Chapter 10: Not Another Dream!
Warning: Just the generic warning for possible language.
Disclaimer: BtVS and AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. Charmed characters belong to WB. Smallville characters belong to DC Comics & WB. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
A/N: Thanks to my betas for their help...BkwrmDancer, DawnDreamer, AshDawnSoulmates, ktweaver, and Chrislover.
A few weeks later…
Buffy woke up from her dream shaking. Hadn't the Angel of Destiny told her that she was free? Why was she still having Slayer dreams?
As if he heard her, the being in question appeared in her room.
"I thought I was done. What's the deal with the dreams?" she demanded before he could say anything.
Instead of being upset by her rudeness, the Angel of Destiny gave her a sympathetic smile. "Let me answer your question with a question. If there was evil happening and you could do something about it, would you want to know? Or would you rather live in ignorance?"
As she thought about her answer, he continued, "As for what's happening…it doesn't require you specifically to fight it – not like your destiny as the Slayer. But I won't lie to you either…your involvement would save many lives," he explained earnestly.
He looked at her thoughtfully for a moment before offering her the choice, "If you truly want to remain ignorant of events you can influence, the dreams will stop. Is that what you want?"
Buffy returned the scrutiny, then asked, "You're saying that I don't have to fight this new evil for the rest of my life? I can walk away when I've had enough?" He nodded. "Then I'll keep the dreams. They helped my cousins with a pretty big problem.…So, how do I go about doing this thing?"
"Ask Jonathan to introduce you to his friend Senator Jack Jennings. He'll get you to the people who will get you where you need to be. And Buffy…thank you for doing this," he added, knowing she needed to hear that from somebody.
She gave him a bright smile. "A girl could get used to all this love. By the way, thanks to whoever let me heal Cordy. She and Doyle deserve a shot at happiness."
"They do. It also doesn't hurt that they can help protect the Charmed One's child. That one will have a heavy destiny to live up to. Maybe some advice from 'Aunt' Buffy would be in order," he suggested lightly.
"Poor kid," Buffy sympathized. But she had figured out by now there was nothing she could do about it. "Sooo, can you tell me if it's a boy or girl? Give me a headstart on baby shopping?" she asked teasingly.
The Angel of Destiny just laughed as he vanished.
The next morning…
As she reached for the waffles at breakfast, Buffy gave her uncle her classic pouty look while requesting, "Uncle Jonathan, could you call your friend, Senator Jack Jennings, for me?"
Dawn recognized the tone in Buffy's voice and demanded, "What's wrong?"
"I had a dream--" Buffy started.
"Those are supposed to be gone now! You're destiny-free! They promised!!!" Dawn cut her off in anger. What was the point of the prophecy if she had to keep doing the PTB's dirty work?
Buffy tried to calm her sister down, "And I still am…for the most part. The way the Angel of Destiny explained it to me was I could give up the dreams if I wanted to. Plus, I can walk away from this new threat anytime I want. My help isn't required, but it would be…well, helpful."
"Are you sure you want to keep fighting?" Martha questioned, knowing that her cousin was just recovering from her last battle.
"I guess the way I'm looking at my life now is: I'm sorta like a cop, or firefighter, or even a soldier. Eventually, I'll be too old to do what I do. As long as I'm not there yet – and I get regular vacations – I should use my abilities while I can," Buffy answered with a shrug.
Jonathan put his coffee down and looked at the blonde fighter. "And Jack can help you?"
Buffy paraphrased the Angel of Destiny's words to her, "He can introduce me to the people who can get me where I need to be."
Clark was already missing his older cousin. Not only had she convinced his parents to tell him the truth about where he came from, she and Dawn made him feel less out of place about it, too. "When will you be leaving?" he asked, his face downcast.
"Don't know. Probably pretty soon. But don't worry, I'm just an orb away if you guys need anything," she promised, reaching over to squeeze his hand.
Jonathan called his friend, who said he was willing to meet with her. Only problem was that he couldn't get away from the DC area, so she would have to go there. That didn't bother Buffy, though. She figured the people she had to talk to would be somewhere else anyway.
Once the appointment with Senator Jennings was confirmed, Buffy started to pack most of her things. She wasn't sure how much time she had before she would have to leave the farm, but she guessed it wouldn't be long. It usually wasn't. Hopefully, it wouldn't be too bad for everyone.
Clark knocked on her door. "Buffy? Can I talk to you?"
"Sure, cuz. Come in. What's on your mind?" she inquired as she took a break.
"I wanted to get your opinion on something. I already know how my folks feel, but it's kinda something only people like us deal with," he started rambling.
Which made her interrupt, "Breathe. What is it?"
"Should I tell my friends? …About my abilities, that is?" he clarified.
Buffy sighed, not wanting to get in the middle of a fight over this. She opted to just give him a lesson from her past. "Your parents have good reasons for wanting to keep this quiet. I don't know your friends and they do. What I can tell you – and them – are my own experiences. Have a seat."
