Enjoy the Silence
Title: Enjoy the Silence 1/1
Summary: Takes place in the middle of "Forever". Buffy's a little lost after losing her mom, and who else but Giles would be there to comfort her?
Spoilers: Through "Forever" in S5
Pairing: B/G, obviously. *grin*
Feedback: Yes! Yes! Please! firstname.lastname@example.org
Use: Want. Take. Have. Just tell me where it goes.
Disclaimer: Obviously not my characters, as I imagine we'd all be a lot happier if they were! They're all owned by Joss the Evil, ME, UPN and a bunch of people I don't know. I'm just borrowing them.
Giles slowly swirled the drink in his hand around, staring into the fire without actually seeing it. They'd buried Buffy's mother today. He'd never been very good at saying the right things in those situations, so against his better judgment he'd left his slayer standing by the foot of Joyce's grave. He hoped she'd be alright. It was so tiring sometimes, this parade of death that marched across all of their lives. So much death. And this latest, this one.. didn't make any sense. Poor Buffy. So young to have been through so much. He wished that he could make it easier on her, somehow.
The ice in his glass clinked as he took a sip, the bourbon burning a path down his throat. He hated bourbon. But he'd run out of Scotch, and there were no liquour stores anywhere open at this hour of the night, so one made due with what was available. He was going with the plan that if only he drank enough, he'd be able to sleep eventually. And hopefully not dream.
There was a knock on the door, which startled him out of his reverie. He glanced at the clock. It was after 3. Setting his glass down, he walked somewhat clumsily to the door, realizing that he was a bit more intoxicated than he'd previously thought. Opening it, he was surprised to see a disheveled Buffy standing in front of him, looking uncomfortable and lost.
"Can I come in?" she said in a very quiet voice. "I just.. I couldn't go home. Not yet. I figured... you'd be up."
"Of course, dear heart." Giles moved aside and watched her enter, noticing for the first time how terribly small she looked. "You've been at the... all this time?"
"For awhile. Angel came once it got dark. Kept me company for awhile. Then I... I just walked around."
Giles stood next to her as she sat down on the sofa. "It's not something I'd normally suggest, Buffy, but... would you like a drink? You certainly deserve one after today."
"Yes," she said quietly. "Something strong, so I don't think." She stared at the fireplace as Giles moved around, grabbing another glass and some ice, then filling it to the rim with the same amber liquid he'd been drinking, and refilling his own glass as well.
He handed it to her, as he sat down on the sofa himself. "Careful. It's..ah..well, it's straight. I've never been much for mixers."
"I don't care." Buffy's voice sounded hollow, and her wrist snapped back as she downed a large gulp. She shuddered. "Okay, I get your point. That hurt." She took a smaller sip. "But, the warmness is nice."
"Please don't ask if you can do anything, or try and say anything. People have been giving me platitudes all day long. I can't take it."
"I was merely going to ask if you wanted something warmer to wear." He indicated her sheer top and skirt that she'd worn at the funeral. "It's cold, I thought you might like a sweater."
"Oh, thank you." She looked up at him, and Giles noticed her eyes were puffy. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean that, before. I came here because I knew that... that you wouldn't say any of that crap."
He reached over into the chair behind him and grabbed a throw blanket. He wrapped it around her wordlessly, and, on impulse, gently kissed her forehead. He handed her drink back to her. "It's not much, but it does help. For now."
Buffy sighed, and took another big sip of her drink. She wrapped the blanket tighter around her. "This smells like you," she whispered. "I don't know how to explain it, but... it's comforting. Very British."
"It's from England, so that probably explains it."
She curled her feet under her. "You don't mind, do you? That I'm just barging in like this."
"Of course not, Buffy."
"It was weird, that Angel showed up. Nice of him though. Said that the gang in LA sends condolences and stuff."
"Well, people surprise you."
"You always say that."
"It's generally true." He sipped his own drink for a moment. "This stuff is vile."
"But, it gets the job done, doesn't it?" She hiccuped, then giggled suddenly, and clapped her hand over her mouth.
