Title: Lemon Giles
Author: Skyson & Froxyn
Pairing: Buffy/Giles
Rating: FRAO
Synopsis: The bond between Buffy and Giles has been strengthening. A mishap during patrol leads to each learning new and interesting things about one another.
Timeline: AU…S5.
Author’s Note: This one was SO much fun to write and, hands down, the best collaboration fic I've ever been a part of. Thank you to the lemonheads out there and a very special thank you to my amazing co-author and friend, Skyson.

Chapter One



Buffy threw a handful of chopped fruit into a large bowl and scowled as she looked at it.  Then she started rummaging through Giles’ fruit bowl, looking for an orange.  She shook her head and picked up one of the many lemons in the pile.  


“No, Riley’s gone for good.” She said simply, answering Giles’ question about her ex’s eventual return to town, as she quickly set to the task of peeling the lemon.  


“And…how do you feel about that?”  He asked, paying special attention to a tea mug he was currently scouring the hell out of.  


She snorted a laugh.  “I feel fine about it, psychoanalyze-guy.  You know how well I cope with being given an ultimatum.”


His lips twitched into a smile.  Then he sniffed the air and furrowed his brow.  Turning his head to look at her, his eyes widened – horrified to see that she was chopping a lemon into bite-sized chunks.


“What the hell are you doing?”


She looked at him, tilting her head slightly in confusion.  A drop of lemon juice slipped from the blade of the knife onto the chopping board.  


“Cutting up a lemon for the fruit salad.”  She said slowly, as if it were the most logical statement in the world.  


“For the fruit salad?”  He turned his entire body towards her, wiping his hands on a tea towel.  “A lemon?”


“Well, I was looking for an orange, but…”  She gestured towards the bowl with the knife.  “…a gazillion lemons, not one orange to be found yet.  What’s up with that, anyway?”


“I may have eaten the last orange this morning.  I haven’t been to the shops today.”  He replied, an edge of humour in his voice.  “Really?  A lemon?  You’re just going to…eat…a lemon?”


She stared at him incredulously before doing a mental count of the lemons in the fruit bowl.  


“There’s at least twelve lemons in that bowl, Giles.  You don’t need twelve lemons for that baked lemon and fish dish you do.”  She thought for a second and then smiled.  “Speaking of…do you think maybe you can make that again?  And…invite me over for dinner before patrol when you do?  Because - amazing.”


He chuckled softly and gave her a nod.  “Of course, Buffy.”


“Seriously, Giles, why do you have so many lemons?” She slipped back into her complaint, and then snickered as she teased, “Worried about scurvy?”


“Not with that amount of citrus,” He returned on a dime, and her grin widened at his sass and the little amused spark she could see in his eye when she glanced up at him.


Finally finding an orange beneath the pile, she dug it free with a noise of success, and began to peel it.


“Really though,” She wondered after she’d popped a wedge into her mouth, chewing thoughtfully, “Who needs a dozen lemons?”


“I do. To make things with.” He replied as he opened the fridge, and she rolled her eyes at his obstinate tone. “I like to make my own lemon curd.” He finally answered her question for real, reaching over to the side to pick up a simple clear jar with a red gingham lid. Buffy made a face at him, before looking at the jar that he had placed atop the counter between them.


“Lemon what?” She scowled, picking it up to peer through the glass in suspicion. Giles huffed and snatched it back, twisting the lid off.


“I’m sure you’ve eaten it before, Buffy - have you ever had a lemon meringue pie? Or a lemon-filled jelly?”


“If it was lemon-filled, it wouldn’t be a jelly.” Buffy returned, and it was his turn to roll his eyes at her.


Giles swiped his finger against the edge of the jar, gathering some lemon curd before then sticking the digit into his mouth. He closed his eyes as he lingered there for a moment, slowly pulling his finger from between his lips as he focused on the taste.


“A bit of sweetness to draw you in… and then the tartness kicks in, a zing that awakens the tastebuds.” He murmured, and for a second Buffy forgot what she was doing, standing there with a half-eaten orange wedge in her mouth and staring at him with wide eyes. Were her cheeks flushed? God, she felt warm all of a sudden.


She swallowed hard on her piece of orange, and then choked. Giles opened up his eyes and frowned at her in concern, putting the jar of curd back on the counter.


“Are you okay?”


“Fine,” She managed, trying to stop coughing, and gestured toward his sink. When he turned to get her a glass of water, she placed her hands atop the counter and stared at his back incredulously.

