The sword swiped across her path, coming dangerously close to her arm as she tumbled out of the way and countered with a defensive strike of her wooden staff. Giles hissed at the sting of the pole colliding with his shin and shuffled back, smiling proudly at Buffy’s performance. The staff was not her strongest weapon but she wielded it with grace and power. He dodged another wave of strikes from Buffy’s staff and spun out of the way, smacking her butt with the flat side of the blade as he positioned behind her.
“Hey, no fair!” She spun around and tried to poke the blunt end of the rod toward Giles. He grabbed the end of the staff and pulled her off balance toward him, removing the weapon from her grasp as she tripped over her own feet. Buffy fell to the floor and sat there, pouting.
“You must be ready for these type of attacks, Buffy,” Giles tossed the staff back to Buffy who caught it and slammed it defiantly to the floor.
“This is a stupid, ridiculous weapon. It’s only a stick…what good will it do me when I’m out there patrolling? I can’t hide it, it’s too big, and it doesn’t like me!” She childishly kicked it away.
Giles stepped over to the rejected weapon and picked it up, examining it for splinters or breaks. Buffy was hard on weapons, especially when she didn’t like them. Her aversion to any arms usually came about with her showing a less than perfect grasp for the usage of an item. She demanded perfection from herself and her weapons and Giles put it upon himself to deliver exactly what she needed, regardless of how much the item costs to replace.
“Buffy, please try not to destroy this one. This particular wood is hard to come by and the finish is difficult to mend.” He stepped over to her and presented the staff back to her. “A stake is just a stick, and you’ve mastered it. You will master this art as well. It takes time and practice…like any weapon. Now, lets finish with some combination strikes and we’ll call it a day.”
She nodded hesitantly and took the weapon. Like the perfect gentleman, he offered her his hand. Buffy smiled at his patience, he really was just trying to round out her training. Besides, you never know when you’ll be waging battle against a bunch of demons in a home improvement store. Knowing how to use poles and pipes could be handy. She took his hand and let him do most the work in coaxing her to her feet, still tending to her bruised ego.
“Ok…just a few combinations…for you. But I get ice cream!” She grinned.
“Um, I think I’d rather go for a healthier choice. How’s frozen yogurt sound?” Giles opened the metal storage cabinet and wiped down the sword, following his usual ritual of cleaning it before placing it in its resting place. As he reached in to place the sword handle on the mounting brackets, he felt the sting of the staff on his butt. He glanced over at Buffy, trying to give her the most offended expression he could. She had a wicked glimmer in her eye and held the staff defensively, ready to strike him once again.
“Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream or no show!” She demanded.
Giles restrained the smile he felt breaching his stern expression and finally relieved himself of the sword and closed the cabinet door.
“Such behavior will only lead to more combinations. Perhaps we should do a bit of gemological review…” he heard the faint whistle of the wood staff coming towards him. As the weapon came close, he spun out of the way and grasped the end and pulled Buffy toward him once more. This time, she stumbled into him at full speed, knocking them both off balance. Giles tried to act as a cushion, letting Buffy land on top of him. To both their surprise, they managed to land square on the gym padding, startled faces meeting, and breathless lips touching. They froze, realizing the extraordinary position they were in and both not knowing how to react.
Giles mind shut down; his thoughts idled as his body reacted to the mixed emotions coursing through him. His lips were against hers, an action he’d only dreamed of now playing out before him.
Buffy found her body tingling with a remarkable sensation, her mind racing with a peculiar notion that stunned her, want. It was the subtlest of movements, both combatants lightly nuzzling each other’s noses, eyes exploring the possibilities displayed in the other’s eyes, lips never parting as curiosity and desire took hold. They were kissing.
The workout room door slammed open and an agitated masculine voice bellowed at the couple, “I knew it!”
Buffy and Giles broke from their passionate kiss to see an enraged Riley standing in the doorway of the room.
“What did you know?” Willow’s voice trailed behind him and Riley stepped to the side, allowing the Scooby gang to spill onto the questionable scene. Willow, Xander, Anya and Tara all gawked at the strange goings-on in the danger room. Buffy lay over Giles with a staff grasped tightly in one hand and her other hand exploring more personal recesses of Giles body. Giles arms wrapped tenderly around Buffy, a hand casing her bottom and fingers entangled in her hair.
“Let me be the first to say…yikes!” Xander declared with pointed finger.
“It’s not what you think!” Buffy struggled to get to her feet, accidentally kneeing Giles in his reactive groin as she pushed off him. He groaned in discomfort and she got to her feet. “Sorry…” she whispered to Giles, shrugging at her clumsiness.
“I think you two were having inappropriate sex in the training area,” Anya explained.
“No…” Willow stepped to Riley with a warning glance to Anya. “I’m sure it’s all perfectly innocent. Innocent training…right Anya?” Willow urged her all too blunt acquaintance, seeing Riley’s hands clenching into fists as his face flushed with anger.
“Um…right! Perfectly innocent Watcher-Slayer sex training…right Xander?” Anya winked at Xander, proud of her quick thinking. Xander slapped his forehead with his palm, unable to believe Anya’s gift for saying the most wrong things at the most wrong times.
