Back to BTVS fic
When she reached the landing Buffy headed towards Giles’ room. “What, what is it?”
“You need to see this.” Xander walked into Giles’ bedroom. Giles was sleeping. He’d obviously just gone through a fever cycle and was at the fever breaking stage. He’d stripped down to his boxers and otherwise lay unclothed on the bed, lying on his stomach. Buffy could see the bruises from the doorway and she gasped.
Walking closer her eyes filled with tears. Giles looked like he’d been beaten. Or rather he looked as if someone had been beating him every night for weeks. He was covered with bruises, huge ones, in a sickening array of colors. Buffy could see some wounds, gash wounds on his arms, and one that just started on his side and disappeared onto his front. Buffy sat by his side. She saw the bruise where she had touched him last night. When he had flinched away and told her he was a little sore. Her lips tightened. She whispered in Giles’ ear. “Giles, turn over.” She gently prodded him. He grunted but obeyed, without waking.
His front was even worse. Just as bruised but more cut up. The cut on his side ran up his chest all the way to his collarbone. It was new enough to still be held together with steri-strips. He should have gotten stitches. Xander shook his head and whispered. “Jesus, what happened to him?”
Buffy wanted to cry. She wanted to crawl in bed with him and make sure that nothing ever hurt him again. She put out a hand to touch one of his bruises, clearly a brand new one, the skin still raw and abraded. One he must have gotten Friday while she’d been home scribbling notes on a legal pad. Buffy stood and quickly left the room running back downstairs. She began to pace, her frustration creating a surplus of energy.
Xander asked his question again after following Buffy downstairs. “What happened to him? What is that? It looks like someone’s been trying to kill him.” He stopped Buffy on her next pass. “Buffy, what is it?”
Buffy looked at him, tears in her eyes. “Why didn’t he call me? I would have come home.”
Xander kept his grip on her arm. “What happened to him?”
Buffy shook her arm free and collapsed on the couch. “It’s Heather.” At their looks she hastened to explain. “Oh, no. She’s not hurting him. She’s just…she’s…” Buffy struggled to come up with something that wouldn’t sound so accusing. None of this was her fault. “She’s young and the slaying is too much for her. Giles patrols with her every night and he fights the vampires to keep her alive.”
Xander’s voice was dangerous. “You knew about this?”
Buffy sent him an anguished stare. “No, he didn’t tell me. I don’t think he would have told me at all if he hadn’t gotten sick. I was on this couch when he took her out to patrol Friday night and he never said a word.”
“So how do you know what’s going on?”
“I took Heather on patrol last night. Giles was too sick. He told me to watch her. He told me she gets overwhelmed.” Buffy let out a frustrated laugh. “Overwhelmed.” She shook her head. “If there’s more than one vampire she gets so scared she loses it. She starts to cry and she can’t fight. So, Giles protects her. And he doesn’t tell anyone, because he doesn’t want you to patrol, and he doesn’t want me to have to come home if I don’t want to, and he keeps getting hurt and hurt and hurt until eventually it kills him.”
Xander sat down. “I know he’s been tired lately and walking a little slower. I just figured it was the added dad duties wearing him down, but I never…” Xander covered his face with his hands.
Willow already had tears running down her face. “Do you think he’s okay?”
Buffy looked up defiantly. “Yes, or at least he will be. Because he’s never going patrolling again unless he has a pad of paper to take notes on my slaying style.”
“What about Heather?”
“I’ll take her with me. I’ll teach her. She knows she…she knows she doesn’t do it well. She’s devastated about it. I think she knows he gets hurt but she hasn’t known what to do about it. Anytime, these last three days, that Giles looks sick or in pain, she just gets this haunted look about her and acts as if she’s afraid he’ll leave her.”
Xander removed his hands from his face and wiped his own tears away. “Jesus, I feel so bad. How do we make this right?”
Buffy looked at him. “By loving him. I’m going to love him and marry him, help him raise Heather and keep her alive, and maybe have some children of our own.”
Xander’s eyebrows rose. “That’s a little extreme. I was thinking more along the lines of a weekend off now and then, helping out more at the store.” He looked at Buffy and his eyes opened wide. “You’re not kidding, are you?”
Buffy shook her head. “I love him.”
Xander let out a long breath. “So are you trying to tell me, that back in high school, if I’d let myself be beaten black and blue night after night while protecting the Slayer, who of course was you, and stayed up night after night researching every way possible to keep you alive, and done everything I could to protect all of your friends and keep them out of harm’s way, while never taking any time off or asking for a thing in return, that you might have gone out with me?”
