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Busman's Holiday (Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, cold fluff) 4/4


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OK, so I'm rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which has of course rekindled my undying love of Giles, the canonical librarian to fancy. And as I'm also a librarian, I thought I'd write a fluffy, no plot here, fic about him going back to England between Series 1 and Series 2 to do a bit of research back at the British Museum. And of course, getting a cold on his way there. Hope you enjoy it! Here are some visual aids if you haven't watched Buffy. This is just a very short first part to give me a bit of accountability to actually continue it.

 

“Rupert, hi!” Sam opened the door, smiling at the familiar figure in front of her. Giles was wearing his customary tweed suit, waistcoat, and tie, although he had made a slight concession to the unseasonably warm London day and carried his jacket over one arm. A slightly battered leather suitcase stood on the front step. She opened the door wide. “Come in, how are you?”

He followed her down the narrow hallway towards the kitchen. “Horribly jetlagged, and I think I’m getting a cold, courtesy of my delightful neighbour on the plane.” Sam looked up from the sink where she was filling the kettle, and Giles smiled self-deprecatingly, realising he had sounded self-pitying. the expression suddenly illuminated his face like sunlight through clouds. “But I’m very glad to be back in England, even for such a flying visit. And extremely grateful to you for putting me up.” Leaning back against the countertop, he removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes in a familiar gesture of exhaustion.

“Not at all, you know you’re always welcome. Now, what would you like? Tea, coffee, or just to go to bed?”

Giles glanced at the clock, mouth open slightly as he struggled to calculate the time difference. “It’s 7.30 now…I think I should try to make it another couple of hours at least…a cup of tea would be lovely, thank you.”

He sat at the kitchen table as she poured hot water the pot. “So, how is sunny California? And your new job?”

“Oh, it’s fine. I’ve survived a whole school year without fire or flood.” He shrugged as she sat down. “It’s not quite what I was expecting, but it’s a living. And the holidays are good.”

Sam poured out the tea and handed him a mug as he asked, “and how are you faring? How’s the museum?”

“Oh, you know. Same old, same old. They promoted me after you left, did you know?”

“No, I didn’t, that’s fantastic. I’m only sorry it didn’t happen sooner. So, what is your new job title?”

“Superintendent of the reading room.” She rolled her eyes. “It’s a bit old-fashioned, but it gives me a bit more responsibility, and a bit more money, which is nice.”

Giles nodded vaguely, his brow furrowed. “I’m sorry,” he said, one hand reaching into his waistcoat pocket. “I’m going to…” His voice rose higher with urgency as he drew out a white handkerchief and pressed it to his face. Turning away from the table, he bent sharply at the waist with an emphatic sneeze.

H’RRRSHhoo!!” There was a pause as he waited, hunched over, handkerchief still in place. Then his eyes squeezed shut and with a gasp he jerked forward a second time. “Heh’HRRRSSSH!!

“…sneeze,” Giles finished unnecessarily, lowering his handkerchief with a cautious air.

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Another tiny bit of fic (this is pretty much how I like to write, sorry).

 

After a period of comfortable catching up over more tea and dinner, Giles glanced at the clock over the sink.

“I’m sorry, but would it be alright to use your phone? There’s someone I said I’d call when I arrived.”

“Of course – it’s just in the hall, go ahead.”

“Thank you.” He stepped out and Sam busied herself putting the tea things away and trying not to listen in, although she was powerfully curious who Giles might be calling. She could hear his half of the conversation clearly.

“Hello, is that Miss Calendar?...It’s, um, Rupert Giles here…yes, all fine…yes…no…” She heard Giles hastily break off and muffle a sneeze into his handkerchief before continuing the conversation. “H’MMPHHSHoo!!...sorry, excuse me…thank you…yes, fine, just a bit of a cold, I think…yes…yes, I will…” Sam could hear him smiling in the amused tone of his voice. Then he became more business-like. “And with you? And the others?...good…good…well, that’s a relief…oh, yes of course, I’ll let you go…thank you…and you…goodbye.” She heard him put down the receiver and come back to the kitchen.

