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FIC: Ain't No Sunshine (Part 7/?)

What: BtVS fanfic
Series written for: Summer of Giles 2012
Pairing: Faith & Giles
Rating: PG, FRT for some language (one swear!) and adult situations/concepts
Setting: Post "Chosen," no comics. Any similarity to the comics is coincidence as I haven't read them, though I have read some synopses of them online.
Disclaimer: I own nothing in the BtVS universe and no one pays me for my fan fiction either (sadly).
Summary: Sometime after Sunnydale imploded, Faith has left Cleveland and Robin and come to England to find Giles. Giles has been working to rebuild the Council, and Faith is hoping she can be of some help to him. 
Note: Recommend you read Part 12345 and 6 first. 



Faith awoke draped possessively half on top of Giles, her face pressed into his neck. His beard stubble scratched against her forehead as she shifted slightly. Keeping her eyes closed, she snuggled closer to his warmth, fighting the slight chill she felt from sleeping without a blanket on. She breathed in his manly scent and sighed in contentment, absently caressing his chest through his sweater. 

As she slowly became more conscious, she suddenly realized that, although pleasant, this man didn’t smell like Robin Wood.

Her hand rubbing his chest told her that he didn’t feel like Robin either.

She was briefly confused, then everything came rushing back to her at the same moment she lifted her head and popped her eyes open to find herself staring into a pair of 
kind green eyes with a startling fleck of brown in one. 

Screen shot 2012-08-01 at 11.57.48 PM

Definitely not Robin, she thought.

Giles, who had also only just woken up, smiled crookedly at her. Faith was glad his chest was the only thing she'd been caressing. She did like to start her day with a bang sometimes.

The whole situation struck Faith as really funny, and she started giggling and then shaking with laughter. At her uncontrollable amusement, Giles also started to laugh. Eventually Faith realized that she was so entwined with Giles that he wasn’t able to move or get up. Still laughing, they disentangled themselves, and Faith got up and then helped Giles to his feet.

Happily, there was no awkward morning-after nonsense between them. They dealt with their respective hangovers and had an easy, leisurely day. 

______________________________

Over the next few weeks Giles and Faith settled into a comfortable routine. And though the night before Giles had mentally chastised himself for forgetting that Faith kept people at a distance and more often than not hid her pain, once again he let the routine of life numb him to this dangerous truth. He convinced himself that Faith had matured beyond her years and that this wild child -- who in all the time he'd known her had been prone to violent emotion-fueled outbursts that destroyed everything in her wake -- was now completely in control. He never asked her, but he assumed somewhere along the way she'd learned how to harness and redirect that violent energy. Perhaps she'd started meditating?

He'd pay dearly for his unfounded assumption that Faith had defeated her many demons.

Giles worked at Council Headquarters during the day on weekdays. When he got home they usually ate dinner together -- Giles happy to do the cooking more often than not, with Faith readily offering to do the clean-up. After dinner, Faith would leave for patrol. By the time she returned, Giles was already asleep, though if there was trouble she knew to wake him. Faith was usually still sleeping when Giles would leave for work in the morning.

He hoped, if nothing else, that she could get some long overdue rest while she was visiting him. The kind of rest that eased a weary soul and a tortured mind. 

Giles was curious to know how Faith passed her days while he was at work, but he didn’t want to pry. It seemed best to allow Faith to share information on her own terms and in her own time. Roughly two and half weeks after Faith had arrived in England, Giles did find out what she had been up to most days, and he was pleasantly surprised at the discovery. 

During dinner one night, Faith began asking Giles some detailed demonology questions. He was happy to answer her queries, but had to ask what had spurred the questions. Had she come across this particular demon during a patrol? Should he warn the Council? 

She looked embarassed when she explained that it wasn’t anything she’d run across in person, but that she’d been...reading about it. She pointed to his bookshelf. Giles tried to hide the shock on his face, but wasn't completely successful. Thankfully, this amused Faith rather than angered her. 

“I can read you know, G,” she said sarcastically.

It took a moment for Giles to collect himself. “I-I know you c-can read Faith. Of course.” He frowned at his plate. “I just...I didn’t think...I didn’t realize you were i-interested in...i-in study,” he said, looking up at her again a bit bewildered, but intrigued. 

Faith shrugged non-committally. “What else am I gonna do all day?” Then she sighed, annoyed at her own defensiveness. Habit. She shook her head and leaned towards Giles who sat across from her at the table. “I want to learn. I want to be...I don’t know," she shrugged, then finished,"...better. Plus, some of it’s pretty...interesting,” she laughed. “Now I know what Xander was talking about with the 'nude etchings'. Guess they gotta have something to keep you Watcher-boys entertained, eh?” She winked at him, silently thrilled when he actually blushed slightly. She loved teasing him. 

“But, there’s other stuff, like, major boring,” she continued. “Maybe, I don’t know, you could...help me out with that stuff?”

Giles’ smile grew slowly until it lit up his whole face. “I-I’d be pleased to help you...in any way I can Faith.”

After that, every evening Faith would share with Giles what she’d read that day and they’d discuss it. Sometimes there’d be things he needed to explain to her, sometimes he could direct her to another text and she’d discover the answers on her own. Giles would bring home volumes from the Council for her to read, and he’d share information from Slayer and Watcher classes and meetings with her that was relevant to the topics they covered. 

Giles was so pleased at Faith’s sudden interest and enthusiasm for study, that he was desperate not to do anything to turn her away from it again. He allowed her path of study to be self-directed and somewhat random rather than rigid and structured. He would offer suggestions of things she might want to read next to broaden her knowledge on a subject, but never force the issue. Rather than being her teacher, controlling what she learned and when, he felt as if he was being allowed to go along for the ride as Faith explored knowledge in this way, likely for the first time in her life. It was as exciting for him as it seemed to be for her. 

A few evenings after he’d found out about her reading, Giles asked Faith if she would train with him. Part of his duty as a Watcher was to train in the Council gym everyday, so he was staying in shape, but nothing kept you sharp like regular sparring with a slayer. Although he could spar with any of the new students, it never felt quite appropriate to him to do so. For some reason, as head of the Watcher’s Council, it seemed better to keep his distance -- to maintain authority. Silly, perhaps, but, there it was. 

Faith agreed to help him of course, so their evening routine now included a work-out as well. Sometimes they’d exercise in his flat, but more often they’d go outside or over to the gym at Council Headquarters so they had more space and access to more equipment. Happy to help G since he was being so cool and generous about letting her stay with him, Faith was pleasantly surprised that their training sessions were benefiting her as well. She knew G was ‘the man’ when it came to learning, but she hadn’t realized how skilled he was at hand-to-hand combat and various martial arts, and especially swordsmanship.

In both study and training, Faith excelled in the area of weaponry. She seemed to actually enjoy some of the Watcher’s Diaries entries that, in truth, even Giles found dry. Giles was able to bring examples of ancient and obscure weapons home from the Council Headquarters’ Archive that coincided with Faith’s reading, and they even sparred or trained with some of them that weren’t too fragile or valuable. Faith had a natural ability with weapons she had never wielded before. With Giles’ guidance, she was becoming highly skilled in a wide variety of weapons.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, Giles would patrol with Faith. It wasn’t clear to either of their memories whether he had asked to join her, or if she invited him, but it quickly became part of their weekly routine. 

After patrol, they would sometimes go to a pub with an open mic night and Giles would play a few songs, or they’d go back home to drink and play cards. On a few rare occasions, Faith was even able to lure Giles to a night club. He let her choose his wardrobe when they went, though he grumbled that it looked a bit too much like something Ethan would wear. But Faith assured him he'd fit in nicely.

