By Gabriele Schulz
AUTHOR: Gabriele Schulz
RATING: NC17 (back to my smuttiest form ;-)
DISTRIBUTION: Solo84, Cap, Jess, Sai. Others please ask first.
SPOILERS: up to Lover's Walk
FEEDBACK: I'm not sure if I overdid it at the end. Let me know if it was okay for you.
SUMMARY: When Buffy overhears a conversation between Giles and Cordelia she finally comes to her senses. B/G
DISCLAIMER: The characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Sandollar Productions, Kuzui Enterprises, 20th Century Fox Television, the WB Television Network, and whoever else may have a hold on them. I do not mean to infringe upon any copyrights.
There is nothing as inspiring as new episodes (new in the sense of 'I haven't seen it before.'). Buffy's decision to not see Angel, plus Cordy lying alone in the hospital formed into this fic, that wouldn't let go.
Also I'm keeping with the current vibe of some B/G fics, that are riding high on Buffy's guilt. So this is my angsty, tearful version of guilt-a-palooza.
Oh yeah, this takes place directly after Lover's Walk...
"Uh, Buffy, isn't it?"
"Oh, Mrs. Kendall. Is Gil- Mr. Giles not here? I wanted... eh, I wanted to ask about... a book."
"Mr. Giles asked me to look after the library for a short while. He wanted to visit a student. I think you know her. Cordelia Chase. She had this horrible accident."
"Cordelia, yes I know her. Thanks, I... thanks."
She went out again.
When she awoke, she felt someone holding her hand. She was ready to tell Xander off, when she saw it wasn't her former boy-friend, but Giles.
"Giles... you're back?"
"Yes. And when I heard about your... accident I immediately came."
He was a little taken aback by her question.
"You are... you are one of my kids. Of course I came here first."
She didn't say anything and looked away, but let him hold her hand.
"You don't know?"
"Mrs. Kendall just told me about a 'horrible accident' and that you were going to be fine. Was it a demon?"
"Why don't you ask the others?"
"They are okay, aren't they?"
"Yes. *They* are okay. Not that I care. Not anymore."
"You'd rather not talk about it."
She turned to him.
"Why should I?! Why should I not. You're right. *I* didn't do anything wrong. *They* did. Xander this excuse for a human being talked me into going bowling with them. God knows what I was thinking, but I agreed. Well turns out that Willow and Xander are not there. It looks like a fight and stupid as we are, we worry. Buffy tells us to get you and on our way the wolf in Oz gets out and he sniffs Willow or something. 'She's afraid.' Yeah, right. Afraid is one way to put it. Lying on top of my ex-boyfriend and sucking his face might be another."
She studied his face, but he hid any emotions that this revelation might have caused.
"And how did... this happen?"
"After seeing my so-called friends making out I had a sudden urge for fresh air. Unfortunately the stairs didn't agree and send me a couple of feet below where this nice iron bar is waiting to learn me inside out, literally."
He tightened his hand around hers slightly.
"I'm so glad, you'll be all right."
"You really are, aren't you?"
"Don't tell me of course. There are a lot of things I considered a matter of course only two days ago. Like that you don't exchange spit with a 'friend' when you're dating someone. That goes for both of them. And Buffy as well, while we're at it."
He looked shocked.
"She and Angel. Now don't tell me you believed for a second that their smooching was an accident. Oh, please. It's not like she ever did the right thing when Angel was around. Just think of Ms. Calendar or when he tortured you. Did she even say she was sorry? No, out-of-town-girl prefers to go crying over her lost killer boyfriend. And now he's back. Lucky her."
"She... she says, she-"
"And you believe her?! God, Giles are you blind? They don't care about us. I'm not even sure if they care about each other, but I know, that we will never be one of them. Maybe they like us, but in the end it's all just about them. They use us. And it's our fault if we let them do it. Giles, you should get out of here. It'll just get you killed someday and I'm not sure if they'd even miss you."
"You what? What is holding you here? Forget about your damn job. You're smart, you can get a better job. What is there to keep you here?"
He stared at her.
Giles looked away immediately.
"You're in love with her?! Are you mad?"
"I'm... I'm not in love with her."
"It's not tact. So why is it you're lying?"
"Buffy needs me."
"Yes, so what? You keep on giving and giving. And she? She's taking all she can get and runs with it. Has she thanked you for it? Ever? I didn't think so."
