The Truth Doesn't Always Hurt
DISTRIBUTION: Anyone who likes it can have it. Just let me know.
SPOILERS: Helpless, but barely
FEEDBACK: Definitely, if you like it.
SUMMARY: Buffy is bound by a truth spell. Oh no! I hope she doesn't say something she shouldn't!
DISCLAIMER: The characters are not mine. It's too bad they're not, I could make them all so happy. But don't sue, I'm just borrowing.
NOTE: This is my first fic, there are good parts and sucky parts. Enjoy!
"..........and then he, er, it, whatever it was, reached out! And I ran away! Really fast, too. Although in retrospect he may have been trying to shake my hand, in which case I was pretty rude....Do demons ever shake hands?" Shuddering at either possibility, Willow stopped for a much-needed breath.
Giles pulled out a chair for the very shaken up redhead, who had moments earlier come flying through the library doors as though the devil himself were after her. (Although in Sunnydale, that wouldn't have been too surprising.) The older man motioned for the girl to sit down, ignoring her last comments.
"Start from the beginning-no-" he corrected, thinking of her tendency to ramble on. "Tell me *exactly* what he said to you." He studied her intently as she prepared to answer. Her breathing was returning to normal now that she was among friends, all of whom were looking at her with a combination of concern and relief. She managed a weak smile and, noticing that Giles had begun to pace impatiently, began.
"He said that something reeeally bad is going to happen. But he can help!" her face fell "But he wouldn't tell me exactly how he could help. We're supposed to meet him tomorrow night."
Giles was already pulling a book from the shelves, "Anything else?" he demanded, a man with a mission.
"Well..." She added nervously, "He did make some suggestions about certain types of, um, um, intimate.........apparel that Buffy and I could wear when we meet him tomorrow." Seeing Giles' face, she quickly added "But I think that part was optional."
"Yes, probably so." he agreed awkwardly closing the book with such force that a stack of papers blew onto the floor.
Buffy smirked and bit back a laugh, not wanting to further embarrass her friend. She leaned back in her chair and considered her watcher. That look on his face! He'd probably rather go up against the darkest forces of evil than discuss *that* topic any further, no matter how delicately Willow could turn a phrase. Not the case with Xander, who jumped right in, leaning across the table to Willow.
"Are you *sure* it was optional? I mean, you can't be too careful with demons. Nope, better make him happy-Ooph!" He rubbed his arm where the blond had whacked him "What?! I'm just thinking of your safety!"
As Buffy and Willow rolled their eyes, Giles was mumbling to himself. They could only catch a few phrases here and there. "This is no use...no, that's not it.....nothing....." He sank down wearily onto the stairs. "I hate to say this, but this looks rather bleak. This, er, fellow, could be lying just to make mischief, or he could genuinely know something. Until we know, we're at his mercy, really." He removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes, sighing. He had already been here in the library for more than 24 hours, and the thought of staying here for one minute longer was unbearable.
Buffy jumped up indignantly. "So we could reserarch all night, do whatever this creep tells us to do, and it could all be for nothing? No way!" Her watcher silently agreed.
"But Buffy," Willow said pleadingly, "Think of the alternative! If we don't believe him and something really happens, then...." she trailed off, looking up at her friend for a response. Buffy's shoulders slumped, and she sighed in resignation. "OK, OK, it's just, it would be so much easier if there was a way we could know for sure-" Suddenly she stopped, locking eyes with Willow, who finished her friend's sentence for her. "-if we could know for sure if he was telling the truth." Buffy rushed over to Willow, grabbing her hands, squeezing hard.
"Can we do it? Can you? Giles?....." They all turned and looked at the watcher, still sitting on the steps, taking in this scene. Willow, her eyes wide and hopeful, and Buffy, her lovely face flushed with excitement. She was smiling that incredible smile. For a moment he pretended that the smile was just for him; that it held hidden meaning only between the two of them.
"Hellooooo, earth to Giles!" Buffy stood in front of him waving her arms. "Are you even listening? Oooh, why bother listening to Buffy?" she continued sarcastically "she's not going to have a good idea, right? Well, I did have one, ha!"
Hesitating, he wondered if she were *really* upset over this small slight, or if she knew how it affected him when she looked at him in that way. <oh yeah> he answered his own question wryly <She's doing it for *you* the invisible man....well, maybe not invisible, but definitely not a man, at least not in her eyes.> He took a deep breath. "Yes, Buffy, I did hear your idea, and it is a rather good one. Excellent, actually." She beamed at his words of praise and Willow just beamed at the prospect of doing magic.
