Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: One-sided Giles/Buffy with many other pairings mentioned along the way
Word Count: 981
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Mutant Enemy and Joss Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
"You call me impetuous. You say I'm just a silly, little girl playing with magics I don't understand. But none of that's true, is it, Rupert? None of it's what's really bothering you." She smiles as she walks around his Slayer and then places her hands on Buffy's lithe shoulders in a clearly possessive manner.
Buffy pouts up at him. "You don't even really care that I had to dig my way out of my own grave, do you, Giles? None of you care that you stripped me away from Heaven." Tears shimmer in her big, green eyes. "It was finally my time to rest. I've done more work than all the other Slayers. I've lasted longer than any of them. Why shouldn't I be allowed to die? Because none of you want me to?"
"Buffy, I . . . I . . . " He reaches for her, but she's so far away.
"Oh, that's right, isn't it, little Ripper?" the Vampiress, Drusilla, croons as she joins Buffy and Willow. Her hands run over their arms, and then her fangs flash as she begins to angle for Buffy's neck. Willow's mouth opens, revealing shining fangs that are equally as deadly as her partner's. It's not his Willow at all that has Buffy but the one from the alternate universe, another world wherein he no doubt failed his Slayer, the one where Willow was a Vampire and Buffy never knew her friendship.
"Buffy!" he cries out, trying to run to her to protect her. No matter how fast he runs, though, he can not reach them. They're always miles ahead of him, and yet he can hear them, and see them, as clearly as if they stood right before him.
"Never fear! Zeppo's here!" Xander dives forward and plunges two stakes into the Vampiress' hearts without hesitation. They scream as they explode. Their dust rains down on Buffy as she smiles up at Xander.
"My hero!" she exclaims like a heroine in any romance novel. "You've saved me twice now, way more than my Watcher can do! Look at him! He's always all talk and no action, but you're full of action, aren't you?" she asks, turning from scowling at Giles to smiling up at Xander. Her fingers hook into the collar of his Bahama shirt. "You always know just how to save me and how to make me smile."
"Buffy . . . " Giles cries plaintively as Buffy's lips near Xander's.
"What, old man?" Buffy glowers at him. "You think I could want you? Ever? What do you have that you can offer to me? You couldn't save me from the Master, and you didn't save me when I needed you the most. You haven't been there for me. You've let me down, Giles, time and again, but that's all you've ever done your whole life isn't it? You let the Council down. You let your parents down. You thought my death was the last time you'd ever let me down, the last time you'd ever have to see me."
"No! It wasn't like that!"
"It wasn't, was it? That's what you say now, now that I'm back from the dead, raised up by a little girl who doesn't know half the magic you know. You're only mad at Willow, because you couldn't save me yourself."
"No! That's not true!"
"Isn't it? What do you think, Angel? He didn't even want to try to save you."
"I think he's a pansy-ass liar." Angel's muscular shoulders shrug inside the folds of his black trench coat. "But then," he says with a twisted smile as he becomes Angelus, "every Watcher is."
"Yeah. That's why none of them ever end up happily married or happy with their Slayers and living in old age. This one's lasted longer than most. We should sod him off."
"To think he actually thought I could ever want him," Buffy continues as her Vampires come up to flank her sides. "Like he has anything to offer a girl like me. No wonder I'd rather sleep with you, Spike, than ever kiss him."
"Buffy, none of it's like that! I love you, but -- "
"Like a dirty, old man." Buffy sneers.
"But that's what you Watchers are, aren't you?" Willow asks, suddenly resurrected.
Drusilla twirls. "Dirty, old men; dirty old man," she sings.
"You like dirty, old men, don't you, pet?" Spike's arms envelope her.
"Sometimes." She smiles and then kisses his arched neck. "Are you going to get me a dirty, old man, William?"
At once, they all look at him. Buffy, Willow, Xander, Spike, Drusilla, and Angel all sneer at him. They loom closer. He turns to run, but Oz, in full Werewolf form, stands blocking his path. He howls, and then his mouth swallows him.
Rupert blinks rapidly, coming out of the dream into which he had dozed. He stands and pours himself another Scotch. There'll be no more of that tonight, no more dreaming, no more sleeping, and no more feeling sorry for himself or reminiscing. Buffy has returned, and whereas he may still have mixed feelings about that, being both worried and anguished over the way Willow resurrected her without her permission and secretly overjoyed to have her smiling even once a day at him again, there is, as always, a new evil rising.
He turns to his books, determined to spend a night doing what he does best. Buffy needs her Watcher, and he will either be the best Watcher any Slayer has ever had or remove himself entirely from the picture. He owes her that much at the very least and only hopes he can succeed in being the former and not the latter. It will devastate him to remove himself from Buffy's life, but he won't fail her again. He'll be more than a dirty, old man to her. He'll be the Watcher she deserves, or die trying.