Title: Accept the Fluster
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Character: Lydia of the Watchers' Council
Summary: So many things seem filled with the intent to be lost.
Notes: Set after 5.12.
When Lydia entered her flat again, after the long flight from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. to Heathrow, it took her a moment to recognize it. The furniture seemed too fresh--she had plumped the cushions before she'd left--and the room's corners just slightly too crisp. The violets in the windowsill had wilted, and there was an empty teacup sitting in sink, a faint ring of mossy green staining its bowl.
She bolted the door and leaned against it as she slipped out of her shoes. Her suitcase wobbled on its wheels and she pushed the retractable handle to its proper hiding place. The carpet nubs were rough against her stocking feet, and she slumped onto her sofa and tried to think about things besides the Council meeting in the morning.
The ruffle of her collar tickled the bottom of her chin; she undid one, then two buttons. On the sofa's arm was a ragged paperback: Emma.
Lydia thumbed open a third button and tugged her skirt above her knees. She slouched backwards, and she read.
Phillip had sworn she would like Cameron, but it wasn't far past the salad course when Lydia had knocked over her glass of wine. Of course it would be a lovely Merlot that she'd allowed Cameron to convince her to drink, no matter that she generally preferred a White Zinfandel during the week, and of course, she would gesture emphatically just as Cameron leaned forward on the table, thus dooming many things, including her sense of dignity.
After a dampened--and damp--regard towards the pasta, Lydia also managed to make a recounting of her winter holidays at an uncle's home in Tunisia apparently rather terrifying. It turned out, Lydia realized as she arrived back at her flat, that removing the existence of djinn from the story about the mongoose made her sound rather, well, sadistic.
"Oh," Lydia said, and her forehead made a dull thunking noise as she bumped it against the door.
Her telephone rang as she steeped tea for herself--a calming tisane, to be later enlivened with brandy--and she answered as she poured.
"I haven't heard from Cameron," Phillip said, "but I assume it went well?"
"Cameron will never speak to or of me," Lydia replied, "ever again."
"Ah," Phillip said. "Should I--"
"I'd prefer not," Lydia interrupted. "And I'd like to wallow."
"You'd have preferred a vampire?" Phillip asked.
Lydia hung up the phone and, after a moment, stuck her tongue out at it. She felt much better afterwards.
She didn't often arrive at the Council's headquarters so early, but she'd been gone too long, and she'd neglected her research during her week of reacclimation.
Lydia breathed deep as she entered the library proper, glancing toward the meeting room, where Quentin was bent over a sheaf of reports. He looked up as she passed, nodding abstractly. Lydia nodded in return; she sometimes wondered if Quentin kept a cot somewhere in headquarters. There's been speculation about that, when she'd been at university, but nobody had been bold enough to simply ask.
There were no desks, as such, in the library, but she found her favorite corner, a chair with faded green tapestry on its back, and a table with a curve like a question mark scratched on its lower right corner. She collected her thesis from its shelf and set it on the table, then flipped open her notebook to her observations from Sunnydale.
A/N: Title and summary adapted from Elizabeth Bishop's One Art.