All Grown Up 1/1
AUTHOR: Midnight Heart
SUMMARY: Buffy longs for Giles to see her as an adult but a spell
from Willow results in surprises!
DISTRIBUTION. GRB, anywhere else ask first :-)
DISCLAIMER: I don't own them Joss Whedon does!
SPOILERS: Minor 'Beer Bad','Where the Wild Things Are'
TIMELINE: Mid - late season 4
'I don't know Will,' Buffy dodged the newborn vamp without hesitation, 'I don't think Giles will ever accept that I'm well on the way to responsible adulthood,' she spun a kick and the creature tottered backwards. During the pause in battle she turned to look her friend in the eye. The redhead was perched on a headstone, the spell book she'd been perusing before the attack in one hand. She was looking back with a mildly concerned expression.
'I'm thinking, you know, the beer incident probably gave him a few doubts… and er Buffy… vamp?'
'Oh, yeah,' Buffy was prompted into action as the newbie made a charge behind her. A swift backhander put it off balance and a jab of the stake sent it flying into the night breeze. 'But the thing to remember about that was… hey… evil curse. Not just your average fresher overindulgence when sensing the freedom of the campus and escape from parentage… and even if it was a freedom of the campus thing I'm thinking its all part of the learning curve on the road to adulthood I've learned and shared and hugged and grown.' She looked at willow hopefully. 'Besides that was months ago. I've proved myself over and over since then.'
'By getting hot with the smoochies and trapping us all in a haunted frat house filled with sexual frustrations?'
'That was another curse! Well a possession anyway.'
Willow rose from the headstone and Buffy joined her as they made their way out of the graveyard, the night's patrol over.
'I just want to prove to him that I'm all grown up. Not in a 'I don't need you now' sort of way just in a kinda 'we're partners in this, you can rely on me' way, you know? I mean he was right, neither of us work for the Council now and he doesn't have to look after me but I always get the feeling he's….'
'Watching you? That'd be the Watcher in him,' Will said.
Buffy sighed. 'It's nice, being patted on the head, given a cookie, told well done, but sometimes… I dunno I want something more. I'm not at high school now I want to feel like an equal.'
'I get that I guess,' Will said, 'It's a trial, a whole shifting dynamic of parental and adolescent roles…'
'Will,' Buffy said warningly, 'I know I skipped class but you don't have to rub it in. Professor Walsh will give me enough hassle.'
Willow grinned. 'Buffy if you really want Giles to see you in a different light you just have to work to gain his respect as an adult. It's a long process and you're already well on your way, you know Giles thinks the world of you, he has huge respect for you as a Slayer….'
'And as a person? Or will I always be his Little Slayer?'
Giles dropped his glasses beside him on the couch and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He glanced at the clock, the day was passing interminably slowly and he'd already picked up his groceries, eaten half the box of chocolates he'd bought himself for a treat, gone for a run to burn off the guilt and the calories, and cross referenced Faulkner's Compendium of Demonology with Rittlers 6th Edition of Necromancy. It was still only 3pm. Buffy and the others wouldn't be arriving until at least six with their classes to finish and, well, whatever Xander did with himself these days. And that usually involved Anya…
'No, I'm not going there with that thought.'
He supposed he could make some more tea. He closed the battered paperback he held on his lap. He'd already read it twice. A silly romance which would have to be hidden from the Scooby Gang or he'd never live it down. He slipped it behind a cushion and adjusted the fabric until it was as unnoticeable as the TV he had hiding behind a stack of books in the corner. Whenever he ventured to switch it on he ended up looking guiltily round the apartment in case he should be seen.
'You are a bloody prat Giles,' he muttered to himself as he pottered into the kitchen, 'no one is the least bit interested in how you while away the endless hours of your impending middle age.'
'Wha?' he jumped and turned to see Willow leaning on the counter beaming her innocent smile at him.
'Oh… um… Willow.'
'Tea?' he asked brightly, 'I wasn't expecting you for a while… its very good to see you.'
'You saw us yesterday…'
'Oh really… seems like longer ago… hello Tara,' he noticed the young witch hovering behind Willow. She seemed to be making some sort of gesture to her friend, her head ticking in the direction of the couch. Willow picked up on her clues.
'We'll just go and… sit down…' she said.
'Oh yes, make yourself at home,' Giles said pleasantly, 'I'll bring this through.'
Willow joined Tara where Giles had been sitting moments before.
