Title: One Step Away

Author's Name: Laura Sichrovsky (E-Mail: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Rating: R or FRM

Pairing: Buffy/Giles

Warnings: It is rated R. And there is a reason. Giles' thoughts about Buffy are pretty steamy and shouldn't be viewed by

the under 17 crowd.

Spoilers: None really. It takes place in season four. Buffy being in college and Riley are mentioned, but I can't see that it spoils

anything for me to tell you that. I reference some of season three, but it's pretty disconnected and I don't think

knowing about it gives anything away.

Disclaimer: This is where I put the statement saying that I do not own Buffy, Giles (Heh! I wish!), Sunnydale, or anything relating

to the show. No one is paying me to do this and if you feel the sudden urge to send me gifts, you might want to talk

to someone about that. Joss Whedon owns all things Buffy and has not given me permission to use these characters

as I have so if you have problems with the story, please send the pretzel bombs to me, not him.

Summary: Giles has been suffering in silence over his love for his Slayer. One sleepy night he lets more slip than he should.

What is Buffy going to do about it? Does she feel the same? "Where do we go from here?"

Author's Notes: The song in this story is, "Stupid Thing" by Nickel. It was played in Buffy, season two, Episode 3, School

Hard. It was playing in the background when Spike first saw Buffy. I really liked the song and it's been

running around my head ever since. Odd thing is that three months later, I was singing it and it struck me

what a perfect song this was for Buffy/Giles. I could just picture Giles hiding his feelings for her and trying

never to go, "crashing to my knees. One step away from spilling my guts to you." I liked the image and so, here

is the result. Hope you like it. The full lyrics to the song are at the end. Thanks need to be given, and here is

where they go. Thanks to Joss for creating characters so fun to watch and to borrow for a bit. Thanks to Tony

Head for making Giles so amazing. I tried to fight it, but he was just too remarkable not to fall for. (He also gets

credit for the little, "Giles" things like Giles being an archaeologist. I read that he'd added that to the character on

the show. I think it's those little touches that he added that made Giles the librarian we all love. Thanks so much,

Tony!) Big thank yous to my sister, Kristen the Beta Goddess. She takes my ramblings and puts them in some

readable order. I could never write without her help and I would never want to try. Love ya! To Janet, who

helped with the details, to Sweetdoggie, who called me on my mistakes, and to Hobgoblinn, who made me stay

true to Rupert while setting the bar so high, thank you, thank you, and…oh yeah, THANK YOU! Thanks to my

amazing husband who not only doesn't get upset when my writing takes over, but who doesn't freak about the

men who live in my head. I love him so.

One Step Away

"I did a stupid thing last night;

I called you. A moment of weakness."

A persistent ringing drew Buffy Summers' attention away from the textbook that she was reading. She took in a breath and put the book down, reaching for the phone. To be honest, she was grateful for the distraction. World History had never been her thing and forcing herself to read the boring book made her head hurt. She leaned forward on her bed to better reach the phone.

"Hello?" Buffy answered.

"Buffy?" The voice with the distinctive British accent belonged to her Watcher, Rupert Giles. Ex-Watcher, she reminded herself. She was still a little miffed at the Watcher's Council for that one.

"Hey Giles. What can I do for you? Don't tell me. Something big, bad, and scaly?"

"Hmmm? Oh, no, nothing like that."

"Some Chinese ritual I need to perform?"


"Do you need me to open the peanut butter for you?"

"What?" There was a pause as her comment sank in, followed by a slight chuckle from Giles. "No, Buffy. I don't need anything from you. I just called to…talk."

If the lack of subject matter hadn't caught her attention, the slight pause would have. Giles wasn't the type to call up just to chat. Especially not with Buffy or her friends, who were so many years his junior and had a talent for getting on his nerves.

"Spill it Giles. What's up?"

"I assure you, Buffy," he said, his tone mild. "There is nothing wrong. I hadn't heard from you in almost a week and I was simply calling to see how you are."

Buffy felt a small twinge of guilt at his words. Had it really been a week? She'd been so wrapped up in her studies and Riley that the time just seemed to fly by these days. She really hadn't even had much time to spend with Xander and Willow this last week. Although, she reminded herself, she did find some time for them. Giles on the other hand, well, she'd somehow forgotten about him.

"I'm sorry, Giles," she said, trying not to sound as guilty as she felt. "It's been a crazy week. I've had huge loads of homework in all my classes and…"

"Buffy," Giles cut across her apology. "I wasn't calling to berate you."

"Is that a good thing?"

Giles chucked again.

"Would scold be a better word?"

"Oh, yeah. Right."

"As I was saying," he continued. "The purpose of my call was not to demand an accounting of your time. I just wanted to know how you are."

"I'm good. Busy, but good."

"Is there anything I can do to make you less busy? Take one of your patrols?"

"Oh…right. Patrols. Well, you see…"

"No patrolling?"

"No patrolling. But I promise I'll make up for that this weekend."

"Buffy," Giles said gently. "I told you I wasn't calling to scold you. I'm not your father. I'm not even your Watcher anymore. I'm just a friend who was worried about you. While you really should be out patrolling, you don't need to justify your time to me. As you are busy this week, Xander and I can make the rounds."

His words made sense, and he spoke them in a kind tone, but they still managed to make Buffy feel even more guilty.

"I know you're not my father, Giles," she replied seriously. "You will always be my Watcher, but that's not really the point. And you are more than a friend. You are very special to me. I'm sorry I dropped out of sight on you. I'll try not to do it again. And thanks for the help with patrols."

She heard Giles take a deep breath on the other end of the phone and wondered what his reaction was. He was so hard to read sometimes. When he spoke again, his tone was neutral, giving nothing away.

"Thank you, Buffy. You are very special to me as well. So, how are your classes going?"

For the next little while, they discussed her classes, her teachers, her homework. Giles was sympathetic to her homework overload, offering to help her study if she needed it. They joked about overbearing professors and annoying students. Buffy settled back on her bed, remembering why she enjoyed Giles' company. Everything was relaxed and fun and then the conversation topic shifted.

"And how is your social life faring?" Giles asked. She could hear him making tea in the background and suddenly she could clearly picture him, standing in his kitchen, his new portable phone balanced on his shoulder, pouring steaming water into a mug.

"It's…well, you know how college is," Buffy replied, closing her eyes and smiling to herself at the image she had of him in her head. She could see him gently sip from the mug, his face wreathed in the steam from the cup. "I live with Willow, so I see her every day. I squeeze a couple of lunches a week in with Xander. It's not a lot, but I am glad to see him. And the rest of my time is taken up with Riley."

There was a definite pause on the other end of the line, dispelling the tea-sipping image from her head. When Giles spoke, his voice seemed to have taken on a slight chill.

"Riley. Yes. Well. And how is…Riley?"

Was it her imagination or did his voice catch when he said Riley's name?

"He's good. We are supposed to go out to the movies this weekend, barring war or apocalypse. You know, a nice normal date."

"Yes," Giles replied, his voice sounding distant. "Normal. Normal is good. You deserve something normal in your life. Something nice."

"Giles?" Buffy asked quietly, wondering what was with the Rambling Watcher routine. "Everything good?"

"Hmmm? Oh, yes. Good," He sounded distracted and very un-Giles like. "Well, good to know you are doing well. I'll talk to you later."

He seemed to be in a sudden hurry to hang up now.



"Thanks for calling. It was nice to talk to you. Made me realize that I miss you."

"You…what?" Now he seemed confused.

"I miss you, Watcher mine. We need to set aside some time together."

"Yes, I'm sure Riley would love that."

"Riley? Giles what are you…"

"Nothing, Buffy," his reply was abrupt. "I need to go now."

"Okay. Sleep well, Giles."

There was a marked pause and when he spoke again, his voice was completely different. It was softer, gentler, yet somehow strained.

"You too, Buffy. Pleasant dreams."

Buffy hung up the phone and sat staring at it for a few minutes. Now what was that all about?

Giles threw himself down on his couch, a hand coming up to rub at his forehead.

What had he done? Well, there was the obvious. Embarrassed himself, made a fool of himself, frightened Buffy. The list went on. His better angels had warned him that calling her was a mistake bordering on disaster, but his inner demons had goaded him into finally calling.

What harm should there have been in a phone call? He hadn't seen her for a while and he'd missed her. Where was the bad in that? His lips tugged into a reluctant smile as he realized that he used one of her phrases. God, she'd invaded every part of his life and Lord help him, he loved it. He ran a hand through his hair, taking a deep breath.

Where was the bad in that? His mind pulled him back on track, trying to understand how things had gone so far off the plan. The bad was that in the end he'd come off sounding like a needy, pathetic prat. He'd sworn to himself that he'd just talk to her for a minute, just to hear her voice. But she'd seemed so happy to hear from him that he'd given in and talked for a while, drinking in every word, picturing the expressions that lit up her beautiful face.

Oh, but he'd set new records in his pathetic category. His heart had beat faster every time she'd laughed and he'd found himself going out of his way to make her laugh again. She'd told him that she might actually take him up on his offer to study with her and he hadn't been able get the smile off his face for five minutes. She had shared her life with him for a few short minutes and he'd hung on every word, needing to be a part of her world, even if it was from the sidelines.

And then she'd mentioned Riley. It had felt like a slap to the face, although he'd known she meant nothing by it. He couldn't have been stupid enough to think that a conversation about her life wouldn't have included her boyfriend. No, he wasn't that naïve. Yet somehow, he'd hoped; hoped that the Teutonic boy toy wouldn't have been on her mind while she talked to him. Hoped that he'd have her full attention, that somehow, she'd think only of him.

