Title: That's One Opinion
Author's Name: Laura Sichrovsky
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Warnings: Nope. Sorry. Nothing here.
Spoilers: This one doesn't even spoil anything.
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: This story is a sort of a sequel to How to Measure a Man. If you haven't read that story, this one won't make much
sense. But if you have read it, then you know Willow got to see Giles express frustration and his feelings that no
one cares. This story is what she does about it.
Author's Notes: I'd like to think that if any of the gang had ever realized just how much Giles hurt in this show that they would
have stepped in to make him feel better. That being said, here is my take on that. 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. 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 Ann and
Nikki, who called me on my mistakes, and helped me British this up; 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.
Note on the e-mail addresses in this story: Fanfiction wouldn't let me put an actual e-mail or even the at symbol in this story, so the e-mails have been spelled out with spaces.
That's One Opinion
Rupert Giles sat in front of one of the computers in the library, complete boredom written plainly on his features. It was time for his daily torture of going through e-mails. Giles avoided computers and everything associated with them, but for his job he'd been forced to face one at least once a day. While he had to admit their usefulness, he still suspected that they were secretly plotting against him. He and Willow had sent out some inquiries earlier this week and now, here he was weeding through his inbox to find something useful.
Willow had opened his e-mail box for him, as she did every day, sparing him a losing battle with the mail server. He probably should have been embarrassed that a high school student had to help him so much, but he was too busy wishing a sparking, flaming death on all things computer to really care.
Today, he'd looked with no real interest at advertisements for new library products, announcements of Dewey Decimal System conferences, and notices trying to convince him that his library needed yet more computer equipment. He was just about to click the cursor on the large red X in the corner that he had learned closed the window, when an e-mail caught his attention, causing him to pause.
To: RGiles at Mail. Sunnydale. K12. Ca. Us
From: WRosenberg at Sunmail. com
Subject: My Opinion
He blinked, completely confused. W. Rosenberg had to be Willow, but why on earth was she writing him an e-mail? He looked up to see her sitting sedately at a computer halfway down the table from him, looking for all the world to be studying a webpage. He thought of asking her what this was all about, but decided he could answer that himself if he just opened the e-mail. As the screen switched over to the e-mail, Giles started reading, his eyes getting wider with every line.
When you sent your e-mail to Mr. Travers yesterday, you said that you were tired; tired of being ignored and treated as if you don't matter. You said that you gave up your life, your friends, everything to come here to train Buffy and to fight evil. And you said that the only gratitude you received was someone telling you that you aren't good enough. I thought about that and do you know something? You're right.
Nobody ever says thank-you, no one ever says, "Hey, good job, Giles. Thanks for saving the world again." Nobody ever tells you, "I owe you my life, Giles. I can never repay you for that." No one ever says, "My own parents couldn't give a flying fig about whether or not I even come home at night, but you always worry, you always make sure I'm safe." Nobody ever tells you, "I wish that you were my father." Or "You are a really good friend." Or "I feel safe knowing that you are here." Most of all, no one ever tells you, "I love you, Giles." Seems to me that somebody really should because you deserve to hear all of that.
The Council is wrong. Travers is wrong. You are not a failure. You are not a bad person. You are Giles; our Giles. Because you are here, we know that we are safe; we know that we can face anything that comes after us. Because you are our friend, we are trying to be better people.
Every time something goes wrong, we all run to you. Why do you think that is? Buffy is the Slayer; she could kill just about anything, so why do we go to you? Because we know that you have all the answers and if you don't, you'll die trying to find them. How incredibly noble is that? How many people would give up their lives to protect someone else? But you would. You always make it right; you always keep us safe.
The first time I saw a vampire, I thought I was going to faint; I'm not sure that I didn't. Look at me now. I actually stake vampires without even blinking about it. (Alright, maybe a tiny blink.) You did this. You showed me how to take care of myself; you showed me that I was stronger than I thought. You trusted me to help you and you showed me that I can trust you.
So, I guess I'm going to be the one to tell you the things you deserve to hear. Thank-you, Giles. I am a better person for knowing you. You make me want to try harder at everything. You make me feel safe. I am so proud to say that you are my friend. Now that I know what goes bump in the night, I should be terrified. And well, I am, but if you can face it, so can I. You treat me like an adult, yet you protect me like a daughter. I can never tell you how much that means. Thank you for giving up so much to get so little back. Thank you for caring. You deserve so much, but I can only give you this letter. I hope it's enough to let you know how much you mean to us; to me.
And Giles, you should know; I love you. I never tell you because sometimes words have a way of coming out wrong, but you are my friend and you deserve to be told. I'll try to do better at it.
Giles just sat, completely still, watching as the screen in front of him blurred. The words were rushing around in his head, causing him to have to swallow the lump in his throat. He closed his eyes, breathing deeply; he was not going to break down right here in the library. The soft touch on his shoulder made him jump, turning and opening his eyes, he saw Willow standing behind him looking slightly concerned.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm…" Giles paused, swallowing again, frantically blinking his eyes free of tears. "I'm just fine, Willow."
He'd taken off his glasses and was cleaning them furiously. He looked up at her and smiled.
"I'm just…reading e-mails."
She smiled back at him, nodded, then returned to her seat. Giles took another deep breath, composing himself. He tried to tell himself how silly he was being, getting so emotional over a simple e-mail. But, this was more than a letter, this was someone noticing him, caring about him, loving him; this was family. And it was something Rupert Giles hadn't had in a long time.
He loved these children as if they were his own. He loved them as friends, he loved them as comrades in arms, he loved them as the family he'd been denied by his calling. He would give up anything for them and to finally have one of them tell him that she knew this and what it meant to her, touched him so very deeply; it soothed a hurt he didn't even realize that he had. Just to know that she loved him back made all of this worth it.
Giles sighed, then closed the e-mail window. He had books to check in and late notices to send. Maybe later, he'd ask Willow to show him how to print the e-mail; it might be nice to have to read on dark and lonely nights. He rose from his chair and started walking towards the circulation desk.
"Giles?" Her voice was soft, tentative.
"Yes, Willow," he paused, turning to face her.
"I meant it you know. You are the best and I'm sorry it took me so long to tell you that. Thank you for everything."
Giles felt the tears threatening again and quickly turned from her to hide them. He was a man and he was British and he'd be damned if he started crying in front of Willow. He took a deep breath, but when he spoke, his voice still had a slight tremor to it.
"Thank you, Willow. I-I do care for you as well."
With that, he turned back to the desk, back to his work, not speaking anymore, but his eyes glowed with a quiet happiness and he couldn't get the smile off of his face.
The End (Look for the sequel, Well, You Know)