It may have eroded her popularity right out of the gate, but Buffy striking up a friendship with the younger, more timid Willow is really sweet, especially the pep talk Buffy gives her in the Bronze. Even if it goes slightly awry.
The end of "The Witch":
Amy: My dad is so impossible! He doesn't ever want me going anywhere! He wants to spend total quantity time together. And I'm, like, "Dad, I can go out, it's perfectly safe!" But he's got all this guilt about leaving me with my mom. And he's being a total pain.
Buffy:(smiles) You're loving it.
Amy: Every single minute.
The moment at the end of "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" where Buffy expresses her concern that her job put Giles in danger and Giles answers that he went to the funeral home of his own free will and that Buffy isn't to blame.
The Master's breakdown over Darla's death and the Anointed One's subsequent pep talk in "Angel" is pretty much the definition of Ugly Cute.
In the season 1 episode "Nightmares", the nightmares of everyone in Sunnydale are brought to life. A particularly emotional scene reveals that Giles' nightmare is that he will fail as Buffy's watcher and she'll die because of it.
Gilesgearing up to take Buffy's place against The Master in 'Prophecy Girl'. He knew it was a suicide mission, but after he read the prophecy that The Master would kill Buffy (eliciting a temporary Heroic BSOD on her part), Giles was determined to die in her place. In the end, Buffy literally had to punch him out to stop him.
Buffy: "That's not how it goes. I'm the slayer."
Giles: "I don't care what the books say. I defy prophecy, and I'm going. There's nothing you can say to change my mind."
Buffy: "I know."
(Buffy knocks out Giles)
The ending of "When She Was Bad" - Buffy is anxious about facing Xander and Willow in class after being an alienating bitca to them...she then finds they saved a seat for her and are happy to put it all behind them.
"Some Assembly Required" - when Giles is struggling to ask Jenny out and cursing his inability, she matter-of-factly asks him out instead. His surprise and delight is written all over his face even as he still can't quite vocalize properly, and afterwards walks off with a little hop in his step.
From the end of "School Hard":
Joyce: I have a daughter who can take care of herself. Who's brave and resourceful and thinks of others in a crisis. No matter who you hang out with or what dumb teenage stuff you think you need to do, I'm gonna sleep better knowing all that.
"What's My Line, Part One"
Buffy: Don't be a baby. I'm not gonna hurt you.
Angel:[in Game Face] No, it's just... you shouldn't have to touch me... like this.
Buffy: Oh. [pause] ...I didn't even notice.
That part in "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" where Xander demands the heart pendant he gave Cordelia as a Valentine's Day gift back, and Cordelia is visibly hurt and offended, but puts on a bold front, pretending she hadn't liked it anyway and says something along the lines of "Fine, I'll get it. It's in my locker". She opens her locker, and behind the locker door where Xander can't see what she's doing, instead of taking the pendant from the locker where she said she'd put it, she surreptitiously removes it from around her neck, where she'd been wearing it under her collar, proving how much the gift had actually meant to her. There's even sentimental piano music playing in the background when she does this.
Xander heroically turns down a sexually agressive Buffy (she came in to saxaphone music) - the same girl he's been pining over for 28 episodes - knowing she's an unwitting victim of a love spell he cast. Nicholas Brendon expression and delivery effectively conveys the conflicting emotions of concern for his friend, and the "I can't believe I'm actually saying this!" as he refuses Buffy's advances.
Xander It's not that I don't want too. Sometimes the remote, impossible possibility that you might like me was all that sustained me. But not now. Not like this. This isn't real to you. You're only here because of a spell. I mean if I thought you had one clue what it would mean to me ... But you don't ... so I can't.
Fittingly Buffy expresses her appreciation for his discipline at the end of the episode.
Cordelia standing up to her friends about her relationship with Xander at the end of "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered."
The scene in "Surprise" where Buffy and Angel make love. Not just for the act itself, but for the buildup, where Angel was taking care of Buffy, and Buffy was terrified about having almost lost Angel to the Judge.
And yet even "Innocence" had a Heartwarming moment at the end, as Giles reminds us that he was ten times more Buffy's father than Hank Summers ever was.
Giles: It's not over. I suppose you know that. He'll come after you, particularly. His profile, uh, well, he's likely to strike out at the things that made him the most human-
Buffy: (choked up) You must be so disappointed in me.
Giles: No. No, I'm not.
Buffy: (almost incoherent) But this is all my fault!
Giles: (gently) No, I don't believe it is. Do you want me to wag my finger at you and tell you that you acted rashly? You did. And I can. (pause) I know that you loved him. And he, he's proven more than once that he loved you. You couldn't have known what would happen. The coming months are going to be hard, I suspect on all of us, but... if it's guilt you're looking for Buffy, I'm not your man. (looks her straight in the eyes) All you will get from me is my support. And my respect.
