The lie down hadn't helped at all. When Giles woke his head was still pounding, albeit at a somewhat slower tempo. His throat still ached. And, as he should have known, sleeping on the couch had put an entirely new stiffness in his neck.
And startling halfway upright did his vertigo no good whatsoever. "Buffy." She hovered next to him with an expression of pert concern that made him close his eyes again. "Buffy, I haven't any instructions for you. I'm sure you'll do fine on patrol."
"And you're miserable, and I should therefore leave you alone."
"If you please." It was a good age at which to die, he thought. He'd be spared all the wretched elderly infirmities.
"Well, I'll just have to give this tea to someone else."
He opened his eyes again. "Tea?"
Yes, there was one of the ridiculous novelty mugs from Jenny in her hands, and yes, vapor did seem to be rising from it. "It's not that blasted bedtime tea your mother makes, is it?" The kind that came in small papery bags -- bloody Americans.
She gave him the mug. "Genuine old British guy tea." It was just a trifle too warm, but the heat soothed his hands. He pushed himself up just far enough to peer into the mug. It looked roughly the color yielded by his specially ordered Darjeeling blend. A few specks of what appeared to be tea leaves floated at the top. Tentatively he lifted it to his lips and sipped. It burned a bit going down, and it was just the right balance of bitter and sharp.
It tasted wonderful.
"However did you learn to make this?"
Buffy started to grin. "I told Spike he'd been away from England too long and didn't know how, and he told me exactly what to do."
He took another sip. Bliss. His throat, at least, felt just some tiny bit better. Then he frowned, which increased the throbbing. "And why is Spike so blessedly quiet?"
The grin widened. "I turned on the TV and then gagged him."
Real tea and a silent vampire. Perhaps he might mend after all.