And there was the crux of his problem. While these days he could think of nothing but her, he wasn't even a factor in her life. He was old. He was 'gross.' He was a retired librarian, a former teacher, an ex-Watcher. He didn't even rate father figure in her head. She'd made that perfectly clear to him tonight. He was a friend. Worse, he was an obligation friend. She kept him in her life because she felt guilty about stealing his own. And he was willing to take that if it was all he could get.

Giles closed his eyes and sighed deeply. How did he get here? How did he go from super librarian guy, the all-knowing Watcher, to a pathetic has-been who was sitting on his couch in the dark, having inappropriate thoughts about a college student he could never have?

He drew in another deep sigh, willing his body to relax. When? That answer was easy. It was when he'd let himself fall in love with his Slayer.

"I'm one step away from crashing to my knees.

I'm one step away, from spilling my guts to you."

Buffy shrugged the strap of her purse further up on her shoulder, trying not to drop the bag and drink carrier that she was holding. It was almost eight o'clock in the morning and she was nearly at Giles' place. When she'd gotten up this morning, she'd found a note from Willow telling her that she was going to have to miss breakfast for a meeting with a teacher. Then Buffy had checked her e-mail to find that her first class of the day had been canceled, freeing up her whole morning. Taking it as a sign, she'd gotten dressed, picked up donuts and coffee, and headed off for Giles' apartment.

Something about the way he'd been acting last night bothered her. And she hadn't lied to him; she really had realized that she missed him. What better way to remedy that than breakfast with her Watcher?

She got to his place and opened the door, not even thinking about knocking; she never did anymore. After a moment, her eyes adjusted to the dimness of the living room and she looked around. Her eyes widened in surprise as she saw that Giles was asleep on his couch. He was fully dressed and she guessed that he'd fallen asleep there last night.

She put the food down on his desk and dropped her bag onto the floor, then quietly crossed the room to bend over him and touch his shoulder.

"Giles?" Her voice was gentle, not wishing to startle him. "Giles?"

He murmured softly in his sleep, moving his head and scrunching up his face, seeming not to want to wake up. Buffy leaned in closer to him, her lips near his ear.

"Wake up, sleepy head," she said quietly.

His eyes fluttered open, focusing on her face. He smiled sleepily; his hand came up and lightly touched her face. Buffy smiled down at him. He looked very cute all mussed and sleepy. Still not saying anything, his gaze staring intently into her eyes, he trailed his fingers down her cheek to her lips. After a heartbeat's hesitation, he ran his index finger along her lips, slowly, gently. Buffy blinked, not knowing what to make of this, her eyebrows arching in surprise.

"Giles?" It was the only thing she needed to say. He knew her well enough that the rest of the question fit into that one word.

For Giles' part, the amazing dream he'd been having was taking on the tones of a nightmare. He'd been dreaming of holding her, kissing her, caressing her. She'd been running a perfect hand along his body, smiling down at him. Then the dream had taken on some harsher tones, brighter lighting, but there she still was, touching him and smiling. It was only after he'd run his finger along her lips that he'd realized, unlike dream Buffy, this one was fully dressed. And looking at him in total confusion. That was when it had come crashing down on him that this was not dream Buffy. This really was his Slayer and she wanted to know what was going on.

He struggled to sit up, running a shaking hand through his hair, trying desperately to think of something to say that would keep her from knowing the truth.

"Buffy…" he paused, breathing deeply, trying to center his panicked mind. "I…was dreaming."

That was pretty safe. No need to tell her the dream involved her. Naked. Screaming his name. 'Good Lord, Man!' he thought desperately. 'Get a grip on yourself.' He ran his hand through his hair again.

"How long have you been here?" Good. Make it sound like Buffy was nowhere in his thoughts. Buffy who?

Buffy gave him one fleeting look that said she had no idea what his answer had to do with the question, then shrugged the whole thing off. This was Giles after all. And he had been asleep. He most likely had no idea who it was standing over him. She smiled at him.

"I brought you breakfast."

"Don't you have class?"



"Teacher meeting."






"Here to spend the morning with you," she said brightly. "Starting with coffee and donuts. You game?"

"Of course I am. Let me go change into something…well something I didn't wear yesterday and I'll be right with you."

"No hurry," she laughed. "In fact if you want a quick shower, I can wait."

"Is that a hint?"

Buffy blinked for a second, then laughed as she realized what he meant.

"No, Giles. I'm not saying you need a shower. Just if you want one, I understand."

"Well, maybe a very quick one."

Buffy waved him off and sat on his couch, turning on the television to pass the time.

Giles stood in the stream of hot water, his eyes closed, silently berating himself. Good Lord. He'd touched her lips. That was bad enough, but the look on her face when he'd done it was worse. He kept seeing it run though his mind; that mix of question and worry. The worry was the worst. He never wanted her to worry and here he was causing her to worry about the sexual intent of an old man. Damn.

But, she was here. She was sitting on his couch waiting for him. Of course, she was here because there was nothing else to do. Everyone else in her life was busy and that left her with him. And we are back to the obligation thing, he thought, running a hand though his wet hair. He really should tell her she didn't owe him anything.

But then she might go. And where would he be then? Which was worse; being pitied or being alone? Hard question, but when it involved Buffy, he'd rather be with her than not, whatever the reason.

Maybe it would just be easier if he told her how he felt. For one dizzying moment, he pictured saying the words to her; hearing his desires become solid. 'Buffy, I love you. I love you with everything I am and I can't live without you.'

It was powerful to think of saying those words. Then his mind took the next step, bringing him back to reality. What did he honestly expect her to say? 'Rupert, I love you too. I always have.' Right. She was going to panic. She would run away. After all, he was old…and gross. She'd said so. And so he pushed his feelings back down and quickly finished his shower.

"I'm doing all right.

No, don't feel sorry for me,

Really, I'm all right."

Buffy sat staring at the television for all of ten minutes. Giles only had the local channels, so there wasn't much to watch. She turned the television off and wandered around the room, looking at the books and artifacts that were a large part of her Watcher's world. He'd lived such an amazing life. He'd been an archaeologist, discovering tombs and whole cities. He'd run a museum. He'd traveled the world and done so much. And he'd given it all up for her.

She frowned as a thought began to take shape in her mind. He'd given up his professional life for her. He'd given up his private life for her. He'd given up everything that was him, all for her. And he never asked for anything in return. Heck, right now he wasn't even really her Watcher. He had no obligation to her at all. He could go try to get his life back. And still he stayed for her, just on the off chance that she might need him.

Her frown deepened. And how did she repay him? He had given up everything for her. No man had ever given up that much for her; not her father, certainly no lover. And she repaid him by forgetting he existed and fitting him in where she could; by using him when she needed him and discarding him when she didn't.

Her eyes widened as she realized how poorly she really had treated him.

"Oh, Giles," she said above a whisper, pain in her voice; she closed her eyes to keep back the tears of remorse.

"Buffy?" His voice wasn't much louder than hers had been and it was directly behind her. She turned quickly, looking up at him through tear-blurred eyes.

Giles felt panic rip through him. He'd finished in the bathroom, dressing in jeans and a grey shirt, heading upstairs to comb his hair and put on shoes. He'd walked past the couch when he'd heard her say his name. At first he just thought he was answering her, but he realized that she'd not known he was there. She turned to face him and he was startled to see tears in her eyes.

"Buffy, what's wrong?" he asked, moving to put an arm around her. "Are you hurt?"

She shook her head, wrapping an arm around his waist. Tears streamed down her face and she pulled him closer.

"Buffy, what is wrong?" He pulled her gently to the couch, gathering her in his arms. "I can't help you if I don't know what's wrong. What happened?"

Buffy looked up at him, pursing her lips. After a moment, she only said one word.


"Excuse me?" Giles blinked, trying desperately to figure out what that meant. Surely there was no way that she could know what he'd been thinking, could she?

"Why, Giles?"

"Why, what?"

"Why do you do it?"

"What is it I'm doing?" Giles felt like he was missing half of his script. And he had the niggling fear that she'd somehow figured out exactly how he'd been thinking about her lately.

"Why do you put up with me?"

It wasn't the condemnation he'd been expecting, it was far from it. And now Giles really was confused. What had happened in the fifteen minutes he'd been in the shower?

"Put up with you? What would make you think I put up with you?"

She looked into his eyes, trying to put her feelings into words.

"You had a life. You had a really great life. You were an archaeologist, you worked in a museum, people respected you. You had girlfriends and family and a life. And then you gave all that up. You moved to another country, you left all your friends and family, you came to a small town in the middle of the desert. And for what? So that a spoiled little slayer could insult you and argue with you and ignore you. You deserve better than this. You deserve better than someone who treats you like a library book!"

"A library book?" Giles felt like he was standing on sand that was shifting under him. Everything was moving and nothing made sense. What was she talking about?

"Yeah, I ignore you and leave you on the shelf until I need you for some obscure demon fact. Then when I'm done, I put you back and forget about you until next time. You don't deserve that! My God, Giles, what you've given up for me! Why do you do it? You don't even have to do it anymore. Why haven't you gone back to England? You could still pick your life back up. You could go back to the museum or on a dig, or maybe teach somewhere. Yet, here you are, stuck in Sunnydale, alone and between projects and treated like crap by the people who are supposed to love you. Why?"

Giles replied without really thinking it through.

"Because there is nowhere else I'd rather be."

Once the words had left his mouth he really began to think better of it. She might be upset, but she wasn't stupid. Surely she would understand what he'd meant and that would be a very bad thing. Hoping to draw her attention from that line of thinking, he quickly went on.

"Buffy, this is my calling. It's who I am."

