Rupert Giles wasn't paying attention to the comings and goings of the customers in his store. He could hear the chatter of his two employees, Anya and Xander as they helped the customers. Anya Jenkins was busy at the cash, flirting with the men and complimenting the women as Xander Harris helped the customers find what they needed, as opposed to what they thought they wanted.
Giles had been astounded when he'd discovered that Xander not only knew the merchandise better than he did but that he also had a knack for knowing what someone wanted.
His daughter Dawn was down there with Tara and they were both working on their homework or helping if they had to.
He had no idea where Buffy and Willow were, but knew they would show up eventually.
Giles went back to what he'd been doing. He'd been trying to find a book.
Wesley Wyndam-Price had heard about Giles' store from Spike and Xander whenever the pair was in town, Xander to get a book or weapon or something from Angel, and Spike just to irritate his Sire, but he hadn't expected this.
Wesley took advantage of the fact that he hadn't been noticed by any of the "children" yet and took a look around.
He was perusing the books when he heard someone approach him, 'can I help you find anything, handsome?' Wesley almost dropped the book he'd been holding.
'We do have that "you break it, you bought it" policy, you know?' Xander grinned at Wesley, who gave the slightly younger man a weak glare.
'Yes, well, the book is in fine condition,' he said, holding the book up for proof.
'You're off the hook this time,' Xander replied, eyeing Wesley with a leer as he re-shelved the book.
'I didn't know I was on the hook,' Wesley replied, heading away from the books.
'Giles, look who I found!' he called up as he guided Wesley to the table where Tara, Dawn and Anya were gossiping about whatever it was they were giggling about.
'Wes!' Dawn launched herself at the man.
'Oi! What about me?' another voice called from the back of the room.
Both Dawn and Xander flung themselves at the blonde. Spike had been away for almost two weeks.
'Did you bring me anything?' Dawn asked already rifling through the bags in that Spike had in his hands.
Giles, who had made his way down stairs, greeted the other man.
'Wesley, it's good to see you again,' he said, pulling on the hand that Wesley had offered to pull him into hug.
'Rupert, you look well,' he said, pulling away from Giles, almost reluctantly.
'Thank you,' Giles blushed, 'you as well,' he replied.
'Oh, uh, someone delivered this to us. We only just find it a few days ago.' He said, fishing a package from the bag that was resting against his hip, 'I believe it's yours.'
Giles gave Wesley a curious look as he took the package and, pulling the clothe back, found a book. The book was a grey spiral bound notebook, the fancy kind with the thick metal rings and a leather cover.
'Goddess,' he breathed, he hadn't seen this book in years. Though how Wesley knew the book belonged to him he had no idea. 'How? I mean, I didn't, I never...'
Wesley gave a soft chuckle, and gently took the book from Giles' lax hands and flipped it open, 'this,' he said pulling out a photo.
Giles groaned good-naturedly, 'oh dear lord,' he mumbled, causing Wesley to laugh a little louder and it caught the attention of the others, who were still riffling through the bags that Spike had brought, though Xander was practically sitting on Spike's lap.
'What? What is it?' Dawn asked, rushing over to Giles and Wesley.
'Oh no!' Giles blurted, as he tried to snatch the book from Wesley but Dawn, the little witch, was faster.
'Oh! Oh! EW!' She blurted as she danced around with the picture, waving it around.
'What is it Dawnie?' Tara asked, watching her in amusement.
'Parental nakedness!' she replied with a shudder.
'Give it!' Spike, Xander and Giles all yelled, snatching at the picture. Somehow, Spike, the shortest of the three came out the victor.
'I was going to share,' Xander pouted when Spike wouldn't let him look.
'Come here pet,' Spike softened as he beckoned the younger man to him. It was no secret that while Xander and Spike were madly in love with each, they both had been very vocal in their mutual decision that should he ever want to, Giles was more than welcome to join them.
He hadn't yet and had stated that he never would. It hadn't stopped the pair from trying.
Spike and Xander drooled over the photo. It was obviously several years old, the date on the back stated it was taken in '76. It was of a much younger Rupert and Ethan Rayne as they slept together. Ethan spooned behind Rupert. Spike, Xander, Anya and Tara all "aww"-ed, before Xander blurted,
'Ha! I knew it! But no one believed me!'
Giles, however, glared at the four of them and snatched the photo back.
'What is this, Dad? I recognize some of it but it doesn't make any sense?' Dawn asked, flipping through the notebook.
'It's my journal, from before I became a watcher. I experimented with things that I didn't want Rayne to know about. He would have done horrible things,' he replied, tugging the book from his daughter's hands, causing her to pout but Giles held the book against his chest resolutely, giving the girl a "no way in hell am I letting you near this book again" look.
Both Tara and Xander perked up at that, 'and before anyone asks, no they may not read it, or attempt to read it,' he stated glaring at each of them in turn.
