A Night in the Life of the Slayer

By S. T. Farnham

Authors Notes: This takes place during Season Four towards the beginning of the first semester. The story is told in variable first person, each person identified at the beginning of each section.

I don't usually write sad stories and I am not entirely sure where this one came from, it just oozed up out of my subconscious.

I should also point out that I am not personally acquainted with alcoholism, so my depiction is imaginary and fictional.

Disclaimer: The Buffyverse is owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, UPN and the incompetent buttheads at Fox who sabotaged and then canceled Firefly. Please don't sue me; I make just enough money to keep two cats in a life of feline luxury.

Spoilers: None if you've been watching Buffy.

Rating: T (PG-13), for adult situations of the less exciting variety.

1: Sam the Wino

I was lying in some garbage in my favorite alley in beautiful downtown Sunnydale. The day before was one of my best days in my short memory – I had found two whole dollars. I was worried that the store might not take them cuz they were those new funny kind of dollars. I worried and worried and worried and worried all the way to the store, way over on the next block. But the guy took 'em, and I got two glorious bottles of wine, and some change.

I got back to my alley and my good luck continued. I found a hamburger that was still a little warm and only had two bites taken out of it. It was delicious. And rooting around in the bottom of the Dumpster I even found some fries to go with the burger, they were pretty good once I scraped off the dirt and coffee grounds. And I washed it all down with almost all of my wonderful delicious, fulfilling, life-giving, cheap wine, and drifted gently off into a land of beautiful dreams.

But then I woke up. Something was biting my neck. "Oww!" I thought, I couldn't get any air through my mouth. I was terrified, what if I couldn't get any more wine? I could feel myself getting a little weak, when suddenly, whoosh! The creature was thrown from me with great force! An angel? I could see a beautiful angel come down from the heavens to save me from the angel of death so that I could drink some more wine. The two angels were fighting each other, as best as I could see through me weary, woozy, and blurry, eyes. Every time the lovely blond angel connected with the horrifying dark angel there was a loud SMACK! And the sound stabbed me through my eyeballs and through the back of my eye sockets and through my brain to the back of my skull and out the back to the point where I just couldn't think of anything else at all, oh, when would the pain stop? I hurt so much where's my wine my wonderful wonderful wine? I needed the rest I think there's some left in the second bottle left over from yesterday yes yes yes yes where'd it go?

I was scrabbling around in the dirt with my right hand (I think it was my right, I'm no longer certain of the difference) and found the bottle. Ah, there's that lil rascal. I took a mouthful, two mouthfuls, no, I tell a lie, three mouthfuls. And then I could look up. The angel of merciful heaven took a wooden tent stake out of her inside breast pocket and I watched with befuddlement as she stabbed the angel of death in his chest. He turned to dust! No really, it wasn't a booze dream – he turned to dust, honest, as the wine flows he really really turned to dust!

OK, don't believe me then, see if I care. After that the blond angel turned to me and bent down with her hands between her knees and with a look of intense concern on her face. Funny, she didn't look so much like an angel anymore, more like a cheerleader, if cheerleaders wore leather pants and boots. I wonder how many cows it took to make those pants? Maybe the meat from one ended up in my hamburger from last night. Damn but that was a good hamburger. It was still warm when I ate it you know. It went well with my wine. Where is my next bottle of wine going to come from?

The cheering angel looked at me with great concern (oh, I'm sorry, I said that. Sometimes I repeat myself because my synapses don't fire in straight lines anymore.) She said to me, as if to a retarded child, or to a drooling drunken certifiable idiot who hasn't bathed in three weeks, "Are you all right?"

Was I all right? Did I look all right? How could she ask me that? I was out of wine, how could I possibly be all right! I tried to speak to her, but some croaking noises came out of my mouth instead of words. How to make myself understood? I waved a wine bottle at her. She misunderstood and jumped back a few feet. Oh, oh, come back my lovely blond angel! You smell so good! You look so wonderful! I've never seen a vision like you. And I think you might have saved my life or something, I'm not too clear on that. But all I could do was make little croaking noises.