"No," her reply was firm. "I'm not your calling anymore. The Council fired you. You've been a free agent for almost a year. Why are you still here?"

What was she trying to say?

"Buffy, do you want me to leave?"

"God, no!" the look of horror on her face spoke volumes. "It's just…I'm sorry. I take you for granted. No one has ever given up so much for me. I owe you…everything. And I really never tell you how much I appreciate you."

"You owe me nothing. At first it was my job. I was called to help you. Now, it's what I want to do. Do you have any idea how
I would feel if anything ever happened to you because I wasn't here to help?"

She was still wrapped in his arms, her head resting on his shoulder. She hugged him closer and he felt his breath catch.

"You mean so much to me too. I never tell you, but…God, Giles…if anything ever happened to you, I would…I don't know what I'd do, but it would be very bad, so don't ever die!"

Giles chuckled, rumbling deep from within his chest. Buffy realized she liked that sound. Happy Watcher noises were of the good.

"I wasn't planning on dying anytime this week," Giles laughed. He pulled her closer still. "What brought all this on? I was only in the shower for fifteen minutes."

"I was looking around your apartment, noticing your little knick-knacks and stuff. Some of it I know you got from digs and it made me think about your life. You've done a lot. You even have awards. People really respected you."

Giles nodded.

"I enjoyed my work. I liked the digs. I loved the museum. I even had a book or two published."

"You wrote books?"

"Nothing you'd have read. One of them was in German."

"See? You know everything! You speak, like ten languages. You are brilliant. And now you are stuck with me."

"As I said Buffy, there's nowhere I'd rather be."

She lifted her head from his shoulder to look at him, noticing his eyes when he looked at her. What exactly was that look in them?

Giles realized that he'd said exactly what he'd been thinking and felt panic flood through him when she looked at him. Bad. This was very, very bad. He shifted to take his arms from around her and to get off the couch. It was time for a hasty retreat.

"Well, now that my hair has dried uncombed, I'll go see if maybe I can salvage it and find some shoes," he said as he headed for the stairs.

"Your hair looks fine. Kind of cute actually. All mussed and fuzzy. I like it."

Giles laughed and muttered something about puppy dog hair as he ran up the stairs.

Once he was up there, he took a deep breath and sat on the bed. What had just happened? He'd just spent the last twenty minutes with Buffy curled up in his arms. He could still smell her hair, feel her nearness. This was…well, wonderful and terrifying at the same time. Yes, he knew she didn't even remotely feel the way that he did, but she'd held him close and said such nice things about him. She'd said he was brilliant. She said she didn't want him to leave. She said he meant a lot to her. She didn't love him, but at least she was letting him back into her life.

Being on the outside looking in was the worst he'd ever felt. Every day was empty and bleak; lonely and dark. The nights that he sat in the dark, drinking and thinking about her were the worst. Those were the nights that he fought with himself, wanting to lay everything out for her to see, wanting to tell her that he was a shell of a man without her, almost willing to risk her rejection, just to get everything out, but knowing that rejection would kill him. In the end, he'd drink himself into numbness, going to bed alone again, knowing he'd not even hear from her for days, unless she needed him.

This was better. He had no idea how long it would last, but he would take the reprieve from the emptiness. Even a few hours in her presence was worth it. He knew he was pathetic, but he couldn't help it; she was his world.

"Giles," Buffy called from downstairs. "Are you ready yet?"

"In a minute!" He got up from the bed to finish getting ready for his day out with Buffy.

Buffy lay on her bed, stretching and relaxing. Her afternoon had been long, boring, and tedious; her shoulders hurt from taking notes. On the bright side, her morning with Giles had been fun. After she'd turned off the waterworks and they'd gotten out of his house, they'd walked to a nearby park. There they had eaten donuts and talked. It had been nice. Buffy, feeling a bit playful had even asked her Watcher to push her on the swings. He'd made a face, but he'd done it anyway. They'd gone to a bookstore where she'd read him bits from fashion magazines while he read her excerpts from classic British novels. She'd never noticed what a great voice he had before. They walked along the main street, looking in shops, sometimes going in to browse. They'd ended up at a quiet Chinese restaurant where Giles had bought her lunch. It had been a nice day. A normal day.

Now she rested in her room. She'd eaten dinner with Willow, and Riley would be along in an hour or so. She really should study now. Except, she didn't feel like it. She rolled onto her side and picked up the phone. It had been a while since she'd dialed his number, but she still remembered it.

"Hello?" his soft British voice said from the phone. When had his voice gotten so sexy? She found herself idly thinking that he could make a lot of money on one of those phone sex lines, then shook her head to clear that crazy thought.

"Hey, Watcher man. What are you doing?"

"Buffy?" He sounded surprised to hear her voice.


"Is something wrong?"

"No," she laughed. "I was just thinking about you and thought I'd see what you were doing."

"You were…about me?" He really sounded shocked.

"I had a very nice time today. And I never thanked you for lunch, so thank you."

He laughed.

"My pleasure, Buffy. What are you doing right now?"

"Talking to you."

"Besides that, you nut," his voice had a playful quality to it that made her smile. She realized that she'd never heard him use the word nut when he wasn't referring to a food product and her smile increased. "Oh, I'm the nut. You eat raw eel and I'm the nut."

"It was good and you should have tried it."

"No thanks. I'm really not the type to eat bait."

"Bait??? Buffy, I'll have you know…" He broke off when he heard her laughing. "You really are a wicked creature."

"Yep, that's me. Wicked creature girl."

They talked for another half an hour; not anything serious, just teasing and joking. She could hear him making his dinner while they chatted.

"At least you're cooking it," Buffy teased.

"Wicked Creature," he said solemnly. "Besides, how would I go about eating raw rice?"

"With a spoon?"

"Oh yes, and the crunchy texture would put the gourmet touch on it."

"Hey, fiber."

Giles laughed again and Buffy found herself realizing that it was a sound she didn't hear much. She promised herself to do something about it. But, not now. Now she had to go get ready to go out with Riley. So why didn't she want to hang up the phone?

"Well," she said reluctantly. "I have to go. Riley will be here in a few minutes and I have to get ready."

"Yes, wouldn't want him to see you not perfect."

"What?" That was a comment worthy of Cordelia, not Giles.

"Sorry. That was uncalled for. I must be tired."

"Well, eat your dinner and get some sleep. If you're this snarky to me tomorrow, I'll make you pay for lunch again."

He seemed caught off guard.


"Oh, didn't I tell you? I don't have an afternoon class on Thursdays, so I thought I'd bug you for lunch."

It wasn't completely true. She didn't have an afternoon class, but the idea of spending time with him tomorrow had just come to her. She liked it though, so why not?

"Don't you have something else to do?"

"Nothing that can't be put off for you. Eleven tomorrow morning?"

"Wh..uh…whe…Yes. Tomorrow it is." His stutter had taken over again and she found it honestly adorable.

"Sleep well, Giles."

"You too, Buffy."

She hung up the phone and ran around trying to get ready in the two minutes before Riley got there. Ah well, talking to Giles had been worth the rush. She paused for a second, wrapping her mind around that thought. Huh, why hadn't she noticed that before?

Giles sat at his desk, reading a book and eating his dinner. Well, at least he was trying to read the book. He gave up on it when he'd read the same sentence six times and still had no idea what it said. He just couldn't concentrate. He kept running over his phone call with Buffy. He'd been completely shocked that she'd called him. She hadn't done that in months. And the way she'd been teasing with left him wanting more; so much more.

His more pathetic side ran over every little thing she'd said and did today, searching it for hidden meaning; his realistic self admonished him for even thinking along those lines. That way leads to madness…or a really depressed Watcher. After about an hour, he realized that he'd only succeeded in pushing his food around his plate until it went cold. He contemplated the idea of television, but opted to just go upstairs. He was tired and emotionally drained. He needed sleep. He put the food in the refrigerator and went up to bed.

"I'm one step away from crashing to my knees.

One step away from spilling my guts to you."

It was dark and Giles' mind was muzzy with sleep. He'd been dreaming something he couldn't remember and now…why wasn't he dreaming it anymore? Something had woken him up. Something loud and annoying. Something…as sleep cleared a bit more from his brain, he realized his phone was ringing. His phone? At…he leaned over to look…2 am??

Suddenly he was wide awake. No one called at two in the morning unless someone had died. He grabbed his phone handset off his nightstand and pushed the button.


"Giles?" Her voice sounded so far away and shaky.

"Buffy?" His breath caught in his throat. Something had happened to her. He felt his body shake as all sorts of scenarios ran through his mind, each worse than the next. "Buffy? Are you all right?"

"I'm…well, I'm okay, but I'm at the ER."

She hadn't gotten another word out.

"I'm on my way," he'd said, hanging up the phone and pulling on clothes.

It had taken him less than fifteen minutes to make it to the emergency room. He'd driven a bit erratically, but he felt he'd done well for a man right on the edge of panic. He ran into the ER, stopping at the desk only long enough to be given the curtain number of where to find his Slayer.

She was sitting on a gurney, the whole right side of her face was bruised, a deep cut over her left eye. Her arm was in a sling and her shirt was torn; there were blood spatters on her jeans. Giles felt like someone had stolen all the air from his lungs. He could not get a breath in; his body began to shake again. Then she looked at him, her eyes needing him to be strong and he was; anything she needed he would be. He walked up to her and put a gentle hand on her good shoulder.

"What happened?" His voice was even and he was quite proud of that fact.

"I felt bad about slacking on patrol, so I cut my date with Riley short and hit the graveyard."

"And Riley let you go alone?" Now his voice had a slight edge to it.

"He didn't ask why I left early. He didn't know."

