This Time Around
Chapter Ten - Your Actions Will Follow You Full Circle Round
written by Rainne
Buffy was beaming when she let herself into her mother's house. The evening had
ended so well. Giles had walked her to the door when they arrived back at the
house on Revello and they had stood there talking in the warm yellow glow of the
"So, Giles," she asked him, "what's with the Escalade? I mean, don't get me
wrong, it's very nice, bordering on the swanky, even; it just doesn't seem like
you. You strike me as more the. sporty red two-door convertible type." She
He blushed, pulling his glasses off and cleaning them before responding. "Well,
I must confess, Buffy; I very nearly chose a black BMW. But then I saw the
Escalade and somehow it reminded me of you."
"It did?" she asked, genuinely surprised. "How so?"
He turned and looked out toward the street at the vehicle in question. "It's a
very expensive automobile, Buffy," he explained, "which by extension means that
it is valuable and precious. It is also, one must admit, a very attractive
automobile." He paused and smiled at her. When she smiled back, he continued.
"It is flashy; it stands out; it is larger than life; and I find that you are
all of these things. And. I rather thought. that you would like it."
Buffy was staring at him in wonder, her eyes glistening. "Really?" she asked
him softly. "You really think all that good stuff about me?"
Giles nodded, reaching up to cup her cheek with his hand. "I do, Buffy. You
are all those things. You have always been all those things to me."
A tear trickled down Buffy's cheek even as her face creased in a brilliant
smile. "That's the best thing anybody's ever said to me. Like, in my life.
He cocked his head slightly, mildly perturbed. "You've dated boys before,
Buffy, and men as well. Surely they've paid you similar flowery compliments."
She gave him a tolerantly fond look. "Let's run down the list of men I've dated
- and I'm using the terms 'men' and 'dated' fairly loosely," she warned. Then
she began ticking off a list on her fingers. "First there was the string of
football and basketball players in middle and early high school. Then there was
Pike who, while sweet, was not high on poetry. Other things, maybe, but not
poetry. Then I moved to Sunnydale and there was Mr. Broody Mc King-of-Pain, who
was too busy with his personal little black cloud of doom. Then there was
Parker Abrams, who actually gets an award for being the only human being on the
planet whose attention span is shorter than that of a housefly on crack." Buffy
rolled her eyes, gratified when he giggled.
She ticked a third finger. "Next up, we have the Corn-Fed Iowa Boy himself,
Lieutenant Finn, whose idea of a romantic evening started with patrol with his
squad and ended when he got his happy, whether or not I got mine." Her sour
expression spoke volumes about how often she 'got hers'. She rolled her eyes
again. "And then there was Sp-" she froze, her eyes taking on a
deer-in-the-headlights expression as she realized what she'd almost said.
He watched the color drain out of her face and felt his gut clench: he knew what
she'd been about to say. But she was going to have to tell him herself. He
took her hands, drawing her with him into the shadows and sitting next to her on
the bench at the end of the porch. "Buffy," he said softly, "whoever it was,
whatever it is, it is in the past. Don't let the shadow of that past keep you
in fear. Whatever it is, Buffy, tell me."
She bowed her head. "Spike," she finally said softly, her voice thick with
guilt and shame. "I was sleeping with Spike. After. after I came back. I
couldn't feel anything. He made me feel. I didn't like what I was feeling, but
it was better than being dead inside." She paused, swallowed hard, and added in
a near-whisper, "I broke it off, finally. but he wouldn't stop coming around; he
wouldn't stop wanting it. And then he came in the house one night when I was
alone. I'd taken a headstone in the kidneys about an hour earlier and I was
really feeling it, so I wasn't moving very fast. And h-he c-cornered me and he
w-wouldn't take n-no for an answer." She shuddered hard. "I. I
finally got enough leverage to throw him off me, but." she shrugged, shaking her head.
She wouldn't look at him. She was too afraid of what she'd see in his eyes: anger,
Giles put two fingers under her chin and nudged her up to face him. There was a
deep sadness in his eyes, but there was also love and understanding. "I'm
sorry, Buffy," he murmured. "I'm so dreadfully sorry that you had to experience
that. But it was not your fault. You must listen, and you must believe me.
From what you tell me, you had just been through a serious trauma and he played
on your weakened emotions. I do not believe you were at fault in anything that
happened with Spike, no matter what your motivations may have been. And I will
give you no recriminations or guilt. I told you: it's in the past. Outside of
making certain that you heal, what happened before no longer matters."
With a small sound of distress, she lunged forward suddenly and wrapped her arms
around him. He laid one arm across her shoulders, the other hand moving up to
gently caress her cheek. His voice was soft, whispering reassurances in her
A motion in his periphery caught his attention and he glanced up to see Joyce
peering out of the living room window. She took in the sight of Buffy and
Giles's embrace expressionlessly for about thirty seconds before locking eyes
with Giles. One of her eyebrows went up questioningly. Giles smiled slightly,
never ceasing his light stroking of Buffy's cheek or the soft reassurances he
was whispering. Joyce watched them for a long moment, her face unreadable.
Then Buffy lifted her head, looking up into Giles's eyes. Joyce dropped the
curtain. A moment later, the living room light dimmed.
