(This happens after the scene with Xander below)
I was seated at the large central table, poring over a tome on important demonic feast days when I heard someone tentatively call my name. Thinking it was a student, I did not look up immediately, so engrossed was I in the book.
"Hmmm? Just put them over in the pile marked returns. I'll get to them in a moment." When the person didn't respond or move to comply, I lifted my head and was surprised to see not a student, but a rather well dressed young man standing in front of me. I did not recognise him and yet he seemed to know who I was.
"Oh, I'm terribly sorry. Had my nose in this..." I suddenly realised that I couldn't very well say The Infernal Rites Compendium, so I sheepishly pushed it behind my back and tried to act casual. "Never mind, y-yes, I am Giles, Rupert Giles. How can I help you?"
Smiling shyly I walk over to the man. I take a deep breath and try to show more confidence then I'm actually feeling. I can do this, I'm a trained Watcher for christ sake and so is he. We can work just fine together. Or...not. I'm so bloody nervous. I have to do this right. It's my first impression and those are imperative.
Glancing at the book he was reading I can't help but smile a bit. Excellent reading choice. Quickly I school my face as I look up again. It's not proper and completely inadequate to behave in such a distracted manner. I look around to make sure there is on one there to listen into our conversation before continuing.
Squaring my shoulders I hold out man hand and nod at him. "Mister Giles," I nod. "I'm Wesley Wyndam-Pryce from The Council of Watcher in England." Oh good lord, of course they are in England. Excellent start Pryce. "Perhaps it's best if we move to your office."
I took his hand and shook it firmly, raising my eyebrow at the revelation of his name.
"Wesley Wyndam Pryce, eh? I met your father once, sterling gentleman. Well, how do you do, and welcome to Sunnydale, the home of the infamous hellmouth. I'm surprised you aren't with the other's at the Watcher's Retreat in the Cotswolds though, are you here on business?"
I motioned for him to follow me into my office, cursing myself at the wistful quality in my voice at the mention of the retreat. I'd been hoping I would be invited to go this year, and yet the invitation had never eventuated. Likely they'd presumed that I had my hands full dealing with the active slayer and a pesky hellmouth to protect to go kayaking and partake in other such frivolous activities.
Confused I blink at him. Retreat in the Cotswolds? What on earth is he blathering on about? Well, never mind, it's not important right now. "Yes. My father is well known within The Council," I nod at him. Unfortunately, but I'm not adding that of course.
Following him into the office I glance around the small room. There is nothing here that would indicate that I'm dealing with the Watcher of one of the active Slayers. Well, that's...good, I suppose. "I am here on business yes." Why the bloody hell else would I be here for? Certainly not to take a look at the Slayer in the wild. Well, there is that of course. I *am* after all a Watcher. But I'm starting to drift away from the task at hand.
"I take it you've received word from the Council and their letter?" God, I hope so. My hand hovers over the pocket that contains a copy of the aforementioned letter.
"A letter?" I queried Pryce with a puzzled frown. "I have received no word recently, why?" No invite either. What a silly thing to smart over and yet here I was feeling the slight of it yet again.
"Would you like some tea? Don't worry, it's fresh darjeeling and in leaves, I brew a pot from time to time, nothing like the real thing as they say. I expect you must be tired from your journey. Won't take a moment for the kettle to boil. Have a seat, please."
I gestured to one of the seats by my meagre little desk. Such a small room, there was scant space for decorations or artifacts to spice it up a bit. And yet still, it was my inner sanctum and I was proud of how tidy I kept it.
I can feel my stomach drop and my heart rate go up as he mentions he has not received a letter. Nor has the council contacted him. Bloody marvelous. How am I supposed to work with the man if the first thing I do is basically hand over his resignation if he doesn't...act differently.
"Errr...yes, thank you. Tea would be wonderful. I'm not actually that tired." Liar. "I've arrived in Sunnydale sometime yesterday evening. I've managed to get some sleep to counter act the time difference."
Sitting down on the chair he indicated I pull the letter out of my pocket. It's as if it burns in my hand. I'm very glad to put it on his desk to get it out of my hand. Taking a deep breath, I resist the urge to chew on my thumb nail. Nasty habit that. "He-here is a copy of the letter I...uh...men-mentioned." Get a grip, Pryce! Stammering will get you nowhere.
