Title: Finding Grace
Rating: FRT for minor language.
Fandom Crossover: BtVS/The Invisibles (BBC)
Characters: BtVS -Giles, Willow, Faith Invisibles – Maurice, Barbara, Grace, Sid
Timeline: BtVS – About 6 months post-Chosen. Invisibles – About 1 year post series.
Summary: A routine trip to find a new Slayer leads Giles to find something he never expected, his long-estranged twin brother.
Disclaimer: Only the story is mine. Characters belong to whoever has the paperwork.
A/N: If you are an Anthony Head fan and haven’t seen The Invisibles, shame on you! It is only one season, six episodes, but it is superb. Tony stars, and his character’s daughter, Grace, is played by Emily Head (his real life daughter). They are too adorable together! Really the whole cast kicks ass. You can buy the show on Amazon and it is well worth it. Love Tony? Go! Get it now!
That being said, I don’t believe you have to be familiar with The Invisibles to understand and enjoy this story.
Rupert Giles glanced up from his book. The lovely Devon countryside rushed by the large window of their train compartment, but it was the faces of his two companions staring out at the green and blue world that quirked his lips into a small smile. It was the first time he’d seen either of them completely relax in ages. They looked so young at that moment, even innocent.
It was a vision that might have escaped anyone who just glanced in to see it, but the picture in front of him nearly brought tears to Giles’ eyes. These two young ladies had already seen so much horror in their short lives. They had both touched pain and darkness that would have devoured any weaker souls. And they had come into the light by choice. Standing up, and fighting the fight, and giving evil a few black eyes in the process. He slowly removed his glasses to give them a polish before his emotions could betray him.
“He’s looking at us again,” Faith said to the redhead in a teasing stage whisper. “I think he might actually tear up this time.”
“Hush,” Willow giggled. “You know they don’t let him out much these days. He’s probably just not used to all the sunlight.”
The Slayer laughed at that. “True. Did you see the looks those baby Slayers who think they’re some kind of honor guard gave us when we suggested he should come with us? It was like they thought we’d break him or something.”
“Well, he is Head of the Council. I’m surprised Andrew doesn’t have them all bowing down whenever he enters a room… yet.”
Giles tried to glare at the playful ribbing, but he knew it must have appeared as half-hearted as it felt. He had missed these girls to no end.
“It’s a good thing we showed up when we did. He was starting to look like a librarian again,” Faith smiled. “You’re gonna let them make you go soft, G. Hey, maybe we can get you a good concussion on this mission, for old time’s sake.”
Replacing his glasses, Giles finally let his smile escape. “I doubt it, Faith. This is a simple new Slayer outreach mission. I don’t foresee any complications.”
“Now he’s done it,” Willow whispered. “Famous last words.”
“I wonder if his groupies would forgive us if he’s only missing a limb or something when we bring him back.”
Shaking his head, Giles’ smile didn’t waiver as he went back to his book. He would never be able to express to them how grateful he was to be there. The work he was doing was of an import beyond measure. The Council had to be rebuilt, the new Slayers had to be found and trained. But when, on her visit, Willow sensed a new girl and Faith decided to go with her, he nearly jumped for joy when they asked him to be the Watcher on their impromptu outreach team. Yes, the work he was doing was important, but you can’t save the world when you don’t remember what it looks like.
“You sure this is the right place, Red,” Faith asked as they approached the block of retirement village condos in the tiny harbor town. “Looks more like a place we’d find him hanging out in than a Slayer-type girl.” She jabbed her thumb back to indicate the man walking behind them.
“I beg your pardon,” Giles huffed.
Both girls giggled at his indignant tone. Willow grinned, “Can you even imagine Giles retiring? I think that really would be the day the world ends.” The redheaded witch glanced back at him with a sudden frown. “Oh, not that I don’t think you deserve a chance to relax and be happy. I just can’t imagine our lives without you being there with the rest of us… B-but if you wanted to…”
The Watcher gave her a soft smile. “I understand, Willow. To tell the truth, I never thought I’d even see the age of retirement, let alone considered what I might do when the time came.”
Faith lightly punched him in the shoulder. “Come on, G. Never happen. You need to be in the middle of the shitstorm just like the rest of us. You’d never be happy rotting away in a place like this.”
Giles absently rubbed his shoulder and took a deep breath. “I don’t believe I’d miss the ‘shitstorm’, as you so poetically put it,” he looked into their beautiful smiles, “However, I would miss the company very much.”
