Summary: Slayers abounded, and even with new innovations in training and technology, the Watcher’s Council struggled to cope with the decimation of its ranks wreaked by the Bringers. Willow’s sudden return offered Giles the chance to discover much-needed new recruits. Yet nothing quite prepared him for one Severus Snape.
AN: This story is set in 2004 during an imaginary lull after the first four comics. You don’t have to have read them to understand this, but there will be mild spoilers for the comics – less than you’d see reading Whedonesque. It's also set post-Final Battle in the HPverse.
Written for the Summer of Giles fest on LJ.
Disclaimer: Not mine; no money.
Thanks go to the wonderful firefly_124, who betaed for me (and commiserated that there weren’t enough Giles/Snape stories in existence, thus spurring this fic). Thanks as well go to the amazing saracen77, my Brit-picker, who kept Snape and Giles properly English, no matter how long the latter had lived in the States.Chapter 1Lord, what a despicable place
, Giles thought as he surveyed the dilapidated houses of Spinner’s End. Man’s bound to want to leave for something better.
The knock on the paint-peeling door brought such a scowling countenance in answer that Giles’s certainty quickly washed away. Or perhaps not.
“Severus Snape?” he asked the shadowy presence framed by the half-opened door.
He almost wasn’t fast enough to catch the rapidly closing door, but Giles wedged his shoulder in and pushed with the long muscles of his legs. This Snape fellow was strong.
A burst of yellow light bounced off Giles, and he thought, I’ll have to thank Willow for the shield.
Suddenly, the resistance disappeared, and Giles stumbled a bit as he entered the front hallway of the small house more quickly than expected only to find himself pushed up against a wall with a heavy body pinning him in place. No
, he realized, not a heavy body – a lean yet strong body striving with all its might.
Any further contemplation of said body was curtailed by the sharp object stabbing into his left jugular, and the hand squeezing his right wrist to the wall. “Who are you?” The voice was deep and filled with anger, the hot breath of it washing over his right ear. He couldn’t see the man’s facial expression, as they were too close, but he reminded himself that Willow thought Snape … well, benevolent may be too strong a word, but at least not evil.
“Giles. Rupert Giles.”
“Well, Mr. Giles. How did you find me? Who sent you? How did you make it through my wards? How did you deflect my spell without a wand?”
Grinning, even though the other man couldn’t see it, Giles answered, “Which would you actually prefer I answer first?”
Both body and sharp object pressed into him more firmly, the pain of the latter somewhat overshadowing the pleasure of the former. “Do not toy with me – I warn you.” The voice rumble directly into Giles’s chest from the one pressed against him. “Speak.”Right. Mustn’t alienate him before I’ve even begun – I have to have him.
“I head the Watcher’s Council.” Giles’s countenance and voice grew serious. “I’m here to make you an offer of employment.”
“Employment?” The voice now betrayed no emotion.
The pressure from the pointed object eased a bit, allowing the feel of the body pushing him into the wall to overwhelm Giles’s senses. Quite lean, indeed
, he thought, willing his slightly twitching erection down. Just how long had it been since he’d last been this close to someone? Someone who wasn’t a fifteen year old girl about to take his head off while training, that is? Yet even that didn’t fully explain his reaction.
Interestingly, there was an undercurrent of … something, a frisson of awareness that trickled along the nerves of his body, a hum of power and resonance. And while Giles couldn’t quite describe it, he did recognize it. Ethan. I haven’t felt such since Ethan …
His faint shiver of arousal caused the man holding him to draw back enough to meet his eyes before speaking. “If I release you, do you give your word that you will not attempt anything untoward?”
“I give my word.”
“The entire phrase – there is no surety in half-measures.”
“I give my word that I will not try to harm your person in any fashion. Good enough?”
A cocked eyebrow was the only answer – until the body began to ease away from him, that is.
Once the man was a few feet away, he gestured Giles to a doorway on his left. Yet the movement was made with the left hand – the right remaining firmly focused on Giles, pointing a dark piece of wood. A wand! I’ve heard of such, but I’ve never seen a real one – or at least not one in the hand of the person it’s made for.
The first sense engaged by the change of location was smell as the familiar scent of ageing books reached him. They lined every available space on the walls of the small room. Good Lord, is that Snefflebaum’s
A History of Dark Arts through the Middle Ages? The only other copy I’ve ever heard of was lost when the Bringers destroyed the original Headquarters.
A movement to his left caused Giles to stop perusing the bookcases and instead turn his attention towards the other person present. The cramped sitting room, while still somewhat gloomy, afforded more light for observing the man assumed to be Snape. Giles’s initial impression of him as dark seemed apt even when viewed in more light – not only were his hair and brows an inky black that matched his rather austere clothing, but his face was also fixed in a forbidding scowl, eyebrows hunched and lips pinched. I wonder if he’s able to maintain such an expression upon orgasm
, Giles pondered while fighting to suppress a grin.And how must I appear?
Taking a look down at his own clothing, Giles thought, At least I left off the jeans and jumper approach picked up from living in the States. There’s something to be said for the propriety of grey tweed, even if Buffy refers to it half-deprecatingly as my ‘full-on Watcher-mode Giles’ look.
Gesturing towards the other chair, Snape did not perch on his own wingback until Giles was firmly ensconced.
“How did you find me?”
“So you’re Snape?”
A terse nod served as answer.
“A colleague of mine detected your magical presence.”
“Impossible! My wards were unbreachable. The strongest witch or wizard could not have seen through them.” He somehow managed to simultaneously cock an eyebrow and narrow his eyes. “And you should not have been able to traverse them.”
