Title: Chip Tooth Smile
Rating: FRAO Overall/FRT This chapter
Timeline: AU, one year post-series...no Dawn, Anya survived Sunnydale.
Synopsis: A year after Sunnydale, there are quite a few changes in the Scoobies' lives. There are more changes to come.
Author’s Note: Special thanks to A for taking the time to go through this project for me. This fic is inspired by the album Chip Tooth Smile by Rob Thomas. This is not a typical songfic. (Lyrics and .mp3s can be found on the CTS index page)
Chapter Nine - Early in the Morning
Five weeks had passed since Anya had confronted him about the true nature of his relationship with Buffy. While they weren’t actively hiding their relationship, it still wasn’t common knowledge within the Council. At one time, he would have had to declare such a change in their dynamic…but that was with the old Council and the old rules. Times had changed and they had changed with them. There wasn’t ‘one girl in all the world’ now. There were currently eighty-six active Slayers. And Giles answered to no one but himself…and possibly his own Slayer.
Willow had told Gareth that Buffy wasn’t interested. Gareth had been disheartened, but accepted the outcome…and turned his attentions towards Maria – a Spanish Slayer who had arrived at the compound a few months earlier. Giles kept his opinions about Gareth mainly to himself, but he did speak to Maria’s Watcher – and requested that he keep an eye on things. Gareth had a tendency to hop around.
Camille, the researcher in Demonology with whom Anya had been discussing Giles, asked Anya how Giles was doing one morning. Anya responded in her typical manner – and Camille walked away from that conversation with the knowledge that Giles was currently receiving all of the orgasms he could ever want and that he wasn’t the type to give more than one woman orgasms at a time. Giles had been equally horrified and amused when she had recounted the exchange.
He and Buffy had spent two nights apart during those five weeks – and that was due to an emergency that Giles had needed to research regarding a nest of Plexstine demons that had been discovered in Finland. The rest of their nights had been split between his home and her flat – and they each felt equally comfortable in either.
Giles glanced at the alarm clock on the bedside table and sighed. The time read 2:28 and he was wide awake – had been for some time now, his mind racing with thoughts he couldn’t seem to stop. He turned his attention to Buffy, who was currently sleeping soundly with her head on his shoulder and her arm draped over his abdomen.
At the moment, he was trying to decide whether to wake her up or to let her sleep. He knew, without a doubt, that she would not be upset in the least if he woke her – they’d talk, kiss, make love…she’d help quieten the thoughts in his head and they’d fall back asleep holding one another. But, she had been involved in an unscheduled patrol earlier in the night – and it had been a fairly brutal exercise. Twelve vampires, two Slayers.
Each Slayer had returned home to their Watcher. It had been brutal, but successful.
He pressed a soft kiss to her forehead and gently manuevered himself out from under her. He watched her until she resettled, snuggling into his pillow and sighing deeply. A smile of adoration graced his lips. After a few moments of simply watching her, he took a deep breath and got dressed…and then he left a note for her on the pad that always had a place on his bedside table.
He leaned down and kissed the tip of her ear before whispering softly.
“I’ll be back soon, love.”
She mumbled incoherently and held onto his pillow tighter.
* * *
His walk found him half a block away from Buffy’s flat, sitting on a park bench near a small man-made pond. There was nothing remarkable about the small spot, nothing that drew him into the space…but, it was nice and quiet – and safe. And for the first time in many, many months – possibly years…he allowed his mind to interact with the memories he kept locked away. Memories of a happier time, a happier time that had ended twelve years earlier…four years before he had been called up and assigned to Buffy.
He didn’t think of Sophie very often. Not because he didn’t want to, but because he couldn’t bear to – the pain, the sadness, the…guilt. It was all too much for him to cope with at times. Sophie had been a Watcher as well – they had gone all through the Academy with one another. She had even been a witness to his spectacular exit from the Academy. She had also been there for him upon his return.
They had been friends, first and foremost. Best friends. It was one of the reasons that he hadn’t been overly surprised by the dalliance between Xander and Willow when they were in high school. He understood the circumstances and emotions that blurred the lines of friendship and love.
Giles and Sophie had discussed their feelings off and on for years before finally allowing themselves the chance to have more. Both had been worried that their friendship would be damaged if they became lovers. For six years they danced along the line, dating others during the times that they insisted that their friendship was most important.
Those other relationships never lasted long, for either of them.
And then one night they had gone for a walk…and they had stopped by a pond…and the moonlight lit everything just perfectly. And Giles had thrown caution to the wind and kissed her. At that moment, they both knew that they couldn’t go back to having only a friendship. That night, by the pond under the moonlight, those blurred lines snapped and they allowed themselves to admit to one another that the love they felt was stronger than they could deny.
They had been together for seven years. They had lived together for five. She had proudly worn her engagement ring for eight months.
She had been buried wearing it.
