Giles paced around the kitchen as he processed the information his slayer and her mate had dumped into his lap. A vampire with a heartbeat, the notion was ridiculous. They had to be mistaken.

"You're sure about this? Absolutely sure?" He stared at Buffy looking for any hint of doubt.

"I think the beating of a heart under my hand is pretty hard to miss," she said defiantly.

"He's dead, Buffy. Dead things don't come back like that. There's never been a vampire restored to humanity." Giles took his glasses off and began polishing them as his mind whirled.

"I don't particularly want my humanity back," Spike said with a sad smile. He tucked some stray hairs behind Buffy's ear. "I wouldn't be much use to her if I resumed being my human self."

"Your heart was beating, but you weren't weak or anything. I would have noticed." She blushed brightly as both men looked at her. Spike smiled and touched her cheek gently.

"Could it be related to the mating?" Spike asked as certain things started to click into place. "We share strengths. You've been able to speak all the languages I know easily and there were other things."

Buffy's cheeks reddened further and Giles felt anger bloom inside him. His slayer was keeping secrets again. tutoring had nothing to do with her recent improvement with French.

"So, you are keeping things from me." Buffy turned toward him at the shift in his voice. He could see the panic flare in her eyes.

"I didn't want to talk about the mating stuff with you. At least, not right now, ya know." she bit her lip. "We kinda have a lot on our plates with Angelus and his machinations."

"We agreed there would be no more prevarications between us, Buffy." Giles put his glasses back on and glared at her.

"Fine," she snarled and her eyes glowed brightly for a moment. He caught his breath as Spike grabbed her shoulder.

"Let it go, Pet. You're quick to fly off the handle but the watcher has a point. We should have been more forthright with him. He can research while we fight. We might need the answers sooner rather than later." Spike stroked her arm. "There might be something we can use in the upcoming battle Or a weakness we need to be aware of before we jump into the fray."

"Fine," she growled. "Tell him everything. Should we describe the sexual positions for him, too?"

Giles watched his slayer retreat into her defensive mode and wondered if he should keep a running tally of the times she would utter the word fine. He watched her as she leaned into her mate. She was so very young. It was easy to forget her age most of the time. Rebellion was natural for teenagers, but Buffy never did anything all that horrible. She had shirked her duty a time or two. It was to be expected as she balanced her longing for a normal life with the responsibilities of her destiny. He took several deep breaths and forced himself to look at the situation calmly.

"Buffy, I don't need all the personal details. I just need to know the larger realities. Give it to me in broad strokes." Giles said softly.

"Fine," she said as she rubbed the back of her neck. Giles bit back a grin and plastered his concerned face on. She started pacing in the path he had abandoned. Spike watched her avidly."I have fangs and my eyes change, at least I think they do. It's only happened the one time."

"You turn into a vampire?" Giles swallowed. Angelus was suddenly a very small problem on a distant horizon.

"No, her heart beats. She is fully alive. Her fangs are cute, petite little canines, like something out of a Lugosi film. There are no ridges and her eyes glow green." Spike said. "She isn't turning evil."

"Giles, I drank his blood in the moment. It was crazy, but I did it." She said it softly. "I used to be so afraid of being turned. Why isn't any of this bothering me?"

"I don't believe you are turning, at least not in the traditional sense. The first slayer was forced to accept her power. Each slayer since her has had various reactions to it. It is possible you are just the first one to fully accept it. The spell you did may be melding your strengths and his into something as well. I can't know until I research." Giles stepped forward and pulled Buffy into his warm embrace. "No matter, I love you as you are. You are my slayer."

"Watcher mine, you are the best." She smiled up at him with shining eyes. He swallowed and watched her eyes sparkle and return to normal. She was still his slayer. Buffy slid from his arms and looked over at Spike happily.

"Are there any other changes I should know about?" He asked.

"I breathe sometimes, I feel the need for it." Spike said softly. "I thought it was just an emotional thing, but it could be more."

Buffy walked over to her mate and touched him gently. He watched as their eyes met and held. They were a stunning pair to behold. No artist or musician had ever captured the truth of them. He tilted his head and looked at them closely, Death and the Maiden. It was then that something odd flitted in his mind. There was something he knew And it mattered, but he'd be damned before he could figure it out.

"There's a prophecy about me. Well, maybe about me." Spike said and looked up to see Giles examining them.

"It would be stranger if there were none." Giles said. "You are not the common vampire."

"We can sense each other's emotions. I know when he's angry, scared, happy, sad, all of it." Buffy sucked her lips in over her teeth. He could see the nerves playing through her.

"I'll do the research and it would help me to know the details of the prophecy, but if you two need a few moments, I can wait." Giles said.

"I think this is a band aid thing." Buffy said and Spike nodded. "I'd really rather get it done now. Just rip it off, ya know."

"Why don't you start some tea then, while I get a notebook?" Giles directed and gave them a moment of peace to collect their thoughts. He stepped into the living room and grabbed a notebook he had left there when they arrived home. He looked around the room. These linked up buildings were home in a very real way. Buffy and Spike had given him a real home. He would make sure they could keep it.