I love this one. I warned you I'd ficspam you a bit today...
Giles blinked and attempted to sit up. He failed miserably at both tasks. His body felt as if it belonged to someone else. Someone who'd mistreated it badly.
"Sir?" The voice was anxious, and it was coming from right in front of him. A lyric baritone, Giles decided. "Are you awake, sir?"
Giles blinked again, and this time was able to focus on a face. Someone was leaning over him. A young man, with bright blue eyes and dark hair falling into his face. The acolyte Travers had sent home with him.
Giles did not remember how he got home. He dimly remembered the young man sitting him on the edge of his bed, undressing him, and tipping him back into warm blankets. And then dreams. Uneasy jumbled dreams, of the god's touch, of the god's words to him, of the face of a girl he had not yet seen, the girl who would soon become his life.
He closed his eyes. Perhaps if he slept again he'd wake to find himself back in his own life.
Buffy woke first, as usual. Go, Slayer healing. Giles was still out from whatever it was; not a hit on the head; maybe magical assault. She thought she'd remembered sparklies. It had been a really boring patrol up until the sparklies. So. Buffy was awake, and she was pretty sure her eyes were open, but she wasn't seeing much, not even with Slayer eyesight. She closed her eyes again, because that was how Giles had taught her to do it, and reached out with her other senses.
Touch. Cold stone underneath her back and butt. A warm body to her left, not moving, but breathing easily. A manacle on her left wrist.
Scent. The warm breathing person next to her was Giles. That was his cologne. But she'd known it was him already. They were underground. Dirt, damp, a little bit of mold. Air was fresh, though.
Sound. Her own breath and heartbeat; Giles's breath. Water dripping somewhere not far away. Nothing moving anywhere near.
Spirit. Most strongly, Watcher-presence near her, that sense of quiet comfort that had led her to trust an overcoat-wearing weirdo like poor Merrick, and a tweed-wearing geek like Giles, before she'd known anything about them. Buffy set that feeling aside with an effort, and sensed beyond it. Nothing evil near, but the lingering memory of evil. Maybe within the last hour. Magic residue. Something far below all that, fainter, a presence. Mocking?
"Readings" part 2
Giles stood and turned, slowly. Yes, it was Ethan, limping toward him across the shop floor. Thinner, with gray at the temples that hadn't been there before, but Ethan. Giles took a step toward him, hand outstretched.
Ethan's fist caught him on the jaw and he went down, taking one of the chairs with him. Weight on his chest, pressure at his throat from a hard grip pulling his head up by the collar, and another blow on the face. He fought his instincts and went limp, hands palm-up on either side of his head. If Ethan wanted to beat him to a pulp, Ethan had a reason. Giles would lie back and take it. But Ethan held off, fist raised for another blow that didn't fall.
"Hullo, Ethan," Giles said, with a little difficulty. His lip was likely split. Ethan let go and Giles' head thumped onto the floor. Ethan stayed on Giles' chest, though, pinning him in place. He did not lower his fist.
"I owe you rather more than just the two," he said.