Title: A Father’s Love
Timeline: Two weeks after Duodecim.
Synopsis: With a little help from a surprising source, Ethan shows Giles that not everything was as it seemed in his past.
“Hello, Ethan.” Giles stated, not even looking up from the pile of paperwork in front of him.
Ethan arched an eyebrow and walked into the office. “How’d you know I was here?”
Giles signed his name to the bottom of a form as he gestured to Callie, sitting in her bed and stomping her front paws in excitement with a hard rubber ball in her mouth. “She’s better than a personal assistant when it comes to telling me who has arrived.”
Ethan chuckled and motioned Callie over, grinning as she ran to him and dropped the ball at his feet. Giles finally closed the manilla folder and looked up, narrowing his eyes as he took in Ethan’s appearance.
“You look tired. Are you alright?”
Hearing the concern in his friend’s voice, Ethan rolled the ball across the office and met Giles’ eyes. “I am tired, but I’m fine. The perils of being sixty and having a husband twenty years younger than me.”
Ethan mentally smacked himself when Giles lowered his eyes. “You’re not sixty, Rupert.”
“No.” Giles agreed, rolling the pen between his fingers. “But when I am, Buffy will be thirty-six…our youngest child will be three years old and – ”
“Hey!” Ethan glared at him and shook his head. “Sixty doesn’t mean ‘dead’. What’s got you so worried? You afraid that you won’t be able to keep up with her?”
Giles rolled his eyes and leaned back in his chair. “Not everything is about sex, Ethan.”
Ethan smirked and rubbed the top of Callie’s head as she returned with the ball. “So…you’re still able to keep up with her, then?”
Giles furrowed his brow at his friend, pointedly ignoring the question as he continued with his earlier thought. “There was a time when I thought that I’d probably be raising three or four children on my own. But, now I worry that I’m going to leave her with five children and how – ”
Ethan kicked the ball for Callie again, his smirk quickly fading as concern filled his dark eyes. “Leave her? You’re not sick or anything, are you?”
“What? No…no, I feel fine.” Giles rushed to calm Ethan’s nerves. “I’m not sick, I’m not dying. I just…worry that my age is going to catch up with me soon and where does that leave Buffy?”
“In love with you.” Ethan answered in a tone that stated it should’ve been the most obvious answer Giles could have received to that question. “Do you honestly think that Buffy would love you any less?”
Giles shook his head slowly. “No. But, I also don’t want her having to fret over me…”
Ethan snorted and sat down on the arm of the couch. “Okay, you’re nearing sixty…not ninety. It’s not as if she’s going to be switching from changing Dec’s nappies to changing yours. And I know that you said it’s not about sex, but…seriously, now…is everything okay in that department?”
Giles nodded and stared at the pen he was twirling between his long fingers. “More than.”
“My father became ill when he was my age.”
And that’s when it hit Ethan. Giles’ concerns weren’t about his age and they weren’t about Buffy.
“Thinking about your dad lately, mate?”
Giles heaved a heavy sigh and nodded. “Probably an age related comparison between myself and him. I don’t want Buffy having to deal with what Mum did. I watched my mother care for him as he weakened. I don’t want my children to go through that...watching their mother give up everything for nothing. Nothing she did was going to change the fact that he was going to die…but, it didn’t stop her.”
“But, she would.” Ethan responded softly, smiling warmly as Giles met his eyes. “She loves you that much, Rupe. I know that you and your father didn’t get on most of the time, and I know that your mum didn’t agree with his parenting techniques…but, it’s what you do when you love someone. You’d drop everything to care for Buffy if she were to fall ill, yeah?”
The corner of Giles’ mouth pulled into a smile. “You’re telling me that I’m worrying too much over nothing, aren’t you? Isn’t that my job in this relationship of ours?”
Ethan gave him a wink and then laughed as Callie jumped up and forced Ethan to give her a cuddle. “Go home, Rupert. Spend the evening playing with your children and helping them with their homework…and then spend the night making love to your wife. Let her show you that nearing sixty is nothing to concern yourself with.”
With a snap of Giles’ fingers, Callie pushed away from Ethan and sat down dutifully. Ethan gave her a gentle pat and whispered ‘good girl’…to which she responded with a wag of her tail.
Giles exhaled slowly and dropped the pen onto the closed folder. “When did you become so insightful?”
Ethan smiled broadly and stood up, shrugging a shoulder as he moved across the room and sat on the corner of Giles’ desk. “Maybe years of you telling me basically the same thing, in more proper terms, of course, finally took hold. Did you ever ask yourself why your mum became Nurse Nightingale to your father?”
Giles shook his head as he looked up at Ethan. “She was his wife.”
“She loved you. Which is why people tend to do things that
you would see as strange…because they love you.” Ethan smiled and reached out, placing his
hand on Giles’ shoulder. “Maybe you
Ethan squeezed Giles’ shoulder and then removed his hand, amusement dancing in his eyes as he gestured vaguely. “I spend hours here in this building. I get bored…I read. Figured I’d read old Watchers’ diaries to see if they were as stuffy as you used to be. Picked his at random one day…gotta say I was surprised when I realized that he was the best friend of a ‘Richard Giles’.”
Giles nodded slowly, lowering his gaze. “They were in the same class at the Academy. From what I remember, he died a few years after my father.”
“Yeah, he did.” Ethan said as he slid from the desk. “Read the journal, mate.”
Giles looked up as Ethan made his way to the door. “Richard and I never…we grew apart, Ethan.”
“I know.” Ethan replied, offering Giles a warm smile. “It’s all about knowledge…and closure. Go home now…do the family thing with the kids and wife. Read later.”
