Familiar
By Gibberish

Familiar
By Gibberish

Title: Familiar
Author: Gibberish
Disclaimer: Not mine, they belong to Joss and company. Please don't sue.
Rating: PG-13. B/G is everyone shocked?
Spoilers: From Welcome to the Hellmouth to Season four. Yep, they're everywhere.
Summary: Buffy's lost her memory. Giles and gang try to help her get it back. Timeline: In college.
Distribution: Solo, Jessica, Sai and Cassandra. Anyone else, please ask.
Feedback: Fire bad, ego boosting nice. *g*
Dedication: For Brenda in hopes of inspiring her to write more B/G.  :-)


     "Behind you!"  The warning came too late, however. Buffy was turning, even as the vampire in front of her turned to dust, she saw the crow bar and felt incredible pain. She saw the vampire turn to dust as she hit the ground. The last thing she saw before the blackness over came her was Giles' terrified face.
 "Buffy!" Giles' terrified voice echoed through the park as he dropped to his knees next to her. Carefully, methodically, he checked her pulse, then if she had any other injuries. As gently and as easily as if she were a child, he picked her up. "Hang on." He started for the car.
 Spike caught up to them as they reached the Citroen. He took one look at them and opened the passenger door. "What happened?"
 "Crowbar." Giles said succinctly as he slid into the passenger seat and cradled Buffy gently in his arms. He reached into his jacket pocket, took out his keys and handed them to Spike. "Hospital." He never took his eyes off of Buffy. He took his handkerchief out of his pocket and pressed it gently, but firmly against the gash at her temple.
 Spike slid into the driver's seat and started the engine, surprised that for once, it didn't even sputter. "Anyone I need to came back after?" He asked as he put it in gear and took off.
 "No."
 Spike didn't ask anything else.

   Afraid that Buffy would wake up alone and frightened, Giles wouldn't leave her side. It fell to Spike to make the phone calls.

   She could hear the gentle accented voice. She wasn't sure what he was saying, but it soothed her. There was something familiar about it, she just didn't know what.
 It was quiet when she woke up. It hurt to open her eyes, even in the dim light, but she made herself. She saw a woman sitting beside her and a man pacing behind the woman. "Where am I?" The words were barely audible, yet she got their attention as if she'd shot off a cannon.
 They both jumped, then smiled in relief. The man left the room. The woman grabbed her hand. "Oh Buffy. You're in the hospital."
 "My head hurts."
 "I don't doubt it." Joyce said with a sad smile.
 "Why does it hurt?"
 Joyce blinked. "You don't remember?" She asked.
 Just then, Giles returned with a friendly looking older man in a lab coat. The doctor. "I'm Dr. Purcell. How are you feeling?" He asked.
 "Head hurts." She muttered,
 "She doesn't remember why." Joyce added.
 Purcell checked her eyes with a penlight. "Not unusual. Can you tell me your name?" He asked.
 She opened her mouth to answer, but nothing came out. She suddenly looked frightened. "She said Buffy." She said in a very small voice. "Is that my name?"
 Purcell's expression didn't alter, Giles and Joyce looked horrified.
"Elizabeth Anne Summers, known to friends and family as Buffy." Purcell told her calmly. "What do you remember?"
 She looked at him blankly, sadly.
 "It's all right Buffy." Giles said quietly. "There's no rush."
 Buffy looked at him and tilted her head to the side. "I know that voice." He own voice, though hopeful, was barely a whisper.
 "Do you know who he is?" Purcell asked.
 Buffy looked at the man with the wonderful voice and shook her head. "But, I recognize his voice." Her eyes started to drift shut. "So tired." Then she was asleep again.
 "Mrs. Summers, may I speak with you?" Purcell asked as he gestured at the door. Once they were all three outside the room, he went on. "First of all, let me assure you that a loss of memory is not unusual in a case of severe head trauma. Especially when said trauma is the result of violence, as Buffy's. Memory generally returns within a few days."
 "Generally?" Joyce echoed. "What if it doesn't?"
 "It's very rare that the memory does not return given time." Purcell assured her.

   "No memory?" Willow echoed Giles. "She doesn't remember va - anything?" Giles shook his head sadly.
 "The only thing even remotely familiar was Mr. Giles' voice." Joyce said a bit despondently.
 Giles looked flustered. "Guess all those lectures finally paid off, huh G-man?" Xander commented, he tried not to sound as distressed as he felt.
 "Quite." Giles returned. He saw Xander's words for what they were. A cover. He understood, he had his own fears. He looked from Xander, to Oz, to Willow. He tried to give her a reassuring smile, but he knew that he didn't quite pull it off. He turned to Spike. "I may need your help."
 Spike nodded in understanding. The Slayer couldn't be more vulnerable. Not only was she hurt, but she didn't even know she was the Slayer. Right now, a fledgling could take her. How low could a vampire get? Protecting a Slayer.
 "Should we ..." Willow began. "Maybe ... Call Angel?"
 Giles stiffened. Oddly, he saw Spike do the same. "I don't think that would be wise at this time. Right now, Buffy doesn't even know that vampires exist."
 "That could be a shock, huh?" Willow said. "I just thought ..." Nobody made the obvious point that Spike was a vampire.
 "I know." Giles said more gently. "I hope it doesn't come to that, but it might."
 "We don't need the poof." Spike said.

   Spike guarded the Slayer's hospital room for as long as he dared. The Watcher had sent everyone home, including Joyce. The Witch, the Werewolf and the Whelp were to return around eight in the morning. The Watcher never left, so Spike left the Slayer in good hands.

   Giles watched her sleep. He shook his head sadly when she became restless. Even with her memory gone, the nightmares still plagued her. Giles gently brushed his fingers along her cheek. "Shshsh." He was surprised when she seemed to calm into a more peaceful slumber. "Oh Buffy. None of my books can help me this time. You must come back to me."

