Title: Page 382
Author: Froxyn
Pairing: Buffy/Giles
Rating: FRM
Timeline: AU…S6 – however, there was no death of Buffy – Giles didn’t return to England.
Synopsis: Giles needs to go see the Council. Buffy isn't exactly thrilled about that prospect.
Author’s Note: As always, thank you A.

Buffy leaned against the dresser in Giles’ hotel room and watched him pack.  He was talking as he packed, but she wasn’t listening.  She did register that he had paused – and when she looked at him, she wasn’t surprised to find him staring back at her…obviously waiting for a response.


“I’m coming with you.” 


“Did you not listen to a word I said?”  He asked, tossing a handful of ties into the suitcase.


“No.”  She admitted, crossing her arms over her chest.  “I was too busy trying to process you leaving me again.”


His features softened and he shook his head.  “Again?  I’ve never left before and I’m not leaving now, Buffy.  I’ll be gone for a week, at most.  I just need to – ”


“The last time you left for a few days to talk to the Council, they showed up here wanting to put me through all sorts of impossible to pass tests.”


“And who came out on top in that instance?”  He asked with a soft smile.


“They also threatened to take you away from me.”  She continued, shaking her head as her eyes glistened.  “What if they keep you and don’t let you come back?”


“They won’t.  I’m fairly certain that they don’t actually want me in England.”


“I’m coming with you.”


“You’re the Slayer, Buffy.  This is a Hellmouth.  You’re needed here.”


She levelled her gaze and lifted her chin as she pushed herself away from the dresser.  “Either I’m sitting next to you on the plane or I’ll be on the flight directly after yours and I’ll meet you at the Council building.”




“Your choice, Giles.”  She uncrossed her arms and walked towards the door.  “I’m going home to pack.”


Before he could say anything else, she left the room and closed the door behind her.  He stared at the door for a long few minutes and then ran his fingers through his hair.


“Damn…”  He muttered to himself, closing his eyes briefly as he took a long, deep breath. 


Then he reopened his eyes, swallowed hard…and finished throwing clothes into his case.


* * *


Dawn stood in Buffy’s bedroom doorway, watching her pack a suitcase. 


“So…you’re going to England?  With Giles?”


“It’ll be a week, at most…he says.”  Buffy answered, moving over to her closet and staring at the rack of clothes.  “We need to find these demon anthologies and the Council is the only entity that knows where they are.”


“Entity?  Jesus, you even sound like him these days.”  Dawn teased lightly.  “But, seriously…what the hell are we supposed to do if something happens here.  I mean…we live on a Hellmouth and you’re the Slayer.”


“Jesus, you sound like him…”  Buffy muttered before pulling a few hangers out of the closet.  “Spike is still around, Willow and Tara are here, Anya knows more about demons than just about anyone, and Xander…can fix the house when you guys invariably demolish it in some way.”


“And what am I supposed to do?”


Buffy looked at her as she threw the clothes onto the bed, still on their hangers.  “Stay out of trouble.”


Dawn rolled her eyes.  “As if I won’t.  But…does this mean you’re actually going to tell him how you feel?”


Buffy paused in mid-fold of a pair of jeans and stared at her sister.  “About what?”


“About him.”


“He’s my Watcher, Dawn.”  She replied in an indignant tone.


“Yeah?  Well, you’ve been doing your fair share of watching too, you know.  We all see it…you’re not subtle about where your eyes are wandering.” 


Dawn walked over to Buffy’s bedside table and opened the drawer.  With a smile, she pulled out Buffy’s passport and tossed it over to her. 


“You should talk to him.  He should talk to you, but he’s not going to start that conversation.  This ball’s in your court.  So, go to England with your Watcher…but, come back with your boyfriend.”


Buffy’s eyes widened.  Dawn grinned and walked out of the room.


“What the hell was that?”  Buffy whispered.


Then she took a deep breath and turned back to the suitcase on her bed. 


