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Potential Rupert Giles Prompt Puppy (don't say "bunny" or Anya will freak, 'kay?)

ETA 10/08/13: Dead Things screencap

Has anyone ever written a Buffyverse fic in which Giles, not Willow, becomes the Big Bad? The idea occurred to me not long after reading  the episode notes for WTTH  by 2maggie2

In the Bronze, Buffy sees Giles up on the balcony, and he calls her attention to the others out there dancing -- she’s separate from them, with a duty to protect them.  (The scene gets called back in season six in Dead Things when Spike adds another layer to Buffy’s fundamental separation from others – but it starts here in the very first episode).

(Dead Things screencap courtesy of www.bloodqueen.com)

Maggie is talking specifically within the context of how Buffy is separated from her friends/family as the Slayer from the very first episode, but her comments brought back the memory of one of my first visceral reactions to the series.  There was something astonishingly creepy about the way Giles is suddenly "there", beside her, an older man next to a 16-year-old girl (foreshadowing Bangel), and I didn't have a "bead" on his character yet. The idea that he would turn out to be a villain who betrays Buffy and isn't what he seems, was as likely a notion as anything else.  All of which turns out to be true and false at the same time: he doesn't turn out to be a villain but he does have a dark past as the Ripper (as does Angel), he does betray Buffy at times (Helpless, LMPTM), he kills a man behind Buffy's back knowing she wouldn't approve (The Gift).

And when I watched the balcony scene in Dead Things ("Alone in dark with me") my mind was racing back to the parallel scene in WTTH, giving both scenes greater emotional power - foreshadowing squared to th nth egree. The writers surely could not have imagined any of these events when this was written and shot, bu bless* them for knowingly or unknowingly providing the bones right from the start for everything that was to come.

So if I'd had to guess which of the Core Four was most likely to become a Big Bad down the road at the time I was watching S1, I probably would have said Giles.  So it got me wondering if "Giles as the Big Bad" has been done as a fanfiction.  I can't imagine someone in the last 15 years hasn't played with the concept.  If Willow as the Big Bad was fraught with emotional turmoil, the drama and angst of Giles in that role could make LMPTM look like a Sunday cake-walk.

So, gentle flisters - point me the way to one that's already been written, or let that little puppy play around in your head for a while until you come up with something grand. FYI : I've decided to adopt the term plot puppy because: it's still a small, cute animal that you can stroke and love and huggle, and it won't upset Anya needlessly. In this case, a puppy with very sharp teeth that isn't nearly as harmless as it looks.

ETA: beer_good_foamy  and I both ended up rec'ing the same story in the convo thread below,  "All Set Down" desoto_hia873 , an AU take on The Gift (and as you know I seem to have a kink for those.)  Giles is forced to perform a terrible but necessary act.  It doesn't quite fit the "Giles as Big Bad" criteria but it really is quite good.

** (Yes, I know Joss is an atheist. So am I. Or maybe agnostic. Let's go with "undecided".)

Posted on Dreamwidth http://red-satin-doll.dreamwidth.org/11747.html
Interesting! Really good point. I can't think of a Giles as the Big Bad fic offhand. I know there are a few fics where he's the bad guy, (I just read one the other day) but they're usually pretty blatant basher-fics. IE, Giles is a bad guy by arrogance and trying to control Buffy's life rather than an actual threat.

You make some excellent points though about the way Buffy & Giles are set up in the first episode; I wonder why I haven't read more Evil giles? Maybe because almost everyone likes him?

You don't see a lot of Evil Anya fic either, and she's a canon bad guy.

Edited at 2013-02-06 06:47 pm (UTC)
I think that "liking" has a lot to do with it. I've also read a lot of bashing fics; and I understand both Giles' motives in-story (see my note to rebcake downthread), as well as the bashers' reasons; but it always makes for an unpleasant read. I did recently read a post-The Gift story (can't find the link) that initially seemed to be yet another story bashing Giles and the Scoobies (they're the worst, yadda yadda) to make Spike look good; but then eventually it evolves so that I understood that the writer was portraying the situation from Spike's POV as he and Giles come to a moment of shared understanding. Quite clever, actually.

