Title: Love, Hellmouth Style
Paring: Giles/Buffy (duh)
Synopsis: What if Giles and Buffy had cleared a few things up before the events of Chosen.
Spoilers: None that I can think of, if you haven’t seen the last few episodes of the show, you wouldn’t be reading this.
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to the characters created by Joss Whedon. I am just giving them the ending they deserved. I am making no profit from my story and no copyright infringement it intended.
Feedback happily accepted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Love, Hellmouth Style
Giles looked away from the game on the table. He knew nothing of the rules and had only agreed to play to keep his mind occupied, but since his character had been eliminated so quickly that wasn't working. His gaze traveled to the other room where several of the potentials were huddled together, talking quietly. He really didn't feel like joining them. They were all so deferential that it made him feel even older than he was. He saw movement through the curtain. Someone was on the porch. He rose to look out the window.
Sitting on the porch railing was his Slayer. His Buffy. He chuckled silently. Not that she would ever think of herself in those terms. From before he had even met her, in his mind she had been 'His Slayer', but she hadn't become 'His Buffy' until the spell that had joined the four of them to defeat Adam. When he had analyzed his dream afterward, he realized that he had been deliberately thinking of her as a child so he that wouldn't have to acknowledge his growing feelings for the woman she had become. He had long since admitted to himself that she would never have those kind of feelings for him, but some small piece of his heart continued to hope. 'No fool like an old fool', he reminded himself. He went out onto the porch.
"May I join you, or would you prefer to be alone?"
Buffy's shoulders, which he had seen tensing when he had opened the door, relaxed. She turned slightly, smiling at him. "Why would I want to be alone when I could be with you?"
His traitorous heart leapt. 'It doesn't mean anything,' he reminded himself. 'She's just worried about tomorrow.' He walked over and stood next to her at the railing. "You should be sleeping."
"I can't. My mind won't stop going over the plans. There is so much that could go wrong."
"Are you afraid that we won't defeat the First?"
"No, I'm sure that we'll win the battle. I just don't know how many of us will survive. I tried to send Dawn away with Xander. He's already lost so much to my Calling. I just wanted them to be safe, but she is so damn stubborn."
Giles chuckled. "I wonder where she gets that?"
Buffy looked at him indignantly. "Giles, I was never that stubborn."
He met her gaze disbelievingly. "I beg your pardon? If you look in the dictionary next to the word stubborn is your picture."
At the astonished look on her face he started giggling.
"Giles! Stop laughing!"
He tried, but every time he looked at her indignant face, he lost control. She reached over and smacked his arm. Perversely, that made him laugh harder. He was bent over, trying to catch his breath, but he couldn't stop laughing. Finally he managed to stop and risked looking at Buffy. She was standing there looking at him, smiling.
"Are you feeling better now? You looked so serious when you first came outside."
Wiping tears from his eyes, he nodded, still having trouble breathing. Impulsively he pulled her into his arms and squeezed her tight. "Thank you, that was just what I needed." He started to loosen his arms.
Buffy quickly wrapped her arms around him. "No, don't let go. This is what I need. It feels like the only people who touch me anymore are vampires. I've almost forgotten what it feel like to be held by a living, breathing person." Giles caught his breath at the pain in her eyes. "When you hugged me, when you came back to stop Willow," he nodded "that was the last time anyone has really held me." She burrowed her face against his chest.
Giles looked over her head, blinking back tears. Hoping his voice was steady he said, "I'll hold you as long as you want"
They stood for few minutes in silence. "Sorry, I was trying to help you to relax and loosen up, then I go all needy-girl on you."
"That's all right, Luv, you can be as needy as you want. Whatever you need, just ask. If I can, I'll get it for you."
"You can't give me what I really want."
"You don't know that if you won't tell me what it is."
"I really wish." Buffy stopped abruptly. She pulled away from Giles and looked around. "Where's Anya?"
Giles looked in the window. "She's still asleep, next to Xander."
