TITLE: No one to Watch.

AUTHOR: Erin Giles

RATING: PG

PAIRING: Xander/Cordelia, Oz/Willow

SPOILER WARNING: It's post Becoming II but come on what avid Buffy fan hasn't seen that?

DISCLAIMER: None of the characters belong to me. Becoming doesn't belong to me, I'm just trying to make it seem more angsty, (as if it wasn't enough already) but none of it's mine I'm afraid. The only thing I own is my own imagination and I'm so crazy I'm not even sure that's mine now.

DISTRIBUTION: Fanfiction.net and other than that please ask! It's only polite!

SUMMARY: A missing scene from Becoming. What happened to Buffy's friends while she was off killing Angel, saving the world and eventually running away?

FEEDBACK: Always welcome. Need to know I'm doing something right don't I! Or if I'm yah know. NOT!

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Xander stumbled from the mansion out onto the long drive, the Watcher still clinging to him painfully. Xander stopped for a moment to catch his breath and let Giles regain his footing. He watched him take agonizing breaths in the cool night air and he felt pity for the poor man.

He had been tortured for hours on end and he looked that way as well. He could feel the blood running down the Watcher's back as he tried to hold him upright. Yet he had survived it, and for that he had nothing but respect and realization of how strong a man Giles was after all the things' he had been through this past year.

He had lost Miss. Calendar, they all had, but it had hit Giles the worst, especially when you found the one person you loved, dead in your own bed. There had also been Eygon, a blast from the past that Giles had obviously wanted to forget, but he hadn't been allowed to. And as he started off again down the long drive of the Mansion, half-carrying, half dragging Giles he wished that he wouldn't have as torturous a life as Giles.

He was grateful when they reached the first row of houses, nearest to the Mansion, but the small path up to the front porch almost seemed as far away as the high school all the way across town. He set Giles down on the seat on the porch before knocking on the door, hopeful that the people inside would be kind enough to let him use their phone. After what seemed like an eternity of glancing between the bruised and bloodied Watcher and the door, someone answered. He tried to be polite as he could in his panic stricken state,

"Hey. Can I use your phone?" the man looked at him suspiciously as his wife came up behind him.

"Who is it Rob?"

"Some kid wanting to use the phone."

"Please?" Xander begged, realizing he would have to mention Giles to be allowed in,

"My friend," he said, gesturing towards Giles,

"He's hurt. He needs-" The woman glanced out into the porch, looking at the darkened figure of Giles and taking a sharp intake of breath, interrupting Xander,

"Of course dear. Bring him inside. Oh dear me-" she said muttering to herself as she watched Xander go to Giles to help him up. He was afraid the Watcher's legs would no longer carry him and Xander wasn't strong enough to hold the full weight of Giles.

"Rob, help the poor boy." Rob moved out onto the porch, putting an arm round Giles waist and lifting his other arm over his shoulder, causing Giles to whimper in pain. It was then that the man got a really good look at Giles,

"Jesus Christ. What the Hell happened?"

"Rob! Language!" the woman scorned as Xander and Rob brought the rather dishevelled form of Giles into the living room and put him down on the couch. Xander pulled back, watching Giles for a moment, before asking again,

"Telephone? Where is it?" the woman looked away from Giles, almost unable to so,

"I'll show you dear." She said turning away into the hall. Rob folded his arms, obviously uncomfortable with being left in the room with a stranger. He seated himself down in another seat, looking at Giles who was obviously struggling to keep his eyes open. His brow frowned as he took in the small cuts and the extensive bruising of his face.

