Timing is everything: part 1
My first fic and man, does it show.

She had intended to just swinging by.

Just a simple hello to her friendly neighborhood watcher-man. She burst into the room with a cheerful pounce.
"Giles?" No answer...he wasn't downstairs. She closed the door and examined the apartment.

"You can't be sleeping in the middle of the...oh," she lowered her voice to a whisper, "You passed out again."
She walked into the living room and over to the stairs, trying catch a glimpse of a sleeping Giles. He didn't seem to be up there.

'He must be out shopping for slayer supplies,' she thought and curiously wandered around his domicile. This was the realm of a true book-man. Journals and reference books were strewn about but in a very orderly fashion. 'Giles can't even make proper messes," she smirked.

His wine colored robe seemed the only item out of its place, lying haphazardly on the stairs, as if he was in a hurry to remove it. She picked it up and admired his taste in material. It was cozy and comfortable and smelled like him.

'I shouldn't be here without him. It's not right,' she thought. A sinister grin formed on her lips. 'I wonder what cologne he uses?'
She wrapped the robe over her bare shoulders and began the elusive search for his Gilsean scent. She rummaged through the bathroom and came upon a bottle of aftershave.

"Bingo!" She took in the aroma and smiled. The essence on the robe was different and more welcoming.
'Nice, but not quite right.' she concluded, 'It must be him, his natural smell. It's...um, nice.'

She remembered the familiar scent during her closer training encounters with him.

Her cheeks flushed with the memory of a recent attack from behind that went terribly amiss....

She countered with an overly enthusiastic hip toss that spun her full circle, landing him on top of her with her face buried in his stomach.
'Smells nice!' she thought. 'No...wait! Not nice. Sweaty, and all...well, Gilesy. Where did that come from?'

"Buffy, are you ok? I'm so sorry." He tried to lift himself from her but it was a bit of a struggle.

'Please...don't go,' she thought and realized she was preventing him from getting off her by gripping his belt tightly.
"I'm fine," she released him, "I wasn't focusing. My mind was somewhere...I don't know where my mind was...Is for that matter!"

"Are you quite certain you aren't injured?" He carefully got to his feet and offered her a hand, " You are usually quicker to recover."

"Really...I'm fine. Just confused." She took his hand and let him help her to her feet. A rush of warmth surged through her, triggered by his touch. Her hand involuntarily jerked from his grasp.

With his familiar curious eyebrow raised, he adjusted his glasses and tidied his shirt. "I-I think you simply had too much momentum and..."

"No. Thanks but it's not that, Giles. I know where I went wrong there." She eagerly gathered her things, "I just...I just need to time to think." She walked out the door, her mind racing at her new emotional condition.

That's when things changed. When the unruly thoughts crept into her subconscious, surfacing at the most objectionable times.

Like when Giles was training with her.

Like when Giles was researching with her.

Like when Giles was present.

Like now, alone in his apartment. She knew she shouldn't be there but she needed to be near him but without the 'being near him' part. She wasn't handling their interactions with the grace and flippancy she possessed in the past. She had taken on characteristics of stuttering, speechlessness, and nervousness. All of which had been calling cards of the book-man himself until recently.

She wasn't in control anymore. Had she ever really had control? Giles always seemed to cave in to her demands and he struggled to order her around. Perhaps he was cunningly directing her subtly to do what he ultimately wished. Nah!

She went up the stairs and cautiously lay down on his neatly made bed. Yet again...total Gilsey comfyness! She could get used to this feeling. Something prompted her to look at her watch; the one Giles had gotten her last Christmas.
'Shit! Where is he? It'll be getting dark soon. He should be here for slayer roll call.'

Buffy got up and went down stairs. Should she leave a note? Her eyes scanned the room and paused at his desk. There was a notepad there and a nice ballpoint pen. 'Well, I'll just let him know that I stopped...' she froze at the sight of a nicely written letter lying under the lamp. 'Oh boy, the council's calling.' She picked it up and began reading:

"My beloved,"

(Not the council, unless Travers relationship with Giles has not only healed but also blossomed into a budding romance.) She continued:

"I'm so sorry I haven't contacted you since that night of utter creepiness that occurred my last visit. I've had many things to consider after those events. My thoughts have drawn me to one conclusion; I love you! I feel I always have, regardless of your vocation and friends. Please meet me at the airport at 6:00pm on the 13th of October. I must see you."
"Love always,"

"Olivia. PS. Bring Red Wine!"

The letter dropped to the floor.

'That's it then,' Buffy felt her eyes welled up with tears. 'That uber bitch Olivia's taking him away.'
A dull ache radiated from her chest and her head swelled with feelings of betrayal. She looked at her watch again.
'That's where he is now. Picking her up.'
Why was she so upset? She had no claim to him. He had no idea of her recent feelings.
'Olivia had known him longer and there was the whole history between them.' Buffy slid Giles' robe off and buried her face into it, taking comfort in his scent.
'Now I'll never get to tell him...'
"SHIT!" she screamed and threw the robe back on the stairs.
Buffy sobbed. Her hands shook as she reached for the doorknob. 'She beat me to it,' and she hurried out the door into the sunset.

(Fifteen minutes later...)

'Doors unbolted, how odd,' Giles cautiously entered his apartment, precariously balancing a pizza, cheese bread and a two liter of diet pop.
He inspected the living room and what he could see of the loft...nothing unusual.
'Hopefully, I didn't miss Buffy. She could use a full stomach for the night's activities,' he centered the items on the kitchen counter and walked over to the answering machine. A red number three blinked up him as he pushed the play button.

"Rupert luv...did you forget that the fight was at 5:30? I can't..." he pushed the delete button.
"Ripper...you bloody hell better be on your way..." again, he struck the delete button.
"Bloody pillock, don't ever call me..." his finger quickly silenced the final message.

"Never could take a hint...luv," Giles grinned.

'Where is Buffy? I hope she didn't start without me.' The thought of her purging the northern cemetery of vampires alone saddened him. She was agility and grace personified, and he loved to watch her hunt. This was to be the first night they'd patrol together since...well, much to long a time. He'd even acquired her favorite 'munchies' for the occasion.
'I should give her a quick call...' he reached for the phone but paused when his eye caught a glimpse of Olivia's note on the floor by the desk. He picked it up and stared at it. His jaw tightened at the realization that Buffy had already been there.

"Oh, bloody brilliant!" he crumpled the letter and tossed it over his shoulder as he rushed out the door into the night.