Next Of Kin

"Where's Jeanne?"

"On a date."


"She's on a date. With a boy."

"You're kidding."


"But she didn't tell me. Why didn't she tell me?"

"You're her father. And you would have done something rash, like polishing the rifle while interviewing him."

"A boy?"

"I assume so. It's so hard to tell with some of these people."

"Where was I?"

"With the Council. Trying to get more money for research out of them, I believe."

"Oh. So what happened?"

"I did what any parent would do when confronted with his daughter's first date."

"You pulled a rifle on the poor guy?"

"Well yes. You would have done the same."

"I would not! Okay, yes I would. But I'm her dad, I'm supposed to do that."

"Then what am I supposed to do?"

"Be the cool, over-indulgent uncle type?"

"I thought that was Christian."

"No, he's the wacky uncle who occasionally drops by with cool presents."


"So you pulled a rifle on him?"

"Yes. He looked quite disreputable."

"I hear it's the fashion now. What was his name?"


"God. Did his parents hate him or what?"

"It's British."


"So, you didn't like him?"

"Not particularly, no."

"But he was from the mother land."

"I don't like everyone from England. Ethan, for example."

"Yeah, okay, that's true. What did he look like?"


"I gathered. Hair? Eyes? Number of appendages?"

"You're laughing at me."

"Yes. Yes, I am."

"Do stop."

"Okay. I'm stopping. No, I'm sorry, I lied."


"All right. For real now. Not laughing."

"Thank you. I suppose that means I should put away the sword, then."

"Uh...yes. That might be a good thing."

"Very well then."

"So where did they go? How did they meet? Is he a nice boy? Smart? Charming? Dead?"

"The Bronze, the Bronze, I suppose so, not particularly, yes, and I hope not."

"Hmmm. Not intelligent?"

"He could have been. Scared though. I only polished the rifle, it's not like I loaded the bloody thing."

"And the sword was...?"

"By the couch."

"With the mace. And the baseball bat. And the crossbow."

"Of course. The weapons needed to be cleaned."

"I love you."


"I do. Really."

"I think that's them in the driveway now."

"Can I have the rifle?"

"That would be a bit much, don't you think?"

"Why should you get to have all the fun?"

"Because I'm older and wiser."


"I am."


"Have you discussed...things with Jeanne?"


"You know..."

"Vague gestures don't help, Giles."


"Oh. Um. Yes. Slot A, tab B, the whole bit."

"Er...good. Yes. Good. I think I'll go to bed now."

"Good night, Giles."

"Good night, Oz."