Swimming to the surface, Buffy's thoughts turned to Willow, hoping once again that she had made the right decision in allowing the redhead to remain in the cave in the company of....Her train of thought came to a halt as she wondered what sort of label she should give to Tara. She clearly wasn't human, that was for sure. The scales on her body and the gills on her neck had certainly proven that. But as much as she wanted to voice her caution, Buffy didn't want to offend Willow by outwardly stating that Tara was a creature or a monster, even though that was exactly how she felt. Willow was certainly willing to accept the strange being for what she was without question and apparently trusted her implicitly. Almost, Buffy noted with some degree of concern, as much as the redhead trusted her. No matter how hard she tried, the blonde couldn't tell herself that she shared that trust, and it was only her belief that Willow would do the right thing in the end that was enough to convince her to leave the two of them alone.
Still, Buffy couldn't help but have a bad feeling about the situation. Something about Tara was setting off an alarm bell in the back of her mind. The fact that she had saved Willow from drowning was something Buffy was curious about. Had Tara intentionally put Willow in danger just so she could rescue her? Had she done something to Willow that made her more compliant to her requests? Was Tara planning on capturing a human for some twisted purpose? Was the blonde, even now, torturing Willow in ways the redhead had never experienced before? Had Tara done all of this in order to lure them out here to die?
Those thoughts refused to leave her brain as she broke through the surface of the water, spitting her regulator out into the water and reaching out to take it into her hand. Using her other hand, she began to swim towards the boat, reaching it after a few moments. Climbing onboard, she began to remove the straps of her equipment, taking off the fins and buoyancy compensator and placing them down on the boat's wooden deck. Her hands began to move to take off her mask when something hit the boat from below.
"What the hell?"
Rushing to the boat's side, Buffy looked into the crystal blue waters, but was unable to find anything out of the ordinary. Convincing herself that it was just a random occurrence, she moved back to settle herself into a comfortable position on one of the boat's wooden seats, removing her mask and placing it down beside her other gear. Several more seconds of contemplative thought, most of which revolved around her continued concern for Willow's safety, passed uneventfully before the boat was rocked once again, this time more forcefully.
The motion caused Buffy to fall from her seated position, hitting the deck face first. Getting onto her knees, she crawled over to the boat's side once more and looked out into the waters again, spotting a vague shape passing by several feet under the water.
"So there is something down there," she thought, moving to take the harpoon rifle that had been resting near the boat's engine. The guy she and Willow had rented the boat from had given it to them saying that it might be a good idea to have some protection. She was thankful now that they had decided to listen to him. Buffy moved back to where she had been before, but had barely made it two feet before the boat was rocked again, the force nearly causing it to tip over. Collapsing to the deck, the blonde reached for the handle of the fallen harpoon rifle, taking it into her hand even as the boat was rocked once more.
Getting to her knees, her breath beginning to come in hurried gasps, Buffy leaned over and looked out into the water once more, trying to spot whatever it was that was that was attacking her. Noting that the harpoon was shaking, she tried in vain to steady her hands, knowing that she was going to need perfect aim in order to fire her one and only shot.
There! Several feet away! A vague shape in the water. Buffy raised the harpoon, lined up her sights...
And fell forward as something struck the boat from behind. Her chest impacted hard against the wood, causing her to gasp in pain and her grip on the harpoon to loosen. Buffy watched in horror as the weapon tumbled into the water, its impact causing a splash that reverberated through her ears like a thunderclap. Cursing, she quickly looked across the boat, seeing if there were any other objects that could be turned into makeshift weapons. But aside from her gear, there was nothing else onboard.
A cold lump began to form in the blonde's throat as she realized that she was defenseless. Looking back out into the water, Buffy could once again see the shape, only this time, there was a second. The two forms then broke apart and began to circle around the boat like sharks circling a cornered prey.
As much as her own life was in danger, Buffy couldn't help but fear for Willow. She was all alone thirty feet below, her only protection a creature that could be as dangerous as those hunting her now. A shiver ran up her spine as she realized that her earlier assumption about Tara may indeed have been correct.
But for what reason? A ritual sacrifice? To make a point? For food?
Her blood turning to ice water, Buffy's mind raced in two directions. One tried to figure out how to escape from her current predicament. The other hoped that Willow, wherever she was, was all right.
