Timeline: The story begins in the autumn of 2002, (BtVS S7, AtS S4) while Giles is still traveling the world searching for potential slayers.
Length: 1982 words
Disclaimer: The characters belong to Joss Whedon, ME and 20th Century Fox. I am just playing with them, and I promise not to fold, spindle or mutilate—at least these characters.
Thanks to karabair for the speedy and helpful beta. Written for the Nevermet Ficathon, in which two characters meet, who never met in canon.
Rupert Giles gripped the steering wheel with both hands and tried to remember why he had thought renting a small, low-slung sports car would be a good idea. He should have hired an armoured tank! He had, after all, spent six years of his life in California—one would have thought one would remember that driving in California was less a mode of transportation and more an extreme sport. Apparently, he was quite as capable as the next person of blocking out unpleasantness, and during his all-too-brief return to England, he had forgotten. It was quite distracting, really, trying to read directional signs and to remember to drive on the right, when all around him behemoths with the capability of crushing him like a bug whizzed by.
Giles breathed a sigh of relief when the road he wanted cut off to the right and the majority of the traffic continued straight ahead. He could cope with only two lanes of traffic in each direction, and soon he would be out of the freeway mess altogether. This might be a good time to stop for a bite to eat. Now that he was free of the most congested portion of the LA freeway system, he realized that he felt quite peckish. He pulled into the parking lot of a truck stop advertising Breakfast Served 24 hrs/day and topped off his petrol before entering the restaurant.
Girls—potential slayers—were being murdered all over the world, along with their watchers, and he hadn't a clue who was doing it or why. He'd contacted Quentin Travers, of course, when he first became aware of the problem, but Quentin had not been forthcoming. Either the Council was totally in the dark, or Quentin wasn't sharing information for reasons of his own. Giles gritted his teeth as he remembered the hoops Quentin had made them jump through when they had requested information about Glory. Buffy had won that little power struggle, and apparently that fact still rankled with Quentin.
No, the Council were of absolutely no help, but thankfully, he had independent resources via Althenea and the Coven. The seers had been quite successful in pinpointing at-risk girls and sending him to collect them before they were murdered. But this visit was different. This 'potential' was manifesting all the signs of having slayer attributes—strength, speed, accelerated healing—according to the seers, but this potential slayer was a male.
That was, of course, impossible. The Slayer line had always been female. One girl in all the world . . . He'd argued with Althenea—said there must be some mistake. Althenea had smiled and agreed that a mistake was quite possible—the seers just channeled the information, it was up to Giles to interpret it. So that was his current goal. After dropping two more of the normal female potentials off at Revello Drive, he was now navigating the horrendous Los Angeles traffic in an attempt to locate and assess a male potential slayer. Giles found Hamlet, Act I, Scene V quite appropriate at present. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. It should be the Sunnydale motto.
Giles sat in the 1986 silver Mazda sedan as he watched the abandoned factory, the lodestone warm in his hand. He left the fancy sports car at the hotel after he had seen the area in which the lodestone indicated he would find the boy. He may have allowed himself to be seduced by a racy motor and shiny curves when arranging for transportation for the drive down, but he quickly recognized that the car was totally inappropriate for information gathering and surveillance in the warehouse district. Giles had struck a deal with the bellman, hiring the Mazda for his real work in LA.
Giles snapped to attention as a tall, slim youth, who moved with the grace of a natural predator, ran down a rusted fire escape, dropped the last twelve feet, and landed in a nearly silent crouch. Perhaps the seer had been mistaken in the gender of the potential slayer? Giles narrowed his eyes and looked harder. No, he was fairly certain it was a rather androgynous-looking male, after all. The youth gracefully rose to his feet and sniffed the air. Finding his direction, he melted into the shadows.
Grabbing his crossbow, Giles hurried after the boy. The bespelled lodestone the coven had given him to locate the 'potential' would help, but he hadn't been prepared for the speed and surety of the boy's movements. Giles was glad he had worn rubber-soled shoes. Even so, it was difficult to keep up with the young man. He was a mature Watcher, for God's sake, not an Olympic track star!
Giles heard a series of growls and slowed his steps, as he moved more cautiously. He flattened himself against a building and peered around the corner. The possible potential was facing off against four vampires and Giles caught his breath. Would this be the end of his quest, without ever having the opportunity to talk with the boy? Even Buffy would be hard pressed to handle four vamps at once.
The youth stood preternaturally still, eyes tracking the vampires as they began to surround him.
When he was sure that he had a good shot at the vampire moving behind the boy, Giles raised the crossbow and carefully aimed. The teenager's head cocked at the soft whoosh of sound as the bolt sped toward Giles' target, but the vampires didn't appear to notice. Giles' vampire grunted as the bolt hit its mark and then turned into a shower of dust. The other vampires attacked en masse.
