It’s funny how things can change so drastically without anyone noticing. Perhaps it was because they were all so used to such big changes; bam there’s an apocalypse, bam you have a sister, bam someone’s dead, bam someone’s alive. With so much changing around them all the time, they had learned to roll with the punches and so didn’t notice the gradual changes occurring within.
Not these were necessarily bad changes. They had spent so much time together, had gone through so many shared events, that it was understandable that they had become codependent on each other. None of them, except for perhaps Giles, had really had the opportunity to form an identity completely independent from the rest of the Scoobies. It wasn’t until after Sunnydale imploded that they had any real measure of time away from each other. Time that was definitely needed.
Despite the closeness of their group, relationships had become strained and tempers frayed. They had all made mistakes, had all had plenty of things to apologize for. Yet the opportunity to really learn from those errors and grow as a person hadn’t occurred. Leaving Sunnydale allowed them to do that.
It was frightening at first. The Scoobies had become so used to depending on each other that they didn’t know how to stand on their own two feet. But they adjusted, realized what they were capable of on their own; and learned who they were as an individual, not just as part of the group. One might even say that they had grown up, not that he would ever admit it.
The Scoobies would never be as close as they had been, too much had happened, too much had changed. Yet, he thought it was better this way. They were still friends, could still depend on each other, but they could also be happy on their own, could make their own path through life. Now none of them were constricted by roles they felt they had to play, or preconceived notions about what they could or couldn’t accomplish. Meeting new people and being in new environments had really helped with that, especially for him.
He felt like he had been given a second chance, a slate that wasn’t blank but had room to expand. Being away from Sunnydale and the others, had allowed him to discover talents he didn’t even know he had. Though he had to admit he had never thought it would lead him here.
Having dealt with the supernatural for so long, the Scoobies had pretty much ignored technology. Willow was the only one that hadn’t to an extent, after all it was her first love, and though magic had superseded it, computers were still her favorite research tool. Otherwise technology was a blind spot that none of them would admit to. After seeing what had happened when the military had tried to mix technology and the supernatural, even what Andrew, Warren, and Jonathon had done, they had chosen to ignore technology as a useful resource. An unfortunate oversight that rebuilding the Council had helped to correct.
Now, they had learned to use a mixture of modern and ancient. Their headquarters in Cleveland were protected by wards that would alert and defend. As well as cameras and security features that provided protective measures while hiding the more powerful ones until necessary. Even GPS had proven to be a boost, allowing them to track teams of slayers in order to provide help if necessary. While Dawn might have complained at first, a GPS tracker embedded under her skin allowed them to locate her if she was ever kidnapped, yet let her to go out on her own without being followed everywhere.
And it was in technology, that he had found another passion. He would never be great at translating ancient languages, but code was something he could understand and manipulate. Here was an entire world open to him now, opportunities that he had never had before. He had found that he was cautious around new people; knowing that they could never really understand him and his past, but computers let him be useful, let him make a difference. So while he had never thought he would find himself working as a technical analyst with the FBI, he also had to admit, if only to himself, that he had come a long way from who he had been in Sunnydale.