Giles nodded curtly, motioning her to continue her story.

"There was something in one of the mausoleums. I didn't get a good look at it, but it was big, strong, and angry. Before I'd even thrown a punch, it was on me. It had claws and it wasn't afraid to use them."

She turned so he could see her back and he felt as if his blood had turned to ice. Deep gashes raked their way down to her waist.

"It threw me against the wall a few times," she continued. "Then I guess it got bored because it left me there. I dragged myself here, called you and here we are."

Throughout the whole recitation, she had kept her voice calm; she'd talked normally. Now she looked up at Giles and her lip trembled.

"Giles, I almost…it almost…"

He stepped forward and gently enfolded her in his arms.

"You are going to be fine, Buffy," Oh how he hated having to say those traitorous words. He knew she needed to hear them, that he needed to be strong and distant for her, but he felt callous saying them. "We'll make sure you are ready next time. And I'll go with you. For now, what do you need me to do?"

"Stay with me?" she asked, seeming small. "You're right, I will be fine. I'm still feeling a little shaky right now though."

He sat next to her on the gurney. He went to take her hand, but the one closest to him was in the sling, so he put his hand on her thigh. She smiled at him.

"Knew I could count on you," she said. "You are always my Watcher."

He returned her smile, feeling somehow protective and empty at the same time.

Ten minutes later, the doctor came in to stitch up the worst of her cuts and Giles stepped out into the hall. He'd seen many things in his life, so many so far worse than this, but he could not bring himself to watch her in pain; not tonight. He was a brave man, but there was something about watching the woman he loved suffer that cut him to the core tonight. He would have traded places with her in a heartbeat.

When she was patched up and released, Giles put his arm around her and led her to his car. As he started the engine, she reached out a hand and placed it over his on the gear shift.

"Can I…"she started. "Can we…I don't want to wake Willow. Can I…stay with you tonight?"

"Of course," Giles could deny her nothing. "You can take the bed and I'll sleep on the couch. I insist."

She'd opened her mouth to argue, but looking at his face, she shut it and leaned back into the seat.

Once they were in his apartment, he helped her up the stairs, even though she really didn't need it. He needed it; needed to see to it that she made it safely to bed. He was about to turn his back as she tried to take her jeans off, but she stopped him.

"Hmmm," she said, blushing a bit. "Seems this sling thing makes it hard to get undressed. Help please?"

Giles felt the blood rush to his face and other places as he stepped forward to help. He would do anything for her, no matter what it cost him, and this cost him dearly. His hands trembled ever so slightly as he undid the fastenings on her pants and he felt his mouth go dry as he pushed them off her hips. It was one of his deepest fantasies and one of his greatest nightmares come to play in the same moment. How many nights did he undress her in his dreams? And how many nights did he cradle her battered body in his nightmares? It seemed to come out even. Right now, he fought to keep a calm face for her, let her have no hint of the thoughts that warred behind his eyes.

"Giles?" her voice caused him to jump, cutting into his musings. "Do you have…could I borrow…my shirt is shredded and I was wondering…"

"Oh, of course," Giles said, feeling stupid for not thinking of it himself.

He brought her one of his shirts, handing it to her and turning away so she wouldn't see his deep blush. Another dream moment come to life. In quite a few of his dreams he woke in the morning to see her in his shirt. Somehow he knew the real thing would be sexier and he really didn't need to see it. Except he'd forgotten…

"Giles? Still need help? Sling?"

Oh dear Lord. She was expecting him to help her take off her shirt. He drew in a breath. Whatever she needed. He turned around and stepped to her, unbuttoning her shirt as dispassionately as he could. He desperately hoped she never found out about the image that just flashed into his brain of him doing this with his teeth. Once he unbuttoned the shirt, he looked quickly away, the sight of the pink silk bra she was wearing affecting him deeply. He took a deep breath and moved on to getting the shirt off. She pulled her left arm easily out of the sleeve, but her right arm in the sling presented problems. After much brow furrowing, Buffy made it easier by telling him to just cut it off.

"It's shredded anyway," she sighed.

When that was done, she stood before him clad only in panties and the pink silk bra. It took all of Giles' will power not to either shake himself to death or to pounce on her. She must have noticed something in his face, because she smiled at him.

"Crazy day, huh?" she said. "Bet you had no idea this would happen when you got up this morning."

"No, can't say I did," Giles replied. 'I'd hoped, but never thought it really would.' This thought was followed by intense guilt. She was injured and he was getting turned on looking at her standing in his room.

"Almost done," Buffy said with a sigh. If you'll help me get the shirt on and the bra off, I'll let you be."

The bra off??? Dear God she had to be joking. Now he really couldn't hide the shaking. There was no way that he could take looking at the woman he loved, the woman he desired, completely naked.

She had turned to the bed, picking up the shirt with her left hand and holding it out to him.

"Let's get this on first, then we can get the bra off," she said.

"Around the shirt sleeves?" Giles asked.

"Nahh. Just pull it over my head to cover me."

"Oh, good idea." Yes, it was a very good idea. Probably the only way Giles would get out of this in one emotional piece.

He helped her get the shirt over her head, then with trembling fingers, he reached under it to undo the front clasp of her bra with one swift motion."

"Well, Giles," she teased. "Who knew you could do that. That's a real skill."

"Yes, well." God he wanted to die. He was blushing to the roots of his hair as he slipped the bra off her arms and put it on the dresser. He turned to her and helped her get her left arm through the sleeve. When he frowned about the right arm, Buffy gently slid it out of the sling.

"Buffy," he chided. "You'll do permanent damage."

"No I won't. Slayer healing and all."

He made fussing noises at her as he helped her into the sleeve, then helped her back into the sling.

"Let it set," he said seriously.

She nodded, then slipped into his bed. Oh yes, another fantasy moment. She was in his bed wearing nothing but his shirt…well, that and a sling. He sighed. She smiled at him sleepily as he tucked the blankets around her.

"Thank you, Giles," she said, yawning. "Once again, I owe you one."

"Nonsense," he said, gently stroking her hair before turning to leave. "I'm just downstairs if you need me."

She watched him go, then closed her eyes to sleep. Her last drowsy thought was that she never felt so safe as when she was with her Watcher.

Giles couldn't seem to stop the shaking. He'd been pacing back and forth across his living room for about ten minutes now, hoping to dispel some of his body's more violent tremors, but it wasn't really helping. He was rather proud of himself for the way he handled the situation upstairs. He was pretty sure that Buffy hadn't noticed anything but embarrassment from him. His shirt hung past his waist, down on his hips; he was certain that she hadn't seen his arousal. He would have been mortified if she had.

He ran a hand through his hair as his pacing picked up speed. She would never know what this had cost him, never know the emotional turmoil and physical pain he endured for her. His shoulders and arms actually hurt from the strain of holding back his shaking. He had held himself so ridged so that she wouldn't see that weakness. When he'd helped her get undressed, his erection had been so strong and hard that it had actually hurt. When he'd moved, his jeans had rubbed against him, making it all the worse. Once he'd gotten downstairs, he'd relaxed his iron control, feeling like he was going to shake himself to pieces. That was when the pacing had started and here he still was.

He found himself wondering which actually hurt more, the physical effects, or the emotional blows. His worry for her had almost eaten him whole. His worst nightmares were not of evil things happening to him; no, his worst fears were of him having to go on without her. Seeing her sitting, bruised and frightened had felt like a physical blow to his heart.

And then there was their little exchange upstairs. Having her so near, so…unclothed, yet knowing she would never be his, had hurt so much. Worse were the ramifications of that exchange. Yes, she had called him rather than anyone else, but that was because she still saw him as her Watcher, not out of any preference for him. She had asked him to help her undress. That could only mean that she saw him as harmless, safe, completely asexual. She didn't think twice about him seeing her body because of course he could never desire it. Oh how wrong she was, and how much it cost him to acknowledge her viewpoint. He'd always known that she would never want him as did her, but to see it spelled out for him, to see in bold tones that she really did see him as old, as less than a man, hurt more than anything else.

Giles slowed his pacing. His body still trembled a bit, but he'd spent most of his pent up tension with his furious pacing. He was tired, worn, and worst of all, he suddenly felt old. He sighed deeply, sitting on the couch, his hands over his face. When had this all gone so wrong? When had his life come to this? But honestly, didn't he deserve it? He'd fallen in love with his Slayer; a woman barely older than a child. He was older, he was her mentor, he knew better. But still he had failed her, betrayed her trust and fallen hopelessly in love with her. And this was his penance, his punishment, his own private Hell.

Taking his hands from his face, he leaned back on the couch contemplating a cup of tea. Yes, he thought to himself bitterly , tea would make this better. Oh yes, nothing like a cup of tea to make purgatory more bearable. He snorted at this last thought and was about to actually go find some tea when he heard a noise from upstairs. Had she whimpered? His brow furrowed, then he heard her cry out. He was on his feet in a heartbeat, taking the stairs two at a time to get to her. Yes, he felt hurt and raw right now, but the woman he loved needed him and he would do anything for her.

"A moment of weakness.

No, not a moment,

More like three months of weakness.

I'm one step away from crashing to my knees.

One step away from spilling my guts to you."

It was dark and cold and Buffy was alone. It was so quiet, but the air crackled with tension; her 'spidey sense' was tingling. Something bad was coming and she had to be ready for it. She tensed her body, ready to fight whatever came at her.

Suddenly it came rushing from the side, large and scaly. Claws raked her skin, causing her to cry out. She tried to turn, but it had her in a death grip, squeezing the life out of her.

"No!" she screamed. "Let me…"

The rest of her words were drowned out in a haze of pain. She was going to die. She was going to die in this God forsaken place and she was going to die alone.