"Errr...yes, thank you. Tea would be wonderful. I'm not actually that tired. I've arrived in Sunnydale sometime yesterday evening. I've managed to get some sleep to counter act the time difference."
I nodded and proceeded to set the water on to boil. This Pryce fellow seemed a bit young to be jetting half way across the world, just to present a letter, but still, council business was steeped in formality at times.
"He-here is a copy of the letter I...uh...men-mentioned."
Pryce seemed a little apprehensive about the contents of the letter. Surely he already knew what it contained? I took the parchment and began to read it.
After I had read it, I carefully folded it and gave it back to him, trying to keep a grip on my emotions.
So I was to be put on probation, pending assessment by this wet-behind-the-ears upstart who probably had no idea what it was like to be in charge of a slayer in the field.
I could see Travers' hand orchestrating this farce. Ever since the Cruciamentum he'd had it in for me.
"So. You are to assess my performance, I take it?" I finally replied, my voice taking on a bitter edge.
While he's reading the letter I take the opportunity to calm down. I will away the nagging feeling in my stomach and demand my hands to stop shaking. Straightening my tie and glasses, I take a few deep breaths to calm down. It's not actually working, but I can pretend. If there is something I've learned during my years at the academy it's pretending. Not to mention with a father such as Roger Wyndam-Pryce.
"Yes," I nod at him once. I force myself to relax in the chair and give off an air of confidence while I look at him over the rim of my glasses. "I'm also here to function as a Watcher over the new Slayer, Faith Hanley. Has she arrived yet?" I congratulate myself on the fact that I sound calm and in control. Not reacting to the bitter tone in Mister Giles' voice.
Being a Watcher to one of the active Slayers if far more important to me then assessing my colleague. Of course Mister Travers made it very clear to me that I'm to make this a number one priority also. I'm supposed to have two number one priorities? Yes, splendid.
"I'm also here to function as a Watcher over the new Slayer, Faith Hanley. Has she arrived yet?"
"What? Oh, no. Or more precisely I had no idea she was in town. A new slayer, you say? I presume she was activated when Kendra was killed."
I tried to focus on making the tea, but I felt as though the rug had been sharply pulled from under my feet. I was on the back foot and now to have news of this Faith girl on top of the council's probation, it rankled.
"Really, this is just priceless. When was I going to be told about this new slayer being here? How am I supposed to do my job and protect these girls if I am not kept informed? Quite frankly, I think a lot of them just don't realise how difficult it actually is to be in the field, to be actively trying to be both trainer and guardian to these young women, especially on a hellmouth. A week doesn't go by when there isn't some apocalypse or dire momentous event to be prevented from happening."
I placed the pot and mugs down in front of Pryce, and then proceeded to pour the tea in a manner that was not as calm as I would have liked.
"On probation... hmph they have no idea of the sheer difficulty of executing my duty. Buffy Summers is not exactly a by-the-book slayer. I had to throw out the slayer's manual within the first few weeks. She's precocious, willful and prone to disobeying orders. And yet, she has seen us through countless battles, and has more than proven herself to be a worthy addition to the slayer line. Don't tell me Quentin Travers has something to do with this debacle? I'm of a mind to call him on the phone and give him what for. What time is it in England?" I moved from the table and went over to the phone, looking for my black book of phone numbers that I kept near it.
"The Council was supposed to have informed you of everything before my arrival," I inform him hotly. How dare he talk down at them in this manner? It is sacrilege to the holy Council! "But with the way the American postal system works, I wouldn't be surprised if you receive the letter in a few weeks." And he keeps on ranting. How very rude, I'm not getting a word in edgewise. This is the man I have to assess?
He what? He threw away the manual? "You threw away the manual?" I look at him perplexed. How can one throw away the sacred manual? It contains all the answers on how to handle ones Slayer. All questions are answered in there. One does not just throw away the manual! It is quite obvious he's lost all control of his Slayer from the sound of it. Of course, I've not yet met Miss Summers nor seen them interact. Still, it bear's keeping in mind.
"You've lost all touch with our basis of operation if you have to ask what time it is in the Mother county, Mister Giles." Honestly, he should know this. They are five hours ahead of us here. Therefor it is early in the evening. You shant disturb Mister Travers during is evening tea." Honestly, if he wishes to rant at Travers he should do so during office hours when there's a chance other might hear it. Which will hopefully include me.
