Buffy bounced along the sidewalk, not at all concerned that she looked a little loony to the people she passed. She was happy and in love and if she had been cursed by gypsies, her soul would have been long gone by now. Her life couldn’t get more perfect, and it was all because of her Watcher, Rupert Giles.
Of course, he wasn’t simply her Watcher anymore. And he wasn’t just a friend, either. Nope, as of 12 hours ago, he was her fiancé!
It all started during the last battle with the First, when she tried to shut the door in his face after he conspired with Wood to kill Spike.
The door had only moved an inch before he grabbed it with his hand and forced it open again. Then he pushed past a stunned Buffy, into her room, and locked the door behind them.
He said the time had come to clear things up between them, once and for all…starting with the real reason he left her after finding out she was in heaven. It wasn’t because he thought she was being too dependent on him – although that much was true. The truth was that he was sick, really sick, and he didn’t want to be one more burden on her shoulders, which were already weighed down too much.
All of his head injuries over the years had finally taken their toll, and he was in serious danger of having multiple aneurysms. After having to bury her mother because of an aneurysm, he didn’t want her to see him die the same way. It took months of treatment, both natural and from the coven, but they finally removed the danger. He had the brain of a 20 year old…so to speak. It wasn’t a reversion, like with the band candy, though, he quickly assure his Slayer.
Then came the mess with Willow, and there wasn’t the time to say anything that he desperately wanted to say – especially after hearing about her and Spike. And before he could come back to Sunnydale to try and make things right with her, Watchers and Potentials started dying, and suddenly there they were, in Buffy’s bedroom.
Buffy was practically biting through her lip in agony, scared that Giles could have died and she wouldn’t have found out until after the fact, and even then, who knows how long it would have taken for the Council to tell her? As mad as she was with him for helping Wood, it was more that he didn’t just talk to her about Spike; that he went behind her back to get rid of the second strongest fighter they had. No matter how angry she was, and no matter what she just said to him, she couldn’t live without him – or at least knowing he was alive somewhere, ready to drop everything to come to her side.
Finally, she gave into her emotions and hugged him tightly, almost forgetting her strength. A slight gasp from Giles reminded her and she eased up…just a little. No way was she letting him go again.
Spike picked that moment to crawl through her window, after he tried her door and found it locked. He tried to get Giles into trouble with Buffy by tattling on the Watcher, but Buffy just snapped at the blond vampire to leave them alone. She softened her reply by saying that what they did was wrong, but it wasn’t important in the grand scheme of things. If Spike wanted to leave, that was his choice. Things were gonna be different though. Not liking the protective stance the Slayer had for the Watcher, Spike huffed a little before sweeping out of the room dramatically.
Stunned, Giles thanked Buffy for putting Spike in his place.
She further shocked him by caressing his cheek with her hand, saying that between the two Brits, there was no contest who she’d rather be with – recent words notwithstanding. Now that she knew the truth about his ‘abandoning’ her, all the anger she had held onto for over a year had vanished. All that remained was the warm feeling of home and security she had when they hugged for the first time after her resurrection.
Deciding to throw caution to the wind, Giles leaned down to give her the lightest, sweetest kiss she had ever gotten. Despite only lasting a second or two, it left her breathless. The smile on her dazed face emboldened him to kiss her again, this time with more passion. After several minutes of ‘snogging’ – as he so Englishly put it – they broke apart. As much as they wanted to continue, possibly advancing to ‘shagging’, there was a fight to be won first.
Whether he thought he could win her back with his sacrifice, or just make her feel guilty for not picking him, Spike stuck around and wore the amulet that closed the Hellmouth for good. Then the survivors drove to the nearest hospital to get the wounded treatment. By the time they got there, the new Slayers had reverted to Potentials again, something they guessed had to do with that balance deal which wouldn’t allow for even two Slayers – although neither Buffy or Faith lost their powers, so…whatever.
