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14 May 2007 @ 01:22 am
Your Vacant Eyes (1/1)  
Title: Your Vacant Eyes
Author: ClawofCat
Timing: Set during “Passion” and “Grave”
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Giles POV w/ mention of Jenny/Giles and Willow/Tara
Warnings: Some strong language, character death and references to torture
Summary: What was Giles thinking right before he left to confront Angelus after finding Jenny murdered? Years later, when confronted with Dark!Willow, he reflects on the many similarities between them, what they’ve lost, and vengeance. 

Disclaimer: The characters are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No profit is gained from my writerly endeavors and no copyright infringement is intended.

A/N: This ficlet was written for lady_yashkafor the plot bunny behind this POV. You ladies are beyond inspiring. I've never written a POV before and I think it really shows here. This is a great departure from my usual fics, especially since I often write from a woman's perspective and not a man's. Con-crit would be more than welcome here and greatly appreciated. 

February 24, 1998
Roses. Everywhere. She left roses for us. He…he left the roses. For me. The smell is all throughout the flat, thick and fragrant and inescapable. Heavy in the air when I saw her, found her. Death never smelled so sweet. So horrible. The stems were thornless.
The look in her eyes. I thought her waiting for me. So still. That stare, hollow and blank. Her body all laid out like some gift a cat brings home. Some little swallow or mouse trussed up to show how much effort they put in for you. All for you, not to be eaten. Killed for me. Put in my bed…so he would know, be certain I would bloody well find her.
She said she loved me only this morning. I never thought…The spellbook. Never thought to disinvite him. Bar him from my home. To keep her safe. Jenny.
So meticulous. So very cunning. Skilled killer, monster, murderer. Of course, of course I should have known. It’s what he is, what he does. The girl’s blinded by it. Blinded by his charms. A vampire. Angelus. The worst, the very worst. He leaves everything broken. Broken and bruised in his wake. Her neck. God, he broke her neck, so he could…
I love her. I’ve seen so many dead in my time as a Watcher, but never a loved one. Never Jenny. I was blinded, too. I should have feared the worst. Should have known. Known the evil that lurked in that cold, dead bastard’s heart, soul or no soul. The best thing he could ever be is a pile of dust.  
She spoke of vengeance to me. Vengeance for her people, for the worst crime you committed against them. Her vengeance now is my vengeance. The worst crime against her people, against me.
You want war? I’ll give it to you in spades. If it’s not enough from my Slayer, then it will be enough from me. No damnation and torture is enough for the likes of scum like you. The worst you can conceive of will be your best day in the hell I’ll send you to. I’ll be the last thing you ever see. She’ll be the last thing you ever destroy.
I see your champagne with a Molotov cocktail, your candles with a flaming torch, your tight lined sketches with the sharp tip of my crossbow’s arrow. Straight to your heart, I’ll burn you, stake you, beat you bloody murdering bastard killer fiend.
Haven’t had a good spot of torture for some time. I once tamed the beast inside, but maybe it’s the time to let him out. Should we put it to the test? See if I still have it in me? Pliers, needles, restraints. Only if there’s time, time enough for it. Sooner see you burn, but it would be so quick. All that pale, blistering flesh, burning, peeling, receding so there’s nothing left but the dark, revolting pillock you are, all laid bare in a sickening mess of stolen life all crumbled to dust and ashes.
I’ll see he burns, Jenny, see that he burns.  
May 21, 2002
Seeing her now, it’s worse than I ever suspected. Overcome by magics so dark that she’s only just tenuously clinging to this reality. How truly breathtaking it must be for her to have all that coursing through her, feeding the pain she must feel. It fills the emptiness of her grief, silences the dogging pain of overwhelming sorrow. I remember the thrill, the high of that power. What a foolish boy I was, so lost and desperate and misguided. I should have seen the signs, should have put a stop to this madness beforehand. My God, what she did to Buffy…what she’s doing to herself. Drowning. All the girls are drowning.
When Wendi informed me of the dark force fueled by grief pending in Sunnydale, I could only pray it wasn’t Willow. When she gave me her condolences concerning Tara, I knew it could be no one else. I had to come at once because I knew she wouldn’t stop before she had destroyed herself, and quite possibly those she loves, with her recklessness. It’s baffling to think that all this vengeance and carnage is in the name of love, in Tara’s name. The poor girl must be clawing at whatever dimension holds her gentle soul now, crying for Willow to stop. She’d never want to see retribution like this wielded with her name, in her honor.
It isn’t enough that she murdered Tara’s killer, and that’s what worries me. I know the grief – how vivid it is even now, seeing Willow so consumed by the pain. When Jenny was murdered in my bed I could think of nothing else but rapid vigilante justice. Justice that could only be dealt by my hand. Dear girl, her lover killed before her very eyes in the bedroom they shared. I can only guess what the shocking slap of death in its immediacy must have been like for her. That tempered rage bursting forth in all its fury. It’s true. She has power I could only imagine. Power I wish I had had at the time to dispose of my Jenny’s killer.
What recklessness. Here around her the battered bodies of Buffy and Anya are just stirring to look at me, wide-eyed and confused. I could have never done this. Willow…Willow shouldn’t even be able to consider this. It’s only a testament to how far gone she is. How lost in the power she is. I remember those thrilling moments of grim satisfaction when I beat Angelus down. Heard the crunch of his ribs when I brought the baseball bat down again and again. Only briefly, but the pleasure was immense. Until it was all gone and there was Buffy, scared and broken and fearful. Fearful for me and what I could have done, of what Angelus could have done to steal yet another loved one from her.
All those years ago Willow was such an awkward, eager girl. Levitating pencils in the library, learning silly little spells to feel like she was something more than the shining, brilliant prodigy she was. Good enough was never in her vocabulary. I hid the books with more substantial magics from her to ebb that curious drive, to dole out the power in small doses. Then, she had you, Jenny. You to guide her and teach her in the simple arts that you knew how to wield yourself. I believe your death might even have been when she began to go astray without the guidance and encouragement you subtly gave her. How disappointed you must be in her now, to see her blatant abuse of the spells you so generously shared with her. Her potential squandered in the wake of her rage.
If Buffy’s not enough for her, then it’s all up to me. Just like last time, I come prepared for the fight. Meticulous and studied, I wield the magics imbued by the Coven to help Willow recover from her fall. This situation calls for more than gasoline and a good swinging arm. If it’s war she wants, I’ll meet her stride for stride. And if anything can be avenged here, then perhaps it is what Tara so obviously would want for her. To see that I help, to see that I save her before it’s too late for all of us.