"Buffy?" the voice was soft, tinged with worry and a British accent. "Buffy, I'm here. Look at me."

It was Giles. He'd promised her that he would be there when she fought this thing again and as usual, he hadn't let her down. She turned her head, but could see him nowhere.

"Buffy, open your eyes." She felt tender fingers trace across her face and she blinked.

Then, everything changed. She wasn't in a dark cave, she was in Giles' bed, safe and warm, wrapped in blankets. And Giles was sitting on the edge of the bed, stroking her face, looking very worried. Relief rushed through her body and she threw herself into his arms.

"Oh Giles, I was so scared. I thought I was going to die. But here you are to save the day." She snuggled her head onto his shoulder, burying her face in his neck as he cradled her to him. She breathed deeply, inhaling a smell that wasn't damp spooky cave smell; no this smell was soothing and distinctly Giles, a mix of soap, aftershave, and…well, him.

She inhaled again, nuzzling deeper into his neck and felt him stifle a full body shiver; she snuggled closer to him. He was there, strong and real and holding her close. It felt good; it felt safe.

"I am here, Buffy," he said and she could feel his voice rumble against her. He kissed the top of her head. "I'm always here. You're safe."

She closed her eyes, feeling the quiet strength of his arms around her. He would always be there for her, always protect her, always love her. She reached her good hand up and ran her fingers through his hair. It was soothing to her, more evidence that he was real, that he was there. She heard his breath catch in his throat. It was nice to know he worried about her so much. She continued her ministrations and heard him make a small noise akin to a purr.

"Thank you, Giles," She whispered against his skin.

"For what?" His voice was soft and gentle, yet she could hear tension in it.

"For everything. For giving up your sleep for me. For giving up your bed for me. For being here for me. I love you, Giles. I love you so much. You'll never know how much you mean to me."

She felt him stiffen. He was quiet for a moment; nothing could have prepared her for what he said when he did speak.

Giles felt as if his whole world had tilted. Everything was shifting and out of control. He'd gotten to the bed, turning on the bedside light to see raw panic on her sleeping face. He'd called her name, but she hadn't responded, so he'd touched her face. She'd blinked herself awake, looking at him, then she'd sat up and thrown herself into his arms. His arms had instinctively held her, being careful of her damaged shoulder. He pushed down his passion, embracing the role of protector; it was what she needed from him. That was when everything seemed to shift.

She'd buried her face in his neck, nuzzling against his throat and it was all he could do not to moan. He mentally flogged himself over that one, holding her protectively, trying to push all other thoughts from his lust soaked brain. She began to run her fingers through his hair and he swallowed a gasp. What was she doing? His whole body was reacting to her, his heartbeat speeding up, his breath quickening; he couldn't hold back the slight growl that escaped him. He felt her lips move against his throat and for a wild second, he thought she was kissing him. Then his hazy brain realized she was speaking.

"Thank you, Giles."

It was everything he could do to form a coherent reply.

"For what?"

"For everything. For giving up your sleep for me. For giving up your bed for me. For being here for me. I love you, Giles. I love you so much. You'll never know how much you mean to me."

What was she saying? She was in his arms, nuzzling his neck, playing with his hair, telling him how much she loved him. She couldn't mean that she…that she loved him like he loved her. No, she couldn't. Could she? Her fingers were stroking his hair, her lips were on his skin, she said she loved him. His heart beat faster, everything began to haze in his head and the next thing he knew, he heard his own voice cut through the silence.

"Oh Buffy, I love you so much. You are everything to me. My life is empty without you. You are all I've ever wanted."

He felt her stiffen in his arms and his heart froze. He'd just confessed his love for her, in plain words he could not take back. Damn. This was bad, so very bad.

"B-B-B-Buffy," He began, but she stopped his stuttering words by putting her fingers to his lips.

There was a pause, it lasted only a moment, but to Giles it felt like a lifetime. Then she said, "You're tired, I'm tired, we should call it a night."

So she was going to change the subject. He wasn't sure how he felt about that. Now that he'd cut himself open and told her his feelings, he wasn't sure he could push them back down. But there was no way he would force her to discuss it. She was giving him an out. Fine. For now they would pretend that he hadn't known what he was saying, that he didn't mean it. And he supposed that was for the best.

"Of course, Buffy," He dropped his arms from around her, feeling empty and alone. "I'll be downstairs if you need me."

As he began to stand up, she reached a gentle hand out to him.

"Stay up here?" It was both a request and a statement. She wanted him with her. "I…don't want to be alone. Stay with me please?"

He could deny her nothing, but oh how much this cut, how deeply he ached. She had to know, had to know how he felt, had to know how much this would hurt him. He looked into her eyes, seeing her fear and something else. His brow furrowed as he tried to understand what he was seeing. Giving up, he went to her, climbing onto the bed next to her. She snuggled under the covers, then rolled until she was in his arms. He gently held her, closing his eyes and willing himself to sleep. But it had already been a long night and there was no sign of that letting up.

The first thing Buffy was conscious of was that she wasn't alone in her bed. She felt strong arms cradling her protectively and her first thought was Riley. She was just trailing her fingers along his chest when last night came back to her with a rush. No, this wasn't Riley; this wasn't even her bed. And the man holding her so tenderly was her Watcher.

She slipped gently from his arms, trying not to wake him, going down to his bathroom. She needed a shower. She stood in front of his mirror taking in her appearance. The bruises on her face were fading, would probably be gone by tonight. The cut over her eye was mostly closed. She took her arm from the sling and tested her shoulder, moving it back and forth. There was a slight twinge if she went too fast, but other than that it seemed fine. Thank God for Slayer healing.

She turned on the water, undressed and got into the shower. The water felt wonderful. She closed her eyes and stood there, letting everything melt from her brain; well, almost everything. Try as she might, Buffy could not stop replaying the words Giles had said to her last night.

"Oh Buffy, I love you so much. You are everything to me. My life is empty without you. You haunt by dreams and fill my days; you are all I've ever wanted."

She frowned as she thought about it. He loved her. Not as a student, not as a Slayer, not as a daughter, but as a man loves a woman. That made quite a few things make more sense. No wonder he stayed in Sunnydale. She'd known he was there for her, she just hadn't understood what that meant. This revelation also made other things more confusing. He loved her, that meant he was attracted to her as well, thought about her in physical ways. Yet he touched her, held her, took care of her and she had never known, would never have guessed. Why? The more she thought about it, the more sense it made. Giles would never have wanted her to know. He'd kept it from her. She was suddenly awed at the willpower that it had cost him, all to protect her.

She borrowed Giles' shampoo and was just lathering her hair when a thought struck her, causing her to gasp. He'd helped her undress last night. He'd helped her take off her clothes and she hadn't seen anything to tell her how he felt. She'd noticed some embarrassment, but that was normal. What had it taken for him not to show her his attraction when she was practically naked in front of him? She hadn't even thought about him, how he might feel, how much it might hurt him. Poor Giles. She found herself thinking once more what an amazing man he was. He'd suffered in silence so she wouldn't be uncomfortable.

Her brow furrowed again as she thought further along last night. When she'd woken from her nightmare, he was there and she had been relieved to see him. She'd thrown herself into his arms and he'd held her. Now she understood his tremors and gasps, but he still hadn't acted on his attraction. And what had she done? Nuzzled his neck and played with his hair. God, what that must have done to him. She'd teased him, tortured him, and he'd stood strong, just for her.

Her frown deepened. Why had she done that to him? She'd been scared, so she'd retreated to his arms; that was understandable. But why had she snuggled into his neck, inhaled his smell, played with his hair? Because she was comfortable with him? No. She was comfortable with Xander too, but she would have never done that to him. Because she trusted him? Nope. Xander clause again. Because she didn't think it would affect him? What the heck kind of screwy logic would that be? He was a man; he would still have to react to his body. But even if she were stupid enough to think that, what would the point of playing with his hair be?

She closed her eyes, going deep into her mind. What had she been thinking? She'd taken comfort from his nearness, from his strength. She'd felt pleasure from the smell of him; she'd enjoyed the…manliness of it. That was why she'd snuggled closer, to smell him better. The softness of his skin contrasted with the prickle of his freshly grown whiskers had just been a bonus. A bonus? Hmm. His hair was soft and felt good in her fingers. Yes, it had been sort of grounding for her, but she had liked the feeling and the little contented noise he'd made had warmed her heart. Okay…what was that all about? Was she…? She cleared her mind further, focusing only on an image of Giles. What did it make her feel? Love. She loved him, like a friend, a mentor. Was there more? She wasn't sure. She pictured his smile, his laugh and was startled to feel a flutter in her stomach. She was attracted to him. Hmmm. Who would have guessed. Willow was right. He was sexy in a sophisticated, older man way. So what did this mean? At the moment, it didn't mean anything, she decided. She'd let it run around in her head and see where it went.

For now, she was going to finish her shower.

Giles was tired. He felt like he'd just fallen asleep and now his brain was trying to wake up. He could tell even through his closed eyes that it was light in his room and tired as he was, he was never one to sleep late. He sighed, giving up on actually sleeping and blinked his eyes open. He lay in bed for a minute or two, then everything came rushing back to him and he sat bolt up.

"Buffy?" His heart hammered in his chest as he went down the stairs. She'd bolted; he knew it. She'd woken up, remembered what he'd said, and now he'd never see her again. Served him right.

He paused as he heard the shower in his bathroom running. A shower. She was taking a shower; she hadn't left. His body relaxed, the breath he hadn't realized that he holding finally came. She was still here. This was a good thing. He'd make her breakfast and they could talk. He'd apologize, beg her forgiveness, plead that she not pull away from him. He'd promise to never let her ever see his feelings for her if only they could go back to being friends.

