Okay, so I wrote this last December after I marathoned Buffy. I still have a Law & Order: SVU story in progress but after watching so much Buffy, this was all that I could write about. I don't like leaving stories unfinished so I plan to go back to that SVU story, but I'm hoping that by editing and publishing this, I get the inspiration to start writing this story again to finish it.
I roughly have 5-7 chapters already written and waiting to be published. So I'll see if I can't tie up this story as I'm going through these chapters.
FYI: I personally ship Buffy and Spike but I couldn't bring myself to write about them. Their relationship didn't work for me in that respect. But I can fathom a relationship between her and Giles given the right circumstances after the closing of the Hellmouth at Sunnydale. I reference to some events of the comic books, but for the most part, they don't matter for this story.
Peeping through the window, he watched her. She was glowing as though she had found her calling. Nothing that he had heard from others could prepare him for what he was witnessing. She stood there commanding attention from those in front of her. From what he had seen, she wasn't taking any prisoners. When one began to step out of line, she modified tactics and showed no mercy. The four-hundred-word essay turned into an eight-hundred-word essay—due Monday, it was Friday. He smirked, she used to think that he went hard on her.
The sudden clattering of the school bell directly above his head knocked Giles off balance and caused him to fall through the open classroom door. When he regained his footing, he looked to find Buffy and her 10th grade class staring at him.
"This door…," he said as he swung it back and forth, "Do you hear that? It needs greased. Very obnoxious."
The students laughed at the random British man inspecting their classroom as they walked out. He awkwardly held the door open until the last student exited.
Buffy stood surprised, "What are you doing here, Giles?"
"I…um…. I'm sorry about that. I didn't mean to intrude."
"I thought your plane wasn't supposed to arrive for another day."
"It wasn't. A flight changed on me a couple of days ago in Johannesburg, and that messed my connecting flight into Luxembourg…. Long story short, this is just the way it worked out."
She was curt, "Is there a reason you came here?"
He frowned. She still didn't want anything to do with him.
"No, just thought I would stop in….." He stepped to leave, "I'll go, I shouldn't have come unannounced."
"Giles." He turned back to face her, "It's fine. Have you spoken to anyone? Everyone is having dinner tonight at my and Dawn's place."
"Yes, I know. Dawn invited me already. I spoke with her this morning…. She said that you were happy to have me a day early...so, naturally, I thought she told you that I was here."
Buffy's lips twisted, "No, must have slipped her mind."
A man about Buffy's age and dressed like a teacher busted through the door, "Hey, Buff! You're gonna be late!"
"Save me a seat, David. I'll be right there."
The man was smiling ear to ear, "Winsor. Leather. Spoon. And Mrs. Tobor!"
An unexpected laugh came from Buffy. That word combination seemed to mean something to her.
"I'll be there in a minute, I promise."
"Suit yourself," the man said as he threw a look at Giles and left.
"I really should be going," Giles said the words so fast that it almost sounded like one word. "I shouldn't have bothered you at work." He turned for the door without looking back.
"I'll see you tonight, Giles."
The sound of the doorbell took Buffy out of her trance. She could hear Dawn's excited shriek as his voice echoed through the condo. While looking in mirror, she nervously smoothed her blouse down around herself. This was the first time since the destruction of Sunnydale that they all will be together. Willow and Robert flew in from Cleveland, Andrew came from England, Faith had been somewhere in Asia, and Xander only lived a few blocks away. She heard the door open and close again. With Willow, Xander, and Andrew already helping with dinner and Giles having already arrived, that must have been Faith or Robert. Or both.
Later, after everyone fished the main course, Buffy and Dawn grabbed the dessert while Willow took plates and silverware to the dining area.
"So are you going to offer Giles our loft?" Dawn asked.
"You heard him, he couldn't find a hotel room."
"Faith, Robert and Andrew managed," Buffy retorted.
"They ordered their rooms online weeks ago. And it's fashion week!"
Buffy didn't respond and concentrated on unwrapping the cake and pie.
"….are you guys still fighting? Because you've hardly spoken to him all night…. You went to see him in England a few months back, I thought you kissed and made up."
"Dawn, I've told you that I'm not going to discuss it. That's between him and me. Watcher and slayer."
"So you didn't make-up," Dawn stated as a matter of fact.
