This is the sequel to Self Defence at . It's probably best you read that first, otherwise you might not get the very bad humour :-).

Comments loved and patted :-).

Self Improvement

A sequel in two parts.

The Serious One

"Yes, well, it's hardly surprising really. In any case, try to do what you can for her at the moment, and I'll contact you when I've managed to... What was that? Oh yes, I've talked to him. He's still distraught after Marcia's death, but he's willing to give it a try. Which is obviously good, because we're going to need... yes? Oh, okay then. I'll contact you soon, in any case. I'm glad... Yes, yes, nice to hear from you too..."

Giles sighed, put down the phone, and scribbled down a note on the battered phone pad he held in his hand. Another Watcher found, another step towards pulling together the torn pieces of the Council. But there was still so much to do...

He looked up and nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw Andrew standing nervously only three feet away. When on earth had he turned up?

"Good Lord, Andrew. When did you... Have you been there for my whole phone call?"

The boy scuttled back and looked apologetic. "No! I just came in a couple of minutes ago, but you looked like you were really busy so I didn't want to interrupt you. I wasn't... you know, listening in or anything, honestly."

Giles frowned. "Well, never mind. What is it, Andrew?"

"Umm, if you've got any more notes or anything you have to write, I can wait."

He raised an eyebrow. Patience was not a trait that Giles expected from Andrew Wells. It would be interesting to see where this was going. He considered for a second. "Well, in that case, I would like to get this down. I won't be a minute." Then he sat down at the nearby desk, propped up the pad so that Andrew couldn't see it, and proceeded to doodle randomly on it.

Andrew fidgeted. Giles watched with interest over the top of the page.

It took about five minutes for him to crack, which, to Andrew's credit, was about four more than Giles was expecting.


Giles exhaled, put up a hand, and carefully pretended to finish off the writing. Then he put the pad away and sat back. "Yes?"

"So, was that another Watcher? 'Cause I heard about how you're trying to get them all in contact again..."

Giles shook his head slightly. Trying to do anything discreetly in a house with this many people in it, however temporarily, was near impossible. Ah well. "You came here to talk about my phone call?"

"What? Oh, no. I was just... never mind."

"Well then..."

"Well then?"

Oh for heaven's sake. "Andrew, I'm assuming you're disturbing me for a reason?"

"Oh! Oh, right. Sorry. Well, the thing is..."

"The thing is?"

Andrew fiddled nervously with a pen that had been sitting on the edge of the desk. "I was wondering whether you'd like to...y'know."

"I'm very much afraid that I don't."

"Give me some training. In stuff like... maybe research, and maybe a bit of magic, and being wise and Watcherly and stuff."

Giles blinked. Okay, he had to admit, he hadn't expected that. "You want me to train you as a Watcher?"

Andrew looked startled at that. "Oh! No! Not as a Watcher. Just in some of the stuff that I might need when I... I mean if I..."

"If you what?" Where was this going?

Andrew frowned helplessly. "If I decide to go out into the world and help people. I mean, I haven't really decided how I'm going to do that yet. It's still in the planning stages mostly. I've got Faith helping me, though. She's teaching me self-defence, and I think I'm doing pretty well. I'm just better at mystical stuff, with demons and so forth, and so I think that if I'm going to devote my life to helping people it should probably be in that area. So I think I should, I mean you should, or you could. Help. With that. Umm..." He trailed off, looking pleadingly at the Watcher.

Giles carefully took off his glasses and began to polish them. Suddenly he thought he might be beginning to understand. He'd been wondering about the amount of time Faith and Andrew had been spending together. He'd almost caught himself half-believing Kennedy's tales, which were quite obviously ridiculous. "You've decided to devote your life to helping other people?"

"Yes. Pretty much."


He fidgeted again. "Because I'm alive, mostly. And I probably shouldn't be, so... I should make it so there's a reason for me being alive. And I haven't been very... I've done some bad things..."

Giles's face was expressionless. "Ah, I see. Achieving your redemption."

But Andrew frowned at him. "Not really, no. Achieving some meaning . It's not the same thing. It's... I'm trying not to make excuses for things, okay? I don't care if I get redeemed or not. It's not going to stop me."

Giles pressed his lips together and tried not to smile. He was rather pleased. Who would have thought the boy had it in him? "Andrew, if I give you the training you're asking for, I'll virtually be training you as a Watcher. What you're asking for is what we do. Do you really think you're suitable for that?"

