I do not own Buffy or Giles. They are the property of the Almighty Joss Whedon. I just play when I get bored
"You know, Giles," Buffy stated as she wrapped the bandages around his waist, " things were much easier when all you did was get hit over the head. Knocky outy for a few hours and poof!, all better." She gave her Watcher an apologetic smile when her tug on the material made him hiss in pain.
The sardonic look he sent her way went unnoticed as she bent to finish off the bandage. "There, all better." Buffy's grin as she stood only lasted a moment before she turned serious. "Giles…"
He knew that tone. It was the "You Really Won't Like What I'm About To Say But I'm Going To Say It Anyway Because It Has To Be Said" tone. He should know, he was the one who had taught it to her. Resisting the urge to sigh, he resigned himself to another round of what had lately become their most common… discussion.
Buffy hesitated a moment before blurting, "You got lucky. That demon could have done so much worse than just bruised ribs. And for that matter you should have let me take you to the hospital!"
Giles reached for his glasses to clean them before realizing that he didn't have them on, which only added to his rising frustration. He settled for pinching the bridge of his nose as he closed his eyes for a moment. "Buffy, I..."
She interrupted him. "Just because we aren't in Sunnydale anymore doesn't mean I need back-up for patrol." It was her time to sigh as she added softly, "You keep getting hurt."
The tone of her voice and the look on his Slayer's face had Giles resisting the urge to say something he hadn't since he had been in university. She looked so vulnerable, and only the years as Watcher and Slayer allowed him to detect the slightest quiver in her voice as she spoke. Buffy was honestly very worried. He tried to ignore the slight amount of guilt that crept in at her obvious concern. It only increased as Buffy started to pace.
"Last week, that Asteranth---"
"---Whatever demon almost impaled you with that spikey thing. Which," Buffy stopped and turned to face him, gesturing as she spoke, "was totally cheating. I'm the one who is supposed to do the sticking with very sharp, extremely pointy objects and…and….then there was that swarm of ratbat mini-demons that were totally gross last month and you so could have gotten rabies or something from the bite one of those things gave you which really would have sucked on top of that set of slashes you got on your arm the week before that when the Kitsune decided it wanted Giles for dinner!"
Giles could only stare in shock as slightly breathless, her chest heaving, Buffy's lower lip suddenly trembled. She seemed to gather herself and she got that look he knew meant that she was trying to make her mind up about something important. True to form, the decision was make quickly. Whatever it was. Sometimes he just couldn't read her. So it came as a complete surprise when Buffy quickly closed the distance between them and kneeled next to the couch, cupping Giles's face gently in her hands.
Giles was only able to sit there as Buffy's eyes searched his. Something there, in her gaze, broke him out of his reverie. "Buffy, what is it?" Her sudden proximity and unexpected physical contact worried him. She was almost never like this.
"After everything we've been through, everyone we lost, I don't think I could stand to lose you too." One hand dropped to her side as the other almost unconsciously stroked his cheek before falling away. She glanced down, then back up, a slight uncertainty on her face. "After you left…I was so lost, Giles. I understand now, but that doesn't make the hurt go away. Even then, at least I knew you were out there somewhere, knew that if anything end of the worldish came up you would be there. And you were."
Giles, as much as he wanted to tell her that he hadn't wanted to leave, to explain, he knew that to interrupt now wouldn't be appropriate. He didn't know where Buffy was going with this line of thought, but it was obviously something she needed to say. Giles ignored the touch on his face, to dwell would only increase the difficulty of hiding just how much he wished that touch were something that it wasn't.
Her sigh sounded so tired, so…lonely. "You saved the day. And then you left. When everything with the First happened, and," she stopped and seemed to brace herself, "the whole thing with Spike…"
Giles was almost sure that some of his distaste showed on his face, though he did his best to mask it. But he was surprised at the sudden flash of intense hate from hearing the blonde vampire's name. Even the thought of that… thing touching his Slayer…..
Buffy blinked and Giles cursed mentally as it became evident he hadn't been nearly successful enough in hiding his reaction.
"I'm sorry Buffy. Please continue."
The look on the Slayers face made her seem much older than she was. "It's okay Giles. I know that, after what I did… I'm not surprised that you hate me for it."
Giles couldn't help the derisive snort that escaped. "Hate you? Buffy, I do not hate you."
" I don't understand…" The confusion was evident in her voice.
"Spike." He didn't even bother to keep the distaste hidden this time.
