Giles in Wonderland
Characters: Giles, Anya, Spike, Drusilla, Wesley, Xander, Cordelia, Angel, Buffy, Willow
Rating/Warnings: PG13. Major character death.
Summary: It is but it isn’t. Giles is lost and trying to get home, if only he could remember.
A/N: this started as a twist on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland but didn’t really stay there. It got a bit sad at the end (I blame Joss; he was the master of sad).
Rupert stifled a groan and tried sit up to take stock of his surroundings. It felt like he had fallen forever, at least according to his body and he looked up expecting to see a cliff face or something similar. Instead he looked up into the leaves of a large oak tree. He was pretty sure he hadn’t fallen on his head but his last recollection before the fall was of a standard Friday night patrol on the edge of town, not in a forest.
Getting carefully to his feet Rupert surveyed the area. Obviously a spell had been cast possibly a portal of some sort and he needed to establish where he was, who sent him and how to get back. He just hoped he was still on Earth as the magic needed for dimensional travel would take some preparation and wasn’t something he was accustomed to doing anymore.
The forest didn’t seem to stop as he walked along paths that could have been made by animals or humans or other things. Occasionally shapes would flit past his peripheral vision but he only started to pay them mind when the trees started to waver like an overexposed camera revealing a second image of shattered buildings and broken street lights.
Stopping, Rupert took time to observe the phenomenon. The second image was familiar but slightly off. Aside from the obvious damage and decay it was as if the perspective was off somehow. He wasn’t aware of the lack of people until a figure appeared in the distance.
“Anya?” Rupert couldn’t hide his surprise as his business partner hurried toward him.
“You’re late,” she said bluntly, “the store should be open by now but we’re all here instead, how will we make money if the store isn’t open.” She carried on past him.
“Anya wait,” Rupert called out.
“Everyone’s waiting, don’t be late,” she said without looking back.
“Anya,” Rupert stuttered as the perspective shifted and she seemed to stretch and shrink in different directions before turning and disappearing. “Hallucination,” he muttered to himself, “perhaps I’m unconscious under that tree.” Despite the thought he hurried in the direction Anya had gone desperate for answers.
Rounding a corner Rupert couldn’t find any sign of Anya through the shifting trees and lampposts but he was beginning to recognise some of the buildings. It seemed that they were from a destroyed Sunnydale. Without knowing what had actually happened Rupert could only theorise he was trapped between dimensions, the Sunnydale he could almost see could be a future version or a different dimensional version. Whatever the answer Rupert just had to find a way back to where he belonged even if he was having some trouble remembering why.
A figure swayed toward him almost dancing around the trees and lampposts. Rupert back up and reached for one of the trees hoping it would be real so he could snap off a branch. He might have some gaps in his mind but he recognised a vampire when he saw one.
“Hello Mr Giles.”
“Who are you?” Rupert said clutching the branch he’d managed to retrieve.
“I’m going to be a butterfly,” she replied, “but I can’t fly yet. You can call me the lady Drusilla.”
“How did you get here Drusilla?” Rupert asked.
“I got lost in the stars and then I found here,” she said.
“Where is here?” he demanded.
“Don’t you know?” Drusilla smiled slyly. “Here is everywhere. You are here; do you know who you are?”
“Of course I do,” Rupert said and then he stopped. “I thought I did, I’m Giles but I’m also Ripper and Rupert. Can I be all of them?”
“Which one do you want to be?” Drusilla danced around him trailing her hand along his shoulders. He knew he should be keeping her at bay but he was more worried about his name. He was pretty sure he had known it before. Perhaps the vampire had stolen it. “You’ve lost your way,” she said, “but there is a way out, you just have to find your heart again.”
“My heart?” Giles looked down at his chest but nothing looked wrong.
“Can you hear?” she whispered. “Poor little lamb has lost his way but the Queen of Hearts will make some tarts and we’ll all go home to play.”
“That sounds like a poem I should know,” Giles said.