Buffy sighed. "You need to be careful saying those words if she's around." She moved back to Giles, slid her arms back around his waist and laid her head back on his chest. He stiffened in surprise for just an instant, then returned the embrace. After a brief pause, Buffy started again. "I really wish I could go back to when we first met and do things over. I made so many mistakes. So many people got hurt because of me."
"We all have regrets, Buffy. Things we wish we had done, things we wish we could undo. It's pointless to dwell on the past, trust me I know."
"I wish I could make things right for you, Giles. You've borne the brunt of most of my mistakes. I spoiled your chance for a normal life."
He pulled back to look into her eyes. "Buffy, what are you talking about?"
She lowered her head and her voice was so low he had to strain to hear. "Jenny, Olivia, when Willow brought me back, when Willow went crazy, the list goes on and on."
"Buffy, look at me." He cupped her face in his hands. "You are most certainly not responsible for Willow's actions. If anyone, I am to blame for teaching her about magic because I thought it would be useful to you. Olivia is just a friend who comes and goes in my life. There was never any possibility of anything permanent with her. As for Jenny, that was Angelus, not you."
Her eyes clouded with tears. "I am responsible for Angelus, you can't deny that. I was a willful, rebellious, 17-year-old who thought she knew more than the people who tried to warn her did. Who was so selfish, so sure she was right, so sure that what she wanted was the only thing that mattered."
"No. Jenny herself is responsible for what happened. She knew that you were the Slayer, knew that I was your Watcher. She knew my fears about your closeness to Angel, and she still kept silent. Her loyalty to her tribe and their insistence on secrecy is what killed her, not you."
"But you loved her."
"No. I was very attracted to her, and more than a little bewildered. As Ripper I had had any number of women, Olivia among them, but no woman had ever shown an interest in Rupert. That was a great deal of the attraction, but when I found that she had lied, that she was responsible for your pain when Angel became Angelus, I stopped trusting her. And without trust, there can't be love. Perhaps, if we had had the time, I might have learned to trust her again. We'll never know, because she made her choice, and that's what got her killed."
Buffy burrowed her head back against his chest. "When do you think you'll learn to trust me again?"
"I trust you, Buffy. I have been exasperated by your stubbornness. I have been angered by some of your choices, especially this past week. But l I am proud that I was a part of shaping the woman you've become and I've always trusted you." He paused then continued rather ruefully, "I rather thought from things you said the other day that you no longer trusted me."
Buffy kept her face averted. "I was angry too, but I've never stopped trusting you. It's the others whose motives I don't trust. I understand your reasons for wanting to get rid of Spike, but I really felt that he needed to be here, that he had an important part to play. When Angel showed me the amulet and said it could only be used by a vampire with a soul, I knew that was Spike’s place in the battle tomorrow. It’s his chance to redeem himself for all of the people he’s killed."
Giles felt more of his hope die. "Is it so important to you for him to redeem himself? You love him that much?"
"Love him? No, I don’t love him, at least the way you mean, not a man/woman kind of love. It’s somewhere between the way I love Xander and the way I love Angel. I’m responsible for him. I’m the reason he has a soul now. That last confrontation between us, I told him I could never love him because he was a soulless demon. He went through all of that because he thought I would love him if he had a soul."
"Buffy, you can’t be responsible for his actions. You’re letting him manipulate you. Spike has always been good at knowing what buttons to push."
"Must be a vampire thing, Angel’s always been pretty good at it too."
Giles was surprised at that comment. "Did Angel say something to you earlier?"
"He said a lot of things. He and Spike both had comments about my being with the other. Angel said he could smell Spike’s scent on me and acted all jealous. Please, I haven’t kissed Spike, or done anything else with him for that matter, for months. Then Angel kissed me to try to get me to ask him to stay. Spike saw and got all pissy with me about it. It was just a peck on the mouth, no tongue; not that it would have been any of his business. The point is that they were both trying to guilt trip me into doing things their way." Buffy giggled. "I did a Buffy on Angel."
Giles was puzzled. "I don’t understand, what do you mean, did a Buffy."
"Angel still sees me as that 17 year old that he seduced. Part of him still expects me to be needy and scatterbrained. I gave him this really stupid analogy about how I was cookie dough."