"Hey buddy," he called, deciding to try again,

"What happened?" Giles looked up, almost startled by the new figure in front of him,

"He wanted to know. I shouldn't have told." He said shaking his head, his voice sounding dry and rasping as he spoke,

"They trick - tricked me. I - I didn't. She was there - so lovely - I couldn't help b-but-" he broke off his eyes casting towards his bloody broken hands. Rob frowned, realizing the guy was stuttering and obviously delusional about something, but he pressed the matter, his own curiosity getting the better of him. He suspected it was a gang maybe. A lot of gangs in Sunnydale caused odd occurrences,

"Did someone do this to you?" Giles shook his head for a moment,

"A monster, She should have - she didn't - it was hard - poor girl. She j- just-" he trailed off as he collapsed against the couch, the talking obviously had taken it out of him. Rob listened as the man breathed in and out sharply, whimpering every so often. He had never seen a guy in so much pain.

Xander returned to the room, smiling briefly at Rob before taking a seat beside Giles,

"Oz is coming Giles ok?" Giles eyes opened in tiny slats, staring at Xander for a moment,

"They made me see." He whispered faintly.

"I know Giles, but everything'll be ok." It pained him to watch Giles like this. He was always so strong, so together, but Angelus had broken him, and he hoped the bastard died for that. He knew he should have told Buffy that Willow was trying to re-ensoul Angel, but right now he didn't care. The monster deserved to die for what he had done to Giles - for what he had done to all of them - but especially Buffy and Giles.

"Buffy?" Giles asked weakly, his voice nothing more than a hoarse whisper,

"She's coming. I'm sure she's a whole better than you." He realized that his last comment was dumb, as usual. Right now, Xander figured, anyone would be better than Giles.

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Oz arrived not long after the call, Cordelia in the van too. As Oz and Xander practically carried the largely built Watcher out to the van, Xander thanked the people who had allowed him to use the phone, both of them wishing Giles a speedy recovery.

"God Giles, what the hell happened?" Cordelia exclaimed as she saw Giles. Xander allowed a brief glare at his girlfriend.

"He played twister with the nice blood sucking vamps Cor." He said sarcastically as he climbed in the back with Giles, before adding,

"What the hell do you think happened? Angel and his little vampire friends decided to play truth or torture with Giles." That seemed to shut her up.

Oz was his usual impassive self, but Xander had seen the look in the teen- wolf's eyes when he had laid eyes on Giles. It was the same as his had been, abject horror at the demise of one of his friends, into this: An exhausted, scared, bleeding old man who had lost more than their fair share of people and been through at least double the pain that any normal person could stand. Who was now lain out in the back on the van, clinging to Xander as if it was the only thing that was stopping him from being tortured further. All Xander could do was cradle the man's head on his stomach and his broken arm and finger's with his good arm, hoping to ease the pain. He wanted to tell Oz to speed up, allowing them to reach the hospital faster, but also to slow down so he didn't cause the Watcher further injury.

Those ten minutes to Sunnydale General suddenly seemed the longest of his life as he listened to Giles delusional rambling's; trying to deny that he had told Angelus the key to ending the world. In amongst the random word's he heard Miss. Calendar's name and Buffy's as well. Something that shook him more was Giles plea's to end his life with the vampire that had brutally tortured him.

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Giles squinted in the glare of the bright lights as he felt himself being carried by two people. They set him down on a bed, he presumed, and he needed no coaxing to lie down. He collapsed backwards as soon as they had let go of him and he felt as if a thousand fireworks were going off in his head as he lay there. Bright lights were shone in his eyes and he wondered if they were getting him to talk again. He could hear voices far off, one's he recognized,

"Rupert? Can you hear me?" Giles drew back from the light; it was making his headache worse. He didn't want to respond, didn't want to give them the satisfaction that he was awake and could hear them, barely. He let out a pained cry as someone picked up his left hand and he tried to pull it free, but his or her grip was tight and he was too weak to resist.

He couldn't believe he had told them. They tricked him into seeing Jenny; his Jenny. How could he be so stupid? He knew she was gone. But he had wanted to believe that she was still alive, that he had been allowed to see her beautiful face again.

How could he be so stupid?

Where had Xander gone?

He knew he had been tricked again into thinking he was free. Xander had just been a figment of his imagination as well. He felt something prick his arm, and he wondered what it was. He didn't have long to ponder on the subject before he felt himself slipping into a world of darkness, a world of peace. For a while at least.