“Everyone should know a poem.” Drusilla leaned in pressed her lips against his. “A kiss for luck sweet watcher.”
“Whose luck?” Giles said as she danced away. He touched his lips curiously, they felt like they should burn with a memory but they didn’t.
“Not your luck,” another voice said. Giles spun around but couldn’t see anyone. “Your luck went south a long time ago.” The voice appeared to be right in front of him. He stared hard and gingerly waved his hand in the space only to snatch it back when a small red glowing tip revealed blond hair followed by a lean face and stocky body wrapped in a dark leather coat.
“What the hell?” Giles leapt back. Somehow he knew this was another vampire but a name escaped him this time and there was a feeling that this time he wasn’t at such a risk this time.
“You lot manage to get in interesting pickles watcher,” the blond said.
“Do you know what’s going on?”
“If I did I couldn’t tell you.” The blond sucked on the cigarette highlighting his cheekbones.
“The rules,” the blond scowled, “don’t know why but don’t have a choice.”
“Why does that surprise me?” Giles asked. The nagging sense of missing something was stronger as he stared at the vampire. “What am I missing?” he said mainly to himself.
“Lots,” was the reply, “you might find answers that way.” He nodded down a path to Giles’ right.
Giles followed his gaze and turned back in time to see the blond start to fade away. “Stop, don’t go yet, I need answers.”
“Can’t help you,” the vampire said regretfully as even more of him disappeared until only the glow of his cigarette remained.
“At least tell me your name,” Giles pleaded. For some reason it felt like something he should know.
“You already know.” Even the cigarette disappeared and Giles huffed in annoyance. Somehow he felt it was a common feeling with the strange vampire.
With no other real options available Giles headed down the path directed. Winding through the forest Giles couldn’t shake the feeling he was forgetting many things, important things but the next thing he saw managed to wipe the thoughts out of his mind.
In the middle of a clearing was an office. Bookshelves, lamps, a large wooden desk and a leather wingback chair behind it. In the chair sat a man wearing a bowler hat. In front of the desk were two smaller swivel chairs one which held a younger man looking uncomfortable.
“He found you then,” the man behind the desk said looking up.
“Who is he?” Giles asked, sitting down in the second chair.
“Unimportant at this moment,” the man said causing the younger man to snort. “What’s more important is who you are,” the man continued, ignoring him.
“I’m not sure,” Giles admitted, “but I’m sure I’ll remember soon.”
“I do hope so,” the man said, “since we appear to be trapped here until you do.”
“Thanks for that G-man,” the young man spoke, “not your best choice seriously.”
“That’s enough Xander,” the man said sternly.
Xander pouted and spun his chair around to face away from them.
“Why would I trap you here?”
“That’s what we need to find out,” the man said.
“Baby watcher here prefers to be mysterious,” Xander sniped without turning around.
“Enough Xander,” the watcher replied with a frown. “We don’t know the rules here but it was deemed important that you remember on your own.”
“I don’t understand,” Giles said.
“None of us do,” Xander replied, “no matter what Wes here would have you believe. He’s just sulking that he can’t seem to lose the hat or get a cup of tea.”
“A cup of tea would be nice,” Giles said wistfully.
“Tea,” Xander spun his chair around in frustration, “you Brits and your tea.”
“We’re researching as much as we can,” Wesley said indicating a pile of books on the side of the desk, “coupled with your journey I’m sure we’ll sort this out.”
“Research, research, research,” Xander chanted with annoyance, “those books have nothing in them.”
“Do be quiet Xander,” Wesley snapped, “if you can’t contribute something useful you might as well go back to sleep.”
Feeling that he wasn’t going to get anything useful out of the two Giles walked around the office and continued along the nearest path leaving the bickering behind.
Further along the path the trees opened up to reveal rows of hedges which for some reason reminded Giles of a library which made no sense at all. Walking through the hedges Giles could hear sounds of fighting. It didn’t make sense to head towards it either but he did.