   She awoke to find him asleep in the chair next to her bed. One hand rested on the bed next to her own, as if he had wanted to take her hand, but hadn't quite the nerve. Who was he? She looked him over as he slept. He was quite handsome. She wished his eyes were open, he had the most fascinating eyes. They were green, with flecks of amber and whenever he looked at her ... Fiercely gentle. She didn't know how else to describe the look. Who was he?
 Giles opened his eyes slowly, he could already feel her gaze. "Good morning." He said gravely as he met her eyes. He saw her shiver. "Are you cold?" He asked concerned.
 She shook her head. "What's your name?" She asked and saw his eyes grow sad.
 "Rupert Giles." He said quietly.
 "Who am I, Rupert?" She asked, her own voice quiet.
 He was momentarily startled by her use of his first name that he stuttered a bit. "B-Buffy Summers."
 She shook her head, mildly amused. "Buffy's a silly name. So, who am I?"
 She looked at him with wide guiless eyes, much as she had when they had first met. "What do you want to know?" He asked gently.
 She looked down. "I-I don't know." Her eyes, when they met his were frightened. "How old am I?"
 "Nearly ninteen." He responded.
 "The woman yesterday." Buffy said hesitantly. "Is she my Mom?"
 Giles had to fight the urge to gather her into his arms. She looked so lost, so vulnerable. "She's your Mum."
 "And my Dad?" She asked next.
 "Joyce - Your Mum, hasn't been able to reach him yet." Giles told her.
 "And you?" She asked. "Are you and my Mom ...?" She saw his eyes widen in what could only be horror.
 "No!" Giles said quickly, adamantly. He noted her confusion, but he also saw relief. How could he explain any of this to her? She smiled and his stomach did an odd little flip.
 The door opened to admit an orderly with her breakfast, followed by a very subdued Scooby Gang. The orderly placed the tray on Buffy's table, gave her a reassuring smile and left.
 Giles was saddened and disconcerted by the lack of recognition in Buffy's eyes at the sight of her friends. But, his reaction was nothing compared to Buffy's, she looked utterly disheartened. "Buffy, these are friends of yours. Willow, Oz and Xander." He indicated each in turn. Buffy smiled bravely.
 Willow looked ready to cry. "Hey Buff."
 "Hi Buff." Xander said awkwardly and stuffed his hands into his pants pockets, because he didn't know what else to do with them.
 Oz felt Willow's hand clutch his tighter. Willow was the center of his life, but the girl lying in the hospital bed, looking at them blankly, ran a close second. She'd saved all their lives, more times than they probably even realized, the world more than a few times, but none of them had any idea of what to say. He had an insane urge to howl, just to see what she would do. How ironic, usually he knew what to say, he just didn't bother to say it. He wanted to say just the right words, the words that would make everything all right again. But all he could think to do was howl. So, he settled for echoing his Will. "Hey."
 Oddly, it was Buffy that alleviated some of the tension. "Anyone know any good jokes? Doesn't matter if you've already told them to me before."
 She sounded so much like her old self, that even Giles smiled a little. He watched them, silently, as they told her about herself. No mention of vampires, demons or slaying. How they met, the Bronze, everything that came to mind. The stories, though, were all carefully edited and he wondered if she noticed.
 In fact, she did notice. She noticed a lot of things. Like the near desperation in their eyes. They were keeping something from her. She didn't know how she knew it, but she did. And why was she suddenly frightened?
 Giles saw her expression, saw her try so very hard to remember. It broke his heart. He looked to the others. "Have you already eaten?" He started to lead them out, but her voice stopped him.
 "Rupert?" Her voice was tremulous.
 As one, three pairs of eyes swung to him. He was more concerned, however, with the pair of green eyes that beseeched him. "I'll be right back." She smiled at him and his stomach did that odd little flip again. Flustered, he ushered the others out and prepared himself for the onslaught.
 They waited until they were in the elevator. "Rupert?" Xander asked.
 "She asked my name." Giles responded stiffly. "I didn't have the heart to tell her that she never called me that."
 Willow nodded in understanding. "She looked kinda lost."
 "Is that what she was like that Halloween?" Giles asked.
 Willow and Xander both shook their heads. "She was worse then." Willow told him. "Completely different personality." The elevator door opened and they walked out and headed for the cafeteria. "Now she's just ... Buffy's there, but she isn't." She looked at Giles. "Does she remember anything?"
 "The basics obviously." Giles said. "She isn't a completely blank slate. Just no personal memories. There seems to be no connection whatsoever."
 "Except for you." Willow said softly.
 Giles flushed. "W-well, yes. She does seem to have latched on to me for some reason. C-can't imagine why." He looked at his feet.
 "Can't you?" Willow asked softly.
 "What do we do Giles?" Xander asked. "There has to be something. Some way to jog her memory."
 "I wish I knew Xander." Giles said. "Except, possibly, time. They can't even be certain yet what's caused the memory loss. The swelling, the pressure, emotional trauma or p-permanent damage." He went on quickly. "The memories could return in bits and pieces or all at once. Something could trigger them or ..."
 "How do we trigger them?" Xander asked hopefully.
 "Xander," Giles began, his tone gentle yet firm. "We don't. Trying to push her will only frustrate her. We answer her questions the best we can, support her, protect her and hope. Beyond that, it's really up to her."
 "What about the slaying?" Willow asked.
 "Best not to bring that up for now, I think." Giles said. "Hopefully, it won't be necessary."
 