"When I was in LA, I pretty much only had my Watcher to help me out – until he died. Then there was this guy, Pike, who helped me. My friends from before I was Called were too frivolous and shallow to deal with my new life. It made life pretty miserable for me not to have somebody to talk to. Pike was great for the slaying stuff, but that was all. We didn't really mesh that much outside of slaying," she added ruefully, remembering the times she tried to talk to him about other things.
Clark interrupted her thoughts, "So I should tell them?"
Rolling her eyes at his impatience, Buffy gave a small chuckle, "Hold your horses. I haven't finished. When my mom and I moved to Sunnydale – and Dawn, although that part of her life wasn't real yet – the first friends I met there were the first people I saved. Probably because they were my friends. Anyway, they had firsthand experience with my life and didn't repress it like my friends in LA did. And they wanted to help me."
"So it was a good thing they knew," he pushed.
Buffy rubbed her hands over her face, trying to figure out the best way to say this, "Yes and no. I don't know how long they would have survived without knowing, but being my friends also made them targets for the bad guys. They knew that the best way to get to me was through my friends and family. Apart from running away, you can't change the family part, and I don't recommend that. It sucks for everyone involved."
She took a deep breath, then continued, "Basically what it boils down to is: can they be trusted with your secret, and are they willing to deal with the added danger from knowing that secret? Being your friend will be dangerous no matter what. However, if they know things about you that nobody else does…it can make them a target. Just keep that in mind."
She saw the dejected look on his face and could picture him closing himself off from everyone to keep them safe. "I'm not trying to dissuade you from having friends, 'cause that's what's kept me alive so long…literally. It's also kept me from going off the deep end. But don't make the same mistake I did with your friends," she warned.
Clark saw the pain flash in her eyes and inquired gently, "What's that?"
"If you tell them your secret – or they find out somehow – don't let them define you by your abilities or your destiny. You are Clark Kent just as much as you are Space-boy. You got it?"
When he nodded, she explained what she meant, "Where I started having problem with my friends was when they could only think of me as the Slayer; not a girl who had the same problems they had with everyday life. Unfortunately, cuz, we get the short end of the stick because of our dual identities. If it helps, just remember that there are others who know how this feels, and you can talk to any of us if you need to."
"I'll remember that, Buffy. And thanks for the advice. Sure will miss you, cuz," he said as he wrapped her up in a hug.
Buffy enjoyed the embrace for a moment before pulling away. "I'll miss you, too. Just remember to call if you need me. Even if it's just to talk," she ordered him.
Jack Jennings was walking down the corridor of the Capitol, talking to his friend and colleague, "…That's what he said. But Jonathan's one of my oldest friends, and he's never asked me for anything before. So I figure I can at least see what this Buffy Summers wants."
A uniformed man looked up at the name and stalked over to them. "I'm sorry, I couldn't help but hear you mention Buffy Summers."
Jack recognized him from some place or other. It would come to him soon. "Yes. Why? Do you know her?" he inquired calmly.
Colonel McNamara scowled fiercely, "Unfortunately. We had a good project going, and it was progressing rather nicely until she came along and destroyed it."
Now Jack remembered the man. Granted the name plate and rank insignia helped. But it was his mention of the failed project that put the pieces together. "How did she manage that?" he asked, hoping for some details. He had never managed to get any in the past.
"Mainly by turning the top retrieval team leader against the project. She was threatening the project and that forced the project head to panic, which cost her her life," he said, the accusation clear in his voice. "Then later, Miss Summers and some others broke into the headquarters. Because of their actions, we barely made it out of there with our lives; some of us didn't even get that much," he added bitterly.
That surprised the Senator. "So why weren't they ever charged?"
McNamara half snorted/half growled, "The official line was that they didn't want the negative publicity if the project was discovered. It was very important work, but it was also very dangerous."
"Why didn't she ever expose it then?" Jack questioned; something didn't sound right about this to him.
"Because she and her cohorts knew that keeping it a secret was the only thing standing between them and a prison cell. Take my advice: stay far, far away from Buffy Summers!" the Colonel all but yelled at Jack. Then he stormed away down the hall.
The Senator's colleague chuckled at the display, having kept quiet the whole time. "Hmm, what do you make of that?"
Jack raised an eyebrow. "Not sure. One thing I do know, though, is that Colonel McNamara's career stalled out about four years ago. He was on the fast track for stars on his shoulder, then all of a sudden, the talk ended. It was never explained why. I wonder if it was because of that project he mentioned."
"Are you still going to meet with her?" his friend asked.
Which made the Senator look at him as if he lost his mind. "Now more than ever. I'm curious what her side of the story is," he said.
The other man smiled and commented, "Have to admit, so am I."
Jack knew he could trust this man…as much as he could anyone around the Hill. "I'll let you know if I can," he promised.
"Thanks. See you later, Jack," he said, shaking the Senator's hand before walking away.
"Bye," Jack called after him.
A/N: Next…That's it for 'What the Future Brings'. I'll start the sequel when I get some of my other stories taken care of. Thanks for all the interest, people!