"Conversation With... Giles."
By A.M. Glass
Copyright: June 30th-July 7th 2002
Revised: July 14th, 2002.
Spoilers: For the following episodes, Family, The Gift, Seeing Red, Villains, Grave.
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon, Fox Studios, Mutant Enemy, et al, have something to do with "Buffy The Vampire Slayer". No copyright infringement is intended or inferred. The story along with any/all original characters are the sole property of the author and cannot be used without expressed permission first.
Author’s Note: This is the fourth part in the “Conversation With...” series. The first being Dawn, followed by Anya, then Xander. You don’t need to read the others, but it would be helpful as I touch upon them in one way or another. I’m really hoping to stay true to the characters, but sometimes, you’ve got to do things you think he or she either might do or say.
Thanks To: Amanda, for beta'ing this for me.
Author's Note No. 2: As you can see, Stacey didn't beta this one for me. No, we haven't stopped working together, however for one reason or another I felt the need for additional help. I sent the story to three other beta reader's as I wanted to post the story as soon as I could. I will be doing something for this story that I haven't had to do for the others. When I recieve the story back from the others; along with Stacey's, I will put them side to side. It will be a unique way I believe to see how different beta readers approach a story.
“Are you positive it was her? Yes... yes, I see. She’s seen Anya and Dawn? And what about Buffy? Really? And Willow? Interesting. Yes... I’ll let you know if anything happens. Thank you for calling Xander, good-bye,” Giles said as he hung up. ‘Incredible.’
Walking over to the small table the hotel provided in its rooms, he sat down and began to jot down what Xander had told him.
Taking his glasses off he rubbed at his eyes, and as he tapped his pen against his lip he shuddered as the room became perceptively colder.
He had read far too many papers on the occult not to recognize a sign of a ghostly presence: the sudden change in temperature.
Turning in his seat, he looked around the suite he’d checked into while he was staying in Sunnydale. His apartment had been leased out, and he didn’t think staying with Xander or bunking at Buffy’s house was an option.
“Hi,” she answered with a slight wave, a smile gracing her face as she materialized. “I’m... I’m sorry about the chill,” she said, “I’m still kinda new at this.”
“Dear lord... it is you.”
“Are... is it okay? That I’m here?”
Putting his glasses back on, he stayed seated, unsure if his legs would continue to support him. “In... in general? Or right now?”
Tara frowned, ‘This was a mistake,’ she thought sadly. “I... I should go...”
“NO!! WAIT!!” he stood up reaching out to her, “Please,” he said, gentling his voice, “I’m sorry... can you sit?”
Giles watched as Tara’s appearance became more solidified. She pulled out the other chair and sat across from him.
“Was it Dawn?”
“Did Dawn tell you?”
“Is there anything you want to ask me? I mean... you know... scholarly-like?” she asked.
His eyebrows rose as the implication sunk in.
All the questions that burned in his mind:
What was it like? How long could she maintain her present form? Did she get hungry?
His mouth watered at the thought.
Tara smiled as she watched him, his eyes darting back and forth, as if wondering which question to ask first...
However, she wasn’t prepared for his first question:
“How are you?”
“Wh-what?” She hadn’t heard him right.
“Are you alright?”
“I... uh... I wasn’t expecting that.”
“Oh... I see... I think.”
“I’m... okay, I guess,” she answered shrugging her shoulders.
“You’re not in any pain, are you?”
“No, not really.”
“Is there anything I can do? Anyway of bringing you...” he faltered.
Giles nodded as he ran his fingers through his hair, “I don’t believe I asked that,” he said more to himself than to Tara.
“It’s okay. It’s probably something I would have asked.”
“Indeed. Is there something wrong?” he asked seeing a frown covering her face.
“I’m hoping you’ll forgive Willow... for what she did. Nn-not only to you... but the store.”
“Tara,” he sighed deeply. “Tara... I’d like to say that everything will be alright, that we’ll put this behind us and carry on as usual. However, I think we both know that’s not possible. As much as we would like to believe that Willow will be the same, she won’t. She’s killed...”
“So have you.”
The room was silent.
“We are not speaking about me...”
“But, you don’t deny it...”
“No. I did what I thought was best. And that’s all I’ll say on the subject.”
“I think that’s all Willow was doing,” Tara tried to explain. “For her, killing Warren and going after the others was for the best.”
“Are you condoning what she did?” he asks incredulously.
“OF COURSE NOT!!!” Tara stood up from the table and began pacing. “She did it because of me. The grief she felt... feels... it," she shook her head, "You saw, experienced what it did to her and it’s my fault.”
“She hurt all of you, because of me.”
Whatever retort Giles may have had flew by the wayside.
She was right.
Willow had done everything because of her love for Tara.
Had it been anyone else, regardless of Willow’s relationship with them, Tara’s presence would have kept her grounded. It would have been difficult, but it would have never escalated as quickly as it apparently did.
“I wish I could say: no, it wasn’t. But I can’t,” he admitted.
“I know and I can’t stand it Giles... and...”
“Giles...” she looked at him, tears streaming down her face, “Goddess help me...”
“Tara... what is it?” he asked as he stood up.
Looking at him through hot tears, panting, trying to get the words out, trying to say something she could not believe she ever thought.
“There’s... there’s a part... a part of me Giles... one... that...” another breath, hoping her throat would not close on her. She could feel it slowly constricting, as if it didn’t want the words out in the open. ‘I can do this,’ she kept telling herself over and over again.
“There’s a part of you that’s glad.”
Tara’s gaze locked onto Giles.
“A part of you that you never realized existed? One that goes against everything you’ve ever believed in. How it tears at you like nothing else could. And... and you can’t fathom how this could be. How you could feel the slightest satisfaction at someone’s death...”
He bowed his head, “I truly and utterly regret that I can say that I have lived longer than you,” he took off his glasses and looked up, his eyes bright with unshed tears. “I may not be proud of everything I’ve ever done Tara, however, even I know how you feel. The circumstances in no way reflect what happened to you and Willow...”
“But you know.”
“What do I do?” she asked.
Putting his glasses back on, Giles walked towards her, reaching out, he took her hands in his. “You forgive yourself,” he paused long enough to raise his hand, forestalling Tara. “You learn to forgive yourself and move on. You can’t change it, you’ll only run into a brick wall every time,” he whispered, “You can’t wave your arm and say a few words and expect to find everything the way it was. If that were the case, you, dear child would not be here. You would be with Willow... doing God knows what,” he finished smiling slightly.
Taking his words to heart, Tara squeezed his hands “I don’t want to have to see you for a very longtime,” she told him.
“I’ll... I’ll do my best,” he promised weakly.
“I... I’m really glad we met.”
Smiling genuinely, he replied, “As am I Tara. As am I.”
“I’ve got to go...”
He let go and stepped back and watched as she faded away.
He stared at the spot for a moment or two before turning around and returning to the desk. As he reached the chair, he felt a tap on his shoulder. He spun around quickly and found himself enveloped by Tara’s arms.
“I... I couldn’t go without telling you thanks. Not... not for being there for Willow, because I know you will be. No, this is from me, for sticking up for me when you didn’t have to,” she told him.
Knowing exactly what she meant, he returned the hug, the tears he’d held inside finally finding their way out. “I could not do any less for my own children... if I had any.”
Releasing her hold on him, she pulled back and smiled.
She waved as she left once again.
Giles felt his breath leave him as he heard one last thing:
|Section 5||A. M. Glass||Buffy||Main Index|