usedtobeljs: (Giles anya partners by kathyh)
usedtobeljs ([personal profile] usedtobeljs) wrote in [community profile] summer_of_giles2017-06-24 07:30 am

FIC: Get Happy, T, Giles/Anya

TITLE: Get Happy
PAIRING: Giles/Anya
LENGTH: 2100 words
SUMMARY: Diverging from canon after Season Six "Flooded," crossing over with Angel.
Giles and Anya, in L.A. on their first weekend together, meet a certain anagogic demon. Sing hallelujah.

“Bye, Giles! Bye, Anya! Bye, Giles and Anya!” Dawn says far too brightly. It’s profoundly suspicious.

True, the Scoobies – currently investigating the box of muffins Giles has provided as a distraction – are mostly ignorant of Dawn’s meaning. Only Tara looks up, eyes widening in recognition –

“We can trust Tara,” Anya says, tugging on Giles’s jacket to hurry him out the backdoor of the Magic Box. Amazingly she says it in what for her passes as sotto voce, which he finds endearing. “Now come on.”

“But can we trust Dawn not to, er, crack?” he says, even while allowing himself to be taken out the door, which slams shut behind them.

“Yes. Money’s involved,” Anya says matter-of-factly. “And threats. Money and threats are as good as vengeance.”

He laughs, brings his hand up to cup her nape, and kisses her. Not deeply, not like he intends to later, but just… because he wants to. Because here he can.

It’s too soon since her breaking up with Xander to go public, Willow’s hubris is still worrying him and thus she’s not a person for confidences, and Buffy’s still too fragile after…everything… for more changes in her world. Dawn, however, had skipped school the other afternoon and found Giles and Anya in each other’s arms in the storeroom (luckily still clothed and not completely out of their minds, not like their first time after a stirring argument over the provenance of a shipment of mandrake roots). Giles is still baffled that until she’d kissed him he hadn’t seen the real reason Anya had been able to wind him up for months, but then, as she has since explained, he’s a little blind that way.

He’s seeing clearly now, though. He sees her mad, brilliant, commonsense, terrifying, beautiful self, sees the kindness and vulnerability and regrets at her heart, sees her looking back at him. And now it’s time to show her what he sees.

And, well, there really is a convention of magic-shop owners in Los Angeles, and so the proprietors of the Magic Box have a bloody good cover story for their first weekend away. (Even if he’s signed papers and Anya’s the manager in charge, which she never tires of reminding him.)

Anya takes his hand and then, as if she can’t help herself, twirls around, still in his grasp. Her hair, currently auburn, catches the light as she spins. “Let’s go, partner!” she says.

“Indeed,” he says, but first he pushes her against his hired BMW and kisses her again.

The drive to Los Angeles seems short, for once. They find their upscale hotel on Sunset Boulevard, they check in, they stay in for several hours. (Anya, as she stepped out of her heels as they crossed the threshold, had perused the conference schedule and said “Nothing good until tomorrow morning. Budgeting for inflation caused by arcane markets!” and he had groaned at the very idea, and she had chastised him for past bookkeeping sins, and then they’d fought it out in bed. Twice. And once in the shower. He actually can’t believe his own refractory period, but she inspires him.)

But now it’s getting dark, and Anya has packed a really becoming…frock? He doesn’t exactly know the term. The stilettos, on the other hand, he knows and approves.

She’s worth taking out for a proper drink.

So Giles dresses himself in the best suit he’s got, checks his wallet (he’s still reeling a bit from paying for Buffy’s plumbing), and leads Anya up to the hotel bar outside on the roof.

The autumn night is cooling fast, and here on the edge of the Hollywood Hills, the lights spread out around them in a pattern of lines and curves. The bartender makes their drinks – they’re both drinking Scotch and soda, although hers is considerably weaker than his – and they wander to a table near the edge. He seats her, and then pulls up a chair so that their shoulders touch and they can gaze out at the city below.

He sips. He enjoys her hand resting on his thigh. And for the first time since that horrible night Buffy had jumped, he actually feels all of his worries dissolve into the lines and curves of the world–

“Honey,” Anya whispers. “There’s a demon over there in the corner, drinking alone.”

He doesn’t turn to look. “Does the demon appear threatening?”

She inspects, almost surreptitiously. “Nope. Tall, green, little red horns on his head, loud suit, but I’m not getting bad vibes.”

