Title: Hidden Truths
Timeline: Post Series, AU.
Synopsis: Buffy goes to England to see Giles after the near apocalypse that was diverted by Angel, Spike, and the others in Los Angeles. Will they admit their true feelings for one another?
Giles took a sip of his lukewarm tea, grimacing before he roughly placed the mug back onto the coaster on his desk. He sighed heavily, removing his glasses before dragging his hand across his face. The last two weeks had been rather horrible, though he hadn’t known the full extent of the losses until two days ago.
Angel had called to break the news of Wesley’s death. In fact, the only three of the team in Los Angeles to survive had been Angel, Illyria, and Spike. According to Angel, it had been an extremely close call…but somehow the three of them had been able to avert an apocalypse.
Giles found it strange to feel a deep sense of gratitude to the three, but he did. He wondered about Illyria, almost felt a sense of sympathy for her. She had developed a dependence on Wesley. Once the battle was over, she found it easier to just leave. Giles suspected that the Old One had actually fallen in love with Wesley. Neither Angel nor Spike knew where she had gone.
Now, Angel and Spike were in Alaska hunting down a tribe of demons that were feeding on the Eskimos. At least, that’s what Angel had told Giles. Giles found it difficult to believe that the two vampires were willingly staying together. He briefly wondered if there was more to their relationship than he had originally been told but he pushed that thought to the back of his mind.
It wasn’t his business. And, if he were honest with himself, he really didn’t want to know.
Wesley’s death had come as a shock to Giles. Wesley had changed drastically over the years, and not all for the better. Giles blamed Angel for that fact. But, Giles had been proud of Wesley. He had left the Council and hadn’t looked back, not even when Quentin Travers had begged him to join forces with Buffy and himself once more.
Giles was secretly glad that Wesley had turned Travers down. Being a Watcher hadn’t come naturally to Wesley…he wasn’t bred into the role as Giles had been. But, he had more than made up for his past, Wesley had died trying to save the world…and Giles could only respect him for his efforts.
“Is that really a computer I see on your desk?”
Giles looked up quickly, his thoughts interrupted by a very familiar voice. A slow smile appeared on his face as he pushed his chair back and stood, walking around his desk.
“Willow has found it immensely amusing as well. I must admit, it does make keeping track of the Slayers much easier. However…if you repeat that to her, I will deny it with every fibre of my being.”
Buffy chuckled and stepped further into his office, almost hesitantly. And then she looked into Giles’ eyes and nearly ran into his arms. As she pressed her cheek against his chest, he wrapped his arms around her and sighed softly.
“I know I didn’t schedule an appointment…”
He chuckled and rubbed her back soothingly. “You are the only Slayer who doesn’t require an appointment.”
She stepped back and looked up at him. “Is that because I’m your favourite?”
“Yes.” He answered without hesitation, before smiling and continuing. “And because of the fact that you wouldn’t bother to make an appointment anyway. And if by some miracle you did make an appointment, you’d either be late or – ”
“Funny, Giles.” Her smile faded as she noticed the weariness in his eyes. “How are you?”
“In all honesty, I’ve been better.” He cleared his throat and sat down on the edge of his desk. “But, then…I’ve been a hell of a lot worse. All in all, I’d say I’m fair. And you? When did you arrive in London?”
“I’m good…and I got in about an hour ago. I would’ve been here sooner, but I had to take care of some things before I could leave.”
Giles nodded slowly. “And Dawn?”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “In love…with Rome, with school, with…Marco. She sends her love and said to tell you that she misses you.”
Giles swallowed and lowered his eyes for a brief moment. “It’s been far too long since I’ve seen either of you.”
“We talk every week.” Buffy offered before exhaling slowly. “But, it’s not the same. And Dawn isn’t the only one who misses you, you know.”
Giles looked back up and smiled. “I miss you too. Um…both of you.”
A somewhat comfortable silence fell over them for a few minutes before Buffy spoke again.
“Listen, I know it’s kinda early, but…since you’re the big boss and all…how about we go for a drink and catch up?”
Giles nodded and pushed himself off the desk. “I think that sounds like the best idea I’ve heard all day.”
Buffy smiled brightly and shifted the bag draped over her shoulder.
* * *
She narrowed her eyes suspiciously as Giles placed a glass in front of her. “What’s this?”
He sat down across the table from her and took a sip from his glass. “Stout. And try it before you mock it.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow as Giles pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his jacket pocket and shook one out. “You’re allowed to smoke in bars in England?”
He smiled and reached into his pocket for a lighter. “This is a pub, not a bar. And if there are ashtrays on the tables, then you’re free to smoke.”
He tapped the glass tray with his lighter to prove his point. She rolled her eyes and took a sip of her drink, fully prepared to hate it. She murmured a sound of appreciation as he lit a cigarette and took a deep drag.
She eyed him carefully and took another drink. “Why did you start smoking again?”
He grinned and tapped his ashes into the ashtray. “I never stopped, Buffy. I just don’t smoke frequently.” He gestured around the room with his free hand. “This…is one of my guilty pleasures. Of which, I have few, mind you.”
When she saw Giles glance towards the bar, she followed his gaze and shook her head. “You come here often?”
“Hm?” He returned his eyes to hers and shrugged his shoulder. “Once a fortnight, maybe.”
Buffy cast a quick glance back at the woman standing at the bar who was currently staring unabashedly at Giles. “Ever leave alone?”
Giles snorted and took another drag. “I leave alone more often than I leave with someone else.”
Buffy waggled her eyebrows playfully. “But, you do leave with women sometimes?”
Giles stared at her for a second and then pointed at her glass with his cigarette. “Finish your drink, Buffy.”
She grinned and lifted her glass to her lips, quickly swallowing half of the contents. Giles chuckled and motioned to the bartender for two more.
* * *
“You ‘member the time Wes decided to re’range your books?” Buffy asked drunkenly.
Giles grinned broadly, nodding as he finished off his fourth drink. “He did that but once. Never again.” He looked up as the bartender placed two more glasses on the table. “Ta.”
Buffy leaned forward, resting her elbows on the table. “You sound more English when you’re drunk.”
Giles raised his glass in a silent toast and took another drink. Buffy shook her head in amusement, running her finger through the condensation on her glass.
“He was good, wasn’t he? I mean…under the complete dorkiness…he was a good guy.”
Giles’ smile faded somewhat. “Yes. Yes, he was. A little misguided, perhaps. Pushed into doing something he really didn’t want to do. But, yeah…he was good.”
“I think Faith fucked ‘im.” Buffy blurted.
Giles’ eyes widened and he choked on a mouthful of the ale that the bartender had brought this time. “Buffy!”
Buffy giggled and shrugged her shoulders. “Sorry. I do though. I really think she did. She said something one time ‘bout Slayers gettin’ down n’ dirty with their Watchers.” She tilted her head slightly and looked at him. “Wasn’t her first Watcher a woman?”
“Mm-hm.” Giles mumbled.
“Int’restin’. You reckon she had somethin’ goin’ on with her too?”
Giles cleared his throat and drained his glass. “I think…we should find something else to talk about.”
“Do most Watchers have a more physical thing with their Slayers?” She asked, smiling drunkenly as she ran her finger up and down the side of the glass.
His eyes darted to her finger as he shrugged a shoulder. “I’m sure I’ve no idea. Some do, I suppose.”
Giles lit another cigarette, taking a drag as he shook his head. “No. No, we didn’t.”
Buffy leaned forward, grabbing Giles’ lighter and spinning it on the table. “You were Faith’s Watcher for a while.”
“No. I was her Guardian for a brief time, not her…” He narrowed his eyes and tapped his ashes into the ashtray. “Are you really asking if I slept with Faith?”
Buffy pushed the lighter across the table and sat back up. “I dunno. Did ya?”
Giles stared at her, shaking his head as the smoke from the cigarette wound around his head. “No, I most certainly did not.”
“She woulda fucked ya, ya know. Told me so herself.” She sat back in her chair and crossed her arms over her chest. “Ya never thought ‘bout it?”
Giles snorted and inhaled a lungful of smoke. “No. I prefer the women I share my bed with to be a little less homicidal.”
Buffy glanced back at the bar, only to find another woman staring at Giles with a look of lust in her eyes. “You know her?”
“Hm? Who?” He turned his head and gave the woman a small smile before turning back to Buffy. “Knew her once.”
Buffy grinned and propped her head up with her palm, resting her elbow on the scarred table top. “Is she one of the women you’ve left with before?”
He picked up his glass, scowling when he found it empty. He dropped it back onto the table and sighed heavily. “She is.”
“Do ya wanna leave with her again?”
He shook his head, seriously considering ordering another drink. “I’m here with you, Buffy.”
“And if ya weren’t here with me?”
He caught the bartender’s eye and motioned for two more stouts to be brought over. “I have a rule. If I leave here with someone, it’s for one night. And one night only. I make that point very clear. I don’t exchange phone numbers, I don’t tell them where I work, I don’t take them to my home, and I don’t go to their homes.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow. “Where do ya take ‘em then?”
Giles chuckled, nodding a silent thank you to the bartender as he placed two glasses on the table. “Have you seen how many hotels there are around here?”
