This is my contribution to the Gen Remix, and—given a large number of potential POVs to play with—I decided to pick one who clearly had some major choices on his mind by this point in the canon 'verse. . .
Title: Perspectives (The Watcher's Remix)
Author: M. Scott Eiland
Fandom: Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Name and URL of Story That Was Remixed: “Perspectives”:
Author of Remixed Story: Mistral Amara
Rating: T, for language and themes.
Summary: Giles ponders the future as his charges discuss Dawn, Spike, and related issues. Post “The Gift”
Disclaimer: They belong to Joss—I'm just playing with them.
They had gathered at The Magic Box to talk about a party. Given the difficulty and cost of making sure that the guest of honor—along with the rest of the world—survived long enough to enjoy the event, the amount of discussion that was going into every detail was surprising to no one, including the tweed-clad former Watcher who leaned quietly against a wall and watched his young charges discuss cake and ice cream flavors, decorations, and music. Giles was startled by the quiet question voiced by Tara about half an hour into the planning:
“Shouldn't we invite Spike to Dawn's birthday party? You know they're really close.”
Giles hid a smile. Only Tara would ask that question so casually—and without wincing in anticipation at the inevitable reaction from Xander--
“You've got to be kidding! He's a vampire, we shouldn't be encouraging Dawn to hang out with him; we should be putting our foot down. All our feet. Preferably on his neck.” Giles noted that Xander wasn't really glaring at Tara—he's always been very gentle with her, even more so than with Willow—but he was visibly appalled at the suggestion.
“Or other, more painful parts. If you want to make a point.” Anya piped up,causing Giles to wince slightly. Book of Anya, Chapter One, first rule: “There's no problem that can't be solved by castrating some man. . . but it can't be Xander.”
“But he was so helpful in the fight against Glory; and he really seems to care for Dawn.” Tara wasn't giving up, Giles noted with interest. She's not intimidated by Xander, and she's learned to tune out Anya's ranting.
“Tara's got a point, Xander.” Willow commented quietly, her tone level and confident in a way that still surprised Giles after all of the years he had known the shy redhead. With Buffy gone, she's becoming the natural leader of the group. She listens to the others, then she makes a decision and sticks to it.
While he was pleased—if a bit uneasy for reasons he wasn't quite sure of—at Willow's newfound confidence, Giles decided that Xander's sensible concerns deserved a bit of backup, and he coughed once before saying, “It's true that he's been very helpful,and we can appreciate that. But we must never lose sight of what he is.”
Willow raised an eyebrow, visibly unimpressed by her mentor's interjection, and shot back, “And that would be?”
Giles was taken aback by Willow's aggressive reply, and he was inwardly relieved when Xander intervened with a blunt reply: “Hello? He's an evil Vampire!!! You do remember those, Will? I know it's been a while since we've dealt with anything so mundane, but still. ..”
Willow blinked at her best friend's bluntness, and her response—to Giles' further relief—was more subdued than before: “I know, it's just that he hasn't done anything totally evil in awhile.”
“Just because he wanted to get into Buffy's pants.” Xander scowled at the memory, and Giles—who was not being observed by the others at that moment—allowed his own expression to twist somewhat. Buffy—there are times I wish you hadn't convinced me to let him survive. Even now.
“So that's a bad thing?” Giles shook his head slightly at the former demon's comment. Book of Anya, Chapter One, Rule Two: There's absolutely no downside to sex—particularly if you can talk about it and make your friends squirm.
Willow was far too engaged in the discussion to be distracted by sex talk. “Xander, you saw how badly Glory beat him up! She nearly killed him. It's kind of hard to get into somebody's pants when you're dead.” Giles' eyebrow twitched slightly at the remark. Point.
“Or when they are. He's still protecting Dawn--what's that going to get him?” Tara was standing at Willow's shoulder, glancing over at Giles' reaction.
Giles inclined his head at Tara. And another point—which leads back to the center of the matter. They work well together,those two. Still—there are other concerns here. He folded his arms and assumed a thoughtful expression as he murmured: “Who can solve the labyrinthine motives of Spike's twisted vampire psyche? But Xander is right for once; it isn't prudent to let Dawn become dependent on Spike.”
Giles watched as Xander opened his mouth to protest the “for once” crack, then smiled slightly as the younger man decided to let well enough alone: “Listen to the Watcher. He knows! A demon is not a good role model for young impressionable minds.”
“Fine. I'll just go home and pack my things. My influence on you is dangerous enough; who knows what might happen if we had children?” Giles winced again as Anya—sounding hurt—butted in again. My boy, you are a braver man than I for daring to run that particular gauntlet.
Giles wasn't surprised when Xander brushed aside the complaint. “Huh? An, you're an ex-demon. Spike's a now-demon.”
Anya wasn't willing to be mollified. “Well, you all make it very hard to be human sometimes, with your goody-goodier-than-thou attitudes. I don't know how you expect Spike to not be evil when you never treat him like anything else.”
Giles blinked in surprise. For Anya, that's practically a philosophical treatise. He looked over at the former demon with concern and said, “Anya, I had no idea you felt like this.”
