Self Control
By Ananda

Title: "Self Control"
Author: Ananda, ananda1@mailcity.com
Rating: PG
Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: Only the plot is mine. The rest belongs to Joss (or whoever)
Feedback: Why not, adulation is always fun:)

Dedication: Yet another one to Dad. His return to the theatre as the Second Gentleman in
"A Winter’s Tale" (by Shakespeare) in our local amateur dramatics society inspired this effort. Plus he hates BTVS, so this will annoy him yet again:) Its also dedicated to my Mum, who’s a great believer in self control and also so she doesn’t feel left out, and to Grandma, Grandpa, Hazel, Dean, Henry and Timmy. At this rate the dedication will be longer than the fic so I’ll shut up now!


Buffy had met Willow and Xander, founder members of the world renowned Scooby Gang, outside Sunnydale High as usual. They sat under the trees outside the main entrance and discussed life, love and last nights slayage every morning and today was no different.

"So Buff, slay any slimy monsters last night?" Asked Xander in a voice loud enough to inform the whole school of Buffy’s extra-curricular activities. As usual no one took any notice.

"Evil Bloodsucking Vamps – 0, Buffy’s All Stars – 8, definitely a win." The blond slayer answered.

"Cool, does that mean you’re off the hook tonight?" Willow asked, "Are we bronzing?"

"Sorry guys, not tonight. I’m not slaying it’s true but I am auditioning for the school play. You know, vain attempt to leave some impression on school life, more than one picture in the year book, stuff like that."

"You’re auditioning for the school play after the disaster that was The Talent Show?" Willow was astounded.

"Yeah!" Buffy answered enthusiastically.

"Are you insane?" Asked Xander.

"Probably, but it’s my vain attempt to grab a normal life. Cheerleading didn’t work out, and lets not even discuss Home Coming Queen. Anyway, what can go wrong with a play…I just jinxed myself horribly then didn’t I?"

"Yep!"

"Oh yeah!"

Just then the bell rang saving Buffy from contemplation of her eternal doom and instead delivering her to the horrors of senior biology. On the way in though, Buffy signed herself up for the play and volunteered Xander and Willow as stage crew.

After school that afternoon Buffy bounced into the library to find Giles padded up and ready to train.

"Hey Giles, am I late?"

"No more than usual," He replied "I have to be somewhere at five so we need to start now. Actually we needed to start half an hour age when you should have been here, but I’m not picky."

"Ooh, the watcher made a joke. For that I will have to pummel you!" She teased as she unleashed a series of punches to his face.

An hour later Giles tended the bruises resulting from her enthusiastic training and swore yet again to find her a new punching bag.

"So Giles, what are you doing at five. Hot date?"

"What?" He said visualising the only person he wanted to take on a hot date, and her inevitable laughing in his face refusal. "Oh, I’m helping with the school play this year."

"What!!!"

He continued oblivious to her outraged exclamation. "When I was in Oxford I was in the dramatics society. I was once the lead in Mister Cinders. I had to wear a barrel." He added meditatively. "Anyway, when I heard Mr Cortese needed an assistant director I volunteered. Please don’t be concerned though, your training will take first priority." You always will, he added silently.

"Right…only I’m…auditi…nothing." Buffy stuttered to a halt, unable to explain the mind numbing terror of acting infront of Giles. He might think I look stupid, she thought not bothering to analyse why she was so scared of appearing a fool in front of her watcher. She watched him as he stood in the doorway of his office gingerly removing his shirt to put iodine of the bruises on his chest. As he stood there backlight by the fading sunlight Buffy’s jaw dropped and most of her higher brain function stopped. Her only coherent thought was, wow, Giles is…well…wow.

Then she noticed the bruises.

"Oh my God, Giles did I do those?" Good question Buff, she thought, who else pummels the man on a regular basis. "Maybe you should go to the doctor, or the hospital or someone. Or the school nurse?" She added, "Although it would be pretty hard to explain. Maybe you could say that you fell or that you got attcked or something." Babbled Buffy, trying to say something to ease the tension she was feeling.

"Thank you Buffy," said Giles, his eyes lighting up at the concern she felt for him, "but I’m fine."

"Cool, I worry about you, you know. Anyway I’ll see you later. Promise not to laugh at my acting ability?" She smiled up at him.

"I promise." He laughed suddenly, one of his rare laughs when she felt he was being truly himself, neither the watcher, nor Ripper but something in between, the real Rupert Giles and Buffy felt a glow of happiness at knowing that she had caused such a rarity. "What part are you going for anyway" he continued "one of the ugly sisters?"

