Title: Propinquity
Author: Froxyn
Pairing: Buffy/Giles
Rating: FRT
Synopsis: He’s known her.  He’s always known her. She’s known him – but, for not as long.  There’s love, deep love.  But sometimes, love isn’t always enough. 
Timeline: AU, two years post-series
Author's Note: Inspired by Propinquity (I’ve Just Begun to Care), written by Michael Nesmith. Rest well, Michael – you are missed dearly.

She didn’t drink often.  She drank alone even less often.  But, there were reasons.  And she wiped a tear from her cheek as she poured another glass of wine.  She wasn’t sure why she was crying – because she was angry with him, angry with herself, or simply heartbroken.


Quite possibly a bit of all three.  


Two nights after Sunnydale imploded, they had a heart to heart – which included yelling, blaming, tears, hugs, and kisses.  The kisses had quickly led to much more  -- angry words had led to heartfelt sex…which wasn’t what either of them had expected.  But, when he had admitted his true feelings for her in the early hours of the following morning, she had responded in kind.  Not because she thought she should – but, because it was how she felt.  


She’d been fighting her feelings for him since before she died.  She’d wanted to tell him before that final showdown with Glory – but, then he had made the observation about Dawn…about how they may need to have a discussion.  And she’d gotten so angry with him for even thinking it – and she had threatened him.  She had meant it too.  


If he had tried to hurt Dawn, she would have gone there – probably.  Maybe.  Possibly not.  She would have wanted to kill him, but would she have actually been able to?  


She doubted it.  Because she loved him.  But, fuck if she was going to tell him that.  Not after suggesting they kill Dawn to save the world.  So she kept it to herself.  


And then she had died – and left him thinking that in her final moments, she had hated him.  When, in reality, her last thought was of him…of how they had hurt one another, again.  And she had died angry with herself for leaving him.  


But, then she came back – or she was brought back.  Against her will, without his knowledge.  So many things could have gone wrong, but only a couple actually had.  Her first thought after digging herself out of her grave was of him.  And she had run to his home – only to find it empty…with no trace that he still lived there.  He was gone…and she was back, alone.  


Those days that she was back – before he made it back to Sunnydale – were some of the most difficult days she had ever experienced.  She couldn’t tell anyone the truth…because it was obvious that Willow was happy – and proud – about what she had accomplished.  She had brought Buffy back – without Giles’ help.  She’d been angry…with Willow, with magic, with anyone and everything that had had a part in ripping her from Heaven.  


But, she couldn’t tell them that.  So she swallowed it down…and missed him even more.


And then he walked through the door, dropping his bag when his eyes found her.  They had made their way to one another and he openly gazed at her in a way she had never seen him look at her.  And she had again wanted to confess her love for him…right there, at that moment.  But, it wasn’t something she wanted to discuss in front of everyone.  So, instead, she wrapped her arms around him and held him so tightly that he’d had trouble breathing for a split second.  


She’d come close again to telling him.  But, then everything fell apart and he had ripped the rug out from under her by announcing he was returning to England.  And her anger had resurfaced.  And she didn’t try to stop him.


She had avoided his calls, refused to return any of his messages.  And she glared at anyone who dared even mention his name in front of her.  


But, still…she loved him.  She knew it, without a doubt, when he’d come back to save Willow.  But, that wasn’t the time either.  And she had resigned herself to believing the time would never be right.


A year later, Sunnydale died – and nearly took all of them with it.  But, she was still angry with how things had played out.  And, by god, she was going to tell him about it.  


That had been her mindset when she’d knocked on his hotel room door.  


She hadn’t expected him to be just as angry with her…to answer her loud accusations with loud ones of his own – to call her selfish and childish and infuriating.  She hadn’t expected to see his tears…and she hadn’t expected to cry with him, holding him as they both broke down in exhaustion from the last battle and little rest.  


She wasn’t sure if she had kissed him or if he had kissed her.  She supposed it didn’t really matter – because within moments they were kissing one another with a passion that she’d experienced once before…many years ago, it seemed.  


She’d grown up a lot since her seventeenth birthday.  