Anya snorted. “You never asked. I mean, if on some days whenyou put the basilisk gall stones in the jar for the anti-flatulence enchanted gumballs I wish your head would spin around and explode, does that make me irredeemably evil?”
Seventy-five percent profit margin. Seventy-five percent profit margin. At times like this, Giles had learned it was best to stay quiet and ponder the rather substantial benefits of employing the very disturbing, not really young woman in front of him.
Willow looked over at Giles and noted his lips were moving as she spoke up again: “Maybe Spike has changed. Giles, couldn't he change if he wanted to? What about the redeeming power of love? “
Giles blinked and ceased the silent mantra as he responded, “Oh,Willow, it sounds very nice, but that almost never happens, even with humans. There is no recorded case of it happening to a vampire.”
“But Spike hasn't killed anybody for a couple of years now; and we know he loved Buffy--in a twisted vampire way, but still. That's what started Angel doing good, why not Spike?” Willow sounded confident again, and a note of hope had entered her voice.
Giles was about to speak again when Xander broke in: “Because of the chip! Spike hasn't killed anybody because of the chip. He's like a serial killer in prison. Angel has a soul.”
“So Angel is like a serial killer who what--got religion? What if he backslides?” Tara's tone was earnest, and she frowned in mild confusion as Willow snickered nervously and the men in the room winced. Giles looked over at Tara and frowned. We need to make sure she's been fully briefed on Angel's experiences. . .it could be important someday.
Giles heard Xander sigh and saw the resigned expression on his face as he spoke: “We're losing, aren't we, Giles?”
Giles hesitated for a moment before nodding reluctantly and replying, “I'm afraid so. Spike can come to the party. I suppose he can't influence Dawn too badly during an hour or two in a room with all the rest of us.” He saw a hint of motion out of the corner of his eye and from long practice he was able to fix his vision on the source without turning his head or otherwise displaying a reaction. He kept his expression neutral and went silent.
Xander waited for a moment, then changed the subject when he realized that Giles wasfinished. “So where is the Dawnster?”
“I haven't seen her.” Tara piped up, looking a little downcast. She had been a close friend of the younger girl for almost a year now, and Giles knew that she was probably closer to Dawn than anyone in the group except Willow.
Willow directed a sympathetic smile at her girlfriend, then replied, “This is Tuesday; Anya's day.”
“Well, An?” Xander's tone was casual, but he clearly wanted an answer.
“She's fine. She, uh, went to the circus with a friend.” Anya sounded uncharacteristically uneasy as she replied.
Giles raised an eyebrow, both at the response and at the news it implied. “There's a circus in town?”
Anya shook her head and replied: “No, it's over in Redmonton. I said she could spend the night. So, you won't have to have her tomorrow; they won't be back until late.”
“You let her go somewhere overnight without telling us? Anya, what if she needs protecting? She's still the key!” Willow was audibly upset, and Tara reached out and squeezed her arm comfortingly.
Anya flushed slightly and mumbled something under her breath, and Xander walked over to her and asked, “What?”
“She has protection. She went with Spike. He has friends working in the side show.” Anya spoke quickly, her eyes shifting nervously as the expressions of the other people in the room changed for the worse. “She should be plenty safe; those Barbura demons are big.”
“It's a demon circus?” Giles had to restrain himself from laughing aloud at the blonde witch's question—Tara seemed almost imperturbable at times, but when she reached her limits she could sound as appalled as any of them.
“They almost all are. It's the perfect lifestyle for them.” The relatively mundane question allowed Anya to compose herself, and her response was almost matter-of-fact.
“Clowns are evil. I knew it!” Giles shook his head slightly at Xander's outburst. Leave it to Xander to derive an obscure triumph out of this news-- Anya's expression darkened like a thundercloud. --and to stumble into a serious mess at the same time.
“Back to the demons are evil line again, I see.” Anya sounded more sad than angry, and Xander went pale as he turned back to her. Anya shook her head and turned to Giles as she added, “Giles, I'm taking off early. I have to move out of Xander's apartment tonight.” She turned on her heel and stormed out the front door of the shop without another word.
“Anya,wait!” Xander followed her out the door without hesitation—he had this maneuver down pat by now. Tara and Willow looked at each other in wry amusement for a moment, then waved to Giles before heading out the door.
Giles shook his head again and murmured,“Oh, dear.” He heard a slight sound of movement behind him and called out, “You can come out now, Dawn.”
Giles heard a gasp of surprise, then turned to see Dawn emerging from the workout room. He favored her with a stern look and commented, “I suppose I should lecture you about eavesdropping, but you've punished yourself by spoiling the surprise, so I'll satisfy my supervisory requirements with a reproving look and a question: why aren't you with Spike in Redmonton?”
“He heard something about some trouble going down there, and wouldn't take me. He dropped me off a half hour ago.” Dawn sounded subdued, and she looked at Giles with a grateful expression and added, “Giles. . .I know you really don't want him there, but thanks for not fighting it. . .it means a lot to me.”
“I know.” Giles replied, and he was turning away when he felt Dawn giving him a firm hug. His thoughts had turned often to the idea of leaving his increasingly competent charges behind to go back to England, but—for the moment—he carefully put those thoughts aside and hugged Dawn firmly in response.
As always, comments are welcomed and desired.