Timing Series: part 5

Buffy’s throbbing head felt like it was going to explode. A cold damp washcloth stung on her temple. She didn’t want to open her eyes, knowing what she would face.

“You gave me a bit of a scare, my dear.” The familiar voice rumbled in her ears. “I have such lovely plans for you and me. I feared the worst.”

Buffy gradually lifted her eyelids and waited for her eyes to focus. The form of Giles cleared in her vision, sitting at her side, on the bed, gently tending to her wound. His tenderness reminded her of the time she had been stripped temporarily of her slayer powers during the Cruciamentum. After all the turmoil and betrayal, Giles had stayed at her side and cared for her. She couldn’t help but feel betrayal now, though she realized it was not Giles’ fault he was behaving as a malevolent beast, it was hers. Her jaw tightened as she watched him submerge the cloth in a bowl and press it to her forehead. Giles smiled at her and put the items on the nightstand. He carefully laid the palm of his cold open hand along the side of her face, letting his thumb caress her cheek. Buffy closed her eyes and tried to hold in the tears she knew were coming. She wanted him back…needed him back.

“Your cut is shallow but you may have a concussion.” He boldly placed his other hand on her leg and shifted to face her more directly.

Buffy’s hand trembled, eager to touch his. She took a deep breath and resolved to ignore her feelings. She must bury her love for him if she was to defeat him.

“What are you doing, Giles?” Buffy stared coldly at him.

His caring smile faded and he leaned in close to her. “I’m cleaning your wounds…luv,” he hissed through his teeth and pressed his thumb across her fresh cut. Buffy grimaced in pain and felt blood dribble down her eyebrow and cheek. A gasp escaped her lips as she watched him lick the blood from his thumb and savor the taste of the precious fluid.

“I’m disappointed in your conduct. I’d thought my slayer would show more gratitude to those whom she depends on so much…for her life.” He stood up, straightened his shirt and walked over to a dresser.

Buffy silently labored to her feet and prepared to attack.

“I don’t feel you’re quite up to combating me so soon, though I appreciate your enthusiasm.” He turned to flash a quick grin and continued to rummage through his drawers.

“Less talk! More death!” Buffy felt a storm of anger stir in her. When Giles ignored her order, she became incensed and attacked. She landed a kick to the back of his head and he spun around to receive an uppercut square on his ample jaw.

He smirked and nodded, “Very good!”

Buffy tried a sweeping kick which he easily side stepped and planted a quick elbow to his nose as she followed through.

“Excellent!” Blood trickled from his nose. He casually stood with his hands behind his back.

She leapt at him and managed to land a shin to the side of his head. He quickly recovered, fixing his shirt once again and resuming his passive stance.

“You’re glorious,” a proud smile decorated Giles’ face.

Buffy punched again. He allowed her to connect.

‘What is he doing?’ she thought; every kick, punch, jab bringing a blazing smile to his bloodied lips.

“Glad you’re enjoying this,” she decided to go for the stake she saw on the dresser. Giles blocked the attack with ease and followed with a kick to the abdomen that took her completely off guard. She doubled over in agony.

He lifted her up and threw her on his bed. She was breathless. How could she fight the mentor who trained her; knew every move before she could even make it?

“No. We can’t end our first dance in such a boorish manner,” he sneered, walking toward the bed.

“W-what…” Buffy coughed and tasted blood in her mouth, “What else did you have in mind?”

He casually sat down beside her on the mattress and looked at her with a grin.

He leaned in close to her and whispered, “You…I always have you in mind, Buffy.”

‘No breath,’ Buffy realized. She always knew she had the upper hand when sparring with Giles because of his struggle to breath while near her. She would burst with self-confidence as she heard his huffs; she knew she had performed well.

Her self-confidence crumbled. Giles wasn’t breathing; he was in complete control.

“I d-don’t understand.”

“No…I don’t suppose you would,” He straightened back up and stared past her as he stood up. “You’re too engulfed in your own little world to bother with the like’s of me.” He walked back over to the dresser and pulled out what looked like a necklace, “And I, as the dutiful fool, always remained at your side. Willingly accepting any scraps of notice from the blind girl who held my heart. Unfortunately…I had to die to get your attention.”

Buffy watched him return to the bedside, a rough-cut crystal linked to the leather cord shimmered in his hand. He lifted the piece to Buffy’s face. “Do you recognize this?”

Buffy flinched at his movement toward her. He grinned as she examined the item and shook her head slightly.

“No…of course not,” he carefully put the cord around Buffy’s neck, latched it and centered it on her chest. “It was Jenny’s, you see; Willow gave it to me after her…her death.”

Buffy felt her stomach twist with discomfort. She didn’t want the necklace near her; it felt wrong, disrespectful.

“Even then, I allowed my devotion to you interfere with my only chance at happiness,” his eyes met hers, “It’s only fitting you have this now.”

