Title:  Aftermath

Author:  Froxyn

Rating:  FRAO

Pairing:  Buffy/Giles

Timeline:  Immediately after Funeral for a Friend

Synopsis:  What happens in the weeks following Amelia’s death?  Quite a few things…



2  3  4  5  6  7  8



Anya rubbed her swollen abdomen and shifted uncomfortably on the couch.  Xander offered her a gentle smile.


“You okay?”


“Oh, great.  Nothing like having a parasite wiggling around inside of you and trying to see how far your ribs can stretch apart.”  She grumbled.


He chuckled softly and leaned down to kiss her stomach.  She ran her fingers through his dark hair and sighed.


“How’s Giles doing?”


Xander sat back up and took a deep breath.  “Last I saw, he was on the back porch with Buffy.  He’s…not saying very much at the moment.”


“He’s taking this really hard.  I mean, he’s surrounded by death…”


Xander nodded slowly, reaching up to brush a curl back from her face.  “It’s different when someone you once loved dies.”


“I’ve just never seen him like this before.”


“I have.”  Xander whispered, thinking back to the time Jenny Calendar was murdered by Angelus. 


“What’s going to happen to him when Buffy dies?” 


Xander stared at her through wide eyes.  “Anya!”


“I really didn’t mean to sound so callous.  It’s just…he loves Buffy more than I’ve ever seen anyone love another person.  If he’s taking Amelia’s death this hard…what’s going to happen when Buffy’s time comes?”


Xander closed his mouth, then narrowed his eyes in thought.  Just as he re-opened his mouth to reply, a soft voice came from the doorway.


“Hopefully, he’ll never have to deal with that.  Personally, I’m doing everything I can to make sure that he passes before me.”


Xander and Anya both turned quickly towards the door.  Buffy crossed her arms in front of her and walked into the room, lowering herself to the chair opposite the sofa.  Xander took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.


“Sorry.”  He offered quietly.


“Nothing to be sorry for, it’s a valid question.”


Xander glanced at Anya.  “Yeah, but…this isn’t really the time for this kind of talk.”


Buffy shrugged a shoulder.  “I don’t know.  The death of a friend normally makes a person question their own mortality…and those of loved ones.”


Anya raised an eyebrow.  “You sound like Giles.”


Buffy smiled softly.  “It happens from time to time.”


Xander leaned back against the cushions and regarded Buffy.  “Do you think about it?  I mean…what he would do if something…you know…”


She nodded slowly.  “I do.  I don’t think he’d completely fall apart…not when the kids are around.  I think…I think he’d need a lot of help and support…”


Anya lowered her eyes, watching Xander lovingly rub her stomach.  “He’d never get over it.”


“No, I wouldn’t.”  Giles stated softly as he walked into the room.  “But, it’s something I had to take into consideration when I realized that I had fallen in love with my Slayer.”


Anya followed him with her eyes as he walked over and stood behind Buffy.  “I’m not sure you were supposed to hear this conversation.  But, you have this habit of hearing things you’re not supposed to.”


“I was looking for my wife, not an eavesdropping session.”  He cleared his throat and placed his hand on Buffy’s shoulder.  “However, it’s not as if I haven’t thought about it.  Often.”


Buffy looked up at him, covering his hand with hers.  “Giles…”


“I don’t dwell on it, but it has occurred to me that the chances are great that I’ll lose you to some evil beast.”


“And you say that so calmly.”  Xander stated, surprise in his tone.


Giles lightly squeezed Buffy’s shoulder as he sighed heavily.  “Trust me, should it happen…I shall not be calm.  As I said, Buffy’s the Slayer…it’s something I’ve had to think about.”


“A Slayer.”  She corrected him gently.


Giles shook his head and met her eyes.  “You shall always be the Slayer…my Slayer.”


“So, you worry about it?”  Xander asked.


Giles lifted his eyes to Xander.  “Of course I do.  I also attempted to deny my feelings for that very reason.  I’ve read the journals of former Watchers who have fallen in love with their Slayer, only to stand helplessly and watch them die at the hands of their foe.”


“But, you didn’t.  Deny, I mean.”  Anya stated, shifting again as her child stretched within her.


“Oh, I did.”  Giles corrected.  “For a long while, I denied my feelings.”


“What changed your mind?”  Xander asked, grimacing as Anya squeezed his hand.


Giles exhaled slowly, leaning down and kissing the top of Buffy’s head.  “I realized you can’t help who you fall in love with.  And I knew that my life would be infinitely better with her in it.”


“Good thing she loved you back.”  Anya stated matter-of-factly.


Giles smiled for a brief moment.  “It, uh…it has been a very emotional day.  I think I’m heading off to bed.”


Xander nodded in agreement.  “Yeah, I think I’ll take the Mom-to-be to bed as well.”


Anya narrowed her eyes.  “I’m not having sex with you, Xander.”


Xander blushed profusely.  “Um…so didn’t mean it that way, An.”


Giles chuckled softly as he watched Xander help Anya up from the couch and lead her through the doorway, gently bickering as they left the room.  He looked down as Buffy stood up and moved in front of him.


“How are you?  Really?”


“Sad.”  He answered truthfully.  “But, grateful that her pain has ceased.”


Buffy took his hand, lacing their fingers as they walked to the doorway.  “How often do you think about it?”


He glanced down at her and swallowed.  “Not as often as I used to.  There were times when it would consume my thoughts.”


She led him down the hallway to the bedroom they were occupying.  “And now?”


He stared at the floor as she closed the bedroom door behind them.  “Today was the first day I thought about it for at least a month.”




He swallowed hard and looked up at her, tears in his eyes.  She moved into his arms and laid her head against his chest.  He held her tightly and took a shuddering breath.


“I’m sorry.”  She whispered softly.


He pulled back slightly and looked down at her.  “Why are you sorry?”


“Because I can’t promise you that I – ”


“Don’t.”  He shook his head slowly, lifting his hand to the side of her face.  “I’ve known the risks from the very beginning, Buffy.”


He inhaled sharply as she nodded and slowly unbuttoned his shirt.  “What are you doing?”


“Undressing you.”  She replied as she pushed his shirt off, letting it fall to the floor.




“Ssh.”  She looked into his eyes as she pulled his belt free.  “I’m not asking you to do anything, Giles.  I’m just undressing you.”


His fingertips grazed down her arm.  “And…if I were to ask you?”


She paused, her fingers on the fastener of his trousers.  “Are you?”


“It could very well be considered to be in bad taste to ask you to make love with me right now.”  He whispered as he lightly fingered the sleeve of her dress.  “And I’m very sure that my reasons wouldn’t be entirely noble…”


She moved backwards to the bed, her fingers crooked in the waistband of his trousers, pulling him with her.  “Take comfort in me, Giles.”


He bit his bottom lip when she stopped next to the bed.  He lowered his hands to his sides and took a deep breath. 


“Buffy, I…”


He trailed off and she offered him a gentle smile.  “It’s okay.”


His fingers trembled as she stepped out of her shoes and slipped her dress off her shoulders, letting it slide down her body to pool at her feet.  Her slip quickly followed and she moved onto the bed.


“Come here, Giles.”


He sat down on the edge of the bed and shook his head.  “I’m not entirely sure this is appropriate.”


She leaned forward, placing a warm kiss on his cheek.  “This isn’t about appropriateness, honey.  This is about comfort…and reassurance.”


He turned his head to look at her.  “Reassurance?”


She nodded and lifted his hand to her satin-clad breast.  His thumb brushed along the smooth skin above the cup of her bra. 


“What exactly are you assuring me of?”


“That what you’re feeling is normal…your fears are to be expected.  But, I have every intention of not letting those fears become reality.”




She gently pushed him back until he was lying on the bed.  She leaned over him, kissing his chest as she unfastened his trousers.


“Let me comfort you.”  She whispered as she slipped her hand into his boxers.


He opened his mouth to respond.  Before he could, there was a quick rap on the door seconds before it swung open.  Xander rushed in, his eyes wide with panic.


“The baby’s coming!  Like, now…and…oh my God, you’re having sex…”


Giles sat up quickly, pulling the fly of his trousers closed as Buffy scrambled to cover her nearly nude body with a pillow.  “We…we weren’t…”


Xander shook his head.  “Doesn’t matter.  I need help!”


Anya screamed and Xander turned quickly, running back out of the room.  Giles quickly refastened his pants and stood up, reaching for the robe draped over a chair.  He turned slowly and gently pulled the pillow out of Buffy’s grasp.


“I, uh…”


Buffy smiled, taking the robe from him and slipping her arms into it.  “Not very comforting, was it?”


He chuckled softly and ran his hand through his hair.  “Having Xander walk in to find you nearly nude, leaning over my body with your hand in my pants wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.”


“Well, no…”


He lifted his hand and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.  “I love you so very much, Buffy.”


Xander ran back into the room before anything else could be said.  “Um, hate to nag you…but…I can see the baby’s head!”


Giles’ eyes widened.  “What?”


“Have you ever delivered a baby?  ‘Cause I sure as hell haven’t!”


“Clean towels in the linen press, grab three or four.  Buffy…find the sharpest knife you can.”


Xander’s mouth dropped open.  “Knife?”


“Umbilical cord.”  Giles stated as an explanation and rushed out of the room.


“Oh.”  Xander swallowed nervously.


Buffy placed her hand on Xander’s shoulder and gently pushed him towards the bedroom he was sharing with Anya.  “Go, Xand…”


Xander stared down the hall, a look of bewilderment on his face.  “I’m going to be a father…”


Buffy chuckled and gave him another push.  “Yeah, you are.  Now get in there before Anya has it without you.”




Xander winced at the sound of pain in his girlfriend’s voice.  He finally got his feet moving.  Buffy smiled and turned to find Braden open his bedroom door and rub his eyes.


“What’s going on, Mum?”


“Everything’s okay, Ru. Is Lucas awake too?”


Braden shook his head and yawned.  “No, just me.  I thought I heard Anya yell.”


“Yeah, but she’s okay.”  She smiled down at the boy, realizing he wasn’t fully awake.  “Go on back to bed.”


“Mm-hm.”  He mumbled sleepily, walking back into the bedroom. 


She closed the door and smiled for a moment.  Hearing Anya grunt in pain, she remembered what she was supposed to do.


Chapter Two


Buffy rushed into the bedroom to find Anya on the bed, her knees bent, cursing at Xander.  Giles had his right hand on her stomach, his left under the sheet that covered her knees. 


He glanced under the sheet and smiled.  “Alright, Anya…it won’t be long now.”


Anya stared at Xander.  “I’ve disembowelled men for less than what you’ve done!”


“Hey, I didn’t do anything!”


Anya’s eyes watered.  “You don’t want this baby, do you?”


Xander shook his head quickly.  “Anya, I do want this baby…”


“It’s because you’re not the biological father.  You won’t love her, will you?”


