shelley (jedi_penguin) wrote in ship_manifesto,

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Buffy/Giles from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

I want to apologize for being a day late and a thousand words or so over with this. And there's still so much I left out! *blush of shame*

Pairing: Buffy/Giles from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
Title: “The Perfect Thing”
Author: Shelley (BeeGee #384)
Spoilers: Through “Chosen”

I must confess to a fair bit of terror at the idea of writing and posting this manifesto. Not because I don’t believe in this ‘ship—because I certainly do!—but because Buffy/Giles is probably the most reviled pairing in the Buffyverse. I’m not sure that there is a single BGer out there who hasn’t received at least one ship-based flame by a reviewer who never bothered to read the fic in question. To stand up proudly and not only defend it but also promote it? Scary! But fools stride in where angels fear to tread and I don’t want to lose my fool street creds, so I’ll give this a shot.

Having decided that yes, I will put my head through a noose if somebody offers it to me, the next question is how to proceed. I really want to write a positive essay, detailing all the qualities of Buffy/Giles shipping that appeal to me, but feel like I should first deal with the knee-jerk “eww” factor that this pairing seems to bring out in so many people. So, I actually wound up writing two essays. The first one deals with Giles’ supposed status as Buffy’s father figure; the second deals with Buffy and Giles as two individuals who work well together as a couple. Read whichever one fits within your own comfort zone.

But he’s her dad!
Actually, he’s not.

Buffy has a father. His name is Hank Summers and Buffy lived with him for fifteen years before her parents divorced. No matter how many times the charge of “incest” is bandied about, there are no biological connection between Buffy and Giles and never have been.

Moreover, Hank Summers typifies many of the salient features of fathers in the Buffyverse. He fits into the Jossian mold of fathers in a way that Giles never could. Think about it: every father in the Buffyverse—and indeed, pretty much every parent except Joyce—is absent and/or horrible. Willow’s parents go on frequent trips, and her mother can’t even remember the name of Willow’s best friend. Xander’s mother can’t identify him on the phone and his father is an alcoholic that terrifies Xander. Cordelia’s parents are never around, and I don’t recall Oz’s parents ever being mentioned at all. Angel’s father told him he was a disappointment and Wesley’s father locked him in a closet. Tara’s father was a monster as was Spike’s mother. (Yes, human William idolized his mother, but the demon within vamp!Mum had to have some material to work with.) Even Joyce, the only “good” parent in the Buffyverse, spent two years ignoring a series of bumps, abrasions and ruined clothes that should have been noted by even the most casual of strangers. Overall, it’s clear that Jossian parents, even the good ones, are distant, absent, or clueless.

And then there’s Giles. He pays attention to people, he sees things about all the Scoobies, but especially Buffy. In fact, he often understands Buffy far better than her contemporaries; refer especially to “When She Was Bad” and “Dead Man’s Party.” The former is particularly interesting, because we not only witness Willow, Xander and Angel being baffled by Buffy’s behavior, but also Joyce and Hank, Buffy’s actual parents. The dichotomy between Giles and Hank is very striking and speaks volumes (to me, anyway) about Giles’ true role in Buffy’s life. Up until he leaves in “Tabula Rasa” (by which time all the Scoobies but Dawn are in their twenties), Giles is consistently set up as the anti-parent of the Buffyverse.

Some of you are no doubt saying at the moment, “I agree, but Giles isn’t supposed to be the average parent. He’s the perfect parent, the one that all of us wish we had.” I’ve heard this before and it never fails to baffle me, because Giles is, in fact, completely antithetical to my idea of a father. Every time Giles sends Buffy out to patrol, he knows damn well that she might not come back, but he does it anyway. This is something that a parent simply couldn’t do, no matter the circumstances. Moreover, Giles consistently refuses to make judgments about Buffy’s personal life, except in those places where her decisions or alliances affect her Slaying. There isn’t a father alive who would shrug off his daughter coming in at the crack of dawn wearing clothes from the day before, but that is exactly what Giles does in “The Harsh Light of Day.”

