Title: I'll Always Have You
Author's Name: Laura Sichrovsky
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Rating: R or FRM
Season: Four, right after the Parker mess.
Summary: What if Buffy had told Giles about the whole Parker mess? What if she realized she should have been with Giles instead of Parker? Here's my take on it.
Spoilers: Spoilers for the beginning of Season four, in Buffy's relationship with Parker.
Disclaimer: This is where I put the statement saying that I do not own Buffy, Giles (Heh! I wish!), Sunnydale, or anything relating
to the show. No one is paying me to do this and if you feel the sudden urge to send me gifts, you might want to talk
to someone about that. Joss Whedon owns all things Buffy and has not given me permission to use these characters
as I have so if you have problems with the story, please send the pretzel bombs to me, not him.
Author's Notes: I really wanted to see something bad happen to Parker. Yeah, I know that the nancy ninja boy bopped him on
the nose, but I thought he deserved more. I also wanted to see how Giles dealt with the whole thing. (I swear,
he would have totally Rippered the boy if he'd had the chance.) With that thought in mind, I give you this.
Thanks need to be given, and here is where they go. Thanks to Joss for creating characters so fun to watch
and to borrow for a bit. Thanks to Tony Head for making Giles so amazing. I tried to fight it, but he was just
too remarkable not to fall for. To Ann, who helped with the details, listened to me ramble, talked me through
this, and who never ran out of patience, I owe you so big! Thank you just doesn't seem enough. To Nikki, who
called me on my mistakes, and helped me hear my inner Brit, thank you,. I couldn't do it without you. Thanks
to my amazing husband who not only doesn't get upset when my writing takes over, but who doesn't freak
about the men who live in my head. I love him so.
Thanks to Twiztv for the script. I was pulling out my hair because I couldn't get a copy of season four.
I only needed one little scene. And then I found their site. They are the best!
A Note on the spelling of Willow's and Anya's nicknames here: I spelled "Wil" instead of "Will" and "Ahn" as opposed to "An" because that was the way they were spelled in the subtitles on the DVDs.
I'll Always Have You
Buffy sat on the couch, listening to the conversation around her, but not taking part in it. She knew she should be paying more attention; she wasn't even sure what they were talking about. Buffy couldn't seem to get out of her own head tonight; she really didn't want to. It wasn't that she didn't want to spend time with her friends. She usually enjoyed nights like this, where the gang got together for some quality time at Giles's flat; just not tonight.
She looked around the room, noting that no one seemed to be aware of her preoccupation. Xander was sitting on the floor, his arms around Anya, telling a story about something that happened at his work. Willow was sitting at the other end of the couch, listening intently to Xander. Giles was sitting at his desk, reading a book, yet somehow being able to keep up with the conversation. Buffy alone was the outsider here.
She quietly sighed, retreating back into her own thoughts. It was hard not to really. There was only one thing on her mind right now and it was overshadowing everything else. Parker. How could she have been so stupid? Why didn't she see what he really was? She liked to think that she was smart and not just academically. She understood how things went between men and women and still, she didn't see this coming. She felt so used. No, she had been used. And worse, she'd been used by someone who wasn't even good at it.
She pulled herself away from those thoughts, paying attention again to her friends. Willow was now talking, although Buffy had no idea about what. Buffy looked around and was startled to see Giles looking at her. It wasn't unusual for Giles to be looking at her. But the way he was looking at her was strange. His brow was furrowed and he was staring intently at her. Once he realized that she'd noticed him, he tipped his head and arched his eyebrows in a silent question. Buffy felt herself blush. Oops; caught.
She smiled at him, softly shaking her head. There, that should end this. But it didn't. Giles was frowning, looking even more closely at her. He quirked both his eyebrows at her in a gesture she had learned meant that he wasn't buying it and wanted to know what was really up. This time Buffy tipped her head to the side and rolled her eyes upwards, saying that it wasn't a big deal, nothing to see here. Giles's eyes narrowed and his frown deepened, telling her that he wasn't just going to dismiss this. Buffy was about to mouth to him to just let it go, when he got up and walked over to sit next to her on the couch.
Before she could say anything, he leaned close to her.
"You've been staring into space for most of the evening," he whispered. "What's bothering you?"
"Nothing," There was no way that she was explaining this to him.
"I think I know you better than that."
"It's no big deal, Giles. Just school stuff."
"Are you having difficulty with your studies?"
"No, I'm doing well in my classes."
"What friends? My friends are all here." She was starting to feel uncomfortable with this. His questions were too probing and any minute now the others were bound to notice that she and Giles were getting all cozy here.
"Ahh. And that would leave boy trouble."
"Like I said, Giles, it's no big deal."
"Is the trouble with him or with you?"
That did it. It seemed that Giles wasn't listening to her and it was time to take back control of the situation. Buffy stood up.
"Anyone want something from the kitchen while I'm up?" It was an effort to put the smile on her face, but she did.
"More popcorn, please," Xander chimed in, smiling. "Since you did offer."
Buffy nodded and walked off to the kitchen to get her emotions under control. The lamp in the kitchen was off, the room was bright enough with the light from the living room. She stood in the semi-darkness, hearing the laughter of her friends and feeling the pain cut through her. What had she done to deserve this? She knew she should just get the popcorn and go back, but Giles's words had poked at something in her and she just stood, hugging herself.
"One doesn't hide in the darkness over nothing," His soft voice startled her.
She turned to look at him, seeing him half hidden in the shadows. His eyes stood out in sharp contrast, sparkling dimly in the half light. She could see in those eyes his concern for her and her angry retort was stopped on her lips.
"Giles, I just…Please, can we talk about it later? I don't want to think about it right now."
He stood for another minute, looking at her, his eyes searching hers, and then silently, he nodded.
"Thank you." Buffy didn't say another word, but turned to go. He stopped her.
"You forgot the popcorn." He hadn't moved. He just stood there in the shadows, watching her.
"Oops! Thanks, Giles," Buffy picked up the large bowl and deliberately left him standing alone.
Buffy stood in the kitchen, dishtowel in hand, waiting for Giles to hand her the next clean dish. Everyone else had gone home, but she'd stayed to help Giles with the clean up. He handed her a bowl, which she dried, before putting it in the cupboard. It should probably concern her that she knew where all the dishes went in his kitchen, but it didn't. There was something comfortable about knowing her way around her Watcher's home, some connection between them. And she supposed that was how he intended for it to be.
"I'll guess from your reaction, that the trouble is with the boy," Giles had been quiet up to this point. His comment came from nowhere and felt out of place to Buffy.
