The Waiting
By Greg Bonkowski

THE WAITING

Author: Greg Bonkowski
Email-Gman992@hotmail.com
Rating: PG-13
Distribution: Buffy/Giles. All others please ask.
Feedback: All is welcomed
Summary: Giles waits for Buffy
DISCLAIMER: The characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Sandollar Productions, Kuzui Enterprises, 20th Century Fox Television, the WB Television Network, and whoever else may have a hold on them. I do not mean to infringe upon any copyrights.
Notes: Spoliers for Season 2 onward. No smut, just some angst
Date: 9/26/02


THE WAITING. That was the worst part of the job that Giles hated the most. The waiting. It wasn't the vampires with their sharp fangs, the hordes of demons with their strange and threatening powers, or even the Hellmouth with its occasional and prophetic end of the world apocalypse. It was the waiting that made the job the most terrifying.

He was sitting in his favorite reading chair in his living room, which was lonely and dark. Just like it was outside. A small, but immensely powerful reading lamp hung just right over his shoulder, lightening up the yellowed and crinkled papers that he was holding in his hands. He was reading-no just staring-at the latest volume that the Council had sent him from England. He had stopped reading hours ago. Now, he couldn't concentrate enough to read the words on the pages. The waiting was making it hard for him to concentrate on anything. He finished the last of his Earl Gray tea and walked across the room into the kitchen where the tea-kettle sat motionless on the stove.

Giles poured the spout over into his cup and a bare trickle of lukewarm water filled the bottom. Damn! He had hoped that he wouldn't have to make another kettle…that he would be long in long bed asleep, but…if it wasn't for the waiting. For her. For Buffy.

He looked at the clock on the counter next to the stove and sighed. 12:22 in the A.M., and nothing. Not a sound. Not a peep. Not even a single shrill scream piercing the lonely and quiet night. He looked at the clock again. It was getting late. Getting late for him, and getting late his Buffy.

Giles grabbed the kettle off of the stove and twisted open its top. He turned the faucet on, and filled the metal pot halfway up with water. Giles placed the kettle back on the stove and turned on the gas. A small bluish flame shot out underneath it, and Giles just stared at it for a moment and watched, admiring the beauty and simplicity of it all.

He wished that his life-and-her life was just as simple, was just as beautiful. She didn't deserve a life like this. He didn't deserve to up all hours of the night waiting for her. He should be in bed, dreaming of England. And she should be at home in bed also, dreaming about her future husband and her future happiness. Giles knew that it should be-for the both of them. But, it wasn't. He closed his eyes. It wasn't fair. Life that is. Not when you were destined to be a Watcher, and, especially not when you were destined to be the Slayer. And not when you had to wait because waiting, after all, was the hardest part of the job.

Giles took a deep breath and walked back into the living room. He would try reading again. He grabbed the book that the Council had Fed-Exed him and looked again at the title: Marston's Book of Mystical Creatures. Bullocks! Well, at least, this one was in English, he noted again as he opened the thick, heavy tome. Old English to be exact…but it would be an easy read.

He sighed. How many nights had he sat here in this room or in the school library, reading some arcane book or text that his job required of him? Job? That's a good one, Rupert, the middle-aged Watcher thought to himself. How many jobs that you know of require that you risk your life, your limb, and your sanity so that you can advert disaster and literally risk Hell on Earth? They weren't playing cops and robbers or soldier-boys here. This was knockdown, drag-out Four Horseman of the Apocalypse stuff. The hours were demanding, the dental plan was crap, and the pay was pitiful-even with his extra stipend for being the school librarian and the enormously strong pounds-to-dollars exchange rate.

Once again, the waiting didn't help.

Giles sank down deep into his chair and yawned. He reached underneath his glasses and pinched the corner of his eyes with his thumbs. He yanked off his heavy tweed sweater and loosened his tie, unbuttoning the top button of his shirt to make himself more comfortable. He stretched out his legs on the chair's stool rest and once again glanced at the clock on the table next to him. 12:30AM.

Where in the world is she? He rolled his head in a circular motion and cringed as the neck muscles snapped and spasmed in relief, allowing the blood to circulate faster to his head and brain. That was the key, Giles thought. To keep the blood circulating. The faster the blood moves, the faster the oxygen gets to the brain, the faster he could start to calm down and relax. The faster the waiting would be over.

The tea-kettle started to whistle, and Giles jumped up out of his chair to turn off the flame. He checked the clock in the kitchen again, and wished to himself that it were a school night. At least, when Buffy was in school, she would be home in bed at a reasonable hour, and not out and about, and vulnerable by the second. She was after all the Slayer, but that didn't make her immortal. In fact, her calling just months before had been a testimony to that fact. Slayers, on the average, didn't live very long, and from his current experience, their Watchers probably didn't age gracefully. But, since this was summertime, the teenagers of Sunnydale had free reign over the entire town like a pack of wild animals in heat and there was no reason to go to bed early. Even if the whole entire town was crawling with blood-sucking fiends.

