Word Count: 1,300 words
Characters: Giles, plus a surprise who probably won't be all that surprising.
Summary: Post-Chosen: Giles, desperately trying to deal with an influx of new slayers, interviews a perspective employee. There is brief mention of events from my previous post-Chosen stories, but reading them isn't necessary.
This is my entry over at summer_of_giles; head on over there and check out all the great Gilesy fics and art!
“Your credentials are, of course, impeccable,” Giles said.
“Why, thank you.” She sent him a somewhat ironic smile, and Giles tried hard not to smile back. This was supposed to be a professional interview, after all. Still, he had to admit to enjoying the sound of another British accent, after almost a year in Chicago.
“Your recommendations are also impressive. The headmaster of your last school spoke very highly of you, as did –“ He looked up from the paperwork, one eyebrow raised. “As did Mr. Wyndam-Pryce.”
He left unspoken the addition, that Roger Wyndam-Pryce never gave high recommendations. Also unspoken was his surprise that she even knew a member of the Watcher’s Council. “He wasn’t happy with my youth,” she said smoothly, “but I got the job done. In the end, he was grateful both for the improvement in that particular potential, and for my discretion.”
“So I understand.” Clearing his throat, he shoved the papers aside and looked across the desk at her, really looked since the first time she’d arrived. She wore a very prim and proper navy blue dress, and had tied her dark hair back in a way that practically screamed “school teacher”.
Of course, who was he to speak? After all, there he was, “Ripper”, wearing a proper tie surrounded by tweed. When had he started wearing tweed? “Have you heard of Richard Philips?”
“The author?” She frowned. “I read his book on the Battle of the Bulge, but I found it a bit too action oriented for my taste.”
“It was he who recommended you for this position.”
She blinked those brown eyes, the ones he remembered so much from a
different life. “But I’ve never met him.”
“He’s a watcher here, now. I believe you met his daughter, Kara, when you helped at our summer camp.” She’d answered his call for help then, although he himself hadn’t attended. In truth, sending the slayers to camp for two weeks had been more a vacation for him than for them. “Sixteen, shoulder length brown hair … braces?”
“Oh, yes, I remember her. But – a slayer who’s father is a watcher? That seems problematical, at best.”
“She’s been assigned to a different watcher – and in truth he’s been spending most of his time here, at the headquarters. He suggested you’d be a good candidate to take over some of his teaching duties.”
“But – how –“
“When I pressed him, he confessed that he’d had a dream about you.” He waited for her
reaction. She knew she’d be getting into areas of the supernatural, but knowing it and experiencing it were different things.
After a moment, a wide smile spread across her face, and Giles found himself watching those full lips he remembered as being so kissable … He tore his gaze from them and focused on her eyes again, which hardly helped.
“Your life continues to be interesting, doesn’t it, Rupert?”
“Indeed.” She looked exactly the same. Not a gray hair, not a line on her dark face. But it had only been a few years, hadn’t it? It seemed so much longer …
“You do remember that I’m here with the understanding that my entire job would be classroom instruction? If Mr. Philips wants to follow his students into the field that’s fine, but I’d just as soon let the Bogie Man remain a figment of my imagination.”
Giles had to force down a moment of irritation, and hid it by whipping off his glasses to polish them. “There are over five hundred identified slayers, and these days each potential becomes a slayer when she reaches puberty.”
She blinked. “So many … No wonder you look tired.”
“You see our problem, then.” Wait. Tired? “Ah -- even with you teaching, Richard will still be here most of the time, and others will assist as their talents allow. We have a full time cook –“
“The one I encountered at lunchtime?”
“Ah. Yes, Clem …”
“So you have a demon cooking for you. I understand that one of your watchers is a witch?”
“You’ve met Willow,” he said, rather defensively.
“And one of your head slayers is actually a robot?”
“The Buffybot. We were very fortunate that she was resurrected, as it were …” Giles could see where this was going, and he wasn’t liking it.
“Right, of course. And if I’m understanding correctly, one of your watchers is … dead?”
Giles cleared his throat. “Tara’s spirit has been entrapped in a human body – well, a more or less human body, we’re working on the circumstances. But you’ll find her to be every bit as real as you or me.”
“I’m sure I will, Rupert, but …” She reached out, her dark hand touching his. “I’m sure you see my point?”
“Yes, I –“ He sighed. “Look, we need you. Five hundred teenage girls! I’ve only a handful to help, and most of them have no more experience at this than their charges do. I need someone who can teach them – teach them normal things, like history and mathematics, and perhaps an art class or two. But it has to be someone who knows, who understands what we do here. I don’t have the time or energy to find an experienced teacher who needs to be shepherded through the acceptance of vampires and demons.”
Then Giles sat back, feeling as if he’d just let loose with some dark secret. He had, in a way – the secret that he was having trouble keeping the lid on, that he felt like this organization was spinning out of control because there was too much to do and not enough experienced people to go around. He’d made Andrew a watcher, for God’s sake – Andrew.
For a long moment she stared at him, a searching gaze, as if she was trying to see into his soul. “I wondered why you called me all the way over here, Rupert. I came because, underneath that calm you’re so proud of, I could hear desperation in your voice.”
He held his breath, while wondering who else hadn’t been fooled by his calm demeanor. She was right, of course – she’d known him for a long time, longer than anyone currently in the organization. He should have known he couldn’t fool her.
The irony of that was that he’d known her for – what was it, over fifteen years now? And in the last few weeks he’d learned more about her than all the years before. It was hard to admit that not only had their relationship been purely physical, but that they had come to depend on it being purely physical. In a way, she was the last vestige of his former life, of the shallow, irresponsible, dangerous Ripper.
He missed it.
“Of course I’ll help. I know I denied you once, but I’ve had time to process all this since then. If you need a teacher, I’m your girl.”
Giles let his breath out, and some tense, frustrated part of him seemed to go with it. “This means a lot to us.”
“Us?” That’s when he felt her foot brushing against his calf. “Just us, Rupert? How about you?” The foot traveled further up, nearer his knee. “Are there fringe benefits to go
with this job?”
That other part of him, a part he’d denied in favor of shepherding this new Council and helping everyone else, responded immediately. It was a terrible idea, of course. He was Head Watcher, after all, making her an employee of his.
“I’m open to … negotiation.” And he smiled, letting a little part of Ripper out again.
“Ah, there’s the Rupert I remember.” She responded with a rather wolfish grin. “Let’s get started, Mr. Giles – let’s get this new school in order, and then we’ll work on rescuing you. Do you have a room for me?”
Forgoing the obvious answer, he simply nodded. “I’ll find the room for you, Olivia. I promise.”