* * *


Buffy had just placed her two large suitcases at the bottom of the stairs when there was a knock at the door.  She wiped her palms on her thighs and then opened the door, not really surprised to find Giles on the other side.


“If you’re here to try to talk me out of coming – ”


“No.”  He interrupted softly, glancing at the luggage behind her.  “I came to ask if you would like a ride to the airport – and also to make sure that you don’t forget your passport.”


She smiled at him, pulling her passport out of her back pocket.  “How much do I owe you for the plane ticket?”


“Just don’t hit Quentin and we’ll call it even.”  He replied with a smile of her own. 


“You drive a hard bargain, Giles.” 


He looked at her for a long moment and then gestured towards her bags.  “Is that all you’re taking?”


“Do you think I need more?”  She asked, genuinely curious.


He chuckled, shaking his head.  “I was actually expecting more.”


Hearing laughter, Buffy and Giles both looked towards the hall that led to the kitchen.  Giles furrowed his brow and slid his hands into his pockets.


“Ah…what about Dawn?”


She looked up at him, confusion in her eyes.  “You want Dawn to come?”


“No.”  He answered quickly. 


Possibly too quickly.


When he saw the smile appear on her lips, he cleared his throat.


Definitely too quickly.


“What I meant was…who will be watching over Dawn while we’re away?”


“Will and Tara are going to stay here.  Xander and Anya will be around too.”  She purposely didn’t mention Spike.


Giles nodded, rubbing the back of his neck.  “And…she’s okay with you leaving?”


“It’s a week at most, right?  She’s fine with it.  I think she might be too fine with it, actually.”  She answered with a gentle laugh.  “What time’s the flight?”




“We have time for a tea…”


He smiled after a brief hesitation and then followed her to the kitchen.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


“You sure you don’t want the window seat?”  Buffy asked as Giles lifted his carry-on bag into the overhead bin. 


Giles glanced at her, pressing himself against the side of the seat in front of him as another passenger squeezed by him.  “Positive.  My legs are far too long to deal with an international flight in a window seat…”


Buffy allowed her eyes to lower and thought – not for the first time – how amazingly long his legs actually were.  “Yeah, that makes sense.”


Giles furrowed his brow slightly at the wistful tone of her voice, but quickly dismissed any thought that would have entered his mind. 


“If you fall asleep and I need to get out, I can just climb over you.”


His eyes widened as she flopped into the seat next to the window – and then he took a deep breath as every thought he had previously dismissed came flooding back into his mind. 


“Bloody hell.”  He muttered under his breath before removing his jacket and placing it on top of his bag. 


He took a deep breath and sat down next to Buffy, who was staring out the window and watching the trailers of luggage being loaded into the cargo hold.  After a couple of minutes, Buffy turned towards him and sighed.  He tilted his head, silently questioning her.


“I know I didn’t give you much choice in the matter, but…thank you for letting me come with you.”


He gave her a nod and then loosened his tie.  “I wouldn’t mind knowing why you were so adamant.  There was almost a…panic, for lack of a better term.”


“No, that’s a pretty accurate term.”  She admitted, running her fingers through her hair.  “I really just don’t like the thought of you being at the Council on your own.  I don’t trust them…I haven’t trusted them in years, but…after them threatening to have you deported?  Stripping you of your green card?  Taking you away from me?  No…because seriously, what if they try to block you coming back?  They can.”


“They can, yes.  But, I honestly don’t think they’d try it.”  He responded, his tone soft and soothing.




A smile quirked at the corner of his mouth.  “Because they’re frightened of what you would do.”


“They fucking well should be.” 


Giles chuckled and unbuttoned the top button of his shirt.  Her eyes darted to his hands.  They both automatically looked up when a voice could be heard over the intercom system.


“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard British Airways flight 280 – non-stop service from Los Angeles, California to London, England.  Our flight time will be ten hours and forty minutes…ish.”


Giles snickered, causing Buffy to look at him quizzically.  He shrugged a shoulder and grinned.




She rolled her eyes playfully and buckled her seatbelt. 


