Alternate Universe: Unexpected
Story Title: Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?
Chapter Title:


With a Little Help From My Friends


Time line:

Spans:  (In the Rome!Universe)

Early morning hours - the late evening of Sunday, June 28th, 2004



Joshua "JJ" Harris was born on April 21st, 2004

The twins (Danielle, "Dani" and William, "Billy") were born on February 12th, 2004

Annie turned five on February 14th.

Spike and Buffy have been married five years in February. (seems longer, doesn't it?)

Buffy turned 23 on January 19th.


All the Potentials were endowed with full Slayer power in February 2003.

Buffy and Spike learned of the other dimensions in May, 2003.



They've completed their missions, taking down the members of The Black Thorn ... now they await their fate in the alley behind the Hyperion as the Senior Partners' send the armies of hell for revenge.  Will more warriors make a difference when faced with such overwhelming odds?


Notes: Heartfelt thanks to my "ET" and wonderful Beta, PaganBaby, for her wonderful suggestions, much needed corrections and always appreciated encouragement!! 


Music Referenced:

With A Little Help From My Friends, Joe Cocker:



This story involves jumping dimensions to the Universe where Angel and his team work for W&H - where Buffy visited before and sent Spike to Rome to be with the Buffy in that dimension. In lieu of calling it the "EvilJoss!" Universe, which is what I normally call it in my own mind, I'm calling it the "Rome!" Universe. 

Where characters cross over (where the same character from both universes are in the story), I will differentiate the ones from the Rome Universe by calling them Rome!Spike or Rome!Buffy, for example.  If, however, only one of the characters is present, then I won't make that distinction.



Rating / Warnings:

NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY. Parents, it is up to YOU to control what your children are reading.


(Going back in time several hours)

7am, Sunday, June 28th, 2004


“Sir, I know this sounds crazy … it would be crazy if we worked in any other branch of the army … but we deal with demons and magic all the time,” Riley Finn told his superior officer, Captain Ellis.


“But a dream? … Finn – even for us that’s a little farfetched …” his Captain told him.


“Graham … tell him – tell him about Buffy and Willow – you know what they’re capable of …” Riley admonished his friend.


Graham shrugged. “We saw a lot of … unusual things in Sunnydale, sir. It’s possible what Finn’s saying is true.”


“Isn’t she the one that just married Hostile 17?” the Captain questioned, crossing his arms over his chest and looking at Finn. “I mean, how stable could she be?”


“Spike’s … I mean, Hostile 17’s ….” Finn started and stopped, sighing heavily. “Look – Buffy may have unusual taste in partners, but she’s not unstable or some kook off the street.  She’s The Vampire Slayer …”


“Married to a vampire …” Ellis pointed out.


Finn looked to Graham for help. “It wouldn’t hurt to check it out…send a couple of squads into the field …” Graham offered.


“The way Buffy talked, we’d need a platoon, at least – a company would be better,” Riley insisted, looking back at his Captain.


Captain Ellis mimicked picking up the phone. “Yes, Colonel? I need a company of men deployed to downtown L.A. … Why? Because my screw-ball First LT had a dream …”


“Fine!” Riley said, raising his hands in the air in surrender. “But when downtown L.A. is destroyed and the Colonel finds out that you could’ve stopped it, how do you think he’ll react? When he finds out you had advance warning and you did nothing you'll be busted back to a Buck Private and on KP duty peeling potatoes until retirement - if you're lucky!


“Buffy wouldn't have come to me and told me about this if it wasn’t true!  I don’t care that it was in a dream – it was Buffy, she was completely lucid, and this is real!”


The Captain sighed. “That’s extortion …”


“It’s only extortion if you know I’m right …” Finn pointed out.




(Back in time about an hour)

The Night of Sunday, June 28th, 2004

“Let me say this as clearly as I can. You cannot beat me. I am a part of them. The Wolf, Ram, and Hart. Their strength flows through my veins. My blood is filled with their ancient power,” Hamilton told Angel as they fought in the lobby of the Wolfram & Hart building in L.A.


The others had left for their missions, the building had been evacuated completely, not one security guard or secretary remained – even Harmony had finally left … her recommendation from Angel in hand.


