AN: Anybody who guesses the reference in the title gets a cookie!

Disclaimer: We own nothing. Joss and Mutant enemy own everything.

AN2: Diverges from canon at Empty Places, Buffy Season Seven. And we took the liberty of placing Angel in the scene, even though he's supposedly off in L.A. That's why we're the authors! Mwahahahahaha hacks, coughs hahaha

Empty Spaces, Hollow Rooms

By Illyria and Lynxgoddess

Darkness. There was a great darkness in the beginning. When the universe pushed herself out of her mother's womb, there was only darkness to greet her. It was true for all things born. They are born from darkness, just like their many-many-many times great mother. So it didn't surprise Buffy Summers that when she died, darkness took her in its arms.

If Buffy Summers had time for a final thought or moment of reflection, she might have prayed for her family and friends, or she might have promised her love to a vampire. But for Buffy Summers, there was no last wish or speech. There was only blood and pain and the fight. That all-consuming desire to punch and kick, break and tear, to kill until all her foes lay dead around her and their blood was her body's main adornment. Then, Buffy Summers, the greatest Slayer to ever live, died, brought down by a horde of Turok-Han.

It was with great relish that the First turned to Caleb. A wicked smile stretched across its face as it morphed into Buffy Summers.

"She's mine, now," The First purred.

"Well, Hallelujah, the Almighty has triumph'd over the sinners in the end," Caleb said from the shadows next to the First. Looking over Buffy's form, he spoke. "The stain of the unclean has been removed and the way has been made for Hell on Earth."

The First looked to Caleb, and they walked towards the seal, down the stairs and into the cavern beneath. Upon reaching their destination, they saw the Turok-Han bring the mangled body of Buffy Summers out into the open.

"It's like a whole new world, isn't it? A temple without sin."

"Mighty, and beyond your comprehension. The Gods of Old have fallen and the decay of the world has begun." Turning to look over its army, the First spoke. "Forgive me, Father. For I am sin."

Later, if the Scooby Gang had time to reflect on how they had come to this point, they might have realized the moment they lost. But, given the state of apocalypse, there was no time for reflection or much of anything but panicking and planning.

There were about a dozen scared teenage girls living in the Summer's house. There were a bunch of Bringers running around trying to kill these same girls. The Uber-Vampire that Buffy faced had one or two friends also hunting them. The psychotic preacher and The First Evil were about to unleash Hell on Earth, and, on top of that, they were missing the Slayer. Well, the gang did have a Slayer, but she was a murdering bitch. So, yes, panicking and planning were the only ways to go.

What the Scoobies were selectively forgetting was that they had driven the Golden Slayer out of the house because she had led them into a trap. All of them, family and friends and Potentials, threw her out of the house. Faith was now in charge. And, at this particular moment in time, she was talking.

"Buffy was right! Them ugly fuckers are hiding something at the vineyard." Faith straightened up and slammed her fist into her palm, her tone angry and strained.

A sudden clapping noise startled the gang and, turning towards the source of the noise, to their astonishment, Buffy sauntered into the room looking at Faith.

"Give the girl a prize. Just might make a Slayer out of you yet."

Clad in black leather pants and a blood-red tank, with hair crimped and tousled as if she had gone out for a night at the Bronze, Buffy looked as stylish as ever, yet a hint of danger clouded her aura. As the shock of her just walking in after looking for her for a few days wore off, Giles spoke in breathless surprise, "Buffy?"

Dawn jumped off of the sofa and ran to Buffy. "Oh my God, you're here. You were gone and we couldn't find you anywhere." "Buffy?"

Buffy looked at Dawn for a moment before smiling slowly and reached out as if to hug her. The Scoobies plus Angel breathed in relief, taking it as a sign that Buffy would forgive them. Then Dawn gave a soft gasp as she fell to the floor. Standing perfectly still, Buffy smiled gently down at her sister as the blade in her hand dripped crimson liquid on to the floor.

"Dawnie, I need you to leave."

As the hole in Dawn's stomach continued to leak on the floor, Buffy turned to Faith. "Déjà vu. Brings back memories, doesn't it?"

Even though her stance was ready for battle, Faith's eyes and tone displayed her confusion. "Shit, B what did you just do?"

Turning completely towards Faith, Buffy spoke. "As a former guest of the California Penal System, I think you'd recognize first degree murder when you see it."

No one knew what to make of her sardonic tone or the fact that she had just killed her sister. But Angel, Buffy's true love, stepped up. "Buffy, this isn't you. It can't be you."

