Timeline: More AU than anything else. References to some events from S4, but this takes place sometime after…but before the destruction of Sunnydale. Your guess is as good as mine.
Author’s Notes: Special thanks to wyvernwolf for another excellent beta! This is a response to a prompt from the Hurt/Comfort Ficathon. The prompt is as follows:
“?; gen or pairing; ?; character of your choice helps Giles cope after he learns of Ethan's death.”
Buffy smiled as she looked out the back window. Giles was leaning against the railing on the back porch, his arms crossed as he stared at the sky. She opened the door and walked over to him, sliding her arms around his waist.
“There you are.” She rested her cheek against his back. “What are you doing?”
“Watching the rain.” He replied softly, uncrossing his arms and moving his hands to cover hers. “How was your evening?”
“Mm, it was nice. Good movie, even with Anya’s running commentary.”
Giles chuckled gently and pulled her in front of him. She leaned back against his chest, sighing softly as he tightened his hold on her.
She rested her hands on his forearms, gentle concern in her voice when she realized that, despite his chuckle, he was fairly tense.
“Why are you standing out here watching the rain?”
He was quiet for a few seconds before taking a deep breath. “It reminds me of…”
When he trailed off, she turned around and looked up at him, understanding in her eyes. “Home?”
offered her a small smile and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “My home
is here, Buffy. You are my home.” His eyes glistened lightly, his voice
wavering as he continued. “However, I was thinking of
“Giles, what’s wrong?” She whispered.
He took a deep breath and looked up in time to see a cloud cross in front of the full moon. “Evelyn, Ethan’s sister, called this evening.”
Buffy blew an exasperated breath. “What’s he done this time?”
When he hesitated in giving her an answer, she rolled her eyes. “Did he turn the Queen’s corgis into Kravash demons again?”
“No.” He answered softly.
the Loch Ness Monster appear in the
“Turn all the traffic lights green at the same time? ‘Cause that’d be pretty damn chaotic in my opinion.”
“Or, did he – ”
Giles interrupted her with a quiet announcement. “He’s dead, Buffy.”
“What?” Her eyes widened.
He carefully pulled out of her embrace and ran his hand through his hair. “He, uh…he…”
Giles shook his head slowly and turned, quickly walking back inside. Buffy followed him in, closing the door behind her.
“Are you okay?”
He exhaled slowly and placed the kettle on the stove. “I…don’t know.”
She walked around him, turning the burner off and removing the kettle. She reached for the bottle of scotch and grabbed a tumbler, pouring him a drink and handing it to him.
“I’m taking that as a ‘no’.”
His hand trembled lightly as he took the proffered glass and walked into the living room, sinking onto the couch. He took a sip and then stared at the amber liquid as he swirled it gently.
She sat down beside of him and placed her hand on his thigh. “Do you want to talk about it?”
He rubbed the back of his neck and took another sip before resting the glass on his other thigh. “At one time, Ethan was my best friend. There was a point in my life I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to survive if he hadn’t been there for me.”
He nodded slowly and cleared his throat. “When Mum became ill, I spiralled into depression. When her illness took her away, my depression turned fairly suicidal.” He took another drink and covered her hand with his. “He saved me from that.”
She turned her hand over and laced her fingers with his. “I’m not sure I can picture you being suicidal.”
He smiled sadly. “I was quite a different person then.” He turned to look at her. “And…it was Mum.”
Buffy reached up with her free hand and caressed his cheek. “I wish I could’ve met her.”
He leaned into her touch. “You would have loved her. And she you.”
He swallowed thickly and gently turned his head to take another sip of his scotch. “And, then…for a while, he became my worst enemy. Chaos ruled him, took him under his wing and gave him a safe haven to do its bidding.”
“And that was the Ethan I met first.” She leaned her head against his shoulder. “I never understood how the two of you could’ve been friends at one time. I mean, I do now…but, at the time…”
“I’m rather sure no one understood. Least of all, Jenny. She couldn’t understand why I let him go after the Eyghon incident.”
“Well…you didn’t exactly let him go. He kinda…went.”
Giles shrugged his shoulder. “I could have found him. I chose not to. She didn’t understand that even after everything he had done…I still cared about him.”
“I have to admit, I didn’t understand either. Especially when you helped him escape from the Initiative two weeks after he turned you into a demon and almost got you killed.”
He turned his head and looked down at her, meeting her hazel eyes. “And yet, you agreed to help me.”
“I could hear the desperation and determination in your voice.” She reached up and brushed her thumb over his cheek. “And I could see it in your eyes. I trusted that you knew what you were doing. And…I couldn’t let you go in there alone.”
He closed his eyes against the painful memories of finding Ethan in one of the laboratories within the Initiative’s compound. “I couldn’t let him suffer in that way any longer.”
“I know.” She whispered softly as he drained the last of the scotch from his glass. “Do you…want to tell me what happened?”
