ext_14447: (BtVS: Giles (time?))
ext_14447 ([identity profile] aaronlisa.livejournal.com) wrote in [community profile] summer_of_giles2015-06-09 07:17 pm

FIC: Five Cups of Tea (gen, PG-13/FR13)

Title: Five Cups of Tea
Author: [livejournal.com profile] aaronlisa
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Pairing/Characters: Rupert Giles, with appearances and mentions of other characters.
Rating: FR13
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon and company.
Notes: This fic is set over the course of the first five seasons of the series. The descriptions of tea all come from Wikipedia.
Summary: Giles reflects on his life in Sunnydale over five cups of tea.
Word Count: 2626

1. Orange Pekoe - The tea industry uses the term orange pekoe to describe a basic, medium-grade black tea consisting of many whole tea leaves of a specific size, however it is popular in some regions (such as North America) to use the term as a description of any generic black tea.

Rupert Giles looks around the library with a smile on his lips as he takes in his first day on the job at the Sunnydale High School library. Although he will always be a Watcher first, he's quite proud of the fact that he got this job on his own merits. He takes a sip of the cup tea that he had prepared in the staff lounge only to grimace at the taste of it. The tea itself tastes stale and flat.

As he sets the paper cup down on the counter, he's quite certain it's the worse cup of tea that's he ever had. That's including some of the tea that Ethan used to make after a night of carousing. Giles smiles for a moment until he realizes how completely inappropriate it is to think about Ethan. They're certainly not friends anymore since Giles has decided to work with the Council. In fact that decision has made them enemies since he can't picture his old friend giving up their bad habits. Ethan was always into the supernatural a little more deeply. It wasn't a lark for Ethan like it had been for Giles all those years ago.

Giles pick up the cup of horrid-tasting tea with the intention of dumping it in the bathroom that's just down the hall. He'll have to pick up some proper tea from the supermarket and bring it in tomorrow. But before he can leave the library a girl with bright red hair saunters into the library with a bright smile on his face. He can't help but nod and smile at her as she apparently breathes in the scent of the library. Despite what Principal Flutie had told him, Giles can't believe that all of the students at the school would want to avoid the library.

"Good morning," Giles says.

The girl looks at him and blushes.

"Hello, I had heard that there was a new librarian and I just wanted to see what changes you had made, the former librarian Mrs. Stewart really hadn't really changed the collection since the 1970s. It's nice to see that things look better and newer."

She walks over to a shelf that's full of a collection of demonology and for a moment Giles panics. Maybe putting the archaic texts right up front wasn't the best idea. However as the girl reads the titles, she doesn't seem to panic.

"I'd heard from the ladies in the front office that you had worked at the British Museum prior to coming here. Is that true? Although I can't see why someone who worked there would want to come here and all, I mean what does Sunnydale have to offer? Although looking at these books, I can see that perhaps you've expanded on some of Mrs. Stewart's more esoteric books. Anyhow I should be going, I have class to get it."

The girl smiles at him before rushing out of the library and Giles isn't sure if he should be confused or not. He had come across some rather odd books, mostly books from the late 1970s and early 1980s dealing with satanic cults, the occult and whether or not vampires were real. Nothing that was truly academic. Oh well, if the students were like the girl that just left, maybe they'll think nothing of the newer titles that he's added to the stacks.

2. Earl Grey Tea - Traditionally, the term "Earl Grey" has applied only to black teas that contain oil of bergamot as a flavouring.

The smell of musty old books and a cup of Earl Grey tea makes him feel like he's back in his grandmother's house during the summer when his parents were off at some retreat or another. For once, he's not worried about his Slayer or her friends. There are no terrible portents in any of his volumes of prophecy scheduled for today. Although if he's honest with himself, he's certain that with the exception of perhaps Willow, they all think differently. It is after all the first day of school after summer break.

When Willow enters the library looking worried Giles set down his cup of tea.

"Good morning Willow," Giles greets her brightly.

"Have you spoken to Buffy at all?"

Giles frowns at Willow's tone. "No, is everything all right?"

Willow looks away from him and looks at her computer.

"It's nothing, I am sure it's nothing," Willow says. "She must have been tired."

"Willow, if there's something wrong, you must tell me," Giles tells her.

Willow shakes her head. "Xander and I ran into Buffy last night and she just seemed off, I am sure it's nothing. She's been quite busy in LA with her Dad and all, I am sure she was just tired."

Before he can stop her, Willow rushes out of the library looking guilty and Giles sighs as he picks up his cup of tea. Although he had been enjoying it earlier, he can't recapture the feeling again. He's certain that Willow is correct in her assumption that nothing is wrong, he can't help but worry about his Slayer. Buffy's been an active Slayer for about two years now.

