Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (tv)
Pairing: Tara and Giles
Summary/Teaser: Visitors from the past.
Warnings: --
Spoilers: "Seeing Red" (BtVS 6.19) and some vague S7 stuff
Notes: Scroll gave me the following prompt: "Pairing: Giles/Tara, Phrase: Hello, good-bye"
Word Count: 485

Standard Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and co. own the characters, I'm just playing with them. I do, however, own this story, so donít steal it. Archive it anywhere; just ask first.

Feedback is always appreciated. Make me blush with praise or rip apart the story with criticism, or both.

by Elizabeth Scripturient


Tara's voice is soft and gentle, but it still startles Giles. He jerks up and blinks repeatedly. He takes off his glasses and rubs his eyes. He polishes his glasses and puts them back on.

Tara is still standing there serenely. He looks around. Oh yes, he had fallen asleep in the middle of researching.

"Is there anything I can do for you, Tara?"

"Not anymore, Gregory." Her eyes twinkle, and her head shakes just slightly, as if she's laughing at some private joke.

He almost doesnít notice this so startled is he, though.

He was 14 when he claimed that name, and six months later he let it go.

His best friend, Timothy, had gotten confirmed the same Sunday he had, and he was unreasonably jealous that Roman Catholics got to pick saints' names.

His father had started his Watcher training in earnest, and one of the things that had grabbed his attention was the power of names. They were central to so many invocations. Some had True names and some had Many names. He learned that cameras don't steal your soul but that you really would be in trouble if certain demons called you by name. Saints were powerful. He hadn't figured out exactly how, but the Catholics certainly thought so, so getting to claim this very old power was a big deal indeed.

He liked the sound of Gregory, and Timothy told him that was the name of a very powerful Pope. Rupert felt he had chosen well. For months, Timothy was the only person he told. The day he asked his father to please call him Gregory, his father told him that Gregory meant "vigilant watch" and congratulated him on the appropriateness of his choice. Rupert never used the name again. He was never sure if that had been his father's intent or not.

Tara waits as the memories flash through his mind. It only takes a few seconds, but Giles has the distinct impression that Tara is in fact waiting for him, waiting for him to be ready.

"So, are you a good ghost or a bad ghost?" he asks, in a weary attempt at levity.

"I'm not a manifestation of the First Evil. The Nameless Ones sent me to your dreams."

"The..." He trails off as realization dawns.

"This is going to be a big battle, Rupert Gregory Giles," she says. "And you can't win. Not in the way you want to. You can't eliminate Evil. Not in this dimension which is so dependent upon balance. Remember that. Remember the importance of balance."

Giles nods.

"Hello, good-bye."

Giles looks quizzical as Tara turns to leave.

She smiles kindly. "Helloes and goodbyes. Balance. Remember." Her smile gets bigger, and her voice now is almost conspiratorial, as if she is letting him in on a secret. "Timothy is a powerful mage now. Look for him."

And then she is gone.

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