She had nearly gotten herself under control by the time he turned around, a glass of water in his hand.  He looked at her closely as he held the glass out towards her – the trembling of her hand as she took the glass from him, the flush of her cheeks, the thin sheen of perspiration on her brow…none of it went unnoticed. 

“Are you sure you’re alright?”  He asked, obviously concerned.

She nodded, quickly swallowing a mouthful of water.  “Yeah, just…”  She gestured towards her throat.  “…went down the wrong way.”

He watched her for a long moment, watched her eyes dart rapidly to different points – his eyes, the loosened knot of his tie, the counter, the refrigerator, back to his eyes, the glass. 


She coughed lightly, before taking a smaller drink of water.  She placed the glass on the counter and smiled nervously before glancing at the nearly forgotten jar of lemon curd.

“So, you make it yourself?  I mean…they probably sell it at the store, right?”

Giles nodded, reluctantly acquiescing to her segue.  Then he leaned his hip against the counter and crossed his arms over his chest.  “They do…and it’s perfectly edible.  But, I enjoy making my own.  It’s nice to accomplish something that doesn’t hinge on a life or death situation.”

“Unless you’re a lemon.”  Buffy said, smiling when he chuckled.  “How many lemons die for a jar of curd?  And…why couldn’t they have come up with something better than ‘curd’?  That doesn’t sound very delicious.” 

“And yet…it is.”  He smiled, opening the drawer without looking at it and pulling out a spoon.  “Try it, if you’d like.” 

“You mean…just eat a spoonful of it?”  She furrowed her brow, looking at the spoon and then the jar dubiously. 

Giles barked out a laugh.  “Seriously, Buffy?  You were prepared to put raw lemon in a bloody fruit salad in place of an orange.” 

“You say that as if there’s something wrong with it.” 

He arched an eyebrow at her as he wiggled the spoon for her to take it.  “There are so many things wrong with it.  Try the curd.” 

After a brief moment of hesitation, she took the spoon and picked up the jar.  “I’m trusting you.” 

“Have I ever led you astray?” 

She met his eyes, but said nothing as she opened the jar.  And then she dipped the spoon in, allowing the curd to simply coat the back of the spoon.  She sniffed it, her eyebrows raising in surprise at the pleasant smell.  He smiled warmly at her reaction.  

And then her tongue touched the back of the spoon, gently licking the thick lemony cream.  His breath hitched in his chest and he was barely able to restrain the soft moan that he felt building within him.  He swallowed hard as she murmured appreciatively, licking her lips.  

“Wow, that’s…amazing.” 

His eyes sparkled at the compliment.  “I’m glad you like it.” 

“You think you could teach me to make it?” 

He nodded slowly, the tip of his tongue wetting his suddenly very dry lips.  “Absolutely.” 

They were both quiet for a long moment.  She replaced the lid on the jar and handed the spoon back to him.  She glanced at the clock and sighed heavily.  He tilted his head questioningly. 

“Patrol time.”  She offered, obviously not thrilled about the prospect of leaving.  

“Would you like some company?”  He asked, trying his best not to sound too hopeful. 

Her smile appeared slowly, but brightly.  “Yeah, I really would.” 

He gave her a nod and then pushed away from the counter.  “I’ll just go get changed.”

“Something comfy, okay?” She called out after him, suddenly feeling a bit bold. “Maybe those jeans I know you keep hidden in the bottom of your drawer?”


“You’ve been going through my drawers?” Giles protested as he continued up to the loft.


“Don’t worry, I didn’t go digging through your underwear,” Buffy rolled her eyes, though then muttered to herself as she watched him ascend the stairs, “Might do next time, though…”


Then her brain decided to whisper an additional naughty thought of ‘how about a dig through the pair he’s currently wearing?’ and Buffy widened her eyes and quickly turned around to face the sink, although Giles wasn’t around to see her. “What the hell?” She grumbled to herself, under her breath. “Get it together, woman.” She reached for her glass of water again, and gulped down the rest of it.


--- --- ---

“It feels like it’s been forever since you’ve come on patrol with me.”  Buffy thought aloud, glancing up at him as they walked together through the second cemetery of the night. 

“Yes, well…”  He started, then shrugged a shoulder without continuing.  

“I’m sorry.”  She offered sincerely.  “I know that’s on me.” 

“I would’ve probably preferred to be out and about with a young, strapping Captain America type instead of a stuffy ex-high school librarian as well.”  He replied with a smirk.  

She arched an eyebrow at him.  “Oh?” 

He rolled his eyes.  “If I were you, obviously.” 

“You know you’re more than an ex-high school librarian, right?  And you’re not nearly as stuffy as you used to be.”  She averted her eyes from him quickly, twirling her stake in her hand.  “As for Captain America types…I’d much prefer to have you.” 