What was she doing? She picked me up! That couldn't be, she's much smaller than me – uh oh I think gonna pass out…

2: Buffy

Oh, lord, how I love my life. Not! Here I am rooting around in a disgusting, dirty, smelly dark alley, picking up a disgusting, dirty, stinking old drunk. I'll have to write a book called the Romance of Slayerdom someday. Sigh, I just couldn't leave that old reprobate to bleed to death in this alley, not after dusting the vampire that was feeding off him. (And wasn't that low, even for a vampire!) Oh good, he passed out. God, the stench, this guy smelt like he hadn't bathed in three weeks, or changed clothes in a year! I'll have to lather rinse and repeat a million times and then soak in a tub for a few hours and burn my clothes. Oh well, that'll give me a good excuse to go shopping.

I approached the hospital and went around to the emergency entrance. As I walked in with the old guy over my shoulder in a fireman's carry, everybody looked at me with Oh, it's HER again expressions. As a dropped the drunk on an exam table, cushioning his head against damage with my hand, even the battle hardened ER nurses wrinkled their noses in disgust as his stench rolled outward in palpable waves. God, I think he pissed his pants on the way over, there was damp spot near my waist. Oh, this just gets better and better.

"Hi guys," I said as cheerfully as possible (not very), "this guy's lost some blood, but you know the drill." I pointed to his neck wound and the staff burst into action. Antibiotics, plasma, coagulants, stab him with a needle for blood tests, cut away his smelly clothes (thank god) but he's naked now, ew yuck, and I think its time for me to leave. I turned to go and ran smack into the admittance clerk.

"Just a minute miss, we've got some paperwork to fill out."

"Hey, I just found him like that. Don't know him, never saw him before, I hope to never see him again. I don't know what happened. He's your problem."

I tried to sidestep out the door and be gone before they could do anything, but it didn't work. A security guy was in my way.

"Come on, Buffy," he said, "you know the drill – paperwork is the worlds lubricant."

Sigh, I sat down at the clerk's desk and did my best, but she could've filled in the blanks as well as, or maybe better than I could. And I couldn't fill in many blanks.

Eventually we were done and I went to the ER lounge to get some coffee. I was practically an insider at the hospital – I knew where to find the best coffee! There were several nurses taking a break – I felt sorry for them, they were overworked and they didn't even get to kill things. One that I recognized said to me, "Buffy, how do you do it? How do you find these guys? Why do you bother?"

"Oh, it's just fate," I replied, kinda bored. I knew from experience that this kind of conversation would go nowhere, mostly because I could never substantially answer anyone's question about my less visible activities.

One of the newer interns shot me a dark look and asked, "Yeah, how come you're always bringing in these people with fang marks on their necks? If I didn't know better, I'd think you were a vampire!"

"Hey doc," I said, a bit nettled, "put that stethoscope to use and listen to my heartbeat!"

He took me at my word and put the end of his stethoscope against my chest and gently pressed his hand against my left breast. Hmmm, I wondered, is this a professional exam? I think he's just copping a feel. It's probably too late to jump back instinctively. I wonder if I should hit him?

After a moment he stepped back and said, "Yup, you are definitely human, unquestionably female, and alive. And in incredibly good cardiac health if I'm any judge, and I am. But Buffy, no one else brings in these weird bitten patients like you do."

A nurse contradicted the intern, "No, that's not true. The cop's bring in such victims even more often, but they're usually dead, that's why you don't see them. And last week Buffy marched two guys in here at gunpoint – they didn't have any fang marks. But it was the funniest thing I've ever seen. They were both bigger than her, and both were bitchin' about how she beat 'em up."

This was a little embarrassing, but those guys had royally pissed me off. A couple of the nurses were laughing out loud. She continued, "And the one was complaining over and over about how he was trying to rob her and she told him he was holding his gun wrong!"

The others broke up at that.

She continued, "and the first was complaining about how she tricked them and took his partner's gun! And he was spitting angry that his partner let her have his gun. And the other kept saying, 'I didn't give her my gun, she just took it! And it wasn't fair!' Oh, I had hard time keeping a straight face! And the cop just stoically took down everything they said in his notebook as we patched up their various bruises and injuries."

