Title: "Looking To the Future"

Author: Darkover

Disclaimer: As far as I know, all the characters from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" are owned by Joss Whedon, and no infringement of copyright is intended or should be inferred. I don't own them; if I did, Buffy and Giles would have been together long ago. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so please don't sue.

Rating: PG, for talk about sex and some violence, and mention of character death.

Spoilers: Nothing specific for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," but pretty much everything up to the final episode of "Angel."

Feedback: Would be greatly appreciated!

"Yes, I understand, Angel, but you see we're rather busy just now..."
The impatience in the vampire's voice was not lessened by the long- distance connection. "Giles, I have to talk to Buffy. I need her help. I'm talking the apocalypse here."
"Buffy has already faced a number of apocalypses, Angel, and she managed to do it without your help." The Watcher's tone was cool. "It seems to me that you can do the same, especially as the problem lies in what you chose to tell her was your city."
"Aw—listen Giles, this is important," Buffy's former boyfriend insisted loudly, as if by raising his voice he could compel the Englishman to do what he wanted. "Just put Buffy on the phone—"
"Angel, I've told you, she doesn't wish to speak to you."
"Giles, you've got to—"
Giles glanced up and saw Willow gesturing to him, soundlessly but frantically. "Angel, I must put you on hold for a moment. There's a problem here—"
"No, Giles, don't put me on hold—Giles—GILES—"
The Watcher deliberately put down the phone, then smiled to himself as he heard, through the open connection, the crash and tinkle of a distant phone hitting the wall. He walked over to the young red-haired woman, placing a hand lightly on her shoulder.
"Is something wrong, Willow?"
She shook her head and whispered, "No, Giles, but I just wanted to tell you—if Angel and the others really need help, maybe I could go. I'm not a Slayer, but I have helped them before..."
She let her words trail away; Giles was shaking his head. "You don't really want to go, do you, Willow?" he asked gently.
"Well, no," she admitted. "Frankly, Giles, I'm so tired of end-of-the- world scenarios. I guess I'm being Selfish-Girl here, but I kind of feel that if Angel has a problem, he can solve it. I mean, he does have a tendency to get his friends killed off—"
"Quite," Giles said, putting a great deal of feeling into one word. First, Angel's associate Doyle had been killed. Several times, the lives of his other employees had been gravely endangered; Wesley had once even had his throat cut. Moreover, Angel did not bestow the same loyalty on his associates that he unhesitatingly demanded of them. The vampire had an appalling tendency to take his friends for granted, behaving worse as a matter of course than Buffy had ever done, even during periods of her life when she was immature or self-absorbed. When Wesley had been tortured by Faith, Angel had shown the young man no kindness or support, even though they were supposed to be friends. Angel had been more concerned about showing Wesley's torturer that he "understood" what she was "going through." The vampire had been so protective of Faith that he had even punched Buffy in the face, which was something Giles would never forgive. It was only a few months ago that Wesley had phoned to let them know that Cordelia had died while still in her coma—a coma she had fallen into as a result of working for Angel. Wesley had given them the news; apparently Angel could not have been bothered to do so. Shortly after that, a young woman known by the improbable name of Fred had also been...destroyed. Apparently there was some kind of mystic activity involved in her demise—Giles had not liked to push for details, especially as Wesley had sounded barely functional at that point. Clearly Fred had meant a great deal to him, so Giles had confined himself to expressing regrets and sympathy. Wesley was normally the member of Angel Investigations to whom Giles spoke; the two Watchers occasionally exchanged polite greetings and information, personal or otherwise. Angel never made contact unless he wanted something—and what he usually wanted was Buffy. All this passed though Giles' mind in an instant, and he said aloud; "Willow, if anyone is being selfish, it is Angel. He wants nothing to do with any of us unless he needs help. He once told Buffy that Los Angeles was his city. If he has the arrogance to lay claim to the place, then he can handle any problems when they arise. Moreover, you're correct—he does provide appallingly little protection and guidance for the people who are counting on his leadership." Giles looked down at the young woman beside him, placed his arm around her shoulders and gave her a light hug. "Buffy and I want to keep you as our friend for a very long time."
She gave him her grin, the one that always looked slightly embarrassed. "Thanks, Giles. That means a lot to me. I just worry that maybe I'm making a nuisance of myself, hanging around here for so long—"
"My dear Willow," Giles replied as they continued on into the apartment, his arm still around her shoulder, "if we don't mind Andrew still being here, Buffy and I are certainly not going to mind that you are residing with us."
She smiled. "I know he's a pain, Giles, but he is trying to do better. Besides, he has nowhere else to go."
"Actually, I've thought of a use for him," Giles began, as they entered the kitchen. Buffy, who was seated at the table having a late breakfast, glanced up and smiled at them.
"Hey, I just got a letter from Dawn," she said, waving the sheet of paper at them. "She likes living with Xander back in the States, and she likes her new school."
"That's wonderful, Buffy." Giles leaned over and kissed his wife, seating himself across from her at the table. Willow joined them.
"She wants to know how much longer we're going to stay here in Rome," Buffy said. From the questioning look she gave him, Giles knew that she was wondering the same. He shrugged.
"Until you're ready to leave, my dear," he said mildly. "I am at home wherever you are."
She beamed at him, then at Willow. "Isn't he sweet? Why did it take me so long to see it? Giles—Rupert, I mean, I should get used to calling you that—I feel the same way. Still, it was great for you to take me on a honeymoon tour of Europe."
"Buffy, you may call me whatever you wish. If you want to save my first name for our bedroom, as we've been doing, that is perfectly all right." He smiled. "It is almost a pet name that way."
"Whoa!" Willow said, but humorously. "Too much information, people."