The expression on Buffy's face at the end of that scene, with her eyes full of tears and her nose all puffy and yet she's still about to give a little smile simply because she knows that Giles still loves her despite all that's happened, is just worth a million words all by itself.
And speaking of Innocence:
Oz: "Sometimes when I'm sitting in class—you know, I'm not thinking about class, 'cause that would never happen—I think about kissing you. And it's like everything stops. It's like, it's like freeze frame. Willow kissage.
Oz: Well, to the casual observer it would appear that you're trying to make your friend Xander jealous or even the score, or something. And that's on the empty side. See, in my fantasy when I'm kissing you, you're kissing me. It's okay. I can wait.
In "I Only Have Eyes For You", when Willow gives Giles the rose quartz that belonged to Jenny Calendar. The understated acting of both Alyson Hannigan and Anthony Stewart Head is what really sells it.
Go Fish has a small one where Buffy saves one of the swim team members from Angelus. Keep in mind that one of them tried to rape her before. We hardly see her actually saving a victim from attack, then she goes the extra mile in walking him home.
In the same episode Cordelia(!), when she thinks that Xander has transformed into a fish-monster, says that it doesn't matter and that she'll still try to be with him.
Spike and Dru are strangely tender and gentle with one another in the first half of this season (empathsis on the "strange"). It gets oddly cuter when you realise that the motivation for literally all of Spike's evil doing was for Dru; to get her healthy again, to make sure she enjoys her birthday, to get her away from Angelus...They would be adorable if they weren't so terrifying.
A smaller, but just as heartwarming Giles moment, when Buffy returns from Los Angeles in "Dead Man's Party." After settling in she goes to find her friends and they head to Giles house. While Xander, Willow and Buffy joke in his living room Giles goes to the kitchen to get tea. While there he listens to them laughing in the next room, takes off his glasses, leans against his cabinets and smiles.
For reference, note that in Season 1 Buffy's death is revealed to be Giles's greatest nightmare. One can only imagine what he went through that summer, only to find her alive and well in the fall. I'd smile too.
In Wesley's first appearance ("Bad Girls" in the third season), when Buffy begins to report to Giles on her patrols, Wesley tells Buffy that Giles is no longer her Watcher and the only reason she should need to talk to Giles is about overdue book fees. Buffy turns to Giles.
Buffy: "We'll talk?"
Giles: "Of course."
The ending of "Amends." Buffy tries to stop Angel from killing himself by standing in sunlight. Out of nowhere, it starts snowing, and the sun doesn't come out that day. The episode ends with Buffy and Angel walking through the snow holding hands.
For that matter, Willow tries to make up with Oz after she was with Xander. After several rejections he does, which leads her to pull out all the stops in a bid to seduce him. Despite Barry White, low lighting and a Little Red Dress, he turns her down, but it was a much needed CMOH after, y'know, the previousepisode.
Similarly, any scene with Faith and Mayor Wilkins in season three. This one is both heartwarming and weird, considering that the Mayor is the Big Bad.
"I have two words that are going to make all the pain go away: Miniature. Golf." (Faith cracks up)
Bonus points for the Mayor here, since your typical Evil Overlord would be delivering a You Have Failed Me, since what has Faith so upset is not just that she was tricked, but that she revealed information the Mayor wanted hidden in the process. Instead, he shows he cares more about her feelings than the threat to his plans.
Faith boasting about jumping of the quarry. This is what really shows the relationship they have.
Buffy, Xander and Giles all hugging Willow in "Doppelgangland".
After Angel acts like he's been turned back into Angelus and Buffy needs some time to deal.
Angel: You still my girl?
Toward the end of the third-season episode "Choices," Buffy is depressed that she's forced to stay in Sunnydale. Willow ends up approaching her and starts talking to her. During the conversation, Willow casually reveals that she's going to UC Sunnydale and shows Buffy that she's still going to have her best friend by her side. Cue tackle/hug from Buffy and some sweet romantic friendship moments.
Buffy gets a CMOH, as well as a CMOA and CMOF, in The Prom. Hurting from Angel breaking up with her, she is disinterested in a student, Tucker, training hell hounds to attack the prom, until the Scoobies begin getting scared and upset about their night being ruined, driving Buffy to action.
"You guys are gonna have a prom. The kind of prom that everyone should have. I'm gonna give you all a nice, fun, normal evening... if I have to kill every single person on the face of the Earth to do it."
Xander keeping Cordelia's secret about being broke and even going so far as to buy her dress for her. Even though they had really disliked each other and had a destructive romance earlier, Xander still sympathizes for her.
Shortly followed by Buffy admitting to Giles that Angel is leaving. Giles' response is just...well, there's a reason it's on this page.
Giles (looking truly crestfallen): Oh, Buffy, I'm sorry. (pause) I don't really know what to say. (beat) Um, I understand that this sort of thing requires...ice cream, sometimes.
Jonathan giving Buffy the "Class Protector" award in "The Prom."
