I Was Wrong About You
Summary: Travers talks to Giles after his return to England in season 6. WARNING: Nice Travers. Not Giles-friendly, but not bashing…I think.
Warning: I don't know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way.
Timeline: season 6, after 'Tabula Rasa'.
Challenge: In keeping with my attempts to redeem unlikeable characters, now it's Travers' turn for a humanizing makeover.
A/N: Consider this my vent fic (or at least one of them) for Giles' departure.
Thanks to my betas: zigpal, AshDawnSoulmates, and AerynSpeedleCaine.
Disclaimer: BtVS/AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
Watchers Council HQ
Watchers Council HQ
Settling in his chair, Giles inquired warily, "You wanted to see me, Quentin?" He had just returned to England a few days ago, and seeing Travers wasn't high on his list of things to do.
Travers set aside the report on the other Watcher's recent movements and said, "Yes. I'm concerned about your repeated trips back to England the last few months. Is there something you are searching for, and why haven't you requested the Council's help in locating it? I can only assume that since the world hasn't been turned into a hell dimension that your Slayer was successful in defeating Glorificus."
Giles nodded, "She was."
"Then what is the newest threat that has you bouncing back and forth across the Pond like a tennis ball at Wimbledon?" Travers inquired with concern.
"No threat," Giles assured him curtly.
Sensing there was more to this, Travers pressed on. "Did something happen to Miss Summers?"
"You could say that." When Travers continued to stare at him, Giles sighed, resigned to the fact he'd have to go into more detail. "Buffy kept Glory occupied long enough that the hellgoddess was unable to use the Key to return to her dimension. Unfortunately, one of her followers had already started cutting the Key's body to start the ritual. When Buffy got there, the portal had begun to open. With only two choices to save the world, Buffy had to decide whether to sacrifice herself or the Key."
"Why would the Slayer's blood work to close the portal?" the older Watcher demanded.
Giles was unwilling to out Dawn to his co-workers, even now that the threat was past. "Something the monks told her…about tying the Key to Buffy through blood," he hedged.
Nodding his head in understanding, Travers remarked calmly, "Ahh, knowing the girl, I'm guessing she chose to sacrifice herself."
"Seeing as how there hasn't been another Slayer Called by Miss Summers' death, I will assume that the line runs through the other one," Travers commented with obvious disdain for the rogue Slayer. "Most unfortunate. However, I hear that she turned herself into the police. Was that solely to hide from the Council, or do you believe she is sincere in her desire for redemption?"
Caught off-guard by the inquiry, Giles' response was less than Gilesy, "Huh?"
Travers decided to be more blunt in his inquiry this time. "I'm curious whether we should send a team to remove the rogue Slayer, or if you feel she deserves a second chance. We cannot allow the Hellmouth to remain unguarded – not with how active it has been over the last several years."
Giles shook his head in confusion, muttering, "It isn't unguarded."
"I admire your faith in Miss Summers' friends, but they are hardly adequate substitutes for a Slayer. While the vampire has the strength, what's to stop him from changing sides again if he gets that chipped removed?" Travers asked with definite concern about what he deemed an untrustworthy ally.
"That's not what I meant, Quentin. Buffy's guarding the Hellmouth," Giles corrected the other man.
It was Travers' turn to be caught off-guard now. "I thought you said-"
Giles cut him off with a blunt, "They brought her back."
Travers stood up and yelled in indignation, "What? And you allowed that to happen?"
Unsure of what bothered Travers more – the resurrection or the fact it was Buffy who was resurrected – Giles attempted to put the best spin on it he could, "They waited until I left the first time, then performed the spell to rescue Buffy from the hell dimension they believed she was in."
"Her body disappeared into the portal?" After a momentary pause, Travers sat back down and asked, "What did they use as a focal point for the ritual?"
"Her body didn't disappear," Giles informed him, remembering the broken body at the base of the tower.