Giles looked down into the wide hazel eyes, made larger by the thinness of her
face. She was studying him carefully, her eyes darting back and forth between
his. "Giles?" she whispered.
"Yes, Buffy?" he asked her, his voice low and velvety.
"Is my mom gone?" she asked with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes.
He smiled. "Yes. I believe she's gone upstairs."
"Good." She continued to study him for a long moment. "Would you do something
for me if I asked you to?" she asked him softly.
"In all likelihood, Buffy," he responded. "What would you like me to do?"
She lifted her face to him. "I'd like you to kiss me."
"Buffy, I told you, I don't believe you're ready for -"
She silenced his protests by laying her index finger lightly across his lips.
"Giles, I'm not asking you to sneak upstairs and make love to me in my mother's
house. I know I'm not ready for that. I don't think you are, either. I'm just
asking you to kiss me. Please?"
Giles swallowed hard, looking down into those huge, hypnotic eyes. His hand
moved to cup her cheek and she leaned into the caress, nuzzling slightly. His
hand slid back, his fingers sliding into her hair at the nape of her neck.
Buffy's head fell back slightly, her lips parting just the tiniest bit. His
thumb swept idly across her cheek, feeling the sweet softness of her skin, and
he slowly lowered his mouth to hers.
Giles's lips touched Buffy's with a gentleness that reached right in and wrapped
itself around her heart. At first his lips barely brushed hers: seeking,
questioning; and she whimpered low in her throat. His lips brushed hers again,
a feather's gentle stroke, and then a third time, more firmly. Buffy pressed
herself into him, his warmth and nearness making her dizzy. She gasped when she
felt his tongue gently touch her lips, then tentatively reached out with her own
tongue to touch his.
All he could think was that she tasted sweet. God, she was so sweet. Her hands
clutched at his waist and her mouth opened beneath his sensual assault, inviting
him to enter and explore the warm cavern; he did so with pleasure, sliding his
tongue against hers and tasting the faint echo of the wine they'd shared at
dinner. A whimper slipped out of her and his hand tightened on the back of her
neck, his other hand splayed wide across her back.
There was a rushing in Buffy's head, the kind of giddy dizziness of a small
child just off a merry-go-round that went a little too fast. She felt as though
the world was spinning around her and all she could do was hold onto him,
clutching desperately and falling into the delicious sensation of his mouth on
When he finally released her mouth, Buffy's eyes were dilated and her lips
swollen. Her hair was a little mussed from his hands being buried in it, and
her breath was coming in quick, shallow pants. Her heart was beating so hard in
her chest that she was afraid it would burst out at any moment, and all she
could think was that she wanted more - so much more.
He soothed her cheeks with his thumbs until her breathing had calmed down, then
smiled down at her, his own eyes dark with his desire. "You'd best go on inside
now, Buffy," he said softly. "Your mum's probably waiting up for you."
She wanted to protest; she wanted him to kiss her again. But she could see on
his face that his control was slipping. Neither of them was ready for this to
go to the next level and if she pushed it, there would undoubtedly be badness.
She nodded, standing. He walked with her over to the front door, waited until
she had stepped inside, and then took her hand, bringing the palm up to his lips
for a final kiss. "Good night, Buffy," he whispered. Then he was gone, down
the sidewalk and headed for his car.
She watched him get into the Escalade and drive away, then turned away from the
front door, shutting and locking it behind her, a huge, silly grin on her face.
She felt like she was floating in a dream. His kiss had been unlike any other
she'd ever experienced. God, but that man was just exactly what she needed.
She took two steps forward, heading for the stairs, and then fell to her knees
on the rug with a soft thump as an excruciating pain wracked her body.
She wanted to scream. She wanted to scream out her pain to the world; she had
never felt pain like this before in her life. It was as though every cell of
her body were on fire. She would have screamed, but she couldn't draw breath
through the pain.
At first, she thought the blackness before her was due to her lack of oxygen and
that she was passing out. Then she looked down slightly and realized that it
was not: it was actually coming out of her. It was a smoky, tarry substance and
it was probably that, according to some analytical part of her mind that kept
functioning through the agony, which was causing her pain. It was definitely
that which was causing her fear.
The pain ended as abruptly as it had begun the moment the smoke finished pouring
out of her body, leaving a tingling sort of sensation behind it. She dropped to
all fours, panting, then looked up toward the thick, oily cloud which hung above
her, menacingly. "Wh-what.?" she panted.
A voice she recognized only too well screamed out at her from the thick cloud.
"You cannot escape me! I will have you!"
She coughed slightly. "Looks. like I did," she said softly, baring her teeth in
a frightening grin. "You're over there and I'm over here."
The cloud flew at her, obviously intending to re-enter her body forcefully, but
was deflected at the last moment, almost as though bouncing off an invisible
force field around Buffy. It screamed in fury and tried again and again,
battering itself against whatever wall was there, trying to get to her. It
could not. Thwarted, it roared out its fury and vanished out into the night,
pouring itself through the wooden front door.
Buffy remained on her knees for a long moment. "Well," she finally said aloud
to herself. "That was something entirely new and different." She reached for
the banister, pulling herself to her feet shakily. Then she took one step
forward and collapsed on the stairs, her head striking the risers with a sharp
Read the next chapter: Boldly Going Where No Buffy Has Gone Before