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Part One: Things Born of Fire - Chapter 9

Series: We Can Run Away Now They’re All Dead and Gone.
Part One: Things Born of Fire.
Chapter: 9/10.
Author: Aurey09.
Rating: PG-13.
Characters: Ensemble.
Disclaimer: Joss’ world, I’m just visiting.
A/N: Thank you to my beta noandwhere

Giles sat down on one of the beds in Xander’s motel room, it was sparsely furnished but he doubt it was due to a minimalist aesthetic. He was having a hard time ignoring his natural inclination to research the demon they’d come up against. He wanted to put Willow’s mind at rest and his own, and the only way was to vindicate her spell of any connection to the Ukobach. He’d omitted these details to Dawn as he told her about what happened at the hospital.

He also didn’t express any of his concerns, when Dawn notified him that Xander had left the room nearly an hour ago to get some air. He had a good idea about what losing Anya had done to Xander, because he'd lost Jenny. It had taken him a long time to get over his anger and grief, it was a reason he'd been so forgiving of Willow when she'd lost Tara.

“I made it abundantly clear to Andrew he was to keep watch over Xander.” Instead he’d fallen asleep in front of the television. The flickering blue light from the screen gave him a bluish tint, similar to the colour of an aquarium. He reminded Giles of one of those deep-sea creatures you'd see in those wildlife documentaries; they really should have thrown him back over board long before now. “How long has he been asleep for?”

"Not that long," Dawn said looking up from the game of Solitaire she has set in front of her. He recalled how she used to stay up late for hours playing cards with Spike. “He knew you were trying to get him out the way.”

"Andrew?” It took him a few moments to recover. “ Yes, well I was concerned about Xander's welfare. Andrew being preoccupied was merely a bonus." Dawn grinned at him knowing that Andrew being out of the away was one of Giles' number one priorities and he hadn’t gone out of his why to dispel that.

He looked down at his wristwatch, it was late but he would wait for Xander to return.

He pulled off his shoes, not even bothering to unknot the laces. He considered removing his socks until he saw Dawn staring over at him in horror, apparently she considered his dressing down as an omen of something bad yet to come.

“Are you okay Giles?”

“I’m quite alright,” He assured her “I do, however, suspect I’m getting to old to be traipsing about after demons. It’s a young man's game.”

“You're not... that old.”

“I'm sure you could have phrased that better.” He gave her a stern look.

“Sorry. I just wouldn’t let Andrew hear you say somethin like that - he wants your job. His goal in life is to be a Watcher.”

“The boy’s clearly a simpleton. He can‘t imagine the responsibilities it entails.” He did worry about the future of the Council, their numbers were low, they might be forced to take whatever help they could get. Dear lord, I’ll never be shut of him now.

“Then why do you do it? I mean there‘s a lot of other stuff you could be doing, right?” Dawn asked. He’d changed his mind over the years of what meant to truly be a Watcher.

“When I became a Watcher I saw my role simply as aiding the Slayer in her fight against the forces of darkness and then it became about helping her survive.” He’d failed Buffy with that. “But now I see that a Watcher is a Slayer's family, the thing that binds her to her calling and her life.”

“That’s what I figured.” Dawn smiled at him, she seems satisfied with his answer.

++++



The nurses moved out of Faith’s way as she finished checking Robin's blood pressure, she told the both of them that everything seemed to be fine. Faith hated how people over used the word 'seemed' to cover their backs in case of a screw up and then someone tried to sue for being given false hope.

Faith picked up a spoon off Robin's tray, scooped up the green wriggly substance and put it near him mouth. "You better make the most of it 'cause I don't make it a habit feeding people jell-o that's not in a shot." He took a reluctant bite.

"I should feel privileged then?" He exchanged an amused look with the nurse as she filled in the charts at the end of his bed.

"Your girlfriend’s a real sweetheart, I think you should listen to her." Faith didn't say a word, compliments made her edgy. The nurse left the room, stopping Faith having to think up away to respond.

It had been a surprise to Faith how quickly things had realigned, there wasn't a single sign left that there had been a demon attack at the hospital. That kind of sweeping under the rug mentality was something she associated with Sunnydale. She remembered Wilkins finding a sense of wonder and delight in that. People in Sunnydale lived in blissful deadly ignorance, the housing prices didn’t even go down but he’d been wrong about it being exclusive to the Hellmouth. That was just another lie she heard from him.

The police hadn’t been there long before the five unrecognisable bodies from the attack had been moved down the hospital’s morgue. If it had been a human doing the burning you could be sure it be plastered all over the news by now.

“Nobody saying a thing about what happened? I thought this forgetting you saw a demon crap was a Sunnydale quirk.”

“People like knowing what they know, even if it‘s a lie or unhealthy, they feel they‘ve got to keep their story together.”

She chewed at her bottom lip, knowing he was thinking about her that she was hanging onto stuff about herself, things that didn’t add up to what a human should be. She knew who she was, it was Robin who got it backwards. He knew Slayers, his mom was large scale hero just like Buffy and Faith couldn’t be that. “I’m not Buffy.”

He glanced up at her.

“Did I ever ask you to be?” He let his hand run through her hair.

“No.” She sat on the bed with him. This wasn’t a lie, she felt that now.

++++



Buffy woke up and didn’t feel at all rested. She forced herself to sit up. Her eyes were drawn to the edge of the bed, she half expected there to be a ghost there, she'd already seen two.

She looked out of the window, the sky was a deep blue, the kind it turned just before the sun appeared. One day’s passed, I’m not sure if I’ll keep count.

She slipped on her shoes on and pulled a hand through her hair. The air in her room was humid and uncomfortable. She had to get out.

++++



Imala padded out into the hallway in her pink fuzzy robe and slippers. They were a gift from her mom – she hated them but they were what she’d chosen for herself over adventure and destiny . Her eyes had been glued to them when Giles asked her if she wanted to leave with them, he was willing to train her to be a fighter like Faith but she’d said no.

Willow gave her an email address, along with a phone number where she could reach someone named Angel, they’d be staying there for a few days.

She wanted to say goodbye to Faith. She poked her head around the door, Wood was asleep but Faith wasn't. She tilted her head indicating it was okay for her to come into the room.

“You alright?”

“I think Giles was a little disappointed with me.”

“Nah. He’s just worried and English.” Imala smiled, but it was difficult after today.

“This Slayer thing, it’s just not for me.”

“Slayer's who we are, maybe you need time to get used to it.” She did feel some how different but wasn't certain about it like Faith was. “And saving people, that doesn‘t suck.”

++++



Dawn sat in a white lawn chair beside the motel’s leaf covered pool. She played with the cuff of the over sized sweater someone had picked it out for her while she‘d been at the hospital. She missed her old clothes and the smell of the cheap fabric-softener her mother 
was forced to use after their dad stopped sending as many cheques, it was something Buffy had continued buying. Now they were homeless and she wondered if they’d lose there mother’s habits, that were connected to their house.

“Hey.” Buffy said. Dawn forced all her thoughts back down as Buffy walked towards her.

“You missed all the action.”

“Oh.” Buffy nodded but Dawn could tell it was just a response to words being spoken. She wasn't particularly listening.

“We found another Slayer. Faith was the big new hero, saved the day.”

“That’s good, I’m so tired of saving the day, it’s about time someone else did it.”

“It’s got to suck.”

“Because it’s Faith? Nah.” Dawn looked at her. “A little.” Buffy nudged Dawn up and sat in the chair with her.

They both watched as the suns rays shimmer along the surface of the swimming pool, the start of a new day.

++++


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