Quality Time
By Ananda

Title: "Quality Time"
Author: Ananda, ananda1@mailcity.com
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Freshman, slightly
Disclaimer: Not mine, I wish they were (especially Spike)
Comments: This is my first fic and my first posting so please be kind
Feedback: Yes please, but no flames my muse is fragile
Dedication: This fic is dedicated to my Dad who dissapproves intensely of Buffy
and who cringes theatrically whenever I mention the dreaded words
quality time. He will probably never forgive me for dedicating this story to him:)


When Buffy visited Giles that saturday afternoon about two weeks after she had discovered Olivia wearing his shirt, she sensed that something was not quite right. The house felt empty, like a coat when its hung on the rail rather than being worn.

"Hey Giles, are you here?" She shouted, but instead of Giles’ deep, furry voice she was anwered by a woman.

"Who is that, who’s there?"

Olivia, the thieving hussy who was moving onto Buffy’s territory. The scheming witch who had stolen, or at least was in the process of stealing, her watcher, her partner, her Giles! Ok so maybe that was a little strong. When she thought clearly, and these days Buffy was rarely clear- headed when it came to Giles, she knew that she should be happy for him. He had finally found someone who could replace Jenny, but, for some reason, while Buffy accepted and welcomed his relationship with Jenny she couldn’t bear to think of him with Olivia. She had tried to reason her way out of the feelings of hate that were building against Olivia but each time they met, and that had happened, what twice, maybe, Buffy’s hatred had risen a notch or two towards her tolerance limit and she knew that eventually she would do something downright petty like breaking every bone the woman’s legs and leaving her in the cemetary over night. She tried to reassure herself, yet again, that Giles still cared for her but she had begun to notice more than ever that her friend, mentor and watcher was neglecting her.

"Hello Olivia" Buffy said while plastering a fake smile over her face in an effort to be polite for Giles’ sake, "It’s Buffy, where’s Giles?"

"Buffy," Olivia’s welcoming tone was about as real as Buffy’s smile, "I’m so sorry, Rupert had to go to the store, we’re out of milk"

We? "Oh, I’ll wait"

"He may be sometime" Olivia’s subtext was easy to read, she wanted this child out of Rupert’s life for good, but Buffy wasn’t to be got rid of that easily.

"Oh thats ok, I can wait"

"Oh, good, make yourself at home." Olivia’s enthusiasm disappeared and the two women sat in silence waiting for their prize to appear.

"This is my home" Buffy muttered.

Buffy sat in her research chair, the one she always sat in when the gang was at Giles’ while Olivia reclined gracefully on the couch. The two women studiously ignored each other until Olivia, who was feeling uncomfortable with the silence said,

"Have you known Rupert long?"

"Years, we’re very close." This last came out almost as a threat and Olivia, who was not used to being overawed by a nineteen year old child, was relieved when the subject of their conversation, Giles, finally came home.

"Buffy" he characteristically greeted his slayer first, "what are you doing here? Is something wrong?" Buffy smiled at his concern for her, he had barely nodded at Olivia and she was relieved. She had been afraid that she had already lost him, that she’d waited too long.

She smiled at him and answered,

"No Giles, there’s nothing wrong but I think we need to talk," she glanced pointedly at Olivia, "privately"

"Talk?"

"Yeah."

"I’ll make some tea" Olivia stood up gracefully and kissed Giles gently on the cheek.

Buffy watched her leave hating her for her closeness to Giles. When she turned back to her watcher though, the concern in his eyes reassured her.

"Buffy are you alright?"

"Yeah, I’m fine" She thought about what she had just said and realised that this wasn’t the right answer, "actually, no, I’m not fine. I’m worried…about us"

"Us?"

"Yes. I think somewhere along the way we’ve lost each other. We never seem to talk anymore. We don’t hang like we used to. We don’t communicate like we used to. We’ve lost ourselves somewhere… I can’t explain it properly."

"Lost ourselves somewhere?" He smiled slightly amused by her inability to say what she meant. "Well, you have been very busy lately, college and…everything."

