Following in what has become my random tradition to write a fic on Good Friday, I bring you this. I think we've come to a time in the story this year that's highly appropriate to the season. And here's my take on a little moment in that, that takes place directly after 'Dirty Girls'.
"I know... I know sweetheart..."
And she knew it, too. Yet she still cried.
"Try-- try to sleep... try to just be quiet a while..."
The sound echoed through the wall to where Spike stood, alone. Giles' voice, muttering soothing phrases with empty efficiency. The girl-- Spike couldn't remember her name-- she wouldn't stop crying, wouldn't stop pleading with him. She wanted Giles to tell her why her friends hadn't come home.
He could hear them all through the house. Breathing, moving. Quiet sounds. And he stood in the kitchen, leaning against the open doorway, looking out into the green grass and swaying tree branches, blanketed over with warm, springtime darkness. A cricket was crying in the distance, alone and unanswered. A fresh, rainy scent of dewdrops floated in on silent, gentle zephyrs.
"Go to sleep now, you'll need your rest..."
And the light snapped out in the living room. The crisp sound of the switch turning fell an instant before the room went black. And the light in the kitchen went bluer, new shadows throwing themselves across the dirty dinner plates in the sink, still tinged with the remnants of their last meals.
And he heard Giles moving into the other rooms, up into the hallway. Click. The lights went dark. The small hall light, gone dead. The house went awash in shadow.
The footsteps were heavy and rhythmic as he paced through the rooms, one by one, stepping slowly through the house. Putting girls to bed. Taking count. Trying to quiet them.
And as the house descended into silent darkness, Spike stood there still. And it was dark, and the silence was broken only by the breathing of the crowded house.
And as Giles returned once more, down into the hallways, he made a decision.
He walked out slowly, into the hall, his footfalls soft against the wood. And he reached out, and turned the hall lamp back on.
Yellow warmth spread out in a wide pool, fading gradually at its ends into the black.
And the dark shape at the end of the hall-- Giles' silhouette-- it paused. The eyes were shrouded in shadow.
"She'll be coming back," Spike explained, quietly, "Should leave a light on for her..."
Giles gazed down at the hall table, fingering the keys that lay there absently. They made a faint, musical jingle against his fingers. His eyes caught the small, desk calendar there, and he exhaled suddenly.
"And I suppose that would be your concern," Giles said, his tone careful.
Spike turned, walked towards Giles, but did not face him. Instead he stood with his back to the man, looking at the paintings of open doors on the stairwell. In the kitchen, the open back door rattled in the growing wind, rapping randomly against the doorjamb.
"You've been shutting out the lights," Spike said, simply, as if it were the natural response to the statement, "One by one. Used to do that in the churches, you know, come this time of year."
And Spike paused before he spoke again, his shoulders tense as he willfully kept his back to him. When he spoke, his voice was clipped and steady.
"So tell me, who's going to be the lamb?"
Giles squinted at him, taking in the cold, simple words.
And suddenly, Spike rounded on him with a flutter of speed, lunging forward and stopping a few inches from his face.
"Will you let it be her?"
"We've had enough of blood letting," Giles said, calmly, staring back into the vampire's eyes.
"But it's not enough," Spike said, "We're drowning here-- and you can feel it. You're watching it all go down. Are you hoping she's learned a lesson tonight? Something about straightening up and flying right?"
Giles clenched his jaw, holding his glasses is in his hands, opening and closing the arms, the hinges making gentle little clicks in a steady rhythm.
"Some must be lost if all are to be saved."
"And what if it's her?"
"Then it is her," Giles snapped, anger rising in his voice, "And real love would let her go to it."
And Giles headed up the stairs again, purposefully,
"Let me tell you something about that," Spike said, easing down slowly to sit on the stairs. Giles paused halfway up the flight.
"Far as I can see it, she needs to be here. In the world."
"You see, she holds it together. She may be out there now. But she'll come back through that door. And all I know now is that when she does, she'll need to have a light on, waiting for her."
And he glanced up the stairs at the man above him. But Giles didn't allow him to continue.
Instead, he turned suddenly , rushing back up into the upper story. And Spike was alone again.
So he sat silently, on the hall stairs, and he waited for Buffy to come back in from the night darkness.