Angel smirked as he stood in the lobby of W&H and faced Hamilton alone; all the other warriors had left earlier to complete their missions.  When he and Darla visited their son Connor the day before, Connor knew something was up … but Angel and Darla convinced him that they could handle it – he needed to stay as far away from L.A. as he could.


“Can you pick out the one word there you probably shouldn't have said?” Angel asked the bulking liaison.

Angel vamped out and launched himself at the liaison, his fangs sank deep into Hamilton’s neck and the blood, filled with the ancient power, flowed into Angel’s mouth.  Angel had tasted Slayer blood before – more than once, but this – this was beyond that – a thousand times more powerful.


Hamilton punched Angel and finally peeled the vampire off his neck, but the power of that blood, the ancient power of the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart, was coursing through Angel now.  Angel started back towards Hamilton, feeling more alive than he had since … well, since he had actually been alive.

“You don't really think you're gonna win this, do you? You don't stand a chance. We are legion. We are forever,” Hamilton informed him as Angel reached him and they began to fight anew – each giving as much as they got from the other until, finally, Angel got the upper hand.


“Then I guess forever...” Angel began, punctuating his words with blows to Hamilton’s face. “...just got a hell of a lot shorter.”


Just as Angel punched Hamilton with the final, killing blow – Angel felt the entire building begin to shake and shudder and a portal open behind him. Angel turned away from Hamilton’s motionless body, ready to take on the new threat, when Giles emerged from the portal. 


“I understand you have something that belongs to us,” Giles told Angel as he walked up to him, crossbow in hand.


Angel looked at him with confusion as Faith emerged from the portal and walked up behind Giles with Buffy’s scythe in her hand … and behind them even more Slayers with weapons of every description, flooded out of the portal in a seemingly never-ending stream.


“You need to get out of here!” Angel told Giles and Faith as columns began to fall around them.


“We aren’t going anywhere without them! Where are they?” Faith questioned Angel, pushing the stake end of the scythe against the vampire’s chest.


“Who?” Angel asked looking between Faith and Giles.


Giles raised his eyebrows. “Just how many people are you holding against their will?”


“None!” Angel retorted.


“Eeennnnttt!” Faith exclaimed, sounding like a game show buzzer, and she pressed the stake harder against his chest, breaking the skin. “Wrong answer!” she announced as the building continued to shake and come apart around them.


“Where are Buffy, Spike, Willow and Tara?!” Giles demanded, ducking a piece of plaster that fell from above them.


“Not here …” Angel hedged. “We need to go!”


“Eeennnnnttt!” Faith yelled again, pressing the stake until it hit bone. “Wanna try that again?”


“Ok! Fine … I don’t know where Buffy is … she left this morning. Spike and the witches are on missions … in fact, they’re probably waiting for me now in the alley behind the Hyperion. We really need to get out of here!”


“See, that wasn’t so hard, was it, Angel?” Giles asked, stepping to the side and waving is arm out, inviting Angel to lead the way as Faith lowered the stake.


“There’s more…” Angel said as he started walking towards the stairs. “…probably lots more than them waiting there.”


“Well, that’s why we brought some friends along…” Faith told Angel as they all followed him to the stairs.


“How did you know?” Angel asked Giles as they descended out of the building while it continued to shake and crack under their feet.


“Buffy – she came to me in a dream last night … said you were planning an apocalypse, among other things …”




(Back in time to when Spike and Buffy were in the dream with Annie)


Early morning hours, Sunday, June 28th, 2004


“Wake up now,” Spike said, and he was gone. 


Buffy sat alone on the bench made of Mounds bars, her mind still circling their situation like a shark … moving in and out … trying to see all possible weaknesses … any possible opening – any chance for escape or victory, when she suddenly had an idea.


If they could visit Annie in her dreams just by thinking about her, why couldn’t they visit other people’s dreams, too?


Buffy closed her eyes and concentrated. Giles, Giles, Giles, Rupert Giles she repeated to herself.  When she opened her eyes she was in the library at Sunnydale High.


“Giles?!” she called, walking from the stacks and down the stairs to the main lobby of the library.


“Buffy!” Giles exclaimed, coming out of his office.  “Is it time to train already?” he asked, looking at the clock.