Giles was clearly uncomfortable at a dance bar, and wouldn’t dance himself, but Faith was pleased he would come with her at all. He’d stand at the bar and drink, or sit at a table, watching her enjoy herself. She never lacked for male attention, and she’d often dance with them and tease, but she always came back to Giles, much to her suitors’ chagrin. And although Giles never laid down any rules suggesting that Faith couldn’t bring lovers home with her, she never did. Whether or not she had any sexual encounters when she was out at night on her own, he didn’t know, nor did he feel it was his business.

If he was honest with himself, Giles’ ego was boosted by having a beautiful woman like Faith giving him attention in public. He couldn’t really understand why she wanted him to go with her when she went out dancing. Obviously she was more than capable of taking care of herself, so it wasn’t that. But, he decided not to overthink it, and just try to enjoy himself. Or, barring that, at least he could look at it as an opportunity to study human behaviour. 

In fact, Faith had a myriad of reasons for wanting Giles to go out to a club with her. 

First of all, she enjoyed his company. Period.

Second, she loved the way it puffed him up a bit when other guys would look at him enviously when Faith left with him. G deserved to feel good about himself, and she was happy if she could provide a little of that for him. 

Third, he was hot and didn’t seem to know it... which kind of made it even hotter. Faith felt as lucky to be on his arm as he did to be on hers. He was oblivious, but Faith noticed when other women looked their way jealously. Some of the hot gay dudes checked G out too.

Fourth, as any girl knows, sometimes when you go out, you want your space, and having a guy with you often meant other guys gave you a wider berth. It didn’t always work, but it usually took some of the pressure off. Ever since Robin, Faith hadn’t been up to her old tricks -- one night stands, that is. Something had changed, and she just didn’t want that right now. Giles was safe.

Finally -- and this reason Faith wasn’t even really aware of yet -- a dance bar provided an opportunity to be physically close to Giles in a way she couldn’t orchestrate in other settings. They came into contact when they were fighting (training), but he never let it be anything more than professionally platonic. Although she wouldn’t admit it to herself, unconsciously she wanted a chance to test the waters with him. And she got her chance the first night she dragged him to a club.

At the end of the evening, as the bar was getting ready to close, the DJ played a couple of slow songs -- as many clubs do, kindly facilitating the hooking-up of drunk lonely people. 

On this particular evening, Faith had this one persistent guy on her back all night wanting her to leave with him, and she wanted to make it perfectly clear to this guy that she wasn’t into him without having a big public ass-kicking. Maybe she was using G a bit, but she knew he’d get a kick out of it too, so it wasn’t completely selfish.

G was feeling pretty good by this time, and since it wasn’t a fast dance, Faith was able to break through any remaining inhibitions of his and get him to dance with her. He needed a lot of coaxing to get him out there, but once Faith had convinced him she wanted to dance with him, he went for it. She didn’t tell him she was trying to shake off some other dude. 

At Faith’s persistence, Giles finally gave in, not wanting to be rude. Not much more was required of him than to put his arms around her and move slowly, so he felt he could accomplish that without undue embarassment. 

Once they were out there though, Faith wondered what she had gotten herself into.

He put his hands on her back and pulled her close to him, surprising her with the firmness of his grasp. She slid her hands up his chest to link them behind his head. Giles had a silk shirt on, which felt awesome against her skin, he smelled amazing, and he looked great tonight, she thought. 

She had planned to put on a bit of a show for her unwanted suitor, maybe a raunchy little sexy dance with Giles, but she ended up getting distracted by the electricity passing between her and G. They moved slowly and rhythmically together, staring into each other’s eyes. When the music ended, neither of them noticed right away and kept moving together. 

Then the bar lights were all turned on, the signal to clear out and go home. Giles, startled, immediately dropped his hands from her. Faith let her hands slide down from his neck to his chest, but she didn’t step away, still looking in his eyes. Then the handsome buck who’d been eyeing her all night after she teased him with a dance earlier in the evening, came over and grabbed her arm, far too roughly for Giles’ liking. 

