Chapter Four



It had only been a couple of hours since the Board members had left and Buffy had spent most of that time preparing dinner.  Not because she was hungry, but because angrily chopping vegetables was helping her process what had taken place.  By the time they had sat down at the table, she was feeling much calmer – and in a position to actually discuss what had happened.


She watched as Giles chewed a piece of potato and swallowed.  “Is it okay?”


“Hm?”  He looked up and then glanced at his plate when she gestured towards it.  “Oh, yes.  It’s lovely – it’s…well, food tastes vibrant now.  And I’m just siting here wondering how something tastes vibrant.  It’s odd.  But, it’s lovely – thank you.”


“You’re welcome.”  She replied, lowering her fork and taking a deep breath.  “I really wanted to hit him…very hard, numerous times.”


“I know.”  He answered, offering her a smile. “He knows as well.”


“Now that I know that he physically hurt you…”  She sighed as she trailed off.


His smile faded and he leaned back in his chair.  “For a brief moment, I wanted to rip his throat out.  Quite literally.  I’ve never felt something so visceral before.  I could taste his blood…feel it flooding my throat.  I’m having problems processing that.  The moment was so fleeting, yet so…”


“Vibrant?”  She supplied quietly, looking into his eyes.


“That’s an adequate descriptor.”  He agreed, folding his hands together. 


“But, you didn’t – you held back.  That should tell you something.  It tells me something.”


“Oh?”  He tilted his head slightly, watching her take a sip of her wine. 


“Mm-hm.”  She licked the wine from her lip and gave him a smile.  “That you are much stronger than you give yourself credit for.”


“You really are rather…sexy…when you’re telling off the Council.”  He said, his eyes darkening slightly. 


She arched an eyebrow at him.  “Well, this conversation took a sudden detour…”


He coughed lightly and shook his head.  “Unintentionally…”


“What is it?”  She asked, realising that something else was bothering him. 


“I’m feeling very much like I want to take you to bed.”  He shifted slightly in his chair, then rubbed the side of his neck.  “But, I’m wary.”


“Why?”  She asked, placing her glass on the table.  “Have I made you think that – ”


“It’s not you, love.”  He interrupted swiftly.  “I don’t want what I said last night to become the driving force behind making love with you.”


When she merely stared at him in confusion, he placed his hand on his chest and looked into her eyes.  “I don’t want you to think that it’s your responsibility to make me feel alive.  Because it’s not.  I also don’t want it to become a crutch for me – that elation I feel while I’m inside of you…it’s almost like a drug-induced high.  And we’re more than that.”


“You’re damn right we are.”  She agreed with a smile.  “And I completely agree with everything you just said.  But, Giles…we’re also us – it’s not like we’ve ever scheduled our sexy time.  We took each other when the notion took us.  Hundred percent…if you were still completely human, you’d be fucking me right now.”




“Tell me I’m wrong, Rupert.”  She smiled adoringly at him.  “Your eyes are green right now.  This isn’t vampire lust.”


He snorted softly.  “Vampire lust?”


“You have a better name for it?”  She countered with a wink. 


“You’re really moving in?”  He asked softly, fingertips idly stroking the tabletop. 


“Yeah.”  She answered without hesitation.  “Unless, you’ve changed your mind.”


He shook his head slowly, eyes gazing into hers.  “I want forever with you.”


“Let’s go to bed, Ru.”  She whispered, smiling when a smile slowly appeared in his eyes.


* * *


A sudden chill over her body caused her to wake.  She opened her eyes, but didn’t move – listening for anything that might have been the cause for her sudden pull out of sleep.  There was nothing – the house was quiet and dark, the sun was still hours from rising.  She shivered lightly, then realised the issue. 


He’d stolen all of the blankets.


She rolled onto her side facing him, ready to playfully nudge him awake and tease him for taking all of the covers.  But, then her smile faded as her eyes focused on him in the extremely dim light that came from the moonlight shining through the window on the opposite side of the room. 


Not that long ago, he slept in a pair of boxers…sometimes a pair of pajama pants, if it was a chilly night.  He rarely, if ever, wore a shirt to bed…and if he did, he’d end up pulling it off at some point throughout the night when he’d overheat.  He’d always been like a hot water bottle for her, exuding mass amounts of heat as he slept. 


Tonight, though…they’d made love, giggled and chatted afterwards – then he’d gone to the bathroom and had come back wearing a pair of pajama pants and an older, comfortable Henley.  Then he slipped under the blankets, pulled her into his arms…and they had fallen asleep. 


And now she was cold because he’d rolled onto his stomach at some point in his sleep, gathering all of the blankets over him and curling his arms underneath him in an effort to keep the warmth in.  She shivered again and moved over to him, gently tugging the blankets out from under him and slipping in next to him.  She curled her body against his, draping her arm over him…he felt so tense, as if contracting all of his muscles would generate heat. 


She kissed his shoulder and slipped her leg in between his, moulding her own body as close as possible to him.  He began to relax, he began to drink in her warmth.


“Buffy…”  He murmured, very obviously not awake. 


“I’m here.”  She whispered, tightening her arm around him.  “I’ve got you.”


He mumbled incoherently and snuggled into her. 


