“I thought at first this was a set-up, and you were trying to turn us against each other,” said the female who had arrived with Willow and Faith. A piece of metal transfixed her tongue. “Only, why would you bother? You could have just put your fist through Giles’ face before anybody could have stopped you. Hell, you beat four Slayers at once and one of them was Vi
. And you’re not gloating. Just hurting.”
“Yes, I hurt,” Illyria confirmed. “I did not know this feeling called ‘grief’ in my past life. It consumes me. I stand as if on the brink of an abyss, on the verge of falling, and I know not how to retreat to solid ground.” She focused her gaze upon Giles. “I had hoped that forcing you to acknowledge your guilt would ease my pain. It does not.”
The warrior Vi laid a hand upon Illyria’s shoulder. “Give it some time. It won’t always be this bad, Fred, uh, Illyria.” Illyria recognized that the gesture was intended to give comfort. It did not achieve that aim.
“If an apology from me would help, well, you have that unreservedly,” Giles said. “I made a terrible error of judgment. I know that no apology can make up for the consequences of that error…”
“If you’re lucky Willow might start speaking to you again sometime in the next year, Giles,” the metal-tongued one said, “and Faith probably isn’t going to kill you. I’m not so sure about Buffy.”