When they called to tell the gang in LA the news, Wesley offered to go with Faith to Cleveland. He thought maybe it was time for him to be a Watcher again; hopefully a better one than the last time he tried. Faith agreed, saying that it was her turn to be the Hellmouth’s guardian; also hopefully doing better than last time, she added with her trademark smirk.
The Scoobies accepted Giles’ invitation to go with him to England so they could recover before making any plans for the future. It also gave them the opportunity to regain some of that closeness that had been slipping away from them over seven years. By the time they went their separate ways, they were as tight as ever.
It didn’t even really surprise the others when Buffy moved into Giles’ bedroom once they reached Bath. The looks the Watcher/Slayer team shot each other the remaining days in Sunnydale and beyond were enough to clue even the most oblivious people in – one of which just happened to have just taken over an evil law firm in LA.
He had gone to Sunnydale with the amulet with the hopes of helping Buffy again, only to find her somewhat cold to his presence. Oh, she thanked him for the info and the ugly trinket, then practically pushed him out of the town. It wasn’t until he saw her with Giles afterward that it hit him that she was over him for good.
End of flashback…
Now, less than three months later, Giles had popped the question! Dawn even admitted to her that he asked for her permission first, seeing as how Dawn’s opinion was far more important to Buffy than Hank’s. Then he pulled that ‘focusing on a crystal’ deal again, but this time, snuck an engagement ring into one of the crystals somehow without there appearing to be a seam anywhere.
He knelt down and poured out his love for her with a song – ‘You are so Beautiful’ – then asked her to marry him. He barely got the words out before she tackled him and said yes.
Giles’ smile could have brightened the darkest caverns in hell as he lifted the crystal to retrieve the right from its little nook and placed it on her finger.
Buffy was going to see Dawn to show off her beautiful little ring, since Dawn had been warned to stay away from the house if she didn’t want to listen to their celebrations the night before. The blonde Slayer couldn’t help staring at the pretty on her hand, a ballerine solitaire* in a platinum setting. Only her wonderful Slayer-sense kept her from running into people on the way.
A few hours later…
The house was dark when the exuberant, newly-engaged Summers girl returned, causing her to frown. Giles hadn’t said anything about going out. She bit her lip in anticipation…maybe he was waiting inside to surprise her. A shiver of tingly hit her lower areas; she liked his surprises – at least these kinds.
So she was more than just a little disappointed to find him in the study, gulping down scotch like it was water and he just got out of the Sahara.
When he saw her, he growled and knocked back another tumblerful of the amber liquid.
Instantly concerned, Buffy rushed over to him and asked, “What’s wrong, sweetie?”
“Maybe you should ask your lover that, darling,” he spat at her.
“I have no clue what you’re talking about,” she replied in confusion. “You are the only lover I have anymore. Or even want to have anymore.”
“Coulda fooled me,” Giles slurred, thrusting something at her. It was an envelope with photos of her and Spike…in various compromising positions, and in the background you could see the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, just a short drive from Bath. “Surprised you could drag yourself away from him, or is this just a quick stop to break up with me so you can get on with your life with that bloodsucker?”
“Giles, I have no idea where you got these, but this isn’t me! I was with Dawn, planning our wedding! You know, yours and mine! You can call and ask her if you don’t think you can trust me,” Buffy added sadly.
Tearing his eyes away from her pain-filled ones so he wouldn’t give in, Giles scoffed, “Pfft, she’d just lie too. She always favored that pillock.”
That announcement made Buffy roll her eyes. “Okay, now you’re just talking crazy. Dawn loves you almost as much as I do – except in a much, much different way, I hope. There’s no way she’d lie to you about Spike – who was dead the last time I checked, by the way,” she reminded her Watcher/fiancé.
Just then, the phone rang and even though she didn’t want to, Buffy felt she’d better answer it. Thank goodness she did, too, because it was one of Angel’s employees, Lorne. He wanted to give her a heads up that Spike was back again, and now that he was corporeal again, he took off for England, planning on getting her back, no matter what it took.
