Disclaimer: Don't own Smallville, Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Please see my author's page for a link to a Poll I am hosting in regards to the next season of SuperSlayerVille!

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Emerging from her car, empty boxes stacked in her arms, Buffy Summers couldn't keep the smile off of her face. Once she was inside she'd play it somber, this was difficult enough for her mother without rubbing in how happy she was to be leaving, but outside she reveled in the fact that she'd finally worn Giles down enough to get him to ask her to move in with her. He'd been worried what their relationship might look like to outsiders given how much older he was, and his profession, but she'd reminded him that he'd never been her professor, and she was an adult able and willing to make her own choices. She'd also been cunningly moving in for months now without him realizing it. Everything had started by her leaving a toothbrush and a comb at his apartment, and it'd slowly graduated to sleeping clothes, to work clothes so she could change in the mornings, and by the time Giles asked her which closet she wanted for her things she knew she'd won the battle.

Today she was finally going to officially move in with Rupert Giles. She'd known from the very first second she'd seen him, as he'd met up with Mikey - her boss and his old college buddy - that she was going to end up marrying that guy. And now she was halfway there! Once she was officially moved in she'd start convincing him it was only proper to marry her. He was stuffily British, 'proper' meant a lot to him. She had no qualms in using it against him.

A baby's wail pierced the air. It was coming from inside the house.

Buffy blinked.

Who'd suddenly given birth while she'd been out to work?

Juggling the tower of empty boxes in her hands, Buffy somehow managed to open the front door, and when she did she found the inside of her home in utter chaos.

"How is it that Bette agreed to look after her friend's baby brother, but I end up being the one having to take care of him?" Dean wanted to know, visibly perplexed as he rocked a colicky baby in his arms.

"Because you're a sucker?" Bette threw out there as if it was completely obvious. She sat with her feet plopped up on the coffee table, her custom zippo lighter in her left hand (she was absentmindedly flipping the cover open and closed) while she used her right to channel surf.

"Mom." Dean sounded just like he had as a teenager when he'd finally accepted Joyce - mostly because he'd needed her on his side to keep the girls from making his life a living hell.

"Look what I just found." Joyce Summer's voice was thick with emotion as she pulled out two Christmas ornaments from a box she'd been searching through on the ground. "We got these for Buffy's first Christmas." Her eyes watered up and her voice choked. "She and Rupert should take them for when they… for their first Christmas as a…" She broke into sobs.

Dean's eyes widened and he turned to Chloe in absolute terror. "Chloe." He used the same 'do something!' tone he'd used on Joyce two seconds ago.

Chloe was already on it, her hands on Joyce's shoulders. "Mom, you're not losing Buffy. She can't cook for crap, she's going to keep dragging Giles back here just because she's hungry."

Buffy's lips parted in an outraged huff but she couldn't really deny that because, well, she wasn't a culinary person. She didn't like anything remotely house-wifey, but Giles was basically proficient in it since he'd been a bachelor for so long, so that wasn't really an issue.

"Plus, think of it this way," Chloe continued as she knelt down next to her and pointed up to where Dean had come closer. "Soon, it was could be Buffy's baby that we're hoisting onto Dean to take care of."

"Wait a minute," Dean muttered as he came even closer, continuing to rock the colicky baby in his arms. "Why am I - the only male in a household filled with women - the one being—?"

Joyce looked up at him and the baby, the tears in her eyes now of happiness. "Oh!"

"Guys," Buffy finally let her presence be known as she finally joined them in the living room. "I'm moving a ten minute drive away. I'm not off to fight in some epic battle between good and evil where I'll most probably die within the year." She smiled at them. "I love you all, so don't feel like I'm leaving you guys. I'm definitely still going to be around."

"I don't feel that way at all," Bette assured her. "I'm getting your room after you leave. I called dibs years ago. Plus, it gets me away from their rooms." She waved the remote vaguely in Chloe and Dean's directions. "So all in all I'll be living my best life."

"What is that supposed to mean?" Dean wanted to know.

Bette snorted. "You figure it out."

Dean moved to confront her, baby and all.

Chloe reached out and grabbed him by the ear, yanking Dean back into place.

"Ouch, ouch, ouch! Abuse! Mom! Are you seeing this?" Dean turned his eyes on his stepmother expectantly.