Jonathan: We have one more award to give out. Is Buffy Summers here tonight? Did she, um . . . This is actually a new category. First time ever. I guess there were a lot of write-in ballots, and, um, the prom committee asked me to read this. "We're not good friends. Most of us never found the time to get to know you, but that doesn't mean we haven't noticed you. We don't talk about it much, but it's no secret that Sunnydale High isn't really like other high schools. A lot of weird stuff happens here. [Crowd outbursts: "Zombies!" "Hyena people!" "Snyder!"] But, whenever there was a problem or something creepy happened, you seemed to show up and stop it. Most of the people here have been saved by you, or helped by you at one time or another. We're proud to say that the Class of '99 has the lowest mortality rate of any graduating class in Sunnydale history. And we know at least part of that is because of you. So the senior class, offers its thanks, and gives you, uh, this. It's from all of us, and it has written here, 'Buffy Summers, Class Protector.'"
"The Prom", after Buffy is named 'Class Protector', when Giles finds her.
Giles: You did good work tonight, Buffy.
Buffy: (holding award) And I got a little toy surprise!
Giles: Yes, I had no idea children, en masse, could be...gracious.
Buffy: Every now and then, people surprise you.
Giles: ...Every now and then.
He then takes the trophy and nods behind her...and there's Angel in a tux, come to dance with her.
Before the Prom itself, when Buffy has sent them all packing, Giles has one of his typical "I'm basically Buffy's father" moments when he realises that Angel has left her. Perfectly handled, and a brilliant example of their relationship at its finest.
Especially when you consider that Giles has more reason than Xander to hate Angel and think he's nothing but bad news for his Slayer; all that matters to him is that Buffy is in pain.
It's small, really really small, but in Graduation Day, Part 1, the scene with Xander coming in late to class and the teacher chastising his students for taking it easy after finals, and talking about how this is still a classroom- right before he starts playing a game of hangmen with his students and laughing. It's just a footnote of the whole episode, but I think it shows that the bonds between teacher and student that we rarely see in this series.
A very small moment at the end of "Graduation Day, Part 2." In the aftermath of the battle and the school being blown up, Giles tells Buffy how proud he is of her for leading everyone and ultimately stopping the Mayor, which in itself is quite heartwarming. Giles then proceeds to pull out Buffy's diploma, which he personally salvaged from the wreckage, and hands it to her, telling her that even if might not mean much to her, she's more than earned it. Buffy's facial expression is what sells the moment though as it becomes clear that it is important to her, especially since it's coming from Giles.
Anything with Willow and Oz. Especially the animal crackers.
Oz: Would it help if I panic? Willow: Yes, it'd be swell! Panic is something people can share in times of crisis, and we could all die tomorrow so if you would just act like you care—-[he kisses her]—what are you doing? Oz: Panicking.
After the events of "Lover's Walk" (re: discovering Xander and Willow making out), Cordelia has been rather frosty towards the Scooby Gang. In "Helpless," Buffy has just learned that Giles was responsible (on order of the Watcher's Council) of drugging her and dampening her Slayer powers. She asks Cordelia (who has no idea of all of this) for a ride home in a voice that simply screams pain and desperation. Without hesitation, Cordelia agrees.
In Helpless, Buffy's real father abandons her on her birthday, and she learns that Giles has drugged her. Both father figures in her life, from her perspective, have betrayed her. However, Giles proves his love to Buffy yet again by attempting to take her place in the council's test. Putting himself in grave danger in the process and losing his position. As the end of the episode, Quentin Travers makes Giles's feelings for Buffy quite clear: "You have a father's love for the child, and that is useless to the cause".
Xander: "You're my hero."
Buffy asking Giles to walk her down the aisle in "Something Blue".
The moment in "Hush", when Buffy and Willow come in, and Giles just puts his hand on Buffy's shoulder and squeezes it and gives her a big smile, showing relief and love and reassurance all at the same time. Willow also tries to get in on the action, but doesn't quite get it.
Willow writing "Hi, Giles" in "Hush".
Another one from "Hush" - before the Gentlemen roll into town, Anya and Xander were fighting because she thought he only cared about the sex, while he was unable to find the words to tell her it wasn't like that. Later, when everyone's voices have been stolen, Xander mistakenly thinks Spike had somehow beaten his chip and been drinking from Anya, and promptly starts beating the shit out of Spike. His relief and hug when he sees Anya is okay, and the look on Anya's face as she realizes she was wrong and he does care for her deeply, are too sweet for words.
Same episode, Willow and Tara's first meeting.
... why ?!? The first meeting is them being the only real witches in a meeting of ignorant Wiccas. The second time is when the two are running from their doom, in the end combining their magic powers to protect them. Which can be counted as a CMOH, but only in hindsight, if you know what will happen later.
When she and Willow get together and Tara says, "I am, you know." "What?" "Yours."