Giles looked down at her quickly, somewhat startled by her words.  

“What I mean is…”  She continued, sounding slightly nervous.  “…you understand me, what I have to do.  You don’t come out here and be all ‘me man, me take care of woman’, thumping your chest when you take out one vampire while I’m trading blows with three or four…and then get all hurt and pissy when I don’t say ‘oh, great job, honey’ when it’s all said and done.”  

She sighed heavily and looked off into the distance.  “I’m really sorry, Giles.” 

He reached out, placing his hand on her shoulder.  She stopped walking and he moved in front of her, ducking his head to catch her eye.  

“Whatever for?  You owe me no apologies, Buffy.” 

“You were going to leave, weren’t you?  I mean…Willow said something after I asked you to be my Watcher again.  Is that what you were going to talk to me about?  That I made you feel so useless that you were going back to England?” 

“You didn’t make me feel useless, Buffy.  I felt that I had no further purpose here.  I’d done my job…and I was – am – extremely proud of you and what you’ve accomplished.” 

She looked up at him, smiling when she saw the truth of his words reflected in his eyes.  “I’m glad you stayed.” 

He returned her smile, lowering his hand from her shoulder.  “As am I.” 

After a beat, she looked around and slipped her stake into her back pocket.  “Nothing here tonight.  Up for one more?” 

He nodded, looking around the quiet cemetery.  “I’m up for it.” 

Her eyes darted to him, then darted away just before he looked back to her.  “Parkdale or Restview?” 

“Your choice, I’m happy to follow your lead.”  He answered, allowing his eyes to drift down, briefly pausing at her chest. 

Not for the first time, he noted how enticing the curve of her breast was from the side.  Probably not something a Watcher should note about their Slayer, but…

He shook his head to clear the train of not-so-wholesome thoughts that were getting ready to invade his mind.  His gaze lifted just as she looked back up at him with a smile on her face.

“Okay, we’ll head out the back and go towards Restview.”  She said, gesturing forward then to the right with her hand.  “Who names cemeteries anyway?  I mean…Parkdale?  Restview?” 

Giles chuckled, slipping his hands into his jacket pockets as he followed her through the older part of the cemetery.  “I suppose they’re meant to sound peaceful.” 

“My time spent in cemeteries has rarely been peaceful.  They should rethink that.”  She laughed, sidestepping an overturned headstone.  

“Yes, well, Slayground may be a little uncouth for the families of the recently departed,” He drawled, keeping pace just to her right and behind her.

Buffy turned toward him to gape in amused amazement. “You do listen to me!” She accused happily, but then soon pouted. “Hey, that was also the conversation where I said Slayers should get compensated free ice cream every night they gotta patrol more than three hours.”

“I recall nothing of the sort.” Giles replied, blatantly lying, inwardly wincing at the thought of the strain that would put on his wallet. And undoubtedly the strain on his waistband, too.

“Mr. Selective Hearing.” Buffy huffed, but the bounce in her step was still light, and Giles continued to happily follow along after her as they headed for the next cemetery. His traitorous eyes started to betray him yet again, this time drifting over her leather trousers , and he barely managed to withhold a soft sigh from slipping between his lips.

“So…lemons.”  She said suddenly, stopping at the corner of the street.

“Hm?”  He reached over and pressed the crosswalk button, glaring at it in defiance of himself, fighting the urge to continue gazing at Buffy. 

“Lemons. Good for cooking, drinking, curding…”

The corner of his mouth twitched in amusement.  “Curding?”

She waved a hand at him, ignoring the playful tease.  “But, you don’t eat them?”

“Ah…on their own?  No.  However, I’m quite interested to find out who in the world taught you that putting lemon in a fruit salad is a good idea.”  He laughed, nudging her off of the sidewalk as the pedestrian signaled that they were clear to cross.

She watched a car approaching the intersection as they walked across the road.  “Citrus brings out that special something in a fruit salad.”

Giles furrowed his brow, staring at her as he stepped up onto the sidewalk.  “Citrus fruits aren’t interchangeable…”

“Hey, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!”  She neatly sidestepped a puddle as she scanned the area.

“I think not.”  He scoffed, following her through the open gate of the cemetery.  “Pies, cakes, tarts…stuffed in a chicken for roasting, sliced and baked with a lovely piece of fish, a sauce for linguine…it’s amazing with prawns…”


“Shrimp.”  He clarified with a smile.  “They can be used for cleaning…”

“Shrimp?  For cleaning?”  She asked in obvious confusion.

