Buffy was not looking forward to this so-called business meeting. First of all, Giles had requested (ie politely ordered) her to be there, as this government guy was specifically interested in a little, er, situation, that had occurred up in Scotland and Buffy had been the senior slayer who'd dealt with it (which was so not her fault—how was she supposed to know the Loch Ness Monster was actually real?!). Second, Buffy didn't do fancy smancy dinners and this place? The fanciest. Giles was in a tux, for Sineya sake!
And she really needed to stop hanging out with the historical mini's so much—she was starting to talk like them.
“Buffy, please, do stop fidgeting,” Giles requested as their car stopped in front of the fancy restaurant. “You're not a teenager anymore.”
“Giles, I'm here to talk to some schmuck from the Tweed government about the Loch Ness mess!” she hissed as the door was opened by the driver. “And you have me in a dress!”
“I thought you rather liked the dress,” he replied just before getting out of the car. He held out a hand for her. She made a face, glad her face was in the shadows so no one could see, but obligingly let him help her out of the car.
“That's not the point, Giles!” she hissed again, giving a quick smile to the valet when he stared a bit. She wasn't about to let on that she'd squealed like a little girl when she'd first seen the dress Giles had had Dawn buy her, back before she realized why she needed said dress. Through her smile, she practically growled out, “I don't do fancy!”
“I rather think you're underestimating yourself,” he replied back as he took her arm and led her inside. She caught sight of a devious twinkle in his eyes as he added, “You did perfectly well at Buckingham.”
“Giles, I thought we agreed never to mention that again!” she exclaimed, dismayed. Giles smirked.
“Of course, Buffy,” he agreed. “And you'll notice I never mentioned anything about you giving the prince a wine bath.”
Chuckling, he nodded at the seating guy. “Rupert Giles and Lady Elizabeth Summers, meeting Mycroft Holmes,” he said and the man nodded. They followed him through the restaurant towards a private room in the back. Buffy saw the stares of the other diners and straightened, her expression turning kind and welcoming, a smile on her face. Next to her, Giles quickly coughed, obviously hiding amusement.
“You are so dead when we get back to HQ,” she informed him through her regal smile. She hated the attention that came with the official title the queen had foisted on her, which was why she rarely used it. Giles just smiled pleasantly and remained quiet. She resisted the urge to pout.
“Rupert,” a voice said as they were led to the very back, where a slightly balding but surprisingly good-looking man stood up. “Wonderful to see you again, old friend.”
“You as well, Mycroft,” Giles said as they shook hands. Buffy, who'd tensed up at the very thought of this guy being on old friend—she'd had bad experiences with his “old friends”—relaxed at the utter warmth there. This was someone he actually respected and liked. Not another Ethan then. “It has been too long.”
“Indeed it has,” the man, Mr. Holmes, agreed and his eyes fell on her. Buffy swallowed faintly at the assessing gaze. For someone who'd regularly saved the world, this man was...disconcerting. His eyes crinkled at the edge. “And who is your beautiful companion?”
“Mycroft Holmes, this is Lady Elizabeth Summers,” he introduced them and Buffy felt her heart flutter when he actually, honest to goddess, gently lifted her outstretched hand and kissed her knuckles.
“A pleasure to meet you, Lady Elizabeth,” he said and she felt Giles shift next to her.
“Same, Mr. Holmes,” she said, the only thing she could get through the sudden dryness of her throat.
“Please, call me Mycroft,” he requested with a smile. She gave a hesitant smile back. She was not going to screw this up, damnit, especially not with an old friend of Giles that the watcher actually liked.
“Only if you call me Buffy,” she replied. He nodded, smile widening a bit as he waved at the table.
“Shall we sit down?” he asked and Buffy swallowed again as he gently but firmly pulled her forward and then pulled out the chair directly next to him. Giles coughed but obligingly took the chair on her other side, across from where Mycroft sat down once he'd pushed her in.
“I took the liberty of ordering some white wine--” was all the guy was able to get out before Giles had a sudden coughing fit that was a poor excuse for hiding his laughter. Buffy blushed and Giles' friends eyes narrowed as he looked between them. “I take it I am missing something?”
“Inside story that Giles is never ever telling anyone,” she said with just enough steel in her voice to make it clear she really would kill him if he revealed that little tidbit. Mycroft's eyes twinkled.
“Ah, I see,” he said. “I wondered if you were the same Lady Elizabeth I'd heard about.”
Buffy gaped at him and he chuckled. “It must have been dreadfully embarrassing, what happened. White wine is entirely too difficult to get out of clothing.”
Buffy did not squeak.
