Timeline: Six months after the end of Fallout.
Synopsis: There seems to be a lot going on with the Gileses and friends at the moment.
Giles opened the front door just in time to hear Buffy’s exasperated voice.
“Lucas Ewan Giles, put that down now!”
Giles placed his keys on the table next to the door and hung his coat up on the coat rack. He moved cautiously into the living room, his eyes widening at the sight before him.
Braden was sitting on the sofa, his dark green eyes narrowed and his arms crossed over his chest. Evan was in his walker, giggling happily as he pushed himself around. Haddie was sitting on the floor, a tiara on her head with her face covered in something bright red.
Giles successfully stifled his laughter as his eyes found Lucas. Lucas was standing in the middle of the room, one of his father’s ties tied around his head and a tube of lipstick in his hand. It suddenly occurred to Giles that the substance on his daughter’s face was indeed lipstick. And it seemed as though Lucas was behind her current appearance.
“Did I come home at a bad time?”
All four children and Buffy turned to look at him. Buffy saw the amusement in his eyes and she shook her head as she took the tube of lipstick out of Lucas’ hand.
“You laugh, you’ll regret it.”
Giles cleared his throat and nodded. “Um…what’s going on?”
“My son? Oh, this never bodes well.” He lowered his eyes to look at his rather guilty-looking son. “Lucas?”
“Haddie’s a princess.” Lucas sighed heavily and put his hands on his hips, as if that was all the explanation that was needed.
“And why is her face covered in make-up?” Giles prompted carefully.
“She’s a clown princess.” Lucas stated.
Giles barely had enough time to turn his head so that Lucas couldn’t see his smile. Buffy’s eyes narrowed.
Braden snickered softly. “Daddy’s in trouble too.”
Buffy turned her head and glared at her oldest child. “You’re not out of trouble yet, young man.”
Braden’s eyes widened. “What did I do? It’s Luke’s fault, Mummy.”
Giles cleared his throat again and made his way to the sofa, picking Evan up out of his walker on the way. “So, it appears that I have a clown princess for a daughter, one son who is…”
He looked at Lucas expectantly. Lucas smiled brightly. “I’m ‘tie-boy’.”
“Of course you are.” Giles responded, a smile in his eyes as he looked over at Braden. “Another son who is?”
“Apparently in trouble because I didn’t stop ‘tie-boy’ from turning Haddie into a clown princess.”
Giles chuckled softly and looked down at Evan, who was smiling brightly up at him. “And a third son who is innocent of all charges because he’s too young to do anything of his own free will.”
Giles met Buffy’s eyes and smiled. “Hello.”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “I have to bathe the princess. Can you keep an eye on ‘tie-boy’ and his associates?”
Giles stood up and walked over to Buffy. He shifted Evan to his right side and lifted his left hand to her face. “Buffy…”
Buffy’s eyes glistened as she took a deep breath. “I know, Giles. They’re just being kids. But, I had the house spotless…and now it’s not. And this is going to be Haddie’s third bath of the day…”
“What if I bathe Haddie and you take Evan and just lie down for a little while? Braden can keep an eye on Lucas and make sure he doesn’t get into any more mischief.” He leaned down and softly kissed her lips. “I’ll get dinner started afterwards.”
Giles smiled and handed Evan to her. “In fact, how about I put Haddie and Lucas both in the bath…and you talk to Braden for a bit.”
Buffy glanced at her older son, who was staring at his folded hands. She sighed heavily and lowered her head. “God, I’m such a bad mother.”
Giles’ smile faded and he gently tilted her head back up. “You are a wonderful mother, Buffy. Children like to test their parents’ patience. Lord knows I tested my mother’s. You should’ve seen some of the things I did to Ewan when we were young.”
“I yelled at him.” She whispered softly. “I came in here and saw Haddie and Lucas…and…it wasn’t his fault.”
“It was a normal reaction, Buffy. Would you like to know how often Mum yelled at me when I was his age?” He offered her a gentle smile and brushed the backs of his fingers across her cheek. “I never doubted the love Mum had for me…even when she yelled at me. Neither does Ru. Go on, I’ll go get the trouble-makers into the bath.”
She looked into his eyes and nodded slowly. “I love you.”
“And I you.” He leant down and kissed her warmly. “And after the children go to bed, I need to talk to you about your ‘Mushed Tony’.”
Her eyes widened. “Did you find something out?”
“Mm, I believe so. I think the word was Mishtwanai. If so, I know what that is. And…we’ll discuss it later.” He turned and smiled at Lucas and Haddie, who were now playing quietly on the living room floor. “You two…bath time.”
Braden looked up at his father. “What about me?”
Buffy smiled and walked over to the couch and sat down. “How about you stay here with me and Evan?”
Braden smiled as Evan crawled over to him.
* * *
Haddie splashed the water playfully as Giles washed the remainder of lipstick from her face. He looked down at the now red washcloth and sighed.
“Your brother did a good job on this one, didn’t he?”
“Lu did!” Haddie giggled as her father smiled.
“Is Mummy really mad at me?” Lucas asked softly as he ran his finger through the bubbles.
Giles shook his head and pulled the second washcloth out of the bubbles. “No, she isn’t angry. She’s more…exasperated, I think.”
Lucas lifted his green eyes and furrowed his brow. “Zasprated?”
Giles chuckled and ran the cloth behind his son’s ear. “You can be quite the handful, Lucas. But, you are very loved. Maybe the next time ‘tie-boy’ wants to play with the ‘clown princess’, you can ask Mummy. And…perhaps we can even purchase some acceptable face paint to use for such purposes.”
Lucas looked at his father in confusion. “Huh?”
“Don’t use Mummy’s make up. It’s for grown-ups and each bottle and tube has their own use.” He smiled and washed the boy’s back. “To be very honest, I’m not sure of all their uses. But, I know that it’s important to Mummy.”
Lucas nodded in understanding and lifted his arms out of the water, waving his hands elaborately. “Kalamasham!”
Giles narrowed his eyes. “Where did you learn that?”
Lucas grinned. “Uncle Efan.” His grin faded and he shrugged his shoulders. “Din’t work.”
“Ethan? When did Ethan teach you that?”
“The other day. He does it better than me.”
“Mm, yes.” Giles shook his head and moved back from the tub, gesturing towards the bubbles. Lucas and Haddie both looked at him expectantly. “Go on, then…play.”
The sounds of his children playing, splashing, and laughing faded away as Giles leaned his back against the wall and fell into deep thought. He was going to have to have a discussion with Ethan.
* * *
“Mummy?” Braden spoke softly as he ran his fingers through Evan’s soft hair.
“Hm?” She smiled as Evan closed his eyes, quickly drifting towards sleep with his head resting on Braden’s thigh.
“I’m sorry I made you mad.”
Buffy’s smile faded as she looked into her oldest child’s eyes. “Ru…I wasn’t mad. I was frustrated…but not with you. It wasn’t your fault and I’m really sorry that I yelled at you.”
His brow furrowed and he tilted his head in a manner that made Buffy chuckle. She reached out and brushed her fingers through the soft curls on top of his head.
“You are so much like your father.”
“Everyone seems to say that.” Braden replied. “But, I don’t know what that means, really.”
“Well, you look just like him for one thing.” Buffy began as she leaned against the cushions on the couch. “But, your mannerisms…well, they’re just like his.”
Buffy nodded slowly. “Yeah, like the way you walk…or the way you tilt your head when you’re thinking about something…the way you’ll stand there with your right hand in your pocket, just like Daddy.”
“Xander says I talk like him as well. Only my accent is a little different.”
grinned. “Mm-hm. You have just a little more
“Luke sounds really English. Why is that?”
“You sound English, Ru.”
Braden shook his head and laughed gently. “Not as English as Luke.”
your father has told me, your Uncle Ewan’s accent was different than his. It’s normal.
I mean…look at me, Xander, and
“Yeah, I guess.” He looked down at his sleeping brother and sighed. “I wonder what Evan’ll sound like when he starts talking.”
“We’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?” She smiled brightly when he lifted his eyes back to hers. “Hey, I have an idea. How about we ask Daddy to take Lucas and Haddie to work with him tomorrow and me, you, and Evan can go into the city for the day.”
Braden’s eyes lit up. “Just the three of us?”
“Yeah, just the three of us. And maybe we can ask Daddy to meet us for lunch…maybe a picnic in the courtyard at the Council?”
Braden grinned widely. “Can I ask him?”
“Of course you can.” She glanced at the clock and tapped his shoulder lightly. “Wanna help me get dinner started?”
“Thought Dad was going to…”
“He was. But…Evan’s asleep…and you know what Lucas and Haddie are like when they’re in the bath…”
Braden laughed. “Yeah…hard to get out.”
“Mm-hm. So while he’s trying to entice them to get out before they turn into prunes, we can put Evan in his bed and work on dinner. Just you and me. What do you say?”
“Can I chop the veggies?”
Buffy laughed and lifted Evan into her arms. “No. You can wash the veggies though. And when the potatoes are ready, you can mash them if you want.”
Braden leaned over and kissed Buffy’s cheek as he wrapped his arms around her neck. “I love you, Mummy.”
She wrapped her free arm around him and kissed him back. “I love you too, Ru.”
They gave each other a smile.
* * *
Giles smiled and got two towels ready. “Alright, time to get out.”
Lucas pouted. “Just a little longer?”
Haddie copied her brother. “Lidda longa?”
“Are your fingers wrinkled?”
Both children lifted their hands out of the water and inspected their hands. Haddie giggled and held her hands out to her father.
Giles nodded, laughing softly. “Yes, they do look like prunes. And yours, Lucas?”
Lucas grumbled under his breath. “I’m pruney.”
“And what time is it when fingers become wrinkled?”
Haddie stood up carefully and raised her arms up in a gesture to be picked up. “Time ta git out!”
“Good girl, Hadley.” Giles grinned and lifted her out of the water, wrapping the towel around her small body.
Haddie jumped up and down on the bathmat, smiling brightly. “Lu, time ta git out!”
Lucas pulled the stopper out of the drain and sighed as the water began to swirl around him. “Okay, okay.”
The young boy stood carefully in the soapy tub and waited for his father to lift him out. Giles did quickly and wrapped the towel around him.
“Can you dry yourself while I dry Haddie?”
Lucas stared at his father as he began rubbing the towel over his body. “I’m four years old, Daddy.”
Giles chuckled in amusement.
A few hours later, the children had been put to bed…after Braden read a bedtime story to both Haddie and Evan. Giles walked into the living room carrying two mugs of tea. He smiled, handing one to Buffy, as he sat down on the couch next to her.
“Feeling better about things?”
She returned his smile and nodded. “Yeah. Braden’s really excited about tomorrow. Thank you for agreeing to take Lucas and Haddie.”
He took a sip of his tea and leaned back against the cushions. “You don’t have to thank me, Buffy. I enjoy taking the children to work with me. They seem to enjoy it as well.”
Buffy chuckled. “Lucas seemed to be excited about researching. That’s something he definitely didn’t get from me.”
Giles rested his head against the back of the couch and grinned. “One of our children had to receive the research gene.”
She turned to face him, leaning her shoulder against the cushion. “Speaking of research…tell me about this ‘mushed Tony’ thing.”
“Mm.” He swallowed a sip of tea. “Mishtwanai. It’s a magick term.” He narrowed his eyes. “Which reminds me…I need to have a discussion with Ethan.”
“Mishtwanai has to do with Ethan?”
“No.” He turned his head and met her eyes. “But, our son waving his hands and saying ‘kalamasham’ does.”
Buffy’s eyes narrowed. “What’s ‘kalamasham’?”
“Nothing. However… ‘kalashamam’ is a fairly simple spell that causes colored bubbles to appear in the air. It’s completely harmless and it’s merely for the enjoyment of children, but…I’d prefer Ethan not teaching magick to our children.”
Before Buffy could respond, Giles continued. “Mishtwanai is a word used to describe the guardian of the Protector.”
“So…like the Protector of the Protector?”
He gave a quick nod and lifted his mug to his lips. “Yes.”
Confusion clouded her eyes. “So…what does this have to do with a vampire?”
