Title: The Protector
Timeline: Three months after A Perfect Day.
Synopsis: Something isn’t quite right with Buffy. Could it be that her eldest child is nearly ten years old?
Buffy bit her lip hard enough to draw blood as she threw her head back. Giles groaned, holding her hip with his right hand as his left moved up to her sweat-dampened chest. She had her second orgasm as his fingers pinched and rolled her erect nipple.
Giles quickly rolled their bodies until she was underneath him. As she lifted her legs around his thrusting hips, he leaned forward and licked the blood from her lip before plunging his tongue into her mouth.
Her hands slipped across his back, the moisture coating his skin making it nearly impossible to grip him tightly. Feeling her nails dig into his shoulder blades, he lifted his head and groaned loudly.
Taking the opportunity that was presented to her, she licked the sweat from his throat before latching her mouth onto his skin and sucking hard. The muscles in his back tensed, her name leaving his lips on a moan, as he lost the battle and came deep within her.
He shifted to her side before his arms gave out and pulled her into a kiss that left them even more breathless. Her fingers ran through his wet hair as he slowly ended the kiss and looked into her eyes.
“I love you so much, Buffy.”
She offered him a bright smile that reached her eyes and kissed him lightly. “Not as much as I love you.”
Returning her smile, he pulled her into his arms and closed his eyes. He’d get dressed later. Right now, he just wanted to hold her and listen to her whispered words of love.
* * *
Four hours later, a shiver went through Buffy so violently that she opened her eyes in alarm. She glanced around the room before looking at the man lying next to her. She swallowed the lump in her throat and breathed a heavy, sad sigh.
Climbing out of bed, she quickly dressed and glanced at the clock. It was nearly five in the morning, too late to go on a patrol…and there was no way she’d be able to go back to sleep. She glanced at Giles again and slipped out of the bedroom.
As she closed the door behind her, Giles shifted in his sleep and pulled the blanket up over his shoulders.
* * *
Giles blindly smacked the alarm clock when it buzzed at precisely seven o’clock and then reached out to pull Buffy against his chest. His eyes opened when he realized that she wasn’t in bed.
He yawned and ran his fingers through his hair as he sat up. It wasn’t like Buffy to be up and out of bed before him. And then he heard the excited laughter of his daughter. The children must have gotten up earlier than usual.
Climbing out of bed, he made his way into the bathroom attached to their bedroom. After turning on the shower, he glanced in the mirror and smiled at the small mark at the base of his throat. A buttoned collar and tie were in order for today.
He chuckled to himself and stepped under the warm spray.
* * *
Giles walked into the kitchen to find Buffy staring out the window with a mug of coffee in her hand. He smiled as Callie came bounding in to greet him. Hearing the commotion behind her, she slowly turned and took a deep breath.
Giles was busy filling the kettle, but looked up at her and smiled. “Good morning.”
She averted her eyes quickly. “Hi.”
He looked at her curiously as he flipped the switch and pulled down a mug for his tea. “Where are the children?”
Buffy stared at her coffee. “I, uh…asked Mom to drop them off on her way to work.”
“Oh.” He answered softly, suddenly concerned. “Are you unwell?”
“No.” She exhaled deeply and looked up at him. “I just…Giles, we need to talk.”
He nodded slowly and gestured towards the living room. “Alright.”
He followed her into the other room, his concern growing when he noticed her slumped shoulders. Sitting down on the couch, his brow furrowed when she bit her lip and sat down in one of the chairs. He absently stroked Callie’s head as she pulled herself up onto the couch next to him.
“What’s wrong, Buffy?”
“Braden’s birthday is next month.” She replied, turning her eyes away from him again.
“I don’t want him doing this.”
“Buffy – ”
She interrupted him quickly, looking into his eyes with a determination that he knew far too well. “I want our children to have normal lives. How can they have that being children of a Watcher and a Slayer? I want them to be safe…and Braden joining the Council is anything but safe.”
“This is his choice, Buffy.”
“He’s nine years old, Giles! He’s not old enough to make a choice like this!”
Giles’ eyes widened in shock at her outburst. “Buffy…he can withdraw at any time should he change his mind…you know this. I’m not forcing him into joining the Academy.”
When she stood up and started to pace, he stood up as well and walked closer to her. As she passed by him, he gently reached out and touched her shoulder. He pulled back quickly when she jerked away from his touch.
“Buffy, what’s wrong? Please, tell me. What’s the real issue here?”
She stopped pacing and stared out the window. She ran her hand through her hair and Giles saw the tremble in her fingers.
“Buffy?” He whispered as he took a step towards her.
“There’s no good way to say this.” She whispered in reply.
He cleared his throat, his worry growing at an exponential rate. “Perhaps you should…just say it.”
She took a deep breath and slowly turned to face him. “I…I don’t think…”
As she shook her head, he took another step towards her. “Buffy? Whatever it is, it can’t be that bad. Talk to me.”
She closed her eyes and lowered her head. Her next statement coming out as a quickly spoken whisper.
“I don’t think I love you anymore.”
When Giles didn’t respond, she lifted her head to find him staring at her in disbelief.
“I don’t want to hurt you, but…”
“What?” His eyes glistened as he shook his head. “Buffy – ”
“I can’t do this anymore, Giles.” She whispered.
“I…don’t understand.” His jaw clenched and released as he fought back his tears. “When…why…”
“I don’t know.” She admitted softly. “I care about you and I’m sorry I’m hurting you. But, I have to do what’s best for me. And right now…”
“You…fell out of love with me?” He swallowed reflexively and he felt like he’d been punched in the stomach.
She looked down at her left hand and carefully removed the three rings she wore on her ring finger. When she gently placed them on the coffee table, she sighed heavily and lifted her eyes to his. She looked away quickly when she saw a tear roll down his cheek.
“I’m sorry.” She offered quietly before walking to the door. She stopped when she heard his pain-filled voice.
“I…have no say in this? No…no chance to…try to fix whatever’s wrong?”
She licked her dry lips and turned to look at him. “It can’t be fixed, Giles. You can’t fix what’s gone.”
He searched her eyes and another tear fell when he couldn’t see the love in them. Even in their most heated arguments, he was always able to see the love in her eyes.
