He pulled Giles' wallet out of his pocket. Might as well do some snooping. The guy was never gonna volunteer anything. Nice leather, worn just enough to have comfortable creases. California driver's license, decent photo. 1957, huh. Resident alien card. Sunnydale High faculty ID. ATM card, a couple of credit cards, AmEx gold. A wad of cash, way more than Xander had expected. Photos, just two: a shot of Buffy grinning in sunshine, then to Xander's surprise, one of him and Willow mugging for the camera. Then a pile of other stuff, like insurance info, a stamp card for a local cafe, a card for some library at Oxford, one for the Sunnydale public library, and an ID card for the Watcher's Council of Great Britain, with a photo of a younger Giles looking sadly into the lens. A UK driver's license, which looked like the worst sort of fake ID cobbled up by college students. Then, in a pocket, a couple of green guitar picks and a condom. Xander could identify, though it was a little weird to think about Giles hoping to get lucky. Xander hadn't seen him make moves on anybody other than Miss Calendar. He somehow thought that Giles hadn't. It was just Mr Caution Man in action. The guitar picks, now that was new intel. They looked used, the turtle logo mostly worn off.
Put 'em together, and they spelled... Xander wasn't sure. Watcher guy who played guitar and cared about the three of them. A brave guy, who let himself get tortured to save the world but hated himself for not being perfect. Maybe plain hated himself.
Where the fuck was Buffy? Why wasn't she here fussing over Giles? Probably she was off cuddling up with Deadboy. Xander had really hoped she'd just killed him, that she'd let rip with the fighting before Will's spell could fire off. But if that had happened, she'd be here with them all now.
From The Adventure of the Displaced Watcher:
Mr Giles came in behind Mrs Hudson, and stood a little diffidently just inside the door, with an overcoat over his arm and a battered leather case in his hand. He stepped forward to give her room to leave behind him, and I ushered him forward.
Rupert Giles was a handsome man of middle age, over six foot tall, with a powerful build disguised under strange clothing cut too large for him. He had a full head of slightly curling hair, not yet grey, and worn untidily. His face was angular, with strong cheekbones and a stronger chin, speaking of an equally strong character and determination. He had on a neat pair of spectacles, and yet he bore himself like a man who was ready for fisticuffs, as I have seen Holmes at times. His nose had been broken at some time in his life, and not set properly, and a long scar marred his high forehead. I might have taken him for a military man, except that his voice and manner were refined. He stepped further into the room, in response to my urging, and looked about himself as if dazed. He stared from Holmes to me and back again. He set down his coat and case, and stood with a hand on his chest, still gazing steadily at Holmes.
"Let me show you," he said. His voice reminded her of being in the library, with an eager young Giles pulling out a new weapon to teach her. This burnt Giles, with the lines in his face and the scars on his fingers, reached inside his shirt to pull out the crystal he'd taken from the Magic Box that morning. He lifted the chain over his head and held the stone in his hands. He repeated a phrase in a language Buffy couldn't recognize, slowly, three times.
It began to glow a rich green that streamed through his fingers and warmed everything around them.
"The last time I looked into a stone like this, I could see your soul there with mine. A spark, right at the heart. When we do the ritual tomorrow night, I'll be able to see you again, and feel you there." Giles held the crystal cupped in his hands, gazing in. "I miss feeling you. I didn't realize it, at first, what was missing. Why I didn't believe that Willow had raised you. Why when I touched you I felt hollow. It's because we aren't connected any more."
"Can I look?"
Giles extended his cupped hands to her.
From "Breaking Glass":
Gray light filtered in through open curtains. Car tires splashed through puddles; rain pattered on the street. Another wet day. Giles sat up and rubbed his face, then slipped out of bed. He pushed the window sash down to keep the wet out, then sat on the sill, yawning. He watched Ethan sleeping: on his stomach, head wedged between the pillows, turned toward where Giles had been. Ethan's bare knee poked out out of the sheets. One hand rested across the hollow Giles' body had left. Slim, graceful, palm scarred from magic. Giles had to suppress an urge to climb back in with him, wake him, spend the rest of the morning sighing under that hand. Writhing under it. Instead he crept out of the room and found the bath down the hall. He washed and dressed in the shirt and tie he'd brought, over his jeans and boots.
