Pairing: Hints of Buffy/Giles
Rating: Teen for slight swearing
Setting: Season Six Final
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Summary: Giles lies dying on the Magic Box floor with only Anya for company. He mistakes her for Buffy, leading Anya to keep the biggest secret of her life.
A/N: I did not have a beta for this but I did read though it and correct the mistakes I saw. I'm sure I missed some, so please forgive me.
To The Grave
The Magic Box was falling to pieces. The pillars that held the upper landing had crashed to the ground. The loft itself was hanging on hinges and would crash at any moment. Willow’s magic had really done it’s damage. Books were lying scattered and empty. The spells she ripped from them were simply gone and never to be replaced. Potions, artifacts, herbs and even an old glass crystal ball lay broke on The Magic Box’s wooden floor.
Lights were hanging from the ceiling, swaying back and forth with sparks coming from them. It was dim, only a few lights remained and even they flickered. The only lights intact were the ones from the glass case under the countertop. It was really the only part of The Magic Box that didn’t get completely destroyed. The glass was gone, shattered, but the lights were still illuminating, creating enough light for her eyes to adjust.
Anya inhaled, taking in all the dust and smoke. She moved from her spot on the floor and took small movements and crawled over to his body. Her head was throbbing; the gash in the side of her head was starting to really bother her. Even being a demon couldn’t help a wound that deep. She could hear the crunching of debris and glass under her knees and hands. She could feel the small shards of glass going into her hands but she can simply brush it off; what did it matter if she got a few extra cuts and bruises in the grand scheme of things? All that mattered was that she got to him.
When she reached him, she placed his head in her lap. She rubbed some of the dirt and sweat from his brow and yearned for his eyes to open. Yet, there seemed to be very little life behind those eyelids. If it weren’t for his shallow breathing, Anya might have thought that he had already died, not that he was far from it.
It was in this spot a few months before that they had kissed in an amnesia haze. And that is as romantic as their relationship got. While Anya loved him, she was not in love with him. He was her friend, her mentor, her boss and her business partner. She desperately missed him when he moved back to England and wanted nothing more than to drag him back and shove him into the arms of what he was running from. He may seem to be the wise one of their small little family but Anya had centuries on him and in that time she had picked up a thing or two. One thing she knew was when someone was running from a broken heart.
“Damn it Giles, don’t be dead!” Anya whispered harshly. She wanted to slap him but thought against it. Giles had a tendency to obtain head injuries when coming to Sunnydale and if anything would kill Giles, it would be one last blow to the head. Anya would be damned if she was going to be the one who gave it to him. So, instead of slapping him, she shook him gently and called his name.
Soon, she saw that flutter behind his eyelids, something she had been yearning for since the moment Buffy asked her to take care of him. Something would have done even without the slayer commanding her to do so. Buffy was not always Anya’s favorite person in the world, seeing that Xander always carried a small torch for her, but her watcher was someone who mattered to Anya. Giles nurtured something in her and showed her a passion and something she was good at, even if it exasperated him on a daily basis.
Giles groaned and moved slowly. His eyes opened and Anya placed her hands on his shoulders. She gently rubbed his shoulder in a comforting manner. He smiled and raised his hand. He brushed a strand of hair that lingered in her face aside. He placed her hand on her face and traced her cheekbone. It was a very intimate motion and Anya was confused by it.
“Buffy.” Giles whispered and suddenly everything became clear. Anya suddenly understood who Giles was running from. Here was this wonderful and beautiful man dying in her arms, and he thought she was another women. If Anya was as shallow as most people thought her to be, it would have bothered her but Giles meant more to her than most people and if his dying wish was to see Buffy then that was something she was willing to grant him. She was in the business to granting wishes after all.
“Yes, I’m here.” She whispered back. Anya thought it was slightly ridiculous to be whispering, seeing that there was no one around her to hear them. Yet, they were having a moment and Anya was only following his lead. It was his wish after all. “I’m glad you came back. I missed you.”
“I thought about you everyday and I wanted to come home but I just..couldn’t.” Giles’s breathing slowed even more but his hand was firm on her cheek. It was like he couldn’t let go of her. It was as though she was his life force and the only reason he was hanging onto life. “And yet, you were everywhere there. I heard your laugh once, in England, I searched for you in the crowed but it must have been my imagination because you were here, in Sunnydale...not in London. God how I wanted you to be in London.”
“You could have come home. I wanted you home.” This was harder than Anya had thought. Not only because the one person she respected above all others was dying but because she didn’t know how to channel Buffy. Anya wasn’t an actress and she didn’t know how to be anyone other than herself. This was Giles’s show and perhaps if she followed his lead, pretending to be Buffy wouldn’t be too hard. His delirium helped her in that respect.