Xander wiped the sweat from her brow, softening his voice.  “I’ve loved her from the very beginning, An.  She is my daughter.  And I love you more than you’ll ever know.”


“You don’t.  You hate me.”  Anya sniffled.


Xander glanced at a smiling Giles.  Giles shook his head. 


“It’s normal, Xander.  Trust me.”  He glanced up at Buffy as she moved to his side.  “We’re almost there.”


“Look at you…baby delivery man.”


He chuckled and looked up at Anya.  “Anya?”


Anya turned her eyes sharply to him.  “What?!”


He smiled warmly and gave her a nod.  “One more push for me, alright?  On the count of three.  One…two…”


Anya groaned loudly and pushed hard.  Giles shook his head as the baby’s small head moved into his hand.


“And I thought everyone could count to three.”  He mumbled under his breath. 


Anya’s nails dug into Xander’s arm as Giles moved his right hand under the sheet.  He gently shifted the baby, smiling as first one shoulder, then the second appeared.


“Almost done, Anya.  You’re doing beautifully.”


“You’re…an evil…evil man!”


Buffy snickered and placed her hand on Giles’ bare back. 


Less than a minute later, Giles was holding the newborn in his hands.  Buffy grabbed two towels, using one to clean the little girl before using the second to wrap around her.  Giles gestured to Xander’s shoe. 


“Buffy, I’ll need you to tie the cord off for me.”


“With a shoelace?”  She asked with wide eyes.


He smiled and gave her a nod.  “We use what we have.”


Xander looked down when he heard the baby cry.  “Is she okay?”


Giles smiled brightly at the young man.  “She is.  Would you like to cut the cord?”


Xander paled.  “I…I don’t know.  Uh…what if I hurt her?”


Buffy quickly tied the cord off in two places and smiled at Xander.  “You won’t hurt her.  I promise.”  She handed him the pair of kitchen scissors she had found.  “Just cut between the ties.”


He nodded nervously and took a deep breath.  One quick snip and it was done.  Giles wrapped the towel around the baby and placed her in Anya’s arms.  Xander sank onto the mattress next to Anya and stared at the baby.


“Oh my God.  She’s…beautiful.”


Anya grinned, her earlier outbursts forgotten.  “Of course she is.  She’s ours.”


Xander reached over and tenderly brushed his fingertip over the little girl’s head.  “Hello, Rayna Amelia Harris.”


Giles raised an eyebrow.  “Rayna?”


Anya smiled as she nodded.  “Star Trek reference.  Though Ethan will probably think we’ve named her after him.”


Anya narrowed her eyes, noticing for the first time that Giles was shirtless.  “Why aren’t you dressed?”


“Hm?  Oh…”  Giles blushed lightly as Xander cleared his throat.  “I…didn’t have time to put my shirt back on.  We, uh…we were going to bed when Xander came in.”


“Oh.”  She looked back down at the newborn in her arms and snuggled closer to Xander.  “We’re parents.”


Xander wiped a tear from his eye and lightly kissed her temple.  “Yeah…we really are.”


* * *


Buffy and Giles waited until the ambulance had taken Anya, Xander, and Rayna to the hospital before they went to bed.  The baby seemed to be doing well, but Giles thought it best that they be seen by a doctor.


Buffy curled up beside of him and laid her head on his chest.  “Well, that was exciting.”


“Yes, quite.”


She lifted her head slightly and looked into his eyes.  “Where did you learn how to deliver a baby?”


He smiled softly and ran his fingers through her hair.  “Watching you go through it four times.”


Buffy chuckled.  Willow’s gonna be upset that she wasn’t here.”


“Mm.  It’s not as if we had enough time to call people.  Xander said that he’d call them and Ethan when they get settled into the room.”


Buffy was quiet for a few moments, content with playing with the hair on his chest.  “How are you feeling?”


He stared at the ceiling, his fingers lightly rubbing her back.  “If I were to be very honest…exhausted.”


“Hard day.”  She whispered and kissed his chest before resting her head on his shoulder.


He cleared his throat as he nodded.  “At least there are happy memories to attach to it now.”


She bit her lip and glanced at his profile.  “Do you still want to make love?”


He thought for a second and then rolled onto his side to face her.  “I do.  But…I think I’d prefer to wait until we go home.  If…if that’s alright with you.  I just…well, I feel…”


She silenced him with a gentle kiss.  “It’s okay, Giles.  I understand.”


“Do you?”


She placed her hand on the side of his neck as she nodded.  “Yeah, I do.”


And she did.  It wasn’t merely because they were sleeping in a house owned by Amelia…well, now owned by Amelia’s children.  It was also the fact that he had concerns about using sex as comfort.  And that was something she understood very well.


“Thank you.”  He whispered, tightening his arms around her. 


“I love you.”  She whispered in return, sighing as he echoed the sentiment back to her. 


Sex wasn’t what he needed right now.  Earlier, it might have helped him…them.  But, now it would…almost cheapen the act.  Being held is what he needed now.  And so that’s what she did.  She held him, whispering words of love and comfort to him as he drifted off to sleep.


And when he would wake a few hours later, gasping for breath as he struggled to ascertain what was reality and what was his nightmare, she would hold him tighter…and kiss his fears away.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Buffy woke up slowly the next morning.  She rolled over to snuggle with her husband, only to find he wasn’t there.  She sighed heavily and glanced at the clock before she yawned and slipped out of bed, grabbing her robe and wrapping it around her body.


She ran her fingers through her sleep-tousled hair as she made her way towards the kitchen.  She smiled as she heard the distinctive sounds of their four children bickering, chuckling softly when she walked into the kitchen.  Evan was in his highchair, singing softly to himself.  Braden and Lucas were sitting at the table, having what seemed to be a serious discussion about who would win in a fight between the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Fantastic Four.


Haddie was standing in front of her father, glaring up at him with her hands on her hips.  Giles shook his head at her and spoke in an exasperated voice.


“French toast or eggs?  I’m not making pancakes this morning, Hadley.”


“Want pamcakes!”


“Yes, so you’ve stated.  However, life is not about getting what you want all of the time.  French toast or eggs?”


Haddie sighed heavily.  “Corm fakes.”


Giles gave her a quick nod and gestured towards the table with the spatula he held.  “Fine.  You can have corn flakes.  Go sit at the table.  Lucas, how do you want your eggs this morning?”


Lucas stopped in mid-rant about how Leonardo could take down Ben Grimm at any time, and looked at his father.  “Scrambled, thanks.”




“Scrambled’s fine, Dad.  Would you like me to get Haddie’s cereal?”


Giles smiled at his oldest child.  “That would be a tremendous help, thank you.”


Braden smiled back and looked at Lucas as he slid from his chair.  “Leonardo couldn’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag, Luke.  Donatello might stand a better chance though.”


Lucas narrowed his eyes at his older brother.  “They don’t fight in bags, Bay!”


Buffy couldn’t hold her laughter in any longer.  All five occupants of the room turned to look at her.  Giles gave her a warm smile.


“French toast for you?”


“That’d be great.”  She walked over to him, leaning up and kissing his cheek.  “Why didn’t you wake me?”


He shrugged a shoulder as he broke another egg into the bowl.  “You looked so peaceful.  So…beautiful.  I didn’t have the heart to wake you.”


“How are you this morning?”


He glanced at her and then quickly flipped the piece of French toast in the pan before it burned.  “A little better.  These guys make it fairly difficult to remain in a…whatever mood I was in.”


She smiled and rubbed his back.  “Can I help with anything?”


He glanced over at a bowl resting on the counter.  “Evan’s porridge should be cool enough for him now.”


Buffy nodded and picked up the small bowl, grinning at the young boy as he smiled brightly at her.  “Hungry, Evan?”


Evan giggled and Haddie gave another sigh.  Buffy rubbed the top of her head and smiled.  “What’s wrong, Haddie?”


“No pamcakes.”


“No, not today.  Maybe tomorrow morning we can all have pancakes, okay?”


Haddie’s frown disappeared as she nodded.  Braden carefully placed a bowl of corn flakes in front of his sister and gave her a kiss on the cheek.


“There you go, Haddie.  Corn flakes for you.”


“Ta.”  She giggled and grabbed her spoon.




Buffy turned towards her husband and tilted her head.  “Yeah?”


“Have a seat, love.  Breakfast is almost ready.”


Buffy smiled and sat down, quickly joining in the conversation with her older sons.  Lucas laughed heartily when Buffy suggested that Superman could beat the Turtles and the Fantastic Four all by himself.


Giles took a deep breath and grinned as the laughter resonated in the room.  It was at that moment that he knew, really knew, that everything would be okay.  Amelia’s death had rocked him…had made him dwell on the thoughts of the very real possibility that he would outlive his wife. 


Listening to her laugh and play with their children as he filled their plates, he felt the tension leave his body.  She could very well outlive him.  If any Slayer could accomplish outliving her Watcher, it would be Buffy.


Chapter Three


Ethan had been getting ready to head back to London when Xander called him.  If he were honest with himself, he hadn’t expected to be one of the first people they had called.  Sure, he was the biological father of the child, but he had no notions of being a parent to her.  Still, he had to admit that he was quite chuffed to have been notified.


He stopped by the guesthouse to see Giles on his way to the hospital.  He was rather worried about Giles, seeing how distraught he had been the previous day.  He wasn’t sure what to expect when he rang the doorbell, but was pleasantly surprised when Giles answered and gave him a brief smile.


“I figured you’d be on your way to the hospital.”  Giles stated as he stepped back from the door, allowing Ethan to enter.


“I am.  Thought I’d stop by to see how you’re doing first.”


Giles sat down on the couch and sighed.  “Better than yesterday.”


“Buffy and the children?”


Giles gestured towards the hallway.  “Getting dressed.  The children want to see the baby.  I’m sincerely hoping that Lucas doesn’t start asking how babies are made.”


Ethan chuckled softly and then looked at Giles closely.  He sighed when he recognized the tension in his friend’s posture.  Giles’ eyes flickered as Buffy walked into the room in search of Haddie’s missing shoe.


“Hi, Ethan.”


Ethan offered her a warm smile.  “Hello, Buffy.” 


He noticed a similar tension in her body as she pulled the wayward shoe out from under a chair.  Buffy smiled at Giles and held up the shoe. 


“The Princess refuses to wear anything but these at the moment.”  She gave him a wink when he smiled.  “We’ll be ready in about fifteen minutes or so.”


Giles gave her a nod, his gaze dropping to her backside as she left the room.  Ethan’s chuckle caused him to turn his head.


“What’s funny?”


Ethan grinned and sat back in the chair.  “How long has it been?”


Giles’ brow furrowed.  “Since?”


“Since you’ve had sex.”


Giles narrowed his eyes.  “I’m not sure what business that is of yours.”


