Nothing To Say
Here's my just-over-1000 word Gilesficathon entry, written for shimobe, who requested Spike, English propriety (which is more a theme of their behavior than anything else, in this story) and "no sex and no dialogue."
Thanks to ginnylovesspike for the help and beta.
The world explodes in fire, and when Giles regains consciousness, everything he knew is gone.
Well, not everything, if one wants to be precise. The earth continues to turn, but somehow the sun's rays don't seem to be able to reach the planet's surface, so the vampires are, to put it bluntly and in a way which is both accurate and laughable at the same time, in heaven. Endless night. All of the creatures that were once limited to the night have no limits, and this means, quite simply, that there's nothing to stop them.
There might have been something, of course, had Buffy been there to avert the apocalypse. But she had died months earlier saving Dawn.
Pity there are only so many times one can sacrifice oneself for the world.
Giles had woken in the back of a looted van, where apparently he'd been lying for some time if the puddle of blood soaking the blankets had anything to say about it.
In fewer words than he would have thought possible, Spike had told him what had happened.
The Hellmouth opened.
Giles hadn't believed him, not at first. Despite the roaring pain in his head, he'd insisted that Spike stop the van. They'd argued at the side of the road for a good five minutes, until Spike had put his fist into the side of the vehicle and then slid down it to sit in the dirt.
Neither of them had wept.
They continue to travel. Sometimes Giles isn't sure why. He thinks it might be because they feel a sort of duty to continue, since they were fortunate -- or unfortunate -- enough to be the ones to go on.
The others would have wanted them to keep moving. To stay safe. To help where they can, not that there are many opportunities to do so, as they find very few people still alive in the aftermath. In fact, it's been weeks since they've seen anyone alive when they find her.
A girl, just outside Topeka. She's sitting in the middle of the road and using a stick to flip small pebbles toward the edge of the pavement. At first Spike and Giles are both so surprised that they don't know what to do -- she's such a small thing, it's hard to know for sure how she managed to survive for so long.
But they coax her into the van with promises of a chocolate bar. How exceedingly wrong this is doesn't escape Giles' notice -- two grown men bribing a little girl into their van with sweets-- but it's not as if they can leave her there.
She's with them for four days, and they never learn her name. This isn't nearly as surprising as one might think, as weeks go by without Spike and Giles exchanging more than a few words. The few people that they've met up with have been the same --the shock of losing everything seems to have taken people's voices away, or at least the desire to use them.
Giles learns that little girls -- he thinks she's about five -- prefer juice to milk, which is just as well because it's not easy to find milk these days. Refrigeration is a thing of the past, and UHT milk is growing very scarce, whereas tinned juices are generally more plentiful.
Beverages of other types are, of course, a different story.
What with humans becoming scarce as well, Spike is a rather difficult pet vampire to keep. Giles hasn't fed Spike his own blood -- yet -- and while part of him hopes he won't have to, another more realistic part knows that it's inevitable. It's already clear that the vampire is losing weight, and Giles depends on his strength in more situations than he'd like to.
Giles kills a dog with a well-placed bullet to the head while Spike distracts the child with small sweets, then Giles takes over entertaining the little girl so that Spike can drain the creature of blood and gut it.
Filleted dog, cooked over a fire, resembles beef. Or maybe carefully seasoned mutton. It's tough, but a protein starved body will welcome meat in nearly any form.
The fire, Giles decides later, is what gave them away.
They're sleeping peacefully enough in the back of the van -- Spike on the bench seat, sprawled as if he hasn't a care in the world, one arm thrown up over his eyes, Giles and the girl in a tangle of blankets on the floor -- when the attack comes.
The rear doors are wrenched open with superhuman strength, the sound of screeching metal propelling Giles from deeply asleep to heart-poundingly awake in the blink of an eye. He clutches frantically at the girl, whose thin scream splits the air as hands scrabble at her.
There's a frightful jolt as Spike slams on the gas, made more frightful by the fact that Giles hadn't even realized he'd started up the vehicle, and he's nearly dragged out the door by the strong hands clutching at him. He holds onto the child, and feels a sickening crack as her head strikes the metal frame of the van, but he doesn't let go of her despite what her sudden limpness broadcasts.
Spike drives off like a vampire possessed, leaving the scent of burning rubber behind them. Giles adjusts the little girl's limp body gently, feels for a pulse in her neck that he knows he won't find, and sighs. Tells Spike to pull over, because if nothing else they've learned what to let go of and what not to.
He sits in the van, silent, while Spike takes care of the body. This is how he thinks of it, even though the euphemism doesn't in any way distract him from the reality.
Spike drinks from the girl, and when she's been drained -- waste not, want not -- he sets her lifeless, broken body some distance from the road and comes back to the van.
They speak even less after that. It's almost as if the few brief days they had with her, nameless though she was, had given them some sort of hope, a hope that's been taken from them now. Giles isn't a stupid man, and he knows that there isn't any sort of a future for either of them. He won't try to fool himself.
He wouldn't succeed.
Spike sits behind the wheel, and Giles traces a blue vein in his forearm.
Sooner or later, it will come to this.
Until then, they'll keep driving.