A Winter's Night
By Ness

DISCLAIMER: Joss is god of all things in the Buffy universe.  May I bow before his greatness. The song is "Winter's Night" by Sarah McLachlan.
AUTHOR: Ness
RATING: PG
SPOILERS: After the Ascension but there isn't much mention of specific events so ya should be safe.
FEEDBACK: Oh definitely, I crave it! This is my first Buffy/Giles fic so I what to know what ya think!

DEDICATION: For Ashley(What if their lying in wait.) and Nora(Apples and Bananas!!!). Without you guys who would I ramble to about the workings of the Buffy world (skanky ho's and sexy brits!!) Lunch will never be the same.


The lamp is burnin' low upon my table top
The snow is softly fallin'
The air is still within the silence of my room
I hear your voice softly callin'
If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you

Rupert Giles turned over in bed again before finally giving up.  He wasn't getting any sleep now.  He stood up, pulled on his robe, and went downstairs to make some tea.

He thought about the events of the past few days.  Some time ago, after Jenny died,  he had written letters to the people in his life that he cared about.  In case the inevitable ever did happen, he wanted the gang to know what they meant to him.  Something he hadn't been able to do for Jenny.   A few days ago, while unpacking the books from the library.  Buffy had found the letters and insisted upon reading hers.  He hadn't talked to her since then. 

He didn't know why she was avoiding him.  Buffy was a perceptive girl, but there was know way that the letter would have clued her into his feelings for her.

Giles was in love with her.  He had been for some time.   But the letter he wrote did not give away those feelings.  He had made sure of that. 

As he looked out the window he realized it was snowing again.  Sunnydale's weather had been strange since the Ascension.  There had been hail storms, and incredibly hot days.  Now, a snow storm.  He thoughts traveled to Buffy.  He hoped that she was okay on patrol.

The smoke is rising in the shadows overhead
My glass is almost empty
I read again between the lines upon each page
The words of love you sent me
If I could know within my heart
That you were lonely too
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you

Buffy glanced around the crowded atmosphere of the Bronze one last time before gathering herself up and leaving.  As she made her way to the graveyard, she thought about the last few days and of course, the letter.

She didn't know how she knew but Giles was in love with her and somehow the letter was proof.  She even gave it to Willow to read.  Willow said that all she could see was that Giles respected and appreciated Buffy.  But Buffy saw more.  She settled herself by a gravestone and pulled the letter out of her pocket to read it once again.

Dear Buffy,

I suppose if  you are reading this that I am gone.  The purpose of this letter is to thank you for everything.  You saved me. Not only my life, but my soul.  You taught me to appreciate life because it is short.  In part, the letters I have written are because of you.  I need the people in my life to know what they mean to me, because they can be gone before you know it.

I watched you grow from a frightened young girl to a mature young woman.  Through all our mistakes, yours and mine, you have reminded me of the power of friendship, something I thought I had lost a long time ago.  Thank you again for your love and support.

Love Always,
Giles

Those simple words.  No declarations of love, admissions of long repressed feelings.  Buffy could not figure out why this letter convinced her of Giles' feelings.

She didn't know what scared her more.  That Giles could feel this way about her, or that she could feel the same. 

Was she crazy?  How could she be falling for Giles? The rational part of her mind was telling her that he was much too old for her, and she wasn't even sure of his feelings.  But another part of her mind was reminding her of what a huge part of her life he was.  She had avoided him the past few days, and she had to admit, it had been hell.  Not being able to laugh with him, or argue with him was killing her.

She thought about Angel.  It had been a few months since he had left.  While she missed him, he was not causing her pain.  She knew that it was a good thing that he did leave.  She came to a realization, she was not longing to be near him right now.  She was longing to be with Giles.

The fire is dying now, my lamp is growing dim
The shades of night are liftin'
The mornin' light steals across my windowpane
Where webs of snow are driftin'
If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you
And to be once again with you

AS the snow fell softly around her, she could see the first signs of morning creeping in.  What was she going to do?

****

There was a knock on the door which shook Giles out of his daze.  It was five thirty in the morning. Who would be here at this hour?  He opened the door to have Buffy push past him and walk into the living room.  Confused, Giles could only stare at her. She was wearing a black tank top, which had a small rip along the bottom, and a pair of very worn jeans.  Giles couldn't help but think that she looked beautiful her disheveled appearance.  Finally he found his voice. "Buffy, what are-"

"Giles, will you dance with me?" she interrupted.

Giles looked at her with a confused expression on his face.  Why was she asking him to do this.  But he pause only a moment before he replied, "Of course."

He took her carefully into his arms and they began to slowly sway to a silent beat. Buffy laid her head down on his chest and closed her eyes. She enjoyed the feeling of his arms around her.  Images of the past three years flashed before her and answered the question she had been asking herself all night.  She loved him, she needed him in her life. Without lifting her head she whispered quietly,

"Do you love me?"

Giles had never felt so many emotions at one time. Surprise, fear, hope, and love. How could she know?  Should he answer her question truthfully?  He knew that his response had the power to forever change their lives. He could lie to her.  He had never been able to before for any significant amount of time, but to spare her feelings, he felt that he could now.  But the feel of her in his arms, he didn't know how he would ever be able to let that go.  His decision was made long before his mental debate ended.  He took a deep breath before replying shakily, "with all my heart."

 He felt Buffy tighten her grip around Giles before whispering softly, "I love you, too."

He could scarcely believe his ears.  Had she actually just said that?  He push her away slightly so that he could see her face.  She smiled up at him.  He lost all logical train of thought as he looked into her face.  He leaned down and softly kissed her.  The kissed lingered for a few moment before they both pulled away and continued to dance.

END