Ethan’s grin faded.  “How about I take the kids with me to see the baby.  And…you and Buffy stay here for a while.”




Ethan sighed at the warning in Giles’ tone.  “Look, I know you.  I know the tension.  And…I know that the two of you need to be alone for a while.  Personally, I don’t know how you lasted as long as you did in Sunnydale without having sex regularly.”


“What makes you think I didn’t?”  Giles asked quickly, then groaned when he realized what he had said.


Ethan arched an eyebrow at him.  “And just how many hot teachers were there at Sunnydale High?”


“One.”  Giles answered softly.  “Though she wasn’t there for very long.”


“Ripper got into some mischief, did he?”  Ethan waggled his eyebrows.  “What was the going rate in Sunnydale?  Had to be cheaper than Los Angeles…”


“One, I’ve never in my life paid for sex.  Two, what do my sexual encounters prior to my relationship with Buffy have to do with anything?  Three, why the hell are we discussing my sex life at any rate?” 


Ethan sighed heavily.  “I’ll skip ‘one’ because it wasn’t a question.  Two, nothing.  Three, just trying to lighten the mood a bit, mate.  So, you weren’t shagging the teachers…not visiting the red light district.”  A slow grin spread across Ethan’s face.  “The students?”


“Oh, for God’s sake, Ethan.  Do you honestly think I’d bed a group of teenagers?”


Ethan shrugged his shoulders.  “I would’ve.  At the time.”


“Yes, and do I need to remind you that I am not you?”


“Yeah, okay.  So not the students.  I’m curious, Rupert…just who were you having regular sex with?”


“Easy lays were simple to find on the outskirts of Sunnydale, right Giles?”  Buffy answered softly as she stepped back into the room.


Both men snapped their eyes to her.  Giles cleared his throat and took a deep breath.  Ethan stared at her.


“You don’t seem surprised by that…”


Buffy shook her head in light amusement.  “I asked a lot of questions once I realized what an appetite he has for sex.”  She shrugged a shoulder and sat down next to her husband.  “Never the same woman twice, never brought them to his apartment, never gave them his phone number.  Sex, pure and simple.  And…why are you talking about this?”


Giles placed his hand on her thigh and glanced in Ethan’s direction.  “I asked the very same question.  Have yet to receive a valid answer.  Where are the children?”


“Drawing a picture for the baby.”  She looked at Ethan and tilted her head.  “Why the sudden interest in Giles’ sex life from years ago?”


“Ah, well…that’s not really where the conversation was supposed to go.  It kind of…degraded itself to that point.”  Ethan smiled softly.  “It started out as an offer for me to take the kids to the hospital…leaving the two of you to have some alone time.  It just seems that it’s…needed.  By both of you.  Don’t know how long it’s been, but judging by his tension…I’m gonna guess at least a couple of weeks.”


Buffy’s eyes widened.  “You can tell how long it’s been since he’s had sex just by looking at him?”


Ethan grinned.  “Well, maybe it has something to do with the minor mind probe thing I did a few minutes ago when I realized that it’d been a while for him.”


Giles glared at him.  “ ‘Mind probe thing’?  Ethan, we talked about this…years ago.”


Ethan lifted his hand.  “Hold on, mate.  That’s the first time I’ve done it in…well, long enough that it took me a while to remember the spell.  And the only reason I did it was because I was worried about you.”


Giles’ hand clenched into a fist, an action that didn’t go unnoticed by Ethan.  Before Giles could verbally respond, Ethan continued.


“Listen…let me take the kids.  You two rub out a quick one…or a long one…I don’t care.  But, the point is both of you need it.  You’ve both been through hell the past couple of weeks.”


Giles stared at Ethan.  “Dear God, man…could you be any more crass?”


“Probably.”  He smiled affectionately.  “It’s my nature to be crass.  But, I genuinely believe that the two of you need to spend some time together.”


“And, if you’re worried about this being Amelia’s house…”  He shook his head knowingly, cutting off Giles’ protest.  “She knew you as well as I do.  Just…take some time for each other, Rupert.”


They fell silent for a moment and then the four youngest Gileses came running into the room.  Lucas waved the piece of posterboard and grinned widely.


“We’re done, Mummy!  Can we go see the baby now?”


Buffy and Giles exchanged a glance and Giles dug the car keys out of his pocket.  He cleared his throat as he tossed them to Ethan.


“It would be easier for you to take our car.  Saves the hassle of changing over the booster seats.  We, uh…we’ll drive your car to the hospital a little later.”


Braden tilted his head.  “Aren’t you coming?”


Buffy smiled and nodded.  “We are.  Daddy and I just need to talk for a few minutes before we come.  We’ll be there shortly though, okay?”


He thought about it for a second and then smiled. 


It didn’t take long for Ethan to gather the four excited children and herd them out to the car.  Buffy and Giles waved goodbye as Ethan backed out of the driveway.  Giles closed the door and turned to her.


“Are, uh…are you sure?”


She smiled and took his hand, slowly leading him to the bedroom.  “Ethan has a strange way of going about things, but…he makes sense most of the time.”




She looked up at him as she pulled him into the bedroom and closed the door.  “So, did you tell him exactly how many women you slept with after you moved to Sunnydale?”


He chuckled softly and shook his head.  “I didn’t want to ruin the reputation he apparently thinks I have.  And knowing that my average was slightly less than one woman every eight months would definitely tarnish my image as a ladies’ man.”


She had already unbuttoned his shirt and returned his chuckle as she pushed the garment off his shoulders.  “You could’ve had more…”


He nodded slowly, knowing she was right.  In fact, he had turned down the propositions of far more women than he had actually accepted.  He reached down and grasped the hem of her blouse, gently pulling it over her head and dropping it to the floor.


“I only wanted one.”


She grinned and worked on his jeans.  “What was she like?”


“Stunning.  Her smile would light up the room.  She was very witty, very smart.  Though she had the ability to be extremely infuriating at times.”  He smiled as he kicked off his shoes and unbuttoned her jeans.  “But, she was so full of love and compassion.  And I fell hopelessly in love with her.”


“What happened to her?”  She asked softly as he gently pushed her onto the bed.


He removed her shoes and socks before pulling her jeans and underwear down her legs.  He looked into her eyes as he let the clothing fall to the floor.


“I married her.  And had four beautiful children with her.  And then…I lived happily ever after.” 


“I love you.”  She whispered, her eyes glistening.


He removed the rest of his clothing and moved to her side, his fingers nimbly unclasping the front closure of her bra.  “I love you too.”


“I would have made love with you last night…”


He nodded and leaned over her, lightly kissing her lips as he pulled the bra from her body.  “I know.  It…it wouldn’t have been right then.  It would have been less about us…and more about…other things.”


She inhaled sharply as his fingers brushed over a distended nipple.  “This is us…”


“Yes.”  His hand moved down her body, lovingly rubbing her thigh.  “Yes, it is.”


She closed her eyes, letting the pleasure of his touch wash over her.  “I’ve missed this.”


“I’m sorry.”  He whispered, sliding his left leg in between hers as she opened her eyes.  “I didn’t mean to neglect you.”


“Oh, no…that’s not what I meant, Giles.”  She rested her hand on the side of his face, her thumb gently stroking his cheek.  “God, I know you’ve had so much on your mind.  I didn’t think you were neglecting me.”


Seeing the doubt in his eyes, she leaned up and kissed his lips.  “If you had been sleeping in a different room…or wouldn’t touch me or hold me…then I would think you were neglecting me.  But, you didn’t do that.  You held me every night.  And you know as well as I do…sex is not the defining aspect of our relationship.”


He sighed softly and rubbed his thigh against her core.  “You still amaze me…”


Any response she was going to give was swallowed by his kiss.  He kissed her slowly, as if savouring her taste.  His tongue stroked hers languorously as he moved to rest between her thighs.  She groaned into his mouth, feeling his cock harden against her warm skin as her hands roamed over his back.


When her left leg curled over his hip, he broke the kiss and smiled at her.  He reached between them and gently guided the tip of his cock through her damp folds.  Her hands clenched on his back when he brushed over her clitoris.




He understood her whispered plea.  Their shared kisses and touches were enough foreplay for the moment.  He closed his eyes briefly when he slipped the head of his erection into her.  Her warmth surrounded him as he slowly pushed forward.




He opened his eyes and smiled down at her.  He knew it wasn’t going to take long for either of them.  But, he was determined to make it last as long as he possibly could.


He moved his hips slowly, thrusting at a gentle pace.  He groaned as her nails lightly scratched his back. 


“Too much?” 


He shook his head, moving his left hand to her hip.  “Never…too much…”


He lowered his head to the crook of her neck, biting his lip as he struggled to hold on.  No more words were spoken by either of them.  The only sounds were the soft gasps, grunts…the occasional creak of the bedsprings as he continued rocking his body against hers.


He felt her inner muscles quiver, her hands gripping his back tightly.  He heard her sharp intake of breath and he quickened his pace.  He lifted his head slightly, placing soft kisses along her neck to her ear.


“There has never been anything that felt as incredible as the sensation of making love with you.”  He whispered huskily, his breath hot against her skin.




“Let go, darling.  I…I can’t hold on much longer…and you’re so…so very…close…”


Her mouth latched onto his shoulder, teeth biting into his skin as she screamed her release.  Her inner walls rippled with the force of her orgasm, her warm fluids bathing his cock.  Her name left his lips on a groan of ecstasy as he came deep within her.


His body shuddered as he collapsed, shifting his body at the last moment to rest beside of her instead of on top of her.  She moved with him, pressing her chest tightly against his and refusing to let go of him.


He smiled as his chest heaved.  “Oh, Buffy…”


She rubbed gentle circles across his back, whimpering softly as his softening cock slipped from her.  “Let’s go away.”


“Hm?”  He pulled back just enough to look into her eyes.  “I’m sorry?”


“Let’s go away.”  She repeated softly, moving her right hand to his chest, relishing the sensation of his heart pounding under her palm.  “Just us, the kids…a couple of weeks.  Just the six of us.  Please…”


He thought for only a second before answering with a gentle smile.


“Where do you want to go?”


Chapter Four


Buffy and Giles walked into the hospital room to find it full of people.  Anya and Xander were reclined on the bed, Haddie and Maria perched on the end of the bed playing with a couple of dolls.  Willow sat on one chair, Oz sitting next to her with Jake in his arms.  Their three sons were sitting on the floor with a deck of cards.


Ethan sat in a third chair, Rayna Harris sleeping quietly in his arms.  He looked up and smiled brightly.


“They named her Rayna.”


Giles chuckled as Anya rolled her eyes at Xander.  “I told you he’d think we named her after him.”


Willow grinned at Giles.  “Heard you played doctor last night.”  Her grin faded as she reddened.  “Um…I really didn’t mean that the way it sounded.”


