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"My Future's So Bright –"

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

Summary: Buffy is taking definitive actions to make sure that the world she dreamt about can never come to exist. Story No. 3 in the 'Retroactive Justice' series.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Buffy-CenteredGreywizardFR18310,834128917,17111 Jan 1023 Apr 13No

Chapter One

Disclaimer: The Buffy-verse characters all belong to Crack-Head Joss and ME, not that any of them had any real idea of what to do with them and the Harry Potter characters, when they finally do show up, belong to J. K. Rowling, who managed to screw them up, too. Deal with it. I have.

Spoilers: None. This story is part of the Scooby-verse side of my "Justice? No, Just Us" story and follows "…But What We Make For Ourselves", so it's all going to be VERY seriously AU from anything Joss wrote.

Character Bashing: None. Really!

Feedback: Of course!

Archiving: Talk to me first, please.

Author’s Note 1: Many thanks to Lori Bush, Bill Haden, Drake the Archr and Theo (Starway_Man) for beta-ing this story.

As usual, "word" indicates speech, :: word :: indicates mental communication and { word } indicates a character's thoughts.

~~~

Control your own destiny or someone else will. – Jack Welch

It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future. – Yogi Berra

~~~

The Bronze
Sunnydale, CA

July 14, 1996


"Excuse, me. Have any of you happened to have seen Xander Harris or Willow Rosenberg around?"

Percy West turned around to check out the source of the question interrupting his description of his latest triumph on the Sunnydale High intramural league basketball courts to his entourage and he found himself facing a petite, unbelievably gorgeous blonde around his own age. One with a killer smile, smoky hazel eyes and a luscious, tight little hardbody that he just knew was simply begging to be held by him.

For the life of him, Percy couldn’t imagine what a babe like this girl could possibly want with a complete loser like Harris or why she'd want to even talk to an utter nerd like Rosenberg, especially since she could have someone like him to talk to, instead, so he spoke up before any of his fellows could tell her that both of the dorks were over on the other side of the building.

Giving her what he knew was his usual, devastating smile, he told her, "Nah, we haven't seen either of those losers all evening.

"Right, guys?" he asked, as he turned back and gave them all a conspiratorial wink, and they all grinned and immediately nodded their agreement.

"Anyway, I'm certain that I can do whatever it was you wanted them – I can do much better, beautiful lady," he declared confidently as he gave her one of his most dazzling, toothpaste commercial-worthy smiles.

Unbelievably, the blonde merely shook her head in dismissal of his generous offer, saying, "Thanks anyway, but I'll keep on looking. They're the people I need to see," before starting to turn away.

"Hey, hold on a second there, gorgeous," Percy protested as he reached out and grabbed hold of the tiny blonde's arm to prevent her from leaving.

The transformation in the diminutive beauty was shocking – both in its speed and intensity – as the expression in her narrowed eyes instantly seemed to change from that of a bubbly high school cheerleader to something more properly found in a very large and not at all friendly, apex predator.

"Let go of my arm, please. Now."

The words might have sounded quiet, polite and demure on the surface, but the unmistakable threat of imminent violence that they carried made the normally arrogant and self-centered jock almost lose control of his bladder.

"S-sure. No problem," Percy quavered as he instantly released his grip on her arm and reflexively held up his hands in semi-surrender as he took a half-step back away from the girl.

"Thanks."

The hot-looking babe smiled, and the energy and perkiness were back in her voice again, making Percy half-wonder for the briefest instant if he had somehow imagined the menace he'd thought he'd just seen in the blonde's eyes.

A glance at his fellow jocks, however, and the expressions of shock on all their faces served to confirm to him that he hadn't been imagining anything, and West just stared as the blonde began heading away.

"What could a babe like that possibly want with two losers like Harris and Rosenberg?" he asked as he turned back to his friends, his question more rhetorical than actual, and one that was being echoed in some form by all of his compatriots, he was sure.

The blonde's hearing must have been extraordinarily acute, Percy realized later when he thought about the incident, since she had immediately turned back to grace their entire group with another of those brilliant smiles as she told them, "Well, to begin with, Willow is probably one of the smartest people on the entire planet, and she's also one of the kindest, gentlest, most compassionate people you could ever hope to meet.

"Unless, of course, you make the mistake of pissing her off and/or hurting someone she cares about, that is," the blonde qualified her statement a half-instant later with a small, thoughtful frown.

"Do that, and you'll be lucky if she just turns you into dog meat.

"And as far as Xander's concerned, he's not only good-looking and has a great body under those horrible Hawaiian shirts he usually wears, he's smart, clever, brave, incredibly loyal to his friends, completely ruthless when he needs to be and, from what I've gathered from *very* reliable sources, he's pretty much insatiable and a virtual Viking in the sack, too," she finished up, her smile somehow becoming simultaneously both innocent and lascivious, before turning away again and resuming her search, leaving behind her a small island of shocked and speechless teens.

