Title: Forcing His Hand
Timeline: Sometime in S5. Riley is a non-issue. Joyce’s health is fine. Who’s Dawn?
Synopsis: Giles is having nightmares…is his subconscious trying to tell him something?
Notes: Special thanks to wyvernwolf for taking the time to beta this for me.
Giles sat up straight in bed. His body was covered in sweat, his heart was pounding and his throat was throbbing with pain from the scream that had ripped through it.
He ran a trembling hand through sweat-drenched hair and took a deep breath. He wiped the moisture from his face, not surprised when he couldn’t tell if it was sweat or tears. He glanced at his bedside table, sighing when the clock told him that it was two forty-seven in the morning.
Knowing that sleep would not find him again, he climbed out of bed and stood in the middle of his bedroom. His eyes darted between the bathroom door and the stairs leading from the loft. What he wanted was a nice cup of hot tea. He decided though that a shower would probably be best at the moment. His skin was hot and damp…he felt utterly disgusting.
With another sigh, he stumbled into the bathroom. Perhaps a shower might wash away the memories of his nightmare as well as the sweat and tears.
* * *
An hour later, he was sitting on his couch with a steaming mug of tea in his hands. He was staring across the room, his eyes unfocused. He absently lifted the mug to his lips, carefully taking a sip.
The nightmares had been plaguing him for four nights now. The actual events of the dreams were different each night. However, the outcome was always the same. He swallowed with difficulty as his eyes began to glisten.
Each dream ended with Buffy’s death.
She would fall at the hands of whatever foe she was fighting. And Giles was always there, but unable to help her, protect her…save her.
after night, he watched her crumple to the ground. Night after night, he ran to
her and pulled her lifeless body into his arms. And night after night, he
sobbed uncontrollably as he held her warm body close to his chest, whispering
his declarations of love to her as
The first night had been a vampire draining the life from her. The second had been torture at the hands of Angelus and Faith. The third had been Adam ripping her still-beating heart from her chest. The fourth had been more disturbing than the previous three.
A spectacular swan dive from the top of what seemed to be a poorly constructed tower.
He had watched helplessly from the ground, screaming at her not to jump. He paid no attention to the dragon flying overhead that had entered their airspace from a strange rip in the sky. His heart seemed to stop beating as she launched herself from the tower.
He screamed the entire time he watched her body fall. She landed on a pile of debris and, although there were no obvious external injuries, as he ran to her he knew that she was gone. And for the fourth night in a row, he held her in his arms and cried. His tears fell onto her face as he stroked her hair, begging her not to leave him. Begging her to come back to him and love him. And then he was apologizing for not telling her exactly how much he loved her.
Now he sat on his couch, drinking tea at four in the morning…alone. He ran his hand over his face and closed his eyes against the pain he felt in his heart. This latest nightmare was different than the ones prior. The first three he could almost understand.
She fought vampires nearly every night. From day one, it had been his fear that he’d lose her to one. Angelus and Faith…that stemmed from the ruse he had agreed to help Buffy with in order to learn more about Mayor Wilkins. Adam…they had nearly been pulled apart by him. Adam and Spike had been able to alienate Buffy from him, as well as Xander and Willow.
But this one…a tower. He shook his head in frustration. They had never encountered a tower. And there had never been dragons and more otherworldly creatures flying over their heads.
It disturbed him greatly.
He groaned as he took a sip of his now cold tea. He placed the mug on the coffee table and stood, making his way to the bookshelves lining the wall. His fingers trembled as he reached for the Codex.
He prayed he would find nothing in the text.
He also knew that he was going to have to let her in on the emotions he was experiencing. And, that scared him almost as much as the Codex.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Giles looked up in surprise as the front door opened and Buffy walked in. He glanced at the clock quickly to find it was ten minutes past ten. He closed the book in front of him and offered her a weary smile. He had found nothing in the Codex and had progressed to books concerning dream analysis. But, he hadn’t had any luck yet.
“Buffy, good morning.”
She narrowed her eyes and dropped her bag onto the floor. “Jeez, Giles…you look like hell.”
He chuckled softly and gave her a nod. “I slept rather poorly last night.”
“You okay? You’re not getting sick, are you?” She walked over to him and gently pressed the back of her hand against his forehead. “You don’t seem to be running a fever…”
He fought the urge to lean into her touch. Instead, he stood and shook his head. “I’m not getting sick, Buffy. Though, I do appreciate your concern.”
She smiled warmly and touched his forearm as she looked up at him. “Of course, I’m concerned. You’re my Giles.”
He cleared his throat and moved away from her. “Yes, well…um…training today, yes?”
She hopped up on the table and swung her legs. “That was the plan. But, if you’re not feeling up to it…”
“No, no. I’m fine, Buffy. I’m just a little tired. Maybe we could go for a run down to Miller’s Woods?”
She watched him carefully, noticing that his movements seemed to be very heavy. “Or…maybe we can do some research on that Kibosh demon I came across the other night.”
“Kabuscht.” He corrected automatically.
“Yeah, that one. I can call Willow and see if she can help us.”
Giles thought about it for a moment and then nodded in agreement. “Very well.”
She smiled brightly and slid off the table. As she walked over to the phone, he picked up the book on dream analysis and returned it to the bookshelf. If she happened to pick it up and look at it, it would just cause too many questions that he wasn’t sure how to answer.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Two hours after Willow had arrived and they had started delving into the books, Buffy felt Willow kick her leg lightly. She looked up and met her friend’s eyes. Willow tilted her head in Giles’ direction. Buffy sighed as she looked over to find that he had dozed off, his head resting against his palm.
“He said he didn’t sleep well last night.” Buffy whispered softly.
“I’d guess more than just last night. He looks exhausted.” Willow replied in a hushed tone.
Buffy nodded in agreement and quietly pushed her chair back and stood up. She walked around the table and placed her hand on his shoulder.
“Mm?” He mumbled.
“Come on, let’s get you into bed.” She moved her hand to his back and rubbed a gentle circle across his spine.
His eyes snapped open and he sat up suddenly, turning his head towards her. “I’m sorry?”
She offered him a gentle smile. “You’re exhausted, Giles. You need to get some sleep.”
He blushed lightly, realizing that he had fallen asleep while reading. “No, I’m…I’m fine.”
Seeing the disbelieving look on Buffy’s face, he sighed heavily. “Yes, I’m tired. But…we need to find out why the Kabuscht is in Sunnydale and – ”
Buffy smiled and shook her head. “Willow and I can still research. You need rest, Giles.”
He glanced at Willow, who nodded in agreement. He ran his hand through his hair and looked at the stairs. He yawned widely and motioned towards the couch. “Perhaps I can take a short nap on the sofa.”
“Your bed would be more comfortable.” Buffy offered quietly.
“Yes, however…” He exhaled deeply and looked into her eyes. “I’m not sure I feel up to climbing the stairs, to be quiet honest.”
Buffy nodded in understanding. “The couch may not be as comfortable, but at least you can get horizontal on it.”
He chuckled wearily and stood. “If you find anything, please…”
“Wake you up.” She finished for him with a smile. “I will. Now, go…” She gently pushed him towards the couch. “Get some rest.”
He nodded slowly and sank onto the couch, pulling down the afghan that was draped over the back. He covered himself and closed his eyes. He shifted once to make himself more comfortable and then quickly fell asleep.
Willow and Buffy shared a smile and then went back to the books lying open across the table.
Giles felt pressure on his chest as he struggled to sit up. His eyes snapped open to find Buffy kneeling on the floor, her hand on his chest, her eyes full of worry. He lifted his hand and gently touched her cheek.
“Buffy…” Her name left his lips on a soft breath.
