When You’re Gone
By Selenay

Title: When You’re Gone
Author: Selenay
E-mail: selenay@talk21.com
Summary: Giles gets a surprise package. Cryptic enough?
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. All the Buffy stuff belongs to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy et al (but I can dream) and the song belongs to that nice Mr Bryan Adams and everyone associated with him. I promise to put them all back the way I found them.
Spoilers: Prom, A New Man, season four stuff.
Notes: This is my first song-fic, so be nice. It’s what happens when I have to stay away from my ‘puter for any length of time and wind up listening to music.
Feedback: Pretty please with sugar on top?


Giles walked though the door and shut it behind him with a relieved sigh. Dropping his bag on the floor he sat down in a comfortable chair and closed his eyes for a moment. It had been a long flight and the trip had been more stressful than he had thought it would be. He chuckled to himself, marvelling that Sunnydale, a place he had initially been reluctant to come to, now felt more like home than England. That had been one of the purposes of the trip; to sell his flat in London, talk to Olivia and cut his remaining ties to the homeland. It had been difficult, but at the same time he had felt an amazing release as he signed the flat over to its new owner.

It was not really that Sunnydale had changed but more that he had changed. Ever since a certain blonde Slayer had walked into his library, with her defiant attitude and beautiful eyes, his home had become wherever she was. He had loved her immediately and vowed to protect her with his last breath. Falling in love with her had taken longer and he had not been aware of it until she walked through the door at the Prom, looking grown up and happy, but lost. Suddenly it seemed as though everything made sense; his fierce protection of her, how easy it had been to choose her over Jenny and his urge to cheer when she told him Angel was leaving. When he saw her standing alone with her award, surveying her happy friends, what he had said to Wesley rang through his head. As he walked up to her and gathered up his courage to ask her to dance, it couldn’t hurt just this once he told himself, he saw *him* and knew he would not do it. His Slayer belonged to the vampire and they needed this last time together before he left.

Now she belonged to someone else, or as good as, and Giles knew he would never interfere in that. It had been the vampire he hated, not his Slayer loving someone else, and if Riley made her happy then he could not object. She had little enough happiness in her life and Giles was certain that of all people he would never be the one to give her happiness. The Initiative made him uneasy, even without Ethan’s dire warnings, but she had been happier lately than he had seen her for months. He knew her well enough to see that she had not committed as much of herself as she had to *him*, but he still worried about what would happen to her if Riley was not being as honest with her as she thought he was.

He did not know how she was not. After the debacle with Ethan he had needed to get away from town for a few days. It was not just that he was embarrassed by what happened, what he had been, although he could not help cringing when he thought of it. It was not even that Buffy had forgotten to tell him about Riley and the Initiative, although that did sting. He had needed to get away because for one brief moment he had allowed himself as he never had before. When she said it was his eyes she recognised, he though he saw something in her face, in her eyes, that made his heart stand still. In the next moment, however, his hope was squashed. But he was sure that she had meant to say something else in that moment and changed her mind.

Shaking his head at his foolishness he rose and went into the kitchen to make some tea, grabbing the post from the desk on the way. Evidently someone had been in this morning to sort his post and air the apartment a little before he returned and he briefly wondered who would have thought to.

As the kettle boiled he sorted through, discarding all the boring ones for later, until he was left with a small package. It had no return address, no stamp and was addressed simply to ‘Giles’ so it had been hand-delivered. Intrigued he opened it and was puzzled to find a cassette tape inside. Even more puzzling was the note that said ‘Heard this and thought of you, Buffy’.

***

As the opening strains of the song drifted out of the apartment Buffy breathed a sigh of relief. She had been hiding under the stairwell outside Giles’ apartment all day. Until he arrived she had begun to worry that he may not be coming back. After all, he had left for England so suddenly, and so soon after the revelations about Riley, that she had been worried.

"I’ve been wondering around the house all night,

Wondering what the hell to do."

That much was very true. For the week since Giles left Buffy had been wandering around Sunnydale, trying to work out why she suddenly felt so empty. When she was not doing that she was thinking about what happened in Ethan’s hotel room, asking herself why she had said what she did. She had recognised Giles’ eyes not because he was annoyed but because she did not think anyone else had eyes as beautiful as his. But she could not tell him that so she had broken her newly made promise to herself not to lie to him, and had lied.

"I’m trying to concentrate but all I can think of is you."

She was not sure why that was true, but it was. Until Riley came to see her a couple of days later she had not even thought of him. Buffy smiled as she thought of him. He was more observant that she had given him credit for. Riley had come to her and asked if she wanted some space because she seemed to have some issues regarding Giles. Instead of protesting and telling him she wanted him, Buffy had found herself agreeing and actually feeling relieved it had been he who suggested it.

"Well the phone don’t ring cuz my friends ain’t home,

I’m tired of being all alone,

Got the TV on cuz the radio’s playing songs that remind me of you."

Buffy had surprised herself by doing some soul-searching and finding some unexpected answers. She knew she had need pushing Giles away and it had nothing to do with the fact that he was no longer her Watcher or Olivia. It did not even have anything to do with Riley because that was just a symptom of what was wrong. It was because her feelings for Giles were so strong and that frightened her. So she had pushed him away and pursued Riley because he was safe. She had not given him her heart so he could not hurt her. Giles, on the other hand, had her heart she could no longer deny it.

"Baby when you’re gone – I realise I’m in love."

That was why she felt so empty when Giles was not around. She was in love, but it was not with Riley and he had known it. When she went to see him yesterday he had taken one look at her face and known. Instead of anger he had understood. It had only been because of his encouragement and his reassurance that Giles felt the same way that she was now standing outside his door, listening to him listen to her confession.

"The days go on and on – and the nights just seem so long.

Even food don’t taste that good – drink ain’t doing what it should,

Things just feel so wrong – baby when you’re gone."

Giles was not sure he was hearing properly. She could not mean what this song was saying. It had to be a cruel joke, probably Ethan’s revenge.

"I keep driving up and down these streets,

Trying to find somewhere to go.

Ya I’m lookin’ for a familiar face but there’s no one I know.

This is torture – this is pain – it feels like I’m gonna go insane.

Hope you’re coming back real soon – cuz I don’t know what to do."

 

The doorbell rang and for a long moment Giles was afraid. Either someone would be out there to say it was a huge joke, or *she* would be out there. He was not sure which prospect terrified him more.

Buffy was there, biting her lip and looking up at him: half-afraid, half-hopeful. That was when he knew it was not a joke.

"Are you sure?" he asked.

Buffy silently mouthed the words of the chorus as it played.

"Baby when you’re gone – I realise I’m in love

The days go on and on – and the nights just seem so long

Even food don’t taste that good – drink ain’t doing what it should

Things just feel so wrong – baby when you’re gone."

Giles leaned down to place a gentle kiss on her lips and drew her inside.

END