Title: Another Time, Another Place
Spoilers: Through Tabula Rasa
Word Count: 1,162
Disclaimer: These characters belong to Joss. I’m just playing.
Summary: This piece takes place after the events in Tabula Rasa.
Feedback: Yes, please! Constructive criticism is welcome.
A/N: I've been dancing around the idea of these two for a while, but this is my first time writing them. Right now I'm very tempted to write a follow up piece set after Grave. Song lyrics in the cut are from the song Vera Lynn.
No matter how hard he tried, Giles could not ignore the lingering taste of cherry lip gloss on his mouth. A part of him wanted to wipe it away, but he knew that Anya would find that insulting. He cast a glance at the ex-demon, who met his eyes briefly before turning away, red-faced. It was the first time he’d ever seen her blush. He didn’t know that she could.
Their frenzied cleaning betrayed their embarrassment. The others had gone; Buffy was no doubt sulking, and Willow and Xander had probably gone to find her, to offer comfort. Giles had little doubt Spike would beat them to the punch.
That left Giles and Anya alone to clean up the shop – to clean up the mess of Willow’s recklessness. Neither was willing to talk about what had happened. And why should they? It was just a spell.
No, it was more than that.
Giles was leaving. Really leaving this time, and the kiss – it wasn’t just the spell. They’d been dancing around their attraction for each other for over a year now – ever since Anya had started working with him.
It was highly inappropriate, to say the least. Anya was engaged to Xander, and he – well, he was just an old fool. He had nothing to offer her.
And so they bickered. Constantly. It was their way of dealing with it.
But they both knew.
Anya let out a dramatic sigh, and Giles looked up from his task of sweeping the floor.
“Those bunnies we conjured knocked over our last two bottles of bats blood,” she lamented. “We’re not getting another shipment till the beginning of the month. Plus—”
“This is ridiculous,” Giles interrupted, leaning his broom against the wall. Anya looked up at him, confused.
“What’s ridiculous?” she demanded sharply. “The fact that my livelihood has been torn to bits tonight?”
“No! Of course not. I mean, yes. That is to say…” Giles took a deep breath before continuing, raising his hand to pinch the spot between his eyes. “We should talk about what happened.” He let his hand fall to his side, and brought the full force of his gaze onto her – his green eyes searching for something that he wasn’t sure existed beyond his own fantasy. But no… it did. He assured himself of that silently as he waited for her response.
Anya let the rag she’d been using to clean the table fall from her hands.
“Nothing happened,” she spoke quietly. “It was a spell. It’s not like we’d kiss in real life…I mean, you are tall and well-shaped, and your voice is… pleasant. But it’s not something we’d do if Willow hadn’t made with the crazy magicks.”
“Perhaps not,” Giles agreed. “But still… I’m leaving, Anya.” His voice was low, and serious. “And even though you drive me to my wits end on a regular basis… I like you. It’s only natural – we’ve worked together for some time.” He shoved his hands in his pockets, looking to the ground. “I consider you a friend, and I don’t want to say goodbye this way.”
“I don’t see why you have to say goodbye at all,” Anya mumbled, reaching for the cloth again and fiddling with it. “I mean, it’s stupid. You’re stupid,” she added forcefully, turning from him so that he wouldn’t be able to see the pain in her expression. “I don’t understand why you’re leaving. Again!”
Giles smiled sadly. “I’ve given it a lot of thought, Anya. Buffy needs— ”
“Buffy needs you here!” Anya retorted, turning again to face him, with fire in her eyes. “You just want to get away from me, don’t you?”
“Perhaps that’s part of it,” Giles sighed.
“What?” Anya’s face seemed to crumble. “But you just said we were friends.”
“We are,” Giles walked closer to where she stood – close enough to reach out and rest his hand gently on her arm. “It’s just that… well, I feel something for you. It’s insane, I know, and believe me, it’s not something I planned on. You’re just so… honest, and maddening, and… I’m attracted to you,” he admitted. “I have been for quite some time. And for a while I thought that maybe you…” he trailed off, searching her eyes for some kind of sign.
Anya felt a wave of gooseflesh on her arms, and trembled beneath his touch. Looking into his eyes, she felt her defenses threatening to break down.
“I… I love Xander,” she managed to whisper.
Giles let his hand fall from her arm.
“I know,” he looked pained. “And that’s how it should be. I just didn’t want to leave without telling you how much I… how much I like and admire you. I’ve never really told you before. I know that we’ve had our differences.” Again, a sad smile overtook his features. “I’ll miss you, Anya.”
Tears stung Anya’s eyes, and she threw her arms around him – in the spontaneous way that he’d come to love. “I’ll miss you too,” she said, clinging to him tightly, her face buried in his chest.
Giles closed his eyes and rested his chin on her head – the smell of her hair filling him with a longing that could never be eased. They stayed like that a few moments, before Anya lifted her head to look him in the eyes again. She brought her hand to his face, tracing the lines at his temples.
“Could we kiss? For real… just this once?” she asked tentatively, clearly worried that he’d refuse.
Silly girl…as if he could refuse her anything.
Without answering, he lifted her chin so that their lips almost touched – luxuriating in the warm, sweet breath that came from her mouth. The way she trembled against him urged him on, and he claimed her lips with his own, his hands moving to her hair as the kiss deepened. After a few moments, his tongue finally entered her mouth. She tasted heavenly. Anya let out a small whimper as she surrendered herself to him, and eventually began kissing back, ardently.
It seemed like they’d stay that way forever; but forever would never be theirs. When the kiss finally broke, he breathed heavily against her ear, the sheer torture of not being able to kiss her again – to make love to her right there – running through him in waves.
“I should probably be going,” he said softly, his hand smoothing her hair. “My flight leaves in a few hours, and I’ve barely packed.”
“Ok,” she reluctantly acquiesced, her heart sinking as he separated from her. She missed the warmth of his arms already, and stood frozen as he made his way to the front door.
“Giles!” she called out. He turned, his hand already on the doorknob. “Do you think if things were different, that maybe we’d have a chance together?”
Giles smiled, opening the door. “Perhaps,” he said. “In another time, another place.”
And then he was gone.
“Goodbye,” Anya whispered.