“Nothing at all.” He placed his mug on the lamp table and ran his fingers through his hair. “When the vampire said it, what was his tone of voice?”
“Surprise.” She tilted her head in thought. “We were fighting and all of the sudden, his eyes widened and he said ‘Mishtwanai’. I took advantage of his surprise and staked him.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow. “’Hm’? What does ‘hm’ mean in this case?”
“I’m not sure. He obviously saw you as the Mishtwanai.”
Buffy sighed heavily and leaned forward, placing her mug on the coffee table. “And what exactly is the Mishtwanai?”
“More or less a supernatural being that…watches over the Protector. That’s all we’ve been able to find so far. Surprisingly, little has been written of the Mishtwanai.”
“Well, that’s just weird.”
He chuckled softly and placed his hand on her thigh. “I would tend to agree. Good news is that it doesn’t seem to be anything evil.”
“Good to know I’m not evil.” She lifted her hand and traced her fingertips over his nipple.
His hand tightened on her thigh. “I don’t know…that was a fairly evil thing to do.”
She moved closer and repeated the action, smiling as he hissed softly. “It’s only evil if I intend to go no further.” She moved her hand to his groin and applied a gentle pressure. “And…I definitely intend to go further…”
He inhaled sharply and slid his hand underneath her skirt to rest on her inner thigh. “Do you?”
“Mm-hm.” She licked her lips as her fingers pulled his belt loose. “Unless you’d prefer I didn’t.”
His eyes darkened, his fingers lightly caressing her skin. “Here?”
She unbuttoned his trousers and slowly lowered the zipper. “Yeah…here.” She looked into his eyes and smiled. “Is that okay?”
He nodded silently, swallowing as she pulled his quickly hardening cock out of his boxers. She moved to her knees and leaned across him to turn the lamp off. As the room darkened, he took advantage of her position and slid his fingers underneath her slightly damp silk underwear.
She moaned softly as his fingers caressed her. “Giles…”
He licked his lips and leaned up, pressing a soft kiss to the side of her neck. “Touch me, Buffy.”
She straddled his right thigh, placing her left hand on the back of the couch for leverage. She gasped as his fingers lightly circled her clitoris.
“Please, Buffy…” He whispered urgently.
She met his eyes as she lowered her right hand, wrapping her fingers around his erection. “Unbutton my shirt.”
He thrust gently into her hand, rubbing her clit with his right hand as he worked on the buttons of her shirt. “Buffy?”
She rocked her hips against his hand, stroking his firm flesh harder. “I want you to come on me.”
He groaned, pulling the last button free and parting her blouse to expose her lace-clad breasts. His eyes darted to her chest and he leaned forward slightly, nuzzling her flesh.
“I love you.”
“You too. God, I love you.” She whispered as he slipped two fingers inside of her. “Yes…Giles…”
He thrust his fingers slowly into her, covering a hardened nipple with his mouth. She moaned at the warmth of his mouth as he suckled gently through the lace. He nibbled lightly with his teeth as he slipped a third finger inside.
Her hand tightened on his cock, her thumb massaging the underside as she continued stroking him. He hissed, releasing her nipple as he bucked against her.
She lowered her head, brushing her lips across his neck. He shivered as she then gently scraped her teeth across his skin. His hand snapped the clasp open on the front of her bra, freeing her firm breasts. She groaned against his skin as his fingers rolled her hardened nipple.
In one swift move, he removed his fingers from her tight channel and moved them to her clitoris, rubbing the swollen flesh hard. Her head snapped back and she bit her lip to keep from screaming. He smiled lustfully and licked his lips.
His mouth quickly caught a nipple and she loosened her hold on him. He pulled back and looked up at her.
“Don’t stop, Buffy…please, don’t stop.” He panted heavily.
“So…close…” She whimpered as she ran her trembling fingers through his hair.
He lowered his hand between them, wrapping his fingers around hers, effectively increasing her pressure on his cock. “So am I…”
He guided her hand in firm strokes as he leaned forward, pulling her nipple back into his mouth as he continued his ministrations on her clit. She rocked against his hand, whispering his name as he pushed her closer to orgasm.
He held her nipple between his teeth, flicking his tongue against the hardened nub. He released her hand and moved his to her back, scratching his short nails across her skin.
“Bite me…” She whispered, cupping the back of his head with her hand.
He growled softly and bit down gently, moving his right hand once more and thrusting his fingers back inside of her.
She inhaled sharply, tightening her fingers in his hair. “Harder, baby…”
His growl turned into a groan at the sound of the endearment that she rarely used. Biting her nipple harder, he felt her inner muscles begin to quiver around his fingers. She quickened her strokes on his cock when she felt him thicken.
“Yes…yes, come for me, Giles…come all over me…”
His head fell back against the couch and he met her eyes. “Jesus…Buffy…”
She smiled down at him, her breathing heavy as he pushed her closer and closer. “That’s it…come, Giles…”
He swallowed thickly and thrust his fingers harder into her. “Buffy…”
She recognized the hesitation in his eyes and shook her head. “Don’t wait on me…just…come…”
She lowered her mouth to his ear, her breath hot against his skin as she whispered. “Yes.”
With no further words spoken, she covered the scar on his neck and sucked hard. He groaned, biting his lip to muffle his noise as much as possible. He thrust into her hand, the sensation of her mouth on his neck causing him to shudder underneath her.
The hand on her back flexed, his nails digging into her skin. “Buffy…God, yes…”
She smiled inwardly, releasing his neck when she felt him expand in her hand. “That’s it…”
Her name left his lips on a low growl as he came, his semen landing on her bare stomach. He kept thrusting against her, his chest heaving as he came a second time. She smiled softly as he removed his hand from between her thighs. Her eyes widened when he grasped her hips and flipped her onto her back on the couch.
His fingers trembled as he tugged her skirt and underwear down her legs before lowering his mouth to her abdomen. She hissed pleasurably as he dragged his tongue through the fluid on her skin before leaning over her and plunging his tongue into her mouth.
She sucked his tongue hungrily, groaning into his mouth as she tasted his essence. He broke the kiss quickly, sliding back down her body and pressing hot, open-mouthed kisses to her skin.
“Giles…” She whispered softly as he cleaned her skin. “God, Giles…”
He looked up at her and smiled as he pulled her up to a sitting position and slid to the floor, kneeling between her parted legs. “You didn’t come…”
She shivered as he dragged his tongue along her thigh. He met her eyes as he lifted her legs over his shoulders.
“And you should. You should come…”
She gripped the cushion tightly as he quickly covered her aching clitoris with his mouth. “Oh, God…”
He smiled to himself, laving the hardened nub with his tongue before gently nipping at it with his teeth. She bucked against him, grinding her hips in a tight circle against his mouth.
“So…close…yes, Giles…right there…”
He sucked harder at her clit, lifting his left hand to her breast and gently massaging the flesh. He carefully listened to the rhythm of her breathing and when he noticed the slight change that told him exactly how close she was, he lightly pinched her nipple.
Her hand flew to his head, holding his mouth tightly against her core as she thrust her hips harder against him. “God, yes…fuck!”
He groaned as her orgasm crashed over her. He continued sucking and nipping at her clit until he heard her whimper his name. Only then did he slow his assault until he was lovingly kissing her quivering flesh.
He lifted his head and offered her a warm smile. “My God, you’re beautiful…”
She swallowed as she fought to catch her breath. “Come…here…”
He moved back to the couch, pulling her trembling body into his arms and kissing her deeply. She pulled from the kiss after a few moments and took a gasping breath.
He tenderly stroked her face, pressing a soft kiss to her forehead. “Are you alright?”
“Mm…” She murmured as she snuggled against his chest. “Take me to bed?”
He grinned and gently rubbed her back. “Gladly.”
She reached between them and he inhaled sharply as her hand took hold of his softening cock. “Buffy!”
She lifted her head and smiled as she carefully tucked him back into his boxers. “Sorry.”
“Dear Lord…” He sighed as she gently caressed him.
She arched an eyebrow at him when she felt him harden slightly under her touch. “Not done?”
He chuckled softly and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I thought I was. Apparently, I thought wrong.”
She placed a gentle kiss on his lips, pulling her blouse closed. “Then maybe we should definitely go to bed?”
He nodded, reaching down and picking up her discarded clothing from the floor. “I think that’s a very wise idea…”
She grinned as he handed her the skirt and shoved the silk underwear into his pocket.
Giles woke slowly, sighing in contentment as he opened his eyes. A smile formed on his face when he realized that his limbs were still tangled with Buffy’s, her bare back pressed against his chest. He slowly untwined their fingers and moved his hand to her stomach, lightly stroking her skin as he placed a tender kiss on her shoulder.
Buffy shifted and echoed his sigh, but didn’t open her eyes.
“What time is it?”
Giles squinted as he glanced at the clock on her bedside table. “Nearly three-thirty.”
“In the morning?”
He chuckled softly at her confused tone. “Yes.”
“One of the kids wake up?”
“No.” He whispered and kissed the tip of her ear.
“Why are you awake?”
“I wasn’t sure at first…”
She rolled over to face him, her eyes opening when his hand rested on her hip. “And now you are?”
He cleared his throat, sliding his hand up her ribcage. “I’m beginning to be.”
When his thumb brushed the side of her breast, she smiled. “You woke up horny?”
He rolled his eyes. “Such a horrible word…”
She chuckled and pushed him onto his back, following him and slipping one leg between his. “Would you prefer ‘aroused’?”
“Mm…yes, that’s a much better word.” He smiled as her hand lovingly stroked his chest. “However, I didn’t intend to wake you.”
She arched an eyebrow, lightly kissing his nipple. “And just what were you intending?”
He lifted his hand and brushed the hair back from her face. “I’m not sure. A shower, perhaps?”
“Mm.” She flicked her tongue against the now-hardened nub. “Well, I’m awake now. Do you still want a shower?”
“Mm-hm.” He smiled when disappointment flickered in her eyes. “But, now…I think I’d prefer for you to join me.”
She grinned as she pushed herself up. “I am a bit sticky…”
He laughed gently and climbed out of the bed.
* * *
He lifted her easily and pressed her back against the tiled wall of the shower, groaning as she wrapped her legs around his waist. She smiled and ran her hand through his wet hair as the water cascaded down his back.
He nodded as he reached between their bodies and grasped his erection, slowly guiding himself inside of her. “God, yes…”
She gasped and leaned her head back against the wall, tightening her fingers in his hair and guiding his mouth to her neck. “Tell me if it gets to be too much…”
He licked the water from her neck and began a slow rhythm, rocking into her gently. “Sometimes…I wonder if…if it could ever be…too much…”
Her hands glided across his wet back. “I was talking about…oh God, yeah…right…right there…”
He smiled and pulled back just enough to look at her face. “Talking about what?”
She forced her eyes open and stared at him. “Huh? Oh…oh…yeah…um…safety…talking about…safety…”
His eyes darted to her kiss-swollen lips. “You’re safe…”
She moved her right hand to the side of his face, stroking his cheek with her thumb. “Kiss me again.”
He leaned forward, tracing her lips with his tongue before kissing her softly. “I love you…”
Before she had a chance to respond, he covered her mouth with his. Her left hand gripped his shoulder, her right found its way back to his hair as she returned the kiss. He felt her groan rumble in her chest as his tongue slid along hers.
He quickened his thrusts, sliding one hand into her hair as the other tightened its hold on her hip. His tongue plundered her mouth, matching the thrusts of his hips. She moaned into his mouth, sliding her hand from his shoulder to his chest, her fingers gently pinching his nipple.
He groaned in response and slammed his hips against her. She pulled from the kiss and tilted her head back against the wall, baring her throat to him.
Feeling her inner muscles begin to quiver around his cock, he continued with the faster pace and latched his mouth onto her throat. He sucked hard at her skin, smiling inwardly when he felt the vibration of her stifled scream as her orgasm hit suddenly.
He continued thrusting into her throughout her orgasm, quickly building her up for a second. When he felt her hot fluids bathe his cock for a second time, he pulled his mouth from her throat and called her name softly. He allowed his own orgasm to follow hers, flooding her inner walls as he held her tightly.