With that said, Ethan walked out of the office. Giles thought for a moment that the last ten minutes of his life had been rather strange. And then he smiled, remembering Ethan’s comment about behaviour that Giles might deem as strange.
With a chuckle and a shake of his head, he stood up and pulled his keys from the top drawer of his desk. Callie ran to the office door and sat down, gently nudging her lead with her nose.
“Just need to stop by the
library on the way out,
Giles smiled as he stepped into the hallway, locking his office door as he watched Callie run down the hall and sit down in front of the lift doors. He whistled a soft tune as he made his way to her and pushed the button, chatting quietly to her as they waited for the elevator to arrive.
He chuckled softly as Callie leaned against his leg, nudging her head up against his hand.
* * *
After dinner, Giles had helped Lucas with his math homework before going over the latest lesson that Braden had learned at the Academy. He smiled proudly as his oldest child explained the difference between magic and sorcery…as according to the Council. Braden was learning so quickly, so thoroughly, that it consistently surprised Giles.
Each time he had mentioned his surprise to Buffy, she had just laughed…stating that she was anything but surprised. After all, Braden Giles was his father’s son.
The children had been put to bed
and Callie had performed her nightly ritual of patrolling the house before
taking herself to bed in front of the fireplace. Giles had pulled
Her light-hearted jibes continued off and on as he read through the pages. After an hour of reading, he closed the book and gestured towards the stairs that led to the basement. Buffy crossed her arms over her chest and arched an eyebrow at him.
“I think I’d much rather go to bed than to spar with you tonight…”
Giles shook his head and wrapped his fingers around her forearm, pulling her with him as he walked towards the basement door. “And that is why I am the Watcher…you need to train, Buffy.”
“Anything that has to do with the ancient book you brought home?” She questioned, willingly following him down the stairs.
“The book is hardly ancient…and no, your training routine tonight has nothing to do with it.” He made his way across the room, dropping the book onto a stack of training mats as he pulled two swords from the weapons cabinet and tossed one to her. “It does, however, have to do with the fact that you haven’t trained properly in nearly a week and you’re scheduled for patrol tomorrow night. I’d rather you come home in one piece.”
Buffy smiled, twirling the sword in her hand. “And who said you weren’t romantic?”
Giles returned the smile with a soft one of his own and raised his sword.
Buffy raised an eyebrow as Giles’ sword fell to the floor. “Everything okay?”
Giles swallowed, nodding as he wiped the sweat from his brow. “Very, um…very good, Buffy.”
Buffy lowered her sword and stepped forward, placing her hand on the side of his neck. “Your pulse is racing, Giles…and I’ve never been able to actually flip the hilt from your hand before. Are you sure – ”
Her question ended abruptly as he grabbed her, turning their bodies and pressing her back against the wall. She let the sword slip from her hand as she stared into his eyes, which were growing darker.
Instead of answering her, he lifted her up. He pinned her against the wall as her legs automatically wrapped around his hips. His mouth covered hers without hesitation, his tongue nudging between her lips as she draped her arms over his shoulders. His kisses were hard and demanding…and she returned them with an equal amount of passion.
When his left hand slid under her shirt and pushed her bra up over her breasts, she pulled from the kiss and stared into his eyes.
“What’s wrong?” She whispered breathlessly.
He furrowed his brow, shaking his head as his hand released her breast. “Nothing…”
Buffy licked her lips and ran her fingers through his sweat-dampened hair. “This was about desperation, Giles…I could taste it. Please…tell me what’s wrong.”
Knowing that she wouldn’t believe him if he said ‘nothing’ again, he sighed and gently lowered her back to the ground. He took a step back and swallowed thickly.
When he started to turn away from her, she quickly wrapped her hand around his wrist to stop him.
He stopped, but didn’t look at her as he whispered a simple statement. “It wasn’t all desperation.”
“I know.” She replied quickly, moving to stand in front of him and lifting her hand to the side of his face. “I know, honey…but, there’s something wrong…”
When he glanced into her eyes, she saw the flicker of uncertainty. She sighed heavily and shook her head as her thumb gently stroked his cheek.
“We’ve talked about this, Rupert…your age isn’t a problem here. In fact, I thought we’d gotten past all of that…”
Giles nodded slowly, leaning into her touch. “We have. It’s…it’s not really about my age. Well…it is, but…it’s different…”
She led him over to the stack of training mats in the corner of the room and sat down, pulling him down next to her. “Okay, I think you need to start somewhere other than wherever you just did…because I’m confused.”
He chuckled softly, lacing their fingers together and staring at their joined hands. “I’m not at all surprised.”
“Does this have to do with the musty old book you brought home?”
He nodded again and exhaled deeply, lifting his eyes to hers. “More to do with my father than anything else, really.”
“Your father? I haven’t heard you talk about your dad in…years, really.”
“Mm.” Giles agreed, lifting their hands and placing a soft kiss on the back of hers before turning sideways to face her. “The ‘musty old book’, as you called it, is the journal of William Bradford.”
Buffy thought about the name, narrowing her eyes in thought before shaking her head. “Never heard of him, should I have?”
“No, not really. He…was the best friend of Richard Giles.”
She took a deep breath and leaned back against the wall. “Okay…so why are you reading your dad’s best friend’s journal?”
“Because Ethan said I needed to in order to learn more about my parents.”
Buffy rolled her eyes, pulling her hand out of Giles’ and running her fingers through her hair. “Okay, you know the whole point of this conversation was to make me less confused, right?”
“Richard was fifty-seven when he fell ill. I watched my mother do everything she could to nurse him back to health…even when I told her that he was beyond saving.” When Buffy’s eyes widened, he sighed. “I actually meant that as there was nothing that could be done to save his life…medically. Saying that, Richard and I never made our peace…so, I suppose I could understand why you would think I meant otherwise.”
