Summary: In an alternate season VI, Giles has not yet left for England and when he makes his way to Revello Drive to check on the Scoobies, he finds Spike crying against the tree just after Xander and Anya have left. They did not notice his approach or realize that he may have heard Xander’s “Tell me this isn’t the happiest day of your life!” as he shoved an angry Spike into the tree. Willow and Tara are still in the house with Dawn and Buffy.
Title: Someone Will Pay
Word Count: 2601
Disclaimer: Joss didn’t write it this way – but he could have, if he’d wanted to – it’s his playground.
Spike remained where the boy had pushed him against the tree, making no attempt to wipe away the angry tears still streaking his cheeks. His head was pressed into the rough bark behind it, his eyes squeezed closed as he tried to erase the image of Buffy’s shredded nails and torn knuckles. So absorbed was he in his conflicting emotions that he didn’t notice the arrival of her watcher until the man ran up and grabbed him by the lapels.
“Spike? Spike! What’s going on? Why are you out here? Where’s Dawn?” He stopped shaking the silent vampire, his face falling into too familiar lines of grief. “Oh my god…the demons…did they…?”
The vampire shook his head and tried to focus on the other man. His brow wrinkled for a second, then he realized that Giles had misunderstood his tears.
“The Bit is fine, Rupert. She’s inside.” Spike’s voice was flat and quiet as he pushed himself away from the tree and rubbed at his face, ashamed to have been caught crying.
“Well then, what’s wrong with you? And why aren’t you in there taking care of her?”
“Pushed me out, didn’t they? Don’t need Spike anymore – got back what they wanted. Never mind the consequences…don’t hang around to help her out…just work the bloody spell and leave…leave her…make her…” He made a choking noise and turned his face away from the puzzled man.
“What spell? Make who do what? What the bloody hell are you talking about, Spike?”
“Buffy.” The vampire’s voice was barely a whisper, only the movement of his lips as he turned haunted eyes back to the watcher allowed Giles to recognize what he had said.
“Buffy? What about Buffy? Is that what this is about?” Giles let out a relieved sigh and dropped his hands. “I thought we were past this,” he said quietly. He looked towards the house, wondering what could have happened tonight to start the vampire grieving again. “Look,” he began as sympathetically as he could, “I understand. We…we’re all still suffering from--. But you need to pull yourself together, man. It does Dawn no good to watch—“
“Buffy,” the vampire repeated stubbornly, continuing when Giles just stared at him without speaking. “Buffy…here. In the house. With Dawn. With those stupid, arrogant children who brought her back.”
He clutched the other man’s jacket, much as Giles had done to him. “Do you understand me? They brought her back. Didn’t tell the Bit, didn’t tell you, didn’t tell me. Didn’t tell any of us, did they? Didn’t let anyone in on it who might have known better. Who might have worried about the consequences…”
“Consequences?” Giles frowned, absently brushing Spike’s hands away.
“Magic always has consequences, Rupert. You should know that. And dark, powerful magic has powerful consequences. Dark consequences.”
The ex-watcher’s face darkened and his eyes widened with understanding.
“Oh, good lord! Willow…? Willow did… she did this?” He looked at the house with trepidation. “Wha—how is Bu-- what does she look like?” He mentally prepared himself for whatever he might have to do if Buffy had come back wrong.
“She looks like someone who was peacefully dead and woke up to dig herself out of her own bloody grave. That’s what she looks like!” Spike snarled, then folded in upon himself. “She looks lost, Watcher. That’s how she is. She’s lost.”
The older man squeezed his eyes shut briefly, then squared his shoulders and stared at the front door. “Right then,” he said quietly. “I’ll need to go in and see what’s what. Are you coming?” He cast an eye back at the now calm vampire, surprised when Spike shook his head.
“I’m not wanted by anyone right now – least of all the ones who did this to her. They want praise and thank yous, not reminders of what kind of forces they’ve awakened. You go in. See your girl.”
Giles nodded and began to walk towards the door. From the corner of his eye, he watched Spike slide down the tree to sit at its base, his back against the trunk and his hands dangling between his knees.
He entered the house to hear Willow’s voice raised in what could only be anger.
“Spike? What do you want him for? Dawn doesn’t need him anymore, now that you’re back. You don’t need him. You have me. And Tara and Xander and Anya. We brought you back; Dawn and Spike had nothing to do with it. I did it. Me. I brought you back!”
