Rating: PG13 for violence, no smut or language that I recall
Characters: Giles, Spike, Buffy
Setting: Season 5 Halloween
Disclaimer: I don't own any of this and am not making a brass farthing from it
Thanks: littleotter73for essential beta skills. wickedfox for use of the yummy graphic.
Notes: This fic was conceived in Camden March 2012.
A Watcher may have family, a Watcher may have friends, if he is fortunate a Watcher may have a Slayer, but above all a Watcher has a Duty to protect the World above all other personal concerns.
Indoctrination Materials for intake of 1724. Not to be removed from Council Archives
Stretched out on the rather garish bedspread of his motel room, Quentin Travers raised his eyes from his paperwork to glare at the young man that he had brought as his assistant on this mission.
“Do stop pacing up and down, Henry. There’s a good boy.”
“I’m sorry Uncle. But I do think that a motel that boasts of air conditioning really ought to make good on its promise.”
Travers took his glasses off and stretched his legs. In the good old days taking family as part of one’s retinue meant unflinching loyalty and support. People you could trust, people you could rely on when engaged in less by the book operations. But his sister’s youngest boy had done nothing to suggest any sort of interest in the council’s important work and Travers was beginning to regret ever saying yes to his sister’s plea to get the boy ‘out into the world for a bit’. He had his mother’s sandy coloured hair but it was far too long and he had an annoying habit of sweeping it out of his eyes like he’d stepped out of an Evelyn Waugh novel.
“We do have slightly more important matters in hand. I suggest you save up that nervous energy for when it’s going to be needed,” Travers said severely, hoping to install some sense of gravitas into the situation.
The young man flopped despondently on the foot of the bed. It was a tremendous liberty that only family would dare to take, Travers felt the invasion of his personal space keenly.
“But why?” Henry lamented. “I don’t understand the importance of all this cloak’n’dagger stuff. It’s all a bit silly isn’t it?”
Not for the first time, Travers regretted that his family seemed immune to all the tactics he usually deployed to intimidate other trainees.
“No my boy, this is deadly serious and the sooner you realise we are fighting a war...” Both men jumped slightly as the motel door opened, Travers hand slipped to the stake on the bedside cabinet out of instinct. Henry just sat with his mouth open.
The lady in the long camel coat entered, her hair was dishevelled and she sported a cut lip and the early swelling of a black eye.
Henry rose gallantly to her side. “I say June, are you alright?”
She smiled weakly and answered. “It certainly got a bit rougher out there than I’d have liked.”
“How awful for you,” he sympathised.
“Yes, yes, yes,” snapped Travers impatiently. “That is all very well, but did it work?”
June nodded and winced as Henry helped her out of the camel coat. “It was very effective, sir. I think it’s fair to say Miss Summers has her motivation now.”
Carefully avoiding all his neighbours and parties of Trick-or-treaters, Giles snuck into his apartment, pulled to all the curtains and as a final precaution relocked the front door. The apartment’s owner was dead and at least he didn’t need an invite to gain access, which was a small but grim blessing. He looked rather sadly at the possessions gained in a lifetime. Tomorrow he supposed Xander would stoically pack away his books and Buffy and Willow would sit on the stairs with red eyes. He could never come back to this home again. Life for him now (life! Oh the irony), was to be sewers and graveyards, fearing daylight and hiding from all comfort and company. He’d never again sit on the beach and watch the sun rise, never chew grass on the edge of a lazy cricket match. If that was to be immortality, then he wasn’t too sure he had the stomach for it.
He took the stairs quickly for fresh clothes, instinctively picking out darker items, his black jeans, shirt and somewhat battered leather jacket. The clothes matched his mood and he was not disposed to stand out in the night for Buffy to find. He wouldn’t have long before she came for him. Stupidly he’d left his car and wallet at the Magic Box and whilst she might have doubled back there thinking he’d try to collect them, eventually she would pitch up at his house to finish what she had tried to start.
He washed up as best he could with no reflection and quickly searched his weapons chest for portable items. He didn’t dare touch the crosses or the holy water but filled his pockets with stakes and old switchblade knife that his grandmother had given him on his fourteenth birthday. His mother hadn’t been terribly impressed with that choice of gift and he smiled at the memory. It was a wholly inappropriate and dangerous gift for a fourteen year but Giles thought it pretty cool and was the envy of his friends for a time. Typically, his father had given him the four volumes of The Works of Resurrection and told him rather pompously there would be a test when he’d finished reading them. Giles felt a sudden chill as he thought about resurrection and Buffy’s mention of Lazarus. He was now dead and in need of a miracle. It could not be a grim co-incidence, not if Travers had been involved. He needed to read those books of his father’s now and hoped to god they weren’t at the Magic Box. He flew to the glass bookcase and started to pull out volumes frantically.
He was reading intently by a single desk light, tossing books to the floor as he searched, when he heard a key in the front door that stopped him cold. He had run out of time. Buffy had found him too soon and short of jumping out of the window he could see no means of escape. The hairs on the back of Giles’ neck stood up as he watched the door open very slowly to reveal....Spike.
