Chapter 3: The Library
Sunnydale High School Library
Buffy sighed in relief as she walked into the Library. She was the first one there. After leaving Giles, she had sped home as if all the hounds of hell were behind her.
She walked around the room, looking curiously at the books. Although she had been in the library several times before, this was the first time she had being in it alone. She walked unerringly to the archaic language section, and chose a book. It was a Sumerian text about a group of people called the Ancients.
She grabbed the book looked at her watch and sat down in a chair and to start reading. She was immersed in the book and didn’t notice Giles coming out of his office. Giles stood still for a few minutes observing the woman he had thought he had known. He had tossed and turned on the sofa, unable to get to sleep after the kids had left. He couldn’t conceive of going to bed. ‘Did he really know Buffy? Watching her read a book, she shouldn’t be able to read, stirred his ire. He had come to love Buffy, he even thought of her as his daughter. Now he knew that he had never really known her.’
“Eh-hem,” he said clearing his throat.
“Giles!” said Buffy startled. “What are you doing here?” She said looking around her in bewilderment.
Giles took off his glasses and started to clean them. “I thought were supposed to meet here this morning.”
“Yes well,” Buffy said, slowly closing the book and shoving it gently across the table.
Eyes narrowing, Giles walked forward and took up the book from the table. “Were you reading this?” he asked with deceptive calm.
Buffy opened her mouth to deny it, but Giles said, giving her a warning look. “Don’t bother to deny it. I saw you reading this.” He looked at the book in disbelief, and then at looked at Buffy. “You were reading Sumerian!” in a blink of an eye he shed his mild mannered librarian mode, and stepped into the Ripper. “Who are you?” he demanded, grabbing her by the throat and lifting her a few inches off the floor.
“Giles?” Buffy croaked, twisting in his grip. She could have used her strength to immobile him, but she didn’t want to hurt him.
“Giles!” said Willow rushing towards the couple. “What are doing?” she asked prying Giles arms from around Buffy’s neck.
“This isn’t Buffy,” he growled, roughly thrusting her away from him.
“Of course it is,” she said, looking apprehensively at Buffy who was massaging her throat.
“Tell them who you are!” demanded Faith bitterly, walking up behind Willow. “You are not Buffy, you are someone we don’t know. I don’t know,” said Faith, her voice trailed away.
Buffy looked at the people standing in front her. This had been her family for the last three years. How could she tell them? Over the years, she had lost friends and family and she had dealt with it, and she would probably continue to deal if they didn’t support her. She had to, for her sanity’s sake.
The library door slammed open and three men entered the room.
Startled, the group turned towards the door.
“Excuse me,” said Giles walking towards the men with his arm outstretched. “Can I help you?”
“Yes,” said one of the men. He looked to be in his thirties, with dark brown eyes and a lean build. He was wearing a tan trench coat opened to show a blue shirt and dark blue jeans. He sauntered casually into the room; his eyes searched the library as if he was memorizing every exit. “I am looking for Buffy Summers.”
“What do you want with her?” Xander demanded his voice held a hint of challenge.
Smiling enigmatic, the man looked around the room, then he spotted the person he was look for. His eyes lit up.
“Adam,” Buffy said her eyes bright with pleasure. She squealed, jumping into the man’s arms and wrapping her legs around his waist.
“Isabella,” Adam said smiling in her face. “I had to ask several people include this small little troll of man, where you were. And you know what they all said,” he said with quiet emphasis.
“No, what?” Buffy said, trying to suppress a giggle.
“They all told me that you were in the library, but the little man also said if you weren’t in you class at the appropriate hour, then you would get detention this evening,” Adam said, the look on his face was mixture of eagerness and tenderness.
“Snyder,” Buffy said, rolling her hazel eyes in disgust.
“You know that is the second time I’ve heard Buffy called Isabella,” Faith said aside to Giles.
Giles nodded, indicating that he had heard her. He was watching the dynamics of Buffy with someone beside the Scoobies. How her face lit up! He shook his head; why he didn’t know. Maybe in denial. For all his soul searching last night and early this morning, watching Buffy with the stranger confirmed something. This wasn’t the Slayer he had come to know and love.