“What did I do?” He asked, his voice trembling.
“Nothing. It’s nothing you did…or didn’t do. I just…” She sighed and picked up her car keys. “It’s time for me to move on. I won’t take the kids from you. We can have joint custody of them…I’ll find a new place to live.”
His heart raced in his chest, her words digging into his brain. “You’re…leaving me.”
“It’s for the best…for both of us. You wouldn’t be happy in a one-sided marriage, Giles. And…neither would I. I think the best thing right now is a divorce.”
“Ten years, Buffy. How can you just…fall out of love with someone…after ten years?”
Buffy exhaled softly. “Sometimes it happens. It happened with my parents…”
“We are not your parents!” Giles answered loudly, his pain breaking through the barriers he had hastily set up when the conversation began. “We…what we have is different…special. It’s not something you just throw away without trying to sort out the problem!”
“I’m sorry I hurt you.”
“Hurt me?” He stared at her incredulously. “You tell me that you’re not in love with me anymore…that you’re leaving me…divorcing me…and you think you’ve hurt me? My God, Buffy…I’ve given you everything, I’ve…”
He shook his head again, his vision blurred by his tears. “I…I don’t know what I feel…but, I think that ‘hurt’ would be welcome at this point.”
Not knowing what else to say, she sighed and opened the door. “We can talk more tonight. I’ll drop the kids off after school and we can decide what to tell them.”
Giles’ mind swam as he watched Buffy walk through the door and close it behind her. He wanted to run after her, to make her explain things to him. But his feet weren’t cooperating. He found himself standing there, staring at the closed door and unable to move.
He closed his eyes, praying that he was having a nightmare and that he’d wake up very soon. He took a deep breath and opened his eyes, glancing around the room. Seeing the three rings on the coffee table, he slowly made his way over and gingerly picked them up.
He sank down onto the couch and stared at them. Callie looked up at him with curious eyes. When Giles’ tears turned to heart-wrenching sobs and his hand closed around the jewellery in, she laid her head on his knee and snuggled as close to him as she could.
Giles sat on the back porch, a lit cigarette held between his fingers. Once he had been able to get himself under some sort of control, he had made a trip down to the corner store. The clerk had raised an eyebrow when Giles requested three packs of cigarettes, but he handed them over when he noticed the sadness in Giles’ eyes.
That had been an hour ago…and three hours since Buffy had walked out the door. In that space of time, his mobile had rung nearly constantly. He hadn’t called the office to tell anyone that he wasn’t coming in. That would cause too many questions that he didn’t know how to answer. And besides, he didn’t want to talk to anyone.
He flipped it open and spoke with a hoarse voice.
“I don’t want to talk, Ethan.”
Before Ethan had a chance to say anything, Giles closed the phone and considered throwing it across the yard. Instead he dropped it onto the porch beside of him and looked down at Callie. She hadn’t left his side and was now looking up at him.
“Go get a ball and I’ll throw it for you, Cal. No reason for both of us to be depressed.”
Callie lifted her head from Giles’ thigh and he forced a smile onto his face.
“Get your ball.”
She stood hesitantly, moving only after he gave her a reassuring pat.
* * *
Ethan lowered the phone and stared at it. “Something’s very wrong.”
“What did he
“That he didn’t want to talk.”
Michael rubbed Ethan’s back in a comforting manner. “Maybe he’s not feeling well.”
Ethan shook his head, but it was Xander who answered.
“If he was just sick, he would’ve called. Gotta agree with Ethan on this one. Something’s very wrong.”
Ethan looked at
They gave a quick nod, promising to call as soon as they found her, and then ran out of the room. Ethan took Michael’s hand and started walking towards the door.
When Michael hesitated, Ethan tilted his head in a silent question.
“I just think he’ll be more likely to open up if it’s just you. I can help the others look for Buffy.”
Michael leaned forward and lightly kissed Ethan’s lips. “I trust you, Ethan. I don’t need to be with you every time you see Rupert. Besides…I really think it’ll go better if it’s just the two of you.”
Ethan thought for a moment and then sighed. “I really love you, Mike.”
Michael smiled and kissed him again. “I really love you too. Now, go on…call me when you know something.”
Ethan nodded and then
left quickly as Michael went to find
* * *
“I told you that I didn’t want to talk.” Giles muttered, not even looking up at Ethan as he watched Callie bring the ball back to him.
“Yeah, you did.” Ethan glanced at the ashtray next to Giles, then at the cigarette burning between his fingers. “But, the fact that you seem to be smoking like a freight train and the tone of your voice tells me that you need to talk.”
Giles threw the ball again, taking a drag from the cigarette as Ethan sat down beside of him on the step. “I don’t even know what to say.”
Ethan pulled a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and shook one out. “How about you just say the first thing that comes into your mind?”
Giles sighed and looked up at an airplane flying overhead. “Do you think it’s possible to fall out of love with someone overnight?”
Ethan lowered his hand that held his lighter and pulled the unlit cigarette from his mouth. “You fell out of love with Buffy?”
Giles chuckled sadly, looking back down as Callie dropped the ball at his feet before climbing up and taking her place beside him with her head on his thigh. “No. Rather the other way around, apparently.”
Ethan stared at Giles in shock. “I didn’t realize you were having problems.”
“We weren’t.” He crushed his cigarette out in the ashtray and blew out a lungful of smoke. “Or…at least I didn’t think we were.”
Ethan shook his head in confusion. “There had to have been signs. I mean, for Buffy to fall out of love with you…there had to be something.”
Giles rubbed his hand along Callie’s back as he turned his bloodshot eyes to Ethan. “Overnight, Ethan. Quite literally.”
Giles took a deep breath and cleared his throat. “Everything was fine last night…better than fine, actually. We…made love, held each other as we fell asleep…”
He reached for another cigarette, swallowing hard as the tears threatened to come again. “This morning…she told me she didn’t love me anymore. She…she left…wants a divorce…”
“No. No, no…this is a misunderstanding of some sort, Rupert.”
Giles looked into Ethan’s eyes, a tear escaping from the corner of his left eye. “There was no love for me in her eyes, Ethan. And that…has never happened before. Not even during our worst arguments…not when I had sex with Amelia…and not when she stopped me from fucking that woman in the pub. There was always love in her eyes…but not today.”
