Title: Intimate Intervention
Summary: Buffy fears that she's shutting down emotionally. Can the Scoobies help prove her wrong?
Distribution: If you've had my permission in the past, you have it now. All others, ask and ye shall receive.
Feedback: Constructive criticism always welcome. Praise abjectly sought.
Disclaimer: It all belongs to Joss, Mutant Enemy, etc., etc., etc. I just let them have all the fun Joss won't. I own nothing except my twisted mind which you really don't want. Please don't sue.
Notes: I don't usually rewrite shows, but this one sat up and begged me to do it.
"Riley's gone, and now my mom's gone, and I loved her more than...anything. And I don't know if she knew."
Giles rose and went to Buffy and laid a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"She knew. Always."
"I don't know. To slay. To kill. Those are all words for being hard on the inside. Maybe being the perfect Slayer means being too hard to love at all. I already feel I can hardly say the words."
"Buffy..." Giles began.
"Giles. I love you."
The Englishman blinked at her words.
"Love, love, love, love, love, LOVE, Giles even the words sound strange."
"Not so strange as all that, I should hope. At least, the first one didn't."
"What about the rest?"
Giles guided her back to the sofa and sat her down.
"Perhaps you're trying too hard. Buffy, how do you feel about me?"
Buffy looked at the floor as she twisted her fingers together.
"You know that."
"Are you certain? You've never told me in so many words."
"You've never said either."
"No, I don't suppose I have."
The two regarded their hands with surprising interest for some moments.
"So I guess this is one of the major drawbacks of the Slaygame. Is this how you do it, Giles? You can train me and teach me because you don't let yourself care? You shouldn't have to be this way just because of me."
"Buffy, no! I - I care...a great deal. If you'll recall, that's how I got myself fired as your Watcher."
"'A father's love'. That's what Travers said."
"Yes. He did say that."
"What do you say?"
Giles took a deep breath. "I say that Travers is a horse's ass."
One look in Buffy's wounded eyes was enough to tell him he'd said the wrong thing. The girl got to her feet and went to the stairs.
"Dawn? Do you have any plates in your room? Bring 'em down now!"
She returned to the kitchen leaving Giles to sit and kick himself mentally for his mistake.
The next few days were strained between Watcher and Slayer. Buffy avoided Giles as much as she could. When they were together, awkward silences ensued. Neither seemed to know how to repair the damage from that one conversation.
When a week had passed with no improvement, the Scoobies held a meeting at Xander's apartment.
"I just don't get it. Buffy and Giles, Giles and Buffy; they've always been the amazing cojoined twins of Slayerdom." Xander shook his head. "Nothing got between those two. Even the Watcher's Council couldn't break them up."
Anya nodded. "Even other lovers couldn't do it."
Willow got an odd look on her face
"It's not like they ever...y'know, y'know? That's not the kind of relationship they have."
"They don't sleep together, but maybe they should. It was clear for months that Buffy cared more about Giles than she did about Riley. And Giles chose Buffy over his orgasm friend...what was her name?"
"Olivia. But An, Buffy and Giles...they work together," Xander told her. "They're a team. It's a working relationship, not a romance."
"There are lots of couples who work together, too" Tara observed. "In fact, all of us in this room do. We patrol together when Buffy can't, and we do research together. And look at Mr. and Mrs. Nakamura who run the corner market down on Vine street."
"Yeah, but Mr. Nakamura isn't thirty years older than Mrs. Nakamura. That'd be a little...weird."
"Will's right. A big age difference is just asking for trouble in the romancing department."
"Excuse, me, Xander. I thought we were happy."
"Huh? What, An?"
"Have you forgotten that I'm eleven hundred years older than you? And Angel was two hundred some odd years older than Giles."
"Okay, you're a bit older. I keep forgetting that 'cause you look so young and pretty. Giles doesn't."
"So if he looked the same age as Buffy, it'd be okay?"
"Yeah...I mean no! It'd be...icky."
"I think we're getting sorta off the track here," Willow brought things to order. "This isn't about whether Buffy and Giles should be having smoochies; it's about getting them to talk again. What they do once they start talking is their business." She shuddered slightly.
"So how do we get the two most emotionally repressed people on the face of the planet talking again?"
A silence followed Xander's excellent question. Finally Tara got a thoughtful expression on her face.
"I think I have an idea."
The next evening, Buffy went to Willow's dormroom. She was meeting her witchy friends for an evening of study, possibly to be followed by a trip to The Bronze if they got enough work done before patrol time. She was surprised to find three chairs set in the middle of the room, one facing the other two.