And its so soft spoken and offhand that its easy to miss if you dont carefully pay attention. Many people dont realize Willow and Tara are a loverpair until much later.
Also from "Who Are You?"
Tara: I'd have to be your anchor, keep you on this plane.
Willow: I trust you.
Tara: I-it's not like anything we've ever-
Willow: I trust you.
When Willow reveals her love for Tara at the end of "New Moon Rising."
Willow: No candles? Well, I brought one. It's extra flamey. Tara, I have to tell you...
Tara: No, I-I understand. You have to be with the person you l-love.
Willow: I am.
Tara: You mean...?
Willow: I mean. Okay?
Tara: Oh, yes.
Willow: I feel horrible about everything I put you through. A-and I'm gonna make it up to you. Starting right now.
Tara: Right now? [Willow smiles and nods. Tara blows out the candle]
The Mayor's postmortem video journal message to Faith in season 4, especially. To think that the man who devoted his entire life to become an immortal snake demon at the cost of hundreds or thousands of lives over a century would care about a glorified minion so much that in his own twisted way he tried to ensure that even without him she could have a better life. Also, when Faith was in a coma, he actually swore the only time in the entire season - and his own impending death couldn't get anything but "well, gosh" out of him!
The fact that Buffy can recognize Giles by his eyes even when he's turned into a Fyarl demon. (Season 4, A New Man)
Also in 'A New Man', when the Scoobies think Giles has been kidnapped. Buffy goes after the one lead they have, telling Willow and Xander to stay and man the phone in case there's a ransom call. "Give them anything they want."
"Primeval" - as the gang is breaking into the Initiative HQ, Buffy and Willow resolve their growing apart and they end up hugging. When Xander meets up, they include him in the hug.
Buffy: Let's promise to never not talk again.
Willow: I promise, I promise. (they hug)
(Xander lands in between them, and they both glomp him)
Xander: (busts out in an ecstatic grin) Giles! Hurry up! You definitely wanna get down here for this!
Kind of falls into all the seasons she appears in, but Tara's character growth alone qualifies. Watch her go from a shy and uncertain young woman to someone with confidence all through her relationship with Willow and, by extension, the Scoobies. Especially shown in the frumpy clothing she starts off wearing changing into flattering outfits.
Willow telling Buffy that she's a lesbian in "New Moon Rising" is a really nice moment, thanks to both Sarah and Alyson's acting and the way the scene is written. Buffy is surprised and understandably uncomfortable at first, but once she gets over the shock (which doesn't take too long), she's completely supportive.
When Buffy asks Giles to be her Watcher again at the beginning of season five.
The moment in "Family", when the whole Scoobie gang stands up for Tara against her bigoted, abusive relatives, even though she earlier deceived them and put them in danger. Best part? "The whole gang" included Spike!
Xander: You're dealing with all of us. Spike: 'Cept me. Xander: 'Cept Spike. Spike: I don't care what happens.
Except he does. You wouldn't think that punching someone in the face would qualify as an MOH but he does it to prove that she's not a demon and at the cost of considerable pain to himself at that.
The whole last ten minutes of "Family".
Mr. Maclay: This is insane. You people have no right to interfere with Tara's affairs! We are her blood kin! Who the hell are you?
Buffy:[quietly] We're family.
Buffy's "If you want her, Mr. Maclay, you can go ahead and take her." And for a second you can't believe what she just said, and Tara's heart visibly shatters at that final rejection... and then "...You just gotta go through me," and that soft, gentle musical theme picks up, and the look on Tara's face... the hope, that incredulous look like this is all she's ever wanted, for someone to choose her and protect her just the way she is. That whole exchange is possibly the most beautiful thing Joss Whedon will ever create.
Mr. Maclay: What?
Buffy: You heard me. You wanna take Tara out of here against her will, you gotta come through me.
Dawn: And me.
Watching all the Scoobies, one by one, fall into place behind Tara. Even Spike.
Culminates in an extra piece of powerful Heartwarming for Xander that doubles as a CMOA. Donny furiously steps forward, and in a blink-and-you'll miss it moment, Tara cringes. She's more openly terrified of her brother than of any other monster before or after that scene, which says a lot about how he treated her. Out of all the Scoobies, it's Xander who shuts him up.
Donny: Dad! You... You're gonna just...?! [stalking forward] Tara, if you don't get in that van I swear by god I will beat you down.
This is leaving out the best part: during this scene, they all think Tara is a demon. Her family has spent the entire episode drilling into her head that they're the only ones who will be willing to spend time with her once she "changes", that her friends will abandon her the minute they find out, that she's worthless and should be grateful that her father and brother are willing to give her a home and keep her "problem" under control. And then the Scoobies stand up for her without blinking an eye; they couldn't care less if Tara's a demon, because they love her and the idea that they would reject her over something that she can't change is utterly ridiculous. Tara is experiencing real, unconditional love for the first time since her mother died. Damn right they're family, you son of a bitch.