“Then I don’t bloody care.” He picks up her hand and kisses her wrist, then entwines their fingers. “Anyway, even if there’s a demon problem, it’s not our Hellmouth. I’d just ring Wesley or that pillock Angel and have them take care of it.”

“You have your priorities exactly in order,” she murmurs, and leans over to kiss him – and then stops. “But apparently you spoke too loudly, ‘cause the demon’s coming over.”

“Sodding hell,” Giles says under his breath. Then he does turn, and blinks. He thinks of one of Wesley’s infrequent letters, and, er – “Pardon. Are you Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan?”

“Sweet Georgia Brown, my man, you’re another English boy with the knowledge,” Krevlornswath says. Without asking, he pulls up a chair and joins their table. “Do I know you?”

Giles clears his throat – the Host, as their guest has been called, is rather impressive up close. But yes, only good vibes. “I’m Rupert Giles. I used to work with Wesley Wyndam-Price in Sunnydale, he’s mentioned you. And this is my partner Anya Jenkins.”

“Enchanted. Not literally,” the Host says, and twinkles at them. “Partner partners?”

“Getting there, and boy, it’s nice to say that out loud.” Anya beams, and then shakes his hand briskly.

The Host holds onto her hand and covers it with his other hand (once he puts down the Cosmopolitan he’s brought with him). “Oh, sword-girl, you’re a bright and shining blade in the world.”

“Not anymore,” Anya says, a little uneasily, and tries to take back her hand.

The Host holds on still. “Call me Lorne. And when I say you’re a blade, I mean it in the most righteous way. You’ve turned yourself right around, haven’t you, sweet ferocity.” He twinkles. “Not that I’m one to judge.”

“Are you not?” Giles says quietly. He’s remembered more now about their guest. “Why else would you call your place Caritas?”

A ripple of sorrow crosses that kind, green face. “My club’s lost for the moment. I’m wandering around town, searching for a new place, but…but I have old mercy to spare, if you’ll sing for me.”

“Oh, Rupert has a very fine singing voice,” Anya says, and he can almost feel her pride in him. It’s unbelievably gratifying. “You should definitely give him a listen.”

“And what about you, lovely?” Lorne says.

“Oh, I hum in the shower. And when cashing out the register at the end of a good day at our shop the Magic Box. But Rupert’s the real talent here.”

“Is that so?” Lorne says, and red eyes gleam in the dark. “What do you say, Rupert?”

Giles considers the moment. It’s quiet now, all other patrons seeming to have drifted to the other side of the bar. Wind is curling sweetly through the potted palms. Lights below are stronger now, as the sky goes indigo. Anya is a warm presence beside him.

And without actually meaning to, he begins to sing – an old song his parents used to dance to on the terrace of their home in Devon, on long July English nights that felt very much like this California autumn. “’Sing hallelujah, come on, get happy, the Lord’s waiting to take your hand. Sing hallelujah, come on, get happy, we’re going to the Promised Land.’”

But he stops abruptly at the shimmer of tears in Lorne’s eyes. “Er, sorry, sorry – are you all right?”

Lorne waves an imperious green hand. “No reading until it’s all done. Now you, sword-girl.”

“I don’t know any songs. Any songs from nowadays,” Anya says. She’s shaken, Giles isn’t quite sure why.

So he says to her, for her, “What were we singing in the car on the way here?”

“Oh!” The reminder makes her smile. “The Beatles. Sing with me, honey.” But she starts near the end, not the beginning, “Here comes the sun, and I say—‘”

“’It’s all right,’” they finish together, and Giles hums the instrumental close.

Lorne claps his hands together, once, a sharp sound, and it’s as if a spell has fallen away. “In the sainted names of McCartney and Lennon, children, what a narrow escape!”

“A narrow escape?” Giles repeats, and Anya says urgently, “From what?”

“From disaster! From disaster upon disasters! Worse than Ishtar!” Lorne pulls a gaudy handkerchief from the depths of his suit and wipes his brow. “How close you two came to not finding each other, it just doesn’t bear thinking about.”

Silence, there on the rooftop, and the wind picks up. Giles shivers without knowing why.

