"Bloody Fine Madness..."

Summary: Giles just can't get Spike out of his life...Buffy has gone way beyond mourning...

Disclaimer: No, Joss, no...I make no claims, put that thing down! It's all yours and ME's...

Spoilers for Angel to the bitter end...Flee at once!...

Archived at the 'Normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse at https://www.angelfire.com/zine2/buffyrebecca/index.html

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London...One year after the battle at LA...

"Rupert...Topa da mornin'..." a sardonic grin greeted Chairman of the restored Watchers' Council Rupert Giles as he looked up from his desk...And sighed, staring at the blonde, slight figure lounging in red and black...

"Yes...What do you want?..." a careful stare...And a look toward his phone...Complete with emergency alert...

"Don't go getting the troops after me, Rupert...I come in peace...I am still souled you know...Even if I've not forgotten who tried to arrange my human-souled death..."

"Fine...What do you want?..."

"Well, that's a rude way to greet the bloke who burned to Undeath saving the world for you, Watcher...But in point a fact I was wonderin' if, besides a smoke, you might have a little work for the blonde one..."

"If you need money..." the Chairman paused...A leather-covered arm raised in protest... "I earn my bloody keep, Mr. Chairman...I just thought you might have some demon-killing work for a souled hero type..." A quick wince at the sun beginning to peep through a half-open blind in the office window...

"And if you wouldn't mind, Rupert..." A quick nod toward the window, a backing away...

"Sorry..." the Chairman rose and closed the blind...

"Thanks, mate...Anyway...How's the prospects...?"

"Perhaps...I don't know...We haven't done the daily situation review yet...If you'd care to wait, you'd be welcome to sit in..."

A slight, apprehensive look from his guest... "Buffy won't be here...?"

"Hardly likely..." Giles replied coolly... "But Dawn and the others will be in attendance..."

"Well then, good...Maybe I will...For good ole times sake...After all, they may still loathe me, but they're all the family besides ole Angel and poor Dru I got..."

"They don't loathe you...They're grateful for what William did for them...And they've come, most of them, to wish they'd done something to help..."

"That's sweet...I appreciate the thought, however late..."

But...A pause... "You're sure Buffy won't come today?...Not that I don't want to see her...Or am angry or hate her..."

Even if one might say I've cause...

"I can assure you, she isn't coming today...And please get off my desk..."

Sorry...A hasty hop up, a stride about the room...



"Ah...Still with the bloody Immortal, eh?...I don't know about that one, Rupert...How can you let her go off with a fellow like that?...I warn you, he's not to be trusted..."

"He wasn't, though he did deceive us all for a time...But it doesn't matter now...Buffy killed him a year ago..." Giles looked at his uninvited guest solemnly...

A raised eyebrow...Genuine surprise... "You don't say?...Did he make a remark about her hair showing dark streaks? Or something minor, like trying to take over the world?..."

"He was one of the Senior Partners...He'd been assigned to keep Buffy in Rome, away from LA..."

"Clever...Evil with brains, a major breakthrough...But my girl took 'im out?...For real?..."

"He's destroyed, yes..."

"You shouldn't have let him get to her, Rupert..." a frown... "That bloke's the one who even got Darla and Dru eatin' out of his hand..."

No...the Watcher sighed... "I shouldn't have...But he'd been careful to build a reputation, even to working with the Council on occasions...Far cleverer than those we'd deal with before in that regard..."

"Well, alls well that ends dust, I say...So when's your little strategy conference?...If there's a chance at a little profit-making, I might be persuaded to stick...And again, any smokes?..."

Giles buzzed the intercom... "Miss Drake...Could you see if there are any cigarettes about?...Thank you..."

"Many thanks..." a smile..."One has to be allowed one bad habit, even if one's taken the Champion's mantle..."

The secretary, a tall red-head, entered and eyed the two carefully... "Sir?..." she held how a package of cigarettes and one of matches...

"Thanks, love...I'll take 'em..." A hand reached out, a close look of interest... "Slayer, are we?..."

"Yes..." Ms. Drake nodded...Looking at Giles... "That will be all, Ms. Drake..."

"Keep your wits about you all at times and your wood sharp, girl...And always try to say something nice just before you dust 'em...Remember they were people once, some of them nice people..."

"Yes..." Ms. Drake nodded slightly, another look to Giles...Who nodded...She went quietly out...

"Nice girl...You sleepin' with her?..." A cig shaken out and placed in mouth...

Sorry...A grin to Giles' frown...A match struck and held to the cig in mouth... "The Spike must out, in a small way, still..And I do have cause, Mr. Chairman...I was a human being again, in what matters, when you tried to kill me..." A breath of curling smoke...

I mean, knowing I was souled, you might've tried the "for the good of the one you claim to love, William..." speech...

"I wish I had..." Giles nodded slowly... "I believe, now, it would have been heeded...Though Buffy would have prevented your leaving..."