His thrusts slowed gradually and he lowered his head to her shoulder, breathing heavily against her skin. She trembled as she felt his softening cock slip from her.
He heard her soft whimper and gently eased her down his body until she was standing in front of him. He gave her a tender kiss and they shared a loving smile as he reached for the body wash.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Giles yawned and turned the page of the book he was going through. Amelia stepped into his office and smiled.
He looked up and took his glasses off, rubbing his tired eyes. “Somewhat.”
Amelia sat down in a chair opposite his desk and slid an envelope on top of his open book. “I saw Xander playing football with Lucas and Haddie out in the courtyard.”
“Football or soccer?”
“Soccer.” She clarified as she glanced at the window. “Do you worry about your children being exposed to…well, anything…while they’re here?”
“Not so much with Braden. Lucas and Haddie…yes. They tend to be carefully guarded from the unsavoury aspects of our line of work when they’re in the building. Evan’s still too young to understand.”
“Are you still training Braden?” She turned her head and met Giles’ eyes.
“Buffy and I both are. He’s doing very well…for a seven year old.” Giles noticed the darkness under her eyes that she had tried to conceal with make-up. “Are you alright?”
“Oh, I’m fine. A bit of a sleepless night last night, is all.” She gestured towards the book. “Do you plan on opening that anytime soon?”
He sighed heavily and fingered the royal blue envelope. “I would imagine it’s the invitation for the Council Ball.”
She offered him a tired smile. “It is. I’d really like for you and Buffy to attend this year. You haven’t been to the last three.”
Giles chuckled softly. “Buffy was three months pregnant last year. The year before, Haddie was just a baby. The year before that…” He cleared his throat and took a deep breath. “Well, neither Buffy nor I were feeling much like celebrating anything.”
Amelia nodded in understanding. “But, this year?”
“I’ll speak with Buffy. Unless an apocalypse decides to occur, I see no reason why we wouldn’t be able to attend.” He tilted his head slightly, concern showing in his eyes. “Are you sure you’re alright?”
“You worry too much, Rupert.” She stated softly and stood. “I just need some rest. In fact, I might head home and see if I can’t get some.”
He arched an eyebrow at her.
She rolled her eyes in exasperation. “You’ve been around Americans for too long. I meant, get some rest.”
He offered her a small smile and a quick nod. “Do. I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“I would imagine so.” She glanced down at the still unopened envelope. “Don’t forget to speak with Buffy.”
Without another word, she turned and left the office. His brow furrowed as he got the distinct impression there was something she wasn’t telling him.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Three hours later found him spreading a blanket on the warm grass in the courtyard. He smiled as Buffy placed the picnic basket on the blanket and started unpacking containers of food. He sat down and chuckled as Evan crawled over to him.
“And when are you going to start walking, Evan?”
Evan giggled and patted Giles’ thigh. “Dada!”
Giles grinned and picked the boy up, kissing his cheek. “That’s right, I’m Daddy. Where’s Mummy?”
Evan turned his head and pointed towards Buffy. “Mumma!”
Buffy smiled and handed Giles a sandwich. “Ask him where B-r-a-d-e-n is.”
“Evan, where’s Braden?”
Evan bounced in Giles’ arms and giggled brightly. “Buhbay!”
Giles laughed and hugged the boy before putting him back down on the blanket. Buffy joined in with the gentle laughter as she unwrapped her own sandwich.
“Isn’t it cute? He was asking where Haddie was earlier. He’d shrug his shoulders and hold his hands out and say ‘Adda?’”
Evan looked up as Lucas ran over and plopped down on the blanket. “Woo!”
Lucas reached over and patted Evan’s head. “Hi, Evan.”
“Are you hungry, Lucas?” Buffy asked, knowing full well what the answer would be.
“So ‘ungry I’d eat a ‘orse.”
Giles sighed softly. “Hungry, Lucas…not ‘ungry. Pronounce your h’s…they’re there for a reason.”
“Easier not ta.”
“Dear Lord…and I thought hearing Braden’s first words in a heavy American accent was bad.”
Buffy grinned and nudged Giles’ arm with her shoulder. “You know…I’ve heard your accent slip before.”
Giles narrowed his eyes. “Only in extreme situations such as rage or…” He blushed lightly and cleared his throat. “Um…other extreme…things.”
“He’s four, Giles…he’ll learn.”
Giles smiled an almost wistful smile. “My parents sent Ewan to elocution lessons when he was Lucas’ age.”
“Really?” She leaned her back against his chest as she took another bite of her sandwich. “Was his accent bad?”
“Shocking.” He chuckled softly. “No one was ever sure about where his accent came from. Much like I’m at a loss to explain Lucas’. Though, I tend to believe his comes from Janoware in Administration.”
Buffy laughed loudly. “Yeah, his is pretty bad.”
Lucas grinned at the mention of the man’s name. “I like Janny! He’s funny.”
“That he is.” Giles agreed with a smile on his face. “And good boy for pronouncing your ‘h’.”
“Is there one for me?” Braden asked as he sat down on the blanket, gesturing towards his mother’s sandwich.
“No.” Buffy replied, a smile in her eyes. “I only made enough for us.”
Braden rolled his eyes. “Funny.”
Buffy laughed and reached into the basket, pulling out a sandwich and handing it to the boy. “Chicken and avocado…” She shuddered as he excitedly unwrapped it. “I still don’t understand how you can eat that.”
“Is good. Dad likes avo too.” He looked at his father and smiled. “Don’tcha, Dad?”
“Mm-hm.” He shook his head in amusement and caught Buffy’s eye. “Elocution for all of them, in my opinion.”
Buffy snorted and leaned back against him, smiling brightly as she looked over her family. She was sure that life couldn’t get much better than this.
After lunch, Buffy and the children escorted Giles back to his office. She looked at the mass of open books on his desk and narrowed her eyes.
“You really busy today?”
“Hm?” He asked distractedly as he picked Haddie up and tossed her gently into the air, grinning as she giggled happily.
“A lot of books out. How busy are you?”
“Oh.” He kissed his daughter before placing her on the ground and nudging her in her brothers’ direction. “I’m just trying to find out more about this Mishtwanai.”
“How’s it going?” She asked as she looked down at the books, noticing the blue envelope resting next to one of them.
Giles sighed heavily. “As I said last night, little has been written about it. I’m quickly finding out exactly how little.”
“Frustrating.” She picked up the envelope and met his eyes. “What’s this?”
“The invitation to the Council Ball.”
“Oh.” She responded quietly. “Um…did you want to go this year?”
He smiled and made his way to her, standing behind her and wrapping his arms around her waist. “I’d love to take you this year. That is…if you’d…well, would you like to attend?”
She turned in his arms and smiled up at him. “Let’s see…getting all dressed up and dancing all night with the man of my dreams? Nah…don’t think I’d be interested.”
He chuckled and leant down to place a soft kiss on her lips. “Man of your dreams, hm?”
“Mm-hm.” She murmured, running her finger along his collar.
“What sort of dreams are we talking about?”
“Oh, you know…” She shrugged her shoulder. “Silly, scary, romantic…most of the time triple x.”
He raised an eyebrow at her. “Triple x, you say?”
She laughed and shook her head. “Completely bypassed the scary part, didn’t you?” She licked her lips and lowered her voice to a whisper. “Sometimes quadruple…”
He swallowed and ran his fingertips down the side of her neck. “If there weren’t four children in the room with us, I’d ask you to tell me more about these…dreams of yours.”
She grinned and slid her hand down his chest. “I’m sure you would. I’m even more sure I’d tell you all about them…maybe even physically work through a couple of them.”
He cleared his throat and took a deep breath. “Perhaps we, uh…um…we should probably halt this discussion right now.”
Her eyes darted down and she bit her lip when she noticed the bulge in his trousers. “Mm…um, yeah…I guess so.”
He smiled softly and placed a finger under her chin, gently tilting her head up. “We can discuss it further later, if you wish.”
“Oh, I definitely wish.” She inhaled deeply and took a step back. “Um…Braden asked if we could take Lucas and Haddie with us to the museum this afternoon. It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea, considering how busy you are. I mean…if that’s okay with you.”
His eyes darted to her breasts. “Mm, that would be fine.”
“Hey!” She crossed her arms over her chest and shook her head when he looked back up sharply. “Stop that…”
“The things you make me feel…” He mumbled under his breath, fighting the urge to rub his hand against the aching bulge.
She smiled knowingly and tilted her head. “You gonna take care of that after we leave?”
“There’s a very good chance.” He returned her smile and glanced at their children. “So, um…the museum?”
“Yeah…and I guess we should be going.”
He nodded slowly, running his hand down her arm. “Have fun.”
“You know how much I love you, right?”
He tilted his head slightly at her seemingly odd question. “Of course I do. And you’re aware of the depth of my love for you, yes?”
“God, you’re so English.” She shook her head in amusement. “But, yeah…I am aware.”
She moved into his arms, leaning up to kiss his cheek before whispering softly in his ear. “Think of me while you’re taking care of things?”
“I always do, love.” He responded quietly before pulling away hesitantly. “You, uh…you should probably go soon.”
“Yeah…” She gazed at him for a moment longer and then turned her head towards the children. She clapped her hands lightly to get their attention and smiled. “Okay, who wants to go to the museum?”
Giles smiled warmly as the children began chattering in excitement.
* * *
It was nearly three in the afternoon when Ethan walked into Giles’ office. Giles looked up and dropped his pen onto the pad of paper he had been using to take his notes.
“ ‘Ello, Rupert.”
“Maybe it’s not just Janoware that he’s getting it from.”
Ethan narrowed his eyes in confusion. “What?”
Giles waved his hand in a vague gesture. “Nothing, really. It’s just Lucas has become accustomed to dropping his h’s from words. I had assumed that he was picking it up from Janoware down in Admin. But, maybe he’s getting it from you as well.”
“Good lad.” Ethan laughed and sat down in the chair. “So…got your message. What did you want to talk to me about?”
“Hm? Oh.” Giles leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest. “Interesting thing happened last night.”
“No, not exactly. More like Lucas waving his hands and saying ‘kalamasham’.”
Ethan chuckled softly. “I think he meant ‘kalashamam’.”
“Yes, I’m aware of what he meant. The question I have is…why are you teaching my son magick?”
Ethan looked offended for a moment. “It’s just a harmless bubble spell…”
“I know, Ethan. But…the fact of the matter is you can’t just teach my children spells…harmless or not.”
Ethan sighed softly. “I’m sorry, I just didn’t think it would be that big of a deal. I’ll be more careful in the future.”
“See that you are.” Giles leaned forward and rested his elbows on his desk. “The last thing I need is for Lucas to be turning his sister invisible.”
Ethan narrowed his eyes. “Hey, I only did that once.”
Giles grinned and glanced down at the pad in front of him. Ethan leaned forward and looked at the notes.
“What are you working on?”
“A seemingly dead end. I’m trying to discern the true meaning of the Mishtwanai.”
Ethan’s eyes widened and he looked up quickly. “Mishtwanai?”
Giles met Ethan’s eyes and furrowed his brow. “You’ve heard of it?”
“Well, yeah…” Ethan cleared his throat and sat back. “In, you know…passing.”
Giles picked up on his friend’s nervousness immediately. “What do you know about it?”
“I…” Ethan thought for a second and then decided to attempt a change of tactic. “Where did you hear it?”
“A vampire referred to Buffy as the Mishtwanai a few months ago. Though, Buffy heard it as ‘Mushed Tony’…it took us a while to work through it.” He raised an eyebrow. “Again…what do you know about it?”
“Uh…it’s a term for the guardian of the Protector.”
“Yes, we’ve gotten that far. Who…or what…is the Protector? Do you know?”
“Who.” Ethan blurted before thinking.
“Bugger.” Ethan mumbled, his mind working quickly to formulate a plausible explanation. “The Protector is a ‘who’…not a ‘what’. But, the identity of the Protector is not common knowledge. Could be one of the thousands of people Buffy has saved over the years.”
Giles considered that for a moment, tapping the end of his pen against the paper. “And the Protector…what exactly is the Protector…um…protecting?”
