Very Post - "Lies My Parents Told Me"
The missing scene.
The words echoed in his head. He paced the front porch, trying to keep from going back inside and up the stairs to try again to make Buffy see sense. It was ridiculous, this. And quite impossible, by his reasoning, that she didn't comprehend the inherent fallacies in each and every one of her arguments.
This was foolhardy arrogance. Spike was dangerous. He was still a tool to be used at the will of the First. Andrew had made that plain when he'd relayed what the First Evil had said to him in regard to the vampire. For Buffy to blatantly disregard it was the worst kind of hubris. To believe that she could keep that in check...
Since Giles had arrived, he had been struck with the power that Spike had over Buffy. Her grudging acceptance had become something else entirely. And she'd risked her life to get him away from the First Evil as well, determined to rescue him.
Perhaps her indifference to him - and his anger with her - for all these years had masked some sort of attraction early on. The two had fought many, many times, yet neither had ever prevailed. Coincidence? Circumstance? Spike was a vampire that had killed two slayers. Buffy had slain the Master.
As Buffy's watcher, he'd been surprised by her resourcefulness time and again. He'd also been constantly flummoxed by her seemingly erratic behavior. But it had kept her alive. For the most part.
One hand removed his glasses as the other went to the bridge of his nose.
She pontificated about keeping the girls safe, yet she had brought an agent of the First into her own home.
He'd tried to make her understand tonight that there were decisions that any general must make. Unpleasant ones, perhaps, but ones that had to be decided and acted upon for the good of the whole. Instead she had rushed away, determined to stop Wood. The shock on her face had dismayed him. Why couldn't she comprehend that the danger outweighed any personal considerations she might have?
Giles threw himself down on the top step. He wished for a glass of scotch. A tumbler of scotch. And a full bottle beside it.
It was her kindness, he thought. It was her greatest strength and her greatest weakness. Her involvement with Angel and her inability to kill him when Angelus was freed had caused Jenny Calendar's death. Certainly, she had finally confronted him and used him to close Acathla's portal, but at that point, Jenny was already dead, as were the faceless others that Angelus had fed on during those months.
And now Spike. In his fugue state, he had fed and turned with abandon. And yet, when faced with the obvious choice in that cellar, she had let her sentiments - her kindness - sway her and she'd let him live.
The slayers in training wouldn't agree, but Giles had always known. Buffy masked her innate kindness with clever, cutting words and a bristling attitude. But it was there, always emerging at the worst of times. Distracting her from the hard judgments that she must make.
'Things are different. He's different. He has a soul now.' Good Lord, how many times in the past month had she looked at him, stubborn chin set, and said those words? At this point, Buffy reminded him of a parrot, reciting the same phrases over and over again until the words no longer had any meaning.
Adolph Hitler had had a soul. Ted Bundy and a host of other serial killers. And the potential was there. Spike was a weapon. A lethal weapon that the First could call on at any time. 'It's not time for him yet', Andrew had stated. Spike had been disturbed by that statement. Giles had seen it. But still, he had not done the right thing and left Sunnydale. No, he'd continued to stay, putting everyone in jeopardy.
Giles had told Buffy what Andrew had said. And she hadn't responded. The distance between them was a palatable thing, even before tonight's debacle. Especially where Spike was concerned. He had noticed that even Xander had become silent on the subject, knowing as he must by now, that Buffy would hear nothing against Spike. She'd become completely unreasonable, as Giles himself had discovered earlier today.
Today, he'd actually grabbed her by the shoulders and almost shaken her like some recalcitrant child. Fulfilling that fantasy, she'd jerked away from Giles and had gone directly to him and freed him. To Spike.
It defied all explanation.
And even more alarming was the 'fortress' that she had erected around the two of them. She'd brought him into her home, traveled to the basement many times each day, and did what patrolling she did with him at her side. Spike helped her train the girls and backed her up like he was her first lieutenant. They functioned many times without words, all gestures and silent, private conversations. Their connection had become something quite appalling. The fact that they weren't physical didn't comfort him. Whatever they had had gone past the physicality and had become a deep, unassailable bond. Someone in Buffy's position couldn't afford that luxury. She couldn't afford to be close to something that could wear the enemy's face at any moment. Her feelings for Spike, perhaps even her own misplaced guilt, had skewed her reasoning.