“No … Giles, listen to me – we’ve got a problem, I need your help …”



When Buffy had finished filling Giles in on what was going on in the Rome!Universe, she closed her eyes again and concentrated. Riley Finn, Riley Finn, Riley Finn… oh, I should say the other dimension’s Riley Finn … not mine… c’mon magic, you know what I mean! Riley Finn…


When Buffy opened her eyes she was in an Army barracks – everything was dark and soldiers were sleeping in bunks that lined each side of the aisle.  Buffy saw a light coming from a partially open door at the end of the long room and walked towards it.


When she got to the door, she pushed it completely open. “Finn?” she called as she stepped inside.


“Oh my!” Buffy exclaimed as she took in the room.


Riley Finn was standing in front of a large desk, dressed only in his olive green t-shirt and boxers.


Sitting behind the desk was Spike, dressed like General Patton in army issue khakis and riding boots. His booted feet were propped up on the desk, he was smoking a pipe and idly slapping a riding crop against his leg.  Spike was in the middle of instructing Finn on the proper way to lick a superior’s boots.


“Ummm … Excuse me… General, umm, Spike – but could I borrow Riley just a minute?” Buffy asked looking between Spike and Riley Finn.


Spike tilted his head and furrowed his brow.  “That’s not regulation attire, soldier,” he informed Buffy.


“Yeah, I know … I just need to talk to Finn a minute – then you can have him back,” Buffy told him.


“Sir,” Spike corrected her.


“Excuse me?” Buffy questioned, becoming irritated – she didn’t really have time for these games.


“Then you can have him back, sir,” Spike clarified.


Buffy’s eyebrows shot up as she looked at Spike. “Sir, my ass …” Buffy started and Finn stepped in front of her.


“It’s best to just humor him … he gets cranky and makes you clean out the latrine if you don’t,” Finn told her in a low voice.


Buffy bit her bottom lip and nodded.  Putting on her best ‘army’ demeanor like she'd seen in the movies, she addressed Spike again.


“Sir! Riley Finn needs to come with me, sir.  He’ll be back forthwith, sir. Sir, yes, sir!” Buffy told Spike, standing up straight with her feet together and shoulders back.


“Much better, soldier … but that’s still not regulation dress … I think you need to remove all that non-regulation attire,” Spike told her with a smirk, taking his boots down off the desk and leaning forward in his chair.


“Riley!” Buffy exclaimed looking at Finn.


Riley held his hands up in surrender. “I didn’t say it, he did!”


“It’s your dream!” Buffy pointed out, but Riley just shrugged.


“Well, you can forget that, sir!” Buffy told General Spike. “You just stay here – I’ll send Riley back in a minute!” Buffy said as she grabbed Riley’s arm and steered him out of the office, closing the door behind them.


“Riley, listen to me. I know this is going to be hard to believe, but it’s real and it’s true. I need your help …”


When Buffy finished telling Riley about the apocalypse, she closed her eyes and concentrated again. Giles, Giles … the other Giles, this dimension’s Giles … Giles …


When Buffy opened her eyes she was back in the library at the old Sunnydale High School and she thought for a moment that it had brought her back to her Giles. She walked out of the stacks and down the stairs, just as she had before, but when she got downstairs she found Giles and Olivia sitting on a couch that had never been in the library before … they were making out!


Buffy cleared her throat before walking up to them and they looked up at her.


“Buffy… don’t you know it’s rude to interrupt other people’s dreams?” Giles asked her, putting his glasses back on.


“Really sorry about that…” Buffy told him. “But I have a plan and I need your help …”




(Back to the present)


The Night of Sunday, June 28th, 2004


The group in the alley, two Spikes, Rome!Buffy, Willow, Tara, Gunn and Illyria charged towards the oncoming mass of demons.


The sheer number of them was overwhelming … add onto that the fact that there were demons here that none of them had ever seen before or had any idea how to kill, and that made the situation that much more hopeless. But it didn’t matter, they were all Champions, warriors and they would fight to the end.  To go out fighting would be better than simply fading away.


Spike sent what he knew would be his final message to Buffy through the bond, Buffy? Are you safe?


Yes … safe – please be careful … please don’t be a hero.  I love you, Spike,” Buffy sent back.


I love you too, Buffy … give Annie and the babies my undying love … never let them forget that I love them…and you, with all my heart. Spike sent back to her before closing the bond as he vamped out and swung his sword at the first demon that came within reach.


