Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy and Co. - Joss Whedon does.
Giles looked up as his door slowly started to open. No knock meant it must be one of the 'original' Scoobies and as the majority of his adopted children were elsewhere, it must be Dawn. She entered his office slowly, lips moving soundlessly while she frowned down at some papers. She moved forward to the chair across from his desk automatically, never once looking up from the stack of documents in her hands.
"Was there something you needed, Dawn?" Giles asked patiently. The younger Summers was the head of the New Council's business holdings, having merged Willow's love of technology and information with Anya's adoration of figures and the free market to become a terrifyingly efficient businesswoman.
"Hmm? Oh yes, take a look at these figures," she held out the topmost sheet of paper, a spreadsheet.
"Dawn..." the ex-librarian blinked owlishly, "what precisely am I looking at, here?"
"A breakdown of Slayer-team casualties and its correlation with the training they've received, there's been a recent downswing in injuries and apocalypse-related deaths in all of the North American squads, but no-where else."
"Fewer casualties is always a good thing," he muttered, leaning forward to inspect the paper more closely. It was no use. Give him books and long-dead demonic languages from the nth dimension any day, spreadsheets were and would always remain a mystery.
"Yes, but I can't figure out why
there are fewer casualties," Dawn whined, sounding so much like her teenage self that Giles physically started. "I mean," she continued, "a lot of the Slayers who're doing better are coming out of Andrew's little retreat-facility, but a little holiday wouldn't explain these numbers!"
"Maybe Andrew is offering some additional training?" Giles postulated idly.
"Point." He sighed, rubbing his hand tiredly through his hair, "Perhaps we could ask one of the 'improved' Slayers what she and her team have been doing differently?" Seeing Dawn's satisfied smile, he rolled his eyes: "You've already sent for one of them, haven't you? Why did you need me, exactly?"
"Aw, c'mon Giles!" She smiled winningly, "It just doesn't have that student-called-to-the-principal's office effect when I do it!"
"Quite." There was a knock at the door: "Come in."
The young woman who entered was one of the younger Slayers, probably around seventeen or so, with dark brown hair pulled back into a messy bun and bright blue eyes. "You called, sir?" her voice was low and more than a trace of nervousness was apparent.
"Yes, Lori," Dawn answered, "don't worry, you're not in trouble. We just have a few questions for you." The Slayer looked anything but relieved, but smiled gamely and came fully into the room, standing at parade rest before the two.
"We've noticed a recent downswing in casualties from your group," Giles said, taking charge. "Have you changed anything in your operations?" Aside from wanting to know what, if anything, Andrew had done, Giles was genuinely curious: anything that reduced the number of names that had to be carved on the Council's memorial stones was a good thing in his book.
Lori actually smiled, "We've been following Andrew's Rules for Survival."
"'Rules for Survival'
?" Giles asked weakly.
Dawn shot him an 'I told you so' look, "What are these rules, exactly?"
Lori recited them as if by rote, "Number one: redshirts always die. Number two: blondes die next. Number three: if you have to go within grabbing distance to check if it's dead, it's not. Number four: the black guy dies after the blonde - "
Dawn held up a hand, "We get the picture. Andrew's taking rules from horror movies and - " she winced, " - Star Trek. Why are you following
Lori grinned, "Because they work! Red attracts vampires and it's harder to tell if someone is injured if their blood is the same color as their shirt. Blonde hair is too shiny and catches the light a lot, our girls have started wearing hats to cover it up and boy-howdy does it work! You'd be surprised how many critters 'play dead' and double-checking never hurt anyone. That last rule... well, a lot of the older vampires in America especially were turned between the thirties and seventies, they tend to not take too well to the idea that a black girl is attacking them with intent to slay."
"Interesting," Dawn said, her analytical mind working overtime and Giles just knew
that her next project would focus on the ethnicities of vampires and projected likely prey. "How many rules are there?"
"About fifteen right now, but Mr. Wells comes up with more almost once a week."
"Why once a week?"
"New movies come out on Friday."
Giles sighed, "I had to ask."