For the few days they were in the hospital Buffy and Giles were in the same room. The nurses brought the baby in to bond with them both and to nurse, keeping the couple as close as they could in their situation. When she was able she got up and moved to his bed, lying with him as best she could, the whole family together. Sometimes she'd just stay silent and when she did he held her gently, whispering that they'd made it through and that they were both alive and together and that was what mattered more than anything else.

Giles' leg was all but useless, mangled by the demon in his effort to get Buffy and the baby out of there alive. The doctors had taken him into surgery to try and correct as much damage as they could but they were assured that he'd never walk without a limp, or a cane, for the rest of his life. He took the longest to recover and wasn't even out of the hospital in time to go to Joyce's small funeral. She went alone and held her daughter, watching the baby's namesake get lowered into the ground and felt a profound sense of loss. Willow told her that Joyce had at least met the baby and held her and how she said it looked like Buffy.

Somehow the thought wasn't comforting and it was all at the same time. It seemed like to bring this little girl into the world she'd had to lose something and hated that idea. It was unfair.

With the baby between them he looked down at his family and smiled. "We should name this little one."

"She has a name. I'm calling her Joyce. Joy for short."

He considered it a moment knowing he didn't have much of a place to protest. It seemed appropriate, all things considered, and this child was his joy along with her mother. He smiled and pressed a kiss to her temple, smoothing his hand through her hair.

"Alright, darling. Joy it is."

With that settled Buffy seemed to relax though not a lot of emotion carried on her face. Even her tone of voice seemed flat these days and he wondered what the problem was, if it was just loss or more than that. He hadn't seen her cry much less smile.

"About your mother…" he ventured softly.

"No!" her voice was a thunder crack in the silence. She softened her tone as she continued. "I don't want to talk about it."

"But, Buffy!"

"No! I don't want to talk about it."

And that was that. He sat with her in silence a while, puzzling and being concerned. He didn't want to push her but knew she tended to internalize her pain and, if anything, she should have learned by now that internalizing doesn't help. Being who he was, though, he let her and stayed quiet for now.

"We should move into the house."

"Your mother's house?"

"My house now, unless I sell it."

"And you think you're quite ready for that?"

"There isn't much of a choice. Your apartment is only one bedroom."

Secretly he'd been looking for houses to buy to surprise her with a home of their own. He'd even found one he liked the look and feel of, a cozy three bedroom with a white picket fence very close to the university, not that anywhere was far away in this town. No one could have forseen her mother's murder but that didn't make it any easier. He wasn't sure he wanted to be there among Joyce's memories.

"Actually, I put in an offer for a little house near the campus a week or so ago. It's ours if we want it. I was going to surprise you."

Buffy's hazel eyes turned to him and narrowed. "You bought a house without me?"

That wasn't what he expected. He sputtered as he lay in his bed a second or two. "I knew space concerned you. The flat's too small for a baby. I thought you'd be pleased."

"How can I be happy about it when you didn't even ask my opinion, let alone if I wanted to move?"

"Buffy, please, calm down dearest."

"I am calm!" She nearly shouted that, drawing a hard shushing from outside the room.

"Buffy, I'm not the one you're mad at."

"Yes you are!"

"No, I'm not." He lifted the baby and put her in the roll away crib they'd left.

"It was your friend that did this to us and your past we're fighting and if I wasn't weak I would have protected her! I would have saved her from d…" She caught herself and held back the one word she'd been unable to process all this time.

"dying." He supplied softly and her eyes grew wide. As she nodded they filled with tears.

"It's all my fault. I'm her daughter. I should have protected her."

"It wasn't anyone's fault. Things like this happen."

"Not to my mom! Not to my family, Giles! She's not supposed to be gone!"

The girl broke down crying, finally, and put herself into his arms, letting herself be held and comforted while grief raged its storm. After a while, once it quieted, he hoped she felt better. She didn't.

"Giles, I cheated on you."

He blinked. "I beg your pardon?"

"The night I went into labor. Spike came over, to talk. He gave me a back rub. It felt good. Then some things happened and he kissed me. Or, I guess, we kissed eachother. I'm so sorry!"

"And this was sometime before you went into labor while I was at the store?"

"Just before."

"I see." The disappointment in his tone broke her heart. "Why, Buffy? He's everything you profess to hate."

"He's the only one that didn't treat me like I was broken! He's dangerous and I wanted…"

"The fact that he's dangerous is more reason to stay away from him, Buffy."

"But I like the danger! Ripper knew that. You used to know that but you've been so busy waiting on me hand and foot to realize I was bored, unhappy."

"You're unhappy being doted upon?"

"I'm unhappy being treated like I'm dying."

"I was just trying to make sure you were alright, for the baby."

"I know. And I'm not mad at you for that. You wanted to know why and I'm telling you." For better or worse, the Slayer liked pain and danger.

"I see." He paused, a million things running through his head to say and he banished most of them outright. "Should I be concerned about this?"

"It won't happen again."