Buffy stared at him in concern, surprised to see tears in his eyes. “Are you okay? You…screamed…”
As he dropped his hand from her face, Buffy caught the flicker in his eye that he wasn’t able to hide. Her eyes widened slightly. He averted his eyes from hers and gently removed her hand from his chest, allowing him to sit up.
“I’m…fine. Just a, um…a bad dream…I suppose.”
“Giles?” She whispered.
He stood up suddenly and ran his hand through his hair. “I’m fine.”
He glanced at her and recognized her look of confusion. He instantly knew that she had seen what he had kept carefully guarded for so long. He swore softly under his breath and quickly left the room, heading down the hall towards the bathroom.
slowly, her eyes focused on the hallway.
“Do you think he’s okay?”
Buffy shook her head, still staring at the hall. “No, I don’t. But, I think I need to talk to him alone.”
She finally turned and met her friend’s worried eyes. “I’m sorry, Will. I know you’re worried about him too. But…I don’t think he’ll talk with you here.”
Buffy darted her eyes back to the hall as she inhaled deeply. “I think it’s more of a Buffy/Giles thing…”
“Oh.” Willow spoke uncertainly. “A Buffy/Giles thing?”
“I need to talk to him.” Buffy answered rather cryptically. “But, I’ll call you later, okay?”
Willow nodded slowly. “Yeah…but, is he going to be okay? I’ve never heard him…well…scream like that…”
“Me neither. That’s why I need to talk to him. I won’t leave until I know he’s okay, I promise.”
“Okay, but call me as soon as you leave?”
“I promise, Will.”
Willow looked towards the hallway and sighed. “Okay.”
She gathered her belongings and walked to the door. As she opened it, she looked back at Buffy. “Tell him I hope he’s okay?”
When Buffy nodded, Willow stepped outside and closed the door behind her. Buffy was debating on whether to stay in the living room or go down the hall when she heard a slightly startled ‘oh’.
She looked towards the hallway to find Giles looking at her. As soon as she met his eyes, he averted his.
“Um…tea?” He asked softly.
“We should talk.”
He took a deep breath. “Scotch, then?”
Buffy raised an eyebrow, a small smile tugging at her lips. “Contributing to the delinquency of a minor?”
Giles’ eyes widened in shock. “You’re not a minor.”
“No, I’m not.” She agreed softly and sat down on the couch. “But…I’m not twenty-one yet either.”
“Oh, right.” He gestured towards the kitchen. “So, we’re back to tea.”
Buffy shook her head slowly and motioned to the couch. “No, come and sit down.”
He ran his hand through his hair and walked across the room, clearing his throat as he sat down on the far end of the couch. “What, uh…what would you like to discuss?”
She sat on the edge of the cushion and stared at her hands folded in her lap. “What happened earlier?”
“If I were to tell you it was only a bad dream, would you be content with that answer?”
“No.” She whispered and lifted her eyes to look at him. “You screamed my name.”
He cleared his throat and sighed. “It…was a very bad dream.”
“I died, didn’t I?” Her eyes glistened when he looked at her. “In your dream, I died.”
When he didn’t answer her, she bit her lip nervously and continued. “That’s why you didn’t sleep well last night, isn’t it? You’re dreaming about my death?” A tear rolled down her cheek and her voice wavered. “Are…are you having…prophecy dreams about my…about my death?”
He looked at her quickly, shaking his head as he lifted his hand to wipe the tear from her skin. “No, Buffy. It’s not…the dreams are never the same.”
He lowered his hand and turned his body towards her. “Five.”
“And…I die every time?” She whispered.
He nodded and looked down at her right hand, which she was rubbing nervously at her thigh. “As horrible as that is…watching you…” His voice broke slightly and he took a second to regain his composure.
“I’m beginning to believe that it’s my subconscious attempting to force my hand.”
Buffy looked at him, clearly confused. “Huh?”
He looked into her eyes and took a deep breath. “You’ll be twenty-one in a couple of months.”
“Yeah, and?” She prompted him gently.
“And…I can count on one hand, not using all five digits, the number of Slayers who lived to see their twenty-first birthday.”
She tilted her head in thought. “So…you’re dreaming about my death because you’re worried about me dying before I turn twenty-one?”
He let out a deep breath and shook his head. “No. Well, possibly, but…no.”
She reached out and laid her hand on his arm. He looked down at her hand as she gently squeezed him. “Tell me.”
“I, um…I’m not sure…”
She moved her hand until it covered his wrist. “Tell me, Giles.”
He met her eyes and shook his head. “I don’t think…”
“Tell me, please.”
He swallowed, allowing his true feelings to be seen in his green eyes as he whispered almost inaudibly. “I love you.”
Other than her eyes slightly widening, she gave no indication that she had heard him. He lowered his head.
“Every dream ends with me telling you after you’ve…when it’s too late.”
He closed his eyes when he felt her remove her hand from his wrist. “I expect nothing in return, Buffy. And I will not speak of this again.”
He stood and started walking towards the stairs. He stopped, but didn’t turn around, when she spoke his name.
“I’m weary, Buffy. I think I’m beyond exhaustion at the moment. Maybe now that I’ve…well, now that you know…maybe the dreams will stop.”
He turned slowly and looked at her. “If I hurt you…or upset you…I do apologize. I’ll not force my feelings on you, Buffy.”
“I know.” She whispered softly.
He tilted his head slightly and offered her a tired smile. “You saw it in my eyes earlier.”
She gave him a small nod. “Just a…flicker…when you first woke up.”
“I’m sorry.” He stated sadly and started climbing the stairs. He stopped when he was nearly at the top and looked down at her. “Goodnight, Buffy.”
“Goodnight, Giles.” She responded quietly.
With no other words spoken, he stepped into the bedroom and out of her sight. She heard the bed creak slightly as he fell onto it. She sank onto the couch and took a deep breath, willing her heart to stop its pounding in her chest.
Knowing he’d be sound asleep soon, she picked up the cordless phone. She waited until she heard a soft snore from the loft and then quickly dialled Willow’s number.
* * *
“Of course he loves you.” Willow spoke quietly before something clicked in her head. “But…you’re not talking about a friendly type of love, are you?”
“No, I’m not.” Buffy looked up the stairs when she heard the bed creak slightly as he rolled over. She stood up and silently made her way out the front door, the phone cradled against her shoulder.
“Oh. So…what are you going to do? I mean…”
Buffy sighed softly. “He said that he wouldn’t talk about it again. And that he doesn’t expect me to do anything.”
“Oh, well…that’s good, right? I mean, that way it wouldn’t make things really awkward.” When Buffy didn’t reply, Willow narrowed her eyes. “Right?”
Buffy shook her head and sat down on the doorstep. “I don’t know.”
Buffy leaned back, resting her head on the door and closed her eyes. “I think…I think I want him to talk about it some more. And…I think I want me to talk about it…to him.”
Willow’s eyes widened as she gasped. “Buffy? Do…do you love him? I mean…like that ?”
“I’m not sure. There’s something…I feel something for him, Will. Something that’s more than him just being my Watcher. Is it love? I don’t know…but, I know I want to talk about it some more.”
When Willow hesitated in a response, Buffy exhaled slowly. “Does that bother you?”
“What? No. No, it doesn’t bother me. I mean, yeah…it seems, well…no, it doesn’t seem sudden when I think about it. But…he loves you, Buffy. And…you want to talk to him about it, but you’re not sure if you love him. I just…I don’t want him to be hurt. Or you. And – ”
Buffy smiled as Willow rambled. “I’m not talking about going up to his room and having sex with him right now, Will.” She chuckled, almost able to see Willow blush. “But…if what I’m feeling is bordering on love, then…maybe I shouldn’t just let him not talk about it.”
