Alternate Universe: Unexpected
Story Title: Everything I Own

Chapter Title:


Lean On Me

Chapter Summary:


The trials are taking their toll on Spike … Buffy wants to stay with him, but he insists that she wake up if she can, it’s the only chance to fix things before it’s too late.


Time line:

February, 2005



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

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

Annie was born on February 14th, 1999

Spike and Buffy  were married in  February 1999

Buffy was born January 19th, 1981

William/Spike was turned by Dru in 1880; first came to Sunnydale in September of 1997


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

Buffy and Spike learned of the other dimensions and got the memories from the 'Rome' Universe in May, 2003.



Some dialogue from canon, written by Douglas Petrie

“Scream ‘Montresor’”, from canon dialogue, is in reference to Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, The Cask of Amontillado:

Music Referenced:

Lean on Me – Bill Withers


ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise:


Thanks: Thanks so much to Paganbaby for her continued support and wonderful ideas. I especially needed her help with this story because of the complexity of it! {{Thanks PB!}}

Thanks also to 'u2fan2005' and 'epd4' for their suggestions, corrections, and help betaing this chapter!!

And last, but not least,  a huge thanks to Vette for the Manip of Henry Weckerly ... Spike's father.

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.


Early evening, Friday, February 11th, 2005:

Dawn cleaned Buffy’s wound for the seventh time in the last fourteen hours since she’d ‘rescued’ her sister from the hospital.  It wasn’t getting any better and Buffy hadn’t awoken.  Dawn was starting to worry that she’d done the wrong thing. She had been so sure that getting Buffy off the coma-inducing drugs and letting her wake up would be the key to her sister’s cure, but it wasn’t working.




Buffy shivered and trembled and tried to curl into as small a ball as her shoulder would allow on the cold floor of the cave.  Spike was gone again and her fever and infection had been getting worse and worse since the werewolf attack.  Each time Spike disappeared, she worried that he wouldn’t come back – that the angels or demons or whatever was holding the inquisitions would damn him to hell and not let him return.


At his insistence, she had tried her hardest to wake her physical body up and leave this place, but it had never worked. It broke her heart to think of him being alone here with no one to give him any comfort or help, but she also knew that she couldn’t fix anything from here; she had to go back to the physical world to have any hope of setting things straight. Her heart was conflicted beyond reason – not wanting to leave him but knowing that she must in order to save him; it was tearing her apart.


Just as Buffy’s mind was drifting back into a fever induced sleep, Spike rolled across the floor and slammed into her with enough force to roll them both another three feet across the cold sand floor of the cave. Buffy screamed out in pain as all the bones in her shoulder and arm seemed to shift and stab into her flesh.


Spike jumped up and ran as far away from her screams and moans as he could get. He crouched like a frightened child against one wall of the cave, squeezed his eyes shut, and covered his ears with his arms to block out her cries. “No, no, no… didn’t mean it – don’t hurt the girl. Didn’t mean to hurt the girl. Bad man … bad, bad man!  No soul – no good, you are … rubbish is all … beneath her, far, far beneath…”


Buffy’s heart was racing from the excruciating pain that radiated from her shoulder and permeated her whole body. She writhed on the floor, trying to get into a position that would minimize the agony she was in, but nothing seemed to stop it.  Buffy tried to breathe through it, tried to get the discomfort back to a level she could live with, so she could go to Spike.  After several minutes, she finally pushed herself up and crawled on her knees and one arm over to where he was huddled, trembling and frightened, against the wall.


 “Spike,” she said softly as she reached out a hand and touched his arm.


“Hey, hey, hey! No touching!” he exclaimed as he jumped away from her, scrambling on all fours along the wall of the cave before stopping a few feet away.


Buffy sighed heavily, she hated seeing him like this – she’d do anything to take his pain away. She wished that she could just once go with him to the trials … just once. She wanted desperately to rip the hearts out of those … whatever they were, who stood in judgment of him, just like they were ripping Spike’s heart out.


Buffy moved slowly over to him and laid her hand on his arm. “Spike, baby…” she whispered and he looked up at her with wide eyes.


 “Am I flesh? Am I flesh to you? Feed on flesh. My flesh. Nothing else. Not a spark. Oh, fine. Flesh then. Solid through,” he announced sounding lucid but making no sense.


