Uncertain Ground - Chapter 11
After the ceremony, Dawn had headed out for a night on the town with her fellow graduates, leaving the Scoobies and Andrew to eat dinner at a restaurant near the Louvre. Buffy had looked around for Ethan to invite him along, but he'd magically disappeared sometime after giving his respects to Dawn.
The group indulged in a five course meal and shared in several bottles of wine before Andrew left to go clubbing. Giles and Buffy couldn't keep their eyes off of each other, occasionally brushing fingers against the other's hand, and it soon became clear to Willow and Xander that the Watcher and Slayer wanted nothing more than to be alone. After the meal was paid for, the Scoobies said goodbye at the Pont Neuf, making plans to get together for dinner with Dawn the next day before the teen left for her trip to Spain.
"Just when you think life couldn't get any weirder," Buffy said as she strolled next to Giles, crossing the Seine along its oldest bridge on that hot and sultry evening in the City of Light.
"Don't tempt fate," he cautioned in good humor as he carried his suit jacket casually over his shoulder, his waistcoat open, his tie loosened, and the top two buttons of his shirt unbuttoned. He'd even rolled up his shirt sleeves.
"I just mean about Dawn being the mystical daughter of an ancient Roman god."
"I think she's relieved to finally know something of her origins. So am I, truth be told."
"Yeah, I am sure you will be researching well into the New Year," Buffy teased, though she too was reassured to know more about the Key and her sister's creation.
Giles gave her a soft smile in confirmation. "I'm not sure how I feel about Ethan having a more permanent presence in our lives, though," he sighed, as he looked across the bank at Notre Dame.
"It's what Dawn wants. He won't hurt her - or us - because of their connection to Janus."
"I know, but... still..." he answered as Buffy slipped her hand into the crook of his elbow and fell into step with him.
"Too much to forgive?"
"He's just a part of the past I wanted to leave behind," Giles said softly.
"I get that."
The Watcher stopped their stroll and turned towards her, placing his jacket down on the ledge, his face very serious. "You felt that way about us."
Buffy took a deep breath and looked into his eyes. She wasn't used to this sort of honesty. "Yes, I was going to tell the Council brass to find me someone else to work with or I was done."
Giles swallowed hard. The thought of having her feel about him the way he felt about Ethan wounded him deeply.
"It was never my intention to hurt you, Buffy."
"I know, I heard what you said on the mountain. All of it. And I am sorry for not understanding and letting things spiral out of control. But I wasn't ready to let you go in LA, not when we were finally starting to fix things between us."
"I'd still make the same decision," he said, shoving his left hand into his pocket.
Buffy swallowed the rising lump in her throat and looked out over the Seine, the reflected lights from the city dancing off the dark water suddenly of interest. "It was the right decision," she admitted, keeping her eyes on the river. "You couldn't abandon the Slayers."
"No, I couldn't, but I abandoned the one Slayer I shouldn't have, the one for whom I was chosen," he said regretfully as she brought her attention back to him and he opened his arms in an apologetic gesture. "I'm truly sorry."
Without thought, she threw herself into his arms and felt them wrap around her as he rested his cheek against the top of her head. Fault lay on both sides and they finally had a chance to mend things and move forward.
"You were right about me," she whispered into his chest. "I've been... distant with everyone. I've just thrown myself into work and taking care of Dawn, who, admittedly can take care of herself... except when psychos want to use her to open portals to hell..."
"I said many things on the mountain. Many things that were out of line."
"Does it still hurt too much?"
"Does what still hurt too much?"
Giles drew in a deep breath and pulled back enough to look down at the woman in his arms. "Loving you, Buffy, is a frustratingly wonderful thing, though it's easier now that we are on speaking terms again."
"And those other feelings?" she asked with a little smile tugging at her lips. "The ones you said weren't changing at the airport?"
"Ah, yes, those feelings," Giles responded, lightly stroking her cheek with the tips of his fingers. "They are still constant."
Her gaze moved to his lips and back up to search his pale green eyes. "So why is it taking you so long to kiss me?"
