And the rest is history
And the rest is history.The Training Room inside The Watcher’s Tardis: Time and Date unknown
“So,” Buffy said, slamming her wrapped fist into the surface of the battered punching bag, “you and the Doctor, huh?”
“Me and … oh, “ Giles realised embarrassedly. He swayed back as his Slayer slammed another punch into the bag, steadying it as it swung under the blow . “Yes. You … umm … could say that.”
“I just did.” Buffy’s grin was wide; she loved teasing her Watcher, and not just because he went all cute and squirmy when she did it. There was something indescribably endearing about someone as old as he
was still being self-conscious enough for things like that to matter. “But tell me,” she went on in the same bantering tone, “’cos enquiring minds would like to know – is this a ‘hey, I’m so glad to see you’ kinda thing – “ Another slam into the bag, making him lean into the punch. “- a ‘wow we survived so let’s celebrate’ thing’ – “ She bounced round and punched again, working hard, just as he’d asked her too. “- or do the two of you really
have a thing, and if you do, is it a ‘this regeneration is really hot’ thing – cos, you know, I really, really get that. He is. Hot, I, mean. In an ‘I’m the Doctor’ kinda way.”
“Buffy …” the Watcher tried to interrupt, but she was off and bouncing again.
“Not that he wasn’t cute, last time we met, but … that was cute
, and quirky and so not of the hotness. Not like this
time, which is … well, still a little weird, but a totally attractive kind of weird, what with the black leather and the long legs and the accent and everything …” She paused, thought about what she’d just said and winced, slamming all her strength into a furious blow. “And I am so
not talking about Angel or Spike here,” she growled, although in some ways she had been, and he knew it.
“The Doctor is … the Doctor,” Giles said, watching her with more than a hint of sympathy. “No matter what face he wears, or persona he inhabits. Every Time Lord has a fundamental core that shapes the outer trappings and determines who they are. Even when they try to deny it,” he added softly.
“I know,” Buffy sighed, stepping back so she could grab a bottle of water and take a welcome mouthful of its contents. “I mean – I know you
, right? ‘I was Merrick’ Giles – who is the
Watcher, and always has been …”
“Quite.” He smiled and stepped out from behind the bag, looking quite un
Watcher like in his jeans and tee-shirt. “And I’m sure you would have known me when I was short and plump and sporting a tonsure – which was … umm … the way I looked the day the Doctor met me.”
” She looked him up and down, trying to put that
picture together – and failing spectacularly. “No way.”
“Yes way,” he said, perfectly serious in both tone and expression. “I was – ah – studying with the monks on Lindesfarne. There was a Viking raid, the Doctor turned up looking for a stolen alien artefact, the rune-mage turned out to be a demon and … well,” he concluded with a wry shrug, “the rest is history. As one might say.”
“Was this – before or after
Ethan?” Buffy asked warily, automatically catching the quarterstaff he threw in her direction. The question earned her a sharp glance and a momentary tight-lipped frown.
“After,” he said, the terseness of the word telling her not to trespass any further into that
. She didn’t really want to; it was his relationship with the Doctor that she wanted to know more about.
“Okay,” she said, dropping into the required defensive stance, “so there’s you doing …” She smothered a giggle. “… the Friar Tuck impression …” She couldn’t help it; it was the way he was standing there, the quarterstaff sitting so comfortably in his hands. For a moment – just
a moment – she could
see it: the earnest young monk in bare feet, a sackcloth habit belted tightly around his plumply padded frame …
“Oh good Lord,” Giles muttered, rolling his eyes. “Friar Tuck was much
later, Buffy. Twelfth century at least. This was back in the late fifth … early sixth …” A sudden memory must have caught at him: the smile that it summoned lit his features with almost boyish pleasure. “Just before Galhal and I … My – umm - first Slayer,” he explained with a wary return to self-consciousness. Buffy rolled her eyes with indulgent amusement: she was way
past jealousy with all of that. Now that she wasn’t the only Slayer anymore, she was beginning to appreciate that – in some weird mystical way – the Watcher had been seeking her
out, down through the centuries. She’d always been his
Slayer. Whatever her name – or face – had been at the time. “Lovely girl,” he recalled, a little wistfully. “Disguised herself as a boy to serve at court and … well, that was where I ran into the Doctor the second time. Only … umm, …” This
time the smile was wry. “He hadn’t met me yet.”
“Huh?” Buffy stared at him, hitting another of those ‘my Watcher is a Time
Lord’ moments that always took forever to untangle and never, ever quite made sense …
“Umm … long story,” he decided, shaking his head at memories she suspected she’d never get to know. “Just take it from me … Merlin and I go way back. Way, way back …”
“And the … thing?” she queried, feinting with the staff and earning a quick rap across the knuckles for her pains. “That go – way back, too?”
“I – um – I suppose it does. Does that bother you?”
“Nope.” She spun in, forcing him to twist first one way, then the other. The blows they exchanged were fast and furious, clear evidence of the way he’d been faking his ineptitude, back in the early days of her training. “I think it’s ... kinda cool, actually. It’s just that … well, you never … last
time we met him. And then – Miss Calendar …”
She didn’t quite know how to finish that sentence. She knew how much the lovely techno-pagan had meant to him, how devastating her loss had been – and a part of her, admittedly over-romantic, heart had just assumed it would take a long time before there could be anyone else. But here he was, talking about a relationship that had begun in the fifth century
“Buffy,” he said, sounding vaguely irritated, “you have absolutely no idea
what you’re talking about. Last
time we encountered the Doctor you were too busy trying to save your sister from the Daleks and from Glory to pay attention to what anyone else was doing. And Jenny … “ He paused, mid strike, and she had to hastily pull back her own blow before she cracked his skull in two. “Jenny was – special. Time Lords have two hearts, remember? We don’t – limit our relationships, the way that humans do.”