Spike stood up and began unzipping his pants. “Get it hard; service the girl. Flesh on flesh …”


“Spike, no, baby.” Buffy winced in pain as she struggled up to her feet in front of him, then laid her hand on his, stilling it.


“Right. Girl doesn't want to be serviced. Because there's no spark. Ain't we in a soddin' engine?” Spike asked, looking around the cave.


“No … we’re in a cave – in limbo,” Buffy tried to explain to him.


“Ha!! No sparks in caves! No flesh, no salt to spill … no worries then, it can wait – wait for the girl. Won’t be long – what’s the time? Train’ll be along in a bit … won’t be long now,” Spike announced confidently. “Steam or diesel? No electric – no great sparks with electric motors … need steam or diesel…fire and sparks.”


Buffy blew out a long breath. “Spike, baby … come sit down, ok?” she suggested, motioning towards the floor.


“It’s not proper! That’s your problem, no proper etiquette … no education, no manners! Proper breeding, that’s what’s lacking!” he exclaimed as he started pacing back and forth across the sand floor. “A disgrace, it is! Scream ‘Montresor’ all you like, pet, there’ll be no porridge for you!”


Buffy laid her hand on his shoulder when he got within arm’s reach and he stopped and looked at her as if was the first time he saw her. “Buffy…”


“Spike, baby – come sit down,” she said softly, motioning with her head towards the nearest wall of the cave. “It’ll be ok.”


“Right …” Spike replied as he plopped down heavily on the cold floor, pulling his knees up to his chest, wrapping his arms around his legs, and dropping his head down on top of his knees.


Buffy sat down gingerly beside him and wrapped her good arm over his shoulders, leaning her head against his arm. After sitting for several minutes in silence, Buffy asked, “What are you thinking?”


Spike turned his head to the side to look at her. “Nothing. If I don't move, if I don't think, if I don't listen to the voices, then I won't much.”


“Oh, baby…” Buffy sobbed as she dropped a soft kiss on his cheek. “Lean on me – let me help.”


Spike snorted softly, dropped his head back down on his knees, and leaned his body into Buffy as tears stung his eyes. “You help more than you know, pet,” he said softly. “Only thing that keeps me clingin’ to this side of sanity is your love.”


Tears rolled down Buffy’s cheeks as she stroked her hand gently over his back, trying to give any comfort she could to him.  How long could this go on?  How many trials could he stand before he completely lost his mind? Was this part of the punishment?


“I’ll fix it, baby … I promise that I will,” she murmured against his ear as he leaned against her.


Spike nodded against his knees – if anyone could fix it, it would be Buffy, but he held no illusions – time was running short, his time was running short… it wouldn’t be long now before the trials would be over and his fate would be sealed.


Spike turned to look at her as he wrapped one arm around her back and held her body against his. “Promise me one more thing, luv,” Spike whispered to her.




“If I … if you…” Spike closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “If you can get our babies back, but not me – you do that.”


“Spike … no, I’ll get you all back,” Buffy assured him, looking into his eyes.


Spike nodded but insisted, “I know … I know you’ll try, but you have to promise me with your soul, Buffy – if I’m lost, you fight for our babies. You give them the life they deserve … you tell them that I loved them more than …” Spike’s voice broke with emotion and he closed his eyes and cleared his throat, trying to keep his voice even.  “I love them more than I could say – if I’m gone, they’ll hold my soul within them. Promise me.”


Buffy nodded solemnly as tears ran down her face. “I promise…” she whispered, “with my soul.”


“I wish I could stay with you forever, Buffy … but you know you have to go – you have to get out of here. It’s the only chance to get our babies back,” Spike whispered to her sadly.


“I don’t want to leave you alone,” Buffy admitted softly.


“I’m never alone as long as you’re in the world … your love is like a shroud, it’s with me always, pet. It’s my light on the darkest of nights; it’s the thing I lean on when I can’t take another step. Go back, find a way to get our babies back … I’ll be ok, trust me.”


Buffy nodded against his shoulder. “I’ll try … I’ll try to wake up.”


“That’s m’ girl … my beautiful, strong Slayer … I love you so much,” Spike whispered, dropping a kiss on her forehead.


“I love you too.”




“Buffy! Buffy, stop!” Dawn screamed as she tried to hold her sister still on the floor in the kitchen of the borrowed flat.  Buffy was screaming and writhing in pain – what the cause of the pain was, Dawn had no idea.  Buffy finally stopped moving and screaming, but her heart was racing, her breathing was labored, and her skin was flushed and covered with a heavy layer of perspiration.