“You think you’re going to get sick and die?” Buffy whispered, placing her hand on his thigh.
Giles shook his head and offered her a loving smile. “No. But, I don’t want our children going through that. I was older…an adult…and it still pained me to watch my mother run herself into the ground for nothing. I don’t want our children watching you do the same.”
“Rupert…he was your father, her husband. I understand that you and he had some issues, but…”
“She did what she did because she loved me.” He interrupted softly. “She had to keep him alive until he was sixty…and had she failed, I would’ve died alongside him.”
“What?” She breathed, her eyes glistening when she heard the pain in his voice.
Giles reached behind him, sliding the book towards him from where he had dropped it earlier. He fingered the leather reverently before heaving a deep sigh and opening it nearly three-quarters the way through. His fingertips lightly glided down the page before he turned the book for her to read the carefully handwritten entry.
“This…this was written on the night Richard Giles died.”
Buffy regarded him carefully before lowering her gaze to the open book. As she read the words, she began to understand what was troubling her husband so.
* * *
Giles busied himself with cleaning the swords they had used during training, glancing over at Buffy once in a while as she continued to flip the pages of the book. He had just returned the swords to their resting place and locked the cabinet doors when he heard her whisper his name.
It was then that he knew that she had finished. He rested his palm against the cabinet door and hung his head as he sighed heavily.
“I…was a complete prat.” He whispered in response.
Buffy shook her head, quickly sliding from the training mats and making her way to him. She soothingly rubbed his back, placing a tender kiss on his shoulder.
“You didn’t know, Giles.”
“I didn’t want to know.” He corrected, leaning forward and resting his forehead against the smooth wood. “All I saw was my father being a…I never questioned his actions. I should have questioned him.”
“He couldn’t have given you the answers you wanted, Rupert.”
Giles turned slowly and looked into her glistening eyes. “I know that he couldn’t have divulged the fact that he had made a deal with a demon to save my life. But, he could have told me something…anything to let me know that what he was doing was out of love…and not disappointment.”
Buffy slid her arms around his waist and rested her head against his chest. “You used to have trouble voicing your true feelings, you know.”
“Never to my children.” He replied sadly, wrapping his arms around her and dropping a kiss onto the top of her head. “I’d never let my children think that they were a disappointment to me.”
She was quiet for a minute and then raised her head to look up at him. “Giles?”
“Hm?” He murmured, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.
Giles nodded, swallowing hard. “My father took Ewan’s death extremely hard. I’m not sure he ever really got over it. I’m rather sure that a parent never gets over the death of their child, but…he…”
When he trailed off, Buffy tilted her head slightly. “You okay?”
Giles shook his head, his thoughts obviously racing in his head. “He blamed himself for Ewan’s death.”
“What? I thought Ewan was sick?”
“He was…” His eyes darted to the book and he gently pulled from Buffy’s embrace. “But, what if Ewan’s illness was brought on by the same demon who threatened to kill me?”
Buffy watched him as he raced across the room and grabbed the book, quickly flipping the pages further back. “But…why wouldn’t they have just killed both of you at the same time?”
Giles paused for a moment and met her eyes. “Because they didn’t see me as a threat.”
“Huh?” She asked as she made her way back over to the stack of mats.
Buffy noticed the tremble in his hand as he lifted it, running his fingers through his hair. “Giles?”
Giles cleared his throat and read directly from the entry. “A Vaterin approached Richard three months ago. Richard refused the demon’s order of handing over the Mishtwanai. Three days ago, his son fell ill. The doctors have been unable to find a cure for the boy’s illness. The Council physicians have deemed it the work of demonic persuasion…and have stated that the boy’s condition is terminal. My God…”
“You weren’t the original Mishtwanai, Buffy. Ewan was…” He met her eyes and inhaled a shaky breath. “My brother was supposed to protect our son.”
Buffy stared at him, her confusion evident in her eyes. “But…why didn’t they just go after you instead?”
“The origin of the Protector wasn’t known…only the Mishtwanai.” Giles answered softly, still reeling from the news. “As for me…a Vaterin can only see ten years into the future. In ten years, I was not a member of the Council in any way…”
“Okay, I get that…sort of. But…if they could only see ten years into the future, how did they know Ewan was the Mishtwanai? I mean…the Protector wasn’t born until what…forty years later?”
“Thirty-eight…” Giles corrected automatically before continuing. “The Mishtwanai is named before birth. Should the Mishtwanai perish before the birth of the Protector, another will be named Mishtwanai.”
Buffy recognized the look in her husband’s eyes and smiled understandingly. “We’re researching, aren’t we?”
“I…I need to know more, Buffy.”
She nodded in agreement and pressed a soft kiss to his temple. “Then we research, honey.”
Giles whispered a ‘thank you’ and watched as she picked up the book, tucking it under her left arm as she wrapped her right hand around his wrist.
“No need to thank me, Rupert…this is your family.”
Giles stood and took a deep breath to compose himself before following her up the stairs.
Research wasn’t as much ‘research’ as it was Giles reading different passages from Bradford’s journal. As she listened to her husband, Buffy was once again reminded of what a beautiful reading voice he had. When she sighed softly, he looked up at her.
“Are you alright, Buffy?”
“Huh? Oh…” She smiled as she blushed lightly. “You know that thing that happens most of the time when I listen to you read? Well, this is one of those times…and it’s a little inappropriate right now…that’s all.”
He gave her a soft smile and ran his hand through his hair for the hundredth time that night. “I assume you’ll give me a raincheck?”
“Yeah.” She chuckled, nodding as she leaned back in her chair. When she noticed him bite his bottom lip lightly, her smile faded. “Talk to me, Giles. Tell me what’s going through your head right now.”
