Title: Coming of Age

Summary: Just a little lost scene. Ever wonder what made Giles decide to tell Buffy about the Cruciamentum in Helpless TVs S3. I did and this is what came of it.

"You can't do this to her!"

"It is part of my job as a watcher to do this to her. It is a tradition that has been handed down for centuries."

Angel glowered. He crossed his arms over his chest and directed that glower at Giles, who stood in the center of the library. The watcher fiddled with his books, clearly uncomfortable with the look the vampire was giving him, or maybe uncomfortable with the subject matter.

"This test is done in complete secrecy. I am surprised you are even aware of it," Giles clucked.

"I'm two hundred and forty three years old. Knowing everything I possibly could about a slayer is how I got to be two hundred and forty three years old. You don't think I knew exactly when each current slayer would be at her most vulnerable. The council is foolish if they don't think every vampire over a century old knows about this," Angel scoffed.

"No matter. The Cruciamentum is a traditional test given to each and every slayer upon her eighteenth birthday. It is a sort of coming of age, if you will," Giles reasoned.

"Traditions aren't always the best thing. And these traditions have been handed down by old men locked in a stuffy library, old men who have never spent more then a few hours with Bu-a slayer."

Giles sighed and removed his glasses. He cleaned them with his handkerchief. "Perhaps you care a bit too much for Buffy to make such decisions."

"And you don't?" Angel challenged.

"That is not the point. There is a practicality, a reason behind the Cruciamentum. It isn't done as cruel and unusual punishment."

"That's exactly what it is." Angel shoved himself away from the table to pace the room.

Giles shook his head. "No, it separates the good slayers from the great slayers. It gives a slayer skills, wits, things she will need if she is to continue to be a successful slayer. Should she fail, it will make way for a new, stronger slayer."

Angel slammed his hand down on the table hard enough to crack the wood. "This is not a slayer we're talking about. This is Buffy. She could die Giles."

"I-I have full confidence Buffy will make it through the test as she has done everything else, remarkably."

"It's not just the test we're talking about! This is tearing her to pieces! I've been watching her at school, at home and she's hurting so much. I can't watch her hurt like this, Giles," Angel confessed.

"I realize it's difficult. This isn't easy for me either, but we must see it through. It will all be over in a day or two, nothing but a bad memory."

Angel growled low in his throat. "Do you really believe that? Do you really believe she will ever get over the memory of the helpless feeling she has right now?"

"Of course," Giles said.

Angel's eyes flashed gold. "Tell me Rupert, have you gotten over the helpless feeling of being tied to chair, of having Angelus torture you?"

Giles went pale. Angel shook his head. His voice was low, apologetic. "I'm sorry, that was uncalled for. I-I love her. I can't stand to see her in pain."

Giles sighed, still a bit pale. "I don't like to see her in pain either, but there are things that must be done."

"You're raping her. You are taking away her power. You're violating her in the worst possible way. I know a few things about rape and taking away power. I spent a hundred and fifty years doing it. What you're doing would make Angelus cackle with glee."

"Do not ever compare me to that monster," Giles bit.

"Why? Is the reflection a little too clear for you?"

"This conversation is finished. I have a job to do."

"You tell her, Giles. Or I will." Angel stalked out of the library. Buffy was coming by to get her birthday gift from him that evening and he still had to wrap it.