A young blond woman was fighting with a large man, dancing around each other trading kicks and blows. She was holding a pointed stick and he had two long bladed daggers. Off to one side the woman from before, Anya, was standing with a brunette girl. Neither looked overly impressed with the fighting.
“Why are they fighting?” he asked moving over to them.
“Some weird dating ritual,” the brunette answered.
“But Cordelia, I thought Buffy was having orgasms with Spike,” Anya said.
“Who’s Spike?” Giles asked.
“A pain in the ass,” Cordelia replied, “and that doesn’t matter when her and Angel are together. Nothing matters with twu lurve.” The sarcasm was thick in Cordelia’s voice and Giles was able to detect a note of wistfulness that he seemed to understand.
The fighting couple came to a stop with their chests pressed together staring into each other’s eyes. Then the girl, Buffy’s head whipped around to stare at Giles.
“There you are,” she said, “have you remembered yet?”
Buffy sighed and pulled away from Angel. “You have to remember so we can go home.”
“We could stay here,” Angel said.
“That’s what they were fighting about,” Anya said to Giles, “Angel thinks it’s nice here and Buffy thinks they are needed at home more. I think they’d rather be kissing.”
“The rest of us would prefer to be home,” Cordelia said, “but never let it be said that Angel listened to anyone.”
“I do,” Angel protested, “I was suggesting forever, just a while.”
“We’re all stuck here anyway,” Anya said, “until Giles remembers.”
“Why do I have to remember,” Giles demanded, “and what the hell is it I have to remember?”
“Language watcher,” a voice drawled, “you’ll upset the children.”
“What are you doing here Spike?” Buffy said.
“What are we all doing here except dancing to the watcher’s tune instead of yours for once,” Spike replied, “you can go back to making google eyes with dark and broody unless you’d like to switch?”
“Shut up Spike,” Buffy growled stepping forward and raising her stake threateningly.
Spike smirked and faded away slightly. “Seems like someone gave me some protection from pointy things,” he said.
“We need to research how this happened,” the strange hatted man entered the clearing followed by the younger one.
“We need to find who caused it and make them fix it,” Buffy corrected.
“We know who caused it,” Xander said.
“Who caused it?” Giles interrupted.
“Someone cast the spell in the first place,” Angel added, ignoring Giles’ question. “If we can find them we can make them undo it.”
“Only if they’re in here with us,” Cordelia said.
“Cordelia’s correct,” Anya said, “Willow wasn’t sure where the spell came from so they could have just trapped us here.”
“Well at least Willow will be doing everything she can to get us back,” Xander said.
“She didn’t know what was going on,” Wesley said, “and without knowledge of what’s happening in here she will struggle to determine the best way to break it.”
“There’s one option,” Angel said.
“Don’t be an idiot,” Spike said from his semi-transparent state.
“What sort of idiot?” Xander said.
“Doesn’t matter,” Spike said, “it’s not an option. Either Giles here remembers or Willow gets us out.”
“Remembers what?” Giles was getting annoyed.
“How to get out of here of course,” Spike said.
“We weren’t supposed to tell him,” Wesley scolded.
“Haven’t told him anything,” Spike replied.
“Somebody make him solid again so I can stake him,” Buffy complained.
“Thought that was my line,” Spike smirked.
“Shut up Spike,” Angel said.
“This isn’t getting us anywhere,” Wesley said. “We need to research this.”
“We don’t have any books,” Xander said gritting his teeth. “We don’t even know where here is, not really.”
“Course we do,” Spike said.
“All we know is who brought us here,” Angel said, “if you know more than that Spike you’d better start talking.”
“Am I the only one who ever picked up a book not for research or school?” Spike said, “and I’m not including poncy philosophy just for impressing women.”
“What are you going on about?” Giles said.
“Alice,” Spike said.
“Alice in Wonderland?” Angel looked at Spike.
“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Wesley corrected.
