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Buffy/Giles fic: "Touch the Fire"
BTVS - B/G almostkiss
liv1701
Title: Touch the Fire
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Pairing: Buffy/Giles
Rating: PG-13
Word count: 1,693
Timeline: Season 6, from "After Life" to "Once More With Feeling"
Summary: An AU fic in which Giles makes it back from England earlier, in time to prevent Buffy from telling her secret to Spike. She tells it to Giles instead, and he becomes the one she turns to from then on. Contains some dialogue from episodes.


Everyone looked up eagerly when Buffy entered The Magic Box, but she only half noticed. From some place far away, her friends spoke to her.

"Buffy, hey!" said Willow.

" You get Dawn off to school okay?" asked Xander. "Cuz I was thinking if you need me to pick her up--"

" That's okay. I've got it," Buffy answered. It was time to give the speech she'd been going over in her head. She only hoped it would satisfy them. "Look, guys ... There's this thing. And I'm just gonna say it. You brought me back. I was in a place ...I was in Hell. I don't ... I can't think much about what it was like. But it felt ...I felt like the world abandoned me there. And then suddenly you guys ... You did what you did. And the world came rushing back. So... thank you. You guys gave me the world. Thank you. I can't tell you what it means to me. I should have said it before."

"You're welcome," said Willow through happy tears. "And Buffy, there's more good news."

Everyone was looking at a spot behind Buffy. She turned around, and there was Giles. How long had he been standing there? But it didn't matter. He was here. Their eyes were locked on each other. Giles set down his suitcases without breaking his gaze and came toward her. Buffy stepped forward slowly, not quite steady on her feet. As Giles drew up to her she looked him up and down, drinking in the sight of him. Her Giles.

"Oh God, Buffy!" said Giles.

A smile crossed Giles' face as he said her name, and Buffy's heart leapt with joy and relief. There was solace in that smile. It felt more like home than her own house when she had first returned to it. Giles took a final step and enveloped her in his arms.

"You're alive!" he said, his voice strained with emotion. "You're here."

She held him tight, wanting to never let go. Here she was safe.

"And you're still…" he said, gasping for breath a little, "remarkably strong."

"Huh? Oh. Sorry." Reluctantly she let go and backed off.

" Willow told me, but I didn't really let myself believe it."

"I take some getting used to," said Buffy. "I'm still getting used to me."

Giles took her by the arms and his eyes searched her face.

"It's…" he began, searching for the right words. "You're…"

Buffy knew what he was trying to say. "A miracle?"

"Yes," he said, a smile lighting up his face. He cupped her cheek in his hand, then raised it to gently stroke her hair. "But then, I always thought so."

He gazed fondly at her for a few moments, but then a concerned expression crossed his features. It disappeared quickly, however, and he put his arm around her shoulders.

"Come on, we have a lot to catch up on."

He led her into the training room and they sat on the couch together. The concerned expression returned.

"Buffy, I heard that speech you made to the others, thanking them for bringing you back. There was something…not right about it."

Buffy looked away, not wanting to meet his gaze. Giles put a hand on her shoulder.

"What's really going on?" he asked. "How are you really doing?"

She hadn't been able to tell the others. They had been in on it. The knowledge would be devastating to them. But Giles…he hadn't taken any part in it. He could handle it. Giles, who had always been there to advise her and make her feel safe.

"Giles…"

Silent tears started to flow. Giles wrapped her in his arms and held her against his chest, one hand stroking her hair.

"Oh Buffy. It's going to be all right. I'm here."

Giles continued to stroke her hair rhythmically, and Buffy felt safer than she had since she came back.

"I…I was happy," she whispered.

Giles' hand froze. After a moment he pulled back to look at her, but he seemed unable to speak. He stared at her urgently, as if willing her to say he had misunderstood.

" Wherever I was, I was happy. At peace."

Giles was frozen, his eyes filled with horror.

"I knew that everyone I cared about was all right," said Buffy. "Time didn't mean anything, nothing had form, but I was still me, you know? And I was warm, and I was loved…and I was finished. Complete. I don't understand about theology or dimensions, or any of it, really…but I think I was in Heaven."

Giles still could do nothing but stare in dismay.

