Have Pain, Will Travel
TITLE: Have Pain, Will Travel
DISCLAIMER: The characters in this story all belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, WB etc.
FEEDBACK: Yes please!
SPOILERS: Mid 3rd season. Perhaps up to "Lover's Walk"
SUMMARY: The vampires have organized and are no longer out to feed, but to kill. Buffy seems to be numero ono on their list and so, incapacitated, she is forced to hit the road to protect herself and those she loves.
Buffy landed hard on her back, the vampire trying to pin her down, and all she could think about was the sickening crack her leg made. She saw the vampire try to get at her throat, and tried to push him away. The pain in her leg overwhelmed her, she tried to scream but her chest hurt even more. Her vision blurred, and she almost didn't notice the vampire turning to dust.
'Buffy, are you alright?'
Buffy moaned. She felt Giles rap his coat around her and pick her up. She cried in pain and lost consciousness.
'Will she be alright?'
'It's only her leg, Wesley, she'll be fine. Go get the car started.'
It wasn't just her leg, though, and they both knew it. Breathing hurt her, she wasn't moving the fingers on her left hand, and Giles got a little sick thinking about the blows she took on her back and head. He always dreaded the day the vampires will figure out there's safety in numbers. It seemed the day had arrived. Now all he could do was hope that their loss tonight would get them to turn back to their solitary, maybe two or three at the most, attacks.
Buffy woke up in the hospital, and tried to jump out of her bed before she even really knew what was going on. A wave of dizziness hit her, and she felt someone ease her back to the bed. 'What...'
'Try not to move.'
'Giles, what happened?'
'You don't remember?'
'Just some vampires attacking us, one tried to bit me after he broke my leg... how's my leg?'
She felt her mom's hand on hers. 'How do you feel, honey?'
'Like I was on a date with the master.'
Giles chuckled, happy to hear her make fun of the situation. Even Wesley smiled. Joyce didn't get it.
'That's good, honey. I think. Get some rest, I'll see you in the morning.'
'No!' Buffy tried to sit up again, and this time succeeded. 'Don't leave me here!'
"Buffy, calm down, please' Giles tried to push her back down. 'Everything will be alright.'
'No, Giles, this is public. They can get in. They really want me dead this time. I can't stay here.'
Giles and Wesley extanged looks. 'She's right.'
'We have to get her someplace private.'
'What is she talking about?'
'The vampires, Joyce, it, it seems likely that they were trying t-to kill her, not feed. I didn't even think about that. I thought they just got a little smarter. and a-a hospital is a public place. They can get in and, and finish what they've started. She can't fight them like this.' Giles was sick to his stomach now.
'We have to get her home. Ms. Summers, she's eighteen, she can leave if she wants too, but that means that someone will have to stay with her. Can you take a few days of from work?'
'Yes, I can, of course I can.' She got up to talk to the doctors.
'Joyce and I will watch her in shifts. Xander and Willow can... help...' His voice trailed of.
'What is it?'
"They're in the library. They're watching over Oz.'
'And the library is public too...'
'So if the vampires are looking for Buffy... they got to the library before, they might think of it again. Wesley, get over there. Willow has a tranquilizer gun. Get them out of there, to my place. Joyce and I will take Buffy home.'
Wesley ran out just as Joyce and a doctor walked in.
'Ms. Summers, I'm sure your daughter will be under good care, but she's had a concussion and she really should stay under medical supervision.'
'I assure you, doctor, she's better off in her own, private room.'
The doctor eyed Giles suspiciously. 'Who did you say you were?'
'He's a friend of the family. Please, I just want to take my daughter home.' Joyce was starting to sound a little hysterical.
Buffy woke up again. 'You're taking me home?'
'Yes, yes we are.'
Wesley stormed into the library. Willow was siting on the table, reading. Xander was playing FreeCell.
'Hey, new guy, what's up?'
'You have to get out of here, someplace private, the vampires are out to get Buffy and they might show up here.' He grabbed the gun and looked at the werewolf in the cage. 'How do you get this to him?'
Giles carried Buffy upstairs. She was awake now, and the painkillers were showing their affect. 'So, I say to him... I don't remember what I said to him, but I was funny.'
Giles and Joyce exchanged glances. They got Buffy to bed, and were now trying to get her to stop talking. 'And he's like, I don't remember what he was like, but I'm sure I didn't really like it.'
'Buffy...' Giles was losing the fight. She was almost out of the bed. He was amazed that she could be so strong with two broken ribs, three broken fingers, a broken leg, a concussion and painkillers. 'Buffy, please lie down. You need to rest.' Buffy looked at him with an innocent look and pouted. 'Why?'
Giles sighed. 'Buffy, listen to me, I want you to go to sleep. Please.'
'Well, since you said please... I don't wanna' go to bed!'
Giles sighed again. Joyce decided it was time for bribery 'Buffy, if you'll go to sleep now I'll let you stay home from school for the rest of the week.' Giles smiled at her. It was Friday.
'Alright.' Buffy lied back.
Joyce kissed her good night and got up. Giles turned her head to him and made her look him in the eyes 'Buffy, this is very important. You're in no condition to fight anything right now. I don't want you leaving the house at night until you're fully recuperated, alright?
'You mean I'm grounded?'
Giles thought about that for a second. 'Only while you're sick, and only during the night. But I want you to promise me that you won't get out.'
'Am I gonna' get better?'
Buffy's eyes seemed to clear, and he thought that, for a second, she managed to fight off the painkillers. 'I promise.'
He smiled at her. 'Good girl. Sleep tight.' On an urge he bent over and kissed her forehead. 'I'll see you in the morning.'
She smiled at him and tightened the blanket around her 'Good night.'
He and Joyce left the room and closed the door beyond them.
'You think she'll remember that promise when the killers wear off?'
'If I were you I'd be more worried about her wakening up Saturday morning and remembering the promise you gave her.'
Joyce smiled. 'I'll take her to the mall and all will be forgiven.' She looked at him. There was a cut on his forehead, and he moved like he was hurting all over. 'Are you going home?'
'Yes, I'll go make sure the others are alright. I'll come back as soon as I can, incase someone comes to make trouble.'
'Maybe you should stay home and get some rest. You don't look much better than Buffy.'
'I'll be alright, thank you. Good night.'
'Good night.' She watched him go down the stairs 'Mr. Giles.' He turned to her 'Thank you.' He smiled and left. She turned to her room. She felt uncomfortable around him ever since that night... she tried to tell herself it was just the candy, and knew it wasn't. But he and Buffy seemed to get closer every day. Him being fired cancelled all his reservations, and he wasn't as shy about showing Buffy how much he cared for her. She's already been told how much, now it was only a matter of acting on that information. Joyce knew that any hope she once had of becoming the most important grownup in her daughter's life was now gone.
Willow and Xander were both asleep, lying in awkward positions on the furniture, when he came in. Wesley was sitting there, wide awake, the gun in his hand. Giles smiled to himself. Trust Wesley to stand guard on a tranquilized werewolf. 'You can go home Wesley, thank you.' His voice woke Willow and Xander, who turned to him with tired eyes 'How's Buffy?'
Giles eyed Wesley, who didn't seem to notice the glare. 'She's fine. You can go see her in the morning.' He turned his gaze from Wesley to them. 'Do you want me to take you home?'
'I can do that, I'm going as it is.' Wesley got up and left without another word. He was upset. Once again it was Giles who took care of the slayer, and not him. Xander and Willow said good night quietly and left. Willow turned around at the door 'Someone should call Angel. Do you want me to do it?'
'No, that's alright, Willow, thank you. I'll do it.' She nodded and left. Xander closed the door, mumbling another good night.
Giles dialed Angel's number. He still couldn't bare talking to him. When ever he thought about him his thoughts turned to Jenny, lying on his bed, or to Buffy, tears in her eyes. As much as he tried he couldn't bring himself to make the distinction between Angel and Angelus.
'Angel. Buffy's been hurt. She's home if you want to see her.'
'Is she alright?' The concern in his voice almost made Giles forget his anger and feel sorry for Angel.
'She will be.'
'Alright. Thank you.'
They both hung up. Angel didn't ask how she was hurt. He knew. He ran out of his apartment and dashed to Buffy's house. But with Angel there to protect her for the night, Giles could take care of some other things. He looked at the sleeping werewolf, wondering just how many times they had to shoot him to keep him asleep for so long, and went to his books, to find the un - invite spell. He knew Spike was there twice, and knew that with the slayer down, he might come back.
Buffy woke up with a start. All the blinds on her windows were shot. She could feel Angel there 'Angel...'
He was by her side. 'How are you doing?'
'Fine. What time is it? I mean, if the sun's up, you can't leave, and if my mom finds you here...'
'Your mom did find me here, about an hour before sunrise. She was the one that closed the blinds.'
'Yeah. I guess she learned something about vampires.' He knew that's not what she meant when she said nice, but he wasn't sure what to say.
'I think Giles gave her one of his books.'
They sat in silence for a moment. 'Giles and your mother are downstairs, she's not going to work today. Do you want me to get them?'
'Yeah. Giles. I want to talk to Giles. And tell my mom it's Saturday. That's a mean trick she pulled last night.'
Angel chuckled. 'She told me. I'll go get them.'
He got out to a dark house. Buffy was impressed by how her mother was willing to let him all over the house. Let him alone with her. Giles came upstairs a couple of minutes later.
'Good morning, Giles.'
'Good morning.' He seemed a little embarrassed, puling out a stuffed animal - a cat - from beyond his back 'I got you this. I believe that's as close as you'll get to a puppy from me, seeing as you murdered your egg...'
Buffy giggled. 'And sat on my Giga pet. Thank you.' She took the cat and hugged it. Giles smiled at her and sat on the edge of her bed.
'How do you feel?'
'Worse. Can I have some more painkillers?'
'After you have breakfast.' Buffy made a face at him. Joyce came into the room carrying a tray with some breakfast on it.
'Good morning, honey.'
'Feeling any better?'
'Yeah, sort of.' Giles looked at her, and she gave him a well-I-can't-tell-her-I-feel-like-I-died-again look. He nodded and got up. 'I'll go talk to Angel. We have to leave someone here at all times, in case Faith decides to drop by, and we have to un - invite Spike...'
'You're enjoying this far to much, Giles.' He smiled and headed for the door 'And Giles,' he turned 'I remember what I promised last night.' He nodded and left. Buffy turned her attention to her mother 'And what you promised, you little cheater...'
Giles laughed as he entered the darkened living room. 'She'll get at least two blouses out of that.'
'I say two blouses and some pants. She can really work a guilt trip.' Angel suggested from his corner.
'It's a bet.'
Angel chuckled. Then turned serious 'If Faith does show up, what are we supposed to do?
Giles sighed 'I don't know. Maybe us being here would make her think twice.' He looked up 'I've talked to Joyce. She doesn't mind if we sleep in the guest room. We can sleep in shifts and...' The doorbell stopped him. He looked at Angel and turned to the door. Angel came with him, staying in the shadows.
Giles opened the door. Xander, Oz and Willow smiled at him. He looked at them, releasing his grip on the stake beyond his back (so what if it was day?). 'Ho, you three.'
'Yeah, we wanted to see how Buffy was doing. Is she awake?'
Giles nodded, stepping away from the door 'Yes, but she needs to rest, don't stay too long.'
They got upstairs, mumbling a promise to only stay a couple of minutes.
'Hey, Buffy!' Willow ran over to the bed and hugged her. Buffy cringed at the pressure on her ribs. 'Ho, sorry.'
'Hey, Buffy, how are you?'
Xander indicated the box he was carrying. 'We got you some movies, some books and a lot of un - popped popcorn.'
'Thanks, you guys.'
Oz stepped inside, carrying the VCR. Giles and Angel were beyond him, carrying the large TV. They put it on the table, and Angel started wiring it. 'Hey, Buffy, how are you?' He puled something from his pocket.
'I got you something, it's a little silly - it's a watch that can count the days backwards, so that you'll know how long you have to be here.'
'Thanks Oz, that's really great.'
Giles sat on the bed. Carrying that TV did not go well with all his bruises. 'The doctor said it will take a couple of months, but you are the slayer, so...'
'So it will take less.'
'I'm not sure how much less'
'So that really is not a very good present.' Oz actually sounded disappointed.
'It's okay, Oz. I like it, it's a nice watch'
Oz smiled at her and put his arm around Willow. Angel cried triumphantly 'It's working, what do you want to watch first?'
The kids started going over the movies and arguing. Giles shook his head. He might have known they'd stay until their parents start calling them to come home (which might mean they'll stay forever), and not a minute less, no matter what he said. Joyce smiled at him, knowing what he was thinking 'I'll make popcorn.' She took the untouched breakfast and the corn seeds and went down stairs. Giles went to the closet and pulled cushions out.
The third movie was almost over when Giles heard a sound at the window. He remembered with a sudden horror that he forgot to un - invite Spike, but it was too soon for him... and it was noon. He looked around. He and Buffy were the only ones that were still awake. Everyone else had fallen asleep after a long night of watching a wounded slayer, babysitting a werewolf and being a werewolf. He thought Angel might be awake as well, but he wasn't moving. 'Buffy,' he whispered.
She sounded sleepy 'What?'
'You here that?'
She sat up with a start, and moaned in pain. Angel sat up too, and looked at the window. Just than the window burst open, letting the noon's sun in. Angel cried out and jumped from the bed, landing on Xander, Willow and Oz. Giles stood up, looking franticly for his stake. How could he let himself be so careless?
Faith was parched on the small platform under Buffy's window. Everyone, except for Angel that was still ducked beyond the bed, stared at her, wide awake now. Faith surveyed the scene 'Hello. I see you have some company. I'll come back later.'
'No, you won't.' Giles was angry now, and very defensive. He stood between Buffy and Faith. 'Get lost!'
'I always do what the watcher says.' She grinned and jumped off. Joyce got to the window and shot it. Xander turned the TV off. Giles sat back on the bed next to Buffy.
'Well, that took long.' She looked up at him. 'I guess I really do need a babysitter.'
'I have to go un - invite Spike. You should all go home, we might need you later, but right now you should get some rest.'
He looked at Xander, who nodded and nudged Willow and Oz. They said goodbye and left. Joyce decided to drive them home. Angel sat on the other side of Buffy.
'We need to make a plan. She showed up here faster then even Angelus would have.'
'Buffy, we might have to get you out of town for a while.'
'I think Giles is right, Buffy. Faith will take a while to track you, and the vampires won't follow you, most of them have a very short attention span.'
'Only for a while. Until you get better.' Giles got up. 'There are some humans working with the mayor other than Faith, they don't need to be invited to get in here. We can't keep you safe. You could go to L.A. and stay with your father.'
'We can't stay at one place for too long. News of the slayer travels fast.'
'Than we'll have to keep driving.'
'Angel, how will you travel? The sun...'
'We'll take Oz's van, if he'll let us. Angel would have plenty of dark spots to hide in during the day.'
Angel got up. 'I'll go call Oz. His number in your phone book?'
Buffy nodded 'He might have gone to Willow's, though. God, Giles, I won't graduate.'
Giles looked at her and took his glasses of. 'I'm sorry.' He got up 'I'll go home and pack a bag for Angel and myself. Talk to your mom when she gets back, have her pack you a bag.'
Buffy nodded absentmindedly. He looked at her again, feeling very sorry for her, and left.
An hour later they were ready to leave. Angel was in the back of the van, it's windows darkened, blankets hung up. Oz was giving Giles a van 101 lesson. Giles was trying to convince himself that it was the right thing to do. Maybe there was a way to protect Buffy and let her stay in school...
Wesley showed up to visit Buffy and was now standing there, seeming to sulk. Willow and Xander were talking to Buffy, who was trying not to see the tears in her mother's eyes. Giles sighed as he looked at them. Then went over to Buffy. 'We have to leave.'