"Half baked. That I still didn’t know who I was and that being around him would just confuse me." She huffed. "All of the things I’ve been through in the last five years, and he thinks I still haven’t figured out my own mind. My Mom died, I gained a mystical sister, we defeated a God, I died." Her arms tightened slightly. "I had to learn how to deal with real life without you, Willow almost destroyed the world, and he thinks all he has to do is walk back into my life and I’ll fall all over him. Ego much?"
"So you no longer love Angel in a man/woman way?"
"No. It’s like you said earlier, without trust there can’t be love, and I don’t trust him, not completely. I haven’t for a long time."
Giles was surprised. "Really? When did that happen?"
Buffy was silent for a long time. "When Faith switched bodies with me. After we were switched back she went to LA and was hired by Wolfram and Hart to kill Angel. I went there to warn him about her and found her in the basement of the hotel. After you had told him everything she had done to my Mom and me, after she tried to kill him, even after she has beaten and tortured Wes, he still defended her. He fought me, hit me, to give her a chance to get away. That‘s when I stopped trusting him."
Giles felt a surge of rage. "He hit you?"
"Slayer strength, Giles. The physical didn’t hurt half as much as the fact that he was siding with her." Buffy paused, then continued in a lower voice. "That’s what hurt so much the other night, that even after all she’s done, everyone was choosing Faith over me. I thought it meant that you no longer trusted me. If you trust me then why…." her voice trailed off.
To his dismay he felt moisture seeping through his shirt onto his chest. "Why did you agree with the girls that Faith would be a better leader than me?"
Giles tilted her face up and felt as though he had been stabbed in the heart. Tears slid silently down her face and her hazel eyes were filled with pain. Giles pulled her back tightly against him, running his hand soothingly up and down her back. "No, Luv, no. That wasn't about trust." He heaved a deep sigh. "Bloody hell. How can I explain this."
Giles stood holding her while he gathered his thoughts. Finally he said, "Perhaps we would be more comfortable sitting down. This could take a while." He led her over to the porch swing. When he sat down, instead of sitting next to him Buffy surprised him by sitting on his lap. Her arms snaked under his jacket to encircle his back, her head tucked under his chin.
For a moment his body started to respond to her nearness and he was worried she would notice, but before things could get out of control his common sense kicked in. 'Fool, she just wants comfort. She's sitting on your lap the way a little girl goes to her father when she's been hurt. You've always suspected that she sees you as a substitute father. Well, here's your proof.' The tiny spark of hope still in his heart died. He started moving the swing gently and began stroking her back again.
"I'm sure that the First has been influencing some of our actions, not that I'm using that as an excuse. I was already angry with you about your decision to have Spike's chip removed." As she started to rise up he held her firmly to his chest. "We won't go into that again. I'm just telling you how I was feeling. As I said, I was already angry, but when Kennedy started her little rebellion, the anger just exploded.
"Tactically, she was correct. Going back to the vineyard had nothing to do with good battle plans and everything to do with revenge for the way Caleb hurt Xander. But the timing was wrong. The only purpose her rebellion served was to divide our forces, which just played into the First's hands. So I was extremely angry with her as well. Angry enough to not protest the vote."
Buffy broke in. "That's what I don't understand. If you knew the change in leadership was bad and you didn’t agree with them, why didn't you protest."
Giles sighed. "Again, I'm sure the First was influencing me to some extent, because I never would have done that if I had been in my right mind. I remember thinking that all those cocky little girls, Kennedy in particular, needed to be knocked down a peg or two and that getting beaten in a battle with Faith as their leader would do the trick. That was insane. Faith is a good fighter, but she has always been a loner, never a leader. To allow half-trained fighters to go into such a dangerous situation with someone not accustomed to leading was a sure recipe for disaster. We were lucky more of them weren't killed. It's true that Kennedy needed to be taught a lesson, but that really wasn't the way to do it."
