If this isn't love
by Gabriele Schulz
RATING: NC-17 (WARNING: B/R sex! Though the B/R shippers won't like it.)
DISTRIBUTION: Solo84, Cap, Dria14, Jess, Sai. Others please ask first.
SPOILERS: Up to Hush
FEEDBACK: If it moved you in any way, shape or form, please...
SUMMARY: When Giles tells Buffy, he will marry Olivia, Buffy cannot handle it. B/G
WARNING: Tears, desperation, suicide. If any of these are disturbing to you (and you don't like to be disturbed ;-) don't read this one.
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.
NOTE: After seeing screengrabs from Hush I was quite depressed, but also inspired to write an angsty fic. And then of course there's the Cookie Awards coming up... (one can dream ;-)
Thanks to my new beta-reader Lily :-)
"I will marry Olivia."
Four words. Just four little words, gently spoken.
As if they meant nothing to her.
Buffy stared at him, a half-smile frozen on her face.
Thoughts were flying in her head so fast that she couldn't follow them. Her heart began to pound so fast that it hurt.
She didn't really understand what was going on. She couldn't think. But she could feel.
She knew that she hadn't been physically attacked and yet it felt the same. As if someone had knocked her hard in the chest.
She took deep breaths, willing the oxygen to enter her lungs.
Her mind was still refusing to share any coherent thought it had possibly come up with.
So when Giles, whose expression had turned from gauging her reaction to concern, reached out to touch her shoulder, she reacted on instinct.
She took a step back.
"Buffy, are you all right?"
All right? No, she wasn't all right. Nothing was all right. It was wrong. Everything.
Even though she couldn't think straight, there was a feeling of fear inside her. It scared her because she had never felt so afraid before. And she didn't even know what she was so afraid of.
She felt like someone was pushing her under water. No matter how hard she tried to break free that someone wouldn't let her come up for air. She couldn't see who or what it was, but what did it matter when she was dying?
He took a step towards her now seriously worried.
Buffy's faraway look focused back on him and she looked at him for a second as if to decide whether he was a threat or not.
Then she ran.
Out of the house, past Olivia, just where her legs would carry her.
She didn't realize she had started crying until she dropped down near a tree, lying in the grass and sobbing uncontrollably.
No matter how much she tried to calm down, it just got worse. It constricted her throat, but she couldn't stop.
She still didn't really grasp what was going on, the only thing going through her mind was 'Oh God'.
She was trying to breath , but with every breath she took more tears were forced out of her shaking body.
This couldn't happen. This was just a nightmare that she would soon wake up from.
She again tried to calm down and this time it worked - somewhat.
She still didn't understand what was going on. She had never felt like this in her whole life. And just because Giles...
The thought alone brought another spurt of tears.
She closed her eyes and wrapped her arms tightly around her body.
Why did this hurt so much? She had thought that she had experienced all the pain someone can go through after she had sent Angel to hell. But this was...
She tried not to think at all for a second, calming herself down, concentrating on breathing.
After a minute she got up.
Not thinking. Just running. Running home to a place where she was safe. Where she could... what? Think about this?
She wasn't sure if she could or even wanted to. She just wanted to hide in a hole and never come out. Because then she could pretend that nothing had happened.
Giles wasn't going to... and she wasn't... < in love with him >
She started running. Away from the pain and from a possibility that frightened her so much that she wasn't ready to face it.
Giles almost ran into Olivia in his attempt to follow Buffy.
When he realized that there was no use in running after he turned back to his fiancee.
"You told her."
Giles looked in the direction Buffy had run and then on the ground.
"She isn't happy."
He watched Olivia for a short moment.
"Something is wrong. I didn't really expect her to be happy about this, but... I'm worried."
She took his arm and they went inside.
Riley swept her into his arms, the moment she entered her dorm room.
"Giles called. He was worried about you."
She pulled back to look at him.
He saw that she had been crying and started stroking her cheek.
