A/N. Right. This is actually the final chapter to this alleged 'one-shot'. Heh. What can I say?
Anyway. Thank you all for sticking with it, and all the lovely reviews: they're definitely the reason I've carried on, so thank you a million times :D It's starting to sound a bit like an Oscar acceptance speech, so onto more important things.
The characters don't belong to me. See previous chapters for more information on that one.

"Buffy..."

"It's too soon for the 'l' word."

"Too soon? We've known each other years, Buffy," Giles gently reminded her, ghosting his lips across hers again, just because he had recently discovered that he could. One hand rested on her cheek, thumb tracing small circles across her soft skin as he got caught up in kissing her for several seconds. He would have carried on, too, had she not pulled away.

What was wrong? Was she forgetting that it was her who had brought them here? Her who had been kissing him back with just as much passion? Like she wanted him. Needed him. He saw the doubt on her face, and his heart sank. The reality of the situation was setting in, he thought, and she was realising just what was happening. He'd been too forward, and this wasn't how she'd planned today at all. Those kisses had just been sympathy kisses, because he was 'old and gross' and she felt sorry for him.

All of this featured in his thoughts, exacerbated when she caught his hand in her own and stepped back slightly.

"Giles... I never meant for it to be like this. I had no idea that you felt the same..." Buffy breathed, shaking her head. She had suspected as much, but had all but dismissed it as vain hoping. Just because she realised that she loved him didn't mean that he felt the same.

"You have to understand... Everything I touch turns to sh-"

"Gold?" Giles interrupted, closing the distance between them again. "Look at yourself. You're the longest living Slayer. On top of that, you're beautiful, funny, smart... You've got men falling at your feet. Myself included." The last was spoken in a near-whisper, like he was worried about admitting it.

Buffy dismissed what he was saying with a shake of her head. "That's not what I meant. Look at Angel, Spike, Riley. None of them have ever worked out. I don't want to put you through that, or ruin what we already have."

"That wasn't you. That was them. It was their fault that it didn't work out. It's their loss. Look at me, Buffy." Reaching out, he tilted her chin slightly so that she was looking at him again, shaking his head with a small smile. All worries that she hadn't meant their kisses earlier had faded, and he was looking at her fondly. "You know we can make this work. You know it in here, and in here." He punctuated his point with a gentle tap to her temple, then over her heart. In any other circumstances, he would have felt a fool for saying so but this was Buffy. She was the most accepting person he knew, the most loving. It was okay to say that kind of thing around her.

His smile broadened as she nodded, giving it.

"I love you," he breathed, finally finishing what he'd wanted to say earlier. This time, she didn't stop him because she knew it was true, and that she loved him, too. In their own, unique way, they could make it work. They were Watcher and Slayer, moulded for each other. It would be a strange relationship, she felt sure, and there would be those that frowned upon the union, but she was happy and was content in the knowledge that he was, too.

"I love you, too," she smiled, stretching up to kiss him again, safe in the knowledge that he wasn't like Angel, Spike or Riley. He was Giles, the one who she'd been searching for all along. And now she'd found him, right under her nose.

A/N. So a short and, hopefully, sweet ending to a fic that's gone on far too long for a four-chapter piece.
I hope you enjoyed it and thank you for sticking it out!
Shameless plug: if you enjoyed this, and like Inception, you should check out my Inception fics ;)
I've got another chapter for Crack the Shutters (maybe) in the pipeline and am hoping to branch out into NCIS fic, too :D There's another couple of things for Inception, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and possibly a cross between the two. I have the bare bones for a fic of that, so it just needs some padding out. It might be a while before any of this gets to you, as for that B/G fic that I mentioned in the last chapter but they'll be with you eventually. I hope.
Thank you again!
Until next time!