Giles stretched his legs in front of him, thankful the Council's jets had not been destroyed. Flying on a private plane with all the leg room he desired more than made up for all the traveling he was doing. He was corralling Watchers and well they weren't Potentials any more were they? The girls were now Slayers, thanks to Willow and to Buffy's mysterious axe.
Giles took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. He'd been globetrotting for months now, only occasionally stopping to think about the events that led to the destruction of Sunnydale. He would really rather not dwell on one person in particular, Buffy. Leading up to the end, there had been the massive fight about Spike and the role he played. Something she'd ended up being right about. After they'd stared at the hole that had been their home, they'd driven the bus to the nearest hospital. The injured were taken care of, everyone else housed in a nearby hotel thanks to Council money.
Giles was head of the Council now. As the most senior Watcher left alive he was in charge of reorganizing. He'd called in favors from all over, even asking Wesley to help. He'd tried to approach Buffy, but there'd been so much anger at first. Finally they'd talked some, agreeing to let most of the past go, to move on for the sake of all the new Slayers in the world.
He hadn't told Buffy about his position, especially given her history with the Council. Instead he mentioned helping with the reorganization and rounding up Slayers. She'd agreed to help in her own way, and they'd parted. He knew Faith and Wood had gone to Cleveland with some of the girls. Dawn had gone to her father, Andrew has disappeared. Willow was in England with the coven and he wasn't sure of Xander's whereabouts. Giles mourned the loss of so many of the girls, of brave Anya, even Spike. He'd heard a rumor that Spike had come back but wouldn't lay credence to it unless he saw the vampire face to face. So he relaxed in his seat, thinking of the one thing he'd tried to avoid, Buffy.
He'd loved her for so long, the love changing from that of a Watcher for a Slayer to that of a man for a woman. His love was the reason he'd stayed. The reason he'd left. The reason he'd been so angry at her choices. They'd talked about that, Buffy showing glimpses of her old self, teasing and flirting. It had given him a spark of hope, something to hold onto during the long nights.
He dwelt momentarily on the future. How would they act? What would they say? Could they repair the damage and at least be friends again? Giles didn't have the answers. All he had was a note from the Council to come back to England. There was something to organize or correct or be dealt with in person. He was being met at the airport by someone they were sending. Strange though that they were meeting in a coffee shop rather than the gate, but he didn't give it a second thought. Instead he pulled out a small bag he'd been carrying since the start of his trip. It was full of CDs, a wide range of music. For some reason, the Potentials (he would always think of them that way) had taken it upon themselves to educate him to modern music. They'd obviously heard too many stories from Buffy. He plucked one out at random.
Bryan Adams, an anthology. He remembered Buffy mentioning this artist several times while arguing about training music. He hoped this was better than some of that noise she had trained with. Some of the choices the Potentials had made were not bad, others were utter rubbish. He slipped the disc into the plane's state of the art system and listened. This was the time he took for himself, a time to forget the past and ignore the future. He relaxed, rather enjoying the mix of rock songs and ballads. As the next song started, he was intrigued by the melody. He listened to the words, their meaning sinking in.
That was Buffy. He knew her better than she knew herself. He knew her dream had always been for a normal life, something she had a chance for now. He had given her wings after high school, a choice they'd both regretted for a long time.
That night at the factory, the countless times he'd found himself knocked in the head, they had all helped build and strengthen his love for her.
She smelled of vanilla. She would taste wild and free. She had always been in his blood that was part of the Watcher/Slayer bond.
They would be strong like he, have her eyes and he would love them because they were hers.
>When you love a woman
You tell her that she's really wanted
When you love a woman
You tell her that she's the one.
Cuz she needs somebody to tell her
That you'll always be together
So tell me have you really
Really, really ever loved a woman?>
Buffy. Always and forever, Buffy. Would he tell her? Could he tell her? Could he risk the heartbreak?
As the guitars played, Giles knew. No matter what had happened, he loved her. Somehow they could work past the last year, they had before. When he saw her again, he would tell her. He would bare his heart and soul and hope she felt the same. As the chorus repeated, Giles was making plans for his next meeting with Buffy, when he would tell her everything.
