This was written in response to a prompt contest on LiveJournal. The prompt was to write something that happened between seasons 3 and 4. Here is my take on what Giles did that summer.
Title: Lesser Demons
Author: Laura Sichrovsky
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Rating: PG or FRT
Warnings: None that I can think of.
Season: Takes place between seasons three and four.
Summary: Why in the name of all things plastic did Giles hook up with Olivia? And what made him so rude to Buffy? This
is just a theory on my part. :)
Spoilers: None really
Disclaimer: This is where I put the statement saying that I do not own Buffy, Giles (Heh! I wish!), Sunnydale, or anything relating
to the show. No one is paying me to do this and if you feel the sudden urge to send me gifts, you might want to talk
to someone about that. Joss Whedon owns all things Buffy and has not given me permission to use these characters
as I have so if you have problems with the story, please send the pretzel bombs to me, not him.
Author's Notes: I actually wrote this in response to a prompt contest on Still Grrr on LiveJournal. We were supposed to
write something that happened between seasons 3 and 4. Of course I had to write about my Giles. grin So,
here is what I think that summer was like for him. Thanks need to be given, and here is where they go. Thanks
to Joss for creating characters so fun to watch and to borrow for a bit. Thanks to Tony Head for making Giles
so amazing. I tried to fight it, but he was just too remarkable not to fall for. To Janet, Laura (God save the
Queen!), Lisa, and Michelle for the emergency betas. I appreciate it! Thanks to my amazing husband who
not only doesn't get upset when my writing takes over, but who doesn't freak about the men who live in my
head. I love him so.
"My lesser demons are shouting down
the better angels of my nature."
Rupert Giles sat at his desk, an open book in front of him. Ostensibly he was researching the fighting styles of Grandar demons, but in truth he'd been reading the same sentence for the last ten minutes and he hadn't even noticed what language it was in.
He sighed, leaning back in his chair. It wasn't important anyway; it was just something to keep him occupied so the oppressive silence wouldn't get to him. Too late. He closed the book and stood, looking around his flat for something that needed done, but there was nothing. He'd dusted and swept this morning, the dishes were done; yesterday he'd been so bored that he'd turned his mattress.
It was almost laughable really. This summed up what his entire summer had been. He hadn't seen any of the children in almost two weeks and the loneliness was starting to get to him. He walked into the kitchen, rummaging through the cupboards, not sure whether he was looking for something to eat or something to make. It didn't really matter; either way it would only stave off his boredom for a short while.
It wasn't as if this were the first summer that his Slayer wasn't here. Every summer since Buffy had come to Sunnydale she'd gone to spend time with her father in Los Angeles. The first year Buffy had gone, Giles had trained every day, usually with Xander and Willow. He'd felt better knowing they could defend themselves. By mid July he'd had to go back to school to set up the library for the students. The next year had been a nightmare, but he hadn't been bored; he hadn't had time for boredom…or sleeping, eating, or even breathing for that matter. He'd spent his time at doctor's offices having stitches removed, in rehabilitative therapy for his injured hand, and running all over the known world looking for his Slayer. When he had to go back to the library, it had been too soon, yet another burden keeping him from looking for Buffy.
Giles had always stayed here, dutifully minding the Hellmouth and keeping an eye on the rest of the children. But this year was different; he truly had nothing in his life. Buffy was in L.A. as usual, but Xander was absent, having gone on an adventure to see the world. Giles had gotten a postcard from Arizona and he'd honestly envied the boy. Willow and Oz were spending this summer together and away from everyone else. He suspected it was a reaction to starting university, but he hadn't seen them enough to know. Classes started in two weeks and that only served to remind Giles that under normal circumstances, he would be pleasantly busy organizing books and setting up for school to start. High school classes would be starting in three weeks if the school hadn't gone up in flames. Now, through an act of desperate necessity, he didn't even have that.
Giving up on the kitchen, Giles slammed a cupboard door and went into his living room. He stood for a moment, looking around. He glanced at a bookcase and sighed. He'd read just about every book in his flat this summer and the ones he hadn't were in languages he didn't understand. He contemplated reorganizing his dresser drawers, but he'd done that last week. He'd already redone his organization system for the books six times this summer and he'd arranged his closet by clothing type and color. He sighed, going back to his desk, sitting and leaning back in his chair with a frown.
