Synopsis: A year after Sunnydale, Buffy and Giles come together again to take care of a potential apocalyptic threat.
Author’s Notes: As always, thank you, fairygothmum
Giles sighed as he flicked through the papers in the file that had been placed on his desk. “Of course…a demon uprising. Why would anything be different these days?”
He sighed again, heavier this time, chewing on the end of his pen before making a couple of quick notes in the margin of the sheet he was reading. He closed his eyes in an attempt to keep his frustration at bay when his phone rang.
“Maybe they’ll hang up…” He mumbled, counting the rings. When he counted four, he blindly reached for it.
“Rupert Giles.” He answered, sounding completely bored with life.
“Buffy Summers.” Came the reply, sounding much brighter than he. “You okay?”
He snorted a soft laugh. “Oh yes, I’m…peachy, you would say?”
He could almost hear her arch an eyebrow. He sat back in his chair and rolled the pen between his fingers.
“I’m fine, Buffy. I’m just…everything is the same at the moment and it’s getting to me.”
“Need me to come save you?” She asked playfully.
He laughed again, a much more genuine laugh. “As if you don’t have enough on your plate these days.”
She paused for a moment and then spoke softly. “Want me to come save you?”
The smile that had been on his face faded somewhat, even as he nodded. “Always.”
They were both quiet for a few seconds and then he cleared his throat.
“I’m sorry, did you need something?”
“It’s just…you called me and we immediately fell into…well, that.” He began to tap the pen lightly against the papers. “Is there something that you needed…from the Council. Assistance of some sort?”
“Oh…no. No, everything is quiet here at the moment. That’s why I was calling…to see if you needed any help.”
“Or…you know, anyone in England. I’m bored, Giles.”
“I…” He glanced at the papers on his desk. “…have some intel on a demon uprising that’s culminating in Snowdonia.”
Giles arched his eyebrow. “Yes…”
Buffy laughed. “You don’t have to sound so surprised, you know. I’m pretty good with geography…for an American.”
Giles laughed, a deep laugh. “Want me to book your flight?”
“How about I meet you there?” She answered, then quickly continued. “I’m in Ireland at the moment, remember?”
Giles furrowed his brow. “Yes…you still need a flight from Ireland, correct?”
“Oh…oh, I thought you meant me flying into London and then us going to Wales…together…”
“Is that what you want?” He asked and then shook his head in frustration with himself. “I’m more than happy to travel to Wales with you if you’d like to come to London first.”
Buffy chuckled nervously. “Well, that awkwardness escalated quickly, huh?”
“I just don’t want you to think that I don’t want you here.” He said quietly.
“I’ve never thought that, Giles.” She took a deep breath and then nodded. “No need for a plane ticket, but…if you want to use your shiny black Council credit card to buy me a ferry ticket, I’m good with that.”
“Ferry? You hate boats.” Giles stated, confusion evident in his voice.
“It’s quicker. And then I can just drive in. We’ll just need to settle on a meeting point, okay?”
Giles nodded slowly. “Of course. I’ll call you back when I have all of the travel details, yes?”
“Sounds good.” She hesitated for just a moment and then exhaled slowly. “See you soon, okay?”
“Yes…yes, see you soon.” He murmured absently, closing his eyes as she disconnected the line.
He sat there for a few seconds, holding the phone to his ear. And then he opened his eyes, cleared his throat, and hung the phone back up.
“Awkward…that’s a word for it.” He mumbled to himself.
Then he closed the file and stared at it for a few seconds longer…
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Giles looked up when he heard a car pulling up. He smiled, a cup of tea in his left hand and a book resting on his right leg. He picked up the book and placed it next to him on the bench as the car parked next to his. He took another sip of his tea and stood as she climbed out of her car, a bright smile on her face.
“Well, this is certainly off the beaten path.” She remarked, walking over to him.
“As are our demons…” He chuckled softly and nodded, glancing back at the building behind him. “Saying that, I much prefer a non-hotel type accommodation in cases such as this. More room to work and safer for the greater population should we be followed back.”
Buffy stared at him for a moment. “Our lives are so fucked up at times.”
Giles laughed, nodding in agreement. “Cuppa?”
“Yeah, thanks.” She gestured towards the car with a jerk of her thumb. “Just need to grab my bags. Meet you inside?”
