By Gabriele Schulz

TITLE: Deliverance
AUTHOR: Gabriele Schulz
DISTRIBUTION: Solo84, Cap, UCSL. Others please ask first.
SPOILERS: up to A New Man
FEEDBACK: Always eagerly read :-)
SUMMARY: Giles confesses his love for Buffy and learns the unexpected truth behind his slayer's recent (mis)behavior. B/G
DISCLAIMER: The characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Sandollar Productions, Kuzui Enterprises, 20th Century Fox Television, the WB Television Network, and whoever else may have a hold on them. "Love Gives Love Takes" by The Corrs doesn't belong to me either. I do not mean to infringe upon any copyrights.
NOTES: So what does a B/G writer do, when faced with the stupid blindness that is Buffy. She chooses to write about the future or past or deperately tries to explain Buffy's actions. We see how Buffy treats Giles, but we don't know what she thinks. Here is my version.
DATE: 01/29-30/2000
DEDICATION: For my wonderful beta-reader Lily, because she enjoyed it so much and she deserves just the best. Thank you, Lily.

His fingers ran over her silken skin. He pulled her down for another passionate kiss while she kept moving above him. He could feel that she was close. It was fine with him. It wouldn't be long for him either. His hands moved from her hair and neck down her bare back to her waist before gripping her ass cheeks. She was riding him frantically now. Her body was upright again, her head thrown back.


He felt her hot, wet channel tightening around him. It was enough.

With a silent moan he ejaculated against the shower curtain. A few seconds of panting, then the hand that had just been stroking himself to orgasm was balled into a fist, hitting the innocent wall. He hated this. Not wanking. That he was thinking about her while doing it.

Two and a half days.

That was how long Buffy had kept her promise. It hadn't been a great lie. Technically it wasn't even a lie. She had told him that she couldn't come because Willow felt lonely and needed some cheering up. She had *not* said that she would spend time with Willow. So it hadn't been a lie.

Now he was defending her. It was almost ridiculous. The truth was she had let him down again. And Willow, too, because it hadn't been a lie that her best friend was lonely. Giles should have invited her to practice some magic, but when Willow had told him that Buffy wasn't with her but with Riley, he had been too hurt to say more than 'Thanks' and hang up.

Willow deserved better. *He* deserved better. He deserved someone who didn't treat him like a broken appliance that you kept because you might need some parts at some point. He deserved someone who cared about him, who loved him. Someone like Willow. Or Olivia, or Anya or Cordelia. Or any woman that wasn't Buffy. With the possible exception of Maggie Walsh, he couldn't think of a (human) woman who had treated him as badly as Buffy. Not only did she not care about him, she constantly hurt him. He would be far better off with someone else. Anyone.

The only problem was that he didn't love anyone.

He loved Buffy. He had loved her since he had found out she would die. And he had fallen in love with her when she had run away. And nothing had been able to stop or even lessen his love. Not her obsession with Angel, her lies, her lack of visits over the summer, her 'teasing' and recently the fact that his existence seemed to escape her mind whenever there was something important to tell (not to speak of unimportant things, but he was used to not hearing those from her).

'I will tell you everything.'

Two and a half days.

He turned off the water. He wanted to get drunk. Just something to ease the pain until he passed out. But he didn't want her to find him like that. < Why? It's not as if she would come over any time soon (like this decade). > Buffy probably not, but Willow and Xander did once in a while and he didn't want them to see him like that. But he couldn't stay at home. Sitting around alone was not likely to make him feel any better. So he packed a stake, a cross and some holy water.

It was a clear night. Full moon.

He wondered where Oz was. Would he come back? He very much wished for Willow to be happy. He knew what it meant to be lonely. Sometimes he just wanted to take her in his arms and tell her 'I know how you feel'. He had actually considered telling her about his feelings for Buffy. He knew that Willow would never betray his confidence. Not even to Buffy. But still, he couldn't bring himself to tell her. And she wouldn't have been able to help him. She couldn't tell him anything he didn't know.

