Not mine. Not yours. Joss'. Deal.
I jumped when Rupert honked his car horn. The tinny sound actually startled me, which wasn't surprising. I'd been especially jumpy lately, ever since the whole Frankenstein incident. Who ever thought reading Mary Shelley in Sophomore Literature would precipitate something like *that*. Only on the Hellmouth, I guess.
Rupert was early, which was perfectly like him. Tonight was our second date, and we were planning on heading to the local Italian restaurant. We'd tried the taqueria, and discussed...and rejected...the German restaurant. That didn't leave much in Sunnydale, so we were left with Little Italy. Why was it that every town has to have a restaurant called Little Italy even if there is no significant Italian population? The restaurant wasn't even owned by Italians. I taught the Swendson's nice, Norweigan daughter the basics of C programming last year, so I knew their not-so-well kept secret.
I opened my jewelry box and hunted for a necklace. Knocking on the door prompted me to hurry, and I grabbed the quartz necklace that I'd had on the night of that mess at Parent/Teacher Conference. You never knew when you were going to need some sort of amplification, and the boost it could give to my shielding might come in handy.
"Hello, Rupert," I said, opening the door. "Ooh, you even left the green checked monstrosity home for the night," I commented, hiding my relief behind sarcasm. "I'm impressed." My pre-date levity earned me a small sigh of exasperation. "Come on in."
"Thank you, Ms. Calendar," Giles said, stepping in and looking around somewhat nervously.
"Didn't I tell you to call me Jenny?" Giles looked somewhat startled, and began to stammer a little, but I managed to interrupt him before he could get started. I had my own complaining to do. "That weaselly little tyrant that calls himself a principal isn't here to complain about professional behavior, so I think it's okay for you to call me Jenny." I managed to soften the blow with one of my huge smiles, the rare ones that Giles managed to get more often than about anybody. One of these days I was going to figure out exactly how he did that to me, since he seemed like the epitome of the snobby, starched, prudish British gentleman. There was something boiling underneath the surface, however; that *really* got to me. Something besides the accent, that is.
He smiled a little, and looked at his watch. "We have reservations soon, Ms. ...um, Jenny. Are you ready?"
"Sure, let me just get my purse, okay?" I darted back into the bedroom and grabbed it--checking, of course, for the stake and cross which had become part of my arsenal earlier this year. In this town, pepper spray was next to useless. Holy water was the fashionable woman's weapon. I sighed. How on Earth did my life get so complicated? Not that I'd trade it for the world, but I just couldn't figure out precisely how it had happened.
"Now are you ready?" He held out his arm, showing me some of that chivalry his forebearers were famed for. I smiled again--I was *really* going to have to figure out how he did that to me--and took his arm, and we stepped out the door and he opened the door to his car.
"Nice," I said, a small smirk on my face. "So did you have this shipped over from England?"
"Well, uh...yes," he said. "I, uh, wanted a car whose vagaries I was used to."
"And you also prefer it to the less well-made American models?"
"Um..." He didn't seem to want to be insulting to Americans, at least not about their cars. Rupert settled on a shrugging his shoulders before starting the car.
In no time at all, we were seated at a table, candlelight burning, and garlic breadsticks in a basket ready to be munched on. "So," I said, poring over the menu. "What prompted the whole 'second date' concept, Rupert?"
He was about to answer when he caught sight of something behind me and blanched. "Oh, dear," Giles whispered.
"What?" I turned around and caught sight of Spike sitting down with a woman, human face on and the charm turned full up. He was ordering, and the waitress certainly seemed taken with him. "Oh boy," I said, turning back to Giles, my eyes wide. "Got a cross?"
"Yes," he said, digging in his jacket. "You?"
"Cross, holy water, and stake, actually. I've always believed in being over-prepared, especially where the undead are concerned." He grinned then, that geeky little smile that meant he was both relieved and amused. "I think I may just have an extra stake," I offered.
"Let's just hope that we don't have any need to use it," Giles said. "I don't believe Spike saw us the night of the Parent/Teacher Conference, but we can't be sure."
He'd gone into Watcher mode, of course. It certainly wasn't a problem, not with the Spike nearby. "What about the girl he's with. Do you think she's going to be okay?"
"I'm not sure." Giles took off his glasses and polished them. "She's got the characteristic pale skin, and it *is* night, so it's entirely possible that she's one of them."
"Why would two vampires be going out to dinner, though?"
"One of the previous Watchers--I was looking in her journal recently--mentioned that Spike had a girlfriend of sorts. He...it was a hundred years or so ago, just before Angel's soul was restored to him. She was someone he'd made, someone who apparently was used to track down the second Slayer that Spike killed. Her name was, ah, Drusilla, and it seems she had some sort of unidentified link to the Slayers. Harriet, the Watcher, didn't know this until after Elizabeth died. This could be Drusilla."
"Her dress *is* an older style," I said. "I seem to remember from my costuming days that particular design is from around the 19th century."
