Links


by Saber ShadowKitten



Part One



Buffy stretched luxuriously, purring as her body awoke from the best sleep she'd had in a long time. She smiled to herself and cuddled closer to the warm, muscular body next to hers on the floor of the library.

< Good morning. > Buffy heard in her mind as Giles stirred. < Did you sleep well? >

"Better than ever," Buffy responded aloud. She ran her fingers lightly across his bare chest. "You?"

"Excellent," Giles said aloud. Buffy felt his arousal at her touch through their empathic link. She grinned.

"Like that?" she asked, seductively.

"You know I do," Giles answered, then pulled her roughly on top of him.

Several hours later, the two lovers stood and dressed. The Scooby Gang was due to arrive at 1:00, and the library needed to be put back into order.

"Giles?" Buffy said as she folded the blanket. Giles was putting away the candles scattered about the room. "This…link we have. Is it normal?"

"Normal? Yes, it is a normal occurrence between a Watcher and Slayer who have become intimate," Giles said. "In fact, I was reading about this very subject the other day because I had sensed something different about our relationship ever since…"

"…since that night in the cemetery," Buffy finished. "I know. Xander thinks its kinda ooky."

"'Ooky'?"

"You know, 'they're creepy, they're kooky, they're all together ooky'?" Buffy said.

"Er…yes," Giles said. Buffy picked up that he was clearly confused.

"It's from the old TV show, Giles. The Addams Family? John Astin?" Buffy tried to explain. "Never mind."

"I didn't watch much television," Giles said.

Buffy saw a picture of younger Giles surrounded by books. "Got ya. That's why you're the book man." She began scooped up several rose petals and put them on the table, then started the vacuum.

< I just thought of something, > Buffy said to Giles through their strong psychic link.

< What is that? > Giles responded in similar fashion.

< I can still talk to you even though I can't hear with the vacuum running. Cool, huh? >

< Fascinating, > Giles responded dryly. < And you discovered this all by yourself? I am so proud. >

< Hey! > Buffy glared at him while she continued running the cleaner over the floor. She sent him a picture of Giles tied up and at her mercy.

< Looks like fun, > Giles told her with an naughty grin on his face.

"Boy, are you the kinky one," Buffy said, shutting off the motor. She wrapped up the cord and wheeled the machine back behind the desk.

"I do try," Giles said. He glanced at his watch. "It's 11:30 now. Would you like to order a pizza?"

"Pizza? You bet'cher life," Buffy responded enthusiastically.

"There is a phone book behind the desk. If you would call it in, I shall run over and pick it up when the time comes."

Buffy went into Giles' office to make the call as he did a spot check of the library. Except for the small pile of rose petals Buffy had left on the table, one would never know the activities from the previous night.

Giles smiled at the memory of Buffy's youthful face glowing with pleasure in the candlelight. He loved that girl so much. He felt a wave of love wash over him from Buffy, and knew she felt the same way. *We're going to have to test these links before the others arrive to see how extensive they are,* Giles thought to himself.

Giles entered the office and kissed the top of Buffy's blond head. He retrieved his glasses, a pen and his own Watcher diary and sat on the couch in the small space.

"Large cheese, sausage, pepperoni, mushroom and green peppers pizza, please….two large Cokes….pick up….thanks," Buffy said into the phone. She turned to Giles. "Twenty minutes."

Giles nodded absently as he scribbled in the book. Buffy walked over and sat next to him. "What'cha doing?"

"Writing about our experience last night."

"WHAT!?" Buffy yelled.

"Buffy, I have to record everything that happens to the Slayer. It's part of my duty as a Watcher," Giles explained patiently.

"Don't I get any privacy? I mean, did you write in there when it's that time of the month, too?"

"Er…yes, actually," Giles said.

Buffy's face was part hurt, part anger. "Thanks a lot, Giles," she said, standing. She stormed out of the room.

"Buffy," Giles called. < Buffy. >

< Get out of my head. >

< That would be impossible, Buffy. If what I have read is correct, we are now thoroughly meshed with one another. There is no longer a 'you' or 'me.' Only an 'us.' >

< I don't care. Get lost. >

Giles sighed, took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. < Buffy, I am sorry, but this is something that I must do. It is part of my sacred duty. >

< Doesn't mean I have to like it. >

Giles closed the diary and walked out of the office. Buffy was pounding the stuffing out of the punching bag she had set up. "I am going to get the pizza. We'll continue this when I return."

"Great," Buffy said sarcastically.

Giles shook his head and left the library.

As soon as he left, Buffy stopped beating on the bag. She glared in the direction Giles had left, then went into the office. Picking up the diary that lay on the desk, Buffy flipped to a random page and began to read.

Buffy is an amazing Slayer. I am constantly surprised at her resourcefulness. Recently, she used a broken pencil she had found in the vampire's own pocket to stake him.

Buffy turned a few more pages.

