Jenny held Buffy to her chest as they watched the casket lower into the ground. Jenny gave Buffy a tissue to blow her nose, ignoring her own tears as they watched the men shove dirt onto the fresh grave. Xander, his face white, put a hand on Buffy's shoulder in comfort and Buffy turned into his embrace, crying into his shirt.
Soon only the three were left alone at the grave as they silently stood. Jenny went over to the grave and put a hand on the gravestone. She sighed before leaving. Xander let go of Buffy and went over, squatting down on the freshly sifted grave. He looked at the name and let his hand trace it before it fell to his side.
"I had no idea. If I had known…..I'm sorry." He swallowed. "I'm gonna miss you, so much." He stood and went back to Buffy. She stepped forward towards the grave and put a daisy on the stone. She said nothing; she didn't think that she could. She squeezed her eyes shut then shook her tears loose. She had no words left to say, no more times to apologize. She looked up at Xander.
"Let's go." He nodded. She turned with him and they left the grave behind.
Buffy grinned as she finished up the last touches in her living room four months later.(A/N I know that it's a pretty big jump, but I don't feel like filling it in properly) They all figured that they would hold the party there. She, Jenny, and her mother hid behind the couch.
Her mother knew a basic outline of what had happened, but without anything about Ripper. That was what Buffy made clear. Joyce would know nothing of Ripper's actions. Buffy couldn't live with herself if her mother knew.
They waited until the door opened and the light turned on and they all jumped up.
"Welcome home!" Willow grinned widely as she looked up at them from her wheelchair. Xander grinned from behind her. He pushed the wheelchair into the living room as they gushed over her. Willow smiled as she looked over the family that was with her through her recovery.
Jenny had legally adopted Willow right after her parents died in an accident, right after the spell they performed. When Ripper threw Willow into the wall, something in her spine snapped and she was paralyzed from the waist down. She spent the first week thinking she was going to die, and then the next few months in the hospital coming to terms with her disability and how she was going to work around it. Buffy helped Willow a lot with the recovery, since she was the slayer it was a lot more helpful than a normal human.
Willow rolled the wheelchair to the table and grabbed a sandwich, greedily biting into it. The hospital food was horrible, and they could only sneak so much food in from the outside. Xander went next to her and grabbed a few sandwiches. Buffy hit him softly.
"That's for Willow!" Xander shrugged.
"There's no way she'll eat this much." Buffy frowned at him and he got her hint. He put one sandwich back.
"But then, knowing how hungry she is, there is no way that she'll eat it all!" Willow looked at him reproachfully.
"I'm not that hungry…." She said between bites. Jenny looked at the three fooling around for the first time in months. It was hard for her to see them without Rupert. After Rupert got his soul back, he left the room, muttering staking himself. After that, they hadn't seen him again, and were forced to accept that he staked himself. Buffy took it the hardest. Jenny could see that Buffy had fallen in love with Rupert, and imagined that there was actually a chance for them if he got his soul back, but didn't seem to imagine the possibility that he would kill himself – again.
They had the funeral for Rupert Giles without a body – a closed casket ceremony which involved some members of the Council. One woman met with Buffy during the wake. Patricia Marni Giles was Rupert's younger sister, a physical therapist in England. She heard of Willow's case and immediately took over. She was invited to the welcome home party, but she begged off for a headache. Willow affectionately called her Tish, and the nickname was 'christened' to her by the Scooby gang. Tish knew about Watchers and Slayers, obviously, since her brother, father, and grandmother was Watchers. She just hadn't known that Rupert was the Watcher for the current Slayer until she went to his funeral. It was hard for Buffy to face Tish, knowing that she was in love with the older woman's late brother, but she found that she sat and talked to her about him a lot, learning about his mischievous childhood.
At least, that's what Buffy told Jenny. Jenny was Buffy's confidante, and Buffy found that she could tell Jenny anything. It helped her a lot, and Jenny thought that Buffy seemed to slowly be getting over the 'Ripper situation'. Joyce realized just how big a part of her daughter's life she had become, and through a lot of talk and compromises, Jenny moved into the Summers' residence. She sold her house and brought Janna with her, and when they found out that Willow was being released, Joyce allowed Jenny to fund a construction crew to build a wheelchair accessible wing in the back, with two bedrooms so she and Willow would live back there and it was more of a two-family house, though they were all one big happy family. She looked over at Joyce, who was turning out to become her best friend other than Buffy.