"I wasn't sure of your feelings on the matter," he answered as he leaned in and lightly nuzzled his nose against hers, teasing her.
"I tried to tell you that it was never about comfort, Giles. I fell in love with you on that glacier. I'm not sure when, but I know-"
He didn't need to hear anymore. Beneath the lights of the most romantic city in Europe, he took her lips fervently with his, his left hand threading through her hair and around to the back of her head, drawing her closer.
Buffy's heart skipped a beat. She'd waited for so long to feel those velvety lips on hers again, to get swept up in the passion he stirred inside of her. Running her hands up along the sides of his torso and around to his back, she hugged him tightly to her, returning the kiss with a fire she'd not felt before.
When they ended the kiss, Giles gazed down at her, his expression serious. "I knew without a doubt when you woke up in my arms after your fall. Before that, I had suspected my feelings had changed, but the prospect of losing you... again. My god, you fell and I could do nothing to..." He stopped a moment to get his emotions under control, looking up for a quick moment at the sky before returning his attention to her, "When you woke, I knew that even if you didn't feel the same, I couldn't live my life without you in it anymore."
"God, Giles," Buffy started before reaching up and guiding his face down to hers, culminating in the most sensual kiss they'd shared, the heat between them building as she put forth all her passion behind it.
Submitting to her enthusiasm, Giles let go, finally giving in to the desire that he'd suppressed since the first kiss they'd shared in the cave after she'd tended to his injured shoulder. Words yielded to actions as he nibbled and kissed his way over her jawline before gently biting down on her earlobe.
"Let's go home," she whispered as her hands traveled up his torso and over his chest.
"Dawn-" he breathed in frustration, his hands gliding down her sides to rest on her hips, his head coming to rest in the crook of her neck.
"Won't be home until tomorrow afternoon," came the breathless reply. "All night graduation party."
"Buffy." Her name left his lips in a soft moan, and as she turned and grabbed his hand to lead him to the cross street, he picked up his jacket and followed her.
They hailed a cab back to Buffy's place, cuddling and kissing in the back much to the amusement of the driver, whose eyes wandered to the rearview mirror more often than was required for the short drive. When they arrived, Giles paid the fare as Buffy opened the door to the building and he followed her in as she took hold of the sides of his waistcoat, pulling him into the lift to take them up to her top floor apartment.
He pushed her up against the rail, his mouth plundering hers as she grabbed his ass and pulled him closer to her, both breathing hard, hands groping and tugging at the other's clothing. The bell chimed when they reached her floor and the doors opened.
Buffy groaned, her mind stuck between wanting to carry on where they were and getting into her apartment as quickly as possible. "We're here."
"I know," he answered, his mind in a simple state of frenzy as he kissed down her neck to her collarbone.
"Giles... let's go inside."
"Right," he said with a little difficulty, letting her move past him. He took a cleansing breath and ran his left hand through his hair, trying to get some control over himself.
She entered the apartment first, kicking off her shoes, the lights from the city illuminating the living room in a romantic hue. Their eyes met in shy hesitation when she turned to face him, the few moments apart allowing the reality of the situation to intrude. Walking over towards him, Buffy quietly closed the door before resting her palm over his heart.
Giles lifted her chin, bringing her lips to his in a tender salute. Placing both her hands to his chest, she slid them up over his shoulders and down his arms, feeling the strength in his upper body as she removed his waistcoat.
The kiss ended as she began to unknot his tie. Pulling the length of fabric from around his neck, she tossed it onto one of the wingback chairs and looked up at him, a look of apprehension creeping into her eyes.
"It's, um, it's been a long time for me," she confided quietly.
"For me as well," he returned. "There's no need to rush. We can stop and take this slowly."
"No, I just... felt you should know..." she said, maintaining eye contact while starting to unbutton his shirt, the tails of which had already been pulled from his trousers in the elevator.
Giles smiled at her when she was done, unrolling the sleeves before pulling his shirt off. Buffy smiled back, her eyes wandering to his chest. Running her fingers along his right shoulder, she asked, "It healed up all right?"
