Title: Bruises and Broken Spirits
Author: Tonya (email@example.com)
Disclaimer: I have been advised to refrain from calling myself the owner of the souls of Giles and Anya by my lawyer. Stupid lawyer.
Spoilers: Season 6 BtVS
Feedback: Hello, my name is Tonya, and I am a feedback-aholic.
Distribution: Just tell me where and it's yours!
Summary: In the aftermath of "Grave", Giles and Anya bond.
A/N: This is my very first G/A fic so I hope I do the characters justice!
Her arm wrapped tightly around his waist as Anya walked up to the nurses' station. Giles's arm draped over her shoulders as she helped him carry his weight.
"May I help you?"
"Yes," Anya paused to catch her breath. "We need to see a doctor immediately please."
The nurse nodded and reached behind the counter, gathering a clipboard filled with forms. She laid the clipboard on the counter and sighed as she monotoned the directions and flipped to each form.
"I need you to fill out the first two forms completely, and on this one, just fill out your insurance information. Here and here, I'll need either one of you to fill out the form completely, and then sign and date here, here, here… and here."
With her free hand, Anya flipped through the forms and scoffed. "Are you joking? He could die by the time I finish."
The nurse simply smiled. "More the reason for you to hurry, sweetie."
"But…" Anya sighed as Giles put a hand to his throbbing head. She gave him a worried frown before turning back to the nurse. "But he's hurt, and we need to see a doctor."
"Who doesn't?" the nurse sighed as she motioned towards the crowded emergency room.
Anya retrieved the clipboard with a growl. "Where's Jennrika when you need her?" she fumed as she and Giles walked towards the waiting room.
"Jennrika?" Giles asked as he sat in the hard plastic chair.
"Yes, Jennrika," Anya replied flippantly as she sat down beside him. "Vengeance demon for the sick. She could turn that nurse into a stinky troll or maybe a giant slug so I could pour salt on her or something."
"How lovely." Giles frowned as the man beside him coughed and hacked loudly into his fists. He leaned further away from the man, fearing what kind of contagious disease he could have.
"Rupert Giles," Anya spoke aloud as she began to fill out the forms. She paused and looked up at him. "I've been meaning to ask you. What kind of name is Rupert anyway?"
"And Anya is such a typical name," he frowned. He sighed before continuing, "Anya, I feel fine now. Really. There's no need to go through all these hassles."
"Oh sure, you say that now, but what happens when they find your dead body later tonight in your bed all stiff and dead-like? I'll tell you what happens. Then, they'll blame me. They'll be all, 'Wow, Anya, we leave you to take care of Giles while we save the world and you kill him.'"
"Anya, I think you're over-reacting just a bit."
"Yes, well, I'm not taking any chances," she said, turning back to the forms. "So, how old are you exactly?"
Giles could only sigh in response.
Giles frowned at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. No wonder the doctor had insisted on keeping him overnight for observation. His eyes were bloodshot and tired. His left cheek was bruised slightly, a companion to the deeper bruises on the rest of his body. The gash above his eye had been sealed with a few stitches and was swollen slightly. He looked like he had been through hell, and quite honestly, he felt as if he had.
No wonder his blood pressure was dangerously high. High enough to not only draw concern from the emergency room doctor but from Anya as well.
She had yet to leave his side, and even though she had a tendency to annoy him beyond words, it still felt nice to see her so concerned for his well-being.
Giles stepped out of the bathroom. Anya stood at the foot of his hospital bed, two containers of lime Jell-O in her hands. He smirked as he saw the frown form on her face, and he could feel the lecture coming before she even opened her mouth.
"The doctor told you to rest," she frowned.
Fussing with his hospital gown, Giles sat on the edge of the bed. "I am resting."
"Odd how your resting looks a lot like being active."
"Anya," he sighed.
Her frown turned to a bright smile in an instant as she held out one of the Jell-O cups. "Look! Jell-O!"
Giles chuckled quietly. "Yes, I see that."
"Everything else in the cafeteria looked like it had just been scraped off the road so…." She shrugged. Her smile continued to perk as she added, "And it has fruit in it so it's colorful and healthy."
Giles smiled softly. "I'm really not hungry, Anya."
"But there's always room for Jell-O," she replied. "At least that's what the commercial would like us to believe."
