A Little Uncalculated Weirdness

Chapter 8

Contents

Chapter 8

“Ow…” Buffy rolled over, rubbing her head. Why was her bed so hard this morning? She sat up, and looked around. Okay… What was her bedroom doing in the school car park? Or perhaps she should be wondering what the car park was doing in her bedroom.

“Buffy?” It was Giles’ voice, which brought up a whole load of other questions she had no wish to answer.

“What?”

“Is this my nightmare or yours?”

“Any monkeys wearing trousers?”

“No.”

“Then it’s yours.” She breathed out. “That’s a relief.” She stood up, her mind clearing as she breathed in the cool, fresh air of the early morning. “Was all that real?”

“You mean Santa Carla?” Giles also stood up. “W-well, I really can’t, er…” He smiled. “Look.” Buffy turned, and saw Willow and Xander hurrying towards them.

“Buffy!” Willow hugged her happily. “You’re alright! We didn’t know what else to do, so we thought we’d wait in the library, and—boy Giles, you look dreadful.”

“Th-thankyou.” He favoured her with a typically vague smile. Buffy smirked.

“Oh he’s fine, except for the extreme-and-bordering-on-fatal blood loss. Hospital, anyone?”

“No. Oh no.” Giles shook his head. “D-don’t you think it might be, be just a little d-d-difficult to explain? And, er, anyway, we have to try, try to explain things to your m-mother.”

“Oh yeah.” Buffy sighed. “That is not going to be easy.”

“Yes it will.” Willow grinned. “We came up with a great story.”

“Yeah. Pulitzer Prize winning stuff.” Xander was grinning as well, which was cause for concern in itself as far as Giles was concerned. Even in his current weakened state he was conscious enough to be wary of one of Xander’s plans.

“We told Buffy’s mother that you’d got a really valuable book just delivered to the library,” Willow said merrily, “and that a gang of thieves kidnapped Buffy to make you hand it over. That’s why we were all in the library the other night. See?”

“Oh no.” Giles sounded anything but happy. Xander, blissfully oblivious to this, carried on with the tale.

“Then we said that you’d gone to find the kidnappers, because they were going to kill Buffy if you told the police anything.” He grinned broadly. “When they see that Buffy is back safe and sound, everyone will think you’re a totally major hero, Giles.”

“Oh no.” Giles sounded even more depressed.

“Er, Giles? I think you’re supposed to sound pleased. Heroes, remember? Big, strong people, looked up to by everyone? Revered, honoured, respected?” Buffy saw the look on the librarian’s face and couldn’t stop a smile. “You’ll love it.”

“I’m going home.” He took an unsteady step forward, and Buffy caught his arm.

“Oh no you’re not. Hospital for you, young man, or there’ll be no supper.”

“Okay…” He took another step forward. “Er, B-Buffy? I, er, I think I’ll just stay here in-instead.” He wobbled dangerously, and collapsed onto the ground.

“Giles?” Xander crouched beside him. “Boy, out like a light. What did you do to him?”

“Except for nearly drinking his blood?” Buffy smiled. “Nothing much.” She checked her Watcher’s pulse, and then smiled fondly down at him. “He’ll be okay, in a day or two.”

“So was it fun?” As they wandered over to the nearest phone box to call for an ambulance, Willow glanced across at Buffy in interest.

“Yeah, kinda. Creepy, bloody… very bloody actually. I’m just sorry that I never got a chance to fly…” She smiled at her friend. “I’ll tell you all about it later. Now let’s get an ambulance before this place is full of kids. I’d hate to have to explain to Cordelia why I’m dressed like a refugee from a war zone. I did think I couldn’t sink any further in her opinion, but…”

“I’m right with you.” Willow grinned. “Reputation first.”

“Have to get my priorities right.”

“Absolutely.” They grinned at each other, linked arms, and hurried on across the car park.


Giles climbed out of the stacks feeling tired. He had a headache. He had read somewhere once that a break from work was supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation, but obviously that only applied to ordinary, sane individuals, living lives that he could only imagine at. He had spent two exhausting days in hospital, worrying about Buffy every minute of the night, and had then returned to work to find that nearly every book seemed to have been put in the wrong place. It was nice to know that he was needed here, but all the same… After numerous hours of hard work, he was getting on top of the situation again. Nearly.

“Giles?”

“Mmm?” Giles did not look up. He recognised the voice, sort of, but he could not immediately place it. Too old to be a student, and he was a bit vague about most of the teachers. They came to the library even more rarely than the pupils did.

“Hello?” The voice was more persistent this time, and he glanced towards it. A young man, black hair cut short, and with bright eyes. His battered leather jacket was gone, replaced by a stylish sports shirt. “Hi.”