Oh - just yesterday I read a story where Giles does something "necessary but horrible" - another AU take on The Gift, by desoto_hia873, "All Set Down" from 2005. Not a "Big Bad" fic, but quite good. I'd forgotten it when I wrote this.

And I have no idea why there aren't more Evil Anya fics. Maybe because for most of the run her role is a comedic one, and the one episode that does deal with her past seriously is also the one that made me cry when the sword was run through her, in which she was willing to sacrifice her own life to make right what she'd done wrong? (And was willing to make that sacrifice as a demon, btw. Just sayin'.)

Edited at 2013-02-06 09:01 pm (UTC)
I can only think of one Giles-as-villain story off the top of my head, though surely there are more out there! I don't think this is exactly the kind of thing you had in mind - it's an alternate universe fic, not a story where you see Giles go "bad", and he's really only present in the story for a few paragraphs, but he makes quite an impression. When She Was Bad, by Julie Fortune. (Unlike 99% of the fic I recommend, this is not Spuffy. It's S3 era gen fic.)
Hmmmmm. I think you are right, and I'll bet that scene was put in there to create the space for Giles to "go bad" if they chose to do so later. However, WTTH is all about subverting expectations, so cute schoolgirl is the monster, creepy old guy is the helper, and mysterious guy in the alley is...neither. I'm just as glad that they went the way they did. ;-)

Giles turning into the big bad — through hubris and for the greater good — could work really well. Certainly, they could have used Ms. Calendar's death as the catalyst. I do worry that readers would find it bash-y though. One of the valuable things Giles brings to the story is that of the "sadder but wiser" adult, who made many of the same mistakes Willow did, but was able to overcome his infatuation with power and channel that into a dedication to service. Plus, I guess they needed a "teacher" for the mythic structure to work.

Edited at 2013-02-06 07:11 pm (UTC)
WTTH is all about subverting expectations

*nods* Indeed the entire show is. I just remember that scene being the first that actually made my skin twitch for just a few seconds. And I love Giles as is, so this is not a "wish fulfillment" prompt. (Yes I get pissed about Giles leaving in S6 - I have issues.) But there's actually very little I feel the need to "fix" about the series, even when it drops the ball. (Economic/monetary issues being a huge one.) I'm not sure that fanfic isn't better to handle some of those things anyway because we can go into more depth than a 45-minute episode allows.

Certainly, they could have used Ms. Calendar's death as the catalyst.

I'm thinking more of a later seasons thing, where he's no longer so important as a teacher - trying to pull away into his own life (as he has been explicitly trying to do since the first episode of S4.) But yes, that very nearly happened, didn't it, with Giles rushing to kill Angel after her death, horribly inequipped to do so. And Jenny and Tara are the two major irreversible deaths on the show, two women on the fringes of the Scoobie circle who die violently at the hands of Big Bads; or in Warren's case, a "would-be Big Bad"; so there's a neat symmetry in the fact that in S6 it's Giles who once again rushes in to save the day, but this time is armed with magical reinforcement. (Clearly he's learned from that mistake at least.)

I do worry that readers would find it bash-y though.

Well that would be on the readers - or on the writer if they wrote it that way, in either case, I would disapprove. One of the great things about the show is how there is very little black and white, and I love the way two different people/POV's can be simultaneously wrong and right at the same time - ie the complexity. And there are enough really talented writers in this fandom that I'm sure someone could handle the story with similar complexity in the same spirit.
I rec'd desoto's "All Set Down" upthread, which isn't really about Giles being "evil" but rather ruthless because he has to be. (And it's a damn good fic.) And Molly_may rec'd another that I'm just starting - but I'm really surprised the theme hasn't been explored more often. I've seen post-Chosen/NFA fics that bash Giles for not helping save Fred when Angel called, I've also seen the occasional "Giles turned into a vampire fic", but that's it. It may have to do with what beer_good_foamy mentioned, that Giles became "too safe" on the series to make a villain but there's fics where every other character has gone bad, and the potential for Giles seems like it would be catnip for a fan writer.
The male mentor betraying the female hero - didn't Joss do exactly that plot in, uh, a later series? (Hard to even say which one without whopping big spoilers...)