"Dean, learn to fight your own battles," Buffy ordered as she finally managed to put down her boxes, quite proud with herself that they hadn't all tumbled down messily.

"If I fight back I'm scum, if I don't I'm weak, there's no winning." Dean sounded like a poor, unfortunate soul being tortured daily by the female hellions around him, which, to be honest, he was. "Plus, Chloe fights dirty. I'd rather not fight her at all."

"Hey!" Chloe took obvious offense to that.

"My body carries scars." Dean leveled her with a look.

Chloe opened her mouth and then closed it because she knew she had no come back to that. She got very lucky though, because her phone rung and she answered it immediately, clearly glad for the rescue. "Hello? Oh, hey Andrew. What's up? Yeah, I've got time to talk." She glanced over at Dean. "Nah, he's indisposed but I'm all ears."

"Hey hey hey hey!" Dean followed after with the baby still in arms. "I'm not indisposed. Now open the door for me, I'm with child."

Rolling her eyes, Chloe held the kitchen door open for him and followed after Dean, already switching it on to speaker as she entered behind him and the door swung shut.

"Five bucks says Andrew propositions Dean again." Bette reached into her bra and pulled out said five dollars.

"Five says he tries to weasel a date out of Chloe again." Buffy was already looking through her handbag for her own money.

"You two are ridiculous," Joyce sighed as she put down the Christmas ornaments to into her pocket for her own wallet. "He's been stuck on the idea of a threesome lately, clearly he's going to go with that one again." She waved a five dollar bill. "That poor, sweet, deluded young man."

Bette made a face. "Isn't it kind of harassment for their agent to be constantly trying to get into their panties though?"

"Oh, it very definitely is," Joyce assured her.

"And you aren't even a little worried about this?" Bette wanted to know as she stabbed her five dollar bill towards the kitchen. "That guy is using his position of trust to try and get into both of your kids' pants. That's predatory."

Buffy tried to imagine Andrew Wells as 'predatory' and she really couldn't. In fact, the thought made her giggle a little. Sure, Andrew wasn't sure who he had a bigger crush on - Chloe or Dean - and he tried to get a date out of either of them at every opportunity he could find - but he was definitely not dangerous. Dean could probably kill him with a mere punch, and Chloe had once nearly broken Andrew's arm during a friendly arm-wrestling match.

"CHANGE THE SUBJECT, ANDREW!" They could hear Dean growl. "WE'RE NOT INTERESTED!"

Joyce put back her five dollars and held her free hands out towards her daughters, who both rolled their eyes and handed over their bets. "May that teach you to not bet against your mother, she always knows best."

Jumping up to her feet, Bette threw the remote down and grabbed some of the empty boxes. "I'll help you take these up to your room."

"Thanks." Buffy smiled at her.

Bette smirked. "The sooner you're moved out, the sooner I move in."

Rolling her eyes, Buffy grabbed the other boxes and together they made it up the stairs. She looked around her at the pictures that decorated the walls up the stairs, as well as the upstairs halls. There were pictures of Buffy and her mother and father when she was very young, and then pictures of Dean, his father and mom when he was young. There were pictures of the two families once they'd gotten together. Dean's father and her mother had never actually married, which was why Joyce still went by Summers, but they'd been as true a family as any married couple. And they'd fostered Bette and Chloe as well.

Buffy couldn't remember exactly how they'd com to foster the girls, but she knew that from the beginning she'd felt it was her duty to protect them, especially Chloe. Sure, Bette had been younger, but Chloe was the one who really looked traumatized. Maybe Bette had been too young to realize that what the cult she and Chloe had grown up in had done to them was torture at best. Not only had both girls been very skinny, and had had their heads shaved, but a chip had been placed inside of them. They'd been tracked like animals. Of course the chip had been removed, but up to this day Buffy couldn't believe the evils people were able to put others through.

And that was that Bette and Chloe had been the daughters of the head of the cult. Apparently he'd had a couple of children through his many wives, but Chloe and Bette were the only ones that came to stay at the Summers/Winchester residence. Buffy had always wanted sisters so she'd been very happy to have them, and even though they'd never actually adopted the girls, they'd become family.

