Los Angeles, in an alley behind the Hyperion Hotel

A hard and steady rain poured down as Angel ran down the alley, sword in hand. He reached the end, with its chain link fence. It looked as though he was the first to arrive. He hoped that he was not the only one to survive the first strikes against the Circle of the Black Thorn.

"Boo," Spike said as he stepped out from the shadows.

"Anyone else?" Angel asked.

"Not so far. You feel the heat?"

"It's coming."

"Finally got ourselves a decent brawl."

Both vampires turned as they heard the sound of running feet closing in on their location. Both gripped their weapons a bit tighter before relaxing as Gunn came into view.

"Damn! How did I know the fang boys would pull through?" Gunn panted from exertion.

"Because that's what they do," a female voice said somewhere behind him.

"What the...," Angel started at the familiar voice before Sasha came close enough to for him to see. "You're supposed to be dead."

"Supposed to be a lot of things I'm not," she replied. "You two should know better by now."

"So, she really does know you two losers," Gunn grinned. "She did some nice work at the Senator's office."

Spike walked over to her. "How do we know you're not the First?"

She gently cupped his face with her hands and drew his face down for a gentle kiss. A moment later she drove her knee into his balls.

"Argh!" Spike fell to the ground clutching himself. "What the hell was that for?"

"That was for not letting me know you were alive. Oh get up you big baby," she snorted. "It doesn't hurt that much. I wouldn't damage you before an apocalypse."

"Sasha, you didn't mention your relationship with Spike was messy too," Gunn said.

"Your accident? Misdirection by the Council?" Angel asked.

"More like misdirection of the Council. I got tired of Willow and company placing my name on their decisions, especially those decisions that they knew I wouldn't agree with. They didn't have any use for me other than a cross between a figurehead and a scapegoat so I 'killed off' Buffy."

"Sasha, are you saying that you killed the senior slayer," Gunn queried worriedly. He had thought he was bringing one of the good guys, or gals, to the party. Then again, Buffy ordered the Council not to help Angel so maybe he could could cut the girl some slack.

"No Charlie boy," Spike said as he sat on the wet ground. "She killed herself off. Sasha is Buffy."

"How did you pull it off?" Angel frowned. The kind of planning to fake her own death was something that he would have thought beyond his old girlfriend.

"With help from the Immortal and my father," she replied with a look that said she knew what he was really asking.

"Hank," a surprised Angel asked.

"No, her real father. Some Russian guy according Joyce's letter," Spike said as he slowly stood up. "Ivan?"

"Illya," Sasha corrected as she reflexively touched a locket on one of her necklaces. "His one gift to me was a nifty little amulet. It allows me to hide from the Council. And that reminds me, any word on Wes?"

A rattle from the chain-link fence at the end of the alley alerted the group to a new presence. Illyria remained perched on the fence for a moment before jumping down to stand next to Angel.

"Wesley is dead," the Old One said tonelessly. "I'm feeling grief for him. I can't seem to control it. I wish to do more violence."

"Well, wished just happen to be horses today," Spike said as the sound of a noisy crowd became evident even to human ears.

"Among other things," Angel added. "Illyria, meet..."

"Sasha," the slayer formerly known as Buffy said.

"More muck," Illyria sneered.

"I've been called worse. We can sort out the insults later," Sasha said as she nodded towards the demon horde at the head of the alley. And holy crap, was that a dragon overhead?

Humanity's defenders took up defense positions.

"Okay Blue, you take out the 30,000 on the left," Gunn said without a trace of irony.

"What the rest of the plan?" Spike asked Angel.

"We fight."

"Bit more specific."

"Well, personally, I kind of want to slay the dragon," Angel quipped as the demon horde attacked. "Let's go to work."

Sasha rolled her eyes as she waded into battle along side her two former lovers and their friends.

Seconds into the battle, Sasha grabbed sword off of one her kills. Not bad she thought as she thrust it into a demon. It slid back out easily. She swung it to the left, decapitating something orange. Not bad at all.

"You know, that Scythe that Spike told me about would probably come in handy right about now," Angel said as he fought a four-armed thing off to her right.

"Pretty sure that would have clued Willow in to what was going on," Sasha said ducking to avoid a clumsy blow aimed at her head. She disemboweled her would-be killer, his entrails landing on her pant leg. "Eww, why do they have to be so messy when they die?"

"Guess they're just inconsiderate," Spike said as he stabbed particularly scaly demon. His sword got trapped in the scales and Spike just picked up the demon and threw it back into its fellow creatures. His face slipped into vampire mode and he began ripping out the throats of whatever came within reach.

The battle continued for more than an hour but less than two. Gunn was the first to go down with a sword lodged in his back, severing his spine. Angel was next. The Irish vampire was killed by the dragon his ashes mixing with the alley's muddy rainwater. The dragon died moments as Illyria leapt onto its back and twisted its head off. A troll took out Sasha. A single blow to her blindside sent her flying into the side of the Hyperion with enough force to partially bring down a wall on her. Distracted, Spike was decapitated before he could avenge her. In the end, it was the God King that saved the world, a world infested by muck. As she worked her way through horde she could see portal that they had disgorged them. As the last demon died, she took one last look around at the devastation surrounding her.

"It is not sufficient," she thought. "I wish to do more violence."

She stepped through the portal.

Seven and half minutes later, the portal disappeared.

Sixteen minutes after that, a small hand emerged from the rubble.

Four months later, Los Angeles

Sasha walked into the lobby of the rehab center where her friend was waiting with a small bag of his personal belongings on his lap.

"So, ready to get out of this place?"

"Hell yes."

Her eyes clouded. "Let's just try for a yes. I think we've both had enough of hell for this lifetime."

"Amen to that," Gunn said from his wheelchair as he began to push himself towards the door.

"Let me," Sasha said as she moved behind him. "We've got a long trip ahead of us."