Rating:  Eh, I'll say PG, but it's probably G

Feedback:  Twould be nice, that would.

Spoilers:  This is set post "The Gift" (season 6 finale)

Distribution:  Here.  If for some reason you would like it, please ask me.

Summary:  Giles and Spike join together in order to face one of the most terrifying events ever to happen in Sunnydale.  Heh.

Author's Note:  I'll be quite frank.  I don't like Spike/Dawn shippage.  It gives me the creeps. But I dearly love Spike's big brother attitude towards her, and I've written a few fics about that. 

Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy.  Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you.  Thank you.

Combined Force

"Before we proceed any further, I should like to make one point perfectly clear," Giles said quietly as he cleaned his glasses.  "I don't like you."

"Rupert!  You cut me to the quick!" Spike half-sobbed in feigned distress.  "And here I thought you'd decided to adopt me."

"Only in my worst nightmares," the former Watcher murmured under his breath, fully aware the vampire could hear every word.  "In any case, I am willing to temporarily forego our mutual dislike for one another in light of the seriousness of the situation at hand."

Spike grunted gruffly.  Yet another battle lay ahead of him, and he was definitely not looking forward to this one. 

"Right.  Tick-tock goes the clock; the invasion should begin any ruddy minute.  So, should we tag team him or both attack at once?"  Spike asked with a determined glint in his eye.

Pondering the two possibilities, Giles quickly weighed the pros and cons of each.  A full frontal assault was not without merit; the enemy was likely to be overwhelmed by the two of them.  On the other hand, keeping one in reserve and then forcing their opponent to fight the same battle all over again could wear down his defenses and prove every bit as effective.

"I suggest I deal with him first, and then you come in on my signal."

With an abrupt nod, the blond pledged his support to the proposed battle tactic.  If nothing else, he was quite glad to have Ripper on his team tonight.  In the shop owner's own way, he was at least as intimidating as he was, perhaps even more so now that the vampire was chipped.

And considering that this was Dawn's first date, scaring the living daylights out of the boy in question was his top priority.

"I'll just pop upstairs to see how Little Bit's coming along," he shot over his shoulder as he left the other man in the living room.  In all honesty, he needed to be doing something, anything, rather than just sitting and waiting for Kevin Berman to arrive.   He was ready to literally start climbing the walls.

Dawn's bedroom door was still shut.  What could she possibly have been doing locked up in there for the last three hours?  He'd repeatedly heard her changing her clothes, each outfit accompanied by yet another "lame," "makes me look like I'm five," or "he's already seen me in this."  Her wardrobe wasn't bottomless, he reasoned.  Unless she was down to trying on her Cleopatra costume from last Halloween, she must have run out of options by now.

"Platelet," he called as he rapped soundly on the door with his knuckles.  "You almost ready, love?"

"Ummm, sort of," was the rather befuddled reply from the other side.

When the door opened, Spike had a moment of pure terror.  Dawn was wearing a pair of knee-high leather boots, a red mini-skirt, a tight black lycra shirt that left her navel exposed, and what appeared to be the entire cosmetic section of the local mall.

"You, little miss, are not going anywhere in that circus freak get-up!" he declared after he'd shoved his eyeballs back into their sockets.  He actually ran into the upstairs bath, grabbed a tissue, soaked it with water, and returned to her room to begin frantically scouring away the several layers of Revlon that coated her face.

"Geez, Spike, you're gonna scrub off my skin!  Okay, okay, I'll take it off!" she yelped as she managed to wrestle the tissue away from him.  A few minutes later, she re-emerged from the bathroom with the make-up removed.

"There's my girl," he sighed in relief.  In her absence, he had laid out a new set of clothes on the bed.  "Now, take off those things that make you look like" a variety of words shot through his mind, but he decided on "a not-so-nice girl and put this on."

"That?!?!  Spike, it's July, we're in California, and you want me to wear a turtleneck, a bulky sweater and an ankle-length wool skirt?!?!?  We're going to the movies, not Alaska!"

His blue eyes shot back and forth from the clothes he'd picked out to her closet. "Um, okay, we'll find something else, then," he declared with determination.

