Bewitched, Beaten and Broken

Summary: The aftermath of the love spell wasn't simply hurt feelings and confused memories. WARNING: Character Death and Maiming. Could be considered Xander-bashy, I suppose.

Warning: I don't know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way.

Timeline: season 2 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered'.

Challenge: only the personal need for Xander to have to face the consequences of his actions for once.

Thanks to my beta: AshDawnSoulmates.

Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.

Science Lab

Rupert Giles raced to break the blasted love spell that Amy Madison and Xander had cast – the one that put his Slayer in terrible danger. Well, not just Buffy, but all the women in Sunnydale that came in contact with Xander. However, it was Buffy that Giles cared about the most, and who he would do anything to protect.

He shook his head, wondering what the boy had been thinking. Even if the spell had worked the way he intended it to, it would have been the magical equivalent of slipping Cordelia drugs or alcohol. She would have lost her free will where he was concerned. In all Giles' days during his Ripper period, he never once used magick, drugs or alcohol to force a woman; to enhance the situation after she consented, sure…but never to 'get her in the mood'.

As he dropped the necklace into the bubbling mixture, Giles had the eerie feeling that they'd been too late.

Summers home (lawn)

In the backyard, the body of Joyce Summers lay in the grass with two new holes in her neck. This time it was the other female from the Scourge of Europe foursome that drained her – only this one finished the job in her jealous rage that the human woman would dare lay a hand on her kitty. She had 'seen' it when the stars whispered it to her.

It wasn't all bad though…

'Cause in the front yard, there was a pile of dust where Angelus used to be. The power of the spell overrode Dru's natural loyalty to her sire and creator. All she saw was something trying to hurt her kitty that needed to be stopped. A quick branch to the chest removed the danger.

Summers basement

Despite his attempt to shield Cordy from the mob of spell-crazed women, she was still beaten badly enough that she would later die from her injuries. More specifically, she died of internal bleeding from repeated blunt force trauma from several different weapons/fists/feet.

Just like a drunk driver who walked away from an accident he caused, Xander only sustained non-fatal blows. He didn't come out of it completely unscathed, but he was treated and released after a few hours in the ER.

School basement

When Oz got to the bottom of the stairs, he could tell from the smell of blood in the air that something was wrong. It was Buffy, but there was a rat-ishness to her smell. The problem was finding a rat in a huge area filled with tiny crevices.

After the animal spell was lifted, it was easier to discover her body. If they had been at the zoo, Oz would have sworn that Buffy was mauled by a lion or something. Apparently, her wounds grew with her as her body returned to normal. Repeated bite marks in her torso, arms and legs made it all too easy for him to overlook the fact that she was completely naked.

Figuring that she didn't have much to lose, he sprinted up the stairs to the nurse's office – which gratefully was right across the hall from the doorway to the basement – grabbed the first aid kit and yelled for an ambulance for a student in the basement. Since the nurse came to work late, she never saw or heard Xander, and therefore was at her job – unlike the other women on staff at the school.


A couple days later…

Xander only got as far as the elevators on Buffy's floor before Giles intercepted him. The Watcher was taking turns sitting with her, and right now it was Willow and Oz's turn. Willow was in a state of shock for the past few days, and it was only Oz's constant calm support that kept her from slipping over the edge.

Oddly, throwing herself at Xander was the least of her concerns. Being part of a mob responsible for Cordy's death weighed heavily on her mind. Add to that, Joyce dying and Buffy hanging onto life by a thread, and it was amazing she hadn't fallen apart yet.

Sensing that the Watcher wasn't in the mood, Xander didn't use his normal greeting of 'G-man' to say hi. "How's she doing, Giles?"

"Not that you deserve to know, but fortunately she changed back into her human form just in time. Only her Slayer healing saved her life – at least for now. The doctors are still concerned about the blood loss she suffered. If Oz hadn't reacted as quickly as he had, she would have bled out before the paramedics arrived." Giles' expression turned thoughtful, and he murmured to himself, "I'll have to congratulate him on his foresight in taking emergency first aid training so soon after joining our group."

Then Giles' gaze turned cold as he remembered who he was talking to. "You'd better hope she survives. If she doesn't, you better be prepared to leave Sunnydale before I get to you. Jenny might call you to give you some warning."

"I never meant-" Xander tried to plead.

"It doesn't matter!" Giles growled. "Two people are dead because you couldn't accept Cordelia's decision to break things off! Since her father can't be reached yet, the doctors have been kind enough to let me assume responsibility for her care due to the emergency medical proxy Buffy gave me last year. Because of you, I may have to give the order to turn off her life support if she doesn't improve!"

Giles took a breath to calm himself before he could strangle the boy. "Even if Buffy survives, I have to tell her that her mother is dead," he said in a broken voice. "Just leave and don't come back. Buffy needs me to be with her, not in jail for killing you."

Before Xander could say anything more, Giles turned away and walked back to his Slayer's side. He didn't know if the boy would take his warning seriously, but he would follow through on his threat if Xander was still in Sunnydale if Buffy died. What's more, he knew that he wouldn't feel bad about it afterward – something that should have disturbed him, but didn't.

A/N: C'mon, was I the only one surprised that nothing bad happened? I figured I'd leave it with Buffy's survival up in the air so you could decide her fate – and by extension, Xander's – in your own minds.