Shadows and Light: Understanding

Disclaimer: The characters of Rupert Giles, Buffy Summers, and Angel, do not belong to me. They are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and Fox. They are used here without permission, but no profit is being made from this. Also the characters of Adam Newman and Ami Jackson are not mine nor is the concept of the Tomorrow People. They are the property of Roger Damon Price, Thames/Tetra Television, ITV Television and Nickelodeon. All are used her without permission but not for profit.

Author's Notes: This story is an interlude, or missing scene, set within the context of my story, "A Union of Souls." You may want to read that one before reading this one. This story may be downloaded for personal use, but please contact me if you wish to archive this story elsewhere. Please do not distribute this story without my permission.


"Mr. Giles?"

Mr. Giles. Now there was something that he did not hear everyday. Mr. Giles; not simply "Giles," "G-man," or "Research Guy," as Cordelia had so plainly stated. A simple salutation added before his name to give it a measure of respect, to make it seem more proper. It took a moment for him to properly reference the address and process it before responding.

Looking up from the Watcher's Journal that he was studiously copying notes into, he met the earnest brown ones that watched him from across the room. He may have no longer been a Watcher, but old habits died hard. Recording everything – and he did mean everything – was a ritual he continued to perform. "Yes, Adam?"

The young man studied him from across the room, his words spoken slowly and with careful consideration. "You aren't going to put anything about the Tomorrow People in your journals are you?"

The simple and least complex answer would have been a simple "no." However, Rupert Giles had a very good feeling that Adam was seeking more than a simple answer to his question. He was asking more than one question as well, seeking answers that at the moment, it appeared that only Rupert could give him. Closing the book, the former Watcher sat it aside and indicated the nearest seat with a nod of his head. "Have a seat, Adam."

The young man hesitated for a moment, a moment that Rupert could hardly blame him for. As far as first impressions went, Giles had blown his with Adam. This young man would never buy into the "mild manner librarian" routine. Which was just as well; Rupert got tired of that façade anyway. He was simply glad that punching the boy hadn't done any irreparable harm – and he continually reminded himself that it had been for Adam's own good.

"How is Ami?" Rupert asked casually. He removed his glasses and placed them beside the journal and reached for his cup of tea.

Adam's eyes darted briefly towards the bedroom door behind which the young woman rested. "Sleeping again."

"Did she eat at all?"

"A little," Adam nodded. "Mostly, she just wants to sleep."

"Rest is good for her. It will help her to heal." He sipped the tea, studying the guarded young man seated across from him. The de-facto leader of a race of very special and very unique individuals, Adam worried about and protected the Tomorrow People with the same passion that . . . the Giles held for Buffy and her friends. Adam was young, yes, but his soul was old. Shattered youth replaced with the wisdom of the ages. Heartbreaking, and not so different from what he saw everyday in Sunnydale on the faces of Buffy or Willow or Xander or Oz. That didn't make his mind accept it any more easily.

"She is quite lucky, you know."

"I guess," Adam didn't even feign conviction. "It shouldn't have happened this way."

"No, it shouldn't have," Giles admitted, "But we should accept the unexpected gifts that Fate throws our way. She's alive, Adam. Be grateful for that . . . whatever your feelings about the other."

"I am."

"You don't like him." It was a statement and not a question. The him in question was a certain soul-cursed vampire that was currently scouring the streets of Los Angeles with Doyle in the hopes of finding a lead on Cordovan or Giselle – the Bonnie and Clyde pair that had nearly cost Ami her life. Giles was of the opinion that Angel was in no shape to go patrolling, hunting or anything else, but Angel had been unwilling to listen to reason. And Rupert Giles was relatively certain that punching a vampire into unconsciousness was not done as easily as he had done it to a Tomorrow Person.

"I still don't trust him completely."

And you would trust him far less if you know the things that I know, Giles mused.

No, that wasn't fair. Angel and Angelus were different; perhaps the soul shared a body with the demon, but the soul could no more control the demon than Rupert could capture the stars in the heavens. Yet, it had taken him some time to accept that difference; to accept the vampire back in his life . . . and more importantly back into Buffy's. But Angel had once again proven himself to be friend and ally. More than once he had come to Buffy's aid, and whatever Adam's distrust of him, the vampire was now in the business of saving souls and rescuing the helpless and hapless.

Whether that would prove to be his true saving grace or just a prolonging of his misery remained to be seen.

"Yes, well, I suppose that your trust or mistrust of him is a moot point at this time."

Adam's eyes flashed, and Giles sensed an edge, a ripple against the surface of calm. There was a darkness to this boy, a darkness that was hidden by the light, but not always. Rupert recognized the darkness, he still felt it buried deep within himself. He continued speaking softly, "Angel is not your enemy. I think it is safe to say that he will not harm Ami – or any of you."

"You like him."

"I trust him enough to know what he is and what he is not," Giles corrected him. He didn't know if he liked Angel and that wasn't a road he was willing to travel this night. "I trust him to aid us, protect us . . . I trusted him with Buffy's life. And that is a great trust for a Watcher to bestow upon anyone."

Particularly the one individual who had always seemed to be capable of hurting her the most.

Giles pushed the thought aside. Now was not the time to deal with his worries and his concerns over his Slayer. Now was the time to offer words of comfort to the young man before him, if there were any to be offered. "Know this, Adam, for now you have an ally in Angel. A powerful ally who does not take his loyalties or his responsibility lightly."

"For now?"

"I know no more what the future holds than anyone else, but life is short. And in our case, life is hard and dangerous. We take what we are given and take it graciously. It is the only thing that keeps us going."

Adam held the other man's gaze for a moment, the shadows that rippled behind his dark eyes the only indications that he was carefully weighing and considering every word spoken by the Watcher. Then he nodded, a barely perceptible dip of his chin, but a nod nevertheless. "You've been doing this a long time."

"No," Giles responded instantly to the question that lay beneath the words. "It doesn't get any easier. But I like to think that it helps us grow."

"What doesn't kill us makes us stronger," Adam nodded again, his words heavy and dark with an understanding that one his age should not have possessed. He raked his hands through his dark hair, a nervous gesture that that somehow made him seem for a brief moment all the more younger and vulnerable. Then the moment was gone, and Adam stood, the weight of his burden once again resting on his shoulders. "Thank you, Mr. Giles."

"You're welcome," Giles immediately returned his attention to his journal, repositioning his glasses on his nose. He listened as the young man's steps echoed softly across the apartment floor, raising his head again momentarily. "And Adam?"


"You may call me Giles. It seems to be preferred by those closest to me." It was the olive branch of friendship, one that the Watcher wondered if the Tomorrow Person would dare to take.

"Thank you, Giles."

With a smile, Rupert Giles returned his attention to his journals . . . and marveled at the endless and challenging complexities of life. The Tomorrow People were by far probably one of the most extraordinary encounters he had in all his life, and he had only scratched the surface with that bunch. Working with them would be a pleasure . . . and perhaps somewhere along the way the world would be a better place . . . for them all.

~ End ~

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