“So, you’re talking about dating? Dating Giles?”
Buffy shrugged her shoulder, sighing heavily. “Maybe. Yeah…I’m talking about dating Giles. Taking things slow to find out what I’m feeling. I don’t want to hurt him either, Will.”
Willow took a deep breath and exhaled deeply. “Just…be careful, Buffy.”
Buffy nodded slowly and steered the conversation away from the possibility of a relationship…a romantic one, at that…between her and Giles. “So, tell me what’s going on in the World of Willow.”
Buffy smiled as Willow began updating her on latest botched spell.
Giles ran his hand through his sleep-tousled hair as he descended the stairs. He stopped on the landing, his eyes staring at the couch. Buffy was asleep, his afghan wrapped tightly around her. He sighed softly and made his way to the kitchen, putting the kettle on to boil.
Her reaction hadn’t been exactly what he had expected. With all of her comments over the years, he wouldn’t have been surprised to watch her scream in horror and run out the front door. But, she hadn’t. In fact, he wasn’t sure she had even left at all.
Part of him regretted the fact that he had divulged his secret to her. However, the peaceful sleep he had fallen into had almost been worth it. He had slept soundly for nearly twelve hours, no nightmares…or any other dreams, for that matter…had plagued him. He felt…refreshed.
However…Buffy now knew. And he wasn’t exactly sure how to deal with that.
He turned suddenly, her soft voice ending his internal conversation. “Buffy, I’m sorry. Did I wake you?”
She shook her head sleepily and sat up. “Making tea?”
When he nodded in affirmation, she smiled. “Can I have one too?”
He returned her smile and pulled a second mug from the cabinet. “You…didn’t have to stay here last night, Buffy.”
She stood and stretched as she made her way to the breakfast bar and sat down on a stool. “I know. I wanted to…you know, be here…in case…” She took a deep breath, frustrated that the words wouldn’t come out the way she wanted them to. “How did you sleep?”
He cleared his throat softly as he busied himself with the preparation of the tea. “Um, well. Very well, indeed.”
“No nightmares?” She asked softly.
He shook his head, picking up the kettle as it began to whistle. “No.”
She looked up at him as he poured the boiling water into the mugs. “So, I guess you were right about your subconscious forcing your hand, then.”
He looked up quickly and stared into her eyes. “I believe I told you that I wouldn’t discuss that.”
She inhaled sharply as he pushed a mug towards her. She bit her lip nervously and lowered her eyes.
“What if I want to?”
He returned the milk to the refrigerator and swallowed as he turned back to face her. “Want to…what?”
She stared at the mug in front of her, wrapping her hands around it. “Maybe we should…go out for dinner…or something.”
He muttered a soft curse under his breath and dropped the used teaspoon into the sink. She looked up quickly, confusion in her hazel eyes.
“A date? Is that what you’re suggesting?”
She immediately recognized the exasperation in his voice and her confusion grew. “Um…yeah?”
“This…precisely this…is one of the main reasons I had no intention of telling you anything.” He shook his head and grabbed his mug of tea, sloshing some of the hot liquid onto his hand. “Damn it!”
She reached out quickly and took the mug from his hand before he dropped it. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.” He grumbled as he turned around to run some cold water over the burn.
She placed his mug onto the counter and slipped from the stool, making her way into the small kitchen. “Let me see.”
“I’m fine, Buffy.” He ground each word out through clenched teeth.
She looked up at him and sighed heavily. “Why are you angry with me?”
He hung his head and turned the water off, placing his hands on the edge of the sink and inhaling deeply. “I’m not…angry. Disappointed, perhaps. But, I’m not angry.”
“I don’t understand.” She whispered softly.
He closed his eyes briefly, collecting his thoughts before he opened them and looked at her. “I didn’t tell you so that you would feel sorry for me. A date…a pity date, at that…is not the reason I told you.”
“Pity…” She shook her head quickly. “No, this isn’t a…Giles, I wouldn’t do that.”
He ran his hand through his hair and sighed. “Buffy…”
“I feel something for you, Giles. I…don’t know exactly what it is, but it’s more than…” She took a deep breath and started again, speaking quickly.
“I don’t know what I’m feeling, but it’s not just the Watcher/Slayer bond thingy. It’s deeper than that. And…I don’t know if I’m in love with you, but…I think I could be…sometime. And…I think that’s not such a bad thing. And…I want to have dinner with you…a date with you…and not out of pity, but…I want to see if this is something that can turn into more. And…this is so not going how I wanted it to.”
Silence fell over them. Buffy not knowing what else to say, Giles thinking over her rambling words. After a few long minutes, Buffy sighed heavily and walked out of the kitchen, heading towards the front door.
“Maybe I should’ve waited a while before saying anything. I’m sorry, Giles. I didn’t mean to make – ”
“What time?” He interrupted her softly.
She turned around to look at him, her hand on the doorknob. “What?”
He slowly walked into the living room, his hand shoved into his pocket. “If you’re serious about wanting to see where this can go…and if you’ve been honest in your assurance that this wasn’t born out of pity…what time would you like me to pick you up?”
“I’m very serious, Giles…and completely honest.”
He read the sincerity in her eyes and nodded, a nervous smile playing at his lips. “What time?”
“Seven-thirty, it is.”
Buffy smiled brightly and opened the door. “Okay, so…I’ll see you tonight then.”
He gave her a nod and returned her smile. “Tonight, seven-thirty.”
Her eyes sparkled as she backed out the door and closed it behind her. Giles exhaled slowly and shook his head.
“What the hell am I doing?”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
He ran his hand down the front of his shirt, taking a deep breath to steady his nerves as he rang the doorbell. He smiled as he heard Buffy bound down the stairs. His smile faltered somewhat as she swung the door open.
His eyes took in her apparel before quickly meeting her bright smile. He returned her smile and cleared his throat.
“Hey, Giles.” She smoothed her hand down the side of her dress and bit her lip nervously. “I, uh…I didn’t know where we were going. Is…this okay?”
He nodded slowly, his eyes following her hand as it moved over her hip. “Yes. You, uh…you look lovely.”
He met her eyes quickly. “Hm?”
“You’re not wearing a tie.” She replied softly.
“Oh. I’ve one in the car.” He blushed lightly. “I…couldn’t decide whether or not to wear it…”
She smiled and shook her head. “If my opinion means anything, I think you look very nice without it.”
He smiled shyly and glanced into the house. “Is, uh…your mother home?”
“No. Big shipment decided to arrive later than expected. She hopes we have a good time, though.”
His eyes widened slightly. “She…I’m sorry?”
Buffy laughed gently. “I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist. And…it’s not that I plan on hiding anything from her. It’s just…I’d like to see where this is going before I say anything that’ll freak her out.”
“Yes, well…that’s understandable. I’m rather sure I’d like to wait before I freak anyone out, as well.” Giles chuckled and tilted his head towards the car. “Shall we?”
She nodded and, after closing and locking the door, followed him down the steps. She fell into step beside of him and looked up at him.
“So…where are we going?”
“I was thinking maybe Clover Twelve.” He answered in an uncertain tone as he opened the car door for her.
“Clover Twelve? What’s that?”
“A very nice, albeit small, Italian restaurant about twenty minutes north of Sunnydale.”
She tilted her head slightly. “We’re going out of Sunnydale?”
He cleared his throat. “The food is rather phenomenal. And…there’s very little vampire activity. If you prefer, we could go somewhere in town, I just…”
She smiled and placed her hand on his forearm. “It sounds wonderful. Especially the little vampire activity part. I’d like to not have to worry about killing something while I’m on a date.”