It was going to be hard to leave everyone behind. Buffy felt a little guilty for how happy she was, and for the fact that she was moving out, especially when she knew that Chloe and Dean could've both moved out a long time ago but had chosen not to. Dean felt responsible for Joyce and the girls living under this roof, as he was the man of the house. Chloe had mentioned thinking about moving out once, but she'd seen Joyce's downtrodden expression and had never brought up the subject ever again.

And yet, while she knew that her mother would be very sad, Buffy was going to move out. Did that make her a bad daughter?

"Will you stop torturing yourself?" Bette wanted to know as she glanced over her shoulder at Buffy. "If you don't move in with Rupert I will."

And just like that, Buffy's amusement returned. "You wish."

"Oh, I do. He's dreamy." Bette returned her attention ahead of them as they walked down the hallway towards the two bedrooms at the end - Buffy's and Joyce's. The youngest member of the family kicked Buffy's door open and strolled in as if she owned the place, which, once Buffy was completely moved out, she would. "I knew this would be mine one day. Hello bay window. Hello easy jump into the pool from said bay window."

"Don't do that while mom's around, she's going to have a heart attack." Buffy put the boxes on her bed and looked around her, not sure where to begin.

Bette didn't have a question where she was headed as she went to the closet and dumped the boxes all around her. She opened the door and peered at Buffy's clothes. "I want to start going to your self-defense classes. Free. Don't charge me. I'm your sister. That's cheap."

Intrigued as to why Bette wanted to learn how to fight all of a sudden, Buffy looked up from where she'd been eyeing her shoe rack. "What's with the sudden desire to learn how to fight?" There was silence, and that really bothered Buffy, because Bette was never silent unless she was planning something… or really bothered by something. "Do I need to beat up someone?"

"Nah." Bette shook her head. "I just hate feeling so useless."

"What are you talking about?" Buffy turned to face her, gripping her favorite basic black heels in her hand. "What happened?"

The teenager took in a deep breath before she turned to Buffy. "I don't care if you move in with Giles or with some monks in Nepal, okay? If you say anything I'll put NAIR in your shampoo." She waited for Buffy to nod before she finally continued. "Chloe and I were kind of attacked the other day by some homeless people. They were totally deranged." She made a face. "The thing is that it wasn't the first time one of us has had some sort of issue with a homeless person."

"Attacked?" Buffy came closer. "Why didn't you two say anything?"

"Chloe said that they were…" Bette twirled her finger around her temple, indicating crazy. "That we can't blame them for doing insane things if they're off their rocker. Plus, she said they had enough problems as is living on the street. And I get it, really, but this is the fifth freaking time! How many passes do they get just because they live in a cardboard box?" She closed her eyes tightly. "And yes, I just heard how mean and uncaring that made me sound but there's really no nice way to put this."

"Why are homeless people attacking you guys?" Buffy sat down on her bed in confusion. "Is the drug problem getting worse on this side of town?"

"Totally." Bette yanked clothes out of Buffy's closet and haphazardly folded them before dropping them into the box nearest to her feet. "They kept saying I was this ball of fire, and kept trying to 'put me out' before I burned them all alive… It was creepy. And annoying. And ironic given my fixation with fire." She made her face up in disgust. "They threw water and their stinky ass sheets and coats on me, I nearly literally suffocated."

"Tell me you went to the police about this!" Buffy couldn't believe what she was hearing.

"Yeah, we've made reports, but they basically say the same thing Chloe does. That and the fact that our homeless are apparently nomads so it's very unlikely the police would be able to get them… and even if they did, what could they really do to them?"

"Lock them up in an insane asylum," Buffy responded hotly. "I can't believe the police said that! They're supposed to be the protectors of Sunnydale!" She stood, decision made, holy anger burning inside her chest at the thought of what her sisters had had to go through without any sort of help from the organization created to protect people in these sorts of situations. "You start training tomorrow morning."

"I'd prefer evening classes," Bette declared.

"Right. You start tomorrow evening then."

She grinned. "Thanks Buff. When I beat up some homeless dudes I'll have you to thank for it."

Buffy merely shook her head. "You're very welcome."

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Joyce stood at the kitchen window, staring outside with a very distant yet troubled expression on her face. In her hands was a cup of warm tea, and she held it tightly, so tightly, in fact, that Buffy was surprised that it didn't break. Joyce, for her part, didn't even seem to realize what she was doing. Instead she was lost in her own world. Buffy had seen her mother this way enough times to know what was going on with her.

