Title: Everything’s Not Lost
Timeline: Sometime after S5, AU.
Synopsis: Giles second-guesses himself after divulging some information.
It had been three days.
Three days since Giles had bared his entire soul to Buffy. Not only had he told her his true feelings for her, but he had told her everything about himself. Well, everything that had happened up until the night she died.
And he wasn’t sure what had frightened him more…the fact that she knew things that he had never told anyone before…or the fact that she knew about his feelings for her.
She had remained calm throughout the entire, completely one-sided, conversation. That surprised him nearly as much as her reaction to the knowledge of his true relationship with Ethan. She had barely raised an eyebrow when he told her that, at one time, they had been lovers.
He supposed that she wasn’t really all that surprised – and that worried him slightly.
He had started from the beginning…when his father had informed him of the future that had been chosen for him. From there it progressed to the time he had spent cavorting with thugs…which led him to the few years spent with Ethan and his new group of friends.
Drugs, magick, sex, demons, death…
He had laid it all out for her to see. If he hoped to have a chance at all of her love, she needed to know. He couldn’t hide aspects of himself from her and expect her to fully share herself with him.
Fear, betrayal, lost love, death, torture…
She had cried when he told her of his time spent bound to a chair with Angelus looming over him. He had refused to break…refused to give Angelus the satisfaction of causing him to betray her…his Slayer. He had held on so bravely, so strongly…until Drusilla was sent in.
His tears had fallen down his face as he relived the realization of what he had done. And Buffy had cried with him.
Secrets, tests, danger, truths…
She hadn’t wanted to hear about him high on cursed chocolate. He couldn’t really blame her…he hadn’t wanted to think about it, much less talk about it. So, when she stopped him he had quickly surged ahead.
Her eighteenth birthday. The days before her birthday when his own betrayal of her had started. How he had wanted to tell Travers exactly where to go. But, he had given in…he hadn’t understood why.
But, God…how he had regretted what he’d done.
And now, years later, he admitted to her that he still hadn’t forgiven himself…and he wasn’t sure he ever would.
On and on, he went…listing the wrongs that he had committed in his life. She had stopped him when he reached his involvement in Ben’s death. She had said that it wasn’t necessary…him telling her all of this. He had merely shaken his head and insisted that it was. It was very necessary.
“Why? Why do you think you need to tell me all of this?”
“Because I love you.”
And just like that…it had been in the open in the most simplest of terms. He had felt the fear grip his heart as her eyes widened. And then she had said that she needed to think.
He hadn’t tried to stop her when she stood and walked to the door. However, he had told her to take as much time as she needed. And if her decision was to ask him to leave, he would comply. No questions, no pleading.
If she wanted him to leave…he would.
It had been three days since that night…and it hadn’t taken much to convince himself that he should probably start packing his belongings. He was certain that she wasn’t coming back…all was lost now. He sat on the couch, a scowl on his face and a mug of tea held between his hands.
His eyes darted across the room when the front door opened slowly. He inhaled sharply and sat up a bit straighter as she walked into the apartment.
“I’m sorry.” She whispered, sitting heavily on the opposite end of the couch and glancing at him. “I really didn’t mean to stay away so long.”
He swallowed and took a deep breath, staring at the mug in his hands. “I’ve lost you, haven’t I? What I did have of you, I’ve lost completely. I’m so sorry, Buffy. I…I shouldn’t have – ”
“Everything’s not lost, Giles.” She stated softly, looking directly into his eyes as he turned towards her.
“I stayed away because I had to think…I had to be sure.”
“Be sure of…” He prompted gently.
Her brow furrowed as she worked through the words in her head. “Everything’s been found…not lost. I found you – where you’ve always been.”
He placed the mug on the lamp table, some of the contents sloshing out as his hand shook with nerves. “And where was that?”
She gestured around the room and sighed. “Here, school, by my side…in my heart.”
“I have as many demons haunting me as you do.” She continued. “And you know as well as I do…that there are good demons along with the bad. But…I think our good ones outweigh the bad ones.”
He stared at her, hearing her words but not letting his heart grab onto them. Not until he was sure.
“What…what exactly are you saying, Buffy?”
“We’re both alone.” She replied, lowering her eyes as she took a deep breath.
She looked back up and met his eyes, allowing the truth to be seen in hers.
“I don’t want either of us to be alone anymore. Life is for living, Giles…and we’re not living. We’re breathing, we’re walking, our hearts are beating…but we’re not living.”
“Buffy…” He began, only to be interrupted by her heartfelt statement.
“This has nothing to do with us being alone and everything to do with how I feel.” She took a deep breath and gazed into his eyes. “I love you, Giles.”
When he merely stared at her, she shifted nervously and ran her hand through her hair.
“Um…this is the part where you say something…or do something…or…something.”
“Are you…are you sure?”
She gave a soft sigh of exasperation. “That isn’t the kind of ‘something’ I was talking about.”
The muscles in his jaw twitched as he swallowed. “I have to be certain, I – ”
She moved quickly, covering his mouth with hers and moving her right hand to the back of his head. After a moment’s hesitation, he began to respond…kissing her back with equal passion.
She broke the kiss slowly and rested her forehead against his, stroking his cheek as they both fought to control their breathing.
“Please believe me when I say that I’m certain.”
And just like that, the pain of the last three days was eradicated. Fresh tears glistened in his eyes, but this time the tears represented his joy.
He initiated their next kiss. And this time, he didn’t hold back. To his surprise, and pleasure, neither did she.