The Last Dance
By Gail Christison
Title: The Last Dance
[An Alternate Reality epilogue to Pangs and I will remember you]
Spoilers: minor, up to Pangs
Distribution: Once More with Feeling; Anywhere Gibberish wants :-)
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Joss, as always...
Thanks to my husband for being brave enough to proofread this for me this morning so I could post sooner and nice enough not to tease too much. <g>
Buffy finished putting away the last baking dish and
pie plate and straightened. Giles finished wiping down the dining table and was
coming back to the kitchen with spray and cloth in hand. She watched him put
them away and put a hand to his lower back.
"I knew you were going to stick me with the
clean up," he said through his teeth.
Buffy made a face. "Yeah, but I'm still here,
aren't I?" She frowned. "Even after you didn't tell me about Angel
being here, which, you better be glad I owe you so many secrets...because if I
didn't you'd still be cleaning up...by yourself," she added
"Yes, well," he said uncomfortably. "I
said I was sorry about that, but he did it for your own good. I did suggest he
tell you." He turned slowly. "So why did you stay?"
She shrugged. "When all the others cut and ran I
felt bad about leaving you with Spike and all this mess, so..."
After a beat he finally smiled. A year ago she wouldn't
have blinked before leaving him with the lot. "Well, it's appreciated."
She smiled back, ignoring the drumming ache beneath her
sternum the mention of Angel had caused. "What I'd appreciate right now is
a mocha, extra sweet. I've been dreaming of it since dinner. Pity Will did her
Will-o-the-Wisp thing again. It's no fun alone." She sighed. "I guess
there's always patrol as a consolation prize..."
Giles removed the cloth from his waist. "You have
a place you go for these 'mochas'?" he asked.
"Oh yeah, there's this great place...pity you hate
coffee," Buffy mused.
"Would you like to go...for coffee, I mean? We've
been at this in one way or another, for hours...it would be rather a relief to
get out of the house for a while."
Buffy smiled at him with real affection. "You hate
it, don't you...not having anything to do?" She sobered. "I'm sorry
about the library. I wish there had been another way..."
He shook his head. "It had to be done. It's partly
my own fault, this enforced lay-off. Once I get this muddle with Immigration
sorted out and my work permits in order it shouldn't be too difficult to find
some sort of gainful employment."
"I wondered why a brain like you was taking so
long to get a job," she teased. "Even I got a job in Los
"And when I want to distribute greasy fast food to
people who want to slap me on the rump and pinch my bottom I'll ask you for tips,"
he shot back.
Buffy collapsed into giggles.
Infectious giggles. The moment the words were out Giles
was equally struck by the absurdity of them and joined her, until they were
setting each other off just by looking at each other.
"Are you lot quite all right?" a voice
finally called from the bathroom.
"I thought you were trying to get some sleep,"
Giles yelled back between chuckles.
"I was until you two started doing hyena
impressions. Do you mind? Some of us are shift workers."
"Coffee...?" Giles repeated softly and Buffy
could see he meant it.
She nodded and went to wait at the door while Giles
slipped upstairs to change his sweater, which had suffered rather from her blood,
dishwater, pan grease, and a mysterious green something on the bottom of one
He was back in minutes and Buffy watched him skip down
the stairs, surprised. Most of his 'new' clothes since his forced retrenchment
were actually old sweaters and stuff resurrected to replace the daily tweed, but
she was certain this was new.
"Nice shirt," she said as they left, unused
to seeing him in anything that wasn't either baggy or multi-layered.
"Oh? Oh, yes. I discovered that my meagre
collection consisted almost entirely of rather...er...well used...business
shirts. Some shopping seemed in order, but I have to say that tastes have
certainly changed...all I seem to have ended up with this and a drawer full of
polo shirts," he chuckled.
Buffy took another look at the obviously expensive,
beautifully cut, dark blue-grey shirt and the way it accentuated his broad
shoulders and lean torso in the glow of the security light and was amazed how
good it...no, how good he looked. She stopped, surprised.
Giles turned from unlocking the car. "Something
"Me?" She shook her head. "No. I...I
was...just trying to remember if I turned everything off," she said lamely
and winced, before hurrying to the car and climbing in.
