The Kiss
By Lily2332

TITLE: The Kiss
AUTHOR: Lily2332
RATING: PG-13
SUMMARY: For a challenge at the B/G Writer's Zone: "At forty something, Giles should know better than playing truth or dare. He doesn't." Set during "The I in Team".
DISTRIBUTION: Solo, WYWM, anyone else just ask
FEEDBACK: yes, please
DISCLAIMER: They're not mine, don't sue.

For Arkin. <sniff> I'll miss you.
And for Kathy, just cause you’re so cool. : )


Giles shifted yet again on his blowup chair, cringing at the noise it made. He'd been just about to drift off, too.

<I'm never going to get to sleep.> He moaned inwardly. Especially with all the talking and giggling going on on the other side of the curtain. He opened his eyes. Xander was gone from his spot on the floor.

The sound of Spike's voice carried over a fresh round of laughter. "That's none of your bloody business, Slayer!" Then a few seconds later, "All right, all right," His voice dropped down to where Giles couldn't hear it, but whatever he said drew shocked gasps and "ah's" from his audience.

Giles sat up, kicking off his blanket. He stretched and stood, peeking through the curtain. The three girls were on the sofa bed with Xander. Spike sat on a chair, his feet propped up on the bed.

"Oh, Giles." Everyone stopped talking when they saw him. Buffy gave him an apologetic smile. "Sorry. Were we keeping you awake?"

"No, sleeping on a deflated beach ball is keeping me awake," he grumbled. "The racket that you all are making simply reminds me that we're in hiding because our lives are in danger…something I'd rather forget for a few hours." He rubbed his face sleepily, then took a second glance at Xander, his eyes widening in disbelief.

Everyone grinned, except for Xander, who looked shamed.

"Xander…good God, are those Buffy's…"

"My yummy sushi pajamas." Buffy smiled happily, not looking at all like a girl who had earlier that day had an attempt made on her life.

The boy looked ridiculous, his arms sticking out from the sleeves gawkily, the pajama legs ending mid-calf. The buttons wouldn't even reach, leaving it hanging open at the chest.

"At least I was brave enough to take my dare," he made an effort to sound scornful and proud, not quite pulling it off.

"Only a loser refuses their dare," declared Buffy with feeling.

"Yes, there's honor in wearing women's nightwear," Xander affirmed.

"Your dare?" Giles pulled a chair next to Spike and sat down. "Ah, yes. Truth or dare. A much better way to pass the time than, say, preparing for battle with a deadly and seemingly unstoppable demon."

Ignoring his sarcasm, and the hint that perhaps they should be working, Buffy pulled the covers up over her legs, getting comfortable. Are you playing, Giles?"

Spike snorted loudly. "Yeah, right. Like the old Watcher is going to-"

"-Why not." Giles glared at him, not really wanting to join them, yet insulted by whatever the vampire had been insinuating. He was a bit unnerved by the smug smile Buffy was giving him. She looked as though she already had something in mind.

"Okay, Willow. Your turn," Anya said, turning them back to the game.

"Truth," the redhead said confidently, watching tv as she waited.

"Here's one," the ex-demon didn't skip a beat. "What's the deal with you and that witch friend of yours?"

"Wh-what do you mean? Who?" Her face gave her away, though, going from the palest white to the deepest red in a matter of seconds.

"The girl." Anya said firmly, enjoying the redhead's reaction a little too much. "Have you two been staying up nights doing spells, or is there a little more going on?" Her words were loaded with accusation.

"I-I-that's…dare."

"Forget it," she replied. "You answered my question. Next."

Buffy noticed Giles looking completely confused, and made a note to talk to him later.

Willow gave Anya a dirty look, and chose the next victim, eager to lead the attention away from herself.

"Spike."

"What? I've just taken a turn," he complained. "All right. Truth."

"The day that you tried to attack me, you said that you'd thought about biting me before." He rolled his eyes, but she went on. "Was that true, or were you just trying to make me feel better?" she asked shyly.

Giles groaned, wondering how it had come to a point where even Willow had lost her good sense.

"Damn straight, I would've bitten you. I'd thought about it dozens of times before…not just the once when you were visiting me."

"You mean the once when you kidnapped her?" Xander pointed out.

