Warning Signs: Part 3

Anya rushed into the Magic Box and attacked the register with unbridled enthusiasm. Xander had to smirk at her determination; she was born for fiscal responsibility.

“Dawn…you back there?” Xander yelled, closing the door behind him. Dawn rushed out all flustered and in a panic.

“He’s gone! He’s gone!”

“Dawn…breathe. Who’s gone?” Xander tried to calm the excited girl.

“Giles, “ she took a deep breath. “I must have fallen asleep and when I woke up…he was gone.”

“He probably just went out for a coffee or something.” Xander suggested.

“You don’t understand! I was responsible for him. I was supposed to watch him,” Dawn looked around anxiously, finally spotting her jacket and rushing to put it on.

“Dawn…take a chill pill. I’m sure he’s fine. I think you’re taking this responsibility stuff too seriously.” Xander walked to the workout room and peeked in.

“Giles wouldn’t leave the shop unattended. He knows that would bother me!” Anya said. “Besides, it’s too late for coffee and he usually uses this time to write in his journals.”

Xander hurried back into the room and started to act curiously familiar, mirroring Dawn’s earlier panicky behavior.

“Um...this is bad. Very not good!” He started to pace.

“Not you too! What is it?” Anya paused her bookkeeping long enough to wait for an answer.

“The weapons locker is open,” Xander said surprisingly loud, unable to calm himself.

Dawn walked over to him, not seeing the cause for such alarm. “So?”

“It’s empty…cleaned out…stripped! The bag too.”

“Perhaps Giles wanted to give the weapons a good cleaning?” Anya suggested.

“No…I’ve seen this before. What happened Dawn?” Xander urged her to explain.

“Spike came in and wanted to see Giles. He locked me out of the workout room and
when he finally let me back in Giles was all out of it. I tried to get him to talk but he just sat there. Spike said they just talked and left,” Dawn said with a concerned look.

“Spike has a wicked tongue. Remember the whole Adam incident, he had you all hating each other. What do you suppose they talked about?” Anya asked, examining the contents of the register. She was pleased to see the abundance of cash in the till; it was all orderly and full.

“I don’t know but whatever was said sent Giles spinning into Ripper mode,” Xander said worriedly.

“Is that a bad thing?” Anya asked.

“Um…yeah. Unless you enjoy spending your evenings chocked full of chaos and destruction. The last time he emptied out his toy box, he set a factory on fire and took on three vampires...alone. We better find out who his target is.” Xander looked out the window.

“Where’s Buffy? Did you find her?” Dawn join Xander at the window, curious at what he was looking at.

“Yeah, she’s fine. Just a bit wigged. Um, he’s on foot. He left his little mid-life crisis candy car.” Xander pointed to Giles car parked along the curb.

“Why don’t you go find Buffy…she might know where to find him,” Anya rustled through the register. “I’ll stay here and guard the store.”

“We’ll take his wheels…might help us catch up,” Xander ran over to the counter and leaned over it, reaching into the hidden nook where Giles usually left his keys. Once he’d found them he rushed back to the door and glanced back at Anya. “Um, if he shows up here…try to keep him distracted until we get back.”

“Have fun!” Anya said enthusiastically.

“One bloody vampire…that’s all I’m asking for,” Giles stalked down the darkened alley, impatiently awaiting any interruption to his despair. He tightened his grip on the handles of the weapons bag, eager to play the instruments of destruction he knew so well. They made such lovely music.

“I’ll settle for a Karthan demon or perhaps a Bazatine Blood beast. Anything…give me something to…to beat on!” He growled as he quicken his pace. He was almost ready to give up on the third location that he’d tried to play unwitting victim to bait his prey when a familiar scent breezed past his nose and he stopped in his tracks. The unnatural stench of plastic, metal and electricity intertwining with the night air made him snicker.

“I’ve no time for innocents. You best be on your way,” Giles warned as dark clad figures seemed to blossom out of the shadows. A total of six steroid driven young commandos stepped out of the dark and surrounded him.

“I’ve got a score to settle with you. And a message for that Slayer bitch of yours!”
Giles recognized Riley’s voice, he wasn’t really surprised Riley wanted another go at him, probably felt his ego needed restoration. But bringing the whole cavalry was a bit cowardly. He’d have to teach them a lesson. ‘Where did all these Initiative rejects come from? I thought the Initiative was disbanded?’