“God, Buffy…” Dawn moaned, unsure what to do now.  Should she take Buffy back to the hospital or keep waiting? Her resolve was waning; her certainty that Buffy would wake up and be able to fight the infection basically on her own was fading.


It had been three days since Dawn and Andrew had liberated Buffy from the hospital, and still her sister hadn’t awoken and her infection was worsening almost by the hour.  Plus, Dawn wasn’t able to give her IV fluids … she wasn’t sure how long Buffy could go without food or water, especially while trying to fight an infection that seemed to have a life of its own.


“It’ll be ok,” Buffy murmured in her sleep as Dawn turned her back onto her side and off her injured shoulder.


“I hope you’re right…” Dawn muttered. “I wish you’d wake up … you really need to wake up.”


“I’ll try … I’ll try to wake up,” Buffy muttered as she shifted positions on the floor to try and get more comfortable.


Dawn let out a long breath and sat back on her heels.  “Good … that’s good – try hard.”




Spike held Buffy as she slept … he didn’t sleep if he could help it. He didn’t want to miss one moment with her … he knew that any moment could be his last, and if she didn’t leave this dimension soon, any moment could be her last, as well.  Spike stroked a finger softly down from her forehead to her chin, brushing her short hair back from her face – a face that he vowed to never forget.


“I’ll find you again, my love,” he whispered to her. “In another life … one day my soul will be freed and will find yours, I promise you that – if it takes a hundred years or a thousand, I’ll never give up. I’m like a moth to your flame – drawn to you as surely as demons walk the earth.


“I’m sorry I bollixed this one up. I’m so sorry, Buffy…” Spike sobbed as he held her.  He wanted nothing more than to make her happy; to see her beautiful smile, to hear her laugh again … with the hell they were living in, it seemed like years since she’d done either. 


Suddenly Buffy’s whole body seemed to flicker … like a florescent light that won’t quite come on … fading out then coming back again.  He would’ve prayed that meant she was waking up and not that she was dying, but he was positive that his prayers were on the ‘blocked caller’ list at the moment.  When she flickered out and back into his arms again, he woke her up by gently kissing her lips.  Buffy opened her eyes slowly and looked into his – their souls seemed to join for that moment, frozen in time, as they drowned in the deep pools of each other’s eyes.


“I love you – always and forever,” Spike whispered to her. “Never forget…”


“I love you too, Sp…” she said and she was gone.


Spike waited, but she didn’t reappear.  He lay down on the cold sand on his side and curled up into a ball and sobbed. He knew she had to go … he’d insisted that she go, it was the only hope for their children, but he missed her all the same. His heart ached for her, his soul cried … it felt vacant and abandoned without her at his side.




“Spike…” Buffy moaned as she rolled over and her back hit something soft. She was warm …there was a blanket over her and a pillow under her head, Oh God! Was it all just a horrible nightmare?


Buffy opened her eyes and tried to focus. “Spike?” she called louder and she heard footsteps coming from behind her. She tried to turn over, but pain shot through her body and she stopped. “Spike!” she yelled, trying to hold still and get the searing and stabbing pain to subside.


She felt a hand on the side of her hip and tried to turn to see who it was. “Buffy, it’s me … it’s Dawn.  Are you awake?”


“Dawn?” Buffy questioned with confusion before realization hit her – it wasn’t just a nightmare after all. “No…no, no, no…please no!” she sobbed against her pillow as Dawn tried to comfort her.


“It’s ok, Buffy.  I got you out – I knew you had to wake up to get better. I got you out,” Dawn told her softly as relief washed over her – Buffy was finally awake.


When Buffy calmed down a bit, Dawn got her some water, a few crackers, and some over-the-counter pain killers, anti-inflammatories, and one of the antibiotic capsules that she’d liberated from Riley’s medicine cabinet, left over from the last time Buffy had sent him to the emergency room.  Buffy sat up slowly and leaned her good shoulder against the kitchen cabinet as she drank the water down quickly and Dawn got her more before handing her the pills.


“What are these?” Buffy asked with suspicion, looking up from the pills in her palm to Dawn.


“Just Ibuprofen and antibiotics…nothing else,” Dawn assured her.


Buffy looked at the pills closely and let out a deep breath.


