Buffy's hand fell from the doorknob as she stared at the man before her. He looked like Giles although his grin was wider than normal. His clothes, well they just weren't Giles' normal tweed. There was a bunch of white fabric fluffing out from his throat and a reddish orange flower pinned to the lapel. The throat thing was a bit much but the flower was nothing compared to the rest of the outfit. His jacket and pants were pale blue, not tweed, nothing even close to tweed. In fact, there was a subtle pattern in the fabric, parts of it were the same color but more shimmery. His jacket fit him tightly, narrowing at the waist. The pants ended just below his knees. His calves were covered by white socks that looked more like tights. Buffy raised her eyes back up. Yep, weird Giles was still there although his grin had faded. His hair looked bigger than usual. She leaned to one side to see around the back. "Is that a ponytail?"

He sighed as he put down the bowl of Halloween candy. "It's called a costume, Buffy. Presumably you recall them after last year's fiasco?"

"Which is why I'm not wearing one this year, especially one that makes me look …" She stopped and tried to gather her thoughts. "I'm not exactly sure what you look like, other than someone who'd pass out if it came to a fight."

"Buffy, really." He gestured toward the flower pinned to his jacket. "I'm the Scarlet Pimpernel."

"Scarlet what?" She broke out laughing. "Not really helping your case."

He pulled off his glasses and started polishing. Even his handkerchief was fancier than usual. "I dread to imagine what is actually covered in your classes. The Scarlet Pimpernel, a character from a novel of the same name?" Buffy had stopped snickering outright and shook her head in response. "I'll have you know the Scarlet Pimpernel was a spymaster, one of the greatest strategists of his period, and the most formidable swordsman in England as well as France."

"Dressed like that? What, was he hoping nobody would take him seriously?"

"Actually yes," Giles replied. "Although these clothes do reflect outfits of the period, he presented himself as ineffectual to avoid being recognized as the most effective agent of his time."

"Mission accomplished."

Giles put his glasses back on. "Presumably you're here for some reason?"

Buffy stared for a moment. She could tell Giles was irritated but she just couldn't take him seriously in that getup. "No, that's okay. I can wait until you're normal again or, well, as normal as you get."

Giles pulled the flower from his jacket and threw it at her, "Fine, get out then."

"Giles, I …"


Buffy swallowed a retort. That had sounded final. She was halfway down the stairs before she looked back. Giles was in the doorway, bent down, picking up the little red-orange flower. When he saw her staring he stood quickly, stepped back inside, and slammed the door shut. Buffy stared at the door for a few minutes more, but it didn't open again.