He breathed a heavy sigh and glanced at the book. “Anger, guilt, more anger…”
Meeting her eyes, he nodded slowly. “I’ve spent most of my life being angry at my father for whatever reason. And…I’ve just found out that he died to save my life. A Vaterin looked into the future and realized that I had the potential of becoming a successful Watcher…and knowing that I was the older brother of the Mishtwanai…”
“Hey…” She whispered, reaching out and covering his hand with hers when she heard his voice tremble. “It’s okay, Giles.”
“He sacrificed his life because I had potential…potential. And yet…he died letting me believe that I was a disappointment to him.”
Buffy rubbed her thumb over the back of his hand, feeling her heart break a little for him when she watched his eyes glisten. “Maybe he would’ve told you if he’d been allowed…”
Giles shook his head and looked into her eyes. “No, he wouldn’t have…it wasn’t in his nature. He had no trouble telling me what a fool I was for leaving the Academy, how irresponsible and dangerous I had become by using magick…but, I don’t remember him ever telling me that he loved me…or that he was proud of me.”
“Giles, you know he was proud of you.”
“Oh, yes. A clap on the shoulder…a ‘well done, Rupert’. Never a hug and a ‘good show, son’…always ‘Rupert’.” He clenched his jaw and sat back in his chair, pulling his hand out from under Buffy’s. “Can you imagine his reaction if he’d known that Amelia was pregnant? Or how many girls I’d bedded after I left the Academy? Or Ethan? Would he have given me a ‘well done, Rupert’ while Ethan gasped underneath me? Or…”
He looked up suddenly, regret in his eyes over what had spilled out of his mouth in his anger. “Buffy…God, I’m sorry…”
“For what?” She asked, genuinely surprised by his sudden reaction. “I know all of this, Giles…and I’m pretty sure that I know how Ethan would have been after a night with you. There’s nothing to apologize for. You’re angry and understandably so…you need to rant and rave, I get that.”
“I’m tired of being angry.” Giles responded, taking a deep breath. “Richard may not have been a loving father, but…when backed against the wall, he gave the ultimate sacrifice for me. He did what I would do…though, I would go about it differently.”
Buffy was quiet for a moment and then moved from her chair to sit on the corner of the desk. “Maybe he thought it would be easier for you.”
He furrowed his brow and stared at her. “I’m sorry?”
“Anger is much easier to work through than guilt. And…you’ve had issues with guilt for as long as I’ve known you. I’ll bet that you had problems with it when you were young, too. It’s part of what makes you you.”
“You’re saying that he treated me as he did because he was worried the guilt would devour me?” Giles asked in disbelief.
Buffy shrugged a shoulder and looked down at the book lying open next to her leg. “He got sick not long after your return to the Academy, right?”
“Yes.” He replied softly, watching her close the book and push it to the side.
“You were fragile.” She whispered, turning her eyes to his before continuing. “Unsure, confidence at a low, willing to do anything to prove yourself…your trustworthiness. I’ve seen you in that mindset, Giles…it wouldn’t take much for you to break when you’re that fragile.”
“He wouldn’t have known…” Giles started to protest, stopping when Buffy interrupted him with one quietly spoken statement.
“Your mother would have.”
Giles lowered his eyes, understanding exactly what Buffy was saying…and knowing she was right. When he had returned home in tattered jeans, hands shaking as he rang the doorbell…his mother was the one who had been there. She had been the one to hold him as he broke down and whispered his apologies to her.
She hadn’t asked what had happened to him. She hadn’t needed to…she saw the fear and pain in his eyes. Eyes that had still been glassy from the remnants of drugs and magick that had ravaged his body for the time he’d been away.
He looked back up when he felt Buffy’s lips press a soft kiss to his forehead. She offered him a loving smile and curled a strand of his hair around her finger.
“I think it would’ve done you more damage to know the truth. And I think your mother knew that as well. Looking back on it now, don’t you see it?”
He nodded slowly, swallowing hard as he felt his anger leave his body. The grandfather clock chimed once as Buffy slid from the desk and ran her fingertips down the side of his face.
“It’s late, babe…” She looked into his eyes, glistening again with unshed tears. “And you need sleep.”
“Buffy…” He whispered, leaning into her touch.
“Sleep.” She repeated with a smile as he shifted in the chair, wrapping his left arm around her waist and pulling her closer to him. “You’re exhausted…and this has been a pretty emotional revelation…so, we sleep.”
He licked his lips and nodded in agreement. Pushing his chair back, he stood and pulled her against his chest before dropping a soft kiss on the top of her head.
“I love you.”
Her arms tightened around him as she pressed her ear to his chest, sighing as she listened to the steady rhythm of his heart. “I love you too.”
They stood like that for a few moments, holding one another as the clock continued to tick away the minutes. When Buffy felt, and heard, him yawn as his exhaustion crept upon him, she pulled out of his embrace and led him to the bedroom.
Callie lifted her head, yawning widely as she stood and stretched before setting off on her middle of the night patrol of the house.
* * *
Buffy had yet to fall asleep. They’d gone to bed…two hours ago, she realized as she looked at the clock on her bedside table. It had taken Giles less than five minutes to fall asleep…and less than ten minutes after that, he was snoring softly as he sank deeper into sleep.
It didn’t surprise Buffy at all…Giles had been exhausted, emotionally more than physically. And sleep had always overtaken him quickly when there were emotional issues involved. She smiled as she watched him, the pale moonlight seeping in through the blinds casting a bluish glow over his skin.
Her smile faded as his brow furrowed in sleep. Reaching up quickly, she lovingly stroked his brow with her fingertips as she whispered that everything was okay. After a moment he relaxed and when her fingers grazed his lips as she lowered her hand back to his chest, he sighed softly.