"My poor Buffy. Is it so bad? You never said anything. I thought you liked Olivia. You got along so well. I never thought you'd take it so bad if he mar-"
She stopped him with a passionate kiss.
She pushed him onto her bed and straddled him.
"What are y-"
She kissed him again and pulled his shirt and sweater out of his pants, before undoing them.
He rolled them around, until he was on top.
She got out of her blouse and lifted her hips so that he could pull down her trousers.
Riley had never seen her like this and he knew that he should object, but he had the feeling that she was not in the mood for arguing, so he gave her what she obviously needed.
When he entered her Buffy closed her eyes and moaned softly.
He started to thrust and she urged him to go faster.
"Oh God, oh God."
He gave an especially hard thrust and Buffy cried out.
Riley stopped moving.
Buffy opened her eyes.
They looked at each other for a moment then he pulled out of her.
"I..." Buffy began, but couldn't think of anything to say.
Riley put on the clothes he had shed and quietly left.
When the door closed a strange smile crossed Buffy face.
Riley was gone. She didn't care. She had thought she loved Riley. She had been wrong.
She had been wrong about everything.
She had been friendly to Olivia. Thought that it didn't matter that he was with her now. She had felt jealousy, yes, but that had just been...
An hour ago her life had been more or less perfect. She had had a loving boyfriend whom she adored, and a devoted Ex-Watcher, whose girlfriend she could live with.
Only it had all been an illusion. Nothing of this had been real.
She closed her eyes and remembered, what she had felt minutes ago. Giles' hard cock inside her, driving deep into her core.
She was going crazy.
She had had a life and then with four simple words, the ground she had been standing on just gave way and she fell.
She couldn't tell where, because the truth was, that she was still falling.
She hadn't yet reached the point her journey would lead her.
Reality as she knew it had stopped to exist and the new reality...?
Pictures of Giles kissing Olivia entered her mind.
She tried to shut them out, to concentrate on something, anything she could hold on to in this insanity she was trapped in.
She opened her eyes.
He would understand. Jealousy, pain, refusal to think straight.
Xander would definitely be her man.
Riley didn't call anyone.
On her way to Xander, Buffy tried hard to ignore the little voice in her head that was telling her over and over one thing.
That she loved Giles.
She knew it of course, something in her knew it and what happened with Riley didn't leave any doubt, but she was afraid.
The pain and the fear had been faceless.
Like an uneasy feeling that would turn out to be nothing.
Admitting that she loved Giles would be giving reason to the fear and the pain.
And her confused mind was willing to play along with her.
So she sought out Xander to find an ally, someone who would feel the same, who wouldn't want Giles to marry, even if it was selfish. Someone who would accept her abstract need for Giles.
Someone who wouldn't make her think about her feelings.
"I don't like it either, but I believe he deserves to be happy."
She stared at Xander for a second. Then she shouted at him.
"I *want* him to be happy!"
Then her gaze unfocused as if she had to think about what she had just said.
Yes, she wanted him to be happy. But not with Olivia.
An image of them kissing sent a wave of familiar pain through her.
Not with Olivia.
She would rather die than live with that.
She could make him happy.
She loved him and now that she knew she could make him happy.
Xander was surprised when Buffy hugged him and ran out.
She was smiling, but there was something that gave him an extremely uneasy feeling.
As if he had missed what lay underneath.
He didn't think of himself as a very perceptive person (and probably nobody else did either), but Buffy's behavior frightened him so much that he would have called Giles, if he had known what exactly to tell him.
Buffy was happy.
She was smiling as she quickly walked to Giles' house.
She didn't hear the voice in her that asked if Giles returned her feelings.
She didn't hear that if Giles wanted to marry Olivia, he had to love her.
She was floating on a wave of false euphoria. Something unsubstantial that stopped her free fall.
She wasn't back on ground and whatever held her was so weak it was shaking beneath her.
But she kept walking.
She refused to see.
Because somewhere deep inside her, she began to realize where her free fall would take her...
When Giles opened the door he was relieved to see it was Buffy.
She flew into his arms and he smiled, desperately wanting to believe that everything was all right.
Despite what he had seen in her eyes for a split second.
Then she kissed him.
Licking his lips, wishing he would open up for her.
But he pulled back.
"I love you, Giles."
She wanted to kiss him again, but he took her hands and held them between them, so that she couldn't move away or come closer.
"Buffy, you are confused, you can-"
"I *love* you. I want to make you happy."
He closed his eyes, then opened them again. She could see a profound sadness in those green depths.
This wasn't going as she had planned.
The ground beneath her was no longer shaking. And she had the feeling that if he let go off her hands she would fall again.
But he kept holding her hands.
"Buffy. I... I was in love with you for such a long time."
Her still confused brain filtered his words: in love a long time.
Something kept her from rejoycing. It wasn't the sad way he looked at her, no, all of a sudden pictures began to flood her mind.
Parker, Riley, Angel.
"I... it happened over the years, but on your 18th birthday I knew."
The different pictures in her mind suddenly focused on one event. Angel draining her.
Her birthday. Her 18th birthday. Over a year.
A year that had brought as much pain as the others before. She could have been happy.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
He smiled an unhappy smile.
"I knew that you would never return my feelings."
She suddenly wanted to pull her hands away in anger.
"You *knew*?! God dammit Giles, we could have been happy!"
She was ignoring the fact, that she had realized her love for him only today. But deep down there was something infinitely more dangerous she refused to notice.
The particular phrasing of his last sentence.
He hadn't said 'I never thought that you could return my feelings'...
She stared at him angrily and he looked back with his still sad eyes until she couldn't stand it any longer.
She looked down at his strong hands holding hers.
Well, that was the past. Pain could have been avoided, but it was too late to change that.
You couldn't be too picky in life.
As long as he loved her now.
Suddenly what he had said came back to her. This time in full.
'I was in love with you for such a long time.'
Was in love. Was.
She suddenly looked up at him.
No. This couldn't be.
It couldn't mean that he didn't love her anymore.
'I will marry Olivia.'
God couldn't be so cruel.
She thought she heard someone laughing, but when she looked around no one was there.
She suddenly felt his strong grip, feeling that it was all that held her.
One chance to let him tell her she was wrong.
"You are not saying that you loved me, but decided to move on to someone else."
He looked at her for a long moment.
"I had to."
Then he let go of her hands.
They stood facing each other, then suddenly Buffy began to laugh.
It was the most horrible sound Giles had ever heard.
There was no humour in it, no light, nothing of Buffy.
It didn't even sound human.
She laughed so hard that tears were streaming down her face.
He tried to put his hand on her shoulder, but she instantly recoiled and stopped laughing.
"No, Giles. You'll marry. Nothing left for Buffy."
"It's okay. That summer when I ran away..."
She trailed off. Then she looked at him again.
A sad smile crossed her face.
"I once had to send the man I love to hell. I guess it's only fair that this time the man I love sends me to hell."
He looked at her and saw resignation, but there was still a glimmer of hope.
But he had to tell her the truth, no matter how painful it was.
"This isn't love, Buffy."
The glimmer was gone.
For a moment Buffy was just fascinated with what was happening.
She was falling again.
And now she knew what ground she would fall on.
She looked at Giles for a long moment and smiled in what Giles willed himself to see as understanding.
He smiled back.
Then his smile disappeared as for the second time that day, she ran out the door.
He ran out after her, but after a few blocks he was out of breath and she out of sight.
He whispered to himself.
"I still love you."
She tried not to think too much on her trip to L.A.
All she could think of was Giles.
Giles kissing Olivia.
Giles kissing Jenny.
Giles kissing her mother.
Giles smiling at Faith's remark.
Giles adoring Willow.
Giles laughing about Xander's jokes.
Giles looking at Cordelia exasperated, but never leaving any doubt that he cared about her.
'It's an organic compound... of muscle relaxants and adrenal suppressers.'
'Officially you no longer have a watcher.'
'You are going to have to learn to take care of yourself.'
'You have no respect for me, or the job I perform.'
