, my very own Slayer. Of course you'll need to be trained properly, nobody likes a pet that bites. Guess that means it's 'Willow's Obedience School' for you. The lessons can get kinda painful, so you might wanna buckle up."

She began nuzzling along Buffy's neck, licking her way slowly up to her cheek and back again.

"Mmm...nothing tastes better than scared Slayer."

"I won't ever tell you."

Willow continued tasting the Slayer as her grip tightened:

"Aw, don't lie to me Buff. We're still best friends, and it really hurts my feelings. Of course you're going to tell me, the only question is when. Oh well, they say it's all about the journey."

Buffy could feel the fangs as they grazed lightly against her pulse point.

"The hardest thing is going to be not drinking every last drop of your blood."

And then Willow was taking just a taste, and Buffy was praying she would lose control and drain her dry. But after only a moment, Willow pulled back with a groan:

"Goddess, you are so delicious! But there aren't gonna be any easy deaths here, not for my Slayer. Nope, friends like you don't just grow on trees."

Buffy found she could move again, and she took a swing at her captor. Before her fist could strike its target, she was slammed hard into a nearby tree. The impact knocked the air from her lungs, and it felt like her back was broken.

"Hey now, none of that. I said friends like you don't grow on trees, but that doesn't mean I won't throw you into one until I crush your spine."

She pulled Buffy close again, this time jerking her arms behind her back and stopping right before the breaking point. Buffy couldn't prevent a gasp of pain from escaping.

"Your spunky Slayer days are over with, and all you're going to do is make me mad if you keep doing stuff like that."

Buffy's arms were still straining, and the sound of her pain filled breathing seemed loud in the silence. Willow said nothing for a couple of minutes, seemingly lost in thought.

"I don't know, maybe I'm being unfair. I mean, I haven't even explained the rules to you yet."

Willow lifted just slightly and Buffy couldn't stop herself from screaming out.

"Tell ya what, let's get you home and I'll go over everything with you then. Heck, I'll even help you grasp the complex stuff, okay? But we need to go because that pesky sun's going to be up soon."

And then Buffy was knocked unconscious, dropping to the ground in a small heap. Willow hoisted her up onto her shoulder and began a quick jog back to her headquarters. She was pretty sure she had enough time to make it back before the sun caught her, but she was prepared to teleport if she needed to. She tightened her grip on Buffy as she increased her pace:

"Don't you worry, sleepyhead. Willow's got you."



It was such a beautiful day. Buffy sat with Willow at a picnic table watching Xander and Dawn throwing a Frisbee back and forth. Xander kept trying to catch it between his legs, and finally he did.

He went down with a groan, and Dawn laughed as she ran over to him:

"Xander...are you...are you okay?"

He answered in a ridiculously high-pitched voice:

"Fine Dawnie, but my prospects of ever having a baby are..."

"Blessedly reduced."

Giles was reclining in the shade, reading as he feigned annoyance at the commotion.

"Giles, man to man now. I just took a Frisbee to the groin, can I get a little support here?"

"Yes, I suppose you've a point. Of course one wonders why you persisted in aiming your manhood at the Frisbee in the first place."

"That's easy to answer...Because it's there."

They sat down at the table, and Dawn instantly snatched up Buffy's drink and downed it.

"Hey, that's mine!"

Dawn let out a huge belch:

"Want it back?"

"Gross! Dawnie, that's just disgusting. Where did you..."

Xander let out a rather large belch himself.

"Forget it, question answered before it was asked."

"So Xand, when's Anya going to get here?"

"Why Will, are you missing her?"

"Strangely I think maybe I am."

"She's supposed to get back tonight. I hope the other people were able to handle her."

"I bet it went great."

"Thanks Dawnie, but we all know how Anya gets when it comes to money."

Giles looked up from his book:

"Well I for one find her actions rather admirable. 'The Retail Owners Seminar' is a much sought after ticket, and it's quite an honor to be invited. I'm sure she was right at home."

"Oh I'm definitely of the proud, I'm just hoping she let someone else get a word in edgewise."

"So Buff, what time's patrol?"

"Well, uh maybe Giles should answer that."

"I'm afraid Willow, there's no time for patrolling tonight. In light of your recent academic achievement, we all feel that a party is in..."

"A party?! I'm getting a party?! With cake and ice cream?!"

Buffy laughed as she bumped her shoulder into Willow's:

"Yeah Will, and pony rides and a magician too. How old are you?"

"You're never too old for cake and ice cream."

"But there will definitely be no clowns because no age is ever right for clowns."

"Will, we wanted to do something nice for you. We even made reservations."

"At 'Billy's Barnacle Bucket'?"

Buffy rolled her eyes in apparent frustration:

"Are you not getting the picture? We're talking grown-up achievement, ergo grown-up fun is required."

Willow seemed to deflate slightly:

...Okay. So where are we going then?"

"'Billy's Barnacle Bucket', where else?!"

"Really Buffy?!"

"Slayer's honor."


"And they let us reserve the air hockey table too!"

"They did?! Dawnie, I love you guys!"

I believe we must arrive at this...establishment by 4:30, was it Buffy?"

"Yep. Will, if we get there before five..."


"...we get free cheese sticks all night long!"

"Oh my Goddess, this is so exciting!"

Giles sat waiting patiently as the four children all talked at once in their excitement. As the noise died down, he spoke up:

"I've some additional good news as well. Although it's nowhere near the wonder of free artery clogging sticks, I believe it will provide some sense of delight."

"There's more?"

"I've spoken to the curator on your behalf Willow, and I've managed to procure a meeting for you on Monday morning at 9:00. He was quite impressed by your stellar academic record, and he's quite keen to talk with you. I sang your praises at great length, and I dare say I think this meeting's a mere formality. I'm quite certain the job is yours if you..."

