Title: Huge Buzz
Author: BJ Stahl
Rating: Strong R, B/G
Summary: Fed up with getting his butt kicked by Buffy whenever they train, Giles decides to try some . . . assistance. Post S3.
WARNING: Fic involves despair, near-rape, some disturbing sexual imagery, and suicide.
Feedback: Will grovel. email@example.com
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all associated with her are the property of Joss Wheden and Twentieth Century Fox. The snatch of poetry is excerpted from 'The Summer Tree,' by Guy Gavriel Kay. No infringement is intended. Please don't sue me.
Author's Notes: This is not a happy story. I'm sorry it ends on a question mark, but honestly, I don't know what happens next. Oh, and a bokken is a wooden rod about three feet long used in lieu of a katana in sword training.
Special thanks (and Giles on a motorcycle) to Kate Page, for precise, insightful, and thorough beta. Her input made it fly.
*italicize for emphasis* //thoughts//
"Oof!" Buffy landed on her back. She flipped back to her feet.
Giles, sans padding for a change, deflected the punches to his ribs. His foot flew up and caught Buffy behind the knee. Before Buffy could catch her balance, Giles had her in his arms, a table knife pressed against her neck. "You're dead."
Annoyed, Buffy slammed her knee into Giles's stomach. She aimed high on purpose; she wanted to make a point, not embarrass the both of them.
A notion she threw out the window when Giles lost his balance and they went down in a heap.
All the breath in her lungs whooshed out under his weight. Her leg twisted up behind her. She yelped in pain. Giles landed with his face shoved smack-dab in the middle of her chest. He jerked away as though he'd been burned. "A-a-are you all right?" he managed, turning a lovely shade of poinsettia red.
"Yeah." She unfolded her leg out from under her and rotated the ankle. "Just surprised me a little." She gave Giles a grin. "Just for the record, who are you and what have you done with my Watcher?"
"Well, after watching you yawn for two hours yesterday, I thought I might try another approach to your hand-to-hand training."
"By fighting dirty?" Buffy asked
"Precisely." Giles smiled back as he got to his feet. "And it must be working. I actually have your complete attention. For once."
"Hey that's not fair," Buffy protested. "You've had my attention other times."
"Oh really? Name three."
Buffy opened her mouth. Nothing came out. She stabbed her finger at thin air. "Gimme a minute." Giles gave her a *look*. "Okay okay, point conceded." She crossed her arms over her chest and pouted.
"And don't you think it's about time you stopped pouting at me whenever I say something you don't like? It makes you look ridiculous."
Buffy's arms came down. For some reason, that hurt. "And on that promising note, I'm outta here."
"Why?" At Buffy's surprised double-take, Giles raised an eyebrow. "Weren't you the one who complained -- at length -- that you weren't getting enough use out of my equipment?"
Buffy clapped her hand over her mouth, turning bright red.
"I was referring to the weaponry," Giles said. His oh-so-patient tone just made it worse. Buffy gulped down hysterical snickers. Turning his back to fetch something, Giles hid a grin. He treasured any occasion where he could catch his Slayer flat-footed. And speaking of which . . . he moved a little to one side, blocking the sightline between Buffy and the weapons cabinet. He took down a bundle of throwing knives and tossed it over, deflecting one of her snide remarks as he shut the cabinet door and locked it.
A key scraped in the deadbolt lock. "Buffy? I'm home!" Joyce called up the stairs.
Joyce's head turned to the living room, the smile falling off her face. Buffy lay stretched out on the couch, looking for all the world like she intended to take root and sprout leaves. "Honey what's wrong?"
"Nothing bad. I'm just whipped. Patrol was kinda hectic."
"More vampires than usual?" Joyce asked, dropping her attaché case and hanging up her jacket.
"I wish. There was a gang and they were chasing these two girls. I had to hang around and give a statement."
"Were the girls all right?"