Even if she had a supernatural free summer vacation, which Giles doubts that she had, Buffy is at that stage where most Slayers start to become either arrogant in their abilities or they start to become tired. Most Slayers don't make it past the second year of slaying. He takes a sip of his now cold tea and it tastes bitter in his mouth. He must watch Buffy carefully for any signs that she's self destructing or that she's become over-confident.

3. Jasmine Tea - Typically, jasmine tea has green tea as the tea base, however, white tea and black tea are also used. The resulting flavour of jasmine tea is subtly sweet and highly fragrant. It is the most famous scented tea in China.

After he has ensured that Buffy and her friends are all safe and sound after they had defeated the Mayor, Giles decides to make himself a cup of tea. It seems rather clich├ęd but he has just had a hand in blowing up his former work place. Despite the fact that he doesn't actually need to work, he quite enjoyed his job as a high school librarian. Now he's unemployed and it feels rather odd.

As he inhales the fragrant scent of the tea that he had picked up on a trip to San Francisco with Jenny, Giles sinks down onto the sofa. He realizes that he can think about Jenny without it hurting quite as badly. Her absence is no longer an open wound. It hurts but he doesn't feel like he is being consumed by the pain. For a moment, he thinks about what she would have made of this academic year. Another Slayer, another Watcher and an evil Mayor with plans to ascend. No doubt she would have laughed it all off with him when they had won as being a rather absurd year.

There is a knock at his door and Giles opens it with a smile. That quickly fades away when he sees Angel on his door step. He was wrong about that pain when it comes to Jenny being dull because suddenly he can't breath and everything just hurts.

Angel acts as if nothing is wrong even if they both know that as a vampire, he can sense the minute changes in Giles' demeanour.

"I just wanted to tell you that I am leaving Sunnydale. I thought that it'd be for the best," Angel quietly says.

"I was aware of your plans to leave," Giles tells him.

"I am worried about Buffy," Angel says. "She's taking this rather calmly but she does hide her feelings quite a bit."

"I will keep an eye on her," Giles says.

They stand there silent for a moment. There's nothing left to say but there's so much unspoken between them. Finally Angel nods at him and then leaves. Giles shuts his door and makes his way to bed suddenly tired. His tea sits forgotten on the table as he dreams of happier times with Jenny.

4. Camomile Tea - Camomile is the common name for several daisy-like plants of the family Asteraceae that are commonly used to make [a] herb infusion to serve various medicinal purposes.

He is sitting at his desk, trying to figure out how to write about the last few days worth of events in his diary. He might not officially be Buffy's Watcher anymore but his grandmother had drilled him into the importance of proper documentation for future Watchers. However, he's not quite sure if he wants to write about the ritual that allowed them to defeat Adam or the shared dream that the four of them had. By allowing Buffy to have friends and by allowing them to participate in her life to the degree that he has, Giles has broken several rules that the Council has.

He sighs as he cradles his head in his hands. How can he explain what has happened? If his diaries fall into the wrong hands right now, they could cause the Council to send their black ops team after the lot of them.

A knock at his door, interrupts him and Giles shoves his diary into the desk drawer. Maybe a week or a month from now and he'll be able to explain what has happened in sanitized terms that make it appear that the ritual was merely a way for Buffy to use the strengths of her two close friends and her Watcher to enable her to fight Adam.

He smiles at Willow when she greets him. She looks jittery and nervous when he invites her into his apartment although he's not sure why since she's been here so many times before, both with the others and on her own.

"How can I help you Willow?"

"I can't sleep, I still feel so charged up from that ritual and those dreams."

He decides to make them both a cup of tea when she tells him that she is all by herself since Tara is away for the weekend and her parents gone for the month. They talk briefly about everything but the events of the last few days until Giles passes her a cup of Camomile tea that he has put honey and lemon in. She smiles as she breathes in the scent of the tea,

"I shouldn't really be drinking this, it always makes me sleepy."

"It's fine if you spend the night Willow, it'll allow me to get the details of your dream down accurately if I can ask you questions while I am writing about it."

"Are you going to include it in the diaries for the Council?"

"No, they are for my own personal diaries."

She doesn't question him why he'd withhold information from the Council and Giles appreciates it. Out of all of them, he thinks that Willow understands the politics of the Council and their academic pettiness far more than Xander or Buffy do.

They fall into silence as they drink their tea and when she sets the cup on the coffee table, Giles fetches bedding for the sofa for her. He knows that he should start looking into some sort of tutor for Willow when it comes to her magic sooner than later. But something always seems to come up that seems far more urgent. Tomorrow, he will call his contacts to see what he can arrange for her.

