the bunny warren v. Faith

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Salad Days

Author: Venus Blue
Summary: Set during the summer before Season 4, Giles doesn’t want Buffy to lose herself after the events of Season 3. Written for Catherine in the GRB Giles-centric ficathon. She requested Buffy/Giles, set around the time of Seasons 3-4, a happy ending, and humor. Gileswench’s additions were Oz and a green dress. Hope this works.
Pairing: Buffy/Giles
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox, etc, etc, etc, blah blah blah.
Distribution: All lists that archive, anyone who wants, please ask.
Author’s Note: Title is from Shakespeare, ‘Antony and Cleopatra’: “My salad days, when I was green in judgment, cold in blood”. Not beta’d, so any mistakes are my own.
Awards:View award

After graduation, once the debris had settled and the police had covered everything up, Giles put Buffy to work. The events of the past few months had left her mentally spent and physically and emotionally exhausted. Giles didn’t want to see her become a shell of the girl he knew and loved.

He spoke with Joyce, and she agreed, so he put her to work shelving and categorizing the rescued books from the library.

In the beginning, they didn’t talk much, other than light conversation. Giles made a detailed record of the collection, and Buffy boxed and shelved according to Giles’ instructions.

Watching him flip between the pages of his ledger to add a book to both the poetry and the philosophy categories, Buffy shook her head and asked, “Don’t you ever just alphabetize anything?”

He laughed softly at that.

“I am a true librarian at heart.”

In late July, Joyce and Dawn went to Los Angeles to visit her aunt. Buffy was invited, but she’d never been close to that part of her family, so she declined the offer. That night, Giles invited her to stay in and have dinner with him. It was more appealing than the pizza she’d planned to order, so she helped him prepare the meal.

As he tossed a salad to go with the broiled salmon, Buffy removed a bottle of wine from his cabinet.

“Do you mind?” she asked, waving the bottle lightly. He frowned, but said, “I suppose not, it’s not as though you’re driving.”

They sat down to eat, and Buffy was pleasantly surprised to learn that Giles did, in fact, know how to cook.

“Years of bachelorhood,” he said dryly, “and a mother who insisted I know how to prepare a meal for myself.”

“Can you make bangers and mash?”

“Can you make apple pie?”

“Point taken.”

Taking a drink of his wine, Giles said, “I, um, called the hospital today.”

Suspecting she knew where this was going, Buffy replied, “And?”

“They’ve moved Faith to a private room. The mayor apparently left her a great deal of money, and it should keep her comfortable for quite some time.”

Looking down, Buffy swallowed with difficulty and said, “That’s good. I want her to be…”

“What?” he asked gently.

Shrugging, Buffy said quietly, “I want her to be at peace. Guess that’s not really possible, with the coma and all.”

“Faith chose the road she went down, Buffy. You didn’t make her side with the mayor.”

“I didn’t help, though. Think of everything I could have…*should* have…”

“We all make mistakes, Buffy. There were things I, as her watcher, should have done.”

“But you were too busy taking care of me. And I was too busy with Angel.”

Her face crumpled before she fought and regained her composure. Pushing her plate away, she laughed bitterly and said, “Guess we both wasted our time.”

Giles pushed his own plate away, and moved to her side of the table.

“Neither of us wasted anything. Angel loved you, there is no denying that, no matter how any of us try to believe different. I know it’s hard to see right now, but he left because he loves you.”

Standing, Buffy went into the living room, sitting on the couch and wiping furiously at her eyes.

Giles sat beside her and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. She stiffened at first, then leaned her head on his shoulder, crying quietly. Giles held her, resting his forehead in her hair, murmuring softly.

She eventually cried herself to sleep, and Giles leaned back, resting his head and listening to her breathe.

*********************

When Buffy awoke, Giles was waiting with a glass of orange juice. Stretching, she rubbed her eyes and sat up, pushing her hair out of her face and taking a long drink.

“Are you feeling better?” he asked softly.

“Yeah. I’m really sorry about that, about last night.”

“Nothing to be sorry about. I think you needed it.”

“Yeah, I really did.”

He rubbed her shoulder, and said, “I don’t have much in the way of breakfast foods, would you like some eggs and toast?”

She started to protest, but her stomach growled loudly, and they both smiled.

“Sure, why not?”

Giles made the eggs while Buffy toasted the bread and fixed herself a cup of coffee and Giles a mug of English Breakfast Tea. They sat down to eat, and Giles complimented her on her ability to make tea.

“I’ve been around you too long,” she said wryly.

