[swiped from Oakpark Street]
Buffy and Giles share a degree of kinship and mutual respect that is rarely found in either of these characters' other relationships. As close as Buffy has been to Willow or Xander - or even to Angel, Riley, or Spike - there's an intimacy and trust between Buffy and Giles that I find poignant, beautiful, and absolutely rife with possibilities. I have greatly enjoyed B/A, B/R, and even B/S once upon a time, but the UC 'ship of Buffy/Giles remains my favourite.
Non-B/G 'shippers often see Giles as a father figure to Buffy and are firmly opposed to the idea of any romantic or sexual relationship between them because of that. Admittedly, Joss has put no small amount of effort into building their relationship along those lines, and even the most ardent B/G 'shipper can recite examples to support that point of view. But it's exactly that - a point of view. Because Buffy/Giles fans can also recite a wealth of examples where the subtext started to approach actual text, supporting a romantic pairing of these two characters.
Aside from the f/d dynamic, opponents of this 'ship will also point out the age difference. But as often as non-B/G fans point to this, they seem to leave out the part about Angel and Spike both having well over a century on Buffy in the age department. A couple of decades, then? Not such a big deal when your exes can regale you with tales from the Industrial Revolution.
Rather than argue the arguments, however, I'm going to point out a popular B/G moment, give a sketch of where my brain went from there, and see if you get where I'm coming from (if you do 'ship B/G, then you're already *well* acquainted with this one)...
I'd noticed plenty of vibes here and there before this episode, but while I was swept up in the poignant Buffy/Angel saga, I never really considered the possibility of Buffy/Giles (especially since Buffy was underage through much of S3). However, in The Prom, those vibey notions finally came together.
After battling the demon dogs, Buffy enters, triumphant, and when Giles sees her, his whole face lights up with the biggest, warmest smile I've ever seen. Then Wesley stutteringly asks Giles' advice about Cordelia. Giles essentially tells him to get over his nerves and ask her to dance already. But the words aren't even out of Giles' mouth yet when something seems to dawn on him, and he strides purposefully across the room to find Buffy. During the ensuing conversation, Buffy and Giles are positively glowing. Then the music begins, Giles opens his mouth, and I could swear he's about to ask her to dance... at which point he sees Angel and promptly closes his mouth again, looking oddly disappointed. And at this moment, despite having once been an ardent B/A shipper, I just sat there thinking "Nooo! This was *Giles's* dance, not yours!" So as romantic and dreamy as Angel's gesture was supposed to be, I was shocked to find myself furious with him for intruding on this moment between Watcher and Slayer.
Of course, Buffy had only recently turned eighteen, and while Buffy was still in high school, as much as Buffy and Giles regarded each other as equals, he was still a faculty member, and she was a student. So while I noticed and appreciated the little moments between them, it wasn't until after the "almost dance" (with high school very nearly over) that I started to entertain the notion of them actually being together romantically.
When Buffy walked in on Olivia at Giles' apartment at the beginning of S4, she really seemed disproportionately upset by the other woman's presence, didn't she? She had already gotten telepathic confirmation of Giles' secret identity as a sexual stevedore (and had been present for his relationship with Jenny), so the idea of him spending the night with someone really shouldn't have left her so all-fire wigged. Frankly, the way she played up the "old and gross" angle had long since begun to sound like she was protesting too much, and more than anything else, Buffy seemed genuinely jealous of the new woman in Giles' life.
Well, to cram the rest into a nutshell, over the rest of the series we saw Buffy and Giles pull closer and drift apart, but they were both at their best when they were together. Add that to the litany of moments I noticed through the years, sprinkle on a liberal dose of shared destiny, and in my book, you've got the makings for one hell of a 'ship.
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