"Yeah, they were just knocked around a little." Buffy sighed. The helpless pair, neither one a day over fifteen, had run straight into Buffy as she was making a sweep through the warehouse district around the Bronze. A second later, four men had burst into view, all drunk, all saying things Buffy wished she could forget. She'd gone into action, holding them off as the terrified girls made a run for it. The girls -- obviously not from Sunnydale -- had run straight to the police.
"Have you had supper? I skipped."
"No, not yet."
"Want me to warm something up?"
"Would it necessitate movement?"
"Rats." Buffy sat up and regretted it. She said a bad word.
"Sorry." She hauled herself to her feet and yawned. "Man I'm beat. In more ways than one."
Joyce's mouth thinned. "What do you mean?"
"Giles." Buffy walked to her mother and gave her a big hug. "We've been training like, three, four hours a day for weeks. And these last few days . . ." Buffy shook her head. "I'm either slowing down in my old age or he's on speed. Or something."
Joyce steered her towards the kitchen. "He hasn't been hurting you has he?"
In spite of her fatigue, Buffy picked up enough strain from her mother's tone to phrase her reply rather carefully. "No. No, it's just . . . well usually he holds way back, even though I can kick his ass blindfolded. But lately . . ." she trailed off. Any more specific and Joyce would go straight to Giles and cut him to pieces with cuticle scissors. She shook her head. "I don't know. I don't even know why we're training so hard. A-Day kinda put the kibosh on preordained death fests."
"Did you ask him?"
"Yeah. He said it was necessary and I'd understand later." Buffy shrugged. "Big shock. I don't."
They reached the kitchen. Buffy plunked down at the breakfast bar while Joyce dug back into the refrigerator for leftovers. She pulled out a dish full of . . . grass. Growing grass. "Oh, look at this." She held up the dish. "The baked beans need mowing."
Joyce put the dish back and -- carefully -- closed the refrigerator door. "Why don't we order out? Let them mutate in peace."
The weeks before Fourth of July were a confused carnival-weave for Buffy. Xander was gone on his mission to see the country, Willow and Oz were gone on tour with the Dingoes, Cordelia had beat feet for LA the morning after graduation, and everyone else Buffy knew were missing in absentia. Even her mom had been Mobile Girl, bouncing in and out of town for days on end.
Buffy swept her bokken up in a neck-level sweep. Wood clacked together as Giles dropped under the stroke and blocked.
Giles had been the only one who'd stayed around. Strange, when the events of the past year meant he was at loose ends for the first time since Buffy had known him. She'd figured he'd take a few weeks and go visiting back in England or something. Instead he'd thrown himself into a brutal new training regimen. Buffy wouldn't have admitted it under threat of hot pokers, but she was glad.
Giles cracked her one on the bicep. A brutal sting tore through her arm. Buffy bit back a swear and redoubled her attack.
Glad because at least when she was training she wasn't feeling. Because all she could feel was a void. *His* face was the first thing she saw when she woke up in the morning and the last thing she saw when she fell asleep. It felt like her guts had been scooped out of her, leaving nothing behind but skin and bones.
Because she still couldn't conceptualize a life without her Angel.
Buffy's bokken smacked down on Giles's left hand. Giles said something really nasty and dropped it. Buffy's leg swept out. Giles grabbed it and twisted her ankle. Hard. Buffy yelped as she lost her balance.
But as much as Angel haunted her every waking thought, his face did not come to her in her dreams.
Since becoming the Slayer Buffy dreamed often and vividly. Not always prophetic dreams, just a bunch of half-images tossed together into some sort of story. About all it did was ensure that she seldom rested, even in her sleep. Sleep wasn't a refuge for her any more.
So why was it, after everything, the man who took the lead in her post-Ascension sexy dreams wasn't Angel at all?
Buffy kicked Giles's feet out from under him and vaulted back upright. She wondered if he was tired yet. She hoped not. She could do this all day.
Angel as Angel-the-soul was gentle, hesitant. He always touched her as though she were spun sugar, ready to collapse at the merest touch. Her dream-man was neither gentle nor hesitant. They fucked like animals, on the floor, against the wall, falling off beds, pounding into kitchen tables and desks, on all fours, on her back, riding him like a horse. Hard, angry, passionate. He handled her body like he owned it, and Buffy woke up every morning with a scream locked in her chest.
