Spoilers: Through GDII just to be safe, although no specifics are really given.
Rating: I'll let Solo rate it, apparently I lack skills in this area.
Distribution: Cap and Solo, anybody else, just tell me.
Disclaimer: They're not mine, don't sue.
Summary: Things are about to change, and Giles has one night to make Buffy his before he loses her.
NOTES: I wrote this because of my own "time's running out" kind of feeling, (Solo's got nothing on me as far as stressing out is concerned!) The way we left off last season with Angel leaving made for too perfect a summer for us B/G shippers, and now things are about to <sob> change! Someone console me.
"Your turn." Willow nudged Buffy under the
coffee table with her foot.
The blonde turned from her thoughts to study the chess board in front of her, pushing her pawn forward haphazardly. As she took her turn, Giles strolled in carrying a stack of papers, a few fluttering to the floor. He smiled inwardly at the picture the two girls presented. How satisfying to see them doing something intellectually stimulating for a change. All summer he'd been urging Buffy to do something besides 'hang out' and now his heart swelled with pride at his positive influence.
"Willow, when did you teach Buffy to play chess?" He sat down with the papers, retrieving the strays that had fallen onto the floor. She had never been interested when he'd offered to teach her to play.
His slayer raised her eyebrows, smirking a little.
"I didn't. Teach her." The redhead explained.
Giles looked at them, nothing registering on his face. "But-" He gestured at the game board.
"We're just.........moving the pieces around." She offered weakly.
He felt his pride rapidly deflating. "What is the object?"
"There isn't one. Well, sometimes we form letters with the little thingys....." Buffy trailed off.
"Oh! And that one time we spelled out 'Hi'!" Willow volunteered. "It sounds lame, but.....ok, it's lame."
The blonde cut in "But we came over this morning, just like you said, and you weren't even here!" She complained. "There's nothing else to do here. Giles, you really need to get a TV. Then we wouldn't have to resort to things like this."
To Giles relief, they were interrupted by the phone. As he picked up, it occurred to Buffy that Giles' phone rarely rang. In fact, the only people she could ever remember calling here were Willow or Xander, and that was usually for her. She watched him with interest as he spoke, trying to read his expression. It was hard to read right now, his face stony as he listened to the caller.
He continued in silence on his end for a long while, and the two girls exchanged curious glances.
Finally, just as Buffy didn't think she could go any longer without interrupting, he slammed down the phone, swearing to himself.
"You didn't even say 'goodbye.'" She pointed out, waiting a few beats. But he ignored the implied question.
"I'd better go." Willow gave Buffy a knowing look. Giles operated on a need to know basis, and Buffy was the only one with whom he shared everything. Later, if they wanted to tell her, they would. "Call me." She whispered to her friend on the way out.
Once they were alone, Buffy expected Giles to start talking. But instead, he walked slowly up the stairs, and she had a feeling that she wasn't supposed to follow.
He sat in his darkened bedroom, his stomach in knots. Buffy was to receive a new watcher. He was coming tomorrow night. Giles had known that things couldn't last like this forever, the two of them together in their own little world. Wesley was gone, and a Slayer needed a watcher.
He felt a surge of jealousy at the thought of another man being responsible for his slayer. In his heart, he knew and loved the fact that he himself was the main focus of Buffy's life. And now that Angel was gone, they were truly free. She now came to him with every thought she had, sharing and always looking to him for approval. And he gave it willingly.
But now this......even if she resisted at first, Buffy would eventually warm to this new watcher, and it would be he to whom she reported. It would be this stranger who'd pour the tea into her cup after a late night, basking in the glow of her smiling face as she gave a animated account of the night's slayage.
How soon would it be before her loyalty was transferred from one watcher to another? The thought caused his stomach to painfully tighten even further. He tugged at his collar. His tie was choking him, and he moved his hand to loosen it, belatedly realizing that he wasn't wearing one.
He cursed himself for waiting so long; day after day and night after night he was faced with opportunities. Opportunities to close the few inches of space between he and his slayer, and show her how far his "father's love" had come.
And now his time had run out. There was only one day, and one night until this chain of inevitable events was set in motion.
