ext_14447: (BtVS: Giles (time?))
ext_14447 ([identity profile] aaronlisa.livejournal.com) wrote in [community profile] summer_of_giles2016-07-09 05:14 pm

FIC: Consumed (Gen, FR13)

Title: Consumed
Author: [livejournal.com profile] aaronlisa
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Character: Rupert Giles, Willow Rosenberg, Joyce Summers, Faith Lehane, mention of other canon characters.
Rating: FR13
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon and company.
Notes: Written for the 2016 Summer of Giles. Set after an AU version of "Becoming Part 1 & 2" where Buffy died instead of running away.
Summary: Giles' grief and guilt threaten to consume him.
Word Count: 1551

His tea is ice cold and bitter, yet he still drinks it one large gulp. He thinks that she would be embarrassed by how uncouth he is behaving. He hasn't gone back to his apartment in days. Instead he stays at the high school, has a quick and cold shower in the locker room before dressing in a wrinkled suit that he can't remember who brought it for him to wear. Was it Jenny? Or was it Willow? There's a part of him that hopes that it was Willow because somehow her childish dislike for Jenny has rubbed off on him.

Maybe if Jenny had told them (or even just him) the truth from the get go, then maybe things would be different. Or maybe they wouldn't. He was young once, he understands how hormones can feel like a freight train and how powerless one can be to resist them. For all of Angel's years, the vampire always came across as far younger. He thinks that maybe it was the soul - Angel had been a young man when he became a soulless monster. He'd wallowed for far too long in the shadows when he had the soul until she had changed everything.

He slides his glasses off, uncertain of what to do. He can't keep thinking like this. She is gone and never coming back. The Council has blamed him for losing two Slayers in one night. As if he would ever have allowed her to be close to Angel if he had known about the curse but Jenny had kept that from him. She had kept so much from him but there's a part of his traitor's heart that still misses Jenny. She might be still trying to help him and the others but it feels like there's a million miles of distance between them. All because of a pretty blonde girl who was young enough to be his daughter.

He cradles his head in his hands and wonders how things got to be like this.

* * *

"Giles you should try to eat," Willow quietly says.

"I am not hungry," Giles flatly says.

How can Willow be thinking of food. Doesn't she understand how much he's failed her? How he failed them all? He was supposed to protect her but he couldn't even do that in the end. Instead he had sent her off to her death. He suspects that she wore a smile as she said some smart remark. He should have gone along, thrown himself in front of her instead he watched as she walked away.

Willow looks like she's going to say something, her infamous resolve face almost forming on her face, before she looks down at the ground. Her eyes full of unshed tears. There's nothing to be said. What can be said. He's a traitor and a failure.

Her hand is soft when she finally reaches out and places it on his hand. He looks at her and he sees how much weight that she's lost. Her once vibrant red hair seems dull and it's a reminder of how he's still continuing to fail.

"She wouldn't want you to blame yourself," Willow says. Her voice as quiet as a whisper.

"She is dead because of me."

"She was a Slayer, she always knew that she was going to die," Willow says.

"It doesn't make things right."

"No it doesn't."

Willow pulls away. She sets a brown paper bag on the desk and leaves him to his grief and guilt. He suspects that she's one the who makes sure that there's always tea in his office and a clean suit for him to wear.

* * *

Jenny and Xander try to pretend like he's acting normal, that it's just a normal night full of research. She might be gone but they have a vampire with a soul, a gypsy and three teenagers determined to keep Sunnydale safe. When the phone rings in his office, Giles wants to ignore it's shrill demand. It's Willow who answers it on his behalf, Willow who tells him it's the Council. He suspects to be lectured again, to be reprimanded for his failure. As if the Council can do anything to him that would punish him for losing the pair of Slayers in his care. He's already in Hell.

When he hangs up the phone, he realizes just how wrong he was. They're sending him another Slayer. One who sounds like she might be just as damaged as he is. He can't believe their attitude. Then again Quentin Travers seems to think that bringing about the downfall of Spike, Drusilla and Acathla is worthy of reward and not reprimand. When he had tried to mention the steep price, Quentin had chuckled, a morbid and ugly sound, before saying how disposable Slayers were.

Giles wants to punch something or something. For a moment, he wants to hit Xander who is complaining to Cordelia about who ate the last jelly filled donut. As if donuts matter when she is dead and it's his fault.

* * *

Joyce is the one who finds him at his apartment. He has no idea where he's supposed to house a teenage girl. He can't look at Joyce. Not knowing what he knows. Not knowing that it was his fault.

"Buffy liked to pretend that I didn't know who she was," Joyce says. Her voice is full of life.

