TITLE: Take Me: Take Two 3/9
SUMMARY: This takes place during The Freshman. Some dialog is taken from that episode so between my old words and the word that don’t belong to me this fic is 80% recycled. It’s earth friendly to read and review.
A/N: Thanks to janedavitt
for the beta.
"Uhm... Anya? You know the door was open, so I just... Uh, are you wearing the shirt I gave Giles for Christmas?" Buffy looked around. While his things were still there, there was something un-Giles-y about the place now. There were colorful pillows on the sofa and what was with the guitar by the sofa? Had Anya killed Giles and taken over his apartment?
"Oh, Buffy, sorry, I didn't hear you come in. Giles is trying to educate me in the classics.” Anya rolled her eyes and turned down the stereo. “Don’t say I said so,” Anya confided, “but when I’m in a retro mood I like big band better. More fun to dance to.”
Giles walked in and kissed Anya on the cheek. “I’ll remind you of that next time you ask me to play something, Anya.” He seemed pretty alive to Buffy, but the rumpled hair, old jeans, and tee shirt were wigging her out.
"Is this a bad time?"
"No! Oh, uh, forgive me. This, uh... You remember, uh, Anya."
"Uh-huh.” She nodded. Like she could forget “Former demon. We went to high school together."
“I’d feel more comfortable if you could put the emphasis on 'former', please,” Anya said.
Buffy was about to offer to put the emphasis on 'high school'. Because even if she knew the boogie-woogie bugle boy personally, Anya still looked too young for Giles. While she was coming up with the perfect quip Giles changed the subject, darn his polite British tendencies, asking, "How's, uh, how is university?"
"Pretty much the same as high school, in the sense that I need help. But this just looks like a bad time.”
"No, it's great that you're here, Buffy, not that I want you to be in trouble or that you should just walk in without any warning,” Anya said.
“Trust me, next time I’ll knock.”
“That would be nice. Don’t worry, Giles will help you. We’ll have a meeting. It’ll be fun unless the world is ending or something. Well, you guys talk. I'll just go and get dressed. You have very good taste in men’s clothing, Buffy, but I should probably put on some pants."
Buffy said, “Good idea, that outfit looks like it’s drafty.” She noticed that when Anya left Giles’ eyes followed her as if they were on a string.
“You didn’t need to be so rude to Anya, Buffy.”
"Sorry, she’s just very…perky,” Buffy thought of her new roommate and explained, “I’m sort of suffering from perky overload right now.” She looked away from Giles guiltily. “This is a bad time."
"You keep saying that, Buffy."
"Well, it looks pretty bad! Did you get into an old stash of that band candy or something?" She knew she was acting like a brat but why did everything have to change so fast? Giles was supposed to wear tweed and be eager to help her and, and be Giles.
“Just tell me why you’re here.”
“There's this student missing.”
“Yes?” At least the very annoyed look he gave her was familiar and reassuring.
"Eddie. He's supposed to have left school but... I just don't think he did. I met him outside last night, and then I went back where we met, and it looked there had been a struggle."
“And we need to stop this!" Why wasn't Giles getting it? "And Eddie's RA said kids disappear a lot. There could be a gang of vampires working the campus. We need research, an-an-and charts and stuff.”
Giles said, "I still don't see where I fit in. You haven't described anything that you can't do yourself."
"Okay, remember before the midlife crisis when you used to be a Watcher?"
"Officially you no longer have a Watcher. Buffy, you know I'll always be here when you need me. Y-your safety is more important to me than anything, but you're going to have to take care of yourself. You're out of school and I can't always be there to guide you."
"I'm sorry to bug you."
"Oh! No! I mean yeah, you're... you're right. I can handle it… It's just that... I'm on it."
"I-I'm here if you need me." But Buffy had already left.
Giles felt restless for the first time in weeks. He had been surprised how well he slept since Anya had moved in; he'd never thought of himself as the type to cuddle. Tonight his mind was so busy that he slipped out of bed to put the kettle on, although he was thinking that scotch might be a better idea. A hand touched his shoulder, startling him.
"Sorry,” Anya said. “I didn’t mean to sneak up on you. Are you worried about whatever's going on with Buffy? What was her problem, anyway?"
"I think Buffy only came to me for help out of habit; it was nothing she couldn't handle on her own."
"That’s good, so why aren’t you sleeping the sleep of the well-sated male as usual?"
"I'm not sure." Giles replied, "How is this supposed to go, Anya? Slayers so rarely reach adulthood and even then they are encouraged to be dependant. That's not what I want for Buffy, and it's not what she wants for herself, regardless of how unsure she feels right now. So how do I encourage independence and still be there for her?"
"I'm confused; isn't that what you were doing all along? I don't know Buffy very well but it seems to me that she's the type that needs to be nudged to ask for help. You help get her the information she needs and she makes the plans. Maybe today she just needed to know that the net would be there if she fell.”
“I don’t think I convinced her it would be.”
“How am I supposed to be there for her when I don’t even know what I want to be when I grow up? Buffy accused me of having a midlife crisis.” Giles turned off the burner and moved the kettle, deciding it was too late for tea. “She could have a point.”
Anya said, “Now, I know that can’t be true.” She put her arms around him and laid her head on his chest.
“Hmm, how come?”
“Your car’s a piece of crap and if you were having a midlife crisis I’d have much bigger breasts.”
“Your breasts are as perfect and as lovely as your mind.” Giles chuckled. “And I like my Citroen; it may not be flashy but I get where I need to go.”
“See?” Anya said, “You’ve just proved my point. If you’re worried, we can go help.”
“I’m not worried that she can’t handle whatever is causing the problems on campus. I just – I was annoyed with the way she was rude to you. You know I’m not going to let her opinion come between us?” Giles asked and moved away a little to so he could look into her eyes.
Anya snuggled close to him again and said, “My evil plan is to be so close to you no one can fit there.”
“I like your plan.”
“Honestly, Buffy wasn’t so bad. Just a little jealous and overprotective. She’s a Slayer and I was a demon, it makes sense. You’re her Watcher; if she moved in with a former demon you’d be a little put off, too.”
“I told her she didn’t have a Watcher anymore…”
“Well, that was a silly thing to do! I’ll get the stakes, you grab an ax or something.”