Giles paused for a moment then went on in a lowered voice, "I wanted to hurt you, too. You had told me you didn't need me, that I had nothing to teach you. Then you shut the door in my face. I felt betrayed. So when the opportunity came to strike back, I took it. I'm sorry, Luv."
"No, I'm sorry. I think you must be right, that the First was influencing us, because that was certainly the wrong thing to say and do." Buffy paused for a moment, then said, "Giles, if I had been thinking straight I would have never said anything like that to you, but …"
She sat up and looked him in the eyes. "I think that it's the truth; you don't have anything else to teach me, not Watcher to Slayer. We've been apart almost two years and I've had to learn how to do things without you. But that doesn't mean that I don't need you. I need you as a partner, someone to stand at my side, someone to share the responsibility." She gave a little laugh. "Someone to argue with me, in an adult, rational way of course."
"I dearly love Xander and Willow, but they just accept my decisions. I know I'm the Slayer, the leader, but I need advisors, not yes men. I need someone to make some of the minor decisions, someone to help me learn to let go, someone I can trust so I don't have to be in charge all the time." Buffy cradled his face in her hands. "I need you." They gazed deeply into one another's eyes for a long moment, and then Buffy laid her head back on his chest.
"I guess that after watching them for a few days I wasn't really surprised that Kennedy would lead a revolt." Buffy's voice lowered. "And it really hurt that you agreed with them. I was so sure that you would side with me. The only other time that you had refused to help me in a fight was when Sweet was making us all sing our secrets."
Giles drew in a sharp breath but was stopped from speaking when Buffy put her hand over his mouth. He looked down into her eyes and saw something that he might fool himself into thinking was love. "My stalwart, standing fast." When he again tried to speak, she shook her head.
"No, I didn't hear you that day, it was quite a while later. Just after I had the confrontation with Spike. That night I dreamed about that day in the training room, and I woke up remembering what you said. I wanted to call you and talk about it, but I decided to wait until the next day. Then Warren shot me and Tara and everything fell apart."
Giles stiffened, sitting upright on the swing, and pushed her hand away. "What do you mean, Warren shot you."
"We never told you that part?" Giles shook his head. "I was in the backyard with Xander. Warren came running around the bushes and shot me. When Xander yelled at him he took off, shooting wildly. One of those shots went through the upstairs window into the bedroom where Tara and Willow were talking. It hit Tara in the heart and she was killed instantly.
"Xander said that he yelled for Willow to call 911 and that when she came outside she had blood all over her, that's when he found out that Tara had been shot too. He said that Willow was in a state of shock and just kept saying over and over that Tara was dead."
"Xander said. Don't you remember any of what happened?"
"I was unconscious. Warren shot me in the shoulder and the bullet hit an artery. I was bleeding pretty bad."
Giles hugged her to him. "Thank God the ambulance got there in time."
Buffy hesitated for a moment. "Actually, it didn't. Willow never called them; she fixed me. Magiked the bullet out and stopped the bleeding."
Giles stared blindly out into the night. "Willow brought you back to life again."
"NO, Giles, I didn't die. Once the bullet was out, the slayer healing kicked in. You know me, the energizer bunny of slayers. I just keep going and going."
Giles felt numb. "You almost died, and I didn't know. I wonder if anyone would have even called me."
Buffy responded to his distress by soothing her hands over his back. "They would have called you if I had died."
"How do you know? How do you know that Willow wouldn't have just tried to bring you back again?"
"Because she promised me that she would never bring me back again and I know they would have called because I sort of made it mandatory."
"I did something" Buffy paused. "I probably should have asked you first, but I was sure you wouldn't mind. After the social worker almost took Dawn away, I finally got Dad to come here and sign over all parental rights to Dawn to me. Then I made a will and named you her guardian if anything happens to me before she turns 21."
"I know" she cut him off. "I should have asked, but Giles, you were the only person I could think of that she would respect and pay attention to. There's not that much of an age difference between her and the others and she's always seen them as a substitute brother and sister. I knew you would do everything in your power to keep her safe. And this was for just in case. If I make it through tomorrow, maybe I'll be lucky enough to last another 5 years and you won't have to worry about it."
