When the hotel elevator came to a stop at its highest level and the doors opened, Rupert Giles politely stood aside to allow his companion to exit first. Following along right after, the Englishman nearly collided with this mature woman who'd abruptly halted in her tracks, as she then uttered a short, disbelieving phrase in a very cultured voice: "Good heavens."
Looking over the woman's shoulder at a specific point further down the hotel corridor, Giles resignedly delivered his own familiar, "Dear Lord…" while he closed his eyes in weary vexation. Unfortunately, the horrific image of what he'd just witnessed through his glasses still remained in the former Watcher's mind, possibly for the rest of his life. How, in the middle of the corridor, Xander Harris was sickly smiling at his observers over the small hand towel stuffed into his mouth, his remaining eye beginning to turn into a magnificent black eye, wearing extremely tattered clothing, and seated in an armchair while being tightly secured to this piece of furniture by a rope wrapped numerous times around the New Council's construction manager.
Most puzzling of all was the sheet of newspaper that had been clumsily folded into some kind of hat or crown that had then been jauntily placed onto Xander's head after someone had first used a tube of lipstick to write upon this in a childish scrawl: NO FUN.
Several hours earlier, Giles and Xander had been enjoying the spring weather in New York City, walking along a pathway in Central Park under the recently-leafed trees while discussing the New Council business that had brought them to this metropolis. After satisfying himself that things were proceeding as planned, Giles idly glanced ahead at where the pathway continued on next to the side of a small pond, seeing two people standing by this body of water. There, a mature woman clad in her crisp garb was benignly watching a small girl enthusiastically feeding pieces of bread to several geese gobbling up this offered food.
Turning back to Xander, Giles opened his mouth to begin delivering the necessary orders, until the older man's face suddenly bore an expression of startled recognition. Snapping his head around to stare once more at the unaware woman, Giles then briskly lengthened his stride, leaving an astonished Xander behind, as the Head of the New Council made straight for the lady, who'd just noticed the man coming her way.
A few moments later, Xander caught up with his friend while Giles was in the middle of joyously shaking the woman's hand, as she chuckled out loud to herself at their unexpected meeting. Over the next couple of minutes, both Xander and the little girl learned that decades before, this lady had been the nanny of one of the few friends of a lonely English boy, and back then she'd always been kind to Rupert Giles. Now, the woman was still a nanny, and she introduced her latest charge to the two men, to then politely suggest that it was time to return to their home, a suite in one of the hotels bordering Central Park, while also inviting their unexpected companions to escort them.
As the small group strolled through the spring greenery of the park, they soon divided into two pairs. Giles and his old acquaintance were walking side-by-side, as they discussed their former homeland and their friends there. Xander was accompanying the little girl a few steps behind the first pair. That child was peppering the amused man with numerous questions about his eyepatch, since she was too young to know her intense curiosity about this disability might have been somewhat improper. Her nanny, though, was quite aware of this fact. When the older woman glanced over her shoulder at what she was hearing, Xander just cheerfully shook his head at her, indicating that he didn't mind at all, as he patiently answered the little girl.
The one-eyed man's story of a simple construction accident was quickly joined by other tales about building schools worldwide for a multinational educational organization that bestowed scholarships upon exceptional young women. Xander's funny descriptions concerning some of his more hilarious blunders and difficulties during his work caused them all to laugh together at hearing these, until the group reached their destination, a magnificent hotel taking up nearly an entire city block.
It was at that point when Giles invited everyone to lunch at the hotel's fine restaurant. To the others' surprise, the little girl impulsively suggested that instead the older pair eat together at this place, so they could talk with each other some more. As for herself and Mr. Xander, they could have their lunch sent up from room service while doing something a lot more interesting in the suite, like fully showing off her pets to the man. The adults traded glances over the head of the energetic girl impatiently waiting for their decision, resulting in them good-naturedly agreeing to go along with that eager proposal. Even after only a short time in the presence of these men, the nanny had a sense of absolute trust regarding Rupert Giles and Xander Harris, so she gave her permission, though before the older woman had finished speaking, the little girl was dragging off Xander by his hand towards the elevators.
Catching Giles' eye, the nanny ruefully admitted that at times she did feel rather exhausted at always having to match her young charge's boundless energy. Plus, every now and then, a yearning for an actual adult conversation overcame herself. Chuckling as he escorted his old acquaintance to the restaurant, Giles acknowledged he knew those specific feelings all too well.
Much later, in the hotel corridor, the mature woman sighed deeply, and then she told the man next to herself, "Rupert, excuse me while I have a word with my charge." As the nanny then strode purposefully forward, she also gave a distracted pat of comfort to the shoulder of the man tied to his chair, passing by this as she opened the suite door and entered, firmly closing the door after her.
During all this, Giles was thoroughly polishing his glasses with a handkerchief as he stood there in front of the elevator, seemingly ignoring the plaintive mumbles coming from Xander past his gag. Eventually, Giles put his glasses back on his face, to then casually amble down the corridor, stopping to stand in front of the young man he'd known ever since Sunnydale. Gazing down at the battered, embarrassed features of this trouble-prone boy, Giles thoughtfully commented, "I'm positive there's some sort of reasonable explanation for all this, and I'll be sure to listen to it with great interest. Just as everyone else of our little group will later on, don't you think, Xander?"
At that point, Xander was frantically shaking his head, ending this to pleadingly stare past his swelling eye at the older man enigmatically regarding him. After a few more moments of suspense, Giles cleared his throat and silkily suggested, "Now, just like Pooh-Bah in Gilbert and Sullivan's wonderful comic opera, I could easily be bribed to ensure my silence over your little predicament. Let me see, what would it take…oh, yes. How about a six-month period, starting right now, that you completely refrain from using that vile nickname 'G-man' while in my presence?"
"Uh! Uh! Uh!" was indignantly grunted through his gag by a glaring Xander.
"Hmmm, three months? No, I don't think so. Why don't we compromise a bit, and say, instead…four months?"
Judging by his straining jaw muscles, Xander was going to bite through the towel in his mouth any second now. Breathing hard through his nose, the former carpenter gave his expectant employer a truly foul look, until the man tied to the chair eventually slumped his shoulders in total surrender and sullenly nodded, once.
"Always a pleasure coming to an agreement with you, Xander," cheerily noted Giles, as he leaned forward in preparation for freeing this grouchy man from his restraints. Before he could actually get started on the rope around the chair first, instead of removing the gag (the former Watcher wasn't stupid enough to put his hands anywhere near Xander's teeth), Giles was interrupted by the suite door suddenly opening.
Both of the New Council members now turned their heads in that direction, to see standing in the doorway the nanny, her arms sternly akimbo, as she glowered downwards at the small person before herself, while rapping out in a supremely no-nonsense tone that made the spines of every younger person there, Giles included, stiffen in automatic obedience:
"Young lady, you apologize to everyone, immediately!"
In her place in front of Nanny, the shamefaced little girl with the blonde hair, white blouse, and black skirt met the eyes of the latest persons to become involved in the typical getting-out-of-control events that habitually occurred around Eloise at the Plaza, as she sheepishly opened her lips for a mumbled, "Sorry."