"The nightmares again?"

Jumping, Joyce turned to look at her, eyes wide before she breathed a breath of relief. "You scared me."

"Sorry." Entering the kitchen, Buffy went about making her own cup of tea with the hot water remaining in the kettle. "Were the nightmares about that yellow eyed guy again?"

"Aren't they usually?" Joyce wanted to know with a small smile as she gazed out of the kitchen window once more into the shadow-covered back yard. "I dreamt that Dean had a girlfriend, a brunette, and I don't know why but I think their love was killing her."

"How vague and tragic," Buffy mumbled.

Joyce nodded her agreement. "Dean made a deal with the yellow eyed guy, I think he was like a genie or something. Dean made the guy remove the brunette's memories of Dean, and to be extra certain that she'd be safe, he made the yellow eyed guy remove all the love he had for her. He was scared that even if she didn't remember him, his love for her would be enough to kill her, so he sacrificed it for her."

"Did it work?" Buffy asked curiously. Honestly, her mother's nightmares were like stories waiting to happen.

"Yes, I think it did," Joyce admitted. "In the end of my dream, the girl had no memory of Dean anymore, and he was here, with us, not only not remembering her, but with all the love he'd had for her completely removed." She frowned. "I woke up crying."

"Oh mom, it's just a dream." Buffy, cup in hand, moved to stand next to her mother.

"Sally-Mae thinks my dreams are my subconscious talking to me," her mother informed her worriedly. "What if my subconscious is picking up on some sadness or emptiness inside of Dean and this is how it tries to convey it to me?"

"Mom, Dean's fine." Buffy brought a finger to her lips and tilted her head to better hear the murmurs going on in the garage. There was an undertone of amusement to the arguing going on in there. "Does that sound like someone who is sad or empty? That sounds like someone whose business partner is giving him hell, and who is giving her just as much hell, and who is enjoying it to the max."

"DON'T YOU FRIGGIN DARE!" Dean suddenly yelled out. "YOU'LL REGRET IT!"

"REGRET THIS!" Chloe yelled back at him.

Something crashed.

Buffy groaned and covered her hand with her face. "We're going to get another noise complaint. She's going to get arrested again."

"As if he'd let them put a hand on her," Joyce snorted into her cup of tea. "The only one who gets to harass her is him."

"He's so weird," Buffy muttered. "You remember that time he beat up Andrew Conroy for yelling at Bette… and then he turned around and started yelling at her himself for the same thing Andrew had been yelling about?"

Joyce nodded, and looked very happy at the memory. "Bette was so shocked. She didn't think he was brave enough to yell at her. It took her days to get over the revelation."

"I know." It still made Buffy smile to remember that, but that smile disappeared the second something broke upstairs. "I better go see what Bette's doing before she breaks more of my stuff!" And with that she ran out of the kitchen, mug in hand.

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"Are you and Chloe on the warpath again?" Buffy asked curiously as she entered the garage - or, well, what was supposed to be the garage but had been converted into a working den - and noticed that Chloe was gone. Buffy was surprised because she hadn't noticed Chloe inside and had figured she'd come here to find those two wrestling on the floor, yanking at each other's hair. Then again, she'd heard a doorbell, and the baby wasn't around, so maybe his parents had come for him and Chloe had taken the kid out to them.

"Huh?" Dean looked up from the large series of whiteboards in front of him where a crude storyline was being mapped out. "No. Not at all. Why would you think we're on the warpath? We're better than ever. Amazing, actually."

"Something broke not too long ago," Buffy reminded as she came to stand next to him. "From how it sounded in the kitchen, she threw something at you and missed."

"Ah, yes, art is a work of passion," Dean informed her with a little shrug as he returned his attention to the whiteboards. "It's how you channel it that makes the difference. Plus, she's got good aim, so the fact that it didn't hit me meant she wasn't really aiming at me." He grinned sheepishly. "Its our thing, you know?"

A smudge of suspicion bloomed in her chest the second she realized that there were cameras mounted all around the room again. That only happen when there was need for reference. "Was Amaia pissed off with Vincent again?"

