The... Something More Series
Part 5 - Couch Potatoes
written by Nickle
Cordelia watched Giles carefully as he sat on the sofa, his face thoughtful but giving her absolutely no indication of what he was thinking.
"Well-," he hesitated.
"You didn't like it," she cut in throwing up a hand. "Well which one? The 'funny, flirty I'm a slight ditz' take or the 'I'm calm, cool and collected' take?"
He sighed and looked up at her. "Honestly?"
"Of course honestly. That's why I asked you," she placed a hand on her hip and waited.
"The second," he said.
"Really?" she looked at him warily. "Because you had this look on your face that was like 'I could've had a V8' or something."
He rolled his eyes slightly. "No, I was trying to picture you in this commercial," he paused and nodded, "and I could see it."
"Seriously?" she smiled in relief. "You're not just saying this to get me to stop rehearsing?"
"If I saw you on the television selling instant coffee, I'd buy it," Giles nodded as he crossed his legs and sat back on the couch. "You have a trustworthy face."
She gave him a surprised, pleased grin. "Thanks. But don't buy the coffee. It sucks," she quickly turned around and headed towards the kitchen. "I gotta check on my shirt. Play with the tv."
He let out a noise of disgust. "I am sick of watching television."
"Why?" she called from the kitchen. " It's not like you're a couch potato or something. Sitting on the couch for hours on end, talking to the TV whenever your favorite character on a soap does something stupid."
She was so busy assessing her shirt that she didn't notice his silence. "Giles?" she said after a few seconds. No way. She leaned back to see him sitting on the couch shaking his head. "You watch soap operas?"
"Game shows," he mumbled after a moment
"And you talk to..."
"Well, the players are sometimes so bloody stupid!" he huffed. She quickly dunked her shirt back in the sink all the while choking down a giggle.
"Yes, I know. I'm pathetic."
"No, not pathetic," she said with an amused smile as she walked over to the doorway. "But if you start taking up residence on the couch, you're gonna get doughy."
He frowned at her in confusion."Doughy?"
"Yeah, like in losing the buff bod. And I would hate to see that happen. If not for your health then for the many ladies who will miss having seen you in such great shape."
He sighed and let his head fall back on the couch.
Giles in a funk, she thought. A really, really blue funk."What is with you? You've been all 'blech' every since you got here."
He shook his head slightly. "Bored." he mumbled.
"Excuse me?" She looked at him with a raised eyebrow.
He shook his head again. "I wasn't referring to you. I-" he shook his head again.
"What?" Cordelia asked in exasperation, crossing her arms in front of her. She didn't like seeing him like this. "Will you please spit it out already? Maybe I can help."
Giles gave her a small smile."It's nice of you to offer, but-"
"But nothing," she dismissed. "I blab to you all the time about stuff. Why can't you blab to me?" She plopped down on the couch next to him. "Tell Cordy what's wrong," she said sweetly.
Giles eyes widened slightly at her eagerness and he raised an eyebrow at her. Shrugging he finally spoke. "I feel as if I'm drifting."
"Drifting. Drifting" Cordelia repeated. "As in no job, no social life, no hobbies? -besides arguing with Alex Trebek and the Jeopardy champion of the day."
"Funny," Giles replied curtly. "But true. I don't know," he mumbled as he let his head fall back on the couch. "I was fine with not having a job or responsibilities as Buffy's official Watcher. I was finally able to do things, normal things, go out, do things at my leisure, but now-"
Empty nest syndrome, Cordelia thought. "Well what about your friends? Like that Olivia person who visited. Sounded like there might be something there."
He shook his head vigorously.
He shook his head again.
She didn't even want to know. "O-kay. Well... how about other friends? You know the people you hang out with?"
"I hang out with Buffy and the others."
Oh, Giles, geeze. "Um, I mean friends your own age. Not the under 21 crowd." She cocked her head at him. "Don't you have friends your own age? I mean you've been in the U.S. for a few years now."
Giles shook his head slightly. "Too busy."
Cordelia gave a snort. "What being super Watcher? Your telling me that you didn't find people along the way in your quest as the great Watcher that you wanted to be friends with?"
"I didn't say that I didn't meet people-" he raised his head to look over at her. "It's just that in my line of work, I was too busy to really focus on a social life. Besides the people that I met weren't exactly the types I would want to discuss the merits of Jimi Hendrix's guitar riff with while drinking a pint." He let his head fall back to the couch and closed his eyes.