"A little rest and physio and it's now back to full strength," he reassured her.
She explored the contours of his chest, trailing her fingers down through the soft hairs like she'd wanted to back in the cave in Iceland, feeling his muscles quiver at the lightest of her touches.
He watched as she rested her palms against his stomach before pushing her hands up to his pecs, letting out a soft hiss as her fingernails delicately scraped against his hard nipples. Spurred on by his reaction, she kissed from the hollow of his throat down to his navel. Her hands found their way to his belt buckle, and after having made short work of it, Buffy went to unbutton his trousers, but Giles stopped her and picked her up, capturing her mouth with his.
"Which room is yours?" he asked when he broke the kiss.
She pointed to the room to the left and he carried her to it, shutting the door behind them with his foot. Carefully setting her back onto the ground, he reached behind her and slowly unzipped her dress. His fingers found the spaghetti straps and he slowly pushed them over her shoulders, the dress falling in a heap at her feet. She hadn't worn a bra beneath it and Giles stood still, gazing at her form that was now covered only by a slip of fabric. He'd been in awe of her strength and form when they trained together years ago, but standing before her now as her aspiring lover, he was simply left breathless.
"My god, but you are beautiful," he finally murmured, pushing back a wisp of hair behind her ear. Drawing her back into his arms, Giles kissed her forehead, moved to her nose and then her mouth before beginning to explore her neck and chest with lips, tongue, and teeth, nipping and nibbling at the swell of her breasts until taking one of her nipples between his teeth and gently biting down, her moans and sighs spurring him on. One hand came up to fondle and squeeze her other breast while his free hand moved towards her backside and pressed her closer to him.
Feeling his arousal against her belly, Buffy moved her hands to unbutton his trousers. He didn't resist her this time, his mind clearly on other matters as he caressed her breast and sucked at her nipples. After pulling the zipper down, his trousers pooled at his feet and she worked her hands into his boxers, shoving them down over his rear and taking care to pull them away in front as she freed his erection. Circling his thick cock with her hand, Buffy started to tease and touch, and he threw his head back and groaned.
"Jesus, Buffy," he muttered.
Her other hand snaked around his neck, drawing his head down and kissing him hard, her tongue ravaging his mouth, exploring and plundering. Giles' hands roamed her body and settled on her hips as he broke the kiss. Directing his attentions southward, he removed her hand from his penis and kissed his way down her torso, dropping to his knees when he found her navel. Distracted, Buffy combed her fingers through his hair as he kissed and teased along her panty line with his tongue, the smell of her driving him wild. Looping his fingers into the waistband, he pulled the soaked piece of fabric down her legs.
"Giles," she whispered, stepping out of her underwear and moving towards the bed. Sitting down, she pushed herself back onto the pillows, her arms extended out for him to join her. He toed off his shoes and socks and climbed into bed, finding himself cradled between her legs.
They made love slowly as the night wore on, worshipping each other, forgiving past hurts and vowing not to repeat them though the words were left unspoken. While they recovered in the other's arms, a sheen of sweat covering them both, light kisses and touches exchanged as they couldn't get enough of each other, Buffy took a deep breath and asked, "I know there was trouble at the office before you left. How long are you able to stay?"
Giles rolled onto his side and traced her cheek with his fingers, his expression serious. "I report back for duty in a week," he answered.
She sighed forlornly. Long distance relationships sucked. "I could come visit in about three weeks. I need to meet Dawn at the train station when she comes home from Spain and then I'll be busy helping her pack for her move to New York before traveling with her and getting her settled into her dorm."
Giles leaned down and kissed her softly before rolling back onto his back. She cradled her head on his shoulder, playing with the hair on his chest. From her bedroom window they had a view of the Eifel Tower, and they both stared out at it in silence, contemplating their situation.
"I don't know," he began after a few minutes, "maybe I'll stay. Paris is growing on me."
"Huh? What do you mean?" Buffy asked, turning her head to look at him.