   When Giles returned to Buffy's room, he found Joyce holding Mr. Gordo (Buffy's stuffed pig) and Buffy looking at her warily. "I see that your Mum has brought you another old friend." He forced a light tone.
 Buffy looked at him and some of the fear went out of her eyes. Joyce's shoulders slumped and she barely refrained from glaring at the man. Him, again. She sighed. She couldn't really blame her daughter.
 "How was breakfast?" Giles asked easily.
 Buffy shrugged. "Okay, I guess." She cocked her head to the side and looked at him. "You couldn't have eaten that fast?"
 "I wasn't hungry." Giles told her.
 Buffy shook her head. "Do you skip meals a lot? Or is it because of me?" Even now, she found a way to blame herself, Giles thought. He shook his head at her and turned to Joyce. "Were you able to reach Buffy's Father?" Joyce nodded. "He should be here in a couple of hours."
 "Good." Giles said. He was surprised by Buffy's look of apprehension. "Buffy?" He asked concerned.
 "I-I suddenly felt nervous." Buffy said inexplicably.
 "Your Father adores you." Joyce assured her. Then she went on carefully. "He just isn't around ... much."
 Buffy's eyes turned to Giles. "Will you be here?" She asked hesitantly.
 Giles flushed a bit. "O-of course. If you'd like."
 Buffy looked at her Mom. "When can I go home? I don't like it here." She said in a small voice.
 "Later today, I think." Joyce told her. Unable to stop herself, she reached out and brushed back a lock of Buffy's hair from her face. "Dr. Purcell thinks that familiar surroundings would be good for you."
 Buffy tried to smile.

**********

     Buffy was asleep again when her Father arrived. Giles was looking out the window and turned when the door opened. "Mr. Summers." Giles greeted. Hank Summers looked at him blankly. Of course, he wouldn't remember their one meeting. "Rupert Giles."
 Hank's face cleared, although it still held surprise as they shook hands.
"So, you're Buffy's Giles. I must say, I was expecting you to be younger." Hank smiled embarrassed. "That didn't come out quite the way it was meant."
 "It actually sounded quite like Buffy." Giles commented, not offended.
 "I believe she calls it foot in mouth disease." Hank smiled. "It's just the way she talks about you."
 Giles was intrigued. "I'm almost afraid to ask."
 "It's just that I've been under the impression that my daughter has a crush on you." Hank said with his brows raised.
 "W-what?" Giles asked utterly astonished. "Why would you say that?"
 Hank laughed a little at the look on the other man's face. "Needless to say, she's quite fond of you." He looked at his daughter and his smile faded. "How is she?"
 Giles, too, looked at her. "She still hasn't regained her memory. Otherwise, she's healing quite well."
 "What happened?" Hank asked as he took Buffy's hand. "Joyce said something about a mugging." He looked at Giles, fear in his eyes. "Was she ...?"
 Giles looked at him blankly for a moment, then comprehension and horror showed on his face. "No." He told him emphatically and saw the relief on the other man's face. "Sad, isn't it, that one must be relieved at a mugging?"
 Hank nodded and touched his daughter's cheek.
 Buffy blinked her eyes. She shrank back at the sight of a large man looming over her. She felt a hand on her shoulder, looked up and saw Giles.
 "It's all right." Giles told her and saw her visibly relax. "Buffy, this is your Father."
 Buffy couldn't help the trepidation as she looked back up at the other man, but she smiled shyly.
 Hank smiled down at her gently. "How are you Sweetheart?"
 Buffy shrugged halfheartedly. "My head hurts."
 "I'm sure it does." Hank commented. "It'll be all right Sweetheart." He looked at Giles again. "Where's Joyce?"
 "She went down to the cafeteria for some lunch." Giles explained. "She should be back in a minute."
 Hank nodded. "How is she?"
 "Much stronger than she appears." Giles commented thoughtfully. "She is, naturally, quite upset."
 
   They let Buffy go home late that afternoon. She looked around her room and sighed. Nothing was familiar. Her parents were downstairs discussing options. She was uncomfortable. She sat on the edge of the bed and flopped back. The only person she was comfortable with was Rupert. Why?
 "Buffy?"
 Buffy sat up and saw the red haired girl at her door. "Willow? Right?" Willow nodded. "You can come in." Buffy told her.
 Willow walked in, a bit hesitant. "This is so weird." Willow said quietly. "You're my best friend."
 Buffy absently picked up Mr. Gordo and held him to her. "Tell me?"
 Willow tried, she really did, but she couldn't tell her about her being the Slayer.
 Buffy was dissatisfied. She knew that Willow was keeping something from her. She felt ... Lost. She looked at her. "Would you take me to Rupert's?"
 "Uh ... Sure."

   When Giles answered the knock at his door, he was surprised to find Buffy and Willow. His confusion must have shown, since Willow launched into an explanation as soon as they walked in.
 "I think Buffy was feeling a little overwhelmed and she asked me to bring her here." Willow said with an odd look to Giles.
 "Buffy is right here." Buffy said a little testily.
 That sounded so much like his Buffy that Giles actually smiled. "You're always welcome here Buffy."  She smiled at him quite happily and his stomach tightened. He barely heard Willow.
 "... To meet Oz at the Bronze." Willow told them as she watched curiously. "I'll see you guys tomorrow."
 Buffy looked at her awkwardly. "Thanks Willow."
 "Sure." Willow said with a shrug.
 Giles looked out at the setting sun and then gave Willow a significant look. "Be careful." Willow nodded seriously before she left. Giles led Buffy to the couch. "Would you like some tea?"
 Buffy opened her mouth to answer, then closed it with a vulnerable look. "Do I like tea?" She asked in a small voice.
 Giles looked at her, his eyes incredibly soft and gentle. "Not at first. You do, occasionally, find it quite soothing."
 Buffy nodded looking a bit lost. He went into the kitchen and Buffy got up to look around. She started with the bookshelf. Her eyes widened at some of the titles. Vampyr, Incubi, Succubii, Werewolves. "Interesting Time/Life series."
 "What?" Giles asked as he came in. "Oh." He said when he saw what she was
referring to. "We find them quite interesting." He told her.
 We? Buffy moved around the room. She felt more comfortable here than at home. She had to wonder if it were the place or the man. She came across a set of swords in the corner. She picked one up and it felt oddly natural in her hand.
 Giles watched her. "We fence. Quite good exercise."
 Buffy set the sword down and looked at him. "You live with someone?" She asked.
 Giles shook his head. "No, why?" He asked in return.
 "You keep saying 'we'." Buffy pointed out. "Do you mean you and me? Do I come here a lot?"
 "Yes," Giles told her. "To both questions."
 Buffy smiled bemused. "We must be the strangest couple."
 Giles looked as if he'd been hit in the stomach. "What? ... Uh ... No, we're not ... Umm."
 Buffy looked disappointed. "We're not a couple?"
 Giles didn't know what to say.
 Buffy looked confused. "We spend a lot of time together. We enjoy being together. We care about each other, but we're not a couple?"
 "No, um, we're not." Giles said flabbergasted.
 Buffy looked at him with wide serious eyes. "Why not?" She asked.
 Giles stared at her for a full minute before he could speak. "You're eighteen. I'm forty-five."
 "So?"
 "So?" Giles was stunned when he realized that their ages were the only thing he could think of.
 "Then why are we always together?" Buffy asked next.
 <How do I explain that without mentioning Slayer?> Giles asked himself. "Well, you see ..." He began, but didn't know what to say. "We're friends." He finished lamely.
 Buffy continued to look disappointed. "Just friends?"
 Giles was rather ashamed at the shot of electricity that ran through him.
"Well, ... Yes."
 "Oh." Buffy moved until she stood right in front of him and looked up at him. "Do you want to be more than friends?"
 Giles looked down at her and felt himself become mesmerized by her eyes. Without realizing it, he leaned towards her.
 Buffy felt his breath on her lips and her own breath came in gasps. Then, the tea kettle whistled and he jumped away, startled. He flushed and hastily retreated into the kitchen. "Shoot." Buffy sighed.