“I’m sorry,” Buffy couldn’t hold back her emotions. “I never wanted…”

“NO!” His face flared into the demon as he pointed a stern finger at her. “You listen now!” His face returned to normal. “The days of my subservience are gone…” Giles moved in closer to her, “…I will not be ignored. You were my Slayer in life, Buffy; you will be my Slayer in death. I’ll make you mine.”

Buffy’s mind raced, what could she do. She anxiously looked around the room. Giles eyes burned yellow and he grabbed a fistful of her hair. She winced and tried to pull away.

“I see you are still not ready to cooperate. I’m afraid I will need to keep you…quiet until I am ready to continue. Sorry ‘bout this luv.” A slight smile formed on his lips as Buffy’s head slammed against the wall behind her. She blacked out.

She woke to find herself handcuffed to the headboard of Giles bed, her head throbbing once more. The mattress shifted beside her and she looked over at Giles lying beside her.

“Shall we proceed then?” he smirked and propped himself up on one elbow.

“Do I have a choice?” Buffy asked exasperatedly.

Giles sat up, crossed his legs and leaned forward, planting his elbows on his knees. “Death!”

“Then death it is.” Buffy said it with as much indignation as she could muster.

Giles just stared at her, cold green eyes cutting into her.

A fire began to grow in her, ‘Just get it over with already!’ she thought.

“Kill me! Come on.” She thrust herself forward, trying to reach him, handcuffs digging into the skin on her wrists. All these games were tiring her; she didn’t care anymore. She just wanted the pain to end. No more heartache, no more guilt, no more loss, no more life.

His gaze fell to the bed covers, “You don’t want that.”

“Yes, Giles! That is exactly what I want. Fucking kill me already!” She was yelling her words, commanding him. Tears welled up in her eyes, “I wanted to die the second I saw you…dead.” She could barely choke out the last word. “I can’t do this on my own. I can’t…just kill me and let someone else take my place.” Her eyes begged him.

Giles eyes returned her stare and his jaw tensed; he swallowed hard and turned away, “I can’t.” He whispered and lowered his face into his hands.

“W-what?” Buffy asked, unsure of what she’d heard.

“I can’t kill you,” he said with disappointment spread across his face. “I tried, when you were out. Bloody useless…” he shook his head and peeked up at her.

“Yeah…right! Performance anxiety?” she taunted him, her anger began to tame.

“More like inexplicable compassion Buffy.” She just stared glossy-eyed back at him.

“I have strong feelings for you. An attachment, if you will. And, I’m afraid; it’s inhibiting me from…” he reached out and caressed her neck, swallowing hard once again, “…from tearing out your throat.”

“What are you saying?” Buffy felt a tinge of hope. Had something gotten through to him? Was Giles in there somewhere?

“I can’t…I won’t do this.” His expression was bleak. “I…I care for you…” He mumbled the words as if disgusted with himself. He looked at her with concerned eyes.

The burden on Buffy’s heart lifted, he was there. Giles was trying to surface. She didn’t understand how and didn’t care. She needed him. “Giles? It’s ok. We’ll work it out.” Buffy tried to reach out for him but the handcuffs strained against her wrists. “Willow can do a spell or something. We can fix this.” She shook her bound hands, “Just release me, please. I can’t carry on a conversation like this.”

He smiled; the familiar creases in the corner of his eyes seemed to brighten his pale face. She watched eagerly as he leaned over her and fumbled with the keys to the handcuffs. He glanced at her and saw the happiness in her eyes. He paused and knelt down beside her.
“There…” he sneered, “that’s what I wanted to see.”

“Wha…what? Aren’t you going to free me?” confusion creased her forehead.

“Only from the bonds of humanity, luv.” Giles’ face distorted to his vampire mask. He grasped her hair and forced her head back, exposing her neck, “You made that all to easy…ridiculous child!” He sank his fangs into her warm flesh.

She tensed with pain as his fangs buried deeper in her tissues.

Her heart stopped cold, it had been a trick; revenge taken upon her as penalty for her mistreatment of Giles. Buffy wept as he fed. She was ridiculous, should have known; he had cruelly toyed with her, setting her up for heart wrenching betrayal. She wanted him back so badly and he knew it, playing her into his trap. He was behaving like Angelus, and a sick hint of her took pleasure in it. Her restrained hands stretched, searching for a weapon, anything that might give her a slight chance to escape. Giles sensed her exploration and reinforced his grip on her neck. She let out a whimper and she felt his lips curl to a smile on her flesh. Giles stroked the back of her head, as if he were calming a crying child. Buffy moaned with revolted passion, giving in to his control and lust.

The last of her spirit drained, she breathed in his ear “Giles…” she choked, “I love you.” The words seemed trivial in the ferocity of the moment. She meant them as a goodbye, a plea to the Giles she wanted to remember in her last breaths. A simple image appeared in her mind… Giles smiling up at her from one of his many books, his ‘kiss the librarian’ mug in his hand. Tranquil warmth blanketed her and she let the shadows take her.

A blaze of orange light filled the room for an instant and dissolved.

Giles awakened in horror at the sight of Buffy cradled lifeless in his arms.