By Gabriele Schulz
DISTRIBUTION: Everyone who has my general permission. Others please ask first.
SPOILERS: Where the wild thing are
FEEDBACK: Love it. Especially if you like the story ;-)
SUMMARY: Prompted by an observation by Willow, Buffy goes to see Giles and *really* talk to him, with some life-changing results. B/G
DISCLAIMER: The characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Sandollar Productions, Kuzui Enterprises, 20th Century Fox Television, the WB Television Network, and whoever else may have a hold on them. I do not mean to infringe upon any copyrights.
NOTES: Thanks to Lovely Lily and her Lilybonics ;)
"You had a crush on Giles? You never told me about that."
"Yeah, well, it was just a crush. Xander was the one I was in love with and the one I had to talk with you about. Besides, I felt weird about telling you because... well..."
"Giles is... he's yours in a way. Well, at least he was."
Buffy stared at her friend.
"I mean he's *your* Watcher. He came here because of *you* and he stayed here because of *you*. Pretty much all he did was for or about you. That's what I mean when I say he was yours."
"And now he isn't anymore."
"Well... he's still here, only... I don't know. It's just that you used to be so close and now..."
"Now we're not."
"It's not your fault that you don't need him anymore."
Buffy didn't say anything.
Riley embraced his girlfriend and kissed her. When his hand slipped beneath her shirt, she stopped him.
"Riley, I'm not... in the mood today. Maybe we could do something different today."
"Okay. Sure. What do you want to do?"
"Uh. We could... talk."
"Great. What do you wanna talk about?"
"I don't know. Tell me about anything."
"Uh, okay, wait, we are working on this new weapon, that'll b-"
"You could tell me about your home. Iowa. When you were younger and not a commando."
"I don't think there is anything interesting to tell about my youth. But you grew up in LA. I'm sure you must have made some interesting experiences."
"Uh. Actually, not really, unless you count shopping as such."
There was an awkward silence.
"But Giles once told me this story about when he went fishing with a neighbor of his. Do you want to hear it?"
"Sure, go ahead."
Buffy was on her way back to the dorm, when Willow's words came back to her.
'Giles is... he's yours in a way. Well, at least he was.'
'It's not your fault that you don't need him anymore.'
She suddenly turned around and went to Giles'.
"Buffy, hello, is everything all right?"
"Eh. Yes. Can I come in?"
She came in and went straight to the couch, where he joined her.
"What is the matter?"
"Something has to be the matter for me to come doesn't it?"
"It's okay. I know. I was with Riley. We decided to not... to do something different today."
He simply listened, waiting for her to go on.
"We wanted to talk about something, but it seems in the twenty years we lived nothing much happened that isn't job related."
He still didn't speak. If she opened herself up to him these days without prompting, it had to be something important.
"So I told him some of the stories you told me when we were still patrolling together."
"Thank God for your old Watcher."
She looked up at him, but he was smiling and humor was sparkling in his eyes. She smiled at him.
"Is that what you are?"
He was surprised at that question and didn't quite know what to say.
"Willow said you are mine. Were mine."
He couldn't say anything.
"And I bet you still have hundreds of stories that you didn't tell me."
She smiled trying to lighten the mood. Giles answered alike.
"Oh yes. My time with Ethan alone, which I've finely edited out of anything I told you."
"Well, at first you didn't know about that side of me, and even when you found out I wasn't really eager to elaborate on that. I'm not proud of the things I did when I was young. And I also... I have to admit I sometimes tend to still see you as a girl."
"It's easier to see you as children sometimes."
"You are not our father."
"No, I am not, but it fells like it sometimes. And I like to see you as my children. My family. The only one, I'm likely to have."
"Don't say that. You never know. Perhaps Olivia will decide to stay permanently."
"Olivia won't be back."
"Why didn't I know this?"
"Why should you know it?"
She looked at him.
"When did she break up with you?"
"Why do you assume it was her?"
"I... you told me that she wasn't sure about this whole creepy stuff. Wasn't that the reason?"
"She thought about it and was willing to give us a chance. But I told her that it perhaps would be better to leave things as they are."
"We would have had to work very hard on our relationship. Distance is always a problem. You have to love someone very much to handle it and you have to have an option for the future. I cannot leave and I couldn't ask her to leave England. Because quite frankly, that would be to much of a responsibility. I don't think I love her enough for that and for the amount of effort I would have to put in a relationship for us to work. And a relationship has to be based on more than on..."
"And memories. There are only so many moments that you can relive, without creating new ones."
She was silent for a moment.
"You can't leave?"
He was taken aback by that question.
"Do you want me to leave?"
"But you think I could?"
"Willow today said that it's not my fault that I don't need you anymore."
"I... *We* need you, as part of the team, but... You taught me everything I needed to know to become the Slayer I am today. I wouldn't be what I am without you. But I think there's nothing more you can teach me."
He looked at her, his face not betraying any emotion. Buffy went on, not looking at him, instead gazing at no particular point.
"I don't need that guidance anymore. I can make my own decisions. I don't need a teacher or a mentor any longer. That's what you used to be. That's what I needed you for. The support and advice. I don't come to you for it anymore."
"Because you get it elsewhere."
She looked up at him as if to ask 'What do you mean?'.
"Riley?" She laughed shortly. "No. I can advise him, but not the other way round. He's basically a kid. He has a big heart, a big gun and a big... but that is not something he can give me. Nobody does it. But I don't think I need it anymore. I've come to terms with being the Slayer and I think I am a good Slayer. I'm perfect at my job, it's just my personal life that is screwed up."