She was glad they spent so much time training. While they were training, they weren't talking. And with thoughts like that, God alone knows what she could say.
Snatching the bokken up again, Giles pressed his attack. Buffy blocked him move for move, the wood blurry against the overcast sky. Last time they'd trained with bokken, she'd been taken aback by the skill and ferocity of his attack. Giles would push her to learn, but he knew damn well he wasn't much good as a sparring partner. Too big, too slow, not strong enough. But lately, he was more than holding his own. For the first time ever, Buffy had to hit the aspirin and icepacks after training right along with her Watcher.
Buffy wasn't naïve, and she wasn't stupid. The Ripper she'd seen firsthand was a baby compared to what came later, the black magus willing to kill in the name of a good time. The knowledge gave her cold chills. So how come the creature in her dreams lit fires in her spirit no one else had or could?
Steel biting into her wrists. Teeth marking her skin. Hard, hot fingers tugging on her nipples. Thick flesh forcing inside her body. Pain and pleasure, torture and tenderness, the sour with the sweet. That same face soft with concern asking if she was okay after a hard patrol, that same sweet voice wishing her goodnight.
Buffy leapt over his swing. She kicked out. Her heel slammed into Giles's left hand. She swung. Giles's bokken nearly fell out of his hand. Nearly, but not quite. A solid roundhouse caught Buffy in the jaw. Buffy swung completely around with the force. Her foot nailed Giles on the arm. He cried out in pain. Battle lust fell out of Buffy's body. "Oh God! I'm sorry. I wasn't--I didn't--"
Adder-quick, Giles punched her in the stomach. Buffy folded over his fist. Shit it hurt! Her bokken fell from limp fingers.
"Stop that!" She'd never heard Giles take that tone before, exasperation and irritation rotted into something darker. "Dammit quit holding back!"
Buffy threw a punch at his head. Giles caught her fist in one hand, squeezing hard enough to grate the bones together. "I. Am. Not. Holding. Back!" she snarled.
"Then why am I winning?" His knee socked up into her stomach. Buffy's guts all took a brave leap up towards her nose. "If I were a vampire you'd be dead five times over!" He jerked on her fist, hurling her past him and giving her a punch in the kidney as a farewell present. White pain flared in her back.
If he were a vampire . . . there was a thought Buffy didn't like. Then again, with only a few problematic exceptions, most of the vampires she dealt with had super-strength, but next to no fighting skill. Most of them fought like Mike Tyson on downers, all fists and lunging. Giles wasn't like that. And who gave him permission to actually beat her? Since when could he touch her?
Giles's bokken whistled through the air, aimed for her throat. Snarling -- dammit, he'd insulted her pride -- Buffy blocked the strike with both arms. Pain clawed through her arms. Buffy didn't care. She grabbed the wood in both hands and whipped Giles down to the ground. He landed with a grunt.
Buffy flipped the bokken over so she was holding it properly, then stalked over to Giles's laid-out body. Placing one foot on either side of his waist, she held the bokken tip against his throat.
Giles twisted under her and slammed a fist into the bend of her knee. Buffy's leg buckled. Giles grabbed the bokken and tried to jerk it out of her hands. She lost her balance and fell on top of her Watcher. She felt his hot cheeks through the thin cotton of her T-shirt, felt his breath on her breast.
And his hands dragged her down, putting her head on a level with his. It didn't feel real; it felt too real. Buffy felt his fingers spread across her back, testing out the texture of her flesh and muscles. Hard, hot lips slammed against hers and forced them apart. A broad, hot tongue shoved into her mouth.
All the blood in Buffy's body split itself between her head and her cunt. Part of her stood speechless, only dimly aware of her lips kissing him back, of her hands on his body. If someone asked her what the hell she thought she was doing, she could say "I don't know," and be telling nothing but the truth.
