Xander looked around and noticed he was in Sunnydale Park and Tara was next to him and also was looking a little confused.
"Easy Alexander, you're just dreaming," Cassandra assured him as she stepped up next to him.
"But I wasn't asleep and neither was Tara, what did you do?" he asked.
"I made you fall asleep because I needed to talk to you and could not wait for night time," Cassandra answered. "First I am to inform you that you are about to be finally returned home. Vlad and the others finally caught up to the cult and made them talk, so I would gather up all of your bags and prepare," she continued. "The return journey Alexander will hurt even more than when you journey to the next dimension so be prepared for that," she finished with a sigh.
"It's really over?" Xander asked surprised at the news while. Tara smiled happily, her friends were finally going home to see their friends and family and she just hoped that her presence would not cause any problems. "You won't cause any problems Tara," Xander said as he overheard Tara's thoughts over the bond. "Janna will have to come to terms with the bond and I'm sure she will. I will not allow the others to make you uncomfortable after everything you've done for me and Lilith," he continued. "You're a friend," he stated, even as he tried to ignore a strange feeling he had that she was much more.
"Thank you," Tara smiled in reply and almost blushed as she sensed what Alexander had just thought.
"There is another reason I'm here Alexander. We finally know who ordered you and Lilith to be ambushed in the first place," Cassandra informed him.
"Who?" Xander asked curious who had set all of this in motion in the first place.
"A small rogue group of the powers that be had the cult ambush you as they believed you and the others were a threat to how we fought the war," Cassandra answered with a frown. "Our lord has dealt with all of them by stripping them of their powers and banishing them to hell where the traitors go," she added.
"How could they believe me and the others were a threat?" Xander inquired shocked to learn the higher powers or at least a rogue group of them had been behind all of this.
"You and your group Alexander are not under their control like Buffy and her group and a host of other champions who fight this war," Cassandra explained. "They have never liked those outside their direct control and because our lord had made sure you were protected they decided to use human assets to remove you, hoping you would be killed during the journey," she continued. "Instead this journey has strengthened you and your entire group in more ways than one. It has also brought Tara into that group and I know how important she is to you now, as I witnessed how you killed the dark reflection of yourself," she went on.
"I know I lost control," Xander sighed. "But with everything he said he was going to do to Tara and then watching him hurt her even more I just couldn't control the rage and anger anymore," he tried to explain what had happened. "I tapped the full potential of the sword for the right reason and that was to protect my friend, but I used the wrong emotions behind that reason," he finished.
"And from it Alex you have learned another lesson," Tara said from beside him as she fought her own emotions as she realized how much he valued and cared for her. "A lesson you will not forget," she added.
"She is correct Alexander," Cassandra said with a smile. "Yes you were overcome by your darker emotions, but you intentions were to protect, not to kill or to murder without cause and that makes all the difference," she assured him.
"Thanks," Xander said as he thought over what they were telling him and hoped a situation like this would not arise again.
"This journey has also exposed the traitors and caused their own downfall and made sure the remaining powers will not disobey our lord again. They too have learned important lessons that can only help us in the end," Cassandra told them. "Now I must go, we will see each other again," she assured him before vanishing.
Xander and Tara both jerked awake and looked around, noticing no one was really paying them any attention. They quickly stood up and walked over to where Aura, Giles and Lilith were.
"Are you okay?" Aura asked as she finally handed over the Mithril sword he had loaned her.
"We will be, but we've just had a vision," Xander answered, still unable to tell anyone about the visits he and now Tara received from Cassandra.
"What did you see?" Giles inquired intrigued.
"It's almost time for us to go home. Our friends and family have finally captured the cult who ambushed us and are even now about to reverse what they did so that we can be retrieved," Xander explained.
Lilith couldn't stop the smile that graced her face as she heard Alexander's reply. This meant that she would finally see her father and brother again and she would regain her physic link to her father that she had moaned the loss of since they had left their home dimension. The only thing that had kept her from falling apart was Alexander's constant presence and the orders her father had given her to protect Alexander and make sure he remained safe. Considering how much of a friend he had become since, she had redoubled her efforts not to focus on what she had lost but to focus on being there when Alexander needed her.
"I'm pleased to hear that, after everything you've done here you deserve to be able to go home and see your friends and family," Giles said with his own smile.
"I agree, thanks to you Faith, Harris and Willow are dead and Buffy, Oz and the others have all been avenged," Aura added. "The nightmare we've been living for so long is over and we can start to live again," she stated.
"It will take time for everything to be rebuilt and for people to forget what happened here but it will happen," Angel said as he stopped next to them. "I wish you all well," he added before walking off to talk to Gunn.
