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Power

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This story is No. 3 in the series "The Justice Society". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Buffy's life has taken an interesting direction.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
DC Universe > SupermanNommaFR1514,3674238,2736 Feb 106 Feb 10No
Disclaimer: Not Mine. Belongs to Joss, DC, and the WB.

AN: DON’T READ ANY FURTHER until you’ve read the first story in this series, ‘A League of Their Own’. This will not make any sense if you don’t. There will also be five stories running alongside this one, ‘A New Fate’, ‘Blackbird’, ‘Trick of the Light’, and ‘Justice Society’. Keep an eye out for them.



Chapter 1

Buffy yawned as she snuck into her bedroom window. She had been feeling a bit tired for the last few days, though it wasn’t because of over-exertion. Her problem was strictly emotional. Just three days ago, one of her oldest friends, Billy Fordham, had come to town, trying to trade her to a murder of vampires in exchange for immortality. Obviously it hadn’t worked, but she still regretted not being able to save him.

“Buffy?”

The former Slayer let out a sigh. Once upon a time, she would have been surprised by Angel’s presence. Now, her TTK had told her where he was the instant she touched the windowsill. “What can I do for you, Angel?”

Though she wasn’t looking at him, she could tell her too-professional attitude hurt him. “You’ve been avoiding me for the past week, or so. Ever since Halloween. I was just wondering… why?”

She shrugged. “Been busy.”

He shook his head. “That’s not all of it. I’ve tried to catch you on patrol, and you leave before I can say anything. I can buy that happening once or twice, but not every night.”

Buffy sighed again. She knew why she’d been avoiding him. Her TTK let her feel vibrations from the ground, or the floor. It was sensitive enough to let her feel the footsteps of anyone within a certain radius, as well as their breathing and heartbeats. She had actually come to enjoy that feeling. Angel didn’t give off either of those things. It made her acutely aware of what he was, and she didn’t like it.

“Sorry,” she said. “I don’t know what to tell you.”

“How about the truth?” he said softly.

She looked at her shoes. “… Fine. You know how Giles is always getting on me about not honing that vampire sense I’m supposed to have? Well, I’ve been working on it. He doesn’t know, it was supposed to be a surprise for him. It… The feeling a vampire gives me makes me feel physically ill. It’s helpful when I’m on patrol, but…”

He nodded. “I see.” He couldn’t think of anything else to say. He couldn’t even get mad at her. She was just trying to be a better Slayer.

Buffy, on the other hand, was plenty mad at herself. What she’d told him was close enough to the truth, but it still felt like a lie. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what to do. Now that I have this thing, I don’t know how to turn it off.” Also true. The TTK was always online. Annoyingly so. She could turn it down, but not off.

“I understand,” he said. His voice sounded pained. “Is this it? Are we done?”

Her shoulders fell. “I don’t know. I’ll see what I can do about this, but… it won’t be easy. Give me a few days, alright?”

“Alright.” He paused for a moment. “If you haven’t found anything in three days, I’ll make it easy. I’ll leave. I’ve got contacts out in New York City. I can set up there.”

She finally turned to face him. “You can’t stay somewhere closer? Like, LA?”

He shrugged. “I’m not really comfortable around the Super crowd. I only stuck around here because…”

She nodded. “Right. And there isn’t anyone there. Superman mostly sticks to Metropolis, unless it has to do with the Justice League.”

“Yeah.” He took a deep, unnecessary breath. “I hope you find a way.” Without another word, he left.

Deflating, Buffy fell onto her bed. Great…

***

Blissfully, the next day was Saturday. Seeing as the Scoobies had taken to looting vampires after their power ups, Buffy took her share of the money, intent on some therapeutic shopping. She hit every store imaginable, from shoes, to pants, to shirts, to purses… Even the flannel store got a visit, though she didn’t buy much. After a few hours, she stopped in the food court, sitting down with an iced mocha… and three cheeseburgers. And two large fries. And a salad. Even without her Slayer powers, she still had a healthy appetite, and her new physiology burned through the calories just as fast.

“Hey, mind if I join you?”

Buffy looked up, seeing a handsome, if somewhat older, man smiling down at her. He was blond, with brown eyes, and had an old-fashioned beard that would have looked ridiculous on anyone else, but looked perfect on him.

“Sure.” He sat down. “I’m Buffy.”

“Ollie,” he said, smiling. “Short for Oliver.” He looked at her tray. “Well, you’re not afraid of carbs, are you?”

