Buffy and Giles' Thing
By Gibberish

Disclaimer: These wonderful characters do not belong to me. They are the property of Joss Whedon, WB and Mutant Enemy.
Author: Gibberish-the prolific one. There are a few of her stories that I still have to post. (I'm a slacker)
Rating: PG 13 Part 1
Spoilers/Timeline: Through Season 3.
Feedback: Yes please.
NCC1839@aol.com
Distribution: Solo and Abby if they want it. Anyone else, please just ask.


Buffy and Willow sat on a bench on the UC Sunnydale campus. They were bored and had taken to playing a game of boxers or briefs. They weren't even really looking at the guys. For the most part.
A guy walked by, "Briefs." Buffy said as he walked past.
Willow nodded in agreement. Then threw out a name. "Professor Dorin."
Buffy pondered. "Boxers."
"Ya think?" Willow asked. "I was thinking briefs."
"It's not like we'll ever know for sure Will." Buffy commented. "I know I'm not going to ask him."
Blue slacks clad legs moved in to their line of sight. "Boxers." They said in unison.
The legs made their way towards them. "There you are." Giles said as he joined them. "I've been looking all over for you."
Buffy and Willow exchanged a slightly guilty look and fought to keep from giggling.
Giles looked down at them. What had they been talking about? He probably didn't want to know. He got down to the business at hand. "Buffy, I've found out something rather important. ... Will you be patrolling tonight?"
"Don't I always?" Buffy asked in return. And she did, even if sometimes it was just a quick sweep.
"Quite right." Giles said. "Then will you stop by my place when you've finished for the night? There's something that we need to discuss."
"Okay." Buffy said easily and smiled up at him.
"You're in a good mood today." Giles commented.
"Shouldn't I be?" Buffy asked with a grin. "Did you read in a book of prophecy that it was a bad sign if the Slayer was in a good mood today?" She asked teasing him.
"Oh, it's one of those kinds of moods, is it?" Giles asked, teasing a bit himself.
"What kind of mood is that?" Buffy asked, playfully indignant.
"You know," Giles said and almost smiled. "The one that says - Let's see if I can get a rise out of Giles." Buffy's answering laugh sent a tingle that gave an entirely different meaning to the phrase.
"Giles." Willow said to get his attention.
Giles looked at Willow, he'd almost forgotten that she was there. "Um, yes, Willow."
Willow looked at him oddly for just a second, then shook her head. "Did you need my help?" She asked.
"No. I don't think so." Giles told her. "Not tonight anyway." He smiled at her. "But thank you anyway."
"Sure." Willow responded. She looked at her watch. "Buffy, you have a class in ten minutes."
Buffy looked at her own watch in horror. "Good thing it's in this building." She grabbed her books from the seat next to her, jumped up and ran for the building. "See ya' later." She called back.
Willow's attention had been caught by Giles. He was watching Buffy, her backside if Willow wasn't mistaken.
Giles looked at Willow, had he been caught? Willow's expression was unreadable, however. "Buffy's always running late. I guess some things never change." He said a tad nervously.
"And some things do." Willow said, not sure what to think.
"Well," Giles said. "I have to get back to the Museum. I-I'll see you later." Then he made a hasty retreat. <Damn. > He'd have to watch himself more.
Willow watched him go, a curious expression on her face.

"So you think Giles was checking Buffy out?" Oz asked. He and Willow had met for lunch and she'd gone on about this for some time.
"Yeah." Willow told him, she was unsure as to what to think.
"So." Oz stated. Willow gave him a shocked look. "What? He's a man Will. Buffy's an attractive woman."
"You think Buffy's attractive?" Willow asked sidetracked.
Oz looked at Willow warily. She didn't sound mad or jealous, just curious. "In a neutral kind of way." He said, just to be on the safe side.
Willow rolled her eyes. "But this is Giles. I mean he's ... Well, not old, but older."
Oz smiled at her. "He's not dead." He pointed out. "Giles is a man, older true, but a man. Buffy is a woman. A woman he spends a great deal of time with. The only woman he spends a great deal of time with. Actually, I'm
surprised it hasn't happened sooner."
"I've never noticed it before." Willow said, a bit uncertain.
Oz smiled, again, at his oblivious little love. She may not have noticed it until now, but he'd seen signs for a while now. All things considered, despite the age difference, they were well matched.

Buffy was just about to leave her dorm room for her nightly patrol, when someone knocked on the door. She checked to make sure that her supply bag was zipped before she opened the door. "Hey, Will." Buffy said. She opened the door wider to let her friend in. Then closed it behind her.Willow bit her lip as she walked in. She turned to Buffy, but still hadn't decided what to say.
"Is something wrong Will?" Buffy asked, when Willow didn't say anything.
"No." Willow said quickly. "Not really. I just ... I wanted to ask you something."
"Ask away." Buffy told her as she plopped on her bed.
"Well," Willow said as she joined her friend on the bed. "It's about.… Well, Giles."
Buffy looked at her expectantly, but Willow didn't continue. "Is something wrong with Giles." She asked worried. "He's all right, isn't he?"
"Yeah." Willow assured Buffy. "It's nothing like that. I didn't mean to scare you."
"Then, what is it?" Buffy asked.
"Well, ... I saw Giles checking someone out today." Willow finally said.
"Who?" Buffy asked. She tried to squish the sudden twinge of jealousy that immediately rose. She'd think about that later. "I mean, anyone I know?" She tried to asked nonchalant.
"Just a girl ... Woman our age." Willow said. There had been a definite reaction there.
"Well, good for Giles." Buffy didn't quite pull off cheerfully casual.
"I mean, it's not like he hit on her or anything." Willow said, surprised by her friend's reaction. "Of course, he's old." Willow said just to see Buffy's reaction.
Buffy looked at Willow, defensive on Giles behalf. "I don't think Giles is old." Buffy blinked. <Since when? >
Willow just looked at Buffy, her eyebrows raised in surprise. "I guess I meant to say older. I guess he's okay. Not bad for his age." Willow was beginning to have fun.
Buffy was about to defend Giles again, but she snapped her mouth shut. She stood and grabbed her bag. "I gotta' go." She left Willow there, an impish grin on her face.

