By Gail Christison
Author: Gail Christison
Summary: Giles loses a bet made in haste and consequences ensue, only not necessarily the ones he expected. :-)
Timeline: Some time after Joyce's death.
Feedback: always inspiring email@example.com
Distribution: Once More, eventually; Gabi if she wants it, Dword ditto..
Disclaimer: Joss owns all things BTVS, the relevent recording company and probably Jeff Buckley's estate, own the song, Hallelujah. Doc Martens must belong to someone No infringements are intended.
Author's note: This is just a little vignette written for a friend, the writing of which got massively interrupted by RL, so its kinda late. The challenge was originally for a paragraph, but my paragraph had a growth spurt <g>
Dedication: For Gileswench.
"Buffy, I can’t."
"Why not? You promised you’d at least try to do
the honourable thing."
"That was before you decided you wanted me to look
like...I don’t know what...and to well…you know…"
"Giles, you look great. Would you have preferred
tweed? I mean, I actually thought you were getting close to cool there for a
while. And you do actually have some nice clothes of your own, now."
"Yes, but my own clothes at least allow me to sit
down and still speak in a voice somewhere below alto-soprano," he growled,
trying to pull subtlely at his inside leg. "And in an interesting twist
most of my shirts have collars that actually go around one’s neck."
He stepped off the bottom step and came into the living
room with his hands spread wide.
Buffy ran her eyes over the long legs encased in
skin-hugging blue designer denim, the outline of his hips, small, firm butt and
the expensive black, wide-necked, short-sleeved, blousy shirt she’d found to
complete the look. With his hair slightly gelled and no glasses, Giles looked
incredibly sexy in the gear she’d bought for him and the look she’d created
over his objections. The only parts that actually belonged to him were the Doc
Martens under the jeans. Buffy hadn’t even attempted to ask what Giles was
doing with his own ‘Docs’.
"Very sexy. I don’t know what your problem is,
mister. You didn’t even have to pay for this stuff. Are you ready?"
She nodded, smiling. Vengeance was going to be sweet.
"That’s what you get for trying to be big superior guy, not listening to
your Slayer, not to mention making stupid bets."
Giles rolled his eyes. "Yes, well, I know my
demons and I knew that thing was a Metakis demon…"
"…And you just knew he was going to spit up acid
all over my clothes, right?"
"Our clothes," Giles replied, turning a
bright shade of red.
Buffy snorted. "So there we are in the middle of
the docks, where anyone could have seen us with Metakis vomit all over us and
you’re telling me it’s strip or burn…"
Giles colour deepened. "I’ve already apologised
five times. It isn’t as though I didn’t strip as well."
Buffy scowled at him. "Funny how my JAG shirt is
just fine now that the purple goop has been washed out of it."
He looked away. "Y-yes, well, I couldn’t know
without checking my books that a juvenile Metakis has all the potency of a
half-sucked lemon, could I?"
Buffy’s eyes took in every impressive inch of him,
remembering what that body looked like unclothed except for tiny navy blue satin
boxers. It had been an eye opener in more ways than one. His body, which she had
never really seriously considered before, was not middle-aged, or soft or gone
She had been surprised to find herself hard-pressed not
to stare at the nicely defined pectorals, wide shoulders, strangely compelling
pattern of golden brown, grey and dark hairs across them and trailing down to
his navel, the smooth, but firm contour of his stomach and hips and the long,
gorgeous legs that completed the picture.
He’d stood there holding his muck covered pants and
sweater, waiting for them to disintegrate, only to die of embarrassment when
they didn’t, leaving Buffy facing him with her hands on her own near-naked
hips, clad only in a matching soft crock top and briefs, high cut, but,
thankfully, not too revealing.
"Giles?" she’d demanded, metaphorically
tapping her foot.
"Well…um…I…I…I really…don’t understand,"
he’d stammered, staring at the clothes.
"Neither do I. If you were anyone else…and
especially if you were Xander…you’d be in so much trouble right now…"
He looked up, his face glowing, then looked down again
swiftly. "I-I know…sorry about that. I sh-shall have to research the
Metakis more thoroughly. I-I don’t know what to say."
"How about: ‘you can get dressed again in your
clothes, now, Buffy, even though they happen to be covered in surprisingly *non-corrosive*
purple snot?’" she’d teased.
"Buffy, really, I…."
"I know. But you owe me. When I said it looked
harmless but gross, you said I didn’t know what I was talking about. Pay up on
"My bet? You don’t seriously want me to act on a
wager made in a moment of stress?" he asked, alarmed.