In "Fool For Love."
Buffy: "Why didn't the Watchers keep fuller accounts of [the Slayers' deaths]? The journals just stop."
Giles: "Well, I suppose if they're anything like me, they just find the whole subject too-"
Buffy: "Unseemly? Damn. Love ya but you Watchers are such prigs sometimes."
Giles: "'Painful'... I was going to say."
The ending. Spike goes to kill Buffy...but finds her sitting on the steps outside, crying after having been told her mother needs to stay the night in hospital. You can tell by the expression on his face that all thoughts of killing her are gone.
The way Tara tends to play with Willow's fingers makes me melt. Very small, but very beautiful.
Any Spike-Dawn interaction.
From "Into The Woods": After an emotional confrontation with Buffy, Xander goes home and tells Anya what's what.
Xander: "I've gotta say something, 'cause I don't think I've made it clear. I'm in love with you. Powerfully, painfully in love. The things you do, the way you think, the way you move... I get excited every time I'm about to see you. You make me feel like I've never felt before in my life. Like a man. I just thought you might wanna know."
Joyce, about to go into life-threatening surgery, asking Buffy point blank if Dawn is really her daughter... and upon being told "no" telling Buffy she doesn't care, and begging Buffy to take care of her as her own daughter anyway. And Buffy agreeing.
The end of "Blood Ties," when Buffy tells Dawn that even if Dawn is the Key, she's also Buffy's sister.
Back in season 5, after Riley has left Buffy:
Buffy: Maybe I could change. You know, I could, I could work harder. I could spend less time slaying, I could laugh at his jokes, I mean, men like that, right, the, the joke-laughing-at? Xander: Or you could just be Buffy, and he'll see your amazing heart, and he'll fall in love with you.
The end of "Checkpoint," where Buffy stands up to the entire friggin' Watcher's Council, belongs more in CMOA, but the support she shows her friends during her speech, especially Xander.
When Joyce died and Anya gives a speech about how she doesn't understand how humans deal with death and how Joyce will never have any more fruit punch. It was just such a great moment watching Anya cope with human emotions and grief.
The gentle, fatherly way Giles comforts Buffy throughout this episode, running to hold her while she's in shock after he realizes what's happened, and later, at the hospital, taking care of all the paperwork that needs to be done so that Buffy doesn't have to be disturbed. There are no grand gestures, but he still seems so much like a parent.
It's somewhere between CMOH and Tear Jerker, but Angel showing up in "Forever" to be with Buffy after Joyce's death:
Buffy: It's gonna be light soon.
Angel: I can stay in town as long as you want me.
Buffy: How's forever? Does forever work for you?
Even Spike, despite still being evil and not really part of the group at this point, gets one. He turns up to the house and Xander angrily dismisses him, thinking he's using it as an excuse to hit on Buffy. Spike indignantly states that he is there to pay his respects because Joyce treated him like a human being, regardless of what he did. Xander still doesn't believe him until he goes and leaves behind an anonymous bouquet of flowers.
Giles listening to the record that he and Joyce listened to in "Band Candy," also being a Tear Jerker (but what isn't in relation to Joyce's death?).
"Intervention." Where the soulless demon was willing to let himself be tortured to death to spare Dawn, not because there was anything in it for him, but simply because it would have hurt someone he cared for.
Spike: Buffy... the other, not-so-pleasant Buffy... If anything happened to Dawn, it'd destroy her. And I couldn't live, her being in that much pain. Let Glory kill me first. Nearly bloody did. Buffy kisses Spike, revealing herself as the real Buffy, instead of the Buffybot.
Buffy: [...] What you did for me and Dawn, that was real. I won't forget it.
The end of "Tough Love," when Willow promises to take care of Tara even if she never regains her sanity, because "she's my girl. She's my always."
Doctor:"She's your sister?"
Willow:"She's my everything."
Also, in "The Gift," Willow healing Tara is both this and an Awesome Moment. "I will always find you."
Spike's reaction to Brainsucked!Tara yanking up the shade in "Spiral:"
Spike:No biggie. Look, the skin's already stopped smoking. You go ahead and play...peek-a-boo with Mister Sunshine all you like.
From "The Gift"
Buffy: I'm counting on you. To protect [Dawn].
Spike: Till the end of the world. Even if that happens to be tonight.
Giles is trying to steel Buffy for the possibility of having to kill Dawn, describing the end of the universe that would occur if she doesn't. Buffy's having none of it.
"Then the last thing she will see is me protecting her."
Whatever faults she may have, Buffy was the greatest sister anybody could ever wish for.
When Buffy chooses to throw herself into the portal instead of letting Dawn do it? I cried.
Buffy: Dawn, listen to me. Listen. I love you. I will *always* love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles... tell Giles I figured it out. And, and I'm okay. And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world... is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me.
