He walked down the hall with Cordelia, Xander, Willow, and Oz leaving him one at a time on their way to classes in various parts of the school. As he pushed open the library doors he could not recall ever feeling so alone. He had come to Sunnydale with no idea what to expect and had learned quickly to throw what rules there were out the window. His was not your run of the mill slayer. Now he was no longer certain he had a slayer.
He wanted to feel sorry for her, but Giles could not find it in him to feel that today. He had been supportive of her, said kind words to her and been sincere when she expressed concern he was disappointed in her when Angel first lost his soul. That was then, this was now. Things had changed with Jenny's death.
Jenny had died, Kendra had died, and the rest of them had narrowly escaped with their lives. For her not to show up suggested a lack of caring and responsibility on her part that Giles did not realize she had in her. Surely, she had to realize they would be worried and she should be worried about them.
He was hesitant to acknowledge the fact that he felt some guilt for Buffy's current situation. If he had not allowed Drusilla to get into his mind and fool him he would never have revealed the information they sought. Thinking of Drusilla made him think of what had been done to him. Surely, he would have nightmares for quite some time. His hand throbbed. He knew Angel had only just begun his torture, but Giles would have gone to hell and back to do his part in defeating the vampire.
Had the curse worked at the last minute and Buffy and Angel were now off together celebrating? He hoped not. He had no desire to go through this experience again. Losing Jenny and being tortured because Buffy refused to do her job were not things Giles wanted to experience again. He would stake Angel himself if Buffy was unable to do it this time.
Perhaps he was being harsh, but Giles had warned her repeatedly about getting personally involved. He had meant what he said when he told her that he was not going to scold her for her behavior that led to Angel losing his soul. But once it had left his body she should have taken action. There was no room for argument about that once he had made his first kill.
"Buffy," he said hopefully as he heard someone come into the library. He had just put a pot of tea on hoping it would help soothe his nerves.
"No, Mr. Giles," a student he recognized said. "I was just returning a book."
"Thank you. Have a nice afternoon."
"Wow, what happened to you?" the student asked.
"Just an accident."
"It must have been some accident," he said.
"Yes, yes, I suppose I'm lucky to be alive." For some reason he was allowed to live even after providing Angel with the information he needed. It seemed uncharacteristic for Angel to allow him to live. "Have a good day," he repeated as he removed his glasses. He began wiping them off as he returned to his office, contemplating just why he was allowed to live.
"Mr. Giles," Principal Snyder said from Giles' office door. He had been so deep in thought he had not heard anyone come into the library.
"Yes, Principal Snyder?"
"I understand Miss Summers did not report for class today."
"I'm afraid not."
"If she does let her know myself and Detective Stein are looking for her."
"I'll be sure to relay that message to her."
"You do that and I would not expect to see her out from behind bars anytime soon."
"She did nothing wrong, Principal Snyder, and you know that."
"I don't know anything except that I saw her standing over a dead body."
"Did she have blood on her?"
"You'd have to talk to Detective Stein about that. I'm sure he'd be real interested in hearing what you were up to while this was going on in your library."
"I'm sure he would," Giles said, as he poured himself some tea. He was trying to act as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. If Principal Snyder noticed Giles' bandages or his injuries he gave no indication he did.
"Well then, I'm sure I have your word you'll send her to my office as soon as she makes an appearance here. If she doesn't, if I find out she avoided it, she's out of here, Mr. Giles and don't think I'm joking."
"Of course you wouldn't joke about such a think, Principal Snyder. You'd only be depriving a minor her right to an education."
"There are other schools in Sunnydale she can get an education from and if they won't take her, there are other towns."
"Of course, you know best," Giles said sardonically. The man was a weasel, Giles was convinced he knew more than he let on about the unusual goings-on at Sunnydale High but the man revealed nothing.
"Good day, Mr. Giles."
"Right," Giles said, grateful the little man was finally out of his office. He glanced at his telephone, wondering if he should call the Council and report that his slayer was missing. He took a sip of his tea, nursing his injured hand and sighed deeply. He would not betray her like that. They would hunt for her until the day she died if she was alive and trying to hide. Giles might be disappointed in her for leaving her duties and her friends as she was apparently doing, but he would not turn her into one of the Council's fugitives.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com