AUTHOR: Gabriele Schulz
DISTRIBUTION: Solo84, Cap, Jess, Sai. Others please ask first.
SPOILERS: Up to "Faith, Hope and Trick"
FEEDBACK: Unfortunately begging for it doesn't help ;-(
SUMMARY: Buffy surprises Giles with a kayak trip and other things... B/G
DISCLAIMER: The characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Sandollar Productions, Kuzui Enterprises, 20th Century Fox Television, the WB Television Network, and whoever else may have a hold on them. I do not mean to infringe upon any copyrights.
NOTES: Another one inspired by "Faith, Hope and Trick". And didn't Giles look awesome when he thought of those kayak trips. *Sigh*. Also, I know nothing whatsoever about kayaks or fishing. And I had to look up more words than usually, which is never good. (I'm German, for those who didn't know.)
His hands flew up to his eyes, that were covered with a pair of feminine hands.
"No, it's just me."
He turned around quickly.
"It was her idea."
She pointed at Buffy who came out of the office.
Giles was confused.
"Do you remember, how you talked about the watchers' retreat thing. Since you didn't get invited I thought, you might enjoy if we go on a Scooby retreat."
"Yep, Watcher, Slayer, Slayerettes gone for a day and a night. Plus kayaks."
His eyes brightened.
"Do you real-"
"Faith will patrol."
"Immediately. Well, when the others are here. But they should be here any second."
"Who should be here any second?"
Xander came in smiling. And without luggage.
"Where's your stuff. Is Oz already here? Why didn't they come in. We're waiting for them."
"I haven't seen Oz."
"Then where's your luggage."
"I won't need it."
At this point Cordelia stepped in.
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Well, I thought it would be better if I stayed here, go on patrol with Faith, since she's not familiar with Sunnydale and so..."
"And you think I'll leave you *alone* with *her*?"
Xander gulped, smiling uneasily at the stare of his girlfriend.
"Guys, what are you doing? This was supposed to be a Scooby retreat."
"You'll still have Willow and Oz."
"Speaking of them, where are they? It's not like them to be late."
"I know, sorry, Buffy."
"Will! Where have you... where's Oz?"
"He's at home."
"At home?! He was supposed to drive."
"I know. We are really sorry, but Oz has come down with something. And he has no one who'll take care of him, so I guess it will just be the four of you."
Buffy glared at her.
"We are not going."
"I promised Faith to patrol with her."
"What? Do you think I'll leave him alone with her?!"
"Great. Really great. I sit down and plan something for *one* single time and what happens... I'm really sorry, Giles."
He just smiled at her.
"Buffy, it's quite all right. The fact alone that you thought ab-"
"Why aren't you going on your own?"
"Yes. A Watcher/Slayer trip. You know, time for some bonding away from work."
"You'll have fun. The nature, the freedom."
"Uh. I'm not sure. Buffy?"
"Sure, why not. Watcher/Slayer bonding. Sounds good to me."
"You're all packed and ready to go."
"Yes, Giles, otherwise it wouldn't have been a surprise, would it?"
"All right let's go. We have a tight schedule."
They went off and after a few seconds Giles followed them.
Cordelia, Xander and Willow waved them good-bye as the citroen drove off.
"So where are we driving?"
"I'll tell you where to drive. Just keep going straight ahead until I tell you otherwise."
They drove for a while silently except for Buffy's occasional directions.
She didn't seem as enthusiastic as when she had first announced her surprise.
"Are you all right?"
"Of course, Giles. Why wouldn't I?"
"If you... if you prefer, we could just postpone it. Until Faith's new Watcher comes. And when Oz is feeling better."
"No, no. It's... I had everything planned out so nicely. I wanted a really great surprise for you. Something you'll never forget."
"Buffy, it was a wonderful surprise. And it still is. It was very thoughtful of you."
She just sighed.
After a while of silence Giles spoke again.
"What did you pack for me?"
"Oh, just... an extra set of clothes, boots, a blanket, a small stove, oh yeah, and that fishing-rod we found in the back of your cupboard."
He turned around to her then back on the street.
"How did you get into my house?"
"Uh. The same way we put the things in your car?"
"You broke in?"
"And that means...?"
"I kind of have a key to both."
"I can't remember giving them to you."
"Well, that's because you didn't."
