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22 January 2014 @ 12:30 pm
Ficlet - Processing  

Title: Processing

Author: littleotter73

Characters: Giles, Buffy

Setting: Post “Chosen”

Summary: Giles needs a moment and goes back to the Sunnydale crater to think.

Rating: FRT

Prompt: A Fresh Start

Word Count: 584

Disclaimer: For fun, not profit.

A/N: Playing around with tone and cadence here.

It seems so unreal.

And yet here he is, staring into the crater once again, needing a few more minutes to gather his thoughts… if he could only manage to pick out the relevant bits from the jumble that vie for his attention in his battle addled brain.

It is over. Well, initially. On the surface. For some. Hopefully for her… his Slayer. Maybe for him, but he doubted it. He’d said something earlier about a Hellmouth in Cleveland. Where the hell did that come from? Odd bit of strategic thinking. Maybe part self preservation because there is always some threat, isn’t there?

Always an encroaching evil to be aware of.

Let’s not think on that, Giles. Victory. We scored a victory today. Monumental comes to mind.

There have been losses in this war. Council members, family, Potentials, Slayers, allies, friends…

Spike.

Anya. Dear Anya.

And most importantly, there are survivors. Buffy. Willow. Xander. Dawn. And Faith. And the new Slayers they now need to take care of.

He could hear them talking. Muffled tones behind him. Asking questions. “What now?” - and how “now” was measured. In the immediate? In four hours time? In four days? In four months? Hell if he knew. But they would turn to him for answers. It’s just a matter of… well… time.

Not now… just, please… not now.

He closes his eyes and turns his face to the sun. He relishes the warmth. The first real warmth he’s felt in what seems like forever. And he braces himself, for with it comes the thaw, and he’s not ready for what comes next.

Emotions.

Elation. Sadness. Relief. Uncertainty.

And physical reactions.

Adrenaline. Euphoria. Lactose Acid. Exhaustion.

Fuck!

His legs give out and he stumbles to the ground. And everything slows down around him.

He can hear soles scuffling on pavement, knows the fear he is causing because everyone is still on edge, still in shock, fearing that while the worst is over, something else might take advantage of the lull.

“Giles! Giles!”

He looks up as two sets of hands grab his arms, drawing him up. But he is a big man and his legs are heavy and they feel like rubber. There is no leverage and, to his consternation, he collapses back onto the ground. It’s absurd.

And then he starts laughing and the laughter turns into a fit of giggles. Everyone around him is stunned by the display.

When he is able to focus again, he finds he is alone with his Slayer kneeling before him, concern shadowing her lovely face. And that won’t do because she should be basking in her victory.

And just like that he is able to think clearly.

“I’m fine, really,” he says, giving her a bashful look as he pushes himself up from the ground.

“Care to tell me what happened?”

“I fell.” He shrugs. He can’t stand it when she worries.

“Did you hit your head?”

A look of incredulity washes over his face as he realizes there is a distinct lack of head pain. “Surprisingly, no.”

She smiles in relief. A genuine wide Buffy smile - one he hasn’t seen in years - and it is warmer than the desert sun and he can’t help but return it just as brightly.

“Huh,” she teases. “Must be the sign of a new start.”

And he knows that whatever happens now - four minutes, four hours, four days, or four months from now, nothing will ever be the same.

It seems so unreal.

 
 
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Flippancy provided by: demonil_mio_capitano on January 23rd, 2014 08:48 pm (UTC)
Interesting. Wasn't sure what the hell you were doing at first but I get it. Giles is lightheaded and his internal monologue is struggling for sentences. The fall is a very interesting idea and quite reasonable even if on the face of it, it's a bold choice to see one of the heroes have a moment of physical weakness.

Cool experiment in trying something fresh. Bravo.
littleotter73littleotter73 on January 23rd, 2014 09:37 pm (UTC)
I can see where it takes a few to get into his mindset. He's just overwhelmed. How do you deal with something so huge, where the outcome is more than you could've possibly hoped for?

Yeah, I struggled with the fall, because on the surface Giles is the strongest of the Scoobies. He just keeps going. But underneath, there are so many cracks in his armour. And just how much more can he really take before he just has to stop? And that's where he is.

But the moment he sees Buffy, he can function again, because that's his role, that's how he defines himself. He's there for her. He doesn't want her to worry and he wants her to celebrate her moment. So he picks himself back up and shrugs it off.

That's Giles. And thanks for the comment. :)
gilescandy: Giles wingsgilescandy on January 24th, 2014 09:19 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this. I can see it very easily. After everything, Giles finally letting himself be overwhelmed. He's just survive a battle after not sleeping for who knows how long. Even so, he's worried about how his weakness is effecting the young people counting on him.

After all they went through, why shouldn't he take a moment to lose his freakin' mind? He just usually doesn't do it where people can see him.
littleotter73littleotter73 on January 24th, 2014 09:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I imagine that every one of the Scoobies will have some sort of breakdown after that. Giles just went first. Glad you can see it. It's always shaky when you exploit a weakness in a favourite character. :)

Thank you!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )