By Janine Ose
Author: Janine Ose
Distribution: B/G Shippers and Watching You, Watching Me (everyone else please ask first)
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss Whedon, 20th Century Fox, WB and Mutant Enemy.
Summary: Buffy goes after something without waiting for more information and gets herself into trouble. Giles has to save her.
"Buffy, for once will you listen to reason?" Giles pleaded angrily. "Wait until we know precisely what it is we're dealing with before you go after it." She shook her head adamantly and continued shoving weapons into her bag. "Don't you think I want to?" she asked wearily. "Don't you think I want to wait until we know more? But if I wait, how many more children will die? One, two, ten?" Shouldering her bag she got to her feet and stared steadily into his eyes. "I can't wait Giles. I can't let another child die while I sit around and wait for more info. Info that may or may not help us." Her expression was grim and determined as she strode out of the house. "Tell the others, tell them I love them," she called over her shoulder. "And I love you," she added in a sad whisper.
Growling in frustration, Giles tugged desperately at the bonds that kept him captive in the chair. "Where the bloody hell did she learn to tie knots like this?" he muttered as he frantically tried to loosen them with numb fingers. "Wait, that's right, you taught her old man. Wonderful, just wonderful. The one time she was actually paying attention to something I said," he fumed. He twisted his wrists, ignoring the pain the rope caused as it rubbed the skin raw and bloody. When he realized that that would be no good, he took a deep breath and forced himself to think of another way. Eyeing the chair carefully, a grim smile appeared on his face. Gripping the arm tightly in his fist he took a deep breath and yanked backwards as hard as he could. The sound of splintering wood barely masked the groan of pain as his shoulder was wrenched from its socket.
Gritting his teeth, he carefully untied the knots that bound his left wrist and then untied his ankles. Getting slowly to his feet, he walked over and stood in front of the wall, one hand holding his arm gently. Taking another breath, he let go of his arm and viciously slammed it against the wall, groaning audibly when he heard a distinct pop and felt the joint snap back into place. Blinking back tears of pain, he tentatively rotated his arm, wincing when the motion sent jolts of pain through him. Not pleasant but it would have to do for the moment. Turning towards the door, he came face to face with a wide-eyed Xander and a very pale Willow.
"Damn G-man, what the hell did you just do?" Xander asked uncertainly. A harsh bark of laughter fell from Giles' lips. "Buffy tied me to that chair. The only way I could get out of it was to break the arm but in doing so I dislocated my shoulder. I just finished putting it back in place." Willow gulped. "Buffy tied you to a chair? Why would she do that?" she squeaked. Giles started rummaging through the closet, carefully choosing his weapons and setting the aside. "She did that because I wouldn't let her go after this monster that's killing the children until we had more information. She decided not to wait so she tied me up so I wouldn't follow her." Xander frowned and knelt to start stuffing Giles' weapons into a bag. "Stupid, stupid," he muttered. "Why does she always do this?" The question stopped Giles short and he turned to meet the young man's gaze. "Because she cares," he replied quietly.
Buffy crept quietly through the shadows surrounding the old factory. A small child was wailing inside and a wave of anger colored her vision. Forcing herself to remain calm she stealthily made her way inside, quietly dusting the few vamps that had been posted as guards. When she reached the catwalk overlooking the center of the factory, she set down her bag and took a careful look around. The inactivity puzzled her. Normally when a demon came to town the first thing it did was draw on the local vamp population for support and protection. But with the exception of the five vamps she had dusted outside, there was not a single one to be found. Frowning, she hefted her bag again and slowly made her way down to the first floor.