She watched him closely, her smile returning when he mumbled her name as he shifted closer to her. Glancing at his mouth, she gave in to her sudden desire and gently pressed her lips to his. She wasn’t overly surprised when he responded to the kiss. He had failed to respond only once in their time together…and that was an instance that Buffy tried not to think about very often.
She also wasn’t surprised when she slowly pulled away from the kiss and found his green eyes staring at her. She smiled warmly at him, tenderly running her fingers over his temple.
“Sorry, I really didn’t mean to wake you.” She whispered as his right hand glided over her back.
“S’alright.” He murmured, licking his lips as he drifted further away from slumber. “Are you wanting – ”
“No.” She interrupted quickly, but not stopping his hand as it slid down to her hip. “I just…watching you sleep, hearing you whisper my name as you sleep…it’s not sex I’m after right now, Giles…I just wanted to kiss you.”
He was quiet for a moment, studying her eyes as best he could in the darkened room. “Do you want to kiss me again?”
Her eyes darted to his lips as she nodded. “Do you want me to?”
“I do.” He whispered, lifting his left hand to cup her cheek. “Very much, I do.”
“I really didn’t wake you up for sex…”
“That’s reassuring, considering I’m far too tired for sex right now.” He replied with a smile, carefully pulling her on top of him. “I want you to kiss me, Buffy. It doesn’t always lead to sex…”
Buffy looked slightly concerned as she straddled him, realizing there was a distinct lack of hard flesh underneath her. “Is everything okay?”
He nodded slowly, allowing his palms to rest on her thighs. “I’m just tired, love. Give me until tomorrow…I’ll ravage you then.”
She chuckled at the smile showing in his eyes and then leaned down to kiss him. “Promise?”
“Mm-hm. Promise.” He murmured as she nibbled at his bottom lip. “God, don’t tease me, Buffy. Kiss me…”
She responded to his gravelled whisper by nipping at his lip with her teeth and then covering his mouth with hers when he groaned. With no further hesitation, she plunged her tongue into his mouth, delighting in the way his tongue slid against hers.
When she started to move on top of him, he cradled her face between his hands and pulled from the kiss. He was breathing heavily as he looked into her slightly glazed eyes.
“Do you need to come?”
She swallowed hard and concentrated on the sensation of his heart pounding under her palm. “I’m okay…”
“I can…I may be too tired to make love to you, but…I can make you come, Buffy.”
She trembled at his words, or it could’ve been the tone he had used. Either way, he smiled as she trembled again and murmured his name. Interpreting her actions as a ‘yes’, he reignited the kiss. And then he trembled himself when he felt her moan.
And at that moment, he silently cursed his exhaustion.
Buffy tore her mouth from Giles’, biting her lip to stifle her cry as her orgasm crashed over her. Giles licked his lips, lifting his left hand to wipe the sweat from the side of her neck. He swallowed thickly when he noticed that she had broken the skin on her bottom lip.
“Buffy…” He whispered, running his thumb over her lip and through the small amount of blood. “You’ve made yourself bleed, love.”
She lightly ground her hips against him as she watched him lick the pad of his thumb. “That really shouldn’t turn me on as much as it does…”
He stared into her eyes and she arched an eyebrow as she felt him twitch beneath her. “Well, then…this is a surprise…”
“Apparently, watching you…feeling you…hearing you come is a cure for exhaustion.” He replied with a small smile.
She looked into his eyes, shaking her head when she clearly saw the still-remaining weariness. “No…not a cure.”
His eyes widened as she moved down his body, kneeling between his legs as she gently tugged his pajama bottoms down. “Um…”
She curled her hand around his quickly emerging erection and met his eyes. “You’re exhausted, Giles. Just…let me do this for you. Please?”
Any reply he was going to give her was cut off by his groan as she lowered her mouth to his cock. His eyes closed and his left hand found its way to the back of her head, moving with her but not forcing her.
She looked up at him, smiling inwardly as she watched his jaw clench and then release. She reached for his free hand, prying his grip from the sheets and lacing their fingers together. When she gently squeezed his hand, he opened his eyes and looked down at her.
“God, I love you.” He whispered gruffly, his fingers flexing against her scalp as she increased her suction. “Not long…”
She doubled her efforts, lightly scraping her teeth along his shaft before pulling him into her throat. His fingers tightened in her hair and his head fell back to the pillow as he uttered a soft curse.
When she felt him thicken in her throat, she knew she had a decision to make. Did she keep going as she was and swallow as he exploded? Or did she pull back and watch his come splatter over his chest and then spend a lazy few minutes cleaning his skin with her tongue?
Her decision was made quickly when she took into account that her second option would just overstimulate him in his current state of weariness. And so she continued sliding her mouth along his length and then clamping her lips around the head when she heard his lust-gravelled voice tell her that he was coming.
She felt his hand grip hers tightly as his back arched and looked up as he moaned her name. No sooner had ‘Buffy’ left his lips did his cock erupt in her mouth. She swallowed quickly, not surprised when she had another orgasm.
His grip on her hand loosened and as his other hand fell from her head, she pulled her mouth from his softening cock. Their eyes met and they shared a lazy smile before sharing a loving kiss.
“That, um…wasn’t necessary, love.” He whispered as she settled back down next to him. He smiled as she stared at him. “Of course, it was greatly appreciated.”
Her smile shone in her eyes as she propped her head up on her hand as she reached over and ran her thumb over his bottom lip. “Tell me something…”
He sighed contentedly and gave her a subtle nod in request for her to continue.
“Given our lives, I should find it disturbing when you taste me…my blood, I mean.”
“Mm…” He gazed into her eyes, softly kissing her thumb as she sighed.