“This is it,” Willow whispered as they approached a door. “I can sense her inside. Give me a sec and I’ll find out who we’re dealing with.” She sat cross-legged on the floor and typed quickly on her small laptop. “The apartment belongs to a Maurice and Barbara Riley, retired banker and his wife. They have one daughter, Grace, age 22.”
“That must be our girl,” Faith whispered. “Older than we usually find.”
“Yes,” Giles agreed, already pulling brochures out of his shoulder bag. “Shall we see whether that makes our job easier or more difficult?”
“After you,” Willow stood and the two young ladies flanked him with smiles as he knocked on the door.
It was answered by a lovely blond girl with a bright smile.
The Watcher grinned and went right into his speech. “Miss Riley? My name is Rupert Giles and my associates and I are here from the International Institute of Gifted Women. We are an organization dedicated to finding special and talented young ladies and helping them reach their full potential.” He held up the brochure and continued on, never realizing that she had been staring at him the whole time with a look of sunned astonishment on her face.
“Mum!” she suddenly called, not taking her eyes off of him. “You have to come see this!”
“What is it, Dear,” her mother walked up behind her and froze with the same look on her face.
“Hello. My name is-”
“Did my dad put you up to this?” Grace interrupted as Giles began his introduction again.
The Watcher stuttered in confusion. “I, well, um, I don’t believe I’ve ever met your father. We, we truly are here to see you.”
“Maurice!” Barbra Riley shouted for her husband. “Can you please come out here for a moment?”
“If it’s someone selling something, send them away,” the irritated griping came for inside the flat. “There is nothing the two of you could possibly need from a door to door…” He, too, froze as he came around the open door and saw the visitors.
Faith and Willow both gasped in surprise. The man stood about six feet tall with broad shoulders and a pleasant face. He had his hair cut very short and wore no glasses, but, if they weren’t standing right next to their friend, both would have sworn they were looking at Giles. The resemblance was breathtaking.
Before they could react any further, however, this doppelganger flew forward, wrapping his hands around Giles’ throat and ramming him back into the wall. “How dare you come here and endanger my family?” he growled wildly.
Everyone else was stunned for a moment, until Faith regained herself and grabbed Maurice by the shoulder, throwing him backwards into his flat to land heavily on his back. She was on him in the blink of an eye.
Giles struggled for breath, Willow trying to help hold him up. Just as the Slayer raised her fist against his attacker, he managed to grind out hoarsely, “Faith, don’t hurt him! He’s my brother.”
“I’m so sorry,” Barbara looked worried as she handed Giles a glass of water. He sat on the couch, Willow beside him gently probing his neck for anything worse than slight bruising.
Faith stood next to an armchair across from them, her arms crossed loosely over her middle. She chuckled, “Foresee no complications, huh?” Despite her light teasing, she didn’t take her sights off Maurice, who was pacing the other end of the living room like a raging bull.
“Thank you,” Giles smiled gratefully as he took the offered water. “And you needn’t fret. I’ve had worse greetings.”
Barbara frowned. “That may be true, Mr. Giles, but not in my home.” She turned to address her daughter, who was sitting in the chair and still studying him intently. “Grace, could you please see to our guests for a few moments? I must discuss something with your father.” Her gaze fell pointedly on her husband, who stumbled mid-step and visibly paled.
Grace nodded, stifling a giggle. She firmly believed that there was no power in the world her father could not stand against, except one, her mother. She watched as the elder woman strode into the bedroom, the much larger man following with his head hung low.
“It looks like you’re gonna be just fine,” Willow announced as she finished her exam. “You never told us you had a brother, Giles,” her tone verged on accusing.
The older man gazed down at her with steady eyes. “No one ever asked.” When she ducked her head in shame, he smiled softly and rubbed her arm, taking the sting out of his words. “The truth is, we haven’t spoken in many, many years. Mo left when we were still young men. I’d never thought to see him again.”
“I just can’t believe it,” Grace grinned at him with a fair bit of awe brightening her face. “I have an uncle. You really are my uncle. I mean, mum had no other family, and dad always said he was alone in the world except for us. I never dreamed.”
“Your father left on very bad terms. It doesn’t surprise me that he would keep us and his past to himself. And he wasn’t completely wrong about the danger that tends to follow me.” Giles smiled, “But… I have a niece. And you are so very lovely. You have your grandmother’s features.”
Grace’s grin brightened even more at that. “Do… Do I have any cousins or anything? I’ve always thought it would be nice…”
“I’m sorry, no,” he frowned. “I never married nor did I have any children of my own.”
