Chapter Two



Buffy opened the door to a smiling Xander holding a stack of books.  She moved to the side, allowing him entry and he quickly, but carefully dropped the books onto the nearest surface available.


“Willow’s on her way, she told me to come ahead with these…”


“Great.”  Giles muttered, earning him a quick glare from Buffy.  He cleared his throat and gestured towards the stack.  “Thank you.”


Xander gave him a curious look, then shrugged.  .“So, what are we researching now?”


“There were some rumblings about a Benali Vampire Sect gaining some ground.”  Giles replied, quickly scanning the spines of the books before choosing one from the middle of the stack.


“Benali?”  Xander questioned.  “He was taken out, right?  Like…a couple of years ago?”


“Yes, that’s why we’re looking at a sect…”  Giles answered bluntly.  “Followers of Benali.”


“Giles…”  Buffy said softly, giving him a look when he raised his eyes to hers. 


He gave her a nod, then looked at Xander.  “I apologise for my tone, Xander.”


“No worries.”  He replied, tilting his head slightly as he looked at Giles.  “You okay?”


Giles nodded quickly.  “Yes, just…tired.”


“Do vampires sleep less than humans?”


Giles successfully hid the roll of his eyes.  Buffy nudged Xander towards the table on the other side of the room.  Xander grinned, grabbing two books from the stack before heading over and sitting down. 


Giles rubbed the back of his neck as Buffy placed her hand on his sternum. 


“Deep breaths, okay?”


He stared at her.  “I don’t breathe…”


Mental breaths, Giles.  Slow shit down…take a second and remember that you actually love Xander.”


He swallowed and then gave her a nod before glancing at the clock.  “Lottie should be here in the next hour or so…”


“Try not to throw him across the room in that time, okay?”


“I said I thought about it…not that I would do it.”  He grumbled.


She chuckled softly, causing him to smile.


* * *


Lottie narrowed her eyes as she walked into the room.  “What’s going on with you, Rupert?”


Giles shrugged a shoulder and closed the book he was going through.  He placed the book on the coffee table and then looked up at his Godmother. 


“I have no idea.”


“But, you’re worried.  I can feel that just as much as the turmoil within you.  It’s at a steady high simmer at the moment, but could turn into a rolling boil at the snap of a finger if you’re not careful.”


Giles stared at her, his eyes flashing for the briefest moment.  “Why do you think I called you?”


Lottie raised an eyebrow at him, raising her index finger towards him.  “Watch your tone, young man.”


Buffy’s lips twitched as she pushed her smile back down.  Lottie turned towards her, gesturing to Giles.  “How long as this been going on?”


“A few days, I think.  He didn’t tell me about it…but, he was worried enough that he was talking in his sleep.  But, I can’t…see…what’s bothering him.  Can’t feel it either.”


“No, you wouldn’t be able to.  Though your Bond is evolving and you’ll be able to access different things in different ways, deep emotions will be harder – if not impossible – for you to sense now.”


Buffy nodded slowly, sadly.  “Yeah…no reflections…”


Xander, having been listening from across the room, leaned forward in his chair slightly, resting his elbows on his knees.  “So…the no reflection thing, I’ve wondered for years – even back in the Angel days – who does your hair?”


Giles slowly turned his eyes to Xander, the green giving way to a dark amber.  “Do shut up now, please.”


Xander sat up straight, glancing at Willow.  “Um, yeah…okay.”


Willow narrowed her eyes at Giles.  “Was that really necessary?”


Just as Giles opened his mouth to respond, Buffy reached over and placed her hand on his arm.  He closed his eyes and lowered his head slightly.  Once he felt that he had regained control of his emotions, he opened his eyes and looked at Lottie.


“This is what I can’t have.  This isn’t me and they most certainly do not deserve this from me.”


Lottie gave an understanding nod, pressing the back of her hand against his forehead.  “No fever, which is good.  Are you having this issue with everyone?”


Giles nodded slowly.  “And everything – with the exception of Buffy.  There’s no frustration in relation to her at all – which I find…interesting.”


Lottie smiled, watching as his eyes shifted back to the calm green.  “Remember how I said the Bond will evolve?  That would be evidence that it’s happening…”


She continued checking him over, chuckling when he narrowed his eyes as she seemingly checked for a pulse.  “Sometimes calcifications can form, causing pain-related issues – even if you’re unaware you’re in pain.”


“The only time I’ve experienced pain is when I’ve attempted to enter a residence when I haven’t been invited and in the mornings when my senses are hypersensitive.”  He gestured vaguely towards the light.  “Everything is far too bright and loud and…it’s painful.”


“I’ve often wondered what it would feel like.”  Willow mused.  “I mean, for the non-invited trying to come in.  They always look super surprised…”


“Because they don’t know how to process it.”  Giles replied, slowly shifting his gaze to her.  “It feels like you’re being electrocuted from the inside.”


“Oh.”  She whispered, her eyes softening. 


Giles cleared his throat and returned his attention to Lottie.  “I’m assuming there are no calcifications, in your opinion?”