"I'm here to support her."
"Well, if you want to sacrifice your life for her, then go ahead. I'm just telling you this because I care about you. Giles, she is not worthy of you. She'll never give you anything in return. Least of all love, but you know that, don't you?"
After a while he nodded, hardly visible, but she saw it.
"I will never leave her."
Cordelia lifted her hand and gently stroked his cheek.
"They don't deserve us. And she doesn't deserve you."
They stayed silent for a while.
"How long can you stay?"
He looked at the watch.
"Oh, I have to run. I promised to stay only for a short while. But I'll be back after school."
He got up and kissed her forehead.
"Thank you, Giles."
"You're welcome. As I said, you'll always be one of my kids."
They smiled at each other and he left the room.
II What is love?
Buffy rushed into the next best room, not caring what it was, only knowing that she couldn't face Giles. Tears were streaming down her face. She tried to even her breathing counting from one to ten repeatedly until she found herself able to make sure that Giles was gone and she could walk out of the hospital. She dropped down on the grass somewhere near the hospital leaning against a tree. Once sentence was running through her head again and again:
'Please, let it not be true.'
But it was true. Cordelia in her tactlessness and shallowness had put into words the horrible truth: 'She is not worthy of you.'
She couldn't stop herself from crying. The sun was shining down mercylessly as the darkest moments of her past came back in terrifying clarity. Every time she had lied to him, had disappointed him, had hurt him. When they had met for the first time, she had run and now it seemed that it had never stopped. She kept running away coming to him only when she needed him. Knowing that he would always be there to give everything he had, even his life. 'Has she ever thanked you?' Had she? She must have. Even she couldn't be so callous to never thank him. But try as she might she couldn't think of an occasion, where she had really shown him her gratitude. And she *was* grateful. She couldn't put into words how much everything he did for her meant to her. < Suddenly it means so much to you. > No! It always meant much to her. < You don't deserve him. >
She started to sob more heavily again.
She didn't. She didn't deserve him. Not his respect, his help, his loyalty, his undying support - his love.
'I'm not in love with her.' The way he had spoken the words had made the truth so clear that he might as well have said it. He loved her. He loved her more than most human beings deserved to be loved. She had sensed his care and passion, but much more than that she had felt his desperation and the constant pain his love for her had to cause him. < Angel... >
She couldn't have known. If she had known, that he was in love with her... < What then? Had you done anything different? > 'You should have told me he was alive. You didn't.' But she did the right thing now, didn't she? She would stay away from Angel. No matter how hard it was. For both of them. 'I'm gonna go.''I don't accept that.' Why did love have to be so hard? < That isn't love. > What? Of course it was. That's why he couldn't let her go. Only because he loved her. < That's why he tells you to leave and asks where you're going only a few seconds later? > He... < wants you. > Yes. No! He knows that it can't happen again. < That's why he won't let you go. > God, this was insane. She didn't have to justify herself (to herself!) It hadn't been their fault, that they fell in love with each other. < Right. It's not like he could have known, that a relationship between a 240-year-old vampire and a 16-year-old slayer would never work. > But... < He has centuries of experience. He should have known. You were a child falling in love with a handsome stanger. And he let you! > It wasn't his fault, she fell in love with him. < Yes. He really tried to put an end to that relationship. It's not like he could have stopped you from kissing him or making love with him. That's right, you forced the poor thing. How could he have known... > He didn't know... < He encouraged you. Since the beginning he did nothing to stop this relationship, but everything to keep you. With him and away from your friends and family. Your mom, Willow, Xander... > Giles. Oh, god, that couldn't be true.
She thought about Angel and all she saw was that he wanted her. Near him, alone with him. And what had once been a wonderful thought, made her almost physically sick right now. Why? It wasn't his fault. Overwhelming. Unfightable. Maybe even selfish. Love just was that way. < Not Giles' love... >
III Hopeless dreams
When Mrs. Kendall had left, Giles went to the cage. He found a short note:
'Thought I'd sort some books while you're gone. You might want to check, if I got it right, though. Xander.'
