Title: Bruised, Not Broken
Author: Froxyn
Rating: FRAO
Pairing: Buffy/Giles
Timeline: AU, S7.
Synopsis: Truths come out, with a little nudge from a friend.
Author’s Note: As always, thank you A.

Giles shifted slowly on the bed, trying to find a position that was somewhat comfortable. His back ached, his shoulder burned, and his head felt like it was going to explode at any moment. He briefly – very briefly – wondered if maybe it would have been best to spend at least one night in the hospital. He sighed heavily and shifted again, closing his eyes and doing his best to relax.

A soft knock sounded on his door. The type of knock that a person wouldn’t hear if they were asleep…the type of knock that came out of concern for the inhabitant of the room. He exhaled slowly and answered with a just as soft “come in”.

The door opened slowly and Buffy peeked her head in. “Hey.”

“Hello.” He replied, attempting to give her a smile as he raised his left hand to wave her in. “Come in, Buffy.”

“I just wanted to come check on you. Vi said you took a nasty hit…or three.” She closed the door behind her and pulled an armchair from the corner to the side of his bed.

“Just bruises, I assure you. I’ll be fine.” He replied with a smile – the type of smile that he hoped would fool her into believing his words. Because at the moment, he felt the worst he had felt in years.

“Just bruises?” She raised an eyebrow in disbelief as she sat down and studied his face.

Giles sighed, allowing the smile to fade. “Okay, possibly a slight concussion as well. But, really…I’ll be fine. I always am.”

“I figured. She said that you got thrown against a tree…then kicked in the back.” She leaned forward as Giles gave a soft nod. “Did you at least go to the hospital to get checked out?”

“They would have kept me, Buffy. Nothing is broken – my back and shoulder will be fine. I’m sure I’ll be a lovely shade of purple for a couple of days…then green for a few more. But, I will heal.”

“How bad is the head?” She asked quietly, her concern for him very evident in her eyes.

At this point, he realised that there was no point in trying to lie to her. She was going to see through everything anyway.

“If it would just go ahead and explode, it would feel much better.”

She regarded him closely for a few long moments and then nodded. “Okay, here’s what we’re going to do. You’re awake, you’re holding a lucid conversation, your pupils aren’t blown – so, I’m going to go grab a bottle of something out of the medicine cabinet. You’re going to take what I give you…and you’re going to sleep. Rest is going to help your back and shoulder more than anything else…and I know without a doubt that I’m going to have to drug you to get you to rest.”

“Buffy, really this – ”

“For once, you’re not going to argue with me. You’re going to do as I ask. Because I need you with me out there for this – and I can’t have you out there like this. It’ll get both of us killed.” She paused, staring into his eyes. “Is that clear?”

“Oh, very clear.” He mumbled, unable to hide the slight annoyance in his voice.

“Giles, if you’re not going to think about yourself…then think about me. If you give one ounce of shit about me…” She leaned forward, placing her hand on his forearm. “You go out there like this…it will get me killed. Because I’m going to be too worried about you to do what I need to do. If you care about me at all…”

“You know I do.” He whispered softly. “You’re my miracle.”

“Then let me help you now so you don’t get me killed later, okay? Because I really don’t think that you’d be able to deal with that after everything is all said and done – if you survived the battle, that is.”

He lowered his eyes and covered her hand with his. “No, I wouldn’t.”

“Right, problem solved then. What do you want? Patient’s choice…you probably have at least four different painkillers in there, don’t you?”

“At least, yes.” He replied, sighing as she gently pulled her hand out from under his and stood up. “Anything but the Vicodin. It has some side effects that I’m not that fond of.”

She looked at him and smiled warmly. “No Vicodin, that’s doable. Do you need more pillows or anything? You’re not looking exactly comfy there.”

“My back hurts.” He admitted quietly. “Hard to find a position that eases the pain.”

Buffy nodded in understanding. “I’ll fix that too. Be back in a minute.”

She left the room quickly and Giles inhaled deeply. He immediately winced at the sharp pain that he couldn’t quite pinpoint. He wondered if maybe he had cracked a rib during the altercation. He thought about mentioning it to Buffy, but then decided against it. Nothing could be done for a cracked rib anyway, if it was in fact…cracked.

He closed his eyes against the pain…in his back, in his shoulder, in his head…and breathed as deeply as he could without causing more pain. When he heard the door close again, he didn’t open his eyes.

“Hey, I’m back.”

“So I hear.” He smiled and opened his eyes slowly, furrowing his brow as he looked at her. “How many pillows do you think I actually need?”

“As many as it takes.” She answered, dropping them onto the floor. She pulled a pill bottle out of her pocket and popped the lid, shaking two tablets into his palm. “Not Vicodin…take them, rest.”

He rolled his eyes and took the pills with a large swallow of water from the bottle she had handed him as well. “I’m not a child, Buffy.”

“No, you’re worse. You’re a guy who thinks he doesn’t need medical attention when he very obviously does.”

She got to work positioning the pillows behind him, underneath him, beside him…and didn’t stop until he smiled and sighed softly. “That’s good?”

He nodded and carefully snuggled back into the pillows behind him. Buffy smiled, thinking not for the first time that he actually was quite adorable at times.

“Thank you, Buffy.”

“You’re welcome.” She replied, sitting down in the chair and curling her feet underneath her.

He narrowed his eyes as he watched her. “What are you doing?”

“Staying until you’re asleep…watching for a while longer after you go to sleep. Just to make sure that you don’t have any issues with this ‘slight’ concussion you may or may not, but probably do, have.”

“You don’t have to – ”

“I do have to.” She interrupted softly. “Because if anything happened to you because of something I did or didn’t do…I wouldn’t forgive myself either. So…just close your eyes, let the meds kick in…and fucking rest, Giles.”

He snorted a laugh and closed his eyes. “Language…”

“I’ve heard you say more and worse, so don’t even go there.” She responded in amusement.

“Mm…true…” He mumbled sleepily.

Realising he had drifted off, she stood up and moved the chair closer to the bed. After carefully adjusting the blanket and lightly stroking his hair, she sat back down and made herself comfortable.

And she watched him.

* * *

Giles slowly emerged from his drug-induced haze and opened his eyes. He was tired…very tired. He blinked a couple of times and glanced towards the window, not really surprised to see that it was still dark outside. His gaze shifted and then he was surprised. He was surprised to find Buffy sleeping in the chair, curled up into a position that could not be comfortable.

He reached over and gently tapped her knee. She opened her eyes and sat up quickly.

“Are you okay?” She asked, rubbing her eyes.

“If you’re going to insist on sleeping in here, at least be comfortable.” He answered, sleepily patting the mattress next to him.


“For God’s sake, Buffy…just come to bed.” He gestured towards the chair. “You’re not going to be able to walk in the morning if you sleep there all night.”

“Um…what?” She asked again.

He chuckled softly and wrapped his fingers around her wrist, gently tugging her. “Come on, it’s fine. I promise.”

Too tired to argue with him…or to come up with any reason not to…she carefully moved onto the bed and lowered her head to the pillow next to his. She sighed heavily and closed her eyes as soon as she stretched out. Within moments she had fallen back asleep…proof that she hadn’t fully awakened to begin with.

He smiled and closed his eyes, allowing himself to drift back to sleep as well.

* * *

Buffy woke slowly, smiling as Giles softly snored beside her. Her smile faded as she rolled on her side facing him and really took in his appearance. Bruises that she hadn’t noticed the night before were now beginning to come out. She reached over and gently traced her finger along the bruise now peeking out from his hairline.

“Jesus, Giles…” She whispered, pulling her hand back as he stirred.

“Sorry…” He mumbled in his sleep.

“Sorry for what?” She whispered back, unsure if he would actually respond.

