HELPLESS

SETTINGS: Well, Helpless obviously. Dunno if this has ever been done before, so if it has, my apologies. But, I was watching it the other day, and being the complete Buffy/Giles freak that I am, I thought about what would happen if we changed the wording just a little bit. DISCLAIMER: Not mine, funnily enough. If Joss feels like giving them away however, I will gladly accept donations. Especially of Spike and Giles. YUM!

ONWARDS:

There was an unnerving silence in the library, neither the Slayer or the Watcher knowing what to say. All she wanted to do was go home, lie in her bed and cry herself to sleep.

She couldn't ever bare to look at him, the man who she trusted -loved- above all others. He had betrayed her. Lied to her. Stolen from her. All in the space of a day.

She closed her eyes, trying to imagine how she could possibly work under his guidance ever again. She was trying so hard not to cry, trying not to think about the fact that no matter how much she loved him, he hated her. Perhaps this was payback for every single wrong she had ever done against him. Poetic justice.

There was someone else in the silent room with them, but Buffy didn't care. She couldn't bring herself to look at either of the men in front of her. They had done this to her, without even thinking of how badly she would be hurt by it all.

"Congratulations, you passed," the other man said. Quentin Travers was his name. Buffy hated him on sight. British, pompous and obviously someone with a very high opinion of himself. "You exhibited extraordinary courage and clear-headedness in battle. The Council is very pleased."

Buffy looked up at him, angry that he dared to say anything to her when all she wanted was peace and quiet. All she wanted was for the hellmouth to open somehow and swallow the man whole. Perhaps even take her own Watcher with him. She started at that, realising that no matter how angry she was with him, she couldn't.wouldn't do this without him. Even if he hated her.

"Do I get a gold star?" she asked, her voice still a little shaky.

"I understand that you're upset." Travers said.

"You understand nothing. You set that monster loose, and he came after my mother," she said, biting back her anger. It would do her no good to work herself into a rage. She was far too tired to even try and begin a screaming match with either of the men.

She was just glad that Giles was staying back, leaning against the door frame. Buffy could tell that he was too afraid to say anything that would incur her wrath upon him as well.

"You think the test was unfair?" Travers asked.

"I think you better leave town before I get my strength back," Buffy said, her voice wavering even as she threatened him.

"We're not in the business of fair, Miss Summers, we're fighting a war," he reminded her.

She went to bite back at him, but Giles beat her to it.

"You're waging a war. She's fighting it. There is a difference," he said.

"Mr. Giles, if you don't mind." Travers said, swinging his head to look at the seething Watcher.

"The test is done. We're finished," Giles said.

Buffy silently agreed. They were done. The Watcher and Slayer were done forever. How could she trust him ever again?

"Not quite. She passed. You didn't," Travers said, turning to face Giles. "The Slayer is not the only one who must perform in this situation. I've recommended to the Council, and they've agreed, that you be relieved of your duties as Watcher immediately. You're fired."

Giles stared at him, taken aback. "On what grounds?"

"Your affection for your charge has rendered you incapable of clear and impartial judgment," Travers said.

Buffy looked up at Giles who could only stare back. He didn't look down. He wasn't ashamed of being attached to his Slayer.

"You're in love with the girl, and that is useless to the cause," Travers continued.

Giles looked at him in shock, and Buffy could only stare at her Watcher, incredulous. It was Giles turn to wish that the hellmouth would just open up and swallow Travers, and perhaps take him with it to save himself the embarrassment of trying to face his Slayer ever again. He suddenly hated Travers more than he had ever hated anyone on the earth. To so cruelly reveal the secret that Giles had successfully been keeping for the last six months was something that only a jealous Watcher could do.

"It would be best if you had no further contact with the Slayer," Travers said.

Buffy finally looked at Travers, horrified by the suggestion that Giles leave her.

"I'm not going anywhere," Giles said, hoping against hope that Buffy wouldn't send him away after Travers had betrayed the secret he had been keeping for over six months now.

"No, well, I didn't expect you would adhere to that. However, if you interfere with the new Watcher, or countermand his authority in any way, you will be dealt with. Are we clear?" Travers said.

"Oh, we're very clear," Giles replied tightly.

Travers turned to look at Buffy who had swung her gaze to look at Giles once more, tying to ascertain whether or not Travers had been telling the truth.

"Congratulations again," Travers said, bowing his head slightly.

She looked up at him with hatred written plainly on her face. "Bite me."

Travers chuckled ruefully. "Yes, well.colourful girl."

He turned and left the library. Buffy gave a sigh of relief until she remember what had just been said.

'You're in love with the girl.'

Why couldn't his day just end?

She brought her hand up so she could rest her head, but as her fingers brushed over the cut on her forehead, she flinched and shakily brought her hands down. She reached over to the washcloth on the table and picked it up slowly, her entire body hurting.

