Buffy fights manically on the tower, but her focus is split. She desperately wants, needs to reach her sister, to free her, save her and comfort her, but she has to keep Glory occupied in order to truly save Dawn. Hearing Dawn's voice screaming above, Buffy takes her eyes off Glory for an instant, scanning the platform above frantically for Dawn's slight figure. That instant is all that Glory needs. Buffy feels the blow to her face, and while it hurts, it doesn't hurt as much as falling from the tower, away from her sister. Desperately windmilling her arms as she falls, she grabs onto Glory's arm, dragging her to the ground with her.

Both women struggle to their feet, Buffy tossing frantic glances at the Troll Hammer lying just out of reach. Glory stumbles back and shakes her head to clear the ringing from the lingering effects of the Dagon Sphere and the repeated blows. Sneering at the unarmed Slayer in front of her, she taunts Buffy.

"You lost your hammer, sweet cheeks. What are you gonna hit me with now?"

Buffy looked at the wall behind Glory, then up and beyond it as the wrecking ball comes crashing through.

"Whatever's handy", Buffy mutters, grabbing her hammer and running back towards the tower.

From their separate locations around the base of the tower, the groups look at the mass of humanity and demons blocking the only access to Dawn. Giles, Anya and Spike look at each other, and over at Buffy, again battering away on the Hell-Goddess with Olaf's Troll Hammer.

"Has anyone noticed we're going backwards?" Anya whispers.

Spike peeking up to see if there is any change in the crowd at the bottom of the stairs, is hit with a brick. "It's crossed my mind," he growls back.

"As long as Buffy can keep Glory down long enough, it doesn't matter. There're only a few minutes left to start the ritual." Giles pants, staring up at the tower.

Far above the melee, Dawn is crying silently. The wind tugs at her dress, even as she tugs at the ropes holding her hostage. She has no way of telling how long her sister must keep Glory away, and the time is wearing on her. She feels she's been trapped forever, and she's in a fever pitch of fear. With every creak, she's sure Glory will appear to start the ritual. With every gust she's sure the wind will send the structure toppling. She prays for Buffy to save her, but when her sister doesn't appear, she begins to pray for the entire tower to collapse. She'd be dead, but at least everyone she loves will be safe.

A different creak sounds. She gasps in fear; sure that Glory has come to begin the ritual. Peeking through her lashes, she sees Doc, the demon who helped her with the spell to bring her mother back. She was terribly frightened of him when he shook her hand and let her see his demon eyes, but now he seems like a kindly old gentleman, a kind of saviour.

She whispers frantically to him, the screaming having hurt her throat. "You. You can help me. Untie me. Please. Help me, she's coming."

Doc smiles and walks towards her. "Well, it seems she's running a bit late, is the thing. And if her Splendidness can't be here in time to bleed you..."

Dawn looks and feels sick, certain she's going to die.

"Hey! Kid." Doc whispers manically. "Want to see a trick?"

Exhausted, all Dawn can do is flinch and sob when Doc pulls a large shiny knife and waves it in front of her eyes.

Back below, everyone but Giles is watching Buffy and Glory. It's obvious that Buffy has the upper hand. Giles has his eyes on his watch, counting down the minutes until they can call this a win.

Suddenly, Spike looks upwards. He strains his eyes to make out the figures on the tower, but can't truly see anything. He stretches out his vampire senses towards Dawn, and tenses.

"Someone's up there", he says flatly.

Everyone scans the tower, then the group of minions and lunatics blocking access to it.

Xander jumps up, ready to attack the deadly group. "We gotta charge or something!"

Anya grabs his wrist, pulling him back out of harms way as more bricks and sticks fly overhead. "We tried that."

Suddenly, Spike hears Willow's voice. He can barely make her out, sitting with Tara on the other side of the tower's base. Her voice, however, is right in his ear, no, not his ear, inside his head.

"Spike. Can you hear me?"

"Yeah, loud and clear"

Giles, Anya, and Xander look on in confusion as Spike begins talking to himself.

"Is there someone up there with Dawn?"

Looking back up, Spike answers, "yeah, can't tell who."

Willow's voice takes on a commanding tone as she says, "get up there. Go now."

Looking at the well-prepared enemy, Spike mumbles uncertainly, "yeah, but..."

Willow's voice screams in his head, demanding action. "Go!"

As Giles, Xander and Anya look on, stunned, Spike launches himself at the dozens of people on the stairs.