“Er… h-hello.” Giles stepped forward, smiling broadly. “I, er… should you be here?”

“Probably not. I’d, um, kind of like to avoid seeing Buffy. I just had to make sure that you got home okay. That she’s alright?”

“Buffy is fine. And you?”

“Me?” Michael laughed. “Dead things with big teeth aside, I’m fine.”

“Then you still live in Santa Carla?”

“No. In the next town. The four of us still go there at nights though. We set up a patrol. The vampires didn’t take long to get back up to their old tricks.” He smiled. “I’m afraid we’re not as good at it as you and Buffy are. That whole scriptures thing was always a bit beyond me.”

“Yes. When, when facing vampires, one al-always wishes one had spent more time at Sunday School.” Giles nodded understandingly. “Would, er, would you like some coffee?”

“No thanks. I, er, really should be going.” Michael gestured around at the library. “Nice place you have here.”

“Thankyou.” Giles glanced up at the sound of children’s voices. “Er, better… um…”

“Yes, of course.” Michael strode quickly towards the door. It opened as he reached it, and he stood aside to allow a handful of pupils to enter. He saw Buffy amongst them. He had been waiting for eleven years to get a chance to see if she was alright, and yet here she was not changed at all. He smiled. She was so beautiful. So… seventeen. He glanced back at Giles and waved briefly, but the librarian was already lost in conversation with his friends. Michael left the room. Out there, back in Santa Carla, his own battles were waiting for him. Buffy had other concerns keeping her here.

“Someone you know?” Willow caught sight of Buffy looking at the door.

“Huh? Oh, er, yeah. Someone I knew once.” Buffy caught Giles’ eye, and wondered if there was some law of Time which prohibited her telling her friend the truth.

“Oh, right. Wonder what he was doing here.” Willow grinned. “He’s cute though. Shame he’s not, say… ten years younger.”

“Or that I’m not eleven years older…” Buffy caught Giles’ eye and smiled. “But I’m not, and he’s not, and there’s no issue here at all.”

“Glad to hear it.” Giles smiled. “Got anything planned for tonight, Buffy?”

“Me?” She laughed. “Yeah, sure. I thought I’d go hang out at the graveyard, see if I can kill any perverted creatures of the night. You know the score.”

“Why not take a night off?”

“I beg your pardon? I thought the term ‘night off’ wasn’t in your vocab list.”

“I’ve got some stuff I thought you might like to check out in-instead.”

“Oh right. Background work. Research.” She rolled her eyes. “I think I prefer risking life and limb fighting the undead, actually.”

“I didn’t mean research.” He nodded at a pile on his desk. “You’re welcome to take them away with you, keep them as long as you like.”

Intrigued, Buffy wandered over to the desk. There were half a dozen videos, numerous CDs and a handful of books. She glanced through the titles. 1987; Teenage Culture In The Eighties; America In The Nineteen Eighties. The CDs and videos were along much the same lines. She picked one of the videos up; Thundercats—The Movie. She grinned.

“Thanks Giles.”

“Don’t mention it.”

“Thundercats…? Am I missing something here?” Xander glanced through the pile of CDs. “Am I being, like, totally slow and stupid, or is there some secret Watcher-Slayer subtext thing in play?”

“It’s nothing.” Buffy dumped the pile of books into his arms. “Come on. You can help me carry these home; and if you’re very good, I’ll let you watch Thundercats. Coming Willow?”

“Yes, of course.” Willow picked up the videos and followed Xander from the room. Buffy lingered for a moment, flicking through the CDs. All the classic eighties titles were there.

“Thanks Giles, really. This means a lot.”

“No problem. If it’s any consolation, you would have made a lovely couple.”

“Yeah…” She turned away. “If it hadn’t been for the fact that we’re both too caught up with killing vampires to have any time to spend with each other. And the slight handicap of coming from different time zones.”

“Nobody ever said facing your destiny was going to be easy.”

“Nobody ever said it was gonna be next to impossible, either.” She grinned. “See you tomorrow, Giles.”

“Yes.” He watched her as she left, and wandered to the window to see her walk away with her friends. He knew that Michael was down there somewhere, and that he was watching too; one last look before he went back home to Santa Carla. He had been waiting a long time for that one last look. It all seemed so unfair. Giles smiled to himself. Buffy would be alright. She would get used to all these losses and sacrifices in her life, just as he had had to. Maybe it would take her some time to get over this latest encounter, but she would be okay; because although it might be a hard task master at times, destiny knew what it was doing. It had, at least, given her one person that she could never lose. No matter what happened, Giles would always be there, watching out for her; and, in the end, that would have to be enough.

THE END