Lottie shook her head, studying his eyes.  “No, there aren’t.  However…your eyes are pale.”


“I’m a vampire, of course they’re pale.”


Lottie rolled her eyes and lightly smacked his leg.  “Seriously, Rupert.”


“I’m sorry.”  He said softly, furrowing his brow. 


She thought for a moment and then her eyes widened as a thought occurred to her.  “How much are you feeding?”


“Two to three times per day, depending.  Morning and evening mainly, sometimes in the mid-afternoon.”


“So, a pint when you first wake up and one right before bed?”


Giles shook his head, glancing at Buffy.  “Never right before bed.  A few hours before.”


“Which is probably why mornings are so hard.”  Buffy said, earning a small smile from Lottie.


“But, not a pint.”  Giles continued, pointedly ignoring Buffy’s interjection. 


“Not a pint?  How much?”  Lottie asked, looking very concerned.


“No, not a pint.  The butcher packages it in smaller pouches – easier for storage.”


Lottie’s eyes widened and she stared at him in disbelief.  “Dear Lord, boy!  You’re a vampire.”


Giles narrowed his eyes slightly.  “Yes, I’m aware – hence the reason I drink blood at all.”


“You need blood, Rupert.  Literally, you need blood to survive.  Two pints would be the bare minimum…someone your size and activity level?  You’d need at least three, if not more.  Pints – at least three pints.  You’re starving yourself, you bloody idiot!”


“You’re not you when you’re hungry…”  Xander said with a chuckle.  His chuckle ended abruptly when Giles glared at him.  “You know…the Snickers ads?  How a person can get hangry…”


“Hangry?”  Giles repeated, his tone very low.


Lottie spoke up quickly and loudly, to get Giles’ attention back on her.  “The terminology may not be great, but Xander has a point.  When a person is hungry, they do tend to get quite irritable.  You are definitely not feeding enough, Rupert.”


“Would that explain the euphoria when he does feed?”


Willow’s eyes widened and she kicked Xander underneath the table to stop him from saying anything.  Lottie gave Buffy an understanding smile as she nodded. 


“Absolutely.  I mean, there’ll be the generic rush – like a quick caffeine high.  But, the euphoria comes from grabbing on to that high and holding on for as long as you possibly can.  It’s simple ebb and flow theory – peaks and valleys.  You’re giving your body a rush, and then it crashes.  That’s not going to be sustainable for you, Rupert.  You need to keep yourself on a even keel.”


“More blood…”  He muttered, pushing himself back against the sofa cushions.


“Yes…and if possible, it would be best if you had small amounts throughout the day.  That is, if you prefer the volume that the butcher packages for you.  We can set up a schedule, regulate the blood intake…which is going to help your mood tremendously.”


“How bad does it actually get?”  Xander asked curiously.


“Bad enough that I’ve wondered how far I could actually throw you.”  Giles replied, staring at Xander.


Xander nodded, then cleared his throat.  “Yeah, I’m good with helping out with a feeding schedule…”


Lottie glanced at Buffy, then continued speaking to Giles.  “The smaller amounts more often during the day will help counteract the euphoria as well.  I’m assuming the euphoria is the reason you don’t feed before going to bed?”


“The main reason, yes.”  Giles confirmed, shifting uncomfortably on the sofa. 


“If that is alleviated, would you be willing to have a feed directly before bed?  Because, that’s going to make an extremely positive impact on your mornings – which I’m guessing are more difficult that you’re admitting.”


“I smell her blood, hear it pumping through her veins, in the morning when I wake.”


Xander and Willow exchanged a concerned look – thankfully, neither of them commented.  Lottie did, however.


“Rupert, I’m going to ask a question that you’re not going to like – maybe even a couple.  But, I need you to be honest with me, yes?”  She waited until he gave her a nod and then she took a deep breath, exhaling slowly.  “Have you fed from her?”


Xander’s eyes widened and Willow’s mouth dropped open.  Giles hesitated for only a moment before shaking his head. 


“No.  I’ve never fed on any human – and especially would not feed from Buffy.”


Lottie nodded slowly, watching his reaction.  “Have you wanted to?”


This time, Giles’ hesitation was much longer…much more suspenseful.  So suspenseful that even Buffy looked slightly troubled.  Giles cleared his throat and licked his lips nervously.


“The mornings are…difficult.”  He admitted quietly, lowering his eyes.


“What about when you make love?”


Lottie, Giles, and Buffy all looked towards the table when the sound of chairs moving was heard.  Xander shook his head quickly, reaching for Willow’s hand. 


“We, uh…don’t need to be here for this part of the conversation.  We’ll just take some books to the back…let you guys talk.”


Giles chuckled softly, shrugging a shoulder when Buffy looked at him quizzically.  “I feel much the same as they do.  I’m not particularly comfortable with how this conversation has turned.”


“Nor am I.”  Lottie admitted with a smile.  “I used to change your nappies – discussing your sex life is not high on my list of things I would enjoy.  Yet…the discussion could hold some answers that will help you.”


