Helpless Love
By Arkin

TITLE: Helpless Love
AUTHOR: Arkin
FEEDBACK: Yes please!
RATING: PG-13
DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Joss owns all.
SPOILERS: Helpless
SUMMARY: There's been waaay too much pain and suffering this past little while. Let the healin' (and the lovin' ;-) begin!


Rupert Giles sat in his apartment, thinking about the events of that night, that week, images of an emotionally and physically bruised Buffy dancing in his mind. He had betrayed her more than he thought humanly possible. But more than that hurt the fact that she forgave him, that she still wanted him as her watcher, but he couldn't be that anymore. He had been fired. Dismissed from his duty because he cared too much for her. He almost got her killed, almost got her mother killed, and still Quentin believed he loved her. It was true, of course. He did. But for anyone to see it beyond his latest betrayal...

A slight knock on the door dragged him back to the real world, the last place he wanted to be in at the moment. But he got up and opened the door, half-expecting Angel to be there with a burning baseball bat. But it was worse.

It was Joyce.

The look in her eyes proved to him that she knew what happened, how she and her daughter came to be in mortal danger. It also proved that she was not as forgiving as Buffy was.

'Joyce.'

'Rupert. May I come in?'

He stepped back from the door and Joyce came in. For a moment he thought about the last time she had been there. That ended badly. He had no doubt that this will be worse.

'Buffy told you what happened?'

'Yes.'

He swallowed hard and closed the door. 'I take it you're not here to say you're sorry I lost my job.'

She turned to him. 'Believe it or not, Rupert, I don't want you to leave.'

'Why? After what I've done...'

'Ho, believe me, I want to see you on a plane. But I also want to see Buffy happy. And that won't happen unless you're here with her, so I'd rather you stay. That council guy, he was right about you loving her, I have no doubt about that, even after these past few days. But he didn't think about Buffy. She loves you, she's attached to you. If you go...' She was angry now, but not at him, it seemed. 'Why didn't that bloody council think about her? She's the slayer, doesn't it matter to them what she thinks? What she feels? She wants you here, as her watcher.'

'I'm afraid that's not possible.' They sat on the couch, not looking at each other.

'You're not going to leave her, are you?'

Giles looked at her sharply 'Never!'

Joyce nodded slowly. 'Didn't think so.' He looked away again, staring into space, and she looked at him, at his sad face. 'You have such a relationship with her, I can't even imagine. She has a all other life with you, with vampires and demons and other things I don't want to think about. And you're always there to help her with what ever she needs help with.'

'That's my job.'

'No. Your job is to train her, to send her to fight vampires. Not to help her study for the S.A.T's, or make her go to class when she's really trying not to, or care about Buffy, and not just the slayer. And I'm sorry it got you fired.'

'So am I. More than anything. But... the council... they missed Buffy. She was supposed to start her training as a young girl, and they missed her, couldn't find her until it was too late, she was already the active slayer. And when they did find her... did you know that her first watcher died? He was killed by a vampire. The council -  they didn't think she'd last a day on the hell mouth. So they sent me here... their loss canon, the one that ran away and massed with demons. They thought we'd both be dead within a month. And then they would have gotten ride of an untrained slayer without sacrificing a good watcher. But Buffy surprised them. She faced more than any other fully trained slayer, and did better. And they were getting worried that maybe I'm not good enough to trust with such a slayer. I suspect I would have been dismissed of duty regardless of the out come of the test. Our relationship, my feelings, were merely an excuse. I could have treated Buffy as nothing more than a soldier, It wouldn't have made a difference. '

'They tried to kill her to get rid of you?'

'No. The test is genuine, it's given to all slayers at their 18th birthday, if they live that long. But... fail or pass, they would have found a way to get ride of me. And they were probably hoping she'd be so mad at me she wouldn't care. They want someone else here with her, guarding the hell mouth. It probably terrifies them - the most sensitive spot in the world, in the hands of the Ripper.'

Joyce was shocked by the cynical tone of his voice. Could he be right? Were they just looking for a way to get rid of him? They would do that to him, to Buffy, because they didn't like him? No wonder they were both taking this so badly. He feels it's out of his hands, he's not in control here. And Buffy...

'You know she blames herself for you getting fired?' Giles stared at her, his mouth hanging a little 'She thinks that if she had killed that guy when she first met him, you wouldn't have had to tell her about the test, and the council wouldn't fire you.'

