Between the lines
by Gabriele Schulz

AUTHOR: Gabriele Schulz
RATING: PG
DISTRIBUTION: Solo84, Cap, Dria14, Jess, Sai. Others please ask first.
SPOILERS: The Freshman
FEEDBACK: Yes. Definitely. Please. Especially if you liked it...
SUMMARY: The obligatory 'Freshman' fic. B/G
DISCLAIMER: The characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Sandollar Productions, Kuzui Enterprises, 20th Century Fox Television, the WB Television Network, and whoever else may have a hold on them. I do not mean to infringe upon any copyrights.
NOTE: I haven't seen it. This is based on spoilers.
DATE: 10/7-8/99


When Xander closed the door behind him, Giles looked at Buffy, who was sitting on her bed.

There was a moment of silence. Then he spoke.

"Ca-can I help you with something?"

"Well, yes. You could take my umbrella and put it over there."

He did so.

"And then you could put that yearbook in the shelf. No not there. Yes."

She went on directing him around her room.

"What about this?"

She reached out her hand and he gave the book to her.

She leafed through it and when she looked up at him again he was going through the last box.

She jumped up and took the box away from him.

"Ouch."

"Does your shoulder still hurt?"

"No, Giles. 'Ouch' is collage speak for 'I'm great.'"

He ignored her and lightly touched her shoulder with his hand.

"It's all right."

He looked from the shoulder to her face and their eyes locked for a few seconds.

Then he quickly removed the hand as if it wasn't supposed to be there.

"Let me help you with this."

He took the box from her. On top was a picture of Buffy, Willow and Xander. He got it out of the box and looked at it.

"Where do you want this?"

"Right here."

She took the frame from him and placed it on the nightstand.

He watched her only looking away when she turned around to him again.

He looked into the box and was surprised to see a picture of himself.

Buffy watched him as he stared at the picture, immediately looking down, when he finally did look up.

"What about this one?"

"I guess it belongs right next to them."

She looked up at him, then they simultaneously reached out for the frame, their hands brushing.

She smiled nervously and placed the picture between the one of her friends and one of her mother.

When she turned around she smiled at him awkwardly.

"Shouldn't you go home? To Olivia?"

"Buffy..."

"No, you don't have to excuse yourself. I mean, you were right. You can have a private life. I'm not your... wife or anything, I'm just-"

"My Slayer. You always will be. Just as I'll always be your Watcher. I'm sorry I cou-"

"No, Giles! Don't say that. You wanted to help me. You just didn't realize that I was never one to fight alone. Even when you were still officially my Watcher, I had the Slayerettes. This is what makes me strong. Stronger than other Slayers."

"I should have known."

She didn't say anything. Then after a silence she said:

"I guess Olivia is waiting for you."

"Buffy, Olivia and I... it's not what you think."

"You're not sleeping with her?"

"I-I'm... we... we're not together."

"But you *are* sleeping with her?"

"I'm not in love with her."

They looked at each other for a long moment then Buffy said very quietly:

"I know."

"You...?"

"If you were in love with her you wouldn't just let her stay a few days. You wouldn't let her go."

His answer was:

"I'll never leave you."

"I know, Giles. Just never let me feel like I mean nothing to you anymore."

"Buffy, I never... even when I sent you away I said I'd always be there when you need me."

"I *always* need you, Giles. You are like a..."

"Father?"

"No! I mean no. What would make you think that?"

"Well, for once your reaction to Olivia. Isn't it usually 'gross' to think of parents as people, who 'do it'?"

"Of course, I mean can you imagine my Mom, oh yes, you can. Ewww. Don't want to go there. But that was not why I was... I wasn't really... I... I guess I was just a little confused to see you turn into that... I don't know what. I really missed my Giles, if you know what I mean."

"And *your* Giles would be?"

"I didn't say that to imply that you can't have your own life."

"I know."

"'My Giles' is the Giles I knew for over three years. The man I've learned to trust and rely on. The man, who's always there for me no matter what. And for a horrible second I thought I'd lost him."

"You'll never lose him, Buffy. He..."

"What?"

"You mean very much to him."

"That wasn't what you wanted to say."

"No."

Once again they looked at each other for a long moment before Giles put down the box.

"Maybe I should leave now. Kathy can come back any time and she'll wonder what such an old guy is doing here."

He went towards the door.

"Giles."

He turned around.

"Yes?"

"You... he means very much to me, too."

He looked at her, then nodded and smiled.

"Good night, Buffy."

