Usually when Sam leapt he had to struggle to get his bearings quickly. Not this time. It was almost as if the Powers were giving him a break. He had led Nikki to death, just as they had wanted, and now they were giving him this. A breather. He looked himself up and down as best he could and was relieved to see he was a man; he looked like a scholar, holding several books in a language he didn't recognize. Pulling out his wallet, his name was Dominic Santori and this driver's license, which looked brand new, had been issued in 2005 in Cleveland, Ohio. Sam found that odd. He didn't usually leap outside his timeline. He supposed though, that after the craziness of the last two days, anything could happen.
He realized he had nothing to do but wait for Al to show up and give him some direction.
But it wasn't Al who showed up. It was Whistler.
"Hey, Sam," he said, switching his toothpick from one side of his mouth to the other.
"What's going on?" asked Sam, suddenly wary.
"Chillax, it's nothing bad," said Whistler. "Y'know, you did a great thing. It feels lousy, but you helped save the world."
"I let a young woman die. I told her to die."
"And you saved her Watcher and her son." Whistler gestured around him expansively and said, "take a look." But Sam wasn't sure what he was supposed to be looking at. They were clearly on private property. There was a cluster of large buildings, a sloping lawn and, just recognizable in the distance, was a group of teenage girls practicing katas with a lean black man instructing them.
"Where are we?" asked Sam.
"I think you know," said Whistler. "The Powers thought you deserved a reward. Unfortunately they can't give you that leap home — I don't know why, so don't shoot the messenger. But they wanted you to see this. All those girls over there, they're Slayers. The Chosen chicks aren't alone anymore. After Nikki died, things unfolded and led to this. The world is safer now than it has ever been before."
While Sam knew this information should make him feel happy, even relieved, he couldn't manage more than a shrug. He had convinced a woman to go to her death. A little show-and-tell wouldn't unburden his soul.
And Whistler knew this. So he delivered the coup de grace. "You see that man leading them," he said, gesturing again at the group in the distance.
"Yeah," said Sam, already tiring of this conversation.
"He's a great warrior, a great champion," pushed on Whistler. "He helped save the world a couple years ago and now he trains and supports these girls. He changed the world for the better. And now he's married with a baby on the way.
"His name's Robin Wood."
Sam felt his stranger's face crack into a smile, realizing what a good gift this was from the Powers.
After taking a few deep breaths, he just took in the scene, seeing Nikki's son as an adult, strong, confident, important.
After nearly ten minutes, he turned to Whistler and said, "OK. I'm ready." It was the first time he had ever prompted a leap and he was glad at the control, yet ready to relinquish it as needed.
AN: This story took me much longer to write than it should have. Oh well. Please leave me a review!