It Happened Slowly
By Bernadette Bradley

Author: Bernadette Bradley
Feedback: email me to say "Hi" - I get bored at work.
Disclaimer: This story is mine, but the world it is written about is NOT mine. The wonderful world of Buffy belongs to the mighty Joss. Don't sue me.
Spoilers: none
Summary: Buffy muses about how and why she and Giles got together. From Buffy's point of view and with no plot or sex. This idea of how Buffy sees her relationship with Giles sets the scenes for all my future writings. If I were Buffy, this is how I would feel about Giles. Please don't be embarrised for me now that you know my particular father-fantasy.
Rating: G

How did it happen? It happened slowly. It happened gently and gradually. It happened with so little fanfare to mark its beginning that I didn't even notice it had begun. It was only much later on, sorting back through my memories, that I uncovered the subtle start. Even now it seems like too small a start for such an important relationship. Some people say they fall in love at first sight, in a blinding flash of brilliant feeling that leaves them weak and shaking with emotion. Not so with me. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of blinding flashes in my life that do leave me weak and shaking, but they always herald the opening of some dire portal to a goulish hell dimension bent on destroying the world. Yep, I have enough drama and excitement in my life as it is, so in some ways it is comforting that the most important relationship in my life started so slowly, so gently. It seems to symbolise how different my love with Giles is from the crazy terror of my work, more stable, somehow more real. So how did it happen? It happened slowly.

I knew Giles long before I loved him. And I loved him long before I fell in love with him. And once I had fallen in love with him, I realised that I had never really known Giles at all. Nor ever really known what it was to love him. That's quite an ironic circle, but the story does come full circle and so it feels more complete, more preordained, like fate, and my whole life is driven by fate. It was fate that chose me for a Slayer, and fate that chose Giles for a Watcher, and fate that put us together, and then tried to tear us apart. Fate has a plan. You can only resist it so far before it punishes you. With Giles I only resisted a little bit. Even stubborn me could see I'd been sent something good this time. No horns, no claws, no diabolical plan to take over the world, that spells Good in my book.

I got Giles as a watcher when I was a teenager, though I didn't think of myself as a teenager then. No, I thought I was fully grown-up in highschool. I had fought demons and slain vampires so I was obviously a shit-hot vampire-slayer at the peak of my mental and physical abilities. I had no idea what was coming. What I would have to find the strength to live through or what I would lose along the way. I would change so much, until the girl I had been then was just a sweet memory, jealously guarded. When I first got Giles as a Watcher he was the last thing I wanted. I was so angry that he was there, and so very sure that I was NOT going to be a Slayer, and NOT going to do anything he told me to do, and definitely NOT going to like the stuffy old fart of a Watcher they had sent me. NO WAY. Yer, that lasted about five seconds. I stood up to fate and fate punched me in the mouth. So I took the Watcher and I took the destiny and I took being the Slayer and I just ran with it. I wasn't happy, but the alternative was me and everyone I loved dying in a really unpleasant way - not much of a choice.

The more time I spent with Giles the more I liked him and the more I came to rely on him. He was always there to put my needs first, he always did what was right for me, he trained me, gave me the tools and information I needed, protected me - can anyone say ultimate father figure? Like the Terminator from Terminator II. His only purpose in life was to give me what I needed. His only purpose. He didn't have career aspirations that would take him away, or any relationships that would come before his relationship with me. He would never get tired of helping me or be too tired to listen to me. He gave up so much, his whole life, his whole chance to have a normal life. He gave them up for me. How could I have ever thought there could be anyone else who could make me happy except for him?

Yes, there were others before Giles. I think there had to be. I had to learn, to practice, to get some experience with life and love before I was ready to be with Giles. If I had come to him as a child, as I was with Angel, it would never have worked. Giles would never have let me love him then, or make love to him then. He would have considered it taking advantage of a child, and he would have been right. I thought that the excitement, the titillating anguish of love came from the pain you cause to each other. Now I know that the excitement comes from the joy you give to each other. SO over the mopey bad boys. I once thought that I was attracted to dead studs because of my relationship with death (usually the bringer of), but now I know better. Now I know I was just looking for someone who's life wouldn't get in the way of their obsession with me. Someone who didn't need to sleep or eat or breath or do anything that would keep them from putting the beating of my heart before all other things. The dead guys could always put my life first because they didn't have lives of their own. But it wasn't enough. It never worked out and it took me a long time to work out why such passionate relationships couldn't stay, couldn't work. What was missing from those so-intense, so-heart-wrenching relationships? The truth was simple. Giles is alive, he had a life of his own and he CHOSE to put it aside for me. There is a power of passion in that choice that is more exciting that any dead thing can ever compete with. This beautiful man's LIFE is mine to command, should I want it. Ordering around corpses seems pale in comparison.

So how did I come to fall in love with Giles? Like I said: it happened slowly.