Summary: Buffy's blind and only love can 'cure' her. WARNING: underage snogging (smoochies). Buffy/Everyone…kinda.
Warning: Buffy's 16 and kissing a couple adults, but that's the extent of the sexual interaction, 'k?
Timeline: season 2, Christmastime – after 'Ted'. Say that the episode happened closer to Christmas, and that Giles and Jenny never made up. Oh, and Oz was already part of the group, but not yet a werewolf (for AshDawnSoulmates who wanted him in the story).
Challenge: just had to do a Christmas fic.
A/N: This is my 100th fic on TtH! Wow, I need a life outside writing/reading fanfic.
Thanks to my beta: AshDawnSoulmates.
Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
When her eyesight started to grow fuzzy, Buffy thought it was some kind of delayed reaction to the hits she took during the fight with Ted, her mom's homicidal robot boyfriend. She wasn't even gonna bother to mention it to Giles at first, but then she started bumping into things and miscalculating distances.
After she missed putting a dish on the counter a second time, Joyce rushed her to the hospital to get checked out. Fortunately – or unfortunately as the case may be – they weren't able to discover any physical reasons for her failing eyesight. They suggested it may simply be fatigue or possibly psychosomatic – especially given what the past few days had been like for her, accidentally killing a man and being questioned by the police about his death.
Buffy groaned as she walked into the school. This meant she had to tell Giles in excruciating detail about everything since she first started noticing a problem. If he made her miss her Christmas plans so he could do whatever Watcher things he did. On the other hand, it was getting worse, and her plans would probably have to be adjusted anyway.
"Giles!" she called out when she got to the library. "I think something Hellmouthy is going on!"
Later that evening…
Later that evening…
It was several hours later, and they still hadn't found out what the problem was. All they knew was that everyone agreed it must be supernatural in origin. Buffy called her mom to say that Willow was helping her with homework and would bring her home later in Oz's van.
Since she couldn't exactly research with everyone else – mostly due to her sight steadily getting darker – Buffy work on some training exercises. Otherwise she'd just be sitting there, brooding…and that look so wasn't her. In a way, it wasn't that bad. She was learning to trust her other senses as the gang took turns throwing tennis balls at her.
Everyone decided to help out; some because they felt guilty for not believing Buffy that there was something weird about Ted. Others – Ms. Calendar, Oz and Cordy – just didn't think having a sight-impaired Slayer was a good thing. Or as Cordy put it with her usual bluntness, "How is she supposed to keep us safe if she can't even see where we are?"
When Giles went back to his apartment for some of the more obscure texts and diaries he had been studying at home, Angel found something. "Buffy, come over here for a minute."
Cautiously making her way across the room, Buffy quipped light-heartedly, determined not to freak out…not yet, anyway, "What's the what?"
"There's something in the Codex-" Angel started to explain.
Buffy cut him off, her voice ice-cold, "You mean that horrible, nasty book that said I'd die?"
Angel winced at the reminder. He still had dreams of that day in that very room where she yelled at him and Giles, telling them that she quit. "That's the one. Anyway, there's a mention of 'a Slayer who has tasted death, yet still lives' in here."
When he didn't continue right away, Xander prodded him, "Yeah, and…? What's gonna happen to the Buffster?"
"Uh, she's going blind," Angel said, practically stuttering.
Cordy rolled her eyes at the obvious comment, and snarked, "Well, duh! We already knew that much."
"The only way to cure her is…" Angel trailed off uncomfortably.
"What?" Buffy demanded, irritated that she couldn't see his face. She felt that if she could see him, she'd understand why he sounded like her parents when they told her they were getting a divorce.
Still, the ensouled vampire attempted to deflect, "It sounds ridiculous; like something from a fairy tale."
Xander was at the end of his rope with all the hemming and hawing. "Spit it out, Deadboy," he bit out.
Sighing, Angel read from the text:
'Before the last new moon of the year following her brush with death, the Slayer must kiss her true love under the branches of viscum album. If her true love cannot be found, then hot silver pokers cleansed in boiling holy water must purge the veil of death from her eyes.'
Oz quirked an eyebrow once Angel finished. "Not sure what fairy tales you read, but I've never heard the second part before," he commented blandly.
Ignoring Oz's statement, Buffy wondered aloud, "Are we gonna have a hard time finding the vicious album tree?"
