Where Will You Go
Title: Where Will You Go
Rating: PG for now. It could go up to potentially PG-13
Summary: Buffy Summers thought she was prepared for everything. She wasn't prepared to face the bombshell the Council dropped on her when she quit... that she wasn't meant for this life at all. BtVS/HP.
Larger Summary: Buffy Summers thought she was prepared for everything. She wasn't prepared for a bombshell the Council dropped on her after she'd walked out on them. This is what happens when her memory was modified with fake memories of life as a Slayer and as a daughter of Hank and Joyce. Forced to confront her true calling, Buffy finds solace in England with the brother she never knew and a life she never dreamed was possible. At 18, Buffy stands as Elizabeth Potter and is ready to help her brother face his destiny as the Boy Who Lived. But darkness grows where the Slayer treads and her life may hold more meaning than she dreams... Post Helpless, Season 3, BtVS. Post OoTP HP.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything created by Joss Whedon or J.K. Rowling. They are the ones with the incredible imagination to dream all of this up. All we do is play a little. Although nearly the entire first chapter is written from the Season 3 episode "Helpless", there are original bits added to it.
Author's Note: This story line has been done before, I know. But I haven't tried it out yet and after reading about a round dozen of these, I was dying to try my own. I'm going to add an AU comment to this and say that Buffy quit the council after Giles was fired in "Helpless". This way, Faith is still a good little Slayer. Angel and Buffy never really got back together... sort of. There's more, but I'll let you figure it out on your own. Also, for the sake of argument, let's pretend that Buffy is older than Harry when she is, in fact, younger.
Many thanks as always to Grace for volunteering to beta read. I promise lots of chocolate chunk cookies and even a yummy pineapple pizza. You so earned it.
Chapter Warning: There are quotes and such from the canon story of "Helpless". Just so you know.
- - - - -
- - - - -
Buffy Summers trembled from head to toe as she eased herself into the chair, trying to ignore the anger that was swelling inside of her. She kept her eyes averted from Quentin Travers, the Watcher sent from England to test her on her Slayer abilities. Quentin was staring at her with hard eyes while Rupert Giles stood in his doorway, completely oblivious to his Slayer's rage.
"You exhibited extraordinary courage and clear-headedness in battle," Quentin said, standing by the table, a pensive look on his face, although his hands were deep in his pockets. "The Council is very pleased."
Buffy glared up at him defiantly, trying not to wince at the movement, for the cut above her right eye was still stinging and she could still taste the blood in her mouth. "Do I get a gold star?" she asked, in a voice quite unlike her own. It was full of a bitterness she couldn't sense along with an anger she knew she shouldn't breach, but she knew it was coming.
Quentin glanced at her with something like understanding. "I understand that you're upset," he continued, his eyes still on her bruised face.
"You understand nothing," Buffy said, her voice still cold and lifeless, cutting off the explanations she didn't want to hear, excuses he had no right in granting. There was no excuse for that behavior, here, now or ever. "You set that monster loose, and he came after my mother."
Quentin didn't shrink at all under the fire behind her eyes. He averted his gaze, staring at a stack of books at the end of the table. "You think the test was unfair?" he asked, already knowing she would agree it was, as any other Slayer had done before her.
She tilted her head, considering his words. "I think you better leave town before I get my strength back," she retorted, ignoring the look of smug superiority on his face. She longed to claw out his eyes, to rip off his skull, anything to make him desist in using that horrid expression.
Quentin looked down at his feet, as though struggling to find the words. "We're not in the business of fair, Miss Summers," he said, quite plainly looking her in the eye. "We're fighting a war."
Giles seemed to come alive at last. Stepping from his position under his doorway, he walked a few steps into the room. "You're waging a war," he pointed out. "She's fighting it. There's a difference."
Quentin cast a sideways glance at the other Watcher. "Mister Giles, if you don't mind--"
"The test is done," Giles said, his voice growing more steely and fierce. "We're finished."
