Cindy Lou Who
Title: Cindy Lou Who
Disclaimer: They belong to Joss, Mutant Enemy and the WB.
Rating: PG B/G
Spoilers: Yeah. Present season.
Summary: An accident takes part of Giles' memory. What's a Slayer gotta do to
get it back?
Distribution: Solo, Jessica, Sai, Cassandra, Sal and WYWM. Anyone else,
Feedback: Be kind
Dedication: For Cindy B. Who didn't know that a simple request could break
down a case of reinforced concrete writer's block. *g*
Buffy sat with the others and waited.
She looked around, Riley held her hand, Willow sat next to her
with Tara and Xander and Anya sat across from her. Buffy's eyes
strayed, once again, to the doors that they had taken Giles
"Come on, you guys." Xander said in an attempt to ease the tension. "This is Giles and a head injury. How bad can it be?"
Buffy tried to smile, as did the others, as she laid her head against Riley's arm.
"Yeah," Willow said half hearted. "I mean, he must hold the world record for head injuries. He's always come through just fine."
Buffy practically jumped to her feet, when she saw the old guy in a lab coat headed their way. "How is he?"
He put his hand out to shake hers. "I'm Dr. Bennett. You're waiting for Rupert Giles?" Buffy nodded and he was surprised by the strength of her grip.
"He's stable. Still hasn't woken up. Is one of you Buffy?"
"I'm Buffy." Buffy said worriedly. "Why?"
"Mr. Giles has been talking." Bennett told her. "Muttering, really, while unconscious. The only word, or in this case name, that's been clear has been 'Buffy'. Your name, one assumes. Are you related?"
Buffy looked at him a moment. "We're family." She stated firmly. "Can we see him?"
Bennett hesitated. "One of you."
Buffy looked at the Gang and they all nodded at her. "Thanks." She turned back to the doctor. "Where is he?"
Buffy paced back and forth at the foot of Giles' hospital bed. Her thumb nail was gone from nervous biting. A Slayer with nervous energy was a sight to behold. She finally dropped into the chair by his bed. "Come on, Giles. You never take this long to wake up. Not even when that Watcher Cow Post hit you." She hesitantly put her hand over Giles'. "Please wake up, Giles." She whispered. Her elbow on the arm of the chair, she put her chin in her hand.
Buffy dozed for a short while, until she felt a gentle squeeze on her fingers. She sat up. "Giles?" She saw his eyelids flutter and hit the call button.
"Yes?" Came the disembodied voice.
"I think he's waking up." Buffy said excitedly. When he managed to open his eyes, she smiled down at him. "Hi."
"Hello." Giles said confused. "Where ...?" He looked around the room. "Why am I in hospital?"
"You got hit on the head again." Buffy told him.
"Again?" Giles echoed. "You're American." He pointed out unnecessarily.
"Well, yeah. Always have been." Buffy responded. She swallowed a bit of fear. "Can - can you tell me your name?"
He looked at her oddly. "Rupert Giles."
"Good." Buffy said with a bright smile. "My name?"
Dr. Bennett walked in with Giles' chart. "Good to see you awake, Mr. Giles."
"Another American." Giles said.
Buffy looked at Bennett concerned. "I think he's confused."
"Only natural." Bennett assured her. He checked Giles' eyes. "Fine. Name?"
"Not again." Giles sighed. "Rupert Giles."
"Year?" Bennett asked.
"1981." Giles told him. Buffy gasped and he looked at her. "Who are you?"
Buffy's eyes teared. "Buffy Summers."
"You don't recognize her?" Bennett asked.
Giles looked her over with some interest. "No, if I knew her, I'd definitely remember." He told the doctor with a small grin. "Wouldn't you?"
"I'd like to think so." Bennett answered neutrally.
Giles looked at her again, her head was lowered. He followed her gaze to their entwined fingers. Giles looked back to the doctor. "What's going on here?"
"Mr. Giles, what's the last thing that you remember clearly?" Bennett asked. Giles thought. "The wedding, I suppose. Dr. Evans managed to obtain a telly for the event. Eight of us squeezed into his office to watch, since they refused to close the museum."
Bennett looked to Buffy for clarification, but she shrugged. He looked back to Giles. "What wedding?"
"The Royal Wedding." Giles told him in disgust. "Charles and Diana."
"Oh boy." Buffy muttered.
"Yes." Bennett said, distracted. "Mr. Giles, that was nineteen years ago. It's the year 2000."
Giles' eyes narrowed. "Where am I?"
"Sunnydale." Buffy told him, dazed.
"What the bloody hell kind of name is that?" Giles asked. "How far from London is it?" He saw Buffy close her eyes.
"You're in the United States." Bennett told him.
"What?!" Giles exclaimed. "How ... Is this a prank? One of Ethan's I'll wager. You can tell him it won't work. I'm done with him. No more."
"Ethan, you remember." Buffy said with a watery laugh. "It figures." A part of her was aware that he hadn't pulled his hand from her own.
"Look, you don't expect me to believe this nonsense, do you?" Giles said. He looked Buffy over again. "No, I'd remember you." He stated, not quite as confident as before.