He remembered very clearly the last time he said ‘I love you’ to anyone he had truly loved. And that was in a dark, secluded spot on Council grounds in London – moments before he had initiated a kiss that had quickly turned into much more, hands tugging at clothes as he had pushed Sophie against the wall of an old, but charming, abandoned shack.
Giles closed his eyes, slamming the door on the memories before they could show him her death. He locked that door quickly, a tear rolling down his cheek as he lowered his head to his hands.
For the first time in many, many months – possibly years, he allowed his tears to fall in memory of her.
* * *
Buffy sighed as the bed shifted and warm arms slipped around her. “Mm…you’re back…”
Giles pulled her against his chest and pressed a kiss to her bare shoulder. “I’m back.”
“Where did you go?” She asked sleepily, snuggling back against him.
“Just to that little pond down the road.” He murmured, closing his eyes as his body began to react to her movements. “Just too many thoughts tonight, couldn’t sleep.”
She turned in his arms and looked into his eyes. It didn’t take much to discern that he had been crying. She could count on one hand the number of times she had seen his eyes the bright, watery green that came after a really heartfelt cry…the type of cry that turns to uncontrollable sobs. It wasn’t something he did often…or not something that she had seen the evidence of that often.
“Are you okay?” She whispered, reaching up to run her fingers through his hair above his ear.
He smiled softly and nodded. “I am.”
“When you want to talk about it, you know I’m here…right?”
He nodded again, sliding his hand to rest on her hip. “I do.”
She shifted against him, gliding her fingers in small circles on his chest. “Do you want me?”
“Always.” He whispered, his fingers tightening slightly on her hip.
“Do you need me?”
He started to reply, then hesitated. His hand moved from her hip to the side of her face, his thumb lovingly stroking her cheek as he looked into her eyes.
“I don’t want sex to become the substitute for words I can’t yet say, Buffy.” He licked his lips and took a deep breath. “The sun isn’t even up yet and it’s far too early for deep discussions. I appreciate and adore your willingness to…”
She smiled as he trailed off. “You, uh…you know it’s not exactly a self-sacrificing thing, right? I get a lot out of it too.”
He chuckled and rolled onto his back, pulling her with him. “What do you need, darling?”
“Darling?” She raised an eyebrow at him.
He paused for a moment and then nodded slowly. “You are, don’t you realise? You are…darling. My darling.”
“Giles…” She whispered emotionally.
He smiled adoringly, knowing that she understood his meaning.
“What do you need?” He repeated softly.
She lowered her head to his chest and held on to him tightly. He wrapped his arms around her and held her just as tightly. It wasn’t long before she felt his hold loosen slightly as sleep found him. She smiled, pressing her ear to his chest…content with listening to his heart beat rhythmically as he slept.
She wondered about what had taken him from bed so early in the morning. What had caused him to get dressed and leave the flat to clear his head. She knew that he would tell her eventually, when he was ready…when he was able. He wasn’t at that point yet in his own healing. She wasn’t sure what had happened twelve years ago, but she knew that for him to be holding on to it this tightly for this long…it had to be a) important and b) unimaginably horrible.
She knew that he had loved Jenny Calendar dearly and she knew that Jenny had loved him. She remembered vividly his reaction, his pain, his guilt when Jenny had been murdered. She had always assumed that Giles had told Jenny that he loved her, considering how seemingly easily he had admitted it to Buffy as they stood at her grave. But, he hadn’t and she couldn’t help but think that what had happened before he came to Sunnydale was even worse than what had happened to Jenny. And she was having a lot of trouble even imagining what could’ve been worse for him.
She shifted carefully, moving to his side. She smiled as he shifted with her, curling his arm around her and lacing his fingers with hers – obviously unwilling to lose contact with her even in sleep.
“I love you.” She whispered so quietly that even she wasn’t sure if she had said it aloud or not.
Had her head still been resting on his chest, she would’ve heard his heartrate increase. He opened his eyes and looked at her as well as he could without moving his head. He watched as she lifted her free hand and silently wiped a tear from her eye. He wondered if this was the first time she had done this…whispered her love for him as he slept. Or if this was something she’d done before…and then cried after saying it because she knew she wouldn’t hear the words back.
He didn’t want to alert her to the fact that he’d heard her…seen her. So he did what he could. He calmed his heart and then rolled onto his side, lovingly wrapping his arm around her and pulling her against him and pressing a soft, sleepy kiss in her hair….and pretended to still be asleep.
She fell asleep quickly in his embrace.
He didn’t. He held her for the next hour, two hours…he wasn’t even sure.
And as the sun began to rise, he took a deep breath…hoping for an uneventful day.
He smiled as she turned in his arms, sleepily pressing kisses against his chest as she slipped her leg in between his. He chuckled softly as his body began to react to her innocent movements. When he felt her smile against his skin, he realised that her movements weren’t as innocent as he had believed.
He rolled her onto her back, laughing softly as she grinned at him.
There were worse ways to start the day…even if he hadn’t gotten that much sleep.
Chapter Ten - The Worst in Me
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