He mumbled something else, but completely incoherently, and then snuggled back into the numerous pillows surrounding him. She sighed and then checked the clock. Seeing that it was nearly seven in the morning, she decided to go ahead and get up. He’d need his next dose of pain medication soon anyway.

She carefully climbed out of the bed and watched him for a few seconds. He shifted and then groaned softly in discomfort, the pain showing on his face even in sleep.

“Be back in a few minutes, Giles.” She said quietly, just in case he could hear her.

And then she opened the bedroom door and quickly made her way downstairs. She walked to the kitchen, pausing only briefly to offer one of the potentials a quick wave. As she filled the kettle and placed it on the stove, she wondered why they didn’t have the electric kettles that Giles had wished for so often in the past. It would definitely make things a lot easier.

It also meant that she’d be able to get back to Giles quicker.

She went about getting other things together while waiting for the water to boil. Bread in the toaster, the jar of marmalade that she had bought specifically for him when he had returned to Sunnydale this last time, makings for the tea itself...and then she leaned against the kitchen island and crossed her arms, staring at the kettle.

“You’re up early.” Willow stated as she walked into the kitchen. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah, I guess. Giles got hurt last night…”

“What? Is he okay?” Willow asked, eyes wide.

Buffy nodded slowly, still staring at the kettle. “I think so. Concussion, bruises…he says nothing is broken.”

“So…you’re making tea and toast for him?”

“He needs to eat before he can have his next dose of painkillers.” She gave a relieved sigh when the kettle started to whistle. “And he’s not awake yet, but he’s in pain.”

“How do you know?” Willow asked, narrowing her eyes in confusion.

“Because he groaned when he moved…” Buffy replied, quickly grabbing the kettle and pouring the boiling water into the mug. “And he was mumbling in his sleep.”


“What what?” Buffy asked, pulling the toast from the toaster.

“How do you know he was mumbling in his sleep?” When Buffy glanced at her, Willow’s eyes widened. “Did you sleep with him?”

Buffy chuckled, quickly buttering the two pieces of toast and placing them on a plate. “Not in the way you obviously mean. I stayed with him to make sure he was okay. Simple as that.”

“Uh-huh…” Willow responded in a tone that very obviously said she didn’t believe that it was as ‘simple as that’. “And now you’re making him breakfast…and tending to him…”

“I’m making toast and tea, hardly a full English breakfast.” She turned and looked Willow directly in the eye. “And I’m taking care of him because I care about him. He could have gotten himself killed last night…for me, for us…for this stupid fight that’s on its way. It’s the least I can do for him. I owe him so much more than that.”

“Is that all it is, Buffy? Because…I’m pretty sure it’s more for him.”

“What do you mean?” She asked, grabbing the milk from the refrigerator and adding a dash to his tea.

Willow smiled softly, watching her make Giles’ tea precisely the way he liked it. Buffy had always been the only person who had been able to make it to his standards.


“Huh? Oh…” Willow exhaled slowly and glanced around. “You know he loves you, right?”

When Buffy merely stared at her, Willow continued with a nervous smile. “And…you know you love him, right?”

“What?” Buffy whispered.

“It’s pretty obvious to everyone…except for the two of you, apparently. I wasn’t going to say anything, but…it’s been a couple of years now and neither of you have made a move. And…it’s looking pretty bad this time – maybe you two should just talk about it?”

“What?” Buffy repeated.

“It nearly killed him when you died last time. I think it will if it happens again. And I really don’t think that you would cope at all if something happened to him.” Willow sighed and shrugged a shoulder. “The First is attacking full force this time. And it’s coming after you hard. There’s a very good chance that none of us will make it out this time…or maybe a few of us will, who knows? But, do you really want to take that chance? Do you want either of you to…die…without either of you being truthful about your feelings for one another?”


“What’s the first thing you thought when you woke up this morning?”

Buffy lowered her eyes and smiled softly. “Giles snores…and it’s kind of…adorable.”

Willow grinned knowingly. “Talk to him, Buffy. Seriously.”

Buffy looked up just in time to watch Willow walk out of the room. She shook her head slowly and picked up the tray of tea and toast.

* * *

She opened the bedroom door quietly and slipped into the room. She narrowed her eyes, instantly noticing that he wasn’t in the room. She placed the tray on the dresser and then turned back towards the door to see if she could find him. As she took a step forward, he stumbled back into the room.

“Hey, you okay?” She asked, quickly grabbing his arm to steady him.

Giles sighed heavily and started to shake his head, before thinking better of it. “Not exactly.”

“What’s wrong?” She asked, helping him back to the bed.

“I…was going to take a shower.” He muttered softly, carefully sitting down on the edge of the bed. “And not only does it fucking hurt to stand for any length of time...I can’t seem to get the dizziness under control when I’m up.”

“I can help you, Giles.” She whispered, gently placing her hand on his shoulder.

“Because that’s not at all – ”

“You’d help me if I needed it, wouldn’t you?” She interrupted quickly.

“You know I would, Buffy. It’s just…” He looked up at her and instantly saw the concern in her eyes. “How bad do I actually look?”

“Amazing.” She whispered.

“I’m sorry?”

“Considering what you went through last night…you look amazing.”

He chuckled softly and took a deep breath. “Yes, well…” He looked over towards the dresser and smiled. “You made tea for me?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah…tea, toast…pain meds…all for you.”

“I don’t want to sleep right now, Buffy.” He paused for a moment and then met her eyes. “Can we just…talk?”

“Yeah. Yeah, we can talk. Move up, get comfy…and I’ll bring the tray over.”

She watched him as he gingerly moved to the far side of the bed, leaning back against the headboard. And then she waited until he made himself comfortable…or as comfortable as he could be. Once he gestured for her to join him, she moved the tray to the bedside table and climbed onto the bed next to him. She leaned back against the headboard as well and handed him the mug of tea she’d made for him.

“Thank you.” He said quietly, taking a sip and then sighing appreciatively. “Lovely, as always.”

Buffy rubbed her palms over her thighs nervously and turned her head towards him. “What do you want to talk about?”

“Straight into it then?” He replied with a smile that was just as nervous. He hesitated for a few moments, sipping his tea while he obviously collected his thoughts.

“Is it that bad?” She asked, lowering her eyes.

“Last night…” He started and then sighed heavily. “It could have ended very badly...during the altercation. It almost certainly would have had Violet not been there at the right time.”

Buffy nodded slowly. “Yeah, I kind of got the feeling that it was worse than you were letting on.”

He took another sip and gingerly rubbed the side of his head. He cleared his throat and carefully leaned over, placing the mug on the table near his side of the bed.

“It made me think about some things. Well, after I regained consciousness.” He grimaced in pain as he sat back against the headboard.

“You sure you don’t want the pain meds?” Buffy narrowed her eyes. “I saw that, you know…”

Giles opened his mouth to continue, then closed it…then exhaled a deep breath and tried again.

“I feel like there’s more here. Between us. Well, I know there’s more on my side, but…I feel that there’s more on yours as well.” He met her eyes and smiled softly. “I’m hoping that I’m not wrong in that.”

“Apparently everyone knows that…there’s more between us. Well, everyone but us.” Buffy responded with a gentle chuckle, shrugging a shoulder when he tilted his head slightly in a silent question. “Willow…”

“Ah.” He swallowed nervously and rubbed the side of his face. “I, uh…I’m not quite sure where to go from this point.”

“You act like you’ve never been in love before.” She playfully teased.

His eyes widened. “In…in love?”

“Yeah…isn’t that the more? For you? I mean…oh wow, okay. I’ve totally misjudged where this conversation was going, haven’t I?”

“What? No...no, I just…” He reached over and took hold of her hand, allowing his thumb to rub against her skin. “That is ‘the more’, as you said. I just wasn’t expecting…from you, well not yet. I had hoped, but…”

She smiled warmly as he trailed off. “That’s where I am…and scared shitless about it.”

“Love in general? Or…loving me?” He asked warily.