I have a theory, which is likely to be proven wrong, that the main proponents of "Giles is Buffy's father" argument are those people who don't have children. As a mother, I would NEVER send my son or daughters out into danger. The world could have as many apocalypses as it liked and I wouldn't care just so long as I could keep my children safe. (And indeed, that was Buffy's exact attitude towards Dawn in "The Gift.") Nor could I stand back and refuse to help them when they’re suffering just because it would make them stronger in the end; if they are in pain and I can help, I will. People who have never had children of their own don't understand just what a strong biological imperative a parent has to protect and nourish his or her offspring. If Giles truly looked upon Buffy as a child, he would tie her down to prevent her from going patrolling, and would certainly never send her out. And as for leaving in TR, that would never have happened.

Also, as an aside, I would point out that Buffy doesn’t give Giles the respect that most children would give to their father. She periodically insults him (which I will deal with in the second essay), and teases him often. On her better days, she clearly respects him, but as a researcher and a fellow warrior in the battle against evil, not as a daughter would respect her father. I know Buffy meets Giles at sixteen, but even the moodiest teenager on the planet usually demonstrates more reverence to his or her parents than Buffy ever gives her Watcher.

It’s been stated on the show that Giles is her father
Has it? Let’s look at the times when the words “father” and “parent” have been bandied about.

The most famous, of course, is when Quentin Travers fires Giles because he has “a father’s love for the child.” My question is how did he determine this? He isn’t just an unreliable narrator, he’s a complete tale-spinner. He never saw them interact, so what the hell does he know about their relationship? In “Checkpoint,” after he has had a chance to see them together, he puts a decidedly suggestive spin on the word “prepare.” He obviously decided at some point that “father’s love” wasn’t an accurate representation of what he observed between Buffy and Giles and decided to insinuate that there was a great deal more to their relationship. And then we have Maggie Walsh, who called Giles an “absentee father-figure” in “A New Man.” This never made any sense to me. Not only did Maggie never see Buffy and Giles together, I highly doubt she’d even heard of Giles before he popped into her office. This off-the-cuff remark of a total stranger is hardly concrete proof of anything.

So, what do the two people in question have to say? This issue was first addressed in the shooting script for “Surprise,” although the scene was never shot:

GILES: While I’m loathe to say it, the fact is - the Slayer rarely lives into her mid-twenties. It follows that she’d exhibit signs of maturity early on. Her whole life-cycle is accelerated.
JENNY: Still, you should be careful about treating her like a grown-up.
GILES: I’m not her father, Jenny.

Although it isn’t nearly as explicit, Giles says in “Band Candy,” “I know I'm not your parent, but I am responsible for you. I think your mum's right.” This question of Giles’ responsibility is an interesting one and I will address it later.

In “Once More With Feeling” Giles sings, “I wish I could play the father.” This, to me, is the strongest statement that Giles does not have paternal feelings towards Buffy. First off all, he sings this in parallel with Tara, and they both are bidding farewell to a loved one. Lover and daughter lacks elegance in this situation. As for his actual words, he wishes he had those feelings, and doubtless such a safe cubbyhole for his feelings would make his life a great deal easier, but he doesn’t. And he wishes he could pretend to be her father, but that isn’t possible for him either. In the end, he’ll leave because he can’t be what he thinks Buffy wants him to be.

But does Buffy want him to be her father? Maybe, at one point in her life, she did. In “Helpless,” she invites him to the ice show in her father’s place because it’s “something families do together.” But even then, she puts her relationship with Giles in a separate category, in something other, when she says, “I-if someone were free, they'd take their daughters or their student... or their Slayer.” The tone in her voice suggests to me that the third possibility is the most important to her and the role that she most wants to play in his life.

In “Pangs,” Buffy calls Giles the “patriarch” of the Scoobies. This loses all force in the father-daughter argument, however, because she immediately casts herself in the role of “matriarch.” She might be asking Giles to carve the turkey, but only after she has prepared it. There is a domestic undertone to this episode that is rather odd, as if Buffy was trying to “play house” with Giles. This may strike some as childish, but she clearly doesn’t see herself as the child in this scenario.

In “Life Serial,” Buffy again tries to draw Giles into her family, but she assigns an unusual role to him, that of her mother. Insulted, he questions this, and Buffy makes it clear that she does not see Giles as her father, in any way. Given an opening to tell Giles that he’s a better parent to her than her biological father ever was, she instead rejects the comparison absolutely. As for Giles, this would have been the perfect moment for him to tell her that he was honored to be considered as any sort of parent… if that was how he felt about her.

