What If I Said
By Kristen

TITLE: What If I Said
AUTHOR: Kristen Kristen@scoobygang.com
SETTING: Post Season 3
SPOILERS:  Graduation Day Part 2
DISCLAIMER:  All characters are copyright Joss Whedon, et al.  "What If I Said?" belongs to Anita Cochran
AUTHOR'S NOTE:  This is my first B/G piece of fanfiction.  Here's hoping you don't hate it.

Buffy and Giles sat at a table at the Bronze. It was Willow’s 18th Birthday and they had taken her out to celebrate. After dinner, they had headed to the Bronze. Oz and the Dingoes performed a special song in honor of the occasion. She was backstage now thanking them all. Xander was out on the dance floor performing his usual spastic maneuvers, which strangely enough, didn’t seem to bother Anya in the least.

"I’m not sure if that’s a sign of true love or the fact that up until six months ago, she was a demon."

Giles surveyed the dance floor and flashed Buffy a wry grin. "I’d have to say it’s the demon that’s to blame. I doubt that love can be *that* blind."

Buffy laughed in response. She glanced around her at the rest of the Bronze patrons. "Giles, have you ever felt like the entire rest of the world is paired off but you?"

"Only when I’m out in public."

She looked up at him in surprise. "I was referring to myself, not you." She gazed at him for a long moment, considering. "I hadn’t really thought about it before, but I guess we are in the same boat, huh?"

"Yes, and said boat is up the proverbial creek without a paddle."

"Maybe we could form a club. The Society of Lovelorn Losers."

"Hmmm…perhaps our motto could be ‘No heartbreak too great or small.’"

They both stared into their drinks for a long moment before looking up at one another. They burst into laughter at their self-pitying remarks.

"How pathetic was that?"

"Yes, that was rather bad of us."

The music changed to a slow song. Buffy watched with a pang of envy as Willow and Oz came from the backstage entrance and moved to the dance floor. They began softly swaying to the music beside Xander and Anya and half a dozen other couples.

               We've been friends for a long long time
               You tell me your secrets and I'll tell you mine

Captured by the wistfulness on Buffy’s face, Giles impulsively reached out to cover Buffy’s hand with his own.

               She's left you all alone
               And you feel like no one cares

"Would you care to dance?"

               But I have never failed you
               I've always been there

She smiled up at him. "Really?"

               You tell your story
               It sounds a bit like mine

"Perhaps it will take our minds off of our woes."

               It's the same old situation
               It happens every time

She grinned at him as they stood and moved out onto the dance floor. "Wallflowers of the world unite?"

               Can't we see it oh maybe you and me
               Is what's meant to be?

He smiled down at her as he pulled her close. "Yes, something like that."

               Do we disagree?

Giles placed his hand in the small of her back. She stepped into his embrace, placing her hand on his shoulder. Her other hand reached up to grasp his as they began to move to the music.

               What if I told you? What if I said that I love you?

<This is nice. Who knew Giles was such a good dancer?> Buffy sighed softly and snuggled closer to his warmth, resting her cheek on his chest.

               How would you feel? What would you think? What would we do?

Giles smiled softly at the murmur of a sigh and tightened his arms around her. <She fits so perfectly. Her head rests just under my chin.> He thought as he inhaled the scent that was a mixture of shampoo, perfume and pure Buffy.

               Do we dare to cross that line between your heart and mine?

<This feels so different than with Angel.> Buffy struggled with her thoughts, trying to pinpoint the difference. With Angel, there was always an element of drama. <Star crossed lovers and all that.> A feeling of doing something illicit, forbidden. With Giles it just felt… <Right. Being with Giles feels right.>

               Or would I lose a friend or find a love that would never end?

Giles felt Buffy’s hand slide over the top of his shoulder and across the back of his neck. He shuddered slightly as she ran her fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck. <Now where did *that* come from. This is Buffy, man. Get a hold of yourself. She sees you as a surrogate father.>

               What if I said?

