Timeline: Five months after Wrath of Tobar.
Synopsis: It’s Giles’ birthday.
Author’s Note: This is Part XXXI of the Giles Family Series.
Buffy looked over her shoulder as her eldest child walked into the kitchen. “Hey...are you and Lucas going to train today?”
“Yeah...but he went with Dad and Haddie to pick up Evan.” Braden popped a strawberry into his mouth, chewing as he bent down and scooped his baby brother up into his arms. “Hey, Dec!”
Declan giggled and struggled in his brother’s arms. Braden blew a raspberry on the boy’s neck and then put him back down. Buffy chuckled as Declan laughed loudly.
“You know if you hype him up, you have to deal with him...”
Braden rolled his eyes and grinned. “What are you doing?”
“One thing you didn’t inherit from your father is his ability to change the subject.” Buffy shook her head in amusement. “But...I found my recipe for his cake. I thought I’d lost it, but...turns out I just put it in a safe place. Which normally means ‘it’s lost’.”
Braden handed Declan a strawberry and then leaned against the kitchen counter. “You know, Jason’s mum just gets a cake down at the bakery.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow at her son. “One, I’m not Jason’s mom. Two, Jason’s father is not my husband. Three, your father deserves something better than a bakery cake on his birthday.”
Braden smiled and jumped up onto the counter, swinging his legs lightly. “How come you never call him ‘Rupert’ or ‘Giles’ when you’re talking to us about him?”
“Huh?” Buffy asked as she poured the cake batter into a round tin.
“You always call him ‘your father’. We know his name is Rupert. Rupert Kingsley Giles, Watcher to the most successful Slayer in history, current Head of Council, best father in the world.” He shrugged a shoulder as Buffy looked at him curiously. “He calls you ‘Buffy’ as well as ‘your mother’. I was just wondering, that’s all.”
“He is, isn’t he? Best father in the world?”
“I guess I inherited my subject-changing abilities from you then, huh?” Braden snorted and jumped off the counter. “But, yeah...he is. Just like you’re the best mother in the world.”
Buffy’s eyes misted as she stared at Braden, the full cake tin in her hands as she stood in front of the oven. “Really?”
Braden nodded and took the tin from her, sliding it into the oven and then kissing her cheek. “Who else could do this?”
“Do what?” Buffy asked, genuinely curious.
“Everything. Save the world, take care of us...five kids and a dog can’t be easy. Jason only has a brother...and their mum is always yelling at them. You never yell at us.”
Before Buffy could reply, Callie galloped into the room...pausing only to lick the side of Declan’s face. Declan giggled and then shook his finger at the dog.
“No, no, no!”
Callie wagged her tail and ran to the back door, looking expectantly at Braden. Braden gave an exaggerated sigh, his smile showing in his green eyes.
“Okay, Callie...but just for a little while, okay?” He opened the cupboard next to the door and pulled out a nearly destroyed soccer ball as he looked back at Buffy. “You need anything before I take her out?”
Buffy shook her head, still a little shocked at Braden’s words. “No...no, I’m good. Go have fun.”
With a bright grin, Braden opened the back door and raced Callie down the steps and into the back yard. Buffy wiped her fingers across her cheek and then bent down to pick Declan up. She sniffled as she kissed the baby’s head.
“Your brother’s growing up, Declan. You’re all growing up so quick...why don’t you just stay little for a while longer?”
Declan snuggled into her, wrapping his arms around her neck. She smiled as he rested his head on her shoulder. She watched Braden through the kitchen window...amazed at how much he had grown in just the last few months.
She could pinpoint the day when the start of the on-going process of him becoming a young man had begun. And that was the day that Giles and Ethan had ended up in the hospital, nearly succumbing to the poison that had laced the glasses in Giles’ office.
Seeing his father near death had done something to Braden. It had affected all of their children, but with Braden...something clicked in his head. Though he still enjoyed playing with his friends, he had begun training harder and more often...and studying the history of the Council in his free time.
When Giles had questioned him about it, Braden had answered in a quiet whisper...hoping that his mother wouldn’t hear him. But, of course she had...Slayer hearing and all.
He wanted to be able to protect his family...should something happen to his father.
Giles had responded by pulling the boy into a fierce hug and tears filling his eyes as he whispered his love for him. Buffy had pretended not to have heard, but Giles knew she had. After all, he was well aware of how perfect a Slayer’s hearing truly was.
Buffy stood and watched Braden and Callie for a few more minutes...until she heard the change in Declan’s breathing that told her he’d gone to sleep. She smiled brightly, gently rubbing the baby’s back as she turned and left the kitchen.
Braden would probably enjoy being able to play soccer with Callie without his mother watching over him anyway.
* * *
Three children rushed up the walkway leading to the front porch of the house. Giles chuckled when all three of them stopped at the same time, hearing Callie bark in the backyard. When they all looked up at him questioningly, he smiled and reached out his hand to take Evan’s sleepover bag.
“Go on...sounds like Braden’s in the back with her.”
Evan handed his bag to his father and took off after his two older siblings. Giles grinned as Lucas opened the gate at the side of the house, leading Haddie and Evan into the backyard. He waited until he heard the children laughing excitedly before climbing the steps that led to the front door.
He furrowed his brow when he stepped into the living room. The house was quiet...which was unusual at any given time.
“Buffy?” He called softly, tilting his head curiously when no reply was given.
After placing Evan’s bag on the chair in the living room, he made his way down the hall...peering into each room as he passed. His smile returned when he looked into Declan’s room and found Buffy sitting in the rocking chair that sat next to Declan’s bed.
She turned her eyes towards the door when he walked into the room. “Hey, you.”
“Hello, love.” He whispered, leaning down to place a warm kiss on her lips. “What are you doing?”
“Watching him sleep.” She answered softly, running her fingers through his hair. “And being completely amazed by how much he’s like you. And...I’m pretty sure he’s going to be left-handed.”
Giles smiled and knelt next to the chair, reaching over to the bed and gently stroking his baby’s soft brown hair. “Oh?”
“Yeah...is it weird that three out of our five children are left-handed?”
“Weird? I wouldn’t say weird. Ewan was left-handed as well. It’s a sign of good genes...” He looked into her eyes when she laughed and felt a nearly uncontrollable urge to kiss her in a way that wouldn’t be appropriate considering they were in their son’s bedroom. “At least that’s what Mum always said.”
“Mm-hm...definitely good genes.” She murmured as she gazed at him. “You really shouldn’t start this right now.”
“Start what?” He asked in mock-innocence.
She snorted and glanced pointedly at his groin. “I know exactly what just went through your mind, Rupert Giles.”
“Do you now?” He grinned, licking his lips as her eyes darkened slightly.
“We can’t have a repeat of this morning...not with four kids running around the house.”
He inhaled sharply as the memory of him waking up to her warm lips wrapped around his cock slammed into his mind. “They’re outside.”
She shivered at the husky tone of his voice and leaned towards him, placing her palm on the side of his neck as she kissed him tenderly. “Tonight...not now.”
“But...it’s my birthday.” He protested with a playful gleam in his eyes.
She laughed and shook her head as she stood, grabbing his hand and tugging him up with her. “And has that excuse ever worked for you?”
“A few times.” He replied, his eyes twinkling as she arched an eyebrow at him. “Okay...once or twice and nearly a third time...”
She laced their fingers together, looking over their child once more before leading him out of the room. “Since we’ve been together?”
He thought for a moment, closing Declan’s bedroom door as they stepped into the hallway. “Once...our first year together.”
“Before we had children...”
Giles nodded and gently backed her up against the wall. “I can make it quick.”
