I Can't
By Marta Jadczyk

Title: I Can't
Author: Marta Jadczyk
Rating: PG-13ish (I'm never sure with these things)
Distribution: Solo, (and anybody else who might want it) let me know and I'll send you the version that has the note and the journal spaced right as an attached document.
Disclaimer: They belong to Joss, ME, and the evil ones (FOX) I just take them out for a spin once in a while. PS If any of the above mentioned peaople are reading this, can I have Giles?
Spoilers: Up to 'A New Man'
Notes: I know, I'm supposed to be writing my series, but then I made the mistake of reading Rayvyn's challenge. :P The challange was that you had to include the quote by Rayvyn:
"If you want me to stay, I will.
If you want me to go, I will.
Just don't ask me to stop loving you, I can't."


Buffy let herself into Giles' flat with the key he gave her. After the whole episode with him turning into a demon, she had been dropping by his place just to see him quite often. Especially since things between Riley and her had ended. They were still friends, but the sexual energy had tapped out without ever being appeased and once that happened, they discovered that they really had very little to talk about except work."Giles?" she called out, a tinge of panic setting in after she received no reply. She checked the kitchen and found a note on the table. It read,

Dear Buffy,
   I had to get some things since I cannot exist on research alone. Don't fret, I'll be back before dark.
Rupert

The Slayer smiled. Giles was so thoughtful. He knew that she might drop by and didn't want her to worry so he left her a note. She'd just have to wait until he got back to talk to him. She wondered over to the living room and sat down on the couch. She contemplated turning on the TV, but there was nothing on at this time of day. A leather bound notebook caught her eye. It was not adorned with any of the runes and symbols that were usually etched on the books they used for research and that was what attracted her attention. Curious, she opened it to a page slightly into the beginning.

January 17, 1999
I gave my Slayer the Crucimendum. I cannot find the words     that would express the shame and pain I've felt in the last few days. She kept looking to me for answers, trusting me to make things right and each  time I lied to her. There is no poetic phrase that can indicate the feelings I've had, so I shall not try.
What I can say is that Travers has so obviously not had contact with any human emotions for quite some time. 'A father's love.' Pillock. I love Buffy that much is certain, but I've never thought of her as my daughter. I love her as a woman. She is strong and yet so tender. Gentle when she does not have to be. Patient and caring, fierce and protective. Beautiful, on the inside as well as the outside. She makes my blood rage with passion and my heart ache with the need to hold and protect her. She is my life, my love, my soul.

Buffy closed the book with a snap, her mouth dry, her heart pounding. Giles loved her. Giles, the man she'd dreamed of, but given up on, loved her. A slow, content smile spread across her face. She found the next entry and began reading. Two hours and she had reached the final entry but the smile had been replaced by a frown. Starting from when she began seeing Riley, her watcher kept feeling more and more left out, useless. The final paragraph in the journal kept echoing in her mind. 'Now I must decide whether I will stay, or if I should go before my unrequited love tears me apart.  Buffy neither needs me here nor wants me here, so why am I still in Sunnydale?' Thoughtfully, the blond picked up a pencil and wrote in the journal, then left it open on the table before going home.

Giles got back just as the last rays were sinking under the horizon. He ran a hand through his hair. The shopping trip was long, but fruitful. He smiled thinking about his newest purchase. It had been on a whim, really, but he so seldom indulged himself that he couldn't feel guilty about it. He walked into the living room and dropped his keys beside his open journal, before walking into the kitchen to put the groceries on the table. Moments later, he nearly ran up to the book. He had closed it before leaving, he was sure of it. He saw the neatly penciled lines, but had to re-read them three times before he accepted them as reality.

If you want me to stay, I will.
If you want me to go, I will.
Just don't ask me to stop loving you, I can't.

Could it be possible, could she have read the diary and not be disgusted. Even return his love? His mind whirled with the possibilities, before his heart blocked out all thought save one, 'She loves me.'

Buffy was just finishing a sweep of the cemeteries and on her way to the dorm when she heard the roar of a motorcycle. Out of habit, she glanced over her shoulder towards it, to make sure it presented her with no danger. What she saw made her jaw drop. Giles, wearing a leather jacket and contacts was driving a Harley. He stopped beside her.
"Can I offer you a ride?" he asked. Mutely Buffy nodded. 'Mouth looks better closed Buf,' her mind told her as she got on behind him. She wrapped her arms around his waist as he started up the street. He drove to a secluded spot, slightly higher than the rest of Sunnydale. It was one of those places that, had it been discovered by teenagers, would have become a Lover's Lane. Buffy got off the bike and stood at the edge of the drop, gazing at the town. She knew that Giles had read what she wrote and brought her here to talk about it. She was preparing herself for the worst when she felt arms gently cupping her shoulders from behind. The Watcher drew her against him and wrapped his arms around her waist. She covered them with her own and they stayed that way for long silent moments.  Finally, Giles turned her to face him. His eyes glistened dangerously and the moon reflected in his earring. He looked so different and yet so familiar.
"Buffy," he sighed before continuing, his gaze looking somewhere past her shoulder before returning to hers. "I won't ask if you meant it, I know that you wouldn't be cruel enough to joke at my expense. But I need you to know who I am before we can seriously think about a relationship." Buffy tried to interrupt, but he placed two fingers on her lips to silence her. "Yes, you know a lot about me, but not enough. I've kept myself aloof most of the time. Loving me won't be easy. I'm not young and I have many battle scars, both physical and emotional. I am both Ripper and Rupert and I'm far too old. You might not know, whom I'll be that day. The one thing you can be sure of, is that I will love you. Always. But I don't know if it's enough." He leaned his forehead against hers and whispered,
"If you want me to stay, I will.
If you want me to go,
I will. Just don't ask me to stop loving you, I can't."

Buffy's smile was radiant.
"All you are is all I ever needed, Giles. I love you and if you love me, then that's more than enough." The two kissed there on the clearing, in full view of the town, declaring their commitment to each other for all to see.

END