The Consultant
By Holly

Disclaimer: All of the characters of the Buffyverse belong to Joss
Whedon (all Hail), wb and ME (Didn't fool ya' for a second did I?)
Rating: G (?!!) I think there's something wrong with me. Buffy/Giles
Distribution: Solo and WYWM if they want it, anyone else, please just ask.
Summary: Did you ever wonder how Giles makes money now that the Library is gone?
This is the result of a discussion at "The Bronze", and inspired by an
observation by curt, at "The Bronze".
Spoilers: Through Wild at heart. Minor one's anyway.
Feedback: Yes, please. No flames though.


Buffy was bored. That was the only word to describe it. It was Friday morning and she had no classes scheduled for the whole day. Willow was in class, Riley was grading papers, Xander was working as was Joyce. Bored, bored, bored.

Then Buffy perked up. Giles. Giles wasn't working and he'd be glad to see her. She stopped. Unless Olivia was there. But Olivia hadn't been there since the thing with the Gentleman. <Poor Giles> She *would* go to Giles, she decided with a nod. She hopped up and headed for the door. There she paused, and thought for a minute. Then she went to her closet
and pulled out an outfit that she knew Giles liked His green eyes had lit up when he'd seen her in it. It was a teal green, knee-length dress that hugged her body just enough to hint.

A half-hour or so later, Buffy was just about to knock on Giles' door when it suddenly swung open and Giles stepped out, dressed in one of his tweed suits. "Whoa, Tweed-guy, haven't seen you in a while," Buffy said surprised.

"Oh Buffy, you startled me. Is something the matter?" He asked in concern.

"N-no. I didn't have any classes and thought I'd stop by."

"You were bored," he said with a small smile.

"No, not really, maybe a little, yeah, I was," she finally admitted. "But if you're going out, I'll go find something else to do." She pouted up at him playfully. When he hesitated she went on. "Seriously, Giles, I'm cool. Maybe I'll go to a movie."

"At 9:00 in the morning? No, you'd best come with me. No telling what sort of mischief you'd get into with all that time on your hands," he said with a teasing smile.

"Okay," she agreed readily. "Uh, Giles? Where are we going?"

"Los Angeles. You'd best call your mother and let her know where you'll be." He turned back to the door.

"Cool," she said as she followed him back inside.

The drive to LA was pleasant, and they passed the time talking. Buffy never did get around to asking why they were going to LA, or why Giles was dressed in his tweed.

She did, however, ask about his new vehicle, a black 1997 Chevy Blazer. His response was typical. "This fit everything that I needed; durability, room, and affordability. It even has tinted windows should we ever need to transport Spike. It was a very practical choice."

"I like it."

"Yes, well, that's important, too," he said seriously, but with his eyes twinkling.

She grinned up at him.

When they eventually pulled into the parking lot of the LA Museum, Buffy knew she shouldn't be surprised, but she was.

He came around and opened her door for her, then led her in the side entrance of the museum. They walked down a hall and Giles stopped in front of a door marked "Private". He knocked twice on the door, then opened it.

Inside the room there were several desks and a large table that sat in the middle. Seated around the table were two men and a woman. The men stood up as Buffy and Giles entered.

"Rupert, good to see you, again. How was the drive?" Asked one of the men, as he thrust out his hand. His voice was low but with a British accent.

Giles took his hand as he replied. "The drive was quite nice. This is my assistant, Miss Summers. Miss Summers, this is Dr. Jaffe," the woman nodded with a smile, "Dr. Coltrane," the other man smiled appreciatively at her," and this rascal is Dr. St James."

Buffy smiled tentatively as she took the first man's proffered hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you all."

"My dear girl, the pleasure is all ours," Dr St James assured her with a charming smile.

Without realizing it, Buffy leaned more towards Giles as she smiled back at the Doctor. She felt Giles' warm hand at the center of her back, and she instantly relaxed.

Within a few minutes they, too, were settled at the table studying the artifacts that had brought them all together.