The Slayer/Watcher bond which I had read about from my predecessors is forming between Buffy and myself. When I first met her, I was not certain she would survive for long. She was very impertinent, refused to take her responsibility seriously, and involved others in her fight. She is stronger than any Slayer in history because of these 'imperfections.'

Buffy smiled, tears forming in her eyes as she continued to read. Everything that Giles had written involved some kind of compliment about her abilities as a Slayer. She turned to read what he had just written before leaving.

Last night, Buffy and I became intimate. The Slayer/Watcher bond is complete. I know that this is was suppose to happen in order to enhance her capabilities as a Slayer, but, in all honesty, I could rather care less. I did it for myself, not for any sacred duty. I love her with my whole being.

Buffy was fully crying now. She picked up a pen and wrote under his entry.

I love you, too, Giles.



Part Two




Giles returned with the pizza to an empty library. He had felt Buffy's hurt and anger when he left. He had tried to 'tune' her out, to allow her some privacy, and was able to succeed by concentrating on driving.

"Buffy?" < Buffy? > he called both aloud and in his mind. He set the pizza on the table and went into his office. Buffy lay asleep on the couch, the open diary in her lap. He removed the book then he took her hand, gently waking her.

"The pizza has arrived," Giles said quietly, rubbing her and with his thumb. Buffy stirred and blinked sleepily at him.

"I'm sorry I got mad at you," she said.

"It's alright, Buffy," Giles responded. "I understand your reasons."

Buffy was about to say something else when her stomach erupted in a loud growl. They both laughed.

"I think someone is rather hungry," Giles said, helping Buffy to her feet.

"Understatement, Giles," Buffy said. "Xander isn't ever as hungry as I am right now."

"Now, that is a scary concept," Giles responded, sitting across from Buffy at the table.

He opened the box and the steam from the still hot pizza fogged his glasses. Buffy reached over and plucked them off his face, then took a slice and bit into it.

"Mmm," she hummed over the tasty bite in her mouth.

Giles never knew that a bite of pizza could be so erotic. He felt Buffy's pleasure at the food through their empathic link and had a hard time eating his own slice. He needed a distraction before he threw Buffy across the table and ravished her.

"Buffy, while we are eating, why don't we experiment with this bond between us," Giles said between bites.

< Ok. As long as I can keep eating, > Buffy responded, still chewing.

< Let's start with the obvious then, > Giles said. They continued to eat, speaking telepathically rather than between bites or with their mouths full.

< The obviouser the better. >

< That is not a word, Buffy. >

< Is this going to be an English lesson? If so, I need to study first, > she responded. Giles glared at her over his drink. < Sorry. >

< If I may continue, we obviously can speak to each other telepathically. However, I am unsure as to how far this particular aspect of our bond reaches. >

< We can test it when I go out on patrol tonight. > Buffy told him.

"Good idea," Giles said, wiping his mouth on a napkin. "Second, we have an empathic link."

"What's that?"

"An empathic link is where one can 'feel' the other's emotions," Giles explained.

"Kinda like I 'felt' your arousal this morning?" Buffy asked mischievously.

"Er…y-yes," Giles stuttered, blushing.

"And like I can feel that you're embarrassed right now?"

"You h-have grasped the c-concept."

"That's not all I want to grasp," Buffy mumbled to herself.

"What did you say?" Giles asked.

"Oh, nothing," Buffy said quickly. "Hey, wait a sec, you didn't know what I said, even though we can read each other's minds."

"Hmm. Good observation, Buffy," Giles said. She beamed at him. "We must only be able to communicate verbally one way at a time. However, we can pick up emotions at any time."

"Cool."

"I can also safely say that we can 'send' pictures to one another, either consciously or sub-consciously," Giles continued.

"Like when I saw you as a boy surrounded by all those books?" Buffy asked.

< Correct, > Giles said, eating another slice of the rapidly dwindling pizza. < I was also able to tune you out, so to speak, by concentrating fully on another task. >

"When did you do that?"

< When I went for the pizza. I knew you were upset about my duty to record what transpired, and I wanted to give you privacy. >

< That's so sweet, Giles, > Buffy told him, stuffing her face once more. < Now I know why I love you so much. >

Giles blushed. < I love you, too. >

< I have a question for you. Can we see into each other's memories? Like, say I wanted to see what you looked like when you were 10, would I be able to go into your mind and pluck that image out? > Buffy asked.

< Interesting question. Why don't you try it. > Giles answered.

Buffy thought about what she wanted to know for a few minutes. Giles kept silent, even though he had discovered something else about the bond.

< Ok. Here I go, > Buffy told him. She tried to get a picture of what his first girlfriend looked like. Nothing happened. < Doesn't look like it, Giles. >

< I didn't feel anything, either. What were you trying to find out? > Giles asked, curious.