Willow and Tara began a chant and fireballs began forming between them, spinning in fast circles then sling-shotting out at the demons.  They couldn’t make the balls too large, not like their magical sun, because of the two Spikes, but the fireballs frightened some of the demons, slowing them down, and killed some outright.  The faster they chanted, the faster the fireballs formed and flew out at the line of oncoming hell-beasts.


Rome!Spike and Rome!Buffy stood to either side and a few feet in front of the witches, swiping their swords across anything that looked like a neck on the demons they faced and trying not to let any get past them.  When it was clear that they wouldn’t be able to hold the throng off any longer, Willow and Tara changed tactics and began commanding, “Somnus!” and the demons that were in range of their magick dropped like stones – unconscious on the ground.


Spike and Gunn joined Rome!Spike and Rome!Buffy in guarding the witches and dispatching the fallen demons as Willow and Tara continued switching back and forth between throwing fireballs to commanding sleep of the oncoming horde.  When Wesley and Rome!Willow arrived, they also joined in the fray – with Rome!Willow helping with the magick and Welsey with the slaying.


Meanwhile, Illyria took on the other 30,000 demons herself. Fighting on the other side of the alley, she dispatched three and four demons at a time with god-like blows from her fists and feet and by using her time-altering powers to slow them down.


When a demon would slip by the group or get the upper hand against one of the Champions, the others would come to their aid … it didn’t matter what dimension they were from – they were all comrades … they all fought as one.  They would win together or die together … there was no choice now.




Angel, Giles, Faith and the thirty other Slayers that Faith had brought with them from the other (Unexpected) dimension, got to the alley after the fighting had begun and circled around to catch the demons from the rear. They entered the alley several blocks down from the Hyperion, and caught the throng momentarily off guard as they attacked the demons from behind.


Soon, the demons were waging the war on two fronts … one against the Champions on the north end of the alley behind the hotel and the other against the Slayers, Giles, and Angel, at the south end of the alley.


Faith used Buffy’s scythe to behead the demons that came within reach of her; the powerful scythe cut through them like a warm knife through butter.  Her fellow Slayers, along with Angel and Giles, weren’t as lucky – having just regular swords, battle-axes, knives, stakes and crossbows, but they guarded each other’s backs and there were many more demons falling than Slayers.


Without warning, a third front opened up on the demon horde. Army helicopters flew overhead and rained rockets and bullets down on the demons below as a company of specially trained men and women marched on the alley from the west.  They intersected the long line of demons halfway between the other two fronts and began to cut a swath across the mid-section of the snake-like mass of monsters.


Suddenly, a flying dragon began attacking the helicopters, breathing fire on them and sending the choppers plummeting wildly out of control to the ground.  Pieces of the helicopters flew in all directions as they bounced off the pavement…killing more demons, but also raining shrapnel down on the Champions and Slayers that were fighting in the alley.


The demons seemed to view the newcomers as the biggest threat and many of them turned and began attacking the soldiers and their machines.  As the demons turned en masse to face the new attackers, the Slayers and Champions followed them, attacking from behind and moving closer and closer to the center of the horde … and closer and closer to each other.


The three witches stayed behind the fighters, they were all soaked to the skin and beyond, if that was possible. The freezing rain had never let up, but they seemed oblivious to it – their adrenaline and fear made the rain barely noticeable. 


Suddenly, one of the demons that appeared to be dead sprang up and attacked Gunn, slicing a deep wound across his chest and abdomen.  Spike ran to his aid and dropped the demon with one angry blow as Gunn slumped onto the dirty pavement.


Spike knelt beside him, holding Gunn’s head up off the hard ground. “You're supposed to wear the red stuff on the inside, Charlie boy,” Spike told him – knowing that the wound was mortal – Gunn wouldn’t live another minute at the rate his blood was pouring out.


“It’s always … about the … blood … with you fang-boys,” Gunn told Spike with a small smile as he tried to breathe. “You should…really think about…branching out…”


“Yeah, should do that …” Spike agreed as Gunn’s heart stopped beating and he went limp in Spike’s arms.  “Sorry, Charlie boy … save me a seat,” Spike told him softly as he laid Gunn gently down on the ground. Spike picked his sword up, got back to his feet, and began to attack again with renewed vigor. 