"Here, Buffy, look at this," Giles said. Buffy rose from her seat and settled on the arm of his chair. She rested her arm along the back of it as she leaned down to look where he indicated.

"Come on, Giles, you're the brains of this outfit," she murmured, too quietly for the others to hear.

"You know this, Buffy," he insisted.

She shot him a disbelieving look, but his expression was confident. She looked again at the 'writing', and suddenly it clicked.

"Etruscan. Giles, it's Etruscan."

"Yes, I know. Do you recognize any of the words?"

"Now, you're really pushing it," she mumbled as she looked closer at the writing. After a moment, a few of the marks resolved themselves into words. "Deity," she said as she pointed. "And time. Some measure of time. Days, I think."

She couldn't hold back the grin of accomplishment as Giles smiled in pride with a murmured, "Well done."

Words of praise from Giles were rare and definitely to be savored. "Thanks," she said happily. Her cheeks were tinted pink, and her green eyes were shining.

Giles took a small notebook out of his jacket pocket and handed it to her. "Use this key to try and translate the rest, won't you?"

She nodded and slipped back into her chair. Giles slid a legal pad over to her and she used it to make notes as she slowly, but surely made her way through the translation. She figured that it was just busy work, something to keep her out of his hair, but she did it anyway, not wanting to embarrass Giles in front of his peers. <Not that *they* are my Watcher's peers>

 When she finished, she slid the legal pad back to Giles, and tried to discreetly stretch. He shot her an amused glance. "Are you ready for lunch, Buffy?" She nodded eagerly. He stood and pulled her chair out for her. "Then let's find someplace for lunch." Then he addressed the others. "We'll be back in a bit," he said as he led Buffy from the room. Neither saw the speculative glances.

Once outside, Giles stopped. "You grew up here, Buffy. What would you recommend?"

She thought about it for a few minutes. "There's a nice little Italian restaurant, or we can get a couple of sandwiches and eat in the Park. Sunshine, fresh air."

"They both sound lovely. Whichever you prefer is fine."

She cocked her head to the side as she considered. "Park, I think."

He nodded his acceptance and led her to the Blazer. They stopped at a deli and got sandwiches, chips and sodas. A few minutes later they were happily sitting at a picnic table munching away.

Between bites, they talked. "Do you come up here often and help them?" Buffy asked.

"From time to time. It's a way to keep current, and earn a bit of extra cash."

"They pay you? Cool."

"Well, yes. But it must be rather dull for you."

"Actually, no, it hasn't been. I'm not saying that it's as good as a night at the Bronze, but it's kind of fun to research when the fate of the world doesn't ride on it.

His smile was warm and caused a bit of pink to steal into her cheeks. "I'm glad that you're not bored, my dear."

"No, I'm not." She bit her lip, then blurted out, "Um, why did you tell them that I was your assistant?"

He raised his eyebrows. "Would you have preferred me to tell them the truth?"

"Which would be?" She prodded with a playful grin.

He gave a playful glare in return. "Chosen One, birthright, Watcher, any of this ringing a bell?"

"Ha, ha."

"So it was either that, assistant, or that you won't let me out of your sight because I'm your love slave." He had timed it perfectly; she had just taken a drink and sprayed it four feet in front of her.

She gave him an incredulous look, then burst into laughter. She laughed so hard that tears streamed down her face. In fact, she laughed so long that Giles was getting concerned.

Slowly her laughter trailed off and she wiped her eyes. "God, Giles. You really timed that one."

"Yes," he smirked. "I did, rather."

She leaned her head against his shoulder, still giggling. She sat that way for several minutes, until Giles reluctantly said, "I think we should probably go back, now." He felt Buffy nod against his shoulder.

"This has been nice, Giles."

"Yes," he said simply, watching the play of the sun on her hair.

She looked at him, her eyes serious. "What do you usually do for lunch, you know, when you come up by yourself?"

"It depends. If we're engrossed in something, we generally order in, and continue researching. If it's like today, I take a book and grab a bite. It's not usually so nice. I'm rather glad you're here."