He continued, shuffling through the papers he had retrieved off of the floor. "I have heard of truth magics,and if you find the correct one, it should be fairly easy to do. Willow, I will leave it to you to find the appropriate spell," It was more of a question than a command, and she nodded. "We will meet here tomorrow morning, do what preparation is needed, and fine tune our plan. Agreed?' It was late, and they would've agreed on just about anything at that point, all giving their approval quickly.
"Xander, want to catch a ride home with Oz and I?" Willow asked, putting on her jacket.
"You know I never miss an opportunity to be a third wheel, Will." he accepted, getting up.
"That's not true" Buffy teased, "Sometimes you're busy being the fifth wheel." As he pretended that his feelings were hurt, Willow gave him a pat. "It's OK, Xander, it's always good to have a spare, you know, just in case."
"Buffy?" Willow inquired, "Do you need a ride?"
"No thanks, I'll walk........I want to really," she added, seeing that her friend was about to persist. "I'll see you in the morning.
With the rest of the gang gone, it seemed eerily quiet. Buffy walked back over to where Giles was sitting, staring into space.
"Want to-" she giggled when he jumped at the sudden sound of her voice "Sorry. Want to walk with me?" He looked curiously at her face, hearing a tiny note of insecurity in her question. What was that about? Wanting to reassure her, he smiled. "That would be fine. Just let me get a few things put away."
She frowned as she watched him about his work. 'Fine' he had said. He hadn't sounded exactly thrilled about her offer, but why should he be? He was her watcher, not her friend, well, he *had* been her watcher, now what was he? Nothing? She'd have to figure that one out later. Now was time to address the way he'd been neglecting her. He hadn't come patrolling with her in weeks, and last week when she'd gone to his place afterwards to report, he hadn't even opened the door all the way, telling her it wasn't a good time! Maybe he was thinking that they spent too much time together. Oh, God! Maybe all he really wanted was some time away from her. It made sense, the way he'd been so reserved around her lately, almost cold. She thought about this as they left the school together. They walked in silence down the darkened streets, both feeling the strain between them.
Abruptly, Buffy stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. "Are you mad at me?" She blurted, staring down at his shoes bracing herself for his answer.
"What? Why-wh-wh-"he stammered, completely bewildered.
"You've been acting-different-lately."she said in a small voice that he likened to the insecure invitation to walk home. "And before, when you weren't listening to me, like you were wishing you were somewhere else." Her lip quivered and she was glad for the darkness, to hide the unprovoked tears that were already welling up in her eyes. She crossed her arms defensively across her chest.
Giles stepped forward and put his hands on her shoulders, squeezing gently. "Look at me." he commanded. She shook her head furiously, horrified by her overreaction. He tightened his grip slightly. "Look-at-me" he repeated firmly.
Buffy hesitantly looked up at her watcher, one of the tears making its way down her cheek.
"Damn! He muttered at the sight. Was he really such a rake? Did *he* make her feel this way? In an attempt to comfort the girl, he brushed the tear away with the backs of his fingers. He prayed she wouldn't notice the fact that his fingers were trembling. Her skin felt as soft as he had always imagined it would. More so. She was looking at him expectantly, so he spoke carefully, considering every word.
"I am not angry with you. If my behavior has seemed......strange.....of late, I apologize. But *please* don't think that my feelings for you have become less......affectionate." He cringed at his use of the same word the council had used to describe his feelings for Buffy. But it was a safe word; virtuous and uninvolved. A term that wouldn't easily give away his true feelings.
Against his better judgement he gathered her into his arms, allowing her to rest her head against his chest. When he heard her sigh, he knew he'd made the right decision.
"So, are we all right? He whispered into her hair. Buffy was trying to recover from the shock of this rare gift of physical closeness. Sometimes words just weren't enough, and the intimate gesture combined with the verbal reassurance was just what she needed.
"We're all right" she agreed, then stepped away and clasped his hands much as she had Willow's earlier that evening.
"So.....we're friends?" She asked, much more confidently than before.
"Of course" he answered. <Friends> He thought miserably. Such a wonderful word when you like someone, but so devastating when you love. But it was going to have to do, for as long as his feelings remained concealed, she would remain in his life.
Buffy's mood considerably cheerier, they went on their way, arms linked. They parted ways that night one slayer reconciled and one watcher torn apart.