Buffy growled, "Dawn…"
The little sister pushed harder, "Well, do you hate him so much that you would make him sleep in his rental car?"
"I DON'T HATE HIM!" Buffy regretted her volume immediately because the others could surely hear her around the corner. In a lower voice she said, "Dawn, yes, of course, I'm going to offer our loft to him. There's no reason why I would not let him stay here. Now let's get back."
When they returned to the table, Buffy ignored the inquiring looks from the others and scooped out the dessert.
"Okay, Giles, down to business," Willow took bite of brownie, "What's going on in Watcher's World that's causing so much commotion? Not that I mind them calling us all together, but it seems weird for them—of all places in the world—to want us to come to San Francisco. Does this specifically have to do with Buffy?"
Giles frowned, "No, we have no reason to believe that. I agree that it's quite unsettling that of all the places in the world where there could be an unprecedented increase of demonic and vampire activity, it is here in San Francisco where Buffy primarily resides."
"But I'm not The Slayer anymore," Buffy said, "I haven't been for four years. There are thousands of us! I'm not that special anymore."
"Yes, there may be thousands of you now, but you are still The Slayer," he locked eyes with her from across the table, "You're the one all the others slayers tell tales about. You may not be the sole slayer anymore, however, you are still quite special."
He was giving her that look. That look that he always gave her. Her mind shot back to the last time she saw him when she visited his home in Devon….
She tried to formulate another question but her tongue stuck in her throat.
Willow jumped in, "But it's not just the demons and vampires, is it? I feel some very strong magic here. It's…it's different from anything I've experienced before."
"Yes, I fee-" Giles stopped abruptly and looked around, "Who said that?"
"No one said anything, G-Man," Xander replied.
"No, I heard a voice. I heard it earlier as well."
"God, not you too!" Dawn exclaimed.
Giles looked confused, "'Not me too', what?"
"Buffy has been hearing voices for months!"
Wordlessly, he turned to her and waited for her to reply.
Buffy straightened up and took a drink of water before speaking, "You're not crazy, Giles. I heard it too. I hear it all the time."
He leaned in and concentrated his eyes on a spot on the other side of the room.
"I can't make it out. Do you know what's being said?"
"No, it's like the words are there and I can hear them just fine but…at the same time they're indistinct."
"Yes… that's a good description," he looked at everyone, "And no one else can hear that?!"
Grumbling no, they shook they're heads.
"You don't hear it, Faith?" Robin asked.
"No, it's not a slayer thing. They're just nuts," she replied.
"How reassuring," Giles deadpanned.
Buffy suddenly piped in, "I think it's British."
"What?" Giles shook his head confused.
"More specially, it sounds English."
"You're telling me that you're being harassed by an English demon?"
"It did start after I visited you."
"Okay, but demons do not take our earthly accents. Unless, of course, it wants to. And then why would it pick an English accent?"
Andrew excitedly exclaimed, "Maybe this is like the Truman Show! We all actually hear the voice but we pretend not to so she doesn't find out the truth about her life!"
Everyone stared blankly at him.
Buffy continued, "I never said it was a demon, that was you."
"Yes, very well. I'll start looking into it."
"So will I," Willow said.
Giles inquired, "Do you hear it everywhere or just here at home?"
His brow furrowed, "San Francisco is under barrage and an English mystical being is harassing Buffy… this has the makings of a terrible mess."
"I would have to agree, Giles," Robin spoke, "But rather than solving that tonight, we need to get out there and survey the city. People are dying every night and that's what we all came here to stop."
"Quite right. And it's almost dark. You guys should get out there."
Everyone stood to leave.
"You're not going to join us, Giles?" Willow asked.
"No, not tonight. I need to find somewhere to stay…. Then I have a backlog of materials that the council put together about San Francisco that I still need to go though."
Dawn cleared her throat and nudged Buffy.
"Giles," Buffy moved away from her sister, "If you need somewhere to stay, Dawn and I have a daybed in the loft upstairs…."
He looked surprised, "I don't want to intrude."
"You wouldn't be! Come on, Giles, it'd be like old times!" Dawn fought.
He uncomfortably watched Buffy from the corner of his eye, "I…no, I don't think so."
If Buffy was being honest with herself, she had her own reasons to want Giles nearby.
"Please, Giles, stay. I want you to, too… as well," Buffy said as she stumbled over her words, "We still have a lot of catching up to do."
