Willow jumped a mile up into the air when the door of Revello Drive slammed shut and a furious Slayer skidded into the living room. At the look of things, best-friend duty was on the agenda.
Buffy was pacing back and forth while muttering under her voice, her anger punctuated by erratic hand gestures.
"Something wrong, Buffy?", Willow innocently asked, knowing quite well that Buffy need some moments to dramatically act out her frustration before she was ready to talk. Willow knew only one person who was able to stir up Buffy like this, and her thoughts were confirmed by Buffy's exclamation.
Buffy then blew out a frustrated breath and plopped down into the lazyboy across from Willow.
She put her head in her hands and surprised Willow by suddenly wiping a tear that had spilled down her cheek.
Willow immediately grew concerned and swiftly moved to sit in front of Buffy on the floor, placing her hand on Buffy's knee.
"Buffy? What's wrong?"
Buffy and Giles were rather famous for getting each other frustrated and agitated, but she couldn?t ever remember seeing Buffy reduced to tears before.
Buffy raised her head and looked at Willow with such sadness that she felt her chest tighten.
Another tear spilled and Buffy angrily wiped it away before she took a deep breath to calm her self.
"I just don't understand him, Willow. I mean, I thought we were friends. Sure there has been much crappiness between us before, but I actually thought that we had moved passed that and we were friends now?, Buffy said, her voice tinged with misery. ?Am I really that repulsive Willow?"
Huh, Willow's mind asked. What the hell was she talking about?
She patted Buffy's knee and said, "What do you mean Buffy? You have got to break this down for me should I be able to answer that question."
At Buffy's raised eyebrow and displeased frown, Willow quickly amended. "No of course you are not repulsive, but I don't understand what that has to do with Giles."
Buffy took another deep breath and continued in a sad voice, "He never touches me Willow. Anytime I get even remotely close to him, he shies away like I have the beluga virus."
Willow needed a couple of seconds before she managed to decipher that one.
"Oh you mean the ebola virus!"
At Buffy's exasperated look, Willow shook her head. "Right, so not important. Ok, so Giles is not touching you. But Buffy, you touch all the time, I mean, you workout together everyday. Sure there must be touching then?"
Buffy nodded her head, "But that is kind of inevitable. What I mean is that he never touches me apart from when we are training. He hugs you guys. Sure, not all the time, and come to think of it, not that very often, but he is English so that is understandable."
They both shared a grin, before Buffy sobered and continued.
"It's just that I feel like he is actually physically avoiding me when we are together. Like he can't stand to touch me more than he has to. Am I really that untouchable?"
Willow had to bite back a grin threatening to erupt from that question, figuring Buffy would not appreciate her best friend laughing at her.
"Buffy no, of course not. Perhaps there is another reason, maybe."
Willow stopped, suddenly remembering something.
"What is it Willow? What's wrong?"
Something clicked in Willow's mind and she rose and went over to her computer.
"Hold on Buffy", she said. "I think I know what is making Giles act the way he does."
She turned on her computer as she continued talking.
"You see when Giles came to be your watcher at Sunnydale High I had kind of a crush on him."
While clicking away through her folders, Willow completely missed the wide eyed stare of Buffy and the jealous glare that followed. Realising how completely ridiculous it was of her to be jealous of something that her friend had felt about Giles years ago, Buffy shook her head as to clear her thoughts and moved to stand behind Willow to look at the screen.
With a blush Willow continued, "So I sort of hacked into the Council to find out more about him."
"Willow!" Buffy exclaimed with a smile. "You little criminal you."
Willow ducked her head and giggled. "Yes well, that sort of behaviour is behind me."
Yeah right, Buffy thought with a smile.
"Anyway, I found Giles's watcher manual and as far as I remember I read something that might be able to solve you worries of Giles thinking of you as being untouchable."
Buffy stepped closer as Willow printed out a piece of paper.
Willow quickly read it, and then handed it to Buffy.
"Yep, I was right. In the watcher manual it clearly says that the watcher needs to have at least six inches between himself and his charge, except when circumstance such as training requires it."
As Buffy scanned the page, Willow contemplated her fingernails and continued.
"I guess the Council is worried about some kind of an emotional bond developing between them, a bond that can render them incapable of clear and impartial judgment."
Buffy's head shot up as she watched an oblivious Willow. The words rang in her ears, reminding her of another place in time that had become one of her most painful memories. She swallowed hard, trying to get rid of the egg size ball that had formed in her throat. Tears once again threatened to spill, so she took a deep breath and then suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of anger seeping into her body.
"Yes well, we will see about that", she said and stormed out the door, leaving a flummoxed Willow behind.
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