Title: Wishes on Stars
Timeline: One month after Tin and Diamonds.
Synopsis: Giles wants to make changes to Council Protocol…also, Ethan and Michael decide to make their announcement.
Giles smiled as Callie lay down on the floor at his feet. She had come to work with him every day and was learning quickly when was playtime and when was time to settle. Meetings were quiet time, and this was a very important meeting.
Alan Brooks, Head of the Board, chuckled softly as he glanced at the three month old boxer. “I’d heard that she went everywhere with you, but I wasn’t expecting to see her today.”
Giles opened his briefcase and pulled out a stack of paperwork, turning his smile to Brooks. “She goes everywhere. I’m fairly certain that she’ll behave herself.”
Brooks grinned and shook his head. “Rupert, this is your business, your building, your puppy…who am I to say anything?”
Giles laughed and handed a large, professionally-bound presentation to the other man. “True, but you have a right to request her non-presence. I do understand that not everyone likes dogs.”
“I happen to be a dog-lover from way back. She’s more than welcome.” Brooks looked down at the book he had been handed. “Are these the proposed changes you spoke with me about a few months ago?”
“They are.” Giles sat back in his chair, rolling a pen between the index finger and thumb of his left hand.
“Your oldest turns ten this year, yes?”
Giles nodded. “In three months. However, the fact that my son has chosen to follow me has no bearing on these changes.”
“I’ll read through this in more detail later. Based on our previous discussions, I’m all for this. I think they’re good ideas.” He cleared his throat and looked into Giles’ eyes. “May I ask the reason for these changes?”
Giles knew that he had listed each reason, in great detail, in the proposal. He also knew that Alan wanted to hear it from him first. Giles smiled softly and leaned forward.
“Are you speaking of the promotions to Active Watcher or my ideas on allowing the new students to study at the Academy three days a week instead of full-time?”
“Let’s go with both.” Alan smiled back and folded his hands on the table. “But, one at a time.”
“I’ve seen, and experienced, how difficult it is for a ten-year-old child to be taken from everything he or she knows and be thrown into this. It’s hard for a child, hell…it would be hard for an adult. And yet, the Council has never taken this into consideration. It’s always been expected that the child will adapt.”
Giles lowered his pen to the table and shook his head. “Some children adapt well, some don’t. The ones that have troubles with adaptation were never given proper counselling. They were just expected to…get over it and on with it. Children need to know that their lives need not revolve around demons and Hellmouths. They need to realize that they can still have a somewhat normal life. A life that includes friends and sport and time to relax.”
“Did you have issues with adapting to life at the Academy?” Alan asked softly.
A smile tugged at the corner of Giles’ mouth as he shook his head. “No, my issues came later. I actually adapted to this life rather well. However, some of my classmates did not.”
Alan made a quick note on a pad of paper before giving Giles a nod in a silent request for him to continue.
“As for promotions to Active Watcher…” Giles sighed and folded his hands. “Not every child learns at the same rate. Some are more advanced, some need more time. However, it has always been that once a student reaches the age of twenty-one, they become Assistant Watcher and continue their training in the field with an Active Watcher.”
Giles’ eyes darkened with sadness. “Do you realize how many Assistant Watchers have perished in the field because they simply weren’t ready?”
“Sadly, I do.” Alan replied in a hushed tone.
“And then, providing they survive their field training, they’re automatically promoted to Active Watcher on their thirtieth birthday. Granted, they probably wouldn’t be assigned a Slayer at that age, but…if they’ve barely passed their lessons, then they have the tendency to become more of a liability than anything else.”
“How old were you when Buffy was assigned to you?”
“And did you feel that you were ready for that assignment?”
Giles smiled, knowing exactly where this was heading. “I was nervous, but yes…I felt prepared.”
“Going back to students learning at a different rate…where did you fall?”
“I found myself bored and restless.” Giles answered honestly. “I was ready to learn more, but was being held back. And because I was bored and restless, I became discouraged and disappointed.”
“So you left the Council.” Alan continued without hesitation. “Wesley Wyndham-Price…in your opinion was he ready to be assigned to a Slayer?”
“No. He did his best, but he nearly cost Buffy and Faith their lives. Though, in Wesley’s defense, Faith did her fair share in that.”
Alan took a few more notes and then took a deep breath. “Mitchell Stockton…”
Giles fought to keep his hand from wandering to his chest. “I think he should have had more lessons before being promoted to Assistant Watcher. He barely survived his field training on numerous occasions.”
“Most people would think that you were a bit biased in those opinions based on the circumstances.” Alan stated as he leaned back in his chair. “However, I do not. After the incident, I pulled his records and went through them with a fine-toothed comb. You’re right, he wasn’t ready to be promoted to Assistant Watcher…and he certainly wasn’t ready for Active Watcher.”
Alan smiled as Giles reached down and patted Callie’s head when she whimpered lightly.
“I’ll have to put this before the Board since you’re proposing a change of protocol, but I see no reason why anyone else would have an issue making the changes.” Alan placed the bound proposal on top of his notes, meeting Giles’ eyes. “You’re changes are for the greater good of the Council, Rupert. And I have no doubt that you would have issued this proposal if your son was not due to take his oath in three months.”
Giles smiled as he extended his hand towards Alan. “Thank you, Alan.”
Alan shook the proffered hand and returned the smile. “One last question. These changes, would they apply to the students currently enrolled in the Academy.”
“Yes, they would. They would affect every student, every Assistant Watcher, and every Active Watcher as soon as the changes were put into effect.”
“Good. Give me a couple of days?”
Giles smiled warmly, nodding as he stood. “Thank you for your time, Alan. I’ll be awaiting your call.”
He looked down and grinned as chocolate brown eyes stared up at him. “Come on, Callie…I still have some work to do before lunch.”
Callie stood up and wagged her tail. Alan laughed softly as Callie followed Giles out the door, tail wagging and a bounce in her step.
* * *
Giles threw the tennis ball in the courtyard, smiling as Callie ran it down while he talked to Buffy on his mobile phone. “No, it went rather well. I think Alan is as excited about the changes as I am.”
Buffy grinned as she walked into the bedroom and laid across the bed. “That’s great, Giles. I told you that they’re good. They protect everyone, inside the Council and out.”
Giles furrowed his brow when he heard the slight creak of bedsprings over the phone. “Are you in bed?”
“Am now. Wasn’t before.”
He picked up the ball when Callie dropped it at his feet and threw it again. “And what are you doing in bed?”
“Thinking about you.”
Hearing the husky tone of her voice, he cleared his throat. “Buffy…”
“Relax, Giles. I’m not going to do anything while we’re on the phone. Besides…you’re outside, right?”
“I am.” He replied, chuckling softly when Callie tripped. She didn’t do that as often as she once did.
“So, I’ll wait until I hang up…and then I’ll think about you and how your hands feel on my body. Or how your – ”
“Buffy!” He glanced around, relieved to see that no one seemed to have heard him. “Please, love…I have so much work to do this afternoon.”
“Would you rather I wait until you come home?”
He felt his cock stir at the thought of her pleasuring herself. Lowering his voice, he shook his head. “I didn’t say that.”
Buffy chuckled softly. “What are you saying?”
He bent down and picked up the tennis ball. “Come on, Callie. Playtime’s over, sweetheart.”
He sighed at her sing-song tone. “Yes, darling?”
“What are you saying if you weren’t saying that you didn’t want me to wait?”
“Do you want to listen to me make myself come while I think about you?”
“Christ, Buffy.” He mumbled as he climbed the steps leading back to the building. “Are you trying to kill me?”
“How much work is ‘so much work to do this afternoon’?”
He stepped into the elevator, holding the door open while Callie bounded in after him. “Too much to come home right now…too much to spend an hour on the phone with you, my cock in my hand as I listen to you…”
“Can you spare fifteen minutes? I’ll make it quick…I’m already so wet…”
“Bloody hell, Buffy…” He sighed as he leaned against the elevator wall.
“Five minutes and I’ll call you back? Is that enough time for you to get back to your office?”
He licked his lips and cleared his throat as the doors slid open. “Five minutes.”
With that, he clicked
his phone shut and ushered Callie out of the lift. “Office,
He swallowed as he stepped out of the lift, hoping that his trousers were dark enough to conceal the erection that had grown quickly at her words and his imagination. He watched Callie run down the hall and stop in front of his office door.
He picked up his pace, successfully getting down the hall before anyone decided that they needed his assistance with anything. Walking into his office, he tossed the ball across the room as he closed and locked the door behind him.
He had just enough time to put Callie’s lunch out for her before the phone rang. Smiling, he made his way over to the couch, grabbing the phone as he sat down.
“I’m naked, lying on our bed…”
He groaned softly and rubbed his erection through his trousers. “I wish I could come home.”
“Mm, me too.” She murmured. “I guess this vibrator will have to tide me over until the kids are in bed, huh?”
Giles’ eyes followed Callie as she crossed the room. He sighed in relief when she sniffed at her food before deciding that she’d take a nap first. As soon as her eyes were closed, he undid his pants and pulled his cock out.
“Did you just now undo your pants?”
He stroked himself slowly, nodding even though she couldn’t see him. “Mm-hm…Callie was awake…”
Buffy chuckled, her amusement clear in her tone. “Giles, she’s a dog…”
“I feel uncomfortable with her watching.” He responded, narrowing his eyes when he heard a soft buzz. “Dear Lord…did you just turn it on?”
“Oh yeah…” She whispered. “I promised you I’d be quick…”
“Buffy – ”
She continued, not making any indication that she had heard him speak her name. “So, I’m going to fuck myself with it…and pretend it’s you…”
“Christ…” He groaned, tightening his grip and quickening his strokes. “I want you so badly, Buffy.”
“I want you too.” She moaned, sliding the fake phallus into her. “I wish this was you inside of me…”
He listened carefully…her breathing, her soft whimper as he imagined her pushing the vibrator deep within her…and he knew that she was close. Chances are, she was close even as they were on the phone while he was outside with Callie.
“I want to fuck you, Buffy.” He smiled as she groaned louder. “I want to be the one inside of you right now. Feeling your muscles grip me as I thrust my cock hard and fast into you…”
His cock twitched in his hand, thickening as he pushed himself closer to orgasm. “My cock is so hard right now, Buffy.”
“What…” She gasped and then took a shaky breath. “What are you…doing?”
“Fucking my hand and imagining I’m fucking you.” He replied, his voice quavering lightly.
“Close…” She whispered.
“We both are.” He licked his lips, arching his hips against his hand. “Turn it up, Buffy. All the way.”
“Three more thrusts, then…then take it out and hold it against your clit.” He fought to keep his groans as low as possible. “Hold it there and come for me…let me hear you come, Buffy.”
“You…you too…” She whimpered as she plunged the vibrator harder.