He didn't say anything for a while then just said.
"I think it's probably best that you have a key to my house."
She turned around surprised.
"Yes. Although I would have preferred if you had simply asked for them."
"I wasn't sure what you'd say if I ask for keys to your house. That's kind of... pretty intimate. I mean I could go through your personal stuff anytime."
He looked at her with raised eyebrows.
"Of course I'd never do anything like that. All right, I would, but fortunately for you Willow said we couldn't do that. What would we think if someone went through all of our stuff. Xander said, you could go through his stuff any time, but don't worry, we kept him away from those boxes, that you hide in the back of the cupboard."
They looked at each other then started laughing a little.
Buffy's mood improved and she started talking about all kinds of stuff, just the kind of things she'd usually share with Willow and Xander. He loved every second of it. Especially when he managed to make her laugh with one of his own stories.
"A father/daughter trip?"
Giles looked at Buffy and was about to answer the young man, when Buffy spoke.
Giles looked at her, hiding his surprise.
"Here it is. You know where you can return it?"
"Yes, we're only on a one day trip, from here to Ridgeville."
"You'll have to be fast when you want to get there today."
"Tomorrow morning. We have a tent."
"All right. Have fun."
They packed their things inside and then got in. It took them surprisingly short to float steadily across the water, the rhythm of their paddles totally in sync.
"So what was that about the father/daughter trip?"
"What was I supposed to tell him? 'No, it's a Watcher/Slayer bonding thing.'"
"Well, you could have told him..."
"What? 'I'm taking my librarian on a weekend trip.' or perhaps 'No, we're just friends.' He sure would have believed that."
He turned around and could see her rolling her eyes and smiling.
"You think he would have..."
"Yes, Giles, I think he would have. A guy, a girl, *one* tent."
"We have only *one* tent?"
"Eh, well, yes. It was supposed to be three, but..."
They went on rowing, then Giles had a thought.
"Who would have slept where?"
"You and Xander, Cordy and I and Willow and Oz."
"Willow and Oz?"
"Yes, Giles. Willow and Oz. We are no children anymore. And besides, Oz isn't dangerous, when he's not a werewolf. Well certainly not as... as Xander."
"And you're okay with... our sleeping arrangements?"
"Giles, I don't want to insult you or anything, but I can't think of anyone more safe than you."
He did feel kind of insulted, but cheered up when she added.
"And if you really try something I still have my Slayer strength."
He turned around to her a smile playing on his face.
At noon they stopped to eat and test Giles' fishing-rod, both of which proved to be not without problems.
It took them ten minutes to find the sandwiches Xander was supposed to pack.
"I'll kill him if he forgot them."
"Buffy, we could still eat that spaghetti in a tin."
"That's for dinner!"
"I think I saw on a map, that we'll pass near a small town. I'm sure th-"
"No! Watcher, Slayer, nature. I don't want to- ah, here they are."
She took out a crumpled bag.
"That's our food?"
She opened it and took a look.
"Well, it was."
"This bag was packed under my boots."
"I think Xander needs a lesson in packing. Care for some scrambled sandwich?"
She handed him the bag.
He took a look and than got out a sandwich, that seemed to be battered but not broken.
"I think I found a whole one."
"Good for you. You know maybe we should test you fishing-rod. I heard you can catch fish with it."
"Sometimes it works that way."
He smiled at her.
"I hope it won't take as long to find that."
He turned around and picked up something from behind him.
"Here you go."
"This isn't even assembled."
He took a bite from the sandwich, obviously not about to help her. A smile was once again playing on his face.
"You think I won't manage this. Hah! I'm the Slayer. I'll manage it. I don't need your help."
She walked away ceremoniously, carrying the fishing-rod.
Then she sat down at the bank and started to assemble the rod. After a couple of minutes she suddenly felt arms coming from behind her. It took him a few movements, then he placed the assembled rod in her hands.
"Of course I'm fully aware that with your Slayer abilities you would have managed without me in no time at all."
She turned around to him trying to glare, but faced with his gorgeous smile couldn't pull it off. He smiled too seldom. She just smiled back and they looked at each other for a moment before Buffy got up.
"All right. How does this work. It looks easy enough in the movies."
He got up as well and stood next to her still smiling.
She tried to cast the line. And failed miserably. She tried again, and again.
Then she turned around to him.