Dawn had moved onto something else and Anya had gone to the till while Xander and Tara pouted as they tried to figure out how to get their hands on the notebook. Spike just flipped the watcher off, causing said watcher to flip him off, it was a never ending cycle. They both tolerated each other for Xander's sake, one as a lover, the other as an adoptive father.
'Xander, Anya, are you almost finished closing up?' he asked.
'Just finishing with the till,' Anya replied.
Xander was already digging the vacuum out of a small storage room. Tara and Dawn helped put away the stock that migrated to other areas as Giles went over the logs for the day, noting what needed to be ordered and what had already been ordered.
Wesley watched the group, amazed at their effectiveness.
'I'm sorry, we're closed,' Anya announced as the bell over the door tinkled.
'I am so sorry I'm late Giles, there was this thing at school that had-' Willow began.
'You were both supposed to be here several hours ago, Buffy for training and Willow for work,' Giles admonished as he took his glasses off to polish them. 'I'm sorry Willow, but I can't have you on staff anymore if you aren't going to be reliable.'
'What? No!' tears sprang to her eyes, 'please, I won't do it again I promise,' she begged, doing everything but getting to her knees.
'That's what you said the last five times you didn't show up,' Anya blurted angrily, she was tired of the red head not showing up for her shift, leaving either Anya, Xander or Giles, himself, to cover for her after they'd been working all day already.
Giles glared at her, 'please stay out of this Anya,' he requested as politely as he could.
'Well,' Anya huffed, 'if you didn't want our opinions you shouldn't have fired her in the middle of the shop with all of us around,' she replied pointedly.
Giles sighed and massaged the bridge of his nose, she was, of course, right but he wasn't about to admit it.
'I'm sorry Willow,' he said putting his glasses back on to look at the two girls, 'but Anya is correct. Any other job would have fired you a lot sooner,'
'But,' she began but didn't continue.
'But what?' Giles asked.
Willow stormed from the shop, slamming the door on her way out.
'What the hell was that?' Buffy demanded.
'That was Mr. Giles firing a useless employee,' Xander replied like he was explaining something to a particularly slow child.
'Willow is not useless!' Buffy yelled.
'She didn't do anything!' Tara blurted. 'She would stand around and talk with you while Anya and Xander did all the work!'
'No, she worked,' Buffy whined.
'No, Buffy, she didn't,' Giles said, 'I haven't actually paid her for her last few shifts, she was already fired, she just didn't know it yet.'
Throwing her arms up in frustration, she growled and stormed out of shop.
'I'm sorry I'm late,' a male voice announced from the door.
'Riley!' Tara blurted, rushing to the attractive man who was standing in the doorway.
'I ran into an angry redhead and then an angry blond,' he offered as he hugged the other blond.
'That would be Willow and Buffy,' Xander offered, as Spike whispered something into his ear.
'Do they always hit on every guy they meet?' Riley asked, a little taken aback.
'Guys, this is Riley Finn, he's a TA in one of my classes,' Tara announced, trying to change the subject, 'Riley, this is everyone,' she waved a hand around the room.
'Hi,' Riley gave an awkward wave.
'Hi, Riley,' Spike, Xander, Dawn, Anya and Wesley all said together.
'Time for everyone to go home,' Giles announced as he tried to herd the younger ones toward the door with little to no luck.
Anya was more than willing to go, she had a hot date with a hotter guy.
Dawn and Tara were trying to convince Riley to go see the new horror movie that just opened. Apparently Riley was supposed to bring his younger cousin to meet Dawn since the boy was new in town but he'd gotten the flu, so it was just the three of them. Darien promised that as soon as he was feeling better he and Dawn could do something.
Spike and Xander however were harassing Giles, again.
'Please, Giles, come and have sex with us, just once, please?' Xander pleaded as he tried to rub up against the muscles that he knew were hidden under the "grown up" clothing.
'Yes, of course,' Giles replied when the other four were gone, Tara and Riley still arguing over the movie.
'Really?' Spike asked in startled delight.
'No, now leave me alone,' Giles retorted a little harshly.
'Why not?' Spike asked, running a hand through Xander's hair to comfort him.
Giles sighed when he finally noticed the hurt look the younger brunet had, 'because Alexander, you are like a son to me, and to have sex with my son, well, it just doesn't compute,' he replied gently.
'Oh,' Xander said softly, he hadn't ever considered that before, 'why didn't you say so?' he offered with a grin.
Giles sighed again and pulled his glasses off to clean them in exasperation.
Spike pulled Wesley away to give him a tour of the shop.
'Xander,' he began, not looking up to see Xander's eyes, missing the tears. Xander had heard that tone of voice before, from his own father when he'd announced that Xander wasn't his son and had kicked him out. From his Uncle Rory, when he'd tossed Xander from his couch. From Jesse when he had broken up with him. It wasn't a good tone of voice.
'You are a fine, handsome young man,' Giles began but before he could continue, Xander stopped him.
'Stop, please, I don't need to hear anymore, I'll manage to find another job, thanks Giles,' he said as he stood and moved to the counter to get his bag.