His phone rang while they were washing the few dishes. It was Willow, calling to see if he knew where Buffy was.

“She’s right here, hold on, Willow.”

She dried her hands and smiled as she took the phone from him.

“Buffy, where were you? I called your house last night, and no one answered.”

“Sorry, Will. My mom’s out of town, and I accidentally fell asleep on Giles’ couch.”

“Oz and I are going to the flea market in the next town over. Do you want to come with?”

She glanced over at Giles, who was wiping down the stove, and said, “Hang on.” Cupping the receiver, she said, “Willow wants to know if we want to go to a flea market with her and Oz.”

He looked up, slightly surprised, and said, “Certainly.”

“Sure, Will. What time do you want to go?”

“We’ll be leaving around 11:00. We’ll come and get you?”

“Okay. Giles and I will be ready.”

“Giles is coming?”

“Yeah. That’s okay, right?”

“Oh, of course, I just didn’t figure he’d want to come. I’ll see you in a few hours.”

“See you then.”

She hung up the phone, and looked down at her wrinkled clothes.

“I’m going to run home and change, but I’ll be back before they get here.”

She picked up her bag and headed out the door.

*********************

Buffy ran her hand over a rack of faded T-shirts as she perused the dusty shelves of the flea market. Willow had dragged Giles off to show him the books, and she was fending for herself among the hordes of large women and small children.

Squeezing between a middle-aged woman clutching a screaming toddler’s hand and a rack of men’s pants, Buffy began flipping through another rack of clothing. Oz appeared in front of her, a stack of comic books clutched in his hand.

“For Xander,” he said, showing her the covers. “Got some vintage Green Lanterns, early X-Men. Thought he’d appreciate them.”

She smiled warmly, and he asked, “Anything grab your attention?”

“Not really. I’m not really into vintage anything.”

“Isn’t vintage in this year?”

She smiled at him and pulled out a tee that proclaimed “Disco Sucks!” in bright bubble letters.

“I don’t see myself wearing this,” she said, grinning.

“You’re thinking about it too much. Just let something find you. Like this,” he said, picking out a satiny green dress with a boxed neck and a skirt that looked like it would fall just above Buffy’s knees.

She blinked, and took the dress from him.

“How did you do that?”

He shrugged and scratched his ear, smiling softly.

Giles and Willow came up then, Willow with a stack of books under arm, Giles with a book that was thinner than most he owned, but not by any other definition.

“Giles, don’t you have enough books?” she teased, folding the skirt of the dress up so it wouldn’t drag the floor. He glared playfully at her, and said, “Did you find something you like?”

“I did, thanks to the flea market god here.” Oz blushed lightly, and Willow grabbed his hand, smiling happily.

Buffy paid for the dress (“Ten dollars? Why haven’t I shopped here before?”), and they walked out to the van. It didn’t seem to want to start, so Oz and Giles got out to check under the hood. Willow turned in her seat to look at Buffy and asked, “Okay, I have to know. What is up between you and Giles?”

Buffy smiled softly and said, “What do you mean?”

“I see that smile! I know you’ve been over there helping him with the books, which, I might add, is not like you at all. And you’re spending the night at his house, and inviting him on daily outings. And the looks you two give each other…”

“What looks?”

The driver’s side door opened, and Giles said, “Buffy, Oz says there’s a flat-head screwdriver back there. Do you see it?”

Buffy moved a few things around before finding the screwdriver behind a worn amp. She passed it to him, and after a quick thank you, he disappeared back behind the hood of the van.

Willow turned back to her, grinning, and said, “Mm-hmm.”

“What? He asked for a screwdriver, I gave it to him.”

“You two are so vibe-y it’s not even funny.”

*********************

“I really don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Oz wiped the back of his neck with one of the t-shirts he’d just bought, and said, “Just telling you what I see, man.”

Giles shifted nervously and said, “Oz, I’m old enough to be her father.”

“Crank it?”

“Beg your pardon?”

“Try cranking the van?”

Giles into the driver’s seat, and tried the key. Nothing. Buffy asked worriedly, “Should we call someone?”

“Nah, this is Oz’s baby,” Willow reassured her. “He’ll get her going,”

Climbing back out, Giles walked around to Oz, who was shoulders deep under the hood.

“I’m only saying, man. I’ve never seen anyone look at their father the way she looks at you.”

Giles fingered the necklace in his pocket and removed his glasses, rubbing them with his handkerchief.

*********************

Giles had just put a record on and was sitting down with a glass of his best single malt scotch when there was a knock at the door. Opening it, he found Buffy, wearing the beautiful green dress she’d bought the day before and with her hair pulled up.

