Title: The Hardest Part
Timeline: S4. No Riley, no Initiative, AU.
Synopsis: Xander has questions.
Author’s Note: Album fic. Song and lyrics can be found here.
Xander watched Giles watch Buffy as she climbed the
stairs to the bedroom. He smiled,
remembering how Giles had stammered as he and Buffy announced their
relationship to him,
“What was the hardest part?” Xander asked.
Giles turned towards him, crossing his legs as he relaxed into the cushions of the couch. “The hardest part?”
“Yeah.” Xander smiled nervously.
“Of?” Giles prompted.
“Oh…of the Council firing you.” Xander clarified, his eyes showing his curiosity. “I mean…you never really said much about it.”
“Not much to say about it. I broke the rules, I was disciplined.” He tilted his head slightly. “But, that’s not exactly what you mean, is it?”
“No.” Xander drawled. “I mean…you never talked about it. About what happened or how you were feeling. You just…kept being Giles. Even when Wesley showed up.”
“I didn’t want to talk about it.” Giles admitted, picking a loose thread from the arm of the couch. “So, I pretended it didn’t happen. Well…as best I could.”
Xander nodded in understanding. “So, what was the hardest part of you being fired? Was it losing the contacts that you had with the Powers? Or was it having to deal with Wesley? Or was it – ”
“Letting go.” Giles interrupted softly. “That was the hardest part.”
“Letting go?” Xander furrowed his brow in confusion.
Giles nodded slowly. “Watching Wesley take over as Buffy’s Watcher…and having to stand to the side…I didn’t react well to that.”
Xander snorted a laugh. “Um, from what I remember…you never really stood to the side.”
“I wouldn’t let him.” Buffy’s voice drifted down from the top of the stairs.
“No, you wouldn’t.” Giles agreed with a wry smile, his eyes following her as she descended the stairs and walked over to the couch. “But losing what control I did have…I was so worried that he was going to get you, and Faith, killed.”
Buffy sat on the arm of the couch, next to Giles, and gently stroked his hair. “He never had any control over me. I’ve only ever had one Watcher.”
Xander smiled at the affection in her voice. “What was the hardest part for you, Buffy?”
“When he was fired?” She asked, sighing when Xander nodded. “Feeling like everything in my life was being torn apart. I mean, first there was Angel…and then there was the Council…and there was Travers telling Giles he was fired for having a ‘father’s love’ for me…”
“Pillock.” Giles muttered.
Buffy glanced down at him and smiled before returning her gaze to Xander. “My entire world was crashing down around me…and I didn’t know what to do, or who to turn to.”
“But, you had Giles…and us.” Xander stated adamantly.
Buffy shook her head and sighed. “No, I didn’t. Not for about ninety seconds. For ninety seconds I was all by myself.”
“Ninety seconds?” Giles questioned as he looked up at her.
“Mm-hm.” She lightly traced the outer shell of his ear with her fingertips. “And then you knelt in front of me…and cleaned my wounds. It was then that I knew I’d never be alone…that you’d never leave me.”
“That was about the time when Will and I started talking about there maybe being something more between you guys…”
Giles’ brows knitted as his mind worked through Xander’s statement. “I’m sorry?”
“You two seemed even closer after you were fired. And…I’ve never seen Buffy forgive anyone as quickly as she forgave you.”
“It wasn’t his fault.” Buffy stated, resting her hand comfortingly against the back of Giles’ neck.
“But, he still…betrayed you.” He looked into Giles’ eyes and offered a small smile. “Sorry.”
“No, don’t be. That’s a fair enough statement.” Giles replied with a smile of his own. “It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but…I did betray her.”
Xander lifted his eyes to Buffy’s and sighed. “He betrayed you…and you forgave him in under twenty-four hours. You’ve been mad at me longer than that for a lot less.”
Buffy opened her mouth and then closed it, knowing she didn’t have a plausible argument. Instead she shrugged a shoulder and smiled.
“I love him.”
Xander smiled warmly. “Yeah, I know.”
Buffy carefully slid from the arm of the couch to Giles’ lap, winking at him when he raised an eyebrow. When he smiled, she met Xander’s eyes.
“What was the hardest part for you?”
“Listening to Wesley bitch and moan about you never listening to him.” He sat up straight and cleared his throat, slipping into a horrible English accent.
“I don’t know why she continues to seek Mr. Giles’ assistance. She’s my Slayer, after all.” His accent returned to normal as he waved his hand in the air. “Blah, blah, blah. Every day, it was the same. And every day, we told him the same thing.”
“What?” Buffy asked, her fingers stroking the soft curl of hair at the nape of Giles’ neck.
“She’ll never be your Slayer, Wesley. She’ll always go to Giles…because she trusts him.” Xander smiled. “That’s what we’d tell him. And he’d always say ‘I don’t know why, especially after he put her through the test’.”
Giles narrowed his eyes. “And he would’ve done the same, though I doubt he would have intervened.”
Buffy shook her head. “If he’d
been assigned to me after
Neither Xander nor Giles said anything to deny her words. They both suspected that she was probably right.
Buffy smiled and leaned forward, pressing a soft kiss to Giles’ lips. “But, he wasn’t…and I got you.”
“You still died, under my tutelage.” Giles reminded her gently.
“Yeah, but see…Xander was there for that. And I wouldn’t have had Xander
Giles chuckled. “Would it really matter, love? You are the Slayer you are because of who you are…not because of a book that you’ve never read. The book doesn’t pertain to you. I knew that from the first moment I met you.”
Xander glanced at the clock and smiled. “Time to meet the guys for the movie. You coming?”
As Buffy and Giles looked at each other, Xander grinned. He knew they weren’t coming. But, he knew that they’d agree to go next time. And he was okay with that.
As long as they were together.