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 Seven - We Were Beautiful
Giles looked up as Willow walked into the living room. Willow looked very confused…and a bit annoyed.
“Good morning, Willow.” He offered with a smile.
“Hey, Giles. I thought you said Buffy would still be here…I kinda need to talk to her.”
Giles closed the book he was reading and gestured towards the kitchen. “She is. She’s making tea, I think…”
Willow glanced towards the kitchen. “But…her car isn’t here.”
He smiled, shaking his head. “No, it’s not. It’s at the Council. We were training after hours…then went for coffee. By the time we left there, it was fairly late…so she stayed here last night.”
“Oh…well, that makes sense, I guess.” She plopped down on the sofa and smiled. “You look better…”
“Than what?” He asked, placing the book on the lamp table.
“Than you did the other day, when you weren’t sleeping well.”
“Ah…” He ran his hand through his hair. “Yes, I was finally able to get a decent amount of proper sleep last night – did me a world of good.”
“Hey, Giles…before we go out tonight, can we stop by my – ” Buffy walked into the living room, carrying two mugs of tea. She stopped suddenly, surprised to see Willow sitting on the sofa with Giles. “Oh…hey, Will. I didn’t know you were here yet. Want some tea?”
“No, I’m good. You’re going out tonight? The two of you?” Willow asked, darting her eyes between Buffy and Giles.
“Yeah, I’m scheduled for patrol tonight. He’s going to come with me and be all Watchery…make sure I haven’t lost my touch.” She smiled brightly at Giles and was rewarded with a quick wink from him.
“Is that why you were training last night?” She asked, watching Buffy hand Giles a mug of tea.
“Yeah. Giles reckoned I was telegraphing my moves.”
Giles took a sip of his tea and looked at her over the rim of his glasses. “You were. I think I sufficiently proved that, yes?”
Buffy rolled her eyes playfully. “Yeah, yeah…”
Willow grinned. It had been a while since they had bantered like this…in fact, it had been a few weeks since she had actually seen them in the same room together. She had started to get worried that there was a problem, but watching them now…everything seemed to be perfectly normal.
Her thoughts were interrupted by Buffy asking what she needed to talk to her about.
Willow took a deep breath and looked directly at Buffy. “I’m worried about you.”
“Me?” Buffy asked, clearly surprised. “Why?”
Giles took another sip of his tea, his eyes focused on Willow.
“Have you even been on a date since Sunnydale?”
Giles slid his gaze to Buffy, lowering his mug and resting it on his knee.
“No…” She said slowly, briefly glancing at Giles. “Not because I haven’t been asked a few times though.”
Giles arched an eyebrow, but said nothing.
Buffy stared at her friend and took a deep breath. “Did you seriously track me down to ask me why I’m not dating?”
“No…well, yeah, okay. There’s this guy – ”
Buffy interrupted her with a raised hand. “Not interested, Will.”
“Why not? He’s really nice and pretty cute…and he asks about you all the time.”
Giles rolled his eyes and stood up. Buffy furrowed her brow as she looked at him.
“Where are you going?”
He gestured vaguely and shook his head. “Away from this conversation. I don’t need to be here for this.”
Willow grinned up at him. “Well, you could help me out, you know.”
“No...I don’t think I can.” He replied. “This is definitely not my area of expertise.”
Buffy watched him as he walked into the kitchen. She narrowed her eyes when she heard the back door open and close. Willow shrugged her shoulder and turned her attention back to Buffy.
“What’s wrong with him?”
Buffy shook her head slowly and took a sip of her tea.
* * *
Ninety minutes after he had gone outside, the back door opened. He exhaled a deep breath as she walked out and sat down in the chair next to his.
“What’s wrong?” She asked, curling her legs underneath her.
“I’m just thinking.”
“Mm-hm…thinking always leads to thoughts…” She shook her head as he slowly turned towards her. “You know what I mean.”
“This should be easy, but it never is. It’s never safe. And I don’t really know where to go or what to say…”
“Yeah, see….you thinking led to those thoughts – which make no fucking sense in the grand scheme of anything…”
“I can’t take back anything I’ve said or done.” He continued. “I don’t think I want to because I can see what we could be. Together…and apart. Memories shift and manipulate thoughts and…things were so very different in Sunnydale. Not better, necessarily. But…different.”
“Giles, seriously…what are you talking about? Because you’re making the kind of sense that doesn’t. Is this because Willow is trying to set me up with Gareth?”
He stared at her for a second. “Gareth? That’s who she was talking about?”
“Yeah…so not my type.”
Giles snorted. “He once was.”
She bit her lip as she watched him nervously rub the band of his ring with his thumb. “Are you having second thoughts, Giles?”
“They cycle through…sometimes faster than others.” He swallowed as he met her eyes, gesturing between them. “This is all we have right now, Buffy.”
“Do you remember what you asked me at three in the morning? You asked if we could be more than this…” She sighed heavily. “At least, that’s what I remember happening. And I remember telling you very clearly that we could most definitely be more than this…whatever your definition of ‘this’ is. Or was all of that a very strange and vivid dream?”
“No, that’s exactly what took place. But, Buffy…” He shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair. “You deserve more. You deserve someone who can actually tell you how the hell he feels about you. You shouldn’t have to guess about how I feel or worry about whether you’re misinterpreting something I’ve said or done. How is that fair to you?”
She reached over and placed her palm over his heart. He glanced down at her hand and then looked at her.
“What are you doing?”