"I thought we agreed not to talk about it," She put a glass on the shelf and turned to face him.
"I merely agreed not to speak of it in front of the others," He was standing in front of the sink, a cloth tucked at the waist like an apron, his hands wrist-deep in suds. "They aren't here anymore."
"I don't think you understand how much I just want to forget about this."
"And I don't think you appreciate how concerned I am. This change in your personality, this withdrawn moodiness is worrying me."
"Giles, it'll blow over. I really don't want to talk about it," She took a bowl from him, drying it slowly.
He turned to face her, drying his hands on the dishtowel at his waist. He leaned against the counter with his arms crossed over his chest, and fixed her with a deep stare.
"Must I learn about your personal problems from Willow again?" His voice was quiet, his tone slightly hurt.
"Giles, it's not that…I'm just not sure what you think you can do."
"How do you know the ways I can help if you don't share anything with me."
"You want me to share about boys? Giles, what could you know about boys?"
"Buffy, it pains me to remind you, but I am a boy."
She turned and looked at him, her eyes wide and startled. It wasn't that she hadn't thought of him as a boy, but then again maybe it was. He wasn't really a boy, he was a man and he was her Watcher.
"I know that, Giles. It's just that you…well, you are like a teacher. And you don't talk to teachers about stuff like this."
"Buffy, I am your friend. You can talk to me about anything. Did you talk to Xander about this?"
"Actually, I didn't. Willow clued him in, but I never said anything."
"Perhaps it would help you to get a male perspective." Giles had gone back to the dishes. "I will guess the boy in question has shown no interest in you and you are worried that he doesn't like you."
Buffy laughed. She couldn't help it. Giles made it seem like a high school crush. He had no clue what her life was really like, what he was asking for in requesting that she share. Maybe it would do him some good if he did know. Maybe if she shocked him enough he'd stop asking stupid questions.
"No Giles, not even close." She took a plate from him and leaned on the counter, drying it and looking at him. "The boy in question and I slept together. We had a night of crazy hot sex and then the next day, he conveniently forgot who I was."
"And you thought that there would be more to this?" He looked up at her from the glass he was washing. "The start of a relationship?"
"Well, yeah, I did. Why else would I have gone to bed with him?" His attitude gave Buffy a slight pause, but she went on. "He told me that I meant something to him, that I helped him feel again."
"He gave you a line?"
"He gave me the whole spool, rod and, a copy of 'Fishing Today'. He went on about how since his father had died that he'd learned to live in the moment and how I was the girl for him. He said I was different, special."
"And after you slept with him?" He handed her the glass and she dried it.
"The next day I saw him using the same lines on another girl. And when I talked to him, he said he was sorry if he gave me the wrong impression, but he wasn't interested at all."
"You must have been hurt."
"Giles, I was pissed. Now I just feel stupid." She put the glass on its shelf.
"Why ever should you feel foolish?" He had finished with the dishes and was wiping the counter.
"Because I fell for such an obvious line."
"It wasn't obvious or you wouldn't have fallen for it. I'm sure the boy was convincing enough."
"Oh, he even had teary eyes," Buffy smiled at Giles. She was surprised at how comfortable she felt and she couldn't believe she was talking to Giles about this. "He didn't take it over the top and cry though; he just teared up enough so that I would notice. And would you believe that I felt like I'd done something wrong?"
"You thought you'd driven him off?"
"Right. Was I too strong? Was I too aggressive? Was I too passive? I even told Parker that I could change if that was what he wanted. Gha! I was so stupid."
"You were not stupid," Giles hung the dishrag on the stove handle and ushered Buffy towards the couch. "You had no cause to think that this boy was lying. You trusted him and he abused that trust. The fault is his, not yours."
"That's what Willow said," Buffy sat down next to him on the couch. "Only she said it in English. But I still feel stupid. And now, I'm looking at other guys and wondering what line they are going to give me."
"Buffy, not all men are like that," He smiled and put his hand lightly over hers. "You just need to be careful with the men you choose."
"But how do you know when it's a line and when it's not?"
"Well, ask yourself why he's telling you this information. This Parker lad, he told you that he lives in the moment and that you were special to him. How long had you known him?"
"About three days," Buffy sighed. "How could he know how special I was in three days?"
"Not necessarily. You are very special and that is obvious. Ask yourself how you could be special to him in just three days. Add in the 'live in the moment, rush into bed' philosophy and it should be a warning."
"I guess that makes sense. And you promise that not all guys think like that?"
"Oh, we all think like that. Most of us don't act on it however."
She looked at him, her head tipped to the side. It was strange to think of 'sex' and 'Giles' in the same sentence, but he had just all but admitted that he thought about it. So why wasn't this conversation freaking her out?
"I've gone and startled you," Giles smiled at her.
"No," Buffy shook her head. "And that's the weird part, I think. Here you are admitting that you think about sex and I'm not ending the conversation."
"Were you under the impression that I didn't think about it?"
"I guess…I guess I never thought about what you think about. So you do think about it?"
"I'm human and I'm a man. Of course I think about it."
"Buffy, what kind of question is that?" He was blushing.
"You said I could ask you anything. And I want to know. Do you think about it a lot?"
"More than I should, but less than I used to."
"Why is that?"
"You know about my past. And I'm pretty sure you know why Eyghon was summoned."
"So you used to think about it all the time?"
"That would be accurate."
"Buffy," his voice was almost pleading. She didn't know why she was doing this to him. She knew it made him uncomfortable to talk about his sex life. But she felt almost powerful over him, she could make him talk about this. And after feeling powerless with Parker, she needed this.
"And now, Giles?"
"What good does it do me to think about it?" His voice had a bitter edge. "My life doesn't allow for relationships and I no longer wish for a one night stand, so what does that leave me? Every time I think I might have the chance for a personal life, my duties or the Hellmouth prove me wrong."
She hadn't meant to make him feel bad. Maybe she had taken this too far.
"So you don't think about it now?" Now why had she asked him that?
"Of course I do. I try not to. I think about it, but there's nothing I can do about it, no outlet for it, so it just leaves me frustrated."
Buffy really had crossed a line here. She hadn't meant for the conversation to go this direction. She'd pushed Giles and now they were at a place where neither knew what to say.
"Buffy, to get back on topic," Giles turned to look at her. "There are still gentlemen out there. You just need to be careful. And don't rush into anything."
"And how would a gentleman treat me differently?" Buffy felt relieve that Giles had rescued the conversation from dangerous waters.