You’re arguing semantics, but it still doesn’t change the fact that he controlled her and was one of her high school teachers. It will always be a transgressive relationship because he held all the power when Buffy was still a child and therefore they can never be equal.

Whenever I hear this, I always want to ask, “Did we watch the same show?”

First off, Giles didn’t meet Buffy until she was sixteen. Whether or not you belong to a culture that would classify a sixteen-year old person as a child (and many societies do not), the fact is that most human beings are fairly well molded by the time they turn sixteen. Giles had nothing to do with raising Buffy; he instilled none of her values, morals, or attitudes, but was forced to deal with those that she had already developed long before she ever met him.

Moreover, I would question how much control Giles ever really had over Buffy. He said he was responsible for her, and so he was. If he didn’t train her properly, she might die prematurely and it would be his fault. Other than that, one notes that he was responsible to the Watcher’s Council as their representative and was supposed to keep them apprised of her adventures. There is also a mystical responsibility which was never explained but was referenced in “Intervention” when he “transferred his guardianship” of Buffy to her animal spirit guide. But all of these circles of responsibility require something of Giles, and none of them put any demands upon Buffy. So, the question becomes, did Giles’ responsibility ever carry over into reality, and did Buffy ever recognize it?

When Buffy first meets Giles, she rejects his authority outright. He soon discovers that he can’t compel her to do anything; only her inner sense of responsibility (and her fear for Willow’s life) draws her back into the Slay-game. Even when she does accept Giles as her Watcher, she does so on her own strictly defined terms. “The Witch,” which set a great deal of the groundwork for future Buffy/Giles interactions, opens with one of my favorite scenes. Giles forbids Buffy from cheerleading, and she cheekily asks, “And you’ll be stopping me how?”

Yes, it’s true that Giles eventually sets up a training program for Buffy and expected her to attend, at least until her eighteenth birthday. This wasn’t done to control her life, however, but simply to give her the skills she needs to survive; forcing Buffy to develop the discipline and training she needs to Slay demons is Giles’ method of keeping Buffy alive as long as possible. And Buffy clearly understands that she doesn’t have to do anything Giles says, as is evidenced by the times that she doesn’t. Furthermore, what control she gives Giles is balanced out by the control that she keeps for herself. If Buffy doesn’t feel that Giles is doing his job adequately, she is just as likely to call him on it as he is apt to do to her. An example of this can be seen in “The Pack,” where Buffy shames Giles into meeting his responsibility towards the team by telling him to “Get your books. Look stuff up.” Also consider “Teacher’s Pet” in which Giles ordered Buffy to not go hunting until he had had a chance to research the current danger; knowing that Giles’ authority is all geared towards helping her fight demons, not keeping her away from them, Buffy blithely ignores his orders and makes no effort to hide that fact.

Even if you see an unequal relationship between Giles and Buffy before Buffy’s eighteenth birthday (which I don’t, but it is possible to view the same scenes with different interpretations depending upon your world view), I don’t see how it is possible to hold onto that understanding afterwards. After Giles is fired as Buffy’s Watcher, he loses the last of whatever outward trappings of authority he ever held over her.

In “The Zeppo,” the very first episode after “Helpless,” we see Giles anxiously detailing a theory about the Sisterhood of Jhe until Buffy interrupts him with a brusque, “Giles, I don’t need to see the math.” It is clear from this exchange that Buffy is in charge now and he holds his position in her life entirely on her sufferance… which she later takes away from him in the second half of the fourth season. (Refer to Giles’ bitter comment in “The Yoko Factor,” when he reminds her that she never trains with him anymore.)

And in case you don’t believe me yet, I would like to point out that any power Giles retained up until the fifth season was taken away forever in “Checkpoint.” The second Buffy realizes that Watchers are nothing without Slayers, that it’s she who holds all the power in the relationship, Giles should have lost every last bit of influence he ever held with her. But the thing is, he didn’t. Buffy looked behind the curtain of the Council, discovered that the Wizard was nothing but a humbug, and it all had absolutely no effect upon her relationship with Giles. Clearly they were well past their power issues long before “Checkpoint,” and the question of Council control or lack thereof doesn’t impinge upon them. Their relationship is outside the typical Council power structure, and has been for some time. I would argue that it has always been outside traditional models.