He exhaled slowly and nodded. “That was my thinking as well.”
She grinned and slid into the passenger seat. “Clover Twelve…strange name for an Italian restaurant.”
He chuckled softly and closed the door.
* * *
Dinner had gone well by most accounts. He had found that the ease that had settled over the both of them as they crossed the Sunnydale city limit continued throughout dinner. They fell into comfortable conversation, words coming easily for both of them.
It was during dinner that Buffy realized that what she was feeling for him was affection. A deep affection that could very easily grow into love…quickly. When he laughed loudly at her re-telling of a humourous encounter with a fairly dense vampire, his eyes lit up brightly.
It was then that she knew she could easily fall in love with him.
She watched him gracefully sign his name to the credit card receipt and smiled. As he handed the pen back to the waiter, he caught her smile.
“What is it?”
She blushed lightly and shrugged a shoulder. “I don’t know. I just…I didn’t realize how graceful your hands can be.”
He arched an eyebrow as he stood. “I’m not sure the word ‘graceful’ has ever been used in any description of me.”
She grinned and took his hand when he offered it. “Well, now it has.”
He led her out of the restaurant with his hand resting lightly on her lower back. As they walked out into the cool air, he glanced at his car and sighed, not really wanting the evening to end just yet.
“Um…would you like to go for a walk?”
Buffy smiled as she looked up at him. “Something else we can’t really do in Sunnydale.”
He returned the smile and slid his hand into his pocket. “May I take that as a ‘yes’?”
She nodded quickly and slid her arm through his. He sighed happily and led her through the small park next to the restaurant. At some point, they had made their way to a park bench and sat down. And if either had been asked when, neither would have been able to answer.
Conversation flowed between them, laughter and gentle teasing accenting their words. When she shivered, he cursed softly under his breath. He quickly removed his jacket and placed it around her shoulders.
“I’m sorry, Buffy. I didn’t realize the temperature had dropped so.” He glanced at his watch and his eyes widened. “Of course, I didn’t realize it was nearly one in the morning either.”
“What?” She grabbed his wrist, turning it so she could read the time.
He stifled a gasp as her fingers brushed across his palm. She looked up at him and smiled softly.
“Well, they always say that time flies when you’re having fun…”
He nodded slowly, swallowing thickly. “Yes.”
He looked into her eyes for a few moments before taking a deep breath and standing, pulling her up with him. “I, uh…I should probably see you home.”
“Yeah…I guess.” She agreed half-heartedly.
He took her hand in his, smiling warmly as she laced their fingers together.
* * *
The drive home had been somewhat quieter. It could’ve been the time of night. Or…it could’ve been the fact that neither one of them wanted the evening to end. Be that as it may, Giles eventually pulled into her driveway and killed the ignition.
Ever the gentleman, he walked her to the front door. They stood underneath the porch light and he gave her a smile.
“I had a nice time, Buffy.”
“Me too. You know, part of me was kinda worried you were going to take me to a French restaurant.”
He raised an eyebrow at her. “Do you not like French food?”
“Never had it. I can’t get over the fact they eat snails.”
He laughed gently as she shuddered dramatically. “Perhaps Mexican next time?”
She took a step closer to him. “Are…you asking me on another date?”
His laughter ebbed as he looked into her eyes. “What would be your reply if I were?”
“Ask and see.” She whispered softly.
He took a deep breath and lowered his voice. “Buffy…would you be interested in having dinner with me again? Perhaps…same day next week?”
“And, maybe a movie?”
He smiled as he nodded. “If you’d like.”
She grinned. “I’d like.”
He gestured towards the door and cleared his throat. “You, uh…should probably get some sleep.”
She took hold of his hand and gently squeezed his fingers. “Giles?”
He fought to control the pounding of his heart. “Yes?”
She bit her lip nervously and looked up at him. “Would you think I was a total skank if I asked you for a kiss?”
He shook his head slowly. “I can’t imagine thinking you were a ‘total skank’ at any time.” He cleared his throat, darting his eyes to her lips before meeting her gaze again. “Are, uh…are you asking?”
She nodded slowly, her voice a mere whisper. “Yes.”
His tongue darted out and wet his lips as he leaned down, pausing only a moment before brushing his lips across hers. Hearing her soft gasp, he moved closer and kissed her again. Her hands rested on his chest as he lifted his left hand, threading his fingers through her hair.
His kisses were slow but not hesitant. He found himself struggling to keep from deepening the union. With another lingering kiss, he sighed and reluctantly pulled back, smiling down at her.
“I, uh…I should probably go.”
Her finger lightly traced his bottom lip. “Mm-hm. But…we’re still on for next week?”
He nodded slowly, wanting nothing more than to kiss her again. “Yes. And, you’ll be by for training tomorrow afternoon?”
“Uh-huh.” She mumbled as she stared at his lips.
He bent his head and gave her another soft kiss before taking a step back. “Then I shall see you tomorrow…or later today, as it were.”
She smiled warmly as he backed down the stairs. “Goodnight, Giles.”
His green eyes shone brightly with happiness. “Goodnight, Buffy.”
been very nervous during their first training session after their date. When he
realized that she was severely distracted, he asked her what was wrong. She
told him that
expected him to stammer or even get a little upset with the knowledge that
The week had passed fairly uneventfully…if you lived on a Hellmouth. They trained every afternoon and he found himself accompanying her on patrol more often than usual. Soft kisses were given and received throughout the week when they were alone. Giles found himself wishing that they were alone more often.
* * *
He watched her perform her routine flawlessly. Her movements fluid and graceful as she attacked her imaginary foe. Her muscles rippled as she launched into a series of kicks and punches. He found himself becoming somewhat aroused as she finished her routine and jumped up on the pommel horse, smiling at him as she swung her legs gently.
“How was that?”
“Hm?” He blushed lightly and shook his head. “Oh, wonderfully executed, Buffy.”
She brushed her damp hair back from her face and grinned. He smiled warmly and tossed her a towel.
She stared at him for a second before she spoke. “Come here, Giles.”
In four steps, he was standing directly in front of her. He inhaled deeply as she lifted the towel and wiped the sweat from his neck.
He leaned into her touch and met her eyes. “Have you given any thought to which movie you’d like to see tonight?”
She shook her head as she wiped the other side of his neck. “No…as long as it’s not a kung-fu movie. Xander has me all Jackie Chan-ed out.”
He leaned forward, placing his hands on the horse on either side of her thighs. “That shouldn’t be an issue.”
She felt her pulse quicken as she whispered. “You gonna kiss me, Giles?”
His eyes darted to her mouth and then back to her eyes. “I rather think I am.”
At that moment, the door to the training room swung open and slammed against the wall. Giles moved back from Buffy quickly enough that he stumbled. Buffy’s hands grabbed his shirt to steady him.
stared at Anya, who was standing in the doorway with her arms crossed over her
“Eye of Newt does NOT grow on trees, you know!”
Giles groaned in frustration as Anya stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her. Buffy slid off the horse and chuckled softly. “Anya needs to work on her timing.”
The corner of his mouth quirked into a half-grin. “Yes, I would tend to agree.”
She sighed and leaned up, placing a quick kiss on his lips. “Tonight? What time?”
“Seven? That should give us enough time for dinner before the movie.”
She smiled and ran her hand down his arm. “I’ll be ready.”
He fought the urge to pull her into his arms and kiss her senseless. Instead, he gently squeezed her fingers and gave her a nod. With a bright smile, she walked out of the training room.
He chuckled when he heard her call out to Willow.
* * *
He held Buffy’s hand lightly in his left, his right shoved into his pocket. She looked up at him and smiled.
“What did you think of the movie?”