Her name feels sharp against his ears.

"Yet she never really did much to hide it from me," Joyce continues. "Willow filled me in with what I didn't know."

He is momentarily angry with Willow. How dare she break her trust?

"I think that she only told me because I begged her to. She didn't want to tell me but when I started filling in certain blanks, Willow told me what I didn't know. I sent my daughter to a mental institution when I first found out."

Giles looks up at her sharply. He had never known this. Joyce keeps talking.

"I didn't believe in monsters even when I became one. Buffy kept it secret from me and I wish that I'd known, I wish that she could have talked to me about it. At least she had you."

His tongue feels glued to the roof of his mouth. He wants to say something, to tell Joyce how this is all his fault. But he can't.

"Willow told me that you feel responsible. I want you to know that you're not," Joyce says as she reaches out to him. "I know my daughter and she might have said that she didn't want to be a Slayer but she had a streak of stubbornness in her. She fought monsters to keep others safe. She knew that she could die doing so and that she probably would die doing so. But she kept doing it because it was the right thing to do."

"You can't know that," Giles says.

"I do," Joyce looks away, her face full of shame. "When she was first in the institution, I found her diaries and read them looking for some reason why my bright and beautiful daughter had broken. I discovered that she hadn't. That I was wrong. And that she lived for honour."

Joyce doesn't say anything else but Giles suspects that it changed a lot between them. He wants to ask why if she knew, why she didn't push for the whole story but it's not his place to do so.

"Willow's told me another Slayer is coming to Sunnydale. I want to help. I want to be involved in whatever way that I can. And I think the first place to start is by helping you. There's a group that meets, it's for parents who have lost a child."

"She wasn't my child."

Joyce laughs, a bright sound that almost sounds like her laugh, and it breaks his heart.

"You were more a father to her than her actual father ever was. And I think that gives you the right to come with me to this group."

He agrees before he can disagree. And when Joyce gives him a hug, he feels like he's betraying her. What right does he have to move on when she died?

* * *

Faith is wild and vulnerable. She's everything that Buffy wasn't. At first he's terrified of her but when she looks at him after their first night in the graveyard with her eyes wide and doubtful.

"Are you going to die on me too?" Faith asks.

"No," Giles says.

"Good then I won't die on you either."

It's not a promise that either of them can really keep since they're on the Hellmouth and she's a Slayer and he's a Watcher but it's a start.

"Can you tell me about Buffy?" Faith asks. "If you want to, that is."

The words pour out of his mouth before he can stop them. It's as if a flood gate has been lifted. He doesn't make Buffy into some perfect hero. He tells Faith the truth. How stubborn she could be, how reckless she could be, how smart and loyal she was. And for the first time, in what feels like a million years, he feels like he's starting to heal.


[identity profile] horrorfangirl.livejournal.com 2016-07-10 01:25 am (UTC)(link)
God, what a sad story. :( But well written though.
dhw: (dhw - blood)

[personal profile] dhw 2016-07-10 01:28 am (UTC)(link)
I like the concept here: exploring what might have happened to Giles had Buffy died at a different time.

I particularly liked this bit -

"Are you going to die on me too?" Faith asks.

"No," Giles says.

"Good then I won't die on you either."

dhw: (dhw - blood)

[personal profile] dhw 2016-07-10 09:07 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm glad you left it in. It deffo worked! =D
littleotter73: pondering (Default)

[personal profile] littleotter73 2016-07-10 04:02 pm (UTC)(link)
This was an interesting "what if" scenario that was handled with great sensitivity. I especially like how it was written in present tense and took us along for the emotional ride with Giles. And I liked the ending, how the healing started with Faith, because no amount of counseling was going to heal Giles. It would have to be with someone who shared Buffy's Calling and who wasn't afraid to ask questions and talk about her from an outside perspective. Nicely done!
quaggy: Giles hugging Buffy in Season 6 (Tight)

[personal profile] quaggy 2016-07-10 11:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Incredibly sad, but very well-written. I loved the scene with Joyce especially and that he could find some comfort with Faith only, because she's the only one who has experienced the same loss. She makes it okay to stay a little broken, because you can't not be a little broken after losing your other half like that.

[identity profile] will-conqueror1.livejournal.com 2016-07-12 11:15 pm (UTC)(link)

Awww, poor Giles. I like this interpretation, taking the end of season 2 in another direction. I also liked that Joyce wasn’t as clueless as they made her out to be on the show. Well done.

double_dutchess: (Giles worried)

[personal profile] double_dutchess 2016-08-24 09:24 pm (UTC)(link)
A very powerful depiction of sadness and grief. I'm happy for Giles that there was a promise of healing at the end.