Slurring his words a bit, the young stud asked her, “Are you ssseriously...picking him--” he flailed at Giles, “over me?” he said in disbelief slapping his own well-muscled chest firmly. The dude was far too drunk for sex even if Faith had wanted to go with him. But he was in great shape, and even though he was slurring his words, his reflexes were still sharp, and his grip was firm.

Still a little dazed and confused by what had passed between her and Giles as they danced, Faith didn’t have a snappy comeback ready. She merely said, “Yeah, I am” and twisted her arm out of his grip, giving him a light shove that caused him to stumble backward several steps. Slayer strength.

Angry, rejected, and far too drunk, he charged at her. Giles stepped in front of Faith, and moving quickly, had the lad immobilized and on the floor in seconds. Giles crouched over him and slapped the guy's face to make sure he was conscious, then he whispered something to the prone figure that Faith didn’t quite catch, but the dude looked scared shitless. He stayed down until Faith and Giles left the bar.

When Giles stood, the crowd that had been watching the fight with interest all took a step back, as Giles was radiating a fierce energy. Though none of these strangers would recognize it, Ripper was present. He eyed everyone in the room, daring anyone to challenge him. When none did, he took Faith’s hand, casually gathered their things, paid their tab, and left the bar.

Faith really didn’t know what to say as they began to walk home. She kept doing sly double-takes at Giles. He was frowning slightly, deep in thought apparently. She didn’t need to remind him she could take care of herself. He knew that. She’d just never seen him like that before. He took that guy out with almost no effort, but it wasn’t that. Or, it wasn’t just that. It was his presence. Shy old Giles had suddenly commanded the eye -- and the respect -- of everyone in the room. She was impressed to say the least. And surprised. And kind of turned on. She grinned at that thought and took his arm. 

Her touch brought him back from his musings, and he glanced at her, then smiled back. 

“Didn’t know you had it in you G,” Faith said softly but sincerely and with admiration in her voice.

“I-I know you don’t n-need me to protect you Faith,” he said, “I-I just -- snapped.” He shook his head, and ran the fingers of his free hand through his hair, frustrated with himself.

Faith squinted her eyes in confusion. Why was G punishing himself for what he’d done? There was nothing for him to feel bad about. He’d taken the guy down without doing him any permanent damage, and had probably averted what might have ended up a messy bar brawl. Wouldv’e definitely been messy if I’d been the one fighting, she thought. She wanted Giles to feel good about what he’d done. He was her ‘hero’ tonight she thought ironically.

She stopped Giles, grabbed his shoulders and turned him to face her. He was hanging his head a bit, but she waited until he met her eyes. Smiling, she said simply, but with genuine feeling, “Thank-you,” and held his eyes with hers until he seemed to accept what she said and smiled back. Then without thinking, she quickly stood on tiptoe and kissed the side of his mouth quickly and lightly. She released his shoulders, slid her arm through his again, and they continued to walk home. Feeling a bit like a school-boy for some reason, a goofy grin stayed on Giles’ face all the rest of the way home.

________________________________

What Faith didn’t tell Giles was that all her reading and studying with him, as well as the training, and of course the partying, was a distraction for her. A pleasant and useful distraction, as it was making her a better Slayer, and she was developing a frienship with Giles like she’d never had with anyone, but it was a distraction nonetheless. Robin hadn’t called, even to check in...and it hurt. 

As was her habit, she was avoiding facing this pain and was instead repressing it. She'd been swallowing her pain over her relationship with Robin since she'd left Cleveland. Unfortunately, as her friendship with Giles blossomed and flourished, her unresolved pain was festering deep inside her, building up and building up. The woman Giles was coming to care for more and more was a ticking time bomb of repressed emotions, and he was at ground zero when she finally went off.

Part 8

Tags: giles & faith, giles/faith, summer of giles
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