He snorted a laugh.  Her eyes widened slightly.  He had snorted.  And it was pretty adorable.

“No -- lemons for cleaning.  Shrimp for eating.”  He grinned at her, the moonlight causing his eyes to sparkle.

“Lemonade.”  She added quickly in an attempt to nudge her thoughts into a different direction as she stepped over a tree root.

“Of course.”  He nodded, knowing how much she loved the lemonade he always had in his fridge.  “So many uses – it’s a very versatile fruit.  However, chopped into a fruit salad is not one of those uses.”

“Says you.”  She grumbled.  “They’re good frozen.”

“Frozen?  Don’t tell me you freeze and then eat an entire lemon.”

“Yep, like an apple.”  She said, then grinned as he involuntarily shuddered, and relented, “Nah, not really.  I slice them up, sprinkle a little sugar on them, then stick ‘em in the freezer. Seriously, nothing like it on a hot night – especially after an exhausting patrol.”

“Interesting midnight snack.”  He replied, a flash of light catching his eye.

“What’s your guilty pleasure midnight snack?”  She challenged, genuinely curious.

He nodded towards an old chipped marble monument, pulling the stake out of his inner jacket pocket.  “Conversation for another time.”

This cemetery was obviously not as peaceful as the previous one.  She heaved a deep sigh as she brandished her own stake just as the group of vampires noticed them. 

“Stay safe.”  She said quietly.

“You too.”  He responded, taking a step to his right as he watched her move towards the demons.

The small band of vampires split – with most heading towards Buffy.  One circled around in an attempt to dispose of Giles.  Buffy twirled the stake in her hand, suddenly feeling exhilarated. 

Finally, there were a few vampires to break up what had been, despite her comments to the contrary, a rather peaceful night. While Giles was somewhat disappointed that he managed to dispatch his foe without much ado, it offered him plenty of opportunity to follow his calling… and watch.

He wore a small smile of amusement as he watched her pun her way between the two remaining vampires, though made sure to keep it hidden lest she think he approved of her toying.

The shape of his Slayer in the moonlight never failed to take his breath away. Her hair glinted almost silvery, the loose thick braid resting down the nape of her neck, and she seemed almost ethereal as she stepped lightly around the headstones. A quick feint-move took care of one vampire easily enough, but the other had wisened up as to who he was dealing with, and was keeping his distance. Giles watched as Buffy calmly stalked after him, circling him as if she had all the time in the world. He couldn’t imagine that her patience would last for very long.

Sure enough, not a full minute after that thought she grew tired of the stalking game, and vaulted over the headstone between her and her target, her foot planting squarely against the demon’s solar plexus. Perhaps it was some lingering response from the brain, or perhaps the vampire simply didn’t know that being dead meant he didn’t need air… nor be affected by the loss of it. He stumbled backward and doubled over, giving Buffy more than enough time to land gracefully in front of him and plunge her stake straight through his heart.

Giles allowed the smile to spread across his face as the demon howled its final death into the night, and tucked his hands into his pockets to resist the ridiculous sudden urge to clap.

“Good form!” He praised, sincerely impressed. Their intensive training sessions together seemed to have done her well; certainly much more of a benefit for her particular set of gifts than anything some fish-wife’s army of boys could give her.

Buffy turned to give him a wide, smug grin, flicking a lock of her hair out of her face as she shook her stake clean and then tucked it back into her pocket as a gunslinger would their prized pistol. She pretended to half-curtsy in thanks, her eyes lingering on him for a moment in amusement as she turned and trodded off between the headstones.

“Let’s go see what other kind of trouble we can get into,” She quipped, the little boost of adrenaline heard in the tone of her voice, and for a breath Giles found himself frozen in place, his mind racing through all the ways they could get into trouble together before the night was over…

He cleared his throat lightly in an attempt to rid those thoughts from the front of his mind, and moved to follow her… and subsequently tripped over a foot-stone, the small gravemarker hidden in the dark shadows of tall grass. He yelped as he went down, startled more than anything, and though he just barely managed not to crack his skull on the accompanying headstone, he landed awkwardly on his wrist.

He groaned in pain, gritting his teeth as he rolled off of his left arm and sat up, cradling the injured limb against his chest. He knew immediately that he’d at the very least twisted the joint, if not worse. He heard Buffy’s footsteps reapproach, and looked up to find her giving him an amused and wry look.

“Yeah, this is not the kind of trouble I was talking about, Giles. A vampire’s easy money, but God forbid air come after Rupert Giles.” She quipped, teasing him, and he scowled at her as he tried to push himself to his feet.