Giles rolled her to her back, pressing her flat between his body and the hard ground. His thigh forced itself between her legs, the hard muscle rubbing her right down *there*, right where she needed it. She could feel every inch of him, every muscle pulled tight, an erection the size of a crowbar poking her in the stomach. A wave of his hand tore her T-shirt apart. Hot kisses rained down her throat. He dragged the cups of her bra down and devoured her breasts.
Buffy's hands landed on his shoulders. They froze there. For one of the few times in her life, Buffy didn't know what to do. Her body was being pulled in two directions; push him away or pull him closer? Broken up be damned; she was still Angel's girl. But since when did Angel make her want to scream?
Could it have ever been like this? If Angel were warm and alive?
Suddenly he wasn't there any more. Again with that scary quickness he was gone. Buffy vaguely heard him get to his feet. Then he spoke, and the rage and pain made something in her spirit shrivel and crumble away, "May God damn you and your cheating soul to Hell for all eternity."
Buffy was on her feet in a heartbeat. She dragged him around to face her and slapped him with every ounce of her strength. Blood burst from his mouth in a fine spray. Buffy's insides went cold. She'd never made him bleed before.
Giles's hand covered his purpling cheek. His eyes were wide as saucers and looking down at her like he'd never seen her before.
And he ran. Buffy screamed his name, demanded he come back and face her, pleaded with him to come and talk to her. She readjusted her clothes as best she could and took off after him. But he was gone.
Buffy ran all the way back home. She pounded up the stairs, shedding clothes on the way. She all but leapt into the shower and turned on the water with a hard snap of her wrist. The icy blast hit her like needles and she yelled the nastiest swear she knew to the empty rooms.
Giles had come about so close to *raping* her, and she just lay there and *let* it happen! //Christ, I was on the verge of telling myself to just imagine it was Angel and enjoy it!// Could he have picked up on that? Buffy knew diddly-squat about the sort of connection that was supposed to exist between a Slayer and her Watcher, but they'd read each other's minds before. It would explain his parting shot.
Buffy gabbed the back brush that normally just hung on the shower caddy, lathered it up, and scoured every inch of her body. Her skin was glowing pink when she got done and got out again. Movement caught her eye, and she gazed at her own reflection in the medicine cabinet mirror.
"What am I supposed to feel about this?" she burst out. "I *don't* want him, I can't! He could've done it, he didn't because he knew I was thinking about Angel! Who else would I be thinking about? Not him! God, bluck! Somebody tell me, how am I supposed to feel about this, because *I DON'T KNOW*!" she screamed. Her heart cried for Angel, her body cried for Giles, and the rest of her didn't know which end was which anymore.
Buffy sank to the bathroom floor and sobbed.
"How can I deal if I don't know what to feel?"
A few hours later, Buffy stood outside Giles's apartment.
//I need answers. Then I'll worry about how I'm supposed to feel. Until then, I'm not going to feel. S'okay? S'okay. S'awright? S'awright.//
Buffy tried the knob. Unlocked, as usual. As he'd told her before, the only beings he worried about when it came to home security wouldn't be put off with locks. She slipped inside.
Buffy's mouth tightened. Of course. She needed him and he wasn't home. The house was full of his personality -- Giles's apartment was one of those places that contains its occupant whether he's home or not -- but not his living presence. The quiet pressed in on her. Usually the place seemed to hug Buffy as she came inside, offering her a refuge even safer than her own home. Tonight she felt like a vampire pre-invite.
Unease sitting in her tummy like a cold rock, Buffy looked around downstairs. The premises were tidy, a place for everything and everything in its place. Except for one thing; the medicine cabinet in the bathroom was hanging open. Out of character. Giles had a compulsive streak a mile wide. He would've shut the door as a matter of course.
Tiptoeing, quiet as a cat in the dog pound and just as nervous, Buffy crept back out to the living room. //Spidey-sense tingling. Something is very anti-right.// Her gaze drifted to the stairs. Swallowing, she tiptoed up the steps.