Neither of the two women knew much about how to please others. At least, not in the context of their current situation. Tara never had a mate, her natural proclivity towards females making sexual intimacy for the purposes of procreation something she never thought about. And Willow never felt comfortable enough to put herself out on the dating market, fearing that she would scare away anyone who ever found out about her private fetish. The touch of her own hand, both on land and in the water, was the closest she ever got to actually feeling the touch of another against her body.
But as the two embraced one another, lips pressing together, tongues intertwining and hands caressing each others bodies, they felt as if they could no wrong. Both instinctively knew that any touch, no matter how slight, would bring intense pleasure to their partner.
Both Willow and Tara looked back on their lives prior to this moment, realizing that they had been wrought with confusion and pain. In Tara's case, it was metaphorical pain. Her entire life had been a struggle to keep the two distinct sides of herself from coming into conflict. Her strict adherence to the rules of the clan had always made her feel guilty for spying on humans who came into the ocean. But at the same time, she had always wondered why, as no human had done anything to harm her, and the only proof she had that they had done any damage to her society had, until recently, been little more than rumor. When she found out, it made her more concerned about acting on her growing attachment for Willow, not only because of what harm might come down upon her, but also what damage could be done to the clan by her actions and decisions. But with Willow, all of her fears and concerns were rendered moot. The redhead was everything she hoped to find in a human: understanding, caring, and above all else, accepting of her in every way.
Willow's pain, by contrast, had been of her own creation. She had always been considered an outsider when she was younger, a feeling that had grown considerably worse once she discovered the interesting, though considerably weird, effect that immersion in water had on her sexuality. She always kept that side of herself closed off, never allowing anyone, not even those whom she though would understand her most, to know how she felt when her body came into contact with water in any form or the private fantasies she often had while doing so. And truth be told, though she never quite understood the fascination some people in the aquaphile community had about mermaids, one look at Tara had certainly had enough of an effect on her to bring her around. And she was ever thankful for that, as Tara represented everything she could have hoped to find in someone who she could relate to: a partner that shared her interests, a friend that could understand her, and a lover that could please her like no one else.
Their first touch following Willow's return had been a kiss, delivered with a tenderness that surprised each of them. Both knew, not knowing how they knew, that the other still held a lingering hesitation about what they were doing. It was perfectly understandable, considering what they were each feeling at that moment. Though she no longer felt bad about what she was doing, knowing that she was violating her clan's sacred laws still scared Tara on some level that she couldn't describe. Her spying on humans aside, the blonde considered herself as rigid as a rock, up until now never knowingly breaking any law the Elders set forward. As for Willow, though she felt an instinctive attraction to the blonde, the thought of making love to an alien, even one as beautiful and understanding as Tara was, frightened her. Was it something she could live with? What would be the repercussions if Buffy found out? If anyone found out? Could she deal with them? Could the embarrassment she had feared since she was younger suddenly come at her with the force of a tidal wave, leaving a destructive path wherever it traveled?
Those thoughts were soon abandoned as the kiss deepened, their lips hungrily devouring one another as each experienced wetness at their centers that had nothing to do with the presence of the nearby water. For Tara, it was the most pleasurable experience in her life, something about Willow making her look past the fact that what she was doing was, according to the laws she held so close to her heart, wrong. As she had before, Tara realized that the fiery redhead was as much a child of the sea as she was. Fate had simply made an error on her part. And as Willow's fingers explored her body, caressing her scales and breezing past her flesh, Tara felt new sensations play across her nervous system. Where Willow's touch brushed past scales, the impressions had been dulled somewhat, but what remained was enough to drive the blonde mad with desire.
Willow, meanwhile, relished the touch of Tara's lips on hers, the initial strangeness of the blonde's scaled fingers playing across her naked body quickly becoming as arousing as they had been when they were dripping with water against her body in their first encounter. Having only experienced her own touch in such a manner, it was quite a new sensation to feel the fingers of another play across her form, especially since Willow somehow felt that Tara was the only one who deserved the gift of touching her flesh this way.
Breaking the kiss, Willow looked into Tara's eyes, realizing that the aquatic blonde goddess was the one she had longed to find on dry land ever since she was a teenager. She also realized that, while certainly exciting, making love on the rocks was not what she wanted.
The blonde returned her gaze, blue sapphires twinkling. "Yes, Willow?"
"I was wondering...could we..."
Tara's gaze pierced Willow, causing the redhead's heart to melt into a puddle as deep as the one currently collecting between her legs.