* *


Two hours into the flight, he jumped slightly when he felt pressure on his right upper arm.  He looked over at her, smiling to find her sound asleep…with her head resting against him.  He reached over and carefully adjusted her blanket, his smile growing as she shifted…then snuggled closer against him. 


He fought the urge to move her so he could slide his arm around her.  It was a hard fought battle, but one he eventually won in the end. 


He found that his book wasn’t nearly as captivating as it had been.  And that realisation caused a wave of trepidation to course through him.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~~


“I can’t believe you let me sleep for so long.”  Buffy said, throwing her luggage on top of Giles’ on the trolley.


“You obviously needed it.”  He said with a smile.  “Have you not been sleeping well?”


“Not really.”  She answered vaguely, quickly continuing.  “At least it gave you time to read in peace…without me annoying you.”


Giles looked at her curiously, his smile fading.  “You think you annoy me?”


“I would annoy me if I were talking while I was trying to read.” 


Giles stared at her, his mind working her words out.  She laughed loudly, replaying her last sentence in her head.


“So, maybe I needed a bit more sleep.”  She waited until his smile returned.  “And…sorry for using you as a pillow.”


“You’ve used me for worse.”  He replied with a chuckle.  “Are you hungry?”


“Yeah, I am actually. What time is it again?”


He glanced at his watch.  “Quarter to twelve.”


“So…lunch then.  What’s good for lunch in Merry Old England?”


He rolled his eyes, carefully navigating the trolley of luggage through the busy terminal.  “It’s not as if we’re in some exotic destination, Buffy.  It’s fairly easy to get a cheeseburger and chips here.”


“Maybe I don’t want a cheeseburger and fries.”  She retorted.  “I’ve never been here, Giles.  Show me stuff.”


He thought for a minute and then gave her a gentle nod.  “Fair enough.  Pub lunch, it is.  We can drop our bags off at the hotel first.”


“Sounds good to me.”  She said brightly, following him out the doors of the terminal. 


“Then maybe a little sight-seeing in the afternoon…and an early night?”


“Sure.  Council tomorrow?”


“That’s the plan.”  He said quietly, looking down at her.  “Is that alright with you?”


“Yeah.  I’d like to have just a day without having to deal with…”  She paused, glancing around at the people near them.  “…the shit we normally have to deal with.”


He laughed heartily, amusement showing in his eyes.


And even though they were there for a very specific reason, Buffy had a lingering thought that she’d never seen him so relaxed before. 


It was a good look on him.  A very good look.


She diverted her eyes quickly, hoping he wouldn’t notice that she had looked away as quickly as she did. 


“You alright?”


Of course he’d notice.  Why wouldn’t he have noticed.  He was her fucking Watcher.


“Yep, all good.  Is taxi getting the same here as it is back home?  Wave of the hand, whistle if you can?”


“Basically.”  He nodded, regarding her closely.  “But, we can just go pick up the car I hired.”


“Oh…yeah, right.”  She laughed nervously.  “After you, Mr Giles.”


His eyes sparkled in the sun.  She tried her best not to think about that.


She failed miserably.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


After they had dropped their luggage off in their respective hotel rooms – Buffy’s room was directly across the hall from Giles’ – and lunch had been had at a charming pub just down the street, he asked her what she’d like to see first.  She had surprised him with her answer – a very pleasant surprise.  She didn’t want to see the normal touristy sites…she wanted to see what he missed about London.


And then he surprised her by taking her to a small pond where no pond should have actually been.  He smiled as he watched her look around in the small hidden cove – her bewilderment was much the same as his had been when he first happened upon the place years earlier.  He had found it not long after his return to the Academy – and he had kept it to himself. 


It had become his refuge when things became too overwhelming. When he felt like running, he’d go there…and find his centre once more.  He’d never seen anyone else there…and he’d never brought anyone else either. 


Until now.


“Wow.”  She breathed.


He smiled and sat down on the grass near the bank of the pond.  She stared at the water as she sat down next to him. 


