Terminate and Stay Resident: Epilogue -

From the personal Journals of Rupert Giles, Watcher:

As per usual, the Hellmouth lived up, or possibly down, to our expectations in giving us new challenges to go along with the beginnings of the school year.

This one, even more than usual, was of a nature that I truly believe no other Watcher and Slayer has had to face in previous eras - truly a product of our times, as it were. It causes me to look with some trepidation upon the coming months and wonder what else this place may come up with to throw at us, as if the Hellmouth were some malevolent and sentient being capable of planning mayhem, rather than an impersonal supernatural nexus.

It also almost tempts me to look back at earlier times when Watchers faced simpler and more prosaic challenges, such as mere Master vampires and demon lords. As Jenny Calender used to tease me mercilessly about - God rest her soul - I am most decidedly not a modern man in many of my outlooks. I am decidedly uncomfortable and ill at ease with modern society, or what passes for such, and decidedly ill equipped to deal with permutations of the supernatural as mingled with modern technology and science. There is a rather loud part of myself that suggests I would be much happier in an earlier century when the most complex of technologies were the Iron Horse and those infernal, new fangled horseless carriages.

There is a somewhat more sensible part that suggests I would dearly miss running water and flush toilets. And modern dentistry. Ah well.

Fortunately, that which I am incapable of fully comprehending, my Slayer's young assistants have quite grown up with, and seem to be more than capable of rising to the challenges of. I find myself appreciating Willow and young Oz rather more than usual right now - their talents were truly indispensable in dealing with this... being.

Oz - Daniel Osbourne, to be more precise - in particular has cause me to glance at him more than once with a startled and reappraising eye. His quietness and stoic nature continually causes me to forget how much depth there is running underneath that laconic surface. It is also far too easy to take his err, 'slacker nature', to use the modern vernacular for it, at face value and forget just how much focused intelligence and perceptiveness he has. There seems to be an intensity of mind, and of convictions, that he chooses not to show often, for whatever reasons.

Willow continues to concern me. More than a few of her comments regarding the nature of the actions behind this, err, 'living' computer simulacrum and her bafflement at Oz's disquietude tell me that often she truly does not understand that there are a great many cases where actions are more telling than intentions. The most benevolent of intentions throughout history have on occasion led to the most appalling of acts and consequences.

Be that as it may, we truly would have been unable to deal with this situation without both of their skills and knowledge of computers and programming. I also must not leave out commendation in this journal for Xander's actions in helping to track down the perpetrators of this manifestation, and the information necessary to defeating it.

I cannot give as much credit to myself and Faith in this situation, however. Unfortunately, our skills and talents were of small assistance in dealing with this creature. Faith's actions and contacts were of rather more help than my knowledge in the areas of tracking down related information.

It must be said that I gave more than a bit of consideration to making contact with Council representatives and having the Coven in Devonshire take young Mr. Levinson and his compatriots into custody. Considering that it is my perception that at the very least, Jonathan Levinson has been around the periphery of the Slayer's activities and the supernatural occurrences surrounding this high school often enough to have gathered that it is a deadly thing to meddle with, I find it difficult to excuse his actions. He did by his own account to Xander and Oz, after all, know enough to seek other magical assistance to augment his own magical knowledge in creating his Artificial Intelligence.

In the end, I decided to leave Faith her head on chastising Jonathan and take into consideration her opinion that he understands well enough the seriousness of his activities and shall not repeat them. I rather hope I won't be disappointed. However, my first responsibility is to the Slayer in my care, and it is in my mind that teaching her to develop and trust her own judgment and instincts outweighs a certain amount of risk. At least Faith requests my opinions, so far, before making up her mind - that she has come to do so is an as yet fragile trust that I am loathe to endanger or shatter. I feel I am engaged in a rather delicate balancing act with her at the moment between her wariness and her desire to find in me guidance she can perhaps rely upon. I would rather risk having to deal with Jonathan precipitating another crisis than to destroy that precarious equilibrium.

There is also the consideration that the Council's and Coven's methods for dealing with what are considered 'rogue mages' can be harsh and often uncompromising. With good reason, I'll add: a malevolent practitioner can do far more damage in the right circumstances more quickly than even a rogue Slayer or master vampire. However, once I've been satisfied that Jonathan's actions were based more upon a lack of ill intent and mishap than malevolence, I am as loathe to potentially ruin the life of a promising young man as I am to risk my Slayer's trust.