The boy flowed like liquid magma, his movements smooth and deadly. Leaping into the air, twisting and kicking, followed by quick jabs of his stake, the young man made short work of the other three vampires. Giles hadn't even had time to reload the crossbow.
Barely winded, the boy was suddenly directly in front of Giles. He looked vaguely familiar, but Giles just couldn't place him. He tossed back a shock of silky brown hair, exposing a softly-rounded forehead and distrustful blue eyes. Giles had seen eyes like those before, and the strong nose reminded him of someone, also. The teenager stared at him, and his eyes seemed to penetrate Giles' very soul. With a shrug, he appeared to decide Giles wasn't much of a threat.
“Thanks,” the boy said, and turned to go.
“Wait!” Giles called. “Who are you?”
The boy looked Giles up and down, appeared to find him wanting, and his lips curved into an ironic smile.
“The Destroyer,” he stated.
Giles blinked, mentally framing his next question, and then he was gone and Giles hadn't even seen him go. He devoutly hoped this enigmatic young man would prove to be less elusive at their next meeting.
Giles returned to the building in which he had first seen the boy and waited. When three hours had passed with no sign of him, Giles decided to call it a night and return to his hotel. He would attempt to contact 'The Destroyer' the next day.
Thus, the following evening found him once again parked outside of the abandoned factory in the bellman's Mazda. That nagging sense of familiarity continued to tug at him, and he replayed the boy's features in his mind over and over. The teenager definitely resembled someone Giles knew, if he could just manage to make the connection . . . Darla! With the exception of the strong nose and brown, rather than blond hair, the boy looked exactly like Darla.
Which wasn't in the least helpful, Giles decided, as Darla had been a vampire for 400 years prior to her dusting five years ago. Giles was reaching for his notebook to jot down his futile attempt at identification, when his door was wrenched open and he was dragged from the car by his collar.
A cold voice demanded, “Okay. You're gonna tell me who you are and why you're stalking my son, or I'll . . . Giles?”
“What are you doing here?”
“Yeah. Connor's my son. It's a long story. What are you doing here, and why are you watching Connor?”
“You have a son? A biological son? But, I thought vampires . . .”
Angel sighed. “You're not gonna let this go, are you? Okay. We might as well go get a cup of coffee and I'll tell you about it, but then you are gonna tell me exactly why you were watching Connor!”
Giles sipped his coffee and bit into a raspberry jelly-filled donut as Angel—reluctantly—brought him up to speed.
“I had noticed his resemblance to Darla, but he has your nose,” Giles commented.
A smile of pure joy spread over Angel's face. “You think so? He has my nose?”
Giles nodded. “As to why I'm here . . . someone or something is systematically eliminating potential slayers. We don't know who or why, but I've been flying all over the world, trying to reach the girls first. A seer I've been working with identified a young man who appeared to possess slayer attributes so, although I had thought it impossible for a male to be a slayer, I came to check it out.”
“Yes, Connor. But, as he's obviously not of the Slayer line, I guess my work here is finished and I should be getting on with the mission to locate as many potentials as possible.”
Angel nodded. “Good luck with that. If I can do anything to help . . .”
“We'll contact you.” Giles got up to leave. “Congratulations, Angel. He's a fine boy.”
Giles saw profound sadness in Angel's eyes.
“He could be . . . I hope he will be. We all have a lot to answer for where Connor's concerned.”
As Giles passed the lighted windows of the donut shop on his way to the car, he saw Angel still sitting in the booth they had shared. Angel's shoulders looked bowed, as if he carried the weight of the world on them. Giles couldn't see his face—it was pressed into his big hands. Giles thought he had never seen anyone look more alone.
Giles made his way to the front of the bus to offer to spell Robin Wood. Wood had insisted he was capable of driving and Giles had initially felt he would be of more use helping to perform emergency first aid on the survivors. When bleeding was staunched and wounds were bandaged as well as could be done until they could locate a hospital, Giles informed Wood it was his turn to be patched up and he would brook no arguments.
He helped Wood to the long seat in the back which was being used as a makeshift examination table, and then made his way back to the driver's seat. Reaching into his jacket pocket for his handkerchief to clean his glasses before taking over the driving duties, Giles touched a smooth stone and drew it out. The stone had flecks of gold in it that seemed to flow to the end of the stone pointing toward Los Angeles. It was the bespelled locater stone the coven had given him months ago to locate . . . a potential? In Los Angeles? Funny. He should remember. He remembered making the trip to LA in that bloody brilliant sports car, but then things seemed to get hazy. Hmm. He must be having a 'Senior moment'. Oh, well. He was sure the details would come back to him eventually. And, apparently the lodestone seemed to be still working. He could always look into it later. Right now, he had a bus full of wounded that needed medical attention.