“This is beautiful, Giles.  So peaceful and…just amazing.”


“Isn’t it?”  He asked, bending his right leg as he leaned back…his palms pressed against the ground behind him.  “This place has saved my life more than once.”


“The color of the water is…gorgeous.”


“Your eyes have always reminded me of this pond.”  He stated softly. 


So softly that she wasn’t sure he meant to actually say it.  She turned towards him slowly.




He closed his eyes briefly – and that’s when she knew that she was right.  He hadn’t meant to voice that thought.


“Why?”  She asked quietly.


He took a very deep breath and opened his eyes, staring out at the water.  He was quiet for a few moments and then cleared his throat. 


“This place has always calmed my inner self.  When I would feel as though I was losing control, I’d come here…stare at the water.  And I’d be home within myself.”  He paused, but didn’t look at her.  “One of the first things I noticed when we met was the color of your eyes…and how similar it was to the color of the pond.”


He glanced at her quickly, not surprised to find her staring at him.  He returned his gaze to the pond and continued. 


“The past couple of years have been…difficult…for me.  To say the least.  I felt lost, not knowing where to turn…losing control.  And then I realised that you were my centre – with one look into your eyes, I calmed…and felt…at home within myself.”  A tiny smile appeared on his lips.  “And like this pond, you have saved my life more than once.  I also find myself in awe of the beauty you both possess.”




He chuckled quietly, shaking his head.  “The very nature of this place elicits nothing but truth for me.  I’m not sure how I could have forgotten that.  I’m sorry, perhaps it was a bad idea to bring you here.”


“Or maybe your subconscious knew it was the absolute right place to bring me.”  She placed her hand on his arm as she continued.  “The right time, the right place.”


He looked down at her hand sharply, lowering his voice to a whisper.  “Please don’t.”


She heard the concern in his tone and recognised it for what it was – fear that he had overstepped a line that had been drawn in the sand the day they met.  What he obviously didn’t realise was that she had brushed that line away completely a year earlier.


“Please look at me.”  She whispered back.


He shook his head slowly, sadly.  “Buffy, I’m barely treading water as it is.”


And there it was, out in the open in a manner that screamed Rupert Giles.  That is…everything was open to interpretation…and it was up to her as to how that should be interpreted, because he very clearly was not going to take another step over that non-existent line on his own. 


“Look at me.”  She repeated, curling her fingers around his forearm. 


There was almost a pleading to her tone – even in his current state of anxiety, he could hear that.  And so he took a deep, shuddering breath and turned to look at her.  His jaw tightened and twitched as he looked into her eyes.


“The right time, the right place.”  She repeated softly, allowing her fingers to gently rub his arm.  “You brought me here for a reason, Giles.  We…can see where it’ll lead.”


“If I kiss you, I’ll drown.”  He whispered emotionally.  “And I don’t even know if you would be agreeable to that notion.”


“I’m a pretty good swimmer, Giles.  I reckon I can keep you afloat.”  She said, moving closer to him. 


His eyes darted to her lips, then back to her eyes.  “Buffy…”


“I’m agreeable.”  She licked her lips and placed her left hand on his chest.  “Let’s just see what happens.”


“Because I’m such a risk-taker…”


“Shut up.”  She whispered – and then she leaned into him and brushed her lips across his. 


She felt his sharp intake of breath and kissed him again, this time allowing her lips to linger on his.  Just as she started to pull away, he lifted his hands to her face.  His large palms cupped her cheeks as he returned her kiss.  He kissed her slowly…groaning inwardly when their tongues touched for the first time.


Her fingers curled into the material of his shirt.  He slowly ended the kiss and leaned his forehead against hers.


“Fuck…”  He murmured, sliding his hands to her shoulders.


“Worth the risk?”  She asked, uncurling her fingers.


“We should…talk.  See where we are…in relation to one another.” 


She sat back and looked at him, slowly pulling her hand from his chest.  “I think you’re right.  We should talk…but, we don’t forget about what just happened here.  How it felt when we kissed.  Because…you felt it too, right?”