The redhead found herself unable to form words, her breath catching as her eyes traced the voluptuous naked body of her newly found treasure. Instead, she gestured towards the water, a goofy look on her face.
Tara smiled, turning around and moving to slink into the water, her act barely causing a ripple in the liquid's surface. She turned to watch as Willow, a widening smile on her face, followed suit.
"Shit, fuck and damnit!"
The boat was rocking continuously now, and Buffy's carefully crafted wall of calm, built through intensive training and self discipline over the years, was crumbling as if someone was taking a sledgehammer directly to it. The movement of the boat had finally convinced her that, sooner or later, whoever it was that was doing this was going to force her off it and into the ocean.
Moving quickly to recover her gear, she hurried to replace it on her body. "Well, if that's what you want, then I guess I'd better give myself a head start."
Having put her mask and fins back on, she now moved to strap on her tank and buoyancy compensator, though the violent motion of the boat made it difficult. The shaking of her hands, growing more violent by the moment, certainly wasn't helping matters any. Finally managing to steady her hands enough to secure the equipment to her back, Buffy placed the regulator into her mouth, secured both it and the mask to her face and hastily jumped into the water, a task made easier by the fact that the boat was violently rocked once again at that moment, causing her finned foot to hit its side and send her tumbling out of control into the crystal blue sea.
Plunging headfirst into the water, Buffy was momentarily stunned. Her eyesight was obscured by the rush of bubbles her hastily made exit had produced and her body ached all over from the sudden collision with the water making it an effort to draw oxygen into her lungs. She knew that she couldn't afford to take the time to recover now, as whoever it was that was attacking her would most likely be on her now.
Swimming in what she hoped was a direction that would take her away from her attackers, and trying to shake the cobwebs from her mind as she moved, Buffy at last turned to look at who was hunting her. Although her gaze was still hazy from her abrupt launch into the ocean, she could now clearly see that there were indeed two people attacking her. She noted that they wore no clothing, and that across their bodies...
"So I was right!" Buffy thought. "Tara did lead us into a trap!" She noticed that one of the strange men held a knife in his hand. It didn't take a genius to figure out who it was intended for.
Her mind raced at an incredible speed. She knew she had to get back to the cave, grab Willow, get her away from Tara and get back to the surface and away from the danger. But even as she thought about it, she knew that she couldn't make it back in time, not with two creatures intent on ending her life on her trail. It also occurred to her, somewhat soberly, that it was possible that Willow was dead already, and that, by heading back to try and rescue her friend, all she was going to do was set herself up to definitely get killed. It had, after all, been a while since she left the redhead alone, which would be more than enough time for Tara to do something to bring Willow's life to a quick end.
It pained Buffy to realize that, in order to save her own life, she was going to have to sacrifice Willow's. At least for the moment. Silently promising herself that she would find a way to come back for her, Buffy turned away from her pursuers and headed off, hoping that she would find help before she came under attack.
As Willow's mouth continued its exploration of the wet confines of Tara's own, the mounting pleasure, combined with the heat she was feeling, made her wonder for the briefest of moments if their lovemaking was causing the water around them to boil like a tea kettle on a oven element. A smirk formed on her face as she thought of the irony of the fact that making love in the water could produce that sort of feeling. "Hmm. Maybe I could use that as some sort of science experiment. Independent Variable: temperature of water. Dependant Variable: Amount of making out with hot blonde mermaid."
The pair had continued kissing after they had moved into the water, their hands exploring various erogenous zones on each other's bodies. Willow's breasts had been cupped by Tara, the scaled touch sending a shiver through the redhead's body. Their lips had pressed against each other's necks, though Willow had wondered if doing so would cut off Tara's air. Even though they were above water, and Tara certainly looked like she could easily breathe, Willow was worried that covering them would asphyxiate her new love.
"It will be OK," the blonde had said when asked that question.
They even dove underwater together, taking their lovemaking to the zero gravity environment that it afforded. Tara somehow knew that Willow would enjoy it, and Willow wanted to please Tara as much as the blonde wanted to please her. Tara knew, however, that they couldn't do it forever, as Willow would need to be able to breathe.
Willow slowly moved back towards the shallow end of the water, guiding Tara's head down to her center as her back hit the slippery rocks. Moving her hands to her sides, she slowly breathed as Tara, face now firmly planted between her thighs, began to taste what the redhead's sex had to offer. The blonde's tongue casually played across her mound, teasing her clit every so often as it licked away at the juices seeping out to mix with the surrounding water. Willow hissed as the blonde's tongue touched her exposed bundle of nerves, the sensations of her act, which under normal circumstances would be explosive in and of themselves, were magnified by her immersion in the water.