< What you're first girlfriend looked like. >

An image came to Giles' mind and Buffy was able to see it without him broadcasting the picture. < She's pretty. >

< I must have sent a subconscious image to you, Buffy. This is rather extraordinary. >

< You're telling me. Here I am, sitting with a man twenty years older than me, who I made love to last night, talking without using sound, > Buffy said. < This is great! >

Giles chuckled. "Glad you approve, " he said. "I ascertained another limitation on our psychic link. Unless you talk to me directly, I can not hear what your are thinking."

< No wonder it's so quiet in my mind. I had read that some psychics go nuts cuz their heads are always filled with other people's thoughts. >

< Do you enjoy communicating with me in this way? > Giles asked seriously.

< I love it! I feel so…not alone, > Buffy gushed enthusiastically. < It's like I feel your arms around me, only in my mind. >

Giles smiled brightly at her. "Why don't we practice sending images to one another. Try to send me a 'moving' image, like you did with Snyder last night."

"Ok," Buffy said. She thought for a moment, knowing that Giles couldn't pick up on what she was contemplating, then smiled devilishly.

The image Giles received in his mind was like watching a television program. A very erotic program. Buffy was wearing scraps of black lace, barely covering her muscular body. He watched as she walked slowly up to the figure of himself lying on a large bed.

Giles closed his eyes as the images continued to come. He saw Buffy kiss the Giles in his head on the mouth, then move lower on his body until she licked the tip of his…

"Buffy!"

Xander's shout started the couple, who were both sitting at the library table, and empty pizza box in front of them, with their eyes closed.

"Xander!" Buffy exclaimed, jumping in her seat. Xander, Cordelia and Willow had entered the library.

"You sound surprised to see us," Xander said, as he stuck his fingers in the pizza crumbs then licked them.

"N-no, we knew you were coming," Buffy said. Her face was flushed in embarrassment. She looked over to Giles who had grabbed his glasses and shoved them back into place.

"How come you guys had pizza and didn't invite us?" Xander asked with a pout.

Willow sat in the chair next to her friend and picked up a rose petal that was lying on the table. "Rose petals?"

Buffy reached for the pile and scooped them into her hand as Giles stood and threw out the pizza box. They were both feeling overwhelmed at the sudden intrusion into their once private world.

"So, what's the evil of the day, because I want to get to the mall. There's a big sale going on that I don't want to miss," Cordelia said. She took in Giles' light colored khaki's, blue T-shirt, brown woven belt and deck shoes. "By the way, nice outfit, Giles. Your taste in clothing is vastly improving."

"T-there isn't one that I k-know of," Giles stuttered. "And th-thank you."

"In that case, I'm gone," Cordelia said. She kissed Xander on the cheek and left.

"I love a woman with priorities," Xander said, sliding into the seat recently vacated by Giles.

"Xander, you love any woman who looks at you," Willow said.

"So true, Will," Xander replied.

< Giles, we can do this, > Giles suddenly heard in his head. He looked at Buffy, who was staring intently at him. < It's just Willow and Xander. > He nodded.

"Willow, why don't you get on that dread machine and do a g-general search. Xander, you and Buffy can whittle some s-stakes," Giles instructed, reverting into Watcher mode.

"And what are you going to do, oh great and mighty librarian?" Xander asked, groaning at the thought of whittling.

"Look for prophecies, what else?" Buffy answered for Giles. She giggled at the face he made.



Part Three




Time passed quickly as Buffy conversed with her friends while they worked. She could feel Giles' strong, soothing presence subtly in her mind. She hoped he could feel her in the same way.

"Oh dear," she heard Giles say as he walked out of his office. The three friends looked up at him expectantly.

"I hate it when he says that. It usually means something big and ooky is gonna come and rip our intestines out or something equally disgusting," Xander said.

< See. Ooky. I'm telling ya, you gotta watch more TV, > Buffy said to the Watcher.

< I'll put it high on my list of things to do, right after averting the apocalypse, > Giles responded wryly. "I am sorry to disappoint you, Xander, but my comment was about the time. I am sure that Buffy is wishing to go home and shower before patrolling this evening."

< Wanna shower with me? > Buffy asked. Giles choked on the tea he was drinking at the image that sprang into his mind.

Buffy jumped out of her seat and hurried over to him. "Are you ok?" she asked as she rubbed his back.

< Quite, > Giles told her. < Just give me a moment. >

Giles calmed down to the quizzical looks from Willow and Xander. "Wrong pipe?" Willow asked, clearly worried.

"Y-yes, that is it," Giles said.

"If you're sure," Buffy said, still rubbing his back through the blue T-shirt. Giles nodded. "Ok. C'mon, guys. I'll walk you home."

Willow and Xander stood and joined Buffy. < Please check in before you head out on patrol, > Giles told her silently as the three friends headed out the door.

"Will do, Giles," Buffy said aloud. "See you later."

The two other friends glanced at Buffy. "Uh, Buffy," Xander said. "Giles didn't say anything."

