Characters: Giles, Buffy.
Word Count: 958
Spoilers: Welcome to the Hellmouth/The Harvest.
Summary: Rupert Giles considers the Slayer he has recently become responsible for.
Written For: Challenge 187: Shoulder at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own BTVS, or the characters. They belong to Joss Whedon.
‘Look at her, she’s just a slip of a girl, hardly more than a child,’ Rupert Giles thought, studying his new charge. ‘It doesn’t seem fair that such a heavy burden should he placed squarely on such young shoulders. A girl her age should be daydreaming about boys and going to parties, or whatever it is American teenagers do, not risking her life on a daily basis to defend the world from vampires and sundry demons.’
Nevertheless, she had a responsibility, and so did Giles. Their first meeting didn’t go too well though, the girl fleeing his presence the moment she understood who he was, and for all that the next time she deliberately sought him out, their second meeting wasn’t any more encouraging.
Really, he shouldn’t have been surprised that young Miss Summers was reluctant to resume her duties as the Slayer. He’d read her previous Watcher’s journals, fascinating stuff, so he was well aware of the events that had compelled her mother to look for a school away from Los Angeles, one that would be willing to accept her ‘juvenile delinquent’ daughter. The Watchers’ Council had pulled quite a few strings to ensure that Buffy and her mother would settle in Sunnydale. Where better for the Slayer to be located than one of the world’s major Hellmouths? Not that Buffy could have been expected to know that. No doubt she’d believed her slaying days were over and not merely on a brief hiatus.
Giles sympathised with the girl; she’d already been through so much in her short life, but at the same time, her dismissive attitude irked him. She was the Slayer, the only girl in all the world with the strength and skill to… Well, suffice it to say, she had a job to do and she needed to stop complaining about mundane problems and get on with it before more people died. He had an uneasy feeling that the dead boy in the gym locker was only the beginning. Something was coming, something big, and somehow he needed to not only convince his Slayer of that, but also prepare her to face it. Judging by Miss Summers’ reluctance to cooperate, Giles had his work cut out for him.
Still, the girl didn’t lack spirit or determination, even if both were currently focussed in the wrong direction as she attempted to avoid her destiny rather than embracing it. The potential was there if it could just be utilised for the correct purposes.
Tracking his errant Slayer down wasn’t too difficult. Like it or not, she couldn’t help herself, gravitating towards the nearest place vampires were likely to congregate. Well, perhaps he was reading a little too much into her presence at the Bronze, since the club appeared to be the popular place for teenagers to hang out, even if he couldn’t see the appeal of the place himself.
Actually, if Giles was completely honest with himself, rather than tracking her down it was more a case of Buffy finding him. She was quite a remarkable young woman, keeping him on his toes even this early in their acquaintance. Despite her professed reluctance to carry out her slaying duties, she had already managed to get one step ahead of him, mentioning having been warned about something called The Harvest. The term rang a rather ominous bell somewhere in the depths of Giles’ mind, he was sure he’d seen a reference to it in one of the many volumes of vampire lore he’d read; he really needed to consult his books as soon as possible…
Destiny and knowledge; when it came right down to it, no Slayer could simply turn her back on duty and walk away. She knew what was out there lurking in the darkness, was conscious of the lives that were at risk, lives she had the power to save. More than that, she was all too aware of the countless deaths that would be on her conscience if she did nothing… It wasn’t fair, but no matter how much Buffy protested, she didn’t really have any choice, and deep down she knew that. As with all Slayers, the term ‘an old head on young shoulders’ most definitely applied.
So she did what only she could do. Using cunning and trickery, as well as the knowledge gleaned from research, and her own fighting prowess, she grasped her destiny firmly in both hands and took on the forces of evil. By killing the Vessel, she prevented the Harvest and ensured that the Master remained trapped somewhere deep below Sunnydale, and although there were deaths, they were fewer than if the Hellmouth had been opened. Whatever the battle, victory always came at a price.
That wasn’t to be the end though, merely the beginning; there would always be more vampires and demons to battle. Evil does not give in gracefully; it simply marshals its forces and tries again, and again, and again, ad infinitum. There would be no going back to what passed for a normal life, not for Buffy; her fate had been irrevocably sealed from the moment her predecessor had died and the metaphorical torch had passed to her.
Inside, Giles wept for her. Slayers’ lives tended to be short and brutal; they didn’t get to retire, one had to die before the next would be called to replace her. He’d known his Slayer for only a few days, and despite trying his best to maintain a professional distance, he found it impossible not to care for her. He hated knowing that in time she’d lose a fight, that her bright, fierce flame would inevitably be snuffed out and he’d have to bury her.
But please God not yet. She’d barely begun to live.