Giles considers his role with Buffy, Xander, and Willow since his seven years of knowing them. Post-"Chosen." Please feel free to leave reviews, whether they are complimentary or constructively critical.

You've been getting this very strange feeling lately. Things have changed, you know this. But things haven't changed. Have they?

You've never been so estranged and baffled by such a thing in your entire life. You were always the on-top-of-things guy. You were the one they all came to during their troubles. You were the superman, of sorts. You had no supernatural physical strength, of course, unlike Buffy, but you knew everything. After all, you were Giles.

You were their teacher. At the first sign of a new demon, was it not you that they always approached? And with your nose stuck in between the thousands of pages of ancient texts, was it not you that always ascertained the answer?

You were their aid. After the fiasco with the return of Angelus, you were the one that saw Buffy's tears fall, each one more quickly than the prior. And wasn't it you who soothed her gaping ache with comforting words? You were the one that Willow came to, with pleading eyes, for help after her addiction to magic. You helped her get through a most difficult time in her life. And, moreover, was it not you that reprimanded Xander for his quirky, inappropriate remarks (while secretly revealing a soft smile at the jokes, yourself)?

You were their guardian. Was it not you who had re-read the prophecy of Buffy's death hundreds of times, hoping, just praying, that you had translated something incorrectly. Were you not the one who tried to stop Buffy from confronting the Master, if she had not rendered you unconscious by her potent punch? When Oz had left Willow, did it not break your very heart in two watching her move through her days, but having that faintest smile, which she always held, missing? And did you not shake your head solemnly when you had heard Xander's wedding had fallen through? Love lost, once more, you'd think. Did you not feel the pain only a father would feel when poor Xander had his eye…? You can't even think of it.

You were their protector. More than anything else, you had wanted to protect them. You, yourself, had seen the harsh, cruel, realities of the world – of war, and magicks, and death. You attempted to discontinue Willow's magic addiction. You were the one who tried to contain her – when worse had come to worse. But even when she was defeating you, never did you do the ultimate and hurt her in any way. You couldn't make a scratch on her – it was Willow, nonetheless. Did you not promise Xander to never tell the others about the 'memory loss', or rather lack of it, after Xander had been infected with the essence of the hyena? And, even more so, did you not pour your heart out, illuminating all your deepest feelings in song, to Buffy. You did not want to leave; no, that was the last thing you wanted. But you had to. To be a good watcher, to be a good protector, you had to let them go when the time came. You hated it. You could not sleep for a minute during your flight back to England. Thinking of the possibility of the dangers they could get into … it made your heart beat twice at fast. What if they couldn't do it alone?

And in the end, they all survived. Yes, even yourself, you are shocked at that very fact. But you are glad, very glad. You are well-aware that your years are passing you. And with that, you realize that there isn't much for you to look forward to. The time for romantic relationships with any woman has come, and is passing before you. And because of this, the prospect of having children seems incredibly far-fetched, if not ludicrous. But, then you think…

"Giles! Hey, Giles! You awake, there?" You quickly finish wiping your glasses clean and put them back in place.

"Oh, my word! Buffy! I hadn't seen you there. I must say, you've startled me."

"My gosh! Could this be true?! Was Giles daydreaming while he was supposed to be doing research," Xander gasps, "What's happened to you, man?"

"Xander…" Willow warns.

"Oh, it's quite all right, Willow. I've known him for seven years. I'm most definitely used to his very poor attempts at sarcasm," you remark, smirking.

"That was so not cool, G-man," Xander points, offended.

"Have you found any material on this latest demon, Giles?" Willow asks.

"Yeah, I'm kind of in the mood to do a little ass-kicking. So, Giles, tell me where can I find this evil creature of the night and how can I kill it," Buffy demands to know.

"Oh, well, this particular text says that …" you glance down at the book for a few seconds, and then look back up to Buffy, Xander, and Willow.

And what you see is so very astonishing. It feels like you've fallen into a deep dream, where your mind is playing tricks on you. Almost as if you are watching a play. And this is a different stage than the last. All you see is a complete change of scenery, clothing, and appearance. Buffy no longer is a blonde, which is entirely odd. Instead, she has her long locks of curly brown falling gracefully on her slender shoulders. She is adjusting her bangs. You haven't seen her do that since you've first met her. She is sporting a golden tank top, accompanied by a mini-skirt, instead of the typical outfit she would wear now-a-days. Xander appears to you with a completely new haircut. Long dark, hair, covering all sides of his face. No eyepatch rests on his left eye. He wears one of those contemporary necklaces, however, and a tee-shirt underneath his button-down. He looks rather shabby, you think. And Willow. Willow's short, lighter shade of auburn hair has regressed into the initial soft, mellow shade of red. The length of her hair reaches down at her elbows. She is wearing a rather simple loose-fitting dress.

You blink a few times for you are somewhat perplexed.

"Giles! Giles, c'mon! What does your little book say?" you hear a voice, but cannot comprehend what it is saying.

"You think he's gone into that day-dreamy thing again?" a masculine voice whispers this.

A snap, sudden and alarming, appears in front of you. You blink once more and find lavender nails in your sight. You raise your head and address the person.

"I'm terribly sorry, Buffy. I'm quite out of it today," you explain, noticing that Buffy, nor any of the others look anything like the way you imagined them a second before.

"Looks like you're getting old, Giles," Xander mocks. "Might want to start looking into old-age homes."

"Yes, yes. Good point," you chuckle, laughing for the umpteenth time at Xander's humorous teases. "Oh, Buffy, I'm sorry, but I'm not quite sure what these texts translate into, yet. I'll need some more time."

"Oh man, Xander was right! You are getting old," Buffy jokes.

"Don't worry, Giles. I won't let them put you in a home. You can live with me and my future ten cranky cats!" Willow offers.

"Yes, thank-you. I'd appreciate it," you smile again.

"Hey, guys," Xander looks to Buffy and Willow. "Since it's going to be one of those long, ever-so-boring nights of researching, let's go get some popcorn or something. We can eat and read. It's good for the brain. Food stimulates it, you know?"

"But Xander you have no brain," Willow teases.

"This is true. However," Xander begins, with his finger pointing in the air. He seems like a philosopher. The group of young adults makes their way into the kitchen.

You don't know what you were thinking. Not having children? My God, you have three of them! All spoiled. All irritating. All boisterous. And all grown up… before your very eyes. All grown up. Your children. No real father could ever be prouder of their own children than you are of these three ill-mannered, undisciplined brats.

You are their guardian. And you will love them to death. Look at that! It seems that not all that many things have changed, after all…