Joyce seemed to take everything in stride, but she was more of a – as long as the end justifies the means, don't give me the details – kind of woman. She hadn't even known that Rupert had turned, and all that she knew was that a vampire killed him. Jenny watched as Buffy smiled at Willow tiredly. Buffy had been patrolling every night without fail since her Watchers death. She didn't want anyone else to go through what she went through.
Buffy went behind the couch and grabbed a slightly big box she stashed there that had a few holes on its top. She walked over to Willow and handed it to her. At Willow's questioning gaze, she shrugged.
"A present I got for you." She smiled as Willow opened the box and squealed. A little head popped out of the box and lightly barked at Willow. Everyone smiled as they watched Willow pull the small puppy out of the box. The little white dog licked Willows face and she giggled.
"I know that the doctors said that you don't need a pet to worry about during your recovery, but I figured that if no one else was home, someone needs to take care of you. She's a Maltese Poodle." She grinned as Willow stuck her tongue out at her and hugged the puppy.
"She's perfect. Thank you, Buffy!" Buffy grinned as Willow bent to put the puppy on the floor. The dog ran around the wheelchair yapping, wanting attention from her new owner. Joyce rolled her eyes and Jenny smiled as Joyce leaned towards her.
"Just what we need. Another yapper in the house." The two laughed. Xander bent and offered a piece of meat to the dog. Willow immediately tossed the box at his head.
"I will not have my dog eating human food! She will eat dog food and be a good dog that will not beg for table scraps!" She scolded Xander, and when the puppy reared up to the wheelchair, Willow picked the puppy up, putting her in her lap and petted her. Buffy sat on the couch next to her mother and wrapped her arms around her.
"I love you, mommy." She murmured, her eyes on Willow, but her mother heard her and smiled.
"I love you too, darling." She hugged her daughter to her, happy that she was back in her arms again. She dearly missed her daughter when she lived with her Watcher, but she trusted that it was the right thing to do when Buffy explained that her life depended on it.
Buffy stood and went to the kitchen, leaving the others in the living room. She ran the water and washed her hands, looking out the window for something she wasn't sure she was looking for. She missed Giles. At least when Ripper was there, she knew he was still there. She dried her hands and put them on her stomach.
She found out the week before that she was pregnant. Two nights later the Powers That Be came to her in a dream. The one time she made love to Giles-Rupert, she amended in her mind-he had been warm to the touch, and she thought that she had only imagined that he was human. They turned him into a human for that small amount of time as a kindness to her, to make up for the horribleness that had been happening to her against her will. They told her that she was going to have the child of a man who she loved, the man who she went to the funeral of four months previous.
She closed her eyes and then heard a tapping on the kitchen door. She opened her eyes and looked over at the door's window and froze. She found that she couldn't breathe for a second and finally found her breath again. She couldn't move as she looked out the window at Giles. He was dead, she reasoned. She was only imagining him there. She just had the thought of the child she was going to have in five months and imagined its father appearing out of nowhere. However the vampire stood outside the door silently, as if he heard her internal battle.
He could come in if he wanted; her mother had invited him in many months before, soon after Ripper had taken over. She knew that Ripper was gone though, and that her Giles was the one looking at her dejectedly. She looked in his green and amber eyes and knew what she was going to do. She stepped forward and opened the door. Now nothing was between them as he stood there, unsure of what to say after his four month disappearance. Buffy sighed and yelled behind her.
"I'm gonna run out for a few minutes to grab something. I have a stake and I won't be long." They heard a muffled agreement and she stepped outside past him after he stepped back, and she shut the door after herself. They walked in silence towards the cemetery by her house. He followed her as she came upon a grave that she only went to once, when it was planted. There were daisies growing at the grave. She guessed that Jenny planted them for her in his memory. She swallowed then turned to him.
"So you didn't stake yourself." She said matter-of-factly. She looked back at the grave at his silence.