When another one of the helicopters fell from the sky, everyone instinctively turned their backs and ducked as shrapnel flew at them. In that instant, a large, multi-armed demon with long, razor-sharp claws, jumped over the fighters and lunged at the trio of witches, heading straight for Tara, who had her back turned to it.


Rome!Willow jumped up just as the demon thrust its razor sharp claws at Tara. “NO!!” Rome!Willow screamed as she stepped between the demon and Tara and the demon’s claws sliced into her, punching five holes all the way through to her back and instantly covering her abdomen, chest and back with blood.


“WILLOW!” Tara screamed as Rome!Willow collapsed onto the wet ground, holding her stomach – her eyes wide in shock, pain, and terror. 


Willow commanded, “Somnus!” just as Rome!Spike and Rome!Buffy turned to see what had happened.  Rome!Spike decapitated the demon with one blow while Rome!Buffy rushed around it to check on Rome!Willow.


Tara was sitting on the hard, dirty pavement holding Rome!Willow in her arms. The cold rain pounded down on them as Rome!Willow’s blood poured out, mixed with the rain, and ran in red rivers down the alley. 


Rome!Buffy knelt beside her, but then heard Rome!Spike calling for her … she didn’t want to leave her friend, but the demons had turned back and were attacking them in force again.


“Take care of her?” Rome!Buffy asked Tara and Tara nodded sadly as tears welled in her eyes. 


“I’m … fine,” Rome!Willow told her between shallow breaths.


“SLAYER!” Rome!Spike called again as he tried to defend not only his area, but hers. 


“I know you are … you’ll be fine,” Rome!Buffy told her as tears welled in her eyes too. “You have to be … I need you … how will I ever finish college without you to help me?” Rome!Buffy asked her with a sad smile.


Rome!Willow coughed and blood came out of her mouth, spattering her face. “You … can do it …” she told Rome!Buffy. “You’re … a smart … girl.”


“SLAYER!” Rome!Spike called again as he was getting pushed back by the horde of attacking demons.


Rome!Buffy leaned down next to Rome!Willow’s ear. “I love you, Willow,” Rome!Buffy told her friend, taking her hand in hers.


“I …love…you…Buffy,” Rome!Willow told her between shallow breaths. “I’m…fine…”


“BLOODY HELL! SLAYER!” Rome!Spike screamed as a demon cut a large gash across his chest before he could dispatch it.


Rome!Buffy gave Rome!Willow a tender kiss on the forehead before jumping back up and joining her husband on the frontlines.


Willow knelt down next to Tara as Tara tried to shield Rome!Willow’s face from the rain.


“Why? Why!” Tara asked, looking up to the sky - her tears falling unseen as they mixed with pouring rain on her face. “It should’ve been me!! Why!?”


Rome!Willow reached a bloody hand up to Tara’s face. “Have you … ever really… loved a woman?” Rome!Willow asked her – her voice barely a whisper, her breathing shallow and labored.


“Yes … yes, but,” Tara started to answered her through her tears.


Rome!Willow pressed her fingers to Tara’s lips, silencing her. “Then…you…know…why…” Rome!Willow told her – her speech slow and labored as she tried to breathe.


“You … were … the best … part of me … Let you down … too much … not again … never … again,” Rome!Willow explained as she coughed and more blood came out of her mouth and nose.


Rome!Willow looked off to the other side and away from where Tara was holding her. 


“Tara’s here … can you … see her?” Rome!Willow asked, reaching a bloody hand out into seemingly empty space.


Willow and Tara looked where Rome!Willow was looking and saw a ghostly figure moving towards them.  It floated right through demons and Champion’s alike, as it made its way to the witches.


When it got near it was clear that Rome!Willow was right … it was Tara.  She was dressed in a white flowing dress…her hair was pulled up on top of her head with just a few ringlets hanging down around her face and she was bathed in a warm, golden light. 


Ghostly Tara reached out and took Rome!Willow’s hand in hers.


“Tara …” Rome!Willow called softly as she went limp in Tara’s arms.


“NO!” Tara screamed as she pulled Rome!Willow against her chest and rocked back and forth. Willow put her arms around Tara and held her tightly as Tara continued to hold Rome!Willow’s broken and lifeless body against her chest and chant, “No, no, no …”


“She’s gone,” Willow told Tara softly. “She’s with her love now … she’s with her Tara.”




