Catharsis | Epilogue to Revelations
Buffy walked away from Faith's unit disappointed that she couldn't connect with the girl. Perhaps Giles would know a way to get through to her. She stopped dead.
Giles. She'd been so worried about Faith she'd forgotten about Giles.
The library was silent and all but deserted. Buffy walked through to the office. Giles was sitting at his desk in his shirtsleeves, staring at the wall. He looked weary and pale beneath the dressing on his temple.
"Hi," she said softly.
He didn't turn. "What is it, Buffy? Problem with Faith?"
"Well no, actually," she began, but was disconcerted when he still didn't turn. She stepped close to his back, overwhelmed by the hurt emanating from it. Suddenly she couldn't bear it any longer.
"I wanted more than anything to tell you, but I couldn't risk losing him again. I killed him, Giles. He was whole again. He trusted me, and I killed him. Do you know what that was like?"
"Oh yes," he whispered.
The silence that followed stretched as taut as a piano string.
"Are you going to stay angry with me?" Buffy asked quietly.
"Probably," he said flatly, put his elbows on the table and rested his head in his hands. "Perhaps you should just go home."
"Fine," she said angrily. "I know what I did was wrong. I know what he did to you, but it's hhard to make choices when the person you love, the person you murdered comes back, helpless and afraid. If you want me to say I'm sorry I chose him over you, then I'm sorry. If you want me to say I'm sorry for taking you for granted, then I'm sorry for that too," she added, her voice cracking. "But in case you haven't noticed, I'm a kid, and I make mistakes. What? I'm supposed to have the judgement of a thirty-five year old just because I spend half my life killing demons and vampires? Just because I couldn't stop two people I cared about from being killed? Just because I slaughtered my boyfriend like a stuck pig?"
Her voice had risen almost to a shout. "You want to stay mad at me? Fine, I deserve it. I know I hurt you. I knew, right from the moment I first saw Angel again, that I was going to hurt you, but don't you understand? It was already too late. He's here and she's not."
Buffy saw his hands ball into fists. "Don't even speak her name," he whispered, his voice vibrating with fury and hurt.
Buffy choked on a sob. "Jenny Calendar," she said defiantly, angrily.
He swung out of the chair and grabbed her by the arms, his eyes flashing with rage and pain.
"Don't," he shouted and shook her. "Don't you dare! I took your side over hers, I stood with you through everything and you don't even have the decency to trust me enough to come to me!"
She sobbed again. "I couldn't I just couldn't " she cried. She wrenched herself free of his hands and ran out of the office like a wounded deer.
She was almost at the side exit door when he caught her and tried to turn her around. She lashed out and caught him a blow across the chin that almost sent him staggering. He managed to grab one of her arms, but the other rained blows on him until he finally caught it and shook her again.
"Stop it!" he shouted, his voice breaking. "Just stop it."
"Go to hell!" Buffy sobbed. "You wouldn't be the first person I've sent there."
A sob wrenched itself from Giles' throat. "I've been there," he retorted angrily. "For months. Just when I thought after Jenny, Angelus ." He clenched the hand that still ached when it was cold, hurting her arm. "And then you vanished. You just left. I nearly went mad!" His voice shattered. "One phone call "
He thrust her away roughly, turned and strode across the floor to the counter and grasped it, leaning on it as if he needed it to hold him up.
Buffy saw his shoulders shaking, made a strangled noise in her throat, and crossed the floor.
"Giles, don't. I was running away from the pain. I thought if I ran far enoughAnd Angel he hurt you so much how could I tell you he was back, that I still love him?"
Giles' back went rigid, and his knuckles white
Buffy's voice was swamped by her misery. "How could I hurt you like that again, when I love you so much?"
He turned then, inches from her, his reddened, desolate green eyes searching her white face.
"Buffy," he whispered, heartache, hurt and forgiveness merging in that single word. Then he swayed a little, and she noticed for the first time how little colour he had, how much pain he was in from his wound.
Impulsively, Buffy put her arms around him then; felt him immediatelyand predictably tense up. She pressed her damp face against his shirt, listened to the racing tattoo of his heartbeat and waited. A moment later he trembled, and made a noise in his throat. Then his arms caught her up in a ferocious bear hug. She hugged him back with equal ferocity and wept with relief, feeling truly safe and secure for the first time since Angel turned.
When the storm had passed Buffy leaned back first, scrubbing the wetness from her face with her sleeve. Giles dropped his arms to his sides self-consciously. She looked up at him but he wouldn't meet her gaze, his face flushed, and as soggy as hers.
"Tea," she said, reached up and brushed the moisture from his cheeks with the back of her fingers, paused when his surprised eyes finally met hers, then smiled. "Definitely tea."
He relaxed a little and chuckled damply, amusement warming the strained, weary, green depths. "Buffy, you hate tea."
"Making. Not drinking. Making," she qualified, sliding an arm through his and heading both of them towards the kettle.
"I don't believe you've ever made a pot of tea in your life."
"Okay. You got me. Not making. Watching is good "