"It's viscum album, Buffy," Willow corrected absently, "and that's the scientific name for mistletoe. When's the last new moon? I know there was a full moon last week."
Grabbing a book, Oz quickly browsed through it, then announced, "The almanac says the 29th."
"So Slaygal needs some mistletoe, then she can kiss Angel and get all better; is that about right?" Cordy summarized.
Jenny cleared her throat, and said with an apologetic look at the couple, "Assuming he's her true love."
"Of course he is!" Willow replied, offended at the idea it could be anyone other than Angel for Buffy.
A short time later…
A short time later…
A quick trip to the Christmas tree lot a couple blocks away produced a fresh branch of mistletoe. Jenny suggested that Angel hold it while he kissed Buffy, then they all waited for the spell to be lifted. They were surprised when both participants cried out in pain. Angel's lips were burnt – as if somebody held a cross to them – and Buffy was holding her hands over her ears.
Wincing as he talked, Angel snarled, "What the hell? That's never happened before when we kissed."
While part of him was gleeful that Deadboy wasn't Buffy's true love, a greater part of Xander muted that feeling, worried by the fact that she was hurting. Still, it was fun to point out the obvious, "Guess this means he isn't her true love. Is this gonna happen every time she kisses the wrong person? I mean, as bad as the pokers sounded, I'm not sure it'd be worse than what just happened if it happened with each guy until she found the right one."
Without Giles to answer the questions, everyone looked at Jenny – except for Angel, who was in too much pain to think real clearly at the moment. "I'm not sure why this happened. We'll have to leave it up to Buffy if she wants to try again," she said, putting her hand on Buffy's shoulder.
Unfortunately, because of the ringing in her ears, Buffy didn't hear any of the previous conversation, so she started yelling, unaware that her voice was raised, "It's never hurt to kiss Angel before! Will that happen when I kiss somebody else?" After a couple more seconds, the noise cleared from her mind, and she added in a softer voice, "Ouch. So what now?"
Before anything else was said, Willow apologized, "I'm sorry about Angel, Buffy."
Putting on a brave face, Buffy pushed past it for now. There'd be time to cry herself to sleep later – after she ate a tub or two of comfort ice cream to numb the pain. "So am I, but can we worry about that after I have my sight back? Umm, this is a little awkward…" She blushed and tilted her head down before blurting out, "Can Xander or Oz try now?"
Jenny needed to check that the Slayer knew she might get hurt again. "Are you sure you want to try again? We don't know what will happen-"
"At least one more time, 'k?" Buffy asked. "If it hurts again, you can do some more research."
Cordy whispered harshly to Xander, "You'd better not enjoy this too much, Dweeb-boy. If you do and you aren't her true love, that'll be it for our closet visits."
Surprisingly, it was that thought which made him pause. Xander was finally being given the chance to kiss the girl he'd had a crush on since first seeing her almost a year ago, and it wasn't quite the thrill he thought it'd be – and all because it might hurt his 'relationship' with Cordy. Well, that and the fear it could cause Buffy pain.
Xander picked up the mistletoe from where Angel dropped it, and cautiously moved over to Buffy. Just before he leaned in, he apologized to her, "I'm sorry if this hurts you."
There were no cries of pain after the kiss, but there also weren't any signs that she could see either. Xander backed away and said, "Not me either." He looked a little relieved, and a glance at Cordy said she felt the same way. They gave each other a small, shy smile, then grabbed the other's hand – much to the shock of the rest of the group, sans Buffy.
Since she couldn't see what was going on, Buffy inquired, "What's with the gasps of shock?"
"Cordy and I are dating," Xander announced, a goofy smile on his face.
Blinking away her confusion, Buffy remarked, "That's an unusual reaction to kissing me."
"We're just holding hands. It just started when that other Slayer was here awhile back; when we were fighting one of those assassin guys," Cordy explained to the group.
"Umm, congratulations?" Buffy said, unsure about whether this was a good thing or not. After all, Cordy wasn't exactly the nicest of people – even in the best of times.
Desperately needing to change the subject before her head exploded, Willow said, "Guess this means that it's Oz's turn. Wait! I just gotta-" She grabbed him and quickly kissed him. "Just in case you aren't her true love, I wanted to kiss you before she did. If you are, then I'm sorry to both you and Buffy 'cause that would-"
Smiling at her friend's nervous babble, Buffy assured her, "That's okay, Willow. If you'd rather that I didn't kiss him, I won't."
