Buffy had indeed felt snuggly that morning, and it was a satisfied and very late Watcher who had to face a fuming assistant outside the Magic Box.
'Do you know what time it is? We're losing money by the minute here!' Anya scolded as she waited for him to unlock the door.
'Yes, I can see the punters lining up' Giles muttered sarcastically. 'Why didn't you use your own key to let yourself in, by the way?'
'I brought the wrong one' the ex demon replied sullenly. 'I was late and somehow I got it mixed up with the key to the handcuffs. Which doesn't work, obviously' she finished, glaring at Giles as if this too was somehow his fault.
''Hm. Imagine that' he commented distractedly as he walked over to the counter. The blonde's brow furrowed as she watched him. Something was different. Something...
'You've had sex!'
Giles turned around with the expression of a deer caught in a headlight.
'I don't know what you're talking about' he lied, desperately trying to escape Anya's knowing grin as the ex demon calmly seated herself on the counter and looked expectantly at him. He finally gave in and shot her an uncomfortable glare.
The ex demon wriggled into a more comfortable position.
She pouted prettily.
'Please? I always tell you everything about me and Xander!'
'I know' Giles nodded with a pained expression.
'So who was it?' Anya continued relentlessly. 'And was it good? Did you try this Kama sutra position I learnt when I...'
'Willow! Xander!' Giles sighed with relief as the Scoobies entered the store. 'How nice to see you two!'
Xander grinned at the flustered Watcher.
'Have you been pestering Giles again, Ahn?' he cheerfully admonished his girlfriend. 'Didn't we talk about this yesterday?'
'Yes, but Giles had sex and he won't tell me about it' the sulking blonde informed him.
'Whoo. That's something I didn't need to hear so soon after breakfast' Xander complained. 'And please don't ever mention G-man and sex in the same sentence again!'
Giles glared darkly at the trio before deciding to take refuge at the other side of the store where he could sort through his pile of old books in peace. He first tried to ignore the teenagers' chatter but soon found himself completely immersed by it.
'...and she didn't even come home last night.' Willow gave her friends a worried look.
'Maybe she crashed at her mum's?' Willow looked at him and Xander raised his hands defensively. 'Okay, dumb idea. Maybe she crashed at Giles'?' Willow kept looking. 'What??'
'Well, if Giles did have... you know...' Willow glanced over at the Watcher and he quickly feigned interest in a paragraph in the book in front of him 'would he... you know... with her in the apartment?'
Giles grinned to himself. Oh yes, he definitely would.
'Good point. Buffy would wig big time.' Xander looked thoughtfully at Willow. 'So what are you thinking there, Wils?'
'I asked her if it was Angel, cause that would make a lot of sense because I think she and Giles was fighting...' she thought for a while 'but that could of course be over her interrupting... you know...'
'First of all – ick!! Could we all just stop mentioning G-man and... you know...' Xander gave an exaggerated shudder. 'And second of all – Dead Boy is back?? Why..? I mean... Why??'
'It doesn't have to be Angel, it's just that that makes the most sense, doesn't it?'
Giles rolled his eyes. Yes. It always had to be bloody Angel, hadn't it?
'Yeah, I guess.' Xander looked up as the doorbell tinkled. 'Hi, Tara!'
Willow's girlfriend ducked her head and mumbled a greeting before sliding into a chair beside the redhead.
'What kind of demon are we looking for?' she asked quietly.
'Oh, it's much worse than a demon' Xander groused. 'Buffy's got a spanking new boyfriend.' He looked confused. 'Although not sure about the spanking part yet. Or the new.'
Anya, who had been quiet so far during the conversation suddenly woke up and triumphantly exclaimed 'Buffy!!' with a smug look at the suddenly blushing Giles. Willow and Xander gave her preoccupied looks.
'Yes, Ahn. Buffy. New boyfriend. Possibly Dead Boy.' Xander shook his head resignedly. 'Have you been listening to anything we've said?'
Anya shrugged and shut her mouth with an obstinate expression. If they didn't want to know, they didn't want to know. Tara had been the only one catching Anya looking at Giles and was now thoughtfully doing the same. The discomfited Watcher fidgeted nervously under her eyes and the wicca nodded resolutely.
'Can't it just be that she doesn't want us to know yet? Like she wants something that's all hers, you know?' The blonde witch looked at her girlfriend, willing her to understand the possible parallel between their relationship and Buffy's. 'Maybe it's someone we know and she's unsure of how we'll react.'
'You don't think... Spike..?' Willow asked, suddenly alarmed. Tara exchanged an expressive look with Anya. Totally clueless...
'Oh God, not Captain Peroxide, the bleached Billy Idol wannabe?! Not even Buffy would...' Xander hesitated slightly, realizing whom he was talking about. 'Okay so what can we do to stop it?'
'Well, I thought maybe we could try to get Riley and Buffy back together' Willow suggested uncertainly. Two blonde heads snapped towards Giles who by now had abandoned all pretence of working.
'And how would we manage that?' he asked with amused curiosity as he approached the Scoobies. Willow looked up at him with an embarrassed smile.
'Hi, Giles. Did Buffy say anything to you... uh... last night? Like... you know... anything? Did she mention Angel at all?' Willow winced slightly as she continued 'Or Spike?'
Giles pondered the question.
'No... No, I don't think so' he replied slowly. 'She did mention Ethan though' he offered innocently.