He smiled. He quickly went through the books and was actually surprised that Xander had done a very good job (for once). He wasn't mad at him. Nor at Willow. He had sensed the tension between the two of them, but hadn't really known what to say. He thought that he perhaps should talk to Xander now. Then again, he wasn't really an expert. What was he supposed to say? 'Everything will be fine. She'll forgive you. You'll find someone else.' He couldn't lie to the boy. And the truth was that more often than not people ended up alone in this world. He wasn't the right person to talk with Xander. The only time Jenny had been in his bed had been, when he had found her dead. And now he was hopelessly in love with a girl, who, when he was the last person on earth would probably cry about her loss, not even considering, that he might be a man.
Not that he asked for that. This was something he kept for his dreams. But sometimes he found himself wanting to be recognized as a human being. Any sign that she saw more in him than a 'textbook with arms'. But maybe that was just too much. He had wanted to defend Buffy, but Cordelia had made some valid points. And her words managed to make him feel even more depressed than he had been since they had learned of Angel's return. Angel, who would forever stand between them. < Who are you kidding, old man? It's not as if she would so much as see you, even if Angel was gone. > No, probably not. But perhaps she wouldn't hurt him as much. And that would be improvement enough. She would never be his, but it would make him feel considerably better if she didn't belong to Angel. He wanted her to be happy. Even if it meant, that she was with another man. But he knew that Angel would never be that man, and he knew that that wasn't just jealousy. He could live with jealousy if it meant that Buffy would be happy. A single smile from her could elicit silent prayers of gratitude from him. And when she smiled at him, he knew that he could live with nothing more forever. He knew that he shouldn't be so much in love with her. 'Are you mad?' Yes, he was. He was madly in love with her and spent his days trying not to despair or to wallow in his feelings and trying to hide it.
He was worried that Cordelia had seen through him so easily. Was he letting his guard down? He couldn't afford that. For some reason he was sure that Cordelia would keep his secret, but what if someone who couldn't found out. Someone like Xander or Willow. He couldn't imagine getting well-meaning advice from Xander or compassion (now that's a nice word for pity) from Willow. Cordelia, insensitive as she was, had at least not tried to lie to him. 'She'll never give you anything in return. Least of all love.' They were harsh words. Cordelia had been hurt by her 'so-called' friends' actions more than she would probably be ever willing to admit, but he knew that she believed what she had told him. His heart went out to that girl, that was like him in more ways than he would have thought or said only a while ago. She had an incredible inner strength, with her when she needed it most. She had difficulties to show the people she loved her feelings and she felt alone. He dearly hoped, that she would find her way back into their little circle. Because even though she had told a couple of truths, he knew his kids better than to believe that they didn't care. They cared. It was only because of that that they were the Slayerettes after all. Buffy would probably be long gone without them and for that alone he would forever be grateful to every single one of them. For that he could even be grateful to Angel.
He sighed and leaned against the weapons locker, taking off his glasses and closing his eyes.
Why couldn't he be all she needed. Why couldn't he give her, what she so longed for and obviously found in Angel. And while he was dreaming... why couldn't she love him and want him.
IV A decision
When she had the tears somewhat under control she went back to school. A few very unpleasant truths had finally made their way into her mind, into the part of her brain that was supposed to be susceptible to logical thought: Angel wasn't good for her. Not only would he never be able to give her what she needed, he also didn't care what it meant for her and he wasn't willing to help her with it. On the contrary it seemed as if he only cared about his own feelings, about what *he* wanted and needed. And while she couldn't condemn his behaviour, when comparing it to her own, she found she had to, when comparing it to Giles' feelings for her. Love could be selfless. Love didn't have to be about wanting and danger. Love could be pure devotion and care. That was how Giles loved her. And while she was absolutely furious at Angel for letting it go so far, when he should have stopped her girlish dreams, it was nothing compared to the self-hatred she felt. Time and again she had let Giles down. Never in all those years had she come to him, when she didn't want something from him. She needed Giles. She would go to him and he would give her what she needed. And then she would go off. That's how it had been. And the conclusion she drew was the same Cordelia had drawn: She didn't deserve him.
Angel was all she ever wanted and all she would ever get (or not get as it was the case). Because Angel was what she deserved. Someone who was as selfish and blind as she was, lost in so-called love. A better word might be desire, lust. She still wanted Angel, but she couldn't call it love any longer. In the end it didn't matter.
You get what you give.
For once she would give Giles something back. Not because she wanted to get something in return. She had already taken more than she could ever make up to in a lifetime. No, she would give him the least he deserved. She would thank him. And she would stop taking from him. She just didn't know how yet.
V Giving and taking
He opened his eyes and saw Buffy standing outside the cage.