“No I couldn’t.” Giles gasped out. He coughed, letting his hand fall. Anya pulled him closer to her as a mother would hold her child. She rocked him gently. When his coughing fit had calmed down he began speaking again. “I had just gotten you back. I grieved for you and when you came back, when you were alive again...I was still grieving. You were just out of reach...you were there but so far away. Physically you were alive but inside I knew you were dead inside. I tried so hard to help you but I was standing in the way.”
“No, Giles, you weren’t. I was better with you here. I was so much better. I needed you here.” Anya whispered and closed her eyes. The tears began to flow freely now. It was a slow downfall but more like rushing water. Her eyesight had blurred and she could hardly make out Giles’s face, even though he was inches away. “I made so many terrible mistakes with you gone. Mistakes that would not have happened if you were here. You would think that I was old enough to know better by now but.....I’m not.”
It was true, Anya fully believed that the mistakes that, not only she, but all of them, had made wouldn’t have happened. Giles somehow made them all better. He made Dawn better because he would listen to her prattle on about pointless teen nonsense and still make her feel like she mattered. He was her metaphorical parent when Joyce had died. He made Tara better by bringing her out of her shell and he showed her respect that she had lacked in most of her life. He made Xander better by bring the man out of him instead of the boy. He made Willow better by always being her anchor and pulling her back when she went into magic overload. He made Anya by guiding her into human life and into the business world.
And now Anya realized that Giles made Buffy a better person because of the simple fact that he loved her whole heartily and completely.
“You never were a child to me Buffy. You were always so much more than that. You were so much more than a slayer and so much more than a girl. You were my life even before I met you. I was trained to care for you and guide you...and in many ways I was trained to love you. I always loved you.” Giles coughed again. His entire body going into convulsions. Anya clung at him, hoping that if she held him close enough, he would be okay. If only he wished to live, she would grant that willingly. Her powers were meant for vengeance but if she had to lose her powers in order to save Giles, she would do it.
“I love you Giles..please, stay with me.” Anya said. She was sure that Buffy wouldn’t say the words back but its what Giles needed to hear. Perhaps if he believed the words to be true, he might hang on long enough for her to get some type of help. He could be saved, she just needed the time.
Anya thought back to the words she whispered to Giles and she fully believed that Buffy wouldn’t say them back. Buffy never once told Riley she loved him and even if she did have some types of romantic feelings for Giles, be it love or not, Buffy would never come right out and say it. Angel effected her in such a way that confessing something major as love could be catastrophic.
“Say it again.” Giles breathed.
“I love you.” Anya stated. For the first time since he had woken up, Giles smiled. The vengeance demon could see small traces of blood in his teeth. Despite the bloody smile, Anya felt a wave of warmth in that smile. She had seen it several times and thinking back, most of them were directed at Buffy. When she had died, Anya never saw anyone so distraught. It was as though something inside of him had snapped and broke. Now she understood it was because his feelings for Buffy went deeper than the Watcher and Slayer relationship.
Giles reached up again and she felt his calloused hands against her cheek bone. It was rough and uncomfortable but she didn’t pull away. She placed her small hand on top of his and squeezed it gently. She gave him a small smile and felt a few stray tears escape her eyes. She felt the tightening in her chest and she started to heave.
“I love you. Please don’t go.” Anya’s voiced but she still felt Giles’s hand go limp. Anya bent down and rested her head against him. Soon after she pulled away and sat on the small steps and it wasn’t until later that she realized how relieved she was when she helped Giles walk out of the Magic Box and to the hospital. She would never admit it but she thanked Xander for that. If he didn’t stop Willow, she was sure that Giles would have died and they all would have been soon to follow.
Even though she was thankful for what Xander had done, she still went to the hospital after hours when she was sure he was not there. Her heels made that soft clicking sound on the sleek hospital floors. One of the few perks of being a demon was that it was easy to slip into the hospital without anyone noticing. And if they did notice, she could simply make them forget.
The hallway was dark because that lights were dimmed. It was cool because it was Sunnydale and Sunnydale was always hot, so most places kept the air-conditioner on full blast. Anya wrapped her arms around herself as she walked, chilled. Even though she knew that Xander would not be there, she still felt her heat beat rapidly by the mere off chance that he would. While she knew Xander had been there earlier, he most likely was with Willow.
The click of her heels stopped when she reached the room Giles was residing in. The door was all but closed, only leaving a small crack. Anya gently pushed the door open and listened to the small squeak of the door. She tensed slightly because she didn’t want to wake Giles. She entered the room slowly and took a look around.
