Disclaimer: - None of the characters, places or situations used in this

                      story belong to me in the slightest. I merely pick them up,

                      have some fun, dust them down and put them back in more

                      or less the same condition I found them in. The song at the

                      beginning is from Tears for Fears and is most recently sung

                      by Gary Jules

Note: - I'm not sure whether or not to continue this, I will most likely

             make a decision based on the reaction to the story. This story

             may also develop into a B/G story, as already hinted on. So if you

             do like it please do let me know and give me any 

             suggestions/constructive criticism etc. This is the first time I've

             written anything for two years so any help will be gratefully

             received! Thank you.

"Mad World"

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
And their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
'Cos I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very
Mad World
Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what's my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me

The sound resonated through his body like echoes in a tomb. Heavy footstep followed heavy footstep, each louder and more lingering than the last. Experience made Rupert Giles tuck a reassuringly sharp stake in his back pocket, and a reassuringly heavy hipflask in his inside jacket pocket. He didn't put much pressure on his eyes, finding his other senses were more useful in the semi-dark of Sunnydale's cemetery. He wasn't quite sure just how he had ended up treading the well worn path through the graves, he only knew that he'd had to get out before the heady silence suffocated him and the darkness surrounding him sucked him into it's unending abyss.

Giles knew there wasn't much to be feared in walking the cemetery path after sundown. The only creatures to be found would be inexperienced vampires, fresh from the ground and unable to think past their first blood. More experienced vampires preferred to steer clear of such "clichés" as the darkened cemetery, knowing that the best meat was to be found in more populated spots. Giles snorted – quite ironic really that so many feared to walk among the dead after dark when the most dead they would ever come into contact with were to be found in the bronze on a Saturday night. Dancing teenagers, high on a heady mix of sex and alcohol, were far better prey than a lone man stalking round a graveyard.

Giles silently wondered to himself when he became able to think of vampire attacks like this. Once – when he was first starting out as a Watcher and filled with a sense of self importance – Rupert would have found himself rushing to the Bronze in aid of all the young lives within it. However, now he simply accepted it. Death becomes a way of life when you see it on a daily basis, when you talk to it, feed it and let it live in your basement.

Rupert Giles sighed and lowered himself into a handy bench. It seemed that the physical exertion and danger of a fight he longed for were lost to him tonight. In fact he could almost say that the graveyard was quite dead, if he were looking for a pun. Relaxing his senses Giles reached inside his jacket and pulled out the cool flask nestling against his side. Flipping open the top with a practised hand he took a long drink of the fiery liquid within. As it burnt a trail to his stomach he shuddered slightly before taking another mouthful. As the scotch began to slightly numb his senses Giles sighed and tipped back his head. The stars looked beautiful tonight, it had been too long since he last looked at them. For too long Rupert Giles had been more concerned with what was under the stars, losing himself in the darkness that covered the earth like a shroud. Giles shivered despite the unnatural warmth in the air and brought the silver hipflask back up to his mouth, tipping the amber elixir down the back of his throat, allowing it to warm his body and cloud his mind. As the liquid began to take hold Giles leant back and rested his head on the hard wood of the bench, briefly shutting his eyes to the brightness of the stars.

Giles' found himself jolted out of his mindless reverie when a scuffling disturbed him on his right hand side followed by a foot kicking his own. He opened his eyes and glared at the disturbance, just in time to see Spike dust the fledgling vampire.

"So you're awake then?" The blonde vampire raised an eyebrow at the slightly dishevelled Giles on the bench, Giles simply snorted and turned his eyes back to the sky. "Oh well," The vampire huffed. "Thank you Spike for saving my life, oh it was nothing, no really – I am in your debt." Seeing no reaction from the form on the bench Spike stopped his tirade and sat himself down. "Stupid bloody watcher, should do less watching and more thinking if you ask me." He muttered as he drew his long black coat around him.

"Look, for your information I was perfectly awake and more than capable of handling that creature." Giles snapped, startling the Vampire as he prepared to light a cigarette – leaving it still dangling on his lips. "And I certainly didn't need any sodding would-be-do-gooding vampires jumping in thank-you-very-much." He huffed, uncomfortably aware of the lie. Avoiding the creature's raised eyebrow he took another hefty swig from the flask, this time barely noticing the fire in his throat. Spike gave the watcher a long look before proffering an almost full cigarette packet.

"Here, you look like you could do with one of these."

Giles hesitated for a moment before reaching over and pulling out a cigarette, sharing a light with the vampire before inhaling a lungful of smoke. Almost immediately he coughed and spluttered, Spike chuckled as Giles fixed him with a glare before attempting a more successful drag of the cigarette. The old familiarity of the action – long forgotten since his teenage years – returned almost straight away and Giles found himself relaxing back and exhaling a thin stream of smoke.

