Scully looked around the abandoned store while the librarian told his portion of the evening's events. Remnants of the shattered statue Mr. Giles had mentioned were still present on the floor. Whoever owned the store was not in that big a hurry to rent it out again apparently. Mulder was off to a cemetery with the girl at the librarian's insistence, which Scully was a little curious about. It made her a little nervous, too. Not that she thought Mulder would do anything illegal, but sometimes he was not the most rational person around. Particularly when a cute blonde was in the picture. She could not worry about that now, though, Mulder was counting on her to get information.
"So this Ethan Rayne, did he choose your town because he knew you, Mr. Giles," she asked.
"No. That is to say I do not believe so. He would have known that I would have stopped him."
"And this card," Scully said, running a finger along the business card's edge, "you believe this was for you?"
"Yes. I knew Ethan years ago and I'm afraid he has not outgrown his need for practical jokes. I'm sure he was merely letting me know he would be back again one day with a new scheme."
"And you have no idea where he might have gone?"
"No, I'm afraid not. Back to England perhaps," Giles said with a shrug. "Miss Scully, I've been cooperative with you and I know Buffy will be this evening as well. I'm curious though why exactly this is of interest to you. Sunnydale has been the sight for much unexplained phenomenon since I've been here and our local police department barely notices."
"Agent Mulder and I investigate the unexplainable, Mr. Giles, that's what we do. His sources told him about Halloween, your student and you. I'm here at his request."
"And this is off the record, yes? The principal would be none too happy to know that I've spoken to a federal agency about this. Not that I particularly care what Principal Snyder thinks, but he's hard enough on Buffy as it is."
"I'm not sure really," Giles admitted. He removed his glasses and cleaned them, something Scully noticed the librarian did a lot. "I wish I knew. Sometimes I think that he knows who and what Buffy is and that he's hard on her in an attempt to interfere with her calling." He shrugged as he placed his glasses on once again. "He is not a very good principal, I will tell you that. He does not like children and he has no patience for them. He sees them as no better than cattle if you ask me."
"So," Scully said, retrieving a piece of the statue from the floor. She pocketed it to analyze it later though there did not seem to be anything special about the material. "Why exactly did you send my partner to the cemetery, Mr. Giles?"
"Well, he seems to be a believer, where you do not. I sense he knows more about Buffy than he is telling me. Whoever Agent Mulder's sources are, they are well informed and have prepared him for the extraordinary. I thought it might help him to see Buffy in action, to see what Buffy comes up against day in and day out."
"So you've put my partner in danger," Scully asked not at all liking that idea.
"No, Miss Scully. No more danger than he would be walking around Sunnydale at night as a whole. Buffy will protect him if he happens to get in the way and will bring your partner with her to the Bronze when she's done with her sweep of the area."
"What if I wanted to see her in action?"
"Well, by all means then, Agent, let's go. You wanted to come here and to hear my end of the ordeal. I apologize I am unable to tell you more. I do not know exactly what Ethan hoped to gain, other than complete chaos. Buffy almost died that night," Giles admitted. "That's twice now that I've come close to losing her."
That statement did not make Scully feel better about Mulder being out in a cemetery while this girl was nearby doing whatever it is she did. "She doesn't seem to be worse for wear."
"No, she's not. At least outwardly. She has Angel to help her, I suspect she talks to him more than any of us."
"A boy named Angel," she asked picturing someone who was not at all an angel in her mind. Scully had found over the years, through both personal and work related experiences, that people with names like Faith, Angel, Chastity and Hope usually behaved differently than their names suggested.
"Yes, he is Buffy's boyfriend," Giles said.
Scully could not help but pick up on Mr. Giles' hesitation but chalked it up as perhaps dislike for the boy. Scully smiled slightly remembering what high school boys were like. If Mr. Giles was as fond of his student as he seemed Scully could see where he would feel overprotective.
Scully had no long term relationships to speak of, in high school or since. She had friends and was somewhat popular, but she was always interested in science and data. Two things that combined made for a rather dull social life. Mulder was the closest she had and that was a partnership not a relationship. She had never really thought about Mulder in that way until recently. His time away from her and the Bureau had made her see him in a new light. Mulder did not need Scully with him on this trip, but he had wanted her here and so she came. He had wanted her objectivity, true, and this little probe seemed as good excuse as any to spend some time with him before he rejoined the living and the Bureau again.
"Well, I think I have seen everything I need to see here," Scully said as she looked into one of the boxes that were left behind. Her gaze fell to the wooden dress form near a wall. "Is this the dress form that Buffy's dress was on?"
"I can't say for certain, but I have not seen any others here so I would presume it is the one."
"I suppose I could take it with me, to run some tests on it."
"I don't think you'll find anything, but you're welcome to take it with you Miss Scully. The spell came from the statue not the actual costumes."
"I understand that, Mr. Giles, but still just to be certain I'd like to have a look at it."
"Certainly," Giles said simply and walked to where she stood. "Allow me to carry it out to your car." He glanced at his wristwatch and then at her. "That is if you were ready to go. It's almost time for you to be leaving for the Bronze."
Scully liked his confident tone and took it to mean he had no doubt that his student and her partner would be waiting for her at the Bronze. "You won't be joining us, Mr. Giles?"
"No, I'm afraid not. I stay away from the Bronze as much as possible, too many children most of whom I see enough during the day as it is at school."
Scully laughed lightly. "I can't say that I blame you. Is it the only place for the students to go?" She started for the door and Giles took hold of the wooden form.
"Yes, though I can't say I'm not thankful. I know where to find Buffy if I need her most of the time at any rate. There is a movie house of course, but for dancing and socializing there is nowhere else for those under twenty-one to go. And I don't know in the time I've known Buffy she's gone to many movies, but she does like music, dancing and seeing her friends."
"I think most kids that age do, Mr. Giles," Scully said, holding the store's door open so he could pass through with the dress form. "I guess I need to bring that back to the motel room before going to the club."
"Yes, I would recommend it. I don't know why anyone would want to steal it, but in Sunnydale it's better to be safe than sorry."
Scully helped him put the form in the rental car's trunk and then extended her hand to him. "Thank you, Mr. Giles, for showing me around and for taking us at our word that this is off the record. I'm sure this can't be easy for you, particularly if Mr. Rayne is a friend of yours."
"It's fine, Agent. Have a good evening."
"Thanks, Mr. Giles, you too."
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com