Quentin drew in a small breath and glanced back at Buffy. "Not quite," he said, admiring the anger that still resided in her eyes. "She passed. You didn't." He knew he couldn't see Rupert's face, but he had an inkling of what it might look like. His jaw was set and his eyes blazed as Quentin half-turned to look at him. "The Slayer is not the only one who must perform in this situation." He averted his eyes back to the floor. "I've recommended to the Council and they've agreed that you be relieved of your duties as Watcher immediately. You're fired."
Rupert's eyes widened as the realization of the man's words hit him. Buffy sat behind Quentin, her own eyes widening in shock. "On what grounds?" Giles asked, ever so gently. The shock had hit him hard.
"Your affection for your charge has rendered you incapable of clear and impartial judgment," Quentin started, sounding as though he'd spent hours rehearsing these words. "You have a father's love for the child, and that is useless to the cause."
As he spoke, Buffy stared at Giles, tears slowly filling her eyes as he began to understand, truly understand, what was happening.
Quentin continued. "It would be best if you had no further contact with the Slayer."
Buffy lowered her eyes as Giles stood his ground. "I'm not going anywhere."
Quentin hardly batted an eyelash or showed his disappointment at this revelation. "I didn't expect you would adhere to that," he said, almost quietly, pity showing in his eyes for the first time. "However, if you interfere with the new Watcher or countermand his authority in any way, you will be dealt with."
An awkward silence filled the library as Buffy stared at the table. It was devestating to hear these words. Giles, her Giles, was being pulled away from her. A sudden thought, almost a rash and bold decision, popped into her head as Quentin continued.
"Are we clear?" he asked, his voice cutting.
Giles looked like a man who had been defeated. "We're very clear," he muttered.
It was now or never. Buffy lifted her bruised chin as Quentin turned to her. "I'm not clear," she said, her voice surprisingly strong for someone who had nearly been defeated by foes she'd fought for four years running.
"It's Council orders," Quentin said, gesturing with his hands as he tried to explain. "I'm making this all very clear for both of you so that when the Council decides who's to follow--"
"They won't," Buffy said, her eyes never leaving his face. "Because I don't think I'm going to be taking any more orders from the Council."
There were unforseen threats in Quentin's eyes as he rounded on Giles. "Rupert, what did you say to her?"
"Nothing," Giles said, shaking his head slightly. Buffy gave him a look that told him that she knew what she was doing before turning her withering gaze back to the elder Watcher.
"I can't do this anymore," Buffy said, shrugging almost carelessly. "I can't have this as part of my life, where you pull all the strings and I'm expected to dance like a puppet. It's over. I'm done. You can bully Faith into being your tool, but for now, I'm not working for you anymore."
"Buffy," Quentin said, suddenly realizing how deadly serious the Slayer was, "you cannot turn your back on the Council. The reprecussions of doing so would be far too high."
She lifted her chin higher, her eyes sparkling. "Bite me."
He let out a nervous chuckle as he straightened, his jaw tightening. "Well, yes," he said, his tone turning much more unpleasant. "You do understand that with your decision comes the obstacle of your true destiny."
"Why is that?" Buffy asked. "You can't take away my powers. They were given to me. And because I'm not on your false payroll anymore, I can kick your ass from here to Nantucket for all I care."
"If you really must force our hand, Miss Summers," he continued, his voice growing colder still, "you will give us no choice but to deport you back to the country where you came from."
At this, she started laughing. "You have got to be kidding me," she said, shaking her head, eyes still full of mirth. "I'm American, Quentin. I think you and I both know that."
"On the contrary," Quentin said. "You are about to discover that you are messing with far superior forces than even you can reckon."
"Do I look afraid to you?" she asked, her voice solid and unwavering. "Because I'm not."
"We shall see," said Quentin, giving them both one last, cold look before departing.
Giles watched as he left before replacing his glasses onto his nose. With a heavy sigh he turned and saw Buffy sitting at the table, looking even younger than the day he'd met her. She made to rest her head on her hand when she winced, her fingers probing a large and very deep cut on her forehead, still bleeding. Her hand shook as she drew it across her face, struggling to control the tears that were brimming behind dazed eyes.
