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Title: A New Man in Her Life
Author: Sweetdoggie (stirling_summer@yahoo.com)
Pairing: B/G
Rating: G
Summary: After the fall of Sunnydale, Buffy starts looking around, guess who she sees?
Spoilers: season 7
Disclaimer: No permission has been granted to use the characters. They are owned by their creator, Joss Whedon, Twentieth Century Fox, UPN, WB, and Mutant Enemy. This story is non-profit and is intended solely as entertainment. No copyright infringement is intended.

A New Man in Her Life

Willow sat in the Magic Box II and watched Buffy train. Something was up with the blonde Slayer and Willow meant to get to the bottom of it. If what she suspected was true, Buffy had found a new love interest. That, considering her previous choices, could only be bad news. She leaned across the table to Xander.

“Do you think Buffy has a new boyfriend?”

Xander looked momentarily startled. “No. Why would you think that because it’s not like she’s been all distracted and day dreamy a lot—except that she has been. Oh my God, Will. You’re right. She’s showing all the classic ‘Buffy-in-love’ signs. It’s not Angel again is it?”

Giles came down the stairs with a stack of books in his hand. Placing them on the table, he turned to the younger man. “What’s not Angel again?”

Willow looked up at him. “We think Buffy may be in love again. She’s showing all the symptoms. If he were somebody we’d approve of, she’d have told us about him. This is not good, Giles.”

“I think you must be exaggerating her behavior. I haven’t noticed anything.”

Both Xander and Willow rolled their eyes.

“Willow, why don’t you attempt to talk to Buffy about this. You girls have a close friendship. She may talk to you,” Giles suggested.

Xander stood up. “I’m all for the talking, but I think I’ll spend a little more time around Buffy—track her like a blood hound for a while. If she’s meeting up with a new beau, I’ll spot him.”

Giles wanted to tell the younger man that Buffy’s love affairs were her own business, but he also wanted to know if she were seeing somebody new. The children were correct when they implied that Buffy’s choices of men were less than stellar. He looked at Xander and nodded quietly. “All right, but try not to get caught.”

“Don’t worry about that. Love machine Buffy can barely spot cars coming, let alone a guy who doesn’t even make her radar blip.” The young man walked over to the training area. “Hey, Buffster? You gonna patrol again tonight?”

Buffy stopped her workout to look at him. “Wasn’t planning on another run, why?”

“Oh, no reason, really. I just thought you might want some company.”

She grinned at him. “I’m cool, Xander. Thanks. I thought I might hang here with Giles for a while before heading home.”

At her words Giles looked up, a shy smile on his face. “Thank you, Buffy. Your company is always welcome.”

Xander sighed. So much for his plans for spying on Buffy this evening. He brightened at the thought that he could always follow her tomorrow. Smiling, he bid her good night, gathered up Willow and left the shop.

Giles began restocking the shelves for the next day’s business. Buffy came over to help him. He hesitated before speaking, but they had made a sincere effort to regroup their closeness since the destruction of Sunnydale and he thought he might be able to take the chance.

“You seem preoccupied lately, Buffy. Is anything wrong?” he asked her casually.

“Wrong? No, not exactly wrong.” She lifted a box of charms and began straightening them, carefully not making eye contact.

“Willow seemed to think that perhaps you had found a new young man?”

Buffy dropped the box of charms, swore and bent to pick them up. “No, nobody new in my life.”

“It’s not, not Spike again is it?” He couldn’t keep the pain out of his voice.

“God, no. I didn’t want him when I had him, Giles. And before you ask, it’s not Angel, or Parker or Riley again either.”

“But there is somebody?”

She dropped tiredly into the chair at the tarot table. “Yes, there is somebody. I’m not dating him. He’s, ah, unaware that I’m interested in him in that way.”

“Why is he unaware? You’ve never been shy about making your preferences known in the past.”

“Because nobody would understand and I don’t think he sees me as somebody datable.”

“Is he, ah, married?”

“No, bachelor.”

“Then what is the problem?”

“He’s a little older than me—well, a lot older than me, actually.”

“How much older?”

“Um, couple of decades…”

He walked over to her and took her chin in his hand. “You mean to say that you are interested in dating a man my age?”

“Just this one guy.”

“Buffy has this fellow made advances?” Giles looked ready to kill him.

“No, mores the pity.”

“W, what? You actually want this old man to, to…” he broke off as he realized he simply couldn’t finish the sentence.

“He’s not old.”

“How did you meet this pillock?”

“He’s not a pillock. I’m assuming that’s a bad thing, right? And I met him over a book in the Library.”

“Well, at least he reads,” Giles said as he groped for understanding.

Buffy laughed. “Yeah, he reads a lot.”

“I don’t understand the problem. Why doesn’t he see you as someone, ah, dateable?”

“At best, he sees me as a child. I mean, he’s a man your age and that’s how you see me, right?”

He looked flustered for a moment. “Buffy, I haven’t thought of you as a child since the night the Master died. No child could do what you have done.”

“But you don’t find me attractive on a personal level, do you? I mean, as somebody you’d ever want to date—have a romance with?”

“You know you’re a very attractive young woman, but our relationship has never been about, er, romance…”

She looked at him briefly before turning her eyes back to the box of charms. “Well, why not? It’s not like either of us are shy about office romances, though, I have to admit, your track record is better than mine on that score.”

“I dare say it’s because not once in the seven and a half years I have known you have you ever so much as glanced at me in a way that would lead me to assume that you believe me to be a man, not just a Watcher.”

Buffy wouldn’t meet his gaze. “I glanced. You just weren’t paying attention.”