It wasn't enough that he didn't love her.
No, he *had* loved her.
She had had the chance for everything once in her life.
That had never been the case with Angel or Riley.
With Giles all her dreams would have come true.
But now it was too late.
Once again she had made a mistake and was being punished.
But if God (or whatever higher being felt it fit to make her life a living hell constantly and literally) thought she would go through that again, crying her way through life, struggling not to break at the sight of Giles and his wife living happily, He was wrong.
She couldn't do anything about her parents' divorce.
She couldn't kill Angelus.
She could neither be with nor without Angel.
But this time she wouldn't just sit back and let it happen.
She still couldn't see the ground beneath her, but she knew where she was heading.
And she wasn't afraid any longer.
Giles called everyone in Sunnydale who could help look for Buffy.
He was worried that when the sun set, she would be out alone and defenseless or at least not properly able to fight what was lurking out there, just waiting for a slayer out of her right mind.
He should have been more sensitive. Talk to her, let her calm down.
And most of all he should have listened the voice that had insisted something was wrong.
But now it was too late.
He didn't even want to think about what could happen to her outside.
He would never forgive himself.
He had sent everyone out except Willow who was staying at their room at the dorm and he himself who was sitting next to the phone, ready to jump if she should call or knock on the door.
He never would have believed that his engagement could affect her so much.
That her need to have him for herself and not share him would be so strong that her mind would translate it into love.
He would have been happy, if he hadn't seen the almost insane pain she had to be in.
God, how could he have let her run away, when she thought she loved him.
He should have at least pretended to believe her.
Time would have done the rest, but in her current state she was so vulnerable that with a little bit of bad luck (and living on the Hellmouth bad luck came gratis with the sunshine) she would never live to come to her senses.
He just hoped they would find her before it was too late.
Angel was surprised to see her.
She came towards him smiling, but something was distinctly wrong.
There was no light in her eyes. No sparkle.
Her eyes were those of a dead person.
< Oh God, they finally got her. >
But then she embraced him locking his lips with hers and he could feel her warmth.
He sighed, relieved, and she must have taken that as a response to the kiss, because her tongue flicked out and her hand wandered to his groin.
He pulled back violently.
"Come on, Angel, I know you want to."
"Buffy, you know that we can't do this."
"Yes, we can."
She advanced again, but he lifted his hands holding her back.
"What has happened?"
"Nothing. Nothing bad at least. Could we stop talking now?"
He looked at her.
"I'm going to call Giles."
He reached out, but she got to the phone before him and pulled it away, easily ripping the cord out of the wall.
"You are not going to call Giles. You will finally do something for *me*."
He looked at her, shocked by her calm outburst.
"Buffy, I'm afraid I don't understand."
"You nearly killed me twice. This time I want you to finish it."
She was dead serious. He knew it and he knew that something terrible had to have happened to even consider...
"Nobody died. I'm the only who will be dead."
"Buffy I could never-"
"But Angelus can."
He couldn't believe her words. She knew what Angelus was capable of. What he could and would do not only to her but to many other innocent people.
He stared at her.
"You won't help me."
He knew that lying would be useless.
"I can't. Maybe if you tell me..."
She snorted. An appalling sound.
"Nothing, really. Well, no biggie at least. Just... I can't watch this. You really don't want to help me? I don't think I can do it alone."
"Then don't. Buffy, whatever it is, it can't be so horrible that you couldn't live with it."
"Of course I could live with it. I just don't want to."
They looked at each other for a moment.
"To kill yourself is not a solution."
"I can't stay and I can't go away. Actually it seems like the only solution for me."
"Why can't you stay?"
"I'll be leaving now."
She turned around and when he tried to hold her back she whirled around and shoved him away violently.
"Don't you *dare* try to hold me back! If it weren't for you..."
Then the outburst was gone.
Suddenly she looked at him and said conversationally, like you would perhaps say 'Did you know they have a new exhibition at the museum?'
"Did you know Giles was in love with me?"
