Timing is everything: part 3
Never See it Coming

‘What must she be thinking of me right now. She finally admits that she wants me back in her life; something I’ve been waiting to hear for months, and I have to go mess it up.’ Giles sat in his car, resting his head against the steering wheel.

‘It’s your bloody fault, mate!’ he bounced his head on the steering wheel.
‘All you had to do was talk to her. Tell her how you feel, now that there’s no one else.’ He bounced his head again and sat back up, ‘No…she’s vulnerable. It’s too soon after the Riley. How do these men Buffy takes up with leave her?’ Giles pulled his keys out of the ignition. ‘They weren’t men. Boys! The whole lot of ‘em; even Angel. No man in his right mind could ever leave Buffy. I could never…would never…Why can’t I just tell her that?’ He slammed a palm on the steering wheel and shook his head ashamed of his cowardice.

‘I can speak five bloody languages and can’t even communicate with my slayer…my Buffy,’ he could barely open the door on his Citroen; he was so exhausted. After managing to pull himself out of the vehicle, he steadied himself with the swaying car door. The door barely closed under his slight force. Giles felt his head pound as he shifted the paper bag in his arms. He’d picked up some necessities at the local market, or at least he told himself they were necessities; twin bottles of substandard scotch. A slight assist he’d come to depend on in forgetting his pitiful existence as of late. Yet again he’d managed to alienate Buffy with his foolishness.

‘Why did you keep the bloody letter?’

Perhaps he’d wanted her to discover it?
Perhaps he’d wanted Buffy’s reaction to such a circumstance.
Perhaps he wanted her to finally realize that he was a man rather than a walking textbook.
Perhaps he should get inside and check his messages.

He felt the pager hum alive on his hip. Hope lifted his heart and he set the bag down on the ground to fumbled through his pockets. He eagerly pulled it out of his pocket and tried to read the small digital display. The light was to dim for his weary eyes so he settled under a flickering light in the courtyard area. His eyes still failed to see the message until one of his fingers accidentally triggered a small light that finally displayed the cryptic code:


He pondered it’s meaning a moment, ‘Who would need two cubs?’

He stepped toward his doorway and stopped, thought for a second and slammed his fist on the door. The puzzles meaning suddenly became clear, “For the love of…Need to see you B.S…you stupid git!”

Perhaps she wasn’t too mad at him; after all she was willing to see him.
‘Perhaps tonight is the night to explain yourself.’ He thought, ‘Tell her the truth of why you stay. Explain how you can’t bring yourself to leave this place though you can never have what holds you here.’ He rolled his eyes, "Give it up you old fool." He whispered to himself as he opened the door.

He smiled at the notion of simply taking her into his arms and kissing her passionately. Imagining the stunned expression she would have from such a display made him snicker. ‘She would never see it coming,” he thought.

As he bent down to collect his bag, a chill ran up his spine as he noticed a black shape come up behind him. The pager fell from his hand.

‘Get inside!’ he thought, and tried to leap through the doorway.

He never made it through the threshold.

(20 minutes later…)

‘Why hadn’t he called? Buffy thought. ‘Probably busy with his little friend, Olivia.’
She stormed up to the apartment door and froze at the sight of the door wide open and the lights off.

"G-Giles?" her voice cracked. An odd sound of vibrating plastic on cement made her look down. She picked up the pager and pushed a button. The light exposed a message through the busted display:

"2 L8 4 HIM."

"God no…" she gasped and pulled out a stake. ‘No...please, not Giles.’

Standing just outside of the entryway, she tried to restrain her panic and concentrated on her instincts. She didn’t sense any vampires. She smelled pizza…

No answer. She cautiously stepped into the darkness and with all the courage she could gather, outstretched her hand to find the lamp on Giles’ desk. A flick of the light switch revealed a ghastly scene.

She was paralyzed. Anguish seized her heart.

Giles body lie still on the floor; purposefully posed. His bloody and broken hands were carefully folded on his stomach and a stake lay across his unmoving chest, positioned over his heart. Lifeless and battered, his eyes stared blankly up at the ceiling; glasses cracked and set at his side. A single tear shimmered on his cheek in the dim light. His throat had been ripped open and the flesh cleaned of gore.

Buffy heaved uncontrollably. Her legs gave out and she fell to her knees.

"G-Giles…no." she sobbed and crawled over to him.

It was the work of vampires, a gang of them. She could smell their foul stench on him.

A slight trickle of blood rested in the corner of his slightly spread lips. Small puncture wounds formed an oblong circle on the other side of his neck.

"Oh god, Giles…what have they done to you?"

Her trembling hands covered his and she gently pulled one twisted appendage to her chest. She sat beside him and cried. His fingers were cool to the touch; she tried to warm them with a kiss. "Giles…please. Don’t go…I need you," she pleaded futilely. "Come back…please. I’ll do anything…"

She had seen death before but not like this; she wasn’t prepared to accept this loss. Buffy traced his breathless lips with a finger. "I’m sorry…so sorry," she whispered.

She knew he would never answer her; he was dead.
Defeated, she slapped away the perched stake and lowered her head on his chest sobbing, trying to take comfort in the company of the shell that remained of him.

She remembered the night she’d lost another friend and Giles had tried to comfort her:

    "The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after."

He’d purposely lied, she’d asked him to, and now she had the unfortunate proof of how wrong those words were.

Time passed and she slowly regained a kind of calm.

She knew what had happened; they left a viciously clear message. This wasn’t over and she had to fulfill her duty. Giles deserved to rest in peace.

Buffy delicately straddled Giles body and leaned over, placing a tender kiss on his lips. She lifted the stake above his heart; her hand shook and she brought her other hand to support it. Her breathing was shallow and her head throbbed to the beat of her heart pounding in disapproval.

"I love you," she drew back the stake and tensed up, ready to strike, "I always have."

Chaos erupted around her as dark figures rushed the room yelling unintelligible orders at her. A flash of a badge made Buffy aware of the situation. "Freeze…drop the weapon!" one cop demanded, aiming a pistol directly at her head.
Buffy contemplated giving up; it would spare her the agony of doing the unthinkable. She couldn’t do that to Giles; she couldn’t fail him again. He depended on her to finish it and let him rest.

"What are you waiting for," another cop yelled, "It’s only a stick!"

Something pricked into the small of her back. She ignored it and drove the stake toward Giles heart until a shock struck like lightning. Her back jerked with spasms, "Giles…" she choked. Buffy had no control. Her muscles contracted so tight the stake snapped in two in her hand. She collapsed onto the corpse of her mentor and friend; paralyzed, and allowed darkness to overcome her.