Giles pulled her tighter against him. "I'm not worried. Everything will go as planned tomorrow and you'll be there for her 21st birthday. You'll still be around for your own child's 21st birthday. You'll live to be the oldest slayer on record."
"That sounds really good, but there's only one problem with it."
"To have a child live to 21 I need to have a child, and that is a little hard to do by myself. Of course, I could go to a sperm bank, but baby making should be messy and fun and involve two people who love each other."
"So, any thoughts on who should have the fun of making a baby with me?"
Fueled by imagination, images of Buffy flashed though his mind. Her beautiful face covered by a veil as she walked down the aisle to him. The joy in her eyes as he joined their bodies for the first time. Her body, round and swollen with their child. Those images, along with the feel of her nestled in his arms had the expected result. Giles flushed with embarrassment as he felt his instant arousal and knew that Buffy felt it as well. He tried to push her off his lap.
To his shock she tightened her arms, running her hands up under his shirt to caress his bare back. Giles shuddered when she whispered in his ear, "I've had someone in mind for a while now. I was worried that he might not feel the same, but I've found our talk encouraging." She wiggled against the bulge in his lap. "What do you think, Rupert, should I risk telling him how I feel?" She gently bit his earlobe.
Giles moaned, his arms tightening compulsively. "Buffy, please Luv."
Her voice was muffled as she kissed down his neck. "Please what, Rupert?"
"Be very sure that this, that I'm, what you want. I'll not step aside graciously if you change your mind. This is forever."
Buffy pulled back and smiled into his eyes. "I'm sure. I want forever with you. I love you, Rupert." She caressed his face, and then removed his glasses and placed them in his jacket pocket. "Maybe we should put these someplace safe." She shifted so that she was straddling his lap and slid her arms around his neck. "Rupert Giles, if we both survive tomorrow, will you marry me and try to make babies with me?"
Giles' heart was pounding. So like his love, to be the one to take charge. Luckily he wasn't the kind of man who was threatened by a strong woman. He had to swallow hard to clear the lump in his throat. "Buffy Summers," he managed roughly, "It would be my great honor to marry you and my very great pleasure to try to make babies with you."
As he lowered his face to hers she said, "I hope it will be my very great pleasure too."
Giles brushed his lips to hers then murmured "I guarantee it, Luv." He fused his mouth to hers and poured all the pent-up love of the last two years into the kiss. Timeless moments later he gave one last nibble to her bottom lip and pulled away. He smiled.
Buffy's eyes opened slowly and she looked at him, dazed. Blinking, she took a deep breath and whispered, "Wow. I have so been kissing the wrong men."
Giles chucked. "You'll get no argument from me."
Buffy gave him a weak smack on the arm. "Why didn't you do that years ago? Look at all the time we've wasted."
"Not wasted, dear heart. We both needed the time apart, as difficult as it was. I had to stop thinking of you as my Slayer and see the woman you are. You had to see me, Rupert, not the Watcher and not Giles."
Buffy cocked her head to the side, considering his words. "Yes and no. To me you will always be my Watcher, and I'm sure I'll still call you Giles, at least from time to time and mostly around others. I did need to see Rupert, so I could see the whole man, the complete you. Not just see all of you, but admit to myself what you meant to me. And it was more than just difficult being apart, it was hell, but you're right, it needed to happen."
Giles gave a mock gasp. "Buffy agrees with me, it must be the Apocalypse, oh, that's right, it is."
"Rupert!" she giggled. Giles lowered his head for another kiss.
When they drew apart she caressed his cheek. "We can't stay here like this, it's not safe."
"No, it's not safe. And we can't continue this inside, not enough privacy." He grinned. "Unless you want everyone to know what we're doing?"
"If the circumstances were different, I wouldn't mind. In fact I'd go in and wake everyone up to tell them, but we can't, not yet. It would be too big a distraction."
"Yes, they all need to be focused on the fight."
Buffy gave him a quick kiss. "See, we just agreed on a major decision. This marriage is going to be a snap." Giles started to shake. "What?"