The next morning as Buffy entered the library, she was greeted by a familiar sight. The gang was gathered around the table, chatting and joking. Giles was standing off to the side, half listening. Everyone was dressed Saturday casual, even Giles, if you consider forgoing the jacket and tie casual. Buffy smiled to herself, remembering last night's conversation with her watcher. He wasn't mad at her! Everything seemed right now. Practically skipping over to her friends, she paused between Willow and Xander, hugging them each with one arm. "Hi guys! Ready to save the world?.....Or at least make one icky bad guy tell the truth?" Her giddiness was contagious and Willow grinned. "We're ready!"
Buffy sidled up to Giles. "Good morning" she said quietly. He couldn't help but look down at her, briefly taking in her flimsy pink excuse for a blouse, tight jeans, and tousled hair. Good God! Why couldn't she dress more like Willow, cover herself.......
"I just got out of bed" she guiltily explained, completely misreading the look that he had been giving her.
"What? Oh, you're fine. I suspect we've all come here from.......bed." he flushed inexplicably.
"You mean since it's 9 O'clock in the morning?" she snickered. "Such powers of deduction, Giles." He gave her a silencing glare, sending her hurrying over to take a place next to Oz at the table. He nodded, and Willow stood up.
"OK, everybody. I found a spell. We'll be able to tell if this guy is for real, because he'll only be able to tell the truth!" She explained, a triumphant expression on her face. "And it's really easy! There's a chant, a special candle," she pulled a crumbly looking candle out of her bag. "Premade! The benefits of being a '90's Wicca. So anyways, we do the chant over the candle, take the lit candle to the rendezvous, and blow it out while holding it in front of him. Then we can ask questions. He'll tell the truth. It'll be a cinch."
And it was. The gang spent the rest of the day hanging out at Buffy's house, eating all of her food and savoring the feeling of being normal teenagers, knowing that as usual, when the sun went down, so did all sense of normalcy. The meeting with their so-called informant went off without a hitch, except for Willow being so nervous she had to blow three times before she finally extinguished the flame. As Buffy blinked, fanning the residual smoke from her face, she listened to the informant blab his pathetic confession about concocting the whole story just to stir things up. She hadn't even had to threaten him, he'd been smart enough to make tracks fast.They had all gotten home early that night, feeling a sense of relief at another disaster avoided.
The library was suddenly filled with noise; talking, laughing, chairs scraping against the floor. "We're here, Giles!" Buffy called.
"Yes, I had begun to suspect." He said, coming out of the office. The truth was, he looked forward to this time after school when they gathered and worked on homework or researched hellmouth activity, in between sharing every detail of the days events with one another. Sometimes their conversations were so pointless and shallow that it gave him a headache, still, he brought out his paperwork so that he could be near them, joining them at the table.
"How did you do on your history test, Buffy?" Xander asked. She groaned, shaking her head.
"Ugh! Don't ask. If I would've known it was going to be an essay question, I would've studied! I thought it would be multiple guess. That I could've handled."
"Buffy!" Giles exclaimed. "You told me that you studied for that test! I even gave you time off from training." They could all tell from his tone that he was truly upset. Why had she confessed like that? Stupid, stupid, stupid. Yet she continued in her stupidity. "
"Sorry. We went to the Bronze."
"Buff, ever heard of don't ask, don't tell?" Quipped Xander " This would be a perfect occasion to apply that concept"
Buffy dove into her schoolwork, mostly to avoid the topic at hand, and Willow thought this would be the perfect time to share an amusing thing that happened today. "So, today, in study period, these kids were playing 'Five minutes in the closet,' and-" "Excuse me!" Cut in Cordelia haughtily, "They were playing *what*? It sounds juvenile!"
"Well, it's kind of like 'Anywhere but Here', you know? You go around and tell if you could spend five minutes in a closet with someone, who would it be?" Willow explained, realizing that they were all looking clueless still. "Ok, the actual game is called 'Five minutes *naked* in the closet', but I didn't want to say that because......." She trailed off, glancing at Giles guiltily.
He shook his head in distaste.
"That's easy" Cordy offered. "Antonio Sabato Jr. Yum."
"What about you, Buff?" Xander asked. "Five minutes, closet, naked? Come on, who would it be?" The slayer didn't even look up from her notebook. "Well, I guess it would be Giles." She scribbled out something she had written. Noting that several moments had passed silently, she looked at her friends, each one wearing an expression of questioning. "What's going on?" She asked.
