Title: It's Not Easy Being Green Carded (1/?)
Pairing: Giles/ Buffy of course
Rating: R, eventually
Spoilers: This is an alternate universe. In my world, none of the episodes between The Freshman and Hush occurred. Willow has always been Buffy's room mate, Oz left on tour with his band and parted amicably with Willow, Riley is just a nice college guy, and Angel never returned from LA.
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to these characters. I am making no profit from this story and no copyright infringement is intended. My story is strictly for the entertainment of those of us who believe this couple should be together.
Synopsis: Giles is informed that his green card has been revoked.
This story is being written in response to the green card challenge on the Bodice Ripper web site. I will put the challenge elements at the end of the story and you can decide if I met the challenge.
Chapter 1 - The Problem
It was with an impending sense of doom that Rupert Giles opened the letter. He already knew what the contents would be, had known as soon as he pulled the letter from his mailbox. His worst fears were confirmed when he read:
Dear Mr. Giles,
It has been brought to our attention that your position as Librarian at Sunnydale High School was terminated due to the destruction of the school, and that you have as yet found no further employment.
Upon further investigation, we have determined that your sponsor, RCOW, Ltd. has withdrawn its sponsorship.
Therefore, it is the ruling of this department that your status as a resident alien is no longer valid and your green card is being revoked.
An agent of this office will be in Sunnydale on the 23rd to meet with you. You may petition to challenge our ruling at this time.
Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services
Los Angeles Branch
Giles read the letter through for the third time, taking a drink from the glass of scotch he had poured. Anger swept over him in a burning wave. "Dammit!" He threw the glass into the fireplace.
His momentary satisfaction at hearing the glass shatter was replaced by embarrassment when behind him he heard a timid, "Uh, Giles? Is something wrong?"
Giles drew a deep breath and turned to see Willow and another young lady standing in his open doorway. Bloody hell, he had been so upset he had forgotten to close the door. "Please, come in. I apologize for my outburst. I have just received some upsetting news." He ran his hand through his hair. "Though to be perfectly honest, it's not completely unexpected."
Willow moved forward and placed her hand on his arm. "Giles, what is it? Has someone died?"
Without a word, he handed her the letter and went into the kitchen to make tea. From the living room he heard, "No, they can't do this." Turning, he saw Willow standing in the doorway.
"You can't leave. We have to stop this. The 23rd? But that's Monday, that's only three days from now." Willow's eyes filled with tears. "You can't go back to England. What would we do without you?" She blinked rapidly, then frowned. "Who is RCOW, Ltd. and why did they stop sponsoring you?"
"It's the Council, and they stopped sponsoring me when they fired me. I expected them to push the issue and have me deported at the time. I suppose they decided to keep themselves free of blame by waiting until my resident alien status was reviewed and allow it to happen naturally."
He ushered her back into the living room. "No use dwelling on the matter, it's beyond our control. What brings you here? Is there some problem?"
Willow blushed. "No, no problem. I, ah, I just wanted to introduce you to Tara." She turned to the other girl, who stepped forward shyly. "Tara, Giles. Giles, Tara."
"Hello, Mr. Giles." Tara said softy as she hesitantly offered her hand. "It's nice to meet you. Willow talks about you a lot."
Giles smiled and took the proffered hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Tara. I apologize again for my outburst earlier. I'm afraid I didn't make a very good first impression."
"That's all right, you were upset."
Willow broke in, impatiently, "What do you mean it's beyond our control? There has to be something we can do. They can't just make you leave. We need you, Buffy needs you."
Giles started to speak, but the teakettle began to whistle. He gestured for the girls to sit down as he went to the kitchen to prepare the tea. When Giles returned, he placed the tray on the coffee table. Willow automatically took the role of 'Mother' and fixed everyone's cup.
Giles watched the familiarity between the two girls. He tilted his head to the side, looking at Willow curiously. She looked at peace, more at peace than he had seen her since Oz had left. Willow looked up and when she saw his regard, she blushed. Giles smiled gently. "You look happy, Willow. I’m glad."
Her eyes widened and the blush deepened. "I, ah, it’s just….." she fumbled for the words.
"I take it I’m the first person you’ve introduced Tara to? Relax, Willow. Love knows no boundaries, and neither does true friendship. The others won’t judge you."
