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Disclaimer: No permission has been granted to use the characters. They are owned by their creator, Joss Whedon, Twentieth Century Fox, UPN, WB, and Mutant Enemy. This story is non-profit and is intended solely as entertainment. No copyright infringement is intended.


An Early Chance Meeting

Rupert Giles sighed mightily. As a junior member of the museum staff, he had been assigned the arduous task of accompanying these tedious relics from the British Museum to their new home in Los Angeles, California. The young American woman who had been appointed to receive the shipment was as bored as he was. Her attention kept wandering to the door.

They signed what must have been the fiftieth set of papers covering insurance or maintenance or some other dreary detail of the transfer when she looked up, a smile crossing her face.

“Hank!”

A man several years older than Giles stepped into the room holding a small blonde girl child. He set her down on the floor and dropped a tender kiss on the woman’s forehead.

“We came by to see if you wanted to do lunch.”

“I just have to finish up these papers…” she looked tiredly at her English companion. She couldn’t remember his name.

Hank pulled up a chair. “We’ll wait.”

The little girl had been exploring the room. She looked at Giles shyly before marching up to him. Putting out her tiny paw, she touched the knee of his trousers. “Mine.”

Giles shivered in the air-conditioned room. When the child had touched him, he had felt a whisper of something pass through his entire being. Whatever it had been, he was sure he’d never felt it before. He looked down at the child gripping his trousers in her sticky fist.

She met his gaze with limpid blue eyes. She wasn’t smiling but looked deadly serious. “Mine,” she repeated.

He decided to ignore her after a tight smile in her direction. What did he know about children, after all? The American woman came around the desk and unfastened the miniscule hand from his leg.

“Sorry,” she murmured, handing the child back to the man called Hank.

They finished the paperwork a few minutes later and Giles picked up his briefcase and turned to go. He had felt the child’s gaze on him the entire time he sat there, watching him with a strangely possessive glare.

As he stood and shook the woman’s hand, the little girl reached out both arms to him. “Mine!” she said imperiously.

Joyce or Janice or whatever her name was tittered uncomfortably. “Sorry, again. I guess my little girl gets a bit possessive.” She turned to the child. “Now, Elizabeth, wave bye-bye to the nice man.”

The child pouted and Giles was struck by how very sweet she looked. Such a thought was entirely unlike him. He knew nothing of children and cared less, but something about this little girl called to him. In some indefinable way, he felt that she was correct; he was hers. Repressing an urge to pick her up and cuddle her in his arms, he shrugged and nodded his goodbyes. Casting one last look at the child holding her arms out to him, now crying piteously as his imminent departure became obvious, he left.

As he went down the hall, he could still hear her girlish voice crying “mine” as he walked past her.
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