Chapter Eight



Buffy stirred, rolling over to snuggle with Giles for a few minutes before starting the day.  Her eyes opened when her hands couldn’t find him.  Sitting up in the bed, she yawned as she ran her fingers through her hair.  The sun was up, so was he…obviously.  Since he wasn’t in the bed with her. 


She climbed out of bed, stretching before grabbing her robe.  She took a step, then paused when she felt a tiny twinge of pain.  Not stabbing pain or anything to be concerned about – it was the warm ghost of pain that came after a long night of zealous – possibly overzealous – sex. 


She inhaled deeply, relishing the twinge before smiling and setting out to find Giles.


She found him quick enough, and furrowed her brow as she walked into the living room.  He was stretched out on the sofa, facing the back cushions with his arms wrapped around himself as though he was trying to keep warm.  Which…he probably was. 


She pulled a throw blanket out of the blanket box near the fireplace before walking over to him.  She regarded him closely, then gently covered him with the blanket.  He murmured incoherently and she lovingly rubbed his back.






“Why are you sleeping on the sofa?”


He pulled the blanket tighter around him.  “Too hard to come back to bed after.”


“After what?”  She asked, kneeling on the floor next to him and allowing her fingertips to stroke the soft curl behind his ear. 


“Mm.  Was hungry.”  He mumbled.


She chuckled softly.  “You have a hangover?”


“Fuck, do I.”  He grumbled, then groaned in discomfort as he slowly rolled over to face her.  “Scotch and tequila…what the fuck was I thinking?”


“Yeah, I don’t have an answer for that, babe.”  She said softly, brushing her fingers through his hair above his ear.  “It’s been forever since you’ve been hungover.”


A ghost of a smile appeared in his eyes.  “Two years ago – Burgau.  We made love on the beach at two in the morning.  I thought I was going to die the following day.”


She barked out a laugh, then quickly covered her mouth when he grimaced.  “Oh, I’m sorry…”


He snuck his hand out from under the blanket and gently pulled her hand from her mouth.  “Last night was…risky, at the very least.”


“It’s what we both wanted.”  She whispered, looking into his eyes. 


“You should have stopped me.”  He replied, curling his fingers around her hand.  “What if I had lost control?”


“I trust you not to.”  She countered, smiling when he pulled his hand back under the blanket…along with hers.  “You need to trust yourself, Ru.”


“I’ve been a vampire for a week, Buffy.  I don’t know what I’m capable of…or what I’m unable to…”  He closed his eyes briefly and swallowed.  “I’m so grateful that I didn’t…”


She leaned forward, gently touching her forehead to his when he trailed off.  “I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have let it happen last night the way it did.  I should have insisted we wait until you were sober.  I just…I got caught up in everything you were making me feel and…fuck, I wanted what you were giving me so badly, Giles.”


“I can still taste you.”  He whispered, licking his lips.  “I didn’t hurt you, did I?”


“No.”  She said, shifting just enough to kiss the tip of his nose.  “Well, not in the way you mean.”


His eyes snapped open and he pulled back.  He ignored the sudden stab of pain in the middle of his head as he stared at her. 




She grinned, glancing at his lips.  “I’m sore…but, a good sore.”


He paused for just a moment and then a smile slowly appeared.  “Ah…”


Her fingers glided along his torso underneath the blanket.  “So…I remember pretty well what we did to help you with your last hangover.”


He gazed into her eyes.  She sighed softly as she watched them change color.  When he was angry or in pain, his eyes would change instantly – almost harshly.  And they would shift to a dark amber, sometimes with reddish specks.  But, during those first few moments of arousal…the amber would sweep over the green, gently washing it away like an ocean tide would carry things out to sea. 


Liquid amber, he preferred the color to be called.  Though she still maintained that it reminded her of a light honey, thick and sweet…golden, almost.  Golden…with so much heat yearning to be released – which was ironic, considering he had no heat of his own.  But there was heat in his eyes, calling to her…silently begging her to come to him, with him. 


“I love you.”  She whispered, her fingers pausing at the hem of his shirt. 


“I love you.”  He replied, tilting his head slightly…silently asking her for a kiss.


“So…can I help you with this hangover?” 


He grinned and carefully rolled onto his back. 


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


“So, how strong are you now?”  Xander asked, watching Giles lift a rather large box.  “Are you like...Slayer strong?”