But he’s OLD!!

Ah, here we come to it. In the end, it always comes down to a difference in age. Or does it?

Buffy has always been attracted to older men, right from the beginning of the show. Before Buffy knew that Angel was a vampire, she already guessed that he was in his mid-twenties. She was barely sixteen at the time, but no one seems to question her instant infatuation with a man who appeared to be a decade older than her. Owen was a senior at Sunnydale High and Tom (from “Reptile Boy”) was a senior in college. When Buffy turns eighteen, she sleeps with a college senior and then with a graduate student in his mid-twenties who actually serves as one of the teachers in her class. (And with all due respect to Riley, why haven’t the transgressive aspects of that relationship—which are far more evident to me, given the fact that Riley grades her papers and has punitive power over Buffy that Giles never possessed—ever been mentioned by fandom?)

One could argue that the difference in age is simply a matter of scope, but if that were the case then Giles should be seen as a FAR more acceptable partner for Buffy than Angel or Spike. Assuming that Angel was twenty-five when he was turned, he was born sometime between 1745 and 1750; I would guess that William was approximately thirty when he died, so Spike was born approximately 1850. Taking Giles’ age as the same as Anthony Stewart Head’s, our Watcher was born in 1954. Giles may have slept with Buffy’s mother while under the influence of band candy and “hand-rolled cigarettes,” but Spike could have given Buffy’s great-great-great-great-grandmother the glad eye. Given Liam's promiscuity, it isn't beyond the realm of possibility that he could be Buffy's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. Now that's old!

No, despite claims to the contrary, age is not an issue; the problem is that Giles looks older. He may be a century or two younger than Buffy’s boyfriends, but he doesn’t look like it. This bothers the hell out of me, and, I would argue, would bother Buffy as well.

I will admit that the dichotomy between what people say and what they mean with regards to Giles’ age touches me on a deeply personal level. My husband is only a year older than me, but a bout with brain cancer and a few other unrelated illnesses have completely altered his appearance. He is thirty-five, but he looks like he’s pushing fifty; do I love him any less for this? Of course not! The very suggestion that I might be that shallow is deeply insulting. And although I know everyone might not agree with this statement, I don’t believe that Buffy is that shallow either. She is unmoved by the fact that Angel is 230 years older than her, so I doubt that she is really all that disturbed by a twenty-six year difference between her and Giles. As for the fact that Giles looks older, Buffy once insisted on kissing Angel while in game face simply to prove that she doesn’t care about physical appearances. I don’t think that you need to be a Giles fangirl to admit that he is rather more attractive than a vampire in game face, even a vampire such as Angel or Spike.

In the end, the “he’s old” argument says far more about the intolerance of the fan in question that it does about Buffy and whom she considers or discards as possible sexual partners.

None of this proves that Buffy and Giles belong together.

No it doesn’t, because that’s not the point of this initial essay. Before I can begin to talk about Buffy and Giles as a ship in fanfic, I needed to discuss their relationship in canon. Despite frequent claims to the contrary, Buffy and Giles do not have an easy relationship. In some ways, it is the most complex relationship in the Buffyverse, and to simplify it as a father-daughter relationship shows a very poor understanding of the show.

You don’t have to be a ‘shipper to see that the two of them love each other. The question of whether that love is romantic or paternal is terribly limiting, and misses the point. Sometimes you love someone and that love defies explanation; it just is. And for the most part, that’s what I see between these two. Staying strictly in canon, Buffy and Giles are a team. They’re friends and they’re partners in the fight against evil. Giles may be Buffy’s mentor, but he’s not her father. Buffy’s friendship with Giles may be different than the one she shares with Willow and Xander, but it’s no less true or intense for all that. Their relationship may be difficult for us to understand or define, but it can’t be trivialized without doing severe damage to the text. It can be expanded in fanfiction, but it should never be reduced to an easy concept that never existed in the show.

