What the Future Brings

Summary: Buffy looks to her destiny-free future and wonders how to best use her new and improved powers.

Pairing: only the minor pairing of Giles/Katherine (of the Devon Coven) for now.

Rating: Mild PG-13 I think

Timeline: 6 months post-'Charmed Places' putting it like early October.

Warning: Slight language and innuendo. Non-friendly feelings for Willow and Xander, but it shouldn't matter much unless I feel the need to mention them. For now they are just not in the story.

Disclaimer: BtVS and AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. Charmed characters belong to WB. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.

Recap of 'Charmed Places': After being kicked out of her house, Buffy is joined by Leo and the Charmed Ones. It turns out that her 'heaven' was actually her pre-transition to becoming a whitelighter and she was pulled out before she could receive her powers.

When the Scoobies attempt to stop a prophecy without her, they are stopped by the Cleaners and Willow is brought before the Tribunal where her powers were bound until she earned them back. But at Buffy's request, her memories were left intact.

After a harsh exchange between her and some of the Scoobies, Buffy asks Leo to take her home – a house across the street from the house she had called home for the last 7 years. She tells her new group that she thought something was off with her estranged friends. When they tried to summon Tara's spirit to ask for her help in reading their auras, they find out that she is now a whitelighter – as well as Angel's old seer, Doyle. The two of them had told the Elders a little bit about the missing whitelighter 'Beth' who was the same person as the Slayer the sisters where supposed to help.

Tara reads both of the groups and finds out that someone has casted spells on Giles. The Halliwells do their own spells to remove them and, in doing so, they learn that it was Willow who compelled him to leave Buffy the year before. There is another, harsher, confrontation at the house and the coven that attempted to rehab Willow, decide to strip her powers permanently, reminding her that any attempt by her to get them back would result in further punishment by the Cleaners and Tribunal. A verbal fight ensues and ends with Kennedy and Xander siding with the red-headed wiccan. The three of them leave Sunnydale in anger.

Angel arrives a couple days later with the amulet that they need to fulfill the prophecy that the Scoobies had tried to stop. Because they only had part of it, they didn't know that instead of it being a bad thing, it would actually lead to freedom for Buffy. Buffy asks for help in keeping his soul in place permanently. When they summon Jenny Calendar, she says the only way it can happen is for him to endure the demon trials. But instead, his reward for completing them is his Shanshu. The ex-lovers say a final farewell and wish each other good lives…separate lives.

Buffy, the Halliwell sisters and Spike complete the ceremony to close the Hellmouth and defeat their greatest enemies: The Source and The First Evil. They are all given a choice about their futures by the Angel of Destiny.

After finding out the threat is gone, Giles goes back to England to rebuild the Council. When Buffy sends Dawn to live with their cousins in Kansas – since she is no longer the Key or in need of Slayer-protection – and leaves the Hellmouth to Faith, Buffy goes with Leo and the others to learn about her new whitelighter powers. She now has her own whitelighter, Tara, there to help.

A/N: Thanks to my betas for their help... AshDawnSoulmates, BkwrmDancer, Chrislover, DawnDreamer, and ktweaver.

A/N2: I have a question for my readers: Should Buffy use her healing powers to wake Cordelia from her mystical coma? If so, should it lead to a Cordy/Angel 'ship?

Prologue: Looking Back – Sunnydale

Buffy stood in the farmyard, looking at the picture perfect Midwestern scene. It looked so Norman Rockwell-ish that her heart ached. If she'd had any doubts about sending Dawn here to their cousins, this brushed them all away. This was her sister's best chance for a shot at normalcy. At least for a little while.

Dawn had made it clear to her older sister that when she finished her schooling – and that included college, thank you very much – that she planned to join the Council as a Watcher. Buffy knew that it had been a pipe dream that Dawn would ever be totally free from the supernatural world. And to be honest, she was very proud of her sister. It helped knowing that as long as there were people that understood the Slayers better, the Council would be in good hands.

She reached out with her increased senses but couldn't feel any of her family nearby. There was a niggling feeling from something on the farm, but it didn't have a bad sense about it…just different somehow. But that wasn't important at the moment. She made herself comfortable on the porch swing and thought back over the months since she left Sunnydale behind.

Faith and Spike and stayed at the Hellmouth. Though the energy coming out of it was diminished, it was still a draw to the forces of darkness and someone had to protect the people there. It didn't take long for the former citizens to make their way back. For such clueless people, they had a tremendous subconscious sense of the town.

Giles had taken many of the Potentials back to England with him. He had the arduous task of rebuilding the Council and training the girls. Fortunately, the Devon Coven had made the decision to involve themselves – now that the Council would have a leader that would treasure the Slayers instead of treating them like disposable weapons.