"Thanks." He mumbled. After a few beats Giles found himself offering the hipflask to Spike, the vampire looked almost as surprised as he felt before taking the flask from his hand and taking a long draught.

"So what brings an old watcher into the cemetery on a warm Monday night?" Spike asked idly without much interest. "Apart from an obvious desire to become a young vampire's first meal." Giles shot a look in the cocky Vampire's direction.

"The anticipated delight of your company, obviously." He retorted sarcastically.

"Hey, you could be dead without me." Spike reminded the Watcher, pointing a lazy finger in his direction. "So the least you could do is show me some bloody respect, it's more than your slayer does anyway." He muttered to himself.

"Why should Buffy show you respect?" Giles snorted.

"I've done a lot for her I'll have you know!" The Vampire said indignantly. "I've been there, I've listened, even become a bloody recluse. I didn't have to you know." He grumbled, flicking the ash off the end of his cigarette. "I could have quite easily stayed a killing monster but I didn't. I changed. And I would have been a lot happier the other way I tell you."

"Well you didn't exactly have must choice did you." Giles replied. "What with being neutered and living in my house watching daytime soaps."

"Hey, there's nothing wrong with a daytime soap!" Spike said defensively. "And besides, I could've carried on with or without the chip. It was my decision. I made a choice and now I'm… paying for it." He trailed off.

"My heart bleeds." Giles commented dryly, flicking away his still glowing cigarette butt. "Anyway, you think that Buffy shows me anymore respect than she does you? You think it matters that I'm supposedly her Watcher."

"Fired Watcher." Spike reminded,

"Yes fired Watcher." Giles snapped, becoming uncomfortably aware that he was saying too much but finding it too much effort to stop. "Still you would expect it means more. When I started this job it meant something, it was respected and now look. Bloody Vampires mean more than I do and yet I just can't sodding well leave. It's all right for you, I mean look at you, you can go, just get up and walk away whenever you choose."

"Oh really, you think I can do that." Spike spluttered taking one final drag of his cigarette before stubbing it out with his heel. "You think I'm not just as tied to her as you. I tell you, that woman takes grown men's balls and keeps them as pets. Look at us!" Giles shifted uncomfortably against the cold wood pressing against him and clutched at his flask before taking a long gulp.

"You're wrong Spike, she needs me, I'm her Watcher." Giles stated, more to himself than the bleached Vampire sitting beside him.

"Bollocks." Spike laughed, "She doesn't need anybody. Not me, not you, not even Red." Giles glared balefully at the vampire and took another swig of the flask, noticing for the first time the low level of liquid left in it. He handed the flask to Spike who quickly drained it.

"Bugger it, I need more to drink." Spike stood up and looked to the sky before glancing down at the sullen Watcher on the seat. For a moment something almost like worry threatened to mar the Vampire's mind but he pushed it away. "Looking are you coming or not."

Giles blinked upwards before standing up, slightly swaying as the alcohol found his bloodstream and exuberantly made itself at home. Spike gave him an appraising look then walked off, not even checking to see if the slightly intoxicated Watcher was following. Giles stood for a moment before consciously making a decision and lurching in the direction of the blonde vamp, following his path through the graves. The part of Rupert Giles that was sober and still wearing tweed despaired.

Giles sat cradling an almost empty glass of whisky. His elbows rested among various drained pint and shot glasses. He looked through a haze of alcohol to the corner of the room where he could just about make out a bleached blonde Vampire talking furtively to an underhand looking associate. Was it Turkin? Tunlin? Turnip? Giles shrugged his shoulders and swiftly drained his glass, he signalled to the barman who poured him another drink with practised ease and slid it under his nose. Giles took a reflective sip and glanced back over to Spike's urgent conversation. When did the Vampire get a chance to keep his hair looking so blonde anyway? And where did he buy his hair dye? Giles barely had a chance to dwell on these ruminations when he found himself being yanked to his feet.

"We're leaving, now." Spike hissed between clenched teeth.

"What, all… all ready?" Giles slurred slightly. "But I've bare… barely started." He groped for his glass and quickly drained it as Spike propelled him towards the door, only pausing to drop it onto the stone floor, jumping when it smashed. Giles only just noticed an angry looking man with a strangely fish like looking face gesturing wildly to some thugs before the door swung shut.