"Buffy, if you're unhappy talk to me! You can't keep me at arm's length when I love you so. This doesn't work by halves and not at all when we keep secrets."

"I know, I'm sorry. I wanted to tell you but then everything happened so fast and I didn't have the chance. I felt bad doing it while you were recovering."

"I know I'm not good at love. It baffles me."

"And you think I am?" She looked alarmed.

"Let me finish, please. I know I'm not good at love but I love you with everything I have inside of me. I will endeavor to be what you need, all that you need, if only you'll tell me what that is."

"I know. I love you Giles." She leaned down to kiss him softly. "I'm sorry."

He sighed, but that was from relief. He believed her and now the air could be clear between them. That was all he wanted as they moved forward to welcome this precious life into the world. She was beautiful, everything about her, and though he'd failed to keep her from the danger they faced he would be damned if she came to harm again. He was convinced Ethan would not stop trying and steeled himself to do something he swore he was not capable of anymore: murder. If Ethan came near any of them again he would die and with the hatred Giles had in his heart perhaps he didn't even need to come near.

When he was released she was there to walk him into the light, pushing along a stroller left on her doorstep by a certain platinum haired vampire who'd been keeping himself scarce. He knew his place now after what happened in hell and all he'd done before was to pretend that things could be different between them, that he could be different. He wasn't, not really. He wanted to give her what he knew she deserved so he bowed out of the picture and took up her mantle when she couldn't patrol. It was all the same to the Slayer who didn't need more confusion in her life.

They moved into the house on Revello Drive. It was hard for the Watcher to give up his flat on Oakhurst Lane. He'd been in it for the entirety of his time in Sunnydale. Life wouldn't be the same without it but his landlord was certainly grateful. Despite always having the damages paid for the complex was somewhat hard to get new people into with him as a tenant causing chaos.

For the first few days it was hard to settle into the house. They set up Buffy's old room for Joy and they took the master for themselves for the attached bathroom. She was certainly on edge every time she was inside it, as if Joyce would somehow appear from the woodwork and demand to know why they were in her room. He knew that could only be reconciled in time. The others were near permanent fixtures, each taking shifts so the couple could occasionally get a full night's sleep.

Xander and Willow were out at the moment and Buffy was sitting at the bar in the kitchen while Giles made toast. She was cuddling their daughter when there was a knock at the door. They both looked to it at the same time. Hardly anyone came to visit them these days. Giles moved toward the door, abandoning his toast, as Buffy trailed after.

"Can I help you?"

"Mr. Giles," that wasn't a question judging from the tone of the British accent. "I'm Elliot Roberts and this is Edwin Blackstone. We're from the Council to take you in for trial."

"Trial? What nonsense is this?"

"This is hardly business to be discussed outside."

Though he didn't want to Giles was a gentleman and opened the door a little wider to allow them to pass inside. They both did but lingered close to the door.

"My charges?"

"It's quite the litany, Mr. Giles. The abridged version is the abuse of dire magics, failure to report, reckless endangerment of both innocents and your charge and then there's the new ground of taking advantage of your charge."

"I beg your pardon? I've taken advantage of no one."

"That child's being begs to differ. It's yours, is it not?"

"It is, but I don't see how that's any…"

"Mr. Giles, if you please. That is the lesser of the charges against you and is new ground to be weighed and tread. The larger concern, in our minds, is if you and the Slayer can care for a child given the dangerous nature of your lives."

"You guys are insane!" Buffy burst out, loud enough that the baby woke and began to cry. She quieted. "Who do you think you are coming here to try and drag him off to some stupid trial. I won't have it."

"Forgive me, Buffy, but you do not have a say this time."

"How did you guys even know about this stuff anyway?"

"The Council," Giles supplied, gesturing to the two suited men, "employ Oracles. They're rather handy at knowing things. The child of a Slayer would be large news. I should have thought of that."

"Why wait until now?"

"As I said, it's not against policy to have relations between a Slayer and a Watcher. Your personal life is your own, Miss Summers. However, the other charges forced us to step in once he'd recovered."

"Well he's not recovered and you can't take him." She looked stubbornly resolute on that point. "If you want him you'll have to go through me."

"Buffy, please." Giles raised his hand to stop her. His sense of honor would not let him deny what he'd done, especially murdering that man with his magic. The scars on his arm told of the fire he'd brought. "I cannot deny what I've done, even for good reasons. To tell the truth it will feel good to pay for those crimes." And he hoped the Council would be more forgiving than the law.

"Giles, we need you here. This is, like, monumentally stupid to go with these guys."

"I'll be fine. And I'll be back in a few days. Don't worry about a thing, dearest."


"You'll have Willow and Xander. Don't fret. It's just a formality, I'm sure." He didn't have the heart to tell her how bad things might be. These were very bad crimes he was guilty of and he was honor bound to admit them.

"Promise me."

"I promise."

He packed what little there was to pack for the trip and, leaning on his cane, kissed her goodbye and left.