His voice trailed off as he thought about the everything that had driven them apart. Angel, the loss of his soul, his return and then his abandonment of Buffy, Faith’s betrayal, the ascension and death of so many of their friends, Jesse, Jenny, Kendra, Larry, Teresa, the list seemed almost endless, like a roll call for the dead. Buffy’s eighteenth birthday had damaged their relationship immeasurably, not least because as soon as Quentin Travers had said it Giles had realised that the last thing he felt for Buffy was the love of a father for his daughter. She was right their relationship had changed and not for the better. He couldn’t help but admire her for her instinctive need to acknowledge this passing and to try recapture their former closeness.

"I just feel we need to work on our relationship" she continued, "I think it would improve my slaying." Buffy finished knowing that he would agree with her now no matter what she said. Anything to keep her alive. Even so Buffy despised herself for handing him this sop, a half lie to convince him. It was certainly true that her slaying was sub-par at the moment but it had nothing to do with her watcher/slayer relationship with Giles. Since the night she had held him in her arms in the burning factory she had felt her feelings for Giles deepen and mature. She didn’t know when, exactly, it had turned to love. When he stuck the sword in the mayor, when he cleaned her wounds after her disasterous 18th birthday or just one night as they sat in the library researching and she had suddenly looked at him as if it was the first time and loved him instinctively. Buffy didn’t know. All she knew, the only constant in her life, was that she was deeply and irretrivably in love with a 40 year old librarian with a passion for cross-referencing and jam doughnuts. In her more optimistic moments she laughed at herself. It was so like a soap-opera, but in truth Giles was half her soul and the idea of losing him to anyone else made her sick to her stomach.

"How do you suggest we work on our relationship" Asked a somewhat bemused Giles.

"I think we need to spend some quality time together" she answered, "outside of work. Just the two of us, you know? Watcher and slayer bonding thingy. I’m sure there’s something about it in the Slayer’s Handbook" she implored.

"How would you know" said Giles accusingly, "you’ve never read it."

"That’s not my fault, you never gave it to me. We need to spend some quality time together Giles. We need to fix this before it’s too late. You know you used to love kayaking!"she added teasingly

"I’m not going anywhere near the water with you. Last time I did I got drenched. No water activities and no camping either. I don’t want to discover myself around a campfire thank you"

"Fine, how about a picnic?"

"Ants"

"Ice-skating?"

"Bruises"

"The cinema?"

"Our taste in films is hardly compatable"

The Bronze?"

"And have all your teenaged friends gawking at me? No thank you"

"Fine. This is my final suggestion. If you don’t like it we’re going kayaking." Buffy was getting tired of his nit-picking. "How about miniature golf?"

"Miniature what?" Giles’ relpy was derisive,

"It’s either golf or kayaking, g-man, take your pick."

"Ok, golf. And don’t call me that."

"Cool. Pick me up at 8:30."

"On a Sunday morning!?!"

At half past eight the next morning a rather tired Giles arrived at Buffy’s dorm to find the the lawn outside covered in people holding placards.

"What’s going on?" He asked her as they left.

"Some demo about the subsidies for the drama department or something. It’s not important. Lets go play golf."

"Don’t you think you should stay and support such a worthy cause" Giles suggested in a last ditch attempt to save himself from the horrors of miniature golf.

"No. Stop trying to ditch me. This is for the good of our relationship and you’re not getting out of it that easily. It’s not supposed to be fun." Buffy answered.

"Well, you’re succeeding, because its not!"

Just then, however, Giles was saved from his slayers wrath by the arrival of Riley bearing a placard.

"Hey Buffy, how are you, and is this your dad?" Riley asked, tactful as ever.

"What?" Buffy was at a loss as she looked round for her father. Her gaze finally lighted on Giles as the only possible candidate and burst out laughing. "No Riley, this isn’t my dad, he’s way old. This is Giles." Her tone similar to that if she had been introducing the president or the pope.

"That’s Giles?" Riley said as if he wasn’t standing a foot away from them. "Wow, I was expecting someone younger, alot younger actually, about our age. It’s nice to meet you, sir"

"You too." Giles growled angrily, supressing an almost irresistable urge to rip Riley’s head off and feed it to the hyenas at Sunnydale zoo. Buffy looked up at him, frowned and turmed to Riley smiling brightly but falsely,

"Well, its been great chatting with you Riley" Buffy said as she tried to drag Giles away before he went Ripper on her and did something drastic, not that Riley didn’t deserve it, she thought.