"You've believed stranger things." Buffy muttered. One handed, she dug through her purse and pulled out her compact. "1981 huh? You'd have been what? Twenty-seven?"
"Yes," Giles said. "Why?" She aimed the mirror at him and he looked at his reflection. "What kind of magick is this?" He asked quietly. He reached out to the mirror, then his face. He could feel the lines that shouldn't have been there.
"No magick." Buffy said as she put the compact away. "I was born in 1981." Her face went blank as she wondered if that was a coincidence.
Giles didn't know how, but he knew exactly what she was thinking. He also didn't understand his urge to reassure her. Here he was missing nineteen years of his life and he felt like he should have been comforting her. He wondered if it anything to do with the fact that she was quite the loveliest woman he'd ever seen. He looked at their joined hands. "Why am I here? In the States, I mean."
"For me." Buffy told him. The presence of the doctor kept her from explaining more. She gripped his hand tighter.
"Perhaps we should let him rest, now, Miss Summers." Bennett suggested. "We wouldn't wish to overwhelm him."
At her obvious reluctance to let go, Giles pulled her hand to his mouth and kissed it lightly. "It's all right." He told her as he released her hand.
Buffy looked at him oddly, but nodded. She felt uncertain. "I'll be just down the hall, if you need me." She went through the door that the doctor held for her. Once the door closed, she rounded on the doctor. "How can he just lose nineteen years?"
"Partial amnesia or selective amnesia are not
uncommon after a head trauma." Bennett told her calmly, even
as he repressed the urge to take a step back.
"Why 1981?" Buffy asked.
"I'm afraid I can't answer that." Bennett told her. "Only he can. And only once he gets his memory back. Something traumatic ..."
"I know his traumas." Buffy said defensively. "The worst was before 1981." She became thoughtful. "Why would he remember that, but ... Okay, even 1996 on, but 1981, that was so long ago."
"It may seem like it to you." Bennett chided her. "He needs to be eased into the present slowly. Shocking him with too many facts at once could result in him losing the memories forever. True amnesia is very tricky. We don't fully understand it. The only cases that I've seen are accident victims that can't remember the accident. I've never seen anyone lose this much time before."
"What do I do?" Buffy asked.
"Well, we'll keep him here overnight for observation." Bennett explained. "He'll go home tomorrow."
"And then what do I do?" Buffy asked.
"Play it by ear." Bennett told her.
Buffy rolled her eyes and went back to the Gang, down the hall.
They all looked at her expectantly, when Buffy rejoined them. Buffy gave them a weak smile. "He woke up, but ..."
"Is he all right?" Willow asked.
"Well, yeah." Buffy told her. "He just can't remember everything."
"What can't he remember?" Riley asked.
"The accident?" Willow asked.
Buffy's chin quivered. "The last nineteen years." She told them in a whisper. "Nothing after 1981." They just stared at her.
"What did he say when you told him?" Xander asked.
Buffy sat and pulled her knees up to her chest. "What could he say? He didn't believe us. He thought it was a trick of Ethan's."
Willow studied Buffy posture, very guarded. She hadn't sat with the rest of them, not even Riley. Almost as if she'd isolated herself even though they were in the same room.
"He didn't remember me." Buffy said in a small voice. "It's like he's Giles, but not my Giles."
"Your-" Xander began, but Willow shook her head at him. He looked at Willow in question, but she was looking at Buffy with an odd expression.
"He doesn't remember anything beyond Charles and Diana getting married." Buffy went on.
"Oh man." Xander muttered. "Who's going to tell him about Diana?"
"What if he doesn't remember?" Buffy asked.
"What if he never remembers? What if he doesn't want to
remember?" She looked at the hand that Giles had kissed.
Giles flipped on the television and watched a
channel that was airing the news. If this was one of Ethan's
tricks, it was elaborate. And that girl, Buffy. What a ridiculous
name. What did she have to do with it? Did Ethan think that a
gorgeous blonde would change his mind? He sighed as he admitted
to himself that she'd have been able to talk him into any number
of things. Who was she? He couldn't picture her being involved
with Ethan, but she seemed to know who Ethan was.
Buffy drafted Xander to help her get Giles home the next morning. Buffy cautiously opened the door. "Hi." She said uncertainly, when Giles looked at her.
Xander pushed her all the way in and ignored her glare. "Hey, Giles." He tried to sound casual.
"This is Xander." Buffy said. Then asked hesitantly, "Do you remember him?"
Giles shook his head. "Afraid not."
"He's a friend of ours." Buffy told him. "Are you ready to go home?"
"I suppose." Giles told her. "Are you taking me to England?"
"No, your home here in Sunnydale." Buffy told him with a preoccupied frown.
"Well, let's get on with it, then." Giles told her.
The ride to Giles' was made in silence. Giles watched the other two with wry amusement. They were having some sort of argument with only their eyes and facial expressions. Buffy seemed to win the disagreement without a word having been spoken.
Giles looked about, hoping to recognize something. "Sunnydale certainly is a quiet little town." He commented idly. Once again, the pair communicated without words.
"Oh, Giles." Buffy sighed.