“Yes, love…I’ll come with you…” His hand was slick with the fluid flowing at a steady rate from the head of his erection. “Three thrusts from now…go…”
He closed his eyes, listening to the wet sounds coming through the handset of the phone. His hand moved faster as she held the vibrator against her throbbing clit. In just a few seconds, she screamed his name and he thrust a final time, moaning her name as he came.
As his body trembled after his release, he opened his eyes and looked down at his hand…his come-covered hand that was still wrapped around his softening cock. He swallowed thickly and let his head fall back against the couch.
“You made me make a huge mess, love.”
She panted heavily, the buzzing sound disappearing as she switched the vibrator off. “I’ll…have to change the sheets…before you come home…”
He reached for the box of tissues on the table next to him and shook his head as he pulled four out. “Please don’t.”
He shuddered lightly as he cleaned himself. “I want to be able to smell you on our sheets when I make love to you tonight.”
Tossing the used tissues into the bin, he smiled when he heard her sharp gasp. “And I’m planning on making love to you for a while…”
“I love you.” She whispered, her voice thick with emotion.
He tucked himself back into his trousers and carefully zipped, buttoned, and buckled back up. “I love you too.”
“I, uh…I should let you go, huh? I mean…the quicker you get back to work, the quicker you’ll be home.”
He took a deep breath and grabbed a few more tissues. “I suppose. Though you could talk to me while I finish cleaning up.”
“What are you cleaning?”
He chuckled and slid to his knees on the floor. “The carpet…the coffee table…”
Buffy laughed brightly as Giles dabbed at the carpet with the tissues.
A light thumping caught Giles’ attention and he looked down at Callie. She was staring at the door, her tail wagging…and increasing in speed with each second. Just as she stood up in her bed, the door to the office opened.
Giles laughed as Ethan walked in and Callie ran to greet him. Ethan raised an eyebrow, confused at the laughter, as he bent down to give the puppy an affectionate pat.
“What’s so funny, mate?”
Giles grinned and shook his head. “Not funny, per se. She was just a little excited that you were coming by.”
“Well, that’s because she likes me.” He looked down at the puppy and smiled brightly. “Don’t ya, Callie?”
Callie wiggled and licked Ethan’s hands. Giles closed the folder he was looking through.
“What brings you by?”
“Hm?” Ethan looked up and smiled. “Oh. Just came to pick Michael up and thought I’d stop in to say ‘hi’. And…to invite you to dinner at our house this Friday.”
Giles smiled as he looked into Ethan’s eyes. “Are we finally making an announcement?”
Giles looked towards the door as Michael walked in with a smile on his face.
“Thought I’d find you here.” He said teasingly as he gave Ethan a soft kiss.
“Just giving out the dinner invitations.” Ethan replied, his eyes darting back to Michael’s lips. “You, uh…you ready to go?”
“In about fifteen minutes. I just needed to get Rupert’s approval on this.” He held up a piece of paper and smiled.
Ethan rolled his eyes playfully. “See, this is why I don’t like to work…five o’clock rarely means five o’clock.”
Giles laughed heartily. “Not everyone can afford to not work on the sole basis of not liking to work.”
Ethan sent his friend a mock-glare and picked up a soccer ball resting near the couch. “Come on, Callie…we’ll go play football while these two finish up, yeah?”
Callie wagged her tail and wiggled excitedly, taking a step towards Ethan before stopping and looking up at Giles. Giles laughed again and gestured to Ethan.
“Off you go, then.”
Michael’s eyes widened as Callie happily followed Ethan out the door. “Did she really just ask permission to go?”
Giles smiled and shook his head. “Not as such. She just likes to keep me and/or Buffy in her sight. She likes Ethan though, she’ll be alright.” He glanced at the paper in Michael’s hand. “You need my approval?”
“Yes, just to
authorize payment for the reconstruction of
Giles nodded and took the paper, quickly signing his name on the proverbial dotted line. “An expensive venture, but one I’ll approve happily.”
“Will you and Buffy be able to make it to dinner on Friday?” Michael asked softly.
Giles looked up and smiled. “As far as I know, we have no plans. And if we do…I’ll rearrange them. I wouldn’t miss this, Michael.”
Michael returned the smile and then took a deep breath, glancing at the door. “Um…would you mind if I talked to you for a minute?”
“Of course not. Have a seat.”
Michael sat down and met Giles’ eyes. Giles was surprised to see nervousness in them.
“What is it, Michael?”
“I love him, Rupert. But, I’m concerned.”
Giles furrowed his brow and leaned forward, resting his elbows on the desktop. “What are you concerned about?”
Giles fully expected him to say that he was worried about demons, Chaos in particular, or even that he was worried about any lingering feelings that Ethan may have for him. He couldn’t help but smile when Michael divulged his concern.
“He worries sometimes…about losing me. I…do you think he asked me to marry him because he’s afraid of losing me?”
Giles shook his head, his green eyes warm with affection for the young man. “No. Ethan asked you to marry him because he’s in love with you. Trust me, this is a big step for Ethan. And, as far as I know, the relationship he has with you has been the only monogamous relationship he’s ever been in.”
When Michael lowered his eyes, Giles’ smile faded.
“He has been monogamous…correct?”
“Yes.” Michael exhaled slowly and met Giles’ eyes again. “Even when I practically asked him to let me watch him with a woman…he refused.”
Giles lifted an eyebrow in surprise. “You…wanted him to be with a woman?”
Michael shrugged, an embarrassed smile forming on his lips. “I thought maybe he missed being with a woman. He said that I was all he needed.”
Giles cleared his throat. “You are far too old for me to lecture you, but I will say this. Bringing another person into his bed was one of the reasons his relationship with Anna ended.”
Michael tilted his head. “He said that it was because she thought he was sleeping with you.”
Giles nodded slowly. “Because she saw him enjoy sex with another man, and she found out about the past he shared with me…she made that incredibly inaccurate assumption. He’s in love with you, Michael. And he knows what damage can be done…even if both parties are in agreement to bringing someone else to the bed.”
Michael thought about that for a moment and then bit his lip. “Can I ask you a question? Um…it’s a pretty personal question…you don’t have to answer.”
“Does it concern Ethan and myself?” Giles asked carefully, smiling softly when Michael nodded affirmatively. “Please, ask.”
“Ethan loved you…still does to a point. I…I know that you had sex with him…more than once.” Michael hesitated for a split-second. “Did you love him at all?”
“I cared about him. I still do. He was my best friend…and it took a very long time for us to find that friendship again. I didn’t love him in the sense that you’re asking about.” Giles swallowed and shook his head.
“I was a very different person back then. I took what I needed, what I wanted…with no regard of anyone else’s feelings. I’m not proud of my actions, Michael…please understand that. He gave me what I needed and what I wanted because he loved me. And I took complete advantage of that fact.”
“So…it was just sex to you?”
When Michael exhaled, Giles tilted his head and looked into his eyes. “Michael, are you worried that Ethan and I would…well, that I…”
Michael smiled nervously. “It has crossed my mind once or twice.”
When he saw the startled look in Giles’ eyes, he quickly continued. “I honestly don’t think that Ethan would come to you. My concern comes from the fact that if you were to come to him…I don’t think he’d be able to say no.”
Giles exhaled a deep breath and smiled. “That’s something you need not worry about, Michael. Ethan is the only man I’ve ever been with. And I made a promise to Buffy over ten years ago that if I ever felt the urge to be with another man that it wouldn’t be Ethan.”
“You do know the nature of the sexual relationship between Ethan and I, yes?”
Michael nodded slowly. “It never happened when you were sober…or if there was a willing woman around.”
Sadness flickered in Giles’ eyes. “I hurt him deeply…emotionally, never physically.” He thought for a second and then amended that statement. “Well, never physically during sex.”
Despite the serious nature of the conversation, Michael chuckled.
“You are the best thing that’s ever happened to Ethan. I truly believe that. You make him happy, Michael…and that’s all I’ve ever wanted for him. To be happy.”
Michael furrowed his brow slightly. “He was happy when he was with you.”
Giles shook his head and sighed. “That was a false happiness. It happens often with unrequited love…especially when the other person allows you to give them yourself. I’ll always care about him…even when we perceived each other to be enemies, I cared about him. But, I’ll never love him in that way.”
He narrowed his eyes and ran his hand through his hair. “And I honestly didn’t mean that to sound as harsh as it did.”
Michael smiled warmly. “No, I understand. Thank you, Rupert.”
Giles returned the smile and looked up as Callie ran into the office. Ethan followed, the soccerball in his hand.
“Okay, we gave you twenty.” He dropped the ball in the toy box and ran his hand along Michael’s shoulder. “Can I please take you home now?”
Giles chuckled and pushed his chair back as he stood. “Go ahead…take him.”
Ethan met Giles’ eyes and grinned. Giles rolled his eyes and pulled his keys out of his top desk drawer.
“For God’s sake, Ethan…not everything I say concerns sex.” He put a stack of papers in his briefcase and closed it. “And you’re not taking him here.”
Michael blushed and Ethan laughed. “No, this office is for Giles sex only.”
Giles looked at him sharply, which only made Ethan laugh harder.
“You can tell me that you and Buffy have never had sex in here.” He slid his hand into Michael’s and gently led him towards the door. “But, I’d never believe you.”
“Goodnight, Ethan.” Giles stated, a warning tone in his voice. He softened his voice when he looked at Michael. “Goodnight, Michael.”
“Be seeing you.” Ethan called as he walked out of the office with Michael.
Giles sighed heavily and looked down at Callie. “Ready to go home? I know I am.”
Callie wagged her tail and stomped her front feet in excitement as Giles picked up the lead and clipped it to her collar. She didn’t really need it at this age, but he knew that the day would come, probably sooner rather than later, when she would.
Grabbing the briefcase, he led the puppy out of the office. He smiled as he pushed the button for the lift. He enjoyed his work, but he enjoyed going home to his family even more.
* * *
Giles walked through the front door and unclipped Callie’s lead. He sighed when he heard the distinctive sound of his two eldest children arguing. This was a new development in the boys’ relationship and the arguments were occurring more frequently.
When he heard Buffy’s stern voice tell the boys that that was quite enough, he placed his briefcase on the floor and walked into the living room.
“What’s going on?”
Haddie and Evan looked up quickly, smiles on their faces as they ran towards him. “Daddy!”
He chuckled softly as they wrapped their small bodies around his legs. Callie bounced happily and gave each of the children a lick before running off to find Buffy.
Giles smiled as he carefully pried himself from their grips and knelt in front of them. He ran his fingers through Haddie’s golden curls as he playfully poked Evan’s stomach.
“How was your day?”
Evan leaned against his father’s chest and played with his tie as Haddie began to chatter away about one of her friends at daycare asking if she and Evan were twins. Evan looked up into his father’s eyes.
Giles smiled softly. “Twins are two babies born at the same time to the same mother.”
“We not twins. ‘Addie’s older than me.” Evan stated seriously.