Buffy couldn’t help grinning, just a little. “Maybe.”
Xander snorted. “You are way too easy.”
Willow and Buffy both grinned at that. Willow glanced at Buffy. “What are you going to do with Heather?”
Buffy grinned. “I’ll need your help with that. I want her to start hanging around with Spike. She’s afraid of vampires. She thinks they’re mean.” She glared at Xander. “And if you ever say anything to tease her about this, you will look worse than Giles does right now.”
Xander put up both hands. “Hey, you’ll never hear a peep out of me.” He reconsidered. “Well, maybe a few years from now we can all have a good laugh about it.”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “She needs to get used to Spike. She needs to see Spike insulting you guys and you guys just insulting him back. She needs to see that just because they’re mean doesn’t mean they’re tougher than her.”
Xander pursed his lips. “So, you’re saying that in order to help you, you need me to insult Spike and generally degrade him?” He rubbed his hands together. “Count me in.”
Willow looked nervous. “I don’t have to be too mean, do I?”
Buffy grinned. “Nah, just give him a little Willow sass.”
“I can do that.”
“So, when does Operation Spike take place?” Xander couldn’t wait.
“Well, first I have to go talk to him and make sure he’s willing.”
Xander made a face. “What else does he have to do? I can’t imagine he has an overly busy social calendar.”
Buffy stood. “I’ll let you know as soon as I talk to him.” She glanced upstairs.
Xander and Willow got the message. Willow grinned. “Go fuss over him. Tell him we love him.”
Buffy grinned. “I’ll make sure he’s feeling very loved.”
Xander shook his head. “Man, you and Giles.” He blew out a breath. “I gotta say, I didn’t see that one coming.” He sent her a challenging look. “But if you have any kids, I get to be the godfather. Don’t even think about asking Oz. I get the first kid.”
Buffy started shooing them out. Willow looked back over her shoulder at Buffy. “And I get to be the godmother.”
When they got to the door Buffy gave them both a hug. “You guys are the best. I love you both so much.”
They hugged her back. “We’re just glad you’re home.”
Willow nodded. “And even gladder you’re staying.” She grinned. “Although probably not as glad as Giles will be.” She winked at Buffy.
Buffy laughed and shut the door. She bolted up the stairs. Her smile left her face as she walked back into the bedroom. He’d rolled back onto his stomach. Buffy slowly sat on the bed and inched over until she was right next to him. She looked at him again, looking at his body at the same time she looked at his bruises. He was beautiful. Despite the wounds, despite the scars, and the signs of his age, he was beautiful to her. She leaned down and kissed one of his bruises. And then she kissed another one.
She kissed every single one and somewhere towards the end of the ones on his back she could tell that Giles had woken up. She could feel him tensing, just for a moment, and then felt him relax. He cleared his throat. She smiled and kissed the last bruise, one high on his back, the one she’d accidentally hurt yesterday.
Giles cleared his throat again and turned his head to face her. “What are you doing?”
“Kissing all your boo-boos.” She kissed one on his shoulder, near to his lips. Buffy watched his eyes, watched as they looked at her lips. She kissed him farther down his arm, on a scratch that looked as if it might be a week old, still scabbing.
Giles licked his lips. Buffy saw a fading bruise on his temple. She leaned over and kissed him very gently there. Her breasts brushed against his arm. He turned onto his side and touched the side of her face with his fingers. “That could take you quite a while.” He looked down at himself. “I’m rather a mess. I’m sorry you saw me this way.”
Buffy shook her head angrily, shaking a couple of tears loose. “I’m not.” Her voice grew soft and filled with sadness. “Giles, you should have called me. I’m so sorry I wasn’t here.”
“Don’t be. It was my choice. You couldn’t have known.”
“It was a stupid choice.” She closed her eyes. “I’m sorry. It scares me to see you like this. And when I get scared I get angry.” Buffy let out a long breath and then she gently pushed him until he was on his back. She reached over him and kissed him, ever so softly, on his newest bruise. “You got that one while I was sitting downstairs on the couch.” She started to cry.
Giles wrapped his arms around her and using one of his hands he moved her face near his. He kissed her eyelids. He kissed her damp cheeks. As Buffy let out a soft moan he kissed her lips, very gently, just the lightest of touches. He did it again, just brushed his lips against hers. She let out another moan and whispered softly into his lips. “Kiss me, Giles.”