   Buffy watched him closely as they drank their tea. He couldn't quite meet her eyes. "Tell me about you and me." She said quietly.
 Giles looked at her and swallowed. What could he tell her? Perhaps he should tell her the truth. She was in so much more danger from not knowing. He was saved from answering by a knock at the door. Giles gave her an apologetic look and went to answer the door.
 Spike strode in. "She ain't at the hospital." He stopped when he saw her and smiled. "Hallo Pet."
 Buffy looked at him bemused. "Hi." She said as she stood, uncertain.
 "You have to remember me Pet." Spike said dramatically. "I'm unforgettable."
 Buffy smiled. "Sorry." She ignored the odd twinge she felt. "Who are you?"
 Spike went over to her and took her hand. "I'm Spike."
 Buffy looked down at their hands. "Your hands are cold."
 Spike smiled even wider. "You know what they say Pet; cold hands, warm heart."
 Giles snorted. "Did you come here for a reason Spike?" He asked.
 Spike released Buffy's hand and looked at the Watcher serious. "Problem. Word's out."
 "Damn." Giles said with feeling. "That was bloody quick."
 "Little too quick if you ask me." Spike commented.
 "What are you talking about?" Buffy asked. "What word?"
 "Might be best if we tell her." Spike pointed out.
 "I was just debating that when you knocked." Giles told him.
 "Best debate quick Mate." Spike said. "They ain't about to let an opportunity like this pass."
 Giles glared at him, then he saw Buffy rub her stomach. "You all right Buffy?"
 "My stomach feels funny." Buffy said softly with a half shrug.
 "Of course it does, Spike's here." Giles said calmly. She just looked at him confused and frightened. Giles sighed. He didn't want to do this to her, but he saw no other way. "Buffy, you're a vampire slayer." He said blandly.
 "Vampire slayer?" Buffy echoed. She had no idea what she had expected, but it wasn't that. "Huh?"
 Giles moved to stand behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders, gently, yet firmly. "Spike."
 Spike didn't want to do this, but he vamped out. Buffy screamed, but acting on pure instinct, her fist shot out and hit Spike on the face and knocked him back. Spike put a hand to his jaw and looked at her surprised. "Not quite as helpless as we thought." He said ruefully.
 "Oh my God." Buffy said as she watched him change back.
 "Spike won't hurt you Buffy." Giles told her, also surprised by her reaction, if not somewhat comforted.
 "I knew you were keeping something from me." Buffy said dazed. She shook her head. "This isn't possible." She looked up at Giles.
 She looked so utterly lost, Giles thought as he looked down at her. "I'm sorry Buffy."
 Spike watched them curiously. That was new. "Touching as this is, we have other things to worry about. Such as the vampires looking for an injured Slayer." He looked at the Watcher. "She shouldn't leave."
 Giles looked disconcerted at the prospect. "O-of course."
 Spike bit back a grin. "Call Joyce, ask her to have the hot chocolate ready ..."
 "Buffy's Father is there." Giles told him. "He doesn't know."
 "Guess I'll be spendin' most of the night lurkin' about outside then." Spike muttered. "I'd still like the hot chocolate though."
 "Mom makes the best hot chocolate." Buffy said. Her eyes widened and Giles and Spike turned to look at her. She looked shell-shocked. "I-I remember coming home and she made hot chocolate." She looked at Giles and gave him a brilliant smile. "I remember." She launched herself into his arms.
 Giles enclosed her in his arms without thought and swung her around. "That's wonderful Buffy."
 Spike watched amused. "Yeah, wonderful Pet. You remember anything else?" He asked hopefully.
 Buffy's face fell and Giles glared at Spike and set Buffy down. Spike found himself taking a step back from the force of the glare. "No, just Mom's hot chocolate." Buffy said quietly.
 "It's a start Buffy." Giles told her. "At least now you know that the memories are there." He realized that his arms were still around her and practically jumped away from her guiltily.
 "Well, Pet." Spike said with a rather sheepish grin. "Don't worry about your Mum. Or your Dad."
 "Be careful Spike." Buffy told him.
 Spike stopped on his way to the door and turned. "You worried about me Pet?" He asked surprised. It had been ages since anyone worried about him.
 Buffy looked at him confused. "Aren't we friends?" She asked in return.
 "More like unwilling allies." Spike explained not quite truthfully.
 "Oh." Buffy said, still confused.
 Spike looked at the Watcher and winked. "Have fun Watcher." With that, he left.
 Giles turned to Buffy. "Are you all right?"
 Buffy looked at him. "I don't know. This is so ... But I saw him ... I hit him and ... I don't know."
 "It's a lot to take in all at once, I know." Giles said gently. "We'll get
through this Buffy. I promise." Unaccountably, he flushed. "I-I had better call Joyce."