As she patrolled, Buffy tried to keep her mind focused. But she kept thinking about what Willow had said and her own reaction to it. Did she want to think about this? About Giles? In that way? But, she knew that, deep down, at some point, she already had. Right now, she needed a vamp to fight.

Giles looked at the clock, almost midnight. Buffy should have been here by now. He was just beginning to grow concerned, when he heard the knock at the door. He got up off the couch and answered the door. Buffy walked past
him as soon as he opened the door.
"Hi." Buffy said as she gave him a patently false smile. "Sorry I'm so late."
He looked at her; he didn't buy the smile. "Everything all right?" he asked.
"Sure." Buffy told him. "Only one vamp, but boy did he have a mouth. He had the nerve to criticize my outfit. He was wearing a black suit with blue socks." She said as she rolled her eyes.
"That's probably why he was killed." Giles said drolly. He didn't bother to ask how she could discern his sock color in the dark. There were some things he just didn't want to know.
"So, what's up?" Buffy asked as she sat at the opposite end of the couch from Giles' teacup. She curled her legs up under her.
Giles, watching her, blinked blankly. "Oh." He sat by his teacup and handed her the letter that sat by it. As she read the letter, he poured her a cup of tea and prepared it the way she preferred.
Buffy finished the letter and handed it back to Giles. She looked at him. "The Council has decided it wants to talk."
"Do you wish to speak to them?" Giles asked her.
"Should I?" Buffy asked. "What changed their minds?" Buffy watched his hands as he fingered the letter. Nice.
"Well, it seems that the Slayer that replaced Faith, didn't last very long, I'm afraid." Giles told her. He looked at the letter in his hands, <What is she looking at? >
At Giles words, Buffy closed her eyes in pain. "How old was she?" She asked in a whisper.
Giles hesitated. "Fourteen."
Buffy's hands clenched. "Her name?"
"The Council didn't mention it." Giles said ruefully, sad.
"Do you think they knew it?" Buffy asked sadly.
Giles didn't answer, instead, he went on. "The new Slayer's name is Abby. They'd like you to meet her."
"Why?" Buffy asked. "So that I can tell her what she's in for? How lonely it is?" She looked at him sadly. "I'm sure she already knows. It doesn't take long to find out."
"You don't wish to meet her?" Giles asked, a bit surprised.
"Do you know her Watcher?" Buffy asked, instead of answering.
Giles smiled, just a little. "It's Wesley." He told her.
"Wesley." Buffy echoed. "Our Wesley?" She asked, she smiled a little herself.
"Wesley Wyndom-Pryce, yes." Giles responded. He realized that she hadn't answered him, but he let it go. She probably didn't know herself.
"I can't believe that Wesley would want to come back here." Buffy commented.
"It was his idea." Giles told her. "I've heard that he's been trying to bring about changes within the Council. Apparently, we've had some influence on him."
Buffy smiled, sadly. "I feel bad about him. We took what the Council did out on him. I'm glad they gave him another Slayer."
"He thinks that Abby would benefit from your experience." Giles said gently.
"I don't know." Buffy said in a small voice. "After Kendra, and then Faith..." Her words trailed off. Her fingers plucked at an invisible thread on her pants.
Giles put his hand over hers to still them. "You can't blame yourself for everything." He said softly.
"Can't I?" Buffy asked. She looked at his hand on hers. She wasn't sure what possessed her, but she turned her hand up and gripped his much larger hand. She raised her eyes to his. What she saw amazed her. Whatever she felt, he felt it too.
Giles couldn't make himself pull his hands or eyes away. "Um.... Er, yes.... Well..."
"Your vocabulary is disintegrating." Buffy said softly, herself unable to look away.
They found themselves leaning towards each other. At the sound of the phone, they jumped apart, the mood broken.
"Damn!" Giles said softly, but with intense feeling. He stood up to answer the phone. He jerked the phone up. "Yes," He said, none too happy.
"Oh. Hello, Wesley. We were just speaking of you." He paused. "Yes, she's here." He paused again and lowered the phone to look at Buffy. "Wesley sends his regards."
"Hi Wes." Buffy returned.
Giles returned the phone to his mouth. "Buffy says hello." He paused. "She's not certain." Another pause. "Yes." He said sadly. "All right. Good-bye." He hung up the phone. He turned back to Buffy with no idea of what to say.
She smiled at him tentatively. "I-I should go. I have a test tomorrow."
She got up and moved slowly towards the door.
Giles met her at the door and looked down at her bent head. "Buffy..."
Buffy looked up at him with wide, curious, but wary eyes.
Giles didn't know what to say, he had just wanted her to look at him. "Um ... Think about Wesley's offer. And good luck on your test tomorrow."
Before she could lose her nerve, Buffy stood on tiptoe and kissed his cheek. "Goodnight Giles." Then she went out the door in a rush.
Giles stood there a minute, a hand to his cheek as if to hold the warmth that her lips had brought to him. He tried to ignore the twinge of hope that he felt, but found that he could not. "Goodnight Buffy." He whispered to the now empty room.

