Quotes Misheard

Summary: Giles' conversation with Angel about Fred/Illyria wasn't exactly the way it sounded.

Challenge: Thought I'd try another shot at the Angel/Giles phone call that bugged me so much. This is strictly from Giles' side of the conversation.

Timeline: post-'Chosen' BtVS, season 5:16 'Shells' for AtS. Do not talk to me about what was going on with the Scoobies during the comics at this time 'cause they don't exist in this 'verse!

Warning: Not for people who believe the Scoobies can/should solve all of Angel's problems.

Thanks to my betas: AerynSpeedleCaine, JacobPhoenix, AshDawnSoulmates and zigpal.

Disclaimer: BtVS and 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.

Slayer Headquarters

Unknown location…

Giles reluctantly set down his book on Quor-Toth demons when his assistant buzzed him on the intercom. If it had been anyone else, he would have told Simon to take a message because they were up against the clock on the Quor-Toth situation. Apparently, some idiot vampire cult got the brilliant – note the sarcasm, please – idea that opening a portal to the hell of hells would gain them some prestige within the demon community.

But this call was somewhat expected by everyone in the higher ranks of the Council.

Debating whether he should notify the others, Giles thought he'd wait and see what Angel had to say first. If the ensouled vampire offered any useful information for that particular research project, Giles would pull in that team of Watchers for a teleconference. He couldn't believe that he just thought the term 'teleconference'. What was next? Setting up a WiFi talk?

"How may I help you today, Angel?" Giles greeted his Slayer's ex coolly. Just because they were allies, didn't mean he had to like the bastard on a personal basis.

Giles' eyebrow rose when Angel didn't even try to explain the situation, just demanded to know where Willow was. Since the living-impaired CEO of Wolfram & Hart's LA branch wasn't going to bring the issue up, Giles decided he would have to, "I assume that you are calling in regards to the Illyria situation? According to our seers and the research we've found, the Old One has fully taken over a vessel and the host's soul has already been consumed. What that means, Angel, is that there is nothing left we can do but destroy Illyria before it threatens the world."

Pausing for a breath, Giles continued in a scolding tone, "Perhaps if you had called us when the person was first infected we could have recalled Willow from her retreat in the Himalayas to combat Illyria until we could find a way to return the Old One to its sarcophagus."

When he stopped again, Angel only focused on the part of Giles' speech that mattered to him. The vampire's willful blindness caused Giles to pinch the bridge of his nose in frustration. Honestly, the children weren't this aggravating. Well, they were, but he loved them so he was willing to overlook it most of the time.

Instead of wondering where Angel got the information that Willow had been in South America – something to worry about at another time – Giles said, "When Andrew told you that we didn't trust Wolfram & Hart, but we were – and still are – willing to help your people, we meant when it was possible to do so. However, you simply waited too long this time, Angel. I hope you remember that when you finally realize that you've gotten in over your head with this scheme of yours. It's cost you one colleague already, don't let it cost you the rest as well," he warned.

Seeing his Slayer rush in, Giles considered telling Angel to let Spike know that Buffy knew he was back and didn't tell her. Then he thought better of it; why give Spike any warning to duck when they saw each other again? Buffy's bewildered smile indicated that he must have made an expression when he imagined the scene.

Then she shook off her confusion and was waving a book under his nose. Giles saw some key words about portals and moon cycles near her finger and ignored Angel's blathering to look at it more closely. "Hold on for a moment, Angel."

What he saw wasn't good at all.

There was a timetable for stopping the ritual and it was coming to a climax in a mere four hours. This was – heaven forgive him for thinking this – 'very much of the bad'!

"Angel, I must go now; world to save and all. Let us know if you need help destroying Illyria," Giles quickly said before hanging up.

Hearing her ex's name, Buffy stared at the phone for a second, wondering who it was at his company that was killed by the demon god thing. Presumably it was a friend because that's the way crap happened to good guys. After all, where's the fun for Murphy if a bad guy gets consumed by some ancient demon? No, it was far more entertaining to the Powers if it was somebody fighting evil. That way the good guys would have to kill a friend instead.

Giles broke Buffy out of her thoughts by calling her name. She snapped her attention back to the apocalypse at hand. It was no fair this one was coming a couple months earlier, but it wasn't unheard of either. "Teams Klingons, Dúnedain and Rebels are assembled and ready to fight. By the way, we are so never letting Xander and Andrew get drunk again, then name things for the Council," she complained.

A/N: It's rather unfair to assume the whole conversation based only on Angel's side of it. Just saying…

And to clarify one thing before anyone asks, Andrew screwed up the message to Angel by accident. He heard the part about not trusting Wolfram & Hart but was too excited by his first mission as a Watcher to listen closely to everything he was supposed to say. Then he was thrown off further by seeing Spike alive and screwed up the tone of the message by including Angel in the 'we don't trust you' part. It was bad mistake, sure, but not nearly as bad as taking over an evil law firm. And Giles didn't know that Andrew screwed it up.