“You need to listen to what’s in here more than what’s going on in your mind, Giles. Maybe not when it comes to demons…listen to your mind when it’s about demons. But, when it’s about me…about us…you’re just going to fight yourself every single time. You know, maybe you can’t tell me how you feel – and I don’t know why that is…maybe one day you can explain that to me. But, I can feel it…when you hold me, when you kiss me…when you make love to me. Don’t think that you don’t show me how you feel…because you do. And, actions speak louder than words. Your heart is beautiful and strong…and it doesn’t overthink every minor detail. It just…feels.”
She gently rubbed his chest and offered him a loving smile. “So, while this may be all we have right now…it’s also all we need for the time being.”
He was quiet for a few moments and then covered her hand with his, lacing their fingers together as he pulled her hand from his chest to rest against his thigh.
“Even if we weren’t together, I’d urge you to stay away from Gareth.”
She laughed and leaned her head against his shoulder. “Apparently, Anya is talking to someone in demonology about you…”
“Fuck’s sake…” He muttered, pinching the bridge of his nose.
She squeezed his hand and then stood up. “Come on…”
“Where to?” He asked, standing up when she gently tugged his hand.
“Inside. Your sofa is much more amenable to snuggling than these chairs out here…”
“Snuggling…” He echoed with a chuckle. “Because I’m such a snuggler.”
“You’re more of a snuggler than you let on. I’ve got your number on this, Giles.” She grinned, leading him back inside.
“That you do.” He murmured to himself, following her willingly.
* * *
Giles walked beside her as they entered the third cemetery of the night, his hands in his pockets as he quickly scanned the area. It had been a fairly busy night, especially for the area and time of year. He watched as she twirled the stake in her hand while she talked to him. Of course, if she had asked, he wouldn’t be able to tell her what she was talking about…he was far too focused on how her hand was curled around the stake.
Her exasperated tone caught his attention and he met her eyes quickly. “Yes?”
Even in the moonlight, she could see the red tinge of his skin around his collar. “What was I talking about?”
“The, uh…well, you…the vampires were…oh bloody hell, I have no idea.” He finally admitted, rubbing the back of his neck. “I’m sorry, what were you saying?”
She laughed and slipped her arm through his. “I was just saying that this is the busiest night I’ve had in a while…and was wondering what your thoughts were on my techniques. You know, considering you’re my Watcher.”
“Ah, yes…technique. Amazing, as always – though you seemed to be rushing the last couple…which was somewhat of a concern. I was going to ask you about it, but got sidetracked…”
She looked up at him questioningly. “What possibly could have gotten you sidetracked during patrol?”
She stopped walking and stared at him. “My hand? What are you – ”
He glanced at the hand in question and she could’ve sworn she heard a small groan. She looked down at her hand and smiled as understanding hit her.
“Yes, quite.” He murmured, running his finger along the lapel of her leather jacket.
“I’m not sensing any vampires here…”
“No?” He surveyed their surroundings and nodded in agreement. “I think you’re right.”
She curled her fingers into the front of his shirt. “Come here.”
He tightened his fingers around her lapel as he lowered his mouth to hers. He groaned softly as her tongue swept into his mouth. Their kiss intensified as they both fought for control. He slowly guided her backwards, steadying her when she stumbled slightly. When her back pressed against a small crypt wall, he moved his mouth to the side of her neck. She slid her hand to the back of his head, holding him against her. When her free hand moved between them and brushed over his erection, he pulled back and shook his head.
“Not here, Buffy.”
“What the hell, Giles?” She groaned in frustration.
“I’m sorry…I shouldn’t have…it shouldn’t have gotten that far.” He lifted a trembling hand and gently rubbed his thumb along her bottom lip. “Christ, you’re lovely…”
“Can you – ”
“Ow, what the hell was that?” Anya said loudly from the other side of the crypt.
Giles took a sudden step backwards and ran his fingers through his hair. Buffy gestured towards his lips and he quickly swiped his sleeve across his mouth, wiping her lipstick away. She took a deep breath and then stepped around the corner.
“Anya?” Her eyes widened. “And Xander…and Willow. What are you guys doing here?”
“Impromptu patrol for old time’s sake.” Xander replied with a grin, pointing at Willow. “It was Will’s idea.”
Willow looked at Giles and then back at Buffy. “You guys okay?”
“Yeah, it’s just been a busy night. You should’ve caught up with us two cemeteries ago. This one is a dud.”
Willow looked back at Giles, who was looking a bit flustered. “Giles?”
“Hm?” He ran his palm down the front of his jeans and cleared his throat. “I tripped over a broken headstone…”
“What the hell happened to your neck?” Anya exclaimed, staring at Giles.
Giles quickly lifted his hand to his neck, relieved to find that his collar was covering the actual bite mark. “Oh, the bruise. I mistimed Buffy’s attack with a staff last night…hurt like hell, actually.”
Buffy smiled as she slipped her stake into her jacket pocket. “That’ll teach you to keep harping about me telegraphing moves…”
“Yes, well…” He glanced around and sighed heavily. “We might as well call it a night.”
“Drinks at the pub?” Xander asked hopefully.
Giles chuckled and slipped his hands into his pockets. “I’m up for it.”
Buffy successfully held her laugh, but agreed to go along as well. As they filed out of the cemetery, Giles quickly slid his hand down Buffy’s back…giving her hip a gentle squeeze, pulling back before he was seen.
He carefully adjusted his collar as he moved up to walk next to Xander. Willow fell into step with Buffy and gave her a sideways glance.
“Should’ve seen it, Will. Completely caught him off-guard. First time that’s happened in ages.”
Willow laughed and gave her a gentle nudge. “So, you sure about Gareth?”
Buffy merely glared at her, causing her to laugh even louder.
Chapter Eight - It's Only Love
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