And after they had fallen into bed, they made love.  There was no anger, no harsh words or thoughts.  He’d held her, whispered his love for her…asked her to stay with him, come to England with him.  


Be with him.


She’d agreed with no hesitation.  


Dawn had been happy for her – but had decided to go to Spain to spend time with their father.  She’d wanted to try to have a normal life…one without Slayers, Watchers, Councils, demons…but, she also had promised to call every week.  And she had – they spoke every week, for a couple of hours on Saturday mornings.  Their relationship had grown closer…even though they were further away.


But, Buffy had been happy with Giles.  So very happy.  


And then two years later, shit fell apart again – and neither knew how it had happened, nor how to rectify it.  There had been no screaming, no blaming, no finger pointing.  But, there had been tears and pain and apologies.  Neither wanted their relationship to end – but, they were in different places, needing to go in different directions.  


They had made love one last time – and then he had whispered goodbye…and let her have the house.


 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


He dropped his keys onto the table and glanced over at the liquor cabinet.  


Then he shook his head and dropped himself onto the sofa, instead.  


He couldn’t deny that he wanted a drink  -- but he was tired.  Bone tired, weary, and fucking over everything and everyone.  He hadn’t even wanted to go to the café, but knew that if he didn’t, Michael wouldn’t leave him alone.  He loved his brother…knew his brother was just trying to help him – but, he wasn’t ready.  It was painfully obvious that he wasn’t ready.  


Two sips in from his flat white and he wanted to get up and leave.  But, it was just coffee…nothing more.  And so he stayed – and wished she would drink hers faster because he didn’t have the desire to care about her conversation.  That wasn’t her fault, she had no idea that he was still painfully in love with his ex.  He had smiled politely when she looked at him and said ‘neither your mind nor your heart are here in the moment’.  


Because it was true.  And he was quite grateful that she had been so understanding.  She’d asked if he had wanted to talk about it – and he laughed, because how absurd would that have been.  She had laughed in response and said that she felt that he needed to follow his heart.  And then she’d given him a friendly hug and walked away.


Two and a bit years ago, she had knocked on his hotel room door – a few days after they had survived the collapse of Sunnydale.  They’d talked for hours…started out with screams and accusations.  And then he had looked at her and said simply that he’d known for a very long time that she covered her tears with smiles…and that her head often yielded to her heart.  


And she’d stopped yelling, stopped pacing furiously…and she listened to him.  Not only had she listened, she had asked him to continue.  So he had.


When he’d mentioned that he’d known all of her heartache, all of her pain – her anger began to dissipate…the coldness in her eyes giving way to warmth – to…love.  And then he’d stood up and walked over to her, gently touching her face and being incredibly surprised that she hadn’t flinched away from him.  He remembered whispering that he knew it had taken him a while…to finally find the words to tell her what she meant to him.  


How he hoped that how he felt about her was something they could share.  


And her tears fell along with his as she fell into his arms.


He kissed her then – or perhaps she had kissed him.  He supposed he couldn’t actually be sure, but he also supposed it didn’t really matter.  Because they’d made love that night…and he had laid his heart out for her.  She’d kissed him and gave him hers in return.  


The following morning, he’d called the airline and booked an extra ticket from the nearest airport to England – for her.  He’d also booked a ticket for Dawn to Spain…her request, though he had made it very clear that she was very much welcome to come with them.  He remembered the smile in Dawn’s eyes as she shook her head – ‘this is the time for you two to get your shit together’…that’s what she’d said.  


And he had to agree with her.  


But, she was welcome to change her mind and join them at any time.  All she needed to do was ask.


He and Buffy had found a place quickly…and made it their home.  They had had an amazing two years together.  And then it became clear that they were moving in different directions.  Neither of them knew why, or how, it had happened.  But, when she suggested that maybe they needed to take a break…he sadly agreed.  And he’d kissed her…and they cried and whispered their apologies – and made love one last time before he packed his bags.


Unlike nearly all of his previous breakups throughout the years, it didn’t mean that he’d never see her 

again.  They still worked for the same organisation.  He was still her Watcher – their bond wasn’t severed and she wouldn’t have trusted anyone else to take over for him.  It wasn’t even that they had fallen out of love – they just didn’t know how to fix whatever had happened.  


