Chapter 2: Oh! Dear Lord
Giles blinked in confusion. ‘Where, the devil, am I?' he thought as he glanced around. The more he saw the more confused he became. He assumed he was dreaming when he realised he was in an unfamiliar bedroom, he felt like he had slipped into an episode of ‘Upstairs, Downstairs' and Gordon Jackson would make his entrance at any moment.
The ex-librarian called on the wealth of knowledge his experience as the curator for the London Museum had garnered him. The room he was in appeared to be a perfectly replicated late 19th century sleeping chamber. Even the material of the curtains and bedspread were in keeping with the fabrics of the time. He marvelled at the exquisitely preserved examples; they were the best he had ever seen.
Giles looked down at himself and was surprised to find he was dressed in a nightshirt, typical of the period.
He pinched himself.
An illusive scent attracted his attention. He sighed deeply when he realised what it was that he could smell. ‘Magic! Oh, Willow, what have you done?'
As he pondered his options, the door to ‘his' bedroom opened quietly and a well dressed female entered, moving directly towards the closed curtains.
Giles felt his heart speed up as her beauty captivated him. She was glorious. Her light brown hair was flecked with natural golden highlights. She seemed petite even in the bulky garments of the day. Her rosy cheeks indicated good health as much as her high cheekbones and delicate bone structure spoke of good breeding.
After she opened the curtains, allowing the day's light to brighten the room, she turned towards him, seeming to start fractionally upon the realisation that he was alert to her presence.
Her vibrant blue eyes locked with his. She studied him for a moment before slightly tilting her head to the side. "Husband, are you well?" Her voice was tunefully gentle.
Giles frowned in consternation. "I beg your pardon?"
"I asked if you were well, Husband," she offered, unconcerned.
"Madam, who exactly is it that you think that I am?"
"Henry Arthur Giles Kingston, my husband; who do you think you are?" she asked with, not a little, amusement, her eyes twinkling merrily."
"Rupert Giles, madam. A bachelor," he responded automatically.
"Well, in that case, sir, it would be unseemly were I to remain, shall I call your man to you?" She seemed completely unperturbed by the entire situation.
At his cautious nod, she tossed him an amused smile as she moved towards the door. "Until we decide which of us is wrong, perhaps you should call me Mrs Kingston. I will await you in the morning room so that we may investigate this extraordinary anomaly."
With a light-hearted wave the vision was gone from his sight, out the door she had entered such a short time before.
"Oh! Dear Lord," Giles muttered, befuddled.
Xander glanced towards Tara as Buffy and Spike moved Giles to the training room, his mind racing with hitherto unknown agility. As the two blonds re-entered the shop proper, the carpenter faced the girl who might be able to answer the question that had been bothering him. "Tara?"
The white Wiccan turned her attention to Xander, smiling softly, subtly encouraging him to speak his mind.
"You read auras, right?"
Tara gave a quick nod as she softly affirmed his question and her gaze turned quizzical, wondering in what direction his thoughts were leading him.
"Why are you only seeing Spike's soul now? I mean, he's had it for a while, so you should have seen it before now, shouldn't you?"
"I...I don't know," she stuttered slightly, turning her questioning gaze towards the blond in question.
"'S not her fault," Spike muttered a little belligerently, clearly uncomfortable with the subject. "I asked the watcher to mask it; didn't want anyone ta know."
"Well the only way to cancel a spell that Giles placed, would be for another spell, by a more powerful spell-caster to take precedence," Anya stated with certainty. "But you shouldn't worry about it, Spike, we can always replace it now that we know about it," she concluded, completely missing the point of the spell in the first place.
Spike gazed flatly at the ex-vengeance demon and deadpanned his reply as he rolled his eyes. "Right, I'll just close up that pesky bag and forget all about the cat that was in it."
Buffy snickered softly as Xander took back control of the conversation. "Point being, folks, we have an unknown spell floating around and an unconscious watcher. What do we do?"
Tara's eyes quickly flitted from the doorway of the training room to Willow before focusing on the group as a whole. "We wait," she replied firmly. "There are too many unknowns."
The group glanced at each other uneasily. They couldn't argue with her; they knew she was right, but waiting was something that none of them had ever learned to do.
Waiting totally sucked.
Giles cautiously made his way into the Morning Room, as directed by ‘his' manservant. The woman he had briefly conversed with earlier sat patiently on the midnight blue couch waiting for him. The Watcher quickly scanned the room, silently marvelling at the newness of the room furnishings; even as head of the London Museum, he had never dreamed that he would, one day, see such a collection of ‘antiques' in pristine condition.
As Anne watched and waited for the man she thought of as her husband to acknowledge her, she silently mused at his apparent good health. It had been so long since he had been able to walk around on his own. The doctor's had all agreed that his condition was in its final stages and that he had not long for this world. However, the man that stood in her parlour seemed to completely belie that premise; his upright and proud statue displayed the fine figure of a man that she had married. The only problem seemed to be his apparently addled mind.
Her earlier amusement had quickly been replaced with a plethora of other emotions; anger and confusion not the very least of all that she felt. She inwardly huffed with indignation at his denial of their relationship, granted they had married out of familial obligation rather than the love she had fanaticised about as a child, but that, in no way, mitigated the honest respect with which they had always treated each other. To deny her place in his life was an affront to her societal position on so many levels that she was in danger of momentarily forgetting her upbringing and displaying herself in a manner most unseemly. Had she been standing she would have found it most difficult to refrain from stamping her foot in vexation.
At the completion of his cursory perusal of the room, Giles flinched slightly in shock as his eyes darted back to the painting above the fireplace that his normally agile mine had finally alerted him to. In normal circumstances the images captured by the artist's skilful brush strokes would show the casual observer a simple portrait of a couple posing while dressed in their wedding finery, and while the sight of a man that could have been his twin should have shocked him, it was the very real memory of where he had previously seen this particular picture. An image came unbidden to him; an image of his late grandmother's drawing room as she showed her loving grandson the portrait of her beloved Great Uncle Henry and his wife, Anne.
"Oh! Dear Lord!"