"What?" Buffy asked. "Of course he did. He told me to check in before…oh!" She blushed furiously.

"Buffy? I didn't hear him say anything," Willow told her friend.

"I…uh…guess I'm so use to him saying that I answered without thinking," Buffy said quickly, trying to cover her mistake.

"Oh. Ok," Willow said. Xander continued to look perplexed, but soon shrugged it off.


*****


Buffy was being naughty. As she stepped into the shower, she tried sending X-rated thoughts to Giles. She wasn't sure if it worked because of the distance from the school to her house, but was pleased when she heard Giles' voice in her head.

< You are being intentionally cruel, > he said to her.

< And you are enjoying every minute, > Buffy responded. She continued putting on a show for him in her mind, broadcasting it over the miles. She could feel his arousal building as was her own.

Giles groaned as the pictures entered his head. He felt himself hardening right there in the library. As Buffy continued her onslaught, Giles knew the moment she walked back through the library doors he would make savage love to her.

Buffy walked into the library with a bounce in her step. "Giles? Where are you?" she sing-songed.

"In here," Giles called out from to her from the office.

Buffy entered the door and was immediately thrown onto the couch. Giles slammed the office door shut and locked it. In a flash, he was upon Buffy, kissing her with brutal force.

< Payback. > Giles' voice slipped seductively into Buffy's mind as he continued to ravish her body. Soon, they were both naked in each other's arms, with Giles thrusting in and out of her forcefully.

Afterwards, they lay on the couch, spent. Giles was the first to stir. "That will teach you," he murmured in Buffy's ear.

"Yeah, to do it more often," Buffy said. She sighed, satisfied and began to redress.

"Now, Buffy," Giles said, putting his clothes back on, as well. "What if I was not alone? Or, what if I did that to you in the middle of class?"

"Point taken," Buffy replied. She left the office and began to place stakes in various places on her body. "Don't use my powers for evil."

Giles locked the office door. "I shall drop you off at the cemetery and go home."

"No. Please don't punish me by making me ride in your car," Buffy whined exaggeratedly as they left the library.

"Very humorous, Buffy. Why did you ever give up your job as a comedian?"



Part Four




"After I drop you off, I shall go home. That is further in distance than your house to the school. We shall see if the links are as strong as they were earlier this afternoon," Giles said as they pulled up to the cemetery.

"Will do," Buffy responded. When the car stopped, she leaned over and kissed him. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Please check in before school starts," Giles said, giving her a brief hug. "Be careful."

"Aren't I always?"

"Do you want me to answer that, or shall I just glare?" Giles said, repeating what he told her long ago.

Buffy laughed and exited the car, waving as Giles drove off. < I love you! >

< And I you, Buffy. >

Buffy turned and made her way into her favorite hunting ground. "Here vampy, vampy, vampys. I got a nice, pointy treat for you."

She heard rustling in one of the bushes outlining the perimeter of the cemetery. Crouching, she slowly crept towards the noise.

The vampire burst out of the bushes in a rain of leaves. Buffy fell back onto her rear and he loomed over her. "Good, dinner," he said through his fangs.

"Can't you guys think of anything but your stomachs?" Buffy asked as she leapt to her feet.

The vampire lunged and Buffy ducked out of the way, landing a blow to the back of his head. She spun and kicked him in the chest, while letting a stake fall out of her sleeve and into her hand. Blocking the new vampire's inept punch, Buffy plunged the stake into him, and the creature turned to dust.

< Buffy? Are you alright? > Giles voice entered her mind, tinged with worry. She jumped, startled.

< Geez! You scared me! >

< I apologize. I was receiving, through our empathic link, increased excitement and fear from you. > Giles responded.

< That's what I usually feel when I slay the bad guys, > Buffy told him.

< How many were there? >

< One so far. >

< Only one? But why were you fearful? >

< Giles, each time I fight, no matter what or how many, there is a chance that I may die. And that makes me afraid, which makes me fight even harder so I don't die. >

Giles was silent in her head. She could feel his worry and wondered if he reacted this way each time she was on patrol.

< Giles? >

< Yes, Buffy? >

< Thank you. >

< For what? >

< For caring. >

< I've always cared, Buffy. My greatest fear is losing you. It always has been, > Giles said.


*****


"Well, it's obvious that our links are very strong," Giles said to Buffy the next morning before school. Buffy had arrived very early in order to have smoochie time with the object of her affection. After re-straightening themselves, the two lover's were sitting in the library office, waiting for school to begin.

"You know, I really love this...whatever, between us," Buffy said. "I was wondering if you could, like, feel me in your mind. When I'm not talking to you, that is."

Giles smiled and took her hand. "Yes, I do. It is almost as if you are sitting in the room with me, even when you are not."

"That's exactly what I feel!" Buffy exclaimed. The bell rang and Buffy stood, smiling. "I'm off to class. See you later." She bent and kissed him on the cheek. "Love you."