Her hands were still shaking as she dipped a towel lying in front of her into warm water and brought it to her forehead, cleaning the cut. Giles moved toward her, his eyes holding respect as he bent down, gently pulling the towel from her hand and dabbing at her cut. Her eyes were full of pain and confusion as they gazed at each other.
"We're going to find a way to get through this, Buffy," he said gently as he pulled the towel back.
"What are they going to tell me, Giles?" she asked, cringing as he pressed the towel hard against the wound to suppress the bleeding. "What is going to happen to me?"
"They can't do anything yet," he told her as he pulled the towel back and stood up. "I'm going to go and find you some bandages. Just sit there... please."
As he walked off, Buffy let out the tears. As she brushed them away, she noticed the blood on her hands and they shook harder than before. Drawing her gaze to the floor, she contemplated on how her life would change now that she was no longer a Slayer.
- - - - -
"I can't believe Giles was fired," Willow said, turning from the Summers' counter with a pitcher of lemonade in her hands. She appeared to be highly distressed as she turned, her yellow-and-red striped hat concealing the concern and near panic in her eyes. "How could Giles get fired?"
It was Sunday afternoon in the Summers' house. Joyce had allowed Buffy to invite Willow, Xander and Oz over for lunch. At the moment, they were making sandwiches. Buffy felt a bit relieved to have her friends around. It kept away the nagging fears that something bad was going to happen. She concentrated on spreading strawberry jam on her slice of bread.
"So, how did you manage to kill Kralik?" Oz asked, turning to question her while he was rummaging around in a cabinet behind Willow.
Kralik was the vampire who had started this entire mess. Buffy was almost hesitant to answer and set the knife aside.
Joyce spoke up, her tone bemused. "Oh, she was very clever," she said, standing protectively over her daughter's shoulder. Buffy glanced at her quickly. "Oh... you go ahead and tell it, dear. You tell it better."
Buffy glanced at the bread a moment before turning back to her friends. But somehow the words wouldn't come.
"N-Now when you say fired," Willow said again, the panic-stricken look back in her eyes, "do you mean fired?"
Xander was gazing down at his own creation, not really wanting to speak, but yet he found himself wishing Willow would really calm down. "You're not cruising past that concept any time soon, are you?"
"Well," Willow continued, her voice rising even higher, "it's just... I mean, he's been fired. H-He's unemployed. He's between jobs."
"Giles isn't going anywhere, Wil," Buffy said, attempting to comfort her best friend. "He's still librarian."
At this, Buffy and Joyce exchanged a quick look. After returning home the night before, Buffy had told her mother everything. About Giles getting fired. And about Buffy quitting the Council. Joyce had been more relieved than anything except when she found out that the Council was threatening her daughter. After all, the words 'obstacle to your true destiny' had stuck in Buffy's mind all night.
"Okay," Willow said, shaking an angry finger, "but I'm writing an angry letter."
"You know," Buffy said slowly, "nothing is really going to change. The important thing is that I kept up my special birthday tradition of gut-wrenching misery and horror."
The front doorbell rang. Joyce and Buffy exchanged another look. "I'll get that," Joyce said, waving Willow off as she retreated down the front hallway.
"Bright side to everthing," Oz said, leaning against the counter.
"I'll just feel better when I get my strength back," Buffy said, angrily trying to open a resilient jar of peanut butter.
In the front entrance, Buffy could hear her mother talking to someone. Their voices were beginning to rise.
Xander stood up, a patronizing look on his face as he reached for the jar. "Give you a hand with that, little lady?" he asked.
"You're loving this far too much," Buffy said. As Xander took the jar, Buffy could hear her mother's voice. It sounded as though she were yelling. "I'll be back." Standing up, she traced her mother's footsteps and found Joyce talking to two men, both carrying briefcases and wearing long coats.
"Buffy, these gentlemen are from the Watcher's Council," Joyce said, giving her daughter a long, sharp look. "I've just told them that you aren't up to taking any more orders from them."