“But, I don’t. Why do you think that is?”
He thought for a second and then rolled onto his side to face her. “Because you know there’s no danger. And we both know how your blood affects me.”
Buffy thought about that for a moment and then leaned into him, gently kissing his lips. “I take it that you didn’t make a habit of tasting your partners’ blood?”
He snorted softly, sliding his arm over her hip. “No…not at all. Unless it was ritualistic purposes…and I can count on one hand the number of times that happened.”
“Do you ever wonder if you fathered any children during that time?”
His eyes narrowed slightly at the seemingly sudden change of topic and his smile faded. “I’m sorry?”
“I wonder…sometimes.” She admitted softly. “I mean, I’m pretty sure you weren’t the poster boy for safe sex back then.”
“Where is this coming from?” He asked, swallowing the lump that had appeared in his throat.
She shrugged her shoulder and traced his cheek with her fingertips. “You said something earlier about what your father’s reaction would’ve been if he’d known how many girls you…”
She trailed off when she saw the tears well in his eyes. “Giles?”
“I’m sorry.” He whispered lowering his gaze. “I…the truth is that there’s a very real chance that maybe…most of the girls were one-nighters. I...can’t even remember what the majority of them looked like, or what their names were, or…if I even knew their names to begin with. But, no…no, I don’t wonder about it. Because if I did, it would only eat at me until there was nothing left. And I can’t – ”
She cut him off with a kiss, sliding her fingers into his hair and kissing him until the sudden tension began to leave his body. He slowly ended the kiss and looked into her eyes.
“I wouldn’t have been a very good father back then, Buffy. In fact, I would well imagine that Richard would’ve been considered a model parent compared to me at that time.”
“You would’ve been a good father to Katie.” Buffy countered, curling a strand of his hair around her finger.
“That would’ve been very different. I was in love with Amelia…there was no love felt for anyone after I left the Academy.” He sighed softly and swallowed. “Until I met you.”
Buffy shook her head as she smiled. “Jenny…”
“No, you.” He stared into her eyes and took a deep breath. “Haven’t you realized in the time we’ve been together?”
“Realized what?” She asked, letting the strand of hair slip from her finger and then moving her hand to his chest.
“You taught me that it was okay to love again, Buffy. It was because of you that I was able to let myself love Jenny. You and Willow and Xander…if it weren’t for the three of you…” He blew out a heavy breath and pulled her closer to him. “I wouldn’t be the man I am today.”
She relaxed in his arms, her forehead pressed to his chest. “Why am I just hearing this little tidbit now?”
“Because I honestly thought you knew.” He replied quietly. “I love you so very much, Buffy.”
“Twelve years and I’m still learning things about you.” She pulled back slightly and looked up at him, a soft smile pulling at her lips. “And I love you too, Giles.”
Giles forced back a yawn and then sighed. “I’m sorry, but…do you think, perhaps, we could continue this conversation in the morning?”
“You are the only person I’ve ever known to be able to string together a question like that while fighting off a yawn.” Buffy chuckled and pulled the sheet and blanket up over their bodies. “And, yeah…we can talk about this more later, if you want.”
“G’night, love.” He murmured, his eyes closing quickly as sleep caught back up to him.
She returned the sentiment and then watched him for a few minutes longer, closing her eyes only when she heard his breathing change that signalled his fall into slumber. Snuggling closer to him, she let the sound of his rhythmic heartbeat lull her to sleep.
* * *
The room was lighter when Buffy woke and she was instantly aware that she was probably the last in the house to wake. She smiled as she watched Giles, who was currently lying beside of her though fully dressed, lift a giggling Declan into the air.
“Has he had breakfast?” She asked sleepily.
Giles nodded, his smile growing as he lowered Declan to his chest and tickled him. “All five, fed and dressed.”
Buffy arched an eyebrow and pushed herself up, grinning as Declan reached for her. “What time is it?”
“Quarter to eight.” He replied, sitting up and leaning against the headboard.
Buffy glanced at him as she played with Declan, taking in his very casual dress of jeans and a simple light green button-up shirt. “Not going in to work today?”
“You have patrol tonight.” He gave as his answer. “I’m taking the children to school and then coming back to spend the day with you and Declan.”
He looked into her eyes and gently shook his head. “I can work just as well from home once in a while if I need to.”
She leaned over and gave him a tender kiss. This was not new behaviour for him…this had started from the very first ‘scheduled’ patrol. He’d stay home from work and spend the day with her.
Before Declan was born, they’d spend the day alternating between making love and training…sometimes mixing the two. Now, the day would be spent playing with Dec, snuggling on the couch, some light training with Declan watching safely from his playpen in the corner of the room, and making love when Declan went down for his naps.
“Do I have time for a quick shower before you need to leave?”
Giles nodded, his eyes darting to her chest…inhaling deeply when he saw that he could easily make out her hardening nipples under the satin nightgown she was wearing. “Mm-hm.”
Buffy chuckled and ducked her head to catch his gaze again. “Hey…”
He cleared his throat and gave her a smirk as he climbed out of bed and reached down to pick Declan up. “Come on, son…let’s let Mummy get ready.”
Declan giggled and gently tugged at the gold hoop in Giles’ ear. Giles playfully admonished him and then glanced at Buffy, who was watching them in an almost studious manner.
“Huh? Oh…” She shook her head as if she were clearing her thoughts and smiled. “It’s just…he’s so much like you, Giles. And I was just kinda wondering what he was going to be when he grows up…you know?”
Giles smiled and gave her a nod as he kissed the boy’s head. “There will still be a need for the Council. We may be able to downsize, but there’ll still be other dimensions that need to be watched. If that’s what he wants. Personally, I’m kind of hoping for the green grocer route.”