"Why do you call me that?" Giles asked.
Buffy looked at him. "What? Giles?" He nodded. "It's your name. I've always called you Giles. What else should I call you?" Her eyes widened with a thought. "If you expect me to call you Ripper, you can forget it."
Giles looked at her thoughtfully. "No, I've left Ripper behind." He said uneasily. "What do you know about Ripper?"
Buffy turned in the seat, so that she could see him better. "Only what you've told me. What you've shown me."
"I-I told you?" Giles asked surprised.
Buffy nodded solemnly. "Ethan, Eyghon and Randall." She said sadly.
"Why would I tell you about that?" Giles asked suspiciously.
Xander pulled up in front of Giles' apartment. "Oh look." Buffy said with false cheer. "Home sweet home." Giles' eyes never left hers. "We can talk about it later, okay?" Buffy's eyes flicked to Xander. "Okay?" Giles nodded reluctantly and they got out of the car. Buffy opened the front door.
"Welcome home, Giles."
Giles blinked. Inside were three more lovely, young women. And one young man. His eyes narrowed on the young man. Something ...
"Willow, Tara, Anya and Riley." Buffy pointed to each in turn. <Why is he glaring at Riley?>
Giles had a moment of panic and looked at Buffy. "Are-are any of them ... Mine?" He asked nervously.
"Yours?" Buffy asked blankly. Then she giggled when she realized what he meant. "No. You don't have children." She frowned. "Not that you've ever told me about, anyway. No, they're all friends of ours."
<Ours?> Giles looked at her in speculation, unaware that he wasn't the only one.
"So, tea?" Willow asked.
Giles looked at her. "Yes, thank you. That would be nice." He sounded a little bewildered.
Buffy looked at Willow. "Earl Gray." They said in unison and smiled. Willow went into the kitchen and Buffy led Giles to the couch.
Giles looked at Buffy. "What aren't you telling me? There's something ..."
"I don't know what to tell you." Buffy said honestly. "Dr. Bennett said not to overwhelm you with too much at once and ... Well, I guess I was just hoping that we'd walk into your apartment and poof. You'd remember."
"Well, I haven't." Giles said shortly. "And far from being overwhelmed, I find that I am quite underwhelmed with the lack of information about *my* life."
"Wow." Xander said. "That almost sounded like Giles at his repressed, snooty worst."
"Xander!" Buffy said harshly.
Willow brought his tea and a bottled water for Buffy and placed them on the coffee table. "Maybe we should leave, so you two can talk." Her words were almost hopeful.
Buffy gave her a half smile. "Go on. Abandon ship. I should do this alone. No witnesses."
"Are you sure, Buffy?" Riley asked.
Buffy nodded. "See Will and Tara home?"
Riley nodded and he ushered everyone out.
Giles watched Buffy as she contemplated her hands. "Is this Ethan's doing?"
"I swear, if I ever find out that he had anything to do with you getting hurt, I'd kill him." Buffy said quietly.
Giles heard the sincerity in her voice. "What did Ethan do to you?"
Buffy looked into his eyes for a moment, before she turned her back to him. She held up her hair with one hand and moved her top out of the way with the other.
Giles reached out and gently traced the small tattoo. "Why? How?"
"Eyghon came back." Buffy told him. "Ethan needed another target." She shivered. "Long story short. Eyghon's gone." She dropped her hair and turned back to face him. "And that was my second meeting with Ethan. He shows up every so often just to annoy us."
Giles reached out a hand as if to touch her, but pulled back. "Who are you?"
"Your Slayer." Buffy said simply. "You're my watcher. Well, you were, until the Council fired you. Loving your Slayer's against the rules. Who knew?" It didn't occur to her to explain what she meant. Giles always knew what she meant. "They were never much use. Anyway, I'd much rather have you without the Council, than the Council without you."
"The Slayer?" Giles echoed. "I don't understand. Why would the Council ...?"
"Send you here? To me?" Buffy asked. "I don't know, really. All I have are theories and they're not very pleasant."
Giles took her hand in his own. "I never wanted the responsibility of an active Slayer." He admitted.
"I know." Buffy smiled at him. "Fighter pilot. Or Grocer." He gave her a surprised look. Her smile faded. "I didn't even know what I wanted to be. Except, you know, old. Someday." She said wistfully.
He didn't know what to say to that, so he said nothing.
"Of course," Buffy said with false cheer. "I've broken every other rule known to Slayerdom, why not that one?"
"Absolutely." Giles agreed.
"Anyway, so I walk into my first day of school here and there you were." Buffy told him. "I wasn't very nice. I'd lost my last Watcher. I couldn't do it anymore. I called it retirement. You called it turning my back and wouldn't let me. I'd be dead a dozen times over if it weren't for you." She told him softly.
Giles looked at her sadly. "I don't remember."
Buffy shrugged it off. "You will. Then you'll probably yell at me all over again for so many things."
She didn't fool him. He stifled the urge to take her into his arms. "What other rules have you broken?" He asked a bit stilted.
"You name it." Buffy said. "Secret identity, not so secret. The others, they all know and help. I had the nerve to die and not stay dead. Thus a second Slayer. She's gone rogue, though. In prison as we speak, trying to repent. I work with vampires. And told the Council to go to hell."