Xander had accused him of not trying to repair the relationship – that resulted in Giles suggesting, in no uncertain terms, that it might be best for Xander to leave his office.  Giles couldn’t remember ever being that angry with Xander before – and when Xander had tried to explain his meaning, Giles had stood up and glared at him.  Xander had slowly back out of the office.  


But, now…a few months later…he found himself here – sitting in his flat on his own, home from a coffee date that he’d had no interest in, wanting a drink…and too mentally exhausted to prepare one. 


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Buffy stumbled slightly as she made her way to the door. The bell rang a second time, just as she opened the door. Then she stared at him, shaking her head as she turned and started back towards the living room. 


“Um…may I come in?”


“Whatever…” She muttered, pouring another glass of wine before she looked at him again. “Why are you here, Michael?”


Michael sighed heavily and sat down on the sofa. “Because I talked Rupert into going on a date.”


Buffy glared at him, but stayed where she was. “Well, thanks for telling me. I guess you’re here to let me know how great it went and how he took her back to his place and they’re probably fucking the night away now?”


Michael looked at her curiously. “Obviously, this is the alcohol talking - because, as if I would do that. I’m not here to…”  He paused and then sighed softly.  “That’s not happening, at any rate. He went home…alone. He barely made it through the coffee.”


“Michael…I don’t have it in me to decipher whatever you’re trying to say.”


He leaned forward slightly and rubbed the side of his neck. The gesture was painfully reminiscent of Giles and it took much more willpower than she was expecting to keep her emotions steady. 


“Do you still love him?”




“You two are being ridiculous. It’s obvious to everyone.”  He stood up and ran his fingers through his hair. “He’s still in love with you, Buffy. I had a feeling that was the case, but he kept refusing to discuss it with me.”


“So…you set him up on a date?”  She asked, obviously confused.


“Yeah. And she said that it was really fucking obvious that he wasn’t there. He didn’t want to be there, he didn’t want to talk - but she could see it in his eyes.”


“Maybe he wasn’t there because he’s seeing someone else.”


Michael stared at her incredulously.  “Seriously?  That’s what you took from that?”


“Michael, we’re — ”


“Heading in different directions.” He interrupted, rolling his eyes. “Yeah, he’s said the same thing.”


And then he narrowed his eyes slightly, and looked into hers. “The thing about directions is that you control them. You don’t like the direction you’re going? You hit the brakes, turn the wheel, and go in a different one. And that might just lead you back to him. Because that’s where you’re supposed to be, Buffy.”


He gestured vaguely around the room. “This house? It’s meant for the two of you. This is a couple’s home, a family home. This isn’t a home for a single woman.”


“He left…”


“You let him.”  Michael countered. “You just agreed with what he was saying…and you let him leave.”


Buffy was quiet for a long moment and then exhaled slowly. 


“And your suggestion would be?”


“Talk to him. Work this out. Change your fucking direction - both of you.”


“I can’t talk to him like this.”


His brow furrowed. “Like what?”




He laughed softly. “I think you can. I think you should.”


“Michael, what if…”


“I know my brother, Buffy. In instances like this, I know him better than you do.”  He offered her a gentle smile. “So please…let me drive you.”


“Why tonight? Why now?”  Her eyes widened. “Is he okay?”


“Physically, yes.  Emotionally?  About as okay as you are.  But, he won’t take that step, Buffy. He wants to, but he won’t.”


Buffy closed her eyes - and immediately wished for the room to stop spinning. 


~ ~ ~


He sighed heavily when he heard the knock on his door.  He closed his eyes, leaning the back of his head against the sofa cushion, and hoped that the visitor would just simply go away.  Then he groaned when the knock sounded again.


With a weary sigh, he pushed himself up and walked over to the door.  He furrowed his brow as he opened the door to find Buffy standing there.


Buffy…who looked annoyed, possibly even angry…and so very beautiful.  He tilted his head slightly as she placed her hand on the doorframe, almost clumsily.  


So…annoyed, angry, beautiful, and…drunk.


He reached out and took hold of her hand, gently pulling her inside.  He closed the door and looked down at her, her hand still held in his.  