************

     Joyce hung up the phone and turned to her ex-husband. "Buffy remembered something."
 Hank smiled. "Your hot chocolate, huh? It's worth remembering."
 Joyce blushed. "Rupert said that it was a good sign that all her memories would return."
 "Rupert? Are you two ...?" Hank tried to ask nonchalantly. "Because I think Buffy has a crush on him." He nearly groaned at how pathetic that sounded.
 Joyce would have laughed, if it hadn't been for the looks Buffy had been casting since she woke up. Even before she'd been hurt really. And she wasn't so sure about him. She only hoped that Hank never asked her to define the pair's relationship. As for her own feelings, they tended towards resentment. Which she knew wasn't fair, but she couldn't help it.
 "Joyce?" Hank said after a long silence. She had gotten lost in her thoughts.
 "No, we aren't." Joyce told him. "And I wouldn't worry about Buffy. Rupert adores her and would never hurt her."
 Hank looked thoughtful. "Why does that not reassure me?"
 Joyce shrugged with a grin.

   Giles looked at the young woman trying not to fall asleep as she sat on his couch. She continued to astound him with her inner strength. "It's all right if you wish to sleep." He told her. "It's part of the healing process." Buffy tilted her head to the side and considered him carefully. "Can I ask you something?"
 Giles tensed instantly, but he met her eyes steadily. "Of course."
 "We're not lovers? Not a couple of any kind?" She asked. At his nod, she continued. "Then, what are we? Somehow, I get the feeling that 'friends' just isn't adequate."
 Giles sighed. "I really don't know how to describe our relationship. And, I can only speak for myself. I came here as your Watcher. Your ... guide in your destiny as Slayer. You were quite different from what I expected. Strong willed, independent ..." He smiled a little. "Defiant. You looked up at me, this girl that defeated one of the most powerful vampires ever known, and you were so frightened. You, well, all of you really, but mostly you, became my family. We've been through so much together."
 "Who's all of us?" Buffy asked.
 "Well, um, you, Willow, Xander, Oz. Even Cordelia." Giles told her.
 Buffy's eyes narrowed. "Cordelia?" Who was Cordelia? The others hadn't mentioned a Cordelia. What if she was his girlfriend?
 Giles watched her, confused. For the first time, she seemed ill at ease with him. "Buffy? What is it?" He asked gently.
 "Is Cordelia your girlfriend?" She asked hesitantly.
 "Good heavens no!" Giles exclaimed. "What could have possibly given you that impression?"
 "You're the only one that's mentioned her." Buffy said in a small voice. "Who is she?"
 "Cordelia went to school with you and the others." Giles explained. "She helped out occasionally. That's all." Buffy smiled relieved. Giles shifted awkwardly. "Perhaps, we should go to bed." He saw her grin. "I-I mean, you upstairs and m-me down here."
 "Too bad."

   Giles laid in the dark, on the couch and stared at the ceiling. Buffy tested his control. She meant more to him than anything. It wasn't often that he allowed himself to think of her as an attractive woman ... Who was he kidding? He had to force himself not to anymore.
 When had it started? Probably when she returned from her self-imposed exile. Occasional stray thoughts. He started to notice things he hadn't let himself before. By the time Wesley had arrived, her choice of music had been the least of his problems when she worked out in front of him. Half the time he felt like a bloody voyeur. He looked at the stairway.
 If he went up there, he didn't think that she would push him away. But how would she feel when her memories returned? That question kept him where he was. What he wouldn't give for Ripper's lack of conscience right about then. He closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. Latin translations? No, that didn't work anymore. German? Since the Hansel and Gretyl demon, he'd been working on his German. He'd used it this past summer, to distract himself when he found out that Buffy's outfits could, indeed, be skimpier. On the upside, he would soon be fluent in German.
 Has considering a move to Russian when he heard Buffy cry out in her sleep. He made his way quickly upstairs, only to stop abruptly when he heard her speak.
 "You can't leave me." Buffy whispered harshly in her sleep. "I can't do this alone."
 Giles recoiled as if he'd taken a hit to his chest. He was unable to move until he heard her sob. The sound tore through him. He walked to the bed and sat on the edge. "Buffy." He put a hand to her shoulder.
 Buffy jerked awake. She looked at Giles with wide frightened eyes and then threw herself into his arms.
 Giles wrapped his arms around her trembling form. "Just a nightmare."
 "It felt so real." Buffy's voice was muffled against his chest. "There was some kind of fire."
 "It's all right now." Giles told her, his voice a bit strained. His own memories of that night were terribly painful, but her breath against his chest was distracting him quickly. <Comfort!> He told himself sternly.  Buffy rubbed her cheek against his chest. She felt his heart rate pick up.
"Rupert? She said quietly. "I-I don't think I want to remember."
 Giles rubbed her back. "I can't say as I blame you. Right now though, you're in more danger from not remembering."
 "I guess." Buffy sighed. She pulled back and looked up at him.
 Giles looked down at her and knew he was in trouble. She raised up and his arms tightened around her. <You shouldn't be doing this.> He told himself as her lips met his. <Why was that again?> He asked himself as he returned the kiss.
 Buffy wound her arms around his neck and slid her upper body against his. She opened her mouth in invitation and he accepted eagerly. He swept his tongue into her mouth and she let her own tangle with it. She leaned back onto the bed, pulling him on top of her.
 Giles had to stop this, he knew he did. He felt her hands move to the buttons of his pajama top and he stopped them with his own as he broke the kiss. "No, Buffy. We have to stop." His voice wasn't steady and his breathing was harsh, but he meant it.
 Buffy looked up at him with heavy lidded eyes. "Why?" She asked, her own breathing not quite even.
 "It isn't right." Giles told her. "It isn't fair to you."
 "Fair?" Buffy echoed, clueless.
 "Buffy, before you lost your memory, you never gave any indication of this." Giles explained, trying to remain calm. "I won't take advantage of you like this. How would you look at me when your memory returns? What would you feel?
Resentment? Disgust?"
 "I want to be with you." Buffy said. "Why are you the only one I feel right with? The only one I want to be around?" She looked away. "What if the memories don't come back?"
 "They will Buffy." Giles assured her. "It's already begun." He stood and moved away from her, away from the temptation of touching her. "When your memories return, we'll talk again. I only hope ..." His words trailed off. "You should try to go back to sleep." He left the room quickly.
 Buffy watched him go. What did he hope?
 Giles went to the kitchen and considered a drink. Preferably, the Bovril, but he didn't dare. Tea, then. He looked at the ceiling and whispered, "I only hope that I don't lose you."