“Where is she?”
Giles shrugged sadly. “Gone. Said she’d be back tonight to talk about what we’re going to tell the children.”
Ethan bit his lip in thought and then snapped his fingers. “Give me your wedding ring.”
“The enchantment on your rings…I can find her.”
Giles shook his head as he lit the cigarette. “No…you can’t.”
Ethan furrowed his brow. “You took the enchantment off?”
“No.” Giles inhaled deeply, filling his lungs with smoke. “But the spell will lead you to the one place where I know for a fact she’s not.”
Giles looked at him and reached into his pocket. Ethan looked down as Giles opened his hand to reveal three rings…rings that had always been on Buffy’s finger.
“What am I going to do, Ethan?”
Ethan inhaled deeply. “It has to be a spell, Rupert. That’s the only possible explanation.”
“I didn’t sense magick on her. Not even the slightest trace.”
Ethan started to reply, but was interrupted when his mobile rang. He glanced at the caller id and quickly flipped it open.
“Is he okay? God, Ethan…is he okay?”
Ethan looked at his friend, sighing as Giles lowered his head to his hands and allowed the tears to break free again. “Not in the slightest. I take it that you were able to?”
“Yeah. She…she said that…God, is it really over?”
“Did you sense any magick on her?”
At that question, Giles looked up and stared at Ethan.
“Because I don’t believe it’s possible for someone to fall out of love with someone that they’ve been completely devoted to for over ten years in the blink of an eye. Especially not Buffy or Rupert.”
Giles stood up and dropped his cigarette into the ashtray. As he walked towards the door, Ethan stopped him with a question.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m exhausted…physically and emotionally. I’m going to lie down.”
Ethan nodded slowly. “I’ll be here when you wake up.”
“Thank you.” Giles whispered softly before walking inside, Callie walking next to him.
“Okay. I think he’s going to need all of us.”
They said their goodbyes and Ethan closed his phone. Taking a deep breath, he stood and walked through the door. He glanced at the kitchen counter and sighed. It looked like he was in the middle of making a cup of tea…and never finished.
Shaking his head sadly, he walked into the living room to find Giles standing there…staring down the hall.
“I…” He swallowed and shook his head. “I can’t go to the bedroom.”
Ethan nodded in understanding. “Guest room, Rupert. Take Callie with you.”
Giles nodded numbly and started down the hall. Ethan’s heart ached for his friend as he looked around the room.
They were going to need to get to the bottom of this…and fast.
* * *
Ethan looked up as
“Where is he?”
He motioned towards the hall. “Trying to rest…he’s in the guest room. What, uh…what did Buffy say?”
Xander scratched his neck. “Basically, the same thing over and over. She didn’t want to hurt him, she cared about him, but she didn’t love him anymore.”
“Told him that she wanted one.” Xander corrected softly. “No asking…she told him. And, that’s not like Buffy.”
“Yeah.” Ethan stated quietly. “That’s what has me worried.”
* * *
About an hour after
“I think I’m going to see if he’ll talk to me.”
Oz nodded and gave her soft kiss. “We’ll be here if you need us.”
He had changed at some point, now wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. At first, she thought he was asleep and then heard him say her name.
“Sorry, I just wanted to check on you.”
His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed and opened his eyes. “You can come in, if you’d like.”
She entered the room and closed the door behind her. Callie raised her head and gave her tail a light wag.
Willow smiled briefly. “I didn’t think she was allowed on the beds.”
“Doesn’t really matter now.” Giles responded in a flat tone as he gently stroked Callie’s fur.
“I knew it would hurt when it happened. To be honest, I didn’t really think it would happen. I thought she loved me as much as I love her. But, I knew that if it did happen, it would hurt.”
He finally looked at her and she gasped at the depth of pain in his eyes. “God, Giles…”
“I didn’t think that it would feel like this. I don’t think there are words to describe what I’m feeling at the moment.”
“There has to be something going on for her to do this. She does love you, Giles.”
“Not anymore. I never thought I’d look into her eyes and see nothing…and that’s what I saw this morning. I thought at one time I’d be a single father…however, I thought that would happen due to Buffy’s death…not due to a divorce.”
He started to continue, pausing and looking at Callie when he felt her growl rumble. Her hackles began to bristle as she stood, her growl becoming audible.
Willow looked at Giles in surprise. “What’s wrong with her?”
“I don’t know.” He stood up as Callie jumped off the bed and ran to the door. It didn’t go unnoticed that her tail was not wagging. “Something’s has her on alert.”
Willow noticed the dark bruise at the base of his throat. It couldn’t be more than a day old. And if they had been passionate enough for Buffy to mark him, she still loved him.
Just as she opened her mouth to say that very thing, the doorbell rang. Callie growled and then started to bark. Giles opened the door and Callie took off down the hall. Giles followed closely behind. Willow followed him.
“Callie, stay!” Giles ordered firmly as Xander walked to the front door.
Callie stopped and sat next to Giles’ feet, her growl continuing to rumble dangerously. Giles looked over Xander as he opened the door, his eyes darkening as the visitor was revealed.
Quentin grinned as he pushed past Xander and calmly walked into the living room. Ethan moved to stand protectively in front of Michael. Quentin noticed the movement and chuckled.
“I’m not here to see you, Mr. Rayne.” He turned his eyes towards Giles and glared. “You’re the man I’m here to see.”
“I…I thought…well, wasn’t
he sent to another dimension?”
“I was.” He looked at
Hearing the puppy growl, Quentin lowered his eyes and chuckled. “Resorting to guard dogs now, Rupert?”
“No. But, she knows shit when she sees it.” Giles replied coldly. “What the fuck are you doing here, Quentin.”
“I see that your language hasn’t improved.” Quentin clucked his tongue in disappointment. “You and I…we need to have a discussion.”
“I’m rather sure I have absolutely nothing to discuss with you.”
Quentin gave an exasperated sigh. “Come now. It’s taken me a little over ten years to find my way back to this dimension. At least give me the common courtesy of a chat.”
Everyone turned to find Buffy standing in the open doorway, her mouth open in shock. Braden stood at her right side, Lucas at her left, Evan in her arms. Haddie ran towards her father and wrapped her arms around his legs.
