Chapter One: Another Brit in Sunnydale
Another Brit in Sunnydale
Disclaimer: I do not own anything, all characters belong to Joss Whedon (BTVS) or J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter), with the exception of Helen. There will also be quite a few quotes from the canon dialogues – again all belonging to Joss Whedon.
A/N: Post Battle at Hogwarts, at the beginning of Season 1 of BTVS. I had to switch some episodes actually to make them fit into the flow of this story, so you’ll find the Incan Mummy here at the beginning, although in the series it comes later :) I also apologize for my English, please bear with me since it’s not my native...
"But I was assigned to teach history and music, not arts, sir, I am not qualified to do so". Helen McGregor was sitting in the principal’s office at Sunnydale High, it was in the middle of October, she had just arrived to take a position of a teacher here, having left London and all of her acquaintance behind.
"Yes, well, there probably was some kind of a mistake, a.. a misunderstanding, but I am sure you can manage. It’s not like you’d be teaching chemistry or physics. Besides music is arts too, and we are lacking arts-teacher since the last one, Ms. Gordon.... disappeared." Principal Flutie murmured to himself, as if still in disbelief.
"But I explained to you..." Helen was about to protest further, but Flutie silenced her with a raised hand. Then he stood up.
"I am sorry, Ms. McGregor, I have another appointment right now and I don’t have time for you, there’s a lot going on here at present, I suggest you don’t waste your time. Borrow a book from the library or something, you’ll do just fine. Your résumés are very promising, I have all the faith that you will teach arts as good as Ms. Gordon in no time." He gave her his hand to shake and then showed her the way out of his office. There was no point in arguing with him any longer.
In the hall she took a look on her class timetable only to see that she was already 10 minutes late for her first history class with the sophomores.
She entered the classroom, said a short and shy "Hello" and put her things on the desk, then took a look of her first Sunnydale class. She smiled.
"My name is Helen McGregor and I’ll be teaching you history this year. Since I am already late for this lesson – which won’t become a habit I can assure you – I’d suggest we make the rest of it an introduction round..."
The class went well after all, she had about 20 students, whose names she wouldn’t remember so soon, but who knows. There was a George, the small shy boy, who wouldn’t stop playing with his pencil, a Nathalie, who seemed to be a school-hottie, an Alexander Harris, a dark haired bright looking Willow, what a nice name.... She tried to remember some more as she walked through the halls searching for the library and hoping to find there some basic books on history of arts.
There it was. The swing door with the unmistakeable letters "Library" above it. She entered, looking towards the desk on the right, wondering whether there was someone in here. It looked empty. Like always when she was nervous her hand wandered to the scarf wrapped around her neck.
She cleared her throat and said quietly. "Hello? Is ... anybody here?"
There was a loud bang, several objects must have fell to the floor, which made her jump and turn left to the source of the noise. There in a ... cage – what the hell?! she thought – stood a tall man in a tweed suit holding some rather odd pieces in his hand, more of which he obviously let fall in the surprise of her appearance. She stared at those ... were those swords?! ... a crossbow?! ...
"What ... may I help you?" He recovered very quickly and posted himself right in front of her. His voice was calm with a slight touch of irritation though.
"... yess, I ... was ... looking for a couple of books on history of arts and was hoping to find them here, since... this... is the... school library."
He didn’t say anything but was looking at her as if he wouldn’t entirely understand, his forehead wrinkled a little.
Helen waited. "Oh, I’m sorry, I am Helen McGregor, a new teacher."
"Oh," his expression lightened up. Though he was aware of the fact, that this was a public or a school library, he often tended to forget that, it happened seldom enough if ever at all, that a student or anyone for that matter got astray here, he wasn’t used to see other people then the Scoobies in the library, least of all strangers. Englishwomen... he realised as he caught her voice again:
"I am supposed to teach arts and wanted to have a look on some basics." The man was still looking puzzled so she went forth. "This probably sounds a little odd, the truth is I was told before I accepted the job that I will be teaching history and music, which are my actual subjects, but as I arrived this morning, the principal was as kind as to announce that it is arts instead. And history that is." Again the wrinkling forehead. "You are the librarian then?"
"Oh, where are my manners, I mean, yes. Mr. Giles."
She offered him the hand with a smiling "Pleasure."
"So what ... are you looking for some concrete works?"