Buffy rolled her eyes in fond exasperation. "Come on, Will. You were maid of honor at my wedding. And how do you think I got pregnant?"
Giles added to Buffy; "Still, in view of the increase in Angel's attempts to intrude into your life, I think it best if we set off for England soon. Besides—" He smiled at his wife and took her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze—"I would like our baby to be born there."
Buffy laughed. "That won't be for months yet, Giles—although that sounds good to me, too. Italy is a great place for a honeymoon, but I don't want to raise a family here. And I want to see England. I want you to show me the places you lived when you were a kid." She turned to her best friend. "Willow, I hope you're prepared to be an aunt.'"
"Oh, I am!" the redhead said excitedly. "I can hardly wait."
"Good," Buffy said, grinning. "With Dawn going to school back in the States, I can't exactly ask her to baby-sit. And I certainly don't want to rely on Andrew." She looked back at her husband. "What are we going to do about him, anyway?"
"Yes, well..." Giles removed his glasses and began to clean them. "I believe it would be a good idea to leave him here."
Buffy looked surprised. "In Rome?"
"In this flat. He can stay here and maintain a fiction that you and Dawn are living here."
Buffy frowned. "I'm not following you, Giles."
"I have a feeling that Angel will soon come here looking for you."
The Slayer's expression tightened. "Then that phone call—"
"Was Angel, yes." Giles replaced his glasses.
"Isn't he ever going to give up?" Buffy exclaimed angrily. "It's over between us, has been for a long time, and he still won't accept it!"
"Why don't you just tell him that you two are married?" Willow asked softly.
Buffy's expression darkened further, and Giles shook his head. "Where Buffy is concerned, he is unstable enough as it is. Plus, Spike works for Angel now. I suspect that their response to the news that Buffy and I have married would not be a positive one, and that either or both of them would attempt to intrude even further into our lives."
"You'd think he would have gotten a clue when I put that last guy who was following me—again on Angel's orders—in the hospital," Buffy growled.
"Stalkers do not respond well to reason, Buffy," her husband said quietly.
"And that's what Angel is doing," Willow said. "Stalking you. Is that why you won't take his phone calls, Buff?"
She nodded. "I'd love to ream him out, but Giles said that would be a bad idea." She glanced at her husband as if for affirmation.
"Even a negative response is still a response," Giles told the two young women. "If Angel phones ninety-nine times and Buffy refuses to talk to him, but she takes his one hundredth call, all that teaches him is that he must phone one hundred times in order to get her attention. A stalker, which is what Angel has become—and which Spike has also been in the past—desires above all to have contact with the object of his obsession. Unfortunately, Angel knows we live here. I would prefer that he continue to believe that Buffy and Dawn are still living here, even when they are not. Especially when they are not—I would prefer that neither vampire know where any of us live."
"So that's why you want to leave Andrew here," Willow said excitedly. "So when Angel shows up, Andrew can say that Buffy's living here, but not at home or something."
"Exactly. Buffy does not need this sort of grief, especially when she is expecting our first child." He smiled affectionately at his wife, who gave him a sunny smile in return.
"As a plan, it works for me," she said. "Let's call Andrew in, and make the arrangements today."