Summary: Willow realizes that if she doesn't act now, she may lose Giles forever.
Timeline: During "Buffy vs. Dracula" (5.01)
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al. Dialog borrowed from transcripts at BuffyWorld.com.
Distribution: My site/LJ, Hairy Eyeball, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Thanks to kallie_kat for the beta.
Author's Note: Written for the whichwillow Ficathon. Prompt at the end.
Willow sat at Giles' desk, typing on her laptop as he watched over her shoulder. It was taking her a little longer than normal to get the scanner set up, Giles' presence distracting her, like it always did.
Finally, she announced, "There you go. All set."
"Thank you, Willow. Obstinate bloody machine simply refused to work for me," Giles grumbled, standing and walking to one of the stacks of books overflowing his living room.
"Just call me the computer whisperer." She stood up and put something in the scanner. "Let's get scannin'. I want to see this puppy go."
Giles put a pile of old books on her outstretched arms. "Start with those."
Willow scowled. "Start? Where is finish?"
"Willow, it's essential that we begin archiving the library. I mean, most of these texts have no duplicates."
"But ... now?" Willow whined. "Doesn't winter seem more like archiving season?"
Giles looked surprised. "Well, you don't have to, Willow, I mean, you're, you're welcome to leave if, uh..."
"No. It's fine." She sat back down, not ready to leave his apartment when he wanted her there. "It's just, you've been Mr. Project all summer. You know? Labeling the amulets and indexing your diaries." Giles gave a little smile. "I draw the line at making giant rubber band balls. That's when you'll just have to get a life."
Giles cleared his throat as he sat on the trunk behind Willow. "That's what I'm trying to do, actually, is, um, get a life."
"It might go better if you left the house," Willow commented, not noticing his change in tone.
"Willow, um... you mustn't repeat what I'm about to say. Especially not to Buffy."
Willow looked confused and concerned. "Uh-oh."
"You promise?" he asked, not wanting to go further without the assurance.
"Oh, god. Well, I guess. Now that I know there's something to know, I can't *not* know, just because I'm afraid somebody'll know I know, you know?"
"Did that mean yes?"
"We're doing all this because I, I want you and the others to have everything you need at your fingertips. You see, I'm, I'm going back to England," Giles admitted.
Willow looked shocked. "You're ... what? But you can't! You're ... Buffy's Watcher!"
Giles sighed and removed his glasses.
"I mean, in a fired way, but..." she quickly amended. She tried not to let on how handsome she found him sans glasses, how much younger he looked without them.
"Well, it's become quite obvious that Buffy doesn't need me. I-I don't say that in a self-pitying way, I'm, I'm quite proud, actually." He smiled softly, the expression saying more than words.
She was starting to panic now. "But what about the rest of us? We still need to be watched! Personally, I can't get through a day without a little hairy eyeball."
Giles laughed softly and replaced his glasses, unable to believe her. Wishing it meant something it couldn't. "I appreciate the sentiment, but it's, it's just not so. You'll be fine. You all will." He stood up. "And you know, we'll, we'll stay in touch. You can always call me whenever you like."
"What if a phone call isn't good enough?" Willow protested, getting to her feet and moving to stand next to him. "What if I need to, to ask you about magick and stuff?"
Giles smiled. "You can ask me any questions about magick over the phone."
"But what about..."
Giles cut her off. "What is this really about, Willow?" he asked. She wasn't taking this news as well as he had hoped. Granted, a small part of him had wanted this kind of reaction, but he never would have expected it. Not from Willow.
"I don't know what I'd do without you," Willow said, meeting his eyes, praying he could see in them what she couldn't say for fear of rejection.
"You'll do fine," he tried to assure her. The words suspiciously caught in his throat.
"No, I won't." Willow insisted.
Before he could do or say anything else, Willow leaned up and kissed him. It was a brief brushing of lips, but the intent was clear.
When Willow pulled back, Giles asked, "But what about young Tara?"
"What about her? You mean..." Willow's confused expression changed to one of understanding. She took his hand and forced him to meet her eyes. "Giles, Tara and I haven't been together for a while now. Not like that."