It took her quite a while to go back to sleep.  She’d nearly gotten used to not hearing his heartbeat as she rested her head on his chest.


She’d get used to this too…in time.


* * *


He opened his eyes, not surprised to see the room with a slightly amber hue.  He closed them again and counted to ten before reopening them.  The hue slowly dissipated and he licked his dry lips.  He hated this part of waking up.  Hungry…craving…a panic coursing through him that was nearly painful. 


Just a few days ago, a different type of hunger would cause him to wake at stupid hours of the night.  He missed those days already.  Not that he didn’t still wake up randomly with the thought of her in his mind – causing extremely obvious physiological responses in his body.  But, kissing her awake right now wasn’t going to sate this hunger. 


He rolled his head towards her and smiled, taking a brief moment to watch her sleep.  He ached to touch her.  But he knew that would lead to kissing her.  With the way he was feeling at the moment, he couldn’t take that risk.  And so he carefully slipped out of bed and tucked the blankets back around her.  He stood there for just a moment, making sure that he hadn’t disturbed her too much.  And then he smiled as she snuggled into his pillow and sighed.


He stretched, wincing as he left shoulder cracked.  Then he turned, sleepily scratching the back of his head as he walked out of the bedroom and headed towards the kitchen. 


She opened her eyes when she heard his footsteps fade.  She snuggled deeper into his pillow, inhaling his scent.  She’d give him the time he needed before she made her appearance.


* *


He dropped the pouch of blood into the mug and then filled it with boiling water.  He paused for just a moment, tilting his head as he listened.  Then he opened the cupboard and pulled down two more mugs. 


His brow furrowed as he began to think about the previous day’s events, his hands automatically going through the motions of tea and coffee preparations.  It had gone much like he’d had expected.  Blaketon was an old-school hothead.  His father had served on the Board, his Grandfather had been a Watcher-in-Training, as had his Grandfather’s brother…before he’d been killed by a vampire on the outskirts of London. 


There had been a surprise though.  The other four hadn’t seemed nearly as trigger-happy as Blaketon.  In fact, Gerris had seemed rather empathetic towards him.  And he’d felt a wave of anger roll off of Foxe when Blaketon had pulled the cross out of his pocket.  That anger hadn’t been directed towards him, the vampire, but towards Blaketon, instead.  Giles found this to be promising, but he wasn’t ready to go gather all of the eggs and fill up a basket. 


He pulled the blood pouch out of the water and ripped it open with his teeth.  He drank quickly…nearly greedily.  He felt the panic within him begin to subside.  Mornings were the hardest for him.  Every nerve ending would spark, the sensations were nearly overwhelming.  He finished the pouch and licked an errant blood drop from his thumb.  Mornings could possibly be the most dangerous, as well – for that very reason.  Sensory overload could cause a lapse in judgement. 


But, so far, he was doing remarkably well.  The demon was eerily polite and had knocked on the door to his soul’s sanctuary once or twice…just to say hi.  The visits had gone unanswered and the demon had retreated quietly, without argument.  Giles wondered if this was a false calm – the demon biding its time, waiting for an opening. 


He clenched his jaw, shaking his head.  His soul was safe, no way in…no way out.  Locked tight, hermetically sealed even.  The magicks guarding his soul were unheard of before – and Lottie had taken the right steps to protect herself in the even that this would come to light (which it very obviously had).  She hadn’t recorded her steps in the process.  And she had told no one. 


Once the spell had been executed, she’d had Willow pull the details of the spell from her memory – and they had been destroyed.  With no details on how the spell had worked, there was no way that anyone could even begin to unravel it.  Giles highly doubted that anyone would have been able to unravel it if the process had been given to them on a silver platter, though. 


His mind drifted to the two other souled vampires he was aware of – though he didn’t really want to think of them at all, if he were being completely honest.  But, it was interesting.  Though they had their souls, they were each tortured in different ways – and they both still craved the hunt, the bloodlust.  It’s just that the heavy implications kept them from acting on that desire. 


Giles was different.  He wasn’t tortured – he didn’t crave a hunt.  He craved the blood, which was easily sated by a half-pint two, sometimes three, times a day.  But, he’d never actually fed from a human…or any animal, for that matter.  His blood came from the butcher – he didn’t even have to kill the animal himself.  He wondered if it would be different for him if he had fed. He’d never lost his soul…and it had never had to have been forced back in.  It had bounced around within him, bruising his lungs, liver, and ribcage as the demon tried to force it out.  But, as quickly as that battle had begun, his soul had found refuge…and the door was locked tight. 


And he was safe.  Intact…and safe. 


Though he was technically a vampire with a soul…he’d never understand how either Angel or Spike felt. 


“Deep thoughts for such an early morning.”  Buffy said softly, leaning against the doorframe.


Giles jumped slightly, startled by her voice.  He chuckled softly and nodded in agreement.


“Yes, quite.”


“Bad?”  She asked, pushing away from the frame and walking over to him.


He offered her a warm smile before shaking his head.  “No, not really.  Just…deep.  Good morning, love.”


“Hey…”  She murmured, leaning up to kiss his lips. 


He kissed her slowly, a groan rumbling in his chest as she slid her arms around his neck. 


His morning just became exponentially better.

Chapter Five

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