No Place Like …
They had won. The portal was closed. Glory/Ben was dead. The world was saved, again.
They had lost. The portal had opened, allowing Hell to bleed into their world. Buffy jumped to close the portal. Buffy died to save the world.
“Where am I? What is going on?” Buffy’s voice held an edge of panic.
“No need to fret luv,” a soft, accented voice came through the nearly blinding whiteness. “You are safe. You can rest now.”
Soon Buffy could make out the fuzzy outline of a person. As the outline became clearer the brightness of the surrounding space dimmed until Buffy could clearly see a woman standing in front of her. “Who are you? Where am I?” Buffy could sense the woman was right, where ever she was, she was safe. Suddenly Buffy had a flash of a memory. ‘Dawn, listen to me. Listen. I love you. I will always love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles … tell Giles I figured it out. And, and I’m okay. And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world … is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me.’ “I died,” her voice was small.
She heard her mothers comforting voice, “yes baby,” and a hand settled on her shoulder. “I am so proud of you Buffy. Dying for Dawn secured your place here.” Her mother pulled her into a warm embrace. “Can you believe they had doubts,” she chuckled.
“They should have known better,” the womans voice from before was filled with mirth now.
“Too true Ann,” Joyce turned to her friend. “You must be proud too. Your boy has made some very selfless choices lately.”
Ann smiled softly, “yes, my William has finally found his true path.” She turned to Buffy, “the promise he made to you should keep him on it, even without you there to guide him.”
Buffy stared at the woman, noting the strong cheekbones and blue eyes she had only seen on one other person. “Are you talking about Spike?”