"I’m pretty sure that Xander will be okay, but I don’t know about Buffy. She can be kind of rigid sometimes."
"Buffy may be surprised, but she is your friend. Once she knows you are happy, she’ll come around."
Willow smiled, then frowned. She put on her Resolve face. "You’re trying to distract me. We have to research, find a way to keep you here. We need you."
Giles sighed. "Willow, how long have you known Tara?"
"A little over a month. We had seen each other on campus, but we didn’t really meet until the thing with the Gentlemen."
"And how recent is this development between the two of you?"
Willow smiled at Tara. "A couple of weeks." She turned back to Giles. "I know it seems kinda fast, but we really are sure. It’s not rebound or anything."
"A couple of weeks, and Buffy doesn’t know? I thought she was your roommate at the dorm."
"Well, yeah, but Tara and I have been meeting at her place, and Buffy has been dating this guy from our Psych class." Her voice trailed away at the look on Giles’ face. "You didn’t know about Riley either?"
"Willow, I have seen Buffy twice since the night we blew up the school. The first time was over that vampire, Friday, and the second time was because of the Gentlemen. Since the vampire and demon population of Sunnydale has not increased, I assume that she is still patrolling, but as she has not been reporting to me it is only an assumption. Xander has found a job he enjoys and co-workers who accept him for who he is. You have found your peace with Oz and have begun a new relationship. All of this was done without my help or guidance. You are no longer children; you are young adults, making your own decisions and living your own lives. Buffy is doing quite well without me, you all are."
Giles took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. "As I said before, the news was not completely unexpected. In fact, I had been considering moving back to England, but I was having trouble letting go. This only makes things easier." He looked back at Willow and she gasped at the sadness in his eyes. "I hate to be rude, but I think you should leave, I’m not very good company right now."
The girls' rose to leave and Giles walked to the door with them. Willow gave him a long hug, reluctant to let him go. "I'll call you tomorrow, okay?" She looked up at him with teary eyes.
"Willow, it will be all right, you'll all be fine." As her arms tightened he continued, "You saw the letter. I'll be here at least until the 23rd. You may call me tomorrow if you wish."
Willow gave him one last squeeze, then released him and walked away with Tara. Giles stood in the doorway, watching them until they were out of sight, then closed the door. He crossed the room and sat down on the sofa, leaning his head back wearily.
So, Buffy was dating a young man from one of her classes. He was happy for her, he truly was. It was what he had wanted for her, a normal life. It was just that he had always imagined that he would be a part of that life. As mentor, advisor, even as substitute father if that was how she wanted to see him, but he had always pictured himself as having some place in her life.
In fact it had been his own foolish actions, his desire for her to see him as a man, that had driven her away. Her words had stung, but only a little. He knew that it had been the arrogance of youth talking. He had been the same at her age. What had really bothered him had been the reason behind the jealousy in her voice.
It wasn't that she saw him as a man, and was sexually jealous. It was that she saw him as her property and she was jealous of him having a life without her. At first he hadn't been surprised by her absence after the incident. It was an unconscious desire on her part to punish him. 'You don't need me, I don't need you'. But as the weeks turned into months, and still no calls, no visits, he began to despair. She had completely shut him out of her life. He had attempted to make the first move, but she had never returned his calls. She really didn't need him.
At this point Olivia had stopped by again, and had seen how disconnected from the others he had become. She had suggested that he return to England with her, and he had been thinking about it, when the Gentlemen had come to Sunnydale. Although this glimpse into what his life was really like had frightened Olivia away, he had thought it had brought Buffy back. But after the crisis was over the days and weeks had again passed without sight or sound of her.
What was a Watcher without someone to watch? Nothing. He had allowed himself to become nothing. How Ethan would laugh if he could see him now. Obviously this was just the kick in the pants he had needed. Time to go back to England and have a life. Forget about Sunnydale and Buffy. Be somebody again.
He rose from his seat. Three days. While he was relatively certain they wouldn't make him actually leave the country on the 23rd, he should begin preparing for his departure. He went to the telephone book to find a place that sold packing boxes.
