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And Make a Lost World Thy Home

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She was back underneath Sunnydale High School in the Hellmouth.

Veronica turned slowly, remembering. They had come there to defeat the First and Veronica had been on the perimeter. She and Logan had taken the west side of the school. Xander and Anya were on the east side, Giles and Dawn were on the north, and Tara and Mac had been on the south. Their job was to fight the vampires and Bringers who escaped to the perimeter.

Veronica remembered Buffy and Spike walking away with Willow and Faith and a small army of Potentials to open the mouth of hell. She and Logan had taken their post, exchanging nervous quips and testing the various traps and weapons they’d brought with them. When the fight had come to them it had been quick and won largely through the clever employment of sunlight. Neither of them were any kind of match for the Turok-Han, but they’d dispatched as many Bringers as they could, getting bruises and cuts for their efforts. Logan had received a heavily bleeding head wound, but neither of them had been severely injured. When it was all over they had counted themselves fortunate to have escaped so lightly.

As she watched it happen again, this time Veronica followed Buffy and the others, watching them drip blood in a circle and open the seal. Then she followed after them down into the darkness to the army of Turok-Han and the bottomless abyss.

She’d heard many accounts of the battle itself from Buffy, from Faith, from all of the new Slayers. She’d always thought she knew what really happened. This time, she saw it for herself. It was incredible and the long arduous months of training began to pay off for the Potentials, augmented by the sudden rush of Slayer strength, stamina, and skill. Veronica remembered that feeling all too well and she couldn’t help but envy them a little as she watched their dance with death.

The battle went on, one of the other Slayers bringing the Scythe back from Willow and tossing it to Buffy. They fought for a seemingly interminable amount of time until a bright flash lit up the underground from one corner and the ground began to rumble and shake. Buffy shouted Spike’s name and ran toward the light. Faith began ushering girls out of the Hellmouth. Veronica watched Spike and Buffy speak, but she couldn’t hear what was said. Buffy had never told anyone what his final moments were like, other than the fact that he was a hero, and the only reason the Hellmouth was no more was because of Spike.

Buffy finally turned and began running, but Veronica stayed watching as Spike glowed brighter and brighter until finally even her dream-self needed to close her eyes.

When she opened them again the Hellmouth was dark and dank, no signs of the battle that she had just witnessed. She walked slowly to the spot she had last seen Spike, expecting a pile of ash. Instead there was a glint of light and she knelt down, feeling for it. Her fingers touched something cold and she picked it up, the familiar sight of Spike’s amulet coming into view as she held it close to her face. She clasped it until suddenly its slight brightness began to grow and she dropped it, startled.

A swirling cloud with embers of fire flying within began to form in front of her and before she could process what was happening, Spike’s form appeared out of the cloud, one hand upraised, and he screamed.