Timing Series: part 4
No Goodbyes

Buffy couldn't understand the words but she recognized the sounds around her. She tried to open her eyes and focus. The bars of her cell were an unwelcome reminder of what had happened.

"Results haven't come back yet from the butchers so we don't have verification of cause or time of death."

"I'm guessing that the big 'ol gaping hole where his throat use to be might the clincher in the cause of death."

"Well, we know he worked at the high school."

"My guess...the girl didn't like her grades."

Buffy sat up and looked over at the cops discussing the tragic events. Her head throbbed and her jaw was sore, probably from clenching her teeth from the tazer gun she had fallen victim to.

"Nah, he was the librarian. I don't get the connection," the tall blonde one said, scribbling on a notepad.

"Lovers spat?" the other smiled and winked over toward Buffy.

Buffy silenced her disgust and looked up at the barred window. Wispy orange clouds crept across the blue sky. She must have slept a whole day.

"The stash of weapons was quite the curveball. Why would he have so many weird weapons?"

"I think it's time for some answers," the shorter brunette cop said and motioned over at Buffy, "She's awake."

(2 hours later...)

"Lawyer!" Buffy said, "And a phone call!" It sounded silly, such a cliché.

"You've gotta explain sometime. This looks...well, really bad for you. I can't believe a little thing like you did all that damage alone," the brunette winked. "Your friend was really worked over. Someone had fun and I can't believe you did all that alone." The cop took a sip of his pop.

"We've been at this for hours. Lets give 'er her phone call. Maybe it'll loosen her tongue," the blonde cop opened the door to the room and guided Buffy out.

A young female officer hurried up to Buffy's escorts, shaking her head and grinning.
"Guys aren't gonna believe this. Late 40's vic you guys brought in earlier..."

Buffy focused on the woman. She was shaken by how casually they were discussing such terrible happenings.

"Yeah?" one prompted, already smiling at the joke he was waiting to hear from the young officer.

"Can't find the 'em," she was trying not to laugh.

The officers faces grew stern, "What? We dropped him at the lab."

"Butcher's ain't got 'em boys. Looks like your case got up and walked away," she patted one officer on the shoulder and walked on past them mumbling, "Only in Sunnydale!"

"Giles," Buffy whispered and felt tears in her eyes; she lowered her head for a moment to regain her composure. 'I have to find him.'

She looked around, reassessing her situation. Five other cops in plain view, two of which were behind a donut shaped desk. Two at the far end of the large open reception area, and one busy at a vending machine. She calculated her odds at getting away as grim but had to try.

Her hands were cuffed behind her, which was the first problem. She spun around to face the brunette officer that held her arm and jumped up, ramming her head into his chin. He fell like a stone. She leapt over him and quickly knelt down and fumbled blindly for they keys on his belt behind her. The blonde officer accompanying her had continued walking for a moment before realizing he was alone. He turned around to see Buffy launch off a chair, swing her handcuffed hands under her feet and in front of her and kick the chair out behind her to knock him out cold. She landed firmly and with a quick forceful exhale of breath; she snapped the handcuffs apart and ran for the front doors. Other officers had drawn their guns but found themselves hesitant to fire on the young lady. Before they realized what had happened, the Slayer was gone.

Buffy wandered the side streets and alleys, wanting so badly to see the gang, to tell them what had happened. She knew she couldn't seek their aid, they would be watched carefully by the police.

Her longing to check in on them overruled her common sense and she watched them from afar. Xander and Anya at their apartment; then Willow, Tara and Dawn at the dorm. She observed them enviously. No one knew what had occurred, they carried on with life as normal, or as normal as the Scoobies could. They may not have heard the news yet and she regretted not being able to be the one to tell them, to console them.

She needed to find Giles, if there was something to find.

The others wouldn't understand what Buffy knew she must do. Giles had been very clear in his instructions to Buffy regarding a situation where one of them was 'compromised'.
She shook her head at the memory of Giles words..."In the event that one has been...compromised..." It was such an antiseptic term...too sterile for the brutality of the simple truth. Giles might be a demon. It was her duty to spare the world of such a monstrosity as a vampire with the knowledge and skills of Rupert Giles without the restraining decency and morality of Giles soul. Such a beast could open the hellmouth. Xander and Willow would, no doubt, try to return Giles' soul or find some other way to get their Giles back. Buffy knew that was not his wish. Giles asked her to do what she would do with any vampire, she would grant him his wish and destroy him.