That loving Buffy, the way he did, was insanity. It was hopeless, caused him nothing but misery and only served to turn every act of disregard by Buffy into a painful infliction of his heart. He knew all of this, but still he couldn't stop loving her. Because always when he was at the limit of what he could take, she did something, looked at him in a way, spoke a word to him that made him forget all the pain and misery and lit up his soul with false hope. This would probably go on until he finally had the strength to pack his things and go back to England. He wondered how long it would take her to notice.

The demon was delighted by the stupidity of the people in this town. It was the Hellmouth and still they kept walking around at night in some deserted park, too far away from any house to hear a scream. This was almost too easy.

Two hours, three vamps, but mostly outright boredom. Riley had a meeting with Prof. Walsh, so she was patrolling alone once again. She hadn't quite noticed how much she had missed company until Riley had started coming with her each night. Ninety percent of vampire slaying really was waiting. A smile crossed her face as she thought of those times long ago, when it had been Giles who been with her night after night. And as always when one of those memories came unexpected and unbidden, the smile soon turned bittersweet. Things had been so easy back then. They had been Watcher and Slayer, sharing a relationship based on respect and occasional mocking on both sides. And now... She shook her head and jumped off the tombstone she had been sitting on. She didn't want to think about Giles. Things wouldn't change by thinking about them and feeling bored was still better than feeling depressed and guilty.

She slowly started to walk home, when she heard a squeal that sounded distinctly not-human. No more boredom at least.

Despite the squeal, the stake obviously hadn't hurt the demon very much. Otherwise Giles wouldn't have found himself flying through the air, although he had done his best to drive the wood through where he believed the demon's heart must be.

He landed on his back with a loud thud.

'I should have gotten drunk' was his last thought as the demon straddled him. It took a firm grip of his head and made some sounds he couldn't understand. Perhaps some witty last words in demon language. God, why couldn't it just get over with it and snap his neck. Instead the demon was yanked off of him and introduced to the hard wood of a nearby tree. The demon didn't take that as well as the stake and lost its orientation. Is stumbled forward straight into Buffy's fist. And then her foot. And her knee. It wasn't a pretty picture. At least not for the demon.

Giles on the other hand watched with awe as his slayer made short work of his attacker. < My saviour. > He chose not to think about whether that thought was ironic.

Buffy kept fighting until the demon lay on the ground not making any attempt to ever move again. It was only then that she looked up to see if whoever had been attacked was still there. They mostly just ran away, when they weren't too injured to do so. He had neither run away nor stood up. He had just propped himself on his right elbow to better see her.

Their eyes locked and when she recognized him, there was a second of shock and deeply felt concern. It went straight to his heart and set it afire. Then she frowned and came towards him.

"What the hell were you thinking? Walking around at this time of the day in the middle of nowhere?"

She now stood before him and looked down at him angrily. He waited for her to help him up, but she didn't and it acted as a bucket of cold water. He struggled to his feet and when he nearly fell again, she didn't even blink.

"I'm sorry if my being nearly killed was of inconvenience for you. I wouldn't want to interrupt any quality time spent with your *boyfriend*. Where is Riley?"

"What the hell is your problem?!"

Now that was a fantastic question coming from her of all people. He could tell her his problem. His problems. All the things she had done to him in the last two years. But the truth was, she probably wouldn't even listen. He was angry now though. He had enough. He knew that they were a thousand reasons to never let her know of his feelings, but at this moment he couldn't think of one. Instead he thought that maybe if he told her, things could finally change. Kindness brought on by pity or a one-way-ticket to England. At this point he didn't care either way.

He decided to take the most direct approach, something that even she would have to understand and couldn't ignore or misinterpret.

He kissed her.

She didn't react at all. Neither by pushing him away nor by responding.