"It doesn't work."
He got behind her and put his arms around her.
He put his hands on hers and showed her the right movement. The line flew into the water.
"See? Try again."
She did and while it was not as bad as the first few times it still didn't go very far.
He put his arms around her again.
"Just like this."
He showed her the movement a couple of times. Then she suddenly started laughing.
"What's so funny?"
"With any other guy, I'd think that this would be the *lamest* excuse for touching me."
He pulled his hands away.
She laughed again.
"It's okay, Giles. I know that your not doing it because you want to touch me."
"Of course not. If I wanted to touch you, I'd have plenty of opportunities while we're training."
Buffy's eyes widened.
"N-n-not that I... Buffy, I never..."
"You never what?"
"While we're training, I'd never... for my own p-pl... just be-because I..."
A wide grin spread over Buffy's face.
"You'd never touch me, just because it turns you on?"
"O-o-of course not."
"Of course you wouldn't do it or of course it doesn't turn you on?"
Giles blushed even more if this was possible.
"I-I think you'll manage alone now. I'm hungry."
He hurried away and started to munch on a sandwich.
Buffy stood for a moment, not smiling any longer.
She cast the line and was pleased with the second try. She stood for a while thinking about what had happened. She enjoyed teasing Giles. It was definitely one of her favorite pasttimes. But his mention of training had surprised her. Not that it wasn't totally true, that training provided him with more than enough opportunities to touch her. (If he really wanted to he could touch her in the most intimate places and she wouldn't even notice that it hadn't been an accident.) But that he would be aware of that fact and even mention it... She had the idea though that the latter had shocked him as much as her.
The idea that Giles could think of her as woman was somewhat... well actually it was natural, wasn't it. She *was* a woman after all, and her outfits more often than not left not much room for speculation concerning her body. He hadn't answered her last question and that *had* been the answer. Touching her turned him on. Or at least could.
An image of Giles running his hands over her naked body flashed through her mind. She shook it away, not disgusted, but... surprised. She had only begun to think about guys again a couple of days ago. Going out with Scott had been a step in that direction. He was a nice guy. Hadn't tried anything, not even to kiss her. She would have let him, but obviously she had been sending some kind of signal that said 'no'.
Their second date had gone similarly and their third was to be the next evening.
It would probably be their last. Unless Scott wouldn't mind just being friends, although she didn't know if she even wanted that. She already had friends.
She rammed the rod into the bank and went to Giles, who's color had turned to a natural shade.
He handed her the bag and she started eating silently. He just watched her a couple of seconds than lay down using the bag as a pillow. He looked up into the sky.
"It's beautiful isn't it?"
She looked at him, his gaze dreamily, a distant smile on his face.
He couldn't see her blush. God, that she would think of Giles as beautiful. But lying down and relaxed as he was right now, he seemed so... young. And in a way that meant close. Attainable. She looked up and away from him, taking in her surroundings. The tall trees that surrounded the small clearing, they had chosen as a place for lunch. The water running slow but steadily and the blue sky.
"It's very beautiful."
He turned his head to look at her. < So are you. >
He turned back, put his glasses away and closed his eyes. After a while he suddenly felt her lying down next to him, placing her head on his shoulder and his arm around her body.
He looked at her surprised.
"Do you expect me to lie down on the ground? The bag is the only softy kind of thing we have."
"You mean except me?"
She gazed up at him.
"That's right. You probably make the best pillow."
She turned around a little so that she was on her side lying slightly on top of him, her head on his chest, while his left arm instinctively held her to him. She moved her left arm around his torso.
"Definitely better than the ground."
She closed her eyes and when he got over the shock of her closeness he dozed off as well.
When she woke up, she was lying half on top of him and her head was lying closer to his neck. She lifted her head to look at his face. He was still sleeping.
She took the opportunity to study his face. She couldn't remember the last time she was so close to him.
He *was* beautiful. Not like Angel or some other *guys*. He was a man. Every line of his face told a story. She suddenly realized that she could look at him forever, without ever getting bored. She knew so little about this man who meant so much to her.
Hearing about what had happened to Faith's Watcher had been painful on more than one level. She had felt compassion for Faith, but also guilt at what Angel had done to Giles. But the most disturbing feeling had been the fear. The fear to lose Giles.