That made Giles worry even more. The more teenagers out at all hours of the night, the more easy pickings for the un-dead. Of course, Sunnydale had Buffy, the Vampire Slayer-the Chosen One-but she was just one young girl against the whole entire lot of them. Yet, this Slayer was special. She was so gifted. So talented. Buffy was different. She wasn't like the other Slayers that Giles had read about from those Watchers who had gone before him. She was, Giles thought, as he filled his cup with steaming hot water, the strangest girl. And he meant that in a good way.

In the few months that he had known Buffy Summers, he had come to appreciate if not respect this little girl whom the fate of the world literally rested upon. He wondered if it was because she was already a young and strong girl who knew how to take care of herself or if she was just an American, and that's how they were. American Slayers, on the whole, were looked down upon a lot by the entire Council. They were too New-Aged, if Giles used the term correctly. Too free and too rebellious. They tended not to put their trust into people as old-fashioned as the Watcher Council was. True, being free and rebellious did have its advantages. They allowed for creativity and ingenuity-two very useful weapons when fighting evil. But, sometimes the American Slayers didn't listen to the advice and reason of their Watchers. Unfortunately, as Lucy Hanover and, more recently, India Cohen had found out.

When he had first met her, Giles had realized right off of the bat that Buffy would do things her way, and try, as he would like, there was nothing he could do about it. Like the time when he told her not to go patrolling after that vampire with a claw, and she did. Or the time he had told her to sodder off and forget about facing the Master alone. They had really gotten into a big fight about that one. He remembered how pretty and virginal Buffy looked in that white dress Joyce, ahh…Miss Summers, had bought her for Spring Fling. And then suddenly, out of nowhere, she had faked him with a look, and then slugged him in the jaw. When he had awoken, Jenny, ahh…Miss Calendar, was standing over him and applying an ice pack to his jaw. Jenny, Damn it! Miss Calendar, Giles corrected himself again, had told him that Buffy went off to fight the Master alone. He had tried to get up and go after her, but Buffy had decked him good, and all he that could do was wait for her to come back to him. If she did. She so serious, so determined that there was nothing that Buffy couldn't do or wouldn't try. She was strong and focused. Too focused maybe, and that's why Giles worried about her.

He sat back down his chair and dunked his tea bag into the hot, steaming water of his cup. Good thing that the tea he preferred had a high caffeine content, and somewhat calmed his nerves. Giles took a sip, and immediately his face twisted into a grimace. Too bad it tasted like something they would serve on an airplane. He just couldn't sleep until he knew that she was safe and secure at home. He just wouldn't know what he would do if something horrible happened to her. And, for some reason, he didn't know why. Sure, he cared about her. He was after all, her Watcher. That was his job. But there was more. Wasn't there? Clearly, there wasn't any sort of sexual attraction between them. Giles moved stiffly in his chair, trying to get comfortable. I mean, clearly, she is a mere child-incapable of such thoughts and feelings, Giles thought. I…I'm old enough to be her father…ahh…brother. An older cousin, Giles smiled to himself. Or how about a distinguished long-lost uncle? Yes, that was it. And she certainly didn't entertain any thoughts about him in that way. Did she? He knew that Willow had a crush on him. That pretty little redhead was always in the library, and nobody was that big of a..a…ohh…what's the word they use today? A dork?

If that wasn't it, what was it then?

Was it the way she smiled every time she had come back to the library after a night of slaying? Or the way she bounced into the aforementioned library everyday after classes, ready for her next assignment? Or her shiny, flaxen hair that reflected the light down from the ceiling and into his eyes? Or her cute and adorable fashion sense? Or way she pouted sometimes to get her way? He was quick to learn that she was heavy on the eyes, and did everything that he could not to look into them. Or her snappy and glib one-liners? He always tried not to laugh, to always maintain a sense of decorum. This was serious work that they were doing. And, after all, he was English. But, sometimes it had hurt so much trying to keep it all in that he felt like he was going to burst a kidney. What was it that the Americans called it? Sarcasm? No. Sarcasm was cold and harsh. And Buffy was none of these things.

Sure, she could be selfish and careless at times-especially when she forgot to check in-but she was still young and growing. Giles expected her to be at least somewhat self-involved. All Americans were. She just didn't know yet what it means to give up everything that you hold dear-sanity, sleep, a real life-and dedicate yourself to such a noble cause.