Giles blinked in confusion, 'What?' he blurted as he grabbed Xander's arm.
'Look, I get it, you've had enough from me and want me gone, so I'm getting gone,' he replied a little angrily and a little hurt.
'Whatever gave you that idea, no, I wasn't trying to get rid of you, what?' Giles replied, not quite able to keep his mind on one track.
Xander studied the confused man for a moment and it was his turn to sigh, 'You had that tone, the one my father used just before he tossed me out, and then Rory, and Jesse, and then you started you're speech the same way that Jesse and Cordelia did when they broke up with me and about a dozen other let down speeches that I've heard,' he replied.
Spike had slumped onto the couch with Wesley who was pretending to read while he was completely confused as to what was going on. 'Stupid, stupid, stupid,' Spike chanted as his head thumped against the back of the couch.
'Oh, Xander, no,' Giles stated quickly as he pulled the young man into a fierce embrace, 'never, you are the son I never had, and I don't want to lose you because other people are stupid. Dawn is my daughter but you are my son. I am proud to be your father, if you'll have me.' He wiped away the tears on Xander's cheeks and the young brunet blushed.
Xander couldn't help himself, he buried himself in Giles' shoulder and just held the older man, no one had ever offered to be his father, if anything there was an over abundance of people who didn't want to be his father.
The pair stood in the middle of the shop, just holding onto the other; Xander clutching the back of Giles shirt, while Giles had one hand in Xander's hair, softly massaging the scalp while the other rubbed his back.
It was Xander who pulled away first with a mumbled, 'sorry.'
'Do you feel better?' Giles asked, waving off the apology, Xander nodded and was pulled into Spike's arms.
'Silly git,' the blond muttered as he gently kissed Xander's temple affectionately, 'I'm going take him home,' he said with a nod to Giles, 'he'll be right as rain tomorrow.'
Giles watched the pair to the door, where Xander stopped and turned, 'what about Dawnie?' he asked worried about the young woman, he had always thought of as a little sister.
Giles shrugged, 'she's always wanted a brother,' he replied, his lips curling into a smile.
Xander returned the smile then let Spike lead him from the shop.
'Would you like to get a late dinner?' Giles asked as he locked the shop up. 'Dawn will be staying with Tara for the night,' offered with a shrug.
'I shouldn't,' Wesley replied as he glanced at his watch. He was surprised to find it after 8. Then he shrugged, 'but I will, if they need me they can call my cell,' he amended, 'dinner sounds lovely,' he finished with a grin for Giles.
'There's this lovely little place just down the road,' Giles said, guiding Wesley to his car, a shiny red convertible.
Wesley hadn't seen the new car before; he raised an eyebrow in question.
'The Citroen suddenly died and this one was a convertible,' he blurted, a blush creeping up his throat and ears.
Wesley let out a bark of laughter, 'that's a much better reason then Angel's, I still don't know why he has a convertible,' he said, getting into the passenger side.
'Besides, the first car I ever owned was a Mustang,' Giles replied fondly, as he ran a hand over the dashboard.
'My father bought me a Firebird when I first came State side for school,' Wesley replied.
They drove in silence for the remaining two minutes it took to get to the small out of the way restaurant.
'Will Xander be okay?' Wesley asked as they headed into the small eatery.
Giles nodded, 'Spike has been rather good for him,' he said holding the door for Wesley.
They were quiet until the waitress came to order their drinks, Giles a glass of red wine and a Hobgoblin for Wesley. Which he then regaled Giles with a story about Angel and a hobgoblin who wanted to steal Cordelia away and how tempted Angel was to let her go until Doyle stepped in.
They spent their evening trading stories of their various encounters and it was much later then they thought it was. After his wine Giles had stuck to tea so he managed to get them home in one piece.
'Thank you for the lovely evening Rupert,' Wesley slurred slightly as he let Giles guide him into his house.
'You're welcome,' Giles replied hanging up the sport jacket.
He turned to offer Wesley tea or the couch when he suddenly had an armful and mouthful of slightly inebriated Wesley.
Wesley pulled back and stared at Giles in horror, 'I can do a much better job,' he vowed before he attached his mouth to Giles' again. This time the kiss was much less slobbery and a little more nibbling and mapping, all it all, it was a much better kiss.
Giles decided against the couch, knowing how uncomfortable it was from experience.
He used soft kisses and gentle touches to guide Wesley to the bed, where he pulled the other man's trousers off before leaning over him to kiss him softly again.
He pulled back and Wesley whined.
'Hush, it's okay,' he replied as he pulled his own trousers off.
When Giles had pulled off his clothing and pulled on a pair of sleep pants Wesley was already asleep, just like Giles knew he would be.
He pulled off the other man's button up carefully before tucking him in. He moved to go take the couch when he felt a hand on his wrist.
'Stay,' Wesley pleaded blearily and barely awake.
So Giles stayed, spooning up behind Wesley and hoping the other man didn't regret any of this in the morning.