Giles stared blankly at the book in front of him. The other scoobies were all asleep, the two girls upstairs and Xander back at his apartment. He wanted so badly to join them again, but the troubling dream that he had kept him from going back to his bed. He thought over the dream once again, frowning deeply as he revisited the details. He was shaken by it. He didn't want to consider what he was told to do until he looked at every other choice.
Buffy's giggling voice roused Giles from his dark thoughts. He looked at the two super beings as they spilled in through the door, hushing, and laughing.
"I can't believe it," William whispered to Buffy.
"It's totally true," she answered.
Giles cleared his throat loudly as he removed his glasses and rubbed his weary eyes.
"Buffy, may I talk to you?" Giles asked. "Alone?" he added pointedly.
Buffy stood straighter, slayer replacing the happy, giddy girl. "What's wrong?"
Giles beckoned her to follow him to the kitchen, leaving William all alone in the living room.
"Buffy, how was slaying?"
Buffy eyed Giles suspiciously. "Fine. William's better than last time. He has a knack for fighting. Not up to Spike's standards, but pretty good. Why did you want me to come in here?"
"Buffy, Spike obviously has no chip, and little control over his demon. He is a loose cannon, Buffy."
"Giles, don't, just…don't."
"No!" Giles slapped the countertop with his palm, a desperate edge to his voice. "Spike could, at any time he likes, kill us all. Are you blind or just thinking with your blasted hormones?"
"Giles," she gritted through gnashed teeth, "I'm not sleeping with him. I won't sleep with him. I am keeping him here because I need someone strong enough to help. I am the slayer. I'm the one about to die for the world. William stays. End. Of. Discussion."
Giles was taken aback by Buffy's rage., and felt his own ire rise. "You are a very stupid girl. He will be the death of us all. Buffy, you have to kill him. If you don't, I will."
Buffy glared venomously. "Don't. This is my decision. You have no right—"
"No right!?" he hissed incredulously. "This is my life, as well as the lives of every human on Earth that we are talking about. I'd say you have no right."
"Giles, try it, and you'll get hurt. If not by him, then by me."
"What happened to you? Why won't you listen to me?"
"You left so I could grow up, well guess what Giles, I grew up. I'll listen to you, but in the end, I call the shots. Leave him alone."
He clenched his jaw, staring at her with stoic resignation. "Don't make me… Buffy, please, kill him."
William entered the room. He heard the entire conversation thanks to his vampire hearing.
"Mr. Giles, if you have a complaint, please, in the future, bring it to me. Let's not run behind my back." He locked gazes with Giles. "Again."
"This doesn't concern you," Giles huffed, ignoring the last comment.
"I believe it does. It is my life after all. Mr. Giles, I won't hurt anyone. I have as much control over my demon as I need."
"I haven't seen any proof of that," Giles scoffed.
William regarded Giles coolly. "You're still alive; as is Mr. Harris."
Giles balked. "See! He's evil, Buffy. He must be dealt with."
Buffy throw her hands up. "Enough. I've had enough. I'm going to bed. You two feel free to kill each other."
Buffy stomped through the living room, nearly tripping on the ugly, mystery throw rug. In a fit of anger she snatched up the rug and hurled it towards the front door. The satisfied smile faded to confusion when she saw the burn mark that had been hidden under the rug.
"What?" She glanced towards the kitchen where Giles and William were arguing. Maybe one of them knew why it was there.
William waited to confront Giles, turning to him as soon as he was certain Buffy was out of earshot.
"Where is the black leather coat?" he demanded.
Giles shrugged. "Why should I know?"
"Where is it? I need it."
"And why do you need it?"
The muscle in William's cheeked twitched as he suppressed the urge to rip Giles apart. His taste for violence was rapidly increasing with every day out of Heaven.
"Because the demons you and Mr. Harris gave me to want an item in one of the pockets."
Giles snorted. "Why would I help you? I'm still hoping the demons will come back and take you again. It would make my job easier. And I'm sure you'll be right at home in the fires of hell. You deserve it at least. I'd love to secure you there for eternity."
William snarled and the demon that lay dormant sprung out, sharpening William's teeth and shifting the bones in his face. He wanted to grab the nasty piece of work and bury his fangs into his neck, but he summoned the power to instead slam a devastating hammer blow to the countertop, the ceramic tile cracked and shattered under his strength.
"Give me the coat," William barked.
