Going Home
By Renee

PLOT- Giles is getting ready to leave for England, can Buffy convince him to stay?
TITLE - Going Home
DISCLAIMER - Oh what I would give to own them :) but it's probably good that Joss does cuz I wouldn't share them :).
SPOILERS - Set at the end of Tabula Rasa.

"Flight Sunnydale to LAX now boarding." He took one last longing look around the airport then dug a weary hand into his pocket to retrieve his ticket. Years ago he would have said this were a trip home but now England was just his birthplace, it hadn't been home for some time. It had all changed when he'd seen a beautiful, strong willed but delicate young girl walk into his library. At first sight he knew why'd he become a watcher and he vowed that very moment to devote his life to hers. He would not just stand back and watch as so many before him had, being a true watcher meant more than that. No, he would train her to fight that much was true but he would also learn from her and fight by her side. Two warriors, one in purpose, would fight the darkness together.

She'd been the daughter he'd always dreamt of having but the years went by and she transformed from a beautiful girl into a stunning woman. He'd fought for so long not to allow himself the luxury of falling in love with her but when he'd cradled her lifeless body after her fight with Glory he knew he'd been kidding himself. No matter how much resistance he thought he'd made he knew it had all been a lie. Loving her was as easy and as necessary as breathing. His tears rained down upon her face as he held her to him forcefully. He cried out to the PTB to return her to him. Tears began to form in his eyes as he shoved that memory harshly to the farthest depths of his memory. Not once had he been able to recall the vision of her lying there and hold it together.

The news of her return had brought mixed feelings, selfishly the strongest was relief and great joy, his Buffy had been returned to him that was all that mattered wasn't it? But as the shock passed away he experienced anger towards Willow and the others for performing such a dangerous ritual with little or no thought for the consequences. But could he really be angry with them? He'd wanted to do the same thing every second of every day since she'd been gone. If he were honest with himself he was relieved that it had been done without any of the blame falling on his shoulders.

It wasn't his Buffy that had returned to them though, it was barely an echo of her. She was in there somewhere he knew and he'd spent countless days trying to coax her out but she seemed to retreat further and further inside. If he'd stayed any longer it would have killed him, he felt barely alive as it was. Watching her slowly fading away in front of him was the last straw, he couldn't do it anymore. He'd tried one last time in the training room when he'd told her he was leaving but even in that he'd failed. Rather than the quick band-aid pull he'd expected she'd yelled at him and stormed out. He wasn't sure if he'd ever felt worse than he did at this moment, he'd let her down before certainly, he grimaced as he remembered the Cruciamentum, but he'd always stuck around to help pick up the pieces afterwards. Not this time, not anymore, he hadn't the strength.

As he made his way towards the correct boarding gate he heard a ruckus over the intercom, it almost sounded like a fight.
"Look I just need this thing for 2 minutes and then you can have it back OK?" Was that Buffy's voice he heard? Great now he was sure he'd lost his final marble he was hearing her voice everywhere he went.
"Madam this is for airport staff only I'm afraid I cannot allow you back here."
"Ok we can do this the easy way or the hard way, the easy way as I'm sure you've guessed is you take this $50 and you leave me alone with this mic for 2 minutes, the hard, well I'm pretty sure you can figure out the hard way too." There was no mistake that was definitely his Buffy sounding feistier than he'd heard her in some time.
"Listen lady what're you gonna do? You're what 5 foot?" What sounded like a fist going through some kind of wooden object blasted from every speaker in the airport.
"You know what I think I'll take the $50, thanks." The sound of a door shutting shortly followed.

"Giles, hi, this is Buffy. You're probably wondering what I'm doing and believe me I'm wondering the same but I couldn't let you get on that plane without telling you how I feel. You know I'm major spaz girl with words so I've decided to completely make a fool of myself and sing a song that seemed appropriate. Whoops let me barricade the door hang on." He heard some kind of heavy object being slammed against what he could only imagine was the door and a moment later Buffy's voice was back.
"That's better, now let me just turn this radio on and I'll be set. You better be listening Giles because if you're in the John and I have to do this again I'm gonna be pissed." A small smile quirked at the corners of his mouth despite his confusion.

The opening of a song he didn't recognize filled the airport, although he couldn't place it he was sure it was country. Buffy joined in with the singer, as he'd found out from their earlier trials with a demon named sweet, Buffy had a pleasant voice.

"I've sure enjoyed the rain
But I'm looking forward to the sun
You have to feel the pain
When you lose the love you gave someone
I thought that now the time would take away these lonely tears
Hope you're doing fine all alone but where do I go from here

Cuz without you I'm not ok
And without you I've lost my way
My hearts stuck in second place
Oooh without you"

"Just one more minute guys and then I'll be done. Look I have to tell Giles I love him, this is a matter of life and death here OK!" Some people in the crowd that had started to form around the nearest speaker cheered her on and told security to let her finish. The vocals had started again so she concentrated on singing along once more.

"Well I never thought I'd be
Lying here without you by my side
It seems unreal to me
That the life you promised was a lie
You made it look so easy making love into memories
Guess you got what you wanted but what about me

Cuz without you I'm not ok
And without you I've lost my way
My heart's stuck in second place
Oooh Without you"

As the instrumental began she chose to take the opportunity to bare her soul. "Giles I know I've been the biggest fool in the history of fools and I have no excuse for that but I need you to know that I know it too OK? And that I know now you're the most important person in this world to me. When I came back you were the only one I wanted to be around, you filled a void that had been consuming me till I thought I'd drown. But you held me and I felt safe for the first time and I knew then that I loved you. I...I... was just too screwed up to know how to tell you." The last sentence was muffled by the sound of sobs. She pulled herself together as the lyrics once more began and she joined in.

"Somebody tell my head to try to tell my heart
That I'm better off without you
Cuz baby I can't live

Without you I'm not OK
And without you I've lost my way
My heart's stuck in second place
Ooooh without you
Without you"

As the music played it's final notes he heard the sound of the heavy object being moved and the door opening. He scanned the crowd urgently trying to catch a glimpse of her, his heart pounding so fast he thought it would burst from his chest and scarper across the tarmac. He heard a great commotion from behind him and a lot of "excuse me's". Before too long he saw Buffy's beautiful but tear stained face running toward him. He held his arms open to her and she leapt gratefully into them. He spun them for a moment before he allowed her feet to touch the ground however he refused to relinquish his hold on her. She stared at him with her heart in her eyes, what he saw there caused his heart to burst with love.

"Giles I meant every word, I love you so much, I'm so sorry it took the thought of loosing you for me to have the courage to tell you. Please please please believe me you have to, I'm not saying this just to make you stay although I know I'd die if you didn't. I truly, honestly and deeply love you Giles and I'm hoping desperately that you feel the same." He knew she meant it, could see it in her face and hear it in her voice. He leant down and whispered "My dearest Buffy, you've no idea how long I've dreamt I'd hear you say that."
Before she could reply he closed the distance and softly, sweetly placed a kiss on her lips. The crowd around them erupted in a round of applause, a flash was seen to go off around them, someone obviously wanting proof that they'd witnessed such an event. But to Buffy and Giles they could have been on a cold and snowy mountaintop with no life around for miles. The only thing they could feel was the pounding of their hearts and the completeness that they'd been searching their lives for.

"Does this mean you're not going home then?"
"On the contrary Buffy I am going home." She looked like her world had just shattered, he hastened to reassure her. "Buffy my home is with you, it always has been."
"Oh Giles, I love you." Her hand caressed his face as he murmured back,
"My darling I love you too." Applause erupted again as the couple walked hand in hand from the airport, this time he truly was going home.