Between the Lines
March 1, 2005 2:45 PM
There were so many people at the Watcher's Council. Astoria wanted people today. She was not talking to anyone specific, just picking up snippets of life. She was actually trying not to think about Marcus Flint. Flirting with Daisy Penshaw was helping there quite a bit. Penshaw wasn't gay at all, but she was flattered, so that was just as good as being interested. She at least could carry on an intelligent conversation, so that pleased Astoria.
Giles had been on his way back up to his office when he walked through the lobby and past Penshaw's desk and noted the presence of Astoria Greengrass. It looked like she was trying to chat up the pretty brunette, and failing.
"Good afternoon, Mistress Greengrass. What brings you to our facilities today? Are you still experiencing difficulties from your injuries?"
"Not in the least," Astoria replied. "I just happen to like it here. So many people not guarding their thoughts at all."
"Yes, well, there's really no protecting thoughts against a seer, is there?"
"Not really, no, but anyone who knows Occlumency can make me work for it. Unless I touch them. Then it's all over. I know your grandkids' names. You do know they've never let me touch you either. You noticed that time I shook your hand I had gloves. Nessa made me wear them."
Astoria wiggled her fingers at him. She would never do such a thing. She actually respected Rupert Giles, and as that never happened with Astoria, she felt an uncharacteristic need to be respectful to him.
"I hate to break this to you, Mistress Greengrass, but I do not have any children, much less grandchildren. Perhaps we can continue this elsewhere and allow Miss Penshaw to continue her work."
"Not that you know of," Astoria replied cheekily. "And blood doesn't make people family. Yours isn't related to you at all, so I think that you'll be a Grandpa Giles some day."
She winked at Daisy as she followed Rupert Giles away from the reception desk.
"I'm fairly certain that Miss Penshaw is not terribly interested in women. I do believe a few of the slayers have made lines of inquiry into that subject."
"I know, but she's fun. I like fun. It's just enough of a distraction. I'm all about the distractions."
She couldn't think of anything to say, so she watched him walk out of the corner of her eye. Then Astoria cracked herself up by watching a watcher.
"Is that what Willow is? A distraction?"
"Certainly not. I could be her distraction. She's a great deal too good, however. It would never last because nothing ever lasts with me. I unconsciously sabotage myself and make people angry. Ask Draco. He knows all about it."
"I seem to recall something about that right around the time I first met you."
"Yes, well, the hypocrite within me does not like to speak of my past, but I don't deal with rejection well. As much as I loved Draco, still do love him in a twisted way, he and I weren't suited. Not in the way we needed to be."
Giles nodded. "Yes, well, so few of us are properly suited to others."
"But Draco needs someone to love only him, to make him think he is the center of her universe, even if he is not. I am a great deal too wild for that. My sister has the same affliction. I do believe we get that from the Greengrass side of the family. There was a rumor one of our ancestors was a Gypsy, but Father always denied it."
It was silent for a moment. Astoria picked up on something.
"She's been quite good to me, helped me when no one else could. I owe the woman a great debt. Do I need to threaten you?"
Giles raised an eyebrow. "For what?"
Astoria sighed. She always had trouble with new people. She shifted conversational topics quickly and was often vague.
"Why would you want to threaten me?" Giles was being purposely obtuse, suddenly seeing a shovel talk in his future.
"Don't play dumb, Mr. Giles. It does not suit you at all. You know exactly what I am talking about."
Giles pulled on his 'this conversation is swiftly becoming tiresome' face. He responded coolly, "I'm sure that I don't know what you're talking about, but if I did, I would probably tell you, Miss
Greengrass, to mind your own business, and to wait until there is sufficient reason to deliver a threatening message."
"I'm hoping I don't have to." Astoria said. "And please don't call me Miss Greengrass. I despise that. Also, you'll soon find I am quite terrible at minding my own business. I don't mean any offense. I'm just horrifically nosy."
"And being a seer, of course, doesn't help matters any."
"Depends upon your definition of help."
She smiled at him. Yes, he'd do. Hopefully he wouldn't mess things up.