"It's OK, Buffy, I know you're there." She moved from the hall into his view.
"What's going on, Giles?" She sounded scared. Now was his chance. She was here, and the look in her eyes begged him to talk to her. But he couldn't. It would be too easy for her to run away.
"There are some things I need to pick up at a store several hours away. I'll be gone overnight." He made a decision at that moment, knowing that he had everything to lose. "I want you to come with me."
Knowing nothing of the thoughts whirling around in his head, she shrugged. "Ok. What're we getting?"
"It doesn't matter. Some things they don't exactly sell at the local grocer. We'll be staying the night in a hotel..." he tested.
"Well, I didn't think we'd be sleeping in your car." She retorted. Her glance fell upon his already packed bag. "When are we leaving?"
"I'll pick you up in an hour" he told her, indicating her dismissal, yet she lingered.
"Something is happening." She observed. "You're going to tell me, aren't you?"
"Yes, and yes." He didn't look at her, but she trusted him completely, leaving her watcher to sit alone with his thoughts.
Buffy slid into the passenger seat, tossing her bag in the back. "Hi!" She flashed a smile at her watcher, holding his gaze as she fastened her seat belt. It felt strange; going away with Giles like this. Normally he was so paranoid about appearances and would say something like 'It wouldn't be proper for you to travel overnight with me.' In fact, he had said those very words before.
She opened her mouth to ask him about this discrepancy, but closed it when she turned and looked at him. Something was different. His whole demeanor was slightly changed. Buffy had a feeling that if she asked him even a very personal question right now, there would be no stammering or blushing from her watcher. Maybe she should test this theory......
"What?" He asked, not sounding angry, but not sounding like usual, either.
"You're staring at me." He told her, keeping his eyes on the road the whole time.
"Oh. um, new outfit?" She weakly improvised.
"No. Do you like it?" She blinked, furrowing her brow at his confusing inflection. Was he teasing her? He almost sounded like he was......flirting. Ok, if that was how he wanted to play today, she was always up for a little flirting.
"Well I like what I've seen so far." She mimicked his light tone.
Giles did his best to conceal the tumultuous emotions that threatened to undo him. He would not lose his resolve. Tonight was the only chance he would have, and he and Buffy would either come home as they were now, or as lovers. <Unless she hates me> He shook that thought away.
As the minutes turned into hours, Buffy gave in to the road hypnosis and yawned. To her surprise, Giles lifted his arm and motioned for her to draw near. She slid over, snuggling against him and closing her eyes, feeling his arm drape over her protectively.
He watched her sleep, involuntarily conjuring images of her new watcher holding her in the same way. He clenched his jaw. There was no use torturing himself now. Not yet. There would be plenty of time for that later. The setting sun was streaming in through the windows, causing her hair to glimmer enticingly. He didn't even try to resist the impulse to take the locks in his fingers, stroking reverently as she slept. He prayed that she would stay asleep as he trailed his fingers down her shoulder, then her arm, and up again. No point being timid now, where had his timidity with Buffy gotten him in the past? Nowhere. He wanted to touch her, so he touched. That would be his mantra from this moment on.
"ohhh." Buffy stirred as they hit a pothole. She felt sleepy, and was about to try to fall back asleep, when she felt something. Giles was rubbing her shoulder and back in a lazy, soothing manner. She relaxed, enjoying the sensations momentarily, then froze. This wasn't normal, it was very, very *not* normal. Giles never touched her unless there was a reason. So what was the reason? Her groggy mind couldn't come up with anything, and the gentle caresses were confusing her even further. She peeked up at her watcher. He briefly took his eyes off the road to gaze down at her, but didn't move his arm.
"Did you have a good nap?" He asked as though there were nothing odd about the situation.
Again she took his cue, playing along. "Yeah. Great. Are we almost there?" She sat up, stretching as she looked out the window. A shiver overtook her body at the chill she felt, away from his warmth.
The first thing Giles did when they entered their hotel room was adjust the thermostat, saying that it was much too cold. Buffy, still feeling disoriented by his behavior, picked up a room service menu. They hadn't stopped to eat all afternoon. Giles sat next to her on the bed, watching as she dragged her finger down the list of entrees and desserts.
