Title: “Green Card” (1/1)
Author: Tigress, a.k.a. TheQueenly1
Pairing: Buffy and Giles, hurray!
Disclaimer: As far as I know, all the characters of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” are owned by their creator, Joss Whedon. I do not own them; if I did, Buffy and Giles would have been together as a couple long ago. I am a B/G ‘shipper, and proud of it! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so please do not sue. The original characters in this story are mine, however.
Spoilers: Up to and including both parts of “Graduation.” This takes place very shortly afterwards, and it is AU following that.
Summary: In order to keep the Watchers’ Council from having Giles removed from the U.S.A., Buffy marries him. The INS does not believe the marriage is legitimate, and the Slayer and her Watcher have to prove that it is.
Author’s Notes: This story was written in response to the “Green Card” Challenge at the Bodice Ripper website.
Feedback: Would be greatly appreciated! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
“What?” Buffy screeched, so loudly that Giles actually winced. “What do you mean, you’re leaving me? You can’t! I need you!”
“You’re my Watcher! How am I supposed to do this without you?”
“I am no longer your Watcher, Buffy. Wesley Wyndam-Price is officially your Watcher, and now that you have rejected him—”
She scowled. “This is because I don’t want to work with Wesley the Wuss? Oh, that’s real fair.”
“It isn’t a matter of ‘fair,’ Buffy,” Giles said, desperate to make her understand. “The Council is not particularly pleased with any of us at this moment. They believe that Wesley has failed in his mission—”
“Like that’s a surprise.”
“Buffy, please!” Giles said, so urgently that she shut up and listened. “The Council believes that he might have succeeded had it not been for what they call my ‘interference.’ They have ordered me to return to England at once.”
“So, tell them no. It’s a simple word, Giles: just one syllable. No!”
“You don’t understand. If I don’t do as they say, they will make certain that my green card is taken away. I will never be able to work in the United States again. By the time the Council is finished with me, I would probably not even be able to visit this country. They would make sure that you and I never even saw each other again.”
The Slayer fell quiet, her eyes widening during his explanation until they were huge. She continued silent for a moment after he finished speaking, and then finally said; “Can they do that?”
“In a heartbeat. The Council has contacts everywhere, Buffy, and many people owe them favors.” Giles took a deep breath. “So you see, it would be better for me to do this voluntarily—”
“Voluntarily! You call it ‘voluntary’ when they’re forcing you to leave me?”
“If I acquiesce to their orders, at least I would be allowed to have contact with you, and perhaps even return here for occasional visits. If I refuse, the end result will be the same, and we would be allowed no further contact of any kind. I’m sorry, Buffy, but those are my only choices.” Giles’ voice was quiet and his face was expressionless, but his eyes were desperately sad.
“What about my choices?”
She walked up to him, drawing so close that she had to lift her head to look into his face. She was smiling, and her eyes were sparkling. “They can’t make you leave if you’re married to an American citizen, right?”
“Rupert Giles, will you marry me?”
To her surprise, he laughed out loud. “Buffy, don’t be ridiculous.”
“Somehow, I don’t think Miss Manners would approve of that answer.”
He sighed. “Buffy, please. This is not a time for your usual teasing.”
“Who’s teasing? I meant it, Giles. And I’m still waiting for an answer. I’m not going down on one knee or anything, though—that’s the guy’s department.”
He stared down at her. “You’re serious.”
“Of course I’m serious. If you’re married to me, then you can stay here. There’s nothing the Council can do about it, is there?”
Giles removed his glasses and began polishing them furiously. “Do you expect me to believe that you want to marry a man who is old enough to be your father?”
“You’re not my father, you’re my mentor. You’re the guy who teaches me, trains me, and keeps me safe. My best friend—although don’t tell Willow that. In other words, you’re my Watcher, and I want to keep you here with me. We can work out the details as we go along. If we’re married, you can stay here.”
His expression was doing something complicated. He finally put his glasses back on and said; “I don’t think you understand. In order to make this a legally binding act, we would truly have to marry. We could not just pretend.”
“Duh, Giles. Are you forgetting I’m the one who just suggested this? And is that your way of saying yes?”