That was why he was up past his own bedtime, breaking the nightly rhythm of sleep and relaxation that he had perfected during the school year, waiting for her to call and tell him that she was all right. Of course, she would probably kill him if she ever found out that he had stayed up so late worrying about her. She would probably say that he was old and that he needed as much sleep as possible and that she could take care of herself. Giles laughed off of the perceived insult and glanced over at the phone on the far table. Please God, he prayed as he turned back to his book, don't let anything happen to her. I don't think that I can live if anything did. The world is such a much better place because she is in it.

 

Buffy Summers silently glided her key into the front door and slowly turned the knob to the left. The door silently popped opened, and she crossed the threshold into the darkness of the front room. She placed her leather bag, filled with weapons against the Un-Dead, silently on the floor and closed the door gently behind her. She locked it shut, and glanced at the neon clock on the bureau next to the stairs. The clock right next to the picture of Buffy, her mother, Joyce, and her father, Hank. The picture that had been taken in happier times. Before her parent's divorce. Before Merrick and her calling. Before Sunnydale. Before the vampires. They had been a whole entire family, back then. Now, they were just Buffy and Joyce and this two-floor, three bedroom house on the Hellmouth.

Shit! She screamed to herself. Speaking of Hellmouths. Giles! She had totally forgot about him, and he could give her a good tongue lashing if he wanted to. Not that she ever listened anyway. Yes, she did, she thought to herself. She could never really truly appreciate the way that he cared for. Not in the Amy Fisher/Joey Buttafuoco kind of way. Please, she was so jonesing for Angel. Anyway, he cared for her in the way a father cared for a daughter or the way a big brother worried about his little sis. Like the time he was going to stop her from fighting the Master. As if. She had clocked him right on the jaw, and he fell down flat. The Master would've killed him. No question about that. Indeed, The Master had killed her. But, if it hadn't been for Xander breathing life back into her, she would little bitty Vampire treats by now. What Giles had tried to do that night was sweet. But, she was the Slayer, not he. Sure, Giles could protect her against demons and other scary stuff. Deep down inside, she knew that he would fight to the death for her-if he didn't get himself knocked unconscious first. She quickly stole another glance at the clock-1:15AM. He going to be pissed that I have been out patrolling so long. Buffy took off her shoes and reached down to pick up her bag filled with stakes, crosses and holy water. She quickly, but quietly made her way up the stairs, trying not to make any noise that would make her mother get up and ask where she had been this late at night. One of these days, I am going to have to start learning how to sneak out of my bedroom window.

She stopped at the top of the stairs and looked left, and then right, making sure that the coast was clear. The cones in her eyes pierced the darkness. It was cool to have super-powers like sharpened eyesight. Too bad, she didn't have x-ray vision or she could see what Angel looked like without his clothes on. I bet he works out a lot, she thought to herself as she waited another second, making sure that the coast was indeed clear. So far, so good.

Buffy closed her eyes and concentrated. Through the wall, she could hear her mother snoring peacefully in her sleep. Off to la-la land. She quickly made her way down the hallway and into her room. Closing the door behind her, she flipped on the lights, and immediately shoved her black leather bag into the far, dark corners of her closet. Next, she took off her coat-the one Angel had given her-and placed it on the back of her desk chair. It still smelled of him. Of that cologne he always wore. She would never forget that smell, no matter what. She just couldn't wait for the first time that she would make love to him, she told herself. That was something she was never, ever going to forget about.

She flung herself stomach first on to her bed and closed her eyes. What a night! She thought as she took a deep breath. No thanks to Willow and Xander, who just had to go home early and catch a re-run of Next Generation. As if they didn't see that one before! That's why the call it a re-run, she argued. Where's the logic of seeing it again when you already know what's going to happen? But, the two, showing geek solidarity, were insistent that they had to see it again, and they had left her alone in the cemetery to wait for the Young triplets whom Giles correctly predicted would rise tonight.

Hmm, Buffy thought to herself, Xander and Willow are probably doing it. That's why they left. No they're not, she stopped herself. While Willow definitely had a thing for Xander, the only one that Xander had a thing for was Buffy. But, in turn, Buffy only had a thing only for Angel…just what I need, she acknowledged, Beverly Hills 90210 on the Hellmouth. Ahh…the men in my life.