********

Both had interesting dreams that night. Such were the dreams that neither wanted to leave their respective beds. But, they did.
At the Museum, his coworkers didn't know what to think. They had never seen Mr. Giles in such a good mood.
At school, Buffy was introspective and thoughtful all day. She'd taken her test and felt fairly confident about it.
She met Willow and Oz for lunch at a small diner just off campus.
"Hey Buff." Willow said as Buffy slid into to the seat across from them in the booth. "How was the test?"
"Good, I think." Buffy answered as she got settled in the booth. "I like History." She paused, surprised. "Did I just say that?"
"Sounded like you." Oz pointed out.
"Way too much time with Giles." Buffy said fondly.
"Speaking of Giles," Willow said. "What was up last night?"
"Huh?" Buffy asked with a faint blush. "Oh." She realized what Willow meant. "It seems that the Council would like to renew old ties."
"What caused that?" Oz asked.
A shadow crossed Buffy's face and she looked at her hands.
The waitress brought their food, Willow and Oz having ordered for themselves and Buffy before she had even arrived.
After the waitress had left again, Willow looked at Buffy. "Buffy, what did they want?" She asked.
So Buffy told them about the letter from the Council and the phone call from Wesley.
"So, Wesley's finally got a Slayer of his own." Oz commented.
"Giles said that Wesley's been trying to change the Council." Buffy told them. "That this mentor program for Slayers is his idea."
"It's not a bad idea." Willow pointed out.
"I know, it's just..." Buffy's words trailed off.
"Kendra and Faith." Willow finished for her.
"I just don't know if I can do it again." Buffy said. "Giles wants me too, I can tell." She almost smiled. "Can you believe that I'd kinda' like to see Wesley again?" She asked.
"I know." Willow said. "He tried so hard. And he did come through with the Mayor."
Buffy nodded. "What happened with him and Cordie anyway?" She asked.
"Did they even say good-bye?"
Willow shrugged. "She never talked about it. She didn't seem... Heartbroken, though."
"I guess that's good." Buffy commented.
There was a silence while they ate. After a while, Oz broke the silence.
(Strange things do happen on the Hellmouth.)
"So, how does Giles like the Museum, now that he's been there a while?" Oz asked.
Buffy shrugged and smiled. "He grumbles about all the work. He grumbles every time they get something new that’s old. He's loving it."
Willow and Oz exchange a look.
"What?" Buffy asked, having seen the look.
"Nothing." Willow said in response. Then changed the subject. "What are you going to do about Wesley?" She asked.
"I'll let you know as soon as I figure it out." Buffy told her. "I just don't know if I can."

That night, Buffy stood by a fresh grave and waited. She let her mind wander, though. Giles. What was she feeling about him? She'd always thought he was attractive, but older. She just didn't think about the older part
anymore.
Without losing her train of thought, Buffy staked the rising vampire.
"Nice work Slayer." Spike said as he walked up behind her.
Buffy hoped that he hadn't noticed her slight, startled jump. She turned
and faced him. "Can we do this another time?" She asked. "I'm tired."
"I can tell." Spike returned. He enjoyed the way her eyes narrowed.
"What's bothering you, Ducks?" He asked. "Don't tell me you're missin' Angel again?" He asked in disgust.
Buffy shook her head as they fell into step and walked out of the cemetery. "Angel is of the past." She told him. "No, just thinkin'"
"About the new Slayer?" Spike asked.
Buffy's eyes shot to his. "What do you know about it?"
Spike raised his hands in mock surrender. "Just heard about it." He told her. "I do still hear about things like that, you know." He said defensively.
Buffy rolled her eyed. "So, what d'ya hear?" She asked.
"She's young." Spike said. "Seems younger than she is." He looked at Buffy. "Smaller than you."
"How young?" Buffy sighed the question.
"Turned fourteen, after she became the Slayer." Spike said. He sounded almost bothered by this. "Word is, she won't last long. 'Course, I heard the same thing about you."
Buffy stopped and looked at him, he stopped as well and returned her serious gaze. "Spike, why do you think I've lasted so long?" She asked.
"Didn't. Ya' died." Spike told her. When she kept looking at him, he shrugged. "You don't follow the rules Slayer. Neither does your Watcher. A vampire takes on you; he takes on a crowd. Even your Mum." He paused. "Don't
ever let them make you follow the rules Ducks." This said, he walked off into the night.
Buffy watched him go. Once he was out of sight, she turned and headed for Giles'.

