Always Time To Say Goodbye Part 4

Buffy couldn't believe the sensations coursing through her body, the lips pressed to her's, so soft, the warmth of Willow's body, so close, her taste, her scent, soft hands clasping her own, afraid to ever let go. The love! It was a physical force, washing over and over, the taste of her mouth after so long, the tears sliding down her cheeks. They slid to the floor, holding each other close, the rest of the world melting away.

Angel quietly watched the two women for a moment, but just a moment. Time was defiantly an issue at this point and they had very little to waste. Everything needed to be done by the time the sun rose and there would be no second chance at this.

"Ladies, we haven't a lot of time, if you're both ready we should get started."

Buffy slowly released Willow from the gentle embrace she had encased the red-headed witch in. Opening her eyes she could see the emotions laying beneath the surface of the brilliant green eyes which seemed to see into the very depths of her soul, and the desperation therein.

"Willow . . . are you sure?''

"Buffy, I have had a lot of insecurities in my life, there have been times when I've doubted everything, including my sanity, but I have never doubted my feelings for you. I gave up believing that I could ever act on those feelings a long time ago, and now I know that I shouldn't have, that I should have been honest with myself and with you. I won't lie to you, I love Kenny, and she has loved me and supported me always. But you have always held the most cherished part of my heart, and my heart tells me that this is the right thing to do. So, yes, I'm sure."

The slayer couldn't help but think of all the years she had lost not giving her heart to this wonderful woman so long ago, but now, given this second chance, she vowed that it would not be a mistake she would repeat.

With a gasp the pain in her chest expanded forcing her to cry out and clutch at her middle. Angel was instantly at her side, catching her as she slipped to the floor. Instead of cool skin he could feel heat emanating from her through their clothes as her body began to destroy itself from the battle raging within her. Her face changed showing the demon's ridges and fangs and the vampire roared throwing Angel halfway across the room. It turned it's attention to Willow, amber eyes fixed on the witch, Even in her current state she knew that she needed to be close to her. The vampire took one step before mewling in agony and toppled to the floor.

By the time Angel got up and made his way to her side, Willow had her cradled in her lap, the demon's visage returning to the slayer's.

"Buffy? Sweetie, talk to me, c'mon baby, open your eyes. . . Angel! She's burning up! Whatever you two have planned I think that we better get started soon."

Angel gently scooped the slayer into his arms and turned towards a door at the far end of the offices. "The ritual is set up in there, everything is ready, we just have to wait for the sun."

Going through the door Willow found herself in a huge open space, the ceiling at least thirty feet high, the room had to be the size of a large gym. The point of most interest to her though was the eastern facing wall which was almost entirely glass, huge windows extending nearly to the ceiling ran the length of the room. The room itself was completely empty save for a series of small tripods set around a circle of chalk in the centre of the room. When the sun rose the entire space would be bathed in it's light.

She walked to the circle and stood in it's centre. The silver tripods, seven in total, which stood around the circle were each topped by small, dark crystals except the one closest to the windows, this one held a clear stone the size of a fist.

"What do we have to do Angel?"

"Not much, there's no spell, when the sun hits these crystals it will open a gateway, then, as I understand it, you'll be back in Sunnydale."

"That's it?"

"Yeah, I guess, I don't pretend to know how it all works, I guess we just have to trust the Powers to know what they're doing."

"Wait a minute, you said 'you'll' not 'we', . . . you're not coming?"

"Not this time Willow, this time it's just you and Buffy, this is for you. But don't worry, I'll be there, waiting."

"Angel, I . . . I don't know . . "

"You don't have to say anything Willow, not to me." He knelt down, gently placing the slayer on the floor in the centre of the circle, kissing her softly on the forehead before releasing her into the witch's waiting arms. "Take care of each other, hold on to the love that you have for each other, not even time can change that." He turned and looked back briefly, and gave them a sad smile before leaving the room.

Buffy opened her eyes slowly, her attention fixed on the woman holding her.

"I love you," she whispered, "whatever happens I want you to believe that."

"I love you too Buffy, I always have, always will, no matter where, no matter when, I'll always love you."

The sun was starting to rise above the horizon, the vast room gradually filling with a soft light. Buffy's eyes squeezed shut against the pain and Willow held her tighter, pressing her lips to her hair.

"I'm not scared Willow, for the first time since becoming the slayer, I'm not scared."

Willow looked up just as the sun's light shone directly through the immense windows, it filled her vision and for a moment she was left blind. There was a quick rolling sensation in her stomach, and she had to close her eyes for a moment to block the blinding light.

Willow opened her eyes slowly, aware that she was still looking into the sun, but now there was a form eclipsed before the light, and a soft voice saying something, and it took a second for her mind to catch up with her ears.

". . . why don't I start with my name is..."

"Buffy" It came out as a soft whisper, she wasn't even sure why she had said it but she knew it was right. She looked up, her breath catching for a moment, lost in hazel eyes that seemed to know her, eyes filled with . . . love?

"Your name is Buffy."

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