Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, etc. This is for fun, not profit.
Summary: Rupert Giles discovers parenting is even more difficult than he ever imagined… (Set nine years after " Chosen;" ficlet)
Author's Note: This story is technically part of my post-Chosen series, though it can be read as a stand alone. All you need to know from that series is that Anya came back from the dead, got together with Giles, and they had a daughter. The series itself is comprised of several different fics (covering several different parings as well) that can either be read as individual stories or together to form a larger arc. If you're interested in checking it out, a link can be found here on my profile page.
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It had been quite a few years since Rupert Giles had felt like a school boy facing punishment. Yet as he sat squirming in a hard, plastic chair while being stared down by a woman seated behind a desk, he seemed to have been suddenly transported back to his childhood.
It didn't matter that the woman currently staring him down—Miss Carmichael—was probably, in truth, young enough to be his daughter. She'd already had time to perfect her stern teacher look, and it had Giles feeling thoroughly chastised before she'd even begun to speak.
It also didn't seem to matter that the person actually in trouble was the eight-year-old girl seated at his side. From the way Miss Carmichael was looking at him, Giles knew he was guilty by association.
"I suppose you're wondering why I've called you in this afternoon, Mr. Giles," Miss Carmichael said, her hands folded neatly in front of her on her desk.
"The message I received merely stated it was about Rebecca," Giles replied. "I assume there was some sort of incident today in school."
Miss Carmichael leaned over the side of her chair, disappearing behind her desk, then came up a few moments later, her hands clutching a wire cage.
And in the cage, was a white rabbit.
Giles felt a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.
"This rabbit," Miss Carmichael announced as she set the cage on her desk, "was, until recess today, a boy named Danny Tyler."
Danny Tyler… The name sounded familiar, though Giles couldn't remember where he'd heard it before.
"How on earth did he come to be a rabbit?" Giles asked in confusion, deciding to ignore the nagging voice in the back of his mind. After all, that was completely impossible…
"Why don't you ask your daughter?"
Giles glanced to his side at the child in question. She'd sat unmoving since he'd arrived, her arms crossed squarely over her chest.
She reminded him of her mother.
In a scary way.
Yet, despite the look on her face as well as his own fears, the thought of Rebecca being the cause of the boy's transformation was preposterous. She was eight years old—there was no way she could access that sort of power. "You're not suggesting Rebecca had anything to do with this, are you?" Giles asked.
"I'm not suggesting anything, Mr. Giles. I'm stating it. I watched your daughter turn her classmate into a rabbit."
Predictably, Giles whipped off his glasses as he did a double take between the rabbit and his daughter. "She couldn't have! She's only a child!"
"And clearly a powerful one." Miss Carmichael stood and began to walk back and forth behind her desk. "Mr. Giles, I'm sure you're aware of the problems we can face at this school. Nearly every child in attendance has a parent who is either a Slayer or a Watcher—or at least on the Council's payroll. Because of this, our students often have access to things that would make toting guns to school seem almost quaint in comparison. As such, we have to keep a tight lid on any sort of on-campus occult activity. Children capable of such…disruptions must be both identified as well as instructed on the proper use of their abilities."
Miss Carmichael stopped, placed her palms flat on her desk, and leaned forward. "Transforming fellow students into woodland creatures is simply not acceptable."
"I had no idea she could…" Giles stopped, his gaze going to his daughter again. "Rebecca, did you honestly do this?"
For the first time since her father had stepped into the classroom, Rebecca spoke. "He was teasing us again, Da. He's always teasing us."
Giles remembered where he'd heard the boy's name now. Rebecca had mentioned him more than once as a bully who harassed both her and her best friend, Anne Summers. Apparently, Rebecca had finally decided enough was enough.
The knowledge that his young daughter was powerful enough to perform such a spell shocked Giles completely. He reached for his glasses.
Then he realized he'd already taken them off.
"She did it with nothing more than an incantation," Miss Carmichael informed him. "I don't know what sort of thing you teach your daughter at home, but…"
Giles turned back towards the teacher, his shame being rapidly replaced by anger. "I certainly never taught her this. I had no idea she was capable of such a thing."
And he hadn't been. If he had known his daughter had possessed a magical aptitude high enough—at a mere eight years of age—to transform someone into a rabbit with only an incantation, he would have already begun teaching her what she should or shouldn't be doing with her powers.
He'd suspected she may have some level of magical ability, but nothing like this.
"Where did you learn to do this?" he asked his child.
"A book in your study," Rebecca answered honestly.
"I knew it. It was from the home," Miss Carmichael said, a disapproving look on her face.
Giles narrowed his eyes at the teacher. "I am not lax in my parenting." Then, he turned again to Rebecca. "Why would you do such a thing? For one thing, you know those books are off-limits. And to do a spell such as this… I would have expected better from you."
Rebecca's arms remained defiantly crossed. "He picks on us, Da. Yesterday he called Anne a daft cow and put glue in her hair. Then, at lunch, he poured mushy peas down my back."
She stopped for a moment and met her father squarely in the eye. "I had to exact vengeance."
At her declaration, Giles sighed. It seemed Miss Carmichael had been partially right—there was parental influence at work here. Only it wasn't his.
It was her mother.
