"GILES! GILES! GILES!"
The whole crowd was chanting his name as he went further into it than he'd ever been, his fingers flying over the fretboard as the solo stretched on and on and on and he still found new riffs to play on, new energy to pour into it, the rest of the band matching him beat for beat, and he felt like he was flying.
"GILES! GILES! GILES!"
To think that once he hated that name. He'd tried to convince his band mates to call him Ripper, but now he'd been Giles with millions of fans for years and he loved it. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes, lifting his guitar high for the big finish.
Suddenly the volume seemed to drop. He hadn't signaled for the band to mellow down, but as the song faded to a stumbling halt he had to stop playing and –
"Giles! Wake up, you're dreaming."
As his eyes adjusted to the lack of spotlights, he glanced around the schoolbus at the mere dozen girls who had survived the last fight, and then back up at the blonde who had shook him awake.
"Buffy... where are we?"
"Cleveland, of course."
Oh dear. "Cleveland? Whatever happened to doing whatever you want and sleeping for a week?"
"Look who's talking, Mr-48-hours-of-drowsiness. We figured with another hellmouth here, we might as well get a head start before the forces of evil saw us coming. Plus, with Faith driving we sort of ended up heading East anyway..."
"Wait a minute. FAITH's driving?"
Buffy glared at him. "Would you rather have me at the wheel? With Robin wounded, Willow still shaky and you asleep, it's pretty much been up to her and Xander to drive."
"Does Faith even have a license?"
"I'm thinking if we get pulled over with an escaped murderer on board, her lack of a driver's license won't really be the issue. So, anyway, Cleveland! Lead us to yon mighty hellmouth... thingy, O British Guy."
Giles winced. Bloody Californians and their new-found sense of duty. Xander gets to crack jokes in the face of danger all the time, but when I try it... "Buffy, there is no..."
He looked up into her face, saw the expectation there, her eagerness to get the whole thing started and put someone else in charge. He looked around the bus, at the girls (and occasional boy) who had obviously had a rough ride and needed a reason for being here. He cleared his throat.
"...there is no reason to dally about, then. The hellmouth is..." What do I know about Cleveland? Quick on your feet, Rupert old boy... "...um, right under the Rock'n'roll Hall of Fame. Possibly under the Black Sabbath exhibit. We should probably start there first thing tomorrow morning, but let's find a motel first, I'm sure everyone could do with a solid night's rest before we, um, go to battle." Plus I need to think of a way of telling them that I was just joking about there being a hellmouth here. Giles leaned back, closed his eyes again and smiled as he drifted back into dreamland.
"Alright, thanks! Think you might know this next one. Hit it, Rupert!"
"It's better in a HELL
You know where you stand in a HELL HOLE!
Folks lend a hand in a HELL HOLE!
Girl, get me back to my HELL HOLE!"
Author's Note: Lyrics to "Hell Hole" by Spinal Tap reprinted without any permission whatsoever. I'm bad.