Chapter 42 – You’re My First, My Last, My Everything
The first, the last,
And the answer to all my dreams
You're my sun, my moon, my guiding star
My kind of wonderful, that's what you are
I know there's only, only one like you
There's no way they could have made two
You're all I'm living for
Your love I'll keep for evermore
You're the first, your the last, my everything
“You okay?” Connor asked, nuzzling Raven’s hair while his hand covered hers that was resting on her stomach. She immediately entwined their fingers together, needing the security his touch brought her.
“Yeah,” Raven replied, snuggling closer to him. “Thank you,” she added, cupping his face with her free hand.
“For?” He asked with a grin.
She was certain he already knew what for; he just wanted to torture her a little bit longer. It was all right though, because he was right. He’d been right all along and she was very happy now that they hadn’t made love before tonight. The intimacy of being alone for almost a week only contributed to how good their first time was. He was her first love, best friend, and now her lover. The way it way should be.
“For being so impatient,” Raven teased. “You know I really wanted to wait until we were married, but you just had to get in my pants now.”
“How crass,” Connor replied, rubbing his nose against hers. “It’s a good thing I love you so much.”
“Not as much as I love you,” she whispered, rolling over on top of him. “You’ve given me the world.”
“Not yet,” he vowed. “But one day I will.”
Connor wrapped his hand around her neck so that he could pull her to him. Their lips met in a sweetness that could only be reached by true understanding between two people. His tongue swept through her mouth with a possessive note that sent shivers racing through her body. No matter what else happened in her life, Raven knew she would never forget this night. It was the pinnacle of their relationship thus far. She didn’t know that anything else could ever surpass the closeness they felt at this moment. He pulled her tighter when they broke apart, and she buried her face against his neck as she let sleep overtake her.
The scenery was familiar. Raven just couldn’t place it until she saw the ‘Welcome to Sunnydale’ sign, just before it toppled over into the biggest crater she’d ever seen. It was gone. Her home, her family, everything she’d come to know and love in the last few years since leaving Lankasha. Grief choked her and she had to turn away. Los Angeles was out there somewhere in the horizon, but her hope was short-lived. A raging fire was quickly approaching her. It was then she knew it was worse than she ever imagined. The world was ending. They had failed in their effort to keep everyone safe.
“Raven, over here,” Connor called out to her from the smoke. She ran toward his voice, taking his hand as he helped her through the back door of a school bus. Inside were a few Slayers, friends she knew and loved, while Giles drove the bus away from the rapidly deteriorating landscape. Pulling her jacket closer around her, she collapsed into a seat, and stared out the window.
“It’s really over, isn’t it?” She asked in a half whisper, not really expecting anyone to answer, but hoping that someone would tell her it was really all right.
“Everything is going to be better,” Connor whispered in her ear as he sat beside her. “All we have to do is give up.”
“No, we can’t,” she cried, turning to look at him. Except it wasn’t him. Not really. Connor was there, yet he shimmered from the evil that he’d accepted into his heart. He hadn’t had enough faith to see them through. “No, Connor, no, please you have to come back to me.”
“Let it go, baby,” he whispered, holding her hand in a vice grip. “He has,” he added with a nod out the window.
Dread flooded her heart at his words. She knew before she looked who he was talking about. The one person she thought she could count on no matter what besides Connor. No matter how much she didn’t want to, there was no way she couldn’t look out the window to see. Tears fell as she looked upon her father, with Dylan behind him on the motorcycle, traveling beside the bus.
“Stop, please stop,” Raven shouted, scrambling over the seat in front of her to get away from Connor. “I want to get off.” She ran down the aisle to the back exit door. The door was locked. “Please, I have to get off the bus.”
“Look,” Giles said, pointing to the other side of the bus. “You’re safer here.”
Raven crawled onto the seat to take a closer look. Her hands covered her face in horror as she saw the Hyperion being overtaken by ubervamps. Like a swarm of cockroaches they crawled through every opening in the building until it was covered in their blackness. The Slayers were hopelessly outnumbered despite their own power. Their screams echoed out into the street. At first loud and strong as they fought back then slowly quieted as they were defeated. The deafening silence was louder than any death knoll ever rung. There was no longer any hope for the human race if the Slayers couldn’t survive against this evil invasion.
“It’s not so bad,” Rona said, sitting beside her and patting her hand. “You’ll see,” she whispered right before she vamped out.
It was then Raven realized the Slayers weren’t murdered. They were all turned into vampires. A legion stronger than any clan before. Made to be rulers. The ultimate victory for evil.
She tried to get away, but it was no use. There were too many and they were too strong for her.
“No, no,” Raven cried. “It’s not supposed to be this way.
“Raven, wake up,” Connor called to her through the thick terror that kept her locked in the nightmare. She whimpered as he started to shake her. “Come on, baby, wake up.”
Gasping she fought her way through the vampires trying to attack her. Somewhere she knew there was a hand to pull her back from this hell. An explosion sounded off in the distance and she screamed as she gave way one last burst of adrenaline to escape. Sitting straight up, she flailed her arms, looking for protection. It was there. Strong arms held her, rocking her, as she rapidly blinked her eyes to make sure the cabin was where she really was.
