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Integrity

Title: Integrity
Prompt: Cross-dressing (in the sense of role reversals)
Setting: Becoming Part 2. The first Spuffy alliance comes about a little differently
WARNING: Major character death
Wordcount: 931
Disclaimer: Still not mine, alas. Oh, and some dialogue borrowed from Joss.

"Giles?" Buffy let herself into the dark apartment. There wasn't much chance Giles was there, but she checked anyway. She needed to tell to him about finding Kendra dead, about running from the police. She needed to hear Giles' calm voice of reason.

The apartment was empty. Buffy looked quickly through the back rooms. She even risked tiptoeing up the stairs to the sanctum of Giles' own bedroom, and was half glad not to find him there either.

She slumped onto the couch, too tired to decide what to do. Giles' walls were lined with books. Only a week ago she would have been studying for finals. Chemistry, Shakespeare, U.S. History. She didn't have a clue how to find answers in all those volumes. She was best with a weapon in her hands and a clear target to fight. She closed her eyes for a moment, hoping her next step would come to her.

A key rattled in the lock. Buffy startled. Did she fall asleep?

A wave of relief washed over her as she recognized Giles' profile outlined in the doorway. She sat upright on the sofa, not wanting to scare Giles by surprising him in the dark.

"Buffy," Giles greeted her before switching on the light. "I'm glad to find you here."

"Where were you?" Buffy asked. "I thought Kendra was guarding you, but when I got to the library she was--"

"Dead, I know. I must call her Watcher and inform him."

"What happened?" Something was off. Buffy stood, stretching the kinks out of her back. Angel evil, Kendra dead, the police thinking Buffy was a murderer. What wasn't off; that was the question.

"We were surprised by some of Angelus' followers. Kendra fought most bravely, but I'm afraid she was no match for Drusilla's mesmerizing power. Willow was injured. I've just come from the hospital; she's still unconscious."

"Giles, if Willow can't restore Angel's soul--"

Giles looked up at her sharply. "We knew you might have to kill him, Buffy. Willow's plan was rash and dangerous. Even at her best she mightn't have succeeded."

Buffy swallowed. "I know."

Giles took off his glasses and stood fiddling with them. "I've been thinking. Angel must be stopped from awakening Acathla, of course, and Spike and Drusilla dispatched as well. But for the lesser vampires, we might consider another approach."

Buffy tried to pull her thoughts back to the present. "Huh?"

"We might try appealing to their self-interest. I know you've been overwhelmed with your duties of late. It's possible that policing the younger vampires could be a productive way of-- of shielding the innocent while harnessing their strength and resilience."

Buffy scrubbed at her eyes with the heel of her hand. "Giles, you're not making any sense." If only she could get some rest. Something kept itching at the back of her neck. She walked to the fireplace and fiddled with the objects on the mantel.

Giles went on. "Vampires wish to survive like any other creatures. I mean, hasn't a vampire eyes? Haven't they hands, organs, senses, passions: if you stab them don't they bleed? If you stake them do they not die? Buffy, I'm concerned at what all this killing is doing to you. Once you've put a stop to Angelus' scheme, we should re-evaluate."

Really, really wrong. She should turn around. She should look into his eyes, check the rise and fall of her Watcher's chest. Look for that little vein in his temple that pulsed when he got worked up about something.

Please, no.

"I'm sure when you've had a chance to rest and recover," (There it was, the quiet crunch.) "you'll see the wisdom of my suggestion." Giles made a frustrated tsk, as his S's came out lispy around the unaccustomed teeth.

Please don't make me.

Buffy curled her fingers around the short stake in her jacket pocket. Only last week she had given up tailored jackets for looser ones, acknowledging the necessity of being prepared for Angelus at all times. Giles would be fast. She couldn't let him make the first move.

She swung in time to see Giles' outline dissolve into dust that collapsed upon itself, revealing the form behind it. Spike blinked at her from just inside the threshold.

"You killed Giles," she said blankly.

"Well, don't fall over yourself thanking me," Spike snarked.

"You killed Giles!" She ran at him, stake upraised, her throat burning.

Spike stumbled back, his empty hands held up. "Truce!" Buffy stopped, more out of bewilderment than anything. "I just saved your life, Slayer, so hear me out, yeah?"

"We're mortal enemies. We don't get time-outs."

"You and I have something in common. We both want Angel stopped. And from the look of things, you were about to let your Watcher recruit you to Angel's bloody army. Seems to me you need all the help you can get."

"Not from you."

"'M not asking you to trust me. Only pointing out our mutual advantage. You want to prevent Angel ending the world. Angel's wronged me, and I want my revenge. We can cooperate that far, can't we?"

Her lover was a mass murderer. Her mentor had tried to kill her. Now her mortal enemy was waving the parley flag. Buffy wondered if there was a man in her life who could be depended upon to remain himself.