A huge vat stood in the center, it's contents bubbling away. Off to the side stood a crude altar with blood dripping down the side to form a small pool around the base. Illegible carvings had been cut into the wood surrounding the altar and the vat, some of which were vaguely discernible as Latin. Taking her time, Buffy remained in the shadows while circling the vat. Upon reaching the far side, she stopped short when catching sight of a young girl, no older than five, being hauled roughly from a cage. The child was whimpering in fright while the figure clad in a black robe laughed gleefully. Horrified, Buffy watched as the figure picked up the child and carried her to the altar. Realizing what was about to happen, she dropped her bag and withdrew her crossbow. Stepping from the shadows she aimed it at the figure. "Drop the child!" she ordered angrily.
Startled the figure released the girl. "Run!" Buffy yelled. Needing no more encouragement, the child took off, dashing in and out among the crates towards the door. "Noooo!!!!" the figure howled angrily. Spinning around it faced Buffy. Her eyes widened and she took an involuntary step backwards. "You're human," she gasped in surprise. Drawing back its hood, the figure grinned. "Yes, I am," the woman said. Buffy glanced furtively around her, searching for any avenue of escape but found none. The woman grinned evilly. "There is no way out Slayer," she hissed. "I sealed all the exits after that brat got out." "Majick," Buffy breathed. The woman nodded and advanced on her. "That's right. Very old and powerful majick that not even a Slayer can fight." Her eyes glittered in the light, her insanity shining through and causing a tremor of fear to race up Buffy's spine. "Why are you doing this?" she asked, desperately stalling for time. The woman's grin widened. "The blood of the innocent shall make me strong. You, you're an added bonus. Your blood shall make me immortal. And, most importantly, because I can," she finished with a cackle. Raising her arms above her head, she began to chant. A second later a blinding light surrounded Buffy and she felt like her body was made of lead. The last thought that whispered through her mind before she descended into darkness was, "I never got to tell him I love him."
Giles angrily drummed his fingers against the dash as Xander sped through town. He had attempted to force the two of them to remain behind but they had insisted on coming along anyway. While a part of him admired their foolhardy bravery, the larger part of him cursed their stupidity. Suddenly he caught a whiff of something in the air. "Stop the car!" he demanded. Xander hit the brakes instantly, the tires squealing as the car careened to a halt. Sitting up on the headrest, Giles raised his head and sniffed the air. "Majick," he whispered angrily. Willow followed his example, shivering in fear when she smelled it. "Bad majick," she whispered. Jumping from the car, Giles grabbed a few things from his bag and headed down the street, allowing his own majick to guide him. Willow hopped in the front seat and motioned for Xander to follow slowly behind. "What if we loose him?" he mumbled anxiously. A fleeting smile crossed her face. "Then I'll guide you."
Giles ran through the streets, zigzagging his way deeper and deeper into the warehouse district of town. "Why do they always choose warehouses?" Xander grumbled as he pulled to a stop in front of a large decaying building. Willow was about to reply but just then she caught sight of something white behind a stack of crates. Placing her finger to her lips, she admonished the others to remain quiet and crept forward. Rounding the crates, she came face to face with the fear filled eyes of the little girl. Crouching down, she held out her hand. "It's okay sweetie. I'm not gonna hurt you. My name's Willow. Can you tell me yours?" she said in a soothing voice. "L-Lisa," the girl stammered tearfully. Willow smiled. "Very good Lisa. Now, could you tell me how you got here?"
Lisa began to quake in fear. "The bad lady brought me here. She was gonna hurt me," she whimpered. Willow reached out and wrapped her arms around her, cradling her against her chest as she stood. Hurrying back towards the car, she climbed in with Lisa on her lap. Lisa regarded Giles and Xander warily. "Lisa, these are my friends, Xander and Giles. They want to stop the bad lady," Willow said reassuringly. Keeping his weapons out of sight, Giles leaned against the car. Smiling softly, he reached out and plucked a gold coin from the air behind Lisa's ear and presented it to her with a flourish. A shy smile crossed her face. "You're nice," she said with a giggle. Winking at her, Giles leaned in and asked in a loud whisper, "Has anyone else been looking for the bad lady? A pretty lady with blond hair maybe?" Lisa clutched Willow tighter, her lower lip trembling as she nodded vigorously. "She told me to run away. Made sure the bad lady didn't catch me 'fore I got out." She pointed at the decrepit building. "She's in there. But you can't get in. I got's lost when I ran so's I came back and tried to find the door but it's not there." She gazed at Giles, her eyes wide and pleading. "You got's to find the pretty lady. Don't let the bad lady hurt her."