“I did not trip over air,” He huffed defensively, and then hissed when he shifted his hand the wrong way. Realizing that he was legitimately hurt, Buffy’s amusement dropped and she reached toward him before then yanking her hands back to herself, concern on her face.

“What is it? Is it your head?” She worried, peering at him more closely. “I don’t see any blood. Do I need to call an ambulance? Do you have a concussion? Who’s the president?”

Buffy.” Giles closed his eyes against her rambling and took a breath, trying not to snark at her although the pain beginning to radiate up his arm from his wrist was proving to be very irksome.

I’m not the president - you do have a concussion-”

“Buffy!” Giles interrupted her with a dry look. “My head is fine.” He took a breath then, and considered his wrist. “My hand, however…”

“Here,” She offered her hand out in apology, holding her palm up for him to grasp, taking a firm grip on his good hand to help him stand. For a moment he wasn’t sure whether he was more breathless by the pain of his injury, or by how easily she hoisted him to his feet. “It’s official: patrol’s over. C’mon, let’s get you to the hospital-”

“Absolutely not.” He said resolutely, and she looked at him like he was crazy. “I’ve just… twisted it a little. A visit to hospital is entirely unnecessary.”

Giles-” She began, exasperated, and he glared at her, straightening his shoulders with all of a Watcher’s authority he could muster. They stared one another down for a few beats, but eventually Buffy relented, with an annoyed huff and a roll of her eyes.

Giles tried not to look too smug about his rare win. “Patrol is certainly finished for the evening. You should head home, Buffy, and-”

“No way!” She interrupted him, and he gave her a perplexed look. “You’re not walking home alone like that!”

“I am perfectly capable-”

“Forget it, Giles. If you refuse to go to the hospital, then Nurse Buffy is in.” She insisted.

He blurted out a giggle before he could even possibly consider stopping it; an image of Buffy in one of those ridiculously exaggerated Halloween costumes, with the impossibly short skirt and the low-cut top. He immediately swallowed down his laugh and turned away from her to lead the way back home, thankful for the darkened night that hid the flush on his face. He’d already made a fool of himself once tonight, getting distracted by his fantasizing. He winced heavily when she couldn’t see, his wrist pounding with pain.

“You’re not okay.” She declared resolutely as she skipped up to walk beside him, “You’re laughing at things a fifteen-year-old boy would laugh at.” He glanced over at her, chagrined to be caught out, but there was mostly only amusement on her face. Maybe a little embarrassment, too… and definitely still frustration about his hospital avoidance.

“You’ll have to kill me.” He quipped, and to his surprise, she slipped her left hand into his right, tightening her fingers around his palm.

“Never.” She promised much more seriously than the conversation initially dignified. Then lighter she said, “I’ve dealt with Ripper once, I can deal with him again.”

“Good God,” Giles groaned, closing his eyes for a moment to banish those memories back to where they belonged. Buffy gave his hand a squeeze, and when he looked back down to her, she smiled briefly at him.

She didn’t wait for the streetlights to change this time; only checking for cars before dragging him across the road again. She didn’t let go of him immediately after either, and they ended up strolling a few blocks comfortably hand-in-hand… and Giles wondered why he didn’t walk this way with her more often.

Even with their differences in sizes and in heights, her hand just seemed to fit with his. And he found himself shortening up his strides easily, so that their pace matched, and she had no trouble walking beside him. Her arm bumped gently against his as they walked, and she seemed perfectly content with that, and for a few moments he actually forgot about the pain in his other wrist.

When they reached his flat, she took the key from him just as he’d pulled it free from his pocket, and hip-checked him to the side as she opened up the door. “Buffy, I’m not an invalid,” He protested, and she made a face at him, not quite sticking her tongue out, but close to it.

“Let me help. Go get comfortable on the couch, I’ll start with ice,” She ordered him, handing his keys back and then not waiting for confirmation before turning for his kitchen.

He stared after her for a few beats too long before forcing his feet into motion, gingerly shrugging out of his jacket and draping it over the back of his desk chair on the way.

Not finding a suitable ice pack in his freezer, and not wanting to use a plastic baggie full of large ice cubes, Buffy pulled out a package of frozen peas and hurried back into the living room.  She sat down next to Giles on the sofa and grimaced when she noticed that his wrist was actually visibly swollen.

“Okay, let’s have a look.”  She said softly, placing the bag of peas atop her thigh. 

She gingerly took hold of his left arm, resting his wrist on top of the peas.  He inhaled sharply, curling his right hand into a fist as she unbuttoned the cuff of his left sleeve. 