“You’ve got a bad infection,” Dawn informed her. “I don’t have many antibiotics; you need to take them right away…”


Buffy looked up at her sister. “Where’s Riley?”


“Not here,” Dawn assured her. “He and Giles wouldn’t listen to me – they wouldn’t wake you up. I knew you’d be ok if they’d just let you wake up… well, I hoped. I stole you from the hospital.”


Buffy snorted a soft laugh. “You stole me?” she questioned. “Not at gunpoint, I hope … didn’t tranq the whole nursing staff, did ya?”


Dawn rolled her eyes. “Well… I broke you out, me and Andrew. It was a covert operation – middle of the night, secret-agent, ‘oo7’ kind of thing.”


“‘007’? With Andrew?” Buffy questioned, thinking that Dawn definitely had that ballsy, Summers’ blood in her veins.


“Well … maybe it was more like ‘Get Smart,’” Dawn admitted with a sigh. “Please take the medicine, Buffy, it won’t hurt you, I promise.”


Buffy nodded her head slowly and popped the pills in her mouth before drinking down the second glass of water and asking for more – she felt like she was dying of thirst.  Dawn got her a glass of Gatorade, she thought that would be better for her dehydration, and Buffy sipped at it and nibbled on the crackers as she eased herself to sitting with her full back against the kitchen cabinet.


Dawn sat down next to her and fidgeted with her fingernails and the hem of her shirt before asking, “Are you really from a different dimension?”


“No…” Buffy sighed heavily. “Actually, I think I’m not. Someone … someone that hates us has done something to change reality. I’m not crazy, Dawn – this isn’t how things are supposed to be.”


“You’re supposed to be married to Spike and have three kids …” Dawn offered.




“But not a sister?” Dawn asked softly. It hadn’t gotten past her that the list of ‘friends’ that helped Buffy and Spike keep their kids safe didn’t include her.


Buffy sighed heavily and rubbed at her forehead with her good hand. She had no idea if the dimension that had Dawn in it still existed alongside hers or not – everything had changed. Her guess was that those two dimensions had never split in this world – it was all too confusing to try and think about and it made her brain hurt…more.


“Buffy?” Dawn asked after a moment when Buffy didn’t answer.


Buffy looked up at Dawn and smiled sadly. “No … I don’t have a sister in my world. The Key is our daughter, Annie. She’s …what’s today?” Buffy asked, looking around the kitchen for a calendar.


“Valentine’s Day … February 14th,” Dawn informed her.


Tears stung Buffy’s eyes – it was Annie’s birthday. She should be having a party with her friends and family. She should be blowing out candles and eating cake and ice cream – double chocolate fudge cake with whipped chocolate frosting and chocolate ice cream washed down with chocolate milk.  They’d missed the twin’s birthday too – two days ago. Their first … their very first birthday cake … Annie would’ve helped them blow out the candle … all their friends would’ve been there, just like they were for Annie’s first birthday – it would’ve been a big celebration. She could see Spike’s face now – full of joy and pride and love for his family…and it was gone, all gone.


“She would be six today,” Buffy whispered.


“But you know who I am…” Dawn pointed out.  Didn’t that fact alone prove that Buffy had made the other life up? If she didn’t have a sister, how did Buffy know who she was?


“It’s a long story…” Buffy intoned with a sigh.


“Got nuthin but time,” Dawn pointed out as she stood up and got Buffy some more Gatorade.


Buffy sipped at the drink as she explained to Dawn what Whistler had explained to them. How, when Angelus made the decision to kidnap Buffy, the dimensions split. In one dimension, the one where Angelus didn’t kidnap her, Dru wasn’t dusted and Spike didn’t stay, Dawn existed. Then, years later, when Buffy had a decision of leaving Spike in the Hellmouth alone or staying with him, the dimensions splintered again, the memories from the dimension where Buffy and Spike both burned closing the Hellmouth were folded into theirs – so they both had a memory of Dawn from that.


Dawn listened intently. She’d heard crazier ideas, she’d seen crazier stuff in her short life … she just wasn’t sure if this was one of Buffy’s elaborate imaginary stories she’d make up as she tried to cope with her life, or if it was real. She knew that, even though the TV show says that ‘space is the final frontier’, in reality, the human mind is probably a more vast unknown than space.  The dark recesses of the mind were able to compensate with explanations for things that were beyond its ability to handle or grasp, is that what Buffy was doing or was her story real?