She smirked. “I’ve got a metabolism most girls would kill for. If I don’t eat this now, I’ll be a wreck by dinner.” Not actually true, but there was nothing wrong with stretching the truth.

“Right on,” he said, biting into his own sandwich. “I know more than my share of women like that. In my opinion, they’re a much more attractive prospect than the model-types who won’t so much as look at a piece of bread. Pretty as they are, they don’t really stand up to much punishment.”

Buffy's smirk grew. “Kinky.”

He snorted. “Not quite what I meant. I like a healthy work-out routine. Keeps me trim.”

She shrugged. “True enough. I’m usually up at dawn, going for a run, then a little Tai Chi before school.”

“School?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

“High school,” she confirmed. “Junior year. Don’t worry, I’m not into older guys, so you don’t have to run in fear.”

He chuckled. “I wasn’t hitting on you. No offense, but I like to be able to buy my dates a drink.”

She laughed softly. “Yeah, that would be an issue.” She looked up as a thought crossed her mind. “If you’re not hitting on me, why did you sit down?”

He shrugged. “You looked kinda down. Thought you could use the company.”

She smiled gratefully. “Thanks.”

“Sure,” he nodded, taking a sip of his coke. ‘Stupid mall doesn’t have a bar…’ “Do you wanna tell me what’s wrong? I understand if you don’t.”

She almost said no, but stopped. Why not? “Well… okay. As cliché as it sounds, my boyfriend and I are having problems.”

He waved that off. “That’s only cliché because so many people go through it. That doesn’t make it any less of a problem.”

She smiled, once again grateful. “Yeah. Anyway, it’s not that we don’t care about each other, it’s just… I’m finding out that we’re very different people.”

He nodded. “Right. I’ve had that happen, more than once.”

She sighed. “I know that it’s me. He hasn’t changed that much, but…”

“You’ve grown as a person?” he guessed.

She chuckled. “That’s one way of putting it.”

“Well, here’s how I see it,” he said. “Either you try to stick it out, or the two of you try to end it as politely as possible. He knows about your worries, right?” The question earned him a nod. “Okay. So, do you think your differences can be fixed, or resolved, or whatever?”

She shook her head. “No. Not really. In fact, he even offered to leave town if I couldn’t find a way around them.”

Ollie nodded. “Well, there you go.”

She sighed. “The thing is, I don’t want to live here if he’s not around. Too many memories.”

He stroked his beard. “Hmm…” an idea occurred to him. “Say, have you ever heard of Queen Industries?”

She looked up, surprised. “Well, sure. Everyone in California knows who they are.”

He smiled. “Well, do you think you’d be able to test out of school?”

She nodded. “Sure. I’m actually a little bored, as it is.”

His smile widening, Ollie pulled out a business card, and wrote a phone number on the back. “Well, if you feel like going that route, call this number as soon as you have a diploma. I can guarantee you a job there.” He passed the card to her.

She took it. “You’ve got a friend working there?”

“Something like that.”

She looked at the card for a moment, and shrugged. “I’ll think about it.”

“Hey, that’s all I can ask.” He glanced at his watch. “Ah. Gotta go, I’m afraid. Got an appointment to keep.” He stood, picking up his empty tray. “It was nice meeting you, Buffy.”

“You too, Ollie,” she said, smiling as he walked away. When he was out of sight, she looked at the business card.

Oliver Queen, CEO

Buffy's jaw dropped. Holy crap. Well, that made his offer genuine, at least. With a thoughtful look, she pocketed the card. She needed to talk to someone about this. Her mom was out. Joyce Summers didn’t need the stress of knowing her daughter was a superhero, and Buffy knew there was no way she’d be able to keep the secret if she discussed this with her mother. Her friends were out, too. They only had as much life experience as she did, and wouldn’t be able to give the advice she needed. It was times like these that she wished she actually was Connor Kent. He could just go to Clark about things like this… She paused. Why couldn’t she? He was just flying around Metropolis.

With a smile, she finished her food. Things were looking up.

***

Buffy materialized in the Tower of Fate, thankful for the spell that Xander had cast that allowed all of them free access. Apparently, the original Doctor Fate had done something similar for his wife, though it had had the side effect of making her ageless. Considering that most of them already had that, it hadn’t really been an issue.

“Hey, Xander? You around?”

The sorcerer appeared next to her. “What can I do for you, Buff?”

“Can you tell me, for sure, if I’m half-Kryptonian? I need some advice, and I think the big guy might be the only one who can give it.”

He put on a mock-frown. “Why can’t I be the advisor here?”