It was one of the reasons for this trip. She wanted to do something for him. Wanted to give back for once instead of taking only. The others had told her how much he had missed her. How he had spent every waking minute looking for her.
She could imagine that he had dreamed about her as well. She had dreamed of him a couple of times. Sometimes happy dreams in which he found her and took her in his arms and then back home. Other times nightmares in which he begged for her to come home. And at one time she had dreamed that she came back and he just let out everything she'd ever done to him. Sleeping with Angel, Jenny's death, his torture and running away like a coward. She had felt his hate and it had been the greatest nightmare she ever had. More painful than any of the dreams about Angel.
But he didn't hate her. He had welcomed her back into his life. Their life. Without accusation, understanding her and her needs as he always did.
< God, Giles, I don't deserve you. >
She didn't. He was the most selfless person she knew. He always put *her* first.
Well this trip was for him. She knew that he had a good time. He had smiled so often. She couldn't get enough of his smile. People had told her that her smile lit up a room, but when he smiled even faintly it lit up her heart.
He didn't smile now though. He was sleeping. And she was watching him.
Her eyes kept coming back to his mouth and she licked her lips. She wanted to kiss him. She didn't know why but she knew that she wanted to kiss him as badly as no one since Angel. She knew that she loved him, but you could love someone in so many ways. She just didn't know in which way she loved Giles. Her feelings for him were so complex. And she had never really begun to explore their nature until today.
Things had always been so clear. She had loved Angel like a man, her parents like parents, Willow and Xander like the friends they were. Giles had been her Watcher/friend. She didn't know how Slayers were supposed to love their Watchers (if at all). But her love for him had been different from the way she loved Willow and Xander. Giles was her mentor and she sought his approval more than anyone else's. On the surface their relationship was more technical, but in those rare moments, when they had bared their soul to the other, it had become clear that they had a place in each other's heart that no one else could fill.
She had said good-bye to Angel. She had a vacancy in heart. Maybe it was natural that this man who had already claimed a special place in her heart would try to fill that void too.
She closed her eyes again, the image of his hands running over her naked body again playing in her mind. This time she let it play a little longer.
Was she falling in love with Giles?
< You can if you want to. >
Did she want to? She opened her eyes and looked at him again. God, she wanted to kiss him so badly. She bent down until her lips were less than an inch from his. Then she ran her hands over his face.
When she moved up and kissed his forehead, he let out the breath he had been holding ever since he had felt her breath on his lips.
She jerked away.
He opened his eyes and she scrambled to her feet. They stared at each other for a moment, then she looked at her watch.
"We should get going if we want to reach our sleeping spot in time."
They both started to pack their things wordlessly.
They had been mostly silent for the rest of the journey to their sleeping spot. It was another clearing along the bank.
"God, Giles, I'm sorry. Is it okay?"
He held up his hand, the upper part of his thumb gone.
"Oh, my god."
He bent the thumb back.
"No, Buffy, it's still there."
She looked at him shocked. Then hit him.
"That's not funny. I thought for a second I de-thumbed you."
"Well you did hit it with that hammer. And I can assure it does hurt."
He streched out his tongue and she couldn't help laughing.
"I'm sorry Giles. I think this tent hates us."
"Well, that's better than to think that *you* hate me. Or my thumb."
"I don't hate any part of you."
She took his hand and lightly kissed the red thumb.
"Not really, but you can kiss me anytime you want to."
They looked at each other, then started laughing.
They somehow managed to build up the tent without further casualties, talking along the way and complaining bitterly about the nasty thing that was to house them for the night.
Buffy had decided to give fishing another try. She had considered pretending to need his help again, just to feel his arms around her, but then decided against it.
She had cast the line and put the rod into the ground deep enough that it would stay in place.
Then she went to Giles who had gotten out the small stove and was warming the tin of spaghetti.
They were talking about how early they would have to get up in order to arrive back in time. She had told her mom she would be back by noon and didn't want to worry her unnecessarily.
"Do you think she would have allowed this trip, if she knew it were only the two of us?"
"I don't know and I don't care. I just know that I'm kind of glad, it's just the two of us."
"I'm glad about that, too."
They looked at each other for a moment, when Buffy suddenly jumped up and ran to the bank. Something was wriggling on the line and she tried to lift the rod up and the thing out of the water.
"You have to pull in the line."