Speaking of which. Giles is going to give it to me when I call. She took a deep breath. But, what would I do without him? He maybe Mr. Bookman and Watcher-Guy and Tight-ass Brit guy, but Giles was cool. I mean, at least, he wasn't mom. He was more like…a nice, friendly uncle. When she had first met Rupert Giles, he had shoved that big book her face, and she ran out of that library traumatized like a bat out of hell. He was creepy and scary and British. Just like Merrick. But, when she had come back to him after they had found that dead kid in the girl's locker room, she realized that Giles wasn't like Merrick at all. Giles was patient and kind and understanding. She had to admit it-she liked Giles. But, not in the "I want to marry you and have your babies" kind of way, she corrected herself again. Sure, he was handsome and kind of cute especially when he couldn't get his words out, but she was his Slayer and he was kind of…well…old. Yeah, and Angel is how old? I mean if I was a little bit older, Buffy thought to herself, maybe something could happen between her and Giles. Maybe a little romantic dinner after a night of slaying…Buffy caught herself again. Please. Angel was cool and depressive and brooding and deep and mysterious. She liked that in her men. That challenged her. All Giles wanted to do was sit at home and read a book. How exciting was that? It's not like he was ever dangerous or mysterious. I mean if mom ever found out that her daughter was hanging out with the creeping school librarian 'til all hours of the night, she would probably call the cops and would've had her committed to some intervention program and keep complaining to everyone why Buffy couldn't be doing the whole entire football team instead of Mr. Tweed. I mean his underwear is probably made out of tweed. Oh, she thought to herself. That's a good one. I'm going to have to tell Xander that one.

She grabbed her phone off of her nightstand, and punched a number with her thumb. Of course, how in world could she also explain to her mother that she had the school librarian's phone number on her speed dial?

 

Giles looked at the clock again, and gritted his teeth. Okay, he fumed, if I ever get my hands on her, I'll…

Well, probably nothing, he corrected himself. She would probably kick his ass and leave him there on the ground to die. But, at least, I won't be worrying about her not calling and leaving me in a tizzy.

He finished reading the page that he was on, and was about to flip it when the phone rang. Once. Twice.

Giles looked up from his book. Finally! About Bloody Time! He closed his book and gently placed down on his seat. He calmly walked over to the phone, and was about to pick it up when he stopped. Wait a minute, he thought. If I pick it up too fast, she'd think that he was waiting up all night, worrying about her. And he didn't want that. I mean, Giles began, I don't want to give her the impression that he was here obsessively worrying about her. I don't want to give Buffy that impression that I'm her father or something. That would just scare her more than any demon could, and he at least wanted to convey to her that he had some sort of life. However, lonely it really was. And he, especially didn't want to sound desperate or clingy…especially late at night. The phone rang once more. Then again. And again.

 

"C'mon Giles, pick up," Buffy said to herself. "I don't have all night. I maybe the Slayer and have super-healing powers, but I still need my beauty sleep." And it's not like you're Hugh Hefner or anybody, she continued silently this time. I mean when was the last time you had a date or something and you wouldn't be home at this hour. Were the Beatles still even talking to each other?

The phone rang one more time.

 

Giles picked up the phone. "Hello?" he answered, slowly and quietly at the same time as if something had interrupted his deep slumber and everything wasn't five by five.

"Giles," a soft feminine voice on the other line said, "It's me, Buffy."

Oh Thank God, Giles thought, relieved. You're safe. "Oh Buffy," Giles managed. "Patrolling went okay then?"

"Ya, you know how it is. The vamps rise and I dust them."

"Good," Giles said, "Call it a night then? Tell me about it in the morning? I'll bring the doughnuts."

"Sounds good," Buffy replied. "Get an extra jelly for me?"

"Of course," Giles said. Anything for you. As long as you are all right. "Good night then?"

"Sure," Buffy said. "Ahh…Giles?"

"Yes?"

"You weren't…you know…waiting up for me?"

Giles stopped for a moment before answering. Okay, if I say "yes," then she'll think that I am being over-protective and that I am worrying about her, and that'll freak her out. And If I say "no," she'll think that I don't care that much about her, and that will scare her more. Teenagers. What can you do?

"Ahh, Buffy, It's real late," Giles started. "A couple of hours past our bedtimes, I think. Perhaps we can discuss this in the morning?"

"You're the boss," Buffy said. "Ahh…Giles?"

"Yes?"

"Good night," Buffy began. "And thanks for waiting up for me."

Giles stopped for a moment. Bloody Sonofabitch…She knew. She knew that I was waiting up for her to call before he could finally go to sleep in peace without any worries. She's the strangest girl.

"No problem, Buffy," he said. "You know that I couldn't sleep until I knew that you were safe."

There was a moment of silence on the other end of the phone. Giles imagined Buffy tearing up at the thought of someone caring for her like that. Giles were sometimes emotional over the smallest things.

"Goodnight, Buffy," Giles said.

"Goodnight Giles," Buffy said, "sweet dreams."

 

In her bedroom, Buffy smiled and hung up the phone, putting the cordless back onto the re-charger. She took off her clothes, slipped into her nightgown, turned off the lights, and crawled underneath her covers. She let her head rest gently against her pillows as she started to dream. You know, he is kind of cute…

 

Back at his apartment, Giles heard the phone on the other line go "click" and then smiled at himself. He shook his head with a smile on his face, and hung up the phone. He stretched out his arms and went over to turn out the light over his favorite reading chair.