“All well?” she asked.

“Yes, thank you. Just…a friend…well, a teacher at the school…I asked her to keep an eye on things for me while I'm away.” He was smiling again, a half-secret, inward smile that made Sam suspect there was rather more to it than that.

“What does she teach?”

“Computers, of all things.” Giles rolled his eyes. “I don’t pretend to understand it, but apparently it’s the next big thing, and soon all books will become obsolete...or something.” Raising his eyebrows sceptically, he yawned and rubbed at his nose with the knuckles of one hand.

Sam caught the yawn and looked up at the clock. “Nine-thirty – a  respectable time to call it a night, do you think?” Giles nodded, his yawn deepening into a jaw-cracking sigh. “Come on, I’ll show you where you’re sleeping. It’s not palatial, but I dare say it’ll do.”

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3 hours ago, Katrelle said:

Giles was wearing his customary tweed suit, waistcoat, and tie, although he had made a slight concession to the unseasonably warm London day and carried his jacket over one arm

I'm all about visual descriptions, and this puts me right in the scene!  (and tipping my hat to fic of an older series that I definitely need to rewatch!)

 

3 hours ago, Katrelle said:

Horribly jetlagged, and I think I’m getting a cold, courtesy of my delightful neighbour on the plane.

Oh, my....yum....

 

3 hours ago, Katrelle said:

“I’m going to…” His voice rose higher with urgency as he drew out a white handkerchief and pressed it to his face. Turning away from the table, he bent sharply at the waist with an emphatic sneeze.

H’RRRSHhoo!!” There was a pause as he waited, hunched over, handkerchief still in place. Then his eyes squeezed shut and with a gasp he jerked forward a second time. “Heh’HRRRSSSH!!

“…sneeze,” Giles finished unnecessarily, lowering his handkerchief with a cautious air.

The phrasing here is lovely...and just so perfectly perfectly Giles!

2 hours ago, Katrelle said:

“Computers, of all things.” Giles rolled his eyes. “I don’t pretend to understand it, but apparently it’s the next big thing, and soon all books will become obsolete...or something.” Raising his eyebrows sceptically, he yawned and rubbed at his nose with the knuckles of one hand.

Oh my goodness...definitely needing to rewatch.  I love your voicing, and the way you pace things.  

 

2 hours ago, Katrelle said:

Another tiny bit of fic (this is pretty much how I like to write, sorry)

Um...you just...keep right on doing that, will you?  

 

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I'm so glad people like it! Honestly, 'in character' is the absolute best compliment I could hope for.

I have more. I'm sorry, this whole fic is light on the sneezing, heavy on the dialogue. I just love writing Giles's dialogue, and I like to have things vaguely in keeping with the source, so it feels a bit weird to turn it into a massive sneeze-fest...or maybe that's just me. Anyway, I really hope you like part 3!

 

 

On her way to the shower the following morning, Sam knocked lightly on Giles’s door and was met with a muffled reply.

“Thank you, I’ll be down in a minute.”

When she came downstairs ten minutes later, she found Giles standing in the kitchen looking as dapper as usual, if a little pale. He had exchanged his waistcoat for a red knitted sweater vest, but had stuck to the traditional tweed suit.

“Good morning,” she greeted him.

“Morning,” he managed in a stuffy voice, holding his glasses in one hand and rubbing his eyes with the other. “You wouldn’t happen to have any aspirin, would you? I’m afraid I’m not firing on all cylinders this morning.”

“I’m sure I’ve got something, give me a sec to fish it out.” She dug through her handbag on the side. “How did you sleep?”

“Like the dead.”

She held out a blister pack of paracetamol triumphantly. Giles reached out to take it, then changed his mind, raising his hand in a warning gesture. Quickly pulling out a handkerchief he braced himself against the work-surface as he sneezed.