"We thought you were gone. We didn't know what to do. Willow was paralyzed from the waist down." She heard him tense and his gasp of pain. Obviously he didn't know this yet.
"She knows that it wasn't you that did it, Ripper did. Xander took it hard; he didn't know that you were a vampire. Cordelia dumped him when she realized that he had Willow go to the Magic Shop even though she told him not to interfere. It was rather harsh, but he dealed. Jenny and I live with mom again and though I technically own the Bronze because of your death, I've been renting it out and the money has been going towards Willow's medical bills since her parents died. The excess goes towards a college fund for us." She swallowed as she put her hand on the gravestone. She knew that she'd break down if she looked at him now and if she didn't speak now, she'd never tell him everything that happened.
"Xander has moved in with us also. We all finished the year of high school and our senior year is coming up soon, and we're trying to find a way to make sure Willow is still in." She dropped her hand and her head fell. She felt tears gather and her shoulders shook. She knew that he wanted to draw her into his arms, but he held himself back because it was what she needed. She took her breath.
"I'm four and a half months pregnant." She whispered and felt more than heard his movements as he moved before her and kneeled.
"Pregnant? But…but how?" He didn't know how to react to anything that she had told him so far, but this was too….unexpected. Of course Willow's paralysis was just as unexpected, but this seemed different to Buffy. He could tell that at the moment, this was a more pressing matter. He swallowed, though he didn't need to. His mouth was dry as he tried to piece the time together.
"Four and a half months ago we lived in the Bronze. Who else were you with?" Buffy shook her head and looked him in the eye.
"I was with no one the whole time Ripper had me. The time of conception, according to my doctor, was that night that you and I were together." She whispered. He just looked at her, confused.
"But I am a vampire. I can't have children." Buffy tried to smile but found she couldn't.
"The Powers That Be made you human for that one time so we'd have a child." She said, sighing. He looked at her and smiled.
"I'm going to be a father." He couldn't believe it. Then his face darkened.
"Of course, that is if you let me." She saw his head lower.
"Of course I will." She said in disbelief. "I'd hope that you'd be a big part of our child's life. Of course, it would help me if you explained what happened after you got your soul." She pressed, wondering why he never sent word that he was still alive. He motioned towards the park across the street. She followed him silently until they found a bench to sit on. They sat, staring at the trees as he gathered the words he wanted to say.
"A long story short, the moment I got my soul back, I knew that I had to stake myself." Buffy made an inarticulate noise in the back of her throat and he put his hand up to ask to go on. She sat back against the bench as he continued.
"So I went back to the apartment and grabbed a stake. I tried to stab it in my heart, but it wouldn't even penetrate my skin. I figured it was punishment for all that I had done. To you, to Willow." He swallowed and Buffy stayed silent.
"I went to Los Angeles immediately, seeking out the only one who understood what I went through." Buffy's eyes widened.
"Angel." He nodded at her murmur, looking down at his hands now.
"I told him everything and begged for him to help me out of my misery. He smacked sense into me and started setting me on the path towards what he called redemption. He properly taught me how to be a vampire. How to be a good one. I drink packet blood to survive." He swallowed.
"I couldn't face any of you. I was too ashamed with what I had become. I didn't realize you'd all think that I was gone forever. I couldn't think. Until the Powers That Be came to me." Buffy looked over at him. He looked up at her now.
"They told me to" he paused a second, trying to recall the words. "Quit the guilt and self-pity party and get my arse back to Sunnydale, you really need me now." He nodded to himself and when he saw Buffy's face, he finally smiled. Buffy couldn't help it, she started laughing. To hear him say those words, it was priceless. They both stopped laughing around the same time. She looked up at the stars.
"So where do we go from here? I'm pregnant with a vampire's baby, and I live with my mother." She looked over at him.
"Let me guess, you haven't figured out where to go yet?" He shrugged.
"All that I knew was that I had to get back to you." She nodded, looking at their clasped hands, not knowing when in his story their hands had joined. He looked down at them also and they blushed at the same time, pulling away at the same time in embarrassment.