The redhead squirmed as Tara continued her exploration, tongue gliding across her slicked outer folds. Her breath came in gasps now, as all connections to her brain seemed to stop functioning. All her thoughts centered on Tara: on how much she loved the blonde and the enjoyment she derived from making love underwater to the beautiful woman Willow could now and forever call her soul mate.
"Tara," Willow moaned, sliding down to a seated position. Tara moved as she did, their bodies fused together and acting as one. Willow felt her blood rush from her head down to her lower region, the experience beginning to leave her a little lightheaded.
But through the fog clouding her brain, an idea emerged. If she was truly going to experience her first non-masturbatory orgasm, there was only one way she wanted to do it. Gently squeezing Tara's shoulders to catch her attention, Willow watched as the blonde's head broke through the surface of the water, water droplets dripping from her hair.
"Willow? Is everything OK?"
"Everything's fine, Tara," the redhead said in response. "It's just...well, I had my first...orgasm at the bottom of a pool, and I was kinda hoping, since I'm going to...it's the first...and I was wondering if..."
The smile that crossed Tara's face was tinged with caution. "But Willow, you can't..."
"I know," Willow admitted. Then a thought flashed through her brain. "Tara, you know that spell you did? To make me breathe underwater?"
Tara's smile lost the caution that had kept it from radiating the happiness she truly felt and became one consisting solely of love. Getting to her knees, she began to chant, her hand raised with two fingers outstretched. Willow closed her eyes, not only knowing what was about to happen, but eagerly welcoming it.
She heard Tara chant as before, but now that she could understand the meaning behind the words, they seemed almost...magical.
"Goddess Amphitrite, impart unto Willow the ability of breath, so that she may have that which she most desires. God Poseidon, may your wisdom and everlasting knowledge allow Willow to know how much this gift means to me, and how much it will bring us mutual enjoyment."
Willow smiled at the words, and as before, felt the warm light enveloping her in its loving embrace, the tendrils of energy working their way down her trachea. Unlike the last time, she made no effort to fight it.
She knew what it meant now. And where it would take her.
Buffy pumped her legs, desperate to get as far away from the two men as she could. Her movement was born out of desperation and panic. Without a clue as to her location, there was no way she could identify the area. And without any certainty that she was heading towards the shore, the blonde was forced to wonder if she was simply heading further out into the sea, increasing the odds that she was going to end up floating out in the middle of the ocean with only the fishes for company.
"Well, look at it this way, Buff," she thought absently. "Maybe I'll get to some area where they can't follow before they catch up to me."
She knew that the chances of that, however, were growing dimmer by the moment. Her exertion, combined with the weight of her equipment, was slowing her movement considerably. And as she checked her pressure gauge and saw that her air supply was running low, she realized that, one way or the other, she was going to die very soon.
"So my choices are death by drowning or death by knife to the gut? Not much of a choice there. Death is.."
She felt a hand grasp her leg and pull her back. Turning with a whimper, she caught sight of the man brandishing the knife in her direction. Regretting once more the fact that she had lost her own defensive weapon, Buffy moved to block the incoming strike.
The water made both movements languid, and thus the strike and block met one another with less force than intended. Undaunted, the man tried once again to strike at Buffy, who moved to avoid the attack, grunting at the exertion her movement caused. Acting on instinct, the blonde tried to draw air into her lungs as she prepared to defend herself against the inevitable third strike, but found that she could not. Panicking, she scrambled for the air pressure gauge, her heart turning to stone as she saw the needle planted firmly in the red zone.
Moving to unbuckle the now useless tank and buoyancy compensator, Buffy turned to see her attacker join up with his companion, the pair looking at her curiously before advancing on her once again, the one with the knife in the lead.
"At least I've got a weapon now," she thought, her cheeks puffing as she fought to keep the only oxygen she had left in her lungs. As her attackers swung in for the kill, she gathered her strength and swung her gear at them, the water once again slowing her movement. But it was a success, as the equipment caught one of the men square in the stomach.