She put on a teasing grin. “Well, it’s about whether or not I’ll damage a guy if we try to—”

“Say no more!” Xander put his hands up quickly.

“Wrestle,” she finished.

He glared at her. “Fine.” He waved his hands, generating a minor light show. “Ostendo mihi incruentus. (Show me the bloodline.)”

In front of her, a name appeared in glowing letters. Buffy Anne Summers. From there, two branches appeared, Joyce Summers (née Anderson), and Hank Summers. To her surprise, however, two more branches appeared. Kal-El, and Lex Luthor, the two men who’s genetic material had been used in Connor’s creation.

“Well,” Xander cleared his throat uncomfortably. “I guess that answers your question.”

“I suppose,” she nodded. Before she could say anything else, the branches began rearranging themselves. The three human portions, Joyce, Hank, and Lex, went to one side, while Kal-El went to the other. Buffy blinked. “What’s that mean?”

Xander frowned. “That shows your percentages. Each side represents half of your heritage.”

“So…” she waved her hand through the illusory words. “These three make up half of me, and then Superman is the other half?”

“That’s the long and short of it,” Xander nodded. “You know, for such a low-powered spell, it’s certainly informative.” He took a breath. “What are you gonna do?”

She shrugged. “Guess I’ll go visit him. I’ve been needing a good flight, anyway. It’s relaxing.” Using the gesture Xander had taught her, she summoned her ‘work’ outfit from it’s pocket dimension. “Thanks for this, buy the way. Changing clothes can be a hassle.”

He smiled. “No problem, Buff. Good luck.”

***

Power Girl sighed as she flew over the Metropolis skyline. She really loved feeling the air whip around her. It was as if it carried her worries away as it went. She was so distracted, that she didn’t notice when someone flew up next to her.

“Having fun?”

Power Girl nearly dropped from the surprise. She straightened up, and turned to face the newcomer. To her mixture of relief and apprehension, it was the man she’d come to see. “Um… Yes?” She blushed. “Sorry. I don’t get much opportunity to relax anymore.”

Superman smiled kindly. “You don’t have to tell me that. I’ve got some experience in that department.” He noted her outfit. “You’re Power Girl, right? Based out of California?” He held out his hand. “Superman.”

Nervously, she shook it. “Yeah, I know. Wow. I mean, I was hoping to run into you out here, but… Wow.”

He chuckled. “Pleasure’s mine. Now, it’s not that I mind, I’m just curious, but… why do you wear my shield? I realize that I’m a pretty public figure, but other than my cousin Supergirl, you’re the first one to copy it in an honest fashion.”

She scratched the back of her head. “Yeah… that’s part of why I came here to talk to you. I mean, I wouldn’t normally have done this, but this is something you deserve to know, and I wouldn’t feel right not telling you, and having you find out some other way…” she trailed off as she realized she was babbling. “Sorry. Um… Listen, can we change into civvies? I’d rather talk about this with some coffee in hand.”

He looked uncomfortable. “I don’t know…”

She took a steadying breath. “I know who you are. Please, don’t be mad. It’s not my fault. I literally had the info shoved into my head. I’d just rather have this conversation with Clark, not Superman.”

Surprised by this new information, Superman considered his options. “… Alright. Follow me. I know a great little spot in the city.”

***

As the two sat at a table, Clark blew on his coffee. “So, if you don’t mind, how did you find out about…?”

Buffy sighed, and sipped her mocha. “Okay. I’m pretty sure you’ve had run-ins with magic before, right?” He nodded, causing her to relax slightly. “Good. Well, for Halloween this year, a friend of mine put a costume together for me, which featured pretty heavily on you. It’s what my uniform is now. What we didn’t know was, the man who sold the costumes had enchanted them, and when the spell was activated, the costume turned me into someone else. In his universe, he was called Kon-El, Superboy. He also went by the name Connor Kent.”

Clark nodded slowly. “I see. So, you became a boy for the night?”

She managed a small smile. “Sort of. My body stayed like it is now. Anyway, my friend, the one I mentioned, went in an accessorized version of Doctor Fate’s outfit. That Noogie guy, the one who Doctor Fate works for…”

“Nabu,” Clark filled in.

“Yeah, him. He changed the spell for my friend, and his powers became the real thing. In order to contain the chaos everyone was going through, he used his new magic to do the same for me and a few others. We kept damage to a minimum, and Fate went to end the spell. Afterward, we stayed like we were.”

Clark looked impressed. “Wow. That’s quite a story. It almost makes mine look boring.”

That surprised a laugh out of her. “I don’t know about that.”