Finally he broke the kiss and waited for her to speak. He couldn't read her reaction. There was nothing, not even surprise. < Come on, Buffy. It wouldn't be the first time you speak before thinking. Just tell me how you feel. Tell me that you're shocked or disgusted or afraid. Or sorry. >

After a full minute she finally spoke. It wasn't any of the many, many things he had been prepared for.

"We should get it to the Initiative."

She walked back to where the demon still lay.

Giles just stared at her, wondering what the bloody hell was going on. He had kissed her, all right. He was sure of that. Unless of course he had some severe head trauma, in which case it didn't matter since this was all imagination.

Buffy took a look at the demon and got out a small electronic device.

"It's just a little beeper-thingy. To inform them."

She had told him to explain that it wasn't another lie, but she needn't have bothered since the words reached Giles' ears but not his brain.

He was trying to find a plausible explanation for Buffy's behavior. *Any* kind of explanation actually. He had kissed her. Finally admitted his feelings and her reaction had been... no reaction at all. Buffy busied herself with inspecting the body of the demon. That was at least what she seemed to be doing. If anyone asked her she probably wouldn't even be able to tell its color (greenish with some chocolatey speckles). It should only take them a few minutes to arrive. She started to count the seconds, trying very hard not to look at Giles who was still standing a few meters away. That was how Riley and the others found them.

"Is everything okay?"

"I'm fine. But I could need some help."

He motioned for the two other guys to help her with the demon, then approached Giles who still stared into space.

"Mr. Giles? Are you all right?"

Riley put his hand on his arm. Giles blinked and then focused his gaze on Riley.

"Mr. Giles?"

Giles looked past Riley to where Buffy and the two commandos were carrying the demon away.


"Take him home."

She didn't even look at Giles.


"I'll drive you home. She's fine. Don't worry."

Giles looked at the young man in front of him. So nice, so polite, so devoted to Buffy. He would drive him home, no matter how much Giles protested. And what good would it do to be immature in front of a young man, who was half his age and the boyfriend of the woman he loved? Giles just nodded and allowed Riley to lead him to a car.

When he entered his home, Giles was almost over the shock. His brain began to function again and soon enough he came up with what *could* be an explanation for Buffy's behavior.

She wanted to protect him. She knew that whatever it was that she thought would hurt him, so she gave them both the opportunity to pretend that nothing had happened. It was the only explanation that made any sense.

Of course he couldn't leave it at that. He needed to hear what she thought. Even though it was nothing, that would make him happy. Or maybe because of that. Perhaps when she shattered his hopes once and for all, he would be able to stop loving her and move on to live his own life. Then he could be pleasantly surprised when she dropped by to ask for help and the rest of the time wouldn't hurt anymore. Or she could tell him that she was appalled that he was in love with her and that she would prefer if he left her alone. Then he could go back to England. After all she was the only thing that was keeping him here.

And if God was gracious, Buffy would say that she was sorry. And that now that she knew how much she meant to him, she would try not to neglect him.

< Certainly. And while you're dreaming, she might fall into your arms and tell you she always loved you and just was too afraid to tell you. And yesterday, she was just too shocked to act on her feelings. And Riley was just a distraction. And lying and making fun of you was just to cover up her feelings. And... >

"Shut up!"

The voice in his head was kind enough to halt. He longingly looked at the cupboard where he hid his liquor, then shook his head and went upstairs.



"No, it's okay. You just seem... even more focused than usually. Something wrong?"


"Is Mr. Giles okay?"


"He looked pretty shocked yesterday. Didn't speak a word on the way home."

"Yeah, well. You don't get nearly killed by a demon every day."

"*He* doesn't."

Buffy didn't answer his smile.

"Are you worried about him? He means... a lot to you."

"Why don't we get back to training?"

"You don't like to talk about him, do you?"

"I don't know what you mean."

