For scratchingpost1 in Every Slayer Needs A Watcher ficathon.
Buffy’s first impression of London isn’t favourable.
It’s not that surprising, she isn’t in the best of moods. Her flight was delayed for four hours, and then they hit the turbulence right before reaching the British Isles.
And when she finally arrives, and finds a taxi, even though she has the right address, she’s sure of that, it takes three slow drives down the street, and then back, for even her eyes to make out the little number on the house, obscured completely by an ivy. And the numbers on the street are out of order, too. What’s with that, she’d like to know.
So she pushes the doorbell in with a little more force than necessary, and holds it much longer than polite, but she. doesn’t. care.
For a moment, nothing happens, and then she hears an expletive she didn’t think her Watcher knew, and the doors open, and he looks at her with some surprise.
“Buffy,” he says, and she holds back an eyeroll, because talk about stating the obvious.
“Yeah. I caught the earlier plane. Thought I’d surprise you,” a week earlier, sure, but she really needed a change of air. Rome got a bit... crowded. How many ex-boyfriends can a girl have stalking her, seriously? “Can I come in?”
He smiles, slightly, moving back a little. “Only if you can,” he says, and she smiles, too, and crosses the doorway, dropping her bag on the floor. “It’s good to see you,” Giles adds, and she smiles wider, because it feels even better to see him than she thought it would.
She moves to hug him, hiding her face in the awful green sweater she hoped was left somewhere beneath the dust of Sunnydale, but no such luck. “You, too,” she says, her voice muffled, then pulls back.
And then she realises that the strange feeling of unease, as if she was being watched, is entirely justified. “Not happy to see him, though,” she mutters, pointing towards the couch, where Ethan Rayne is sitting, too comfortable and not beaten up enough for her liking.
“Charming as always,” Ethan says dryly. Catching her look, he raises his hand. “Don’t worry, dear, I shall be off now. It’s not necessary to show me the way out, I know it well,” he adds, standing up, and passing her, maintaining the biggest distance he can in the small hallway. “Rupert,” he says with a nod, and then smirks. “Be seeing you,” he offers, as if it was an in-joke, and Buffy scowls at the closing doors.
“Giles?” she asks, her tone demanding an explanation, and he sighs.
“Would you like a cup of tea?” he asks, and she almost smiles, losing her resolve face. Instead, she glares. He sighs again. “There was this demon,” he offers, and Buffy smiles this time.
“Isn’t there always? I swear, it’s almost as if there was a reason we meet so many of them. Like fate. Or, wait, I know this one, oh, sacred destiny?”
He shakes his head, small smile playing at his lips. “This could be the case, yes. Ethan happened to have necessary... resources.”
Buffy snorted. “I’m sure he did. Ya sure he wasn’t behind this?”
Giles nodded. “Quite sure.” He shrugged. “I checked. Now, about that tea?”
“I’d love some,” she muttered, walking in, purposefully ignoring the couch, and resting in the armchair. She’d be damned if she sits where Ethan sat. While Giles moved to the kitchen to make the tea, she looked around curiously. In a way, it was just as the apartment back at Sunnydale, earthy colours, muted lamplight, books. It was bigger, and the bedroom was probably an actual room, but it still felt comfortingly familiar. Just as Giles did, besides, or because that awful sweater.
Even if he was suddenly best buddies with Ethan. Not that she had any high ground to stand on, with the company she kept as of late. She really knew how to pick ‘em, didn’t she?
“I’m out of sugar,” he said, placing the cup in front of her. “I’ll buy some tomorrow,” he added apologetically, and she shrugged.
“Don’t worry about it. I should have called,” she said self-consciously, and he shook his head.
“You’re always welcome, Buffy.”
His matter-of-fact tone surprised her, although she knew it shouldn’t. She looked at him thoughtfully. “So, if I said I want to stay a while, you would be okay with that?”
She didn’t miss the softening in his eyes, and, for some reason, she felt warmer than the tea she was holding.
“Of course,” was all he said, then shifted in the chair, setting in comfortably. “So, how is Dawn?” he started, although he probably knew better than she did. He was almost too excited about that Oxford thing.
She smiled, and launched into the latest story, the one where Dawn aced her Latin and made everyone insanely jealous of her. Giles was listening with a smile.
She knew then, she was going to love London.