Laying a gentle hand upon the shoulder of the saddened man next to herself, Buffy Summers sympathetically said while holding her crossbow ready in her other hand, "Giles, it's time to end this. That poor thing doesn't need to suffer any more."
Heaving a resigned sigh, her Watcher finally inclined his head in reluctant acceptance, to then huskily request, "Er, could you allow us a last moment together, Buffy?"
Giving her own formal nod of assent, Buffy backed up to where Willow and Xander were standing together in the street, arms comfortingly around each others' shoulders as the trio of young people then solemnly watched the high school librarian advance to stop by this man's trusty steed, and then give a comforting caress to the trembling flank of his classic 1963 Citroen automobile now parked at a slanted angle where it'd finally rolled to a stop against the side of the road in the middle of Sunnydale's warehouse district now totally deserted and quiet at this late hour.
In a rare melancholy mood, Giles gave his car several more final farewell pats, as he turned his head to inquire of his Slayer if what she'd proposed was really necessary, only to swallow his words, as the Briton's eye was caught by the trail of metallic debris running from the rear of his still-chugging automobile to at least a hundred yards back up the street. Wincing slightly at the very recent memories of the horrendous grinding sound coming from his car's engine that was quickly followed by the clatter of what felt like the entire bottom of the Citroen disintegrating onto the road, Giles glumly realized at this point that there was only one realistic opinion for himself.
He'd have to get a new car.
Stepping away from his ruined vehicle, Giles removed his glasses and polished them for a few moments onto the front of his tweed suit, to then dolefully clear his throat and murmur, "Buffy, if you'd be so kind-"
The bolt from Buffy's crossbow designed for Slayer strength shot right through the hood of the Citroen, to disappear inside that vehicle in a true act of mercy killing that caused the immediate termination of the noisy operation of this car's laboring engine, bringing absolute silence once more to the darkened warehouses surrounding the Scooby Gang. They'd come here just an hour ago in the middle of the night, to investigate a rumor of demonic gang activity, only to find nothing, as they then grumpily piled back into Giles' car with that man driving away from their unsuccessful search, until the complete destruction of the Citroen's transmission a few minutes later.
Leaving behind the derelict car that would later on begin its final journey to the wrecker's yard, as they warily kept an eye upon their menacing surroundings, the Scooby Gang now began their long, long trudge back to their homes. Even if there'd actually been a public phone nearby, they all knew better than to call someone to come pick them up. No sane Sunnydale cabbie or tow-truck operator would even consider driving here anytime after sunset, which also put paid to asking a friend or family member to collect the quartet now walking down the middle of the street.
Rupert Giles was in the forefront of their small group, with the others spaced out in a line a step or two back from this older man, who at this moment was resignedly counting down in his head. Sure enough, at the proper moment, Giles heard from behind a teenage boy's cheerful voice commenting, "Hey, G-man, what're you gonna replace that heap of junk with- OW!" Following right after that sudden pained yelp was the sound of two feminine hands simultaneously whacking the back of Xander's head.
"Xander, be nice!" snapped Willow at her impolite friend now rubbing his head and giving the red-haired girl on his left an indignant look. Before the young man could actually say anything, another voice came from his other side, spoken by the blonde girl there.
"Yeah, you big dope! It's really rude to say things like that so soon after Giles's car got wrecked! Besides, I'm sure my Watcher's already planning on buying a spanking new car that we'll help him get, one that'll be totally useful for patrolling."
An astonished Rupert Giles stopped short in his surprise, allowing the others to catch up, while the man then resumed his stride while dubiously glancing around at his charges now walking in step with him. Finally eyeing Buffy as she casually strolled along while keeping upon one shoulder her reloaded crossbow ready for instant use, Giles hesitantly began, "Er, Buffy, why'd you say that? I'll just need to replace my former vehicle-"
"Oh, no, you're not!" briskly said the Slayer, giving her increasingly-confused Watcher a very determined glower that remained upon her beautiful face as Buffy went on. "You'd probably get exactly the same kind of small, poky, outdated car just like the one you had a couple of minutes ago! Nope, me and Wils and Xan will make sure you find something a whole lot better!"