A few times over the summer he had worried that this would be his life from now on. In a nauseating moment of clarity he realized that it really would be. He had no job, no calling, no friends, no family; even the children were abandoning him. It wasn't their fault really; they would go off and have lives and he would stay here and…well, not have anything at all.
When he'd been given a Slayer, he'd known there would be sacrifices. He'd given up everything for his calling, but it hadn't been more than he'd expected. It was who he was, what he'd been born for; anything he had to surrender for it was just par for the course. But now his Slayer was an adult and even his calling had abandoned him.
He stood abruptly, trying to clear his head or outrun his thoughts; either would work for him. If he couldn't he'd have to face that not only was his vocation gone, but that he'd been foolish enough to misinterpret his relationship with Buffy and her friends. He'd always known that he was designated adult in their group, the responsible one, if there could be such a thing on a Hellmouth, but he'd come to believe that he was more than that to them. Father figure, mentor, friend; whatever designation they'd wanted him to take, he'd gladly embraced. But as he walked his empty flat, pacing the length of the living room, he knew he'd simply deluded himself. To them he was a teacher, the Watcher, an adult. And now, having lost his job and his calling, he was just a retired librarian; and he was smart enough to know that they would never see him as anything more.
He sighed deeply, dropping onto the couch and closing his eyes. He knew he was being dramatic, but it was honestly how he felt. Buffy had been gone for seven weeks and he'd gotten one letter and one phone call. He accepted that she was busy spending time with her father, but when he talked to Willow she told him that she talked to Buffy three times a week. The one postcard from Xander was his only link to the boy, but he hadn't expected anything different. Xander was out to discover the world, living the bohemian life. Giles would have given a lot to have gone with him. Willow and Oz were the two that made him frown the most. He'd set up a training schedule for them, wanting to keep up their fighting skills. They'd politely declined and he hadn't seen them more than three times the entire summer.
Giles hated to admit it, but it stung. He didn't have much in his life and he'd come to think of Buffy and her friends as his family. It seemed that to them, he was nothing more than a library book, to be used when his knowledge was needed and to be put on a shelf when it wasn't.
He stood up from the couch, striding for the door. He'd go out to lunch. Yes, a lunch by oneself was depressing, reinforcing that one was truly alone, but he had to escape these walls before they closed in on him. When he got back he'd come up with a plan to have a life of his own. Would the he even be missed? He doubted it.
He'd just reached the door when the phone rang. He stood for a moment, undecided as to what to do. Most likely it was a sales call, but what if it was Buffy and she needed him? His sense of duty overrode his self pity, and he crossed to the desk.
"Rupert Giles," he answered.
"Rupert? It's Liv."
"Olivia?" He was shocked. It had been years since he'd even heard from her. "How on earth did you find me?"
"I heard from a friend that you'd gone to Sunnydale California. From there it was pretty easy. You are the only Rupert Giles in the phone book."
"Well…I…I'm sorry, Olivia," he stuttered. "You surprised me. To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"That was just what I wanted to talk to you about," she said, a laugh in her voice.
"Pleasure, Rupert. I wanted to talk to you about pleasure."
She laughed lightly and it sent shivers through his body.
"I'm going to be in Los Angeles for an art show. I understand that's not too far from where you are. I was thinking it might be nice to spend some time together."
He knew exactly what she was proposing, and his initial reaction was to tell her that while it sounded wonderful, his duties prevented him from accepting. He was just drawing a breath to reply when he realized that it wasn't true. He didn't have any duties. He had no job, no sacred calling, and he owed the children nothing. It wasn't the best idea he'd ever had, but having her here would save him from the loneliness and it might even be the start of a whole new life for him; a life that didn't leave him wanting to drink to keep from going crazy.
"I would love to see you, Olivia," he replied, silencing the dissenting voices in his head. "In fact, you can stay here instead of a hotel."
When he hung up the phone he shook off his conflicting emotions. This was a bad idea. He and Olivia had never been good for each other and when Buffy and her friends saw how their relationship worked they would be shocked. Giles wanted to care, he really did, but somewhere in this endless summer the loneliness had beaten his better angels into submission.
His lunch plans forgotten, he went upstairs to change the sheets for his company.