Giles shook his head and lovingly stroked his fingers down the boy’s cheek. “No, you’re not twins. But, you look very similar…though your hair is getting a bit darker now.”
Evan smiled brightly. “Like Luke and Bay!”
“It may not be as dark as theirs, but it will be darker than Haddie’s.”
Giles looked up at Buffy’s soft voice and smiled. “Hello.” He glanced over at the two older boys who were still glaring at each other. “What is it this time?”
“Lucas wanted to train with me and Braden. Braden said that it was pointless because Lucas wasn’t going to be a Watcher anyway.”
Giles sighed heavily. “Which, understandably, upset Lucas.”
Buffy nodded. “And then Lucas hit him.”
Giles sighed again and gave a kiss to Evan and then Haddie. “Alright, you two play with Callie. I’m going to talk to your brothers…”
He stood as the two ran off to find the puppy. Buffy gently stroked his chest and leaned up for a kiss. “Missed you.”
He kissed her warmly, threading his fingers through her hair. “Missed you too.”
“Homework’s been done, dinner’s almost ready.”
Giles nodded and brushed his lips across hers once more. “I’ll take them down to the training room. We shouldn’t be very long.”
“Okay. I’ll call you when it’s ready.”
He gave her a smile, trailing his fingers down her arm as he stepped towards the door leading to the training room in the basement. Braden and Lucas ended their staredown and looked at their father, both sighing heavily when he gestured towards the door.
“Your fault.” Lucas grumbled.
Braden glared at him as he pushed past him. “Shut up, Luke.”
Giles narrowed his eyes as he looked down at them. “That’s enough. Let’s go talk this out.”
Buffy offered him a smile as the boys made their way down the stairs. “Have fun.”
Giles snorted softly in response and then followed the boys, closing the door behind him.
Giles leaned against the pommel horse and crossed his arms over his chest as his sons sat down heavily on the bench and looked up at him.
“Alright, who wants to go first this time?”
Braden and Lucas exchanged a glance and then Braden gestured to his brother. “He can.”
Giles nodded and turned his eyes to Lucas. “What happened?”
“I asked Mummy if I could train with them tonight, but Braden said there wouldn’t be any point ‘cause I’m not gonna be a Watcher anyway. And I got really mad and then I hit him.”
Giles bit his lip to keep from smiling. If anything, he had to admit that his children were honest…even over something that could very well get them into trouble.
“Mm-hm. Braden, do you agree with what he said?”
Braden exhaled slowly and nodded. “Except he forgot the part where I called him an idiot. That’s the part that really made him mad.”
Giles turned, lowering his arms as the smile broke free, and grabbed a chair. Placing it in front of the bench, he sat down…backwards on the chair, his arms crossed on top of the back.
“Alright, let’s talk it out.” He looked at Braden, his eyes warm. “What would you do if someone, or something, came after Lucas?”
Braden sat up straight, a determined look on his face. “I’d protect him.”
Giles nodded slowly. “But…what if you weren’t there to protect him? What if he was by himself?”
Braden lowered his eyes, his father’s question running through his head. “I…I don’t know.”
“Just because Lucas has decided he doesn’t want to become a Watcher, doesn’t mean he won’t encounter danger. He’s still a Giles, the son of a Watcher and the Slayer. Shouldn’t he be able to protect himself if there’s no one there to protect him?”
Sadness flickered in Braden’s eyes as he looked back up. “I didn’t think about it like that, Dad.”
“I might change my mind.” Lucas spoke softly.
Giles and Braden both looked at the younger boy.
“Lucas…you know that you can change your mind. And you know that your mother and I will support you in any decision you make. It’s not written in stone that all of you have to follow in my footsteps.”
Lucas furrowed his brow as he met his father’s eyes. “You followed your Dad.”
Giles nodded slowly and took a deep breath. “That wasn’t my choice. I made a promise to myself many years ago that any child I had would make that choice for themselves. I promised myself and I promised your mother that I would not force any of you into joining the Council.”
“That doesn’t make me a scaredy cat?”
Giles’ eyes widened and he glanced at Braden. Braden smiled shyly.
“I kinda said that too.”
Giles blew out an exasperated breath and shook his head. “No, Lucas. It just means that your life is taking you in a different direction. There’s no shame in choosing a life that makes you happy…whether it be with the Council or not. It does not make you a ‘scaredy cat’.”
Braden looked at his brother and sighed. “Sorry about that, Luke.”
Lucas shrugged a shoulder. “I still want to train with you and Mummy.”
Braden glanced at his father. Giles cleared his throat and gave a nod.
“I think it’s important that he trains with you. You can teach him much about taking care of himself…for the times that you’re unable to take care of him.” When Braden nodded, Giles narrowed his eyes slightly. “And your brother is not an idiot. Please refrain from ever calling him that again.”
Braden nodded slowly. “Yes, Dad. I didn’t really mean it, I was just annoyed.”
“I know. I remember what it was like to have a younger brother who looked up to me. And, it can be annoying. But remember…words can hurt worse than fists sometimes.”
Braden turned his head and looked at his brother. “I’m really sorry, Luke.”
“It’s okay.” Lucas replied softly.
Giles rested his chin on his arms, looking at his sons for a moment before lifting his head. “Now, Lucas…”
Lucas looked up and bit his lip. “Yeah, Dad?”
“What is the rule about siblings hitting one another?”
Lucas swallowed and sighed. “That we’re not supposed to hit each other.”
“That’s right.” A smile flickered in his green eyes. “What happens now?”
Lucas looked at his older brother. “I’m sorry I hit you, Bay.”
Braden smiled and shook his head. “I asked for it. Besides…it didn’t hurt anyway. You kinda hit like a girl.”
Giles chuckled, shaking his head as Lucas playfully pushed Braden.
Hearing the door open, Giles glanced towards the stairs. He smiled as Buffy came halfway down.
“Dinner’s ready, guys.”
Braden and Lucas looked to Giles quickly. Giles smiled and nodded, gesturing to the stairs.
“Go get washed up.”
As the boys raced up the stairs, Giles stood up and moved the chair back to the corner of the room. When he was standing on the fourth step, eye level with Buffy, she grinned and draped her arms over his shoulders.
He nodded, his eyes darting to her lips. “Mm-hm.”
She raised an eyebrow as her fingers played with the hair covering the nape of his neck. “And what are you thinking?”
“That you should train tonight. And that I should train with you…once the children are in bed.”
Leaning forward and placing a kiss on his lips, she smiled. “Been a few weeks since we’ve sparred.”
Looking into her eyes, he returned her smile.
* * *
Callie was lying on the floor, chewing on a rubber bone, as Buffy and Giles circled one another. Giles smiled, easily ducking Buffy’s punch.
“Dropped your left shoulder.”
She scowled and took a step back to regroup. “When?”
“Two seconds before you swung.” He took a step to his left and shrugged. “Just enough time to avoid impact.”
She gave a quick nod and moved back into her fighting stance. “Okay, again.”
He started the third round of their sparring session, their punches, kicks, and blocks being exchanged at a high rate of speed. He took a step back, narrowly avoiding being kicked in the sternum, and then moved forward.
Blocking a punch and taking a quick step to his right, he mistimed his movement and found himself on his back, courtesy of a quick sweep of her left foot aimed at his ankle. She was on him before he had a chance to move, grasping his wrists and pressing her knee into the pressure point on his hip.
He groaned in discomfort, breathing heavily as he stopped struggling. “Nice, Buffy…”
She looked down at him, her chest heaving as she tightened her grip on his wrists. Releasing the pressure on his hip, she threw her leg over him and lowered her head, quickly capturing his mouth with hers.
His lips parted eagerly, accepting her tongue into his mouth with no hesitation. As she rocked against his burgeoning erection, he groaned into her mouth and fought to raise his left hand.
She broke the kiss as quickly as she had initiated it and shook her head, a smile on her face. “My show, Giles…”
He thrust his hips upwards, increasing the pressure of her denim-clad core against his erection. “God, I want you.”
“Me kicking you to the floor makes you horny?” She asked, chuckling in amusement.
He shook his head slowly, his eyes darkening. “No…that’s caused by your tongue in my mouth while you’re rubbing your body against me.”
She grinned, releasing his hands as she sat up and started working on getting his jeans unbuttoned and unzipped. As soon as he could move, his fingers pulled the buttons on her blouse free, parting the material to expose her satin-covered breasts.
She moaned as he rubbed his thumbs against her hardening nipples. “Dancing and sparring…two things that lead to…frenzied sex with us…”
He smiled, unclasping the catch on the front of her bra. She closed her eyes as he lifted his head and pulled her right nipple into his mouth.
His groan vibrated against her breast as she finally freed his erection. As she wrapped her fingers around the shaft, he pulled away from her and fell back to the floor.
“Dear Lord, Buffy!”
She gave him a firm stroke and then released him, standing above him and unbuttoning her jeans. He gazed up at her, his hands running up her legs and massaging her calves.
As she pushed her jeans and underwear down to her thighs, she smiled. “I think we had enough foreplay this afternoon, what about you?”
His hands tightened on her calves. “I just want to be inside of you.”
Her smile turned to a grin as she pulled away from his hands, carefully stepping to one side and kicking off her shoes. “And what if I want to be inside of you?”
He swallowed as he lifted his hips, pushing his jeans down as he toed his own shoes off. “Do you? Do you want to be inside of me, Buffy?”
Nodding slowly, she bent over and pulled her socks, jeans, and underwear off before pushing the open blouse and bra off, letting them drop to the floor. “God, yes…”
He quickly removed the rest of his clothes, sitting up to pull his shirt up over his head. Gently pulling her closer to him, he ran his left hand up her leg as he flicked his tongue against the inside of her knee.
“Do you want to fuck me, Buffy? Watch me writhe beneath you as you’re thrusting a fake cock into me?”
She trembled and then pushed him back to the floor, quickly straddling him and lowering her mouth to the side of his neck. “No…”
He groaned, feeling the heat of her core press against his cock. “No?”
She nibbled at the scar on his neck as his hands roamed across her back before lifting her head and looking into his darkened eyes. “I don’t want to fuck you, Giles. I want to take my time with you. I’ve never properly made love to you…it’s always been rushed, making you come as quickly as I can…because that’s what you’ve wanted.”
Lifting his hand, he ran his fingertips over the scar on her neck. “You want to make love to me?”
“Mm-hm.” She murmured, leaning into his touch as she rubbed her core along the length of his erection. “I want to put on the strap-on and slowly make you come…like you do for me most of the time…”
“Buffy…” He whispered thickly, sliding his hand down her chest and over her right breast. “Yes, Buffy…”
Noticing that the urgency of his motions, hands and thrusting hips, had slowed somewhat, she ran her hand over his chest and smiled. “I think we kinda bypassed frenzy…”
He licked his lips and nodded in agreement. “I’m rather sure I want to take you to bed.”