Willow shook her head adamantly. "No. Curing you is more important."
After they kissed, Buffy blinked her eyes several times. It was an action that Jenny noticed, and she asked, "Well?"
Buffy bit her lower lip in frustration. "It got lighter for a couple seconds, then faded again," she explained.
With tears in her eyes and sadness in her voice, Willow suggested, "Maybe you just have to kiss longer then."
"I can't talk for Oz, but even though it caused a little change, it didn't feel like kissing a true love to me. It was more like kissing…uh, my…brother," Buffy said awkwardly, hoping she wasn't offending him.
Oz quickly put that concern to rest with his reply, "Gotta agree with her on that – except sister in my case."
Jenny glance apologetically at Willow, then repeated the previous suggestion, "Still, why don't you try again? Just to be sure."
Willow turned away as they kissed for several seconds, and only turned back when she heard twin sighs of relief. "Did it work?"
"Nope! Just that same flicker of lightness as before," was the blonde Slayer's oddly happy reply. Oz was the first guy to make Willow look past Xander, and Buffy didn't want to destroy that by being his 'true love' or whatever.
Since they were out of guys to check, Cordy asked, "So what now? We start grabbing guys and tell them it's some weird kissing booth thing?"
Angel spoke up, relieved it wasn't Xander – anyone but him, "You're forgetting another possibility. Maybe her true love isn't a guy; maybe it's a girl."
Buffy held up her hand in a 'stop' gesture. "Wait! I've never had lusty thoughts about girls before!" she denied.
"He's right though. It's possible for a person's sexual preference to change as they get older and more in tune with their feelings," Jenny told the young group. Angel probably had seen this before, but the teenagers were too young still.
Backing away slightly, Cordy pointed to Willow, "You first, Willow."
After kissing both girls, Buffy shook her head, "No luck. But I know that Xander's a lucky guy; Cordy's a heck of a kisser," she said with an evil smirk. Even though she didn't know where he was, she still told her friend, "Wipe the drool, Xan."
"Course I am," Cordy agreed.
At the same time, Willow gasped out hopefully – and a little nauseously, "You can see him drooling?"
Buffy just chuckled. "No, but I can practically hear it rolling down his chin. Typical guy, thinking with his hormones."
"That just leaves Ms. Calendar now – at least until Giles gets back," Oz added quickly, surprised nobody had considered the Watcher before then. He figured it had something to do with the adage 'out of sight, out of mind' though.
"I don't know about that idea. I mean, we're adults, and she's only 16. The age of consent in California is 18," Jenny commented in a worried voice. That was only part of the problem with her kissing Buffy, but she couldn't really explain the other reason why she was worried.
Xander scoffed at her concern, "So? Deadboy is older than all of us put together, and that didn't stop him. By the way, why do you know that?"
Jenny answered, hoping to deflect them away from the idea of having her kiss Buffy, "It was part of the teacher's training to get our licenses. Not so we could have a relationship with a student, but so we'd know what to do in case of a relationship between students and their older boyfriends/girlfriends."
But the pleading in Buffy's voice stopped Jenny's worrying, "It's just a kiss, Miss Calendar. At least I hope it is. Besides, nobody here is gonna turn you in. Who'd believe it anyway? We kissed because of a ritual thing in a book hundreds of years old to cure my blindness caused by dying at the hands of the Master last spring. We'd get locked up in a psych ward before you were arrested for corrupting a minor."
A few minutes later…
A few minutes later…
So that was the scene that Giles walked in on: his Slayer kissing the woman he had begun to date before the mess with Eyghon screwed things up.
But before he could say anything, a shock of lightning separated the women violently, throwing each of them back; Jenny into the circulation desk, and Buffy into the book cage. "What the bloody hell is going on here?" he demanded.
Angel was standing next to Jenny, so Giles raced over to check on his Slayer. Under normal circumstances, he might not be so worried about Buffy, but these weren't normal circumstances. She was already blind, and from his reading at home, he was afraid he knew why.
Part of what took him so long to get back to the library was because he started checking old Watchers' diaries, and came across a similar incident about 300 years ago. So he called the Council Archives and requested that they check other diaries for other mentions. They promised to call with any information they found.
Then he stopped off to pick up dinner for the group, since he expected it to be a long night of researching and waiting. The pizza boxes were on the floor now, where he dropped them moments ago.