“Spike? Since when the hell did you have a key?”
The vampire jumped visibly and began to stumble an excuse.
“Ah Watcher, I can explain, I was passing and ...“
Giles rushed to slam the door shut behind his visitor. “Let’s not attract the neighbourhood shall we?” he snapped and cautiously tugged the curtains but could see no-one else in the courtyard.
“Oh my god.” Spike spoke very softly. “What the hell happened to you?”
“I’d have thought that was obvious.” Giles replied tetchily. Spike put his hand flat against Giles’ chest for a heartbeat neither of them knew he would find.
“I’m sorry,” he said finally.
Giles shrugged the hand off his shirt. “I don’t want your pity.”
Spike gestured to the books across the table. “I’m saving the pity for the rest of us. Does the Slayer know of this?”
“Enough to try and meet her job description.”
Spike looked at him wryly. “Probably don’t want to go giving her any more opportunities.”
Giles put his hands in his pockets. He didn’t want to think about how Buffy would react at a second chance to kill him. He was a threat to Dawn and Joyce and she wouldn’t hesitate. Spike picked up some of the books on the desk and looked at the cryptic titles.
“Often wondered about you with all that talk of dark magic in the past,” he mused. “Often thought you’d be a right bastard as a vampire.”
“Thanks.” Giles replied coldly.
“You bookish blokes can get some funny ideas when you’re turned. It’s always the quiet ones that want to end the world. What are you cooking up?”
“None of your business. What did you come for anyway?”
Spike shrugged and helped himself to the kitchen. “You used to be a man with a well-stocked fridge.” He knelt for a plastic carton of blood from the back of the refrigerator and returned to the living area in triumph. “You can’t stay here you know. Slayer is going to come a-calling sooner or later. Want some?” Giles considered his body’s reaction. The thought of drinking blood rather repulsed him. Spike bit the top off savagely and waved the packet. “Need to keep your strength up.”
“Not right now.”
Spike grunted and went to settle on the sofa with his prize. He put his feet on the coffee table and began to consume the blood. Giles scowled at his manners.
“Wot? We’re evil soulless creatures of the night, Rupert. We don’t wipe our feet and make with the ‘please and thanks yous’. There are No Rules anymore.”
Giles hated to accept that Spike was probably right. It wasn’t his home anymore. Not his furniture. Not his books. He took comfort in the fact that, for the time being at least, the scotch on the kitchen counter was still his and poured himself a large one.
“I suppose not,” he muttered sadly.
Spike talked and drank at the same time. “You know, you’d feel a lot better if you ate someone with that. I can show you the best places to hunt.”
He considered the idea and supressed a shudder. Spike was too absorbed in his blood bank donation to notice. The chip stopped him from feeding directly, prevented him from harming anyone human with intense neurological pain, but he still needed the blood. He was at least proof that it was possible to exist this way without killing anyone.
Spike gurgled with contentment and dropped the empty packet on the floor provocatively. Giles didn’t react. It wasn’t his house anymore. No Rules.
“What stupid bugger did this to you anyway?”
“I didn’t stop to ask. I was too busy dusting him.”
“Whoa. Way to go Watcher! Takes some nerve to do that, I’m impressed. Vampires don’t usually outright kill their sire, apart from the really mental cases of course, but it’s a kind of rule.”
“I thought there were no rules,” Giles replied with sarcasm.
Spike put his hands behind his head and stretched lazily. “More of a compulsion then. An inbuilt need to protect their sire. It’s in the blood. It’s why we do it. Takes a strong character to overcome that genetic impulse to shield your maker from harm. Or a complete psychopath. Always wondered about you.”
Giles glared but Spike was thinking. “A human who is perhaps a little closer to the demon than most could do it without thinking twice. Someone who has killed his own kind before.” Spike suddenly shifted into a look of intense interest. “How dark do you go, Watcher?”
Giles finished the scotch in his glass to ignore the question. Alarmingly, Spike rose to him and stroked a finger on the sleeve of Giles’ leather jacket. “Reckon you’ve had your own demons before but there’s nothing to hold you back now. Have you eaten anything yet?”
Giles backed away from Spike’s touch and shook his head.
“Well then!” Everything suddenly made sense to Spike. “No wonder you’re a bit confused. You have to feed Rupert. Or you really will go crazy. First few hours are critical.”
He eyed Spike suspiciously. “You’re making this up.”
Spike grinned and the intensity of the moment was lost. Giles picked up the nearest book and turned the pages rapidly to resume his research.
“You Watchers don’t know everything. So don’t go reading about destroying the world. Not till you’ve sampled it properly. You’ll feel differently on a full stomach. I can help you with this stuff.” Spike lit a cigarette and contemplated the future. “Think of me as your undead life coach.”
Giles would rather not have thought about Spike at all but the book he’d picked up was familiar.
“I’m not reading about destroying the world,” he protested.
“Very glad to hear it.”
“I’m reading about…” Giles stopped. It was there! The chapter he remembered as a child, albeit in Greek, was finally in front of him and included as a bonus there was an engraving showing a jet black stone, the size of a man’s fist with intricate spell work engraved in white letters around it.