Relief crashed through her when she saw the Watcher-shaped lump on the bed. She let out a breath she wasn't aware of holding. Trepidation furrowed her brow. //Should I wake him up?// Even as she thought no, something took hold of her feet and moved them upwards, step by step. Dread, cold sick dread, crawled up her throat. She wanted to run away. Instead she crossed the loft to the bed.
A litter of pill bottles crowded the nightstand.
//No, oh God no!// Buffy shoved Giles's shoulder. He stayed put, like a life-sized Giles doll. Buffy shoved harder. Stiffly, as though his joints had gone rusty, he rolled over, revealing an empty bottle of Scotch.
Everything seemed to split again. She was aware of shaking him, screaming his name, but at the same time it seemed to be happening to another Buffy, in another place. In a little while she'll wake up and go to school and Giles will be there, sipping tea and munching a muffin and asking if she slept okay. She clung to that thought even as she grabbed the bedside extension and called 911, working the dial so hard she snapped it off.
Buffy rode in the ambulance, under the flashing lights. Under the bright light Giles's skin was gray, the mark of her slap standing out like a purple brand. She held his hand. It was cold. It wasn't supposed to be cold.
The EMT worked around him, checking gauges and meters. Buffy wasn't aware of him, not really. Her eyes stayed fixed on the EKG as it measured out the beat of his heart. God, so slow. He was only breathing because a machine made him breathe.
They arrived at the hospital. Buffy wouldn't let go of his hand, not even as they wheeled him into the Emergency Room. They shoved him into a room full of equipment, doctors and nurses yelling very medical sounding things at each other. On a three count, the mob lifted Giles off the gurney and onto a table. Buffy heard her voice asking what was going on, is he going to be okay, please talk to me, somebody, so I can understand.
One of the nurses splintered off the mob and gently herded her out of the room. Buffy peered in through the chicken-wired window. She watched them cut off his clothes, watched them poke him with needles and pump him full of drugs. She barely heard the nurse asking the regular questions, barely noticed herself giving the answers. Finally the nurse pulled her away from the window and planted her in a waiting area.
Buffy sat there, holding her empty middle. Her own heart wasn't beating right either, and her lungs didn't want to work. She stared down at the linoleum, marking out almost-patterns in the tiny splotches of color. Some time later, an intern all in blue sat down before her. He quacked some non-committal bullshit about Giles's condition, then handed her something sealed in a plastic baggie. Buffy took it on fingers that didn't belong to her. It was some sheets of paper off a legal pad, filled up with Giles's handwriting.
The note explained everything; he'd spent the last several weeks experimenting with potions augmenting strength and speed. There were side effects, among them intensified sex-drive and lowered inhibitions, but he thought he'd had them under control. He told her he'd already failed her twice, and far better for him to die in disgrace than fail her again. A few dry lines regarding practical issues; body to be cremated and sent back to England, personal effects left to the three of them in Sunnydale to dispose of as they saw fit, and no memorial service ("I won't inflict upon any of you the embarrassment of delivering an eulogy."). He ended by telling her he was proud of her and counted on her to carry on.
Carry on. "Did you think I was *lying* you bastard?" Buffy whispered. //You can't leave me. I can't do this alone. Please God, let this be a dream. Let me wake up now. Please God, please?// She wrapped her arms tight around herself, the note clenched in one fist, and trembled. She didn't cry. She didn't want to cry. She wanted to scream.
"Miss Summers?" Buffy watched the doctor sit down.
Outside, fireworks blazed in the sky.
*Love, do you remember*
*My name? I was lost*
*In summer turned winter*
*Made bitter by frost.*
*And when June comes December*
*The heart pays the cost.*
*The breaking of waves upon a long shore,*
*In the grey morning the slow fall of rain,
*And stone lies over.*
*You'll bury your sorrow*
*Deep in the sea,*
*But sea tides aren't tamed*
*There will come a tomorrow*
*When you weep for me*
*The breaking of waves on a long shore,*
*In the grey morning the slow fall of rain,*
*Oh love remember, remember me.*
-"Rachel's Song," Guy Gavriel Kay
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