"Well, you never even mentioned him before you introduced us at your birthday. And yet, when you thought he was hurt, possibly killed... You can't tell me he was just your librarian at High School. And I was wondering, what he is to you?"

"Riley, it's... hard to explain. He wasn't just the librarian, he was... he is..."

"Mr. Giles."

"Just Giles actually."

"No, I mean, he's here."

Buffy turned around, to see Giles walking towards them.

"Wi-Willow told me I'd find you here."

"Yeah, we were training. Something up?"

"I... I wanted to talk to you - alone."

"You know, I guess I-"

"It's important."

He was pleading with his eyes.

"I'll drop by after training. In an hour. Is that okay?"

"I'll be waiting."

He nodded towards Riley, who returned the gesture.

Giles left without looking back.

"You wanted to tell me what Mr. Giles is to you."

"No, I didn't. You wanted to know."

"So you are not going to tell me."

"Not right now, okay? It's... a little complicated. Even for me."

She smiled and frowned at the same time and looked very cute while doing so. Riley smiled down at her.

"Let's get back to training."

How long was she going to stand in front of the door before knocking and/or coming in? Giles had been waiting for 5 minutes, since he had seen her come down the street. If she didn't do something soon, he would just open the door.


"Come in."

She entered, closing the door behind her and just standing there, not coming any closer. After it was obvious that she was not going to start talking he came up to her. They looked at each other for a long moment.

"Buffy, I love you."

Her only reaction was to drop her gaze to the ground.

After a minute of silence Giles asked.

"Is that all you're going to say?"


She kept looking at the ground and didn't seem willing to say anything more.

"Buffy, I-I think I know why you... reacted the way you did - do. You don't have to be afraid to hurt me. I didn't tell you about my feelings, because I expected you to reciprocate. I don't. I'm not a fool."

Her eyes shot up at that, only to look at the floor again after a second.

"I told you because... because I can't go on like this. I needed to make you aware of what I am going through. And I need to know what you think."

"You don't want to hear it, Giles."

"I don't? Because you say so? Buffy, I'm twice your age and even though you have experienced more than most people your age, I think I can judge better what I want and what I don't want."

"I think I'll go now."

She turned around, but he gripped her arm and forced her to turn back.

"No, you're not. You can't keep treating me like this. You can't just come and go as you like and trample on my feelings. I don't expect you to love me. In any way. But I expect to be treated with respect. I'm not an old weapon that you can stuff in a locker and only get out when you need it. I am a human being. You cannot keep overlooking me and forgetting me and still expect me to always be here for you. I *am* here for you. Only for you. And I think it's time to remind you of that. I want to help you in any way I can, but you have to let me. If you don't need me, tell me and I'll go back to England. Tell me. Do you want me to stay?"

"I can't."

"You can't what?"

"Give you what you want."

"But I want nothing! I just want you to tell me how you bloody feel about this. I told you that I loved you and you didn't react at all. Tell me that you think it's ridiculous. Tell me that you think it's disgusting. Tell me that you feel sorry for me. Just tell me something. Do you have any idea what you're doing to me? I love you so much and you keep shutting me out, hurting me. You don't care about me at all. You've always taken me for granted and that was fine with me. Because I felt appreciated. But at the moment you don't show any respect for me. And I keep loving you and I begin to hate it, because I lose all self-respect.

One of us *has* to change. I don't care who or how, but it can't go on like this. Either you realize what you've been doing wrong and *really* try to change. And if that's impossible, then just tell me how ridiculous my love for you is. I know that you'll never love me, but perhaps I need to hear it. Perhaps I can stop loving you if you hurt me enough. And if that's too much to ask for just tell me that you don't need me any longer. I've lived without you for most of my life. Don't think I can't do it again. Perhaps it would be best if I left."

He waited for her to speak and when she didn't he exploded.

"Dammit Buffy, open your mouth and say something!"

"So you were really finished?"