Giles blinked owlishly as he answered the door. He hadn't bothered with his glasses, wherever they were. He opened the door and Buffy strode in.
Since she had a key, he wondered why she bothered to knock. If she ever waited for him to invite her in, he'd better have a stake ready. He closed the door.
Buffy took in Giles' disheveled appearance. Mussed hair, no glasses, clothes rumpled, shirt half unbuttoned and the sleeves rolled up. He looked nice, Better than nice, but... "You fell asleep on the couch again, didn't
you." Despite the phrasing, it was not a question. "You know how bad your neck hurts the next morning when you do that."
"It's not as if I do it on purpose." Giles explained. "I fall asleep reading."
"Try reading in bed." Buffy told him. "In your pajamas. At least then if you fell asleep, you'd be prepared." She stated the obvious.
"Did you come here just to lecture me?" Giles asked as he looked about for his glasses.
"No, that's just a bonus." Buffy said. She spotted his glasses. He'd closed them up in the book he'd fallen asleep on. She opened the book, grabbed the glasses and handed them to him.
"Thanks." Giles said as he took them and put them on. "So. Why did you stop by?" He asked. He tried not to get his hopes up.
Buffy bit her lip before she answered. "Tell Wesley to come for a visit." She told him.
"Oh." Giles said. He refused to feel disappointed. "What changed your mind?" he asked.
"Spike, believe it or not." Buffy said. She sat on the couch, the same spot as before.
Giles also sat on the couch. "Spike? How?" He asked.
"A very blunt person, or in this case vampire, can make things clear."
Buffy said. "Make you see things clearer. Spike has a habit of that. It can be really annoying." She knew she was babbling, but she couldn't help it. "I doubt he meant to though. I mean, I'm sure he meant to be annoying, but I doubt he meant to make things clearer ... For me anyway." She closed her eyes and cursed herself silently. When she opened her eyes again, he was looking at her tenderly. She couldn't look away. She had to know. She moved closer and leaned towards him. She pressed her lips to his. The kiss was sweet and gentle.
Electrifying.
Giles moved his hands to her cheeks and slid his fingers into her soft hair. He felt her hands clench into fists on his chest. She sighed into his mouth as she slid her hands around his back. He deepened the kiss and reveled
in her moan. Her hands moved on his back to pull him closer to her. One of his hands moved to the back of her head, to hold her mouth to his as tightly as possible. His other hand went around her waist as he pressed her into the back of the couch. He felt her breasts against his chest even through the clothes and he ached.
Buffy pulled his shirt free of his waistband and ran her hands under it. He jumped a little at the touch of her hands on his bare back. He was so hot, as if he had a fever. She lightly scratched her nails down his back; he
shivered and moaned, which sent shivers through her.
Giles knew that he had to stop. Now, before he lost all coherent thought. Then, her hands moved, they slid around and raked through the hair on his chest. As he continued to ravage her mouth, he moved his own hands
under her blouse and slid them up her sides. The feel of her skin almost drove him crazy. His hands stilled, but his thumbs moved along the under sides of her breasts. One slid under her bra and over her nipple. Her whole
body jerked at the contact. Oddly it was that movement that brought him back to his senses. He pulled back and held her still as she tried to follow. "God Buffy." He said in a harsh rasp.
Buffy opened her eyes and looked into his. What she saw there made her melt even more. Tenderness and passion.
Giles watched her closely. When she closed her eyes again, he forced himself to remove his hands from her breasts. "I-I guess we should talk."
What he wanted was to replace his hands and his mouth. Certain parts of him screamed at his decision to call a halt, but they needed to talk. He took her hands in his. "Buffy?"
"Hmmm?" She returned and the sound made him tingle.
When she finally opened her eyes, he nearly lost control again. He took a deep breath. "Buffy, are you all right?"
Buffy smiled, unconsciously sensual. "Mmm. Wonderful." She sighed.
"We should talk, yes?" Giles asked a bit uncertain.
"Yes." Buffy agreed, but she also sounded uncertain. She took several deep breaths and tried to regain control over her body and emotions. "Okay,
talk." Giles, who had watched her take those deep breaths, was taken off guard.
"Mmm?" He asked.
"What are you feeling?" Buffy asked in return.
"O-overwhelmed, I-I s-suppose." Giles stuttered out.
"That's a good word." Buffy agreed.
Giles smiled a little at her agreement. He lifted a hand to her cheek. "The first time I saw you, I thought that you were a beautiful girl. As you've grown and matured, I've had the pleasure of watching become a
beautiful young woman. When my feelings for you changed... I.... At first, I was horrified."
Buffy looked at him in incomprehension and hurt. "Why?" She asked.
"You are so young Buffy." Giles told her. "Barely sixteen when I first met you. I feel like a dirty old man."
"I don't think that's how you feel." Buffy told him softly. She put a hand over his and held it to her cheek. She smiled as Giles reddened at her comment. "I don't know why or how, but we both feel it."
"A fact I find miraculous." Giles commented. "But I refuse to question my luck." He paused and smiled. "How is it you put it? I have a thing. You have a thing. Perhaps, we could have a thing together."
Buffy laughed, she couldn't help it. Hearing those words, combined with his wonderful voice, struck her as funny. And perhaps she was giddy. "I think I'd like to have a thing with you."
"We should take it slowly." Giles said. "Give you time to be sure."
"If I wasn't sure," Buffy told him. "I wouldn't be here."
"Still, I think..." Giles began.
"We'll see." Buffy interrupted him.
Giles looked at her. He knew that expression. It generally meant trouble. He found himself looking forward to it.

Across the street, a lanky, bleached blonde vampire flipped a cigarette into the street and grinned. "'Bout bloody time Slayer." Spike said as he walked off into the night.

********

Buffy walked to Giles'. He had offered to pick her up, but she had decided that she needed the time to herself before she met the new Slayer. Did that make her the old Slayer? She had known two other Slayers and had outlived three. That was depressing. Was Spike right? Was it because she didn't follow the rules? She could imagine Wesley's reaction if she tried to convince Abby to break the rules. She saw Giles' place then and couldn't prevent a smile. Giles.