"It's okay, you know. No one will punish you for laughing."
"It seems wrong, still. Like... all of this isn't funny, so I shouldn't."
"That's an admirable sentiment, love, but, I have always tended to fall more on the side of the whatever gets you through the night school of advice."
"Love. You're so British when you're drinking." She coughed. "Okay, you're right. This stuff *is* horrible."
In spite of himself, Giles laughed. Then his look turned serious. "In all honesty, Buffy, I have to say I do wish there was something I--"
"You're doing it. Don't worry about it." Buffy somehow curled her body even tighter around itself. She turned her face to his. "I like that you'll just sit with me."
"I suppose sometimes silence is the only thing you need to hear."
She turned again, and stretched out along the sofa, laying her head in his lap. "Something like that, yeah."
Giles felt himself flush, and didn't speak. Unbidden, his hand moved to stroke her hair slowly, as they both stared into the fire.
"I love you." Buffy's voice was low. "I just... you should know that."
Grateful that she wasn't looking at him any longer, Giles closed his eyes as emotions flashed over his face. With an effort, he kept his voice normal. "Just in case? I'm not going anywhere, Buffy."
"You can't know that." Her voice shook, and she didn't look at him.
"Dear heart..." his voice trailed off. He returned to running his hand over her hair. He felt her body shaking violently, and helped her sit up. "Buffy..."
It was the look on his face that undid her. She started to cry, finally, feeling as though she'd never be able to stop. Giles said nothing, just wrappped his arms around her and held her tightly.
She pulled back, after a few moments, and sniffled. "I'm sorry. I didn't--"
"It's all right." Giles brushed a remaining tear from her face with the back of his hand. "Shhhhhh.." When she kissed him, she didn't think about it. She didn't say anything, didn't ask, didn't try and talk herself out of it. She just inched her face forward, and somehow her mouth was against his.
Maybe it was because he was drunk. Maybe it was because he wanted her to, because he'd been waiting for the better part of five years for this moment. Maybe it was simply because he did love her. But, Giles didn't pull away. He kissed her back, and her mouth was soft and warm. The hands that had been smoothing her hair, tangled into it, and there was a soft thud as his glass hit the floor next to the sofa. The kissing went on and on.
Finally, he pulled back and looked at her. He opened his mouth to say something, but Buffy placed her hand over his lips.
"Don't," she whispered. "Just kiss me till I'm dizzy, Giles."
His hands were shaking as he took her face between them. Emotions were warring across his face, and this time when he kissed her there was a desperation that hadn't been there before. Buffy sank back into the couch cushions and pulled him with her. He let her, and when the kissing stopped, they were both panting, and they remained curled around one another.
Neither of them spoke for some time.
"It's awfully late," Giles said quietly. "Shouldn't you--"
"Dawn's at Will and Tara's. I don't have anywhere to be. Unless you're tired of my company."
"No...that wasnt'... I'm not." He stammered.
"Then you don't mind if I stay tonight?"
Giles blushed deeply. "Ah...not... No."
"Giles, I promise I'm not going to try and jump you in the middle of the night."
"I didn't think.... "
"Look," she said quietly. "I'm sorry if I freaked you out. I'm kind of off the neediness meter tonight."
He blushed again. "I can understand that, you're hurting... But, "
"But why am I jumping you?" She laughed, and smiled at him. She turned slightly, snuggling firmly against him. "Giles... can we not talk this to death right now? It feels good to just... feel this. You can tell me how wrong it all is tomorrow."
He snorted indignantly. "How do you know I'd say that?"
"Because I know you. And that's the kind of thing you say." She ran her index finger over his mouth. "And it's exactly what I don't want to hear tonight."
He took her hand, and kissed her palm. "As you wish."
She looked at him for a long minute. "If you were less of a gentleman... if you were any other man I know, you'd have already dragged me upstairs."
"Buffy, I'll only take advantage of a situation to a certain point. Particularly when it's about you. This... whatever this is, we can explain away by saying you're grieving, we drank too much, you needed comfort. But... that... no."
