Title: This Is How You Remind Me

Chapter 1:  "Somewhere Out There"

Author:  AminalLuv (Lauren)

Disclaimer:  I don't own any of the BtVS characters nor do I own the memories of the characters in the non-alternative reality, it all belongs to Joss Whedon et al.  The title of the story comes from the Nickelback song of the same name.  And the title of the chapter comes from the theme song of the movie An American Tale.

Summary: A post Gift fic.  Xander, Anya and Willow travel to an alternate dimension where demons do not exist.  They plan to bring the AU Buffy back to their reality so that she can prevent the end of days.  Will the thrall of this universe pull them in?  Meanwhile Giles, Tara and Spike try to protect their world and Dawn who is once again the target of attacks.

Spoilers:  Through The Gift (the season finale of season 5)

Rating:  This fic is presently rated PG-13.  If there are any parts I consider to be for more mature audiences I will label them accordingly.

Distribution:  If you would like permission to archive this fic at your website please contact me first.  I won't say no unless there are extreme circumstances, I would just like to know where my stuff is going.

Feedback:  Any comments are welcome as long as they are not flames.  Constructive criticism is not only OK it is welcome.  Please, if you take the time to read my fic please take the time to let me know what you think.

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 This Is How You Remind Me:

Somewhere Out There

The little bell on the door rang and the group of friends turned from the books they were immersed in and glanced at the customer.  He was a short, tackily dressed man in a funny hat.  Anya stood up and approached him.

"Hello sir, how I may help you spend your money?"  She asked enthusiastically.

"Actually, cutie, I'm here to help you."  He replied.

"You must be an entrepreneur like myself.  It's always a pleasure to meet other people who like money as much as I do."

"That's not actually what I meant.  I'm here to help you with a problem that doesn't concern your merchandise.  I'm here to help you with your slayer problem."  The Scoobies glared confusedly at the stranger.

"Don't tell me you're the new slayer cause well, gender is an issue and to be quite honest, I think that outfit of yours would scare the vamps off more then the super powers."  Xander jested.

"Honey, don't insult the customers, he might take his money elsewhere."

"Ahn, he's not a customer, he's a….  What are you?  I mean we established not a customer and not a slayer and well, daylight, so I think we can rule out vampire but that leaves an awful lot."

"How did she put it?"  The man asked almost to himself.  "Ah yes… I believe it was 'some immortal demon sent down to even the score between good and evil.'  Names Whistler."

Giles sighed in relief.  Finally they would get some answers.  The powers had sent someone to tell them why they had yet to hear from the new slayer and what they should do in the interim.

"You couldn't have come a little sooner? Because truthfully good has been getting..."  The Brit removed his glasses and shined the lenses with his handkerchief as he so often did,  "quite…umm… well, pulverized since…" But Giles couldn't utter those two little words.  Three months had passed and still none of them had the courage to speak aloud, the reality of Buffy's demise.

"And there's been no sign of the new slayer."  Willow added bringing the watcher back to attention.

"Quite.  When will she be arriving?  The Hellmouth has been running amuck without a slayer to keep the forces of darkness at bay."

"There is no new slayer."  Whistler delivered his message.

"N…no new slayer?"  Tara whispered as she squeezed Willow's hand just a little.  "But how are w…we supposed to… we can't fight them on our own forever." 

"No, no I don't s'pose ya can.  Don't get me wrong, you guys have been doing a swell job and all, the Powers, they're pleased; but you're not slayers.  Even Spike, he's got his share of strength and speed and the like but…"

"Did someone say my name?" The afore mentioned vampire came waltzing in through the back of the store.

"Good everyone's here now, waddaya say we call this meeting to order."

"Oh so the new guy is calling meetings now.  When did you become boss of the group?"  Xander quipped.

"I'm gonna ignore that comment cause we don't have time for banter so why don't you all just listen up.  There is no new slayer, not until Faith dies and that won't be for a while what with her being Miss Felon and all.  That means no new slayer and no present slayer.  Leaves us with only one option, we gotta get an old slayer back, we gotta get Buffy.  Well, you do actually; I'm just the messenger.

