To rise above
by Te
January 10, 2004

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Spoilers: Vague ones through S2, in an AU way.

Summary: Buffy needs. She doesn't want to.

Ratings Note/Warnings: NC-17. Content some
readers may find disturbing.

Author's Note: Written for the Gilesficathon, for
Beth C.

Acknowledgments: Desperate, abject love to Jenn,
Bas, and shalott for encouragement in the face of
my overweening writer-angst. Bas and shalott also
had many, *many* helpful suggestions. All
remaining errors are entirely my own fault.

Feedback: If you'd like.


He's easy when he's drunk.

The look on his face is somewhere between sly and
sleepy and stupid from the booze. She shifts on her
knees just enough to get past the glare of light on his

He has pretty eyes.

She shifts more, dragging her crotch over his own,
and those eyes narrow with something that would look
just like appreciation if it didn't go so much deeper
than that.

She does it again, and again, until he's hard enough to
feel good, and he runs his fingers down her cheek.
Slow and not-soft, like he's trying to make her face
something different.

She bites his fingers until he stops.


In L.A., she had a Watcher who was kind of cute and
funny in that British way she used to think only really
existed in, like, romantic comedies.

Not Hugh-Grant-before-the-ew-cute. But cute.

He died.


She never fucks him first. She knows from experience
that it's never going to be good enough, never going
to *be* enough if she does, and she is long past over
pretending it's any different.

No one ever just *gives* you what you need, even if
they care.

You have to find a way to take it.

She yanks on his good hand until it's right where she
needs it, and he doesn't make her wait. He plays
with her, pushing and rubbing and pressing and
slipping *in* with those long, callused fingers, and
she decides to let herself make noise.

It's always a choice.

It's *better* when she makes noise, better for *her*,
for reasons she doesn't really want to think about.
It's in the way he watches her face, the moment he
goes from sleepy-and-easy to focused-on-getting-her-off.
He *sees* her. Watcher.

It's not funny.

And it's always worse afterward, because she can't tell
herself that he doesn't know how needy she still is, no
matter how hard she works at it.


She thought she'd get a break when she got to
Sunnydale, and she really kind of did, even though it
wasn't something she understood back then.

There were *people*.

Other kids.

And if she could never forget that she really wasn't
one of them, then at least...

There were moments where she could pretend.

When she lets herself think about those days, she
feels warm inside, and the bad things seem funny. It's
what a memory should be, she thinks, and holds on to

There's always a blank spot where Giles should be,
though. Or... like someone put a still photo in the
middle of a movie. It's not real.

Trying to remember him in that time is like trying to
look at the back of her own head.


She puts the bad hand on her breast, and now she
has to work for it, riding his other hand and holding

She used to think he was just vain, which would've
been weird enough.

Now she knows it's all about *why* he doesn't have
those fingers anymore. All about what happened
with Angelus, and how he thinks he failed. How he
did fail.

She brings the hand to her mouth and kisses the
scars, the weirdly smooth parts where it's like the
snapped-off bones are rubbing things raw from the

He fucks her harder with his other hand.


Xander had made a really attractive vampire before
she staked him, all the goofiness burned away into
something bright and cold and male.

Sometimes she wonders about that. If he was
supposed to distract her or something, or just make
her suffer. If Angelus thought she'd give it up for
him, one way or another.

It had just made things easier, though.

Giles had told her all about how complicated it made
things when the people in your life got turned, how
they always acted just enough like themselves to
make doing the necessary thing difficult.

And he was kind of right -- losing Angel... she
doesn't like to think about the first few weeks. How
weak she'd been.

But then there was Xander, sharp and glittery-eyed
and *mean*, still stinking of Cordelia's blood, and
it was like...

It felt like a wind through her, or like the first few
moments after getting cut. No pain, and perfect

She hadn't even realized he'd been in her way.


She has to close her eyes when he's finally, finally
inside her. It's just that good. It always is, no matter

Something in the way his (good) hand rests at the
small of her back before coming around to cup her

Right here, right now, Giles is *hers*. He's here,
and he's perfect, and Buffy...

Buffy could be anyone at all, or anywhere.

She can believe Giles' eyes are open, still. That he
isn't thinking of anyone but her, and isn't hating
himself for any reasons but the ones that don't hurt
anymore. That he doesn't smell the death she brings
home with her every morning.

With her eyes closed, she might be dancing. The
smell of sex is warm and wet and heavy, like a club
where no one has been eaten yet.


The mistake was thinking no one else would die, was
in *relying* on Willow and Giles and Jenny to be
there to help, even after Xander.

Willow died helping Jenny do whatever the hell she'd
been trying to do, and Buffy doesn't make mistakes
like that anymore. In the end, with Angelus, she
hadn't needed anyone but herself.

And a sword.

She'd walked out into the Sunnydale day with Giles
half-slung over her shoulders, and the sword she
*didn't* send to hell with Angelus in her hand.

In the sunlight, he'd looked exactly like a
middle-aged man who'd been thoroughly tortured
by vampires.

Later, when he woke up, she'd told him she was
ready to go.

He'd done a better job of bandaging himself than
she had, and hadn't asked questions.


She comes with her eyes closed and her mouth
open, and Giles rolls them over and keeps moving
on her, in her.

When he kisses her, she remembers the way they
didn't die in Cleveland, and the way they almost did
in Boston.

She remembers the way he looks at her when he's
sober and the sun is shining, and she's pretending
it's a game that she can win.

And then his tongue in her mouth, and it doesn't
taste like anything but whiskey, and she remembers
that she isn't supposed to need him, either.

She leaves for patrol before he's asleep.

One day, she won't come back.

If she's lucky, it will be her own choice.