"A gentleman never expects anything; your company is enough. He asks about your interests, not your sexual preferences. He knows that he'll have time to find those out for himself if you do sleep together. He respects you and he won't try to rush you into bed. If he cares about you, he'll want to know you before he beds you. And he'll never assume anything; he'll take the time to learn what you want, how fast you wish to move, not try to force his desires upon you."
"And he's okay with me just being me?"
"Of course, Buffy." Giles smiled at her. "Every boy you date should be agreeable to your personality. It's a very nice personality indeed."
"I never thought I'd hear you say that," Buffy laughed. "You've come a long way, Giles."
"I-I…I rather think it's you who has come a long way." Giles looked down at his hands and blushed. "You've grown into quite an accomplished young woman."
"Why Giles, that was positively sweet." Buffy said with a smile. "Thank you for listening to me. You've made me feel better about everything."
"I'm always here if you need me." He looked up at her, returning her smile. "All you need do is ask."
"That's my Giles," Buffy put her hand on his knee. "At least I'll always have you. The one thing I can depend on. Oh! And I've got to go. I still have to patrol and I have an early class tomorrow."
"Would…would you like me to go with you?" Giles had been staring at her hand on his knee. Now he looked up at her with wide eyes. "On patrol?"
"I've got it, Giles." She rose to her feet, walking towards the door. "But thanks. I'll see you later!"
Before Giles could stand up, she was out the door and off into the night.
Giles sat on his couch staring at his front door.After a moment, he sighed deeply, closing his eyes, rubbing his temples, and laying back against the cushions. He'd known something was wrong all night; she wasn't behaving as she usually did. He'd long ago gotten proficient at covertly watching Buffy without her knowledge. It gave a whole new meaning to being her Watcher. Tonight, she kept staring off into space, getting lost in her head; she hadn't said much at all.
When she'd finally told him what was wrong, he was thankful that he'd spent so many hours honing his self-control. His stomach had lurched, his heart had slammed, his hands had been shaking; he'd almost crushed the glass he was washing when he'd clamped down on it. But she had known none of it; he'd covered it well.
He was proud of himself for the way he'd handled her announcement that she had slept with a boy she'd hardly known. His mind had pictured a thousand horrible ways for the boy to die, but he'd done his best to comfort Buffy, to assure her that this wasn't her fault. He had attempted to relax her, take her mind off it, by changing the subject.
When she had turned the conversation to his sex life, Giles felt mild panic. He'd wanted to tell her that he wasn't about to discuss this with her, but he also wanted her to know she could talk to him about anything. And so, he'd talked about his lack of sex life with the woman he most wanted in his bed; he'd been mortified. Giles was surprised she'd wanted to talk about it at all, considering how she thought of him. But she hadn't seemed put off by the discussion; even though, Giles had been grateful for a swift change of subject.
Hopefully, he'd established in her mind that she could come to him with any problem, although he wasn't entirely sure that he wanted all the details of her love life. He'd listened to her bemoan her lack of dating prospects, wanting the entire time to tell her that if she wanted a man who would treat her as the goddess she was, then she should date Giles, himself. It pained him deeply to know that she seemed willing to date any man who was not him. But that really wasn't fair to her. He was the mentor in her world, her Watcher, her father figure. He couldn't expect her to look at him as anything else, even if he had ceased to look at her as a child long ago.
The problem, the discomfort, was his alone and that was as it should be. He was, after all, her friend, the closest thing to a father she had. Yet, somewhere along the way, she had become so much more to him than his Slayer. He'd tried to believe what Travers had said, tried to embrace the "father's love" that he was supposed to have for her. But in his heart he knew that it was deeper than that. Yes, he loved her. He was also in love with her. A father's love? Hardly.
Over the last few months, he'd become adept at hiding his true feelings for her. She would never see how much he loved her and in what way; he would never burden her with that. If she had even a hint of how he felt, she would panic and he would never see her again. He was willing to deny his love for her if it meant that he could be hers in any way at all. He would be her mentor, he would be her friend, he would be anything she needed him to be; even if it cost him his heart.
Sighing again, Giles rose from the couch, climbing the stairs to his bed.
Buffy sighed as she wandered through the graveyard. It had been a slow night for vampires and while that was a good thing as far as safety went, it left her mind free to wander. Mercifully, it didn't dwell on the whole Parker mess. Tonight, as she made her rounds, she mulled over the conversation she'd had with Giles. It had been unexpected, but not necessarily in a bad way.
She had expected him to blush and stutter, to change the subject. Instead, he'd been strong and supportive; just what Buffy needed. Buffy had to admit that it was a relief to have someone listen to her, to give her advice. Granted, Willow had tried, but Giles had been more soothing.
She furrowed her brow, thinking about that. He'd always told her that she could talk to him about anything, but most of the time she felt there were subjects best left alone. Tonight, all the barriers had come down. True, she'd been trying to shock him, but he'd taken it surprisingly in stride. And, true to his promise, he had answered every question she asked, even ones she knew embarrassed him. She did feel a little guilt over asking him if he thought about sex. He'd protested, but he had answered.
She just wasn't sure how she felt about those answers. The entire time she'd known him, he'd held the role of teacher, mentor, Watcher in her mind. He was an adult, someone apart from herself and her friends. And as such, he was something close to two dimensional in her thoughts. He had form and voice, but he lacked emotions, motivations, feelings, and passions.
Since school had started this year, she'd been seeing him differently. With the library gone, the Scoobies had taken to meeting at Giles's house for research. Recently that had grown to include goofing off, conversations, and even movie nights. Rather than just behaving as the designated adult, aloof in the background, Giles had joined in on the fun. He'd shocked them all a few weeks ago when they'd been watching a badly made seventies horror movie and he'd made just as many humorous comments as Xander; the two of them had even played off against each other. In short, somewhere along the way, she started seeing the three dimensional side of her Watcher.
But nothing had prepared her for their conversation tonight or for her reaction to it. She would never look at him the same way again, and she wasn't sure how she felt about that. It had all started as a game, a way to test her power over him. But in the end, it made her see him for what he was. She'd always known Giles was a man, she'd just never seen him as one. In her head, he had always been just Giles; a distinctive mix of teacher, protector, Watcher, and friend. She knew about his youth, about the things he did while living in London, hiding from his destiny. But those acts, that person, were far removed from her Watcher.
Now however, she couldn't ignore the reality that he was a man. The knowledge was in her consciousness, and he would never be just Giles again. He wouldn't be the Watcher who was a man; he would be the man who was her Watcher. He would be a man who dressed in jeans and liked his peas mushy; who ate cereal out of the box and played acoustic rock songs on his guitar. He had his likes and dislikes, hopes and fears; he had desires.