"I just know that I can't take you home yet. Knowing that you weren't the one in control, that's stuck in our heads, but coming out of the blue like this may garner a violent protective side out of Xander and may freak Willow out. I think I should tell them about you first before we try integrating you back into the fold." He nodded, looking over at a couple walking in the park. He knew that they were a pair of vampires, but he was too powerful for them to want to approach without trouble.
"How is Willow?" He couldn't bear to ask exactly what he was thinking. Buffy smiled sadly.
"She's been better, definitely, but I suppose the puppy helps." He gave her a questioning glance. She grinned back at him.
"A welcome home present from me. I gave her a maltypoo puppy." He smiled, looking up at the stars with her.
"I have a feeling that she will like that immensely. She always wanted a pet if I recall her ranting in my library." She smiled, surprised that he remembered.
"The paralysis is permanent, but she's been working with the best physical therapist from England, so she should be able to go back to school in fall with little to no help." She saw as his form slightly turns in her direction.
"A physical therapist from England? That's interesting. I know that they have the best in the world." She smiled, not looking at him.
"I know. Willow's therapist is Tish. Your sister." She saw in the corner of her eye his widened eyes. He sat up straight, looking around.
"She's here in Sunnydale? Why is she here in Sunnydale?" Her smile faded.
"She came for your funeral, which is more than I can say for your father. She's staying in a hotel room for now, but we're going to move her in the new wing of the house to the room next to Willow for a year. Then, and only if Willow's going to be okay, will she move back to England if she feels like it." She sat back and put her hands on her stomach. Giles put his face in his hands and his elbows on his knees.
"I can't believe that I could do that to her." He shook his head. Buffy immediately reached for his face and, with both of her palms on his cheeks, she faced him.
"It was not you. It was Ripper. You had no control. You would never have hurt Willow, or raped me. You are not like that. Stop beating yourself for what that, that demon had done in your stolen body!" She was almost in a rage. He gave her a sad smile.
"Why are you defending what I-he did? You should hate me, more than anyone else in Sunnydale." She shook her head.
"But I know that I wasn't you. I saw the real you." She put her hand over where his heart was supposed to be beating and she looked up into his sad eyes. She couldn't help but feel butterflies in her stomach as she looked up at him. She reached up behind his head and brought his lips to hers. His fingers found their way into her hair and they were together for a few minutes before she slowly pulled away, leaning her forehead against his. He pulled back and looked down at his hands.
They sighed and Buffy looked up, breaking the silence.
"So, I'll head back home and I'll get the renters out for you in the morning." He nodded, still looking at his hands, the kiss replaying in his head. He looked up and she smiled before kissing him softly on the lips again. Then she stood and he followed. At the cemetery they split ways and she went home, walking into the kitchen. She went to the island counter and picked up an apple. She tossed it in the air. Jenny walked in and looked visibly relieved.
"We were getting a bit worried. Did you go on patrol?" She asked kindly. Buffy's eyes never moved from the apple she was tossing in the air, seemingly ignoring her.
"I saw Giles." She said, nonchalantly. Jenny froze at the offhand way she said it, how she actually believed it. For a second she almost believed her, and then she sighed.
"Buffy, Giles isn't here. He's gone." Buffy looked up at Jenny, cross.
"Don't you fucking say that. I just saw him! I just talked to him!" Jenny sighed at the girls anger.
"Buffy, I know that it's hard to become a single high school mom, but this isn't funny." She quietly chastised. Buffy glared at her.
"I thought that you would understand better than anyone Giles didn't stake himself. Call Angel and ask. Until today he was staying with him." Buffy walked into the living room to tell the others the news, and Jenny went to the phone.
The next day Buffy and Giles stood in the apartment above the Bronze. She looked around and sighed. She could try to forget what had happened here, but it would now be easier because Ripper was gone.
"I'll stay here until I can find somewhere else." Giles muttered, his hand on his china as he looked around. Buffy nodded. Too many bad memories for both.
He sat on the new couch, wincing while remembering why it had been replaced. There was a knock at the door and Buffy opened it. One of the bartenders was there. He only saw Buffy from his vantage point.
"You have some guests. One's in a wheelchair." Buffy nodded.
"Be down in a minute." He left down the stairs. She turned and looked at Giles.