By unspoken mutual agreement, no one in that particular group mentioned Harris, Rosenberg or the incredibly hot-looking blonde looking for them for the rest of the entire summer.

~~~

Resuming her quest, Buffy began circling the perimeter of the dance floor, her eyes systematically checking out everyone she passed as she moved through the crowds, searching for the objects of her quest with the grace and fluidity of a jungle predator – something that had most people instinctively moving out of her way without any conscious thought – and the Slayer was rewarded a few moments later as she spotted her two former/future friends at a table on the far side of the room, heads huddled together with another dark-haired youth Buffy recognized from her new memories as their (soon-to-be deceased if events continued as she remembered them) friend, Jesse McNally.

Pausing in the shadows for a moment to watch the trio laugh at something Jesse said, Buffy mentally gathered up her courage and readied herself for what she knew would be the most significant meeting of what she fervently hoped was going to be a new, and hopefully happier, life than the one she remembered.

Steeling herself against the potentially heartbreaking disappointment facing her if Willow and Xander chose not to believe her story, the petite blonde casually walked up to their table and flashed one of her most dazzling smiles as she said, "Hi there. Would you guys mind me joining you?"

As expected, Buffy could see surprise flash across all three faces for a moment as they looked at her, to be immediately followed by the expected adolescent male lust on Xander's and Jesse's faces as they looked her over and saw a girl who could easily match Cordelia Chase in the looks department, and a mixture of uncertainty, annoyance and resentment on Willow's face at both her sudden, unexpected appearance and the boys' reactions to her.

"Uhm. Ah. No, not at all!", "Uh. Sure, grab a chair!" and "Uhm. Okay. If you want to," were the responses she received - so she made a point of smiling as reassuringly as she could at Willow as she slid onto the chair opposite the redhead, while both wide-eyed guys tried not to drool and ogle her too openly from either side of her at the table.

"My name is Buffy Summers," the Chosen One introduced herself with another stunning smile, trying to break the awkward silence that enveloped the table as she joined the trio, "and I think I'm probably going to be moving here to Sunnydale with my Mom later this year, so I decided to stop by and see how things are around here, and maybe meet some of the people I'll probably be going to school with next semester."

"Oh. Okay, that's cool! Glad to meet you. I'm Xander Harris, a-and this is Willow Rosenberg and this is Jesse McNally, by the way," the slightly shorter of the two guys – and the youth who had resuscitated her in a potential alternate future, Buffy remembered – introduced himself and his two companions in a somewhat babbling tone of voice.

The next several minutes consisted primarily of semi-awkward questions and answers and uncomfortable silences of varying lengths as the four teens tried to make small talk, and it continued until Buffy finally thought of a way to possibly introduce the first of several subjects she needed to discuss with her hopefully new friends. So she asked, "Uh, do you guys believe that dreams can show you the future? Or at least, possible futures?"

Buffy noted the skeptical and derisive expression that momentarily crossed Willow's face and the doubtful looks on both of their male companions' faces at her questions and hurriedly continued speaking.

"You see, the reason I'm asking is that, uh, believe it or not, I – I had a dream the other day and, uh, you two guys were in it," she said, looking earnestly at Xander and Willow as she tried to ease the sudden knot that had developed in her stomach at the thought that the two wouldn't believe her. "Even though we've never met before now," she noted parenthetically.

"And you were in it, too," she added as she glanced over at Jesse. "But just at the beginning, and not as long as they were.

"See, after I came into this club and saw you guys sitting here, I – I recognized you all – and I think I really need to talk to you about that dream," Buffy said somewhat hurriedly, trying to convey the urgency of her need to speak as she looked at them. "'Cause what I dreamed about is really important for all of us.

"Really," she added again, in an effort to emphasize her words as he caught Xander and Willow exchanging doubtful glances with each other.

"Yeah, uh, well, I think I'm gonna go get a Coke," Jesse announced as he got up from his chair in what was actually a rather subtle, semi-sophisticated gesture for a fifteen-year-old guy, which provided the remaining trio with an opportunity for a private discussion.

"Do any of you guys want anything to drink?" he asked before departing.

Nobody responded affirmatively, so Jesse just shrugged and headed towards the bar, leaving his two friends to deal with the obviously-flaky blonde who'd kinda intruded on their earlier conversation.

He glanced around the club, looking to see whether his beloved Cordelia had arrived yet and he absently noticed in passing the way-too-slick-looking guy standing off to one side, who seemed to be checking out all of the girls present.

Shrugging off the weird vibe he'd gotten when he'd first seen the guy, Jesse headed over to the bar to get something to quench his thirst.

~~~

Shifting somewhat uncomfortably in her seat at the way Willow and Xander were looking at her, Buffy took a moment to pull her thoughts together before beginning what was undoubtedly going to be one of the most important conversations of her life.

"Look, I know you two are probably thinking that I'm just some air-brained blonde bimbo who's having a hard time differentiating between dreams and reality," she told them as she stared at both Willow and Xander with an intensity that they found more than a little unsettling, "but I'm going to prove to you that I'm not..

"Everything I'm about to tell you is, unfortunately, completely true," Buffy went on with her explanation, "and I'm going to show you irrefutable proof of that a little bit later on.

"But before I do that, I need to tell you a number of things that I don't think you're going to want to find out, but that you definitely need to know if you're going to survive very long in this town," she said.

"Like I said, this is going to sound incredibly bizarre, but, uh, this world is a lot older than you might think…"

~~~

After getting his Coke and gulping about half of it down to assuage his thirst, Jesse began wandering around the periphery of the Bronze, as much for lack of anything else to do as it was for not wanting to head back to the table where Willow and Xander were still talking to the seriously hot-looking, but clearly somewhat ditzy blonde.

So that was the reason why, while he was checking out who'd shown up and who hadn't – and not because he was hoping to see that Cordelia had finally appeared, because he was so definitely *not* obsessed with her, the way both Wills and Xand kept insisting he was and busting his stones about – Jesse noticed the way-too-slick-looking guy who'd caught his attention a few moments before head over and begin talking to Amy Madison.

He wasn't exactly sure what it was about the guy that bothered him, but there was definitely something *wrong* about him – something that made him more than a little bit uneasy as he watched the guy smile and fawn all over Amy, making her blush and give him a surprised and semi-embarrassed smile as she looked shyly away while he continued whatever sort of smooth line of bull he was handing out tonight.

And it was because the guy was giving him the heebie-jeebies – and not because he was in any way jealous – that Jesse noticed when Mr. Ultra-Smooth, as he'd mentally tagged the guy, gave Amy another one of his phony smiles and began leading her over to one of the building's side exits, and he decided to follow the two of them outside.

After all, he and Amy and Wills and Xander had all known each other for practically their entire lives; they'd all gone to kindergarten together, and gone to swimming lessons together and even gone on trips to places like Disneyland together when they were younger, so it was entirely reasonable for him to want to watch out for her if some way-too-smooth would-be Romeo tried to take advantage of her.

He pushed against the door that Amy and the would-be Lothario who was trying to make time with her had just exited.

~~~

Ignoring the skeptical looks Willow and Xander were both giving her, Buffy glanced around as she felt the rather vague cramping sensation that alerted her to the presence of a vampire or a demon in her vicinity begin to diminish slightly, indicating that whatever it was she'd sensed was staring to move away.

She'd first sensed its approach a few minutes earlier as she'd been explaining both the dream she'd had and her having been Called the same night some two weeks earlier, but since it hadn't been doing much moving around since it had arrived, she'd decided to try and finish her explanation to Willow and Xander before doing anything about that situation.

Now, however, since it seemed to be on the move, she needed to take some sort of action concerning it. And since it appeared that neither Willow or Xander were buying into her tale of demons, vampires and the young women Called to deal with them, this might actually turn out to be an ideal opportunity to provide them with some actual, tangible proof that all of the creatures that went bump in the night weren't just bedtime stories intended to frighten gullible children into behaving and staying put in bed until morning.

Glancing over in the direction she'd felt the vamp moving, Buffy saw Jesse opening the exit door, evidently following the vamp and whoever it was that it had selected as dinner into the alley outside.

{ Crap, better get my ass in gear, then… } she instantly decided.

"Okay, guys," she said, as she smoothly rose from her seat with a feline grace and began heading towards the same exit door Jesse had just used, "I'm guessing that, especially because of what I've just been telling you, that you're both thinking I'm either some sort of nutcase or maybe just a ditz who can't tell the difference between fantasy and real life, even though neither of you have actually said anything like that.

"Anyway, if you're both willing to humor me for another minute or so," Buffy went on, as the other two teens sat and looked at her with varying degrees of uncertainty, "I'm pretty sure I'll be able to provide you with the sort of proof you won't be able to deny.

"And I think that your friend, Jesse, might be involved, too," she noted, an observation that made Willow and Xander exchange a look that combined worry and uncertainty before they both hurriedly got to their feet and began following after her.

"Okay, pretty – and possibly crazy – lady," Xander nodded as he caught up with Buffy and gave her a look that seemed to dare her to prove everything she'd been speaking about, "let's see what you've got to show us."

It was oddly reassuring.


TBC
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