“Our kids are quicker than you’ve ever been in bed.” She snorted, sliding her hand up his chest. “What’s up with you anyway?”
“I want you. Simple as that and absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.”
“Tonight.” She murmured, fingering the soft hair curling at the nape of his neck.
“Buffy – ”
“Wait until tonight and we’ll take turns fucking each other until we’re nearly too exhausted to move.” She smiled as he inhaled sharply and slid his right hand down to her hip. “And then we’ll make love for the rest of the night.”
“Christ...” He mumbled, slipping his fingers underneath the hem of her shirt.
“Stop that.” She smiled, covering his hand with hers.
“Five minutes, Buffy. That’s all I need. Five minutes and your mouth...or your hand...”
He swallowed thickly, realizing that she was considering his proposal. He took a step forward, pressing his body against hers and allowing her to feel his erection underneath his jeans.
He groaned as the doorbell sounded. She smiled and reached down, gently caressing his hard cock.
“Saved by the bell...”
He stared at her and rocked his hips against her hand. “Saved?”
“Mm-hm...” She licked her lips and pulled her hand away from him. “I’d rather be interrupted by the door than one of four children or a dog running into the hall.”
He moaned as she wriggled out from between his body and the wall. “Tortuous woman.”
She grinned and pulled him down for a brief, but searing, kiss. “Still love me?”
“With every fibre of my being.” He answered sincerely, sighing as the doorbell rang again. “Would it be rude of me to ask whoever it is to just go away?”
Buffy chuckled and slipped her hand into his, giving it a gentle squeeze. “Just a little.”
“Very well.” He ran his free hand down the front of his shirt and then carefully adjusted his erection. “Am I presentable?”
She nodded slowly, her love for him shining brightly in her eyes. He offered her a warm smile and tilted his head towards the living room.
“Shall we, then?”
“We shall.” She responded, grinning at the deep snort of laughter that came from him.
“Happy bloody birthday to you, Rip!” Ethan sing-songed as the door opened, before smirking at a slightly rumpled Giles. “I do believe I’ve interrupted something.”
Buffy chuckled, but Giles merely stared at his best friend. “You seem not so surprised...”
Ethan rolled his eyes and stepped into the house. “That’s because I’m always interrupting something between the two of you.”
Giles narrowed his eyes and pushed the door closed. “What did you do?”
“Me?” Ethan asked in a slightly offended tone. “I didn’t do anything...and it hurts my feelings that you’d even think that I’d do something on your birthday.”
It was Giles’ turn for an eyeroll.
“I’m fairly unconvinced, but...thank you for the birthday greetings. Where’s Michael?”
“Picking up one of your birthday gifts.” Ethan stated nonchalantly as he glanced out the window, smiling as he watched the children playing with Callie. “What do you say I keep the kids busy so that you two can finish what you started?”
“Why do I get the idea that you’re hiding something from me?” Giles questioned, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Because I am.” Ethan said with a grin. “Before you start questioning me, I can’t tell you because that would ruin the surprise. And if I ruin the surprise, then I have to deal with a frustrated husband...and I’d really rather not have to deal with a frustrated husband tonight.”
“Fine.” Giles grumbled and glanced at Buffy, swallowing hard as another wave of arousal washed over him.
Buffy couldn’t help but notice his eyes darken as they roamed over her body. With a smile, she tilted her head towards the hall.
“Five minutes, you said?”
A slow smile appeared on Giles’ lips. “Give or take.”
She gave him a gentle nod and he grabbed her hand. She met Ethan’s eyes as Giles hurriedly pulled her in the direction of their bedroom and mouthed the words ‘thank you’. Ethan responded with a gentle snort and a wink.
He stopped short of patting himself on the back though...it wasn’t as if it took a lot of work. All he did was add a little extra heat into Giles’ blood. He had to admit, it was fun to watch Rupert’s smoulder grow into more.
Hearing Evan and Lucas start to bicker, Ethan chuckled and walked through the kitchen. He heard the tell-tale sound of a bedroom door slamming shut as he opened the back door.
Now it was time to keep four children and a dog busy for the next little while.
“Shouldn’t be too hard.” Ethan muttered to himself as he stepped onto the back porch, smiling as his presence was immediately noticed. “Ragamuffins, the lot of you!”
Haddie smiled brightly and waved. “Hi, Uncle Ethan!”
He gave her a wink as he made his way down the steps and into the yard. She’d taken to calling him ‘Uncle Ethan’ not all that long ago...and there was no denying that he liked it.
“Hello, love...what are we doing?”
She gestured towards the bickering brothers as Braden threw the tennis ball across the yard. “Well, they’re arguing about whether clay courts are better than hard ones and Bay and I are taking turns throwing the ball for Callie.”
Ethan shook his head in amusement, reaching down to give Callie a loving pat when she came over to him. “Hard ones are always better...”
Braden snorted, causing Ethan to look at him sharply.
“I was talking about tennis courts, Braden!”
“Uh-huh...” Braden laughed.
Haddie looked at her oldest brother in confusion. “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing.” Ethan answered, glaring at Braden as he handed the slightly soggy tennis ball to Haddie. “I believe it’s your turn, sweetheart.”
* * *
Giles wasted no time after slamming the bedroom door shut. His cock had been pulled from its confines and her hand guided to the hard flesh within seconds. His eyes closed as her fingers curled around him.
Buffy smiled at his mumble and leaned against the door. “You okay?”
He snorted as he opened his eyes and ran the backs of his fingers over her nipples, their hardness not concealed by the bra and shirt she still wore.
“I’m fifty-eight years old today...my best friend, who I’m fairly certain has been practicing lust spells on me, is currently keeping our children and dog busy so that you can make me come...and it’s taking all of my control to not push you to your knees and shove my cock into your mouth. I’m not sure that ‘okay’ is the word I’d use to describe my mental status at this very moment.”
She grinned and stroked him harder, rubbing her thumb over the head as she stared into his eyes. “You upset with him?”
Giles shook his head, gasping softly as he rocked his hips against her hand. “Upset’s not the word I’d use either.”
“What word would you use then?”
He stared at her through steadily-darkening eyes, his fingers gently pinching her left nipple. “I want to drown you in my come.”
Buffy’s grin faded as she shivered at the tone of his voice. There was no doubt in her mind that he wanted to do exactly what he had just told her.
“That’s eight words...”
He licked his lips as he brushed the hair back from her eyes. “You’re as turned on as I am.”
“Think he bespelled me too?”
His eyes sparkled as he shook his head, slipping the tip of his thumb between her lips. “He didn’t put much of a spell on me...more than likely he just did something to heighten my senses a bit.”
He pulled his thumb from her mouth and leaned down to kiss her. “I always want you, Buffy.”
“Always?” She murmured, feeling his warm breath against her lips.
“God, yes.” He groaned half a second before covering her mouth with his.
* * *
Braden sat down next to Ethan on the porch steps and smiled. Ethan raised an eyebrow at him.
“How did you do it?”
Ethan’s eyes widened slightly. “Do what?”
“Talk Mum into letting us get Dad a puppy for his birthday.”
“Oh...that...” Ethan gave a sigh of relief and pulled a lighter out of his jeans pocket. “Wasn’t all that hard. Rupert wanted one...Buffy likes to do things that’ll make him happy.”
“Yeah, but...he’s wanted one for a while and Mum kept saying no. So, how did you talk her into it? I mean, if Dad couldn’t...how could you?” Braden grinned. “Did you use magic on her?”
Ethan snorted as he shook a cigarette out of the pack. “Your mum would kill me if I used magic on her. No...I just showed her a picture of the litter that the breeder sent to me. Who can resist a picture of five puppies curled up together?”
