Fighting It
By Cecily

Disclaimer: This is based on the universe/characters
created by Joss Whedon. Certainly not by me. Feedback: This is my very first attempt at fanfic. Comments would be very welcome. Author: Cecily
Title: Fighting It
Email: cecily_wonderland@yahoo.com
Spoilers: Takes place after the events of "Tabula Rasa"
Rating: PG? It has the word fuck in it.


Buffy was working out her aggressions with punch-kick combos on the bag. Uppercut, roundhouse, side kick, hook. Side kick, uppercut. The combos Giles had taught her, had drilled into her for so many years, were not even second nature to her now. They were her nature. Hook, hook, uppercut.

God, she missed him. Ever since he had gone, there seemed to be a hole at the center of her life. She kept replaying his parting words to her, wondering what more she could have said to convince him to stay. "Youíre wrong," she had said. "I feel like Iím dying," she had said. And still, he left. He left her. Side kick. Back kick.

She wasnít taking his calls. She let Dawn and Willow deal with it. They said he kept saying he missed her, wanted to talk to her. Well fuck that. If he wanted to talk to her, he shouldnít have left her. She kept punching, harder and harder. She wanted to make him hurt the way she was hurting.

He wondered if he missed her the way she missed him. The way she could almost see him walking through the door of the training room. The way she could almost hear him saying...

"Keep your elbow a little higher." Buffy spun around at the sound of the familiar voice. Rupert Giles, her Watcher, was standing in the doorway.

Buffy stood there for several seconds, staring at the apparition. It stared back at her. She wondered if it was something Willow had conjured up in a misguided attempt to make her feel better. In a few long strides, she made her way over to Giles, and pinched him. Hard.

"Yow! I suppose I deserve that, but really." He rubbed his arm with a half-grin on his face. "Not quite what I expected by way of welcome." She stood there, disbelieving, afraid to be happy. Afraid he would leave again.

"Giles?" She sounded so unsure. So helpless. The one thing she had never been. And then she hugged him, hugged him tight, and felt his body stiffen. He took a step back, out of her embrace. As if he was afraid to touch her.

"Iím so sorry, Buffy," he said. "I know leaving was a stupid, unthinkable thing to do. But I... I had to go."

"Why, Giles. Tell me. Tell me why." She said it in a tone of desperate demand.

"A prophecy." He sat down on a bench against the wall.

This was not the answer she was expecting. She was expecting another lecture on taking care of Dawn. "A what now?"

"Itís.. a prophecy. Not many slayers have lived as long as you have." Buffy, who had died a couple of times already, smiled wryly at him. "Well, you know what I mean."

"Why would you leave me if a prophecy was going to-- am I in danger with you here? I donít understand."

"Just.. let me get this out. Itís... it isnít easy for me to tell you this. I didnít tell you before because I wanted to protect you, if I could." She sat next to him, and he slid a few inches away from her. What was wrong with him?

"Buffy, when a Slayer gets to be a certain age, the Watcher/Slayer bond begins to change. It begins to become..." he struggled to find any word except the one he had to use. "Sexual."

"SEXUAL?" Buffy was shocked, he had been right. She had no inkling. No idea.

"Itís inevitable, Buffy. The feelings we have for each other, the bond that we share, is going to turn into a sexual attraction and we will feel compelled to act upon it. The rules... well, the precedent for this is quite clear."

She didnít speak.

"I didnít want to do that to you, put you through something like this. That is why I had to go back to England. But..." he took a breath. "Itís also why I had to come back." She knew what he meant. For him, the feelings had already begun to change.

They sat in miserable silence. There was no chance that the prophecy had been wrong. Buffy sensed it somehow, on a level she had always striven to deny.

"But, Giles," she said finally. "Youíre like my..."

"Donít say it, Buffy," Giles said, with a low note of desperate emotion. "Donít say Ďfather.í"

She started to speak, but he cut her off again, in a low voice. "I think I could bear almost anything from you. But I canít bear that." He got up and left the room, so quickly that Buffy didnít think to stop him. She just sat there.

"I was going to say best friend," she said. "I was going to say that youíre like my best friend in the world."

~~

Giles was sitting in his hotel room, playing his guitar, trying to stop himself from playing "Free Bird" for the ten thousandth time. He was wondering what to do. He would go to Buffy and offer to leave again. If she told him to go-- then he could go. It would be hard as hell-- maybe the hardest thing heíd ever do-- but he would do it. Heíd leave for good if she asked him to.

Heíd do anything she asked him to.

It was not just his desire to be with her that had brought him back. It was knowing that she was in pain, and that he had lied to her about his reasons for going. Now, things could be different. He could go for good. He could stay away. He could...

"Donít walk away from me again."

Giles turned around, and Buffy was standing in the doorway. He must have left the door unlocked. Oh hell, he knew he had. Heíd been hoping for her to come and talk to him, to tell him to go. Or... to stay.

The moment was almost interminable. She seemed to look into his eyes as though sheíd never seen him before-- she had never looked at him in quite that way before. Finally, he realized he should say something.

"I wanted to give you time to think, Buffy." For a moment or two, she said nothing, did nothing. Just stood there, her level gaze slamming into him. Did she think he was lying? Disgusting? Was she angry at him?

Buffy looked away, breaking the intensity of their eye contact. And she took a step towards him, as if under a compulsion to do so. She was still far across the room, though, damnably far away. "Well, Iíve thought about it now."

Giles stood up. He took a step towards her, feeling as though he was walking underwater. And then he stopped.

"I have to tell you the truth, Buffy," he said. "I canít lie to you. I donít just... well, want you, the way the prophecy says I will. Iím in love with you. As if I always have been. As if I looked at the girl you were, all those years ago, and fell in love with the woman you would become." She finally looked up at him, and he felt his breath catch in his throat. God, she was beautiful.

He went on. "I donít know where it came from. But I know that itís bloody well real." He took one more step towards her, and his voice was full of conviction, and passion, and love. "This is the most real thing Iíve ever felt, and itís killing me."

Buffy didn't say anything, and the moment stretched out again. Gilesí mind raced with things he could say, but he said none of them. He just waited.

Buffy covered the distance between them in a heartbeat, an unreadable expression in her eyes, and put her hand on the side of his face. He wondered if she was going to tell him, gently, that he should go back to England for good. But he could feel the heat of her body so close to his, and he knew that he wouldnít be able to hold out for much longer, not if she kept touching him...

Buffyís hand slid to the back of his neck, sending a flush of heat through his entire body. He desperately wanted to hold her, but he was afraid to do it. He was afraid that if he held her once, heíd never be able to let her go. Suddenly, she pulled his head to hers and kissed him-- violently, passionately, giving herself over to him completely.

And then his hands were against Buffyís back, on her neck, in her hair, as their bodies responded to each other. And as they moved towards the bed, he was no longer afraid that he wouldnít be able to let her go.

 
He knew heíd never have to.