Clark smiled. “Well, anyway, go on.”

She nodded. “Okay. Well, Connor didn’t have the traditional Kryptonian powers. In fact, he didn’t have any of them. He had exactly one thing, but it was enough.” She put her hand on the table, causing everything on it to launch into a miniature dance routine. “It’s called Tactile Telekinesis.” The objects stopped moving. “With it, I can back my muscles up to make strength or speed, and I can even fly with it. If I keep a steady field around my body, I can take a lot of damage, too.”

Clark whistled softly. “Versatile.”

“You have no idea,” she grinned.

He smiled back. “So, Connor. Was he my son? Brother?”

She shook her head, then paused. “Well… I guess ‘son’ fits as well as anything. He was a half-clone of you. They couldn’t create a full clone, because the DNA kept breaking down, so they used human DNA to fill in the blank spots.” She sipped her coffee. “Um… Connor never found out who the human donor is. I don’t think he wanted to know.” Yeah, so she was lying to Superman. It was a lot more comfortable than the truth.

Clark shook his head. “Yep. Your story is a lot more interesting than mine.”

Buffy smiled, slightly. “That’s only the first half of it.”

“Oh, boy,” Clark looked apprehensive, though still interested. “What else is there?”

She sighed. “Alright, here goes. The world is older than anyone knows…”

***

Clark sat in silence, processing what he’d just been told. He knew about demons, and such. He’d run into his share. But… sending out a child, to kill these things? Unforgivable.

“And… you’ve been doing this since you were fifteen?”

She nodded. “Yeah.”

“With less strength than you have now?”

Again, she nodded. “If I had to guesstimate, I’d say I’m three times stronger than I was before, and a Slayer is nothing to sneeze at.”

“Sounds like it,” he agreed. “I just can’t believe it…”

“Yeah…” she sighed. She hadn’t really intended to tell him all this, but he was just so easy to talk to. It had all flowed out without a thought. “I didn’t really want to. I just did it because… I felt responsible. I had power, and I knew what to do with it. I knew that people would suffer if I didn’t. So, every night, I went out, and I killed things. It was that simple.” She choked up slightly. “None of it was easy. I mean, until a vampire is right on top of you, it looks human. The first few times out, I felt like I’d murdered someone…” She sniffled. “And if that wasn’t bad enough, do you know what it’s like to finance a war on a teenager’s allowance? I had to buy new clothes, and medical supplies, every time I turned around. I healed fast, don’t get me wrong, but I still got way better at doing stitches than I was comfortable with. And if I couldn’t afford new clothes, people asked why they had holes in them, or where the bloodstains came from.”

Clark’s eye twitched. He was a pacifistic person by nature. He tried to find the most peaceful solution to a problem, which usually meant throwing someone in prison. He had no problem with that. But this Watcher’s Council… they were a group of people he would have very few issues with burning out of business, literally.

“Oh, and I haven’t even gotten to the best part,” she said. “I’ve been on anti-depressants ever since I got out of the asylum mom threw me in after I told her about all this. Thankfully, she paid for those, and they helped me cope with all this. But they don’t work anymore. My body doesn’t process them like it’s supposed to. I downed a whole bottle a few days ago, out of desperation. Nothing. I’ve always had to have a strong dose, but I don’t know if anything short of a horse pill will do the trick anymore.”

Finally, Buffy couldn’t take anymore. She’d been holding all this in for a long time, and it had taken a toll. She broke down, tears streaming down her face. She barely registered a pair of strong arms hugging her, which she reciprocated. For several long minutes, she let her emotions run until they couldn’t anymore.

“Feeling better?” Clark asked once she had quieted down.

She gave him a watery chuckle. “Yeah. Sorry. I haven’t ever told anyone about this. I can’t tell my friends, the ones who helped me with the calling. I was supposed to be the leader, you know? And I couldn’t tell my mom, because…”

“Yeah,” he nodded. “I understand that.”

She managed a small smile, then chuckled. “You know, none of this is even what I came out here for. I was just going to fill you in on what I got from Connor, since it had to do with your secret, and… Well, I had hoped to get a little advice. Connor always valued your opinion, and I thought it would help.”

He nodded. “Of course.”

She took a breath. “Short version, my boyfriend’s a vampire.” She chuckled at his look. “Yeah, I know. Weird. Anyway, before I got these new powers, I didn’t mind so much. You couldn’t really tell the difference, except that he was a little colder than usual, like he had poor circulation. But now… I can feel every heartbeat in this café, yours included. They vibrate through the ground. It’s actually a relaxing sensation, like a massage pad. Angel, my boyfriend, doesn’t give that off. It makes me tense when he’s around.