Taking a step towards Angel, Buffy smirked, and with a cock of her head, spoke. "Funny how often we exchange those words," as she gently trailed a hand down his chest, "isn't it, Lover?"

Looking into her eyes, Angel whispered with conviction. "I know you. You love Dawn; you died for her. You're a champion. You wouldn't do this!"

Spinning on her heel, Buffy moved a couple steps away. "I know you. Angelus. Or is it Angel now? It's kinda hard to keep track. Even when you're good, you go around killing a whole bunch of lawyers and setting people on fire. Doesn't seem very Champion-like to me." She threw a look over her shoulder to her former lover. "Then again, I guess your little seer can attest to that."

Finally, Willow realized what was going on and brought the others out of their stupor. Her red hair faded to black, black veins rose under her skin and her eyes darkened to ebony black. "Guys, get back! It isn't Buffy. It's the First." Her magic swirled around her as she attempted to expel the First from the house. "Leave, you don't belong here!"

The First smiled as the magic failed and Willow faded back to her normal look.

"I am here. I'm inside your heart. I'm inside your soul. I am the First. Before men knew the touch of the sun, I was there. From the moment of creation, I'm alive in you. Waiting for the moment when you give me control. "

Faith broke off the hypnotic spell of the First's words. "You talk big game. But you ain't got nothing to back it up." As she goes to attack the First, she falls through it. She looked back at the First, understanding it can make itself corporeal at will. The First began to circle Faith as it spoke.

"You never were one for many words, firecracker. Even when you're broken and bleeding inside, you couldn't find a way to tell anyone. Didn't know how to ask. Didn't know how to speak. Five by Five, isn't that right, Faith? The closest you could come."

Faith remained still as the First's mocking words washed over her. Suddenly the First was right in front of her and the look on its face was almost loving.

"You always were a girl of action. My actions, to be precise. When I whispered, you danced for me." The First lifted its hand to almost touch her face. "All the others turned from me. Not you. You drank of me; you swam in me. And the whole world drowned in our blood. You were true darkness. My child, my lover. You could have been the damnation of us all." An angry and disgusted look appeared on the First's countenance and it snarled. "But you denied me. For all those years, you kept me away. But now, I have to thank you. You opened the door and let me in, not just to you," The First spun away from Faith towards the Slayers-In-Training that had gathered near the door, "But to them. Potentials. Slayers. Champions of Light."

"It's my line now. My children. Born under the brightest star to burn away the darkness. So many little sacrifices. Lost little lambs." Smiling at the potentials, it continued, regardless of the looks of fear and horror on their faces. "I'll make you into wolves. Hungry, thirsty. Always hunting, never satisfied. Driven to devour the sun."

Xander's lack of brains made itself apparent with his statement. "We will be here to stop you."

The First stopped and swirled her attention to the Scoobies. "Family. Friends. The Slayer's saving grace. You damned her. Sent her into the night. Helpless. Alone. No more passion. You took it all. All that power, all that fight." With a look of hellish delight, it moved as if in a trance towards the Scoobies. "And in that moment, we feasted."

The looks of guilt and shame on everyone's face was evident as they remembered what they did to their friend. Willow hurried to speak, jumbling her words in her haste. "We love her. We could never hurt her. She-,"

The First laughed. "You threw out your light and now, you're running in the dark. I took your light and now it's broken. What's gonna guide you now? 'Cause in that darkness, that's where I'll be."

As everyone turned over the words of the First, Angel asked the question with fear and sorrow in his voice. "What happened to Buffy?"

"All in good time, my Love, all in good time." Looking at its wrist to a watch that wasn't there, "Well, I hate to murder and run, but I've got an apocalypse to plan. But for all those good time and all those good laughs, I have a present for you. Consider it a group gift." And the First blinked out of the house.

Hearing movement in the front yard, the Scoobies rushed to investigate. And wished they had never gone outside. Never listened to the First. Never doubted Buffy and thrown her away like garbage. But most of all, they wished that the broken body with shredded clothes, multiple claw marks and vamp bites wasn't their best friend, their only hope to win the final battle.

Caleb had brought Buffy's body home. 'It's the right thing to do,' he'd said. He waited as the First walked up the steps and into the house. Waited through the shouts and the magic. Waited for them to realize what they'd lost. So he wasn't surprised when the First appeared next to him. He wasn't surprised when the Do-Right gang came outside and saw their present. He wasn't surprised when the Light wept. And he was not surprised at the final words of the First Evil.

"No power in the 'verse can stop me."