“Both, actually.” She replied, quickly continuing before he misinterpreted her meaning. “Love in general because…hello, I’m Buffy. Loving you because…I’m not sure I’d be able to cope if anything happened to you. And…bad shit is brewing. What if…what if I lose you in this?”

Giles thought for a moment and then nodded. “Bad shit is always brewing, Buffy. This is what…eight, nine apocalypses for us now. And I worry about the same thing – losing you…again. I’m rather sure that I simply can’t bury you again, Buffy. I just…can’t. It nearly did me in the last time.”

“So what do we do?” She whispered, not sure if she wanted to hear the answer.

“The only thing worse that losing you would be to lose you without…” He paused and furrowed his brow.

“What?” Buffy asked, confused by his sudden halt.

“Suddenly I can find no way to say what I’m trying to say without it sounding like it’s all about sex.” He lightly squeezed her hand. “And it’s truly so much more than that.”

“The only thing worse than losing you would be to lose you without trying…without seeing what more we could be – together.” She suggested, smiling as his eyes sparkled.

“Yes, precisely.”

Her smile grew. “But…it’s at least a little about sex, right?”

He blushed lightly. “Ah…yes, at least a little…”

She looked at him quizzically. “You’ve never had problems saying things before. Are you sure you’re okay?”

He smiled and rested his hand on her thigh. “Pain does that at times, love.”

She nodded in understanding and reached over to the bedside table, grabbing the bottle of pain meds on the tray. As she started to open the bottle, he shook his head.


“What?” She asked, fingers stilling on the lid as he leaned closer to her.

“Wait…” He repeated softly, turning slightly and lifting his hand to her cheek as she looked at him.

“Giles?” She whispered, lowering the bottle to her lap.

He licked his lips, glancing at hers before returning his gaze to her eyes. “I’m…I’m going to kiss you now. Unless you’d prefer me not to.”

“What?” She asked, her voice trembling lightly.

His fingers stroked her cheek, his thumb following the curve of her cheekbone. “Please stop me if this isn’t what you want…”

Instead of stopping him or saying a word, she leaned into him and brushed her lips across his. She pulled back slightly, her lips nearly touching his.

“Why would I stop you?” She whispered, lightly gliding her fingertips along his jawline.

“Buffy…” He murmured, sliding his hand to the back of her neck and capturing her lips with his.

As her lips parted underneath his, he groaned softly and followed suit. When her tongue slipped into his mouth, his fingers tightened against her skin and a gentle growl rumbled in his chest. She smiled inwardly and deepened the kiss further, tasting the tea on his tongue. It tasted warm and comforting, uniquely Giles.

He moved his hand from her neck, allowing it to move across her collarbone and then down her side. She whimpered as his thumb grazed the side of her breast. He repeated the gentle action…and received the same reaction. He responded by gently thrusting his tongue against hers, relishing the way she trembled under his touch.

It wasn’t until he started to lean back, pulling her with him, that he remembered that he was injured. A sharp wave of pain crashed over him, causing him to pull from the kiss and groan loudly.

Buffy’s eyes widened, realising that that particular groan was not one of pleasure…but one of intense pain. “Oh, shit…I’m sorry, Giles!”

“Not your fault.” He closed his eyes tightly, fighting off the sudden rush of nausea. “Fucking hell…”

She carefully sat back up, searching for the bottle of painkillers that had fallen from her hands. She found it quickly and popped off the lid, shaking two tablets out into the palm of her hand.

“Are you okay?” She asked, reaching for the bottle of water that was on the bedside table.

“Oh, yes…never better.” He replied, opening his eyes as the nausea eased off. “Well…that was romantic.”

She gave him a half smile and placed the tablets in his hand. She opened the bottle of water and handed it to him.

“We both should have known better than to try that…” She offered, watching him swallow the tablets with a mouthful of water. “What can I do?”

He smiled and shifted back against the pillows. “Just…lay here with me.”

“Never did get you to the shower, did we?”

“Mm…later…” He said, closing his eyes against the pain. “Is it hot in here?”

“No.” Buffy answered, quickly noticing the light sheen of sweat that had appeared over his brow.

She pulled the blanket off of him and lowered the sheet to his waist. When he felt her fingers grab the hem of his t-shirt, he opened his eyes.

“What…are you doing?”

“You’re hot…your shirt is the easiest thing to get rid of that’s going to help you the best…”

“No…no, leave it.” He grabbed her hand as she started to push his shirt up. “Please, Buffy…leave it.”

She looked down, her eyes widening as she saw the dark bruise on his side peeking out from under the shirt that she had pushed halfway up. “Oh god…how bad is it?”

“Honestly, I don’t know. But, it’s not something you should concern your – ”

Her eyes snapped back to his. “Consider me concerned, Giles. Let me look. What if something is broken?”

“You looking at it isn’t going to fix it if anything is broken…”

“Well, what if there’s internal bleeding or something? Why are you suddenly sweating?”

“Since you said it’s not hot in here, I’m assuming that it is related to the pain – which will ease soon.” He lifted his hand to her neck. “They’re just bruises…they’ll fade.”

Her eyes moved to the bruise on his head. “Yeah…”

He closed his eyes and sighed as she gently traced the outline of his head injury. “I promise, Buffy. I’ll be fine this time.”

“Maybe there’s a healing spell…”

He opened his eyes and smiled. “Let me get through today, love. I’m sure that tomorrow will be better. My injuries aren’t life-threatening. They just hurt…”

“I’ll stay with you, if you want.”

He lightly ran his thumb over her bottom lip. “Just until the meds kick in. So much to do, Buffy. So many things need to be researched and…”

“And?” She whispered before flicking the tip of her tongue against his thumb.

“I really want to make love with you.” He whispered back.

She grinned as she watched him struggle to maintain his focus. “Meds kicking in?”

“Yeah…but, it’s true.” He licked his lips and blinked sleepily. “As soon as I’m able…can we just…”

She leaned forward and kissed him gently. “Absolutely.”

“I do love you, Buffy. Willow…she was right.”

She nodded and carefully brushed her fingers through his hair. “I love you too, Giles. Sleep now…when you wake up, I’ll run a bath for you. It might be easier than a shower?”

“Mm…probably.” He closed his eyes, giving a sigh of contentment.

She waited until he was asleep and then sat back up. She watched him sleep and then glanced at the tray on the bedside table. She frowned, realising that he hadn’t even touched the toast. She picked up her mug of now very cool tea and took a sip, grimacing as she swallowed.

Her eyes darted towards the door when she heard it open softly. Willow peeked her head in, smiling brightly at Buffy. Buffy returned her smile and waved her in.

Willow entered quietly, glancing at Giles. “How is he?”

“Bruised and battered, but not broken.” Buffy replied, placing her mug back on the tray.

“Did you guys talk?”

Buffy raised an eyebrow at her. “You seem very invested in this, Will.”

“Well, I’m nervous about what’s going to happen. And…if there’s definitely more there between you, like I think there is, I really think this is the time you should explore those feelings.”

“There’s more.” Buffy admitted softly, smiling as Giles slid his arm over her leg in his sleep. “And we are. Exploring, I mean. Or…we will, once he’s on the mend.”

A slow grin appeared on Willow’s face. “You kissed him…”

Buffy nodded as she ran her fingertips along his forearm. “Yeah…”

“And? He kissed you back, right?”

Buffy chuckled. “Why don’t we go out for a coffee and have a chat?”

“Oh my god! He did! And now you guys are together?” Willow exclaimed, louder than she intended.

“Bloody hell…” Giles sighed, his eyes fluttering open. “Go…have coffee…talk.” He looked up at Buffy through glassy eyes. “I’ll sleep until you come back.”

“You sure?”

Giles closed his eyes and gently pulled his arm away from her. “Mm…just come back to me?”