"Whatever," Spike brushed off the boy's comment. "Anyhow, yeah, Red. I would've ripped your throat out with the right opportunity," he elaborated with enthusiasm.

Taking that statement as a threat, Giles leaned forward to give Spike a piece of his mind, then noticed Willow beaming, and giving the vampire a grateful smile.

"Pardon me, but since when are we flattered that a demon wants to-"

"My turn." He didn't let Giles finish. "Watcher, I think you need to get into the game." He studied the man for a few seconds.

"Truth." He wasn't going to get trapped into one of their childish dares.

"All right, Rupert," he said thoughtfully. "Let's see…" He tried to decide which buttons to push. What would get the biggest response from the Watcher. After having lived with Giles for so long, it wasn't very hard. "Tell us…how are you liking the retired life? Are you enjoying the down time? Have you had a lot of company since the kids went off to college?" He didn't try to hide his mocking.

Giles could think of few questions he'd rather have them not know the answer to. "You'll have to pick one question," he said through gritted teeth.

"Let's go with how you are enjoying the spare time. Are you liking it, or do you climb the walls all day, waiting for your slayer to remember that you exist?"

He thought for a long time. Buffy waited for him to tell Spike that he had some nerve asking such questions. She waited for him to say that he didn't know what he was talking about, and that he ought to shut his mouth before somebody shoved a stake into his heart. But he didn't.

"I-I don't think that I want to play after all," he said, his expression challenging anyone who might argue. He got up, disappearing again behind the curtain. Spike sat back in extreme satisfaction, especially when he saw that everyone was glaring at him.

"What?" He asked in disgust. "I'm evil, remember?" No one answered. "So, I suppose it's my turn again," he said. "Never got an answer on the last one, since the Watcher finked out."

"Buffy."

She thought quickly about all the things that Spike might ask her. He’d probably ask things about Angel, things she didn't want to talk about, or even think about.

"Dare."

He chuckled as he thought. The rest of them eyed Buffy curiously.

"Are you insane?" Xander asked, "You know he's going to have you do something horrible. Or embarrassing. Or horribly embarrassing."

"Within reason, Spike. Those are the rules." Buffy said sharply, poking Willow who had begun to fall asleep.

"Got it," he said. "That Watcher of yours is off pouting over there," he pointed toward the curtain.

"Thanks to you."

"Yeah, told you I was bad," he replied. "Don't you forget it!"

"So, what's the dare?" Buffy asked, losing patience. "This is the last one before we go to bed…you're ruining it for everyone."

"I dare you to go over on the other side of that curtain there, and give him a nice kiss. Make him feel better."

Anya sat up, taking an interest. "On the lips," she added.

Buffy's smile vanished. "I said 'within reason,'" she reminded him.

"I don't know, Buffy," Willow said. "It doesn't seem completely unreasonable."

"No way," she said, shaking her head.

"Only losers refuse their dares," Spike quoted her earlier statement.

In the utmost act of betrayal, her friends voiced their agreement.

Buffy clutched her covers, trying to find a way out. Yes, it seemed simple enough, at least to the rest of them, but there was absolutely no way that she could kiss Giles.

<Why? Why not?> she asked herself.

"I-I can't kiss Giles…not in front of all of you," she protested, pushing her hair back self-consciously.

"Why not? You kiss Riley all the time in front of us…among other things." Anya made a face.

"But-but this is…it's-"

<It's Giles.> she answered, to herself. To kiss him would be…different than kissing Riley. Riley, with whom she shared dancing, french fries, and teasing. He was nice, and it felt good to kiss him. But he was safe. Truthfully, he knew very little about her. She could enjoy being near him without worrying about being close to him.

With Giles it was different.

She imagined herself going to him, the familiar, searching look in his eyes as she drew closer, until her lips met his, and their arms inevitably embraced one another. And then… Her stomach knotted up just thinking about it.

With one look, he had the ability to see all the things that she was, that she'd done, that she'd ever attempted to hide from anyone. He knew every secret part of her, partially from watching for so long, partially because she'd let him know her in this way.

If he could feel her that deeply with just a look, then for his mouth to explore hers with the tenderness that she knew would be his way would be more than she could take.