The room was like any normal hospital. It was small and clinical. Giles had a private room so there was no curtain hanging in the middle of the dark room. She could see that Giles had his bag thrown in the corner on a chair and then Anya’s eyes moved to another chair. There in the corner was Dawn sleeping soundly in what looked like an uncomfortable manner. She was curled into a ball and her head was resting on the wooden armrest. Anya smiled. While she always found Dawn slightly annoying, she could be very enduring.
When Anya turned and looked at the bed, she noticed that Giles was awake and staring at her. He smiled and indicated for her to sit by the bed. She nodded and when she moved she noticed that Buffy was lying next to him. Her head was placed on his chest and her blond hair was sprayed across his chest. She was sound asleep, much like her younger sister.
Giles raised his hand and was slowing running his fingers through her hair. Anya watched the moment and realized how obvious it was that he loved her. A fool would have to be blind not to see it. He was so gentle with her and loving that it broke Anya’s heart because she was not sure if Buffy loved him back.
“Don’t stand there all night Anya, please sit down.” His voice was horse but much better than it had been in the Magic Box. It still sounded as though a knife had been taken to his throat. He must have been thinking the same thing because he reached over and and brought the glass of water that was sitting on the bedside table to his lips. After a moment he sat the glass back down. Anya pulled an extra chair toward the bed and sat down.
“Well you don’t look like shit anymore.” Anya stated and that caused Giles to laugh. His body shook slightly but the laughter caused his to cough. He had a coughing fit that made Anya’s mind flash back to him lying in the Magic Box. She shook herself out of it, reminding herself that Giles was alive and was in front of her.
“I so did miss your blunt way of putting things.” He smiled and laughed lightly again. Buffy moaned and whimpered but didn’t wake. She snuggled closer into Giles and held onto him like a life line. They were silent for a moment before Giles spoke again. “I do feel better if that is what you’re asking.”
“I thought that was obvious.” Anya paused and then spoke in a small voice, “I didn’t like it when Joyce died, it was unpleasant. I think it would be much worse if you ended the same way she did.” That pulled at Giles’s heart strings and he took his free hand and held hers tightly.
“You were not as close to Joyce as you are to me.” He said gently. “Even though you exasperate me, you always held a special place in my heart. Bunny fear and all.” He smiled for a moment and then frowned. His eyes creased and he pursed his lips. Anya could see that something was running through his head. That look always made Anya’s stomach drop. “I’m sorry for what Xander did to you.”
“Don’t you just wish that his testicles would rot and fall off?” Anya asked seriously. In the beginning when Xander first left her at the alter, she wanted nothing more than to cause him pain, which was the main motivator for her becoming a vengeance demon again. Now that her ire is softening, she honestly did not know if she would be able to make that wish come true, if anyone would actually ask for it.
“I think that I am old enough to know that making a wish to you would be highly dangerous.” His voice was serious and Anya felt ashamed. Yet, he wasn’t scolding her and proclaiming disappointment. He was simply talking to her. Most people treated Anya like a child but Giles was one who always understood that she had been around for centuries. “Why did you do it Anya?”
“I don’t know.” Her voice was small and when she looked into Giles’s eyes she could tell that he was hurt. He closed them for a moment and sighed.
“Well there is no use worrying over it now. Whats done is done.” And with that, the conversation of Anya being a demon was never spoken between them again. Of course this was the last serious conversation that they ever had and possibly the first. Anya squeezed his hand one last time and stood.
“I’m happy you’re not dead.” She smiled widely and turned to leave. When she reached the off-white door, she turned again because she heard Giles say her name. When she turned she saw that his features were far more serious than she ever saw them before. His eyes were set and the wrinkles that lined his eyes were far more pronounced. His lips were set in a straight line and he looked scared. Far more terrified than he looked when he was lying broken on the floor of the Magic Box. At first she panicked because she thought that something was wrong with Giles.
“What you did for me back in the Magic Box, please, don’t speak of it to anyone.” His voice was low and fragile.Anya had never seen him in such a state. She thought back to the love she saw on his face when he had thought she was Buffy. Her eyes flashed toward the sleeping slayer and knew that even if Buffy would ever fall in love with Giles, she simply was not ready. In time she would hope that Buffy would get over her fear and let herself fall. For thousands of years, Anya ran away from her fear of love but she let herself fall for Xander. Even though that crashed and burned, she didn’t want that for Giles.