“I’m sorry.”  She whispered, glancing at him.  “It was a pretty spectacular trip, you know.” 

He scoffed lightly, watching as she carefully pushed his sleeve up to fully expose his wrist.  “I thought I saved it…”

“…and then you didn’t.”  She smiled.  “At least you didn’t hit your head.”

“I almost wish I had. My head is much harder than my wrist, apparently.”  He replied, not thinking about his wording.

Well, not until she snorted a laugh.

He shot her a look and her laugh quickly turned to a cough.  He shook his head in light amusement - he supposed he deserved that after laughing at her ‘Nurse Buffy’ comment - and then cleared his throat, lowering his gaze to his hand.

His hand -  that was resting on a bag of peas.  A bag of peas that was resting on her thigh. His fingers relaxed loosely so near to her inner thigh…

“I, uh…don’t think it’s broken.”  He said, shifting uncomfortably.  “It hurts like buggery though.”

She arched an eyebrow as she examined his fingers.  “Buggery?  Care to translate that for me?”

“A lot.”  He replied, groaning softly as she lifted his ring finger.  “Fuck…”

“You sure you don’t want to go for an x-ray?”

“Quite.”  He said through gritted teeth as she lowered his finger.  “They’d splint it – and send me home with pain medication.  That can be done here, in the relative comfort of my own home.”

“You’re worse than I am about going to the hospital.”  She remarked, offering him a gentle smile.  “But, I get it.”

“Vanilla ice cream.”  He said, seemingly apropos of nothing.


“That’s my guilty pleasure midnight treat.  Vanilla ice cream with lemon curd.”

“Random, Giles.”  She said, her fingers still lingering on the back of his hand.

He nodded slowly, blinking even slower as her fingers then slid between his wrist and the bag of peas.  She carefully lifted his arm, pulling the quickly thawing peas out from under him. Even despite the pain, her touch was… electric, and it distracted him.

“Are you able to turn it?”  She asked, her fingertips lightly stroking the soft skin of his inner wrist.

He took a deep breath and tried to focus, wincing as he attempted to move his wrist.  “Mm…I think not, right now.”

“Okay.”  She whispered.  “Pretty sure you have an ace bandage, yeah?”

His gaze lowered to his hand, her fingers caressing his skin.  He wasn’t sure she even realised she was doing it.  What he did realise was the fact it was causing a reaction that he wasn’t prepared to experience in this setting – one that he most certainly wasn’t prepared for her to witness.

He cleared his throat and nodded quickly.  “Yes, um…yes, in a storage box under the sink in the bathroom.  There are…a few to choose from.”

“Of course, there are.”  She chuckled and gently lowered his arm to his own thigh.  “I’ll be right back.”

She stood up, and he continued looking at his wrist.  She regarded him closely for a second.

“Do you want me to get you something for the pain?”

“No.”  He answered quickly – and then mentally cursed himself for answering so quickly.  “I, uh…think I should wait – I don’t want to mask any sensations that might prove me wrong and necessitate me actually needing a physician’s care.”

“Okay, word guy…”  She rolled her eyes in amusement and walked out of the room.

He exhaled slowly and lifted his eyes towards the hallway.

He hadn’t counted on this ending to their evening.  He wasn’t sure what he had been counting on, to be perfectly honest.  However, he was positive that he hadn’t counted on a burgeoning erection while she was examining a potentially broken, but most likely sprained, wrist.  He could hear her rummaging around in his bathroom and smiled, despite the seriousness of the situation.  

Yes, he was hurt – and yes, it most definitely did hurt like hell.  But the subconscious stroking of his skin with her fingertips…

He swallowed thickly. 

…The care she was showing to him – for him – was true and palpable.  They’d made great strides in their relationship since they’d resumed their training regime.  Those strides had lengthened once Riley left Sunnydale – and he had realised that his affection for his Slayer was evolving at a terrifyingly break-neck speed.  He’d woken more than once in damp clothing that had nothing to do with a sudden night sweat.  But, he’d kept it under control around her.

Until he’d watched her lick his homemade lemon curd from the back of a spoon.  

Such a simple, innocent act – and he suddenly couldn’t think of anything other than what else that tongue could possibly touch…lick…taste.

Blast…”  He muttered under his breath, closing his eyes.  “Get it under control, man.”  

He took a few deep breaths in an effort to calm his sudden spike in…dare he name it…arousal?  He sighed heavily in resignation – what other word was there for what he was experiencing?  He took another deep breath, slowly exhaling as he ignored the pain in his wrist.

His eyes snapped open when the cushion next to him shifted, and he was surprised to find her sitting next to him again.