Willow quickly squeezed his hand. “Unless you want to count the dozen or so of us who love him like family. He’s been,” she looked meaningfully into his eyes, “way more than a father to so many of us.”
Giles blinked a few times and turned his hand to hold hers properly. He knew he didn’t need to say anything in response.
Faith spoke up, leaving them to their moment. “And if you ever wanted a sister-type, well, if Red here is right about you, you’re about to get a couple thousand.”
Grace looked up at her with a confused smile. “I don’t understand what you mean.”
“It’s the reason we came here in the first place.” Giles cleared his throat. “And, I confess, the reason your father’s reaction to seeing me was not completely unwarranted.” He leaned forward, bracing his elbows on his knees. “Let me start from the beginning. Our family comes from a long line of people called Watchers. And the mission of the Watchers has been to…”
Barbara leaned against her dressing table with her arms crossed and watched her husband continue to stalk around the bedroom. “Maurice Riley, if you wish to continue to have me as your wife, you will not even consider lying to me when you tell me exactly who that man out there is.”
He stopped and looked up at her. “Barb, please…” Her hard expression didn’t waiver. “All right, yes. He is my brother. And he’s out there alone with our daughter right now.” He went for the door, but his path was blocked.
“HE seemed perfectly calm and polite. HE did not fly into a rage and try to strangle a member of his own family in front of Grace.”
Maurice ran a frustrated hand over his face. “You don’t understand-”
“No I don’t. I don’t understand how I could have been married to a man for nearly thirty years who has never told me he has an, apparently, twin brother. I don’t understand why you would keep a secret like that from me. And I’m not even sure I understand who you are at the moment.”
He forced himself to calm down as he slowly turned back into the room and sat on the bed. After a few false starts, he took a deep breath and sighed, “The truth is, I come from a world that I never wanted you and Grace exposed to.”
Barbara went to sit beside him and took his hand. “Love, you are one of the greatest thieves this country has seen. You are on Interpol’s most wanted list, the leader of the Invisibles. Your whole life is a secret, except from me, and now Grace. How much worse can where you came from be that it frightens you so much to share with me?”
He gazed into her encouraging eyes and swallowed hard before beginning. “You know I changed my name before you and I, well, got together. Yes, it was Giles. I come from a family that, for generations, has been involved with this, this secret organization. My father, my grandmother, at least one from every generation. And growing up, Rupert was the golden boy of ours. The best schools, the best tutors… He was pushed to excel while our parents were happy with whatever I did.”
“Some would say you got the better part of that deal. Sounds terrible for him.”
Mo frowned. “That’s what my friends said when we went out and he had to stay in and study. The thing was, I always knew there was some secret being kept from me. Some great family legacy that I wasn’t a part of.” He stood and began pacing. “Well, when we were eighteen, I finally got my chance to find out what it was. Rupert suddenly had a great row with our father and left, no one ever told me why. But that was when they decided to force their bloody destiny bollocks down my throat. I was thrown into training before I knew it, and that’s when I found out…”
His wife was staring up at him with sad eyes. “That must have been difficult. To have your brother suddenly leave you like that without an explanation.”
He flinched as she saw directly into the heart of his past wounds. “Truthfully, I tried not to blame Rupert. When I found out what he was running from… As you can guess, I ran too, and have been for the past thirty years. What I do blame him for is going back.”
“So, what is it? This hateful legacy of your… our family.”
Maurice plopped gracelessly back down on the bed. “There is a secret… agency, called the Watcher’s Council. A group of useless old men who force young girls to fight their war for them.”
He sighed deeply. “Against the vampires and demons.”
“I warned you not to lie to me,” Barbara shook her head.
“Everything is real, Barbara. Let me start from the beginning.” He held her hand, not letting her move away from him. “The Earth is older than anyone realizes…”
“So, is that why you came looking for me?” Grace asked. “Because I’m next in the family line and I’m supposed to be one of these Watchers?”
The bedroom door had opened just in time for her parents to hear the question. Barbara held her breath, still trying to process the fantastic story her husband had shared with her. Maurice stood behind her and she could hear his teeth grinding in anger. Were they really about to enter the nightmare he’d feared?
Giles took a breath and answered, “No. That’s not why we sought you out.” He noticed the added company when they both sighed in relief and cringed as the bile rose in his throat. The girl before him was his own blood. At that moment he couldn’t look his brother in the eye for anything.