Ethan stared at him and gestured towards the books. “Doesn’t it say in your musty old friends there?”
Giles shook his head slowly. “Little has been written of the Protector. Even less of the Mishtwanai. And that is what concerns me most.”
“And…why’s that?” Ethan asked cautiously.
“I’m getting nowhere in my research. If Buffy is indeed the Mishtwanai, I have no idea what that means for her…for us…”
Ethan regarded Giles carefully, understanding that Giles was worried about his wife. He offered Giles a gentle smile.
“Rupert, from all I’ve heard…and I haven’t heard that much, really…but what I have heard is that the Mishtwanai is something of a hero…a saviour, if you will. I honestly don’t believe Buffy is in any danger.” He paused for a second. “Well, no more danger than she’s normally in.”
Giles shook his head in frustration. “I don’t like not knowing. Especially if it involves my family.”
“I know.” Ethan stated softly. “I can ask around…see if I can find out anything else for you.”
“Ask around where?”
Ethan grinned. “Not all of my friends are as upstanding in character as you.”
Giles thought about that for a moment and then nodded. “I’d appreciate that.”
“No worries.” Ethan glanced at his watch. “Wanna come for a pint?”
Giles smiled and shook his head. “No. Thanks, but…I’m going to try to beat Buffy and the kids home. Have dinner ready for them and such.”
“My God, you’re such a domestic animal these days.”
Giles closed the books and stood. “Maybe you should try it. I’m sure Anna would appreciate a small amount of domestication.”
Ethan waved his hand in a nonchalant manner as he stood. “Nah. I’m as domesticated as I’m gonna get. Besides, she prefers the animalistic side of me.”
Giles rolled his eyes as he gathered his jacket and keys before following Ethan out of the office.
* * *
Giles had just finished setting the table when he heard the front door open. He smiled as Braden and Lucas’ playful bickering wafted into the dining room.
He smiled and wiped the palms of his hands over his denim-clad thighs as he made his way into the living room. He was rushed by three children and grinned as he met Buffy’s eyes.
“Hey.” She glanced at his attire and smiled. “You changed…and made dinner, by the smell of it.”
“Mm-hm.” He knelt down and gave each of the three children a hug as Buffy lifted Evan out of the pram. “And if all of you would care to go wash up, I’ll serve dinner. And you can tell me all about your trip to the museum.”
As the older three ran off to the bathroom, Giles stood and took Evan from Buffy. Buffy slid her arm around his back and kissed his shirt-covered chest.
“Thank you for cooking dinner.”
He smiled as Evan nuzzled his shoulder. “My pleasure. How was your afternoon?”
“Mm. Wonderful. Would’ve been better if you’d been there too, though.”
“Next time.” He promised softly.
“Good.” She leaned up and pressed a tender kiss to his lips. “How’d your research go?”
“Not well.” He shifted Evan in his arms and ushered Buffy into the dining room.
“However…Ethan has heard of the Mishtwanai. He’s going to ask some of his more colorful friends for further information. He doesn’t think you’re in any danger though.”
“Well, that’s always good news.” Buffy smiled as Braden, Lucas, and Haddie ran into the room. “We can talk more about it later, yeah?”
“Yes, of course. For now…dinner and museum tales. Followed by baths, bedtime stories…and perhaps a movie for us later?”
Buffy nodded, her smile growing as she watched her husband place Evan in his highchair. “Sounds good to me.”
“Hey, Dad? Guess what was at the museum?”
Giles smiled at Braden as he began filling the child’s plate with food. “What?”
“A sixteenth century Musketeer rapier in silver with brass finishings!”
Buffy shook her head, her amusement showing clearly in her eyes as she listened to her husband and her eldest child excitedly discuss the different swords that were seen that afternoon.
Giles had just sat down on the couch next to Buffy when the doorbell rang. He looked at her quizzically and handed her the remote.
“Are you expecting anyone?”
She huffed lightly. “I would’ve told you…”
He chuckled softly and touched her cheek as he stood. “Well, let’s hope it isn’t a religious fanatic here to save our souls.”
She laughed heartily and picked up the magazine she had bought in the city that morning. Giles made his way to the door, pausing quickly to pick up Haddie’s pink pony that she had left lying on the floor.
He opened the door and smiled. “And I had just gotten myself worked up to tell someone that I was not in need of religious saving.”
Xander chuckled nervously. “Well, that’s good. But…it’s just us.”
Anya smiled brightly at Giles. “We came to talk to you. And Buffy. If you’re not busy…you know…”
She glanced at the toy held lightly in his hand. “Pony play…”
Giles blushed heavily and cleared his throat. “Um, no. This is Haddie’s…”
Xander reddened and shook his head as he looked at Anya. “Pretty sure Buffy and Giles aren’t into pony play, An.”
Giles nodded slowly. “Yes, that would be a safe assumption.” He moved back from the door, silently inviting the couple in.
As they stepped through the door, Anya sighed. “You know, I miss people saying ‘hi, won’t you come in for a cup of tea?’.”
Giles grinned and closed the door. “Yes, well…in our line of work, it isn’t always prudent to invite someone in.”
Buffy turned and smiled as Giles ushered Xander and Anya into the living room. “Hey guys, what’s up?”
“Oh, just came over for some embarrassing conversation.” Xander replied softly as he looked around the room. “Are the kids still up?”
Buffy narrowed her eyes. “No, it’s eight-thirty. They’re in bed no later than eight. What kind of embarrassing conversation?”
“Xander’s sperm count is low.” Anya offered quickly.
Xander flushed and lowered his eyes, sinking onto a chair. “Um…that kind of embarrassing conversation.”
Giles glanced at Buffy, his eyes slightly widened, and sat down. He cleared his throat and looked back at the couple.
“I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to say in a situation such as this.”
A half-grin formed on Xander’s red face. “Never a good sign when you don’t know what to say.”
Anya perched on the arm of Xander’s chair and draped her arm over his shoulders. “We’ve been trying to have a baby for a while. When it wasn’t happening, we went to the doctor. I thought maybe it was me…you know, because of the demon issues.”
“Oh.” Giles replied, still unsure as to where this conversation was leading.
Anya nodded quickly. “Yeah, but my ovaries and eggs are fine.”
Giles flushed lightly and swallowed. “Well, uh…um…”
Buffy gave him an understanding smile and placed her hand on his thigh. She felt him begin to relax, and then tense almost immediately as Anya continued.
“So, they checked Xander. And…he doesn’t have that many guys in there…and what he does have aren’t very mobile.”
“Motile.” Xander corrected, refusing to look anywhere other than the floor.
“Whatever. They’re not very good swimmers.”
“Uh…” Giles started, but trailed off, knowing that he had nothing to offer.
Anya smiled brightly. “But the good news is we found a really good sex shop…”
“Oh dear Lord.” Giles groaned and lowered his head.
“When we thought it might be me, I did some research and
found that sometimes certain toys can aid in the release of eggs. So, we went shopping. The best one is Simply Pleasure on
Buffy nodded in agreement. “Did you go upstairs? They have some really good – ”
“Buffy!” Giles stared at her, his mouth open in shock.
Xander’s head shot up at that exchange. “You two? You go to, uh…”
“Bloody hell…” Giles muttered, his skin turning a deep shade of red.
Anya continued as though Giles wasn’t even in the room. “The movies they have are the best I’ve found anywhere. And…I’ve been in a lot of sex shops. And don’t even get me started on the variety of toys they have.”
Giles lowered his head to his hands. Xander still sat there, mouth hanging open, staring at Buffy and Giles. Anya stopped her rambling and glanced at Giles.
“Wait. You guys have toys?”
“Oh God, kill me now.” Xander moaned. “I so don’t need these mental images.”
“Do you have the Satiny Seducer? Xander and I were going to get it, but they were out of stock. And I was not going to buy the display model.”
Giles stood up quickly and gestured to the liquor cabinet. “Drink?”
“Bottle.” Xander responded, pushing himself up out of the chair and following Giles to the cabinet. “One isn’t going to be enough tonight.”
Buffy grinned, watching the two men for a moment before returning to the conversation Anya had started.
Giles inhaled deeply as he poured two drinks, handing one to Xander as he tried to block out the words being spoken between Buffy and Anya. He offered Xander a wan smile and took a sip of the amber liquid.
“I assume your visit this evening wasn’t to discuss the
various adult establishments of
Xander swallowed half of his drink and shook his head. “No, it wasn’t. But, I’m not sure now is the right time for the discussion I had in mind.”
“That would depend on the nature of the discussion. If you’re wanting to know about our sexual aid collection, then no…it probably wouldn’t be the right time.”
“Collection?” Xander’s eyes widened. “You have a…collection? Oh God, my mind is going to places it really shouldn’t…”
Giles lowered his eyes and stared at the glass in his hand. He wasn’t sure how the evening had degraded so, but was sure that he’d do just about anything to get the topic of discussion changed.
“Your sperm seems to be quite plentiful and potent.”
Giles turned his head sharply towards Anya. Xander groaned in embarrassment. Buffy stared at Anya, wondering if she had actually heard those words correctly. Giles swallowed nervously, realizing that he wouldn’t do anything to change the subject after all.
“Oh...was that a little too blunt and to the point?” Anya asked as she looked at Xander.
Xander downed the rest of his drink and sighed. “Just a little.”
Buffy shook her head to clear her thoughts. “Sorry, it kinda sounded like you were going to ask Giles for some of his…um…” She laughed nervously, darting her eyes between Anya and Xander.
“Oh, I was.” Anya replied cheerfully.
Xander dropped his glass on top of the liquor cabinet and ran his hand through his hair. Giles swallowed the remainder of his scotch and glanced at the decanter, seriously considering pouring himself a second drink.
“I’m sorry.” Xander mumbled softly. “This is such a bad idea on so many levels.”
Giles regarded the young man carefully, placing his hand on Xander’s shoulder. “I think the four of us should have that discussion you came over for. Maybe…start at the beginning and without any disturbing detours this time?”
Xander met Giles’ eyes and took a deep breath. “Giles, I…”
Giles smiled softly and gestured towards the two women still sitting on the other side of the room. Xander nodded at the unspoken request and moved back into the room, slowly lowering himself to the chair.
Giles sat down next to Buffy and glanced at Anya. “You’re trying to have a baby?”
Anya nodded quickly, her smile bright. “Yes, we’re ready now. But, Xander – ”
Xander cleared his throat. “I think they got that part, An.”
Buffy inhaled deeply and leaned forward. “So…you want some of my husband’s sperm…so you can have a baby?”
Anya tilted her head, obviously thinking this was a perfectly normal request. “The doctor said we should try to find a donor. If that doesn’t work, we can move to IVF. I’d like to find a suitable donor. IVF doesn’t sound very fun to me.”
Giles rubbed the side of his neck. “And…you think I’m a suitable donor?”
Xander lowered his eyes and stared at the floor. Anya grinned and spoke quickly.
“Well, we asked Peter and Julian…but, they wanted to be too involved with the baby. You know, ‘cause they can’t have one of their own and all that. We thought about Oz, but…he’s too short…and he looks a bit werewolfy. All of the other men we know are too stuffy.” Anya shrugged her shoulders. “That leaves you.”
Giles snorted softly. “How flattering it is that I’m your last choice.”
“You weren’t.” Xander admitted quietly. “I just wanted to wait to ask you last. I…I didn’t want everything to get all awkward and weird…like it is right now.”
Giles tilted his head and looked at Xander curiously. Anya continued with her explanation.
“You’re tall, you’re handsome, you’re smart. And…you have good swimmers obviously. I mean, you were able to get Buffy pregnant four times pretty easily and…”
Xander squeezed her knee harder than he needed to. “Please, Anya…stop.”
“But – ”
Xander looked at her sharply. “No, seriously…you need to stop right now. I love you…and I want to have a child with you. But…I can’t do this. I can’t ask a man I consider to be my father to father my child. It’s just…no. We’ll have to come up with something else.”
He turned his eyes to Buffy and Giles and sighed heavily. “I’m really sorry guys. I…we’ve just kinda been really stressed about this.”
“I would imagine so.” Giles replied softly.
