Getting to Know You
March 1. 2005 2:05 PM
Giles hit the intercom button on his phone. "Anya, has Mister Longbottom arrived yet?"
Anya rolled her eyes. She'd just returned from an extended lunch break when Giles had his meeting with Draco's friend the Man Whore. She made herself scarce because she just knew if he opened his mouth she'd vaporize him and then get in trouble.
Once she figured out which button was the right one to press, she leaned in close to the speaker. "No," she said loudly. "But he had to make a delivery before he came to see you."
She looked up, a tall man looking around as he slowly made his way to her desk. He had shaggy brown hair and had some dirt on his shirt and hands. He looked like Xander had after a day at the construction site.
Shaking her head to rid herself of those thoughts, she pushed the button again. "He's here." Anya smiled up at the wizard. "Neville Longbottom right? Mr. Giles is expecting you."
Neville was a bit cautious meeting with Giles, but Willow and Mac assured him he was fair and kind. His secretary looked like she wanted to take a bite out of him, and he nervously inched passed her. "Thanks."
When he stepped into the office, he tried to brush himself off and look presentable. "Mr. Giles? I'm Neville. Willow said you'd like to see me?"
"Yes, indeed. Please, sit." Giles indicated the chairs on the other side of his desk.
Neville moved over to the chairs and tried to remember to sit up straight. He had a habit of slumping in chairs, but his Gran would be horrified if she knew he still did that.
"I have a number of things that I'd like to speak to you about," Giles stated, "The first being the Invoices for Willow's supplies. We do not currently have access to our Gringott's accounts; The goblins are being slightly troublesome in this matter. We wanted to see if you would rather take Pounds Sterling, or if our bringing payment to you in galleons in person would be more agreeable."
"Oh!" Neville said, partly relived that he wasn't in trouble. "Whichever way is easiest for you. I do conversions once a week because some of my clients live in the Muggle world and don't want to bother with the exchange rate, and I can take galleons just as easily. Neither are an inconvenience for me."
"All right, then. I think we can work something out," Giles told him, looking amused. "Now that we've completed the paperwork, for the most part, I'd like to discuss Pevensie Karlson."
Neville was back to being nervous. "Is something wrong?"
"Not that I'm aware of... I'd just like to know how she's working out for you."
"Oh, excellent!" Neville said with a grin. "She's a very hard worker and is taking an interest in the plants themselves instead of the heavy pots they're stored in. I keep her away from the dangerous plants, of course, but she's picking up things about the simple flowers and herbs I sell up front. I hope I'm not working her too hard."
"Yes, well, I wouldn't worry about that. If you do work her too hard, we will be sure to let you know." He paused. "Actually, Draco Malfoy will probably let you know."
Neville snorted. "I'm sure he will, but I'm making sure to watch and give her plenty of breaks. I don't want to exhaust her. Merlin forbid I bring down the wrath of Draco Malfoy."
"Yes, well... Between you and I, he barks a good bark, but he still needs to work on the bite, if you catch my meaning." Giles raised an eyebrow.
"His idea of bark in school was to misplace my toad. I catch your meaning just fine."
Giles Nodded. "Excellent. The last thing I'd like to discuss with you is Morag MacDougal."
Now his palms were sweating. "Yes?" he asked, clearing his throat to make his voice go back in to a deeper register.
"You seem to be a nice enough fellow, and your reputation is very good."
"Um, thanks?" Neville said, unsure on how to continue on. "Is this the obligatory 'hurt her and I'll hurt you' conversation?"
"Ah, so you've already received the Shovel Speech. Excellent."
Neville nodded. "Willow did a rather good job of it, plus I think Pevensie would be mad if I made Mac mad in any way. Between the two consider me appropriately cowered."
"Excellent. I do ask that you do try to keep the public displays of affection to a minimum. I don't have the luxury of waving a wand to clean up Miss Penshaw's vomit."
He didn't think he'd mention that he sounded like his Gran. "Duly noted, sir. I promise that if said problems arise from our public displays of affection. I'll clean it up myself."
"Another reason I mention it is that I'd prefer it if the younger girls didn't get an impromptu health class. Some things are better to find out about on your own."
Neville just knew his face was flushing. What was he supposed to say to that
? "Of course not, sir. And besides, we're just friends right now. Our grandmothers are good friends. There's no cause for alarm."
"Yes, well, when one is sharing the sorts of looks that the two of you share, 'just friends' swiftly becomes 'just friends with benefits'. Be careful, and don't try anything that she doesn't want to do."
That shocked a laugh out of Neville. "I'm sorry, but are we talking about the same woman here? There is no 'don't try anything that she doesn't want to do'. She'd break me if I attempted it."
Giles chuckled. "That's why I warned you against it." Giles stood and held out a hand. "It was very nice to finally meet you."
Neville quickly stood and offered his hand to Giles. "It was nice to meet you as well. I hope we can continue to do business with each other."
"I'm sure we can. Please pass my regards on to your grandmother."