Buffy looked at him and nodded. She wobbled over to her mother, a little insecure on her crutches. 'I'll be back in a few weeks, mom.'
'What am I going to tell your father?'
'Just tell him I ran away again.'
Joyce just looked at her, and they hugged. She went back to Xander, Willow and Oz, and hugged them too. Giles came over again 'Good bye, all...' He was stopped by Willow, who hugged him like there was no tomorrow. He hugged her back kindly. 'I'll see you when you get back, right? You'll stop by and say hey?'
'Of course.' He pushed her away and looked into her eyes sternly 'And no big magic while I'm gone, understood?' She nodded, he gave her another short hug and he and Buffy walked over to the van.
'Are you alright?' He asked as he helped her to the passenger's seat.
'No, not really.' She hugged the cat Giles gave her and looked at him 'I will be.'
Giles smiled at her and went over to the driver's seat. Wesley showed up next to Buffy 'I hope you get well soon.'
'Thanks. I'll be back soon. And the vampires seem to be less active whenever I'm out of town. It will be all right.'
Giles started the car, Joyce came in for one last hug, and they drove away.
'Damn these dark windows, I can't see what's beyond me.'
A muffled 'Sorry' from the back of the van made both of them smile. They drove in silence for a while, until they past the 'Now leaving Sunnydale' sign.
'I was here a year ago. That did not end very well.'
'It didn't end too badly, either. You took care of yourself, you came back...'
'You were really mad at me, weren't you?'
Giles looked at her, than back at the road. 'A little.'
Buffy looked at him suspiciously 'Just A little? You hardly said anything to me when I came back.'
'I didn't know what to say...'
'You were mad.'
'Well, you disappeared for three months, we didn't know where you were, if you were alive. Of course I was mad.'
Buffy looked away. 'I'm sorry.'
Giles was about to say something when a crashing noise from the back made both of them jump.
'Ho, it's just that whoever packed the stuff here didn't think about road bumps.'
Giles and Buffy had to smile. Giles was very good at traveling with all his possessions, but not half as good at packing them. Buffy looked at Giles again. He seemed to have grown accustomed to Angel being around. He still wasn't happy about it, she knew that. He probably never will be. But at least his eyes didn't go dark whenever anyone mentioned Angel's name. After everything that Angel did to him, that was all anyone could really ask.
And she liked Angel being around. All of a sudden the trip looked not like a run for her life, but like a nice little tour of the nowhere's of America.
Angel peeked in the rear view mirror. Giles and Buffy were sound asleep, Buffy's head in Giles' lap, his hand around her waist. Asleep, they didn't look like a slayer and a watcher, who have faced more in their lives than most of humanity all together. Their faces were peaceful, baring no sign of the pains and worries that filed their wakeing lives.
He looked back at the road. They went far, and it had only been dark for two hours. Angel hoped that no one would go to Buffy's house and hurt her mother out of frustration. As it was, they had a pretty good chance of not being found until Buffy was healed.
Buffy turned in her sleep, and the pain in her ribs woke her up. She took a few seconds to find her bearings, and then she didn't dare move, afraid to wake Giles. She had no doubt that if he had slept at all the previous night it couldn't have been more than a couple of hours. And she liked the peaceful expression on his face. She hadn't seen him that peaceful since Jenny died. Her thoughts of Jenny turned her attention to Angel, driving silently through the dark road. She knew he felt almost as uncomfortable around Giles as Giles did around him. She coddled her cat and tried to go back to sleep.
A bump on the road sent the packages crashing again, waking Giles and amusing Angel. On the daylight trip he had been buried under their packages three times, and was now very happy to be in the front seat. He thought that he might actually prefer to face the sunlight than get buried again. But no... he'll just have to rearrange the damn things before dawn.
Giles looked around him, seeming to forget what had happened over the last 24 hours. When he finely came around he looked at Buffy, then at Angel, and straightened up. 'How far are we, Angel?'
'Good, good. Maybe we should stop at the next gas station, grab a bite and... well, you know.'
Angel nodded, 'There's one coming right up.'
They stopped at the station and Buffy wobbled happily to the ladies room. Giles watched her go with an expression of awe on his face 'She seems to be enjoying herself.'
Angel looked at her but didn't answer. Giles turned away from Buffy and looked at Angel with a frown. 'What are you going to eat? There was only one packet of blood in your refrigerator. How long would that last you?'
Angel looked concerned 'A couple of days, then we'll have to get some more.' He looked back at the direction of the ladies room. 'I don't like feeding in front of others, especially Buffy.'
Giles had nothing to say about that. He noticed Buffy coming back, and got up. 'We'll go get some drinks, maybe a snack. You mind staying here and watching the van?' Angel shook his head 'Good, we'll be back in a few minutes. Would you like anything?'
'No, thank you.' They looked at each other for a few seconds, and Giles started for the waiting Slayer.
Angel watched them go. She seemed to be really happy with the situation. Odd. He got back to his seat and stared at the people around the station. Giles would have to sleep if he's to drive for the rest of the day, so Angel would have to drive all night. But he really wanted to sit down and have a talk with Buffy. Maybe tomorrow, if she sits in the back with him, they could talk.
He heard Buffy laugh as she and Giles approached the van. Giles was carrying a bag, and offered Angel a cup of coffee. Angel couldn't help wondering if it were he or Buffy that thought about buying it. Giles was polite, but Angel had no doubt that he still held a grudge. He turned his attention to Buffy, that changed her shirt and freshened up a little. She was telling Giles with great detail about her last argument with Snyder, obviously happy that she will never have to deal with him again.
Angel stared back at the road, and froze at the site he saw. Puling into the station was an unmistakable car - Spike's. He closed the door and started the engine 'Spike is here, get in, we have to leave.'
Giles and Buffy looked around for the car, and Giles grabbed Buffy by the waist and lifted her into the van. He jumped in after her and closed the door. Angel tried to look calm as he drove away, careful not to draw attention. He wished he could see through his rear view mirror. As it was all he could do was hope that Spike hadn't noticed them.
Giles looked at Buffy, she had tears in her eyes. 'Buffy? Did I hurt you?'
She shook her head 'Spike will go back to Sunnydale, and God knows what he'll do... he could hurt them... all of them.'
She grabbed her cat and coddled him. Angel and Giles extanged looks through the rear view mirror, but there was nothing they could do.
'Why didn't you bloody tell me you didn't have a driver's license?'
'I didn't think wed get pooled over, I'm sorry.'
Giles and Angel stood side by side outside the Van. One of the officers looked through Giles' papers. The other one peeked into the van. The first one turned to Angel.
'What about you? Don't you have any means of identification?'
Angel shook his head. The officer looked upset. 'I'm going to give you a ticket. And try to get a license before you drive again.'
'Of course, sorry officer.'
Giles glared at Angel who climbed to the back seat next to Buffy. Giles climbed to the drivers sit and the officers left.
'I can't believe you did that. Driving without a license. You could have been arrested.'
'I'm sorry, but you looked like you needed the rest.'
Giles shook his head angrily and started the car. 'Last time I go on a trip with the two of you.'
Buffy woke up in the parking lot of a motel. She looked around and saw Angel sitting in the front sit, his back to her. He had spent all day in the back and seemed happy at the opportunity to play with the radio. Buffy sat up and saw Giles coming form the reception area.
'I got us a room. It has two beds, Angel and I will sleep in shifts.'
'How long are we here for?'
'Not long, but I need to rest before I start driving again.' He helped Buffy out of the van and went to the back with Angel. They started unloading their bags as Buffy stared around her.
'Where are we?'
'I have no idea. But where ever it is they have nice rooms with a bathroom and beds. That's all I'm asking for.'
Buffy woke up with a start, shaking all over. Giles rushed over to the bed and sat down, holding her hands 'Are you alright?'
Buffy looked around her. Then up at his concerned face 'It was just a dream. I'm sorry I woke you.'
Giles just gave her a little smile. She laid back, hugging the cat. 'Do you remember what the dream was about?'
'Just you and Angel fighting something, and Angel died and you were hurt.' She looked around again. 'Where is Angel?'