"And why did you turn him into a rabbit of all things?" Giles asked.
"Rabbits are the vilest creatures ever to live," Rebecca replied matter-of-factly. "Mum said so."
Giles supposed then he probably should accept this as par for the course when raising a child with Anya. If anything, he should be grateful it had only happened once.
So far anyway…
"Furthermore," Miss Carmichael began again, "when she was asked to change young Mr. Tyler back, your daughter refused."
"He got what he deserved," Rebecca insisted.
Giles turned as best he could in the too-small chair and faced his daughter, his hands, still clutching his glasses, clasped in his lap. "Rebecca, this isn't the sort of thing magic is for. You're disrupting the natural order of things. Danny is meant to live his life out as a human, not a bunny."
Rebecca arched her eyebrow. "I rather like him as a bunny."
Already, Giles was feeling exasperated. He wished for a moment that his wife had come to deal with this instead of him, until he realized Anya would probably only make things worse.
Though whether she'd be encouraging the vengeance or fleeing in terror from the rabbit was still a toss up.
Giles decided it was time to be firm. They could have a long discussion when they got home about the consequences as well as the proper uses of magic. Right now, he just wanted out of the classroom and away from the disapproving eye of Miss Carmichael. "Rebecca, this is completely unacceptable. Turn the boy back this instant."
Rebecca met his eyes with determination. "No."
Giles didn't back down. "Rebecca Christine Giles, do it now."
Now, Giles was at a loss. He knew this was an important moment—one that could very well set the tone for the rest of his relationship with his daughter. He didn't know how long she'd been playing with magic, though he was fairly certain this was the biggest thing she'd ever done. He needed to nip this in the bud now, make sure she understood the responsibilities that came with her power.
He couldn't let any misuse of magic pass, couldn't ignore things he didn't necessarily want to deal with.
He wouldn't make the same mistakes with his own daughter that he'd made with Willow.
"Rebecca, this is wrong. You simply cannot do this to someone."
"He's mean," Rebecca argued.
"I can see discipline is a problem in the home," Miss Carmichael commented, once again seated at her desk with her hands folded neatly in front of her.
Giles turned his attention back to the teacher. "Now see here. My skills as a father are not for you to call into question."
"Your daughter caused quite a disruption in my classroom today with magical abilities you apparently had no knowledge of her even possessing, Mr. Giles," Miss Carmichael said. "And now, well, you're proving to be quite ineffective in correcting the problem."
"Well, clearly you couldn't correct it either, since you had to call me in," Giles pointed out.
"This is beyond my area of expertise," Miss Carmichael replied with a haughty expression.
Rebecca leaned in towards her father. "Want me to turn her into a toad?"
Giles forced himself not to grin. As amusing as the thought of Miss Carmichael as a toad was to him at the moment, he couldn't give Rebecca any encouragement. "No. You've done more than enough magic for right now."
Rebecca slumped back in her seat and pouted.
Miss Carmichael, for her part, gasped in outrage. "That's all you're going to say to her, Mr. Giles? After she threatened to turn me into a toad?"
Giles decided right then he'd had enough. "Miss Carmichael, do be quiet. Rebecca's behavior today has been a problem, and it is something I shall deal with. However, that does not excuse your disrespect towards me."
Miss Carmichael pulled herself up straight. "Mr. Giles…"
"The Council owns this school. I run the Council. Do you really want to keep pushing me?"
Miss Carmichael's shoulders dropped as she grew completely silent. Rebecca giggled, then stopped at her father's look of admonishment.
"Miss Carmichael, would you please allow me a moment alone with my daughter? I believe I can come to some sort of agreement with her."
The reminder that the man seated in front of her was, for all intents and purposes, her employer, had changed Miss Carmichael's attitude dramatically. She rose to her feet. "Of course, Mr. Giles. I'll be out in the hallway."
As soon as they were alone, Giles stood and looked down at his daughter, his expression stern. "Change him back, Rebecca."
"But, Da…" Rebecca pleaded. "He's mean. He's much better this way, honest he is."
"That isn't the point. This is the wrong way to use magic, and it's not a path I'm going to even let you begin on." Giles paused for a moment to clear his throat. "Besides, do you really want to tell your mother you're responsible for one more bunny in the world?"
Rebecca's eyes widened before she stood up. She took a deep breath before she began to mutter an incantation, softly at first, then louder until a bright light surrounded the cage. Giles took a step back, watching until the rabbit grew back into a boy, the wires snapping before the busted cage fell to the ground.
Danny looked around the room in a panic before he burst into tears.
With a weary sigh, Giles focused on his daughter, ignoring the crying boy seated on the desk behind him. "Come on, Rebecca. Get your things and let's go home."
This time, Rebecca didn't argue with her father. She stood, gathered her books, and followed him out of the classroom.
"I can handle things from here, Miss Carmichael," Giles said to the teacher as they walked out into the hall.
Miss Carmichael nodded, and with a quick, "Good day, Mr. Giles," she hurried back into the room to see to Danny.
Giles walked out of the building with Rebecca at his side hoping he could handle things from here.
Something told him he was going to have his hands more than a little full.
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I've never written a story with Giles as the main character before, so please take a moment and let me know how I did.