Chapter 4: Saving Giles

Rating: PG-13

Summary: How this affects Giles' future.

Spoilers: up to Season 3 BtVS

Warning: Extreme Angst, Character Death

Story Disclaimer: Just borrowing from Joss and his kind.

Buffy suddenly looks fearful. "What about Giles?! Does he die trying to stake Angel or something?"

PTB with a disappointed tone, "No, he succeeds in that, only to die after betraying you in the future."

Buffy gets angry and yells vehemently, "He'd never do that! You're lying! He's too good of a man for that!"

PTB say sadly, "Again your devotion and loyalty is astounding. But he does betray you…even if so very reluctantly and tries to redeem himself afterward. He manages to do so – to a point. However he allows his guilt to consume him, causing a fatal accident…"

As he's cleaning up her cuts in the library…

Buffy is in pain and asks with fear in her voice, "They can't really take you away from me, can they?"

Giles tries to control his emotions, "They can replace me as your Watcher, but I'll stay as long as you want me to stay. If this has taught me anything, it's that my loyalty is to you, not the Council. I hope that someday you might be able to trust me again. I know forgiveness is impossible but I'd still like the chance to work by your side."

Grabbing his hand, "Hey, I get to decide what is forgivable and what isn't. I've done awful things too and you've forgiven me. I'd rather not re-hash them right now but we both can guess what some of the worst of them are. This was wrong, horrible even, but it isn't unforgivable.

"And you did help us when we needed it. You helped us survive. Obviously, if you've ticked off that Travers guy that much, it means you aren't like 'them.' I don't think he'd care if Kralik killed half of Sunnydale for the sake of his precious test. But I do forgive you."

Giles looks at her with a sad expression. "But you don't trust me…"

"Honestly, it will take a little while for me to trust you completely again, but I'm sure it will happen…and probably sooner rather than later."

That evening Giles is in his apartment alone, drinking heavily and muttering to himself about betraying Buffy.

"No I can't make up for this. She's wrong; her mistakes were just that…mistakes. She made bad decisions based either on too little information or when she was overwhelmed by extreme emotions and lack of life experiences.

"I was lucky to get her trust back after Eyghon. But this…this was a deliberate choice to betray her. And it almost cost her her life and the life of her mother. I don't deserve her forgiveness.

"She deserves a better Watcher. As long as she has her friends to protect her, the Watcher she gets will – at worst – be an annoyance to her. But having me around will only serve to make her wonder if she can trust anything I tell her. A new Watcher will definitely serve her better.

"But on the other hand, I did pledge to never leave her unless she asks me to. I can't betray that promise either. If I can help it, I'll never hurt her again."

He keeps drinking, trying to figure out what to do. Finally he decides to go to bed. He only makes it halfway up the stairs before he loses his balance and falls backward.

When he hit the floor he struck his head against the wall. The injury aggravated his earlier injury head injury. This caused an aneurysm and he died within seconds.

A/N: Medically speaking, I don't know if it could happen, but it sounds rational to me.