“So…if Spike didn’t stay in the dimension where I was, how did I know him?” Dawn asked finally, trying to poke holes in her story.


Buffy looked off with a blank stare, thinking back to the memories that had been folded into hers. “He came back … the Initiative chipped him but he escaped, he couldn’t hurt us and, eventually he … he worked with us, he fought Glory with us, he … he helped me cope when Willow brought me back, he helped us defeat The First – actually, he was a big part of that – a huge part.”


“And…I liked him…he liked me?” Dawn asked a little hesitantly.


Buffy smiled softly and looked at Dawn. She’d really grown up since the memories Buffy had of her – so mature, a beautiful young lady now, no longer a girl, and just as smart as Annie was proving to be.  Buffy wondered if that eons old Key thing was part of it…


“Yeah – you saw the good in him before anyone – he loved you like a little sister, would’ve given his life to protect you … hell, he nearly did a time or two. We named our second daughter after you – you and Willow, Danielle Dawn is her name.  She’s just turned one …” Buffy’s voice trailed off as her mind reminded her that no – she didn’t just turn one – she didn’t exist any longer.


Buffy closed her eyes to hold back the tears that threatened again. Dawn studied her sister’s face, her expressions. Although she looked like Buffy, she definitely didn’t act like the Buffy she knew. This Buffy was emotional and caring and she actually shared her thoughts and feelings and she talked to Dawn like she was an adult, not an insolent child. Whether this was all something Buffy’s mind had made up or not, Dawn couldn’t tell, but it was clear that Buffy believed it and it seemed to have changed her, for the better as far as Dawn was concerned.


“What attacked you?” Dawn asked, motioning towards Buffy’s shattered shoulder.


“A flying werewolf demon thingy. It was like a big, fluffy puppy with bad teeth … only it could’ve definitely used some one-on-one time with The Dog Whisperer,” Buffy said with a bit of a sneer. “Would’ve killed me if not for Spike …”


“Where…how…I thought he didn’t exist?” Dawn asked, confused again.


“Best we can figure, he’s in purgatory or limbo … I have to get him out of there, I have to figure out how to fix this before it’s too late – before they pass judgment.  We’ve been able to share dreams since we did the claim on our wedding day … well, except for the time that Angelus severed it, but that’s a whole ‘nuther story.


“I guess somehow that’s survived, maybe the same way him being a vampire survived, even though the records show he was never turned by Dru. Somehow I can join him there, but I can’t get him out or change anything there. I’ve never had a dream ‘Freddy Krueger’ me before, though,” Buffy admitted with a roll of her eyes.


Dawn smiled at her sister's use of the ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ analogy.


“So … what do we do now?” Dawn asked her as they both sat on the floor of the kitchen.


Buffy took a deep breath and let it out slowly before opening her eyes again and looking at Dawn. “How are you at research?”


Dawn shrugged. “I get by…”


“Well, until I can actually hit something, I think I’d like to find out about the life of William Weckerly, born in August, 1852 to Anne and Henry of Clapham.  Where’s Clapham?” Buffy asked Dawn.


“It’s a district in south London,” Dawn told her.


“Great! Close by! Let’s go!” Buffy exclaimed, as she started to stand up, but stopped when searing pain stabbed through her shoulder.  Buffy dropped back down, bent forward and held her bad arm against her body as she tried to breathe and not move.


“Maybe we should wait until you feel better…” Dawn suggested as she winced in sympathy.  “You still have a bad infection … and I don’t have very strong antibiotics or drugs for you. I was hoping your Slayer healing powers would work if you woke up and got out of … purgatory.”  Dawn hadn’t known where Buffy was until Buffy just told her, only that she needed to wake up.


Buffy shook her head adamantly. “No,” she said through clenched teeth. “I can’t waste time – I don’t know how much of it Spike has left, I have to start doing something now!


“Help me up…” Buffy requested of Dawn, holding up her good arm. Dawn stood up and helped Buffy stand. Buffy wobbled on her feet, her head spinning as she tried to get her balance.


“Lean on me,” Dawn offered, and Buffy accepted gratefully.  “I have some of your clothes here; sit down here and I’ll get them,” Dawn instructed her, pulling out one of the chairs from the kitchen table for Buffy.