"So it's entirely possible that it's her. We need Buffy here." Giles put down his napkin and started to stand up. "I'm going to call her."
"No!" I hissed, grabbing his arm and pulling him back into his seat. All I earned was a death glare. "Look, if you get up and go *past* them to the phone, they might notice you. If they notice you, then they might remember you. Do you really want a pair of bloodthirsty vampires after you?"
"You're right," he said, sighing. "We need to find a way out of here unnoticed."
"Well, the first thing we have to do is act normal. That means eating dinner and behaving like a normal couple."
"Yes, quite right. Normal." Giles caught himself, and peered at me. "Did you say...couple?"
I smiled. "You noticed that, huh?" One of these days I might get tired of pulling that one on him...nah. The amazed look on his face was worth pulling that same number out over and over again. Still, if I ever got my hands on the woman that convinced him that he wasn't good relationship material, I'd rip her heart out and mail it to Spike for his birthday.
We ate, and had a generally good, if incredibly tense, time. Giles paid, pulling out a credit card I was surprised he had. "Beginning to live in the computer age?" I asked him, challenge in my eyes. Still, since that part-time web design job hadn't come through I'd been kinda short on cash, so I wasn't objecting.
I'd been laughing at something Giles had said, and he was pulling the keys to his car out of his pocket, when we encountered them. "Watcher," Spike said, suddenly appearing in front of us. He glared coldly at Giles, and I shivered involuntarily.
"Vampire," muttered Giles. The two exchanged glares until the girl by Spike tugged on his sleeve and the macho contest was broken so he could look over at her.
"Spike," said the girl next to him. "Who is she?"
"No one to worry about, Princess," he said, patting her arm patronizingly. I rolled my eyes. Apparently feminism hadn't hit the undead community.
"She looks like my sister, Spike. Only in different clothing."
"Can't be your sister, luv," he said. "You killed 'er, remember?"
"That's right," said the girl, who I guessed had to be Drusilla. "I'd forgotten. She wasn't as pretty as you are, though. She was a bad girl. Are you a bad girl?"
"The worst," I said, reaching into my purse and hunting for my cross. It didn't hit me until after I'd said it that I probably should have kept my mouth shut.
"That's all right," she said, letting go of Spike's arm and twirling around, laughing as her dress swirled around her legs. "I'm a bad girl too. Maybe we could be sisters?" She looked at me sadly, something reaching past the demon and speaking to me.
"Not likely," I said softly, shaking my head. "I'm sorry." I wasn't talking to the demon there, but to the girl. I thought I'd seen her in there somewhere, lost and lonely, and a little bit frightened. Even if she was a bloodthirsty killer.
"We could still be sisters," she said, her eyes taking on an odd cast. "We could be blood sisters," she said quietly, looking at me intently. Drusilla--oh, what's the word for it? She got really ugly, and really fast. She would have lunged for me, but I pulled out my cross and shoved it in her face. She screamed, and Giles took out the holy water I gave him and threw it in Spike's face. The plan, which was basically to rush for the car, worked out well, and we zoomed off.
Giles drove up to my place, and I leaned back against the seat. "Think we can ever have a night without vampiric activity?" I asked him.
"It's hardly likely," he said. "Or at least it feels like that."
"So, think they'll be lurking at your place, Giles?" I glanced around. I couldn't *see* any vampires, but I didn't take that as too much of a comfort.
"I'm not sure," he said. I suppose they might be. They do, after all, know who I am. They only know what you look like."
"Yes, and I know have a psycho vampire after me. This has turned out to be *such* a wonderful night." Sarcasm, my natural defense against creeps, jerks, and creatures of the night, was out in full force.
"I'm sorry." Giles looked at me, a slight frown on his face. In Brit-understated-speak, however; this meant, 'I am deeply troubled by this and am about to do something silly and self-sacrificing which isn't really needed but will make me feel noble and suffering.' Naturally I had to head this off at the pass. Or non-pass, as the case was apparently going to be.
"Feel like coming in?" I jingled my keys in his face. "It beats waiting at your place for the knock on the door and the overnight siege, don't you think?"
"Well..." Giles hesitated, wondering, I'm sure, if he was better serving me by being noble and drawing their attention away from me or by staying there to "protect" me. As if I don't have wards all over my place?
"Come on, Rupert," I said. "I even bought tea and a teapot for you." Wheedling was one of my stocks in trade with my brother, and I knew how to use it well. "I'll even make the tea for you."
That apparently did it, because Giles laughed. "I'll make the tea," he said. "You can have a cup of properly brewed tea, served correctly. You Americans haven't the least idea how to make a good cup of tea."
I grinned right back at him, determined not to let Snobby get in the last word. "I'd rather have coffee anyway." I smirked, and got out of the car, making him practically chase me up the driveway and over to my door.
"N..." I did end up getting the last word in, you realize, because before he even began that sentence he couldn't vocalize much more than a few inarticulate moans. Kissing'll do that for you. Somehow I managed to get the key in the lock, and we got into the living room. We didn't have any tea until the next morning, though.
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