He ignored her question. “Many people try to circumvent immigration laws by doing what you have just proposed, Buffy. We would have to convince the immigration officials—”
“Giles, for God’s sake! What do you need—flowers and chocolates? I want you to stay here. You want to stay here. The only way we can do it is if we’re married to each other. We’ll get married, and then do whatever we have to do after that to convince the immigration people.” She reached up, taking one of his hands in her own and giving it a gentle squeeze as she added, much more softly: “Okay?”
Her Watcher hesitated as he glanced down at their joined hands. Then he smiled suddenly, as he removed his glasses and allowed his gaze to meet hers. “All right.”
“Wow, that’s romantic,” she said, but she was teasing now, smiling up at him. He grinned back down at her, making his face look different—and not just because he wasn’t wearing his glasses. There was a Ripperish look in his eyes that made Buffy’s heart beat a little faster, something that gave her the feeling that this might not be just a marriage of convenience—Giles might really want to do this.
Then he put his glasses back on, turning away from her, his manner thoughtful. “We must plan this,” he said in the dispassionate Watcher-tone that was so familiar to her. Ripper—or whatever she had seen in his eyes—was gone, and she felt a twinge of disappointment. Before she could pursue the feeling, however, Giles continued; “I’m afraid that if you truly wish to follow through on this plan, Buffy, we must decide upon what to do, before the Council perceives our intentions—”
She interrupted him. “Does your car have a full tank?”
He paused, blinking. “Ah—yes.”
“Good. Go home and pack a bag. Come back here in an hour and pick me up—I should be packed by then. We’ll go to Vegas and get married.” She paused, ignoring his stare. “Oh, and wear something nice, okay? *Not* anything tweed. Not jeans, either—although I gotta admit, you do look tasty in them.” Her Watcher’s jaw dropped, but Buffy paid no attention as she went on; “Maybe you can’t wear a tux, and I can’t have a white satin gown, but we can look good in the photo. This is gonna be our wedding day, after all.” Giles was making strangled noises, and she paused. “What?”
“B-Buffy…” He could scarcely believe how matter-of-fact she was about this, as if she had been planning the whole thing for months. “What will your mother say?”
Buffy sighed, then shrugged. “She’s not gonna be thrilled, but she’ll understand. She’ll have to. I asked her to stay away until graduation was well and truly over with, so she won’t be back until tomorrow afternoon sometime. If we leave now, we can go to Las Vegas, get married, and be back in Sunnydale before she gets home.”
Her Watcher frowned. “I don’t like deceiving your mother, Buffy.”
“Do you think I do? Trust me, Giles, this is the way to do this. Mom won’t be doing a happy dance when she finds out, but she’ll accept our being married once it’s over and done with. I don’t think anything is going to shock her more than finding out I was the Slayer, and she accepted that.”
“Reluctantly,” Giles murmured, recalling Joyce’s less-than-enthusiastic reaction to the news. He also remembered that she had blamed him. Doubtless she would do the same if he and Buffy were to marry. He considered that if Joyce blamed him, it might be for the best; she would be less antagonistic toward her daughter.
His Slayer was regarding him impatiently. “Giles, what difference does it make? I’m eighteen now—I can marry without my mother’s permission. The important thing is that the Council won’t be able to do anything about it.” She stepped up to him, once again closing the distance between them. “Now go on home and get packed, or I’m gonna think you don’t really want to do this.” She smiled at him, but her eyes were suddenly a little anxious. “You don’t mind marrying me, do you, Giles?”
“Do I mind—” Giles was struck speechless, gaping down at her once more.
“You’re having another Wes moment, Watcher-mine,” Buffy told him.
Giles snatched his glasses off once more, seized her by the shoulders and pulled her close, pressing his mouth tenderly but eagerly to hers. He kissed her so thoroughly that when they parted she was gasping, and he was grinning down at her in full Ripper-mode.
“Does that answer your question?” he asked, his voice low.
“You don’t kiss like a Watcher,” was all she could think of to say.
“I shall return as soon as I can. Please be ready,” he told her, and was gone. Buffy stood there for a moment, smiling happily, then hurried to pack.
* * * *
“Well, at least everything went okay,” Buffy said.
Giles removed his bag from the trunk of the rental car he had hired in Las Vegas, and shot her a look of disbelief as he closed it with more firmness than necessary. “You call it ‘okay’ that my car broke down so completely I had to abandon it as a lost cause?”
