The Wrath of the Council
By Arkin

TITLE: The Wrath of the Council
AUTHOR: Arkin
DISCLAIMER: The characters in this story all belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, WB etc.
FEEDBACK: Yes please!
SPOILERS: Mid 3rd season. Definitely "Helpless"
RATING: PG13
SUMMARY: Giles' strange behavior has a very real and very ominous cause.


Buffy came down the stairs go Giles' basement, their new training place. Giles was sitting at the table, reading another one of his books.

'Hey Giles.'

'Where were you last night?' He got up and approached her, angrier than she's ever seen him.

'Patrolling, why?'

He backhanded her with so much force she fall to the floor. 'Don't lie to me!'

She was too shocked to answer. He grabbed her and put her on her feet. 'Where were you?'

Her voice was barely a whisper 'A party.'

He slapped her again. Not so hard, but hard. 'When I tell you to go patrolling I expect you to do just that. Understood?'

'Yes.'

He let go of her and turned to leave. 'Do a warm up. I'll join you in a few minutes.'

Giles went up the stairs and Buffy looked after him. He hit her. He never even raised his voice at her, and now he did both things. She raised her hand to her cheek, not sure she believed what just happened there. But the tenderness of a soon to be purple area was there. He hit her with everything he had.

She started her warm up and realized with terror that it was because she was afraid of Giles' reaction if she didn't. She was afraid of Giles. Her Giles.

He came down a few minutes later, carrying broad swords. He handed her one and attacked. Usually she beat him in no time; His skill wasn't enough against her reflexes. But today she was distracted by the pain, by the fact that it was Giles that caused it, and she hardly noticed the battle.

Unfortunately, Giles didn't seem to be in any kind of mode to tolerate her lake of attention. Her mistakes were rewarded with sharp words and an occasional slap on her behind with his sword. 

Eventually he seemed to tire and put his sword down. 'Go home, get some rest. And don't forget you have patrol tonight.'

She wasn't planing to. She mumbled a goodbye and left. What was going on? What could she have done that made him this upset? Why was he so mad? She tried to hold back the tears but they burst out and she dropped to the sidewalk. The idea that Giles hated her, that he was so fed up with her that he could hit her, hurt more than anything she could think of. More than any of the things Angel had ever done.

Eventually she calmed down a little. She wiped her tears on her sleeve and got up. If Giles was angry, she'll have to make him un-angry. She'll work harder, pay attention to what he said, do everything he told her too. He was probably tired of her attitude, of lying and not listening to him. So she'll just have to stop those things, and Giles would love her again.

**

Training the next day started better. He was almost friendly when she told him about the previous night's patrol. Only two vampires, out to feed. He nodded, got up and pulled out the boxing gloves.

This time she put her all into it. And he noticed it, too. Acknowledging her better punches with a kind word, even smiling when she got past his defenses with a particularly good move. But when she got something basic wrong, when she got proud of herself and didn't notice what was going on, she got the same sharp words that tore through her heart the previous day.

When training was over, after managing a five minute fight with no big mistakes, she decided it was time to find out what it was exactly that had gotten him so upset.

'Hum, Giles...'

'Yes?'

'Why... why are you so angry? I mean, I did better today than I usually do. And, well, you really hurt my feelings with some of the things you said.'

His head almost exploded. 'Hurt your feelings? You think a vampire attacking you is going to stop and ask you if he's hurting your feelings? Feelings have nothing to do with slaying. It's time you got those childish thoughts out of your mind. Nobody cares how you feel, whether you are enjoying yourself or not. Now I, for some reason, have agreed to stay here and train you. So you damn well better do what I tell you to, I don't care how it makes you feel.'

Buffy couldn't hold back the tears. 'Giles, what's wrong? Why are you like this?'

She thought he was about to hit her again. 'I don't have time for this. If you want to train some more than chose a weapon. If not, I have more important things to do than sit here and watch you cry.'

'Damn it, Giles...'

She should have seen that one coming. Not that she would have done anything about it, but still... her face felt like it was on fire. He was so strong...