He stood straight.
He put his glasses back on and approached her. He was alarmed at the distraught look on her face.
"Is everything all right."
The gentle care in his voice... She couldn't help the tears that were once again coming.
He took another step towards her.
"Oh god, it's not... Angel?"
That did it. Everything that stood between them. The sum of her guilt. And yet when he said the name all she could hear was his love for her. She ran into the office straight to the couch weeping.
She had thought that she had no tears left, not knowing how wrong she was. Wouldn't this ever stop? More than anything in the world, she wanted Giles' arms around her, his comfort. But that would be taking again and she had to stop taking before there was nothing left he could give.
He fought for a split second: Anger, jealousy and frustration, that she had 'acted rashly' again or the need to comfort her, to help her out of her misery. The latter won over. Not entirely out of unselfish benevolence: it was a chance to hold and touch her.
When she felt his arms around her, she tried to evade them, but he held her tightly and she only too willingly gave up and let his embrace warm her body and her heart. She held onto him, crying, the stream of tears seemingly endless.
He stroked her back and wondered if he could dare to kiss the top of her head.
"It'll be all right. We'll find a way."
Her grip on him tightened.
"Did you... my poor... Buffy. Did you have to kill him."
Between sobs she managed to bring out "This isn't about Angel."
She shook her head. He couldn't help the sigh of relief. For a moment he just kept holding her, afraid that if he asked, he would have to let her go.
"If it's not... what is it? How can I help you?"
She suddenly moved away from him, turning on the couch, kneeling next him. She placed her hands on his shoulders and searched his face.
"Why are you like this?"
"I... I'm sorry, I-"
"Don't be sorry!" She took his face into her hands. "You are the most wonderful, caring, brave, loyal, intelligent, sweet, handsome, lovable man that I know. And I am not worthy of you."
Somewhere back in his mind, he knew that he had heard those words and what it meant that she had heard them as well, but right now he could only think of the desperation and sadness on her face. She needed assurance. And he would give it to her, even if it meant to let her know his secret.
He took her face in his hands and brushed away her tears.
"I love you, Buffy."
"I know." The tears were coming again, but she couldn't help it. "You shouldn't love me. You shouldn't love someone who is so selfish and keeps on hurting you the way I do. I don't deserve your love." She lightly stroked his cheek with her finger as if to memorize the feel of him.
"I love you."
Before she could protest again he leaned forward and kissed her. God, how she hungered for this. Her arms flew around his neck and she moved her legs straddling him. She rubbed herself against him, while his tongue entered her waiting mouth. He pushed her jacket off and then moved his hands under her top. The touch of his hands and his mouth electrified her whole body.
When they came up for air, she could only whisper "Oh, god, this is wonderful."
He moved the straps of her top down her shoulders. She removed her arms from his neck, so that the top could fall to bunch around her waist. He unclasped her bra and she moaned when she felt his thumbs rubbing her nipples.
When his mouth captured one of her nipples she sighed satisfied. "Yes."
He looked up and smiled at her. He kissed her again and whispered into her ear. "Let me give you everything you want."
She tensed immediately. 'Let me give you everything you want.' '...give you...' She was doing it again. Taking.
She scrambled to her feet and ran to the door, just holding the top to her chest. But he stopped her holding the door shut before she could open it.
She leaned her head against it. He put his hand on her left shoulder.
"Giles, you give and you give and I only take and never give you anything in return."
"You gave me my life."
She didn't turn around, so he moved her hair away until he could kiss her right cheek. She turned around and kissed him passionately. Her top fell to the ground. They staggered away from the door until he felt the desk behind her. He sat her on top of it and moved his kisses away from her mouth to her throat further down to her chest. Her hands went into his hair directing his head to at first one then the other nipple. He sucked gently reveling in her moans, while his hands started to undo her pants. He lifted her from the desk and pushed the pants down, kneeling in front of her, trailing wet kisses down her stomach, licking her navel. She gasped when he reached the waistband of her panties. He slowly moved his hands along the outside of her thighs, then he grabbed her underpants and pulled them down. She stepped out of them and moved her legs slightly apart to give him access. He looked up at her, smiling, and she closed her eyes, because she couldn't bear the love in his eyes just yet.
