Title: 22:16
Author: Froxyn
Pairing: Buffy/Giles
Rating: FRAO
Synopsis: After a drastic turn, information about Giles’ past – and future – come to light.
Timeline: AU…Six years post-series.
Author’s Note: As always, thank you, A.

Chapter Two



Giles and Buffy followed Ethan down the stairs into the basement.  Buffy looked around at the brightly lit room, surprised at the warmth of the area.


“Well, this is definitely not what I would have expected your basement to look like.”  She remarked, glancing at the pictures on the wall.


“I had the sex dungeon dismantled when I decided to try to help Clara.  It just felt too…unseemly…having my sister chained up amongst the whips and chains and slings…”


Buffy stared at him, her mouth dropping open.  Despite the seriousness of the situation, Giles snorted a soft laugh.  Ethan smiled, giving Buffy a quick wink.


“Just a joke, love.  I have my deviant ways, but I’ve never had a dungeon.  Just trying to lighten the mood a bit.”


Buffy shook her head in slight amusement.  Ethan turned his eyes to Giles and sighed.


“She’s been talking about you a fair amount lately.  Mainly trying to get under my skin…push my buttons, as it were.  Talking about...”


When he trailed off and glanced at Buffy, Giles smiled softly.


“She knows.”  He read the silent question in Ethan’s eyes and gave him a nod.  “About everything…including our past.”


“And she still sleeps with you?”


“We’re not here to discuss our sex life with you, Ethan.”  Buffy answered quickly, shrugging her jacket off. 


“No.  No you’re not.”  Ethan replied, sobering nearly instantly.  “Follow me…”


He pulled a set of keys out of his pocket and took a deep breath as he unlocked a door in the far corner of the basement.  Buffy heard the sound of chains rattling as Ethan stepped into the room and flicked the lights on.  She arched an eyebrow as she entered the room, Giles right behind her. 


“Shackles, a cell, and a locked room?”


Ethan scratched the back of his head.  “I didn’t want to take any chances.”


The vampire glared at Ethan.  Her bronze colored eyes slid to Buffy and she snarled. 




Buffy said nothing, but watched the vampire’s eyes shift to a point behind her.  The vampire smirked and licked her lips.




Giles exhaled a breath and moved to stand next to Buffy.  “Oh, Clara…”


Clara stared at Giles and ran her tongue over her fangs.  “Look at you…all respectable now.  No ripped jeans and t-shirts anymore, love?”


Buffy looked at Ethan.  “This is going to happen – you need to decide where you’re going to be.”


“I…”  He shook his head, his eyes glistening as he looked at the demon that was once his sister.  “I can’t let her die alone.”


Buffy regarded him closely for a moment and then gave him a nod.  “I’m really very sorry, Ethan.”


“Yeah.  Yeah, me too.”


“I’m going to need you to unlock the cell door, then lock it once I go in.”  She said, then looked at Giles.  “And I need you to take care of him.”


Giles nodded slowly, looking into her eyes.  “Be careful.”


“Oh…”  Clara grinned.  “Not so respectable then.  Can’t be a respectable Watcher if you’re fucking your Slayer.”


Giles glared at the vampire, but said nothing.  Clara laughed and then her nostrils flared as she looked at Buffy.


“I can smell him all over you – inside and out.”


“Gross.”  Buffy muttered, pulling a stake out of her jacket pocket. 


“Buffy….”  Giles warned.


“Yeah, I know…plunge, move on, don’t engage.”


“Well, that takes all the fun out of everything.”  Clara goaded.  “Come on then, love.”


Ethan unlocked the cell door and held it open for Buffy.  As soon as she stepped in, he closed the door and took three large steps back.


“He told me once that I was too young for him – that’s why he wouldn’t fuck me.”  Clara looked Buffy up and down and then scoffed.  “Guess he got over the ridiculous idea of age differences, huh?”


“Guess so.”  Buffy said, rolling her eyes as she stepped towards Clara.  “I’m sorry, but this needs to be done.”


“Yeah…yeah, it does.”  Clara nodded, a smirk on her lips. 


Buffy tightened her grip on her stake and lunged.  Clara grasped the shackle chains and jumped, kicking Buffy’s wrist.  Buffy held on to the stake as she spun around, giving Clara the opportunity to wrap one of the chains around Buffy’s neck. 


“Shit!”  Giles yelled, running up to the cell and wrapping his fingers around the bars.  “Clara, no…don’t!”


Buffy struggled to breathe as Clara tightened the chain.  Her eyes found Giles’, focusing on him as her oxygen began to run out.  This was not at all how she had ever expected to die – and she wasn’t sure how this had even happened. 