He smiled shyly, his heart pounding beneath his chest. "I-I could rent out my townhouse in London and commute to headquarters once a month or so to put in an appearance. I don't see any compelling reason as to why I can't base myself here. Unless you have an overwhelming desire to live near the Council."
"God no!" she declared, a wide grin spreading across her face and she playfully rolled over on top of Giles, kissing him thoroughly. "I think something can be arranged here."
"I don't want to intrude-"
"Giles!" she yelled, playfully hitting his shoulder. "I was thinking of ways to kidnap you and keep you here. Chain you to the bed, maybe."
"Kinky girl," he laughed as he moved his hands over her hips, up her torso, and over her breasts.
She grabbed his wrists and pinned them over his head. "Maybe just a little," she agreed, rocking her hips against his. "Oh, is someone up already?" she continued innocently, feeling the evidence of his desire against her backside.
"What are you going to do about it?" Giles challenged.
"I might have a few ideas," she stated wickedly.
The afternoon sun filled the room and Buffy opened an eye, peeking at the alarm clock by the bed as she lifted her chin from her lover's chest.
"Good afternoon, love," Giles greeted as she looked up at him.
Buffy wiped the sleep from her eyes. "I guess we totally missed morning," she answered as she moved to kiss him.
They shared a relaxed and unhurried kiss. When it ended, Buffy sighed and snuggled into him, her hands lightly caressing his chest as he combed his fingers through her hair.
"Well, we were occupied most of the early hours," he said with a mischievous grin.
"Mmm, that we were," she reminisced with a happy sigh. "You know, as much as it sucked having to climb mountains and trek over a glacier to find Dawn and Ethan, my favorite parts were those quiet mornings when we woke up together like this."
"Not exactly like this," Giles countered with a teasing tone.
"No, neither of us was entirely blissed out, but you know what I mean."
"Indeed," he answered, cupping her cheek. "It was quite the adventure, saving your sister and crossing the fault lines. No regrets?"
"None," Buffy stated, shifting up onto her elbow to peer down at him. Tracing the outline of his lips with her index finger, she asked, "You?"
"Not a one," he responded, kissing the pad of her finger.
"You're really staying?"
"I'll eventually run out of clothes to wear and will need to return to London to pack my things and move them here."
"Screw that, we'll buy you new clothes."
Giles laughed and pulled her into his arms, kissing her soundly. "We can take care of the move together after we get Dawn sorted in New York," he said with a smile. "You can even put in an appearance at the Council, letting the board know exactly where this Watcher should be."
"With his Slayer," Buffy asserted definitively.
"Precisely. Now, how long do we have before we are meeting everyone for dinner?"
"A couple of hours."
"Mmm, we might have to show up fashionably late," he mused as he rolled over on top of her, sucking a pert pink nipple into his mouth, his hands roaming her body.
"Giles!" Buffy admonished, writhing breathlessly beneath him
"Yes, love?" he asked, innocently looking up at her through hooded eyes.
"Maybe just a few minutes late," she relented.
Grinning wickedly up at the woman he loved, Giles resumed his exploration of her body with his tongue. "I'll see what I can do to speed things up a bit."
Yawning, Dawn closed the door behind her. After her night out, she definitely needed a nap before dinner with the gang. As she trudged towards her room, she almost stepped on Giles' shirt, and her eyes found his tie strewn over the wingback chair and his waistcoat on the floor next to it. A little smile graced her lips when she heard a giggle coming from her sister's room and she fingered the medallion around her neck.
After her commencement, Ethan had pulled her aside and told her not to be afraid of Chaos. Chaos was life's catalyst. It was during chaotic and uncertain times that Janus opened a door and it was up to the individual whether they chose to step through or not. She didn't know exactly what had transpired between her sister and Giles in Iceland, Buffy had held that information close to her chest, but whatever it was, they had finally worked things out between them and were able to move forward, finding solid ground together.
As the giggles turned into moans, Dawn rolled her eyes and headed towards her room, thankful that she was exhausted and sleep would come easily.