He placed the empty glass on the lamp table and swallowed. “There, uh…there was a car accident. A…a child was trapped in one of the cars. Ethan was having lunch with Evelyn and witnessed the accident.”
When he hesitated, Buffy lightly squeezed his hand in a reassuring manner. He cleared his throat and continued softly.
“He…heard a woman screaming that she couldn’t get her son out of the car.” He smiled softly, a sad and tired smile. “Ethan always had a soft spot for children…it was adults that he had issues with.”
“And teenagers.” Buffy added quietly.
To her surprise, Giles chuckled. “Yes. And teenagers.”
She placed a kiss on his shoulder. “What happened?”
“He, uh…he was trying to get the boy out of the car. There was petrol everywhere, apparently. He almost made it, but…there was an explosion. He…died instantly.”
Buffy looked up at him as he lowered his head, a tear rolling down his cheek. “Giles…”
“After everything he’d done in his life…he died trying to save a child’s life.”
As another tear quickly followed the first, Buffy shifted until she could wrap her arms around him. She held him as he cried, his arms holding her tightly against him. He pulled her onto his lap, burying his head into the crook of her neck.
She whispered soft, reassuring words in his ear as she felt his tears on her skin. With everything they had encountered since she was sixteen, the one thing that could break her heart quicker than anything was for Giles to cry.
He didn’t cry often, at least not in front of her. But, when he did, his grief and pain cut her to the bone. And now…she found her own tears falling as well. Not entirely for Ethan’s death, though she was somewhat saddened by the news.
Ethan had been a thorn in her side for years, but after she and Giles had acknowledged their love for one another and he had told her the entire history he had shared with Ethan, she began to see another side of the sorcerer.
No, the majority of her tears were for the man holding onto her as if his life depended on it.
When he finally lifted his head, she reached up and gently wiped the tears from his skin. He took a shaky breath and spoke softly.
“I’m sorry, I – ”
She shook her head slowly and placed her finger over his lips. “Don’t apologize, Giles. You’re upset and hurting…and I’m here for you. You keep things bottled up too much as it is. There’s no shame in allowing your grief to escape. Especially in times like this.”
She removed her finger, replacing it with her lips in a tender kiss. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” He lifted a trembling hand and brushed the tears from her cheek. “I…made you cry.”
She offered him a gentle smile. “No, honey. You didn’t make me cry. I love you so much and to see you hurting…” She ran her fingers through his hair. “I’m not sure how to explain this. But…I cry for you, not because of you.”
He looked into her eyes, seeing nothing but absolute love and acceptance in her hazel eyes. Leaning towards her, he covered her lips with his. Feeling the tender nudge of his tongue, her lips parted in silent invitation. He accepted readily, groaning softly into her mouth as her fingers lovingly cupped the back of his head.
He deepened the kiss, pulling her tongue into his mouth. As he sucked hungrily on the lithe muscle, his hands moved to her hips and held her tightly against his groin. Feeling him start to harden underneath her, she slowly broke the kiss and stared at him through slightly glazed eyes.
He ran his thumb over her bottom lip as he whispered softly. “Come to bed with me, Buffy.”
She opened her mouth to speak, closing it suddenly when she saw his eyes glisten once more. As her fingertips caressed his cheek, he swallowed thickly.
“Allow me to lose myself in you tonight.”
“Are you sure?” She whispered, not taking her gaze from his eyes.
He nodded slowly, his left hand moving to her thigh. “I…I need you. I feel like part of me has died and…I…I need to feel alive. I…need you to make me feel alive. Can you just…love me?”
She exhaled slowly, her heart aching for him as his voice broke, and gently pulled his head towards her. “I do, Giles. I do love you…so much.”
She kissed him softly, moving her hand to his chest. She felt his steady heartbeat begin to quicken under her palm. “Take me to bed, Giles.”
He gazed into her eyes as he carefully moved forward on the couch, giving himself enough leverage to stand without letting her go. He stood slowly, holding her tightly against him as he kissed her again.
“Thank you.” He whispered as he carried her down the hall towards the bedroom.
Her fingers toyed with the soft hair covering the nape of his neck. “For what?”
He closed the bedroom door behind them and made his way to the bed, resting his knee on the mattress and gently lowering their bodies.
“For understanding.” He replied simply, his sorrow etched on his face. He closed his eyes briefly as she reached up and gently wiped the drying tears from his skin.
They took their time undressing one another, whispering softly to each other as tender kisses and touches were exchanged. He gave her a loving smile as he positioned himself between her thighs and leaned over her, kissing her with the passion she had come to know intimately.
He sighed softly, breaking the kiss, as she raised her legs over his hips, pulling him closer to her. He bent his head, lightly suckling her sensitive nipple as he pushed his hips forward and easily slid into her.
Her fingers wound in his hair as she held his mouth to her breast. When she lifted her hips in a silent request for him to move, he groaned against the soft flesh. He relinquished her nipple, supporting his weight with his forearms under her shoulders as he began to thrust his hips gently.
