Willow pushed open the library doors, alarm making her hurry as she heard Giles’ voice, raised in anger, tart with disapproval. She saw him at once, hands flat against the table, as though he didn’t trust himself if they were free to strike, face flushed with irritation. The student cowering before him was a stranger to Willow; short and scruffy looking, wide eyes and wider mouth. He might have been trying to speak but the icy blast of Giles’ rage was shrivelling each word on its stem.
Willow hurried over and then gasped as Giles reached out, grabbed an axe, wickedly sharp, and swept it up. The shaft met his other hand and he let the momentum do his work for him. The thud and bounce that followed were bright red spots against a white still calm.
“G-Giles!” Willow swallowed and, to her everlasting shame, took a step backward as Giles turned to look at her. “I don’t think you’re supposed to kill the –oh!” On the floor, the body of the student was turning to a dark, viscous goop that shrank and disappeared in moments. “Oh,” she said again, this time with relief. “One of those students, huh?”
“Just doing my job, Willow,” Giles said, with a satisfied nod of his head.
“Isn’t it more Buffy’s job to slay?” Willow said, going over to Giles and edging past the spot where the demon had dissolved.
“Hmm? Oh, that. I suppose so. But I do hold two positions here, Willow and although my duties as Watcher must always take precedence, I do have a certain responsibility.”
“To Principal Snyder? I mean, the School board?”
Giles raised his eyebrows and Willow shrank slightly. Giles giving her that look right after all the yelling and the swinging... it was making her feel a little squirmy. “The books, Willow!”
“Oh, the books! Yes, of course. I mean, they need someone who cares, right?” She beamed at him, relieved to have her favourite librarian back in the land of the sane. “So why were you yelling at him? Why didn’t you just –” She dragged a finger across her throat and pulled a face but Giles only gave her an abstracted smile.
“Oh, it wasn’t until after you walked in that I realised what he was. His eyes began to glow purple and I spotted the emergence of a third eye. Common reactions in a Skinforth demon when under stress, and they tend to be vicious little buggers so it was really most fortuitous that I uncovered him without too much damage being done.”
“Really? ‘Cause, not being critical, especially as you’re still holding that axe, but you looked homicidal the whole time. And what damage? Did he kill someone already? Oh, God, was it someone we know?”
Giles nodded, his face solemn. Taking Willow’s hand, he drew her over to the returns desk and silently showed her the victim. Coffee rings. Folded down corners. A loose page shoved back in upside down...
Willow stalked over to the carpet, spat on it in a largely symbolic way and ground her heel into the spot where the head had come to rest.
“Thank you, Willow,” said Giles, placing the axe down. “And I’m sure Miss Austen would have approved. Well, perhaps not the spitting ...” Willow turned to glare at him and he changed his mind. “Totally approved.”
Return to Home