"I love you, too," Giles said softly in response. Buffy grinned and bounced out of his office.

Buffy entered her second period class and slid into a seat. *Only one more class until I can see Giles,* she thought to herself as the bell rang.

The teacher began to lecture and Buffy let her mind drift. She thought about all that had occurred the past few days and how much her life had changed.

< Buffy, pay attention in class, > Giles' voice said to her. < The images you are sending to me are not conductive to accomplishing my work. >

< Oops! Sorry, > Buffy told him. < I didn't do it on purpose. I was just daydreaming. >

< Why don't you take notes? >

< It's boring, Giles, > Buffy whined. < Who cares about whether or not cows have four stomachs. >

< The cow probably cares, > Giles responded with dry humor.

Buffy snorted and the class looked at her. "Ms. Summers, is there something funny?"

"Um...no, Mr. Davis?"

"I would appreciate it if you would pay attention, rather than whatever it is you are doing," Mr. Davis admonished

"Yes, sir. Sorry," Buffy said, sinking into her seat. Her classmates chuckled at her discomfort.

< Thanks a lot, Giles! >

< What did I do? > Giles asked. He had felt her embarrassment and knew that she had gotten caught communicating with him.

< You made me get in trouble! > Buffy said.

< I apologize, > Giles said. He clearly didn't mean it.

Buffy sent Giles an image of her throwing him off a cliff.


*****


"Hi guys!" Buffy called to her friends in the hallway.

"Buffster!" Xander exclaimed, throwing an arm around his bud. "How goes the slaying?"

"A little louder, Xander," Buffy said as they walked towards the library. "I don't think the people in Kansas heard you."

"Didn't you know? There's a giant billboard proclaiming that you are the Chosen One in Topeka," Xander said.

The four friends entered the library and flung their bags onto the table. Willow immediately went to the computer and began surfing the net. Xander and Cordelia started to argue, as usual, and Buffy dug through her bag for a nail file.

< Honey, I'm home! > Buffy called out to Giles.

"Oh good, you're here," Giles said, exiting his office with one of his many volumes in hand. "We have a slight problem."

"What is it this time? Cows with only three stomachs?" Buffy said with a satirical brow raised.

"What? Er...no," Giles said, looking up at her. He paused, catching the joke. "Very funny," he said sarcastically.

"Did I miss something?" Xander asked.

"Inside joke, Xand," Buffy responded. "Very inside."

Giles cleared his throat. "If I may?"

The four looked expectantly at him. "Thank you. Like I said, we have a slight problem. According to this reference, something is returning to Sunnydale from Buffy's past."

"Do you know what?" Willow asked.

"No. The wording is too vague. It does not even say if it is friend or foe, whatever it may be," Giles said.

"Looks like it's research time," Xander said.

"Yeah, but what do we research?" Cordelia asked.

"I suggest we start by listing as many things from Buffy's past that we can think of, including Lothos and your old friends in Los Angeles," Giles instructed.

Third period ended and Giles received four separate lists to be combined into one chronologically and to be referenced with what he had recorded in his Watcher diaries.

The interim list was rather long, seeing it included both friends and enemies, and took Giles until school ended to compile it.

Giles passed around a copy to the Scooby Gang. "Is there anyone you can think of that we are missing?"

"No," each friend said in turn as they looked at the list.

"So, what's our plan of attack, Giles?" Buffy asked, going over the list again and again with her eyes.

"Be prepared for anything is the only advice I can give you," Giles said. He looked worriedly at her. < Please, be careful. >

< I will. I always am. >



Part Five




Buffy sat in the cemetery with the Slayerettes. They had formed an impromptu party in order to watch Buffy's back for the mysterious thing from her past.

"Next time, we bring Cheesy Chips," Xander said from the ground. He was laying with his head in Cordelia's lap.

"Is food all you ever think about?" Cordelia asked her boyfriend.

"Fifty percent of the time. The other fifty is spent thinking about sex," Xander responded, popping a piece of candy into his mouth.

"Xander!" Willow said, blushing. Oz smiled sweetly at her. They were sitting cuddled together against the cool night air.

< How are things? > Giles said to her from the library. He was still researching for any more specific details he could find.

< Pretty dead, no pun intended, > Buffy answered him. Her friends continued to talk around her.

< That's good, > Giles responded.

< Did you know, you don't ever stutter in here. >

< Do I? I hadn't noticed. >

< I did. But, then again, I notice everything about you. >

< And I notice everything about you, as well. Including that cute little mole on your... >

"Earth to Buffy," Cordelia said. Buffy looked at her blankly. "I asked why you were grinning like an idiot."

"No reason," Buffy said, stifling her grin. "Just thinking."

"Share with the class, Buffy," Xander said.

"Oh, I don't know. About Giles mostly," Buffy answered.

"And what about our fearless leader?" Xander asked.

"He's not fearless, Xander," Buffy corrected him. "He's a normal person, just like us."

