Characters: Giles, Dawn
Timeline: About 1 year post-Chosen. Not following the Comics.
Summary: Giles wakes up with a monster hangover. But that’s not as scary as where he is and who he’s with.
For the Drunken!Giles Ficathon 2014 (http://drunken-giles.livejournal.com/). Prompt - The morning after the night before, Giles awakens to discover drink led him to.. who? (I hope I managed to get enough funny into this.)
It was too bright. Even without opening his eyes Giles could tell that. His own bedroom never let so much light in, even at mid-day. It was a dark, safe cave, and he already missed it. Here, the morning sun stabbed through his eyelids and into his mistreated brain. Part of that brain told him he should look around just to make sure he hadn’t stumbled into danger. But the majority ruled that the very act of letting any more light in would liquefy the insides of his head and make the effort futile anyway. Besides, all he felt was warmth and softness. He had found a comfortable bed in a room that smelled fresh and clean. Far from the stuffy rooms of the old man who now ran the Council. The old man he had become.
He settled deeper into the soft warmth, wishing for nothing more than to return to sweet oblivion. In the moment before he achieved that single goal, he felt the pressure in the room change and heard the click of a door being closed. Even though the action must have been careful and slow, the sound shot through his head like a lightning bolt. He was no longer alone and had become acutely aware of the fact he had no memory of where he was or how he’d gotten there. Still, Giles couldn’t force his eyes open. If he had ended up in the clutches of any enemy, he only prayed that they would gift him with a swift and merciful death.
The next sound was a soft buzzing, then a beep, then a whispered voice, soft, familiar, sweetly feminine… “Yep.-- No, we’re good. He’s still asleep.-- It’s fine, you do what you need to over there. I’ve got him.-- Stop worrying. I think by now it’s about time we take our turn taking care of him for once. You just cover things for him on that end. Trust me, he’s in good hands here.-- Is there any more news? About, you know?-- Okay. We’ll see you soon.-- Yes, call back when you get here with the stuff.”
That voice. That soft, caring voice that too many people overlooked. Giles knew where he must be now. He was with Dawn, probably in her dorm room. And, in her bed. Wait… in Dawn’s bed!
Giles’ eyelids sprang open, letting blinding light flood into his brain, and he lurched forward. Every move a mistake, he continued forward until he was doubled over, the room spinning and his stomach trying to claw its way up his throat. He felt the bed dip beside him, making the world sway even more, and some sort of receptacle was thrust into his grasp.
“Uh-oh, here we go,” Dawn’s voice whirled in his head. “It’s all right. I’ve got you. Just do what you have to.” Her soothing fingers brushed through his hair as she cooed. “You’re safe, sweetie. Be sick if you need to.”
Given the choice, Giles would have rather opened a vein than vomit. But any choice was fiction at that moment. Whatever it was he had consumed the night before wanted out, and with a vengeance. For the next several minutes any thoughts of how he had gotten there or what he might have done were put on hold for this singular need.
When he was finished, all Giles had the strength to do was collapse back into the bed. He shook with exhaustion and shivered in a cold sweat. His eyes were again glued shut, so he only felt Dawn pull the quilt back up to his shoulders and place a cool, damp cloth over his brow and eyes.
“I’m gonna go take care of this,” she whispered near his ear. “Try to relax and I’ll be right back.” Her light hand stroked his hair once more, then he heard her leave the room.
‘Relax?’ the Watcher’s mind screamed at him. How was he supposed to do that? What had he done? What pit of depravity had drink led him to this time? Of all the unforgivable things he’d ever done… If only he could remember any of the night before. ‘No. Not Dawn. Not even in my Ripper days would I have gone so far. Would I?’
The mere thought of defiling one so sweet and dear to him made him want to retch again. Dawn had become family to him. Just as he loved his Slayer, he loved her little sister. “Oh, Buffy’s going to kill me,” he groaned aloud.
“What did you say?” Dawn asked absently as she re-entered the room. Giles lifted the cloth just enough to squint at her, but didn’t repeat his lament. “Oh, sorry,” she gave a sympathetic frown. “Here, let me close all the curtains. It’s been a while since I had a hangover patient to take care of.” After doing as promised, she fished a bottle from her desk drawer and sat down beside him on the bed. “Here, it’s just some aspirin for your head. And tell me if you need something else. After last night, who knows what you might come down with?”
Giles’ brain quickly filed that statement under things he didn’t want to think too hard about. His tight muscles protested insistently as he tried to sit up enough to swallow the offered relief. It was a move that led him to another horrifying and damning discovery, as the comforter sliding down his chest left it completely bare.
Quickly grabbing the bedclothes to cover himself, Giles stared pathetically into the girl’s innocent eyes. “Where have my clothes gone?” he gasped.
Dawn tried to stifle a chuckle at his panicked look. “They’re over there.” She gestured to the corner of the room. “By the time we maneuvered you in here, you were soaked to the bone and covered with mud. You don’t think I was gonna let you in my bed like that, do you?”