"Something from the Hot Wheels toy car collection would sure as heck be a lot better than what he had before," snarkily contributed Xander, who then promptly ducked, which caused Willow's irritated swat at his head to miss. Straightening up as he smirked at that girl glaring at him as she continued walking with her friends, Xander's features became a bit more serious as he glanced at the high school librarian also giving him an annoyed look, to then argue, "Listen, Giles, Buffy's right. We really do need something better to take us around town on our patrols, and it can't be another iron maiden on wheels that arthritic turtles leave behind in their dust."
Becoming truly aggravated at all those sarcastic comments about his choice in automobiles, Giles rather coldly addressed the teenagers, "May I point out to you lot that it'll be my own funds being used to purchase the new car, which will make it my personal vehicle. So, why exactly should I pay any attention whatsoever to your advice on which type of car to buy?"
An evil smile slowly appearing upon her face, Buffy Summers then sweetly cooed to a suddenly-nervous Giles, "'Cause if you don't we'll spend the whole school year whining at you over this every single chance we get. Right, guys?" finished the Slayer, as she looked over at Xander and Willow both nodding enthusiastically, as these other Scooby Gang members then sent their own fiendish expressions of glee towards an appalled Englishman.
As the foursome kept heading down the road out of the warehouse district, a quiet Giles presently ignoring the others' smug expressions walked in his own despondent silence, as he ruefully told himself in the privacy of his mind that, *Yes, they would do exactly that.* Finally throwing up his hands in a clear gesture of surrender, a grumpy Watcher then growled to nobody in particular, "All right, what kind of car did you have in mind?"
While triumphant smiles blossomed upon the girls' faces over this abrupt capitulation of their mentor, Xander had a more thoughtful look on his own features, as he then asked, "Say, what'd you mean, your own money? Doesn't the Council pay for things like this?"
Hearing that, Buffy and Willow eyed Giles curiously, as that man sent a baleful glower at Xander, to then gruffly answer the boy, "Certainly, and all that needs to be done afterwards, when the car's been bought, is to spend the next six months filling out every bit of the needed paperwork for the Council about that purchase. Those wankers in the accounting department demand an explanation written in your own blood for every shilling they cough up, so, Xander, if you really want to spend all that time…"
Xander was frantically shaking his head in absolute negation, as Giles trailed off in his elucidation of the facts of bureaucratic life to the teenager, with the older man now having his own victorious smirk plastered upon his lined features. A glum Xander then realized, "So, that's why you brought that wind-up toy car back there in the first place? It was all you could afford- That you can afford now." Hearing that, Willow and Buffy also had very dejected looks appear on their faces.
After a few more steps, Rupert Giles softly cleared his throat and reluctantly admitted, "Well, no. I bought the Citroen simply because I liked it, and also because it was the first one at hand at the dealer's lot in Sunnydale when I went there to find a car within my current budget. I was sent here to the Hellmouth in something of a hurry, as you remember, which meant I had no time to collect my grandfather's bequest before I left England. Afterwards, there seemed to be no point in paying for another vehicle when the automobile that we left back there seemed to function adequately-"
In the middle of that long-winded explanation, the younger members of the Scooby Gang at that moment staring in wonder at Giles all simultaneously repeated the most significant word that they'd just heard: "Bequest?"
Continuing his steady stride, Giles momentarily closed his eyes, and then he tersely replied while once more looking straight ahead to avoid meeting anyone's interested gaze, "Yes, bequest."