"If you call sitting in a cemetery waiting for undead things normal," Oz said.

"We do," Willow chimed in. "Call that normal, I mean. Does that make us disturbed?"

"Completely," Buffy said with a off-kilter grin.

"Tweed, however," Cordelia added. "Is definitely not normal. He probably had tweed boxers."

"He does not," Buffy replied, then quickly covered her mouth with her hand.

"And how do we know he doesn't wear tweed?" Xander asked.

"I...uh...that is...," Buffy stammered.

"Spill it, Summers," Willow said.

< I'm sorry, Giles. > Buffy sent the quick thought before telling what she knew.

"Remember a couple a months ago when Giles wore jeans and this leather jacket to school?" She said, indicating to the warm coat around her shoulders. "That afternoon I took him shopping for clothes. However, before we could go, we had to stop off at his place to put on some...unmentionables."

< Whatever for? > Giles replied.

"Giles was naked under the jeans?" Willow asked with wide eyes. "Our Giles?"

"Yes, Will," Buffy said.

"Looks like our stuffy Watcher isn't quite as stuffed as we thought," Xander said, grinning.

< You can't 'hear' the conversation I'm having with the gang, can you? >

< No. Only you when you speak directly to me. > Giles said.

< Good.> "Don't tell him I told you guys," Buffy said.

"And let this juicy tidbit go to waste?" Xander said.

"You can always save it for blackmail," Willow suggested.

"Willow!" Buffy exclaimed.

"Not that I would ever do that," Willow said.

< Buffy, what did you say? > Giles asked, a warning tone in his voice.

< Sorry, can't talk... >


*****


The night ended uneventfully. Buffy walked everyone to their cars and then started on her own way home. She had said goodnight to her Watcher earlier, wishing she could be in his arms. Sighing at the thought, Buffy trudged down the street to her house.

Her spider-sense kicked in first. Whirling, she searched the darkness for the vampire she knew was nearby. "Come on out. I don't want to play. I'm tired and I have a test tomorrow," she called.

Nothing.

She started back the way she came. She saw a flash of movement to her left and quickly turned. Hidden slightly behind a tree, she saw him.

Angel.


*****


A wave of intense fear washed over Giles' body as he lay in bed, reading. He sat up quickly, knocking the tea over in his haste. < Buffy? > he called. She didn't answer.

Standing, Giles threw on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. < Buffy, what's wrong? Where are you? > he tried again. Still, no answer.

He was uncertain at what to do. He could feel Buffy's emotions as she experienced them. Gathering his wits about him, he sent a wave of love and courage to her, hoping that it would help.

Giles grabbed his car keys and wallet and ran out the door. He drove slowly around Sunnydale, looking for his love, calling to her. She never answered.



Part Six




Giles nervously paced in the library. He had tried throughout the night to contact Buffy, but to no avail. Early this morning, around dawn, he stopped receiving her emotions through their empathic link and had almost lost it. He drove directly to school, not bothering to return home and change out of his jeans and T-shirt.

"Yo, G-man, what's up?" Xander asked, entering the library with the Slayerettes.

"Buffy's missing," he answered without preamble. He was extremely scared, but knew he had to be strong in order to find Buffy.

"What?" Willow asked, astonished. "But she was fine last night. She escorted us to our cars and everything before walking ho...," she trailed off. "Oh no!"

"What do we do, Giles?" Cordelia asked, concerned for her new friend.

"I don't know," Giles said. "I don't know. If only she would talk to me, say something, say anything, dammit!" His voice ended with the loud swear as hit slammed his fist into the counter.

"Uh, Giles?" Xander said. The others stood staring at Giles with confused and worried looks on their faces.

Giles didn't hear him. He resumed pacing, his voice practically shouting. "I know you're alive, I can still feel you there in my mind, but why won't you say anything? Why am I getting no emotions from you? Why the bloody hell won't you talk to me?!"

"I think he's lost it," Cordelia said.

"Cordy, shut-up," Xander admonished. He turned to Willow. "Will, you're pretty close to him. See if you can find out what he's yelling about."

Willow nodded and Oz squeezed her hand. She walked slowly over to the agitated Watcher. "Giles?"

Giles stopped pacing and looked at Willow's worried expression. He removed his glasses, closed his eyes and rubbed them. "I'm sorry," he said with a pained voice.

"What did you mean when you said Buffy wouldn't talk to you?" she asked. "Do you know where she is?"

"No, Willow. I don't," Giles said.

"Then how can she talk to you?"

"Buffy and I are l-linked as it were," Giles started to explain. "Psychically and empathically."

"When did this happen?" Xander asked.

"Just recently," Giles said. He replaced his glasses and looked at the loyal group of friends. "It is something that happens between Slayers and their Watchers once a certain level of...of intimacy is reached."

"I knew there was something wiggy going on between the two of you," Xander said. "Wait a minute. What kind of intimacy?"