“We’re pretty much at the end of our relationship, I know that. He’s going to leave if it doesn’t work out, which is fine, but if he’s not around, the memories of him are going to drive me insane. I met this guy, Oliver Queen, who offered me a job if I test out of school.” She saw a flash of recognition pass over Clark’s face. “You know him?”

“Yeah,” he nodded. “We’ve met. I did a piece on him for the Planet.

“Oh,” Buffy nodded. “Well, it seems like a good opportunity, but I don’t know if I want to leave my mom and sister behind.”

Clark nodded, considering the possibilities. After a moment, he spoke. “Well, here’s how I see it. If you end your relationship with Angel, it’s going to hurt. You can’t help that. The question is, will you be able to heal if you stay where you are? If you can, you should stay. But if you can’t, if you think it’ll hurt your chances to be happy, you should take the offer. I know for a fact that this life makes things a lot more difficult than they should be, so you have to take any chance you can get for happiness.”

Buffy nodded slowly, taking that in. “Yeah… that’s a good point.” She smiled. “Thanks.”

“No problem,” he said, finishing his coffee. It was his third since they’d sat down. He glanced at his watch. “You know, we’ve got a little more time for patrol. Feel like joining me for the night? If I have a semi-daughter, I’d like to get to know her a little better.”

Buffy smiled brightly. “Yeah!”

***

Two hours later, Superman and Power Girl said their good-byes. He watched as she flew off, then tapped his Justice League communicator. “Batman, this is Superman, come in.”

*Go ahead,* was the gruff reply.

“I need you to do me a favor,” the Kryptonian said. “Can you check into a group called the Watcher’s council? I’ve come across something that pertains to them, and I need to check into it.”

*Of course,* Batman said. *Anything the League should be worried about?*

“I don’t think so,” Superman said uncertainly. “Let’s play this by ear, for now.”

*Understood. Batman out.*

Nodding to himself, Superman flew toward the Planet. He still had that story on recent Mob activity to finish before Perry ripped his head off in the morning…

***

The next day, Buffy walked out of Sunnydale High, diploma in hand. It wouldn’t have normally been so easy, but Snyder, being the troll he was, was prepared to take any opportunity to get a student out of his school, even a legitimate one. The tests were in her hand as soon as she asked for them. She passed with flying colors, and was out the door before you could say ‘Krypton.’ She immediately went to Fate’s Tower, where the others were already waiting.

“So,” Dawn said, a teasing grin on her face, “you’re ditchin’ us, huh?”

Buffy gave her sister a grateful smile, glad the other Summers understood. “No, I’ll still be close by if you need me. I just need to get out of this place. It’s bad for my mental health. Besides, I think it’d be smart if we all spread out a little more. We can’t all be in one place all the time.”

“That’s true,” Xander nodded. “Which is what I said in the first place.” He glared playfully at Buffy. “I seem to recall a certain blonde insisting that we maintain our lives as they were.”

Buffy blushed. “Yeah, well… I had a wake-up call.”

He smiled. “It’s cool, Buff. We’re all still adjusting. It’s a process.” He shrugged. “I don’t think I’d leave here if I could, anyway. Sunnydale may be a literal hellhole, but it’s my hellhole.”

Cordy snorted. “Well, you can have it. If we have the option, I’m moving to LA. I’m gonna be an actress, even if it kills me!”

Buffy grinned. “Well, if anyone can do it, it’s you. They’ll be too afraid to say no.” Ignoring the indignant sounds coming from Photon, Buffy turned to Willow. “What about you, Willow? What do you think about all this?”

Not speaking right away, Willow stood up, and hugged Buffy. “I think this is one of the best decisions you could have made. Get out while you still can. And… I think I might do so, as well.” She sighed. “This place… it’s corrupting my power. I can feel it, even now. I need to relocate.”

“Dammit,” Xander swore softly. “I should have seen that coming. I’m so sorry, Will…”

She put a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll be fine. I can still recover from this. The Hellmouth hasn’t had very long to work on me. The only question left is, where do I go from here? And I’ll have that figured out very soon.”

Dawn smirked. “Uh oh. It’ll just be Xander and me. Whatever will I do?”

Buffy glared playfully. “You’ll behave yourself, Missy.” She turned back to the others. “Well, I’d better go. I need to call Oliver, and let him know I’m accepting the position.” She waved, and left the tower.

Time to start her new life.

The End?

You have reached the end of "Power" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 6 Feb 10.

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