"Vampires?" Giles echoed oddly.
"Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that just yet." Buffy said uncertainly.
"No, no, it's all right." Giles told her. "Go on."
"The only thing left, really, is the big no-no for a Slayer." Buffy explained. "I have a life outside of slaying."
"That's remarkable." Giles commented. "Although, no small wonder the Council fired me."
"Actually, it was the test that did it." Buffy told him.
"Test? What test?" Giles asked.
"The Cruci ..." Buffy bit her lip. "The Crucamentium? I think that's what you called it. I just call it the week from hell."
"The Crucamentium." Giles echoed in horror. He met her eyes. "I did that to you?"
"In the end, you couldn't let me face it alone." Buffy told him. "You helped me."
"Such a betrayal." Giles said. "How ... How could you forgive me?"
"Not too hard, once the initial anger wore off." Buffy explained. "You've forgiven me of worse. Okay, maybe not worse, but just as bad and a helluva lot more often."
Giles looked dubious. "What could possibly compare to that?" He asked.
"I knew you'd ask that." Buffy said, disgusted with herself. "Let's see. You were kidnapped and nearly sacrificed because of me." She grimaced. "Lost your girlfriend, twice. Tortured. *Really* because of me." She looked at their joined hands. "I ran away."
Giles had no idea of what to say, so he just stared at her.
"I probably shouldn't have told you all that." Buffy said. "I probably shouldn't have told you anything."
Giles pulled on her hand until she looked at him. "And yet, we're still together." He said softly.
"You-you should probably rest." Buffy said awkwardly.
"Yes, that ten minute drive from the hospital was quite arduous." Giles said with a quirk of his lips.
Buffy gave him a quick smile, but then it faded. "It's just ..." She gestured inadequately.
"Quite right." Giles agreed without a clue as to what he'd agreed.
"Will said that you had practically no food, so ..." Buffy began. "Will you be all right if I run out for a few things."
"I think I'll manage." Giles assured her.
To assuage Buffy's worry, Giles had promised to lie down while she was gone. What kind of man had he become? Surrounded by all these young people. A nineteen year old lover. And not just any nineteen year old, a Slayer. When one looked at her, she seemed fragile, until one looked into her eyes. He realized then, that he'd believed everything that she'd said. Was she telling the truth? He glared at the loft ceiling. He hadn't doubted a word until she'd left him alone. So, he had to wonder why she had.
Buffy opened the dorm room door, not surprised to find everyone there. "Note my lack of shock." She said drily as she closed the door.
"How is he?" Willow asked.
"All things considered, okay, I guess." Buffy told her.
"What did you talk about?" Riley asked.
Buffy shifted, uncomfortable. "Slayer stuff. He didn't remember anything. Have any of you thought about why 1981? I mean, why not before Eyghon? Or before, you know, Jenny? Do you think he wanted to ..."
"Wanted to what?" Willow asked gently. She had a pretty good idea of what was worrying her friend.
Buffy looked at the floor. "I was born in 1981. Do you think he wanted to forget that I existed?" She asked in a small voice.
"What?" Riley asked confused.
"God, Buffy." Xander said. "Why does it have to be about you? Can't you stand just letting Giles be the center of attention for once without making it about you?"
Buffy looked at him as if she'd been slapped. "I-I gotta go." She turned hurriedly and left the dorm.
"Nice, Xander. And you talk about me." Anya said.
"Why didn't she hit him?" Riley asked confused as he glared at Xander.
Willow glared at Xander. "How can you claim to be her friend?" She asked harshly.
"It's true." Xander said.
"Buffy doesn't think everything is about her." Willow told him.
"No, she just thinks it's because of her." Anya commented. Everyone looked at her. "What? Haven't you noticed that she blames herself every time something goes wrong?"
Willow nodded. "In her mind, everything's her fault. Especially lately. God, she even blamed herself for Veruca."
"The she wolf?" Xander asked.
Again, Willow nodded. "In her mind, she didn't save my life, she was almost too late. Buffy doesn't think about the ones she saved, she dwells on the ones she couldn't." She looked at Xander. "Her glass is always half empty."
"She's worried about what she's done that is so t-terrible that Giles would want to forget her existence." Tara commented.
"I don't get it." Xander said. "It didn't have anything to do with slaying. He got hit by a car while he was jogging."
"And if Buffy had come by to visit him that morning, he might not have been out jogging." Riley said. His eyes met Willow's. "Yes, she said that, only with more Buffy ramble."
"Oh come on, she can't possibly ..." Xander began and trailed off when they all looked at him. "Okay, so I've put my foot in it again. What's new? What do we do now? And what's with all the 'my Giles's and 'our's?"
Willow met Riley's eyes and knew that he'd seen it, too. She gave him a compassionate smile and turned to Xander. "That's just Buffy being possessive." Xander didn't notice the way that Anya and Tara looked at Willow. Willow shrugged.
Buffy let herself into Giles' with two bags of groceries. She walked over and placed them on the counter, then went around to the kitchen. She put everything away and got rid of the bags.