Buffy sat down gingerly in the chair as she fought the spinning in her head, the pain in her shoulder, and the churning in her stomach. She chided herself for her weakness … What Spike was going through was a million times worse and he was completely alone now – she needed to suck it up and get down to the business of saving her family.


When Dawn got back with some clothes, she cleaned and bandaged the wound on Buffy’s shoulder again and helped her sister get dressed as best she could, then put Buffy’s arm in a sling to hold it still against her chest. 


“You know … a lot of genealogy stuff is online now – even super old stuff … maybe I should check that first before we go on wild goose chases…” Dawn suggested. “I’m actually not sure where to go to even go in London to find stuff like you’re wanting… I mean … churches? City halls? I really don’t know.”


“That’s a great idea…do you have a computer?” Buffy asked, looking around the small flat.


Dawn rolled her eyes. “Of course – you can’t go to college without a computer!” she informed her sister as she retrieved her laptop from its case and opened it on the kitchen table.


“Oh…right. Silly me,” Buffy conceded as she turned in her chair to look at the computer screen while Dawn pulled another chair up next to her and booted it up.


Buffy gave her as much information as she knew about Spike and his parents, where they were from, and where they lived and Dawn set to work.


“Crap …” Dawn moaned after about half an hour of searching for information on ‘William Weckerly.’




“There’s more than one William Weckerly … do you know his middle name?”


Buffy scrunched up her face and thought … and thought and thought. Finally, she shook her head sadly, no.


“Well, that’s okay,” Dawn assured Buffy. “Maybe I can work backwards – find his parents and then find him,” Dawn suggested. “This may take a while…”


Dawn registered on several online ancestry and genealogy websites, using the credit card that Riley had given her for ‘emergencies’ to pay for the memberships. If this wasn’t an emergency, she wasn’t sure what qualified. Buffy watched and made notes on a legal pad when Dawn found something that seemed significant.  Dawn said she could just print the stuff out, but Buffy wanted to write it out longhand – somehow the act of writing it down helped her think – it helped her process the information better. 


“Ok, it looks like Henry Weckerle’s family immigrated from Germany to England in the early 1800’s and lived in Yorkshire … they changed the spelling of their name somewhere along the way to ‘Weckerly’ …” Dawn told Buffy as she looked through old census and immigration documents that had been scanned and put online.


Dawn continued searching different historical sites and she found that, “Henry became a citizen of the United Kingdom when he was fifteen and he attended Oxford! Hey!” Dawn exclaimed. “That’s cool, isn’t it? That he went to the same university that I’m going to?”


Buffy smiled at Dawn’s enthusiasm. “Yeah, that’s pretty cool. What did he study, does it say?”


Dawn turned back to the computer. “No…let me check the university’s records and see if it has that online …”


After a few more minutes, Dawn bounced in her seat and pointed at the screen. “He studied law! He received his Bachelor of Civil Law degree. He was a solicitor!”


“A solicitor?” Buffy questioned. “You need a degree to solicit? Back home, you usually end up with your three minutes of fame on an episode of ‘COPS’ for that…”


Dawn laughed and rolled her eyes. She wasn’t sure if Buffy was kidding or not. “Solicitor is English for attorney…” Dawn explained.


“Oh. I always thought attorney was English for attorney…” Buffy commented dryly.


Dawn looked at her sister, still not sure if she was serious or not, but the slightly evil twinkle in Buffy’s eyes gave her away.  Dawn laughed again and turned back to the computer screen. She definitely liked this version of Buffy better than the one she’d lived with for the last four years since her sister had been yanked out of heaven by her well meaning friends.


Dawn continued to look for more information on Henry Weckerly as Buffy doodled on her pad and thought. She thought about Spike, alone in the cold cave … facing the trials alone and trying to keep his sanity. She thought about their children, now nothing more than memories – she wondered if Annie would’ve chosen to go to Oxford and follow in her grandfather’s and father’s footsteps. Although Spike never said so, and never admitted it to anyone they knew, Buffy knew from her trip through his memories that he’d gone to Oxford, as well, getting a Master of Arts degree. 


Buffy remembered Spike reading to Annie from the books Buffy had given him for Christmas … the works of Shakespeare that were the same edition his father had, and how enthralled and amazed Annie was with them. When you’re five, an hour can seem like a lifetime, trying to comprehend how old those books were was beyond her grasp, but she knew they were important – that they had meaning.  When Spike told Annie that he’d often read from them to his mother and he let her sit in his lap and read with him, Annie had been over the moon.  Three generations were suddenly brought together through time in that moment – there was a connection to something bigger, and it was clear that Annie felt it.