"We need to gather our stuff Mr. Giles and then we need somewhere quiet where there will be space for the portal," Lilith said after a few seconds.
"I'll take you back to our headquarters so you can get your stuff and then I think I know where you can go to leave," Aura said and then led them away.
(Home Dimension Sunnydale)
Alucard smiled as he finished executing the three leaders of the cult after they finally told them what spells had been used to create the dimensional portal so they could reverse it and bring Lilith and Alexander home. It had been agreed before they had attacked that all of the cult would be killed due to the danger they presented and the fact that they had tried to kill some of their numbers as well as sacrifice innocent people for their ritual.
The innocent they had captured for this attempted had been saved by Vincent and Janna. The woman had thanked them for saving her life and then left promising never to say anything about what had taken place. He had been amused as Janna had explained that most people in Sunnydale ignored the strange things that happened even when confronted face to face by it.
"It is done master," he finally spoke as he walked over to the others.
"How soon can you reverse what was done?" Sir Integra asked as she faced her family's greatest weapon.
"I need ten minutes to prepare master and then I will open the portal reversing the spells the cult used," Alucard answered. "You must all be outside the building as it will not be safe for any of you to be inside near the energies of the portal," he explained.
"We'll set up a perimeter so no one tries to interfere," Vincent told him in reply, not really wanting to be near that kind of magic and so he quickly turned and exited with his men and the Hellsing team.
"Do you think there may be any problems in reversing the portal?" Adrian inquired.
"I do not, I have long studied the creation of portals," Alucard answered. "Now I must prepare," he added before sitting down and began focusing his power.
"Good luck," Janna whispered as she was led away by Jessica and Amy.
"Bring them home Alucard," Sir Integra ordered before following alongside Seras, Adrian, Kendra and Sam Zabuto.
Xander looked around the room they had been using and saw that they had gathered everything they had brought with them. He picked up two of the bags while Lilith grabbed the other two and they all followed Aura out of the building.
"So what will you do once you get home?" Aura asked.
"Take a good long break," Xander sighed. "I know we have a lot to do once we get home, but I'll probably wait a month or so to rest as I think we need it. It will also take some time for the others to accept Tara into the group," he added.
"I agree, we do indeed need some rest," Lilith stated. "We have been in almost none stop combat in most of the dimensions we have visited," she continued. "I don't expect much trouble in welcoming Tara into the group, except from Janna," she added.
"She will in time, another reason for taking a break is to give her that time to adjust to the changes that we've gone through on this journey," Xander said confidently.
Lilith hoped he was correct. Especially considering Janna's emotional state was off balance due to her pregnancy. She thought back to what Alexander and Tara had told her while they gathered their stuff about what else they had seen in their vision and she hoped that any other rogue elements of the higher powers were found fast before they could cause them any harm.
"This is the place, it used to be car park for a supermarket," Aura told them as they walked onto a large specious area. "The supermarket itself was destroyed by a rampaging demon just before LA fell," she added.
"This will do Aura, thanks," Xander said with a smile. "Now all we have to do is wait," he added as he sat down followed by the others.
Tara leaned against Alexander and tried to fight off the sudden case of nerves she had at meeting Janna and the rest of Alexander and Lilith's group. She suddenly relaxed as she felt Xander's calming touch over the bond.
"Aura it'd be best if you watched from a safer distance than this. Otherwise you'll be pulled into the portal," Lilith said after a few minutes.
"Okay, I wish you luck and I'm glad to have met you," Aura said with a smile before walking to a safer distance.
(Home Dimension Sunnydale)
Alucard summoned nearly all of his power as he finally opened the portal and then slowly reversed the spells the cult had used one by one, knowing he had to be careful on how he did this. The portal flared brightly each time he reversed one of the spells until he reached the last one and the portal suddenly let out a flare of light before turning a different shade of color and then settled.
Aura watched as suddenly the wind picked up before a bright flare of light almost blinded her, when she looked again a huge portal of magic was open just behind where Xander, Lilith and Tara had been sitting. She noted they were all standing now. They were holding onto each other as well as their bags to make sure they did not get separated inside the portal. She could hear their screams of pain and she was glad they had told her to move away as she didn't want to experience that kind of agony. She sensed someone coming up behind her and turned to find Giles slowly been pushed towards them by Angel.
"I'd hoped we'd be in time to witness their leaving," Giles said as they came to a halt beside her. "Can you feel the power coming of the portal?" he asked.
"I can," Angel said from behind him. "It's immense," he added.
"It's painful is what it is. I can hear them screaming," Aura said with a frown as she turned back to watch the portal.
"I'm not surprised," Giles said in reply. "Dimensional travel is supposed to hurt quite a lot according to all the reading I've done on the subject before everything went to hell," he explained.
