If you love it...

AUTHOR: Gabriele Schulz
EMAIL:
gabi@gschulz.de
RATING: PG
DISTRIBUTION: The New Buffy/Giles Relationshippers, A Watcher's love. Others please ask first.
SPOILERS: through Becoming II
FEEDBACK: I'd be thrilled. (Thanks for not flaming ;-)
SUMMARY: Giles and Buffy find back to each other, after she ran away in Becoming II. 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.
NOTE: Just a standard B/G piece, where Giles realizes he loves Buffy. Duh.
DATE: 5/30/99


Their lips met in a kiss, first tender then increasingly passionate. Buffy felt a lump in her throat. < Angel... > There was hardly a moment she didn't think of him, but seeing young couples in love was the worst. She had sent him to hell. The man... person she loved most. His face was burnt into her brain. She topped up the cup with coffee, surpressing her tears. It was easy. She was an expert in it by now. When she cried it was in the shabby little room, she could afford with what she earned as a waitress. But even there she cried less. She mostly just stared at the walls, sometimes, more frequently as time went by, wondering why she went on at all. Her life was nothing but grief and guilt. If she were dead a new slayer could be activated. Someone who wouldn't mess up everybody's life including her own.

"Number three and a coffee. Just a second."

She even tried to smile at the young man, but it didn't seem to be a convincing smile, for he looked back a little worried. She tried to push her thoughts away. < Concentrate on the work, pink girl. > She brought the orders trying a smile again and this time the young man smiled back.

She was not yet ready to change her life, whether by going on or ending it, so she might at well try her best now. She put on her most dashing smile and turned to a table close to the entrance.

"Good mor..."

She froze. Could that be? How on earth had he found her?

"Buffy..."

She stared at him until he stood up reaching one hand out to touch her as if to assure himself he was not dreaming. But before his hand could take hers she turned around and ran.

He tried to follow her, stumbling around the table. So did the owner of the cafe.

"Hey, Summers! Where the hell do you think you're going? That dress doesn't belong to you. I'll call the police if you don't come back."

But Buffy was gone. Giles turned around and went towards the owner of the cafe.

"How much is the dress?"

The man before him raised an eyebrow.

"How much does she owe you?"

Giles followed the man back inside turning around once more to look out on the street. But Buffy was nowhere to be seen.

*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*

She ran neither turning around nor caring about the people who stared at her running like the devil in her pink and white "uniform". She must have run a couple of miles before she slowed down, still not turning back though. She knew he wouldn't have been able to follow her. As her breathing slowed down her mind started racing.

How did he find her? She had gone where the bus had taken her, without a plan. And he had not only found the city she lived in now, but also where she worked. But she knew that wasn't true. His face clearly showed that he hadn't expected to see her. The surprise and relief, but mostly the joy so great that he couldn't yet believe it was true.

And it wasn't. If she had wanted to return to Sunnydale she would have done so. She had decided that it was best if she stayed away from them. Seeing Willow in the wheelchair, Xanders bandaged hand... and Giles. She had nearly killed them all and Kendra's death and what she had to do to Angel was all the guilt she ever needed in her life. So she had left. Thinking that it would be the right thing to do. Thinking they would be safe. (Well at least as safe as you could be in Sunnydale.) Thinking that it was best if she was a slowly fainting memory. Her mother would be broken-hearted, but she doubted that it would have been easier for her to accept that her daughter was a vampireslayer. She knew that her friends would miss her. She missed them too, sometimes whishing for one of Xander's comments that would make her want to throw anything at him that was in sight or even one of Cordelia's views of life. But then she thought of Angel and what she had done to them. But Giles... She had tried to avoid thinking of him more than of anything else. Because deep inside she knew that she couldn't run away from him. He was her watcher and he would be until one of them died. It would be his responsibility to look for her until he found her (dead or alive). The others would learn to live without her, but Giles would maybe give up hoping, but he would never stop looking for her.

She suddenly felt selfish. She had run away sure that it was the easiest solution, not thinking, not wanting to think about the fact, that it may just be what was easiest for her. The image of his face. He didn't look well. He must have been on the road for quite a while now. And then the change when he recognized her. So much emotion, so much... love. She frowned fighting back the tears. But this was new ground. Not the pain she was so used to when she thought about Angel. She loved Angel and had to send him to hell. She had had no choice. But running away had been her choice. Leaving without a good-bye. Not even letting them know she was alive.

And yet he loved her. After all that had happened there was not a trace of accusation in his face. < ...support and respect... > The words echoed in her mind. That had been before Angel had killed Jenny. But in her heart she knew that even after that his support and respect were unbroken. The tears were rolling down her cheeks now. That night, after Angel had lost his soul and Giles had assured her that he was not disappointed, she had vowed to herself that she would always return his support and respect. But she hadn't. She had traded everything for being alone.