"You bet me it was corrosive…worse than
hydrochloric acid, you said. You said you’d bet me anything…anything I could
Giles snorted. "*You* bet *me* that
it wasn’t," he corrected. "What do you want? I’m not
letting you drive the car."
Buffy had made a face. "I should, just for that.
But that’s not what I want. I never got to hear you sing. Last year the guys
talked about it all the time. I want you to sing for me, BUT," she added,
just when he was going to relax, relieved, and agree to her terms. "But, I
want to choose your outfit and the songs, and I want you to do it in your
Giles said something under his breath. "Done, as
long as it involves rather more clothes than I’m wearing now. Aren’t you
"No promises." A distinctly mischievous Buffy
had looked him up and down. She grinned. "And yeah. Nearly as cold as you
are," she teased.
Giles looked down at the puckered flesh of his nipples
and the goose-pimples across his chest and down his arms.
"Ha, ha," he growled and finally looked up
again. "Circuit-breakers giving you problems of your own?" He grinned
almost smugly, his amused smile widening as she looked down, made a noise, and
her arms crossed her body over the rigid peaks beneath the soft pink and grey
cotton stretch top.
Buffy had then snatched up her clothes and shaken the
excess goop off them before gingerly dressing, Giles following suit.
"A bet is a bet," she’d warned him as they
had headed for home on foot, Giles refusing to allow either of them into his
nice clean car in their condition.
Buffy’s thoughts returned to the present and the man
standing in front of her. It was kind of disturbing to find herself appreciating
the view quite so much. What had started as a fun joke, to make Giles pay for
embarrassing them both, now seemed to be much more.
He was still Giles, and yet…well, he was a guy. Giles
had never been a ‘guy’ guy before. Not to any part of her, except when
she’d seen him with Olivia, or kissing Jenny…or when they were training at
the Magic Box and she could smell his sweat, his cologne… the herbal shampoo
She swallowed. Where had that come from? She’d never
even thought about his shampoo…or his sweat…or that cologne…the cologne
he’d been wearing for as long as she could remember…all mixed up with…
"Giles, you don’t have to do this," she
said suddenly. "It’s okay. It was a joke, and I care about you too much
"I-Im sorry," she said uncomfortably.
Giles smiled slowly. "Thank you. I certainly
wasn’t looking forward to removing my clothing again, even one piece at a
Buffy shrugged. "And you don’t have to sing Big
Spender or Touch-a Touch-a me, either," she added. "Like I said, I got
carried away with the joke…it was stupid, and it’s over. Except, I really
"Really did what?" Giles asked, his voice
warm with affection and tenderness. He knew when he’d got off lightly.
Buffy looked up slowly, her eyes, soft bluish-grey
today, as they often were, meeting his.
"I really did want to hear you sing. But you
don’t have to…not any more. We could just do, like, tea or something…talk
about training, maybe?"
Giles’ brow knitted slightly, trying to work out what
was really going on. It was neither like Buffy to change her mind about making
him squirm…any more than Jenny ever used to relent when she had the chance to
do the same thing, nor was it at all like her to have such a high colour or look
so uncomfortable around him for any reason.
"Y-you would really like to hear me…play?"
he asked awkwardly.
His perplexed frowned deepened a little, but he stepped
over to where the guitar was resting near the fireplace and picked it up.
Buffy watched him sit down and begin to tune it, more
confused than ever. A part of her felt a swell of affection for the man who had
been such an irreplaceable part of her life for so long, but another part of her
was watching his jeans strain almost to breaking…or ripping…point as he sat
down. It was giving her a headache…this apparent clash of hormones and her
usual taking for granted of this complex individual who was so much a part of
After a beat she went and sat on the other end of the
couch, content to watch his bent head for the moment.
When he was done gently coaxing the strings into
cooperating to his satisfaction, he looked up and smiled.
Buffy’s heart banged against the wall of her chest,
dazing her even more. It was just too weird. His smile…his real, open,
unconscious smile, was something she couldn’t ever remember seeing. All they
ever shared were those little moments of subdued amusement, the slight curving
upwards of those sensual lips, in approval, affection or again, amusement. What
was even weirder that she could never remember Giles truly grinning with
pleasure. Not for her…not ever.
Not like that.
She managed to smile back, unaware that her heart was
in her eyes.