Giles walked over to her and took the cloth from her hands hesitantly. She let go of the cloth, too tired to even think. He knelt down in front of her and dabbed the cloth over the cut and she winced in pain, but didn't pull away from him.

She looked up at him sadly and looked away, not wanting to see the pain and hurt written so clearly in his eyes. She could feel her heart racing nervously. She knew that they needed to talk, but.neither one could bring themselves to begin the conversation that could potentially ruin their entire relationship.

Giles gently finished cleaning the blood from her forehead and he pulled himself onto the seat next to his Slayer. The sat there for several minutes, neither one saying a word.

Eventually, Buffy stood up shakily and ran her hands through her hair. She sniffled and wiped a tear from her eyes. If there was one thing that Giles couldn't stand, it was to see his Slayer cry.

He went to her immediately stood up and went to her, pulling her into his arms. Without hesitation, she responded, clinging tightly to him, not having to worry about crushing him with her strength.

"I'm so sorry," he whispered into her hair, his own tears beginning to fall as well.

Her reply was to just hold onto him even more tightly.

"Please don't hate me," he continued.

She pulled back and looked up at his tear-filled eyes. She bit her lip and saw deep remorse written all over his face. She shook her head sadly and let a single tear fall.

"I could never hate you," she said honestly.

He smiled and pulled her closer to him, planting a gentle kiss on the top of her head.

They stayed there, clinging to each other, both of them far too afraid to begin on the topic of what Travers had said.

He pulled away reluctantly. "Come on, I'll drive you home."

She nodded and walked with him.

~*~

The drive home was uncomfortably awkward, neither one knowing what to say, though both of them knew what they needed to discuss. He pulled into the Summers' driveway and watched as Buffy didn't get out of the car straight away.

She swallowed nervously and looked at her Watcher. "We probably need to talk," she said quietly.

He nodded, his eyes unable to quite meet hers. Silence surrounded them, neither one willing to begin. Buffy coughed softly and looked up at him.

"So." she said awkwardly.

Giles managed to laugh a little. "So," he said with a smile at the clich├ęd beginning.

"Maybe you should start," she said nervously.

He breathed in deeply, feeling his heart beginning to race.

"I uh.I don't really know what to say," he admitted, his voice a little shaky.

She nodded, having half-expected that response.

"Was that Travers guy right? I mean.are you.are you in love with me?" she asked.

She didn't even know what answer she wanted. Part of her wanted him to say yes, for him to take her in his arms and never let go. But the other part was telling her that this was her Watcher. Her mentor, her trainer.

Then again, he was her partner in all things. It made sense for them to be together, she thought.

He thought about lying, about saying that Travers didn't understand what he felt for her. That he thought of her as his own child, but he couldn't. He couldn't lie to her. If he was honest with himself, he didn't want to lie to her.

Part of him wanted to just tell her the truth. He had already been fired, so it would no longer be imperative for them to be working together as a team in any case, so they're working relationship wouldn't be jeopardised. That had been one of the reasons he had kept it a secret for so long.

"Yes I am," he finally replied, keeping it incredibly simple.

She breathed in sharply, her mind beginning to go blank. He loved her! He was in love with her. HER! After all the crappy things she had done to him, he loved her.

Her mouth seemed to be completely dry, her heart racing at a mile a minute. She couldn't even think of a response.

He waited for her, trying to gauge her reaction, but she didn't seem to be reacting at all, other than the reaction of someone trying to take in a hell of a lot of information at the one time.

He let her sit for a few minutes before the silence finally got to him. He didn't want to pressure her, but he wanted to know the answer before she graduated.

"Buffy?" he asked softly.

She looked up at him, tears in her eyes. He felt his heart skip a beat, fear creeping into his body. He had known that the chances of her reciprocating his feelings had been slim to none. She was eighteen, stunning and incredibly desirable. And he? He was a forty-two year old stuffy librarian who knew far too much about everything on the planet.

She smiled at him through her tears.

"Wow," was all she could finally whisper.

Giles felt some of the depression beginning to lift, though there was still a weight on his heart.

"Wow good or wow bad?" he asked gently.

"Good," she replied. "Definitely good."

He felt more hope begin to rise within him.

"Buffy, I don't expect for you to-"

His words were cut off as she leant towards him and kissed him softly. He was completely surprised by her actions, not having expected for his Slayer to be so bold as to make the first move. He certainly wasn't complaining however.

She pulled back and looked at him, taking in his surprised face. She traced the outline of his mouth with her forefinger, her fingertips barely touching his lips. He held his breath, hardly daring to move, let alone breathe.

She moved her lips back to his, gently exploring his mouth with her tongue. She brought her hand up to his chest, feeling his heart racing inside. She smiled against his lips, marvelling at the effect she had on him.