Buffy's gravestone. "She saved the world. A lot." The first line is touching enough, but only the Scoobies would have the second line on an epitaph.
While watching the episode, it's pretty creepy and unsettling, but in retrospect, the lengths Willow was willing to go to to get Buffy back qualify as CMOH. It was obvious that she would cross any line, sink to any depth, endure any agony, accept any horror, compromise any principle, risk any corruption by dark magic, if it meant saving Buffy from hell. Not very pure or moral, but the sheer amount of love palpable in her demeanor, especially during the ritual and her breakdown when she thinks she failed, is astounding. Plus, the bit earlier on, when Tara and Xander voice some concerns about the possible risks, and her only response is a blank stare and a "...but it's Buffy".
Spike and Dawn throughout the same episode. Spike tells Dawn in no uncertain terms that he is going to keep her safe, which teeters on the edge of Tear Jerker territory when you see the sheer amount of guilt on his face. And then later in the second half of the episode when he holds her hands and calms her after he sees how scared she is of the Hellions.
And earlier in "Bargaining" when Giles leaves, slipping out unseen so as not to cause a fuss. On finding his note, the Scoobies rush to the airport to wish him a proper goodbye.
Dawn taking care of the recently resurrected Buffy in After Life.
The "Every night I save you" conversation from After Life.
Spike's reaction to Buffy in After Life. At first he's shocked, then it's obvious he's happy to see her (the slight smile sells it), before he helps Dawn take care of her.
Moments before that he'd come bursting through the door to find Dawn with obvious big brother worry on his face, and is genuinely relieved to see her OK. "You scared me half to death. Well, more to death."
Buffy lying about what happened to her while she was dead, trying to make her friends happy despite the incredible pain they've put her through.
Buffy:(to the Scoobies) I was in Hell. I ... I can't think too much about what it was like. But it felt like the world abandoned me there. Then, suddenly, you guys ... did what you did. And the world cam rushing back. You guys gave me the world. I can't tell you what that means to me.
Although its immediately followed by the Tear Jerker of Buffy's revelation of having been ripped out of Heaven, the first half of the conversation with Spike she has at the end of After Life is a Heartwarming moment simply because of the sheer amount of compassion that Spike, the soulless vampire, is channelling here. James Marsters acts the hell out of this scene.
Spike: Buff... Slayer... are you OK?
Buffy: (insincerely) I'm here. I'm good.
Spike: Buffy. If you're in... if you're in pain. Or if you need anything. Or if I can do anything for you...
Buffy: You can't.
The moment between Buffy and Giles when he returns in "Flooded".
"Once More, with Feeling" when Spike convinces Buffy she has to keep on living (and in song, no less).
Giles and Spike's "fatherly" hug.
Tara's first words after waking up with no memory in a strange place surrounded by people she doesn't know are not "Where am I?", "Who are you people?" or even "What happened last night?!" The first thing she says is that Willow's name is pretty.
How Buffy instantly starts protecting Dawn, even if both dont remember being sisters. And how quickly they find out:
Dawn: So you dont have a name ? Buffy: Of course I do ! Dawn raises her eyebrow. Buffy: ... I just don't happen to know it ! Dawn: (smiles) You want me to name you ? Buffy: Oh, thats sweet, but I think I can name myself. ... I name me ... Joan ! Dawn: Ugh ! Buffy: What ? ... Did you just "ugh" my name ? Dawn: No ! I ... just ... I mean its so "bla". "Joan" ? Buffy: I like it. I feel like a "Joan" ! Dawn: Fine. Thats your purgative. Buffy: Perogative. Dawn: Whatever, "Joan" ! Buffy: Whatever, "Umad" ! Dawn (same time as Buffy): Boy, you're bossy ! Buffy (same time as Dawn): Boy, you're a pain in the ... They look at each other. Dawn: You think we're .. ? Buffy: (smiles) Sisters ? (They smile and hug)
The moments in "Entropy" where Buffy and Dawn are just bonding. Especially when Buffy makes a joke about Dawn technically being one and a half. You can tell that Buffy has coped with her death and resurrection and Dawn is fine with her origins. It's just... heartwarming.
A brief moment in Dead Things when Xander and Willow run into Tara as she's leaving the Magic Box - Xander makes his way inside, but before leaving gives Tara a little smile that means nothing more than "It's nice to see you again." For Tara, having left Willow behind and all of the Scoobies, it's nice to see that there's no bitterness whatsoever.
Probably only one for those who don't think Dawn's The Scrappy, but in Older and Far Away when they all finally get released after spending two days in the house, everyone leaves and marvels at seeing the sky again . . . except for Buffy, who voluntarily stays inside to be with Dawn.
Willow and Tara, right up to the bitter end.
Tara: There's just so much to work through. Trust has to be built again on both sides. You have to learn if—if we're even the same people we were. If you can fit in each other's lives. It's a long and important process, and can we just skip it? Can you just be kissing me now?