“Clara, please don’t!”  Ethan screamed, standing next to Giles.  “Please don’t!”


Clara stared at Ethan, but loosened the chain slightly and allowed Buffy to take a gasping breath.  “You don’t want me to kill her…but, you were perfectly fine with letting her in for the sole purpose of murdering me.  What the fuck kind of brother are you?”


“Clara…”  Giles interjected quickly, doing his best to stamp down his panic.  “Listen to me, please…”


“No.”  She shook her head, her amber eyes blazing.  “You listen to me.  I’m in control now.  How about you come in, Rupert.”


“Giles, no…”  Buffy’s raspy voice coughed.  “No…”


“Shut up, Slayer.”  Clara growled.  “Come on, Rupert.”


When Giles took more time than Clara wanted to give, she tightened the chain again.  “You come in or I’ll rip her head off.  Have you ever watched a chain pop a head off a body?  I saw it in a movie once.  I bet it looks more amazing in real life.”


“Fuck!”  Giles screamed as he noticed a blood vessel pop in Buffy’s right eye.  “Open the door, Ethan.”


Ethan stared at Giles.  “What?”


“Open the fucking door.  NOW!”


“I can’t…Rupert, I can’t let you go in there.” 


Giles’ jaw tightened and he grabbed Ethan, quickly slamming his head against the bars.  As Ethan slumped to the ground, Clara laughed. 


“Wasn’t expecting that…”


Giles ignored her, pulling the keys out of Ethan’s pocket.  He entered the cell quickly, slamming the door behind him and dropping the keys through the bars. 


“Okay.  I’m here.  Let her go, Clara.”  Giles said, glancing at a nearly unconscious Buffy. 


Clara stared at Giles and then smashed the front of her head against the back of Buffy’s – and then she let go of the chain and smiled as Buffy fell to the floor. 


Giles grabbed Buffy’s wrist and quickly pulled her to him.  He checked for her pulse and breathed a quick sigh of relief to find it.   She was breathing, her heart was beating…she’d be okay.  He carefully moved her closer to the door, out of Clara’s reach. 


“What do you want, Clara?”  Giles asked, standing up and narrowing his eyes at her.


“What I’ve always wanted.”  Clara grinned.  “You.”


Giles shook his head.  “Buffy’s safe, I’m – ”


Clara quickly muttered a phrase in a language that Giles didn’t recognise.  Giles’ eyes widened as the shackles dropped from Clara’s wrists and landed with a loud clatter on the floor. 


“It took me ages to figure out the spell to use to magick these off.”  Clara said, rubbing her wrists as she took a step towards Giles.  “But…as you can see…I figured it out.”


Giles took a step back, pulling a stake out of his inner jacket pocket.  “Clara…”


“I nearly killed your Slayer.  What do you think I could do to a Watcher?”


Before Giles could respond, she grabbed him and slammed him against the bars…much like she had watched him do to her brother just moments earlier.  He groaned as he landed on his knees, vision blurry.


She knelt in front of him and licked her lips.  “I reckon you would be a fucking amazing vampire.”


He blinked slowly as he tried to focus on her.  “Clara…”


“Let’s find out.”  She said, grabbing the top of his head and pulling it to the side.  “I’ve always thought you have the most delicious looking neck…”


His eyes widened and he screamed as she latched onto his neck.  Blood flooded her mouth and she drank hungrily.  Then she suddenly pulled away and stared at him.  He swayed, nearly falling to the side before she caught him. 


“No, love…time to drink.”  She whispered.


And then she bit her own tongue and covered his mouth with hers.  She pushed her tongue into his mouth, forcing him to take from her. 


Ethan opened his eyes, pushing himself up just as Clara pulled her tongue from Giles’ mouth.  “Oh, fuck.  Oh, holy fuck!”


Clara laughed, letting go of Giles and letting him fall to the floor.  “Nothing much holy about it, brother.”


Buffy inhaled sharply, her eyes snapping open.  Her fingers tightened around the stake once more and she jumped up.  She took advantage of Clara’s taunting of her brother.  All of her focus was on Ethan, giving Buffy the opportunity to quickly walk up behind her and slamming the piece of wood through Clara’s back and into her heart.  Clara exploded into a cloud of ash, the stake clattered to the floor, and Buffy slid to her knees next to Giles. 


“Oh God…oh no…no, no, no, no.”  She touched her trembling fingers to the blood on his neck, tears filling her eyes.  “Oh God, Giles…”


Ethan found the keys and quickly unlocked the door, stumbling over to Buffy.