Buffy made her way upstairs to the loft to check on Giles, but when she got to the top of the stairs, she didn't see him. "Giles?" She took off down the steps and through the main part of the apartment. She raced past the kitchen towards the bathroom and ran smack into Giles as she went around the corner. They both landed on the floor with her on top of him. Buffy hugged him, then pulled back. "You scared me to death."
"While I am touched by your concern, a shower is hardly a fear inducing event." Giles told her with laughing eyes.
Buffy noticed his damp hair and the fact that he wore only a robe. "Uh ..."
Giles moved his hands to her hips and gently rearranged her legs so that she straddled him. He slid his hands back up her legs, over her hips and rested them at her waist.
"Um ... I couldn't find you." Buffy said.
"You've found me, now." Giles told her. His hands moved to her back and slowly pulled her towards him. "What did you need?"
Buffy watched him mesmerized. "Uh ..." She swallowed. Her hands rested on his chest and she could feel his chest hair where the robe had opened.
"What-what are you doing?" Her eyes were trapped by his.
Giles just grinned before his lips touched hers. She had just begun to respond when he felt her pull away and scrambled to her feet. He looked up at her with concern. "What's the matter?" He asked as he got to his feet.
Buffy moved to the kitchen. "Are you hungry?"
"Not for food." Giles told her. He moved behind her and turned her to face him. "Buffy, what is it?"
Buffy couldn't meet his eyes. "You ... You've never done that before."
"What?" Giles asked confused. "Kiss you? I find that difficult to ..." She finally looked up and he looked down into her confused eyes. He cupped her cheek in his hand. "I don't understand."
"I'm not sure I do either." Buffy told him.
His eyes roamed her face as if to memorize her features as his hand slid to her throat. "Your eyes are so expressive. And your skin is incredibly soft." He smiled in satisfaction. "Your pulse is racing." He cupped the back of her head as his lips touched hers once again.
Buffy couldn't pull away this time, not yet. Her eyes closed and she felt his own heart race under her palm. <How did my hand get on his chest?>
Giles pulled back slowly and looked down at her face, her eyes were still closed. He'd fallen in love with her all over again.
Buffy opened her eyes slowly and looked at Giles. She'd never seen that expression on his face before. "What are you thinking?"
"How utterly lovely you are." Giles told her with a smile.
Buffy blinked. "I-I have to go." She moved passed him and headed for the door.
"Did I do something wrong?" Giles asked, uncertain of what just happened.
"No." Buffy said as she turned to face him. "God, no. I just ... I have to go." She left before he could stop her.
Giles stared at the closed door in confusion. What had just happened? Could it be that he didn't remember her? He wanted to remember her. God, how he wanted to remember her. He wanted to remember everything. Was he different? Was that the problem? Could he have changed that much? Or, was he right before? Was any of this real?
<Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.> Buffy thought to herself on her way back to her dorm. <He thinks ... Should I tell him ... Should I play along?> Buffy was confused by how much she wanted to play along. <Play?> She felt hysteria bubble just below the surface.
Buffy opened the door to her room warily, pleasantly surprised when she found only Willow. "Where'd everyone go?"
"I made them go." Willow told her. "So that we could talk when you got back."
"Talk about what?" Buffy asked as she returned to wary. "There's nothing to talk about." She said nervously.
"Yeah, that's convincing." Willow commented. "Buffy, what makes you think that Giles would ever want to forget you?"
Buffy plopped onto her bed. "You want that list alphabetical or by date?" She asked sadly.
"Then why wouldn't he have just left?" Willow asked.
"Giles?" Buffy asked in quiet disbelief. "No, he did that once. He'd never let himself ..."
"You're not a duty to Giles." Willow told her. "You haven't been since those first few weeks. Don't you know that?" Willow sat across from her. "You think it was duty that made him face Catherine the Great? Duty that had him willing to face the Master in your place? It wasn't duty that had him chasing any lead he could find those months you were gone."
"I don't know what to do, Will." Buffy said tearfully. "I need *my* Giles back, but ..."
"What is it, Buffy?" Willow asked, worried.
"He kissed me, Will." Buffy told her. "He kissed me and ... I-I liked it."
"Why is that so bad?" Willow asked gently.
"Giles would never do that." Buffy said as if stating the obvious.
"Why not?" Willow asked next.
"Because he's Giles." Buffy said in agitation. "Giles is the one person that's ... He's always the same." She stood and moved restlessly around the room. "He's always just there, my foundation. Strong and unchangeable. Only he has changed and I didn't want to see face it, only now I have to because ... He's supposed to just be there and only love me from a distance so that I ... And I can't pretend anymore and he ..." Buffy threw herself face first onto the bed and cried. "I need my Giles back."
Willow sat next to her and gently stroked her hair. "He's never stopped being your Giles, Buffy. He couldn't if he tried. And you've always been his Buffy. You just didn't know it."
Giles answered the door hoping to find Buffy there. Instead, he found Riley. Without a word, he opened the door wider and let him in. "I'm afraid that Buffy isn't here." Giles said as he closed the door.
"I know." Riley said. "I saw her go. I wanted to talk to you."