A very expectant silence now hung in the air among the four people traveling together in the Sunnydale night. Eventually, a resigned Giles started talking again. "When I was a lad in sixth form - at your age in my country's version of high school - my maternal grandfather passed away, and in his will, he left me a modest bequest to be used solely for the purchase of my first car when I was old enough, subject to my father's approval. Well, several years later, things were, um, rather strained between us, so I never collected on Granda's bequest. Afterwards, when I joined the Council and then worked for the British Museum in London, there seemed to be at that time no actual need for a personal vehicle, so again, I didn't ask for the money. Over the years, it's gained enough interest to in the end be a rather tidy sum-"
"How much?" eagerly interrupted Willow, just barely beating out a fascinated Xander and Buffy.
"Oh, about thirty thousand pounds." Giles glanced around at the blank expressions on the American teenagers' faces, and he rolled up his eyes in sheer exasperation, as the Englishman then crankily clarified, "At current monetary rates, that's fifty thousand dollars."
Several minutes later, when it seemed that the Funky Chicken dance presently being performed together by Buffy, Willow, and Xander in the middle of the street would never end, Rupert Giles bellowed crossly at the top of his lungs, sending echoes ringing throughout the darkened warehouse district, "I'M NOT BUYING A BLOODY ROLLS-ROYCE!"
Stopping short in her ecstatic getting-down boogie, Buffy grinned at the irritated older man standing in front of them, while brining her hands clapping together at waist level and holding them there, covetously rubbing her fingers together, as she purred, "Gotcha, Giles. It's now time for us to…negotiate."
Without looking, the Slayer felt Willow and Xander halt in their own tracks and then step up besides her, as Buffy now saw out of the corners of her eyes a dual pair of other hands clasp together and begin their own finger-massage of gleeful avariciousness. Two other youthful voices wafted through the Sunnydale night, as Xander and Willow happily chorused, "Yeah…negotiate."
Much later, after the endless haggling that had lasted throughout their entire journey back to Sunnydale's residential section and near their homes, a very grouchy Rupert Giles summed it up:
"All right, are we all absolutely clear on this? You lot have one week - from tonight to next Friday night - to find me a car that you approve of, that I can afford, and that will be effective in our work of guarding the Hellmouth. If you can't agree among yourselves during that week, afterwards I'll be free to chose whatever I want, and you twits will then keep your cakeholes shut over my choice. Also during that time period, I have the right of an ultimate veto over anything you pick-"
Buffy reprovingly interrupted, "But you've gotta give good, honest reasons that we can see eye-to-eye with for this veto thingy to work." At Giles' scorching glare, the Slayer then grudgingly added, "Okay, okay! Stuff like having the car done in coral pink or accessories like painted flames on the sides are pretty good reasons."
Willow contributed her own glower at a sulking Xander slouching alongside herself, as she sniffed, "And the car can't have things like an ejection seat, machine guns built in the front bumpers, and changing license plates." At hearing all of his hopeful suggestions yet again mercilessly shot down, her yellow-crayon friend's lower lip stuck out even further in his pout, as they passed by in their steady stroll the dark houses on both sides of the quiet Sunnydale street.
"Thank you, Willow," Giles dryly said, as he then thoughtfully rubbed his chin, trying to think of anything he'd regret later. The Englishman finally shrugged and he spoke to the others sharing the sidewalk with him, "I supposed that's it, but do you have any last-minute suggestions, about what my new car should possess?"
"Good gas mileage?" was offered from the interior of a large, leafy bush just ahead of the quartet, with this patch of seemingly-innocent greenery resting in the middle of some Sunnydale householder's front lawn.
Before anyone else could react to that utterly unexpected remark, Buffy had whipped out a spare stake from beneath her clothing, and she used her Slayer strength to perform a quick flick of her wrist that sent this thrown weapon zipping through the air to plunge right into the bush, causing that foliage to shudder once, as some anonymous vampire that had been lurking in there while awaiting their next victim did the usual puffing-into-dust thing.
Nobody even broke step; instead, Buffy, who hadn't bothered to watch her tossed stake, turned to her friends and snorted in pure contempt to the others over such a ridiculous suggestion, "Yeah, like anyone actually bothers about that."