The coffee shop was relatively quiet and they found a
booth inside, the only one unoccupied, despite the Thanksgiving lull.
Giles ordered, surprising Buffy by ordering Expresso
coffee for himself, even though she was sure she'd seen a continental expresso
coffee pot in the apartment at one time or another.
"What?" he asked when he realised she was
looking up at him bemusedly.
"Coffee? I thought you hated the stuff."
"I hate bad coffee. A good cup of coffee, like a
good cup of tea, is something to savour. The Dutch...now they know how to make
Buffy shrugged and was about to ask whether the Dutch
were into making or drinking when laughter from the next booth washed over into
theirs. She rolled her eyes and opened her mouth to start again when an amused,
hateful voice cut across the laughter.
"Did you see who she came in with? First it's that
overgrown hayseed from Psych...and I still owe him one, by the way, and now it's
'day out with grandad.' I'm telling you if she wasn't the best piece of
Giles, who'd been watching Buffy's face slowly freeze
and drain of colour, moved to stand up, but was stayed by her hand on his arm.
"I don't know who he is," the voice was
saying, "but I've seen him on campus with her and the red-head and that guy
from the Bronze. That ditzy room-mate she used to have...Cathy, I think her name
was...she thought there might be something weird going on there. Huh? No,
definitely not her father."
"Parker," Buffy mouthed, restraining a now
visibly angry Giles again and wondering why Poop-head hadn't gone home for
Something inaudible was said and more laughter followed.
Then Parker's sneering voice continued.
"Nah," he opined. "Too old. There's no
way a guy like that could satisfy her...must be relative or something."
Buffy made a noise her throat, halfway between hurt and
Giles made a ferocious noise under his breath, but his
hand closed around Buffy's. "Enough," he whispered. "Let me knock
the pillock's head off. I promise I'll take him outside first, so we don't break
anything...of the shop's," he added, trying to ease the misery from her
She half smiled, and looked into his concerned face.
Parker was so a creep. It was one thing for her to rag on Giles
about his age, but Parker was just wrong. Giles wasn't old and, she
reminded herself, mom had already given away his other trade secrets...if
Parker only knew...after all, Mister
pick-them-up-and-throw-them-away-when-you're-done hadn't been anything to write
home about, that was for sure...
"What?" Parker was saying.
Another-female-voice repeated her opinion, audibly this time, that Giles still
had some mileage in him. Parker laughed. "Yeah, right. With something that
young and hot my grandfather could still-"
This time it took all Buffy's slayer strength to stop
Giles from pulling away.
Her eyes flashed with the same rage that burned in his
but Parker was spiteful and she didn't want to see Giles arrested, or sued...
"You'll just get arrested if you hit him,"
she hissed, an outrageous idea forming as she spoke. "Follow my lead."
She raised her voice just above normal pitch.
"I'm bored. Can we go back to your place? I don't
think I want to be alone tonight," she purred.
Giles did a classic double take, opened his mouth then
sobered at the glint in her eye. He slid an irritated glance toward the next
booth then Buffy saw something almost dangerous flicker through the normally
gentle green eyes.
He left some money for the waitress, drew Buffy to her
feet and slid his arm around her. She leaned into his warm body, silently
cheering his quick uptake and trying to ignore the sudden rise in her heart rate
as Parker's face came into view. She turned away from it to look up at Giles,
painfully aware that Parker wasn't the one who was flustering her.
He looked down at her and smiled. Buffy trembled a
little and her lips parted slightly in surprise. To the onlookers they looked
exactly like two people who wanted to be somewhere on their own, sooner, rather
Buffy, however, just wanted the world to click back to
its normal, boring self. Everything was suddenly not quite...real.
This Giles was disturbingly different somehow. He
wasn't exactly Ripper, but he was more than just her mentor and friend. She saw
real passion smouldering in his eyes, underlaid by a sense of restrained
violence she'd only seen there before on very rare and desperate occasions. She
pitied Parker if he tried to make a scene or shoved his foot any further into
"Let's go home, Ripper," she barely managed
"My pleasure, love," Giles grinned back, eyes
still flashing, leaned down and brushed her mouth with his.