Giles crossed to the kitchen counter and leaned against it, crossing his arms as he did so. "Yes?"
"Have you remembered anything?" Riley asked innocuously.
Giles' brows furrowed. "No, not really. I had a flash of ... Something, but it was so quick that ... Well, it really didn't leave much of an impression. I'm not quite certain that it was even a memory." He tried to focus on it.
"It was Buffy, though, wasn't it?" Riley asked.
Giles was startled. "How-how did you ...?"
"Your expression." Riley said simply. "That's one expression I always recognize. I haven't known you long, a couple of months. Buffy, less than a year. What did you see?"
"She-she was in a white dress." Giles told him. "She had scratches." His hand went to his upper chest. "And she was wet." His eyes came back into focus and he looked at Riley. "That's all."
Riley shrugged, sympathetically. "Sorry. Doesn't sound familiar." He shifted.
"Were Buffy and I happy?" Giles asked. "Before all this happened, I mean."
"Happy?" Riley echoed. "Yeah, I suppose so. Why?"
Giles regarded him for a moment, uncertain of whether he should confide in him. "It's rather personal."
Riley regarded him in return. "I think I can handle it." Riley had a feeling that he wasn't going to enjoy the next few minutes.
"I'm rather confused." Giles told him. "Buffy, ... Do you now how long Buffy and I have been ... Involved?" At Riley's surprised look, he went on.
"It's a new relationship, then?"
"I think there's been a misunderstanding." Riley said carefully. "Are you under the impression that you and Buffy are a couple?"
"We're not?" Giles asked surprised. Riley shook his head. "Then, why?"
"Why what?" Riley asked.
"She said that I was fired for loving her." Giles said confused.
"You were." Riley confirmed. Giles walked around into the kitchen and poured himself a drink. "She'd yell at you if she saw that."
"No bloody wonder she ran off, then." Giles commented to himself.
"Why did she run off?" Riley asked gently.
"Doesn't matter." Giles murmured. "Why didn't she tell me?"
"She loves you." Riley told him with difficulty. "I think you're the most important person in the world to her."
"Then, why didn't she tell me the truth?" Giles asked.
"What did she tell you that wasn't true?" Riley asked in return.
After Riley left, Giles thought about what he had said. Had he misinterpreted everything Buffy had said or had she misled him? Once again, he wondered what was really going on there? He was more determined than ever to find out. Why had she let him kiss her?
Willow knocked tentatively on Giles' door. She wasn't certain that she should even be here, but Buffy was seriously wigged. She smiled nervously at Giles when he opened the door.
Giles had a sudden flash of Buffy standing there much the same way. Nervous, frightened and yet hopeful. He reached out a hand to reassure her, but the image was gone. Giles pulled his arm back awkwardly. "Yes, Willow, isn't it?"
"You okay, Giles?" Willow asked, concerned.
Giles waved it off. "Just a flash. Did you need something?"
"I was hoping that we could talk." Willow said hesitantly. "About Buffy."
Intrigued, Giles moved aside.
Giles listened in silence as Willow spoke. When she finished, he simply stared at her. "You want me to what?"
* * *
Willow found Riley in the park,
sitting alone on a bench. "Awfully quiet here for the middle
of the day." Willow commented as she sat next to him.
"First time I noticed it was when he was turned into a demon." Riley said, seemingly of no where. "She didn't even know what had happened to him, but she was going to hurt whatever had done it to him."
"She cares about you, Riley." Willow told him. "Loves you, but Giles ..."
"I know." Riley said. "You know, I didn't even think about it at the time, but when Prof. Walsh ..." He looked away. "Man, I was so screwed up, but I knew exactly where'd she'd be. With Giles. And when that girl Faith switched their bodies, where was the first place she went? To Giles. Do you ever watch them, Willow?"
Willow smiled. "Yeah, it's kinda fun." She told him, then realized who she'd said it to. "Oh."
"They are so much alike." Riley commented. "Except, you know, that Buffy can't sing." He smiled a little. "I swear sometimes that they can communicate telepathically. Entire conversations without a word being said, they just ... Look at each other."
Willow touched his arm. "Buffy didn't know."
"You know, I actually find that funny." Riley said, though he didn't smile. "How could she not know?"
"You ever meet Buffy's Mother?" Willow asked.
Buffy let herself into Giles' place with no small amount of trepidation. She looked around cautiously and saw him on the couch with a book. "What are you reading?"
Giles looked up from the book and smiled at her. Despite what Willow had told him, he hadn't been certain that Buffy would return. "Hello." He held up the book. "One of my Watcher diaries, apparently."
"Oh." Buffy said in a small voice. "Which one?"
"I was just reading about your defeat of the Master." Giles told her. He patted the seat next to him and she sat. He touched her cheek with just his fingertips, then pulled back. "It says that you died, but that you came back to kill the Master."
"Well, he made me mad." Buffy said as if to shrug it off.
"You're amazing." Giles told her.
"Not really." Buffy told him in return. "Just stubborn."
Giles grinned. "Yes, I've read that as well." His grin faded. "You wore a white dress. Even wet, you were lovely."