“For which, I am, sure, Buffy will be happy to thank you.” Giles’ dry voice barely concealed the anger simmering behind his words. “Once she has recovered from the trauma you have inflicted upon her.”
The witch whirled, guilt and fear flickering across her face before the recollection of what she was now capable of doing stiffened her back.
“I rescued her from hell, Giles. Something no one else wanted to try. Of course she’s going to thank me. The demons scared her when they destroyed the bot, that’s all. She’s fine.”
“That remains to be seen, doesn’t it, Willow?” he responded coldly, moving toward the girl he’d never expected to see again. Ignoring the witch’s angry huff when he gently pushed her aside to kneel in front of Buffy, he stared into his Slayer’s eyes, praying that he would see nothing there that he didn’t want to. Buffy’s return gaze was bewildered and subdued, but gave no sign that she wasn’t the same girl who had plunged off Glory’s tower months earlier. He reached a shaking hand towards her face, pushing the damp hair back as he whispered, “It’s really you. You are really here.”
Her response was another whispered “Spike?” as she held up her tattered hands.
Giles’ gasp was muffled by Dawn’s quick explanation. “Spike was fixing her hands when everybody came in and made him leave. I think she wants him to finish cleaning them up.”
The watcher glared at the girls behind him, then said quietly, “Tara, would you please see if Spike is still outside and ask him to come back in?”
“Giles, what is wrong with you? She doesn’t need Spike. She needs us. Her friends. The people who saved her.” Willow’s voice held a pleading note as she realized that the watcher was not showering her with the praise that she felt her actions had earned.
“I believe, Willow…” His voice was soft and controlled, as he had already noticed that Buffy flinched from loud and sudden sounds. “…that what she may need at the moment is someone with an understanding of what it means to claw your way out of a grave and back into the world.” In spite of the softness of his voice, there was underlying steel to his tone and Tara obediently ran to the front door.
Rather than shouting for Spike, she slipped outside and ran to kneel beside the vampire where he remained slumped against the tree.
“Sp-Spike? G- G-Giles thinks you should come back inside. Bu-Buffy wants you.”
Disbelief and hope flared briefly as he flowed gracefully to his feet. “Me? The Slayer wants me?”
Tara nodded, hastening to keep up with vampire’s rapid steps. “He thinks that you could help her…help her get used to…”
“To being alive?” he finished for her, pulling open the door and moving into the living room.
“Exactly,” her watcher said quietly, observing the way his slayer’s eyes went to the chipped vampire. Her shoulders relaxed as she held up her hands.
“Fix?” she asked softly, her eyes pleading with the trembling vampire.
Spike’s expression softened even more as he fell to his knees in front of the girl he had made the center of his world. “Yes, pet. We’ll fix them for you. Make you all well, we will. I promise you,” he finished softly. The skeptical look she gave him was the first sign that the normally quippy slayer was still in there behind the dead-looking eyes.
His lips twitched at the look and he shrugged as he whispered to her, “Do my best anyway. I’ll do what I can.” He finished cleaning her cuts, trimmed her ragged fingernails and smoothed antibiotic ointment over them before gently wrapping her hands in gauze and tape. “There you go, pet. Let that Slayer healing kick in and you’ll be back to punching me in the nose before you know it.”
Buffy nodded slowly as she took her hands from his and put them back in her lap. The phone rang, startling everyone but causing Buffy to flinch and put her hands over her ears.
“Stop that thing!” Spike growled over his shoulder, sending Tara running to answer it. “And turn the bloody lights down.”
At Dawn’s curious look, he explained quietly, “Been someplace dark and quiet, hasn’t she? Gonna take her a while to get used to all the noise and light. Probably a good thing she rose—“ He stopped when the watcher made a strangled noise behind him. “Sorry,” Spike muttered, “force of habit. That it was night when she woke up – all the noise and the light of the day would have frightened her even more.”
Dawn had obediently dimmed all the lights and Tara’s voice was muffled as she took the phone into the kitchen. Only Spike’s vampire hearing could pick up her quiet explanations to Xander and Anya that Giles was there and not as happy about Buffy’s appearance as they might have thought.
Buffy had slumped back against the couch, shutting her eyes against even the dimmed lights and absently patting Dawn’s leg when her sister snuggled up against her. When Dawn whispered, “I’m glad you’re back. I really missed you,” Buffy squeezed her leg and nodded, without responding. After several tense minutes in which no one seemed to know what to say, Buffy opened her eyes again and spoke her first complete sentence.
“I’m tired,” she said quietly. “I’m going to bed.”