"Oh." And for some reason, her face changed.
He smiled at her. "It's not for lack of.. Buffy, you're my Slayer, and more than that, you're my friend. I'm not going to take advantage of you, like that. If ever... if ever that were to happen, I'll tell you now, it's going to be your choice and it's going to be at a time when you're capable of making that choice." His words were slightly slurred, but the sentiment was clear. "Gentleman, no, but I'm not an idiot."
She smiled drowsily, and laughed. "If you hadn't had quite so much to drink, I think you'd be imploding from all that honesty. But, in case I forget to tell you tomorrow, I appreciate it. Y'know,it's been awhile since I fell asleep with someone. That's good enough for me, tonight." She pressed herself closer.
They sat that way in silence for some time. "Giles?" Buffy murmured.
"Tell me a story. About something...happy."
"Well...in our line of work we don't get to read very many quintessentially happy stories, Buffy."
"You know what I mean."
So, Giles settled for telling his Slayer the story of Britomart from Spenser's Faerie Queen, a brave and beautiful lady warrior whose destiny is to fight for and to rescue others. "You always reminded me a bit of Spenser's writing," he added softly.
He waited until she was snoring lightly in his arms before picking her up and carrying her upstairs. He hadn't even finished his retelling of Book III. He'd figured, if anything, Renaissance literature would knock Buffy out like a light. And Lord knew she needed the sleep.As he tucked the edges of the blanket around her, he hoped that they'd be able to just write all of this off as a bad case of drunken antics. He loved her, God knew he loved her more than anything in the world, but he was pretty sure she wasn't ready for that yet, or if she would ever be. He brushed the golden hair out of her face and kissed her cheek. "I love you, too," he whispered quietly, then climbed into bed himself and fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning, Giles woke with a pounding headache, and a stifling sense of terror about what had passed between him and Buffy the previous night. He felt his resolve to lecture fade away, as he noticed the blond hair fanning out over his shoulder, and felt the warmth of Buffy's body burrowed next to his side. Somehow in the night, they'd wrapped around one another, and he was pretty sure that his left arm was asleep from having her weight across it. Not that he thought he'd feel it anyway, the state that he was in.
"Hey," she murmured, yawning, and pressing her face into his shoulder.
"Morning," he said softly. "Sleep well?"
"Like a rock," she said. "I'm feeling kinda sick to my stomach, though. Remind me tonight that I *really* don't want to drink that much."
"Tonight?" Giles parroted in confusion.
"I know..it's presumptuous of me... but.. I can't go home yet. Dawn.. I'll go in there, and expect to see Mom and she won't be there...and.. I can't see that house right now. I can't say all the right stuff to Dawn yet. I'm not ready."
"No... you can stay as long as you like."
"Good." She leaned up and kissed him, surprising him so badly that he jumped. Buffy pulled back, confused, with a look of something like hurt on her face.
"B..Buffy," he stammered quietly, "I don't think you... in any condition...to know what you're doing. You've just lost your mother.. and.."
"I'm going to go make some coffee." Buffy was up and out of the bedroom before he'd finished speaking. Giles exhaled noisily and flopped back against his pillows.
A few minutes later, feeling slightly more composed, he joined Buffy in his kitchen. A beat passes as they look at each other, then she shoved a mug at him. "I made you tea. I know you have coffee issues."
"I'm sorry." Another beat. "I.. Buffy.. "
"I know. I'm not exactly Ms. Clear Signals these days. I don't... I didn't mean to make you angry."
She stirred her spoon around in her cup. "I mean, I know, I overstepped. I get that. And I don't want things to be uncomfortable between us. You're the only person I can stand being around right now."
Giles sighed and sat down at the table, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "I'm not worried about me, Buffy. I just.. I don't want you to do something you're going to regret later. Grief makes one.. act irrationally."
Buffy looked at him for a long moment. "I don't think it was irrational." She turned and headed back upstairs. "I'm going to shower."