But she was struggling as it was and sat down just holding onto the rod until he sat down behind her and helped her pull in the line. The fish was quite big and soon wriggling in her hands soaking her t-shirt and then her trousers when she dropped it.
"How do we kill it?"
"Buffy, we don't really have anything we could prepare it in. Or do you just want to bring it home."
"Eww. Of course not. I thought we could eat it."
"As I said, we don't have anything to prepare it."
He put his hands on the fish end gently eased the hook out. Together they threw it back in.
"Now tell me, what was the whole point of this."
"*You* brought the rod. I never thought you'd catch anything."
He was still sitting behind her. She turned around and suddenly pinned him to the ground, straddling him.
"Underestimated me again, huh?"
He gulped looking up at her, trying to ignore her wet t-shirt. Before he could worry about a certain part of his body, she got up and went back to were they had built the tent and were eating.
He let out a sigh before he got up as well and followed her.
They ate up the rest of the spaghetti.
"I'm not Faith."
"No, you are not."
"Am I better than her?"
"Buffy, I don't think you can compare two people. Especially if they are so different. Then again if you asked me if Willow was better than Xander I wouldn't hesitate to say 'yes'."
She looked at him shocked.
"Th-that doesn't mean that I love him less, Buffy."
"You love them?"
"I love all of you."
"Like... like your children?"
"I must love Xander like a son, otherwise I would have killed him after that love spell. He could have killed you!"
"But fortunately I'm alive. Then again, being naked in front of Oz was quite embarrassing. Maybe *I* should have killed him for that."
He didn't react to her joke, just stared at her open-mouthed.
"O-Oz saw you... naked?"
"Well, when I became a rat I left the clothes behind. And then I turned back from the fur-covered rat-Buffy to Buffy the human, who fortunately is not fur-covered, which left me without clothes. I guess that's what you generally call naked."
"You never told me about that."
"It was embarrassing enough. And it's not that he *really* saw anything. I mean I was hiding behind something. I guess he couldn't see anything, you haven't seen a thousand times. I think it was more the knowledge that I was naked, you know. A mind-thing. So basically it was only that he could see me and *know* that I was naked. But you could pretend that anytime, couldn't you?"
He blushed slightly, his gaze wandering to the drying spot on her t-shirt.
"Giles, I didn't mean that you should imagine it right now."
"Of course you would never! Giles, why shouldn't you? The thought of my naked body is quite exciting, isn't it?"
He looked at her.
"How can I answer that without being embarrassed or insulting?"
"I think you just found a way. Although that's not really an answer, is it?"
"Why don't we talk about something else."
"It's cute that you are embarrassed. And we aren't even speaking of your naked body."
"You could be hiding god knows what under that tweed you usually wear. I mean for all that I know you could have two navels. And it's basically coincidence I know you have chest hair, which is... interesting and kind of manly."
She looked at him blushing slightly.
"Maybe you're right. We should talk about something else."
"No, no. Keep going about my manlyness. I have no problem with that. And I never thought you noticed how manly I am."
They was a playful note in his voice, but she went along.
"Of course I noticed. I can tell you the sight of you beating up Angel was something I'll never forget."
Both their smiles were gone in an instant.
"Oh god, Giles, I'm sorry."
"No, no, it's all right. I guess that was manly."
He smiled weakly. She crawled towards him and hugged him.
"You are the manliest man I know. And the bravest and most generous and gorgeous and just the best."
He put his arms around her and then she pulled back her head and they looked at each other for an endless moment.
< Giles, if you kiss me now, I'll let you. >
But he didn't and she couldn't bring herself to do it.
"We should prepare the bed."
He blushed slightly.
Buffy reluctantly got up and got out the air mattress that was supposed to be their bed for the night. She started to go through the bag looking for something.
"What are you looking for?"
"Oz said he had a... oh, no."
She looked more frantically, but didn't find what she was looking for.
"I'm afraid if we are going to inflate it, it's going to have to be with our own lungs."
Buffy turned around sighing again.
"Damn it. I don't think I'll be able to sleep here. And we have to get up early tomorrow."
"Would you mind sleeping outside?"
"We could look for a softer spot in the woods. With some moss. We could take the mattress to lie on. If you want to."
She took his hand in hers.
They walked together hand in hand. He carried the mattress, she the blanket. It was already dark.