It was all Buffy could do not to gasp at the fire, the
electricity in that touch. Instead she decided to pay Giles back in kind, aware
of her captive, and almost hypnotised, audience as they moved past Parker's
"Not yet," she growled and touched his thigh.
"But it will be soon."
She felt the tremor go through him and heard his swift
intake of breath, but his poise was immaculate all the way to the exit, still in
full view of their built-in audience, and a few others curious about the unusual
but charismatic pair.
Buffy stopped in between the empty sidewalk tables and
turned into his arms, raised her blue eyes almost defiantly to the green ones
and found them darkened, as though he was wrestling with some deep inner devil.
"Let's finish this properly," she said,
almost trembling at her own temerity, and the knowledge that she wasn't just
doing it to get at Parker, reached up and slid her arms around his neck.
For a long moment Giles simply gazed down at her, but
made no comment. Again Buffy was certain that he was wrestling with something.
Then he nodded, almost imperceptibly, put his arms around her and lifted her off
the ground, crushing her against him
For what seemed like forever, Buffy forgot Parker
existed, forgot she was in Sunnydale, forgot her own name. She didn't want the
kiss to end, didn't want his warm arms to release her, and mourned when he
finally lifted his head and lowered her to the sidewalk again. She raised a hand
and touched his mouth with trembling fingers, without even being aware she was
Giles closed his eyes then gently took her hand in his.
"We've given them their show," he said hoarsely, looking over his
shoulder. "The git looks like he did after you clubbed him. Time we went
Buffy opened her eyes again and met his. They were
Giles' eyes again. Her Giles. The world had snapped back into place. She stared
back for a beat, lost and fighting tears, then nodded.
The drive back to the apartment was a silent one. Even
Buffy's tears were silent. By the time they reached the kitchen and Giles
flicked on a light, however, they were gone.
"You didn't get your coffee," he said softly,
switching on the kettle but not turning to face her.
"Lost my craving for it," she drawled, the
casual lost when her voice caught.
Giles didn't turn. "If that little prat gives you
any more trouble I swear I'll give him an orthodontist bill he can't jump over,"
"T...tea would d...do."
Giles turned then. "I'm sorry so much has been
ruined for you today," he said gently. "Not much of a Thanksgiving,
Buffy silently disagreed even as her blonde head nodded.
It had been a spectacular Thanksgiving, one she would never forget.
"Not much of a one," she agreed aloud.
"Even Angel didn't even bother to say Happy Thanksgiving. Me and
celebrations...not a good combination."
Giles accepted the opening with enthusiasm. "Y...yes,
unfortunate pattern of convergence, though I daresay..." his voice faded
when his gaze finally met hers.
For a moment the tension was almost painful, then Buffy
was turning away.
"I can't believe Angel didn't at least say
good-bye," she said quietly. "Will you and Xander patrol for me if I
go to L.A. for a couple of days?"
"Buffy...!" The objection was torn
She didn't turn back, couldn't turn back. "I'm
going, Giles. I'm not asking you to trust me. I'm promising you: I won't
endanger any lives; not for me, not for Angel, but I have to go...I have to do
this. I'll stay with my dad...he asked me to visit, anyway."
"Very well," he said flatly. "I'll
patrol for you. If Xander is free, well and good, but I'm quite capable of
handling a routine patrol with the right weapons."
"Then make sure you have them...and stay away from
guys dressed like commandos," she told him tremulously and ran out of the
apartment before he could say another word.
Buffy stepped off the bus lost in thought and
shouldered her overnight bag. It had been fun seeing her father, and he'd
actually managed to make time to take her shopping, to go to dinner, but the
trip itself had an almost surreal quality to it.
From the moment Xander had blabbed about Angel she'd
been determined to see him, to prove to herself that he still loved her. She
wrapped her arms around her shoulders. Well, she'd proved something, hadn't
she? It was over. Way over. Several passengers side stepped her before she
finally moved out of the way and looked up, wondering what was holding her
mother up. Joyce wasn't anywhere in sight.
She sighed and started toward the terminal lounge only
to halt as Giles came through the glass doors apace, still putting his car keys
away. That was the other good thing about the trip. While she was with her
father, or planning her confrontation with Angel, she hadn't had time to think
A moment later he looked up, scanning for her, and
stopped momentarily when his eyes lighted on her.