“There are other forms of magic – ones not restricted by the use of a wand.” Even so, he’s right – the coven couldn’t detect him. It did take Willow.
“But. But that is …” As if a mask slipped, Snape suddenly showed emotion – his eyes widened and his mouth fell a bit open as his voice faded due to what seemed unspeakable horror.
“Yes, it’s much more dangerous. The weak are easier prey without a wand to focus their magic. The powerful, on the other hand, are able to channel much larger amounts of energy without a wand restraining the flow. They are also much more likely to become addicted to magic – black magic.”
“And you have someone powerful enough to see through my wards whom you yet trust?”
“Bully for you,” he sneered. “I have catered to one power-hungry madman – I will not bow to another.”
“I hardly think Willow will expect any bowing. She’s much more likely to offer you homemade American chocolate-chip cookies before proceeding to question you ceaselessly about the Wizarding world.”
“Cookies?” His sneer reached new extremes.
“She used to bake when upset. Now she does so when excited, though I’m not sure the sugar intake helps matters.”
“Cookies.” This time the voice sounded thoughtful.
“Yes, well, I still fancy Jaffa Cakes more, but her cookies are a sight better than plain McVitie’s.” Good Lord, why am I discussing biscuits with the man? He threw a spell at me not ten minutes ago. I really have been around Xander too long.
Giles moved to sit forward, suppressing his sudden desire for chocolate and redirecting his attention to the matter at hand. “As I mentioned, I am here as a representative of the Watcher’s Council. Are you familiar with it?”
“Not explicitly, no. I have read that it is the only Muggle organization concerned with the mystical, but I know of no specifics.”
“Muggle – I am assuming you mean those who live outside of the Wizarding world?” At the other man’s nod, Giles continued. “That is probably to be expected. We don’t seem to know much of your world either. Both seem to operate with a fair amount of secrecy in that the Council does not make itself known to most of the population.
“The Watcher’s Council has one primary function – to aid the Slayer in her battle against the forces of darkness. Much of this occurs through training, researching, etcetera. The Slayer is a woman mystically chosen and empowered to battle vampires and demons.
“Historically, there were a large number of Watchers and only one Slayer. A year ago, that all changed. We are now faced with a Council that has had its ranks decimated concomitant with an exploding Slayer population.
“We need Watchers, and we need people who are already … accepting of the more mystical aspects of the world.”
“Why do you assume that I could be one of these … Watchers?” He rolled the final word around on his tongue as if tasting it, drawing it out in a sardonic note.
“Willow was able to scry your magical ability, location, and name. Further research didn’t tell us much, but did make clear that you had been a teacher and that you have isolated yourself from contact with anyone.”
“Research?” The eyebrow quirk matched the concurrent sneer.Oh, bugger – he’s a clever one.
“Yes, well, we discovered you were a teacher via research – not that we could discover much without access to the Wizarding world. The rest was determined by having you watched for the past two months.”
Snape’s twist of lips and brow faded to be replaced by an expression of faint shock.
Not bothering to suppress his amusement, Giles explained, “Just because we need help doesn’t mean that the Slayers are incompetently trained.”
Pulling a small notepad from the inside pocket of his jacket, Giles flipped it open and turned to the correct page. “Bria and Marcy reported that you only left your home every five days or so to go to the shops – Muggle shops, as you’d call them. You bought mostly groceries and returned home as quickly as possible. You did not socialize with anyone and have not had any contact with the Wizarding world. This was confirmed when Willow reported that, during this same time period, you never left your house by magical means or had the aura of another magical person in your house.”
Voice a rising snarl, Snape said, “You have no business intruding upon my life like this!” Snape rose and began pacing the room, which was overly small to begin with, let alone when confronted with the strides such long legs were capable of. His repetition of three steps, turn, three steps, turn, seemed to be doing little to lessen his distress. “I have been under the constant scrutiny of untold numbers of people in my life – made to perform to their exacting expectations to keep life and limb together. I refuse to live that way any longer!”
Giles kept his voice carefully neutral in tone and volume. “So being alone in this small house year after year is your answer?”
Snape whirled on him to shout, “Yes – it is the only answer!”
They remained locked in position – Giles leaning forward in his chair, expression neutral, Snape standing over him, glaring while his chest rose and fell quickly. Then Snape spun to lean against a bookcase, carelessly offering his back. Yet hiding his face
, Giles realized.
Deciding that standing might appear too threatening, Giles remained seated to say, “And if I offered you another answer – another way – would you consider it?”
There was no response for long moments. Then, Snape straightened and turned slowly before walking to take a seat again. “I might.”
“Brilliant!” Giles couldn’t quite keep his enthusiasm out of his voice. Remember, Willow sensed that curiosity would reel him in.
“You’ll need to come to London then.”
Snape stiffened and replied tersely, “I cannot use magic outside the confines of this house – I will be detected immediately upon doing so.”
“Well, you don’t have to use magic. I came by car and had planned on driving back.”
“You mean you do not Apparate?”
“Instantaneous travel from location to location.”
“Oh, I’ve done that once, but I had assistance.”
“Well, I needed to get to California in something of a hurry, so –”
“California? Merlin’s balls, man – that is clear around the globe!” He sat forward, expression displaying keen interest. “I would hear more of assistance such as this.”Does he know how attractive he is when he isn’t scowling?
Giles smiled somewhat predatorily. “Then you’ll come with me because I’ll tell you nothing more here.”
The dark man’s scowl returned with a vengeance.Although, that expression does grow on one after a while as it does seem to suit him. AN: Reviews are appreciated!