Looking around the library, Adam said to Buffy, whom he still held casually in his arms. “The library is the last place I thought I would find you, luv.”
“Why?” said Buffy, pushing out of Adam’s arms to guide him to a nearby chair.
“You aren’t one for the books,” he said, affectionately.
“Well he definitely knows Buffy,” Xander whispered aside to his friends, who had followed Willow into the library.
“Shut it Xander,” said Cordelia. She was watching the two major hotties that just entered the library discretely. There were actually three men, although the other one seemed to be an old hottie, probably older than Giles, with gray in his beard. Plus they all seemed to know Buffy Summers. ‘Isn’t she the lucky one,’ she thought jealously.
“Are you saying that I’m dumb?” demanded Buffy, pouting prettily, an amused look in her eyes.
“I am not saying anything, you said it,” Adam said chuckling. “Plus, I don’t want you to beat me up.”
“Buffy, who’re your guests?” demand Giles, with a critical tone to his voice.
Buffy stiffened, momentarily abashed. “Oh, my bad” she said blushing slightly. “This is a friend of mine Adam Pierson.”
“Just friends?” questioned Giles, mockingly.
“Yes,” Buffy said, an unwelcome blush creeping into her cheeks. Suddenly she was angry with her self for being embarrassed. What stick had crawled up Giles ass? Buffy knew that he was angry with her, but that didn’t stop him from needing to be polite. What happen to the British cool and all that? She opened her mouth to blast him, when Adam elbowed her in the ribs.
“Ummph,” she said, on expulsion of breath.
Adam turned toward Giles, who had an intractable look on his face. “Let me introduce my friends. Isabella, this is Duncan MacLeod and Joe Dawson, I told them I was coming to visit, and they wanted to come and you know me,” he said spreading his arms in an expansive manner. “I couldn’t say no.”
“MacLeod?” Buffy said her mouth dropping open in shock.
Adam rolled his eyes in exasperation. Mac has the devil’s luck with women, even sophisticated women like Isabella. All they saw was his great looks and body, although that was the same for him when meeting a new woman.
“The Highlander?” Buffy queried, looking at the man in front of her. He was a ruggedly handsome man, easily six four, with long black hair tied in a queue. He was wearing a long leather coat, black slacks, and a dark blue shirt that complimented his eyes of sapphire blue.
“Well yes,” said Duncan, walking over to Buffy and kissing the palm of her hand. “I am sometimes called that, but you can call me Duncan. And are you Buffy or Isabella?” he asked, his voice a velvet murmur.
“Both,” she said shivering slightly as his voice, deep and sensual, sent a ripple of awareness through her. She had of course heard all about the Highlander from Methos, especially their exploits together. “Having known Adam for so long, why haven’t we met before?” she asked charmed.
“I guess it wasn’t our time,” Duncan said, smiling down at the petite blonde. From the time he had entered the school he had known there was an immortal near. He had hesitated upon entering the library. Call him cautious, but to go into a place with an unknown immortal? He was nobody fool. But Adam had just bundled through the door without any hesitation, so he had followed suit.
He trusted Methos enough to follow him. He hadn’t asked any question when Adam had told him that he was going to California to meet a friend. And because he trusted Adam, he didn’t asked why they were here in the first place, but he was little bit surprise to find that the immortal he had sensed was Buffy. Pleasantly surprised. She seemed a delightful package. Maybe when she and Methos concluded their business, she might spend some time for him. From the way, she had greeted Methos; Duncan didn’t think they had a romantic relationship, at least not right now.
“Well Buffy, can you tell me what your “friends’ are doing here?” Giles demanded, speaking in a grudging tone.
“I called them,” she said softly, turning away from the intoxicating charms of the highlander. She hadn’t had sex in over fifty years until Angel and look how that had turned out. A hell on the earth was released.
“Well then, they can excuse you. We have some unfinished business to take care of,” said Giles as an edge of impatience crept into his voice.
“Yeah,” said Faith in a nasty tone. “We do have business to care of. Although I don’t mind looking at them,” said Faith. “Them being such major hotties and all.”
“Faith!” Giles said pinching the bridge of his nose, as heat stole into his face.
“That’s okay,” said Methos, successful stifling his laughter. “We have heard worse,” he said looking over to Duncan who seemed to be having a hard time stifling his own laughter.