The intern looked at me with a worried expression this time, "Buffy, you shouldn't screw around when people point guns at you. I've treated too many gunshot wounds, it can be nasty."

"Oh, that guy didn't know much about guns. Not only was he holding it sideways, which makes it hard to aim, he had a loose grip – he thought he was stylin' or some such crap. I felt that taking his gun away was safer than letting him keep it, a kind of good for humanity sort of thing. It was no big."

They all looked at me with funny expressions.

3: Sam the Wino

Whoa! I thought to myself as I woke up. What a hangover. This was a bad one! What was that awful smell? Smells like a hospital, yuck. Some old drunk musta spilled some foul alcohol near my garbage pile. I pried my eyes open, and tried to clear the mucus out so's I could see. Hell, I shoulda kept 'em shut. Where am I? Holy shit, this is a hospital! How'd I get here, I wondered? Well, more importantly, where could I get some wine? I knew from past experience that these damned nurses were mighty uncooperative when it came to gettin' booze to a patient. Well, I thought, I think I'll just leave. I threw the covers back and heaved myself out of bed and the floor came up so fastfast and hit me hard on my face. What the hell? How come I was so weak?

A nurse came running in and started to get me back into bed. But I didn't want that. I told her and told her and told her that I was leaving, but it was like she couldn't hear me or something and kept shoving me and pushing and lifting and then I was back in bed with the IV re-inserted into me and this time they put straps around my hands and oh shit oh shit I don't want that no no why oh why is there a bandage around my neck?

Maybe, oh that couldn't be, but maybe it wasn't a dream last night down the alley it musta been a dream but where'd this bandage come from? And then I passed out…

4: Buffy

I took off my clothes and dumped them into a bag. I'll drop them off at the dry cleaners later, this is definitely a job for professionals. It took about an hour of showering before I felt clean again, but I succeeded in getting the night's work off of my skin. I glanced at the clock, three am, six hours till Professor Walsh's psych class. Plenty of time for me to get a good nights sleep and write a paper on – whatever I'm supposed to write a paper on. Maybe Willow can clue me in at breakfast.

My eyes popped open at seven on the dot, just seconds before Willow's alarm started ringing. Willow was already up, brushing her hair and in general getting ready to spend some quality Oz-time today.

"Hey Will, need a little favor."

"Gotcha covered Buffy, here's an outline and notes for your psych paper – I draw the line at actually writing it for you though."

"Thanks Willow," I said, "that's all I need to get the job done. I'll share my saving-a-life-karma with you for that good deed."

"Oh? You did Slayer save-age last night? And there I was, stuck in library doing your outline!"

"Hey, you can't fool me, you love these little projects, besides, the guy last night? I'm not sure how much credit I get for keeping him alive, he was one of those wino's who live on garbage while they drink themselves to death."

"Buffy, you know you have to try, maybe you should do some follow-up to see if you can – well, I don't know what you can do. But let's try! Maybe we can make him a special project for Professor Walsh!"

"Willow! Did you see how fast you went from you to we? I think that set a record, even for you. Although, I suppose a little visit to the hospital today wouldn't be out of order. My last class is out at 2:00 today, how about you?"

"How the do you get these schedules? Nine to two? That's better than banker's hours. Although, it's not as good as Giles and Xander these days, they're like no hours. I am free from two to three, so we can go then."

5: Sam the Wino

Gaaaah! My brain was absolutely pounding pounding pounding against my skull! My eyeballs felt like sandpaper, my skin was crawling around in random directions, I need to throw up – like right now! I spewed off to my right (Hey, I remember my right from my left now, obviously I need a drink). I heard an angry yell. Oh, oh, well, these things wouldn't happen if I could get enough wine to stay passed out.

"Watch out Buffy! He's projectile vomiting!" I heard an outraged young female voice. "Are you sure this is the right one?"

"Yes," I heard a feminine heavy sigh, "this is the one. Oh well, I needed to get these boots cleaned anyway."