shawty got flava like a peach lifesaver: btvs guffy missed youonly_passenger on May 14th, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC)
i wanted to read this last night, but i was about passing out by the time i e-mailed that fic to you (and found and corrected nearly a dozen typoes in it this morning that i missed in my exhaustion; my apologies).

i think it's very strong, and would not say your POV ability is underdeveloped at all.

there are a few parts in the first half, particularly paragraphs two and seven, that i adore. you switch from third to second (adressing angelus) person a few paragraphs in, and i would agree it at second. paragraph six is confusing for me. it seems like it's saying something important, and i don't think i'm getting it.

the concept holds up throughout, and it very interesting. giles' ability to empathize with willow at the end of season six, and why, is not something that occured to me previously. i think the second half could be tigethened, and if you wanted to work more on it at any point, i'd try to cut 70 words (10%) from the second half.

there's the concrit you asked for, but really, this may be my favorite of yours so far. the timing feels natural, the pace of the idea unfolding works well. thanks for sharing.

ClawofCat: gilesjennyclawofcat on May 15th, 2007 05:29 am (UTC)
Thanks again for the wonderful feedback. Something just occurred to me...when you post the Dawn/Angel ficlet, you should also post it to the_jossverse. Their May spotlight characters are Dawn and Wesley. This would be a good opportunity to get your fic exposed to some more peeps and it is also a wonderful Dawn story. I think the Angel sex part is almost incidental in the larger scheme of the fic, which really is about Dawn's identity in the shadow of the Slayer. So go forth and submit it!

Oh ya, one more thing about Giles. I really like the first part much better than the second and that's mainly because I only really thought to write the Jenny/Giles part. The minimum wordcount for fics at the comm is 750 and Part I is only 500, so I needed to write more and hence cooked up Part II. I just love the stories behind the stories.
Kitchenjdkitchen on May 14th, 2007 11:35 pm (UTC)
I like you're Giles voice very much. Who said you can't write the voice of a 50-something Englishman?

Here's a couple of comments. Not exactly concrit, but I did find myself wishing at times that this was a little less abstract in construction. After I finished, I wondered a little whether these were a pair of open letters, or diary entries, or just two glimpses of very well-formed thoughts. Nudging them slightly in one of those directions might really cement the POV to Giles' prose and allow readers to create a mental picture of what is happening. I also wished a little that Giles had spoken as much to Jenny as he had to Angelus in the first part. I don't know why, I just think talking to the victim a little would be great contrast to the parts where he speaks to the monster. Just a thought.

In any case, great writing as usual. Really love some of the turns of phrase here, particularly when you see a touch of ripper peek out in the last three paragraphs of part one.
ClawofCat: gilesjennyclawofcat on May 15th, 2007 05:35 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for the feedback, LB. Very helpful indeed and I agree with you especially on the Giles speaking to Jenny part. If I go back and revise this at a later date I'll def take that into consideration. I wrote these as thoughts right after Jenny's death and right before he faces off with Willow, but they do read kinda like diary entries. i'll have to sit and think how exactly I want these accounts to be perceived.

My favorite parts of this fic are the end with the Ripper references too. I only wish I could have pushed that aspect further.
lady_yashka: Godsmacklady_yashka on May 15th, 2007 03:22 am (UTC)
Well, you need not worry. You can write from Giles' POV. :)

Okay, now for my attempt at con-crit.
As is said, you nailed Giles' voice, so no worries there. For the first part, I'd have to agree with what lostboy said. I think Giles would have spoken to Jenny a bit more. I also think, and feel free to disagree, his thoughts could have been a bit more erratic. He's just found the dead body of the woman he loves, and while the bits concerning what he's going to do to Angel are perfect, I think you could add in him speaking to Jenny in between the Angel bits. I hope this makes sense.

Also, I had a bit of trouble with the last part of this sentence: "Straight to your heart, I’ll burn you, stake you, beat you bloody murdering bastard killer fiend."

Maybe it was the wording, or it could have just been me, but the wording seems awkward.

As for the second part, I think it's fine. True, there is the shock of seeing how far Willow has gone, but Giles is a bit more prepared. He knew he was walking into a terrible situation, and he was ready for it.

So yes it could be tweaked, but over all I think it's very good. I'm glad you decided to write it. :)
ClawofCat: gilesjennyclawofcat on May 15th, 2007 05:38 am (UTC)
Thanks for the insight, Yash. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I think you brought up some good points. He definately should address Jenny more in this. If I go back and revise it at some later date, I'll definately take that into account.

With this out of the way now I can actually get back to the Spuffy! Yay!