"Wait a minute. I was going to ask you if you wanted to go to the Stephenson frat party with me tomorrow night" Riley said hurridly.

"Oh…it’s nice of you to ask Riley," Buffy summoned up another one of her patented fake smiles, "but Giles and I have plans."

"We do?"

"Yes" she said firmly, "we do."

As they drove away from the dorm towards the miniature golf course Giles suddenly asked,

"Why would Riley be expecting me to be younger?"

"Huh?"

He repeated his question adding, "In fact why does Riley know about me at all?"

"Well, you’re kind of my…excuse" She ended triumphantly.

"You’re excuse?" Giles did not sound too pleased at this.

"Yeah" she said uncertainly, "Riley keeps asking me out and he’s really nice and everything but I don’t want a relationship at the moment. You were quite right slaying and dating don’t mix. So I tell him I’m going out with you. You’re my excuse."

"Buffy, if you want to have a relationship with someone else, I mean with someone, don’t hold back." He hoped she wouldn’t notice his slip.

"Do you mean that? Because there kind of is someone, I don’t know if he’d be interested in me though. He’s kind of older."

Giles held back a groan of despair at her words.

"Well so long as he’s not a vampire." He said for lack of any other response.

"No he’s not a vamp. I checked for a pulse and everythi…Hang on, what do you mean by someone else?" She had noticed.

Damn, "Er…someone other than Angel, I suppose." He countered hoping it would be enough.

It wasn’t, "We weren’t talking about Angel. We were talking about me…and you." She added thoughtfully.

"Maybe we should talk about Angel." He answered. Losing some of his composure at the mention of a man he hated. "Do you still love him?"

Buffy realised that the moment for total honesty had come.

"Yes," She answered, "I still love Angel"

Giles closed his eyes for a moment as if in pain.

"But" she continued, "I not in love with him anymore. I can’t be with him and I’ve moved on. The feelings have…faded. I still miss him but I’m not sure I miss the pain that accompanied him. I thought that was what love was supposed to be. Moments of intense joy surrounded by pain. Light submerged in dark. I don’t think I was right. I want to be happy for a while, not sad. I think maybe I deserve it" She added quietly

"Are you happy?" Giles’ voice grated over the last word as if he couldn’t bear to hear her answer.

"No." It was all she said but it was all it took. Giles wrenched the steering wheel to the right and pulled the car off the road.

"Why not?" He asked quietly and gently but it was all it took to destroy the walls Buffy had built around her feelings to keep them hidden and to open the floodgates.

"I think I’m losing you." She whispered

"Buffy, of course you haven’t lost me. I’m your watcher, your," he hesitated "your friend. I will always be there to catch you when you fall."

"Thats not enough anymore Giles. I want you there all the time. I’m tired of waiting. I want you."

"You want me what?" The desperation in his voice made her look up at him but he stared straight ahead.

"I want you to love me and to make love to me." She answered. "I want you as my lover, as my partner, as my…I don’t know Giles. I just know I’m tired of waiting for you to see me."

"You want my love?" His tone was incredulous as though he couldn’t believe she was actually asking this. "You…love…me?" He was awed.

"Oh Giles, of course I love you. I’ve loved you for months."

"Why didn’t you say something?" He asked bewildered. "We could have saved ourselves so much pain."

"It never seemed to be the right time somehow." She said lamely. "There was always some nastie to fight. It just never seemed right. There was Angel and Jenny and Olivia and Riley and…"

"Why are you telling me now?" He interupted her.

"I’m losing you." She repeated.

"You’ll never lose me. I love you more than life, Buffy, and I always will." He turned to face her for the first time. "You’re half my soul."

With a strngled cry, half sob, half laugh, Buffy threw her arms round her watcher.

"Giles" was all she said before she kissed him.

The kiss was gentle, pure and sweet. Everything a first kiss should be but so rarely is. Giles swept his tongue into Buffy’s mouth, touching her and tasting her, knowing her in a way he had never dreamed possible. As she pulled back to breathe Buffy looked at her watcher.

"I love you" she said.

"And I love you too" He answered. Then she giggled.

"See Giles, I told you some quality time would improve our relationship!"

END