Title: Wesley Knew

Length: 862 words

Written because I have decided I must start to give back to the fandom's that I read. Not mine.

Wesley Wyndam-Price had come to Sunnydale nervous, but oh so eager. He had trained his entire life for this, for the chance to experience the mystical bond between Slayer and Watcher, to stand at the front line and battle the forces of evil (or have his Slayer battle them, while he guided). He could see it in his mind, clear images of heroism and triumph against a blurred background of something Wesley couldn't name. He thought maybe it was respect.

And then this was all ripped away from him by Buffy Summers and her thrice-cursed damnable ex-Watcher.

The Slayer was nothing like what the books had led him to expect. Giles' Watcher diaries somehow failed to convey the whirlwind that was Buffy Summers, even as he recorded her rebellion and idiosyncrasies in exacting detail. Wesley knew the rules, and he knew protocol, and he was absolutely certain that what this Slayer needed was to be taken in hand. Children, even Slayers, responded to discipline and order. Yet at every turn he was mocked, ignored and excluded from the close knit circle of friends that the Slayer had inexplicably formed around herself. Impossible that a Slayer should have friends; impossible, and yet it was so.

The most important person in a Slayer's life was her Watcher. Wesley knew this. He had read the handbooks, the diaries, had studied the history. Yet he was bitterly aware that despite the Council appointing him, Buffy Summers had only one Watcher, one guide, one person to whom she turned in times of trouble, and that was Rupert Giles.

While Wesley struggled to hold Buffy's attention for the duration of a sentence, Rupert Giles could, with one word, put her to slaying, research or training. With a single gentle touch on her elbow or shoulder he could cut off a tirade, redirect the conversation and calm her down during a crisis. And when Wesley gave her an order, it was always a glance from Giles that decided whether or not she obeyed. No, never truly obeyed. Went along with. Tolerated. Humoured.

Wesley hated them, with all the fire his soul possessed. This was meant to be his time, and they had stolen it from him. He didn't understand why they were so close, when Travers' report after the Cruciamentum had painted the pair as irrevocably split. Yet every day they exchanged banter, comforting gestures and looks that he couldn't quite decipher.

A father's love, Travers had reportedly said. Wesley shed that illusion the day he walked into the library to see Buffy Summers, the Chosen one, sitting in her ex-Watcher's lap in one of the office's oversized armchairs. She was facing him, perched on his knees gesturing excitedly and chatting gaily about her last night's activities (not patrolling, even, but dancing). He had his glasses in one hand while the other rested, almost casually, on her denim-covered thigh. On his face was a bemused expression that conveyed a tenderness unmatched by any experience of Wesley's life. A sharp cough caused Buffy to simply roll her eyes and continue as if nothing untoward was happening. And maybe the position could be construed innocently, but Wesley knew better. Knew now why he would never be accepted, never fulfil his destined role; never gain the respect he deserved.


He was in the library. They could not see him, could not hear him as he stood silent and still, shrouded in shadow with the blood rushing in his ears.

"I never realised how much I needed you until there was a chance you wouldn't be here anymore," Buffy said, her voice thick with emotion.

"I betrayed you once, Buffy," Giles said, his face downturned. "I can never do it again. I am wholly yours. Hang the Council. Nothing will ever come between us again."

"I believe you," Buffy smiled. "In a way, I'm glad. It's like we never would have known what this meant to us if we didn't get the ick out of the way first."

Giles looked at her. "I knew," he said simply. "Deep in my heart, I knew."

Buffy smiled incredulously, tears coming to her eyes and running down her cheeks. With a cry, she launched herself into her Watcher's arms. "My Giles," she said, voice muffled by the material of his clothes.

"My Buffy," he replied fondly. She looked up at him, eyes shining and Wesley almost gasped at how very beautiful she was. Giles' face was inscrutable as she removed his glasses, then slowly reached up and pulled his head down. They kissed long and slow, and Wesley couldn't take it anymore as he screamed, cried, wailed at the fates for everything he could not have.

And then he woke up.


Buffy came in to school the next day with a high collared blouse that didn't quite hide the hickey, while Giles walked with a certain stiffness that handed been present the day before. She fobbed off her friends with a story about a vampire who caught her off guard and a brave Watcher who wielded the stake to save her. Only Wesley knew better.