“Hm?” He opened the car door for her and reluctantly let go of her hand. “Oh, it was quite enjoyable. You?”
“I loved it! Especially when she found the kitten that he left for her.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Kitten?”
She stared incredulously at him. “Giles! That was like the whole turning point of the movie! Weren’t you paying attention?”
He shrugged his shoulders and smiled shyly. “I…tried.”
“Oh.” She replied in a small voice. “You didn’t like it?”
He lifted his hand to the side of her face and gazed into her eyes. “It wasn’t that I didn’t like it. It was more to do with the fact that my mind seemed to be elsewhere.”
She leaned into his touch and sighed. “Where was it?”
He bent his head, moving his lips towards hers. “Kissing you.”
Her response was interrupted as he kissed her softly. He smiled as he pulled back and gently nudged her into the car. She reddened slightly and buckled her seatbelt.
“I think I can forgive you for not paying attention to the movie.”
He chuckled and closed the door.
* * *
He pulled into the driveway and switched the ignition off. He glanced towards the house and gave a sad sigh when he saw that the lights were on.
She lightly touched his thigh to get his attention. When he turned to look at her, he quickly read the question in her eyes.
“Your mother’s up.”
She glanced at the house and nodded. “Yeah. Do you want to come in for a cup of tea?”
He regarded her carefully for a moment and, without another word, he reached for her. Wrapping his hand around the back of her neck, he drew her to him and covered her mouth with his. When her lips parted, he gently edged his tongue into her mouth.
At the first touch of his tongue against hers, she groaned. As his tongue began to slide along hers, she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. His hands splayed across her back as she began to return the kiss as fiercely as he was giving it.
When he felt himself begin to harden, he slowly ended the kiss, leaving them both breathless. His hands continued to caress her back as he stared into her eyes. Her thumb stroked along his jaw.
“Wow.” She muttered softly. When he smiled, she blushed deeply. “Is that how you were gonna kiss me this afternoon?”
“Mm-hm.” He ran his fingers through her hair, pushing it back from her neck.
“Good thing Anya walked in when she did then.” At his confused look, she grinned and leaned towards him again. “I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to stop with just one.”
He allowed her to reinitiate the kiss, groaning softly as she took complete control and conducted her own exploration of his mouth. Her hands rested on his chest, her body following his as she gently pushed him back against the seat. He let the kiss continue for a few more moments before tightening his grip on her waist and slowly pulling away.
“We, uh…we should…”
She stared at his lips and nodded. “Stop.”
He swallowed with difficulty, his thumbs rubbing circles against her skin where her top had ridden up slightly. “For now…yes.”
She placed a tender kiss on his lips and then sat up. “Giles?”
He shifted slightly in his seat as she moved back into hers. “Yes?”
“I think maybe we should talk to Mom soon.”
He arched an eyebrow at her. “Oh?”
She nodded slowly. “Yeah, I mean…if you want to. Or…maybe I’m just reading things wrong. I do that – ”
He leaned over the console and kissed her again, cutting off her ramble. His tongue swept into her mouth briefly before he pulled back and gazed at her.
“I want to.” He whispered hoarsely.
She traced her fingertips along his cheek. “Are we dating now? I mean…officially dating?”
He smiled softly and tucked a strand of hair behind her hear. “Would you consider me terribly old-fashioned if I asked you to be mine?”
She grinned, resting her hand against his chest. “Absolutely. But, I’d still say ‘yes’.”
He saw the flicker of desire dance in her eyes. “I still would prefer to take this slowly. This isn’t about how quickly I can get you into my bed…or even if I can.”
“I know. But…is it okay if I think about it?”
“I do.” He admitted without thinking, then blushed heavily and cleared his throat.
Her eyes widened. “You do?”
He glanced back at the house and took a deep breath. “More than I care to admit.”
She placed her hand on his chin and gently turned his head until he was looking at her. She smiled and leaned forward, kissing his lips tenderly.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come in for a little while?” She asked in a low voice.
He brushed his fingertips along her neck and shook his head slowly. “I’m rather sure I do. I’m also very sure that I shouldn’t. Not tonight.”
She nodded and sighed heavily. “Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow then?”
“Mm-hm. Training at three?”
“Yeah.” She glanced at his lips again. “You okay if I come by a little earlier?”
He licked his lips and gave her a smile. “You know where to find me. Whenever you want…”
She inhaled sharply as he let his sentence trail off. “I…I’m going to go in now.” With another quick kiss to his lips, she climbed out of the car and straightened her clothing. “If I don’t go now, I’m…well…”
He chuckled softly as he watched her face redden. “I understand completely. Sleep well, Buffy.”
She whispered a soft ‘goodnight’ and gently closed the car door. When she jumped onto the porch, she turned around and gave him a wave. He returned the gesture, sighing heavily as she walked into the house and closed the door behind her.
He reached down and adjusted his erection before latching the seatbelt and starting the engine.
Three days later, he was in the basement of the Magic Box going through the latest shipment of books. Hearing a soft creak from the stairs, he looked up and smiled.
She returned his smile as she stepped off the last stair. “Hey.”
“To what do I owe the pleasure of a visit this early in the day?”
She shrugged her shoulders and hopped onto the table beside the box of books. “I missed you.”
“Oh?” He dropped the book he was holding back into the box. “You saw me last night after patrol.”
She narrowed her eyes pointedly. “Yeah, you were having a research party. I missed you.”
He smiled and moved to stand in front of her. He reached up and combed his fingers through her hair. “I missed you too.”
She sighed heavily and leaned into his touch. “We really need some alone time, Giles.”
He lowered his head, moving his lips towards hers. “We’re alone now.”
Her lips parted eagerly, her tongue drawing his into her mouth. His hands cradled her face as he returned the kiss hungrily. Wrapping her arms around him, she pulled him closer to her. He groaned softly and reluctantly broke the kiss. He smiled shyly as he took a step backwards.
“Giles…” She pouted with a whimper.
He glanced at the stairs and cleared his throat. “Anya could come down at any time.”
She gave him a small smile. “You know that she knows we’re seeing each other.”
“Mm, yes.” He sent her a mock glare. “No thanks to you and Willow.”
“Hey, I didn’t know she was standing there!” She defended herself quickly.
He chuckled softly. “I realize that. However, I would prefer not to give her any more ammunition to embarrass me relentlessly in front of customers. And…actually finding us in a passionate embrace would definitely give her all she needed.”
She rubbed her palms against her thighs and sighed. “Okay.”
He tilted his head and narrowed his eyes slightly. “Buffy, there’s nothing I want more right now than to take you into my arms and kiss you.”
A grin played at her lips. “Nothing?”
He reddened slightly and shoved his hand into his pocket. “Well…almost nothing.”
“Can I ask you something?”
He nodded and took a step forward. “Of course.”
She swallowed nervously and twisted a ring on her finger. “How slow are you wanting this to go?”
He cleared his throat and ran his hand through his hair. “Um…I…we’re not ready, Buffy.”
She sighed heavily. “I know, but…” She shook her head and slid off the table. “Will you patrol with me tonight?”
He nodded slowly, holding her gaze. She took two steps towards him and wrapped her hand around his tie. She smiled as she gently tugged him towards her, allowing her eyes to roam appreciatively over his body.
“Good. I like it when you patrol with me.”
Using two fingers under her chin, he tilted her face upwards and smiled. “I enjoy patrolling with you.”
He leaned down and captured her lips with his, causing a groan to rumble softly in her chest. As his tongue slid along hers, she wrapped her arms around his neck, her fingers running through his hair. He took a few steps forward, gently pushing her back towards the table.