“Mud…?” he rubbed at his splitting head. His mind desperately tried to scamper away from the words ‘let you in my bed’.
The storm had just broken when Giles stumbled out of the main Council building into the compound. He gazed up into the thundering sky and wanted only to thunder back. Too far gone with drink and grief, his feet started trudging forward and he didn’t care where they might be taking him.
By the time he glanced around, he was in the training yard. Effigies of vampires stood in rows, waiting for the young slayers to practice their staking skills. Their false, smug faces taunted the Watcher as the lightning flashed over them.
“You bastards!” he growled drunkenly at the still figures. “You like to come after these innocent girls, think you might prove yourselves as a real creature of the night… Take out a slayer and make a name. Pathetic,” Giles spat, swinging wildly at the nearest dummy.
The lightning flashed again, making the false vampires appear to move in the drunken vision, and the over-zealous swing sent him headlong into another dummy. Beneath him, the saturated ground loosened its grip on the base at this impact. Giles didn’t notice.
He chuckled mirthlessly, pushing himself upright. “Do you even understand that you are nothing? You fight and kill all the slayers you want, but you can never do as much damage as the real danger! Never kill as many innocent girls as one damned old man! One stupid Watcher!” He stared up into the pouring rain, breathing hard. “How many do we have to lose?” was his choked cry.
He spun to walk on, but slipped in the muddy pit and thrust his arms out to balance against the dummy. This reflex didn’t help much as the loosened stake let go and dropped its burden on top of the sprawled man. Giles began to chuckle uncontrollably when he felt the fake, plastic teeth someone had added to this figure scrape impotently at his neck.
“Go on,” he laughed. “Take a bite. You might just save a slayer.” He lay there in the chill night, starring up into the storming sky. “Bite me!” he growled.
Momentarily forgetting about his state of undress, Giles let go of the quilt and brought his fingers up to his neck. There he felt the smooth surface of some bandaging.
“Oh yeah,” Dawn smiled softly at him. “You somehow scratched yourself up a little during your adventure last night. They were nothing major to worry about. Just a couple of Band-Aids did the trick.”
“Thank you,” Giles mumbled.
“Believe me,” the young lady placed a light pat on his forearm. “I remember patching you up after some of those fights back in Sunnydale. This was easy.”
“Dawn, could you please tell me…?” He took the water and pills she handed him and downed them automatically. “I… I can’t remember how exactly I got here… um…” She was likely only paying attention, but her intense gaze combined with memory of where and in what state he was sent a pink blush across the Watcher’s naked chest. He grabbed the quilt up again. “You-you wouldn’t ha-happen to have something I could slip into? By any chance?”
She laughed. “Giles, you’re at least twice my size. Sorry, but I don’t even think my robe would fit around your shoulders. Here,” Dawn took the ends of her quilt and wrapped it securely around him. “That should keep your modesty intact until he gets here.”
“Yes, uh, I guess it’s… Wait, he? Who-who else knows I’m here?!”
“Shh,” Dawn tried to sooth him, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Calm down or your head’s gonna explode. And I really don’t want to have to clean up that kind of mess.” Her joke earned a hint of a smile, but he was still tense under her touch. “HE would be Andrew. I needed his help, so I called him. Good thing too because, when he realized you didn’t make it back to your rooms last night, he was about ready sound an all-out ‘red alert’.”
“That boy over-reacts so,” Giles grumbled.
“Not really,” she smiled seriously at him. “He told me what happened, and I would have been worried, too. And, you know, you do take him for granted. Right now he’s at the office working his little butt off to make sure all your meetings are postponed and all your work is getting done just so you can relax and get the rest you’ve been needing for a long time now. When things calm down enough, he’ll be around with some clean clothes for you so we can get you home with all your dignity intact.” Dawn chuckled at the surprise in her friend’s eyes. “I know you think he’s a little screw-up or something, but Andrew thinks you’re the coolest. Someday he hopes he can be a lot like you.”
Giles groaned, rubbing his sore head. “Perhaps he’d be less annoying if he wasn’t so… chipper all the time.”
“I’ll tell him,” the girl giggled.
He added in a whisper, “And, if I thought he was only a ‘screw-up’, I wouldn’t still have him as my personal assistant, now would I? However, we can’t let him get too comfortable and start slacking off.”
Dawn let out a full laugh at that, and tried to muffle the noise in her hand when Giles winced. He rubbed at a temple again.
“Now lie down and rest while you still have permission.”
“You said ‘we’,” he mumbled, not obeying her command. “You said ‘we maneuvered you in here’… Please tell me you meant Andrew and this hasn’t gotten any more out of hand.”
