Disclaimer: All things Buffy belong to Joss. I’m just playing with his toys! "Judgement Day" and "Candle in The Window" are from the musical "The Civil War" by Frank Wildhorn, Gregory Boyd and Jack Murphy. I took a tiny bit of literary license with "Judgement Day" and changed a word or two to make it more Buffyish...Apologies to the artists! "Wonderful Tonight" is by Eric Clapton..."Hero" is by Enrique Iglesias Honest, it didn't start out as a "song fic!" Please read it anyway!
***Sequel to Unchained Melody
The Ghost of Cliff Walk.
Willow Rosenberg sat quietly at the small back table of the Espresso Pump, waiting patiently for the surviving Slayeretts to join her. She, the defacto leader of the group of young people since the death of Buffy Summers, had called her group of friends together for an emergency meeting, away from their usual gathering place at the Magic Box. They had problems that they needed to discuss, and one of them virtually *lived * at the Magic Box. The simple fact was that Rupert Giles, their teacher, mentor, and good friend, was quietly falling apart since the death of his Slayer.
The loss of Buffy had devastated them all, particularly Dawn, who had lost both sister and mother in the space of a few weeks. With his usual gentle strength, Giles had been there for all of them in the days that had followed Buffys’ fall. He had somehow managed to hide Buffys’ death from the authorities. Five years of experience on the Hellmouth had taught him just who to contact to arrange a quiet, private funeral. He had spoken words of consolation to each of them, held Dawn and Willow while they had cried. He had worked with Willow to repair the Buffy-bot, to keep the world, and the underworld, from finding out that Dawn Summers had no living relatives in Sunnydale to stay with and that the Hellmouth was unprotected. He had talked briefly about going back to England, but had not made arrangements as yet. He had been strong for them. He had been compassionate. He had been everything that they had needed him to be.
Willow was buying none of it.
She had tried to get him to talk. To let go of all the grief she could see lurking in his eyes. Each time he had hidden behind his “stiff upper lip”. Now, months after Buffys’ fall, chinks were starting to appear in his armor. She wasn’t sure if he was drinking again. She never saw him drunk, never smelled liquor on his breath. But she also never saw him sleep, laugh, or even really smile. He had lost weight, and looked thin and drawn. Giles was at work in the Magic Box early each day, and patrolled every night, with or without backup.
In short, she was fairly certain that he was trying to get himself killed.
More than two hours later, she was getting ready to leave. The Amateur Night performances had started, and her discussions with Xander and Tara had produced no good ideas on how to help their friend, short of watching him closely and trying to keep him from getting hurt. Spike had put in a brief appearance, and a briefer opinion, before going off to pick up Dawn from Anya at the Magic Box.
”Course he’s trying to bloody off himself.” the blonde vampire had said. “He’s lost his Slayer, and she was his whole sodding life. I mean, wot’s he got left?” It was a sobering statement, in both it’s simplicity and it’s truth. They had all agreed that they needed to do something to get Giles to open up. Somehow they had to reach him…But how?
The owner of the Pump came onto the small stage at the end of a poorly done rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings” by a middle-aged, overweight real estate agent with brassy blonde curls that bobbed alarmingly as she gasped and wheezed her way through the song. The crowd was getting ugly. Fortunately, he had a remedy. “Please welcome a returning favorite at the Espresso Pump. We haven’t seen him for some time, so please give a warm welcome for Rupert Giles!”
The crowd broke into applause. Giles was a local legend at the Pump. The Scoobies subsided back into their dark corner as the man in question took the stage. They noticed several things right away.
He looked terrible. Drawn and haggard. The lights making deep shadows on his face. The usually impeccably dressed Watcher had on jeans and a baggy blue sweater that hung on his lean frame.
He was limping, and they could see a scrape on his forehead and a long, angry looking scratch on his arm where his sleeve was pushed up.
Instead of his acoustic guitar, he had a borrowed electric in his hands.
Giles moved up to the mike. “Ummm…This is from a musical that was going about a few years ago, called “The Civil War” This is called “Judgement Day.”