Andrew actually appeared to be giving this serious thought, and his impression of the boy went up another tiny notch. "I think I am now. I don't think I always was, though. I mean... when I was with Jonathan... And Warren..." He sighed and ground his foot into the carpet. "I wasn't a good guy then. I didn't really think about other people. But now I'm with you guys and... It's weird sometimes how things go. I mean, I would never ever have even thought two years ago that I'd end up here."

"What did you think would happen, Andrew?"

He looked surprised. "I don't think I thought about it at all. I guess I thought I'd be with Warren, and he'd sort it out. And when Warren died, I thought that Jonathan would be able to decide what to do. He always knew what he wanted to do. He didn't always know how he was going to do it, but he always knew what he wanted."

"And what did he want?" Giles wasn't quite sure why he asked that. Everyone had pointedly avoided talking to Andrew about Jonathan for most of the time he'd been with them. Was there really any point in picking at scabs?

Andrew looked uncomfortable, understandably so. "He said in the high school, when we were... Just before..." And then he frowned, and stopped.

Giles looked at Andrew evenly. Picking at scabs, or learning to face up to your worst mistakes? Perhaps this needed to be done. "He said?"

Andrew looked upset. "I... He..." He bit his lip and shook his head. "Nothing. I do want to do this, though."

"Andrew." Giles looked at him carefully. I am not being a hypocrite here, he thought. It really is for the best that he learns to talk about this. Because yes, I kept my past from my Slayer, but look at the mess that caused.

"I've always thought one of the most valuable traits a Watcher can have is honesty, Andrew."

Andrew sighed and looked up to meet Giles's eyes with an air of determination. "He said that he wanted to join up with you guys and help people. He said... that he wanted to be standing here. But now he's dead, and I am. I... Sometimes I wonder what would have happened. If he'd gotten away and run back to you guys. And then you would have let him stay and he would have helped you out, and in the end it would be him standing here." His voice went quiet, almost too quiet to hear. "And then he would have gotten just what he always wanted, if it wasn't for me."

Giles let out a breath he didn't even realise he was holding. Yes. That was enough, for now. Enough to know that at least the boy was trying.

He stood up and put a hand on Andrew's shoulder. "I've always found, Andrew, that there's no point in looking at the mights and could-have-beens. For now, you're here, and nothing can change that." He took a deep breath and came to a decision. "I have things to do today, but if you meet me here tomorrow morning at ten, I'll see what we can do."

Andrew's discomfiture disappeared into gratitude in the space of several nanoseconds. "Thank you! I promise I'll do the best I can. I'll even learn the boring stuff that I used to avoid at school!" Then, to the Watcher's embarrassment, he grabbed him into bear hug and squeezed.

"That's... nice, Andrew. Perhaps if you could just... Andrew, I think I'm having difficulty breathing!"

"Sorry! I'll be here! Ten sharp! Thanks!"

He threw Giles a grateful smile and bounced out. Giles shook his head slightly and smile sadly at Andrew's departing back. Well, it was a start.

The Humorous One

Kennedy frowned at the toaster and readjusted the switch. Stupid thing wasn't even browning the bread. She looked up as Andrew walked in humming. "Hey! There you are! Where were you all yesterday? I thought you and Faith were... spending some time together."

Andrew gave her a smile. "Oh, we still are. I just thought I needed some variety in my special training. I mean, the physical stuff's good, but you need to know all the mental stuff as well, otherwise you're not a balanced person. I read that in a book."

Kennedy raised an eyebrow and sipped her orange juice. "Well yeah, I guess that makes sense. So what, you're reading a lot of books?"

"Oh no. Giles is training me."

Kennedy choked. "Giles is..."

"Sure! He's got a lot of experience, after all. That's what's really important."

"You're kidding me."

"Of course not. Why would I? Today was mostly book learning though. He showed me a whole lot of useful techniques. And you should see what he's got in his personal library. I would never have guessed."

"Me... neither..."

"I'm really grateful to him. I mean, it's totally generous of him to take me on. I just hope it's as exciting for him as it is for me."

"Well, I think you're... pretty safe there..."

"You really think? I mean, when it come to this kind of thing he's a really big guy, and he's got a lot to share."

"You know, I really didn't want to kno..."

"I just hope I can take it all in. It's going to be really hard, but I'm not going to let him down!"


"Anyway, I've gotta go. Giles's been discussing having a shared session with Faith. Apparently he thinks there's a bit more he can teach her, and he says she might give in and let him show her some things when she sees how enthusiastic I am. It's really gonna be fun. Bye, Kennedy!"


And the moral of this story is...

Okay, now this is just getting silly :-).