"I'm not fond of food that… wiggles."
"More for me then," she shrugged.
She strolled to the chair beside the large window as Giles pulled himself back into the bed, getting situated and resting his back against the head of the bed. He tugged the covers over himself as he watched Anya eat from her Jell-O cup.
"Anya," he finally said, "you don't have to stay. I'm fine. The doctors are quite capable of looking after me."
Anya frowned. "Like I would trust that guy. He obviously got his degree from the back of a cereal box, Giles."
Giles couldn't help the chuckle that passed by his lips. "I'm sure he's more qualified than that, Anya. Besides, I know you're tired. You've had a long couple of days. We all have."
Anya shrugged and sucked a scoop of Jell-O from her spoon. "I'd rather be here," she admitted quietly.
Giles simply nodded. He didn't push her further as he watched her continue to eat her
Jell-O. It wasn't often that Anya said things like that, things that revealed more than she probably realized. He couldn't deny that he was curious as to why the young woman was so determined to waste her time at his bedside, but he knew not to push the subject any further….
"Buffy and the others are on their way," she said after a moment. "I called them with the news."
"How are they?"
"Alive," she shrugged.
"I suppose that's good news in Sunnydale."
"So, do you have insurance?" Anya asked as she finished off the first cup of Jell-O. She sat the empty cup on the window sill next to the full container.
"I'm sorry?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Insurance. For the Magic Box. I'm not sure if it would cover world-destruction-by-vengeance-filled-homicidal-witch, but it would help."
"I'm sure the damage is covered under the earthquake clause."
"I hope so," Anya frowned. "Do you know how many valuables I lost?"
"We lost," he corrected.
Anya dismissed him with a wave of her hand. "Silent partners don't count."
Giles rolled his eyes slightly in response. He sighed before saying with a soft smile, "Even with that being said, this silent partner is extremely proud of the way you've handled the business."
Anya shrugged with a girlish smile. "I take my money seriously."
"Yes, you do, which is why you're able to run the business so well."
Her smile faded to a bitter frown in response. She looked out the window as she sighed heavily. "Not anymore. The business is gone. Nothing left to salvage but some rubble and plywood. I'm not the business woman anymore. I'm just Anya again. Anya the vengeance demon. Whoopdee-doo." She turned back to Giles as she added, "I'm a vengeance demon again by the way."
"I know," Giles replied with a nod.
Anya raised an eyebrow at his non-reaction. "You know?"
"Yes, Buffy told me."
"You know, and that's all I get in response?"
"Was I supposed to have a speech prepared?"
Anya stood and approached the bed slowly. "Everyone else had an over-reaction. I thought you would, too."
Giles sighed and casually crossed his arms over his chest. "I'm sorry that my reaction disappoints you, Anya, but what do you want me to say?"
She sat on the edge of his bed, facing him. "But you're Giles," she frowned. "You're supposed to lecture us when we make what you consider bad decisions. I thought you of all people would have this whole diatribe prepared for me."
"Anya, you made a decision. It may not have been the best decision, but it's done. Now you and everyone else will have to live with that." He sighed and dropped his arms to his lap. "I could lecture you about making rash decisions. I could lecture you about how your decision will affect everyone. I could lecture you on how your decision will affect you, but what good would that do?"
Anya's frown turned to a smirk. "Is this reverse psychology?"
"No, it isn't," he replied with a soft laugh.
"It feels very much like reverse psychology."
"I promise you that it's not."
Anya raised a skeptical eyebrow at him but did not argue.
Giles's expression softened as he stared into the woman's eyes. "I am sorry, Anya."
"I realize you've had a tough time these past few months. Maybe even tougher than the others have realized. I'm sorry I didn't make it to your wedding…."
Giles watched as Anya's body language changed in response to his words. The perkiness disappeared from her eyes. Her lips twitched slightly, and for a moment, Giles wondered if he had brought the girl to the verge of tears. He couldn't stop his own frown as he watched the joy drain from Anya's face.
"For there to be a wedding," she frowned, "there has to be an exchange of vows, Giles. There wasn't even a walk down the aisle. Technically, yeah, but not how it's supposed to be."
"No, it's not. Sometimes, Anya, no matter how much we try, we can't get that storybook ending."