She stood up, Dawn hovering anxiously behind her, and walked towards the stairs. Ignoring Willow’s puzzled face and Tara’s worried one, she allowed Giles to hug her and whisper in her ear, “I can’t be sorry that you’re back, Buffy. I can’t. You are a miracle.”
She nodded her acceptance and gently ended the embrace. As she walked past the vampire, she stopped and met his soft gaze. “Thank you,” she whispered. He nodded, unable to speak – to tell her that he too couldn’t be sorry that she was back, that he was grateful that his promise to protect Dawn had kept him from lying on her grave to await the sunrise. The tiny smile that twitched the corner of her mouth gave him some hope that she had read his thoughts. As soon as she looked away, he left the house without a word to anyone else.
Once Buffy and Dawn were out of sight and they had heard the door to Buffy’s room close firmly behind her, Giles gestured to the couch and said with deadly calm, “Sit down.”
Years of habit had the two witches sitting before Willow could remember that she had just raised someone from the dead and had no need to be afraid of the old watcher.
“What’s wrong with you?” she immediately attacked. “You should be jumping up and down with joy.”
“The way Buffy is?” he asked quietly, with a pointed glance towards the upstairs.
Taken aback for only a few seconds, Willow quickly responded. “Buffy will be fine. You’ll see. Once she gets used to being back, she’ll be thanking me for getting her out of whatever hell dimension she was in.”
Giles nodded calmly. “Willow, do you know what it means to be Heaven’s Chosen One? The one who stands between the innocents of the world and the evil that stalks them? The one who is expected to give up her life if necessary to save that world?”
The red-haired witch frowned in confusion. Beside her, her girlfriend’s eyes were growing wide as the message behind the watcher’s words began to sink in. “Oh, Goddess,” Tara breathed softly.
Giles’ eyes flickered to hers briefly as he saw that his message had reached at least one of the girls. Willow stood up, her eyes flashing as she responded, “Of course, I know what it means. But just because she is expected to give up her life, doesn’t mean that she has to. She was in Hell, Giles. Did you expect me to just leave her there?”
“She was in a grave, Willow,” he said calmly; only his clenched fists gave away his distress. “Her body was in a grave. We put it there ourselves.”
“And now she isn’t in that grave. What’s your point?”
“Overlooking for the moment the fact that you left her to dig herself out of that grave,” he began, taking pleasure in the way that the self-confident witch blanched when reminded of how badly they had botched Buffy’s resurrection, “did it never once occur to you that if her body was truly dead, then her soul had been released to go to its proper place?”
He waited while Tara’s eyes filled with understanding and tears and Willow’s confident demeanor wavered briefly. Then the doubt was gone and the red-haired witch drew herself up to declare, “I did the right thing. You’re just jealous because you don’t have that kind of power.”
The Ripper’s violent past flared briefly as the man stood up to face the defiant girl he had known since she was a geeky sophomore in high school. “You don’t know what kind of power I have,” he said with quiet menace. “Do not challenge me, Willow. You have done a very stupid thing and it remains to be seen how much damage you have caused.”
“If I caused any damage,” she responded haughtily, “I’ll be able to fix it. You might want to think about what I can do before you go threatening me, Giles.”
With a last, cold glare, the watcher turned and left the house without so much as a “good-night”, vowing to call the Council’s coven as soon as he got home and ask them for advice on how to handle a very powerful, but untrained, arrogant and unpredictable witch.
He was almost to his car when he smelled cigarette smoke. He found Spike standing at the foot of the tree near Buffy’s room, staring up at the roof.
“What are you doing?” he asked, more roughly than he intended, his anger at Willow carrying over to the vampire.
“What I’ve done every night for the last four months,” Spike replied quietly as he prepared to leap up to the roof. “Watching over my girl – got even more reason now, don’t I?”
Giles shook his head. “I doubt, even as confused as she obviously is, that Buffy will need a bodyguard while she sleeps, Spike.”
The vampire turned haunted eyes on the other man. “There will be nightmares, Watcher. Trust me. She’s gonna be dreamin’ about that grave for a long time. Not gonna let her go through that alone.” Without another word, he leapt gracefully into the tree and swung his legs onto the roof. He settled down next to the window of Buffy’s room and closed his eyes, effectively shutting out the man staring at him from below.
Giles stared at the dark shape of the vampire who defied everything he’d ever been taught about demons. When he realized that Spike was through talking to him, he turned away, getting into his car and heading for his home and the trans-Atlantic phone calls he was going to have to make.
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