By E. Quackenbush
Summary: Buffy figures out why she didn't go to Riley when her mom got sick.
Rating: PG-13 Some sexual connotations, and, of course, some very hot smoochies!
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, though at times I wish...please, Joss, I beg you!
Author: E. Quackenbush aka NephilimEQ (previously known as edq-ocd18)
Author's Notes: This was inspired by the dialogue below...it sparked a major interest for a story in my head!
"You stayed strong throughout. You never even cried." "Oh, I cried. I cried so hard I didn't even think I was going to be able to stop." "Oh..."
She couldn't believe it. She just couldn't believe it.
Buffy barely noticed where her feet were taking her as she left the hospital. She knew that Dawn was okay, so she didn't worry about her as she walked through the exit doors. She was so absorbed in her thoughts that she didn't even hear the sound of the doors as they automatically closed behind her.
The sun was just beginning to set, which would mean that she would have to patrol soon...but she knew that she shouldn't. Not when she was this emotionally distressed.
Why was this happening to her mother? And it wasn't even supernatural; nothing for her to fight.
She looked up to find that she was at Giles' door.
Buffy knew that she had to. She raised her hand and knocked on the door, hoping and expecting him to answer. She was not disappointed.
It was only a few moments before the door swung open to reveal a tired looking Rupert Giles. He looked at her in surprise, trying to understand what was going on with his Slayer as she walked into his apartment and sat down on his couch. His mind scanned through the different possibilities, but he came up blank.
He moved from his previous position, closing the door behind him. Something was wrong.
She said nothing, merely pulled her legs up in front of her body and he watched as she wrapped her arms around them, hugging them close to her chest.
He slowly approached her, wondering whether or not to put on tea, but decided against it.
As he sat down on the opposite end of the couch, he cast his eyes back towards his Slayer, trying to understand what was going through her mind. That was when he noticed that she had dropped her head to her knees...and her body was shaking. Oh dear lord, she was crying.
He was at a loss of what to do, so he did the only thing that he could think of.
As his arms pulled her towards him, ever so gently, she pulled herself from her position and quickly discovered a new one, this time with her hands on his chest and her head tucked firmly under his chin.
"There, there...I don't know what's wrong, Buffy...but I'm sure that it will work itself out..." He let his voice drift, unsure of what else to say.
She merely cried into his shirt, wetting it with her tears, but he didn't mind in the least. If this was what she needed, then this was what he would do. He had long ago left behind the fanciful notion that she could ever see him as anything else, but in moments like these, his irrational hopes sprang up once more.
She turned in his arms, and he adjusted his body so that she leaned in towards his side, her head on his shoulder.
He said nothing, waiting for her to be the first one to speak. She knotted her hands into the front of his shirt and then suddenly let them loose.
"I'm sorry...I didn't mean to break down like that on you. It's just that..." Her voice drifted, but he let her have her moment to regroup and collect her thoughts. He knew what it was like to be disconnected.
She finally broke the brief silence once more. "Mom is...well, it's not good."
A deep sigh permeated his frame and Buffy enjoyed the feel of his support that he gave so freely. This was what she needed. Not the desperate grasping of hands that thought she might leave them, but the solid arms that asked nothing of her, and expected absolutely nothing in return. True support.
Giles now took the time to collect his own thoughts and then finally spoke. "Oh, Buffy...I'm so sorry. Is there anything that I can do?"
She smiled to herself and burrowed her body closer to his. "You're doing it. Thank you."
He was surprised at her openness, but chalked it up to the fact that she was emotionally vulnerable because of what was happening with her mother.
He held her tightly, but at the same time wondered why she wasn't in the arms of her boyfriend, her lover. The thought danced around in his mind, but soon vanished as he decided to make use of the time that he had with her, even if it was oh so very short. It would be what he needed, too. What he desperately needed and craved...he would imagine that he was holding it in his arms for a brief while.
Buffy wordlessly went through her emotions and feelings in her head, trying to understand why she hadn't turned to Riley.
But the answer to that question immediately sprang into her mind, and she knew that she'd known the whole time why she hadn't turned to him. He wouldn't have held her. He would have grasped her, clung to her.
That's all he ever did. Hold tight to her for himself, as though she were his life preserver...but what he didn't realize was that she was a drowning person too, and she needed her own life preserver. Giles was that person.
She felt his hand run down her back, attempting to comfort her, and she arched into it, needing the reassuring contact.
That was when it hit her.