Buffy took a long sip of her beer. “Mm-hm.”
“I get a room, we have sex…she either stays or goes afterwards. It doesn’t matter which. It’s not a relationship I’m looking for when I leave with someone.”
“What is it then?”
Giles sighed and lifted his glass. “I can’t believe I’m discussing this with you.”
“Me either. Muss be the beer.” She grinned as she took another drink. “So…what is it?”
“A night to forget what I do, who I am. It’s a chance for me to be someone other than Rupert Giles, Head of the Council of Watchers, one-time Watcher to the most successful Slayer in all of history.”
Buffy smiled warmly. “You’ll always be my Watcher, Giles. Always…you’re mine.”
Giles crushed out his cigarette, dropping the butt into the ashtray as picked up his glass. He drained the contents quickly and took a deep breath.
“Perhaps…we should call it a night.”
She nodded and finished off her own beer. “I hope you’re not planning on walkin’, ‘cause…I’m not sure I can.”
He laughed, pushing his chair back to stand up. “Too far to walk. That’s why God invented taxis.”
Buffy snorted as she stood, leaning against his side as he wrapped his arm around her.
Giles hailed a taxi, smiling at Buffy as he held the door open for her. She climbed into the back seat and grinned back as he slid in next to her. When he gave the driver the address for the Council, she furrowed her brow.
“Why are we going there?”
“I assume you have some luggage of some sort that you stashed there before coming to my office?”
She chuckled softly. “Yeah. Is at the front desk. So…we get it an’ then drop me off at one of these hotels – ”.
She halted her sentence at his glare. “What?”
“I’ll not have you staying at some hotel while you’re in London. I have three guest rooms that are perfectly suitable for accommodating…guests.”
“Ya sure? I mean, I don’ mind…”
“Buffy…” He reached over and took her hand, gently squeezing it before letting go. “You are more than welcome to stay…for as long as you want…you know this.”
The driver glanced at the couple through the rearview mirror. He grinned in amusement as he navigated the still busy streets.
Buffy smiled at Giles and gave him a nod. “Okay. Thanks!”
Giles returned her smile and settled back against the seat.
* * *
Giles unlocked the door and pushed it open for Buffy. Picking up the two bags, he followed her inside and kicked the door shut. When she looked up at him, he gestured towards the hall with a tilt of his head.
“Your room is the first on the right. Bathroom is third on the left.”
He chuckled as she took off down the hall, bypassing the room that she would be staying in. He placed her bags in the bedroom before making his way to the kitchen. He normally had tea when he came home and he didn’t see why tonight should be any different.
He smiled as he pulled a canister of freshly ground coffee from the cabinet. Buffy would drink tea if she had to, but he knew that she always preferred coffee. He flipped the switch on the kettle and prepared the plunger, adding an extra scoop of coffee grounds. She liked hers a little on the strong side, from what he remembered.
As the water boiled, he grabbed two mugs from the mug rack and leaned against the counter. It was nice having Buffy in his home. He’d missed her…more than she would ever know.
He made a silent vow to spend more time with her. It wouldn’t hurt for him to make a few trips to Rome and he could afford to spend a little more money on international phone calls. He enjoyed being able to sit down with her and talk like they’d done today. Just talk…not about demons or apocalypses or Hellmouths, but just normal conversation between two friends.
He chuckled softly. He wasn’t sure if he’d classify Buffy asking if he’d ever had sex with Faith as normal conversation…but for them, it very well might be.
The kettle clicked off and he grabbed it, carefully pouring the water into the plunger. He heard the distinct sound of water running through the pipes as he slid the fingers of his right hand through the handles of both mugs. He smiled and picked up the plunger.
It really was nice to have Buffy around.
* * *
Just as Giles placed the plunger and mugs on the coffee table and sat down on the couch, Buffy walked into the living room. She grinned and plopped down next to him.
“You made coffee for me?”
“Mm-hm. You still drink it black, yes?”
She nodded and leaned forward, pushing the plunger down a little. The movement caused the shoulder of her blouse to slip to the side and Giles’ eyes were immediately drawn to the jagged scar that was revealed. He reached out and pulled her back towards him, nearly making her spill the coffee.
He lightly traced the scar with his fingertip. The cut would have been rather deep for it to have scarred this badly.
“What happened?” He asked softly.
“Oh…that’s what happens when you crawl under a barbed wire fence when you’re running from a demon.”
He traced the raised flesh again. “Wouldn’t it have been better to jump over instead of crawling under?”
She laughed gently. “A twelve-foot high barbed-wire fence, Giles.”
“Oh.” He studied the scar carefully, his finger lightly grazing it. “I…didn’t know about this.”
She sighed as he pushed her blouse further to the side, examining the full length of the scar. “You can’t always be there to kiss my bumps and bruises away, Giles.”
He wasn’t sure what possessed him to do so, but he leaned forward and gently brushed his lips across the marred flesh. His warm breath ghosted across her skin as his lips touched each centimetre of the scar. She shuddered lightly and turned her head towards him as he lifted his lips from her skin.
“I actually meant that figuratively.” She whispered huskily.
He stared into her eyes as she turned her body to face him. His gaze quickly darted to her lips before returning to her eyes, noticing that they had darkened slightly. He leaned forward slowly, giving her plenty of time to stop him, but making no effort to disguise what he was planning to do.
Instead of moving away, Buffy met him halfway. Their lips met in the sweetest of kisses. He saw a flicker of hunger in her eyes and repeated the action, allowing his lips to linger this time. After the third kiss, he pulled back and whispered her name.
She responded by covering his mouth with hers in a kiss that quickly escalated into something more carnal than passionate. He groaned and slid his hand into her hair as he plundered her mouth with his tongue.
The coffee was forgotten as Buffy climbed on top of him, straddling him as she started pulling at the buttons of his shirt. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he heard a voice screaming at him to stop. But, as she pushed his shirt open and broke the kiss, staring into his eyes before lowering her mouth to his chest, he tuned the voice out and allowed himself to feel.
* * *
As he sucked a distended nipple into his mouth, it occurred to him that he couldn’t remember how they had gotten into his bedroom. He supposed that he had carried her, her legs wrapped around him as she kissed him desperately. He couldn’t be sure, but that’s what he chose to believe.
He couldn’t even be sure of how their clothes came to be strewn across his bedroom floor. Did they undress one another or just merely rip the garments from their bodies before falling onto the bed together?
When he heard her moan his name, he decided it didn’t matter. His hands roamed over her bare skin as he suckled at her breast. As he slipped his leg between hers and felt her wet heat against his thigh, he groaned against her skin. She gasped sharply at the contact, immediately grinding her hips against him.
He felt her fingers in his hair, her nails scratching at his scalp as he nibbled at her nipple before moving to the other one and giving it the same treatment. When her hand found his erection, her fingers wrapping around the hot flesh, he lifted his head and growled, his hips thrusting of their own accord.
He looked down at her, her skin pink from arousal, and moved until he was kneeling between her spread thighs. Her hand tightened around his cock, stroking him firmly as she stared into his lust-darkened eyes.
“You really need to fuck me now, Giles…” She panted as his hands steadily crept up her torso.
His hands stopped their motion and he stared at her, her words shocking him somewhat. He swallowed and covered the hand stroking him with his.
“Then you should stop that.”
She grinned at him as he removed her hand and leaned over her. Turning her head to the right, she bared her neck to him. He sighed softly as he lowered his mouth to her neck, his erection grasped firmly in his hand as he guided it to her entrance.
He pushed the head in, not going any further as he sucked and licked at her tender flesh. He gripped her hip tightly, keeping her from arching towards him in an attempt to force him further inside. Her nails clawed at his back and when she whimpered his name, he chuckled and pushed himself up.
“You…should work on your patience.”
She glared at him through glazed eyes. “You should work on fucking me instead of teasing me.”
He started to say how beautiful she looked, but bit his tongue instead. That wasn’t what she wanted to hear. With a slow nod, he moved his hands under her knees and raised her hips slightly. He took a deep breath and slammed his hips forward, burying himself within her in one swift thrust.
She cried out as he drew his hips back and he briefly wondered if he had hurt her. That thought was put to ease as her voice rang out in the room.
And so, he thrust into her again just as hard and she lifted her hips as much as she could to meet him. He closed his eyes for a moment, relishing the sensation of her heat surrounding him as he moved at a steady pace with long strokes.
When he felt her nails scrape across his chest and heard her urgent plea for ‘more’, he shortened his strokes and increased his pace. He let go of her legs, groaning as she wrapped them around his hips.
His left hand found its way to her right breast, gently squeezing the firm flesh. “Is this what you want, Buffy?”
“Yes…Giles, yes…” She licked her lips and met his eyes. “Kiss me…fuck my mouth…”
He growled at her words and leaned over her, whispering thickly as he lowered her mouth to hers. “Such language from such a lovely young woman…”
Any reply she was going to give was cut short as he plunged his tongue into her mouth, complying with her demand. He stroked her tongue with his, thrusting rhythmically into her mouth as he brought her closer to orgasm.
