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10 February 2013 @ 02:22 pm
Title: Forgiveness
Author: lycomingst
Setting: Season 7, after Lies My Parents Told Me
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine, never mine
Addendum: I played Giles at theatrical_muse for a while and I wrote this for one of the prompts.

Through the open window the middle-of-the-night air wafted in. It smelled fresh and had a hint of the ocean in it. Xander, bare footed, drifted around the kitchen trying to assemble a sandwich. He'd been having an enjoyable erotic dream featuring some of the slayers in the house when it turned disturbing in the non-erotic way. He was on the ocean, on a raft that was held together by scrunchies; a ship heaved to. He thought help had come. A head appeared over the boat's side. It was that Stephen King clown, laughing and pointing. That brought him to wide-awakeness.

So now he had the heel of one loaf topped with a slice lunch meat and one of cheese and he was scrounging around trying to bookend them. He found a one piece of whole wheat with a small spot of green on the edge. He nipped it off. He rummaged around the back of the fridge to find the mustard with the horseradish. All the while he was trying to think of name of that damned clown.

He couldn't turn on the radio; everybody else in the house was asleep or pretending to be. Maybe they were just lying staring at the ceiling thinking about vampires. And about dying. After all these years, he'd just as soon think about sandwiches. He decided to cut this one in thirds.

He leaned against the counter as he slowly chewed on the first piece. He thought about things to be done around the house, groceries they needed to buy, wondered about the next chapter in the Giles, Buffy saga. He wasn't startled by the noise in the doorway; his eyes just lost their unfocused look. It was one of the girls, looking sleepy and about 12 years old.

"Hey, Vi."

"Xander. I was asleep; then I got up."

"Yeah, that's what I figured. You ok?"

The girl nodded, then pushed back the hair that had fallen over her eyes. She said, "Sure. I'm far from home, in a houseful of strangers, with the threat of imminent death over me. You gonna eat that whole sandwich?"

He pushed the paper towel with the last third over to her. "It's got the spicy mustard," he warned.

Her strong white teeth clamped together on a big bite; after a few chews she said, "'S good. Hey, what was with the slamming doors earlier and the gloomy Giles? All kinds of drama. Like we need some more."

Xander brushed one hand over the counter, cupping the other at the edge to catch the crumbs. He was deciding how much a soldier needs to know about her generals. "Giles tried to have Spike killed. Behind Buffy's back."

"No crap? Spike? Why?"

"Giles doesn't trust him. Because of the First taking him over. And other things."

"But Spike was helping in the training. And he has a soul. And I thought they got rid of the First, in him."

Xander recognized that bewildered expression she had on. He'd worn himself a lot since junior year in high school. Oh god, high school seemed like a lot of years ago.

Vi was going on, "Did you know about this? Isn't Spike your friend?"

"This was strictly a Giles thing." Xander was just glad he hadn't known beforehand. "And Spike is, well, not really a friend. More like a war buddy. Somebody you don't mind sharing a foxhole with. But you don't want him marrying your sister."

"You have a sister?"

"No, no," he said, "it's just an expression. Anyway, there's a lot of history between Giles and Buffy and Spike."

Vi said, "Tell me! No, wait." She got a carton of milk from the refrigerator, took a couple of glasses from the cabinet, put everything on the counter. She opened the cabinet with the pots and pans and reaching all the way in the back, pulled out an open bag of cookies. "Secret stash," she said. "Now tell."

Xander grabbed one of the chocolate cookies and took a bite out of it, stalling for time. He'd already decided he was on the soldiers-right-to-know side, but how much would be too much? If there was going to be tension in the house, and by the look on Buffy's and Giles' faces, you were going to able to eat tension with a spoon, there'd be talk and gossip. Just as good to have somebody spreading something with a little background in it. His body gave a little jolt. "Pennywise!" he said.


"Sorry, that's the name of the clown in the Stephen King book. It just came to me. I was dreaming about him. Speaking of scary stories...Giles and Buffy and Spike, huh?"

"Yeah, come on. You all go way back. What's up?"

"Ok, I'll hit some of the high points. But only because you offered cookies." Xander paused, choosing a place to start. "You know Buff and Spike were...together, for a while, right?"

"Yeah, everybody says."