I pried my eyes open and blinked to clear them, since my hands were still tied. "Uh, I need to piss – oops, not any more. I could see grimaces on my young visitors faces. Who are these people? And why are they staring at me? Will they give me any wine? Oh jeez, I just realized that these weren't private thoughts, I could speak again and I am. Out loud. Oh shut up! Hey, that's the golden angel that fought off the dark angel of death for me last night! Hey! HEY! What are you doing here?"

6: Buffy

I felt like I was witnessing a personal psychotherapy session, this guy was spewing words as well as stomach contents all over the place. Why was I here again? It's not like he's a demon or anything. "Willow, why are we here today? Do you think we can help this guy?"

"Well, I doubt we can do much," she said, looking doubtful. "But you know we should try, and maybe we can figure out a way to turn this into extra credit."

"Oh right," I said, "cause everyone's so enthused about psych 101 students doing real research on real people."

Willow looked thoughtful at that. "Well, maybe not. I forgot that we're just starting our study of psychology. Well, maybe we could try witchcraft!"

"Will, that's not so much a 'we' project as a 'you' project. You're the only witch here."

The drunk suddenly started shouting, "Witches! Witches! Witches! Gotta get outta here! Get me some wine, bitches! I mean Witches! I mean wine! There's some spots moving around on the ceiling! Stop them! Stop those spots from moving around they're gonna smother me oh where oh where is my wine!"

A nurse came rushing in with a shot prepared. She stabbed the drunk in his butt and turned to us, "I'm sorry about that, he's not well. I think maybe you'd better leave him alone for now."

"Sure," I said easily, "We've accomplished exactly zip."

"Except you got a good reason to get your boots professionally cleaned," added Willow helpfully.

7: Willow

Geez, I couldn't help but keep thinking about that poor old drunk in the hospital. How low could a human being go, I wondered? What could have happened in that man's life to make him dive into the bottle like that? I decided that this evening I would make a list, I started with a mental list: 1) who, 2) what, 3) where, and 4) why.

That may seem simplistic, but it's served me well to always start with the fundamentals. After my afternoon drama class I returned to my dorm room, and will wonders never cease, Buffy was in!

"Hey Buffy," I asked, "whatcha doing?"

"I was actually studying, if you can believe that. I skipped ahead a little in psychology, but the sections I could find on alcoholism aren't doing me much good."

"Oh Buffy, I may have given you too much to worry about, it's doubtful that we, or anyone else, could help someone as far gone as that guy. He's gonna be Demon Chow shortly after the hospital lets him go, and you know they can't keep him for long with their budget problems and all."

"Yeah, I know," she sighed, "and we've certainly seen far more deserving people get killed and eaten over the years. I still feel a bit responsible though, if nothing else I should be able to keep downtown Sunnydale vampire free."

"But that wouldn't help the drunks much, it would just keep them alive a little longer but there would be no change in the outcome," I said, realizing as a spoke that I was being unusually pessimistic.

We talked longer on the subject, without saying anything new, and eventually put the whole project on the back burner.

8: Sam the Wino

I was sober for the first time in … well, I don't know. I couldn't actually remember how long it had been since I had been sober. I could remember being sober, I'm just not sure when that was. But I sure as hell didn't plan to stay that way any longer than I could find a bottle of wine, or anything with alcohol in it. But that girl, I kept seeing her in my minds' eye. In fact, I couldn't get rid that vision. And worse, somehow or other, she was extremely disapproving of me. How could that be? I wondered why would she save my life if she disapproved of my staying drunk? Could it have anything to do with the fact that I intended to drink myself to death? Why? It's my life, not hers. She can just shove her do-gooder stuff right where the sun don't shine. Yeah, that's the ticket, where the sun don't shine. Where can I get some wine?

I leaned back and stared at the ceiling. Then I noticed that the sun had suddenly shifted from late morning to late afternoon. Hmm, I guess I lost track of time. But come to think of it, I rarely keep track of time, in fact, you could say that I'm not into time. Who said that I wondered, somebody besides me said that once, I wonder who it was?