Giles shook his head 'One of these days she'll think herself into a guilt trip over the fall of the Inca Empire.' He thought for a second. 'But I guess I should have seen that one coming. She was always very good at blaming herself for things she had no way of stopping. Angelus and Jenny and even killing Angel.'

'Jenny? Is that the teacher that died last year? Why would she blame herself for that? Or for Angelus?'

Giles looked at her and she was dumbfounded by the sadness on his face 'You know that Angel and Buffy... had relations, don't you?' She nodded 'Angel had a curse on him that gave him his soul back. When they, um, well... it caused him to lose his soul, thus turning him into Angelus. And he was the one that killed Jenny.'

Joyce looked away, unable to look at the pain in his eyes 'My God, I had no idea...'

'Buffy... she blamed herself for that... all of it. But when she had to kill him, Willow managed to give him his soul back. It was too late, killing him was the only way to save this world. He turned back into her lover right in front of her face, and she stabbed him through the heart. That's why she ran. It was too much for her.'

Joyce looked at him. 'Is that why you were the only one that accepted her without a word? Because you were the only one that knew what happened?'

'I couldn't be mad at her for running after that. I ran because of less. Tried to avoid my fate because I didn't like it. Buffy... she accepted her fate, tried to save everyone, and got hurt like no one I can think of. How could I be mad at her for running away? And no one else would have been either, if she had just called, told us she was alive, told us what happened. But people, when they're done worrying, they get mad at what got them to stay up for three months with horrible thoughts. She had every right to run, and they had every right to be mad at her. And when I figure out how to combine the two, I'll let you know.'

She smiled at him, her smile very much like her daughter's.  'No wonder she loves you.'

Giles looked at her in surprise 'Don't tell me you didn't know? Did you think it's one sided? After everything the two of you have been through, you think she could feel any different?'

'I never... she never said anything.'

'Neither did you.'

'True.'

She got up 'You've been through hell and back together, literally, and you've both made mistakes, hurt each other, but no matter what happens, what you do, you always forgive each other, you always accept the mistake and move on. But all this love, all this loyalty, it comes out of action, you've never talked about anything. Now, personally, it will take some time for me to forgive you.  But I know you two love each other, and you like working together. And Buffy's gonna' need you, she already needs you. She's not taking this very well, and I think you owe it to her to try and make things better. Why don't you come with me? I think she'd like to see you. And when you're done talking, you can take her to the ice show. She needs to have some fun.'

Giles got up 'Yes, I believe you are right.'

'And Rupert?' He turned to her. 'What ever curves you're relationship takes, I'm happy for you. And I'll support you.'

**

Giles looked at Buffy, sleeping, sitting next to her on the bed. The cut and bruise were the only way you could tell there was anything wrong; she looked so peaceful. And in a way she was - until that damn test, her life were moving along pretty well. But it seemed that things always went wrong right after they became pretty perfect.

So much pain, for the both of them. Some of that they couldn't help. But some of it...

His heart broke with the realization that she ran away. He didn't know what happened, he could only assume that the survival of the world took too much from her. But why hadn't she come to him? He would have tried to help, to make her feel better. He couldn't have been a worse option that running away. He felt like he didn't matter to her, like she didn't care about him, didn't trust him, and that hurt more than he thought possible. Add to that the concern for her safety...he was in a haze for three months, coming out of it only when he got a tip as to her possible whereabouts. The tips never came through, and he was left waiting for her, emotions he was afraid of building up inside of him.

And than, one night, he opened his door, and she was there - and all of the anger, all of the hurt, evaporated.

Until her second betrayal. Finding out that Angel was back was bad enough, but hearing it from Xander, who saw them kissing... that was too much. She didn't trust him. Again. And she lied to him. Again. And about him... the man who tortured him... who killed his Jenny.

He was harsh. Too harsh, perhaps. But it got the point across. She came to him in the hospital that night, apologizing, admitting that she did it because she didn't trust him not to show up at the mansion with a blazing bat. Her admittance of her mistrust should have made it worse, but it made it better. She trusted him enough, believed in him enough to be able to tell him that, plain and simple. And he realized that she might have made many mistakes, but he did mean something to her, their relationship was important enough to her that she'd come to him and talked to him, really talked to him, and told him what happened. So he forgave her, mentally. But deep down in his heart, he was still hurt.

