Time & Time Again
Summary: Story written based on Challenge #4 - Knight Challenge from the "Of Demons & Destiny" website. This is somewhere in season seven, however in my world, the world isn't ending because of the First. Instead, Giles comes back because he feels that Buffy has finally gotten her feet under her.
Spoilers: The Freshman, The Replacement (kinda)
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, though at times I wish...please, Joss, I beg you! Eilian, however, is strictly my own creation, as is the character of her teacher, Bowen.
Author: E. Quackenbush aka NephilimEQ
Author's Notes: I have truly had a wonderful time writing this story. It combines my two favorite shows...Buffy and Merlin! I mean, just imagine it...Rupert Giles versus Uther Pendragon in a sword fight? Oh good lord, what a sight! I have no clue as to whom I'd want to win, but I'd be leaning towards Giles, I think.
1. Uh Uh...I Don't Do Horses
Buffy launched herself at the vampire that came her way, executing a perfect back kick, knocking it to its' back.
She swung her arm, stake in hand, and soon her would-be attacker was nothing but dust. She stood up, brushing the dust off of her jeans, and glanced over to see how Giles was doing. Ever since the enjoining spell, the two of them had become an unstoppable force when it came to patrolling. He was faster than before, but she figured it was because of all of his running.
She saw him fighting a young fledgling, and doing an excellent job at keeping it at bay, his sword slashing. Suddenly, the vamp managed to flip him and land Giles on his back, obviously winding him.
As the vamp moved in for the kill, Buffy made her way over to it and quickly staked him.
She helped Giles up from the ground, and he stood up, brushing dust off his pants as well as mud from where he had fallen.
"Giles? Are you okay?" Her words fell on deaf ears as he seemed to ignore her, quickly letting go of her hand, sheathing his sword, and seemingly walking aimlessly around the area.
She spoke his name again, but he didn't respond. At that point, she realized that he was obviously looking for something. She began to follow him. She was so intent on following him, that she didn't even noticed when he stopped, and ran straight into him. There was a solid 'oomph' as she stumbled into him and they both began to fall to the ground.
He lifted his head slightly in bewilderment. "Buffy, what on earth-"
He was suddenly cut off as a blinding flash of light enveloped them both and the next thing they knew, they were hurtling towards the ground from the sky...in the daylight.
He instinctively braced himself for the impact, but still hit with impressive force. As the wind was knocked out of him by the ground against his back, it was knocked out of him yet again by the blonde figure who then landed right on top of him.
A collective groan came from both Buffy and Giles at the impact.
Buffy reached out trying to raise herself, and found herself face to face with her Watcher's chest. She heard him groan, and that was when she realized that she was probably making things worse by putting pressure on his already winded lungs. So instead she let herself slide to the side and the rolled over onto her back. As she opened her eyes, she closed them again when faced with the glaring brightness of the sun.
She finally managed to find her voice. "Giles? Where are we? And by the way, who turned on the sun?"
Even though he was still recovering from the fall and trying to ignore the band of pain across his back from where his sword lay strapped to his back, stuck between his body and the ground, the sound of her slightly cranky voice combined with her usual wit caused a laugh to bubble up out of him uncontrollably.
At the sound of his laughter, she looked over at her Watcher, a glare forming on her features. Who was he to laugh at her?
She was about to retaliate with a witty retort, but it was cut off by the sound of a scream. A very feminine scream. At that point, both of them leapt up from their positions on the ground and took off running in the same direction. Someone screaming, both of them knew, was never a good sign.
Giles was the first to arrive in the clearing, where he saw a girl on the ground near the side of a river about to be attacked by a griffin. Part bird and part lion, it was fearsome creature...and it was hungry.
Without thinking, he threw himself between the young maiden and the beast, drawing his sword from its sheath and brandishing it before him.
Buffy finally made her way to the embankment, and what she saw before her was a sight that she'd never expected to see.
