Even when she was trying to save the world from an unspeakably evil vampire, a girl had to take the occasional bathroom break. Jenny Calendar splashed water on her face and looked in the mirror, surprised that her eyes weren't square. The hours spent slaving over the keyboard were having other effects - her neck and shoulders were stiff, and she could feel the beginnings of a headache. If this took much longer, she might learn to hate computers as much as Rupert did.
Cupping her hands under the tap, she swallowed a mouthful, deciding that she didn't have time to raid a snack machine. She'd devoured the candy in the desk draw hours ago, but topping up her blood sugar would have to wait. She should have headed back to work then, but instead Jenny reached into her purse and took an extra couple of minutes to repair the long day's damage to her makeup. It was an indulgence, but one that always made her feel better. With her lipstick and eye shadow smudged, she looked ... not exactly younger. Less sophisticated, uncomfortably like the girl she used to be. A few carefully applied cosmetics, and abracadabra! Jenny Calendar. Fake name, fake background, fake teaching credentials. A woman who didn't exist, who wore her surfaces like armor.
She wasn't really doing this for Rupert, although the idea of turning up at his door later tonight, with a freshly translated curse to wave around in triumph, was always in the back of her head. She'd been an idiot to blurt out that she loved him earlier ... but bluntness had gotten her this far with him. Why not further? With Rupert, who liked to hide behind big words and unnecessary complications, the direct approach worked best. At least he hadn't been upset or dismissive of her feelings. He hadn't said that he loved her back, either. Jenny told herself that would have been asking too much.
When this was all over and Angelus was safely neutered and reduced to ashes, they were going to have a long talk. Jenny had a few things in mind that she'd like to do to Rupert *before* they talked ... but lack of communication had almost fucked this thing up once. Time to come clean. The conversation had played out in her head a dozen times that night while she waited for one program or another to run. She would tell him everything - all about who she was, where she'd come from, why she'd kept it all hidden. In return, Rupert would finally spill the details on his own past. He'd say that he loved her. He wouldn't be angry. Jenny wouldn't be angry.
She was angry. It didn't matter if it was silly, unfair, unproductive. It was the hypocrisy that really pissed her off. Sure, she'd been secretive, but what gave *Rupert Giles* they right to the moral high ground on that? If he'd been a little more honest with her ...
It wasn't being possessed by a demon that had almost destroyed their relationship - not that it was the most pleasant experience she'd ever had, but it went with the territory. You couldn't spend time around magic, around a Slayer, without having bad shit happen. The pain of finding out that Rupert had lied to her by omission, every single day, had been worse. The tweed, the accent, the stutter. They might as well have been as invented as her own identity.
Jenny had known that Rupert had his secrets. He'd never told her much about his background, but she'd heard from other sources that he wasn't well-respected by the Watcher's Council. She'd been naïve enough to think that there wasn't much of a story behind it. The Watchers were demanding, uptight bastards and Rupert had an over-active guilt gland. Maybe he'd returned a library book late one time, or cut class, or gotten caught shoplifting, or smoked dope in college, or done something dumb with a girl.
Even before the demon grabbed her, she'd been starting to see the light. That flash of violence when Rupert collared Ethan Rayne. Even she, no great practitioner of magic, had felt the power crackle of *that* one, but she'd been far more concerned about the effect he'd had on her gentle librarian. She couldn't reconcile the shy, composed man she knew with the look of focused brutality she saw in his eyes then. Those two had History with a capital H. Before she could think about it long enough to get really worried, she was unconscious.
The next thing she knew she had a demon in her mind.
Jenny's fingers tightened around the lipstick in her hand, and she glanced around the bathroom nervously, alert for any sound. It wasn't like there *couldn't* be monsters lurking in the stalls at Sunnydale High. These weren't good thoughts to have when it was dark out and she was alone. Months later, she still remembered those hours as a smoky collage. Images, sounds and sensations scattered in her nightmares - the smell of incense and pot, chanting, the feel of leather under her finger, the bite of the tattoo needle, tears on a face that wasn't her own. And sex. Lots of sex.
The only thing she knew for sure was that Eyghon had shown her things no-one should have to know about a man they loved. All the time the demon was in there, it had whispered to her that she was young and stupid and shallow, that she had no idea of the risks she was taking, the forces she was dealing with. That she was pale and thin and simple beside Ripper's deep shadows. That she'd been so funny, calling him a fuddy-duddy, thinking that she was the uninhibited one.
More than anything, that had pushed her to avoid him in the weeks that followed. Self-doubt was even worse than anger and guilt. That time, talking had helped them get through it. In the emergency room, late at night, after she'd shot him with his own cross-bow, he'd explained a couple of things. She was still trying to fit Rupert, demons, punk rock, drugs, orgies and black magic into the same sentence and failing. It had, however, seemed more understandable once he'd told her something about the things he'd been running from. She'd wanted to respond in kind by telling him about the strict expectations of her tribe. She hadn't. Couldn't. She should have broken the news of her betrayal then, before he had to find out the hard way.
He wasn't angry because he held her responsible for allowing Angelus to be released on Sunnydale, or because she'd hidden her true self, or because she'd hurt him. He was angry because she'd hurt Buffy - his Slayer, his child, the sun his world revolved around. Rupert might have been starting to love Jenny, but she would never come between the Watcher and his duty, the father and his daughter. She thought that maybe she could get comfortable with that, given time.
From his reaction that evening, she could tell that he still cared, still wanted her. She couldn't have all of him, but that wasn't a one-way street. She had her own sense of duty that no lover could interfere with. She wished, often, that she was just Jenny Calendar. An ordinary American woman, a computer teacher with no responsibilities more serious than planning the next lesson, no worse prospect ahead of her than being fired by an ass-hole of a principal. But she would always be Jayna as well as Jenny, and he would always be Ripper in the past and Giles on duty and Rupert only to her.
Rupert Giles had history, and Jenny Calendar was a woman without a past. She couldn't compete with that. But there was something to be said for the future.
She checked herself in the mirror again, gave herself a smile. Maybe someday she'd let him see her without the makeup. For now, Jennifer Calendar, a woman who didn't exist, was in love with Rupert Giles, school librarian, who wasn't all there either, and they had some demons to defeat. Maybe, just maybe, they could build something real between them.