By RenZach

TITLE - Cleansing
AUTHOR - Renzach
PAIRING B/G talk of B/S
SPOILER- Wrecked
DISCLAIMER - None of it mine, all belongs to Joss and co.
SUMMARY - A phone call to Giles causes her to confess more than she had planned.
FEEDBACK- Yes please.

She clutched the cross in her hands a little tighter as images of the previous evening pushed their way into her thoughts. His cold dead skin writheing against her own fueled not by desire or passion but by emptiness. A void was all she was now, without Giles by her side there was nothing to keep her here. Heaven seemed so much farther away with him gone. She silently cursed herself for never speaking of her true feelings, never letting Giles see the depth of her love for him, heck she'd shown Spike more attention than Giles. She'd scrubbed and scrubbed her skin in the shower until it was raw and bleeding but still she felt no less filthy. She knew that the dirt was deeper down and that nothing would ever be able to wash her clean.

Giles deserved to be happy and she knew she couldn't provide him with that, he deserved better than her. The only thing she was worthy of now was this freak show that was her relationship with Spike. She didn't love him, she didn't even truely like him and what she felt was far from happiness when she was with him, but at least she felt something. Pain, horror, anger and hatred those were the things she wrapped like a blanket around herself now. Her body still showed some signs of their frenzied sex, the lighter scratches and bruises gone from her slayer healing but some of the deeper more painful ones had faded only slightly. She tried to imagine Giles' hands caressing her but all she could feel were Spikes pawing and painful. Never again! Feeling the void was better than that she decided, better than the shame that was threatening to drown her.

Giles' head rested in his hands as he tried to get the images of Buffy out of his mind. Everywhere he looked he saw her, all he could hear was the sound of her voice. Nights were spent dreaming of holding her and days aching in the knowledge that it would never happen. He had picked up the reciever a number of times and even once got as far as dialing a few of the numbers, but his nerve was lost every time. Anyway what would he say to her? He couldn't tell her how he really felt and he knew that the sound of her voice would do him in. He had long ago given up wipeing his tears with a handkerchief so he left them to trail down his cheeks. He knew she was better off without him, he was standing in her way, with him gone she would be able to take responsibility and move on with her life. He hoped that the desperate pain in his chest would eventually ease but as long as she was happy, that was all that mattered.

The need to hear Giles' voice became overwhelming until she realised the phone was in her hand and she had dialed his number. The rings seemed to go on forever, her resolve started to fail and she moved to hang up when she heard a breath on the line. A sob escaped at his hello and she struggled desperatly to hold it together. He would know the sound of that sob anywhere, he had heard it far too often. "Buffy?" he whispered. The tears began to flow freely when she heard her name come from those beautiful lips, he could make her name sound like an answer to a prayer, something reverant and a miracle. "Giles" she breathed in response. He could hear the agony in her voice and it shot through his heart like a arrow.

He wondered what had happened to cause her so much grief.
"Is it Dawn? Is everything alright there?"
"Well actually no, Dawn and Willow were in an accident tonight but they're both going to be ok." She was somewhat proud that her voice had only wavered a little.
"Oh my God, are you sure they're ok? What happened? Was anyone else hurt?"
"Long story but yes they will be ok, I ..I just thought you should know."
"Thank you, I appreciate it."
She stayed quiet listening to the sound of his breathing return to normal, it was amazing how even just that calmed her.

"Buffy? Is everything else alright?"
"Sure, why wouldn't it be?" He could hear the pain in her voice, she had never been very good at hiding that from him.
"Buffy" He admonished her, he hoped it was something he could help her deal with, old habbits die hard.
She could no longer hold the sobs at bay her shame and grief ripped their way through her soul, her tears came hard and heavy then.
"Oh my dearest Buffy, what's happened?" He couldn't bear to hear her cry, every sorrow she had ever felt he shared.

"What's wrong? What's wrong? Do you even need to ask? So many things are wrong Giles, my whole world has fallen apart since you left. You were the only thing that brought even a tiny bit of light into the darkness I exist in now. When I'm near you my heart starts to beat again and I start to feel like I might actually be happy one day. But you just left! You decided I wasn't good enough and you dumped me like every other man I've ever known."
"Buffy that's not fair."
"Fair? Is it fair to make me feel alive again and then walk away? Is it fair to pick me up and then drop me when I need you the most?"

"Buffy you leaning on me is why I left, you need to learn to deal with things...."
"On my own? Why? Don't you think I've been through enough? Why do I always have to fight? Well I'm through fighting, no more fighting for Buffy, that's it. I'll be who everyone wants me to be, Dawn will have a parent, the world will have a slayer, the gang will have a faux grateful friend and Spike will have his slut. Oh I forgot to mention that didn't I? I finally gave into Spike, it's not pretty and it's certainly not love but when he hits me I know I'm not dead anymore and I have the bruises and bloodied clothes to prove it."

Giles almost dropped the phone at that revelation, the thought of his precious Buffy with that monster made him sick to his stomach. He wished so desperatly to be there right now holding her and showing her that she didn't need pain to feel alive, that he could make her feel that way with a touch, a kiss. He tried to soothe her, calm her enough to be able to talk to her resonably but she was too far gone now, all he got from her was more nonsensical rambling. She had forgotten that she was still on the phone, all she knew was that the disgust and hurt had overwhelmed her and she wanted to claw at her skin till it was gone.