“No.”  Giles replied, doing his best to hide his growing frustration.  “Because I’m not the Slayer.  I’m a vampire.  I’m – ”


“Vampire strong.”  Xander interjected with a grin.


“Fucking hell…”  Giles muttered.


Xander’s grin faded.  “I annoy you more now, don’t I?”


“I’m not sure that would even be possible.”  He replied, turning towards Xander and offering him a soft smile.  “You don’t annoy me, Xander.  Well, no more than you normally do.  I’m just…”


“Nursing a hangover.”  Buffy jumped in with a laugh.  “Which isn’t as bad as it was – so, I guess that means that vampire hangovers are exponentially worse than human hangovers.”


“You don’t normally get hangovers though.”  Xander said, furrowing his brow.  “I mean, I’ve seen you get pretty plastered…and be fine the next day.”


“Not when you mix scotch and tequila.”  Buffy said, grinning as Giles shuddered.


Xander looked horrified.  “Mixed?  You mixed scotch and tequila?”


Giles rolled his eyes.  “No.  I drank scotch…then I moved on to tequila.  Either way, there are a couple of bottles of tequila at the house, if you’d like them.”


Xander chuckled, then picked up another box.  “I’m going to take this out to the car.  It’ll probably finish up this load.  Want me to go ahead and take it over to your place?”


“That’d be great, Xand.”  Buffy said, eyeing Giles.  “You want to stay here and move boxes around or do you want to go with him to take boxes into your place?”


Our place.”  Giles corrected automatically, not noticing the smile on Xander’s face.  “I’d like to suggest we both stay here…”


“Not happening.”  Buffy said quickly, amusement and a flicker of desire in her eyes.


His smile grew as he gave her a nod of understanding.  “However, in the interest of time – I’ll stay here and move boxes into the front hall.”


“Okay, let’s go, Buff.”  Xander left the room quickly, calling back over his shoulder.  “See you in a bit, Giles.”


Giles didn’t respond to him, instead looking into Buffy’s eyes.  Buffy shook her head slowly and took a step back.


“Stop that.”


“Stop…what?”  He said, taking a step towards her.


“Smouldering.  Stop smouldering.”


“You ask me to do the impossible, love.”  He murmured, grabbing her wrist as she started to take a step towards the door.  “You can’t honestly expect me not to smoulder when you look at me like that.”


“Like what?”  She asked, a hitch in her breath that made him smile.  “I’m not looking at you like…anything.”


“You don’t want to go either, do you?”


“You know I don’t.”  She whispered, glancing towards the door.  “But, you also know that we’ll get absolutely nothing done if I stay.”


“Oh…we’ll get things done.” 


“Buff!  You coming?”  Xander called from the living room.


“Nearly.”  She mumbled, playfully smacking Giles’ chest when he laughed.  Then she cleared her throat and called back to Xander.  “Yep, on my way!”


She lightly jabbed her finger against his sternum.  “You…move boxes.”


“Yes, dear.”  He replied with a wink.


She stared at him for a moment before exhaling a deep breath and backing out of the room.  He chuckled, then reached over and grabbed another box.


* * *


Buffy and Xander had been gone for about twenty minutes when Giles heard the front door open, smiling when he heard Willow call out Buffy’s name.  He carried the last box out of the guest room and into the living room, where he found her looking around the room.


“Hello, Willow.  Buffy and Xander have gone to drop off load of boxes to the house.”


“Oh, hey Giles.”  She smiled warmly at him.  “Do you need any help?”


He carefully placed the box on top of another as he shook his head as he returned her smile.  “This is the last of it.  I’d offer you tea or coffee – but, everything is packed up in one of these boxes.”


He gestured towards the kitchen with his thumb.  “I can offer you water, if you’d like.  Oh…there may be something in the fridge.”


She shook her head and sat down on the sofa.  “I’m good.  I just came over to help – I was a little late getting away from the Coven.  Super urgent meeting – regarding a certain Head of Council and a rewriting of the Charter.”


He held up his hands and chuckled softly.  “Not my idea.  I was as surprised as you obviously are.”


“They trust you, Giles.  Even as a vampire, they know you are the best person for the job.”


Giles sat down in the chair and looked at her for a long moment.  “I had a brief thought at around four in the morning that perhaps they were…scared…of what I might do if they decided to go a different route.  And perhaps that is why they came to a decision so quickly.”


“How drunk were you?” 