“The more I think about it, the more I realize how bad of an idea this really is. I mean…” Xander leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees. “We’re all too close. Way too close. And…I’ve seen how you are with your kids. You’re such a great father…and I think it might be too hard on all of us to have a half-brother or sister running around here.”
“Xander!” Anya stared at him incredulously.
Xander shook his head and looked into her eyes. “You know it’s true, An. We’ll find another way, we’ll have a baby. But…it can’t be Giles’. You know that.”
Buffy exhaled slowly. “I might be able to help.”
Anya narrowed her eyes. “We need sperm, Buffy. Not eggs. Besides…you’ve gone through menopause anyway.”
Buffy stared at her for a moment and then looked at Xander. “I know a few people. I can…I can ask around. You know…hypothetical situations and all that. Plus, I can talk to Dr. Kiffling. He might be able to suggest something that you haven’t thought about…something that might help before you make a decision on whether or not to give IVF a go.”
Xander nodded in agreement. “Thanks.”
The young man stood up and rubbed his palms against his thighs. “We uh…look, I’m sorry we interrupted your evening and everything.”
Giles stood and shook his head. “There’s nothing to worry about there, Xander.”
Xander offered Giles a grateful smile and wrapped his arm around Anya’s waist. “We’re going to go now…but…see you tomorrow?”
Buffy smiled and leaned her back against Giles’ chest. “Yep. Tomorrow it is. I’ll make a few calls in the morning, okay?”
Anya sighed sadly. “I just want a baby.”
Giles nodded in understanding. “It will happen, Anya. One way or the other, it will happen. Of that, I have no doubt.”
Anya nodded slowly, allowing Xander to lead her to the front door. Buffy and Giles followed them and bid them a good night. Giles and Xander exchanged another glance and Xander smiled when Giles gave him a supportive nod.
Buffy and Giles stood in the doorway until Xander and Anya had safely made their way to their car. After a wave, Giles closed the door as Xander backed out of the driveway.
Buffy was quiet for a moment and then looked up at Giles. “Well, that was not how I was expecting the evening to go.”
“No, I would imagine not.” Giles smiled warmly and lead her back into the living room.
“Why was it so easy for us?” She asked as she sat back down on the couch.
Giles shook his head as he took the seat next to her. “It wasn’t, really. Not each time. It took us a while to conceive Haddie.”
“Yeah, but we did. Why can’t two people just…have a baby when they want one? Why does there have to be problems or issues…”
“I can’t answer that, Buffy. At least not in the definitive manner you’d like. It just happens. No rhyme or reason…it’s just the way it is.”
She picked up the remote and snuggled against him. “Do you really think they’ll be able to have a baby?”
He leaned down and kissed the top of her head. “Mm. It might not happen immediately…and it may be that they’ll need to think about alternative methods…but, they will be parents. Even if it’s through adoption. I honestly believe that.”
Buffy started the movie and pulled the afghan over them. “Xander will be a good father.”
Giles smiled and nodded. “Yes, I believe you’re right in that.”
Two days later found everyone gathering at
Giles strummed his guitar, his voice sounding clear and sweet as he sang a gentle tune. Haddie and Maria sat in front of him, grinning and clapping happily. Oz and Xander were playing a game of soccer with Braden and Lucas. Oz smiled, realizing that Braden had a natural gift for the game.
Evan crawled across the grass towards his mother. Buffy shook her head in amusement and picked him up when he patted her leg.
“Great. More grass stains for me to try to get out. When are you going to start walking?”
Evan giggled and bounced in his mother’s arms.
Ethan stood off to the side, taking everything in. He silently wished Anna had been able to come, but her mother was quite ill and she had decided to spend the afternoon with her. He understood, of course. It didn’t stop him from missing her presence though.
When he caught Oz’s eye, Oz raised an eyebrow at him. Ethan glanced at Giles, then looked back to Oz, gesturing towards the house with a tilt of his head in a silent request. Oz gave a subtle nod and then called Anya over to take his place in the game.
Oz smiled at his daughter as he walked by her. Maria smiled back, but kept clapping along to the song Giles was playing. He quickly made his way into the house and found Ethan in the kitchen pouring himself a drink.
“What’s up, Ethan?”
Ethan met the young man’s eyes and swirled his drink. “Rupert and Buffy know about the Mishtwanai.”
Oz’s eyes widened. “What do they know?”
Ethan took a sip and leaned against the counter. “They know that Buffy is the Mishtwanai and that the Mishtwanai is the guardian of the Protector.”
Oz cleared his throat. “Do they know who the Protector is?”
Ethan shook his head and glanced out the window to the backyard. “No. And I think I’ve managed to convince Rupert that her being the Mishtwanai isn’t necessarily a bad thing.”
“Good.” Oz followed Ethan’s gaze. He smiled as he watched Haddie and Maria dance to Giles’ music. “How did they find out?”
“Apparently a vampire recognized Buffy as the Mishtwanai. He was staked shortly afterwards.”
Oz’s eyes shot back to Ethan. “Is Braden in danger?”
“No. No one knows who Braden is. Well, except for you and me. He’s perfectly safe.”
Oz nodded silently and turned his eyes to the window again. Ethan watched Anya and Xander play with the two older Giles children.
“Are they okay?”
“Hm? Who?” Oz glanced at Ethan, noticing who he was watching. “Oh, Xander and Anya? Yeah, they’re okay.”
“You sure? Seems to be a bit of tension there, if you ask me.”
Oz nodded absently. “Not really my place to say anything.”
“Having trouble conceiving, are they?” At Oz’s surprised expression, Ethan smiled. “Overheard them talking about starting a family a few months ago.”
“Is the problem his or hers?” When Oz hesitated, Ethan took an educated guess. “I’m going to say his. He seems to be a bit more downtrodden than she. He looks…almost guilty.”
Oz shrugged a shoulder. “He feels bad. He wants a child as much as she does.”
“Have they thought about medical intervention? So many things can be accomplished these days with just a nudge in the right direction.”
“They’ve been in contact with a doctor.” Oz offered enigmatically. Hearing Maria call for him, he smiled. “Need to go. But, if you find out anything else about the Mishtwanai, let me know.”
“Of course.” He smiled as Oz quickly exited through the back door. He turned back to the window and sighed as he picked up on Anya’s sadness. He’d always had a soft spot for the young woman.
* * *
Two hours later, Ethan walked into the living room of the house to find Anya and Buffy discussing what the doctor had told Anya and Xander. Realizing he hadn’t been noticed, he leaned against the doorframe and listened.
“So, he’s advised against IVF?”
“For now, yeah. He’s leaning more towards artificial insemination.” Anya replied softly.
Buffy nodded and tilted her head. “Known donor or anonymous?”
Anya sighed heavily. “It’s going to have to be known. There aren’t enough samples in the bank that are suitable for insemination. There’s plenty that can be used for IVF, but…”
“Oh.” Buffy whispered, not really knowing what else to say.
“So, now we have to go through the men we know and decide who we’re going to ask.” Anya exhaled slowly. “Of course, after what happened the other night…I’ve figured out how hard that’s actually going to be.”
She met Buffy’s eyes and offered a small smile. “By the way, I am really sorry about that. I really didn’t realize how big of a deal it is.”
Ethan decided he had heard enough, pushing himself off of the doorframe and speaking before Buffy could respond to Anya’s statement.
“I could donate for you.” When both women turned to stare at him, he shrugged his shoulder. “If you’d be interested.”
“You were listening?” Buffy asked in a flabbergasted tone.
“Well, I didn’t mean to.” He hesitated for a brief second. “At first.”
Ethan looked at Anya and sighed. “I was on my way to the loo. I overheard and knew that you had been upset and – ”
Anya shook her head quickly. “No. Why would you donate to us?”
“Oh.” He cleared his throat and shoved his hand into his pocket. “I think that you and Xander could be good parents. And…I don’t think you should be denied the chance of experiencing parenthood simply because of a biological issue.”
Anya continued to stare at him in disbelief.
Ethan cleared his throat. “Plus, I’m never going to have children of my own. It’d be nice to know that the Rayne bloodline is still around.”
Anya sighed and lowered her eyes. “No. We turned down Peter and Julian because they wanted to be ‘fathers’ to the baby.”
Ethan regarded her carefully, then shook his head quickly when he got her meaning. “Oh, no. No, that’s not what I was thinking. I don’t want to be a father. Well, I did at one time…but, now I’m too…well, I’m too old to be a father.”
Buffy narrowed her eyes. “You’re only a year older than Giles.”
“Yeah, and Rupert wanted to be father. It works for him…not so much for me.” He darted his eyes to Anya and nodded. “Talk it over with Xander. The offer will still be on the table for as long as it takes you to decide. No decisions have to be made right this second.”
Anya tilted her head slightly, a smile forming on her face. “Thank you.”
Ethan nodded and then gestured to the hall. “Suppose I should carry on with my mission.”
Anya and Buffy both watched him as he made his way down the hall. Buffy shook her head in disbelief.
“Well, can’t say I was expecting that.”
Anya nodded in agreement, her smile growing. “Me neither. But, it gives me something to talk to Xander about.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Giles stole a glance at Buffy as he guided the car down the road. “He what?”
Buffy smiled and looked over her shoulder to find all four children asleep. “He offered to help Xander and Anya with their problem. Trust me, I was as shocked as you are.”
“Huh.” Giles smiled softly and shook his head. “Well, that certainly explains the change in Anya’s mood. I simply thought the two of you had been discussing certain shops that carry certain toys again.”
Buffy snorted a laugh. “The kids are asleep, Giles…you can say what you mean.”
She grinned at him as he trailed off. “Though she did ask about anal sex.”
Giles coughed and tightened his grip on the steering wheel. “I, uh…well, I had assumed that they…um…”
Buffy rested her hand on his thigh, rubbing her hand gently across the soft denim. “Oh, they have. I have all the glorious details if you want to hear them.”
Buffy chuckled and continued. “But, she was more curious about the other side of the coin.”
He arched an eyebrow, but didn’t look at her. “And which side would that be?”
“The side where Anya is the top and Xander’s the bottom.”
Giles stopped at a red light and turned his head slowly towards her. “Please tell me that you didn’t tell her exactly what we’ve done.”
“Not exactly. I did tell her to check out the ‘Toys for Boys’ section at Simply Pleasure though.” She gently squeezed his thigh as his mouth dropped open. “The light’s green.”
“Oh, dear Lord…Buffy…”
He turned his eyes back to the road as he made his way through the intersection. Buffy couldn’t help but notice the redness creep up the back of his neck.
“Relax?” He shook his head and turned left at the next intersection. “How am I supposed to relax knowing that she knows – ”
Buffy rolled her eyes and interrupted him. “Giles, do you really think I told her that sometimes we like to – ”
“Buffy!” He glanced in the rearview mirror when he heard Lucas whimper softly. He exhaled slowly when the boy quickly resettled.
Buffy moved her hand, resting her fingers along his inner thigh. “I didn’t tell her that, Giles. I told her that there’s a section of the store that might be able to help them both out in that department. She doesn’t know that we…um…you know. And, even if she did? She wouldn’t say anything. She can actually keep a secret pretty damn well.”
“Oh.” He muttered, shifting slightly as her fingers brushed over his cock. “You, uh…you shouldn’t do that right now.”
He glanced at her quickly, giving her a nod as he turned onto their road. “Yes, later.”
“You want to, uh…do what you stopped me from saying a minute ago.”
He cleared his throat, covering her hand with his. “Possibly.”
She grinned and leaned her head against the headrest on her seat. “Good thing we’re almost home.”
He chuckled softly and squeezed her hand. “Yes, quite.”
“God, Giles…I want to fuck you.” She groaned as he hooked his arm under her knee.
He smiled down at her, pounding his cock into her as he spread her legs further apart. “You’ll…have your chance…”
She stared at him through passion-glazed eyes. “Promise?”
“Promise…” A bead of sweat dripped from his chest, landing near her left nipple. “Tell me what you want to do.”
“I did…” She panted, running her hands across his chest.