“Heh’CHMPT’tshoo!! H’MPHTSHOO!!” After two unsuccessful attempts to suppress the powerful sneezes, Giles paused for a second, then bent almost double with a resounding “H’RRSSSHOOO!!” With a muffled noise which might have been a groan, he refolded his handkerchief and blew his nose.

“Bless you,” Sam offered the pills again and he took them gratefully. “I’m just going to get ready. Help yourself to breakfast – there’s tea in the pot, and toast and cereal and so on.”

“Thank you, I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

As they travelled into central London on the tube, Giles quizzed Sam about the British Museum.

“They had better not have changed my classification scheme,” he warned her, and she laughed.

“Giles, your classification scheme will outlive the both of us. A strange sort of immortality, known only librarians and archivists.” He smiled.

When they arrived in the reading room, Giles was pleasantly surprised to see that very little had altered in his year away. Sam came with him, greeting the library assistants at the enquiry desk as she went. They had almost reached the occult and supernatural section when a man intercepted them. He was moderately handsome, taller than average, in his mid-thirties, and dressed in a smart, modern suit of navy blue. His shoes were conspicuously shiny.

“Good morning, Samantha,” he said, pointedly looking at her, and then at Giles.

“Ah, good morning Mr Garner. Rupert, this is Alex Garner, the new director. Mr Garner, this is Rupert Giles, your…”

“My predecessor,” Garner cut in smoothly. He held out a hand. “This is an unexpected pleasure, Mr Giles.” His smile, though warm, did not extend to his eyes.

Giles returned the smile tightly. “Yes indeed. You’ll have to excuse my not shaking hands, I’ve got a shocking cold. One of the perils of transatlantic flight.”

“Not at all.” Garner covered it well, but was a little wrong-footed. He was clearly the sort of man who liked to intimidate with an overly-firm handshake. “How is life treating you in…Texas, wasn’t it?”

“California, actually.”

“Of course. And what brings you back to the old place? Checking we haven’t sold all the treasures to buy computers?”

“I’d certainly be disappointed to find you had.” Giles looked around the reading room with a nostalgic smile, before turning back to Garner. “But I’m just here to do some private research.”

“I see.” Garner paused, apparently thinking. “Well, I’m afraid I’m very busy this morning, but if you’re still here this afternoon, perhaps you’d care to take tea in my office at two-thirty? I imagine you remember the way.”

“I dare say I’ll find it,” Giles replied drily.

“Capital! Until then. Samantha and the other girls will take excellent care of you, I’m sure.” He swept off, his shiny shoes clicking neatly on the parquet floor.

Sam rolled her eyes at Giles behind his back. “Well, that’s over. Come on, let me introduce you to Deirdre. She’s our latest trainee, and she’s specialising in the occult section. I got her to lay out the texts you requested in one of the private study rooms.”

Deirdre turned out to be a rather mousy young woman who was almost vibrating with enthusiasm as she was introduced.

“I have your handlist of shelfmarks on my desk,” she burst out, causing Giles to smile awkwardly.

“Oh, um, well, that’s good to hear. I’m glad Mr Garner hasn’t decided to change everything.” Deirdre looked suddenly downcast at the director’s name.

“Oh no, he doesn’t really seem very interested in that sort of…detail. And anyway, it’s such a good system! I’ve been corresponding with the Salem branch of the Massachusetts Public Library – they have an excellent occult collection – and I think I’ve convinced them to incorporate several of your subdivisions into their own scheme.”

“That’s, um…very gratifying. I’m glad to find my favourite collection is in such safe hands.” Deirdre glowed with pride as she unlocked the door. She continued to chatter as he settled his things on the desk and hung his jacket on the back of the chair, then turned to go.

“If there’s anything else you need, Mr Giles, anything at all…” she finished, breathlessly.

“Thank you very much, Deirdre, I’ll come and find you.” She shut the door.

