Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters are the property of their original owners. To prevent spoilers, a further disclaimer is at the end of this story.
Inside Giles’ office at their Scottish castle headquarters, a grim Buffy was having no luck in her relentless interrogation. To a man (and a woman), the surviving original members of the Scooby Gang steadfastly maintained their total innocence pertaining to the present situation that had wound up with them all having to hurriedly depart from tonight’s fifth anniversary celebration elsewhere in the castle’s ballroom of the formation of the New Council after the destruction of Sunnydale and the activation of every possible Slayer in the world.
From where she was lounging in her armchair next to Buffy, an amused Faith sardonically pointed out, “Hell, B, your friends knew they screwed up big time right from the get-go, so they weren’t ever gonna open their yaps over it back then, or anytime after. The only way I found out myself was from Angel, who wasn’t too happy ’bout it, either.”
“Well, somebody talked!” irately snapped Buffy in response to her sister Slayer’s comments. The blond woman glowered fiercely around the office, at Giles seated behind his desk, not to mention Willow and Xander in their own chairs on the opposite side of the room, with these three people looking very ill at ease. Buffy’s angry gaze then moved onto the young stranger in the room, who immediately stopped touching his tender nose that had been healed a few minutes before by an exasperated Willow. Cringing back with real terror in his seat, that person shivered while gripping the armrests of the chair which had been dragged over to the middle of the room after he’d been dumped into this armchair by a furious Buffy.
As this unfortunate individual cowered under the sudden attention of all there, these observers were studying a scruffy teenage boy, whose rumpled demeanor matched his halfhearted attempt to dress up for tonight’s party, with a clean t-shirt having the Batman symbol on front, his least-wrinkled pair of jeans, and red high-top Converse sneakers.
Wearily eyeing her unasked-for responsibility, Willow sighed, “Hiram, do you remember what we discussed last week about improving your social skills? Your behavior earlier tonight wasn’t all that nice or polite, mister.”
In his chair, the young wizard dejectedly slumped down further, looking at the floor with his head hanging lower than his hunched shoulders, which were tentatively shrugged, followed by a muttered, “Sorry, Ms. Rosenberg.”
“Sorry ain’t gonna cut it, Hiram,” Xander sarcastically noted, drawling out the boy’s name. “Why’d you think it was such a good idea anyway to come right up to the Buffster and announce to everyone your big news? It would’ve been a helluva lot more sensible to check with Wils first or somebody else, like an actual adult--” Suddenly cutting himself off in mid-sentence, Xander then thoughtfully stared at the teenager still intently examining the tips of his sneakers, before the one-eyed man tried again, asking, “Say, kid, how old are
There was a short silence in the room, as everybody there now witnessed the slow blush rise up in the young man’s ears, changing those into bright scarlet, before a reluctant answer was mumbled by Hiram Tolleson, “Seventeen.”
After that, Hiram refused to meet anyone’s eyes, which meant he missed seeing the rueful glances being traded among themselves by the Scoobies, who were in the main just a few years shy of the big three-oh, with Rupert Giles scathingly smirking to the room at large.