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Short, not necessarily sweet, but I think it fits the bill of what was asked.
Season: three. Set right after helpless
Author: escargoat
Rating: PG (I’m pretty sure talk of dead bodies doesn’t make it PG-13)
Disclaimer: I don’t own. I don’t make any money. Joss, Mutant Enemy, WB, Fox, FX, etc, etc own the rights. They do not endorse this fic. In fact, should they run across it, they would probably say: “Why on Earth are Buffy and Giles communicating?”
This fic was written as a stand in for the Angstathon fic challenge on allthejellies.

Thanks to MrsDrake, my wonderful beta without whom, you would no doubt see errors.

Original Challenge:
1. lj/name: Dana
2. season: Any, but the earlier the better
3. rating: Any, but I usually write PG to R. Feel free to challenge me if you'd like :o)

4. 1 thing you don't want: Riley/Giles (Again, blech)
5. 3 things you do want:
1) Start with a canon situation where there is disconnect, bad feelings or conflict between Buffy and Giles. The fault can lie with either, both or neither of them.
2) Buffy and Giles being open and honest with each other (which might be considered AU, heh heh).
3) Resolution!! It doesn't have to be hearts and flowers or romance
but they do have to come to a REAL understanding - even if it has a sad ending


‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’
Giles sighed heavily as he put away the cloth he had used to tend Buffy’s wounds. Of all of the things he had done in his life, this was perhaps the worst. He had taken the one thing he could not live without and nearly destroyed it. The one thing his destiny had always held for him, and he had obliterated it. Lord, he was a fool.

“I hate you,” Buffy’s voice sounded weak behind him.

He flinched involuntarily. “Yes, I suppose that you do,” he whispered quietly.

“I still don’t understand why. How could you do that to me? I thought, I thought that you… Why didn’t you tell me?” Warm tears began to track anew down her face as she asked the question.

“I did tell you,” Giles reminded her.

“Oh, yeah, that really helped. Telling me after you’d already drugged me, after you already betrayed me.”

He flinched again. “I didn’t have to tell you. You realize I could have just blamed the Council. You would have believed me, but I couldn’t keep lying to you like that. I felt that it betrayed our relationship.”

“What relationship? You did something that you knew would hurt me, and I’m supposed to just forgive you because you’re sorry?”

“I don’t expect you to forgive me easily, no,” he said as he began to gently polish his glasses.

“Oh, I get it. I’m supposed to forgive you because you got fired is that it?” Buffy ground out through her tears.

“No. I simply wish to be extended the same courtesy that I have always given you. I realize that I have hurt you deeply. I perhaps have irreparably damaged what we once had, but I should like to think that our relationship is not beyond salvage.”

“Mom could have died. I could’ve been killed. You’re supposed to protect me, AND YOU ALMOST KILLED ME!” Buffy screamed through her tears.

Giles felt his heart wrench. “I know that. That’s why I came.”

“You killed a vampire, and it’s supposed to make it all better?”

His tortured voice took on a harder edge as he responded, “No, it isn’t. I know that. In fact, if you recall, I know that very well.”

“What is that supposed to mean,” Buffy asked flatly.

Giles’ eyes whipped up to look directly into hers. “What do you think it means? Did you really think that killing that demon was going to make up for hiding Angel? Did you ever once stop to think that I am a human being? And that, as such, I have thoughts and feelings? I’ll answer that for you. No, you didn’t. You worried about my physical health, I don’t doubt, but you never once thought beyond yourself until I had to actually remind you, and then you just decide that the way to deal with my complex issues is to go kill something. It may have escaped your notice, but I am not some bloody prehistoric animal to be appeased by a gift of a dead body.”

Buffy started to cry harder.

Giles felt his heart constrict at the sight. He was instantly at her side with his handkerchief wiping away the tears. Buffy shouldn’t be crying. It was not her way to solve things with tears. What had he done to her?

“There, there. I didn’t mean it. I’m just tired is all,” he tried to soothe her.

“No, you did mean it. You wish I were dead and Angel with me. That’s why you did it. You can’t stand to look at me anymore. You can’t stand to be reminded of what I’ve done.”

Firm hands gripped Buffy’s shoulders as Giles shook her out of her self loathing.

“Don’t you ever say such a thing again. I couldn’t, I couldn’t bear it if you…” he trailed off helplessly.

Buffy shook her head. “I don’t understand. How could you? If you couldn’t stand to see me dead, then how could you put me through that?”