“Hey, I’m sorry that the Gilesmobile didn’t survive the trip, but at least it gave up the ghost while we were still in Vegas, where you could rent a car to get us home. It’s not as if it gave out while we were halfway back to Sunnydale. And you’ve got to admit that the ceremony itself went well.”
“I suppose, although it more strongly resembled a drive-thru at the Doublemeat Palace than a wedding.”
“Hey,” Buffy said, trying for a light tone. “Don’t tell me you’re having second thoughts already?”
“No, Buffy, of course not. It’s just…” He hesitated, then touched her shoulder almost shyly, running his hand very lightly up and down her forearm as he added; “You deserved so much better. You deserved a real wedding.”
Buffy felt her face growing warm. “Well, I’m not sure what I deserve, but I know what I’ve got.” She linked her arm with his. “My Watcher. And he’s here to stay.”
Together, they started up the stairs to Giles’ apartment. They had just reached the top of the staircase when they saw an unknown woman at door of the flat, lifting her hand to the knocker.
“Who’s she?” Buffy demanded, not trying very hard to keep her voice down.
“No idea,” Giles answered, frowning. Raising his voice slightly, he called out in a courteous tone; “May I help you, Madam?”
The woman, a rather short but self-important-looking woman in her late forties, with short, curly brown hair, turned to face them. “Rupert Giles?”
“Yes?” he said inquiringly, as he and Buffy continued to descend the staircase. Buffy released his arm in order to have their hands free if something went down. It was daylight, and her Spidey-sense wasn’t sounding any alarms, but this was still Sunnydale, where anything strange could be a threat.
The woman removed some ID from her purse and flashed it at them quickly before dropping it back in her handbag. “I’m Martha White, from Immigration and Naturalization.”
“I like your muffins,” Buffy quipped. The woman gave her a cold stare. [Oh-oh, no sense of humor. Not looking good.]
“I beg your pardon?”
“How may I help you, Ms. White?” Giles asked quickly.
“We have been informed that there are some discrepancies in your status as a resident alien, Mr. Giles,” the INS official began.
“Discrepancies?” Giles said.
“I’m afraid that if these discrepancies are not explained to our satisfaction, we may have to revoke your green card,” Ms. White continued.
“Wait a minute,” Buffy interrupted before Giles could reply. “All this is moot if he’s married to an American citizen, right?”
Ms. White frowned at what she regarded as Buffy’s presumption. “Well, yes, but we understood that Mr. Giles is not married.”
“Well, he is now,” the Slayer retorted. “He and I were married today, and I’m as American as apple pie.”
“This is quite irregular,” Ms. White said, turning her basilisk stare on both the young American woman and the middle-aged Englishman. “A very sudden marriage, I must say.”
“Most people just say, ‘Congratulations,’” Buffy said pointedly.
“I’ll need some proof of this.”
“Want to see the marriage license?” the Slayer challenged.
“Perhaps we could all go inside, and discuss this over a cup of tea,” Giles suggested, a little desperately.
“Thank you, but no,” Ms. White said, reaching into her purse, withdrawing a small business-sized card and a pen. She wrote swiftly on the card and then handed it to Giles. “Under the circumstances, I think it wise that you explain yourselves to a board of investigators tomorrow morning. The time and location are on the card. Please bring the marriage license, Mrs. Giles’ birth certificate, your green card, and all other relevant information.”
“What’s there to explain?” Buffy said, her voice rising a little. “We’re married.”
“But for how long?” Ms. White countered. “I wasn’t born yesterday, young lady.”
Buffy snorted. “That’s for sure. Ever heard of moisturizing?”
“Buffy, please!” Giles admonished, and then addressed the INS agent. “I assure you, Ms. White, Buffy and I are quite devoted to each other.”
“Maybe,” Ms. White said, in a tone so disbelieving it was insulting. “Until tomorrow, Mr. Giles.” She strode off, leaving the Slayer and the Watcher to exchange apprehensive glances.
* * * *
“I hope this meeting doesn’t last too long,” Buffy said, as Giles parked the rental car in the parking lot of the building where Ms. White had told them to report to defend themselves before the board of investigation. “I haven’t even told Mom about the marriage yet.”
“If this meeting doesn’t go well, you may not have to,” Giles said quietly as they got out of the car. Buffy cast him a sharp glance as she slammed the passenger door shut.
