By Sherry King
Discalimer: These characters are not mine, although I love them dearly--thank you Joss Whedon!
Author: Sherry King
Spoilers: The middle of Phases Season Two, Jan. 27, 1998
Note: Ive manipulated the timeline so that the incident with the werewolf bounty hunter on lovers lane occurs after Angel loses his soul.
Giles swallowed the whiskey in big hesitating gulps as if it were an unpleasant medicine to be got down. His hand was almost steady as he poured another. Drinking was not a release. It was about remaining in control, subduing his unacceptable side. He had a name for this part of himself: Ripper.
Tonight in Lovers Lane Buffy had proven once and for all that she didnt even consider him as a man. Between gulps he reviewed the moment when the bounty hunter, Cain, made his innuendoes about the two of them.
Ewww! Buffys unabashed disgust singed him as did his anger at the bounty hunter for talking as if Buffy were a tender slice of fresh spring lamb.
He frowned over the moment, trying to remember the exact look on her face when she glanced up at him after she said, Ewww! Had she guessed that she hurt him?
I should be relieved, he muttered. Thats sane Giles talking. Ripper could be subdued and coddled with drink until they both fell asleep.
The doorbell rang. Giles ran his hands through his hair before answering it, but he didnt check the keyhole. Ripper didnt much care what was out there tonight. Monsters, mages, bring them on.
Buffy. He blinked. What are you doing here at this hour? He swallowed. Is anything wrong?
Im fine Giles. I--
Then couldnt it wait till morning? I am rather busy. She still wore the dark jeans and turtleneck from earlier in the evening, but shed pulled off the black cap and stuck it in her back jeans pocket--amazing really that she could fit anything in that skin tight opening. Her hair was unusually disheveled and he wanted to touch the bright silken tangle.
Buffy stepped toward him, into the house. Your light was on so I knew you were awake. Despite her straightforward words she looked embarrassed, vulnerable in a way hed never seen before. Giles wondered where was the sophisticated wisecracking youngster she always became when she felt defensive.
Giles backed away as if Buffy might burn him, but not before he felt the warmth of her breasts. Almost touching him. Why is she torturing me? Ripper howled and Giles closed his eyes to protect her from his gaze. Oh, hed been this close to his slayer before, even held her in his arms, but never with his hidden self so close to the surface.
When he opened his eyes again her face had darkened with impatience or concern, he couldnt tell.
Youll have to give me a moment to collect my thoughts, Darling. I wasnt expecting you.
Giles, we need to talk. I need to know that youll always be here for me.
I am your watcher, Buffy. I will always be here. Had he really called her darling? Did she notice? Giles turned hot then cold inside at the thought. He attempted to pat her shoulder in a fatherly way, ignoring the greedy Ripper. He refused to think of her soft body so small and fragile looking, yet so strong and vital.
Are there any records of Watchers and Slayers being romantically involved? Buffy sounded as if she were in the library posing a research question. Her tone steadied him.
Well of course, such things have happened, but the council very naturally frowns upon--its not a good idea.
She locked her gaze with his and Giles saw the flip side of the confident Buffy who faced vampires with a stake and a joke. Here was the knowledge that went beyond cynicism, that saw the way things really were no matter how unfair. Her eyes were dry but her jaw moved as if shed felt an invisible slap.
Giles, the council doesnt want you loving me because if you do you might not send me to die.
She was crying now. Im a good little soldier, Giles. I go where Im needed no matter what. You dont have to send me. I go. She smiled tearily, And you already do love me, dont you--in every way but that?
What do you want from me, Buffy? Giles head was spinning. What are you saying?
I cant be alone anymore, Giles. When Angel and I made love it awakened things inside me. Feelings. Hes--gone--forever--but the feelings are still there. Please Giles, I cant be alone like this.
Im too old for you. I could be--
Youre not. Youre not my father. My father left me, but youre here. At least youre human. Youre younger than Angel. And I am not a child. My life may end any day or night. There can be no question of you taking advantage or overpowering me, because Im lots stronger than you.
She was a child. Giles smiled tenderly. Of its own volition his thumb outlined the curve of her upper lip from the sensitive cupids bow tips to the corner of her mouth.
Buffy moaned and cupped his hand against her face. She nuzzled his thumb.
Oh, Buffy, theres more than one way to overpower someone.
He smiled, but this was wrong. He should just say, Miss Summers I am not in the habit of accepting propositions from young slayers.
With bruising strength Buffy crushed him against her body, kissing him with a fire and thoroughness that sent shudders through him.
He summoned the physical and mental strength to push her away, holding her at arms length. They were both gasping for air. Buffys eyes were dilated, looking more black than blue in the dim hallway light. She had never looked more lovely.
I cant take you to the prom. I cant give you the normal things a girl your age wants and deserves.
Buffy licked her lips. Guess what Giles, no one can. Ive accepted that the slayer cant be like everyone else. But maybe there can be compensations.
Compensations? Giles echoed daftly.
I want you, Giles, and unless you call 911 in the next 30 seconds Im going to have you.
Buffy, I love you. All his protective love and passion for the slayer could finally be expressed. He scooped her slight frame up and cradled her as he carried her up the stairs to his bed.
Be gentle with me. He grinned.
The sound of the Slayers laughter filled his heart.