Chapter Title: Seeing
Disclaimer: Not mine
Summary: Giles sees.
Authors note: This was supposed to be a one shot fic but thanks to some nagg... uh,... incouragement ;-P I couldn't get this out of my head. Where this is heading is anyones guess. I owe this chapter to Shay and would like to dedicate it to her, without her this would never have been written, also a big thanks to those who reviewed. Thanks guys!
It wasn’t until Giles was halfway into one of the back rooms of the old auction house and about to call out to Buffy that he first saw the man in the shadows watching her. This, of course, caused Giles to hesitate.
There was nothing overtly menacing about the man standing behind the bookcase. Certainly nothing that would lead anyone to the conclusion that he was dangerous. Giles supposed it was only due to his own unusual way of thinking, of expecting the unexpected, that he even bothered to give the stranger a second look.
The man in question was not purposely making it difficult for anyone to see him. To Giles’ perspective the man seemed to have just come upon Buffy when he was venturing from somewhere in the ‘back’ of the dark room.
Giles reasoned it was easy for someone to overlook the stranger especially in this particular room. This room was one of many used to store the priceless tomes and objects the auction house obtained. It was a rather large room, dark and musty crowded with bookshelves and display cases that were placed at odd angles here and there. Someone could easily walk into said room and not know there was another human being around. It was just by chance that Giles even became aware of the fellow.
The only reason Giles saw him in the first place was due to his almost ingrained habit that now bordered on obsessive compulsion to check for any possible threats and hidden enemies.
By Giles’ estimation the stranger didn’t look like much of a threat. Almost absently, at first, Giles had taken his measure, and was ready to dismiss him.
Until he looked at his face.
That was when Giles decided it would be safer to take a second look.
It wasn’t anything obvious or anything anyone else would have noticed
- Not his clothing which were good quality yet casual and understated, not his bearing which was confident yet had a subtle hint of barely restrained power, nor was it the fact that the man’s gaze was directed at his slayer.
No, what drew Giles’ curiosity back to the tall man were quite simply his eyes.
In all his years as a Watcher and as Buffy’s mentor he had never seen the amount of emotion in someone’s eyes to equal that of his slayer.
The degree of pain, sadness, guilt, anger, and resentment was shocking. Even more startling was that those emotions could be coupled with others, emotions like love, acceptance, innocence, and if he was reading them both correctly, an over abundant amount of lust. Although the latter made him slightly uncomfortable to witness, what he found even more distressing was that he had been seeing these emotions in his dear girl’s eyes, but had not been aware of what he was seeing. He had not been aware until this moment what he saw in her eyes everyday was a degree of pain and sadness he’d never witnessed in another, a degree so great that it made him wonder exactly how she’d continued to function.
He’d come to Rome at the insistence of her sister and the other “Scoobies”. In the months since she and Dawn had settled in Rome they had mentioned how distant Buffy had become, how different she and “not normal” she’d acted. Giles had noticed a change in her as well but believed it was due to the changes in all of their lives. Still, he’d decided to pay the girls a visit and do some shopping to restore the Council’s supply as an excuse.
Upon arriving Buffy had made him welcomed, she’d smiled and laughed and Giles had thought he and the others were reading too much into her behavior, seeing things that were not there to see.
Now he realized just how wrong he had been.
It was gulling that he had only became aware of how she really was feeling by seeing the emotions she hid in someone else’s eyes. It saddened him to realize he could so blind that amount of pain in someone he loved dearly. He wondered when it was that Buffy had become such a good actress. What was unsettling was whether this was a recent skill or had he been missing other things as well, and if so for how long.
Whether it was or wasn’t, Giles knew that he now had to do something about it, needed to find out what it was that troubled his slayer so much. He needed to see if there was a way he could make things better between them and ease her mind.
As Giles continued to observe the similar reactions of the rooms occupants he thought back to everything that had happened to Buffy and wondered at the things she had not told him about. His face paled at the possibilities. He remembered the evens of the past, and most especially the time of the First in Sunnydale.
Yes, everyone had suffered there; everyone had lost something in himself or herself, or lost someone they loved, but none more so than Buffy.
‘How was it that she continued to function normally with all that pain and responsibility weighing her down?’
It should have worried Giles, he realized, and on some level he probably was worried over how this stranger was looking at his slayer. Worried over how closely and possessively he watched Buffy.
But no, Giles realized, Buffy could protect herself from any physical danger: Vampires, Demons, Unwanted suitors, those posed no problem.
No, what Buffy needed protection from were her own friends, who could so easily hurt her with just a few words, he himself included. Giles sighed wearily and dejection at the amount of damage he had done.
Only now did he realize how wrong he’d been to think it was best to just put everything behind them, and how wrong he’d been in believing everyone else had done the same.
It was now time to remedy that.