    Giles had just prepared tea for him and his guests. He wondered where Buffy was; she should have been here by now. He went into the living room and set the tray down on the coffee table. He looked at the young girl that sat on the couch by Wesley. She seemed so small, so young. Is that how Merrick felt when he first met Buffy?
    There was a knock at the door. Buffy, Giles thought in relief. He went to the door, aware that Wesley had stood and followed. He opened the door and there she was. She looked nervous.
    Buffy walked in, but stopped when she saw Wesley. She actually smiled. "Hi Wes." She surprised him when she gave him a hug.
    After only a moments hesitation, Wesley, awkwardly, returned her hug."Hello Buffy. How are you?" Buffy pulled away and he released her. He looked at her closely, aware of how difficult this was for her. "Are you well?" He asked.
    "I'm good." Buffy told him. "I hear you're setting the Council on its ear."

    "Hardly." Wesley returned as they moved for the living room. "I believe that I will leave that to more capable parties." He said as he looked at Buffy and Giles, he almost smiled.
    Buffy stopped and her face went blank when she saw the small girl that sat on the couch. <Spike was right. > She was small and young. Fourteen? She looked twelve. "Hi." Buffy said softly to the girl.
    "Buffy Summers." Wesley said. "Abigail Laird."
    "Abby." She said as she stood up. "Wesley speaks of you often."
    Buffy liked the Scottish accent. "Oh really." Buffy said surprised. She gave Wesley a sidelong glance, then looked back to Abby. "And what does Wesley have to say about li'l ole me?" She asked.
    "Oh," Abby said. "That you're headstrong and unorthodox..." She saw Wesley blush and held back a grin. "But that you always came through." She concluded.
    Buffy looked at Wesley and Giles. She smiled, but it was a sad smile. "Not always." She again, looked back to Abby. "What else does he say?"
    "Quite a lot actually." Abby told her. "I expected you to be at least ten feet tall and able to walk on water."
    Buffy laughed. Abby could help but laugh as well.
    Buffy sat with her as Giles and Wesley went in to the kitchen.

    "That seems to be going well." Wesley commented as they entered the kitchen.
    "You'll have a time keeping up with that one Wesley." Giles said with a smile.
    "I already have a time of it." Wesley told him. He looked at Giles with a frown. "Do you think she and Buffy could patrol together tonight?"
    "That would be up to Buffy." Giles answered.
    "Abby's trained for this, since she was a small child." Wesley explained. "But, she doesn't have a lot of actual.... Combat experience."
    "Don't worry Wesley, she seems quite capable." Giles told him.
    "She is." Wesley assured him. "She's just so..."
    "Young?" Giles supplied. "When I first met Buffy, I felt the same. She's just a little girl. But that little girl had already defeated Lothos. She went on to defeat the Master. Abby's small, smaller even than Buffy, but she'll learn to use that to her advantage. After four years, vampires still underestimate Buffy. So will it be with Abby."

    In the living room, Buffy and Abby talked. " ... Wesley says that I am an excellent student." Abby said.
    "Do you like your training?" Buffy asked.
    "I do." Abby admitted. "And Wesley makes such a wonderful target."
    Buffy smiled. "I gave him such a hard time when he was here. It's good to know you're keeping up the tradition." She said.
    "What about Mr. Giles?" Abby asked. "All Wesley told me was that he was no longer a Watcher, but that he refused to leave you."
    "Being a Watcher is like being a Slayer." Buffy explained. "It becomes a part of who you are, not just what you do. Giles may not be a Watcher anymore, but he'll always be my Watcher."
    Abby realized that there was significance to that statement that she didn't quite get. An underlying meaning that was just out of reach. She wondered if she would ever understand, but she knew that she wanted to.
    "I've had three Watchers Abby." Buffy said quietly. "Merrick died for me. Giles has proven time and again that he would."
    "And Wesley?" Abby asked.
    "Wesley nearly did." Buffy told her. "But Wesley and I both knew that he was a Watcher in name only. I would never be his Slayer, not really. But you are, so don't let him fool you with that stiff upper lip British formality. Don't let him hide behind it."
    "I won't." Abby practically vowed.
    "He's a good man." Buffy said. "And getting better everyday. Don't ever take him for granted. You have to take care of each other. The fate of the world may be in your hands, but *you're* in his."
    Abby had never thought of it that way, but she was right. It was in that moment that she realized the real reason that Wesley had wanted her to come here. She had thought that he had wanted her to train with Buffy, to be like her. But, he wanted her to learn from her. Things that he couldn't teach. Buffy was a Slayer and only she could show Abby what that really meant. A part of her resented that he felt that she needed that lesson, but the rest of her was grateful. Grateful that he cared enough to see that she got it. "Thank you." Abby finally managed to say.

