Title: The Scientist
Timeline: Two months after The Gift.
Synopsis: In his grief, Giles makes a plea.
Author’s Note: Album fic. Song and lyrics can be found here.
Giles dropped to his knees on the cobblestone floor. The air surrounding him was thick with magick. He didn’t flinch when the voice boomed, resonating off the stone walls of the room.
“Why are you here?”
Giles swallowed and raised his head, his eyes red and raw from the nights spent crying since Buffy’s death. “I’ve come to barter…for a favour.”
“Why would I agree to do a favour for a mortal?”
Giles didn’t hesitate in his answer. He didn’t even need to think about his answer, he merely spoke from his heart.
“The fate of the world. We’re fighting a losing battle without Buffy. The end of the world is nearing. There is no Slayer protecting humanity…no Slayer carrying out your will. Without her, all is doomed.”
A being stepped through the stone wall to stand in front of Giles. When the being spoke, Giles realized that this Power was the owner of the Voice.
“We cannot bring her back, Rupert Giles.”
“I’m not asking you to bring her back.” A tear rolled down his face as he quickly continued. “I’m asking you to send me back.”
The Power looked intrigued, tilting his head slightly. “Back where?”
“To the beginning. When she came to Sunnydale. Let me start over, let me right this wrong…let me prepare her, let me train her…let me not fail her again.”
The Power looked away briefly, shaking his head sadly as he knelt in front of Giles. “You did not fail her, Rupert Giles. There was no other way to change the outcome. Not after Buffy Summers missed her opportunity. After that, the only way to save the world from apocalypse was to sacrifice either herself or the Key. It was her choice, Rupert Giles…not yours.”
“Opportunity?” Giles swallowed and straightened as he looked into the crystalline eyes of the Power. “What opportunity? What did I miss?”
The Power shook his head. “It is not for you to know now. It would do more harm than good.”
“Please.” Giles whispered, the word strangled by his sob. “She is needed.”
The Power offered him an understanding smile. “You speak with your heart. You loved her.”
Giles nodded slowly. “More than she would have ever known. However, this is not a selfish request. This request is not for my own desires, I – ”
The Power placed his hand on Giles’ shoulder, interrupting him with a softly spoken statement.
“I beg of you…send me back.” Giles cried.
The Power sat back, obviously contemplating Giles’ request. “What do you offer?”
“I’d offer my soul if you would accept it. But I know that is not the way of The Powers That Be.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out the signet ring that he had not worn since Buffy’s death and handed it to the Power. “Please accept my meagre token. Please send me back.”
The Power studied the ring, deep in thought as he turned the object over in his hand. After a few minutes of deliberation, the Power met Giles’ eyes.
“We can not send you back to the beginning. Too much would be changed. We can send you back to the beginning of this year…before the arrival of the Key. You, and you alone, will have the knowledge of her death and other events that took place during that time. You are not to divulge this information to anyone at any time, lest the deal be broken and you will find yourself back here. Do you agree to the terms set before you so far?”
“Yes. Yes, I do.” Giles answered, his eyes filling with hope.
The Power gave a gentle nod and then stared deep into Giles’ eyes.
“Your love is her saviour. It has always been so.”
Giles furrowed his brow. “I don’t understand.”
The Power’s eyes glowed for just a second. “A memory has been stolen from you. The memory of a detail given to you when you were assigned to Buffy Summers.”
“Buffy Summers is an Amoritian Slayer…as opposed to a Forcible Slayer.”
Giles’ eyes widened. “Amoritian? We were told that…the Amoritian line had been eradicated.”
“That was the general understanding. However, it seems as though that thought is…incorrect. You do remember your studies of Amoritian Slayers in relation to their Watchers, yes?”
“The Watcher of an Amoritian must not deny the love he harbours.” Giles quoted from memory. “My God…”
“The power of an Amoritian who has bonded emotionally with her Watcher is tenfold.” He held Giles’ eyes as he spoke in a tone that he knew Giles could not ignore. “The power of an Amoritian who has bonded physically with her Watcher is one-hundredfold. Buffy Summers was incredibly strong and cunning. It was obvious that she had bonded emotionally with you. The fact that death found her at twenty years of age is proof that the two of you had not bonded physically.”