" And now I'm not," Buffy continued in a strained voice. "I was torn out of there. Pulled out…by my friends. Everything here is hard, and bright, and violent. Everything I feel, everything I touch...this is Hell. Just getting through the next moment, and the one after that, knowing what I've lost..."

Neither of them spoke for a few moments.

"My God, Buffy," said Giles when he found his voice.

She looked at him helplessly, and he folded her in his arms again, holding her tightly.

"They can never know," said Buffy. "Never."

"Buffy, they must be told. But it doesn't have to be now. You must tell them in your own time."

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Weeks later, some sort of spell or curse turned Sunnydale into a real life musical. Buffy hoped the others would find what was causing it soon so she could kill something. Or maybe it would be too late and she would burn up from the inside. It was hard to say which scenario she preferred. It was sunset and she should probably find Spike and see if he knew anything, but she didn't feel like dealing with him. She had an urge to go see Giles, the one person who knew what had really happened to her.

She found him at the Magic Box. He looked careworn at first, but he brightened when he saw her.

"Buffy!" he said with a warm smile. "Any luck?"

"I couldn't find out anything," she said. "I think the best thing I can do right now is train."

Giles peered at her knowingly but didn't object. He led the way to the training room. Instead of going over to the equipment, Buffy headed straight for the couch. Giles sat beside her and waited for her to speak.

"I'm just so tired," she said after a minute. "Everything feels wrong, and nothing seems quite real. Well, almost nothing."

"What does feel real?" asked Giles.

"I love my friends. That's real. But there's a wall between us because of what they did. And you--you're real, Giles. You're right. You would never have supported what they did and I was able to tell you where…where I was. The world feels less like Hell when I'm with you."

"Oh, Buffy," said Giles, taking her into his arms. "It's going to take time, but the first step has to be telling the others the truth. It was their foolish mistake, and they need to be made aware of the severity of the consequences." He stroked her hair soothingly as he spoke. "I know you don't want to tell them, but it's necessary for you to heal."

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Later that night, Buffy told everyone the truth in song. Part of her burden lifted, but it was replaced by guilt for having devastated her friends. As the spell faded, she left the Bronze while the others were still singing. Moments later, Giles caught up with her.

"Giles," she said, "I think you were right, but the looks on their faces…"

Giles gently took hold of her arms, encouraging her to meet his eyes. She did, and immediately found comfort in their green depths.

"You did the right thing," he said. "Keeping that secret has been killing you. You're free from that now. Besides, they needed to know."

He was right, of course. She stepped closer and reached up to caress his cheek.

"Thank you Giles."

She smiled and leaned closer still, her head tilted up. A mix of emotions appeared on Giles' face. Buffy recognized uncertainty and guilt, but there was something else, something that was urging Giles to lean in too. Buffy's other hand slipped behind his back, pulling him closer to her.

"Buffy…" he said in a cautionary tone, even as he lowered his head toward her.

"It's ok," she whispered, knowing he was wondering if he was taking advantage of her.

They kissed, and something woke up inside of Buffy. Giles' lips were soft and warm and sweet, all things that the world had been lacking since she was brought back. His kisses were cautious, however, and when Buffy started to part her lips he pulled back, separating them. His eyes were alight with longing tempered by concern as he searched her face.

"It's ok," she said again, running her thumb up and down along his neck.

"Please, Buffy," he said, closing his eyes for a moment.

She stopped the movement of her thumb so he could think properly.

"Buffy, you're going through a lot. I would never forgive myself if I took advantage of you or made you do something you would regret."

"You're not," said Buffy. "You won't. I want this. Do you?"

"Yes. But I must know that you want it for the right reasons. I've always loved you, Buffy."

She smiled and pulled him closer. "I love you too, Rupert Giles."

She kissed him again, and this time he responded without hesitation. Warmth, which had been so elusive until now, spread through her as she reveled in Giles' strong arms, soft lips, and sweet tongue. She pulled his body more tightly against hers, and a soft moan escaped his lips. Fire shot through Buffy and she moved her hips against him. She could feel how much he desired her, so she was surprised when he pulled away again. She let out a small whimper of protest.

"You deserve a bed of roses," he said, "not this dirty alley."

Buffy grinned. "Your place will do fine."

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Thanks! I'm doing a Buffy rewatch and I'm in season 6, and all the stuff with Spike was getting to me. It would have been much healthier for Buffy if things had turned out like this!

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