There was a profundity in that statement that made her feel very small and very, very young. It wasn’t often that he reminded her that he wasn’t
human – but when he did, it always shook her a little, making her remember just how old and alien he was, under his skin. Because, in so many ways, he was the most human
soul she knew.
He shook his head and the moment passed, leaving her feeling a little older and just a little wiser in its wake. “No. Not the way you would think of it. You don’t choose
who you fall in love with, Buffy. You, of all people, should know that.”
“Yeah.” She had to grimace at that one. He had a point. “’spose I should. So – uh …” She had
to ask, although she wasn’t sure he’d answer her. “Are all Time Lords bisexual?”
He gave her an odd look. “Bi …? Oh!” The odd look became an amused one; she had the distinct impression he was trying hard not to laugh at her. “N-no,” he denied, shaking his head at the thought. “I-I don’t think so. Th-there have
been cases … male in one regeneration, female the next … but, usually
,” she snorted, thwacking at him with her staff. “That’s not what I meant, and you know it. You and the Doctor, you and …Jenny ... Olivia – that makes you bisexual, right?”
“Wrong,” he countered, twisting his staff over so that it trapped hers point down on the floor. “That
makes me bispecial. At the very least. Although I suspect I’ve been a little more discriminating than Jack
has, over the years. And I think that’s quite enough talk about my sex life, thank you very much. It’s really none of your business, you know.”
She jerked her staff up, twirling it over so that she knocked his out of his hands and went into a killing strike, halting the blow barely half an inch away from crushing his windpipe. “You’re family,” she said, her eyes challenging him to deny it. “And that makes it my business. I know you like the Doctor, but … if he hurts you, in any
He reached up and gently pushed the staff away, looking down at her with quiet sympathy. “I know you mean well,“ he said. “But really, it’s far too late for all of that. He and I are the last of our kind. All that's left. It doesn’t matter if he hurts me. It doesn’t matter what
he does, as long he stays here
– “ He lifted his hand and splayed his fingers across his chest, encompassing both his hearts. “With you. With all of you. Right where he belongs. Whatever it was we had before – that’s
the truth of it now. We could be lying skin to skin, or be a thousand years distant and galaxies apart. It wouldn’t matter. I’d still feel him. I can’t let him go.”
Buffy shivered, suddenly recalling what it had felt like – to be always alone, someone apart, someone different
… and then to feel the other Slayers awaken around her, to suddenly become part of something much more
than she could ever be on her own.
“Do you … ever feel me
?” she asked, remembering what the old woman had told her when she’d given her the scythe. The Time Lords had made a serious mistake the day they’d tried to created their mystical army; they’d sacrificed one of their own, and used her spirit to bind the demon’s essence into human flesh – and her alien nature had unbalanced the spells, scattering the line of the Chosen, not just across space as they’d intended, but throughout time as well.
The Slayer wasn’t just part demon. She was part Time Lord, too …
Giles huffed, a sound half resigned sigh, half laugh. “Every bloody day for nine hundred and eighty seven years,” he said. “How do you think I found the Chosen one, every time? You and I were born to the same destiny, Buffy. I keep trying
to take time off … spending those early years with Ethan … studying at all those universities … and there was that half century I spent sailing a starjammer through the Parcious Clusters, trying to get the weight of darkness out my soul … But my Slayer calls me back, no matter how
hard I try to fight it. Of course I feel you. I always have and I always will.”
“Wow,” she said. “You never said anything.”
He didn’t try to answer that – he just looked
, and she found herself staring at the floor, unwilling to meet his eyes. Would she have understood something like that, back in Sunnydale? Would she have even listened?
What could he have said, anyway? I’m here because my people screwed up and stuck you and all the other Slayers with this sucky destiny …
She’d have had every reason to be mad about that, and probably ought to be now – except that those
people didn’t exist anymore. There was only him – and the Doctor, and perhaps Wesley, although Giles wasn’t entirely sure about that …
Ethan Rayne, but that was one question too many, and one she knew better than to ask.
“I’m … okay with it, you know,” she said slowly, after a moment or two. “You and the Doctor, I mean. Because this thing you have – is a good
thing, right? And that … being all alone in the universe feeling? So not of the good. For anyone.”
“I’m not sure which is worse,” the Watcher observed dryly. “The fact that you can articulate such a profound thought through the use of such in
articulate language – or the fact that I understood every word of it. But … thank you. Your approbation means a lot to me.”
He nodded. “It does.”
“And that’s – good, right?”
“Right.” His laugh was warm – and a sound she savoured, because it had been so rare in their days on the hellmouth. Rare since, for that matter – at least until now; it was as if being with the Doctor had somehow unlocked the laughter in him, given it permission to rise, bubbling and happy, out of the grim darkness that had imprisoned it for so long.
It wasn’t, Buffy decided with a grin, the most wonderful sound she’d ever
heard. But she’d certainly put it into her top ten.
Maybe even her top five …