It was a typical night in Sunnydale, one of those nights where a girl just had to thank her lucky stars to be out and alive and strutting her stuff down Main Street. This is what Buffy Summers was doing right now. Her bright blue eyes were taking in everything, looking at the world like it was new again. She looked like she was ready for anything, and she was. The only problem was that she wasn't Buffy Summers, she was Faith in disguise. And this disguise happened to be very good and Buffy sized. She spotted the building Giles' flat was in and decided to see if her Watcher was down for a little bit of training. If she could fool him, she could fool anyone.
She knocked on the door and he came to answer it quickly enough. He was wearing more relaxed clothing than normal and he had a glass of wine in his hand. His bright green eyes glowed with concern.
"Buffy? It's late. What's wrong?"
She put on her best Buffy voice before she replied, sick at the sweetness in her tone. "Nothing's wrong, Giles. I just wanted a little workout. Want to help?"
The older man looked at her, considering, she could see the questions churning in him. "Don't you have classes tomorrow?"
"I'm one girl in all the world. I need to stay in shape."
No Slayer who knew Giles could say they hadn't heard his speech. Sacred duty, blah blah blah, one girl in all the world blah blah blah. He pushed the door to the side and motioned for her to come in. This suited her just fine. When she sidestepped inside they brushed against each other and she felt him through his tee shirt. Of course he was muscled. He kept up with Buffy, didn't he? Maybe there was something else she could do to have a little fun. Faith looked sidelong at the Watcher and felt a sort of appreciation for him.
"I can wait if you want to get dressed. We'll go patrolling."
For his part, the staunchly British man was just delighted to be of use again. He wasn't sure how it stood for a while since Buffy was on her own in college and trying new things but he was happy to still be considered useful. Unemployment did not seem to suit the man very well. He nodded once and headed upstairs in his flat, changing quickly into something better suited for their purpose. In Giles world this meant something in a suit. He came back downstairs looking like he was heading to the library.
Faith almost laughed but turned to the door instead and they walked down the street toward the cemetery. It wasn't an awkward silence as it could have been. The Slayer's wheels were turning, thinking of the time they had and how to use it wisely. It was only a matter of time before Buffy came to in her body and realized what was happening. Thankfully, she'd made herself a damn good outcast so there was added time before she could convince everyone of who she was. "Good old Scoobies." She thought to herself. "Keeping me out of the loop."
"Buffy, I was thinking of something." He started. "Perhaps I ought to return to England. You're strong enough to be on your own now and to be honest, this uselessness doesn't agree with me."
She blinked. She'd forgotten how honest the pair was with each other. It was cute, really. "Sure." She responded, sure that's what Buffy would say. "Whatever will make you happy."
Now the other blinked. He'd expected more of a fight and felt a silent pang when it didn't come. "Right then," He commented instead, "if you think it's a good idea, I'll look into it."
The cemetery was in sight and both of them were thankful to see it. Mortal danger meant no more talking. There was a stake nestled behind her in a holder. They passed through the tall wrought iron gates and into the quiet space. Both were on alert now and Faith was anxious to see how her new body performed. To her delight, Buffy's body responded to her desires as easily as the old, tensed and ready to kick some bad guy butt.
They walked slowly through the cemetery, with purpose. When she spotted a fresh grave, she paused. Sifting the soil through her hands, she confirmed for the Watcher. "It's fresh. Doesn't look like anybody's risen yet."
"Not every new grave has a vampire in it, Buffy." He deadpanned.
A hand shot out of the ground and she gave him a look. The newly risen vampire clawed his way out of the ground, intent on getting that first meal. Faith smiled. Game face on, she was charged as the vamp attempted to drive her down. He was sloppy and she sidestepped, letting him rush past her. He tried again, moving close to engage her directly. Jabbing at her with his left fist, she parried, and he brought his other fist back across her jaw. She felt her cheek explode in a spider web of pain but she stayed focused. Slipping the stake out from behind her shirt, she saw a flicker of recognition in the vampire's eyes.
"Hey! This isn't…"
She used his distraction to thrust the stake through his chest, piercing the heart before he could finish his thought. He turned into ash before her eyes and poofed into non-being. She turned to see Giles giving her his thinking look. "What was that all about?" she laughed, covering, hopping up on a flat sarcophagus and leaning back to stare up at the moon. Her Watcher watched and shrugged off his suspicions. He came close to her. "Let me look at your cheek. He hit you pretty hard."
Obediently, she turned her cheek, letting him look at the pristine skin there. It hurt, but she didn't bruise easily. Evidently, neither did Buffy. "I'm alright." She said, trying to look embarrassed. "I've had worse anyway."