The Chosen Two

"They picked the perfect thing. I can't lose you."
--Buffy, "Checkpoint"

So, you’re willing to stand against the pervasive myth that Giles is Buffy’s father; that doesn’t automatically mean that you’re willing to ship them together. Fair enough. Why don’t you let me tell you why I choose to put them together: Destiny. They were both Chosen by fate to fight evil, Giles as a Watcher and Buffy as a Slayer, so it isn’t too far of a step to suggest that they were chosen for each other. Moreover, they both rebelled against their destinies at one time before coming to embrace the ideals of their Calling. And neither can escape, though both attempt to do so.

Buffy and Giles complement each other. Buffy is incredibly intelligent, but prefers to keep this strength in reserve. She’s happy to let Giles do the research; she’ll plan out the strategies when it’s necessary, but otherwise she allows Giles to run the show. Giles is highly proficient in a variety of weapons and is also a vicious street-fighter, but he encourages Buffy to take control of the physical aspects of their mutual fight against evil. Both respect the unique abilities and talents of the other, and are happy to let his or her partner do whatever s/he does best. Unlike Riley, Giles understands what it means to be a Slayer and he will never, ever underestimate her abilities, anymore than Buffy has ever underestimated him.

Giles has dedicated his life, his entire life, to Buffy. Up until age ten, he had no idea that he was being groomed to become a Watcher like his father before him. Afterwards, his schooling was explicitly designed to make a Watcher out of him (at least until he cracked under the non-stop pressure). When Giles returned to the Watcher fold, he must have rededicated his life to one day serving a Slayer, because a mere twenty years after his defection he was given a Slayer of his own. Even before Buffy was born, he belonged to her. It is an easy step from this realization to hoping that Giles might see his single-minded devotion returned to him in kind some day.

As for Buffy, I love the idea of her with someone who celebrates her identity as a Slayer and supports her in being the best she can be. Both Angel and Spike respected and admired her as a Slayer, but their very nature as vampires set up a conflict for Buffy. Given their unique circumstances, it is easy to forget that Angel and Spike are still Buffy’s natural prey. Everything in her psychic make-up must be urging her to remove the threat that her inner Slayer would be insisting that they pose to humanity. To not only ignore such mystical promptings but to embrace and even love her natural enemies? I would imagine that would create tremendous stress within Buffy, which may help to explain her irrational behavior in the seventh season. Riley, on the other hand, needed Buffy to be weaker than him, if not physically then emotionally. This experience suggests that the average male ego has trouble accepting a partner that is so much stronger than him. Giles and Xander are two of the few men who could understand Buffy’s Calling and support it without being threatened by it. Although both of them love her, I usually ship her with Giles simply because I see more chemistry there.

The physical tension between Buffy and Giles begins in the very first episode when Giles leans over Buffy’s shoulder at the Bronze. According to fandom legend, Joss was so surprised to see this chemistry between the two that he instituted a six-inch rule between them… a rule that was often broken. (See “Inca Mummy Girl” where they are put in a sarcophagus together and Giles touches Buffy’s ass, the hand he puts in the small of her back in “Reptile Girl,” Giles breaking down in Buffy’s arms in “Passion,” Buffy squirming into Giles’ personal space on the library table in “Bad Girls,” the casual arm draped over her shoulder in “Forever,” the blindfold in “Band Candy” and the fervent hugs in both “Flooded” and “Grave.”) Despite this rule (if it truly existed), Joss himself played with the ambiguity in “Restless.” Giles dreams that his apartment has been stripped of all furniture except the chair Buffy is sitting on and his bed subtly displayed in his loft. And what does he tell her? “This is the way women and men have behaved since the beginning, before time.”

Moreover, Buffy has always been fascinated with Giles’ sex life. I can hear many of you protesting at the moment, “That’s ridiculous! He’s ‘old and gross,’ remember?” Yes, Buffy did say that, but there is a context to that statement that is usually ignored. It starts early on in the first season and continues on throughout the fourth.

