There was a reason that Giles didn’t like doing ‘business’ in public, he mused, watching in dismay as the folders he had been holding and flipping through fell like birds with broken wings to the crowded street around him. ”Damn,” the Brit couldn’t help but mutter as he ducked down, crouching onto the sidewalk in as steady a stance as he could manage to try and snatch up the reports he’d been reviewing before a wayward elbow had caught him. ”Listen, I’m going to have to phone you back,” the Watcher spoke, his tone gravelly and working up towards agitated as he plucked the mobile phone from his shoulder and stuffed it into the leather satchel at his side. “Bloody telephones,” he muttered, the word ending in a low hiss as two of his fingers didn’t quite evade the wing tipped shoe that had been aimed for one of the many police files he’d been looking over.
"Pardon me," Giles spoke up, one hand rubbing against his temple. Strange how all these years later he could still recall in all too painful clarity the horrors of being surrounded by the hormonal masses in such large quantity. He managed a smile at whomever it was that had managed to spare him a moment. "I am searching for Ms. Summers," he explained.
Can I help you find something, or are you simply browsing?
"Uh… Well, Chinese sounds good," Buffy began, stomach rumbling a bit, "But Giles — you left somewhere between a zillion and kagillion messages on my phone. Which, I know, Bad Buffy for not paying attention, but… it was only a couple hours." Buffy reached out and nudged him, trying to convey her… being okay. Yes, it was worrying that her Slayer powers had suddenly dissipated, but at least now she had decoys and other Slayers were around and fighting evil and she was — well, a lot more experienced.
Giles’ hand drifted, his fingers easing, working through the slightly too long for his liking strands that were more than a little seasoned. He had done his best to conceal his agitation from those around him, retreating to his office and cutting down on as much face to face interaction as he could. In letters, or the dreadful electronic conversations via the computer e-letters, he had further control over his words; he could go back and re-read them, edit them before releasing them to their source. In face to face, or even telephone conversations, it was harder to control.
And, it had come as no surprise to him that it was Buffy that bore the brunt of his concern, though Faith and others such as Xander and Dawn had followed in close succession, with all of the Slayers and Watchers after them. IN fact, there were few in the city… perhaps even further, that he was not concerned for. He couldn’t explain it, that pressing sense of worry, the heavy knot of dread that he couldn’t seem to shake. “I….” He could not come up with an appropriate cause for his worried other than the fact that they had had s many mind numbing altercations in the past…
Yet by that same logic, it meant that there was a vast knowledge and wealth of experience at their disposal, especially at BUffy’s, which should negate some of his concern but given her weakened state that was of yet without cause? It was not likely that he wouldn’t worry, justifiably so. That, and the guilt that plagued him for the last time that she had been held in such a vulnerable state, by his own hand. Something that he had never quite been able to forgive himself for. “Yes, well,” he tried to offer, attempting to brush the excess of messages past them. “Perhaps I was a bit, ah, exuberant,” he offered, with a slightly tight smile, though he tried to disguise it. “I merely wished to ensure your safety and get an estimate of your arrival time.” He doubted that she would be fooled, but perhaps she would be generous enough to let it pass. “Chinese it is then, he agreed, digging out a three ring binder that held a selection of laminated take out menus that he proffered to the blonde. “There are a few things I thought we might discuss, if you wish.” He added, as a brief aside to the end of the line of questioning that had preceded his words of a moment before.
'Into the woods' My Giles study. :)
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.
[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.
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."
"We’re nearly closed, and I’ve an appointment shortly — is it something urgent?"