Willow smiled, her eyes glistening as she watched Buffy lovingly kiss his forehead and make sure he was comfortable after she moved from the bed. Buffy looked over at her and tilted her head slightly.

“You okay?”

Willow nodded quickly, reaching up to wipe her eyes. “Yeah, it’s just…I always thought you two would be…cute…you know? But, you’re more than that.”

Buffy laughed and gestured towards the door.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“So…just like that? And now you’re together?” Willow asked, eyes wide with excitement.

Buffy stirred her coffee and nodded. “Yeah, pretty much. I don’t know why you’re so surprised. I mean…you told me to go talk to him.”

“Uh, yeah…talk to him. I wasn’t expecting you to go make out with him.”

Buffy snorted a laugh. “There was actually more talking than making out.”

“Probably because he’s all bruised and such, huh?” When Buffy blushed lightly, Willow grinned. “Totally, not probably?”

“I really wasn’t expecting it to happen so fast.” Buffy said quietly, staring at her coffee. “I really just expected for us to talk. But, then he…”

“Kissed you?” Willow interjected.

“No. He said that he was going to kiss me…and to stop him if it wasn’t what I wanted.” She raised her eyes and looked at Willow. “So, I kissed him.”

Willow leaned forward with her elbows on the table and a bright grin on her face. “And? How was it? I mean…I’ve always thought he’d be…you know…good…”

“Mm-hm…there was definitely no bad there.” Buffy replied, suddenly seemingly very shy about the subject.

Willow stared at her. “That’s all I get? ‘Definitely no bad’? Come on, Buffy…I’ve been waiting forever to hear about this.”

Buffy tilted her head slightly. “Yeah. I think I need to talk to Giles about this…and then we need to talk to Dawn. I mean, this is going to affect her too – me and Giles, together…a couple.”

“But…you kissed him, he kissed you…you guys kissed!”

Buffy nodded. “Yeah…”

“Come on, a little crumb my way?” Willow pleaded with a slight pout. “Was it the kind of kiss that made you want more?”

Buffy’s grin returned and her eyes sparkled. “Oh yeah…”

“Argh…” Willow groaned playfully. “No vicarious smoochies for me this time, huh?”

Buffy shook her head, laughing softly as she lifted her mug to her lips.

* * *

It was early afternoon when Buffy and Willow walked back into the house, both laughing about whatever they were currently discussing. As they made their way to the living room, Buffy’s laughter abruptly stopped – causing Willow to stop as well.

Giles stood there…a bottle of water in his hand and looking fairly tired. But…he was standing there – and not lying in the bed. Well…leaning against the back of the chair, but still…

“You’re up…” Buffy stated, glancing at the bruise still showing prominently on his head. “Are you okay?”

“I’m…somewhat vertical.” He replied with a smile. “Though, I am rather tired.”

Willow rushed to him, gingerly wrapping her arms around him. “I’m so glad you’re okay, Giles!”

He returned her hug, looking into Buffy’s eyes. “Me too.”

Buffy glanced at Willow and then returned her gaze to Giles’ eyes, giving him a brief nod. Giles gave her a wink and carefully pulled back.

“So, you know?” He asked softly, smiling nervously as Willow looked up at him. “About us…Buffy and…me…”

“Yeah…and it’s about time, mister!” She said with a bright grin as she moved back from him.

“Your hair’s wet.” Buffy said, furrowing her brow. “Why is your hair wet?”

“Tends to happen in the shower…” He replied with a chuckle.

“What’s going on, Giles?” Buffy asked, moving closer to him. “When I left, you were asleep – because you were in pain. You couldn’t even stand up long enough to do much of anything because of the pain…and dizziness. And now you’re what…perfectly fine?”

“Good lord, no…I’m not perfectly fine, Buffy.” He took her hand and walked to the sofa. He grimaced as he sat down and took a deep breath. “I’m still in pain. I thought I was going to pass out at one point in the shower – that wouldn’t have been at all embarrassing. But…lying in bed isn’t going to do me any good. I need to be up moving. I’m bruised and concussed – if I can keep the dizziness under control…”

“Don’t rush this, Giles.” Buffy said, concern in her voice.

Giles sighed and looked down at their linked hands. “There are things I need to do…some I want to do. If I’m stuck in bed and drugged, I’m of no use to anyone.”

“Oh…I was talking about…” She cleared her throat, her skin reddened lightly as Giles looked at her. “Um…nevermind. We’re obviously talking about very different things.”

Giles glanced at her lips and a smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. “No, I was talking about that as well. That’s the ‘some I want to do’…”

She leaned into him, stopping when he squeezed her hand gently. She could see the desire to kiss her in his eyes and was slightly confused that he had stopped her. Then she heard Willow clear her throat softly.

“I, uh…I’ll go put the kettle on. Tea is all medicinal, right?” She asked, starting towards the kitchen. “I mean, after all of the exertion of showering and getting dressed and coming downstairs…with everything that happened last night, that probably would’ve taken everything out of you. So…tea…that’ll help…”

He grinned, his eyes still locked on Buffy’s, as Willow continued to ramble as she walked into the kitchen. Within seconds of Willow leaving the room, Giles leaned into Buffy and kissed her softly.

“Are you rushing this? The moving around and everything?” She asked, moving to press her lips against the side of his neck.

He closed his eyes, tilting his head slightly to give her better access. “Possibly, but…I promise, I’m…dear lord, that feels nice…”

She slid her fingers through his hair as she kissed her way back to his mouth, before pulling away slightly and lowering her voice to a whisper. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“…ish.” He replied, moving his hand to her thigh. “Fairly certain I can do this…”

“We can do more right now, you know…depending on the level of ‘ish’ you’re talking about.”

“I’m not making love to you on the sofa in the living room of bloody Slayer Central.” He stated with a light huff.

Buffy arched an eyebrow at him. “And I wasn’t expecting your level to be that high…”

“Well, that may be a bit ambitious and perhaps it’s not that high. But, it’s higher than this. I’m confident that I could handle going a step or two further.” He inhaled sharply as Buffy leaned forward and ran her tongue over his throat. “However…anyone could walk in at any time…”

“Hey, Buff – whoa…what the hell?”

Giles closed his eyes and gently squeezed Buffy’s thigh. “As I was saying.”

Buffy slowly pulled her hand from his hair, allowing her fingers to glide down the front of his shirt as she turned towards the voice behind her. She gave a smile of a child caught with their hand in the cookie jar and cleared her throat.

“Hey, Dawn…” She took a deep breath and gestured towards Giles. “We need to talk to you about something, okay?”

“Uh-huh…had a feeling you were going to tell me he was hurt. Vi told me he got smashed pretty good last night.”

“I didn’t get ‘smashed’…” Giles muttered.

“But, maybe you’re getting ready to tell me that you and Giles have finally decided to admit what we’ve all seen for ages?” Dawn continued and then stared at Giles. “And…you totally got smashed. Vi told me all about it. Are you okay?”

Giles lowered his eyes and rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m…I will be.”

“What you’ve all seen for ages?” Buffy asked, sliding her hand to cover Giles’.

Dawn rolled her eyes. “I’m not stupid, Buffy. The way he hugged you when you came back? It wouldn’t have surprised me if he had kissed you then.”

Giles looked up, tilting his head slightly as Dawn smiled sadly at him.

“I remember what you were like when she died.” She said quietly. “You weren’t just sad…not like the rest of us. You were…”

“Devastated.” Giles whispered as Dawn searched for the right word. “I was devastated.”

Dawn nodded slowly, her eyes glistening. “Yeah. And I knew then…when we all walked away from her grave and you stayed. Spike said he went back like three hours later and you were still there…he said you weren’t crying at that point, but that it was only because your tears were empty. He said he’d never seen a man so broken. Even Spike knew you loved her.”


“What?” Buffy and Dawn asked simultaneously.