Giles laughed heartily, the first real laugh anyone had heard from him in a couple of weeks.  Evan looked up at his father and smiled.


Ethan stood and carefully handed the baby to Buffy as he smiled at Giles.  “Have a nice talk?”


Giles cleared his throat and gave him a quick nod.  “Thank you.”


Ethan chuckled, allowing his eyes to trail down Giles’ body before meeting his eyes.  “You look better.”


Maria looked up at Giles and grinned.  “Hi Unca Gi.”


Giles reached over and lightly rubbed her reddish hair.  “Hello Maria.  How are you today?”


“Good.”  She held up the doll in her hand.  “Wanna play?”


He leaned down and kissed her cheek.  “Maybe in a little while?”


Maria nodded quickly.  “ ‘Kay!”


Haddie grabbed her father’s arm.  When he turned to look at her, she pointed to her cheek.  “I have one too?”


Giles grinned and kissed her as well.  “You can have one any time you like, Hadley.”


He lifted his eyes and smiled at Anya.  “And how are you feeling this morning?”


“Great.  The doctor…the real doctor…said you did a pretty good job.”  Her eyes softened as she looked at him with true affection.  “Thank you, Giles.”


“There’s nothing to thank me for, Anya.  I did what needed to be done.”  He tilted his head slightly as Evan pulled on the leg of his jeans.  “But, you’re very welcome.”


He looked down at his smiling son and chuckled.  “Yes, Evan?”


Evan showed him the three cards he held in his hand.  “I win?”


Giles looked at the cards and then at the cards positioned in a straight line on the floor.  He shook his head slowly and pointed to one of the cards. 


“No, you need another of these.”


“A do?”


Giles grinned and shook his head again.  “No, a two won’t help you.”


Evan turned the card in his hand and studied it.  “A samock?”


Giles laughed, but nodded.  “It’s actually called a ‘club’, not a ‘shamrock’.  But, yes…you need one of those.”


Evan nodded and dug through the small stack of cards until he found another club.  He held the card up happily.


“Now I win?”


“Now you win.”  Giles agreed, winking at his two older sons.  He turned to his wife when he felt a gentle slap against his arm.  “Yes?”


“He’s not even two and you’re teaching him how to play poker?”


“I was playing poker when I was about his age.”  Ethan offered.


Buffy met Ethan’s eyes and shifted Rayna in her arms.  “And that makes me feel so much better about it.”


“We’re not playing for money, Mum.”  Braden stated quickly.


Buffy rolled her eyes at her husband.  “If our children turn into gambling addicts, I’m holding you personally responsible.”


Oz snorted a laugh and Willow lightly smacked his knee.  He raised an eyebrow at her, obviously trying to hold his laughter in.


Giles cleared his throat and turned his eyes back to Xander and Anya.  “Um…how long did the doctor suggest you stay?”


“We should be able to go home tomorrow.”  Xander offered quickly with a smile.  His smile faded as a thought occurred to him.  “But…we don’t have a car seat here.”


“I’ll take care of it.”  Ethan smiled and looked at Giles.  “Care to go for a ride?”


Giles glanced at Buffy, who gave him a tender smile in response.  He leaned down and brushed his lips across hers.


“We’ll be back soon.”


Evan looked up quickly.  “I come?”


Giles knelt down and shook his head.  “Not this time.  But, we shan’t be gone long.”


Evan sighed, but didn’t argue.  Giles tousled the boy’s hair and glanced at Braden. 


“Maybe play a game of ‘Go Fish’ with him?  At least it’s a semi-educational game.”


Braden smiled as Lucas clapped his hands.  “I like Fish!”


Giles grinned and winked at Lucas.  “I know.  Maybe Evan will like it as much as you do.”


He stood back up and gazed into Buffy’s eyes.  She blushed lightly and shifted her weight on her feet.


“Be careful.”


“I will.”  He answered softly, not breaking the gaze. 


Ethan nudged his shoulder.  “Come on, mate.  The quicker we leave, the quicker we’re back.”


Willow grinned and caught Buffy’s eye as Giles and Ethan left the room.  “Ooh…smoulder…”


Buffy rolled her eyes playfully and handed Rayna to Xander. 


* * *

Giles glanced at Ethan, noticing he was holding the steering wheel a bit too tight.  “Everything alright, Ethan?”


Ethan stopped for a red light and sighed.  “I think Anna’s leaving me.”


Giles stared at his friend.  “Excuse me?”


Ethan cleared his throat nervously.  “Certain aspects of my past have come to light.  And she’s having a rather hard time dealing with them.”


“What could she possibly have a hard time dealing with after all these years?  She knows about the magick, the drugs, Chaos…”  He trailed off as his eyes widened.  “You were honest with her about your sexuality, weren’t you?”


“Oh yeah…she knows.  Even understands when I feel that urge…”  He sighed heavily again as the light turned green.  “However…I didn’t tell her that I had been intimate with you when we were younger.”


Giles lowered his eyes, staring at his hands.  “Oh.”


Ethan glanced quickly at Giles before returning his eyes to the road.  “Don’t start feeling guilty, Rupert.  I didn’t tell her for a reason.”


“And…how did she, uh…find out?”


“Apparently, I still talk in my sleep.”  He swallowed thickly and pulled to the side of the road in front of a row of shops.  “She, uh…she had quite a few questions for me.”




Ethan killed the ignition, but made no effort to get out of the car.  He stared at the steering wheel. 


“She believes I’m…having sex with you.”  He took a shaky breath, his voice quiet as he continued.  “I tried to explain that it was years ago and that we haven’t…she, uh…she didn’t believe me.”


“Oh, God…Ethan.”  Giles reached over and placed his hand on Ethan’s shoulder. 


Ethan chuckled sadly.  “The best part was when she accused me of having a threesome with you and Buffy.”


Giles’ eyes widened.  “What?”


“Apparently, that’s the only reason Buffy would accept the fact that you and I are still friends.  And not have an issue with the two of us spending time together.”


He shook his head as he continued.


“She was fine with watching me fuck another man.  She was fine with watching another man fuck me.”  He inhaled deeply and rubbed the side of his neck.  “Hell, she was fine with me fucking her while I had a man’s cock buried deep inside of me.  But…I’m not friends with those men.  I don’t spend time with them.”


“I’m quite sure I don’t know what to say, Ethan.”


Ethan shrugged a shoulder and removed the keys from the ignition.  “Not much to say.  I love her.  I would’ve probably married her.  But, I’ve never dealt well with ultimatums.”


Giles furrowed his brow.  “Ultimatums?”


Ethan nodded and turned his head to look at Giles.  “Walk away from you or she walks away from me.  I, uh…I’ve yet to be able to walk away from you.”


“I’m sorry.” 


“Not your fault.  I should’ve told her years ago.”  Ethan took a deep breath and offered Giles a smile.  “It does raise the question of why Buffy seems to be okay with our friendship.  She knows about our past.”


“She does.  However, I haven’t had the desire to bed another man.  She trusts that I would discuss it with her, should that desire change.”


Ethan raised an eyebrow.  “Would you?”


“Absolutely.”  Giles replied quickly. 


Ethan was quiet for a moment and then shrugged a shoulder.  “It’ll hurt to lose her.  God, she’s brilliant in bed.”


Giles sighed as Ethan climbed out of the car.  He knew his friend was hurting.  He also knew that Ethan was covering his pain with a blasé comment.  Realizing that the conversation was over for now, Giles climbed out of the car and followed Ethan into the shop.


They’d talk more later.


* * *


Buffy watched Giles as he silently helped her pack up their belongings.  He had been fairly quiet since they left the hospital.  She couldn’t help but feel concerned.




He looked up as he closed the bag containing their children’s toys.  “Yes?”


“What’s wrong?”


He sighed and placed the bag on the floor.  “I’m sorry.  I’ve been somewhat distant, haven’t I?”


“Yeah.”  She replied softly.  “Is it because of this morning?”


He shook his head slowly and moved to stand in front of her, gently taking hold of her hand.  “God, no.  I…well, I’m worried about Ethan.”


Buffy looked at him in confusion.  “He seemed okay.”


Giles cleared his throat and sat down on the bed, pulling her down beside of him.  “He’s fairly certain that Anna is leaving him.”


Buffy’s eyes widened in shock.  “What?  Why?”


Giles ran his hand through his hair.  “She believes he’s having an affair.”


Buffy exhaled deeply.  “Okay, I know Ethan has a certain…Ethan-ness about him, but…I really don’t think he’d cheat on her.”


“He wouldn’t.”  Giles knew that he was going to have to tell her everything.  “But, they’ve brought other people into their bed.”


“Oh.”  Buffy responded quietly.  “Who?”


“I didn’t ask for names, Buffy.  A few men, once in a while…that’s all I know.”


Buffy shook her head quickly.  “No, I meant who does she think he’s having an affair with?  And…a few men?  For him or her?”


Giles cleared his throat.  “For him.  As for who she thinks the affair is with…um…me.”


“You?”  Her eyes widened again. 


“Technically…us…the three of us.”


“Three of…you mean, you, me, and Ethan?”  Her mouth dropped open as he nodded.  “Why would she think that?”


“She recently found out about the time Ethan and I spent together when we were younger.  She assumes that since you have no issues with the friendship I now have with Ethan…”


“That I’d sleep with you and Ethan?  Has she completely lost her mind?”


“No.”  Giles lifted his hand and brushed his fingers through her hair.  “I think she’s overwhelmed.  And…I think it’s a valid suspicion given the circumstances.  Add to that the fact that she raised an ultimatum, which he refused…”


“What kind of ultimatum?”  She asked warily.


“Either he walks away from me or she walks away from him.”


Buffy tilted her head slightly.  “And he chose you.  Which doesn’t surprise me in the least.  Is…is Ethan okay?”


Giles sighed softly.  “He’s hurting.  He loves her, Buffy.  Even hinted at the thought of asking her to marry him.  But, she won’t…or can’t…move past his…past.”


Buffy edged closer to him, sliding her arm around his lower back.  “Then that’s her loss.  In my opinion, if you go into a relationship with someone you have to accept what has happened in the past.  The past is part of what makes a person the person they are.”


When his lips curled into a small smile, she chuckled.  “You totally followed that, didn’t you?”


“I did.”  He answered softly, leaning into her and placing a tender kiss on her lips.  “And how glad am I that you subscribe to that line of thinking?”


She carefully moved onto his lap and slid her left hand into his hair.  “I don’t know.  Why don’t you tell me?”


His eyes darted to her lips as his arms encircled her.  “I think I’d prefer to show you.”


She smiled and gently pushed him back until he was lying underneath her.  “I’ve always heard that actions speak louder than words.”


His hands moved to her hips as she settled over his quickly emerging erection.  “I fully intend for my actions to leave you with no questions.”


She grinned and lowered her mouth to his.