Dawn thought for a moment and gave him a smile that attempted to be reassuring. “Um… Not really. I didn’t get in touch with Andrew until this morning. Just to tell him you were safe, but in no condition to be in the office today. It was Poppy who found you outside last night. She was doing a late RA patrol and found you out front ‘screaming at the world’, as she put it. She came to get me because I’m the only one in the house who knows you personally, and because she was afraid you’d wake the younger girls and frighten them. We managed to quiet you down and bring you in out of the storm. But don’t worry, Giles, it’s just the three of us who know where you really are right now. And Poppy understands the stress you’re under. She had a rough life even before becoming a slayer.”
Eventually Giles was stumbling along in the dark again. Now anger had joined with the grief and drink churning inside him. The field of vampire dummies had been less than useless in giving him any kind of satisfactory relief from his pain and despair.
When he looked around again he was in the housing section of the compound. Large, block dorm buildings mixed among older style houses. All filled with innocent young people. They were here to learn how to use their slayer powers, here in training to become a new generation of watchers. They came because they trusted him to teach them, to lead them. But Giles knew the truth. The only place he knew how to lead was doom and death. All these children, all their spilled blood, he could already see it staining his hands.
He had to warn them. It was an overwhelming urge, all he could think to do.
“Please!” he shouted, pounding on the first set of doors he came to. “You must get out! You must run from here before it’s too late! Run from me!”
He was pulling the doors open, ready to spread his warning through the corridors of the house, when a strong hand gripped his shoulder.
“Mr. Giles?” the Slayer squinted at him in the dim light. “Are you all right?”
Even in his fog, he recognized her as one of the upperclassmen. She was older than most the girls in his charge, twenty at least. And her eyes held the light of experience beyond her years.
“You have to help me warn them.” Giles steadied himself on her solid frame. “They’re all so young. They don’t know the evil yet. I can’t protect them.”
“It’s all right, Mr. Giles,” the girl, Poppy was her name, gazed at him with compassion in her soft, blue eyes. “We know the danger, and those too young to know have the rest of us to help protect them. You’re not alone and we all know you do your best for us.”
The Watcher took in her statements with disbelief. This young woman, who knew him as no more than a distant headmaster, yet put so much trust in him. “I’ve failed so many,” he breathed. “I’ll fail you, too.”
Poppy’s eyes grew very serious. “I’ve been failed before, Sir. At least you care.”
Holding onto her rain coat, Giles buried his face in her shoulder and let the pent up tears leak from his eyes. Poppy managed to gently lead him out of the storm and into the dark, silent house lounge. She sat him down, softly stating, “Please stay here, Mr. Giles. You’re going to freeze to death if you go back outside. I’ll be right back with a warm blanket.”
Giles thought about leaving while she was gone. He thought about continuing his rampage through the hallways. Somewhere in the back of his mind he even thought that he should be terribly embarrassed about breaking down in the presence of any of his students. And he might have done one or more of these things, if the ability to properly use his limbs hadn’t completely abandoned him by this point.
“I’m not sure what’s wrong, but he looks like he could use a friend,” Poppy was whispering as she came back down the dim hallway. How long she’d been away Giles’ drunken mind could not determine.
He was slow to look up. When he did, he discovered a familiar, young face gazing back at him. “Bad night?” Dawn asked matter-of-factly.
There was no judgment, no pity, not even any surprise, just the acceptance of someone who had known him for too long. Giles couldn’t stop the rueful chuckle that spilled out at her simple diagnosis and nodded.
Dawn stood up while Poppy draped a blanket around his shoulders. “Let’s get him to my room,” she whispered to the Slayer. “No way we can take him all the way back to his apartment like this.” They hoisted him up and she continued to chirp conversationally in Giles’ ear as they all lumbered along through the corridors and stairwell together. “…And what are you thinking, Mister? Going out into a storm like this, without even a coat or anything. You’d just better hope I don’t tell Willow about this. You know how she hates it when you don’t look after of yourself.”
The part of Giles that held his pride wanted to lash back at the girl who was talking to him as if he were some silly child. But mostly he was too tired to fight her. Besides, it did feel rather good to have someone care.
“Thank you, Poppy. I think I can handle him from here.” At the Slayer’s solemn nod, Dawn shut her door and caught Giles by the arm as he was listing toward the bed. “Oh no you don’t. What were you doing out there anyway, wallowing in a mud puddle?”
“Sheemed like the shing to do,” Giles sniped back grumpily.
Dawn sighed, “Believe me, you drunk is not the worst thing I’ve ever had to deal with. Not even just counting dealing with drunk people. So there’s no point in getting snippy.”
He stared at her very serious face for a moment, then shifted back to chuckling. “Ye-hic-yes ma’am.”
The girl shook her head. “Giles, I know you. I know whatever got you to this state wasn’t anything to take lightly. But you’re with someone who loves you now. I promise to take care of you and make everything better for tonight. Then we’ll deal with the rest of the world together in the morning.”
The Watcher released the breath he didn’t know he was holding and let her kind words wash over him. He suddenly felt safe.
“Now strip,” Dawn ordered. “Clothes in the corner over there. I’ll find a towel to dry your hair a little, and then we’ll get you into bed.”