“Is that him? Is he afraid that you’re giving the old man one last pity shag?” Giles snarled contemptuously.
Counting to ten, and praying it was just the liquor causing him to say those hurtful words to her, Buffy looked back at her love. “No, it isn’t,” she answered, hanging up the phone. “It was Lorne, calling to tell us that Spike was headed this way. My guess is that you got the pictures from him, hoping that it would break us up so I’d go back to him – which sooo wouldn’t happen again, even if I didn’t have you.”
“Then how do you explain--?” Giles broke off, gesturing to the hated photos.
“Well, there are these wonderful computer programs that allow you to cut and paste pictures together so that you can have Abraham Lincoln shaking hands with Avril Lavigne,” Buffy explained before realizing that he probably would have no clue who Avril Lavigne was.
Still, Giles got the overall message. With a glimmer of hope in his drunken eyes, he said, “I wish I could be sure.”
“I’m sorry that you can’t see how hopelessly in love I am with you, you big dope.” She glanced at the photos more closely, then cried out in triumph, “Wait! Here’s proof!”
“See her stomach?” Buffy asked, pointing at the imposter.
Giles stared at the naked body that tormented him. “Yes…what about it?”
Buffy smacked his shoulder, willing him to open his eyes. “Giles! There’s no scar from the Turok-Han there!” She lifted her shirt to show the scar she mentioned, the one that convinced him that there was no time to waste in proposing to her. He came far too close to losing her in that last battle. That’s why it only took three months to propose instead of a year or more.
Giles ran his finger along the scar, causing Buffy to shiver and bite back a moan. “My beautiful Buffy. Even your scars are beautiful,” he murmured.
“I’m glad you think so,” she answered wryly, glad that he finally seemed to believe her.
“God, I love you. I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but I hope you can forgive me for not trusting you,” Giles pleaded, latching his arms around her legs and kissing her scar in between his words.
Buffy bent over to kiss the top of his head. “You loved me, that’s all. Can you promise to at least give me a chance to explain things if this ever happens again?” He just nodded into her stomach, which made her arousal rise even more. “Then I’ll forgive you for being an idiot. Spike’s always been pretty good at pushing your buttons.”
“Too bloody good,” Giles agreed with venom in his voice. “I’m staking him the next time I see him, soul or no soul.”
“Hey, after almost breaking us up, I might just let you.” Buffy put her hand under his chin and made him look her in the eyes. “Now…how drunk are you? I mean, we did just have a fight and everything; shouldn’t we have make up sex?” she asked with a naughtiness he loved to hear.
Giles growled back, “I assure you that I’m not too drunk for that.”
Cheering silently, Buffy said, “Then you head to the bedroom and I’ll meet you there after I lock up, ‘k?”
As she reached the back door, Buffy felt a familiar feeling tingle and opened the door. “Spike, I know you’re there, you might as well show yourself,” she called out.
Seeing the dried tear tracks on her face, Spike assumed his plan worked. Still, he’d start slow with his greeting, “Hey, Slayer, aren’t you happy to see me again, alive and well, so to speak?”
Buffy crossed her arms, mostly to keep from killing her ex-sex partner. “Not really, Spike. I might have been if you hadn’t pulled that stunt with Giles. He’s ready to stake you on sight,” she advised.
“You wouldn’t let him do that to me, would you? I got a soul and everything,” he reminded her, knowing that she couldn’t help her weakness of not hurting beings with souls – even vampires.
“You almost managed to break us up with that crap!” she almost yelled, then calmed down enough to add, “I’m giving you one warning…only one. Leave and never show your face around us again. Whatever it was between us is long over, and Giles is the only one for me.” With that she shut the door, locked it and made her way to the bedroom where her fiancé was waiting for her.
“Come over here so I can apologize properly to you,” Giles commanded in his sexy ‘I’m gonna make love to you until you forget your own name’ voice.
Which caused Buffy to whimper slightly. She could only nod in reply, all speech leaving her for the time being.