He went into the kitchen and had just gathered some things from the refrigerator when he heard the water go off. Struggling desperately to keep the image of a naked, wet Buffy out of his head, he went back to making breakfast. He had just finished frying the eggs when the door opened and she came out.

Her hair was wet and she was wearing his blue bathrobe; he had to swallow the urge to tell her how stunning she looked. She turned and saw him in the kitchen and crossed to him.

"Good morning, Buffy," he said, forcing a smile past the panic that was swirling around his brain. She was looking at him; what was that look? "I…I'm making…breakfast. Would you like some orange juice?"

She shook her head, still not saying anything to him. Damn. This silent treatment couldn't be a good sign.

"Willow should be here soon," she said. "She's bringing me clothes that don't look like a rabid dog was chewing them."

"Good," Giles said after a moments pause. Willow. Great. She didn't want to be alone with him. "I'll make extra breakfast for her."

"That's nice of you, but we'll be going back to the dorm when I get dressed. I have a class at 10:00."

So, she was going to run. She just couldn't do it until she had clean clothes.

"Buffy, please, we need to…"

"Giles," she interrupted. "Not right now. We will talk, just not yet."

He knew that if he let her leave, let this moment pass, things would never be the same between them. She would ignore it, pretend that it never happened, but he knew that she never really forgot anything. Everything he said, everything he did from this point on would be judged by this and no matter how innocently he treated her, she would measure his actions by his passions. She would pull away, put up a wall between them and he would lose her. He could not allow that to happen.

"Please, don't do this to me. I'm not asking anything from you except that you forgive me for my stupidity. Just forget what I said and please don't run away from me."

She looked at him with a seriousness he'd never seen on her face.

"I can't forget what you said because you said it. You deserve more than for me to just look the other way. They are your feelings and I can't just pretend that you don't have them."

Wonderful. She couldn't ever forget that her Watcher was a dirty old man. And now he'd destroyed everything they had, hurt her even more than when he'd betrayed her on her eighteenth birthday. She would leave here with Willow and while none of them would ever say anything, he'd be cut out bit by bit until he was completely alone. He tried to draw in a deep breath, but found that he had neither the strength nor the will to do so. He'd never felt so defeated or alone in his life.

"Buffy, please…" His plea was halted by the front door opening as Willow strode into the room.

"Delivery service!" she called cheerily, holding up a duffle bag.

"Thanks, Wil," Buffy said, taking the bag from her and jogging up the stairs. "I'll be right down."

Giles just stood in the kitchen, aware that Willow was looking at him, but unable to muster the energy to talk to her.

"Giles?" Willow asked, looking worried. "You okay?"

"Most likely not," Giles replied, leaving the kitchen, heading to the bathroom. It was as good as anyplace to hide so he wouldn't have to watch Buffy walk out of his life. "Help yourself to breakfast if you're hungry."

The last thing he saw was Willow just standing there, gaping at him as he closed the door.

Buffy kicked the punching bag with more force than was necessary. She was trying to expel the tumble of thoughts that were in her head, trying to focus on only one thing at a time.

When she'd come downstairs from getting dressed in Giles' room, she'd found Willow standing in the kitchen, just starring at the bathroom door with her mouth hanging open. When she'd asked her friend what was wrong, Willow had pointed to the bathroom.

"Giles," Willow had said, her brows furrowed. "He…he just walked away from me. Way too rude for Giles. He seemed…bad?"


"He said…Buffy he said he wasn't going to be okay. What does that mean?"

"Don't know," Buffy had said with a shrug. Why was he reacting like this? She'd told him that she needed time, why couldn't he just give her some breathing room? She mentally shrugged it off, she had to; she was not ready to deal with this yet.

She went to the bathroom door and knocked.

"Giles? Giles, Willow and I have to go."

"Right," his strained voice came from the other side of the door. "Bye then. Lock the door when you leave?"


Willow was still standing in the kitchen, her eyes so wide that they took up half her face.

"Lock the door? Buffy, he never locks the door. There is something really wrong here. We can't leave him like this."

"Willow, we have class." She knew she sounded callous, but she did not want to explain all this to Willow; not yet.

"Buffy…are you sure? I mean we can't just leave him, can we?"

"I don't really think there is anything we can do right now, Wil," she'd said in a gentler tone. "We'll check on him later."

Willow had been reluctant to go, but after calling to Giles through the door that they'd be back and that if he needed anything to just call them, she had followed Buffy out.

Buffy had gone to her morning class, but she hadn't been able to pay attention to anything the professor had said. Her thoughts were in turmoil. She had no idea what she thought or what she felt. And so, after class was over, she'd turned to the only thing that calmed her. She'd gone to the gym.

Here she kicked and punched her frustration and confusion out; here she found peace. And as usual, it was working. She was able to focus a bit more on her thoughts, her feelings. And her thoughts seemed to focus only one way: Giles.

She knew that she had hurt him when she'd left this morning, but she was in no place to talk to him. She needed to burn off everything extraneous about her feelings for him and see what she had left. Then she'd be able to talk to him, to tell him what he was to her.

She focused her thoughts, punching the bag harder with each one.

Her eighteenth birthday; Giles' face when she told him that he'd betrayed her; his face when Travers said that Giles had a father's love for her. How had she felt about that? She'd been pleased. Her connection to him had been defined. But had it? Feelings flowed and changed. Had he loved her as a daughter? Probably. Why did that mean that couldn't change?

Her prom; his face when she'd come in from killing the hellhounds. His face was so tight with panic until he saw her. The relief, the love that had captured his features. The pride when she'd gotten her class award. The way he'd looked in that tux. She had to admit that her reaction to him dressed that way wasn't daughterly at all.

When the mayor had come to the library to threaten her; the fury on Giles' face when he'd stabbed the mayor. She'd been in danger and Giles had jumped to her defense like her white knight. Were his actions merely fatherly? She focused on his face. There was anger and a deeply protective look, but there was more. Something deeper, more adult stirring behind his eyes. What did she think of that? As much as she wanted to have a father in her life, she had to admit knowing there was more felt good.

Standing in Giles' apartment seeing Olivia wearing nothing but Giles' shirt; the feelings of anger and betrayal that she'd felt. Why? Because he belonged to her, not this mostly naked woman in his living room. Because he was Buffy's Watcher, Buffy's father, Buffy's friend, Buffy's…man.

Now that was an interesting thought. Were his protective father feelings and his tender lover's feelings mutually exclusive? Could he only love her one way? If he became her lover, would she lose him as a father figure? He wasn't her father. She had a father and he in no way measured up to Giles. Did she want Giles to be a father? Or was she wanting someone who could love her, protect her even if she didn't need it, be proud of her, be willing to sacrifice for her, be there when she needed him, and be willing to love her, faults and all, as a father was supposed to do? And could those feelings be combined with the passionate feelings of a lover? Could he see her as an equal and still have those protective feelings for her?

Of course he could; he did. After all, he was protecting her right now from himself and his feelings. He protected her from hurt and pain, no matter the cost to himself, just as a father would. Yet his feelings ran deeper. He pushed her to be more, do more. He loved everything she was. She'd even heard him use some of her phrases in his oh so perfect speech. He joked with her, talked to her as an equal. He trusted her, knew her, shared everything with her. He wanted to give her everything. Did she want to accept it?

She had to admit that part of her did, wanted to run to him right now, take him in her arms and kiss the pain from his eyes. But what about all the problems that came with doing that? He was forty-six and she was nineteen. Not that he looked old. She'd teased him about that; she'd even tried to hurt him with it when she'd seen him with Olivia, but she didn't believe it. But he was older. Could either of them be comfortable with their relationship in public? People would talk. Their friends would talk. Her mother would freak. But did it matter?

She hit the bag with such force that it almost came loose from its mooring.

"Wow, you must be really mad at that bag. What did it ever do to you?"

She whipped around to see Riley standing there. Riley…her boyfriend. Well, this was a complication she'd forgotten about.

"Just getting some exercise," she said with an awkward smile. "What are you doing here?"

"Looking for you. Do you want to get lunch?"

"That actually sounds good."

They picked up some sandwiches and found a quiet spot at the park. Buffy couldn't help but remember that she and Giles had eaten here yesterday. They sat, eating and talking of nothing important until Riley gently took her hand.

"Are you okay? You seem distracted, like there's something on your mind."

"It's nothing," she'd automatically replied. But her thoughts were still running and shifting.

She felt confused again. Riley. She'd thought she loved him. Did she? If she did, how had she forgotten about him? She couldn't believe that an hour ago, she'd forgotten there was a Riley. What did that mean? She really didn't know. But there was a Riley and he was here and he loved her. And she loved him, didn't she? But what did all that mean?

When she thought about Giles, she thought about feelings and actions; respect and tenderness; trust and caring. When she thought about Riley, it was all physical; touching and kissing; sweat and sex. Not that she didn't talk to him, but she held a part of herself back from him, the part she always thought of as the private her. But that wasn't entirely true; Giles knew that part of her, the part she never showed anyone else, not even Willow and Xander. It was the part of her that needed; needed love, needed acceptance, needed to be taken care of. It was the part of her that hurt; the part that cried; the part that on occasion, needed to be held and protected. She had felt that letting herself be vulnerable, would be a mistake and had kept it from everyone but Giles. She could not allow herself to breakdown in front of Willow, Xander, or Riley; they wouldn't have been able to take her pain; she would have frightened or disappointed them. But Giles had seen her cry, had seen her hurt and he had always stepped in to take the dominant role and make everything better. She had always thought of this part of her as a weakness and Slayers should never show weakness. But Giles had shown her that needing someone was not being weak; it was being human. He knew her so well, so deeply, and still he loved her.