Unfortunately, it was not the one with the knife, who swam over his partner and approached Buffy, knife raised to attack. The blonde turned to move, dropping the now useless oxygen supply as her hands moved to release her weight belt in the hopes of using it as a weapon as well. A cold hand grasped her ankle, and she moaned as she knew that her attempt to escape had once again blocked. Grunting with the combined exertion of having to hold her breath and release her weight belt, Buffy used her free leg to kick at the creature, attempting to get him to release his grip on her other leg.
Finally unlatching the weight belt, Buffy brought it up, intending to bring it down on the head of her captor. But before she could, an impact collided to her side, causing it to slip through her hands. Moaning again, she watched as it tumbled to the sea floor. Looking over, she saw the creature she had knocked out earlier several feet away, obviously the source of the impact she had suffered.
"Are these guys friends of Aquaman or something?" Buffy wondered as she turned around in time to see the man's companion swing his knife hand up, sending the blade directly into her side. Too physically exhausted to move, she could only watch as the blade impacted plunged directly into her body.
The act caused her to gasp out her remaining air, her natural instincts causing her to inhale the salted sea water as her breath was forced from her body. Convulsing, she kicked feebly at her opponent, hoping that her act would confuse the creature for a moment. Then, holding on to her side to try to stop the flow of blood, she slowly began to swim away, hoping that her attacker would not follow.
Buffy realized the futility of the action. The damage had been done. Lost in the middle of the ocean with no hope of rescue, combined with a knife wound on her side that had impacted deep into her body, all formed a crystal clear picture that told her that her life had come to an end. Ironically, as she fought to keep herself together long enough to find a way to get to shore, Buffy found herself thinking not about her own life, but Willow's. She could only imagine what was happening to her best friend at that very moment. And she was sad that she could do nothing to rescue her from the horrible dangers she was no doubt being subjected to.
Lying on the cave floor, Willow watched as the bubbles she blew rose to the surface. Tara's face, once more buried between her thighs, continued to pleasure her in ways she had never known before. She knew that Tara was enjoying the sensations as well, if the comforting squeeze given off by the blonde's hands against her thighs was any indication.
"Tara," she burbled, her voice rising in pitch as she felt her orgasm draw nearer. "Tara....TARA...TARA!"
Her center, filled with both water from the environment and her own secretions, finally erupted. Holding her breath, Willow tried to recreate the situation in which she had first experienced an orgasm. She knew, thanks to Tara's spell, that the fear of drowning was minimal. Still, she couldn't help but be taken back to that swimming pool thirteen years ago when she was a teenager, when she has brought herself to the peak of ecstasy on a single breath and unsure of where she belonged in the world. That night had been the start of a journey, of which meeting Tara, and making love to her, was the culmination.
Her own underwater goddess.
As Tara felt the shuddering aftershocks of Willow's breathtaking orgasm pass through her body, she also felt something else. Something that mixed with the feelings of warmth and happiness she felt like a dark cloud covering the sun. As her hands gripped Willow's body, Tara knew that something as monumental as the coupling between herself and the redhead had just taken place. The blonde could only hope that whatever it was wasn't going to affect the bond that had, with Willow's release, been fully formed. Once Willow returned to the surface, she would try to find out what had happened. She was so close now to bridging the gap between merpeople and humans, and she wasn't about to let anything spoil it now.
Even, if it came to it, meant going against the wishes of the Elders.
The merman with the knife watched as the human swam away, trying in vain to halt the blood from the wound he had inflicted on her. He knew that he should follow her to ensure her death and that the body could never be found. But he and his companion had traveled far from their territory, and the female had been alone and had nowhere to go.
There was no danger. The threat had been eliminated. And no one would know about it.
Though it had been a busy afternoon, Faith had little or no trouble with her section of the beach. In fact, as far as things normally went, it had been relatively peaceful. That's why the scream that shattered the immediate area shortly after noon caught her by surprise, if only for a moment.
Then she was into action, grabbing a float and springing down the tower ramp towards where she heard the scream erupt from. Reaching a young looking woman in a two piece blue bikini, she asked, "What's wrong?"
The woman, by this point in full blown hysterics, pointed out into the ocean. Faith followed her gaze and saw someone floating face down in the water. In moments, the brunette was running into the waves, float dragging behind her. Swimming out to where the figure was, she tried to turn it over in order to see who it was. Whoever it was looked pretty bad, as the water around the body was tinged in red. The brunette also thought she saw a deep wound in the person's side, but couldn't tell as she brought the body over, saw who it was and gasped.
It was Buffy.
