Title: Words of Love
Author's Name: The Library Girl
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Warnings: None really.
Season: During season four.
Spoilers: Willow and Oz's relationship.
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: Rupert is lonely and Willow has a solution to the problem.
Author's Notes: 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 in love with. Big thank yous to my other half and best friend Ann for all the love and
support. I could never write without her help and I would never want to try. I appreciate all her work. Thank
you to Jess for listening and helping me put this is readable form.
Words of Love
Rupert Giles sat on his couch with his arms folded across his chest. He found himself wondering how far his reason had slipped as he looked into the eyes of Willow Rosenberg.
The day had started normally enough. He'd come back from his morning run, had some toast and tea, read the paper, found a reference to another apocalypse; nothing out of the ordinary. And, as usual, when he'd put out the call for research help, most of his young friends had found something else to do. Only Willow had the time to devote to bookwork.
They had spent the morning looking for any hint of the impending doom. Just after lunch, Willow had found a whole chapter in one of Rupert's older texts. He had been relieved, albeit somewhat embarrassed, to find his calculations had been off and they wouldn't have to face this evil for fifteen more years.
"Hey, in fifteen years, at least we'll know where to look," Willow had said with a smile.
Rupert had expected her to leave. The crisis was past and he was sure she had better things to do than spend the afternoon with an old man. He'd been surprised when she sat on his couch instead. She'd relaxed and talked to him about casual things; her grades, her friends, his hobbies, the new exhibit at the museum.
He wondered what was wrong until he'd seen a vague hurt in her eyes and remembered her break up with Oz. Well, that explained a lot. He supposed she didn't want to be alone anymore than he did. At the next lull in the conversation, he made an attempt at sympathy.
"I'm sorry," he said quietly. She looked at him with one raised eyebrow and he felt the need to expound. "For…for what happened with Oz."
"Thank you." She sighed and looked at him. "I appreciate that."
"Are you doing all right?"
"I'm not wonderful." He could see a sadness in her eyes. "But it's not like I didn't see this coming."
"We'd been drifting apart for a few weeks, but I didn't want to let it go." She frowned, looking at the floor. "You must think I'm completely pathetic for staying with someone just because I didn't want to be alone."
Rupert snorted. He couldn't help it, but he regretted it she looked up at him with wide, hurt eyes.
"I'm sorry," he said gently. "But I very much can understand."
She looked at him curiously.
"You don't think I'm lonely?" he asked.
"What about your girlfriend? The one from England?"
"She isn't my girlfriend," Rupert said with a sigh. "She's simply a friend."
"But Buffy told me she caught you…" Willow trailed off, glancing up at his loft.
"She did." Rupert could feel his face redden.
"So you did…that…with a friend?"
"Willow, I don't expect you to understand." Rupert tried to keep the bitterness out of his voice. "I am alone here. I accept that a certain…solitude comes with the calling, but some nights it's almost impossible to bear. Olivia offered me a respite from the pain and I took it. I lost myself for that small time, pretending that I actually meant something to someone."
He closed his eyes, not wanting to see her pity. He was startled when he felt her fingers gently touch his arm and he turned to look at her, finding himself staring into her eyes. He was caught off guard by the affection he saw there.
"Why would you think you don't mean something to us?" she asked gently.
"Willow, I…it's not…that…" He trailed off, turning away from her.
"Giles?" He could hear the concern in her voice and his breath caught in his throat as she took his hand in hers.
"I…you lot have lives now," he whispered. "And I would wish nothing else for you, but…sometimes when I spend days by myself in this flat I…"
"Resent us?" Willow supplied, squeezing his hand.
"No. I never resent or dislike you." He looked up at her again. "I just wish…I want something more in my life."
"Why don't you?" she asked.
"Why don't you get a job or take a class?"
"What if Buffy needed me?" he asked quietly. "I know it happens rarely now, but I would never want to not be here if any of you needed me. I am still a Watcher."
"So you aren't allowed a life?" She was frowning at him.
"This is my life, such as it is." This time he didn't try to hide his resentment. "It might not be as I wish, but it's my destiny."