Giles increased the pressure and turned his head just enough to fully capture her lips with his. Buffy threw her arms around his neck and then pressed him against her. She pulled back from the kiss. “I’m not hurting you, am I?”
Giles shook his head, his lips moving back to hers. “Only if you stop.” He ran his tongue across her lips and she opened for him. Giles explored her mouth, reveling in the warmth and the textures and the way her tongue danced with his. Giles let out a groan. “God, you feel so good.” He rained kisses down her face, her jaw, along her neck. When he got to her neck he stopped and just rested his head there for a minute.
Buffy ran her hand through his hair. “Are you all right?”
Giles lifted his head and gave her a sheepish look. “I think I just used up all my energy. I’m afraid I’m not at my best right now.”
Buffy barked out a laugh and hugged him to her tightly. She could feel his erection against her leg. She glanced down and then looked back up at his face, grinning. “Parts of you seem to have plenty of energy.”
Giles silently chuckled. “It doesn’t understand that it can’t operate as a solo act.” He stopped Buffy’s hand as it started to wander down his body. “Buffy, if I came right now, I think it would kill me.”
Buffy pouted and then she grinned. “I’m sorry. I’ll behave. Just get better soon, okay?”
Giles ran his hand down her face and then ran his fingers along the lace edging of her top. The weariness was plain on his face but Buffy saw the flash of desire. Giles touched her skin again, above her breasts. “Trust me. With incentive like this I’ll be better in no time.” He couldn’t resist. He ran his hand over her breasts, letting his hand rest under her right breast while he flicked his thumb over her hardening nipple. Giles suddenly wondered if he’d gone too far, if he’d assumed too much. He glanced up at Buffy. Her eyes were closed and her mouth was partly open, her breathing rapid.
Giles could feel himself getting even harder. He lowered his mouth and captured her nipple, biting her through her top. Buffy let out a moan and pressed harder against him. His hand moved to her back and slid up under her shirt. He unclasped her bra running his hand around to cup her breast. He lifted her shirt and tasted her for the first time. Buffy let out a cry and arched back, giving him better access. He pressed her down on her back and pushed her shirt all the way up so he could see her. “You are so beautiful.” He tasted her other nipple. Then he lay his head down on her stomach.
Giles could feel her stomach move as she giggled. “Are you resting again?”
He rubbed his cheek against her stomach, enjoying the softness of it. “I’m sorry.”
She giggled again and ran her hand down his hair. “Don’t be. I should probably leave and let you sleep.”
Giles let out a protesting moan and held her tightly. “Don’t. Don’t go.”
She slid down until her face was level with his. She cupped his face between her hands. “I’ll never go. I’m here to stay.” She kissed him and pulled back, capturing his gaze again. “I love you so much.”
Giles groaned and pressing her back on the bed he shifted his body until he was lying on top of her. Buffy wrapped her legs around him and pulled him close to her so she could feel the hard length of him. Giles thrust against her. Buffy nibbled on his ear. “Are you sure you don’t want to come, just a little?”
Giles let out a half laugh and rolled them until she was on top of him. “Only if you don’t mind doing most of the work. And we take frequent rests, like right now.” Giles closed his eyes. He ran his hands slowly up and down Buffy’s thighs.
Buffy leaned down and spoke softly to him. “I’ll do all the work. You just lie there and keep your eyes closed for a second.” She got off of him and Giles opened his eyes to see where she was going.
His eyes widened as he watched her start to take her clothes off. First she took off her top and her bra. Giles’ breath caught in his throat at the sight of her. Buffy glanced up and realized Giles was watching her. She undid her jeans and slowly pushed them down, over her hips, lifting one leg and then the other to step out of them. All she was wearing was the barest bit of lace. She made as if to take those off too when Giles shook his head. “Let me.”
She moved to the bed and lifted his hands, placing them on either hip. Giles ran his hands down her hips and then behind her to cup her bottom. He pulled her close and placed a kiss on the lace, seeing her soft hair, barely hidden. Giles ran a finger underneath the lace and smiled as she moaned. Pulling her even closer until she was kneeling on the bed he pressed another kiss even lower, and he opened his mouth to nibble on her, to feel her softness.
He pulled back and slowly began to lower the scrap of lace until she was forced to stand to let them fall. She stood there for a minute and let him look at her. Then she got on the bed and straddled him, rubbing against him, enjoying the feel of the fabric of his boxers on her skin. Buffy almost growled as she thought of him entering her. She lay full length upon him, being careful to not let all her weight rest on him, not wanting to hurt him.
