Timeline: A few years after the end of the series, AU.
Synopsis: Someone has questions. Giles has answers.
“Come on, Rhi…lay down.”
The little blonde girl with bright green eyes looked up at him. “Why did you and Mummy name me Rhiannon?”
Giles chuckled and sat down on the edge of the bed. “It was the song that was playing in the doctor’s office when we found out you were going to be a girl. It just seemed appropriate.”
Rhiannon giggled and slid under the blankets. “Tell me a story, Daddy.”
Giles smiled and gestured towards the pillow. Rhiannon rested her head obediently, pulling her teddy bear into her arms.
“What kind of story would you prefer tonight, Rhi?”
Rhiannon thought for a second and glanced out the window. “A story about stars.”
Giles laughed softly and gave her a wink. This was his favourite part of every single day. Rhiannon liked to challenge her father, and the best way for her to challenge him was to come up with story ideas.
“Once upon a time, there was a beautiful little girl…she had hair as golden as the sea at sunset…”
“Was her name Buffy?” Rhiannon asked eagerly. She loved stories about her mother when she was young.
Giles shook his head. “Listen to the story, Rhi.”
Rhiannon sighed and cuddled her teddy tighter. When Giles was certain that he had regained his daughter’s attention, he continued.
“This young girl used to dread the night, the darkness. So, one night she made a wish. And she wished that the night wouldn’t be so dark and scary.”
“Did her wish come true?”
Giles smiled, expecting the interactive story telling. “It did. And that night when the sun set, tiny flickers of light shone in the sky.”
“Stars…” Rhiannon whispered, fully entranced by her father’s voice.
“Yes.” He agreed, brushing his fingers through her hair. “The stars helped the little girl overcome her fear of the dark. And…they allowed her to find her way if she became lost at night.”
He licked his lips, his thoughts forming quickly.
“One day, many years later, the girl and her father were taking a walk at night. The girl asked her father why the stars were in the sky. You see…she couldn’t remember making the wish when she was little.”
“What did her Daddy say?”
“Her father smiled at her as he looked up at the sky, seeing the stars twinkle gently, and said… ‘the stars are there for you, they shine for you so that you don’t lose your way’.”
Rhiannon furrowed her brow. “Daddy?”
“Why are there stars in the sky?”
Giles smiled and leaned down, placing a soft kiss on her forehead. “The stars are there to remind you that you’re never alone, and that I…and your mother…will do anything to keep you safe and happy.”
“So…the stars are there for me?” Rhiannon asked sleepily.
Giles nodded slowly, watching her eyes droop. “They shine for you, love.”
“Love you.” She whispered softly, sleep overtaking her quickly.
“I love you too, Rhi. Sleep well.”
He waited until he was sure she was asleep and then gave her another kiss. As he stood and turned towards the doorway, he grinned. Buffy pushed herself from the doorframe and returned his smile.
He moved to stand in front of her, threading his fingers through her hair, as he leaned down to kiss her. She returned his kiss with equal passion, hands roaming across his body, pausing only when her fingers felt the thick scar tissue under his shirt.
He pulled back slightly and shook his head when he saw the sadness in her eyes. “Don’t, darling.”
Buffy sniffled as she pulled away from Giles and walked over to their daughter’s bed. She knelt next to it and lovingly stroked Rhiannon’s hair. When she heard Giles whisper her name, Buffy turned to look at him with tears in her eyes.
“Please…come with me.”
Buffy swallowed and then nodded, kissing Rhiannon’s cheek before she stood. “She’s so beautiful, Giles.”
Giles glanced at the sleeping girl and nodded in agreement. “Yes. Yes, she is.”
Buffy looked into his eyes again, a tear rolling down her face. “You almost weren’t here to watch her grow up.”
Giles took her hand and gently pulled her towards the door, not wanting to have this conversation in front of their daughter…even if she were asleep. As he stepped into the hall and closed Rhiannon’s bedroom door, Buffy fell against his chest…her tears quickly soaking his shirt.
He picked her up, sliding his right arm under her knees, and carried her into their bedroom. As he lowered her onto their bed, she sniffled again and glanced at his chest.
“Buffy, please don’t. I’m fine…I’ve been fine for years.”
“She was just a baby…she almost lost the chance to know you.” Buffy whispered, wiping the tears from her cheeks.
“That was four years ago, darling. And you know that I had no choice.”
When she lowered her eyes, he gently tilted her head upwards and gave her a tender smile. “You saved me, Buffy. You brought me back.”
“I love you.” She whispered, sliding her arms over his shoulders and kissing the side of his neck. “I love you so much, Giles.”
He held her tightly, sighing contentedly as she moved her kisses down the front of his throat. “I love you too, Buffy.”
They didn’t talk about that night very often. In fact, they only talked about it when Buffy’s mind would force her to relive it. Luckily, that didn’t happen much. But, when it did…she was nearly inconsolable for a brief time.
He had made a promise when Buffy became pregnant. He had promised that he would do anything to protect their child. A particularly vicious demon had gotten word of his promise…and had set out to test the sincerity of the Watcher’s oath.
The demon had grinned maniacally, the baby girl in his reptilian arms, as Buffy screamed from the other side of the room where she’d been chained to the wall. Giles glanced at Buffy, his love for her showing in his eyes as he picked up the dagger.
And there…in front of Buffy, in front of the demon…he had plunged the blade into his chest. And he had bled himself dry for his daughter’s safety. As the Watcher passed the demon’s test, the demon was forced back into Hell…leaving a screaming baby lying on the ground where he once stood.
Buffy had focused her energy as she watched her Watcher…her lover, her husband…crumple to the ground in a pool of his own blood. With the demon’s power no longer fortifying her bonds, she had been able to break the chains.
She had picked up their daughter, her cries instantly calmed, and then set to work on healing Giles through the magic that he had taught her. She had begged him to teach her…and he had resisted until she told him that she was pregnant and only wanted to know in case of an emergency.
And this had been an emergency.
She had worked feverishly, hoping that through her panic she hadn’t forgotten anything. She was rewarded many, eternally-long, minutes later when he had finally coughed and groaned in pain.
And now, four years later, all that was left was a thick band of scar tissue on his chest…and the memories she had of watching him die. And no other demon had dared test the Watcher’s sincerity when it came to his family.
Giles smiled as Buffy’s warm lips brushed across the scar. “They’re all yellow…”
Buffy looked up in confusion. “What?”
“My memories of that night. They’re all yellow.”
“I don’t understand.” She whispered.
“The color yellow symbolizes many things…fear, weakness, greed…”
“You think you were weak and greedy?” She asked, her eyes widening.
He smiled warmly and shook his head. “No, I think the demon was. But, as I was saying…yellow also symbolizes happiness, sunlight, and hope. Therefore, all of my memories of that night are tinted yellow. I wouldn’t change my decision, Buffy.”
Understanding slowly seeped into Buffy’s mind and she smiled as she pulled him down for another kiss. Maybe with his help, she’d be able to recolor her own memories…in time.