Giles shook his head slowly, his voice trembling. “No. No, we hadn’t. I…she never knew my true feelings.”
The Power stared at Giles for a moment and then stood. “You have but one chance to rescind your request. Do you wish to proceed?”
“Yes.” Giles answered automatically, feeling his heart begin to race.
The Power regarded him carefully, looking for any sign that Giles was harbouring any doubt. Sensing none, he closed his hand around the signet ring. As a blue light formed around his fist, the Power reached out with his free hand and lightly brushed Giles’ forehead with his fingertips.
“Do not deny your love for her, Rupert Giles. The world…and her life…is now in your hands.”
Giles gasped as a bright light flashed within the small confines of the room.
* * *
Giles woke up, confused as to why he was asleep on the couch. Sadness filled his heart as he sat up and ran his hand through his hair.
“Another day…” His eyes glistened as he raised his eyes towards the ceiling. “Why did you leave me?”
As a knock sounded on the door, he sighed and pushed himself up. The only person it could be was Willow. She was the only one who ventured over to his apartment this early in the day. And he had a feeling that her main reason for coming each morning was to ensure that he was actually still alive.
He opened the door, prepared to give Willow the same fake smile he had given her for the past two months. Instead his mouth dropped open in shock.
“What’s the deal with you locking your door?” Buffy asked as she strolled over the threshold. “You never lock your door. In the four years I’ve known you, you’ve never locked your door. Unless…”
She turned suddenly and glanced up at the loft. “Oh God…Olivia’s back, isn’t she?”
Giles stood there, staring at her in disbelief…his hand still on the doorknob. Buffy felt a sudden rush of concern for him.
“Giles? Are you okay?” She ran over to him and placed her hand on his chest. “Giles?”
“My God…” He whispered. “You’re…here. You’re…you’re alive.”
Buffy narrowed her eyes in confusion. “Of course I’m here…we’re supposed to go for a run this morning. And…what do you mean I’m alive?”
“You were…” He stopped suddenly, remembering the warning that the Power had given him. He swallowed and shook his head. “It…must’ve been a bad dream.”
“Some dream.” Buffy stated, glancing at her hand still resting on his chest. “Your heart feels like it’s gonna explode any minute. You’re not gonna have a heart att – ”
He cut her off with a sudden kiss. When her knees buckled, he wrapped his arms around her. And then…a split-second later…she was returning his kiss. And when their tongues finally touched, he groaned and slipped his hands underneath her shirt to rest against her bare back.
She slowly ended the kiss and looked up at him, mildly surprised to see that his eyes had darkened a shade. “Giles?”
“I…I can’t deny this any longer, Buffy.” He took a deep breath and looked into her hazel eyes. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” She answered after the slightest pause.
When he breathed a sigh of relief, she smiled and glanced at the still-open door. “Hope you don’t mind your neighbours knowing…”
He furrowed his brow and then glanced over his shoulder to find Mrs. Nicholson from across the way smiling brightly at him. He gave her a small wave and cleared his throat as he closed the door.
As he turned to face Buffy, she wrapped her hand around the back of his neck and drew him back down to her lips. He lifted his left hand and cupped her cheek as he closed his eyes. She stopped suddenly and pulled his hand from her face, causing him to snap his eyes open in alarm.
She was staring at his hand.
“Where’s your ring?”
“My ring?” He whispered softly.
“Yeah, your ring. You never take it off…”
“It, uh…I lost it. It, um…it slipped down the drain…and I couldn’t…well, I took the trap off, but then water was gushing everywhere and…” He stopped his rambling lie and pulled his hand from hers, placing it back on her cheek. “Please…kiss me again.”
She chuckled softly and lifted her mouth to his. She didn’t quite believe his story about his ring…but, he didn’t seem all that concerned about it. Maybe she’d ask him again later, but right now she had other things on her mind.