"Don't you think we've tried?"  Willow motioned to the books all around her.  "For three months all we've done is look for ways to bring her back.  We know the world needs her…" the red head quieted down as she said the next part wistfully.  "We need her."

"No resurrection spell is gonna work.  Those books are pointless.  You're only hope is to find a Buffy that's still alive."

"A Buffy?"  Xander asked.

"Ooh, ooh, I know."  Anya waved her hand madly in the air as though she was back in high school.  "The world without shrimp."  she cried with glee.

"Yes, that made ever so much sense Anya.  I don't suppose you could possibly expand upon you're lovely answer?"  Giles prodded.

"Alternate realities.  There's the reality where there's no shrimp, there's the reality where Buffy never came to Sunnydale, and scores of others."

"So you're saying what?   We have to steal Buffy from another dimension?"  Willow wasn't sure she understood.  "Don't the other dimensions need their Buffy's?"

"Most of 'em do.  But there's one dimension in particular that can survive without her.  One dimension with a Buffy to spare.  There's a dimension where demons don't exist."

"So you're saying we need to go take a perfectly happy Buffy from a nice safe dimension and bring her here to fight and die at the hands of evil demons?" Spike asked angrily.  "You can't do that.  She's happy, doesn't the bloody girl get a bleeding break?"  He rushed the demon and pinned him to the wall.

"Glr ba brr"  Whistler grumbled beneath the chock hold of the irate vampire.  Spike realized what he was doing a released the tiny man from his grip.

"Jeeze man, haven't ya ever heard the expression don't kill the messenger?"

"I thought you said you were immortal."  Giles said coldly.

"I am but that's really not the point.  Point is, you got a mess on your hands and I'm here to tell you how to solve it.  Can't help it if you don't like what I have to say, it's listen to me or the whole world goes down the crapper.  Are you prepared to do what you have to do?"

Xander sighed heavily.  He hated to admit it but Spike was right.  Buffy shouldn't have to suffer any more but the fate of the entire world rested on them doing this.  Then again, when didn't the fate of the world rest on their actions?  He knew it was selfish but he also wanted to listen to Whistler because if they brought Buffy back then maybe he would suffer a little less.  He missed Buffy so much; she was his friend, his family, and his hero.  But what did he ever offer her?  He was just normal Joe guy, a 'glorified brick layer.'  Maybe if he'd had more to offer the group they could have saved Dawn and Buffy would still be alive. 

"We'll do whatever we need to.  We'll go get Buffy from this demonless dimension and…"

"Wait!  It's a demonless dimension so does Buffy even exist there?  I mean, she's the slayer so if there are no demons, then maybe she was never even born.  And if she was, then maybe she never got her powers. And where would she be?  In Sunnydale?  But no demons means she never would have come here because she never would have burned down the gym.  And would Sunnydale even exist because I mean, the mayor made Sunnydale for the demons right? So she would be in LA?  How do we even find her?  And sorry, babbling but well, kind of a babbling moment here."  Willow was so full of emotion, she was just trying to sort out everything and the more she sorted things out the more she didn't like things sorted out.  There were so many things that could go wrong with this other Buffy. What would this alternate dimension Buffy be like?  Would she still be her best friend?  Would she be shallow and superficial like she was back at Hemery?

"Some things are just meant to be in any dimension."  Whistler told them  "Buffy moving to Sunnydale, you're friendship, her having super strength.  It's this whole balance thing.  Keeps the dimensions in line."

"So how does this work then?  Cause last I remember, crossing dimensional barriers was not the easiest job and involved hurting Dawn which is definitely out of the question."  Xander remarked.

"This is different then what Glory was doing.  She was trying to go to a demon dimension.  This place Whistler is talking about is more like a parallel universe.  They're more closely bound together and therefore easier to get to."  Anya explained.

"All righty then? You guys done with the chit-chat?  'Cause I've got some stuff to explain."

