found himself thinking constantly of Buffy’s father.
could he not know? How could
a man’s daughter die and he
not know, somehow? Wouldn’t a father know, wasn’t there some kind of
connection between father and child, a link, wouldn’t you fucking know that the light had gone out?
would sit and drink and stare and think with obsessive rage of the man
who had abandoned his wife and two daughters, off somewhere on the
other side of the world, and not fucking knowing that his child was dead and
rotting away in a makeshift grave on top of the Hellmouth.
didn’t sleep often, but when he did he dreamt of killing him, of
killing Buffy’s father.
can’t keep doin’ this. I’m all for a good drunk, but this has been
goin’ on for weeks.”
nothing else to do. Not anymore”
fuck all, quit feelin’ sorry for yourself! There’s plenty to do, you
git, you can get off that bloody sofa and help. They’re lookin’ to me, Watcher, waitin’ for me to tell
‘em what to do and how to do it - me.
Somethin’ a bit off about that, don’t you think? I’m no leader, no
fuckin’ hero, and they keep askin’ me
what they should do!”
Buffy’s father called?”
fuckin’ Christ!” Spike yelled, knocking the glass out of Giles’ hand,
and he watched blearily as the scotch soaked into the carpet. “Buffy’s father is doin’ her memory right
proud by sittin’ in his flat day and night, stinkin’ drunk, and leavin’
her friends out there to die. We had to put Harris in hospital the
other night, you do remember that, don’t you? Concussion, knife to the
gut? He kept askin’ for you, at least when he was awake enough to, and
I called, Red called, and you were here, drunk and outta your head and
droolin’ all over yourself, leavin’ him, leavin’ all of ‘em, alone and
scared out of their minds. That’s
what Buffy’s fuckin’ father
has been doin’ – reckon that’s just what she would have wanted.” Spike
shrugged into his duster. “I’ve gotta take the lot of ‘em on patrol;
you just sit here and keep tryin’ to forget they even exist, right?”
stormed out of the flat and slammed the door behind him, and after a
long moment Giles reached with a shaking hand for the glass on the
floor and refilled it.
could a father not know?
jerked awake when the door slammed opened and groaned at the pounding
in his head.
please, not now,” he whispered.
me, Mr. Giles,” Tara said, kneeling beside him and grabbing the
half-empty bottle of scotch and then storming into the kitchen.
he said, wincing at the bright light coming through the windows.
she said, slamming around in the kitchen and he turned to see her
scooping up all the bottles of liquor off the counter and then pouring
them one by one down the drain.
what on earth . . .”
she said firmly. “We need you.” When all the bottles were empty she
tossed them into the trash and started a pot of coffee, and then moved
to sit in front of him, perching on the coffee table and taking his
. . .”
up,” she ordered and he blinked in surprise. “Uh, p-please,” she added,
and then she closed her eyes and there was a shimmer of gold green
light and his own eyes closed and his head fell forward and he moaned
as it slid through him, dulling slightly the edges of all his pain,
both emotional and physical, and then he sat up straight with a jolt,
staring at her.
opened her eyes slowly. “I can’t fix this, Mr. Giles, I can’t take the
pain away. But I give comfort where I can.”
clarity,” he whispered. “Jesus, what in the hell have I been doing?”
Like the rest of us. And grieving, like the rest of us. But hiding, and
you can’t do that anymore.”
Tara, I’m so sorry . . .”
flung herself forward and wrapped her arms around his neck. “It’s all
right. Just come back to us,” she whispered, and he clung to her
tightly for a moment before she pulled away.
came out of the bathroom, hair still damp from the shower, and watched
for a moment as Tara and Spike teased one another quietly as she
hovered over the stove where she was making breakfast.
looked up and stared at him for long time before smiling slightly, and
then he turned to back Tara and swept her in his arms and hugged her
tightly as she giggled.
ate in companionable silence as Tara bustled around the flat,
straightening and cleaning.
like this one,” Spike said finally, grabbing her around the waist as
she brushed past him and pulling her into his lap. “A witch, a maid and a cook. We should keep her.” He
suffered a hard elbow to the gut and scowled at her and Giles laughed,
for the first time since Buffy died.
Spike, but the maid service is a one-shot thing,” she said haughtily.
know,” Spike said, grabbing her by the chin and looking her in the eye.
“Thank you, love.”