“Whatever you say boss.” Anya smiled and bobbed her head. She rocked on her heels and laughed lightly, in hopes of not waking Buffy and Dawn. Giles returned Anya’s chipper smile in gratitude, seeing her eyes reflecting her sincerity and trusting her promise. He knew that she would never speak a word of his love for Buffy. She would instead focus on her new-found hatred for Xander and anyway she could make the young man’s life a living nightmare. He almost pitied Xander.
She never spoke a word of it, instead taking Giles's secret to her grave.
Two Years Later
Giles stood at the crater, looking down into the darkness. So many souls had been lost the year before when Sunnydale crumbled. The Hellmouth was closed for business, at least on this coast anyway. Robin, Faith and most of the younger Slayers were in Cleveland guarding the Hellmouth there. Kennedy joined them about seven months ago after her and Willow’s break-up. She was distraught because Willow claimed that she couldn’t love her. Of course Giles found it odd that Willow ended up in the same tribe in the Amazon were Oz was controlling his werewolf urges. She said that the tribe was helping her control her magic and yet all of her letters mentioned Oz in some fashion. The thought made Giles smile.
Buffy, Dawn, a few slayers and for some unknown reason Andrew were all in Rome. Dawn was finishing up her schooling there but was looking at colleges in England, hoping that instead of paying room and board she would stay with him. He had not agreed to the idea but he knew he would. He had plenty of room and he missed her. That and if she lived with him, perhaps Buffy would come around more often. He understood that she “dating” the Immortal and that put a bitter taste into Giles mouth. She claimed that they were friends and nothing more, yet with Buffy’s history, he doubted that was true.
Xander was traveling from place to place. New slayers were being called every day and he, along with the slayers who were not in Cleveland, in Rome or in some other place, would track them down. He would train them, guide them and prepare them before he would send them either to Cleveland, to Buffy or on some other assignment. Once the slayer was ready, he would find another, and then another. He once took some time and visited Giles in England. Xander didn’t stay too long but long enough for Giles to get the real reason as to why he never stayed in one place. Xander said that when Anya was alive, she told him stories about the places she had been, and not all the stories ended with her cursing some man into some horrible hell. He said that everywhere he went, Anya had told him some story about her being there. He ran to the far corners of the earth and yet, Anya still followed him. Everywhere Xander turned, she was there standing on some street corner. Once he claimed he even smelled her perfume and heard her laugh.
Giles smiled. While he missed Anya and mourned her, he knew that where ever she was, it was far better than the centuries she had lived on this earth. They had an odd relationship but no matter how frustrated he got with her, he still valued her and cared for her. Without her, he knew the Magic Box would not have been as successful as it was.
It had been a year since she died and two since he nearly died on the Magic Box floor. She never spoke a word of what she did for him. When he brought the slayers to the house, and on the rare occasions when he and Anya were alone, it never came up. However, it was always below the surface, simmering. What he regretted most of all was not telling her how much he appreciated her silence. His love for Buffy grew as time went on and they always said that distance made the heart grow fonder.
He thought back to that moment when he realized that it was Anya in the magic box with him and not Buffy. He awoke in the hospital and the first thing he saw was Buffy. He hardly remembered walking out of the Magic Box and he hardly remembered anything after that. When he opened eyes and saw her sitting there, the first thing he though of was the Magic Box and the words that were exchanged. He took her hand and kissed it. He held onto it for a good half hour until Dawn plunged into a tale about her and Buffy battling earth creatures sent by Willow. It was then that he realized what Anya had done for him.
It took him a moment but he realized that the silence that surrounded the crater was broken. He heard an engine in the distance and he turned. He saw some sports car racing down the road toward the crater. The driver slammed on the breaks when the car came closer and the door opened. Giles was far from surprised when Buffy stepped out. She had a wide smile on her face and she all but ran to him. When she reached him, she threw her arms around him. It had been four months since he last saw her and this was a welcome surprise.
“Giles! I’ve missed you!” Buffy’s voice was soft and Giles held her close. He was not ready to let go of her just yet. When she pulled away he could see her wide smile. “It’s been one hell of a year.” Buffy turned to look at the crater.
She looked good. Her blonde hair was tied up into a messy bun and it looked as though she had put on some weight. Buffy was always, in Giles’s opinion, too skinny. Slayers as a whole normally have fast metabolism but Buffy was always under so much strain that eating was never really a priority for her. It got even worse after her resurrection. Now it was a completely different story. She gained some of the curves she had when they first met back. Buffy’s face was fuller and Giles never thought she looked more beautiful.
“What are you doing here?” Giles asked. He had come to the crater to be alone and never expected any sort of company. He was going to stand there for awhile, think about those who died that day and everything they had done. Yet, he was not angry that the silence had been broke. It fact, he was happy to be sharing this moment with her.
