Rating: FRM (mainly for language)
Pairing: Buffy/Giles…with a little Ethan thrown in
Timeline: Three months after One Last Time
Synopsis: Ethan’s illness is taking its toll. How are Buffy and Giles coping with this?
Giles opened the door of the house and walked in. The house which they had purchased a week after his wedding to Buffy. It was a lovely two storey house…white with the stereotypical white picket fence. They had decided on a largish house…after all, they were planning on having children at some point.
Four bedrooms…three upstairs, along with a study and a full bath...one downstairs, down the hall from the living room. It worked well…and he was hoping that soon they would be redecorating one of the rooms upstairs in a light green with pictures of dinosaurs or Winnie the Pooh gracing the walls.
He smiled warmly as he walked into the living room to find Buffy curled up on the couch with a book in her hands as she watched the television. He found it oddly charming that she would read while watching television. Sometimes she would only read during the ads…and sometimes, she would lose interest and she would read during.
However, the television was always on.
She looked up and smiled as he sat down next to her, closing the book and tossing it onto the coffee table. “Hey…”
“Hello.” He whispered, leaning over and giving her a lingering kiss. “How are you?”
“Bored, but feeling better now.” She replied, sliding her right hand up his chest to rest on his shoulder. “You know, I was perfectly fine to go on patrol tonight.”
“One more day’s rest is a good thing, Buffy.” He argued gently. “Let me see.”
She rolled her eyes, but unbuttoned her shirt. She felt a rush of love for him as his eyes darted to the healing wound when she pushed the material of the shirt to the side. It had been four days since she’d been skewered in the shoulder by that Frasha’ha demon they had encountered and Giles had inspected the healing wound at least four times a day.
It had been a through and
through injury, but Giles had taken no chances.
He, with the help of
“It looks much better.” He whispered softly, tracing the outer edges of the wound with his fingertip. “Perhaps you can resume patrol tomorrow night. A light patrol, though…no need to rush back into it full-force.”
He met her eyes quickly and shook his head. “I can’t lose you too, Buffy.”
She didn’t know what to say, and so she leaned into him and kissed his warm lips. As she pulled back after a moments, she ran her fingers through his damp hair.
“Get caught out in the rain?”
He smiled as she traced his ear with her fingertips. “Only for a moment. It was a brief shower…”
His smile faded slightly as he glanced towards the hall. “How, uh…how was he tonight?”
“Sarcastic and horny.” She replied with a tender smile. “Our typical Ethan.”
“Went to bed early?” He asked as he turned his eyes back to her.
She nodded slowly. “He took Emma with him. He, uh…he looked fairly pale. And even though the lewd comments were there, he just sounded…so tired.”
Giles sighed sadly. “Did he seem to be in pain?”
“No. But, you know Ethan…he doesn’t like to show it…”
“I know.” He gestured towards the hall and gave her another light kiss. “I’ll just go check on him…and then we can go to bed, if you’d like.”
Buffy nodded and gave him another smile.
* * *
Giles slowly opened the door and poked his head in. Emma lifted her head, but made no effort to move. Giles stepped inside and raised his hand.
“Lay back down, Emma.” He whispered softly.
Emma yawned and lowered her head back to the mattress, her tail wagging lightly before she closed her eyes. Giles smiled as he made his way to the bed, leaning over Ethan’s body to rub Emma’s head.
“Good girl, Em.”
“She is, isn’t she?” Ethan’s tired voice asked.
Giles knelt next to the bed and smiled. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“Still alive, mate.” He smiled back and gently patted Giles’ arm. “Go to bed…”
“Ethan…I’ve been doing some more research…”
Ethan chuckled, his brown eyes shining in the dim light. “God, Rip…more? For fuck’s sake, you’re a newlywed. You’re supposed to be having sex with your wife every night…trying to have a baby…building your future together…or something. Research should not factor into a newlywed’s life…”
“We do.” Giles whispered with a smile. “Our sex life is not lacking, Ethan.”