5. Irish Breakfast Tea - Many tea producers make Irish breakfast tea blends specifically for the United States Market. Because of its strength, Irish breakfast tea is commonly served with milk but may also be consumed plain or with sugar.

Spike hands him a cup of tea and Giles raises an eyebrow at the fact that there's milk in it. The bleached-blond vampire just shrugs at him and Giles takes a sip. Spike has made a strong tea and then poured milk, sugar and whisky into it to disguise the overly bitter flavour of it.

"Joyce used to buy it for me," Spike says. "It was better than the other tea that she bought. That woman could make an excellent cup of hot chocolate but couldn't make a decent cuppa."

Giles nods at him as Willow enters the room. Spike hands her his cup of tea and she drinks from the cup gratefully. She looks tired as she sits down on the sofa across from him.

"Dawn's asleep. Tara's gonna stay with her tonight."

"Good," Spike says as he leaves the room.

Neither Giles nor Willow say anything as the vampire makes his way up the stairs. What is there left to say? Buffy is dead and they are left to pick up the pieces. They have to somehow protect Dawn from monsters and Social Services. And Giles isn't quite sure how they are going to do that. He might have viewed himself as a surrogate father for Buffy and by extension Dawn but he has no idea of how to take care of a teenage girl.

"I think that I can fix the Buffybot," Willow says quietly. "And maybe until we can figure things out, we can fool everyone who needs to be fooled."

"Perhaps, we should contact her father?" Giles says.

"When Joyce died, Buffy tried to call her dad but he couldn't be reached. I doubt he'll come running now that Dawnie has no one."

Giles takes a sip of his tea, grateful for the additions that Spike has put in it. The whisky is making him feel warm.

"We don't need to make any decisions tonight," Giles says.

"I know but I feel like if we don't do something, I will fall apart. She's gone and there's nothing we can do," Willow says. "We should have been able to save her but we failed her,'

"We didn't fail her, she died but she died on her own terms. She saved her sister and the world."

Willow nods as she curls up on the sofa, turning her back to Giles. He wants to go and comfort her but he can't seem to move. He can't seem to find the energy to make his way over to her and ease her tears. Buffy is gone and he's failed her as a Watcher despite what he's just told Willow.

He can remember the first time that she entered his library and how he was so enthused about everything and how she had looked up at him in horror. All she had ever wanted was to be a normal girl. But she gave everything that she had and now she's gone and he's left. He's broken and he has no idea on how to piece himself back together, all of the tea in the world isn't going to fix a damned thing, and he has to somehow make himself whole because there's a house of broken children that he needs to somehow repair.

Giles' not sure how he's going to manage that, even if he knows that Buffy would want him to help the others grieve and then heal from her death. He thinks about how strong she believed him to be and he sets his cup of tea down as he makes his way over to Willow. He has to be the Watcher, the man, that Buffy believed him to be.


katekat: (giles - gentleman of leasure)

[personal profile] katekat 2015-06-10 02:59 am (UTC)(link)
Poor dear Giles. So many cups of tea that somehow ended a little soured and a little bitter-er for the consumption of them. This was truly lovely fic though - moving and gentle even though you didn't shy away from the most difficult moments. Thank you!
usedtobeljs: (Bulletproofkink by Deb)

[personal profile] usedtobeljs 2015-06-10 10:09 am (UTC)(link)
Neat idea, and I really like the chamomile section! :)
il_mio_capitano: (twa)

[personal profile] il_mio_capitano 2015-06-10 07:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh this is just fabulous. I love them all.

[identity profile] protoneoromanic.livejournal.com 2015-06-10 10:31 pm (UTC)(link)
Wow, the ending especially is really touching. Poor Giles.

[identity profile] bordosnoopy.livejournal.com 2015-06-11 11:29 am (UTC)(link)
Poor, poor Giles! Loved all the moments from each seasons and his lovely friendship with Willow!

[identity profile] xspike4evax.livejournal.com 2015-06-12 05:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Such an interesting idea! Nice work.

[identity profile] gilescandy.livejournal.com 2015-06-13 08:45 am (UTC)(link)
Very nice. Love the idea and all the moments you chose. And, of course, all of his little moments with Willow. Poor Giles. Too many sad and worried times.
double_dutchess: (Giles + tea)

[personal profile] double_dutchess 2015-06-15 12:12 am (UTC)(link)
Neat! Giles and tea are two of my favourite things, and you combined them wonderfully in these vignettes.

[identity profile] sparrow2000.livejournal.com 2015-06-15 08:35 am (UTC)(link)
Very nicely done. Giles and tea metaphors are favourite things and these are excellent.