When he felt her inner walls begin to spasm around him, he broke the kiss and looked into her eyes. “Come for me…I’m so close, Buffy…come for me…”
She grabbed the back of his neck and pulled him down, latching her mouth onto the side of his neck. He lost his rhythm for a moment as she sucked hard at his skin.
“Christ, Buffy…” He moaned as his fingers rolled her sensitive nipple. “Please, Buffy…come. Let me feel you…let go…”
Her fingers clenched against his neck as her orgasm crashed over her. She removed her mouth from his neck, screaming his name as he continued pounding into her. Her voice rang in his ears, driving him closer to his own climax as he felt her inner muscles convulse once more.
“God…again! Yes, Giles! Don’t…don’t stop…”
He grunted and pushed himself up over her, his hands on either side of her shoulders as he supported his weight. “Buffy…”
She screamed again and this time he was able to watch her as she came. Her body glistening with sweat as she thrashed beneath him…he was sure he had never seen anything as beautiful.
With that thought in mind, he groaned and called her name as his muscles tensed and he came deep within her. His head swam, he wasn’t sure if it was from the alcohol he had consumed or the rush of adrenaline that coursed through him.
He swayed and then collapsed onto the mattress next to her, breathing heavily as she gasped for air. She turned her head to look at him, her body too exhausted to move.
“Mm-hm…dizzy.” He reached over and pulled her closer to him. “But, I’m okay. You?”
She licked her dry lips and took a deep breath. “Yeah…God, that was intense…”
“Mm…” He mumbled, the combination of alcohol and his release quickly overtaking him.
A small smile played at her lips as she watched his eyes close. Stopping herself from brushing a lock of hair back from his forehead, she swallowed and whispered softly.
“I…should go to my room…”
He didn’t open his eyes, but tightened his hold on her as he answered in a hoarse voice. “No. Stay.”
She furrowed her brow, confused at his response but nodded as his arm loosened on her. “Okay.”
It wasn’t long before exhaustion began to take its toll on her as well. She watched him as he fell into a deep sleep before closing her own eyes.
Tomorrow would be awkward…but maybe she could make it a little less awkward for him.
Buffy woke with a dull ache in her head. She opened her eyes and bit her lip as the memories came flooding back. She was lying on her side, her back to him. His arm was resting lightly over her hip...his breath warm against her skin as he continued to sleep.
She carefully shifted, grimacing and realizing that her head wasn’t the only thing that ached. She slipped out from under his arm and the blankets and climbed from the bed. He mumbled incoherently and rolled onto his stomach. The scratches along his back were standing out in stark contrast to the paleness of his skin.
She felt the tears begin to well in her eyes, and rushed from the room before she could make any noise that might wake him. She ran into the room that she should have slept in and grabbed a change of clothes from one of the bags.
Looking across the hall, into the room where she had spent the night, a tear fell from her eye.
If she was quick about it, she could grab a shower and leave for the day before he woke up.
* * *
Giles groaned as he rolled over and opened his eyes. He closed them just as quickly when he smelled her on his skin as he rubbed his face. He swallowed and turned his head, not really surprised to find that she was not lying next to him.
God knows what had gone through her head when she woke up. Just as he started berating himself for his lack of control when it came to Buffy, he heard a metallic clink coming from the kitchen.
He quickly climbed out of bed and grabbed a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt from his dresser.
If she were still here, then she more than likely didn’t hate him.
* * *
Buffy turned from the sink to find Giles standing in the kitchen doorway. She lowered her eyes quickly and ran a hand through her damp hair.
“Hello.” He replied softly, taking quick note of the fact that she was dressed. “Were, uh…were you leaving?”
“Yeah.” She looked back up and plastered a fake smile on her face. “Thought I’d do some catching up with Will today.”
He nodded slowly, realizing that she was nervous and that her smile wasn’t genuine. “Buffy…”
“Don’t.” She whispered and then cleared her throat. “Let’s not make this any more awkward than it needs to be, okay?”
“Shouldn’t we…talk?” He took a step forward and rubbed the side of his neck. “I…”
He trailed off, his eyes filling with concern when he saw her grimace when she moved. “Did I…are you hurt?”
She met his eyes quickly and shook her head. “No. Well, I’m sore, but…you didn’t…I’m okay, Giles.”
When his concern didn’t fade, she sighed and leaned against the counter. “I don’t want this to come between us.”
He leaned his shoulder against the refrigerator and took a deep breath. “Nor do I.”
“We had sex.” She looked down at her hands and bit her lip. “Great sex…”
He felt his hopes rise and he swallowed, but his hopes sank as she continued.
“But, it was sex. I mean…we’re both adults who had too much to drink and fell into bed as some friends do. It happens sometimes and sex between friends can be beneficial to certain needs…sometimes.”
She looked up slowly when he didn’t respond. He hadn’t moved, but she thought she saw a flicker of sadness in his eyes.
“Right?” She whispered nervously.
He stared at her, knowing that he should tell her that it was more. Yes, it was great sex…but, it was more than just that. It was…
He cleared his throat and gave a small nod. “Right.”
Buffy exhaled deeply and pushed off the counter. “So, we’re good, yeah? I mean…no weirdness or anything?”
“No weirdness.” He offered quietly.
She stood there for a moment and then moved forward. “Good. Because…you’re my Watcher and if there’s weirdness, it could mean bad things later…”
He offered her a smile and stood up straight. “Tell Willow I said ‘hello’.”
She returned his smile and moved past him. “Okay. Um…see you tonight?”
“Of course.” He replied simply.
With no other words spoken, she grabbed her bag and walked out of the kitchen. He walked over to the kettle and turned it on, inhaling shakily as he reached for a mug.
When he heard the front door close, he felt his heart crack.
What he didn’t know was that Buffy had barely been able to make it outside before her tears began to fall. And he didn’t know that she had stopped just down the street, looking back at the house before dropping onto a low stone wall and sobbing her heart out.
* * *
Giles was lying on his couch staring at the ceiling, wondering if he should have made her talk about it. What they had done…could it really be classified as making love? He had made love to her, granted it had been frenzied…but, it had been love. And judging from her reaction this morning…he should have demanded that they talk.
He sighed heavily and shook his head. No…Buffy didn’t take being made to do something very well. If he had forced her, it probably would have made the situation much worse. Though, he wasn’t sure how much worse it could get considering how his heart was aching at the moment.
He sat up and ran his hand over his face. Hangovers were getting harder to deal with as he got older. But, he wasn’t exactly sure if it was only a hangover that was making him feel so incredibly horrible. He was tired as well, there was no doubt about it. Deciding that it wouldn’t be that bad of an idea to go to bed for an hour or so, he stood before frowning.
Maybe one of the guest rooms would be a better option for the moment. He was sure her scent was still lingering in his room, in his sheets…yes, one of the guest rooms would have to do for the moment.
As he started down the hall, the doorbell rang. He cursed softly and turned back around. His heart hoped that Buffy had returned wanting to talk. His mind wouldn’t allow for such hopefulness though, insisting that it was probably some door-to-door salesman wanting to demonstrate the latest technology in vacuum cleaners or some such nonsense.
He opened the door and narrowed his eyes slightly at the person standing there. “Ethan, what are you doing here?”
“Just came to talk.” Ethan glanced at the darkening mark on Giles’ neck. “But…if you’re busy, I can always come back later.”
Giles snorted and stepped back from the door, silently inviting him in. “There was a time when you’d have said something about joining in.”
Ethan grinned and closed the door behind him. “That was before I was made to see the evilness of my ways and changed into the man who now stands before you.”
Giles rolled his eyes before leading Ethan into the living room. “How is Willow?”
“Good. She asked me to invite you over for dinner…said something about not seeing you as often as she probably should.”
“Mm.” Giles mumbled absently and lowered himself into one of the chairs.
Ethan sat down on the couch and smiled as he gestured towards Giles’ neck. “So…blonde, brunette, or red?”
“Oh, come on, Rupert. There was a time you would tell me everything about a woman you’d slept with.”
Giles rubbed the side of his neck and shook his head. “And that was a lifetime ago, Ethan.”
Ethan sighed in disappointment and sat back against the cushions. “Well, she must’ve been good for you to let her leave a mark that size on you.”
Giles lowered his eyes, but didn’t offer any information. Ethan rolled his eyes and stared at his friend.
“You know, for someone who looks as though he’d been fucked within an inch of his life, you seem…maudlin, more so than usual. What gives?”
“I really don’t want to talk about it, Ethan.”
Ethan’s mind started racing, taking in Giles’ appearance, his current emotional state, what he wasn’t saying. Pieces started clicking together and Ethan decided to push…just a tiny bit.
“So…where’s Buffy staying while she’s in London?”
Giles’ head shot up. “What?”
The final piece clicked into place, making Ethan smile triumphantly. “You shagged your Slayer…”
Giles narrowed his eyes. “Quite a leap you just took there, Ethan.”
Ethan crossed his arms over his chest and beamed proudly. “Tell me I’m wrong.”
“I…you…” Giles sighed and lowered his eyes once more. “Ethan, please…”
Ethan’s smile faded and he regarded his friend carefully. “What happened, Rupert?”
