Rating: PG/FRT (Swearing)
Setting: Post-Chosen, immediately after.
Pairings: Giles/Buffy-ish (kind of, maybe)
Notes: I'm still working on the third part of Somewhere Close By. While I'm hoping I'll be done by tonight, I wanted to offer something up just in case. This is the first scene of a slightly longer work called Denouement, but I think it can hold up as a one-shot. (A few weeks ago, I had delusions that I would be able to finish both of these fics for today. Life, as it does, made short work of those plans.)
Summary: In the moments after Sunnydale was destroyed, Giles tends to his Slayer.
In the moments after Sunnydale fell, they responded true to their personalities. Xander and Dawn joked. Willow marveled at the possibilities. Giles obsessed with the practicalities. Faith teased and moaned about wanting to sleep for a week. Buffy, though, stood by in contemplative silence.
“What do we do now?” Dawn asked.
Buffy started to smile. . . .
“Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m planning on passing out from blood loss right about now.”
She said it so calmly. As if she announced that she was going to get a cup of coffee. Everyone was still for a moment, trying to figure out if she was joking. Everyone except Giles, who had already begun to yank off his jacket as he lunged towards her. When Buffy collapsed, she collapsed in his arms.
“Sword to the back. Went straight through,” she told Giles. Giles cursed and called for the first aid kit. Xander, the first to recover, started running towards the bus, calling for Vi who had become the group’s self-appointed medic. Dawn grabbed Giles’s coat and, kneeling, spread it on the ground. Together, she and Giles arranged Buffy so that she was on her uninjured side, with her head cushioned in her sister’s lap. She was mostly faced downward so that Giles could reach her back easier, though she could turn her head and still see everyone, pretty much.
Once he saw the severity of her wound, Giles’s swearing increased in strength and frequency, as well as in volume.
“That bad, huh?” Buffy said, sympathetically.
“Yes, that fucking bad!” Giles spat, as he took the first aid supplies from outstretched hands.
“Oh god, B! When you got back up, I thought you had just had the wind knocked out of you.”
“Nope. Parlor trick,” Buffy replied, grinning at Faith as she was the one to then curse. Giles momentarily froze, then turned to Buffy with wide eyes.
“You mean to tell me that you used that godforsaken. . . .” Giles’s voice trailed off as he quickly returned his work.
“Yup. Told you it would come in handy one day.”
“What are you talking about?” Willow asked, worried and bewildered.
“Do you remember how Buffy would sometimes get a fast-bleeding cut. . ?” Faith paused, unsure how best to describe it.
“And she would just sort of freeze it? Like an invisible Band-Aid?” Xander finished.
“Yeah, that’s it,” Faith nodded. “It used to freak the hell out of Wesley.”
“B-but she could only do it for small cuts and not for very long,” Willow said. “You know, just long enough to keep the blood from dripping on her clothing.”
“I saved a lot of cute tops that way,” Buffy agreed. Her voice was getting weaker, but she still seemed completely relaxed.
“After which you would then pass out for several hours, scaring me witless in the process, because your damn ‘parlor trick’ was too much of a strain on your slayer healing,” Giles grumbled. “The Slayer completely incapacitated after a dust-up with a few goddamn fledges.”
“That was early on. I only had just figured out how to do it. Saved it for slow nights. Got bored with it eventually. Turns out it works a lot better with a heavy-duty dose of adrenaline.”
“That remains to be seen,” Giles replied as he finished bandaging her back. He and Dawn carefully shifted Buffy so that she was now tilted upward. Giles then turned his attention to Buffy’s exit wound and let off a string of curses so violent and blue that even Faith looked surprised. Dawn bit back a sob and stroked her sister’s hair.
“Don’t worry, Dawnie” Buffy said, looking up at her sister, grabbing her hand reassuringly. “If Giles is cursing like that, it’s means it’s only pretty bad. You know it’s really bad when I’m the one who’s cussing from the pain. And when Giles then starts singing to get me to stop.” Dawn managed a slightly watery laugh, as Buffy had intended, but Willow turned her face into Xander’s shoulder with a sob.
“To get you to sleep,” Giles corrected, beginning to finish up. “Which I never would have had to resort to at all if you would have ever just let go and let your slayer powers do their damn job.”
“Eh, sleep is for the weak,” Buffy said faintly. Giles rolled his eyes as he wiped his hands.
“Yes, my darling, and with a hole that is the size of a rock in your side, I think you qualify.” Giles leaned over and smoothed her hair back. “Now, rest.”
Buffy closed her eyes and Giles kissed her forehead. She smiled faintly, eyes still closed, and then her breathing fell into the rhythm of slumber.
“Damnable woman,” the Watcher said with a sigh. He then straighten and lifted Buffy into his arms to carry her back into the bus. Dawn gathered up his jacket and followed closely behind.
“What was that?!” Kennedy demanded, voice shaking a bit. It wasn’t so much that Buffy had been hurt, but the calm, routine way that Buffy, Giles, and even Dawn were treating it. This wasn’t an apocalypse. This was just business as usual.
“That is something that you’ll never have to experience,” Faith supplied, her eyes still on Giles and Dawn’s retreating figures. “That is what it’s like to be ‘The One Girl in All the World’ with only your Watcher to patch you up when things get rough.”
With a shake, Faith turned her attention to everyone else. It was on her now.
“Come on. The sooner we’re back on the bus, the sooner we can find civilization again.”
Slowly, everyone shuffled away from edge of the crater that used to be Sunnydale. The big, scary stuff was over. Time to take a breath and figure out where you stood.