"Look, Mister Giles. I understand this is all a bit much perhaps. But it is imperative that you set aside these supposed difficulties and work with our Slayers. First of all I need to find out where Miss Hanley is. She was supposed to report here with you until I arrived and could assume the proper duties as her Watcher." I can do this. I can make my father proud. I shall not mess up.
"You threw away the manual?"
Pryce looked mortified at that revelation.
"Yes, I felt it was plainly useless with regard to dealing with Buff- Miss Summers. You haven't met her yet, perhaps then you will understand what I'm talking about. Not all slayers are 'text-book' Pryce - even Kendra had her quirky idiosyncracies."
"You've lost all touch with our basis of operation if you have to ask what time it is in the Mother country, Mister Giles. They are five hours ahead of us here. Therefore it is early in the evening. You shan't disturb Mister Travers during his evening tea."
I handed him the milk and sugar, trying to rein in my temper. After all, Pryce was merely the messenger, it was not his fault that I had been placed on probation. However, his arrogance was beginning to grate.
"My apologies, having lived here in the 'colonies' for the past three years, I have lost touch with calculating timezones. Such an important skill to have, and obviously I have been remiss in not keeping it honed properly." I remarked sarcastically.
"Look, Mister Giles. I understand this is all a bit much perhaps. But it is imperative that you set aside these supposed difficulties and work with our Slayers. First of all I need to find out where Miss Hanley is. She was supposed to report here with you until I arrived and could assume the proper duties as her Watcher."
I sighed, and sipped at my tea.
"Of course I will work with them, and co operate with you fully. I am totally committed to the job I am doing here. If we have two slayers working in tandem here at the hellmouth, then things will undoubtedly go a lot easier for us."
"There's no need to be sarcastic, Mister Giles," I say coldly, pushing up my glasses. Accepting the tea with a nod, sip it slowly as he listen to him talk. "You cannot just throw out the manual," I squeak. "Slayers need rule they should abide or it'll be...cha-chaos!" Isn't that what they taught us at the academy? Always use the rules in the hand book to keep your Slayer on track. One cannot just go around and not use the manual. It's tradition.
Sighing along with Mister Giles I sip my tea again. "What do you mean 'if'? My Slayer, Miss Hanley, has been send to the Hell Mouth. She should already be here and reported to you. Such insolence cannot be tolerated. We shall have to work closely together if these girls are so head strong." American, really. Why couldn't the Powers have picked a nice, traditional British girl?
"There's no need to be sarcastic, Mister Giles. You cannot just throw out the manual. Slayers need rule they should abide or it'll be...cha-chaos!"
I restrained myself from making further sarcastic remarks in response to Wesley's protestations, although it took some doing on my part. He really was rather wet behind the ears. But I suspected he'd learn soon enough once he gained some actual experience in the field. I only hoped that I had never come across this uptight and staid in my early tenure as watcher.
"What do you mean 'if'? My Slayer, Miss Hanley, has been send to the Hell Mouth. She should already be here and reported to you. Such insolence cannot be tolerated. We shall have to work closely together if these girls are so head strong."
"I concur. Buffy is a handful on her own. I have no idea what this new girl is like, and if she has not reported already, perhaps that is an indication of how loosely she follows protocol."
I set my teacup down and regarded Pryce with a stern glance.
"'Insolence' on the other hand is rather a perforative term don't you think? I would hope you aren't going to start carrying around a ruler to wrap on their knuckles if they step out of line. We aren't in public school any more, Pryce."
"They are young girls, Mister Giles. They should be held in a tight grip," I retort, returning his glance. Where does he come of looking at me like that? I'm here to rapport back on him. Does he not remember this? And those girls, they are American. Such a rude nation. Dilly dallying around. There is no time for that for The Slayer. The Council certainly taught me that.
I frown as he mentions that the fact that Faith has not yet reported might be an indication about her behavior. Oh good god, that's just bloody marvelous. Taking off my glasses I pull out my handkerchief and start to wipe them. "Yes, well. I'm certain she's just lost. It was very hard for me to find this town as well." Yes, she's just lost.
Getting up, I put my glasses back on and fold up my handkerchief. "Well, I think there's nothing more to say until Miss Hanley gets here." Pulling out a card where I've written down my address, room and telephone number I hand it over to him. "This is where I can be reached. I shall return again tomorrow to see if there is any other news and meet Miss Summers. You will let me know the moment Miss Hanely reports in, yes?" It's not really a question, but one must maintain a sense of politeness.