“We should have a bed installed down here…would save us from getting all worked up and naked, only to have to get redressed to go to bed…”
He looked into her eyes and shook his head slowly. “I’m not making the training room into a room for sex, Buffy.”
When she started to protest, he smiled and pulled her down, carefully rolling their bodies until he was on top of her. “However, if you want me to build a dungeon for us…I will.”
She gasped as the head of his cock nudged her clit. “Dungeon?”
He chuckled softly, sliding his right arm under her left knee and leaning over her. “Perhaps ‘dungeon’ is too strong of a word. I’ve no desire to tie you up and whip you until you beg for release…”
Her left hand wrapped around his wrist as he slowly pushed his cock into her. “Giles…”
“Handcuffs and candlewax is one thing…a true bdsm lifestyle is not what I want with you.” He whispered as he slowly rocked his hips against her. “A little bondage play once in a while is fairly nice though.”
“My God…Giles…” She moaned as he shifted her leg, spreading her thighs a little further apart. “Right…right there…don’t stop…”
He closed his eyes briefly, relishing the sensation of her slick walls gripping his cock. Shifting his weight slightly when he felt a twinge in his left knee, he opened his eyes and looked down at her. The training mat was better than the hard floor, but it wasn’t nearly as comfortable as their bed.
“Are you…okay?” He whispered as her nails dug into his wrist.
He smiled when he felt her inner muscles begin to clench around him. “That’s it, love…”
Her eyes snapped open and stared into his with a determination that, at one time, would have frightened him. He pushed harder into her and licked his dry lips.
“What is it?”
“Taste you…” She panted. “Make me come…let me taste you…”
His eyes darkened another shade and he gave her a nod. Lowering his mouth to her neck, he covered the scar with his mouth, sucking hard as he continued his thrusts. Her hands flew to his back, her nails digging into his shoulder blades as she turned her head, giving him more access to her neck.
“Yes, fuck yes!”
He groaned at the sharp, but pleasurable, pain as her nails broke the skin. In return, he bit down on the scar and slammed his hips against her. She bit his shoulder to keep from screaming, causing him to grunt against her skin.
The sensation of her teeth and nails digging into his flesh was quickly proving to be too much for him. Desperately wanting to come in her mouth, he withdrew completely and smiled against her neck when she moaned in protest.
Moving his mouth up the side of her neck, he nibbled at her lobe before whispering into her ear. “Ready, love?”
She scratched her nails down his back as she swallowed. “Yes, God yes…Giles…”
He moved quickly, slamming back inside of her and groaning when he felt the immediate spasm around his cock. “Fuck, Buffy…Christ, come for me…”
His breath against her neck was nearly as hot as his erection inside of her. His heat was the final push over the edge.
He felt her body shudder underneath him as she threw her head back, her nails clawing at his back once again. It only took three hard thrusts for her to scream his name and bathe his cock with her fluids.
He groaned at the intensity of her orgasm and quickly withdrew, crawling up her body until he was straddling her chest. When she felt the wet tip of his erection touch her lips, she opened her mouth and pulled him in eagerly.
His hips thrust gently as he leaned forward, supporting himself with his left hand on the floor above her head. His right hand cradled her cheek as she sucked hard at his flesh.
She mumbled incoherently around his cock and swallowed him deeper into her throat. His back muscles tensed, his voice lowering to a low growl.
Her hands moved to his hips, gripping him tightly and pushing him back a little so that the head was on her tongue. She felt his body tremble as he fought to hold on. Smiling inwardly, she dug her nails of her right hand into the firm flesh of his ass as she sucked hard.
“Fuck!” He hissed as he came forcefully, feeling her tongue move around him as she swallowed.
Once she had swallowed all he had to offer, she pulled back and smiled as he clumsily fell to her side. As he rolled onto his back, his chest heaving, she moved over him and covered his mouth with hers.
His groan rumbled in his chest as his tongue plunged into her mouth, tasting himself as he stroked her tongue with his. She ended the kiss slowly, resting her right hand on his chest as she pushed herself up and looked down at him.
“God, I love you.”
He smiled at her fiercely whispered declaration and lifted a trembling hand to the side of her neck. “I love you too, Buffy.”
Her eyes narrowed in concern when she glanced at her hand on his chest, instantly focusing on the blood under her nails. “I should…check your back.”
He shook his head slowly. “You should lay here with me for a few minutes. Until I at least catch my breath. And then…we should go to bed.”
Her eyes darted to the corner of the room and she chuckled as she lowered her body next to his. “How she could sleep through that, I’ll never know.”
Grinning, he wrapped his arm around her, ignoring the sharp sting of the minor cuts on his back.
The following afternoon, Giles was on the phone when Ethan walked into his office. Callie greeted him as usual, bringing her favourite tennis ball with her. Ethan chuckled as he rolled it across the floor.
Giles smiled and made a note on his calendar. “Thank you, Alan.”
Ethan looked up as Giles hung up the phone. “Alan? Was that about your proposal?”
Giles leaned back in his chair, pride showing in his eyes. “It was. The announcement of the changes will be made next week and the changes will take effect immediately.”
Ethan smiled as he sat down on the arm of the couch. “Good job, Rupert.”
Giles laughed as Callie dropped the ball at Ethan’s feet before taking a step back and yipping. “Did you come to see me about something or to play with my dog?”
Ethan grinned and kicked the ball for Callie. His grin faded as he met Giles’ eyes. “Michael told me about the conversation the two of you had yesterday.”
“Ah.” Giles sighed. “Did I say something out of line?”
“No, not at all. I just wanted to thank you.”
Giles looked at him curiously. “Thank me? Whatever for?”
Ethan cleared his throat and stood up, kicking the ball once more for the puppy. “What you told him…it was the truth. I’ve never willingly been in a monogamous relationship before. I love him, Rupert. In a way that I never imagined I would ever love anyone.”
He lowered his eyes and took a deep breath. “The relationship I have with him reminds of what I used to dream about having with you…in the dark of the night after you had passed out.”
Ethan gave him a crooked smile as he looked back up. “I never thought about it seriously. You know, one of those hopeless dreams…where you’d wake up and realize how much you love me and shit?”
“I…didn’t know, Ethan. Not at that time.”
“I know. But, this…what I have with Michael…it’s real. And I have no idea why, but he loves me as much as I love him.”
Giles smiled warmly as he nodded. “Yes, he does.”
“And you helped him understand why I want to marry him. For that, I sincerely thank you.” Ethan cleared his throat again and looked into Giles’ eyes. “But, he was right about one thing.”
Giles glanced at Callie as she flopped onto her bed. “What about?”
“If you came to me, I wouldn’t be able to say no.” Ethan swallowed nervously. “So, please…don’t come to me. I can’t hurt Michael like that.”
Hearing the catch in Ethan’s voice, Giles stood quickly and walked around the desk to stand in front of him. He placed his hand on Ethan’s shoulder and squeezed lightly.
“I can’t hurt you like that, Ethan. Not again.”
Ethan met his eyes and Giles was surprised to see tears in them. “Ethan?”
Ethan shook his head slowly, a shy smile tugging at his lips. “What is it about you, Rupert? What’s in you that causes people to fall in love with you and then makes them unable to completely let go?”
Giles chuckled softly. “I’m rather sure that a few people would disagree with that.”
“I’m not talking about the women you took to bed. I’m talking about the people who truly fell in love with you. That felt something more than an amazing orgasm.”
When Giles tilted his head and lowered his hand, Ethan smiled.
“Amelia, me, Jenny, Buffy…Olivia to a certain degree.”
“Jenny let me go, Ethan.” Giles replied quietly.
“Not completely. Not even after Eyghon possessed her. She was still in love with you…she was in love with you when she died.”
Giles shoved his right hand into his pocket and leaned against the desk. “It never would have worked between us.”
Ethan’s smile widened. “In love with Buffy then, were you?”
Giles shook his head as he emitted a light huff. “Buffy was seventeen when I was with Jenny.”
“And yet you loved her.”
Giles looked up, pulling his hand from his pocket and crossing his arms over his chest. “Loved her, yes. I wasn’t in love with her at that time, however. It wouldn’t have worked with Jenny because Buffy and I are bound to one another.”
Ethan raised an eyebrow. “Do you think you would’ve cheated on Jenny? I mean…if things had gone differently…”
Giles took a deep breath, thinking about the best way to answer the question. Knowing that simpler was better, he sighed.
“Yes, I do. I’m not sure that anyone…or anything…could have kept me from falling in love with Buffy.”
“Have you ever brought another woman into your relationship?” Ethan asked suddenly.
Giles coughed and stared at his friend, confused by the change of topic. “What?”
Ethan grinned, shaking his head. “Well, do you ever have the urge to be with someone else? I mean…ten years with the same woman…”
“Since I admitted that I had fallen in love with her, I’ve never had the urge to be with someone else. We’ve never brought another woman, or man for that matter, into our bed.”
Something about the way Giles made that statement piqued Ethan’s curiosity. “But, you discussed it…didn’t you?”
Giles rolled his eyes. “Not in the way you’re referring.” When Ethan snorted, he continued. “She asked if I’d ever thought about it…being with another man. When I said ‘no’, she told me that she’d be open to it…as long as the other man wasn’t you.”
To Giles’ surprise, Ethan barked out a laugh. “Can’t say I blame her there. So, you’ve never?”
“No.” Giles answered slowly. “I, uh…haven’t had the desire…”
Ethan raised an eyebrow and then grinned lecherously. “She fucks you, doesn’t she?”
“What?” Giles asked, his eyes widening.
“You didn’t answer fast enough, mate.” Ethan stated, chuckling as Giles’ skin reddened. “So, you’ve had the desire to be fucked…just not by a man. Interesting…”
“I won’t say anything.” Giles glared at him and Ethan took a step back, the grin still plastered on his face. “But, it’s nice isn’t it? Feeling a hard cock – ”
“Ethan!” Giles growled, his eyes darkening half a shade.
Knowing he had overstepped his bounds, Ethan gave a brief nod and glanced down at his watch. “I, uh…need to go down to Michael’s office. Almost quittin’ time and all…”
Giles’ eyes softened and he took a deep breath. “Alright. We’ll see you tomorrow night then…around seven?”
“Yeah.” Ethan glanced at a softly snoring Callie. “Will she be coming?”
Giles chuckled and shook his head. “I don’t think my children would forgive me if I brought Callie and left them at home with the babysitter.”
Ethan smiled and shoved his hands into his pockets. “Rupert…I am sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you.”
Giles exhaled softly and ran his hand through his hair. “You didn’t upset me, Ethan.”
Ethan was quiet for a moment and then grinned as he walked to the door. “You only get that tone with me if I’ve upset you or if I’m right about something you don’t want me to know about.”
Giles huffed softly and moved back to his chair behind the desk. “Have a good evening, Ethan.”