Hell, with sobriety returning I was starting to remember things I would rather forget. For one thing, that was a vampire that just about ended my worthless existence the other night. I remember that all too clearly now. And I know about vampires, that's odd, I wonder where that info came from? Most people believe they're just fiction and would lock me up if I mentioned it. Better not mention it then, no wine in lockup. And that girl! Wow, she whaled on that vamp! Oh, I just realized, she's a Slayer! Must be The Vampire Slayer and she lives in Sunnydale, California. Wow! I wonder where this stuff is coming from? Where is my next bottle of wine coming from? Then I went back to sleep.

9: Willow

Well, the first thing is who. So I went to the hospital and managed a sneaky look at the paperwork on our guy. They hadn't identified him yet. Oh look, some of this is Buffy's handwriting. That Buffy, she acts like she doesn't care much and then goes and takes the time to fill out as much paperwork as possible, how can I possibly live up to her standards? Some days I feel lucky to have Buffy for a friend.

Well, lets see, I could get fingerprints but who could I get to run them through NCIC for me? Maybe that Detective Stein would do it. He talked to me briefly last year, asking me about Buffy's background and continuing with some impertinent questions about how I managed to get attacked in the school library bad enough to require hospitalization. Come to think of it, I don't think he was impressed with my answers or with me. Sigh, that leaves a little magic. Yep, a harmless little spell to encourage the Detective to spill his guts to me. Oh, that came out wrong, I didn't mean it that way, absolute power doesn't really corrupt absolutely, does it? Somehow, I had the feeling that I would find out as the years go by.

10: Giles

Ahhh! I sighed as I sat down in my favorite easy chair with a freshly brewed cup of English Breakfast Tea on the side table, along with a few scones one of my nicer neighbors made for me from time to time. I opened my latest treasure, Alascor's Annotated Compendium of Unnatural Disasters, with which I hoped to pass the rest of the day. Unfortunately, it was not to be, for the front door slammed open and my Slayer walked in. I should start locking that door.

I couldn't help but notice that Buffy didn't have her usual energetic bounce; by nature she was a creature of confidence, a force to be reckoned with, but today she seemed to be of downcast spirit.

"Buffy," I asked, "is something wrong? You seem to be a bit, um, off. Here, have a bite of Marmite on a scone, and a cup of tea, that'll perk you right up." She shuddered visibly. She's been unenthusiastic about Marmite ever since that unfortunate affair when Xander convinced her to taste it.

"No, no, Giles, no Marmite, please. I'm just a little slayed out, I'm all whacked and crispy."

"Er, excuse my lack of English comprehension, but what do you mean? If you please?"

"Oh, it's no biggie Giles. It's just that I dusted a vampire in the middle of a drainage session with a gross-out alky last night. And this AM I'm just not sure of Life, the Universe, and Everything."

I shook my head a little, and tried to translate back to my mother tongue. But there was something missing from my personal dictionary. "I am sorry Buffy, you simply must be more precise if I am to aid you this morning. What does an overrated work of science fiction have to do with your abstracted mood? Surely catching a vampire in the act would be cause for rejoice, would it not? Were you unable to save the victim?"

"No Giles, I saved him, for now anyway. But he's a suicidal alcoholic, to borrow a phrase. I kept him from croaking last night, but I am afraid it won't make any difference in the not-so-long run. And that's why I'm lacking this morning, I just don't understand the pressure that would cause someone to want to drink himself to death. I mean, it takes such a long time and it's so messy and it'd be kinda like forever, if you know what I mean."

"So you think he should find a hygienic and efficient procedure with which to commit suicide?" I asked, a little facetiously. I hoped she wasn't so disconsolate as to miss my meaning. She wasn't, she turned towards me and glared. I glared back, then stopped to polish my glasses. "All right Buffy, I will help you look into this. It is possible that your Slayer Sense is telling you something that we should understand. Do you know his name?"

"No, he was too far gone to say anything the other night. Yesterday after classes Willow and I visited him in the hospital for a few minutes. It was a fruitless visit. Oh, remind me to drop my boots off the shoe store."