"Where are we going now?" Giles asked blearily as Spike hurtled down an alley, dragging the ex-watcher behind him. Spike stopped and unceremoniously dumped Giles in a heap on the floor before placing a finger on his lips and swaying slightly. Four shadows rushed past the darkened alley and Giles vaguely heard shouting begin to fade in the distance. As the hurried footsteps receded Spike slid down the wall until he was sitting next to Giles and began to giggle. Giles raised himself up.

"Whass… whasso funny?" He asked agitatedly, just making Spike giggle more.

"Y'know." He said happily, fumbling for his cigarette packet. "Your accent sounds really poncey when you're drunk."

"Hey!" Giles jolted upright angrily then thought for a minute before giggling. "We've got the same accent!" A frown crossed the handsome Vampire's face before smoothing out.

"Bugger." Spike proclaimed before collapsing back into giggles, leaning on the ex-watchers shoulder. Finally retrieving his cigarette packet the Vampire shook out two cigarettes, putting one in his mouth and popping one into the mouth of the older looking man. Giles paused to light his cigarette before taking a long drag then slightly sobering up.

"I want to go home." Crease lines appeared on Rupert Giles otherwise handsome face as previous feelings, heightened by drink came flooding back. Spike watched the change and sighed.

"Oh bloody hell." He stood up and pulled the other man up by his arm. Giles was yanked to his feet and stood swaying as Spike placed Giles' arm around his shoulder. The two men lurched down the street, alternatively smoking and bursting into loud snatches of song, frightening away the alley cats who had gathered to watch these two strangers in their land. 

Buffy lay back in the bath and sighed happily. She had been patrolling earlier in the night and now was indulging in a relaxing bath before snuggling up in her warm cosy bed. The young woman smiled and closed her eyes in anticipation of the comfort awaiting her and slid further under the warm blanket of bubbles, listening only to the beat of her heartbeat in her ears. The strong beat became louder, ringing in her head, pounding and pounding until she frowned and shook her head, trying to rid herself of it. Buffy sat upright in her bath, gasping slightly as the cool air hit her wet, naked skin. It wasn't just in her ears after all, the pounding was coming from downstairs.

Buffy got quickly out of the bath and pulled her blue robe around her, feeling her senses instinctively sharpen. She pulled a stake from within the bathroom cupboard and crept down the stairs, her heightened eyesight scanning for anything that might be amiss. It took her a few moments to realise that the sound she could hear was coming from the door. Just as the thought registered the banging dwindled then stopped altogether, with a final audible thump before silence was the only sound ringing in her ears.

Buffy quickly tucked her stake in her robe pocket and rushed to the door. As she fumbled with the locks and chains she cursed at the heightened security her lifestyle required. Almost frantically ripping away the last chain Buffy flung open the door to reveal two very crumpled forms on the doormat.

"Ah Buffy," The first one said. "Sorry to dist… distur… disturb you, only I seem to have lost my keys. I was wondering, if perhaps you would… be so kind… as to." The figure pulled itself to its feet and swayed slightly before hiccupping dignifiedly.

"Giles?" Buffy asked bewilderedly.

"D'you know slayer." The second figure, still crumpled on the doorstep, slurred. "You can see right up that robe from here."

"Spike?!"

The vampire collapsed into giggles as Giles attempted to stifle his snorts.

"Anyway Buffy, would you be so kind as to… as to…" The ex-watchers handsome faced creased as he blinked at her from behind his glasses. "What was I asking again." Spike got up to his feet with difficulty and lurched forwards.

"Here slayer, have your watcher." He gave the still swaying man a push and Rupert Giles toppled forwards into the arms of the blonde woman on the doorway.

Buffy inwardly thanked her slayer strength as she hoisted up Giles and pulled him awkwardly across the threshold.

"Say Slayer." A thought struck Spike and he staggered. "I don't suppose there'd be room in your bed for a good looking blonde with an enormous…" He trailed off as Buffy firmly shut the door in his face. "Another time then?" He shouted hopefully before turning and making his unsteady way down the street.

Inside the warmth of the house Buffy, with difficulty, manoeuvred Giles towards the sofa.

"You know, this might actually be easier if you used those things attached to your ass." She grumbled between gritted teeth. Giles just blinked as the strong young woman threw him onto the sofa. 

"Is this my sofa?" He asked blearily. Buffy just grunted and stamped away, by the time she had found a blanket Giles was asleep and gently snoring with his glasses hanging off his face. The blonde woman's face softened slightly as she looked down at the older mans peaceful face. She gently removed the glasses, allowing her finger to briefly brush his surprisingly soft skin. Then, visibly shaking herself, she placed his glasses on the side and tucked the blanket around him before, with one last glance, heading for the stairs.

To be continued?