Title: Tea and Daleks
Timeline: AU, Post-series.
Synopsis: Buffy still patrols. Giles still waits up...most of the time.
Author’s Note: As always, thank you A.
Buffy opened the front door of the house and smiled. Silence at 11:30 at night wasn’t what she was expecting…but, she was definitely grateful for it.
She closed the door, locked it, and quickly made her way upstairs. Her smile faded slightly when she noticed the first bedroom at the top of the stairs was empty. She walked two doors down and shook her head as she peeked in. And then her smile returned.
Though she was momentarily slightly annoyed, that feeling dissipated quickly at the sight before her. Giles sleeping soundly on his side, their sixteen month old daughter curled up next to him…her head resting on his outstretched right arm, his left arm curled protectively around her.
There was absolutely no way that she could possibly stay annoyed.
She kicked off her shoes and walked to the bed. Leaning over, she placed a loving kiss on her daughter’s head…gently stroking her blonde hair. The slight shift on the bed startled Giles awake and he smiled sleepily at Buffy.
“You’re home.” He whispered, lifting his left hand to her cheek. “Everything okay?”
“Mm-hm.” She smiled and turned her head slightly…just enough to kiss his palm. “You know, there was a time that you never fell asleep until I was home. In fact, for many years before we started our relationship, you didn’t sleep until I checked in with you.”
He nodded, returning her smile before glancing at their daughter. “And then we had Rosie.”
“How long has she been asleep?” She asked, carefully pulling Rosie into her arms.
Giles lifted his head, squinting as he looked at the clock on the bedside table. “A couple of hours.”
Buffy’s eyes widened. “You were able to get her to sleep before 10? Jesus, what’s your secret?”
He laughed gently and lightly curled a strand of Rosie’s hair around his finger. “Well, singing to her didn’t work. Reading didn’t work.”
“Don’t understand that, not at all. I mean…your voice has put me to sleep when nothing else can…”
“Good to know.” He replied with a grin.
“Not because of boredom.” She clarified. “Trust me on that.”
“Mm…good to know.” He said again, giving her a wink. “She, uh…fell asleep watching Doctor Who.”
“Doctor Who? You were watching Doctor Who with her?”
“She’s half English, Buffy. It’s the right thing to do.” His grin returned, even broader this time. “Besides…it worked like a charm.”
“The American half of her must’ve been bored to sleep.” Buffy laughed softly.
“Oh, no…not at all.” He refuted quickly. “She was completely engrossed. I think she fell asleep because she was so focused on the show that she was still long enough to actually go to sleep. Xander likes it and I still maintain that if you’d give it a try, you’d be pleasantly surprised.”
“Mm-hm.” She murmured dubiously. “Not sure why you’d say that.”
He lifted his hand, gently stroking her cheek with his index finger. “You gave me a try.”
Buffy gazed at him for a moment and then reached over, sliding her fingers through his hair. “I love you.”
He looked at her with slight confusion. “What was that for?”
“I can’t just tell you that I love you?”
His smile flickered in his eyes. “Of course you can. But, there was more to it than that…”
“You’re amazing with her. You’re an amazing father. You’re an amazing…partner.”
He arched an eyebrow at her slight pause. “And the meaning of that? The pause?”
“I don’t know.” She replied truthfully. “You’re more than a partner…I’m not really sure how to classify you, us.”
“Do we need to be classified?” He asked, smiling as she rolled her eyes at him. “Honestly, does our relationship need to be labelled?”
“No…” She sighed. “But, when people ask about my ‘husband’, I feel stupid saying – oh, we’re not married, he’s my partner. Because that doesn’t accurately define us, you know?”
“I’ve asked you to marry me numerous times, Buffy.” He replied softly.
“I don’t want to get married. Marriage dooms good relationships.”
He reached over the still soundly sleeping Rosie and cupped her cheek in his palm. “Not always, but I have always understood your reasoning. If it helps, I do refer to you as my wife.”
“You do?” She asked, genuinely surprised.
“Mm-hm.” He murmured. “Of course, that’s usually followed up with a glance at my hand and a question about rings. Look, I don’t need a piece of paper to be your husband, Buffy. Well, legally, yes I suppose I do. But, emotionally? A piece of paper isn’t going to change that.”
Buffy regarded him closely for a few moments and then smiled warmly. “I’m going to take Rosie back to her room now.”
“How tired are you?”
A slow grin appeared on his face. “Well, I’ve had a two hour nap…”
She laughed softly and climbed out of bed. She carefully lifted Rosie, sighing happily as her daughter snuggled tightly against her.