"Are you ready?" She asked, concerned. He nodded. They went down the stairs and when Willow saw Giles she grinned wildly, waving madly from her wheelchair. He smiled at her and Xander at her shoulder smiled. The scoobies were together again.
Tish sat in her room of Scooby headquarters, as the kids affectionately called it. There had been a lot going on lately, obviously a private matter because she wasn't told anything. She stood and went to the window with her journal. She like writing stories. When she was young she wrote down some of her brothers mischievous adventures. She sighed, looking down. It was hard to think of Rupert. She heard a knock at her door.
"Come in." She said, not turning around. She heard heavy footsteps, and figured it was Xander. She turned around and froze when her brother tentatively smiled at her.
"Hey Tish." She felt like a fish out of water, then she ran forward and hugged him, her tears straining his shirt. He held his beloved sister to his chest.
"Tish. It's been too long." He murmured and she nodded, looking up at her brother. Then she realized that she couldn't feel his heart beat in his breast. Her eyes widened and she threw herself away from him. He looked sad.
"I am, Tish, but I have a soul. Jenny and Willow gave it to me." He looked at the floor. "That's why Willow's paralyzed. Ripper tried to stop them." He winced. Buffy's head popped in the door.
"Don't worry, he's neutered." Then she was gone. Tish found herself wanting to laugh as she saw his eyebrow twitched.
"Thank you, dear!" He barked out sarcastically. They heard her laughter ring through the house and the siblings couldn't help but laugh when they saw each other smile.
There were voices everywhere. Rupert knew that the Powers That Be were visiting him again.
"Rupert Giles, vampire." He winced and nodded.
"Take care of the Slayer and your children. Because of her death against the Master another was called. She will be there in a month with a new Watcher. Your soul that is intact will never leave you again." He froze at their words.
"My soul?" They continued.
"There is no happiness clause, and your girlfriend is already pregnant, so shag her already!" Rupert woke up and Buffy woke up beside him.
"Are you okay?" He looked at her, still unable to believe his luck. She moved in with him into a new apartment the week before, she was now due any day with his twins. She had to start taking her high school classes online. She wanted to be with him for him, not because of the babies. He looked at her, grinning.
"The Powers That Be just told me I don't have a happiness clause on my soul. And they told me to shag you already." Her eyes widened in surprise.
"Not those words exactly?" She tried not to laugh. His grin widened.
"Those words exactly." They laughed.
*A/N There is a sex scene here, use your imagination 'cause I don't feel like writing one right now. I might come back and write one another day, just not today*
As they basked in the glow of the aftermath of their lovemaking. Buffy suddenly clutched her stomach.
"It's time!" She gasped and he immediately shot to his feet, getting a dress and helping her into it. He shoved some pants on and threw a t-shirt on. He found the keys and helped her outside.
Willow, Xander, Joyce, Jenny, and Tish stood in the waiting room, hearing Buffy scream out profanities they never heard before. Willow was blushing and Xander had his head resting on her shoulder as his shook with laughter. Soon they heard a second little baby scream and Rupert came out, proudly showing off his new son and daughter. Everyone cooed and he let Joyce hold her granddaughter and Tish hold her nephew. He was grinning wildly. Xander patted him on the back.
"Good job old chap." He said wisely, then handed Rupert a box of cigars with both kids of baby exclamations. He shook his head, laughing then gave it back so he could take his children back into the room. The doctor came out and said they could all go in. So they all went in and saw Buffy holding the girl and the two parents smiled at their family. Buffy looked up at Rupert and they both smiled down at the two.
"We wish to tell you their names," Rupert said.
"And?" Xander pressed when he paused.
"Our boy will be Nicholas Alexander Giles and our daughter will be Marni Samantha Giles." Xander and Tish had tears in their eyes. Xander was speechless and Tish laughed.
"You named her after me?" Rupert smiled and nodded. Buffy shifted Marni.
"Willow, Xander, Jenny, I hope you can all be their godparents?" They all had tears in their eyes as they nodded. Joyce was crying. She was a grandmother. Buffy and Rupert smiled at each other and knew that things were going to work out. Karma was now on their side.
(A/N And I present to you, my readers, the words that we like least (unless we hate the story)….)