Warnings/Notes: This follows Buffy seasons 1-7 canon, but ignores the comics. Harry Potter canon up to Halloween when Voldemort attacks in Godric’s Hollow, but diverges from there. The years of Harry Potter have been pushed forward to fit with the Buffy Universe. Therefore, James was born in 1982, and attended Hogwarts from 1993-2000, and Voldemort attacked the Potters on Halloween 2003. This doesn’t affect the story in any way; I just thought I would mention it so I don’t get comments. There is also a brief use of a character from Charmed in the prologue.
Disclaimer: All BTVS characters and their canon histories are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. All Harry Potter characters and their canon histories are the property of J.K. Rowling. And all Charmed characters and ideas belong to Constance M. Burge, Aaron Spelling, and Brad Kern. I make no money from this.
I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Why, so can I, or so can any man; But will they come when you do call for them?
—William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1
The blare of sirens and the other sounds of the city were surprisingly muted. From atop her perch above the hotel, Buffy Summers could see out over the town she had once called home. It was strange, in a way, for her to be back in Los Angeles after all that had happened. Though she had come to L.A. in the time after she killed Angel, and to see her father, those had just felt like visits, not like she was returning. This was the city she had fled from after burning down the gym at Hemery, but with Sunnydale gone it was the only place resembling a hometown Buffy had now. She had left the city a scared girl, and now returned a war-weary woman.
They had fled from the crater after the battle. It had taken three hours, and a stop for gas, but the Little School Bus That Could had reached the Hyperion Hotel. Even though Angel and company had vacated the premises, a quick call on her part had allowed them to crash there and regroup. The Potentials-turned-Slayers would all be fine. Their wounds were healing quickly. Wood looked less certain, but Faith seemed to be a very determined Florence Nightingale, and Buffy believed that he would make it.
The burns on her hand had healed by the time they reached the city, but Buffy knew that she would carry the legacy of Spike’s sacrifice with her for the rest of her life. What he had done for her, for them all, was the greatest gift she had ever received. Willow might have activated the Slayer line, but Spike set her free from the Hellmouth.
It had never occurred to her that she might have a life away from there. She had believed, and been fully prepared to die once again on Sunnydale soil. Even when she thought they would win against the First, she hadn’t anticipated leaving or her responsibilities to guard the Hellmouth ending. And she had Spike to thank.
For so many things.
She could never have pursued a romantic relationship with Spike again after that horrible night in her bathroom, but learning to love without the romance had meant something. Connecting to him, even through the simplest of touches, it had healed a part of her that had been broken for too long. When he had held her, not expecting anything, it had given her back in a way what had been missing from the moment she was resurrected. No one understood the burden on her shoulders, except for Faith perhaps, but Spike had not only understood, he had been willing to help her bear that burden.
It was for him now that she mourned. The dead Slayers like Amanda were a muted pain in the background, but the wound of Spike’s death would stay fresh for a while. She just wished that she had thought to say ‘thank you’ for all that he had done, in addition to when she told him that she loved him. She was not in love with him, and he had known that, but she did and would love him for the rest of her life; as a man, as a comrade-in-arms, as a hero, and as a friend.
She was pretty much doom and gloom gal because of her sadness. Everyone had been celebrating. Despite the death, despite their friends who now lay at the bottom of a gaping hole in the earth, the Scoobies and the mini-slayers were all about partying. Buffy had escaped after briefly showing her face and receiving a cheer for her efforts that day. For a moment she had wanted to stay, but then it all had begun to weigh on her and she had to escape. So to the roof.
It was funny; everyone else felt victorious, she just felt free. For the first time, she no longer had something hanging over her head. Buffy was done, finished, and not in the permanent dirt nap kind of way.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?”
She turned her head, surprised that her solemnity was disturbed, and even further surprised that it was disturbed by someone she didn’t recognize. He looked to be in his seventies, but she had the feeling he was infinitely older. White hair, complete with a goatee, framed a heavy, kind face. He wore long silver ceremonial robes, and had a wise look in his eyes. She felt at ease, even as her war-hardened senses told her not to trust anyone. There was something about him though that reminded her of the Guardian who had forged the Scythe.
“There is nothing quite like a view to make one feel small, I’ve always found.”
Buffy followed his gaze, realizing that suddenly everything was silent. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw that everything was also frozen. A moth flitting towards a light was paused in midair, all the cars on the road weren’t moving, even a traffic helicopter passing between buildings was hanging unsupported. Nothing moved. Real fear filled her then and she wondered what sort of powerful being could do all this. Dread gripped her, even as her senses relaxed in his presence. “Who are you?” she asked, masking her trepidation.
“Straight to business, well then. I am the Angel of Destiny, and I am here to change yours.”