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I love this! My favorite touch is the part where Jenny Callendar is clearly concerned for his health down the line, and he adores it. Very subtle, very well done. Poor thing isn’t feeling himself today, I’m afraid, but he’s got to work. 

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Yay!  One of my fav writers is back!!  And this is just too yummy.  Loving the sounds and description.  And strangely enough- even though I never got into the series- from fanfics I have come to :heart: Giles.  

 

Loving this *muchly* ❤️❤️❤️

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*blushes furiously* That's so nice of you to say, thank you. And thanks everyone for the lovely feedback. I think this will be the last part, but I've really, enjoyed writing it. Giles is such a good character to torture.

 

At two-thirty sharp, Giles knocked smartly on the oak door which led to what used to be his office before entering. Garner sat behind a new, sleekly black desk. He gestured at the hard wooden chair opposite it.

“Giles. Please, sit down.” Giles sat. He observed dispassionately that there was not a single book in the room, not even a notepad. “You seemed surprised to see me this morning. You hadn’t heard about my appointment, then?”

“The goings-on of the British Museum don’t tend to reach the California newspapers,” Giles responded drily.

“But you must have known the Watchers’ Council would never have left the collection in the hands of…civilians.” Garner watched him over steepled fingers, leaning back in his own, more cushioned chair.

“I had dared to hope that they might appoint someone with a shred of experience. If only for the sake of discretion.”

Garner shrugged. “They were happy to see the bigger picture. I keep things accessible, provide a figurehead for the museum, and the girls keep the place chugging along nicely. But that isn’t why I wanted to see you.”

“No?” Giles wasn’t interested. This man’s pompous voice was driving straight into his pounding headache.

“No. The Council has been concerned, Giles, by your recent reports from Sunnydale. They have been…less than fulsome.”

“Fulsome,” Giles repeated.

“Come now. It’s the Hellmouth, and you send us only the briefest summaries: four vampires killed, full moon uneventful, and so on. It’s not good enough. The Council is concerned you are concealing things from us.”

Giles had had enough. “I apologise. I will ensure my future reports are appropriately loquacious. Is that all?” He stood without Garner’s permission.

“See that you do. By the way, who are you staying with while you’re in London?”

“As a matter of fact, Sam Phillips. Not that it’s any of your business.” Giles had already turned to go, his hand on the door handle, when Garner spoke.

“Of course, I’d forgotten she was one of your…protégées. Not enough flesh on her bones for my taste, I’m afraid, but each to their own.” Giles gripped the door handle with white knuckles.

“You…are a repugnant man,” he said with dignity, without turning round. “And I shall make the Council aware of my feelings regarding your appointment.” He left before Garner could reply.

Once Giles had slammed the door to the study room hard enough that several readers turned to look, Sam gave it a few minutes. Then she knocked and went in. She found Giles cleaning his glasses with angry ferocity, a pencil caught between his teeth.

“How was your meeting with Our Dear Leader?” she asked.

“That man is intolerable,” Giles responded indistinctly, hampered both by the pencil and his blocked nose.

“He does have that effect, on a first impression.”

Giles put on his glasses and removed the pencil, then fixed her with an unconvinced stare. “You don’t mean to tell me that he improves with time?”

“Oh no, he’s also like that on subsequent impressions.” As Sam watched, Giles removed his handkerchief from a pocket and turned away with an apologetic frown, his eyes closing inexorably as he took a shuddering breath.

“Heh’HRRRSSSH!!” He plunged forward with a forceful sneeze, quickly followed by two more. “H’RRRSSHOO!! Heh’HRRSSSHOO!!” Sam could see the exhaustion in each wrench of his shoulders.

“Bless you,” she said, as Giles sighed and folded his handkerchief to blow his nose.  

“Well, I don’t know how you stand it,” he said, continuing their conversation.

“At work, copious amounts of tea. At home, copious amounts of gin. Speaking of, which would you like first?”