“Buffy. I thought you were going to stay in tonight.”

“I was, but I got to thinking, and wanted to see you.”

He held the door open and motioned her inside. She moved to the couch, then turned to look at him.

“Sit? Please?”

He did, though hesitantly, and she sat next to him, twisting her hands in her lap.

“Willow and I were talking, and…she got me thinking. And my brain won’t stop, and unless I talk to you, I may very well go out of my mind from thinking.”

“Well, we can’t have that,” he said lightly. “What’s on your mind?”

“Giles, how do you feel about me?”

He blinked a few times before replying, “I’m sorry?”

“Like, do you think of me as your daughter? Or your friend? Or just your slayer? Or…”

“I care very deeply for you, Buffy. I have never thought of you as a daughter, but it’s been a very long time since I thought of you as only ‘my slayer’. You’re…you’re everything to me.”

Her eyes welled up with tears, and she said, “Giles, I’m scared.”

He took her hand in both of his and rubbed it lightly. “Of what?”

“I’m…I have all these…feelings, running rampant in me, and…I’m…Giles, I’m falling in love with you.”

He inhaled sharply, and she tried to take her hand away and stand. He held on tightly, however, and she sat back down, refusing to look at him.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” he said, amazed at how calm he sounded. “I understand how you feel, more than you know.”

She looked at him hopefully, and he leaned forward, cupping her face and kissing her softly. She returned the kiss, and the tears spilled freely down her cheeks. Pulling back and resting his forehead against hers, he asked softly, “Why are you crying?”

“That’s another part of the scared. The ‘r’ word.”

“R word?”

“What if this is a rebound reaction? Giles, I can’t stand the idea of hurting you.”

She buried her face in his shoulder, and he stroked her back.

“It may very well be. There’s only one way to make sure we don’t ruin anything.”

“What’s that?”

He pulled away from her gently, and walked over to his desk, pulling out a small silver chain. Handing it to her, he said, “We just have to take it slow.”

She fingered the silver chain and the kanji pendant, and smiled up at him questioningly.

“I bought it at the flea market. It’s heiwa, the Japanese symbol for peace.”

She smiled brightly and leaned in for another kiss.

“Can I stay here tonight?” she asked quietly. He appeared hesitant, and she said, “Not to…just to be with you. To be close to you.”

He kissed her forehead and murmured, “Of course you can.”

They stood, and Giles held her at arms length.

“I do so like that dress.”

She blushed happily and said, “I was hoping you would. A little incentive, and green is good luck.”

They went upstairs, and Giles gave Buffy a pair of his pajamas to change into. They were big on her, but not too big, and they crawled under the blankets, Giles wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her close. They talked and kissed until neither was able to hold their eyes open any longer.

*********************

The phone rang early the next morning, and Giles blinked drearily as he reached for the receiver before it woke Buffy.

“Rupert? Hi, it’s Olivia.”

It took him a moment to connect the name with a face, and he smiled.

“Olivia, how good to hear from you again.”

“You, too. Listen, I’m going to be in Los Angeles on a month-long business trip coming up, and I was wondering if I might stop by? We could catch up on old times.”

Looking down at the peaceful blonde whose head was resting on his stomach, he said, “That’s probably not a good idea. I’ve got a full schedule right now, and wouldn’t be much of a good host.”

“Ah, you’ve gotten yourself a girlfriend!”

Giles chuckled and asked, “How could you tell?”

“Busy schedules have never stopped us before.”

He smiled and said, “She’s a wonderful woman.”

“Good to hear it. Talk to you soon, I hope?”

“Absolutely. Goodbye, Olivia.”

He hung up the phone and turned back to see Buffy smiling up at him sleepily.

“Old girlfriend?”

“Something like that,” he said, leaning down for a kiss. “She was going to be in town soon, wanted to catch up.” She raised an eyebrow, and he said, “I, of course, said no.”

Pulling herself up to rest her head beside his on the pillow, she pecked him softly on the cheek and said, “Her loss, my gain. Yay.”

“Yay, indeed,” he said, nuzzling her neck and tickling her. She giggled and grabbed his ribs, and they wrestled around on the bed until Giles held up his hands, gasping for breath.

“You win, you win!”

“And my prize?”

“Breakfast in bed?” he asked, sitting up and swinging his legs over the side. She dived back under the covers and fluffed the pillows before laying back and putting her hands behind her head.

“Works for me.”

He kissed her one last time before disappearing down the stairs. Buffy smiled softly to herself, genuinely happy for the first time in months.

[The End]


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