    "What do you suppose they're talking about?" Wesley asked as he watched them from the kitchen.
    "Are you sure that you want to know?" Giles asked.
    Wesley turned back to Giles. "No, not really. Is she any better?" He asked.
    "Buffy? Yes, I think so." Giles said. "She blames herself for so much."
    "She can't forgive herself for Faith." Wesley commented.
    "Not just Faith." Giles told him. "She still blames herself for Kendra."
    "Kendra? Why?" Wesley asked surprised.
    "Because she's Buffy." Giles said simply.
    "What about me?" Buffy asked as she and Abby joined them.
    Wesley and Giles turned and saw them.
    Just looking at her filled Giles with warmth. He knew that she had agreed to this mostly for him. Now, she seemed drawn into herself. Shielded.
    He caught her eye and raised an eyebrow in question.
    He wanted to know if she was all right. Buffy nodded her head. He smiled at her.
    Abby watched the exchange. Saw Buffy return his smile. Something about it....
    "Are you two getting acquainted?" Wesley asked.
    "Yes," Abby responded. "Shop talk. Stakes, crosses ... Tomorrow, we'll move on to beheading."
    Buffy smiled.
    Wesley looked at Abby patiently. "Abby, don't pick up too much from Buffy."
    Buffy laughed, Abby grinned and even Giles smiled. "Wesley, you finally got a sense of humor." Buffy said. "Good for you. Just don't let the Council know."
    They made their way to the living room once again. They sat, Buffy, Abby and Wesley on the couch, with Giles in the chair closest to Buffy.
    Giles looked at Buffy. "Wesley thought that it might be a good idea for you to patrol together tonight."
    Buffy blinked. "Will you be going too?" She asked.
    "If you think we should." Giles answered. He knew that Buffy didn't want to be responsible for Abby. "It's a nice night."

**********

Buffy and Abby walked a little ahead of Giles and Wesley. "So, this is the Hellmouth." Abby commented as they walked.
    "It's been quiet lately." Buffy said. "Makes Giles nervous when it's quiet. The Hellmouth always makes up for the quiet later." She shrugged. "I just try to enjoy it while I can. Get a little extra sleep. Studying."
    "Wesley said that you were a student at University." Abby said.
    "I try to be." Buffy told her as they entered the Park. "What about you? Do you go to school?"
    Abby shook her head. "I have a tutor. But Wesley says that I could get my diploma early. My test scores are excellent."
    "He must be in Watcher heaven." Buffy said with a smile.
    They heard a rustle in the brush and they both tensed and pulled out a stake. Buffy motioned for Abby to go one way, while she went the other. Wesley and Giles followed their respective Slayer.

    Buffy found a vampire trying to make a meal out of a late night jogger. She took care of the vampire, while Giles sent the jogger on her way.They went in search of Abby and Wesley. When they heard the sound of a fight, they rushed in that direction. What they found, was a sight to behold.

    Spike had wanted to test the new Slayer. She was a tiny little thing, but not a bad fighter. He knocked her to the ground and knocked the wind out of her. He decided that he'd seen enough, so he reached a hand down to her. And found himself knocked flat by her Watcher.
    "You stay away from her." Wesley said fiercely.
    Giles grabbed Wesley and pulled him away. Buffy hauled Spike up and forcefully, pushed him back first into a rather large tree.
    "C'mon Slayer." Spike said. "I just wanted to see what she had."
    Buffy pounded him into the tree once more, then released him. "You just wanted to be a pain in the..."
    "Why are you letting him go?" Wesley asked outraged.
    "Because he's on our side." Giles explained as he let Wesley go.
    "Lucky us." Buffy said dourly.
    "What?" Wesley nearly screeched. He took a calming breath. He walked over to Abby and helped her up. He saw her wince. "Are you all right?"
    "Angry." Abby said as she dusted herself off. "Who is he?"
    "Spike." Buffy said through gritted teeth.
    "Easy Slayer." Spike said as he sauntered over to them. He looked at Abby and smiled cockily. "You're not a bad little fighter. If you survive the year, maybe we'll try again."
    "Now see here...." Wesley began, but stopped when Buffy hit Spike.
    "I've got an ashtray with your name on it Spike." Buffy told him after she hit him in the stomach. "One more stunt like that and you'll call it home." She assured him.
    "Just make sure you place it in your bedroom Ducks." Spike replied unperturbed.
    Buffy went to hit him again, but Spike grabbed her fist. He gave Buffy a serious look. "We have to work together. I don't know about you, but I ain't trustin' my back to someone I don't know how they’re goin' to fight."     He released her fist.
    "Would someone please explain what this is all about?" Wesley demanded.
    Buffy looked at him, his arm protectively around his charge. She wondered if he even realized it. The way he had charged Spike. This was not the same Wesley that had tried to replace Giles. No, Wesley had finally come into his own. She felt Giles move up behind her and put a hand on her shoulder. His thumb, out of view of the others, caressed her neck. "It's like this. Spike...." Her words trailed off, she looked at Giles for assistance.
    Spike rolled his eyes. "I brassed off a powerful demon. This is my penance." He found the punishment suitably ironic. It could have been worse though and he knew it. He could have been forced to help Angel. He respected the Slayer and her Watcher. With her watching his back, he'd bloody well live forever.
    Abby and Wesley looked at him blankly for a moment. Then turned, almost as one, to Giles.
    "It's true." Giles assured them. "I checked. He doesn't really have a choice."
    "It's not like Angel then?" Wesley asked. "His soul hasn't been restored or anything?"
    Abby gave Wesley an odd look. Angel? Soul? What was he talking about?
    Buffy realized by that look, that Wesley hadn't told Abby about Angel.
    "No." Giles answered Wesley. "It's a punishment of sorts."
    "I don't know what we're being punished for." Buffy muttered.
    "I heard that Slayer." Spike said.
    "I think that you were meant to Spike." Giles commented.
    Abby looked from Spike to Buffy and Giles, then to Wesley, who glared at Spike. She tried to prevent the smile, she truly did, but it was too much.
    Then, Spike looked at her and winked. The giggles tumbled out.
    Buffy looked at Abby and smiled. That Abby could laugh about the situation said a lot. Of course, some of it could have been reaction, but the laughter didn't have a hysterical edge to it.
    Giles felt some of the rigidity leave Buffy's shoulders and felt himself relax a bit. He was impressed with Abby; she had held her own with Spike. And Wesley.... Well, his instinctive reaction to protect his Slayer was a vast improvement over when he'd first met the younger man.
    "You just might make it kid." Spike told Abby.
    "Spike." Buffy said in warning.
    "Listen Slayer, I'm entitled to my opinions." Spike told her.
    "Nobody wants to hear them." Buffy pointed out. "So just shut up, before I finish what you started with Abby."
    Spike leaned towards Abby conspiratorially. "She can't keep her hands off me." He saw Giles take a threatening step towards him. Spike raised his hands in a placating gesture. "Just a joke Mate." He turned and walked off.
    "Everyone's so bloody touchy tonight." He muttered as he disappeared into the night.
    "Well, I've had all the fun I can stand for one night." Buffy commented.
    "Yes, perhaps we should call it a night." Wesley concurred. He looked down at Abby. "Are you all right?"
    Abby nodded. "Just confused."
    "Don't worry, Wes," Buffy assured him. "If Spike had hurt her, I'd have dusted him and he knows it."

