Title: Enough for Now
Timeline: AU. Sunnydale never imploded, Spike was killed somehow, no Dawn.
Synopsis: After a momentary lapse of control, Giles panics…and Buffy gets angry.
Author’s Note: Thanks to wyvernwolf for the beta!
Giles placed his left palm on the door as he sighed heavily. He dropped his right hand from the doorknob and shook his head. This was not the right time to try to talk to her…not in the mood she was in. If he tried, he’d be lucky to get away with just another head injury from a flying object.
And so, he pushed himself away from the door and turned to make his way down the hall. He’d give her a while…an hour or three…and then maybe he’d knock on the door. If he wasn’t too drunk to walk back upstairs.
* * *
Buffy was in a rage, pacing back and forth in her room like a caged animal. She stopped suddenly, glaring at the door when she felt his presence on the other side. Her fingers curled around the lead crystal vase resting on the dresser as her eyes narrowed, silently daring him to open the door.
She hadn’t been this angry in a long time. Not since she had shut the door in his face when he had conspired with Robin Wood to ‘dispose’ of Spike. But, this had nothing to do with Spike…in fact, Spike had been dead for the last four years.
No…this had to do with the fact that he had kissed her.
Giles had kissed her. And even though it was what she had been secretly wanting for the past six months, she was still angry at him. She was angry because he had kissed her…and then he had stammered an apology and had left…at a near sprint out the front door of the house, no less. Kissing her made him want to run away apparently…and that just added more fuel to her anger.
Normally she would’ve stopped him. After all…it was dark, and even though the Hellmouth had been sealed, this was still Sunnydale. Sunnydale still had mystic forces working for and against it…and a seal wasn’t a closure. Vampires and demons still lurked along the streets and cemeteries…and Giles hadn’t even grabbed a stake in his haste to leave the house.
Normally she would’ve stopped him…but, not tonight. Her immediate anger over his words – ‘I shouldn’t have…we shouldn’t have…we can’t’ – had prevented her from stopping him. And for a brief moment, she hoped that some evil would befall him while he was out.
She shook her head and loosened her hand on the vase. That was such a Giles word to slip into her thoughts. Her jaw clenched and then released as she raked her fingers through her hair.
She should’ve stopped him.
It didn’t matter though…he hadn’t stayed gone long. In fact, he was there…on the other side of her door…debating on whether or not to come in. And as she felt his presence wane, she knew that he was walking away.
Her grip retightened and she picked the vase up, hurling it against the door. And then she fell onto the bed in a sobbing heap.
She could clean up the shattered crystal later…
* * *
Giles poured another drink and then picked up the poker from beside the fireplace. He used the tip of the poker to push the screen aside and then proceeded to stoke the fire as he drank half of the amber liquid from his glass.
He crouched in front of the hearth, drunkenly staring at the orange flames licking at the logs. His thoughts had been racing…and not even the numbing properties of the alcohol had been able to slow them down.
He had hurt her. She had been hurt so many times in the past…and when he had realized months ago that his feelings for his Slayer were taking a drastic turn, he had made a promise to himself that he would never hurt her in the way that Angel, Riley, and Spike had. His eyes narrowed at the thought of Spike.
He swallowed and took a deep breath. He hadn’t hurt her in the way Spike had…and it gave him a small sense of comfort to know that he could honestly say that he would never hurt her like that. He may make her question her trust in him, but he would never…never…
His eyes darkened and he stood quickly, dropping the poker to the floor and swaying slightly as he turned and threw the half-empty glass across the room.
Buffy didn’t flinch as the glass shattered only a few feet from her head. She stood in the doorway, staring at him as his eyes widened…realizing how close he had come to actually hitting her with the glass.
“Buffy…” Startled by her appearance, he slurred her name as he attempted to start an apology for nearly hitting her.
She interrupted him quickly, annoyance thick in her voice. “You’re drunk…and angry. Why are you angry?”
Buffy stepped into the room, shaking her head slowly as her glare hardened. “You kissed me…you ran out of the house…and now you’re mad at me?”
“No. I’m…I’m mad at me.”
She rolled her eyes and walked around him, pushing the protective screen back in front of the fire. “I really hate it when you drink.”
“I would imagine you really hate me.” He replied softly as he made his way back to the liquor cabinet.
“Hate’s a strong word.” She mumbled, crossing her arms over her chest as she watched him pour a fresh drink. “Are you just going to keep drinking instead of talking to me about what happened?”
He heaved a heavy sigh, but didn’t look at her. “What’s to say, Buffy?”
“You kissed me!” She exclaimed, rushing over to him. She grabbed the glass out of his hand and slammed it down on the cabinet. “You kissed me, Giles!”