Giles held her close, the feel of her naked body lying on his sending waves of delectable sensations through him. He closed his eyes resisting the desire to flip her over and thrust into her. Giles was afraid that he might not have the strength to finish things up if he took such an active role. He knew he was really in no shape to make love at all, let alone take a dominant role. But he had been right. She was impossible to resist. And he could no more stop touching her now than he could stop loving her. But this really needed to be Buffy’s show. Most of it, anyway. He wasn’t planning on doing nothing. Giles ran his hands up and down Buffy’s back, down to her bottom and up again. His thumbs caressed the sides of her breasts.
To Buffy it felt like the most sensual of massages. Him underneath her, the crisp feel of his chest hair against her breasts, the hardness of his cock pressed against her groin, and his hands. God, those hands, so sure of themselves, so strong. Buffy shivered. Giles whispered to her. “Are you cold?”
Buffy pulled up a little so she could see his face. “No. I’m hot. You’re making me hot.”
Giles grinned. He cupped her breasts and pulled her up a little so he could take one in his mouth. She reached down as if to start working his boxers off but instead he sat her up and he began inching down, moving underneath her until his breath was stirring the hair on her mound. He flicked his tongue out and touched her clit. Buffy moaned and lifted herself up so he would taste her. Giles needed no further invitation. Holding her thighs from underneath, feeling her extraordinary strength as she held herself ready for him, he laved her with his tongue, over and over again. Long strokes, always ending with her clit. He could have tasted her forever, he could have listened to her pleading cries longer than that. He wished he had the energy to taste her until she came in his mouth. Giles reassured himself that he would have the time later. That he would have many more opportunities to pleasure her until she screamed for mercy. Giles pulled away from her and laid his head back on the bed.
Buffy lowered herself and scooted back down Giles’ body. “Taking another rest?” She smiled at him, loving him so dearly. She frowned. He looked so tired. “Should we stop? We can stop.”
Giles shook his head. “No, I just need to rest for a minute.” He closed his eyes but he never stopped touching her. He ran his hands up and down her thighs again, down her calves. He smiled. “You’re so strong. I can feel it. Your body is so amazing.”
She smiled. “You’re the one who feels amazing.” She lifted up and he let out a soft cry as if she was deserting him. “I’m not going anywhere. You just rest there while I take care of these.” She started tugging his boxers off, working the band over his cock, teasingly touching him as she pulled them oh so slowly down his hips and then down his legs. She glanced at him. “Are you resting?”
Giles nodded, his eyes still closed, a small smile on his lips. Buffy began kissing him, kissing his calves, kissing his thighs, finding more bruises as she made her way up her body. Her touches grew more tender, her desire to touch him dueling with her need to not hurt him. She rubbed her nose in his wiry hair, and brought a hand up to cup his balls. Giles shifted underneath her as he let out a soft moan. Buffy ran one hand up his shaft and lifted it so she could take him in her mouth. This time Giles bucked under her and one of his hands fisted in her hair.
Buffy took as much of him as she could in her mouth, enjoying the size of him, and the hardness of him, knowing that he was hers now. She moved her head, moving up and down his cock, making him wet and slick. All of a sudden she had to feel him inside of her. Buffy straddled him and guiding him to her she pressed down and took him inside.
She had moved so quickly Giles didn’t even realize she had changed tactics until he felt himself enter her warmth. His eyes flew open and he groaned. “Oh Buffy, that feels so good. You feel so good.” Again he resisted the temptation to flip her on her back. He forced himself to relax as she began to ride him.
Giles reached up to caress her breasts, and then he pulled her down so he could kiss her. He bit her lips, and then he kissed her so very gently. Her hips pulled up until he was almost out of her and then she rammed down hard. Giles groaned into her mouth and he thrust his tongue inside her following the rhythm she set up with her hips. He pulled back and looked at her fiercely. “You belong to me now, you know that don’t you?” His eyes closed on another groan as once again she teased his cock by pulling up so high and then claiming him again.
She touched his face. “I’ve always belonged to you. Don’t you know that?”
He pulled her down for another searing kiss. He started pumping his hips up to meet hers as she thrust down. Giles loosened his hold on her so he could kiss her face, kiss her breasts. “Yes, you have. You’ve always belonged to me. From the first day I met you, you’ve been mine.”
His words were like magic fingers, caressing her, loving her. She was so close. He could see it on her face. “Come for me, Buffy. Let me watch you.” Giles watched as she found her release, as her cries grew louder and the sensation rocked her body. He didn’t think he had ever seen anything more beautiful.
