Word count: 760
Prompt: fuzzyboo03, Buffy, Giles, post-Chosen. Comfort and a couch.
Buffy's room was on the top floor of the Hyperion. She'd picked a north-facing window, so she could look out to where Sunnydale used to be. Not that she could see anything: the haze brought the horizon in close. The blue-white sky was infinitely far away. She leaned on the windowsill looking out, thinking, waiting for the knock at her door. There it was.
Giles, responding to her summons.
"It's open," she said.
She turned and leaned back against the window. Giles came in and shut the door behind himself. He shoved his hands deep into his jacket pockets. He wasn't smiling. He looked wary, in fact.
She pointed to the dusty couch. "Sit. We need to talk."
Giles looked as if he were going to speak, but didn't. He took off his leather jacket and folded it. He draped it over the back of the couch, then sat. He sneezed. The inevitable handkerchief came out of his jeans pocket. Buffy went over to him, and climbed onto him. She sat astride his lap, facing him, hands resting on his shoulders. Alarm flashed across his face, and he said again, "Buffy, what--"
Again she interrupted him, with a finger against his lips.
"When did we do this last?"
Giles shook his head. "Two years. More. You--"
He shook his head again and fell silent. Buffy knew what he meant. It had only happened a handful of times, but he'd never initiated it. Never would. She hadn't let herself get anywhere near it since her resurrection. The last time it had happened had been the last time they'd talked seriously, and then... two years of disconnection, so complete that he'd feared her when she'd climbed onto his lap.
She slipped his glasses off, gently, and set them aside. Giles blinked. He looked vulnerable without them. Buffy stroked his temples. The worried look slowly faded. He sighed, and his shoulders relaxed at last.
Buffy kissed his forehead. "Missed this."
Softly, "As did I."
"I screwed up. A lot."
"No more than I did. But you came through in the end. As always."
Giles smiled up at her, and Buffy's heart turned over. That was the the smile she'd been missing all this time. She leaned forward and kissed the end of his nose. He shifted and slipped his arms around her. Buffy rested her chin on his shoulder and let him hold her close. She breathed in Giles-scent, that old-fashioned clean smell of bay leaves and lime. The hand caressing her face smelled faintly of india ink. Tea and whisky, leather and wool. He was warm underneath her. The hand bracing her back was solid.
Buffy nuzzled his ear.
"I'm sorry," she said.
"What on earth for?"
"For all the people who died. When the First blew up the Council." Giles tensed again beneath her, but said nothing. "How many friends did you lose?"
Giles sighed, and tightened his arms around her. "I never counted. An uncle, my oldest nephew, several cousins, more schoolmates than I care to think."
"You never said anything."
"There was no point. It would have distracted you from what you needed to do."
Buffy gripped his sweater and shook him, gently. "No. Wrong. There was a point. You were grieving. I should have been your friend instead of the Slayer machine. We turned into these, I don't know, robots. Marching around making self-righteous speeches. Not talking to each other. Scheming against each other. How the hell did I not hug you for all that time? What was *wrong* with me?"
Giles shook his head again. "The First. Working on us. All along. Driving us apart."
"Giles. No more apartness."
Buffy pressed herself against his chest for a second, then bent her face down to kiss him. He returned the kiss gently, chastely. Buffy stroked the back of his head.
"Dear Buffy. I do love you so. You know that, don't you?"
"I know. Silly guy. Known all along. But I didn't know you had an uncle. And now you're going to tell me all about him. What his name was. What he was like. And about your nephew. And if you need to cry, you're going to cry."
Giles drew in a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Later she'd take him over to the bed, and undress him, and know him again for the first time in two years, for the first time since before her leap. For now, she leaned against his chest and felt more than heard him speak.