She laughed. "Very funny watcher, two jokes in one day, you’re improving. I think Cordelia has that part pretty much sewn up! I’m going for Cinderella of course." She called back as she went through the library doors leaving her watcher standing in the middle of the floor, his shirt in his hand transfixed by the vision of his slayer dressed as Cinderella dancing with her Prince Charming who amazingly resembled himself. "You’re going soft in the head old man." He told himself as he put his shirt back on, "her Prince Charming is a 241 year old vampire with bad hair, not a 40 year old librarian."

The auditions were held that evening in the auditorium and the hopeful students were seated in the audience waiting for the director, Mr Cortese, to appear. Buffy joined her friends in the audience just as the director and a rather out of breath Giles came on stage.

"Attention please students." Shouted Mr Cortese, "Welcome to the auditions for Sunnydale High’s Christmas production which this year is to be Cinderella. The parts will be posted in the quad tommorrow break and we will need understudies for all the prinicpal parts as well. The rest of you will be the chorus and guests and so on. So lets begin!"

Two hours later and the auditions were finally over. As the Scooby Gang left the hall Giles caught up with them and walked beside Buffy.

"You did very well Buffy, I’m impressed." He said, "a marked improvement from the talent show!"

She blushed, abnormally pleased by his mild praise.

"Yeah, but then this I actually wanted to do." She explained, "I hope I’m free from demon slayage for the next few weeks since I fully expect to get a part Giles." She smiled and batted her eyelashes at him provocatively. "After all, I am friends with the director:"

"Assistant director." He corrected, "and it would be reprehensible of me to try and influence the decision in favour of one student or another."

"Oh come on Giles, it’s the school play not the presidential election."

"Buffy, you may be the slayer and the chosen vessel of destiny in the war against the Dark but I can see you were behind the door when morality was handed out."

"But Giles…" She pouted knowing that he rarely resisted when she gave him that look.

"No!"

"Giles…"

"You’re not getting to me."

"Please…"

"I’ll see what I can do." He gave in, defeated by the smile in her eyes.

"Yay, I win!" She beamed at him, and as he smiled back her stomach did the filpy thing it used to do when she saw Angel and the constant pain she carried hurt a little less. "Thanks Giles."She said sincerely.

That girl will be the death of me, thought Giles as he went home that evening to his empty flat. But he couldn’t hide the happiness that filled him when he thought of her smiling up at him. His flat was not really empty. After all, it was filled with the echoes of a sunlight girl with green eyes. Who filled his waking thoughts and his sleeping dreams and who he loved almost to the edge of madness but who he couldn’t tell.

"Damn proprioty" He said.

By break the next day Buffy was in a torment of impatience to know whether she had got a part in the play or not. To act or not to act, that was the question, she thought. However when she got to the notice board it was to discover that she was understudying Cordelia for the lead and so was not actually guarunteed any time on stage. Queen C does it again she thought, but at least I get time of class for the rehersals. Maybe she’ll go down with some horrible disfiguring but not serious disease like measles, or chicken pox…or bubonic plague.

"So," asked Willow, "how did it go, will you be swept off your feet by Prince Charming any time soon?"

"Only if Cordy drops out. I’m understudying her for the lead." Buffy answered "But maybe she’ll get eaten by vamps, or giant demon snakes or praying mantises or something." She added optimistically.

"In this town I’d say the odds were in your favour." Said Willow

"Or maybe she’ll be abducted by aliens." Buffy said hopefully

"You’ve given this way too much thought."

Even though she wasn’t the lead, only an understudy, Buffy really enjoyed the rehersals for the play. Sure, she had to watch Cordy flirting with Mr Cortese but she loved learning the words, songs and the dances and even got a small non-speaking part as a guest at the party. She also watched Cordy very closely for the first signs of typhoid or consumption because, after all a girl can dream. Most of all though, Buffy enjoyed watching Giles. He really was cute as he directed Cordelia and Micheal Flynn, the lead, on how to act. She was amazed by how well Giles could act and dance and all in all, she was pretty impressed.

"Very good Cordelia," Giles complimented her, "you’re coming on. Now Buffy and James would you come up here and try the dance please? Buffy, are you listening?" Buffy had temporarily zoned out envisaging Giles in a tux as Prince Charming.

"Sorry Giles, I mean Mr Giles, did you say something?" Buffy stammered as she tried to ignore the shiver that went through her as he touched her shoulder to get her attention.

"He smiled, she tried to ignore the jolt it gave her, and repeated his instructions. I’d rather practice with you she thought as she and James, the Prince’s understudy, began to waltz.

As she danced she imagined that Giles was the partner who held her in his arms and as the music slowed that it was Giles who bent down to kiss her…she tripped over her feet.

"Hey Buff, are you ok? You need to pay attention."James laughed. "You totally zoned out there for a minute. Who’s the guy?"

"What? There’s no guy, why would you think there would be a guy?" Buffy replied guiltily.

"You were definitely zoned over a guy. You had the same look in your eye as my girlfriend does when she watches Titanic. You know, sort of a dreamy cow eyed look."