"That's in your diary?" Buffy asked surprised.
"No, I saw it." Giles said sadly.
"You remembered something?" Buffy asked.
"Mostly just the feelings accompanying it." Giles told her. "How close I'd come to losing you."
"Have you remembered anything else?" Buffy asked.
"Just quick flashes." Giles told her. "Nothing more." He indicated the book. "I was rather hoping that these would help."
"And have they?" Buffy asked.
"I suppose." Giles said. "But there's no substance to the knowledge. Have you ever read the diaries?"
Buffy shook her head no. "Not sure I want to know what you really thought about me. Or some of the things I've done."
"I think you'd be surprised." Giles said to her. "I think I've looked through all of them, now. I just seem to keep coming back to this one." He opened the book and flipped through some pages. "Listen. 'Buffy's instincts seem to be uncannily accurate, even for a Slayer. Animal possession, a hyena to be precise. She saw it immediately. Unfortunately, I didn't believe her at first. If I had, perhaps Principal Flutie would still be alive. I shall trust her instincts from now on.'" He looked up at her. "But I didn't, did I?"
Buffy shrugged. "Not always, no."
Giles picked up another book. He flipped through the pages, until he found
what he was looking for. "This isn't that long ago. 'An Earthquake. Buffy
came to me, fearing the worst. Not that I blame her. The last one was a sign
that led to her death. I didn't listen to her and sent her on her way.
However, she was right. Once again, if it weren't her, the Hellmouth would
have reopened and the world would have ended.'" He looked at her once again.
"It can't be easy to put your faith in someone that's let you down so many
times." Buffy commented.
"I've read nothing to suggest that you ever let me down." Giles told her.
"Just the opposite, as matter of fact."
"No." Buffy told him earnestly. "No, I could never have down this without you. You've always been there when I needed you."
"That seems to be less and less often lately." Giles commented.
"I'll always need you, Giles." Buffy told him softly. "If you didn't believe in me, I could never believe in myself. Without your support, I'd fall on my face."
"That would never do." Giles said as he touched her face. "Much too lovely a face to fall on." He said with a grin. His fingers slid from her cheek to her throat. "There is one thing that the diaries didn't tell me."
"What's that?" Buffy asked breathlessly, her eyes trapped by his.
"About us." Giles said as he brought his face closer to hers. His lips brushed hers gently, he didn't want to scare her off again.
"Us?" Buffy echoed on a breath.
He moved his lips to her throat. "When did we become lovers?"
"What?" Buffy asked as she pulled back and looked into his eyes. "We aren't ... We haven't ..."
Giles pulled back as well. "Was that so difficult?" Giles asked gently. "Huh?" Buffy said, confused.
Giles trailed his fingers along her throat again. "You led me to believe that we were lovers, why?"
"What?" Buffy asked. "I led you ... How did I do that?" She asked indignant.
Giles pulled all the way back and looked at her. Her eyes were wide and flashing. "You really don't know."
"Know what?" Buffy asked.
"Telling me that I came to the States for you." Giles commented.
"You did." Buffy stated. "The Watcher's Council sent you."
"You didn't mention that part." Giles pointed out.
"Yeah, 'cause the doctor never would have asked what the hell I was talking about." Buffy said sarcastically.
"And what was all that about *our* friends?" Giles asked, mentally conceding his last argument.
"They are *our* friends." Buffy said at a loss. "What was I supposed to say?" She asked.
"Do you have any idea how that sounded?" Giles asked in return.
"It was supposed to sound like they are *our* friends, which is exactly what I said." Buffy said.
"You were holding my hand." Giles said.
"And that means what?" Buffy asked. "I've also been known to hold Willow's hand. Or Xander's. Or ..." She looked down. "Well, you get the point."
"And the part about me loving my Slayer?" Giles asked not near as confident as before.
"What, there's nothing about it in the diaries?" Buffy asked.
"Quite a lot, actually." Giles told her.
Buffy looked at him oddly for a moment before she picked up a diary. "Where?"
"What?" Giles asked as he looked at her blankly. He took the book from her.
"Buffy, I ..." He took her hand. "I feel like an idiot. I can only blame the fact that I couldn't quite shake the fear that Ethan had a part in this. I'm sorry."
"Hey, I've met Ethan, remember?" Buffy told him. "Uh ..."
Giles glowered. "Yes, I read about that as well." Then he looked at her in question. "Why did you let me kiss you?" He asked.
"Surprise?" Buffy tried. She shrugged sheepishly. "It was nice." She told him with a smile. "More than nice, but ..."
"I'd never done that before." Giles finished for her. "Why haven't I?"
Buffy looked at him surprised. "I don't think I can answer that. I am fairly certain that when you get your memory back, you'll be angry at yourself."
Giles shrugged. "Then I may as well be very angry at myself." Before she could ask him what he meant, he pulled her towards him for a searing kiss. He took advantage of her gasp of surprise by thrusting his tongue into her mouth. When he felt the tentative touch of her own tongue, he gentled his hold on her and wrapped his arms around her.
Buffy's own hands rested on his chest, they clenched into fists and gripped his shirt tightly. She whimpered when he pulled her tighter against him.