Giles finally collected himself and stumbled to his feet. “Um…now l-lets not overreact. It’s just a s-simple case of…w-well, we weren’t…” he paused as he noticed Riley step up to Buffy with clenched fists. ‘Back down boyscout!’ he thought, instinctively protective of her.
“Riley, please listen. It’s not what you think!” Buffy explained quickly.
“What, you guys just tripped and fell onto each others lips?” he said sarcastically, smacking his fist into the side his thigh.
Buffy noticed the motion and nodded, “Uh…yeah, exactly. We were training…”
“Sexual training,” Anya interrupted.
“Anya…shut-up!” Willow blurted out, quickly wishing she’d rephrased it more politely but too interested in the confrontation taking place to really care about the ex-demons feelings.
“Xander…are you going to let her talk…” Anya objected.
“Shut-up!” Xander agreed, still focusing on Buffy and Riley.
“Where is everyone? Oh, training room,” Dawn entered the room and hopped up on the pommel horse, eager to be a part of what was going on.
“I knew something was going on between you two.” Riley hissed, punching his thigh again. “You were training way too much. Not including me…shutting me out. Sending me on stupid errands.”
“What’s going on between who?” Dawn asked the others who ignored her and continued to watch Riley, Buffy and Giles.
“Nothing is going on.” Buffy insisted.
“How can you say that? I saw you…caught you!” He punched at his thigh again and Buffy’s instincts were telling her to calm him down before something bad happened.
“Caught them? Caught Buffy with who? Doing what?” Dawn looked to the others who quickly shushed her.
“It was an accident…” Buffy said, looking at the unwanted audience gawking at the unfolding drama.
“I knew this would happen. Forrest was right about you. They all were!” Riley shook his head in disappointment.
“What do you mean by that?” Buffy questioned, feeling her gut churn with anger.
Giles stepped up behind Buffy, wanting to offer some support and lessen the tension in the room. “Riley, calm down. There’s no need to…”
“Shut up!” Riley shouted, “You depraved old bastard, how could you take advantage…”
Buffy interrupted Riley’s rant with a threatening finger, “How dare you accuse Giles of anything? You hardly even know him!”
“He’s a guy...that’s all I need to know. Guys are sick…guys are animals,” Riley explained. Xander nodded in agreement and looked over at Anya who sat on some boxes in the corner of the room, pouting from the earlier comments.
“Giles would never take advantage of me. And how could you think I would ever let a guy take advantage of me. I’m the fucking Slayer!” Buffy shouted.
“Giles took advantage of Buffy?” Dawn asked confused. “What the fuck did I miss?”
“Dawn?! Language!” Buffy ordered, surprised at Dawn’s sudden profanity.
“But you just…” Dawn decided to let the double-standard go, given that Giles had apparently become a pervert.
“I-I did no s-such thing!” Giles defended himself to the younger Summers girl. “This is all j-just an imbecilic m-misunderstanding.”
“I t-think we should l-let them work this out alone,” Tara suggested, gripping Willow’s arm and directing her toward the door.
“I can’t…it’s…it’s like a train wreck! I know it’s horrible but I can’t help watching.” Willow pulled free and joined Anya in the corner, offering a mumbled apology as she sat down beside her.
“Did you just call me an imbecile?” Riley side stepped Buffy and focused his attention to Giles.
“Giles is going to get his face pummeled by the big Soldier boy.” Anya said.
“I don’t think Riley would do that,” Willow said, watching as Tara and Xander join them on the boxes.
“Don’t ever doubt the testosterone driven need for destruction when the fairer sex is at stake.” Xander watched Riley move closer to Giles and considered trying to prevent the fight he knew was coming. Then a flash memory of something Riley had said to him made him pause. Riley said Buffy didn’t love him; he knew it. Perhaps this was the time for Riley to get the truth. Besides, Giles could flatten Buffy’s boy-toy if he wanted; Xander had faith in the Watcher.
“Riley, please…the situation here is all just…well, we should all take a m-moment…” Giles motioned to remove his glasses, but was interrupted by Riley’s powerful fist hammering into his eye. The Watcher stumbled back, trying to catch his footing. Once he’d steadied his stance, he felt something warm oozing down his cheek. Giles wiped his eyebrow, noticing shimmering shards of glass at his feet. Drops of blood splattered beside the remnants of his glasses as he felt the sharp throbbing pain of the cut over his eye. ‘Bloody hell, not another pair!’ he thought, collecting the pieces. ‘Well, at least he’s got it out of his system.’
“Riley…stop!” Buffy rushed in-between the men and grabbed Riley’s arm.
“This is between him and me.” A push from Riley sent Buffy toward Dawn. She quickly spun around and tried to rejoin the fight.
“Should we do something?” Tara asked concerned.
“I-I don’t know. It’s strange…like I don’t want this to happen but it seems like it needs to happen.” Willow couldn’t find the right words to express her torn emotions.