For the moment I shall settle for attempting to keep an eye upon young Jonathan and hoping that Faith was able to deeply impress upon him both the deadliness of his folly and the dangers of incurring her further wrath.

She is capable of being rather frighteningly intense upon occasion.

- Rupert Giles, Watcher; In this Year of Our Lord 1998, Monday, September the 14th.

...

Monday September 14, 1998; Sunnydale, #4616, Apt. B on Windsor St., early early AM.

Giles answered the door within five minutes or less of Faith's knock. Opening it, he gave her a slight smile, stepping aside to allow her to enter without making overt signs of invitation.

Once Faith grinned and stepped through, Giles nodded, remarking, "Excellent timing. I was preparing to have my nightly tea, if you would care to join me."

Faith nodded, following him into the living room. "Well, sure. I guess." She settled herself in on one of his armchairs, listening while he busied himself puttering around in the kitchen.

Coming back out with the tray, Giles set it down between them on the coffee table, settling himself in at the corner of the sofa. Both of them occupied themselves with preparing their tea to their liking for several minutes.

"Was your patrol fruitful?" Giles asked, settling back.

"Oh, 'nuther night, 'nuther three-four vamps, no big." Faith said. "And a weird little toadlike demon that kinda freaked Willow out. I'll show it to you in the Barlowes guide tomorrow." Giles nodded.

"At the risk of making assumptions," Giles said after taking a sip from his cup, "Shall I assume that something is troubling you?"

"Huh?" Faith glanced up at him quickly. With a slight smirk, she helped herself to a cookie from the tray, leaning back in her chair. "Something has to be bothering me for me to come by and pester my Watcher?"

"Well, no," Giles shook his head, chuckling. "However, over recent weeks, I have observed that for entertainment and/or company, you tend to harry off with Cordelia and Xander. When you come by here, it seems to be for either slaying related advice, or to talk over some other difficulty."

"Ah." Faith nodded. "Damn - getting predictable. Have to drop by here for fun sometimes and pester Xan for slaying advice."

"I rather suspect that you'll find it works better to stick to your current habits on those," Giles said, dryly. Faith laughed, shaking her head.

"Yeah. Old folks fun," she teased, making a face. "Outta be a law against it." Faith shook her head, "Naw. Neither of those. Been thinking... "

When she didn't speak again for several minutes after trailing off, Giles prompted, "Yes?"

"Was waiting for you to say 'Uh oh'," Faith grinned and snagged herself another cookie. Giles laughed, inclining his head in acknowledgment of the point. She gave him a curious look, "B drop by a lot with problems for advice an' shit, after hours?"

Giles sighed, shaking his head. "I'm afraid not. Any personal concerns or confidences she had, I believe she took to Willow or her other friends. Slaying advice she generally requested at the library when she wished it."

Faith nodded. "Ok, anyway... 'Bout that homeschooling thing you offered. Having my last name help any with that?"

Giles nodded. "Yes, rather. My Solicitor tells me that your surname adds a number of possibilities we might consider."

"Oh?" Faith's eyebrows lifted.

"Yes. 'Lehane' is a form of an older Scots-Irish name: Lyons," Giles said. "Speaking with my father, I was reminded suddenly that I have some rather distant relations among branches of the Lyons in both present day Ireland and Scotland. Several of those had branches that migrated to the Colonies in the eighteen hundreds."

"Really?" Faith cocked her head, studying him. She kept her expression carefully neutral.

"Really." Setting down his cup, Giles stood and went around the end of the couch to one of his bookcases, bringing back a thick and worn looking leather bound volume. Opening it to a bookmark, he turned it around carefully and passed it over to her. Hastily setting her cup on the end of the coffee table, Faith took it with equal care and leaned back to study it, a line of concentration forming between her eyebrows.

"Big book," Faith remarked.

"Quite," Giles said. "There's additional information in L'Estrange Ewen's 'A History of Surnames of the British Isles', however I don't have a copy of that volume at the moment. Edward MacLysaght's combined volumes do provide a useful starting point."