Good Lord! She'd even allowed them to remove Spike's chip!
Tonight, it had been on the tip of his tongue to tell her that he'd killed Ben. He'd had to, because it wasn't in her to do it.
Buffy had a deep belief in the goodness that lived in the world. At times, it had served her well. But this time, it had caused her to give Spike a second chance. A chance to take even more lives.
Why she wouldn't see that was beyond him.
Giles didn't completely discount what Spike had done for Buffy in getting the soul. He'd heard about the little scene in the living room when the slayer had called Spike on his 'weeping and wailing'. And of course, the vampire had immediately become what Buffy had berated him for not being anymore. A fighter. A killer. It was the way of him - to do what she asked of him. Giles snorted silently. Spike was as malleable as a piece of clay.
But Giles was not. He would continue to give her the hard truths, because he must. No one else confronted her anymore on her decisions, no matter how poor the reasoning for them. It fell to him now to do that, making certain that he compensated for the lack of confrontation from other quarters.
The man remembered a small flask that he'd placed in his valise. He pulled it to him and reached inside to rescue a small quantity of scotch from oblivion.
He heard the rustle of leather. Giles looked up to meet Spike's eyes.
"Waiting for me, Rupert? I'm touched. Buffy told you 'Wood' didn't do the job, right?" he said sardonically.
Giles silently pulled the flask from his bag and stood fluidly, toe to toe with Spike. Crass, objectionable berk! Spike's lip was slightly swollen and he was standing a bit stiffly, but the vampire had lost none of his irritating manner.
"Buffy told me," the Watcher affirmed in a low voice.
Spike looked at the flask in Giles' hand and smiled knowingly. "Oh. A 'not so celebratory' drink, then?"
"I'm certainly not rejoicing at your continued existence, no." Giles didn't back down. In fact, he pulled himself completely erect, making certain that he was looking down at the shorter vampire.
Spike moved forward, raised eyes hot with anger. "Expected better of you, Rupert."
Giles shrugged, hoping it angered Spike even more. "I merely removed Buffy from the equation." He made his eyes hard, determined to brook no nonsense. "Although I'll finish the job myself if any harm comes to any of these girls at your hand."
Spike chuckled. Giles' hackles rose at the dryness of it. "Not much chance of that. Your little bobble worked. That little intervention the two of you planned destroyed the trigger. I'm my own man now. Not the First's or anyone else's."
"Except Buffy's, of course," Giles said cuttingly.
Giles took great satisfaction at the pole-axed look on Spike's face.
After a moment, the vampire stepped back, looking him up and down appraisingly. "So that's what this is about, then? Eliminating the competition?"
Giles eyes widened in surprise. Spike slowly smiled, as Giles sputtered slightly, unable to string words into a comprehensible retort. Finally, he choked out a word. "Competition?"
"Maybe I'm not good enough, but she believes that I'm tryin'. To do good. Be good. You're bound up so tight with tradition and your Watcher conventions that you don't see anything at all. And yeah, competition. Like I'm tryin' to take your little girl away from you." He laughed ruefully. "At least I hope that's all it is."
Giles schooled his features into impassivity, but it was too late. "That's ridiculous."
"You know, you've really made my night." Spike's eyes glinted in amusement under arched brows. "You feelin' all threatened and such. All parental distress to my..." He laughed and shrugged, unable to find the proper comparison. "Whatever." The grim smile disappeared and Spike's face became cold. "Appreciate your concern. But you're not her father. And I think you gave up Watcher's rights when you ran off." The vampire rocked back on his heels a moment, then turned with a curt nod to open the door. In his overwhelming self-confidence, he left it ajar. "Night, Rupert."
As he watched Spike saunter jauntily down the hallway toward the basement, Giles wished for a stake. There was one in the valise, of course, along with several other small weapons, but by the time he thought of them, the impulse had passed.
What Spike had said was untrue. Completely untrue. Buffy had been in his charge. Naturally, he would have concerns for her, but that had nothing to do with what was going on now.
Twisting the flask open, he quietly closed the door and sat down on the step. He let the liquid sear Spike's words out of his mind.