Buffy's smile was brighter than the sun. "So am I," was all she said.

They rose and cleaned up their mess. Before Giles could walk to the Blazer, Buffy stopped him with a hand on his arm. He looked at her in question. Her expression was deadly serious.

"You could work here, couldn't you? With your credentials, they'd offer you a job in a heartbeat, wouldn't they?" His expression told her everything. "They already did, didn't they? They offered you a job. Why the hell didn't you take it?" She demanded, as she searched his eyes. What she saw there took her breath away. "For me?" Her voice was small. "Giles?"

"I told you that I wouldn't leave you, Buffy. Why are you so bloody shocked?"

"When? When did they offer you a job?"

His eyes held hers. "The end of September."

"After. Sunday, and Olivia. Oh!" She looked at him soulfully. "You should have taken it." She said softly.

He shook his head. "It's too far. You should be self-sufficient, not bereft."

"Why? Why can't it be like it used to be?" Her lip trembled, and he drew her to him.

"Do you really want it to be, dear?"

"You, me, the Library. Willow, Xander. Yeah, I do want that." He raised his eyebrows at her. "Okay, *sometimes* I want that. It was simpler. And don't tell me that you don't miss your Library." Her tone was teasing, though her eyes were serious.

"Of course I do, Buffy. But this can be good, also. You were always a Slayer that I could be proud of, but you've grown so much, just this year alone."

"You're proud of me?" Her voice was small.

"Of course. Do you think that any other Watcher has ever been so blessed?"

"I'm a blessing?" Her tone was dubious.

"Never doubt that." He told her gently. Her eyes were shining, then they clouded. "What?" He asked, his voice still gentle.

"You're not my Watcher anymore."

"Then why am I still Watching?"

"Because, I'm like a daughter to you?" She couldn't say it without giggling. He just lifted his eyebrows at her, his smile going no further than his green eyes. "Come on, Giles. It's funny and you know it. You and me, father and daughter. I don't like my Dad all that much. Wait, that didn't come out right. I love my Dad, too. Not that. well, you know what."

Giles interrupted her. "I love you, also, Buffy. You're a very dear friend."

"Friend is good." She said softly as he opened her car door. "Love slave is better," she said with another giggle.

He was laughing as he took his seat in the Blazer. They returned to the Museum in good spirits, still laughing a bit.

As Buffy sat back in her chair, she couldn't help but wonder what she would do for the rest of the time. But she needn't have worried. Having seen that Buffy was capable of translations, and not just window dressing, the others politely asked her to help them also. Buffy looked at Giles, who indicated that it was up to her. She hesitantly agreed.

When Giles settled in next to her she whispered, "You should have brought Will."

"Whatever for?" He looked at her blankly. She looked at him suspiciously, then realized that he truly didn't know what she meant.

The others looked up, just in time to see Giles flush at being the recipient of one of Buffy's 1000-watt smiles. His return smile was a little dazed.

The rest of the afternoon passed rather quickly as Buffy found herself engrossed in her translations. She didn't realize that Giles shot her several fond glances.

When she was finished, she read it from beginning to end. It seemed to be the history of a leader. Not a great or evil leader. Just a normal leader. <What a concept> Buffy thought. She almost said something to Giles, but he was deeply involved in something. Buffy smiled at his profile.

"Rupert," said Dr. St. James several minutes later.

"Hmm?" Giles responded, clearly distracted.

"Rupert?" He said again.

No reply from Giles at all.

"Giles," said Buffy softly.

His eyes immediately lifted to hers. "Yes?"

"Dr. St. James wants you," she said with a nod at the Doctor, who was trying not to grin.

"Yes, Richard?"

His smirking friend pointed at the clock. "It's that time, Rupert."

"Oh. Thank you."  And Giles stood and started putting things away. Buffy followed his lead.

"It was nice meeting you all," she said with a smile at the room at large.