“I really doubt he’ll go down that road, babe.” Buffy laughed softly and then sighed as she looked into his eyes. “You look better this morning.”
“I feel better…about a lot of things.” He replied, lifting his free hand to the side of her face. “You should get in the shower…”
She nuzzled his hand and closed her eyes. “Yeah…the kids…school…”
“I was thinking more along the lines of I’m dangerously close to pushing you against the nearest wall if you don’t go now.” He interrupted in a low voice.
Her eyes snapped open and she grinned. “What is it with you and walls lately?”
He rubbed his thumb across her cheek and gave her a wink. “Not just walls, love.”
Licking her lips, she watched his eyes darken a shade before taking a shaky breath and stepping back. She reached out and ran her finger down the side of their son’s face, smiling as he giggled.
“Maybe you should take him into the living room and let the others wear him out for us.”
Giles snorted a soft laugh, his eyes sparkling as he gestured towards the ensuite door. “Go on…”
He watched her walk into the ensuite and shut the door behind her and then looked down at the boy in his arms who was currently seemingly preoccupied with the scar on his father’s neck. He chuckled as Declan’s small finger traced the raised flesh.
“That’s a story for another day, Dec. Right now…it’s play time with Evan, what do you think?”
Declan giggled, bouncing excitedly in Giles’ arms.
Giles walked into the house, dropping his keys onto the hallway table and chuckling to himself over the argument that Haddie and Lucas had on the way to school. Haddie was determined that sunflowers came from the sun, an ‘alien flower’ she called it. Lucas had argued that the Sun wasn’t a planet, but a star…therefore it couldn’t be an alien, it was just a flower. Haddie, in turn, stated…quite emphatically, in fact…that aliens ‘could so come from stars!’.
Neither of the children had argued that sunflowers didn’t come from the sun at all…which would completely negate the argument of whether aliens could come from stars or if they came from planets only. And he hadn’t had the composure to mention that to either of them without bursting into laughter…so he had just let it be.
It was definitely something to tell Buffy, he thought as he walked into the living room. He stopped suddenly as soft music began playing through the speakers of the stereo. His eyes darted to the couch to find Buffy stretched out, the stereo remote in her hand, and wearing a blue silk nightgown that barely reached her knees.
“Hello.” He whispered thickly, his eyes roaming her body as she stood up.
“Hey.” She whispered back and walked over to him, dropping the remote onto the coffee table. “Your plan of letting Evan wear Declan out seems to have worked.”
“Oh?” He smiled, his arms sliding around her as she ran her hands up his chest.
“Mm-hm.” Her fingers slowly unbuttoned his shirt, fingertips grazing his skin as she stared into his eyes. “Fell asleep not long after you left.”
He licked his lips as she pressed her warm mouth to his chest, her eyes still locked with his. He ran the fingers of both hands through her hair, gently pulling her mouth from his skin.
“How long do you think we have?”
“Long enough…” She was able to get out before his mouth covered hers.
Her hands pushed his shirt open as his tongue lovingly stroked hers. Her fingers absently traced the thick scar tissue on his chest, causing him to groan into her mouth as he slid his hands down to her hips.
He broke the kiss and stared into her eyes with a look that could only be described as raw passion as she roughly pushed his shirt from his shoulders. Before his shirt hit the floor, his fingers were unfastening his jeans. He shook his head quickly when she moved to pull the nightgown over her head.
“Leave it on.” He growled, pulling her back into his arms.
“You don’t want me naked?” She asked breathlessly as he pushed her against the nearest wall.
He smiled and shook his head, lifting her up much as he had in the training room the previous night. “I just want to be inside of you.”
She returned his smile, wrapping her legs around him as he reached between them and pulled his erection from his jeans. “Good to know we both want the same thing.”
A groan rumbled in his chest when his unspoken question was answered as he slid the head of his cock through her wet folds. She hadn’t been wearing anything underneath the blue satin…and that turned him on as much as anything else had.
“What were you doing before I got home?” He asked, rocking his hips against her…but not entering her…as he lightly fingered her left nipple through the satin.
“Huh?” She breathed, scratching the back of his neck as she arched her back in an attempt to increase the pressure of his fingers against her breast.
“You are so very wet.” He whispered, pinching her nipple and smiling as she trembled. “Were you touching yourself? Have a toy out?”
“Just thinking about you.” She whimpered, sliding her right hand down between their bodies.
He was able to grab her hand before she could touch his erection, and then pressed it against the wall next to her head. “All in time, love.”
“God, I want you now…”
He smiled and leaned forward, flicking his tongue against her bottom lip. “You were just…thinking about me?”
“Uh-huh…” She mumbled, tightening her legs around him. “Please…”
“Ssh…” He murmured, kissing her tenderly as he released her hand and reached between them. “I don’t want you to beg, Buffy. I just…” He closed his eyes as he guided the swollen head into her. “I had to wait a bit, yeah?”
She smiled at the change in his accent and then inhaled sharply as he pushed his hips forward. “Too close?”
“Was.” He ground out as he began a slow rhythm. “I’m not sure how long I can do this in this position right now…”
“You…oh, God…right there…” Her nails dug into his shoulders as she licked her lips and tried her question again. “You…okay?”
“Mm-hm.” He lowered his mouth to her neck, placing a line of warm open-mouthed kisses that led to her ear. “I just want to fuck you.”
He smiled as her inner walls quivered around him. “And I can’t fuck you properly like this.”
“And I want you on top of me, your nipple between my lips as you ride me…hard…God, as hard as you can…”
“And as soon as you come, bathing my cock with your deliciously sweet juices…” He stopped his thrusts and pulled back just enough to look into her passion-glazed eyes. “I want to make love with you. Christ, Buffy…I love you…I…”
“Now, Giles…fuck me now…”
“Shit…” He uttered softly as he felt her quivers quickly increase.