“I wish we could’ve gone to pick him up.” Braden stated softly.
Ethan smiled and then gestured to the three other children playing in the yard. “Do you really think they could’ve kept quiet?”
Braden chuckled and shook his head. “No.”
“That’s why Michael’s gone to pick him up.” Ethan winked and lit his cigarette.
They were quiet for a few moments and then Braden sighed. “Can I ask you a question, Ethan?”
“Did your dad know you were gay?”
Ethan choked on a lungful of smoke.
* * *
“Oh God...” Buffy moaned, curling her fingers around a spindle in the headboard as her orgasm crashed over her. “What...what happened to...five minutes?”
Giles smiled, rubbing his palm over her hip as he thrust into her from behind. “Decided I wanted more.”
“More?” She panted as he pulled out and flipped her onto her back.
He nodded as he moved up her body, straddling her chest. “Wanted to feel you...be inside of you...”
She licked her lips and ran her hands up his thighs. “And now?”
“Now I want to come.” His wet cock twitched against her warm breast as his fingers lovingly stroked her cheek. “Please...make me come.”
Buffy gazed into his eyes as she opened her mouth and flicked her tongue against the swollen head of his cock. “What do you want me to do?”
She arched an eyebrow and placed a warm, teasing kiss where her tongue had just flicked. “Tell me, Rupert. Tell me what you want me to do.”
“God, Buffy....” He groaned and then gasped as she pulled his heated flesh into her mouth. “Christ...yes, love...”
He growled when she clamped her lips around him, not allowing him further entry...and not allowing him to pull back. He stared into her eyes, easily reading her silent order.
“Suck my cock, Buffy.” He whispered, placing his hand against the side of her face and rubbing his thumb over her cheek. “Make me come fast...and hard...please, love...please...”
Her smile shone in her eyes as she relaxed her lips and tilted her head slightly. She was rewarded with a lustful groan as she slid her mouth along his length.
She knew it wouldn’t take long now. And so she sucked harder, pulling him into her throat as she dug her nails into his hips.
* * *
“What?” Ethan asked, barely over his coughing fit.
“Jason’s brother is gay...and their dad threw him out of the house.” Braden sighed sadly. “Did your dad throw you out? I mean...is that how you met Dad?”
“What?!” Ethan exclaimed, eyes wide as he felt the panic start to build.
“You know...Dad left the Academy and met up with you at some point. Were you living where you were because your dad threw you out?”
“Oh...” Ethan took a deep breath, willing himself to calm when he realized that Braden wasn’t asking about that. “Oh...no. No, my father never knew...well, not that I know anyway. I never told him...and I’m pretty sure that my sister wouldn’t have told him. Besides...I didn’t know back then.”
Braden merely nodded slowly, obviously working through the next question he wanted to ask. Ethan regarded him carefully, his half-smoked cigarette held carefully between his fingers.
“What is it, mate?”
Braden met Ethan’s eyes and took a deep breath. “Do you think my dad would throw one of us out?”
Ethan shook his head quickly. “I can’t imagine your father throwing any of you out of the house over anything...and I think that sexual preference would be at the bottom of the non-existent list of things he’d consider throwing you out for.”
Braden lowered his eyes and then looked out across the yard, a small smile playing on his lips as he watched his siblings play with Callie. Ethan dropped his unfinished cigarette into the ashtray and exhaled slowly.
“Are you trying to tell me something? I mean...your parents would love you no matter what...” He started nervously and then ran his fingers through his hair. “If you are...well, you can talk to me, but you can also talk to your Mum and Dad.”
“I’m not gay, Ethan.” Braden said, looking up at him. “I just wondered what you thought Dad would do.”
Ethan could see the truth of Braden’s statement in his eyes. Ethan furrowed his brow when he read something else in Braden’s eyes. Before he could ask anything, Lucas called out for Braden to be on Evan’s team.
Braden smiled at Ethan and then stood up, brushing his hands on his thighs. “Come on, Ethan...you, Lucas, and Haddie against me and Evan.”
Ethan shook his head in amusement. “How about I just sit here and watch?”
“Thought I was the Watcher?”
Ethan laughed a deep laugh. “You’re nowhere near being a Watcher yet, mate.”
“Give me time.” Braden grinned and then ran off to join in the game.
“Time you’ll have...” Ethan stated softly, leaning back and resting his elbows on the step above the one he was sitting on.
He couldn’t help but wonder about the conversation he’d just had with the boy, but Braden had made two things very clear. One, he wasn’t talking about himself. And two, he wasn’t going to discuss it any further.
More than likely, he was just wondering...especially considering what his friend Jason was going through with the upheaval in his family.
Ethan glanced towards the back door wondering just how long five minutes was for Rupert and Buffy. He shook his head and returned his attention to the children, laughing as Callie playfully tackled Evan.
“Jesus...” Giles groaned as he collapsed onto the mattress next to Buffy.
Buffy grinned and rolled onto her side, facing him as she licked her lips. “You’ve been eating more citrus than usual.”
“Mandarins.” Giles mumbled and then turned his head to look at her. “Huh?”
She traced light circles on his chest with her fingertip. “You taste different.”
Giles furrowed his brow, staring at her as she glanced at the clock. She gave his chest a couple of pats and then climbed out of bed.
“Come on, we’ve been in here way longer than five minutes. Haddie and Evan probably have Ethan buried to his neck in the sandbox.”
“Different?” He asked, pushing himself up and leaning against the headboard. “Different how?”
She chuckled as she quickly redressed. “More citrus-y...would you get up?”
He tilted his head slightly and stared at her. “I taste differently?”
Buffy laughed and threw a clean pair of boxers onto the bed. “You’ve been sexually active for forty years and none of your previous lovers ever mentioned that the more fruit you eat the sweeter you taste?”
Giles raised an eyebrow and finally lifted himself from the bed, grabbing the boxers as he did so. “We’ve been together for fourteen years and you’ve never mentioned it. And you said ‘different’ and ‘citrus-y’...not ‘sweeter’.”
“Hey...” Buffy started softly, walking over to him and sliding her hand up his chest. “I didn’t say it was a bad thing...and it’s not. It’s definitely not a bad thing, babe. I just know when you’ve been eating more fruit than normal.”
“Oh...” Giles sighed as her hand curled around the back of his neck.
She smiled as she leaned up on her tiptoes and brushed her lips across his. “And...where did you get mandarins in England this time of year anyway?”
“The greenhouse at the Council. They’re quite nice, but you’ve never really cared for citrus fruit.” He replied as he returned her smile.
Buffy wrinkled her nose and took a step back, shaking her head. “Too messy...and sticky...and...”
“Messy and sticky never seemed to bother you before.” Giles stated with a gleam in his eye as he started getting dressed.
Buffy rolled her eyes and picked up his shirt, throwing it at him. “Messy and sticky is different when it’s sex.”
Giles merely laughed and pulled the shirt over his head.
* * *
Ethan looked up as the back door opened. He smirked as he took a drag from his cigarette.
“Well, don’t you look more relaxed now?”
“I have a feeling I should probably give you a good thrashing.” Giles stated as he moved past Ethan and into the yard. “But, all I can think to say is...thank you.”
Ethan raised an eyebrow and blew out a puff of smoke, grinning as he looked at Buffy. “And what exactly did you do to him?”
Buffy glanced at Giles and then chuckled. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”
Giles huffed a laugh and shook his head. “What have they been doing?”
“God, I hate it when you do that!” Ethan grumbled, annoyed by the sudden change of subject. However, instead of continuing his complaint, he sighed and answered the question. “Playing with Callie, mostly. Evan dug a huge trench in the sand and said that it was his moat. When I mentioned that moats usually have water, he said that his kingdom was in the middle of a drought.”