This was what she'd been looking for...the feeling of completeness. Not just safety or comfort, or passionate distractions...but the feeling of finally finding the place where she fit. Absolutely and completely fit, without any question. That she was where she belonged, and nothing could change that.
She glanced up at his face through her eyelashes, trying not to let him see her stare...and she saw him.
Not just the Watcher or the uptight persona that he had tried to wrap himself in. She saw him. For once in her life, she saw Rupert Giles the man; the human being who had his whole life devoted to her, and her to his. She didn't know what she'd do without him.
From where she sat, she stared, amazed.
He was beautiful. His glasses were off, leaving his eyes open to be read by anyone...but very few knew him well enough to do so. She was one of the few. And as she stared, she rediscovered the man that she thought she knew so well.
His face was a thing of beauty as it showed every minute expression that passed across it, no matter how hard he tried to hide it. She stared at his serene expression and realized the only other time that she'd seen him so at peace was when he played his music. Yes, she'd snuck over to the cafe one night to watch him sing.
Even though she had expressed less than amicable feelings about it, she'd been curious. And what she'd seen had helped her understand him a little more.
He was everything that he'd tried to hide from them those first four years. He wasn't stoic; he had a sense of humor that was sarcastic and had more wit than she'd ever known anyone to have...it was intellectual and refreshing. He wasn't tweed; he was comfortable jeans and warm sweaters that made you ache to touch them, just to see if they were as soft as they looked. He wasn't emotionless; he was heated debates and intense moments filled with an obsessing passion for books that she loved.
Giles wasn't old; he was aged in wisdom, with a young spirit trapped in a mortal frame made to harness the magical energies within him that yearned to be free.
Everything about him eventually all came down to her...one girl in all the world. And here he was, a fired Watcher still doing his duty, unable to leave her side for reasons that she did not know. Why had he stayed?
Buffy knew that she'd done more than enough to chase him away from her, had hurt him too many times to imagine...but he stayed.
She felt a swelling in her heart towards him, one that she didn't quite understand. As she thought about it, tried to place the feeling, she realized what it was...and instead of being shocked, she instead felt like an idiot for never recognizing the signs of it before. How had she ignored this?
Giles felt her shifting in his arms, so he sat back, giving her room to sit up.
She pulled back, but instead of standing up and leaving, as he expected her to do, she re-situated herself so that she faced him, her knees on either side of his one leg folded up under him on the couch.
Her hand reached out towards his face and he had to hold back a shiver as her fingers traced his jaw line in an almost loving manner.
She began to lean forward, slowly drawing his face towards her own, but he pulled back slightly, bewildered by her actions, trying to understand what she was doing. "Buffy...what are you doing?"
She smiled. "I'm kissing you..."
And with that, she drew him the rest of the way to her and softly placed her lips on his. At first, she was worried as she didn't feel him respond, but as she began to pull back to apologize she felt his right hand insinuate itself into her hair and pull her back to his lips, where he then responded ardently.
Breaths were exchanged as tongues tentatively met and then entwined, tasting the other person and trying to memorize the feel of them.
Her hands slid to his shoulders, and slowly around his neck, as she lost herself in him.
He could barely believe what was happening, but it was, and he knew that she knew her own mind and that if this was what she wanted, he would gladly give it to her.
She arched her body into him, rising to her knees, and he groaned into her mouth as his tongue tasted her and reveled in her heat. Every stroke sent electricity running through his frame, desperate for an outlet, only to flow straight back into her, fueling the fire that was slowly building between them.
She was completely absorbed by him and loving every moment.
His lips were soft and warm, but his tongue was causing her body to have other ideas...ideas that led to beds and tangled sheets.
She gave up on thinking and instead focused on his taste, which was something that she'd felt she had always known...as if it were the most familiar thing to her in the world.
Buffy had been worried at first about kissing him, afraid that it might feel...not quite right. But as it continued on, she wondered why she'd never done it before. It felt like one of the most natural things in the world to her to do, as though she'd never kissed anyone else. He was where she belonged. She was home.
The kiss seemed to continue on for forever. Every time it felt as though it were about to die down, he started it back up again, stoking both of their fires with a single touch.
Their hands were also enjoying the time.
She had one hand tangled in the soft hairs at the base of his neck, while the other one gripped his shoulder tightly, kneading the muscle beneath the soft fabric.
Giles' hands, too, were active participants, and were straying into territory that he wished that he had marked a long time ago. His left hand was at her waist, caressing the skin beneath her shirt, reveling in the feel of her muscles clenching and releasing under his hand, knowing that he was the cause of her reaction.