"Y-y-you s-said, you said, you said," Willow tried, but couldn't say the words.
"What, Will?, I said 'Giles'-*Ohmigod*!" Buffy clapped a hand over her own mouth, feeling all the blood in her body rush to her face. "I didn't mean that! I meant to say *Giles*-eep!" She stood up, sending her chair clattering to the floor.
"Ewwwww, is that your answer?" Cordelia asked, an expression of repulsion on her face. "Boy, you know how to take the fun out of anything, don't you?"
Buffy stood there, the room spinning. What was wrong with her? Why had she said that? And with her watcher sitting there, staring at her, waiting for an explanation.
"Buffy, what's wrong?" Willow asked nervously.
"What do you mean?" She asked, deciding that 'act natural' was her ticket out of this mess.
"Hello?" Xander piped "Joking about making out with *Giles*, standing there looking like you're ready to be fitted for your straightjacket.....Need I go on?"
"I wasn't joking!" Buffy protested. Her eyes welled up with tears. "That's not what I wanted to say!" She cried. Fearing what would come out of her mouth next, she fled, the doors swinging shut behind her.
"Nice game, Will." Xander said sarcastically, breaking the silence they had all been sitting in since Buffy had left them.
"What was *that*" Oz asked in confusion.
"Isn't it obvious?" Cordelia asked loudly "It's her time of month." For this comment she received four glares.
Giles' mind was racing. Had she been mocking him? Teasing him with what she had guessed of his feelings? No, not likely. The bizarre behavior was definitely their main concern, yet his thoughts kept drifting back to the implications fo what she'd said. <You're a fool> he told himself fiercely. Obviously the thought of five minutes of *whatever* upset her to the point of tears. At that discomforting thought, he brought his fist down on the table with a bang. Willow jumped "Oh!" Apparently this thing with Buffy had gotten to him. "Giles" she asked tentatively "Should we go after her?" Oz reached for her hand, sensing her dismay.
I should go." He decided, putting on his jacket and hoping that while he was gone no one would figure out what was going on, as he just had.
Buffy slowed her pace, panting and sniffling simutaneously. <oh, what did I say back there?>
From somewhere deep down came her answer. She had told the truth. Now all that mattered was her humiliation. What must everyone think! And Giles, from now on, he'd probably be so uncomfortable, thinking she was fantasizing about him or something. Ugh! She sat down under a large oak tree, noting that the sun was setting. She fingered a small stake in her pocket, just in case. The hellmouth didn't take the night off because of her personal problems, after all.
She felt a momentary pang as she thought about her predicament. <I love Giles. I want him to be mine> But she brushed it aside. She was good at repressing her feelings, and could repress this, too.
Unexpectedly, her slayer senses tingled. Listening closely, she heard footsteps coming down the sidewalk. She held her breath. Closer. She exhaled in relief, recognizing the stride. It was her watcher. Probably looking for her. Although she was hidden byt he shadows, he slowed, then stopped, sensing her presence. "Buffy?" He questioned.
"I'm here" she reluctantly admitted, and he approached her, taking in her hiding place. "Hello" he said, mainly because it was the only thing that came to his overwhelmed mind.
She looked at her watcher, quickly averting her eyes. He lowered himself to the ground next to her and they sat in silence, Giles watching her as she watched the ground. So beautiful. He wanted to touch her, to take her in his arms like he had the other night, but settled for brushing a piece of hair out of her face, tucking it behind her ear.
"Buffy." She looked up and at him for the first time, biting her lip. "What?"
He cleared his throat.
"What happened back in the library?"
She searched his face for any sign of disgust or anger, but found none. In fact, she had never seen him look so approachable and safe. "Something's wrong, Giles, it's...." Her voice rose almost hysterically, unable to explain. "I don't know!" She buried her face in her hands.
"What you are experiencing is nothing but spell induced honesty." He filled in for her what she did not know. "I realized this after you left."
"Willow's spell." She breathed. "But that means- Oh, I'm so embarassed," she groaned, wondering for the millionth time what he must think. Mustering all of her courage, she looked directly at him and didn't look away. "Giles" she murmured softly. "I am so sorry." He was returning her gaze with an expression she'd never seen before. What are you sorry for?" He asked in a hoarse whisper. Was he leaning towards her? Her heart racing, Buffy desprately tried to keep her mind on the subject.
"Well, for one thing, I basically told everyone that I want to make out with you. Isn't that enough?" She tried to make a joke out of it, but at her words she saw his whole body stiffen, and wanted to kick herself. <great, *scare* him to death>
"I'm sorry." She repeated, beginning to get up in order to leave.
