A/N: This is a one-shot ficlet, post-Tabula Rasa though still in Sunnydale. Giles POV.
There are truths Giles will never admit aloud.
He writes precisely four thousand words each day, omitting no detail of the life of the Slayer. She lives her life over twice; first in her own mind and then once more, in his. Of his role as her Watcher, he crafts each memory with sharp strokes, black ink wet on thick white paper he bought for the feel of it, starched softness against his fingers. He leaves out nothing.
But the bones of his left hand ache in constant pulses timed to the beat of his heart. Awakening from a nightmare, he sits in the dark and sees only the flash of Angelus’ eyes as he holds his fingers up to catch the moonlight. Finding himself whole, though not unharmed, he is sufficiently calmed to lie in bed but never brave enough to sleep.
Once, he knew why the eyes haunted him. Now he has only a record of words on paper. One day’s worth; four thousand words. He once knew many things he has since lost.
He knew the scent his mother wore to church, knew the name of the stuffed teddy bear he’d found buried deeply inside his closet after cleaning the Magic Box floor of bunny droppings left from Anya’s foolish conjurations. Searching past yards of tweed and corduroy, he came across a box labeled only “Home”. Inside, along with the bear, lay an ancient oak rosary atop an even older book which bore a telling title: Family Giles.
From the rosary, he recalled the sharp aroma of lavender oil on his mother’s hands. From the book, he learned his history, and that of the generations of Watchers who came before, all bearing the name he knew only from his MasterCard and from the papers declaring him part-owner of a shop he felt no claim towards.
He knows he should know these things and feels with unerring clarity that he must never admit to this shortcoming, this… this failure of his greatest Watcher-weapon.
His Slayer dances past him. Training, she calls it, and he flips back through thousands of pages, through seven years of entries, to learn what she believes he knows as well as the back of his hand. His hand he still knows, somehow. Each wiry hair, ten knuckles spreading wider with every passing year. The bolts of quartz-colored scars whose paths he compares to the sketch he’d made and forgotten while Buffy was in L.A. and he was alone. The same scars, and so he knows who, and what, did this to him. Each clinical line of the journal entry: “The vampire then fractured the first and second metacarpal” when he knew by the smudged ink that whatever he’d felt that night had been far from detached.
It is the past, meaningless, unworthy of his energy now, with so much else left to be done. It matters only because he must have been the sort of man to value history and now he cannot.
In his pocket, he keeps the airline ticket, his one-way pass to the London, long expired.
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