My train of thought was thoroughly derailed by Buffy's non sequitur. "Yes, well, ahem, don't forget your boots. You say he's in hospital? What room, perhaps I'll pay him a visit."

"Room 247. Don't expect much, I'd better get going or I'll be late for Freshman English."

"By all means, go," I said, as I held the door open, "that may well be your most important class!"

11: Sam The Wino

I've got to get out of here! My memory was coming back in huge chunks, I don't want to remember anymore I'm a drunk I want a drink I want some wine I want to die I want my quiet alley I want my wine I want out. After a minute of this my head quieted down. I had way too much memory. I got up, and this time I was steady on my feet. Well, steady might be an exaggeration, but I could stand. That was an improvement. I found some pajamas in a closet and put them on. I walked down the hall, rode the elevator down, and walked out the door. No one stopped me, no one noticed me. I walked in a steady shuffle towards my alley. I neither rushed nor dragged. One step at a time left right left right, ad infinitum. And finally, there it was, my spot, my personal pile of garbage. I shivered. I had no wine and no money and no future. It was dark and cold when did that happen I wondered dully it was afternoon when I left the hospital I heard a sound and looked to my right. There, there's a vampire. I just looked at him and waited for the inevitable and welcome end.

12: Buffy

It had been a good patrol. I got into a nice little free-for-all with four vamps in the graveyard. I worked out a lot of my frustrations on those vamps. And they're all dusty now. It's amazing how fighting for my life puts everything back into perspective sometimes. I think I am incredibly lucky to be able to do what I do, night after night. I suspect that most people don't feel that way, that most people prefer to have quiet evenings watching TV. Its possible, I suppose, that a love for the fight is part of Slayerness, it would make sense, after all. I mean, what good would a pacific Slayer be? I know I try not to let on to my friends just how much I enjoy what I do, it wouldn't be polite. They simply can't do what I can, what with the supernatural skills and all. Plus, I have the feeling that even friends would look at me all funny if I made it clear just how different I am from most people.

Around midnight I found myself wandering down Sunnydale's alleys. In fact, this was the same alley that I found that old drunk the other night. Who's that up ahead in the gloom? Holy hell! That was him again up there, being attacked again! "Hey," I shouted to the vamp, "leave that guy alone!" I broke into a run, I didn't have any doubt that I could stake the bloodsucker before he drained the drunkard. But then, that vampire looked me right in my eyes, he was holding his victim by the neck, then, he twisted his hands and I heard a neck-snapping crunch. He smiled at me and let go. The body flopped lifelessly to the ground.

I saw red. I went into what I privately refer to as my 'berserker rage'. I've never mentioned this to anyone, not even to Giles. But sometimes, when the odds are tremendous against me, I become detached from the world, a cold and calculating killing machine, killing left and right. I scare myself when I'm in that state, but I'd be dead if it never happened. This time it wasn't the odds that triggered it, it was my anger. I hit the vamp in the stomach and he flew into the wall. I hit him again, and again, and yet again. I kept hitting him in my rage, I beat him to a bloody pulp. Then, he looked at me, now a pitiful broken creature, no longer a fierce predator of the night. I suddenly stopped, sickened by my own actions. I took out my stake and dusted him.

I turned towards the poor old drunk. His head was at an awful angle. I picked him up and took him to the hospital. Then I went back to my dorm room and curled up in a ball on my bed, I couldn't even get undressed.

After a while I was able to shake off the feeling, after all, I've seen a lot of death in the last few years. And this guy did nothing to help himself. I couldn't figure out why I was having such a hard time compartmentalizing my feelings this time. Eventually, I went to sleep.

13: Giles

A day had passed since I had seen Buffy. I went to the hospital yesterday, and with a little surreptitious investigating, and a little help from Willow, I found that the hospital had indeed identified Buffy's drunk. I was in a state of – not shock exactly – anguish perhaps. I was standing at my window, looking out without seeing much of anything, when Buffy slouched in. She was, if anything, even more depressed than yesterday. It looked like she barely had enough energy to sit, much less stand.

"Lie down on the couch Buffy," I said to her, "or at least sit. I found out who your anonymous alcoholic is, he's Sam Zabuto."

