TITLE: Hey Dad

AUTHOR: Erin Giles

RATING: G

SPOILER WARNING: None

DISCLAIMER: I do not own anything Buffy related except the plot of this story. That is the pleasure of Mr. Whedon. Neither do I own the song clips. They belong to Good Charlotte.

DISTRIBUTION: Fanfiction.net

SUMMARY: We don't really know much about Giles past. But what if he left a whole other life behind him in England?

NOTES: Inspired by the Song "Emotionless" by Good Charlotte.

FEEDBACK: Always welcome! Even constructive flames! Leave a review or email me at akilahdoyle@hotmail.com

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"Hello?" Buffy called into the empty apartment,

"Giles?" There was no reply for a moment, until a voice came from some distance off,

"Buffy?" Buffy jumped as if she had been caught in the act of doing something wrong, as she had been looking down at the papers on his desk,

"Giles? You ok?"

"Yes thank you. I'm in the shower. I'll be, uh, I'll be out in a minute." Buffy smiled to herself slightly, before muttering under her breath,

"Alright for some people. They can lie in while other's waste away their morning's with college." Her gaze was drawn back to the bits of paper on the desk again. She knew it wasn't her place to pry into his life but her curiosity was getting the better of her today. She picked up the first piece of paper that came to hand and dropped it again suddenly, as if some unseen force had burnt her. She read the first two words again, as if somehow her eyes were betraying her,

"Dear Dad," she read out loud. The words seemed real enough. But maybe Giles had just got the wrong post this morning and this letter was intended for Mr. Cage across the courtyard, or maybe the couple who lived down at the bottom of the complex. But as she caught sight of Giles address at the top of the letter and the date beneath, from nearly a month ago, she found herself reading on.

'Dear Dad,

You're a difficult man to find you know. I thought we would have given up by now, and sometimes I wonder why we even bothered in the first place. But Charlotte was determined and so was Will. Mum doesn't even know and I don't want to give her false hope, she's had enough of that from you already.

Shouldn't really be me who's writing this then should it? But I don't want to tell you that I hate you for leaving because I know you already know that. I hope you're happy out there with your new family! Don't be shocked now. Mother told us, she said we had a right to know why our father left us for someone who he now values as a daughter instead of his own children.

Do you even think about us? About me? About William? About little Charlotte? It was her birthday last week and do you know what she told me she wished for when she blew out the candles on her birthday cake? She said she wished that daddy would come back. She's clinging to that hope that you will, but I know better. I don't know how you can sleep at night though.

Things have been so hard since you left. Mum never seems to stop crying. She used to cry every time you got off the phone to her. Then it got worse when one day you just stopped calling. We never thought to trace your calls, and when we tried we couldn't. Mum asked Mr. Travers where you were but he wouldn't tell us. So we started looking, to help mum, to make Charlotte's wish come true, and because somewhere underneath all that hatred I miss you.

I remember when you used to help with those model planes we used to build. They're all gone now. You know why? 'Cause I destroyed them. I couldn't bear to look at them, because YOU had helped me build them.

You were my hero you know? I wanted to grow up to be just like you, and in a way I did. All that hatred, and anger and tattoos? You think we didn't know about Ripper, thought you could shelter us from him, but by doing that you made your own son into the part of yourself you tried to forget, tried to hide. But now I'm here for the entire world to see! All that seventies crap is back in now, and God I can't believe how you left this! Maybe if you hadn't you wouldn't have had kids and messed up their lives. It's not ok that you did that, but I'm all right.

We survived. Even without you we survived. So I just thought I'd let you know that sometimes I forgive you, and I miss you.

We all miss you.'