'So here we are… just with the sitting…' she said loudly then whispered urgently to her companion. 'Swap them.'
'Are you sure he won't notice? They're a different style from his.'
'He'll just put them on the way Giles does, you know kinda absently, he never looks at them much just polishes them, and once they're on it won't matter til the glamour wears off.'
'Well OK if you're sure it's a good idea,' Tara took a pair of old glasses from her pocket and quickly switched them with those Giles had left on the couch.
'We'll come back tomorrow, make up some excuse and swap them back,' Willow whispered as she heard Giles approach, 'And here we are… just sittin'' she went on loudly. Tara giggled guiltily.
Giles looked at them curiously, 'Youth,' he muttered, and poured the tea. He handed them their cups and then reached for the glasses.
'So tell me what you've been up to. I hope you've been careful with your Magi Willow?' he polished them on the edge of his sweater.
'Of course, careful is me,' she said chirpily.
'Good good, because I wouldn't want you experimenting a stage too far.'
'Strictly no experimenting,' Willow shifted in hr seat and ended up sitting on something uncomfortable. 'Hey what's this….?' She extracted the romance from the cushion and flicked it open randomly, ''You're a woman. A powerful beautiful enchanting woman and I love you,' he said, ' she read aloud..
'Oh er… nothing,' Giles blushed and reached over to take the book and as he did so slipped on the glasses. 'Just a book I was er… reading, not mine you know' he squinted at it, 'Funny, looks a trifle blurred.' He dropped it to the floor and reached to remove the glasses.
'So!' Willow exclaimed in an unnaturally high pitched tone. Giles let his hand fall away and eyed her curiously. 'We um… we have news don't we Tara?'
Tara looked baffled, then… 'Oh yes news!
'Oh?' asked Giles, finally settling back into his chair.
'Yes we um… we were thinking about getting a cat,' Willow said quickly.
'How lovely animals are rather soothing creatures,' said Giles.
'We were going to call her Miss Kitty Fantastico…' Tara elaborated while Willow breathed a sigh of relief.
Just after 6 Buffy arrived with Xander and Anya in tow. Xander went straight for the empty chocolate box and was disappointed to find only half a coffee cream in the ruins. Buffy greeted Tara and Willow.
'Hey guys! Hard day? Fancy a bit of slaying, I've been stuck class and I'm itching to get with the slayage. Where's Giles? Has he got something big bad and vampy for me?'
'He's out back,' Willow began, 'Er… Buffy… I think you should know that…'
'Buffy!' Giles emerged from his bathroom and met Buffy half way across the room.
'Hey Giles, you got homework for me tonight?'
Giles seemed fazed. He gazed at Buffy as though he had never seen her before. 'Buffy' he breathed.
Xander looked up at the pair. 'Is he OK he seemed a little… wigged?' Willow and Tara looked away sharply.
'Have you done something to your hair?' Giles asked his confused Slayer.
'Oh.. you're going to tell me its too long or too short or too choppy or something right? A girl's hair is her own choice.'
'I was going to say it looked lovely actually, very suitable, quite charming you look….'
Willow looked at Tara and breathed smugly,'Grown up.'
'Beautiful,' Giles concluded.
'And that too.' Tara whispered. Willow raised her eyebrows.
Buffy was flummoxed. 'Er.. thanks Giles, so slaying? Tonight'
'Yes, yes of course,' he pinched the bridge of his nose and pushed his glasses into place. I think perhaps I should come with you this evening.'
'Training? You got some moves you want to show me?' she joked.
'Um... well not strictly speaking now, but we do need to have a little chat.'
She could feel him watching her as she moved but it wasn't the usual critical eye of the watcher which followed her body as she slayed. There was something new in his eyes which she'd only ever glimpsed before. But now whatever made them burn was stronger than before and well… it was putting her off her stroke. The vamp got a hit in below her kidneys and Buffy drew herself back sharply to the fight.
'Careful Buffy!' he called. What was up with him?
Buffy took a back flip across one tomb and landed neatly on the other side ready in fighting stance for the vamp to come again. She looked past the creature and could see Giles waiting for her, his eyes fixed upon her with curious intent. The vampire blocked her view for just a second before she dusted it.
'Really very good Buffy, its incredible how you do it,' he said approaching her.
'Its what I do, what you trained me to do, you know Chosen One, One Girl in all the world, your favourite speech.'