Awkwardly, he began to rummage through the obviously already rummaged-through row of hangers until the teenager gave a frustrated huff of surrender and pulled out a simple knee-length cream skirt and a pale green shirt with little daisies embroidered around the neck. 

"Better?" she asked as though she thought he was insane.

"Much.  I'll just give you a moment," he said as he stepped back into the hall and closed the door behind him.  If he'd been alive, he'd swear she'd nearly given him a heart attack.

A few minutes later, she opened the door.  She looked pretty, and young, and sweet, and he was seriously fighting the urge to lock her safely inside her room until she was forty.

"Well," he managed to squeeze out with a slight choke in his voice, "at least you won't be arrested."

Dawn rolled her eyes and flopped down on her bed, her fingers drumming incessantly on her checkered duvet.

"You've got your cell phone charged and in your purse?" he asked as he began to run down his mental checklist.

"It's right in my bag."

"Have you got change for a payphone in case it breaks down?"

"Again, in my bag."

"Put it in your shoe.  That way if someone steals your purse, you're still okay," he suggested as he started to pace back and forth, wishing to high heaven that he could smoke inside the house.

Making a face of utter disbelief, she dropped two quarters in her left shoe.  Before she could comment on how much he was over-reacting, he threw her a stake and a very large hatpin.

"Okay, the stake I get; Sunnydale equals possible vamp encounter," she said as she shoved the piece of wood into her now rather bulging handbag, "but the pin?"

"The little hormonal horror tries anything, use it," he replied in a very deadly tone. 

"He's not like that!" she said in a shocked voice.

"Good, then it can just stay right next to the stake all night.  But if you're wrong, better safe than sorry, nibblet," he responded in a slightly softer tone.  He didn't want to frighten her, but he'd seen enough of the world to know that people weren't always who they seemed to be. 

With an uncomfortable shrug, she added the pin to her purse, and he was glad to see she was wise enough to keep it right at the top where she could grab it easily.

"Right then.  Don't you worry about a thing.  You two go out and have a good time tonight."

Just at that moment, a car pulled up the Summers's driveway.

"That's him!" she half-squeaked as she immediately sprang to her feet.

The next thing Spike heard practically made him vamp out:  the loud blast of a car horn.

"I gotta go," she said as she headed for the door, only to have the vampire catch her by the arm, preventing her from leaving.

"Oh no, you're not.  This is not a gas station, and he does not honk for you like he expects you to fill up his car with a gallon of bloody petrol!  He comes in the house and meets your guardians before taking you out," he growled.

"You are sooo…" she paused, searching for the perfect word, "Victorian!"

"Quite right," he responded in his long-since abandoned upper-class accent. "But if these were the days of Victoria, your entire evening would consist of you playing the piano in the parlor while your family sat in the same room, stared at the two of you, and studied every movement each of you made."  He returned to his North London dialect to declare, "Right about now it's not sounding like such a bad arrangement on this end, either."

Downstairs, the doorbell rang.  When it opened, Giles stood silhouetted in the doorframe, his glasses removed.

"Do come in," he insisted in his most intimidating purr.  "Dawn will be down shortly.  Was that you who honked?"

"Um, yes?"  the boy in question responded, realizing too late his error.

"Don't do that again," Giles responded in a dead quiet voice.  "It is quite rude."

The older man motioned the boy into the living room, and gestured for him to sit down on the couch.

"What is your name?"

"Um, Kevin."  As an afterthought, he quickly added, "Sir."

"I see.  I am one of Dawn's guardians:  Mr. Giles."  While the words were pleasant enough, the tone they were delivered in made the teenager feel like he was in the presence of someone not to be trifled with.  "How old are you?"

"S-s-sixteen," he replied.

"And how long have you been driving?"  Perhaps it was his imagination, but the man's eyes seemed to be boring into him.

"Two months," was the response. 

"You will obey the speed limit and not venture near any nefarious parts of town," Giles quickly ordered.


Oh, just wonderful.  No grasp of the language.  "It means bad," he enunciated clearly.

