The Written Word
By Janine Ose

Title:  The Written Word
Author:  Janine Ose
Rating:  PG (just to be on the safe side)
Spoilers:  None
Distribution:  B/G Shippers and Watching You, Watching Me (everyone else please ask first)
Disclaimer:  All characters belong to Joss Whedon, 20th Century Fox, WB and Mutant Enemy. 
Summary:  Giles finds something he's not meant to see and it opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
Feedback:  Please, just no flames.  My muse is deathly afraid of fire.

    Giles frowned when he spotted the pieces of paper lying on the floor half hidden by the sofa.  Shaking his head, he reached down and picked them up.  Glancing at them, he realized that it was Buffy's handwriting.  Wanting to make sure she hadn't forgotten a homework assignment, he sat down and began to read.

        I watch as the world marches by,
        Marching to my own drummer,
        To a beat that only I can hear inside me.

        To others I am weird, peculiar maybe,
        But I am really just a girl,
        Looking, searching for a boy.

        Searching for someone to understand,
        To see what's inside me,
        My hopes, my dreams, my fears.

        My dreams of the future,
        My hopes of a better life,
        My fears of not seeing them come true.
        The beat of my drum takes me down a path,
        A twisted, turning path, not of my choosing,
        But of fate, my fate.

        A path of my heart,
        Beating steadily as I go,
        Watching, waiting for someone to walk with me.

    Giles sat, amazed at the depth of emotion and pain that filled the page before him. He set the paper aside and looked over the next one, smiling when he caught sight of the various doodles that adorned the margins.  Little hearts and flowers, typical teenage fare, especially if it happened to be a teenaged girl mooning over some boy.  Chuckling, he read this one as well.

        Love, a simple four-letter word.
        A word that can hurt,
        A word that can heal.
        No other word says so much,
        Or so little.

        Love is a pair of gentle hands,
        Reaching for me in the night.
        Love is a pair of green eyes,
        Sparkling with laughter.

        Love is a smile,
        Shy, yet true.
        Love is a heart,
        Beating steadily with mine.

        Love is a look,
        A word,
        A touch,
        A voice.

        A voice that is soft,
        Like a whisper on the wind,
        A voice that is harsh,
        Deep with anger and pain.

        It is a song that my heart sings,
        Whenever he is near.
        A tremor in my body,
        Aching for his touch.

        It is the light in his soul,
        The light that guides my way.
        Leading me home,
        On a dark and lonely night.

        It is the joy that he brings,
        Just by being near.
        It is the comfort I feel,
        Knowing he is my friend.

        Love is pain, anger and sorrow.
        It is joy, happiness and contentment.
        It is life, and it is death.
        But most of all, it is light.

