A Field near Stewartstown, Northern Ireland 1986.
The man stepped out of the night into the little circle of light caste by Giles’ paraffin lamp. He pulled up a spare camping chair and sat down facing Giles.
“Tea?” Offered Giles as he tried to catch a glimpse of the shadowy figure on the outer side of the light.
“No thank-you Rupert…May I call you Rupert?” Asked the Irish voice.
“Why not?” Sighed Giles, “Everybody else seems to know my name…I’d not realised I was so popular.”
“Do you fancy a bit of something stronger?” Asked the voice as it’s owner lent forward to offer Giles a bottle. “It’s good Irish Whisky Rupert, and not the rubbish that gets exported either!”
Giles grasped the bottle and took a swig, he felt the strong liquor burn its way down his throat and settle in his belly here it spread warmth throughout his body. He reluctantly handed the bottle back.
“So, what can I do for you Mr….?” Asked Giles as he heard the mysterious man take a swig from the bottle.
“My name is not important…”
“Bloody silly name!” Interrupted Giles.
“Ah! English humour.” Said the man, “No, I’ve come to talk to you about young ‘Taz’. I think we share a common problem there Rupert.”
“We do? Go on.” Giles invited.
“She’s a wonderful girl…very dedicated to the movement don’t you know?”
“Yes I noticed.”
“Very strong…very fast…very idealistic.”
“Too idealistic?” Asked Rupert.
“Maybe…maybe,” Mused the man, “I’ll be thinking that your orders were to bring her in…and if not, make sure she’s not a problem?”
“Something like that.” Agreed Giles.
“I watched her take out that special forces team someone sent after her.” Explained the man. “Very impressive…oh and thanks for the weapons and equipment they were carrying by the way. Anyway,” He continued, “She didn’t use a gun…just her bare hands; and I said to myself ‘Paddy that girl’s dangerous’. The question being to who?”
“To whom.” Corrected Giles automatically.
“Oh yes…education is a wonderful thing,” Said the man. “But I’m thinking we might be able to do each other a favour Rupert.”
“Alright I’m listening.”
“You know the movement always needs martyrs Rupert. Quite often a dead martyr is more useful than a live volunteer.”
“You’re asking me to kill one of your own people?” Asked Giles.
“You’re a quick study there Rupert m’boyo! Tomorrow at about two-thirty our girl will be sent to the house of a Brit spy.”
“A tout?” Asked Giles.
“I can see you’ll go far Rupert.” The man paused as he took another swig from his bottle and offered it to Giles who refused. “We’ll leave you the address and everything you’ll need and you can take whatever action you think is appropriate.”
“What’s to stop her from simply gunning me down?”
“Well, it’s a tragedy really how her rifle will jam after firing one round…after that you’re on your own.”
“We of course will say she was gunned down by Brit agents, or maybe an SAS assassination team. She’ll die a hero; there’ll be hundreds at her funeral. They’ll write songs about her y’know? I’m betting that she’ll be remembered long after the pair of us are dead. I’m thinking that’s more than your people would offer her.”
Unseen in the lamplight Giles wiped a tear from his eye.
“You’re most likely right.” He said, “If she’d come with me she’d have died an un-noticed death mourned by no-one. Life’s a piece of shit like that.”
“That it is Rupert, that it is…I take it we have an understanding?” Asked the man sadly.
“Yes, I’ll do it.”
“Well, I’ll be off now. I’ve left a package on the chair for you.” Announced the man as he stood up, “Give it a slow count to a hundred before you look at it. I wish we could have met in better times my friend.”
“Yes…yes.” Replied Giles absently.
“You’re not such a bad fellow…for an Englishman.” With that the man faded into the night.
“Oh my Goddess,” Whispered Willow as she stopped reading, “How could he Ken? I never…I just can’t believe Giles would do such a thing.”
Kennedy took the book from Willows unresisting fingers and continued to read.