"That's not important. What is important is the fact that Buffy is missing and we need to find her. She could be seriously hurt, which is why I'm not getting anything from her," Giles said.

"She's not dead, is she?" Willow asked, scared.

"No. She's still alive, of that I am positive on," Giles replied. "But for how long, I do not know."


*****


The Slayerettes attended classes in a daze. They were all reeling from what Giles had told them, wondering about how close Buffy and her Watcher had actually come.

"Do you think that they...you know," Willow asked Oz later in the day.

"From the way Giles was acting, I wouldn't be surprised," Oz answered her.

"How was he acting?"

"Like a man in love."

Giles couldn't sit still. He tried to do some research, but after reading the same paragraph over and over, he gave up and resumed pacing around the small office like a caged tiger.

At precisely 3:03 p.m., Giles felt Buffy. Fear, sadness and guilt rolled through his system as their empathic link picked them up.

"Buffy?" Giles said aloud. He was standing in his office door, not moving so as not to break the link.

"Giles? What is it?" Willow asked from her seat in front of the computer. The entire gang was there, hopelessly wondering what to do.

They watched as Giles closed his eyes and balled his fists in concentration.

< Buffy? Can you hear me? >

< Yes. >

Giles' eyes popped open and he looked around wildly for a moment, before he slid to the floor in relief.

"Giles!" Willow said running over to the librarian. "Are you ok?"

"I-it's Buffy. S-she's..."

< Giles. I need you. >

Giles shot to his feet, a bit shaky, then hurried over to the weapons locker.

"Giles, what's up?" Xander asked, standing as well. He watched as Giles packed several weapons in a large bag.

"Buffy needs me," Giles answered shortly.

"Where is she? Is she alright?" Xander said.

"She's at the mansion," Giles said. Then he slung the bag over his shoulder and quickly left.

The Slayerettes stood stunned for a moment, realizing what they had just witnessed, then took off after the Watcher.



Part Seven




< Are you hurt? > Giles asked Buffy as he ran out of the school to his car.

< No. Not physically, > Buffy answered him.

< What happened? Why are you at the mansion? I've been so worried, > Giles said.

< Let's just say that the person from my past has arrived. >

< Who? >

But Buffy didn't answer him.

"Dammit!" Giles cursed, hitting the steering wheel with his palm. "Why won't she talk to me!"

He arrived at the mansion in record time. Taking the crossbow out of the bag, Giles loaded it and stuffed several stakes into the back pocket of the jeans he was still wearing from the night before.

Giles had a wild look about him. His hair was sticking up from the number of times he ran worried fingers through it. The earring in his ear, which he now always wore, matched his air of intensity.

Cordelia's car pulled up behind Giles as he closed the trunk. They hopped out of the car, weapons in hand.

"What are you doing?" Giles said, facing the group. His features were a combination of fright and fury.

"We're here to help," Xander said, taking a step closer to Cordelia at Giles' look.

"It wasn't asked for," Giles spat. He spun on his heels and strode forcefully towards the mansion.

The stunned group followed cautiously, not wanting to get into Giles path.


*****


Buffy stared at Angel, who was lying on the floor across from her. She had heard Giles calling her the entire night before, but she was too frightened and confused to answer.

They had talked most of the night, going to sleep behind the heavily curtained windows just before dawn. Buffy woke first, around 3 p.m., and lay watching the sleeping vampire until she heard Giles voice once again in her mind.

< Buffy? Can you hear me? >

< Yes, > she answered. She could feel his fear and worry as if it were her own. She watched as Angel stirred in his sleep, obviously in the grips of a nightmare. Fear, sadness and guilt flooded her.

< Giles. I need you. >

Such a simple statement, yet rife with layers of meaning and emotion. She needed the man she had fallen in love with to be with her, to comfort her, to hold her as she cried for the lost Angel who had returned from the Hell where she had sent him.

Angel stirred and opened his eyes, looking at the woman who lay less than three feet from him. She was staring at him with pain-filled eyes.

"Are you ok?" Angel asked, not moving from his prone position.

Buffy nodded slightly, one hand tucked under her cheek.

Angel sat up slowly, crossing his legs and tenting his fingers. "What do we do now?"

"I don't know, Angel," she answered, tears falling down her face as she sat up. "I don't know."

Angel leaned forward and reached one hand out, wiping the tear track with his thumb.

< Buffy, I'm here. >

She heard Giles deep voice in her mind and took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. The love she felt coming from him through their link was practically radiating off her body.

Angel watched as Buffy's eyes dilated and she slightly cocked her head, as if she were listening to someone. "Buffy?"

Buffy opened her mouth to say something when the curtain at the back of the hall moved.

Giles strode into the mansion, crossbow at ready, searching for his love. His step faltered when he saw her sitting on the floor across from... "Angel!"

