Buffy woke feeling like a small country was waging war inside of her head. It took her a minute or two to realize she wasn't in her dorm room. She was on a couch, and with that the night before came back to her in a rush. She clutched her head, wondering if she'd really done what she thought she had. Giles probably thought she was crazy.
She pushed away the blanket, smiling at the care he'd taken to make sure she was comfortable. Always the gentleman, he wouldn't have done anything less. Can't get much more respectable than turning down a girl throwing herself at you.
"Oh God," she murmured, clutching her head as she sat up. She looked out the window. It wasn't daytime yet. If she left now she wouldn't have to face him. She wasn't sure that would be wise. If she looked at him, she'd say something stupid or insulting to blow off her behavior.
She found her shoes. Giles must have taken them off because they were right by the couch all nice and neat like. The condition she'd been in last night, she doubted she would have cared about falling asleep with her shoes on.
She was out the door and on her way back to campus quickly. Her dorm room was empty when she got there. She'd expected no different. She was glad Willow had Oz. She fell onto her bed as soon as she shut the door, kicking off her shoes along the way.
"What am I going to do about Giles?" She placed her hands over her eyes, rubbing her temples. She could pretend she didn't remember. She doubted Giles would buy that, but he'd let her get away with it more than likely. That was the way he was.
"You really made a mess of things this time, Buffy." She'd have to see him all the time. She'd have to look at him knowing that he probably thought she was the biggest loser ever.
Only, he hadn't kissed her like he felt that way. He actually seemed like he was in to it for a minute there. Until she'd gone and taken his shirt off.
"Oh," she groaned as the image played in her mind. "You're an idiot."
So what did it mean? He had kissed her back, but he had seemed to have a line set he wouldn't cross. Was that because he wasn't attracted to her? Or because she was drunk? She'd never given much thought to Giles as a person before. Well, that wasn't totally true. She remembered how nice he looked at prom. He'd look very handsome. In some ways, more than Angel had. He'd put Wesley to shame. He exuded confidence, but it was subtle. No one would know he helped to avert apocalypses and save the world.
Her eyes grew heavy. She couldn't fight off sleep anymore. It seemed the more she thought about what had happened after the others left the more tired she got. Avoidance. She knew what it was, but she needed to sleep before she had to go to class.
Her alarm was going off. She heard it faintly, groaned softly as she woke up to shut it off. Her head didn't feel much better than it had when she woke up at Giles'.
"No more alcohol for Buffy," she quipped as she got up and headed for the shower.
She spotted Willow at breakfast and noticed her friend was eating alone. Oz probably had an earlier class or had slept in. Either was possible with Oz.
"Oh, hi, Buffy, I didn't even see you there."
"Lost in thought?"
"Yeah, sorry. You got home last night okay?"
Buffy bit her lower lip, debating about just what to tell Willow. "Yeah."
"You have your worried face on."
"I do not."
"You do, too."
"Do you think it's possible for friends to become more than friends?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, like you and Xander when you were," Buffy shrugged not wanting to bring up bad memories. "Well, you know. Could you have had a relationship with him after being his friend for so long?"
"I don't know, Buffy. I really don't. I still wish I could explain what happened. Why? Who do you have your eye on?"
Buffy saw the look of relief in Willow's eyes. She was probably just thrilled Buffy was moving on from Parker. Or no longer mooning over him. She spotted him out of the corner of her eye and for the first time since that night didn't look his way.
"No one. I was just curious. I guess that Psych 101 class has me thinking."
"Are we talking about relationships in there?"
"No. I can't think outside the box?"
"Well, sure, you can, it's just," Willow frowned and Buffy couldn't help but laugh.
"It's okay, Will, I'm not doing extra credit or anything."
"Oh okay, good, because if you were I'd probably suggest that's not a good idea."
"No, just curious."
They ate in companionable silence, talking a little here and there. Both were careful to avoid talking about last night, the words they'd exchanged. Everyone probably chalked the whole deal up to the spell or whatever it was the demon did.
It was early afternoon and Buffy was done for the day. Normally, she went back to her room after lunch and hung out, worked on homework or whatever else needed to be done before dinner and patrolling. Today, she decided to head to Giles' after dropping her books back at her dorm room. She left a note for Willow so she'd know not to wait for her before going to dinner.
She wore her sunglasses, but they didn't do much to lessen her headache as she walked the familiar route to Giles'. Why did people drink if it made them feel so crappy afterward? She hadn't drank that much either. She wasn't sure what two glasses of scotch equaled in terms of beer, but they were such teeny tiny glasses.
She knocked, for the first time since she could remember feeling a little anxious about seeing Giles. She glanced at the dress she wore. It wasn't anything dressy or fancy, but it was flattering on her. She'd gotten a couple of looks walking on campus, too. Her father had bought it as an apology for not making it to graduation. She had milked quite a wardrobe out of him for that. Neither she nor her mother had bothered telling him she hadn't wanted him there anyway because of the mayor.
"Buffy, hello. Are you all right?"
"I am, yeah. Can I come in?"
"Of course, sorry, I was on the phone. I'll finish right up. Come in."