“So, I found this too.”  She said, holding up a jar of white salve.  “Not exactly sure what it is, but it smells like it should help.”

She narrowed her eyes slightly, noticing how pale he actually appeared.  That kind of paleness only happened when pain was involved. 

“Giles, are you sure you don’t want something for the pain?”  She asked with genuine concern.

“I’m positive, Buffy.  I have faith that it’ll feel much better once it’s immobilised.  And yes…that salve should help.  It worked wonders on my shoulder a while ago.”  He smiled warmly at her as she gently shifted his arm back to her thigh.  “Just…be careful, yes?”

“As careful as…”  She narrowed her eyes in thought and then shrugged a shoulder before opening the jar.  “…something really careful.”

He laughed softly, then focused his attention on watching her slowly apply the cool cream to his wrist.  Her fingers deftly moved over his skin, applying as much pressure as she thought he could stand.  She looked up quickly when he grunted softly.

“Too much?”  She asked, pausing her touch. 

He shook his head slowly, not exactly trusting himself to say anything.  She offered him a tiny smile as she went back to her task. 

“Let me know if you need me to stop, okay?” 

“No.” He said, lowering his gaze to their hands once more. He didn’t want her to stop at all, he didn’t ever want her to stop.

“What?” She wondered, giving him a weird look, and he floundered inwardly as he realized that he’d misspoke.

“I mean… er, yes.” He winced and glanced up at her briefly. “I’ll, um, let you know.” He dropped his eyes again before she could read anything in them.

He stopped himself from shifting as her touch began to cause his body to react again.  His eyes drifted closed, and he inhaled deeply and slowly, in an attempt to calm the emotions building within him as his mind began conjuring up scenarios in which her hands were elsewhere on his body – rubbing, caressing, gliding over his heated skin.  His eyes snapped open, taking a moment to regain their ability to focus.  He swallowed as she wiped the excess salve on the back of her left hand before picking up the ace bandage. 

“Is this okay?”  She asked, sliding her fingers along his inner forearm.

“Hm?  Oh…yes.  Yes, it’s…yes.”  He muttered softly.

She smiled, removing the clip from the rolled bandage.  She looked at his arm in an almost studious manner – as though she were planning out the best way to complete the task.  Then she gave a subtle nod and carefully repositioned his arm.  He watched as she began to wrap his wrist…extending the wrap to just below his elbow.  There was a precision to her bandaging technique that surprised him, though he wasn’t sure why. 

Nothing she did should surprise him anymore.  She was brilliant, perfect, beautiful…

His eyes widened and he bit the inside of his bottom lip as a sudden understanding slammed into his now very active mind. 

Oh…”  He breathed, causing her hands to immediately cease all movement.

“I’m sorry, did I hurt you?”  She asked quickly, bright eyes staring at him.

“No.”  He answered just as quickly with a subtle shake of his head.  “No, it’s fine, Buffy.”

“Okay.”  She replied in a tone that clearly said she didn’t quite believe him.

She gently hooked the clip into the fabric to secure it into place and then picked up the jar as she offered him another smile.  “I’ll just go put this back.  Last call for Tylenol or…anything?”

He shook his head, lowering his eyes as he finally allowed himself to shift his body.  “Not right now, I’ll wait and see how this works.”

“You’re so stubborn, Giles.”  She said, rolling her eyes in mild frustration as she stood up.

He looked up as she disappeared into the hallway again.

“Oh dear Lord…”  He murmured under his breath. He took a throw pillow from beside him and drew it across his lap, ostensibly to rest his newly wrapped arm atop it comfortably.

Mostly, he wanted to hide the mild erection he was sporting, while his mind was too preoccupied in revelations to handle getting control of it. A part of him didn’t care about it, at the moment… there were far more important feelings going on inside of him right now.

This was more than just casual flirting, or their usual banter. This was… tender, intense, and warm… this was love.

The kind of love that would send Travers and his cronies into an apoplectic fury, if they knew of it. Giles closed his eyes again and moaned, his heart filled to bursting with overwhelmed emotion. He loved her and what was more… from her mannerisms, from knowing women over the years, and knowing Buffy particularly… he suspected that she loved him, as well.