Travers' confusion was plain when he demanded, "Then why would they believe she was in a hell dimension? While I haven't had the best opinion of some of the things Miss Summers has done, she is a Warrior for the Light, and her soul wouldn't go to hell without her body."
"They didn't know that." In fact, Giles hadn't been sure of that himself.
"How is Miss Summers faring?" Travers asked, sounding actually sincere in his concern for her well-being. Then a thought occurred to him and he inquired, "Wait! What are you doing back here without her?"
Swallowing the lump in his throat, Giles explained, "I went back to Sunnydale when they informed me of Buffy's return. She was…broken. After several weeks, I came to the realization that staying would only keep Buffy from becoming strong again. She was relying on me entirely too much to pick up the pieces for things. She even wanted me to assume parental responsibility for her sister when there were problems of discipline."
"How long was she gone?"
Giles answered immediately, staring at his hands, "Almost five months."
"So she was back for about what…a month, month and a half when you returned to England the second time?" Travers estimated.
"Six weeks," Giles confirmed, unaware of the thin ice he was skating on with his reply.
Travers asked one last question of the Watcher before him, "Did you think that she was in hell, too?"
"I'm not sure what I thought, but we all found out the truth a couple days before I left. There was a demon who made us sing our deepest feelings and secrets. Buffy confessed that she was in 'heaven' – or at least she was at peace," Giles admitted sadly.
Almost staring through the other man, Travers remarked coolly, "It isn't often that I admit I'm wrong, but I have to say…I was wrong about you all those years ago."
"What do you mean?" Giles asked bewilderedly.
"When I claimed you were too emotionally attached to your Slayer to be an effective Watcher. Clearly, you have a harder heart than I do," Travers added, but there was no pride in his voice, only slight contempt.
Giles started to grow angry, and growled out, "What the bloody hell are you talking about?"
Remaining calm, Travers hypothesized, "Either you hate the young woman now, or you don't care at all. It's the only reasonable explanation why you'd leave her after something so traumatic."
"I love her as if she were my own child!" Giles shouted.
The proclamation didn't appear to affect Travers' opinion though. He simply replied, "Huh, then you are more like Roger Wyndam-Pryce than I thought. His 'love' for Wesley seems about on par with your actions."
Roger was one of the biggest prats that Giles knew. To be compared to him… "I'm nothing like that pillock!" he denied.
"You could have fooled me. This isn't a broken leg she's recovering from, Rupert." Travers felt himself grow angry as well, so he took a moment to compose himself before reminding the younger Watcher, "Five months…she was gone for five months! Even if – for some unimaginable reason – she had been in a hell dimension and survived long enough to be rescued, she would have needed more time than a mere six weeks to recover.
"Strictly from a Watcher's standpoint, she would need time before she could return to slaying. Add to that, the knowledge that she has to deal with where she was torn from and that it was her own friends that did it to her. Plus, from the sounds of it, she somehow has custody of her teenage sister? Not that there are any precedents for this sort of thing, but I'm rather astonished she hasn't attempted suicide…or running away. The pressure on her right now must be overwhelming," Travers finished sympathetically.
Giles was stunned by Travers' words. "I'm surprised you sound so compassionate. Like you said before, you don't like Buffy."
"I never said I didn't like Miss Summers," Travers clarified. "Some of her choices, yes. Like having a boyfriend who's a vampire – even one with a soul – that is a choice I feel is foolish. As for the woman herself, I find Miss Summers to be quite refreshing. I can see how her fighting spirit has helped her succeed so long on a Hellmouth.
"And she was quite right about our last visit; it was wrong to attempt to coerce her back into the Council by withholding information vital to the safety of the world. Call it an act of desperation on my part." He thought for a moment, then added, "So what was your take on Faith?"
"Why?" Giles asked warily.
Travers answered as though it should be obvious to anyone with half a brain, "So she can assume responsibility of the Hellmouth."
But apparently, Giles' brain wasn't up to its usual standards, because he said, "But Buffy's back…I told you that."