'Oh no. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. No!' Xander's shaken response was all the Watcher could have hoped for.
'Ethan?' Willow seemed somewhat traumatized as well.
'Hm? Yes. She said something about wanting to meet some of my friends' he deadpanned.
'But... Ethan??' Willow repeated uncomprehendingly.
'Umm... she did mention his name, yes. And Olivia's.' He gave Willow a sad look. 'She didn't want to meet her.'
'Ethan...' Willow looked thoughtful. 'Okay, so he is kinda sexy...' She looked up and met four pair of interested eyes 'in a bad, bad, evil sort of way. Bad sexy. Very bad. Did I say sexy? I meant... uh... Besides, this isn't about me! I just meant that Buffy would find him sexy. In an Angel sort of way. Because of them both being sexy... uh... I mean dark haired... and... broody... and... uh... did I say dark haired? I just mean that Ethan's sorta an older version of Angel. Except his younger. But older looking...' She turned to her girlfriend. 'Why don't you stop me when I do this?'
'I just wanted to hear more about the sexy older man...' Tara answered with a giggle.
'Sexy?' Xander mumbled faintly.
'Oh yes. I mean, who can blame Buffy?' Anya sighed. 'That voice. And those dark eyes.' She smiled angelically at the glaring Giles. 'Yes. Definitely very sexy.'
The jingling doorbell announced the arrival of a very animated Slayer. Her eyes quickly sought out Giles and she beamed radiantly as she bounced over to him.
'Hi' she breathed, her eyes brimming with love.
'H-Hello Buffy' the Watcher replied unsteadily.
They had discussed the dos and don'ts of their new relationship the night before and had both agreed on keeping it a secret for the time being. Giles pulled a face. Neither of them had of course counted on either nosy Scoobies or Anya the Sex Spotting Demon from Hell. So here he was, wanting nothing more than to kiss the beautiful woman in front of him – and all he was allowed to do was stutter her name. He must have been mad to have agreed to this!
Buffy's thoughts were along a similar line. Giles' lips just look so yummy. She smiled yearningly. Which they were – and as soon as she got him back to his apartment she was going to taste them again. Or maybe... The Slayer gave the backroom door a hopeful glance. She could always do with some extra training!
'What?' Buffy turned around and found the Scoobies watching her. 'Oh. Yes. Hi, guys. Eh... Whatcha doing?' she rambled nervously.
'Umm... We were just talking about... uh... Ethan' Willow confessed, studying the Slayer's face closely.
'Ethan? Ethan Rayne? Okay, what's he done this time??' Buffy asked irritably. 'If he's done anything to hurt Rupert, I'll just... What??'
'Did she just..?' Xander gaped disbelievingly at his friends.
'Uh-huh...' Willow didn't take her eyes off the Slayer.
'Told you' Anya said with a smug smile. 'Buffy had sex with Giles.'
The Watcher resignedly closed his eyes. A feeling of familiar lips against his made him open them again, finding green eyes laughing up at him.
'Somehow I think the secret's out' Buffy giggled. 'Okay, gang. This is my boyfriend Rupert. Rupert, this is the gang.'
Giles eyed the assembled teens cautiously, not sure how they'd react.
'Pleased to meet you, Rupert. Buffy is a lucky girl' Tara's smile was warm and friendly.
'Thank you, Tara. I am very pleased to meet you too.' Giles gave the blonde witch a quick hug.
The doorbell jingled and Anya quickly got to her feet.
'Customer!' she announced cheerfully. 'I'm very happy for you both. And Buffy...' she glared warningly at the Slayer. 'I really like Giles. And I still have contacts in the vengeance business. Just saying.' She smiled warmly at them and scampered away.
'She is the strangest girl' Giles observed fondly.
'Giles..?' Willow's voice was hesitant.
'Buffy never mentioned Ethan, did she?'
Giles grinned at her.
'Of course she did. I would never lie to you. She said she didn't want to meet him.'
Willow's green eyes smiled at him.
'That's tricky. I've got to remember that Buffy's new boyfriend is tricky.'
Giles swiftly pulled the wicca into his arms and buried his face in her hair.
'Thank you, Willow' he whispered emotionally.
The redhead sobbed quietly into his chest as she hugged him fiercely.
'I think Buffy's new boyfriend is the bestest' she mumbled unsteadily.
'I think so too.' Buffy's smile was slightly wobbly as she came in for a group hug.
'And me.' Xander said gruffly as he joined the formation. 'But just for the record. I want no details, no smooching in front of our young, impressionable minds, and definitely no sentences including Giles and sex. It's my final offer.'
'I'm sorry Xand, but the smooching is nonnegotiable.' Buffy grinned at him 'There is no way you can keep me away from those luscious Watcher lips.'
'Really?' Xander asked interestedly.
'Definitely really' Buffy nodded.
'So there's no chance that... umm... say the next five minutes will be completely smooch free?'
'None. Zip. Nada. Definitely not.'
'Oh. Nothing. Nothing.' Buffy gave him a suspicious glare. He sounded much too innocent for "nothing". 'I just think I know the magical words, that's all.'
Buffy crossed her arms and gave him a challenging look.
'Whatever spell Willow's taught you it isn't going to work. Just say the words and watch the smoochies.'
'And you're sure?' Buffy nodded 'Oookay.' Xander turned towards the counter and raised his voice. 'Hello Mrs Summers. How are you today?'