Angel and Giles stood shoulder to shoulder as they fought the horde that the Senior Partners had sent up from hell – Slayers of every description to either side of them, all fighting for their lives.  It was clear that Giles was getting exhausted … he was a shopkeeper now and rarely even worked out with Buffy any more – fighting an unending line of hell-beasts wasn’t exactly in his repertoire at the moment.


Angel tried to take up the slack and stepped ahead of the ex-Watcher to take the brunt of the attack himself.  He knew this wasn’t the Giles that he had known in Sunnydale … but he was sure they had the same soul … the same commitment to Buffy and to the fight, so it didn’t matter.  He would do what he could to protect him, because, despite everything Angel, as Angelus, had done to Giles, Giles had ultimately forgiven him – and that was saying a lot.


A demon got past Angel and swiped a claw at Giles before Giles could defend himself.  Suddenly, Giles’ shirt was stained with a long line of red and he dropped to his knees.  Angel turned and thrust his sword into the beast’s back, killing it.  As Angel called for help from one of the Slayers and tried to move Giles back away from the frontline, another demon attacked, knocking Angel down with a violent blow from behind. 


Angel rolled to his back and saw the beast raise a sword-like hand above his neck and start down with it … there was no time to react, no time to move or defend himself … this was it – Angel knew in that instant what it was like to be mortal, he was sure he would be dust within a millisecond and he instinctively closed his eyes to await his fate.


After several seconds, when nothing happened, Angel opened his eyes and looked up … Lindsey was standing over him – he’d taken out the sword-beast and was fighting back more demons as they continued to attack, swinging his sword with expert timing and accuracy. 


Lindsey stole a look back as Angel scrambled to his feet and picked his own sword back up from the pavement. 


“Never tried fighting laying on my back with my eyes closed,” Lindsey told him as Angel came up next to him and began fighting again. “How’d that work out for ya?”


“What are you doing here, Lindsey?” Angel asked through a clenched jaw as he fought.


“Apparently, saving your sorry ass!” Lindsey pointed out as he continued fighting, as well. “What, you thought you’d keep all this fun to yourself?  All these pretty girls with weapons … tsk, tsk, Angel! You’re a greedy mother-fucker…”




The battles raged up and down the cold, dark alley.  Many hundreds of demons fell, but there always seemed to be one more to take their place. The Champions, the Slayers and the soldiers were beyond cold, beyond wet, beyond exhausted, but still they fought. 


The Champions had lost Rome!Willow and Charles Gunn, Faith’s group had lost two Slayers with three more badly injured. Giles had a deep gash across his abdomen, but seemed to be stable for now; they’d stopped the bleeding and field-bandaged his wound the best they could. The soldiers had lost innumerable men and women and three helicopters before finally taking out the fire breathing dragon with a surface-to-air missile.


Just when it appeared that the demons were about to gain the upper hand and squash the remaining Champions, Slayers and soldiers, a fourth front of attack opened up on them with fresh fighters.


Buffy, Rome!Giles and Andrew led Slayers from this dimension and came in from a side road, attacking from the east … directly across the alley, but down one block, from the soldiers – closer to the hotel. 


Buffy looked in vain for Spike … but they were too far away and there were still too many demons to be able to see him.  She thought of opening the bond … telling him that she was here, but was afraid it would distract him … so she kept the bond closed and simply concentrated on killing anything that was between her and her husband.


Yes, she’d promised that she would go…she hoped that Spike would forgive her for not keeping her word – but she couldn’t leave him to this fate without knowing that she’d done everything in her power to save him … to save them all.  


She was THE Slayer … Spike had told her that enough times. It wasn’t in her nature to run away … it wasn’t her Calling to hide from the demons – it was her Calling to face them – alone if necessary, with a little help from her friends, if possible.


And so her plan was formed as she sat alone on the bench in Annie’s chocolate dream world. She’d always had friends and family to help her fight the demons, that’s what had made her the longest living Slayer in history. But this would call for more than the Scoobies … more even than the group that Angel had assembled, if there was any hope of winning – and not winning was not an option; losing Spike was not an option.