Cordelia frowned slightly. "I guess... not. But you did date, I mean-" she stopped herself and after a moment cleared her throat. Oh, brother Chase just step right on in it and bring him down even further.
She quickly got up from the couch and walked over to the kitchen. "Did I tell you about Angel and his sensitivity training?" She picked up her shirt again and busied herself in examining it. " He became this sugary sweet sensitive guy. It took an amazing amount of self-restraint not to hit him with my purse everytime he gave me his version of puppy dog eyes. Sometimes a person trying to be sensitive can be as big a pain in the ass as being cluelessly insensitive." She dunked her shirt back into the sinkful of warm water and picked up the bottle of detergent on the counter.
"Yes, sometimes it can be." She turned around to see Giles standing in the doorway of the kitchen an odd expression on his face. "What's wrong?" he asked.
She looked at him quizzically. "Wrong? Nothing's wrong. Why do you ask?" She turned back to the sink.
"You jumped up from the couch like-" he frowned slightly. "Did I say something that made you uncomfortable?"
She shook her head. "No, I just... felt like I was-"
"Heading into sensitive territory."
She turned back around to look at him, giving a slight nod.
"You can say her name, you know. I won't snap at you," he said as he walked into the kitchen. "In fact talking about Jenny isn't as uncomfortable for me as you might imagine."
Cordelia braced herself against the sink and gave him a small smile. "I wasn't sure you'd want to be reminded of her seeing as... how it all ended."
Giles' face softened. "I appreciate your wanting to be sensitive to my feelings, but avoiding her name doesn't mean I won't be reminded of her," he sat down at the kitchen table. "I don't mind talking about Jenny. She was an important person in my life," he paused and laughed softly to himself before looking back up at Cordelia. "I loved her, but... unfortunately things happened the way they did."
"I don't - I never told you how sorry I was about all that happened. About how you- I could tell you cared for her a lot and I know you had a hard time dealing with her death. Even if you didn't always show it."
Giles regarded her for a moment. "It was difficult," he replied, looking away from her. "It took a long time for me to get to the point where I realized that I had actually stopped thinking about her for more than a few minutes at a time. That I hadn't thought about that night or the events that led up to it, or what I could have done differently." He looked up at Cordelia. "Like I said you have your good times and bad, and that was definitely a bad time."
"But- you do know that what happened, wasn't your fault?" Cordelia asked as she stepped away from the sink. "You couldn't have known what would happen."
Giles shrugged slightly."You aren't telling me anything that I haven't told myself. And despite my knowing it, what if's always keep popping up. Probably always will," he muttered.
"What if's are a waste of time, Giles," she offered softly. "That is one thing I do know about. They just eat away at you, not letting you move forward, only keeping you in the past," she smiled slightly at his curious look. "I'm still working on it, but you seem to have moved on. Not completely, but- I think Miss Calender would be happy that you've moved on- I mean that you've starting going out and doing stuff besides living the solitary life as a stoic Watcher/librarian."
Giles let out an amused noise. " Yes I do believe she would approve of my becoming the 'Playboy' as you term it."
"You still miss her," Cordelia said after a moment. Giles looked up at her statement and nodded slightly after a moment.
"I don't think that I'll ever stop missing her," Giles mused. "It was nice to have someone like her. Jenny was a unique woman."
Cordelia turned back to the sink. "She would have to be to make you actually get all frisky in the library."
"Excuse me?" she heard Giles ask in shock.
She turned around and gave him a knowing look, "You two should have used your office more. Making out in the open library just isn't gonna cut it if you want privacy."
"And I suppose broom closets would have been a better choice?"
She had her back to him and so she could allow the fond, but sad, smile to emerge. "Touche," she said flippantly. "Do you have any idea about how to get demon slimey ooze out of cotton? I've washed this shirt like four times and it still stinks of calamari."
She felt him hesitant a moment behind her. "What are you doing?" Giles asked as he got up from the table and came to stand next to her.
"Hazards of the job," she sighed. "Angel offs the baddies. Cordy and Doyle get to do clean-up. God," she threw the shirt back into the sink. "Its not like my wardrobe is that big anymore- I 'm sick of having to ditch clothes." She stopped at the look Giles was giving her. "Sorry, venting."
"Vent away," he said after a moment. Picking up the shirt he gave it a once over. "Oh," he dropped it back in the sink. "It does have a rather putrid-"
"I'll have to bury it in the backyard," she grumbled as she drained the sink.
