Fighting Despair
By Gileswench

Title: Fighting Despair
Author: Gileswench
Date: 12/28/02
Spoilers: Through Bring On The Night
Summary: Finding comfort and hope in the lull between storms
Rating: G. You could show this to your grandmother.
Pairing: Buffy/Giles
Category: Um....not quite romance, not quite angst, but it has elements of both...sort of.
Distribution: If you've had my permission in the past, you have it now. All others, ask and ye shall receive.
Feedback: Constructive criticism always welcome. Praise abjectly sought.
Disclaimer: It all belongs to Joss, Mutant Enemy, etc., etc., etc. I just let them have all the fun Joss won't. I own nothing except my twisted mind which you really don't want. Please don't sue.
Notes: Just a little vignette I saw in my mind's eye and had to write down.


"Yes, Buffy?"

"I'm sorry."

The pair walked in silence for a moment down the darkened street.

"What are you sorry for?" Giles had to ask at last.

"No Christmas present, Council blown to smithereens, dead almost-Slayer when you brought her here to protect her, broken windows, ubervamp, all of it," Buffy ticked off the list of disasters on her fingers. "You picked a hell of a time to drop in and say hi, didn't you?"

Giles flashed a bemused smile in Buffy's direction.

"At least I'm not bored," he quipped.

"Yeah. That makes up for everything, doesn't it?"

"Of course not," Giles said mildly. "But if we're to even attempt to fight The First, we cannot afford to give in to despair. The First feeds on it."

"I dunno," Buffy joked, "maybe we should all just think of everything lousy we can and let The First have this huge more-than-you-can-eat banquet until it blows up like Mr. Creosote."

"An interesting approach," Giles mused. "I wonder what Quentin - " he broke off suddenly and leaned against the wall of a warehouse. "I still can't believe it...all gone. All dead." He pulled off his glasses and wiped them vigorously. Buffy waited silently for him to compose himself. "Sorry," he said at last, "I still feel a bit...overwhelmed when I think of it. For all I know to the contrary, Wesley and I are the only remaining Watchers in the world. It's a bit...a bit much."

"I know," Buffy said quietly. "And only four Slayers, if you count Faith." Silence fell again. "So, two Slayers for every Watcher. Who gets which two?"

"I'm not having Faith back, I can tell you that."

"Poor Wes. He gets the short end of the stick again. Who gets stuck with me?"

Giles pushed off the wall and held out his hand to Buffy. She stared at the hand. This was something new. There had always been touches - it was impossible to avoid them when training in hand-to-hand combat techniques - and even the occasional hug, but this...

At last, Buffy reached out and took his hand.

" and me?" she asked.

"You and I," he agreed.

"Like always?"

"No, not like always," he told her. "As we are now, and as we will be in the future."

"But *for* always, right?"

"For always. No matter what may happen."

She smiled broadly at him, and he returned the grin.

The alley was still dark, the weather cold and damp, the danger quite possibly more than they could face.

The only difference was that they now walked openly, hand in hand.

Perhaps that would be enough.