"Oh.  Right.  Okay."

Giles sized the boy up for a moment, then decided it was time to tag his partner.

"Spike, could you possibly come downstairs for a moment?" he called up the staircase.

"I'll just be a minute, sweet bit.  Then you can make your grand entrance and leave," he replied with a cocky grin.  "Comin'!" he yelled down the steps.

After over 100 years of un-life, Spike new exactly how to make an entrance.  He made sure his duster billowed intimidatingly, his scarred eyebrow was raised in mock curiosity, and his teeth, while not elongated, looked suspiciously sharp as he entered the room.  Apparently it worked since he could hear kid's heart rate go through the ceiling.

"So," he said with his most unpleasant sneer, "you're Kevin."

"Uh, yes, sir," the boy answered in shock.

"Sir?  Oh, that's a nice bit of kissing up there, isn't it," he responded before sitting directly across from him.  "Let's cut to the chase, shall we?  I'm another of Dawn's guardians.  Name's Spike.  Where you going tonight?"

"Movie?" the boy responded, suddenly no longer sure of his plans.  How many guardians did this girl have, anyway?

"What's the rating?"

"Ebert thought it was good," he said uncertainly.

Spike took a deep breath and tried again, "PG?  PG-13?" he suggested snidely. "R?" he added in a tone which clearly said this was not an acceptable answer.  From the shadows, Giles watched him in admiration.

"Uh, it's, uh, PG," the boy stammered.  Actually, he'd been planning on buying tickets for one show and then sneaking the two of them into an R, but that had suddenly become completely out of the question.

"Have her home no later than 10:45," the blond said in a voice so low that Kevin almost didn't hear it, "or I'll be out looking for you.  You understand?"

"Um, yes," he answered as the thought of exactly how bad that would be raced through his mind.

"Good.  Kitten!" he suddenly yelled up the stairs.  "Your date's here."

Within two minutes, the two of them were out the door.  About five minutes after that, the phone rang and Spike actually dove across the kitchen table to answer it, picking it up before the first ring had ended.

"How did things go with Dawny's first date?" chirped Willow enthusiastically.

"I THOUGHT YOU WERE HER CALLING FOR HELP!  DON'T YOU DARE DIAL THIS NUMBER UNTIL TOMORROW MORNING!" he bellowed into the receiver as quickly as possibly before slamming the phone back into the cradle.

Giles just stared at him.  "You're really quite nervous about this, aren't you?"

"Too right," he mumbled before settling back down with his mug of warmed blood.  For reasons that Giles had not dared to ask about, there were little mini-marshmallows floating in it.

It was 10:00 when both of them started to pace back and forth in the living room, looking at the clock every thirty seconds. 

"I swear, if he's laid a hand on her," Spike announced under his breath, "chip or no…"

"Spike, please, you do realize that she is probably going to be dating with some regularity in the near future," Giles interrupted him, even though his own mind had been on a similar track.

"Not necessarily," Spike said off-handedly.  "She could become a nun."

Giles looked at him as though he'd grown eight arms.

"Dru almost did," Spike said defensively.  "It happens!"

"Spike, Dawn is not even Roman Catholic, so I highly doubt she will be taking the veil anytime soon," he sighed.

Time passed.  The librarian was ready to brain Spike.  Spike was ready to kill Giles, but he settled for repeatedly hiding his glasses instead.  At exactly 10:42, the door burst open and Dawn hurried into the room, a huge grin plastered across her face.

"I made it!" she exclaimed happily.

"You what!" both horrified men cried in tandem.

"The curfew.  I'm not late," Dawn said in confusion, her choice of words completely escaping her.

Spike and Giles collapsed bonelessly onto the couch.

"Did you have a good time, sweetling?" the vampire finally managed to ask in a weak voice.

"Great!  We're going out again Tuesday.  'Night!" she chirped happily as she went up to her room.

The vampire and the librarian exchanged looks.

"Come back on Tuesday.  You bring the marshmallows; I'll get the brandy," Giles moaned faintly.  "Lots and lots of brandy."