"What's this? Some kind of quiz show? The prizes better be fabulous."
"Not a quiz, Buffy; more sort of a talk." Tara led her to the single chair as Willow shut the door.
"This is another intervention, isn't it? Like that one after Angel came back?"
"This situation with you and Giles, we feel it's gone on too long," the redhead began. "We don't know what the problem between you is, but we think it's hurting you both."
"We're not hurt," Buffy asserted. "We're just...not exactly talking to each other. It's no big."
"No big? Buffy, you've been walking around like you're just a big ol' zombie, and I've seen zombies so I know what they look like, even."
Tara laid a hand on her girlfriend's arm to quiet her.
"We're not here to judge you, Buffy. I know after my mother died, I did lots of crazy things. I'm afraid maybe you're making the same sort of mistakes I did. I feel like, maybe you're pushing Giles away because you're hurting and that's hurting both of you."
Buffy got up from her chair and toyed with objects off the shelves.
"Maybe me, but it's no big for Giles."
"Okay, now I'm thinking maybe I need my ears checked" Willow responded. "Did you just say this is no big for Giles? 'Cause I think it's a great big big for him. Buffy, I don't think I've seen him look this sad since..."
"Since when, Will?"
"Since...since the summer you went away. He looks all...deflated all the time. Like he doesn't know what to do if he doesn't have you to train, and do stuff with...not that I think you do stuff stuff, if you know what I mean, which I'm sorta hoping you don't ask about..."
"Honey, you told me to stop you if you babbled. Um, I think this might be a good time to say." Tara patted Willow's hand. "But Willow's right, Buffy. Giles looks really sad all the time. I've never seen him like this."
"Well, you're wrong. He already told me he doesn't...he doesn't care about me."
The two witches looked in confusion at one another and then at their friend. Willow was the first to find her voice.
"So, what exactly did Giles say to you, Buffy?"
Tears welled up in the Slayer's eyes.
"He said...he said...Travers was a horse's ass!"
Again the witches were stunned and confused.
"Travers? Wasn't that the guy from the Council?" Tara tried to make sense of the matter. "He seemed sorta, um, unpleasant."
"No, not this time. Before. When he fired Giles. On my birthday."
"Your birthday? He wasn't here on your....oh." Willow finally got it. "You mean your eighteenth birthday, don't you. That's the guy who fired Giles, right? But Buff, he is a horse's ass. Why would you be mad at Giles for saying it?"
"Because...because it means he doesn't love me!"
Giles looked up in mild surprise when he heard Anya lock the door behind a customer.
"Is it as late as that already? Where did the time go today?"
The former demon turned to face her boss.
"I closed the shop early."
"I see, and when precisely did you buy me out?"
"Don't be silly. I haven't done that. I'll need a bit more money before I can. We need to talk. Xander's coming."
As if on cue, the young man came to the door and Anya let him in. Xander took charge.
"Giles, take a seat," he indicated the tarot table. "We need to talk."
Giles was too stunned to disobey.
"Now, this thing with you and Buffy. Giles, you know this can't go on."
Now see here, Xander, this is none of your business..."
"Like hell it isn't. Buffy is one of my best friends and you're...well...I never had a real Dad until you came along."
"You...you mean...? Xander, I don't know what to say."
"Say you'll make it up with the Buffster. Say you guys will be friends again."
"I'm afraid it isn't as simple as that."
"Sure it is, Giles," Anya assured him. "You just tell her you're sorry for whatever it is you did to her and maybe bring her some chocolate. Or flowers. Or, since it's Buffy, a new crossbow. She'll forgive you and you'll be friends."
"After what I said, I doubt we'll ever truly be friends again."
"Oh come on. You guys always forgive each other. It's one of the great truths of our time: the Earth rotates around the Sun, Sylvester Stallone should never attempt to do comedy, and you and Buffy are the Slaytwins. What could you possibly say that would mess with that reality?"
When Giles continued to inspect the floor, Xander tried again.
"Look, you and Buffy not talking is a bad. I saw what it did to both of you last year. She was totally lost and you tried to turn back the clock about twenty five years, with very little success and a high embarrassment factor. And this time she doesn't have government commandos to fall back on. If you guys don't mend this, we're all screwed. Especially Buffy."
"That's all well and good, but I'm not sure this can be mended."
"What the hell did you say to her, Big G?"
"I told her I loved her."
