Title: Starry Night
Author: aaronlisa
Rating: FR13
Pairing: Rupert Giles/Willow Rosenberg
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon and company.
Prompts: written for the Giles round at hetfic_minis for wisdomeagle who wanted the pairing and magic, space and spice.
Notes: Set in between Season Five and Six.
Summary: There had been a time when she thought that he was far too refined and dignified to lay down on the grass and stare at the stars.
Word Count: 791

She thinks that it should be a cold night to match how she's feeling; instead it's a typical balmy July night in Southern California. She's lying in Buffy's backyard and staring up at the stars as she contemplates the vastness of space because she needs to focus her mind on something else. If she doesn't, then she knows that she'll start to cry and she has to be strong. She had shed all of her tears back in Los Angeles and now she has to remain strong for everyone else.

When he lies down on the grass beside her, she can't help the tiny giggle that escapes her. There had been a time when she thought that he was far too refined and dignified to lay down on the grass and stare at the stars. Now she knows better, she knows that beneath the many layers of tweed and starched shirts, he was and is still just a man. He sighs at her giggle but doesn't say anything.

They don't say anything as there's nothing left to talk about. They've said everything that they can possibly say, instead they let the night sky and the silent companionship work it's magic on the both of them. It's healing for them to just be alone, two wounded soldiers in the war that they both fought because of Buffy. And now she's gone.

His hand finds her and she moves closer to him. She can smell his spicy aftershave and the scent makes her curl her toes in appreciation. The first times he came out here, he always smelt of whisky and smoke from drinking and smoking with Spike. But after he started coming out and staring at the night sky as they talked about Buffy, he stopped spending so much time trying to drown his grief with the bleached blonde vampire, which has been good for all of them.

She knows full well what will come next when his hand moves her closer to him but she doesn't resist. There's a part of her that tells her that she shouldn't be doing this, that after the first dozen times it stopped being about their mutual grief and being more about them than anything else. But she doesn't resist, instead she turns over so that she's facing him. She leans partially on him and partially on her elbow, and still neither one of them speaks.
There's a part of her that knows that this is so very wrong and that it would devastate the members of the sleeping household if they found out. But she can't resist him and she doesn't want to, if she did, she'd stop coming out at night and watching the stars.

It starts slowly as it always does, he pulls her down for a chaste kiss and she kisses him back. His hands warm on her back as he pulls her on top of him. She sighs as he deepens the kiss and she wiggles her body so she's lying against him more comfortably. They act as if they have all the time in the world for chaste kisses and gentle touches, even when they both know that they don't. Whatever they have is not about to be ruined by either of them rushing through as if they are guilty of something, even if they are.

As always, it's over much too quickly for the pair of them and neither has spoken during the whole time. Soon enough one of them will leave the other and they will have to put on the masks that they were in front of everyone else. The masks that hide what they have with one another, so that they can pretend to be strong and make sure that no one else falls apart. It's only at night and underneath the stars that they can truly be themselves.

Tonight it's her turn to go in first, so she picks herself up and gives him a rueful smile. She hopes that maybe tomorrow will be the day that she can tell her friends that she's fallen in love with Buffy's Watcher, but she knows in heart that tomorrow will never really come. So she dusts off her clothes and makes her way inside the house and up the stairs to her bedroom.

And he's left alone underneath the stars and he wonders when it will all fall apart again. In that moment he makes his decision and decides that it's time for him to make arrangements to go back to England. If he allows this to happen then everything will fall apart. It won't just affect Willow instead it will tear them all apart and hurt them all. And he refuses to let that happen.


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