When she thought about him, she no longer saw a retired librarian. No matter how hard she tried to picture him, dressed in tweed, carrying a musty book, she couldn't. And maybe that was being fair to him. He wasn't his calling anymore than she was hers. She was a woman, he was a man; it was that simple.
Of course, with Giles, nothing was ever simple, because he wasn't that simple. Her conversation with him made her see that he might think like a man, but he acted like a gentleman. But what did that mean? She thought about the differences and decided they came back to the kind of man he was. Giles might have the desire to sleep with a woman, but he tempered it with his emotions, his need to protect her, even from himself.
And that was what Parker was lacking. So why didn't he have it and Giles did? Why didn't most boys she knew? Why couldn't they just be more like Giles? That thought brought her up short. Yes, she was looking at Giles differently, but wanting her dates to be like him? She might as well just think about dating Giles.
Her brow furrowed. Now, why didn't that thought freak her more?
Seven o'clock the next morning found Giles in his kitchen making tea. He wasn't really thinking about anything in particular, enjoying the quiet calm the early morning afforded him; the calm would be gone soon enough. He'd just put the leaves to steep when there was a knock at his door. Opening it, he was surprised to find his Slayer there, coffee and muffins in hand, a slightly perplexed look on her face. He invited her in, curious yet holding his questions; she didn't look as if she wanted to talk.
They sat on the couch in silence for about five minutes, sharing out the muffins. Finally, Giles turned to her and smiled.
"To what do I owe the pleasure of your company?"
"Do I need a reason to have breakfast with my Watcher?" She avoided looking into his eyes.
"Of course not. But you usually do."
"Hey, is there a vamp holiday?" The question came out of nowhere after a brief pause and Giles was confused by the subject shift.
"Not that I know of. Why?"
"I only ran across two last night. Not that I'm complaining, 'cause I'm not. Do you want another muffin?"
Giles just stared at her. She was still talking, rambling on about the number of blueberries in the muffin, sounding like Willow at her most nervous. Over the next hour, Giles became increasingly concerned with her behavior. She was edgy and distracted; he noticed her staring at him intently a few times. He wanted to ask her what was wrong, but he was pretty sure he knew. He made a mental note to have a chat with this Parker boy.
For Buffy's part, she knew that she was doing a fair imitation of her best friend, but she could not help herself. She'd been able to push Giles out of her thoughts for the remainder of patrol last night, but he'd snuck back in while she was in the shower before bed.
While she washed her hair, she found herself reliving everything he'd done and said to her that night. As she worked the conditioner through her hair, she startled herself by thinking that Giles had nice hands and how enjoyable it would be for him to use those amazing hands to work the conditioner in for her. Unbidden, an image of Giles, naked, wet, and standing in the shower with her popped into her head. For a few minutes, Buffy stood under the hot water, enjoying the mental picture, then she gasped, shocked at herself. With a bit of effort, she pushed the thought away.
She determined not to let her mind wander into dangerous territory and had done quite well until she was in bed drifting off to sleep. Thoughts of Giles were back with a vengeance; his eyes, his hands, his lips on hers. The images must have followed her into sleep. All night she dreamed of him; cuddling, kissing, making love with him. By the time she woke up this morning, she was completely confused and very turned on.
How could she possibly be thinking about Giles this way? But she was and she didn't mind it a bit. She couldn't get him out of her head and without really thinking about it, she'd picked up some breakfast and come to see him. In the back of her mind, she wanted to see if she felt the same electricity standing next to him as she did in her dreams; she did. From the moment he opened the door, she was lost in him. And now she was sitting on his couch, babbling like an idiot. It didn't help that she kept losing her train of thought every time he smiled.
A little after nine, she realized that she'd be late for her first class if she didn't leave right then.
"I'm sorry, Giles, but I have to go. See you later!" Without waiting for a response, she ran out, leaving a bewildered Giles behind.
Giles walked into Lowell House with the intention of looking for Parker Abrams. He wasn't sure what he was going to say to the boy, but he hoped he could keep his temper in check. A part of him knew that this was a bad idea. He was sure the boy would leave Buffy alone, now that he'd gotten what he wanted from her, and he knew that he was likely to embarrass himself by yelling at Parker, but the part of him that loved his Slayer cried out to defend her honor.
Giles would simply make sure that this Parker understood that Buffy was to be respected and that it would be in his best interest to stay as far from her as he could; Guam was nice this time of year. Giles walked into the main room and looked around, hoping to see a directory. Realizing that he was on his own as far as locating the boy went, he found a seat on a couch.
Two young men were tossing a Frisbee about, while another sat not too far from Giles, conversing with one of the Frisbee players.
"Oh, you're lying. She says that to Walsh?"
"Hope to die."
"Doesn't lack for guts. You've got to give her that."
"Yeah, but she's nuts."
"Oh, come on. Like you never wanted to tell the professor off? Hey, Parker!"
At the sound of the name, Giles's head shot up and he focused on the young men. A tall, thin, dark-haired boy had walked in and was now being surrounded by the others. Giles narrowed his eyes and watched.
"Forrest. What's up, man?" The dark-haired boy asked.
"What's the scoop on Buffy Summers? Is she cool?"
Giles visibly started. What did this other young man want to know about Buffy for? Could she have been the person the young men had been talking about?
"Buffy? Yeah, she's all right, I guess. I mean, kind of whiney."
"Well, you know, clingy. I mean, we got a little physical-- Uh, well, fully physical, and then she's all over me, you know, like we're betrothed or something."
Giles was clenching his fists now. How dare this boy talk about Buffy that way.
"No, but fun was had, yeah?" the one called Forrest asked.
"Oh, yeah." Parker laughed. "The word is stamina. I mean, definitely a bunny in the sack, but later on, well. You know the difference between a freshman girl and a toilet seat? A toilet seat doesn't follow you around after you use it."
It took everything Giles had not to jump up and pummel the cretin. He was contemplating exactly how to deal with the boy when one of the group surrounding Parker lashed out and punched him. Giles was shocked, but rather pleased. At least there were still some gentlemen in the world. The rest of the group stared at the gentleman in question, then ushered him away from the fallen Parker.
"Man, you have got to watch how you react." Forrest's voice faded away as they left the building.
Giles stood, walking towards where Parker lay, a plan now fully formed in his head. The young man had made a point, but he hadn't made an impression; Giles would.
Parker was starting to wake up, tossing his head and groaning. Giles bent over him, shaking him lightly.
"Are you all right?" Giles tried to put concern in his voice, but it sounded more like anger to his own ears.