The first time Buffy makes an insulting personal comment about Giles is in “Teacher’s Pet,” when she tells him that he belongs in dark and musty places. This is after hearing Giles praise Miss French as well-proportioned and “woman-shaped.” This sets a pattern that continues until Giles apparently gives up on relationships. She makes fun of Giles for asking out a chair in Jenny’s stead and makes a point of elaborately shuddering in disgust after seeing Giles kiss Jenny. After Faith calls Giles “young and cute,” we get the “eww” comment. Anya and Willow swoon just thinking about Giles’ singing, so that is labeled “wiggy” and Buffy was far from kind to Giles in “Wild at Heart” when he was scoping out Veruca on the stage. Giles was obviously post-coital in “The Freshman” when she called him “very, very old and very, very gross,” and that scene was obviously still fresh in her mind the following week when she refers disparagingly to him “recapturing his youth” in “Living Conditions.” (It’s likely that she was also thinking of him in connection with yet another woman, her mother’s dalliance with Giles in “Band Candy.”) In fact, I can’t think of a single personal insult directed at Giles that wasn’t connected to a woman in some way.

And lest you think this is honest disgust rather than jealousy, I would remind you all that Buffy’s entire method for convincing Giles of her identity in “Who Are You” was to discuss his sex life. All their experiences, all the things they discussed on patrol or during training, and the only things Buffy could think to tell him was that he had a girlfriend and that her mother considered him a stevedore? And let’s not forget Buffy’s “bondage fun,” or the way Giles’ eyes glassed over for a moment at it. I really don’t want to meet the daughter that discusses bondage with her father…

For most of the fifth season, Buffy trusts no one but Giles with information about Dawn, not even her best friends or her boyfriend. He is the only person she can think to call when Joyce dies, and her last thought is of him before she dies in “The Gift.” (“Tell Giles I figured it out.”) When she’s raised up, she wants Giles, and the only genuine laughter we see from her in the entire sixth season comes during her giggle-fest with Giles in “Grave.”

As for Giles, how does he react to Buffy? For the most part, he keeps himself under control, but his moments of strongest emotions all seem to revolve around Buffy. Despite a determination to bury his violent past, Giles is willing to threaten Snyder, Spike or anyone else to protect Buffy. In fact, he even commits a cold-blooded murder, just for her. In “Graduation I” he foolishly runs the immortal Mayor through with a sword after Dick gives Buffy an insinuating leer and tells Giles he’s “going to eat her.” In the second part, he volunteers to stay alone with Angel in the mansion—the very same place where Angelus tortured him for hours on end—and he does it solely for her. A word from Buffy in “Dracula” causes him to put his life on hold, and a lack of communication with her sends him diving straight into the bottle in “The Yoko Factor.” (And in keeping with the previous paragraph, I don’t want to meet the father or even father-figure who goes into an alcoholic tailspin simply because his little girl is growing up.)

Other ‘shippy moments that don’t fit together in a particular pattern: Buffy passionately telling him, “Don’t be sorry, be Giles!” in “Dark Age” and that she couldn’t lose him in “Passion.” Giles gives Buffy his respect and support in “Innocence” and then berates himself (via Wesley) for being too immature to ask Buffy to dance during “The Prom.” Buffy is careful to show Wesley that Giles has her loyalty in “Bad Girls” and she makes herself very much at home in his apartment during “Pangs.” And let’s not forget her telling Giles that she loves him, in both “Fool for Love” and “Intervention.”

No matter what you’re ‘shipping preferences, it’s impossible to deny that Buffy and Giles love each other. Whether that love is one between friends, partners, or potential lovers it shines through in canon. Putting them together romantically is highly dependent upon your understanding of what Buffy’s role is supposed to be, and indeed, your conception of the entire idea of a Slayer. If you believe that Slayers are only needed for lots of angst and stopping the occasional apocalypse, then this pairing is not for you. If you like Buffy’s status as the first line of defense against evil, if you buy into the mystical Watcher-Slayer connection, then it isn’t too great of a stretch to see her destined companion-in-arms as also her destined soul mate.

The first fic to sell me on a Buffy/Giles pairing remains my favorite to this very day. Death Brings Clarity by J, K. Phillips is an incredibly well characterized story with a gripping plot. It's long, but if this doesn't sell you on the pairing then probably nothing will. As an aside, I'd urge you to note the dates of when this was written. It was completed in March during the sixth season and accurately predicted not only the end of the sixth season but all of the seventh. Considering some of the details, there's no way this wasn't read by somebody at Mutant Enemy.