'Watch your mouth! At least show some minimum of respect when you talk to me, I'm not your friend, and I won't have you talking to me like that. Now, do you want to train or go home?'

'I'll go.' She turned to the stairs, and remembered her conclusion of yesterday; don't make Giles angry. So she turned around. 'I'm sorry. I won't talk like that again.' He nodded, and she left.

This time she managed to make it home without crying. She got in through the back door and got a drink. She heard her mother's voice in the living room, and than the very familiar voice of her "watcher" - Wesley.

She went to the living room. They both got up as they saw her. 'What are you doing here?'

'How's Giles treating you?'

Buffy looked at him sharply. 'What kind of question is that?'

Wesley pointed at her bruised cheek. 'His handy work, I believe. They really shouldn't have tried that on a watcher so strong.'

'Who shouldn't have tried what?'

'The council. This isn't the first time they lost control of a slayer due to what they believe to be an emotional attachment to someone, sometimes lovers, but usually, since slayers don't get around much, her watcher.'

'And how do they deal with it?'

'They place a spell on the, um, object of the slayer's feelings. In this case they put a spell that caused Giles to lose control. Every little thing causes violent outbreaks, both verbal and physical.'

'I noticed. I thought he hates me.'

'He never will. That's why they did it. They need you to hate him, lose trust in him enough that you'd turn back to them. But they... they didn't count on you allowing him to hit you. They thought you'd push him out of your life before he had time to become violent. They weren't planning on dealing with a slayer that would put up with an abusive watcher.'

'Than they weren't planning right. And I won't push him out. When did they do it?'

'Two nights ago. He was alone in the cemetery by Mersser. Buffy, I don't believe you were right to leave the council, or that he was right to support it. I'm only telling you this because... I don't agree with their tactics. And I know you won't push him out. I can reverse the spell. But I need you to bring him back to where he was when they put it on him. Do it tonight. I'll get Willow to help.'

'My patrol starts at ten. I'll ask him to come with me.' Wesley nodded and started towards the door. When he got to Buffy he stopped.

'Buffy, I know you don't think much of me and my opinions, but please accept this piece of advice: never let anyone, no matter your feeling for him, treat you as Giles had these two days.'

**

Giles agreed to accompany her on her patrol that night. They didn't talk and everything passed without incident. But when they got to the cemetery Buffy was too preoccupied with thoughts about that day to notice what was going on. As a result they were attacked before she noticed the vampires were there, and right at that moment the spell started working, causing Giles to lose his conciseness and fall to the ground.

Buffy had to keep them away from Giles and from her, which wasn't as easy as she would have liked it to be. When she finally did dust them all and Giles came around she crouched down next to him, ready to pull back if his hand attacked her again in reprimand for her lack of attention.

But it didn't. He came around slowly and looked at her, than sat up as he saw Wesley and Willow show up from somewhere.

'Buffy...' He sent a gentle hand and caressed her bruised cheek. 'Buffy I'm so sorry. I...'

'I know. It's all right.'

'How do you feel, mister Giles?' Giles didn't even look at Wesley.

'Why did you let me hit you? Let me talk to you like that?'

'I was afraid you'd leave me. I'd take anything from you to keep you here.'

Giles shook his head and pulled Buffy in for a hug. 'I'd never leave you.'

Wesley sounded worried 'That's just the problem.'

**
**

The second attack from the council was only a couple of weeks later. Wesley warned them that the council was about to try something, but he had no idea what.

They were planing to blackmail her; remove the nightmares, in exchange for allowing Wesley to be her watcher and sending Giles away.

And the nightmares were terrible. The first night Buffy woke up screaming. After waking three times that night, she called Giles.

When Giles came into her room she was sitting on the bed, drinking hot - chocolate, with her mother sitting next to her. 'How are you, Buffy?'

'Terrible. They're awful, Giles. I can't stand them. And it takes so long to wake up from them...stop them, please.'

Giles felt his heart clench as he looked into her fear stricken eyes. 'I don't know how, Buffy. But I'll try, I promise you that.'

He got up to start his research. 'You should go back to sleep. You probably have a class tomorrow.'