Buffy and Giles laughed heartily, attracting the attention of their children. Ethan’s amusement shone clearly in his eyes as he lifted the cigarette to his lips.
“He’s a quick one, that boy. You’ll need to keep an eye on him as he gets older.” He inhaled the smoke into his lungs as he stood up and grinned at Giles. “He reminds me of you.”
Giles opened his mouth to respond, but grunted instead when Evan collided into his legs. He looked down at the boy and arched an eyebrow.
“Are you quite alright?”
Evan giggled and slipped his small hand into his father’s. “Yep! Happy Birthday, Daddy...can we have cake now?”
Giles snorted and reached down, easily picking his son up. “You said the exact same thing at breakfast, Ev...just because you say ‘happy birthday’ doesn’t mean that it’s time for cake.”
Evan grinned and flicked the hoop in his father’s ear. “It should...because then we could have cake all day!”
“Just what we’d need...you with more sugar in your system.” Giles retorted, kissing Evan’s cheek before lowering him back to the ground. “I can think of a few demons I’d rather encounter than have to deal with you on a sugar high.”
Haddie laughed as her younger brother glared at their father. “It’s not as scary as Daddy’s look, Evvie.”
“Will be one day.” Evan grumbled.
His grumble turned into a smile as Callie nudged him with her nose. He looked up at his father, his green eyes sparkling.
Giles nodded and ran his fingers through Evan’s wavy hair. “Cake later, I promise.”
“I hope it’s orange, I like orange!”
“Maybe it’s mandarin.” Buffy replied, grinning as Giles reddened slightly.
Evan looked at her in confusion and then ran off to play with Callie some more. Ethan darted his eyes between Buffy and Giles.
“I’m fairly certain that I want to hear more about this mandarin thing.”
Giles picked up Haddie and blew a raspberry against her cheek before meeting Ethan’s eyes. “And I’m fairly certain that you’ll hear no more...no matter how much you want to.”
Ethan laughed and stubbed his cigarette out in the ashtray.
“It’s chocolate anyway.” Haddie stated between giggles as her father tickled her ribs.
“Chocolate, hm?” Giles asked, kissing his daughter’s cheek as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
“Yeah, but...it doesn’t look like chocolate. Mummy said it is though.”
Giles quickly turned his eyes to Buffy. “Did you?”
Buffy rolled her eyes and gave an exasperated sigh. “Hadley Summer Giles! Remember what I said about ‘don’t tell Daddy because this is a surprise?’”
Haddie bit her bottom lip and cast an apologetic look towards her mother. “Sorry, Mummy.”
Buffy smiled and reached over, gently rubbing the girl’s back. “It’s okay. It’s not like you told him what his present is.”
“I don’t know what his present is.” Haddie said, tracing her finger along the scar on her father’s neck.
“Mm-hm...there’s a reason for that.”
Giles and Ethan laughed as Haddie glared playfully at her mother. Giles lowered his daughter to the ground and smiled lovingly as she ran off to play with her brothers.
“Raspberry with white chocolate icing?” He asked, reaching up to tuck a strand of hair behind Buffy’s ear.
“Yeah.” Buffy sighed. “It was supposed to be a surprise.”
“I’m surprised.” He whispered, leaning down to give her a kiss.
Ethan rolled his eyes. “I wasted perfectly good magic on you.”
Giles gave him a wink as he slipped his arm around Buffy’s shoulder. “I wouldn’t exactly say it was wasted...”
Ethan chuckled and stepped into the yard, waving to Braden to kick the soccer ball to him. “Come on then...Buffy and Lucas are on my team, you’re on Braden’s.”
“You do remember that I used to play?” Giles asked, easily intercepting the pass.
“Yeah...but you’re old now.” Ethan responded teasingly.
Buffy shook her head in amusement and briefly wondered which one of them would get hurt first.
* * *
Nearly an hour and a half later, Joyce Summers walked through the side gate and into the backyard. She paused for a second, staring at the scene in front of her.
Rupert was sitting with his back against a tree trunk, pressing a red cloth to his forehead. Buffy was kneeling beside of him, seemingly telling him off as she rummaged through a first aid kit.
Ethan was sitting on the steps leading to the porch, his fingers pinching the bridge of his nose as Anya sat next to him, shaking her head as she inspected the back of his head with her fingers.
Willow stepped out the back door with a bag of ice and handed it to Anya before calling out to Oz. Oz and Xander were currently keeping the children, minus Braden and Lucas, busy by playing a game they had invented years ago called ‘Wolf and Man’. Oz looked over to his wife, easily shifting back to his human form.
Just as Joyce had processed what she’d seen, Braden and Lucas came running out the door and jumped from the porch. As they sprinted towards their parents, she heard Buffy’s voice...and easily recognized the annoyance in her daughter’s tone.
When Lucas handed something to Buffy, Giles lowered the cloth...and it was then that Joyce realized that the cloth was red because it was saturated with blood.
She quickly made her way over, glancing at Oz and Xander who were now taking turns chasing one another as the children giggled happily.
Buffy huffed as she tried to clean the blood from the cut above her husband’s left eye. “Well...genius here decided to get too competitive in a friendly family game of soccer. And this is the result...a gash that looks like it’s going to take four...no, five...stitches to close.”
Giles gave an exasperated sigh of his own and lifted his hand in greeting. “Good afternoon, Joyce.”
Joyce grinned, realizing that everything was more or less fine. “Happy birthday, Rupert.”
“Indeed.” Giles chuckled and opened his right eye to look at her. “Did Nigel not come with you?”
Joyce’s grin faltered. “Um...no. No, he didn’t. Is Ethan alright?”
Buffy heard the change in her mother’s tone and glanced up as she prepared the needle. “Yeah, just a bloody nose...why didn’t Nigel come?”
“Can we discuss this later? You should really get him stitched up...”
Joyce sighed and glanced at Giles, not surprised to see concern in the eye he had open. She looked away quickly and cleared her throat.
“Later, Buffy. I need some time with my grandchildren now, okay?”
Buffy watched her walk away, only turning her attention back to her husband when he lightly touched her hand. “What do you think happened?”
“I think that she’s upset...and I think that she’ll talk to you about it later.” He answered gently. “I know that you’re concerned, and so am I, but...she obviously doesn’t want to discuss it right now.”
“I know.” Buffy sighed and shifted her gaze back to the cut on his head. “Besides, I need to take care of this before all of your common sense leaks out of your head. Seriously, Giles...what the hell were you thinking?”
“That’s my Buffy.” He murmured, closing his eyes as she started suturing the wound closed.
“Will that leave a scar, Daddy?”
Giles smiled at his daughter and shook his head. “Probably not. Your Mum is very good at suturing. And even if it does, it won’t be very noticeable.”
Haddie glanced at his chest. “Not like the circle one?”
“No, sweetheart.” Giles answered softly. “That was a burn and that’s a very different thing. Small cuts are easy.”
Giles regarded Haddie closely, curling a strand of her hair around his finger. “Do the scars bother you, Princess?”
“No.” She stated without hesitation. “I just don’t like that it means you were hurt. Do they bother you?”
“Sometimes.” He replied honestly. “But, when they do, your Mum reminds me of why they’re there and it makes it a bit better.”
“Why are they there?”
Buffy smiled, cuddling River who had climbed onto her lap. “Because your Daddy’s a hero.”
Evan looked up at her from his place on the floor where he was playing with Jake. “I thought that was you?”
Lucas smiled proudly as he tied Rayna’s shoe for her. “They both are. We have heroes for parents and heroes for uncles and aunts too.”