"Okay. If this is a bad time."
"Not at all. Just a chum from London."
"Did you forget something?"
"All right, just give me a minute."
"Sure. I'll grab a glass of water. I'm thirsty today for some reason."
Giles' lips thinned and she thought she saw laughter in his eyes. She pondered that as she made her way to his kitchen. She couldn't hear what he was saying, not that she was trying to eavesdrop. She'd never really stopped to think about Giles talking on the phone, having a life outside of Sunnydale and the Council.
She came into the living room and sat on the couch, making herself comfortable just as he hung up the phone. Her eyes fell on the TV, the side of the couch he had been sitting on last night and she felt the heat of a blush rush to her face. She didn't embarrass easy, but this was one of those times.
"How are you feeling?"
"Fine. My head hurts a little, but fine."
"Yes, liquor will do that to you."
"Will you come sit down with me?"
"I, sure, of course, Buffy. As you wish."
"Well, no, I don't wish if you don't want to."
He made his way to the couch and sat. "Obviously, I want to. You're not cutting class are you?"
"Nope, all done for the day."
"Thanks for being concerned."
"I'm always concerned for you."
"I wonder sometimes."
"I know that what you did last night was a nice thing."
"Well, yeah. A lot of guys would have taken advantage."
"I could never take advantage of you, Buffy. In any way."
"I know. I meant what I said last night. You're the one man I can always count on. I know you're not going to leave me, lie to me, hurt me."
"That is correct, though I'm afraid hurting one another is a part of life."
"Well, you know what I mean."
"Yes, I suppose I do."
"So, I was thinking."
"Buffy, I will have no problem continuing on as if last night didn't happen. No one but you and I have to know. I appreciate you coming here and talking to me rather than take the easy way out and pretend you didn't remember or it never happened."
"Well, I thought of that."
"You wouldn't be human if you didn't. And I understand that you were vulnerable, raw last night."
"Wait, Giles. You're getting ahead of yourself."
"I didn't come here to tell you I wanted to forget it happened or to make sure we could go on normally."
"Well, no. I," she shrugged and glanced away.
"What is it, Buffy?"
"I guess the alcohol helped, but it was like a light switch was flipped and suddenly everything was clear. You."
"I need you."
"You have me, Buffy. Always, you know that."
"No, Giles, I mean I need you need you. I guess I never thought of you like that before last night. I know I was vulnerable, but I stayed here because I wanted to. It wasn't about being afraid or safe. Or because Willow has Oz and Xander has Anya. I wanted to be with you."
"All good things, Buffy."
"Well, yeah, I thought so." She turned, slipping one leg onto the couch so she faced him. She had to do that for some reason. "And when I kissed you I wanted to do that."
"Which is fine. You're an adult, and you were recently hurt, though you didn't go into detail and I'm not sure I wish to hear them."
"He was a jerk."
"I'm sorry. Did he hurt you?"
She shrugged. "My pride more than anything I think."
He reached for her then, which surprised her. His hand rested at her shoulder, his fingertips touching the ends of her hair. "I find that difficult to believe."
"Oh, I proved I'm pretty gullible. Demons, vampires, or apocalypses I'm your girl. Matters of the heart forget it."
"I'm sure it's not your fault, nothing you did. Unfortunately, there are some people that feel, well, that's what college is for. Not just the men either."
"I know. I do. And I guess if I'd gone into it just to have sex I wouldn't feel stupid. I just, my relationships before Angel were, well, I mean, I was fifteen. You know? So, I guess my mode of comparison is off."
"No, I don't think that's it at all. I don't think you're made to flit around."
"Flit? What kind of word is flit, Giles?"
"You know what I mean. You're, by nature, I think a monogamous person who wants a relationship with all the trappings and trimmings."
"Well, doesn't everyone?"
"Ultimately, perhaps, but not everyone is on that wavelength all of the time. No. One could argue after not just a relationship as serious as yours was with Angel, but the emotional upheaval you experienced throughout the time you were together you might want to spend some time sowing your oats."
"I don't eat oats."
"It's a phrase. You didn't like flit."
"Ah. So sowing oats is flitting?"
"Akin, yes. Dating, not being serious."
"Well," she frowned. She glanced at his hand. She didn't really like her hair getting played with, but he wasn't really doing anything. Just kind of touching. She couldn't remember him touching her before this. She'd left her hair down today, too lazy to deal with putting it up. Hungover was more like it.
"The problem is, Buffy, you're not a normal girl."
"Thanks for reminding me."
"I realize that bothers you, more than you realize. You were fortunate that Angel knew. Nevertheless, as you discovered with that lad, the Dickinson fan, it's next to impossible to keep your life as a slayer from interfering. Even more difficult now. The flighty blonde routine isn't going to cut it in college."
"You think I'm flighty?"
He scowled at her. "You're missing my point completely."
"No, I get your point. You've told me before, a million times. See, and that's what I don't get. Angel said he left so I could have a chance at a normal life. You tell me I'll never get a normal life. So, why did he leave? And what am I supposed to do?"
