Author's Note: I've always had about a bazillion theories and headcanons about what the Wishverse meant for my beloved 'ship, and I thought that I'd finally get around to writing them down.
This takes place just about a month after Buffy first arrived in Sunnydale in the regular 'verse - but here Giles already knows that she's not coming, and has decided to take things into his own hands (more on that later). If Giles seems a bit inept - well, think about how he must've spent a long time out of touch with monsters while he studied (remember how Wesley had only ever seen two under controlled circumstances after he first arrived?).
I'll stop explaining my thinking for now, though. Do try to enjoy!
Chapter One: Desperate and Familiar
The graveyard was as still as the death that had not quite blessed all of its occupants, Rupert Giles reflected as he settled himself against an obelisk (pointing like an accusing finger at the sky, as if blaming the heavens for the unrest that plagued those who should have been mercifully departed) to wait. Despite the fact that it was well into April – and that he was, after all, in California – there was a slight chill in the air that caused him to shiver slightly as he glanced around the cemetery before focusing once more upon the tombstone in front of him. The sod in front of this particular stone had not yet become part of the earth, and was instead still draped like an absurd doormat of grass over the ground in which the newest addition to the cemetery had been buried earlier that day. The stone, which was also new, had “SMITH” chiseled onto it in somber thick letters – the name that matched the victim he had spotted in yesterday’s obituaries that had apparently died of “strange neck ruptures.”
He had, of course, understood immediately what was necessary to do. After all, hadn’t he been trained to do this (or watch a young girl do this from a safe distance, but that wasn’t an option now) for years?
Still, he could not keep his fingers from twitching nervously on the handle of his stake as he stared at the freshly turned earth. He hadn’t fought a demon face-to-face in ages, much less a vampire, and it seemed as if the minutes were stretching longer and tauter the more he waited with his eyes locked on the place where the beast would soon emerge.
In fact, he was so absorbed with looking out for it that he didn’t hear the approaching footsteps of the other vampire that had been lurking in the graveyard until it grabbed him from behind and threw him heavily to the ground. Though the impact stunned him for a moment, the adrenaline that immediately spiked through him had him scrambling to his knees in another instant, though he was quickly forced back to the ground when the vicious creature threw itself upon him and pinned him there. Its weight was great enough to have him truly trapped, and he could do nothing but wriggle helplessly in the least dignified way imaginable. But when the vampire shifted just slightly in order to get at his neck, he seized the opportunity and managed to jerk his knee up and hit the vampire hard in the jaw.
As the thing reared back and yelled in pain (good lord, he hadn’t expected its face to look quite like that - he felt another wave of fear wash over him at the sight of it), he managed to pull away completely, only to promptly crash into a tombstone, tumble over it, and land directly in front of the newly-risen vampire he had come to dispose of in the first place.
The two of them regarded each other for a moment, both quite surprised by the appearance of the other. But the momentary truce was quickly shattered when the vampire that Giles had been fighting earlier charged over, snarling. Knowing that fighting the two of them together was hopeless and foolhardy, Giles had no choice but to flee – which he did at once.
The two vampires followed right after him, united in the pursuit of their prey. They were both much swifter and stronger than he, and he knew that they would be upon him within moments. Legs burning, Giles poured on more speed and dashed for the road at the edge of the cemetery. Even as he ran, his heart was sinking as he realized that he would not have time to unlock its doors before they caught him and – No, he wouldn’t let himself think any further. Running was his only hope.
He vaulted over the short stone wall in one smooth motion and skidded into a landing on the other side before taking off again. His pursuers took a bit longer to haul themselves over, and he thanked every deity he knew of for the extra few seconds it bought him as he reached his Citroen and fumbled desperately in his pocket for his keys – a bit too desperately, because they slipped from between his fingers and landed in the thick grass by the curb.
Horrified, he dropped to his knees to search for them, but it was well past midnight, and the nearest streetlight was too far away to be of much use. The only thing it succeeded in doing was showing him that the vampires were right there, their faces warped into the bestial visage of their true selves. Their eyes burned with a savage hunger - though they quickly filled with surprise and anger as a pair of headlights suddenly swept around the corner and blinded them. They both let out snarls and halted, shielding their eyes.
As Giles watched in dumbstruck amazement, the car pulled right up to where he was standing and screeched to a halt. Through its open window a voice – somehow familiar – called, “Get in! Quick!” Giles snapped into action and dove for the door handle as the vampires behind him fought of their confusion and lunged after him once more. But they were too late – within seconds, he was slamming the door closed as they peeled out as fast as the car would take them. The new vampire made the mistake of jumping in front of the vehicle – perhaps overestimating his new invulnerability – and Giles’ rescuer unflinchingly ran him down.
“I bet that’s not going to feel good in the morning,” she told him cheerfully, and turned to face him, her dark eyes dancing.And Giles found himself face to face with Sunnydale High’s Computer Science teacher, Ms. Calendar.