   Joyce woke up, startled. Had she heard something? She got up and went to the window. She had to smile a little when she saw the pale blonde head. She made her way, quietly, down the stairs. She didn't want to wake Hank in the guest room.
 In the kitchen, she set about making hot chocolate. When it was finished, she poured it in a thermos. She opened the door. "Spike?"
 Spike appeared and Joyce jumped. "Sorry Pet. Something wrong?" Like Joyce, he kept his voice low.
 Joyce shook her head and handed him the thermos. "Thought you might be cold."
 Spike smiled widely at her. "Thanks Joyce, but I'm undead. I'm always cold. You should be sleepin'. Why aren't you?"
 Joyce shrugged. "Something woke me. Do you really need to be out there?" She asked hesitantly. Odd, really, that she felt better with him out there.
 "We thought it best." Spike told her. "You sound like you don't want me here."
 "I'm just worried about Buffy." Joyce told him. "And with Hank here ..."
 "How goes it with the ex?" Spike asked with a grin.
 "I think he's jealous of Rupert." Joyce said.
 "Because of Buffy? Or because of you?" Spike asked. Joyce just looked at him.
 
   Buffy woke up to the sound of her name being spoken. She opened her eyes and saw Rupert in the door frame. "Morning."
 "Good morning Buffy." Giles sad with a slight smile. "Did you want to go to class today? I have breakfast ready. I'll even drive you over."
 "I feel grubby." Buffy said.
 "We'll stop by your Mum's." He responded, a trace of laughter in his eyes. Buffy grumbled, but got up. "What class am I going to?" She stood and stretched, only belatedly remembering her attire; one of Rupert's shirts. She slowly lowered her arms when she saw his face.
 "B-best hurry." Giles stuttered before he turned and rushed downstairs.

   Breakfast was quiet and a bit strained, with Buffy casting glances his way. "I'm sorry. I-I didn't do it on purpose."
 "I know Buffy." Giles said quietly. "And I'm not angry with you."
 "Then what is it?" Buffy asked.
 "I'm concerned that once your memory has returned, things will be strained between us." Giles told her quietly. He didn't add that his worse fear was that their relationship would be beyond repair. He stood and started to gather the dishes.
 Buffy gathered the rest and followed him into the kitchen. "Are you saying that you don't think we can handle one kiss? Okay, so it was a mind blowing kiss ..." She blushed. "Uh, back to the question. Somehow, I think it would take more than that."
 Giles looked at her. He knew that she was right, the kiss itself, though amazing, meant little. It was the knowledge behind it. Buffy, his Buffy, would know what it meant, that he wanted her, that's what worried him. "We should go. You don't wish to be late for class."
 Buffy looked at him. She wanted to pursue this, but the look in his eyes stopped her. "Alright."
 
 *************

     Giles had gone to Joyce's to wait for Buffy's return from class. Joyce was worried, she didn't think Buffy should be alone. Giles finally took her off to the side, out of earshot of Hank, and tried to reassure her.
 "She isn't alone. Willow, Oz, Xander, they're all there." Giles told her. "Xander even sacrificed himself in so much as to attend class with her."
 "What if they find her though?" Joyce asked. "What if ..."
 "Joyce," Giles broke in. "It's broad daylight." He pointed out. "She'll be fine."
 Joyce looked at him steadily. "Then, why are you here making sure she gets home?" She asked.
 <She's got you there.> Giles thought. "I'm not worried about vampires."  Hank watched them from across the room. He could admit it, he was jealous. He saw the other man put a reassuring hand on Joyce's shoulder, just as the door opened.
 Buffy walked in with the others. They'd insisted on walking her home. She smiled shyly at her Dad, then saw her Mom and Rupert. She stopped, frozen, as an image flashed through her mind. Her Mom and Rupert kissing, really kissing. Buffy felt hot and cold at the same time and she began to shake. She moved away when Rupert came towards her. She looked up at him, hurt and betrayal in her eyes. "You lied to me."
 "What did I lie about?" Giles asked gently, even though her expression terrified him.
 "You and Mom." Buffy put her hands to her head as if to block the images.
"You were kissing." She said in an accusatory tone.
 "Kissing?" Hank echoed with a look to Joyce. "Kissing?"
 Giles closed his eyes. Trust her to remember that. "It wasn't like that Buffy."
 "I told you I didn't want to remember." Buffy yelled at him. "You said it was better." Her chin trembled and she whispered, "Now I know why. But I don't feel better."
 "Buffy, please let me explain." Giles entreated.
 "You lied to me." Buffy said again. She started crying and pushed passed the Scooby Gang to run from the house.
 "Buffy!" Joyce called.
 "Bloody hell!" Giles swore, then chased after her.
 "It was the candy." Joyce said, somewhat dazed. She went over and dropped onto the couch.
 "Candy? What candy?" Hank asked confused.
 "Well, Mr. Summers." Willow began. "You see, last year we sold candy for school. And it was ..." She looked to Oz and Xander for help.
 "Laced." Xander finished for her. "You know, with something bad. Made them do weird things. It was not a pretty picture." Willow shook her head in agreement.