“I am very much aware of that fact, Buffy.” He grumbled, lifting his eyes to glare at her. “I’ve already apologized for my error.”
“You didn’t seem apologetic while you were kissing me.”
“Buffy, for God’s sake – ”
“In fact, you seemed pretty not sorry if your hands and tongue are to be believed.” She continued as though he had said nothing. “So, what do I believe, Giles? Your words or your body?”
For the first time since her entrance, he looked into her eyes. “You’ve been crying.”
“Doesn’t matter.” She mumbled, lowering her gaze.
He watched her carefully for a moment and then reached for another glass. She rolled her eyes as he half-filled it.
“Maybe I should just go back upstairs. This was a mistake…all you care about right now is getting completely plastered so that you can forget – ”
“I can’t forget…and that’s the problem.” He whispered as he held the glass out to her. “And…this one is for you, not me.”
She met his eyes as she accepted the glass, hesitantly taking a sip before she spoke. “What do you want to forget?”
He took a deep breath and swallowed hard, lifting a trembling hand to push a strand of hair behind her ear. “How beautiful you are.”
When her eyes widened, he lowered his hand and took a step backwards. “I need to leave, Buffy. This…” He gestured vaguely around the room and shook his head. “This isn’t working…not for me. I…I can’t do this anymore.”
“You need to leave? The house, Sunnydale, or – ”
“I don’t know.” He whispered, removing his glasses and staring at them…wishing he had something to polish them with. “I’m not sure how far away from you is far enough yet.”
“You want to leave me.” She stated, lowering her glass and placing it next to his forgotten one.
“Need. Not want.”
He looked up and cleared his throat. “I need to leave you. It’s not what I want to do.”
“Giles – ”
He leaned against the desk in the corner and furrowed his brow as he struggled through his words. “Staying here with you, in this house…hearing you come in from a date with whichever boy you’re seeing at the time…it’s too hard, Buffy.”
He paused for a moment, fully expecting her to say something. When she didn’t, he licked his lips and continued…his gaze directed towards the window.
“When I…kissed you…” He glanced at the glass of scotch he had abandoned before pushing off the desk and walking towards the fireplace. “I didn’t consider the repercussions. I…I was selfish and…”
She furrowed her brow as he placed his hand on the mantle and stared at the roaring fire. “Giles?”
“It’s not what you wanted.” He whispered thickly. “And I can’t be around you while I’m trying to let go of these feelings. I have to go, Buffy.”
She stared at him, not truly believing what it was he was saying. “Feelings? You have…feelings…for me?”
“I do.” He cleared his throat as he nodded, his eyes still locked on the fire. “And then you walked through the front door. I was so relieved that you…that you were alright.”
“Why do you think it’s not what I wanted?” She asked gently, feeling the last of her anger slip away as she made her way across the room towards him.
“I saw the look in your eyes.” He replied after a brief hesitation.
“Oh.” She stood behind him and lifted her hand. She paused only a moment before placing her hand flat against his back.
She moved quickly when he tensed, sliding her arms around him and pressing her cheek against his back. She felt his sharp intake of air…and heard his heart quicken its pace.
“Not all shock is bad, Giles.” She whispered, tightening her hold as he tried to move. “I…I didn’t think that you felt the same as I do.”
“What?” He gasped, covering her left hand with his.
“I think we have some communication issues we need to work on, Rupert.”
He pulled her hand from his stomach and slowly turned to face her. “What?”
She licked her lips nervously and lifted her hand to his cheek. She hoped he couldn’t feel the tremble in her fingers, but was sure he probably could.
“I think it would be a huge mistake if you leave. And I think we need to seriously talk about what’s going on…because, I’ve wanted to kiss you for a very long time now.”
His gaze darted to her lips before returning to her eyes. “What?”
“How drunk are you?”
“Fairly.” He replied, raising an eyebrow as she lowered herself to her knees in front of him. “Um…”
She snorted softly, reaching up to take his hand. Tugging him down next to her, she shook her head and pushed the poker to the side with the toe of her shoe. He relaxed slightly and bent his legs, wrapping his arms around them and resting his chin on his right knee.
“As much as I’d like to be with you right now, I think that us having sex would be a bigger mistake than you leaving.” She stated matter-of-factly as she copied his sitting style. “But, talking in front of a fire is nice.”
He turned his head towards her and gave her an incredulous look. “Sex?”
She nodded slowly, staring into the fire. “I have feelings too, you see. For you…”
He opened his mouth and then closed it again when she continued.