"I'm listening."

Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
adriana_is
Dec. 13th, 2011 04:39 am (UTC)
oh very nice twist!!
readerjane
Dec. 14th, 2011 02:09 am (UTC)
Thanks much. *g*
zanthinegirl
Dec. 13th, 2011 10:30 am (UTC)
Ooh-- nifty role reversal!

And Giles would have made an absolutely terrifying</i. vampire. Yikes!
readerjane
Dec. 14th, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
Yeah, I think evil!Giles would be pretty darn scary.

Thanks for reading!
shapinglight
Dec. 13th, 2011 11:05 am (UTC)
Very nice use of the prompt. You managed to build up a real atmosphere of menace in the moments before Spike killed Vamp!Giles.
readerjane
Dec. 14th, 2011 02:36 am (UTC)
Thanks! Poor Buffy -- once she realized, there really was no good outcome available.
gryfndor_godess
Dec. 13th, 2011 01:09 pm (UTC)
Aw, very sad. Buffy's horror and heartbreak felt very real.
readerjane
Dec. 14th, 2011 02:36 am (UTC)
Thank you.
moscow_watcher
Dec. 13th, 2011 08:32 pm (UTC)
Glies... *sobs*

Chilling, effective story. Well done.
readerjane
Dec. 14th, 2011 02:36 am (UTC)
Thanks very much.
thisficklemob
Dec. 13th, 2011 08:49 pm (UTC)
Creepy! Poor Buffy.
readerjane
Dec. 14th, 2011 02:37 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading!
anviloverheaven
Dec. 14th, 2011 07:52 am (UTC)
Eeek!!

Willow was injured. I've just come from the hospital; she's still unconscious

Oh. Dear. Lord!! I'm just going to infer it's the worst case scenario there. That was spooky and creepy, and just downright bloody brilliant!!
readerjane
Dec. 14th, 2011 01:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks much!

My idea was that vamp!Giles was lying about where he'd been: he was just coming from rising. But yeah, could have been worse as well.
slaymesoftly
Dec. 15th, 2011 02:55 am (UTC)
Oh! Twisty! Well done. Same ultimate outcome, but with something she never saw coming. Have to wonder what this might have done to rest of the series...
readerjane
Dec. 18th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
Many complicated changes, I'm sure. Not the least of which: there'd have been no one to help stop dark!Willow when she needed stopping.

Thanks for reading!
quinara
Dec. 30th, 2011 01:41 pm (UTC)
First of all, how did I miss this?? I really like the AU - and can only imagine how things go from here in the rest of the series!
readerjane
Dec. 30th, 2011 01:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you liked.

If this idea continues, I'm gonna need a scorecard to keep track of the different AU 'verses. *g*
relurker
Dec. 31st, 2011 08:35 am (UTC)
I probably didn't comment before because I wanted to say something clever, but cleverness fail me. Beautiful and very, very creepy. I really like it when she's there with her back turned, seemingly vulnerable, hoping against hope that what she already knows is not true.
readerjane
Dec. 31st, 2011 01:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much.

I wanted the vulnerability to come, not from typical vampire danger (Buffy will always be competent to fight a new fledge) but from the fact that this is someone she loves, and she's already preparing to kill someone she loves.

I toyed with making this a dream sequence -- revealing at the end of the story that Buffy really had fallen asleep on the couch. But then I'd have had to undo that altered alliance with Spike (also I've already posted some dream stories) so I decided against it.
hello_spikey
Jan. 9th, 2012 02:24 pm (UTC)
You killed Giles! Waaaaah!

Dark...
readerjane
Jan. 9th, 2012 02:31 pm (UTC)
I know, it's dreadful of me *hangs head*.

I always wondered, though, whether Angelus or Dru might not think of trying to turn Giles to get him to reveal how to wake Acathla, rather than torturing the information out of him.

There's the whole problem of how long exactly it takes for a new vampire to rise, but that gets handwaved often enough in canon that I felt okay about handwaving it here too.

If they had tried it, I think their scheme would have backfired. Even evil, I think vamp!Giles would have hated Angelus just as much as human!Giles did. And might be more interested in preserving the world (to get power for himself if not for the happy meals on legs) than in ending it.
hello_spikey
Jan. 9th, 2012 04:19 pm (UTC)
Oh - I totally dig your concept. I just couldn't get past my Buffy-like reaction. YOU KILLED GILES.

:D

Def. interesting what if!

yourlibrarian
Jan. 9th, 2012 06:12 pm (UTC)
Here from buffyversetop5
What a great twist on that episode.
readerjane
Jan. 9th, 2012 07:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Here from buffyversetop5
Thank you!
treadingthedark
Apr. 23rd, 2012 03:08 am (UTC)
Poor Buffy!! Excellent scene.
readerjane
Apr. 23rd, 2012 11:03 am (UTC)
Thanks much!
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )

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