    They headed back to Giles' place and made plans for the next day.
    After saying good-bye, Buffy and Giles watched as Wesley and Abby drove away.Buffy leaned back against Giles and he wrapped his arms around her. He kissed the top of her head and led her inside.

    Abby turned back around in her seat, surprised and confused by what she had just witnessed. "Wesley?"

    "Yes, Abby." Wesley responded, as he drove towards their hotel.
    "How long have Buffy and Mr. Giles been involved?" Abby asked.

    "Well, let's see." Wesley said. "He was assigned as her Watcher about three and s half years ago."
    "No, I mean personally involved." Abby said.
    "What do you mean?" Wesley asked, distracted. He was focused on the street names.
    "Don't treat me like a child." Abby said. "Is that why he's no longer a Watcher?" She asked.
    "He was fired because he cared for her, yes." Wesley responded, still not particularly focused on the conversation.
    "So, the Council is against romantic relationships between Watchers and Slayers."
    Suddenly, what she said registered and he hit the brakes. Fortunately, there was nothing behind them. He looked at Abby. "What did you say?"
    <Oops. > Abby thought.

*********

Buffy sat on the couch with Giles and leaned her head against his shoulder. She snuggled in closer, when he wrapped his arm around her.
    "I think that went well." Giles said. He felt her nod her head. "Except for Spike, of course. Abby handled herself well."
    "Wesley didn't do so bad either." Buffy commented. "I was quite impressed."
    "I suppose that after everything we faced the last time he was here, one lone vampire might not seem that big of a threat." Giles said, mildly amused.
    "She's so young, Giles." Buffy said softly. "Did I seem that young?"
    "No." Giles said gently. "You were older than Abby when I first met you, and you'd already seen so much. And, of course, you were raised quite differently. You knew nothing of your calling; Abby was raised within the circle of the Council from the age of five. Not as strictly as Kendra, but apart. She seems quite... Spunky though."
    "Spunky?" Buffy asked and looked up at him.
    "The word seems appropriate." Giles responded.
    Buffy leaned up and gently kissed him, the asked, "Am I spunky?"
    "No." Giles said carefully. "You're Buffy." He tipped her chin up. "My Buffy." He kissed her. Gently at first, then increasingly more demanding. He pulled her on to his lap.
    They kissed intently and let their hands roam. Giles felt her hands on his bare chest and wondered how she'd unbuttoned his shirt so quickly without him noticing. Her fingers caressed him gently and lightly raked through his chest hair. He groaned into her mouth.
    Buffy shifted so that she now straddled him. She felt his chest and stomach muscles twitch under her fingers.
Giles cupped her bottom and pulled her tightly to his straining erection, she moaned her approval. He allowed himself to enjoy this for a few short moments. When he felt her begin to move against him, he called a halt. He held her to him as they calmed down.
    After she caught her breath and her heart rate slow, Buffy leaned back and looked at him. She saw him bite his lip as she moved against him. She felt how aroused he still was and leaned her forehead against his. "Why do you always have so much control?" She asked.
    Giles laughed harshly, but said, "We're not ready for this yet, Buffy." He put his hands to her cheeks and looked into her eyes. "We must take this slowly."
    "Why?" Buffy asked.
    "I want no regrets for you Buffy." Giles told her. "I want you to be certain that it's what you really want."
    "We've been through this Giles." Buffy said tiredly.
    "Yes," Giles returned. "I know. You believe that you are certain. But... I need to be certain as well."
    "You have doubts?" Buffy asked, uncertain. She moved off of his lap and sat where she had been on the couch. She didn't touch him. "What kind of doubts?"
    "My doubts have nothing to do with how I feel." Giles told her carefully. "Or even how you feel. I'm afraid of how you will feel. It would kill me Buffy, if I made love to you and you regretted it. Were... disappointed in any way."
    Buffy looked at him shocked. "How…? Why…? I wouldn't…."
    "You don't know that Buffy." Giles said gently. "I'm forty-five years old, and unlike Angel, I look my age."
    "You think that matters?" Buffy asked. "Giles you are the most attractive.... The best man.... The sexiest man that I've ever known."
    "I seriously doubt that." Giles said sardonically.
    "Do you know what is the sexiest thing about you is Giles?" Buffy asked.
    Giles didn't answer, he just looked at her intently.
    "It isn't just that you're good looking, which you are." Buffy told him.
    She put her hand over his heart. "It's the most beautiful thing in the world to me." She cupped his face in her hands. "Don't you know by now? Haven't you realized?" She kissed him softly. "I love you Rupert Giles."
    Giles looked at her surprised. "Buffy, I...."
    "I have no doubts." Buffy told him firmly, honestly.
    Giles leaned down and kissed her fiercely and held her to him as if he might never let go.

