Rupert Giles. For a second, Giles had wondered if this man was some distant cousin of the Argent family, the nicer branch of the family tree rather than the unhinged, extremist Gerard and Kate branch. Mr. Argent understood them now. He only hunted those who deliberately took innocent life. Anyone else, they tried to help, gave them the opportunity to learn how to control it. The Argents could’ve had British relatives, right? As soon as he’d had the thought, Scott shook it away. He couldn’t link everything back to Allison like that, he couldn’t just decide this man should be trusted. Scott felt he could trust him, he didn’t feel anger or threat. The man’s pulse remained a steady, gentle throbbing as he spoke of his desire to help, but what was it he thought he could help with?
"How?" Scott asked, curious and cautious. He picked out the words, analyzing them like his English teachers had taught him. Of assistance to each other, the man had said. That meant Scott would have to give something in return. Most of his help, Scott gave willingly. There was no need for a trade or a bargain. He lived by what his mother had taught him; if you can help someone, you have an obligation to do it, but it had to be for a good cause, in a way that wouldn’t hurt people. Scott’s heart rate rose with the emotional temperament of his adolescence. Scott’s hands stiffened as Mr. Giles mentioned Isaac and Derek. He’d taken a walk into dangerous territory and his pulse gave it away. It rose this time, and it was all Scott could do to keep his claws from lengthening.
"What do you know about Isaac and Derek?" Scott’s voice was on edge. He was doing a really, really bad job of playing it cool. It was hard to know what to do, lower his voice, growl, make some veiled threat about how if Mr. Giles tried to hurt anyone, Scott would be the one to stop him… But what if he really did wanna help, if he knew a cure, or… or something useful, and Scott ended up just pushing him away? "They’re my friends," Scott finally said, his tone gentle but protective. "I wouldn’t let anyone hurt them, but I wouldn’t let them hurt anyone either. Not if I could help it. So how do I know I can trust you?"
"That is… the difficult thing about trust, now isn’t it?" The older gentleman questioned, though it was mainly meant as a rhetorical inquiry. "I have a number of reasons which I could list for you: an assurance that my interest is fueled only by a desire to keep everyone safe from any potential harm, for example. A statement that I have been involved in the… extraordinary aspects of this world for many… well, more than I would care to admit … years, and that I have a great deal of knowledge which you and your companions might find to be of extreme usefulness in the coming trials. All of these things, and more, I could tell you, but, trust is not something that is earned through potentially empty words, is it? It’s something that is earned through time, and actions and — "
He glanced beyond the bleachers to where the Coach had just emerged from the locker rooms, looking around the field rather crossly, and then at last settling on Scott and Giles. “McCall!” Coach shouted, snapping his fingers and gesturing emphatically to the spot on the ground next to him. “Socialize with grandpa on your own time, second bell’s already rung. Move it!”
"It seems we are out of the prior," Giles spoke, rising to his feet then and shuffling his papers back into the satchel at his side. "I do hope we have the opportunity to speak again soon, Scott," he expressed, sincerely. "I wish you well, Mr. McCall," he spoke, as he descended the stairs, nodding briefly to the Coach before he slipped into the walkway beside the bleachers and back into the school in search of Buffy.
”—Very, extremely, stupendously urgent” Myrnin tapped the side of his head as he spoke. ”Nice glasses by the way”
"Ah yes," the Watcher expelled, trying to hide a sigh. Of course it was. He also resisted the urge to check his watch. "What is it that you need?" He questioned, looking up from the book he had been studying. He grew still, auspiciously so, for a moment as he took in the sight of the figure in front of him. "Yes. Thank you," he spoke, a little quieter, a little more… distant than a moment before.
[A library, it had been a countless amount of time since Hal had set foot within such a place. The musky smell of old and used books was welcome to his vampiric senses — not to be confused for dust and dirt — those aren’t welcome.]
“I do understand. Certainly, only a matter of the utmost importance would compel me to disturb somebody at such an ungodly hour.”
It was difficult to discern just to what degree sarcasm delved into the words that reached Giles’ ears, and the faintest hint of a frown pulled at his lips as he rose from the book he had been reviewing. ”Certainly,” he agreed, his attention focusing immediately and… solely… on the newest arrival. The face nagged at him, searching for something to connect it to. Unease. ”What is it that I can help you with, Mister….?” He questioned, a slight smile easing onto his expression then.
Faith’s brow raised slowly and the smirk faded a little, “Is there a reason you’re using your patented, Extra Virgin British Voice with me?” Her head turned to watch someone walk by them and she pushed her hands into the back pockets of her jeans, stretching her shoulders out, “For serious, G… you’re wound. What happened?”
She watched him carefully, bringing a stiff shoulder up to absently scratch her ear against, wondering what the hell could be so bad that it had spooked Giles into acting like the stuffy British character from an American cop show. The sass was all but gone from his conversation and he seemed to be on edge. Too formal. That might fool Buffy but she knew him better than that. No way was this a case of Giles being pissed at a ‘tardy’ lieutenant, “Giles?”
Giles’ brows slanted and relaxed a few times at the words that Faith spoke. They were English, he was almost certain of it. A dialect that he could only hope to understand parts and pieces of at best. It was part of her… charm. He let out a heavy sigh, shoving the last of the papers into his bag as he drew to his feet, pushing the shoulder strap of it higher on his arm. ”It’s —” It’s what. It’s nothing? That was hardly accurate. He cast a glance around him, grateful yet again for the concept of ‘ignorance is bliss’ that kept the world ignoring them. ”It’s… Buffy,” he expressed.
Of course, the last thing he wanted to do was reinforce any of the residual rivalry between them — minute in comparison to what it once was, but he would be a fool to believe it gone in entirety. ”There’s been… a complication.” Guilt worked at him. The last time that Buffy had been left helpless, human, was because of his own perverted loyalty to the Council. ”She’s… human.” His voice pitched low, though such a declaration should hardly seem unusual. ”Entirely human.”
Buffy’s jaw fell open.
"— Wait. So there isn’t some evil mastermind threatening to destroy the planet?” Yeesh. Buffy exhaled, half in relief and half annoyed, casting him a suspicious glance. “Food is good. Also, explanations.” She sat across from him, folding her hands and resting her chin on them, green eyes narrowed at the Watcher across the table.
"Yes, I am aware, it is something of a miracle and may well be a sign of an impending apocalypse all on its own," Giles replied, a refreshingly genuine smile quirking the edges of his lips. "Believe it or not, I did think we might enjoy each other’s company simply for the sake of it. Shall we order in? There are Chinese, Indian and Korean takeaways in the immediate vicinity that are surprisingly good, if you’re in the mood for something less traditional than your… obsession with American pizzas."
“Is it ever?” Faith’s shrug was less than enthusiastic and she rested back against the checkout counter, stretching one of her legs out, “Just checking in, Boss. About to head out and do a sweep of Magazine. Been buzzin’ the last few, figure I ought to hit it a couple times tonight. What’s got you wound?”
"It’s been… a rather chaotic few days," the Watcher admitted, reaching up to pull his glasses up, rubbing at the place on the bridge of his nose where they inevitably pinched. "With Buffy… temporarily… " God, he hoped it was temporary. How selfish was that? What if it was permanent? What if it was the beginning of a long chain of Slayers losing their abilities? Was this the price that they would pay? "How have you been feeling? Any change? Fever, muscle aches or cramps, night sweats, dreams?"
"We’re nearly closed, and I’ve an appointment shortly — is it something urgent?"