Hearing the concern in Ethan’s voice, Giles sighed and shook his head. “You have it all figured out.”
“No. No, I don’t. Because in my version, you’d be all aglow with happiness…not moping around your house alone. Talk to me.”
Giles dragged his hand through his hair, wanting nothing more than to just go to bed for a while. But he knew that Ethan was concerned and that he truly wanted to help. He took a deep breath, but refused to meet Ethan’s eyes.
“We had a bit too much to drink last night. We were talking…and for some reason, I kissed her. The next thing I knew, we were in the bed. We…” He closed his eyes and swallowed before continuing. “We had sex and now she’s gone to spend the day with your girlfriend.”
“You ‘had sex’. Rupert…this is Buffy you’re talking about.” He tilted his head and watched as Giles opened his eyes and stared at the floor. “You didn’t tell her.”
“There was nothing to tell, Ethan.”
“Nothing except for the fact that you’re in love with her and have been for years.” Ethan blew out an exasperated breath. “Why couldn’t you tell her?”
Giles raised his head and stared into Ethan’s eyes. “Because we’re both adults who had too much to drink and fell into bed as some friends do. It happens sometimes and sex between friends can be beneficial to certain needs…sometimes.”
Ethan furrowed his brow. “That’s what you think?”
Giles shook his head sadly. “Not my words, Ethan. Buffy’s…verbatim. It was just a drunken one-night stand…nothing more.”
“You should’ve – ”
“Told her?” Giles huffed softly. “And I’m sure that would have gone just swimmingly. Besides, she knows I love her. She knows…I’d give my life for her.”
Ethan exhaled slowly, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees. “Does she know that you’d give your life for her out of love? Or does she believe you’d do it because it’s your duty as her Watcher?”
“Does it really matter?” Giles whispered softly.
“Yeah, mate. It does.”
After a few minutes of silence, Ethan sighed. “What are you thinking?”
“I made love to her. She fucked me, screamed my name as she…” He cleared his throat and shook his head. “And I loved her. And all I have are the drunken memories and a bruise on my neck…both of which will fade with time. It was merely sex to her…and still, my heart can’t let go.”
Giles raised his glistening eyes. “She used me for physical gratification. And, God help me…I think I love her even more.”
“Listen, Willow can talk to her…see if – ”
Giles interrupted quickly, his eyes widening. “No! Ethan, this has to stay between us. Please…Willow can’t know. If she knows, she’ll try to help…and…please, just say nothing to Willow about this. I’m begging you, Ethan.”
It had been years since Ethan had heard such conviction in Giles’ tone. And because of that, he nodded slowly.
“Okay. But, think about telling Buffy what you feel. You just might be surprised, you know.”
Later that night, Giles was reading when the front door opened. He looked up to see Buffy coming in. She caught his eye, smiling shyly as she stepped inside.
“Buffy. Hello. What…um…would you care for a cup of tea?”
She nodded slowly as she shrugged out of her damp jacket. “That’d be great, Giles. Thanks.”
Without another word, he turned and made his way into the kitchen. She took a deep breath and followed him.
“So…does it always rain in England? Or only when I’m here?”
Giles chuckled softly as he pulled two mugs down from the cabinet. “It doesn’t always rain, but…it does often.”
“English people are weird.”
He stared at her in confusion as he pulled the carton of milk out of the refrigerator. “I’m sure that has some sort of relevance to this conversation…in some manner.”
She hopped onto the counter and smiled. “Well, yeah. Back in the day, the prisoners of England were sent to Australia…right?”
He turned the kettle on and gave a slight nod. “Back in the day, yes.”
“So…the prisoners…murderers, thieves, whatever…they get to live in sunny Australia while the good people stay in rainy, grey England. Why not just leave England for the prisoners and the hard-working, law-abiding English people move to Australia? If that had happened, I’d be nice and toasty in the Australian sun, probably sunbathing on a beach, instead of being all damp and chilly here.”
Giles chuckled and shook his head in amusement. “And then I’d be Australian and not English. Besides, I enjoy the weather here. It was something I missed greatly when I was in Sunnydale.”
“Yeah… ‘cause you’re weird. Remember what I said earlier? English people are weird.”
“And Americans are so very normal.” He shot back good-naturedly.
“No.” She replied quietly. “No…we’re not normal.”
Hearing the sadness in her voice, he moved to stand in front of her. “What’s wrong, Buffy? Was your day with Willow not enjoyable?”
“I’m leaving tomorrow afternoon.”
“Yes, I know.” He answered softly.
“We had sex.” She blurted out.
He closed his eyes and lowered his head. Now she wanted to talk? He was collecting his thoughts when he felt her hand on his chest. His eyes flew open when he felt her lips on his.
He took a step back and stared at her. Reaching out and grabbing the front of his shirt to keep him from moving even further away, she swallowed nervously.
“I’m leaving tomorrow afternoon.” She repeated softly.
“No one has ever made me feel so wanted…so…needed.”
“We can’t…I can’t…”
“No one has ever made me crave their touch.”
He felt his heart race in his chest. “Crave?”
“It makes me wonder if it was the alcohol.”
His hopes began to sink. “Oh.”
She slid off the counter and took a shaky breath. “I haven’t had anything to drink today, Giles.”
In lieu of a verbal answer, she pulled her shirt over her head and dropped it to the floor. Giles felt an immediate reaction to the sight of her silk covered breasts.
“Oh dear Lord…”
She bit her lip and glanced at the growing bulge in his jeans. She met his eyes as she quickly began working on his shirt buttons.
“I have one night left in England, Giles. And I want to spend it with you.”
He stifled his groan as she parted his shirt and ran her palms over his chest. “What is this, Buffy?”
She leaned forward and flicked her tongue against his nipple as she unbuckled his belt. “Friends can have sex…once in a while. It doesn’t have to mean anything, Giles. Just…two people feeling…”
“Buffy, I…” He wasn’t able to stifle his groan as she unbuttoned and unzipped his jeans, reaching in and stroking his erection.
“Make me feel, Giles.” She whispered huskily.
His fingers trembled as he reached up to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. “I’ve always found it extremely difficult to say ‘no’ to you.”
“So don’t start now.”
He knew it was wrong. He knew that his heart would never forgive him. She wanted sex, he wanted love. It wasn’t her fault that she didn’t know. And now wasn’t the time to tell her. He watched her as she let go of his rampant hard-on and reached behind her back, unclasping the catch on her bra.
As she bared her breasts to his hungry eyes, he knew he couldn’t start saying ‘no’ to her now. He needed her as much as she wanted him at the moment. She wanted him…she wanted him to have sex with her. She didn’t love him, but she wanted him.
For now, that was enough. With a low growl, he picked her up and pushed his tongue into her mouth as she wrapped her legs around his waist. The offer of tea completely forgotten, he turned and carried her out of the kitchen.
If this were the last time he’d be allowed to be with her in this way, he had every intention of doing it right. And doing it right meant taking her to bed, not fucking her on the cold tiles of the kitchen floor.
* * *
He grunted softly as she pushed him onto the bed, quickly pulling the rest of his clothes off before removing the rest of hers. As he reached for her, she smiled and shook her head. His eyes widened as she knelt on the floor between his legs.
“I didn’t get to taste you last night…”
“Nor did…oh, dear Lord…” He groaned as she slid her mouth down the length of his erection.
She hummed appreciatively, smiling inwardly as his fingers threaded through her hair. Opening her eyes, she looked up at him as he gently guided her head. His head was thrown back, eyes closed, chest heaving as he fought for control. When she felt his fingers twitch against her scalp, she slowly pulled back and placed a warm kiss on the head of his cock.
“You taste nice.” She whispered huskily.
He lifted his head and looked down at her through lust-glazed eyes. “Come here.”
Placing her hands on his thighs, she pushed herself up, gasping as he suddenly grabbed her. A slow smile appeared on his lips as he rolled their bodies until she was on her back underneath him.
“My turn.” He whispered as he lowered his mouth to her stomach.
“Oh God…” She whimpered as he quickly made his way down her body.
Parting her lower lips with his thumbs, he looked up at her and smiled as he flicked his tongue against her clitoris. Her hips bucked, seeking more. He wanted to take it slow…tease her with his mouth for a while. When she groaned an urgent ‘please’, he gave her a nod and covered her clit with his mouth.
He sucked hard at the bundle of nerves as he pushed two fingers from his left hand into her. Her hands flew to the back of his head, her nails clawing at his scalp as he lapped at her clit and curled his fingers up slightly.
Her head thrashed as her hips arched, increasing the pressure of his mouth against her. “Jesus! Giles!”
Pulling her clitoris between his teeth, he looked up at her as he gently bit her. She screamed in ecstasy and he felt her inner walls clamp around his fingers.
Shuddering violently, breathing hard, she opened her eyes and swallowed as she met his eyes. “Fuck me…”
He gasped at her urgently spoken whisper, her darkened eyes staring into his as he slowly lifted his head and removed his fingers. A moment of clarity hit him as he moved back up her body, nestled between her thighs with the head of his erection nudging against her clit.
“What is this, Buffy?” He whispered thickly.