Draping one arm across the blonde's body, Faith started back to the shore, her heart hammering in her chest. A million questions raced through her mind, each bringing up two more. What had happened to Buffy? Where was Willow? And, perhaps most important, was the blonde going to die?
"Not if I have anything to say about it," she thought with grim determination. Bringing Buffy's body to the sand, she looked up at the young woman who had pointed out her friend's body. "I need you to go get the walkie-talkie that's at my tower and bring it down here."
She looked up to find the woman frozen to the spot, mouth agape. "NOW!"
The woman bolted for the tower as Faith silently cursed the fact that she raised her voice to someone who didn't deserve it, not exactly helping her determination to squash the "feral predator" look she knew others thought her to have. But given the circumstances, she could hardly be blamed for her outburst. Buffy was the closest thing she had to a real friend in the past ten years, and she wasn't just going to sit here and watch her die. If that meant rubbing other people the wrong way, so be it.
The woman returned with the device, and Faith pressed the transmit button, shouting, "This is Faith Lehane at Tower 8. I need a medical team down here now!"
"Roger that, Lehane," came the reply. "We'll be down there in a few minutes."
Putting the walkie-talkie down in the sand, Faith moved to look at Buffy, her gaze turning to the wound at her side. Whatever had caused it definitely didn't look like something natural. It looked far too much like a knife wound for her comfort.
Moving her hand over to the zipper of the wetsuit Buffy wore, Faith hesitated. She wasn't too sure whether or not the blonde would like to be naked on the beach with other people watching. But she also realized that it was the only way she was going to get access to the wound in order for the paramedics to treat it.
With a great deal of hesitation, Faith's fingers closed in on the zipper, pulling it down slowly. She felt her hands start to shake as she began to work Buffy's limbs through the material, her touch as tender as if she were handling fine china, afraid that a tighter grip would snap the blonde's bones. As she brought the wetsuit down over the wound, she got a closer look at it, noting how deep the blade or whatever it was that had impacted her had gone. From the look of things, there had been a large blood loss, perhaps even rupturing of the internal organs. That realization told Faith that, no matter what she or the incoming paramedics did, Buffy was going to die.
Faith's eyes widened as Buffy turned, with some degree of difficulty, to look at her. The look on her face was a mix of anguish and genuine shock. "Faith! Thank God I made it to shore!"
Despite the situation, the brunette smiled, her eyes brimming with tears she tried to keep in check. "Hey, B. Nice to see you."
Buffy chuckled, an act that caused her to wince in pain. Faith moved over, her hands going to the wound on the blonde's side. "Don't worry, B. Everything's going to be all right."
Buffy let out a sound that Faith interpreted to be half moan, half chuckle. "Faith, you're a lot of things, but you're not is a good liar. I know you too well."
Faith smiled, her eyes brimming over with tears. "We've only known each other for a week, B. That's not enough time to make friends with anybody." She found her thoughts shifting from the horror in front of her to recalling the four year journey she had taken to get to where she was today, and the many friends she made and had to leave behind when her wanderlust took her to her next destination.
But most of them weren't what she would consider true friends. The kind of person she could spend time with knowing that the other person enjoyed her company as much as she did theirs. The kind of person with whom she could spend weekends together at the movies or the mall, hanging out and talking about boys, clothes and other things girls liked to talk about.
Buffy was the only one she could apply that label to. And fate had cruelly stepped in to take from her.
Faith wanted to know who had done this. She needed to find out. For her sake. For her sanity. And she wanted to make sure that they paid for this.
"Buffy," she said, her voice quivering. "Who did this to you?"
With a supreme Herculean effort, Buffy moved to get up, managing to get to her knees before collapsing into Faith's arms. Her breathing was becoming an effort, and a rather painful one at that. Her life was almost gone. But she had to tell the brunette what she could. She had to make sure that Willow was going to be found and rescued. That way, she could die knowing that her friend would be rescued alive and well.
"Faith...you have to...find them...Make sure that...Willow..."
Faith held onto Buffy's body, hoping to hear more, but it was not to be. A final, shuddering breath came from the blonde as she weightlessly collapsed against Faith's body, all signs of life extinguished.
The brunette held on to the body tightly, starting to rock back and forth as she began to cry. She did not hear the sirens approaching, the muttering of the tourists and townspeople around her, or the shouts of the approaching paramedics to get out of the way. Nothing else mattered to her but the cold dead weight pressing against her body.
And the sound of her anguished sobs.