Words That Kill

Summary: **Member of The 'We Hate Xander' Club series** Giles doesn't appreciate Xander's advice to Buffy when she tells him of Riley's ultimatum.

Challenge: personal request from a loyal reader/reviewer, clarityfades.

Timeline: season 5 'Into the Woods'.

Warning: With a summary like that, do I really have to warn you? But I will say that it isn't Riley-friendly either. Downright bashy of him. And a little hint of B/G-ness maybe.

Thanks to my betas: I'll leave them out of this one.

Disclaimer: BtVS and AtS 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. Xander's speech from .

XANDER: But you miss the point. You shut down, Buffy. And you've been treating Riley like the rebound guy. When he's the one that comes along once in a lifetime. (Buffy looks dismayed) He's never held back with you. He's risked everything. And you're about to let him fly because you don't like ultimatums?

Random Alleyway

Before Xander could say anything else to make the situation worse, Giles stepped out of the shadows, where he was watching the young man put the responsibility of Riley's betrayal on Buffy's shoulders. He thought Xander had Buffy's best interests at heart, but after hearing the words spewing out of that poisoned mouth…suddenly he wasn't so sure anymore.

"Don't you dare listen to this drivel, Buffy!" Giles declared vehemently. "Clearly, Riley isn't man enough for you if he turns to vampires to fill the void. All it takes is for one of those vampires not to play by the rules, and suddenly you have to kill another lover. He was a weak fool who only saw what he wanted to see in you."

Saddened to see the heartbreak in her eyes, Giles did the unimaginable…caressed her cheek softly as his voice grew gentle, "If he weren't a fool, he would have let you break down on your own schedule, not his. Loving someone isn't about fixing their problems; it's about sharing the burden with them. He wasn't worthy of you," Giles murmured, dropping his hand down to her shoulder to give it a squeeze.

Then he turned on his heel abruptly to face Xander, who stepped back at the anger in the older man's eyes. It reminded him of when the Mayor came to the library that one day, and Xander really hoped there wasn't a sword handy at the moment.

"And you…" Giles snarled at the quivering boy. "How dare you put the blame for Riley's reprehensible actions onto Buffy's shoulders? Don't you think she has enough to worry about right now? Her mother is sick, you bugger-minded git! Joyce and Dawn are her concerns, not making some worthless piece of trash feel special! My god, man! Are you that determined to see her in a relationship with a different version of you that you'd ask her to put up somebody who could get her killed because of his selfishness?"

Visibly attempting to calm himself down, Giles sent an extra Ripperish glare at Xander, "Just go home, and leave the advice-giving to somebody who knows what they're doing."

As Xander hurried away, knocking over garbage cans in his haste, Buffy looked at Giles with new eyes. This wasn't the man in tweed who dragged her back into slaying all those years ago. Standing before her stood a man who was her partner…more than Riley could ever hope to be. Maybe more than any man could ever be.

A/N: Ended with just a hint of epiphany on Buffy's part…just to tease you, clarityfades.