Rating: Overall R/ This chapter PG
Setting: Seven months after YellowBrickRoad (it's not a direct sequel, but there are a few mentions of what happened)
Word Count: 2128
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Summary: After the events of YellowBrickRoad, Giles finds himself in the middle of a strange prophecy.
Author's Note: As promised, here's the second chapter for today. Look forward to another 2 (at least) chapters next week!
Giles sat in his office in The Magic Box as he rubbed his tired eyes. For the past three hours he had been looking for anything the resembled what the jogger from the morning before had told him. And so far, he hadn’t found anything that gave the words credibility. He knew that he should probably be out in the front in case Anya needed any help with customers, but part of him wanted to look into this supposed prophecy was. If someone was trying to end the world, then he needed to know all he could so he could help Buffy stop it.
He winced slightly at the small burning on his left bicep. That was also something he needed to look into. Ever since Xander had attacked him, the area around his tattoo would randomly feel as if it was burning. He had no idea if it was a medical problem or something to do with the mark of Eyghon, but once he figured out this “prophecy” issue than he planned to focus on that problem. Although he had a feeling it wasn’t anything to really worry about, just some sort of reaction triggered by the sudden increase of memories he had been having from his days as Ripper.
He had been so caught up in his thoughts that he hadn’t heard the office door open, jumping slightly when he heard his name.
“I thought you weren’t coming by until 2:30?” he asked when he turned around to see Buffy.
“I hate to break it to you, but it is 2:30.” She said with a small smile.
Giles looked at his watch, narrowing his eyes. The last time he had looked at the time, it was only a quarter to noon. He shook his head and gave his girlfriend a smile.
“I suppose that means you’re ready for lunch then?” he chuckled as he stood up, closing the books he had been looking through.
The movement must have caught the Slayer’s attention as Buffy quickly went over to the desk and looked at the books, her eyes going to the paper he had written notes on.
“You expecting an apocalypse?” she asked as she picked up some of the paper.
He quickly reached forward and snatched the paper from her, hoping she hadn’t time to read it yet. Giles shoved the paper under a book and just looked at Buffy, sighing when he saw the shock and hint of hurt in her eyes. He walked over and gave her a reassuring smile, kissing the top of her head.
“It’s nothing, Buffy. I just…it’s been a little too quiet on the Hellmouth lately and I was doing some research.” He explained. He hated lying to her, but there was no reason to worry her if he was sending himself on a wild goose chase.
“You sure it’s nothing? Because if someone’s trying to destroy the world again…”
“I will be the first person to tell you if that’s the case. But right now, there seems to be nothing more going than the usual activity.”
A moment passed before Buffy nodded and gave him a small smile.
“Xander’s been doing better,” Buffy said as they waited for their lunch to arrive.
Giles looked up at the mention of the younger man’s name, a brief wave of panic hitting him. It didn’t last long, and it wasn’t a cause for any alarm.
“Has he?” he asked, taking a sip of his water.
“He still has no idea why he attacked you the other day. But he wants me to tell you he’s sorry. Again.”
He nodded as he subconsciously reached up and lightly rubbed the cut above his eye. When Buffy reached across the table to grab his hand, he looked up at her and gave her a small smile. He knew what she was thinking, and it was completely understandable. It had taken Giles a few months to be able to separate Xander from whatever had possessed him on their camping trip, and he knew that Buffy was worried the recent attack had undone that progress.
“He has nothing to apologize for. We all came out of there different, some of us more than others. What happened the other day is no different than the times when I’ve…had my episodes.” He said softly, looking back at their hands. “Xander and I still have a long way to go as far as recovery is concerned. And there’s no promise that we’ll even be the same men we were before that trail,”
“Well, no matter what you both still have all of us.” Buffy assured him. “We’re a family, and families take care of each other.”
Anything the Watcher was going to say was interrupted by their server bringing their food. He thanked the server and started eating, listening as Buffy started talking about her morning. The conversation wasn’t anything extraordinary; in fact, Giles couldn’t help but enjoy the normalcy of the moment. Being able to talk about simple things and making plans over lunch, it was all so normal. He glanced around the café, his eyes landing on a man.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary with the man. But the way he was staring at Giles and the small quirk at the corner of his mouth, it almost unnerved the Watcher. The stare wasn’t threatening in any sort of the word, but there was something about it that Giles couldn’t put his finger on. It seemed admiring and predatory at the same time.
“You know him?” Buffy’s voice cut through the fog that his thoughts had cast.
“No. I was just…I got distracted.” He said as he looked back at his girlfriend, giving her a small smile.
He inwardly winced when she looked over at the man, both of them catching the slight nod he sent their way before leaving. The Slayer looked back at him with a raised eyebrow.
“Sure seems like he knows you.”
“Maybe he has me confused with someone else.” He dismissed before taking a sip of his water.