"Sam Zabuto," she said, with a question in her eyes, "you mean Kendra's watcher?"

"The very one. He managed to leave the hospital yesterday before I got there. But I finished out his paperwork, including insurance information. The Watcher's Council may occasionally act like a pack of bounders, but they do go out of the way to insure that Watchers have a good medical benefits package. So we should be able to get him the help he needs, if we can find him again."

"Yeah, well," said Buffy, "if he wasn't dead, sure. A vampire killed him as I watched, unable to act in time – snapped his neck as I was leaping to the not-rescue. I took his body to the morgue last night. But that vampire is thoroughly dead and dusted, the deadest undead in Sunnydale."

I looked at Buffy. She had tears in her eyes. I went over to her and kissed her forehead. I turned around went to my desk. Sam's way was all too common throughout the centuries. I don't know if I will have enough strength to avoid it when the time comes. Funny, when I was learning the arcane principles of the Council, and the rigid practices of the Watchers down through the ages, they never spoke to me of the aftermath. Of course, I simply didn't think about the fact that I would most likely outlive Buffy – if a demon didn't kill me first.

14: Buffy

I stared at Giles, I would've cried, but I didn't have any tears left. "Giles," I said, "promise me, after I die, please don't kill yourself. Go back to England, start a family, for you, if not for me."

He looked at me with an unfathomable expression. This was too much for both of us.

Giles said, "I had better send a dispatch to the council." He sat down at his desk with his back to me. I need to get to my classes.

15: Willow

I was humming the duet from The Pearl Fisher to myself to keep my excitement under control. I know the duet is for two men, and I'm one woman, but I figure, what the hell, I'm probably worth any two men on the planet, although I certainly would never admit that to anyone! But anyway, I had cracked the code, solved the case, put paid to the invoice, and a whole bunch of other clichés from every mystery book I had ever read. I figured out who Buffy's drunk was! Ah, the sweet smell of success – I could get used to this. In fact, I probably already was used to success, I just didn't let myself believe it. I did wonder a bit where Buffy was, though. I got up early this morning and she was sleeping so soundly, all curled up like a dog, that I just didn't have the heart to wake her.

Was that footsteps I could hear? My witch senses were coming into play, here comes Buffy! The door opened and she walked in, along with an oversize black aura. Her depression was so strong I could almost see it. "What's wrong Buffy?" I asked worriedly, hoping something awful hadn't happened to anyone we knew.

"Hi Willow," she said so dejectedly that I was now truly worried, "our suicidal alcoholic – Giles figured out who he was."

"Yes, yes, I know, I helped it was … "

"Sam Zabuto, Kendra's watcher."

"And now we can help him, we know what's wrong, the poor man."

Buffy looked at me bleakly. She said, "He's dead Will, a vampire killed him in front of me. I took his body to the morgue last night."

Now it was clear to me, her mood, her attitude, sleeping all curled up. "Did you see Giles," I asked, as softly as I could, "do you worry about him?"

"Yes I have, and yes, of course I worry."

"The thing that bothers me, the thing that might be different between Sam and Giles, Kendra was trained to be a stone-cold Slayer. She had no outside life, until she met you she had no friends, until she met the rest of us she knew no one who knew what she was, except her Watcher. Don't you think its possible that Sam wanted to die, to die by the hand of a vampire the way Kendra did, because he felt guilty about what he did to her? Especially in light of Giles' total reinterpretation of the rules of Slayerdom with you. Giles set a whole new way of training slayers, don't you think? Maybe, by seeing the way you and Giles broke the mold and set a new example, maybe Sam felt even guiltier about what he did to Kendra? Don't you think?"

I could see Buffy was considering it. "You may be right. You're right that Giles and Zabuto are two very different people. So maybe it won't happen to Giles that way. Promise me Willow, when I die, you'll help Giles."

"Buffy! You're not dying anytime soon! Don't talk that way." I paused a moment. "But if worse comes to worse, you know that all of us will have to depend on each other. Of course we'll be there for Giles. But let's not think that way, stop worrying about it. Lets go to class.

The End