The sun ducked behind the trees in front of Buffy as she made her way back to Giles apartment.

The familiar sight of police tape across the door of Giles apartment made Buffy start to weep. He'd suffered way too much sadness in his life. She defiantly tore the tape down and entered. Buffy felt him; his essence surrounded all the belongings that were strewn about during the police raid. She walked around, taking in the scents and looking for any sign of a sword or stake. Improvisation may be the only plan for the day. Outside grew dark and Buffy knew she needed to get going. Returning to the scene of the crime wasn't wise but she had to. She remembered the stake she had batted off Giles' chest the night before. It lay under the desk where she found Olivia's note. The room reeked of pizza and she saw the preparations Giles had left for their reunion patrol. "Oh...Watcher-mine," she smiled and wiped the dampness from her eyes.

"Yes?" a faint whisper came from the darkness of the loft.

Buffy tensed and looked up toward Giles' bedroom, toward the voice. A tall dark figure stood at the top of the stairs. She knew... she had known for minutes he was there, sensed him.

"Giles?" Her voice cracked with fear and anxiety.

"None other," he spoke quietly, making Buffy guardedly creep toward the stairs to hear.

Her heart raced. She wanted to see him, to touch him, but the cramping in her gut warned her of the sad reality; this wasn't Giles.
"Did you leave your iron on or something?" she said glibly, trying to think of what to do, what to say. She needed to think, strategize. Giles would know what to do if only he were there.

"Oh, not as such. I returned to finish our unfinished business." His voice was solemn.

Buffy was drawn toward the bedroom. She needed to see him, but only a blackened figure outline the top of the stairway.

"Uh...are you all vampy up there?" Buffy tried to hide her fear but only felt foolish in her attempt to hide her feelings from the one person who would see right through her.

"Buffy..." he whispered and the figure disappeared.

Buffy rushed up the stairs with stake in hand, "GILES!" She looked frantically through the dark of the room but could barely see. Her free hand fumbled for a light switch. The light clicked on. Giles stood right before her, green eyes casting an eerie stare.

"I knew you would come, " he smiled and the familiar creases in the corners of his eyes wrinkled slightly with satisfaction.

Buffy's heart melted with that warm smile. It comforted her; she allowed herself a moment of doubt. Giles stood before her, smiling and proud. An expression she'd always loved to see after a good training session.

'I need you,' she thought as her body lead forward, ready to take him into her arms, then she noticed he wasn't wearing his glasses. Buffy's gut screamed for her to run as she tried to raise the stake. Giles stared deeply into her eyes and delicately wrapped his hand around her arm, preventing her from striking. His gaze stabbed through her and she felt him caress her cheek.

"I'll relieve you of that," he took the stake from her hand and crushed it to slivers in his hand.

"Giles..." Buffy sighed his name, "I'm sorry. I failed you." She stepped back until a nightstand blocked her retreat. 'How could I be so foolish?'

Giles cocked his head to the side and raised an eyebrow. "Failed? You delivered me, luv." He brushed a finger across her lips, "I'm here to return the favor." His hand slipped around her waist and drew her near. "Let me 'deliver' you," he whispered into her ear. She was petrified as his other hand stroked her hair and came to gently embrace her neck. Buffy was enthralled by his touch; her mind clouded as she gazed into his strikingly green eyes. Her will fading with his every movement, she allowed him to tilt her head back, exposing her neck.

Giles placed tender kisses along her neck and looked at her with satisfaction.

Raw instinct momentarily empowered Buffy to reveal the wooden cross she'd removed from her belt. Giles recoiled and his face finally contorted into the demon she'd known he was.

"And I thought we were having a moment...a connection, " the monster growled.

"Nope. Just a hiccup in judgment. I'm all better now!" Buffy leapt towards the vampire with the sharpened point of the wooden cross. He caught her in mid air and slammed her down on the bed. Her head smashed into the corner of a nightstand. Buffy blacked out.