Just as he reaches them, braced for impact, a force knocks them aside, and he has a clear path to the top of the tower; to Dawn.

Looking back below for an instant, he sees Tara and Willow, hands clasped, looking with steely eyes at the demons and lunatics. The enemy stumbles, stunned and unable to follow.

As Spike reaches the top, he hears Doc's mild voice. Somehow, his gentle voice makes his threats even more unbearable.

"Well. What do you know?" Spike hears. "It's just about that time."

Dawn's eyes light up with relief when she sees Spike appear behind Doc. Spike puts his finger to his lips, trying to gain the advantage of surprise, but Doc can see it on her face, and whirls to face the vampire.

"Come on, Doc." Spike taunts. "Let's you and me have a go."

"I do have a prior appointment," Doc says, pointing his knife in Dawn's direction.

"This won't take long," Spike says confidently.

"No, I don't imagine that it will."

Doc quickly sidesteps Spike's blitz attack and thrusts the knife deeply into the vampire's side. Spike doubles over, gasping in pain. Dawn whispers his name, closing her eyes against the sight.

Now on his knees, his eyes blurry with pain, he can still see Buffy slamming Glory with the enormous hammer on the ground far below.

"Buffy", he whispers.

Squaring his shoulders, he pulls the knife from between his ribs and stands. Placing his body like a shield between Doc and Dawn, he gasps out, "you don't come near the girl, Doc."

"I don't smell a soul anywhere on you vampire. Why do you even care?" Doc questions the blond vampire.

"I made a promise to a lady." Spike says in a stronger voice, looking down at Buffy.

"Oh?" Doc chances a glance at his pocket watch. Carefully placing the item back in his pocket, he springs at Spike. Spike dodges, and kicks at the demon, only to have his feet entangled in the long tongue. Spike falls onto his injured side, gasping with pain, but dragging Doc to the floor with him. The knife drops from Spike's nerveless fingers, and Doc quickly grabs it, and rises to his knees, pulling his tongue back in as he does so. Spike, finding his legs free, lashes out again, causing Doc to drop the knife again. As the two demons face each other, the knife skitters towards the ladder. It teeters on the edge, and then falls down a level.

Doc watches his knife slide away from him, and then looks back at the vampire, no longer the mild mannered old gentleman. His pure black eyes glitter with anger, and he leaps to his feet with the grace and fluidity of a much younger man.

Spike struggles to rise, but is too slow as Doc lunges towards him, capturing his arms and pulling him to his feet with surprising strength.

Turning the vampire to face the struggling girl at the end of the platform, Doc smiled. "Then I'll be sure to send the lady your regrets."

Spike met Dawn's eyes in anguish as Doc pushed him over the edge. As he fell through the air, all he could hear was Dawn screaming his name.

Far below, Buffy could hear Spike whisper her name in pain. She paused in her attack on Glory to see Spike and Doc battling on the topmost platform of the tower. Knowing Spike would fail; she quickly renewed her strikes on the Hell-Goddess.

Glory fell to her knees. Looking pathetic and near tears, she looks up a Buffy.

"Stop it." She whispers.

"You're a God," Buffy returns, no hint of compassion in her voice. "Make it stop."

Another strike, and Glory falls onto her back.

Buffy stands over her, slamming the hammer into her face.

Suddenly, Glory morphs into Ben. Buffy has the hammer raised over her head, but stops her stroke when she sees the mortal man, instead of the God.

"I'm sorry," Ben mumbles through the blood covering his face.

"Tell her it's over. She missed her shot. She goes. She ever, ever comes near me and mine again..." Buffy stands tall and resolute over Ben's limp and battered body.

"We won't. I swear."

Buffy turns, lowers the hammer. Then she pauses and returns to Ben, hatred and pain in her eyes. "I don't believe you," she says, as she casually raises the hammer and drops it on Ben's face.

Giles, Willow, Tara, Anya and Xander watch in horror and disgust as Buffy kills Ben.

Unaware of their horror, Buffy runs towards the tower, towards her sister. Halfway up, she sees a body plummet downwards. Pausing to look down, she sees Spike sprawled on a pile of bricks, moving feebly. She increases her speed, knowing Dawn is up there, with an enemy, completely undefended.

Only a level or two above her, Doc climbs the ladder again, having retrieved his knife. He moves slowly in front of Dawn, who shifts frantically, trying desperately to find some way to escape.