“Hello, darling.” Giles whispered, glancing down at her quickly before returning his glare back to Quentin.
“My, my, my…you have been a busy fellow, haven’t you?”
Buffy carefully placed Evan on the ground. “Hold your brother’s hand, Ev.”
“Mum?” Braden asked as his eyes darted between his parents.
“It’s okay, Ru. Just…take your brothers outside with Callie.”
Lucas looked up at his mother. “And Haddie?”
Buffy looked at Giles and noticed him stiffen. She glanced at Haddie and saw her smile at something that Buffy couldn’t see.
“No…I’ll send Haddie out with Xander in a few minutes, okay?”
Quentin glanced at the oldest boy as he led the two younger ones towards the kitchen. “You’re him.”
Before Braden could question him, Giles pushed Haddie behind him and took a step forward. “Go anywhere near my children and I’ll fucking kill you right here.”
Quentin smiled softly and gave him a nod. Giles looked at Braden and swallowed.
“Go on, Ru…take them outside. Callie, off you go.”
Callie looked up at Giles and then looked at Quentin. When Braden called her, she cautiously walked by the strange man and ran to the back door.
As the back door closed, Haddie tugged on Giles’ pant leg. Knowing that Buffy was watching Quentin, he looked down at his daughter.
“What is it, Hadley?”
“Katie says it was his fault.” She stated as she pointed at Quentin.
Haddie looked up next to her, obviously listening. Quentin raised an eyebrow.
“Well, that’s interesting.”
Giles glared at him. “Shut the fuck up, Quennie.”
“Daddy? Katie says he gave her mum some tea and then she went to sleep.”
Giles swallowed the lump that formed in his throat. “Katie went to sleep or her mum went to sleep?”
Giles’ fingers trembled as he tenderly stroked his daughter’s cheek. “Thank you, love. Now…go outside with Xander and Anya, okay?”
Haddie nodded happily, oblivious to the tension in the room and took Anya’s hand. As soon as they were outside, Giles clenched his fist and took a step towards Quentin.
He turned towards the voice, meeting Buffy’s eyes. “This doesn’t concern you, Buffy. Not anymore.”
Quentin chuckled. “Trouble in paradise, then?”
Giles struck quickly, slamming his fist into Quentin’s jaw before throwing him against the wall. His eyes were nearly black with rage as he stared into Quentin’s surprised eyes.
“You hated me so much that you killed my daughter?”
Quentin coughed, blood dribbling from the corner of his mouth. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You put something in Amelia’s tea…something that caused her to abort the baby. Why? Why would you do that?” The trembling in his voice increasing with his volume.
“It had to be done, Rupert. It was the will of the Council. I was just following – ”
Giles punched him again, this time in the torso…the sound of a rib snapping sounding loud in the room. “You killed my daughter!”
Giles turned quickly, his left hand around Quentin’s throat. “Katie.”
Katie’s image shimmered as she looked around the room at the shocked faces before meeting her father’s eyes. “Let him go, Dad.”
Giles shook his head as his eyes glistened, the emotional rollercoaster that he’d been on all day pushing him closer to losing control. “Katie…”
Katie stepped forward, becoming solid long enough to touch the side of his face. “If you do this, you’ll lose everything. Don’t let him win.”
“I’ve already lost everything.” He whispered, not daring to look at his wife.
Katie sighed sadly. “No, Dad…you haven’t. Trust me.”
Giles thought about her words, reluctantly releasing Quentin from his grip. Quentin coughed and then groaned as he held his side. Realizing that he needed to say what he came to say quickly, he began speaking between gasps.
“Buffy…is the Mishtwanai.”
Giles turned quickly and stared at him. “What do you know about it?”
Quentin grinned, blood staining his teeth. “I know that the Protector will be taking his Oath in less than a month.”
“Bloody hell…” Ethan muttered, casting Oz a quick glance.
Giles straightened and clenched his fist again. “What did you say?”
“I thought you knew. You did know, I’m sure of it.” Quentin answered, confusion in his voice. “Your son…he’s the Protector.”
Giles narrowed his
eyes. “That’s why you tried to kill
Buffy. Because she’s the Mishtwanai.”
Quentin shook his head. “Buffy would…would’ve been a casualty. It was your son I needed…need…to stop.”
“Why should I believe you?” Giles asked, a dangerous tone in his voice. “You murdered my daughter…attempted to murder my wife and son…”
“It’s the truth.” Katie spoke softly. “He’s also behind the personal problems you’re currently having.”
Buffy’s mouth dropped open. “What?”
Katie sighed and looked at Buffy. “My father is very close to losing control…to becoming something he has successfully fought for many years. If that happens…Quentin Travers succeeds in bringing down everything…including the world, eventually.”
“She’s lying!” Quentin screamed as Giles threw him back against the wall.
Ethan stared at Travers, mumbling a few words under his breath and closing his eyes. After a few seconds, his eyes snapped back open.
“Rupert! Around his neck is a medallion…”
Giles didn’t let him finish, his hands quickly ripping open Quentin’s shirt and jerking the medallion from his neck. He stared at it, carefully turning it in his hands.
“Maharajish? You summoned Maharajish to fuck with my life?”
Quentin shook his head, his eyes widening with panic. “Rupert, no…don’t!”
Giles backhanded him, the crack of his jaw giving Giles a sense of pleasure. Quentin groaned, holding his jaw.
“You’re going…to believe…some bloody…ghost…and a…sorcerer?”
“No.” Giles answered, standing straight. “I’m going to believe my daughter and my best friend.”
Quentin glanced at Ethan and narrowed his eyes. “He tried to help me take your son, remember?”
“Because you threatened him. He felt he had no other choice. And, if it weren’t for him, you would have succeeded in taking my wife and son from me. He helped me, remember?”
Quentin’s eyes darted towards the medallion. Giles smiled a Ripperish smile.
“Ethan? What do I do with this?”
“Um…smash it.” Ethan replied quickly.
“NO!” Quentin screamed as Giles dropped the medallion to the ground and crushed it with the heel of his shoe.
Buffy’s loud gasp got Giles’ attention. He turned to look at her, somewhat surprised to see tears in her eyes.