The screaming suddenly stopped and the portal began to pulse before another flare of light escaped and then it and the portal vanished, leaving no trace of their three visitors.
"It's over," Aura said as she looked around the area. "They've gone home," she added.
"Yes they have," Giles said quietly. "They are now back where they belong with the people they know and love and finally we can go home as well," he continued.
"Then let's go," Aura said before turning and slowly walking away, followed by Giles and Angel.
(Home Dimension Sunnydale)
Alucard almost collapsed as the portal finally closed. He had not used so much of his magic in at least two hundred years. He looked around and noted three bodies lying on the floor of the warehouse as well as four bags next to them. He quickly walked over to them and checked their pulses and was relieved to find all of them were strong. He ran his finger down his daughter's face and smiled as Janna and the others re-entered the building.
"Did it work?" Janna asked.
"It did, Lilith and Alexander are home," Alucard assured her still smiling.
"Who is the other girl?" Jessica inquired as she knelt next to her son and checked him over.
"I do not know, but it is clear Alexander and Lilith brought her with them through the portal otherwise she would not have survived the trip," Alucard answered. "Let us get them and their things back to the mansion. We can worry about getting answers after we all had some rest," Sir Integra ordered. "I don't believe they will awake soon," she added.
"I agree master, returning to their home dimension will have racked a real toll of their systems," Alucard stated before lifting his daughter up into his arms while Adrian picked up Alexander and Seras picked up the unknown girl. Janna, Jessica and Amy gathered the four bags and followed the others.
Cassandra couldn't help but smile as she witnessed the reunion of the group even if Alexander, Lilith and Tara were still unconscious and would be until the morning.
"It is done, they are finally home," her lord said with a smile.
"Yes my lord, and even more they are wiser and more experienced than before," Cassandra stated. "This will make them even more capable in the future," she added.
"I agree," Tanith said quietly. "They have learned a lot during their journey, making them better suited for the trials ahead," he continued.
"Something fate seemed to have counted on. She is quite pleased with what has happened, especially with Tara being bonded to Alexander," their lord agreed.
"What happens now my lord?" Jonas inquired.
"We will allow them to rest and recover and also so to integrate Tara into their group," their lord replied. "You Tanith and the rest of the powers will begin to atone for your mistakes as well as replacing Malek and those who supported him," he continued. "I have decided that you Tanith and Jonas will share the role of leader so someone like Malek can no longer control the whole group and I'm also changing the oaths you take so you give a greater loyalty to our goals than your own is that clear?" he finished.
"Yes my lord," Tanith and the rest of the powers assured him in response.
"Good, let us hope we never have to deal with traitors again for a very long time," their lord said with distaste at the very idea.
Cassandra nodded along with Tanith and the powers at the statement. She then turned and focused on the viewing pool and waited for the meeting that was about to happen.
(Sunnydale, Hellsing Mansion)
Xander opened his eyes and slowly looked around before smiling as he recognized the Hellsing mansion where Lilith and Adrian had set up their base in Sunnydale. He ignored the fact he was back on the Hellmouth with the simple thought that he was finally home. He looked around and noticed Lilith and Tara were both in the room and also just now waking.
"Are you two okay?" he asked. "Coming home really did hurt," he said as he stretched.
"I'm fine Alexander," Lilith assured him. "My link to my father is back and I feel complete again," she added with a smile, which Xander returned as he knew how much the loss of her link to her father had troubled her.
"I'm okay too Alex. I just feel a little uneasy and I guess I will until I feel like this really is my home now," Tara stated as she looked around the room they were in.
"Don't worry Tara. I'm sure you'll fit right into the group in no time," Xander said as he pushed as much positive feelings down the bond as he could, which relaxed Tara.
"We'd better get up and see the others," Lilith said after a few moments of silence.
They all got up and after a quick trip to the toilet they went downstairs to find the kitchen almost full.
"Alexander," Janna shouted as she ran over to him and kissed him with as much passion as she could.
"Hey, I missed you," Xander said in reply as she pulled away. "It's good to see all of you again, well those of you I know anyway," he added as he noted there were some new faces.
"Nice to meet you kid, my name is Vincent and I lead team Shadow," Vincent said with a smile. "Heard a lot about you from Jack," he added.
"How is Jack?" Xander asked as she shook the man's hand.
"He's doing okay, last I heard he just wiped out a nest in Texas," Vincent answered.
From there everything turned into a huge welcome home, bar the meeting between Xander and Alucard which at first seemed a bit tense before they shook hands and slowly everyone settled down.
"Before we begin allow me to introduce Tara Maclay," Xander said as he took his friends hand and pulled her forward. "We met during the first dimension we visited," he added as he let go of her hand, but continued to send calming thoughts to his very nervous friend.