'He's looking for something in the van. Go back to sleep, you need to rest.'
'I've been asleep for almost two days straight.'
'Never the less. We'll be leaving in a few hours, and you should get all the rest you can.'
Buffy knew she wasn't going to win this fight. There was no way she was going to get the better of Giles in a verbal argument when he was playing mother hen.
'Alright, good night.'
'Good night.' And for the second time since she was hurt, Giles found himself bending over and giving her a light kiss on her forehead. He gave her another smile and stepped over to his own bed.
Buffy turned on her side a little, as much as her wounded body would let her. She was getting better - she could feel it. It was less than three days since she was injured, and her fingers were already out of the splints, and her ribs felt much better, but Giles still looked like he wanted to warp her in a cotton ball. And Angel wasn't any better.
She heard the door open as Angel came in. She didn't turn, although she knew that Giles would know that she wasn't really asleep. And Angel too, probably.
Angel turned to Giles 'We should leave. Sundown was an hour ago.'
'I'm not sure it's safe for me to drive. I'm as tired as hell.'
'Then I'll drive.'
'You most certainly will not.'
'We're in the next state, they won't know about that ticket. And that pulling over was a random check. What are the odds it will happen again?'
'Much better than they were before you said that.' There was a moment of silence. 'Very well, get the bags, I'll get Buffy.'
Joyce looked out the window when she heard the car pull into the driveway. She hoped it was Buffy, but didn't recognize the odd looking car. But she did recognize the man that stepped out of it very well. She could only assume the woman was that lover who had left him...
She looked at them approach the door and smiled with satisfaction as they hit an invisible obstacle and growled. Joyce turned around and went upstairs.
Angel slammed at the brakes. 'Jesus, he's nuts!'
Giles woke up with a start 'What is it?'
Whistler stepped over from the middle of the road, smiling to himself at the look of outer annoyance on Angel's face. 'Angel, Buffy, how are you?'
Angel smiled lightly. Buffy didn't. 'What do you want?'
'Who are you?'
'Giles, this is Whistler, he's...'
'Yes, Buffy told me about him.' Giles turned to Whistler 'What are you doing here?'
'They tried to kill her. You know that?' They all nodded 'They didn't do it just for spite, they did it because someone asked them too.'
'We realizes that.'
'Do you know who?'
Whistler eyed Angel 'You're looking better then the last time I saw you. And yes, I know. It was Drusilia. She wanted Buffy out. She and Spike want Sunnydale back.'
'And we just left and gave it back to them. Great.'
'We saw them. They were heading for Sunnydale. Why do they want it?'
'I guess they were home sick. There's no big end of the world reason. But they do, and they're afraid of the slayer. They saw what she could do.' He turned to Buffy 'By now they know you left, kid, and they'll try and track you. When you get better, you have to go back to Sunnydale and hurt them before they get a chance to hurt you again.'
Giles looked concerned 'So now we have Spike and Drusillia running around Sunnydale, with no slayer.'
'Don't worry about it. Spike isn't very popular there at the moment. It will take him some time to get over that and start running things again. By that time your slayer would be much better. Nice talking to you, I'll be leaving now. '
'So, what, we just drive around until they find us or I get better?'
Whistler nodded 'Which ever comes first.'
Spike looked through the old mansion. It looked much more human-home-sweet-home than it had when he lived there. He hated it. He and Dru walked around, arranging their own stuff, throwing away Angel's.
'So, pet, what do you want to do now?'
Dru smiled innocently. 'I'm getting a little hungry. No slayer, isn't that beautiful? Why not make an impression on the locals by killing as many of them as we can?'
Spike smiled back and kissed her. 'Your wish is my command, pet.'
Mayor Willkins was upset. He was all giddy when he heard about Buffy's departure. Spike and Dru's return was not good news. He turned to the slayer sitting across from him and eyed her 'Are you sure it was them? You've never actually seen them before.'
'It was them. I asked that Willy guy at the bar. They're back. They were the ones that ordered the attack on Buffy. What ever they have in mind, it's big.'
'I really hate this, I mean, first the master, than Spike and Dru, than Spike, Dru and Angel, and before I even get used to being the one in charge, Spike and Dru are back. We shall have to do something about this.'
Faith smiled 'What did you have in mind?'
Giles looked at Buffy, asleep again. She had slept a lot the last few days, and Giles was getting worried. Slayers didn't need much sleep, and Buffy's inability to stay awake was alarming.
Even through her sleep Buffy could feel his stare. She woke up slowly and smiled at him, embarrassed to see that she had once again fallen asleep with her head in his lap. She straitened up and yawned. 'How do you feel?'
'Worse. I don't get this. Things don't hurt as much, but I'm always tired and funny feeling.'
Giles put a gentle hand on her forehead. She was a little hot. 'It's possible that you're coming down with something.'
Buffy shook her head. 'It's probably just the painkillers. I'll be alright.'
Giles gave her a look and turned his attention to staring out the window. She sat up and looked through the window herself. 'Where are we?'
'I don't know, and neither does Angel. We're just going north, sometimes East. '
'We'll end up in New York.'
Giles looked at her. She sounded excited. He was amazed at her ability to see this situation for the good in it. She didn't even seem home sick. And Spike and Drusillia weren't worrying her. What was it about her that allowed her to land on her feet no matter what happened?
'Would you like that?'
'Yeah, I've never been there. Might be nice.'
'Than we'll go there.'
Buffy gave him a smile and peeked at Angel 'Hey, Angel, we're going to New York, step on it.'
Spike looked around him, a little annoyed, he thought for sure that with the lack of a slayer, her friends would be out doing the hunting. But he's been there for two hours and...
'Hello, you're new.'
Wesley looked at him, a little curios 'Who are you?'
'Most people refer to me as Spike.'
Spike smilled as he saw the fear in Wesley's face. 'You know me?'
Wesley nodded silently, and polled a stake out. He made a run for the vampire, and Spike side staped him and smiled. 'That wasn't very friendly of you.' He grabed Wesley's hands and forced the stake loss. 'Let's see, suit, british accent, knows me - must be...' his smile widend 'A watcher! Isn't that great. And just when I was thinking we lost the good meals, pet.'
Dru stepped out from beyond a tomb stone. 'He's not the watcher. That watcher was older, nicer.'
'Must be more than one, luv. What do you want to do with him?' Spike pulled Wesley up and held him infront of Dru. 'Eat or have fun?'
Dru looked at Wesley, her eyes fixed on his face. 'He's scared. I don't like cowards. The other one was much better.'
'Would you stop druling over that watcher?'
Dru looked up at Spike, than back at Wesley's terrified face. 'I don't like him. You can have him.'
Spike smiled again and vamped out.
Buffy sat next to Giles, Angel sitting across from them at the dinner table. She was felling worse, and she was now sure that Giles was right - she was coming down with something. She stared at her food. It tasted funny. Not her mom's, not cafeteria, not Giles' odd cooking, which she tasted every once in a while and always regrated it. She was getting very home sick now, and played with the food on her plate. The silence around the table was unnerving. Giles and Angel didn't talk to each other, and she wasn't really in any sort of mood to talk to them. 'I want home.' She was surprised to hear herself say that. She didn't mean to, it just blurted out.
Neither man answerd. They watched her mood fall over the last couple of days. Angel was getting hungry and Giles was either driving or asleep. The van was as cheery as an open hellmouth. Giles thought sadly that they were being selfish, leting their thoughts bring them down and effect everybody else. But not even the sadnes they caused their slayer was enough to shake them all out of their lonely thoughts.
Angel cleared his throat. 'I think I'll go get myself something to eat.' He got up and left to the hospital a couple of blocks away. Buffy and Glies hardly even noticed.
Finally Buffy couldn't take the silence. 'How long before we can go back?' She looked up at the man sitting next to her. He looked at her kindly.
'I don't know, when you'll get better - really better, we'll turn around.'
Buffy nodded slowly. Giles checked her forhead again. 'You're defenitaly running a fever.' Buffy didn't respond. 'Eat something, you need the energy.'