“Don’t talk like that,” she told him. “It’s gonna be fine. You’ll see.”
“Of course,” Giles said, smiling down at his Slayer as he held the door open for her. As she passed him, however, his smile faded, to be replaced by lines of worry. He said nothing of his fears, however, and joined Buffy in the elevator to take them to the fifth floor.
They arrived to find the investigators waiting for them. It was a board of three people, one man and two women, with Ms. White as one of the latter. The other woman was an immaculately-dressed blonde in her thirties, with a bored expression. Between the two women was a man who appeared to be in his mid-fifties, clad in a suit of nondescript gray. His hair and eyes were also gray, and even his skin seemed to have a grayish tinge. He looked as if he regarded smiling as an unpleasant habit which he had steeled himself to break. The three INS investigators were seated behind a long table, and they looked at the newlyweds with no trace of enthusiasm. The man said flatly, “Sit down.”
“Check out see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil,” Buffy muttered under her breath, as she moved to take one of the straight-backed chairs set facing the table.
“Buffy,” Giles reprimanded equally quietly as he took the seat next to her. He smiled at the three INS officials behind the table and said, “Good morning.”
“You have the necessary paperwork?” the man demanded.
“Yes, of course. Right here.” Giles removed the documents from his breast pocket and handed them to the man, who barely glanced at them before handing the papers to the blonde. The man leaned forward slightly.
“Mr. Giles, I am Mr. Ralph Clayburn. This is Ms. Linda Hennessey—” He indicated the blonde—“and Ms. Martha White, whom you’ve already met.”
“A pleasure,” Giles said politely. The blonde woman smiled back. Buffy hoped that was a good sign.
“Frankly, Mr. Giles, after what Ms. White has told us, we don’t believe that your marriage is anything but a sham,” Mr. Clayburn said bluntly.
“Hey, that’s not fair,” Buffy said, outraged. “You had your minds already made up before we ever came here!”
“Are you prepared to answer questions about yourselves and each other?” Ms. Hennessey said, speaking for the first time.
“You bet!” Buffy retorted. “Bring it on, lady!”
Ms. Hennessey raised one eyebrow. “All right. Does your husband wear boxers or briefs?”
“Uh—he usually goes commando.”
“What?” Giles said, not familiar with the term.
“He doesn’t usually wear underwear,” Buffy clarified.
“*What?*” Giles said, louder.
“Does your wife shave her legs, or wax?” Ms. Hennessey pursued.
“I—I don’t believe she does either.”
“So what are you saying, that I’m hairy?” Buffy demanded of her Watcher.
“Really, Buffy, I said no such thing.”
“Is your husband circumcised?” Ms. White interrupted.
“Hey, are you people a bunch of perverts?” Buffy shot back. “Are you going to make Giles drop his pants so you can check my answer? What’s with all the physical-type questions?”
“You call your husband by his last name?” Mr. Clayburn demanded.
Buffy shrugged. “What should I call him? He told me once that ‘Rupert’ was the name of a cartoon bear or something like that back in England.”
Ms. White sniffed in disapproval. “Well, what kind of a name is ‘Buffy’?”
“It is hers, and I think it is quite charming,” Giles said with an edge in his voice.
“Do you call your husband anything else?” Ms. Hennessey asked hurriedly.
“Watcher,” Buffy said without thinking.
“What?” the three investigators said in chorus.
“I mean, it’s just because—he watches. Me. He watches me.” She fidgeted under their stares.
“Doing *what?*” Mr. Clayburn asked.
“Nothing! Let’s move on, okay?”
“What sort of music does your…wife…like to listen to?” Ms. White asked, her lips pursed in obvious distaste.
“Mostly that bloody aerobics,” Giles muttered.
“Here we go again,” Buffy said, rolling her eyes. “It’s not that bad.”
“Cats being strangled sound better.”
“I listen to other things—which you might know, if you ever listened to a group or an artist from after about 1979.”
“I prefer to listen to music that is *music,* thank you.”
“Oh, please! You’re the same way about books. When’s the last time you read something published during the last forty years? And in something other than a dead language?”
“You know, Buffy,” her Watcher replied, nettled, “if you ever read a book at all, I would consider it worthy of a few lines in the local newspaper. Not that you would read it, of course.”