“I don’t know.” She answered honestly as she lifted her legs around his hips. “I do know that I want to feel…and God, how you make me feel.”
He closed his eyes and lowered his head, realizing that he had been hoping for an admission of love. Instead, he had received an expression of lust…and possibly need, going by the tone of her voice. He could…he should stop this now, it wasn’t too late.
“Please, Giles…” She whimpered, her nails lightly scratching across his back. “Please, fuck me…”
And just like that, his moment of clarity disappeared. She needed him…if only for this moment. And God knew, he needed her desperately…he needed to feel her warmth, her desire, her…life. Groaning softly, he gently pushed his way in.
She inhaled sharply and he lifted his head to look at her.
She nodded quickly, gripping his back tightly. “God…don’t stop.”
Moving slowly within her, he looked down at her flushed face. Her eyes were closed, but he could see the pleasure he was giving her. He bit his tongue quickly, stopping the words from escaping his lips.
She didn’t want to hear that he loved her. She didn’t want to hear that he wanted her to stay with him. She didn’t want to hear that he would do everything he possibly could to make her happy for the rest of her life.
She wanted release. And she had come to him for said release.
Closing his eyes, he lowered his head to the crook of her neck and increased his pace. When she came, screaming his name, she took him with her. He kept his face buried in her neck as she held him tightly.
Only when he was certain that he had his emotions under control did he lift his head and roll to her side. This time when she started to get up to go to the guest room, he didn’t stop her. He couldn’t make her stay.
And it broke his heart to realize that fact…once again.
* * *
The next morning, after a fairly sleepless night for both of them, Buffy dropped her bags in the living room and made her way to the kitchen. She smiled and then fought back her tears as she watched him.
He was dressed in jeans and a button-up shirt, the top three buttons undone and the sleeves rolled up his forearms. She glanced down and smiled…he was barefoot. A cup of tea held in his right hand as he pushed the eggs around the pan with the spatula held in his left.
She thought he’d never looked more beautiful. Taking a deep breath, she walked further into the kitchen and leaned against the counter. He turned to her, taking a sip of his tea before placing his mug on the countertop, and smiled softly.
“Good morning.” He gestured at the pan with the spatula and cleared his throat. “I, uh…you should eat more.”
Though he was smiling at her, she could see the sadness in his eyes. He had buried it deep within, but she could still see a flicker.
“Are we okay?” She whispered, not trusting her voice to hold up for anything louder at the moment.
His smile faded and he picked up the pan, carefully scraping the scrambled eggs onto a plate. “We will be. Though, I’m rather sure that what happened last night, should not happen again.”
She swallowed, turning her head quickly to look out the window. “Yeah, probably not a good idea.”
He placed the plate on the counter in front of her and handed her a fork. “What…what time is your flight?”
She glanced at him before lowering her gaze and staring at the eggs. Pushing the eggs around the plate with the fork, she realized that she was anything but hungry.
He glanced at the clock, his jaw clenching and then releasing. “It’s nine now…I’ll finish getting dressed while you eat and then I’ll take you to the airport.”
“I can call a taxi, Giles. It’s no big deal.”
Giles shook his head, his brow furrowing. “No, I’ll – ”
She interrupted him with a quiet statement. “It’ll be easier for both of us if I just call a taxi.”
He inhaled sharply and stared at her. “Buffy…”
“Promise me the phone calls will still come? That you won’t just find everything too unseemly and just…disappear from my…our lives?”
Giles felt like he had just been punched in the stomach. “I wouldn’t do that, Buffy.”
She bit her lip nervously and met his eyes. “Because you’re my Watcher?”
“Because I’m your friend.” He corrected gently. “Please, let me take you to the airport.”
She considered it for a minute and then shook her head slowly. “It’d be too weird. It’s better…saying goodbye here is better. Less people, less awkwardness…it’s better.”
He regarded her carefully and then exhaled slowly. “You’ve already called for a taxi, haven’t you?”
“It’ll be here at nine-thirty.”
He nodded absently. “You, uh…should eat your eggs. Before they go cold.”
“No, no. You should eat. I’ll, uh…” He looked down at his feet and sighed. “I’ll go put some shoes on. You will allow me to accompany you outside to the taxi when it arrives, won’t you?”
She heard no anger or frustration in the question. Resignation to the fact that she didn’t think it would be appropriate for him to take her to the airport, yes…but no anger.
“Yes.” She whispered as she watched him run his fingers through his hair.
“Alright. I’ll…” He shook his head and left the room without another word.
Buffy pushed her plate to the side and held her head in her hands. She fought the tears, she would not cry in his house…not in front of him. Once she was in the taxi, yeah…but not here.
* * *
She hesitated as she said goodbye, wanting to give him a hug. She always hugged him when they parted ways. But, would it be the right thing to do now? Now that they’d had sex…twice?
Sensing her hesitation after he placed her bags in the boot of the taxi, he sighed. “Buffy?”
“I want to hug you.” She whispered, not meeting his eyes.
He took a step forward and placed his right hand on her shoulder. “Then hug me.”
She sniffled as she wrapped her arms around him and buried her face against his chest. “I’ve always hated saying goodbye to you, Giles.”
He lightly stroked her hair as he returned the embrace, leaning down to place a soft kiss on the top of her head. “As have I.”
Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she took a step back and looked up at him. “You’ll call?”
He nodded, aching to pull her back into his arms and beg her to stay with him. “Same time?”
“Yeah. Um…I’ll call you when I get back to Rome. I mean, if you want me to…I don’t have to…”
Despite the heaviness of this goodbye, a smile pricked at his lips as she rambled. He’d always found it fascinating…and adorable.
“Please do, Buffy.” He stared into her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath. “Have a nice trip and…give my love to Dawn.”
She nodded slowly and slid into the back seat of the taxi. “I will. I’ll talk to you soon.”
He gave her a warm smile as she closed the door. With a slight wave, he stepped back from the driveway and watched as the taxi backed out onto the road. He caught her eyes once more and gave her another wave before shoving his hands into the pockets of his jeans as he watched the taxi drive down the road.
He watched until it was out of sight and then still stood there for a few minutes longer. With a heavy, sad sigh, he turned and made his way back into the house.
* * *
The tears started as soon as he waved at her for the second time. As the driver navigated the car down the street, he glanced at her in the rearview mirror. He had seen this time and time again…people saying goodbye when they really didn’t want to. For some reason, this time struck him as different.
“Should I turn around?” He asked softly.
She shook her head, wiping her eyes as she looked out the window. “No…if he had wanted me to stay, he would’ve asked.”
The driver gave a nod, but said nothing more. He’d seen the look in the man’s eyes as the pair had embraced. He’d wanted to ask her to stay, but something kept him from it. It was really none of his business, but the situation made him a little sad.
He sighed softly and turned onto the road that would take them to Heathrow.
Over two months later…
“I’m worried about him.” Willow stated softly as she ran her hand over Ethan’s bare chest.
“Him who?” Ethan asked, his breath still heavy and laboured.
“Giles.” Willow whispered before placing a tender kiss on his chest.
Ethan raised an eyebrow. “Rupert?”
When Willow nodded, he smiled teasingly. “I’ve just spent the last hour and a half making love to you…and you’re thinking about Rupert?”
Willow started to explain and then noticed the amused look in his eyes. “Well, I wasn’t thinking about him during.”
Ethan chuckled softly and then sobered. “I’m worried about him too.”
“The only time I see him really happy is when Buffy calls. Maybe I should talk to him…I mean, he’s miserable, Buffy’s miserable.”
Ethan sighed and shook his head. “Maybe you should let it be. Let them work out whatever differences they’re having.”
Willow lifted her head and narrowed her eyes. “Differences? They’re having differences?”
“I don’t know, love.” It took all of his willpower not to tell her that Giles was, in fact, in love with Buffy. Instead he exhaled slowly and gently rubbed her back. “I do know that Rupert changes the subject fairly quickly whenever I mention Buffy’s name.”
“Well, maybe – ”
Ethan groaned in slight annoyance before quickly covering Willow’s mouth with his. He rolled their bodies until she was on her back underneath him. Only then did he remove his tongue from her mouth and look into her eyes.
“Maybe we should not think about Buffy and Rupert…and whatever problems might or might not lie there…for at least the next twenty minutes.”
She nodded slowly as his fingers moved between her thighs. “Yeah…okay…”
Ethan smiled as he lowered his mouth to her neck.
* * *
Giles was sitting on the couch, trying to decide whether to make a pot of tea or pour himself a stiff drink, when someone rang his doorbell. He glanced at the clock and furrowed his brow, not knowing who would come to see him at nearly two o’clock in the morning.
When the bell sounded for a second time, he pushed himself up from the couch with a sigh. No one would come at this hour…unless there was an emergency. And if that were the case, it could be anyone…except for the one person he would hope it would be.
He sighed sadly and pulled the door open, somewhat surprised to find Willow on his doorstep.
“Good evening, Willow.” He glanced over her head and into the darkness behind her. “Is there a problem?”
“Yeah.” She waited until he looked at her before smiling softly. “But, not of the demon kind. Mind if I come in?”