The sudden change in demeanor was so unnatural it shook him to the core. Whatever she was going through must be far worse than he could imagine. He knew madness, when he saw it and he was afraid that even if only temporarily something in Buffy's mind had just shut down. It had taken away her natural ability to get through everything that was thrown her way and it had taken her will to live.
Then he remembered her question.
So he had finally told her.
"Yes, I knew."
"You mean you suspected."
"No, I... I knew."
"When I placed Jenny in his bed I went through his personal diaries. There were only hints, but then when I... tortured him he admitted it."
"He did? Under torture? Hhmmm, maybe I should have tried that, too."
He stood open-mouthed. It just was inconceivable that she would joke about that and at this point he wasn't even sure if she was joking.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"I... it was his secret."
"Ahh, I understand. Of course it had nothing to do with the fact that you wanted me for yourself, even if you couldn't have me."
"Buffy, I... I didn't think it was important. That you would want to know."
"Why does everyone *assume* things? Couldn't at least *one* of you let *me* decide, what I want and what I feel?"
He was about to answer when she stopped him by lifting her hand.
"No, I know why. Because I could have been happy. And we can't have that, can we? We are both cursed, Angel. You loved me, but had to leave me and I... will leave, too."
"Is he going away?"
She seemed to consider his question.
"No, I don't think he's leaving. He said nothing about leaving. And I might be able to live with *that*."
"Buffy, you cannot kill yourself."
It was impossible to argue with her.
"Giles could never live with it."
She looked at him and there seemed to be... something in her eyes, something that told him this was the right direction.
"He loves you."
She turned around again and when he grabbed her this time, she pinned him to the door holding a stake to his heart.
"Don't make me do it. I don't want to kill you, but if you try to hold me back I *will*. I have nothing to lose."
"And not much time for regrets and guilt."
The hand that had held him by the throat was slowly lowered.
She backed away, leaving his office never turning her back to him.
"Don't follow me."
"Don't worry, maybe I'll finally be happy."
He took a step towards her and she lifted the stake menacingly.
He held up his hands to signal he would do whatever she wanted him to do.
When she felt the door behind her, she opened it and went out, never leaving his eyes.
When he could only see her head, she smiled again and said small-talk-like.
"By the way, Giles is getting married."
Then she was out and the door was closed.
He ran and opened it, but she was nowhere to be seen.
"No, it's Angel."
"Have you seen Buffy?"
"Is she all right?"
"IS SHE ALL RIGHT?!"
"She asked me to kill her."
Giles had been worried sick, because he feared that she couldn't defend herself against vampires.
'She asked me to kill her.'
She wanted to die?! He had sent her away and she wanted to kill herself?!
He nearly dropped the receiver.
He wanted to. Not talk to Angel, instead go upstairs and wallow in guilt and self-hatred, until he would have the courage to follow his slayer.
But she wasn't dead, yet.
"Where is she?"
"She left me."
"And you let her go?!"
"She threatened to kill me."
He wanted to scream at the vampire, but knew that he had had no choice.
"You have to find her."
"I'll do my best."
"Who are you going to marry?"
"It doesn't matter."
A short silence.
"Why didn't you tell her that you still love her?"
Angel never got an answer.
After he had hung up, Olivia asked.
"Who was it?"
He stared blankly at her.
Then without a word he got up, went upstairs and locked himself in his bedroom.
"Buffy?! Now that is a surprise. What are you doing in L.A.?"
"I hope nothing bad. It's not an end-of-the-world-thing again, is it?"
"No, just a little demon."
"Good. So what are you doing here? We both know it's not because you missed me."
"Well, do you have a gun?"
"A gun?! What kind of demon is this?"
"Just a little one, but he's... eh... quick and since he is as vulnerable as humans, I thought, why not drop by Cordelia and ask if she could help out."
"Is there something wrong? You seem weird. I mean weirder than usual."
"Does Angel know you're here?"
"Yes. As a matter of fact he's looking for the demon right now, so if you could perhaps hurry a little."
Cordelia disappeared into her bedroom and came out again holding a pistol in her hand.