"And you, my dear. Thank you for your help." Then Dr. St. James' smile turned a little sly. "Rupert's never brought an assistant before. I'm rather glad he did today. Do come again." Buffy couldn't have said why this made her blush. She gave another smile and followed Giles outside.

It wasn't until they were in the Blazer that Buffy asked. "Giles?"

"Yes?"

"About what time?"

"Pardon?"

"Dr. St. James said, 'It's about that times, Rupert'. What did he mean?"

Giles' breath had caught in his chest when she said 'Rupert'. But he collected himself. "I have another appointment."

"Oh. Where are we going?"

He thought about it for a few minutes before answering. "I doubt you would find it very interesting," he said cautiously.

Her lower lip trembled. "Did I do something wrong?"

"No, no, of course not, dear. I just think you'll be even more bored than you have been. You know that you are always welcome."

She smiled happily at him. They spent the rest of the drive back in light conversation, Buffy never again asking Giles where they were going.

When they reached Sunnydale, they drove until they reached a gray building that Buffy didn't recognize. They parked behind the building and walked in. Buffy closed her eyes as a familiar scent washed over her.

"Books?" She finally asked as Giles lightly clasped her elbow to guide her.

"Yes, books," he confirmed. She moved so that his hand slid from her elbow to her hand, as he led her to the children's section of the Sunnydale Public Library. They approached the Children's Librarian, a very tall older lady. She loomed over Buffy, making her wonder if the little kids were afraid of her.

"Mr. Giles," she greeted them, her voice kind.

"Mrs. Coranthe, hello. This is Buffy Summers." He didn't even try to explain what Buffy was doing there, nor who she was.

"It's a pleasure, my dear," was all Mrs. Coranthe managed to say, before being attacked from behind by a pre-schooler.

"Cori!"

Mrs. Coranthe's face grew very soft. "Janey, we don't yell in the Library," she said gently.

"Sorry, Cori," said the little girl with an angelic smile.

"It's all right, Janey. Now go and get ready for Mr. Giles." Janey gave a sunny smile and moved off. Then Mrs. Coranthe turned to Giles and Buffy. "Are you *sure* that you're ready?"

"They aren't that bad," he admonished with a grin. She grinned back at him.

By this time the trio had reached a quiet corner, where there was a comfortable chair and a large throw rug.

Seated on the rug were fourteen or fifteen children between the ages of four and seven. Giles moved to the chair, removed the book that was sitting there and sat down. His eyes met Buffy's, and then he opened the book.

Buffy bit her lip, then came and sat on the arm of his chair. He smiled up at her, then turned his attention back to the book. Then he began to read aloud.

The kids sat enthralled as Giles read "The Little Prince" to them, and Buffy was struck by how nice a speaking voice her Watcher had.

She couldn't have explained the warm glowy feeling that she was getting from this. She watched Giles pause patiently as a little boy raised his hand for the bathroom.

Buffy escorted the little boy, whom Giles had called Sam, to the boy's restroom. She was unaware of Giles' warm eyes following. Outside the restroom door, Buffy looked down at Sam. "Can you manage?"

"'Course. I'm six," he announced proudly.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize."

"'S'okay." He looked at her for a second then went into the bathroom. When he came back out, Buffy frowned at him. He sighed and went back to wash his hands. This time when he came out Buffy smiled at him and he fairly glowed under the force of it.

"Are you Mr. Giles' girlfriend?" Sam asked abruptly.

"Ah, no, not exactly."

"Oh. That's too bad. We all like Mr. Giles," he said as he tucked his small hand in hers. "You're pretty."

Buffy blushed. "Thank you, Sam. And I like him, too." They walked back to the others and Sam took his spot on the floor.

Giles read for about thirty minutes, only pausing a second time as a girl in the back pushed one of the boys whom she felt was sitting too close to her. Giles didn't even look up from the book as he spoke. "Meg, we don't push, especially in the Library." Buffy couldn't help but grin, thinking of some of the training and real fights that had taken place in Giles' Library. He caught her eyes, and seemed to read her mind. He winked at her, and she grinned wider.