Love…not loved. I never stopped…from the moment I knew I was in love with you. Not even when you died.” He smiled softly as he lifted his hand and tenderly touched her cheek. “I’m sorry that it took me getting ‘smashed’ before I told you.”

“Okay, so you two talked…and you’re together now?” Dawn asked, crossing her arms.

“I’m sure that we still have much to discuss.” Giles said, looking into Buffy’s eyes. “But, I’m very much with you.”

Buffy nodded in agreement, placing her hand on Giles’ thigh. “Me too. All of it, but especially the very much with you part.”

“So…that’s a yeah?” Dawn asked, somewhat impatiently.

Buffy smiled and looked at her younger sister. “Yes, it’s a yeah. You’re okay with that?”

A slow grin appeared on Dawn’s face. “Yeah. Yeah, I really am. As long as you don’t turn him evil or he gives you ultimatums or you go all stupid. I don’t think any of that will happen because…well, he’s Giles and you’re better when he’s around.”

“Go all stupid?” Giles asked, confusion in his eyes.

Dawn rolled her eyes dramatically. “Spike – she went stupid and it was dangerous. And…he was there for me when I needed him, but I didn’t need him having sex with my sister.”

“Ah…” Giles said, nodding slowly.

“That was over a very long time ago now, Giles.” Buffy stated quietly, ducking her head slightly to catch his eye. “Over. Very long ago. I promise.”

“I know.” He replied sincerely. “I trust you, Buffy.”

“I love you too, by the way.” She whispered, smiling as his eyes sparkled. “I wish you hadn’t gotten smashed last night. Really…”

“Whoa! I’m totally good with you guys being together, but…I don’t need to hear how you want to have sex with him right now, okay?” Dawn grumbled, gesturing vaguely as she made her way towards the kitchen. “And seriously, if you’re going to be licking his neck…take it to the bedroom. Anyone could walk in here, you know!”

Giles’ eyes widened slightly. Buffy laughed softly as Dawn left the room.

“I, uh…well, that went better than I had expected.”

Buffy nodded, glancing at his lips. “Yeah, I guess Willow was definitely telling the truth about everyone knowing except for us.”

“I knew how I felt. I just didn’t know that you felt the same.” He shifted uncomfortably. “As much as they all like to meddle, it surprises me that none of them said anything to either of us.”

“I asked Willow about that while we were out. She said this was ‘too big’ and that we needed to get there on our own. But, then this morning...when she found out you were hurt…she worried that we might not get there – and with everything going on…and what might happen…” Buffy shrugged as she trailed off.

Giles could hear the uncertainty in her voice. “What is it?”

“She’s right. If something had happened to you and I hadn’t told you…I’m not sure I could’ve dealt with that. Actually, I’m not sure I could deal with anything happening to you at all. So…we need to find a way to win this.”

“We will.” He whispered, leaning into her and brushing his lips across hers.

“Giles…” She paused when he tensed, his jaw clenching briefly. “Okay, yeah…pain meds, stat.”

“I want to argue with you over that.” He swallowed thickly and lifted his hand to the side of his head. “But, I think you’re right.”

“Once in a while.” Buffy replied with a smile as she stood up, extending her hand to him. “Come on…you okay to walk back up the stairs?”

“What would the alternative be?” He asked as he took her hand and slowly pushed himself up.

“We could get one of those chair lift things installed…” She grinned teasingly.

“Fuck that.” He muttered good-naturedly as she led him towards the stairs.

He paused when they reached the bottom of the staircase and gently pulled her against him. “You, uh…you mentioned a healing spell earlier. This morning, before you left…”

Buffy nodded slowly. “I did. And you shot it down quick smart.”

He licked his lips, his large hand gently squeezing her shoulder. “Maybe we could look into it. Just to…promote quicker healing and…”

She placed her hand on his chest and chuckled softly. “Is this about quicker healing or about progressing our relationship quicker?”

He shrugged a shoulder and gave her a shy smile. “Both?”

She glanced at the bruise on his head, noticing it had seemed to spread. She was sure that his back was more than likely entirely purple by now as well. Not for the first time, she silently thanked whoever might be listening for not allowing his injuries to be worse than they were. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears as she reached up and tenderly ran her fingers through his hair.

“Buffy?” He asked softly, recognising the shift in her mood.

She shook her head and cleared her throat. “I’m fine. I just…it could’ve been a lot worse and I really don’t want to think about that. But, you’re very purple at the moment…”

“Yes, I am rather.” He agreed with a sigh, before glancing up the stairs. “We should get up there…before the pain heightens.”

“Yeah.” She carefully slid her arm around him and waited until he grabbed hold of the bannister before starting the slow ascent up the stairs. “As much as I hate seeing you in this much pain, I have to say…I’m kinda glad you got smashed.”

He chuckled softly. “Kind of?”

“Do you think we would’ve ever talked about us?”

He hesitated on the fourth step, mainly to take a quick rest. “Yes, I do.”


“Hopefully before it was too late.” He replied, sadness in his tone.

She looked up at him. “What’s wrong?”

“I told you before – but it was too late then.” He replied, climbing another two steps.

“Huh?” Buffy asked, obviously confused.

He paused and looked up the stairs to see how many more steps were remaining. Taking a deep breath, he glanced back at her quickly.

“At your grave. Those hours I spent there…on my own, after everyone else had left. I told you that I loved you…that I was in love with you.” He cleared his throat, but didn’t bother wiping the tears from his eyes. “And I told you that I had no idea how I was supposed to carry on without you.”

Buffy reached up and lovingly wiped away a tear that had slipped down his cheek. “But, you did.”

“Barely.” He admitted softly. “And then I left…and they brought you back.”

“Why did you leave?” She asked quietly, ushering him up another few stairs.

“There was nothing left for me to do. I’m a Watcher – there was no one to…watch. My Slayer was gone.” He shrugged a shoulder and exhaled a slow breath. “And the BuffyBot…I found myself trying to train her as I trained you. And then one day, she asked why I was still there since my job was…um, done. In the end, it was all just too much and too painful.”

Buffy glanced up the stairs and nodded. “We’re almost there now, Giles. You doing okay?”

“I did almost kiss you. When I first saw you…when I came back, after they called me.” He lifted his hand and caressed her cheek. “You’ve always been my miracle, Buffy.”

“I wish you did. Kiss me then. Things would’ve been so different this past year.” She whispered, leaning into his touch.

He slid his hand to the back of her neck and pulled her into a kiss. He had intended for the kiss to be a gentle promise of more. However, that gentle promise of more quickly became much more when her tongue slid across his. Before he realised that he had even let go of the bannister, he had pinned her against the stairwell wall. His left hand gripping her hip as their kiss spiralled out of control.

Buffy suddenly remembered where they were and why they were on their way upstairs when she slid her arms around his waist in an attempt to pull him closer to her. He pulled from the kiss and hissed in sudden pain, even as he pressed his emerging erection against her…as she had silently requested.

“Oh shit, Giles…I’m sorry…again.”

He trembled against her, but he wasn’t sure if it was caused by pain or desire. Possibly a combination of both.

“Fuck, I want you, Buffy.” He whispered, ignoring the pain aspect as much as he could.

She nodded in agreement, sliding her right hand to the button on his jeans…allowing her fingers to gently brush across his erection. “I want you, too. But, even if we weren’t on our way upstairs to medicate you? This couldn’t happen here and now, not like this. Dawn would be scarred for life if she saw us.”

He stared into her eyes, allowing her to see the depth of his emotions regarding her. She smiled adoringly up at him.

“We will have this, Giles. But, right now…we have three more stairs to climb and a bed to get you into.”

“Us?” He asked, his thumb gently stroking her earlobe.


“A bed to get us into?”

“Giles, your body is not ready for – ”

“My head hurts…my back is killing me.” He interrupted. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with my mouth or hands, love. And I desperately want to watch you come.”

“Jesus, Giles…” She whispered.