“Be back in a few minutes.” She whispered, lovingly rubbing Rosie’s back.
Giles merely smiled in response.
* * *
Giles leaned against the doorframe, smiling as he listened to Buffy whisper to their daughter as she changed and redressed her. The one thing that had always amazed Giles was the fact of how heavy a sleeper Rosie was. It may take ages for her to go to sleep, but once she was asleep…she was out for the entire night.
Buffy tucked her in and gave her a soft, lingering kiss in her hair. Rosie sighed heavily in her sleep and then rolled onto her side, cuddling her stuffed turtle tightly against her chest.
Buffy grinned and then turned towards the door. She raised an eyebrow at him as his smile grew.
“Thought I was coming back to you?”
“That was the plan, wasn’t it?” He replied with a chuckle, pushing away from the doorway and stepping into the hall. “Cuppa?”
Buffy nodded, leaning up to give him a soft kiss. “Yeah, that would be amazing, actually.”
“How was patrol?” He asked, walking down the stairs and looking over his shoulder at her.
“Cold, windy…and a little bit busy.” She said, following him into the living room.
He gestured towards the sofa, clearly requesting for her to sit. She laughed softly, but sat down dutifully. He cleared his throat and glanced at the fireplace.
“Do you want me to start a fire? There is definitely a chill in the air.”
“Pretty sure I can do that. Aren’t you supposed to making tea?” She grinned at him, teasing him. “Besides, you start a fire with magick…and that is not going to be conducive to me giving you a patrol report or you making tea.”
“I’ve never understood that. It’s not like you ever had that reaction to Willow using magick.” He paused and tilted his head slightly. “Did you?”
Buffy rolled her eyes and got up from the sofa, pointing towards the kitchen as she grabbed a few logs from the pile. “Go…tea…”
He laughed softly and made his way to the kitchen. She shook her head in amusement and set to the task of building a fire.
* * *
He walked back into the living room carrying two mugs of tea, smiling at the sight before him. Her sitting on the sofa and staring at the very healthy fire, his journal in her lap. He sat down next to her, placing his mug on the coffee table. She turned to him and smiled, exchanging the journal for the second mug.
She sighed happily as she took a sip. “Mm…definitely amazing.”
He chuckled softly, leaning back slightly and resting his right ankle atop his left knee. “There was a time when you used to tease me mercilessly about my love of a nice cup of tea.”
“That was a lifetime ago, Giles.” She responded with a chuckle of her own. “I used to tease you mercilessly about a lot of things.”
“Mm…very true.” He gave her a wink and opened the journal. “So…what transpired this evening?”
She rolled her eyes playfully. “Three vampires at All Saints, two fledglings and one who…was not. All dusted.”
Giles wrote quickly, nodding as she talked. When she stopped talking, he slowly lifted his head and stared at her.
“I thought you said it was busy?”
Buffy stared back at him. “Maybe they were a bit feistier than I was expecting?”
“Were they?” He asked, looking very intrigued.
“No, not particularly.” She chuckled as he gave a frustrated sigh. “But, the four demons who really didn’t want me to have that were.”
She gestured towards the chair across the room. Giles’ eyes followed her gesture, his eyes widening as he placed his journal on the sofa next to him.
“You couldn’t have led with that?” He asked, pushing himself up.
“I was actually surprised you didn’t notice it when you came downstairs.” She replied, standing up and following him over.
“To be fair, I was somewhat distracted.” He countered, casting her a quick glance before reaching out and carefully lifting the ornate staff. “This is rather remarkable.”
“Yeah, I thought you’d like it.”
He ran his fingertips along the carvings. “The demons?”
“Green eyes. Like, eerie green eyes. No nose…a row of spines along the backs of their arms. Skin was almost translucent…like you could almost see organs and stuff, but not quite.” She paused briefly. “Huge talons, pretty sure there was poison involved in some aspect…”
His eyes turned to her quickly. “Obviously, you weren’t injured?”
“No…” She smiled softly. “Obviously not injured by poisonous demon talons. However, one of them caught a rabbit. It…was not a pretty end to it.”
“There were four?”
“Rabbits? No, only one.” When he merely stared at her, she gave a slightly embarrassed laugh. “Oh, no…demons. Yeah, there were four.”
“And they are…” He prompted, removing his glasses.
“Two dead, two…not.” She sighed heavily, glancing at the staff. “As much as they really didn’t want me to have that, as soon as I had it…they ran.”