Knife in one hand, Doc pulls out his pocket watch with the other. Studying the watch intently, he directs casual remarks at his struggling victim.

"The timing must be exactly perfect. An instant too late or too early and the ritual is just another painful torture session. And the ritual must be performed exactly right. Shallow cuts, to let the blood flow free. Free, but slow. It's going to hurt a lot, I'm afraid, but in the service of the great and wonderful Glorificus, any sacrifice is acceptable. Enjoyable, even." Doc smiles as he snaps the pocket watch closed.

"Buffy!" Dawn gasps, as her sister appeared behind Doc.

Doc whirls, and then smiles at Buffy.

"This should be interesting," he muses as he prepares himself to battle the Slayer.

Buffy, with eyes on her sister, doesn't even pause. She simply brushes past Doc, pushing him off the tower. He falls, screaming, as Buffy unties Dawn.

"Are you okay? Did he ... did he cut you?" Buffy sounds young and scared as she searches Dawn for injuries.

Surprised, Dawn laughs. "He was too busy talking to cut me. I'm fine, Buffy."

As if those were magic words, the tower began to tremble and creak more than before.

Below, the rejoicing Scooby Gang stops hugging, and gaze upward fearfully.

Giles's gasps out, "the tower, it was held together with Glory's will, and the constant attention of her slaves. Now that Glory is gone, the tower..."

Pieces of the tower start to fall around them. The surviving minions and insane slaves scurry for cover, with the Scooby Gang right on their heels.

Willow and Tara stop to help Spike clamber to his feet. He's weak from his injuries, and the sun is rising, causing him to wince. They run to a shady, protected spot, and Spike falls to his knees staring upward. He can just barely make out Dawn and Buffy struggling down the collapsing tower.

"Xander," he gasps, "they need help."

"I see them," Xander says, and strides out the tower, ignoring the danger.

Looking up, he calls out to the two girls. "Buffy, Dawn! Jump!"

Buffy looks down at him, and then over at her sister. "You first," she smiles. "I didn't come all this way just to lose you here."

Dawn smiles, and then pulls herself over the stair railing. Closing her eyes, she jumps.

Xander catches her easily, and smiles down at the girl in his arms. "See, no problem."

They grin at each other, only startled into awareness when Anya's voice rings out in fear.


She pushes Xander and Dawn to the side, only to be struck a glancing blow by debris that would surely have hit Dawn and Xander directly and potentially fatally.

Dawn scrambles to the safety of the protected nook the other Scoobies are cowering in.

Xander calls out to Anya and picks up the unconscious woman before heading back to his friends.

Handing Anya's limp form to Giles, he turns to go back for Buffy, only to be stopped by Spike's hand on his arm.

"Too late," Spike moans, covering his face.

The tower, already unstable, was now swaying fiercely. Helpless, the group on the ground look on as Buffy clings to the crumbling structure, still trying to struggle downwards.

Looking impotently towards her friends, Buffy catches Dawn's eye and smiles at the pretty young girl. She saved her sister. That's all she cared about right now. Dawn was okay. Saving the world was just gravy.

Breaking eye contact with Dawn, she looks at Spike. He promised to protect Dawn. His eyes widen as he reads her intention. He stands, grabbing Dawn, using his body to block her view of Buffy on the crumbling tower.

Pleased that he understands her so well, Buffy runs her loving glance over all her friends. They look on, confused, as they read her lips, mouthing out the words "love you. Love you all."

Then with a last brilliant smile, from 50 feet above the ground, Buffy lets go of the tower, and jumps.

As she jumps, the tower crumbles beneath her and around her. Despite the chaos, it feels like flying. All she can hear is the wind rushing past her ears.

To the watchers below, it looks horrifying. Buffy is buffeted by the wind, and struck by the debris around her. Willow starts screaming for her friend, and buries her face in Tara's chest. Xander forces himself to look away, to look at Anya. She's awake and looking up at him from the safety of his arms. Tara focuses on Willow. Spike concentrates on the little girl whose head is buried in his chest. Dawn sobs into Spike's chest. As soon as he grabbed her, blocking her from seeing her sister, she knew that Buffy was in trouble. She can feel Spike's cold tears soaking into her hair. Only Giles watches the Slayer fall. He's the Watcher. He feels it is his duty to watch his Slayer right to the bitter end. His eyes remain clear until she hits the ground. Then the world goes black.