They both started walking at the same time.
"Buffy, welcome back. Your mother has lost a
shipment for her gallery somewhere between here and Ghana. She sends her
apologies...and me, as a substitute," he explained lightly, but not quite
"Ghana, huh? I hope there aren't any more fun
masks on the way."
"Indeed," he agreed fervently.
"Like Wyndham-Pryce with a backbone," Giles
Buffy snorted. "In American?"
"He whines constantly, but he's still dangerous
enough to keep tied up now that he's been fed."
"Unlike knock-me-down with a feather Wes,"
Giles chuckled ruefully.
Buffy found herself exhaling a long held breath at the
About halfway through the drive home she realised that
they weren't going to Ravello drive. "We're going to your place?" she
asked, breaking a long silence.
He nodded. "There's a hot meal waiting. You mother
er...fussed. Apparently your refrigerator is bereft of nutritional sustenance at
Buffy nodded. "It's a strategy," she
explained without real interest. "If it's not in there we won't eat it. So
what have we got?"
"Coq au vin, I believe."
Buffy chuckled. "No kidding? Mom made the
chicken?" And at Giles' curious look:
"It's one of my favourites. Mom doesn't do visits
to dad very well, and with work and the guilt whammy..."
Giles nodded and made a noise that doubled as a reply
and they fell silent once again.
Spike was reclining on the couch watching television
when Giles unlocked the door.
" But-" Buffy exclaimed, wondering where the
The vampire held up his right wrist. Buffy recognised
the handcuffs. Given a lack of solid anchor points it appeared that Giles had
cuffed him to the metal frame of the sofa so that the only way he could leave
was to take the whole thing with him.
"It's temporary," Giles said quietly.
"Have a good trip, Slayer?" Spike enquired
without taking his attention completely from the film he was watching.
Buffy squinted at it. The end credits were just
"Trainspotting," Spike told her, flicking
channels. "I liked it. A classic, really."
"Pillock," Giles muttered under his breath
and went to the kitchen to check on the chicken.
Buffy rolled her eyes, turned and followed him.
The moment she walked into the kitchen, however, she
could feel the tension back between them.
"Giles, are you angry with me?" she asked
"Mm? Of course not," he replied, closing the
oven. "What made you think—?"
"Oh I don't know," she said sarcastically.
"Apart from the thousand things before it, me going to L.A. to see Angel
and putting everyone at risk again...and then there's Thanksgiving..."
"No, I'm not angry with you," he said
quietly. "How did things go...in Los Angeles...Your father was well?"
She nodded without smiling. "Dad was great. Best
time we've had in ages." She looked away. "I saw Angel for all of ten
fun-filled minutes," she said flatly and didn't see Giles' eyes close
momentarily or the silent breath he exhaled. "Nice office. Cordy is looking
good and I don't know about Doyle...kind of a weird vibe there."
She turned back to him, eyes overbright. "I don't
understand," she said softly. "How can it just die like that? I loved
him so much...and just...nothing."
Giles grew very still as she spoke. "Yes you do
understand," he said softly. "And so does he."
Buffy closed her eyes and half turned away, but had the
good grace to nod. A moment later she felt his warm fingers brushing the
moisture from her cheeks. The same ripple of electricity shot through her again.
"Buffy, I wanted to apo—"
Giles halted when her eyes opened and looked up into
his again. He snatched his fingers away from her face and cleared his throat
before beginning again. "What happened...before you left...I wanted to
ap-" He froze again as Buffy's fingers traced his sensuous mouth.
"Don't I...?" she whispered tremulously and
traced his jaw, his ear, slid her fingers through the hair around it and felt
"This isn't right," he managed and covered
her hand with his, took her fingers in his.
Her face fell and she tried to pull her hand away but
he wouldn't relinquish it and she didn't press the issue. Then, suddenly, he let
"What do you really want, Buffy?" he asked
unexpectedly, his voice weary. "Do you really know?"
The overbright blue eyes glistened, and moisture
spilled over and trickled down pale cheeks splashed with hot red.