She'd die arguing with Giles about it, but she absolutely did not squeak.
“I wouldn't worry my dear,” he assured her, patting her hand comfortingly. “There is very little you could do that outstrips my brother.”
“Sherlock?” Giles asked, outright grinning at Buffy's embarrassment. “I remember him—how is he these days?”
“He fancies himself a consulting detective, which has put him against most of the actual detectives in London,” Mycroft explained. He got a pained expression on his face that Buffy understood all too well. “Unfortunately, he's rather good at it and when something of a...delicate...nature came up, I was asked to approach Sherlock about the situation.”
“And what did he do?” Giles asked, a somewhat amused look on his face. Mycroft's expression, however, turned downright irritated.
“He was brought to Buckingham...in a sheet.”
“In a sheet?” Giles repeated faintly as Buffy's jaw dropped.
“Yes,” Mycroft agreed. He pursed his lips. “And nothing but a sheet. He refused to get dressed.”
Buffy flashed back to Dawn when they met the Pope—she'd been in Tinkerbell pajamas and one of those bunny t-shirts Anya had absolutely hated, with the quote “Seriously, the old people have got to go.” Her lips quirked.
“Sounds like when Dawn met the Pope,” she said and when he looked at her, one eyebrow raised, she smiled wryly. “In her PJ's.”
“Dawn?” he asked curiously.
“My younger sister.”
His expression lightened and he chuckled. “Yes, though I don't believe Sherlock would have gone to such lengths as to remain in the sheet if he'd actually met the royal family that day. PJ's, you say?”
Buffy gave him a description of the pajama's in question as Giles shook his head, still mortified over that. Mycroft laughed.
“I can't imagine my brother in such clothes,” he said. “But yes, it does sound like we both have...younger sibling syndrome, if you will.”
Buffy smiled but before she could say anything more, the waiter finally approached with the wine. Buffy felt her cheeks heat up but stubbornly accepted one of the glasses and then looked down at the menu.
It was all in French.
“I'd suggest the Fricassee de Poulet,” Mycroft said softly after a moment. Buffy looked at him and he was smiling. “Chicken in wine.”
“I...yeah, that sounds good,” she said, slightly embarrassed. She knew this wasn't a good idea!
Mycroft studied her a moment and then nodded to himself. Giles either wasn't paying attention or was ignoring them, she honestly wasn't sure which. When the waiter finally came, Buffy bit her lip when the man began speaking in French. That was it, she was going to kill her watcher.
“Je vais prendre le confit de canard, et la dame commencera avec une salade légère suivi par le fricasse de poulet. Rupert?” Mycroft said and Buffy felt her heart flutter again when he'd motioned at her when speaking. Had he just ordered for her? No one had ever ordered for her before. The waiter nodded and turned to Giles, completely ignoring her. Apparently he had. Thank God.
“Hm?” Giles said, staring at Mycroft in surprise before he realized the waiter was waiting. “Oh, of course!”
He made his own order, also in flawless French, and Buffy seriously considered talking Dawn into teaching her the most basic of the language the next time she saw her little sister. It would probably help.
“I take it you don't speak French?” Mycroft asked once the waiter was gone.
“No, Dawnie's Mrs. Omnilinguistic,” she admitted and smirked internally when she saw Giles do a double-take at her word choice. Yes, she did know polysyllabic words, would wonders never cease. She shrugged daintily at Mycroft. “I'm more of the physical type.”
“Indeed,” Mycroft smiled and Buffy was so distracted by Giles' soft “oh dear lord” that she completely missed the way his eyes shined as he looked at her. “Physical.”
The next day, a bouquet of purple lilies were delivered to Buffy at the London Council house. Ignoring the whispering and giggles of the mini's watching her take the card out, she read it silently.
Buffy, I sincerely enjoyed our dinner last night and would be honored if you would accompany me to a banquet at Buckingham Palace on Saturday. Please let me know at your earliest convenience.
Vôtre fidèlement, Mycroft Holmes
“Hey, Antoine?” she called and the little french slayer poked her head in between the two taller girls in front of her. “What does 'Vôtre fidèlement' mean?”
“'Yours faithfully,'” she replied, looking delighted. “Why? Who're the flowers from?”
Buffy smiled and didn't answer.
Looks like she wasn't going to have to kill Giles after all.
Translation: Je vais prendre le confit de canard, et la dame commencera avec une salade légère suivi par le fricasse de poulet. Rupert? I will have the preserved duck and the lady will have the chicken in wine, with a light salad to start. Rupert? (I do not actually speak French so the translation is via lindiel).