He faltered for a moment, then fell again to extracting
a song from the old guitar, trying not to think about the look he’d seen in
eyes that normally only regarded him with tolerant fondness at best, amusement
and irritation at worst.
Buffy listened to his beautiful voice blending with the
strings as he sang. She found it difficult to believe it was Giles bringing the
haunting, melancholy tune to life. She knew it and she knew how difficult of a
piece it was, despite her limited ability to keep up with normal things like
music, television, cinema and the like. The first time she’d heard the artist
in question singing the song, Hallelujah, she’d been transfixed.
And now, again, the beautiful range of Giles’ voice,
the emotion and the passion with which he was bringing it to life moved her
almost to tears. Tears not least because her only previous reaction to the idea
of Giles singing had been childish and stupid.
She looked at his bent head now as he held a note with
poignant clarity and wondered how she had managed to be so blind.
Buffy closed her eyes for a moment and just listened.
It was easier that way. After everything that had happened to them…and *so
much had happened* since they came together…not just this horrible year
where the world had come apart around them, where the only good thing to come
out of the chaos had been Dawn…here they were, after all of it, together, as
ever, as though their places in the universe would always be alongside each
other. She shivered…but alongside each other *how?*
Giles was her Watcher, her friend…perhaps her very
best friend, now. Travers had once implied that he was her father figure…but
the old Watcher was clueless…clueless enough to turn around and make lewdly
suggestive inferences about their training on his last visit…
She wrinkled her nose at her thoughts, even as Giles’
voice seeped all the way down to her bones, making her almost sigh out loud as
he held the last note for an amazing amount of time, just like the original
When his voice finally faded he lifted his head slowly.
Buffy found herself staring into the softest green eyes,
half smiling, half self-conscious as they waited for her verdict, but *all*
Giles. She immediately wondered why she’d never told him how much she loved
them, but the answer was immediately there. It always seemed too icky to talk to
him about anything so intimate...
Well, it didn’t feel icky now. It felt…it felt like
she’d wasted a great deal of time…and, God, made some horrible mistakes
since the day she’d found Olivia in his apartment for the first time.
"Th-that was beautiful," she croaked. "Y-you…I…Giles…I-I
love your eyes," she evaded feebly.
Giles’ head tilted a little and his grin widened a
little lopsidedly as his colour rose.
"Buffy? Are you quite all right?" he asked,
She blinked, then swallowed, and finally nodded. "I’m
fine. Really I am. I just…I never told you…I haven’t told you…"
His smiled faded as she ground to a halt, too flustered
"Would you like something to drink?" he asked
She shook her head. "Giles, h-have you ever had…like…a
sudden revelation…something so big you couldn’t make the words…come out
Again the dear head tilted, his eyes bright with
curiosity, puzzlement, and perhaps the slightest hint of anticipation. His brows
drew together in the endearing way they always did when he was perplexed, making
that little divot above the bridge of his nose.
"I’m not sure I understand," he said softly.
"We all have epiphanies, or moments of clarity, at some time in our lives…and
I suppose they are a little overwhelming…"
She nodded vigorously. "Very." Then, when
their eyes met again, she grew very still for a moment. "Very," she
repeated, and moved toward him, surprising him again.
He was still looking up at her when she halted just a
few inches from him and reached out, hesitantly at first then with conviction,
to touch his face.
It was warm to her fingertips, and soon grew warmer as
colour flooded into it, the green eyes refusing now to relinquish hers.
She caressed the stubbly cheek, traced his brow with a
forefinger before following the line of his jaw to his mouth and touching his
lips, parted as they were, slightly, in stunned surprise.
A moment later he stood up, swallowing hard.
"Buffy?" he whispered.
Her hand dropped to her side. "My epiphany,"
she told him, allowing her trembling mouth to form the semblance of a smile.
"Crazy huh?" She shrugged, trying not to show the depth of her hurt at
Giles’ mouth dropped open a little further and his
Buffy tried and failed to read it, and felt like
bursting into tears. Instead she waited, silently.
Finally, he cleared his throat and his colour subsided
a little. "Not crazy," he said almost too softly. "Unless you
want it to be."
Her eyes widened and her palms suddenly felt wet, her
chest an agony of thumping from her out-of-control heart. She shook her head and
heard his swiftly indrawn breath.
"I…I don’t know what I want, Giles. I don’t
know who we are any more," she heard herself say.
He grew very, very still. "We are the same people
we were five minutes ago," he said in a voice that held her riveted.