Buffy jumped up. 'No! I'm not going back to sleep. Not until they stop. I can't. I won't.' Tears started running down her cheeks.

'Buffy, you have to sleep...'

'No! please, Giles, don't make me.'

Giles looked at her for a second, on her knees in her bed, tears falling from terror filled eyes. He picked her up and sat with her on the sofa in her room, placing her in his lap. 'First sign of trouble, I wake you up.'

'Promise?'

'Promise.'

She leaned her head on his shoulder as he adjusted the blanket around her. Snuggled against him, Buffy soon fall asleep.

'Are you going to stay with her the all night?'

Giles looked at Joyce with raised eyebrows. 'What choice do I have? Allow the council to get their claws into her again? This way she can get all the sleep she needs until I find a way to stop this.'

He was awake for three days, researching through the day and guarding Buffy's dreams during the night. Finally Willow found something. 'This says that all dream spells can be removed by casting any of the spells that are supposed to stop people from being able to read your mind.'

Giles nodded sleepily. 'They're in...' he handed her a book. 'They're in here. Chose one, a simple one, and cast it. We'll see if it works.'

As his fourth day of sleep deprivation dawned, it became obvious that the spell did indeed work. Buffy woke up and pushed herself from his lap, allowing blood to return to his legs, and smiled at him.

'No more bad dreams.' He smiled at her tiredly and she bent down, placing a kiss on his cheek. 'Thank you.'

She left the room, and he stumbled over to the bed, were he stayed, with short interventions to answer nature's call, until the council found out, God knows how, about their spell.

**
**

Which meant it was time to try something else. Giles was dimly aware that he wasn't feeling very well. He told Buffy, who came to check if he was still alive. He'd been asleep for 24 hours. She checked his forehead and panicked.

But, being Buffy, she called an ambulance first.

**

'How is he?'

'Burning up. They don't know what he's got.'

'I do.'

Buffy jumped to her feet, Xander and Willow following.

'Wesley, is it the council?'

'They put a spell on him. A witch cast a spell on you once, almost killed you, correct?'

They all nodded. 'They did the same thing. Again, I can brake it with Willow's help. Buffy, this is getting serious. They're willing to kill to get you two away from each other.'

Buffy looked away for a second. 'I'll send him away.'

Willow looked at her with wide eyes. 'What?'

'They'll kill him, Will. I can't let him die. I'll send him away. Wesley can be my watcher if they want.'

Xander and Willow didn't know what to say. Wesley cleared his throat. 'I think that's something you ought to discuss with Mr. Giles. Willow...'

Willow and Wesley left. Buffy went back to Giles' room, leaving Xander alone in the waiting room.

'Hey Giles. I... I don't know what to say. I can't watch you die. I can't, and I won't. I'm sorry. But you'll have to leave. For your own safety. I want you to live.'

She wiped away some tears. 'Great, Buffy. Now lets see if you can find the courage to say it to his awake face.'

She sat on the bed, facing him, and wiped some sweat from his forehead. 'You shouldn't leave. I want you here. I want you with me. There's gotta' be a way out of this, right? You always said there's a way out of everything if I just think about it. But I can't think about this alone. So, Willow and Wesley are on their way to break the spell. And than, well, we'll sit together and work this out.'

She bent over and kissed his forehead. 'I don't want you to leave. But if that's the only way... I'll make you. I won't let you die because I can't take orders. I promise.'

She fell asleep against him. Willow woke her up a while latter. 'It worked. His fever's down.'

**
**
 
Enough was enough. Magic they could deal with, that much was obvious. So it was time for something else.

**

Giles woke up in his own bed. He remembered Buffy helping him up the stairs, remembered asking her and finding out he had been sick for over a day.

He heard something down stairs. 'Buffy must still be here.'

He put something a little more dignified than his boxers and T - shirt on and went down stairs.

Well, Buffy was there all right. So were ten large man. Three of them were now tying up an unconscious Buffy. Giles jumped them, not even thinking about the odds against him. He knew them - council thugs. The council had had enough of them. His last thought before falling to the ground was wondering if they knew of Willow's involvement in breaking their spells.  