Ignoring the room at large, Buffy walked into the middle of room and stood motionless for a few minutes. She sighed as she gazed towards her friends, who were looking eagerly back at her. “They cannot leave yet. They are part of my explanation,” she said in a rush of words.
“What explanation?” Adam asked curiously. “I thought this was about … he said, his voice trailed off to dwindle into silence.
Giving Adam a disgusted look, Buffy said, “You introduced your friends, but I didn’t introduce mine. Pointing to each individual as she named them, she said, “This is Mr. Rupert Giles, Librarian. Willow Rosenberg, Xander Harris, Cordelia Chase, Faith Sturgis and Daniel Osbourne otherwise know as Oz. This is the Scooby Gang.”
“Scooby Gang?” asked Mac confused. Wasn’t that a cartoon in the seventies or the eighties? He wasn’t quiet sure, he did spend a lot of time watching Saturday morning cartoons.
“Later,” mouthed Adam.
“Willow and Faith saw me die”, Buffy said, sighing heavily.
“Oh,” Adam said wincing. Turning towards the two girls, he said, “I’m sorry you had to see that. It’s never easy to watch a love one die. He then turn to Buffy and asked, “What happened?”
Buffy looked at him and said a few terse sentences in an unknown that dialect that only Adam and she know.
Adam looked across the table at his friends, “We might as well stay, he said. “Joe, get comfortable. What you are going to hear will have to stay in this room. Nothing for the Watcher Council.”
“You are a Watcher?” asked Giles, blinking in surprise.
“Yes,” said Joe. As casually as he could manage, he asked, “You have heard of us.” Nothing’s secret anymore, he mumbled to himself.
“Well, yes,” said Giles taking off his glasses and cleaning it. “However, I never heard of a Joe Dawson being on the council. When did you start?”
“It’s a different Watcher Council,” said Buffy exasperated. She could see them now, the boring talks about their watchee. Is that a word? Buffy pondered. If it isn’t then it should be. The get together would be over a pot a tea, and a case of beer. She giggled inwardly imagining it. Giles with his stuffy tweed and Joe with his rough and sometimes coarse ways, sitting on Chippendales lamenting the fact that their apprentices didn’t listen to them.
“What!” said Joe, looking at Buffy in surprise. “How can this be?”
“Let me explain,” said Buffy firmly. “My name is not Buffy Summers.”
“What?” Giles said, a mixture of feelings surging through him at that moment. He shook his head in bafflement. Did he just hear that right? He looked around the room to the children that were silent watching Buffy with their mouths agape, which wasn’t attractive. He should say something. But he saw that Buffy’s guests were just looking at her with mild curiosity. I guess they did not know that this was a momentous occasion.
“My name is not Buffy Summers,” she repeated. “At least I wasn’t born with that name. I don’t remember the name I was born with,” she lied.
“What do you mean? Why don’t you remember your name?” asked Giles, deciding to sit down. He was sitting down. How did he get into a chair? His mind was awhirl with anger and doubts.
“I am an immortal,” she said, boldly meeting his gaze.
Giles just stared at her, baffled.
“Did you know this,” asked Joe aside to Duncan.
“Like Angel,” asked Willow puzzled, for the first entering the conversation. She was angry at Buffy. One, for lying all these years, two not being who she said she was, three for dying in front of her and four, for letting her think, she would never see her again.
“I knew it!” said Xander, his voice hardening. “You are a vampire or a zombie,” he said, pushing his cross towards Buffy in a stopping motion. This cannot be Buffy, he thought. Buffy Summers, the girl he met on the steps of the school, her blonde hair shining like gold in sun. This is an imposter; that had inhabited her body and turned her into a ghoul.
Buffy rolled her eyes; she was fed up with Xander’s nonsense. Why was he always such a dweeb? “If I was vampire, would I be wearing this,” she said taking her own cross, the same cross Angel had given to her when she came to Sunnydale, from her blouse where it had lain nestled comfortable between her breasts. “No I am not like Angel; I am immortal like Adam and Duncan.”
“Angelus is here!” said Adam, his voice rising an octave.