Giles stepped to the side, allowing Willow to enter. He watched her as he closed the door. She was currently looking at the pictures lining the mantle.
“Would you care for anything to drink?”
She shook her head, smiling as she noticed the candid shot of Buffy that was set dead center on the mantle. “That’s a good picture of her.”
He glanced at the picture and nodded slowly as he sat down on the couch. “One of the few pictures I actually have of Buffy. But, I’m sure you didn’t come over here to discuss photographs.”
“No.” Willow agreed as she sat on the other end of the couch and looked at him. “I came over here to find out what’s wrong with you.”
“Me?” His brow furrowed. “There’s nothing wrong with me.”
“Except for the fact that you’re unfocused, not eating properly, and you’ve been smoking.” She sat back and allowed her concern to be seen in her eyes. “Those three things only happen at the same time when there’s something wrong.”
“In fact…” She continued quickly. “The only time that I’ve seen your eyes actually sparkle lately is when Buffy has called, for whatever reason.”
When he lowered his eyes, Willow knew she was on the right track. She took a quick breath and pressed on.
“Buffy’s been really down lately.”
That got his attention. “Is…is she alright?”
Willow shrugged a shoulder and sighed. “She’s about as talkative as you are. The only time she seems interested in anything I have to say is when she asks about you.”
“She asks about me?” He asked softly.
“Yeah, every time I talk to her. ‘How’s Giles doing?’ or ‘Have you seen Giles lately?’ or ‘Should I send Giles an email?’.” She watched him carefully as he glanced at the picture of Buffy. “Which kinda makes me wonder if something might’ve happened the last time she was in London.”
“Happened?” He questioned, trying his best to calm the sudden rush of panic.
“Yeah…” She successfully hid her smile behind a concerned look. “You know…like you had an argument or something?”
“Oh.” He swallowed and shook his head. “No…no we didn’t argue. We…had a very nice visit.”
Knowing he wouldn’t actually volunteer any information, she took a deep breath and decided just to ask the question she wanted answered.
“Did you sleep with her?”
His eyes shot back to hers. “Pardon?”
“Look, I’m sorry for being so blunt and everything. But…the two of you are acting like Ethan and I did when we got together but didn’t want anyone to know yet.”
Giles cleared his throat and pushed himself from the couch, quickly making his way to the liquor cabinet. “We…we’re not…we’re not ‘together’.”
Willow followed him quickly, placing her hand on his as he reached for the bottle of scotch. “I didn’t ask if you were together, Giles. I asked if you slept with her.”
His hand trembled lightly before he pulled it out from under hers. “I…what is it that you want me to say, Willow?”
Willow felt her heart fill with sadness at his softly spoken question. “How many times?”
He lowered his head and closed his eyes, answering in a whisper that was just barely audible.
Willow was quiet, watching his reaction. After a few moments, she sighed.
“But, you’re not together?”
He chuckled sadly, shaking his head as he grabbed a bottle of vodka and poured himself a half-tumbler. He reached into the bar fridge and pulled out a slice of lime, giving it a gentle squeeze before dropping it into the clear liquid.
“It was merely sex.”
Willow raised an eyebrow at him. “I don’t believe you. You wouldn’t be acting this way if was just sex. Giles…”
He took a sip of his drink and looked directly into her eyes for the first time since the conversation began.
“I didn’t say it was just sex to me.”
“Oh.” Willow caught his meaning quickly. “Well, maybe it wasn’t to her either. I mean – ”
He turned and walked to the window, staring into the darkness as he lifted the glass to his lips. “She insisted it was. Just…two friends who had too much to drink and took comfort in one another.”
“But, it wasn’t…to you, I mean.”
“Not hardly.” He whispered, quickly draining his glass.
“And I’m guessing you didn’t tell her.”
Giles turned slowly and stared at her. “She didn’t give me a chance. Instead, she launched into a speech about how sometimes these things happen and it doesn’t mean that anything needs to change. What would you have had me do, Willow? Stop her and say ‘I love you’?”
Willow’s mouth dropped open. She had suspected, but hadn’t expected him to flat-out admit it. “How long?”
He shook his head and walked back to the cabinet, quickly refilling his glass. “I don’t even know anymore.”
“Before Sunnydale blew up?”
He nodded slowly and moved back to the couch. “Before Glory.”
Willow’s eyes widened. “Giles…”
“I never intended for her, or anyone, to know. And I certainly was never expecting to know how it would feel to hold her…to…” He cleared his throat and lowered his eyes as he allowed the statement to remain unfinished.
He didn’t have to finish for Willow to understand what he was saying. She sat down on the coffee table in front of him and took hold of the hand that wasn’t clutching the glass of vodka.
“I think you need to tell her.”
“She wouldn’t even allow me to take her to the airport when she left.”
“Giles…this is going to eat at you until it drives you crazy. Trust me, she’s handling this about as well as you are. Talk to her…tell her – ”
“I told her that it would probably be best if it didn’t happen again.” He interrupted softly. “And even as I said the words, I just wanted to hold her…to feel her lips on mine one last time…”
“Do I hear tears in your words, mate?” Came a soft voice from across the room.
Giles sighed heavily, leaning his head against the back of the couch and closing his eyes. “Ethan…don’t.”
Willow looked at Ethan sharply. “What are you doing here? And…how did you get in?”
“Woke up in an empty bed. Figured you’d be here trying to talk some sense into him.” He smiled warmly and held up his key ring. “I have a key, love. But, the door wasn’t locked anyway.”
“Oh.” She responded absently before furrowing her brow. “You knew?”
Giles sighed again and looked at Willow. “I asked him not to say anything. I wasn’t actually expecting him to be able to keep such a secret.” He turned his eyes to Ethan as Ethan sat down next to Willow. “Thank you for that.”
“Yeah, well…this secret’s gonna kill you if you’re not careful.”
Giles rolled his eyes. “I’ll get over it…”
“You haven’t in at least four years. In fact, now that you’ve had a taste…I imagine that it would be even more difficult to let go.”
“Ethan!” Willow scolded quickly.
“As if you’re not thinking the same thing.” Ethan grinned at her, absently rubbing her thigh. He looked into Giles’ eyes and shrugged a shoulder. “Maybe if you just went out and shagged someone – ”
Willow slapped his arm. “Ethan!”
“I tried that.” Giles admitted as he stared at the glass in his hand.
Willow stared at Giles in disbelief while Ethan fought to control his grin. “And? How did it go?”
“Not so well.” Giles replied sadly. He looked up quickly as Ethan’s grin broke through. “And before you ask, I was able to get it up…I didn’t come prematurely…”
Willow’s mouth closed, then opened, then closed again. Ethan chuckled softly.
“You do know how my mind works.”
Giles lifted his glass in a silent salute before taking a sip. Ethan tilted his head slightly and narrowed his eyes in thought.
“So what was the problem? She couldn’t give good head?”
“No, that part was adequate.” Giles responded without thought.
Willow promptly dropped her head in her hands.
“Then?” Ethan prompted, casting a quick glance to his seemingly very embarrassed girlfriend.
“She just wasn’t Buffy. Her lips tasted different, her body felt different…I wanted Buffy and everything about her screamed that she was anything but Buffy.” He took a deep breath and shook his head. “So I apologized and told her that I was in love with someone…that I couldn’t…”
Ethan grinned. “And then she slapped the shit out of you.”
“She didn’t hit like Buffy either.”
Willow lifted her head and darted her eyes between the two men, slightly shocked at their conversation. Ethan’s side of the conversation didn’t surprise her. However, Giles’ candid admissions and replies were not what she was used to from him.
Thinking of her options at the moment, she quickly made her mind up and stood, making her way to the phone and grumbling under her breath the entire time. Giles watched her carefully, his brow furrowing when she picked up the phone.
“What are you doing?”
Willow turned to look at him as she dialed a number. “Hopefully helping the both of you out.”
Giles’ eyes widened in panic. “Willow, no…please don’t call her!”
Willow offered him a smile as she began to speak into the phone. “I need to make a booking for your first flight out to Rome this morning please.”
When Giles started to get up, Ethan placed his right hand on Giles’ shoulder and pushed him back down. “You know she’s right, Rip.”
Giles just groaned and closed his eyes.
Nearly three months after Buffy had left England, and two days after his discussion with Willow, Giles found himself standing at the front door of the apartment Buffy and Dawn occupied in Rome. He had been able to delay the flight for a couple of days, citing some very important paperwork that needed to be dealt with before he left.
Not trusting him to actually go to the airport after he had delayed the trip for a second time using the excuse of waiting for a package to arrive, Willow and Ethan followed him to the airport. After he had boarded the airplane, they even waited until the plane had taken off. And then they waited an extra twenty minutes, just in case.
Satisfied that he hadn’t doubled back, Ethan took Willow’s hand and led her out of the airport.
“Do you think he’ll tell her?” She asked quietly.
He smiled down at her and gave a nod. “I don’t think he has much choice anymore.”
* * *
He shifted nervously and, taking a deep breath, rang the doorbell.
Buffy opened the door and stared at her visitor, her mouth dropping open in shock. “Giles?”