He licked his lips and stared into her eyes. “No. Details. Tell me details…”
“Can’t…” She groaned as he pushed her closer and closer towards orgasm. “God…can’t…think…”
“Let me help you…” He smiled lustfully and lowered his mouth to her ear. “I’m going to fuck you until you come. And then…I’d love to feel your hands on my ass, your fingers stretching me open…thrusting into me…”
“Giles…” She moaned, running her fingers through his hair.
“I…I want to feel the shock of the cool lubricant against my skin…I want to watch you kneel between my legs…your hand coating the dildo with lube…”
He pulled back just enough to stare into her eyes. “Have I ever told you how erotic it is to see you kneeling on the bed with a fake cock strapped on?”
“Uh-huh…” She shuddered as his cock continued to stroke her g-spot with each thrust. “Not too…uh…weird?”
He stopped suddenly, holding himself above her as he stared into her eyes. “Do you think it’s too weird? If anyone should think so, I would imagine it would be you.”
He breathed heavily and swallowed. “Do you find it weird that your husband enjoys having his wife literally fuck him? Does it…does it make you question…things?”
She furrowed her brow and fought to catch her breath. “Things?”
He placed a lightly trembling hand against her cheek, lowering his voice to a whisper. “Does it make you wonder…if I’d want to be with a man?”
“No.” She answered with no hesitation. “Why would it?”
She smiled softly, lifting her hand and brushing her fingers through his hair. “Do you wonder if I’d want to be with a woman because I love the feel of your mouth on my clit?”
He inhaled sharply, shaking his head slowly. “No.”
“I’m sure you’re not the only man in the world who enjoys having a woman fuck him…” She lifted her hips slightly, silently requesting him to start moving again. “Why else would they invent such a toy for the public to buy?”
He groaned, allowing his hips to begin thrusting slowly. “You don’t find it…weird?”
Her hand moved to his cheek, realization of his real question finally sinking in. “No. What I…oh, that feels…yes…”
She started again at his urgent tone, knowing he needed an answer. “What I…meant was…seeing me wearing it…do you think it’s weird? I…oh, God…” She tilted her hips, drawing him further inside of her on each thrust. “I…don’t think it’s weird that you…that you like it…”
“You’re the only person…I’ve…I’ve ever trusted enough to…” His head dropped to her shoulder, groaning as he felt her inner muscles quiver around him. “Dear God…”
Her hands clutched at his shoulders as she sped up the thrusts of her hips against his. “Don’t come…I…I want to make you…please, don’t come…”
He moved his left hand to her breast, roughly kneading the flesh before pinching her nipple between his thumb and index finger. His mouth covered hers, swallowing her scream as he rolled the hardened nub. When he felt her hot juices bathe his cock, he pulled out…though he continued thrusting against her, grinding his hipbone against her quivering flesh.
She tore her mouth from his, bucking her hips against him. “God, yes!”
A second orgasm washed over her quickly and her fingers twitched against his shoulder blades. “Giles…”
“So close…” Giles moaned as he rolled onto his back.
She glanced at his throbbing cock and smiled. “So I see…”
She took a few deep breaths and opened the middle drawer of the bedside table. His hand stroked the back of her thigh as she retrieved the needed items. She grabbed the bottle of lubricant and the harness and settled herself on her knees between his bent legs.
He watched her as she donned the contraption, making the necessary adjustments to the belt as she bent her head and ran her tongue over his kneecap. He licked his lips, his eyes roaming over her breasts and down her torso. A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth as his eyes focused on the dildo that had been secured into the harness.
When they had first discussed this and gone to the adult shop to make enquiries, they had decided on one that wasn’t all that large. It didn’t need to be large to suit their purposes. It was thin enough to cause little, if any at all, pain…but large enough to put the required amount of pressure on his prostate with each thrust.
His cock twitched when he heard the snap of the lid being popped open on the bottle of lube. Buffy smiled at him as she poured a generous amount into her hand before snapping the lid closed.
“If you don’t calm down a little, you’re going to come before I even get started…”
He chuckled softly and licked his suddenly dry lips. His chuckle turned to a strangled moan as she slipped her fingers into the crevice between his buttocks. When his hips jerked, she grinned and used her free hand to hold him down.
His eyes snapped to hers and he attempted a glare. Buffy pressed a kiss to the side of his knee as she slipped one, then two fingers into him. He gave a pleasurable growl as she gently thrust her fingers, carefully spreading them to stretch the tight channel slightly.
“Buffy…Christ, Buffy…” His eyes met hers, holding her gaze for a long moment before glancing at the imitation phallus. “Now…”
She gave him a quick nod and removed her slick fingers. She rubbed the excess fluid on her hand over the phallus and nudged his puckered orifice with the tip.
“I love you.” She whispered softly as she eased the dildo past the sphincter.
He swallowed thickly as she leaned over him and flicked her tongue against his nipple. She paused for a moment after she had fully entered him. He groaned softly and lifted his hand to touch her cheek in an unspoken request for her to start.
She looked into his eyes as she slowly rocked her hips against him. “Okay?”
He nodded slowly, moving his hand to grasp his erection. “Won’t…take long…”
She lifted her upper body and glanced down at his groin. “God, I love watching you do that.”
His hand tightened on his cock, stroking the firm flesh in an alternating rhythm to her thrusts. “Harder, Buffy…Christ, make me come…”
She complied with his urgent request, pushing her hips harder against him. When he groaned loudly, she smiled.
“Oh, yes…so close, love…so fucking close…”
She increased her pace, watching his face for any sign of discomfort. “One of these days, I’m going to make love to you long and slow…like you do to me…”
She shook her head and reached between their bodies to lovingly fondle his testicles. “No, not now…”
“So good…dear Lord…”
When she felt him tremble beneath her, she brushed his hand away from his erection and took over for him, wrapping her hand tightly around the thick shaft. He moaned and bucked against her as she stroked him harder.
“That’s it…let go for me…”
Stroke, thrust, stroke, thrust…she continued at her quick pace until he bit his lip to stifle his scream of ecstasy. He came suddenly, his semen splattering his chest. His body shuddered as she lightened her strokes, gently massaging his cock as she pulled her hips back and allowed the phallus to slip from him.
“Jesus…” He gasped as he reached for her.
She released his cock and quickly unclasped the harness. Dropping it to the mattress beside of them, she leaned over him and dragged her tongue through the cooling fluid on his chest. His arms wrapped around her and crushed her to him. She could feel his heart pounding wildly against her breast as she tenderly kissed his lips.
“Mm.” He mumbled, a lazy smile on his face. “Love you.”
“Love you too.” She whispered, placing soft kisses along his chin.
When she chuckled, he opened his eyes and raised an eyebrow. “What’s funny?”
She moved to his side, draping one leg over his thigh and lovingly rubbing his chest with her left hand. “Nothing’s funny, really.”
“And yet you laugh.” He smiled warmly.
“Just a stupid thought…”
He brushed the hair back from her face with trembling fingers. “Tell me.”
“Xander was so shocked at the thought of us having, and using, various sex toys.”
She grinned, rubbing her foot along the inside of his leg. “Imagine his reaction if he knew about this.”
Giles chuckled and pulled her to him for a kiss. “What do you think would shock him more…this, or…the time I tied you to the bed and teased you for hours with a vibrator?”
Buffy inhaled sharply as the memory of that evening took a firm hold in her mind. “Probably this…but, he wouldn’t take the other very well either.”
He carefully rolled onto his side, facing her as his hand glided over her hip. He looked her directly in the eye, his voice husky when he spoke.
“I’d like to do that again.”
“We will…later. You know, when we started this…it really made me appreciate your stamina. Because…damn – ”
He interrupted her with a quick shake of his head. “No. I meant…I’d like to tie you to the bed and tease you for hours with a vibrator again.”
He grinned, trailing his fingers down her outer thigh. “Not right now, of course. But…one day. The image of you…back against the headboard, legs spread wide…vibrator nestled deeply within you, buzzing away as I sucked your nipples and fingered your clit…that image is burned into my mind. Such a sweet image, it is.”
Buffy shivered and swallowed. “Took me days to recover from that…”
“Mm-hm.” He smiled and brushed his lips across hers. “Next time we have the house to ourselves for the night…”
She returned his smile and nodded. “Oh, yeah.”
He sighed softly and kissed the tip of her nose. “And…thank you for the compliment.”
She furrowed her brow and he smiled.
“The stamina comment.” He clarified.
“Oh…that. Well, you’re welcome. It’s true, you know. I don’t know how you do it…”
He chuckled sleepily and pulled her against his chest, closing his eyes. “It’s all to do with you, love.”
She sighed in contentment, her exhaustion quickly overtaking her. “Glad I’m me then.”
“Me too.” He whispered softly.
They fell asleep quickly, wrapped in one another’s arms. All worries of the questions surrounding the Mishtwanai forgotten for the time being.
Giles adjusted his vest and fiddled with his tie as he waited for Buffy. Ethan grinned from his position on the sofa, Anna sitting by his side.
“My God, man…it’s not as if this is the first date.”
“Hm?” Giles lowered his hands and looked at Ethan.
Ethan gestured vaguely and chuckled. “Why so nervous?”
“I’m not nervous.” Giles stared at Ethan for a second and then sighed. “Well, not much.”
“I don’t understand why. The two of you have been married for years…have had plenty of dates.”
Giles smiled softly. “Yes. But, I suppose that’s not exactly what I’m nervous about.”
“Leaving the kids overnight?” Ethan smiled in understanding as Giles gave a quick nod. “They’ll be fine, Rupert. Anna and I will take extra special care of them. They’ll be happy as clams.”
“How happy are clams?”
Giles turned towards the voice, his breath rushing out of his lungs as his eyes roamed over Buffy. “You look beautiful.”
She grinned and walked towards him, her pale green gown hugging her body in just the right places. “Thank you. You look pretty handsome yourself.”
He lightly fingered a long curl resting on her shoulder. “I like your hair like this.”
“I know.” She smiled up at him and brushed a piece of lint from the lapel of his tuxedo jacket before touching his tie. “And I love this shade of green on you.”
His eyes shone brightly. “I know.”
Ethan rolled his eyes. “Are you two even going to make it to the Ball or shall we just take the kids to our place so you can shag right now?”
Giles turned slowly and glared at Ethan. Any response he was going to give was cut off by three children running into the room, the fourth toddling behind them.
Buffy smiled at Braden. “Do I look nice, Ru?”
Braden nodded and smiled brightly. “Yeah, both of you.”
Lucas grinned. “You’re pretty, Mummy!”
“Beautiful.” Giles corrected gently, a smile on his face.
Haddie giggled. “You a pincess, Mummy!”
Buffy chuckled and picked the girl up, kissing her cheek lightly. “Thank you, Haddie. And what’s Daddy?”
Haddie looked at her father, a beaming smile on her face. “Daddy’s a pince!”
Evan tugged on Giles’ pants leg. Giles looked down at him, bending slightly to pick him up. Evan wrapped his arms around Giles’ neck.
Giles felt his heart swell even more. “I love you too, Evan. Be a good boy for Ethan and Anna, okay?”
“Yep.” Evan nodded quickly.
Giles glanced at the clock and sighed. “We, uh…should probably get going.”
Buffy nodded in agreement and placed her daughter on the floor. They spent the next few minutes giving each child a hug and a kiss before waving goodbye. As Giles opened the front door, he turned to look at Ethan.
Ethan chuckled as he lifted Evan into his arms. “No magic, I promise.”
“If there are any problems – ”
Ethan cut him off quickly. “Call your mobile, I know. Now…go. Have a ball at the Ball.”
“Funny.” Giles shook his head and ushered his wife outside.
Ethan grinned as the door closed behind them and turned around to find three other children looking at him expectantly.
“Okay, who wants a puppet show?”
A chorus of “me, me, me” rang out in the room.
* * *
Giles escorted Buffy into the ballroom, her arm linked through his. He looked down at her after glancing over the room.
“Just as I suspected.”
She met his eyes and tilted her head. “Huh?”
“I’m with the most beautiful woman here. Just as I suspected I would be.”
She rolled her eyes playfully and nudged his arm with her shoulder. “Predictable, but very sweet.”