Buffy sat in the limo messing with all the knobs and buttons. Kinda cool that the Council still had money to let her ride in style. Course she was going to meet the head honcho, so nothing but the best. She'd gotten an e-mail asking her to come to London as a favor. She had been the most recent Slayer (they were ignoring Faith) and the Council thought she would be the best person for the job. Buffy had thought what the heck, why not? She'd been bumming around Europe, helping new Slayers, checking out the sites. All thanks to money left to her by Anya of all people. The demon girl knew how to invest. She really would miss the outspoken Scooby. Buffy teared up a little.
There was a lot she would miss about Sunnydale, surprisingly. She would miss her friends; they'd all gone their separate ways. Willow had spilt with Kennedy; the relationship forged under impending doom couldn't last peaceful times. Her best friend had returned to the coven in England to further explore her new white witchy power. Xander had disappeared to somewhere in the Far east to mourn Anya and find himself, Angel had recommended it. Buffy had tracked down her wayward father and forced him to be a parent to Dawn, who didn't mind living in Spain. Faith and Wood had taken some of the girls to watch over the Hellmouth in Cleveland. Weirdly enough it was located under the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
And then there was Giles. Buffy could never forget about Giles. They had fought so much over the last year, particularly about Spike. She'd heard through the grapevine that the vampire had been resurrected. She didn't know how or why and she didn't care. He was just another chapter in the badness that was her love life. She'd told him she loved him. She did in some weird way she couldn't define, but not in the way he wanted and he'd known that. Bringing her back to Giles. He'd been right in some ways about Spike. But they had needed the vampire in the end, something Giles couldn't deny. They'd avoided each other for a while after, but they'd put the past behind them. For the sake of the new Slayers who would need their help.
She sat impatiently as the limo navigated traffic. She didn't want to think of Giles because if she did, she would have to admit what was in her heart. She loved him. She had since, well at least Prom maybe longer. He'd looked so handsome and sexy. But then Angel and the Mayor and the next time she'd seen him there was another woman in his life. Buffy had avoided thinking about it, guarding her heart and making the wrong choices; Parker, Riley, Spike. They'd touched on that during their last talk. They'd even fallen into the old pattern of wordless glances, joking and flirting. Enough to give her hope.
Could they have a future? She wasn't sure. Maybe, especially now there was a world full of Slayers. Could they undo all the hurt they'd caused each other? Could they just be friends at least? She didn't know. All she had were instructions to meet the Council head at a coffee shop in the airport; he would know who she was. Buffy though nothing of it as the limo eased onto the highway. She pressed play on the stereo and sat back to listen to her music. She wondered if this head honcho would even know who Sarah McLaughlin was.
Giles' smiles, all of them really. They always made her happy. But the one she would remember most fondly was the one he gave when she'd come back from running away. He hardly ever was that open anymore. Could she bring that smile back to him?
Could she really allow herself to love Giles? All the others she had loved had left.
God, all the wordless glances they'd exchanged had deeper meaning. Did Giles feel the same way about her?
That's why she'd continually pushed him away. Why she'd made all the wrong choices. They were all poor substitutes for Giles.
That defined her life very well, a darkness because she had dated two vampires. Giles had always given her the light. He'd always tried to let her have some of the normal life she'd craved since being Chosen.
Their lips met, gently at first, a tender exploration of a new love. As the song faded, it turned more passionate, hunger and desire taking over. When they parted, each looked at the other in wonder.
"Buffy, I love you," Giles blurted out.
"Well, that's a relief cause I love you too, Giles," she smiled.
He hugged her again. She led him back to his bags and went to help with them.
"Buffy, about this, about us…"
"Glad to know there is an us, otherwise I'd think that kiss was all for nothing," she joked.
"Buffy, I'm serious; I want to know where you see this going."
"I was kinda hoping for a forever thing. Marriage, kids, a house. The whole normal thing, well as normal as a Watcher and a Slayer can get."
She nearly laughed at his look of astonishment. Instead she kissed him again. When it ended this time, he took her hand in his and held it to his heart.
"Forever it shall be," he promised.
As they wandered towards the exit, they held hands. The past could wait until later; there was a future to be had. As the limo driver held the door open for them, she looked at him with a question.
"So you're the Council head, huh? I have some suggestions…"
The portal closed and the white glow receded from the young witch. As she reveled in her new found power, she was glad her second attempt at accessing it had not gone kablooey. Willow smiled, happy that hey had finally found each other. And to think, all it took was a simple note, an e-mail and a coffee shop playing the right song.