“Too soon?” He asked, tightening his grip on her hip as he glanced at her lips.

She shook her head slowly. “Not too soon, but…I’d really rather wait until there wasn’t pain involved.”

He gazed into her eyes for a few seconds before giving her a gentle nod and then taking a step back from her. “Okay.”

“Is it? Okay?”

He smiled warmly and leaned back into her, brushing his lips across hers. “Absolutely.”

Buffy glanced down the stairs when she heard Dawn and Willow enter the living room, chatting about the shift in the relationship between her and Giles. She grinned and gave Giles a wink before gesturing upstairs.

“Come on…three more stairs to go.”

Giles returned her grin and moved his hand back to the bannister. “You do realise that once I’ve recovered sufficiently…I’m locking us in my room for the day.”

“Uh-huh…” She murmured, slipping her arm back around his waist to help him up the stairs.

“Will you stay with me again tonight?”

“Yeah.” She looked up at him and smiled. “But, I’m not locking the door, so…”

“Point taken.” He replied with an answering smile, leaning heavily against the wall as they reached the second floor. “I’ll do my best to…contain myself.”

“Mm-hm. See that you do.” Her smile faded as she placed her hand on his chest. “Because you’re in no condition for what we both want.”


She shook her head slowly and took his hand into hers. “We get you better, then we can move forward. But, first things first…we need to take care of your pain now. So we get you back into bed…you sleep. And then I’ll come back in a few hours with some dinner – and we can reassess…”

He nodded in agreement and followed her as she led him towards his room. “That’s probably the most sensible scenario.”

“Sensibility doesn’t happen often for me…in these types of situations.” She laughed softly as they walked into his room. She gestured towards his clothes. “Do, uh…do you need help with that?”

A grin tugged at his lips. “If you’re wanting this scenario to remain sensible, then I should probably do this on my own.”

“True…” She gazed at him for a long moment and then cleared her throat. “I’ll, uh…go refill your water bottle and grab the pain meds from the bathroom…”

Before he could say anything else, she turned and walked out of the room…closing the door behind her. He took a deep breath and carefully unbuttoned his shirt, letting it fall to the floor behind him. He kicked his shoes to the side and then removed his jeans, sitting on the edge of the bed to pull his socks off. He was just getting comfortable in the mountain of pillows on the bed when Buffy came back in, a full water bottle in one hand and a bottle of pills in the other.

“You okay?” She asked as she closed the door and made her way over to the bed.

“I think so.” He replied, pulling the sheet up to his waist as she sat down next to him. “Thank you…”

“For what?” She questioned, shaking two pills out of the bottle and handing them to him.

He quickly swallowed the pills and leaned back against the pillows. “For being here…for me.”

“Well, I love you.” She said, offering him a loving smile.

“I love you.” He responded immediately, tilting his head in wonderment. “It gets easier to say each time, doesn’t it?”

“Mm-hm. Probably because I’m not afraid of what your reaction is going to be.”

“Probably.” He agreed, reaching out to cover her hand with his. “Stay for a while?”

She smiled and snuggled up next to him, lacing their fingers together. “Ooh…déjà vu…”

He chuckled, rubbing his thumb against her skin. He was quiet for a few moments and then sighed.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m concerned that Sunnydale may not survive this battle.”

Buffy’s eyes widened slightly. “Oh, okay…shop talk.”

“I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of weeks. I have the distinct impression that our previous encounters with the First are going to pale in comparison to this one.”

“Yeah, me too.”

Giles lowered his eyes to their linked hands. “I…my will has been updated and is located in a safe in my home in England. The combination is your birthday in reverse.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Because if I don’t make it through this…you need to know. You and Dawn will be taken care of. Xander, Willow, and Anya as well – should they survive.”

“Giles, you’re going to make it through with us.” Buffy interjected quickly. “That’s not even up for discussion.”

“I’m not sure that’s even a discussion, at all. But, should I survive…” He paused and then rubbed the side of his neck. “I’m fairly certain that I’ll want to return to England. I’d, uh…I’d like for you and Dawn to join me.”

“What?” Buffy asked in a surprised tone.

“You’ll have a home in England, no matter the outcome. The largest of my two homes will be transferred to your name upon my death. You can live there…or sell it and use the money to purchase elsewhere or…whatever you’d want to do with it. It would be yours.”


“I only want to provide a home for you. And Dawn, of course.” He cleared his throat nervously. “I’d like for us to be a family.”

“We are already. We are a family, Giles. You, me, Dawn…Xander, Willow, even Anya.”

Giles nodded and met her eyes. “True. But, you know I mean something…more?”

“You mean like…living together? Same room, same bed…”

“Well, just you and me. Dawn would have her own room.” He smiled softly as her eyes widened. “It’s just something to think about. You don’t need to make any decisions right now. And…I know that you’d want to discuss it with Dawn as well. But…it’s an idea – and I’d like for you both to consider it.”

Buffy was quiet for a moment and then exhaled slowly. “Okay, but…if I don’t survive – promise me that you’ll take Dawn with you?”

Giles stared at her, as if he hadn’t considered that Buffy might not live through the battle. He took a minute to collect his thoughts and then nodded. “Of course I would, Buffy.”

“Thank you.” She whispered, resting her head against his shoulder.

She draped her arm over him waited as he drifted off to sleep. She stayed with him for a few minutes, content to listen to his breathing.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Willow walked into the kitchen to find Buffy preparing dinner. “Can I help with anything?”

“No, I think I’m okay. Dinner’s almost ready, table is set…wine is breathing.”

Willow glanced into the dining room and saw that the table was set for four people. “Four for dinner?”

“Yeah…you, Dawn, me, and Giles.” Buffy said, turning to look at her. “Did I miss anyone?”

“Well, no…not exactly. The potentials are out with Faith and Robin…” She leaned on the counter and smiled. “I thought I’d take Dawn out for pizza and a movie.”

“Um…” Buffy glanced back at the stove.

“It’s just…I think you and Giles need to have dinner together – alone.” She pulled a small jar out of her jacket pocket and placed it on the kitchen island. “I made this for Giles.”

Buffy arched her eyebrow. “Magick?”

“No. No magick. Anyone could make this. It’s just some herbs and tonics – the right ratios. I didn’t even chant.” She grinned at Buffy. “It’s just for pain and healing. You know…for his back and his head.”

“He, uh…what? Why?”

Willow paused for a moment and then shrugged. “I saw the way you two were looking at each other. There’s only one thing keeping you two apart right now. This should help…you know, with....”

Buffy smiled slowly. “Thank you, Will.”

“I’ll just go get Dawn. We’ll be home late, okay?”

Buffy’s smile grew as Willow left the kitchen. She picked up the jar that Willow left and chuckled softly.

* * *


Buffy turned from the stove and smiled. “I was getting ready to come up to wake you.”

“I’ve been awake for a while.”

She allowed her eyes to drift down his body and back up. Jeans and a green button-up shirt that looked comfortable – well-loved, but not worn out.

“I see…” She replied softly before gesturing to the stove. “I, uh…made dinner. Looks like it’s just going to be us. Potentials are out with Faith and Robin…Willow took Dawn to dinner and a movie. I think Xander went with them…”

Giles nodded and walked to her, lifting his hand and running his fingers through her hair. “Just us?”

“Yeah…” She glanced at his lips. “How are you feeling?”

“Improving.” He murmured, capturing her lips in a kiss.

She slipped her arms around his neck as she returned the kiss. She moaned softly as his tongue touched hers. He pulled back slowly and smiled.

“You made dinner…”

“Yeah, nothing special. Just…spaghetti. Cheap and easy.”

His eyes sparkled as his smile grew. “Of course, it’s special. You made dinner for us. That’s…special.”

She gazed into his eyes for long seconds before she gestured towards a glass decanter. “Um, wine?”

“You decanted it?” Giles asked, surprised.

