A/N: I own nothing you recognize. Enjoy the story.
-=- London, England – 2051
Dawn Summers blew out a shaky breath and pushed her hair behind her ears. She winced when the hairs pulled at a large cut on her temple. Her friend handed her a dagger and a small vial.
“Are you really sure about this?” Dawn asked the white-haired woman.
“Dawnie, this is likely our last hope. When we can’t fight anymore, when no one is left to protect, I’d like someone from this reality to continue living. You know it’s only a matter of time, and there may not be time to perform the ritual when it happens.”
“You’re right. I know you’re right. I just… I don’t know. For the past fifty years we’ve all avoided purposely cutting me, even though it would take a specific ritual to activate me. Now I’m deliberately slicing myself open and filling seven of these vials with Key-rich blood. I just want to be sure that we’re sure.”
“We’re sure. Buffy and the girls can’t hold them off forever, and we’re down to you, me, Andrew, and Mitchell for magic. Giles is… well, it’s a wonder he’s held out so long. The man is old, and I don’t think he’ll survive if anything happens to Buffy. I want to be able to tell him that, if worse comes to worst, we can send her, and some of the younger kids, somewhere better.”
“Yeah. Okay, let’s get this over with,” Dawn decided. She and her friend chanted for a few minutes, then Dawn pulled the dagger across her wrist, making sure the drops of blood would spill into the vials she and Willow were holding. As soon as all seven vials were filled, Dawn closed the wound with another softly intoned phrase.
Xander Harris and Reagan Connors stood side-by-side behind a large door. Xander held a large axe, and Reagan gripped two short swords. Behind them, a pale, wrinkled old man wheezed with every breath. The once strong, battle-hardened Watcher had been reduced by the years into someone that even the men and women he called his children could barely recognize. He was extremely healthy and active until a stroke paralyzed the left side of his body at the age of 92. Three years later all that was left of the vibrant man was the sparkle he would get in his eyes whenever his children would tell him about their days.
Xander, at age 70, was stronger and in better shape than he was at 30. His hair was grey at the temples, but years of hard living had toned his body until there was only muscle left. He shifted his grip on the axe handle and glanced behind him at the only man he felt deserved the title of ‘Dad’. He opened his mouth to make some joke to lighten the tension when a shock ran through the building.
“Remember, Reagan. You are not allowed to die. If it comes down to a choice between me and you, it had better be you walking out that door.”
“Yes, sir,” Reagan whispered, running a hand over her eyes wipe away tears. She straightened her spine and looked at her mentor. “But it won’t come down to a choice.” Xander smiled at her and nodded once.
Buffy, Andrew, and Mitchell stood in the front room of the large house, surrounded by the eleven remaining slayers. Buffy’s pure white hair had been cut shorter than her eyebrows, so it wouldn’t hinder her in a fight. She surveyed the people in the room with her, taking note of each face, and all the changes there had been. Andrew’s bald head gleamed in the light streaming through the window.
“Alright people. You know what’s happening,” Buffy called out. “It’s the End of the World. Again. Unfortunately, it looks like it might just stick this time. But I want you to fight hard. This is still our world. Don’t give it to those demons without a fight! Live free, or die fighting, guys. I can’t remember who first said it, but it holds especially true today. It’s been an honor knowing you, training you, and fighting beside each and every one of you. If I die today, I die knowing that I made a difference in this world. All of you should feel the same way. We made a difference! We’ve saved the world from certain destruction more times than anyone can count. Let’s see if we can do it again.”
“Well spoken, Buff,” Andrew murmured. Buffy turned to thank him, and the doors burst open.
“Is anyone else alive?” Buffy called, kicking rubble out of the way and maneuvering Andrew through the hole where a wall once stood.
“In here,” Xander called back. “You’re the last two Willow found with her scan.”
“How many of us are there left?” Buffy asked, still trying to make her way into the room.
“Six. Andrew, Dawn, and the original Scooby Gang.”
“None of the kids made it?”
“Reagan jumped in front of a Polgara spike headed straight for Giles. I told her not to save me, I thought it went without saying that that meant Giles, too.” Xander’s voice was thick with tears. Willow laid a hand on his shoulder.
“I’m sorry, Xan,” Buffy whispered, finally making her way into the room. Xander was seated in the middle of the room, holding Giles across his legs. Willow and Dawn stood to either side of the men.
“We… we have the vials. We can give Giles two. Maybe that’ll help him make the trip,” Dawn suggested, pulling the vials out of her pocket. She stared mournfully at the seventh bottle, turning it over in her palm to see the cracks better. “Or not…”
“We can still give him the one.”
“Okay, everyone… everyone take one, and let me concentrate. This could get tricky since it’s more than just me.” Each person took a vial; Xander held Giles’ bottle and his own. When Dawn gave the word, they opened the vials and poured out the blood. A green mist spilled from the pool of blood and enveloped them. Each person heard Dawn’s voice through the mist.
“I had to change things. Ages… Names… Place… Time… We’ll remember, and be able to find each other, but we won’t… I can’t hold us together…” Then her voice faded out.