It was a normal, quiet day at the library. Well, you weren’t at the library that often, so you didn’t really know if it was quiet around here on a daily basis, but every now and then you had to do some research or enjoyed learning for exams in one of the most remote corners. And it helped that it smelled like tea most of the time you came in here. Having a British librarian kinda did this to a room.
Speaking of librarian. Mr. Giles was … something different. Most of the time he seemed like he had never spent a moment in the real world – but at the same time he was kinda cute. And his voice … You wouldn’t mind him reading to you, hell, even the Yellow Pages would sound like the best audiobook if he would read it to you. Not that you would ever tell him. Oh, you knew he was not completely uninterested in … having other human beings liking him. He had had a relationship with the late Miss Calendar, did he not? But a colleague was something different than a student, even if you were of age. And you were, having had your 18 th birthday half a year ago. Still…
Why were you even thinking about something like that? It probably was unhealthy to waste time on what ifs that weren’t coming to pass anyway. But something inside you just craves a hot tea, a warm blanket, the smell of old books and being cuddled together, reading in companionable silence until you fall asleep. And there was no teenage boy in this school, or even on this planet that you could see yourself doing this with.
„Y/N, what can I do for you today?“
Right, even if you ever had a chance to get tea and cuddles, jumping and screaming into Mr. Giles‘ face probably ruined it for good. You should have expected the librarian to be in the library, really.
„Y/N?“ His hand rested upon your shoulder now , a little shaky and only for less than a second. Still you were proud of yourself that you didn’t jump again – and maybe even hurt him with that. „I didn’t mean to startle you. Are you alright?“
„Sorry , I was too deep in thought . I just wanted to browse for a few books on Aztec architecture for a history project. “
„Ah, yes, yes, of course. You know where to look?“
Now he’s back to being his old self, not touchy-feely anymore and in a way you’re glad . You like the Giles that seems insecure and shy, although you know that if he wants, he’s really good at giving anyone a pep talk without stutter in a second. The one that seems like a loner, aloof and unapproachable, although you know he can be caring as well. Maybe not the American way of caring , but close enough.
Though back a minute ago that was just that, right? Mr. Giles just being caring. Still, back to normal was good, that felt safe, normal. No fantasising about his hand and that he might touch you again.
„Sure, not my first time around here, is it?“, you grinned and made your way up the stairs and to the back of the library.
As always you walked along strange titles like ‚ Demons of the South-Asian Mythology ‘ or ‚100 ways to enchant your teachers‘, but as much as you liked novels, you had not yet found the time to browse them. Instead you walked towards the history section and looked for suiting books.
You were just looking at a page showing a drawing of an old Aztec city when you felt something closing in behind you. An arm came to your side and you tried to use whatever knowledge and skills you had learned during the self-defence lessons last year. But whoever was behind you was so much stronger than you. And before you knew, there was a stabbing pain at the side of your neck.
You screamed out in pain, not even really noticing. But somebody must have heard you, because you could hear footsteps coming closer and then the pain was over. For a moment everything around you was dust and then it went black and the last thing you heard was an English accent : „Y/N? Y/N! Stay with me!“
You woke up to beeping and a rather big and callused hand holding yours. There were voices.
„T his has to stop. We need to find a way to keep vampires out of the school buildings, at least as long as there are still classes in session. “
„ The attack happened only few minutes after sunset. They must have waited somewhere close by. The sewers or even the school itself. This is bad news. If they’re hanging around so close to the hellmouth , maybe they’re up to something again. I’ll add the school to patrol duty. “
The second voice was female and you believed you knew it, but you couldn’t remember. For a short time you wondered why none of those voices belonged to your parents. But then you remembered – they were on some kind of business marriage anniversary combo trip through California and the neighbouring states.
The voices went on. The male one sounded distinctly British… „We will find out what it is they’re after. But right now …“
„Right now she’s lucky you were around. You taking out two vampires without getting your head bumped even once. Wish I’d been there to see it.“ There was a grin audible in the female voice.
You groaned softly in pain, trying to open the eyes but having the light trying to blind you.
„She’s wa king up, so I better go.“ You heard steps that stopped by the door. A g ain there was a smile in that voice: „And here I thought the Scoobies were the only ones you’d spend sleepless nights at the hospital for. Huh. Good for you.“
„Oh, hush .“
With a small laugh the female left and closed the door.
Again you tried to open your eyes. „Too bright.“
„Ah, y-yes, of course.“ The big hand left yours and only moments later the light that burned through your eyelids got darker. The hand came back .
„So, vampires, huh“, you asked and this time you managed to open your eyes. In a way you had known it was Mr. Giles who’d be sitting by your bedside. Still having him there and now in a certain degree of panic was a surprise.
“Well, … yes.”