I don't recall seeing any fics on that premise - I've seen a few dark Giles fics, including one really good twist on "The Gift" where Giles ends up having to kill Dawn since Buffy's sacrifice turns out to do absolutely nothing*, but none where Giles becomes the real big bad. Huh.

* ETA: Damn if it's not the exact story you mention upthread. Great minds have the same small reference pools. :)

Edited at 2013-02-06 09:05 pm (UTC)
didn't Joss do exactly that plot in, uh, a later series?

I assumed you were teasing me about Angelus but - later series? I wouldn't know, BtVS is the only one of his I've seen.

Damn if it's not the exact story you mention upthread. Great minds have the same small reference pools.

Because the reference pool of greatness is fairly small to begin with, perhaps? It's weird too because I read desoto's story only yesterday.
Ooh! Some promising links to follow-up on.

Someday when I retire I will read all the BtVS fic I can get my hands on. Unless, by that time, the internet has evolved into something too newfangled for my aged brain to navigate. :-)

I think, if Giles were to become the Big Bad, it would be because he was so certain he was Right and Knew Best. Like in LMPTM. Not because he was possessed, or out of loss the way Willow went dark in S6, or because Giles just snapped. It would be the badness of the man who feels privileged to make decisions for other people, because he believed his (genuine) superior knowledge and experience gave him that right.

That attitude must always have been a real danger for Giles, surrounded by teenagers and young adults who really were thoughtless and impulsive much of the time.

Side note: Eee, I'd never seen that parallel between the two balcony scenes! I'd been uncomfortable in the WTTH one, thinking it was weird that Giles would stand so close to a young girl he barely knew. But even though I've watched the series through several times, I didn't tie the scene in Dead Things back to the WTTH one. Now I kinda want to start the whole series again. :-)
Someday when I retire I will read all the BtVS fic I can get my hands on.

I read too much as it is - unemployment is a dangerous thing. (Idol hands and all that.)

Total YES on your thoughts about Giles, although the one time we truly see him snap on the show is in Passions, and understandably, crazed with grief and rage but without backup or adequate weapons. It's an interesting mirror to S6, when Willow is similarly crazed, and Giles comes in to stop her, this time with backup from the Coven.

I mentioned LMPTM and First Date upthread a bit so I'll try not to repeat the same comments, but the changed dynamic between Buffy and Giles in S7 fascinates me. In First Date he's in his best "Rational & Logical Watcher" mode, and she counters in the same manner (parry and thrust). One thing I know is that when we learn from our teachers we tend to imitate them until we've processed the lessons and can evolve our own ideas and methods, and I think that's a lot of what's going on there - among a lot of other things. (I could analyze that one scene in First Date all day.)

That attitude must always have been a real danger for Giles, surrounded by teenagers and young adults who really were thoughtless and impulsive much of the time.

Interesting point, I hadn't ever thought of that! Must ponder.

Now I kinda want to start the whole series again. :-)

So do I - reading Maggie's episode notes has sort of been fantastic because there is so much I missed the first time, and the early seasons are so much richer than I even remember. At some point I'll do a proper watch.

And yes, that scene in Dead Things? *chills* And part of what makes is interesting is how much Buffy is changed from one to the other; WTTH starts kind of creepy but Buffy is always in control of the dialogue between her and Giles, confident she knows her job, and how to spot vamps, etc. Her heart hasn't been torn asunder yet.
It doesn't truly fit your criteria either, but 'Clocks of the Long Now' certainly sets Giles up as a Big Bad.

I've also seen a story where Spike and Buffy time-travel back to the 70's and encounter Ethan and Ripper. Not quite Giles as *the* Big Bad either, but it provides a glimpse of a somewhat out of control Giles. I can't remember who wrote it or what it was called though.