"Giles?" Spike mumbled to himself, hearing the familiar voices echoing up the walls of the alley to where he perched on the rooftop. He leaned over the edge and peered down, seeing the positively lopsided odds the Watcher had gotten himself into. 'Well...this isn't good. Never thought he'd go get himself all killed like. Better try and distract some of the commandos.' The vampire jumped down and waited in the shadows for his cue to subtly draw some of the crowds' attentions away from the suicidal Watcher.

Giles set the bag down and examined the gang.

“My intentions were to rid this side of town of demon scum. It seems I’ll have to settle for a flock of homoerotic nazi-wannabes trumpeting about in their evening gowns!”

It didn’t take much to set the military boys off. Riley struck first, telegraphing his punch so obviously that a blind man could have avoided it. Giles ducked and landed a blow below the belt sending shockwaves of painful reminders why wearing a cup is not a suggestion, it’s a necessity. The large youth doubled over, collapsing to his knees and Giles smiled at his quick elimination of Buffy’s boy scout. He stood back up, motioning the other soldiers to join in.

“Come on…lets not keep me waiting. I’ve other fish to fry…commitments to keep,” Giles spurred them on, delighting in the rage welling in him, welcoming the adrenalin pumping through his veins like an old friend. An equally large fellow stormed toward him and tried to knock him down with a sweeping leg kick. Easily jumping to avoid the attack, Giles came down with a firm heal into the young man's knee. The sickening sound of splintering bone made Giles flash his Ripperish grin.

"I suggest a restrictive brace for that injury," Giles spun around to defend against another soldier. The boy was fast, throwing quick jabs at Giles face, connecting a few shallow hits. "...And a cold compress for this one!" He caught the boy's hand inches from his nose and twisted the arm until he heard a tendon pop. As the stunned boy readied a scream, Giles slammed his forehead into the youth's face, watching him fall to the ground in a lump.

'He's busy...now or never,' Spike knocked over a garbage can and waved at the thugs who glanced his way. Displaying his vampy features, he blew them a kiss and took off running. The remaining three commandos mindlessly gave chase, forgetting the scuffle they had just witnessed and focusing on old Initiative duties that wouldn't die.

Feeling a bit short of breath, Giles paused to take inventory of the damage. Three down, three...no, the rest had gone. There were more a minute ago. Things were looking up. Then the humming sound of a charging electro-gun weapon of choice for the Initiative made him second-guess his decision to take them all on. Giles turned to see Riley aiming the weapon at him.

“Oh shi…” Giles never finished his profanity as a bolt of energy struck him center mass, ripping through his leather coat and sweatshirt, blistering the skin. His muscles tensed, convulsing under the shock of the weapons blast. Giles couldn’t move, only shudder in burning pain as volts of electricity shot through his already tired limbs. As the stream of torturous light ceased, he fell limply to the cement, praising the sensation of cool puddle water on his forehead.

“Not so cocky now, bastard!” Riley strutted over to Giles motionless body. He knelt down and smiled at the Watcher's trembling face.

"Hurts...don't it? How's that ticker of yours?" Riley cocked his head to the side. "Just can't see what she sees in you. Can't even protect yourself against a trio of prissy fem-vamps."

"I-I faired quite w-well w-with you p-pillock!" Giles stammered through gritted teeth, still unable to brush off the aftereffects of the shock.

"Lucky shot. Won't happen again," Riley drove a brutal punch down to the side of Giles face, slamming his cheek into the cement below. "I think it's time to call it a night old-timer."

Giles lay still, trying to evaluate his condition. He ran a checklist through his mind, inventorying his injuries and testing his movement by tensing muscles and wiggling fingers. The side effects of the electrogun were finally easing up and he knew he had to make a move before Riley landed another strike to his head. As Riley placed the weapon on the ground between his legs to grab a handful of Giles leather jacket, Giles snuck his hand around to the gun. Once his fingers were secured around the grip, he lifted the nozzle just enough to aim at Riley's tender crotch and open fired. He'd never heard such a sound of agony before. The scream that Riley let out almost deafening. The Watcher got to his feet and looked on as the young man convulsed on the wet pavement.

"Yes, let's call it a night. I could use a night cap," Giles collected his weapons bag and added the gun to his stash. "The next time we meet, I won't be so gracious." He walked back over the Riley and smiled, revealing his bloodied teeth. "Thanks for a lovely time. Now do be a good boy and scamper off back to Iowa." Giles proudly swaggered out of the alley and headed back to the Magic Box. Anya would be upset if he didn't sign off on the cash totals for the day and he thought it wise not to upset and ex-vengeance demon.

Part 4...