"I…I think so." Parker's voice was shaky as he sat up.
"Here, let me help you up." Giles reached out, closing his hand over Parker's wrist to pull him up. He couldn't banish the thought from his head that this was the boy who had hurt Buffy and the next thing he knew, his hand was squeezing on the boy's wrist. He could feel the bones grind together and had to admit that it was satisfying.
"Hey, watch it! You hurt me."
"Did I?" Giles used his grip on the boy to steer Parker away from the crowd, off to a deserted section of hall.
"Where are we going?" Parker's voice sounded whiny.
"I'm taking you somewhere quiet."
Parker obviously wasn't worried about Giles, for he nodded and calmly let himself be herded away from any witnesses. Giles ignored the few students who walked by, focusing his attention on Parker.
"I think that guy broke my nose."
"That may very well be." Giles recognized that his voice had picked up an edge, but he didn't care.
There must have been something in that tone however that alerted Parker. He turned to look at Giles, his brow furrowing with thought.
"Do I know you?"
"Parker, I heard what you said about Ms. Summers."
"Oh, not you too. What are you, her father?"
"No, but I am her friend." Giles let his irritation show. "You will not speak about Buffy that way."
"Or what? You'll lecture me to death?"
Giles stepped forward, slightly leaning in, using his size to intimidate Parker. He knew it was crude, but it seemed that crude was about all Parker Abrams understood. Parker moved back, trying to put distance between them and Giles was gratified when the boy backed up against the wall. There was nowhere for him to go. Giles loomed over him, and bent in, so that Parker could hear him better.
"I suppose that is one option. Or perhaps I'll just pull your testicles out through your nasal cavity. I'll bet I could even keep you conscious while I do it. I was leaning towards using your private parts to sharpen my sword. Though that would have the drawback of your fainting halfway through. No matter. Whatever method I choose I can assure you that there will be nobody to help you and no one will ever find your body."
Through Giles's whole speech, the boy had said nothing, the color draining from his face. Giles had kept his voice low and deep, wanting this pillock to know exactly who he was dealing with. Now he raised the volume a hair, enunciating each word.
"You will leave Buffy alone. You will stay away from her. You will never speak about her again. Do we understand each other?"
Parker backed up as far as he could; he was flat against the wall. When Giles turned his glare on the boy, Parker nodded, quickly.
"Good. I'm pleased that we had this talk." Giles put his hand on Parker's shoulder and squeezed down. "Run along now. These hallways can be quite dangerous, you know."
Giles took a step back and Parker bolted. Giles shook his head as he walked back to the main room and exited the building. Stupid boy.
Buffy, Willow, and Xander sat in a booth at Pizza Pete's, talking and waiting for their order. It was Friday night and the entire gang was planning to meet at Giles's flat for pizza and a movie. Anya had gone up the street to pick out the movie while these three waited for the pizza. Willow and Xander were deeply engaged in a conversation about the latest Horror House movie and Buffy's mind drifted. She wasn't surprised when it drifted to Giles; just a little embarrassed. She was being silly. Whatever this was that she was feeling would pass. Besides, it wasn't like he felt the same way or anything. She mentally shook herself, pulling her attention back to the conversation just as Anya returned.
"What movie did you get?" Willow asked.
"I got this 70's haunted house movie. I didn't want to get it," Anya informed them as she slipped in against Xander. "But the man at the video store told me it was a good movie for cuddling, so I decided it might be agreeable after all."
Buffy tried not to laugh. You had to love Anya. She was about to ask the name of the movie when a tall blonde girl stopped by the table.
"Hey, Buffy...Sorry to intrude."
"Not a problem," Buffy smiled, she'd seen the girl around Campus she hesitated trying to remember her name. "Want to sit down, Gail?"
"Just for a minute." She edged in next to Buffy. "Hey, I'm so sorry about that whole Parker thing."
"Oh, great. Don't tell me it's all over the dorm."
"It's all over campus, thanks to Parker and his big mouth."
Buffy put her head in her hands.
"Great, now I'll be known as the campus good-time girl. Stupid Parker."
"Oh, I wouldn't worry about it," Gail said with a grin. "I think everyone has forgotten that you slept with Parker, what with the two guys defending your honor and all."
"Excuse me?" Buffy was completely at a loss.
"I was at Lowell House this afternoon to see a friend. Parker was there talking about you. He wasn't being very nice. Suddenly, this big, blondish guy punched him in the nose."
"Who was the guy?"
"I have no idea. He took off with some friends right after Parker hit the floor. He wasn't the interesting one though."
"Oh?" Buffy raised an eyebrow.
"I saw this older guy cross the room to help Parker up and away from the crowd. I followed to see who Parker's new friend was. Seems the guy wasn't Parker's pal; he was yours. He threatened to cut off Parker's boy bits and bury him in a shallow grave. Very intense and scary. Parker thought so too. He turned white and ran for it. I'm thinking you won't see him again any time soon."
"What about the guy who threatened him?"
"Like I said, he was older. I thought he was a professor, but he didn't dress like one; this guy was wearing jeans. He was tall, wore glasses and had a sexy British accent."
"British accent?" Willow piped in.
"No way," Xander said, with a huge grin. "Giles threatening to off a guy?"
"Did he have any jewelry?" Buffy asked. "A watch, a ring?"
"He did have this gold and black ring on the pinky finger of his left hand. I saw it when he backed Parker against the wall."
"It was Giles!" Willow exclaimed, her eyes wide.
"Oh, this is too good!" Xander exclaimed. "I love it when Ripper puts in a visit."
Buffy's mind was racing. Giles had gone to campus and threatened Parker. She was flattered, albeit a bit confused. Why had he been there in the first place?
"So, you know the guy?" Gail asked.
"He's…he's a friend," Buffy responded distractedly.
"I wish I had a friend like that," Gail said with a knowing grin. Buffy blushed. "Well, I'd better go. I'm supposed to meet some friends. I just thought you'd like to know that someone is looking out for you."
"Thanks," Buffy replied with a smile.
"I can't believe Giles threatened a guy." Willow seemed a little freaked.
"Oh, I totally can," Xander said with a smile. "Some guy is talking bad about Buffy? I can see the G-man going all Ripper. Serves the scum puppy right."
"You don't think he'd really…do that to Parker, do you? I mean, of course Parker would deserve it, but I don't want to see Giles get deported or anything."
"Giles would never do that," Anya said.
"Well, he wouldn't let himself get caught at any rate," Xander put in with a smile. "I wonder if he'd let me help."
"Oh, you'll defend Buffy's honor, but not mine?" Anya's look was accusing.
