aftermath(n.)-the consequence of an event or series of events

It's Gonna Be A Long One

Giles pulled himself through the layers of sleep to find a blonde head on the pillow next to him.

He watched Buffy as she slept, hoping that her dreams were restful, taking in every part of her that he could see. She truly was an amazing slayer, but she was an even more amazing woman. He traced a finger along her shoulder, and silently prayed that the next few days would pass quickly.

He slid out of the bed, noticing that his clothes were hopelessly wrinkled and that he needed to change.

Glancing over at his sleeping Slayer, he realized that he could change without having to worry.

He turned away from the bed and quickly pulled his shirt and sweater over his head, tossing them to the corner of the room, not wanting to bother with them any more than he had to. His hands went to his belt and deftly undid the buckle, the leather making a slight hiss as he pulled it through the loops.

Buffy, unseen by her Watcher, slowly awoke as she noticed the lack of warmth beside her and was greeted by a wonderful sight.

There, laid bare before her eyes, was the naked back of her Watcher. Now that was a sight that she would gladly wake up to every morning.

Realizing that he didn't know that she was awake, she stayed silent and waited in breathless anticipation as his hands went to his pants after placing his belt on the other bed.

She had always wondered whether her Watcher was a boxers or briefs kind of man, and her breath was stolen out of her as he pushed his pants down and her question was finally answered. She had to bite her lip to keep from making a sound at the sight in front of her.

And the answer was…neither.

There was her Watcher's bare bottom for her to see, and she had to admit that it was quite a sight.

Buffy watched as he grabbed a pair of jeans from his bag on the end of the other bed and pulled them up over his hips, and the sound of a zipper greeted her ears.

She had to hold in a mewl of protest. From what she had seen of him and his body, she secretly thought that it should be made illegal for her Watcher to wear any type of clothing whatsoever. He was all man, and she'd never seen anything quite like it.

It was more of a raw and natural strength, unlike the marble-chiseled perfection of Angel or the striking lean strength of Spike.

She grinned to herself as she watched him grab a shirt and throw it on over his shoulders.

Damn…had his shoulders always been that broad?

She found that it was strange that she'd never noticed him in such a unique way before. He was so, so…so fit. So smart, so kind, a little dangerous, and he already had his whole life dedicated to her. What else could she ever wish for?

Buffy saw him start to turn, so she quickly closed her eyes and evened her breathing so that he wouldn't know that she had seen the whole thing, silently planning to wake up in as normal a way as possible.

Giles looked at his Slayer where she lay sleeping and a small smile escaped his lips at the sight.

Her hair was rumpled, as were her clothes, and she was curled up into almost a fetal position. He watched as she shifted in her sleep, her arm reaching out to where he had lain only moments before.

A yawn escaped her and he watched as her eyes fluttered open.


He moved back over to the bed, leaning across the covers and surprising her with a soft kiss against her lips. He just couldn't seem to resist; she was simply too adorable when she was all muzzy and confused as she woke up, and her lips seemed to be begging him to be kissed.

She kissed him back, but it took her a moment to return the kiss, as she was startled at the feel of his lips on her own. Who knew that her Watcher could be so bold?

He slowly pulled away and a slow and sensual grin crossed his lips.

"Good morning, Buffy."

With that, he stood up and walked out of the room, leaving her floundering in confusion at everything that had just happened. If that was how Rupert Giles said good morning, she would gladly wake up to that man every day for the rest of her life.

And then her thought hit her with all the subtlety of a freight train…the rest of her life.

Was that what she wanted with him? The rest of her life? She sat up in bed and stared at the door that he had walked through and tried to come to grips with that particular thought.

Being with him for the rest of her life made sense, considering that she had already spent the last seven or eight years with him. But at the same time, the thought scared her out her mind. Her life wasn't expected to be all that long…it wouldn't be fair to him.

But would it be fair to him if she didn't even give the two of them a chance?

Shaking the feeling off, she pulled herself to the edge of the bed, throwing her legs over the side.

Internally, she still debated on whether or not she should get up. She was still recovering and probably shouldn't be moving around…and Giles would probably have a fit if he knew that she was getting out of bed, and an upset Giles was not something that she wanted to deal with.

A slight pout on her face, she slid her legs back under the covers, letting herself sink comfortably into the mattress.

She had just started to drift into an almost sleep, when the door opened and in walked her Watcher, a tray of food balanced on one hand.

It was an adorable sight, and she tried to hold back her giggle at the image that popped into her head of him wearing a frilly white apron with a duster in one hand.

Luckily, he did not notice her amusement, as he was distracted by balancing the tray on his one hand and seemed to be carrying something else in his other hand. He finally made it over to the bed, placing the tray directly next to her, and placed what she could now see to be a medicinal bag of some sorts on the other bed.

He motioned towards the food as he opened up his other bag.

"Go ahead and eat up, Buffy. You need to keep up your strength for the next few days. Your body will be fighting the curse and it will be using all of your metabolic energy in order to do so, so you need to take in as many calories as you possibly can. A Slayer's metabolic rate is much higher than a normal person's and will burn through calories about ten times faster than even a normal incredibly athletic person's high metabolic rate."