"Okay, I'm hearing the words, but I don't know what they mean. What sort of love did Giles say he doesn't? I - I mean, there's lots of different kinds of love, right? A - and what kind do you...want?"
Buffy sat on the bed and pulled her knees up to her chin.
"I don't even know, Will! All I know is he doesn't want to be with me and I'm not sure how I'll survive with that."
"Okay, so what exactly did he say?"
"I already told you."
"You said the words, but that doesn't tell us context," Tara clarified. "Depending on what else each of you said, it could mean lots of things."
Buffy pondered for a moment.
"Well, I said that Travers had said Giles loved me like a father, and then he said Travers was a horse's ass. Then I knew he didn't love me and I've steered pretty clear ever since. I don't want to be a burden."
The witches shared a significant look.
"That doesn't sound to me like he doesn't care. Just like, he doesn't think he's your father."
"No, Tara, you don't get it. He's been trying to get away from me since before I was even born. Now I know for sure I'm nothing but an obligation to him. Well, I don't want to be that. I won't just be something he has to deal with, whether he wants to or not. That's not what I want."
"I don't think you know what you're talking about, Buff" Willow said. "I don't think that's what Giles meant at all. And anyway, what do you want?"
"I want...Giles. I want him to care. I want him to be happy."
"Okay, getting that, but how do you want him? You guys need to talk soon and you better know what you want so you can tell Giles."
"No, oh no. There's been enough telling."
Tara sat next to Buffy and put a comforting arm around her friend's shoulder.
"I think there's got to be more telling. The problem isn't that you and Giles told, but that you half-told. You need to tell him what you want, and he needs to tell you what he meant. You're both unhappy this way. And you're distracted. That puts you and him and Dawn in danger. If we're going to defeat Glory, you and Giles need to focus."
"I have to keep Dawn safe."
"And you have to know your heart. You have to tell him why you were so upset. That means you have to understand it yourself."
"How do I do it? I haven't felt in so long, I've forgotten how to do it. I loved my Mom so much, and I've hardly cried for her. I drove Riley off because I couldn't feel anything when he was there. And I tried so hard to love him..."
"Tried?" Willow's eyebrows rose to an astonishing height. "You tried to love Riley? Buff, if you really love someone you don't have to try, you just...do. Okay, I have an idea. I'm gonna ask you a couple questions and I want you to just answer without thinking or worrying about what we'll think of your answer, okay, Buff?"
"Okay, I guess."
"Do you love Dawn?"
"Did you love your Mom?"
"Of course I did."
"Do you love Giles?"
"Do you want him to love you like a father?"
"No." Buffy sounded surprised at her own words. "No, I don't."
"Are you in love with Giles?"
"Buffy, are you in love with Giles?"
"I - I think I am. I think maybe I have been for a long time."
"You love Buffy? Like, like y'know, some sort of father figure, right?"
"I knew it was a bad idea to tell her. Of course she doesn't feel that way about me. How could she? I simply couldn't lie to her."
Xander sat with a thump.
"Oh, God. You're in love with her?"
"For all the good it does either one of us."
"What's the problem?" Anya demanded. "So you love her? What's wrong with that?"
"What's wrong with that," Giles gritted out, "aside from the fact that it really isn't any of your business, is that Buffy quite obviously doesn't feel the same way about me."
"An, not helping," Xander shushed his girlfriend. "Look, Giles, I don't know what happened with you guys or what was said, but I do know that Buffy cares about you. Whether or not it's the same way, I know she's going nuts without you. You have to talk to her."
"A course of action she seems determined to avoid at any cost."
"Then you have to force her to talk. Find her where she can't avoid you."
"Hey, Anya's right. So where can Buffy not get away that you can talk?"
Giles considered a moment.
"I suppose I could invite myself along on patrol some night. But that might distract her from her duties."
"And she's not distracted now? Giles, do us all a favor and talk to her tonight. You need to work this out."
It was a quiet night in Restview Cemetery. Buffy had been patrolling for more than an hour and hadn't seen a single vampire or other demon. She continued down the uneven paths between headstones, idly flipping her stake. On any other night this dull, she would probably have moved on to another graveyard by this time. This night, though, she had too much on her mind. A busy graveyard might result in a dead Slayer.
Giles. How long had she felt this way about him? He'd always made her feel safe. Even when the rest of her world turned upside down, Giles would be there for her. He'd stepped in so quietly and so efficiently since her mother's death that she'd barely realized he'd done it. Other men in her life had always needed to be acknowledged for their deeds. Angel, Riley, even Spike had all demanded that she tell them she needed them. Giles was simply...there. The one constant. The one who never asked anything in return. As indispensable as breath, and nearly as unnoticed.