Giles raised an eyebrow at her. “Surely we're both far too busy to bunk off work early?” He pointed out, spoiling the effect by sneezing again, an explosive, “H’RRRSSSHOO!!” that he only just managed to catch in his handkerchief in time.

“Giles, you look done in. And I would take it as a personal kindness if you would refrain from sneezing on the irreplaceable manuscripts.”

“Fair point,” he muttered thickly through his handkerchief, blowing his nose again. “But what about your ‘great responsibility’?”

“With great responsibility comes great opportunities for overtime,” Sam quipped back. “I’m owed days of it, and we’re fully staffed at the moment. Plus, he won’t even notice.”

Giles looked wearily at the table piled high with books and papers. “Alright, alright. Let me just finish this copy request.” He pulled a half-filled out form towards himself and took up the pencil. Sam looked over his shoulder, then took it off him.

“That’s fine. It’s free of charge. I won’t hear of it,” she added firmly as Giles started to splutter a refusal. “Mr Garner may not care about this place, but the rest of us remember what you did for it, and we won’t take a penny of your money. Now, let’s go.”

As they left, Giles took extra care to thank Deirdre personally for her care of the occult collection, and to wish her all the best, which caused her to blush the colour of a beetroot and stammer incoherently.

Once they’d reached the entrance lobby, Sam asked again. “So, which is it to be, tea or gin?”

Giles grimaced. “I’m afraid I can’t stand gin, I’m more of a whisky man.”

“Well, I’m glad you said: I’ve got a bottle of single malt at home just waiting for an excuse to be drunk.”

“Oh I-I couldn’t possibly…” Giles began, but was interrupted by an enormous sneeze which bent him nearly double. “Heh-hehh-H’RRRSSHHOOO!! Excuse me...” he mumbled, dabbing at his nose.

“Of course you could.” Sam was brooking no argument. “And anyway, whisky and hot water is the canonical best thing for a cold.”

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This is just lovely. So true to the characters and setting, I can totally picture them. 

7 hours ago, Katrelle said:

“Oh no, he’s also like that on subsequent impressions.”

LOL

 

7 hours ago, Katrelle said:

As they left, Giles took extra care to thank Deirdre personally for her care of the occult collection, and to wish her all the best, which caused her to blush the colour of a beetroot and stammer incoherently.

Awww

 

7 hours ago, Katrelle said:

“Of course you could.” Sam was brooking no argument. “And anyway, whisky and hot water is the canonical best thing for a cold.”

Ha!

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On 9/13/2018 at 1:33 PM, Katrelle said:

I'm sorry, this whole fic is light on the sneezing, heavy on the dialogue. I just love writing Giles's dialogue, and I like to have things vaguely in keeping with the source, so it feels a bit weird to turn it into a massive sneeze-fest...or maybe that's just me.

Actually, a good deal of the fun is exactly the way you do Giles as a character.  That makes his sneezes deliciously believable, and that's the point, isn't it?  Because I just want to take him home now, and make him tea , which you wouldn't get if it was just a massive sneeze-fest.   (Plus, I am particularly fond of stories that hit kink buttons, but do it in such a way that a fic might just as easily have been one of those just delicious finds out in the wild. 

There's so much to love, here!  I'd quote it all and tell you what I love about each and every line but that might get a bit out of hand.  

18 hours ago, Katrelle said:

“Giles, you look done in. And I would take it as a personal kindness if you would refrain from sneezing on the irreplaceable manuscripts.”

I love how gently Sam chides Giles, pointing out that he is in fact ill and could perhaps call off a bit early.  Tying that right into his disdain for Garner.

I adore Deidre's fangirling, and Giles' kind attention to her, and his indignation on behalf of himself and everyone else who cares about they work they do.  

18 hours ago, Katrelle said:

“Of course you could.” Sam was brooking no argument. “And anyway, whisky and hot water is the canonical best thing for a cold.”

This might be my favorite line. 

Just...so much to love here!  

 

 

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