Title: Pulling it Back Together
Timeline: AU, Post-series.
Synopsis: Buffy and Giles have been arguing. Buffy’s tired of it.
Author’s Note: Special thanks to A for looking over this fic for me.
Buffy sighed heavily and held her head up with her right hand, her elbow resting on the table. She ran the index finger of her left hand aimlessly over the tabletop. Giles watched her carefully, his left hand curled around a mug of tea.
“Why do we keep doing this?” She asked quietly, looking up briefly. “Arguing? Over…nothing.”
He gave her a gentle smile, running his thumb over the handle of his mug. “Neither of us are without fault, Buffy.”
“Yeah, I know that.” She sighed again and went back to tracing random shapes on the wood. “I feel like I know so much about you.”
He nodded in agreement. “You do.”
“And…you know every single thing about me. Sometimes I feel like you’ve known me my entire life.”
He chuckled softly. “We’ve definitely been through more than most.”
“But neither of us have ever really learned how to leave.”
His smile faded and he tilted his head slightly. “Do you want to leave?”
“No.” She replied, shaking her head as she furrowed her brow. “But, even if I wanted to…I wouldn’t know how to. And that kind of scares me…because that kind of means that you’re everything to me. And bad things happen when I start feeling like that.”
He was quiet for a moment and then leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table as he looked at her. “Okay, let’s lay everything out. Right here…” He made a sweeping gesture with his arms over the tabletop. “All of our faults, all of our concerns. We lay them out, we talk it over…then we pull it back together.”
He extended his hand across the table, palm up. “Take my hand, Buffy.”
She hesitated only a moment before slipping her hand into his, feeling her eyes well with tears as he curled his fingers around hers. She swallowed thickly, determined not to let the tears fall.
“You do what you need to do, love.” He whispered. “Yell, cry, laugh, fall apart – I’m here, I’m going nowhere…because, you see, I don’t know how to leave either. And that’s because you’re everything to me. And beautiful things can happen when we feel that way – and the beauty will always be victorious over the bad.”
A single tear rolled down her cheek as she looked at him. “Do you want to leave?”
“Are you even listening to my words?” He asked, a smile playing at his lips. “Because, I’m not sure what I would’ve said just then that would make you ask that.”
“But…the arguing. Giles, it’s getting to be too much. And that’s on both of us.”
Giles hesitated for a moment, rubbing his thumb over her skin. “At the risk of starting another argument…I’m inclined to believe that a lot of our issues are hormonal.”
She stared at him for a second. “My hormones? So…this is my fault?”
He held her hand tighter, preventing her from pulling away. “Buffy, I need you to take a deep breath and really listen to me.”
“Listen to you what? Blame me for all of our problems?”
“Fucking hell, Buffy…” He started, then closed his eyes and took his own advice. He inhaled deeply and then opened his eyes to find her staring at him. “I’m not pregnant, love. So, yes…your hormones. However, I should be able to manage my reactions better than I am. But, saying that…I’ve never dealt with my lover…my partner…expecting my child and dealing with the range of issues that creates.”
“So…our baby is the problem…”
Giles’ jaw clenched briefly. “That’s not what I said, or intimated, at all.”
Buffy’s features softened as she looked down at their hands. “I’m sorry, I…I just feel so irrational all the time and…I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, Giles.”
“Nor do I. This is my first child too, Buffy.” He replied, rubbing his thumb over her knuckles. “I know that I love her, more than I ever thought would be possible. I know that when she kicks me as I talk or sing to her, my heart feels like it’s going to explode. And I know that when I hear you whisper to her, it brings tears to my eyes. You are an amazing mother already, darling. You have nothing to worry about.”
“Except for vampires, demons, hellmouths, apocalypses…”
“About being a parent.” He clarified, successfully stopping himself from rolling his eyes.
“Why do you even love me?”
His brow furrowed at her softly spoken question. “What?”
“Why do you even love me? How could you? I don’t get it. I never have, really.”
“I could ask you the same.”
She stared at him for a moment and then shook her head. “I asked you first.”
He let go of her hand and pushed his chair back. He sighed as he stood and then made his way around to her side of the table, kneeling on the floor next to her chair.
“You are the kindest, most forgiving person I believe I’ve ever known. But, it’s not that simple of an answer.” He took a deep breath and then continued before she could speak.
“I have literally watched you give your life for this sorry world, because you have so much love in your heart.” He cleared his throat and blinked back the tears that threatened to appear. “I’ve watched you come back, confused and angry – not knowing how to continue, but doing your best to not give up. I’ve watched you toy with darkness, but walk back into the light just in time to save your soul. I watched you walk away…from your calling, from…from me – only to turn right back around and accept apologies willingly and without hesitation.”