So, after Spike woke up and left the chocolate dream world, Buffy made a few dream visits of her own … to Giles, to Riley Finn and to Rome!Giles, and she recruited them all to help – to bring as many Slayers or soldiers as they could gather quickly and meet at the Hyperion hotel this night as close to sunset as they could manage. 


Rome!Giles called in Slayers from California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and even a few from Mexico, to fight.  It had taken longer than they’d hoped to get back to L.A. from Las Vegas and meet up with the Slayers … Buffy hoped that it hadn’t taken too long.  She kept wanting to leave Rome!Giles and Andrew to handle getting the Slayers rounded up and here, but Giles insisted that she stay with them.


“You won’t do your family or Spike any good if you’re dead, Buffy,” Rome!Giles had told her.  “And that’s what you’ll be if you run head-long into that battle with no back-up.


“I may not be your Watcher, but I’m still a Watcher, and I must insist that you wait for us all.  I know you’re probably not used to following direction … if you’re anything like our Buffy…but you need to heed my advice on this matter.”


And so, Buffy waited impatiently for them to gather all the Slayers they possibly could and get them organized and here. 


As the rain continued to fall, Buffy led the thirty Slayers from this dimension into battle against the devil’s army. No sooner had they begun fighting, than a series of loud explosions erupted from the alley knocking everyone to the ground – demons, Slayers, Champions and witches alike. 


Buffy lay on the wet ground and covered her head and ears with her arms as the explosions continued for what seemed a lifetime. The soldiers had begun launching concussion grenades at the demons – and they weren’t stopping.


Buffy could feel shrapnel, made out of pieces of demon bone, scales and claws, flying over her head and heard girls behind her scream out as pieces of the demon debris hit them. Then she felt a sharp burning pain in her leg and she screamed into the pavement as a piece of razor-sharp claw lodged in her upper thigh.  Buffy reached down instinctively to cover the painful injury and felt hot, wet liquid covering her thigh…blood - and lots of it. 


“Fuck!” Buffy exclaimed as she pulled the disembodied claw out of her leg and pressed her hand hard against the bleeding wound in an attempt to staunch it. 


Finally, the bombing stopped and the alleyway went perfectly still and quiet.  Buffy tried to sit up to look at the wound, but as she did, she got dizzy, lost consciousness, and collapsed back onto the pavement as her blood continued to flow out of her body and join the blood of a thousand demons on the dirty ground of the alley.




Buffy’s unconscious mind spun and twirled and suddenly she was hanging by one hand high above the alley – she looked up to see Spike, holding their baby daughter to his side with one hand and holding Buffy’s hand in a steel grip with the other, trying to pull her back onto the fire escape. 


Buffy looked down, but instead of Glory hanging onto her legs, it was Angel trying to pull them all down. 


“You didn’t keep your promise, luv,” Spike told her through clenched teeth as he struggled to pull her up and keep his hold of Annie at the same time.


“I’m sorry … I thought … I thought I could save you,” Buffy told him as she kicked her feet to try and get Angel off, but all that kicking just pulled Spike and Annie further over the edge of the fire escape.


“You gonna give up this time, Slayer?” Spike asked her, game face on, as he struggled to stop sliding further off the fire escape.


“I can’t do it without you,” Buffy told him with tears in her eyes.


“And our family can’t make it without you, Buffy,” Spike told her as he slid further off the platform.  “Keep your promise.”


Buffy took her free hand and clamped it over Spike’s where he was holding her, but instead of peeling his fingers off, she held on tighter and tried to pull herself, along with Angel, back up.


Spike slid a few inches more and stopped … his belt buckle caught on the small lip along the edge of the platform.  Buffy pulled harder, gripping his arm and pulling herself up until she could reach the platform with her hand.  Buffy continued to climb and to struggle against Angel, who was pulling and twisting her legs and trying to pull them down, until she’d finally gotten her chest back up onto the platform.


She climbed over Spike, pulling on anything she could reach, the platform or him, until her whole torso was back on the fire escape.


“Bloody pillock!” Spike cursed as he drew back his now free hand that had been holding Buffy and swung at Angel, but Angel let go of Buffy, caught Spike’s hand in mid-punch and yanked hard, pulling Spike down with him. 


When Angel let go of her, Buffy easily scrambled the rest of the way onto the platform. She turned around just in time to see Spike push Annie away from him as Angel pulled him off the fire escape.