When she was done he finally did what he’d been wanting to do. He was so close himself it wouldn’t take long. He flipped them over and he pushed into her, watching her face. Every thrust made her moan, her face still flushed with passion. He lifted himself up, extending his arms so he could watch himself enter her. It pushed him over the edge. With a cry he thrust one last time and felt himself explode inside of her. This time she watched him, watched as he moaned, as he made his final thrust. And then she grinned as he collapsed on top of her.
When he lay so still she got a little nervous. She ran her hand down his back. “Hey, you’re not dead are you?”
Giles grunted. “Not quite.” Buffy grinned and arched up against him. That had been so wonderful. She felt like a cat who’d been given a big ol’ bowl of cream to drink. She felt like meowing. Giles spoke again. “Am I too heavy?”
Buffy ran her hands down his back until his flinching made her remember that he was hurt. “Ooh, sorry.” She touched him more gently. “And no, you’re not too heavy. You feel wonderful.”
“Good, because I can’t move.”
Buffy giggled. That was all right with her. Her Slayer strength could handle him lying on her for quite some time. Although there was an awful lot of him. She’d never quite realized how much of him there was. Somehow looking at him this way, or feeling him this way gave her a whole new perspective on it. She smiled again, feeling very proprietary. Every inch of him was hers. She whispered to him. “I love you.”
He grunted back. “I love you too.”
Buffy let out a happy sigh. She looked down…and saw blood. She rolled Giles over onto his back. He looked up at her surprised, especially when he saw her face. “What’s the matter?”
“You’re bleeding. I made you bleed.” Buffy’s voice was filled with guilt.
Giles looked down at himself. Part of his cut, the one that ran up his side to his collarbone had split open and had started to bleed. He pulled her down to his side. “It’s fine Buffy, it’s barely bleeding.”
Buffy lay there for a second and then she shot up. “You’re doing it again. I am never going to believe anything you say, ever again. It’s barely bleeding. I’m a little sore. I’m not at my best. Look. At least three inches of it has opened up and there’s blood leaking out all over the place.
Giles smiled. “You’re not going to believe anything I say?”
“I love you.”
Buffy let out an exasperated breath. “That’s not fair. You are the biggest liar I’ve ever met.”
“I am not a liar.” Giles frowned at her.
“Okay, fine, you’re the biggest understatement guy that ever walked the planet.”
Buffy looked at his chest. “Aren’t you worried about that?”
Giles barely opened his eyes. “I don’t have the energy to worry about anything. I told you. I can’t move.”
“Where are the steri-strips?”
“In the downstairs bathroom.”
“Okay, I’ll be right back. Don’t move.” She grinned.
He glared at her. “Ha ha.”
He was asleep when she got back. Trying not to wake him she gently started cleaning the blood off with a wet towel. When she realized that she could probably play the tuba right now without waking him she relaxed and cleaned him off as thoroughly as she could. Then she put new steri-strips on him, closing the wound again. Buffy started to feel guilty all over again. But even in the midst of her guilt she couldn’t keep the smile off her face. That had been wonderful. And if that was Giles not at his best, she couldn’t wait to see what he was like when he was fully recovered.
The ringing of the doorbell woke her. Buffy blinked her eyes trying to figure out what the noise was. The second ring registered and she leaped out of bed. Figuring it was Heather she threw on the nearest thing, which happened to be Giles’ robe. Belting it around her she headed downstairs.
Buffy flung open the door. “Did you forget your key?” It wasn’t Heather. “Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else. Can I help you?” She looked down at what the woman was carrying and she gritted her teeth.
“Is Rupert home?”
Buffy nodded her head, and then she shook it. At the woman’s questioning look Buffy explained. “He is, but he’s still sleeping.” Buffy yawned and ran her hand through her hair. She hoped she looked like she had just been thoroughly made love to.
Apparently she did because the woman’s eyes narrowed. “I didn’t realize Rupert had a house guest.”
“Oh, I live here now.”
The woman opened her mouth to speak again when they both heard a voice from upstairs. “Buffy, did you take my robe?”
Buffy and the woman both looked at her attire. Buffy grinned and yelled back up. “Yes, I did. I had to answer the door.”
“Oh, who was it?”
“She’s still here.” Buffy looked at the woman. “What’s your name?”
Buffy yelled back upstairs. “Someone named Phyllis. I think she brought you some dinner.” Buffy wrinkled her nose as they both listened to him sneeze. She looked at Phyllis. “He’s got a cold.”