Another one for Tara: when Buffy goes to her for help she's nothing but supportive, even when Buffy is begging not to be forgiven for all the horrible things she had done. Tara watches out for Buffy in regards to the Spike romance (as opposed to thinking she's nuts when a Spuffy romance was hinted at earlier) while subtly protecting her from Spike.
In "Seeing Red", Dawn's reaction to finding out that Willow and Tara are back together is utterly adorable.
That episode also has this sweet exchange between Xander and Buffy:
Xander: I don't know what I'd do ... without you and Will.
Buffy: (teary) Let's not find out.
After Tara's death, Willow loads up on dark magic. Does she go after Warren at this point? No, she goes to the hospital, where Buffy is critical after being shot, and uses magic to save her life. Willow then uses the bullet used on Buffy to torture Warren.
The bit at the end of season six in "Grave," when Giles has not just had a Crowning Moment Of Awesome, which already makes you very pro-Giles, but in the midst of all the trauma and drama, he suddenly stops and looks at Buffy and says "You cut your hair!" Both are just tiny moments that make it clear a) how strong the bond is between Buffy and Giles and b) what a fricking awesome actor Tony Head is. As in "Hush", someone else (Anya) wants what Buffy has with Giles, and doesn't quite get it.
Giles and Buffy catching up and laughing off a year's worth of intense psychological trauma in the season six finale.
Anya's reaction to Giles coming is rather sweet too. When Giles turns and comments on Buffy's hair and they hug, Anya timidly mentions that she's blonde now, clearly wanting attention from Giles, who hugs her too.
For the entirety of Season 6, Buffy is mired in her own angst, self-absorbed and neglectful of her sister; much of that same season, Dawn behaves like a prototypical Annoying Younger Sibling (shoplifting, running with the wrong crowd, etc). Then, in the season finale's final act ("Grave"), the two women find themselves alone—and surrounded by a horde of demons. Trapped, Buffy has no choice but to throw Dawn a sword and ask her to fight. Dawn takes a hit and goes down, losing her sword; Buffy sees her fall, but is unable to help. Then, just as the demon moves in for another attack on Dawn... she somersault-rolls past it (in a very Buffy-like move) and lands next to her sword—which she uses to decapitate the beast in a single stroke. Buffy can only stare in disbelief. Also a CMOA for Dawn.
Dawn: (tiny smile) What...you think I never watched you?
Xander saving the world from Dark Willow at the end of season 6 by repeatedly saying "I love you" and standing his ground, enduring her attacks. Also qualifies as a Crowning Moment Of Awesome.
Also, the subsequent scene between Buffy and Dawn.
Buffy: I don't wanna protect you from the world... I wanna show it to you.
James Marsters was so affected by the bathroom scene in "Seeing Red' that he had it placed in his contract that he would NEVER do rape scenes. To this day, he seems to have difficulty talking about the scene. That speaks volumes about who is in real life.
Buffy and Willow healing together at the end of "Same Time, Same Place." In their jammies, no less!
At the beginning of the same episode, Buffy, Dawn, and Xander are waiting to pick up Willow at the airport. Buffy and Dawn are clearly more than a little nervous about what it will be like seeing her again, wondering whether she's really gone back to the way she was and unsure of what to say to her. Xander says, slightly pointedly, that he plans on saying "Hi, Willow." And he's holding a sign saying "Welcome Back, Willow" in yellow crayon.
Before they part ways each in tears at the end of "Selfless," the exchange between Xander and Anya has multiple heartwarming moments back-to-back: Xander showing that all he wants is to just be there for Anya, Anya finally understanding the flaw that's defined her for her entire life, and then taking the first step in creating her own identity.
Xander: Whatever's between us, it doesn't matter. You shouldn't be alone in this.
Anya: Yes I should. My whole life, I've just clung to whatever came along.
Xander: Well, speaking as a clingee, I kinda didn't mind.
Anya: Thanks, for everything... [Xander starts to walk away.] Xander? What if I'm really nobody?
Xander: Don't be a dope.
Anya: I'm a dope?
Anya: Well that's a start.
Buffy telling Dawn not to kill herself over RJ in "Him". Buffy (and Dawn) were under a massively powerful love spell towards RJ during this moment, and yet next to Dawn's life it meant nothing.
Buffy: No guy is worth your life, not ever!
Dawn: RJ is! And don't say he isn't, look what you were willing to do.
Buffy: Dawn, I would give him to you in a second if I could. That's how much you're scaring me.
Dawn: But I-I thought you wanted him for you.
Buffy: Nah. Well, yeah... my God that boy is hot... *shakes her head* Sorry, I think I might be under a spell here.
Wennedy's first kiss showing (in spite of the wackiness that ensued) that even though Willow misses Tara, she's not going to be miserable for the rest of her life, and their second kiss showing her that she doesn't need to feel guilty, that she's not betraying Tara by falling in love again.
