The Letter
By Marta Jadczyk

Title: The Letter  1/1
Author: Marta Jadczyk
Rating: Watch show - read fic
Spoilers: I don't think there are any, but seeing as how I haven't had sleep in about 36 hrs, let's just say up to "Freshmen" to be on the safe side.
Disclaimer: All the characters used belong to Joss Whedon and company. Joss is God. No copyright infringement is intended. Please don't sue.
Summary:  Another Slayer shows up and makes Buffy realize what she has in Giles
Feedback: want it, need it, love it.
Distribution: Ask and ye shall receive

Note: Don't ask me about this one, I wrote it between 1 and 3 in the morning.

   Buffy ran after the vampire. <Why couldn't they just stay and fight. Do vamps have to be such wussies?> she grumbled to herself. As she ran around a large pine tree, she noticed a young woman standing there. Quickly, she hid her stake behind her back. The stranger's lips quirked as she saw the action and she raised an eyebrow.

   "Um.hi," said Buffy, "I don't suppose you saw a guy running by, he had black hair, a leather jacket." The stranger chuckled though the laugh seemed just a little strained to Buffy,

   "Relax, he's dust," as the other woman stared at her, she introduced herself, "I'm Cassandra McMaler. You must be Buffy Summers." Buffy took the hand that was extended automatically and shook it while her brain tried to deal with this new development. "I'm a Slayer," added Cassandra, further adding to her confusion.

   "But I thought that there was just one Slayer per generation." The other woman scoffed.

   "Yeah, right. One girl in all the world to stop the spread of evil? Think about it, that would doom the Slayer from the start."

   "But, the council."

   "The council likes to keep the Slayers under control. By alienating them from everyone else with the heavy doses of 'destiny' crap and by making it seem that they were the only source of help, they could keep the Slayers in their pockets." The only thing Buffy could think of to say was,


   "Is Rupert Giles still your Watcher?" asked the other Slayer.

   "No, he was fired." Said Buffy without really thinking of it. Her mind was still reeling from the information it just received.

   "Damn, I really need to talk to him. Do you at least know where to find him?" Buffy finally shook off the fog that was surrounding her brain,

   "Why, what do you need to talk to him for?" Cassandra glared at her.

   "It's none of your business. If you won't help me, I'll find him myself." She started walking away. Now that Buffy had her wits about her, she noticed that Cassandra moved as if she was far older than she looked. In fact, her movements looked like they belonged on someone who was at least four hundred years old and felt that way.

   "Are you all right?" she asked softly. The other woman stopped and her shoulders slumped even more. She shook her head. Without turning around, Cassandra said, "Just tell me how I can contact Mr. Giles. Please?" Wondering what could reduce a Slayer to the broken figure before her, Buffy gave in.

   "Come on, he lives just down the street." At that, Cassandra turned around with a knowing smile.

   "He didn't leave either, huh?" Buffy frowned, but figured it could wait. She nodded once and started walking up the street. Moments later, the other Slayer fell into step beside her.


   Giles was sitting in his living room, idly glancing through a Watcher's journal. He could never concentrate until Buffy checked in after patrol. He was glad that the Hellmouth always quieted during the summer, he worried about her enough as it was. As if summoned by his thought, Buffy walked through the door. She rarely bothered knocking anymore, and in truth, Giles enjoyed the familiarity. He stood and smiled, but the smile turned into a frown when he saw that someone followed in with her. The girl was about Buffy's age and size, but there all similarities stopped. Her hair was red and she had hazel eyes. There was something about her that seemed familiar, like a face from a photograph one hasn't seen in a long time. <That's it. I saw her picture.>

   "You're Cassie, aren't you?" she visibly flinched at the nickname. "Is Jonathan with you?" The redhead drew a shuddering breath and shook her head. Giles knew what that meant and he sat down as the realization hit him. "He's dead." It was a statement. Cassandra bit her lower lip and nodded. He got up, his normal reserve gone, and enfolded the girl into a hug. "I'm sorry." That did it. All the walls that Cassandra had carefully put up around her pain eroded at the sound of that gentle voice and she cried into the ex-Watcher's chest. Buffy, who had observed the whole scene, quietly moved to the kitchen. She heard Cassie's sobs subsiding and the soothing sound of Giles' voice as he walked her upstairs. She put on the kettle and was just pouring the boiling water into two cups when Giles came back downstairs and sat down at the table. Buffy put one of the mugs in front of him and he absentmindedly nodded his thanks. They sat in silence for a few minutes before he spoke.