They both watched the staircase waiting to see if he might descend. Buffy figured if he could muster enough energy to have sex that he could make it down a flight of stairs. She grinned and felt like meowing again. Then he appeared wearing some sweats. He was combing his fingers through his hair and Buffy thought he looked like someone who’d just been thoroughly made love to. She grinned again and walked to the bottom of the staircase.
Giles kissed her briefly and smiled at her. Then he looked up at Phyllis. “Sorry, Phyllis. I’ve been sleeping a lot lately trying to get rid of this cold.” He put his arm around Buffy. “Have you met Buffy?” He walked over to the door with his arm around her waist.
Phyllis hid her dismay by smiling. “Yes, we were just introducing ourselves.” She couldn’t miss the sizzle going on between the two of them. “I understand she’s living here now.”
Giles smiled down at Buffy. “Yes, she is.” Buffy smiled up at him.
Suddenly they heard a yell. “Giles, Giles.” Heather zoomed up the steps and flung her arms around Giles. “You’re up. Are you better?”
Giles ran his hand down her hair. “I think I am.” He crouched down. “Did you have a good time at Nancy’s?”
Heather nodded and glanced up at Buffy. At Buffy’s grin Heather went to give her a hug too. Buffy leaned down and picked her up. “How’s my girl?”
“We made cookies.”
Buffy gasped. “Where’s mine?” She started going through Heather’s pockets. “Where are they?”
Heather started giggling. “We ate them all.”
Buffy started making pig noises and Heather giggled again. Buffy glanced up and saw Giles looking at them both. There was such a look of love on his face it captivated her and she couldn’t look away.
Mrs. Ferguson had joined Phyllis on the front step. They looked at Buffy and Giles and they shared a commiserating glance. They muttered some goodbyes and shut the door behind them. Buffy looked at the closed door. “Hey, she took our dinner away.”
Giles chuckled. “I don’t think we’ll be getting any more dinners.”
Buffy sighed. “Probably not.” She grinned. “Good thing there’s just enough lasagna for dinner.” Giles moved closer and kissed Buffy.
Heather’s eyes opened wide. “Buffy, are you Giles’ girlfriend?”
Buffy grinned. “Yup. I most certainly am.”
“Are you going to get married and everything?”
Giles and Buffy looked at each other. They both answered at the same time. “Yes.” Their voices were both stern as if to communicate the fact that they were getting married whether the other person wanted to or not. When they both realized they’d done the same thing they smiled at each other. Giles kissed her again and spoke more softly. “Yes, we are.”
“You’re going to live here and we’ll be like a family?”
Buffy nodded. “One big family.”
Heather pushed out of Buffy’s arms and spun in a circle until she fell to the ground. Buffy looked down at her and then up at Giles. “I take it that’s a good thing?”
Giles chuckled again. “Yes, that’s a happy thing she does when she’s…well…happy.” He pulled Buffy closer. “If I had more energy I’d do it myself.”
Buffy looked at him with some anxiety. “How are you feeling? Should you be out of bed?”
“I actually feel better.” At her disgusted look he repeated himself. “No, I really do. I think you cured me.” He grinned at her. “I’m not saying I’m well, and I promise I’ll take it easy for a few more days but I think I’m over the worst of it. I haven’t had a fever since that one this morning.” He paused. “Well, I had a fever, but not the sort that registers on a thermometer.” He grinned again at her and the look in his eyes made Buffy’s butterflies come back.
Buffy stood on her tiptoes and kissed him. And then she kissed him again. They heard a giggle and they both looked down to see Heather still sitting on the floor, staring at them and giggling. Buffy rolled her eyes. “Let me go get dressed and then we’ll cook dinner.” She pointed to the couch and looked at Giles. “You, on the couch.”
Giles looked down at Heather. “Do you still have homework to finish up?” Heather groaned and lay back down. Giles grinned at her theatrics. “Go on, get your books. You can do it on the coffee table and keep me company.” At that Heather got up and grabbed her book bag. She took Giles’ hand and led him over to the couch.
When Buffy got back downstairs after changing she stopped in the living room. “Giles, do you want some tea?” At his nod she looked at Heather. “Something to drink?”
“Hot chocolate, please.”