Near Stewartstown, 1986.
Giles crouched in the corner of a field; hidden by a hedge from the road that ran left to right in front of him he kept his ears open for any sound marking the Slayers approach. In his hand he held the 9mm Browning Hi-Power pistol that the mysterious man had left him the night before; it was the same type of weapon used by the British army, and he was sure that the ammunition it contained came from British army stocks. Whatever happened the army would be blamed.
On the other side of the road ran another hedge. This one was a lot neater as it was someone’s garden hedge and separated a garden from the road. Twenty yards from Giles position a drive way came out onto the opposite side of the road from Giles. This drive led to the front of a newly built bungalow that stood about thirty yards back from the road.
Giles tensed as he heard the bungalow’s front door open and close. He could hear a man’s footsteps crunching down the drive towards the road. Giles stood up straight to see over the hedge, his view was still obscured by the garden hedge across the road. The man came into view as he walked out onto the road. The front door opened and closed again, Giles could hear lighter footsteps running down the drive.
“DAD!” A girl’s voice called out.
The man stopped and turned. A girl aged nine or ten ran up to him and gave him a package. The man put the package in the bag he carried over his shoulder, he bent to kiss the girl on the cheek. She waved as he started to walk down the road, the man waved back.
Giles heard movement in the hedge coming from near were the girl stood. The Slayer stepped out onto the road clutching an AK 47 across her chest.
“SEAN O’CONNER?” She called as she lifted the rifle to her shoulder.
The man turned to face the Slayer a look of terror on his face, he caste a glace at the girl who stood in the driveway, the Slayers eyes followed the man’s to where the girl stood rooted to the spot in fear.
“Sean O’Conner?” She asked again in a quieter voice.
“Yes.” Replied the man more resigned than fearful.
The Slayer fired.
Giles heard the shot as he tried to force his way through the hedge so as to get a clear shot at the Slayer. He glanced up to see the man lying in the road; blood oozing from a wound in his shoulder. The Slayer meanwhile worked the bolt of her rifle trying to get it to fire again.
The girl seemed to come alive, she screamed and ran towards her father. He tried to push her out the way with his uninjured arm. Every time he pushed her to one side she would move to stand between her father and the Slayer.
“DON’T YOU SHOOT MY DADDY!” She screamed again and again.
The Slayer’s eyes moved from the man to the child, the girl’s father kept trying to push his daughter away.
The Slayer cocked her rifle and started to lift it to her shoulder, as she did so she heard something behind her and turned to see Giles stumble through the hedge onto the road.
She swung around to bring the AK47 to bear on Giles; as he brought his pistol up into the aim. She turned her head back to where the man lay struggling to push his daughter away.
She faced back towards Giles once more; the muzzle of the rifle drifted away from Giles’ chest until it pointed at the hedge, “Do it!” She mouthed.
A single shot rang out; the bullet hit the Slayer in the middle of her forehead. A look of surprise crossed her face for a moment. In death her finger tightened on the trigger of her rifle and sent a burst of fire through the hedge sending birds flapping into the air in panic. She fell to the ground where her blood pooled around her head and stained the road red.
As Giles turned to walk away all he could hear was the sound of the girl crying in her fathers arms.
The Watchers Council Headquarters, London 1996.
Quentin Travers looked up from the papers he was reading as his visitor walked across his office and sat down in the chair on the other side of his desk.
“Mornin’ Travers.” Replied his visitor.
“I see that Summers girl got her Watcher killed.” Said Travers as he sat back in his leather chair and regarded Hetherington.
“Most regrettable.” Agreed Hetherington.
“We’ll have to send a replacement,” Continued Travers, “Someone we can rely on to do the right thing…if it becomes necessary.” Travers paused, “I take it you have a suggestion?”
“Indeed I do,” Replied Hetherington, “Why don’t we send Rupert Giles?”
“Rupert Giles?” Queried Travers, “The name sounds familiar?”