“Are you saying that we’re in some sort of story?” Cordelia said.
“I better not be the mad hatter,” Xander said.
“I think that’s me,” Wesley said dryly.
“What does this mean?” Buffy demanded. “How do we get out of a story?”
“That’s not quite it,” Spike said. “Not a story.”
“Then where are we?” Anya demanded.
“Inside my head,” Giles said and everyone turned to stare at him. “It’s the only thing that makes sense,” he added, “the rules are my rules. I’ve created something in my head and made you all fit into it.”
“So how do we get out?” Angel said.
“Giles has to wake up,” Cordelia said. She walked over and slapped Giles.
“Why the hell did you do that?” Giles said.
“To wake you up,” Cordelia said, “like in the movies.”
“That’s a pinch to prove you’re not dreaming,” Giles protested rubbing his cheek.
“My bad,” Cordelia said unapologetically.
“I thought the rules would mean once Giles knew it would be over,” Xander said.
“Giles hasn’t remembered,” Spike said. He was completely visible now.
“Remembered what?” Giles said in frustration.
“Maybe we should go back over what we can remember of the events leading up to us all arriving here,” Wesley said.
“Good idea Wes,” Angel said even as Buffy and Cordelia rolled their eyes.
“We were on patrol,” Buffy said.
“We were at the hotel,” Cordelia said.
“Giles was with us wasn’t he?” Xander said.
“Yes…” Buffy hesitated, “no… Willow and Giles went left, Xander and I went right.”
“What were you doing?” Angel frowned.
“We were patrolling,” Buffy said.
“You already said that,” Xander said.
“Did you see something?” Cordelia said. “Something must have caused you to split up.”
“There was something,” Anya said, “but I wasn’t on patrol, I don’t patrol. Why am I here?”
“Why are we here?” Wesley asked. “We were in Los Angeles weren’t we…?”
“There was something, we chased it,” Xander said.
“There was fire,” Wesley added.
“Something really big,” Cordelia said, “Giles called us.”
“We weren’t in L.A.,” Angel said.
“Willow,” Giles said, his eyes widening with the fragment of memory, “she cast a spell.”
Buffy was looking from person to person in confusion. “I only remember patrolling. How come even Giles remembers more and we’re in his mind.”
“Why isn’t Willow here?” Xander said. “The rest of us are, even Spike who I know wasn’t with us.”
“We’re missing something,” Angel said, “something Giles has to remember.”
“I don’t think I want to remember,” Giles said and the ground shook. Everyone staggered to stay upright.
“You have to,” Spike said.
“Why?” Giles stared at Spike who was becoming transparent again.
“Because we want you back,” Spike said, “and the others,” he added grudgingly, “although you can leave the ponce if you want.”
“Hey,” Angel protested and Spike smirked.
“Why do I feel that remembering would be bad?” Giles said.
“Because Rupert doesn’t want to,” Spike said.
“Rupert, that’s right, I’m Rupert Giles. Not just Giles, Rupert Giles. I was Ripper once.”
“A long time ago and Ripper wouldn’t care about remembering,” Spike said.
“You know don’t you?” Xander interrupted.
“You were right about me not being with you,” Spike said, “Willow found me after.”
“After what,” Cordelia demanded, “are we dead? Oh my god, we’re dead.”
“I don’t feel dead,” Xander said.
“We don’t feel like we’re in a dream either,” Wesley said.
“I would know if I was dead,” Anya insisted.
“Why would we be dead?” Angel questioned.
“You’re not,” Buffy said. She stepped closer to Giles and took his hands.
“Is Giles dead, has his soul trapped us here?” Anya said.
“You’re Rupert Giles,” Buffy said, “you’re my watcher and you look after me but I think you can’t look after me this time. I remember something Giles, I remember what it feels like. You have to let me go.”
“What’s she talking about?” Cordelia said.
“Don’t say it Buffy,” Xander warned. “You can’t be sure.”
“What are you doing Spike?” Angel glared. “Is this some sort of sick game?”