"Ahn, someone has to insult you before I can beat him up for you."
"Oh, well if you're going to be like that about it." She was pouting. "I think the mailman looked at me funny yesterday. You could beat him up for me."
"I would, but then you wouldn't get those clothing catalogs you like so much." Xander hid his smile.
"I guess you're right." Anya made a face. "I'll just have to find someone else who is disrespectful to me."
The conversation was interrupted when their pizza order was ready. As the group walked out to Xander's car, Buffy found herself lost in her thoughts about Giles again. She couldn't believe he'd done that for her. She smiled to herself as she climbed in the back seat. It wasn't really all that hard to find a gentleman after all; you just had to look in the right place.
"Well now you've done it, G-man," Xander said when they walked into Giles's flat. "Are you trying to get me killed or something?"
"I beg your pardon?" Giles walked out of the kitchen with a tray of drinks.
"You've got Anya thinking every guy is insulting her." Xander put the pizzas on the coffee table.
"I…What are you talking about?" Giles asked, completely bewildered.
"Your white knight routine this afternoon." Xander took a soda from the tray and settled on the floor. "Anya found out about it and now she wants me to defend her honor. She says it's romantic."
"And sexy," Anya added, sitting next to Xander. "I still say that biker was looking at me in a rude way. You should have told him to stop."
"Oh yes," Xander sighed. "Him and his five burly friends. I'm sure I'd look very macho with my spleen on the outside."
Giles in the meantime had grown pale. He sat on the couch staring at them. Xander smiled up at him.
"Didn't think we'd find out about it?"
"I…well…you…you weren't supposed to." Giles was blushing.
"What were you doing on campus?" Willow walked out of the kitchen carrying a stack of plates.
"I...you see…it…he." Giles closed his eyes and took a breath. "Buffy seemed upset over the whole incident. I was simply going to speak to Parker. Tell him he might want to be nicer to her."
"Oh, you did that alright," Xander grinned.
"But…no…it wasn't. I never meant for it to go so far. I was waiting to speak to him and I overheard him speaking to some other young men. He was terribly rude and I'm afraid I lost my temper."
"What did he say?" It was the first thing Buffy had said since they entered the apartment. She was sitting on the couch a few feet from Giles. Her expression was serious.
"It isn't important," Giles said quietly. "Suffice it to say that he was no gentleman."
"That bad?" Buffy asked. Giles didn't reply. "I'll take that as a yes."
"He's a cretin, Buffy," Giles soothed. "He's not to be taken seriously.
"You're right." Buffy smiled at him. "Not giving him another thought."
"And if he causes you any more problems," Xander added with a grin. "Ripper will see to it that he won't bother you again."
"Xander," Giles said in a pained voice.
"What? I'm totally impressed. If you do castrate Parker can I watch?" His smile was irrepressible. Giles just shook his head.
"Are we ready to start the movie?" Willow asked, obviously wanting to rescue Giles.
Everyone gathered up pizza, drinks, and assorted junk food, settling around the room. As the coming attractions started, Willow turned off the lights and sat on the chair. Buffy was sitting on the couch close to Giles. She looked over at him noticing that he didn't have any pizza. She leaned in.
"Giles? Everything okay?"
"Hmm? Of course, Buffy."
He looked at her and shook his head, not saying anything. Buffy went back to her pizza, turning her attention to the movie.
Giles was completely mortified. He had no idea they had found out about his adventure, but they seemed to find it amusing. Giles wasn't proud about losing his temper. He'd worked years to gain control over his darker side. Yet he couldn't just stand aside and let that boy speak of Buffy so, could he? The easy answer was that of course he could. He could have simply walked away. But the harder answer, the honest answer, was that he was incapable of listening to an idiot boy insult the woman Giles loved.
Giles quietly sighed. He was deeply ashamed that his friends had found out about his indiscretion. He was older, more responsible; he tried to be an example for them. And what had he shown them? That he was weak. They had teased him about it, not through any malice of course, but the teasing had stung none the less. And now Buffy knew of his weakness. She wasn't treating him any differently, but he wondered if this had changed her perception of him.
Well, there was nothing for it now. Giles leaned back on the couch, trying to focus on the movie.
Buffy finished her pizza, putting the plate on the coffee table and leaning back. Her mind was racing and she was having trouble following the plot of the movie. Consequently, she found herself watching Giles instead. She studied his face, his body, his hands. Buffy wasn't really given to introspection. She usually followed her heart, not really thinking about where it might lead her. She knew she had lied to herself in thinking that she would get over what she was feeling for Giles. It wasn't just about the way he treated her; it was what she felt when she looked at him, the way her blood raced and her heart soared. He made her happy with herself, completed her, filling in the empty spaces in her heart. She wanted to be with him, to love him as he loved her.
Buffy was a creature of instinct. Such impulses were what kept the Slayer alive. This wasn't to say that she didn't sometimes think things through, but she mostly followed the promptings of her inner voice. So it was that she gently reached across the space between herself and Giles, softly touching his fingers with hers. He jumped, looking at her with wide eyes. She smiled, the tips of her fingers lightly tracing across his skin. After a moment of breathless hesitation, his hand turned over, his fingers seeking her touch.
Giles had noticed that she was looking at him, but he chose to ignore it. He wasn't up to further teasing or interrogation. When her touch ghosted along his skin, he swore he'd been shocked. He turned to look at her startled. She simply smiled and continued her ministrations.
Her touch was electric, sending waves of desire through Giles. He looked down, fascinated by the sight of their hands entwined together in the dim light from the television. He turned his hand over, his fingers brushing hers, increasing the pleasure he felt from her touch.
He swallowed a gasp as her fingers feathered across his palm; this time the shocks went straight to his groin. He drew in a deep breath as her touch continued up, over his wrist, light and unhurried. She paused, her ring finger tracing slowly back and forth along the bone of his wrist. He closed his eyes, swallowing and stifling a moan as her fingers continued their path up to the crook of his elbow.
The sleeve of his shirt prevented her from going further and he assumed she would either move back down his arm or stop altogether. Instead her touch moved to his collarbone, causing his breath to come in gasps. He turned to look at her, fully intending to tell her the game was over. She looked back at him, her eyes dark with need, her breathing as erratic as his. Renewed desire, hot and powerful, shot through him. He wanted nothing less than to pin her to the couch and ravish her.
His hand reached for her and she moved closer, her leg now pressing against his. His fingers found her shoulder and began a torturously slow journey along her soft skin. Her fingers had traveled up his neck and were gently tracing along the outside of his ear. He shifted his body to face her, his touch now trailing just under her collarbone.