“Hello, Buffy. I…I was wondering if we could talk.” He stammered as he took in her disheveled appearance. In all the years he’d known her, he had never seen her look so tired…so disorganized.
She stepped back from the door, watching him as he entered. “Something apocalyptic on the rise?”
He shook his head as she closed the door and then looked into the living room. “Is Dawn home?”
“No, she’s out on a date. Is this about Dawn? I mean – ”
Giles smiled softly. “No, it isn’t about Dawn. I was merely wondering if she were home. Date…with Marco?”
Buffy snorted as she led Giles into the living room, taking his bag from him and placing it on the floor at the end of the couch. “She’s ‘so over Marco’. That ended a couple of weeks after I got back. This guy, Tomasso…is a new guy. I don’t think she thinks he’s the guy, but he’s nice enough. Would you like a cup of tea?”
He shook his head and sat down on the couch. “Not right now, thank you. How, uh…how are you?”
Buffy furrowed her brow as she sat down on a chair. “Small talk…so not like you. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong, Buffy.”
“Nothing’s wrong? Says the man who just appears in Rome, out of the blue, and starts off with small talk. This is one of those times I could use a drink. Are you sure you don’t want anything?”
Giles stared at his Slayer, searching for the right words. Apparently, the words weren’t coming quickly enough as Buffy sighed heavily and shook her head.
“Would you quit staring at me like I’m a freak?”
“You’re not a freak, Buffy.” He stated softly.
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Let’s count the ways Buffy’s a freak.” She lifted her hand ticking off each statement with her fingers.
“I’ve died twice. I’ve had sex with two vampires. I have a sister who was, at one time, a mystical key. I’ve let three vampires feed from me…”
Giles narrowed his eyes as he interrupted her. “You didn’t exactly ‘let’ the Master feed from you.”
“Okay, fine. But, I did let Dracula…and I forced Angel…”
“To save his life.” Giles added quickly.
“Yeah, such a smart thing to do, wasn’t it? Freakish!”
She shook her head quickly. “No, let me finish.”
He gave an exasperated sigh and sat back in his chair.
“Where was I? Death, vampires, sister…” She crossed her arms over her chest. “My best friend tried to end the world, I practically forced my Watcher to have sex with me…twice…”
Giles reddened deeply. “I wouldn’t say you forced me. As I recall, I was a willing particip – ”
Giles’ mouth dropped open as his eyes widened. “What?”
Buffy grimaced, cursing under her breath.
“That’s not how I meant for it to come out.”
Giles leaned forward, staring at her in disbelief. “You’re…you’re pregnant?”
She sighed heavily and nodded, averting her eyes from his as she answered in a whisper. “Yeah, I am.”
Giles was at a loss for words. He stared at her as she stood up. She walked over to the desk and picked up her handbag.
She opened the bag and rummaged around inside before taking a deep breath and pulling out what looked like a piece of paper. She chewed on her bottom lip, dropping her bag to the floor as she made her way to the couch and sat next to him.
Her hand shook as she handed the item to him, as did her voice when she spoke. “This…first picture of the baby. It, uh…it was taken today.”
He looked down at the picture and swallowed thickly as his heart began to race. “You’re pregnant.”
She nodded slowly and cleared her throat. “Giles, I – ”
He interrupted her with a softly spoken question. “Is it mine?”
Buffy’s face flushed red as her voice trembled with a sudden anger. “What the hell kind of question is that? Do you think I just sleep with anyone who happens along?”
He looked to her quickly and shook his head. “Buffy, no. No, that’s not what – ”
She shook her head and stood up, grabbing her bag and walking towards the door. She stopped when he called her name again.
“I need to go right now, Giles. Before I say something I’ll really regret later. We can talk when I get back…if you’re still here.”
“Buffy – ”
“I’m not asking anything of you, Giles.” She turned slowly and met his eyes. “But, I am having this baby.”
He opened his mouth, but no words formed. She sighed and opened the door.
“Like I said, if you’re still here when I get back…we’ll talk.”
With that, she stepped outside and closed the door behind her. He stared at the door for a few minutes before looking back down at the picture in his hands.
“I’ll be here.” He whispered to the empty room.
* * *
Giles had been sitting on the couch, staring at the picture as his mind raced, for nearly two hours when a slamming door startled him.
Giles quickly placed the sonogram picture under his coat, unsure as to whether Dawn knew of Buffy’s condition. He assumed that she didn’t. Surely, Buffy would have told him if she had spoken to Dawn.
He smiled as he stood up, catching her as she launched herself into his arms. “Hello, Dawn.”
“God, I’ve missed you! Buffy must be out of her mind with you here! Why didn’t you tell us you were coming?”
He gently rubbed her back before releasing her from the embrace. “It was a rather spur of the moment decision on my part. I do apologize.”
Dawn hugged him again before letting go. Giles smiled softly, slipping his hands into his pockets. Dawn chuckled and gestured towards the couch.
“Come on, sit down and answer my questions!”
Giles gave a sigh of mock-exasperation. “And that sounds like fun.”
Dawn grinned at him as he sat down. She plopped onto the couch beside of him, curling her legs underneath her as she faced him. “Are you staying here?”
“Um…well, I haven’t thought that far ahead. I came straight here from the airport.”
“You’re totally staying here! You wouldn’t make us stay in a hotel, so we’re not making you stay in one.”
Giles chuckled softly and then sobered. “Dawn…”
“What’s wrong? This isn’t a social call, is it? Something bad’s happened.”
Giles sighed and shook his head. “Why must everyone assume that something bad has happened when they see me?”
“Well, you’re here on an unscheduled visit and…you don’t exactly look thrilled about it.”
Giles cleared his throat and took a deep breath. “I…where would Buffy go if she were upset?”
Dawn furrowed her brow. “What?”
“We, uh…we had a disagreement earlier and…well, she said she’d be back later. Do you know where she might’ve gone?”
Dawn sighed and shook her head. “That must be a new world record for the two of you.”
“Yes, well…” He started, his tone full of sadness.
“There’s a bar a couple of blocks over. She insists on calling it a pub, I don’t know why. Anyway, she goes there sometimes to think if she’s having a rough day.” Dawn thought for a second and looked into Giles’ eyes. “Come to think of it…she’s been spending a lot of time there lately.”
Giles straightened and narrowed his eyes slightly. “She’s drinking?”
Dawn smiled softly. “No, ‘mister drinking’s not good for you’. I asked her one time, she said that she doesn’t drink because bad things can happen to good people when they’re under the influence.”
She shrugged a shoulder as Giles stared at her. “I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean. All I know is that she goes down there, shoots a few rounds of pool or throws some darts…and then she comes home after a couple of hours.”
Giles nodded slowly, Dawn’s words echoing in his head. Dawn reached out and gently rubbed his arm.
“What did you argue about?”
Giles opened his mouth and then closed it. He took a deep breath and reached up, removing his glasses before rubbing his eyes.
“I said something…thoughtlessly. Understandably, she became upset with me. But, I wasn’t able to set things straight before she left.”
Dawn gave him an understanding smile. “Trust me, she’s been real moody lately. Apparently I say things ‘thoughtlessly’ all the time these days too.”
“Has she talked to you about what’s bothering her?”
She shook her head as she thought. “No, not really. She said that she’s a bit hormonal. But, I’ve never had PMS for this long.”
Giles blushed heavily and cleared his throat. His reaction made Dawn laugh and she hugged him again.
“I really have missed you, Giles.”
He smiled as he returned the hug. “I’ve missed you as well, Dawn.”
She pushed herself up and gestured down the hall. “Look, I’ll just go change the sheets on my bed and you can have it for as long as you’re here.”
Giles shook his head quickly. “I won’t hear of that, Dawn. The couch is perfectly acceptable.”
Dawn crossed her arms over her chest and stared at him. “If we came to your place and we were staying in your house, would you have one of us sleeping on the couch?”
Giles chuckled softly. “Well, no. But, I have a four bedroom house, so it wouldn’t be an issue. I’ll be fine on the couch, I assure you.”
Dawn thought for a moment and then sighed. “Okay, but…if Buffy starts giving me a hard time about it, you’d better tell her that I offered.”
She glanced at the clock and frowned. “You’ll be here for at least a few days, right? I mean…you’re not leaving in the morning or anything?”
“I – ”
“It’s just…my classes start early in the morning, so I’m gonna have to go to bed. But, if you’re leaving in the morning, I’ll blow off classes – ”
A horrified look crossed Giles’ features. “You’ll do no such thing.”
“I want to spend some time with you, Giles. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you.”
He smiled softly and gently squeezed her shoulder. “We’ll have time…perhaps I can take you and your sister out for dinner tomorrow night?”
Dawn’s smile returned. “That’d be great! It’s a date!”
He chuckled and leaned back against the cushions. “Off to bed with you, then.”
“I…I can stay up with you, if you want. Until Buffy gets home.”
He shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair. “No, that’s not necessary. Besides, I need to try to find the right words to say to her when she returns.”
“Okay…if you’re sure.”
He smiled and gave her a nod. “I’m positive. You need your rest, Dawn.”