“Connor, it was so bad,” Raven cried, once she knew he was real. Her arms wrapped around him. “It was so bad. I couldn’t…they won.”
“Not yet, not yet,” he whispered, turning to pull her onto his lap.
Raven started to relax in his arms. Everything was going to be okay. It was just a nightmare. She took a deep breath, turning to Connor when there was a banging on the door. Then she knew. It was really going to happen.
A scream tore through the house just as Buffy put the phone back on the nightstand. It was Elijah. For a brief moment Spike and she stared at each other before they hurried from the room. Neither spoke as they both ran for the second floor of the house. Both were focused on getting to their son who seemed to be caught in the throes of a nightmare. Spike reached the bedroom first. He sat on the edge of the bed and scooped their cowering child into his arms.
“It was just a nightmare,” Spike cooed, holding Eli on his lap. “It’s all over.”
“No, it’s not,” Elijah argued. “It’s just starting.” He turned from his father to look at his mother. “Mummy, we have to tell him so that he won’t do the wrong thing.”
“Tell me what?” Spike asked in confusion as he looked from her to their son and back again. “What’s going on?”
“It’s nothing,” Buffy tried to reassure him even though she knew it was too late. “Elijah, it’s going to be all right,” she promised, kneeling next to the bed. She brushed her son’s curls away from his face. “Remember we have to have faith.”
“Is it started?” Journey asked in a small voice from the doorway. By her feet was Candy who was staring expectantly from one family member to the other. Her small pink tongue hung from the side of her mouth while her body shook with the force of her tail wagging. It was a stupid thing to be concentrating on, Buffy knew, but otherwise she would be able to hear her world crumbing around her.
“Has what started, Buffy?” Spike demanded. “What the hell is going on?”
“Come here, Joy,” Buffy called, holding her arms out to her daughter. She couldn’t tell Spike everything. All she knew were pieces of what was happening, just like her children did, and like Giles and Wesley were figuring out from the prophecy. One person wasn’t supposed to know everything. It was the way it was meant to be. She waited until Journey was beside her. She pulled the little girl close to her. “We all know something about what is going to be,” she explained, hoping he wouldn’t demand her to spell everything out. “But none of know everything. Elijah probably knows more than any of us.”
“What did he mean by telling me so that I don’t make the wrong choice?”
“I don’t know for sure,” Buffy said. “Please, let it go.”
“Like I did before so that you could endanger my children,” Spike bit out. “Why can’t you trust me?”
“It’s not that…”
“It’s exactly that,” Spike said, with a bitter laugh. “You don’t trust me, but yet I’m supposed to trust you when you play these games with our marriage and our children.”
“Not now,” Buffy retorted, standing with her daughter in her arms. “I’m going to take Joy back to bed.” She bent over to kiss Elijah’s cheek. “I’m sorry, sweetie, just stay strong a little longer, okay? It’s going to be all right.”
“Yes, Mummy,” Elijah said. “I’ll try.”
“I’ll see you upstairs,” Buffy said, glaring at her husband before turning to leave the room. She waited until Candy had followed them back into the hallway before closing the door. It wasn’t Spike’s fault. It was hers, but didn’t he understand that this wasn’t like before? The whole world rested on the choices that he would make and she trusted him not to let them down.
“Mummy, are you and Daddy going to get ‘vorced?” Joy asked, staring into her eyes. “I don’t want Daddy to go away for good. I want him to stay with us.”
“It’s going to be all right,” Buffy said. “He’ll never leave you. I promise.”
Spike was infuriated. Buffy had made decisions, supposedly with his best interests at heart when in fact they were self-serving. He was tired of it. All he wanted to do was love his wife with complete honesty between them. Yet the lies never ended, no matter how hard he tried to make it work between them.
“Don’t be mad, Daddy,” Elijah said. “I shouldn’t have said anything, but I’m scared.”
“I know you are,” Spike said. “And Mummy shouldn’t encourage you to keep secrets from me.”
“It wasn’t just her,” Elijah said, with a shake of his head. “I knew before she did, and so did Raven, we weren’t supposed to tell.”
“Why weren’t you supposed to tell?” Spike asked. “Who told you not to say anything?”
“Him,” Elijah replied, turning to look out the window. “He’s there all the time, watching and waiting.” The little boy turned to stare at his hands. “Angels too. We can only know little pieces so we can do our part when the time comes.”
“If you tell me everything I can make him go away,” Spike said.
“He’ll never go away, Daddy. He’s The First, the first angel, the first cast out of heaven, and the first to rule on earth.”
“How do you know?” Spike asked, frightened of the answer he knew was coming. He’d always known the truth about his son. How special Elijah truly was in the scheme of things. Sometimes his own child made him nervous with the power that radiated from him. A once evil demon in the presence of such remarkable goodness was enough to drive him to his knees like he did when he was once a boy himself.
“Because he is always here,” Elijah said, turning serene gray eyes to his father.
It was there that Spike saw his own soul and the reflection of his sins. Yet he also saw the faith his child placed in him. It was humbling in a way that nothing else ever was. And for the first time he truly understood Buffy’s conviction to protect Dawn over the fate of the world when they fought Glory. He would do the same for his own children.
“And so am I,” Spike promised.
to be continued…