Chapter Five


A week later, Ethan walked into his house with his bag slung over his shoulder.  He had put off his return for as long as he could.  He’d tried calling, but there’d been no answer.


Glancing at the answering machine, he sighed heavily knowing that each of the messages were from him.  The house was quiet…far too quiet.  He shook his head and made his way to the bedroom where he dropped his bag onto the bed and opened the closet.


His jaw clenched, then released, when he saw that her clothes were gone.  He looked around the room, his eyes focusing on an envelope resting on the bedside table.  His fingers trembled as he picked the item up, lifting the flap and pulling out the sheet of paper.


He read the letter quickly.  It was short and to the point, no need to take his time with it.




I love you, but I can’t go on like this.  When I asked you to choose, I knew in my heart what the choice would be.  I can’t stay…not when all I do is sit here and wonder what you’re doing with him.  You’ve been gone for a week…and you’ve told me that there’s nothing going on between the two of you, but I heard the passion in your voice when you called his name that night.  It was the same passion I’ve heard time and time again over the years.


I think it’s best to end this now before it gets worse.  As much as I wanted this, I don’t think I’ll ever believe you aren’t in a relationship with him.  I need to move on and all I ask is that you not look for me.  Just…let it go.




He swallowed thickly and carefully folded the letter and slid it back into the envelope.  He dropped it back onto the bedside table and pushed himself from the bed.  Looking around the room once more, he shook his head and made his way back into the living room.


After pouring himself a stiff drink, he sat down on the couch and stared into space.  He sipped his drink slowly as thoughts drifted in and out of his mind.  He cleared his throat and made the decision that he’d get through this just as he had gotten through previous break-ups.


He smiled as he downed his drink.  A few more and he’d be ready.  He’d go out, find a pretty young woman…or man, he didn’t really care.  And he’d bring him or her home…and fuck until he forgot what he was upset about in the first place.


He poured another drink and glanced at the picture sitting on the lamp table.  He felt his anger grow as he looked at Anna’s smiling face, her arms wrapped around his neck.  He lashed out with his hand, sending the frame flying across the room. 


He swallowed the bourbon, relishing the burn in his throat.  He picked up the phone and rang for a taxi.  He smiled as he listened to the phone ring.


Maybe he’d bring home a man and a woman. 


* * *


Xander sat in a chair next to Rayna’s crib.  He smiled as he watched his tiny daughter shift in her sleep.  Anya walked into the room and touched his shoulder.


“What are you doing?”


He covered her hand with his, speaking softly but not taking his eyes off the baby.  “Watching her sleep.”


She moved around the chair and carefully climbed onto his lap.  “You really do love her, don’t you?”


He nodded slowly, lifting his eyes to meet hers.  “More than I ever thought possible.”


She grinned and snuggled against him, resting her head on his shoulder.  They sat there, holding one another and watched their child sleep.  They’d take themselves to bed once her next feeding had taken place.


* * *


Ethan grinned as the woman shoved him against the wall in the back room of a certain sex shop he frequented.  He was sure she had told him her name, but for the life of him, he couldn’t remember what it was.  He closed his eyes as he felt her lips slide down the length of his cock.


He suddenly realized that he didn’t care what her name was…as long as she kept swirling her tongue around him. 


* * *


Willow and Oz had just gotten their children to sleep when the doorbell rang.  Oz sighed heavily and glanced at the clock. 


“I’ll get it.”


Willow gave him a nod and sat down on the couch.  Oz ran his hand through his short hair and swung the door open. 




Angel regarded the young man carefully.  “Sorry to bother you, but…what do you know about the Mishtwanai?”


Oz raised an eyebrow and took a step back.  Angel sighed and gestured at the doorway. 


“I can’t…unless you invite me…”


Oz nodded slowly.  “I know.”  He reached into the umbrella stand beside the door and pulled out a wooden stake.  “Come in, Angel.”


Angel glanced at the stake and cleared his throat.  Oz smiled softly.


“I have a family to protect.  You’re a vampire and you’re asking about the Mishtwanai.  This…”  He lifted the stake and twirled it between his fingers.  “This is merely a precaution.”


Angel gave a quick nod and stepped over the threshold.  “I’m…not evil.”


“Yeah, you’ve said that before.”  He led Angel into the living room, keeping a close eye on him.  “It hasn’t always been the truth when you’ve said it.”


Willow’s eyes widened.  “Angel?”


Angel smiled softly.  “Hi Willow.”


“Where’s Faith?”


“On assignment out next to Stonehenge.”


“Oh.”  She tilted her head and studied him.  “Hey, you want some tea?  I’ll go make some tea…”  She rambled quickly before standing up and rushing into the kitchen.


Angel stared after her, shaking his head in mild amusement.  “Nice to see some things haven’t changed.”


“What do you want, Angel?”  Oz asked firmly.


Angel suddenly sobered and looked into Oz’s eyes.


“Buffy’s the Mishtwanai.”


Oz nodded, the stake still held lightly in his hand.  “Yeah, we know.”


Angel sat down in the chair and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees.  “I know who the Protector is.”


Oz exhaled slowly and tightened his grip on the stake.


* * *


Ethan rolled a condom onto his erection and stood behind the young man leaning over the bench in the small cubicle.  He didn’t normally pick up men here…and it certainly wasn’t normal for him to fuck a man here.


But this wasn’t exactly a normal situation.  He ripped open the sachet of lubricant and squeezed a generous amount into his hand. 


“So…James, was it?”


“Jamie.”  The young man groaned as he felt the older man slip two oiled fingers into his anus. 


“Jamie…you’re…nice and tight.  Tell me…how do you want this?”


Jamie turned his head and looked at Ethan over his shoulder.  “Fuck me hard.”


Ethan grinned and nudged the head of his cock against the puckered orifice.  “Ask and ye shall receive…”


* * *


Buffy moaned and ran her hands over Giles’ sweat-drenched chest as she looked down at him.  “Don’t stop…”


His hands gripped her hips tightly as he thrust up against her.  “Rub your breasts, Buffy…let me watch you.”


She lifted her left hand from his chest and covered her breast, kneading the firm flesh as he guided her up and down the length of his cock.  He groaned and licked his lips. 


“Both of them…rub them, squeeze them…”


She complied with his urgently whispered request, gasping as he quickened the pace of his thrusts.  He stared at her hands, timing his thrusts with each squeeze of a breast.


“That’s where I want my cock in a minute.” 


She leaned back slightly, increasing the pressure of his strokes.  “Where?”


He groaned at the change of angle.  “Between your breasts.  With you pressing them around me…”


She came suddenly, no warning given.  His fingers dug into her hips, fighting the urge to come with her.


“God, Giles!”


He smiled and rolled her onto her back, continuing to pump his hips against her as he leaned over and thrust his tongue into her mouth.  Her teeth scraped against his tongue, her chest rumbling with a growl as she came again.


* * *


Ethan opened his eyes, squinting in the dim light.  His head was pounding, his throat raw and feeling oddly dusty.  He rolled onto his side and groaned at the sharp pain in his lower back.  A warm hand moved along his ribcage and he felt the distinct sensation of a tongue sliding up his spine.


It didn’t take long before the hand moved from his ribs to his waking cock.  Warm air brushed by his ear as a soft voice whispered to him.


“Ready for more?”


Ethan froze.  He recognized the voice.  He looked down at the red-skinned hand curled around his erection.  His mind swam, the alcohol and drugs he had obviously taken at some point in the night clouding his thoughts.


“No.”  He whispered.  “No more…”


The demon chuckled as he began to stroke the hard flesh in his hand.  “Come now, Ethan.  You know you want more…”


* * *


Giles panted heavily, pulling Buffy’s sweaty and sticky body into his arms.  He could feel her heart pounding against him.


“Well, then…”  She gasped, her fingers trembling as she idly stroked his stomach.


“Mm, quite.”  He chuckled softly.  He gently rubbed her back, exhaling a deep breath as she slipped her right leg over his thigh.


“I think if I had to rate that one, it’d be in my top five.”


He grinned and pressed a kiss into her damp hair. 


When the phone rang, he looked at the alarm clock, narrowing his eyes when he saw the time.  He grabbed the phone quickly, his still slightly shaky fingers fumbling with the handset.




“Rupert.  God, I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry…”


Giles carefully pushed himself up.  “Ethan?  What’s wrong?”


Buffy sat up beside of him, her brow furrowing in concern.


“I…I need your help.” 


Giles glanced at Buffy.  He could hear the sounds of a car horn blaring over the phone.  “Where are you?”


“Whitechapel.”  Ethan answered breathlessly.


“What the hell are you doing in Whitechapel at three in the morning?”


Buffy’s eyes widened.


“Please, Ripper…please, help me.”


Giles started at the sound of the old nickname.  “Ethan?”


“I…I have to go…please…you know where to find me.”


As the line disconnected, Giles cursed and climbed out of bed.  Buffy followed him, grabbing her robe from the floor.


“Giles?  What’s going on?”


Giles dressed quickly and shook his head.  “I don’t know.  He’s in Whitechapel…he sounded drunk and…scared.”  He stopped suddenly and looked into her eyes.  “I’m sorry, Buffy.  I have to go find him.”


“I wasn’t going to try to stop you.  Do you…I can call Peter and ask him to come over to stay with the kids…”


Giles started to shake his head, but stopped in mid-shake.  He thought about the sound of Ethan’s voice.  There was only one thing that had ever put that degree of fear into the man.  And if that one thing was back in Ethan’s life, he was going to need Buffy’s help.


“Call him.  But, please…hurry.”


Buffy grabbed the phone, cradling the handset between her ear and shoulder as she hurriedly got dressed.  She apologized quickly when Peter answered the phone and then quickly explained that there was an emergency that she and Giles needed to take care of on the other side of the city.


Peter interrupted her, stating that he’d be there in fifteen minutes.  Buffy thanked him and ended the call.  As she pulled a shirt over her head, she met Giles’ worried eyes.


“Do you know what it is?”


Giles slid his arms into his leather jacket and sighed.  “I think so.  Christ, I hope I’m wrong.”


“What is it?”


He slipped a few weapons into the inner pockets of the jacket and swallowed. 




Buffy stared at him in bewilderment.  “Chaos?  He wouldn’t…”


“Not intentionally, no.”  He agreed.  “But, I know how he deals with heartache.  And if he fell into Chaos’ bed…”


“Bed?”  Buffy’s mouth dropped open.  “He fucked Chaos?”


Giles shook his head and ushered her out of the bedroom, gently nudging her to the living room.  “One doesn’t fuck Chaos.  Chaos fucks you.”


Buffy was at a loss for words.  Giles continued to explain as best he could as they waited for Peter to arrive.  Buffy tried to pay attention, but the words weren’t sinking in.


She started to interrupt him when some of his words finally hit home.


“Ethan could possibly end the world if Chaos is under his skin.”


“Oh, fucking great.”


