All Roads Lead To Rome - Chapter 7 - These Are The Times That Try Men's Souls
“Damn that infernal Rowling woman!” Giles swore out loud, scaring some of the young Slayers roaming the halls. Striding angrily through the new Slayers Academy, he found himself ranting out loud. “No matter how many times I correct people, no matter how much advertising goes out… I cannot escape the Academy being referred to as ‘Hogwart’s!’ He ran his fingers through his hair, convinced there would be more in his hands than on his head by the time he reached his office.
Time for his meeting with Andrew… a debriefing of sorts, and he couldn’t wait for Buffy to sit in with them. Nobody was happy over the fact that Angel had attained a position of power inside the evil law firm of Wolfram & Hart. No matter how much trust he had placed in the souled vampire over the years, he had never forgotten, nor forgiven him his part in ruining Buffy’s life and the death of his beloved Jenny. Nobody would be happier than he to tear that final veil from Buffy’s eyes, and forever rid her of her vampire attraction. Ripper had nothing on Giles in the grudge-keeping department.
Rounding the final bend, Giles entered his office, to see Andrew doing an almost giddy little jig around the room. Oddly enough, he was… was he actually whistling “Oh What A Beautiful Morning?” What the bloody hell had gotten into the lad?
Stepping quietly into the room, he managed to tap Andrew sharply on the shoulder. With an amused expression on his face, he began, “Andrew, this is no way for a Junior Watcher to behave, especially in the office. What’s up with you, man?”
Andrew’s hands fluttered like birds’ wings for a moment, and he looked for all the world like a Victorian woman suffering from the vapors. When he had collected himself, he replied, “Sorry Mr. Giles. You caught me by surprise. I’m just so happy. Really… just can’t help expressing myself. I feel light enough to fly under my own power, just like Superman.”
“So, son… just what is it that has you flitting all over the place, singing like a lunatic?” Giles repeated patiently, “and where is Buffy? This is an important meeting.”
Taking a few short breaths, Andrew said, “Well… um… Buffy’s not here right now.”
Feeling his vaunted patience growing thinner by the minute, Giles removed his glasses and began to polish them, an unconscious habit well known to all who spent more than an hour’s time around the Senior Watcher. “Andrew! I can see that. I’m not blind you know. I need to know when Buffy can be expected. There are many things I am responsible for here, and I must get this meeting underway before…”
Andrew gulped. He knew this wasn’t going to be easy. Even though he promised Buffy he wouldn’t say anything to anyone… he felt the time had come to begin the telling of it all.
“Well, Mr. Giles… it’s sorta like this. When I came back, Buffy was here, and we talked, and I told her some things, and she got all angry and nervous and growly and determined and shejustleftforLA.”
Tingles of dread ran down Giles’ neck. What the hell had Andrew said to his Slayer for her to go running off like that, without a word to anyone? With as much restraint as he could muster, Giles placed his glasses firmly back in place, and said, “Settle down, boy, and let’s get this started… where is Buffy and why did she leave?”
“Buffy went to the city of angels, to confront the dragon and rescue the knight,” he replied, backbone ramrod straight under Giles’ fierce gaze.
“Christ, Andrew… don’t you ever just say anything straightforward? My patience is waning, and if you don’t want me to take a page from Buffy’s book and start beating on you, I demand a comprehensible answer from you, immediately.”
Fine, Mr. Giles… just remember, You Asked For It!”
“All right, all right already. Hold your horses… Buffy is in Los Angeles. She went to Wolfram and Hart to have a smack down with Angel about why he never told her about Spike being back. Now, she and Spike are going to go off into the sunset and live happily ever after.” Andrew put his hands on his hips, and glared right back at Giles.
There were a thousand different things flashing through his mind before Andrew spoke, but what actually came from his mouth was so far from the expected, that his hand flew to his mouth, trying and failing to stifle an intense case of the most unmanly giggles ever uttered. Within a moment, Giles was on his knees, eyes tearing and chest heaving from the raucous laughter issuing forth.
Trying to gather a modicum of control, he made the mistake of glancing up at Andrew… still standing there with a serious expression on his face, tapping his foot and just waiting for Giles to come to his senses. That was all it took to set him off, again. It was several minutes before he was able to stand and face Andrew with any sense of rationality.
“All right, Mr. Giles, you’ve had your fun… laughed at my expense. Now, you really need to get this through your above average brain. Spike is back. He rematerialized from that amulet that dusted the Uber Vamps and collapsed the Hellmouth. It showed up on Angel’s desk one day in the mail, and when he opened it, out popped Spike, all ghostly. Now, he’s all solid again… and he’s great to hug and all… and he looks good, you know… like he’s actually getting enough blood for a change… and, well, now? Now, he and Buffy are together again, and they’re happy and they’re talking to each other and they have a whole future in front of them. Do you get it now, Mr. Giles? I’m telling it as it is.” By the time he had finished, Andrew was actually huffing, from having run out of breath.
There was an eerie sense of déjà vu to all this. Giles tried hard to remember where and how this had… Ah! That was it… Buffy had said she had been sleeping with Spike, and he had brushed it off as the most asinine thing he’d ever heard.
Perhaps this time, it would behoove him to listen, and learn from his past mistakes.
“All right, Andrew… let’s just say for argument’s sake, that what you say is the truth. Why would Buffy not tell me where she was going, or why?”
One eyebrow raised, head slightly tilted in an eerie approximation of a miniature Spike, Andrew went for the truth. No holds barred.
“Tell me, Mr. Giles… what was your last interaction with Spike back in Sunnydale?”
Giles had the good graces to at least look ashamed. He remembered that horrid collaboration with Robin Wood to take the vamp out, even if he had thought it was the right thing to do. He shuddered to think of what would have happened to the world if Spike had been dusted that night.
Andrew continued. “I know that things with Buffy were strained after you tried to have Spike murdered. And I know things were somewhat better, once we settled in England and before she left for Rome. Riddle me this, however… what would your reaction have been if she had said ‘Hey, Giles… gonna make a quicky trip to LA. Seems that Spike… you know, the vampire I’d been sleeping with and you wanted to kill, is back amongst the unliving. I wanna see if we can make a go of things this time around. Do I have your blessings?’ I’m sure it would have been less than a Little House on the Prairie moment.”
Well! Giles would certainly have to re-evaluate his opinion of Andrew in the future. The little git seemed to have grown a pair somewhere between home and the States. Raising his head to meet Andrew, eye to eye, he said, “Andrew, I must apologize to you. First, I had no right to laugh at you like that. In all honesty, I thought you were joking. I’d once had a similar reaction to one of Buffy’s confessions, and it appears I’ve learned nothing from that encounter. I will endeavour to be more respectful, in the future.”
Looking pleased, Andrew smiled, then said, “Mr. Giles, I do believe it’s not to me that you owe an apology. I’d suggest you place a call to Buffy’s cellular, and speak with Buffy and Spike. There is much ground you need to make up with them. Just think… if Spike decides to come back with Buffy, can you imagine the opportunities? He’s a phoenix, risen from ashes! He’s gone where no man has gone before… and come back! Imagine the entries in your Watcher’s Journal.”
With a nod of agreement, Giles dismissed Andrew, and picked up his phone. Pushed the autodial and waited. Heard the pickup. “Hello, Buffy?”
Hope it pleases.
ETA: Thanks to the lovely sangpassione and willa_writes for their help and suggestions in beta'ing this mess. Can't keep a tense straight if I tried. See? **grins**