"Giles," Willow said, stroking the back of his hand. "I'm pretty sure teaching a class won't interfere with your scared duty. You should get out, make friends, maybe date."
Rupert laughed. When her frown deepened he sighed.
"And just who would I date?" he asked. "It's not as if someone my age has an abundance of choices as is. And I would be putting anyone I dated in danger. I'm not sure I could face it if something were to happen. Which means I have to keep my life a secret. What kind of relationship can I have if I have to hide who I am?"
Willow was looking at him speculatively.
"So you would have to date someone who already knew our little secret."
"Ideally, yes," Rupert said. "But as there isn't anyone who knows about Buffy…"
"That's not true," Willow said, staring at him.
"Just who have you told?" he asked, feeling a touch of alarm.
"Huh? Oh, no! I wasn't…" She smiled at him. "No, I wasn't saying I told anyone. I just meant that there are some of us who know."
"I'm sorry?" He blinked, completely lost. "Who are you referring to?"
"Well…" She trailed off, blushing. After a minute she took a deep breath and turned to look into his eyes. "I was actually thinking about me."
"Y…I…what?" Rupert was totally nonplussed. There were times he'd been speechless, but they all paled in comparison to this moment.
She laughed, squeezing his hand again.
"Not exactly the reaction I was hoping for," she said quietly. "But you really are attractive when you stutter."
"I'm…you…" He was trying to wrap his mind around the situation. Worse, now that the idea was there, he found that he liked it. Could this be more embarrassing? "Willow, I appreciate your concern, but…"
"Is that what you are seeing?" She was looking at him intently and he was slightly unnerved by her directness. She leaned closer and he could feel her breath on his skin. "If you think this is concern, then I really need to work on my pick up techniques."
Rupert swallowed, trying to banish the images her words were bringing up. She wasn't really interested, she merely felt sorry for him. She was still holding his hand and had begun to stroke her thumb slowly across his skin. He tried to concentrate on the conversation, but her touch was sending waves of desire through him. He reminded himself how wildly inappropriate this was and gently took his hand from hers.
"Willow, please." He smiled at her, wanting to reassure her that he wasn't upset, "I know that you…"
"No, I don't think you do," Willow cut him off. "This isn't pity or concern or any of the other bad things you have running around in your head. This is me being very attracted to you."
"Willow, I'm much older than you."
"I'm sorry?" He blinked at her.
"Do you really think I don't know how old you are?" She was watching him with a serious look on her face.
"I think you haven't really thought about it. You're nineteen. When you're my age, I'll be over sixty."
"And I'm sure you'll still be sexy," she said with a smile. "Giles…Rupert, I'm not worried about your age."
"But you should be. What exactly do we have in common? If we have nothing to talk about, what kind of relationship could we have?"
"What do we have in common? You mean beyond that we are two of the few people who know demons are real and that there's a Slayer. Or that we both work with the Slayer?"
"So we would always speak of work?" He smiled at her. "Willow, there are so many other things. Books, movies, music, politics."
"Gi…Rupert, I do read. I enjoy the classics like Shakespeare and Dickens."
"You do?" Rupert was a bit surprised that he didn't know this. He narrowed his eyes at her. " 'Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.' "
"Why are you quoting James Baldwin at me?" she asked, looking perplexed. "Are you trying to make a point? I'm not grown up enough? I prefer to think of it this way. 'Love looks not with the eyes, but the mind.' And my mind loves yours. Of course you are pretty nice on the eyes too."
In truth Rupert was surprised she'd known the quote was from Baldwin. He was pleased she responded with Shakespeare. After a minute, he smiled.
" 'Love is the self-delusion we manufacture to justify the trouble we take to have sex.' "
"Rupert, Greenberg was a journalist, not a poet."
"Journalism can be poetry if it's done right."
She made a face at him.
"Fine. 'Where there is love there is life.' "
He blinked. She was quoting Gandhi? Perhaps she was more well read than he'd thought.
" 'Love is the flower you've got to let grow.' "
"Leave it to you to quote John Lennon. 'Love is the beauty of the soul.' "
"Saint Augustine? Really?"