Willow's thoughts were in turmoil as she walked towards the dorm with Tara. And the more she thought, the angrier she became. "He's giving up. He's just going to let them deport him. This is all Buffy's fault. He is her Watcher, but she's been ignoring him and he feels useless. You heard him, he didn't even know that she is dating Riley. She is so going to get a piece of my mind."
The remainder of the trip was silent; each girl considering what should be done next. Entering her room, Willow went over to the computer and turned it on. "First things first. We need to check out the INS web site and find some loophole that will allow Giles to stay." Tara nodded her agreement and the two settled down to do the research.
Three hours later, Willow pushed back from the desk and began pacing the room. "He was right, there's nothing we can do. Without a sponsor and without a job the INS considers him useless and thinks he shouldn't be in the country." She looked at Tara, tears flowing down her face. "He's not useless. He's saved me, saved the world, so many times. He let himself be tortured for hours rather than give up information to Angelus. He taught me magic, showed me I was someone special. Tara, I can't lose him, I just can't." Willow flung herself onto the bed, sobbing.
Tara sat and pulled Willow into her arms, rocking her gently and rubbing her back until the crying stopped. Willow was just beginning to pull away when the door was flung open and Buffy rushed into the room.
"Hey, Willow. Who's your friend?" Buffy continued across the room, not waiting for an answer. She disappeared into the closet and moments later the clothes she had been wearing flew across the room into the laundry basket. A few seconds later she emerged wearing a different outfit and headed for the mirror. With lightening speed she began applying make-up.
"Buffy, this is my friend Tara. Buffy, I need to tell you something."
"Hi, Tara, nice to meet you. Sorry, Will, I'm busy, whatever it is will have to wait. Riley is waiting for me." She headed for the door.
"But, Buffy, it's important. It's about," the door slammed shut, "Giles." Willow stared blankly at the closed door, then began to frown. "This is all her fault," she said angrily. "We need to do more research. There has to be a way." Her face set in determined lines as she continued. "And if we don't find one and he has to leave, little miss 'I'm busy' will regret it for the rest of her life. I'll see to it."
Watching Willow, Tara shuddered. For just a minuet she had felt power, dark power, surround Willow. She was right; she needed Mr. Giles. When Tara had touched his hand, she had felt the strength of his magic. His aura was one of the purest she had even seen. Willow needed him to keep her on the right path. There had to be a way.
The next morning two dispirited young women knocked on Giles' apartment door. He smiled and ushered them in. On the sofa a teary eyed Anya clung to a shocked looking Xander. Willow pulled Giles into a hug. "I'm sorry, Giles. I couldn't find anything that would work."
Giles briefly returned the hug, then released her. "It's all right, Willow, I didn’t think that you would." He took a deep breath and smiled. "No sad faces. Why don't I treat everyone to breakfast? There's a lovely little coffee shop not far from here, and it's a beautiful morning. The walk will do us good." He led the way back out the door.
As Giles walked ahead with Tara and Anya, Xander pulled Willow next to him and whispered, "Where's Buffy?"
Willow's eyes flashed angrily. "She's still asleep," she hissed. "She had a date with Riley last night and I don't know what time she got in."
"She went on a date?" Xander was speechless for a few minutes. "She left you to research Giles' problem and went on a date?"
"Buffy doesn't even know Giles has a problem. I tried to tell her but she just blew me off. Then I found a note from her this morning telling me to get her up at 10:00. TELLING ME, like I was her maid or something." The two walked in silence until Giles looked back at them in concern.
"Is there a problem?"
"No, no problem." Xander said, trying to smile. "Just deep thoughts. You know us, deep thinkers." He made a face. "Babble seems to be contagious."
Giles smiled and continued to walk, but the day seemed dimmer. Buffy. They must have been talking about Buffy. Apparently not even his imminent departure would bring her to see him. No, no thinking about that today. Plenty of time to brood when he was back in England. Time with Willow and Xander was too precious to waste on regrets.
Breakfast was a lively affair. Xander and Willow embarrassed Giles by telling Tara and Anya stories about the 'Tweedy book guy'. Of course, behind every funny story was an unspoken sorrow, but they pretended, just for today, that those didn't exist. Afterward, they walked back to Giles' apartment and began categorizing and packing his extensive collection of books.