“SPIKE!” Buffy screamed, grabbing Annie with one hand and reaching for her husband with the other.  Buffy’s hand caught on Spike’s boot momentarily, but his momentum was too much and he slipped out of her grasp.


Buffy pulled Annie against her as her empty hand reached over the side of the fire escape towards her husband. When she looked over the edge, there was nothing but darkness below …




“Buffy …. Buffy, are you with us?”


Buffy’s eyes fluttered open and she saw Andrew kneeling over her, pressing down hard on her thigh and the wound there.


“Thank goodness! You totally scared me there for a minute!  I had a flashback to the brave and foxy Lt. Tasha Yar being cut down in the line of duty by the malevolent entity, Armus, on Vagra 2 in ST:TNG season 1, episode 22, 'Skin of Evil',” Andrew lamented as he continued putting pressure on her wound.


“Spike …” Buffy moaned, her hand going to her head as she tried to get it to stop spinning.  She tried to figure out what Andrew was saying. Was he actually speaking English and she was too light-headed to understand him or was speaking some other language … she really wasn’t sure.


Andrew looked behind them at the mass of still bodies – all the demons were either dead or dying … there was very little movement of any kind coming from the alley.


“I don’t know … no one’s seen him,” Andrew told her sadly. “We haven’t seen anyone else …”


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  Hear the Beatles song, "With a Little Help From My Friends" performed by Joe Cocker:
  What would you do
If I sang outta tune
Would you stand up
And walk out on me?

Lend me your ears
And I'll sing you a song
I will try not to sing outta key
'Be outta tune'

'Oh baby high, without no key'
(High with a little help from my friends)
'All I need is my buddies'
(High with a little help from my friends)
'I say I'm gonna get even higher, all I want'
(High with a little help from my friends)
'Whoa-oh whoa-oh, oh yeah'

What do I do when my love is away
(Does it worry you to be alone?)
'How do I feel at the end of the day?'
(Are you sad cause you're on your own?)
'l can't, don't even say it no mo'

(By with a little help from my friends)
'Gonna get by without a friend, with a little tune'
(High with a little help from my friends)
'Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm gonna'
(Try with a little help from my friends)
'People there that I know of'

(Do ya need anybody?) (Do ya need any money)
'I need someone to love'
(Could it be anybody?)
'All I need is someone to love'
'Won't you try, oh yeah'
'Some love between your soul, now'

(High with a little help from my friends)
'Say I'm gonna beg you as my friends, with a little help'
(By with a little help from my friends)
'Whoa-ho, I wanna keep on tryin, with a little
(Try with a little help from my friends)
'I'm gonna keep on tryin', now and then'

(Would you believe in a love at first sight?)
'I'm certain it happens all the time, yeah'
(What do you see when you turn out the light?)
'I can't tell ya, but it sho' feels like mine'
(By with a little help from my friends)
'Don't you know I'm gonna make you a lot happier'
(High with a little help from my friends)
'I'm gonna sing about good-byes'
(By with a little help from my friends)
'Said I'm gonna try and love her too, Lord)

(Do ya need anybody?)
'Whoa-ooooh-ooooh, yeah, yeah, yeah'
(Could it be anybody?)
'Oh, it's gotta be someone like you'
'Going to be, but not your lies
Someone better babe, to choose
'Whoa, yeah, yeah'

(By with a little help from my friends)
'Said I'm gonna get by without prayers, little girl'
(Try with a little help from my friends)
'Oh, never want a cheater with lies
(By with a little help from my friends)
'Keep on talking about friends, oh Lord'
(By with a little help from my friends)
'Whoa, you never know it's got no hope'
(High with a little help from my friends)
'I'm gonna keep on trying'
(By with a little help from my friends)
'Gettin' high, I wanna make time, oh Lord'
'Gonna get by with my friends, yeah'

'Whoa-oh, I'm gonna get on by'
'Yes, I'm gonna get on by, girl'
'I won't sit alone, alone and cry'
'I won't tell you I'm lonely, girl'
'Can't hear me, now'

'Thought you were lookin' at the way I feel
And the warning sign in my eyes'
'Whoa, I'm gonna take my friends along with me'
'And then away we go'
'Everywhere we go we're gonna be on the same road.