Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me, alas.
"Tell me again what we're doing here Daniel?"
Jack squinted as he fiddled with his sunglasses. The hot Californian sun was bright, brighter than some of the worlds he'd visited. Might be part of why this place was called Sunnydale. They were walking down the street, heading for some place called, of all things, "The Magic Box".
"We're here because I need a book, Jack."
"And you couldn't go to the local library?"
The colonel gave him a look accompanied by a shrug. "What? It was a thought."
"It's a very specific book, very rare."
"So rare that we had to come all the way out here to get it? We couldn't call the guy and ask him to send it to us?"
"No, we couldn't, Jack," Daniel sighed. "Rupert Giles is a very private man, from what I've heard. I know him by reputation only, but he's got the book we need and so we're here to ask him for it. Or at least ask him to let me borrow it."
"How do you know some British guy who's living in California, running a....magic shop?" Jack stopped in front of the store, blinking in amazement.
"He used to be a curator at the British Museum, left for mysterious reasons. And I have no idea why he's running a magic shop. One of his specialties was the occult. Come on, let's go in."
"After you, Daniel."
"Oh come on Giles, please?"
"For the last time Buffy, you cannot slay Spike just because he's annoying. While I might agree with you on any other day, right now we need him for information on that demon you saw last night."
"Oh, all right," she pouted. "Can I just threaten him a little?"
Giles glared and Buffy went back to training. Both ignored the ring of the store bell knowing Anya would answer it. Then there was a knock on the door and Anya poked her head around.
"Giles there are two very handsome gentlemen looking for you; they don't seem to be interested in buying anything though."
"I'll be right there, Anya."
"Anya, wait," Buffy said,” They aren't wearing tweed by any chance?"
"No, they aren't from the Council, Buffy. One is rather geeky looking, reminds me of you, Giles. The other looks uncomfortable, but he carries himself like he might have been in the military, or still is. Sort of like Riley."
Buffy frowned at the mention of her ex, but Giles stepped in.
"Thank you, Anya. We'll be right there."
They put away the equipment and cleaned themselves up a little before leaving the training room. The men were standing by a shelf, one examining an urn of Egyptian origin, the other hovering and definitely looking uncomfortable. Giles cleared his throat.
"May I help you gentlemen?"
Jack and Daniel turned. Buffy immediately thought 'hottie's' but dampened that down. The older guy bugged her for some reason. She wasn't sure why. Might be that Anya was right; he did have a military-like bearing.
"Are you Rupert Giles?"
"Yes, I am. And you are?"
"Oh, uh, I'm Daniel Jackson and this is Jack O'Neill."
"Two L's." Jack interjected.
"Uh, yes. We're here about a book."
"We have a variety of books," Giles replied, pointing to the loft above. "Was there something specific you had in mind?"
"Yes, the Index of Nyrium.”
Buffy saw Giles stiffen and was instantly on the defensive.
“That happens to be in my private collection. May I ask what it’s for?”
“Um, yes, you could, but….”
“What Daniel’s trying to say is it’s classified, if we told you we’d have to kill you.”
“Then why would Giles give you his book for no reason?”
“And you are?”
“This is Buffy Summers, a former …student of mine. She helps me around the shop. She does have a point though. If you won’t tell me why you need it, I cannot allow it to be seen.”
Jack nearly growled, but Daniel stepped in. “Mr. Giles, obviously we got off on the wrong foot here. Is there someplace a little more private we can talk?”
“Not at the moment, no I’m rather busy.”
Giles thought for a moment. “Yes. Why don’t you come around to my flat and we’ll discuss your need for the Index over dinner.”
“That sounds great, thank you.”
Both Buffy and Jack wanted to protest but Giles and Daniel indicated the time for discussion would be later. Giles wrote down his address on a piece of paper and handed it to Daniel.
“Seven o’clock good?”
“Seven is fine. We’ll see you then. Jack.”
Jack glared but then turned and followed Daniel out of the store.
“Are you nuts Giles? We don’t know those guys. And that Jack gives me the wiggins.”
“On the contrary, Buffy. I do know of Dr. Jackson, by reputation.”
“He’s a doctor?”