"Giles, are you kidding?!"

"No, I'm quite serious indeed. While it's true I used my connections to assist in getting you the interview, this is something you've clearly earned on your own mer..."

Willow ran over and hugged him, spilling him to the ground in the process.


"Sorry! I'm sorry Giles, but I'm just so excited!"

"Yes, so I've gathered."

"Thank you so much!"

He smiled as he lay sprawled on the ground, hugging her back.

"You are of course, most welcome. Now if you don't mind?"

"What? Oh sure, sorry."

She got up and offered him her hand as he stood up. She couldn't resist giving him another quick hug before she ran over to Buffy.

"Buffy, we have to get home and figure out what I'm going to wear. Should I go fancy or plain? What about older? Maybe I should just be all business like, or do you think I should..."

"Will, it's just 'Billy's Barnacle Bucket'. I don't think they have a dress code, so you can just wear whatever..."

"She's talking about the interview, Xander."

"...Yes, of course she is Dawnie. I knew that."

"Perhaps we should call it a day here. Xander, would you make certain the fire is completely extinguished?"

"Sure. Does my favorite assistant wish to assist?"

"She does!"

"Then right this way, milady."

"Excellent. I shall begin the loading preparations."

"Gee Giles, it's not like we're trying to dock a spaceship."

He folded up his chair as he looked over at her:

"Mock all you like Buffy, but the key to any successful endeavor is one's preparedness."

"Spoken just like a Watcher. Well I say ass kicking works just fine."

"Spoken just like a Slayer. I shall prepare the jeep for the ass kicking you're sure to deliver."

He headed off carrying his book and chair, leaving Buffy and Willow alone. They sat side by side staring out at the lake until Willow leaned into Buffy:

"Hey, penny for your thoughts."

"Just a penny? What can I buy for a penny?"

"Hmm, that's a good point. Okay, let me see...I've got sixty-four cents, and it's all yours if you spill it Slayer."

"Wow, how can I turn that down?"
"You can't, so let's hear it."

"It's nothing really. I was just thinking what a perfect day this has been. I don't think I could be any happier, you know?"

"Yep, nothing beats a little downtime for the Slayer and her Scooby Gang."

Buffy wrapped her arm around Willow's shoulders and gave her an affectionate squeeze.

"I am so proud of you Will."

"I kind of am too."

"And you should be. My best friend's a genius."

"Certified and everything."

"So that means you're certifiable?"

"Very funny...Hey, how come Xander and Dawnie are back in the water?"

"Maybe they set themselves on fire."

"Nope, looks like they're just being immature."

"Oh...Wanna join them?"

"Last one in's a rotten egg!"

Willow took off running, but Buffy caught her easily. Without breaking stride, she scooped her up and tossed her into the water.

"Ha,ha,ha! Will, you should have seen your..."

Then Buffy was flying through the air, only to land right next to Willow as Dawn and Xander stood on the shore laughing.

"Speaking of faces Buff..."

"You Xander Harris, are going to be very sorry."

"Uh, I think I already am."

Buffy emerged from the water and began stalking him. He grabbed Dawn and held her in front of him.

"You wouldn't hurt your baby sister, would you?"

"Hey, let go! Buffy, I didn't do anything!"

Buffy didn't respond as she got closer.

"It was her idea Buffy, here!"

Xander shoved Dawn at Buffy and took a step back.

"Buffy, that's not true! Don't..."

She went sailing through the air as Buffy tossed her effortlessly into the lake.

"Come on now Buffster, who's your bestest bud?"





He took off running, but she caught him before he'd gone five steps. She carried him lightly in her arms, smiling as he desperately began trying to talk himself out of a dunking.

"I'm sensing a desire for revenge, but I know you're bigger than that, better than that. I know if you just look deep inside yourself, deep deep inside, you'll see..."


"...Yeah Buff?"

"All I see is you soaking wet."

And then he was airborne. His impact with the water drenched Willow and Dawn, and they both yelled in outrage. Buffy was back in the water before Xander had even surfaced, and she was splashing everyone until they ganged up on her and pushed her under. Giles sighed as he placed his chair back down in the shade and reopened his book.

"Bored now."

Buffy flinched at the sound of Willow's voice, hard enough to jangle her chains. She couldn't stop the tears that leaked their way down her face, and Willow saw them as she rolled the Slayer over onto her back.

"Aw, dreaming about happier days? What were we all doing this time?"


"Don't you feel like sharing today?"


Willow straddled her, pushing lightly along her ribcage until Buffy moaned and tried weakly to pull away.

"Hey, does that hurt? Sorry, guess I went kinda hard on you this morning."

Despite her concerned words, Willow soon had her screaming as she "examined' Buffy's various injuries.

"Wow big ouchies, huh? Ready to say the magic words yet?"

Buffy looked at her then, her defiance plain to see as it burned in her eyes:

"Fuck you."

"Gee Buff, I hate it when you get like this. Well okay, I guess you leave me no choice. I'm gonna have to punish you now, but what should I use? Hey I know, how about whips? We haven't done those in a few days, it should be a lot of fun. What do you think?"

She pulled Buffy up by her hair, then flung her hard into the wall. Buffy groaned and almost fell, but she somehow stayed on her feet.

"Very good Slayer. Now let Willow chain you to the wall."

Buffy fought her, but in a matter of moments she was chained up in a standing position. Willow selected a whip and dragged it slowly back and forth over Buffy's back and shoulders.

"Okay, if you're ready I think we might as well get started. Now last time it took you forty-six strokes before you passed out. I'm betting you can beat that today, in fact I'm positive you can."

Willow leaned in, whispering right into Buffy's ear:

"See I did a little spell, and let's just say you won't be passing out any time soon. No need for you to thank me, what are friends for?"


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