Utter embarrassment covered Dean's face as he motioned with his head towards the board, where, under the words 'VINCENT ACTS LIKE A PUNK AND AMAIA REACTS IN KIND' were written the words 'THERE'S SERIOUS FIRE IN YOUR VEINS WHEN YOU SEE A PROJECTILE COMING STRAIGHT AT YOU. HALF OF YOU WANTS TO HIT IT AWAY, HALF WANTS TO DODGE SO IT DOESN'T HIIT YOU, AND HALF WANTS TO REMAIN STILL AND SHOW YOU'RE NOT AFRAID TO GET HIT AND HURT — EVEN IF YOU REALLY ARE SCARED."

"You can't have three 'half'," Buffy pointed out. She should've realized that this was all Amaia's and Vincent's faults - especially given how nonplussed her mom had been! They'd obviously been in a brainstorming session for a while and Buffy hadn't noticed it because she'd been so busy she'd hardly stopped by the house in the last couple of days! A part of her felt guilty for that, but the other was very relieved that Chloe wasn't throwing things at Dean, Amaia was throwing things at Vincent, and from what Buffy knew about Vincent on his bad days he deserved things being thrown at him.

"Semantics." Dean waved her away, a hint of embarrassed pink still on his cheekbones.

"You know, you and Chloe being so method about this is going to get one of you hurt one of these days."

"Nah." Dean grinned a toothy grin. "I can handle her." When Buffy laughed he rolled his eyes. "I can overpower you guys if I want to." He eyed Buffy. "Well, them, I can overpower them. You've always had some freaky strength."

Quite proud of her 'freaky strength'. Buffy preened as she moved towards the whiteboards, eyeing the new storyline emerging. "Mom's worried about you, she had a dream where you gave up your love for the love of your life, and that because of it you were empty and cold inside or something like that. She's worried her subconscious is picking up something her conscious self should be."

Dean turned to look at her in confusion before he snorted and shook his head. "Where does she come up with this stuff? Although, it's great material." He made note of it on the blackboard.

"Well, is she right?" Buffy pressed. "Not about giving up your love, of course, but about her subconsciously picking up something wrong with you?"

Dean once more turned to look at her in confusion. "No." He looked utterly flummoxed and amused as he once more shook his head. "Buffy, I'm okay. I'm actually better than okay. Andrew said our series is getting serious traction. Not only are our electronic sales going through the roof, but out order-to-print ones as well… and there's some actual publishing houses who are interested in us publishing our future graphic novels under their label." He grinned brightly. looking excited and nervous all at the same time as he rubbed his hands together. "This could be a really big change for Chloe and I, it could go from us publishing the stories we made for fun to actually… you know… this could be it."

Buffy's eyes widened and she threw herself at him, hugging him tightly. "Congrats!"

"Let's not celebrate anything yet, but Andrew is setting up some meetings with the interested parties for us. We'll let everyone else know." He hugged her back nonetheless. "The thing is, Sis, I'm not saying I'm fine just to put you or mom's minds at ease. I'm more than fine. Life is… life's great right now. I get to do what I love with my best friend - just don't tell her I called her my best friend - it'll go to her head."

Laughing, Buffy pressed a hard kiss to his cheek. "Congrats."

Dean chuckled. "Just… don't tell anyone I told you, okay? Chloe and I said we'd keep it secret."

"Okay." Buffy nodded as she pulled away. "But the second you have news—."

"You'll be the first I tell," he promised as he grinned, clearly on cloud nine right now. She didn't know what it was that kept giving her mother nightmares, but Dean wasn't secretly feeling lonely or sad or empty. Buffy had grown up with Dean and knew him very well. Right now he was happy - ecstatic and nervous - he was great. Amazing, actually.

That relieved her to no-end as she hugged him once more.

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After sending Dean in to help Bette and Joyce with the packing ("think of it as our last family project while I'm living under this roof") Buffy had set off to find Chloe. She hadn't found her anywhere in the house, and had been about to give up when she'd spotted her outside in the dark yard. Confusion as to what the girl was doing out there in the darkness filled her as she stepped out and joined her on the porch's step.

And then she saw what Chloe was staring at.

"Is one of our neighbors' dogs in heat?" Buffy shucked her hands into her jeans' pockets. From her vantage point on the porch she was very clearly able to see the group of around twenty dogs gathered loosely around their fenced backyard.

"That's the only rational explanation." Chloe hugged herself as she stared at the gathered group with a frown on her face.