The other one was in her hair, holding her tightly to him, never wanting to let her loose.
He was afraid that if he let her go, it would turn out to be a dream and that he would wake up alone in his bed. Or, even worse, that she had suddenly changed her mind and wanted nothing to do with him anymore.
She lowered her body from its kneeling position, so instead she sat on his leg. He could feel her heat through the material and he felt his hand begin to move of its own accord, his thumb sweeping down to the edge of her jeans, wanting to mark the territory below.
He physically held himself back, sliding his hand back over the smooth fabric of her shirt, not wanting to push her any further. She had started this, she would be the one to set the pace...he would give her the reins willingly. This was her doing, and he knew that he would hate himself if he took unfair advantage of her.
Their mouths finally drew apart, and soft sighs escaped both of them as they relinquished the other person's lips. They let their foreheads touch, resting against one another.
He collected himself, slid his other hand down to her waist to join his other hand, and then finally spoke. "Buffy...I need to know something." He saw her give a small nod. "Why did you kiss me?"
She looked up at him, pulling back slightly so that she could see his eyes, but he kept his head down.
She slid her hand forward, repeating the gesture that she had done a few minutes earlier that had started everything. Her fingers on his face once more caused him to lift his head, and their eyes captured each other. The look on her face was indiscernible, and he wondered what was going on inside her head.
"Giles..." she whispered, trying to make him understand, but then she corrected herself. "Rupert...I kissed you because I love you."
She saw him about to protest, so she placed her finger gently across his lips, shushing him.
"I don't want to hear it. I do love you...and you want to know how I know?" He nodded, and she could tell that he still had some apprehensions, so she quickly assuaged his fears.
She started slowly, trying to explain everything that had happened in a mater of minutes. "Gi-Rupert," she corrected herself once more. "As you held me, I wondered for a moment why I hadn't gone to Riley...and I realized that it was because of one simple reason: I don't love him. He holds onto me like a life raft, when I am the person that's floundering in the water, trying to survive..."
She watched his face, trying to make sure that he understood what she was saying.
"With you, I've always known that you're the person who understands that, and doesn't expect me to be anything but me..." She hesitated, trying to figure out how to explain everything else that had run through her head.
His eyes were searching, and she found herself drifting back to her thoughts from before, so she voiced them.
"I was just sitting there in your arms, and then I looked at you and I found...you. The real you..." She lifted her hand and brushed a lock of hair from his face. "Not...not Giles the Watcher, or Giles the book-guy...but Rupert Giles. The man."
She saw that he was beginning to understand, but still didn't quite believe her.
She continued to explain. "Everything I've been through, everything that I've ever done...I guess I kinda realized that if I lost anyone else, eventually, I would heal, I would be able to live through it. But that if I lost you...I don't know what I'd do. I would be...lost. I don't think I could go on without you in my life...I don't think that I'd even want to."
He stared at her for a moment...and then he smiled.
The corners of his mouth quirked up, and she could feel something inside her begin to change. "Buffy...I love you."
Those words were all that needed to be said. Before either of them even knew what was happening, both of them had moved forward and were kissing once more...but this time, it was different.
There was passion, yes, but it was subdued by the sweet knowledge that they both knew that they loved the other person. Absolutely, completely, and irrevocably. She savored the feel of his lips brushing against hers, again and again, while he whispered against her lips the same three words over and over.
"I love you, I love you, I love you..."
She felt the tears begin to slide down her cheeks, but she didn't care. She was kissing the man that she loved as he whispered an endearment that would echo in her mind forever.
Who knew that this would be the night that she found the man that she wanted to be with for the rest of her life?
He held her in his arms with a light touch, the same as he caressed her with his lips. She was the woman that he felt that he didn't deserve...but she loved him. What more could he ask for? As he continued to brush the barest of kisses against her lips, he slowly tightened his hold on her, reassuring himself that she was real.
He finally pulled himself back, and found tears were running down her cheeks.
Giles reached up, and with gentle fingers he brushed the tears away, knowing that they were tears of joy. The expression of love in her eyes took his breath away. She seemed to be doing that a lot to him recently.
God, what on earth did he do to deserve this woman?
Buffy smiled a shaky smile, and then lifted her own fingers to his cheek. That was when he realized that he had been crying as well. She followed the trails of wetness down to his jaw, and then lovingly brushed them away. He leaned into her caress, and she let his jaw mold to her hand, relishing the intimate touch.
Their eyes connected and this time they both smiled.