Tara,” Giles said quietly. “Thank you.”
smiled at both of them before going on about her work.
finally gathered them all at the Magic Box and they all stared at him,
looking in turns grateful, angry, relieved and scared.
cursed himself for his weeks of self-indulgence and sighed, pacing.
he said finally. “Tell me what’s been happening.”
all started talking at once.
efforts quickly became coordinated and efficient, inasmuch as that was
possible, and it wasn’t long before he was confident enough to let them
patrol alone when the need arose. They settled into a routine, Tara and
Anya taking turns staying at home with Dawn as the rest of them went
out, and, as impossible as it seemed and as much as it still hurt, life
after days of resentful silence, finally broke down, weeping and
crawling into his lap and he would hold her and they would talk about
Buffy, sometimes laughing and sometimes crying, and they would go
together every day to visit her grave, and sometimes she would ask him
why her father hadn’t called.
still didn’t have an answer to that question.
wrong, Watcher?” Spike whispered against the skin of his neck.
stared into the darkness. “Something’s happening. They’re avoiding me,
and when I do see them they won’t look me in the eye.”
tell me anythin’,” Spike murmured. “Been hidin’ from me, where before
she . . . do you think I should . . .”
Giles said firmly. “Start with Willow’s and Tara’s dorm room, see if
they’ve been working on something, anything, books, ingredients for
spells, anything that looks out of place.”
gettin’ a little happy with the magic,” Spike said.
know. That’s what concerns me.”
stared at the book Spike handed him, dumbfounded, and then rushed over
to the calendar, his fingers running over the dates hurriedly.
“GODDAMMIT,” he bellowed, then
stiffened and put a hand over his mouth when Spike frowned and jerked
his head in the direction of the stairs, reminding him that Dawn was up
in her room.
is it?” Spike asked.
four of them, they’re all gone tonight, correct?” he muttered.
patrollin’ . . . or not, what in the hell is goin’ on, Watcher?”
slammed the book down on the countertop. “This is a resurrection spell,
Spike,” he said, voice low and hard. “They’re going to try to bring her
stared at him. “What? After
all this time?”
can work, when done properly, and Willow is powerful, but I don’t know that
she’s capable of this,” Giles
hissed, shrugging into his coat. “The risks are just too . . . I cannot
believe they’re attempting
this, there are so many things that could go wrong . . . I swear to
God, if she comes back wrong, I’ll fucking kill the lot of them . . .”
was silent for a moment. “You sound like you actually mean that.”
damn well do! Take Dawn to Janice’s and meet me at Buffy’s grave,” he
muttered and stormed out of the house.
stared after him for a long time before running up the stairs to Dawn’s
know,” Giles muttered, staring at Buffy’s grave and the broken shards
of the urn. “Is Dawn all right?”
she and the girl are havin’ a grand old time, watchin’ the chaos, like
they’re at a bloody movie or somethin’,” Spike said. He looked around.
“Where are they?”
don’t know, they were gone when I got here.” His voice and his posture
were brittle, tight with rage.
gotta calm it down, Watcher,” Spike murmured. “They’re kids, they don’t
know any better . . .”
does,” Giles snapped.
sighed. “Maybe. Any idea if it worked?”
what, we wait?”
no idea,” Giles said, sighing. He rubbed wearily at his face. “I don’t
know if . . .”
Watcher, hush,” Spike said and tilted his head, listening. Giles
watched with growing dread as Spike fell to all fours and put his ear
to the dirt of Buffy’s grave. “Fuck all,” he whispered and looked up at
Giles with wide eyes. “She’s diggin’ her way out.”
cringed and clung to Giles tightly, filthy and hands bloodied and the
stink of rotting flesh still on her clothes, and when the three of them
got back to her house they found the rest of them there, talking
frantically in the living room.
leapt to her feet when she saw them. “Oh, my God! Buffy! It worked, oh,
God, Buffy!” she said, running toward them. Buffy flinched and hid her
face in Giles’ chest and he gritted his teeth and shoved Willow away
with a hard hand to the chest and she stared at him, shocked. “Giles?”
up, Willow!” he muttered and then turned and handed Buffy over to
Spike. “Take her upstairs and get her cleaned up.”
nodded, casting a glance at Xander, Anya and Tara, who were staring in
turns at Buffy and at Giles, fidgeting nervously, and then he looked
back at Giles.
it easy, Watcher,” he murmured.
take her,” Giles hissed and watched as Spike slowly escorted Buffy up
the stairs. As soon as they were out of sight he rounded on Willow,
furious and frightened. “How could you have done something so utterly stupid?”
