I had to rewrite this part of the time frame. I realized the Ori story timeline wouldn't work so I placed it in Season 8 instead.
IN THE DEAD OF THE NIGHT
AS HIS LIFE SLIPS AWAY
AS HE READS BY THE LIGHT
OF A STAR FARAWAY
COULD YOU BE THIS OLD
AND HAVE YOUR LIFE JUST BEGIN--Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Daniel woke suddenly, throwing off the wet blankets and sheets in his rush to get out of his bed. His heart pounding so hard against the wall of his chest he actually wondered if it wouldn't explode. He thought the idea of night terrors was just a cliché that someone had made up, but here he was, sitting straight up in bed, his sheets soaked and the sweat running in rivulets down his back. This was the third time in the past two weeks he'd had the same dream about a woman, trapped by darkness, crying out in pain. He knew the woman, he just couldn't remember from where or how, or even what she looked like.
The gloom in the room highlighted the brightness of the moonlight as it reflected off the snow. Colorado was having an unusually cold and snowy winter. Global Warming had all but done away with most of the snow in the valleys of the Rockies; except for this year. "The snow lay deep, and crisp, and even
...." He shook his head to get rid of the Christmas carol that still ran through his mind at odd hours. He smiled at the memory of Jack and Sam finally together, finally living the life they deserved in Jack's tiny cabin. They’re first Christmas as an official couple, the first time they could show off their wedding rings. Off course it was only the “Team” plus Janet and Cassie, at the party. The same Air Force rules that had kept Jack and Sam apart while they were on the same team were still there but since Jack's promotion the pair felt it was time to be together.
They were enjoying the fruits of their hard victories over earth's enemies by happily singing Christmas Carols loudly, and off-key. The Goa'uld System Lords were fighting each other and had yet to be beaten, for the first time since he stepped through the 'gate it felt like Daniel could breathe. That Earth had a chance and the Stargate could become a source for good instead of constant danger.
They could all relax; truly relax for the first time in years.
Then why couldn't he sleep? He glanced at the clock knowing before he saw it that the time would be 03:30. He padded softly into the kitchen to get some Chamomile tea so he could try to go back to sleep. The first time he had the dream he had been wired for the rest of the night, the last two times it almost felt that a light switch had been thrown and he was able to go right back to sleep after drinking the tea.
She looked so worn and old, Giles thought as he sat in the bright and sunny breakfast nook with his Slayer. She had deep dark smudges under her eyes from the lack of sleep; her hair hung in tangled strings around her face. Since her resurrection she had always been thin, but now it appeared she only had skin stretched tightly over her bones.
Skin and bones.
He had only been in Cleveland for an hour and already he was beginning to despair. She sat at the small, round table across from him trying to nibble on a bagel. Each bite caused her to lose her breath as if the effort to eat that one small thing was more exhausting than fighting six vampires at once. After each bite she took, she glanced up at him and he knew she was trying to please him. Buffy was trying to eat something; anything for him and it was a task beyond her.
He couldn't watch as she struggled so he stood, walking around the island in the middle of the kitchen to put his plate in the sink. One of the reasons he thought the Summer girls' and Xander purchased the old Mansion was because the kitchen reminded them of the one in Buffy's house in Sunnydale. 'Sunnydale,'
he thought morosely, 'another time I failed her.'
He braced his arms on the counter, his shoulders tense. There were two slayers by her shoulders, two more at the door leading into the rest of the house and another pair by the outside door. Six total slayers of the Cleveland Hellmouth's thirty were guarding her or maybe they were guarding him from her. Apparently she was now having waking visions or flashbacks or terrors or whatever they were that caused her to lash out. Even weak from the lack of food and sleep she was still deadly. 'Its barely been two weeks,
' Giles thought, trying to hold in the tears that threatened. 'Two weeks and if she doesn't start eating then the Slayer will continue using her muscles and bones for energy. Its eating her from the inside out.'
Their efforts to heal her mind would go for naught if she died from starvation. A very real problem with the Slayers of old. 'We can't handle this, we don't know how to keep her alive.'
The realization shocked him to his core and the slow thread of dread wormed its way into his heart. 'The old Council would have just killed her and been done with it.'
His eyes burned with unshed tears.