That week he found out that nothing she had ever done, no argument, no teasing, no lie, was as bad as he thought them to be. They were by far not on the top of the list of 'ways to hurt each other.' Because he betrayed her physically. He put her life in danger, and her mother's. She had never done that. Had never placed him in danger because someone told her too. He would have gotten her killed, and all for a foolish test.

And she was mad. Her eyes showed not hate, but uncertainty. Like she couldn't believe he did that to her, and refused to hate him until she had proof.

But she had proof. And she was enraged, crying, shooting, breaking his heart into a million pieces. And he deserved it, he knew that. But what happened next...

He was fired. His love for her dismissed, in front of her, into a tactical mistake. And he was relieved of his duty. And something in her eyes changed. He saw it, a realization of some kind, that this was real. That he had loved her, betrayed her, and lost her.

He didn't want to leave. If she let him stay... and she did. Let him treat her cut, drive her home. She didn't cry, just looked at him with sadness in her eyes and left.

He looked at her, putting a hand to her cheek, stroking it with his thumb. Buffy woke up, opening her eyes slowly, and he pulled his hand away. She smiled at him, but his smile was sad. She looked at her clock 'What are you doing here? It's the middle of the night.'

'I got a visit from your mother. We talked, and she thought I should talk to you as soon as possible. If you want to go back to sleep I'll leave.'

Buffy sat up a little 'No, we need to talk about this.'

Giles looked down for a second, than lifted his head and looked her right in the eyes 'I'm sorry. For the test, for betraying you like that, for putting you in mortal danger on your birthday. I didn't want to hurt you, I...'

'You're used to doing everything the council tells you to.'

He nodded slowly. She touched a gentle hand to the bruise near his eye. 'You made a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes, lord knows I have. But you tried to make it better; you told me about the test, you came after me. And after everything I've done, I guess you deserve your own flop.'

She pulled her hand away from his face, and he looked down again. 'We've hurt each other quite a lot these last two years, haven't we Giles? Well, mostly me hurting you, actually.' She looked down for a second, trying to fight back the tears. 'What are we going to do, Giles?'

He looked up at her. 'I don't know. What we have to, I suppose. You'll get a new watcher...'

'No! Giles, please, I don't want another watcher, I want you. Please.' The tears sprang out now, and he felt like he'd been staked through the heart. When he spoke his voice was barely a whisper.

'I'm sorry. I can't be. But I'm staying here, I'll be here when you need me. I'm still librarian, and there's nothing the council can do to drag me away from here.'

She almost choked. 'He threatened you. He said you'd be dealt with.'

'Don't worry about that. I can take care of myself. The important thing is I'm not leaving. Now, I may not be your watcher, but I hope you'll accept me as a friend.'

She didn't say anything, just wrapped her arms around his neck and sobbed into his shoulder. He hugged her back, holding her as tightly as he dared. 'I love you too, Giles.'

Buffy could feel it when he started crying. She tried to tighten her grip, but lacked the strength, so in stade she just leaned on him until they both stopped crying, and Giles pushed her back gently until she was lying down again. 'I'm so sorry, Buffy. Please believe me, I didn't want to hurt you. And I hope you can trust me again one day.'

'I trust you now, Giles. And I know you're sorry.'

Giles smiled at her sadly, than covered her with the blanket and leaned down to kiss her forehead. 'Good night, Buffy.'

'Good night, Giles.'

He tried to get up, but suddenly she reached out and grabbed his hand. 'Don't leave. I want you here tonight, with me.'

He hesitated. Sharing her bed was a little too much for him to deal with in his current state of mind. But he couldn't refuse her. He will just have to control himself.

So he took his shoes off as she moved across the bed to make room for him. Sliding down next to her, he couldn't help blushing when she snuggled up against him, resting her head on the crock of his shoulder. He shyly put his arms around her, and a shudder ran through him as she slid one arm under his shirt and rested it on his warm chest.

'What are you doing Buffy?'

Her voice was like a cat's pore. 'Nothing. Just...nothing.'

But even as she was saying it, she was drawing circles on his chest with her fingers. 'You're different.'

'Different?'

'Than him. You're, warm. You have a heart beat. I'm not really used to that in the man I snuggle with.'

She felt his muscles tense and bit her lips. 'I'm sorry. I didn't mean... I just couldn't help noticing. You're nicer.'

He relaxed at that, sighing. 'I know. I guess it's only logical that you should think of him. He was your first. And only, I believe.'

