Title: Watching Boiling Pots
Author: Gabrielle
Pairing: Willow/Giles
Rating: FRT/PG
Word Count: 537
Summary: He's a Watcher. So he watches.
Feedback: Please.
Distribution: Here, my LJ, and my site only.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. It all belongs to Joss and a bunch of other people who are not now and have never been me.
Author's Notes: This was written in response to a request on the holiday wish list of my dear friend oreadno1. I hope she enjoys it and that everyone else does, too.

He's a Watcher, so he watches.

He watches as she hands her heart to Xander for him to thoughtlessly break over and over and he tells himself that his concern is that of a father for a daughter, the same concern that he feels for Buffy. There are times when he believes it, but very few when it doesn't take whiskey and sleep to turn it into truth. Some nights nothing makes him feel right.

He watches as she slips her hand into that of a werewolf, watches that wolf smile at her the way he tells himself he doesn't want to smile – she's young, so young, too young – and he tells himself that he's glad to see her eyes aglow with happiness. It's only right, he knows – youth calling to youth, and sometimes he even convinces himself that the natural order of things is what is best. Whiskey remains a close friend.

He watches as she succumbs to the lure of what might have been and loses what she has. For a moment, he's almost glad to see her suffer and then there's a moment where he thinks… But no, and then the moment is gone anyway and things turn right again – or at least he tells himself they do.

He watches as she once again holds the hand of her youthful swain and he wonders if she'll ever know that Oz isn't the only one who ached at her faithlessness but would have forgiven her for anything. Oz at least received some solace and recompense, though, didn't he? The bottle stays close to his bed as he remembers the look in her eyes…the look that told anyone who could read that language as old as time that she was a girl no longer.

He watches as her heart is shattered into pieces by her wolf and a betrayal worse than hers had ever been. She tells him that he doesn't see anything, but the truth is that he sees so much more than he should. Doesn't she know that under the ice is a heat to which he has no right? But no, she's the one who doesn't see.

He watches as love takes her to a strange, soft place far away from him. For a long time, he thinks she'll be safe there, but then… Then it's all for nothing and everything she is becomes everything she should never have become – everything she wouldn't have become if only he hadn't been so very afraid of himself. He watches as she drains his heart and nearly uses it to destroy the world. If only it could have been him on that high cliff. How bitter that his love would never have saved the world.

He watches as the lines of grief and guilt around her eyes soften and the shadow of a smile appears for the first time. The wind ruffles her hair as they sit here alone, the sun seeming so much brighter than he remembers it ever shining in England before. She turns to him and it's as if her lips are calling to him and before he can think – watch yourself – he leans in and kisses her.

“I've been waiting for you.”

The End.

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