"I don't have it. Xander took care of it, and the blood." Giles looked far less composed than he had moments before. The intensity of William's pain and anger was nearly tangible.
William's demon settled back down as he slapped the counter softly. "Why? Why did you do it?" His voice quivered; the shock and horror of hell left him broken and feeling pathetic even still.
"Because I had to. I would do anything to save the world. Give anything."
"Giles?" Buffy said, moving into their line of sight.
"Buffy, what did you—"
Buffy cut him off. "Hear? More than I wanted to. Giles, did you…?"
Giles straightened his stance, jaw squared. "You refused to handle the situation. I did what had to be done."
"No, you couldn't… you couldn't betray me, not again."
"I'm sorry, Buffy, but I had to."
She looked beseechingly at William, as though he would dispute the claim and she wouldn't have to know that Giles sent William to hell. Instead it cemented the horrible truth.
She turned on Giles, her lips tight, her teeth grinding and her eyes firey. "How dare you. You asshole,"
"Buffy!" Giles cried.
"Shut up. You went behind my back. You lied to me. How dare you. You pompous ass."
Giles gazed solemnly at the girl who once followed him, trusting his judgment above all else. He lost that girl. Instead she talked back, refuted, rebuked and argued. He lost her to the evils of the world. To Spike.
"Buffy, I'm sorry you had to find out, but if you'd just calm yourself you'd see that I did what was best. You don't make good decisions where Spike is concerned."
Buffy shook her head. "No. You betrayed me. You and Xander. I… I can't even look at you right now."
"Buffy," William said.
"No, you should have told me. Why the hell didn't you?"
"I didn't want to hurt you. And... I didn't know whether you knew about it or not." He casted his eyes down in shame.
"You think I would give you to demons to be tortured? Oh god, I can't take this."
Buffy turned and swiftly strode out of the kitchen and up to her room. Tears burned her eyes, but didn't fall.
William spared Giles one last look before chasing after Buffy.
"Buffy?" he said softly as he entered her room, closing the door behind him. "Buffy, I'm sorry, I didn't… I should have known better. I'm sorry."
She regarded him from her seat on the bed. His bright, expressive eyes shone in the muted light of the moon, his face awash in worry, concern and sorrow. He looked helpless, sad, beautiful. She stood, taking slow, deliberate steps towards him.
"Buffy…." he murmured as Buffy moved so tantalizingly close, their bodies almost, but not quite touching.
Buffy brought her hand up, lacing her fingers through his hair and tugged his mouth down to hers. It was chaste; barely a brush of their lips, but it was enough to break the last of Buffy's resolve. She pressed her lips more firmly against his, pulling him towards her bed.
William was lost in the sweet taste of Buffy's mouth, and the sensation of her tongue, so hot compared to the temperature of his own. He didn't notice Buffy was moving him until his legs hit the bed.
Buffy needed to feel, needed to forget. She kept William at a distance for long enough. Giles and Xander already accused her of sleeping with him; she might as well commit the crime if her "friends" were going to prosecute her for it. She pushed William back onto the bed and climbed on top of him.
"Buffy, wait," William breathed. He held her back, mesmerized momentarily by her pink, kissed lips. He wanted them back, he wanted to claim her mouth, but he didn't want her to regret anything they did.
Buffy's chest heaved with her heavy breathing. She gathered William's hands into her own, kissing his palms so tenderly that William whimper lightly under the affection. She put his hands on her hips before leaning down to capture his lips again.
William held her, unable to resist her. He buried his finger in her hair, gripping her hip with his free hand. Buffy's hands found their way under his shirt, trailing delicious heat across his skin as she dragged her lips across his jaw and down his throat, nipping his Adam's apple.
"Buffy," he gasped as she sucked on his neck.
She ripped his shirt over his head and began to refamiliarize herself with the plains of his torso. She ran her tongue over the new scar over his still heart.
William closed his eyes, giving in to the feelings Buffy was stirring inside his body. He only hoped she would forgive him afterwards.
Giles shuddered at the sounds of passion coming from Buffy's room.
"Dear lord," he mumbled as he cleaned his glasses.
With Willow sharing a bed with Dawn, Giles had Joyce's old bed all to himself. He put his glasses on the nightstand and crawled under the covers. He knew Buffy was still harboring desire for the pesky vampire, but he had hoped that she would have had enough self-control to resist him.
He pushed all the thoughts from his mind and slipped reluctantly into sleep, and the dreams that accompanied it.