When her backside bumped against the table, he dropped one hand from her back and blindly reached for her bag. His fingers closed around it and he broke the kiss, his smile dancing in his eyes. Handing her the bag, he stepped back and sighed.
“I’ll see you tonight.”
She gripped her bag tightly and took a step towards the stairs. “Yeah…”
She glanced up the stairs and then back at him. When she turned her body back towards him, he gently shook his head.
She nodded quickly. “Yeah, uh…yeah…tonight.”
He inhaled deeply as she quickly ran up the stairs. He darted his eyes between the stairs and the box of books still resting on the table. Buffy…books…
He smiled, knowing there was no choice to be made, and took the stairs two at a time. He found her quickly, near the ladder leading to the small loft whispering to Willow as Anya discussed the difference between barberry and bearberry with a customer at the front counter. He took a deep breath to steady his nerves and walked up behind her, gently taking hold of her arm and turning her around.
She opened her mouth to speak, but had no time to form any words before his lips descended on hers. He kissed her slowly, mindful of keeping his hands from roaming too much over her back. When he ended the kiss, she took a deep breath and smiled up at him.
“What was that for?” She asked breathlessly.
He gave her an enigmatic smile and stepped back. “I’ll see you tonight for patrol.”
He glanced at Willow, who was smiling brightly at him. He blushed lightly and ducked his head. “Hello, Willow.”
As quickly as he had appeared, he disappeared through the door leading down to the basement. Buffy lifted her hand, touching her fingers to her still-tingling lips.
Willow met her friend’s wide eyes. “Yeah?”
Buffy lowered her voice to a whisper. “I…I really think I love him.”
Willow beamed at her. “Maybe you should tell him.”
Buffy shook her head slowly, causing Willow to arch an eyebrow at her. “Why not?”
“He’s…well, he’s only said it that once. And…what if – ”
Willow placed her hand on Buffy’s arm. “He loves you, Buffy. He asked you to be his…he kissed you in front of me…he loves you. Now…do you love him? Or…do you just really think you love him? Because if you’re just thinking, then maybe you shouldn’t tell him just yet. But…”
“I love him.” Buffy interrupted softly.
Willow smiled warmly. “Then tell him.”
Buffy swallowed the lump in her throat and nodded. “I’ll tell him tonight…after patrol…”
Willow could do nothing but grin happily.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
They walked side by side through their third cemetery of the night. She nudged his arm with her shoulder and smiled up at him.
“So would you consider patrolling with me a date?”
He chuckled and shook his head. “No. I would consider it a very enjoyable venture, but, no, not a date.”
He stopped walking and looked down into her eyes. “Because, for me, a date consists of giving you my undivided attention. Being able to talk to you, or hold you, without fear of having to stake a vampire or chase a demon at less than a second’s notice.”
He smiled as he lifted his hand and brushed his fingers down the side of her face. “And as enjoyable as I find patrolling with you to be…it would be a tremendous error if I could not pay attention to our surroundings.”
“I really…and I mean really…want to kiss you right now.” She sighed heavily and glanced over his shoulder. “But, right now I have to do my job…”
She gripped his jacket with both hands and quickly, but carefully, shoved him to the side as she pulled a stake out of her back pocket. The vampire leered at her as he advanced quickly.
“Did I break up the lovefest?”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “I really don’t have the time, or the inclination, to spend with banter tonight.”
Giles grinned at her use of words and leaned against a headstone to better watch the proceedings.
“Aw, come on, Slayer.” He ran his tongue over his fangs. “Give me your best shot.”
Buffy tilted her head as she pretended to think over the request. With a quick nod, she hurled her stake at the vampire’s chest.
The vampire stared incredulously at her as he exploded into dust. Giles pushed himself away from the tombstone, his eyes wide with surprise. Buffy brushed her hands and turned to face him, her smile fading slightly.
“That was…um…rather beautiful to watch.”
She scoffed lightly. “Beautiful? All I did was throw a stake at him.”
“With extremely accurate aim…from a fairly impressive distance.”
She sauntered up to him with a grin on her face. “Did I impress you?”
“Always.” The word left his lips on a breath.
She reached for his hand and turned it so that she could read his watch. “Nine-thirty. Want to call it an early night? I can always come back out later for another sweep…”
“It’s been a fairly busy evening. We, uh…we could probably use a break.” He agreed softly.
“Walk me home?” She whispered as she laced their fingers together.
“That would be logical, considering my car is parked in your driveway.” He replied in a hushed tone as he allowed her to lead him out of the cemetery.
She gave his fingers a gentle squeeze and smiled up at him. “I could make you a cup of tea.”
He stepped over a tree root and narrowed his eyes. “Your mother – ”
“Won’t be home until later. There was a big showing at the gallery tonight. She told me not to expect her home until late.”
He cleared his throat and steered her onto the sidewalk in the direction of her house. “How…late?”
Buffy shrugged a shoulder. “I’m not really sure. But…the last time there was a big showing, I was home before she was…and that was back in the patrolling with Angel days.”
She looked up at him, her smile shining in her eyes. “And this showing is a lot bigger than that one was…”
A smile tugged at his lips. “Oh.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
He sat down on the couch, resting his cup of tea on his knee as she fumbled through the stack of videotapes. He smiled when she shoved one into the VCR and grabbed the remote.
“What are we watching?”
She sank down on the couch beside of him and turned the television on as she hit the ‘play’ button on the VCR remote. “Re-Animator.”
Giles chuckled and took a sip of his tea. “Shocking film.”
She grinned and looked at him. “Yeah, but it’s funny.”
He shook his head in amusement, pulling her against his side and holding her close.
Ten minutes into the movie, he felt her hand on his thigh. Eleven minutes into the movie, her thumb was rubbing small circles against the denim and his fingers began brushing along the bare skin of her upper arm. Twelve minutes into the movie, their eyes met.
Now, fourteen minutes into the movie, his fingers were tangled in her hair as her tongue plundered his mouth. He groaned and changed the angle of his head, fighting for control of the kiss. When her hand moved to his chest, he moved his mouth down the side of her neck, nipping lightly at the skin before gently suckling.
Her fingers ran through his hair, holding him to her neck. “God, Giles…”
He scraped his teeth against her skin, his right hand gripping her outer thigh. She tilted her head to the side, granting him better access to her neck.
“I love you.” She whispered hoarsely.
His hand tightened on her thigh and his head snapped up, his eyes boring into hers. “Buffy?”
She was breathing heavily as she swallowed. “I do, Giles. I love you.”
The movie was completely forgotten, the screams of horror completely ignored. His heart raced as he moved both hands to cradle her face.
“I love you, Buffy.”
They shared a smile as he leaned into her, re-igniting the kiss. As his tongue caressed hers, she gripped his shirt and pushed him back against the cushions of the couch. He gasped into her mouth as she shifted her body, straddling his thighs and sitting on his knees. When he felt her fingers begin working on the buttons of his shirt, he tore his mouth away from hers.
“Buffy…” He panted heavily.
She smiled at him and slid her hand through the hair on his chest. That was when he realized that she had actually been able to unbutton most of his shirt. His hands moved quickly, wrapping his long fingers around her wrists to still her motion.
She looked into his eyes and sighed, leaning back slightly. “I’m sorry. I thought…”
When she lowered her eyes and swallowed, he released her wrists and moved his hands to her hips. He pulled her closer to his chest, stifling his groan as he settled her over his erection.
Her eyes snapped back to his, finding his darkened as his hands gripped her hips tightly. “Rest assured, Buffy…I want you.”
“But – ”
He moved his hand up her side, brushing his thumb across the swell of her breast. “I don’t want this to be a quick shag…rushing through it before your mother returns home. And…should we continue this right now, that’s exactly what it will be.”