Deciding to treat Giles as a child, Travers explained as though he was speaking to his 8 year old nephew, "Clearly she cannot resume her duties as Slayer until she's stronger." He pushed the button for the intercom, and ordered his secretary to come in with her pad. Turning back to Giles, he inquired, "Other than schooling for her sister, what else will we need to offer Miss Summers to get her to take a holiday?"
"She has bills she needs to pay in order to keep her home," Giles answered in a daze, starting to wonder if Travers had been possessed somehow. This wasn't the man he saw several months ago.
"Why didn't you tell us this? A Slayer needs shelter. While her mother was alive, we didn't see a need to interfere, but once her financial support was gone, you should have told us," Travers chastised Giles.
"I didn't think you'd care," Giles shot back.
Travers nodded, "Valid point considering our past encounters where Miss Summers is concerned. Alright, so we'll take care of all of her outstanding debts, and make sure that her home is paid for when she's ready to return to the Hellmouth. We'll have to find out where she'd like to go during this recovery period."
"Someplace warm that speaks English as a primary language," Giles responded automatically before double-checking, "You're serious about doing this?"
"Of course. Miss Summers has given the world over five years of service, and has died twice in the line of duty; the least we could do is allow her the chance to regain herself before asking her to resume slaying. Now, what is your opinion on the other Slayer?" Travers asked for the third time.
"Uh, oh…" Giles thought for a moment, then concluded, "Faith seemed genuine in her search for redemption. I'd suggest having somebody she trusts to help her, though. Right now, the only one who fits that description is Angel."
"I'd feel better if we had a Watcher there to keep an eye on things as well," Travers thought aloud, wondering if he could get Diane's cousin to accept the job. After all, from Diane's accounts, she got along decently with Faith. Maybe with both of them caring about the fallen Watcher, Faith and Michael would get along well.
Giles' words cut off that line of thought, "I suppose I could go…" He guessed that given Wesley's last encounter with Faith, he would refuse to work with her again, and that she wouldn't trust any other Watchers. That meant he was the only choice.
Disappointed that he'd return for Faith, but not for his own Slayer, Travers turned to his secretary, who had be patiently waiting for orders of some kind. "Susan, please get Miss Summers on the phone. I need to speak with her. Oh, and start looking for schools for teenagers. Start with Australia. Sydney might be a good choice. I'd like to have a few choices to offer her when I present this.
He looked back at Giles and said, "I'd like some privacy, if you don't mind, Rupert. You can wait in the outer office while I speak to her. That way, if she has any questions – especially about my motives – you can reassure her."
A bit later…
A bit later…
Travers leaned back in his chair, staring at the phone. He wasn't sure what to make of Miss Summers' attitude. He expected suspicion, perhaps some hostility. He certainly didn't think she'd agree to his offer right away. What made it even more worrisome was the fact she considered it some kind of order of the Council that she go to Sydney.
Even the news that they were taking care of her financial woes was met with a soft murmur of gratitude from the resurrected blonde. She appreciated not having to worry about losing her home or how to feed herself and her sister.
When he explained that he would be getting Faith released so she could watch the Hellmouth in her absence, and that Rupert offered to resume his duties as Watcher in Sunnydale, Quentin could have sworn he heard a slight sob on the other end of the line. He shook his head sadly, wondering if Rupert knew just how much he had hurt the young woman by abandoning her.
Perhaps with time, Miss Summers would be healed enough to tell him. Quentin certainly hoped so. Those two together were a formidable force to be reckoned with, and he should know. When he offered to get Rupert on the phone, she begged off, saying that she needed to get packing for the move.
But for now, the main thing was to get Miss Summers away from the Hellmouth so she could recover, and to get the Slayer out of prison so she could do her duty. Sorting out Rupert's problem would have to wait until later.
A/N: Oi, nice Travers and unintentionally cruel Giles wasn't very fun to write. Well, mostly just the Giles part was unpleasant for me. I kinda liked writing Travers as a nice person for once.