"These aren't orders," the one man replied from behind dark sunglasses. "It's our sacred duty. It isn't our choice to be here, but Mister Travers was adament about our delivering this package to one Miss Buffy Summers." He opened his briefcase and pulled out a black leather satchel.
"We will of course remove this package from existance if you agree to rejoin the Council," the second man prompted.
"Not on your life," Buffy growled, taking the package and holding it out of arms reach of the two men.
"I should inform you that this package contains life-altering information," the first man replied.
"Oh?" Buffy asked, feinting surprise. "Is this part of the obstacle to my true destiny?"
"Becoming the Slayer was that obstacle," the second man replied with a scowl. "Your true destiny is inside that package. We'd encourage you not to read it because if you chose that option..."
His words held a hint of warning. She glanced at the package in her arms and frowned slightly, trying to determine what was inside. Glancing at her mother, she saw that Joyce looked as confused as she did. "I'm not going to let you play with me anymore," she said, her own voice waspish. "No more hoops. No jumps. Just get the hell out of here before you do any more real damage."
As Joyce slammed the door behind them, Buffy handed her the package. "Could you put this upstairs?" she asked gently. "I don't want..." her voice trailed off as she glanced behind her, where peals of laughter were drifting from the Kitchen.
"Sure, honey," Joyce said, kissing Buffy's forehead as she brought the package upstairs. Pasting a smile to her face, Buffy returned to the Kitchen.
"What did we miss?" she asked, cheerfully taking her seat. An open jar of peanut butter sat in front of her and she happily began to add it to her sandwich.
"Willow was just informing us of what she was going to write in her letter," Xander said, sounding bored. "It sounded like you were having a lot more fun out there."
Buffy nearly dropped the knife her hand was shaking so bad.
"What was that anyway?" Willow asked as Oz came up behind her, his arms encircling her waist.
"It was nothing," Joyce said quickly from the doorway. "Just... traveling salesmen."
Buffy flashed a quick smile of gratitude to her mother before turning back to her friends, slapping the top of her sandwich together. "So," she started, taking a small bite, "yum... have you guys finished that History paper yet? I'm so stuck on where to even begin with a topic!"
"I was thinking Reconstruction," Willow said, taking her own plate as the four friends walked outside, half-heartedly arguing about their History term paper.
Joyce stayed behind, her face full of concern as she began to pick up the mess they'd left behind. Buffy had done a very brave thing in chosing to leave this Council. The only problem was, that package was about to change her life. A brief thought flashed through Joyce's mind as she set a stack of dishes in the sink.
Her eyes widened in horror. How could they possibly know about that? She wondered, shaking her head as she reached for the pitcher of lemonade and four plastic cups.
If that was what they were threatening her with, it wasn't very classy of them, that much was for certain.
- - - - -
Late Sunday night, Buffy returned from a quick patrol. Her mother was sitting on the couch in the living room, the package lying unopened on her lap. "Buffy..."
"I know," she said heavily, throwing her jacket over the railing and joining her mother. "We should probably do this together because if this affects me, it'll probably affect you."
Her mother gave her a small, strained smile.
"Would you like some tea?" Buffy suddenly volunteered, spinning on her heel. "Because tea would be fantastic at a time like--"
"Buffy, we have to deal with this," her mother said gently. "I really wish you would just get this over with."
Buffy accepted the package her mother handed her and sat next to her, gently unwrapping the black leather ties. Once that was complete, she opened the package and discovered a manila envelope inside. Upon opening that, Buffy discovered a large black folder.
"Would you care to do the honors?" Buffy asked, handing it to Joyce.
Joyce was staring at the folder with wide eyes, as if daring to believe it would ever exist. "Buffy, I can't. This is your... your..."
"I know," Buffy sighed as she opened the cover. "I just thought that maybe it would alleviate that guilty look on your face."
"Alleviate, eh?" her mother asked, affectionately looping an arm around her daughter's shoulder. "I think maybe we both could use a cup of tea as long as you want to sound so proper."
Buffy didn't even notice her mother stand up and move toward the Kitchen. "I didn't even know... that... word..."