Once she got her bearings again, Buffy asked, "Giles? When did you get here?" She wasn't completely certain that she hadn't lost consciousness for a couple minutes or longer.
"Just a few moments ago. What were you doing?" he demanded again, this time without shouting.
"I found something in the Codex that probably explains Buffy's problem. We were trying to fix it using the suggestion in there," Angel answered for her.
Quickly ascertaining that they must have discovered the same thing he did, Giles replied, "You mean the Combibo Ritus*? Why on earth was Jenny the one kissing Buffy?"
"You knew about this?" Buffy inquired, a bit irritated 'cause- well, she wasn't sure why, but she was sore and easily irritated at the moment. "Why didn't you say something earlier?"
Fortunately, Giles didn't take offence to her poor mood; if he knew that if he lost his sight, he'd be much worse than she had been so far. "Because I just found it in Martin Latham's diary while I was at my apartment. His Slayer went through a similar experience in 1673. He heard about the ritual somehow, but when they tried it, they were unsuccessful," he finished a bit apologetically.
"So they had to use the poker method to heal her?" Willow asked sadly. If she was honest with herself, she was probably more grossed out than she was sad…but it was really close.
"Unfortunately, yes," Giles confirmed. "Now, is somebody going to answer my question?"
Since Giles decided to fix his stern gaze on Xander, he was the one to tell the Watcher, "She was the only one left after all the rest of us tried. Kinda weird how only she and Angel caused negative reactions. Wonder why that is?" Xander thought aloud.
Giles turned to stare warily at Jenny laying in Angel's arms, still unconscious from being knocked into the counter. His voice held obvious suspicion, "I can make an educated guess as to why it would happen with Angel; after all, he has a demon in him, and the Slayer essence would take offence to a demon performing the ritual – despite the human soul in him. That doesn't explain Ms. Calendar though."
Buffy caught the change in his tone – as well as the fact he didn't call Jenny by her first name – and attempted to reassure him the best way she knew how, because she thought he still was in love with the computer teacher deep down, "Maybe it's some kind of residual thing from when she was possessed by Eyghon?"
"Perhaps," the Watcher allowed somewhat reluctantly. "Tell me exactly what happened with each person." After she explained, he made his determination. He shared his conclusions with them, "I doubt it had anything to do with possession, or else Xander would have caused a reaction as well. No, it's something else. Care to tell us, Ms. Calendar?"
Even though she woke up before Giles' last comment, Jenny didn't answer right away, not willing to betray her family secret – at least not until it was absolutely necessary. Her hesitation only fueled Giles' anger and suspicion, though.
"I want to know right now why the Slayer perceived you as a threat! I will not endanger my Slayer or the other children with an unknown hazard," he said coldly.
"That's rich, coming from you…Ripper," Jenny snarked back. "You weren't so concerned when it was you who put us in danger."
"If Buffy asked me to get a replacement Watcher from the Council, I wouldn't hesitate for a moment," Giles answered, a hint of sadness in his voice at the possibility. "A Slayer who has no confidence in her Watcher won't last as long as one who does."
Buffy's grip on his arm tightened, almost to the point of being painful, but it was oddly comforting to Giles. "You're not going anywhere, Watcher-mine!" Turning to glare in Jenny's general direction, she snapped, "And you don't get to change the subject! Either tell us or leave now. Giles and I have to be here 'cause of our destinies, but the rest of you don't." Her voice softened as she continued for her friends, "I'm not saying that to be mean, guys, just trying to make a point to Electric-Woman here."
"But I'm here because of my destiny, too! My clan-" Jenny cut off abruptly, worried that she had let too much slip already.
And unfortunately, there was one person who understood the significance of that term. "Clan? You're a gypsy? One of the Romani?" Angel guessed.
Sighing at her mistake, Jenny didn't see any point in trying to keep the rest of it a secret anymore. "Yes. I was sent to make sure that the curse wasn't weakening. One of the clan elders thought you weren't suffering enough lately," she explained.
Angel was looking at Buffy sadly – even though she couldn't see him – as he made his decision. "Then I guess you'll be leaving Sunnydale after all. I thought I was supposed to stay here and help Buffy fight indefinitely. Now I think it just to do what I could to help her survive the prophecy." He glanced at Xander, chagrinned, and added, "Even then, it was Xander who brought her back."