There was something odd in her sister's tone, so Buffy sent her a quick sideways glance before returning her attention to the dogs. "Bette told me about the homeless people."

Chloe visibly flinched. "That last one was bad. Usually they fixate on me, but she got the brunt of it that time."

"Why didn't you tell us?" Buffy couldn't understand that part. "We're family."

"I know—." Chloe took in a deep breath. "Buffy, it's, it's because, well, you know where Bette and I come from."

"What does that group of insane freaks have to do with this?" Buffy wanted to know, very wary at this moment.

"Bette doesn't remember, not really, she was too young when we were rescued, and there are things that are kind of hazy to me as well, but I remember things. Our father, he… We had a purpose. Not a good one. He used to call Bette his little Inferno, the 'Fire that would burn the world down'. It wasn't literal, of course, but he reared us a certain way, and Bette's obsession with fire stems from him."

"Those homeless people called Bette a ball of fire." Buffy's eyes widened as she turned to face Chloe. "You think they're part of the cult! Don't you? You think they might be some old members!"

"I don't know, maybe." Chloe shrugged, still not meeting Buffy's eyes. "Or they could just be crazy people, and I could handle the harassment and abuse before but now that it's directed towards Bette… I know I have to do something, but I don't know what. The police have been useless."

Buffy's hands clenched angrily in her pockets. "I'll beat them up."

A laugh escaped Chloe's lips as she turned to face Buffy. "You'd get arrested."

"I'm fine with that."

"I'm not." Chloe shook her head. "Summer vacation is around the corner and Bette's going to spend it with her friend's family on a trip to Jamaica. I'll have something figured out by the time she gets back."

"Chloe, I mightn't be your blood sister like Bette is, but you know that I'm going to protect you the same way you're trying to protect her, right?" Buffy frowned darkly. "I'm not going to let you handle this all on your own. I get why you didn't tell mom, she's worried about everything all the time and this would probably give her a nervous breakdown, and I get why you didn't tell Dean. I mean, it's Dean. If he knew that there was a possibility that the cult were back he'd do something monumentally stupid, but—me? Don't keep something like this from me. Never again. We'll work together and figure something out. Okay?"

"I don't want to get you guys involved in that sort of thing," Chloe sighed. "You all are the good in our lives, they're the worst of it."

"That's why you need me, to help you stay grounded in the good and not get lost in the bad," Buffy responded as she moved her hands to anchor them on her hips. "I'll slay your demons."

A giggle escaped Chloe's lips. "Does that make you a Knight In Shining Armor?"

Buffy made a face. "Nah. That sounds too mannish." She thought about it for a second. "How about… a Slayer?"

Chloe's eyes widened. "I like that."

"You know what? Me too." Buffy rolled that word on her tongue again, surprised at just how right it felt. "Slayer. I'm the Slayer."

Chloe smiled at her.

Buffy smiled back as she held her hand out to Chloe. "I'll be your Slayer, deal?"

Despite the fact that she was shaking her head, Chloe smiled tenderly at her. "Okay, deal." And with that she forwent the handshake and hugged her.

Warm and happy, Buffy hugged her sister tightly.

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Giles was supposed to help with the moving in… the moving in which was supposed to be happening tomorrow, but by the time his key unlocked the front door Buffy had already managed to move everything of hers in and somehow get it to coexist in eclectic harmony with his things. She straightened a lampshade and turned to smile at Giles as he entered the house and froze in shock to see the difference in his home since that morning.

"Surprise!" Buffy flung her arms out.

"I was supposed to help you move in!" Giles closed the door behind him as he took it all in. "Now your family's going to think I'm some deadbeat who makes you do all of the heavy lifting by yourself!"

"Oh don't be ridiculous." Buffy rolled her eyes as she moved to him and flung her arms around his neck, smiling up into his face. "Ask Dean, I'm freakishly strong."

Giles raised an eyebrow as he stared down at her, his hands coming to rest on her hips. "Yes, well, freakishly strong or not, you're my girlfriend, who is moving in my home. Manners alone dictate that—."

