Timeline: S4, but no Riley.
Synopsis: Giles is pushed into an admission.
Author’s Note: Album fic. Song and lyrics can be found here.
Giles sighed heavily as he watched Buffy toy with a newly risen vampire. His continued instructions of ‘plunge and move on’ had been consistently ignored for the past three years. In fact, he couldn’t remember a time when she’d actually looked at him…and not through him.
“Buffy, please…just stake him.”
Buffy responded with a perfectly timed roundhouse kick, knocking the vampire into the crypt wall. Giles shook his head sadly, his eyes unconsciously wandering down Buffy’s leather-clad legs as she bent over and plunged the stake into the demon’s heart.
Buffy stood back up and brushed her hands against her thighs. “All done. Can I go home now?”
Instead of waiting for an answer, she turned and started towards the exit of the cemetery. A little voice inside of Giles’ head whispered to him.
‘I remember a time when you actually had a pair.’
“Shut up.” He muttered, shoving his hands in his pockets.
‘I also remember a time when you would just take something if you wanted it. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself for not having the balls to do something about it.’
Giles’ eyes narrowed as he watched Buffy twirl her stake as she walked across the cemetery.
‘Come on, Rupes…let me play again. You’re not getting anywhere with her, let me have a go.’
“Fuck off.” He growled.
His inner voice chuckled. ‘You won’t play, but you don’t want anyone else playing either. How very – ’
“I said fuck off!”
He said it loud enough that Buffy heard him and stopped. She turned to find Giles scowling in her direction, his shoulders tensed and his hands stuffed into his pockets.
“Giles? You okay?”
When he didn’t answer, she started backtracking her way to him. “Giles, what is it?”
“Nothing.” He muttered, lowering his eyes to the ground. “Go home, Buffy.”
She shook her head quickly, concern in her eyes. “No. You’ve been really quiet all night. What’s wrong?”
“Christ, you never listen to me, do you?” He glared at her, pulling away as she reached out to touch him. “Go home.”
“You never listen, you never see. You only see what you want to see…and never what’s in front of you.”
“I – ” She reached out again, jerking back when his eyes flashed. “Giles, talk to me.”
“Talk to you?” He barked a laugh as he began to pace. “And what would you like me to say, Buffy?”
She bit her lip and stopped herself from grabbing his arm. She hadn’t seen him this agitated in a very long time…and that time, he had pushed her away when she grabbed him.
“Giles, you’re scaring me.” She whispered, causing him to stop in his tracks.
His eyes cleared as the voice in his head quietened. “I didn't mean to scare you, Buffy.”
He couldn’t help but notice the tremble in her voice. “I…”
“You never see me.” He stated softly, his tone taking on a dejected feel.
“I do, Giles. I see you…I see you right now.”
He shook his head slowly. “You look through me, Buffy. You either don’t or can’t see what I do…who I am. I would hope that it’s ‘can’t’, but I have a feeling you just don’t.”
He exhaled deeply and leaned against the tombstone behind him. “I’m here for you…night and day. I’d give my life for you without hesitation. But, I’m nothing more than a human library to you. But, I am human, Buffy…and…”
“To watch you disregard me, to feel your…”
‘Tell her now.’
“…utter disregard for my well-being, I…”
“…God help me, I want you.”
His eyes widened in shock as he realized what he had just said. He watched her mouth drop open and before she had a chance to say anything, he turned and walked away.
He wasn’t surprised when she didn’t come after him. But, what he didn’t realize was that she wanted to come after him, but shock and surprise had rooted her feet to the ground beneath her.
Helplessly, she watched him leave the cemetery…his shoulders sagging in defeat. A tear escaped the corner of her eye, but he was out of sight before she was able to get her feet moving. And by the time she had reached the cemetery gates, his car was driving in the opposite direction.
Without another thought, she ran. She ran as hard and as fast as she could. And she hoped that he would be home when she got there.
* * *
He had wasted no time when he got home. He bypassed the bottle of scotch and headed up to his bedroom. Getting drunk would serve no purpose tonight.
‘Your balls came back.’
He groaned as he kicked off his shoes. “Yes, and look where it got me. I’m still alone.”
‘Good God, get over yourself. She’s not the only skirt in town.’
“Enough!” He stated angrily, ripping his shirt off and throwing it across the room.
Ripper chuckled, but then settled into silence in Giles’ mind once again. Giles groaned in frustration and fell onto the bed, knocking the lamp off the table to send the apartment into relative darkness.
He cursed softly when he realized what he’d done, but made no effort to get up and clean the mess up. Instead, he lay on his back…dressed only in his jeans and socks…and stared at the ceiling.
He was so deep in thought that he didn’t hear the front door open. He was silently berating himself so furiously that he didn’t hear the soft footsteps on the stairs. He did, however, hear the sharp gasp from the foot of his bed.
He sat up quickly to find Buffy standing there, staring at him. “Buffy, what – ”
She held up a hand and his words died in his throat. He sat on the edge of the bed, elbows propped on his knees, and lowered his head to his hands.
“I do see you.” She whispered, taking a step forward as he shook his head. “I do, Giles. I see you…I hear you.”
“I can’t change who I am.”
“Neither can I.” She exhaled slowly as she sat down beside of him. “Will you tell me what happened out there?”
“Just a voice in my head egging me on to do something that I know I shouldn’t have done.”
“Ripper?” She questioned.
He gave a wry smile and nodded in affirmation.
“Is it just Ripper who wants me? Or…do you want me too?”
“We’re one and the same, Buffy. It’s not as if I’ve been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder.” He huffed. “You have your own inner voice as well.”
“Yeah, I do. Only mine’s not as loud as yours.”
“Why are you here?” He asked softly, still not meeting her eyes.
“Because you need to know something. Please, Giles…look at me.”
He closed his eyes briefly and then slowly turned to look at her. She took a deep breath to steady herself and then spoke in a rush, fearful that if she didn’t get it out quickly she wouldn’t get it out at all.
“I see you, Giles. You think I don’t, but I do. I hear every word you say…sometimes I even hang on them. I just don't let you see. I don’t want you to change. If you were to change, then you wouldn’t be you…you wouldn’t be Giles, my Giles, my Watcher, my…”
She lowered her eyes from his.
“I don’t just want you, Giles.”
“I love you.” She whispered so softly that he barely heard it.
But he did.
“I don’t expect you to love me back. I mean, I guess you wanting me should be enough really, but – ”
He silenced her with a finger across her lips, searching her eyes when she looked back up at him. When he found what he was searching for, he gave her a soft smile.
“Haven’t you wondered why I always let you have your way? It isn’t due to your persuasiveness. I let you have your way because I can’t say no to you. Buffy…”
She stared at him, watching his eyes dart to her lips as he lowered his finger. When she saw him lean into her, she didn’t stop him. And when his lips touched hers, she shivered. He smiled as he pulled back and looked into her eyes.
He knew that they wouldn’t make love tonight. But, he knew that they would…soon. And he knew that she would do her best to let him know that she was listening to him…that she was seeing him.
And when he heard the soft laugh in the deep recesses of his mind, he whispered a soft ‘thank you’ to the old him.