Title: Warning Sign
Timeline: Post-Series, AU.
Synopsis: In the midst of remembering all he’s lost, Giles makes a decision.
Author’s Notes: This story was inspired by the song “Warning Sign” by Coldplay (Don’t know the song? Lyrics and a link to the actual song can be found here). Flashbacks are in italics.
EXTRA special thanks to wyvernwolf this time!
Giles noticed the slight tremble in his hand as he picked up his drink. He sighed heavily and lowered himself to the worn leather couch. He wanted to call her, wanted to tell her how much he missed her. Before, he had called her weekly, the same day and the same time each week. But then two months earlier she had stopped accepting his calls.
He hadn’t attempted to call her in three weeks. Five weeks of listening to her voice on the answering machine stating she was unable to take the call and to leave a message had been enough. He had finally resigned himself to the fact that she wanted nothing more to do with him.
* * *
The night Sunnydale had imploded, she had come to his hotel room, to talk, to clear the air between them. He had listened patiently as she worked through the anger she still held towards him. He had defended himself when necessary, but mostly, he had just listened as she purged herself.
And when he had pulled her into his arms as she cried, he hadn't been overly surprised when she kissed him. Apparently she had other emotions to work through as well. They had taken comfort in one another that night...and every night after.
that the Hellmouth was indeed permanently closed, he had returned to
Three months after that, she had shocked him with the news that she was pregnant.
* * *
He swirled the scotch in his glass before lifting it to his lips and taking a sip. A brief smile played on his lips as he remembered the joy he had felt on learning he was going to be a father. The smile faded as quickly as it had appeared.
* * *
She had had a dream. A seemingly
unstoppable vampire was terrorizing the streets of
They had quickly found the vampire. When he had introduced himself as The Immortal, Buffy had rolled her eyes. Giles had smiled at her reaction and then quickly fired a bolt from the crossbow held in his hands. The smile had disappeared as the bolt had merely bounced off the vampire's back and landed harmlessly on the ground.
The vampire had turned and grinned, asking what part of 'immortal' had Giles not understood. And then he had vanished. No smoke, no fanfare. He had just...gone.
Buffy and Giles had stared at each other in disbelief before he had taken her hand led her out of the park, quickly returning to their hotel room to research this new demon.
They had made love that night. Both proclaiming the experience to be the best they had ever had. Neither of them realizing that it had also been the last time they would make love. Giles had held her in his arms, his hand caressing her stomach as they had fallen asleep.
The following night, they had resumed their hunt. The Immortal had shown himself quickly, but he had not been alone. He had stood to the side, hands clasped behind his back watching his followers attack the Slayer and her Watcher. A slow smile had appeared on his face when the Watcher had fallen to the ground.
Buffy had reacted quickly, rushing towards her lover as Giles screamed for her to stop. Giles had felt the breath rush out of his lungs as she fell, a nameless vampire straddling her thighs and placing his hand on her stomach.
She had screamed for Giles as the demon slowly increased the pressure of his hand, threatening to rip her open right there. Tears welled in his eyes as Giles had struggled against the two vampires holding him down, all the while screaming for her.
The Immortal had calmly walked over and knelt beside of Giles, his eyes focused on the vampire holding the Slayer down.
“Your child shall not survive. But, you will. As will she.”
Giles had wondered how he had known. But, he hadn't asked. Instead he had continued struggling and crying out for Buffy as she screamed.
His throat was raw from his own screams by the time it was over. The band of vampires had slowly backed away, grinning as they watched Giles crawl over to Buffy. A small smile had flickered in The Immortal’s eyes as he watched Giles pick Buffy’s limp body from the cool ground.
* * *
A lone tear rolled
down Giles’ cheek as he downed the rest of his drink. The house was
quiet, had been for months now. The room next to the bedroom he had shared
with Buffy had not been entered since the night he returned to
* * *
Buffy's injuries had been minimal and had healed themselves within the day. The doctor however had not been able to save the baby. Afterwards, Buffy had shut down, either refusing or simply unable to say anything. Giles had grieved for his child silently as he held her.
He had felt, more than heard, her soft mumble. He had placed a soft kiss on her shoulder.
