By Adrian

Title:  "Thinking"
Author:  Adrian
Distribution:  Please ask first
Feedback:  Please, but no flames, I've already gotten a sunburn.
Rating:  PG
Content:  You see it on "BtVS", you can read this
Summary:  Just read it
Spoilers:  "Becoming"
Note:  The lyrics are from the song "Ghost" by the Indigo Girls, from their album "Rites of Passage". The lyrics are in italics.

Giles went into his office and shut the door.  He did it more out of habit than anything else.  Most of the faculty and students had already left.  Willow was out setting up the new card catalog on the computer and Xander and Cordelia were out patrolling, even though the Hellmouth had been relatively quiet since Angel had gone to Hell and Spike, Drusilla and Buffy had left.  He took off his jacket and sat down at his desk.  He stared at the portable CD player Willow had lent him for a moment.  Even though he knew how to use it, he was still afraid that he would break it.  He finally put on the headphones and turned it on.  He didn't know why he had agreed to listen to the song. Probably because Willow had said that it made her think of him.  He put it on the right song and adjusted the volume.  Then he sat back to listen.

There's a letter on the desktop
That I dug out of a drawer,
The last truce we ever came to
In our adolescent war.
And I start to feel a fever
>From the war air through the screen,
You come regular like seasons
Shadowing my dreams.

Giles almost stopped the song.  He didn't see how the song could make Willow think of him.  But something made him keep listening.

And the Mississippi's mighty
But it starts in Minnesota,
At a place where you could walk across
With five steps down.
And I guess that's how you started,
Like a pinprick to my heart,
But at this point you rush right through me
And I start to drown.

A tear rolled down Giles' cheek and he didn't stop it.  He remembered the first day he had met Buffy.  She was so adamant to not be the Slayer.  When she finally gave in, she still, stubbornly, did things her way. He at least respected her for it, even loved her.  She wasn't like any of the other Slayers he had read about in the Watcher Journals.  She had made a bigger place
in his heart than he expected, and with her gone, he felt empty.

And there's not enough room in this world for my pain. Signals cross and love gets lost and time passed makes it plain,
Of all my demon spirits I need you the most.
I'm in love with your ghost.
I'm in love with your ghost.

He remembered when he had first found out that she was "dating" Angel.  Angry didn't begin to describe it. But Angel had saved them countless times with either cryptic sayings or age-old wisdom.  When he had lost his soul, Giles' heart broke for Buffy.  And just recently he had unknowingly sacrificed himself to save the world.  A few more tears fell, unchecked.

Dark and dangerous like a secret
That gets whispered in a hush
(Don't tell a soul)
When I wake the things I dreamt about you
Last night made me blush.
When you kiss me like a lover,
Then you sting me like a viper,
I go follow to the river
Play your memory like the piper.

He remembered when Jenny had come into their lives. She was a friend to them all, and had shown him it was okay to open up and love, like Buffy was always doing.  After the demon Angelus had killed her, Buffy, in her own way, had helped him through it.  Even though it was still hard to believe that Jenny wasn't there, it was easier to help him get through the days.  He couldn't stop the tears now.  They fell freely.  He felt so empty and incomplete without Buffy around.  He had read about other Watchers who had been broken, but recovered from their Slayers dying.  He was broken just by her leaving and he didn't know how he would ever manage without her.

And I feel it like a sickness,
How this love is killing me.
But I'd walk into the fingers of your fire willingly
And dance the edges of sanity
I've never been this close
In love with your ghost.

Then there was Spike and Drusilla.  There was no way he'd ever forget the blond vampire and his insane paramour.  When he had found out that Buffy had made a deal with Spike to fight Angelus and Drusilla, he had thought that she had really gone over the edge.  But it had been what saved the world from going to Hell. He never knew how much he had needed her until she was gone.

Unknowing captor,
You'll never know how much you
Pierce my spirit
But I can't touch you.
Can you hear it, a cry to be free?
Or I'm forever under lock and key
As you pass through me.

Buffy, and the rest of the gang, had found a way into his heart like no one, save Jenny, ever had.  After his run-in with Eyghon when he was younger, he had tried to guard his heart, but it didn't work with them.  They had found a way into his life from the beginning.  Buffy, with her headstrong ways and stubborn pride, was probably the first to strip away his walls, even though she took some getting used to. And Willow, with her innocence and hacking abilities, was easy to love, even when she was wearing her "resolve" face.  And then there was Xander.  He was a character, with his quick, and sometimes biting, remarks and intense loyalty, he was a good friend for both the girls, and Giles had even found himself smiling or laughing at some of his jests.  And last, but not least, was Cordelia.  She had been harder to come to love, but he did at least respect her, despite her snobbery and sometimes daft remarks.  But Buffy had definitely taken most of his heart out of that lot.  He took off his glasses and let the tears come, but tried to hold the noise in check.

Now I see your face before me,
It would launch a thousand ships
To bring your heart back to my island
As the sand beneath me slips.
As I burn up in your presence
And I know now how it feels
To be weakened like Achilles
With you always at my heels.

Even though he knew that Willow was right outside the office and Xander and Cordelia would be back in a matter of hours, he had never felt more alone.  Buffy was his reason for living, for being.  Without her, he really was an island, with no real purpose for being.

And my bitter pill to swallow
Is the silence that I keep
That poisons me, I can't swim free
The river is too deep.
Though I'm baptized by your touch,
I am no worst at most
In love with your ghost.

It was true, he had kept his grief hidden.  Mostly to help the others, but probably because he had never really learned to express his emotions.  He had just begun to do that when Buffy had left.

The song ended, but Giles just sat there for a moment, lost in his reverie.  He heard the doorknob click and turned in his chair.  Willow was standing in the doorway.

"She's back," she said simply.

Giles quickly took off the headphones, turned off the CD player, wiped his eyes and rushed out of his office.  Buffy stood nervously near a table, also looking like she had been crying.  They both hesitated for a moment, unsure.  Then she rushed into his open arms.  He smoothed her hair with his hand and held her tightly.  Tears threatened to overflow again, but he held them in check.

"I missed you so much," he whispered in her ear.

She pulled back.  "You have no idea.  Somehow Will found me and sent me a CD, telling me to listen to a certain song.  When I heard it, I almost started bawling.  It made me think of you, and I knew I couldn't stay away."

"She had me listen to it too, and it made me realize that I had lost everything if I didn't have you."

"Well, I don't plan on leaving again anytime soon."

"Come on, let's go find the others and tell your mom."

The three linked arms and went to find the others.