“He dealt with that unfortunate incident in Ireland back in ’86.”
“Yes…Yes, now I remember.” Said Travers smiling to himself; “A very suitable choice…very suitable.”
“Yes,” Replied Hetherington, “He’s killed one Slayer for us, he shouldn’t have any problem killing another.”
“If it becomes necessary…”
“Indeed,” Agreed Hetherington, “If it becomes necessary…”
Giles’ Flat, London, 2023.
Kennedy put the book down and looked at Willow who sat in stunned silence as tears rolled down her face. Anna put her arms around her Ma’Will’s shoulders and murmured words of comfort into her hair.
Willow took a deep breath and hugged Anna who slowly let her go.
“Is that it?” She asked wiping the tears from her eyes.
“Looks like,” Replied Kennedy; she looked into the box that the books had come from, “There doesn’t seem to be anymore in this series.”
“What about the rest of the book it’s only three-quarters used?”
Kennedy flipped through the remaining pages.
“Nothing.” She said eventually and put the book down on the table.
“What will Buffy say?” Asked Willow.
After a long pause Kennedy replied; “Nothing! Because she’s never going to find out.”
“But we can’t keep this a secret.” Insisted Willow.
“Yes we can.” Said Kennedy forcefully, “What good would it do for her to find out that the closest thing she’s had to a father was nothing but a cold blooded killer?”
“NO WILL! NO BUTS!” Exclaimed Kennedy, “I’m putting my foot down about this sweetheart. Buffy never finds out about this…ever…right?” Kennedy glanced at her daughter.
“No problem mum.” Agreed the girl.
“But Ken we can’t just destroy the evidence.”
“Who said anything about destroying the evidence?” Kennedy looked from Willow to Anna, “These go into a safety deposit box and Anna can decide what to do with them when we’re all dead.”
“If you’re sure?” Asked Willow bowing to the inevitable.
“Sure I’m sure.” Smiled Kennedy as she turned to Anna, “You okay with that?”
Anna nodded her head in agreement and picked up the two books that held Giles’ darkest secret. She absently flicked through the second book.
“Here mum!” She said, “There must have been two pages stuck together,” the girl carefully separated the pages, “It looks like a poem…” she said and read the last words in Giles’ book;
“Don’t cry,” Mummy said,
“They’re not real.”
Now he’s gone.
"Don't cry,” Mummy said,
“They've hurt themselves much more.”
They can walk and run,
Anna stopped reading and closed the book for the last time.
Imtheochaidh a dtainig ariamh
an duine og is a chail ne dhiadh*
I will go wherever he came from-
The young man with his reputation behind him.
Fol lol the doh fol the day,
Fol the doh fol the day.
Words from ‘The theme from Harry’s Game’ by Clannad.
Notes: The title of this Fic is a nod to ‘Harry’s Game’ a British TV drama from the 1980’s and probably the best drama ever made about the ‘Troubles’. Google ‘Harry’s Game’ and click on the Wikipedia entry for a good overview of the program.
The poem ‘Don’t cry’ was written by the daughter of an IRA murder victim in the 1970’s, it was spoken over the last scene of ‘Harry’s Game’ to great effect. The words may be a little off as I wrote it down from memory. As I haven’t even thought about this poem in twenty years I might have got it a little wrong.
The worse thing about Northern Ireland (to my mind; apart from all the killing) was the lies it made people tell. I remember we had a tea stop near the edge of our area; it was a farm where a part-time UDR man and his family lived. One sunny afternoon I was chatting to this guy’s youngest daughter as she did her homework. I remember picking up and reading a piece from her Exercise book. It was a simple ‘What I did at the Weekend’ composition.
It described an incident from our last visit where we had been playing football with the kids and one of our guys smashed a window. Of course she couldn’t say that a squady had done it because if the wrong person at school had read it our next visit might not have been so pleasant. The family might have been killed; or we might have been ambushed.