   The problem with chasing a Slayer was that you couldn't catch her. "Buffy please." Giles gasped out. "Do you want me ..." Gasped. "... to have ..." Gasped. "... a heart attack?" He stopped and bent over in an attempted to catch his breath.
 Buffy stopped, but didn't turn around. "Why? Why did you lie to me?"
 "I didn't." Giles told her. He slowly caught his breath as he made his way to her. He became belated aware of where they were - The park. "Buffy, your Mum and I were under the influence of a curse. We weren't in control of ourselves."
 "A curse made you kiss my Mom?" Buffy asked. She turned to face him, uncertain and confused.
 "Well, ... Yes." Giles said. Should he tell her the rest? If he didn't and she remembered ... He shuddered. "Uh, Buffy, there was m-more. Your Mum and I ... w-we ... umm ..."
 Buffy's eyes widened. "You had sex! You had sex with my Mom!" Giles saw her turn to walk off again and grabbed her arm pulling her back around to face him. "I thought it best to tell you, rather than have you remember."
 "I knew?" Buffy asked in disbelief.
 "Yes." Giles told her. "Buffy, you have to understand, Joyce and I didn't want to ... Well, had we been ourselves we wouldn't have wanted ... Under normal circumstances ... I just don't see her that way."
 "Who do you see that way?" Buffy asked softly.
 <You.> Giles almost said. "It isn't that simple." He said instead.
 "Why isn't it?" Buffy asked. "I see you that way."
 "Now. You didn't before." Giles pointed out.
 "How can you be so sure of that?" Buffy asked curiously.
 "Buffy, there was no indication that you saw me as anything other than a friend." Giles told her. "An older friend." He added.
 "Is that just an excuse?" Buffy asked. "You throw that and the age thing out like a shield."
 "Perhaps it is a shield." Giles answered. "It doesn't make them any less true though."
 "It isn't because of someone else?" Buffy asked. "Mom or ... anybody?"
 "No." Giles said. "No one. You're a beautiful young woman. But I couldn't live with myself if ... Do you understand?"
 "It isn't that you don't want me." Buffy finally understood. "You're afraid that when I get my memory back, I won't want you anymore."
 "And that you wouldn't be able to forgive me." Giles added. "You mean more to me than anything Buffy. If I were to lose you ..."
 "What if I still want you?" Buffy asked quietly.
 Giles looked down into her hopeful eyes. "If you still want me when your memories have returned ..."  Giles put a hand to her cheek. When she leaned into it, he slid it into her hair to the back of her head. He tilted her face up, leaned down and kissed her.
 Buffy's response was filled with desire. She let her hands rest against his chest, only to curl them into fists and clutch his shirt when he swept his tongue into her mouth in a thorough exploration.
 When Giles finally pulled away, they were both breathless. He rested his forehead against hers as he held her face in his hands. "Does that answer your question?" He asked.
 "Hmmm?" Buffy responded, her brain among the nonfunctional at that time. Giles kissed her forehead, then pulled away. "I imagine your Mum and Dad are quite worried. I'd best get you home."
 When they turned to head back to Joyce's, they spotted a very surprised Scooby Gang. Their mouths hung open, even Oz. Of course, Buffy didn't realize what a precedent that was.
 "Bloody hell." Giles said resigned. <Could this get any more complicated? > <Yes.> His mind answered quickly. <We could have turned around and found Joyce and Hank.>
 Buffy smiled happily, the others hardly registered. When Giles looked at her smiling face, he couldn't find it in himself to be sorry. Then prayed that he never would be.
 "Giles?" Willow's voice came out as a high pitches squeak.
 "Not now Willow." Giles said and managed to keep his voice neutral. Willow started to say something more, but stopped herself. It was a quiet group that walked Buffy back to her Mother's.
 Giles left her at the door with a soft touch to the cheek, before he quickly walked to his car.
 Buffy watched him go with a smile and a sigh. She went inside and left a very confused Scooby Gang on the porch.
 "Okay, that was a tad bizarre" Xander said as they began to walk.
 "She - she ..." Willow began. "Well, she said that her feelings had changed, but ..."
 "What?!" Xander exclaimed.
 "You didn't notice?" Willow asked. "But she didn't think he ... I never saw him ... Giles kissed her."
 "We saw that." Oz said mildly.
 "You can't fool us." Xander said. "We saw you make an expression."
 "Guys." Willow said.
 "Will, we've seen how she's been since she's been hurt." Xander said. "Are you saying she felt like that before?"
 "Well, yeah." Willow said. "Just not so obvious about it."
 "Giles seemed to be reciprocating fairly well himself." Oz pointed out.
 "Boy did he." Xander commented.

   Buffy walked into her house. She smiled at her Mom and Dad on the couch. "Hi." She said brightly and went upstairs.
 Joyce and Hank watched her from the couch with twin looks of surprise. Once she was out of sight, they looked at each other.
 "Whatever he said to her must have done the trick." Hank said uneasily.
 "Must have." Joyce agreed weakly.
 "Why do I have this feeling that I should ask his intentions?" Hank asked. Joyce smiled at him. "Because you saw the same thing I did."
 "Why am I not more upset?" Hank asked next.
 "Probably has something to do with the look of utter joy on your daughter's face." Joyce said.
 "I can't remember the last time I saw her that happy." Hank agreed.. "Even before the divorce she seemed ..."
 "I know." Joyce responded softly. She knew why her daughter hadn't been truly happy for so long, but she couldn't explain that to Hank. "He won't hurt her."
 "I could see that." Hank said. He looked at the stairs where Buffy had been. "Sometimes, I feel like I don't even know her." He looked back to Joyce. "Do you ever feel that way?"
 "Everyday." Joyce answered.
 
   Giles sat alone in his living room. What he wouldn't give to have Buffy always look at him that way. However, he could live without that look, if she didn't despise him.
 The knock at the door brought him out of his thoughts. When he looked out, he was not surprised to see Willow, Oz and Xander. He opened the door and they trailed in. "I suppose you'd like an explanation?"
 "You don't owe us any explanations." Oz told him.
 "But you'd like one anyway." Giles said.
 "If you insist." Xander commented.
 Willow slapped his arm. "That isn't why we're here. Are you okay?" She asked him.
 "I wish I knew." Giles told her. "I just don't know what to think." He
looked at Willow. "Has she spoken with you?"
 Willow shook her head. "She's not doing the confiding thing right now."
 "She needs someone to speak with." Giles said.
 "That's you Giles." Willow told him. "She's not really talkin' to anyone else."