Buffy just smiled shortly in return.

When he had closed the door, Buffy kept staring at it.

What had just happened between them? They hadn't said anything they didn't already know to be true and yet...

She felt as if everything was different between them now. 'That wasn't what you wanted to say.' 'No.' She was fairly certain, that what he wanted to say was 'He loves you.' And while that alone could mean all kinds of love, the fact that he did *not* say it implied that his love was neither paternal nor merely friendlike. And while this realization should be enough to gross the living daylights out of her, there was this thing that was even more shocking.

'He means very much to me, too.'

She had told him this, knowing exactly what those words meant in the course their conversation had taken. So she basically had told him, she loved him.

Buffy let herself drop onto the bed. She covered her face with her hands.

"Oh, my god, what is happening to me?"

< You're obviously in love with Giles. >

But that couldn't be. Sure, his distant behaviour had broken her heart and if she was honest she had to admit that she was jealous of Olivia, but...

< But what? >

"I cannot be in love with Giles!"

At the knock on the door, Buffy jumped, nearly falling out of the bed.

When she opened the door and saw Giles, she turned a dark, but cute shade of red.

"G-Giles. What are you... did you hear me?"

"I... I thought, I heard... something, but I couldn't really understand it."

"Ah, good."

"I forgot my..."

He gestured with his hand.

"Your axe. Of course. Come in again. Kathy is still... eh, where did you last see it?"

"I think I found it."

He went to the last box and picked it up from behind it.

"Great."

There was an awkward silence, then Giles went to the door. He opened it, closed it again and turned around to her.

"I cannot be in love with Giles."

"Huh?"

"That's what I thought I heard."

"Oh."

She looked at the ground then sat down on her bed.

She seemed to think about what to say next, then finally looked up at him.

"You wanted to say that you - I mean 'He' - loves me, didn't you."

"I... yes."

"Why didn't you say it?"

"I wasn't sure whether it would be... appropriate."

"Why not? I mean you were fired for loving me, so it's not so big a deal, is it? Apart from the fact, that you never actually told me before."

"I... didn't you know that I... do?"

"You can't even say it now."

"I can."

"Well, then do."

"What did you mean when you said 'I cannot be in love with Giles.'?"

"I thought you didn't hear that."

"You said it, didn't you?"

"Maybe you should leave now. It's getting kind of late. You don't want to let Olivia waiting."

He stared at her. Then he spoke very clearly and calmly.

"I love you, Buffy."

She couldn't speak. She just looked at him and wondered where that pounding came from until she realized that it was her heart beating frantically.

When after a long while, she still didn't react he turned around and went to the door.

That got her out of her frozen state. She went after him and turned him around until he faced her.

He looked at her waiting for an answer.

She put her arms around his neck and kissed him passionately.

"Yes, I did say it."

Kissing again.

"But I was wrong."

Kissing again, plus heavy breathing.

"I do."

Kissing including the electrifying presence of her tongue in his mouth.

"I love you."

She was about to kiss him again, when he stopped her.

"Don't tell me, you love me like a daughter."

"I most certainly don't. I love you like a woman. *My* woman. I love and want you. Very much. And that's why I think we should stop right now. Because I don't think your roommate will react very well to seeing us doing... on your bed."

She ran her hand over his chest.

"Doing what?"

"Stop that, Buffy, please. I really think it's better to wait until we have a room to ourself for a couple of hours."

"A couple of hours, huh?"

She nibbled on his ear.

"Buffy..."

"Yes, Giles?"

He kissed her thoroughly, then grabbed her hand and left the room dragging her along with him out of the dorm.

"Where are we going?"

"Well, since you can't wait, we should at least go someplace more private."

"Not your appartment?"

"No. I was thinking of a hotel."

She stopped, wrapped her arms around him and kissed him again.

"Why don't you just take me here on the front lawn?"

"Because I thought you wanted to live at the dorm for longer than today."

"Don't you want me to move in with you? You could help me with learning and we could train and do... other things."

"The car is around the corner."

She laughed and kissed him again and ran away.

"Hurry up."

She kept running and he started to follow her.

*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*

Across the lawn Willow, Oz and Xander watched them.

"So nothing important happened while I was gone, heh?"

"We are as surprised as you are."

"You don't seem very surprised."

"We're not surprised that they are in love."

"No, not really. We just didn't know they were together."

They looked at Buffy and Giles, who now caught up with his Slayer and kissed her again. They walked arms around each other out of their sight.

"So, anything else that happened over the summer?"

END