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"I'll go tell Willow." Oz said as he moved away from the door into the room they had taken Giles.

"Yeah." Xander nodded, not taking his eyes off the door,

"Yeah I'll stay. Wait for some news."

"What about Buffy?" Oz asked,

"Willow'll be worried." He explained,

"I don't know. She was still - She'll be here when she can." Oz nodded and turned to leave as Cordelia came up to Xander. She slipped a hand into his pulling him away from the door.

"I'm sure the doctor's will look after Giles. Why don't we go get a drink or something?" Cordelia suggested, tugging on his hand gently, for once in her life being sincere. After a moment Xander nodded, following his girlfriend down the corridor.

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"Hey." Willow whispered as Oz came into the room, she smiled warmly at him but his grim face made her re-think her smile,

"How's Giles?" Oz pulled up a seat beside her bed, taking her hand in his. He couldn't lie to his Willow,

"Not good."

"He's - he's not? Not even fine? Or yah know ok? 'Cause he's Giles and he should be good or ok, but tired with creases in his shirt 'cause yah know he's been up all night researching with his books. And his glasses are all squint," she said, gesturing to her eyes with her free hand,

"And he's standing with a cup of tea at the library door and he hopes for doughnuts, but Xander's eaten them all." She gave a slight giggle,

"That kind of not good?" she asked Oz, hopeful somehow. He shook his head at her,

"Doesn't have glasses."

"He lost his glasses? How's he going to research? And make tea? Oz, he has to have his glasses." Oz rubbed her hand, and he almost seemed to frown, his eyebrows knitted slightly,

"We'll find them." He reassured her,

"Can I see him?" Oz shook his head,

"Xander and Cordelia are with him. They'll let us know."

"And Buffy? She's watching him?"

"Buffy's not here." Willow looked as though she was on the verge of tears,

"She'll come." He said leaning over to kiss her on the brow, causing her frown to lessen,

"Get some rest. We'll see Giles later."

Willow nodded slightly, closing her eyes and settling back into the pillow. She wanted to know if the spell had worked. If Angel was now Angel again then they could be together and talking. She knew the world hadn't ended 'cause hey she was still in it. But she really wanted to know what had happened. She wanted to know her best friend was safe.

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Xander pulled a seat up beside the bed, feeling alone in the small cubical, even though he wasn't. Cordelia had left him, she had called her parents and they were in a bad mood so she had left, reluctantly, a promise that she would see him at school tomorrow. He wasn't even sure he was going to go in tomorrow. He wanted to go back to the mansion to check on Buffy. He felt bad for leaving her, but as he sat watching Giles in the bed, he realized it had been the right thing to do.

He had been told that Giles would be fine. His finger's had been put into splints and his arm had been plastered. His cuts and bruises had been seen to and now he was receiving liquids to try and re-hydrate him. The man looked so vulnerable lying in the hospital. He had been awake for a while, less delusional than before, but the doctor's figured it was just due to the pain. Or the horror of what he had been through, more likely, Xander had thought.

He had blamed it on gangs again and the story was getting old. But what could he say,

'Gee my friend was tortured for hours by blood thirsty vampire's who wanted the key to a ritual that would end the world.'

That would surely go down well in the mental institution. He looked up from his hands to the pale form of the Watcher again. He placed his hand on top of the older man's, not sure if he was awake or asleep.

"I'm so sorry Giles." He wasn't sure what he was apologizing for. Maybe for leaving him with Angelus? Maybe for all the pain Giles had had to endure? Maybe for losing Jenny Calendar? He wasn't sure; he just felt the need to apologize. His hand withdrew as he heard the door handle turn behind him.

Oz wheeled Willow into the room, an almost happy look on Willow's face. Xander smiled faintly, deciding that Willow had won the battle to come visit Giles,

"How is he?" she asked as Oz parked her beside the bed, standing protectively over her,

"Out for the count. Has been for a while. Think it's the drugs they gave him." Xander said, shifting in his seat awkwardly. Willow's hand reached out and grasped at the undamaged hand of the Watcher's. She lifted it careful, feeling how cold to the touch it was, and held his large bear paw in her petite hand.