"See anything you like?"
Again, Buffy was completely putt off by his tone. His voice sounded husky, and loaded with hidden meaning. Her stomach did a flip flop.
"I think I'm going to get the pasta and......some chocolate cake." She nervously waited for what he would say next.
"That sounds good. Order the same for me, will you luv? I'll be right back." He winked, grabbing the ice bucket, leaving his slayer gaping in confusion.
Buffy giggled at something Giles had just said. He was so funny tonight, telling her amusing stories about his life. They sat on the floor, the remains of their dinner spread out alongside them. Buffy took a forkful of her cake, aiming it in the direction of his mouth. "Taste this." She instructed him.
He complied, taking the morsel in his mouth. "Mmmm." He agreed as he swallowed.
"You have some chocolate....right there." She gestured at his mouth, shaking her head when he wiped his face, missing it completely. "No....over there." Buffy leaned over their dishes, wiping his lower lip with her finger. After she removed the chocolate, something prompted her to rub her thumb across the soft skin once more. He exhaled; the feel of his hot breath made her jump away as though burned. They stared at one another.
"Um, Giles, you said you would tell me about the phone call......" She tried to talk so that he wouldn't ask what was wrong.
Giles pushed away the disappointment. For a moment he had hoped that Buffy would act on the spark that she so obviously felt, but apparently she wasn't ready. "Buffy.......Your new watcher is coming-tomorrow. He will become your mentor and friend and I'm sure that the two of you will get along just fine." He absently stirred his soda with the straw, wanting to say more.
Buffy frowned. His tone didn't match his words. "Well, if you think it's going to be so great , why the tragedy mask? And why the big scene when they called you? What else is going on?!"
Why did she have to know him so well? He wasn't sure how to answer her. Now was not the time to declare his feelings, though that would come soon. There was so much she didn't understand.
"Your new watcher isn't like Wesley. He told her delicately. "He's a man. An attractive, intelligent, capable man."
Now she was really confused. "What are you trying to tell me, that you dated him?" She laughed, still not grasping the importance of this issue to her watcher. "Besides, he's not a 'man', he's a watcher."
"That's the whole point of this conversation!" He exclaimed, agitated. "Buffy, he is a man, and a watcher. You can't separate the two things. Like me. I am no longer your watcher, yet I serve as one. When he arrives, I will no longer be a watcher, even in name. We need to talk about what that will mean to *us*." He emphasized the word "us," causing Buffy to realize the implications of how this could affect them.
"What do you mean?" She asked, clueless only because she wanted to be.
"I mean, I won't be your watcher, I will be just a man, no longer needed for anything related to slaying. Why would you still come to me, call me? There will be no need."
This was too much for Buffy to digest all at once. Giles, a man? A new watcher? Not to mention this strange electricity in the air and the fact that Giles *definitely* was holding something back from her. He wanted something from her, that much she knew. The best route now would be distraction.
She pulled her bag down from the bed, digging around until she found what she'd been searching for. Giles mouth dropped open as she pulled out a full bottle of whiskey. She twirled the bottle, both of them watching the amber liquid swirling wildly inside.
"Buffy! Where did you get that?!" He sounded delightfully shocked.
"From my mom's liquor cabinet. I figured we'd have a little fun." She grinned at the fact that he wasn't angry, and emptied the rest of their glasses into the sink. It was sweltering in the room, and she removed her outer blouse before she sat down, leaving her in a revealing halter top.
"All right." He said, a wicked smile creeping onto his face. "We'll drink. On my terms. We'll play a game."
"You want to play a drinking game?" She giggled, mostly out of nervousness.
"Yes. We will have a conversation. The point is to be completely honest. Whenever either of us tells a lie, that's a drink."
"That doesn't sound too hard." She said, shifting so that she sat with her legs tucked under her, arranging her skirt to a satisfactory position. She unscrewed the lid and poured two drinks, setting one in front of him.
"Your game, you start." She said, eyeing her drink. She hoped that it tasted better than it smelled.
"All right. How do you feel about what I just told you?"