Taking a deep breath, Giles reached out and gently cupped her cheek in his palm. "Can I tell you something Lisa?" he asked softly. She nodded. Lowering his head he whispered in her ear, "The pretty lady's name is Buffy. I love her. So I promise, I'll find her and you can tell her yourself how pretty she is. Okay?" Lisa stared at him a long moment before wrapping her arms around his neck and hugging him tightly. "Okay," she whispered before letting him go. Trailing his fingers across her face, he turned and walked over to Xander. "Get the two of them out of here," he growled. Xander shook his head resolutely. "No. We're staying right here until you come out." Giles glared at him. "There is nothing you can do here Xander. The "bad lady" Lisa refers to is obviously human. And she's using some extremely powerful majick to seal this building. I don't know that I'm strong enough to fight it," he finished in a painful whisper. Xander drew himself up and rested his hand on his shoulder. "We'll be waiting right here," he repeated confidently.
Taking a few deep breaths, Giles centered himself, concentrating on his love for his Slayer. Words he thought long forgotten flowed into his mind and he could feel the majick follow. Opening himself up to his gift, he chanted the words quietly, his soft voice rising and falling rhythmically with the cadence of the spell. As soon as he finished a shimmering glow surrounded the building and one by one doors and windows appeared where there had previously been nothing. Muttering a heartfelt thank you, Giles silently opened the closest door and crept into the building. The smell of blood assailed his nostrils and he had to force himself not to vomit. Following the scent of majick, he moved further into the building until he stood in the shadows surrounding the large vat.
Anger surged through him and his stomach roiled at what he saw. The blood in the vat simmered ominously while next to it, in a transparent container, lay Buffy. She was floating in what appeared to be water, her eyes darting anxiously around her. The "bad lady" stood off to one side, muttering in Latin as she stirred the blood in the vat. Creeping closer, Giles placed a finger to his lips, when Buffy caught sight of him. Her eyes begged him to free her and he shot her a reassuring smile before returning his attention to the woman. Listening carefully, he grimaced when he made out the words of her chants. Everyone with majical abilities knew what she was attempting didn't work. It had been tried countless times before. Only the truly insane or evil had attempted it in the past two hundred years. And they were even more powerful than she was. Sighing sadly, he stepped out of the shadows.
"It won't work," he told her quietly. The woman's head shot up and she glared at him. "Who are you?" she yelled angrily. He shrugged. "Nobody, anybody. It doesn't matter really. All that matters is that I stop you." She sniffed the air, a maniacal grin crossing her face. "You have majick," she crowed. "Powerful majick." Giles nodded. "Yes." She cocked her head to the side, considering him thoughtfully for a minute. "We can share the power," she announced suddenly. "Once we kill the Slayer there will be enough for both of us." Giles shook his head. "I'm afraid I can't let you do that," he replied slowly. The woman glanced warily between Giles and Buffy. "Why not?" she demanded. Giles grinned and took a few steps forward. "Because she belongs to me."