'Not hungry. And this food isn't good, it isn't home food.'
Giles didn't know what to say. As long as she kept drinking, she wasn't in any imidiate danger, and he knew that even though he could probably win the fight over food, it would only make her feel worse. He decided to change the subject, but didn't know what to say. Buffy took care of that for him "Are you still mad at me and Angel?'
He looked at her with surprise. 'No. Why would I be mad at you or Angel?'
'Because of everything we did. Lying and hiding him, and sneeking out to the movies last night...'
Giles didn't want to tell Buffy that Angel asked his permission to take her that night. He pretended to be upset, angry at their irresponsibiltiy. But as Angel told him that Buffy actually smiled during the night, he knew that he made the right decision. 'I'm not mad at you. Hiding him... I'll admit I was furious when I first found out. I don't think I was very good at covering that. But I understand why you did it. Because you're right - I am angry with Angel. I know it's not the same man that killed Jenny and caused you so much pain. And tortured me. But I can't help it.'
'Then why did you let him come with us?'
'Because I needed help. And because you wanted him too. I'm not going to let my irrational feelings get in the way of your friendship.'
Buffy gave him a little smile, than got back to looking sad. 'I miss home. I really do. I didn't when we first left, but now there's nothing I want more than to be in my own bed with mom's cooking in my stomach.'
Giles didn't know what to say. They sat there for a few minutes more, until Angel came back, looking calmer. He paid the tab and they all left silently. Giles helped Buffy into the van and climbed up after her. She looked at him sadly and leaned on his shoulder. She had hardly said anything the last day, aside from the conversition over dinner, just relying on Giles and Angel's proximity for comfort. He shyly put his arm around her, and as she cuddled her cat they both went back to sleep.
Angel peeked at them through the rear view miror. He heard, from Whistler, that a slayer and her watcher often shared a kind of connection. He wondered if they might be feeding each other's depression through that conection.
Giles was thinking about the very same thing. But he knew the truth about the conection - all it ment was that the slayer and the watcher could feel each other's presence, in much the same why she was able to feel a vampire. Sometimes he wished there had been more, whenever he didn't really know what was wrong with her, like now. And sometimes, like after the test, the last thing he wanted was to know was what she thought.
But right now he wished to God he could read her mind, because he had no idea what was wrong. It wasn't the fever. She had been sick before, she never got that quiet. She wasn't that quiet when she was ignored, over a week ago. And she couldn't have been that home sick - it wasn't really like her. He tried to think back at when this whole thing started... about the time they got to that motel, she started getting these far away looks, after she had woken up, shivering all over...
Of course! Why hadn't he thought of that before? She must still be having nightmares. He looked down at her, holding that cat, she looked like a little girl. Giles hadn't seen her in that state much. It was usually Angel, or rather Angelus, that got her like that. And sometimes Giles himself did it, but not only with that damn test; it seemed that if he showed his concern, if he acted less like a watcher and more like a friend, she would drop all of her defences, leaving just the scared little kid, having little resemblance to the strong slayer he usually saw. Like the last time she had nightmares; they were about a demon, whom she later defeated in battle, but while the nightmares lasted she was much like she was now - quiet, the life taken out of her. She had come to him than, in the middle of the night, scared out of her senses, refusing to go back to sleep. He didn't want to be harsh, to tell her to stop being afraid of her dreams and force her to go back to bed, he tried to be kind, more supportive, and she fell apart in his arms, crying and shivering with fear and exhuastion. He finally got her to go to bed, and spent the rest of the night holding her hand. But the nightmares didn't stop, and they won't stop now. Not until they had been fulfilled, at least to some extent. What ever it was she was dreaming about he hoped it would come true soon, he couldn't stand watching her like that. He pulled her up until she was resting in his lap. Her head fell against his chest. He kissed her forehead tentetively, than pressed his cheek against it, holding her tightly.
Faith looked around her. This wasn't how it was supposed to go. She looked at the fleaing vampiers, those who were lucky enough to escape. There were only two of them. Just Spike and that fragile looking Drusiilia. She should have known better. Vampiers were not weak, no matter what they looked like. But to beat more than a dozen vampiers... just the two of them... she hadn't counted on that. And now she will never find any other vampiers to fight those two. She cursed quietly and turned back to the mayor's office.
'Would you like some breakfast?'
Buffy munched on some popcorn 'I have breakfast.'
'Last night's popcorn remains are hardly breakfast.'
'Is it digestable?'
'Than it's breakfast.'
Giles yanked the bag out of her hand in mocked anger and helped her up. They went outside and blinked in the morning sun. 'Angel, Would you like something to eat?'
'Just some coffee, thank you' Came the reply from the van.
Giles guided Buffy to a small resturant at the other side of the parking lot. 'You seem to be doing much better.'
'Yeah, my leg hardly hurts anymore. And it only took two weeks...'
'That's not what I meant. Did the nightmares stop?'
Buffy shook her head slowly as they sat down. 'They won't until they actually happen, you know that.'
'Yes, I do.' They sat quietly as they examened the menus. 'I talked to Xander last night. Wesley was killed last week. Vampire bight.'
Giles looked at her. She didn't like Wesley, he knew that. He didn't like him himself. But he expected some kind of reaction from her. 'I informed the council. They'll send someone new as soon as they can.'
Buffy looked up at him 'They won't let you be my watcher?'
'Wesley's reports, on our behavior and attitued, have made them even more determind to find someone else to watch you. I'm afraid I'm not very popular over there right now.'
'But this one might not let you stay.'
Giles looked at her for a second, than lowerd his eyes. 'He may not let Giles stay, but he'll have a hell of a time getting Ripper to leave.'
Buffy smiled at him. 'I'm sure my mother would be thrilled. She could hardly stand you, and now Wesley and this new guy...' She looked up at him 'I think she really hates you.'
'You're mother doesn't hate me, Buffy. She hates what I've become to you. She hates that I knew more about you: that you were the slayer, that you come to me with problems that have nothing to do with the slaying. She thinks I know more about you than her, and she's probebly right. That's what she hates.'
'It's not fair that she's blaming you.'
'Would you rather that she blamed you?'
'And this has nothing to do with the fact that you had sex with her and didn't call her the morning after?'
Giles blushed 'I wish you'd stop bringing that up.' He exaled 'You shouldn't blame your mother for resenting your watchers. We take up a part of your life she'll never have. She'll resent all your boyfriends and your husband for the same reason. It's a metarnal instinct. Kind of like buying swathers.'
Buffy smiled. Maybe she did come to Giles with her problems more often than to her mom. But that was because Giles listend, gave advice. He almost never passed judgment on matters unrelated to the slaying or her school work. She liked that; his acceptance of her mistakes, no matter what they were. He always forgave her. For lying, for not listening to him, for running away... no matter what she did, he always forgave, excepted her with a warm smile. Sometimes she'd think about that at night, and she'd feel so bad about some of the things she'd done... he came over here for her, he stayed when he didn't have to, he did more for her than his duties called for, and still she behaved like a spoiled little child.
And Angel... Giles had once told her that it was all his fault... that as the watcher it was his responsibilty to keep them apart, to forbid their relationship from going beyond that of two people fighting for the same thing. If he had done his duty, none of this would have happened. He admited, rather shyly, that he let them get together because it made her smile. Because she was always happy when they were together, and he liked that. He did it for his own selfish reason, and they had paid dearly for it. She didn't know what to say. All she could do was remind him of all the times that Angel had saved all their lives. 'If it weren't for him we'd all be dead by now.' She knew it was the wrong thing to say as soon as she said it. Because someone was dead - Jenny. Angelus made her death as tromatic as he could, for both her and Giles. She thought about Giles, crying in her arms that night, as his heart broke into a million pieces. She tried to help him, to put it back together, and just as she got close, Angelus took him. And then she left. like a little girl who didn't get her way, she ran and left him to deal with all his pain by himself. After everything he did for her, she didn't even have the decency to stay with him. And he still loved her. She came back and he accepted her without a word. Then she lied about Angel, and he still forgave her. She hurt him so much over her and Angel, and he helped him. He let her help him. He didn't go charging at him, trying to avenge his pain, Jenny's death. He forgave him like he forgave her, no matter what they did.