Buffy stood at the bottom of the stairs of the loft that Giles was currently occupying. She listened for any sign that he may be awake such as his pacing or the turn of a page. But she heard nothing. Not that she particularly wanted to speak with him or anything. It's just that they had a lot to talk about, and now he was sleeping in her apartment. Turning, she headed to her room.
"Buffy, is that you?" his voice echoed in a whisper.
"How was patrol?"
She smiled, it had been a long time since he'd asked her that. Slowly, she ascended the steps. The loft was at the end of the hallway, where the bedrooms and bathroom was located. It was by no means an open, airy, loft. The hardwood staircase twisted twice before exposing the small area that fit a daybed, desk, and built-in bookcases along two of the walls. The only thing that really kept it from looking like a closet was the small window above the bed, which Giles currently had open.
Reaching the top step, she stopped, "It was fine. I showed the city to everyone…. The Golden Gate Bridge, museums, art galleries, graveyards, demon bars, wicken temples, you know, the usual."
"Ah, yes," he was standing in the middle of the space, looking up from an iPad. Buffy took several moments absorb the scene. He was using a tablet, that's why she couldn't hear him turn any pages! Not only was Giles not using a book to read, he had a laptop open on the desk.
"Who are you and what have to done to Giles?" she asked flatly.
"I beg your pardon?"
"Technology. You're using technology."
He stifled a laugh, "Well, it's not very reasonable for me to carry around a library whilst I travel, is it?
"I…guess not. Have you come across anything interesting in your research?"
"I really haven't looked at much. I was just getting done settling in. Dawn and I talked for a good while…. She filled me in on a lot that she couldn't fit into our limited phone conversations."
"…it's nice that you made that effort with her. It means a lot that wherever you were over the last seven years that you always called her at least once a week—no other man has given her that. It's the reason she pushed so hard to have you stay here."
Hurt flashed across his face, "I thought you wanted me here too."
"I do…." Buffy said in a hushed voice, "She just gives me a convenient excuse."
"Ehh.." he hesitated, "Are we okay?"
She shuffled uncomfortably at being put on the spot, "As far as I'm concerned, we are…. But we need to find a time to talk about things."
"Agreed…." He looked around.
The voice began again. They shared knowing looks.
"And about that, when on earth did that exactly start?"
Exhaustion was about to overtake her. It was almost five in the morning and she hadn't slept at all. Expecting a long conversation, she slid down the wall and sat on the top step.
"I don't know it's hard to pinpoint. It was after I got home from traveling over the summer. I guess, I could have picked up a demon where along the way."
"And it never occurred to you to even ask Willow about it?!"
"Things haven't only been stressed between you and me, Giles... After everyone one went their separate ways, we all... Well you know," she tried to explain without going into detail.
"I'm afraid I do," he took off his glasses and squeezed the bridge of his nose, "Things were tense before we left Sunnydale and that did nothing to help us all from drifting apart after we went our separate ways. Dinner, though, went better than I expected."
"Yeah, it did... Anyways, she's been busy too, Giles. I did some research on my own," she gestured to the books around her, "But didn't find anything. Also, I Googled. Still nothing."
"And you just let it go?" he was incredulous.
"I honestly didn't know what was going on. I did a thorough job of researching it myself…. I was starting to think that it was just in my head. A brain tumor causing hallucinations."
"Oh, Buffy, please don't say that. Don't think it."
She shrugged, "It runs in the family."
"Well, I'm going to find the actual cause. I understand, though, why you would feel as though you were hallucinating…. There's something different to it…." He sat down on the floor and leaned against the daybed, "I can't quite describe it. It's unique…. I've never felt it before."
"Yes, I know…. I don't think it's malevolent."
"Anything that invades my mind like this without an invite is malevolent as far as I'm concerned."
"Whatever it is, Giles, I have felt at peace with it." She let out a big yawn, "That's why I haven't been freaking out over it."
"Since when did you get tired?"
"Since I got old." she joked, "Not all of us have magic like you to keep us young."
He smirked, "Be good to the magic and it will be good to you."
She stood to leave, "Ah, is it possible to get that in a cream?"
He laughed. Buffy's humor made an appearance, maybe they weren't as far gone as he thought.
Please let me know what you think! I would love everyone's input!