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
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.
"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.