Just days after the Hellmouth closed, Buffy and Dawn packed up only the belongings that they wished to keep and made their way to Kansas. Since things were still tense between them, they opted to fly instead of drive. They managed to remain civil to each other when they met their cousins, but it was apparent to all that their relationship was strained.

While her younger cousin was showing Dawn around the farm, Buffy spoke to his parents. She left out the supernatural elements of their story, but explained how she just couldn't be a sister as well as both parents at the same time. She wasn't good at it, and neither of them saw just how bad it was until it was almost too late. There had been a final fight and Dawn's resentment of her older sister boiled over. It was then that Buffy realized she wasn't helping her sister by keeping Dawn with her. Dawn needed parents that cared and if there were two of them, that would be even better.

The couple knew there was more to the story than either girl was willing to tell them for now, but they set it aside. It was clear that the younger Summers felt terribly guilty about whatever had happened between them, just as it was equally plain that the elder Summers looked hurt and betrayed. The thing that made them hopeful was both planned to keep in touch and gave each other an emotional hug goodbye.

They promised Buffy that they would take care of Dawn. She nodded her thanks and turned to get on the plane back to California. But this time, she was going to San Francisco instead of LA or Sunnydale. She had powers she needed to master and the ones who could help her were there.

Her time with the Halliwells managed to serve another purpose. The blows to Buffy's self-esteem that came to a head the night she was kicked out by her family and friends had almost destroyed her. The sisters and Leo, along with Buffy's personal whitelighter Tara, worked at healing those emotional wounds. Now she felt stronger and more self-confident than she had in years. She was ready to face her future and that meant visiting the remaining ties to her past.


Her stopovers with Faith and Giles had gone well. The ability to orb anywhere made traveling a lot easier… well, as long as no one asked to see her passport. She'd have to remember to make some of her overseas visits the old-fashioned way. Hopefully the duration of the flights wouldn't bother her too much.

Buffy still couldn't believe Giles had made Spike a Watcher! And Faith's Watcher no less! Especially given how much he despised the ensouled vampire. Maybe his guilt over the other issues made him re-evaluate Spike. That and the fact that he – meaning Spike – literally had changed in that final battle. When they used the amulet to lock the Hellmouth, it drew the demon from him, taking his bloodlust with it. He also could go out in the sun and handle holy objects again. It's kind of hard to picture him as a vampire when he's out in the park midday holding a cross and eating a sandwich. Which he actually did one day.

In addition, once you got past the snarky attitude and really talked to Spike, he was very intelligent and had an incredible memory, which came in quite handy for remembering the different demons and the ways to kill them. Nobody could deny that he was the perfect sparring partner for a Slayer given his speed and strength. Giles had to teach him the various forms of the training methods and fighting styles. But after that, Spike was easily able to train Faith.

An added bonus was how well their personalities meshed. Two people who loved to fight and loved to unwind just as aggressively as they fought. Woe to the person who tried to drink those two under a table. That person would inevitably end up being carried out on a stretcher.

Buffy's visit to Sunnydale had been…okay. Not great but not as heart-wrenching as she feared. She had been worried about going back to a place that held so many bad memories for her. But her fears had been unfounded, for the most part. A lot about the town had changed once people started filtering back in.

Robin Wood left when he realized that Spike wasn't going anywhere. He got so upset that he pulled a 'Wesley' and became a 'Rogue Demon Hunter' – though with considerably more success than the ex-Watcher. Giles had left the door open to the Council if Wood ever wanted to join them.

Because being in her old house pained her, Buffy asked Faith to sell it and get a new place with the money. Giles vetoed that, saying the Council would pay for the Slayer's expenses and that Buffy should keep the money for her and Dawn. So she stayed with Faith and Spike in their comfy 3-bedroom house a few blocks from Revello Drive.

Giles had also decided that having a functioning magick shop was a valuable resource in the fight against evil. So he worked it out with Anya to rebuild the Magic Box. And with everyone's contacts, they were able to procure a small coven of practicing wiccans to work in the shop and also assist Faith when necessary.

All in all, it seemed like the new Slayer Squad had the Hellmouth under control. Yes, Faith liked the nickname so much that she started using it after Buffy left. No way was she using the names 'Scooby Gang' or 'Slayerettes'. She wanted nothing to do with immortalizing the original group.

Buffy couldn't blame her. Even if things hadn't fallen apart, Faith shouldn't have to do anything that made her feel like she was in Buffy's shadow. At least nothing she could control.

She left Sunnydale after about a week, confident that Faith and her Squad knew what they were doing. And if Giles asked her, that's exactly what she'd tell him.


A/N: Next…Prologue continued. Looking Back – Devon, England