Adding physical touch to the intimacy that was already there, to finally feel the flesh of her soul mate, of the man who was her lover in every way but the one that mattered would be too much for her to handle. She strongly doubted her ability to hide the emotions that would be certain to overwhelm her.

She wasn't ready for him to find out, and not like this.

Buffy made a decision, shaking her head. "Call me a loser, then. Because I won't do it."

To her relief, Willow had already drifted off to sleep, and Spike apparently felt such disgust for her lack of courage that he wasn't speaking to her. Xander was preoccupied with adjusting the badly fitting pajamas, and Anya was helping him, though to be honest, it appeared as though she were more interested in getting a peek at what was inside them.

She breathed a sigh of relief, realizing that her hands were trembling. No one had noticed.

But someone had. Giles lay on the floor, closing his eyes in disappointment. When he'd heard Spike's dare, his heart had raced with anticipation. Buffy never turned down a dare. It was a trait he normally considered a fault, but tonight he'd been thanking the gods for her stubborn streak. Until he'd heard how incredibly opposed to the idea she'd been.

<Am I really so repulsive in her eyes?>

Buffy got up, sneaking outside for a few desperately needed moments of quiet. When she’d returned, Xander and Spike had somehow claimed parts of the bed as their own, and were dozing, leaving no room for her. She didn't feel like arguing.

She crept through the curtain, jumping a little when she saw Giles awake, sitting in the dark.

"Hi," she said quietly, finding a spot on the floor next to him. "God, what has it come to when the Slayer is sitting on a vampire's sleeping bag, and he's on the bed," she joked.

"Yes," he agreed, his voice strained.

"You heard Spike's dare," she said weakly.

"Yes." Was again his only response.

"Why do I feel the urge to apologize?" She asked him, sighing.

He finally looked at her, and she could see that he was hurt. The way that his eyes couldn't quite put together the same calm indifference that his face had mastered. "Why?" She asked again.

He didn't try to deny it. He was too tired.

"Buffy, I have a feeling that you'd kiss a chaos demon if a dare were at stake…not to mention the fact that you've gotten…quite friendly…with vampires. But kissing your old watcher, that would just be too low, even for you, now, wouldn't it?"

"Vampires? One vampire," she argued, missing the point.

"Spike," he reminded her.

"What?! That doesn't count!" She couldn't believe that he was serious.

"It doesn't matter," he said.

"Too late," she said quietly. "It does matter to you. And it's not too low, Giles, that's not why I didn't…" She considered telling him the truth. She wasn't ready.

They fell into silence, and she knew that his mind was made up. It wouldn't matter what reason she gave him, the only way he'd believe anything other than what he'd assumed would be…

She looked at him, still able to make him out in the darkness. He still sat, still thinking about what she'd done. Or rather, not done. She wanted to stop him from feeling this way about himself.

She got up on her knees, turning so she could face her watcher. "I wanted to, Giles, I was just afraid…that this would happen."

She leaned in slowly, delaying contact until the last possible second. When their lips finally met, she felt his love, and combined with the depth of her own feelings, it was all her fears coming true in the most wonderful way possible.

They parted for a second, their mutual curiosity and want bringing them immediately back together, and this time she allowed him to see the profound effect that being with him like this was having on her. He prompted her to part her lips, his tongue pushing inside, testing, tasting, loving her, and she felt like she would ignite, or melt away…something had to give, it was too much to take after waiting for so long.

She pulled away, just until she could catch her breath, realizing that she was on his lap. Giles seemed just as breathless, as well as a bit dazed.

"Is that what you were afraid of?" He asked, running his hands over her hair that hung loosely down her back.

She nodded, not knowing what her voice might sound like, should she try to speak.

Giles waited a while, until it seemed that she had lost the overwhelmed feeling that she had disliked so much. He didn't regret it. The kiss had been every bit as touching and arousing as he'd known it would be, and deep down, he was glad that Buffy had felt the same. But she seemed bothered by it, as though she hadn't wanted those feelings.

"Are you all right? What are you thinking, Buffy?"

"I was thinking…" she lifted her head, taking a look at her Watcher, allowing herself for the first time to see him as her heart wanted her to. "How much I hate that I'm going to have to thank Spike."

They both smiled.

END