Title: We Are
Author: Sweetdoggie (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: Buffy finds out Giles' secret..
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.
Giles opened the box with some trepidation. This was virgin ground for him. He loathed the thought of what he was about to do but bowed to the necessity of it. Reaching inside the box, he removed the first piece of the computer system for which he had just paid close to a thousand dollars.
It took him nearly an hour to get everything connected but he was very good at reading and following directions. He turned on the beast and watched the monitor light up with a manufacturer's logo. Crinkling his nose in distaste, he breathed in the plastic smell that emanated from the machine as he began the process of connecting to the Internet. He was sure Willow could have done this in half the time it was taking him but he was determined to do everything possible himself. He needed to be able to control this thing, become it's master. No longer could he let his fear of advanced technology take precedence. He shuddered when it beeped at him.
For the next three hours he forced himself through routine procedures, enduring the myriad sounds and noises the thing made. When he finally felt like he was familiar with the basic operating procedures, he decided to take a break and shut down the system. He'd hidden it in an unused back bedroom, where Buffy and her friends never had reason to go. He'd been master long enough not to wish to be a student in front of any of them.
Buffy came in from a daytime reconnaissance patrol. They'd experienced some heavy vampire activity down by the river and she had hoped to spot the nest and hit the vampires before they knew what was happening. The fact that she was back so soon was most likely not good news.
“Did you not find the nest?” He asked her, concern in his voice.
“I found it. It was deserted. They'd cleared out already.”
“How did they know you were coming?”
“Dunno.” She flopped down on the couch, disgust written in every line of her body. “What have you been up to?”
“What do you mean? Why should I have been up to something?” He fiddled nervously with his glasses.
Buffy, who's question had been mostly rhetorical, sat up like a bird dog on point. Giles was hiding something—something that he clearly didn't want her to know about. She narrowed her eyes at him. “Giles? What did you do?”
“Nothing! I don't know why you think I should have done something, when clearly, I've done nothing. Nothing at all.”
“Babble is not helping your case, Watcher. Now spill!” She had her hands on her hips by this time, her head tipped just so.
Giles knew a losing proposition when he saw one. “Oh, very well! I bought a cmmmmmr.”
“What? What did you buy?”
“A cmmmmmr,” he mumbled again, unable to force himself to say the dreaded word out loud.
“Giles! You tell me what you bought right this minute or we are going to have a talk and it won't be pretty.”
“A computer! Damnitall. I bought a computer.”
Of all the things he could have named, that was one that left her mouth hanging open in surprise. “You? Mr. I'm-so-technophobic-that-I-still-use-a-fountain-pen? You bought a computer?”
“I thought we needed one for research now that Willow is with the coven in Devon most of the time. And, for your information, I only use a fountain pen because I like the feel of it.”
“Uh huh.” She started to grin. “Let's get back on topic here, Giles. You bought a computer.”
“I said so, didn't I?”
“Sounded like you. Are you under the influence of some sort of techno-baddie? Some big, brewin' evil that is really into the geekware?”
He blushed. “Really, Buffy. Why can't I simply have an interest in learning to use a computer?”
“Are you the same man who once called it a 'dread machine'? Yeah, I'm pretty sure that was you.”
“Well, times change!”
“Has the earth started rotating backwards?”
“Of course not!”
“Then they don't change that much.” She couldn't resist it any longer. She approached him and slipped her arms around his waist, her head resting on his chest. “You big dope! I love you and I'm proud that you're using technology. Really. I just couldn't resist teasing you.”
“I seem to bring that out in women,” he told her, his own arms pulling her to him for a quick, momentary bit of comfort.
“Who else has been teasing you?” she looked like she might use them to mop the floor.
“Oh, Jenny used to tease me, quite mercilessly,” he said, with a fond smile.
“Oh. Yeah. I remember. I'm sorry that she didn't make it, Giles.”
“I do miss her sometimes.” He looked down at the woman in his arms. “I love you too, Buffy.”
“I know. After all these years, I can finally say that and mean it. I know you love me, Giles. Nobody else has ever loved me as much as you.”
He reached up and stroked her hair, reflecting on her words. “Yes, I suppose that is true, but how did you know?”
She looked into his eyes. “All the men in my life leave me. You are the only one who came back.”
“Would you, ah, that is, I wouldn't wish to appear indecorous, but I don't suppose,” he gave a frustrated sigh. “Damn. I really am quite appallingly bad at this.”
“Are you, by any chance, asking me out?”
“Yes,” he gave a firm nod, pleased that his words had apparently been more effective than he had supposed.
“Oh. Well, in that case, I say yes, too.”
“You'll go out with me?”
“No opera, but other than that, I'd be delighted.”
“What's wrong with opera?”
“Aside from the fact that operas are musicals in foreign languages with really stupid plots and people old enough to know better prancing around in embarrassing costumes? They're boring.”
“You just haven't been to see any good ones, that's all.”
“I learned all I wanted to know about opera from Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny.”
“You know, 'Get da wabbit, get da wabbit!' It gets old.”
By this time, Giles had completely lost track of the conversation, not an uncommon phenomenon when speaking with Buffy.
“All right, no opera. Though I reserve the right to attempt to change your mind at a later time.”
Buffy grinned up at him. “I guess that means you're planning on more than one date?”
He looked down at her. “Buffy, I'm a serious man. I'm much too old to play games with my relationships. I want to be with you in all aspects of my life—no more separation between Watcher and friend, mentor and father figure. That isn't what I want from you. Do you understand?”
“I understand that I want you in my life the same way. I understand that you have never, ever been a father figure for me—ew, by the way. You are my Watcher, my teacher, my friend, my family—the man I love above all others. You're my Giles and I'm your Buffy. I don't guess we can cram our relationship into a nice neat box after all these years. We are, and that's all there is to it!”
“We are.” He smiled. “I like it.”
“Me too. Now, let's go see that computer, science guy.”
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