I was actually thinking about Giles, his push for independence, and leaving in S6, and really, Tony had other places to be that season. That's it. Otherwise, him leaving - especially the first time, before they raise Buffy from the dead - makes zero sense. *Giles* would leave the Hellmouth unprotected and Dawn without financial security? Uh... NO. That was just to prepare us all so it wasn't so surprising when he left again. The entire set-up to Buffy's big crappy year is poorly done. I'm really supposed to believe that nobody was contributing financially? Hello, what would have happened if they hadn't managed to bring Buffy back? If it had been RL rather than plot contrivance (ignoring that there's no raising the dead in RL :)), the financial stuff would have been taken care of, not left to pile up. There's no way ANY of those normally responsible adults would have left Dawn in such dire straights. I can't hate the Scoobies for their giant, writer-caused, OOC behaviour when it comes to the financial stuff that is, for some strange reason, all Buffy's responsibility.
Giles, his push for independence, and leaving in S6, and really, Tony had other places to be that season. That's it. Otherwise, him leaving - especially the first time, before they raise Buffy from the dead - makes zero sense.

::nods wisely::

Are you familiar with the concept of Doylist (or doylian) versus Watsonian story logic? Basically, Watsonian logic is in universe, and doylist is out of universe. Giles leaving in season 6 makes zero sense in-universe. But Tony head wanting to spend more time with his family makes total doylist sense. The writers fell down on their jobs though; their justifications never really work. Spike sticking with Angel in (AtS) season 5 is another good example. From a doylist perspective the network insisted that Spike move to Angel's team in order for the series to be renewed. But it never really works from a watsonian perspective IMO.
Outside of bashing fics, the main evil!Giles series I remember is Career Change by Two Ladies of Quality. I haven't actually read this one myself, but I remember it getting pretty good buzz back when it was first posted.
Ooh, pretty fic, thank you! And there I was telling Spikesjojo upthread I don't ship Giles/Spike and I'm already eating my words:

"You're not *my* type."

"And you the product of the British public school system."


BTW - I was inspired to make this icon from your scene with Buffy and VampWillow in the lingerie shop and Willow's line, but I'm not happy with it (I used to be good at making icons. *pouts*) I hope it's ok to borrow VampWillow's line?

I highly recommend Career Change http://www.spanderfiles.com/arvs/twoladiesofquality/cc.html

I don't know if I need permission to quote a bit but here goes -

[When Giles opened his eyes, he was laying on the floor of Spike's crypt, wrapped in chains, and Spike was on the other side of the room with a loaded crossbow aimed at him.

"So, you're awake," Spike said.

"I feel very odd. Why are you pointing that at me? You can't use it on me."

"I will if you're not reasonable."

Giles looked at him curiously. "You act like you're worried about me. Good." He frowned. "My face feels odd."

"I'd show you a mirror, but it wouldn't help."

"What happened?"

"What happened is I have to have some very serious words with Dru about what she dumps into my crypt when I'm not home and she's in a pissy mood."]

It takes place after Dru's visit in season 5 - Giles gets sired by Dru. When he suggests he get his soul back Spike tells him "Oh, get your soul back, hm? Doesn't get rid of the demon, you know, just makes it even more schizophrenic. From what I hear, Angel was just a big handsome lunk running through his daddy's money on drink and women. Nothing too complicated, average guy, meaning no real harm. But you, Rupert, what kind of soul would you be getting back? Average likeable lout? Or a sorcerer who's made a study of darkness, something more than a little hard and ruthless. Something comfortable in the company of a guy named Ripper." He nodded at the look on Giles face. "Your soul and your demon might have more to chat about than you want to think of, mate."

My spoilers are all from the first page and it is a long many chaptered, pretty intricate fic. Giles is not only a kickass vampire - he's also a master of dark magics and has no compunctions against using them.

You might also want to check out Love that Dares - http://www.lovethatdares.com/ - What Lies Within. Willow does a spell that has Giles and Spike switching bodies, and she show realistically what would happen if Gile merged into his demon. It also has some great scooby stuff.

I am going to bookmark this discussion so I can come back and read all these stories.

Edited at 2013-02-07 12:19 pm (UTC)
Oh those both sound tasty, thank you! I've got a lot of reading ahead of me and I definitely need a break from Spuffy-overdose. (Yes, there is such a thing.)
The best of the Buffy novels was one where Giles, as a vampire, became the most dangerous enemy Buffy had ever faced. I think it was published as four books, but I bought the omnibus version. There were a lot of character deaths in that one, but sadly no Tara.