Buffy eyes flickered uneasily towards Adam for a brief moment. “I told you we were seeing each other,” she reminded him.
“Yes, well I forgotten,” he grudgingly admits.
“Forgotten? You never forget anything,” said Duncan, taking a quick breath of utter astonishment.
“Well I am old,” said Adam mockingly. “I’m bound to forget a thing or too.”
“You know Angelus?” asked Xander, butting into the conversation.
Adam eyed Buffy for a moment, then he nodded reluctantly.
“So,” said Xander gleefully rubbing his hands together in anticipation of any dirt that Adam could supply on Angel. Getting him out of Buffy’s life was his number one goal. “How do you know Angelus, or is it Angel?”
Puzzled, Adam looked at the boy across from him. “Aren’t Angelus and Angel the same person? Why do you separate them?”
Buffy winced and closed her eyes. ‘Uh oh,’ she thought. This might get messy.
“Angel is Angelus’s alter ego,” said Willow softly. “Several years ago, some gypsy cursed him with a soul, and Angelus is the demon within.
Adam threw back his head and let out a great peal of laughter. ”You can’t be serious,” he intoned, his body shaking in mirth.
“We are quite serious,” said Giles, puzzled by Adam laughter. “Gypsy cursed him with a soul.”
Adam laughed louder.
“That’s enough,” muttered Buffy, guiltily. “I told you this, remember?”
“No you didn’t, this is something I would have remembered. We’ve always known him by the name Angelus, right Isabella?” said Adam looking towards the petite slayer. “At least for two hundred years. Right?”
“Buffy knows,” said Giles, a vein throbbing on his temple. “Isabella, or whoever the hell she is, has known Angelus for two hundred years. So when you slept with him you knew that you were unleashing hell on earth,” he said striding towards Buffy with murder in his eyes.
“No, no, no!” Buffy said placating, moving swiftly from the irate watcher. “I wouldn’t do that,” she said, giving Adam the evil eye. “When we met Angel...”
“Don’t you mean Angelus,” said Xander, disillusioned. Hatred blazed out of his eyes. His hero was dead. She had willingly slept with a corpse.
“Yes,” Buffy said sighing. “Angelus.” Seeing the distain on Xander face, something inside of her broke. “How dare you look at me like that?” she yelled.
Xander eyes widen in shock.
“Am I some garbage under your feet? You don’t know me; you don’t know the things I had to do to survive, until you live in my shoes. You cannot stand there with that holier than thou look on your face preaching to me about morals,” she said, her voice rising an octave. Suddenly as it began, the fight when out of her. She sighed noisily. She thought on how to explain this so that he would understand, so that they would understand. “Look guys, try to understand. This world,” she begins softly. “Is not black and white. It’s made up of grays, lotsa and lotsa shade of grays. I did things that I am not proud of, just to survive and I will, probably do things again that you and nobody else may deem morally right. But don’t judge me. Until you’ve lived in my shoes, seen the things I have seen, then you can’t say, Buffy was wrong.”
There was a tense silence for a few minutes, but the sound of Faith clapping broke it. “Way to go B,” she said admiration sounded in her voice. She was glad for that little speech. Xander Harris, always thought he was better than every one else, and needed to be taken down a peg or two.
Xander looked down at the floor shame faced. He didn’t mean to cause problems, but sometimes, his mouth ran away with him and he inserted his foot into it. Plus he was jealous of all the good-looking older men. He see how Cordelia, even Willow was looking at them. And Buffy, didn’t she knows any ugly guys. Just once, he would like Buffy to look at him, like she had look at Angel and now this new guy Duncan. Dun-can. What kind of a name is dunkin anyway?
“Oh, Buffy,” said Willow crossing the room to hold Buffy in a hug, “I forgive you,” she whispered.
“Thank you,” she said her heart now light. Buffy turned to Xander and said. “Yes I slept with Angelus, and I didn’t know about the clause the gypsy had put in the curse. She then turned towards Giles. “Yes I have known Angelus for two hundred years, but he wasn’t the same sadistic person we met this summer. I am not saying Angelus is a sweetie pie, but he wasn’t that cruel. I wouldn’t be a Slayer and not have slayed his ass if he was total asshole.”
“So you are the Slayer then?” Giles asked, relief sounded in his voice.