Angel quickly turned his head towards the Watcher and winced as the memories of what he did to the man came forth. He was surprised to see the way Giles was dressed. The way Giles clenched the crossbow caused his muscles to bunch under the T-shirt, straining the material. The earring combined with the glasses gave him an edge that made Angel very fearful. This was not a man to mess with.

Giles pointed the weapon at the vampire and glanced at Buffy, taking in her haggard, tear streaked appearance. < Are you alright? >

"Yes. Well, sort of," Buffy answered. She looked back at Angel. "Not really."

Angel turned back to his former love as she spoke, not understanding. He saw her eyes dilate again, her head still cocked slightly to the left.

< What would you like me to do? > Giles asked silently.

< Hold me. >

Giles nodded and approached cautiously, keeping Angel in his sights.

Angel looked back at the Watcher and saw that his eyes were dilated as well.

< You can lower the crossbow, > Buffy told him as he made his way to her.

< But... >

"Please, Giles," she said in a rough, choked up voice.

Angel watched as Giles lowered the crossbow and held out a hand to Buffy. She took it and was pulled to her feet into the Watcher's waiting embrace. Buffy started to cry.

Giles was glaring at Angel as he comforted the small woman in his arms. His hatred must have been emanating from him because Buffy shook her head against his chest. "No, Giles. It wasn't his fault."

"But he..."

"No, he didn't. It was the demon. And if anyone is to blame, it is me," Buffy said, sniffing.

Giles looked down in surprise at Buffy. He had thought they had moved passed the blaming stage. "No, it wasn't your fault, you didn't know."

< Just like it isn't Angel's fault, > Buffy said softly.

Giles let out the breath he didn't know he had been holding. "You're right," he said, letting the crossbow fall to the floor in order to hold Buffy against him. "It's time to let it go."

Angel watched the whole exchange with curious eyes. *It was almost as if Buffy and Giles were speaking to each other without using their voices,* he thought. *And if that's the case, then they have attained an unbreakable bond that rarely forms between the Slayer and her Watcher.*

The Slayerettes walked slowly through the curtains after observing what had just taken place. "Angel?" Willow said quietly, hiding behind Oz.

Angel smiled slightly at the red-head. "Yes, Willow. It's me. Thank you."

Willow smiled brightly and clapped her hands. "I knew it would work! I'm only sorry that Buffy had to send you to Hell...oh! Oh!" She covered her mouth. "I'm sorry."

"It's ok, Willow," Angel said, standing.

Xander was glaring furiously at the vampire. "I can't believe you kidnapped Buffy, dead boy."

"I didn't," Angel said.

"Xander, Angel didn't do anything. I chose to go with him," Buffy said.

"Why? Giles was frantic. So was I. So was everyone else!" Xander spit out. "I can't believe you still want to see him. After what he did."

< Giles, > Buffy's sob filled voice entered his mind. She hugged Giles to her tighter.

"Xander, that's enough!" Giles snapped at the boy. "We've had plenty to deal with today without your comments."

"I'll say we had plenty to deal with!" Xander yelled. "First, Buffy's missing. Then you start wiggin out, showing up to school dressed like that again, screaming about Buffy not talking to you. Then we find out that you two were intimate," he said the word like it was the vilest thing on Earth. "Which caused a psychic link between the two of you."

"Xander," Cordelia said, trying to calm her boyfriend.

"Then after school, you take off and we follow you here, where you rip us a new one before storming away. Finally, to top it all off, Angel is back!"

The group stood in stunned silence at Xander's outburst. Buffy was crying into Giles' shirt. Giles was glaring at Xander in anger for being inconsiderate of Buffy's feelings. The others were staring back and forth between Xander and the trio across the room.

"I'm sorry."

Buffy's quiet voice broke the silence. She turned around and faced Xander, leaning her back against Giles' chest, his arms protectively around her waist. "I just...I needed...it wasn't..."

< I'm here, love, > Giles said to her. < I'm right here. >

Buffy nodded slightly. "I needed to have time alone with Angel. To forgive. To apologize. To finally heal."

Xander closed his eye and took a deep breath. When he opened them again, he apologized. "I'm sorry, too, Buffy. We were just scared for you, that's all."

Buffy smiled slightly at him. "Thank you, Xander."

"And it's ok if you have something going with the G-man," he continued. "He's a great guy, although sometimes he can be so stuffy, you could make an easy chair out of him."

The group broke out in laughter, dissolving the tension. They began to ask Buffy and Giles questions about their bond, which they answered, leaving out the more personal details.

Angel stood silently with the group. Buffy looked over to him and smiled, gesturing with her head towards the back rooms, giving him permission to leave if he desired.

Angel nodded and faded from quietly from sight.

< Sweetheart? What's wrong? > Giles asked when he felt her sigh.

< Angel's gone. I have a feeling I won't be seeing him again. > Buffy answered.

< Is that ok with you? >

< It has to be. That part of my life is officially over. It's time for me to move on. >

< And I'll be at your side, where ever you may go. >


End