>The characters abused herein belong to Joss The Creator, and the assorted parent corporations and owners thereof. No profit, no foul, no lawsuit.
It is as it has always been. The Slayer can never assume that her own emotions or needs are more important than her calling, or that her actions will not have repercussions down the line. This I have tried to instill in her, but I fear only the painful events of this past week have had a lasting effect.
Rupert Giles put his pen down, leaving the oversized leather notebook open to allow the ink to dry. He knew that Buffy would be upset if she ever knew just how bluntly her pains were laid out on the page, but there was no choice. If anything were to be learned from this, any positive action to be salvaged from this entire damned bloody fiasco, it would have to be shared with future Watchers. Just as their pains, mistakes and successes had been shared, allowing he and Buffy to triumph in their travails.
Of course, if he were to be completely fair, his own mistakes should be placed within the confines of those leatherbound covers as well. His mistakes, which if not the cause of this disaster, were certainly of a magnitude.
Sharp-tongued, kind-eyed Jenny.
Janna. Daughter of the Rom.
He rued the day he had summoned up enough confidence to stutter out that invitation to the game. Had she been laughing, even then? Thinking him easy prey to her charms? And so he had been. Rupert refused to lie to himself any more. With the brutal honesty that comes of self-disgust he ripped apart his own psyche, letting the cold light of the overhead library flourescents see how badly he had wanted something to call his own. Some part of his life that did not revolve around his being the Watcher. Something that did not belong as well to the Slayer.
Except, of course, it did. Had it not been for Buffy, Jenny would never have looked twice at him.
"Lord, what fools we mortals be," he misquoted tiredly, taking off his glasses, folding them, and placing them down on the desk. No need for their protective lenses now. The library was deserted, the Slayer dragged by her Slayerettes to drown their sorrows in late-night cappuchino. And nobody else was likely to come in now.
He was alone. As Watchers had always been. Bred, educated, indoctrinated, and sent out with but one mission: maintain the Slayer.
In a moment of weakness, perhaps, he had allowed his Slayer to share her experiences with others. Although "allowed" was not perhaps the most precise word choice -- Rupert sincerely doubted he would have been given much of a choice in the matter. But the Slayerettes had been invaluable, and he did not doubt their loyalty. Xander would follow Buffy to hell and back, unshakable in his devotion. And Willow...
Rupert sighed, resting his head in his hands. Another fiasco. Willow should have been reported to the Council the first week he knew her. The Bloodlines were running thin, and the possibility of an unknown family producing a Watcher-quality child was something to be investigated and, if at all possible, the child recruited. He could have earned a place on the Council simply by giving them Willow's name.
But he would not damn her to that fate. Not her, and not her children, her children's childen, all down the line until the end of time. As his family's history stretched backwards to the beginning.
His family. Which would end here, with him. Some Watchers married, others merely begat children with suitable partners. He had accepted that neither was to be his fate, that the Slayer would be the only child he would ever raise.
Until Jenny. Until the thought of what their crossed bloodlines might produce had given him the courage to take that fateful step forward, to offer her what little he had and lay it at her feet.
Only to see it trampled.
He laughed then, a bitter laugh that Ethan would have recognized. What the hell had he expected? Did he really believe in happy-ever-after endings? Had he ever?
No. Not for him. And, God help them, not for his Slayer, either. Even if they somehow managed to survive this, the scars would run too deep.
Picking up his pen once again, the Watcher added:
In truth, it was my selfishness that allowed this to happen. My desire for something beyond my sacred duty gave me the excuse to allow the Slayer her secrets, her privacy, her desires. But what is true for the Slayer is true even moreso for the Watcher who guards her. There is no "me" allowed. There is only Duty.
In my forgetting this, I have damned us both.