She looked up at him. The waitres placed their plates in front of them, and he dug in. she never saw him so casual, except on the candy. He wasn't wearing a tie, his hair wasn't completely in place and she could sware he hadn't cleaned his glasses since he got up that morning. He felt her star and looked up 'Is everything okay?'
She smiled 'Yeah, everything's fine... I'm just not really hungry.'
'Well, eat anyway. If I bring you home even a pound lighter your mother would have my neck.'
'Interesting choice of words.'
He smiled at her and pointed at her plate with his fork 'Eat, save my life.'
'They've been here for two weeks and you haven't done anything about them.'
'Well, you know, it's kinda hard to get anyone to fight them after they dusted, literally, my entire "army".'
'I do not except excuses. Find a way to get ride of them and do it now.'
'And how do you suggest I do that?'
'Work with your old friends. They fought them before, they're still here. Maybe they could give you some pointers.'
The insult was more than Faith could take. She decked the mayor with a well aimed fist. 'Fine.'
Buffy sat next to Giles in the front seat. She liked Canada, but she really missed her home. And she was anxious to go back. Spike and Dru had tried getting all of their friends, and they had very little doubt who it was exactly that killed Wesley. They were heading south now, that's all she cared about. Less than a month into their trip, they had already taken her cast off. She was still limping, but she felt much better. Nothing hurt, she was over that virus, and Angel and Giles seemed to have gotten used to each other. All in all it was a really nice trip. But the nightmares...
They came every time. She couldn't see what Giles was fighting, but she could tell he was hurt. he was loosing the fight, one of his arms in a sickening angle, scratches on his cheek. She was on the floor, kneeling next to a pile of ashes she knew was Angel, even though she didn't see him staked. She didn't even notice the fight around her very much. There were a lot of people around, all fighting, but all she could do was stare at the remains of her Angel.
That was as far as she ever got in her dream, in the first night she had it, in that motel, when she woke herself up. It had always been Angel or Giles that woke her up since, and usually long before she reached that point. she got used to the dream, and when she woke it no longer made her shake with fear. She'd simply thank who ever woke her and go back to sleep. And they'd wake her up again.
She thought about her dream. She didn't know who they were fighting or where, she didn't know who other than Giles was in the fight. She didn't know when or why. She just knew that Giles was hurt, and Angel was dead.
She looked at Giles again. He hadn't mentioned the council or Wesley since the day he told her he died. Since he called Willow the previous night and didn't say anything about a new watcher she assumed a new one hadn't gotten there yet. 'You think the council forgot to send a watcher?'
'They're probably just taking their time. With you gone there's no point in hurrying to send someone along.'
'I hope he takes his time, 'cause I think Spike and Dru must really be getting hungry by now. He should probably wait until we're back.'
Giles smiled at the idea of the new watcher dying before he even met his slayer. 'I hope they won't all die on us. I might become your watcher simply because no one else will be left.'
''That's as good a reason as any.'
He smiled again. Then got back to frowning. Buffy looked at him curiously. 'Dollar for your thoughts?'
He looked at her for a second. 'I was thinking about Jenny.'
'You've been doing that a lot lately.'
'Angel's bringing back memories.'
'You still miss her?'
'You wouldn't believed how much.' He thought for a moment. 'I never got to tell her I loved her.'
'It wasn't your fault.'
'Yes, it was. I should have killed Angelus when I had the chance. I should have gotten you to talk to her earlier. I should have known he'd try to kill her the moment I found out what she really was. And I didn't. And she's dead.'
'You listen to me - you had no way of knowing what would happen. Never assume you can prevent everything that might happen just because you're the slayer. I did that - blamed myself for everything. Every time you got as much as a scratch I used to tell myself it was because I didn't train you enough. When Jenny died, when you ran, I thought it was all my fault. But I learned that I can't stop everything, I can't control everything, no matter how much I might like to. Don't go there - feeling guilty for things you can't help will only make things worse. Neither one of us can save everything. We'll have to be happy with what we have, what we can save.'
'Don't guess, be sure. And never think Jenny's death was your fault.'
'Why would we want to help you?'
Xander and Faith glared at each other from opposite sides of the library table 'You want them out, I want them out. The enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that crap. We have a better chance of getting them if we work together.'
'And why do you want them out?'
'Lets just say my friends don't like them. And I don't like people bothering my friends. So, are you with me on this or not?'
Xander glared at her for another moment, than looked at Willow. She shurged, and he turned back to Faith. 'We're with you.'
Buffy stared out the window absentmindedly. She loved rain, but Angel wasn't very good at driving on the wet road. She concidered waking Giles, but decided he was just as dangerous driving tired as Angel was driving in general. She looked down at him, wondering how he'd react when he woke and found that this time it was he who had fallen asleep with his head in her lap. Even though she had made it a habit to sleep in his cradeling arms, taking comfort in his presence, she knew that he would be embaresed to find himself in her arms like that. And for the first time since Jenny died, she knew he was comfortable. And she was too. Little conversations they'd had during their trip had gotten them closer than she ever thought possible. He no longer stuttered or cleaned his glasses when ever she talked to him about things that weren't vampire or demon related. And he talked to her about things she never thought he'd tell anyone, like his relationship with Jenny or his years with Ethan. And he no longer hesiteted to put his arms around her when she slept. He was deffinitely getting over his shyness, around her at least.
The motel room was dark, and it's gloomy atmosphere quieted them down. Buffy sat in bad, staring at the news on TV. Giles was laying half asleep on the bed next to hers. Angel was taking a shower.
Buffy looked around in bordem, not interested in what ever it was they were talking about. She looked at Giles, trying to figure out how to get him to let her stay up. She didn't want to sleep. The nightmares had changed. This time she got up to try and help Giles, and sudenly saw all the other bodies around her. Xander, Willow, Oz and Cordi. Her mom and dad, Ms. Calender, Kandra, Faith, the master and Colin. Spike and Dru. And she felt a hole in her heart as she watched him die by the hands of the creature she now knew was himself.
The news was over. Giles turned the TV off and turned to his side to look at her. She gave him a faint smile. 'You should get some sleep. We'll be leaving in the morning.'
'Sure you don't want to rest for another day?'
'I'm fine, thank you.'
Buffy was at a loss. She had to stay awake... 'Why don't we go watch a movie? There's got to be something new on.'
'No, I think we better stay in tonight. You're not up to full strength, I don't want you out after dark.'
Buffy jumped of the bed 'Than let's train. You and Angel attack me.'
Giles sat up in bed, eyeing her suspiciously 'Why are you so full of energy tonight? You've hardly slept in the last couple of days...' Finally understanding, he got up and walked over to her 'You don't want to go to sleep.' It wasn't a question. He knew her, knew what the nightmares did to her. And he knew he was right - the new version of the dream was more than she was willing to handle.
Buffy squirmed 'I know it sounds stupid, but I really don't want to see any of that dream again.'
Giles looked at her kindly and held her hand 'You have to rest. You can't stay awake until it goes away. You know that.'
She looked away, than back up at him 'Not tonight, please?'
He shook his head and guided her back to her bed 'You have to sleep.'
Reluctantly, she slid under the covers and looked up at him 'Stay with me?'
He nodded, sat down next to her and put his arms around her as she placed her head on him and closed her eyes 'Good night, Giles.'
'Sweet dreams, Buffy.'
He stroke her hair slowly, trying to comfort her. Angel came out of the shower, drying his hair. A look of pain crossed his face at the look of Buffy held tightly in Giles' arms. 'How is she?'
'The nightmares are worse.'
Angel nodded and sat down on the other bed. 'You can go to sleep, Angel. I'll stay awake.'
'You have to drive in the morning.'
Giles thought about that, and looked down at Buffy, already sound asleep. He wasn't going to get much sleep in this position, proped up against the bed board. But he knew Angel was right. He had to sleep. He had only one choice - he slide down gently, laying down next to Buffy, feeling awkward, and just tired enough not to care. 'Good night, Angel.'