“The same way I justify sending you out every night. I have to believe that you’ll make it. I know that I cannot protect you from what is out in the world, and I also know that you are the only thing that can protect the world. I did not tell you about the test because I thought you would not pass it, Buffy. I told you because I could not bear to be the one causing it and denying that I was the cause.”

To his surprise, Buffy laughed. “You make a rotten father, Giles.”

“Pardon?”

“Travers. He said you had a ‘father’s love for me.’ I’m not seeing it.”

“Ah.”

“‘Ah?’ That’s it? Just ‘Ah?’”

“I would think that you are a smart enough girl to recognize that I am not your father. I have been your teacher, your mentor, your guardian, and even your friend, but I do not feel that I am your father.”

Buffy cast her gaze down onto her hands which she had entwined in her lap. “I guess I deserve that.”

Giles hand’s slid from her shoulders and clasped around her smaller ones. “I don’t understand.”

Buffy snorted. “That’s my line.”

“Be that as it may, I should like to know what you meant.”

“I meant that I deserve you not caring about me that way. After what I did to you about Angel, I think I know why you could do what you did. Did I really hurt you that badly? Am I really so selfish that I didn’t notice?”

Giles squeezed the small hands. “I don’t deny that I was deeply wounded. I suppose that I still am, but you are very young. I don’t believe that I’ve given you much of a hint of how much it really has hurt. And as much as it may pain you to hear this, I would most likely have done the exact same thing were Angel still dead.”

“You don’t mean that. You can’t. There must have been something that I did wrong. Something that made you do this.”

“Yes, there is something that made me do it. I’m human. I make mistakes, and underneath my glasses and my books and my stuffy persona there is a monster. And it cannot be slain by a stake or eradicated by a spell. I’ve done some terrible things in my life, and I’d say that this was one of the worst.”

“Right up there with Eyghon?”

“Slightly less based on the fact that you did not die, but slightly more because it was you that I hurt.”

They lapsed into silence: Buffy sitting in her chair, Giles kneeling on the floor, both staring at their hands.

“Giles?” Buffy’s timid voice broke in.

“Yes?”

“I’m sorry. About Angel. I should have told you, but I, I couldn’t…”

“You did not wish to see him killed again, and you were afraid that I would require it of you or do the job myself.”

“I’m sorry,” Buffy repeated.

“I’m not angry with you for your feelings. I’m just angry with you that you never thought to consider mine beyond the thought that I’d want to kill him. I’m not heartless Buffy, and I know how much Angel means to you.”

“So, you’re saying that you wouldn’t have wanted me to send him to Urn City?”

“I’m saying that I don’t know. Part of me would have wanted it, of course, but I never got that choice. You took it from me. On the same hand, I could have told you about the test and let you decide if you wanted to go through with it. I just assumed that you would not wish to do so.”

“I thought that you weren’t supposed to tell me,” Buffy said perplexed.

“I wasn’t, but given the outcome, I don’t see that it mattered except for the fact that you no longer trust me, and I’d give anything to get that back.”

Buffy unclasped her hands and threaded her fingers with Giles’. He looked up at her inquiringly.

“I’m being the better person. New adult Buffy. Way I see it, we’re even. I didn’t tell you about Angel, you didn’t tell me about the test. You almost got me killed, but you also kinda lost your job. So even.”

“It isn’t that simple,” Giles said even as a smile tugged slightly at his face.

“Nope, I think I’m finally getting that nothing is ever simple. But, I also get that I can’t do this without you, and that you’re going to turn into a crippled ex-Watcher without me.”

“Crippled?”

“Yeah, I’m guessing that all the kneeling you’re doing right now isn’t so great for your knees. So, up.” Buffy emphasized her words by tugging on Giles’ hands.

He reluctantly stood and even though Buffy stood with him, their eye to eye contact was lost as he was once again taller that her. Buffy disentangled her hands from his. Before he could react, she hugged him tightly.

Astonished, he hugged her lightly back.

“That the best you can do? I’m being all forgiving, and you can’t give me a decent hug?”

Giles squeezed her tighter. “I’m a bit confused.”

Buffy backed out of their embrace. “You said the one thing I needed to hear. You’d do anything to get me back. You aren’t my Watcher anymore, so I gotta assume that you meant on a personal level.”

“I do,” he spoke wistfully.

“Well, so do I. Working on that is going to become number one Buffy Priority. Right after slayage, of course, oh, and maybe shopping, but definitely before school work.”

“What would I do without you?” Giles said as he squeezed her shoulder.

“Personally? I hope you never get to know.”

“As do I, as do I.”
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