“Headache is still niggling.”  He replied, eyes sparkling with amusement.


“No, it’s not like that at all, Giles.  I know that for a fact.”  She took a deep breath and twisted a ring on her right hand.  “If they were scared, they’d…take care of you.  You know this.  There is a lot of research going on right now on how to protect you.  They’re researching protection, not assassination.”


“Well, that’s certainly good to know.”  He watched her twist her ring again.  “And you, Willow?”


“Hm?  What about me?”  She answered quickly.


Too quickly.


“You’re nervous.  Increased heartrate, blood pressure rising slightly.”  He said quietly, tilting his head to the left.  “Are you scared of me?”


“No.”  She answered – again, quickly.  Then she blew out a breath and shook her head, leaning forward slightly and resting her arms on her knees as she looked directly in his eyes.  “No, I’m not scared of you, Giles.  I just never expected this would be an issue that we’d have to work through.  If anything, I thought we’d have to help you work through Buffy dying…again.  This…this was never on my radar.  I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”


“Nor do I.”  He admitted with a sad smile.  “I’m terrified I’m going to hurt her.”


“Giles, you’d never hurt her.”  She replied immediately, then stopped.  “But, you don’t mean emotionally, do you?  You mean…physically, blood related kind of hurt?”


He nodded slowly, not taking his eyes from hers.  “It would only take one slip, one graze, one…bite.  If I taste her blood now, how is that going to affect me?”


“Now?  You’ve tasted her blood before?”  She asked, then quickly shook her head.  “None of my business, sorry.  So sorry.  Um…well…I don’t know.”


“I don’t either.  And I don’t want to find out.  But, the risk is always there.  As such, I hold back with her – is that fair to her, to me?  But, last night…I didn’t hold back.  I took what I wanted, gave what she needed – and it was amazing and beautiful.  How do I reconcile what I know I can do with what I’m afraid could happen?”


When Willow merely stared at him for a long moment, he cleared his throat.  “Um, Willow?”


“Huh?  Oh!  Oh, um…well, you have to…”  She paused, took a cleansing breath and smiled at him.  “You have to trust yourself as much as we all still trust you.  You also have to trust Buffy to stop you if it goes too far.  And you know she will.  She knows you don’t want to, um…taste her blood.  Right?”


“She’s very much aware.”


“And she still let you…well, not hold yourself back.  Right?”


He nodded wordlessly.


“Your answer is there, Giles.  She trusts you without question, without hesitation.  She always has.  Your soul makes you the man you are – the demon that’s rattling around in there?  He’s no match for you.  The demon knows that, he’s not stupid.  You can be the man you want to be, be the lover she needs you to be – and, this is a really weird conversation to be having with you.”


“Obviously vampire me is much more open to different types of conversation.”  He replied with a soft chuckle.  “I apologise if it makes you uncomfortable.”


“No, not uncomfortable, just…weird.  A lot unexpected.”


“Welcome to my undead life.”  He laughed gently, glancing towards the front door as it opened.  “Hello, love.”


“Wow…vampire you is much more helpful when it comes to moving boxes.”  She teased, walking over to him.  She stopped when she noticed Willow sitting on the sofa.  “Oh, hey Will!”


“Hey, Buffy.  Came to help, but he’d already done everything.  So, I guess I’ll help with unpacking.  Do you know where everything is going?”


“Oh…um…well, no.”  She looked back at Giles and shrugged a shoulder.  “We haven’t actually discussed that.”


Giles stood up and took two large steps to stand in front of her, lifting his hand to run his fingertips through her hair.  “Anything can go anywhere you want it to go.  It’s not my place anymore, Buffy.  It’s our home.  And I’m perfectly fine with anything and everything being rearranged in order to make our home more comfortable, more…fitting…for us.”


She looked at him curiously and then smiled. 


“You’ve had an epiphany…”


He rolled his eyes and then leaned down to kiss her. 


Willow smiled happily.  Epiphany may have been a strong term, but he’d definitely turned a corner.  He was one step closer to reconciliation with himself. 


Her eyes widened then averted from the couple, whose kiss had suddenly intensified. 


“Um…I’ll just, uh…start taking some boxes out…”


Giles heard her, but he was pretty sure Buffy hadn’t.  He didn’t mind.  He was too busy giving Buffy what she needed for the time being.  And, if he were honest with himself, what he very much wanted. 

~ End

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