Giles continued to look confused. "You're not? But I always see the two of you together. You rarely show up here without her. You certainly still act like a couple."
Willow shrugged. "I guess we just got used to being all touchy feely. You know, come to think of it, I don't know if we told the others about us breaking up."
"You mean to say that no one knew you two were no longer an item?" Giles asked.
"I guess it never came up. Tara and I realized a while ago that while we had a lot of fun together, we liked each other mostly for the magick stuff and not so much the physical stuff. Tara also really enjoyed hanging out with us and doing the demon fighting thing."
"I'm glad that you were able to come to that realization early on, before you grew to resent each other," Giles said, sincerely.
"Giles? Can we not talk about Tara anymore?" Willow asked, running a hand up his chest.
"W-what did you want to talk about instead?" he asked, nervously taking a step back, nearly tripping over the trunk behind him and sitting heavily on it. Willow sat beside him.
"We should probably discuss the fact that I just kissed you," Willow boldly said.
"Y-yes, you did," Giles agreed. He removed his glasses and began to clean them with the hem of his sweater. "May I ask why you did that?"
"I've wanted to do that for years," Willow admitted. "Did you not want me to kiss you? There were times I was so sure you were going to, before, but you never did. Was I wrong?"
Unable to resist touching her any longer, Giles brushed the hair away from her face. "Oh, Willow, you weren't wrong."
He pulled her in for a passionate kiss. Years of bottled up longing, passion that had to be suppressed due to propriety, significant others, age differences, and so many other circumstances came pouring out in one intense kiss.
"Don't go," Willow whispered against his lips when they finally parted.
"What is it that you want from me?" Giles asked. He hated asking, but he had to know what all of this meant.
"I-I want to be with you," Willow said, standing to pace. "I want to kiss you and touch you and be with you."
"You want me to be your secret lover?" Giles asked with a short laugh.
"Not secret," Willow rushed to assure him. "Not secret. I want you to be my out-there-in-public boyfriend."
"Boyfriend? Don't you think I'm a little old for that term? For you?" Giles asked, voicing one of his biggest fears about pursuing a relationship with Willow.
"You're not old!" Giles snorted, so Willow continued. "Okay, so maybe you're older than me, but I don't care about that."
"Don't you think that the rest of the world will?" he retorted.
"I don't care about the rest of the world!" Willow huffed. "You make it seem like you don't want to be with me." She paused, horrified that that was what he was saying. "Is that it? You don't want me? Oh, God, I thought from that kiss that maybe, but no, I was wrong."
Willow started to frantically look around for her things, suddenly wanting to be very far away from Giles.
He stood to catch Willow as she seemed to be turning in circles.
"Willow, I want you more than I can possibly say," he admitted, forcing her to meet his eyes. "You can't blame me for not jumping in with both feet at the first sign of interest, though. I've had years to wonder about a situation like this, when you would want me. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine such a thing was possible."
"Not even in your wildest dreams?" Willow teased, slowly relaxing. He shook his head. "You've wanted this too, then? For years?"
"For far longer than it was proper," Giles admitted, wrapping his arms tightly around Willow's back, holding her close.
He leaned down to kiss her, showing her, again, just how much he wanted her.
"I don't want to go," Giles confessed. "As you may have guessed, Buffy was only part of the reason that I wanted to go. You have no idea how painful it was watching you fall for another person, one not even of my same sex. I could forgive Oz his relationship with you; the two of you seemed a good match, but seeing you with Tara was much more painful."
"I'm sorry," Willow apologized, resting her head against his strong chest. "I guess that it's okay if I admit that I was kind of jealous when Buffy told me about finding Olivia here wearing nothing but one of your shirts."
Giles chuckled. "You do know that Buffy won't take this well, don't you?"
"Neither will Xander," Willow agreed. "I don't care. They'll come around."
She looked up to see Giles was smiling down at her. "So, you're going to stay and give us a chance?"
"How could I possibly refuse?"
They leaned toward each other, melting into a kiss that seemed to last the rest of the afternoon. Archiving be damned.
Ficathon Prompt: How does Willow convince Giles to stay, when he wants to leave?