"The general needed her best soldier...I know...But, it's ok..." a hasty note...And a glance round...Giles pushed a dish intended for small desk items over...Thanks...Tap of ash into dish...

"I didn't expect anything from her...I know she couldn't offer me anything..."

"She loved you..." Giles said simply... "Whether you believed her or not...And you know that, in your heart, I'm sure...As she knows you loved her..."

A long stare...A wan smile... "I'd love to believe that, Giles...Maybe some day, I will...Thanks..."

"You're not going?..." a slight unease in the tone...



"Not unless you're throwin' me out, I need the cash, if you mean it about the job...Just want to poke around the place if I may?...I won't kill a Slayer or two or grab a love spell, I promise..."

"That's fine...It's just...I hope you will stay...I think Dawn would be glad to see you..."

"Oooh, I don't know, Watcher...Nibs was preety off me that last year...For understandable reasons..."

"She didn't fully understand...None of us did...What you'd done for Buffy...And for yourself..."

"Forget and forgive, eh?...I'm glad...It hurt, losing the Nibs, I must say...Though again, she had cause..."

"She wishes she'd tried to help you..."

"No hard feelings...Probably wise on her part...It was a rough call whether I'd make it or no even with the soul back..."

"She was proud of you, after...And later...What Andrew...And Angel...Told us about you in LA..."

"Always nice to have your former employer speak well of you...I probably shoulda stayed on in LA with him and followed the Undead organization man's path to success but you know me...Footloose, soul or no..."

"And we truly..." Giles paused...

"Mourned me after Sunnydale?..." a smile that turned genuine... "I'm touched, Rupert...Honestly...Thanks..."

"I hope though, you lot understand..." a brief drag on cig... "It's not anger keepin' me away...I just don't want to put her in a position, you know..."

"I understand...I only wish you did..."

"Thanks, Dad..." a grin... "I know Randall hasn't lived up to full expects, but..."

"He far and away surpassed them...It's Dad who failed him..." a hard stare...

Well... "It's probably best to throw the mess in God's lap and just keep tryin' Giles...It's ok then if I wander about?...I'm rather keen on seein' more of what the Council has on that fiendish menace William the Bloody..."

"Of course...I believe you may find we even have a little information on a fine man named William Soames Walthrop..." Giles smiled faintly...

"Ah, the famous poet...I hear there's even been some new work discovered...Nearly as bad as the older stuff but a little more modern in tone..."

"I'd be interested in hearing it...Miss Drake?..." another buzz...

The secretary re-entered a moment later...Outside two rather nervous-looking, athletic women...

"Sir?..."

"No need to call for security Miss Drake..." Giles eyed her sternly...

"Yeah...Time for that would've been twenty minutes ago, Slayer...And next time check out the vamp who says he's got a soul and is come to pay a friendly call, even if you got faint memories of him...And have heard tell of his noble rep...Before you let him into your Chairperson's office...Her Slayerness would not be amused..." a smile...

The two Slayer guards eyed each other, then the slight figure in tight black leather jacket and pants leaning at the Chairman's desk...Red of a shirt visible just at the jacket's collar and the protruding sleeves...

Vampire?...



"As long as you did, you can have them escort our guest to the archives...And bring anything required..."

Miss Drake nodded, a bit uncertain...

"Lets be off then, ladies...See you in a bit, Rupert..." a final drag on cig, replacement of dark glasses donned beforehand against the sun...Unnecessary inside, natch, but oh so very...And a brief wave...Turning to the two 'escorts'...

"I trust you two ladies know that if I wasn't hopelessly Victorian on the soul's side and spoken for, I'm sure I'd be brightening your lives right now..."

The guards blinked at each other, following after...

"Mr Giles...?" Miss Drake stared at him...He raised a hand...No... "Leave it be, Drake...I'm sure it will be fine..."

"But perhaps Ms. Rosenberg?...I've put a call out..."

"She's tried, Drake...It's not that..." he shook his head... "At least not in the way Willow could help..."

"Then...It's really not supernatural?..." Miss Drake looked out after the three figures...

"You mean possession?...No...Not in the sense you mean, anyway...And I don't believe, now, that William would ever consider such a thing...Even if his demon might, we'd detect it in any case...No...It's not that..."

"Then...She's..." Drake looked sadly after the vanishing figure of Buffy Summers, still engaged in gently teasing her trailing, carefully briefed but still a bit disconcerted, guards... "Can't anything be done?...It's been a year since William died in LA at Wolfram-Hart..."

"Anything...Has been tried...And we've all agreed not to put her through that suffering again, or risk having her run from us to where we can't hope to keep an eye on her, but leave it to her...And him...For she's found him again at last...And as always, he's helping her heal..."

"One day, perhaps, when she's been alone with him long enough for the pain to fade a little and the memories become bearable, she'll choose to come out to us, at least for a visit now and then...Till then..."

Tis' a bloody fine madness, love...

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