Chapter three of this story, coming up. There's one more chapter to go after this one.
The following morning - after Buffy had been forced to concede defeat in the battle of the bathroom - she took her new friend with her to school. She was quite nervous about that, actually. Wondering how she'd explain, how she'd smuggle her companion past the teachers into the library. But future!Buffy had simply strolled in through the doorway as if she owned the place, shielded by a cloak of invincible confidence, and nobody stopped her or even spared her a second glance.
She knew the way, too, and it wasn't long before the two of them were pushing open the double doors of the library. The other Buffy stopped dead then, looking about her in what Buffy easily deduced was a nostalgia attack, and she patiently waited for her to get her bearings again.
"Is it smaller than you remember it?"
"Would I be clichéd if I said yes?"
Before her companion could think up a retort, the door from the office clicked open.
"Ah, Buffy. You're here. Excellent. We should - oh, good Lord."
Giles took off his glasses and started to polish them, staring in befuddled amazement. At this, both Buffies smiled identical grins, turned to face each other in perfect unison and said simultaneously "I knew he'd do that!" Then spoiled the effect when one giggled and the other gave a wry chuckle.
"Giles, I'd like to introduce myself. This is Buffy."
"We've already met, remember?"
"Good heavens. This is incredible. I don't understand..."
"Oh, it's easy. She's me. From the future."
At this point the library doors swung open again and Xander and Willow stepped through, deep in conversation... which stopped dead as they saw the tableau before them.
"Oh, hi Buffy... oh. There's t-two of you. When did that happen?"
"Wow! I'm not complaining; two Buffies are way better than one."
The other Buffy shook her head wryly. "Now I remember. You've still got that silly crush on me, haven't you?"
"Hey!" Both Xander and Buffy herself looked offended at that, and future!Buffy threw up her hands in apology.
"Sorry! Lips now sealed."
"You're not an evil doppelgänger of the real Buffster, are you?"
"Xander, if she was, wouldn't she have killed Buffy secretly so she could take her place and then murder all of us when we weren't expecting it... oh. I'll shut up now."
"Don't worry, Will. I'm really me. It's a time-travel thing that went wrong, and I ended up here in the past."
"Oh of course!" Giles' voice had perked up again. "It's like that episode 'The Three Doctors', except it's the 'Two Buffies'."
"Did Giles just make a pop culture reference? I'm scared. Hold me."
Buffy pouted. "It doesn't count as pop culture if nobody else gets it."
"Have none of you philistines even heard of Doctor Who?"
Buffy shook her head, but to her surprise her future counterpart looked interested.
"Isn't that the new BBC show with Christopher Eccleston? Leah was raving about it. But how did you hear of it?"
Giles raised his eyes to heaven and shook his head despairingly. "'New' show. I - wait. You say they've cast a new actor for the part? They're reviving it? I always said the cancellation was a mistake. So, er, Miss, what year are you from exactly?"
"Well, most recently 2298, but originally 2005. March 2005."
"And you're really Buffy? Good heavens."
"She really is me, Giles. She knows things only I know."
"Such as? Come on, Buff, you can tell us too. We're your friends. Are they naughty things?"
"Xander, stop acting like a teenage boy.... oh wait, sorry. Carry on."
Giles ignored the interchange, staring at the other Buffy with peculiar intensity. "2005. That's eight years into the future. You're twenty-four years old?"
She nodded, and to Buffy's surprise Giles turned hurriedly away and sat down at the table. She could swear she saw something glinting in his eyes as he dashed past.
"Twenty-four. I always knew you were special, but I... Twenty-four!"
Buffy felt confused and a little disturbed at his reaction, but the other Buffy squeezed her shoulder gently then strode over to the centre of the library.
"Yeah. I'm past my expiry date and still going strong. Which, to be fair, is a lot due to your help. To all you guys. But we're wasting time. I need your help again, because I've got to get back to my own life." She gave Willow an odd look then, causing the other girl to blink in surprise. "I've got important conversations that need to take place."
"H-how can we help? How did you get here anyway?"
"There's a time portal. It should have taken me back to New York City in 2005, but instead I ended up here in Sunnydale in 1997. I need to know why, before I risk going through it again. We need to hit the books, guys."
"Ah yes, I'm sure we have lots of books on time-travel and spacio-temporal transference."
"I hope that was truth and not sarcasm, Giles, 'cause I need to get back. And there must be information on this, somewhere, 'cause Willow knows all about how the portal works."
"I - I do?"
"Not you you, my-time you."
"Oh. Oh, wow! Am I, like, this super-knowledgeable mad scientist type in the future, only not so mad, hopefully, and I invent a time machine?"
"Erm... something like that. Yes. Yes! You're really into the science and stuff, and you're not at all interested in magic even the slightest bit."
"Magic?" Willow's eyes lit up, and future!Buffy groaned.
"Please forget I said that. I shouldn't really be telling you anything about the future."
Xander interjected here, "What, not even next week's winning lottery numbers?" and Buffy (the original Buffy, the 16-year old) rolled her eyes.
"We've already discussed that. She can't."
Buffy hesitated over the explanation, but Willow came to her rescue. "Because if she tells us something now to change the present, which is her past, she might alter the future, which is still her past but more recent, and that might make the more distant future, which is her present, different."
"She might *poof* out of existence if she tells us the wrong thing."
"Oh! In that case, better not say anything."
"I agree." Future!Buffy herself looked a little rattled by that. But then something seemed to cross her mind. "One thing, Xan. How good are you at CPR?"
"What? I don't know. We had the class back in Junior High, but I'm not sure I really remember how to do it."
"You'd better do some revision then. It's... it's a useful skill, you never know when it might be important."
Xander nodded, and Buffy saw her counterpart prod herself in the chest, as if to make sure she was still in existence. Then she clapped her hands and made a shooing gesture. "Come on, people! Research time! Giles, if your books have nothing on time-travel as such, try under portals and dimensional gates."
Giles blinked, then nodded and set to work. Buffy stared in astonishment as her future self - as she - calmly told him what to do, and he did it. Issuing orders with complete self-confidence, just like a grown-up. Which of course she was. Maybe getting old would have some benefits after all?
Though she still hoped she wouldn't have to dress like that when she reached the other Buffy's age.