'Buffy, you're unique and blessed with the gifts of the slayer but it's the person inside you which lends herself to this talent, it's the woman you've become who makes you greater than I ever dreamed you would be. You've achieved so much, I'm humbled, and I feel I need to tell you….'
Buffy looked at him wide eyed and wondered briefly if he was possessed. But he looked so earnest, and so much younger there in the moonlight that she held off the thought.
'What do you need to tell me?'
'That I love you,' he said simply and waited for it to sink in.
'Giles, I know you love me, and well I think a lot of you too….'
'You don't understand, I couldn't tell you before, it would have been inappropriate. I'm so much older than you and you've placed your trust in me, I didn't want to disturb you, make you feel uncomfortable. But I've seen you grow and you're no longer a child, no longer the Slayer I am duty bound to watch over. You're a woman. A powerful, beautiful enchanting woman. And I love you.' Giles' voice cracked. Instinctively Buffy moved towards him and he reached out for her, uninhibited.
'I know, you could never love me, I couldn't ask you to throw away your life on an old man, but I'll always be there for you, no matter what.'
'Giles…' She was right up against him now and she could see her refection in his glasses, beyond that the sincerity of his gaze. In the cold night he felt warm and somehow inviting and her thoughts became muddled. Was this Giles? Her Giles?
'Tell me honestly, could you ever feel the same way?'
Buffy paused. She felt she should say no straight away, that the idea should at least get her freaked, but something made her hesitate. She could feel him bending towards her and she felt powerless to prevent her face from turning to his, her lips parting even as her mind wondered what she was doing and then…
'Buffy!' It was Willow making her way across the grass with Tara by her side.
'Not now willow Buffy and I are talking,' Giles looked over at her plaintively.
'Its, really important, like majorly so, I sort of well… I might have done something a bit magical that went a teeny bit wrong.'
Tara explained 'extra ingredient to the spell, shouldn't have been there.'
'What spell?' Buffy looked confused. She really didn't have time for this not when Giles was pouring out his inner secrets. And Giles' inner secrets were usually a bit scary what with demons and black arts and stuff… and now he was yearning for his Slayer and his Slayer… well she didn't feel like she was objecting to the idea.
Giles as though sensing her frustration let out an anguished cry.
'For heaven's sake Willow I warned you to be careful with magics! What have you done now?' In his anxiety he reached up habitually and pulled off the glasses. 'I mean I try to teach you to be responsible and…' there was a sudden lengthy pause. 'Oh God,' he said.
Willow grinned sheepishly.
Giles was looking at the glasses. Then at Willow.
'These aren't mine are they?'
'Not strictly yours no.. but you kinda well… borrowed them for the afternoon.'
Giles was looking at Buffy, he looked distinctly uncomfortable. 'A Glamour?' he asked.
Willow felt the need to confess. 'We only realised it when we were tidying up the ingredients. I thought I should come and tell you right away in case.. well in case it went badly wrong… cos it wouldn't be the first time I'd messed up with the spells and all… We wanted to do a glamour so you'd see Buffy as an adult so we placed one on the glasses but you know... extra things slipping in...'
'The extra ingredient… it wouldn't have been rose petals would it?' Giles asked. There was something hopeful about his tone?
'Rose petals? For a love glamour?' Tara began… 'Well actually…'
'Willow cut her off. 'Yes! That was it Roses!'
Tara looked at her sharply. 'But…?'
'Roses… bad roses slipping into the mix, those bad, bad… petals.' Willow babbled to an abrupt end.
Giles rubbed his eyes. He looked very tired and very embarrassed. He tried to say something to Buffy but she waved it away with an 'it's cool, spells and things, they make people say the weirdest things.' It seemed enough for Giles who rapidly made his excuses and after telling Willow off weakly once more disappeared into the night.
'That was so weird.' Buffy said when he'd gone. 'He just came out with all this stuff I never expected from Giles. I didn't know what to think, I didn't think it was even legal to think like that but there I was thinking anyway… about Giles… I never…'
'Um… Buffy?' Tara said softly.
The extra ingredient wasn't roses. It wasn't a love glamour. Willow looked panicked but Buffy ignored her, she needed to hear this.
'It was pansy.'
'For truth. It's a truth glamour, whatever Giles said… he meant it.'
Buffy reeled. He had meant all that? She thought of how earnest he had seemed. How close he had pulled her to him. And that fleeting moment when she had looked through the glasses at his soft green eyes and felt… the Truth.