Ethan gave him a wink, wishing Giles a good night, and walked out of the office. Giles lowered himself into his chair and took a deep breath.
Ethan may have prodded a bit too much, but he was right. It did feel nice. He looked down as his cock started to stir.
“Go away.” He muttered softly.
He closed his eyes as images of Buffy kneeling behind him flashed in his mind. He groaned and looked down at Callie. She lifted her head and yawned.
“What do you think about going home early?”
Callie stood up and stretched, her tail wagging gently.
* * *
Giles woke up for the second time that night and sighed heavily. The first time was due to a loud crash of thunder that caused Callie to whimper, but Buffy had slept through. This time, however…it wasn’t a crash of thunder that woke him.
He glanced at the clock and sighed again as his hand wandered down to his erection. He turned his head and watched Buffy sleep. When she shifted slightly, his cock twitched against his hand.
Knowing it was useless to attempt to go back to sleep, he pushed the blankets back and slid out of bed. If he masturbated in bed, he’d wake her…and she needed her sleep. As he slipped into his robe, she rolled onto her side and snuggled into her pillow.
He tied the belt around his waist and quickly left the room before the urge to wake her became too powerful to ignore.
* * *
He stepped into the shower and sighed. Originally, he had planned on a cold shower to help take care of his problem. Moments before he stepped under the cold spray, he changed his mind and turned the knob to increase the hot water.
The cold spray wouldn’t have affected him at this point anyway. There was only one thing that would take care of it. And that was for him to come…
* * *
Buffy opened the bathroom door and smiled upon seeing his silhouette through the frosted glass of the shower stall. She quickly shed her pajamas and opened the shower door, a rush of arousal sweeping through her when she heard his soft grunt over the sound of running water.
When he felt her hand touch his back, he groaned louder and tightened his fist around his cock. His right hand was pressed against the shower wall, supporting him as the water flowed over his body.
Leaning forward, she ran her tongue along his spine, smiling as she watched his fingers curl against the wall. “Giles…”
His hips arched against his hand as he murmured her name. She lightly kissed the crescent shaped wounds on his back, courtesy of her nails during the previous night’s activities.
“Turn around, baby.” She whispered just loud enough to be heard over the water. “Turn around and let me watch you…”
He slowed his strokes and turned carefully, leaning his back against the wall. She glanced down at his thick cock held tightly in his hand and licked her lips.
“You should’ve woken me up.”
“God, I wanted to.” He groaned, his eyes darting to her right hand, which had moved between her legs. “Yes…Buffy…please…”
She smiled, leaning her head back against the wall as she increased the pressure on her clitoris. “I think I could come just by watching you.”
They watched each other for a few moments. He glanced at her face when she leaned her head against the shower wall and closed her eyes, a moan escaping her lips.
He swallowed and returned his gaze to her hand. “Harder, Buffy…follow me…”
She groaned softly and opened her eyes, matching her movements with his…pushing herself closer to orgasm. “Oh, God…”
He tore his eyes from her hand and stared into hers. “I can’t hold out much longer, honey…”
She whimpered at the look of raw passion in his eyes, moving her fingers quicker over her throbbing clit. “Giles…”
Knowing he was only a few seconds away from his climax, he moved across the small stall and placed his right hand on the wall above her shoulder. His heat embraced her, the heady aroma of his arousal making her dizzy.
He leaned forward, his chest nearly touching against hers, and rested his forehead against his hand. His voice was thick with need when he told her to move her hand.
“Almost there.” She moaned, her body trembling against his.
“Move…your hand.” He whispered gruffly into her ear. “Now, Buffy…please.”
Though she didn’t want to, she heard the urgency in his tone. When he felt her fingers move from her clit and grip his hip, he groaned and nudged the head of his cock against the bundle of nerves.
Two firm strokes later, he cried out her name as he came, coating her clit with his hot semen. She gasped and moved her left hand to his shoulder for support as her orgasm crashed over her.
The cooling water sprayed over his back as he released his softening cock and pulled her into his trembling arms. She pressed her cheek against his chest, holding on to him tightly as his cock twitched against her.
He smiled softly and took a step back, pulling her with him. When she lifted her eyes in a silent question, he swallowed and gestured to the water.
“Hot water’s running out…we should rinse off…”
She nodded numbly, allowing him to turn her towards the spray and rinse their mingling fluids from her still quivering flesh. She leaned back against his chest and sighed heavily.
“Are you alright?” He asked softly before placing a tender kiss on her shoulder.
He moved his kisses up her neck as his fingers gently massaged her wet curls, rinsing away all traces of their activities. “Do you need more?”
She shook her head slowly, running her hand down his arm and lacing her fingers with his. “All I need…is for you to take me back to bed and hold me.”
Reaching out, he turned the knobs to shut off the flow of water. He kissed her ear and took a deep breath before opening the stall door and grabbing a fresh towel.
“I can do that.” He whispered as he lovingly dried her body.
She smiled sleepily, slipping back into her pajamas as he dried himself. “Are you okay?”
“Hm?” He looked up as he draped the towel over the rack and pulled on his pajama pants.
“What made you wake up at two in the morning with a need to jack off in the shower?”
He chuckled and opened the bathroom door, quietly ushering her into the bedroom. “A dream.”
She raised an eyebrow as he closed the bedroom door and nudged her towards the bed. “Good dream?”
He laughed softly, sliding under the sheets and pulling her into his arms. “Not as good as the reality.”
She grinned and snuggled against him, draping her arm over his abdomen. “I love you.”
He smiled, his eyes closing as exhaustion quickly overtook him. “I love you.”
Giles smiled down at his son, tousling his hair. “What’s wrong, Lucas?”
Lucas looked up at him and sighed. “Why can’t we come with you?”
“Because, this is a night for grown-ups. It doesn’t happen often, son.”
“I know, but…why can’t the little kids stay with Lindy and then Bay and I can come with you and Mummy?”
Giles chuckled and then knelt down in front of Lucas. “You and Braden need to help Lindy. You know what a handful Haddie and Evan can be…add Callie to that and Lindy’s going to need your assistance.”
When Lucas furrowed his brow, Giles placed his large hand on his son’s shoulder. “I thought you liked Lindy.”
“I do.” Lucas nodded slowly before sighing. “I just liked the babysitter we had when we were on holidays a little more. Can you get her to watch us?”
Giles hesitated and
then cleared his throat when we felt Buffy’s hand on his shoulder. “I, uh…we were in
“I really liked her.”
Giles fought to keep his emotions in check, the children didn’t know Katie’s true identity…there was no reason to tell them, and they probably wouldn’t have understood.
“So did I, Lucas.” He lifted his hand and gently ran his fingers through the brown curls covering his son’s head. “But, Lindy always takes really good care of all of you.”
“Can we come next time?”
Giles smiled, leaning forward and kissing the boy’s cheek. “Yes, you can come next time.”
Lucas thought for a moment and then smiled at his father. “Okay.”
And just like that, the conversation was over. Giles watched as Lucas ran off, presumably in search of his older brother. When he felt Buffy gently squeeze his shoulder, he sighed and stood back up.
He nodded, offering her a smile even though his eyes were glistening. “Yes.”
Lifting her hand, she lovingly stroked his cheek with her thumb. “I know you miss her.”
“She comes around sometimes…I can sense her.” He sighed heavily, leaning into his wife’s touch. “I just wish I could see her again…talk to her again.”
Buffy bit her lip and took a deep breath. “I normally wouldn’t suggest this, but…maybe Haddie can help?”
“I’ve thought about it.” Giles admitted quietly. “But, I’m not sure it’s appropriate to ask our four and a half year old daughter to pass messages back and forth between her father and her deceased half-sister.”
Buffy nodded in understanding, leaning up to give him a soft kiss. “Maybe think about it though. Haddie doesn’t have to know that Katie is your daughter…at least not right now.”
He bent his head, intending to return the kiss. Just as his lips touched Buffy’s, he felt something fall onto his foot and heard Callie’s playful yip. Buffy laughed and pulled back as she looked down at the puppy.
“What’s your problem?”
Callie wagged her tail and nudged the tennis ball with her nose. Buffy bent down and picked the ball up, tossing it into Giles’ hand as she looked into his eyes.
“Go play with your dog for a few minutes. Lindy’ll be here in about half an hour.”
Giles smiled as he gestured towards the door in the living room that led to the backyard. “Would you like to come with?”
Buffy grinned and shook her head. “I take longer to get ready than you do. Go on…take the kids with you.”
Giles chuckled and gave her another brief kiss before calling his children. Buffy ran her hand through her freshly washed hair and smiled brightly as she watched her family file out the door and into the yard.
* * *
Giles followed Ethan with his eyes, his brow furrowing slightly when Ethan walked outside. Buffy nudged him gently with her elbow.
“What’s up?” She whispered softly as the rest of the guests chatted, after-dinner drinks in their hands.
“Something’s bothering him.” He whispered back, glancing towards the door again.
“Do you think it has anything to do with your conversation with Michael the other day? Or…maybe what he told you yesterday?”
Giles looked back at her and shook his head. “I doubt it. He’s…nervous. More nervous than I’ve ever seen him.”
He tilted his head towards the window, his eyes remaining locked on hers. “Look at him, Buffy. Pacing back and forth, lighting a cigarette after he’s barely exhaled smoke from the previous one. Something’s bothering him…”
Buffy nodded slowly as she watched Ethan light another cigarette. “Go talk to him. I’ll help Michael and Willow in the kitchen.”
“Thank you.” He whispered as he leant down and kissed her. “I’ll be back shortly.”
Buffy watched him as he slipped out the back door and then sighed as she turned towards the kitchen.
* * *
Ethan looked up, pausing his pace when Giles walked onto the back porch and closed the door behind him. He blew out a lungful of smoke and took another drag as he began to pace again.
“Care to talk about it, Ethan?”
“I don’t know.” Ethan mumbled as he walked past Giles and down the steps leading to the backyard.
Giles raised an eyebrow, following him as he walked around the corner of the house. Ethan leaned against the trunk of a tree and lifted his cigarette to his lips. It was then that Giles noticed how badly his friend’s hand was trembling.
“Talk to me, Ethan.”
Ethan was quiet for a moment, gathering his thoughts and then sighed heavily.
“I’m getting ready to announce to all of my friends that Michael and I are getting married and have set a date.”
Giles nodded and leaned his shoulder against the large trunk, sliding his right hand into his pocket. “Yes?”
“God, I love him, Rupert.”
Hearing the desperation in the whispered statement, Giles narrowed his eyes in concern. “Ethan? What is it?”
Ethan shook his head and dropped the butt to the ground, simultaneously pulling his pack out of his pocket to shake another cigarette out. Giles reached out, closing his hand around Ethan’s, effectively preventing him from lighting another.
“What is it?” He repeated softly.