“Buffy…”  He whispered, his own tears falling freely.  “I’m so sorry.  I…”


“Did she make him drink?”  She asked, holding back her sobs as she pulled Giles up and cradled him against her chest.  “Did you see?”


“No.  No, I…I didn’t see.  She…I don’t know, Buffy.”


He watched as she pressed her lips against the top of Giles’ head, her tears flowing down her cheeks as she held him.  His gaze dropped to his old friend, streaks of blood wet on his skin…his body limp and still in Buffy’s arms. 


He sat down with back against the bars, not knowing what to say or do.  So he said nothing…he did nothing.  He sat there, an ache in his chest so heavy that he wasn’t sure he’d ever breathe properly again. 


* * *


“I need you to help me move him.”  Buffy whispered after nearly two hours.


Ethan looked up and wiped his eyes.  “Where to?”


“A bed.”  She stated quietly.  “I need to wait.  I need to see.”


“What do you mean?  Wait for what?  See…what?”


“I’m not building a funeral pyre for him if I don’t have to.”  She said, lightly stroking Giles’ hair.  “If he rises, I’ll do what I have to do.  But, if he doesn’t, then he deserves to have a proper funeral.  People who love him need to have a chance to say goodbye.”




She looked up then and met his eyes.  “I have to wait.  I need you to help me.”


Ethan nodded slowly and pushed himself up.  “We can put him in the guest room.”


“You’ll need to turn the air conditioning on.”  She whispered emotionally. 


He hesitated for just a moment, processing her words.  And then he took a deep breath and knelt next to her. 


“I can carry him.”


She nodded numbly, reluctantly letting go of him.  “Be careful with him.”


“I will.”  Ethan whispered.


Buffy watched as Ethan carefully lifted Giles, sliding his right arm underneath Giles’ knees.  When she heard Ethan say her name, she stood up and rubbed her palms against her thighs.  They shared a meaningful look…and then she followed him to the guest room.


* * *


Four hours later found them both sitting next to the bed where Giles’ body had been placed.  Buffy was sitting in a chair, legs curled under her, eyes red and swollen from the sobs that had overtaken her more than once – and she hadn’t taken her eyes off of him.  Ethan sat next to her, mainly staring at his hands…occasionally looking at Giles.  He had reached over at one point to move Giles’ hand into what looked to be a more comfortable position…and he’d been startled to find there was absolutely no warmth there.


His friend was dead – killed by his sister…and now they were waiting to see if he was to become a vampire as well.  Life was certainly fucked.


“How long does it normally take?”  Ethan asked softly. 


“There’s no set time.  Sometimes it’s a couple of hours, sometimes it’s forty-eight, sometimes…it’s longer.”


“Buffy…I’m so very sorry.  I didn’t mean for this – ”


“This is my fault, Ethan.”  She interrupted gently, glancing at him.  “I miscalculated.  I didn’t take the time to read all aspects of the situation.  This is on me.”


Ethan wanted to tell her that she was wrong.  He knew she was wrong.  But, he also knew that she wouldn’t accept that – not right now, possibly never.  And so he exhaled a slow breath, sat back in his chair and fell into silence with her. 


* * *


Ethan tried numerous times to get her to eat or rest or…just take a break.  But, she steadfastly refused.  Barely taking her eyes off of Giles’ body.  Ethan would periodically leave the room, coming back in a few minutes later carrying two mugs.  He’d hand one to her before sitting back down next to her.


Each time, she had taken the mug from him.  She would absently sip the tea, but mainly she just cradled the hot mug in her hands until it cooled.


* * *


Twenty-two hours and sixteen minutes.


That’s how long it was between Giles collapsing onto the cell floor and the twitch that Buffy saw in his left hand. 


“Fuck…”  She whispered, new tears filling her eyes.


Ethan looked up just in time to see the fingers of Giles’ left hand lift up from the mattress and then lower back down.  He swallowed hard and shook his head.


“Fucking hell.”  He muttered.


He glanced at Buffy, somewhat surprised to find that she hadn’t moved at all…although she was very clearly watching the movements happening in Giles’ body.


“Um…shouldn’t you…”  He started, trailing off when she shook her head.


“I need to see.  I need to know.”


Suddenly, Giles’ eyes opened…the color spreading from that one spot in his left eye like a wave until both eyes were blazing amber.


“Ah, fuck…”  He whispered hoarsely, running his tongue along his teeth.  “Fuck…”


Buffy wiped the tears from her face and stood up.  Giles turned his eyes towards her and gave her a nod. 


“Hello, Buffy.”

Chapter Three

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