**

'Ho, my head.'

'I know the feeling.'

'Are you all right?'

'Other than my head, I'm fine. You?'

'Great. How long was I asleep?'

'A day until they showed up. I don't know how long we've been here. Wesley, are you okay?'

'Hum.'

'That was British for 'leave me the hell alone'.'

'I got that. Where are we?'

'Somewhere.'

'Thank you oh great fountain of knowledge.'

**

The head judge got to his feet. 'Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, you have been charged and found guilty of treachery to the council. Your sentence is death, by means of beheading. Do you have anything you wish to say before the sentence is carried out?'

Wesley looked at Buffy and Giles, and then, surprised at the stability of his voice, declared 'Only that I pray to God these two will manage to find their way out of this, preferably taking the whole lot of you out in the process.' He saw a smile flicker over Buffy's face, than looked back at the judge, who signaled the executioner. He saw the flesh of the sword, and from the corner of his eyes could see Buffy turn to Giles and bury her face in his chest. And than it was over.

**

Giles lay on the mattress, staring at the ceiling, stroking Buffy's hair. She was lying on top of him, her head against his chest, one arm on his shoulder, the other at his side. It took her quit a while to calm down, it wasn't that she liked Wesley, and if he died any other way she probably would have taken it a lot better. But he died as punishment for helping her and the guilt was eating her up.

That, and the knowledge that Giles' trial was scheduled to begin three days later. Wesley's death shook her, but it wasn't until the judge declared Giles' trial date that she started shivering. And it wasn't until she had looked up into his sad eyes that she begun crying, flinging herself into his arms.

Which is how they ended up like that. Giles left her on him even though his ribs, which had been bruised during the fight, hurt from the weight. He wasn't willing to let go of her. She looked so small, fragile, the realization that he was about to die taking away every ounce of courage she had.

He shot his eyes, trying not to think about his impending death. But that left him thinking of her. His slayer. The most important thing in the world to him for three years.

In a way he felt relieved. He had always been afraid of life without her. Now he wouldn't have to deal with it, with the emptiness her death would have left in his life and heart.

But his death will also mean he'll never see her smile again. Never exchange friendly insults with her. Never go on patrol with her and watch her get another vampire.

None of that mattered, really, because the council would not allow her to live. If she won't work with them, they'll call the next slayer. And there was, after all, only one way to get another slayer.

He hadn't told Buffy. Couldn't. She was already so terrified, he couldn't find the courage to tell her that three days after his death, she will join him. Deep down she knew, he was sure of that.

**
 
'No!' Buffy shoved of her guards and made a jump for the rest of them. She knocked some of them down, than heard the pulling of a gun's safety and Giles' soft voice calling her. She turned to him, hardly seeing him through her tears, and stumbled towards him. He picked her up and she wrapped herself around him. She could feel his own tears on her head.

'Promise me something, Buffy.'

'Anything.'

'If they offer you a chance, what ever you have to do, take it. Don't let them kill you. Don't die.'

'I promise. What ever they ask.'

Giles hugged her for a few seconds more, than put her on her feet. He took her face in his hands and placed a long kiss on her forehead. 'Remember, what ever you have to do. Don't die.'

He hugged her again, than gently wiped tears from her check. She could hardly talk over the lump in her throat. 'I love you. And I'm sorry.'

'This isn't your fault. Never think it is. And I love you too, Buffy. More than anything. I love you.' Choaking down a cry of pain, Buffy reached up, grasped his head and kissed him with a passion so strong that it almost made the pain go away.  

When they parted the judge handed Giles a glass of wine, the poison mixed in it. Giles took it and gulped down half. He turned to Buffy one last time 'I love you.'

And than he collapsed. The judge pulled the glass from his hand, and he landed on the floor. Buffy felt her heart tear from her chest. She stared at him, than at the half full glass in the judge's hand.

They weren't fast enough to stop her. She snatched the glass and drank it before they even made a move. Droping the glass, she collapsed on the floor next to Giles.

'Forgive me, Giles. I can't live.'

END