quaggy: "Is This A Kissing Book?" (Skeptical)
[personal profile] quaggy
Title: Fool That I Am
Show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Category: Post-Series
Rating: G
Pairings: A whole lot of unrequited feelings going on with a mention or two of past relationships
Notes: Written for the [community profile] giles_shorts prompt "Fool". Dawn and Buffy talk about unrequited love.

“Etta James. Nice choice.”

Dawn turned to yell at her sister to get out, but when she saw that Buffy was holding a box of Quality Street and a package of Hobnobs, she opted to just move over on the bed to make room. She had the song on repeat. If she was lucky, Buffy would get sick of listening to “Fool That I Am” a million times in a row and leave her alone in her misery.

“I’m sorry, Dawnie.”

“We both knew that Xander doesn’t think of me like that. I’m just his little sister.” Dawn sat up, with a sigh and reached for the Quality Street box. She unwrapped a few different sweets and sandwiched them between two Hobnobs. Buffy rolled her eyes but refrained from commenting on her sister’s creation.

“Maybe, but, if he really couldn’t see you in a romantic way, I was hoping it was just a crush for you. It’s easier to get over.”

“How did you know it’s not just a crush?”

“A crush tends to fade the better that you know someone. Unrequited love only grows stronger. You’re not a teenager anymore. You’ve dated. Had romantic feelings for other people. And, after all that, Xander still does it for you.”

“Xander doesn’t see it that way. I’m just dumb little Dawnie with her stupid crush.”

“Yeah, well, Xander isn’t always the most observant guy, but I would say he was being particularly boneheaded tonight. I don’t know if it’s because he’s scared of getting involved with you or if it’s willful ignorance on his part because he’s not feeling the same way and doesn’t want things to be awkward. Either way, you’re still stuck. You either have to live with your heartbreak – not something I would actually recommend having done it myself – or you figure out how to move on.”

“But how do you get over an unrequited love?”

“Beats me. I still haven’t figured it out.”

“Angel loved you back though. That’s a big difference.”

“Yeah, but I wasn’t talking about him.”

“Buffy, who on this planet. . . .” Dawn trailed off in indignation, at loss for words at the absurdity of someone not falling for her big sister’s charms.

“Would make me listen to Jann Arden’s cover of ‘You Don’t Know Me’ on repeat, like you’re doing with poor Etta?” Buffy finished, wirily. Dawn froze. Buffy did do that on occasion. Had done it for years.

“I just assumed that you liked the song.”

“I do. A lot. It also has helped me through more than a few bad moments over the years.”

Dawn wracked her brain. Nobody recent. It had to have started in Sunnydale and someone that Buffy would see at least occasionally over the years. Despite what Buffy thought, most guys they knew would have jumped at the chance to be with her. A girl, then? Maybe Faith? But, no, during their big conversation about sexuality and orientation a few years ago, Buffy had said that, while she was occasionally attracted to girls, she had yet to fall in love with one and Dawn knew Buffy wouldn’t lie about that.

Suddenly, Dawn realized who it must be, the only person that it could be.




Buffy just shrugged and reached for a few of the purple ones.

“How do you act so normal around him?”

“Years of experience. It started out as a simple crush. Took me a while to admit it went deeper than that. I’m mostly okay with nothing ever happening. It just flares up now and then.”

“But you never tried to tell him?”

“No point. Our relationship was cast in stone ages ago. Besides, I’m really not the type he’d otherwise go for.”

“That’s what’s so hard about Xander. Not to be arrogant or anything. It’s just I know I would have had a better shot if we had just met.”

“Yeah, but if you just met, you wouldn’t love him so much. He’d just be another guy.”

“Maybe.” Dawn sighed and made another Hobnob sandwich. “This summer is going to suck. I wish I had agreed to go with you on your training assignment, instead of making you stay here in London with me.”

“It’s not too late. I can tell Giles we changed our minds. I know he hasn’t found anyone yet to go in my place.”

“You don’t think it’s running away from my problems?”

“Not when you have no good reason to stay and torture yourself,” Buffy said with a smile. “Besides, a little distance can be good for the soul. Falling in love with someone else helps too, but I don’t think you’re ready for that.”

“No.” With a sigh, Dawn reached over and mercifully turned off her stereo. She then snuggled in next to Buffy, so that her sister could stroke her hair.

“Buffy?” she asked after a while.


“But you did loved Angel.”

“Yes. With all my heart. I’m never going to love anyone the way that I loved him. But it doesn’t mean I could never love anyone ever again. I loved Riley too, not that he ever really believed it. And Spike, even though I couldn’t admit it to myself until the end. Unrequited love is a just an echo of what could be. It gets overshadowed by real, mutual love, even if it’s not a love to last a lifetime.”

“I think that’s the most reassuring thing that you could tell me.”


“Hey, Giles, got a moment?”

“For you, Buffy, always,” he replied with a quick grin. Buffy smiled and perched herself on the arm of her favorite chair. She loved Giles’s office at the Council Headquarters. It reminded her of his apartment in Sunnydale. Her office down the hall wasn’t nearly as cozy, but then she was rarely in it for more than a few months at a time. There was always something somewhere in the world that needed her attention.

“If you haven’t found anyone to take the post in San Francisco for the summer, I’d like to do it, after all.”

“What about Dawn?”

“She’s going to come with me.”

“Ah.” Giles removed his glasses to give them a polish.

“You’re not surprised.”

“No. Relieved for Dawn’s sake. Sad for my own. I was looking forward to having you both close by this summer.”

“We’ll be back for a check-in at some point and Dawn has to be back in Oxford in the fall. Maybe I can stay a little longer in London before my next assignment.”

“Assuming that California would be willing to give you back this time.”

“Well, who wouldn’t trade all that sunshine and warm weather for London’s damp and cold?”

“Now, you finally begin to see reason!” teased Giles. Buffy grinned and was about to respond when a knock came on the door.

“Am I interrupting?”

“Margot!” Giles exclaimed with a broad smile as he stood to greet his visitor. Buffy tried not to let her spirits sink. Of all people. “Buffy, if there’s anything else. . . .”

“No, it’s cool. That was it. I’ll reach out to the San Fran office and let you know when things start to take shape.”

“That would be wonderful. Thank you,” Giles replied, as Buffy slipped of her perch and towards the door. “Here, Margot, sit. Might I offer you a cup of tea?”

Buffy shut the door behind her before she could hear Margot’s reply and sighed. She hadn’t really minded when Giles and Olivia tried to make another go of it after they had all moved to London. She found that she actually liked Olivia a lot once she got to know her and was sad for both of them when it was clear that they just wouldn’t be able to make it work. But Margot was a different story. The Watcher was slick and aggressive with a very polished sense of style. She had Jenny Calendar’s sass, with a bit of Ethan’s charm thrown in for good measure. Pretty much an irresistible combination for Giles. But with none of Olivia’s sly good humor and easy demeanor, Buffy couldn’t warm up to her. Watching them fall in love, even from the distance of San Francisco was going to be torture.

Well, she had even more reason to be a grown-up about this than ever before. Dawn would be watching her for guidance on how to navigate her own love life. So, she’d bury these wayward feelings once again and be happy for her Watcher. But if she might have hummed a little of “You Don’t Know Me” to herself as she made her way back to her office, well, who could blame her, really?

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