He nodded slowly, taking a deep breath as he licked his still-tingling lips.  “I felt it, Buffy.”


“Is it just here?”  She smiled at his look of confusion.  “Do you think you’d only feel it here?  Or…is it something that you think you’d feel elsewhere?”


“I feel it everywhere.”  He admitted, watching her bend her legs and wrap her arms around them.  “I have felt it…for a while.”


“Is that why you didn’t want me to come with you?”  She asked, resting her chin on her knee as she looked at him. 


“Because…that’s pretty much one of the reasons that I insisted on coming.”  She added when he hesitated in answering her. 


“I’m sorry?”  His eyes narrowed as he processed her words. 


“Maybe we should head back to the hotel.” 


“What?”  He asked, his mind racing.


“It was a long flight.”  She said, lifting her head and releasing her legs. 


“That you mostly slept through.”  He replied, watching her stretch her legs before she stood up. 


“Yeah, but you didn’t.  So, we should go back…get some rest…and talk later.”  She offered him her hand, wiggling her fingers in an invitation for him to take it. 


He took her hand with his right, pushing himself up with his left.  She looked back at the pond as he stood next to her, gently squeezing his hand before letting it go.


“It really is beautiful here, Giles.  Thank you for sharing it with me.”


He nodded, but said nothing.  Then he watched her walk towards the entrance of the small cove.  He took a deep breath, hoping it would calm him. 


If anything, it had the opposite effect. 


He sighed and followed her out.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The journey back to the hotel had been quiet, but not completely uncomfortable.  He pointed out various little-known landmarks on the way back…and had laughed when she pointed out the more well-known ones.  He had found great amusement in her reaction to a large roundabout – content to stand with her just to watch the traffic for a while. 


He had asked if she wanted to grab dinner – but, she had shaken her head and smiled before saying that she’d just get room service.  He had felt a pang of disappointment, but then brightened when she continued with “but, let’s get breakfast in the morning, okay?”.  By the time they’d gotten back to the hotel, he had to admit that he actually was quite tired.  He watched her go into her room before he went into his. 


He changed quickly – opting for a pair of navy sweatpants and a grey t-shirt – and stretched out on the bed.  He stared at the ceiling for a long while before taking a deep breath and closing his eyes.  He yawned as he shifted, then rolled onto his side.  He expected that he’d fall asleep within just a few minutes, considering how tired he was. 


Of course, his mind had other plans and decided to replay the moments at the pond.


An hour later, he opened his eyes and turned on the television. 


Two hours after that, he turned it off…realising he had no idea what he had even watched because he simply wasn’t paying attention. 


He glanced at the door and made a decision – and then he climbed out of bed before he could change his mind.  He left his room and walked directly across the hall, pausing only a moment before lightly knocking on the door.


The door opened and Buffy arched an eyebrow at him.  “You’re supposed to be asleep.”


“Tell that to my mind.”  He said with a chuckle.  “Am I disturbing you?”


She laughed and gestured for him to enter.  “I’m watching a documentary on redwood trees.”


“That sounds…”


“Boring?”  She interjected, closing the door and nodding.  “It absolutely is.  But, it kept me from knocking on your door.  Because…you know…you’re supposed to be sleeping.”


“Knocking on my door?”   He asked, moving closer to her.


“Yeah.”  She whispered, biting her bottom lip.  “Because…I’m having trouble not thinking about how your lips taste.”


He stared at her for a moment – and when her eyes darkened slightly, he moved.  She gasped in surprise as he pushed her against the wall, lifting his hand to run his thumb over her bottom lip. 


“I’m having the same trouble.”  He whispered.  “Hence, the not sleeping.”


“Please tell me you’re getting ready to kiss me again.”


“We’re supposed to talk…”  He said, sliding his thumb to her chin.


“Fuck the talk.”  She murmured, wrapping her hand around the back of his neck and pulling him down. 