"Why did you bring her with you?" Amy inquired. "Won't her family miss her?" she asked a second later.
"No they won't, Amy," Xander answered. "As to why she is with us that's going to be hard for some of you to understand," he added.
"Start from the beginning Alexander," Alucard told him.
"While we were in Tara's home dimension the higher powers decided I needed someone to keep me on the right path and to help me stay clear of loosing myself to my darker nature," Xander started after taking a deep breath. "So they chose to perform a bonding ritual to tie me and Tara together. Once that was done it was impossible to leave her behind, not that she had much to stay behind for," he continued.
"A real bonding ritual?" Adrian asked, surprised at this.
"It was a real one. The power I felt was huge and one of those higher powers had ties to the Romany people as I sensed the ancient magic of our people in it," Lilith assured them.
"Very interesting," Alucard said with a thoughtful look while Janna fought to keep herself from being overwhelmed by a new fear.
"What does this bonding ritual mean for you two?" Jessica asked her son after sparing a glance at Janna who she could tell had become nervous at this news.
"It means our magical senses have been joined together. Giving us the ability to senses attacks, we share feelings, visions and dreams and even our magic," Xander answered deciding to be truthful.
"It also means they can never be separated. To try to do so would either kill them or leave them insane," Lilith added. "However there is a downside," she continued.
"And that is?" Janna asked as calmly as she could.
"They feel each other's pain, they will share nightmares and if either of them falls to darkness the other will be pulled down as well," Lilith answered, remembering what Alexander and Tara had told her from one of their visions.
"That scares me more than I can say. Tara has helped me a lot in dealing with my emotions and keeping them controlled and I have learned a lot during our absence from here," Xander said as he stood and began to pace a little. "Tara has been given a difficult task which could cost her soul and I don't like that, but there is nothing that can be done now. I will just have to be all the more careful with how I act," he finished as he learned his head against the window he was facing.
"There is another aspect of a bonding ritual Alexander, but that is not of any real importance in the here and now. We will have to accept that there is nothing we can do about it. Alexander you should know the powers that be are responsible for you being ambushed in the first place," Alucard informed him.
"We know. Tara and I had a vision just before you retrieved us," Xander replied. "It was done by a small rogue group of the powers. They have been dealt with and the other powers have learned a lesson that they won't forget," he added with a smile as he faced the others.
"Interesting," Alucard said. "Your visions seem to be getting more accurate," he continued.
"They have even more so now that I am bonded to Tara and her natural ability to see what others don't," Xander said in reply as he sat next to Janna and took her hand in his and was glad when she didn't pull away.
"Did anything else happen on your journey?" Seras asked, intrigued with everything that had happened to Lilith and her friends.
"We landed in a dimension where Middle Earth was real," Tara answered, finally breaking her silence. "We took part in the battle of Amon Hem and stopped Boromir from dying," she continued.
"You're kidding right?" Mark Jenson asked.
"We're not actually. We really did land in a dimension where Tolkien's work was real," Lilith assured them. "We were given gifts by the Valar in the way of three Mithril swords and three rings to help protect us against magic," she added.
"Well doesn't that twist your mind," Vincent said with a shake of his head.
"Indeed it does," Sam Zabuto said. "But considering we know so little about dimensional travel that is hardly surprising," he stated. "Anything could be possible in another dimension," he said with a smile.
"It is. The last dimension we visited before you retrieved us was one where I did go dark and helped conquer Sunnydale and LA. We helped Giles and Aura and their allies to kill a rogue slayer and a corrupted version of Willow along with as many vampires and demons as we could," Xander told them as he fought the memories of his darker alternate self.
Janna grasped his hand tighter as she realized how much this event must have impacted Alexander. She was still unsure on how to react to learning he was now bonded to another woman, but she knew he needed her to keep a calm head for now.
"I think for now we should leave it there. We have plenty of time to talk about what has happened to everyone and we can also discuss what will happen later," Sir Integra said.
"I agree," Kendra said as she had noted how uneasy her friend was starting to look and she was trying to come to terms to learning about a rogue slayer, even if it had happened in a different dimension it made it clear to her that it was possible.
Everyone else agreed and they split up knowing they all had a lot to talk about in the coming days. Xander looked out of the window and hoped they would have the rest they needed after so much had happened. He felt Tara through the link trying to help calm him and allowed her to wash away his fears while he leaned against Janna, knowing they hadn't even begun to deal with what had happened during their journey.
(Authors Notes: This is the end of the second story in the trilogy. I will begin working on the last one as soon as possible. Thanks for all of the reviews and I am glad you enjoyed this story)