TITLE: Vows To Be Kept
AUTHOR: Nikki Harrington
CHARACTER: Rupert Giles
SUMMARY: Giles is in his home in England, sitting by the fire remembering Buffy and the Scoobie gang when he receives news that devastates him.
WORD COUNT: 1,380
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for birggitt : B - By the fire (06/41)
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
ENTRY #11 FROM THE PRIVATE WATCHER'S DIARY OF RUPERT GILES.
It is warm here by the fire; it is comfortable as I sit watching the flames flicker and consume the wood and coal. It is good to be home, it is good to be back in England, back in my own home, sitting on my own sofa, drinking malt whisky from my own glass. And yet in some ways it is also very strange. As I stare into the fire, as I watch the flames lick over the wood, my mind turns as it does so very often to Buffy and her friends; even as I sit in my English home in front of my fire, part of me is back in America.
Thus, on an evening cool enough to enjoy the fire I lit in the late afternoon, I decide it is time I made another entry in my Private Watcher's diary. It has been some time since I last wrote in this diary; it is the place I write about the truth, not the formal reports I make to the Watchers' Council, but what really happens in the life of a slayer and her watcher - well what really happens in the life of Buffy and me.
If this diary is ever found the truth about my slayer, the truth about Buffy and her friends, the truth about Buffy and Angel, the full truth will be known. And if that happens and I am still alive, then I will no longer be a watcher and this time not even Buffy will be able to bring me back into the fold. For I will have broken every watchers' vow; loving my slayer as a daughter is one thing, but allowing my slayer to have friends who know about her calling and allowing those friends to help her, and even worse, allowing a vampire (even one with a soul) to join in the hunt for other vampires would be unforgivable crimes against the Council. It will not matter that Willow, Xander, Angel and the others have helped save the world on more than one occasion; all that will matter is that allowing them to do so is in the eyes of the Watchers' Council an unforgiveable crime.
Although in truth I have not been Buffy's watcher since she gave her life to save her sister and the world and Willow was instrumental in bringing her back to life. I did not know whether to be proud of Willow or angry with her for what she did, for how she brought Buffy back to life. I did not know Willow's magic had become so great, nor had I realised she had touched on dark magic.
Had it been anyone other than Willow I think I would have been more concerned and insisted on her never dabbling again, insisted even on her ceasing to be involved with magic at all. However, Willow is a sensible girl, although really I suppose I should call her a young woman now, not a girl. But as with Buffy, despite what she has seen and done, Willow will always be a girl to me.
Maybe I should have stayed longer in America once Buffy had returned to life; I knew she was struggling and when I learnt where she had been, from where Willow had pulled her, I knew her struggles would be much greater; so much greater. It would have been so very easy for me to have stayed, for me to have taken on the role of father to her and Dawn, for me to have sorted out the financial issues, Dawn's stealing, Buffy adjusting to life as an adult and to life back in a world she had given her life to save.
However, I truly believed that leaving, that making her face up to her responsibilities was the best thing I could do for her. The longer I had remained, the more she would have leant on me, the more I would have done and the less responsibility she would have taken. And yet I did not make the decision to leave lightly; in many ways Buffy was still, is still, so very young. That may sound a strange thing to say about someone who has seen and done do much, but she is so young. My leaving will force her to grow up - at least that is what I told myself.
And it wasn't as if I was leaving her alone; she had Willow and Tara who still lived in her home; she had two other girls - young women - to help her, to support her, to help her look after Dawn, to help keep her safe, to help her take responsibility, to help her grow up. It was better they than I; that is what I told myself a the time and although not a day goes by when I do not question whether what I did was right, I know it was the right thing to do; the only thing I could have done.
And I do not have to worry; she has Willow; Willow whom I believe was born responsible, good, honest and mature. Willow whom despite her delving into darker magic than I believed her capable of to bring Buffy back to life, is a good witch; someone who uses her powers for good and only for good.
The sound of the phone ringing makes me jump and I sigh softly as I get up and leave my place by my nice, warm, soothing fire and go to answer it.
The fire has died down, I let it die down, I didn't feed it and now the room is cold, but even if the fire was still burning the room would be cold. Even now, two hours after I answered the phone, I can hardly believe what I was told.
Willow - good, sweet, honest, Willow has . . . Even now I do not wish to write the words. I would have bet my life against her ever going dark. But she has; Willow has taken a life and not the life of a vampire or demon, but the life of a human being. It is true she believed she had a reason, a good reason; he had killed Tara, but even so. How could she? How could Willow . . .
I have to return to America; I took vows as a watcher; I made silent vows to Buffy to keep her safe; to keep her friends safe - vows I never spoke of to anyone, vows that are well outside of my watcher's vows. I must return to America and save the world from Willow.
Her power is apparently immense, so I shall need help in making my power capable of matching hers. I know exactly what I need to do because I know as soon as she sees me she will attack me, for I am the only person capable of challenging her. I know what I must do, what I will do, is dangerous; it could mean my life - but if it saves the world, if it saves Willow then so be it. I have had a good life; it had Buffy in it, how could it not be good?
My power has to match hers; my power has to be greater than hers; my power has to be good and pure; my power has to save the world and save her. She has to take my power from me; take the goodness, the purity and that really could take my life as well.
In my life I have known light and darkness; good and evil; right and wrong. In my life I have known many people I could predict would turn dark, people I know I may have to fight - but never had I dreamt, not even when she brought Buffy back, that Willow would be one of them.
I vowed to help protect the world. That I shall do, even though the chances are it will cost me my life. Even though my life will be taken not by a vampire or a demon or a slayer turned rogue but by the kindest, most peaceful, most intelligent, sweetest, gentlest girl I have ever know: Willow Rosenberg.