He looked at her for a long moment and then took a step back. “Of course. I’ll get the kettle started.”
“Wait.” She said quickly, taking a deep breath as he stopped moving.
Without another word, she moved towards him and wrapped her arms around him. She closed her eyes, pressing her cheek against his chest as his arms enveloped her carefully to avoid spilling tea on her.
“Hi, Giles.” She whispered.
“Hello, Buffy.” He whispered back, splaying his hand across her back as he held her tightly. “Oh, I’ve missed you.”
Her fingers curled in the back of his shirt for a brief moment before slowly releasing him. She looked up at him and smiled as she took a step back.
“Missed you too.”
He looked into her eyes and then smiled back at her. “See you inside.”
She watched him walk inside and then took a deep breath before turning back towards her car, murmuring softly to herself. “Well, it could’ve been more awkward, I guess…”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Giles had been up for hours. He had been well aware of the fact that he wasn’t going to go back to sleep as soon as his mind started churning out random thoughts. And so, he had quietly gotten up and dressed and had gone out into the living area of the converted barn they were staying in.
In the middle of nowhere.
The two of them.
And now, here he was…sitting outside with a steaming mug of coffee, waiting for the sun to rise. He had to admit that it was beautiful here – and he could easily lull himself into the idea of being here on a holiday…with her.
He allowed those thoughts to drift and sway within his mind for a few moments. Then he sighed heavily and lifted the mug to his lips.
They weren’t on holiday, though. They were here to attempt to put a stop to a demon uprising in the middle of a Welsh National Park, of all places.
A demon uprising hadn’t quelled the urge for either of them to flirt with one another, it seemed. If the previous evening was anything to go by. It was all mainly harmless…gentle nudges, soft smiles, playful banter, subtle innuendo.
Mainly harmless. But, happening with an almost alarming amount of frequency.
The first year after Sunnydale, they kept their distance and most correspondence was written. This past year though…the phone calls started back up. He had expected that they’d speak once a month, every three weeks…but, almost instantly, the phone calls were at least twice a week. Sometimes more.
And they weren’t all her calling him. That had been equality in its finest.
Soon the phone calls weren’t enough. And she relocated to London to help out at the Council. And they’d meet for morning coffee…or lunch…
There was dinner that one time.
He realised that he had to admit things to himself that he’d kept buried for a few years. And he really hadn’t been sure what he was supposed to do with that.
And then the Slayer in Kilglass had been injured – and Buffy jumped at the opportunity to take her post until she had recovered. He had signed the paperwork without the normal flourish of his name. He wasn’t happy about it, but for some reason it was important to her. And so, he had signed.
That had been four months ago and Carmen had returned to active duty a month later. Buffy had decided to stay, moving to Navan. Giles had taken that as a decision on her part…and he had done his best to tamp down his changing feelings for her.
The phone calls continued, but he refused to allow himself to play along when she’d say something particularly…flirty. He’d always steer it back onto the subject. He let himself believe that the sadness he’d hear in her tone was related to something other than what he felt.
Then he’d asked her to help him here…in Snowdonia. As soon as he saw her, all of those walls that he’d hastily constructed had started to crumble. And when he felt her arms around him, it took everything in him to keep his emotions in check.
Those emotions broke free later – once they had gone to bed. Separately, of course. His room at the end of the hall, hers at the front. Even when choosing sleeping arrangements, they’d gravitated back to Slayer/Watcher procedures. Slayer was always first line of defense.
Because middle of the night attacks in the middle of nowhere were always possible.
He wasn’t sure why he’d woken up as early as he had – anxiety over what was to come today, the absolute quietness of the area, her…physical nearness.
He closed his eyes briefly, pulling the zipper of his coat a little further up towards his neck. He had to admit that he missed this type of quiet. London was never this quiet, nor had been California. This…was peaceful. Even if there were a band of demons within walking distance from their current position.
He still had his family’s property out in the countryside. Maybe he could think about relocating the Council headquarters…
He looked to his right as the front door opened. He smiled as Buffy came out, a blanket wrapped around her and her hair frizzy from sleep.
She looked at him for a moment and then dropped next to him on the bench. “Why are you up so early?”
“I was wondering the same thing, actually.” He chuckled.
“Why are you outside? It’s dark…and hella cold.” She shivered and wrapped the blanket tighter around herself.
