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Title: Aftermath
Author: Sweetdoggie (stirling_summer@yahoo.com)
Pairing: B/G
Rating: G
Summary: What if the events after Jenny’s death had happened a little differently?
Spoilers: Season 2
Note: I got rid of Joyce for this story. I think she was actually in the kitchen or something.
Disclaimer: No permission has been granted to use the characters. They are owned by their creator, Joss Whedon, Twentieth Century Fox, UPN, WB, and Mutant Enemy. This story is non-profit and is intended solely as entertainment. No copyright infringement is intended.

AFTERMATH

He’d been badly beaten in his fight with Angelus and was dizzy from being knocked unconscious yet again. His heart was grieving from finding Jenny dead in his bed and from Buffy preventing him from either killing the vampire or dying himself to end that rending pain.

Giles had lain groggily on the floor of the warehouse trying to regain full consciousness while Buffy fought. He had heard the vampire taunt her with his rapidly approaching death by fire.

“Are you just going to let your old man burn?” the hateful voice had jeered.

“Yes!” he had wanted to shout, but couldn’t get the words past his unwieldy tongue.

The next thing he had been aware of was Buffy pulling him up and carrying him from the inferno that had sprung up around them. He knew that meant the vampire had escaped and he wanted to rage at her for not killing the beast. He had been so furious with her that he’d pushed her away to try to get back into the burning building and destroy Angelus, not even caring that the creature was long gone. His fury had transmuted to tears of shame, grief, sorrow, hatred, and self-pity. Buffy’s arms had held him then, held him so securely that he couldn’t have gotten away even if he had still wanted to.

Her sweet voice had whispered in his ear that she couldn’t do her job without him. She had begged him not to leave her and then held him while he knelt in the street and wept in her arms. Finally, she pulled him gently to his feet and walked him to his car, taking in the sight of the keys still in the ignition. He got into the passenger side, unresisting and let her drive him home. They went slowly, her eyes roaming the streets for signs of Angelus.

She parked the car with some difficulty, finally settling for simply getting fairly close to the curb. He looked up and realized with sort of a sullen surprise that they were outside her home, but didn’t care enough to protest.

Joyce wasn’t home and wasn’t expected back for several more days—she was on a buying trip for the Gallery and didn’t know anything had happened so it wouldn’t be hard to have the Watcher in her room. Buffy came around the side of the car and helped him out, throwing his arm around her shoulder and putting hers around his waist. She got him inside and didn’t bother stopping at the couch. While he was still mobile, she pulled him upstairs and into her bedroom. He was badly bruised, covered in soot and ashes, and reeked of smoke but she pushed him down on her bed and helped him take off his jacket. His glasses had been lost somewhere earlier and his vision, blurry under normal circumstances, was hopelessly fogged from smoke irritation.

She disappeared for a few minutes and he could hear water running. In a few moments, she came back with a small basin filled with warm water, a wash cloth, a glass of water and four aspirin. She made him take the pills, though his throat was raw—a combination of smoke and screaming at Angelus, he supposed. He sat pliant under her ministrations while she carefully washed his face and the burns on his hands. Luckily, his suit had taken the brunt of the fire damage and he was relatively unscathed.

Buffy pulled his shirt off before he noticed that she had unbuttoned it. He was still wearing an undershirt. She pushed him backwards and pulled off his shoes and socks before reaching for his trouser buttons. He wasn’t so far gone as to let her do that for him and he blocked her hands with his own.

“Giles, pants come off.”

“I can do it,” he rasped.

“OK.” She stood back to test the validity of his claim.

He fumbled with the buttons, but eventually got them to cooperate, then tried to pull the trousers off his battered body. He was too sore and too stiff by now to do it and she helped him without saying anything. Finally, he sat dejectedly on her bed clad only in his underwear. She pushed him down again and pulled the covers up over him.

“Sleep, Giles. I’ll be here.”

Not knowing what else to do, he closed his eyes in exhaustion. In seconds, he was asleep. Buffy sat in the chair next to her bed and watched him. Guilt wrapped around her like a cloak; she kept watch. She reached out with that part of her that was the Slayer and felt the vampire nearby. She let her head slip down so that her chin rested on her chest.

Angelus crept up her roof and looked in the window, seeing her dozing next to that battered old hulk that lay in her bed. He wondered if he could possibly get in and kill the Watcher tonight. It would be so sweet to have her find the body, drained of blood in her own bed. Poetic almost. He grinned ferally and reached out to slide the window up. Moving as stealthily as a panther, he crept close to the sleeping man. He didn’t hear her move but suddenly there was something sharp protruding from his chest. Angelus looked up and Buffy’s grinning face was the last sight he saw before he exploded into dust.

Buffy nodded in satisfaction and brushed the dust off her Watcher. Sunnydale didn’t know it, but it could sleep a little bit sounder tonight. She looked at the man sleeping so trustingly in her bed and crawled in beside him, putting her arm carefully around his waist before drifting off to sleep, secure in the knowledge that she had done her duty, both as a Slayer and as a friend.
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