"Liar!" the woman screeched. "I found her first. You can't have her!" With that, she lifted her arms and motioned towards him, a flashing ball of light erupting from her fingers. Giles calmly watched it approach and with a flick of his wrist sent it whirling into the wall. Pointing at the vat, he extinguished the fire beneath it with a snap of his fingers. "It's over," he said. "Release her. She is mine." Laughing hysterically, the woman twirled around in a circle, her robe erupting into flames. As they lapped at her flesh, she grinned maliciously at Giles. "She is no ones!" she cried pointing a charred hand at the container. Giles watched helplessly as Buffy began to thrash beneath the surface, her hands pounding ineffectually against the sides. Her eyes were wide with fear as they begged him to help her. Ignoring the smoking remains of the woman, he summoned up all his strength and closed his eyes. Raising his arm into the air, he held it palm upwards as he chanted. As his words got stronger, he made a fist and drew back his arm. Throwing it forward he opened his hand and released a ball of light at the container. The light hit the container and it burst instantly sending its contents spewing across the concrete floor.
Buffy tumbled across the floor, coming to a halt gasping desperately for air. Giles fell to his knees, his breath coming in short panting gasps as he felt the majick return to him. When he finally opened his eyes, he spied Buffy struggling to get to her feet. Using his sword for balance, he climbed shakily to his feet and made his way over to her. She looked up at him, coughing and sputtering. "Can we get out of here before I get sick?" she whispered. The stench of burnt flesh and blood filled his nostrils and he swallowed convulsively. Nodding, he helped her up and they slowly made their way outside.
Once outside, Buffy collapsed onto a crate, her chest heaving as she sucked huge gulps of air into her lungs. Giles watched her, an unreadable expression on his face. "I'm sorry," she said quietly. "I should have listened to you, I was wrong." He started to reply but was stopped by a cry from the car. Struggling from Willow's arms, Lisa climbed out and ran over to Buffy. Buffy scooped her up and Lisa wrapped her arms around her neck. "He promised he would save you," she cried. Buffy cast a questioning glance at Giles. He blushed slightly. "You weren't entirely wrong," he admitted in a low whisper. Lisa leaned back to stare at Buffy. "Giles, he told me he would save you so's I could tell you how pretty you are for myself." She opened her clenched fist and showed the coin to Buffy. "He gave me this. But it's not as pretty as you." Glancing at Giles she grinned and placed her mouth against Buffy's ear. "He also told me a secret," she whispered confidentially.
Giles cleared his throat. "That I did. But you can't tell," he reminded her as Buffy got to her feet. Lisa clung tightly to her as she carried her back to the car. "But they already know," she pouted, pointing at Xander and Willow. "Yes, well, let's just keep it between us okay?" he stammered nervously. Buffy kept her mouth shut as they approached the car even though she was itching to know what it was Giles had told Lisa. At her friends questioning glances she shook her head. "Don't ask." Shrugging, they settled themselves in the car, Lisa sitting in back between Willow and Buffy. As Xander pulled away, she bounced on her seat. "Giles, look what Willow showed me," she cried excitedly, her ordeal and secrets forgotten for the time being. He turned to face her and she held up her hand. A second later the gold coin floated two inches above her palm. It dropped back down and she giggled. "Majick," she announced triumphantly.
Three hours later it was an extremely weary Watcher that opened the door to his house. His equally weary Slayer followed close behind. When she spied the remains of the chair she flushed. "I'm really sorry about that," she murmured sheepishly. Dragging his fingers through his hair, he spun around to face her. "Don't you ever do something like that again," he said in a strangled voice. Buffy stared at him in surprise. "What, tie you to a chair?" she asked nervously. Growling in frustration, he wheeled around and headed for the kitchen. Silently, she followed him. "I wasn't referring to the chair," he said flatly as he turned on the kettle. Buffy was about to reply when he tried to pick up the milk with his right hand. With a hiss of pain, he dropped it onto the counter, his other arm coming up to clutch his shoulder. "You're hurt," Buffy said anxiously, hurrying around the counter to look at it.
