Rating: FRC Totally harmless, no cussing, and no sex.
Disclaimers: I do not own the characters used in this story and I am making no profit from it. This story is purely for entertainment purposes. I do not have the right to use the song The Hunger, music by Stan Meissner, lyrics by Fred Mollin, from the Forever Knight soundtrack.
The Hunger - Part 2
Buffy moved in the midst of the group of girls on the dance floor. All requests by the men in the club for dances were being rebuffed. The girls had decided that, since they weren't going to be in town very long, they didn't want to make any attachments. Plus the fact that they had only been Slayers for a few days and they weren't entirely in control of themselves. Some of the girls were afraid that they might hurt a non-Slayer type by mistake. So, group dancing with the girls was in order.
Dawn had been right; this was fun. And after the last couple of weeks, fun was something they all desperately needed. Buffy sent a sidelong glance to the table where Giles was sitting. Alone. Talk about someone who needed a little fun. Buffy frowned slightly. He was pulling away, isolating himself. It had started back in Sunnydale when she had been stupid and told him that she didn’t need him anymore.
Which had been true, in a way, just not in the way she had said it. Buffy sighed. She must have been influenced by the First. They all must have been, cause some pretty stupid things had been said and done by all of them. But she didn't need a Watcher anymore. She had gotten along without a Watcher for two years. What she needed was Giles. As a friend, as a partner, as an equal.
Within a couple of hours she had calmed down, but hadn't known how to approach him to explain, to apologize, so she had said nothing. Things had been strained, to say the least, until the morning of the meeting when she had told the group her idea. He had agreed to come to the meeting, and had actually looked at her when he was talking to her. Not over her shoulder; right in her eyes. She had thought that maybe, just maybe, he had forgiven her.
After she had told them her plan, she had watched him cautiously. He had stood and stammered, "Buffy, what you said, it--it flies in the face of everything we've ever -- every generation has ever done in the fight against evil. I think it's bloody brilliant." And he had smiled the shy, quirky, little smile that he seemed to save just for her.
Then the next morning at the school it had been the four of them alone in the hallway before the battle. It had felt so right. She had felt whole, complete, for the first time since she had been brought back. As she, Willow and Xander had walked away down the hall, doing their usual pre-apocalyptic banter behind them she had heard Giles murmur 'the world is definitely doomed' in an affectionate tone.
But after the battle he had pulled away again. Whenever she asked his advice about something all he would say was, 'whatever you think best, Buffy' and refuse to comment any further. He spent most of his time alone in his room, saying he was tired, or had a headache. Buffy had been worried that maybe he had been hurt and didn't want anyone to know. That fear had been laid to rest this morning by Dawn.
She had rushed into Buffy's room, her face beet-red, and had thrown herself on the bed. When Buffy had asked what the problem was, Dawn told her that she had gone to see Giles about something and had just walked into his room. He had just come out of the shower and was only wearing a towel. They had both been very embarrassed. But, Dawn had reported, he was okay. Just a few scratches and bruises.
The music changed, something a little slower, not as easy to dance to, but they made the attempt. No one wanted to sit; they all wanted to work off the extra energy they now had. Buffy glanced back over at Giles, but she was too far across the floor to see him clearly. She started dancing around the edge of the crowd.
When she got nearer to the table she saw that Giles was sitting slumped back in the chair with his eyes closed. Buffy gave up any pretence of dancing and rushed to his side. "Giles?" His eyes snapped open and Buffy gasped, taking a step back. He looked away, but it was too late. She had seen his secret. In the silence between them the song ended, and for the first time Buffy listened to the lyrics.
'A game that you can't win.
That was what she had seen in his eyes. Hunger. She had heard the saying 'like a starving man staring at a feast' before, but now she knew what it meant. That look had said that he was dying and that she was his only hope of survival. Buffy's heart started pounding so hard that she began to shake.
Giles shoved away from the table and stood. The suddenness startled her and Buffy took another step back. He gave her another burning look, then turned and began to leave.
He stopped but didn't look at her again. "Not now, Buffy."
"But, we need to talk."
"Not here and not now. I'll see you back at the hotel." He took a couple of steps.
Buffy rushed to his side, grabbing his arm. "Giles," she began.
He stopped and lowered his head, still not looking at her. "Please, Buffy, leave some small measure of dignity. We can discuss this later." He pulled his arm away and hurried out of the club.
Buffy sank into his chair, staring blankly in the direction he had gone, "I love you too," she whispered.