Timeline: S4 with some changes.
Synopsis: Giles is frustrated and exasperated. Buffy’s a little confused.
Author’s Note: Album fic. Song and lyrics can be found here.
“For God’s sake, Buffy! Could you at least pretend to concentrate on what you’re doing?” Giles growled as he glared at her.
Buffy took a step back, surprised by the outburst, and lowered her staff. “What’s your problem today?”
“Nothing.” He mumbled and gestured to her staff. “Once more. And this time, concentrate. You can’t afford to go out there in a complacent state of mind.”
“It doesn’t feel like ‘nothing’. In fact, it definitely feels like ‘something’.”
He heaved a heavy sigh, knowing that she wasn’t going to back down until he told her something. “I’m just...irritable today.”
When she just stared at him expectantly, he waved his hand in a vague gesture to the living room. “This is not adequate space for training.”
“No, but we make do.” She offered, leaning her staff against the wall. “What else is bothering you?”
“Don’t you have a commando meeting to go to or something?” He asked in an exasperated tone.
“Um...no. You know that Riley and I broke up...” When he furrowed his brow, she gave her own exasperated sigh. “I told you, Giles. I came here, knocked on your door...you were on the phone, so I left you a note.”
He narrowed his eyes in thought. He remembered the night in question...Olivia had called to inform him that she wouldn’t be returning to Sunnydale. But, not for the reason of being frightened of living on a Hellmouth. And in the middle of Olivia’s extremely calm explanation, the very reason for her decision had knocked on his door.
He gave Buffy a quick glance before abruptly turning and walking to the desk, rifling through the papers until he found a post-it note with Buffy’s unique handwriting scrawled across it. He held it up and met her eyes.
“Yeah...” Buffy stated, growing more confused by the second.
Giles huffed and read the note aloud. “I need to talk to you about Riley. I’ll come back later.”
“Yeah...” Buffy drawled and stared at him in disbelief. “And I came back later...and I told you that I’d broken up with Riley and you were all ‘sorry to hear about that, Buffy’ and then you pretty much pushed me out the door. I knew you had a few drinks, but I didn’t think you were that drunk.”
“ I wasn’t dr…oh...” He remembered Buffy coming by...and he remembered her mouth moving as she talked. He also remembered thinking that he had to get her out of his apartment before he kissed her...and as a result, he hadn’t paid a bit of attention to anything she was saying. “Oh…damn.”
She walked over to him, her concern growing quickly. “What’s wrong? It’s not like you to not remember something.”
“No...no, I remember you being here. I just...I didn’t hear you.” He lowered his gaze as she touched his arm.
“Didn’t hear...” Her eyes widened in alarm. “Are you losing your hearing? Is that why you’ve been so distant...pushing me away...snapping at me over the littlest thing?”
“My hearing’s fine, Buffy.” He answered softly, realizing that it was time for him to tell her the truth. He cleared his throat and looked around the room. “It’s...been quiet around here, since you’ve been away.”
Buffy hadn't thought that she could be any more confused after his earlier words, but then hearing his latest statement, she realized she could be.
“I haven’t gone anywhere, Giles.”
“No, you haven’t.” He agreed, glancing at her as he took a step away from her. “But, you haven’t been here either.”
“Oh...” She sighed sadly as she understood what he was getting at. “I’m really sorry about that, Giles. I was so distracted...but, that distraction’s gone now. And...and I’m trying to be better.”
Giles stared into her eyes for a long moment and then inhaled deeply. “I, uh...I’m getting ready to tell you something. Something important, something...well, it could be disturbing or distressing...and you could very well just...go away again...”
“You’re rambling. You don’t ramble unless you’re worried.” Buffy’s concern began to grow again. “Is it bad? Am I going to die again?”
“God, I hope not.” Giles breathed, the pain of the thought of her dying evident in his words. “I’m rather sure I’d never survive that.”
“Okay, I don’t like it when you’re Cryptic Guy. Just be Giles and tell me what’s – ”
“Olivia isn’t coming back.” Giles stated softly, not taking his eyes from hers.
“Oh...oh, I’m sorry, Giles. I didn’t know.” She gently rubbed his upper arm in a comforting manner. “The Gentlemen really freaked her out, huh?”
“No. Well, yes...they did. But, she worked through that.”
Buffy shook her head, clearly not understanding where he was going in this conversation. “So...why isn’t she coming back?”
He didn’t hesitate in his answer. He knew that if he did it would just make a difficult situation even more difficult.
“Because she knows that I’m in love with you.”
Buffy’s mouth dropped open, obviously not expecting to hear those words come out of his mouth. He swallowed thickly and exhaled shakily.
“I...I was on the phone with her when you came by. When you came back...the reason I didn’t hear you...” He ran his hand through his hair in a nervous gesture.
“Giles?” She finally managed, her voice hitching slightly.
“I wanted to kiss you.” He whispered emotionally. “And...I would have...that’s why I needed you to leave.”
“Oh.” She whispered distractedly as she lowered her gaze.
“I’m sorry, Buffy. I – ”
“Wanted?” She asked, looking into his eyes again.
“You said...you wanted to kiss me.” She bit her bottom lip nervously. “You don’t want to anymore?”
He inhaled sharply, his eyes widening in surprise. “I do.”
Buffy stood still for a moment and then reached up, sliding her hand to the back of his neck and gently pulling him towards her. He stiffened and stared into her eyes.
She offered him a tender smile, her fingers sliding into his hair. “Why do you think I broke up with Riley?”
“Because you finally realized he’s a pillock?” He answered, trying his best to ignore the sensation of her fingers rubbing sensually against his scalp.
“No.” She chuckled. “He is, but no...I broke up with him because I love you.”
His tongue darted out and moistened his lips. “You...do?”
“Mm-hm.” She murmured, momentarily distracted by the appearance of his tongue. “I was going to tell you that night, but...you kinda threw me out.”
She smiled when she looked back into his eyes and saw the shock in them. “Can I kiss you now?”
His eyes sparkled and he relaxed, allowing her to draw him down to her lips. As their lips met, his arms moved around her...holding her to him as he kissed her slowly, passionately. When the kiss ended naturally, she sighed and brushed her lips against his chin.
He smiled and ran his fingers through her hair, not bothering to hide the desire in his eyes any longer. When she wobbled slightly, he chuckled and led her over to the couch. As they sat down, she looked up at him and whispered his name.
“How did Olivia know? I mean...I had no idea, how did she?”
“Um...” He blushed lightly and cleared his throat. “Her name isn’t Buffy.”
Buffy looked confused for a moment and then a slow grin appeared on her face.
“Quite.” He whispered and captured her lips once more.