This fic won two awards! WOW!
Title: A Delicate Request.
Pairings: N/A Tara and Giles are in it, but it's not a "pairing".
Appropriate Ratings: PG (WOW!)
Disclaimers: Not my characters. I make no money off this, I'm just playing. I promise to give them a bath and thorough cleaning when I’m done! Joss Whedon is my lord and Master. All hail Joss Whedon.
Short Summary: Giles has a rather delicate request to ask of Tara.
Word Count: 1207 (As per MS Word Count)
Beta: tamakin, any errors are mine and mine alone.
X-posted to: perverted_pages, indigo_crypt, btvsatsdotcom this fic really doesn't fit anywhere else that I know of.
Archived Outside LJ At: fanfiction.net and My IJ
Tara was helping him close up the magic box. Anya had taken an early night, not by choice, she’d never leave her precious cash register by choice, but Xander had dragged her off for a romantic night out, and swore on his ability to have orgasms that Tara would take good care of her money. Besides, she would be under the direct supervision of Giles, so nothing could go wrong. That seemed to calm Anya down a bit, so off she went to spend the evening with Xander. Giles really wished she hadn’t explained their plans to them so vividly and with such careful detail. His English sensibilities simply couldn’t put up with it. He’d finally shown her the door while simultaneously cleaning his glasses. How he managed to open the door was anyone’s guess, but she was gone, and so was her prattle, and that was all that was important; that, and the fact that Tara was with him… alone… in the Magic Box.
She was quietly humming to herself while dusting and neatening up while he counted down the till and finished the ledger work. He kept sneaking little glances at her, and knew he must be making her uncomfortable, but he couldn’t help it. He had something he needed to ask, and it wasn’t easy for him… but shooting looks at her was obviously making her uncomfortable and flustered.
She nearly dropped the fertility statue she was cleaning when he called her name. He’d been giving her odd looks ever since Sweet the music demon had left. She wasn’t sure what was going on, but that was when she had finally decided to break up with Willow. She panicked, and thought he must be trying to make a move on her, and not that she wasn’t flattered but he was much too old for her… and even if age wasn’t a problem, she was still gay, and didn’t think she’d be changing her views anytime soon.
“Y-y-yes Mr. Giles?” She put the statue down carefully, trying to will the trembling out of her fingers and hands.
“I have… I have a rather sensitive question to ask you. I really hope you don’t think I’m overstepping any boundaries, but I… I need to ask you something.”
“Y-y-yes?” She tried not to wince, dreading what his question could possibly be.
“When… When we were all singing, do you remember that… that duet we sang?”
“Y-yes, I do.” Here it comes! she thought to herself.
“You see, I’ve been looking… I’ve been looking for a partner.” Now that’s just going to give her the wrong idea. Why didn’t I keep to the script I’d written? Why must I always sound… so… bugger this, may as well just come out with it.
“I sing at this coffee house down the street on open mike night, I play the guitar and sing, that is, and well… I’ve been meaning to try out these duet’s I have sheet music for, and well… you’re the only person I could possibly ask.” There, out, not very clearly or confidently, but it’s out. He kept his eyes locked on a book he was sightlessly leafing through, not daring to look up at her face, not wanting to see pity or derision or worse yet ridicule, in her eyes.
“I don’t want the others to know, because the last time they found out they teased me mercilessly and I had to stop. Now that I’ve started again, I’ve realized how important it is to me, but I feel… stuck. I wanted to explore other songs and perhaps melodies and what not. In any case, would you consider singing with me this Thursday night at the coffee house?” He tried to keep his desperation out of his voice, and succeeded… barely.
“I can drive you back home no problem when it’s all over, and I would appreciate it if no one… if no one found out about my hobby. You just… have a voice well matched to my range and playing ability, and… thought it might be… erm... fun. I know you don’t think you’re ‘one of us’ but you are, and you are important to us and well… I thought this might be a good way to show that too. I hope you don’t think I’m over stepping my bounds.” He realized how pathetic he sounded, how needy, and he really hoped Tara wouldn’t hold it against him. He still couldn’t bring himself to look at her, still flipped sightlessly through an old tome, still kept his gaze adverted from the one young woman he’d dared to show such a vulnerable part of himself to.
Tara blinked slowly, trying to process all this Giles Babble. Then she realized she’d actually heard Mr. Giles babble. She didn’t think she’d ever heard him babble before, and saw the beads of perspiration on his brow and upper lip. He must really be nervous, no wonder he keeps staring at me lately! She could well understand his hesitation at asking her, revealing this tender part of him that he couldn’t even show the other Scoobies, that had been exposed before and he’d been ridiculed about afterwards. Music was important to him, and he was willing to share this precious private part with her. Suddenly she felt warm, safer, more ‘in’ than she’d felt before. A soft smile pulled at her lips and she ducked her head, peeking up at him from under the fall of her honey coloured hair.
“Sure. It sounds fun.” She could have laughed at the sudden relief on his face, the realization that he wasn’t going to be outed or teased, and the fact that she accepted… it was good.
He looked up at her with a bright but shy smile, giddily taking his glasses off his nose to bring them to a high level of polish. He’d always felt bad for practically ignoring the girl, leaving her on the fringes unless he needed her help to cast a spell, and even then he usually asked Willow instead of her.
“Well, that’s splendid! We can practice at my place, I have a piano. I assure you, the pieces are all quite simple and basic, and you’ll be able to have the music in front of you so you don’t have to memorize the words.” He bounced a few times on the balls of his feet, excited, elated.
“Alright.” She smiled demurely and kept a tight leash on the laughter bubbling up out of her. She didn’t want him to think she was mocking him, but he just looked so… so… delighted at the prospect. It looked good on him… he was so rarely happy.
She smiled again, “Sure. My last class ends at four, we can meet then?”
“Perfect.” He nodded, feeling chipper and rather comfortable in her presence. It was a rarity for him to feel at ease with the children running about but Tara had a calming energy and ancient eyes… made him feel more like he was with an equal than a responsibility.
Together they finished up closing the shop, each working in peaceful silence, in comfortable comradery. This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.