He lifted his hand and gently brushed the hair back from her face.
“And when I hold you in my arms, I feel a sense of peace that I didn’t know could ever exist. Not for me.” He smiled softly, caressing her cheek with a gentle stroke of his thumb. “I remember how green, how willful and insolent you were when I first met you. How determined you were to not allow me to pull you back into this life. But, then…you were also the person who showed me so much love and compassion when my past came back. The one who held me as I broke down.”
He looked into her eyes and smiled. “Of course, there were times when I was sure I’d not survive another moment. But, you were always there…for me, without question.”
He paused for a moment, gazing into her eyes.
“You ask…how could I love you? I ask…how could I not?”
“Giles…” She whispered, wiping the tears from her eyes. “That was…beautiful.”
“There’s also the fact that you are bloody amazing in bed.” He added with a grin.
She snorted a laugh and playfully smacked his shoulder. And then she pulled him to her, wrapping her arms around him as she buried her face in the crook of his neck.
He closed his eyes and held her…until his knees started to complain. He pulled back and met her eyes, holding her gaze for a long moment.
“I love you, Buffy.”
“You’re not going to ask again, are you?”
He chuckled and shook his head. “No. I trust that if you ever change your mind, you’ll let me know.”
“Yeah, I will.” She said on a whisper, lifting her hand to the side of his face. “And I love you, Giles.”
“We will argue, Buffy. It doesn’t have to mean that there are underlying issues in our relationship. It can simply mean…one of us is having a really fucking bad day – and we feel safe enough with one another to let it out. Is it always nice? Of course not. But, I know that no matter how volatile the argument is…my love for you is never gone. It’s always right there…underneath the yelling or cursing. And once we calm down…”
“Contentment…peace.” Buffy said as he trailed off.
He nodded slowly, his smile shining in his eyes. “How are you feeling now?”
“Warm. Loved.” She returned his smile and then laughed softly. “What the hell were we even arguing about?”
He smiled, moving from the floor to the chair next to her. “Honestly? I can’t remember. Obviously it wasn’t overly important in the grand scheme of things – though I’m very sure that it was very important at the time. Else we wouldn’t have argued.”
“I think you’re right. About that…and about what you said earlier. Hormones? This was something my mother never talked about – all she’d say was how much she loved being pregnant. She didn’t tell me about all of the craziness that comes with it.”
“I’m sure she probably didn’t remember that part of it – if it happened to her as well. Maybe you won’t remember how irrational and quick-tempered you’ve been…” He paused when he noticed a tell-tale flash in her eyes. “Ah…what I mean is...perhaps your greatest memory will be of how much love this child has sparked in your heart from the day we found out she was on the way.”
Buffy laughed and then looked down as Giles placed his hand on her abdomen. “There could be worse memories to have.”
He leaned into her and tenderly brushed his lips across hers. “See…we’ve pulled everything all back together. We know who we are…individually and to one another. We may not know exactly how we got to this particular point tonight…but, is that really important? We’re here…together.”
“Slayer, Watcher…Buffy, Giles…and…” She covered his hand with hers, pressing it gently against her stomach. “What are we going to name her?”
“The right name will make itself known at the right time. No need to force it. We still have a few weeks until she’s to arrive.”
“I guess.” Buffy suddenly yawned.
“Mm…you okay with that?”
He nodded as he stood, reaching down to take her hand. “Of course. It’s nearly one in the morning…and we’ve had a fairly emotional few hours.”
“You okay with…just going to sleep?”
He laughed and pulled her up. “Time for other things later. Now is the time for sleep.”
“And snuggling. Because…snuggling…”
He smiled adoringly at her, watching her make her way to their bedroom. He followed, turning off the lights and checking the locks. He paused at the door to their room, leaning against the doorframe and crossing his arms over his chest. His smile grew as he watched her, listened to her – her hands gently rubbing her abdomen while she softly sang a song that he couldn’t quite place.
“What are you singing?” He asked, his eyes sparkling as she turned to look at him.
“Just a song that makes me think of you…us…her.” She replied with a bright smile of her own.
“It’s beautiful. Like you.” He said, his eyes dropping to her hands still resting on her belly.
“She likes it better when you sing to her.”
He pushed himself away from the door and walked over to her. “Amanda.”
Buffy tilted her head quizzically at him. “Huh?”
“I like…Amanda.” He reached out and gently stroked her stomach with the tips of his fingers. “For her.”
A slow smile reappeared on Buffy’s face.
As he leaned down to kiss her, she slipped her arms around his neck. As their lips met, she realised that snuggling wasn’t going to be the only thing they’d do tonight.
She chuckled inwardly at the thought.
She’d been an idiot to think otherwise. But, she was okay with being an idiot.
In this instance.
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