Title: Love and Hope
Timeline: S5, the night before The Gift.
Synopsis: Giles makes a promise he isn’t sure he can keep.
Buffy opened the door to Giles’ apartment and rushed in. She stopped suddenly as her eyes found him. In less than three seconds, she noticed two things.
First, Giles was not well. He was holding on to the top of the stool for support as his free hand pressed against the wound in his side. Second, he was determined not to let her see his pain. As soon as he heard the door open, he looked up. And as soon as he saw her, he dropped his hand and stood up straight…plastering a small smile on his face.
“You’re in pain.” Buffy stated, running over to him as he pushed away from the stool. “Xander said you were okay…but, you’re not.”
“I’m fine, Buffy.” He answered softly. “How are you?”
She looked up at him and shook her head. “No deflecting, Giles. You know how I am. My sister has been taken by a God so that she can rip reality apart…you know exactly how I am.”
“Yes.” He whispered and then cleared his throat. “I, um…I’ve been doing some more research…”
“I’m not killing her, Giles.” She announced firmly. “I’m not going through this again.”
“I know.” He sighed as he looked down at the clothes he had hastily pulled on after his shower. “I…let me change my clothes and I’ll go over my newest findings with you. I think we can work your idea of using the BuffyBot into the plans…”
“You’re not going to suggest I sacrifice Dawn?”
“No. Not again.” He gestured towards the stairs. “I’ll be right back. If you wouldn’t mind, could you put the kettle on?”
“Sure.” She whispered, watching him as he walked away and climbed the stairs.
Most people wouldn’t notice the slightly firmer hold he had on the railing. But, she did. He was in pain…and he was hiding it from her. As he moved out of her sight, she glanced towards the kitchen.
He wanted tea.
No…he wanted to keep her busy while he composed himself.
With that thought in mind, she ran up the stairs and into the bedroom. Her eyes filled with tears almost instantly when she saw him. His hand was pressed to his side again…his body leaning heavily against the wardrobe.
“I’m…fine.” He choked out, unable to stop the tremble in his voice.
She rushed over and slipped her arm around him for support. “No, you’re not!”
He protested only lightly as she manuevered him to the bed and gently lowered him down. “Buffy, please…”
“Lay down.” She ordered softly, exhaling deeply. “Why would you keep this from me?”
He stretched out on the bed, giving a sigh of relief as the pain eased. “You have so much to deal with right now. You didn’t need to deal with this as well.”
She stared at him incredulously, sitting down next to him…carefully so as not to jar him too much. “What?”
“Dawn’s abduction…Glory’s agenda…you have too much right now. I can’t allow myself to add to your – ”
“So you’d rather me think all is well?”
“I didn’t want you to worry.” He offered, lowering his eyes from hers.
She was quiet for a moment and then lifted her hand to his cheek. “I always worry about you, Giles.”
His eyes darted back to hers as he unconsciously leaned into her touch. “I know.”
“Let me see.” She whispered, allowing him to see in her eyes the emotions that she had carefully hidden away months earlier.
He inhaled sharply at the realization of her feelings. He wasn’t sure if she meant for him to let her see his own feelings or the healing wound. So, he swallowed thickly and lowered his defences, allowing her to see what he’d kept hidden for so long.
She smiled softly and ran her thumb along his cheek. “Well, that’s a relief…but, I actually meant where you’re hurt.”
“Oh.” He murmured, shuddering lightly as she pushed his t-shirt up. “Buffy…”
“Shh.” She sat back and looked down at his side…and the large bandage covering his skin.
“It’s not as bad as it would appear by looking at that. The doctor at the ER was a bit bandage-happy, I believe.” He offered as her eyes widened.
Buffy bit her bottom lip and gently pulled the tape holding the gauze in place. When he jerked softly, she looked up at him.
He offered her a smile and shook his head. “That didn’t hurt…”
She continued, but maintained his gaze. “I never knew you were ticklish.”
“I’m not.” He replied cryptically, glancing down at her hand as she pulled the last bit of tape off. “You…don’t have to do this, Buffy.”
“Yeah, I do.” She answered, carefully peeling the gauze from his skin. “I wish you had told me that it still hurts.”
“It really doesn’t…just a twinge once in a while.”
She looked at him in disbelief and carefully pressed her fingers along the outer edge of the wound. When he didn’t flinch, she raised an eyebrow.