Giles gave a quick nod and then looked towards the bookshelf behind him. “Okay, well…the description you gave is quite…”
“Descriptive?” Buffy supplied, smiling as he turned back to her.
“Funny. However, yes…it should be relatively easy to figure out what they are.”
Buffy’s smile faded as she moved back to the sofa and flopped down, still holding the staff in her hands. Giles furrowed his brow, holding his glasses between his teeth and watching her as he pulled three books down.
“What’s wrong, Buffy?” He asked, dropping the books onto the coffee table.
“If you had just stayed in bed, we could’ve talked about this in the morning. But, you didn’t. And then we decided to go through a patrol report…”
“And that was a mutual decision.” Giles interjected.
Buffy nodded in agreement. “Yeah, it was. But, you’re going to want to research this right now.” She stated, leaning the staff against the lamp table.
Giles sat down next to her, his glasses still held between his teeth. She looked at him as he rested his elbow on the arm of the sofa, lifting his hand to hold the glasses while he lightly chewed at the temple tips. Buffy smiled, reaching over and carefully pulling the glasses from his mouth.
“You’re going to ruin another pair, if you’re not careful.” She said softly. “You and your oral fixations…”
He glanced at her lips before meeting her eyes. “I, uh…my gum is upstairs.”
“We could research this tomorrow. Maybe ask Willow and Xander to help? You know how much Rosie likes Xander…”
He nodded slowly. “I didn’t mean to fall into research mode. Old habits…and all that…”
“Well, it’s not as if I patrol every night these days – what with the schedule that the Head of Council came up with. That was a pretty good idea, actually.” She leaned forward and picked up her mug, taking a sip before looking back at him. “Gives me more time to spend with my family.”
“That, uh…that was part of the reasoning. Though it was mostly actually to spread out the responsibility amongst – “
Buffy cut him off with a kiss, being extremely careful to not spill her tea. When she pulled back, she looked into his eyes.
“It was a great idea, Giles.”
“Thank you.” He whispered, gently pulling her mug from her hand. “This, um…this can wait until tomorrow.”
“Bed?” She asked, watching him place her mug next to his.
“Why waste such a lovely fire that you took the time to build?”
He leaned back into the cushions and lifted his feet onto the coffee table, crossing his ankles as he gently tugged her towards him. “Come here, love.”
“Cuddling in front of the fire?” She asked, snuggling up against him and resting her head against his chest.
“Mm…” He murmured, placing a soft kiss on the top her head. “Let’s just slow things down…let’s just be Rupert and Buffy for a while, yes?”
“Sure…Rupert.” She chuckled softly. “As if I call you Rupert so often…”
“True…” He laughed, stroking his hand down her back. “But, even though you call me ‘Giles’…I’m still just ‘Rupert’ when I’m with you, like this. No Council, no demons, no Slayer, no Watchers. I’m just…me, whatever you call me.”
She lifted her head and looked at him, smiling as he gently ran his fingers through her hair. “What would your thoughts be on having another baby?”
“I’d love to have another baby.” He answered softly. “I just wasn’t sure if you’d be amenable to that idea…considering the difficulty you had with Rosie’s birth.”
“It scares me, not gonna lie about it. But…I see you with her…the way you look at her, the way she looks at you. And I think…there should be more. We should have more.”
Giles arched an eyebrow. “More? Or…another? Because those two words mean very different things in the context of this conversation.”
“I don’t know yet.” She replied truthfully. “I think I want to start with ‘another’ and maybe see about ‘more’ later?”
He smiled warmly and curled a strand of her hair around his finger, much like he often did with Rosie’s hair when she’d fall asleep on his chest. “I’m certainly not opposed.”
“So, uh…you’d be okay if I came off the pill then?”
“Mm-hm.” He nodded slowly, glancing at her neck. His brow furrowed and he pushed her back slightly. “What’s that?”
Buffy sighed as he pulled the hair back from her neck. “It’s just a scratch, Giles.”
“Bite, not a scratch.” He said, turning her head towards the light to get a better look.
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Nip, not a bite. I’m fine, I promise.”
“What the fuck, Buffy? You should have told me first thing!”
“Calm down.” She lifted her hand when he stared at her, opening his mouth to start a lecture of some sort. “Stop. I promise you, I’m fine. He barely broke the surface and in the morning, you won’t even notice it was there.”
“You should have told me!” He repeated, his frustration growing. “It’s bad enough you not telling your Watcher, or the Head of Council…but not telling your lover?”
She lowered her hand, her eyes narrowing slightly. “Lover? I thought we were way past ‘lover’ stage. I thought we zoomed right by that well before Rosie was even conceived.”