Giles said nothing, only stared down into his teacup. When he heard the slam of the bathroom door, he trusted himself enough to raise his head. His heart was thudding wildly. "Oh, dear Lord," he murmured to himself.
Composing himself as best he can, he trots upstairs to wait for Buffy to finish with her shower. He can't cover the surprise on his face when she comes out of the bathroom in his robe. She pauses.
"You don't mind, do you?" she asks tremulously. "I.. didn't exactly plan ahead on the outfit front."
He opens his mouth, closes it, and gets up off the bed slowly. He crosses the room to her in quick strides.
"You were crying."
"Yeah, little bit," Buffy sniffled. "Everything's so crazy in my head right now. Maybe you were right. Maybe I am irrational."
"Maybe I like irrational." The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them. In horror, he felt himself blushing, again.
She looked at him for a minute. When she spoke, her voice was very soft, "How do you feel about needy, emotional brats?"
Giles swallowed hard. "I'm terribly fond of one in particular."
"Fond. That's British for..what?"
He closed the remaining distance between them in one step and took her in his arms, kissing her. Her mouth was warm and receptive, and she whimpered slightly.
When they broke apart, she looked up at him critically. "I have a much broader appreciation for the word "fond", now."
Giles looked down.
"In a really good way," she added.
"Are you very, very sure that--"
Buffy interrupted him with another lingering kiss. "You were saying something?" she murmured. "I'm sorry, I got caught up in looking at your mouth."
"Nothing of any importance."
"Look," she said, seating herself on the edge of the bed. "I know that you probably think I'm crazy. Maybe I am, a little. But.. Giles, life is so short. My mom... she was happy, at least. I know that. She'd just met this guy.. she was so happy. So excited. I don't want to become a Hellgod snack, and die knowing that I could have been happy, too."
"We'll find something... Glory won't.."
"That's not the point," she whispered. "I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. Mom.. there's the proof of that. I do know that when I'm with you, I feel... safe, and protected, and... just...*home*. There's a reason I always end up on your doorstep in the dark of the night...and I belong with you."
Giles was pale. "I.. I don't want your pity, Buffy."
"It's not pity!" she flared. "That's not what I meant, at all. What I mean is, that even in my lowest times ever, you make me feel like I can get through it. Like I can be this incredible person that you seem to think that I am, even when I know that I'm not anything close to it. You make me a better person, Giles, and I... I can't see how wanting to be with you, to be... challenged like that, can be bad."
He stared at her for a long moment, again. "I love you," he whispered.
Buffy held a hand out and pulled him to her. "Good." She hugged him tightly. "Glad we've cleared all that up."
She kissed him gently, once more, and they spent the rest of the morning snuggled together in bed, relishing the newness of their relationship, and enjoying the feel of being together this way.
"I could get used to this." Giles murmured, running his fingers through her hair.
Buffy smiled. "I think I could be fond of it myself."
"I'm going to get very sick of that little verbal snafu, aren't I?"
"Something like that."
"Eh. Oh, well, I suppose."
"Very mellow, Giles."
"I think you're going to have to start calling me Rupert. At least in moments like this."
"Oh, am I?" she looked up at his face. "Oh, sure. Just as long as it's not in front of the gang. Xander will never ever let you live it down."
Buffy traced a finger over the small lines by his eyes. "Rupert." she murmured. "Gonna take a bit of practice, I think."
"It *is* my job to train you."
"That was the cheesiest thing I've ever heard."
He looked away. "I'm not very good at this, am I?"
"You're, y'know, alive, and not in any way involved with the undead, so I figure you have some leeway on the other stuff." She smiled. "I know this is crazy. But...I don't care."
He smiled, slightly, and took her hand.
"Whatever comes." She squeezed his fingers tightly. "Let's go get Dawn."
He stood. "You should...put something else on." He smiled, again, indicating the robe.
"You don't mind coming with me?"
"Of course not." He watched as she dug through his closet. "I'm half afraid if I let you out of my sight you'll disappear."
"Very unlikely, I think."
She took his hand, slowly, and interlaced her fingers with his. They walked out together, in a whole new kind of comfortable silence.