"As slayer with a gun. Doesn't that feel... low? I mean, with your slayer powers and training and everything and then you just go and shoot it. Then again maybe you should have tried it long before, it's a lot more convenient than..." She moved her fists in a mock fight for illustration.
"Well, whatever. Thanks for the..." She lifted the gun.
"Sure, but I want it back. If you lose it you'll have to buy me a new one. Or give me the money."
"I'll make sure you get it back."
"Hey, do you guys... I mean do you need help?"
"No, no, not at all."
She suddenly hugged Cordelia and was out.
"Buffy, wait, th-"
But she was gone already.
Buffy put the gun in her pocket holding onto it.
She could finally see the ground.
Very far still, but approaching at an amazing speed.
She never would have thought that she could *seriously* consider suicide, but right now there wasn't even doubt.
She had been living a dream. And when she had woken up, life turned out to be a nightmare.
She tried not to think about it.
It hurt too much.
What could have been.
And what was not and never would be.
Giles would miss her.
But he had Olivia now. And she just couldn't see them happy together.
Maybe the pain would go away after years.
But if she was honest, she didn't want that.
She had never felt like this. Never felt so much.
Her love for Giles was filling her completely.
And no matter how painful it was under the circumstances, she cherished the feeling of loving without limitation.
She knew that she would never be able to love anyone like she loved Giles.
And since she couldn't have him, what use was there in prolonging the pain?
"Hey, did you get that demon?"
"The one you and Buffy were chasing."
"She was here?!"
"Yeah. Told me about the demon and got my gun. You didn't lose it, did you? 'Cause I told he-"
"WHERE IS SHE?"
Angel was shaking her violently.
"Hey, what's *your* problem?"
If he would breathe he would have taken a deep breath.
"Where is Buffy? Is she here?"
"No, she just got the gun and went to find that demon. Is something wrong?"
Giles flew down the stairs and snatched the receiver from Olivia.
"Buffy? ... Oh. Have you found her? ... When? ... Then, she'll be back by now. ... Oh my god. ...... Yes. Bye."
He hung up and just stared into space, his hand still on the receiver.
Olivia put a hand on his shoulders and he jumped away.
He concentrated on the words. When he found them he looked at Olivia.
"We need to call the others. She's... back in Sunnydale. Probably. But..."
"She has a gun."
'Are you trying to get yourself killed?!'
Buffy looked through the broken window.
It hadn't changed much since that night.
He *had* been trying to kill himself.
He could have shot Angelus in the heart, but he wanted to punish him.
He wanted him to feel some pain, even though it would never come close to what he felt as his beloved Jenny was taken from him.
Two of them had been smart enough to notice, what they had in him.
But enough of that.
She sat down, her back against the wall, between some crates that still stood there.
She pulled the gun out of her jacket. She released the safety catch and closed her eyes.
She pictured him. Smiling at her in that way that should have shown her long ago that he loved her.
Then she imagined that he bent down and kissed her.
Long, sweet and filled with love.
Then he took her face in his hands and said 'I love you, Buffy'.
"I love you, too, Giles."
Then, still smiling, she lifted the gun to her temple.
She pulled the trigger.
Xander went to the mansion, Willow where Sunnydale High had been, Spike went to where the master had killed her and Riley went to the empty Summers residence.
Joyce was on a short business trip.
Olivia had wanted to accompany him and he didn't refuse her, because he didn't want to deal with her now.
He loved her dearly.
But if Buffy's recovery required it, he would send her away without a second thought.
They were driving to the old warehouse.
It hadn't been the first or the last time either of them had cried.
But it had been the only time they had cried together.
It was the greatest pain he had felt until then, but she had taken it away.
She had forced him to look ahead.
To remember his destiny.
He was born to serve her. And that night he had promised to never leave her.
He had lied when he told her he hadn't known before her 18th birthday.
Ever since her death, he had felt the need to protect her. It had gone beyond the feelings of a watcher or a father.
But he hadn't wanted to see.