"Eh, yes, I thought I’d start with Jeremy Wendell’s Introduction and Hartmann’s History of Arts. I recall those should be a good start." He walked slowly towards his desk and cleaned his glasses.
"Yes, good choice. And we have both here. But I would strongly recommend you the monograph by Engelbert. It’s a wonderful introduction, not too detailed but very well written." She followed him.
"I’ve heard of it, but since he is like 50 years old I was hoping the other ones would have reflected upon the "old masters.""
"Yes, that is right, but the work is by no means obsolete though. In fact Wendell draws a great deal of his explanations on Engelbert. Those are by the way the best part of his book, sadly."
"Why - thank you for the tip, where can I find it all?" Giles showed her the plan of the small library and explained where the few books on arts were. Those few open for school public that is.
She had no trouble finding the three requested works.
"May I borrow them over night or is this a reference library only?"
"Of course you can borrow them all as long as you need, as a teacher." He said with a slightest touch of sarcasm and smiled at her while making some notes about the outgoing books.
"Thank you, I’ll have them back tomorrow." She gave him a smile back, took the bag and turned around only to run into Willow, Xander and Buffy on her leave. She smiled confused at them too, said "hello" and finally left, having Giles watching her back.
"Who was that?" Buffy asked with an annoyed undertone. Like Giles she had begun to consider the library as some kind of a second home where only Giles, Willow, Xander and her spent time, like a common room for them where they would plan, discuss, doing research on monsters and demons, where none else was allowed to enter and everyone who did was regarded with the utmost suspicion.
Willow started to chatter happily: "That’s Ms McGregor, our new history teacher!"
"We have a new history teacher? What happened to Mr. Watts?" Buffy asked.
"No, she’s our, Xander’s and mine, new teacher. And she’s quite cool. And also very British." She gave Giles a meaningful look, as if she would discover some kind of conspiracy of the English being here, but wanted to indicate that their secret was safe with her. Giles looked confused.
"Yeah, seemed like A-Lot-Of-Essays-To-Write-Type to me though," argued Xander. "But I liked the tardiness of her. Would be nice, if she could put those ten minutes at the End of the lesson and let us go sooner instead."
"Xander!" Willow looked outraged at this shocking suggestion. But then, she loved all of her classes. Buffy looked amused.
"Can we concentrate on our vampires here, please?" Giles finally interrupted and the Scoobies started another research considering a newly appeared vampire whom Buffy let escape the other night.
Three weeks at Sunnydale High and Helen already felt like it was the right thing after all, having left England, coming here to this completely strange place, teaching American muggle students. She was beginning to feel well here, kind of homey. The kids were nice enough, at least the majority of them, right now they had this exchange of cultures week, so several foreign students from all over the world were sitting in her classes as well, which was always a nice change. And... even the arts class was fun, she had to admit she felt a certain satisfaction in teaching it and would say with a lack of modesty that she was doing great. She hasn’t tied any friendships yet, she wasn’t really a people’s person or much into socializing, but then, friendships are overrated, she thought cynically.
The librarian seemed quite decent though, sort of mysterious. Well, and it couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that he was British as well? Her inner voice asked amused as she entered the history classroom on a Friday morning where the sophomores were already sitting.
"Hello", she smiled at them and proceeded to the door at her left where she shared a small office with another professor, a stuffy Mr. Watts who taught history too. She opened the door, made one step inside and then the students heard a loud noise as she let fall everything out of her hands, and her gentle silent scream "No!" while she was already gliding to the floor, passing out. Several students stood up und hurried to her, Xander was among the first who reached her and after what he saw inside, he couldn’t blame Professor McGregor for having fainted at all. The body of the other history teacher was half sitting half lying on his desk, it looked very dead and had a strange grey green color and one could see every single vein on it. They had never seen anything like this before. Xander managed to stop Willow before she would come too near and see the horrible scene.
Both Xander and Willow hurried to the library, after the class was, naturally, dismissed, given what happened. They found Buffy, Ampata, the exchange student from South America, who was staying at Buffy’s, and Giles in some argument and told them about the "accident".
"You said, Xander, that Mr. Watts looked like he was ... dried out?" Giles asked, furrowing his brows.
AN: What followed, you will all know from Episode 2.4 :) The Scoobies killed the Incan Mummy on that same night and all was fine.