“Wanted to watch the sunrise, listen to the…well, nothing.”
She laughed softly, then yawned and reached over to carefully pull his mug from his hand. He arched an eyebrow at her as she took a sip and then cradled the mug in her hands.
But, then he said nothing – because she leaned her head on his shoulder and sighed.
And they watched the sun rise together. Taking a few moments of peace with one another before discussing what would need to be done later in the day.
* * *
Giles smiled as he handed her a mug of tea before moving by her and sitting in a chair to the left of the sofa she was sitting on. He took a sip of his own tea, watching as she blew across the top of hers. He thought briefly about moving to sit next to her, but took another sip and thought better of it.
“Okay, breakfast has been had and we’re both showered and ready to start the day. So…tell me about these demons were on the hunt for.” Buffy said softly, interrupting his thoughts.
He shrugged a shoulder and sat back in the chair, crossing his right leg over his left. “Well, they’re Crowns.”
Buffy stared at him. “Crowns? Seriously? They’re called…Crowns?”
Giles nodded slowly, somewhat confused. “Yes…”
“They don’t have some super scary ominous name? They’re…Crowns.”
Giles exhaled slowly, clearing his throat as he placed his mug on the table next to him. Then he picked up the file from that same table and flipped it open. He looked at the first picture for a long moment before pulling it out.
He met her eyes as he handed it to her. “This is a Crown.”
Buffy took the photo and her eyes widened. She leaned forward, blindly sliding her mug onto the coffee table, spilling some tea in the process.
Giles didn’t care about the spilled tea.
“This is a Crown?” She asked, her eyes going over the demon’s form again and again. “What the fuck…”
Giles coughed lightly. “It’s called a Crown due to the bony spikes that encircle its head. It…looks like a crown.”
“I can see that.”
“They don’t speak. They’re fast and nearly silent. The bony spikes are hollow and they’re able to force their blood through the spikes during battle.”
“Ew…what the hell is that about?”
“Their blood is acidic…the effect of their blood is similar to that of fluoroantimonic acid.”
Buffy stared at Giles as if he were speaking Greek, which…he might as well have been, if she were honest about the situation. And she was.
“Okay, you remember that you’re not talking to Willow, right? I have no idea what the hell fluoro whatever acid is…and I have no idea what the hell it does. So, you telling me that the blood of a Crown is similar to that doesn’t tell me a goddamn thing.”
“What it does tell me, though…” She continued as if he hadn’t said anything. “…is that you have absolutely no business confronting this. It’s not even one demon, Giles. It’s a fucking nest. How many are in a nest?”
“There hasn’t been a count, as yet.”
“So, you’re going in there…to take on an unknown number of demons who are pissed off enough to start an uprising…and they have blood that can…” She threw the file onto the coffee table, her eyes boring into Giles’. “What exactly can their blood do? Melt metal? Burn holes in floors? What?”
“Goddamn it, Giles. What if I hadn’t called you? Would you have even called me? Or would you have just come out here on your own?”
Giles’ eyes darkened for just a moment. “I’m not stupid, Buffy. I have a plan. And no, I wouldn’t have come out here on my own. Would I have asked you? No, most likely not. But, not because I don’t think you can handle it.”
“Then why?” She asked, forcing herself to calm down. “Why wouldn’t you have asked for my help?”
“Because I couldn’t handle it if something happened to you.”
Her eyes softened as she exhaled a deep breath. “And yet…here we are.”
He continued staring at her, but said nothing. She lowered her gaze and heaved a sigh.
“You’ve nothing to be sorry for.” He replied, glancing at the file she had thrown on the table. “Would you like to hear my plan?”
She glanced over at a box in the corner. “Does it have anything to do with that?”
He followed her line of vision and nodded. “Actually, it does.”
She stood up and walked over, flicking the latches open. He made his way to her as she opened the lid. She looked up at him, her right eyebrow arched as she gestured towards the contents.
“That’s a fucking flamethrower.”
“Technically, it’s just a normal flamethrower.” He replied, the hint of a grin playing on his lips.
“Is this for me or for you?”
“For me.” He tilted his head towards another case resting near the box. “That’s for you.”
She opened the case and grinned brightly. “Crossbow…”
“With flaming bolts, no less.” He added, grinning back at her. “Heat neutralises the acid…”
“Well, you with a flamethrower would definitely add some heat to the battle.”