He had rushed into a relationship with Jenny, that even if it weren't for Eyghon or her secret, could never have worked.
And when Jenny had died, he had given up.
He could never love anyone the way he loved Buffy.
Oh God, how he had failed her.
He had promised to never leave her, but he had been weak and had fooled himself into believing that staying in Sunnydale was enough.
Despite Jenny, he thought he could find someone else.
Could love someone else, if not like Buffy, enough to make her happy and deserve to be loved in return.
He had betrayed Buffy, Olivia and himself.
And now he would have to pay the price.
He had to find Buffy alive.
If he didn't...
He didn't have to think about it.
If she was gone, he no longer had a place in life.
He stopped the engine and got out of the car.
Olivia followed closely behind.
He was walking slowly.
He didn't want to scare Buffy.
But most of all he was too afraid of what he would find.
Then he saw her.
She was leaning against the wall between some crates.
Her head was sagging.
The gun was lying loosely in her hand.
He couldn't breathe.
He didn't know what kept him standing.
He wanted to drop down to his knees and scream out all the pain and anger.
But he just stood and stared at the body of the person who meant everything to him.
Olivia reached her hand out to put it on his shoulder.
Then through his misty eyes he saw the body move.
He was on his knees in front of Buffy in a second.
She looked up and opened her tear-filled eyes.
She was crying.
"It wasn't loaded."
He looked at the gun, then at her.
Then he had her in his arms and kissed her whole face until he finally reached her mouth.
Olivia had watched it all silently.
He had told her that he had been in love with Buffy.
And she remembered that she had wanted to ask whether he still was, but something had held her back.
Now she wished she hadn't listened to that voice.
It would have saved her some grief.
She turned around and walked away.
The kiss lasted an eternity.
Then he very gently pulled away.
He cupped her face with his hands.
They looked at each other for a long time.
He stroked her tears away with his thumbs.
She moved her right hand onto his left and then said very quietly.
"If this isn't love, I don't want to live."
He had made many mistakes over the years, but of all the mistakes the greatest had been not to believe her.
He believed her now.
He kissed her again.
This time it was passionate and demanding.
He wanted to show her that he now believed that she loved him.
And he wanted her to show him that love.
They struggled in their frenzy to get close to each other.
Clothes were being pushed away and ripped apart if necessary.
She was half sitting on one of the crates, half leaning against the wall, when he entered her.
Their overwhelming need brought them over the edge in a matter of minutes.
Giles cried out her name as he flooded her with his seed, but Buffy just moaned softly and began to cry.
Calming down they held onto each other.
Then Buffy whispered into his ear.
He didn't understand her.
"Carry me inside."
He obliged, not withdrawing from her.
When he was inside, he looked around.
"Here, on the ground."
He carefully got down on his knees and lowered her to the dirty ground.
She was still wearing her jacket, but from her waist down she was naked except for her socks and one shoe.
He kissed her long and sensually.
Then his mouth began to wander to her throat.
He ripped her blouse, which had been pulled up to expose her breasts to him, apart and started to explore her chest with his mouth and tongue.
When he moved further and wanted to pull out of her, she wouldn't let him.
"No. Not this time."
Her hands began roaming his chest, then she pulled his face down for another ardent kiss.
As their tongues mated passionately, Buffy began to thrust upwards and Giles pulled slightly out, then pushed back inside her tight, hot channel.
They went more slowly this time, but even so it took only a short time until Giles was pounding into her furiously, her urgent moves matching his.
They came, shouting twin moans of pleasure.
Then they were in each others arms.
Buffy lifted his head, so that she could look into his eyes.
"I love you, Giles."
"I know, Buffy. I love you, too. I always did."
They kissed again.
Soon enough the cold floor would feel uncomfortable and they would get up.
But right now they just held each other closely, knowing that finally the happiness they had found wasn't temporary or false.
There would be no more dreams and no more nightmares.
There was only life.
And the destiny to share it as long as it took.
(Okay, so no one died. But it still *was* angsty, wasn't it?)