"I think Angel felt he would be a hindrance. I can't speak for him, but there were limits to where your relationship could go. As far as what you're supposed to do. I don't know. You had it once, life with someone special in it who knew the things you did. You understand this is not a conversation someone in my position would ever have with a slayer."
"No, I know, I'm not supposed to think about someone specials."
"That is correct."
"But I've gotten a taste for it. I see Willow and Xander," she shrugged.
"And you feel left out."
"Well, kind of. And what about you?"
"What about me?"
"You don't have anyone either."
"For much the same reason. It's difficult to explain my involvement with you, with your friends. Jenny was unique, very much like Angel was, I don't believe I'll find another woman like her."
"Have you thought about it?"
"Sure, from time to time. I wouldn't be human if I didn't, Buffy. And I assure you, I'm very human."
"Then why did you stop me last night?"
"I wouldn't have it on my conscious that you did something on the spur of the moment. Especially, after I plied you with liquor."
"You didn't ply me with liquor."
"Well, your emotions were raw."
"So that means I can't make decisions?"
"Well, no, but our relationship requires us to work with one another, Buffy. I've invested too much time in you, and in Sunnydale, to walk away because we made a mistake one night."
"I don't suppose that happens often."
"Oh, I'm sure, it has happened a time or two over the course of history, but it's never been documented if it has."
"Hmm." Her eyes met his and she realized how intensely he was watching her. She wondered if he even realized he was still touching her hair.
"What is it you came here for today, Buffy?"
"I just wondered. I mean, what if last night wasn't a mistake? What if I don't want to forget about it?"
"No, you're right, I'm not the type to just date around. And I don't want to hide from someone who I am, what I am."
"And these are merits I should be thrilled that you consider me?"
"Well, no, there's you. I mean, you're you."
"I guess I've always taken you for granted."
"I would agree with that."
"Thanks a lot."
"Would you rather I lie?"
"No, of course not. It's just for some reason last night I realized it. And I saw you. You know?"
"Yes, I think I understand."
She wasn't sure what else to say. She wasn't even for sure what she was trying to say. So, she did the one thing she could think of that would speak for her without her having to talk. She leaned in and kissed him. She wasn't drunk this afternoon and presumably neither was he, so they had no excuse.
His hand at her shoulder slid to her neck, his thumb stroking her throat as she kissed him. She sighed softly, parting her lips. It was an invitation he responded to. Her hands went to his chest, resting there. She felt the beat of his heart under one hand, and smiled as she felt the pace pick up. That was good, it meant he was affected by her, too.
She slid her hands up along the length of his chest to his shoulders, around to his neck, drawing herself closer to him, deeper into the kiss. He kissed well, but he didn't make Buffy feel like she was just his latest interest. She realized now that she should have known that something was missing with Parker. This. She wished she could name it, identify it. If she could, maybe she'd be able to hang onto it. But, no, she didn't have to worry about that with Giles.
His hands slid to her face, cupping her cheeks as he drew away. His eyes had a hazy look to them and she felt a surge of pleasure wash through her. She had caused him to look like that. Kissing her had done that.
"Have you really thought this through, Buffy?"
"Yeah, I mean, I haven't thought about it for weeks or anything, but it's not like we just met."
"Good point, but you might meet with some criticism. As could I."
"Mm, well, I was on the faculty at your high school, I'm much older than you are, and really I'm supposed to act as a teacher, trainer."
"I'm not in high school anymore, Angel was way older than you are, and you can still train me."
"I," he shook his head. "We shouldn't be doing this. A kiss is far enough."
"Giles." He ran the pad of his thumb over her lips, letting his eyes follow the path. "Why do we have to get and be all serious about it? Can't we just," she shrugged, pursing her lips to kiss the pad of his thumb. She parted her lips and bit him gently with her front teeth. "See what happens. I mean, maybe it won't work. Shouldn't we try?"
"I should say no."
"Should?" She used her slayer strength, pulled him down on top of her as she lay on the couch. He steadied himself and she smiled. "Sorry, forgot myself there."
"You did no such thing."
"You're right. You're thinking too hard on this. It's not a math problem or some sort of scientific equation."
"I suppose you're right. And you realize, right, that I'm not Angel. I mean, Angel will forever be what he is, the youthful prime of his life."
"I get it, Giles. Would you stop talking and kiss me again?"
"Very well. If I must."
"It's torture, I know."
"There are a few devices used to illicit pleasure more than pain."
She leaned up and nipped at his lower lip, kissing it to soothe it afterward.
She hadn't really thought over what would happen exactly. She just knew that she had to pursue her feelings, find out what they were. And what that meant. It made sense in a completely bizarre way, that meant it only made sense in her world. She needed someone who knew about the things that go bump in the night. Unless there was another souled vampire walking around, she wasn't going to find it in anyone else.
She tried to push her thoughts aside, realizing her thought process wasn't being very clear. She wasn't using him, but last night had made her realize that Giles would never turn his back on her. He might push her in the right direction or let her try and jump without benefit of a safety net, but he was always there. She couldn't picture that changing. Even with Angel she knew. Knew what exactly, she wasn't sure. Just that something was missing, preventing them from the forever they had almost childishly spoken of.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com