He was rather in love with Lily Pemberton. The back garden of her home had been divided from the back garden of his mother's Sussex home only by a rickety fence. She'd insisted, once, to learn piano from his mother after she'd heard the melodious tones floating out of an open window.
She had been madly funny, intelligent and well fit. She'd even dressed rather smartly, considering it was the seventies.
She'd told him the Beatles were far too trite and the Sex Pistols rather bolshy for her taste. She played records from the years even before he was born; usually American rock: women who sounded nasal to him, men with voices too high.
He'd liked her for it, though, because she hadn't just decided to follow the other girls and listen to the Monkees or the Who or whatever happened to be happening at the time.
At one time, she'd revealed that she despised cottage pie, her own mother's signature dish, and even despised pudding. While he'd thought it unthinkable, it had drawn him to her. She was so much unlike him; so quintessentially non-English in every way.
It was because he'd been fascinated by her that he'd shagged her.
It was then, the looks from her father at the butcher or the Anglican minister only doors away, that he realised that while it's acceptable for a man of thirty to bed a woman of twenty-four, taking a decade from each of those figures will change the perception.
When he's sent away to the Watcher's Academy that autumn he doesn't mind, terribly. If it breaks his heart that he never gets to tell Lily Pemberton goodbye, he hides it even from himself.
It's when he's sitting on the aeroplane in his coach class seat that he sits back and reads of his Slayer thoroughly for the first time. She's nearly sixteen, which he finds acceptable enough. She has a family, which he believes he can handle well enough.
If that blow hard Merrick can deal with a Slayer and her family, than he can do so without lodging hot lead into his cranium.
His occiput is sore from the seat and he adjusts uncomfortably.
She's actually a rather attractive girl, he can see from the file photo. She reminds him, rather, of his cousin Dana. He hasn't seen her in enough years that his memory of her face is dull, but he can remember well enough to see a resemblance.
He laughingly wonders if the Summers family and the Giles family share antecedents. Likely not, it's simply the way facial features can be shaped and arranged. It still amuses him for some long moments.
He's brought back to the present though, as he realises the family she is with.
Sister, a younger sister, of ten years.
That gets you up a bit, don't it Rupes, Ripper taunts. Maybe the little one will look like Lily, all ginger and straight as a bloody fucking box.
His heart speeds and his palms moisten and then he recalls that a Slayer doesn't live terribly long at all.
It's the only comfort the remainder of his flight offers.
He can't recall how Buffy convinced him to go to the beach with them, but he's rather happy when he sees that he isn't that differently dressed from Xander or Riley - long beach shorts and a tee shirt.
He hears it, then, and his attire is forgotten in favour of terror.
"Buffy! You said you remembered the sun block!"
"Well, Dawn, I lied. Get over it," Buffy replied, in that way older sisters are wont to do.
They come into view from the other side of Joyce's SUV. "If I turn into a lobster, I'm going to use your lotion. The stuff with aloe and all those yummy fruit extract things that costs thirty dollars for, like, an ounce."
He breaths out in relief at her long cut-offs and Hard Rock Cafe tee.
"Good luck, what with the claws," she replies and runs off, pulling the jersey dress off over her head. He watches her toss it on one of the beach chairs and kiss Riley briefly before surveying the rest of the happenings. Willow and Tara, huddled on a blanket. He's never seen Tara in such little fabric as now, but she's still fairly covered. Willow looks happy and radiant in the sun, spreading lotion over Tara's shoulders.
It's then that Dawn runs up to them, impeding his scan and catching his eye.
"Willow, can you do me?" she asks before rolling her eyes. "Buffy forgot our sun block."
He watches Willow nod, grin at sisterly antics.
No matter how hard he attempts, he can't avert his eyes as Dawn pulls off the Hard Rock tee and shimmies out of her shorts as she chats with Willow and Tara. She straightens the hem of her top and pulls the shorts up before hooking her fingers into the hems at the inside of her thighs, chicken-legged, and pulling the hems of the legs straight.
She's wearing a longer top, ending only a couple of inches over her navel, with a halter tie and ruffles on the under bust - a shelf for her buds, he thinks - and on the tie around her neck. It's rather fetching, white with a turquoise and burgundy hibiscus pattern. He feels his breath come in shallow as she undoes the tie for Willow's lotion-covered hands. It's over as quickly as it began, though, as she ties it back into a double knot - secure, no chance for slips or immature boys to pull - and she smooths down her top, his eyes following her hands down to the tops of her modest boy shorts - burgundy and nearly the length of trunks - clinging to her young legs like honey.
As Willow's hand sweep lotion over taught, unstructured legs, he envies her. Why is Willow allowed this?
Because she isn't a pervert, Ripper taunts him. Not up the quim 'til full in limb.
"Hey, Giles!" Xander calls, drawing his eyes. "Come tell us how ungentlemanly American beach sports are!"
When he looks back, Dawn is toeing the water and the angry red of a shaving nick in the fold of her knee is enough to divert his interest, turn him soft.
So he stands and jogs over to Xander and Riley, now sans tee shirts. "What is it we're playing?"
Dawn looks up at him curiously, the young intellectual and aged dolt. She could succeed him in the matter of a year with the rate she absorbs knowledge, he knows. She mastered Ancient Greek in the matter of weeks; he envies her seventeen-year-old mind. "How many Potentials are there, then?"
"Who are we to know? Maybe a few hundred, possibly a few thousand. Or more."
She nods and goes back to her lesson.
One of the younger girls, and she's no older than thirteen, bounces up. She looks like a memory. "Mr Giles?"
She looks rather smart, where some of the girls dress as though they were at a slumber party she's put some effort in. He notices that, feels he must get her name, wonders why he hasn't yet.
I know who this one looks like, Ripper sing-songs.
"How can I help you, Miss...?" He takes in the expanse of neck and collar and shoulder left open to view.
"Oh, Pemberton, but Lilian is fine."
He doesn't hear her. "Lily Pemberton."
"Technically, that's my grandmother."
Bloody fuck, Rupes. Even for you.
"She died, like, in the seventies, though. I'm Lilian, or Lil is okay, or LP, because I had this really killer vinyl collection that my mom got from my gran via my great gran. And 'cause it's my initials." She looks nervous and embarrassed. "Anyway, Kennedy and Rona are fighting over whether a pancake looks more like a Kallikantzaros or a Karakoncolos. It could get bloody and I can't find Miss Summers. Buffy, I mean."
She giggled nervously. "'Cause there's two Miss Summers' and one of them is here." She gives Dawn a slightly amorous look. "Sorry, Dawn."
Dawn looks up, seemingly having been engrossed in her chrestomathy. "No prob, Lil. Tell them it looks like a Patarpairehe. They don't know what that looks like, so they'll probably agree just to avoid looking stupid. Both big on the pride."
"Great idea," Lil praises. "Thanks Dawn, and Mr Giles," she appends before running off.
Giles just stares after her, throat thick, as Dawn goes back to her forms.
Ripper does know who she looks like: Lily, yes, but his own mum, too.
She's going to die.
And the Lily's lay as if asleep, Ripper sneers.