She moved her hand across his cheek and he closed his eyes, his heart slamming in his chest. He opened his eyes, watching as his touch moved up to the hollow of her throat. He was just contemplating leaning over to replace his touch with his tongue when her fingers found his lips. He swallowed hard, fighting back a moan. Her fingers traced along his skin and he parted his mouth slightly. He gasped as her ring finger gently dipped in, teasing his tongue.
And then her touch shifted, dropped to his thigh. He resumed running his hand along her arm, his palm tingling as it ghosted across her skin. Her hand moved up, grazing over his hip. His head fell back as she slipped her hand under his shirt, skimming over his stomach.
He wanted her so much, he needed her so completely. This was his deepest desire, his fondest dream coming to life. It was that thought that stopped him cold. This might be his fantasy, but he didn't want to face the reality when this played itself out. Yes, he wanted her so much that he ached, but he also loved her and this was a game he could not play. His broken emotions would be too high a price to pay when she went back to treating him as nothing more than her Watcher. He drew in a shaky breath and stood, startling Buffy.
"I…I can't," he murmured and he slipped out the front door.
Buffy sat on the couch, in complete shock for all of thirty seconds, before she followed him out. He wasn't in the courtyard and for a moment she was panicked. She went up the stairs to the street and saw him leaning against his car, his head in his hands. She went to him.
"Giles?" Her voice was soft.
He looked up at her, running his hand through his hair. The look of utter despair on his face cut her to the heart.
"Giles, why did you walk out? You didn't enjoy it?" She asked, her voice shaking slightly.
"Of course I did." He looked at her like she was crazy. "That's why I'm out here."
"Was that supposed to make sense to me?" Buffy asked, smiling at him. Her expression turned serious. "Giles, how do you feel about me?"
"Buffy, you know I hold you in the highest regard…"
"Oh, don't quote me page 96 of the Watcher's handbook. Tell me how you feel about me."
"Buffy…I…why is this so important to you?"
"Why do you think I did that to you?"
"I assume because you were lonely. Because you wanted reassurance and affection."
"I could get that from other guys. Why did I do it to you?"
"Buffy, I cannot give you what you're asking of me."
"I…I don't understand."
"I cannot be your rebound man, the one who gives you kisses and keeps you happy until someone better comes along. As much as I want to give you everything, if I do this, when you leave me for the next man, it will break me."
"What makes you think there will be a next guy?" Her voice was gentle.
He looked up at her, his eyes wide and she saw some emotion flare there; hope. Just as quickly, she saw it die.
"Buffy, I'm not what you want. I never have been. You want a nice boy your own age who will…"
"Use me and break my heart? Or who only wants to show me off to his friends? Someone who will ignore what I want for his own pleasure? I'm tired of boys. Besides, I don't love a boy. I love you." As the words left her mouth, she felt the truth of them in her very soul.
His head whipped up and he looked at her incredulously.
"Yes Giles." She stepped closer to him, gently touching his face. "I love you. It took me a while to get that, but it's true. Love me back?"
He closed his eyes, leaning into her touch. She could see his inner war, the arguments chasing each other across his face. He opened his eyes and looked deeply into hers.
"I always have," he whispered as he leaned in to capture her lips in a kiss that was gentle and scorching at the same time.
This moment was everything Giles had ever wanted. He loved her with all that he was, but he'd never dared hope that she would return that love. When she said the words, he'd thought he was hallucinating. He wanted to believe her; his doubts ate him whole, but in the end, his love overcame his fears and he took her in his arms, accepting all she had to give.
His mouth caressed hers, as he lost himself in her kiss. The scent of her, the intoxicating taste of her mouth, filled his senses, causing a shiver to run through his body. Never had a woman affected him so deeply. His tongue gently traced along her lips and she opened for him, moaning softly into his mouth. His whole body began to react to her as he pulled her against himself, his hands going to her hair, tangling in the silky strands.
Her tongue found his and the kiss became something powerful and desperate. His lips massaged her mouth as his tongue rocked against hers. He broke the kiss with a gasp as her hip inadvertently brushed against his erection. She grinned at him mischievously, stepping back into his arms, her mouth finding his throat. Giles closed his eyes, his body trembling as she kissed and nibbled along the sensitive skin on his neck. He felt her delicate fingers run down his hip and his breathing became more erratic. His better angels were telling him that he should end this here and now before he found himself shagging her on the hood of his car, but his body begged him for just a few more minutes of paradise. Before he could collect his thoughts further, he felt her hand move lower and all thought ceased as his head dropped back and he thrust against her seeking fingers.
His body was on fire, he wanted her so desperately. He shifted, pinning her against the car, his hips still moving against her hand, breathless moans pulled from his lips. He lifted her up, sitting her on the hood, pulling her close and moving to press himself against her, his mouth finding her neck, his hands moving to her chest. Her fingers began to work on undoing his belt, while brushing firmly against his painful hardness.
"Oh Buffy, I want you so much." His voice was low and rough.
"I want you too, Giles. You have no idea how much."
Giles reached under her shirt, unclasping her bra in one swift move. Suddenly he froze, his body going ridged.
"Giles?" Buffy asked concerned, pulling back to look at his face.
He swallowed deeply, turning to look over his shoulder. Years of training had honed his senses. He'd felt her eyes on them before he'd heard her startled gasp. Now he stepped back from Buffy, careful to keep himself in front of her so as to hide her state of undress. His face was burning with embarrassment and he couldn't bring himself to look at his neighbor. She stood, not saying anything, looking at them disdainfully. She was out walking her dog.
"Mrs. Baker," he acknowledged politely.
"Mr. Giles." How did she fit so much condescension into so few words?
"Beautiful night," He murmured, mortified.
"For some people." She sniffed.
Giles took a deep breath and dared to look at her.
"My…friend and I were about to go back inside."
"See that you do." Her tones were harsh as she walked away.
Giles let out a breath as Mrs. Baker walked back to her apartment. He looked at Buffy straightening her clothing and started to laugh. He couldn't help it, the situation was so surreal. In what universe would he have ever thought he'd get caught with his hands in his Slayer's shirt? That certainly hadn't been on his 'to do' list when he'd gotten up this morning. He leaned against the car, laughing helplessly.
"And just what is so funny?" Buffy asked tartly.
"It's just…the look on her face. I'll imagine the looks on our faces weren't any less priceless. You do realize I'll have to move now."
Buffy looked at him seriously for a moment, and then started laughing with him.
"I'm sure it's not that bad," Buffy giggled.
"You don't know Mrs. Baker. She started a petition that divided the entire community here. It resulted in another rule being added to the bylaws."