She shifted on his lap, causing him to groan softly. He shook his head slowly, sliding his hand to the back of her neck.
“Don’t do that. Just…kiss me.”
She smiled and leaned down, covering his mouth with hers as her hand glided over his nipple. He groaned into her mouth and she repeated the action, this time lightly scraping her nail across the hardened flesh. He tore his mouth away from hers and gasped.
“Christ, Buffy…don’t do that either…”
“You don’t like it?” She whispered softly as she draped her arms over his shoulders.
“I like it…far too much.” He acknowledged breathlessly.
“Oh.” She grinned and moved back towards his lips.
He tightened his hold on her hips and sighed. “Maybe…maybe you should sit beside of me.” When she raised an eyebrow in a silent question, he cleared his throat. “It’s just that…this is too much for me right now.”
She gave him a slightly unhappy sigh and carefully moved off his lap. He shifted uncomfortably and began buttoning his shirt.
“Can…can I still kiss you?”
His hands stopped, leaving the top three buttons undone, and he turned his head towards her. “Yes.” He leaned towards her, darting his eyes to her lips as he whispered. “God, yes.”
Her fingers combed through the soft hair above his ear. “I love the way you kiss me.”
He smiled and brushed his lips across hers. “I love kissing you.”
As he started to deepen the kiss, her ears picked up on the sound of a car door closing. She pushed him back and jumped off the couch.
“Buffy?” He asked, confusion showing in his eyes and voice.
“Mom’s home!” She ran her hand through her hair in an attempt to straighten it somewhat.
“Fuck…” He muttered under his breath and pushed himself up from the couch.
“Did you just say ‘fuck’?” Her eyes widened in surprise, a grin forming on her face.
He headed towards the stairs and chuckled softly. “Yes, actually.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Where are you going?”
He turned towards her and sighed heavily. “I can’t very well have your mother see me in this condition.”
She glanced at his groin and then at the door, hearing her mother’s footsteps on the porch steps. “Shit…”
He grinned and took off up the stairs. She ran back to the couch, falling onto the cushions and staring at the television just as the front door opened. She took a deep breath and forced a smile on her face as Joyce walked into the living room.
“Hey Mom. You’re earlier than I thought you’d be.”
Joyce smirked and glanced at the television, her smirk quickly morphing into a grimace. “What are you watching?”
“Re-Animator. One of Giles’ favourite movies.”
Joyce scoffed and shook her head. “Yeah, I can see why. Why are you watching a movie with Rupert?” She looked around the room and narrowed her eyes. “And…where is Rupert?”
“Oh, we went on patrol together tonight. Pretty busy night so I talked him into a movie to wind down. And…right now he’s in the bathroom.”
Hearing footsteps on the stairs, Buffy smiled and shrugged a shoulder. “Or…he’s on his way back down.”
Giles stepped into the living room and offered Joyce a warm smile. “Good evening, Joyce.”
“Hello, Rupert.” She gestured towards the television. “Enjoying the movie?”
Confusion shone in Giles’ eyes for a brief moment. Though it was long enough for Joyce to notice. His eyes darted towards the television and he shook his head.
“Dreadful film. I highly recommend avoiding it at all costs.” He met Buffy’s eyes and took a deep breath. “Ah, Buffy…I really should be leaving now.”
“Oh, uh…okay. I’ll see you tomorrow? For training?” She asked, desperately trying to hide the disappointment in her voice.
Giles gave her a short nod, a smile playing at his lips. “Tomorrow, it is.”
She stood and walked towards the stairs, stopping to kiss her mother’s cheek before she gestured upstairs. “I’m just gonna go take a shower and then you can tell me about the showing.”
Joyce smiled brightly. “Okay, sweetheart.”
Buffy glanced at Giles and smiled. “Night, Giles.”
“Goodnight, Buffy.” He responded softly, forcing himself to tear his gaze away from her as she climbed the stairs.
He cleared his throat and picked up his car keys from the lamp table. “Well, then…I’ll, uh…”
His sentence trailed off when Joyce placed her hand on his arm. Joyce exhaled slowly and looked into his eyes.
“Don’t hurt her, Rupert.”
Giles’ eyes widened. “I, uh…I…I’m sorry?”
A smile formed on her face. “It wasn’t intentional, but…I overheard the two of you talking a couple of weeks ago. I was going to bed and…you were on the front porch, saying goodnight.”
His face reddened deeply. “Oh, I…”
“And…” She lifted her hand and gently touched the collar of his shirt. “I believe that’s Buffy’s favourite shade of lipstick.”
“Oh dear Lord.” He mumbled softly, averting his eyes from Joyce’s.
She chuckled softly, shaking her head. “I’m not exactly surprised by this, you know. The two of you have always been very close. Just…please don’t hurt her.”
Joyce’s smile broadened as he stammered nervously. He took a deep breath and met her eyes.
“We…we were going to discuss this with you, um…soon.”
She gave his arm a gentle squeeze and then dropped her hand to her side. “Well, now you don’t have to have that horribly awkward conversation. I’ll talk to Buffy about it in the morning. But…I’m okay with this, funnily enough.”
Giles’ mind was reeling and he took a step towards the door, giving in to his instinct to leave an uncomfortable situation. “I, uh…Goodnight, Joyce.”
He opened the door and stepped onto the porch. Just as she was closing the door, he turned around and spoke her name. She smiled warmly at him as he shoved his hands in his pockets and swallowed.
She gave him a nod and glanced back inside when she heard the shower cut off. “You’re welcome. Now, go…before she comes back downstairs and starts questioning why you’re still here.”
His eyes darted to Buffy’s bedroom window and he nodded in agreement. “Yes, um…goodnight. Again.”
Joyce grinned as she watched him hurry to his car. She closed the door and made her way into the kitchen.
She had a sudden craving for hot chocolate.
“So, how close were you when your Mom got home?”
Buffy smiled and took a deep breath. “He had to go upstairs before she walked in…”
“Yeah.” She chuckled softly and followed the sidewalk into the small apartment complex. “And, Mom talked to me this morning. She’s apparently known that Giles and I have been seeing each other since the first date.”
Buffy nodded, her smile growing. “Completely okay with it. Which is a bit weird, I think. But, she said she was expecting it at some point.”
As they neared the door to Giles’ apartment, Buffy lowered her voice. “And…we’ll finish this discussion later?”
walking across the living room towards the kitchen when his front door opened.
He stopped his motion and smiled softly as
She gave him a small wave. “Hi, Giles.”
Giles inhaled sharply as Buffy followed her in and closed the door. His eyes darkened slightly as they quickly roamed over her body. He noticed that she was wearing the outfit that he had complimented her on one day a week earlier. Faded blue jeans and a light brown peasant top.
He swallowed as his eyes finally met hers. “Hello, Buffy.”
She smiled brightly, feeling the heat rise in the pit of her stomach as his eyes briefly darted to her breasts. “Hey…”
He shook his head lightly and cleared his throat as he gestured towards the kitchen. “I was on my way for a cup of tea. Might I interest either of you?”
“Yeah…” Buffy answered immediately, her smouldering eyes telling him that it wasn’t just tea he could interest her in.
quickly and glanced at
quick nod, he hurried into the kitchen.
Buffy reddened, leaning towards Willow as she whispered. “I didn’t mean to.”
Willow arched an eyebrow in response and Buffy sighed. “It’s just…he looks so…”
Willow glanced at the man preparing three cups of tea. “Giles-y?”
Buffy turned towards Willow and nodded slowly. “Yeah, but…it’s more than that.”
“Kinda like how he looked at you when you walked in?” Willow grinned.