"Giles?" she questioned softly into the darkened room,

"Buffy?" the reply came back. It almost broke Willow's heart.

"No Giles. It's me. Willow." His eyes seemed to open, moving to look at her,

"Willow?" his eyes cast to her head,

"Are you alright?" he asked, concern sweeping through his voice,

"God Giles I'm fine. But you?"

"I'll be fine Willow. Just need some sleep is all." The young witch frowned, looking down at their intertwined hands,

"I tried the spell again," she said, her eyes moving back to his,

"And I think it worked. I felt something go through me and the orb glowed and disappeared." She watched as Giles smiled painfully at her, squeezing her hand slightly. It was then that she saw the pain in his eyes. His once soft, gentle green eyes that made you feel so comfortable and warm inside were full of unimaginable pain. Willow had to look away as she felt hot tears pricking at the back of her eyes. She blinked rapidly, trying to hold them back as Giles eyes closed as well and she felt his grip on her hand release slightly.

She looked up from her lap to his bruised face and found that he had fallen asleep. She didn't want to leave him, scared that something else would happen to him, but Oz and Xander were adamant that she returned to bed,

"I'll stay with him Will as long as they'll let me." Xander said reassuringly as Oz wheeled Willow out the room. Xander watched them go before turning back to the Watcher, only to find his eyes open again,

"Xander?" Giles asked as he searched the room with his eyes for something,

"Will you go get me a nurse and find out what they've done with my clothes please?" Xander looked at the Watcher, slightly shell shocked,

"Giles if you think that you're going to walk out of this hospital tonight you've got another thing coming!" Giles sighed, frustration in his voice when he spoke again,

"Xander please. I need to return to the mansion. I need to see -" he broke off, leaving Xander to frown as he stood up from his chair. He knew he would not win if he got into an argument with Giles,

"Ok. But I'm coming with you."

Giles sighed, defeated. He knew it was the only way in which any of them were going to let him out of the hospital.

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A couple of hours later and several arguments with nurses and doctors they were heading back to the mansion. Giles had discharged himself much against the advice of the hospital and Xander. They had both agreed silently that they would not tell Willow, and Xander had asked Oz if he would drive him home as cover.

Xander let his head roll from side to side as they trundled through the streets of Sunnydale towards the mansion. Every so often he heard a stifled groan from Giles and he caught Oz looking sidelong at the man more than twice every minute.

Oz didn't have any desire to go into the mansion and so he had left them there, telling him he would pick them up later if they wanted. Giles had declined before Xander had even opened his mouth,

"Thank you Oz. But I-I d-d-on't think we'll be-be needing a lift. Just - em - just make sure you look after - after W-Willow." With that he had turned from Oz's van and was heading into the mansion on wobbly feet, leaving Xander behind. Xander frowned, thanking Oz before following Giles.

The Watcher looked like a newly born lamb, trying out their legs for the first time and Xander feared that he would just collapse on the spot. He didn't though. He continued on down the stairs into the garden, cautiously. He stopped at the bottom of the stairs, to listen or catch his breath Xander didn't know, but he kept just behind him, silent for once.

As Giles stepped through the broken frame of the window into the mansion, Xander felt he had to break the silence,

"Well the world didn't end." Giles wasn't paying attention to him though. His eyes were fixed on the statue in the middle of the room that had a sword poking from it,

"What is it?" Xander asked, following behind Giles before going to it and reaching for the sword,

"Don't!" Giles barked at him sharply, causing Xander to pull back automatically as if he had just been bitten,

"It's Acathla." He said, staring at the statue in complete hatred and fear,

"Angelus t-tried to-to raise h-h-him to b-bring an end to the - uh - the w- world." Xander automatically took a step back from the statue, looking warily at it,

"But he didn't though. 'Cause hey! The world's still here and plus I don't see Angelus anywhere."