“Sorry,” the small blonde woman said, not sounding sorry at all, “but I don’t deal with British demonic wish-granting demons. I’ve long ago learned that lesson.”
He chuckled. “I am not a demon, what I am is far beyond the scope of a mortal, immortal, demonic being, or even godly ones. You know this already, you can sense it about me, Buffy.”
She stared at him steadily, giving nothing away.
“Since the spell which activated all the Slayers, your power has just been humming, hasn’t it? Thrumming through your blood in a way that you are trying to contain, but can’t? Tap into that power now, Buffy. Recall your training, and reach out to it, the way you learned to do instinctively the year you fought Glorificus.”
Without thought, Buffy closed her eyes, reaching deep into the center of her being, and then—then, she knew. Gasping, she opened her eyes which were now swimming with tears. “You’re so...and I’ve been so lost...and you feel like—”
“Home,” he finished, gazing at her sympathetically. “Yes, it is a curse of the lower beings that those who experience the heavenly realms, even if only for a moment, always long for them. I am sorry if my coming causes you pain, but needs must.”
Wiping her eyes, Buffy squared her shoulders. “Is the First still loose? Do we need to begin preparations for another front?”
The angel chuckled. “This is what I like about you, Buffy. You are always prepared to give your life in the service of others. No, calm yourself child. You have earned your rest for awhile. The First is contained. I come to you tonight, not on affairs of war, but on the state of your destiny.”
“My destiny?” she repeated, thinking of the last time a mysterious man had appeared and spoken to her of destiny.
“Yes, but I am no Merrick,” he said, answering her thoughts. “What I have to speak to you of concerns your future. It was your destiny to die for the Key, Buffy, but when you were resurrected, a new one was established for you. Believe me when I say that you have exceeded far beyond our expectations. The moment you activated the Slayer line, you accomplished your new destiny much earlier than anticipated and gave the mortal world a long future. Because of this, I have been authorized to tell you that we are offering you a reward. A chance to change your destiny; to make it one of your own choosing.” He smiled. “How did you so eloquently put it? ‘Are you ready to be strong?’”
Buffy felt confusion fill her. “What are you saying? You want me to no longer be the Slayer?”
“By no means,” the angel said. “No, rather, we wish you to choose where you want your life to go next. You will only no longer be the Slayer if that is what you choose. This is a reward, Buffy, not a punishment. You should also know that there will be no repercussions for your actions. No other person’s destiny will be altered for evil by your choices.” He then grinned, clapping his hands together. “So, Buffy, what path do you want the rest of your life to follow?”
“I—I...” she paused, uncertain of her answer. “I don’t know.”
“You do,” he said kindly. “You are thinking it right now. Children, a home, love.”
“Yes,” she whispered, tears rolling down her face. “And old age. I want to live to old age. And I want a love that I won’t run away from, and a man who is strong enough to love me as I am; a soul mate. And I want to be a mother, and find somewhere I belong. And let Dawn, Giles, Xander, and Willow live out the lives they want too. And I want no other slayer to live as I did. I want to change it so they all have a choice too. I don’t want anyone to ever have to face a prophecy alone, or die prematurely for a destiny they didn’t ask for.”
The Angel of Destiny smiled. He had known that the Slayer would be selfless, but that innocent wish was far beyond what he had hoped for. Yes, he and his brethren had been right about this one. She truly was a pure spirit.
“Well then,” he said, smiling. “I think my work here is done.”
“What? That’s it?” Buffy asked, surprised. She looked around, as if waiting for her wishes to be granted.
The angel laughed. “Dearest Buffy, destiny is a path. You made your choices, but now you must live out your life. All the things you wished for shall come to you in time.”
“I knew there had to be a catch,” Buffy muttered, crossing her arms over her chest.
“Oh, incidentally, there is one more,” the Angel of Destiny said. “You won’t recall any of this in a moment. Once time spins on again, you will cease to remember that this ever happened. Your destiny, and your life, will once again be a wonderful mystery to you. I hope you enjoy it; you deserve it.”
Suddenly, Buffy was standing alone on the roof, wondering when she had moved and why she felt happier that she had been in years. Her spidey-sense was tingling. It felt like she was forgetting something.
Shrugging her shoulders, the Slayer realized that she no longer had a desire for solitude. As she walked back inside the hotel, she wondered if the pizza Xander had ordered had arrived yet. She really could go for some cheesy goodness.
Once he blinked out of existence, the angel smiled to himself. The wonderful thing about pure souls was that their wishes were often for others as much as themselves. In making her desires so broad, Buffy had given the gift of life and peace to many troubled champions across the globe who were burdened by destiny. It would all be well, the angel knew. Buffy Summers still had a destiny-filled future before her, but it would be one she would embrace. With a new lease on life, and new reasons to fight, the Angel of Destiny foresaw her doing many great things.