There was Rupert Giles, his sword out in front of him, fighting off a creature that she'd never seen before in her life. It had the head of a raptor, with the hind legs of a lion and the claws of a raptor as well, along with a large pair of wings. She watched in slight trepidation as the beast feinted an attack, but Giles seemed ready for it and quickly got in a killing blow, slicing the sword straight through the heart.
The creature fell to the ground, obviously dead, and Buffy slowly made her way into the clearing. That was when she saw the young girl on the ground.
She rushed over to her side, checking to see if the girl had any wounds.
There appeared to be none, save for a cut along one of her arms, but it was superficial and needed next to no doctoring.
"Are...are you alright?"
The young girl looked up at Buffy, and that was when Buffy realized that the girl was older than she thought. At the very least, twenty-one. She wasn't stunningly beautiful, but she was relatively pretty in her own unique way. She had darker brown hair that fell just below her shoulders, a few sections done in small and delicate braids.
Her eyes were strong, and reminded her of herself. The young woman finally managed to respond. "I...I will be now. Th-thank you for rescuing me."
Buffy merely nodded and then reached for the girl's hand and helped her up, glancing briefly at the dress that she wore.
That was when she realized that she hadn't even asked the young woman's name.
"Excuse me...what's your name?" The young woman looked slightly affronted by the question, and instead began to walk out of the clearing; forcing Buffy to follow after her...but then she remembered Giles. She looked back to find him wiping his blade off in the river, and the thought 'knight in shining armor' popped into her head.
She called back to him. "Giles! This way...we're staying with her."
He looked up at her voice, and then nodded, quickly sheathing his sword and walking in the same direction as his Slayer and the damsel that they'd rescued.
As Buffy followed, she wondered briefly as to where the girl was going, but didn't bother to ask questions as she strode with a determined and knowledgeable stride. They went through a small grove of trees and found a horse waiting for them.
Buffy watched with some astonishment as the girl swung up onto the equine that looked like it could be a warhorse.
It was a very beautiful chestnut color, with a mane and tail just barely lighter than the actual color of the coat, and it had a broad and deep chest that seemed to speak of a deep strength in the animal. Buffy stood back slightly, not used to being around such creatures. As she did so, it occurred to her that it was rather ironic that she was used to being around demons and vampires, but not around such a regular animal as a horse.
Giles approached from behind, and placed a gentle hand on her back, reassuring her.
"Dear lady," he said formally addressing the girl seated on her horse. "I am...Sir Rupert Giles, and this is my..." He paused, suddenly realizing what he was going to do. "...My fiancé, Lady Elizabeth Summers."
He felt Buffy's back tense under where his hand gently rested. He knew, though, that it was the only way to make sure that she would stay with him the entire time. No man would dare chase after a woman who was betrothed to be married, no matter what time period they happened to be in.
Giles continued speaking. "Would you be so kind as to direct us to the nearest village, or city, by chance? We were accosted upon by thieves, and we have virtually nothing, save for my sword which I managed to save. We need shelter and food, and then we will find our way."
The young woman looked down at him, her expression hard, with a slight wash of confusion mixed in as he mentioned his name, but it soon softened as she heard his words.
She dismounted, and with the reins in her hands, walked towards them.
"Of course...My name is Eilian. Please...follow me. I'm going to Camelot to see the king, and I'm sure that he would be willing to help you out." At this, both Buffy and Giles froze. After a moment, Giles found his voice.
He cleared his throat and then spoke. "Did you say...Camelot? And the king is..." He hesitated before saying the name. "Arthur Pendragon?"
Eilian shook her head in the negative. "No, of course not..." Both Buffy and Giles breathed twin sighs of relief. But Eilian continued. "Arthur is still merely the prince...the king, of course, is his father, Uther Pendragon." Buffy was slightly confused, as she did not know much about Arthurian legend, but she felt Giles tense up once more and that made her nervous.
Buffy started to speak, but Eilian cut her off. "Pardon me for one moment, m'lady..."