While she was reading, Giles continued, his tone becoming pedantic, "There's rather a large number of variations of Lehane and Lyons in Gaelic history. O'Lehane, O'Lyhane, O'Leaghan, Leyhane, Lyhane, Lihane, Leehane, Lane, O'Leyn, and Lyhan. It is believed to have originated as the Gaelic 'O'Liathain', quite possibly from the Norman Lyons and the place name of Lyons-la-ForĂȘt - originally Saint-Denis-en-Lyons, a forested area of what was once Normandy."

"Huh." Faith said, shaking her head. "They make you guys learn all kinds of stuff at Watcher school, huh?"

"Oh no," Giles laughed. "My father has a secondary Masters degree in Genealogy. Tracing names and lineages, especially that of our family is rather a hobby of his. I received rather an earful from him when I asked him about the origins of the Lehane name."

"'K," Faith nodded, still reading. "Weird hobby, but kinda cool. So, this mean we're related somewhere?" She turned a page without looking up.

"Possibly. But quite probably not," Giles said. "It depends a great deal on just which branch of the Lyons your surname was descended from. He paused, looking thoughtful, "At best it would be a rather distant and tenuous relation branching off possibly a century or more back."

"No way of knowing," Faith stated. "I always figured I looked more Italian than Irish, but hey, who knows. No idea where my mom got the name from."

She missed Giles hiding a wince behind a sip of tea, despite watching him covertly while browsing the page. "Black Irish, perhaps," Giles mused. Faith glanced up, flashing him a small grin. He poured himself another cup, remarking, "However, my Solicitor informs me that that should make it a rather simple matter to create documentation demonstrating that you're a relative from a distant branch of that limb of our family tree." Looking abstracted for a moment, he added, "A niece-uncle relationship would be difficult, but a distant cousin would be manageable."

"Kissing cousins, huh?" Faith grinned as Giles coughed, looking startled.

"Well, yes, I suppose. To use the American vulgar argot, at any rate," Giles mused. Faith stifled a snicker at his nonplussed expression.

"Cool. So, cousins," Faith nodded. "Hey - " something caught her eye as she turned anther page and she looked up. "Family crest? I thought that was like, royalty or something?"

"Ah." Giles glanced at the page she turned in his direction, nodding. "No, crests and coats of arms are associated with nobility, but they run through almost all of the ranks of major and minor nobility down to simple Knights. At times, even merchant houses and prominent yeomanry have been granted coats of arms. They originated, I believe, as a sign that one had been granted the right to bear arms in the service of one's liege or chieftain, going back to pre-Roman times, even." Pausing, he said, "However, the Lyons and Lehane coats would be a sign of minor nobility depending on the branch."

"Uh huh," Faith said. "Looks really cool."

"It is a rather handsome blazon, is it not?"

"Yup." Faith closed the book carefully, and handed it back to him. "Can I get a copy of that, y'think?"

"The crest?" When she nodded, Giles said, "Certainly. I don't see why not."

"Cool." Refilling her cup and fixing it with lemon and sugar, she took a couple of cookies and leaned back, studying him carefully as Giles set the book down gently on the sofa for later re-shelving. "Ok, let's do this. Gotta warn you: I'm kinda rusty on this homework thing."

"All right," Giles nodded. "We'll, err, endeavor to work around that failing as needed," he said with a tiny smirk.

Faith laughed. "Cool," she said. "Umm, what do we need to do?"

"My Solicitor took the liberty of preparing and couriering me preliminary forms for the options we've been discussing to look over," Giles said. "We can sign those and send them back to him to start the process, and he'll return us permanent documents to be signed and filed."

"Works," Faith said, dimpling at him. "Man, gotta say - between training, slaying, and everything else, things're gonna be kinda busy, y'know?"

Pursing his lips thoughtfully, Giles nodded. "Well, at the very least, it opens up one recourse. As the named guardian of a home schooled teenager, I can prevail upon the school board to allow you to be on campus during school hours so that I may attend to your schooling in between my other duties. Since you seem to be determined to be there regardless, we may as well spend the time profitably." He paused, "They probably won't like the arrangement, but that can be worked around."

"Man," Faith laughed, throwing her head back. "That's gonna put a kink in that Snyder's shorts."

"It does rather have its advantages, yes," Giles agreed, chuckling a bit maliciously.

"A wicked fellow," Faith said, shaking her head sadly.

The End

To be Continued in the Alternate BtVS Season 3 Episode 2: "Pearls Before Swine"