Ethan grinned, a flicker of mischief showing in his eyes. “Tell me?”
Giles raised an eyebrow. “Tell you?”
“Mm…it doesn’t matter what, just…fuck, I miss sex.”
Giles reached out and brushed a strand of hair back from Ethan’s face. Though he had a full head of hair, the texture had changed during his illness. Giles tried not to think about how coarse Ethan’s hair was now.
“We’re trying to have a baby.”
Ethan smiled, leaning into Giles’ touch. “I was actually wanting something in a bit more detail, mate.”
“You mean, like the time he bent me over the edge of the bed and fucked me until I was begging him to come?”
Both men turned towards the door, Ethan licking his lips as Giles swallowed.
“Yeah, something like that.” Ethan grinned.
Ethan rolled his eyes. “I’m not dead yet, Rip…”
Emma stood up and stretched before jumping off the bed. Buffy smiled, running her fingers through the dog’s soft fur as Emma walked by her. Closing the door behind Emma, Buffy walked over and climbed onto the bed next to Ethan.
Giles furrowed his brow as Buffy placed a soft kiss on Ethan’s forehead. “Is this what you do when I’m out?”
Ethan snorted and met Giles’ eyes. “Yes. We cuddle in bed and Buffy tells me stories of your sex life so that I can get off…”
“No, that’s not what I meant.” Giles responded softly, continuing to stroke Ethan’s hair.
Ethan’s smile faded, sadness flickering in his eyes. “I…don’t really like being alone. And…sometimes, it’s just too hard to actually move around all that much.”
“So…Emma and I come in and keep him company.” Buffy added, tilting her head slightly when Giles looked into her eyes. “What do you two get up to when I’m out?”
Ethan lifted his hand to Giles’ cheek and sighed. “It’s mostly Rupert rejecting my sexual advances…”
Giles chuckled softly and shook his head. “Or…Ethan grumbling over the fact that I’m spending too much time researching.”
“Well, I’ve told you time and again…there is no cure for this.”
The light in Giles’ eyes dimmed and he swallowed hard. “Ethan…”
“Your time is better spent with your wife and your friends. There’s no point in wasting time on this.”
Giles’ eyes glistened as he started to stand. Ethan’s hand wrapped around Giles’ wrist, stopping his movement.
“Rupert, please don’t.”
“Giles?” Buffy asked, concern in her eyes.
A single tear escaped the corner of his left eye. “There’s nothing I can do. I’m watching my best friend…someone who has been in my life for nearly thirty years…die. And there’s not a fucking thing I can do!”
“Come here.” Ethan whispered, gently tugging Giles’ wrist. “Please, come here.”
“Ethan, I – ”
“Shut the fuck up and come here.” Ethan grumbled, tugging again.
Giles took a shuddering breath as he lowered himself to sit on the mattress next to Ethan. Ethan let go of Giles’ arm and placed his hand on Giles’ chest.
“Bloody hell, mate…don’t you
understand that you have already done so much for me?” He glanced at Buffy and made an
amendment. “Both of you. Without the two of you, I’d be alone in
His hand slid upwards, his fingertips gently touching Giles’ lips. “Please don’t say there’s nothing you can do. Because you’ve both proven otherwise.”
“I can’t save you.” Giles whispered emotionally.
Ethan flicked his eyes to Buffy. “Tell him what I told you earlier.”
Buffy took a deep breath and gave Ethan a nod before meeting her husband’s eyes. “You might not be able to cure him, but you have saved him.”
When Giles started to reply, Buffy smiled lightly and continued.
“And my ass still makes his mouth water.”
Despite the seriousness of the situation, a slow smile appeared on Giles’ lips. Ethan leaned up, moving his hand to the back of Giles’ neck, and gently brushed his lips across Giles’.
“There’s my Ripper.” He whispered, his warm breath ghosting across Giles’ lips.