   Buffy knew, just knew, that her feelings wouldn't change. She wanted to see him. She went downstairs and found her Mom and Dad kissing. "I'm goin' out." She said with a smile.
 Hank and Joyce moved apart guiltily. "Going out? Where?"
 "Just for a walk." Buffy told her.
 "It's dark." Joyce pointed out.
 "I'll be fine." Buffy said and grinned. "You two have fun." She walked out the door before they could stop her.

***********

     Willow, Oz and Xander watched as Giles answered the phone. "Hello." Giles paused to listen. "Is something wrong Joyce?" Giles expression became worried, then angry. "She what? And you let ..." Listened. "No. No, you stay there. We'll go look for her." Listened. "Joyce, please. Stay there. We'll find her." He hung up. "Damn!" He looked at the gang. "Buffy decided to take a walk."

   Buffy walked through the park. She stopped and smiled when she came to the spot where he'd kissed her. The smile vanished when a scream reverberated through the park. She took of running towards the sound. Something about this was familiar.
 She found a vampire feeding on a girl. For an instant a terrible image of a different vampire and a different girl went through her head, then it was gone. "I don't think that's what they mean by necking." Buffy said.
 The vampire threw the other girl down and turned towards Buffy. "The injured Slayer. My luck gets better and better."
 Buffy rolled her eyes. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. Can we get on with this?"
 "My pleasure." The vampire ran at her. He knocked her to the ground, then she flipped him over and off of her.
 Buffy jumped up and faced him. Then had a series of memory flashes. Suddenly it was all there. The vampire took advantage of her momentary distraction and knocked her to the ground, hard.

   Giles and the others had decided to split up and search the park. The scream that echoed through the park froze him for just an instant. Then he ran like hell.
 When he reached the source, he saw Xander help a girl to her feet and send her on her way. But what captured, and held, his attention was Buffy, fighting a vampire.
 "All I wanted," Buffy said. "Was to take a walk." Peripherally, she saw Oz toss her a stake. She caught it and used it. When she looked up, she saw a distraught Giles coming towards her.
 Giles took hold of her shoulders and looked down at her. "You all right?" Buffy nodded. "I'm fine Giles."
 Giles sighed in relief and pulled her into his arms. "Thank God. You scared me to ..." He pulled away and looked down at her. "Did you say Giles?"
 Buffy grinned up at him. "Yes, Giles."
 "Wh ... How?" Giles asked amazed.
 Buffy shrugged. "I don't know. I heard this scream and just ran on instinct." Her face serious now. "I was already fighting him when they were suddenly just there. The memories that is. Distracted me and he knocked me down. I got up and you guys were here." She looked at him funny. "Why are you here?"
 "Your Mum called." Giles told her. "She was worried. We all were." He said sternly.
 Buffy grinned unrepentant. "Mom and Dad were kissing."
 "What?" Giles asked blankly.
 "Buffy, that's wonderful." Willow said.
 Buffy looked at them with a happy smile. Her gaze settled on Oz. "Thanks."
Oz nodded to her with an almost smile. "What if I hadn't caught it?"
 "Wasn't going to happen." Oz told her as he hid the other stake up his coat sleeve. No one noticed.
 Buffy looked back to Giles, her eyes shining.
 "Why don't we let Mrs. Summers know Buffy's okay?" Willow said as she gently pushed Xander ahead of her. Oz followed.
 Then Buffy and Giles were alone. "Are you sure that you're all right?" Giles asked.
 "I'm fine." Buffy said softly.
 "I should take you home then." Giles said nervously.
 "I don't want to go home." Buffy told him. "I want to talk."
 "What did you want to talk about?" Giles asked.
 "I still want you." Buffy said bluntly. She went on, when he didn't say anything. "I didn't think you could feel the same, so I never said anything. It kinda snuck up on me that I was comparing every guy I met to you. They never measured up. When I realized what I was doing, I was shocked. I mean you're Giles." She smiled playfully, then turned serious. "You're Giles, that gave up everything to come here. You're Giles, that tried to face the Master in my place. You're Giles, that never blamed me for Jenny even though you had every right to. You're Giles, that understood and never condemned me for running away. You're Giles, that even as Ripper wouldn't let me face that demon alone. Giles, that even after you were given the chance to leave, you stayed with me. Giles, whose only thoughts were of me. Giles, who offered me ice cream, even though you probably wanted to jump for joy. Giles, who put a sword through the Mayor. Giles, who rescued my diploma. Giles, who no matter what, is always there for me and I finally saw it."
 "Buffy, I-I don't know what to say." Giles said softly.
 "I know I don't deserve you." Buffy said. "I can be self absorbed, thoughtless, incredibly blind and - and you can stop me any time." She said nervously.
 Giles touched her cheek lovingly. "You just described most of the human race."
 "Not you." Buffy told him.
 "Oh Buffy, no one could have been more self absorbed or thoughtless than Ripper." Giles said with some humor.
 "When I woke up in the hospital, you were familiar." Buffy said. "I felt safe and cared for and protected." She took his hand in hers. "I didn't realize it then, but I do now. It was because that's the way I always feel with you." She kissed his hand. "And loved."
 "You are loved." Giles told her. "But you're only eighteen."
 Buffy rolled her eyes. "That again."
 "Buffy." Giles said gently.
 "Giles, Rupert," She said in the same tone. "I want to be with you. The only question remaining is - Do you want to be with me?" She asked.
 Giles looked down at her beautiful face and shining green eyes. "Yes." Buffy jumped into his arms and kissed him. Giles arms automatically went around her as he kissed her back. This time, when he carried her out of the park, there was no pain and no fear.

END