He chuckled happily and led her through the room. He wanted to ask her to dance, but the night was young. With their track record of dancing together, he was fairly certain of what would happen if they danced now. He settled for chatting with their friends for a while.
There would be plenty of time for dancing later.
* * *
“I’ll be ovulating the day after tomorrow.”
Giles paused in lifting his drink to his lips, glancing at
a smiling Anya across the table. Buffy
“I’m not even going to bother pretending I’m shocked at that announcement.”
Anya turned to Xander and narrowed her eyes. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing at all, An.” He leaned over and kissed her cheek. “It’s just you being you. And I love you for it.”
Anya grinned brightly. Giles smiled and then took a drink of his scotch.
Giles looked at
“How about a dance?”
Giles glanced at Buffy and smiled. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
She leaned into him and lightly kissed his lips. “Okay, have fun. But…you better be saving a dance for me.”
“Hopefully more than one.” He grinned and pushed his chair back.
He made his way over to
Giles smiled as he took
“You look lovely this evening,
She looked at him in surprise, easily following his lead. “Glowing? Well, that’s a strange descriptive word for me.”
“Not necessarily.” He twirled her effortlessly as they moved across the floor. “How far along are you?”
He chuckled and shook his head. “No harm done, I assure you.”
Giles laughed and gently spun her around before pulling her back to his chest. “My wife has been pregnant four times. Those were the only four times I ever saw her drink nothing but orange juice at a formal function.”
“Oh.” She responded quietly.
She grinned back at him and shook her head. “We were going to tell you guys later tonight. So…act surprised when we do?”
He gave her a quick nod. “Of course.”
“What do you think about Ethan fathering Xander and Anya’s child?”
He tilted his head slightly, confused momentarily by the change of topic. “I think it’s wonderful, to be quite honest. And you?”
“Well, at first I thought it was really weird. I mean…it’s Ethan.”
Giles chuckled as she wrinkled her nose. “Ethan has changed a lot since your first meeting of him. And…I’ve known him for the better part of thirty years. He does have quite a few redeeming characteristics.”
“Yeah, I know. And I really do like him now. It’s just…sometimes I remember…you know?”
Giles’ smile faded somewhat. “I do. But, you must remember…we’ve all done things in our past that we regret now, haven’t we?”
“Yes, well…” He cleared his throat. “My point is…”
“Ethan’s a good guy.”
“Yes.” He smiled softly as the song ended. “Yes, he is.”
She looked up at him as he led her back to the table. “Twelve weeks.”
“Hm?” He nodded absently to a lab technician as they passed. “I’m sorry?”
“I’m twelve weeks. You asked how far along I am.”
He smiled warmly at her. “Congratulations.”
He chuckled and gave her a nod. “I’ll remember.”
* * *
Amelia’s eyes followed Giles as he crossed the room, heading to the bar. She took a deep breath and forced a smile onto her face as she made her way to him.
He looked up when she moved beside of him. “Amelia, hello.”
“Hello, Rupert.” She looked into his eyes for a moment before turning and surveying the dancefloor. “Having a nice time?”
He furrowed his brow and turned, leaning his back against the edge of the bar as he held his drink. “Yes. However…you do not normally resort to small talk so early in a conversation. What’s wrong?”
She chuckled softly and looked at him. He instantly saw the weariness in her eyes.
She gestured towards the dancefloor. “Care to dance?”
“I…” He looked over to the table to find Buffy watching him. He tilted his head slightly towards Amelia. When she answered his unspoken question with a smile and a nod, he cleared his throat. “Alright.”
Her smile faded for a second as she watched the exchange between the two. “Maybe we shouldn’t.”
Amelia sighed softly. “In my experience, when a man asks his wife permission to dance with someone else…there’s a reason. I don’t want – ”
“Amelia…” He interrupted quietly. “You’re not ‘someone else’ and you know that. You are my ex-girlfriend. Granted, that was a very long time ago. But…Buffy didn’t truly come to terms about certain issues until just a few months ago. Out of respect for Buffy, and my relationship with her – ”
“Oh.” Amelia whispered, lowering her eyes. “The Primordium…”
“Yes.” He admitted in a hushed tone.
Amelia shook her head slowly. “No reason to rock the boat.”
“We can – ”
“No. Um…no. I’m sorry, I…”
He grabbed her arm as she quickly turned in an attempt to walk away. “Don’t, Amelia. Please…talk to me. Tell me what’s bothering you.”
“I’m leaving.” She blurted before she could stop herself.
His hand dropped from her arm as he stared at her in disbelief. “What?”
She chuckled nervously. “Well, that wasn’t exactly how I had planned to tell you.”
“Amelia – ”
“I know you’re not exactly thrilled with the idea of paperwork. I’ve arranged to have someone deal with the majority of that, leaving you to manage personnel – the Watchers’ projects, the overseeing of the Slayers’ training. The Council is at your disposal, Rupert. I’ll officially hand over to you at the end of next week.”
“I don’t understand. What’s wrong?”
She couldn’t help but hear the concern, the near-panic, in his voice. She offered him a soft smile and shook her head. “It’s time, Rupert. You’re ready now. You can do this.”
“I’m not questioning my readiness, Amelia. I’m questioning you. What’s wrong with you?”
“I just want to spend time with my family. Andrew’s wife is due to give birth any day now. My first grandchild…I need to spend some time with my family.”
“I understand that. Sincerely, I understand. But…you could take a leave of absence. There’s no reason to leave the Council entirely.”
“There is a reason, Rupert.” She shook her head sadly and took a step
back, glancing over at Buffy, who was currently engaged in a seemingly deep
Before he had a chance to respond, she turned and quickly walked away. He stared after her, watching her disappear into the crowd.
Buffy looked up when she felt his hand on her shoulder. Her smile dissipated when she noticed the expression on his face.
“Dance with me.” He whispered, squeezing her shoulder lightly.
“What’s wrong?” She asked in a worried tone.
He glanced quickly at
She stood up and took his hand, lacing her fingers with his as he led her to the dancefloor. He pulled her into his arms as soon as they stepped onto the floor, holding her to him. She tilted her head upwards as she moved her hands up his chest.
“What is it?” When he hesitated in answering her, she stopped her motion. “Is it Amelia?”
Instead of answering her, he lowered his head and quickly covered her mouth with his. She melted into the kiss, gasping when his tongue slid along her bottom lip. She pulled back and gazed at him through wide eyes.
He sighed softly, cradling her cheek in his palm. “Amelia’s leaving.”
Buffy smiled thinly. “Your boss is leaving, so you think you can molest me on the dancefloor?”
“What?” He looked
confused for a moment and then shook his head.
“No, not the Ball. She’s leaving
Buffy’s eyes widened. “What?”
“She, uh…she’s officially handing the Council over to me at the end of next week.”
Buffy’s mouth dropped open. “Why?”
He began moving again, coaxing her to dance with him. “I’m not entirely sure. She said that it was to spend time with her family.”
“Oh. Well, that makes sense. I mean, her kids are pretty far away.” She moved with him in rhythm to the music, sliding her arms over his shoulders. “But…you think there’s more to it, don’t you?”
He nodded slowly, sliding his hands to her hips. “I do.”
“Do, uh…do you want to postpone tonight? We, or you…could go over and talk to her…”
He stared at her as he shook his head. “I’m rather sure that she’s not telling me the entire story. I’m even more sure that I want nothing more than to spend the rest of the night in your arms.”
“You seemed upset a few minutes ago.” She darted her eyes downwards, quickly returning them to his. “And now you seem…um…not so upset…”
“Shocked, not upset.” He tightened his grip on her hips as her body pressed against his. “And, now I’m on the verge of begging you to leave with me.”
She shook her head, her fingers playing with the soft hair covering the nape of his neck. “It’s still fairly early…”
“I want you.” He whispered huskily.
She forced herself to listen to her mind and not to her heart…or her body. Taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly, she moved her right hand back to his chest.
“We should talk.”
“As tempted as I am to let you take me to our hotel room, I need to make sure of a couple of things. So, we talk…we figure out where your head is at the moment…and then we decide whether we stay or leave.”
“Please, Giles…do this for me. Because it’s not going to be good for either one of us, on more than one level, if your mind is somewhere other than with me…okay?”
He thought about her words and, realizing she was right, gave her a gentle nod. She returned his nod and stepped out of his embrace.
“I’ll just let Willow know we’ll be back in a few minutes. She has something she wants to tell all of us later. So…I’ll meet you in your office, yeah?”
He took a deep breath and swallowed. “Yes.”
She took hold of his hand and gave it a tender squeeze. “I love you.”
“I love you too, Buffy.”
“I won’t be long, okay?”
He gave her a nod as she backed away from him. He watched her for a second longer and then made his way to the door.
Willow narrowed her eyes as Buffy returned to the table alone. “Where’s Giles going?”
“His office. We need to talk.”
“Is…everything okay? I mean…”
“Amelia’s leaving London. And giving control of the Council to Giles.” Buffy stated bluntly as she pushed the hair back from her face.
“I don’t know.” She handed her purse to Willow and gestured towards the door. “That’s one of the things we need to talk about. But, we’ll be back…I promise.”
“Okay.” Willow nodded quickly. “Um…is Giles okay?”
“Yeah. A little shocked, I think. We won’t be very long, okay?”
Willow nodded silently as she watched Buffy turn and hurriedly make her way to the door. She jumped lightly when she felt Oz kiss the top of her head.
“You okay, Will?”
She turned to face him, a smile appearing on her face when she felt his hand brush her abdomen. “Yeah, I’m good. Wanna dance?”
He grinned and took her hand, gently pulling her from her chair.
* * *
Buffy walked into Giles’ office and closed the door behind her. He was sitting on the corner of his desk, a piece of paper in his hand.
“A letter from Amelia.” He looked up, lowering the paper to his desk. “Basically apologizing for telling me the way she did. And hoping she hadn’t ruined our evening.”
Buffy moved across the room, stopping when she was standing directly in front of him. “Has it been? Ruined, I mean…”
“No.” He lifted his hand and tenderly touched her face. “I admit to be taken by surprise. I also admit to being worried about her. But, this turn of events has nothing to do with my reaction to dancing with you.”
His gaze darted to her lips before quickly returning to her eyes. “And if I were to be brutally honest, I don’t exactly feel like thinking about it any further tonight.”
She smiled at the sincerity of his tone. “What do you feel like?”
“Kissing you.” He whispered as his hand moved to her shoulder before gliding down her arm. “Making love to you. Forgetting than anything else in this world exists for a while.”
When his eyes darkened a shade, she shook her head. “Not here.”
She lifted her hand, placing two fingers over his lips. “I want those same things. But, not here. I don’t want a quickie on your desk or the couch…or even the floor. I want us to take our time, not just throw our clothes off and go at it.”
He chuckled at the image her words brought to his mind.
“I want to ask you something and I don’t want you to think about the answer. Just say the first thing that comes to mind, okay?”
He nodded slowly and smiled.
She lowered her hand and took a deep breath. “What are you thinking right now?”
“You are the most beautiful creature I have ever laid eyes on.” He answered with no hesitation.
“Oh.” She inhaled sharply.
He tilted his head and regarded her carefully. “Were you expecting me to say something else?”
“I don’t know.” She thought for a moment and picked up a pen and a pad of paper from his desk.
His brow furrowed when she handed the items to him. “What are we doing?”
“Just…humour me, okay?” When he opened the pad to a blank sheet of paper and removed the lid of the pen, she bit her bottom lip in thought. “Okay, again…no thinking…just write. Four things on your mind…go.”
He shook his head in amusement even as he began to write quickly. She watched him carefully as his hand moved gracefully. He handed the pad to her and placed the pen back on his desk.
“Buffy, Children, Willow’s pregnant, Dog.” She started to comment and then stared at him through wide eyes. “Willow’s pregnant?”
He cleared his throat and crossed his arms over his chest. “We’re not supposed to know. I guessed earlier while I was dancing with her. Act surprised when she tells us, or else I’m going to be in a lot of trouble with her.”
Buffy smiled brightly. “I can do surprised. Wow! Another baby…um…dog?”