She groaned in protest as he pulled out of her and held her against his chest and glanced towards the couch. Before she could actually voice her protest, he lowered her to the floor instead and followed her down. He smiled as he pushed his jeans further down and leaned over her, his left hand supporting his weight…his right gripping his cock as he pushed his way back into her.
He gave her a quick nod and pushed himself up until he was kneeling between her thighs. Licking his lips, he slipped his hands under her knees and lifted her legs…spreading them further as he plunged into her.
He stared into her eyes as she cried out his name, shaking his head but not slowing his thrusts. If anything, they increased in speed and depth as he spoke.
“Quiet…you’ll wake the baby…”
When she glared at him, he chuckled and moved his left hand to grip his cock as he pulled completely out and rubbed the head over her clitoris, coating the bundle of nerves with her own fluids. As she trembled, he pushed his way back in as hard as he could…delighting in her deep groan.
* * *
Ethan walked into Michael’s office, a perplexed look on his face. Michael tilted his head and furrowed his brow slightly.
“What’s wrong, EJ?”
“Rupert’s not in.”
“And?” Michael questioned, lowering his pen to the desk.
“Well, I…kinda told him to read something last night. And…well, now I’m worried that maybe I did the wrong thing because it may have been something that he shouldn’t have – ”
“My God, what are you rambling on about now?” Anya asked as she walked in and handed Michael a file. “My expenses for last month…”
Michael nodded a thanks and smiled as he gestured to his husband. “Ethan’s a bit worried because Rupert isn’t in today.”
“Oh.” Anya waved a hand and grinned at Ethan. “Buffy’s scheduled for patrol tonight.”
When Ethan merely stared at her, Anya sighed heavily. “They’re having sex, Ethan. He never comes in when it’s Buffy’s night to patrol. How did you not know that?”
“Um…I guess it’s never come up before.” Ethan replied, sitting down on the edge of Michael’s desk. “Makes sense though.”
Anya snorted and shook her head in amusement. “As if they need a reason. Xander and I have a lot of sex, but…I don’t think anyone has as much as they do.”
Ethan and Michael just stared at her as she turned and walked out of the office without another word.
* * *
Buffy threw her head back and bit her lip in an attempt to keep quiet. She felt his grunt against her breast as she rode him harder. Knowing that she was dangerously close to screaming his name, she used the hand that was buried in his hair to pull his mouth from her nipple. She was barely able to cover his mouth with hers before her juices flooded over his cock.
Her frenzied kiss eased slightly as he gripped her hips, stilling her movement as he took control of the kiss. He kissed her slowly, his tongue tenderly stroking hers instead of thrusting into her mouth. When he felt her relax atop him and match his passionate kiss equally, he gently rolled their bodies until she was lying beneath him.
“Giles…” She whispered as he pulled from the kiss to look down at her.
He smiled, his thrusts slow and long as he brushed her sweat-dampened hair from her face. “I love you.”
She reached up, her trembling fingers stroking the side of his face. “I’ll come back to you.”
Giles’ smile faded, his eyes closing for a brief moment. He felt her fingers slide into his hair, her nails scratching his scalp as her hand moved to the back of his head. And then she wrapped her legs around him, heels digging into the backs of his thighs as she whispered his name.
His eyes opened, staring down at her as he increased his pace. “See that you do.”
She drew his mouth back to hers, knowing that she would do everything possible to do just that. To come back to him, their children, their friends. She knew that he understood it was a statement that she couldn’t turn into a promise…as much as she wanted to.
No, she couldn’t promise him. But, no matter what…she’d come back to him.
* * *
She watched him change the baby, lowering his mouth to blow a soft raspberry against Declan’s chest before redressing him. Seeing the pure joy on her husband’s face and hearing the delight in their youngest child’s giggle, a bright smile appeared on her lips.
“I think Willow wants another baby…”
Giles looked up, tugging a shirt over the boy’s head. “Oh?”
Buffy nodded and pulled at a stray thread on the outside seam of her jeans. “Yeah. She hasn’t come right out and said it, but…I see the way she looks at Declan. And River. She’s pretty clucky at the moment.”
Giles chuckled and moved over to the couch, lowering himself next to her and handing Declan over. “What do you think Oz would say?”
“Oz would give her the moon if he thought it would make her happy.” Buffy replied, grinning as Declan snuggled against her. “I think he’s happy with two children, but I also think he’d consider it…if she’d open her mouth and tell him.”
“Maybe she’s waiting to see if she truly wants a third or if she’s just feeling a bit…clucky.” He stated, reaching over to run his fingers through her hair. “Or maybe she realizes that he’d say ‘yes’ no matter what and she wants to make sure they’re both ready.”
Buffy nodded slowly and then looked into his eyes. “Ethan called while you were in the shower…wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“I’ll call him later.”
She tilted her head and sighed. “He’s coming over tonight…after I leave for patrol.”
“Buffy, I do not need a babysitter.” Giles grumbled, his brow furrowing.
“I know…and that’s not the reason he’s coming over.” She reached over and gently ran her fingertips over his brow. “I think he needs to see for himself that he did the right thing in telling you about Bradford’s journal.”
“Oh…very well, then.” He sighed melodramatically, causing Buffy to laugh softly. He paused for a moment and then licked his lips. “I understand now.”
“Richard once told me, just a few days before his death, that a father’s love is as powerful as it is volatile.” The corner of his mouth twitched. “I thought his illness had rendered him insane and completely discarded his words. But, now I understand…and I think I can let the anger go.”
Buffy smiled as she leaned over and placed a tender kiss on his lips.