Giles’ response was cut short by a light knock at the door.  After giving Peter a quick rundown and checking to make sure each of them had their mobiles, they ran out to the car. 


Giles threw the car in reverse and backed out of the driveway.  He glanced at his watch.  If he put his foot down, he could be there in thirty minutes.  Maybe less if he used a spell to cloak his speed from law enforcement. 


He uttered a few words in a language Buffy had never heard, and slammed his foot on the accelerator.  As he sped down the streets, he hoped that he could get to Ethan in time. 


He knew where to find him. 


It was the same place he’d always been able to find him. 


Now, it was just a question of time.  He prayed that time was on his side this time.


Chapter Six


Giles slammed the brakes, neatly sliding to a stop in front of a fairly rundown building.  Buffy narrowed her eyes.


“What is this?”


Giles jerked the keys out of the ignition and flung the door open.  “This is where Ethan is.”


Buffy exited the car and raced behind Giles up the small set of stairs that led to the door.  “Are you sure?  It looks…abandoned.”


Giles took a deep breath and put his hand on the doorknob.  “I’m sure.  And, it is.  Has been for the most part for well over thirty years.”


“Why would he come here?”  Buffy asked quietly, her eyes surveying their surroundings.


“Because he knows I’d look here.”  He turned to look at her as he twisted the knob.  “I’ll explain everything later.  Please…just trust me.”


She gave him a quick nod and followed him into the darkened foyer of the building.  He moved through the rooms with an ease that piqued Buffy’s curiosity.  Giles turned suddenly into a room in the middle of a hallway.  He inhaled sharply and took off in a sprint across the room.




Buffy skidded to a stop beside of them as Giles knelt next to Ethan’s bruised and battered body.  “Oh shit…”


Giles gingerly placed his hand on the side of Ethan’s neck, exhaling slowly when he found a pulse.  “Ethan?”


Ethan groaned lowly, his eyes fluttering open.  “Rupert…”


“Jesus…you smell like a distillery.”  Giles muttered as he helped Ethan sit up.  “What the hell happened?”


“She’s gone.  Left a note.  I…coped.”


“Fuck…”  Giles mumbled, inspecting Ethan’s visible injuries.


“Oh, I did.”  Ethan chuckled miserably.  His eyes darkened slightly as he looked at Giles.  “And…then I got fucked.”


Giles stared at him, his voice icy as he spoke to Buffy without breaking the stare.  “Buffy, should you see anything…particularly…”  He silently questioned Ethan.  Ethan answered with a brief nod.  “Particularly a red-skinned demon…slay first, ask questions later.”


Buffy nodded, but narrowed her eyes.  “Giles?  What’s going on?”


“Did he get under your skin?”  Giles asked quietly, ignoring Buffy’s question.


Ethan shook his head slowly.  “I…I don’t know.”


“How much have you had to drink?”


Ethan swallowed as he thought.  “I started when I got home.  Not quite sure when I finished.”




Buffy’s eyes widened.  Ethan shrugged a shoulder.


“Dunno.  Don’t remember takin’ anything.  But, feel like I ‘ave.”


“Sound like you have as well.”  Giles mumbled, roughly pushing up the sleeves of Ethan’s shirt.  He inspected the insides of his arms carefully.  “No recent pricks…”


Ethan snorted.  “That’s what you think…”


Giles stared into his eyes again.  “I was referring to needle pricks, Ethan.”


“Oh.  Throat feels…dusty.”


“What do you remember, Ethan?”


Ethan let his head fall back against the wall as he sighed.  “I remember fucking a sweet young thing in the back room of a shop down the street.  Don’t remember her name though.  I remember fucking Jamie two doors down.  Sweet boy…nice, tight ass…I think I got his number before I left.”


Buffy stared at him.  Giles took a patient breath.


“Then…I kinda lose things.  I woke up here…”


“With Chaos?”


“Mm.  He fucked me good, Ripper.  Dunno how many times.  Dunno how he found me…”  Ethan inhaled deeply and then stared into Giles’ eyes.  “Smells like you had a good round as well.”


“Shut up, Ethan.”  Giles shook his head slowly.  “Can you feel him?”


Ethan concentrated as much as he could and then shook his head.  “No.  Think he just gave me a taste…show me what I’ve been missing…lure me back.”


“Are you sure?”  Giles asked cautiously.


“Mm.  Pull is strong.  Desire is heavy.  Like the first time.”


“Giles?”  Buffy whispered.


Ethan grinned sloppily.  “You fucked me here, Ripper.  Time and time again…”


Giles swallowed thickly, jumping slightly when Buffy touched his shoulder.  “I…we need to get you out of here, Ethan.”


Ethan shook his head, his eyes glazing.  “He’s coming.  And he’ll make me come again.  I…there’s something you need to know.”


“It can wait.  We need to go.”


“He’ll be here soon.”  Ethan replied sadly.  “If he takes me…I can’t come back again.”


Giles nodded in understanding.  “That’s why we’re leaving now.”


“I’ll hurt you.  And…it will be something you can’t recover from.”  He glanced at Buffy quickly before turning his glazed eyes back to Giles.  “Neither of you will recover.  You have to know now…in case…”


Giles’ eyes moved to Ethan’s hand when he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a knife.  He flipped the blade open and took a deep breath.  With no warning, he sliced the blade through his jeans and into the flesh of his thigh. 




Buffy turned towards the door, hearing heavy footsteps coming from somewhere within the building.  “Giles?  I think we have company.”


“Hold him off as long as you can.”  He grabbed Buffy’s hand and looked up at her.  “For God’s sake, be careful.”


She squeezed his hand, glancing at Ethan as he continued to dig the blade into his own flesh.  “I’ll keep him busy.”


He felt his heart sink as he watched her move closer to the door.  When Ethan groaned, he looked down at the blood-soaked jeans. 




Ethan gasped a sigh of relief as the stone worked its way to the surface of his leg.  He pulled it out with trembling fingers and met Giles’ eyes.


“Holy shit!”  Buffy exclaimed as the demon stepped into the doorway.  She glanced down at the enormous erection jutting from the demon’s groin. 


The demon grinned, his red skin shining brightly in the dim light.  “I normally only take men.”  He roamed his eyes over Buffy’s body.  “I can make an exception in your case.”


Ethan’s eyes widened in fear as he dropped the stone into Giles’ hand.  “Break it now!”


Giles looked at the stone, then glanced over his shoulder.  “Fuck!”


Chaos took a swing at Buffy.  She ducked quickly and darted to her left, hoping to draw him away from Giles and Ethan.  Giles dropped the stone on the floor and stood, pulling a knife out of his inside jacket pocket.


He called Buffy’s name and then tossed the knife in her direction.  She caught it without looking, slamming the heel of her boot on the demon’s foot.  Chaos growled and caught her shoulder with a backhanded swipe. 


Giles pulled another knife out of his pocket and took off in a run across the room.  He screamed at the demon as Buffy hit the wall and slid to the hard floorboards.


Buffy shook her head as she picked herself up from the floor, the knife dropping from her hand as she stared at her husband.  “Giles!”


Giles glanced at Buffy and Chaos took advantage of Giles’ lapse in concentration.  The demon struck out, the palm of his hand hitting Giles’ sternum and slamming him back.  As Giles stumbled, Chaos turned towards Buffy and grasped the front of her shirt.  He lifted her easily and pinned her against the wall.  He licked his lips in a lecherous manner.


“Is your ass as tight as his?”


“Giles!”  Buffy screamed as the demon ripped her shirt open.


His grip tightened on the knife in his hand and he ran across the room for a second time.  With a scream of his own, he buried the seven-inch blade into the demon’s spine. 


Chaos roared and dropped Buffy, spinning around to face Giles.  “You’ve taken him from me once.  It will not happen again.”


Buffy scrambled to her feet, grabbing her discarded knife as Chaos wrapped his hand around Giles’ throat.  Ethan struggled to his feet, his hand pressed tightly against his thigh. 


“Start…with his…dick…”  Ethan gasped, his knees buckling under his weight.


Buffy narrowed her eyes and took a deep breath.  She lashed out, cleanly slicing the appendage from the demon’s body.  Chaos released his hold on Giles as he roared in agony.  Giles fell to the floor, gasping for breath.


He met Buffy’s eyes.  “Finish him…”


Buffy threw herself at Chaos, arms flailing as the blade penetrated the demon’s thick skin over and over.  Yellow fluid poured from the wounds, seeping through the floorboards underneath their feet. 


Giles drug himself away from the fight, but kept his eyes trained on Buffy.  When Chaos fell to his knees, Buffy wrapped her arms around his head and jerked.  The screams ended suddenly as a loud crack resonated in the room.


She pushed the demon’s body to the floor and stared at it, as if daring him to get back up.  Hearing her husband call her name, she backed away from the corpse, stopping when she felt Giles’ hand touch her calf.




Her knees gave way and she fell into his arms.  He tenderly stroked her hair as she wrapped her arms around him.


“Are you alright?”


She nodded wordlessly, overwhelmed by a sudden rush of tears.


Ethan lowered his head, his trembling fingers picking up the forgotten stone. He looked up and felt his throat constrict.


Chaos was dead, soon to be replaced by another, he was sure.  That was the only good thing that had come from this.  He had been in pain…and his pain clouded his judgement.  This was all his fault.


He inhaled shakily and looked over at the sobbing couple holding on to one another as if their lives depended on it.  He glanced at the stone and shoved it deep into the pocket of his ruined jeans. 


He had panicked and very nearly divulged their oldest child’s identity as the Protector.  He cursed softly under his breath and struggled to his feet.  He stumbled over to the demon’s corpse and stared down at him.


Ethan would not be controlled by him again.


* * *


Oz paced back and forth in the nursery, Jake fussing sleepily in his arms.  He hummed a soft tune, lulling the baby back to sleep. Oz’s mind raced.  He wasn’t sure what he was going to do, but the one thing he did know was that he needed to talk to Ethan.


Angel had left hours ago.  And Angel did indeed know the identity of the Protector.  When he questioned the vampire, Angel stated that he had found a letter in some of Novak’s belongings.  The letter had been written shortly before Novak’s death.  And it was intended to be read only in the event of Novak’s death…and only by Angel.


Angel assured Oz that he hadn’t divulged the secret to anyone else…and that he had no plans to.  He wanted to help, but he didn’t want to be in the way.  Besides, Faith was waiting for him at Stonehenge. 


Oz had raised an eyebrow at that, to which Angel merely shrugged. 


Oz took a deep breath, a hint of a smile on his lips when he realized that his son had finally fallen back asleep.  His brow furrowed slightly as his mind started turning again.


He didn’t know where Ethan was.  He’d tried to call his mobile several times, but Ethan had failed to answer.  Oz was curious, but not overly concerned.  But he knew that he did need to talk to him soon.