Anya blinked away tears as she replied quietly. "I didn't want the storybook ending, Giles. I just wanted to be with Xander. I just wanted to be happy."
And in that moment, Giles felt his own heart break for her. He had never realized it before, but all Anya had ever wanted as a human was to be happy. To be loved. From the moment she had been transformed into a teenage girl, she had been looking for acceptance. Particularly from Xander-- the man she thought she would be able to spend the rest of her life with. The man who ended up ripping her fragile heart from her chest on what she had envisioned to be the most perfect day of her life.
For a fleeting moment, Giles actually felt hatred for the boy he had once considered to be like a son.
As he reached for Anya's hand, a knock on the doorframe to his room pulled him from the moment. He and Anya turned to the door to see Buffy and Dawn entering. Anya quickly sniffled and wiped at her eyes as she stood and stepped away from his bedside.
"Giles!" Buffy smiled as she and Dawn stepped past Anya and up to him. Buffy eagerly took his hand. "How are you?"
He smiled warmly. "I'm fine, Buffy. Just a little banged up."
Buffy glanced at Anya who had returned to her spot by the window. "Thanks, Anya, for watching out for him."
"It was no problem," Anya smiled politely. "The doctors said he'll be fine just as soon as…."
"So you're sure you're okay?" Buffy asked as she turned her full attention back to Giles.
Anya could only frown as she finished with a mutter, "As soon as he gets some rest."
"I'm fine, Buffy. Really," Giles said, glancing towards Anya. He looked back at Buffy as he asked, "How is Willow?"
"Resting," Dawn replied.
Buffy nodded in agreement. "Xander's home with her right now. She was pretty drained after… everything."
"Guess what, Giles?" Dawn chirped. "I got the chance to kill some creepy root demons!"
Giles smiled. "That sounds interesting," he replied distractedly as he watched Anya walk out of the room.
Giles opened his eyes with a yawn. He wasn't sure how long he had been out. Buffy and Dawn's visit had drained him more than he had thought possible, and he had quickly dozed off when they had left. He remembered that his last thought before he lost consciousness had been about Anya and her abrupt departure.
As he turned his head towards the window, a sense of relief washed over him.
Sitting curled up in the chair, casually flipping through a magazine, was Anya.
"Anya?" he asked quietly.
She looked up at him with a smile. "Hi. How was your nap?" she asked nonchalantly.
"Decent. How long have you been back?"
Anya turned her attention back to the magazine. "After they left." She frowned and held the magazine up for him to see. "Can you believe this idiot paid $200 for that coat?" she asked as she motioned to the model in the ad wearing a long leather trench coat. She dropped the magazine back in her lap as she continued, "I know a demon who could skin and tan the hide himself for at least half that price."
"That's… that's very disturbing, Anya," Giles replied as he pulled himself upright in the bed.
Anya simply shrugged in response as she continued to flip through the pages.
He studied her for a moment before saying, "You left rather abruptly earlier."
"Like it mattered," she muttered quietly. "I'm just glad Xander didn't come along. I'm sure he would have had a few words for me. The little weasel."
"Have you two talked at all since…?"
Anya finally looked up at him. "Since he left me to tell all my guest that there wasn't going to be a wedding after all?"
"I was going to say since the incident but yes."
"Depends on your definition of talked. I bitch at him about what he did. He snarks on me about becoming a vengeance demon again. That's the gist of our talks, really. Beyond that, it'd probably go into name-calling and voodoo curses."
"I see," Giles replied with a nod.
Anya closed the magazine with a huff. "It just sucks that Xander won, you know."
He raised an eyebrow. "He won?"
"Like in a divorce," she expanded. She stood and approached him, sitting on the edge of his bed again. "He still has the apartment. He still has a job. He still has the friends. What did I get? Quite frankly, I got screwed."
"I'm sure Buffy and the others still consider you a friend, Anya…."
"Hi, Giles, I'd like to welcome you to reality," she frowned. "Do you really think I was ever their friend? I mean, the only reason I got in was because I had sex with Xander. Once we were over, so were my ties to everyone else. And now this whole vengeance demon thing has officially turned them off to me."
Giles returned her frown as he asked gently, "When did you become so cynical, Anya?"
"It comes with being human, I suppose."