Willow sensed his hesitation and continued. “Grace, can you tell me if you’ve noticed anything different within the last few months? Things that just aren’t like they used to be.”
“Jars easier to open?” Faith clarified. “Glassware seem more fragile? Rip any doors off their hinges?”
“Well, I did recently get back from dancing in America. The last few performances I couldn’t control my jumps and almost hurt some other girls. I seem to always be slamming doors. Oh, and I gave dad a nasty bruise on his arm with just a tap. Didn’t I, dad?”
“I was off balance and leaned into it,” Mo replied, near panic in his voice. “It wasn’t your fault.”
The two young Americans nodded to each other. Faster than anyone could realize, Faith pulled a knife from her heavy boot and threw it at the Grace’s face. Instinctively, the young blonde’s hand shot up and caught it.
“Welcome to the tribe,” Faith drawled.
Barbara ran forward, sputtering in terror. Maurice leaned heavily on the wall, trying to control his overwhelmed emotions. And Grace stared in shock at the point of the knife. “How did I do that,” she gasped.
“I apologize for the crude display,” Giles murmured. “We find it helps get past the disbelieving arguments.”
“I’m all right, mum,” the new Slayer said to her mother who nearly collapsed in front of her. “And I think they knew I would be.” She confidently flipped the knife in her hand and tossed it back to Faith.
“This can’t be real,” Mo groaned, slamming his fist into the wall. “Wake up you pathetic, old sod!”
“Don’t be so melodramatic, dad. I’ll be fine.”
Her father’s fierce eyes shot up, but looked past her to his twin. “No! Nothing’s fine. He and his kind are going to take you away from me. They’re going to take you and make sure you come to an early and brutal death.”
Giles stood sharply, his emotions just as turbulent. “You think I did this on purpose, don’t you? That I would be so petty as to hunt you down and use my only niece for some kind of vengeance against you. This is no more my choice than my own destiny was.”
Willow placed a light hand on Giles’ arm in an attempt to calm him, as Grace turned to her father after she had sufficiently soothed her mother. “Settle down. It’s not what you think, dad. Besides, Faith is the Slayer, so I must be a potential or something.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Mo growled. “Rupert is only a lackey for father and his cronies. They’re the ones who want to punish me. They’ll make sure to find a reason to take you from me.” He hadn’t once taken his gaze from his target. “Sending you with a couple of innocent looking girls is a new twist on their old scheme though, Rue.”
Faith nudged Willow on the shoulder. “Dude thinks we look innocent. That’s funny.”
The red-head shrugged her off, not liking the tension that still ran thick between the brothers. “It’s not like that anymore. Things have changed so much. And if you’ll all sit down and let us explain… Please,” she turned to her friend, “Giles, he’s scared for his daughter. You know why. You can understand that.” The Watcher nodded stiffly and sank into the couch. “And, Mr. Riley… The Council is more different than you can ever imagine now. Your brother doesn’t answer to anyone like he used to. Sit and let us tell you everything. Please.”
Mo moved slowly into another chair. He could feel the calming power this girl held over his twin and it intrigued him. A small part of him suddenly wondered exactly what they might be to each other. Barbara perched in the armchair with Grace, holding tightly onto her daughter’s hand. She had quickly regained full control of herself and sat with a pleasant, if apprehensive, smile, awaiting more explanations.
Willow took a deep breath, seeing that she would have to take charge of the conversation at this point. “It was about six months ago when everything changed. Giles was Watcher to the Slayer, my best friend, Buffy.” She saw Mo’s eyebrow quirk and guessed he had been trained enough to know Slayers weren’t allowed friends. “We were in the fight of our lives. The First Evil was about to open the Hellmouth and let its army loose on Earth. We won and Sunnydale was destroyed, sealing that gateway forever.”
“I remember hearing about an entire town falling into a sinkhole while I was over there,” Grace said softly.
Faith snorted, “That was us.”
“So your Slayer died and along came Faith,” Maurice growled, trying to make a long story short.
“Actually, Buffy is on vacation in Rome at the moment,” Willow grinned.
“But… I thought…”
“Oh hell yeah, I am,” Faith laughed. “I could have thrown you right out the window if I wanted to.”
“Two Slayers?” Maurice asked, confused.
Willow continued. “When The First attacked, Giles was spending all his time gathering Potentials, and Buffy was doing her best, but we knew we were going to lose. It was the plan that saved the world that ended up changing everything.” She looked up and found all eyes were on her. “To stop The First, Buffy lead her small army into the Hellmouth. At the same time a… a very powerful witch used the power of a weapon made only for Slayers and activated every Potential in the world.” Willow looked at Giles’ twin with compassion. “No, Mr. Riley, there aren’t two Slayers. There are thousands.”