“Yes I am a Slayer.
“Were you the first?” asked Willow eagerly. She was fascinated with the idea of living through history.
“No,” Buffy said, smiling.
“Do you know how the Slayers came to be,” asked Giles, just as eagerly. “The Watcher Councils lost the books detailing that fact.”
“Actually they weren’t lost, I had them stolen in stolen in 1705,” Buffy said apologetically.
“You,” Giles asked, flabbergasted. “Why?”
“Because, that groups of men had forgotten why they had Slayers in the first place, and that we weren’t toys to play with,” Buffy said her voice cold and exact.
“Do you still have the books?” Giles asked gently. He knew that the Slayer had a problem with how the council operated. Even he, had problems dealing with them.
Buffy nodded, “It’s in a safe place.”
“Can you show me sometimes?”
“Some other time,” Buffy said, her voice resigned. “I have to talk to Adam about something.”
“Buffy, Isabella,” said Oz, gently. “Sorry to interrupt, but how old are you?”
“You guys can still call me Buffy,” she said, softly.
“Yeah B, who’s older, you or lover boy,” Faith asked, gesturing to Adam.
“Yes Buffy,” Willow said in an encouraging voice. “Who older, Adam, Angel or you?”
“Adam is definitely older,” Buffy said her mouth quirking with humor. “Angel is a baby compare to him,” she said jerking her thumb towards Adam.
“How about you Ms decrepit?” Adam said his eyes twinkling with mischief. “You are older than I am.”
“Yes but by two years,” Buffy wailed, peeved, that Adam considered her old.
“You are older than Methos!” said Joe Dawson, gawking at Buffy in disbelief. Seeing the other’s looks of perplexity, he amended his statement. “You are older than Adam?”
Buffy sighed and nodded yes.
“Whoa!” Joe said, looking at Buffy with awe. Meeting someone older than Methos. Wait until the Watchers heard about this, the stories that would be put in the chronicles. Whoa. He had promised Adam; nothing they said in this meeting would leave the room. He could not break such a bond. His friendship with the Highlander and Methos meant a lot to him.
“Who is Methos?” asked Oz, startling Joe out of his reverie.
Uh, oh, Joe thought.
There was a strange silence for a few minutes.
“I am Methos,” said Adam, sighing in resignation. “That was my original name. And by the way,” he said aside to Buffy. “Your name was Safiya, which means pure.”
“Wow!” said Willow enchanted. “What a beautiful name.”
“Thank you,” said Buffy, putting her tongue out at Adam. “But how you like to go through like life with a name that means pure, I haven’t been pure since,” she cocked her head slightly to one side thinking about it. “Forever,” she finally admitted.
“I can attest to that,” said Methos, aside.
For his troubles, he got an elbow in his ribs.
“I wouldn’t mind,” admitted Willow. “How about going through life with the name of a tree.
“Hey folks, we are getting sidetracked here,” said Cordelia. “The immortals were going to reveal how old they were.”
“I’m sorry,” said Oz. “I didn’t know your name was a secret.”
Adam sighed. “Not a secret per say, but lot of people would get their hands on me, being one of oldest living immortal”.
“How old are you?” Giles demanded.
“Well,” Adam said, scratching his head.
“In our records, he’s over ten thousand years,” Joe Dawson said.
“Records? You have records of immortals,” Giles asked, his face brightening.
“Yes, that’s what I do, I am Watcher,” said Joe. “I am Duncan’s Watcher. I record and monitor immortals, not interfering in their lives,” he said proudly.
“Wow,” said Xander dryly. “You’re are Duncan’s Watcher and Giles is Buffy’s Watcher. It’s like a regular Watcher Convention up in here.”
“What?” said Joe. “You’re a Watcher. You don’t look like any Watcher I ever saw,” he said, eying Giles glasses, tweed coat and British mannerism.
“I’m not an immortal Watcher,” Giles admits. “I never knew they existed until this moment, I’m actually a Slayer’s Watcher.”
“Yes,” said Giles nodding.
“What is a slayer?” he asked, looking to each individual to provide an answer to his question.
“Slayers,” said Giles, taking off his glasses off to start polishing it with his handkerchief. It was a ritual, a prelude to a lecture.