"I don't know how he couldn't have. I told him. I told them because they made me - I saw -" Giles was saying faintly, causing Xander to turn and look at him. He changed the subject though,

"Giles I'm sure Buffy's gone home or Willow's spell worked and her and Angel are together somewhere." The words coming from his mouth caused Xander to shudder but he had to re-assure Giles. He jumped to the Watcher's side as he watched him sway violently on his feet,

"Seat." He said simply leading the Watcher to the couch and sitting him down. As he did so he realized that Giles was shaking violently, almost uncontrollably, and it scared Xander. He perched himself on the coffee table opposite, watching Giles cautiously,

"Giles I think I should take you back to the hospital. Or home." Xander didn't know what to do. He wasn't good at this looking after people thing, and he didn't know what to do except to take Giles back to the hospital or home to his own bed. He was about to ask again when Giles began to shake his head,

"Not the hospital. H-home." Giles voice was so quiet and distant when he spoke Xander was almost unsure he had heard him,

"I'll call a cab." Xander said getting up to go find a phone. He hadn't been to the Mansion a whole lot of times so he wasn't sure if it even had a phone. He would walk to the nearest payphone if he had to but he didn't think he could himself. He was tired and he wanted nothing more than his bed right about now. Yet as he reached the room he had found Giles tied up in, bloody and battered he realised he didn't know what to do. He moved forward and bent down, retrieving Giles glasses from the floor, looking at them for a moment before pocketing them. He turned back out the room, continuing to look for a phone.

He needed to talk to Buffy, to find out what happened.

He needed to reassure Willow and Giles everything would be fine.

He needed to reassure himself.

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Giles let out a sigh as he heard a door slam some distance off. He had let Xander help him up to his apartment, before he had told him to go home and get some sleep. Giles had told the boy he planned on doing the same, with a reassurance that he would see Xander and the others at school tomorrow.

He hadn't really been able to form coherent sentences because his body was protesting so much against all the unnecessary moment it had to do. Xander had offered to make him some tea, but Giles had declined, not sure if his stomach could take anything at the moment. His throat was very dry and he was no doubt still slightly dehydrated, but he didn't dare drink anything. He thought about moving upstairs to bed, but he didn't have the willpower let alone the strength to move from the couch.

He eventually managed to pull his shoes from his feet and remove his jacket, leaving him in just his bloody shirt and trousers. Several agonizing minutes later he found himself curled up on the couch, in the most comfortable position he could find. He couldn't really get comfy though. He couldn't lie on his back because it was cut up so badly, and he was scared that if he moved he would open the cuts up again. He couldn't sleep on his left side because his ribs were so badly bruised down that side. Neither could he sleep on his right side because of his arm and fingers. He had eventually found a compromise where he had propped himself in-between pillows and the couch so his back wasn't touching and he could easily cradle his arm and hand on his stomach.

He was so tired and he so badly needed rest, the pills they had given him were making him drowsy as well but he didn't dare to close his eyes for fear of what he would see.

He would be back at the Mansion again, or he would be in his bedroom. Either way he would see her. But he couldn't stop his eyes from closing and he couldn't stop his mind from dreaming. Nor could he stop himself from remembering.

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Xander found himself in school earlier than he had ever been before that morning. Maybe it was because he couldn't sleep or maybe it was the hope of seeing Buffy that was driving him towards school. He didn't know. But the first place he found himself was in the library, surprised to find Giles there as well. The Watcher was sitting at the table in the centre on the library, his glasses resting on the table in front of him. There were no books on the table, no ancient prophecies and no one sat round the table or on it or even near it. As Xander stood near the door watching him he noticed how lost Giles looked. He had nothing to do, no one to order about, no apocalypse to avert. He was a Watcher without anyone to watch.