As he spoke, he began pulling out bottles of pills, and Buffy tried to read the labels as she began to eat the sausages that he'd put on her place, but couldn't read the small handwritten script.

As she continued to eat, she watched as her Watcher carefully drew out a syringe and a small bottle of clear liquid that had more of the same small writing on the side.

With what seemed to be practiced ease, he pulled off the cap of the bottle and drew the liquid into the needle, tapping the side of it to remove air bubbles as professionals always did.

He then turned towards her and watched for a few moments as she finished off the sausages and started in on the pancakes that were also on the plate. She still had several more things to get through, which included three waffles douse in butter and syrup, bacon, an omelet that looked like it had peppers, ham, and cheese in it, and two large bran muffins, topped off by a large bowl of freshly chopped up and sliced fruit.

Giles sat on the edge of the other bed and merely watched as his Slayer went through the food in front of her.

But by the time Buffy had finished the waffles, bacon, and omelet, she was discovering that she felt more than full. She put down her fork and looked at her Watcher.

"Giles," she groaned, placing a hand on her stomach. "Seriously? I think I've eaten enough to put Xander to shame, here, and I honestly don't think I can eat anymore right now."

Giles gave her a small smile and chuckled at her accurate statement. Yes, she had indeed out-eaten Xander. He had watched the young man downstairs as he had filled up Buffy's plate, and the boy had only gone through five pancakes and ten sausages.

He walked over to her bed and sat across from her, sliding the tray out of the way.

"Alright, then. Now we prepare you the rest of the way."

He gently pulled her arm towards him and rolled up her sleeve, giving her a slightly apologetic look for what he was about to do.

He sighed deeply and then quickly explained.

"Buffy…what is going to happen is going to be a severe attack on your body and your body will do everything it can to fight it off, but it won't be enough. This curse works to use the adrenaline that your body will produce in trying to fight off the curse, to exacerbate it. The adrenaline will literally be fuel to the fire."

He paused, obviously distressed at what he was about to tell her and what he was about to do.

He slid his hand into hers and gently squeezed. "I am going to give you a compound that will suppress your body's natural, instinctive response to produce adrenaline in order to keep the curse from, from…from hurting you."

It was obvious that he didn't want to admit that the curse could kill her, and she inwardly smiled at her Watcher's compassion.

But then what he said fully registered in her mind and she looked at him, her face showing the expression of sudden realization.

"Wait a second…is that…?"

Giles swallowed compulsively, nodding his head in the smallest of movements. "Yes, Buffy. This is what was used for the test on your…your seventeenth birthday." He paused, but then continued. "Please understand that I'm doing this to, to…to save you."

She merely squeezed his hand and gave him a reassuring smile. "I know, Giles…I know."

With that, she lifted her other hand and pulled back the long sleeve on her shirt, willingly offering her arm to him.

He gave her a strained, but appreciative smile, and quickly went through the motions, tying a tourniquet around her upper arm and then inserted the needle, emptying the clear liquid into her body.

What once had been used in a most brutal and barbarous fashion, meant to cripple her, would now be her saving grace.

After he took the tourniquet off and pulled needle out, he watched in some amazement as the small hole in her arm healed almost immediately, and was well aware of the fact that that was probably the last time for the next couple of weeks that he would see her heal in such a way.

Soon enough, the drug would take effect and she would be as normal a person as anyone else…at least, in the physical sense. To him, she would always be extraordinary, no matter what.

He moved from her bed back over to the other one, tossing the needle to the trash, and opened up several of the bottles, placing several different colored pills in his hand.

He then moved back to her bed and placed the pills on her tray, which he moved back in front of her. He pushed the orange juice towards her and gave her a regretful smile.

Buffy, in turn, gave him a wry and pointed look as she reached for the pills with one hand and the orange juice with the other. She paused for a moment and pursed her lips into an utterly adorable pout, obviously put out at what he was making her do.

"I just know this is payback for me almost never getting sick in the past eight years, isn't it?"

A small chuckle escaped him at her humorous take on the situation, and he watched as she dutifully placed the pills in her mouth and swallowed them down with the orange juice.

She then made herself more comfortable on the bed, adjusting her pillows against the headboard, and gave him a serious look.

"So," she said reaching for his hand and running her thumb over the backs of his fingers. "What are the pills for?"

He looked down at their joined hands, not entirely sure if he could keep her gaze while telling her what they were for. All of them were specially made for Slayers and were a closely guarded secret of the Council…of course, the Council didn't exist anymore, so it couldn't hurt to tell her.

"Well, they're specially made for curse based illnesses, specifically those that affect Slayers. Because Slayers have such a different biological makeup than your normal, average person, they require different doses of certain…certain essentials. More, more concentrated doses at much higher levels."

He lifted his gaze back to her, and she simply gave him a reassuring smile.

"Well, duh…I could've told you that, Mr. Book Guy," she said, with a slightly humor filled tone.

He gave her a sheepish smile and continued to hold her hand.

With any luck, everything would be over in two or three days, but knowing Buffy, luck probably wasn't on her side at the moment, so he expected to be there for at least a week. It was going to be an incredibly long seven days.

Part 4/?