“Please let me get you something for the pain,” Buffy spoke earnestly, her return to the living room startling Giles, and he jerked his eyes open and clenched his right fist around the edge of the pillow reflexively. Buffy perched on the coffee table across from him, and reached out, her fingertips gently sliding over his knuckles again. He closed his eyes as he fought with himself to try and ignore the feeling of sparks traveling up his arm from her touch. “Something small? Hey, maybe you could whip something up with your magical lemons,”

A chuckle bubbled out of him and he relaxed, focusing on the silliness to abate everything else roiling around inside of him. “My lemons aren’t magical, Buffy. Though lemon has been known to reduce swelling…” He pretended to consider that seriously for a moment, whilst resolutely keeping his mind on the swelling in his wrist and not the swelling of… other parts of his anatomy, and Buffy gave him a very dry look. He smiled a little, and relented, informing her of the Tylenol he kept in his medicine cabinet. “Just two!” He called out after her in warning as she had immediately leapt up again and disappeared back down the hall.

The absolute last thing he wanted was to get high on anything else stronger, and lose his ability to keep his mouth shut. Not when he was feeling like this.

He was busy musing about all the ways he could distract himself from her, should the necessity arise, unintentionally doing so already and not realizing she had returned to the living room again until she was perched on the coffee table across from him, a glass of water in one hand and her other palm outstretched offering a single pill.

“I found some extra strength ibuprofen in the cabinet?” She offered hesitantly. “The bottle looked like it was stronger than the Tylenol… but not like your vicodin or anything.”

“Ah.” He released a breath, at first balking against taking it, but the pain radiating up his elbow persuaded him otherwise. She watched him closely as he accepted the glass from her as well, and emptied it fully before passing it back. He was briefly tempted to stick his tongue out at her, as if she needed proof that he wasn’t hiding the medicine in his mouth like some kind of mutinous patient.

“Want a refill?” She brandished the water glass, and he shook his head, so she set it aside and then shifted to sit with him.

Giles watched as Buffy started to make herself comfortable in the opposite corner of the sofa.  He glanced at his bandaged arm, grateful for the mild prescription painkiller that she had brought him instead of the agreed-upon Tylenol -- more grateful than he actually wanted to admit.  It would be just strong enough to lessen the pain, but not enough to loosen his tongue -- as narcotics were wont to do. 

“You okay?”  She asked softly, watching him stare at his arm.  “Is it too tight?”

“Hm?”  He murmured, looking back to her.  The look of concern on her face made him want to smile -- instead, he shook his head and leaned back into the cushions.  “No, no...it’s fine.  I was just…”  He paused for just a moment and tilted his head thoughtfully.  “I’m sure you have much better things to do than to babysit me -- which, may I remind you, is not necessary.  It’s a minor wrist injury.”

“It’s your dominant hand.”  She replied, glancing at the appendage in question.  “What if you need to do something and you can’t because you need...you know, that hand?  You might need...help.”

His lips pursed together as he held back his smile.  “And what sort of situation could that possibly be?”

She shrugged a shoulder, smirking when she saw the light amusement in his eyes.  “We’re talking about you, Giles.  It could be any sort of situation.  You have this uncanny knack of getting yourself into weird situations.”

His smile began to break through, despite his attempts to stop it.  “Point taken, but...be that as it may, there’s nothing more to be done this evening aside from rest - which you should be getting, as well.”

“Are you kidding?” Buffy said incredulously, and he rolled his eyes.

“Buffy, I don’t have a concussion. It’s perfectly alright for me to sleep,”

“Yeah, but what if like, the pain gets way worse in the middle of the night and you decide you need the hospital after all? I need to be here to take you!”

“To take me?” He did laugh at that, he couldn’t help it, though tried to pull it back at her indignant look. “I am most certainly not letting you drive my car.”

“Not like you’d have much choice about it.” She grumbled, pouting a little.

“Buffy,” He sighed, wanting to get her off this track gently. “You don’t need to-”

“Point me toward the spare sheets!” She declared firmly, hopping to her feet, and he automatically winced when the movement jarred his arm more than he was ready for, but thankfully the medicine had begun to kick in at this point, and the pain was much more manageable. “I’ll sleep on the couch tonight. Oh- do you need help undressing?”

Excuse me?” He spluttered, his heart stopping for a beat too long at the thought of her helping him out of his clothes. She opened her mouth, possibly to clarify herself or - more likely - to tease him about his reaction, but he quickly continued on before she could speak, “I- no, no. I will - I can do that myself.”

“Are you sure?” She raised her eyebrow down at him and, flustered by the mildly coy look on her face, he scrambled to his feet and gestured down the hall.

“There are sheets in the hall closet. I’ll fetch a spare pillow for you.” He kept his flushed face averted, but she likely caught it anyway, because she was giggling a little to herself as she disappeared down the hall.

He sighed heavily as he trudged up his stairs. She was going to be the death of him long before any vampire managed it.


Chapter Two

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