For friendship fics, you can't go wrong with Everything Old is New Again by Jessie. Other ones to consider are When All This Is Over by Athenae (mad_with_july) or Times Two by Gail Christison. Also, her episode epilogues are excellent and most deal with the Buffy/Giles friendship.

As for 'shippy tales, they vary widely depending upon when they were written. There are virtually none set before Buffy's eighteenth birthday, partly because very few people shipped B/G before "The Prom," but mostly because most lists won't accept such stories. One of the few is Passage by WorstWitch. This is actually more of a friendship story with some very hot sex, and is an interesting though disturbing read.

Most of the fics that are set after the third season tend to focus upon the Watcher/Slayer mystical connection. Unfortunately, once the fourth season began and revealed a deep disconnect between Buffy and Giles, many authors abandoned some truly excellent works-in-progress. Even if they aren't finished, all of these are well worth your time:

Alternity Series by Blair Provence.
Ice Cream Series and Being Bad by Holly. ("Being Bad" is finished.)
One Long Summer by Tev Ye, including an unarchived seventh part on the gilesnaughty Yahoo group.
Essential Fragility by K. V. Wylie is actually Buffy/Giles/Willow, but the interactions between the Chosen Two fit into this pattern nevertheless. It is complete.
Autumn Equinox by A. Manley Haight. Also The Renewal of His Vows. Both of these are complete in themselves but are meant to be part of longer series.
And of course, the fabulously complex Transformations Series by Kris Wahlberg.
Although it was written at a later date, No Dominion by Taryn (jesmel) fits into this pattern beautifully. It is complete.

Fics set during the fourth season tend to concentrate upon Buffy rather than the pair of them, upon her growth and realization that she has a treasure in Giles. I'm afraid that all!my!fault Buffy isn't my favorite, so I don't have any recs in this category despite the undeniable excellence of many stories set in this period.

Fifth season fics, on the other hand, tend to be extremely 'shippy in nature, which makes sense given the strong UST undertones that BGers see during this period. In addition to "Death Brings Clarity," you might consider:

Teacher’s Pet and Second Chances by Rari Cross.
The Unbreakable Series by Koala
Fluking by Saint Buffy
Poof by manic1066 (Though this perhaps should go in season four.)

Stories set in or immediately after the sixth season tend to be fixer-uppers, in which the writer tries to get Buffy and Giles back to the closeness they shared in the fifth season. A word of warning, many of these are not Spike friendly.

Wrong by nightshift.
A Different Life by Rari Cross.
In Dreams I Walk With You by Queen Boadicea
It’s damn near impossible to pick a favorite story for Gileswench, but here are a few that spring to mind, all within the fixing category: Older Men Far Away (a Manchild crossover that works amazingly well), A Word With You All, Home for the Holidays, and A Mile in His Moccasins.
It's almost as difficult choosing a favorite for Gail Christison, but here are three that really shouldn't be missed: Lost, The Visitor and Snow and Fire.

The seventh season is difficult for BGers, which is why I haven't discussed it very much in this essay. Things went so wrong between Buffy and Giles in this season, with the fault falling squarely on both sets of shoulders, and we received very little resolution. Authors tend to take one of two takes, either showing Buffy and Giles in a destructive unhealthy relationship or going for complete denial. Two examples of the former can be seen in:

Never Leave Me by Kim (lawyergirl15) and
it rains when she arrives by august (unwinding)

If you try out no other rec from this list, you really should investigate the Virtual Lunatics eighth season. This collection of highly talented writers and artists have created an entire season with a decided Buffy/Giles slant. Part of what makes this work is the fact that they unabashedly take the Scoobies characters as they appeared in the fifth season (before Buffy became angry, Giles distant, Xander placid or Willow a crybaby) and placed them in a post-Chosen world with a confident seventh season Dawn. They give us the best of Buffy and Giles and move them into the future: what more could one possibly want from fanfic?

And let's not forget the vids! A good starting point would be:
Obvious by Koala
What Might Have Been by GilesFan
Bed of Lies by catatonic1242
Tags: buffy the vampire slayer

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