Well, her death was, you know, mystical, and we didn’t know if maybe
she hadn’t ended up in, like, a hell dimension,” Willow said, wringing
advanced on her, shoving his face into hers. “’We?’ Or you?”
yeah, it was my idea, I found the spell . . . Giles, what’s wrong with
you? Aren’t you glad she’s back?” she asked, confused.
the bloody point, Willow, we don’t know
that she’s back! Her body is here but we don’t know if she is and don’t you dare tell me
you didn’t know that was one of the risks!” he shouted.
hang on,” Xander said, wiping one hand across his mouth. “What are you
I’m saying,” Giles muttered, never taking his eyes off Willow. “Is that
if she’s come back wrong, that if I have to do the unspeakable, that
there will be a price to be paid.”
do you mean, unspeakable?” Willow asked, voice trembling and eyes now
filling with tears.
mean,” Giles said through clenched teeth, eyes hard and body trembling.
“That if you’ve fucked this up, if she’s not all right, then I will
have to kill her, Willow.
She’ll die, again.”
God,” Willow whispered, stumbling back against the sofa.
taking her home with me. Not a word of this to Dawn until we know how
Buffy is, and I want the lot of you to stay the hell away until I
contact you, am I understood?”
all nodded, staring at the floor, and he stormed up the stairs.
you for coming, Wesley, and on such short notice . . .” Giles said
wearily, sitting in one of the chairs in the courtyard.
what on earth possessed them to do such a thing?” Wesley asked, eyes
sighed. “They love her. They missed her. And they thought they were
doing the right thing,” he mumbled, his earlier rage having dissipated
as Buffy had slowly begun to seem her old self again.
they have. Done the right thing, I mean, but they were taking such a
tremendous risk, Giles . . . I had no idea Willow had become so
strong,” Wesley said.
had I. I haven’t been paying as much attention as I should have.”
they were hiding it from you; you couldn’t have known.”
I should have. I should have known.”
suppose it’s too late to concern yourself with that. The mystic says
she’s fine, physically, only minor changes on the molecular level. It’s
remarkable, really, resurrection spells so rarely work, and considering
the fact that this one was interrupted . . . amazing. At any rate, your
main concern will be any psychological fallout,” Wesley said.
nodded, his face grim.
Giles,” Wesley said, leaning forward. “Angel’s been out of the country
and I’ve been unable to contact him, but when he finds out . . .”
I understand. But can you ask that he call me first? To be certain
she’s all right before they see one another?”
both looked up to see Buffy walking out of Giles' flat, Spike watching
from behind her in the shadows.
she said, sighing. “I’m back from the dead, my insides are working but
my nails are totally shot,
somebody so owes me a
manicure, and, wow, Wesley, you’ve changed!”
I’m ready to get to work.”
stared at her, watching her closely. Her eyes and her voice seemed
empty in spite of her cheerful tone, he thought, and then wondered if
that was simply his fear talking. “Are you certain? There’s nothing
wrong with taking some more time.”
certain. Back for a reason, right? Let’s get on with the Slayage.”
something you’re not telling me.”
keep saying that. Stop saying that. I’m fine, look, see?” Buffy said,
executing a perfect back flip.
sure everything is all right?”
again with all the saying. I’m fine, Giles, I swear.”
frowned at her but let it go.
sighed in exasperation and flung the mail on to the coffee table.
you do realize this house is about to go into foreclosure?”
That can’t be right! Is there anything you can do about it?”
Giles, I appreciate your coming, but I really should be meeting with
Dawn’s legal guardian . . . her sister, Buffy Summers, isn’t that
Watcher?” Spike whispered against the bare skin of his shoulder.
Giles sighed, and closed his eyes as Spike ran his hands over his body.
too,” Spike murmured, kneading at the knotted muscles of Giles’
shoulders before rolling him over on his back. “Maybe I can help a
little with that, love.” His tongue trailed slowly down Giles’ chest
and belly and by the time Spike took him in his mouth he was already
”Jesus,” he whispered, his hands in
Spike’s hair and hips already thrusting. “How do you always manage to
do that to me?”
stopped for a moment and looked up at him. “Love you,” he said,
matter-of-factly and for the first time, before resuming his work with
lips and tongue.