For the first time since he met her Giles raised his hand to slap her. She didn't move an inch. She made no effort to stop him. She just looked up at him defiantly, willing him to take the blow.

Of course he didn't hit her. It wasn't in him to lay his hand on her. So he did what he had done yesterday. He kissed her. This time it was more passionate. He was beyond caring. The relationship they once had had was gone. They would have to start from scratch or more likely he would leave for good. At least he would have another kiss to remember.

Not that there was much to remember. Of course she didn't respond.

But this time he didn't stop. He forced her to react.

She finally shoved him away.

Then she slapped him. Not hard, but still.

"You think you know everything! You have no idea! Do you think I'm blind? Do you think I'm stupid?! I've known that you love me for months. After three years I can read you like a book. You think I don't care? You think I don't respect you? Why the hell do you think I'm doing all of this? Because it's a personal hobby of mine to torture you? I'm not Angelus."

Giles didn't understand a word of what she was saying. Luckily for him she didn't expect him to say something just yet.

"I see this look in your eyes and I just want to run to you and take you in my arms and make it better. But I can't! Hope can kill a person and I don't want you to hope. But you keep hoping. I see it in your eyes, in the way you say my name sometimes. You think you can't take anymore? Well, I can't either. Do you know how much it hurts me to put you through this? I try not to think about it and mostly I succeed - I'm rather good at repressing - but sometimes I cry myself to sleep. I can't fight you. I can't fight your feelings for me, but I *can* ignore you. I can pretend that you're not there. I refuse to see the light in your eyes and it works. It's hardly there anymore."

"Bu-Buffy, if you just can't stand me loving you, tell me that you don't love me. But please don't be so cruel. Smile at me and when you see that light just say 'Giles, it can never be'. Take me in your arms and whisper 'I will never love you'. Eventually I'll believe what my head knows already."

"I can't!"

"Why not?"

"I need you."

"That's all I ever wanted to hear. I won't leave you if you want me to stay. Never."

She closed her eyes and a single tear rolled down her cheek. He stepped forward and took her in his arms.

"It'll be okay Buffy. We'll get through this, just as we got through everything else. I'll never leave you. Unless you send me away." She hugged him tightly and softly cried into his sweater. He stroked her hair gently.

"I'll try to stop loving you. I promise. You just have to be patient and help me a little."

She shook her head.


"I can't."

They stopped hugging each other.

"Why not?"

"Giles, I want you to stop hoping and I wish you wouldn't love me so... I don't deserve your love, but I can't... I can't tell you that I will never love you."

"Why not?"

"Because in this I can't lie to you."

It was barely a whisper, but he heard it.

"Are you saying that...?"

"I am saying that I can't love you. Loving Angel was hell. I can't do that again. Not now. Not so soon. It hurts so much. When Angel left, I thought I could never love anyone like that again. I thought I would never stop loving him. I wanted to stop loving him for over a year and I never managed. He had to leave. I can live without Angel. I can't live without you. I need you by my side. I need to know that I can always count on you, that you are here when I need you, no matter what time or reason."

"I told you, I'll never leave you."

"Unless I send you away."

"I'm not sure I understand."

"Riley is a nice guy. He's a good kisser and he loves me. And when we break up, I will be sad, but... When you and I break up, there will be nothing I can do. Nothing to forget you, nothing to get over you. I would have to send you away and that just isn't an option."

"You worry about our break-up, when we haven't even...?"

"It's only one of my fears. I'm afraid of losing you. I'm afraid of what will happen to you when I die. I'm afraid of what the others will say. I'm afraid that my parents will hate me. But most of all I'm afraid because I know that none of this will matter, when I fall in love with you. And I'm so close to falling for you whenever you look at me with your beautiful eyes full of hope and when you say my name like a prayer and when you run your fingertips over my arm or shoulder. Or when you have this confused, hopeful smile on your face like now. Please don't."

"I will always love you."

"I know. God, I know."

He leaned forward.

"Please don't."