But Riley loved her too, didn't he? He had made her a part of his world and even ventured into hers on occasion. So why did that sound like they were just good friends? Was he holding a part of himself from her too? Could he fully give all of himself to her? Could he become a part of her life, not just a visitor in it? Could he give up that much of himself for her? Was it fair of her to ask him to give up anything for her?

And then it hit her like a bolt of lightning. She didn't have to ask Giles to give up anything for her; he'd already willingly given up everything. And wasn't that what love was? He would give up everything and hand his life to her and she would give hers to him. The sparkling clarity of this thought caught her off guard. Could she do that for him? Did she want to? And what about Riley?

She looked over at him and he was watching her with concern.

"Are you sure you're okay?" he asked.

"I'm…just thinking. I'm feeling a little confused, not sure about what I feel about…well, anything."

"Can I help?"

She paused for a minute, looking at him.

"Riley, can ask you a really weird question?"

"You can ask me anything."

"You love me, right?"

"Of course I do."

"What does that mean?"

"It means…well, that I love you. I want us to be together."

"And what would you give up for that?"

"Give up?"

"Would you give up your family, friends, career in the military, your whole life, and move to another country just to be with me?"

"Buffy…" He sounded panicked.

"No, I'm not asking you to do that. I'm only asking if you could. Please don't give me the answer you think I want to hear. Tell me honestly, could you?"

"Buffy…I…I don't know."

"Fair enough," she said with a slight smile.

"Why are you asking me this?"

"I just…Riley, I need some space, some time to think."

"Are we breaking up?"

"I think we are. But not because of you. I just need to know how I feel."

"I understand that," he said, gently touching her face. "When you figure it out, will you give me a call?"

"Yeah, I will."

Buffy walked into her dorm room, still feeling confused. She didn't like this feeling; it felt like she was thinking way too much. But she needed to figure all this out; she owed it to Riley, to Giles, to herself.

Willow was sitting on her bed, a book open on her lap unread, a worried look on her face.

"Oh good, Buffy, you're back. I've been trying to call Giles all afternoon and he's not answering. I'm really worried."

"I'm sure he's fine, Wil. He's probably out shopping."

"Shopping? Giles? And you didn't see his face when he said he wasn't going to be fine. I think he's really upset."

"We'll check on him tonight."


"I promise."

Willow seemed mollified, although she still looked concerned.

"So what did you do with your afternoon?" Willow asked.

"I went to the gym, went on a picnic, and broke up with Riley."

"That sounds nice. Picnics are…you broke up with Riley?! Buffy, why?"

"I realized that I don't really love him."

"Oh, Buffy," Willow crossed the room to hug her friend. "I'm so sorry. What made you figure that out?"

"I'm not really sure," Buffy answered, hugging back. She walked over to her bed and sat down. Willow followed her and sat next to her. "I was thinking about my feelings for someone else and I realized that what I felt for Riley wasn't the real thing."

"Someone else? A boy someone else?"

"A man someone else." There just was no way that Buffy could think of Giles as a boy.

"And your feelings for him are the real thing?"

"I…I just don't know. Willow, can I ask you something odd?"

"I'm sure you can. Why don't you try?"

Buffy chuckled, then took a deep breath. This was serious.

"Wil, what if you had feelings for a guy, except, he was older than you?"

"Older? How much older?"

"I don't know. Older?"

"Am I Anna Nichole Smith here? Is he like ninety?"

"No, not that much older. Like…okay, say Harrison Ford older. He's like sixty."

"Is he really? He doesn't look that old."

"That was my reason for picking him."

"Okay, so I like Harrison Ford, older man who doesn't look old. Now what?"

"Let's say he likes you back, in fact, he really loves you."

"Am I attracted to him?"

"Well, yeah," Buffy paused. She hadn't said it to herself yet. She was attracted to Giles. She closed her eyes and pictured his face with his amazing green eyes and killer smile. She thought about his strong arms, the way he could pick her up and carry her if need be, the way he could handle a sword. She pictured him in the tux and she pictured him in jeans. Oh yes, she did like what she saw. Unbidden, she could see herself kissing him, his mouth caressing hers, his tender hands stroking her skin. She could almost feel his lips on the skin of her neck and she felt her heart race. She was very attracted to Giles. Who knew? "Yes, you are very attracted to him."

"Okay. So what is the problem? Seems pretty of the good to me."

"Wil, he's sixty. Would you really not have any problem taking him home to meet your parents, bringing him to Scooby meetings, kissing him on campus?"

"So I'm supposed to be worried about what everyone else thinks of me and Harrison?"

"Wouldn't you be? Even a little?"

"Does he treat me well?"

"He treats you like a goddess. He cares for you, takes care of you; he gives up everything else in his life just for you."

"Then why would I care what anyone else thought?"

"You wouldn't even care what your friends thought? Xander, me, Giles?"

"Of course I'd want you all to like him. But Buffy, if he really cared about me that much and treated me that well, why would you care that he's older than me?"

Buffy furrowed her brow. Would she care? Of course not. If it were Willow, she'd be happy that Wil had found the perfect guy. So why couldn't she trust that her friends would want the same for her?

"And your parents wouldn't freak?"

"Oh, they'd freak. They'd freak because he was an actor, not because he was older. I don't think they'd even notice he was older."

Buffy felt for Willow, knowing that she was probably right, her parents wouldn't notice. She also knew that she was selling her own mother short. It probably would have been easier if her mother had never met Giles. It would probably also be easier if her mother hadn't had that night with Giles when they had eaten the band candy. Great, she was falling for a man her mother had slept with. It was almost too Greek tragedy. Oh yes, her mother was going to have big reservations. But then again, because she did know him, she knew the kind of man he was. She knew that he would die before he ever hurt Buffy, and that could only be a good thing.

"And you wouldn't feel strange going out to the movies or kissing him in public?"

"Why would I? Buffy, when I dated Oz, people looked at us strange because of his ever changing hair color and his band shirts. When Cordelia dated Xander, people looked at them oddly because of Xander's…well, Xanderness. They thought she could do so much better. But these people didn't know Oz and Xander. They didn't know that looks mean nothing and it's what's inside that counts. And you know that inside, Oz and Xander are the best. Buffy, people are people and they'll find something to look down on you for. You just have to know that you are happy and to hell with what they think."

"When did you become Yoda? Thanks Wil. I think you've really helped me."

"Really? So when do I get to meet Harrison?"

"After I have a chance to talk to him and tell him how I feel."

"Will that be soon?"

"I'm going right now."

"Great! You go talk to him and I'll check on Giles."

"No! I mean, I want to go with you when you do."

"Well, then I guess I'll study until you get back." Willow leaned over and hugged Buffy. "Good luck."

"Let's hope I don't need it."

"You see, there's this huge chunk of me missing.

It's gone.

And I can' feel it, I can't feel it,

I can't feel."

Giles had spent his day sitting at his desk, reading a book on demons. Well, he'd tried to read it; seemed he just didn't have the enthusiasm to stay focused. Mostly he'd just sat at the desk and brooded. Around noontime his phone had started ringing persistently. He'd ignored it and let the answering machine get it. It was always Willow, calling in various states of panic and he wasn't in a mood to talk to her. He was sure Buffy had told her everything by now and he just couldn't face the pity from her.

He knew that he was going to have to pull himself together soon. Whether or not Buffy was in his life, he was still a Watcher and he had his responsibilities to face; just not tonight. Tonight, he was going to wallow in his stupidity. He was going to sit in the dark, eating cold pasta from the can and relive every appalling thing he'd done and said over the last twenty-four hours. Then he'd move on to eating raw cookie dough from the tube while reliving it all again. At that point, some serious drinking would probably be in order.

As the sky started to get dark when evening set in, he went to the kitchen to dig for some pasta. He personally detested the stuff; soggy little circles of pasta, drowning in a bland tomato sauce. But Xander and Oz lived off the stuff, so he had stocked up on it. Now he was glad that he had; it might have been disgusting, but it fit his mood; now, if only he could find some. Most aspects of Giles' life were meticulously ordered. His books and albums were alphabetized, his banking records were filed, his mail was sorted by sender. But to his great annoyance, his kitchen was completely disorganized. It wasn't really any fault of his; when the kids came over, Xander would root though Giles' cupboards, looking for food. No matter how many times Giles reorganized, Hurricane Xander always followed behind, spreading disorder and stealing the last cookie.

He was digging through the canned goods cupboard, moving past the soup and feeling like he might be closing in on the pasta when he heard the knock on his door. Sighing, he closed the cupboard and went to answer the door. It was most likely Willow, coming to make sure that he hadn't done something rash. Too late. He opened the door, prepared to send her away with an, "I'll be just fine thank-you. So sorry to scare you." and was shocked to find Buffy standing there. So great was his astonishment that he stood there, holding the door in silence.

"Hey Giles," Buffy said softly. "Can I come in?"

He stepped back, ushering her in, blinking and feeling completely lost. He'd been so sure he'd never see her again. Why in the world was she here? She crossed the room to sit on the couch.

"Have you had dinner yet?" she asked.

"Dinner?" Giles spoke ten different languages. He was sure English was one of them, so why wasn't this making any sense to him? "No. I…haven't eaten yet."

"Do you like Italian?"

"Um…yes?" Why was she asking him this?

"I know a great place that delivers. Can…can I buy you dinner?"

Giles just sat there blinking at her. He knew some sort of response was expected, he just couldn't seem to put one together. Dinner? With her? She must have taken his blinking as a yes, because she went to his desk and pulled out his phonebook.