“Even more than that…”
“You love him.” Willow offered softly.
Willow tilted her head slightly, her eyes puzzled. “What do you mean?”
Buffy bit her lip nervously. “The more time I spend with him, the more I realize…”
When she trailed off, Willow silently urged her on with a simple look. Buffy took a deep breath and lowered her eyes.
“That I’m falling in love with him. And I’m falling hard.”
Any response Willow was going to give was interrupted by a loud crash. They both looked up quickly to find Giles standing in the living room, his eyes staring at Buffy. The silver tray lay on the hardwood floor, tea pooling around his feet amidst the shattered remnants of three teacups.
“Oh God…” Buffy whispered almost inaudibly.
Giles’ heart began to race as he took a step forward, ceramic shards crunching under his shoe. He held Buffy’s gaze and swallowed, his eyes searching hers and finding panic…and love.
“Buffy…” His voice was thick with emotion.
Tears welled in her eyes, one spilling down her cheek. “I’m sorry, Giles…I…”
He took another step forward, puzzled at the tears. “Why are you crying?”
“I…you said you love me, but I know there’s a huge difference between that and being in love…and…”
He took the last step needed to stand directly in front of her and lifted his hand, brushing her tears from her face. “You’re falling in love with me?”
She sniffled lightly and averted her eyes from his. “I think I already have.”
He moved his fingers down her face to rest under her chin, gently tilting her head until she was looking at him again. “Once more…for the older man who is suddenly concerned that his hearing might very well be slipping?”
She gasped softly at the depth of emotions she couldn’t help but see in his green eyes. “Giles?”
His thumb brushed across her cheek in a loving caress. “Please, Buffy…once more.”
“I…I’m in love with you.” She whispered softly.
Willow smiled and quietly made her way to the door, realizing that they had both forgotten she was actually in the room and deciding that this was something that required privacy. She opened the door and looked back just in time to see Giles cradle Buffy’s face with both hands and lean down to kiss her. She sighed happily and slipped outside, closing the door softly behind her.
Giles slowly steered Buffy towards the couch, unwilling to relinquish her lips as he did so. When the backs of her legs bumped against the couch, he gently guided her onto the cushion and knelt on the floor in front of her.
She ended the kiss slowly and looked at him, a silent question in her eyes. He smiled and reached up, tenderly brushing the hair back from her face.
“I have been in love with you for a fair few months, Buffy.”
She tilted her head slightly, thoughts running through her mind. “Is that why you stopped us last night?”
“Partly.” He admitted softly. “It’s true that I want more than what that would have been.”
“A quick shag?” She asked with a small smile playing on her lips.
“Ah, yes. I…want more. I want to be able to take my time and love you properly.”
She sensed his hesitation and placed her hand on his chest. “And the other part of your ‘partly’?”
“Huh?” She narrowed her eyes in confusion.
He sighed softly. “I’m in love with you. If…well, if we had continued last night…I was concerned that it would have meant more to me than it did to you. And…I’m rather sure I don’t know how I would have dealt with that.”
“Oh.” She responded with a gentle smile. “I get it. But it would, you know? Mean as much to me as it would to you.”
He returned her smile and rested his hands on her thighs. “That’s, uh…very good to know.”
She glanced around the room and chuckled softly. At his questioning look, she leaned forward and brushed her lips across his.
“We’re alone. Willow must’ve left to give us some privacy.”
He inhaled sharply as her fingers toyed with the top button on his shirt. “Buffy…”
“Are you expecting anyone to come by?” She whispered as she pulled the button free.
He shook his head slowly, sliding his hands along her thighs until he reached the hem of her blouse. His fingers edged under the material, grazing bare skin.
She unbuttoned four more buttons and smiled at him. “So…we’re alone…no visitors expected…”
His eyes darkened slightly as she ran her fingertip across his chest. “I’m sorely tempted to take you upstairs right now.”
Her fingertip circled his nipple teasingly. “It’s okay to give into temptation sometimes you know…”
He swallowed and moved his left hand underneath her blouse until it gently cupped her breast. At her soft gasp, he ran his thumb over her nipple.
“Is that what you’d like, Buffy? Would you like for me to take you upstairs?”
Her eyes closed at the contact, her back arching and increasing the pressure of his hand on her breast. “Depends…”
He slid his right hand around her back and deftly unclasped her bra. “On what?”
She moaned as his hand quickly slipped into the loosened cup and gently kneaded the firm flesh. “Giles…”
His confidence boosted by her soft moans, he smiled and carefully rolled her hardened nipple between his fingers. “May I take you upstairs, Buffy?”
She forced her eyes open and looked into his. “You’re not gonna show me a stamp collection, are you?”
He chuckled softly. “No. However, I would love to spend a few hours learning how your body fits with mine.”
A smile graced her lips. “Is that the British way of saying you’d like to have sex with me?”
He shook his head and kissed her tenderly. “I don’t want to have sex with you, Buffy.”
She arched an eyebrow and glanced at her chest, where his hand was still gently massaging her breast. “Normally that would be where this leads…”
He took a deep breath and slid his hands out from under her blouse, placing them back on her thighs and rubbing his palms against the denim. “I want you to show me how you like for your body to be touched, kissed…tasted. And…I want to teach you about me. I want us to learn from one another. This isn’t sex, Buffy. I want us to learn how we both enjoy making love. And…I want to make love with you dearly.”
She lifted her hand and ran her fingers through his hair. “I think my insides just melted into a big puddle of goo…”
“I’m so in love with you, Buffy.” He whispered softly. “Teach me.”
She smiled and gently pushed him back, giving her enough room to move forward on the couch. She slowly moved her hand down his chest, stopping when she reached the prominent bulge in his trousers.
He groaned and covered her hand with his, applying gentle pressure against the hardness. She smiled and kissed him, sweeping her tongue into his mouth briefly before removing her hand and standing up.
He swallowed hard, his eyes following her as she made her way to the door. When he heard the latch click in place as she turned the lock, he smiled.
“These are lessons I’d rather not have one of the Scoobies walking in on.” She licked her lips and gestured towards the loft. “Coming?”
He grinned, quickly standing and following as she started up the stairs. She turned suddenly and grabbed him, kissing him deeply. He returned the kiss passionately and sighed when she slowly ended it.
She ran her finger down the side of his neck and smiled. “Sometimes I can be a slow learner…I hope that’s okay with you.”
“Practice makes perfect.” He replied, his eyes twinkling.
Her eyes softened, an almost sad expression crossed her features. He lifted his hand and cradled her face in his palm.
“What is it, Buffy?”
She shook her head, her smile returning. “It’s silly…and probably stupid.”
“Tell me.” He whispered, his thumb gently stroking her skin.
“Your nightmares…they were horrible, but…” She took a deep breath and looked into his eyes. “I’m kinda thankful for them.”
“I think that’s rather…sweet, not silly nor stupid.” He leaned forward and kissed her, his hand sliding to her hip and squeezing gently. “And…if you’d like, we can talk about this more. Now or later…”
Her smile returned with full force, beaming brightly at him. “Can we make it later? I kinda have plans right now…”
“Oh?” He smiled and began backing her up the stairs. “What sort of plans do you have?”
She licked her lips and reached out, her fingers easily finding his trouser-clad erection. “The sort that involves us…naked…in your bed. I think you said something about teaching me what you like…”
His eyes darkened as they reached the top of the stairs. “If it’s all the same with you, I think I’d prefer to be your student for a while.”
She grinned and pulled her blouse over her head, dropping it to the floor. “Consider class in session, Giles.”
He returned her grin as he carefully pushed her onto the bed, suddenly not ashamed of the fact that he had always loved education.
And educate him, she did.