"What was the big issue?"
"The proper placement of garden gnomes." At his serious expression Buffy started laughing helplessly again.
"Oh, if she has problems with those cute little guys, what must she think of us?"
"We may have just inspired another bylaw," he grinned at her
"I'd love to see the wording on that one." Buffy smiled at him. "We probably were the last thing she expected to see."
"Yes, I'll wager it did come as something of a…surprise." The tone of his voice started Buffy laughing again.
"That's one word for it," She grinned. The grin straightened out and her eyes widened.
"What is it?"
"I just realized…the movie's probably over."
"Oh, good Lord. The last thing we need is for that lot to come looking for us."
"It would be…memorable." Buffy started laughing.
"I'd rather not find out. Shall we go back?" Giles held his hand out to her.
"On one condition."
"We pick up right where we left off after everyone goes home."
"I think I can agree to those terms," Giles smiled. "Of course, you do understand that I'm now going to be rude in my efforts to rush them out."
"I'll help you," Buffy laughed. She took his hand and they slowly walked toward the apartment. "Giles?"
"You do know I love you, right?"
"After that display, I should hope so."
"I love you too."
"I know. I'm not sure how I got so lucky. So, about this plan to rush them out…"
They stopped outside the apartment, looking into each other's eyes. Gently, Giles bent down and kissed her, his lips brushing across hers. He let her hand go, before opening the door for her.
"Where were you guys?" Willow demanded as they went inside. "We were worried about you."
"I'm sorry," Giles began, sitting on the couch, picking up a water bottle from the coffee table. "It was warm in here, so I went out for air. Buffy came to check on me and we lost track of the time. We didn't mean to concern you."
"Well," She seemed disappointed that her scolding had been cut short. "Just don't do it again, mister!"
"So, you totally missed the end of the movie," Xander put in from his spot on the floor. "And it was pretty scary too."
"Yes, very good for cuddling," Anya added. "Of course it's not like you two ever do any cuddling, but if you had cuddling friends, this would be a good movie for it."
Giles swallowed a chuckle at Anya's pronouncement, choking on the water he'd just tried to drink.
"Everything okay, Giles?" Willow asked, coming up behind him and patting his back.
"What?" He exchanged a slight smile with Buffy. "Oh, yes. Everything is fine."
And for once, he meant it.
Giles opened his eyes, blinking in the darkness. He stretched slowly, his sleep muddled mind attempting to decipher what had woken him. He stretched again, his mind whispering that if he wasn't careful he'd wake Buffy. He gently reached out for her, sitting up violently when he found her side of the bed empty. His brow furrowed as he tried to work out whether her being in his bed was just another of his incredibly vivid dreams. His confusion was starting to melt to panic when he noticed that the room was lit by a soft, flickering light. In the distance he heard voices. She was watching television.
He pulled on a robe and descended the stairs. She was sitting on the couch, her legs pulled up under her; she was eating ice cream and wearing one of his button-up shirts. He had purchased that shirt when he worked at the British Museum. He'd chosen it, not for its appearance, but because it fit his wardrobe needs. Now as he looked at it, it occurred to him that he'd never noticed how attractive it was before. Maybe it was because Buffy wasn't wearing it with tweed; then again, perhaps not. Giles paused on the landing, taking in her beauty. She hadn't buttoned the shirt, wearing it open like a robe. Giles's eyes were drawn to her attributes, clearly displayed under the shirt. He drew in a breath and went to sit next to her.
"Are you all right, Buffy?" He asked, his hand moving to play with her hair.
"I'm fine. I just couldn't sleep."
"And the answer to your insomnia is to raid my freezer and watch late night television?"
"I was afraid I'd wake you up." She spooned up some more ice cream and fed it to Giles.
"I wouldn't have minded. What has you up this late?"
"I just had so many things on my mind. And for once, this is a good thing." She smiled at him. "I woke up and I was in your arms. I had no idea how amazing that would be. For a while, I just lay there, watching you sleep and thinking that I was the luckiest girl ever. Then I heard your ice cream calling and I had to answer."
Giles moved closer to her, putting an arm around her.
"And what were these thoughts that took you away from me?"
"Oh, nothing really. I was thinking about how everything would change now. Like, there's this movie I want to see. I was going to bribe Willow to go with me, but now I'll just take you. Although if I take you, I wonder if I'll actually see any of the movie." She grinned at him.
"Buffy, I do have a sense of decorum. I recognize that you wouldn't know it from my actions earlier, but there are displays of affection that are best reserved for one's home."
"Now that sounds like a challenge, British guy. I'll bet I can get you to loosen your tie in public." Her smile was positively wicked and Giles felt his breath catch in his throat. He had no doubts that she could get him to loosen his tie, and anything else, but he refrained from telling her.
"Thinking about making out with you at the movies led me to reliving our little Nine and a Half weeks imitation we had after the gang left." She gave him a quizzical look. "I'm not even going to ask why you had those silk scarves in your bedside stand. I'm just going to be glad you did."
Giles smiled and shrugged; he even managed not to blush.
"See, nothing earth shattering," she said. "All good stuff. It just kept me awake."
"Do you know what usually helps me to fall asleep?" He asked.
"What would that be?"
"Intense physical exertion. It makes one tired, helps one to sleep better."
"Really?" Buffy gave him a serious look. "And is there a specific…exertion that you would recommend?"
"I think I could find something for you to do that would exhaust you."
"It would, huh?"
"If I'm doing it right."
"Well, if memory serves me, you do it very right."
Giles rose from the couch, offering her his hand. She turned off the television, taking his hand and standing up.
"I could use the practice though," he smiled at her.
"I think we both could. Lots and lots of practice. Let me put this ice cream in the freezer and we can get with the practicing."
Giles looked at her, a mischievous glint in his eyes.
"Bring it along," He said.
Buffy arched an eyebrow at him, following him to the stairs.
"We might need it to keep up our energy, with all that exertion. It will also give me a chance to resurrect my artist's skills." He replied, guiding her up the stairs.
"Artist's skills?" She stopped at the head of the stairs, looking at him.
"Oh yes, I used to be very good at finger painting." His expression was serious as he let what he said sink in. He sat on the bed, grinning at her. After a moment, she came and sat beside him.
"All right." she smiled at him. "You can get with the finger painting. Just make sure you clean up afterwards."
Giles looked her up and down suggestively, lightly licking his lips.
"Oh, I fully intend to. Now, I think I'll start with the chocolate swirl."
Hours later, when they curled up in bed together, Buffy had to admit that he was very artistic indeed.