"If you bury this in the backyard, you'll attract all kinds of animals. Burn it," he sighed.
"Is that what you did with all your stuff, that got slimed in the line of duty?"
"I knew how to get out of doing clean-up," he smirked. Cordelia bristled and quickly picked up the dripping shirt, flinging it at him. Unable to duck out of the way, Giles caught the soggy mess in the face before it slid down onto his sweater.
"Get out of that, Stinky," Cordelia laughed as Giles just stood in shock at being hit with her shirt.
Giles opened his mouth to say something, but the smell caused him to cough and close his mouth quickly. Closing his eyes and grimacing, he dropped the shirt to the floor.
"You are quite-" he nearly gagged. "You are quite lucky that I am a gentleman and shall not take a vengeful course of action in response to this humiliation."
"Oh, c'mon Giles," Cordelia punched him playfully on the shoulder. "You've rolled around in worse. I'm sure." She giggled at his glare and quickly ducked out of the way as he began taking off his sweater.
"Wait, wait," she stopped him.
"What?" he scowled.
"Your glasses, stinky grump," she quickly leaned forward and snatched them from his face. "Huh" she cocked her head to one side. His eyes were more green than blue. Funny how she hadn't noticed before.
"Nothing," she shrugged and stepped back as he began to pull the sweater over his head. She cocked her head to one side as he extricated himself from the damp sweater, and was pleasantly surprised at what was underneath. Not getting doughy yet. No way no how, she smiled to herself.
"Can I please have a towel?" he muttered from under the sweater and she giggled at the sight. If only she had a camera.
"Stop laughing," he muttered.
"You look funny," she laughed as she walked past him to her bedroom.
"Well if you would help me." He mumbled a few more incoherent, and probably ungentlemanly oaths, as he struggled with the sweater and finally was able to pull free. "Oh the horror," he muttered as he threw his sweater on the floor and went over to the sink to wash up.
"Here," he was hit in the back of the head with a towel. "Don't get it all stinky. I have very few towels you know and I don't need this one getting a burial place next to my shirt."
Giles merely gave her a cold look as he dried off his face and arms.
"Don't give me that look, Giles, you should know better than to egg me on. Remember I'm Superbitch," Cordelia grinned striking a pose.
"And I thought she was suppose to be using her powers for good instead of evil," Giles muttered as he rubbed his hair.
"I am," she countered throwing a shirt at him. "I put a smug, grumpy librarian in his place." He looked from the shirt up to her with a questioning look. "It's Doyle's. For some reason he thinks I do laundry."
Giles held the shirt up to his chest. "It's a little -"
"Tacky, I know, but unless you wanna walk around LA shirtless- you'll wear it." She bent down to scoop up her shirt and his sweater. She held his sweater out to him.
"Burn it along with your shirt," he muttered. She smirked and went over to the cupboard to get a plastic bag.
"So when are you heading back to Sunnydale?" Cordelia threw the shirts into the bag and tied it tightly. "Anything going on that needs your immediate attention?"
"I'm thinking that leaving sooner is better than later considering the treatment I'm getting here," he muttered as he unbuttoned the shirt and slipped it on.
"Watch it grump," she said as she threw the bag out the backdoor and turned around.
"Don't even," he breathed at the look on her face. She bit her lip at the sight of the man in a button down floral Hawaiian shirt. Okay, she admitted it. She had done him wrong.
"How about we go out? I owe you for-" she shook his head and laughed, "I owe you for this."
"Yes, you do, but after last week I've had enough of being made to feel like a fool. I went to the Bronze the other night. Buffy and the others were there. The way they reacted you would have thought that I committed some great faux pau in the Buffy universe."
Cordelia snorted. "No doubt. So I guess you liked the 'modern' records I sent you. See, us kids do know a thing or two about real music."
Giles sniffed. "They weren't half bad. But that's because the seventies are the in thing now. All these groups are just taking what the seventies group did and updating it."
Cordelia crossed her arms in front of her chest and rolled her eyes. "You gotta let it go."
"The seventies. It's the nineties. Almost the new Millenium."
He snorted and quickly ran his fingers through his hair."Yes and?"
"That decade is so over. I mean music has moved on. Disco is out - Latin Pop music is in. Nobody says things like groovy or solid anymore.
He gave her a stern look."Groovy is from the sixties."