“Ethan…” Giles started, only to be interrupted by a quick shake of Ethan’s head.
“Just give us a kiss…and then take your wife to bed.”
Giles sighed and slipped his arm around Ethan’s back, supporting Ethan’s thin frame as he leaned down and kissed him warmly. As Ethan’s tongue nudged its way into Giles’ mouth, Giles lowered him back to the bed. He kissed Ethan for a few moments longer and then slowly pulled away.
As Giles looked into Ethan’s tired eyes, Ethan smiled and ran his hand down the side of Giles’ face. “Go on…I’ll be here in the morning to annoy you immensely about the most trivial thing I can find.”
“I’m looking forward to it.” Giles whispered, stroking his fingers across Ethan’s forehead. “Get some rest, yes?”
“Mm…” Ethan turned his eyes to Buffy and sighed. “G’night, love.”
“Goodnight, Ethan.” She said softly, leaning down to kiss him gently.
She wasn’t overly surprised when he opened his mouth beneath hers and sucked her tongue into his mouth. What surprised her even less was the sensation of her husband’s hand gently rubbing her back.
She lifted her head and sighed softly at the look of exhaustion in his eyes. “You need to sleep, Ethan.”
“Mm, yeah…” He closed his eyes and chuckled. His chuckle held no amusement, however. “Three months ago, I would’ve fucked you after a kiss like that. Of course, three months ago I had the energy to fuck you.”
He opened his eyes and stared at her. “However, I do have the energy to just…lie here…”
Giles smiled. “And there’s our Ethan…”
Ethan grinned sleepily. “I’ve always been here, mate. I’ve just been a little…preoccupied…”
When Ethan’s eyes closed and his breathing started to even out, Buffy carefully climbed off the bed and walked around to the other side. She placed her hand on Giles’ shoulder and gently squeezed.
“He’s asleep, Giles.”
“Yeah.” Giles murmured, reaching up to cover her hand with his. “I…um…”
“Ssh.” She whispered, leaning down to press a soft kiss onto his cheek. “Come on, let’s go to bed.”
Giles nodded numbly and stood up, looking down at his friend. He couldn’t remember a time when Ethan looked so weak…not even when he had accidentally overdosed and ended up in the hospital. Ethan had nearly died that night…but, he still hadn’t looked as gaunt as he looked now.
He swallowed the sudden lump in his throat and, after whispering a soft ‘goodnight’, he turned and allowed himself to be led back to the door. He couldn’t help but smile when Buffy opened the door to reveal Emma sitting patiently on the other side.
“Go on, Em…go keep Ethan company.”
They watched Emma walk over to the edge of the bed and gently jump up. She quickly laid down and scooted over next to Ethan, placing her head on his shoulder.
“She’s good for him.” Buffy whispered softly.
Giles nodded absently, stepping out of the room and quietly closing the door. “I…don’t know how she’s going to cope when…when he…”
Buffy moved quickly, sliding her arms around him and holding him tightly. He held her in return and inhaled shakily.
“I don’t think he has much time left, Buffy.”
“I think he realizes that as well. He’s trying to prepare us for…” She trailed off and sighed, not really wanting to finish the statement. “You see that, don’t you?”
Giles nodded slowly, pulling out of the embrace and leading her down the hall and back into the living room. “Knowing doesn’t make it easier. In fact, I’m rather sure that it’s made some things much more difficult.”
“Yeah.” Buffy agreed, flicking the light switch as they started to climb the stairs to their room. “He’s been writing a lot the past few days. He won’t tell me what he’s writing, he just smiles at me each time I ask.”
Giles gave a soft chuckle and steered her into their bedroom. “I would say he was writing lewd poetry again…but, he would have no issues showing you that.”
Buffy quickly began to shed her clothes as Giles closed the door. His eyes raked over her body as he pulled his shirt off and moved his hands to his belt buckle. He felt a sudden rush of desire flow through him, followed by an equally hurried rush of guilt.