The feel of his mouth on her sex pre-empted any further thoughts about her guilt. His tongue traced her lips and moved upward until it was circling her clit. She put her hands on the desk to steady herself, for she wasn't sure if she could stand on her own any longer. He put his hands on her hips to hold her, while his tongue moved into her wet channel. Then he moved one hand away from her hip at first trailing his thumb along her lips then entering her. While he rubbed his thumb inside her, he began to suck on her clit. Within seconds she had an orgasm, so forceful that her whole body shook and that he immediately removed his hand and stood up to hold her. She gazed up at him. Once again he had given her what she needed.
He smiled at her. Then he bent down and kissed her. When her heartbeat had returned to a less frightening rate, she started to undress him.
Her hands were roaming over his chest and when she had pushed down his pants and underpants, she gently moved him onto the couch. She removed the last bit of clothing: his shoes and his socks. Then she moved his legs apart kneeling in front of him. The anticipation in his eyes was unmistakable. She reached out her hand and encircled his hard penis. He moaned quietly. She leaned forward and kissed his mouth, at the same time starting to stroke him.
"Tell me what you want and I'll give it to you."
He just looked at her, not sure whether this was one of his dreams and if so if he ever wanted to wake up.
She licked his tip, then took it into her mouth, gently sucking on him. He stared at her, not able to believe his sight. At the same time his excitement grew to unbearable measures.
She removed her hand and began to take his whole length into her mouth.
He groaned: "Buffy!"
She looked up at him.
"I... I want... I want to be inside you, when..."
He couldn't have put it into words, if his life depended on it. But she understood.
She let him slip out of her mouth and kissed the tip of his erection once more before standing up and positioning herself above him on the couch. She moved his head to her breasts and he willingly kissed her. Then she moved down, not onto him yet, but rubbing his shaft along her wet sex.
"I know. I want you inside me as well."
She moved upward again, then down, letting him fill her. They both moaned looking at each other before kissing passionately again. She started to move above him, but he grasped her buttocks and her back and moved her down on the couch, without slipping out of her. When she lay beneath him, gazing up at him with utter longing, he started to thrust into her. She met every thrust with one of her own and started to run her hands up and down his back. He increased the pace and she urged him on: "Yes, yes, yes. Oh god, Giles. Harder. Yes." Her words and movements made him even harder inside her. The feeling of his hot shaft over her wet clit as he pushed in and out of her faster and faster was almost too wonderful to bear. But the pleasure on his face, though bordering on painful, made her hold on. Finally she could give back something.
Moving her body, so that he could get even deeper inside her, she clenched her inner muscles around his big and hard erection. She knew that she wouldn't be able to hold back for long but she had the feeling that he would be ready soon.
When her hot, wet channel tightened even more around him, he knew that it was over. One final thrust, burying himself inside her as deep as he could and they both climaxed, Buffy a soundless cry on her lips, while Giles called out her name so loud that it filled the whole library and if someone had passed by in the hall they would have heard it, too.
He slid out of her then rolled them around so that she lay on top of him. She closed her eyes enjoying the feel of his panting and the beating of his heart. It took a while for him to calm down. Neither of them said anything. Then she felt his lips on her forehead. She opened her eyes and smiled at him. Then she saw the sadness in his face. She kissed him, but it was still there.
"I... I shouldn't have taken advantage of you."
She just smiled at him.
"Giles, you stupid, stupid man. Haven't you understood, yet? I love you." She kissed him. "I love you and I want you and if you let me, I'll do my best to make you happy."
"Buffy, you don't need to-"
"No, I don't need to, but I want to. I want to give you back some of the love, you gave me the last years."
"You heard what Cordelia said."
"Yes, but this is not why I love you. It was just what made me realize it."
"What about Angel?"
She moved up and into a sitting position. For a second he thought that she would get up and leave, realizing that it had been a mistake, but she just sat there for a moment, thinking.
"I think I still want him. But I don't love him any more. If I ever truly did."
She turned to him and looked down into his face.
"I love you Giles. And for some reason, a wonderful if incredible reason, you seem to love me as well. I came here willing to never take anything from you again. I can't do that. I couldn't even if I really tried. Instead I'll try to give back."
"Buffy, you don't have to give me anything. Your love alone... makes me the happiest man on earth."
"Then it's that love that you'll get from me. I'll give it to you. Every day. I'll tell you. And I'll show you."
"And I shall be glad to take it every single time."
She leaned downward to kiss him again.
He met her halfway...