Buffy's musings were interrupted by a quiet step approaching her. She swung around, stake at the ready, but dropped her defense stance when she realized who it was.
"Giles. I - I wasn't expecting you."
"I thought we might talk, if you don't mind."
He smiled nervously as they sat side by side on a gravemarker.
"Okay. I guess we're sorta overdue."
The two sat lost in their own thoughts for some time. Buffy began to giggle.
"What's so funny?"
"Sorry, Giles. Flashback. After Riley and I found out each other's secret demon hunting identities, we said we had to talk. Neither of us could come up with anything to say. I guess I'm not any better at the talking thing now than I was then."
"One might think I would be better at it, since I've had so many more years to practice."
"We're really a pair, aren't we? Neither one of us is any good at saying what we feel. I'm not even good at feeling these days."
"Of course you're a bit numb after all you've been through the past few months."
"Years. Don't you mean years, Giles? I've spent five years killing things on a nightly basis. I've sent one lover to Hell and drove another to South America. Most of the time it's like I can't feel anything at all anymore. Except about you."
"About...me? Thank you. I know it's not the same as I feel for you, but...well...you know I'll always be here for you, in whatever way you choose."
"I know we're on a different wavelength here, but I can't lose you, Giles. Even if you don't love me..."
"It's okay, Giles," Buffy took his hand gently. "I'm not expecting you to feel that way about me. I just thought you should know."
"Buffy, are you actually saying that you're in love with me?"
"Well, yeah. I just hope you can deal. I won't ask anything of you, or expect anything from you. I know it's the last thing you wanted, but I can't hel..."
Her self-sacrificing words were cut off by Giles' lips against her own. After a moment of shock, Buffy responded. The kiss grew more passionate as Buffy parted her lips and invited Giles in. His tongue delved into her mouth and tangled with her own as his hand moved to cradle the back of her head.
When the kiss was broken the two melted into an embrace with Buffy trying to laugh and cry at the same time.
"I love you, Giles. I love you so much. Love, love, love, love, love you, Giles!"
"Shhh, Buffy, I know. I love you, too."
He pulled back just enough to hold her face in his hands and kiss her tears away.
"I think that's enough patrolling tonight, don't you? Let's get you inside."
"As long as we're going wherever it is you have in mind together. I'm not letting go of you, Giles."
Buffy laughed as Giles not only locked the door, but wedged a chair under the handle.
"Well you may laugh, but nobody in this blasted town knocks and I have no intention of taking a chance of being interrupted tonight. If anyone wants us, they can bloody well either knock or ring."
With that, he swept Buffy into his arms and carried her to the loft. He kissed her soundly as he lowered them to the bed. In moments, clothing was scattered across the floor and a very happy Slayer gasped with pleasure as her new lover caressed her body from the top of her head to the tips of her toes with his hands, his lips, and his astonishingly talented tongue.
Buffy was by no means a passive partner in the encounter, either. She seemed determined to claim every inch of Giles' body as her own territory. At last, she took his manhood in her soft hands and guided it into her waiting warmth.
Giles held her eyes with his own as he slowly slid into her tight depths. When he saw tears shining, he stopped and petted the hair back from her face.
"Is everything alright, luv? Do you want to stop?"
He held his breath praying she wouldn't take him up on that offer, but determined to do even that for Buffy if she willed it.
The girl smiled tearily up at him.
"Everything is right for the first time, and if you try to stop, I'll kill you."
With a silent laugh, he pushed his way home.
Soft cries and moans filled the air as the two rocked together. Passionate kisses punctuated their mating, as did occasional laughter from both parties. Eventually, the laughter was replaced with groans and sharp yelps of pleasure.
"Oh God, yes! Oh Rupert!"
As Buffy cried her release, Giles went wild. He plunged into her more fiercely than before until his own shattering orgasm overtook him.
They kissed their way down from the plateau, with both laughter and tears fighting for precedence with each.
At last they lay content, Buffy's head resting on Giles' shoulder as he wove his fingers through her tresses and dropped occasional kisses on her forehead and temple.
"I'm glad we talked, Giles."
"What happened to Rupert?" he teased.
"Give me some time to get used to it, okay? It's kind of a funky name."
"I've certainly always thought so. And so am I. Glad, that is, that we talked."
"And you were right, Giles."
"About what, Buffy?"
"Travers. He really is a horse's ass."
He kissed her temple.
"I love you, too, Buffy."