"You're leaving?" Buffy asked with a waver in her voice.
"Not until you're cured, Buffy," he promised. "But I think the real reason Whistler wanted me to come here was so you could teach me how to be a hero."
"I'm not a hero, Angel. Heroes don't try to quit," the blonde Slayer reminded the ensouled vampire.
"All heroes have moments of self-doubt," Angel assured her wisely. "The important thing is you overcame that doubt – even though you knew you'd died. We also need to remember that there's evil other places in the world to fight; somebody needs to help those people who don't live in Sunnydale."
Buffy pouted. "Well, when you put it that way, it's kinda selfish of me to ask you to stay."
Sensing the need for a conversation change, Willow inquired, "Not to get too off-topic or anything, but what about Buffy's reaction to Oz? Why did it work a little bit for only a couple seconds? Is he only partly her true love?"
Giles didn't want to cause any strife between the youngsters, so he answered diplomatically, "I believe the term 'true love' is a misnomer; probably written to create a fairy tale ending. A better description is something similar to ying/yang, or two halves of a whole. So, if things were slightly different, Buffy and Oz would be each other's ideal complement. However, either something is missing from Buffy or it's missing from Oz, and because of that, the Slayer felt he was a possibility in different circumstances. The change in her vision was just a sign to let Buffy know that."
"Then it must be you, G-man!" Xander proclaimed confidently. "Who's a better complement to the Buffster than you? You even have the Watcher/Slayer gig going for you."
Giles simply shook his head, "Unfortunately, that isn't necessarily good enough. If it were, the Watcher in 1673 would have been able to cure his Slayer."
"But we're closer than most Watchers and Slayers, aren't we?" Buffy asked, a strange hope in her voice. Giles wasn't used to her being unsure of herself where he was concerned. "Like kinda friends, too?"
"We are," Giles reassured her. "During our training, Watchers are told to keep their distance from their Slayers – emotionally speaking – so that it doesn't hurt when they die; the idea being that it's easier to deal with if you don't care too much. Except in my case, I already reached that point by the time Catherine hit you with that blood vengeance spell."
"So you could by my ying," she insisted.
Realizing that he was fighting a losing battle, Giles caved, "Very well, we'll try it… But I insist that we go to the office for privacy."
"It's just a kiss. We all kissed Buffy in front of everyone else," Xander informed the older man.
And got a glare in return. "That was your choice; mine is to avoid any undue embarrassment. I can just imagine some of the comments you lot would make," Giles muttered under his breath.
Cordy put her hand on Xander's arm to shut him up. "Let them go, Xander. It's not as if I want to see that."
Torn between annoyance and gratitude, Giles snarked, "Comments like that one, for instance."
"Oh, it's not just you," Cordy answered him, rolling her eyes haughtily. "If I had known we could ask for privacy, I would have wanted it for me and Xander, too."
"Xander? Why-" Giles started to stutter, unsure of where the conversation was going, and whether he wanted to find out or not.
Buffy took pity on him and quickly filled him in, "He and Cordy are dating now. They told us while you were gone."
He nodded his understanding, "Ahh."
"Still, don't you think it would be a good idea to have somebody there in case something bad happens? Not that I think it would, but it would be bad if you guys got hurt, and we didn't know because-" Willow tried to backpedal in case it seemed like she thought Giles was undesirable to the Slayer somehow.
Giles cut her off before she could bury herself any further, "That's a valid point, Willow. Alright…" He looked at the group, considering each person, and rejecting them for one reason or another. Finally he made his choice, "Oz. He's the person least likely to react vocally," he explained.
The stern expression on his face stopped any protests – not that there were many. Actually, only Willow wanted to protest; it was her right/duty as best friend to be there…right?
Oz politely turned his head to give Giles – and Buffy – some privacy once they got into the office and closed the blinds. Then Giles turned to look at his Slayer. Dear lord, he was about to kiss her! Oh well, best to get it over with so they could prepare for the cleansing ritual.
So, like a man facing his own execution, he put his hands on Buffy's shoulders, and leaned down to kiss her.
The kiss came as quite a shock to both of them. Not in the literal sense like with Jenny, but in that good, tingly sensation way. They didn't even realize that the kiss had deepened until they heard Oz clear his throat and ask if they had kissed yet.
They broke apart with more than just a hint of embarrassment. It took a few seconds for anything to happen, then Buffy cried out in pain.