Not up for a lecture in British etiquette, Buffy bypassed it the same way she weaseled out of anything with Giles. In a second she leapt up onto him, securing her legs around him as she kissed him, deeply. He tasted of mint, which meant that he'd been stressed at work because he chewed a lot of gum instead of smoking these days when he was stressed due to the fact that she'd refused to kiss him when he 'tasted like nicotine'. Just the realization made her grin as she kissed him harder.

Giles stumbled backwards against the (thankfully) closed door at the unexpected assault. For a second his hands remained shocked at his sides, before they finally curled around her, anchoring her to him as he kissed her back. Despite them having been together for a couple of months now he was still a little awkward around her, especially when she caught him by surprise, and she loved every second of it.

He pulled away a second to raise an eyebrow at her. "You can't keep doing that every time you don't like what I say."

She grinned unrepentantly into his face. "You sure about that?"

Giles visibly thought it over before admitting: "Well, it is pleasant."

Laughing, Buffy let herself slide down until her feet were back on the floor. "I thought about making something for you to eat while I waiting… but then I figured you didn't deserve another case of food poisoning… so I ordered us take out!" She ignored the look of relief on his face as she yanked him towards the dining room, where everything was laid out and waiting for them. "Voila!"

There was a silence as Giles eyed the dinning table. He slipped his hand out of Buffy's and instead wrapped around her shoulders, giving her a little squeeze as he kept her anchored close to his body. "I could get used to coming home to someone waiting for me with kisses and food."

Buffy wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned in against him. "That someone's me, right?"

He snorted and pressed a kiss to the top of her head. "That was the idea, yes."

"Good." She grinned brightly and rubbed his stomach. "Because I've finally got my claws in you, Rupert Giles, you're not getting me out of this apartment, ever."

"Duly noted." Leading her towards the table, Giles pulled out a chair for her and then tucked her in before going to his own chair. "How's your family taking you leaving?"

"Mom's alternating between weepy sadness and manic happiness at the thought of future grandchildren with British accents - Chloe's to blame for that." Buffy shrugged as she opened her can of Coke. "Dean and Chloe are roleplaying again."

"Ah, what are Amaia and Vincent up to now?" He wanted to know curiously. It'd taken Giles a while to get used to the fact that Chloe and Dean slipped into the roles of the main characters of their supernatural graphic novel series - and that they could get method AF - but once he had gotten used to it he'd found it fascinating.

"Amaia's throwing things at Vincent," Buffy replied as she took a sip. "I got a glimpse of the storyboard. I think they're fighting because of another girl."

"Oh no," Giles tutted. "Bad form, Vincent."

"I think the girl likes Amaia."

"Bad form Amaia," Giles corrected.

Buffy was unable to believe that she'd managed to snag someone who not only didn't run away screaming from how weird her family was, but embraced it with humor. He was someone she didn't feel awkward about sharing things with, even if they were weird. "Chloe and Bette were attacked by some homeless people, and apparently it's not the first time."

Looking up from where he'd been scooping his Chicken and Broccoli into his dish from its carton, Giles' smile disappeared immediately. "Have they gone to the police?"

"They've been useless," Buffy muttered as she grabbed her carton of Mongolian Beef. "Chloe's worried they might be the remnants of her father's followers."

Giles put down his carton. "Why would she think that?"

"Apparently they're using terminology similar to his." Buffy shook her head. "I told her I'd help figure out a way to deal with them. That I'd be her 'Slayer'." She felt a little silly saying that.

"Who watches over the 'Slayer'?" Her boyfriend wanted to know. "Buffy, I know you're fast and strong, but you could get hurt too."

"Do you expect me to leave her and Bette to deal with this on their own?" She frowned in shock.

"No, of course not," Giles snorted at the very thought. "I'm saying, let me watch over you while you're off slaying her demons. Let me have your back."

"Watch over me?" Buffy's lips twitched as her heart warmed. "You want to be my Watcher?"

"Watcher sounds so… sedentary," Giles muttered. "I have friends, contacts, who might be able to get us some information of that cult and any surviving members. And if you get me some good pictures of these homeless people harassing Chloe and Bette, I could get an ID and we could see whether they're just insane troublemakers… or whether there's a bigger issue at hand."

The blonde stared at her boyfriend before she jolted out of her seat and wrapped her arms around him tightly. "I love you, Rupert Giles."

He chuckled and turned so that they faced each other. "And I you, Buffy Summers."

And with that he kissed her.

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THE END OF InterSeason III