“I didn’t mean to frighten you tonight. And…it was just a Lakeesh demon. I’ve killed hundreds of them before.” She chanced a quick look at him, surprised to find him staring intently at her. “I mean…you kissed me because of a momentary lapse of control on your part, right?”
The corner of his mouth twitched in response. She gave a small smile and sighed.
“You caught me off-guard. And then…it was over as quick as it started. And then you were gone…saying that you shouldn’t have kissed me and that we couldn’t…” Her eyes glistened as she spoke. “And I felt my dreams shatter. Before I could be happy that my dreams were coming true, they slammed into a brick wall.”
“I’m sorry.” He whispered, watching a tear roll down her cheek…aching to wipe it from her skin.
“You came upstairs.” She tilted her head as he nodded slowly. “Why didn’t you come in? Why didn’t you talk to me?”
“I could feel your anger.” He answered quietly, sighing as another tear followed the first. “It would not have been the wisest move to open the door.”
“So you came down here and got drunk?”
“Seems as such.” He exhaled deeply, fighting the urge to brush her tears away with his fingertips. “And then I got angry…”
“Spike hurt you.”
She looked confused for a moment and then shook her head. “You hurt me, Giles. What Spike did…or tried to do…”
“I would never hurt you like that.” He whispered, feeling his own tears begin to well in his eyes.
“What you did…running away from me…that hurt more than what Spike did.” She sighed heavily and ran her hand through her hair. “Because I never truly trusted him…I never loved…”
Giles’ eyes widened as Buffy trailed off suddenly. His hand reached out, wrapping around her wrist as she mumbled a soft curse and scrambled to get up. Before she could say anything, he leaned into her and covered her mouth with his.
She hesitated only a moment before letting go of the rest of her reservations and returning his kiss. She could taste the expensive scotch on his tongue as it swept into her mouth…and she briefly wondered if he could taste the same on hers.
He ended the kiss about the time she was expecting him to push her onto the floor. She opened her glazed eyes and looked at him expectantly. He smiled and shook his head, finally giving in to his earlier urge and wiping the tears from her cheeks.
“I’m drunk. I love you…but, I’m drunk. And we still have so much to discuss before I…we…” When her mouth dropped open in shock, he trailed his fingertips down the side of her neck. “What is it, Buffy?”
“You love me?”
He exhaled slowly, feeling the weight being lifted from his shoulders as he nodded. “For so long, I’ve loved you. If…if what you feel for me is less than that, please – ”
She moved quickly, reinitiating the kiss and deepening it quickly. When he felt her start to push him backwards, he pulled from the kiss and smiled a slightly intoxicated smile.
“I should add another log to the fire…”
“You’re not going to let it die out?” She whispered, touching her still-tingling lips as he moved away from her and reached for another log in the bin next to the fireplace.
He shifted the screen just enough to give him room to toss the log into the fire and smiled as he replaced it. “I thought…maybe we could talk?”
“In front of the fire?”
“Mm-hm.” He murmured, grabbing four of the large floor cushions that were stacked in the corner and dropping them next to her. “Unless you’d prefer we wait until tomorrow to talk.”
Buffy pretended to think about it and then smiled. “If we wait until tomorrow…what do we do now?”
He chuckled and stretched out on his side, his elbow resting on one of the cushions and his hand propping up his head. “We go to bed…” He grinned as her eyes sparkled. “Me to mine, you to yours. Personally, I’d rather do some talking now…”
“Giles?” She whispered, laying down and rolling onto her side facing him.
“I love you too.”
He responded with a warm kiss, not breaking it as she rolled onto her back causing him to lean over her. When he felt her fingers slip into his hair, her nails scratching against his scalp, he finally ended the kiss…which was much more difficult than he would’ve expected. She whimpered a soft protest and he smiled, settling down beside of her again.
“You’ve no idea how much I wish I hadn’t been drinking.”
She returned his smile and breathed a heavy sigh. “All alcohol…out of the house tomorrow.”
His eyes softened as he gazed at her, his voice lowering to a tender whisper. “I’m so very sorry I hurt you.”
“I’m sorry I was going to throw a vase at you.”
His eyes sparkled, the dancing flames of the fire reflecting in his green irises. “Which makes me very glad that I didn’t open the door.”
She laughed…and at that moment, they both knew that they would stay in this room tonight. Talking through their issues, their fears, their concerns…and warmed by the fire, kisses, and each other’s bodies. That would be enough for both of them tonight. Tomorrow, after he’d sobered, they would discuss the other aspects of their new relationship.
But, she wasn’t concerned. The promise for more was shining brightly in his eyes…probably as brightly as it was shining in hers. But she’d settle for this…for now.
As would he.