She smiled bitterly.
"Aren't you happy?"
"Happy? I mostly don't think about. Makes it easier to pretend. It's not that I'm depressed or anything. I mean, I really like Riley. And the sex is great, but today when we decided to do something else there just was nothing. If it weren't for your stories we would have sat there in silence for three hours. I always thought I had those problems because I was the Slayer. Because I couldn't deal with it. And then because my boyfriend was a vampire. And because I couldn't tell anyone about it. But Riley knows and he's okay with it and he's not a vampire and still..."
Tears were beginning to form in her eyes, but she went on.
"Giles, sometimes I wake up next to Riley and think 'What am I doing here?' and then he wakes up and smiles at me and I forgot about it, but there are these moments when I can't help thinking about my life and when I do I don't like what I see. I don't need you anymore, because you helped me to be the perfect Slayer. Now I just need someone to do that for my fucked up life."
The tears finally spilled over, and before they reached her chin he had her in his arms.
"I just want to be a little happy. Why can't things be like they used to be? When things were simple. When you could help me with my problems. When I needed you. When you were mine."
He stroked her hair and back.
"It'll be all right Buffy."
She held him tightly, sobbing into his sweater.
"And I will always be yours."
He held her until she quieted down.
When he had wiped her tears away, she looked at him.
"What shall I do, Giles? And don't tell me I can only decide that for myself. I know that. I just want some advice. In a non-slaying capacity."
She smiled a little and he smiled back before getting serious again.
"Has it ever occured to you that you don't need a man, a boyfriend to be happy?"
She looked at him, but didn't say anything...
Six months later.
"Guess what? I have a date today."
"Yes and I guess it's serious this time."
"Is this the young man you told me about? Bob?"
"Nah. Bob is nice, but... only the best for Buffy."
He smiled, trying to hide his fear and sadness that overcame him at the thought that she might find the right one.
"So who is this mysterious young man?"
"Let's leave it at mysterious... man. I'm not quite sure how things will work out, but I'll keep you posted."
"All right. Feel up to some training?"
Buffy checked herself in the mirror for the hundredth time. She was a mixture between nervous and eerily calm. She had waited for this day for three months.
After breaking up with Riley she had deliberately refused any date for a month. She had spent more time with her friends, and mostly Giles. They had grown close again, becoming friends in a way they hadn't before. Added to the Slaying and the life-changing personal things, she now shared little personal things with him that were formerly reserved for Willow.
She enjoyed being with her friends, especially Giles, and surprisingly she enjoyed not being with someone.
After that first month, she decided to go out if someone *really* seemed worth checking out. It had been half a month before she met someone interesting. They didn't end up together, but still kept in touch and went out once in a while. Others followed, but only few and usually there wasn't a second date.
Then, one day when she had cheerily told Willow about the disaster of a date, her friend had asked why she was so unconcerned.
"I don't need a man to be happy. I can live without sex. I did so for over a year with Angel. And for the rest I have Giles."
Later that night she thought a little more about that. *Really* thought about it. She examined her feelings for Giles in a way that she would never have three months ago, when most of her personal feelings were subject to denial.
And she came to the conclusion that she really had everything she wanted of a boyfriend in Giles. Except the sex. And then she realized that no boyfriend could ever give her what Giles gave her, so the easiest (if not the only) way to get the boyfriend she deserved was to go all the way with Giles.
She was long beyond her childish and confused "Ewwww" to anything that had to do with Giles' sexuality. She wouldn't mind having sex with Giles and it wasn't even a shock.
But she didn't want to rush things. There was no need and she wanted to be sure. So she had waited three more months. Testing her feelings. Going out with other guys, and watching her own reaction to Giles.
Now finally was the point of making a move.
She looked at the mirror one last time.
A simple black dress, mature, sexy, but not slutty. She looked grown-up and beautiful. And ready to conquer the man she loved.
"Buffy, has something happened?"
"Only my date hopefully."
"You'll wait for him here?"
"Actually he is already here." She produced a bottle of wine from her back. "I brought this and checked your cupboards earlier. Care for some Pasta?"
She brushed past him and he was unable to move for a long moment.
When he joined her in the kitchen, she was already busy preparing food. He watched her for a second, then helped without asking any questions.
They had a good time cooking and eating, talking about this and that as they used to these days. Giles had changed into a white shirt and black jacket, putting on no tie, though.
When she carried the plates into the kitchen he followed her.
"You don't have to do the dishes."
"Actually I wasn't planning to."
She grinned at him.
They went out again, and after a short silence she took his hand and dragged him to the sofa. She did that when she wanted to talk with him.
The whole evening they had avoided to talk about it being a 'date', although Giles had a hard time not thinking about it and Buffy's earlier admission that this might be serious.
Now they sat next to each other on the sofa, as they had so often the past months.
They looked at each other for a long moment before Buffy finally spoke.
She was smiling and not afraid at all.
She now knew that she could live happily without a man and she also knew that even if he refused her it wouldn't change anything between them and that she would just have to move on.
"I love you."
He looked at her, not clearly showing a reaction. Then he took her hand.
"I love you, too."
Buffy released the breath she didn't realize she had been holding. Then she smiled.
They sat like that for a long moment, before leaning towards each other.
They went slowly, their lips just touching at first before it became a real kiss. This kiss, however, soon deepened and after another short while Buffy's tongue found its way into Giles' mouth.
When they stopped they were both slightly breathless.
She leaned on his shoulder. They were still holding each other.
Then she looked up at him.
"I'm yours, too."
They looked at each other for a moment before kissing again...