Giles was unable to contain his laughter. "Darling, if you believe that you are in for a rude awakening. I'm much too old, very set in my ways and you my dearest could give stubborn lessons to a mule." When Buffy started to object, he cut her off with a kiss. Dragging his mouth away, he whispered in her ear. "But I love you to distraction. You try to put up with my stuffiness and I'll try to adjust to your impulsiveness. If we manage to not kill each other during the first six months, we'll be fine." He moved his mouth to a spot just under her ear and applied a gentle pressure.
Buffy jerked her head back. "Giles! Did you just give me a hickey? What about not telling anyone?"
"Slayer healing, dear heart. It'll be gone by morning."
"Then why did you do it?"
"I was just marking my territory. Rather primitive I know, but it felt very satisfying. When you go in, you'll look in the mirror and see it and even though it will be gone in the morning, you'll remember it was there. Remember what it felt like to be marked by me." He pulled her back into another deep, hungry kiss.
Giles stood and gently lowered Buffy to her feet. He ended the kiss, breathing heavily and held her as she swayed on her feet. When she seemed steadier he let her go and stepped back. "You had best go in now." As she moved towards him he back away. "Now, Buffy. Unless you've changed you're mind about everyone knowing tonight. Stay out here much longer and I'll take you here and now, regardless of who might see or hear."
Buffy blinked, trying to focus. Part of her wanted to challenge his statement, to push him into action, but she knew it was the wrong place and time. She nodded and turned to the front door. With her hand on the doorknob she paused. Without looking at him she said, "Don't stay out here very long, it's not safe."
"I'll be in soon. Good night, Luv, see you in the morning."
With a subdued, "Good night" Buffy entered the house.
Giles stood trying to control his breathing. His heart was pounding and he was having a difficult time resisting the urge to go into the house and up to her room. He knew she was as aroused as he and that it would take very little effort to overcome her objections. He gave a little chuff of laughter. His beloved was a very disruptive influence. He had never felt so close to loosing control, not even during his Ripper days.
Ripper had been wild, but some part of him had always held onto a bit of control. There had been that small rational voice in the back of his head. He hadn't listened to it most of the time, but it had been there none the less.
He had almost taken her right there. On the porch. In a swing. Where anyone could have come outside and seen them. Not to mention that the First probably had minions roaming the streets looking for easy prey.
Only on the Hellmouth.
He was calm enough to consider going into the house, when the door opened behind him. His body went on alert. If that was Buffy, nothing would stop him. Except her, of course. He would never force her, but if that was her, she wouldn't need to be forced. Before he could turn around a voice spoke.
"The coast is clear. It's safe to come in now, she's upstairs." Xander's voice sounded amused.
"I don’t know what you're talking about." Giles replied.
"My chair had a pretty good view of the porch. Don't worry, I'll save the big announcement for the two of you. It's about time. You two belong together."
Giles turned cautiously and saw Xander smiling at him. "Thank you. We aren’t planning to say anything until after the battle. It would only be a distraction."
"I’ll say, watching you was so distracting that my character got killed by Andrew’s character." Xander shrugged his shoulders. "I never did like that game anyway. What’s so great about playing with pretend monsters when you fight the real thing almost every day."
Giles nodded, then smiled. "Let’s go teach those two a real game. How about poker?" At Xander’s nod the two men started to enter the house. Giles put his hand on Xander’s arm to stop him.
"Will you be my best man?"
Xander stopped dead, too shocked to speak for a moment. "You’re assuming I’m going to survive tomorrow."
"I thought I would give you some incentive. Surely you don't want to miss the chance to see me standing at the altar, a nervous wreck, waiting for Buffy. Not to mention the humor potential in pretending to loose the rings."
"Gotta admit, that’s hard to pass up. I accept." The two smiled at each other. "Now, let’s go pluck some pigeons."
They entered the only occupied house in Sunnydale. The rest of the all too short night was spent playing poker and trying to not think of what they would be facing the next morning. But they needn't have worried because life, and love, will always find a way to survive. Even on the Hellmouth.