As bright as their eldest daughter was, she might even get a Rhodes scholarship.  God, Spike would shout it from the rooftops if that happened…every rooftop, in every town in America … and England, and the world for that matter.  Buffy smiled slightly at the image of Spike going with Annie to orientation at Oxford … walking with her around the centuries-old campus, taking her around his hometown of London, telling her stories of his own life there, showing her where he’d grown up – sharing stories with her that even Buffy didn’t know – Annie would be in heaven!


Suddenly Buffy’s smile turned to tears as reality wedged its way back to the front of her mind; Annie didn’t exist, Spike didn’t exist … Every time she had to remind herself of that, it felt like a hot poker was being stabbed into her chest, making it hard for her to breathe … hard for her to even remain sitting.


Buffy was pulled from her thoughts when Dawn started talking again. “Ok, Henry Weckerly was killed in the Crimean War in 1856; he had the rank of Major.”


“Wait …” Buffy stopped her. “I thought he was a solicitor. What’d he do, go chase ambulances on the battlefield?”


“I don’t think they actually had ambulances back then,” Dawn pointed out and Buffy rolled her eyes.


“In the old days, wealthy men could purchase commissions. Basically, they bought their rank and were the leaders – fighting for the British Empire … although in all the movies I’ve seen, they mostly just sat in their tents wearing funny hats and drank tea …”


Dawn switched over to the historical military database and searched further. “Oh wow!” she exclaimed.


“‘Oh wow’, what?” Buffy asked, looking at the screen.


“He was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for ‘valour’,” Dawn told her, pointing to the screen. “I guess he didn’t just sit in his tent and drink tea! That’s the highest military decoration they award for ‘valour in the face of the enemy’,” Dawn explained.


“Somewhere in there between Oxford and death-by-valor did he get married to Anne and have a son?” Buffy asked her with growing concern that Spike … or William Weckerly, had never even been born.


“Hold your horses,” Dawn told Buffy. “I have to check other sites for that … it’s not on here.”


Buffy sighed and sat back while Dawn kept looking for more information. Buffy studied her notes, tapping her pen absentmindedly on the pad in her hand. Spike’s father was an intellectual, a warrior, apparently a leader, and ultimately a hero. Gee, that sounds vaguely familiar.


Buffy frowned when she realized that Spike never told any of this to her. Why wouldn’t he have shared that? Maybe he didn’t know? His father died in 1856 … William would’ve been four.  Was it possible that his mother never told him that his father was a warrior, a hero? Would she have kept that hidden, perhaps in an effort to keep her only child from following in his father’s footsteps?


“Ok, here we go!” Dawn announced at last, pulling Buffy from her musings. Buffy leaned forward so she could see the computer screen as Dawn read aloud. “Henry Weckerly married Anne Wilkinson on November 10th, 1851 at the Holy Trinity Church of Clapham,” Dawn informed Buffy with a satisfied smile.


“November 1851?” Buffy asked, silently counting on her fingers. December, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August… nine months… “Well, they didn’t waste any time,” Buffy murmured.


“What about a son?” Buffy questioned. “Born August 20th, 1852.”


Dawn sighed and rolled her eyes. “Give me some time, it’s a computer, not magic … Let’s see if the church maybe has a record of the birth … if they’ve put it online.”


Buffy sat back again, careful to lean on her good shoulder, and worried her bottom lip with her teeth. What if Spike had never been born at all? How would she fix that?  How could she track down Hallie – if it was even actually Hallie that had done this – she could be anywhere in the entire world … she could be in some other world, for that matter. Buffy could picture the brunette sitting in the shrimp-less dimension, sipping margaritas, and laughing her rat-skank ass off.


“HA!” Dawn exclaimed, bouncing in her chair and pulling Buffy from her thoughts. “‘Baby boy’ Weckerly, born August 20th, 1852 to parents Anne and Henry. You were right!” Dawn enthused, amazed that Buffy knew the exact date.


“Why ‘baby boy’?” Buffy questioned.


“They did that a lot, apparently – didn’t name the baby right away.  Usually there’s another birth certificate filed in with the actual name,” Dawn supplied, as she continued to search for more information.


Buffy’s throat tightened. “The baby didn’t … it didn’t die before it was named, did it?”