The office door flew open, and the others rushed in. It surprised them to see that Giles appeared uninjured while at the same time Buffy had her hands over her eyes.
When she looked up, they were horrified to see black goo oozing out of her eyes. But before they could ask what happened, she cried out again – this time in joy, "I can see again!"
Her announcement set off a round of cheers from the group.
Xander slapped the Watcher on the back. "Way to go, G-man!"
"I said it before, and I'll say it again: Giles, you are a god!" Buffy proclaimed, smiling brightly at him – which caused his heart to do a strange little flutter.
Just then, the phone rang and Giles answered it, "Hello, this is Rupert Giles."
He listened for several minutes, occasionally making a sound to indicate he was listening. As the other person kept talking, his expression turned stony and his jaw kept clenching in anger.
After he hung up, Buffy asked, "What's wrong, Giles?"
Jenny stepped back in fear when he turned to glare at her. He didn't even look that angry when Ethan came to town during the Eyghon thing – although it was pretty close.
His voice shaking in rage, Giles explained, "That was the Council. I asked them earlier to look for anymore instances of this in past Watchers' Diaries. Turns out that it came about for the first time in 1382, when a Slayer accidentally staked a human during while she was fighting a dozen vampires. The man's lover – a Romani gypsy – was outraged and cursed the Slayer, who had died momentarily during the fight. Apparently, she didn't believe that a killer like the Slayer could find a true complement, and thought the Watcher having to stick hot pokers in his Slayer's eyes would be fitting punishment for the girl who stuck the gypsy's other half."
Janna Kalderash cringed, understanding that even though it wasn't her personally that cursed the other Slayer over 600 years ago, it was her people who did it. Seeing the disgust on the faces of everyone in the room, she knew that her relationships with them was probably damaged beyond repair now. It was one thing for the gypsies to curse an evil vampire, but to curse a Slayer? Somebody whose life already 'sucked beyond the telling of it'? And for it to have affected Buffy… Well, even Janna wasn't sure she could forgive her ancestor for such a sloppy curse.
Several minutes later…
Several minutes later…
Giles' announcement pretty much ended the night. The Scoobies quietly made their goodbyes and left. Angel pulled Buffy aside for a tearful farewell, promising to keep in touch – just in case she ever needed his help. Then he stunned her by saying, "Give Giles a chance. If we can't be together, there's nobody I trust with your life more."
She walked back into office to find that Jenny had already left – although that didn't really surprise her. She actually wondered if the computer teacher would try to say goodbye to anyone before leaving town. "What now?" Buffy asked, biting her lower lip nervously.
He knew what she was referring to, so he didn't bother pretending that he didn't. It was something he had been thinking since Buffy's sight was restored. Despite his previous explanation, the reason the phrase 'true love' came about was because the first time this happened, the Watcher had been the Slayer's complement, and they became romantically involved afterward. That was something the Council person passed along during the call.
Not wanting to even risk coercing Buffy into a relationship that she didn't want, Giles decided to keep that information to himself. Instead he told her, "We don't do anything differently – at least not until you turn 18. You keep fawning over the young men in the school; I'll-"
"Watch me flaunt my flirtations in your face?" she asked sardonically. "Not to be cruel, but you had a hard enough time asking Miss Calendar out, and I'm guessing that's over with now…if your expression earlier was any indication."
He knew what she was trying to get at, but he couldn't, in good conscience, start a relationship with her under the current circumstances. "Regardless, due to the laws of your country, even if we wanted to consider a relationship, we couldn't until you become an adult," he said in order to reason with her.
Buffy was more concerned about whether he was disgusted by the idea of being involved with her; somebody with the life expectancy of a fruit fly – relatively speaking. "But you might be interested in the possibility?" she persisted.
"I admit that I hadn't considered it before, but if it was something you truly were interested in trying, I wouldn't be adverse," Giles answered as vaguely as he could. She had to be the one to make the decision.
"Oh, the romance! Be still my beating heart. Okay, so we'll talk again in thirteen months," Buffy said with a coy smile. Sure, he wasn't Angel, but Giles had a lot of cool things going for him – the best of which was his yummy accent. She could listen to him read a world history book all day. Her grin turned slightly evil as she thought about all the fun she could have over the next year, trying to get him to slip up somehow.
A/N: *Combibo Ritus means 'sucking ritual' – as in sucking out the poison of death.