“There was a demon,” Giles said looking at Buffy, “and an army.”
“We lost some of the girls,” Buffy continued, “It used a spell.”
“You took the brunt of it to shield me,” Giles said.
“Willow cast a counter,” Angel added.
“There were refugees,” Wesley said.
“We were covering them when the spells went off,” Xander said.
“If I’m dead again,” Buffy said gently, “I think I’d like to stay dead this time if I am.”
“Don’t say that,” Giles said and his voice broke, “don’t ever say that.”
There was a smell of smoke and burning flesh in the air, a muffled sound of sobbing and everyone’s clothes began to reveal damage.
“You have to let go Giles,” Spike said, “Willow can’t hold it for much longer and you’ll all die.”
“You have to let me go,” Buffy said. She was crying and Giles realised he was crying too. “You’ve given me a chance to say goodbye, so goodbye Giles.”
“No Buffy,” Giles protested.
Buffy released his hands. She turned to the group smiling through her tears. “Giles had to remember so I could remember,” she said. “Tell Willow not to blame herself.”
Xander grabbed her and hugged her hard. “I’m sorry Buffy,” he said into her hair.
“You saved me before and gave me more time,” she said, “this is my time to go.”
She hugged Cordelia, Wesley and Anya before turning to the two vampires in her life. Spike was standing back from Angel and she went to him first.
“Rest easy slayer,” Spike said and Buffy pulled him in for a kiss.
“Look after him,” she whispered and Spike nodded.
She turned to Angel and he shook his head. “I’m not going anywhere,” he said.
“Don’t be a tit,” Spike said with a huff but Angel ignored him.
“I don’t want you to be alone,” Angel said to Buffy.
“I won’t be and you have to go,” she said falling into his embrace. Finally she pulled back and returned to Giles.
“Giles, you have to remember, you have to say it.” Willow’s voice could be heard over the increasing clamour around them.
“You have to say goodbye” Buffy said to him.
“Drusilla said I had to find my heart,” Giles said to her, “but I think it’s broken.”
“Only a little bit,” Buffy said. “Goodbye Rupert.”
“Goodbye Buffy,” Giles said and the hedges turned into the trees of the forest.
Giles fell to his knees in front of Buffy’s body and cradled her into his arms. Around them the others stirred. Angel was the first to rouse enough to crawl over to them just as Spike and Willow appeared at a run.
Around them slayers were fighting the remnants of the army. Willow and Spike dispatched any demons in their way as they came to a halt at the group.
“It was enough,” Willow said as the others stood up.
“Gunn’s group have secured the perimeter,” Spike said, “the girls are mopping up the stragglers. We’ve won.”
“At what price?” Giles said.
“The price we were all willing to pay,” Spike reminded him and Giles nodded stiffly.
“This time a proper funeral and we let her rest as I promised,” Giles said accepting Spike’s help to stand still holding onto Buffy’s body.
“Of course,” Angel said holding out his arms expectantly.
Giles hesitated briefly but was placated by the grief in Angel’s eyes and the strange comfort of Spike’s hand on his shoulder. The others gathered around, Xander and Willow were openly crying and Cordelia was fighting back the tears.
They had known luck wouldn’t always been with them and some of them would fall and it wasn’t the first time they’d mourned Buffy but this time there was a finality they couldn’t ignore.
“Alice?” Spike said incredulously to Giles.
“I don’t know,” Giles admitted with a shaky laugh.
“Knew I never wanted to see what was going on in your mind,” Spike said as the solemn procession made its way through the battlefield joined by the slayers as their fights ended. He hadn’t taken his hand from Giles’ shoulder and Giles didn’t ask him to.
Giles – Alice
Anya – White Rabbit
Mouse – Xander
Caterpillar – Drusilla
Cheshire cat – Spike
Duchess – Cordelia
Mad Hatter – Wesley
Queen of Hearts – Buffy
King of Hearts – Angel