As Buffy automatically prepared to lie, she remembered the terms, changing her answer to an honest one. "Well, I guess kind of confused........yep, confused sums it all up."
He raised an eyebrow, but didn't object to her vague answer.
"My turn." She said happily. Now was her chance to figure out what was going on here. "What were you doing in the car when I was sleeping?" She asked.
He didn't squirm or blush. He just gave her the direct answer that she was asking for. "Your hair looked beautiful. I wanted to touch it, and so...I did."
"Oh." Beautiful? Giles thought her hair was beautiful? She knew she should be frowning, but felt a thrill at the very idea.
Her watcher went right on, not wanting her to think about his answer for too long. "All right. Could you think of me as a man? Think of Xander, with all of the things you saw in his head, when you could read his mind. What would you think to know that I have those same things inside me?"
Buffy scratched her leg, appalled by the idea that Giles would have *those* things in his thoughts. But the answer wasn't no, and she wasn't sure what a "yes" would mean. No, she definitely couldn't tell him yes.
"I don't know." She lied.
She obediently put the glass to her lips and emptied it, making a face and shuddering. "My turn. What are you so worried about with my new watcher?"
"I-" He glanced at his drink, almost opting for a fib. But this was why he'd brought her here. "I'm afraid of losing you. Afraid that he'll fall in love with you." He said simply.
His words and their meaning found their way straight to her heart. *He* loved her. That's why he didn't want anyone else to. Not able to see the shock waves enveloping the girl's body, he continued their game.
"What are you thinking right now?"
She stared at him, trying to catch up with what was happening. She numbly reached for the bottle, her answer reflected in the liquid she poured into her glass. This time she broke out into a violent coughing fit upon consumption, but when she regained her composure, it was her turn.
"Why did you bring me here?"
The one question that he wouldn't answer. Let her figure it out on her own. He took the bottle and drank straight from it, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.
"Buffy. What are you thinking right now." He repeated. As he saw her reaching for the bottle, pleading the fifth again, he grabbed her wrist.
"No. No more for you." Her stomach did the flip floppy thing again. "I don't want your judgement to be compromised in any way tonight." He explained, loosening his grip but not releasing her hand. Instead, he tugged gently, and she complied, crawling over near him.
"You're losing." He said in a low voice that made its own contribution to her disoriented feeling.
"Why are you losing? Is it so hard to be truthful with me?"
Buffy was frozen, trying to understand what was happening. She didn't want this to continue, but didn't want it to stop. Giles brought his face down near hers. He told himself that he wouldn't do anything unless she looked at him.
She looked, turning her imploring eyes up to meet his dark pools of desire. Not giving her time to recover from the jolt, he covered her lips with his, sliding his lips back and forth over the contours of hers. He didn't want to push, or force her, but as he struggled to get under control the feelings coursing through him, he found himself doing just that. "Kiss me back." He urged, knowing it was unfair, so used to following orders from him was she. She didn't, but he felt her warming under his touch. "Open your mouth." He coaxed, slipping his hand into her hair, pulling her closer. When she obeyed, leaning into him and parting her lips, he had to catch his breath. Primitive desire flowed through his veins, and he pulled her onto his lap, plunging his tongue into the whiskey flavored softness of her mouth.
For a moment, Buffy allowed herself to revel in the warm arousal he was causing in her. This felt so good, and so.....wrong. She pushed him away, scooting away, clutching the liquor bottle in front of her as if for protection. This unconscious gesture did not go unnoticed by her watcher.
Buffy sat trembling, not wanting to have to go through these next few moments. This had to stop, but as she made this resolve, her mind imagined his hands running over her naked skin, and his body driving into hers. She gulped.
Giles leaned back against the bed, trying to calm his breathing. Despite how incredible she had felt pressed against his body, he regretted moving so quickly. "Maybe we should just continue our game." He suggested, hoping she would allow him to get off so easily.
She nodded, pouring them both new drinks. "Why did you kiss me?" She went first, not knowing whose turn it really was.
He took his drink, downing it quickly. "Did I kiss you?"
