Love Conquers by JackOfSpikes
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Chapter 3. The importance of being Henry

A few moments of utter silence followed Giles' explanation of exactly who he was and where he was from. He had instantly realised that, to this woman at least, he could not pretend to be her husband whilst he attempted to research a way home. He knew with absolute certainty that he could not lie to her; he needed her aide too badly and were she to evict him from her home he would be in dire straights indeed.

"I believe you," she stated softly. "My husband did not have the imagination required to invent a story quite that complex. However, I would caution contacting the Watcher's Council. While they are fully aware of Henry's illness, as it was the only reason they released him from their employ, were they to discover your good health, they would insist on your return. Unfortunately, therein lies a problem; my father is an upper level council member, and a rather ruthless one at that, I'm afraid. He has coveted Henry's title for years. Were you to present your situation to them, I fear that he would use his position to frustrate your efforts to return to your time."

"What would he hope to achieve?" Giles questioned, confused.

Anne blushed and turned her face from him, "My marriage was arranged for me, Mr Giles. My husband wished to wed me and my father wanted a grandson with the title of Earl," she stated with quite dignity. "With Henry's illness, my father's demands have been unable to be fulfilled."

"And by taking over Henry's body...I see," Giles shifted uncomfortably, at a loss in his inability to offer comfort to the lovely but embarrassed woman, especially given his absolute knowledge that great, great, great uncle Henry had indeed fathered a son. If memory served, and it rarely failed him, Henry's son, William, was born in the December of 1855. With just a hint of trepidation, Giles forced himself to ask his question calmly. "Would you be so kind, madam, as to enlighten me with today's exact date?"

Anne flashed him a relieved smile, thankful for the change in subject. "It is November the eleventh, in the year of our Lord, 1854."

Four months; he had just over four months to find a way home - or he would father a child. With a slightly shaking voice, Giles proposed a plan of action. "I believe I should begin with Henry's books," he announced with a slight touch of urgency.

~*~*~*~

After a month of searching, Giles believed, he had finally uncovered the spell Willow had used, but given the makeup of his group of young associates and taking into consideration the effects of the Hellmouth as well as Willow's tendency to make errors in her spell casting, the watcher was very much afraid that his hypothesis regarding the entire situation was, in all probability, going to prove correct.

It took the displaced man a further month to work up the courage to inform the fair-haired beauty, that he had undeniably fallen in love with, the full complexity of all that he had discovered.

~*~*~*

Anne's relief, when informed the full ramifications of Willow's spell, was like a balm to Rupert's dismay. His elation at the knowledge that, while she had never loved her husband, she was unable to say the same thing about the man that now inhabited her husband's body, was no small consolation to the fact that in all likelihood he would not return to the future until ‘Henry's' death in the past.

Without considering the possibility that Dawn's ‘keyness' could had been utilized, Giles came to the conclusion that the only way that Willow's use of the Diligo Victum spell could have resulted in his trip through time, was if the Powers-That-Be had intervened; he was well aware that the witch was powerful, but her gifts were certainly not so great as to be able to span time itself.

Anne's romantic nature insisted that the fates had stepped in to assist the undisciplined girl, thus allowing the union of two destined souls to unite. She waxed lyrically to the blushing scholar, reiterating time and again that love, did indeed, conquer all.

While Anne's romanticism encouraged poetry, Giles' more pragmatic nature demanded that if he was to remain in the past as Henry, then he first needed more knowledge of Henry's life. Further, he needed a plausible lie to cover any inadvertent mistakes he may make. Finally ‘Henry' needed to remarry his wife; Rupert Giles may have been inhabiting the body of Henry Arthur Giles Kingston, but he was still in complete control of his mental faculties; no child of his would been born out of wedlock, thank you very much. He, also, rather suspected that Anne would be very much of the same opinion. So, taking the proverbial bull by the horns, he interrupted the lady in question from her romantic imaginations, "Anne, my dear, if we used the excuse of Henry's rather miraculous recovery, do you think renewing your marriage vows would be out of place?"

Anne's eyes sparkled with mischievous glee, "I think, my good man, that if you are desirous of introducing this young William that you have told me about, to the world, it would be a necessity."

A Month later they were re-married.

Eleven months later, on Christmas Eve, William Rupert Giles Kingston, was born.


~*~*~*~

18 years later (January, 1873)


William quietly opened the door to his father's sleeping chamber, unwilling to create any noise that may disturb the ailing man. With silent footsteps he made his way to the end of the bed, content to wait for the man he revered above all others to wake on his own.

It was so difficult for him to see the strong but gentle giant of his childhood waste away before his eyes. William had been greatly disappointed when it became very apparent that he would never reach his father's impressive height, and while he could, certainly, be considered at the higher end of the average height amongst his peers, his adoration and admiration of the sleeping man had made him greatly desirous of emulating him in every way possible. Thus his failure to reach a physical equivalent had palled on him. In fact, had it not been for his father's timely intervention and wisdom, William was quite sure he would have allowed his maudlin thoughts to manifest into his acting in the most unbecoming behaviour imagineable. He had definitely been in danger of actually...he swallowed in distaste, suddenly uncomfortable to even think the word let alone complete the action. For as long as he could remember, his father's disgust at anyone who acted in that abhorrent manner, had been William's assurance that that particular behaviour could be considered the single most disgraceful breach of social etiquette that anyone could ever make. William shuddered slightly, mentally berating himself, once again, for allowing himself to sink so low in self pity that he had almost, dare he even think it? Yes, his father's words reverberated through him, ‘never shy from your mistakes, my son, merely use them as a learning experience'. ‘I, William Rupert Giles Kingston, almost disgraced myself, and my parents, by wallowing in self pity deeply enough that it could have nearly been called...brooding.' Instantly shame filled him, but as he nervously glanced to his, still sleeping, father, his heart filled with love; he hadn't succumbed, his father had pulled him back from the very brink, and he honestly believed that the near miss had gained him a level of maturity he would not, otherwise, have reached.

As his eyes continued to rest on his father, his love and admiration of the man were plain to see. Pride filled him with the very secure knowledge that, while his achievements so far in life had been, in no small part, due to the patient and caring teacher that lay before him, he had surpassed his father's requirements on his own merits. His pride lay not in himself, but in the knowledge that he had made this great man proud of him. His acceptance at Oxford had been confirmed, and special note had been made of the fact that he was already fluent in French, Greek, Latin and Hebrew. His artistic side would have the opportunity to flourish with the large literary collection housed in the great library. His swordsmanship would suffer no lack of practice, given the Gentleman's Society and their predilection to supporting the sport. Finally the Young Watchers group would allow him to continue in his studies into the occult.

"William," the weak raspy voice interrupted the young man's musing.

"Father," William answered with a smile, "Mother said you asked for me?" The gentle young man offered quietly as he moved from his place at the foot of the bed, to sit by his father's side.

Giles smiled softly at his son; his pride and joy. However, knowing his time was short, he took a sip from the glass of water William was offering him, before settling back into his pillows to have the conversation he had dreaded since the first time his infant son had opened his trusting cobalt blue eyes and Giles recognised him as the man he would become.

 

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