His eyes darted to her lips before he diverted his gaze to the weapon in question. “I’m hoping I brought enough propane along.”
“I’ve seen you start a fire with magick…”
He looked at her quickly. “Buffy…we, uh…we should talk about things, but…I’m not really sure where to even start.”
“Let me then.” She answered quietly.
She waited until he gave her a nod before she took a deep breath and started a conversation that she was sure they’d never have.
“A little over a year now, Giles. We’ve been flirting for that long, probably longer if we really examine our relationship…and we’re more than friends. More than work colleagues. We’re more than just about any label you could pin on us…but, you’ve never taken that step.”
“Neither have you.” He offered softly.
“It needs to stop. Because I’m having problems figuring out what the hell you want from me.” She exhaled slowly, shaking her head. “If it’s just the fun of the flirt, you need to stop…we need to stop. If there’s something deeper, then we need to address it. And I’m not really sure how we go about that, but it needs – ”
He cut her off with a kiss, just a gentle brush of his lips across hers. But he didn’t move away, he stayed where he was…his breath warm against her lips.
“Well, that’s one way to go about it.” She whispered, looking up into his eyes. “So…not just for the fun of it?”
“While enjoyable, it’s…painful.” He whispered back, lifting his left hand to run his fingers through her hair. “So, no…not just for the fun of it.”
“What the hell do we do about it?”
He smiled then, an adorable smile, and took a step back…allowing his hand to rest briefly on her shoulder before pulling it back to his side. He held her gaze, slipping his hand into the pocket of his jeans.
“We dispose of a nest of Crowns and then we have a discussion.”
Buffy tilted her head slightly. “Or…you can kiss me again and we can just let this go wherever it goes right now.”
“I know exactly the direction in which it would go…and that’s not a place we need to venture towards at the moment.” Giles replied, almost sternly.
“Giles, I think I’m more confused now than I was when I got out of the car.”
His brow furrowed slightly as he watched her, waiting for her to continue.
“The way you held me when I hugged you – that was beyond what I expected and…”
“You didn’t expect me to hug you back?” He interrupted, his tone more incredulous than anything else.
“I expected you to hug me back.” She clarified quickly. “I didn’t expect me to…not want the hug to end as much as I did.”
She shook her head lightly. “And I worked through that and we had tea and an enjoyable evening. And then this morning we watched the sun rise and had breakfast and talked about what we need to do today. Then there was more flirting and then…you kissed me, Giles.”
He regarded her carefully, hesitating briefly before speaking.
“Perhaps I should have waited until this was over before – ”
“You. Kissed. Me.” She said slowly, punctuating each word heavily. “And now you’re all… ‘I should have waited until we were possibly killed by some fucking demons that have some fluorescent acid for blood’.”
“Fluoroantimonic.” He corrected automatically, wincing as she glared at him.
“I don’t really give a shit what it’s called, Giles!” She replied, loudly but not quite yelling…yet. “Why the hell did you kiss me?”
He opened his mouth to respond, then closed it when he realised that he didn’t actually know what to say. He felt very much like no matter what explanation fell out of his mouth, it was not going to be welcomed in any sense of the word. Though he didn’t speak, his eyes never left hers.
She continued the mutual stare for a few long seconds, then threw her arms up in the air and gave a growl of frustration.
“Fucking hell, Giles!”
He blinked as his jaw tightened. There it was…the yell that had been brewing. His mind raced to come up with the words…any words…to say that might bring some understanding into the conversation that was quickly spiralling out of control.
“I want to kiss you again, Buffy.” He said carefully. “I want this to move forward. You’re correct, we’re in a very grey area…far more than friends, but not…lovers. And I’ve been having an extremely difficult time keeping myself from crossing a line that can’t be uncrossed.”
“Guess what? You crossed it.”
He nodded slowly. “I did – and I want to stand firmly on this side of that line.”
“But?” She asked in a tone that was hard to distinguish between sadness or resignation. “We can’t? We shouldn’t? Council rules…age differences…stupid blondes…”
“We can. We should. Council rules? I don’t remember implementing any such rule. This Council has no stance on relationships in the workplace – so long as they are consensual and both or all parties are above the age of consent. Age differences – it’s not as if you’re a first year university student, Buffy. You’re an adult – and much older than your actual years. As for blondes….” He paused and gave her a small smile. “We both know you’re not a natural blonde.”