Evan looked at Oz, then Willow, and then Anya...giving a brief nod to each of them. And then he met Xander’s eyes. Xander smiled softly and shrugged a shoulder.
“I used to get the doughnuts.”
Evan shook his head and smiled brightly. “No...you build things to keep us safe.”
Xander stared at the boy in astonishment for a moment, lowering his eyes when he noticed his vision blurring. Anya patted Xander’s knee and nodded.
“Xander is the hero of carpentry.”
Evan giggled and then looked across the room. “What about Uncle Ethan? And Uncle Michael?”
Ethan snorted and then smiled adoringly when Rayna sat down next to him and leaned against him. “I’m not so much a hero, but I try to do good things...even if they seem bad at the time.”
He leaned down and placed a kiss in Rayna’s hair. Before any of the children could question him, he continued softly. “I always have good intentions though...and that’s the important thing.”
His smile grew as the front door opened and Michael walked in. “Now, him? He’s a hero...saved me more than once in the time we’ve been together.”
Michael paused and stared at his husband for a moment. “What?”
“Hero talk.” Buffy stated, as if that should clear everything up, before looking at him pointedly.
“Oh, okay...” Michael responded with a slight chuckle. “Well, now that I’m more confused than I was forty-five seconds ago...could I get your help with something?”
Giles started to stand, stopping when Buffy grabbed his arm and placed River onto his lap.
“Oh, no you don’t, mister!” When he started to protest, she stood up and pointed her finger at him. “You know very well that he was gone to pick up one of your gifts...so just sit there and let the surprise be a surprise.”
Giles smiled and gave her a subtle nod. “Alright then.”
Buffy smiled triumphantly and grabbed the camera from the mantle, tossing it to Willow. “Are you okay with being the photographer today?”
Willow laughed and turned the camera on. “I think that’s my second profession these days.”
Buffy shot her a grin and then playfully glared at Giles. “Don’t even think about getting up, Rupert.”
Giles chuckled and watched her leave the room with Michael.
* * *
Buffy was barely out of the house before her excitement took over. “How is he? Was he okay in the car? Did he cry a lot?”
Michael laughed and opened the car door. “Have a look for yourself.”
Buffy peered into the car and felt her heart melt. “Oh God...he’s absolutely gorgeous!”
The puppy stretched and then opened his eyes, yawning as he stood up in the box that was resting on the passenger seat. Buffy could hear the tell-tale sound of a wagging tail as he looked up at her with eyes that were still green.
Michael glanced towards the house as Buffy picked the puppy up and cuddled him to her chest. “He was an absolute angel. Tony sends his regards and asked for pictures of Callie with the puppy when you have a chance.”
“Isn’t he just the loveliest man? I send him pictures of Callie each year on her birthday. He just loves keeping up with his babies.”
“He’s definitely not in the breeding scene for the money, is he?” Michael asked, reaching over to stroke the puppy’s head.
Buffy shook her head and handed the tiny boxer over to Michael. “It’s all about the love of the breed for him. That was one of the reasons I went to him to begin with...and why I went back to him.”
She opened the back door of the car and reached into the bag that she had given Michael the previous evening. As she’d done with Callie a few years earlier, she had bought the first collar along with the tag that only bore her husband’s mobile number.
As she buckled the dark blue collar around the puppy’s neck, she wondered what name they would have engraved on the tag tomorrow. She laughed softly as the puppy immediately began pawing at the offending circle of leather around his neck.
“Calm down, little guy.” She whispered, running her fingers along his velvety ears. “You’re all dressed now...wanna meet your daddy?”
The puppy gave a tiny growl that could be considered anything but vicious. Buffy laughed harder and gently took him from Michael’s hands.
“Alright then, let’s go.”
* * *
Giles looked up as Michael walked back into the room. He nearly asked where Buffy was, but then realized that she was behind Michael. Xander reached over and carefully lifted River from Giles’ lap.
Giles opened his mouth to say something, but he forgot what he was going to say when Michael took a step to his left. Amid the sighs from the adults and the squeals of excitement from the children, Giles whispered Buffy’s name.
Buffy gently placed the puppy in his lap and leaned down to brush her lips across his. “Happy Birthday, Giles...”
Giles’ eyes filled with tears of happiness as he looked down at the boxer puppy. His large fingers lovingly caressed the deep red fur.
Evan jumped up and ran over to his father. “You have a baby Callie!”
The puppy quickly pressed himself against Giles’ stomach, shivering lightly. Giles comforted the puppy and gently admonished his son.
“No need to yell, Evvie. I know you’re excited, as am I...but, puppies don’t really like loud noises and running...until they get used to their surroundings, at any rate.”
“Oh...” Evan whispered, smiling at the puppy before touching the puppy’s small foot with his finger. “I’m sorry, puppy.”
The puppy regarded Evan carefully for a moment and then lowered his head. He gave Evan’s hand a quick sniff and then a gentle lick. Evan giggled and looked up at Haddie when she moved to his side.
“Look, Haddie...it’s a baby Callie...”
Haddie laughed and reached out to run her hand down the puppy’s back. “It does look a lot like Callie. Is it a boy or a girl, Daddy?”
It suddenly occurred to Giles that he couldn’t actually answer his daughter’s question. And so, with a gentle chuckle, he lifted the puppy and rolled him onto his back.
“It’s a boy...which means the name ‘Princess’ is out.” Giles grinned as his daughter glared at him. “Not that I would’ve named it Princess had it been a girl.”
Buffy sat on the arm of Giles’ chair and smiled as Callie pushed her way through the wall of human children surrounding her ‘dad’. “Hey, Cal...”
Callie glanced up at Buffy and then lowered her eyes to the puppy. She merely stared at him for a moment before gently nudging him with her nose. The puppy responded by playfully batting Callie’s jowl.
As Callie’s tail wagged and she ran her broad tongue up the side of the puppy’s head, Buffy and Giles knew that she had accepted the new arrival.
Buffy, Giles, and their five children looked up at Willow...genuine smiles etched on all of their faces. Once Willow had softly proclaimed the picture to be ‘wonderful’, Giles met Buffy’s eyes and smiled brightly.
“Thank you, love.”
Buffy smiled and reached down to stroke the puppy’s head. “It’s worth it just to see that look of surprise in your eyes. And really…after seeing the pictures of the litter…how could I say no?”
Giles raised an eyebrow, ignoring the sharp pain from the stitches while the puppy busied himself with nipping at Callie’s ears. “And where did these pictures come from?”
Buffy rolled her eyes as Ethan snorted. She gestured towards Ethan, lightly stroking her fingertips along the back of Giles’ neck.
“His fault…he knew damn well what I’d do if I saw the pictures.”
Giles laughed and grinned at Ethan. “Seems I have something else to thank you for then…”
“Probably, but…not keeping score here, mate.” He watched as Giles placed the puppy on the floor. “Little guy needs a name though.”
Giles nodded and then laughed as the highly uncoordinated puppy chased Callie across the room. “I have a few in mind, but I might have to give him a few minutes so I can get a glimpse of his personality.”
No sooner had the words left his mouth, the puppy gently nudged Callie and then scampered under a chair and poked his head out. Giles smiled as the story of the Anemoi popped into his head.
“Zephyr.” He stated softly, moving from the chair and kneeling on one knee on the floor as he reached his hand towards the puppy. “His name is Zephyr.”
Zephyr looked from Callie to Giles and bolted out from under the chair, his thin tail wagging wildly as he stumbled over to Giles.
“Zephyr?” Xander asked, smiling as his daughters carefully approached the puppy. “Pretty cool name, Giles.”
Anya quickly looked at Xander. “We’re not getting a dog, Xander.”