"You know what?" She replied shakily. "I don't really like this game anymore. Let's just drink." She had never actually been drunk before, but the whirring sensation in her head was a nice distraction from the raw emotions in the room, and the louder she could make it, the better.
"I don't think so, Buffy." He warned her.
But she wasn't in the mood to listen, engrossing herself in musing about the events unfolding. Drinking probably wasn't the answer, but this was too intense. Giles had brought her here to make love to her, of that she was certain. And the worst thing was that she wanted it, too. But she shouldn't want it. It wasn't right, he was her mentor, her friend, and *old*. So to take away the guilt and fear, she would drink, until none of it mattered, and she could respond as she wished with no ramifications.
As the warmth of the liquor began to make its way through her body, she felt ok taking a look at Giles for the first time since the kiss. His shirt was unbuttoned a few buttons, his arm draped over his knee. He joined Buffy in trying to drown his feelings in the bottle, spilling a little as a result. Buffy snorted, a little louder than she'd meant to.
"Giles, looks like you're the one who shouldn't have any more."
He wanted to glare, but couldn't help smiling at her slurred speech.
"Why are you smiling?!" She threw a pillow at him, entirely missing. "Oops." She felt even warmer than before, she considered taking off more clothes, then frowned at the insane thought.
She looked so endearing, sitting there biting her lip, swaying slightly. He knew that if he kissed her again, she wouldn't stop him this time, but even in his tipsy state he couldn't do it. He knew it would be too easy to undress her and take her to bed, preying on her drunkenness. He was staring at her, and she felt it.
"I know why you brought me here." She smiled, stretching out her legs, crossing her feet.
He didn't doubt that; after all, she'd been sitting on his lap as they'd kissed and surely couldn't have missed his arousal.
"Do you?" He couldn't think of anything else to say, what with the room spinning so dizzily.
She climbed somewhat clumsily onto the bed, but Giles thought she looked wildly seductive, as she posed obviously. "I know that you want to sleep with me. It's Ok. I don't hate the idea. In fact I'm kind of....of....." She tilted her head, searching for the lost words, not able to pick up where she'd left off. She grinned, pushing the hair out of her face. "I'm kind of something! Come see!"
Giles put down the now empty bottle, wondering where it all had gone. He rose and approached her, holding onto the bed for support, sitting next to her. "Kind of drunk. That's the word you can't think of." They both giggled hysterically, until they couldn't remember what was funny.
Buffy squinted at him. "Maybe I am. How can I tell if I am?"
He studied her face, flushed with heat just like his own. "Let's see....if you weren't drunk, would you let me do this?"
He leaned down and kissed her, lowering her to the bed, covering her body with his own. This time Buffy opened for him immediately, pulling him closer, responding as though she were trying to make up for her refusal earlier. She whimpered as she felt his hardness pressing into her, drawing him closer still. Beneath the exploration of his long fingers, her breasts were beginning to ache with need.
"I love you, Giles." She murmured, even in her besotted state knowing that was the question keeping him from making the final step.
If anyone had been looking in the window of room 312 that night, they would've seen two people: friends, colleagues, and lovers, making love with an abandonment that they had never before experienced.
THE MORNING AFTER
Buffy groaned, starting to roll over, halting at the throbbing in her head. She slowly opened her eyes, seeing an outline of sunlight around the heavy dark curtains.
"ooooh......Giles." She mumbled, trying to look around without moving her head or body. Her watcher was sprawled out on the bed in the same fashion that she was, and was dressed, or rather, undressed, in the same way also. She decided that she was a sick individual indeed at the wave of desire that briefly washed over her even in her sickened state. She tried to swallow, but her mouth was so dry that it was useless.
Giles began to stir, also letting out a moan as he realized his condition. His misery was added to by the knowledge that his slayer very well might be aghast at the previous night's events.
"Giles...." She was speaking, very softly and deliberately.
"Hmmm." Was all he could manage.
"Promise me....next time, we won't need to get completely wasted in order to do that." She threw her arm over her eyes to block out the mild sunlight, which seemed like a spotlight.
"Next time?" He smiled, fumbling around for her hand, bringing it to his lips, kissing it tenderly. "I promise."