Angel looked at them for another second and opened his book. Buffy had gotten more and more dependet on Giles, leaving Angel to simply look as she grow closer to Giles and drifted away from him. Giles seemed oblivious, or maybe he didn't care. He heard Buffy mumble and looked up in time to see Giles tighten his embrace and put his forhead to hers. She quieted down. That was the only way they could get her to sleep these days - someone had to hold her, the touch aperantly keeping the dreams away. And Angel hated that more often than not, it was Giles that held her.
'We shouldn't wait that long. They'll have their own army by then.'
Faith paced restlesly in the library. Xander looked at her angirly 'We'd be better off with Buffy, Giles and Angel here to help us.'
'It won't do any good to have more people on our side if they have an army on theirs.'
'Never the less, we're waiting. You're welcome to go ahead now, or you can wait with us.'
Faith let out an exasperated sigh. 'Fine.'
Giles landed hard on his back. He monad in pain as Buffy ran to him and crouched down. 'I'm so sorry, Giles, are you alright?'
Giles moaned again and sat up 'Perhaps Angel was right. We should do this on the grass somewhere.'
'Well, we can't go to the park, people will notice.' She helped Giles of the abandoned factory's floor. 'They might call the cops.'
Angel stood up too, dusting himself. 'you've been in Sunnydale for so long, you still haven't noticed that people don't call the cops?'
She shruged and smiled at him. 'You know, in all my years as slayer, the police have been the least of my worries. I was more afraid they'd call the F.B.I, or the mariens, or something other that was well armed. Sunnydale's police... them I can handle.'
'Not at your condition.' Giles took in her panting, the bruise on her arm. 'You've been fighting for five minutes and you're tired. We need to train more before we get back home. I'm sure Spike and Dru, and all their friends, would put up quiet a fight.'
Buffy smiled again and lifted a stake. 'Ready when you are.'
'Ho, by the way, I've talked to Willow last night. She said the new watcher arrived.'
Buffy looked disapointed 'How is he?'
'Dead. He wouldn't listen to them when they tried to warn him about Spike and Dru.'
Buffy couldn't help gigiling. 'I told you he'd end up as dinner.'
Giles gave her a stern look, then smiled himself. 'Yes, well, you were always very good at predicting the future.' He put his stern face back on 'Still, this is no laughing matter.'
Buffy quieted down 'I'm sorry.'
'Well, let's go back to training, shall we?'
'No fun Spike. We didn't have anyone nice to eat in a really long time, and I want to hurt that slayer that killed my Angel.'
'Not to worry, love. Angelus has taught me a lot, you know. I learned that you don't have to physically hurt the slayer to cause her pain.'
'What did you have in mind, Spike?'
'Hurt the people around her, ducks.'
Buffy sat with Angel in the back of the van. Giles sent her there, to keep him company. At first she thought that Giles just wanted to be alone, but than, as she saw the look on Angel face, she realized that Giles had simply spoted her neglect of the vampire and the way it made him feel.
Giles stared at the infintely long road ahead, trying desperatly to find a sign that might tell them where they were. As of the moment the only thing he knew for sure was that they were heading south, and that was only because the sun was in his eyes.
He heard Buffy gigle and smiled. Inspite of his feeling towards Angel, he felt sorry for him as he was forced to watch Buffy get over him. It wasn't just falling out of love. She was keeping a distence, almost avoiding him. And he had no doubt why that was.
When they first went on the trip he thought she clung to him, insisting on sleeping in his arms, because of the pain and the slight home - sickness. And than the nightmares that ruined her mood. But as she got over all of those - and countinued to cuddle in his arms - he realized that she just liked it. That she preferd that to sleeping alone on the hard seat, preferd his hesitant embrace to not being held at all. More and more he saw the part of her that, instead of growing up in super speed, was left far behind. The part of her that just wanted to be held and comforted. For some reason, she wanted him to be the one to comfort her, and that meant there was less time and reason for her to be with Angel.
The sun set. He stopped the car and got out. Buffy joined him as he stretched his limbs. They watched the last rays of light disapear under the horizon and got to the back of the van, were Angel had spent his days setting up a small comfy space.
Angel moved to the front and started driving. Giles and Buffy talked a little, lying on the spred blankets next to each other. Giles dozed of and fell asleep. Buffy watched him and thought about everything that'd happened since she got to Sunnydale. Giles changed her - she knew that - she listend to him, did what he told her for the most part. When she got there she was very different, refusing to listen to anything he said, sometimes just because he said it. She remembers the time, not long after she got to Sunnydale, when she tried to join the cheerleading team. He hated the idea. She asked him then how he was planning to stop her. She knew that now, all he'd have to do was give her a look and she'll do it. She won't be happy about it, but she'll do it.
And she changed him too. He was very different - no longer uptight, not as shy and reserved around her. He had learned to let go a little, laugh and smile and say what he thought and felt, even if it had nothing to do with slaying. He even used the computer a couple of times. She smiled every time he hurried to stuff the computers beyond the counter the minute they weren't in use. Even when he refused to turn them on, he knew exactly how to hook one up. And now, due to the combiend aforts of Willow and Jenny, he knew how to turn one on, and, from what she'd heard, how to enter chat rooms. And he got over that tweed thing a little.
The car hit a bump and Giles woke. He saw her staring at him and smiled a little. She didn't know where the question she asked came from 'What will you do when I die?'
Giles blinked, obviously in shock. 'What?'
'When I die.'
He sat up 'Don't talk like that!' Buffy flinched at the anger in his voice.
He exhaled and leaned against the wall. 'I don't know. I'm sorry I yelled.'
He looked at her for a long moment, than opened his arms. She pulled herself up to him and leaned against his chest. She felt a tear drop on her head and wrapped her arms around him. 'I'm sorry.'
Joyce Summers was surprised to see her ex - husband at the door. He knew that Buffy had gone away, but she had offerd him no explanition. 'Hank, come in.'
'Thank you. And before you say anything, I know about Buffy. And about slaying. And I know her former watcher and vampire ex - boyfriend took her away until she heals from a rough battle.'
Joyce stared at him in disbelief for a moment 'How...'
Hank smiled, and vamped out.
Giles smiled at Buffy across the candle light table. He had no idea where Angel got the money to buy her dress, or rent his tux, or pay for the meal. But he did. And so Giles and Buffy found themselves eating at the fanciest restaurant in town at what should have been her prom night.
He got up and offered her his hand 'May I have this dance, Ms. Summers?'
Buffy smiled and took his hand. He guided her to the dance floor and put an arm around her waist. She smiled again, moved it to her back and pulled him closer, until her head was resting on his chest. He was aware of the looks they got from the other dinners as he put his head on top of hers, but ignored them. Let them think what they want. Buffy deserved a prom night. And what ever they were thinking couldn't be worse than the roomers running around Sunnydale high.
He wondered what they might have said if they saw them that trip - the last couple of weeks Buffy spent in Giles' bed, refusing to face the dream alone. He couldn't even begin to imagine what principle Snyder might say, but he was sure it would include blaming Buffy for everything since Rome fall, including, must likely, the actual falling. .
But they were away from them all, right now. And they won't be back in Sunnydale until tomorrow night at the earliest. And when they were there... Buffy would live with her mother, and the new watcher and all their friends would be there. Things will never be the same again. No more three in the morning breakfasts, no more snuggling in the van, watching the moon lit landscape go by; And, since he skipped out on his job, no more training sessions in the library, no more spending all his money feeding the slayerettes on an all - night research party, no more sitting in his office, hearing their cheerful voices as they skip another class to join him in their sanctuary. Nothing will be as it was during or before their trip. He decided to savor every moment he had with her before they go back to their normal life. He held her tighter and placed a gentle kiss on the top of her head. What will things be like now? Will anything be the same? The other kids will be heading of to collage; Willow to Boston, Xander to Los Angales. Buffy will be alone, only watchers and her mother for company. She made it this far because she had friends to guard her back and her sanity. How will she deal with everything from now on?