Giles saw Riley approach him out of the corner of his eye and clenched his fist, ready to strike. A simple thought overtook his judgment and he loosened his tensed fingers. ‘For her…don’t!’ Giles ignored the threatening soldier figure and continued to tidy the mess on the floor. ‘Hope these blood stains will come up.’
“Get up!” Riley demanded.
Giles looked up brusquely and mumbled a warning, “We’re done here. No more!”
“Haven’t even started!” With that taunt, Riley planted a devastating kick to Giles midsection. The Scoobies gasped as they saw Giles body actually leave the floor for a second with the power behind the attack. Xander leapt to his feet, ready to defend his longtime friend. Only the sight of Buffy rushing to aid Giles prevented his intervention.
“That’s it…it’s over! Get the Hell outta here before I show you what Slayings all about!” Buffy knelt down to help Giles. ‘Why didn’t you defend yourself?’ she thought as she examined his cut. He looked bad, struggling for breaths and coughing up a bit of blood.
“I’m fine. Go talk to him…you owe him that.” Giles wheezed softly to Buffy as he sat upright with an arm wrapped protectively around his stomach.
“I should have known…first Angel and now him, this perverted geezer. What is it with you? You are incapable of loving a normal guy!”
Buffy jumped up and pushed Riley back. “I do love a normal guy!” Buffy demanded, motioning to Giles. She stopped, eyes wide. She gasped at her involuntary declaration, covering her mouth in utter embarrassment. Everyone stared in silent disbelief of what they’d just heard, just witnessed.
Dawn shrugged, “I coulda told you that!”
“Did she just say…” Xander whispered.
“Yep!” Willow smiled, taking Tara’s hand in hers and giving it an affectionate squeeze.
“Look’s like all that sex training may be put to some good use.” Anya suggested, smiling at the unexpected turn of events.
“Oh…no…not this way,” Buffy looked down at Giles who simply smiled in his usual compassionate and understanding way.
“I-I can’t be here,” she ran out of the room, leaving the others in complete shock.
Riley looked down at Giles and back at the door, eyes blazing with fury. “That bitch!” he screamed, “I knew it! That whore!” he stamped his feet, “…and you…you fucking assh…” Riley’s cursing was interrupted by the blinding flash of blade coming towards him, halting just shy of breaking his skin of Riley’s neck. The once passive and beaten Watcher now stood unwaveringly confident with a shimmering sword positioned expertly for a clean beheading, blood trickling from the wound on his brow and mouth.
“Leave before you test my patience to its end!” Giles spoke slowly, enunciating every syllable so Riley would hear and heed his warning. Riley cautiously backed away, stepping backward to the door.
“I will tell you only once…stay away from Buffy.” Giles voice was calm and menacing.
Riley snickered anxiously, “Sure, hide behind your weapons. Can’t win a fair fight!”
“Fair play doesn’t concern me when Buffy is involved. Go!” Giles took a step towards the young man and Riley bolted out of the room. The determined Watcher stood his ground until he heard the bell ring to the entrance to the Magic Box. Once he was certain the Scooby gang was alone he collapsed to the floor, coughing and spitting up blood. Dawn rushed to him with the others following.
“Giles, are you really ok? You seem pretty messed up.” Willow asked, helping Xander guide him to the padding along the wall.
“Couldn’t…be…better,” he wheezed.
“You think Riley will stay away from Buffy?” Xander asked.
“He better…if he knows what’s good for ‘em.” Giles winced in pain as they set him down on the padding.
“Look at our G-man…all protective and grumpy.” Xander teased.
“Giles…what did we interrupt exactly?” Willow asked shyly.
“Finally…what happened?” Dawn plopped down roughly beside Giles and he held his breath until a wave of pain eased up.
“That’s for Buffy to tell.” He grinned.
“Do you need to visit the emergency room Mr. Giles?” Tara asked, not liking his graying complexion.
“I’m fine…just need to catch my breath. Go find Buffy. She really needs her friends right now.”
“What about you?” Dawn asked.
“You can stay and protect me from Riley while Xander, Willow, Anya and Tara search for her.”
Dawn smiled; it was nice to be needed, even though she knew he was just patronizing her. “Does this mean I’m part of the gang?”
“Of course,” Giles tried to reposition himself as the others left on their search. He had at least two broken ribs but didn’t want to alarm Dawn. There wasn’t much to be done for broken ribs but restrict movement and let them heal. Giles had dealt with them many times before, unfortunately.
“So, Buffy loves you,” Dawn pulled out a chocolate bar and snapped off a piece, tossing it into her mouth. “Do you love her?” The young lady offered a piece to Giles and he politely refused it.
“What do you think?” he didn’t know how to respond to the probing question. He almost wanted permission to admit his feelings before doing so, testing the waters.
Dawn snapped off another bit of chocolate and tossed it into her mouth, leaning back and getting comfortable on the pads. “I don’t think it matters what anyone thinks.”
Giles smiled and pulled her near to him, hugging her warmly, ignoring the discomfort of his aching ribs. “You’re wise beyond your years Dawn. Thank you.”