“Yeah, I read that’s what you should do…” She replied, watching as he poured two glasses of wine from the decanter. “Is that right?”

“It’s not necessary.” He smiled lovingly as he handed her a glass. “But, it is appreciated.”

She took a sip of her wine and licked her lips. “This could be dangerous, now that I think about it…”


“You, me…alone…alcohol…”

“Mm…” Giles agreed, taking a long sip of the wine from his glass. “We should be fine…considering my injuries.”

“Oh!” Buffy said suddenly, grabbing a jar from the counter behind her. “Willow left this for you. Supposed to help with pain and healing?”

He lowered his wine glass to the counter and took the jar from Buffy. He unscrewed the lid and sniffed the contents. “She did magick?”

Buffy shook her head. “No. She said it’s just herbs and tonics. Something about ratios and that anyone could do it…no magick involved.”

He sniffed again and then shrugged, quickly downing the contents as if he was doing a shot. Buffy stared at him as he placed the empty jar onto the counter.

“A lot of trust in that…”

He shook his head slowly and took another sip of his wine. “I have trust that Willow wouldn’t do anything to cause harm.”

“Okay…” She smiled and pulled two plates down from the cupboard. “Hungry?”

He allowed his gaze to drift down her body and then back up to her eyes. “I am.”

“Dinner?” She asked, easily recognising the desire in his eyes.

He gave her a brief nod. “I suppose we should eat.”

She grinned and waved towards the dining room. “Go sit down. I’ll bring it in.”

He stood there, continuing to stare at her. She took a step towards him and placed her hand on his chest. He inhaled sharply as her fingers stroked the soft material of his shirt. She smiled as his eyes darkened a shade.

“Go. Sit down. We’ll eat.” Her eyes darted to his mouth and then back to his eyes. “And then we’ll see where we go from there…okay?”

“Mm-hm.” He reached out and hooked his finger into her belt loop.


“I’m going.” He replied, still holding her gaze…still not moving.

“Except for how you’re not.” She said quietly.

He slowly unhooked his finger and exhaled a deep breath.

“You’re beautiful.” He whispered, picking up his glass of wine and a bowl of salad that Buffy had made to go with dinner. He took two steps backwards before turning and walking into the dining room.

She closed her eyes as he left the room, shaking her head and taking a deep breath. Then she filled two plates with pasta and garlic bread. And then, with another shuddering breath to calm herself, she carried the plates into the dining room…a bright smile on her face as he smiled at her.

* * *

“Is it okay?” Buffy asked, tearing a piece of garlic bread in half.

Giles smiled as he swallowed. “It’s lovely, Buffy. Thank you.”

“It’s just spaghetti…”

Giles’ smile faltered. “Don’t do that.”

“What?” She asked, dropping the bread back onto her plate.

“Play things down. It’s not just spaghetti. Not to me.”

They were quiet for a few minutes. He continued to eat, she pushed the pasta around her plate with her fork. He had eaten over half of his plate when he lowered his fork.


“How are you feeling?” She asked, staring at her plate.

“Very well, actually.” He replied, tilting his head slightly. “I think Willow’s potion helped tremendously.”

“Can…” She looked up slowly. “Can we just go to bed?”

After a slight hesitation, Giles nodded and pushed his chair back. He stood up and took her hand, pulling her up as well. As she started to kiss him, he shook his head.

“No, love…if you kiss me here, we’re not going to make it to the bedroom.”

She grinned brightly at him. “And the bad there is?”

He paused for a moment, as if contemplating an answer. And then he started walking, leading her out of the dining room…through the living room…and then up the stairs. Buffy silently noticed how there was no hesitation on the stairs. He climbed them as if there was nothing wrong.

Within moments, he was closing his bedroom door and turning the lock. When he met her questioning eyes, he smiled.

“Fairly certain I told you that I was going to lock us in here…”

She nodded slowly and gently pulled him away from the door. As she pulled him into a kiss, she suddenly understood what he had meant downstairs. The moment his hands moved to her hips, holding her against him as he kissed her deeply…she knew that it wouldn’t stop there.

When his mouth moved to the side of her neck, her fingers pulled the top button of his shirt free. She shuddered lightly as his fingers slipped beneath the hem of her shirt, his lips nipping at her skin. She quickly pulled three more buttons free, murmuring softly as his hands splayed out across her ribs underneath her shirt. He smiled against her neck before kissing along her collarbone.

And then suddenly, his shirt was being pushed from his shoulders and her mouth was pressing warm kisses against his chest. He groaned softly as her mouth covered his left nipple, her tongue teasingly circling it as her fingers pulled the button on his jeans free. He allowed her to continue for a few moments before whispering her name. She lifted her head to look at him…he took the opportunity to slide her shirt up and over her head, pulling it free and dropping it to the floor.

He lightly fingered the strap of her bra. “Okay?”

“Yeah…” She licked her lips as she traced a small scar on his chest with her fingertips. “You?”

“Mm-hm…” He murmured, sliding the strap off her shoulder and lowering his mouth to her collarbone.

“Can I see?” She asked, sliding her hand to the back of his head as he licked and nibbled at her skin.

“See what?” He lifted his head as his fingers unbuttoned her jeans.

“Your back.” She whispered, lightly scraping her nail over his hardened nipple.

He inhaled sharply at the contact, then gave her a brief nod and slowly turned around. Buffy gasped, her eyes immediately glistening. His back was a mass of bruises, a bootprint showing clearly in the midst of them. Her hand trembled as she gently touched him.

He closed his eyes as he felt her fingers mapping out each kick, each hit that was outlined in the bruises. “It…doesn’t hurt, right now.”

She ran her fingers along the bootprint. “He stomped you? That could’ve killed you, Giles.”

“But, it didn’t. I’m fine. The bruises will fade…” His eyes snapped open as he felt her hands slide around his waist, her fingers unzipping his jeans. “Buffy…”

“Hm?” She placed feather-soft kisses across his back as her fingers slipped between his jeans and boxers to caress his erection.

“Fuck…” He whispered thickly, covering her hand with his and increasing the pressure.

“Can we be done with foreplay now?” She whispered against his back.

He took a deep breath as he turned back around to face her. “What do you want?”

“Clothes gone, us in bed…you inside of me.”

He nodded silently, deftly unclasping her bra with a flick of his fingers. She grinned at him as he pulled the garment from her and let it fall to the floor.

“You’ve done that before…”

“Not to you.” He mumbled, allowing his gaze to drop to her breasts.

He unzipped her jeans before sliding his hands underneath the waistband, slowly pushing them and her underwear down over her hips. He lowered himself to his knees in front of her, pressing warm open-mouthed kisses over her skin as he continued pushing her clothing down her legs. The tip of his tongue dipped into her navel as she lifted first one foot, then the other…stepping out of her jeans and underwear, leaving her standing bare in front of him.

He lovingly nuzzled her before placing a kiss in her soft curls as he looked up at her. She trembled against him, running her fingers through his hair.

“Intoxicating…” He murmured, nuzzling her again as he slid his hands up the backs of her thighs.

Buffy closed her eyes and tightened her fingers in his hair. “Giles…please…”

He smiled and gently nudged her towards the bed. She sat on the mattress and reached for him as he stood up in front of her. She pushed his jeans and boxers down his thighs teasingly slow. He inhaled sharply as her lips kissed the base of his erection.

He watched her lips glide along his length until she reached the head, their eyes meeting as she took him into her mouth. He quickly, but carefully, kicked his remaining clothing to the side and caressed her cheek with his hand. He allowed her to suck gently for just a moment before shaking his head and pulling his hips back, effectively pulling his erection from her mouth.

“Not now, Buffy…” He mumbled, pushing her back onto the mattress and leaning over her as she moved towards the center of the bed.

She smiled up at him as he knelt between her thighs. “Sure you’re okay?"