When she went to touch him, he flinched away from her. "It's nothing," he insisted. Her eyes flashed angrily. "You can't lift a gallon of milk so it's not nothing." He leaned back against the counter and regarded her with tired eyes. "I dislocated my shoulder getting out of the chair," he told her quietly. "In order to get it back in I had to slam it against the damn wall. It will be fine in a few days." Tears filled her eyes. "Omigod, omigod," she whispered. "I am so stupid. I hurt you and didn't even know." Giles placed his hand on her arm. "It's just bruised. It will be fine in a few days," he repeated. Buffy shook her head adamantly. "No, it's not fine, nothing is fine. I didn't listen to you and you hurt yourself. I got all caught up by a crazy woman's majick and almost died before you could save me, again. We had to leave Lisa with that awful woman from social services cause she doesn't have any family. I am always doing stupid things and getting myself in trouble and you always have to fix it and, how can I do that to you when I love you?" she blurted out in a rush.
Giles' eyes widened. "What did you just say?" he asked urgently, his hand gripping her wrist. "I love you," she repeated shakily. When he didn't reply, she gently extricated herself from his grasp. "It's okay Giles, I know you don't love me like that but when I thought I was gonna die I just knew I had to at least tell you so you'd know." Smiling sadly, she turned to leave. "I love you Buffy," he said in a voice filled with emotion. "I love you so much I wanted to die when I thought I had lost you." Turning to face him, she took one step then another before throwing herself into his arms. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she sobbed against his chest. Wrapping his arms around her, he gently stroked her hair. "Shh, it's okay. It's okay Buffy." "No it's not," she sniffed. "I shouldn't have been so stupid." Tilting her head back, he looked into her eyes. "If you hadn't done what you did Lisa wouldn't be here," he reminded her quietly. "It's because of you she's safe." Her lower lip trembled. "But we had to leave her," she whimpered.
Turning off the kettle, Giles gently ushered her out of the kitchen, towards the stairs. "I'll take you by to visit her tomorrow. I promise. But right now we both need to get some sleep." "I should go," Buffy said hesitantly, suddenly unsure of what to say or do. Stopping at the bottom of the stairs, Giles hugged her tightly. "You aren't going anywhere except upstairs to bed, with me," he whispered before kissing her hungrily.
SIX MONTHS LATER
"B-mommy!" Lisa squealed in delight as she tore the wrapping paper off her present. "Lookee what Auntie Willow got's me!" She waved the barbie in the air, clambering onto Buffy's lap. "I see that," Buffy said with a laugh. "She got you the princess one, didn't she?" Lisa nodded happily and slid back down to open the rest of her presents. "Unca Xander, you got's me the car!" she cried as she opened the next box. "Daddy, look, it's a car just like Unca Xander's got." Smiling indulgently, Giles took the car from Lisa and admired it appropriately. "Very nice," he chuckled as he handed it back to her. Flashing him a happy grin, she started hauling the rest of the presents out from under the tree. "Grammy, I can't read them. You're gonna have to pass them out," she instructed. Shaking her head, Joyce sat down on the floor and obediently passed around the gifts as Lisa handed them to her. Setting hers aside, Buffy curled up against Giles' chest. "Happy?" she murmured. Watching Xander crawl around on the floor with Lisa he grinned. "Very. How about you?" Buffy nodded. "Thank you for going along with my idea Rupert. That's the best present ever." "I thought you said becoming my wife was the best present?" he teased lightly. She swatted his arm playfully. "You know what I mean." Lisa chose that moment to clamber into their laps. "Open this one mommy," she demanded, waving a box at her. Grinning, Buffy opened the box. Her eyes widened when she saw the plush velvet rabbit lying inside. "Oh Rupert, it's gorgeous," she breathed as she lifted it out of the box. Laying his cheek against Lisa's head, he wrapped his arms around both of them, his hands resting protectively on Buffy's swollen stomach. "You were wrong luv. This is the best present," he whispered in her ear.
"Kissy faces!" Lisa crowed as they kissed, sliding to her knees on the floor in front of them. Placing her hands on either side of Buffy's stomach, she lay her ear against it. "Hey baby, wanna know a secret?" she whispered loudly. "This place is majick."