Buffy grinned at Heather’s formal request in her little pixie voice and she headed off to the kitchen. She threw the lasagna in the oven. It was already preheated, as she’d never shut the damn thing off. She made Giles’ tea and made hot chocolate for herself and Heather and realized that she felt ridiculously happy. She was almost tempted to do Heather’s happy dance. Buffy put a tray together and headed back out to the living room. Giles looked like he was asleep but every now and then he’d answer a question of Heather’s. Buffy put the tray down. Giles sat up and reached for his tea. Buffy sat down next to Giles and he put an arm around her shoulder and pulled her close, kissing the top of her head. “I love you.” Heather turned her head around looking at him. He grinned. “I love you too.”
Heather smiled and turned around again to her homework. Buffy watched her pencil scrabble across her homework sheet. She spoke softly to Giles. “You’ll need to let me know what I have to do tomorrow so you can rest.”
Giles laid his head back and pursed his lips. “You need to get Heather up by 7:00 so she has time to get dressed and eat breakfast. You need to make her lunch and then drive her to school. Then she probably ought to train tomorrow afternoon as we’ve missed the last few days. Then back home, dinner, homework, patrol, and bed.” He grinned at Buffy. “Nothing to it.”
Buffy shook her head, her respect for Giles leaping to new heights. “How have you done it?” She let her hands softly touch the areas of his worst bruises and cuts.
Giles lifted her hand and kissed it. “The way I’ve always done it. One day at a time, one thing at a time.” He touched her face. “I’ll be glad for your help.”
Buffy laid her head on his shoulder. “I wish I’d been helping before.”
Giles brushed her hair off her face. “Heather and I did fine. You’re here now and that’s all that matters.”
The three of them sat there, Heather doing her homework, Giles and Buffy on the couch, their arms around each other, all enjoying each other’s company. When the timer went off Buffy reluctantly got up. “Soup’s on.” She looked down at Giles. “You have got to eat.”
Giles nodded and began to get up. “I will. I actually feel a little peckish.”
Buffy reached down a hand and helped him up. Still keeping a hand on his arm she ruffled Heather’s hair. “Come on, mini-me. Time to eat.”
Heather giggled and jumped up bolting for the kitchen. As they ate Buffy looked at Heather. “I have a job for you tonight.”
Heather looked at Buffy, her eyebrows up. “You mean, while we patrol?”
Buffy shook her head. “I’m going to patrol tonight. You get to stay here and take care of Giles.”
Heather’s eyebrows rose higher. “I don’t have to patrol?”
Buffy grinned. “Don’t get used to it. But I think you ought to have a night off every now and then. Besides Giles needs some extra lovin’ right now and I think you’re just the girl to do it. Am I right?”
Heather gave Buffy a big nod and she gave Giles a lopsided smile. Giles looked at Buffy. “Are you sure, Buffy?”
“Yeah. I need to talk with Spike so I’ll get him first and we can patrol together.”
That made Giles feel better. He glanced over at Heather. “What should we do tonight?”
“Watch a movie.”
“Which movie?” Giles glanced at Buffy and mouthed the name of the movie before Heather even said it.
Giles grinned. “All right. But not until you finish your homework.”
Heather ate her last mouthful of food and made as if to rise. She sat back down and looked at Giles. “May I be excused?”
Giles nodded. “Yes, you may.”
She bolted back over to the coffee table. Buffy laughed. “I can’t believe you actually have a television and a VCR.”
“A DVD player, actually. And there’s one upstairs in my bedroom too.”
“You have a TV and DVD player in your…our…bedroom?” Buffy was astonished. “Cool.” She frowned. “Where is it?”
“In the armoire.”
“So we can snuggle up in bed and watch movies sometimes?”
Giles grinned. “Heather and I do it every Sunday morning.”
“Man, I can see weekend mornings are a big deal around this house.” Buffy let out a happy sigh. She looked over at Giles. “I’m happy.”
Giles smiled at her. “I’m glad. I’m happy too.”
Heather piped in from the living room. “I’m happy three.” Giles and Buffy both laughed as their hands clasped across the table.
One month later:
Giles put down the book he was reading and grinned as he listened to the happy chatter coming up his front sidewalk. He stood to go open the door. Spike had Heather on his shoulders and Heather was giggling. Giles breathed through the gratitude that threatened to make him break down and cry. Heather giggled a lot now after patrol. She still had tears every now and then but it was happening less and less often.
Operation Spike, much to Xander’s complete disgust, had been a huge success. Although not the way they had anticipated. Xander had insulted Spike one afternoon and Heather had seen a sad look pass over Spike’s face. It had just been there for a second but Heather had recognized it because she felt it so often. Xander had hurt Spike’s feelings. She had run to Spike and put her arms around him and tried to make him feel better. It had floored Spike and within seconds they were the best of friends, a situation Spike liked to rub in Xander’s face every chance he got.