"For the first time in a very long time I know
exactly what I want," she told him, stunned at her discovery. "And I
know what I've been looking for all semester, what I thought I'd lost...after
Olivia, after you told me..." She paused for a beat. "I realised while
I was away, that I've known...without being smart enough to recognize what was
right in front of me...since the prom."
Giles paled. It wasn't possible. Not after all these
months, not after all the relentless grieving for Angel, the hiving off to Los
Angeles, chasing him yet again...not to mention her college misadventures with
that sodding little...
He halted his own thoughts and looked down at her
"What have you known?" he asked very gently,
his voice deep and blurred by the sudden and foolish hope that seized his
"That it's you. That what I wanted...what I've
been trying to find...it's you."
He took her face in his hands, turned it up so that she
was looking at him. "Do you understand what you're saying?" he forced
himself to ask. "A little play acting in a coffee shop is no basis for
making a decision like this."
For a split second hurt chased the light from Buffy's
eyes, then she reached out with her free hand and touched his face again,
trailed her fingers down his neck, felt his shudder.
"Play acting?" she whispered. "When were
And gasped when she was suddenly pulled into his arms,
his mouth finding and claiming hers with a ferocity matched only by her own
longing. She kissed him back, matching need for need, until both of them paused,
breathless, without opening their eyes.
Then Buffy felt his lips touch hers again, tenderly,
exploring, teasing, until they were both playing, both trembling at the enormity
of their discovery, of the tumult of emotions each moment together was arousing
In a little while Giles lifted his head, drew a jagged
breath and let her go.
She watched him drag a hand over his face.
"I'm sorry...this...it's too fast...I...I can't
Buffy knew exactly why he couldn't think straight, knew
why he was hesitating and wasn't afraid. Not any more. She stepped back up to
him and touched the spot where his shirt opened, smiling at the small noise he
made, then let her hand slide down over his stomach to where his jeans were
graphically telegraphing his feelings and rested it there, and smiled at his
guttural exclamation before her other hand slid behind his neck and drew his
head back down to hers.
"Then don't think," she whispered and brushed
his lips with hers. "Just feel... Just... love me...as much as I love
And then both her arms were around his neck, their
mouths one again, their urgent plundering of each other growing into an
unquenchable fire. When Giles lifted his head Buffy could see the blur of desire
burning in his eyes and his struggle to focus on her.
"All I've done for months is love you with all my
heart," he breathed. "But I couldn't tell you while..."
She leaned against him. "While I was chasing
shadows and looking for substitutes for you."
"Oh, for God sakes get on with it, you two. You're
worse than Days of our bloody Lives. And you're ruining a perfectly good film. I
like this Anthony Hopkins chap. He's good. Now be a good fellow, Watcher, and
take your crumpet upstairs before little Jodie Foster comes back after the
sodding commercials, and I won't even mention the dinner I haven't had
"Bloody hell," Giles muttered.
It was suddenly all too silly. Buffy started to giggle
into his shirt. And then Giles was laughing too, and sweeping her into his arms,
carrying her out of the kitchen, still giggling.
Spike watched from the sofa as they passed and caught a
glare from Giles as he opened his mouth to speak.
"Not one word," the Watcher warned, trying to
keep a stern face and disappeared up the stairs.
"Half 'is bleedin' luck," Spike muttered to
himself then grinned. "Hope I'm around when Angel finds out."
Then the commercials were finished and he went back to
wondering what fava beans tasted like.
Giles slammed his loft door closed with his foot and
looked down at Buffy, intending to ask her one last time...but he didn't need
to. The eyes that looked up at him told him all he needed to know, humbling him
with the intensity of the love, the desire in them. Instead he claimed the
tender lips again, his body thrilling to the power of her response.
And then she was down on her feet again, without
relinquishing his lips, and they were unbuttoning, undoing, unzipping...their
lovemaking growing more urgent with each touch, each new part of the other
Giles shuddered as Buffy's hands wandered over his
body, pulled her hard against him as her jeans fell to the floor, and crushed
his mouth once more into hers.
Buffy arched against him, wanting him with a ferocity
she'd never known before. She raised her head and slid her arms around his neck.
"Lift me," she demanded.