He looked outraged. “Oh really? When were all these looks taking place, if I might inquire?”

“First time?” She waited for his nod.

“The day you saved me from Amy’s mom.”

“You were only sixteen!”

“Didn’t stop me from looking, did it?”

“When did these other glances supposedly happen?”

“The night you tried to save me from the Master. The night I told you about Angelus. The night he killed Jenny and I held you in my arms. Graduation day. When we joined to defeat Adam. When I asked you to be my Watcher again. When you were almost killed by the Knights. God, like maybe a thousand or so more times in between all of that…”

“But, but if you were attracted to me, why didn’t you say something?”

“Like what? ‘Hey Giles, the world is probably going to end tomorrow, but if it doesn’t would you like to go on a date?’ Yeah, I can see that going over really well.”

He gave her a funny look that she couldn’t interpret. “Prove it, then,” he challenged.

“Prove what?”

“Prove that you think of me as more than just a ‘text-book with arms’. Go on a date with me and forget about this other bloke.”

She turned to look at him, laying aside the box of charms. “You’re serious? You’d actually want to go on a date with me?”

“I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t deadly serious.”

“OK. I’d love to go on a date with you. When and where?”

“Tomorrow night, that Greek restaurant on the pier.”

“You’re on!” He didn’t notice her hiding a satisfied smile as she bent to pick up her bag.

He didn’t see her at all the next day, merely calling her to confirm a dinner reservation for seven that night. His hands shook when he replaced the telephone. He was going on a date with Buffy. As she would have once said, how weird was that? He arrived home from his shop at 5:45 and spent half an hour getting ready. He put on his favorite suit, a grey broadcloth with matching waistcoat and a red tie. He looked at himself in the mirror and decided that he looked hideously conservative. He debated about taking the time to change, but didn’t want to be late picking her up. Ah, well, she had seen him in suits before. No doubt this wouldn’t shock her too badly.

Buffy had spent the day in a frenzy of clothes shopping, something that she hadn’t bothered with beyond necessities since Sunnydale fell into the Hellmouth. After rampaging through the shops for over an hour, she found a simple red sheath that fit her like a glove. It was slit on one side to her upper thigh allowing her room to walk in the snug fitting skirt. The only bad thing about it was you could see the bite scars on her neck from the attacks of the Master, Angel and Dracula. Mentally shrugging, she grabbed her purse. Giles knew about the scars. No doubt they wouldn’t shock him too badly.

His knock on her door at 6:30 startled her even though she had been expecting it. For some reason, she was wildly nervous. She had been planning her strategy to win him for weeks and now that the moment was upon her she didn’t want to screw it up.

Walking carefully to the door, she opened it. “Hi, Giles. Ah, can I call you Rupert tonight?”

He took in her dress with one very comprehensive glance and gulped. “R, R, Rupert would be fine.”

“Well, Rupert,” she didn’t mock his stutter, it was adorable, “you can call me Elizabeth tonight if it will make things easier.”

“A new name, a new beginning?”

“Something like that.”

“Well, Elizabeth, your chariot awaits you.” He placed his hand on her back as he directed her to his car. He felt her shiver slightly under his touch. It excited him unbearably. They arrived and were seated at the restaurant in short order.

“So Rupert, what is it that you do, exactly?” Buffy asked him as if she didn’t know.

“Ah, I’ve had a variety of careers, most lately I’m the proprietor of shop that sells magic supplies.”

“Like tricks and so forth?” she questioned.

“No, like spells and candles, aromatic herbs and ritual items.”

“Wow, that’s really interesting. How did you ever get involved with that sort of thing?”

He grinned down at her wolfishly. “An entirely misspent youth.”

“Oooo, A bad boy. I love them.”

“And what is it you do for a living, Elizabeth?”

“I’m a martial arts instructor.”

“A tiny thing like you, into martial arts? How did you get involved with that?”

“Oh, I met a man who liked to train. We became friends and he taught me everything I know about basically anything.”

He hesitated for a moment, liking their game of pretending to be relative strangers but not sure how far to take it. “It sounds like he was important to you.”

She leaned over and took his hand in hers. “He was my life, I just didn’t have the experience to recognize him.”

Clasping her tiny hand in his, he leaned forward. “Do you mean that, Buffy?”

“More than I can say, Giles.”

“Would you, would you want to d, date me? Give up this other fellow—the reader?” He made it sound obscene.

“Giles, I would love to date you more than I can ever tell, but that other man? I can never give him up.”

He looked terribly disappointed. “A, are you sure?”

She brought his hand to her lips and kissed it softly before laying her cheek against it. “Yes. I’m sure. I met him seven and a half years ago over a book in the Library. He became my world but I was too young to take advantage of it. I’m not too young now, though.”

He looked stunned. “Are you saying this other fellow is, is myself?”

She grinned. “Yes, love. That would be what I’m saying.”

“L, love?”

“More than I can express.”

Totally forgetting they were in a public place, Giles leaned over the table and kissed her. And kissed her. And kissed her. Only the persistent sound of somebody clearing their throat brought them out of their haze.

Giles looked up at the waiter. “What do you bloody want?”

“Take your order now, sir?” he squeaked, never having been on the receiving end of a Ripperish glare before.

Giles looked over at Buffy. “I believe I have everything I require. How about you, love?”

“If I have you, I don’t need anything else.”

“Oh, you have me dearling. You have me for the rest of our lives, longer if I can arrange it.”

“Sounds like a plan to me.” She grinned up at him happily and they left the restaurant to begin working on the rest of their lives.
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