Summary: Unbeknown to anyone else, Nathan does not die. Rather, he is sent to an alternate dimension where he is the Watcher to a certain vampire slayer in Sunnydale. When an alchemy experiment gone wrong sends Shilo to the Hellmouth, Giles' old life starts rushing back to him.
Shilo groaned as she came to, her entire body feeling as though it had gone through a blender. She sat up, her knees protesting as they scraped against the cold concrete beneath her.
She closed her eyes and tried to remember what had gone wrong. She'd been too enthusiastic during an alchemy experiment to the point of carelessness, and suddenly, literally, and figuratively, it had blown up in her face.
It suddenly occurred to her how big the damage could potentially be, and that thought sent her scrambling to her feet. It was then that she realized that her surroundings were not at all familiar to her. Shilo gasped, appalled. Maybe she'd blown up the house and someone had taken her under their wing? Or maybe just . . . Taken her? With a desperate noise, she first looked for any doors or windows, her mind picking up any details along the way. There was a huge wooden door at the front of the room, no windows that she could see, but there was a creepy above-ground stone sarcophagus sitting smack dab in the middle of the room.
"Graverobber?" she whispered hopefully, her voice echoing. He was the only person likely to take her into what looked to be a crypt.
Her body ached as she stepped towards the door, giving it a push and panicking when it didn't budge. After two minutes of blatantly freaking out, she rolled her eyes and tried again, this time pulling the handle. It was heavy, but it opened.
"I think you lost some brain cells during the explosion, Shi," Shilo muttered to herself as she stepped outside, frowning when rows and rows of gravestones came into view.
It appeared to be a large cemetery, and for a moment she was bereft. This cemetery didn't look at all familiar -- not that she was entirely familiar with the gratuitous amount of cemeteries back home.
As she looked over the seemingly endless rows of gravestones and markers, she became aware of the sound of a soft whirring. She held her breath and focused on the sound, realizing it was the low hum of vehicles passing. Shilo zigzagged around the cemetery, her ears perked as the sounds either disappeared or grew louder.
She was breathless and perspiring by the time she reached an iron wrought fence. She followed it until she found a gate, only to find that it was padlocked closed. Shilo groaned, frustrated. She was hungry, tired, lost, and frightened and this was just the icing on the cake. She gripped her hair -- newly grown in; her health had bettered almost instantaneously after she stopped her father's 'medication' -- as tears built behind her eyes.
"Little girls should know better than to be out this late in the evening," a soft voice, noticeably British, murmured behind her.
Shilo cried out in surprise and fear, jerking around to see who had spoken. A bleach blond man with light blue eyes and a black trench coat stood about three feet away from her, smirking around a lit cigarette.
"Who are you?" Shilo asked shakily, her hand pressed to her rapidly beating heart.
"The name's Spike," he said. He took a long drag of his cigarette and released a plume of smoke before asking, "And you?"
"My name is Shilo, and um, I'm a bit lost . . . " she said, biting her lower lip.
He chuckled. "You look it." He took a pull of his cigarette again. "It's not safe out here."
"I know," Shilo said, believing herself to still be home. "I-I just don't know how I managed to get here."
Spike sighed and waved his hand in a 'come along' gesture, walking in the opposite direction of the fence. "That's always the problem with this town. Lures you in and then suddenly you're settling down and makin' 'friends'" -- he crooked both index and middle fingers on both hands -- "and becoming a regular during kitten poker night."
The young girl frowned. "I don't understand."
He rolled his eyes. "No need. Just come with me."
Shilo followed him, albeit warily. It was almost a twenty minute walk before they came to what was probably the opposite side of the fence, and its gate was wide open. Across the street were several outlet stores, but there was only one that appeared to be open. The awning was a dark blue with white letters that read, 'The Magic Box.'
"Where are you taking me?" Shilo asked wearily.
"Rupes should still be in there seeing as he has no life," Spike replied.
"'Rupes?'" the young girl asked, frowning.
"He owns the store," he explained.
She nodded wordlessly, for once too tired to ask questions or absorb too much information.
Spike pushed the door open, the door above the frame jingling merrily. "Watcher!" he called out, glancing around for the man in question.
"He's in the back, on an inventory spree," a woman with strawberry blonde hair behind the counter said with a roll of her eyes. She looked bored, that is, until she laid eyes on Shilo. "We're closed, but if you buy things, I won't mind ringing you up and tallying the sales all over again. I get commission, you know."
"Um," Shilo said shyly, "I-I'm not here to buy anything . . . "
"Found this lost little kitty on the other side of Restfield," Spike said, pointing at the young girl with his thumb.
The other woman looked at her with interest. "Are you a demon?" she asked conversationally.
"She's human," Spike cut in.
"Anya, I'm sorry to keep you waiting but you can leave now--"
Shilo's eyes widened when a gray haired man came in from a back door. It couldn't be! "D-Dad?!"
The three adults glanced at Shilo with wide eyes and shocked expressions.
Spike was the first to recover. He smirked at the older man. "Something you're not telling us from your Ripper days, ol' chap?"
Shilo suddenly felt dizzy. The room began to spin, and then abruptly she was out cold.