When his time was up for reading, Giles closed his book and stood. "You were all very good today." He stopped and gave Meg a mock frown. She grinned, not at all intimidated. He grinned back at her. "So everyone gets a treat."  At that he pulled a large handful of lollipops out of his jacket pocket.

As Sam came over to show Buffy his blue lollipop, Buffy noticed a little girl hanging back. Then Giles quirked a finger at her. "Come here, Sarah. Did you think I'd forget you, love?" He pulled a lollipop out of his other pocket and handed to the little girl.

She hugged his knees as Mrs. Coranthe explained quietly to Buffy that Sarah was diabetic, and had to have a special lollipop.

"Thank you, Mr. Giles," the little one said, her blue eyes shining.

"You are very welcome," he told her gently.

"Thank you, Mr. Giles," the other children echoed.

"You are all welcome. Just remember *not* to eat them in the Library."

"Yeah, eat them at home, or better yet in your Mom's car," Buffy mumbled so quietly that only Giles could hear.

Only the smallest quirk of his lips acknowledged that he had heard her.

As the parents came to pick up their children from the extended day that the Library ran, they almost all came over to greet that nice Mr. Giles by name. Some of them shot speculative looks at Buffy, others ignored her, not rudely, just because they all seemed rushed.

When all of the children were gone, Mrs. Coranthe returned and thanked them both. Then Giles led Buffy back to his Blazer.

When they reached Giles' place, he went to start tea. Buffy heard a knocking at the door and went to open it. Her jaw dropped as she saw a small demon, dressed to be nondescript.

"Hi, I'm looking for the Watcher. Spike sent me."

Buffy continued to stare, dumbfounded, and Giles came up behind her. "Who is it, Buffy?" When he saw the demon, he gently nudged Buffy away from the door, and gestured for the demon to enter.

"You the Watcher?" The demon asked as he crossed into the room. At Giles' nod, the demon continued. "Spike sent me. Said you'd fix me up. I escaped from the soldiers. Also, he said to give you this." He handed Giles a fifty-dollar bill. Then he turned away and shed his large coat, then his shirt. His back was riddled with bullet holes.

"What's your name?" Giles asked as he took a closer look at the back.

"Melton. I'm a .."

"A Thorpin Demon, yes, of course." He looked at Buffy. "Buffy, would you pull that table over here, please, dear?"

"Giles. He's a demon. You're not gonna' help him, are you?" Buffy demanded.

"Buffy, Thorpin demons are not evil, per se. Are you going to help or not?" He asked as he moved to fetch his first aid kit.

Buffy opened and closed her mouth several times, then stood indecisively for a few seconds.

When Giles returned, Buffy had moved the table, covered it with a white clothe that she had found, and had the demon laying on the table on his stomach.

"That's my girl," Giles said softly.

Buffy blushed unaccountably, but smiled at him. As Giles took care of the demon, he asked him questions about the circumstances of his capture, his treatment, and how he had escaped.

As Buffy listened, she found that she didn't like what she heard. Some of the things that the scientists had done were disturbing.

Her expression was still troubled as Giles finished up with the demon, gave him follow-up instructions and sent him on his way. As soon as the demon left, Giles took a notebook out of the first aid kit and wrote down everything the demon had said, plus his own notes on the injuries, and instructions to the demon.

"How many have you treated," Buffy finally asked.

"Ten or twelve." She frowned at his response. "It's actually quite logical. I don't treat any demons that you might have to fight. They pay in cash. And, as I'm getting a bit of a reputation, most demons discourage hurting me for entertainment."

Buffy pursed her lips. "It scares me that I actually followed that 'logic'."

He grinned at her. "I understand exactly what you mean. The day I was able to use 'wiggins' in a sentence still gives me nightmares."

"Ha, ha, very funny. Not." But she grinned back at him.

They went into the kitchen and made tea, then settled on the sofa, Buffy's head resting on his shoulder. They sat in companionable silence for a while.

Then Buffy broke the silence. "So what are we doing tomorrow?"

END