He shrugged a shoulder. “I’ve been thinking about talking to you over getting a dog. I haven’t had a dog since before I moved to Sunnydale. Did I pass the test?”
Her smile faltered as she dropped the pad onto the desk. “I’m sorry, I just…I needed to know.”
He exhaled slowly and lowered his arms, reaching out to pull her towards him. “I’m sorry my actions caused you to doubt my true intentions.”
“I just thought…”
He smiled in understanding. “How many times have we danced together?”
“I don’t know…hundreds.”
“Mm-hm. And how many times have I had that same reaction while I danced with you?”
A slow smile spread over her features. “I don’t know…hundreds.”
“Do you see where I’m going with this?”
“That you getting all hot and bothered was to do with me and not about needing reassurance?”
He chuckled softly and brushed his lips across hers. “Precisely.”
She glanced at the letter and narrowed her eyes. “Her handwriting isn’t normally that shaky, is it?”
“No, but she was rather distressed when she left. I assume that’s where the shakiness comes from.”
She looked back up at him, concern in her eyes. “Do you want to call her?”
He shook his head slowly. “I thought maybe tomorrow afternoon we could go over to her house…”
“We? You want me to come with you?”
He smiled at the surprised tone of her voice. “Yes, I do.”
“Okay…but, I trust you to go on your own, you know.”
“I do know.”
She offered him a warm smile and took a step back. “We should go back down…Willow and everything…”
“Yes.” He slid off the desk and took her hand in his. “Remember…act surprised.”
“No problem.” She grinned as he led her out of the office.
* * *
Willow smiled at her friends around the table and rubbed Oz’s thigh. “I’m pregnant.”
Buffy grinned and leaned forward. “Will, that’s so great! I’m so happy for you!”
Willow looked sharply at Giles, who was sitting next to her. She slapped the back of her hand against his upper arm.
“You told her!”
“Ow!” He rubbed his arm as Buffy laughed.
“It wasn’t his fault, Will.”
Xander’s eyes darted between the three across the table from him. “Wait a second. You told Giles before you told anyone else?”
Willow gave an exasperated sigh. “No…he guessed earlier.” She narrowed her eyes at Giles as she continued. “But he promised he wouldn’t say anything…”
“I didn’t.” Giles protested quickly. “Technically…”
He turned his head towards Buffy and sighed. “For future reference…you can’t ‘do surprised’ when you have prior knowledge of the surprise in question.”
Buffy leaned into him, whispering softly. “I’ll make it up to you later.”
They had barely made their way into their hotel room before she launched herself at him. He grunted softly as she pushed him back against the closed door. When she plunged her tongue into his mouth and rubbed her body against him, he grasped her shoulders firmly and gently pushed her away.
He smiled at her pout and shook his head. “Slow down, Buffy. We have all night.”
“But – ”
He lifted his hand and lovingly stroked her cheek. “I would prefer to take complete advantage of that fact. I want you, darling…as desperately as you want me. But, I want to love you slowly…I want to take my time with you tonight.”
His smile grew as he watched her skin flush with arousal. “However, I do believe you need to have the edge taken off…”
She nodded slowly, her breathing heavy. He trailed his hand down to her hip as he carefully backed her through the hallway in the suite that led to the bedroom.
“Would you like me to make you come now, Buffy?”
He licked his lips as she nodded again, his fingers gently tugging the zipper of her dress down. “Do you want to come hard and fast?”
“Yes. God, Giles…please…”
He smiled and pushed the dress off her shoulders and down her body, leaving her standing before him wearing only her bra, underwear, and high heels. He groaned at the sight of her as she stepped out of the dress pooled around her feet.
“My God…” He whispered softly as he ran his fingertips over her ribcage. “You are…absolutely stunning.”
She trembled under his touch. “Please don’t tease me right now…”
“I’m sorry.” He whispered huskily and pushed her against the wall. “It wasn’t my intention to tease you.”
Any reply she was going to give was cut off by her moan as he slipped his fingers underneath the lacy underwear she was currently wearing. He smiled when she bucked her hips against him as he roughly stroked her.
“Easy, love. Let me do this for you.”
“Need…” She groaned as his fingers glided over her aching clitoris.
“I know.” He repositioned his hand and pushed two fingers inside of her. “I’ll give you what you need, Buffy.”
His eyes darkened a shade as he lowered his mouth to her ear, flicking his tongue against her earlobe. “I’m going to make you come now. And then…I’m taking you to bed and making love to you all night long.” He curled his fingers slightly. “Are you ready to come?”
“Yes…yes…” She panted heavily.
He gave her a quick nod and then covered the pale scar tissue on her neck with his mouth. He sucked hard at her flesh as he thrust his fingers into her, the heel of his hand hitting her clit with each thrust.
Her fingers clawed at his jacket as she screamed his name, begging him for more. His teeth scraped across the scar before lightly biting the raised skin. Her knees buckled immediately and he wrapped his free arm around her, steadying her as he increased the pace of his hand thrusting against her.
He carefully lowered their bodies to the floor, releasing her neck as he lifted his head to look into her eyes. His fingers twisted inside of her and he felt her fluids gathering around them.
“It’s taking everything in me right now not to fuck you.” He stated in an eerily calm voice.
His eyes flickered as she gasped, arching her back as she ground her hips against his hand. He took hold of her hand that was closest to him and pressed it against the hard bulge concealed by his trousers.
“Feel what you do to me. Feel how hard you make me.”
She stared into his eyes and smiled, her fingers squeezing the hardness under her hand. He inhaled sharply and brushed her hand away.
“Oh, bloody hell…”
He deftly unbuttoned his trousers with his free hand, tugging the zipper down. He pulled his throbbing cock free of its confines and removed his fingers from her slick channel.
He nodded and pushed her underwear to the side, exposing her entrance to him. “I know.”
He moved between her thighs and leaned over her, nudging the head of his cock into her. He slammed his hips forward, embedding himself completely within her. He pulled back quickly and thrust forward again, harder than the first thrust.
He continued his fast pace, groaning as he felt her walls tighten around him. “That’s it, love…let go…God, Buffy…come for me…”
She fought to keep her eyes open, smiling as she reached up and pulled his tie free. “So…sexy…”
“What?” He panted as she worked the buttons of his shirt, his hips pumping faster, pushing her closer to orgasm with each stroke.
“You…oh, God!” Her nails scratched down his chest as the first wave crashed over her. “Giles!”
He grunted with the effort of holding his own orgasm at bay. Her next words nearly did him in.
Her second climax hit quickly and it took all of his concentration not to come with her. Her inner walls were still spasming as he pulled out and collapsed onto the floor next to her.
“So much…for…for…taking your time…with me…”
He chuckled breathlessly and shook his head. “Didn’t…didn’t come…give me a few, uh…minutes and I’ll take you to bed…”
Her head rolled towards him. “Giles?”
His fingers shook as he finished unbuttoning his shirt. “Mm?”
She smiled softly, her strength returning quickly. She rolled onto her side, running her hand down his chest towards his still throbbing erection.
“Why didn’t you?”
He covered her hand with his, stopping her downward movement. “I distinctly remember telling you…I wanted to make love with you all night.”
She leaned over him and kissed his warm lips. “I’m impressed.”
She met his eyes and sighed. “The strength it must have taken for you to stop when you did…I’m not sure how many men would be able to.”
He grinned and brushed his fingers through her hair. “I believe I’m ready to take you to bed now…”
She returned his grin and pushed herself up. She glanced down at his still clothed body and laughed. “You seem fairly overdressed…”
He sat up and shrugged the tuxedo jacket off and dropped it to the floor. “Care to help me with that problem?”
“Yeah.” She leaned forward and kissed him lovingly. “Let’s go to bed.”
He smiled and pushed himself off the floor. He had successfully taken the edge off of Buffy’s frustration. They had all night to love one another. And he didn’t intend on wasting one second of their night.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Giles yawned as he picked up their bag and opened the door for her. Buffy snickered and walked out of the hotel room with him following closely behind her.
He gave her a playful glare as they walked to the elevator. “I think I need a nap.”
“You only have yourself to blame, you know.” She grinned as she stepped into the lift. “If I remember correctly, I asked you if you wanted to sleep for a few hours.”
He snorted and pushed the button that would take them to the ground level of the hotel. “Yes, and if I remember correctly you asked that particular question less than two seconds before you slid your lips around my cock.”
She shrugged a shoulder and leaned against the wall of the elevator. “I still asked.”
Giles chuckled softly, shaking his head in amusement.
* * *
Buffy and Giles walked side by side up the path leading to Amelia’s front door. Giles cleared his throat and looked down at her.
Buffy looked up at him, confusion etched on her face. “For what?”
“Trusting me to come here alone.”
Buffy narrowed her eyes, her confusion growing. “Um…I’m here with you.”
He offered her a small smile and a short nod. “Yes, but…you’re here because I asked you to be. Not because you didn’t trust me.”
“I do, you know…trust you. Implicitly, even.”
He smiled and rang the doorbell. “Implicitly?”
She nodded and smiled up at him. “With everything in me, I trust you.”
The door opened a few minutes later revealing a very pale Amelia. The circles under her eyes were dark, the contrast of the darkness against the almost pasty complexion of her skin was a startling sight.
“My God. Amelia…”
She offered him a wan smile and stepped back from the doorway. “I’m okay, Rupert. Just a bit under the weather today.”
Buffy followed her husband inside, closing the door behind her as she stared at the older woman. “You look like you’re more than just a ‘bit under the weather’.”
She shook her head slowly and made her way back into the living room, Buffy and Giles close behind her. “A bit run-down, is all.”
Giles stared at her, watching her closely as she winced when she sat down. “No. We need to get you to the doctor.”
Amelia sighed heavily. “I’ve seen the doctor, Rupert.”
Giles raised an eyebrow, knowing exactly what it took for her to walk into a doctor’s office…especially on her own. “Then I have to say I agree with Buffy in that this seems to be more than you just being ‘a bit under the weather’. What did the doctor say?”
Amelia was quiet for a moment, averting her eyes from his when she saw his concern grow. She finally answered his question in a hushed tone.
“He found a mass.”
Buffy sank onto the couch, her mouth dropping open. Giles swallowed, his mind racing as he sat next to Buffy.
She nodded and picked up the mug resting on the table next to her chair. “Left lung. Roughly the size of an…orange, he said.”
“My God.” Giles whispered in shock.
“Is it…um…” Buffy started her question and then trailed off.
Amelia nodded again. “Yes. It is malignant.”
Buffy’s eyes glistened. Giles found it difficult to swallow around the lump that had formed in his throat.
He took a deep breath and leaned forward slightly. “Treatment?”
This time Amelia shook her head, refusing to meet his eyes. Giles inhaled sharply.
“Amelia, the right treatment could – ”
She interrupted him with three softly spoken words.
“It has metastasized.”
Tears formed in Giles’ eyes. He barely felt Buffy take hold of his hand in a gesture of comfort.
At that one-word question, she took a deep breath and met his eyes once more. “Three to six months.”
It was Giles’ turn to look away. “This is why you are leaving?”
“Yes.” She answered simply.
He was finally able to swallow the lump and forced his tears back. He looked into her eyes, lowering his voice to a gentle whisper.
“Were you planning to tell me?”
When she hesitated in giving him an answer, he narrowed his eyes. “You weren’t. You’re dying and you were going to tell me nothing? Just…disappear to spend time with your family?”
“Giles…” Buffy gently squeezed his hand, realizing his anger was building quickly.
Amelia smiled warmly at Buffy. “It’s alright. He has every right to be angry.” She returned her gaze to Giles. “I didn’t say it was my best decision, Rupert. But, there’s nothing you can do.”
“I could – ”
“There’s nothing you can do.” She reiterated. “There’s nothing anyone can do.”
“Amelia…” He started, the pain obvious in his voice.
“I’ve accepted this. I’m not happy about it, but I’ve accepted it.” She swallowed and inhaled deeply. “At least I’ll get to hold my first grandchild.”
Giles lowered his eyes, his jaw clenched and then released. Buffy squeezed his hand again.
This time he squeezed back. And then he allowed his tears to fall.