Xander chuckled and leaned over to kiss her cheek. “I just said it was a nice name, An.”
Evan carefully situated himself onto his father’s knee and looked up at him through hopeful green eyes. “Daddy? Can we have cake now?”
Giles laughed and lovingly ruffled the boy’s hair. “How about you help me take Zeph out to the bathroom and then…we’ll see about the cake?”
Evan slid off Giles’ knee and took off towards the back door, followed by Haddie, Maria, Jake, Rayna, and River. Giles grinned happily as he scooped up Zephyr and then scratched Callie’s neck.
“You coming too, Cal?”
Callie wagged her tail and ran after the children. Giles stood and gave Buffy a soft kiss before whispering something to Zephyr that no one else could hear as he carried him out of the room.
Anya narrowed her eyes slightly. “He knows that he has other presents to open, right?”
Willow grinned and leaned against Oz. It didn’t matter what anyone else got Giles for his birthday. In fact, they could’ve gotten him nothing and he still would’ve had the smile in his eyes.
He had everything that he wanted. And that was his family surrounding him. It had never been about materialistic gifts for Giles. Maybe one day Anya would realize that.
But, probably not.
Giles regarded Joyce carefully as she watched Zephyr play with Callie. A soft smile played at her lips as Callie rolled the puppy onto his back. Giles furrowed his brow...her smile did little to hide her sadness and he was actually relieved that their friends had left somewhat early. Maybe this would give her a chance to discuss what was bothering her.
“They’re very cute together, aren’t they?”
Giles nodded, even though Joyce wasn’t looking at him. “Would you like to talk?”
“About what?” Joyce asked, glancing at him before quickly returning her gaze back to the dogs.
“About the fact that you’ve been quiet all night and you look really sad.” Buffy answered as she walked back into the room after putting the children to bed. “I don’t like it when you look really sad...is this about Nigel?”
Joyce took a deep breath and then gave a nod. Buffy sat down next to Giles and slipped her hand into his.
“What happened?” Buffy asked softly.
“He overheard Xander and Anya talking the other day...and then he had more than a few questions for me. I saw no reason to lie to him and hoped that he would understand.” Joyce sighed heavily and finally looked at her daughter. “He was less understanding than I was hoping for.”
Buffy shook her head in confusion. “But, he knows about Slayers and Watchers and the Council...”
Joyce cleared her throat, glancing at Giles before staring at her hands. “He didn’t know about Ripper.”
Giles’ eyes widened. “Oh dear Lord...”
“Um...what about Ripper specifically?” Buffy asked quietly, already sure that she knew the answer.
When Joyce hesitated, Giles cleared his throat nervously. “I, uh...I could talk to him...”
Joyce shook her head slowly. “The fact that were moments of intimacy with my son-in-law is the problem, Rupert.”
“Um...” Buffy tightened her hold on Giles’ hand as she stared at her mother. “He does realize that that happened before he was your son-in-law, right? And that there was magic involved? And...hey, I’m okay with it – ”
“You weren’t at first.” Giles interrupted softly. “You had issues with it as well, Buffy.”
“But...it was over fifteen years ago...”
Giles turned his head and met her eyes. “How would you feel if I told you that I had sex with Anya the year before we got together?”
“You and Anya?” Buffy asked with a chuckle, her chuckle ending suddenly as he tilted his head slightly.
“What if I did, but was too worried about your reaction to tell you before now?” Giles asked, continuing quickly when he recognized the hurt in her eyes. “I didn’t, but...if I had and you were just now finding out...it would hurt you, yes?”
“You didn’t...” Buffy whispered, reading the truth in his eyes as he shook his head. “I think I understand what you’re saying. I could talk to him.”
Joyce shook her head again. “I think he needs some time to work through it. I did explain about the candy and Ethan...which I think just confused him more considering the fact that Rupert and Ethan are as close as they are now.”
Joyce offered Buffy a gentle smile. “I’ll be okay, Buffy. This isn’t the first break up that I’ve been through.”
Giles noticed that Joyce hadn’t finished the thought. It may not have been her first break up, but she had hoped that her last break up was going to be the last. She had made no secret of how she felt about Nigel.
Hearing Joyce state the fact that it was late and she should be going, Giles shook his head. “No, you’re more than welcome to stay here tonight, Joyce.”
When she started to protest, Buffy cut her off.
“You remember that guest house that Xander built for us when I was pregnant with Declan? Well, that’s what it was built for...for people to stay. You’re staying, Mom...and that’s the end of it.”
Knowing it was useless to argue with her daughter, Joyce merely nodded her head...and then lifted her hands to cover her face as the emotions broke through her resolve. Buffy moved quickly, kneeling in front of Joyce and wrapping her arms around her.
Giles decided that the two needed a few minutes alone and so he walked over and picked up Zephyr and whispered ‘outside’ to Callie. Callie ran towards the kitchen, stopping at the back door and looking behind her as she wagged her tail.
Giles gave her a loving smile and opened the door, following her down the steps that led to the yard. With a sigh, he placed Zephyr on the cool grass and rubbed the puppy’s head.
“Go on, Zeph...time for a wee.”
Zephyr looked up at him and then looked over at Callie, who was dutifully going to the bathroom as she was meant to. Giles chuckled as Zephyr bounded a feet away from him and squatted.
“That’s a good boy, Zephyr.” He grinned at Callie when she gave him a gentle bark. “And you’re a good girl, Callie...you know you are.”
Callie wagged her tail and took off on her nightly patrol of the backyard. Zephyr watched her curiously, but made his way back over to Giles.
“It’s alright, Zeph. You’ll be big enough to go on patrols with her sooner than you think.” He picked the puppy up and placed a tender kiss on his head.
Zephyr responded with a deep yawn and settled down, resting his head in the crook of Giles’ elbow as he stretched his tiny body out on his lap.
* * *
Two hours later, Joyce had calmed and agreed to stay in the guest house for the night. And an hour after Joyce had retired to the guest house, Buffy had asked Giles if he was ready for the rest of his birthday present.
Giles had started to give her an out, especially considering the fact that her mother was so upset over the breakdown of her own relationship. But, when she stood and slipped the thin straps of her dress over her shoulders, allowing the garment to slide down her body...he forgot all about giving her an out.
She turned her back to him, slowly bending over to pick up the discarded dress and smiling when she heard him groan softly. Standing back up, she draped the dress over her arm and looked over her shoulder at him.
He nodded wordlessly, his eyes darkening before he glanced over at Callie’s bed. Buffy followed his gaze and smiled. Callie was sleeping peacefully with Zephyr curled up against her stomach.
“He’ll be fine, Rupert. Callie’ll watch over him tonight.” She moved to stand in front of him, running her fingers through his hair as he looked up at her. “Please come to bed with me.”
Pushing himself up from the couch, he licked his lips as he placed his hands on her hips. “There is one downfall to having children.”
“Oh?” She asked, smiling as he started walking her towards the hall.
“Losing the ability to make love when we want...and where we want.” He whispered, glancing down the hall before pushing her into their bedroom and closing the door. “Because I would’ve loved to drag you down to the floor...or to pull you down on top of me on the lounge...”
She quickly unbuckled his belt and pulled his shirt out of his jeans. “I kinda miss the kitchen, myself.”
He arched an eyebrow at her as his shirt fell to the floor and her fingers worked the button on his jeans free. “The kitchen?”
“Mm-hm. Counters, table...the refrigerator...”
He inhaled sharply as she pushed his jeans over his hips. “Splatters of honey on the floor and the counters...”
“Oh, God...the honey.” Buffy sighed as Giles rid her of her bra.