Any response he would’ve given was silenced by her mouth underneath his…lips parting, tongues meeting.  He groaned as her nails scratched the nape of his neck and his hands found her hips, easily lifting her as he pressed against her – holding her body against the wall with his own as their kiss began to spiral out of control.


His mouth moved to the junction of her neck and shoulder as she curled her legs around his hips.  He sucked and nipped at her flesh while her fingers grasped the back of his shirt.  When she felt the unmistakeable sensation of his erection pressing against her, she began pulling his shirt up. 


“Bed, Giles…”


He turned quickly, holding her hips as he carried her to the bed.  He placed his left knee on the mattress and carefully lowered their entangled bodies onto the blue duvet that was still on the bed.  She moved her hands to his stomach, sliding them underneath the comfortable cotton of his shirt.  As she began pushing the shirt up, he lifted his head and looked at her.


“Are you sure about this?”


“We both very obviously want, yes?”  She asked, pausing the movement of her hands. 


He nodded, licking his lips as pulled three buttons loose on the pajama top she was wearing.  “Very.”


“Then let’s go with it…”




“Let’s just go with it tonight, Giles.  We’ll talk about everything tomorrow, but…you can’t turn me on like this and then just…stop.  That’s grounds for yelling and throwing things.”


He regarded her closely for just a moment – while waging an internal battle with himself.  Give in and feel…and hope that they were strong enough to weather the fallout?  Or pull away…causing frustration and possible anger – and hope that they were strong enough to weather the fallout?


He swallowed hard when he felt her nails lightly scratch over his abdomen.  And then he felt her heel rub against the back of his thigh. 


“Ah, fuck it…”  He murmured, pushing himself up to his knees. 


He pulled his shirt up over his head and tossed it onto the floor.  She giggled softly, shimmying out of her top.  His eyes darted to her bare breasts and he nearly stopped breathing.  She sat up and placed a warm open-mouthed kiss above his right nipple.


He took a shuddering breath and gently pushed her back down to the mattress.  She grinned up at him as he ran his fingertip along the slope of her breast.  He smiled back at her and then lowered his mouth to hers.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Buffy woke lazily, smiling as she felt his arms around her.  She ran her fingertips along his arm, sighing when she felt his lips place a lingering kiss on her shoulder. 


“Thank you.”  She whispered, snuggling back against him.


“For what?”  His lips moved to her neck briefly before his tongue traced the shell of her ear.




“Ah…well, I left my room key in my room…”  He teased, giggling playfully when she gently smacked his arm. 


She rolled over to face him and gazed into his eyes.  He looked at her curiously as she stroked the side of his face.


“What is it?”  He whispered, leaning into her touch.


“You giggle…and it’s beautiful.”


He turned his head, pressing a kiss into her palm.  “I would’ve stayed even if I had my room key with me.”


“Thank you.”   She said once more, smiling when he whispered a soft ‘you’re welcome’.


“But, I feel that I should thank you for not kicking me out.”


“You’re pretty comfy…”


He snorted a laugh, brushing her hair back from her face.  “I’m assuming that’s a good thing?”


“Yeah.  Yeah, it is.”  Her hand moved to the side of his neck and rested there.  “So, should we…talk?”


“It’s five in the morning and we have what, in all likelihood, will be an annoyingly frustrating day ahead of us.  I’m inclined to wait until we’ve finished with Council business.” 


When she started to pull her hand away, he quickly grabbed it and curled his fingers around hers.  “Buffy, please know that I regret nothing that has happened here.”


“But, you don’t want to talk about it right now…”  She added, a hint of frustration in her tone.


He exhaled a soft breath and resigned himself to having this conversation.


“Because I’m concerned that we might not be on the same page in relation to us – and I’d rather just hold you and let myself believe that we are.”  He lowered their hands to the mattress between them and cleared his throat. 


“What page are you on?”  She asked, curling her free arm under her head on the pillow.


“Three hundred and eighty-two.”  He replied without thought. “I can put a bookmark in, hold my place…wait for you to catch up – if it’s something you think you’d want me to do.”