And now the teasers:
From the post-Grave h/c tag fic for headrush100:
Spattering rain on the windows made it feel cozy. Buffy pushed up the window. The wood had swelled in the wet, and it stuck in the runners for a moment. A cautious application of Slayer strength, and it squeaked up. She knelt at the window for a long time, arms laid along the sill and her chin on her arms. The rain blew in, now and then, and dampened her arms and face. It smelled wonderful outside. Summer rain, and wet grass, and flowers she couldn't identify. It was so green out there. Life bursting everywhere. So unlike the scorched brown of her semi-desert home. How had Giles stood it, when he'd moved to the Hellmouth? To unforgiving sun and dust and eucalyptus and dead grass on the hills? To freeways and strip malls?
Because he'd had to stand it, just like she had to stand it. The brutal reality of the calling they shared, that they would go where they needed to go and fight until they were dead. At least in her case. Giles would be allowed peace when she was dead. Though she suspected, from what he'd said of last summer, that her death had brought anything but peace to him. His time here at the coven, over the winter, he had described as spiritual recentering. But Buffy would have called it intensive therapy. He'd been broken.
It was this place, the time he'd spent here, that had recentered Giles. From the moment he'd found Jenny Calendar dead in his bed, to the moment she'd stormed out of the training room, and the moments of hell in between. He'd laid them all aside here. England, this coven, this house, here, and he'd finally recovered.
The twilight lasted forever, long hours of slow sunset under rainclouds. Buffy was thinking of moving, of maybe going to seek out Giles, when someone tapped at the door. It opened immediately. Giles, stepping through from the yellow-lit hallway. Buffy blinked in the light. He closed the door behind himself and came over to her. His step was noiseless, his stance contained, right hand in his pocket. Buffy recognized it as the posture he used when he wanted to minimize his height, and the breadth of his shoulders.
From "Dragon's Heart", the next section of Ars Draconis:
She'd never forget him. It was not a forgettable experience, losing your virginity to a vampire who turned savagely and sadistically evil because of it. It had taken her a while to get near sex again. Good old straightforward enthusiastic Riley had cured her of that, at least. Now she was left with the memory of a brooding demon who, in retrospect, probably wasn't very smart. And who, despite the brooding, had all the self-insight of a turnip. His experience hadn't changed him.
Perhaps only the living had the privilege of change.
Buffy cranked around on the marble block and considered Giles' leather-clad back, gently rising and falling with his breath. The hilt of the sword jutted above his left shoulder, strapped in place by the baldric. He'd tested the draw earlier, over and over, until he was satisfied. Now there was a man who'd changed, considerably, in the time she'd known him. Giles, in this very cemetery, in geeky glasses and tweed, gripping a clipboard, had lectured her about efficiency. Contrast with Giles now, in a battered leather duster, sweater, cords, and heavy boots. The geek was still there, the stammer as well, but there was more to him than that. Some of it was because he'd suffered. And some of it because he had shed his protective coating and chosen to let himself be known by Buffy and her friends. At least a little. And perhaps now a little more. He was still wound too tight, though.
"I think the sword is a bit of a romantic," Giles said, thoughtfully. "Choosing to show me those scenes, and not battles."
From Tradition & Protocol part 2:
Stamford handed him a little pile of prints, square images, uncropped, on thick glossy stock. Giles held the prints by the edges and sorted through. A stiff-looking man, handsome if you looked past the discomfort, in his middle thirties, in tweed and glasses. And another photograph, which Giles knew without being told had been taken the day after he'd been claimed. There was a look in those eyes of a man unleashed, wild and serene at once. The stiffness was gone. And then a photograph of Carstairs with Leila, who'd been tall, dark-haired, and lithe. The adoration on Carstairs' face made Giles shift uneasily on the couch. That expression ought to have stayed private, for the two of them, and not been handed around in a photo album for roomsful of students to make notes on. Then a disturbing photograph, obviously from the same session, of Carstairs with his shirt off, leaning forward against a wall, hands above his shoulders to brace himself. Carstairs was slim, not bulked with muscle the way Giles was becoming. The tattoo was there, across his narrow shoulders, looking raw and fresh, the skin still reddened from the outrage of the needle. Also raw were the rope burns on his wrists and neck.
Giles shuddered. He'd had burns like that, once, on wrists and ankles. He still had nightmares about how he'd received them, now and then.
He handed the prints back to Stamford, and drank some more tea. "Poor bastard," he said, eventually.