Xander's speech to Dawn in season 7's "Potential."
Xander: They'll never know how tough it is, Dawnie, to be the one who isn't chosen. To live so near to the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realizes because nobody's watching me. I saw you last night. I see you working here today. You're not special. You're extraordinary.
Still from "Touched", you wouldn't really expect it, but when The First appears to Faith as The Mayor, it seems that some of the late Big Bad's affection for his former minion still remains
The Mayor: I'll always be with you, firecracker. In everything you do.
Anya & Xander talking it out in "Storyteller". Andrew filmed it and spoke all of Anya's lines.
"I hope you know you'll always be in my heart."
Buffy's speech to Spike in "Never Leave Me"
Buffy: Listen to me. You're not alive because of hate or pain. You're alive because I saw you change. Because I saw your penance... Be easier, wouldn't it, if it were an act? But it's not. You faced the monster inside of you, and you fought back. You risked everything to be a better man. And you can be. You are. You may not see it, but I do. I do. I believe in you, Spike.
This becomes even more heartwarming when Spike later returns the favor in his speech to Buffy from "Touched" (listed below).
Spike's "you're a helluva woman" speech from "Touched".
Spike: You listen to me. I've been alive a bit longer than you, and dead a lot longer than that. I've seen things you couldn't imagine and done things I'd prefer you didn't. I don't exactly have a reputation for being a thinker. I follow my blood, which doesn't exactly rush in the direction of my brain. So I make a lot of mistakes. A lot of wrong bloody calls. A hundred plus years and there's only one thing I've ever been sure of. You. Hey, look at me. I'm not asking you for anything. When I say I love you, it's not because I want you, or because I can't have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I've seen your kindness and your strength. I've seen the best and the worst of you... and I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You are a hell of a woman. You're the one, Buffy."
And afterwards, when Buffy asks Spike to stay with her and hold her while she sleeps.
Anya and Andrew's whole scene while getting medical supplies in End of Days. It's just full of genuine sentiment delivered in a brilliant and offbeat way, and features one of the most affecting Patrick Stewart Speeches in Buffyverse history:
Anya: Last time there was an apocalypse, I skedaddled. I was kind of new to being human then. But now, I've been around them a lot more, and I've realized how... screwed up they all are. I mean, really, really screwed up in a monumental fashion. Andrew: Oh. Anya: And they have no purpose that unites them, so they just drift around, blundering through life until they die. Which they know is coming and yet every single one of them is surprised when it happens to them. They're incapable of thinking about what they want beyond the moment. They kill each other, which is clearly insane, and yet, here's the thing. When it's something that really matters, they fight. I mean, they're lame morons for fighting, but they do. They never... They never quit. And so I guess I will keep fighting, too. Andrew: That was kind of beautiful. Oh my god, you... you love humans. Anya: I do not. Andrew: Yes you do. You lurrrrrve them. Anya: Shut up! I don't love them and if you tell anyone I'll kill you. Andrew: I'll probably die here anyway. Anya: I don't know, you might make it through. Andrew: No, you might make it through. You know how to handle a weapon, and-and you've been in this world for, like, a thousand years. I'm not so... I don't think I'll be okay. I'm cool with it. I think I'd like to finish out as one of those lame humans trying to do what's right. Anya: Yeah [pause] Andrew: So, wheelchair fight? [shot of them having a wheelchair fight]
Though this scene is rather sad as well, seeing as how Anya dies saving Andrew in the finale, the very next episode.
A somewhat dark one for Wolves at the Gate. Throughout the season Buffy had been trying to steer Xander and Renee together. When it looks like it might happen Renee is brutally murdered, after Buffy had declared war for the death of another Slayer. After Xander kills the vampire responsible Buffy orders every last one of them slaughtered, while trying to comfort Xander.
Dracula declaring that Xander was not alone in the battle and going borderline Papa Wolf also counts.
In Predators and Prey after Andrew apologizes to Buffy for screwing up and lying to her, she tells him she was only mad at him for lying, and that he should get used to screwing up since he's part of the family now.
Connor: "But I don't need fake happy memories. I've made enough real ones. Thanks to you. You gave me what I needed until I could stand on my own. That's what a parent does, right? A good one, anyway."
When Buffy thinks she's pregnant she seeks out Robin, as his mother was a Slayer. He tells her what that was like and explains how Buffy is better, and that perhaps she should have the baby, if she allows her friends to help.
Meanwhile Detective Dowling arranges for Spike to show him the world of vampires. They end up talking about Buffy, and after several questions Spike shoots down the idea of them still being in a relationship, before guessing the detective fancies Buffy, and says he would want her with no one else but someone who has shown to be a genuine Nice Guy.
From Family Reunion
"And I'd sell my soul to have my dad love me like you love Connor."
Giles's Aunts who's defining characteristics are selfishness and vanity helping the people of London who are mutating due to magic is a very sweet moment.