The song was over. Buffy pulled away from him and smiled 'You're a wonderful dancer.'
'So are you. I'm surprised.'
She smiled and they headed back to the table. She smiled a lot that night, he noticed. The kind of smile she put on when she couldn't believe she could be happier. And he realized that he had the same feeling. Only, unlike him, she seemed to not really believe it. She was still full of hope, thinking that her life might turn out nice. He was all out of happy thoughts about the future. All he could see in his mind was a lonely Buffy dying a horrible death. He looked at her before she sat down, trying to memorize the expression on her face for future reference, praying he'd have another chance to see it.
I walked in and froze. I've seen a lot in my years as homicide detective in Sunnydale, but this was different. The woman was strapped to a chair in the hall facing the door, obvious torture marks on her. The uniform approached me "Detective. May I introduce you to Joyce Summers, owner of the house, found half an hour ago, declared dead by the ambulance crow.'
I shook my head and looked away from the mutilated form of Summers. 'Who called the ambulance crow?'
He gestured into the living room. 'They came in and found her. The girl's her daughter, the other two say they're friends of the family.'
I nodded and looked at them. They were seated on the couch. The girl was in the older man's lap, her head against his cheek, his arms tightly around her. The younger man was sitting next to them, holding one of her hands, but the girl wasn't looking at him; her gaze was fixed on a pile of ashes on the floor. I looked at it and at the uniform 'What is that?'
'We don't know. Someone from the M.E's office took some of it for inspection. There was a little wooden stake in the middle of it. They took that too.'
I nodded again and made my way to the trio on the couch. From closer inspection I thought the older man looked a little familiar. I sat on the coffee table in front of him and the girl, but she was still gazing at the pile. The younger man turned to me.
'Hey, I'm the detective assigned to the investigation. My name's Pembalton. I'd like you to answer some questions, if that's okay.'
I snuck a look at the other two, than turned back to him 'What's your name?'
'Angel, the three of you came in and found her like that?'
'Was there any sign to the man that did it?' An unidentifiable sound emerged from the girl, and the other man held her tighter. Angel shook his head.
'Do you have any idea who might want to do that to her? Did she have any enemies?'
That's what they all think. 'Where were you before you came in?'
The older man spoke for the first time 'We were out of town. Buffy ran away, we went to get her. We found her two days ago, which is also the last time any of us talked to Mrs. Summers.'
I nodded. 'What's you name?'
'Giles. Rupert Giles.'
The calendar case. That's why he looked so familiar. She was found in his apartment. That file was still open. Most of the files in Sunnydale were still open. 'I'd like one of you to come down to the precinct with me and give a statement.'
Angel stood up. 'I'll go.'
I nodded and got up. 'I'm very sorry, Ms. Summers. Is there anyone you want us to contact? Your father perhaps?'
She whimpered again. Mr. Giles kissed her temple gently and looked at me, looking almost as sad as her. 'We'll take care of everything, thank you.'
I nodded again and moved towards the door, Angel following me. The M.E stopped me, saying that for now it looked like the cause of death was massive internal bleeding due to severe physical trauma. That, in English, means she was killed in one of the most painful ways known to man.
The funeral was a gloomy event, a dizzying array of speculations as to Hank's whereabouts, sincere grieving for Joyce and bitter arguments with Buffy about living with Giles. Willow heated it - Buffy didn't cry at all until she put flowers on the fresh grave, but when she did it took her almost half an hour to stop. And then her family attacked her. For "running away". Living with Giles. Even for not knowing where her father was.
And finally Buffy lost it. In tears again she ran as fast as she could. She wasn't sure where, but she couldn't stand it. Half an hour after finally realizing her mother was really dead, she was blamed for it. And she believed them. Not because of the reasons they thought about, but because she wasn't there - she made Spike look for other targets. She left him alone for long enough to find her father, change him and send him rageing on her mother. Two more people who's death she thought of as her responsibility.
She came out of her trance when she found herself in front of her house. The yellow tape was still on it. She hadn't been there since that night. She couldn't. she still had her luggage from her trip - There was nothing in that house for her now.
She got to Giles' apartment over twelve hours after she left the graveyard. She saw the anger and concern in his eyes, but walked right passed him into the shower. She had to clean the deaths - she didn't know how; but she could feel them, all of them, searing her flesh. Merrick's and Jenny's, and Kendra's, her mom and dad's. Everybody she ever loved that died in what she thought of as her responsibility. She scrubbed her skin, trying to clean the death, to feel better, to convince herself it wasn't her fault. She couldn't.
Giles and Buffy exchanged looks. 'I told you it was a bad idea to go patrolling.'
Buffy gave him a dirty look 'Yeah, you're real smart. What are we going to do now, Brain?'
'The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try and kill as many as possible.'
Buffy looked at the vampires surrounding them, than back at Giles. 'Okay.'
'What do you mean Spike and Dru have them?'
Faith backed away from Xander, surprised at the intensity of his anger 'I mean they got them last night. They were out there, on their own. Spike sent an army after them.'
'What are we going to do?'
Xander turned to Willow and Oz. 'What we have to. Form a plan and get them the hell out of there.'
Buffy woke up when the door opened. Someone threw a barely concious Giles in and slammed the door again. Buffy crawled over to Giles, her head pounding. She could hardly bare looking at him; Spike had obviously decided to take over where Angelus was forced to stop the previous year. In lack of anything better to do she took him in her arms and cradled him. He mooned and looked up at her. 'Buffy...'
Buffy felt her eyes fill with tears 'Shh, don't talk. I'm sorry.'
He fainted or fell asleep. She wasn't quiet sure. The door opened. 'Why are you doing this, Spike? Why not just kill us?'
'This is much more fun. Besides, I owe him. He banished me from your house. I had to send your father.'
Spike smiled at the expression on her face. 'What's the matter, luv, didn't you like our little surprise?'
'I'm going to kill you. And I'm going to make you pay for every second of pain you caused my mother and Giles. And I might just make Drusilla pay as well.'
Spike's face very clearly showed the anger he was feeling. He walked towards her as he spoke 'You won't lay a hand on Dru. And if anyone's going to die it'll be you.' He backhanded her, than kicked Giles in the ribs. Buffy spat in his direction, but he dodged and left the room without another word.
Xander slide down from the window. 'I see Spike, and at least a dozen others. This won't be easy.'
Oz and Willow extanged worried looks. Angel seemed to be out of those, and just looked tired. He spent his days training the three of them, and his nights trying to get as many of Spike's army as he could. Now Xander wondered if Angel could make it through a battle.
'Okay, so, what's the plan?'
Faith looked at Oz. 'You and Willow come in through the back. Xander and Angel through the front. I'll make it to the roof access. Cordelia, you stay in the car, and keep the motor running. Willow, your sleeping spell ready?'
'Yeah, but it won't work on all of them, only about three at a time, and I can't do it more than three times, or I run out of strength.'
'Do it now.'
Every thing else was kind of blurry to Angel. He remembered staking Dru; finding Buffy and a nearly dead Giles; finding Xander, Willow and Oz - all drained; Watching Spike get his third slayer. He didn't remember killing him, but he was quite sure he did. He didn't remember dragging Giles outside only to find Cordelia with a broken neck, or calling the ambulance. And he didn't remember meeting the rest of Spike's army.
Buffy snuggled next to Giles' still form, lying on the hospital bed. He wasn't dead yet. Neither was she. Not physically. But there was nothing left for them in the world. All of their friends, everyone they cared about, even their enemies, were all dead. Just like in the dream, everyone died.
And just like in the dream, the only battle left to fight was Giles against himself. And if he made it through the fight, she'll help him make it through the rest of it. That's why she couldn't end it, why she couldn't run away from all the pain and slip into the comfortable silence to join all those that had gone. If he woke up, she'll be there for him. She had too. She was all there was. She'd hold on for as long as he does.
They didn't make it through the night. Their souls took them away, chosing together to leave the pain behind and go back to their life, only in death.