“That didn’t hurt?”
She lowered her eyes and sighed. “It really doesn’t look all that bad now. You have super Slayer healing too?”
To her surprise, he chuckled. “Considering the fact that I’m not a Slayer, I believe the answer to that question would be ‘no’.”
“But?” She raised her eyes to his, sensing there was more.
His chuckled ended quickly. “My healing rate isn’t as high as yours…but it is elevated. A perk of being a Watcher.”
Her eyes widened. “Really? Well…that would explain how you can have so many head injuries and not be a vegetable.”
He smiled and then gazed into her eyes. “Talk to me.”
When he saw her confusion, he continued…his voice soothing. “I think we both need to have our minds taken off of the current crises in our lives. I just…want you to talk to me. About what you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, what…”
“I love you.”
He closed his eyes briefly. “And I love you.”
“Giles?” She whispered, urging him to look at her.
He glanced at her hand and then met her eyes. “Perhaps you should move your hand…”
She kept still for a moment and then moved quickly, slipping her fingers under the waistband of the sweatpants he was wearing. He caught her wrist and narrowed his eyes slightly.
“That isn’t exactly what I meant.”
“I know.” She replied, lowering her head and placing soft kisses around the wound.
He reached down with his free hand, intending to gently pull her up. However, just as his fingers touched her hair, her tongue flicked against his skin. Instead of pulling her up, his fingers slipped into her hair and held her where she was.
“Christ!” He groaned as she repeated the action.
Feeling his hold on her wrist loosen slightly, she edged her fingers closer to his now obvious erection. She stopped when she heard him hoarsely say her name…she didn’t fail to notice the warning tone in his voice.
She lifted her head and looked up at him. “What’s wrong?”
He took a deep breath and pulled his fingers from her hair. “What is this?”
She furrowed her brow and sat back up, leaving her left hand where it was…her fingertips just barely touching the coarse hair covering his groin.
“I…you said you love me. And I saw it…in your eyes, I saw it…you…”
“Shh.” He whispered, grabbing her arm and quickly pulling her to him. He nearly groaned as her hand slipped out from under the waistband of his pants, her fingertips grazing his torso as he wrapped his arms around her. “God, I do love you. Don’t you understand?”
“No.” She answered quickly, staring into his eyes.
He licked his lips nervously and rolled onto his side, ignoring the very slight twinge of pain as he faced her. “What is this?”
Her eyes glistened as she read the true meaning of his question in his eyes. “I might die in this. You…you might die. We all might die if I can’t stop Glory.”
“Comfort, then?” He whispered, gently caressing the side of her face with his fingertips.
“No.” At his arched eyebrow, she sighed. “Maybe a little, but…mainly it’s because I love you. As in…I’m in love with you, Giles. And…I want to make love with you…because we might not get another chance.”
His brow furrowed. “We’ll have other chances, Buffy.”
“You don’t know that.” She whispered sadly. “If you don’t want to…or if you think it’s too soon…I’ll understand. It’s just…I have a horrible feeling about all of this and…”
When she trailed off, he saw the sadness and fear in her eyes. “And what, love?”
“I don’t want to die knowing I’m in love with you and I didn’t do anything about it.” She lifted her hand and traced his lips with her fingertips. “Will you at least kiss me?”
“We’ll win this battle, Buffy.” He stated with more conviction than he actually felt. He knew that he couldn’t truthfully make a promise such as this…but, for some reason he couldn’t stop himself.
“Please kiss me.” She responded, her voice wavering.
She knew that he wasn’t really sure about the outcome of the impending battle. But, she also knew that he would do everything in his power to make sure things turned out as well as they could.
He gazed into her eyes for a few more moments before sliding his hand down to her hip and brushing his lips across hers. The moment their lips touched, he knew that it wouldn’t stop there. He couldn’t stop it…he didn’t want to stop it.
And so he didn’t stop her when she rolled onto her back and pulled her with him. He did pause long enough to assure her that he was not in any pain. And he wasn’t…he felt no pain, only love.
They slowly undressed one another, fingers and lips exploring one another’s skin. When Giles settled between her thighs and felt her hands glide over his back, he smiled and whispered his love for her again.
And as he pushed his hips forward, slowly entering her, he watched the fear and sadness disappear from her eyes. Tonight was about them, about love, and about hope.
They could deal with the real world tomorrow.