“Oh my God! Giles…”
Whatever she was going to say was swallowed by her sudden fury. Before he could stop her, Buffy had launched herself at Quentin. He grimaced at the sound of his skull cracking against the wall as she slammed him back.
As she pulled her fist back in preparation to punch him, Giles grabbed her arm and jerked her towards him. She swung around, ready to hit whoever had stopped her. When she looked into his panicked eyes, her tears broke free.
“I love you, Giles. I love you.”
When she collapsed into sobs, he pulled her into his arms. “Ssh, love. It’s alright…”
She shook her head quickly, her fingers grasping the front of his t-shirt. “No…it’s so not alright! God…he…that fucking bastard!”
As soon as he felt her rage begin to build again, he tightened his arms around her. “Buffy…”
He was interrupted by Katie’s soft voice. “It was intended to be worse.”
Quentin groaned, holding his hand to the back of his bloody head. Ethan and Oz both took a step forward, watching the injured man cautiously as Buffy and Giles both looked at the shimmering spirit.
“What do you mean?” Buffy asked, her voice trembling.
“Maharajish, going by Travers’ orders, attempted to turn you against him. By saying and doing things that would leave him utterly destroyed.”
“Destroyed?” Buffy whispered.
Katie nodded sadly. “Beyond repair. And once my father had reached that point, the spell would have lifted on its own. However…nothing would have brought my father back. And you would have had to live with the fact that you rendered him completely incapacitated.”
Giles narrowed his eyes in thought. “But…that didn’t happen.”
Katie’s smile returned as she glanced at Buffy. “Her love for you is so strong, so…devout…that the worst Maharajish could accomplish was making her believe that she had fallen out of love with you.”
Quentin swallowed and gasped for breath. “Had…to be…done.”
Buffy and Giles turned as one and stared down at the injured man. Quentin licked his bloody lips.
“He…must not take…the Oath.” He groaned again and coughed. “The…Protector…must be…stopped.”
Giles knelt and stared into Quentin’s eyes. “The Protector is destined to eradicate demonic activity…evil demonic activity…from Earth. And you think he should be stopped.”
“All I’ve…worked for…since…since I took…my own Oath…would be…would be for naught.”
Giles’ eyes darkened with anger. “You tried to kill my son, my wife…destroy our lives…because you believe that your ‘work’ would be nullified? You right bastard.”
He clenched his fist and leaned forward. Oz and Ethan stepped back, standing in front of the respective spouses.
“You do realize that you are going to die now.” Giles stated, his icy tone ringing loud in the room.
Katie moved quickly and knelt next to Giles. “He is going to die. But, not by your hand.”
Giles looked at her, ready to protest. Katie shook her head slowly.
“The Rupert Giles that I know…and love…as my father would never take a human life as revenge.” She turned her eyes to Quentin as she continued. “Look at his eyes. Do you see the fear in them?”
She looked at Buffy before catching her father’s eyes again. “He knows he has less than eight hours to live. Maharajish has been released…and he will hunt down the person who summoned him. He will devour him…flesh, bone, and soul…before returning to his dimension. The clock has started.”
Giles’ mind processed her words quickly. He turned back to Quentin and grinned.
“Let him go, Dad. Get him out of your house. Maharajish will stop at nothing to get to Travers. And that includes killing anyone, anything, in its path. For your safety, and the safety of your family…” She smiled as she looked over at the four people staring at her, recognizing the fact that he thought of them as his family.
“Let him go, Dad.”
Giles took a deep breath and stood. Quentin’s eyes widened, his blubbering pleas going unnoticed as Giles grabbed the front of his shirt and dragged him towards the door.
As Giles opened the door and hauled the man up, he stared into his eyes. “This is the end, Quentin.”
“I’m sorry, God I’m sorry!”
“Too little, too late.” Giles shook his head and pushed Quentin out the front door. He exhaled slowly as he glanced at his watch. It was nearly four o’clock. By midnight, Quentin would never be an issue again. “Your time’s running out.”
And with that, he gently closed the front door and closed his eyes.
When Quentin’s screams had died down, Giles looked out the window to find the injured man limping down the road as fast as he could. Giles sighed heavily and made his way back into the living room.
“I…think that’s the last we’ll see of Quentin Travers.”
“Can’t say I’m sad about that.” Ethan replied softly. “Are you okay?”
Giles looked at Buffy and, seeing her love for him shining brightly in her hazel eyes, nodded. “I believe I am.”
Buffy rushed to him, wrapping her arms around him as she buried her face in his chest. “I’m so sorry, Giles!”
He held her tightly, rubbing her back soothingly. “It wasn’t your fault, love.”
Katie watched the couple, a smile on her face, and then took a step back. “It’s time for me to go.”
Giles looked up quickly and shook his head. “No, not yet. Please…tell me more about the Protector.”
Katie glanced at Oz and Ethan and smiled. “Perhaps his unofficial bodyguards can provide you with the information you need.”
Ethan cleared his throat and offered a nervous smile. “Think we’re gonna have to now.”
Giles carefully, and lovingly, untangled himself from Buffy’s arms and stepped towards Katie. “Thank you, Katie. Thank you so much.”
Katie’s smile grew as she shook her head. “You never have to thank me. Just…remember that I love you and that I’m around from time to time. My little sister seems to like having me around.”
Giles’ eyes glistened. “One day I’ll tell her the truth of who you are. She’s…”
“She’s too young.” Katie finished for him. “I understand…and I agree. I’ll be her friend until she’s old enough to understand. And then I’ll become her sister as well.”
As Katie began to fade, Giles took a deep breath.
“Katie? I…I love you too.”
Katie grinned. “I know.”
The words echoed softly in the room as she faded away completely. Giles looked down as Buffy slipped her hand into his.
A smile played at his lips as he gently squeezed her hand. “I am now.”
Clearing his throat, he looked over at the four standing across the room. “Unofficial bodyguards?”
Oz smiled softly as he shrugged a shoulder. “He needed someone to watch out for him.”
Buffy tilted her head slightly as she looked at Oz. “That explains why the wolf would always come out…in one way or the other…”
Oz nodded. “If I felt Braden was in danger…or in danger of being in danger. Yeah.”