"I am still the man you never see when you look at me and you are the woman
I…" His eyes slid away.
"Say it, Giles," she whispered.
The silence stretched.
"I love you," he managed, finally, still
without looking up.
For just a fraction of a second it looked as though all
the bones in Buffy’s body had disintegrated at the same time, then she caught
herself and straightened, her mouth again trembling and her eyes growing almost
luminous with emotion.
"I saw a man tonight," she said hoarsely.
"And fell in love with him on sight. That’s what I was trying to tell
you…help me, Giles…I-I don’t know how to…I’ll just mess it up…"
His head came up and he came to her, closing his eyes
as she moved into his arms and their embrace melded them into one.
It continued for an almost endless moment, neither of
them willing to become islands again, now that, finally, they had both come
Eventually they both moved to separate and the
Giles snorted silently at his self-consciousness. No
other woman had made him this idiotically…idiotic. *It stopped now.*
"I know I’m not suitable and I’m too old…I
know you deserve better, Buffy, but I want you to know how much I love
you…have loved you since…well, let’s just say its seems an eternity,"
he managed to stammer.
Buffy stopped panicking and looked up at him, saw the
fear in his eyes. "Anyone else but you and that statement would be wigging
me out to the max," she said gently. "I’ve always loved you, Giles.
I can’t believe I only realised today that I’m in love with you. I feel like
I should ask someone to tattoo ‘Duh, Buffy,’ across my forehead."
He chuckled, but his emotions were in his eyes. He
touched her creamy brow.
"I like it just the way it is."
She leaned into the fingers and closed her eyes for a
moment, before opening them again and looking up at him. With anyone else she
would just let things take their course, would want them to, but with Giles, it
was so new, so…
"What do we do now?" she blurted, an almost
panicked note in her voice.
For a moment so fleeting that Buffy missed it, hurt
darkened his eyes and extinguished the glow in them. Then he chuckled.
"What do you want to do?"
"This isn’t funny," she retorted, feeling
"Of course it is," he said, the amusement
still not reaching his eyes. "Every boyfriend you’ve had…each one of
whom I’ve hated with a passion, by the way, has had the benefit of your
spontaneous affection, even in plain view…now here you are dumbstruck because
you’d discovered you have feelings for someone you think is-is out of the
That did it. Buffy stepped forward and drew his face
down to hers. Her mouth demanded the attention of his, melting into it, even
taking his bottom lip between hers.
For a moment Giles stood frozen, then his arms slid
around her and held her as he assumed control of the kiss, tilting her head back
and caressing her lips with his before covering them with his own.
It was a long time before the kiss ended.
Buffy drew back first. "I told you I loved
you," she growled in a tone that sounded more like: ‘now see what you
made me do!’
In reply Giles took her in his arms and kissed her
again, this time fiercely and possessively, until he released her, both of their
colours high, both of them breathless.
"And I told you I love *you*," he
"So does that mean I should make with another
spontaneous gesture of affection?" she asked facetiously.
He finally smiled again. "Many, many of
them," he said with feeling as Buffy walked back into his embrace.
"I think something can be arranged," she
purred and kissed the base of his throat.
Giles swept her into his arms.
"What are you doing?" she huffed.
"Spontaneously carrying you upstairs," he
said matter-of-factly as they traversed the small distance to the steps.
Buffy giggled. "I like a man of action."
Giles reached the landing, breathing very heavily.
"And I like a woman who knows how to giggle," he said with great
It had been a very long time since Buffy had giggled
about anything. Her expression grew tender and she touched his exertion-flushed
cheek. After a moment of charged silence she grinned again.
"C’mon old guy, before you burst
As though on cue Giles staggered forward, through the
doorway and dumped her on the bed.
"Oh…dear God," he muttered, still bent, and
holding his lower back as she untangled herself, and looked up.
"Giles!" she jumped up, mortified, and
immediately started massaging the offending area until the silence prompted her
to look at his face, or at least his profile. He was grinning like a smug
"You!" she muttered. "There’s nothing
wrong with your back!" Without thinking she started to tickle his sides
with a vengeance.
Giles jumped and wriggled and tried to free himself,
unable to restrain his laughter as she continued to use her Slayer strength to
wreak revenge. Eventually he squirmed enough to turn around and grab her before
pulling them both, laughing, back onto the bed, so that Buffy ended up sprawled
on top of him.
A moment later they were lost in a passionate kiss, and
then they were just lost, the little apartment settling into a smug, contented
silence as life within it changed forever…