“Hey,” Buffy said, stung. “Just because I like to do things, instead of immersing myself in dusty books—and did you catch that word ‘immersed’? Pretty good vocabulary for someone who supposedly doesn’t read, huh?”
“Please,” Mr. Clayburn said, holding up one hand. Buffy and Giles looked back at him as if they had forgotten he was there. “If we could get back on track, please?”
“What kind of socks does your husband wear?” Ms. White asked.
“Anything that matches tweed,” she retorted.
“I’m surprised you didn’t say that I don’t wear socks,” her Watcher said, still annoyed over her “commando” remark.
“Hey, is it my fault that you’re so fashion-challenged? Look at that tie you’re wearing!”
“What’s wrong with it?” he demanded.
“Come on, Giles. If it were any more conservative, you could be buried in it.”
“Just because I don’t always dress as if I’m going to a carnival at the beach—”
“Are you saying I do?”
“Well, I *have* wondered if there is some sort of fabric shortage in this part of the world. Your clothing barely covers you most of the time.”
“Hey, Mr. I-Never-Expose-My-Skin-To-Daylight, at least I understand that clothes are meant to flatter a body, not conceal it. There’s something psychological about someone who wears that many clothes, especially tweed suits and sweater vests. Giles, this is California!”
“You’d like me to dress like that Elvis impersonator we saw in Las Vegas, would you?”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Just say ‘Vegas,’ Giles, like a normal person, okay?”
“Considering what passes for ‘normal’ in California, I think I shall decline.”
“You certainly nag your husband a great deal, young lady,” Ms. White observed unpleasantly.
The Watcher and the Slayer broke off their conversation, their heads turning as one to face the officious INS agent. “I beg your pardon,” Giles said in a deceptively soft voice. “Are you criticizing my wife, Madam?”
“I’m sure Ms. White didn’t mean—” Mr. Clayburn began hastily.
Giles continued, ignoring the interruption; “You will address her as ‘Mrs. Giles,’ do you understand?”
Buffy couldn’t help smiling as Ms. White visibly flinched. Getting a glimpse of Ripper could be enough to startle anyone. But she couldn’t resist teasing her Watcher; “Hey, how do you know I won’t want to keep my maiden name?”
Giles looked back at her. “When you spring it on me after the fact, I suppose. As you do with everything else. Do you ever listen to me?”
“Hey, that’s not fair!”
“All right, this is enough for me,” Ms. Hennessey said suddenly. “Ralph, I don’t care what your informant told you, these two are married. And they’re in it for the long haul. They bicker and argue like my grandparents, who’ve been married for sixty-three years and still hold hands when they go to the movies.”
Mr. Clayburn nodded. “I agree. Obviously Mr. Travers was mistaken. Only people who are truly familiar with each other can squabble like these two.” He stood up and extended a hand to the startled Watcher. “Congratulations on your marriage, Mr. Giles. You will be allowed to remain in the United States without impediment.”
“Yay, Giles!” Buffy exclaimed, flinging her arms around him and kissing him on the cheek. She was simultaneously pleased and surprised when he returned the kiss with interest, then disengaged himself to shake Mr. Clayburn’s hand. “Thank you,” Giles said. “Did I hear you mention ‘Mr. Travers’?”
“He was the person who informed us that there were discrepancies in your residency status, and urged us to revoke your green card,” Ms. Hennessey said. She glanced at Clayburn again. “Ralph, maybe we should check him out instead.”
The INS man nodded. “I agree, Linda. At the very least, Mr. Travers should be made aware that wasting INS time is not a good idea.”
“Well, I think—” Ms. White began imperiously, and then wilted under the stares of her colleagues. “That you’re right,” she finished weakly. “Mr. Giles may remain in the United States.”
A few minutes later, Buffy and Giles were outside the building, Giles blinking in the sunlight as if slightly dazed. Buffy grinned at him. “Want me to drive?”
“I think not. I’ve lived dangerously enough for one day.” But he smiled at her and offered her his arm. She took it, and together they strolled through the parking lot toward his rental car.
“Say, Giles,” she asked with deceptive innocence, “When do I get to find out the answer to that question they asked us?”
“About whether or not you’re circumcised.”
He kissed her and, to her delighted amazement, spun her around. Their joyous laughter rang throughout the parking lot.
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