“Quentin was under the impression that I knew.” Giles stated as he looked at Ethan.
Ethan bit his lip and took a deep breath. “You did.”
The room was quiet for a few moments before Giles spoke again.
“Perhaps we should sit down and talk.”
* * *
Xander and Anya had brought the children and Callie back inside once they were sure that the danger was over. Braden and Lucas had both been extremely concerned about their parents, and were clearly relieved when they had been reunited.
After a while of answering questions as carefully as they could, Giles suggested that Braden take his siblings back outside to play…using the excuse of it being a beautiful day and that there was only about half an hour of daylight left. Braden shook his head, not comfortable with that suggestion. However, he did herd his siblings down the hall and into the playroom.
Ethan had excused himself to the bathroom and came back a few minutes later with a towel wrapped around his thigh. Michael’s eyes widened in alarm.
“What the hell happened?”
Ethan gave him a reassuring smile and kissed his lips. “I’m alright. This needed to be done.”
Oz and Ethan shared a knowing look as Ethan placed the stone on the coffee table. He exhaled slowly and looked into Giles’ eyes.
Giles furrowed his brow. “I know this stone. The night…” He looked at Ethan curiously. “The night Chaos nearly took you…you told me to smash it then.”
Ethan nodded and sat down next to Michael. “And you didn’t…which is why you need to now.”
With no further questions, Giles picked up a marble paperweight and brought it down on top of the stone. There were three simultaneous gasps as the memories were released. Anya looked at Xander in confusion.
“Okay…I’m guess that was a Lethe’s Bramble spell…but, I’m not remembering anything I didn’t already remember.”
Giles swallowed thickly. “You’ve known…for nearly seven years?”
“It was for the best, Rupert.” Ethan replied softly. “I wish we could have kept it from you longer.”
Buffy sniffled, causing Giles to pull her into his arms. She sniffled again and shook her head.
“No, I’m okay. It’s just…” She looked into Giles’ eyes and wiped a tear from her cheek. “Our son is destined for this. And…we can help him.”
Buffy glanced around the room. “We can all help him.”
As everyone nodded and stated their agreement, Oz leaned towards Ethan and lowered his voice to a whisper.
“That went better than I was expecting.”
Ethan chuckled softly. “He’s older. And…it hasn’t completely sunk in yet.”
They both looked over at the Gileses just in time to see them share a kiss. The first kiss since Maharajish’s spell had been broken.
“They’ll need our help later.” Ethan added softly.
* * *
Giles smiled nervously as Buffy climbed on top of him. When he glanced at the door, she grinned.
“They’re keeping the kids busy. They knew we needed to talk.”
He nodded slowly and moved his hands to her hips. He swallowed and took a deep breath, tightening his hands to still her movements.
Thinking that he still had his doubts, she leaned over him and slipped her right hand under his shirt. “I love you, Giles. I’m so in love with you.”
“I know.” He answered softly. “It’s just…I need…”
She gently rubbed his chest when he trailed off. “What do you need, honey?”
He looked into her eyes and sighed. “I need you to hold me.”
He dropped his eyes from her gaze and cleared his throat. “I…I need to feel your arms around me, Buffy.”
She nodded in understanding and moved to his side. She quickly slipped her left arm under his back and wrapped her right arm over his chest. She held him as tightly as she could without bruising him and rested her head on his shoulder.
“I’m glad it wasn’t worse.”
He rubbed her back slowly, turning his head to kiss her forehead. “Hm?”
“I…there’s no way I could’ve lived with myself…if I’d hurt you beyond repair.” She whispered as her tears began to build.
He rolled her onto her back and leaned over her. His fingertips stroked her cheek as he shook his head.
“Please, don’t. I can’t bear to see you cry.” He lowered his mouth to hers, gently kissing her lips. “He didn’t succeed, Buffy. I’m far from being destroyed.”
She placed her left hand on the side of his face. “I hurt you so much.”
“No, love.” He answered softly, moving down to kiss her again. “He hurt me. It was his fault…you are not to blame.”
Her eyes darted to her hand and the tears spilled over her eyelids. “Oh my God!”
His eyes widened in alarm as he pushed himself up. “What is it? What’s wrong, Buffy?”
She lowered her hand from his face and stared at it. “My rings…I took…oh, God…I took my rings off!”
He breathed a sigh of relief and offered her a gentle smile as he brushed her tears away with his fingers. Shifting enough so that he could reach the pocket of his jeans, he whispered softly to her. “It’s okay, Buffy.”
She sniffled and shook her head. “I’ve never taken them off…”
He placed a tender kiss on her mouth and then opened his left hand. She looked down at his palm and gasped.
“They weren’t lost, darling.”
Her chest heaved as she fought back her tears, his fingers lovingly slipping the rings back where they belonged. “I’m surprised…you…you didn’t…throw them away…”
He chuckled softly, his smile showing in his eyes. “They were too expensive to throw away.”
Her eyes conveyed her shock. “You think it’s funny?”
“No.” He whispered. “The pain that we’ve both experienced over this is not amusing in the least.”
“And yet…you made a joke.”
“Bad timing on my part. I apologize.” He brushed his lips across hers.
She looked at her hand before sliding it into his hair. “Will we laugh about this one day?”
“Perhaps.” He stated softly as his lips touched hers once more. “Perhaps not. The important thing is…”
“We’re okay.” She whispered as she gazed into his eyes.
He smiled and nodded slowly. “We’re okay.”
She licked her lips and sighed. “If there weren’t four children and six adults running around here…”
“Make love with me tonight, Buffy.” His hand slid down to her hip. “After everyone has left…the children are asleep…make love with me.”
“There’s nothing I want more.” She whispered sincerely. “I love you so much, Giles.”
“I love you, Buffy. More than I can express.”
Just as she was getting ready to respond, a loud crash sounded from the living room. She sighed and dropped her head to the pillow.
“I don’t even want to think about what that was.”
He grinned and moved off of her, adjusting the erection that had made its presence known during their kisses and touches. She glanced at his groin and sat up.
“You sure I can’t talk you into letting me take care of that for you?”
Reaching down, he took her hand and pulled her from the bed. “You can…later. Right now, we should probably get out there before they tear the house down.”
