Rupert Giles surveyed the area; he desperately wanted a drink, and the stuff they served on his flight hadn't nearly been strong enough for him. Despite the reassurances from his grandmother and a few friends that he would do well, Rupert was nervous. He'd finally been assigned a Slayer, one who'd fallen through the cracks and been found by Merrick of all people. When word came of Merrick's death, there had been much hullabaloo at the Council; there was now a Slayer without a Watcher, virtually unprepared for her duties.
Rupert still wasn't quite sure how he'd been picked to guide this young girl, Buffy, through her destiny and quite possibly towards her death. Rupert knew nothing about her; he'd refused to read Merrick's diaries. He chose to approach this untested Slayer with an unbiased mind. The fact that she had defeated Lothos spoke highly of her abilities.
He finally spotted the bar, ignoring the soft music in favor of the attractive redhead already standing there. As he got closer, he could see the outline of her gun and stiffened slightly; she was law enforcement of some kind. "Glenfiddich. Neat," he said, placing his briefcase on the floor next to the barstool. A quick glance at the woman next to him only reaffirmed his first assessment of her. Early thirties, pale but not unhealthily so, blue eyes and an aura of confidence about her.
"You certainly know your Scotch."
He turned to her, an eyebrow raised. Unexpected though her comment was, Rupert could certainly appreciate a woman who knew good Scotch from bad.
"Not only did you order the best brand of scotch in this place, you behaved as if you expected to find it here-- airport bars aren't notorious for having the good stuff," she continued.
Rupert silently thanked Robson, who'd told him of this particular bar many years before. He waited a moment before tilted his head in acknowledgement and replying. "I've been here once or twice--it helps to know the ground where one finds oneself. Of course, as a federal agent, you would know that." It was a guess, but the brief flash of surprise in her eyes confirmed it.
She gave him a confused look, so he explained. "When you turned, I noticed the bulge in your coat where a holster would be, and we're past the security checkpoints. I didn't think that an airport security agent would drink here, so that leaves
either a federal agent or a terrorist--and a terrorist wouldn't call attention to herself by engaging me in conversation."
She introduced herself with her hand out, "Dana Scully, FBI."
He took her hand, taken aback a little that she would so readily introduce herself. He wondered briefly if it was a cover. Was she giving him her real identity and affiliation or just supplying information that would seem plausible? Rupert decided that it really didn't matter too much; he would enjoy her company for the duration.
"Rupert Giles, formerly of the London Institute of Medieval Studies," he said, taking her hand. "I'm afraid I don't have a job title at this moment, Agent Scully. . .so I suppose you'll have to call me Rupert--for the sake of convenience, of course."
"And since I am off-duty, you should really call me Dana--if you keep calling me Agent Scully I might think you want me to shoot someone, and that just won't do."
He could see she was a nervous as he was, though obviously for different reasons. Rupert had been told he was attractive, though he never really believed that, so it buoyed his spirits some that Dana found him so. She indicated an empty booth with a nod of her head and he followed, signaling the bartender for another round as they went. They spent a pleasant while talking about their jobs. He described his work with the Institute, including some of his previous travels to the States to catalog items. She in turn began to describe her work with a division of the FBI she called the X-Files.
Her description of her work carried a tone of skepticism and it made him smile inside. If she only knew the magnitude of what was really out there. She tried to rationalize everything through her science background, so Rupert wondered how she might deal with vampires, true vampires, or how she would try to fit a Chaos demon into the taxonomy of the natural world.
She told him of her partner, Mulder and many of the supernatural things they had dealt with. The Council was well acquainted with Fox Mulder, so Rupert just smiled and said, "Really? Interesting work, I suppose," in the most bored tone he could muster. Mulder had been on the Council's radar since before he'd come to Oxford. There had been serious discussion of recruiting him to be a part of the Council but from what Rupert could ascertain outside forces had prevented that.
Dana must have thought him skeptical, which was partly what he wanted, but continued on nonetheless. She finished the story she was telling and waited for him to say something. He sipped his Scotch, contemplating how much he could say without revealing too much. "You're looking at me as if you think I'll find you mad, or merely frivolous. The things you've told me of are unusual and wondrous, but this world is a strange place, with places in it for much that is unimagined by the average man. As one of my countrymen said some time ago--"
"'There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamed of in your philosophy'?"
Rupert raised an eyebrow. "Well, yes--but I was actually going to say, 'There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarrely inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.'"
She seemed pleased that he knew Adams. Rupert had never really cared for Shakespeare. He checked his watch as she smiled at him. "My flight leaves in half an hour," he said. A slow song began playing and he stood, bowing a little as he offered his hand to her. "Would you like to dance?"
Now was not the time for romantic entanglements. Rupert knew this. But in another time and place, he would have pursued Dana Scully. For now he would satisfy himself with a dance. She leaned against him; he breathed in her scent, something light and floral. Yes, he could have definitely pursued her. For a brief moment Rupert Giles thought of staying here, but his sense of duty was too strong. After a moment she looked up at him.
"So where are you going, anyway? New job here in the States?"
"Yes. I'm going to be a librarian at a high school in Sunnydale, California."
"Aren't you a little…overqualified to be a librarian?" she asked. Then she looked abashed. "Sorry, that was rude."
He laughed, low and deep. "No, it was an honest reaction--and you'd be right, if that was all I was doing there. However, I have other duties there--I'm to serve as a mentor for an exceptional individual. It should be quite challenging."
"A student? Someone who is destined for bigger and better things?"
"If she's lucky," he said. He thought about the handbooks in his briefcase: one for her and another for himself. He knew that all the literature said Buffy Summers would die, be it at the hands of a vampire or some other dark and evil thing. She would die and it was his job to train her for that. Would Dana think him a monster? Would she be less attracted to him, knowing this was his future?
The song was at an end. Rupert gently backed away from Dana, moving to retrieve his briefcase. "Dana, it's been a genuine pleasure--I hope our paths cross again someday."
She reached into her pocket and held something out for him: a business card. "Call me if you come back through here--and let me know how things went with your student." She extended her hand, and he shook it firmly. "Take care of yourself."
He smiled wryly at the irony of her statement. "You do the same. If I encounter any information that would assist you in your work, I'll try to pass it along," he said. He hoped that there wouldn't be anything in Sunnydale that would require the intervention of the federal authorities. It was hard enough to keep what the Council did a secret without involving civilians. He turned and left Dana Scully standing at the bar, heading for his gate. He would remember her.
Rupert hoped he would never have to involve her in the life he led. He had a feeling she deserved better.