"I'm so so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'm so ashamed and dirty and my skin won't come clean, I tried I really did but it's too much. I wanted to go back to heaven, the closest thing in this world to peace is being with you. God I love you so much Giles and it's killing me to be away from you. I miss your eyes, the way they light up when you look at me and how they crinkle when you smile. When you held me for the first time after I ...I...came back, everything suddenly felt right, the universe made sense and the horror that I had felt since I awoke in that box started to recede. But I knew you would never feel the same for me, knew you'd some day return to England and I tried to be brave Buffy, I tried to set you free in the knowledge you were better off that way. But Giles I love you so much and no not as a father but as a man, a sweet, kind, gentle, handsome, brave man. The best man I have ever known. I couldn't help but fall in love with you Giles and I'm sorry that I couldn't hold it in anymore but I needed you to know. I've done horrible things Giles, letting Spike use me like that was probably the worst. I know you'll never be able to look at me again and I wouldn't be suprised if you're so disgusted and dissapointed right now that you never want to have anything to do with me again, but I needed you to know."

Giles lowered himself into a chair and tried very hard to breathe, she loved him, she honestly loved him, nothing existed in that moment bar the knowledge that his dear Buffy loved him. She panicked when she realised all that she had revealed and the fact that he had been terrifyingly quiet since. She hung up the phone and buried her head in her pillows to cry. He was roused from his joy at the sound of the dial tone. He hurried to hang up and dial back but there was no answer, time and again he repeated this routine until he became so filled with dread that he dialed an airline instead. He booked a flight to Sunnydale which was due to leave in an hour and rushed through his flat throwing things into a suitcase.

Buffy finally fell asleep when exhaustion took over, her pillow was now saturated but even that wasn't enough to keep her conscious. The next morning Willow knocked on her door to get Buffy to come down for breakfast but no sound came from inside. She opened the door and saw that Buffy was still asleep but seemed to be having a nightmare of some sort. She tried calling her name but to no avail so she shook Buffy until she stirred. The look in Buffy's eyes caused Willow to shrink back for a moment, there was no recognition in them, only a deep and scarring pain. Willow tried talking to Buffy, anything to pull her out of whatever place she was in but the most she received was a sob before Buffy clawed her way under her covers and refused to come out. Willow left the room deeply concerned for her friend, she considered asking Dawn if she knew what was wrong but remembered the previous night and decided Dawn would probably not want to see her just yet. Her whole body ached from the accident but the hand print on her face hurt the most.

She was distracted by the sound of the phone ringing and moved to the living room to answer it. Hearing Giles on the line was a large enough suprise but when he told her he was on a plane on it's way to Sunnydale she gasped aloud. "Willow, is Buffy alright? I was talking to her last night but she hung up and I haven't been able to reach her since."
"I dunno Giles I just went into her room and she won't speak, she just stared through me, Giles there's so much anguish in her eyes, I don't ever remember seeing her like this not even after Angel.." She mentally slapped herself for mentioning his name.
"Willow I need you to get someone to pick me up at the aiport, but not you, don't leave her alone for a minute, not until I get there."
"Ok Giles, I can't wait to see you we all miss you terribly."
"I can't wait either I'll see you shortly."

Willow dialed Xander and after explaining things to him he was more than happy to rush off to get Giles. Willow then made her way upstairs to freshen up, she hoped to keep as much about her magic foray a secret as possible. Giles was able to finally relax a little. The knowledge that Buffy hadn't done anything to hurt herself and that he would be there soon smoothed over his anxiety. He couldn't lose Buffy again and this time he would do everything in his power to make sure that would never happen. He would confess his love to her and he would spend the rest of their days filling her with joy and happiness.

His heart leapt into his chest as they pulled up to the house on Revello drive, he hesitated at the door only a moment before sweeping through. Willow enfolded him in a tight embrace then stepped back to allow him to make his way to Buffy. When he reached Buffy's door he stopped, once he went through there things would never be the same again, and thank God for that. He pushed it open gently and his heart broke to see her sobbing form curled up in the bed. She looked so beaten down not just physically but mentally too, this was not the woman he had left. He moved towards the bed and scooped her into his lap, at first she struggled but when she saw whose arms held her she cried out in disbelief.

"It can't be you, I must be dreaming still, I'll never feel Giles hold me like this in real life. That's a fairytale, a man like you could never fall for a girl like me, I'm used and broken and not good for anything anymore."
"Oh my dear sweet Buffy, that's not true, you are beautiful and wonderful and I will hold you like this everyday if that is what you wish." His hand brushed a lock of hair from her face then carressed cheek.
"Perhaps this will help you to know you're awake." He lowered his face until it was inches from hers, he watched her eyes sparkle as she realised this was real. His lips gently grazed hers taking his time to be tender, there would be time for passion later, right now she needed love and that's what he would give her. She threw her arms around his neck and sobbed into his shoulder saying over and over again "I love you Giles, God how I love you."
He allowed his emotions to boil over and he too began to sob whilst professing his love to her. She gasped at hearing him say I love you and stared into his eyes to see if it was true.

"Yes my darling Buffy I love you too, I have loved you for as long as I can remember and if you will allow me I will spend the rest of my life bathing you in that love." She squealed in delight knocking him back on the bed and showering him in kisses.
"Giles I will make everything up to you I promise, I know it will take me forever but if you're willing to let me then I'm willing to try, I love you."
"Oh Buffy luv, there's nothing for you to make up, we've both been fools in the past but today begins a new life for us both, I do so love you."
She smiled giddy with happiness, maybe she'd be able to get clean afterall.