I have in mind a Buffyverse series where Tara plays the big bad though :-)


this ~ http://bbfarchive.dbfandom.com/ ~ might be a good source of Buffy/Tara fics; not to mention this ~ http://ralst.com/index.html ~ there are others, but I'll have to hunt them down as I recall them. I do confess I've never thought of them as a 'ship; though I did write a friend'ship fic for them once. Better go find that link, and maybe see if I can come up with a femslash for your birthday ;-)

I've read a fic in which Drusilla turns Giles into a Vampire during Becomming Pt 2. It's not exactly Giles as a big bad though, or at least it wasn't when i was reading it. Incomplete and hasn't been updated in a while, if memory serves the author was focusing on uni.

Thank you! I love the premise - starting with "Sorry I was in the moment"; that scene was so great, so creepy, with Giles seeing Dru as Jenny, probably one of the best moments in the show and certainly one of the best Dru moments.
- (Anonymous)
Thank you for reading this! (I love "late" comments - knowing that people are still finding my stuff is like catnip to me. but then I can and have commented on the_royal_anna's Buffy/Spike metas written ten years ago; that's one of the wonders of this fandom IMO.

I have no idea why the screencap disappeared so I must have moved it. *ugh* Will fix - maybe add a cap from DT.

On that Bronze scene with Giles looking over Buffy's shoulder, I seem to recall from the DVD commentary Joss being upset that Giles had gotten so close to Buffy. Apparently Joss wanted them to keep to a non-creepy distance but that didn't happen.

I doubt that you're making it up. I have also read (which may be hearsay I admit) that he was very uncomfortable with the love scene in Surprise/Innocence and never directed another love scene (on the show). He was also supposedly surprised by the 'shippy subtext of Faith and Buffy in S3. (this may be part of the reason why the strongest, most overt images AND the death of the assistant Mayor that sunders their friendship, all happen in the same episode. The major Faith arc in the season actually happens quite late in relatively few eps.)

*Warning mention of AR* then there's SR which was not his decision but as exec producer he was the one ultimately responsible (just as he is with the comics, even if he blames some of the WTF-ery on the other writers); and supposedly he was VERY uncomfortable with it because he didn't want the conclusion of other shows like General Hospital i.e. Luke and Laura (he rapes her but they end up getting married and portrayed in the media as a popular romantic couple) and thought it was wrong on a feminist basis. But then there's the very "romantic" subtext of S7 - Showtime, for instance, or the two of them sleeping together in Touched and Chosen. With the fade to black (a callback to W/T in NMR, actually) he said that the audience could decide for themselves that whatever happened, happened. Dude, you think the idea of Buffy and Spike making love ever again is wrong but you leave the possibility open? (So what would he think of people like me who have no problem imagining just that, that I'm not a feminist?) And then the final ILY etc is one of the lushest and most "romantic" scenes I've ever seen anywhere: an orgasmic and spiritual handfasting (another callback to W/T and their handfasting in Hush).

Then there's the fact that sexuality and violation/rape are themes that run throughout the show.
But also the fact that sexuality is linked both to evil and to madness (drusilla, after she's cured, begins to express her sexuality and becomes less childlike, more womanly. Sheila in School Hard is the sexually-aware "bad girl/slut" contrasted against good girl Buffy. And don't even get me started on the comics....

I believe - and I've meant to do meta on this but my notes got destroyed so I have to start from scratch - that Joss, for all his claims of a feminist sensibility, has a very Victorian view of female sexuality and the female body. It reminds me of all the images of late 19th century symbolist and art nouveau depictions of women as dangerous, femme fatales who devour men, who shapeshift in to monsters; and of men like the very famous art critic James Ruskin, who was unable to consumate his marriage to Effie Gray because he was so shocked and disgusted on their honeymoon by his first sight of a real woman's body; his only point of reference had been the smooth, perfect, unblemished version in paintings and sculptures of the day.

I still haven't found a "Giles as Big Bad" fic btw.
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