“Asshole.” She muttered, even as a smile played on her lips. “Um…we should?”
He nodded again, licking his lips before he spoke. “How attached are you to Ireland?”
“About as attached as I am to mushy peas. I’m not.”
He looked at her for a long moment and then exhaled slowly. “When this is all over – and we’re very much alive…”
“Yeah?” She prompted when he paused for too long.
“Come back to London with me.” He whispered. “Let’s see if this will work for us.”
“Do you think it will?” She asked nervously.
He lifted his hand, resting his palm against her cheek as he looked into her eyes. “I think the odds are very much in our favour.”
“But you still won’t kiss me right now.”
His eyes drifted to her lips, lingering there for longer than he intended. As his eyes slowly moved back to hers, his thumb gently stroked her cheekbone.
“Please know that I want to. I very much want to.”
She smiled then, her eyes sparkling as her smile grew. And then she glanced over at the weapons box.
“So, let’s go over your plan. The quicker we get this done, the quicker we can…explore.”
His breath caught, his mind easily understanding her words. He nodded silently, dropping his hand as he stepped back.
She gave him a wink and then walked over to pick up the crossbow again. “This is nice. Perfect balance.”
“That’s good to hear.” He replied, walking to stand closer to her – but keeping enough distance between them to stop himself from touching her. “It was made specifically for you.”
“You had this made for me?”
He met her eyes and smiled shyly. “I made it for you.”
“What?” She asked, eyes widening in surprise.
“It was supposed to be your Christmas gift.” He said almost wistfully. “Suppose I’ll need to come up with something else for that now.”
“Wow, you really know the way into a girl’s heart, don’t you?” She grinned at him.
“Only one heart I’m interested in.” He answered softly.
Buffy’s grin softened as her eyes glistened. “Smooth, Giles. Very smooth.”
They stood there looking at each other for long seconds before Giles cleared his throat and gestured at the weapon he’d be using. “This, on the other hand, was merely purchased – and that raised a few eyebrows, let me tell you.”
Buffy laughed. Giles looked at her and smiled.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Buffy looked up at him as he tugged at a strap. “You good with that?”
“Hm?” He looked down at her and nodded. “Oh, yes, it’s fine. I just have this strap a bit tight, it’s restricting my movement a bit.”
She put her hand on his arm as she stopped walking. He stopped as well and looked at her curiously. She smiled as she rested her crossbow at her feet and quickly adjusted the strap for him.
“Better?” She asked, resting her hand against his side…just below the strap in question.
“Much, thank you.” He replied, rolling his shoulder to show her.
“Good…can’t have you restricted.” She bent down and picked up her crossbow, lowering her voice to a nearly inaudible volume. “Yet.”
She looked up at him as she straightened, the crossbow in her hand…surprised to find him staring at her. “What?”
“Nothing wrong with your hearing, huh?” She said, blushing heavily.
“Not at all.” He answered with a grin. He gestured towards a barely visible path with the firing mechanism of the flamethrower. “We should probably head this way, circle around…”
“Mm-hm…” She sighed softly. “So when did you become all take-chargey and…”
“Take-chargey?” He asked in amusement as she trailed off.
“You know what I mean.”
He led her towards the path he had pointed out and spoke quietly. “I’ve always had that quality – you’ve just ignored it for most of our time together.”
She snorted a laugh at his gentle teasing. “When did you become all hot while you’re doing it?”
He paused and looked over his shoulder at her. “I’m sorry?”
“Doing it as in taking charge, not doing it as in…doing it…” She rambled, causing him to grin brightly at her.
“We should probably steer away from this line of conversation for the time being, Buffy.”
“Yeah, probably.” She agreed, exhaling deeply. “It’d be a hell of a lot easier if you weren’t though.”
“If I weren’t what?” He asked, holding a tree branch up so she could duck under.
“So fucking hot.” She said, gesturing towards him with a vague wave of her hand. “All of that? It’s hot…and I’m having a very hard time here.”
He lowered the branch and took a deep breath. “Mind on the task at hand – and the quicker we get this done, the sooner we can get back to the house.”
She nodded slowly, allowing her gaze to drift down his body. She paused at his belt line and smiled.