"Still with the not understanding over here."
Giles sighed. " The name Spike invokes extreme negative emotion, it would seem."
Funny, how a single syllable could carry such wealth of meaning. Bollocks if he could make heads or tails or it though. And it must have been the pain that made him say what he said next, because there was no other explanation. Either that or he really had been hit on the noggin one too many times.
" And what the bloody hell was that about, anyway?"
Judging by the way Buffy's eyebrows suddenly hit her hairline, she was thinking the same. "Excuse me?"
"You and the poncy blond haired git. What would possibly motivate you to become involved with…. " He didn't even bother to finish his statement.
Gile was quite possibly on the edge of shock, but neither of them really noticed.
"At least he was there for me when I needed him." Buffy couldn't quite keep the residual anger out of her voice.
"Why on earth would you need him?"
Giles exasperation and lack of understanding seemed to bring out Buffy's frustration. "Because you left me, damnit!"
And suddenly, both their anger over the past seemed to just bubble up the surface.
"Left you? For God's sake Buffy. I did what I did because I thought it was best."
"And you didn't even think to talk to me about it?"
"And why would you listen? Because I was going to leave if you didn't? That is hardly an appropriate resolution to the problem."
"So you just went. You were gone, and I was alone."
"You were hardly alone."
She continued as if he hadn't spoke. "I didn't want to be alone. And after I came back, you were the only one who was glad to see me just because I was me. Everyone else wanted something, gratitude or whatever. Even Xander. But you were just happy I was back. Then you were gone. Spike made me feel something besides...lonely, empty, still dead. I'm not proud of what I did. In fact, I have a hard time thinking about it sometimes."
"I still don't see what Spike has to do with me..."
"You know, for a Watcher you can be pretty damn dense sometimes. "
"So, because I 'left' you, you went running to Spike."
"Running? Giles, if anything, I didn't want to feel the way I did. I hated what I was doing, but it was better than being numb."
"And you felt something for Spike." Just saying the words left a nasty taste in the back of his mouth.
"No, I felt something with Spike."
"I fail to see the distinction."
"Feeling something WITH Spike was the next best thing. The only thing left to me after you were gone."
"Buffy, that makes no sense."
" I give up! You are so beyond dense! You're...you're MALE! I have to spell it out for you? Mr. Watcher Guy Who Knows Everything?!" The glare she sent his way had made demons want to cry for Mommy. He was immune, fortunately.
"Apparently, seeing as once again I have no idea what you are talking about. I am, however, astounded by your grasp of the obvious."
"You were the only one who didn't expect anything from me. I felt... not so numb with you around. I..." Her loss for words should have been his first clue that something very interesting was about to happen. He would later also blame the fact he overlooked this on pain and or one too drops on his head.
"Buffy, this is very interesting, but I'm still not---"
"Fine! I went to Spike because you weren't there! Cause I couldn't have YOU!"
Giles was practically sputtering. "What on Earth are you talking about?"
Buffy, finally so frustrated she barely speak, glared at her Watcher. "I wanted you, but I couldn't have you. So I settled for second best." The Watcher let his silence speak for him. He had no idea how to respond to what his Slayer had just told him. More accurately, his brain seemed to stutter over her words and then move on, most likely in an attempt to save his sanity.
Buffy just stared in amazement. "You really don't get it, do you?" The glint in her eye had Giles swallowing suddenly as she moved closer to him. She spoke slowly, as if to a child. " I wanted you. But you weren't there, so I settled for the next best thing."
"I regret to inform you of this, Buffy, but Spike and I have nothing in common. I believed you were aware of this. Going to Spike as a substitute for me makes no sense."
The direction of this conversation was just too bizarre for words. It was almost surreal as he heard Buffy say, " I wanted you not as Watcher, or as a authority figure to lean on. I wanted you." The emphasis on the last 2 words took time to penetrate and when they did Giles was completely stunned. There was no way she felt that way about him….
"You made me feel. I wanted that. Wanted you."
It would seem his brain's gallant efforts at protection had only delayed the inevitable. And Giles could only stare at his Slayer while his mind replayed her words over and over.
" I wanted you. Iwantedyou. Iwantedyouwantedyouwantedyou…"
And then his brain did the only thing left too it after his all too eventful evening. It shut down. Completely.
While Buffy watched in shock, her Watcher managed a "Dear lord " and then preceded to slump over on the couch, unconcious.
Alright. Ya'll know the drill. Feedback is what I live for.