Buffy slid her nude body under the sheets and looked at him, furrowing her brow when she recognized the tell-tale look of guilt in his eyes. “Giles?”
“I want to make love with you.” He answered softly.
Confusion shone in Buffy’s eyes. “And that makes you feel guilty?”
“No.” He shook his head, sighing as he removed the rest of his clothing and climbed into bed next to her. “Wanting you this badly while Ethan is…dying…in the house that the three of us share…”
“It’s not about where we are, you know.” At his raised eyebrow, she continued. “It’s about the fact that he isn’t well enough to have sex right now…and you feel that you’re, I don’t know…it’s almost like you feel like you’re betraying him somehow.”
“Not betray.” Giles corrected softly, pulling her warm body to rest against him. “I don’t want to seem like I’m rubbing his nose in it…and that gave a very strange mental image.”
Buffy chuckled as she tilted her head to kiss his chin. “Yes it did…an image that Ethan would probably enjoy.”
Giles smiled and nodded in agreement. “Yes, he would.”
“I need to tell you something. And I’m not sure if right now is the right time, but…”
Giles pulled back just enough to look into her eyes. “It’s always the right time to talk to me, Buffy. What is it?”
“I made a doctor’s appointment for tomorrow.”
Concern blazed in Giles’ green eyes. “Are you alright? How long have you – ”
“Calm down.” She whispered urgently, kissing his lips and then smiling brightly as she rolled him onto his back. “I’m not sick…well, not yet. And even when I am, if I even get sick, it’ll only be for a little while…”
Giles’ brows knitted together in confusion. “What? Buffy, you’re not making – ”
“I’m pregnant.” She sighed happily as she watched his confusion melt away, to be replaced with elation. “At least…according to the pregnancy test I took this afternoon, I am.”
She bit her bottom lip for a moment. “Is that a good ‘my God’?”
His eyes glistened as he smiled widely. “Oh, yes…yes, it is.”
She closed her eyes as he pulled her down to his lips.
* * *
Ethan opened his eyes when he heard a soft moan. A tired smile graced his lips as he reached over and gently ran his fingers through Emma’s fur.
“Think I can talk ‘em into namin’ the baby ‘Ethan’ if it’s a boy?”
Emma rubbed her left front paw over her face and snuggled closer to Ethan.
Ethan closed his eyes and hoped that they would make the formal announcement to him tomorrow. He would try to pretend to be surprised…it wasn’t like he meant to find the test in the bathroom earlier in the day.
As he heard another moan come from the room above him, he smiled. His smile faded somewhat as he felt himself being pulled back into slumber.
“Please…let me live long enough to see the baby.” He murmured to no one in particular.
Emma opened her eyes, the chocolate brown orbs holding a flickering blue light. With a gentle lick of her tongue against his cheek, Ethan’s wish was granted.
No one in the house knew it, but Emma was currently being used as a host. The being’s name was Tesla…well, actually it was Ravishnteslizcoatlarish’marahnij but no human had ever been able to pronounce her name, so she had made herself known as Tesla.
She had been sent to protect Ethan Rayne’s soul when he first became ill. It had been hard following him around as a non-corporeal being and so she had inhabited the body of a lost retriever…and followed Ethan home. Luckily, no one had the heart to send the dog away…and so now she was able to guard Ethan without having to announce her presence.
Tesla didn’t enjoy seeing Ethan in pain…after all, she was a compassionate being. But there was nothing that could be done to save Ethan’s body. She had been able to preserve his mind, but his body was deteriorating quickly. She would stay until he took his last breath as a human. And then she would leave Emma’s warmth and embrace Ethan in death.
The blue light faded as Tesla settled back down to patiently wait for the time to come when she would guide Ethan’s soul to his eternal home. She just hoped that the Watcher and Slayer would be okay.
She had a very strong suspicion that they wouldn’t. But, she was also sure that they would help one another through the loss of their friend.