Dawn furrowed her brow and looked through the death records for the month of August and November of 1852, but didn’t find anything.  “No… I don’t see anything like that. Hang on, let me check one other place …”


Dawn began typing quickly on the keyboard, entering Riley’s credit card information yet again – now from memory. Riley was just gonna love this ...


“Who’s your daddy, now!?” Dawn exclaimed after a few more minutes, pointing to the computer screen.


Buffy looked at what she was pointing at and read aloud, “William Wesley Weckerly.”


“Say that five times fast…” Dawn teased as she began her search anew, now with Spike’s middle name included. “We’ll just go with WWW for short…”


“You do more than just ‘get by’ with research, you’re really good,” Buffy told her with a sincere smile as Dawn continued her search. Buffy was amazed there was so much information on the computer, and equally amazed and impressed that Dawn could find it. It had taken a while – Buffy didn’t see a clock, but it had been light out when they started and it was well past dark now.


Dawn shrugged but smiled. “Thanks.”


Dawn definitely liked this Buffy way better. She’d really love to meet Spike; he must be something really special to have been able to transform her sister from the unfeeling, unloving, mad-at-the-world, lost soul that had come back from heaven into this woman with a sense of humor who actually shared her emotions and seemed to care about other people.


“Are you happy?” Dawn asked Buffy after a few moments, turning attention away from the computer and onto her sister.


“Not so much…” Buffy started but Dawn interrupted her, “I mean with Spike and your kids… are you happy there?”


Buffy smiled sadly as tears stung her eyes and she nodded slowly. “Yeah … we’re happy – well as happy as you dare to be on the Hellmouth,” Buffy joked. “Spike really loved you, Dawnie … I wish you remembered him.”


“Me too,” Dawn whispered as her mind drifted for a minute to the question of if Buffy changed history and somehow got Spike back… what would that mean for her? Would she experience some happiness too? Not that her life was horrible, there were worse fates. She’d worked hard and been through a lot to get where she was, but she definitely yearned for a happier family life … a happier family.  She would’ve given anything to have had this Buffy in her life for the last four years.


“Buffy?” Dawn asked, looking back at the computer screen to see if it had found anything yet. The little hourglass drained and turned and drained again … Working… Please Wait




“Do I …ummm … I mean, in those other dimensions with Spike … am I, I mean, are we all … happy?” Dawn asked, turning her attention back to her sister.


Buffy smiled gently. She didn’t know how Dawn fared in the dimension where both she and Spike had died; she’d never been there, never checked on her. Whistler said that she would be alright, that Buffy’s friends would take care of her … but he’d proven to be less than reliable. What was Buffy supposed to tell her?


“Yeah …” Buffy assured her, not really sure if she was lying or not – she sincerely hoped not.


Dawn nodded solemnly as she turned back to the computer screen to see what her search had found.


 “Ok, WWWF …” Dawn started, “ errr … I mean WWW, sorry married Cecily Addams on January 19th, 1881.  Hey – that’s funny, that’s your birthday!” Dawn exclaimed, looking from the computer to Buffy.


Buffy felt like she’d been sucker punched in the gut, all the air left her lungs and she struggled to breathe.  If there had been any doubt before, there was none now – it was Hallie, Halfrek, Cecily, rat-skank-ho, or whatever the hell she wanted to call herself, who had done this to them.


“Buffy, are you alright?” Dawn asked, laying a hand on Buffy’s back as Buffy doubled over, hugging her stomach with her good arm as tears stung her eyes.


Buffy was trying to get air into her lungs, but she could only take shallow breaths – her chest suddenly hurt too much to breath normally; she could almost feel her heart being ripped from her flesh as that hot poker stabbed and twisted and wrenched her heart out. Buffy knew this wasn’t by chance — stealing her husband and marrying him on her birthday - Hallie had planned it all out meticulously. Buffy should’ve been prepared for something like this, but it was like being prepared for a loved one dying that had been sick a long while – you knew it was coming, but it still hits you hard when you get the news.



Hallie had found a way to get her vengeance and succeed in getting what she couldn’t in Sunnydale – Spike.


"Lean on Me"

 Bill Withers


Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow


Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on


Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won't let show


So just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'll understand
We all need somebody to lean on


Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on


So just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on

I just might have a problem that you'll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can't carry
I'm right up the road
I'll share your load
If you just call me…


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