Willow took a deep breath and looked over the small group assembled before her in the dingy hotel room. She cast a glance over at her girlfriend Kennedy who gave her a reassuring smile, she the looked over the faces of her nearest and dearest once more before she started talking. "Okay…so…last night… I came up with a solution - of sorts - for our problem. I was thinking about what Xander said about needing a portal out from the Hellmouth when everything goes Kaplooey and I know that at the time we laughed about it but actually, it's not really THAT funny. I thought about it and I have an actual idea that should – will - work. There are just two problems: One, I can't say for sure where we'll end up and two, I'll have to tap into Dawn's power - her whole Key thing – to do it."
She took a deep breath, glad to have gotten it all out quickly and without interruption. She was unsurprised to see Dawn looking happy at the prospect of being useful outside of her role of 'Junior Watcher'. She could still remember her almost-daughter's elation and fear in equal measure when they'd all believed that she was the Chosen One thanks to a spell that had gone awry. She was even less surprised to see Buffy looking absolutely furious at the idea of her Sister being used in a risky plan.
Buffy met Willow's eyes. "Are you seriously telling me that you want to use Dawn's power, open up another dimension and have us go through to escape being dragged to Hell? What about Dawn? Can she come with us or would she be trapped behind?" She shook her head, bewildered. "From what I'm hearing, you're saying that while we go down and take out the uber-vamps and another Hellmouth, without Spike's help this time, you want me to bring my little sister into the mix? You've lost your mind, haven't you? Don't you think it was bad enough last time when she was up TOP?" She stared at her crazy friend. "Not enough shoes this week?"
Willow frowned. "No. I mean, not about the shoes although, now I think about it, I haven't had a new pair in about a month but that's beside the point. The point is, I haven't gone mad, no." She sighed and stood up. "Look, it's not like we're doing anything new here. We may not have Spike but we know what he did and I can harness that power now. You know that. You've SEEN that."
She shrugged as she looked around at everyone. "It's effectively the part of sunlight that's deadly to the vamps and on a huge scale – a vampiric nuke, if you will. Besides, I'm not asking for Dawnie to be present through the initial battle but our escape WILL have to be in the Hellmouth. That's where the majority of us will be so it makes sense. She'd be upstairs with Kelly and I while I cast the nuke spell. The spell for the portal is relatively simple – just calls for about half a cup of blood and a few words to be spoken. So I figure that Kelly can deal with it while I cast the sunlight, right? It'll be over before you know it, Buffy. Nothing to worry about." We'll even have another Slayer to keep guard and help us stay safe on the way down if you deem it necessary. See? Minimal danger for Dawn."
Buffy was about to protest further but suddenly Dawn was there in front of her, looking down on her with that Summers look which meant business. "Buffy, we have to do this, we have to. This is something I can do, something useful. Let me do it. Mom wouldn't want you save me in exchange for the whole world. She'd want us BOTH to do what we could to save everyone, you know that."
Buffy's mind drifted back to when their mother had first realised that she was indeed the Slayer, that she risked her life on a daily basis to save the world and how she'd forbidden her to try and save the world, as she was terrified of losing her. For a moment she doubted her sister's words but then she realised that lots of things had changed since then. Regardless of what their Mom would or wouldn't do, she was gone and she couldn't sit back and do nothing. She looked at her, desperation clear in her gaze. "How would that be taking care of you, Dawn? Mom would totally kill me. Besides, what's wrong with my blood?"
Willow cut across her then. "I thought of that but it won't work. Your blood worked to CLOSE the portal, Buffy. Because once it had been opened, it only needed more blood to close. It won't work to open it because you don't have the Key in you. You're only human… err… Slayer." She sighed softly. "Buffy, we can't escape without this. It'd be a suicide mission without Dawn. Unless there were more Slayers but they're busy with Faith, remember? Taking out the other Hellmouth. That's why you're missing the Scythe after all."
Buffy's gut twisted at the reminder of what was missing – it was a fair exchange, after all – a Scythe or Willow on side. It wasn't a hard choice. She still didn't trust Faith. While she knew the Scythe would be fine in her hands even if she did turn rogue, trusting her with her family was another matter entirely but she still felt the loss of the scythe – it was an almost physical ache. It would all be worth it in the end, of course – the world would be safer without hell's army just waiting for a chance to get free. Plus, it made her happy to know that the First was seriously pissed off every time they messed up its plans.
Giles had remained silent until then, just trying to work it all out in his head. "Willow, where will we come out? Won't we end up back in Glory's hell dimension?"
Willow shook her head. "No. That's what put me off at first but Dawn's power isn't actually related to that particular dimension – or any other. It's simply a case that Glory wanted to go there; therefore she would have, if she'd ever been able to get as far as opening up the portal. The first person through decides where our final destination will be. With that in mind, if we ARE going to do this, we need to decide on a place, make sure we all agree. When we are going through, we ALL need to keep the destination in mind, just to be on the safe side. Can't take the chance of ending up in the world of Mickey Mouse or stuck in the middle of Mary Poppins." She saw that Xander suddenly perked up and knew what he was about to say. "Yes Xander, that really could happen. So we all HAVE to be very careful."