"They have the menu printed in here. Do you like pasta?"

"I…do I…Pasta?"

"Noodles? Sauce? Sometimes has meat filling?"

How could she be so calm; so normal?

"No filling," he finally managed. At her curious look, he elaborated. "I don't like to eat anything that explodes when I bite it."

"Right. No filling. Chicken?"

"Chicken is good."

"How about if I order chicken parmesan and lasagna and we can share?"

"Share?" he knew he must look like a complete idiot, just sitting there repeating what she said, but he couldn't help himself.

She smiled at him, then proceeded to call in the order. He sat watching her, noticing all the little things that were so uniquely her. The way that she twirled her hair around her finger while she talked on the phone, the way she paced while she talked, the crinkle of her nose when she smiled. Some part of his confused mind noted that she was acting normal, just as she always did when she was here; completely at ease and comfortable. He wondered what this meant. She hung up the phone and turned back to him with a smile.

"Food should be here in forty-five minutes," she said, returning to the couch. "That should give us time to talk a bit before we eat."

"Talk, yes," Okay, now his brain was starting to work. Talking with Buffy. She was giving him a chance to make this right. He had no idea what had made her grant this to him, but he wasn't about to waste it. "Buffy, I am so sorry…"

"Giles," she cut across his apology. "May I please talk first?"

He froze for a moment. She wanted to talk first; this did not bode well. Was she going to tell him that she no longer wanted him in her life? But if that was the case, why come all the way over here? Why buy him dinner? He realized that she was just sitting and looking at him.

"Oh, yes…y…you…Please. Go ahead." He could barely stutter the words out.

Buffy took a deep breath, smiled at him and began.

Buffy was terrified. Funny thing really; she faced demons and darkness on a regular basis. Why did telling Giles how she felt scare her so deeply? She knew he felt the same; he'd already told her that. But what if he'd changed his mind? What if he thought she was only trying to be nice? What if, after everything was said and done he still couldn't put down his Watcher's mantle and they were left with nothing? But, she had to try to make him see what was in her heart, so she took a deep breath, smiled to reassure him, and forged ahead before she gave into the panic.

"Giles, I'm so sorry that I just ran out of here this morning. I know it hurt you; I just needed to sort everything out in my head. I spent all day doing that. I never realized that I had so many thoughts in my head."

Giles laughed and she blushed.

"I tried to tell you that they were there, but you didn't want to believe me," he said, smiling, his pride in her overcoming his bewilderment for a moment. "You don't score that high on the SATs if you don't think."

"You have always told me how smart I am, haven't you?" Add that to his list of good things, as if he needed it. "You've always believed in me and you have no idea how much that means. I thought about that today while I was sorting. I thought about a lot of things and I realized something that you really need to know. You have always been special to me; you've been the man in my life from the first day I met you. Without you, I wouldn't be me. Your love for me, whatever form it was in, made me better, stronger, made me who I am. You never judged me, you just loved me, and that means everything. I love you. I've always loved you in some way. At first as a father, a mentor, my Watcher; then as a friend; now, I love you as more than that. Somewhere along the way, I found that I not only love you, but I'm in love with you. I just hope I'm not too late in telling you."

Giles just sat there, not moving a muscle.

Giles knew he must be dreaming. When she'd wanted to talk first he was sure that she was going to extricate herself from his life. Instead, she'd told him how much he meant to her. It was nice to hear. And then, she'd continued. He felt like he was experiencing, what was it Xander called it? Oh yes, hysterical deafness. She could not have just said she was in love with him, there just was no way. She was looking at him like she expected him to say something.

"Buffy, I…I'm sorry. There just…you couldn't have…"

"Yes, I did," she replied, moving next to him on the couch and putting her hand on his thigh. "I love you. I'm in love with you. I want to be with you. I want to be your girlfriend. There, did that get my point across?"

"I…I…" Good Lord, this must be what a stroke feels like. She wanted to be his girlfriend? She must have really felt sorry for him. "Buffy, you don't need to…"

"No, I don't," she interrupted. "I'm not saying this because I have to or because I feel sorry for you. Have you ever known me to do something this big for stupid reasons like that to you?"

"Well, no," he conceded. "But…Why?"

"Why do I love you?"

"Maybe. Or why the sudden realization that you do."

"I hope I don't mess this up. I love you because you are the most amazing man I've ever met. I never have to hide anything from you. You make me feel strong and cared for; but you've also let me know that I can be weak and you will support me if I am. You make me feel sexy and wanted and I want you too. As to why I figured it out, I had to do some serious thinking after you told me how you felt and the more I thought about you, the more I realized that I didn't want to waste anymore time without you in my arms."

Giles felt the breath catch in his throat. She wanted to be in his arms. That was exactly where he wanted her to be. But he just couldn't…

"Buffy, you haven't thought this through."

"I haven't?"

"Buffy, I'm old. You said you weren't attracted to me."

"I never said that. I said that…well, I did say you were very old and it was very gross, but that was because I was trying to hurt you."

Giles blinked.

"You were trying to hurt me?"

"I was so mad at you for Olivia that I wanted you to hurt like I did. So I said what I knew would hurt you. You are not old and the idea of being with you like that is anything but gross."

"Why did Olivia make you so angry?"

"Because you had a woman in your bed and it wasn't me. I didn't realize it at the time, but that was why."

Giles was stunned. He thought she'd viewed Olivia as a stepmother; he'd no idea that she saw her as a rival. She was looking at him, her eyes starring deeply into his and he saw the clear truth of her attraction to him. It rocked him to the core.

"Buffy, there is still the age difference. Would you really want to be seen in public with a man old enough to be your father?"

"Giles, I love you. Why should I care what other people think? I don't care. To quote a good friend of mine, people are people and they'll find something to look down on you for. You just have to know that you are happy and to hell with what they think."

Giles couldn't believe what she was saying. She loved him; she wasn't ashamed to be seen with him. This had to be a dream.

"And what of our friends? How do you think they'll react?"

"Giles, what if Willow came over tonight and announced that she'd fallen for one of her professors? What if he was a good man who would love her and care for her? Would you begrudge her that just because he was in his fifties?"

"Of course I wouldn't."

"Then what makes you think she would look down on us? Our friends are our friends because they love us, want us to be happy. If this is what we want, I think they'll be supportive."

"Your mother is going to castrate me."

"No she won't. She wants grandchildren."

Giles choked. Grandchildren! He saw the laughter in Buffy's eyes and couldn't help but to laugh too.

"Honestly Giles, mom knows what kind of man you are. She knows that you would die before you hurt me. This is a good thing. She'll freak at first, but only to see if you scare. She wants me to be happy and loved. If you don't run screaming from her, I think she'll accept you into the family."

"And the fact that she and I…that we…"

"That you had hot monkey sex with my mother?"

"Oh yes, and that was not the most appalling way to word that."

"If I'm not freaked by it, she'll live. I'd just suggest you never talk to her about our sex life."

"Our…" Giles choked.

Buffy laughed, gently touching his hand.

Giles took a deep breath. She had thought about this. She wanted to be with him; wanted him. He could deny her nothing, never could. He leaned in slowly, giving her every chance to pull away. When she didn't, he kissed her; softly, tenderly, putting a world of feeling into that kiss. His whole body reacted and from the noises she was making, she seemed to enjoy it too. He deepened the kiss, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her to him. She felt so wonderful in his arms; he'd dreamed of this for so long, never had he thought he'd be holding her like this. He gently ran his tongue across her lips and she opened her mouth to him, her tongue seeking his. He sucked her lower lip in, nipping it slightly and she moaned into his mouth. This was almost too much to bear. It was every amazing dream he'd ever had; she was in his arms, kissing him passionately and moaning at his touch. He wasn't sure how this happened, but he silently thanked every god he'd ever heard of for it. He pulled back slightly, gasping for air and clearing his head. A sudden thought struck him.

"Buffy, what about Riley?"

"I'm kissing you and you are thinking about Riley? I must be doing something wrong."

"No…I wasn't…You weren't…I just…"

"I broke up with Riley this afternoon," she smiled, rescuing him from his embarrassment.


"Because he wasn't you."

Giles was overwhelmed for a moment. How could she do that to him with one sentence? But she had and she was here and he was determined not to waste one heartbeat of his time with her.

"Buffy, I love you so much. You are everything to me. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I feel for you."

She was still in his arms, snuggled against him. She leaned up and whispered to him.

"Show me."

"For the rest of my life if you'll let me," he murmured, as he captured her lips in another kiss.

And show her he did, until they were interrupted by their dinner delivery.

The End.

Look for the sequel, One Step Away 2, Once Upon a Time, here on Fanfiction.

Thing by Nickel :

I did a stupid thing last night,

I called you.

A moment of weakness.

No, not a moment,

More like three months of weakness.

I'm one step away from crashing to my knees.

One step away from spilling my guts to you.

I did a stupid thing last night,

I called you.

I'm doing all right.

No, don't feel sorry for me,

Really, I'm all right.

I'm one step away from crashing to my knees.

One step away from spilling my guts to you.

You see, there's this huge chunk of me missing.

It's gone.

And I can' feel it, I can't feel it,

I can't feel.

I did a stupid thing last night,

I called you.

It's the last time,

And maybe tomorrow night, will be the last time...

And I'm one step away from crashing to my knees.

(One step away from crashing to my knees)

One step away from spilling my guts to you.

(One step away from spilling my guts to you)

One step away from crashing to my knees.

(One step away from spilling my guts to you)

One step away from spilling my guts to you.

(One step away from spilling my guts to you)