With Angel, there had never been anything beating against her hand, had never been anything to tell her that he was alive. But her Watcher was very much alive. She and Angel knew that they could never be together again, no matter how much they wanted to be. And, he had told her that he wanted her to find a normal, loving relationship. She had doubted ever finding one, seeing as the only person she had even considered loving was her Watcher, which she had thought would be impossible.

Obviously, she was wrong.

She pulled back reluctantly and smiled at him. "I should really check on mom," she whispered.

He nodded, disappointed that she had to leave his arms, but knowing that somehow it wouldn't be long before she was back in them.

He touched her forehead gently, keeping his fingers far enough away from the cut there. "Promise me you'll go and see a doctor," he said.

She nodded. "Mom said she'd take me to the hospital to get stitches."

He smiled and caressed her cheek gently.

"Be careful," he warned her. She smiled and gave him a final kiss.

She opened the door and got out, but leant her head back in.

"Me having tomorrow night off is pretty much a given, right?" she asked.

He chuckled, thankful that their relationship had changed so much, and yet stayed so very similar.

"Yes, of course."

"Cool. In that case.you wanna come to the Ice Show?" she asked.

He smiled at her lovingly and nodded. "Of course. I'll pick you up at six thirty?"

She grinned. "Sounds good. No tweed though," she said teasingly.

He smiled and shook his head. "I'm sure I'll find something to wear."

~*~

"I can't believe Giles was fired," Willow exclaimed as the gang hung out in the Summers kitchen. "How could Giles get fired?"

Buffy smiled at the memory of why he had been fired. She couldn't believe he had been fired either, but somehow, she was glad of it. In a weird way, it had brought them together. Of course, she still had yet to tell her mom and the Scoobies.

"So, how did you manage to kill Kralik?" Oz asked from the corner. His question almost startled Buffy. The werewolf was generally known for his stoicism, but she could see that Oz was trying to get Willow to move on from Giles' sacking.

"Now, now when you say 'fired', do you mean 'fired'?" Willow asked once more.

Buffy grinned at Willow's obvious confusion.

"You're not cruising past that concept any time soon, are you?" Xander asked, half-joking. He was busy spreading jelly onto sandwiches for the gang. Except, he seemed to be eating half of them, rather than putting them on the plate for all of them.

"Well, it's just... I mean, he's been fired! He's, he's unemployed! He's... between jobs," Willow rambled.

"Giles isn't going anywhere, Will. He's still librarian," Buffy pointed out. 'And he's my.what?' Boyfriend just didn't seem appropriate. 'Everything'.

"Okay, but I'm writing an angry letter," Willow said, staunchly protecting her favourite adult.

Buffy grinned at her friend and perched herself on the bench next to the sink.

Willow looked at her, noticing the smile. She knew that there was something going on.

"Hey.why are you so smiley today?" she asked suspiciously. "How can you be smiley when your Watcher is suddenly not watching anymore?"

Buffy couldn't help but grin, remembering what had gone on between herself and Giles the night before. She still got butterflies when she thought about what had happened.

"Well," she began cautiously. "Let's just say that him getting fired kinda got things out in the open between us."

Willow's eyes went extremely wide. "You mean."

Buffy grinned and nodded enthusiastically. Willow squealed in excitement and ran to her friend, wrapping her in a tight hug.

"Oh my gosh.that is just.wow!" Willow said.

"That's what I said," Buffy said.

Willow stepped back and looked at Oz who was giving a small smile. He had often wondered about Giles and Buffy and the closeness of their relationship, and he knew that if they got together, then things would turn out for the best.

Xander watched the entire exchange, an amused grin on his face. He hadn't entirely caught on to what was being said by Willow and Buffy, seeing as nothing had really been verbalised, except for a few high pitched squeals.

Xander looked towards Oz, hoping for some kind of clarification, but found only an amused look on his face. Xander looked over at Buffy and got her attention.

"When you say 'out in the open' what exactly does that mean? Cos.to me that means you guys did some serious talking," he said.

"Among other things, yeah," Buffy said.

"Things?" Xander asked, still oblivious.

Willow grinned and leant across the table. She whispered something to him. "Smoochies."

Xander jumped off his seat and looked at Buffy in horror.

"Merciful Zeus," he said quietly, still staring at his friend as though she had grown another head.

Buffy tried to keep her giggles to herself.

"You and Giles?" he asked incredulously.

She nodded and grinned at him.

"You and Giles? With the smoochies?"

She nodded again. He looked towards Willow for help.

"Buffy and Giles?" he asked, still in shock.

Willow nodded happily.

"What about Buffy and Giles?" came Joyce's voice as she came through the door.

Suddenly Buffy's smile fell, Willow's cascading down with it.

"Uh.mom.you'll never guess what happened."

END