Set in early series 2, no real spoilers except for series 1 Author's
I've decided I'm going to expand this. I was originally thinking a single follow-on fic but it's turned into a series, which will be called "Plain Sight". However I'm not going to start a second series at least until the first "Foreshadow" is completed, so it will be a while yet.
Author's notes:Not to be confused with Daddy's Little Slayer, this is the same idea but – well – different. You'll see what I mean.
The Daughter He Never Had
wish I could say the right words
To lead you through this land
Wish I could play the father
And take you by the hand
- Once More, With Feeling
He watched her. Constantly.
It was his job.
Not as a Watcher, but as a father.
Buffy had no idea, of course. It was necessary. Oh, she knew he cared, but she had no idea the lengths he would be willing to go – had gone – in order to keep her safe.
As safe as possible, that is. The life of a Slayer, especially on a Hellmouth, was not expected to be long. Buffy had already died once. Thank goodness for Xander. Giles had forgotten to breathe for several minutes after reading the prophecy and had nearly fainted with relief when he had seen her alive – shaken and sodden, but alive.
Honestly, the girl attracted trouble just like her mother had done. Giles smiled slightly to himself as he recalled a time, nearly twenty years ago. Joyce, or Tahilla as she was known to the Watchers, had been lucky not to have been killed long before the two of them met. The last months they spent together in England were the worst; it seemed everywhere they turned, the Watchers or someone were after her. In the end, they had resorted to drastic measures.
They arrived at a crypt minutes before the Watchers. "Hide!" Giles hissed.
Tahilla climbed into the sarcophagus and Giles pushed the lid shut, before putting a match to her coat, laying at his feet on the dusty floor. When the Watchers crashed through the door a few minutes later, they were greeted with the sight of Giles, stake in hand, kneeling over a pile of ash.
"Well done, Rupert." Quentin clapped a hand on his shoulder and Giles shrugged it off. "I know that was hard for you--"
Giles stood, thrusting the stake at Quentin, and said quietly, "I resign."
The trouble for Joyce had more or less ended then. It was Buffy Giles now worried about. At least this way he could look out for her. The alternative … Giles had only a glimmer of an idea what the Council would do if they knew who she really was, and he knew he would probably be powerless to stop them.
Right now, Buffy was in the middle of the library with her friends, preparing for Parent-Teacher Night. Well, she was preparing for Parent-Teacher Night. The others were making stakes and doing research in preparation for the night of St Vigeous, which was rather more important, but Buffy had been threatened with expulsion. Giles sometimes wished that Snyder had been the Principal that got eaten by hyenas.
He also wished he could be there for Parent-Teacher Night. He would be in the school, but not attending the event in the capacity he should be. Joyce would be there, and it would be another awkward time when they would have to pretend not to know each other for Buffy's sake.
Until the two of them had come to Sunnydale, Giles had not seen Joyce in nearly sixteen years. She was still adjusting to the human life when he had left. The cure had taken a long time to find. If it hadn't taken so long, Buffy would have been … normal. No super-strength.
No vampire strength.
He remembered clearly the day he and Joyce had discovered Buffy's ability. He had been at work when he received a frantic phone call.
Giles almost dropped his keys in his haste to unlock the door and get inside. "Joyce? What's wrong?" he called. "Joyce?"
She stood in the middle of the living room, the blinds drawn as usual. "Rupert … look."
Buffy, six months old, was grinning up at her mother. In her hands were two pieces of a bar broken off the playpen, which she was now using to play a tune on the remaining bars.
"Did she do that?" Giles gasped.
"Our little girl's a strong one." She paused. "Rupert, what do we do?"
"We shouldn't panic," he said, not being particularly calm himself. "It doesn't mean she's …"
"Part vampire?" Joyce supplied. "Rupert, there's no way a normal child can break those bars. I would even have trouble now that my strength's gone. It's what we feared: Buffy's inherited creature-of-the-night genes."
It was in that moment, both parents knew they had to do something drastic.
If Buffy hadn't been mistaken by the Watchers for the Slayer, Giles mused, then the two of them would most likely never have met. The plan had been for him to stay away, so the Council could never match Joyce to his vampire lover he was supposed to have killed. If they did, they would most definitely stop to wonder what, exactly, that made Buffy. Giles knew what she was – she was a loving, stubborn, free-spirited, undisciplined, plucky, resourceful, loyal human being. As far as he was concerned, there was not an evil bone in her body.
But the Council would not see it that way, and the risk was too high to let anyone know who she really was. It pained him every day, watching and never really belonging. Not in her life the way he should be.
Despite the hurt, he was grateful for the relationship they did have. They were closer than the usual Watcher-Slayer relationship; close enough for him to be of some influence on her life. But every now and then, he had to remind herself that he was not meant to be her father, even if he knew he was; and he had to forced himself to step back a little, because she did not know, and could not know. He had adopted the stiff upper lip as a method for dealing with the emotions that burned beneath the surface.
Buffy could never know any of it. Who he was, who she was, who Joyce was. Telling her the truth would only hurt her more than he could bring himself to imagine.
Giles watched his daughter. As usual, she was oblivious to the fact that she was the apple of his eye. Her own eyes, he frequently mused, were just like his mother's: green and sparkling with mischief, yet older than their owner.
Oh, Buffy, he whispered inside his head for the millionth time. I wish so much you could know how much I love you.
Sometimes he wished it so badly he found the words on the verge of spilling out. Once, he had physically choked them back. Every minute he saw her, he just wanted to tell her, hold her in his arms and rock her as if she was six months old again.
But instead, he watched her. As was his job.