Buffy felt tears welling in her eyes as she read the letter, before she found three names at the bottom. The name Matthew was signed with the same writing the letter had been written in. A younger hand had written the name Will, and scrawled with a five year olds hand was the name Charlotte in wobbly letters, that wasn't spelt quite right, even though letter's had been scored out and written again. She dropped the letter as she heard a voice behind her,

"Buffy?" Giles stood before her a towel in his hand that he had been rubbing his head with, but now fully dressed. He caught sight of her bloodshot eyes that she was trying so desperately to hide,

"Buffy? What is it? What's the matter?" he asked, dropping the towel on the back of the sofa and going to his Slayer. She brushed him aside,

"How could you?" she asked, her voice wavering as she spoke. He looked at her confused,

"How could I what?" she turned to pick up the letter she had just read, thrusting it at him,

"How could you Giles?" Giles, stared at the letter dumbly for a moment,

"Buffy that's really none of your business." He said taking the letter from her and gathering up the others in the pile, a trace of anger in his voice. He started to shove them in the draw as a gold ring fell un-noticed from the bundle of papers,

"You really have no right Buffy to read other people's mail." He said closing the draw as Buffy bent down and retrieved the ring. She brought herself back up to her full height, looking at the ring in the palm of her hand, before reading the inscription on the inside, Giles not making any move to stop her,

'For My Dearest Rupert, 21st May 1978.'

She looked up at him, confused, annoyed and mournful all at the same time. She could see the sadness in his eyes now, not the anger he had shown only moments ago,

"You were married?" she asked, not really believing it for herself, that she had to hear it from the horses' mouth. He nodded dumbly for a moment at her, before turning away, no longer able to look at her,

"I was. For almost eighteen years. To a lovely young woman named Helen Stalling." He knew that once he answered her questions they wouldn't stop coming, but he could hardly deny the truth to her after what she had read,

"And you've got kids?"

"Three. The eldest is sixteen, named Matthew. There's William who's eleven, and the youngest, Charlotte, just turned five. But then I presume you already know that from what you've read." It was Buffy's turn to nod dumbly now, still staring at the ring,

"Why didn't you tell us?" She asked as her eyes met his green ones that seemed to harden,

"You never asked." He said taking the ring from her hand, flinging that in the draw with the rest of his memories before locking it,

"Now what was it you came to see me about?" he asked leaning against the desk, folding his arms in a relaxed, Giles-like stance that disturbed Buffy. It was just like he was brushing everything under the carpet. She shook her head, momentarily distracted,

"I don't- I can't remember." She said before looking back up at him again,

"Why?"

"Why what?" She almost laughed then, not really believing that Giles was doing this,

"Why did you leave them?" He looked at her, surprised at the question,

"I thought Matthew made that perfectly clear?" It was Buffy's turn to look confused now.

"You were the reason I left them."

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Willow hurried down Main Street as fast as her legs would take her, her long skirt restricting her movements as she tried to reach the campus. She was late for her first class of the day, but she had needed to visit the Magick shop this morning to get ingredients for a spell Buffy had asked her to do. She had a brown bag cradled in her right arm, her book bag over her shoulder and another book in her left hand. She was piled so high she could hardly see where she was going, or the teenager she was about to run in to. The bag tumbled from her hands with the ingredients splaying everywhere as she fell after them, dropping the book as she tried to catch herself. She landed on the pavement with a dull thud, but she was thankful not to hear any cracking of bones,

"Sorry." She mumbled to the guy standing over her as she started to gather the ingredients back into the bag. The man stooped down beside her, helping her to put her stuff back in the bag, handing the brown bag to her as she rose to her feet,

"Thanks." She said as he picked up the large book as well, reading the spine,

"Transmography." He read, his English accent coming through. He smiled handing the book to her,

"Interesting subject. Never quite understood it myself though." Willow smiled bashfully, clutching the book to her side with the bag,

"Thanks again." Willow said moving round the man, that somehow seemed familiar,

"Actually I was wondering if you could help me?" Willow stopped in her tracks turning, gazing expectantly at the young man. He looked about the age of twenty,

"I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of Oak Street." Willow, nodded for once actually quite pleased that she could point someone in the right direction. She had lived in this town since she was a child, but she still didn't know where all the streets were. The only reason she knew where Oak Street was because Giles lived on it. She gave him directions before thanking him again for helping her before hurrying off towards the campus. Professor Bailiff was not going to be best pleased with her.

