We Carry On




Giles stood in the doorway, staring at the broken vampire on the bed.  Seeing Spike in Buffy's bedroom made the watcher in him want to kill something, but the man who was grieving the same loss couldn't bring himself to say anything. He knew Spike's heightened sense of smell must make him feel like he was surrounded by Buffy.  He shook his head. Surely that had to be worse than getting used to her absence somewhere that didn't contain constant reminders. But then, Giles admitted, he wasn't an old vampire, only a middle-aged man trying to deal with the inevitable conclusion of his relationship with his slayer. He had no idea how, or even if, vampires grieved.


Downstairs, Willow and Xander were tentatively planning to go out on patrol. He'd discouraged them for the moment, but he knew they couldn't ignore the situation forever.  With Glory and her minions gone, the local demons and vampires were bound to start drifting back to the Hellmouth, if not immediately, certainly within a month or so.


Dawn stayed locked in her room, coming out only to pick at meals. He'd told her she had to go back to school tomorrow. If they wanted to keep the local demon population in line, they couldn't afford to let it be known that the Slayer was dead. She nodded silently when he told her, not arguing, but accepting it. He knew she felt responsible for Buffy's death, but he had yet to summon the courage to lie to her and tell her it wasn't her fault. Not while he still felt that way himself...


Willow's idea of repairing the Buffybot was disturbing, but he thought it could work. Temporarily, at least.  And working on the bot would keep her from venturing out to see what she was capable of doing magically.  He sagged against the wall for a second as the enormity of trying to keep Sunnydale safe without Buffy overwhelmed him. He ran a hand over his face, wondering how a middle-aged bachelor had ended up responsible for a teenager and the only slightly older friends of her sister. And, with a heartbroken, crippled vampire who didn't seem to plan to leave Buffy's bed until they brushed his dust off it. 


Squaring his shoulders, he went into the room and set down his burdens. Without speaking, he walked to the bed and ran his hands down the leg that was bent at an unnatural angle.


"Not now, luv. I've got a headache."  Spike's voice was hoarse and weak, but the sarcasm gave Giles a bit of hope.


"You wish," he muttered, putting one hand on Spike's knee and the other on his ankle. "You may want to put that pillow over your mouth," he said, pulling his hands apart.  Spike's muffled scream lasted until Giles had wrestled the ends of the broken bones more or less into position.  He held them together with one hand while he reached behind him for the ace bandages he'd brought in.  When he had wrapped the now straight leg as tightly as he could, he stepped back, ignoring the lethal glare Spike was giving him.


He went back to the bag he'd brought in, pulling out several bags of human blood and setting them on the bed.  He reached in again and pulled out an unopened bottle of Glenfiddich. With a sigh, he walked back to the bed and set the bottle on the nightstand.


"Drink the blood," he ordered. "When you've started to heal, I'll give you one good drunk."  He stared wistfully at the bottle and then turned to leave.


"Only one drunk? This from the man who reaches for the Scotch when he gets a hangnail?" Without raising his head, Spike peered at the bottle and back at Giles. "And then what am I supposed to do?"


 "Then you can get on your bloody feet and start helping me take care of these brave and foolish children."


The End