Of course he’d use a book analogy.  She thought with brief amusement.  Then she remembered that this was actually a very serious discussion.  And she needed to give him a very serious response. 


“Giles…”  She sighed softly.  “I don’t want to be in love.”


“With me?” 


“With anyone.”  She answered, tightening her hold on his hand when he started to let go of hers.  “But, I am – in love with you.”


“I’m sorry?”


“I don’t know what happens on page three hundred and eighty-two for you…but, if you’re wanting to put a bookmark in so you can wait for me to love you?  That’s not necessary.”


When he stared at her, saying nothing…no movement, no breathing…she bit her bottom lip nervously.


“Okay, you need to say something.  Or at least breathe.  Because…I kinda took a huge leap and now I’m wondering if page three hundred and eighty-two is something else – like, we had a nice coffee or some shit.”


He opened his mouth, then closed it.  Then licked his suddenly dry lips and took a deep breath.


“My book started the day I realised my feelings towards you had begun to…evolve.”  He admitted slowly.  “Um…how long?  For you, I mean.”


“I think there was a reason I couldn’t let Riley completely in.”  She said, glancing at his neck.  “And I have to admit, I really wasn’t happy with your time spent with the Dracubabes.”


“The Three Sisters.”  He corrected.  “And any time spent there was not by my choice, Buffy.”


“Point is…”  She continued quickly.  “…my feelings for you have been…evolving…for a while now.”


“Then perhaps a bookmark isn’t needed – for I’m certain that I’m in love with you too.”  When she smiled brightly at him, he lifted her hand and placed a soft kiss on her knuckle.  “We’ll need to talk about how we work through this when we get back to Sunnydale.”


Her eyes narrowed.  “What do you mean?”


“I have no interest in hiding how I feel.”


“Me neither…”


“Then we need to decide how we’ll broach this subject with the others.”


“Considering my sister told me to go to England with my Watcher, but come home with my boyfriend…I’m pretty sure the subject has been broached by them.”


Giles’ eyes widened.  Buffy smiled and continued.


“Apparently, I’m not all that subtle when I’m watching you.”  She pulled her hand free from his and allowed her fingers to lightly stroke the hair above his ear.  “I get the feeling that we’re the source of some pretty interesting talk amongst our friends.”


He returned her smile and then glanced at the clock.  “What would you think about getting an early start at the Council?”


“In a hurry to get back home?”


He chuckled, leaning into her and kissing her lips.  “On the contrary…the quicker we find these anthologies, the more time we have to spend here together…before we go back home.”


“I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard you refer to Sunnydale as ‘home’.”  She mentioned, kissing him back before sitting up and stretching. 


“I think it’s the first time I’ve felt that it’s home.”  He responded, sitting up next to her and scratching his chest. 


She smiled as her eyes darted to the small bruise at the base of his throat.  He arched an eyebrow and reached over, gilding his fingers over a similar bruise on her collarbone. 


“Look at us, all matchy-matchy.”  Buffy whispered.


“Mm…a reminder to be careful.”


She nodded in agreement.  “At least they’re in places that are easily covered with clothes.  Last thing I need to hear today is Quentin’s ‘tut tutting’ and lectures about romantic relations between Watchers and Slayers.”


Giles barked out a laugh and then gestured towards the bathroom.  “Off you go.  When you’re ready, come over to my room and we’ll head out for breakfast.”


“You don’t have a key to your room…”


“I’m fairly certain that one of the attendants at the front desk will be able to assist in that.”  He replied in an amused tone as he reached for the phone. 


She laughed loudly, sliding out of the bed and making her way to the bathroom.  He licked his lips, unabashedly watching her nude form slip into the bathroom.  Once she’d closed the door, he exhaled a breath.


“Well, this trip has become much more enjoyable.”  He whispered to himself.


With a bright smile, he flipped the page of the book in his head.  One page for each of the three hundred and eighty-three days of loving her.


No bookmarks required.

~ End

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