by Te
June 2001

Disclaimers: If they were mine, I would do a hundred different things.
They are not, and this is how it goes.

Spoilers: The Gift

Summary: After.

Ratings Note: PG-13

Author's Note: I didn't think I would write this.

Acknowledgments: My we, who catch me when I jump.

Feedback: Please.


Te: Work me like the cheap slut I am?

Te; I mean improv me?

spike: okay.

spike: but it must be Giles/Xander

spike: or Jack/Teal'c

Te: *rowwrrr*

spike: glass, thick, burn


It had taken the two of them, Xander and himself to pull Spike out of
the sun after... after.  Willow had run up the tower to collect Dawn, and
now she and Tara were coiled around her. Hiding Buffy from her sight with
their bodies.

Xander had simply knelt on top of Spike in the shade of several broken
crates while Anya ruthlessly removed Glory's robes from Ben to cover
Buffy. Giles had been left to call the authorities from a pay phone while
the mad skimmed and shuffled around him. The sun came so quickly, and Giles
had simply remained by the phone for no reason other than to stare at the
bright metal gleam of it, and wonder how long it would take the sun to heat
it all to burning.

Later, it had been Anya who had gone through the still-scattered papers at
Buffy's... *Dawn's* home to find Hank Summers' number. To call with the
news, and agree in a dim, dead voice to take care of Dawn until he could
take some time off.

Later than that, Dawn sleeping with the help of the contents of Giles'
medicine cabinet, they had agreed it was for the best. Gathered together in
Giles' home, in the sun, silence broken only by the occasional too-heavy
breath, and the sound of Spike drinking steadily. Watching him stare at

Pizzas were ordered, picked at, removed to someplace where no one had to
look at them. Giles watched, and waited. For any number of things, really.
Another breakdown to stave off with narcotics. The return call from the
Watchers' Council. His own emotions to break. Giles didn't think he could
hide them from the group this time. He owed them better than that,

A moment of connection when he'd stolen Spike's bottle for a pull of his
own, but just one. He felt. Distinctly ill.

And Xander, arm around Anya: "We'll remember her."

Murmured yesses.

The approach of sunset, and the. Sounds. There were demons about, true
ones and powerful. Giles stares at Dawn and imagines a world where he'd
simply poisoned her from any number of the glass vials and bottles in his
shop, his storage area. He could've made it look like... like anything. Buffy
would've known just the same, and perhaps killed him.

Buffy would be alive, and Ben could go on with his fractured conscious and
limp conscience.

There had been blood on Giles' hands. Again.

Human and inhuman screams from a distance. There is enough left in all of
them that they all turn toward the sound. Spike made an abortive move
towards the weapons chest and nearly fell out his chair. The weeping began
again. It was good that it did, it eased the strain on Giles' emotions just
enough for him to remain seated and still on the steps. Steady, steady.

Dawn is stretched over Tara and Willow's laps, brow furrowed. Tear tracks
dried on her face. Her sleep is not easy, but remains unbroken for the
moment. She does not stir when Willow rises to begin the drive to Los
Angeles, when Tara and Xander bundle her out to the car.

Dawn will apparently sleep at Tara and Willow's apartment, and Giles is
both relieved and somewhat afraid. There is a vast emptiness where the
girls had been, a hint of what the night will be like with an empty home.
Superimposed on the space is Buffy, magnificently bored, tossing
something priceless in the air and catching it, every time.

The dampness of his collar is the first clue that he's weeping, Spike's
solemn, swaying toast from the door is the second. The third and last is
the blind, searching need in Xander and Anya's eyes he knows is mirrored
in his own.

Giles sobs freely then, and a small chorus begins. The broken, childlike
wrench of Anya's cries, Xander's thick, snuffling gasps. They join him on
the steps, and Giles is helpless not to cling, helpless to do anything but
cry against a strong, broad shoulder, grasp tightly at a slender waist.

But their eyes are dry when they move to the loft, and the comfort is
muffled by the massive silence.