“Explains a lot, come to think of it. You won’t take my memory away now, though, will you? Can you?”
The librarian stared at you in utter disbelief, but left the latter question unanswered. “Why would I do that?”
“ So I won’t run around telling everyone I was bitten by vampires and that you know and saved me?”
“Are you planning to?” Now there was no more panic in his eyes, no more disbelief, but a faint sense of amusement.
“Nah. Don’t think anyone would believe me anyway. I mean, given our mortality rate and the high ratio of strange accidents, I guess we’re all a little blind to what’s going on around here. People probably don’t want to know and are actively repressing. I guess I was, too.”
“But not anymore.” He stated it so matter-of-factly that it almost hurt.
“How could I? And I don’t want to, either. Actually, I wanna learn how you did that. You saved me, right?”
“Yes, yes, I did. Are you sure you want to learn how to defend yourself?”
You nodded, until your head started swimming. Memo to yourself: No big movements if there wasn’t enough blood inside of you. “Yeah, could you teach me?” This wasn’t about spending time with Mr. Giles. Of course it wasn’t. If you could spend a few hours with him and maybe even get some tea, this was just a bonus. After the self-defence class last year hadn’t been enough, obviously, you really wanted to learn how to fend off vampires.
“I do have some other responsibilities beside my daytime employment”, he started and you tried your best not to look disappointed. “But I will try to make time for it. Once you are back at full health, that is.” A pause. “And that should be my cue. I will try to contact your parents once more. Hopefully they will be home by now.”
“They’re out of town for a few days.”
“But somebody has to take you home once your infusion is completed and the doctors give their clearance. And somebody should stay with you to make sure there are no complications. Shall I contact any of your friends?”
“No …" It wasn’t as if you didn’t have any friends. But they weren’t of the ‘I’ll drop everything and come over if you need me’-type. They might keep you company over the phone if they hadn’t any smooching with their partners to do, but that was about it.
“In that case …"
If you thought it was strange to see your school librarian next to your bed in hospital, you knew better now. Having him sit on an armchair next to your sofa, THAT was strange. Right now he was asleep, the night at your side finally taking its toll. But before he had succumbed to tiredness he had made you breakfast. And no matter how much you protested that you didn’t feel worse than you would with a simple cold, he wouldn’t leave you to take care of yourself on your own.
You had slept a few hours yourself, but now you were wide awake, looking at Mr. Giles and how his chest rose and fell with every breath. Your mind went back to the hospital, when the female voice had teased him about how it was good for him to not only keep watch at the bedside of the ... Scoobies? No, that couldn’t be it, could it? Or had somebody named themselves after a silly cartoon show? But there had been a certain innuendo in what the voice had said. And here he was, still at your side, even though that certainly wasn’t necessary anymore.
“In most cultures it is considered either rude or … creepy … to stare at somebody while that person is sleeping.”
You nearly jumped off the sofa. “You’re awake.”
“Barely. How are you, Y/N?”
All the better, when you are here, you wanted to say. Instead you shrugged. “Alive. Still a bit overwhelmed I guess. And it itches, where the infusion went through. But I’ll live. And you?”
“Me? Oh. Well, I am a bit … armchairs are not made to sleep in, I guess.” He held his head a little stiffly.
You bit back a grin. “I told you you could have the bed. I only wanted to stay down here because of the tv. If I’d’ve been bored, I wouldn’t have wanted to be stuck upstairs, too weak not to fall down on my way down here.” Before he could think of a reply you added: “I could give you a massage, if you wanted? Sore neck, right?” Was that too inappropriate? But he had pain because of you.
Mr. Giles opened and closed his mouth. He looked a bit like a carp, for a moment, but then he nodded and winced because of the movement.
“Come over here to the sofa and sit down next to me, facing away.”
He did as he was told and you rubbed your hands to warm them up. Even though there should be enough blood inside of you again, you still felt a little cold and you didn’t want to worsen his neck problems. Only when you were sure you wouldn’t freeze him to death, you started lightly massaging his neck and shoulders. How could a person in such dull a job as librarian be so tense? Did he never find some time to relax?
Only when he started to lean back into your touch, you were sure about why he was still here. What the voice had hinted at.
“You know, if you wanted to come over to my house, you could have just asked. No need to wait until you can save my life.” You leaned closer. “After all I’m 18 and you’re not my teacher. Nothing to be worried about.”
Ah, tense again. But only for a moment, then his muscles started to relax once more. “I will keep that in mind. For ... uh … future occasions.”
“Like ... dinner and a movie tomorrow night? I’ll call the pizza guy and you’ll bring your favourite tea?”
There was a smile in his voice and he leaned back further, resting his head against you. “I would like that very much.”
Life was curious, wasn’t it? It only needed being killed by fairy tale creatures to make your tea and cuddles dream come true.