He carefully placed his son in the crib and tucked the blanket around his small body.  Oz ran his fingers over Jake’s head and yawned.


He’d try to call Ethan again first thing in the morning.


Chapter Seven


Giles glanced in the rearview mirror and took a deep breath.  Buffy rested her hand on his thigh and spoke softly.


“He can’t go home tonight, Giles.”


Giles cleared his throat as he nodded in agreement.  “I can take him to the Council…he’ll be safe there.”


Buffy widened her eyes and stared at him.  “No…I was kinda suggesting we take him home with us.”


Giles turned his head to look at her briefly.  “Are you sure?”


She looked into the back of the car and sighed heavily at the sight of the nearly broken man stretched across the seat.  “He’s just lost his girlfriend, he’s…God, Giles…I can’t even begin to understand what he’s been through tonight.”


“I can.”  Giles replied softly.


She rubbed his thigh and nodded slowly.  “I know.  And that’s one of the reasons I really think he should stay with us for a few days.” 


“A few days?”  Giles raised an eyebrow. “Buffy…”


“He could’ve died tonight…or…worse.  And I honestly believe you’re the only person he’s going to be able to talk to about this.”  She watched her husband carefully as he thought.  “I’m okay with this, Giles.  And…the kids love him, and vice versa.  I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving him alone right now.”


He exhaled slowly, coming to a stop at a red light.  He turned and looked into her eyes.  After a moment, he gave a quick nod and leaned over to give her a tender kiss. 


“Thank you.”


“Haddie and Evan have daycare tomorrow.  I think you should stay home from work ‘cause it’s like almost five in the morning now…and you haven’t had any sleep.  I’ll take Braden and Lucas to school and drop Haddie and Evan off…”




Buffy shook her head, protesting his interruption.  “Ethan should sleep for hours once we get him into a bed…and…you need sleep, Giles.  You haven’t been sleeping well at all…do you think I don’t notice?”


“No.”  He whispered as he navigated the streets that led to their home.  “I know you notice.”


“You’re not going to work tomorrow.  And that’s final.”  Buffy glanced into the backseat again.  “And…what was with him stabbing himself in the leg?”


“He, uh…dug a stone of some sort out of his thigh.  Told me to break it.”  He cleared his throat and shook his head.  “I’m rather sure he’s hiding something from me…us.”


“Something else to put on the ‘talk to Ethan about’ list?”


“I’m afraid so.  I must admit, of all the things he said and did tonight…that was the one that worried me the most.”


Buffy looked at his profile and tilted her head slightly.  “Why?”


“It was the look in his eyes.  A combination of fear, desperation, and…sorrow.  Never a good combination when dealing with Ethan.”


Buffy’s eyes drifted to the side of Giles’ neck.  “He bruised you.”


Giles looked at her quickly, hearing the soft tone of her voice.  “I’m sorry?”


“Chaos.”  She lifted her hand and lightly touched the darkening marks on his skin.  “He bruised you.”


He covered her hand with his.  “I’m alright, Buffy.”


She inhaled shakily and nodded silently.  She lowered her hand, taking his with her and lacing their fingers together as she turned to stare out the window.


* * *


Giles collapsed onto the bed, his left arm landing across Buffy’s stomach.  His eyes closed almost immediately.  Buffy gently stroked his arm with her fingertips.




“Hm?”  He mumbled sleepily.


“Everything okay?”


“Mm.  Got him cleaned up a bit, gave him a change of clothes.  He fell back asleep almost instantly.”


Buffy turned her head to look at him, her voice a soft whisper.  “I meant with you.”


He opened his eyes with some effort and met her concerned gaze.  He offered her a tired, but loving, smile.  “I’m fairly exhausted.  But, otherwise…I’m fine.”


She rolled onto her side to face him and brushed her fingers through his hair.  “You should sleep.”


His eyes fluttered drowsily.  “As should you.”


“I love you, Rupert.”


His eyes snapped back open.  “Are you angry with me?”


She offered him a gentle smile as she snuggled into him.  “No.  Sometimes I use your given name when I’m not angry.”


“It’s a rare occurrence.”  Giles stated warily. 


“But not unheard of.”  She added softly, allowing her fingers to trace the darkening bruises on his neck.  “I love you.”


“I love you too, Buffy.”


She sighed softly and tucked her head under his chin.  “Sleep now, Giles…”


He mumbled incoherently and Buffy closed her eyes as she listened to his breathing pattern change. 


* * *


The next morning, Giles woke to find Buffy not in the bed.  He looked at the clock and sighed.  She would’ve already left with the children.  He ran his hand over his face and climbed out of bed.  Three hours sleep…he could do with more.


He made his way to the bathroom and took care of his business.  As he washed his hands, he looked into the mirror.  He stared at the bruises around his throat and shook his head sadly.  Last night had been close on many fronts. 


Yawning, he walked out of the bathroom and headed towards one of the guest rooms he had placed Ethan in.  The door was open, but Ethan wasn’t inside.  Giles narrowed his eyes and walked back down the hall. 


He found Ethan in the kitchen, a cup of steaming tea in his hand as he stared out the window.  Ethan spoke softly, but didn’t turn around.


“Hope you don’t mind…helped myself to some of your tea.”


Giles flipped the switch on the electric kettle and opened the cabinet, pulling down a cup for himself.  “No, I don’t mind at all.  How, uh…how are you feeling this morning?”


Ethan chuckled sadly.  “Oh, never better.  Made a right mess of things, didn’t I?”


“I wouldn’t necessarily say that.”  Giles responded quietly.  “However, I do think you need to work on your coping techniques.”


Ethan turned slowly, his retort dying on his lips as he stared at his friend’s neck.  “Dear God!”


Giles waved a hand lightly as he poured the boiling water into his cup.  “I’m fine.  I bruise easily.”


Ethan placed his cup on the counter and swallowed.  “Buffy?  Is she okay?”


Giles smiled softly, dropping a spoonful of sugar into his cup.  “She doesn’t bruise nearly as badly as I do.”


“The kids are gone…”


Giles nodded and took a sip of his tea.  “School day.”


“Oh.”  Ethan thought for a moment.  “Not a work day?”


Giles cleared his throat, pausing as he lowered his cup.  “Not today.”


“I suppose you have questions.”


Giles raised an eyebrow.  “I suppose you have answers?”


When Ethan nodded, Giles gestured towards the living room with a tilt of his head.  “Then I suppose we should talk.”


* * *


Buffy walked into the house and hung her keys on the hook next to the door.  She stepped into the living room and found Giles and Ethan sitting on the couch quietly.


“Really wasn’t expecting either of you to be awake…much less up and talking.”


Giles turned to look at her, sadness in his eyes.  “Come sit with us.”


Buffy furrowed her brow, but did as requested.  As she sat down on the coffee table, she met Giles’ eyes.


“So…what’s going on?”


“I just wanted to forget.”  Ethan whispered.  “Nearly got both of you killed…nearly lost myself to Chaos.”


Buffy glanced at Ethan’s thigh, a red patch spread across the material of the pajama pants he was wearing.  “You’re bleeding.”


Ethan looked down and shrugged a shoulder.  “It’ll stop…eventually.”


Giles took a deep breath.  “Perhaps you could call her.”


Ethan smiled unhappily.  “She made it very clear I’m not to do that.  Besides, I refuse to give in to ultimatums.”


Silence fell over the room for a few moments.  Buffy licked her dry lips and folded her hands across her knees.


“So, that building…”


Giles lowered his head briefly and then met his wife’s eyes.  “We stayed there for a while.  If memory serves, there were eight of us at that point.”


Ethan smirked.  “Nine, if you count Janie.  And you might as well, she’s was there often enough.”


Buffy raised an eyebrow.  “Janie?”


“My sister.”  Ethan replied softly.  “God, she had it bad for Ripper.  Most of the girls did.”


Giles shifted uncomfortably.  “Nine of us were there.  We basically lived on alcohol, drugs…and sex.  On the rare occasions that we actually did ingest food, we’d steal from the bakery next door.”  He looked into Buffy’s eyes.  “It wasn’t necessarily the highlight of my life.”


Buffy nodded slowly, she was aware of her husband’s past.  “How did you know which room to go to?”


Giles hesitated.  Ethan didn’t.


“That was the room we spent the most time in.  All of us.  The ‘orgy room’ they called it.”  He narrowed his eyes in thought.  “Who was it that came up with that name?”


“I think it was Jack.” 


Ethan huffed.  “Figured it would’ve been him.  Not the most imaginative fellow.”


Buffy opened her mouth, closing it when she realized she didn’t know what to say.  Giles reached over and took her hand, relaxing when he felt her fingers curl around his. 


The phone rang, disturbing the silence that had once again taken hold.  Giles reached behind him and grabbed it with his free hand.




“Giles?  Figured you’d be at work.”


Giles smiled softly.  “Rough night last night.  I’m taking a day off.  Do you need to speak with Buffy?”


Oz paused for a brief moment.  “Not exactly.  I’ve been trying to get hold of Ethan.  Have you seen him?”


Giles glanced at Ethan and narrowed his eyes.  “Actually, yes.  He’s here at the moment.  Would you like to speak with him?”


When Oz answered in a quick affirmative, Giles held the phone to his friend.  “Oz, for you.”


“Oz?”  Ethan took the phone quickly, pushing himself up from the couch.


Giles and Buffy watched him as he limped his way into the kitchen for a bit of privacy.  Buffy sighed and moved over to the seat Ethan had just vacated.


“You okay?”


“Hm?”  He tore his eyes from the kitchen doorway and looked at her.  “Yes, I’m fine.  I just…I don’t like talking about those days.”


She reached up and stroked the hair above his ear.  “I know.  But, at least I already know most of those stories.  Nothing to shock me with.”


He stared at her for a moment.  “You seem almost disappointed about that.”


She shrugged a shoulder and leaned into him.   “Some of the stories weren’t so bad.  In fact…a couple of them were kinda hot.”


He raised an eyebrow as he bent his head.  “Sometimes you’re a rather strange woman.”


“Yeah…”  She whispered before brushing her lips across his.  “But you still love me.”


He nodded slowly, slipping his fingers into her hair.  “Yes, I do.”


As Giles returned the kiss, Ethan cursed and paced back and forth in the kitchen.  His hand tightened on the phone as he glanced into the living room.


“Angel knows?  How the hell does Angel know?”


“Apparently, Novak left a letter for him.  Just in case something happened to either of us.”


Ethan narrowed his eyes, turning from the doorway as he watched Giles’ tongue slide into Buffy’s mouth.  “If that orange-eyed demon wasn’t already dead, I’d fucking kill him myself.”


Oz gave a quick nod, he wasn’t exactly thrilled about the situation either.  “Not really the issue right now.  We have a bigger problem.”


Ethan moved back to the window and stared out at the large tree in the back yard.  “Yeah.  Do we tell them now?”