Ethan slowly raised his eyes and met Giles’, the pack of cigarettes falling to the ground. Giles inhaled sharply when he saw the red flicker in his friend’s eyes.
“It’s…it’s not what you think.” Ethan replied quickly, swallowing hard. “I haven’t…a lower demon has taken over for Chaos, but I haven’t…not since the night I found out Anna had left.”
“You haven’t been able to eradicate him completely from you, have you? There’s still a piece of him there…from years ago?”
Tears glistened in Ethan’s eyes. “Maybe it is what you think.”
“It’s pulling at you?” Giles sighed as Ethan nodded sadly. “This hasn’t happened before?”
“No, not like this. Not this…strong.”
“Why now?” Giles asked gently as he pushed himself off the tree and moved to stand in front of Ethan. “After all this time, why is it affecting you this way now?”
“I’m happy.” Ethan whispered, a tear escaping from the corner of his left eye. “I know what I want…who I want. Chaos is trying to make my life…chaos. And, God help me…it’s pushing me very close to doing just that.”
When Giles raised his hand to touch Ethan’s shoulder in a gesture of comfort, Ethan flinched and shook his head furiously.
“God, don’t touch me, Rupert!”
In that instant, Giles saw everything in Ethan’s eyes. “Dear Lord…”
Ethan’s voice trembled as another tear rolled down his cheek. “Chaos knows what would hurt me the most…and it’s pushing me to do something that would make Michael leave. If you touch me…”
“Chaos succeeds.” Giles finished for him in a shocked whisper.
Ethan nodded miserably, lowering his head and running his hand through his hair. “I love him, Rupert.”
“I know.” Giles answered quietly, reaching into his pocket for his phone. “Have you talked about this with Michael?”
“God, how can I? I want to…but, what the fuck am I supposed to say to him?”
Giles flipped his phone open, his thumb pausing over the button that would call Buffy’s phone. “He knows and understands about your previous alliance with Chaos, yes?”
Ethan shrugged his shoulder and inhaled shakily. “He knows. I’m not sure how much he really understands.”
“When did this start, Ethan?”
“This morning. I had a dream last night…” He raised his eyes and stared at Giles. “This…desire…started when I woke up…and it’s been growing since then.”
Giles nodded in understanding and he pressed the button. Ethan’s jaw clenched and then released.
“I can’t do this to him, Rupert…”
Giles swallowed and held the phone to his ear, waiting for Buffy to answer. He didn’t have to wait long, she picked up on the second ring.
He closed his eyes briefly and then looked towards the sky, the stars shining brightly in the darkness.
“Can you come outside, please?”
“Don’t say anything to anyone, just…please come outside. We’re around the side of the house.”
“I’ll be right there.” She stated quickly and hung up.
Slipping the phone back into his pocket, he looked at Ethan. “You need to talk to Michael about this, Ethan.”
“I know.” Ethan whispered, slumping back against the tree and wiping the tears from his face.
Before he could say anything else, Buffy ran around the corner.
She glanced at Ethan as Giles took her hand and pulled her to his side. “God, Ethan…are you okay?”
Ethan chuckled sadly and shook his head. “I rather think not.”
“What’s going on?”
A red flash shone in Ethan’s eyes as he looked at Buffy. His resolve quickly fading away, he groaned and slid down to the ground, resting his back against the tree.
“Besides the fact that I have this nearly uncontrollable urge to fuck your husband? Nothing.”
Buffy’s eyes widened as she looked from Ethan to Giles. “Um…Giles?”
“It’s not real, Buffy.” Giles replied softly, gently squeezing her hand.
Ethan’s eyes darkened as he stared at Giles. “My cock begs to differ.”
“Ethan!” Giles exclaimed as his eyes narrowed. “Fucking fight it. Because this is not happening.”
Ethan glanced at Buffy, his eyes welling with tears before he dropped his head to his hands. “God, I’m so sorry. I’m so fucking sorry…”
Buffy’s heart raced in her chest, confusion at the situation and concern for Ethan filling her. Her voice was a mere whisper when she spoke, not taking her eyes off of Ethan.
“Giles, you should really tell me what’s going on.”
Giles took a deep breath, his heart aching for his friend. “We need to do a spell, Buffy. And…we need Michael out here.”
Ethan’s head shot up. “No! Rupert, Michael can’t see me like this! He can’t!”
Giles exhaled slowly, kneeling on the ground in front of Ethan, gently pulling Buffy down with him. “Ethan…you have to talk to him.”
“No…not right now. God, if he sees me like this…” He gestured vaguely towards his groin, his erection easily detectable under his jeans. “I’ll lose him, Rupert. You are the one person he would leave me over, don’t you understand?”
Buffy reached out, placing her hand on Ethan’s knee. “Nothing has happened, Ethan. We’ll explain everything to Michael, the three of us.” She turned her eyes to Giles. “As soon as I know what I’m explaining…”
“Chaos doesn’t like that, for the first time in my life, I’m truly happy with where I am.” Ethan stated.
“Chaos?” Buffy whispered in surprise. “I…killed Chaos.”
Ethan and Giles both shook their heads and Giles spoke. “You killed the demon who was leading Chaos at the time. As with most aspects of life, once the leader is taken from power, a new leader will come forth.”
“Oh.” Buffy said in an uncertain tone. “So…the new leader is trying to cause problems for Ethan?”
Giles glanced at Ethan and nodded. “Yes.”
“But…I thought for that to happen, Chaos had to, um…well…”
“Fuck me?” Ethan asked softly. “He did…years ago. And not so long ago.”
Giles cleared his throat and offered a quick explanation. “Ethan pushed Chaos from his life, turned his back on that lifestyle. But, he wasn’t able to get rid of everything…and because there are some minute particles left, Chaos is able to create a spark.”
“Okay.” Buffy thought about it for a minute and then sighed. “But, why now? Why hasn’t this happened before?”
Ethan lowered his eyes and swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat. “I’ve never been this happy before. Chaos wants to take that away…but, he wants me to be the one to do it. If I give in to this urge, I’ll lose Michael. I’ll lose what makes me happy.”
Buffy nodded and stood up. “Okay, so I’ll go get Michael and – ”
Looking into Ethan’s darkened eyes, Giles shook his head and softly interrupted her. “Perhaps I should go find Michael.”
Before Buffy could ask why, Giles stood and looked into her eyes. “It’s not safe for us to be left alone for the moment, Buffy. He’s fighting it, but…it’s getting stronger.”
“If you’d just fuck me, this pain would go away.” Ethan said softly, causing Buffy and Giles to look down at him.
Giles shook his head slowly. “That can’t happen, Ethan. You know the consequences.”
“Getting to the point of not caring, Rupert.” Ethan shot back before leaning his head back against the tree. “I didn’t mean that…I swear, I didn’t mean it.”
“I know, Ethan.” Giles replied, sighing when Ethan closed his eyes. He lightly ran his hand down Buffy’s back and swallowed nervously. “Stay with him, I’ll go find Michael and Willow.”
Buffy nodded and then grabbed his hand as he walked by her. “You said you had to do a spell…what kind of spell?”
Giles glanced at Ethan before meeting Buffy’s eyes. “A cleansing spell. I’m sure Ethan has the necessary ingredients…I’ll ask Willow to gather them while we’re speaking with Michael.”
“Rupert?” Ethan opened his eyes and stared at Giles, his eyes filling with tears once more. “Please hurry.”
Giles gently squeezed Buffy’s hand, nodding before he turned and rushed back to the house. Buffy watched until he was out of sight and then knelt back on the ground in front of Ethan. Ethan sniffled lightly and clenched his fists in an attempt to stop the trembling.
“It’s going to be okay, Ethan.”
“I’m sorry, Buffy. I’d never intentionally try to come between the two of you…”
Buffy reached out, tenderly brushing his damp hair back from his forehead. “You don’t have to apologize, Ethan. This isn’t your fault. We’ll work through it, okay? Everything’s going to be okay.”
Ethan opened his mouth to reply, then closed it as his tears began to fall. Buffy quickly pulled him into her arms, rubbing his back in a soothing gesture. She closed her eyes, his despair rushing through her as he began whispering his apologies again.
Michael looked up
from his conversation with
“Rupert, is something wrong?”
Giles glanced at him
“A cleansing spell?”
“Who’s being cleansed?” Anya asked curiously.
Michael stepped forward, concern etched on his face. “Rupert…where’s Ethan?”
“I’ll explain everything in just a second. Please…does Ethan still keep herbs and such in a small chest with an engraving of a ram on the top?”
Michael narrowed his eyes slightly, but nodded. “It’s upstairs in the closet in our bedroom.”
Giles looked at
“What’s wrong with Ethan?” Michael asked, panic seeping into his voice.
“A cleansing spell works best with candles infused with sage.” Anya supplied in a helpful tone.
“There should be some in the chest.” Giles answered absently, looking into Michael’s eyes. “Come with me, Michael…we’ll explain everything.”
Michael’s eyes glistened as he grabbed Giles’ forearm. “Is he okay?”
“Yes.” Giles replied, before breathing a soft sigh. “At the moment.”
Michael let go of Giles’ arm and ran towards the door. Giles took off after him, leaving Anya standing in the kitchen by herself.
* * *
Michael ran around the side of the house, Giles right behind him, and stopped suddenly at the sight of Ethan sobbing as Buffy held him. He fell to his knees next to Ethan, whispering his name.
Ethan turned his head sharply, tears stinging his eyes as he stared at Michael. “Mike…”
Michael nodded, running his fingers through Ethan’s hair as he leaned forward and kissed his forehead. “What’s wrong, EJ?”
“I love you.” Ethan whispered, his hands trembling violently as he pulled Michael towards him. “God, I love you so fucking much.”
Michael looked towards Buffy and Giles, noticing that Giles was standing a few feet away. “What’s going on?”
“Chaos.” Ethan answered in a hoarse voice.
Michael’s eyes widened, turning towards Ethan as Giles took a few steps forward and knelt next to Buffy. Buffy took his hand and took a deep breath.
“We’ll explain everything to you, Michael.”
* * *
Unbeknownst to Giles and Ethan, Michael had been reading up on Chaos. He hadn’t fully understood when Ethan had tried to explain that part of his past to him, so when he found himself in the Council Library, he took the opportunity to read as much as he could.
What Buffy and Giles were telling him at the moment didn’t come as a complete shock. Instead, he held Ethan in his arms, tenderly running his hands over his back in an attempt to calm him.
When he heard Ethan’s pained whisper of ‘I’m sorry’, Michael shook his head and lovingly kissed his cheek.
“EJ, it’s okay. I understand, love.”
Ethan lifted his head, his eyes glassy. “You…still love me?”
Michael’s eyes glistened as he tenderly ran his thumb over Ethan’s bottom lip. “Oh, honey…I love you so much. Rupert and Buffy…they know what to do to help you.”