"So Watcher of Mine you have worried face," she broke the silence, startling him and causing him to pivot around. He carelessly hit the knife that was resting on the counter after he'd cut her bagel. The sharp knife sliced his hand and he let out a hiss of pain. Blood seeped from the wound and he clutched it in his other hand. Already the pain was easing from the shallow cut.
He looked up and saw her stare at his hand and then she attacked. She flew out of her chair and towards him over the island, only to be caught by Jean, one of the slayer's stationed by Buffy's chair. Buffy was blur as she turned on the young slayer, the bones of Jean's leg caving in from the spinning kick. Jean's scream of pain rent the quiet air, but she had given the other slayers enough time to react as they tackled Buffy to the floor.
"Xander!" Another one of the girls' shouted and Giles' mind automatically came up with her name, Spring. 'Yes, her name was Spring Brook, who would name their child that?'
Giles stood shocked as part of him was horrified at what was happening and another part of him noted how quickly the struggle was over. Buffy now lay passively under the young slayers’; she was panting as if she'd run a marathon. Her was breathing keeping time with the moans of pain from Jean.
"Miss Buffy are you with us again?" Spring asked, her soft southern drawl adding to the surreal aspect of the morning. The sun was still shinning brightly through the windows, glinting off the deep snow in the backyard. 'How could this be happening?'
Giles thought, 'falling in battle I could handle!'
The tears he'd held back started again.
Buffy's nodded, "Yeah, I'm me." Spring signaled the other slayers to release her. His slayer looked up at the younger girl, tears forming in her eyes. "You know what to do?" The young girl’s face went pale, though she still nodded.
Finally, Spring let go of his Slayer only instead of reaching down to help Buffy up; she pulled out a taser and shocked her. Buffy’s body went rigid as the electricity coursed through her and she went deathly still a few seconds later.
"What did you do!" he screamed. "What in the bloody Hell did you just do?" Giles' saw red as he tried to push his way around the counter only to be firmly held in place by yet another bloody young girl. "That could have killed her, you mindless bint!"
"Giles!" Xander's voice echoed in the kitchen. "Calm down, Spring was only doing what Buffy ordered her to do!" Giles took in Xander's haggard appearance, his hair sticking out in all directions; he was dressed in just a loose fitting pair of pajama bottoms, and his eye patch.
"Its Miss Buffy's standing order," Springs quiet voice cut into his thoughts and she held his gaze with tired sad eyes. The Slayer didn't have as much pain as Buffy buried in her eyes but it was closer than he thought possible in one so recently Called. Giles fists clenched at his sides as he reigned in Ripper, these people loved Buffy as much as he did, and they had been dealing with her for longer, he had to calm down.
Dawn looking equally rumbled shoved her way into the kitchen. When Dawn started to knell by Buffy's side she was stopped and held in place by Spring. "No, little D, not until Miss Buffy takes the drug." The slayer motioned to two others to help her lift Buffy into a standing position and then each draped an arm over their shoulders. They momentarily paused at the door as Xander moved out of their way.
"I'm going with them, Buffy has trouble swallowing the pill after she's been," Dawn left the rest unsaid as she rushed out the door behind them, only to poke her head back around. "Hi Giles, I'm happy you're here." Then she was gone.
Giles stood behind his bodyguards resenting them because even now with Buffy out of the kitchen and out of his sight they still wouldn't let him move.
It was finally Xander's word that let them release him. "Let him go, will you guys take Jean to the hospital?" The Head Watcher of the Cleveland Hellmouth asked as he knelt down next to the injured slayer and Giles didn't know if he should feel guilty about her not. It was obviously his carelessness that instigated the confrontation and he'd compounded it by completely forgetting about the poor girl in his ire over being kept away from Buffy.
He had to leave the room; he had to clear his head so that he could find the answers that would save Buffy. He knew that she was declining from the all the panicked phone calls; he knew she was sick, and that's why he jumped on the plane to get here. He knew all this in his head, hr thought he was prepared that she might die, but reality of actually being here with her was something different. His heart screamed for him to do something to save her, he just didn't know what. The Council simply had never considered slayers anything more than tools to be used and then discarded.
The phone rang and he sent up a silent prayer that it was Willow and that she had found the cure. He followed Xander's voice into the boy's office.
"Hey, Will, Giles is right here. Yes, I know, let me put you on the speaker,"