Mel crept along the rooftop of the Watcher building. She hadn't planned to come back — ever — but the lure of the diaries was too strong for her to resist. 'Face it, Fray,' she thought as she moved ever so slowly to the broken skylight. 'It isn't any diary you want. It's his.'
Since Hellboy had filled her in last night on the story of Giles and Buffy and Faith and all the other Slayers he'd known, she'd been burning with curiosity. She wanted to see what the man had written, hoping she could get a clue from the journals.
No matter what Hellboy said, she didn't think Giles was going to be her Watcher. She knew she'd be saying no under the same circumstances, and she was certain nothing would change her mind about it. Hell, if she were Giles, she'd be plotting how to take out those stupid Powers.
She was at the edge of the skylight now and peeked into the room below. It was empty.
She did a careful drop down and froze, listening for any sign that she'd been heard. When two minutes passed, she relaxed enough to start moving around to look at the shelves.
"Guy's been busy," she murmured, looking at the orderly arrangement of books.
"Exceedingly busy, in fact."
Mel jumped straight up and came down ready to fight.
Giles. And he looked drunk. Or maybe a few steps beyond drunk. Mel didn't think she'd ever seen anyone holding half a jug of moonie and still standing. "You scared me," she said, accusation in her voice and eyes.
"No, I mean it! You scared me," she said, getting a bit angry with him.
"Sorry about that," he said, his words only slightly slurred. "Didn't mean to. In fact, shouldn't have been able to. You're the Slayer. Shouldn't be scared of a mere mortal."
"Yeah. Well. Wasn't expecting you here," she said, keeping a wary eye on him. It wasn't just that he was drunk. It was that he looked like he wasn't completely sane anymore.
"That makes two of us." He added confidentially, "Did you know I planned to be back home by now?"
Catching a whiff of his breath, she leaned back a little. "Oh?"
"Indeed. Found the key to the vault and the key to home."
Mel was caught between anger and confusion, and she wasn't sure what to say. "Why are you still here then?"
He giggled again, and when his giggle turned into a snort, he bent over laughing for several minutes. Ordinarily, Mel might have started laughing in sympathy, but she didn't. Not this time. His laughter wasn't in the least bit friendly or happy.
He straightened up at his name and hiccuped, starting off another round of snickering.
Mel darted in and took the moonie away from him, ignoring his outraged, "Hey!"
"You get this back — never. You never get this back. You can't handle it," she said, pitching it through the skylight.
"Have you know I was drinking before your great great great great great grandfather was having his first wank," he said, managing to sound fairly majestic in a drunken way.
"Yeah. Whatever. So why are you piss-faced here instead of happy and dead back home?"
He frowned at her. "What do you know of it?"
"Hellboy," she said, then she crossed her arms in front of her and started tapping her toe. "Well?"
"Well what?" His confusion was, unfortunately, genuine.
Mel sighed and said, "Why are you still here, Giles?"
"Ah. That." He started patting himself down, and when his hands were on his butt, he said, "Here they are."
He pulled out several pieces of paper and threw them in Mel's direction. "That's why I'm still here."
His eyes rolled back in his head at that point, and he fell forward. Though Mel winced at the sound of him hitting the floor, she ignored him, figuring he wouldn't be feeling any pain for the next month or so.
Instead, she knelt down to start picking up the paper he'd thrown. It took her a few minutes to make sense of them, and when she did, she said, "No wonder the poor bastard's drunk."~*~*~
The next day, Giles woke up with a hangover that was at least as bad as any he'd had during his Ripper days. He groaned, then stopped when the sound made his head hurt worse.
"Here. Drink this," he heard. And before he could respond, his head was tipped back and liquid was filling his mouth. Not having much choice at that point, he swallowed before he choked.
When he was finally released, he came up fighting. Not that it did any good. Mel moved away too quickly for him to connect.
"What the hell was that?"
Mel figured he hadn't noticed yet that his headache was gone, so she said, "Hangover cure."
Giles started to answer, then realized that yes, his hangover was gone. Completely gone. There was a part of him that was offended by the notion that such determined drinking could be erased so quickly, but the wiser part was grateful. "Oh."
They stood there for a moment, awkward, before Giles said, "What are you doing here?"
"Figured I'd make you a deal," she answered, looking a great deal more confident than he had ever seen her.
Giles frowned at that. "What sort of deal?"
"Went through all those bits of paper. I'm guessing none of that stuff ever came back, did it?"
Disgusted at the level to which the Council had sunk, he answered, "Apparently, funding was far more important than retaining significant mystical artifacts. As far as I can tell, not one of them ever tried to buy back what they sold off."
"Yeah. Could tell when I saw the vault. Looks like they cleaned it out, huh?"
"Hundreds of amulets, statuary by the score, rare texts," his voice trailed off as he considered the devastation wrought during the decline and fall of the Watchers' Council.
All business now, Mel spoke up again to distract him from his memories. "So if you could get some of that stuff back, you could get home, right?"
Giles blinked. "Yes. That had been my plan."
She nodded at that. "Here's the deal. If you'll be my Watcher, I'll work on finding what you need."
"I'm a grabber. Best in the city. Ask Gunther if you don't believe me," she said, sounding very much like she was on a job interview.
Confused by her speech, all he could say was, "Grabber?"
"I'm a thief, Giles. And I'm a damn good one. You couldn't get anyone better to grab your stuff back," she said calmly, waiting for his brain to catch up to her.
"You're a thief," he said slowly. "You believe you can get these items back?"
"As long as they're still in the city, yeah."
His eyes started to show signs of life in his brain. "In exchange for — grabbing — the items I need to return home, all you want is for me to be your Watcher?"
They stood looking at each other for the longest time before Giles held out his hand and said, "Agreed."
Mel gave him a big smile. She went to shake his hand and suddenly found herself on her back, looking up at him.
"First lesson is to never, EVER pour anything down your Watcher's throat without asking. Understood?"
She made a move she'd learned from a pump a couple of years earlier, and Giles landed on his back. Straddling his hips, Mel leaned forward, and grinning at his surprise, she said, "Understood."
~ fin ~Author's Note:
I don't know whether or not I will continue writing stories in this particular crossover 'verse. Largely, my decision will depend on the level of interest from you, the readers. If you want to read more about Giles and Fray and Hellboy, you'll have to let me know. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed this little romp.
Tara Keezer, May 19, 2004