“Obviously, I’m not the only one having a hard time here.”
He rolled his eyes and pointed down the path. “Go. I’m right behind you.”
She walked by him, taking a moment to place her hand on his chest as she looked up at him. “Be careful.”
He nodded, covering her hand with his. “You too.”
They looked at each other for a moment and then she pulled her hand out from under his.
“Let’s get this done. Fucking Crowns…”
A nervous smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. “Fucking Crowns, indeed.”
* * *
“Okay…not as big as I was expecting.” Buffy whispered, kneeling next to Giles.
“Don’t underestimate them due to their size.” Giles replied, watching the group of demons.
“Did you really just Watcher/Slayer 101 me?”
Giles furrowed his brow, but didn’t look at her. “I have no idea what you just said.”
“Back to basics…you know, like I have no idea what I’m doing.”
“You very much know what you’re doing, as the literal existence of the world can attest.” He cast a very quick glance at her. “But, I like reminding – makes me feel relevant in situations such as these.”
“Oh, you’re relevant.” She responded, giving him a wink before narrowing her eyes in speculation. “What are they doing?”
Giles blew out a breath and flicked a switch on the weapon with his thumb. “They are building a portal.”
“Any ideas on what they want?” She asked, shrugging a shoulder when he looked at her. “I mean, what if they’re just having an interdimensional family reunion or something?”
“An interdimen…” He rolled his eyes. “A family reunion is not on their minds. Crowns infiltrate and conquer, killing everything in their path. They send out an exploration party – which this seems to be – that determine whether the area is worth taking. If they deem it to be worthy, the exploration party summons the rest of the clan.”
“A clan of Crowns?”
“Please, Buffy…focus.” Giles grumbled.
“I’m focused.” She said, pulling out a crossbow bolt from the quiver on her back. “Light me up, love.”
He looked at her sharply. “What’s your plan?”
“Well, I thought maybe killing them before they finish that portal might be a good idea.” She nodded absently, then pointed out one particular demon. “I take that one out first, you burn shit…starting with that portal. Once I take that center demon out, the others are going to rush us – so I’ll work my way in from the right while you come in from the left. There’s what…eight of them?”
“That was my count.” Giles said as he nodded.
“Okay…so we split up and get started. Once we’re in position, we fire at the same time – me on the demon, you on that portal. Once the portal’s lit, don’t fuck around…light them up, Giles.”
“Hm…” He murmured, causing her to look at him curiously. He shrugged a shoulder and then readied his weapon. “It is hot…watching someone being take chargey.”
“Seriously, Giles…don’t fuck around. You destroy the portal, we kill them, we go home. Together…I’m not going home alone.”
“Neither am I, love.” He said. “I’d give you a good luck kiss, but – ”
“So not the time.” She finished for him with a smile.
He handed her a pocket blow torch and smiled. “For your bolts. Signal when you’re ready.”
She nodded and with one last long look, she moved away from him. Giles watched her as she carefully made her way around the perimeter, his fingers turning the knob on the fuel tank. As she got herself situated and took aim, he ignited the weapon.
* * *
Buffy disposed of the final Crown with a flying kick to the back of its neck. The snap of bone sounded extremely loud in the small clearing. She was on her way to Giles before the body hit the ground. She slid onto the ground next to where he was kneeling, doing his best to catch his breath. The flamethrower had been emptied and tossed to the side, the remnants of a dagger was still held tightly in his hand.
“Jesus…are you okay, Giles?” She asked quickly, wiping blood from his head with her hand to check the severity of his wound – which, thankfully, wasn’t all that bad. “Did you get any of its blood on you?”
“No.” He said, dropping the ruined weapon from his hand. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, all good. That was…intense.”
He chuckled, then sat back on his heels. “Intense would be a word. Amazing flying kick, by the way.”
“You had some pretty awesome moves yourself. I got a little worried when I realised you were out of fire…should’ve known you’d have a backup.”
He smiled, glancing at the ground and seeing that the dagger had nearly melted completely. “I have to admit…I nearly panicked.”
She opened her mouth to say something, then closed it and looked at him for a moment. And then she curled her fingers into the soft leather of his jacket and kissed him.
It took him exactly 1.3 seconds to respond, sliding his left arm around her waist as his lips parted, granting her tongue entry if she wanted the kiss to escalate. A groan rumbled in his chest as her tongue nudged into his mouth, sliding along his.
