“What a Slayer fest!” Buffy exclaimed as Watcher and Slayer triumphantly entered the Summers residence.
“I’d tend to agree…but I’m a bit rusty.” Giles agreed, placing the weapons bag just inside the front door.
“And I’m not through yet, I have one more insufferable battle to wage.”
“Dawn and homework?” Giles asked.
“Yep…” Buffy confirmed with a grin, he knew her so well. “I’m going to go do my parental-type duties and check on her. Make yourself comfortable…I’ll be back.” Buffy disappeared upstairs.
Exhausted from an overly-active reunion patrol, Giles claimed the couch as his. He collapsed into the welcoming cushions and awaited the return of Buffy from her most difficult challenge to date, raising a little sister.
After ten minutes of bickering and compromise, Buffy returned downstairs with her hands full of papers. As she came into the living room ready to boast proudly of her parental accomplishment, she paused with notice of a charming sight. Giles fast sleep sitting upright on the couch; head tilted back, arms folded in his lap, and legs crossed.
It was mesmerizing. For all the knowledge, strength, and resolve this specimen of responsibility and adulthood had while conscious, Giles looked like an innocent child when sleeping. Buffy couldn’t take her eyes off his peaceful face. The normal wrinkles of concern and lines of contemplation that donned his face during conscious Hellmouth life vanished when he rested. Tousled curls of graying locks framed his forehead, making Buffy wonder how his hair would feel. It seemed so soft, she wondered if he’d notice if she ran her fingers through it. He did sleep soundly. It made for some interesting practical jokes.
She quietly crept into the room and stood silent, admiring the gentle man sleeping before her. She hadn’t known how much she’d missed him until he returned. It was like he was the final piece to her puzzle, the final link in her chain, the whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles on her Mocha.
Buffy knew he’d regret falling asleep in that position; his neck was bound to be stiff in the morning. He looked so tranquil; she didn’t want to interrupt his rest just to send him up to the guest room to try and fall asleep again. She considered an alternative; too smoothly reposition him on the couch. Buffy knelt down in front of the sleeping ex-Watcher and contemplated her plan of attack. If she supported his head, she could gently tip him over and lift his legs onto the couch. It sounded like a good plan.
She slipped his shoes off and set them under the table, keeping a watchful eye on Giles, taking care not to wake him. No sign of life yet…next move, support the head. Buffy lightly placed her fingers along Giles cheek and glided her fingers back through his hair, smiling at the sensation of his curls tickling her skin. She’d been right, soft and silky.
With another quick check on her progress, she went for the next step, tilting him over. The most risky move of the plan but she had a failsafe…she could always say he’d started to fall and she went to stop him from landing on a stake. Another quick glance at Giles sleeping face, she tried to nudge him over. Wouldn’t budge. She tried again, putting a bit more Slayer strength into it and saw him move a smidgen. As he started to slide down the back of the couch, Buffy was ready to celebrate a small victory when he groggily repositioned himself upright. Buffy just managed to move her hand out of the way as he settle back down, out cold.
‘Ok, if at first you don’t succeed right?’ Buffy thought, slipping her fingers along Giles face again and trying to nudge him over quicker this time. As he began to descend into the cushions, Buffy tried to figure out why she was so determined to do this. Following through with her plan, she supported his head as his upper body fell to the couch. Once his head hit the pillows, pinning her hand beneath his cheek, he turned into her palm and snuggled in. His hot breath warmed her cool hand and she almost giggled at the scratch of his chin as she carefully slipped her fingers out. Buffy sat quietly, staring at his kind features, wondering.
‘Legs…eyes on the prize girl!’ she thought and carefully lifted his legs to the couch. Once she decided he was looking much more comfortable in his new improved position, she blanket him with a cozy oversized afghan that always stayed close to the temporary bed for many of the Scooby gang. Buffy tucked the edges in around Giles, making sure to do as thorough a job as her mom had done for her as a child. As she tucked the last edge in by his face, a surprising thought made her pause. It wouldn’t be a thorough tucking-in unless she gave him a goodnight kiss.
Kissing Giles…an unusual action to consider. When she was younger, she couldn’t even touch him without feeling odd, inappropriate. After all, he wasn’t her father; he was more like a teacher, a mentor. But now, it was acceptable, natural even in this case…a necessity in order to fulfill her tucking-in duties. Once she’d effectively justified the notion to herself, she leaned down and kissed Giles tenderly on his cheek. As she pulled away, she had to smile at the slight grin that hinted along his lips.
‘Job well done’ she thought and sat down in the chair opposite sleeping beauty. She began to look over the homework sheets from Dawn, pausing occasionally to take in the priceless picture that was Giles sleeping. She dozed off with thoughts of what Giles meant to her and how she would never quite see him the same again.
Buffy woke up feeling completely rested and refreshed. As she opened her eyes to witness the sun spilling into her bedroom, she realized something was wrong. How’d she get to her room? She looked around aimlessly, trying to figure out what happened, trying to remember. Buffy got out of bed and noticed she was still fully clothed. She walked downstairs and glanced into the living room, no one there. She headed to the kitchen. As she walked in, she noticed a pitcher of orange juice sitting on the counter, illuminated by brilliant sunlight beaming in from the window. A note was propped up against it. Two words decorated the simple white paper.
Buffy smiled, recognizing the nice penmanship. Giles had returned the favor, carrying her upstairs after she fell asleep in the chair.
‘Nope…never going to see him the same way again.’