A muscle twitched in his jaw. “You know that’s not what I meant, Buffy. Of course you’re more than my lover. But, does that make it any better? You’re my partner, the mother of my child, the woman I’m spending the rest of my life with…and you can’t be bothered to tell me that you actually were injured on patrol?”
“I wasn’t…” She shook her head, her own frustration growing. She glanced at his hand and grabbed it, turning it so the palm was facing him. “Tell me about that scar…”
“No. Tell me. You know, about how you were injured on patrol…when you lost your focus for half a second and tripped over a goddamn grave marker!”
“It’s not the same.”
“You bled profusely. I know because I personally stitched you up – eight stitches it took to close that.” She suddenly let go of his hand and pointed towards her neck. “There was like two drops of blood, if that. If you look closer, you’ll see that one fang didn’t even puncture the skin – just bruised me. It wasn’t an injury…it was a lapse in concentration. A lapse that…re-unlapsed…in a few seconds and he was dust before he even tasted me!”
Giles stared at her for a moment and then narrowed his eyes. “Re-unlapsed?”
“Shut up!” She grumbled, sitting back against the sofa and crossing her arms over her chest.
Try as he might, he couldn’t stop the amused grin from appearing on his face. He knew she was right, she knew she was right. They both knew that this is how it was going to go…him overreacting, her getting frustrated and throwing out a nonsensical word in her frustration, him finding amusement, her…
Buffy looked over at him, then sighed and rolled her eyes. “Fuck you…come here.”
Her forgiving him almost instantly and then apologies given through a deep kiss.
He reached behind her as he kissed her, fingers quickly flicking off the lamp as his tongue lovingly stroked hers. As his fingers edged under the hem of her shirt, she gently pulled from the kiss and looked into his eyes.
“Rupert…” She whispered thickly.
He smiled broadly and then glanced at the fire. “We could throw some blankets and cushions down on the floor over there.”
Buffy chuckled and slid her arms over his shoulders. “Last time we did that, you ended up with a burn on your hip…which left a nice little scar.”
“Didn’t feel it until later.” He grinned, leaning back into her and brushing his lips across hers.
She considered it for a moment and then shook her head. “As lovely as that sounds…I think I’d rather just take you back to bed now. Well, maybe after a shower…now that I think about it.”
Giles licked his lips, his eyes sparkling when her gaze darted to the movement. “Mind if I join you?”
“I do need someone to help me get those hard to reach spots…” She replied with a cheeky grin.
“I excel at that.” He murmured, standing up and holding his hand out to her.
“Yes…yes, you do.” She whispered, taking his hand and allowing him to pull her up. “Lead the way, Giles…”
He chuckled, leading her towards the stairs. He paused for a moment, waving his hand towards the fireplace and whispering a quick phrase in what she knew without a doubt was Latin. She whimpered softly when the fire suddenly died out.
His chuckle turned to a soft laugh as he led her up the stairs.
Demons, staffs…they’d research tomorrow with their friends. He’d make lunch for everyone and they’d take turns playing with Rosie while they researched. He’d check her neck again in the morning, but was certain that she was right – there will be nothing to see.
But, all of that would wait until tomorrow. There was no danger right now.
The biggest danger they were facing right now was the possibility of Rosie waking for a bottle. But, that happened rarely.
They paused at the top of the stairs. Their daughter’s voice softly calling for “daddy-dum” easily heard in the otherwise silence of the house. They exchanged a look…and a deep sigh. Buffy leaned into him and kissed him warmly before patting his chest.
“Go on, daddy-dum…we can continue this later.”
“Mum-mum!” Rosie called, giggling when she heard her mother’s voice.
Giles grinned. “I’ll get the bottle, you get the Rosie…”
“Doctor Who, huh?”
“Bring her down. I’ll restart the fire…get the bottle…make another cuppa…meet you on the sofa.” He gave her a wink. “She likes the Daleks.”
“Of course, she does.” Buffy rolled her eyes. “Tea and Daleks, not sure tonight could get any more English if we tried.”
She watched him as he laughed, then turned and fairly ran down the stairs. It may not have been how they expected their evening to end, but there were worse endings to a day.
A night on the sofa, cuddling with him and their daughter was definitely not one of those worse endings.
“Mum-mum!” Rosie called again, impatience creeping into her voice.
Buffy laughed and stepped into the room. She felt a rush of love as Rosie sat up and clapped her hands, a bright smile on her face and her green eyes sparkling as she giggled excitedly.
Definitely not a worse ending.
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