Giles kicked off his shoes and lowered his mouth to her right breast. He sucked and nipped at her flesh, his hands easily tearing her underwear from her body. He smiled as he pulled his mouth from her and pushed her onto the bed, raking his hungry gaze over her nude body as he shucked off the rest of his clothes.
“Sometimes I swear I can still taste the honey on your nipples...” He whispered lustfully as he climbed onto the bed and leaned over her. “And I still think it’s not as sweet as you.”
Buffy snorted and wrapped her arms around him. “And I still think you’re as corny as ever...”
He smiled as he knelt between her widely spread legs and circled her swollen clitoris with his fingers. His smile grew as she moaned, arching her back as he slipped his thumb into her.
“You still love me though.” He stated, removing his thumb and tracing her kiss-swollen lips with it.
She licked at the pad of his thumb and grinned up at him as she lightly ran her fingernails along the underside of his erection. “Even if you’re too old to dance with me...”
Giles emitted a sound that , years earlier, Buffy had dubbed a ‘snortle’ and leaned down to lick the juices from her lips. “I’m not too old...but, really...what would you have had me say, love?”
“That you’d dance with me later?” She grinned, flicking her tongue against his.
He laughed gently and reached down, positioning the head of his cock at her entrance. “I will, you know...dance with you.”
“I love you, Rupert.” She sighed as he slowly pushed his erection into her.
“I love you too.” He whispered in return, leaning down to kiss her lovingly. “Thank you for a wonderful birthday.”
Any response she was going to give was forgotten as he began to thrust his hips against her.
* * *
Anya chewed the inside of her cheek as she stared at the fire. She lightly shook the herbs in her hand, warring with herself over her next course of action.
Maybe she should call Ethan. Or Willow.
She shook her head and sighed heavily. They would just try to talk her out of it...which was the main reason she hadn’t discussed this with anyone.
She had studied the spell...she had made the necessary changes and studied it again. The words were right...the amounts of herbs were right.
Everything was right.
So why was she stalling?
“Because he’s going to kill me.” She muttered before making her final decision.
Before she could change her mind, she tossed the herbs into the fire, closing her eyes as the flames flashed brightly.
“Edad. Parar.” She whispered, waiting for the flames to die down enough for her to continue.
There was no going back now.
* * *
A flash of lightning and a loud rumble of thunder roused Giles from his doze. He opened his eyes, glancing at the clock and was surprised to find that the numbers weren’t as blurred as they normally were.
Before he had a chance to question it further, he inhaled sharply as he felt as though the air had been sucked from his lungs. Buffy woke instantly, grabbing for him as he sat up gasping for air that he couldn’t find.
As quickly as it had started, it ended. Giles fell back against the pillows, his chest rising and falling deeply as his breathing resumed. Buffy leaned over him, her panic growing as she struggled to make sense of what had happened.
“I’m alright, love.” He whispered in response, smiling as he gazed into her eyes. “In fact, I feel better than I have in years.”
And then it hit him, the smell of sulphur and cherry. His eyes narrowed as he sat back up.
“Giles, what’s going on?”
He ran his fingers down the side of her face in an effort to calm her. He quickly whispered a phrase in Latin and then exhaled as the dizziness threatened to overtake him.
“It’s magic. But, it’s benevolent.”
“Magic? Who? Ethan?”
“Not his signature...” Giles shook his head slowly. “But, it’s familiar.”
She furrowed her brow as she looked into his eyes. Eyes that seemed clearer...brighter...younger.
With that thought came a snippet of a conversation she had ignored earlier, tossing it to the side as unimportant. But, now...now it seemed very important.
“What is it?” Giles asked as Buffy lunged across the bed, grabbing for the phone. “Buffy?”
“ ‘It makes me sad that he thinks he’s too old to dance with her’.” She quoted from memory as she dialled the number.
Giles looked even more confused than he had five minutes earlier. “I’m sorry?”
“That’s what Anya said to Xander earlier...when I asked you to dance.” She stated quickly before turning her attention to the phone call. “Xander...where’s Anya?”
Suddenly, it began to make sense. Cherry, sulphur, the inability to breathe, the sudden clarity in vision.
“Edad.” He whispered.
Buffy looked at him curiously and then her eyes widened as he grabbed the phone from her, anger showing clearly in his eyes. He lifted the handset to his ear and growled into the receiver.
“What the hell did you do?”
“Um...” Anya replied nervously.
“Get over here now!” Giles roared and ended the call.
“Um, Giles? What the hell?” Buffy asked as her husband furiously punched in another phone number.
“They’ve done a Quechuan age spell.” Giles grumbled as Ethan answered the phone. “Ethan, get over here...now!”
Giles threw the phone in the general direction of the bedside table and climbed out of bed. Buffy watched him as he dressed in a fit of anger before slipping out of the bed herself when he stormed out of the room.
“Well, that’s clear as mud...” She muttered to herself.
Giles paced back and forth across the living room as Buffy sat on the arm of the chair. “What’s a catching age spell?”
Giles paused and stared at her. “Quechuan, not catching.”
“Whatever.” Buffy stared back at him. “What is it?”
Giles attempted his best glare, only to have Buffy cross her arms over her chest. He sighed heavily and reached down to pick Zephyr up when he sat at Giles’ feet.
“Traditionally, it’s a rejuvenation spell.”
“Like a fountain of youth type of thing?” Buffy questioned, rubbing Callie’s ears when she laid her head on Buffy’s thigh.
“Mm-hm.” Giles glanced in the mirror and shook his head. “But, I think some alterations were made. I don’t seem to look any different, though my vision has cleared considerably and I have much more energy than I had yesterday.”
“Is it a bad thing?” Buffy asked softly.
Giles paused and then walked over to her. He bent down and brushed his lips across hers before handing Zephyr to her.
“No...not as such.”
“Then, what’s the purpose?” Buffy asked, rolling the puppy onto his back and rubbing his stomach.
“The Incas used it for eternal life.”
Giles spun around and glared at Anya, who had walked through the front door...followed immediately by Xander and Ethan. “What are you playing with?”
Anya took a deep breath and shook her head. “I’m not playing with anything. I just...Buffy wanted to dance and you’re too old.”
Giles rolled his eyes. “I’m too old to dance with my wife in front of our friends and children when I know what the outcome will be. Trust me, Anya...I can dance with my wife as often as she’d like.”
Anya bit her bottom lip and looked very much like she was on the verge of tears. “Oh...”
“What did you do?” Giles asked, glancing at Ethan. “And did you help her?”
Ethan held his hands up and grinned. “Hey, I’m innocent in this one, mate. All I do is throw a few lust spells your way...once in a while.” He cleared his throat as Giles’ eyes flashed. “Um...I mean, once...like today.”
Giles waved his hand dismissively at his best friend and turned his eyes back to Anya. “You performed a Quechuan age spell on me?”
Anya sighed and nodded. “Well, a variation.”
“Reverse it.” Giles growled.
“I can’t.” Anya blurted, flinching as Giles took a step forward. “I altered it so much that it can’t be reversed. I...I was just trying to help, Giles.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” Giles groaned, raking his hand through his hair as he started pacing again.
He stopped suddenly and looked at them, narrowing his eyes slightly. “Where are Rayna and River?”
Buffy nearly smiled. Nearly. Anya stared at him incredulously. Xander looked thoroughly confused. And Ethan snorted softly.
“Michael’s with them. Someone wanted everyone over here ‘now’.” Ethan stated with an amused grin.
“And I wasn’t going to let you yell at her without knowing why you’re so pissed off.” Xander added, glancing at his girlfriend. “Of course, now knowing why…I’m liable to help you yell at her.”
Giles opened his mouth and then closed it. Shaking his head, he sank onto the couch and stared into Anya’s eyes.