“I’m here to see you. Oh! And before I forget, Dawn told me to tell you that she got accepted to the University of Bath and wants to me tell you to expect her stuff to arrive at your place as soon as summer hits.” Giles smiled in happiness. He should have known that Dawn would have taken his vague answer for a yes and move in as fast as she could. “And I know, before you say anything, I know you are more of an Oxford man but Dawn pretty much has her heart set on Bath. Even though she got it-“
“Dawn got into Oxford?” While it was true that Dawn always took her studies seriously, he never expected to get into Oxford. He loved Dawn but good grades and brilliance didn’t come easy to her like it did for Willow. Dawn had to work for it.
“Yep and she turned them down.” Giles’s eyes grew wide with horror. The mere thought of anyone turning down Oxford was just ludicrous to him. Giles stuttered and spat causing Buffy to simply laugh. She reached up and patted his shoulder affectionately. “Come on Giles! You know she did it so she could be close to you! Unless of course you don’t want us around?”
“Oh come on, you honestly don’t expect me to send my sister off to a foreign county without supervision do you?” Buffy stated and with that Giles smiled widely. Both Buffy and Giles knew that Dawn was more than capable of handling herself. Buffy routinely left Dawn alone in Rome when she had to go out on an assignment. The watcher picked up his slayer into a hug and swung her around. Both were laughing merrily.
They settled down after that. Giles had gone back to his rental car and pulled out a blanket. While it was California, it was getting late and nights in the desert could become very cold. He spread the checkered blanket and the two of the say down. They watched the motionless crater, sharing stories and reliving memories. They laughed and had several somber moments. When the sun set, the two of them laid back on the blanket to look at the stars. They did that sometimes on patrol when vampires didn’t want to come out and play. It was one of the rare occasions that Buffy truly enjoyed patrolling. Giles would point something out while Buffy would make some sarcastic remark causing him to simply give her a look.
They enjoyed every moment of it.
“Buffy.” Giles spoke softly after a while. They had grown silent, simply enjoying the air and the silence. Listening for anything, again something they had done when patrolling together. Today was about falling back into habits. The slayer turned onto her side to face Giles. “How did you know I had come here?”
“Xander told me.” That made sense. Xander never stayed in one place for long but he always kept in touch with not only him, but with both Buffy and Willow. When Giles had decided he wanted to come here, he asked Xander if he would like to come along. While everyone lost something that day, Xander lost the love of his life and that was something Giles knew all to well about. He thought that perhaps coming here would help Xander mourn and move on. Giles himself would visit the tower several times after Buffy had jumped. However, Xander refused. He simply was not ready. “Its strange that I miss her.”
“I don’t think so. I miss her.” His mind flashed to the moment in the hospital but Giles shook his head. He didn’t want to relive that moment of disappointment again. Buffy looked at him with an odd look on her face. While Buffy never truly understood their relationship, she did know that Anya and Giles meant something to each other. It was never romantic, amnesia aside, but it was something.
“She always made things brighter.” Buffy replied. It soon turned into reliving memories of Anya. Buffy talked about first meeting her and Giles mentioned how exhausted he was when he first opened the store, yet Anya always made the day go so much smoother. They laughed at her fear of bunnies and her obsessive need fore material things.
“She was good at keeping secrets.” At this Buffy laughed extremely hard. It was a full body laugh. Giles smiled lightly. He knew she would have this reaction. He saw a different side to Anya than she did. He spent hours upon hours alone with her and he could see why Xander loved her. Of course she drove him crazy but he always held a soft spot for her.
“Are you insane? Have you ever met Anya? She shared everything in painful detail!” Buffy stated through joyful laughter. Giles leaned back and enjoyed watching her laugh. He missed that sound. He just realized how long it had been since he really heard it. Despite everything they had been through and the trust that had been broken between them, Buffy and Giles always found their way back toward each other.
“Anya kept the important ones.” With that Giles stood and held out his hand. Buffy took it and he pulled her up. The sun had finally set and it was completely dark. They headed back toward their individual cars slowly. Neither wanted to leave even though they knew they would see each other sooner rather than later. Before they reached the cars Buffy stopped and all but pulled Giles to a stop.
“What secret did she keep for you?” Giles turned and smiled. Buffy was far more intelligent than anyone gave her credit for. They were inches apart yet he couldn’t see her face. He wouldn’t see her reaction. He could tell her and wouldn’t see the horror written on her face. She would never love him the way he loved her. While it was bitter, he had grown to except it. Yet, with all those thoughts running through his head, Giles knew better than to purge his feelings.
“Why I left.” With that, Giles turned and went to his car.