"We shouldn't walk too far."
When they reached the beginning of the woods he got down on his knees.
"This seems quite soft to me."
He put down the mattress and lay on top of it.
He motioned for her to join him. She got down, lying her head on him, while his arm held her to him.
They looked at the stars silently, when Buffy heard a noise and moved her upper body up listening closely.
"Did you hear that?"
"Yes. It's just some animal, Buffy, don't worry."
She heard the noise again and leaned forward trying to see what was causing it.
"Buffy, we're in the woods..."
She lay down again, this time half on top of him, one of her legs on him and most of her upper body on his.
"Giles, I think you're even better than the moss."
With that she moved on top of him, her legs on his sides, her head just beneath his on his chest.
She lifted her head and looked at his face, pale in the moonlight.
"Giles, why did you pretend that you were still sleeping after lunch?"
"I... when I felt you move I thought you'd get up and when you didn't I... I was wondering what you did."
"I was looking at you. Just like this. Then I stroked your face. Like this. And then I..."
She leaned forward and kissed his forehead again.
"But that wasn't where I wanted to kiss you."
She moved until her lips were nearly on his, just like a couple of hours before.
"Buffy, I love you."
Then she kissed him. His arms came up and around her. He ran his fingers through her hair. The kiss deepened and she started rubbing herself against him. When she opened her mouth his tongue snaked in, twining with hers.
She started to unbotton his shirt and he pulled away the blanket and eased her t-shirt out of her pants. She started to run her hands over his chest.
"Very manly. I knew it."
"And you're just as beautiful as I always knew you would be."
"You haven't seen anything, yet."
She moved her torso up, grinding herself on his groin. He moaned her name. She got out of her t-shirt and moved to unclasp her bra, when he stopped her.
"Let me do that."
She kissed him again and he undid her bra without problems, which made Buffy wonder where he learned that, but she pushed that thought away and her torso up again to reveal her breasts to him. She slid totally out of the bra and threw it aside.
He looked at her than traced one finger from her shoulder to one nipple. Then he started rubbing it with his thumb.
She closed her eyes and sighed. He moved forward and captured the nipple with his mouth, while his hand now started rubbing the other nipple. She moved her hands into his hair pulling him as close as possible, while her lower body started moving along his hardening penis.
He groaned. She started to undo his pants and moved upward, freeing his erection.
"This is getting a little complicated."
He looked up at her and laughed. Then he grabbed her and pinned her to the ground.
"I'll make it easier."
He got out of his pants, underpants, socks as well as the shirt. Then he undid Buffy's pants. He looked down at her naked body. She was only wearing her slip at that point.
"I'll never forget this trip."
She smiled at him.
He moved her legs apart and kneeled between them. Then he kissed her mouth again, soon moving on to her throat, breasts, navel, before reaching her slip.
She lifted her hips and he removed the last bit of clothing until she was lying naked in front of him. Buffy moaned, when he buried his mouth in her sex. He sucked and licked until she begged him to stop.
"Please, Giles, I want *you*."
He positioned himself, ready to enter her. Then he leaned forward and kissed her again.
"No, I... I love you."
He looked at her face. She was gazing up at him. Then he plunged into her. They closed their eyes simultaneously and started moving in a heated rhythm.
"Oh, Giles, yes."
Their thrusts became faster and harder until they climaxed together screaming into the night.
They made love twice again during that night and in the morning before they went on the last part of their trip. Buffy insisted to try it in the kayak as well after Giles told her of a joke he had heard somewhere.
'American beer is like making love in a canoe: Fucking close to water.'
They stopped on their way home as well and made love in the backseat of the citroen.
When he drove to drop her off at her home, she complained.
"Where are driving?"
"You said you didn't want to worry your mother."
"I can call her from your place."
"Buffy, you aren't even 18. We should be careful."
"Giles, it's over two months till my birthday. I can't wait so long."
"I guess, you'll have to marry me then."
"Don't you want to marry me?"
"Buffy, the Council would never..."
"I don't care about the Council. I don't want to hide our relationship. I want everyone to know, that I love you."
"They'll fire me."
"They can't fire my husband."
"They'll send a new Watcher."
"But not a new husband."
She kissed him wildly and he looked around nervously before kissing her back.
Let the Council fire him. It was their fault after all. They didn't invite him to the retreat...