Buffy flashed back to that terrible night. Her 18th birthday. How betrayed she felt because of what Giles had done. <In a way, that was more painful than when I lost Angel. Because I depended on Giles. I counted on him a way I never even thought of counting on Angel. That’s why I felt so hurt. That’s the only reason.>

               She doesn't love you oh it's plain to see
               I can read between the lines of what you're telling me

Her grip on Giles’ hand tightened. <Then why did you forgive him so fast? Why did your heart break when Travers fired him? And why were you so relieved when Giles said he wasn’t leaving you?> "I’m not going anywhere." <And he didn’t. He wouldn’t leave me. Not *Giles*.>

               He doesn't hold you the way a woman should be held
               How long can I go on keeping these feelings to myself?

Giles felt Buffy suddenly tense. He frowned in concern, wondering what unhappy memories had resurfaced. <Angel, most likely.> He ignored the pang he felt at that thought. Instead his hand stroked across the small of her back, reassuring and soothing.

               What if I told you? What if I said that I love you?

He wished he could say that he was sorry Angel had left. In actuality, Giles was relieved. While Angel had saved Buffy, indeed saved all of them, on numerous occasions, the number of times Buffy had put herself at risk for Angel ran a very close second. To see Buffy endanger herself, not just physically but emotionally, time and again pained Giles to no end.

               How would you feel? What would you think? What would we do?

<So why did I stay? Why did I allow myself to be put through the emotional wringer right beside her?>

               Do we dare to cross that line between your heart and mine?

But he knew the answer to that question. It was a simple statement, more like a plea, uttered on the darkest night of his life, a year and a half ago. A small, lost voice, so full of fear and loneliness. "You can’t leave me. I can’t do this alone."

               Or would I lose a friend or find a love that would never end?

Buffy forced herself to shake off her melancholy thoughts. <In the now. You’re living in the now. Focus on the present. Dancing with Giles.>

               What if I said?

Buffy began to listen closely to the song as she savored the moment. <I feel…safe. Giles makes me feel so safe and so…loved.> Suddenly, the song’s lyrics penetrated the fog of painful remembrances.

               Oh we've both had our share of loneliness
               So whose to say that we can't have a little happiness

Giles thought the song’s lyrics were particularly appropriate. <Though I think ‘more than our share of loneliness’ would be a more apt turn of phrase.>

               And if I found that in you
               It would make my dreams come true

<Giles.> Buffy thought with sudden perfect clarity. <Giles is the one I depend on. The one who’s always here. Whose approval I seek. Whose support I need. Whose love I…> She pauses for a moment. <I wish for?>

               Or would you walk away

Giles rubbed his cheek against her soft, golden hair. <Buffy. How I sometimes wish things were different. That you would look at me-->

               Hear what I have to say

Buffy pulled back and looks up at Giles in a mixture of wonder and confusion. "Giles? I—"

               What if I told you?

Giles gazed upon her, catching a glint her eyes, he’d never seen before. <Except perhaps in my dreams.> And something akin to hope, flared to life within his heart.

               What if I said that I love you?

She smiled up at him, more certain now, seeing the reflection of her own feelings in his eyes. She reached up on tiptoe, her arms sliding around his neck, pulling him closer.

               How would you feel?

Their lips met, softly teasing, tentatively exploring. As Buffy inhaled, breathing in the scent that was so familiar, so Giles, her stomach did a slow somersault.

               What would you think?

This was the moment he had dreamed of for so long. The moment that he was sure would never come. He deepened the kiss, his pulse quickening at her response. He tightened his grip on her waist, pulling her closer.

What would we do?

After a long moment, he pulled his lips from hers. His heart racing, he slid his mouth across her face, planting tiny kisses across her cheek and forehead.

               Do we dare to cross that line between your heart and mine?

"Giles." She murmured softly.

               I've always wondered from the day we met

"Buffy?" He gazed down questioningly.

               What if I said?

"Yes." She smiled up at him.

               What if I said?

"Yes." He grinned widely as he bent to kiss her once more.

               What if I said?

This time in a kiss filled with wonder and promise. And love.