She threw back her head. "Well that's over too. And so is the fashion. I don't want to see you wearing those insults to common fashion sense. Bell bottoms? Polyester suits? Platforms?"
She stopped as Giles eyed her platform clad feet and she shrugged. "Well not everything was an insult."
"Mmm hmmm," he nodded as he picked up his glasses. "Nice shoes by the way. New?"
"Yup. Cute huh?" She primped. Giles merely nodded as he slipped his glasses back on.
"C'mon," she grabbed his hand and pulled him out of the kitchen.
"We're going out."
"You really don't have to," he pulled back from her grasp.
"You have something better to do? You said yourself that you do nothing but sit around at home and argue with the TV."
"But nothing. I'm not gonna let you come up here just to do the same thing. And I'm not gonna sit here listening to you gripe."
"I am not going out in this shirt."
She stopped and whirled around to look at him. "I never thought I'd see you like this."
"What?" he scowled.
She smirked. "Vain. You DO care how you look," she pointed a finger at him.
"Anybody would care how they look if they were wearing this," he countered.
"Okay. Fine. We'll stop by a mall and get you another shirt. Then can we go out?"
He remained where he stood. "Don't you have friends here that you can go out with?"
"Yeah," she went over to the couch to pick up her purse. "A brooding dead guy and a funny little guy who has a major crush on me. Neither are people-er-guys- I wanna hang with."
"No one else?" He asked simply.
"Look," she turned to him, her eyes narrowed. "My social calender is empty at the moment. I sit at home watching the Real World Hawaii wondering why everybody is just now figuring out that Amaya was a dip." She placed her hands on her hips. "Stop, laughing! Okay I'm as pathetic as you, but at least I don't talk to the people on TV, well, not a lot."
Giles lifted his glasses and wiped his eyes. "Alright," he sighed. "The mall. Fifteen minutes is all I'm willing to spend there."
Cordelia shook her head."Forty-five minutes at least. It takes me fifteen minutes just to pick out the possibles and that's pushing it."
"C'mon," she bounced impatiently. " It'll be fun."
Giles rolled his eyes. "Alright."
"Cool and then we hit the clubs."
Giles stopped in his tracks."I doubt they'll let you in. You're underage."
Cordelia gave a haughty laugh and flipped her hair."I'm Cordelia Chase."
Giles picked up his jacket. "Nice that you know your name, but I 'm not sure that translates to 'let me in even though I'm not 21'."
"Don't be such a party pooper," she scolded. She saw he wouldn't budge. "Fine we'll see a movie. How about that Joan of Arc flick, The Messenger?"
"You've got to be kidding," Giles frowned.
"I'm not in the mood to see a movie where the French are beating up the English."
"Everybody is always beating up on the English," Cordelia smirked. "Okay, how about Pokemon?"
"I'm not even going to dignify that with an answer."
Cordelia's shoulders dropped."Well what movie do you wanna see?"
Giles shrugged. "The Simpsons is on in five minutes."
Her mouth dropped open."The Simpsons. You want -to watch -the Simpsons? Giles we are getting away from in front of the TV!"
He looked at her eagerly. "It's a new episode."
"But-No mall?" she wimpered. "No clubbing?"
Giles merely stared at her. She could not believe this. She was gonna fold.
"Fine," she huffed, flinging her purse back on the couch. "I'll get drinks and snacks," she grumbled.
Giles hid his smile of victory and sat down in front of the TV. Picking up the remote control he hit the power button. "I must say Homer is quite the idiot."
"Giles, It's a cartoon."
"Yes, but he is an idiot. I mean what kind of buffoon drools at the sound of food?"
"Look, don't have a cow man." She plopped down on the couch next to him throwing him a bag of rice cakes and holding a bag of chips for herself. Ignoring the look he threw her she held out her hand. "Remote please."
Giles grunted."I think I can handle changing the channels."
"It's my TV. I should have the control." She tried to reach for it but he held it out of reach.
"I am a guest. Who you've wrongfully treated and should be considerate of." He pointed to his shirt and she wrinkled her nose.
"Fine keep it," she huffed sitting back on the couch as the credits for the show came on. "Hey Dennis, turn up the sound." Giles just bowed his head as the sound was immediately turned up. "Thank You," Cordelia called out sweetly.
"There is no beating you is there?" Giles flopped back on the couch in frustration.
She popped a chip into her mouth and gave him a grin. "Nope."
Read the next part: Phone Tag