She turned towards what seemed to be the empty woods and then gave a call, a soft clicking of her tongue. At this, another horse appeared from just beyond the bend, just as stunning as the first.
It was a deep, dark brown, with a small white diamond on the forehead.
She turned back towards Buffy and her Watcher, holding the reins out towards them. "Here, you may ride Andras. He was my..." Eilian faltered, then continued. "My mentor's steed, but he is without owner. You may use my mentor's clothes if you wish, sir, and you may borrow a dress of mine, Lady Elizabeth."
That was when the both of them realized that they weren't exactly wearing the proper clothes.
Giles quickly voiced his thanks. "Thank you, Lady Eilian. For this, we are most grateful."
He pulled some clothes from the pack on the back of Andras and headed towards the bushes for some privacy as Eilian pulled a dress from her own pack and handed it to Buffy. "Here you go, Lady Elizabeth. This should fit you, 'tis always been a tad bit tight on myself." Buffy nodded her thanks and quickly found a private place to change.
Giles came out first, finding himself much more comfortable in the black tunic and riding breeches. The shoes happened to fit as well. He fitted the leather gauntlets to his wrists, and then found a belt that allowed him to have a place for his sword and sheath, instead of across his back.
As he put his old clothes into the pack, Buffy appeared from the bushes. He had to catch his breath.
She wore an off-white dress, ivory you would call it, and it was stunning on her. It had lace at the neckline, which flowed from the edge of her shoulders to just above her breasts. It was very flattering.
As Buffy came out of the brush, she saw Giles...good lord, was that her Watcher?
The phrase that had popped into her head earlier, 'knight in shining armor' seemed to apply now, more than ever, to her Watcher. She ignored the slightly breathless sensation and continued to the horse, handing her clothes to him to put into the pack. He did so, and then Eilian stepped forward towards both of them.
She tried to hand the reins to Buffy, but Buffy backed up, waving her hands in front of her in protest.
"Uh uh...I don't do horses."
Giles sighed in exasperation as he took the reins instead and then grabbed his Slayer by the waist, hoisting her up into the saddle before she could even speak a word of protest.
Buffy held onto the...'uh, pommel?'...in front of her in absolute desperation, praying she didn't fall off. How dare he! He knew that she didn't know how to ride and that she much preferred walking and...oh. Suddenly, she found her Watcher sitting directly behind her, his arms coming around her sides to hold the reins.
She tried not to react to the feel of his body against her back, but it was rather hard to do as he was right there and she had no method of escape.
"Buffy..." He bit his tongue at what he was going to say, but realized that if he didn't, she would end up rather sore. Correction: more sore than she already would be. And a cranky Slayer was not something he wanted to deal with. "If you could just lean back...please? It will make things much easier."
She sighed in mock exasperation, but soon relented, leaning into the welcoming fold of her Watcher's arm as he slid one arm around her waist and kept the other one holding the reins.
Eilian watched with a thoughtful look on her face.
"Does Lady Elizabeth not know how to ride, Sir Rupert?"
Giles was about to speak, but Buffy interrupted him. "It's not that...it's just that I prefer to walk," she said pointedly, lightly and indiscreetly jabbing Giles in the ribs as she did so. "I like solid ground beneath my feet."
At this, Eilian actually smiled. "I can understand that, Lady Elizabeth. Now, if neither of you mind, we do need to be going...we're rather close. Only a few hours ride and we'll be within the city walls and you will finally have shelter and food. If you need food right now, there are some provisions in the pack right behind you."
With that, she urged her horse forward into an extended walk, and Giles admired her riding form for a moment. She had an excellent seat, and it was obvious that the horse was well-trained, as well as its' rider.
He urged Andras into the same gait, matching stride with Eilian's horse.
Buffy looked up and saw her Watcher's eyes on the young woman and a flash of anger went through her. She didn't know why, but she decided to ignore it and shove it into the recesses of her mind. She did, however, note that it was identical to the one that she'd had when she'd seen Olivia in his apartment.