Spike sidled up to look over his shoulder. “It’s a pebble,” he intoned flatly. “Couldn’t it be something solid gold for once? You’ll need money.” He eyed the room with professional interest. “Got anything decent we can hock?”
Giles translated and read aloud. “Illustration shows the Lazarus Stone from 14th century Tuscany. Believed to be able to reverse demon occupation from recently afflicted.”
Spike began to inspect the ornaments on the mantelpiece. “I do hope you’re not going to be this boring as a vampire, Rupert.”
“Accusations of necromancy drove its creator to flee the attacking village mob - as village mobs are wont to do,” he added dryly, “when witnesses talked of recent pale ones returning to the light.”
Spike merely blew out his cheeks with boredom. “Taking that as a yes then.”
“And restoring breath and blood. And he knew that. Quentin bloody Travers knew that. Oh I am going to kill that man in so many unpleasant ways.”
“Now you’re talking more like a vampire. When do we start?”
Giles ignored Spike’s happy enthusiasm and returned to his reading.
“This stone is a cure you see. Recent pale ones might mean there is a time limit on this thing working…” He flicked a page. “Yes, till um sunrise. Well that was obvious wasn’t it? I’ve got till sunrise to find this thing.”
“So just to be clear, you staked your sire and now you think there’s a chance you can become human again? Heaven help us, it’s bloody Angel all over again. I have to say Watcher, so far you’re a bit of a disappointment as a vampire. I really thought you’d be more evil than this.”
“Well the night is still young,” Giles said with irony. “The Lazarus Stone must be here somewhere. Maybe it’s affecting me somehow?”
Spike shrugged. “So this pebble is somewhere in Sunnydale. And if we don’t do anything about it, by sunrise you’ll be properly evil? Because, forgive me, but I’m thinking that I might prefer you with a bit of backbone.”
Giles snapped the book shut impatiently. “And believe me you’ll be the first thing I kill if you don’t help me now.”
Spike didn’t react well to the threat and his anger flashed unexpectedly. Giles actually flinched.
“I don’t think you’ve quite got the hang of the pecking order with these things, mate. I don’t take orders from newbie vampires.” He was still and suddenly very menacing. “You don’t get to tell me what to do. And even if you don’t accept my seniority, you’re not human anymore.” Spike smiled dangerously. “You are now officially something I can hurt.”
Giles nodded curtly. “Very well, then I’ll find this thing on my own.” He wanted Spike’s assistance very badly though and he considered how best to frame the invitation. “I really would appreciate your help in this matter...” Giles switched off the lights and made for the front door. “And of course we’ll probably have to kill lots of things to get to it.”
Spike’s mood brightened immediately. “Thought you’d never ask, Rupes.”
Spike sauntered into Willy’s Place and left Giles to wait outside — it wouldn’t do for them to be seen together and Buffy would be quick to pick up any scent. Spike had slapped Giles on the back and grinned.
“See that drunk making his way to his car?” He pointed to a portly middle aged sales rep juggling a brown bag of strong liquor and fiddling with some car keys. Spike touched Giles’ shoulder and grinned. “I’ll find out what I can about this fancy rock you’re after, in the meantime,” The grin grew broader, “Why don’t you get yourself something to eat?”
“It’s a bit public isn’t it?”
“No rules, Rupert.”
Giles nodded and steeled his heart. Spike swept into the Willy’s bar leaving him and the sales rep the only people in the parking lot. Giles gripped the handle of his grandmother’s knife and then felt a little stupid as he was a vampire and wouldn’t need additional weapons. His prey put the brown bag on the hood of his car and held the keys to a street light. He was swaying slightly. It would almost be a public service to keep him off the road. Giles slipped round to the back of the vehicle and stopped. He realised that as a vampire, he had no idea how to kill a man in cold blood, and surprisingly little instinct or desire to do so. He’d thought of vampires as animals, killing without thought or need, acting out of an inner baseness that was sorely lacking in him at the very moment. Giles suddenly felt very stupid and exposed as the man turned and saw him.
“Vampire!” He was transfixed by Giles’ face and mumbled, “oh god, my wife, my kids”
He was going to scream and Giles needed to move swiftly to prevent him. Instead he stood dumbfounded and watched his ‘victim’ sober up instantly.
“Vampire, here, take.” The man desperately pulled his pockets, cigarettes, lighter, preposterous red spotted handkerchief crashed to the ground. He threw his car keys at Giles and tugged at his inside pocket, hurling his wallet which actually hit a surprised Giles in the face. He turned, stumbled and crawled back to a heedless run to the open road. Giles made no movement to follow though he could have reached him in a few easy strides. He just watched the roly-poly figure flee as if it the experience were on a TV show.
The discarded bottle of bourbon sloshed down the side of the Pontiac and Giles rescued it to an upright position. It was not the most auspicious start to his career as a creature of darkness. Maybe Buffy had been right all along, when push came to shove, he held back, he had no stomach for real violence.