"Well, she was in love with another vampire, before. Angel. I'm telling you this because, well, it's a whole Giles, Buffy thing. Angel has a soul but he's got a curse, too. He can turn bad. You know, very, very bad. And he did that one time and he killed Giles' friend, his girlfriend."

"Giles had a girlfriend? Wow, I mean." A variety of expressions crossed the girl's face.

Xander remembering his own teen-aged disbelief at the notion said, "Old people sometimes do get together. But anyway, when Angel gets evil, he's called Angelus. He killed Jenny. And Buffy sent him to hell, but like happens a lot around here, he came back. Good again. And Giles managed to forgive him."

"Uh-huh. But he wants Spike dead? What did Spike do to him?"

Xander gestured with the chocolate wafer he was holding, "That's the question. Nothing as bad as murdering a loved one, and yet, he really gets on Giles' nerves. Always has. I got a theory, though."

"OK, what?"

"Well, you just see Giles as he is now. All tweedy and book smart. But he was different when he was young. I've seen pictures. He was a regular Sid Vicious type."


This kid was making him feel old. "Never mind. Giles was a wild kid who dabbled in magic. And it turned out real bad. So he reformed and became a Watcher."

"But what's this got to do with Spike?"

"That's where my theory comes in. I think Giles sees himself in Spike. You know, the bad guy he tried to put behind him. But Spike won't go away. And no matter how he changes, Giles just sees Ripper, that's what Giles used to be called, when he looks at Spike."

Vi drank the last of her milk slowly. Then said, "Wow, people are really more complicated than you think, huh?"

Xander gave a small snort. "I'd keep that "Ripper" name to yourself, if you can. Giles wouldn't think it was funny. I don't think he'll ever forgive Spike for existing 'til he forgives himself for "Ripper".

Vi yawned. Xander said, "I think you should try to get back to sleep now. I wash the glasses and hide the cookies. Ok?"

"Ok. Thanks, Xan. Great story." She headed out of the room, giving him a small wave.

Xander tidied up the kitchen. Then he went out to the back porch to sit, waiting to watch the sun come up.
waddiwasiwitchwaddiwasiwitch on February 11th, 2013 12:06 am (UTC)
I loved this. Very interesting theory on the whole Giles and Spike relationship. It makes a bucket load of sense.
lycomingst: buffy bridelycomingst on February 13th, 2013 06:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you. That theory is my favorite of all the thoughts I've had about BtVS.
slaymesoftlyslaymesoftly on February 11th, 2013 03:04 am (UTC)
Great fitb for the episode!
lycomingst: buffy dawnlycomingst on February 13th, 2013 06:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you. 8 ]
Passionfruit Kisses: Beautiful Harmonypssnfrt_ksss on February 11th, 2013 05:39 am (UTC)
The idea that Giles sees Ripper in Spike makes a great deal of sense - I had never thought about it like that before. And I love Xander gossiping with the Potentials about Buffy and the vampires in her life.
lycomingst: buffy paintinglycomingst on February 13th, 2013 06:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I spent a lot of time thinking about Giles. I think it's easy to dislike in someone else something we dislike in ourselves. 8 ]
red_satin_doll: Lesbian Vampire Seal of Approvalred_satin_doll on February 11th, 2013 05:14 pm (UTC)
I had never thought about that as a theory before - I usually go with my "the last time Buffy fell in love with a vampire his own love was murdered" (I just love the exchange between Buffy and Giles in First Date) but this makes a lot of sense too. I suspect as with everything else on the show - and this is part of why I love it so - the motivations are very very complicated.

Vi is one of my favorite potentials and S7 Xander is my favorite (not the funniest, but the most mature), I love fic that works within canon, and S7 is one that is growing on me a lot, and so this is a lovely little "could have been" moment that hits at least 3 or 4 of my kinks all at once.
lycomingstlycomingst on February 13th, 2013 06:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I love the 'in between' moments in this show (and AtS), what happens off camera. 8 ]

red_satin_doll: Lesbian Vampire Seal of Approvalred_satin_doll on February 14th, 2013 12:44 am (UTC)
I know a lot of people complain about "stuff they didn't show us" and not without merit (depending upon what any one person wanted/needed from the show) but there's so much richness, so much possibility and room for play in those gaps; fanfic couldn't exist if everything were handed to us in a neat little package, whole and complete.