Giles went back to eating his lunch, trying to ignore the stare he knew Buffy was giving him. He was sure that she could sense something was off with him. After all, it seemed she was more in-sync with him than she had been but he figured that had more to do with how worried she was about him. Not that he would ever complain- it felt nice knowing that he didn’t have to keep relying on himself to try and keep his sanity.
“Giles, if something was wrong you would tell me right?” she asked softly.
He looked up at her when he heard the concern in her voice, sighing at the look on her face.
“I would.” He promised. “But there’s nothing to tell you, Buffy. It’s just someone who thinks I’m someone else, or someone who was admiring my lovely girlfriend.”
“Flatterer.” She laughed softly. “I know you haven’t been sleeping well and…”
“They’re just dreams; nothing more and definitely not anything to worry about. I’m not even dreaming about that place.” He continued when he saw her expression change. “Memories have decided to resurface in the form of dreams. I’m not worried, and neither should you be.”
She looked at him for a moment before nodding. He knew that she wasn’t entirely convinced, but he was glad that she wasn’t going to push the matter further. Until his dreams took a sinister turn, Giles wasn’t going to involve Buffy in the drama of his past.
The note had said to meet at a quarter after seven, and while following instructions of unsigned notes wasn’t something he normally did, Ripper found himself sitting at a table in a secluded corner. He looked around the pub for any sign of trouble, making a few escape plans should things escalade. Part of him was expecting to be joined by Ethan or anyone else from the old gang, while another part was expecting a vampire who thought he could pull a fast one over him.
What he wasn’t expecting, however, was a man in his 40s to take the seat across from him. The man was wearing a nice suit, nicer than anything everyone else in the building was wearing. He braced himself to take off running in case the Council had finally caught up with him.
“You can relax, Mr. Giles. I’m not here to hurt you.” The man said with a friendly smile.
“How do you know who I am?”
“I’m an acquaintance of Mr. Rayne’s.”
A bark of laughter left Ripper at the answer. Now he knew this man was up to something.
“If you know anything about Ethan, than you’d know he doesn’t have acquaintances, mate.” He smirked as he leaned back in his chair.
“He does when it concerns you.” At his expression, the man continued. “I’m here to protect you…well, protect is a poor choice of words. I’m here to make sure you survive.”
“Survive? What, is the world ending tomorrow?” he chuckled.
Ripper had no idea why he was still sitting at the table, although the man was fairly entertaining in whatever it was he was trying to accomplish. He just wouldn’t let his guard down until he knew for sure he was in no danger.
“No, but you’re destined for great things, Mr. Giles. And to ensure that you fulfill your destiny, we need you to survive…whatever this is.” He said as he motioned to Ripper.
“My associates and myself,”
His jaw clenched and he felt his body tense. He let out a humorless laugh and shook his head.
“I fucking knew it. This is just some ploy to get me back, isn’t it?” he said darkly, leaning forward. “Listen here, you tell my father and the rest of those bastards that I’m not coming back.”
“I assure you, I’m not from the Council. However, we do need you to go back to them.”
“If you’re not with the Council then how did you know who I was talking about?”
“I know a lot of things, Mr. Giles. Especially about you.”
The look in the man’s eyes caught Ripper’s attention. There was almost a sense of pride and admiration in his eyes, and even in his expression. He looked around the pub again, his gut telling him something wasn’t right. The conversation was making no sense, and the man in the suit was clearly off somehow.
“I promise you, I’m not here to hurt you. I’m just here to let you know that you do have people on your side, Mr. Giles. You have people in the background working very hard to make sure you become the man you’re suppose to be.” The man said, his voice bringing Ripper’s attention back to him. “You have a great destiny before you, and the way to it is through the Council.”
“And why should I trust you?” he asked, a movement out of the corner of his eye drawing his attention to a dark corner.
He squinted in an effort to see if someone was there. But all he saw was two walls meeting in the shadows. And yet, he still felt as if he was being watched.
“Because I’m here for you, sir. As are my associates,”
“And who exactly are you and your associates?
“People who have your best interests in mind,”
He rolled his eyes. It seemed with every answer, all he got was more confusion. There was movement again and Ripper looked over just in time to see what looked like the shadow shrinking further into the corner. The sound of a chair scraping across the floor brought him back to the man, who was now standing up and smiling down at him.
“It was a pleasure to meet you, sir. I wish you well in your journey.”
Ripper opened his mouth to question him further, but he walked away too fast. He sighed and leaned back into the chair. Just as he was about to stand up as well, he felt something on his shoulder. He looked at his shoulder out of the corner of his eye but saw no hand. And yet, he could feel something right there. He froze where he was, but not in fear. Whatever it was that was touching him was familiar; in fact, it felt almost as if he had come home. And there was just a hint of power and euphoria. It was intoxicating.
And just as suddenly, it was gone. A small twinge in his left bicep cause him to wince, his eyes looking at the tattoo he had given himself the year before. He shook his head and stood up, quickly leaving the pub.