"Yo G-man!" Giles looked up abruptly, startled by the appearance of Xander. He grabbed at his glasses as he wiped his eyes and Xander wondered if he had been crying or not,

"Morning Xander." He said as cheerily as he could. Xander knew there was something wrong then, Giles hadn't even told him not to call him G-man. Giles pulled himself unsteadily to his feet, leaving Xander to observe how pale and fragile he looked,

"Have you heard from Buffy?" Xander shook his head as he picked at the end of his cast for a moment, before gesturing towards the doors,

"Wanna take a walk?"

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Oz slammed the door to his van shut before turning back on Willow,

"Will, do you-?" he was interrupted before he could continue,

"Resolved face." She said pointing at her face as Cordelia came up to the van,

"Hey Guys." Oz nodded at Cordelia as he started to push Willow in her wheelchair across the grass to the front of the school,

"Hey Cordelia." Willow said, looking up at her, a half sort of smile on her face. There was an awkward silence as they continued on across the grass before Willow noticed Xander and Giles walking towards them. Willow frowned slightly as she watched Giles limping, looking worn and tired. She doubted he had gotten any sleep last night.

"Willow, are you sure you should be out of bed?" Giles asked her, and she was surprised at the words,

"Look who's talking." She retorted, watching him nervously. She watched as he smiled, painfully,

"Yes." He said simply, not quite sure what he meant by that one word answer but Cordelia was talking before she could question him.

"Any word?"

"You guys haven't seen her either?" Xander asked, looking expectantly at the three sorry faces. Willow shook her head,

"No."

"But we know the world didn't end, 'cause-" Oz looked around, before continuing,

"Check it out."

Giles took his glasses off squinting in the morning sun, as if he was only just now realizing it was sunny,

"Well, we, uh- we went back to the mansion. I-it was empty, um- and Acathla was, was- dormant." Willow watched him closely before she felt it was her moment to pipe up, to bring some hope to the conversation,

"I think the spell worked. I felt something go through me." She said hurriedly, trying to bring enthusiasm to her voice,

"Plus the Orb did that cool glow thing." Cordelia said, hoisting her books up so they didn't slip from her grasp. Xander finally stopped fidgeting with his cast, instead gesturing emphatically as he spoke,

"Well, maybe it wasn't in time. Maybe she had to kill him before the cure could work."

"Well, then, she'd wanna be alone, I guess." They're were all trying to come up with some desperate solution as to why Buffy wasn't here with her friends at school, reporting to her Watcher on how things went last night,

"Or maybe Angel was saved, and they want to be alone together." Each solution they came up with gave them hope, but Giles realized it was false hope,

"Perhaps." He said, not knowing what had happened, but for Buffy not to turn up to see Willow at hospital or even him something must've happened.

"Well, she's gotta show up sooner or later. We still have school." Cordelia commented, her usually obvious self,

"Yeah." Willow said, looking round for her best friend,

"She'll be here in a while."

Xander was the first to turn to head back into school, Giles followed, limping slightly as Oz pushed Willow towards the entrance, Cordelia following. All of them were oblivious to the figure across the street watching them.

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Giles slumped into his office chair, physically and mentally drained. Commodore Snyder had just interrogated him as to how he had obtained such horrible injuries. The best he had been able to come up with was he had been in a car crash and Snyder had seemed satisfied with that. He had received several strange looks from colleagues, and some had even asked after him, trying to encourage him to take some time off.

He sighed, slouching further down in his chair, removing his glasses as he listened to the deafening silence of the library. He couldn't hear Buffy and Xander playfully teasing each other. He couldn't hear Willow and Buffy whispering secrets to each other and then giggling. He couldn't even hear Buffy protesting about last night's patrol. There was no one there at all. It was just him and his books, and his painful breathing.

The shrill ring of the telephone cut through him like knives, and he picked it up as quickly as he could, just to stop the ringing of it,

"Hello?"

"Mr. Giles?"

"Yes?"

"It's Joyce Summer's here, Buffy's mother." There was a pause down the phone, and he heard Joyce sob before she continued,

"I sorry but I didn't know who to call."

Giles felt the office dim away as Joyce continued to talk, reading him the letter Buffy had left on her bed.

What was a Watcher to do if he had no one to watch?