“Are you alright?”  He asked softly, then looked around.  “How did you get here?”


“No.  I’m not alright.”  She shook her head.  “We’re stupid, Giles.  Both of us.  We’re so fucking stupid.  And Michael dropped me off.”


“We can be stupid…at times.”  He agreed, looking into her eyes.  “But, what’s this about?  And Michael?  Why was Michael – ”


“What does different directions even mean?”  She asked, tears welling in her eyes.  “Because…if we’re going in different directions, but we don’t want to go in different directions – well, we can just change our directions, right?  I mean…directions aren’t set in stone.  They’re not prophetic directions.”


“There are things that I want, Buffy.”  He whispered emotionally.  “Things that…you don’t.  Not yet, at any rate.  I’m not going to ask you to compromise on what you want to make my desires more attainable.  And the same goes for you – there are things that you want, that – ”


“I want you.”  She said, a tear slipping down her cheek.  “I don’t know if you’re seeing anyone and…I don’t think you are, but I probably should have asked that first, but…I miss you, Giles.”


“I’m not seeing anyone.” 


She wiped the tear away with a swipe of her hand.  “No?”


“No.”  He shook his head and then shrugged a shoulder.  “Well, I had coffee earlier.  A woman that Michael…”


He sighed and squeezed her hand tighter when she tried to pull away.  “Buffy, please…don’t.”


“Coffee…”  She exhaled a deep breath.  “Yeah, that’s what Michael said.”


“That’s all it was, love.  Coffee.  Even she knew it wasn’t where I wanted to be.”  


“Where do you want to be?”  She asked hesitantly.


“Why have you been drinking?”  He asked instead of answering her question.


She rolled her eyes and bit her bottom lip.  “Because I’m so pissed off at how stupid everything got.  And I think that’s my fault.”


“I think we’re both to blame.”  He said, watching her as her eyes focused on a framed photograph on the wall.  


“Why…”  She swallowed, blinking a couple of times to help her eyes focus.  “You have that up?”


“Different directions doesn’t mean that I don’t love you.  I’ve never stopped loving you, Buffy.”  He offered her a nervous smile when she looked back at him.  “When it rains, I think of how we’d cuddle on the sofa.  When the sun shines, I think of how golden your hair would look during our outdoor training sessions.  When the stars come out at night, I think of…you.”




“Maybe we should sit down…and have a discussion.”  He licked his lips and gestured towards the kitchen.  “I can make…coffee?”


“Is that all it would be?  Coffee?”


“Never with you.”  He whispered emotionally, placing a soft kiss on her forehead.  “Never with you.”


“Then, let’s talk.”  She said, placing her palm against his chest.  “Because I’ve never stopped loving you either.  And I don’t want to have coffee with anyone but you.  And I think that maybe…a compromise isn’t really needed.  But, we need to talk it out.”


Giles gave her a nod and then glanced at the sofa.  “Have a seat…”


“I think…maybe I just want you to hold me for a minute.”


He smiled and then pulled her into his arms.  And then he closed his eyes as she wrapped her arms around him.  


“We’ll figure it all out, love.”


“Yeah…”  She whispered, curling her fingers into the back of his shirt before pressing a kiss against his chest.  “Yeah, we will.”


His hand slid into her hair and gently tilted her head back.  Before she could say anything, his lips were on hers.  He’d meant for it to be a soft brush of his lips – a promise, a hope for a future together.


When her tongue slipped into his mouth, his fingers tightened in her hair and he returned the kiss with the same amount of passion, desire.  When he suddenly broke the kiss and inhaled a shaky breath, she smiled up at him.


“Not tonight, Buffy.”  He whispered, uncurling his fingers and combing them through her hair. “Not like this.”


“Okay.”  She whispered back, sliding her hands to rest on his chest.  “Coffee, discussion…plans.”




“Yeah…future plans.  Because we should be together.  Right?  I mean…you feel that way too, don’t you?”


He nodded slowly, a smile showing in his eyes.  “Yes, I do.”


“So…coffee, first.”


He leaned down and brushed his lips across hers.  


And then he turned and made his way to the kitchen – to make coffee.

~ End

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