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"Giles I can't believe you blame the end of your marriage on me." Giles sighed frustrated. They seemed to have been going round in circles for the past ten minutes,

"Buffy I don't blame it on you. I'm just saying it ended because of you, because I didn't want to involve them, and I didn't want them hurt. I love them, really I do, and I most certainly don't want them dead." Buffy frowned. She was having trouble taking everything in. Giles had another life, that she could just about cope with, but the fact Giles other life had consisted of being married and having three children, well that she was having a bit more trouble with that,

"Then why did you leave? Why didn't you tell the council just to stick their job where the sun don't shine?" Giles frowned, contemplating the question for a moment, not really sure of the answer himself,

"Because my first duty was the council, and I owed my father the son he had always wanted."

"Giles that's crap and you know it." Buffy shot back, but she was right. She shook her head,

"Sorry. It's just - its kind of mind boggling." She shrugged,

"So why were all the letter's and things out?" she said, perching on the edge of the couch as he continued to pace up and down the room,

"I received a phone call to say Matthew has gone missing."

"From Helen?" Giles shook his head, before looking at her, and she could see the tears brimming in his eyes,

"From Charlotte." He sniffed, trying to hold back the tears,

"She came on the phone and she said, 'Hello, is that daddy?'" he smiled to himself as he sunk into the lazy-boy, staring at his hands,

"Then she became a rush of words, saying that she missed me, and she wished that she could kiss me goodnight instead of her teddy. She said that I sounded nothing like she imagined, before finally saying that she decided she ought to let me know that Matthew went away and hasn't come back yet. She said that she tried to tell Mummy but she wasn't interested, and she said Will was away at boarding school." He finally looked up at Buffy, tears in his eyes that threatened to fall.

Buffy watched him, hurting with him. She knew what it was like to lose her father, one who was more interested in his new life than his children, and for that she hated him for leaving his children and wife. But she also wondered where she would be if he hadn't come. She would no doubt already be dead, and now she just couldn't imagine life without him. He was her safety net, and as much as it hurt her to say so, she did,

"You shouldn't have left them Giles." He watched her for a moment, opening his mouth as if he was about to say something, something that Buffy didn't want to hear. She knew he was going to suggest going back to England, but someone knocking at the door interrupted him. He sat staring at it for a moment before a second knock came,

"Giles? You gonna get that?" Buffy asked, standing from her seat on the couch, but Giles was already on his feet moving towards the door. He pulled it back to reveal a teenager who looked far beyond his years. Giles stared dumbly for a moment as if he had lost his voice, before he found it quite suddenly,

"Matthew -" The teenager nodded, seemingly in a similar state of shock, not quite sure what he had just done. They stared at each other for a long moment, taking in how old each of them had grown, how old and pained each of them looked,

"Yeah, I just -" He looked at his father for a moment, his gaze falling on Buffy who was stood behind him, cautious,

"You've got company. I'll - yeah." He turned away from the door, still not entirely sure of what he was doing, or the reason he had come thousands of miles. What had he expected? His father to welcome him with open arms?

"Matthew wait." Giles called, moving after him. The teenager stopped at the fountain, but not able to turn back to look at the older man. Giles didn't seem to have a follow up to him stopping his son. He just didn't want him to leave. Giles wanted nothing more than to throw his arms round his son and tell him how sorry he was. He couldn't do that though, sorry just wasn't enough.

"Giles I'm gonna head off. I've got class." Giles turned reluctantly to look at the girl, who had once been his charge,

"Yes - of course. I'll - didn't you want something?" he asked, fully turning to look at her now. Her eyes met his for a moment, before she looked away,

"It'll wait." She said taking the steps out of the courtyard two at a time.

Giles turned back to his son, but he was too busy staring after Buffy,

"That was her wasn't it?" Giles took his glasses off, rubbing his eyes,

"Yes." He admitted rather uncomfortably. Matthew moved his eyes back to his father's as Giles replaced his glasses. Minutes seemed to pass and still the silence went on, until it was eventually broken by Giles, gesturing towards his apartment,

"Do you want to come in?"

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To be continued . . .