He cleared his throat and met her eyes.  “What was the question?”


“Have you wanted to feed from Buffy while you make love?”


“No.”  He answered, shaking his head.  “I worried about it, but no.”


“Worried?  Past tense?  Do you worry now?”


“I was basically only worried about going d – ”


“Okay!”  Buffy interrupted quickly, grabbing his hand.  “I don’t think she needs to know like specific details…”


Lottie bit back her grin.  “And you’re not worried about that now?”


“No.  Tequila helped with that.”  He swallowed and a wistful smile appeared on his lips.  “Since then, there have been no concerns about any aspect of sex.  Especially not that aspect.”


Buffy rolled her eyes.  “Oh my god, Giles.  For someone who isn’t ‘particularly comfortable’, you’re not really shutting up about things.”


He coughed lightly and scratched the back of his head as he addressed Lottie.  “The mornings are difficult though.  And I don’t trust myself to touch her until after…”


“After you’ve had your morning feed?”  She finished for him when he trailed off.


He nodded slowly, narrowing his eyes.  “Makes me sound like an animal, doesn’t it?  Morning feed, evening feed.  I guess that’s not far off, really.”


“It’s very far off.”  Buffy said, shaking her head.  “You are nothing like an animal.”


“Well, I guess you’d be the expert on that one…”


Buffy pulled back, hurt showing in her eyes.  “What?”


“The Slayer knows more about vampires than any – ”  He stopped suddenly when he looked at her.  “Oh…oh no, Buffy. No, love…that’s not what I meant.  Not at all.”


“Are you sure about that?  Because…it sounded very much like that’s what you meant.”


“Buffy…”  He lifted his hand to the side of her face, gently caressing her cheek as he looked into her eyes.  “I promise you – I wasn’t insinuating anything.  I was honestly referencing your expertise with vampires and how I differ from…”


He swallowed and gave her a nod.  “How I differ from Angel and Spike.   But, I didn’t mean it to be anything deeper than souls…I…I’m sorry it came across in a way that was not intended.”


She looked at him for a long moment, then took a deep breath and gestured towards the hall.  “I’m…just going to go make some tea.  Would you like anything else?”


“Buffy…”  He started, lowering his hand as she stood up.


“It’s okay, Giles.”  She offered him a smile and then took a step back.  “Would you like any biscuits or anything?”


He shook his head slowly, watching as she backed towards the hall. 


“Okay, I’ll be back in a minute.”


When she turned and quickly left the room, Giles shifted forward to stand.  Lottie reached out quickly, grabbing his arm to stop him.


“Give her a minute, Rupert.  She needs that.”


“That’s not what I meant, Lottie.”


“I know.”  She tilted her head towards the direction Buffy had just left.  “She does too.  But, it doesn’t immediately relieve the sting, yes?”


“What do I need to do?  Because I can’t be this person.  This is not who I am.”


“It is now, though.  And that’s what you need to accept – this is who you are now, but there are things you can do to help keep the demon calm.  Feeding that demon is the main thing.  A sated demon is a relaxed demon.  Having your soul doesn’t mean that you’re just the same person with a bit of an issue.  You’re a vampire, Rupert.  You still have your soul, yes…but, you have needs and desires that are unique to vampirism.  Those need to be addressed and appeased – because if they’re not, they will take over.”


Giles stared at her, but said nothing. 


“You can’t keep thinking of yourself as a normal man, the same man you were.”  She lightly squeezed his arm.  “She doesn’t think of you that way.  She sees all of this…your soul, your vampirism, what made you Rupert Giles, what makes you who you are now.  She sees it all…and she loves you unconditionally.  She doesn’t love you more because you’re a vampire.  She loves you more because you’re you.  She would do anything for you, you know that, right?”


He nodded slowly, allowing her words to sink in.  “I’d do anything for her as well.”


“Would you?  Even if that means you embrace the vampirism, acknowledge it for what it is…for what you are?”  She moved her hand to his chest, gently rubbing over his heart.  “This no longer beats, your blood no longer flows…and I know that terrifies you.”


She moved her hand slightly to the left and tapped her fingers.  “This…your soul…is safe and allows you to love, to hold on to the characteristics unique to what you held as a human.  But, you can’t ignore the vampire and pretend he doesn’t exist.   Because he does.  You’re not an animal, Rupert – don’t treat him as one.”


“I…don’t know how to do this.”  He said softly, lowering his eyes.


“You let me help you.”  Buffy said, standing just inside the doorway. 


He looked at her quickly, his eyes glistening lightly as she walked over to him…a mug in her hand.  He swallowed as she handed the mug to him – he knew what was in it…he didn’t have to look.


“I do love you.”  He whispered, his eyes shining a bright amber. 


“And I love you.”  She replied, leaning down and placing a soft kiss on his lips.  “We can find something to call it other than ‘feed’, okay?  Because you’re right…that does sound…not great.”


He nodded, taking a deep drink from the mug. 


Lottie picked up a notebook and started making notes.  They’d need to come up with a fairly strict routine to keep everything in balance.

Chapter Three

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