She gave a reluctant sigh, but nodded in agreement.
* * *
Ethan sat down next to Giles, who was sitting on the same step he was earlier in the day. Only this time, there were no burning cigarettes and there was a smile on his face as he watched the stars twinkle in the sky.
“Is it that easy?” Ethan asked softly.
Giles turned his head to look at him. “Is what that easy?”
Ethan shrugged and glanced over his shoulder towards the back door. The distinct sounds of laughter, adult and child, rang through the house.
“To just…forget and go back to the way things were yesterday.”
“She’s forgiven much worse transgressions on my part. And what happened was not her doing. She was as innocent as I was…I can’t hold her to blame for me being hurt.”
Ethan nodded and took a drink from the beer he was holding. “I understand that. But…I saw you. And, her words nearly did you in.”
“They weren’t her words.” Giles countered quickly.
“Yeah, I know. But…”
Giles took a deep breath to calm the protective anger that began to surge through him. “I understand where you’re coming from, Ethan. And I know that you’re just worried about me. I thank you for that…sincerely. But, there’s nothing to forgive.”
“I wasn’t talking forgiveness, Rupert. I was talking about forgetting.”
Giles lowered his eyes. “I haven’t forgotten. But, I look into her eyes…and the love is there. The words she spoke were directed by Maharajish. I choose to look past that because I know they weren’t her true feelings. So, I suppose the answer is no. It’s not that easy to forget. But her love speaks louder than Maharajish’s words.”
“That’s all I needed to know.” Ethan offered him a smile as Giles looked back up. “Now…are you ready to talk about your true feelings concerning your oldest son destined to be The Protector?”
Giles shook his head and looked at the door, smiling as Buffy and Haddie waved at him through the window. “No, not right now. I just…want him to be able to be a boy for a while longer.”
Ethan chuckled softly. “He’s never been just a boy, Rupert. You know this as well as I do. And that goes for all of your children. They are the children of a Watcher and a Slayer.”
“The Slayer.” Giles corrected automatically.
Ethan laughed as he stood up. Giles looked up, raising an eyebrow at him.
“She’ll always be ‘The Slayer’ to you, won’t she?”
Giles nodded as he stood and leaned against the railing. “Just as she’ll always be my Slayer. You’re right, there is something different about children born to a Watcher and his Slayer. But…Ru is destined to do this, it was something that he was born with. My destiny was chosen for me, forced upon me. He needs not know about his destiny right now. His life should be about choices for the moment. Destiny will come later.”
Ethan smiled at the conviction in Giles’ tone. “And when you…and Buffy…are ready, Oz and I will tell you everything we know. For now…how about we head back inside and make sure that Braden and Lucas haven’t completely exhausted my husband?”
Giles grinned and pushed himself off the railing.
Giles had just poured two glasses of wine when Buffy walked back into the living room after checking on the children.
“How are – ” His question remained unfinished as he turned to face her. He swallowed as his eyes took in the dark blue silk nightgown that she wore. “You look…absolutely beautiful.”
She smiled as she made her way to him, taking the glass he held in his right hand. “Thank you. And…the kids are fine…sound asleep.”
He felt his cock begin to harden as she sat down. The hem on the gown rested at her knees when she was standing. It rose considerably when she was sitting.
She took a sip of the red wine before placing the glass on the lamp table. “Are you going to stand there? Or…are you going to join me?”
“Oh.” He chuckled softly, lowering himself next to her on the couch. “I, uh…was a little stunned for a moment.”
Licking her lips, she took the glass from his hand and placed it next to hers on the table. “I like it when you look at me like that.”
“Like what?” He asked, the timbre of his voice low.
“Like you’re going to devour me at any moment.” She sighed as she rubbed his chest through his t-shirt. “God, it turns me on…”
A growl rumbled in his chest as she pinched his left nipple. “Wearing anything under that?”
She grinned, shifting her body until she was kneeling next to him. “Why don’t you find out for yourself?”
His fingers toyed at the hem as he took a deep breath. “Would you like some tea?”
“Tea?” She laughed as she shook her head. “No, I think tea is the last thing on my mind right now.”
He cleared his throat and stood up quickly. “I, uh…I could use some tea…”
Her laughter stopped as she watched him nearly run into the kitchen. Suddenly concerned, she ran after him. In her bed next to the fireplace, Callie lifted her head and yawned before snuggling back down.
Buffy stopped when she ran into the kitchen, finding him leaning on the counter…his palms pressed flat against the surface, his head hung low.
He took a deep breath and lifted his head. “God, I want you, Buffy.”
She furrowed her brow in confusion as she slowly made her way to him, tenderly placing her hand on his lower back. “So you decide to make tea?”
He chuckled softly and shook his head. “As you can see…I didn’t get very far in that venture.”
“What happened in there?” She whispered, her hand gently rubbing his back.
“Just…a slight panic attack, I think.”
Wrapping her arms around him, she pressed her cheek against his back. “I’m still going to be in love with you in the morning.”
“I know. It’s just that…” He turned in her arms and inhaled sharply when he saw her love for him shining brightly in her hazel eyes.
She smiled in understanding, resting her hand on the side of his neck. “I was going too fast?”
He swallowed and quickly lifted her into his arms. Turning and sitting her on the counter, he moved between her thighs as he cradled her face between his hands.
“I thought that was the problem.” He kissed her warm lips softly and shook his head. “However, now I’m wondering if you weren’t moving fast enough.”
She slid her hands under his t-shirt as he placed a line of kisses along her shoulder. “What do you want?”
“You.” He whispered as he pulled her closer to the edge of the counter.
“Here?” She grinned as his fingers slipped under the hem of her nightgown.
He nodded slowly, groaning as his earlier question was answered when his fingertips stroked her soft curls. “God, yes. Right here, right now…”
She teased his nipples with her nails, just the way he liked. “Will you let me take your shirt off?”
He offered her a smile, lifting his arms as she pushed the shirt up his chest. “I’ll let you take anything off of me.”
She removed the garment and dropped it onto the counter next to her. “Just the shirt…I like it when you’re still half-dressed.”
When he raised an eyebrow at her, she shrugged a shoulder and smiled. “There’s something about you still wearing a pair of jeans while you’re making love to me…I can’t really explain it.”