Willow shivered. Their senior year, Buffy had been having trouble with American History. Giles had been trying to tutor her, but she just had not been able to “get into” the subject. Facts and figures, dates and names of Generals had meant nothing to her. Giles had lectured on the importance of ones’ history to her to no avail. Then he had heard about this musical. A potent collections of songs set to a primarily country-rock beat. Each song drawn from actual correspondence of Civil war soldiers, wives, mothers, officers, politicians and slaves. Buffy was always very responsive to music. He had purchased three tickets, and had taken Buffy and Willow to LA to see a performance. Two songs had particular impact on them. She and Buffy had both seen Giles’ reaction to “Judgement Day”. His face had gone white, his hands had trembled, and there had been tears in his eyes. She knew why he had chosen it tonight. As he started the refrain, acapella, she reached for Xanders and Taras’ hands.
And sometimes it’s too much to bear,
The dead and dying everywhere,
And everyday for me is judgement day!
Everyday for me is judgement day!
Giles ripped into the opening chords on the electric guitar with a fury. And Willow began to understand just how much pain was inside this man.
I sit among my charts and maps
And hear the lonely call of taps,
Like the wind across the moon.
I pray to God that I am right
And then I send her off to fight
And traveled home in a box, far too soon.
“He changed the words…” Willow said softly, tears forming in her eyes.
And God have mercy on my soul,
For all the years that I have stolen,
From the one who followed what I say,
And may the family all forgive
The orders I’ve so calmly given
As I march their child into harms’ way….
Out there on the killing floor, I hear the bloody sounds of war,
I fear a thousand more souls will slip away…
And sometimes it’s too much to bear, the dead and dying everywhere,
And every day for me is Judgement Day!
Every day for me is Judgement Day!
Willow was crying now, and she heard a soft, “Oh my God!” from Xander, as Rupert Giles continued to pour his pain and self-loathing into the song.
I write my notes about the one
How she burned brighter than the sun!
And then I pour a drink and sleep.
But sleep is only filled with drums
A slice of death till morning comes,
The heart of darkness, where my soul can weep!
Come walk a mile in bloody shoes,
And lose the fight that I am losing..
I saw her pay the piper for my dues!
Come walk among the ghosts with me,
And look through eyes too used to seeing
Faces who have joined the lost platoon!
Come Judgement Day, God only knows,
If man shall reap the pain he’s sown,
What will be the price I’ll have to pay?
But down here on the killing floor,
Among the crimson rags of war,
For me each day I live is Judgement Day! Every day for me is Judgement Day!
Giles tore into the bridge with screaming rifts, the tears on his face not reflected in the rage he was pouring into the music.
And God have mercy on my soul, for all the years that I have stolen,
From the one who followed what I say….Oh GOD forgive me!
And may the family all forgive, the orders I’ve so calmly given, as I sent their child into harms way!
Out there on the killing floor I hear the bloody sounds of war,
And fear a thousand more souls will slip away!
And sometimes it’s too much to bear,
The dead and dying everywhere,
And every day for me is Judgement Day, EVERY day….
Every day I live is Judgement Day….
Every day for me is Judgement Day…..
The chords faded away. Willow had both hands over her mouth as she tried to stifle a sob. Xander looked stunned. The crowd was silent, somehow knowing that they had just seen something much more than a simple song. On the stage, Giles’ tear filled green eyes were fixed on something only he could see. As the applause started and grew, he looked surprised, as his mind came back from wherever it had gone. Without a word he unplugged the guitar, handed it back to the young musician he had borrowed it from, and left the stage. By the time his stunned friends got through the crowd and out the door in pursuit of him, the tall Watcher was gone.
In the parking lot, Xander turned to Willow. “Oh God, Will…What was that?”
Willow looked up at Xander with enormous, frightened eyes. “That was Giles…The real Giles…*Buffys’ * Giles, screaming for help,” she said softly. Her eyes filled with tears again. “We’ve got to find him, Xander! God! We’ve got to help him!”
“How, Willow? How can we… If only Buffy…” He saw Willows’ “resolve” face slip over her features.
“Buffys’ not here. There’s no one to help him but us, Xander. We’re all he has… We’ve got to find a way.”
“First we’ve got to find him!” Xander said in exasperation. “I’ll check the shop. I’ll get Anya, and we’ll sweep the north side of town…”
Tara nodded…”C-c-check the b-b-beach too. He likes to sit on the beach… I’ll g-go to the house and send Spike out to check the cemeteries.” Xander nodded. “And I’ll go to his apartment and wait for him there.” Willow said. “Anyone finds him…call!” The group separated, scattering into the darkness.
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