Giles blinked down at her feeling off guard, no wait- it was her apology that had taken him off guard. Like he hadn't expected to hear her apologize for the distress that she had caused. What is she up too now? He wondered as she set his book aside on the counter and said in a low tone.
"I'm sorry for causing everyone such trouble but I've been...busy and couldn't come home or contact anyone until now-" Eve said, trying to think of a good excuse as to why the other Slayer would have disappeared for so long and would never return home again. She couldn't just come out and say, 'I'm not Buffy, but a Slayer from an alternate universe.' She had made a promise to Buffy when they had switched places after all. "But I've been stuck in a hell dimension and learning the use of magic was necessary if I was going to ever return."
Giles eyes widened slightly as his expression went from furious to horrified. His skin went pale and he placed a slightly shaking hand over his mouth and tried to search for something to say next when he finally found his voice and asked, "H-How? How did you become trapped in a hell dimension?"
"I can't remember. Kind of like I can't really remember my mom or friends or even my own name."
"How- How long were you trapped there?" Giles asked, knowing that in certain hell dimensions time moved differently. Eve shrugged her shoulders and looked away from him before saying.
"A hundred years. Two hundred. A thousand... I really don't know. I have no real way to calculate since I don't know how long I've been gone here."
"Four months." Giles said automatically while thinking of how hellish those months had been for him and the rest of her friends and her mother- and all while she had been suffering too. In ways that had left her almost damaged beyond repair.
"Four months..." Eve said, her tone light as she closed her eyes and thought for a minute before finally saying. "I see. So in truth I've been gone from here only four months but while there I was away for well over three thousand years. I wonder why I haven't aged?"
"I- It could be the magical energy that resides within you. It could be keeping you alive." Giles said as he reached out and placed a hand on her cheek and used his other to run through her silken hair. Marveling at the fact that she was somehow still alive and breathing and slipped his arms around her and pulled her against his body and hugged her tightly.
My slayer. He thought close to distraught tears. My amazing, sweet girl. Having her here, standing before him, the living victim of some magical cruel joke played by the Gods themselves was so- so astonishing that he could barely contain himself. He had so many questions about her time spent in the hell dimension that he barely knew where to start. But then after really thinking about it, and thinking about how drastically Buffy had changed during her time in the other dimension he decided it was best not to say anything or ask her anything until he filled in her friends and her mother.
Oh god- Joyce. She hadn't taken the whole Slayer thing very well when she had found out about it. Hearing that her only child, her baby, had somehow been trapped in a hell dimension would be so much more difficult for her to take. She would want Eve to stop being the Slayer despite the fact that he had already explained to her several times that such a feat was impossible.
A Slayer was a slayer until the day she died and her power was passed on to someone else. That was simply how the powers that be kept order in the universe.
He knew that Joyce wouldn't understand that, but she had the right to know what her daughter had been through and he didn't want to hide the truth from her again. Besides from what he had gathered already Eve seemed to not only be suffering from memory loss, but something else- something he hadn't quite been able to put his finger on until just now.
The way she acted...closely resembled a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Now that he thought about it, the way she had just showed up out of the blue covered in bruises and blood should have been a clue. Why had he ignored it? He wondered as he tightened his grip on her just a little bit and felt her squirm a little in discomfort before saying, "Um... Ripper, your arms- They're too tight."
"Oh. I'm sorry Eve." He said as he loosened them again and looked down at her face and blinked. She didn't look too good. Perhaps because you haven't fed her and given her something to help her recharge after using that spell earlier, you dolt. He chided himself as he gave her an apologetic smile and led her back over to his couch and sat her back down amongst the cushions. Eve looked up at him from among the small army of pillows, the dark circles under her eyes were more noticeable now than they had been a while ago. Perhaps because her skin was paler.
"Stay here and let me get that tea and those biscuits and once you're feeling more up to it we'll talk more about the hell dimension and how you got there."