. . this one does . . .
blinked in surprise, feeling the weight lodged in his chest become even
heavier, and then he closed his eyes and groaned. “Goddammit,” he
whispered. “Love you, too.”
is it, Tara?” Giles asked, watching her as she paced frantically back
and forth in his living room.
. . . I’m sorry to bother you, Mr. Giles, but it’s Willow. The magick,
it’s, well, it’s kind of getting out of hand. I’m worried about her.”
sighed and closed his eyes. He’d assumed as much.
talk to her, Tara.”
smiled, tears in her eyes. “Thank you.”
I know there’s something
wrong,” Giles said, plowing through her overdue bills with his own
checkbook and a great deal of irritation. “Why won’t you talk to me?”
please. I’m fine! Couldn’t be any finer! Thanks for all this, by the
way, I know I owe you . . . listen, could you pick up Dawn from
school?” she said, and then swept out the front door.
pen in his fingers shattered.
you, God, love you so much, tell me, say it,” Spike whispered,
thrusting against him frantically.
you, love you, love you, God, yes,” Giles murmured.
. . .”
none of your damned business, Giles.”
know you’ve been spending a lot of time with Buffy. Has she said
was quiet for a long time, staring at the ceiling. “Yeah. But don’t ask
me what, I promised I wouldn’t say anythin’.”
If it’s serious I need to know! I can’t help her if I don’t know!”
know that, Watcher. I’ve tried to get her to talk to you.”
why won’t she?” Giles demanded, worried and hurt and confused.
think she just ain’t ready. Give her time.”
buried his head in his hands, while Spike reached out and ran one hand
soothingly up and down his back.
about Halloween . . .”
frowned. “What about Halloween?”
jaw clenched. “Dawn.”
yeah. Did you yell at her or ground her or something?”
gone, moved out.”
gone all barmy with the magick, Tara thinks she’s headed off the deep
don’t even start. I know what I’m doing and I don’t need you, of all people, telling me what
to do!” Willow yelled before storming out of Buffy’s kitchen.
do you mind if I talk to you about this whole, you know, gettin’
bit back a weary sigh. “Of course not, Xander.”
have you been all day?”
good. Think she did the right thing, though, movin’ out, don’t you?”
Spike said, grabbing Giles’ glass of scotch out of his hand and downing
get up and get me more of that,” Giles ordered.
bossy, ain’t we?” Spike said, arching an eyebrow but getting up anyway.
do think Tara did the right thing, although this means we won’t be
seeing her as much now,” Giles said, sighing with regret.
now, Red won’t be seein’ her, but we
made puppy dog eyes and talked her into comin’ around tonight and
makin’ dinner. That all right?”
sighed and sat back. “Sounds delightful, in fact.”
grinned. “And maybe then, you know, we could get her . . .” he said,
and jerked his head in the direction of the bedroom.
stared at him in shock. “You filthy-minded bastard! You’ll do no such
snorted. “Course I won’t. Got all I can handle with you, love,” he
said. Then he pointed at Giles accusingly. “But don’t tell me you
haven’t at least wondered about it, you’re a dirty old man, just like
flushed and Spike snickered and Giles was unable to look Tara in the
eye for the greater part of the evening.
minute he had her alone he pulled her into his arms and held her
“That’s what all this has been
about, Buffy? You were in heaven?”
At least, I think so. That’s what it felt like, anyway.”
God’s sake, why didn’t you tell
you told Spike.”
nodded and he turned away, hurt, and wondering how in the hell he was
ever going to help her if she kept putting so much distance between
listen, Dawn’s been . . .”
grabbed his coat and stormed out before she could finish.
”Fuck, Watcher,” Spike groaned as
Giles thrust into him roughly and began fucking him frantically, hungry
for him, needing him. “God, love you,” Spike whispered.
you, too,” Giles moaned against his neck, and he meant it, and he knew
that it was going to make what he was about to do that much harder, but
for now he pushed all that aside and lost himself inside the cool, safe
haven that Spike had become.
you, too,” he murmured again, his eyes closing at the rush of
sensation. “More than anything.”
to Part Five
to Table of Contents
to Buffy and Angel Index Page