Ethan’s eyes glowed red for a brief second. “I know what Rupert could do to help me…but, he won’t.”
Michael stared at him, jumping when Giles gently touched his shoulder. “Ethan…”
“If he’d fuck me, the pain would stop. But, he keeps refusing.”
Michael turned slowly and met Giles’ eyes. “He doesn’t sound…”
“Chaos is telling him what to say right now. Ethan has been trying to block him, but…it comes through once in a while.” He lowered his voice, glancing at Ethan. “We need to do the spell soon.”
“If you…were with him…would the pain stop? Would he be okay?” Michael asked, his fear rising.
Giles sighed heavily. “The pain would stop, but…it would create a whole new world of problems. Problems that we wouldn’t be able to correct. And…we’d end up losing Ethan in the end.”
A tear rolled down Michael’s cheek. “Lose him? What do you mean?”
Giles licked his dry lips and swallowed. “The minute particles that create a spark? If Ethan gives in to this urge…if we…” He hesitated and shook his head. “The minute particles will expand at a rapid rate until his entire being is compromised. Should that happen, you’ll lose Ethan…I’ll lose my family. He’s fighting so hard, Michael. He doesn’t want this…Chaos does. But, he’s growing tired…”
“How do you know?” Michael whispered. “Maybe he can keep fighting…”
Giles shook his head. “His eyes. You saw the glow? At first it was a small flicker, then it was a flash. The longer the appearance of the red in his eyes, the closer he is to losing control.”
Michael looked down as Ethan rested his head against his chest. He placed a kiss on the top of his head and looked at Buffy and Giles.
“What do I need to do?”
* * *
Anya shook her head at Xander, pointing at the candle in his hand. “That needs to be exactly fifteen feet from this one…and in perfect alignment.”
Xander nodded and began lining the candle up with the one on the floor next to Anya’s foot. “The other two?”
“It’s like a big cross…the other two candles perpendicular to these at a distance of twelve feet apart.”
“I don’t know, but I’m going to say ‘pretty freakin’ bad’ considering how upset Giles was.”
Oz nodded slowly, passing a bottle of hemp oil to her. “What are we cleansing?”
Everyone looked to the door when it opened, Michael and Buffy supporting Ethan as he stumbled into the room. Giles walked in behind them, closing and locking the door before pulling the blinds.
“Just a precaution…” Giles glanced at Ethan as Michael and Buffy lowered him to the floor between the candles. “He needs to be directly in the centre…about a foot and a half to your right.”
“The candles need to be lit at the same time, on my order.” He spoke a person’s name as he pointed to each candle. “Oz, Xander, Buffy, Anya.”
As they each moved to
their assigned positions, Giles continued.
“Anya, you’re at the head…you’ll need to chant with
Anya narrowed her eyes. “I thought only two people needed to chant during a cleansing spell.”
“I may be unable to continue.” He stated vaguely, glancing at Buffy.
Anya looked confused, but nodded anyway.
Giles turned his eyes
Giles took a deep breath. “Michael and I will be in there with him. He…needs to be held down.”
Xander raised an eyebrow. “Held down? Wouldn’t Slayer strength be a better way to go?”
Giles shook his head as he watched the red glow appear in Ethan’s eyes. “Michael needs to be in there with me.”
Xander darted his eyes between Buffy, Giles, Michael, and Ethan. “Why?”
Giles didn’t answer him, but merely took hold of Michael’s arm and pulled him to the side, gesturing for Buffy to join them.
“Michael, I need you to listen to me right now.” When Michael nodded, Giles took a deep breath. “I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but you need to know that if something…”
He sighed as he struggled for the right word, unable to come up with it.
“If something…bad…or wrong…happens, it isn’t Ethan. It’s Chaos…not Ethan. Ethan would never do anything to intentionally hurt you.”
Michael’s eyes glistened. “Rupert?”
“I have the impression that you’ve researched Chaos at some point.” He waited until Michael lowered his eyes and nodded. “Then you know that Chaos thrives on erotica.”
Michael’s eyes snapped back to Giles’. “Oh God.”
“He’ll try to take Ethan as he’s being cleansed. He’ll say…and do…things that Ethan would never do. Not now. You need to remember this.”
He slowly turned to Buffy and sighed heavily. “I love you.”
Wrapping her hand around the back of his neck, she quickly drew his head down and kissed him deeply. He returned the kiss with equal passion, holding her body tightly as his tongue massaged hers.
As they slowly broke apart, she looked into his eyes and placed her hand over his heart. “I love you.”
Giles stood there for a moment as Buffy took her spot. Michael gently touched his shoulder to get his attention.
“What am I supposed to do?”
Giles exhaled slowly. “You have to help me hold him down.”
“Is he going to be okay?” Michael whispered, his voice quavering.
“We do this now, we have a good chance of him coming through this just fine. If we wait…” He shook his head and glanced at Ethan, who was staring at him through eyes dark with lust. “We need to do this now, Michael. Are you ready?”
Michael nodded numbly and followed him to the centre of the cross. Giles knelt at Ethan’s left side, motioning for Michael to kneel at Ethan’s right side.
Ethan grinned and licked his lips. “Two for the price of one? Ah, Ripper…you know you’re the only one I need to set me free…”
“Shut up.” Giles muttered.
He placed his left hand around Ethan’s wrist, his right hand on his shoulder, his right knee on his thigh. Michael moved quickly, copying Giles’ placement.
“Just to feel your hard cock sliding into my ass one more time – ” Ethan groaned in displeasure as Giles shifted most of his weight to the knee pressed into his thigh. “Fucking hell!”
“Shut the fuck up and let Ethan go!”
Ethan’s eyes blazed red, a feral grin forming on his lips. “How about you fuck me and I’ll let Ethan go? Nice and hard…like you used to…he always liked it when you fucked him.”
Giles glanced at Michael and shook his head. “Remember what I said. Ethan loves you, Michael.”
“You right bastard…fuck me!” Ethan cried as he struggled.
“Now!” Giles screamed, using all of his strength to hold Ethan down.
The candles were lit, three voices began to chant. Tears streamed down Michael’s face as he spoke to Ethan, loud enough to be heard over the chanting.
“Ethan…don’t leave me. Stay with me…you’re going to marry me, remember? In three weeks…everything’s…please don’t leave me, Ethan.”
The red light in Ethan’s eyes flickered before disappearing briefly. He panted heavily as he stared at Michael.
“Don’t…let go. Love you, Mike…” He turned his head and looked at Giles, who
was chanting furiously along with
Just as the redness
in his eyes began to flicker again, the candles surrounding them flared
Ethan screamed, his body bucking under the weight of the two men holding him down. His eyes glowed as he stared at Giles.
“You’ll fuck me…and then I’ll fuck you…make you feel things your pretty wife can’t make you feel while she fucks you.”
Anger flared inside of Giles, his eyes darkening dangerously. “Shut up!”
Ethan grinned and turned his eyes to Michael. “I could suck your cock while he’s fucking me…”
Giles glanced at Michael when he felt the younger man loosen his hold. “Harder, Michael!”
Giles lifted his right hand from Ethan’s shoulder and grabbed his chin, roughly turning Ethan’s head to face him. “You want to fuck with me? Fuck with me. Leave Michael out of it…”
Ethan’s eyes continued to glow red, though now there was a green flicker of light around the edges of his irises. “You took him from me.”
Buffy glanced at
Giles shook his head as he stared at Ethan. “No. Ethan took himself from you. I merely helped.”
Ethan’s eyes narrowed
as he opened his mouth to retort.
Instead, he screamed in pain as
“I fucking hate you!”
“Oh?” Giles spat out as he pressed his knee harder against Ethan’s thigh. “Consider it mutual.”
He raised his eyes to
“…never to return to this vessel, for as long as he walks the Earth. Compaxu!”
Ethan screamed as his eyes flashed a brilliant green for a brief moment. His body stopped bucking, stopped moving altogether…his muscles relaxing as his eyes closed.
The candles flared once more and then extinguished themselves. Giles took a shaky breath, releasing his hold on Ethan as he fell to the side and rolled onto his back.
Buffy rushed to him, sliding to her knees and leaning over him. “Giles? Giles, are you okay?”
He swallowed, his chest heaving as he fought for air, and opened his eyes. “Fine…tired, but fine.”
Hearing Michael whisper Ethan’s name, he turned his head to find Michael gently lifting Ethan’s head to his lap. Ethan remained unmoving as Michael stroked his face, softly urging Ethan to wake up.
Giles’ eyes widened as a sudden fear rushed through him. As he stared at the two, Giles realized that Ethan’s chest wasn’t moving.
“Rupert?” Michael whispered as he watched Giles press two fingers against the side of Ethan’s neck.
“Pulse is slow, but he has one.” Giles shook his head quickly. “He’s not breathing…”
“Oh God…” Michael cried softly as Giles gently moved Ethan back to the floor.
Giles looked up quickly as he tilted Ethan’s head back and pinched his nostrils shut. “Talk to him, Michael.”
Covering Ethan’s mouth with his own, Giles gently blew air into Ethan’s lungs. Michael took Ethan’s hand in his and began to whisper softly to him, begging him to come back.
Giles met Buffy’s eyes as he checked Ethan’s pulse again. With a light shake of his head, he blew another puff of air into Ethan’s mouth and watched his friend’s chest rise and then slowly fall.
“Come on, Ethan.” He whispered as he checked Ethan’s pulse again. “Fuck!”
Michael jumped at the exclamation, gasping as Giles clasped his hands and leaned over Ethan’s chest. “No! No, Ethan!”
As Giles started chest compressions, he stared at Ethan’s face. “Don’t you fucking die now, Ethan!”
Buffy hurried over and knelt next to Michael. Her eyes glistened as she looked at Giles. “You breathe.”
Giles gave a quick nod and moved as Buffy took over the compressions. “Try not to break his ribs.”
They worked furiously for what seemed to be an eternity. Buffy was contemplating on suggesting that there was nothing more they could do. Giles blew another breath for him and lifted his head, a tear falling from his cheek to land on Ethan’s chin.
“Don’t let Chaos win, Ethan. Please…”
“Giles…” Buffy whispered softly.
He turned his head and met her eyes, quickly reading her suggestion in her saddened hazel eyes. He shook his head quickly and covered Ethan’s mouth again.
He counted Buffy’s compressions and, just as he lowered his mouth, Ethan coughed. Buffy stopped her movement as Giles turned Ethan’s head to the side and pressed his fingers against the artery.
A smile appeared on his lips as Ethan coughed again. “That’s it, Ethan…”
Ethan groaned and squeezed Michael’s hand. Buffy moved back quickly, allowing Michael to take her place. Lovingly stroking his damp hair, Michael leaned over and kissed his forehead.
“Mike…” Ethan whispered hoarsely.
“I’m here, baby. God, I’m here.” Michael sniffled as he lifted Ethan’s hand to his lips.
