AN: Set after the episode Ted, there's implied feelings for Giles from Buffy, but it can be on multiple levels. Enjoy :)

The Point of (Over)Protectiveness

"Oh god, someone else walk first. I do not have it in me to watch him having...smoochies with her again today. Xander?" Buffy Summers turned a pleading gaze on one of her two best friends. Xander ducked past her, muttering a slightly dazed "Sure, Buff," in the process. On the one hand he knew what'd brought on the tirade, but on another, he wasn't sure why Miss Calendar was suddenly being vehemently referred to as "her".

"Nope, the coast be clear. Giles is just doing his Watcher-y thing, all on his lonesome."

"Good." Buffy sighed deeply with relief.

"Buffy is there something wrong?" Willow, the second of the aforementioned two best friends questioned with innocent curiosity.

Buffy looked surprised. "Wrong? No. It's just – like I said before – way beyond my quota of old people smoochies for the day. And year, in point of fact."

"Riiight..." Xander replied sarcastically. Buffy wasn't paying enough attention to give him a sardonic comeback, or pump him for information about what the hell he meant.

"Hey, would you guys mind if I had some time alone with Giles? He was... really good about the whole...murder thing and I wasn't exactly grateful..." Xander and Willow exchanged a meaningful look – what was going on with her?
After a moment of nonverbal communication between the pair – after a decision had been made – Willow turned back to Buffy with a forced reassuring smile.

"Of course. I'm sure you guys have a lot to talk about..."

Buffy shot her friends an appreciative smile, said an almost relieved "Thanks", and headed into the library.

"Hey Giles." She said as normally as she could manage while she walked into the library.

"Oh, Buffy." His eyes lit at the sight of her. "How are you?"

"Better." The smile she offered him as proof was so battle-worn that it wrenched at his heart. His Slayer had seen far too much in her few years. "I'm much better at dealing with non-human things. Where murder is concerned at least." He smiled at her, unable to help admiring her courageousness.

"Well yes, I suppose that stands to reason." He agreed, adjusting his glasses.

"Giles I just wanted to say thank you. You were really great about this whole thing – even if I wasn't. Also, sorry for bolting when you were being all... nice before."

"Buffy... I didn't expect anything else of you. You'd been through such a traumatic experience; the last thing you needed was me..." Without warning she crossed the room and wrapped her arms around him, and he returned the hug tenderly. It was – surprisingly – going quite well until Buffy felt Giles wince very slightly under her grip.

"Did I - ?"

"No, no. There was a uh – a slight – er... mishap during patrol and... Well, really nothing..." The Watcher bumbled helplessly, trying to avoid the topic. Buffy felt guilt wash over her. He was hurt because of her. She took a step back from him so she could meet his eyes before asking rather firmly:

"What happened?"

"W-well, Miss Calendar - "

"Miss Calendar? Please tell me you weren't having funsies during patrol. God, Giles, are you trying to get killed? And do you realise that if you were I'm never going to take one of your 'don't have funsies on patrol lectures' seriously again?"

"For your information I was not having "funsies"; Jenny and I were merely having a conversation."


"I-it was rather unfortunate timing a-and w-we – "

"Giles, spit it out."

"We were attacked. I managed to keep the vampire uh... busy? But I only had a cross – "

"You went patrolling with only a cross? Are you insane?"

"Of course not, Buffy. I only had a cross in my hand. Do you think me completely incompetent? I did train you." Buffy shrank slightly at the chiding.

"So what happened to your back?"

"Well, since I – l"

"Cut to the chase, Watcher. I'm serious."

"Well, my weapons bag was on the ground near Jenny, and she... picked up the crossbow..." He didn't need to finish; he'd cast his eyes skyward in a moment long oath before looking back to his now furious Slayer. Not for the first time that week, she fled his presence.

"You SHOT my Watcher?" Buffy bellowed as she stormed into the Computer Science teacher's office. "You shot my Watcher! I'm not even sure I like you kissing him, let alone SHOOTING him with a crossbow!"

"Buffy, it was just an accident. I feel terrible – "

"Not as terrible as Giles and the gaping hole in his back!" She shouted.

Finally Giles had caught up with her and was sliding into the room, unnoticed.

"Alright, here's the deal, tech-head." Buffy's words were dangerous. "Rupert Giles is a is more valuable per ounce than Tiffany's, okay? He is not to be damaged physically, emotionally or psychologically by you in any way ever again, or I swear to everything good and fashionable that I will feed you to the nearest coven of vamps I can find." Her tone changed and became terrifyingly bright. "Mkay?" Jenny only managed to nod.

Buffy turned on her heel, brushing past Giles as she went. He followed her wordlessly. "Don't we have training or something?" She said grumpily. Giles fell into step beside her.

"I rather think ice cream is more in order." The Watcher stated.

Buffy's tension melted away like ice cream in the Californian sun, and she released a breath she hadn't noticed she was holding. "Now you're talking my language."