He moved slowly within her, pressing hot open-mouthed kisses along her shoulder and up the side of her neck. When he reached her earlobe, he nibbled the tender flesh gently before whispering in her ear.
“Make me feel alive, Buffy.”
She slid her hands up his sides and over his back until they rested on his shoulder blades. Turning her head slightly, she nipped the side of his neck with her lips.
“More…” He whispered urgently.
She tightened her inner muscles around his erection, causing him to moan into her ear.
Her nails dug into his shoulders and he slammed his hips against her. She felt the low rumble in his chest before she heard his growl. She closed her mouth over his neck, holding the skin between her teeth as she sucked, knowing she was marking him.
“Christ! Don’t stop…”
He quickened his thrusts as she sucked harder. Her nails raked down his back as she felt her own orgasm building quickly. She met each of his thrusts with perfect rhythm, arching her hips to meet each downward plunge. Her mouth released his neck as she screamed his name, her inner muscles convulsing around him.
He continued thrusting throughout her orgasm, sliding one hand to her hip to adjust the angle of his penetration. He looked down at her flushed face, smiling softly as her eyes met his.
“I love you.”
“Giles…” She moaned as his hand moved from her hip, his fingers sliding along her skin until they pressed against her clitoris.
“I’m so close, Buffy. Take me with you…”
She called out his name again as the gentle pressure of his fingers pushed her over the edge once more. As she spasmed around him, her name left his lips on a loud groan and he flooded her walls with his semen.
His thrusts gradually slowed until he collapsed beside her, breathing heavily. She rolled to her side, only to be held tightly against his chest. She trembled in his arms as he pressed a warm kiss to her lips.
“Are you alright?” He whispered softly.
“Yeah, I just…my God…”
He smiled softly and lifted her hand, placing it over his heart. “Thank you.”
She rubbed his chest soothingly, relishing the sensation of his heart pounding underneath her hand. She didn’t have to ask why he was thanking her. She knew. He felt alive. She offered him a smile and ran her fingertips over the quickly darkening mark on his neck.
“You, uh…might want to wear a collared shirt for a few days…”
He chuckled softly.
She watched as a cloud passed over his green irises as his chuckle faded. “What is it, Giles?”
“I…I’m going to miss him. The chaos, the joking taunts…the phone calls in the middle of the night for a spell to undo some random mischief he caused himself…” He sighed sadly and rolled onto his back, pulling her with him until her head was nestled against his shoulder. “It’s just…I’m having difficulty believing that I’ll never have those again.”
Buffy listened as he talked about Ethan. The good times, the bad times…she laughed with him, she cried with him. She held him in her arms, soothing him with soft words and gentle caresses. As he began to relax, she whispered his name.
He met her eyes, his still slightly watery from his earlier tears. “Yes?”
“You know he loved you.” She stated softly.
A single tear fell from his eye, a lump forming in his throat as he managed to utter one syllable in a broken whisper. “Yes.”
She leaned into him and pressed a tender kiss to his lips. “You should get some sleep, honey.”
swallowed, draping his arm over her as he sighed sadly. “I’ll need to go to
She nodded, her fingers caressing his forearm in a soothing manner as he trailed off. “I know.”
He kissed her shoulder and then met her gaze with hopeful eyes. “Come with me?”
Her eyes widened in surprise. “Are you sure? I mean…”
“As much as I hate the thought of asking him for a favour…I can ask Spike to keep an eye on things here. It’s just…I need you. It’s completely selfish, but I’m going to need you with me. I…I’m not sure I can – ” He spoke quickly, almost rushing the words as he tried to make her understand how much he truly needed her to be with him.
She laced her fingers with his, hushing him gently. “I understand, Giles. And…it’s not selfish. If anything, I think it’s a brave thing to be able to admit that this is something you’re emotionally unable to face on your own. To be very honest, I didn’t like the idea of you going by yourself. I’m not sure how much help I’ll be, but…I want to be there for you.”
He took a deep breath and licked his lips, the tremble in his voice evident. “There may be times when I break down…”
She lifted his hand to her lips and kissed his fingertips. “And I’ll be there to help you put things back together.”
His eyes glistened, but he held his tears in. “I love you so.”
She smiled, shifting their bodies until he was again on his back. She snuggled up next to him, resting her head on his shoulder when he wrapped his arm around her.
“I love you too.” She whispered softly, her tender voice calming him.
She placed her hand on his chest and closed her eyes. “Sleep now, Giles.”
He covered her hand with his, closing his eyes and knowing that she would be there for him should he wake in the middle of the night. With that thought in his mind, he relaxed and quickly fell into slumber.
When Giles’ breathing had evened out, Buffy opened her eyes and shifted slightly…just enough so she could comfortably watch him in case he woke. And if he did, she would be awake to hold him…to comfort him…to love him.
And she would…for as long as he needed her to.