“PhD. We’ll discuss it later. Right now we should return to your training.”
Outside the shop, Jack stopped Daniel. “What the hell was that all about?”
“It’s called diplomacy, Jack. I’m sure you’ve heard of it.”
“Going to the guy’s house?”
“Whatever. We can’t tell him anything Daniel. What are you going to say?”
“I’ll make it up as I go along.”
“Oh yeah, ‘cause that’s worked so well for us before.”
“Trust me, Jack. I think I have a way to get that book.”
“Gonna let me in on the secret?”
“When we get to the hotel.”
At seven sharp the doorbell of Giles’ place rang. It startled both him and Buffy as neither of them was used to the sound. Buffy went to answer the door. Daniel and Jack were standing there, Daniel holding a bottle of wine. Buffy moved aside.
Jack looked at Daniel, who shrugged and walked in. Giles let out the breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. It was ridiculous to think that either of the men were vampires, as they’d been out at noon in Sunnydale, but one could never be too careful on the Hellmouth.
Buffy led the men into the dining area, passing Giles the wine on the way. Jack pulled the chair out for Daniel. Buffy said nothing as she went back into the kitchen to help Giles. They brought plates out and sat, Giles holding the chair for Buffy. A look passed between Jack and Daniel. Giles poured the wine and indicated everyone should eat.
“So, Dr. Jackson, precisely why do you want the Index?”
Daniel nearly spluttered. “Um, how do you…?”
“I keep up with happenings in various areas. Your reputation precedes you.”
Jack raised an eyebrow, but let Daniel struggle on without him.
“As does yours, Mr. Giles. Did you know that urn in your shop was believed to be lost?”
“Really? Is it important?”
“Oh yes, very; it depicts….”
Jack tuned Daniel out and saw that Buffy was doing the same. Giles and Daniel rambled on about Egyptology and archeology.
“Does he do this often?” Jack whispered, leaning closer to Buffy.
“All the time,” she rolled her eyes, feeling a little more at ease. “Him too?”
“You betcha. You in college?”
“Yep. Sophmore. No major yet. You’re military, right? Which branch?”
“Air Force. Colonel. How’d you find him?” He gestured to Giles.
“Librarian at my high school. Him?”
“We need a linguist.”
They stopped when it looked like Daniel and Giles were wrapping things up. The rest of the dinner went quickly and amicably. Giles agreed to lend Daniel the book for as long as he needed. Daniel promised to keep in touch by e-mail, which Buffy assured him she would show Giles how to work if he promised to let them know how he and Jack were doing. After much hand shaking and hugs, Daniel and Jack left.
“So, happy now, Daniel?”
“Ecstatic. Did you notice those two?”
“Yeah, all the touching, the closeness. Got the feeling she was more than a ‘former student’ to me.”
“Lovers? Jack, she’s more than half his age.”
“So? Hasn’t stopped guys before. Hell, I’m almost ten years older than you.”
“That’s different. She’s barely out of high school.”
“What’s the saying? Judge not lest ye be judged? Come on, Danny, we got another night here before we have to head back to the mountain. I don’t want to spend it arguing with you.”
Jack pulled Daniel closer, slinging an arm around him. Daniel smiled, kissing Jack.
“Me either. Let’s go.”
“Did you get a look at those two?” Buffy asked as they cleared up the dishes. “They are so doing it.”
“Buffy!” Giles admonished. “But I do know what you mean. Did you catch the way Jack was looking at Daniel?”
“Totally. It read ‘Mine’ all the way. Like he’d hurt anyone who’d try to harm Daniel.”
“Daniel was giving equally loving looks to Jack. What makes you think they’re lovers?”
“Oh please. With looks like that, how could they not be? The way Jack talks about Daniel, its love.”
“He’s military, Buffy.”
“So? Like that’s ever stopped anyone before.”
“Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
“Is a stupid rule and you know it, Giles. Jack’s the kind of man who wouldn’t let anything stand in his way. Can we move on please?”
She gave him a pout and he laughed. He came round the table and took her hands in his. He leaned down to kiss her.
“Yes dear. Bed?”
“I thought you’d never ask.”