Giles exhaled deeply and sat back, wiping his hand over his face as he spoke. “Pulse is strong…getting stronger.”
“You okay?” Buffy asked as she reached out and took his trembling hand into hers.
“I think so.” He whispered, gently squeezing her hand as he watched Ethan open his eyes. “Ethan?”
Ethan took a deep breath and groaned. “Jesus, my chest hurts. Were you trying to kill me or save me?”
Michael smiled and wiped the tears from his face. “That’s my EJ.”
Feeling the lump grow in his throat, Giles let go of Buffy’s hand and stood, quickly making his way out the back door. No one asked what was wrong, everyone knew. Ethan gave Buffy a soft smile and a nod before turning back to Michael.
Buffy ran out the door in search of her husband.
Anya wiped her eyes and furrowed her brow. “Did you say you’re getting married?”
Ethan smiled as he looked into Michael’s eyes.
* * *
Buffy found Giles around the side of the house. He was sitting on the ground, his back resting against the cool brick, Ethan’s forgotten pack of cigarettes in his hand. He shook one out and pulled a lighter from his pocket.
Buffy sighed as she watched his trembling fingers fumble with the lighter. Sitting next to him, she took the lighter from his hand and lit the cigarette for him.
“Talk to me.” She whispered as she gently stroked his hair.
He took a deep drag and shook his head. “I don’t think…I’ve ever come that close to losing him before. Not like that.”
“I know.” She leaned forward and placed a soft kiss on his temple. “It’s over now, honey.”
“God, I can’t imagine what Michael was going through…” He sighed and leaned his head back against the brick. “Yes…yes, I can.”
“Hey…” She said softly, running her thumb through the drying tears on his cheek. “Shh…it’s okay.”
He swallowed and looked up at the stars just in time to watch one fall. “Make a wish…”
“Huh?” She followed his gaze, her eyes catching the star just before it fell out of sight.
“Mum always said that wishes made on falling stars always come true.”
Buffy smiled softly. “Then I know what I’m wishing for.”
Giles chuckled softly, shaking his head as he took another puff from the cigarette. “Isn’t true, you know. Just something to tell your kids when they ask why stars fall from the sky.”
Buffy shrugged and lifted his arm, ducking her head under and snuggling against him as she draped his arm over her shoulders and laced their fingers together. “I don’t know. Some wishes come true.”
He smiled, feeling the tension begin to leave his body. “Wish on stars often, do you?”
Tilting her head, she brushed her lips over his jaw. “Not anymore.”
He tightened his arm around her briefly as he gently squeezed her fingers. “Thank you for helping me.”
“I couldn’t not help.” She kissed him again as he loosened his hold on her. “I don’t think I broke anything…”
He nodded and flicked the cigarette butt away from them. “We, uh…should probably go back in. I left rather…quickly…and he may well need to see a doctor. In fact, he probably should see a doctor…”
Buffy regarded him carefully as he pulled his hand free and stood up, brushing the back of his jeans free of any dirt or grass. “Giles?”
“Yes?” He met her eyes as she stood.
“Are you okay?”
He offered her a small smile, lifting his hand to cradle the side of her face. “I’m fine, love.”
“I love you.” She whispered, leaning into his touch.
His thumb caressed her cheek as he lowered his mouth to hers. “I love you too, Buffy…so very much.”
He kissed her slowly, sighing into her mouth as she moulded her body to his and wrapped her arms around his neck. Despite everything that had happened, he could feel his body begin to respond to her. He pulled from the kiss reluctantly and smiled.
“We…should go in.”
She nodded slowly, not really surprised to see the arousal in his eyes. “Yeah, we should…”
Before he could say anything else, she pulled his head back down and turned their bodies as she reinitiated the kiss. He grunted softly as she pushed him back against the side of the house.
His hands tightened on her hips, stopping her from grinding against him but holding her firmly against his burgeoning erection. With some effort, he pulled his mouth from hers and gasped.
“Christ, Buffy…we can’t…”
Breathing heavily, she rested her head against his chest and sighed when she heard his heart pounding. “Giles…”
He swallowed and moved his hands from her hips to her back, holding her to his chest. “Not here…not like this.”
She nodded slowly, her body tingling as his hands rubbed her back. The after-effects were always the same when he’d been involved in a casting. His arousal, her tingling…she knew that they could bring each other to orgasm within minutes after a casting. She also knew that he was right.
It couldn’t be like this. Not where they were…not after Ethan had nearly died. She took a deep breath and stepped back, biting her lip as she met his eyes.
He shook his head as he pushed himself from the brick, carefully adjusting his erection to make it less noticeable. “Don’t ever apologize for that, Buffy. It’s not as if it hasn’t happened before…”
She offered him a shy smile and took his hand. “But, we need to get back inside.”
He nodded and returned her smile. “Yes. Yes, we do.”
* * *
Giles raised an eyebrow as he and Buffy walked back into the room. Ethan was sitting on the couch, a smile on his face as Anya glared at him.
“You’re getting married? And you weren’t going to tell us?”
Ethan laughed and then grimaced, pushing his hand against his sternum. “Ow, Jesus…”
Michael looked at him in concern. “Maybe you should see a doctor.”
Ethan shook his head. “And tell him what? A demon tried to possess me and I had to go through an exorcism?”
“A cleansing.” Giles corrected softly. “And your heart stopped, Ethan.”
“Yeah, but it’s beating again…all regular and manly.” He smiled as Giles rolled his eyes. “I’m just bruised, nothing’s broken and I’m breathing fine. I’m not going to the doctor.”
He turned his eyes to Anya, who was still glaring at him, and grinned. “As for your questions….”
He glanced at Michael as he placed his hand on Michael’s thigh. “Yes, we’re getting married. And…that was the point of this evening. We were going to make our announcement after dinner.”
Ethan caught Giles’ eye and sighed softly. Leaning over and placing a warm kiss on Michael’s lips, he smiled and gestured towards his friend.
“I just need to talk to him for a minute.”
Michael nodded and ran his hand down the side of Ethan’s face in a loving caress. “I’ll be right here.”
Giles met Buffy’s eyes and tilted his head towards the kitchen. “I’ll be right back.”
Buffy smiled softly in understanding, watching as Ethan stood and slowly made his way into the kitchen with Giles right behind him.
* * *
“I’m fine, Rupert.” Ethan stated as he pulled two beers from the refrigerator.
Giles nodded, taking the bottle that Ethan offered him. “I know.”
Ethan twisted the lid off his bottle and tossed it in the bin. “So, what’s going on in that head of yours?”
Giles took a deep breath and opened his beer, taking a long drink as he gathered his thoughts.
“It’s not necessary for you to tell Michael absolutely everything.”
Ethan narrowed his eyes as he swallowed a mouthful of beer. “What?”
Giles leaned against the counter and looked into Ethan’s eyes. Ethan sighed heavily and lowered his gaze, staring at the bottle in his hand instead.
“How did you know?”
“That not everything you said was entirely directed by Chaos? I know you, Ethan…I know how you speak.”
Ethan picked at the label with his thumbnail and shook his head. “I need to tell him.”
Giles placed his bottle on the counter, a little harder than needed. “No, you don’t. Honesty is a wonderful thing, especially in a marriage. But…when the truth causes more pain and possible mistrust…”
Ethan looked up and stared at Giles. “Are you telling me to lie to Michael?”
“No. I’m telling you that omission of certain details is not always a bad thing.” When Ethan started to protest, Giles held up his hand. “Do you have serious thoughts about taking me to your bed? Is it something you would do now?”
“No, it isn’t.”
“When a woman, or a man, catches your eye for the briefest of moments…do you tell him?”
Ethan shook his head slowly. “Just because I notice them, doesn’t mean I’d fuck them.”
“Then why tell him this? Why tell him that in a tense moment, while you’re fighting possession no less, you tell me that you want me to fuck you? What good would it do if you have no intention of pursuing it?”
“I…” Ethan tilted his head slightly and narrowed his eyes. “You never told Buffy that you almost kissed me a few years ago, did you?”
Giles didn’t have to ask what he was talking about. He clearly remembered the incident…sitting on the stairs at the Council while Ethan told him the truth about their last sexual encounter.
“No, I didn’t.” Giles sighed softly. “It would have done more damage than anything, Ethan. If I had kissed you, yes…I would have told her. But, I didn’t. And had I told her…”
“There would have been trust issues.” Ethan finished for him, finally understanding what Giles was trying to tell him.
“Yes. And for no substantial reason.”
Ethan was quiet for a moment and then smiled. Giles looked at him curiously.
Ethan shook his head in mild amusement. “It’s just…the closest thing to a kiss we’ve ever shared…and I have no memory of it.”
“You kissed me once,
before you left Sunnydale for
Ethan’s smile grew. “Yeah, but that was me kissing you…not you kissing me.”
Giles returned the smile and picked up his bottle of beer. “It was hardly a kiss.”
Ethan raised an eyebrow. “Your mouth on my mouth…pretty damn close to a kiss.”
“No tongue, no kiss.” Giles stated as he took a sip from the bottle.
“Are you really discussing whether or not mouth-to-mouth resuscitation could be considered a kiss?”
Giles turned his head to find Buffy standing in the doorway with a grin on her face, Michael by her side. He chuckled and shook his head as he pointed to Ethan with his bottle.
“No, he was.”
Michael grinned and walked across the kitchen. “That’s my Ethan. Nearly dies and still thinks about sex.”
Buffy laughed as she slid her arm around her husband’s waist. Michael glanced out the window and gasped.
Ethan turned around and looked out the window. Michael stood behind him and wrapped his arms around his waist as he rested his chin on Ethan’s shoulder. Ethan smiled as another star fell from the sky.
“Mum used to say that wishes come true when they’re made on a falling star.” He covered Michael’s hands with his own over his stomach and leaned his back against Michael’s chest. “Make a wish.”
Michael shook his head softly before tenderly kissing Ethan’s cheek. “My wish already came true.”
As Ethan turned in
Michael’s arms, Giles quietly led Buffy back into the living room.
“What’s going on?”
Giles smiled and sat down on the couch, pulling Buffy down beside of him. “Wishes on stars.”
Oz smirked as he
“Oh, they’re having sex?”
Xander stared at her incredulously. “Since when is ‘wishes on stars’ a euphemism for sex?”
Anya shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. When we’re talking about Michael and Ethan or Buffy and Giles, ‘hand me that book’ could be a euphemism for sex.”
Giles snorted and drained the remainder of beer from the bottle. Buffy rolled her eyes in amusement.
In the kitchen, Ethan whispered how much he loved Michael as he unbuttoned Michael’s shirt. Michael returned the sentiment in a whisper of his own, making another wish as another star twinkled and fell from the sky.
He almost asked if Ethan had ever seen more than one falling star at one time. But, the question was lost as Ethan’s tongue dipped into his mouth. There would be time for questions later.