Suddenly she remembered the night after Jenny's death, when Giles had gone to the warehouse to fight Angel and possibly get killed. She had told him, that she couldn't do this alone. She had meant slaying, but now she realized that she meant living as well. She couldn't live alone. And she didn't have to.

Giles would be there. He would alway be there for her if she only let him. He was probably sitting in the cafe right now, hoping that she would return. And they didn't even have any tea.

She stopped walking and laughed, wiping the tears from her face. She turned around and started walking back. < Poor Giles. The coffee isn't very good either. > She started walking, breathing deep, feeling liberated. She knew that her life wouldn't be easy (it would never be), but at least she would have a life again. A smile formed on her face, serious, but the first smile she really felt since she left Sunnydale. She walked faster. Towards Giles. And suddenly a frightening thought crossed her mind. What if he wasn't waiting for her? What if he was sure she wouldn't return?

She started running again.

*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*

The coffee was undrinkable, but he forced it down, never taking his eyes off the door. He tried not to be too hopeful. He had given up the hope of finding her a while ago. But he knew that he would be not of much use in Sunnydale and looking for her at least kept him busy. And then... She had looked exactly like he remembered her and yet very different. She was more fragile and underneath that dashing smile, he sensed a deep sadness. But she was alive and well. And so close he had almost been able to touch her. Almost. And now she was gone again. He tried to tell himself that he could live with that. That it was okay if he just knew she was alive. That he could respect her need to be alone. That he could let her go. But he wanted to be here, just in case she decided to come back. He took another gulp of the dreadful coffee, thinking about whether he shouldn't rather wait outside in front of the cafe or perhaps somewhere else, where you could keep an eye it. But he didn't want to stand for possibly hours if not days or risk missing her, while he had to pay and come over from another cafe. So he drank as much coffee as he had to to not be kicked out by the owner who eyed him suspiciously once in a while.

"Has she been up to something?" the owner had asked, but he had just asked for a tea, after paying for her working clothes and then agreed to take a coffee, when the owner informed him, that they didn't have tea at the "Coffee heaven".

He had only chosen the cafe, because it seemed rather empty. It had been pure coinicidence (or maybe fate) that had led him to her. He didn't want to believe that life would be so cruel to bring her back to him and take her away immediately, but at the same time he was very much aware of how little life cared about what was fair. After Jenny's death he had stopped expecting anything from life besides being Buffy's watcher. And even that had been taken away from him. The only thing left was bitterness or hope and he tried to avoid both.

He took another gulp. He screwed up his face in disgust closing his eyes, but finished the cup. When he opened his eyes Buffy was standing in the door looking at him her eyes unreadable.

"If you think you can just walk out of here, then come back and..."

The owner stopped when he saw the look on Buffy's face as she watched Giles stand up. The other people in the cafe stopped talking as well, watching what was going on between the young waitress and the tweed-clad man.

Giles started frowning and smiling at the same time. Then her face lit up in a smile. He opened his mouth but couldn't say anything. He was unable to move towards her, too afraid that she might run away again. But she didn't. She ran the few steps towards him and threw her arms around his neck.

"I'm so sorry", she whispered into his ear.

He closed his eyes and moved his arms around her. She pressed her cheek against his and repeated, "I'm sorry, Giles."

He pressed her to him as hard as he could. It had been his duty as her watcher to look for her, his responsibility as her mentor and friend to make sure she was okay, but as he held her in his arms he realized that it was not duty or responsibility that had led him to her. He had not looked for her because she was his Slayer or a good friend. He had looked for her, because he couldn't live without her. The figure in his arms meant so much to him, more than he had ever thought or wished, more than anything - more than she should. At that thought he knew that he had to loosen his grip on her, but before he did, he inhaled deeply taking in her scent. He removed his arms. She withdrew slightly moving her hands to his face and drawing it towards hers until their foreheads met.

"Sorry, that you had to drink that coffee."

He smiled.

"You still have to pay for it, too."

They turned toward the owner and Buffy put her arms around Giles' right arm and leaned her head on him.

"Can I send you the dress?"

"Your friend took care of that, but you'll still have to pay for the coffee."

Giles gave him a note.

"Keep the change."

They walked out arm in arm.

"I always thought the coffee was horrible."

"It is, but the service is great."

He looked at her a serious smile on his face. She smiled back up at him and he felt the urge to kiss her, but knew that things were difficult enough already.

So he turned left walking towards his car.

"Please tell me that you left your old wanna-be-car at home."

"It brought me to you."

"Okay, so it's a great old wanna-be-car. We could still rent something to get back?"

"Buffy!"

"Okay, okay. I guess you two developed some kind of relationship on the road. Fine with me."

"Good. I love that car." He really did. It would always remain what brought her back to him.

"If you love it, then you shall have it."

He looked at her face that smiled up at him and somehow he couldn't prevent himself from reading into that a promise far beyond keeping his car.

END