Always Time To Say Goodbye By Hexx




The rain let up, one small drop at a time, and the clouds lightened untill the moon began to slip through, the cemetary was shrouded in a light fog, but all this went unnoticed as two figures stood a lonely vigil beside a fresh grave. In silence they have waited, neither speaking, nothing they could say could possibly bring any comfort.

After an hour the smaller figure seperated itself from the larger and moved to the freshly turned earth, kneeling, she began to place items from a leather case onto the ground in front of her.

"Willow . . . are you sure about this?"

" Angel. . . . . .I. . . I have to . . . "

Coming up behind her he placed one hand softly on her shoulder, silently letting her know that he understood, even if he wasn't sure .

"She's stirring, be ready."

Clenching the stake firmly he took a step to the side, should it come to it he wanted a clear line of fire though he wasn't sure he would be fast enough. He clenched his eyes shut for a moment, hating that it had fallen on him, but if not him, who?

Willow began to chant, lighting candles and placing them before her, her chanting rose, the sounds combining to reverberate off the nearby stones. As the first stirrings of soft earth announced Her rising the witch placed a glass sphere on a small tripod, it glowed with an amber light that pulsed, briefly showing the guilt and fear etched into her features. A dirt covered form began to climb from the grave and as yellow eyes fell on Willow she placed her hands on each side of the sphere and screaming, finished the incantation. For a split second the amber light fared into brilliance, then the sphere shattered and the light speared the newly risen vampire in the chest, throwing her backwards several feet where she lay unmoving.

On shaking legs Willow cautiously approached the still form, tears glistening on her cheeks. She knelt down and pulled her up into a seated embrace. " Goddess forgive me."

"willow. . . Willow, we need to get her out of here, one of the other slayers may come back yet."

"Take her to the car Angel, I'll collect my stuff and be right behind you." She took a moment to smooth the disturbed grave as best she could and made her way to the black sedan parked nearby.

"What happened Willow? I mean, no offence, But I haven't heard from you in years, and Buffy, I never thought I would hear from her again. And now, I don't know how I let you talk me into this."

"Angel I...I'm sorry, I should have kept in touch. I haven't talked to Buffy in a while either. We all had our own lives, followed our own paths, it shouldn't take something like this to bring us back together, ...not like this. Buffy called me last week, she sounded so different, so desperate, I haven't heard her like that since, well, since Sunnydale. She said she had tracked down a master, the last master, she didn't want to involve any of the others, she wanted to do it herself, not endanger anyone else. You know how she used to get, it was all about the slaying, but this was so different, she didn't sound afraid, just resigned.

"I tried to talk her out of it, you've got to believe me Angel I really did, I told her that she wasn't twenty anymore, that she didn't have to do everything alone anymore, . . she wouldn't listen. Then, two days ago I received the letter, she sent me a letter telling me what to do if she lost, if...she....Oh goddess Angel, what have I done?!"

"You did what she asked, like you always have, like We always have, we trust her to know what she's doing. And then, if we're wrong, we live with it, like we always have."

Willow looked at him as he drove, he had always been somber, and though he looked the same, something had changed. There was something in his voice, finality? The knuckles of his hand where he gripped the steering wheel were white.


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