There were masses of papers inside. The first was a photograph of a very young blonde-haired girl. Turning it over, she read 'Summers' across the back. Her eyes narrowing, she lifted the second paper. It looked like a letter of sorts. It was written in a language she didn't understand.
The paper beneath it caused her to gasp. "Mom?" she cried out.
Joyce returned, looking pale. "It's that, isn't it?"
Buffy was stunned as she held up another letter. It was an official document. For adoption. "What is this?" she asked weakly.
"Oh, my God," Joyce moaned, backing toward the Kitchen again.
"You cannot just walk away from this!" Buffy shouted, abandoning the folder and following her mother into the Kitchen. She found Joyce sitting on one of the stools, her head in her hands.
"This isn't happening," she said, her eyes on the island table, looking both stunned and mortified. "Buffy... you have to finish that package. Go through everything. We need to know."
The tea kettle was whistling. Leaving her mother to deal with the tea, Buffy returned to the package and continued to go through all of the papers. As Joyce returned with the tea, Buffy found another letter that made her blood freeze. "Mommy?" she asked in a soft voice.
Joyce saw a photograph in Buffy's hand. It was of a striking woman with red hair and glittering jade green eyes. They were the exact same eyes that belonged to her daughter. "Buffy, I can explain..."
"Lily Potter," Buffy said, blinking in comprehension as she turned the photograph over to read the caption on the other side. "And this picture was with it." She lifted a picture of a baby girl and turned it over in her lap. "Elizabeth Potter..." She lifted her head. "Mom? What's going on here?"
Joyce wordlessly stood up. "I never knew that any of this would ever come out," Joyce said, her voice full of pain and anger as she moved to the desk. Opening a lockbox, she moved a single envelope and unfolded the letter inside. "Your father and I were in England when we were approached by this woman from an agency. She said she'd heard of us and had arranged your father's business trip. She asked us if we would be interested in adopting a baby girl. I... never told anyone this, but I was barren, unable to have any children. This was an opportunity of a lifetime, especially since our own baby was stillborn just weeks before. Taking you into our home was like bringing back our own daughter. We never told you the truth because..." It was getting harder for her to speak. Blinking, she looked away, her voice becoming choked with tears. "We never told you because you are our daughter, Buffy. I never believed anything different and neither did your father."
"I'm not your daughter, though," Buffy realized, setting down the entire stack of papers, "am I?"
Joyce gazed into her eyes for a very long time before shaking her head slightly. "I d-don't know how this Council found out about the adoption, but you were only eight weeks old when we took you into our home. Everything that was supposed to go to you was turned over to us... God, Buffy... I don't know where to begin."
Buffy glanced down at the faded photograph. "I'm Elizabeth Potter, aren't I?" she asked softly.
Joyce nodded. "Yes, honey, you are. But to your... to Hank and I, you were always Buffy Anne. I suppose Elizabeth is a more suitable name for you."
Her mother was crying now. Buffy felt as though the wind had been knocked out of her. "I... I can't do this," she said quickly, standing up, upsetting the stack of papers in her lap. "How can you... how can I... is this what the Council meant? Is this my true destiny?"
"I don't know," Joyce said, smiling sadly. "I used to have all the answers, but I never knew, never once expected I would ever have to tell you the truth."
Buffy could understand by her mother had never told her the truth of her birth. It was easy enough to see why she didn't. Because of her inability to have children of her own, being hand-picked for adoption in another country was like a dream come true.
"I... have to go to bed now," Buffy said, pushing the folder off her lap and running upstairs. Once she was in her room, she closed the door and ran to her bed, throwing her body dramatically across it. The tears had started and she made no attempt to brush them away.
She lifted her hands. Cradled in them was the faded photograph of Lily Potter.
Buffy smiled sadly, a trembling finger touching the lovely face she recognized as nearly her own. "Who am I?" she asked, her voice heartbroken. "Who am I? Who am I?"
It was a question that was repeated many times that night.
- - - - -
Author's End Note: All right, I used a LOT of "Helpless" conversation, like the entire fourth act. I hope you don't mind.