   "Jonathan Birmingham was one of my best friends." Buffy covered one of his hands with her own in a gesture of sympathy. Giles smiled at her softly then continued, looking at the tablecloth. "He was also Cassie's watcher. At first. But then the council asked him to administer the Test. He wouldn't do it. He was in love with her, and couldn't do that to her." Giles could say that now without the searing pain. He had made peace with that event. They both had. "The council fired him, much as they did me, and it was at that point that Cassie told the where to stick it. She was in love with Jonathan as well. They became lovers and were considered one of the best teams around. You see, there is more than one Slayer at any given time..."

   "I know. She told me." Interrupted him Buffy. He nodded but kept staring at the table.

   "Anyway, the few times I spoke with Jonathan, he seemed to be the happiest man on the Earth. And he probably was. She was his center of the world, as was he hers. When he died, it must have been horrible for Cassie. Like tearing off a limb. It completely devastated her." Buffy stared at Giles. His voice was hoarse with pain, and when he looked at her, his eyes held such anguish that she gasped. "Like losing you would break me." Buffy's breath caught.

   "You're in love with me?" she asked, her voice barely above a whisper. He jut kept looking at her baring his soul in his eyes. He lifted one of her hands, which was still wrapped around his, to his lips and gently placed a kiss into her palm. The action snapped Buffy out of her trance. "Oh Rupert. I love you, too." Those words, combined with her use of his name sent him over the brink and he gathered her to him. He lowered his head to hers and brushed his lips across hers. Once, twice, with more fervor each time as though he was afraid she would disappear. Finally, he managed to get some control and pull away.

  "Are you sure, Buffy?" Her response was to gently kiss him again. He stood up and pulled Buffy up with him. Walking to the couch, he lay down and wordlessly asked her to join him. She did without hesitating and she smiled. Giles arranged her on his chest, her head pillowed on his shoulder, his arms around her. He stroked her hair and Buffy knew what he was thinking. They weren't ready for the next step, but it would come. For now, they were content to just bask in the feeling of love that surrounded them.


   The next morning, Cassie came downstairs to find them sleeping, fully clothed, their limbs intertwined. A bittersweet smile came to her lips. She placed an envelope on the table in front of the couch and walked out, not looking back.


   Giles woke up, feeling so afraid that the events of the previous night were just a dream. Then he felt a heavy weight. He glanced down to find his Slayer draped all over him, and grinned. His grim faltered as he remembered Cassie. Carefully, as not to disturb Buffy, he looked around. His gaze fell on the envelope bearing his name. Removing one hand from around Buffy's waist, he reached out and opened the envelope. Inside was a single piece of paper, which Giles unfolded and read.


   Dear Rupert,

      I know that I don't have much time left, I can almost feel the sickness seeping strength from my body. I will make this letter short and to the point. I love you like a brother Rupert, but you're a daft prick. (Giles' mouth curved into a smile) You've got one hell of a woman there and you're to chicken to make a move. You thought you hid it from me? I can see right through you, friend. You are as much in love with Buffy as I am with Cassie. (Giles realized her reaction to the nickname. Only Jonathan had called her that) I don't know whether she loves you or not, but I do know this; if you don't tell her how you feel, you'll never know either. Let's face facts, although we'd like to keep them safe for eternity, Slayers don't have the same long life spans that most women enjoy. Give her a chance, Rupert; don't waste the years you could have together.



   Giles knew he wouldn't find Cassie upstairs. He didn't know where she was and doubted that he would ever find out. But wherever she was, he sent a thank you to her and to his best friend for giving him the best thing in his life; Buffy.