“Very much so.” He replied, leaning down to kiss her. “Sure you’re ready for us to move ahead so quickly?”

She placed her hand on his chest, lightly stroking his skin as she curled her legs around his waist. “Oh, yes…very sure.”

His eyes darkened a shade as he guided his erection through her warm, wet folds. He paused for just a moment, the head of his cock nudging at her entrance. He held her gaze and pushed forward slowly, sighing deeply as her warmth enveloped him.

She arched her back, sliding her hands to his sides as she moaned his name. He pulled her right hand away with his left, lacing their fingers together after kissing her palm. He pressed their joined hands into the mattress next to her head as he leaned down and kissed her. He moved slowly within her, relishing the sensation of her nails digging into his side.

Pulling from the kiss, he offered her a tender smile as he circled her left nipple with the tip of his index finger. She returned his smile and then gasped in surprise as he quickly lowered his mouth to her breast, sucking her nipple as he quickened his thrusts.

“Fuck!” She groaned, gripping his hand even tighter.

He glanced up at her, wondering if she remembered her strength during sex. Almost as if she had read his mind, she loosened her grip and arched her hips up against him. He grinned against her skin, flicking his tongue against her nipple before lifting his head.

“Thank you…” He whispered, pushing himself up slightly.

“Huh?” She mumbled, moving her free hand to his shoulder.

He glanced at their joined hands and smiled. “I love you.”

She stared at him through glazed, and slightly confused, eyes. “Am I missing parts of a conversation here?”

He chuckled and shook his head, continuing to move within her. “No…but you look amazing underneath me.”

“I love you too.” She panted, gripping his shoulder tightly as she met each of his thrusts with her own. “God, Giles…”

She flung her head back, baring her throat to him. His eyes darted to the scar on the side of her neck. Suddenly, he let go of her hand and pulled his hips back. She cried out in protest as his cock slipped from her. He grinned as her eyes snapped open.

“Giles! What the fuck?”

He licked his lips and grabbed her hip, nudging her. “Roll over…”

Understanding flickered in her eyes and she followed his request. As soon as she had rolled onto her stomach, he pulled her hips towards him and brought her to her knees in front of him. He re-entered her quickly, closing his eyes in pleasure as she gasped loudly.

“Jesus, Buffy…” He murmured, gripping her hips tightly as he increased his pace.

She reached back with her right hand, clawing at his thigh. In a swift move, he slipped his left arm under her stomach and pulled her back against his chest. She grabbed the top of the headboard with her left hand as his mouth covered the scar on her neck that had been left there years earlier.

“Oh…my…god…” She cried, moving her right hand to the back of his head as he sucked at her flesh.

His hands slid up her torso, pausing when they cupped her breasts. He sucked harder, thrusted harder…and in distinct contrast, he gently kneaded her breasts, allowing her nipples to slip between his fingers. His hand tightened on the headboard, her nails scraped against his scalp.

He felt her inner walls tighten around him and his right hand grabbed the headboard as well. His mouth moved up her neck, his teeth lightly nipping at her skin until he reached her ear.

“Come for me, Buffy.” He whispered gruffly before tugging her earlobe with his teeth. “You’re close, I can feel it.”

Her nails lightly scraped along his jawline. He smiled and pushed harder into her. His reward was her cry of passion, the ripples of her inner muscles along his thrusting cock.

“Fuck, yes…Buffy…god…yes…” He groaned at the sensation of the heat building within her, around him. “Come, Buffy…come…”

He lowered his mouth to the top of her shoulder, lightly biting the soft flesh as she began to tremble against him. He released her breast and moved his left hand to her hip, gripping her tightly as he continued his hard thrusts.

With no further warning, she screamed his name as her orgasm crashed over her…her warm fluids flooding over him. He continued thrusting, knowing he wouldn’t last much longer. He quickly pulled her hand from the headboard and laced their fingers together, before curling their arms together under her breasts.

“Fuck, I love you…” He groaned, holding her tightly against him as he came deep within her.

He lowered his forehead to her shoulder, breathing heavily as she shuddered in his arms.

“Holy shit…” She panted, smiling as he chuckled. “So, that’s a…stevedore…”

He lifted his head slightly and looked at her as he carefully shifted, allowing his softening cock to slip from her. “And…that’s not at all awkward…”

She grinned as he lowered himself to the mattress and gently pulled her down next to him. “Only if you make it so…”

He shook his head in slight amusement and wrapped his arm around her as she placed her head on his sweat-covered chest. “You’re amazing, Buffy. Fucking amazing.”

“Hearing you say ‘fuck’ shouldn’t be that…fucking hot. But, it totally is.” She said, moving her head to his arm as she rolled onto her back.

He laughed, his fingers lightly stroking her arm as they both struggled to calm. His laugher quietened and he rubbed his chest as he turned to look at her.

“A while back you mentioned something about…bondage fun. What did you mean by that?”

Her eyes widened slightly. “Random…”

“Not really. You, uh…you brought up…” He cleared his throat. “…stevedores. It reminded me of that night. I suggested that I tie you up…you jumped to ‘bondage fun’. I couldn’t bring myself to discuss it with you again.”

She shifted onto her side facing him, a smile playing at her lips. “Until now?”

“Until now.” He confirmed softly.

“Let’s just say that it slipped out…and it was totally something that I didn’t mean to let slip.”

He regarded her carefully for a moment. “Have you? With…Riley? Or…Spike?”

There was no mistaking the meaning of the tone used when he said Spike’s name. She shook her head slowly, running her fingers through his damp hair.

“No. I never trusted them enough.” She paused for a moment, looking directly into his eyes. “I trust you, though. Always have.”

His smile returned, sparkling in his eyes. “When you’re ready, you let me know.”

“I love you so much, Giles.” She whispered, the sudden emotion surprising both of them.

He rolled onto his side and threaded his fingers through her hair. “I love you just as much, Buffy.”

Buffy sighed, noticing the small wince he gave as he turned towards her. “Willow’s concoction is wearing off, huh?”

“It did earlier, but I had no intention of stopping.” He replied. “But, the pain isn’t as bad as it was…”

“I’ll go get your meds…” She said, kissing him softly before climbing out of the bed.

“It’s not as bad as it was.” He repeated, furrowing his brow.

She smiled, slipping into his discarded shirt. “Yeah, I heard you. But, I really don’t want a setback…especially not now.”

He chuckled and watched her hurriedly unlock the door. “Me neither, love.”

She opened the door and gave him a wink. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

He nodded silently, yawning as she left the room and closed the door behind her.

* * *

Buffy was gone a bit longer than she had anticipated, deciding to put away the leftovers from dinner before they were ruined. She smiled as she packaged up the food and put the dirty dishes in the sink. She’d wash them in the morning…she needed to get back upstairs.

She grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and ran back up the stairs, stopping at the bathroom to grab his pain meds. And then she made her way back to his bedroom, tilting her head thoughtfully – wondering if maybe his room would now become their room.

She opened the door and shook the bottle of pills as she walked into the room. “Got them. Sorry I was gone for longer than – ”

She stopped talking as she looked at the bed, smiling to find that he had fallen asleep while she was gone. She placed the pills and water on the bedside table and quickly shed his shirt before slipping back into the bed next to him.

“Tired, my love?” She whispered, snuggling up next to him and placing her head on his shoulder while she draped her arm across his stomach.

“Mm…” He mumbled in his sleep, curling his arm around her protectively.

“Then we sleep.” She whispered, kissing his cheek before closing her eyes. “We’ve got our whole lives ahead of us.”

Giles gave a sigh of contentment, causing Buffy to smile.

Life was bound to get exciting and terrifying fairly quickly, she had no doubt. But, she also knew that with Giles, Willow, Xander – even Dawn and Anya – by her side…they had a brilliant shot of whipping the Potentials into the shape they needed to be in.

After all…this wasn’t their first apocalypse together.

~ End

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