She closed her eyes.

"I'm sorry."

She opened her eyes again, but didn't have enough time to pull away from his kiss.

His left arm went around her and his right held her head as he eagerly tried to coax a response from her. Her whole body trembled as she tried so hard not to react to his tender, yet demanding advances. Finally he did stop the kiss, but there was no resignation in his eyes just a twinkle that perfectly fit his smile.

"I'll never give up."

He gently cupped her face with his left hand and she couldn't stop herself from leaning into his touch.

"Giles, it's too soon."

"Perhaps, but it's also too late now."

"We could still-"

He stopped her by putting a finger on her mouth.

"I've waited too long for this and I've been through too much. Now, do you think if I kiss you again, you could kiss me back?"



A hardly visible nod.

He kissed her for the fourth time and this time she hesitantly responded. A little pressing back, a slight movement of the lips. He couldn't suppress a smile. When she felt it, her hands that were curled up into fists against his chest moved upward to his face. Her lips parted even more and when he felt her tongue stroking his lips, his smile faded and he opened up to receive her.

< I'm in heaven. You were wrong. She loves me, you were wrong. >

< Just one kiss. Then I'll tell him we need to wait. I can't fall in love with him yet. God, why does he feel so good... >

Without stopping the kiss he picked her up and carried her upstairs.

When he set her back on the ground, she tried to be reasonable.

"No, Giles, we shouldn't. We... we have all the time in the world. We don't need to rush into this. We..."

"We love each other."

She couldn't argue with that.

"We should wait."

He looked at her.

"Stop me."

Then he kissed her cheek and nibbled on her ear before proceeding southwards past her neck to her shoulder.

"This is not fair."

"I suppose it isn't, but strangely I don't care."

He repeated his caresses on the other side.

When she still seemed hesitant, he took her hands and looked at her.

"I love you. I am yours, heart, body and soul."

Then he leaned forward and whispered into her ear.

"Now please take me."

Slayer strength or not, Buffy was at the end of it. She gave up. She kissed him and pushed him down onto the bed.

Ten minutes later Giles was in exact the position he had dreamed about the day before in the shower. He looked up at her worshipping her. He ran his hands over her skin, her arms, her breasts, her stomach, her hips. He had kissed her in all these places and more, had tasted her, had run his tongue over her hard nipples. And now he was deep inside her. Sliding into her had been like everything he had dreamed it would be and so much more. They fit perfectly. In every way.

There were no words for what he felt right now as she rode them both to completion. He loved her, he was grateful, even more so since the last weeks had been so painful. But if it had been necessary to bring their joining about, then it had been worth it.

She ran her fingers through his chest hair.

"Gooood, Giles. Rupert."

She didn't seem able to decide for one. Although she tended to use his surname the more pleasure she felt. He was mostly silent, except an occasional moaned 'Buffy'.

But Buffy called out more and more often, the closer they got to the edge.

"Oh. This is... Oh God. Rupert. Yes. Yesss! God, Giiiiiles."

Then she convulsed wildly around him and he pumped his seed in her in several spurts. She collapsed on him and he held her tightly.

They kissed and then Buffy lay her head on his shoulder.

"So do you regret not waiting?"

He smiled, but her answer was serious.

"I love you, Giles."

He turned his face to look at her.

"I love you, too."

They kissed again.

< I could have had this months ago. And instead... I'm so sorry. You'll never regret loving me until I die. >

< She said it. She didn't change her mind. She loves me, she made love to me and God help me, but I think I can do it again. >

And so they did...

Just when I thought it was safe
You found me in my hiding place
I'd promised never again
I wouldn't give my heart, but then
Closer, closer I moved near you
The way I want you makes me fear you

I find it hard to explain
It's crazy, but it's happening
And I'm falling again
Much farther than I've ever been
I'm falling deeper than the ocean
I am lost in this emotion

~~ Love Gives Love Takes by The Corrs