"No!" Giles reached out and pulled her back down so that she was sitting even closer to him than before. The feel of his hands on her arms sent a charge through her body.
"I need to leave" She protested urgently, in a shaky voice that scared him a little. "Giles-I'm afraid of what I might say.......or do." She uttered the last two words so quietly he almost didn't catch them. His heart began thumping wildly in his chest, daring to hope. He pulled her closer, knowing she could leave if she really needed to. For a few seconds they sat observing the other, and Buffy couldn't believe what she saw. Giles' face was flushed and his breathing ragged. The longing in his eyes was clear as he leaned closer. She licked her lips in anticipation, and that was her watcher's undoing. His every intention had been to tenderly taste her lips, but when she felt his mouth cover hers, she gasped at the jolt they both felt. Hearing that reaction, he lost all sense of restraint, and began exploring her mouth with his tongue, eliciting more gasps from his slayer. Buffy ran her hands over his back and into his hair, amazed at the passion of her watcher. She was vaguely aware that he was on top of her, and that the grass underneath was cool and moist on her legs. Giles moved his hips back and forth slowly, and she whimpered at the sensation, as well as the proof that he was aroused as she was. How could he be making her feel this way?
Abruptly, he stopped, and gently traced a finger down her face. "Buffy" he choked out, closing his eyes. When he opened them, she saw the tears in his eyes. Her heart leapt. <he loves me> "I know" she said, her voice husky with emotion. He again lowered his lips to hers, fanning the flame that had earlier been ignited. She felt his hands under her shirt, stroking her bare skin tentatively at first, then more hungrily. His hands were warm and suddenly she wanted more. Needed more. How would the rest of his body feel, bare skin against his own? She pressed against him with her pelvis and, in response he began to move against her, making a sound she recognized as one of deep wanting.
"Giles, I want you to make love to me." She panted, not recognizing the sound of her own voice. At her words, he tore her blouse from her body with a single move. Her eyes widened at his unexpected <exciting> actions, and felt her ache to feel him inside her increase tenfold. Pausing, Rupert looked down at Buffy, thrilled by her glazed expression and the sight of her almost bare body.
"OOOF" Buffy threw her watcher off of her and onto the ground with a crash, as he was totally unprepared for the impact. His head didn't clear until just after the dust drifted to the ground. And there stood his topless slayer, brandishing a stake in her fist, scowling.
"Damn Vamps never let me have any fun!"
The very real danger of the situation struck Giles, and he was immediately ashamed of his actions.
"Buffy, this isn't safe. In addition to that, you're under the influence of a spell. I shouldn't have taken advantage of the situation." He picked up her torn shirt from the grass, cursing himself for such a careless act as he inspected it. "It's not much, but it will have to do." When she didn't move to take it from him, he took it to her. "Put this on" He instructed. She still didn't move. She tilted her face up to meet his questioning gaze. "No." She said quietly, her face reflecting confusion and disappointment. " I want to stay here. I want you to stay with me. I want you to touch me again. I want to touch you. I want you to do that rippy thing with the rest of my clothes." Giles rubbed his face, trying to buy a few seconds to work on his argument.
"No, we have to go. This isn't right, I'm your watcher, and I can't-" "You can't what?!" She bit out angrily "You're my watcher but you want to be my lover! Don't you! Don't deny me this, Giles!" She begged , and he felt his resolve dissolving. He knew that even though she truly felt these things, she would, under normal circumstances "*never* plead with him in this way. Especially what she was asking. While he was struggling with his doubts, she strode towards him purposefully. He shook his head as she approached him, "Buffy" he said firmly. "Although I appreciate your honesty in letting me know wht you want" at this she had to smile, and he did, too. "Our first priority must be reversing this spell. Ever since-" he broke off, taking off his glasses and continuing solemnly. "On the night of your birthday I vowed I would never hurt you again. *If* and when we finally make love for the first time, I want us to both be in complete control of our persons. I can't risk something this important."
Buffy threw herself into his
arms, inhaling the familiar scent of his aftershave. She was so
lucky to have him here with her, her hand over his beating
heart. What if he had obediently left her after he failed
the Council's test? Never. "I love you" she
breathed, loving the way the words sounded. He stroked her
hair as he had wanted to do so many times before, feeling that he
could never get enough of her taste, her voice, the feel of her
arms wrapped around him.
"And I love you."