“Did you say something, love?”
She had sniffled before taking a shaky breath. “Why did he say ‘you can try again’? Is that supposed to make me feel better about my baby dying?”
He had tightened his hold on her and sighed. “I don’t know, darling.”
“It’s my fault.” She had whispered, her voice quavering with her tears.
“No, Buffy. It’s not. Please – ”
“You told me to stop.” She had interrupted quickly. “I didn’t listen. Bad things happen when I don’t listen to you.”
“Shh, love.” He had stroked her hair lovingly, soothingly. “It’s not your fault. I love you, Buffy.”
She had moved closer to him then, her back pressed tightly against his chest as she gripped his forearm. She hadn't said anything else. Giles had whispered soft words of love to her as she fell asleep. It had taken a while for sleep to find him, but when it did it claimed him deeply.
Buffy had awakened from her restless sleep to find The Immortal standing at the foot of the bed. The vampire had smiled and glanced at Giles, who was sleeping soundly as a result of the spell the demon had cast.
“You are a magnificent being, Slayer. Come with me.”
Buffy had seen it for what it was. A warning sign. But, she hadn't been able to stop herself from obeying his softly spoken command. She had looked down at Giles, her heart breaking for him as she followed the vampire out of the room.
* * *
Giles closed his eyes, his fingers tightening around the glass. Before it could shatter, he leaned forward and dropped it onto the coffee table.
He should clean up the room next to the bedroom. The splintered furniture had been there long enough. It was time. Time to let go.
* * *
Giles had searched for Buffy for five days before finally finding her. But, it hadn't been relief he'd felt when he found her. His heart had shattered in his chest as he watched The Immortal moving over Buffy’s prone body…moving within Buffy’s body.
He had screamed in sudden rage on hearing Buffy moan the vampire’s name.
As it turned out, The Immortal hadn't been entirely immortal. Not when faced by Rupert Giles in a rage, with a machete coated in the blood of a Drekavac demon in his hand.
As the ash had fallen over Buffy’s nude body, he had stared at her. Logically, he'd known that she had been under the vampire’s thrall. At that moment however, his heart hadn't been listening to logic. His heart was reacting to what his eyes had seen.
A vampire…another vampire…having sex with his Slayer. His…Buffy.
He had barely heard her whisper his name over the questions running through his head. The machete had dropped to the floor with a loud thud as he turned and walked out of the room.
She ran after him, grabbing her clothes on the way. He had spun towards her when he felt her fingers wrap around his arm. She stared into his darkened eyes, rushing through her apologies.
She had been apologizing.
Giles had shaken his head slowly, the thought sinking into his mind that she hadn’t been completely under The Immortal’s thrall. If she was apologizing, she felt she had done something wrong. She wouldn’t have realized she was doing something wrong if she had been under his thrall. His throat had constricted painfully as he had taken a step backwards.
He had told her that he was returning to England. She had lowered her eyes and stated that she liked Rome. He had asked her why. Why did she like Rome? Why did she leave with The Immortal? Why…so many whys.
So many whys that she hadn't been able to answer.
When he had whispered that he loved her, she had looked up at him. It hadn't gone unnoticed that she hadn't responded with the same sentiment. He had repeated the statement that he was returning to England and turned before he walked away.
She had watched him until he was out of sight, tears had run down her face for the pain he felt. The pain she had inflicted on him. She had wanted to scream her love for him, but the last remnants of The Immortal’s thrall still held her.
And he hadn't known…because she hadn't been able to tell him.
* * *
Giles took a deep
breath and opened the door to the room that would have been his child’s
nursery. The splintered wood was still strewn across the room, just as he
had left it. He swallowed the lump in his throat and bent down to pick up
the plush Pooh Bear that Buffy had purchased two days before they had left for
He gripped the bear tightly and shook his head.
It was too
soon. And he shouldn’t have left
* * *
She had called him three days after he had left Rome. She'd tried to explain things to him. She'd tried to understand what was going on in his head, had tried to tell him how much she loved him.
He had listened…and he had understood. She had been under The Immortal’s thrall. She had lost as much as he had. And he hated himself for leaving her in Rome. Of course he hadn’t been thinking clearly, but it had been no excuse.