Several moments of silence went by as her last statement sank in. Giles finally glanced up at Grace and said, “That’s why we’re here. We… detected another Slayer here and came to find her. To find you.” Ducking his head, he whispered, “I’m sorry, Mo.”
His brother was quickly turning red again. “You bastard. You can go back and tell those old pillocks that they can’t have my daughter as another pawn in their sick little game!”
Giles’ eyes had a cold edge as he looked back up and held the angry gaze. “Eight months ago. An explosion in a London office building. Hundreds killed.”
“That was all over the news,” Barbara said. “It was a gas leak at some banking institution.”
“A cover story. It was an attack by the enemy… on the headquarters of the Watcher’s Council.” His hard stare never wavered from his brother, and Maurice visibly paled as the meaning struck him.
“Was he there?” the other man murmured after a few moments.
“They were gathering. It was the fight they’d been waiting their entire bloody lives for. Over in a bright blaze that turned out somewhat less than glorious.” Giles let his features soften a little. “I imagine him at his desk, same as he had been since we were boys.”
Maurice released a humorless chuckle. “Funny. I never thought this news would have any effect on me at all. I’ve… I’ve spent so much of my life hating everything father was.”
Giles let his gaze dip as his brother tried valiantly to school his emotions.
Willow touched her friend’s shoulder with worried sympathy. “You never told us your dad was in that blast.”
“It was hardly the time for mourning. And I wasn’t about to add myself to the list of burdens you were all carrying.”
“You’re not a burden, Giles. You’re a friend. Someday we’re gonna make you realize that.”
He gave her a tiny smile and whispered, “Perhaps.”
“Mo, honey, are you all right?” Barbara reached to comfort her husband.
“Yes,” he inhaled sharply with a quick nod of his head, “Yes, it’s fine.”
“You just learned your father was murdered. Nothing about that is fine.”
The scowl settled back onto Maurice’s face in full force. “It was the life he chose. The same one he tried to force me into. The old rotter most likely would have preferred that kind of death. It’s why I left. He put his whole family in danger for the sake of his… calling. At least now mother will have a chance at something more than sitting at home waiting for him.”
Giles knew his brother was turning to anger as a defense, but something in the disrespectful tone set his hackles on end. Slowly removing his glasses, the Watcher leaned forward and said in a low, even voice. “Our father held mother’s hand as she lost her battle with illness eight years ago. She kept asking for her son, even as she was sure that she must have outlived him. Forgive me, dear brother, I would have had you informed, had I thought you’d cared.”
Maurice moved like a shot, his right hook connecting solidly with Giles temple. The Watcher flew back over the arm of the couch. Both Willow and Barbara were standing between them the next moment.
“That’s it,” Willow growled. “If you hit him one more time I will so lose my temper and turn you into… into a toad.” She gave a jerk of a nod as emphasis.
Barbara was no less incensed. “Maurice, you will stop attacking our guests this instant.” Her husband stood there trying to control his anger and holding his throbbing hand. “And you, young lady, should not make idle treats.”
A few feet away Faith was helping to set Giles upright again. She grinned at him. “You know you had that one coming, don’t you, G?”
He carefully shook the stars from his eyes. “I think it’s clear my brother’s temper has not diminished with time.”
“You guys have an ice pack around?” the Slayer asked Grace.
“Um… Try the freezer?”
Faith was on her way back when she heard Barbara’s comment to Willow. “Nothing idle about Red there, folks. Remember that uber-witch that did the major Slayer mojo? She says toad and he’ll be hopping before he knows what hit him.” She tossed a bag of frozen peas to Giles, who gently pressed it to his face. He made the mistake of letting out a small groan.
Willow quickly turned on him. “And don’t you think I missed your passive-aggressive bull. If you insist on baiting him, you can spend some time as a newt. Then you two can have a nice little amphibiany conversation until you promise to stop hurting each other.” She earned a meek nod.
Barbara looked to her husband, who easily caught the small bag of frozen carrots that was tossed to him. “She can’t really…?” He gave a small nod of his own in reply and grimaced at the cold against his knuckles. She turned back to the visitors with a sharp sigh and, seeing the peas that were keeping the swelling down on Giles’ face, said, “You will, of course, be joining us for dinner.”