“Tell me exactly what this spell has done.”
Anya swallowed thickly, momentarily confused by the softness in Giles’ voice. And then she realized that his tone was more resignation than anything else.
“It, uh…kinda put your aging on hold.” She continued quickly when his eyes widened. “You’ll not get younger, but…you won’t get older…for a few years anyway.”
“How long?” Giles ground out carefully.
“Twenty years, give or take?”
“Holy shit…” Xander breathed.
“Hey…think you could do that for me, love?” Ethan asked, smiling as Anya gave him an absent nod.
Buffy moved over to sit next to Giles, transferring the now sleeping puppy into his arms. “Okay…so what about his eyesight? Because it’s better than it was now.”
“Oh…um…” Anya sighed and shrugged a shoulder. “I just wanted him to feel like he did when you were dating…”
“And when people start questioning why I’m not aging?” Giles asked, obviously trying his best to come to terms with what had taken place.
“I can attach an anchor to your aura and no one will think twice about it.”
Ethan grinned. “An anchor? That’s brilliant!”
“Ethan!” Giles glared. “This is not…I didn’t want this. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t congratulate her for her success in front of me, please.”
Ethan’s grin faded somewhat. “Sorry, Rupe.”
“This may not be all bad, you know…” Buffy offered, reaching up to run her fingers through his hair. “I still get sexy, older Giles and at least forty more years with you. When I’m fifty-four, you’ll still be fifty-eight and we can truly grow old together. I’m sorry, but I’m not seeing the bad here, babe.”
“This was done to me, Buffy. I didn’t ask for this.”
“You would’ve just said no.” Anya interjected, slumping into the chair and patting Callie’s head.
“Of course, I would’ve said no!” Giles exclaimed. “This is not natural, Anya! I – ”
“Just…shut up, Giles!” Anya started, leaning forward and pointing her finger at Giles. “You might have died at seventy. That’s twelve years from now. I know that Buffy wouldn’t be ready for you to die in twelve years…and I’m even more sure that your children wouldn’t be either. And you know what? Neither would any of us! So now you have twenty more years than you would have. I’m not saying I’m sorry about this. I did what I did because I love you. And now…I’m going home and kissing my daughters and then I’m taking my boyfriend to bed and having lots of sex with him.”
She stood up and grabbed Xander’s arm, pulling him towards the door. Buffy watched Giles watch them walk through the door…his features softening and his eyes beginning to glisten. She took Zephyr from him half a second before he pushed himself up and went after them.
“She did it for the right reasons, you know…” Ethan said, reaching over and rubbing Zephyr’s smooth belly. “She wanted to give him more time with you…the kids…she does love him dearly.”
“I know.” Buffy replied, offering him a gentle smile. “He just…it would’ve been better if she’d talked to him first instead of just doing it. I know I would’ve preferred to know what was going on instead of thinking that my husband was dying from a heart attack or something.”
“He would’ve said no…you heard him.”
Buffy nodded slowly. “Mm-hm…I also know that if she had made those same arguments, he would’ve seriously considered it before making his final decision. And maybe he would’ve said yes. Giles doesn’t take well to not being able to make the decisions that seriously impact his life…”
Ethan glanced towards the door and shoved his hands in his pockets. “No yelling…no car engine…no squealing tires heading down the street. All good signs in my opinion.”
Buffy made her way to the window and pulled the curtain back, still cradling Zephyr in her left arm. She smiled warmly as she looked outside to see Giles holding Anya as she cried.
“All good signs.” She whispered in agreement.
* * *
Fifteen minutes later, Giles walked back into the house. He glanced at Ethan through reddened eyes and cleared his throat.
“I apologize for insisting you come at this hour.”
Ethan reached out and gently squeezed his friend’s shoulder. “Are you alright?”
Giles nodded slowly. “I, uh…I will be. They’re waiting on you, Ethan.”
“We’ll talk later, yeah?”
“Yeah.” Giles agreed and met Ethan’s eyes. “We will.”
Ethan leaned over and kissed Giles’ cheek. “I really don’t think this is a bad thing, Rupert.”
And with that, he gave Buffy a kiss as well and then simply left. As the door closed behind Ethan, Buffy reached up and gently stroked Giles’ cheek with her thumb.
“She should have spoken to me about this.”
“I know.” Buffy whispered.
“This isn’t a ‘let’s get Giles all hot and bothered’ spell that just goes away...”
He slowly turned his eyes to hers and sighed. “Do you?”
She nodded and blew out a deep breath. “You feel like you had no choice in this...which, you kinda didn’t. And now you’re left with that same sensation of helplessness that you had when your father accepted your calling for you. Your father pushed you down a path that you might not have taken...”
Giles tilted his head slightly, hearing something in her tone. “But?”
“But...” Buffy smiled gently. “All Anya did was lengthen the path that you’re on. She didn’t change it...it’s just a bit of a longer walk now that it was. And, yeah...she should’ve discussed it with you before she did it. I’m not condoning what she did, Giles...but...I’m also not upset with the prospect of having another twenty years or so with you. I can’t be angry with her over that part of it.”
“It can’t be reversed.”
“Yeah...I heard that part too.” Buffy bit her lip as something slipped into her thoughts. “Um...is it just the fact that this was done without your permission that’s bothering you?”
“What do you mean?” He asked softly.
“Well...it kinda occurred to me that...maybe you don’t want to live for an extra twenty years.”
Giles looked genuinely surprised at her statement and shook his head, lifting his hand to the side of her face. “How could I not want an added twenty years with you? With our children? Our...grandchildren...”
A smile flickered in his eyes.
“I had resigned myself to the fact that our grandchildren would probably not remember me. But...I’ll...” His eyes glistened again, but this time Buffy could see the happiness in his tears. “Christ, Buffy...I have a chance to be a grandfather who’ll be remembered as such.”
Buffy leaned up on her toes and kissed him warmly. “You are going to be a wonderful grandfather...just like you’re a wonderful father. But...considering that our eldest isn’t even thirteen yet...can we think about grandchildren a little later?”
Giles chuckled softly. In that moment, he realized that everything would be okay. They’d explain everything to their children tomorrow because he had flatly refused the attachment of an anchor to his aura. He’d answer the questions as well as he could...should anyone even ask about his aging process.
But, his children deserved to know the truth.
He smiled as Zephyr stood up in the bed he was sharing with Callie and yawned widely. Buffy gently rubbed her husband’s chest and tilted her head towards the puppy.
“Why don’t you take him out for a few minutes and then we can see how this ‘make Giles feel like he did when he was dating Buffy’ thing works for us...”
Giles narrowed his eyes at her. “Have I been lacking in my abilities to satisfy you?”
“Nope.” She answered with a knowing smile. “But, you worry about it...and if you’re feeling the way you felt when we were dating, you’re not going to worry about whether or not you’re satisfying me...because you’ll know you do.”
“Ah...” He murmured as his gaze darted to her lips.
She grinned and reached down to teasingly run her fingers over his suddenly semi-erect cock. “I’ll be waiting...”
He swallowed hard as she abruptly turned and walked away. His eyes roamed over her backside as she stepped into the hallway, sighing as he hardened further when she looked over her shoulder and smiled at him before slipping into their bedroom.
He turned his attention to the newest member of their family when he heard an impatient whinge. Reaching down, he carefully lifted the puppy and cuddled him against his chest.
“Okay, Zephyr...please make this quick.” He chuckled softly, catching Callie’s eye. “Come on, Callie...you too.”
He smiled to himself as he made his way through the kitchen and out the back door. It may have been unexpected...and initially unwanted...but, he had a feeling that he’d be thanking Anya fairly soon.