When he had said as much to Buffy, she had whispered that she didn’t want him to come back. His anger had flared and she'd quickly tried to clarify her meaning. Rome wasn’t a good place for him to be right now. Not with all that had happened.
He had calmed down slightly and whispered that he wasn’t sure anywhere was a good place for him to be right now. He had admitted to flying into a rage when he had returned home. He had cried softly when he told her how he had demolished their child’s nursery. And then he had asked her, nearly begged her, to come home.
She had hesitated before answering. Then she had taken a deep breath and said that she couldn’t yet. There was something she had to do. He had offered to return and help her but she had refused, stating it was something she had to do alone. For herself, for him…for their baby.
She had whispered her love for him and promised to call again soon. And then she disconnected the call.
She had then spent the next week hunting down the rest of The Immortal’s followers. And she had taken great pleasure in killing each and every one of them. The only one left was the one who had taken her child’s life.
And he would get special treatment when she finally found him.
* * *
They had spoken weekly. He had wanted more and, if she had been honest with herself, so had she. But, she had a job to do. And she couldn’t leave the city until she had watched one specific demon turn to dust right before her eyes. He had tried to remain patient, but even his patience had only held out for so long.
Two months and numerous four-hour phone calls later, she still hadn’t found him. Giles had repeatedly asked her to allow him to help her but she had repeatedly turned down his offers. During their last conversation, when he had quietly stated that it was his child too, her anger had surfaced.
She had slammed down the phone and grabbed her bag of weapons. And then she had stormed out of the room, ignoring the incessant ringing of the phone.
She had called him back five hours later, speaking only two words before hanging the phone up again.
* * *
The last two words he’d heard Buffy speak. Not counting the message on the answering machine…which he didn’t. The last two words she had spoken to him were to tell him that the demon that had killed their child had been dusted.
He glanced at the calendar and felt the tears prick at his eyes once more.
He could see all of the warning signs clearly now. Those of the past, those of the present…one of the future. He was a hair’s breadth from losing everything with no chance of getting it back. He’d lost his child, he’d lost the woman he loved.
But he still had a chance to get her back. One chance. The warning sign had been clear. Maybe not to many, but it was to him. The simple flash of light in the night sky had called to him. The one word he was unable to hear, but felt in his heart.
He was going, but it had to be tomorrow. Not tonight, that would be too early. If he waited until the day after tomorrow, he might as well not even try. All would be lost.
He picked up the phone and booked the Council jet for departure first thing in the morning.
* * *
The sun had barely
risen as Buffy walked through her small apartment. It wasn’t much.
She didn’t need much nowadays. What she did need wasn’t in
She narrowed her eyes slightly when she heard a knock on the door. Today was not the day she wanted visitors, especially not this early in the morning. She swung the door open, opening her mouth to tell whoever it was to just go the hell away. Her mouth dropped open further, her eyes widening.
He swallowed nervously. “I…needed to see you.”
“See me?” She asked with a bewildered tone.
“The truth is…I missed you.” He pulled his left hand out of his pocket and gently touched her stomach. His voice cracked slightly as he continued in a soft whisper. “I’ve missed you so.”
Tears filled her eyes as she moved into his arms. Today had been the day their baby was due. She gripped his back tightly as she pressed her cheek against his chest.
“I should’ve known you’d remember.”
He tightened his arms around her, bending slightly to kiss the top of her head as his tears started to fall. He nodded slowly and gently rubbed her back with his large hands.
“I remember, Buffy.”
She sniffled into the front of his shirt and stepped back, shyly taking his hand. “Come in. We should talk.”
He offered her a tender smile and followed her in, closing the door behind him. If he had read the signs correctly, this day could hold more than the memory of their child’s expected birth. It could also hold the memory of a new beginning.
They talked for hours. Tears had been shed, explanations had been discussed, apologies had been given and accepted by both. As night fell, they leaned into one another.
And as their lips touched, he thought perhaps he was right. When she met his eyes and softly whispered that she loved him and wanted to come home, he knew.
They had been given their chance at a new beginning. A chance that they both wanted desperately. And they accepted that chance as they sealed it with a loving kiss.