Spike patrolled every night with them and Giles breathed easier knowing it was the three of them out there against the world. Not that he didn’t worry every second they were gone. His heart would shatter if he lost either of them. Giles patrolled on occasion, to see how Heather was doing, so he could give Buffy some advice on how best to train her. He supervised Buffy as she trained Heather. And Giles, for the first time in eight years, wasn’t feeling sore. It was a remarkable feeling and he seemed to have more energy than he knew what to do with. Well, that wasn’t strictly true. He knew exactly what to do with it. And Buffy seemed to wholeheartedly agree with his choice.
He watched as they walked up the steps. Buffy reached him first and kissed him. “Guess what?”
Giles shook his head. “What?”
“Heather sassed a vampire.”
Giles’ eyes widened and he looked up at Heather. “You sassed a vampire?”
Heather giggled. “And then I staked him.”
Buffy beamed. “She sassed him, he gave her a little sass back, she sassed him again and then, poof.” Buffy wiped her hands off with a very satisfied air. “Dust.”
Spike stepped up to the door. “Watch your head.”
Heather lay straight back until she was hanging down Spike’s back as he hung on to her ankles. He carried her in the house. Heather pulled herself up and sat on his shoulders again. Spike reached up and lifting her up off his shoulders he deposited her on the ground. “And she told me to shut up.” He looked down at her proudly. “She said: shut up, Spike. Just like that.” Giles had to bite back a laugh at the look on Spike’s face. He couldn’t have been prouder if she’d won the Nobel Prize.
Giles glanced down at Heather. “You do realize you mustn’t speak that way to anyone with a heartbeat, don’t you?”
Heather nodded. “I only said it to Spike because he wouldn’t stop teasing me.”
“What was he teasing you about?”
“He kept saying I staked vampires like a girl.”
Giles couldn’t help it. He started to laugh. A month ago he’d been about as low as you could get, afraid for Heather’s life, afraid for his own life, and now. Now, nothing was the same. Now he had Buffy back, they were in love, his body was healed, and Heather was sassing vampires. Giles sent Spike an affectionate gaze. Spike knew how grateful Giles was and he took full advantage of it, but Giles didn’t mind. He’d have given Spike anything he wanted for protecting his family and considered it a bargain.
They all moved into the living room. Buffy and Giles cuddled on the couch. Spike perched on the arm of the lazy boy, and Heather sprawled on the floor. Buffy stood up suddenly and headed for the kitchen. “I think this calls for a celebration.” She searched for the refrigerator for the bottle of sparkling cider she’d seen. “Aha.” She pulled down four glasses and walked back into the living room, taking her place next to Giles.
She poured the cider into the four glasses and handed them out. Lifting her glass she held it high, looking at Heather. “To Heather’s first successful vampire sass and stake.”
Through Heather’s giggling they all repeated Buffy’s toast and drank down their cider. Spike put his glass down and stood. “Well kids, I hate to drink and run, but I’ve got people to annoy.” Heather jumped up and hugged him goodbye. Giles liked to watch Spike’s face when Heather did that to him. It made him look so human. Spike tousled Heather’s hair and stepped away. “Ciao.” He blew out the front door and into the night.
Giles looked down at Heather on the floor. “It’s a school night, time for bed. Head on up and get in your pajamas and brush your teeth and I’ll be up in a minute to tuck you in.”
“Will you read to me?”
“Yes, I’ll read to you. Go on.” Heather got up and bolted up the stairs.
Buffy snuggled in closer. “Can I come too so you can read to both of us?”
Giles chuckled quietly, his chest vibrating beneath Buffy’s cheek. “Yes, you may come too.” He tightened his hold on her. “Thank you for coming home. Thank you for being here, for loving me and Heather.”
Buffy pulled her head up to look at him. “Thanks for keeping a home waiting for me. And loving you and her, it’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done.”
Giles kissed her, a kiss that started gentle and grew more passionate. He pulled away reluctantly. “Hold that thought.” He grinned at her. Standing he reached out a hand to pull her up. Together they climbed the stairs to Heather’s room. The three of them snuggled into Heather’s bed. Heather was in seventh heaven snuggled between the two of them. She handed the book they’d been reading to Giles. Opening it up to the bookmark he found his place and began reading to his family.
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By Rari Coss