The large hands slid down her back and cupped her seat,
lifted her swiftly, moaning as her legs closed around him and her hips wriggled
down his torso until the pale blue of her lace underwear pressed hard against
the black stretch fabric of his.
He groaned again. She was moving against him,
whimpering as he pulled her even closer, and moving her hips even more.
"Giles..." she groaned.
In response he turned and brought them both to the bed,
still locked together, and lay her down, moving in a slow rhythm against her,
within the beautiful legs still locked around him, enflamed by the small
whimpering, wanting, noises she continued to make as she arched to him again.
Then her hands were sliding down the length of his
torso until they reached his briefs. He felt them rip and slide away and grinned
against her mouth, reached down and pulled at the tiny hip of hers until it
gave, slid his hand inside the fabric.
Buffy gasped, her body exploding in response to his
touch, waves and waves of desire coursing outwards from the caress of his
fingers, the touch of his lips as they trailed down her throat, to the soft
flesh of her breasts.
Nothing...nothing... could have prepared her for the
intensity of her response to him, or his to her...
And then he was kissing her again, his hands moving to
support his weight before his lips trailed across to her ear.
"Buffy..." he groaned, his breath sending
thrills through every sensitive nerve ending in her small lobe, the plea in his
voice bringing her hips to him, her soft thighs curving around his, bringing him
hard against the heat of her desire.
Buffy kissed his face, his throat, struggling to
breathe as he pressed against her. "Now. Giles...please," she
demanded in a strangled whisper.
"Oh, God," he shuddered, pushing further into
the softness of her, reached down and tore off the remnants of the blue lace,
then gasped, his breath coming in short, staccato bursts. Buffy had shifted
deliberately so that they took each other in one incredible movement, then
raised her hips even higher as they both gave themselves to the ecstasy of the
For long minutes their love making continued to
intensify, each discovering the other, each wanting the small world of their
union to last for ever, and each desperately aware that they could no more hold
back the coming tide than stop the sun from rising.
It took all of Giles' experience to wait, to hold back
as he strove to bring her with him, until she shifted beneath him, urgency in
her movements, her cries, her hands raking down his back.
"Giles!" she gasped, "I can't...I
can't wait any longer..."
"Bloody hell," he muttered as she moved
frantically beneath him, half-amused, half exasperated, then choked on his own
chuckle. "Bloody hell...!" he gasped, his own relentlessly
repressed completion exploding from nowhere in the midst of hers and claiming
him. In the midst of his gasping cries he was vaguely aware of her arms circling
his chest, her hands on his hips, pulling him even more deeply into her, until
both of them collapsed together.
"God, Giles," she breathed, moments later,
turned to the head whose brow was resting on her shoulder and kissed an ear.
"What was that?"
The head lifted and tender green eyes looked down at
her. "Apparently it was me, waiting for you, waiting for me," he said
whimsically and kissed her nose. "I thought it worked out rather well, all
Buffy giggled, but her eyes grew very bright.
"God...I've been so stupid," she whispered, and pushed a stray lock
back into his now adorably dishevelled rumple of hair. "I love you so
He kissed her very gently. "Not nearly as much as
I’ve loved you since that bloody prom. Do you know how much I wanted that
dance with you? I told Wyndham-Pryce he had the emotional maturity of a
blueberry scone and then promptly all but ran to get to you before it
started." He brushed sudden moisture from the corners of her eyes.
"But it wasn't to be..."
She lifted her head to catch his lips again. "But
it will. I want to dance with you," she told him between kisses,
"every day for the rest of my life..."
Spike watched the last of the credits roll through at
the end of his film and gingerly lifted the cushion off his ear. Silence
"At last," he muttered. "I don't suppose
you two are ready for supper up there?" he shouted, then sniffed.
"Forgotten about your fancy Frog chicken, haven't you? Well I
haven't." He sniffed again and wrinkled his nose, still flicking channels.
"How could I?"
"Bloody nothing," he griped as workout music
filled the room, and threw the remote over his shoulder. Then the music faded.
For a few seconds he stared at the screen.
Then he rattled the cuffs. "It's not fair. Bloody
Watcher gets a shag and a feed and all I get is some great poofter telling me
how to aerobicise my arse off while I slowly starve to death...!"