He returned her smile as he unbuttoned and unzipped his jeans. He shook his head quickly when she started to remove the gown.
“Leave it on…” His smile grew as he pushed his jeans and boxers over his hips and wrapped his hand around his erection. “There’s something about you wearing a sheer silk nightgown while we’re making love…I can’t really explain it.”
She laughed softly and pulled his head down for a kiss. “I love you.”
He didn’t have time to return the sentiment before her tongue slipped between his lips. He sucked hungrily at her tongue, groaning into her mouth as she wrapped her legs around his hips and pulled him forward.
She broke the kiss when he pushed his erection into her, throwing her head back and moaning his name. He kissed her throat, biting gently and then soothing the skin with gentle licks with his tongue.
He smiled against her skin as he moved with long, slow thrusts. He thought back to a time when he was much younger…when having sex while still clothed meant a quick fuck in a back seat or a dark corner. Time changes certain aspects of everything, he thought to himself as she raked her nails down his back.
Using his upper body, he pushed her back slightly. She held onto him as he moved his right hand under the silk. She moaned his name again as his hand gently squeezed the firm flesh of her breast.
“I love you, Buffy.” He whispered into her ear, his hips moving slightly faster at her urging.
“You too…love you too…” She responded breathlessly as she began to tremble.
He closed his eyes when he felt her inner walls begin to quiver around him. “You’re going to make me come…”
“Yes…God, yes…” She panted, her nails digging into his shoulders as her heels dug into buttocks. “Harder, Giles…I’m so close…”
He quickened his thrusts, his fingers pinching her nipple as his teeth nipped at her neck. “Are you going to drown my cock with your come?”
“Mm…yeah…then I’ll suck it clean…for you…”
He groaned and slammed his hips against her, relishing her gasp of pleasure as her quivers became more intense. “Yes, Buffy…Christ, come for me…”
When he felt the first wave of warmth bathe his flesh, he lifted his head and covered her mouth with his, swallowing her moans. As the second wave hit, he groaned into her mouth and flooded her inner walls with his come.
His movements slowed gradually, their kisses becoming less carnal and more passionate. He sighed as she gently pushed him back…just enough to give herself room to slide from the counter. As she knelt in front of him, she looked up at him and smiled.
His fingers combed through her hair and he bit his lip as she slid her mouth down the length of his still semi-erect cock. As her tongue swirled around him, cleaning his flesh of their combined fluids, he wasn’t surprised to find himself hardening again.
She sucked harder, knowing she could make him come again if she worked quickly. He leaned forward slightly, gripping the edge of the counter with his left hand as the fingers of his right moved to the back of her head.
“Jesus…Buffy…” He groaned as his cock thickened in her mouth.
She stared into his eyes as she lightly scraped her teeth over his hardened flesh. His hips thrust forward involuntarily as he came for a second time. She swallowed greedily, her moan muffled.
When his spent cock twitched between her lips, she smiled and pulled back. She placed a tender kiss on the head and then stood in front of him. His lips found hers quickly, his tongue tasting himself in her mouth.
He broke the kiss slowly and rested his forehead against hers. “I love you so much.”
She smiled, caressing the side of his face with her hand. “I love you more.”
He chuckled softly and kissed the tip of her nose as he tucked his cock back into his pants. “I’m rather sure that’s impossible.”
* * *
Three hours later, he collapsed on top of her…still embedded within her and still hard. Her left hand slipped through the sheen of sweat covering his back as she fought for her breath.
“My God, Giles…”
He was exhausted, emotionally as well as physically. He licked his dry lips and lifted his head, his chest heaving.
“Are you alright?”
She nodded, opening her mouth to reply. A groan sounded instead as his hips started moving again.
He stopped his movement and looked into her eyes. “I’m…I’m sorry…”
She lifted her hand and stroked her thumb over his cheek. “You’re exhausted, honey. You…you need to rest…”
He swallowed thickly, his voice soft when he spoke. “I…I don’t want to go to sleep.”
Her eyes glistened as her concerns were confirmed. “I need you to listen to me, okay?”
He nodded slowly and rolled onto his back, pulling her with him, when he realized that his arms wouldn’t be able to hold him up much longer. He groaned as her inner muscles twitched around his erection.
Taking a deep breath, she leaned forward and kissed him warmly before speaking.
“I’m going to be here in the morning. I’m going to give you a good morning kiss and tell you that I love you…just like I have for the past ten years.”
“You didn’t this morning.” He whispered softly and glanced at the clock. “Or…yesterday morning, as it were.”
She placed her hand on the side of his face and shook her head. “That was different. And I’m going to promise you something…and I need for you to listen and understand.”
She waited until he gave her a soft nod and then she continued.
“I honestly don’t see me ever falling out of love with you. But, if I do…it’s not going to be an overnight thing. And I would talk to you about what I feel before just announcing it’s over. Okay?”
His hands stroked her thighs as he nodded. “Okay.”
“And, I want you to promise me that if something like this happens again…you go straight into research mode. Because that would mean something’s wrong. Really wrong. Promise me?”
“I promise.” He whispered, his hands moving to her hips.
She looked into his eyes and smiled the smile that was reserved for him. “I love you, Rupert.”
His fingers tightened on her hips, her name leaving his lips on a soft moan as his orgasm finally hit. She gasped in surprise as he pulled her down onto his chest.
“We…we weren’t even doing anything.” She whispered in confusion.
He offered her a loving smile and rolled onto his side, his arms holding her tightly as his cock slipped from her. “You smiled…you told me you love me…you used my first name in love, not anger. Add those three facts together and this is the end result.”
She chuckled softly, sighing as his exhaustion began to overtake him. “Sleep, honey.”
He nodded sleepily, allowing his eyes to finally close. “I love you.”
She couldn’t help but smile at his tired mumble. “I love you too.”
Her smile faded as she watched him fall into a deep sleep. He had been through so much today…or yesterday, she corrected herself. So had she, but…she hadn’t spent the majority of her day depressed, confused, and in shock.
She’d hold him all night. She’d whisper soft words of love to him should he have a nightmare. And she’d be there when he woke in the morning…with a loving smile and a kiss for him.
Just as she had for over ten years.