Rupert Giles woke with a scream, wrenching himself up from sweat soaked sheets. He could feel his magic swirl and pull within him, fighting to get free. The pain raced along his spine, and he rose to stumble from the loft to his bathroom on the floor below. "Damned inconvenient, that." He muttered not for the first time.

The trip managed more by luck than ability, he stumbled into the bathroom and groaned. His muscles ached, his joints burned, and his head felt five sizes too big.

He flipped on the cold water and stepped in, trying to let the pounding water relieve some of the pressure. His body shook, and he fell to his knees holding his head. He rocked on his knees until vomit spewed from his mouth like a fountain. He groaned and rinsed as best as he could, just wanting to flee the smell. He managed to pull himself from the tub and wrap a towel around himself as he stumbled to the phone. He leaned against the wall and hesitated. She would be sleeping, and her roommate might not appreciate strange men calling their dorm room in the middle of the night. A wave of nausea swamped him. He hit speed dial one, and waited, listening to the rings.

"This had better be an apocalypse." Buffy grumbled at him from the other end of the line.

His body started shaking again and his teeth chattered. "Buffy, I'm sorry. I know it's late, but it seems I'm rather ill." He managed to cough out.

"I'll be there in twenty. Do you need me to pick anything up?" He could hear her fumbling around even as she barked questions into the phone.

"No, just need you here." He hung up the phone and slid down the wall to collapse on the floor. The cold tile chilled him as sweat poured from his body. The minutes passed in agony until the blackness rose up in his mind and swallowed him whole.

Buffy burst into Giles' apartment at top speed. She had cut twenty minutes to ten, using every bit of slayer speed and cutting across rooftops in a couple of places. She battled her fears the entire way. He had never asked her for a thing, not once. It had to be horrible for him to have called her.

Her throat clenched as she found him out cold, curled, against the wall in nothing but a towel. She crouched next to him, letting her slayer senses take in his condition. He reeked of vomit and she could feel the fever burning within him. She reached out a hand and traced her fingers along his shoulder. He moaned and turned towards her without waking. Her heart skipped in her breast as her eyes took in the scars tracing his chest. His suffering marked so clearly on his body. The guilt washed through her. All of this pain was her fault. Two tears trailed down her face. She pulled back and started to organize her thoughts, putting his needs first. Self-pity and guilt were swept aside as the slayer jumped into action. She took off her sweatshirt and shoved it under his head like a pillow. Her pink camisole would serve well enough for her.

She grabbed a blanket and tossed it over the couch trying to make him a comfy place to lie down. There wasn't much to be done. The couch was lumpy, but better than the floor at any rate. She got him to his feet, mumbling and not really awake, he followed her instructions well enough if she used her angry slayer voice. She grinned as he followed her snarled commands. She arranged him on the couch and gulped as the towel fell to the floor. She blushed from toes to hair follicles and settled him, carefully averting her eyes. She quickly pulled a second blanket over his lap, trying to keep the naughty slayer thoughts at bay.

She ran upstairs and pulled open three drawers before finding pajama bottoms and a white tee shirt to put on him. She checked the bed. It was drenched with sweat. He would need clean bedding. She stripped the sheets and tossed them over the loft railing, even the mattress pad was soaked. She hoped he had a second one somewhere. She was searching for a new set of sheets when Giles started screaming. The sound of his fear and pain sent her running, sure there was an attack in the offing. She jumped over the railing and landed on the pile of sweaty sheets, dropping into a fighting stance, and looking for the threat. She was shaking as she reached out with her senses.

There was nothing, but the neighbors would be alarmed if she didn't take care of this fast. Explaining a naked, vomiting Englishman to the police, even in Sunnydale, didn't sound like a good idea. The enormity of the situation floored her. He was always the caretaker. The last time she had been in control there had been fire and desperation. She longed for some slimy demon with poison talons to fight, but nothing appeared.

"Just a nightmare, no big." She mumbled as she walked over and sat next her watcher. He was thrashing and she pulled him half onto her lap to control his flailing limbs. She patted and stroked him until the screaming stopped. He was sweating and naked, but he had her legs pinned to the couch. There was no easy escape. She looked over at the laundry and sighed.

"Well, you're going to need another bath anyway." She looked at his body, shivering even though the room was comfortable.

It took a great deal of effort and tested her flexibility, but eventually she pulled the second blanket back into place and tucked it around him as much as she could. It wouldn't do for him to wake up with his modesty shot to hell. He was a proud man.

"You will be okay, Watcher Mine. I give you my word." She babbled and made promises for quite a while. Finally, he seemed to be relaxing, so she stayed, running her fingers through his hair until she fell asleep.