Oz sighed heavily.  “I think that’s something we should talk about.  But…not over the phone.”


“I can be ready in fifteen minutes, but I don’t have my car.  Can you pick me up?”


Chapter Eight


Giles pulled from the kiss when he heard Ethan walk back into the room.  He cleared his throat and met Ethan’s eyes.




Ethan plastered on a grin, hoping it was convincing enough.  “Listen, um…thank you for everything.  But, you two obviously would like to have some time to yourselves.  No kids…no visitors…just you.  I’ve asked Oz to come pick me up.  I’ll, uh…I’ll just grab a quick shower and then get my shit together.”


Giles raised an eyebrow.  “Ethan, you’re more than welcome to stay for a few days…until…”


Ethan shook his head quickly.  “I’ll be alright.”  He gestured down the hall and smiled.  “About that shower…”


“Ah, yes…of course.  The towels are in the linen press in the hall.” 


With a quick nod, Ethan left the room, his heavy limp causing Giles to furrow his brow. 


“I’m rather sure he’s not telling me everything.”  Giles stated softly.


“Is he gonna be okay?”


Giles met Buffy’s eyes and ran a hand through his hair.  “Eventually.  But, he’s stubborn.  I just hope that he’ll talk to…someone…if he feels the need.”


Buffy brushed her fingers down the side of his bruised neck.  “He’ll talk to you when he’s ready.”


“He doesn’t tell me everything, Buffy.”  He reached up and brushed a stray lock of hair from her face.  “It doesn’t necessarily have to be me he tells.  Just…someone.  The longer he keeps things bottled up, the worse it’ll be for him.”


Buffy nodded and moved into his arms, resting her head against his chest.


* * *


Forty-five minutes later, they found themselves alone in the house.  Ethan had allowed Giles to suture the wound in his leg, but refused to say anything more about the object he had dug out of his thigh.  Thirty minutes after he had ended the call with Oz, the doorbell rang.  Oz smiled pleasantly, but Giles thought he saw apprehension in the young man’s eyes.


Buffy had led Giles back to bed, ordering him to lie on his stomach.  He quirked an eyebrow, but complied.  When he felt her warm hands begin to knead his tired and aching muscles, he sighed.


“You didn’t get much sleep.”


He chuckled softly at the statement.  “No, but neither did you.”


“I didn’t have a demon trying to choke the life out of me.”  She whispered and pressed a bit harder along his spine.


He groaned in relief as the loud crack sounded in the room.  “True, but you had to fight said demon.”


“Mm-hm.  I came out okay.”


He turned his head and looked over his shoulder.  “You came out alive.  That’s slightly more than ‘okay’.  Chaos was a rather formidable foe.”


She grinned as she moved off of him and rolled him onto his back.  “Is that your way of saying that I killed a really bad ass demon and you’re proud of me?”


He stared into her eyes and pulled her back on top of him, so that she was straddling his hips.  “Something like that.”


She shifted slightly and smiled when she felt him stir beneath her.  “You’re not too tired?”


He placed his hands on her thighs and swallowed.  “Tell me you love me.”


Her smile faded somewhat as she looked into his eyes.  Each time his past was brought up in discussion, she found that he asked for reassurance.  Part of her found it sweet…the hopeful look in his eyes each time he asked.  A larger part of her felt sad that he felt he needed the reassurance.


She leaned forward and kissed him tenderly.  “You need to stop this, honey.”


She kissed him again before he could respond, sliding her hand into his hair as she lifted her lips from his.  “I know about your past, Giles.  I know that there are some things that you haven’t told me…but, you’ve told me a lot.  And I didn’t stop loving you.  If anything, I loved you more for trusting in me enough to tell me.”


“I’m not proud of many of the things I’ve done.”  He whispered against her lips.


“I know.  But, I’m proud of what you’ve accomplished.  And I do love you, Giles.”  She brushed her lips across his, pulling back just enough to look into his eyes.  “I love you.”


She lovingly rubbed his chest before lowering her head, placing a trail of warm, open-mouthed kisses along his sternum.  “I’m pretty sure there’s nothing you could say that would change that.”


He inhaled sharply as she flicked her tongue against his skin.  “Don’t say that…”


She raised her eyes as she kissed his navel.  Her fingers trailed down the inside of his arm, tracing the tattoo that he had never had removed. 


“How many times do I have to tell you?  Everything you did in your past made you the man you are now.  Everything.  Those experiences…even the most negative ones…helped create the man I love with everything in me.”




She slid her body further down, straddling his left leg as she gently tugged his pajama pants down.  “Have you gone to another woman for sex?”


“No.”  He answered quickly.  “What…”


She smiled as she wrapped her fingers around his emerging erection.  “Have you participated in any drug induced orgies since we got together?”


“No…”  He whispered as she slowly stroked him. 


“All of these bad things you did that makes you worry about me falling out of love with you…they happened years ago, right?  Before I was even born?”


He nodded slowly, gazing into her eyes.  “Most of them.  All of them before I met you.”


She used her free hand to pop the button on her jeans and pull the zipper down.  “Then please…don’t worry about it anymore.  I love you so much, Giles.”


His eyes followed her hand as it slipped into her barely visible blue satin underwear.  His hips jerked of their own accord as he watched the movement under the material.  She smiled, removing her hand and holding it up for him to see the glistening fluid on her fingers.


“I’m so wet for you.”


He groaned and grabbed her hand, pulling her flush against his body.  “I love you, Buffy.”


She released his erection and stretched out on top of him.  As her tongue nudged its way into his mouth, he hooked his fingers into her belt loops and began tugging her jeans down over her hips.


* * *


Oz eyed Ethan as the older man limped back to the table with two pints of stout.  “What happened?”


Ethan took a long pull from his drink and sighed.  “Short version?  Met up with an old ‘friend’, got myself into a bit of strife, called Rupert for help.  Strife got worse, I panicked…and dug the crystal out of my thigh…and told Rupert to smash it.”


Oz raised an eyebrow.  The crystal?  The one that holds -- ”




Oz shook his head.  Willow didn’t say anything.  And she would’ve, if she remembered.”


Ethan reached into his pocket and pulled the dark stone out, tossing it onto the table in front of Oz.  “He decided to help Buffy kill the demon instead.”


“Huh.”  Oz picked the crystal up and studied it carefully before handing it back to Ethan.  “Must’ve been some night.”


Ethan chuckled and took another drink.  “One that I hope not to repeat.  Now…Angel?”


“I don’t think we have to worry about him.  He left to head back to Stonehenge about an hour after he stopped by.  Weird that he came all this way for only an hour though…”


Ethan looked at him curiously when he trailed off.  Ethan followed Oz’s gaze and smiled.


“You know him?”  Oz asked quietly.


“Somewhat.”  Ethan grinned, turning back to face Oz after giving the other man a subtle nod.  “You were saying?”


“I don’t think Angel’s going to say anything to anyone.  He’s as concerned for Braden’s safety as we are.  But, it makes me wonder if we should tell Buffy and Giles.”


Ethan thought for a moment, staring at the glass in front of him.  “It’s still fourteen years away.  That’s…a long time.”


“Yet…you were going to tell them last night.”


Ethan nodded and raised his eyes.  “Because I thought Chaos was going to take me…and if that had happened, Braden would have been in more danger.  I was going to tell them to protect him.  Luckily, Buffy…and Rupert…made sure that didn’t happen.”


“Okay.  So…we’re not telling them yet?”


Ethan looked down at the crystal resting in his palm.  “Not yet.  But, if Angel becomes an issue…”


Oz’s eyes darkened slightly.  “Angel knows the risks.  I made them perfectly clear to him.”


Ethan grinned and slid the crystal back into his pocket.  “Good lad.”


Oz glanced at the man watching them and cleared his throat.  “Uh…I think your friend is on his way over.”


Ethan’s eyes flickered as he mumbled.  “Didn’t take long.”


Oz arched an eyebrow, but didn’t comment.  “Did you need a ride home?”


“Ta, but…I might be able to persuade a ride out of…my friend.”


Oz nodded and looked up as the man in question stopped next to the table.  Ethan looked up and grinned at him.


“Hello, Michael.”


“Hey.”  He tilted his head towards Oz.


Ethan’s eyes darted to Michael’s lips before he smiled.  “Michael, this is Oz…a friend of the family.  Oz, this is Michael…a, uh…friend.”


“Nice to meet you.”  Michael spoke softly.


Oz nodded and pushed his chair back.  “Likewise.  I should go.  Talk to you later, Ethan.”


“Uh-huh.  Have a good day.”  Ethan replied, not taking his eyes off of Michael.


Oz chuckled and made his way to the door.  As he pushed the door open, he looked back just in time to see Michael lean down and kiss Ethan.  Oz smirked, not all that surprised, and stepped out into the bright sunlight.


* * *


Buffy threw her head back, groaning loudly as she rode her husband.  Giles had a firm hold of her hands, his hips thrusting upwards each time she pushed down. 


“Not…long…”  He grunted, squeezing her hands.


“God…Giles!”  She tightened her fingers around his and looked down at him.  “Love…you…”


He watched a bead of sweat roll down the side of her neck as she screamed his name again.  Her muscles clenched around him as she came forcefully.  He followed quickly, his semen washing her inner walls.


He released her hands, allowing her to collapse onto his heaving chest.  He wrapped his arms around her, holding her tightly as he trembled.  He felt her mumble against his skin, but couldn’t make out what she was saying.


“What…what did you…say, Buffy?”  He panted heavily.


She turned her head, pressing her cheek to his chest, relishing the sound of his pounding heart.  She swallowed and took in a gulp of air.




Giles furrowed his brow.  “No more?”


Buffy licked her dry lips and lifted her head to look into his eyes.  “No more…worrying about…your past.”


“Oh…”  He whispered, brushing her sweat-dampened hair back from her face.


“Start taking drugs…and having orgies…we’ll have a problem.”  She smiled lazily and shifted, whimpering when his softening cock slipped from her.  “Past is…past.  No more.”


He returned her smile and slid his left hand down to her hip.  “No more.”


She lowered her head and nuzzled his chest.  “God, I’m exhausted…”


He chuckled softly and nodded in agreement.  “We…should get some rest…”


“Mm-hm…”  She mumbled and moved to his side, draping one leg over his and leaving her head where it was.


He smiled sleepily and reached down, pulling the sheet over their cooling bodies.  He felt her body relax against him and allowed his eyes to close.


“Love you, Buffy.”  He whispered.


She muttered incoherently and drifted deeper towards sleep. 


Giles lightly stroked her skin as he felt his exhaustion overcome him.  The thought crossed him mind that their lives would probably seem chaotic to others…but, he wouldn’t have it any other way.  A smile tugged at his lips as she snuggled closer to him. 


Not all chaos was inauspicious. 



~ End


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