"Why not? It's a great quote."
"I suppose it is." He smiled at her. " 'At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.' "
"And that's why we're playing this game?" she asked with a laugh. At his raised eyebrow she sighed. "Well, at least the Plato quote is taking us in the right direction. Okay, you say you're too old for me. Well, I'm invoking a man who has your first name. 'A kiss makes the heart young again and wipes out the years.' "
He frowned at her.
"Who said that?"
"You mean I picked one you don't know? I thought I wasn't well read enough."
"Rupert Brooke. World War One British poet. He wrote The Soldier and Heaven." He still looked confused. "You should look him up. Well, you didn't know that one, so I get to go again."
"There are rules now?" he asked with a slight smile.
"There are. 'Take away love and our earth is a tomb.' "
He opened his mouth to say he'd always liked Browning, but she went on.
" 'Friendship often ends in love.' 'Love is all we have.' 'Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.' 'To fear love is to fear life.' "
"Willow," He tried to interrupt, but she sped up.
" 'It is sad not to love, but it is much sadder not to be able to love.' 'Love conquers all.' 'If you want to be loved, be lovable.' 'Love is the magician that…' "
Rupert had moved across the couch until his hip was against hers. He leaned in close, putting himself nose to nose with her. She stopped talking, her eyes going wide.
" 'A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.' " he whispered as he tilted his head and captured her lips.
He lost himself to the sensations, his mouth gently caressing, lightly tasting. His hand slowly trailed up her back to tangle in her hair. When he broke the kiss a minute later, she looked up at him with a slightly dazed expression.
"Wow," she gasped.
He chuckled, reaching up to stroke her face. She leaned forward for another kiss, but his guilt got the better of him and he pulled back slightly.
"Willow, we need to talk."
She smiled, shifting closer to him.
"No talking, kissing."
He gently took her hand, looking into her eyes.
"Willow, I…it's just not…"
She brought her fingers to his lips, silencing him.
"Don't. I'm sure you can think of fifty reasons why this won't work, but I don't care. I could give you lists of compatibilities, cite mutual respect and affection, and compare interests, but it boils down to this; we could be good together. And…" She paused, looking down at her hands. When she spoke, her voice was just above a whisper. "I think I might be falling in love with you. I have been for a while."
Rupert was shocked. He'd convinced himself she was just lonely, she felt sorry for him, so many excuses to explain away her actions. In none of his scenarios could she actually care for him. Yet he could hear the sincerity of her words in her trembling voice. He looked at the woman sitting next to him, realizing that he wanted the opportunity to love her
"Do you think you could take a chance with me?" she whispered.
He wordlessly pulled her to him, his kiss answering her question. She moaned quietly into his mouth and he felt warm desire wash through him. She opened her mouth to him and his tongue sought hers. He was pulling her even closer when she broke the kiss.
"I just thought of another quote for the game," she said with a mischievous grin.
Rupert blinked, completely lost. She moved closer, leaning in to whisper in his ear.
"How about Simone De Beavior? 'Sex is a kind of magic spell; it demands complete abandon.' "
He shivered as her breath ghosted across his skin, setting his blood pounding in his ears. He closed his eyes.
" 'Tis no sin loves fruits to taste; to be taken,' " he murmured, struggling to recall the quote.
"I've always liked Jonson," she replied, her fingers tracing across his wrist, trailing further up.
He opened his eyes as he felt her leave his arms. He frowned as she stood and walked across the room. She stopped, looking back at him.
"Levertov is also good. 'We plunge towards each other and into that elemental deep fall.' " She gracefully climbed the stairs as he got to his feet, watching, daring to hope. When she reached the top she smiled down at him. "Your turn."
"I…" He paused, admiring her beauty, unable to think past where he knew this was going. "I am at a loss."
She laughed, disappearing into the darkness of the loft. He was just following her up when her shirt sailed over the railing, drifting to land on his desk.
"Marge Piercy," she called down. " 'It's not the sex that gives pleasure but the lover.' Show me she's right?"
Rupert didn't have to be asked twice. He was smiling, truly happy, as he took the stairs two at a time.