    The next day was Saturday. When Wesley and Abby arrived, Buffy was already there. Or was she *still* there? Wesley asked himself.
    The furniture in the living area had been pushed back and a mat placed on the floor.
Wesley wanted to believe that Abby had been mistaken. He was determined to watch and judge for himself. Wesley admitted, if only to himself, that he wasn't the most observant man. Too much time with his books. So, he watched.
    As Buffy did her warm up, Giles went into the kitchen.Wesley watched as they trained. That's when he saw it. They bantered as they always did, Buffy chided Giles on his choice of attire and Giles chided Buffy on her choice of music. But he also saw.... Lingering touches and soft looks, accompanied by small smiles. All things he wouldn't have thought anything of, yesterday. Was Abby right? He would have to speak to Giles, he just didn't know how. He had no real right to question the man about Buffy.
    And if they were having a romantic relationship, there was really nothing he could do. He wasn't a member of her family. One couldn't even really call him a friend. That thought saddened him. All he knew was that he cared about her and as such, he needed to make sure that she was all right.
    Wesley looked at Giles. He knew why the man had been fired, of course. He'd even agreed with it.... Until he'd been here a while. He'd been told, by Travers to remain aloof. This Slayer had already gotten one Watcher killed and another fired. He'd been prepared to lay down the law. Then, he'd gotten to know her, all of them. That Merrick had died still gave the girl nightmares. Something that he'd witnessed first hand when they had all researched late one night and Buffy had fallen asleep. And Giles, well, as soon as he had heard her scream Merrick's name, he'd known. He'd rushed to her and held her while she had cried.
    The others had gone back to research, only to cast occasional sympathetic looks at Buffy. Wesley had wondered how many times that seen had played out before. If not that nightmare, then some other.
That's when he'd seen the truth. It wasn't wrong that Giles cared for Buffy. A bond like that could never be wrong. If anything, it made Buffy stronger, fight harder. She inspired such loyalty. She was quite willing to die for them, but the opposite was also true. They would all die for her, just as Merrick had. Just as he would now, for her or Abby.
    So, if it wasn't wrong for Giles to love her, it shouldn't be wrong for Giles to be in love with her. But, he still needed to speak with Giles.
    When Giles set Buffy and Abby to spar, he went into the kitchen. To train a Slayer was difficult. For *him* to train *Buffy*, while she wore next to nothing, was *hard*. Especially with spectators. Giles grabbed several bottled waters from the refrigerator. When he turned around, he found Wesley. "Something you need?" he asked. When he realized that Wesley wasn't going to let him pass, he set the bottles on the counter.
    "I wonder if I might have a word." Wesley said hesitant. "About Buffy?"
    "I don't see why not." Giles responded. "What do you wish to speak about?"
    "I'm ... concerned." Wesley said. "Last night she seemed, well, upset."
    "Well, yes, a bit." Giles concurred. "While she and Spike are hardly what you would friends, they have had to rely on each other once or twice. To see him fighting Abby, then when Abby went down, well.... It upset her. The only thing that saved Spike was that she saw that he hadn't gone in for the kill, when he had the chance."
    "If something had happened to Abby, she would have felt responsible."
    Wesley concluded. "Doubly responsible since it was Spike."
    "Exactly." Giles said.
    "She seems.... Vulnerable, emotionally." Wesley commented.
    "I suppose that she is, somewhat." Giles agreed. "Even after everything that she's been through, she doesn't know how to armor her heart."
    Wesley looked at his hands. "I would hate to see someone take advantage of that."
    Giles narrowed his eyes a fraction. "So would I." He crossed his arms over his chest. "I hope there is a point to this."
    "As I said, I'm concerned." Wesley reiterated. "It's quite understandable that she would need someone to turn to."
    "And you think that's what happened?" Giles asked. "That she's turned to me in some misguided need for comfort."
    "Actually, I don't." Wesley admitted. "I just needed to be certain." He explained.
    "Do you think it didn't occur to me that *that's* what was happening?" Giles asked. "It did. And it scared the hell out of me. I would never do anything to hurt Buffy. I love her." Giles stated unequivocally.
    "And I love him." Buffy said from behind Wesley.
    The two men looked surprised to see her there. Abby was there as well, She glared at Wesley.
    "Abby told me." Buffy said.
    Wesley looked down. "I was concerned. I wanted to be certain that you had entered in to the relationship for the right reasons."
    "And not because I'm an emotional basket case." Buffy said. "Giles would never...." She looked at Wesley's bowed head. "Thanks for caring Wes." She said softly.
    Wesley raised his head and slowly met her eyes. "Y-you're welcome Buffy."
    Maybe they were friends after all, Wesley thought.

END