She hit him, "I do not look like a cow!"

I just haven’t been getting enough sleep lately, she justified to herself, there’s no way I could find Giles attractive, he’s old. But the image in her head of a phantom Giles who whisked her away to live happily ever after refused to go away. It’s just a little crush she told herself and tried, unsuccessfully, to ignore the small voice calling her a liar.

Two weeks later and Buffy was still daydreaming about Giles, however she had also began to dream of him at night which was even worse, or even better depending on your point of view. With a view to making her dreams reality, if only for a short time, Buffy convinced Giles to rehearse with her in the library. It was silly she knew, but the idea of dancing in his arms drew her like a moth to a flame. They began at the beginning of the play with Buffy as Cinderella and Giles as everyone else. It was a wonderful time. The rehersals were stolen time, a world in a soap bubble separated from real life where there was no watcher, no slayer, no librarian and no student. It was just Buffy and Giles.

Three days before the start of the production, however, their rehersal was crashed by the rest of the Scooby Gang who needed a place to study after school. Buffy and Giles had reached the ballroom scene and Buffy spent the time in a pleasant daydream as she waltzed round the room in Giles arms. Instinctively, as the music slowed she raised her eyes to his and smiled. Giles silently gasped as he saw the look in her eye. Total and absolute contentment was the only way he could describe it. He almost stopped breathing, afraid to move in case he should break the spell as he slowly lowered his head and kissed her gently and sweetly. This is heaven, she thought as their lips touched, I could stay like this forever, but, just as their lips touched there was a knock at the door.

They pulled away as Willow, Oz and Xander looked up to see Mr Cortese enter the library. Damn, thought Buffy.

"Mr Giles,"he said, "I’m sorry to bother you, but we have a problem. Micheal Flynn has gone down with the measles. He’ll be in quarantine for the next 4 weeks. Could you tell James that he’ll be going on instead and take him through his lines please?"

Buffy stood by the counter trying to come to terms with what had just happened. He kissed me she thought, he kissed me. Then her heart sank, the kiss was in the stage directions, he didn’t mean it. She was devestated, but…what if he did mean it? She thought. He looked like he did. I hope he did, I really, really hope!

As for Giles, he was hating himself. He felt he was a lecherous old man, who should be arrested for rape and he was determined to keep his slayer at arms length until he could control himself better. Just let me get the damn play over and done with, he thought, then everything will be alright. So long as I don’t dance with her, I won’t kiss her. He was almost certain he could draw back from the friendship which had developed between them and put their relationship back on a more professional footing. He would be able to stop himself from grabbing her and kissing her senseless in front of the entire school if he exercised enough self control. The only problem was that Giles didn’t seem to have that much self control left!

By first night Giles was a bundle of nerves. Every where he turned he had seen Buffy, he seemingly couldn’t escape her even if he wanted to. He was mentally cursing the girl he loved for being able to illicit such a reaction in him while appearing to be oblivious to it. However by the interval Giles had more than enough problems to take his mind of his slayer.

"Mr Giles," Mr Cortese looked ready to commit suicide, "we’ve lost Cinderella and the Prince!"

"What…how?" Giles was aghast.

"I don’t know," wailed Mr Cortese, "they’ve just disappeared. Buffy can go on in Cordelia’s place, of course, but what do we do for a Prince, James was the understudy! No one else knows the lines."

"Giles does." Said Willow from where she stood in the wings as prompter.

"Thats right!" said Mr Cortese as he grabbed Giles by both lapels and stared deep into his horror filled eyes. "Mr Giles, you shall go to the ball!!"

"break a leg Giles." Willow smiled happily oblivious to the look of terror on Giles’ face. "I’ve got your tux right here."

"Thank you Willow." Said Giles, a broken man.

Somehow Giles managed to get through the rest of the play until it came to the ballroom scene. Oh no, he thought. I’ll have to kiss her. Even though the idea of kissing Buffy had been constantly on his mind for weeks, Giles was filled with dread. Self control he repeated to himself over and over, all it takes is self control. However, when Giles took Buffy in his arms and began to waltz romantically round the stage he forgot all about self control. He forgot all about everything. She is so lovely, he thought, light by the spot light.She smiled up at him again, as she had done in the library and Giles lost his head. As their lips met at the end of the scene, he tightened his embrace pulling his slayer towards his possessively. Finally, thought Buffy, wow.

As the rest of the Scooby Gang stood in the wings watching Giles and Buffy kiss passionately in front of an audience comprised of the Principal, PTA Governers, members of the school board, Buffy’s mother and about 200 other people, Xander turned to his girlfriend and said,

"See, I told you it would work."

She turned to him, "I can’t believe I gave up my starring moment to help Buffy Summers get a man," Said Cordelia, "I must be insane."

END