'Yeah. Well, I'd like to change that.' She pulled up a little and laid her head on his chest, looking up at his face.

'I think it might be nice. You know, you didn't get me a birthday present.' She pulled up a little more and started tracing his jaw line with gentle kisses.

She could feel his body reacting to her touch even as he pulled her hand out of his shirt and backed away a little. 'Buffy... what are you doing? And don't say nothing.'

'I just... I realized something this evening, in the library. If your feelings to me are fatherly, than a all lot of fathers around the world are showing remarkable restraint. And as for my feelings...' She worked her way to his mouth and kissed him.   

'Buffy...' She stopped him with a kiss and felt her heart miss a few beats as he kissed her back.

She slide on top of him and kept kissing him, pulling his shirt off. He ran a hand under her shirt rubbing her back. Suddenly she pulled back.

'My mom...'

'Isn't here. She went to the museum. I'm not sure why...' The rest of his speech gave way to kissing.

**

Buffy stared at Giles as she traced lines on his shoulder. When she woke up a sudden horror groped her. The last time she made love, she woke up to a nightmare.

But Giles was there. Warm and breathing with a steady heart beat. His arms were still around her, and his peaceful sleep calmed her down immediately.

He stirred, than opened his eyes. She panicked a little when he pulled his arms away. But he just sat up and shook one of them. 'I'll never again feel my fingers, I fear.'

She smiled. He sat against the bed board and she climbed onto his lap, wrapping her arms around his middle and leaning. A soft tingling sensation went through her as he returned the hug, placing one hand on her back and resting his other one on the back of her neck, holding the blanket.

'I sincerely hope your mother hadn't returned. It might be...'

'Embarrassing?'

'I thought understatements were a British art.'

'I've been spending too much time with you.'

He didn't have anything to say to that, and so kissed the top of her head, resting on his chest. She made a sound he could only describe as a spoiled little grunt and dozed off.

**

Giles put his hands on his wife's vest front. 'Why doesn't he ever kick when I'm around?'

Buffy took one of his hands and kissed it. 'He doesn't want to hurt you. It's no fun unless it's mommy. Have you thought of a name yet?'

'My father's, if you don't mind. Arthur.'

'That's nice. How about a middle name?'

'Your father? Have you talked to him?'

'Mom did. He didn't take it very well. I mean, the wedding was bad enough. Now a baby... he's not coping.'

'It must be hard on him. I'm older than he is and I got his daughter knocked up.'

'That's a romantic term. Arthur Hank Giles. What a dreadful name.'

'Would you like a different one?'

'Na.'
  
**

'Bloody hell.'

'It's your own fault.'

'How is it my fault Xander?'

'You should have known better than to give a woman in labor a body part. Especially if she's the slayer. Especially if it's your stronger hand.'

Giles looked at his now splintered fingers and sighed. 'I suppose I should have.' He looked at the birth room door. 'Maybe I should go in there.'

'She'll ask for another body part and you'll give it to her and nothing good will come out of that. Best just leave her there. And you here. Far away from each other's hands.'

'Maybe I should go. I can handle her.' Joyce got up.

'Just remember she's a slayer.'

**

Buffy put her son in his crib and leaned against Giles, standing behind her. 'You know what?'

'What?'

'I don't think I've ever been this happy.'

'You're only saying this because you haven't had a decent night sleep since you gave birth. You're not thinking very straight.'

'Try not to ruin the moment, Giles.'

'Sorry.'

'How's the new slayer?'

'Slaying. That's pretty much all I could get out of that twit calling himself her watcher'

'How long before I can go back on duty?'

Giles turned her around. 'As far as I'm concerned, never. You're no longer just a slayer, or my lover. You're my wife and a mother. And you're not going out there unless the new one needs help. There has been only one slayer for a few milleniums. There will be only one now.'

'You mean I don't slay again?'

'Not if I can help it.'

'But...'

'No. It's too risky. If anything comes your way, kill it. Don't go looking for them. Alright?'

'I guess that's the end of Buffy the vampire slayer. Now it's just Buffy.'

'Buffy Giles. That's not just Buffy.'

'I'll miss slaying.'

'You can practice on me. And you didn't seem to miss it up until now.'

'I know. Just felt like something I had to say. So, what am I supposed to do with my nights now?'

Giles grinned. 'We'll find something.'

END