Giles remembered when Anya had first been transformed. She had been like a child-- experiencing everything with an open heart and an open mind. Everything had been new and special, and she had been an idealist at their most ideal. She had experienced everything with this energy, this innocence, that the others, including himself, couldn't muster. That had made Anya who she was. He had appreciated that about her, her ability to see brilliance in even the darkest of tasks. But now, she had changed. That joy of life that Giles had come to know, and be annoyed with on occasion, was gone. Reality had crushed what little idealism she had had left, and Giles could only find himself mourning that loss of spirit.
Sunnydale had finally broken the girl….
But she wasn't a girl in the strictest sense. Hell, in reality, she was centuries older than he was. She had seen things that he had only read about in his journals and tomes. She had been there for the things he had read about in his history textbooks. And yet, during all that time, she had kept her spirit. Even if that spirit had been directed towards spreading vengeance across the countryside. It had been a burning spirit, nonetheless.
Only life in Sunnydale could crush such a passionate spirit in a few years where centuries trekking the globe could not. Only in Sunnydale.
Shaken from his thoughts by her voice, he turned to her with a faint smile. "I'm sorry?"
"You zoned out for a second," she replied, the concern evident in her eyes. "I thought maybe you had slipped into a coma or something."
He chuckled in response.
"Well, you could have," she said, slightly offended by his laughter.
Before Giles could respond, a young nurse entered the room. Both Anya and Giles turned their attention to her as she asked, "How are you feeling, Mr. Giles?"
"Better, thank you," he replied with a polite smile.
"Good," the nurse replied. She looked from Giles to Anya and back again as she continued, "I hate to do this, but visiting hours are over now." She smiled widely at Anya. "But you can visit your father first thing in the morning. He should be ready for release then."
Anya laughed quietly. "I'm not his daughter. See? No stuffy English accent here."
"I think I'm highly offended," Giles scoffed as he rolled his eyes at Anya.
"Oh sorry!" the nurse squeaked out as she grabbed Giles's chart from the foot of his bed. "Mrs. Giles, you're welcome to stay the night. We can bring you a blanket if you like."
Anya's eyes widened as she laughed much louder than the first time. "I'm sorry? What?"
The nurse opened her mouth to speak, but Giles quickly replied, "What my wife means is thank you."
The nurse smiled, nodded, and strolled out of the room, pulling the door shut behind her.
Anya turned to Giles with a smirk. She gently touched his forehead as she replied, "I think your head injury is a lot worse than we thought."
"Only immediate family like spouses are allowed overnight in hospital rooms," Giles explained with a smile.
"Oh," Anya smiled.
"You know, Anya, I've asked everyone else, but I haven't even thought to ask you."
"Ask me what?"
"How are you?"
"I'm…" She paused with a sigh. "I'm here."
"Anya, I know you feel like the abandoned cynic at the moment," he replied with a nod. "But I want you to know that no matter what, you can always turn to me, okay? You can call. You can write…."
"I can teleport."
"You can tele… what?"
"I can do that now," she grinned. "One of the few vengeance demon perks."
"Well, no matter how, I just want you to know that you do have a friend. I may just be a silent overseas partner, but that simply makes me a better listener."
"I know that now," she smiled as she took his hand. She yawned quietly. "Do you mind if I share the bed? That chair is the most uncomfortable thing ever created by man."
Giles smiled and moved over slightly, trying his best not to fall off the other end of the bed. Anya quickly kicked off her shoes and laid beside him.
"Make sure you watch the hands, mister," she yawned as she curled up next to him, her head resting against his chest.
Giles held his arms up in the air for a moment, not sure what to do with them. After a moment, he finally draped them over her with a sigh.
He felt himself slipping back into sleep when her voice brought him back.
"I can hear your heart beating," she mumbled sleepily.
"Yes," he replied gently. "It has a tendency to do that every now and again."
"I just… it's been a while since I've been close enough to hear someone's heart beating."
"Well, it's been a while since I've had someone be close enough to hear my heart beating," he replied with a yawn.
"I've missed it," she replied softly.
Giles smiled and smoothed down her hair. "So have I." He waited a moment before calling out quietly to her. "Anya?"
Her deep breathing greeted him in response.
Giles gently brushed her hair from her face as he closed his eyes, listening to the sound of her breathing.
He could only hope he had restored some of her spirit as he drifted into sleep.