“Here we go again,” Buffy said, sitting down next to Methos.
Methos gave her a gentle simile, understanding. Over the years, Buffy would call him complaining about one of Giles’s lectures. Especially, when Giles scolded her for doing something wrong, and she thought she was right.
Giles ignored the muttering behind him. “Into each generation a Slayer is born. One girl in the entire world, a Chosen One. One born with the strength and skill to fight the vampires, to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers.”
There was a loud-obnoxious snore, and Giles voice dwindled down to nothing.
“We’ve heard this spiel before,” said Cordelia. “And it’s boring.”
“Yes, well it is not boring, especially if you have never heard it before,” Giles muttered.
Cordelia rolled her eyes.
“Now young lady,” he retorted.
“Whoa,” Joe said, mouth hanging open in shock. “Let me get this straight,” he said, “Vampires exist?”
“Yes,” said Giles. “And demons.”
“Demons too? It’s not a myth,” Joe asked struggling to understand.
“No, its not a myth,” Giles confirmed. “Everything you have heard of that goes bump in the night exists. Werewolves, Fairies, Jack o’ Lanterns, Witches, Demon, and succubae, etc.
“Yeah,” Buffy piped in. “Even evil robots,” she said shuddering.
“Did you guys know about this?” he demanded looking at both Adam and Duncan.
Eying Duncan for a moment, Adam spoke up. “About the evil robot, no,” he said shrugging. “But yes we knew about vampires and all the other supernatural of the world. A person cannot live for so many years without seeing a vampire or too.
“But, but,” said Joe, looking at them askance.
“Yes well, vampires exist,” said Xander, gruffly. “It was a shock to me too. Now let’s get back to the immortals, shall we,” he said blandly. “So you guys cannot die.”
“Yes and no,” said Buffy. “We cannot die unless someone cuts off our heads.
“Eeew,” said Cordelia.
“Gruesome,” said Xander.
“Cool,” said Oz.
“How does one become immortal, were you born to it?” asked Giles.
“Actually we were.”
“Did you know you were immortal?” asked Xander
“No, none of us do, until the time of our first death.
“First death? When was your first death?” asked Xander, curiosity taking hold.
“A powerful individual saw me in my village, and wanted me for his wife, so he kidnapped several others and me. At first I was a plaything for him, but he saw something in me and…. Look I don’t want to talk about that time right now. Back then women didn’t have rights, they were wives or concubines. I deliberate did not want to remember my name. My name was part of what I was, pure naive innocence.
Willow raised her hand, tentatively. “I hope this is not out of line, but how you achieve your first death and how old were you when….”
“I was twenty-three years old.”
“Twenty-three?” said Cordelia. The perfect age she thought. Never aging.
“At an uprising, the people turned against my husband and killed me; because I was his wife I was killed. Imagine my surprise when I was raised from the dead. That was my first death. Mostly when I need to get out of a situation, I was killed. I have been stabbed, shot, hanged, poisoned and even buried alive. The last I don’t recommend.” She cocked her head thoughtfully to one side. “I don’t recommend any of them.”
“If your name is Safiya (Sa-fee-yah) why did Adam call you Isabella? And were you going to tell us that you were immortal?
“Of course I was. I consider you guys my best friends. I was planning to tell you. But Dagon sped it up little.
“That was his name, Dagon?” asked Giles. “Where did you know him?”
“I was challenged by Dagon’s partner and I killed her.”
“So,” he said heavily. “You kill humans.”
“It was either that or be killed. Giles, I have lived many years, and done things, you can’t imagine. And yes I had to kill a human to protect myself. I did and would again. Over the years, I have had many names, and Isabella was the one I used for the last 800 years.
“Remember it was Jack that called you Isabella after his mistress,” said Methos.
“Yes, I was so mad,” Buffy said remembering fondly. “When I found out, I wanted to skin him alive.”
“Yeah,” said Methos also smiling in fond memory. “Then he back-tracked and said he named you after the Spanish queen.”
“And I forgave him because we were in Spain at the time,” said Buffy.
“Who is Jack?” asked Duncan.
The smile slipped off Buffy’s face.
“Jack was Buffy husband,” said Adam.