"Well sorry Mr. Impatient Pants."  Xander mocked their visitor.  Whistler glared back at the man but otherwise ignored him.

"We need to keep balance otherwise we could create a paradox, and the whole universe goes kablooey.  That means some of you go and some of you stay, no arguing.  Anya, you need to go because you have the knowledge of the alternate realities that will help guide you all there and back.  Willow, you have the magic to work the portals, that means you go too.  And Xander.  For some reason Buffy listens to you, even though it seems to me you never have anything useful to say.  Nonetheless the powers think you're the one with the ability to convince Buffy to come back with you. 

"What the hell about me."  Spike demanded.

"You're staying here. 

"No bloody way.  I'm going mate."  Spike insisted.

"You can't.  It's the world without demons, and well last I checked you were still listed in the demon column it's too dangerous for you to go.  Anyway, you need to stay here to protect Dawn if something goes wrong on the other side.  And Giles, your knowledge and Tara's magic are needed to maintain the balance between the two worlds."

"Well than, when do we go?"  Xander asked.

"As soon as I finish explaining the rules, we don't have time to waist."

"Rules?"

"Yes rules.  And these aren't the 'rules are made to be broken' kind of rules, you mess with them, you die, Buffy dies, the universe explodes.  Basically watch your step."

"Whoa! I think I get the point.  Dramatic much."  Xander retorted.

"There are only two but they're the two you'll be most tempted to break."

"No sex!?"  Anya cried.

"Actually, not what I was gonna say but I think she's got me on the temptation part.  Actually the rules are:  number one, you go in, you get Buffy, and you come back.  You bring only yourselves and Buffy; no one else crosses the dimensional barriers.  Number two, you must come back.   There will be a lot of things in this world that will tempt you but you can't stay, if you guys don't come back this world will see the end of days and even worse, it could cause a chain reaction with the other universes.

"Got it, come back, bring Buffy and only Buffy with.  That doesn't sound too hard."

"That's what you think."  Whistler turned to Willow "Can you do the portal?"

"I have to find the right spell."

"Try that book, page 787."  Whistler pointed to a book open on the table.

Willow flipped through the pages.  She stopped and looked up.  "That's it, how'd you do that?" 

"It's my job."

"Goodbye you guys, come back safe."  Tara kissed her girlfriend then moved back with everyone but Willow, Anya and Xander.

Willow opened the book and began chanting.  Xander stood next to her and on his other side Anya gripped his hand tightly.  The air became rippley like water and all of a sudden they were gone.

"That was…quick."  Tara managed.  

"Does anybody else realize that we just sent those three off to another dimension on nothing but the word of some plad clad demon?"  reason began to find it's way back to Spike.

"Because you're the resident fashion expert."  Whistler shot back.  Spike just ignored him

"Not that I'd miss any of them terribly if they never came back, especially not Xander, but it might upset the Niblet."

"W-we…asked…some questions."  Tara stuttered.

"No I'm afraid Spike is right.  We acted rather hastily.  But what's done is done.  All we can do now is hope that Whistler here is really who he says he is."  The watcher looked to the demon, threatening with his eyes.

Whistler ignored the look. "You guys better believe because you've got a lot of work a head of you."

"Work...but…but I thought they were doing the work."  Tara didn't mind work but this sounded like the important kind of work and she had never been good under pressure.

"Nah they've got the easy job, going to a safe demon-free dimension to bring back Buffy.  With them gone the nasties here will think they have it easy.  You guys have to prove them wrong."

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They were falling.  Terror welled up in all of their throats but none of them screamed.  Suddenly the free fall stopped and Xander felt himself land with a thud on a wooden floor.  He opened his eyes.  That bed, those posters, the rug, or what he could see of it beneath the piles of dirt clothing.  He knew this room.  Xander looked over at Willow and saw that she knew it too.  The door to the room began to open.  And the two friends gulped.

"Xander, Willow?  What are you doing in my room?  And who's the chick?"

"Jesse?"