Giles gently released her mouth and moved his to her throat. "How could that possibly make me angry?" He whispered in her ear.
Buffy shivered. "Huh?"
Giles met her glazed eyes with his own passion darkened ones. "Unless it's because I hadn't done it sooner."
"You see me as a daughter." Buffy said weakly.
Giles laughed at that. "Don't be ridiculous. I seriously doubt that any man with even just an ounce of virility *could* see you that way. Except your true Father." He kissed her again, more gently this time.
Buffy pulled back. She gently touched his forehead, where the bruise still stood in high relief.
Giles had a flash. The scene was similar, except Buffy was the one injured. Her eyes were sad and filled with hurt, as he tended to her injuries. No words were spoken, but he saw the tear trail down her cheek. He reached out and swiped her cheek where the tear had been.
Buffy didn't say a word as she watched him. She felt him swipe her cheek and
felt his hand shake. He'd remembered something.
The image in his mind changed. He saw things and heard voices. <'Giles, I'm sixteen years old. I don't want to die.'> <'She's sixteen going on forty.'> <'It would be better if you had no further contact ...'> <'You poisoned me.'> <'I blame you.'> <' ...Invention of the moon pie.'> < '... Support and respect ...'> <'Sod off.'> <'No respect for me ...'> <'You're to be Watcher to a Slayer.'> <'... It should be smelly.'> <'... Didn't even have chainsaws.'> <' ... In a tutu. Pillock!'> <'And the funny just keeps coming.'> <'Jenny!'> <'Buffy!'> <'You get to live.'> <'... Returning to the Watchers.'> <' ... Dribble out my ears.'> <'The hills are not alive.'> <'... The words let that be a lesson to you seem a tad redundant at this
juncture.'> <'Welcome home, Buffy.'> <'Would you like me to convince you?'> <'Fire bad, tree pretty.'> <'You fed off her?'> <'... Go to America.'> <'... Curator at the British Museum.'> <'... Librarian at Sunnydale High School.'> <'A babe. I can live with that.'> <'Hey, England.'> <'Jenny.'> <'Buffy.'> <'... Trying to get yourself killed? You can't leave me. I can't do this alone.'> <'Don't warn the tadpoles.'> <'But I mean, in cricket.'> <'Buffy's the Slayer, don't tell anyone.'> <'A talk with vampires in it.'> <'... From this dread machine.'> <'Tact is just not saying true stuff, I'll pass.'> <'He was an animal.'> <'I'm certain that my books and I are in for a fascinating afternoon.'> <'A werewolf.'> <'Buffy.'> <'You're Mum's died, Rupert.'> <'Mum.'> <'You can't tell your Mother.'> <'... She'll go insane.'> <'You're not. Not anymore.'> <'I think your Mum's right.'> <'Mum.'> <'Good-bye, Mum.'> <'Ripper.'> <'Your Mum's died, Rupert.'> <'Cancer.'> <'Didn't tell anyone.'> <'Birthday ...'> <'Buffy.'>
When Giles opened his eyes again, his head was in Buffy's lap and she was gently running her fingers through his hair. "What happened?"
Buffy gasped in surprise and looked down at him. "I think your memories were too much for you."
He sat up slowly. "I think you're right." Giles commented. "A bit much all at once."
"You wouldn't answer me." Buffy told him. "It was like you were somewhere else."
"I was." Giles said.
"Wasn't a fun trip, huh?" Buffy asked.
"Educational." Giles responded. "A bit painful."
"I could see that." Buffy commented. "You okay, now?"
"Yes, I think so." Giles answered.
"And your memories?" Buffy asked.
"A bit jumbled still." Giles told her. "But all there, I think."
"Oh." Buffy said in a small voice.
Giles looked at her. "It's all right, Buffy. Twenty years of memories all at once are bound to be a bit much."
"What did you see?" Buffy asked.
"The big question." Giles commented. "I think it was my Mum. It was her birthday, that's why I had pushed myself so hard that day on my jog. I was trying not to think about it. She died in 1982. January."
"I'm sorry, Giles." Buffy said softly.
Giles nodded. "Cancer. She never told anyone that she was sick, not even me. She must have been in such pain at the end, but she never said a word." Buffy took his hand and he smiled his thanks. "She was the only one that welcomed me back. After Ripper and everything else. I ran away from everything, but when I walked through that door, it was as if I'd never gone. With Mum, anyway."
"Is that why you ... Why you never said anything to me?" Buffy asked.
Giles nodded. "That and I was just grateful that you were home. Alive and safe. Still my Buffy." He looked at her, embarrassed. "That is, my Slayer."
"I guess I should talk to Riley, huh?" Buffy asked.
Giles looked down. "Yes, o-of course."
"Tell him that he can't borrow your Buffy anymore.' Buffy said as she laid her head against his shoulder. Giles looked at her surprised. "But first," she said softly. "Tell me about your Mum."
Giles smiled and wrapped his arm around her and held her close. "You'd have liked her. She was a lot like Willow. She even had reddish hair. Quiet, a bit shy, but fierce as a lion when she needed to be. I remember when I was seven...."