Buffy woke, lying with her eyes closed for a few more minutes. She felt more rested than she had in a long time, but she couldn't have gotten that much sleep, cause it wasn't 10:00 yet. She had almost drifted back to sleep, when something that had been nagging on the edge of her consciousness came into focus. The dorm was awfully quiet for early Saturday morning. She opened her eyes and looked at the alarm clock.
11:45! She was supposed to meet Riley at noon. She was going to be late! Buffy jumped out of bed, intending to yell at Willow for letting her sleep, but saw that the room was empty. She frowned. Willow must have not seen her note; otherwise she wouldn't have left without waking her up.
As she took a step towards the bathroom she felt something under her foot. On the floor, in little pieces, was the note she had left on Willow's side of the nightstand. Buffy stared at the pieces in bewilderment. Why had Willow torn up the note? Shaking her head she rushed into the bathroom. No time to wonder about it now, she'd ask Willow about it later.
Five minutes later she came face to face with a large note that Willow had left on the door.
IN CASE YOU CARE
Giles is in trouble and needs our help. I tried to tell you last night but you were
in too much of a hurry to be with Riley to stop and listen.
Buffy stared at the note, her mind not comprehending the message. She began to feel dizzy and backed up to sit down on her bed. The words kept going through her mind, Giles is in trouble. She drew a deep breath and tried to steady her pounding heart. Giles is in trouble.
Even from the bed she could see the first line of the note. Big capital letters, in bright red. In case you care. Buffy thought back to the evening before and now saw what she hadn't seen then; Willow's tear streaked face. Giles is in trouble.
Buffy rushed out of the dorm, all thoughts of Riley forgotten.
Running the entire way, she made it to Giles' apartment in record time. Buffy opened the door so forcefully it slammed against the inner wall. Her eyes scanned the startled faces until she saw the one she was looking for. She rushed across the room and grabbed Giles in a bruising hug. After a few seconds Buffy pulled back, looking at him anxiously.
"What's wrong? How were you hurt? Where were you hurt? Who hurt you? Do you need me to kill them?" Her eyes left his face and traveled over his body, looking for obvious signs of injury. Her hands slid up his arms to cup his head, fingers running through his hair feeling for bumps.
Giles closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Bad idea. Her Slayer's body produced a stronger pheromone than the average woman's did; this is what drew vampires to her. Add to that the increased hormones of her fright, her elevated body heat from her run, along with that tropical smelling body lotion she wore and he was enveloped in essence of Buffy.
When she had rushed into the room all of his senses had kicked into high, the primitive fight or flight response alerting him to possible danger. Then to have her press that beautiful body against his and run her hands through his hair……. His body was demanding that he go to option three: rip her clothes off, push her to the floor and shag her senseless.
"Giles?" The hands left his hair and traveled to his shoulders. "Giles, what's wrong?" She gave him a little shake. He opened his eyes and stared into hers. Whatever she saw there caused her to blink, blush and move quickly away from him.
There was a moment of silence that was broken by Xander's sarcastic, "Gee, good to see you Buffy. Nice that you could take time out of your busy schedule to come visit with us."
"Yeah," Willow chimed in, "I'm surprised that you could get your mind off Riley long enough to read my note." She continued in a cutting voice, "Giles isn't hurt, not physically, and there's nothing for you to kill, so I guess we don't really need you after all." She looked at her watch. "If you hurry I'm sure you can still catch Riley."
Giles stared at her in shock. "Willow," he began, but was interrupted.
"No, don't defend her. This is all her fault. If she hadn't been such a selfish little bitca this wouldn't be happening." Willow glared at Giles, who glared back.
Buffy broke in, "What is my fault? Would someone please tell me what is going on? What is the problem and why are all of you….." her voice trailed off, noticing for the first time the boxes that were being packed. She looked at Giles, fear in her eyes. "Giles?" she asked in a trembling voice.
Willow grabbed the letter from the coffee table and shoved it in Buffy's hand. "This is what's your fault." She stomped across the room to stand next to Tara, turning to watch Buffy's reaction.
Buffy read the letter through once, raised stricken eyes to Giles, then read it again. The color left her face and she shook her head. "No," her voice quivered, "No, they can't make you leave. You're my Watcher, I need you here with me." She felt dizzy again, and knew that this time she wouldn't make it to a seat. Her legs gave out and she went down.