    Giles was stunned by what he had just read.  He read it again, then a third time before leaning back against the sofa cushions.  "Bloody hell, she wrote about me," he whispered in wonder as the words swam before his eyes.  She loved him.  His beautiful, beloved Slayer was in love with him, a man old enough to be her father.  Sucking in a ragged breath, he dragged his fingers through his hair.  His heart sang with joy but at the same time a prickle of fear ran up his spine.  What if he was wrong?  What if the words weren't meant for him but for someone else?  His hands were shaking as he reached over and picked up the phone.  He punched in a series of numbers by rote, not quite knowing what would happen next.  The phone rang on the other end and he was just about to set it down when a breathless voice answered.  "Hello?"  His eyes were riveted on the paper in his lap and his fingers ran over it reverently. 
    "Hello, is anyone there?"  Giles started slightly.  "Willow, it's, um, it's Giles.  I, ah, could you come by the flat?  I need to talk to you."  "Are you okay Giles, you sound kinda funny?" she asked in concern.  He swallowed past the lump in his throat.  "Ah, yes, I'm fine.  I need your advice on something.  It's rather important."  He could hear her breathing on the other end as she thought a minute.  "Uh sure.  But, is it okay if Oz comes?  He's picking me up in ten."  Giles nodded.  "Yes, it's quite alright.  I'll see you in a bit then?"  "Okay.  Bye Giles."  He hung up the phone, not bothering to reply.  If anyone could help him it would be Willow and her deceptively insightful boyfriend. 
    When Willow and Oz let themselves into the apartment thirty minutes later they were shocked to find Giles sitting on the sofa staring into space.  His fingers played idly with the papers on his lap and his eyes had a far away look in them.  Glancing worriedly at Oz, Willow moved into the living room.  "Giles?" she said softly.  Getting no response she reached out and tentatively shook his shoulder, jumping back slightly when he abruptly snapped out of his reverie.  Oz frowned as he walked up behind his girlfriend.  "Giles?  You sure you're okay?"  "What?  Oh, Willow, Oz, yes, I-I'm fine," he replied distractedly.  Shaking his head slightly, Oz took a seat across from the older man, tugging Willow down to sit on his lap.  "I could be way wrong here but right now you sure don't look too fine," he told him calmly.
    Giles' face reddened and he swallowed nervously.  "I, I need your help," he confessed.  He looked at papers on his lap and sighed.  Picking them up he handed them to Willow.  "I found these, while I was cleaning earlier.  They, Buffy wrote them.  About me," he finished softly.  "At least I think they're about me," he added wryly. 
    Willow didn't even need to look at the papers to know what they were.  After all, it had been she that made sure he would find them.  Laying them on the coffee table she glanced at her boyfriend.  Oz knew what she had done, agreed with it actually.  Smiling slightly he nodded, encouraging her to explain.  Taking a deep breath, she carefully considered her next words.  "You're right, Buffy wrote them about you," she exhaled noisily.  "I, um, I kinda left them here for you to find," she admitted. 
    "What the bloody hell would you do that for?" he exclaimed, not knowing whether to be angry or grateful that she had done it.  She flushed but set her chin determinedly.  "Cause she would never tell you herself, just like you would never tell her either," she replied as if it was the most logical and simple thing in the world.  "We talked it over, all of us, and decided that you should be the one to make the first move.  She would be way too embarrassed.  So I left these where I knew you'd find them.  We knew you'd know they were about you so now that you know all you have to do is tell her you love her and problem solved." 
    Giles sank back against the cushions, his mind racing, not able to focus on anything other than the fact that Buffy returned the feelings he had kept hidden so long.  Oz smiled slightly.  "I don't think he's gotten past the she loves him part yet baby," he told Willow in amusement.  She giggled at the look on Giles' face.  "He's got that funny faraway look in his eye, kinda like the one she gets when she's thinking about him."  "Very funny," Giles said dryly.  "And as much as I appreciate what you've done have any of you given any thought as to how I'm going to explain these?" he asked, pointing at the papers on the table.  Willow grabbed them and stuffed them in her bag.  "You don't.  I'll just put them back while she's on patrol tonight.  She'll never know they were gone." 
    He started to reply but was stopped by the sound of the door banging open.  "Giles!  Have you seen, Willow!" Buffy yelled angrily.  Giles arched a brow at the redhead.  "You were saying?" he asked.  "Uh, Buffy, I can explain," Willow started, flinching when her friend stalked over and held out her hand.  "No explaining.  You had no right to take them.  Give," she demanded.  Her shoulders slumped as she dug the papers from her bag and handed them over.  "It was a good plan," she muttered defensively when Oz bit back a grin.  "I just didn't factor in all the variables, that's all."  She turned and glared at Giles.  "And if you had cleaned yesterday like you were supposed to this never would have happened."
    Buffy blanched, the hand that held the poems starting to shake.  "You gave them to Giles?" she whimpered.  "Oh God Wills, how could you?"  Giles took pity on the forlorn redhead and her boyfriend.  "Willow, why don't you and Oz go on home.  I think Buffy and I need to talk," he said firmly, never taking his eyes off his diminutive Slayer.  Hanging her head, Willow nodded and got to her feet.  "Buffy I just, we," she started, stopping when Buffy held up her hand.  "Not now.  I know you think you were helping but, just not now, okay?" she whispered.  With a heartfelt sigh, Willow followed Oz from the apartment, quietly shutting the door behind her.
    Buffy clenched the poems tightly in her fist, refusing to meet his gaze.  "Buffy come here, please," he asked in a low voice.  Mutely she moved over to the sofa and sat, making sure there was plenty of distance between the two of them.  Giles took off his glasses and set them on the coffee table, pinching the bridge of his nose as he struggled with what to say.  The sound of paper crumpling startled him and his hand shot out to stop her from destroying the poems.  "Buffy, no.  They're beautiful," he told her as he gently extricated them from her grasp, smoothing them out as best he could before laying them safely aside.  Buffy hung her head in her hands, soft sobs shaking her body.  "I'm sorry, I didn't, you weren't supposed to see.  I know it's silly but I can't help it, please don't hate me," she sobbed. 
    He slid across the sofa, wrapping his arms around her and hugging her tightly.  "I don't hate you luv, I never could.  Those are the most beautiful, wonderful words I have ever read.  And they're made even moreso because they come from the heart of the most beautiful, caring, gentle, kind, brave woman I know, the woman I love," he said softly.  She tensed at his words.  "Y-you what?"  A shy smile curved his lips when he tilted her head up to look into her eyes.  "I love you.  I just never said anything because I was sure you didn't feel the same about me," he admitted. 
    Buffy sniffed, wiping her eyes on the back of her hand.  "You really love me?  You aren't just saying that so I won't be, mmph," her words were cut off abruptly as his lips descended upon hers.  Gently but firmly he coaxed a response from her, nudging his tongue between her lips to taste her.  Her hands curled around his shirt, gripping it tightly as she responded to the kiss, tentatively at first but with more confidence as she heard him moan quietly.  When they finally came up for air she had a dazed expression on her face.  "Do you still think I'm just trying not to hurt your feelings?" he asked, his brow arching in amusement.  She blinked owlishly at him.  "More?" she asked hopefully.
    Chuckling he kissed her again, drawing her onto his lap and threading his fingers in her hair to hold her steady.  "Are you still mad at Willow?" he asked when they drew apart.  "Mad, who's mad?  Not me, nope, no mad here," she replied breathlessly.  "Then perhaps you should call and let her know," he suggested.  She pressed closer to him, drawing his head down to hers yet again.  "Tomorrow, we will definitely call her tomorrow," he decided when her lips trailed over his cheek down the side of his neck.