She gave him another hug and a kiss on the cheek. After making sure he knew where the essentials were…the bathroom, the canister of tea…she made her way to her room.
He sighed heavily, reaching under his jacket and pulling the picture back out.
Buffy walked into the living room and leaned against the doorframe, a slow smile appearing on her face. Her anger from before had dissipated as soon as she had walked into the ‘pub’. And now, she was home and Giles was here. The father of her baby was here…in Rome and currently sitting on her couch with the sonogram picture of their child in his hands, his brow furrowed as his finger lightly traced the image.
“Everything okay, Giles?”
He jumped, clearly startled as he hadn’t heard her come in. He looked at her sheepishly and smiled.
“I think I can make out a head. Or it could be a hand.”
She snorted a laugh and pushed off the doorframe, moving to the couch and sitting down next to him. “Show me.”
He leaned towards her slightly and pointed to the spot he was currently studying. “What do you think? Head or hand?”
Buffy sighed and shook her head. “Does it make me a bad mother if I say ‘I don’t know’?”
A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. “Not at all. In fact, it makes me feel quite a lot better.”
Buffy jumped suddenly and put her hand on her stomach. Giles dropped the picture and turned to face her, his eyes full of concern.
She grabbed his hand quickly and placed it on her stomach. His eyes dropped to their hands and he swallowed.
“Do you feel it?” She asked, pressing his hand harder against her.
He shook his head and lifted his eyes to hers. “No, what is it? Is something wrong?”
“I…think the baby just moved.” She whispered softly, gazing into his eyes.
“What did it feel like?” He whispered back, his fingers lightly rubbing her stomach.
She swallowed and moved her hand to his wrist. “Like…a flutter or something.”
“Oh. I’m not really up to date on the stages of pregnancy…” His gaze darted to her lips before returning to her eyes. “Maybe it’s something only you can feel right now.”
“Yeah.” She leaned forward slightly, releasing his wrist. She found herself somewhat surprised when he didn’t remove his hand.
Realizing that he was dangerously close to kissing her, he cleared his throat and sat back. The moment broken, she heaved a heavy sigh and stood up.
“I, uh…it’s late. I should…I should go to bed. After all, tomorrow’s another big day.”
He regarded her carefully. “What’s tomorrow?”
“I had planned on telling Dawn that she’s going to be an aunt when she gets back from her classes.”
“Would, uh…would you like for me to be there?”
She lowered her eyes and took a deep breath. “Can we talk about it in the morning?”
“Of course, Buffy.” He replied gently. “You…should get some rest.”
“There are clean towels in the hall closet, if you want to take a shower before…” She narrowed her eyes as something occurred to her. “You can’t sleep on the couch.”
He offered her a small smile. “I’ve already had this discussion with Dawn. She offered her bed to me. As I told her, I’m fine on the couch. Thank you.”
“Um…okay…good night, Giles.” She uttered quickly with a nod before turning and nearly running out of the room.
She stopped in the doorway and turned to look at him. “Yeah?”
He opened his mouth and then closed it again. His courage lost, he exhaled softly. “Sleep well.”
She offered him a sad smile. “You too.”
With that, she turned and made her way down the hall to her bedroom. Giles cursed softly under his breath and picked the picture up from the floor.
* * *
Two hours later, he walked past her bedroom door on his way back from the bathroom. The shower had refreshed him and now he found himself wide awake. He paused outside her door and placed his palm on the cool wood.
He wanted to talk to her, he wanted to tell her so many things. He also had questions. The most important being, would she have told him if he hadn’t come to Rome? He did his best to calm his nerves and gently knocked on the door.
“Yeah?” She answered quietly, but not in a tone that indicated she had been asleep.
“Buffy…may I come in?”
She was silent for a moment and then responded with another ‘yeah’. He took a deep breath and slowly opened the door. She was sitting on the bed, her back resting against the headboard with a book in her lap. He walked in and closed the door behind him.
“I…can I talk to you for a moment, please?”
She closed the book, setting it to the side as she scooted to the middle of the bed. “Yeah.”
He sat down on the edge of the bed, glancing at her before lowering his eyes. “When I asked if the baby was mine, I didn’t – ”
“I know.” She interrupted him softly. “My hormones are so out of whack right now. I’m sorry that I walked out the way I did. I just…I thought it was the best thing to do at that moment.”
“Were you ever going to tell me?” He asked hesitantly.
“Yes. But, I was scared of how you were going to take it. I picked up the phone so many times over the past month…but, I always hung up before I hit the last number.”
“You said you didn’t expect anything from me.”
“I don’t. This wasn’t exactly planned and I know it was just sex to you, but…I want this baby, Giles. And I’ll raise him or her with all the love I have.”
He turned his head sharply and looked into her eyes. “And what if I want to be a father to this child? Do I have any say on what role I’m allowed to play in his or her life?”
Buffy stared at him, dumbfounded at his words. “Do you?”
He turned his body to face her and licked his suddenly dry lips. “Yes, Buffy. I do.”
Her eyes glistened as she shook her head, her hands playing with the edge of the sheet. “How is this supposed to work? We live in different countries…”
“One of us could relocate. You, and Dawn, are more than welcome to come and stay with me.”
“And that wouldn’t be at all awkward, would it?” She sighed, averting her eyes from his.
“I’ll do whatever I have to do to be this child’s father. If you want me to move to Rome, I will.”
Not knowing how to respond to that statement, Buffy bit her lip and changed the topic. “Giles, I have to ask you something. And…there’s really no good way to ask.”
He gave her a nod, requesting she continue. She inhaled deeply and blurted out her question.
“How often do you have unprotected sex?”
He raised an eyebrow. It was a sudden change of topic in the conversation, but she had every right to know. Especially considering the day and age they were living in.
“Never…in the past twenty years or so. I…I’m normally extremely careful.”
“But, not with me?” She asked in a hushed tone.
“I have no excuse, Buffy. I’m certain that I’m…clean. But, I have no issues with being tested, to ease your mind.”
“No, I trust you. If I didn’t, I would’ve stopped you. I would’ve insisted on…condoms or something.”
He tilted his head slightly and gazed at her. “But, you didn’t.”
When she shook her head, he whispered a one word question. “Why?”
“I…I don’t know. Maybe subconsciously I was…hoping. I mean, I’m getting older.”
When his brow furrowed, she clarified her statement.
“I’m a Slayer, Giles. This is old for a Slayer, you know that as well as I do.” He gave a nod of agreement as she continued. “Maybe my biological clock was telling me this might be my one shot to have a baby. All I know is…I didn’t stop you. I didn’t insist on protection.”
She blew out a deep breath and looked into his eyes. “You were the first person that I’ve not used protection with.”
He cleared his throat and twisted the onyx ring on his finger. “Um…Angel? Spike?”
She shook her head slowly. “I was a little clueless about the whole ‘vampires aren’t able to have children’ thing with Angel. With Spike…” She ran a hand through her hair in a nervous gesture. “With Spike, I couldn’t handle the thought of feeling his…I didn’t want it inside of me.”
“Oh.” Giles answered, rubbing the side of his neck.
“With you…I wanted to feel. And this…” She glanced down at her stomach and bit her lip. “This is the result. A baby…your baby.”
“Our baby.” He whispered almost inaudibly.
“Giles…” She trailed off when she saw his hand edge towards her abdomen. When he stopped his movement before his fingers touched her, she sniffled. “You can touch, if you want.”
His fingers trembled as they lightly brushed over her stomach. When he placed his palm over the barely distinguishable swell of her stomach, she covered his hand with hers. He raised his eyes, his heart rate quickening as their eyes met.
She lifted her free hand and grazed her fingertips over his cheek. He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.
“Buffy, I…” As her fingers slipped to his neck, he sighed and closed his eyes. The mark she had left was long gone, but he still remembered the sensation of her mouth latched onto his skin.
When he felt her lips brush over his, his eyes snapped open. She swallowed as she slowly pulled away and licked her lips.
“I’m sorry.” She whispered. “I shouldn’t have – ”
Her thought was left unfinished as he quickly leaned into her, covering her mouth with his. Her lips parted as she gasped in surprise. He took advantage of the opportunity, slipping his right hand to the back of her neck as he pushed his tongue into her mouth.
He felt, rather than heard, her groan as he moved his left hand from her stomach to cradle her face. She responded quickly, sliding her tongue along his as her hands moved up his t-shirt covered chest.
He broke the kiss and groaned softly as her fingers brushed over his hardened nipples. “Buffy…”
She had noticed his reaction when she had touched his neck earlier. She also remembered how he had lost control when she sucked on the flesh so many months ago. Leaning forward, she kissed his neck lightly before nipping at his skin with her teeth.
“Christ…” He hissed, his hand moving to cup the back of her head as she nipped him again. “God, Buffy…I love you.”
She lifted her head slowly, her heart racing as she looked into his darkened eyes. “What?”
His chest heaved as he tried to calm the panic rushing through him. He took a deep breath, knowing he had no choice but to tell her the truth.
“I love you.” He whispered nervously. “I’ve been in love with you for so very long. And…it wasn’t ‘just sex’ to me, Buffy. It was never ‘just sex’.”