"So, the demonic weaponry registers are all upside down and I can't find the spindlewort. Giles, you've got to talk to them about the Slayer theory training mess before we lose all our records...."
There was no response to what was usually a maddeningly hot topic among the Slayer Support Staff.
"Boss? Giles? You all okay?"
"Oh, quite all right thank you Dawn. Merely woolgathering."
Yeah. Sure. I am kindly not mentioning the hickey, but we both know it's there. Who've you been playing nasty with, Giles?
He'd been off all day. Blamed it on lack of sleep and having been sloppy enough to almost get bitten (his grammar was better, but that was what he'd meant). But to Dawn, and pretty much everyone else he dealt with, that was totally transparent.
This time, Dawn cracked.
"Who is she?"
"She. The woman." Dawn suddenly had an important second thought. She'd never been totally sure about Giles and sex. Mainly due to trying to obliterate the possibility from her conscious brain. Still, best to cover all bases. "Unless it's a man, which is totally cool and older guys are gay too sometimes, I get that it's not all Queer as Folk clubbing and teen sex and-"
"For the love of God stop talking. My head is splitting. My companion last night, whose existence you have so subtly divined, was in fact female. Though your points about tolerance and middle-aged gay men being acceptable in society are well taken and I'm sure would be appreciated were the circumstances different."
"Okay. So who is she? Did Tati meet her, or the other girls? Did Faith? What did they think?"
"What now? You're getting really red, Giles." It was cruel, but Dawn couldn't resist drawing out the pain.
"I'm becoming increasingly irritated, so it's hardly surprising. This... um... relationship... um... it's rather new. I would like a little time to come to terms with it, without your doubtless well-meant but... well, without your input at this stage. If you wouldn't mind." And Giles would have attempted a dignified withdrawal if at that point Faith hadn't come into the research library, looking a little uncomfortable.
"Hey G, how're you- Oh! Hey Dawn! I was just coming to see how Giles was after last night. The vampire attack last night. He was-"
Dawn didn't have time to do much more than raise a mental eyebrow at Faith's fumbling. Totally not her usual style. But nonetheless, Dawn was caught off balance by Faith's "Oh, screw it. What's to hide? G and me – we're together now. Right G?"
Oh my GOD!
Giles looked as though he was also thinking Oh my God, but he recovered into speaking pretty quickly. Still looked like he didn't believe what was coming out of his mouth, though.
"Er... yes. That's correct. Faith and I are... Yes, together."
Faith? With GILES? They were smiling at each other now. Not really sappy, just kind of pleased with themselves and a little surprised.
Dawn felt like it was time for her to say something, before the silence got too intimate. She went for peppy-positive. "That's great!" Too much? Too squeaky? But that wasn't important right now. She had to get downstairs to the common room.
"So... I'll leave you two to... um, talk? Okay?" She skipped out.
In the Castle of the Slayers, she who gossips first, gossips best.