He backed away and she turned her head again to face him. They were in a cemetery, surrounded by death and moonlight, and his eyes lingered just a moment longer than they could have. Using this as permission, she leaned forward and kissed the Watcher for as long as he let her. It wasn't long. After taking a moment to recognize the situation, Giles stepped back and stared at her, trying to find the words to speak. Finally, when he did manage it, the words came out harsher than he'd intended.
"Buffy, have you lost your mind?" he demanded, taking a step back from her. Faith feigned a look of shock, grinning inwardly.
"I'm sorry." She said softly. "I thought…I mean…I thought you wanted me to."
The older man paused, hearing the emotion in her voice. "Buffy, you're mistaken." He stated simply. "I could never allow us to cross such a boundary. And I'm surprised that you, of all people, would ever believe we should. After Angel…" he stopped immediately, wincing at his own mistake to bring the vampire up to his protégé. Faith caught the little slip and pretended to be hurt, turning away from the Watcher completely.
"Oh, Buffy, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to…"
Faith spent the time with her back turned working up tears. Several of them slipped down her cheeks before she glanced back at him. "Don't you think I'm confused?" she burst out, hearing the very Buffy like reaction coming from her lips. "When Angel left I wanted to start over and move on. I thought things would get better and now I've made another mistake."
The Watcher's heart softened, looking at his Slayer. She was confused, certainly, but more than that she was vulnerable. He'd seen her this way before and wanted to be as gentle as possible with her feelings. Ever the staunch and sensible man, he touched her shoulder and sighed.
"Buffy, I realize you must be lonely these days with everything that's happened. Changes aren't ever easy."
She jerked away, looking at him as if his words wounded her. "I'm not a stupid child, Giles! I know what I'm saying!" She turned her big blue eyes his way and showed plainly what she thought of his placating her. "Tell me you've never thought about it." She challenged, daring him to be honest or lie. They were eye to eye, with her sitting on the large above-ground tomb. He fought for the words to say but something inside of him couldn't dismiss her challenge outright.
He could easily admit he loved her. That was never a question. She was his Slayer, his student, and, in some ways, his hero. He cared for her like a daughter and would have given his life for hers at any given moment if the situation demanded. He thought about what she asked him seriously, considering the notion. Could he honestly say he'd never allowed his thoughts on her to be romantic, or, dare he say it, carnal? Well, yes, he could. But that was before he felt the sting of her lips on his. The possibilities of a Slayer, their bodies. It was certainly not in the Watcher's handbook and there had never been an instance of this kind of breach of decorum as far as he knew.
How could he be entertaining this idea? He shook his head, trying to shake the idea out of it, to somehow make this conversation unheard or unspoken. He was thinking about it now, for the first time since Jenny's death. Amazing how the rekindling of his heart could come at the suggestion of such a young girl, innocent and wise all at once. "Buffy, I…" he trailed off. How could he answer?
"No, I get it." She remarked back to him, bitterly. Faith thought to herself as her body responded to the supposed pain of his denial. "Lying may not be one of my talents, G, but you seem to be caught up easy enough. Guess I just have to create the right lie."
She slipped down from the stone surface and turned her back on him, moving to walk away. Her heart skipped a beat as she took a step, wondering if she'd played her hand to its last card but when she felt him grab her hand and pull her back, turning her around, she knew she'd won. When his lips descended on hers without words to accompany them, she let him have what he fought so hard to earn.
He kissed her with a greater passion than he thought he had. Once he let one drop go, the rest of the floodgate broke open over his repression and he devoured her. Faith was impressed in spite of herself and was hard pressed to keep up. He pushed her back, pressing her against the wall of a nearby mausoleum and pressing as close to her as he could. His body responded eagerly; he wanted this, her yielding beneath him. His mind, on the other hand, finally switched back on and he came back to his senses, pulling away from her to a separation that was almost physically painful. He was panting, inner turmoil raging against his mind. Faith watched with no small sense of satisfaction.
"Giles?" she asked softly, taking a step toward him.
"Buffy, please don't!" he pleaded, reaching a hand out to keep her back. "Dear Lord, don't!"
"Giles…" she trailed off. "Did I do something wrong?"
He looked at her sternly, then a look of anguish broke over his features. "I'm sorry, Buffy. I've failed you here, tonight. Forgive me."
That was her cue to exit. Faith turned on her heals and ran away, acting entirely the part of the hurt little girl until she got out of visual range. He didn't even call after her. Part one was accomplished. Even if they figured it out now, it was too late to prevent things from changing between them. The line was crossed, the thoughts couldn't be unthought.
"I could get used to this." She thought to herself, walking out of the graveyard toward her next opportunity.