Lorne reaches out and collects Giles’ and Anya’s free hands. He is utterly serious now. “You, Giles, were lost on the other side of the river. Lost in guilt and grief and duties you couldn’t fulfill. You, Anya, you were trapped in an idea of yourself you had long outgrown. And if you two had drowned, oh my, children…” He pauses. “Oh, Hellmouths and Slayers and nerd-boys, oh my!”

“What?” Giles and Anya say together.

“Old storylines, my babies. The breakdown in the writers’ room has been averted, praise be to Judy Garland and her demon minions.” Lorne lets go, and blows two kisses at them. “And you inspire me to go back and figure out my own path. I’ve been as lost as you, Rupert Giles, but… I feel so much better. And you two lovebirds should too.”

Anya –who hasn’t his information, he belatedly remembers – says sharply, “Wait. Wait wait wait, can you read the future?”

Lorne laughs, oddly merry in the dark. “Sometimes. Read the future, read the futures that never are.” Then he sobers. ”But there are stories upon stories out there, and backstories you don’t know. After you rest here, you’ll have to go back to that Hellmouth of yours and figure it all out.”

Giles thinks of all those undercurrents with the Scoobies – Buffy so closed off yet seemingly open with that git Spike, Xander happy to be free now but adrift, Willow so resistant to his words and so protective of her new powers, Dawn needing something he can’t quite define. He thinks of the Council, and their demands that he return to England. Yes, there’s work to be done now that he’s eased, patterns and curves of meaning to be read. “Thank you, Lorne,” he says, and he means it.

“My pleasure. It’s good to work again,” Lorne says, merriment gone, sadness washing in.

Anya – for whom work is a panacea at all times – reaches out and takes Lorne’s hand. “I hear you,” she says. “I guess your place got destroyed, since you’re here on a Friday night instead of at your club. No insurance? If you need investors to rebuild, I have a few dollars in a money-market account to pitch in.”

“Little sweetheart, you are a love to think of it. But the Host has his own ways.” Lorne smiles, picks up her hand, and lightly kisses it. Then, as he lets go, he sings her own phrase, warm and sweet, “’It’s all right’” and hums the instrumental close.

“Okay. But in case, I can give you one of our business cards,” she says.

“I can find you,” he says to her. And to Giles, “Should I give your regards to Broadway? Remember you to Herald Square? The Sunnydale refugees, that is.”

“My best to Cordelia and Wesley,” Giles says. The name he’s deliberately omitted is clear in its absence.

The Host raises an eyebrow, then shrugs. “As you wish, Watcher, Shopkeeper, Baritone. But don’t let old grudges blind you to the changes in those around you, even in the undead.”

For an odd moment Giles hears the crackle of flames – not from Lorne, but in a space and time not yet here. It’s disorienting, and in managing that flash of dizziness he misses Lorne getting to his feet.

It’s not until Lorne bends down and kisses his forehead that Giles comes back to himself. The touch feels like… mercy indeed.

Lorne repeats the action with Anya, and then straightens. “Sing hallelujah, children. And thank you.”

“Can’t we buy you a drink?” Anya says.

“No, sweet sword of mine. You two build your connection a little more. The Dale of Sunny is going to need it.” And with that he picks up his drink and all but shimmers away toward the lifts that mark the exit.

And then the distant city noises rush back, and the lights spread around them spark, and that odd little moment out of time fades away.

With an indistinct sound Anya deserts her chair in favor of Giles’s lap. He is utterly willing to accommodate her, and his hands slide over the silk of her gown and clasp across her waist. She covers his hands with hers, sinks back against him.

“So that was weird,” she says.

He kisses her on her ear. “But comforting, I think.”

“Yes,” she says. “Except for the threat in his final words. ‘The Dale of Sunny is going to need it’?”

“We’ll worry about it tomorrow,” he says.

“Not tomorrow. We have to learn about arcane inflation—“

“Stop it,” he murmurs, “we’ve done that fight.”

“Okay.” She laughs a little, and cuddles in, her fingers caressing his. “Okay. Get happy.”

“I’m getting there,” he says.

And despite portents and strange encounters and old guilt, despite unanswered questions, he is. He’ll take this moment with Anya, while the night deepens and the lights spread around them in lines and curves.

An odd musical phrase comes to him, maybe from Lorne’s magic, from storylines cut off. “Wish I could stay,” he sings under his breath.

“Don’t wish. Just do it.” Anya’s words are sharp and comforting.

“Think I will,” Giles says, and lets the magic work.