Obviously, escalation was very much on her agenda.
He allowed the kiss to continue and grow for a few minutes before carefully beginning to calm things down. She followed his lead and allowed the kiss to come to a very slow end. They were both breathing heavily as they parted, eyes dark as they gazed at one another.
“This, uh…probably isn’t the best place for this, huh?” She asked hesitantly.
He smiled shyly, shaking his head as he glanced around. “Eight smoking demon corpses, a burning out partially constructed interdimensional portal…I don’t know, it’s somewhat us.”
She looked at him for a long moment, then rolled her eyes when he gave her a wink. “Had me considering something there for a minute.”
“Considering what?” He asked, his shy smile becoming more confident as her eyes darted to his lips.
“Something that shouldn’t be done here amongst barbecued demon corpses.” She replied, licking her lips before returning her gaze to his eyes. “And, fuck, can you kiss…”
He stared at her, his smile fading somewhat. “I’m fairly certain that I’ve well and truly cemented myself on this side of that line I was speaking about earlier.”
He nodded slowly, lifting his hand to brush through her battle-mussed hair. “Let’s go back to the house.”
“What do we do about…” She gestured behind her. “…all of that?”
“Crowns dissolve after death, eaten by their own blood.”
Buffy looked horrified…and more than a little disgusted. “Okay, that’s quite possibly one of the most disturbing things you’ve ever told me.”
“The fire has died out, for the most part. The portal will continue to smoulder for a while longer…”
A grin appeared on her lips. “And your smoulder?”
“Oh, mine’s just getting started, love.” He whispered, glancing at her lips. “Let’s go back to the house.”
“Are you wanting…”
He looked up quickly, meeting her eyes. “Too soon? Obviously, we don’t have to go further, I just…don’t want to continue this around melting corpses.”
“I’m pretty sure you asked me to move to London to be with you, didn’t you?” She smiled softly, gently tracing the collar of his shirt with two fingers. “It’s not too soon. I just want to make sure I’m not misreading the situation.”
“I do want you, Buffy. I…want to be with you.” He said, toying with the hem of her shirt. “But, only if that’s what you want.”
Her fingers stilled for just a moment before she slid her hand to rest on the side of his neck. “Let’s go back to the house, Giles.”
He nodded slowly, glancing at her lips. He inhaled slowly as she smiled. He murmured a soft ‘hm?’ when she said his name.
“If we don’t go now…”
He lifted his eyes back to hers and licked his lips. “Kiss me again.”
She raised an eyebrow at the softly spoken request. “Yeah, I’m not doing that right here, right now…”
His fingertips slipped under the hem of her shirt, lightly ghosting small circles on her skin. She trembled and then shook her head.
“I kiss you here…the next thing we know, we’re naked in a Welsh forest getting all sorts of leaves and dirt stuck to our bodies.”
His fingers stopped and he leaned towards her slightly. “You say that as if it’s a bad thing.”
She chuckled and moved back, carefully standing up. “Come on, I’ll even carry the flamethrower back.”
“I’m perfectly capable of – ”
“I know. But, if I’m carrying it, I can keep my hands busy.”
“Buffy…” He started, pushing himself to his feet.
“Look, Giles…the quicker we get back to the house, the quicker we can…”
“We can what?”
“Are you wanting a fuck?” When his brow furrowed, she continued. “Or are you wanting the start of something more?”
“Something more.” He answered without hesitation. “And you?”
She answered with a smile. “I definitely want something more.”
“But?” He asked, taking a step towards her.
She bit her lip as his left hand curled around her waist, pulling her closer to him. “Giles…”
“But?” He repeated, his tone deepening with desire.
“I fucking want you.” She said, looking up at him. “So, we really need to get back to the house, okay?”
He stared at her for a long moment and then gave a slow nod. The muscle in his jaw clenched for just a moment before he exhaled a deep breath and took a step back. She glanced at his lips and then sighed before taking the steps needed to reach his discarded weapon.
He’d allow her to carry it back for him – because that’s what she needed to do. He picked up her crossbow and took one more look over the battlefield. The portal had reduced to more ash than anything else…and some of the corpses were beginning to dissolve.
Crisis averted…once again.
He turned back to her and gestured towards the path with the crossbow. “After you, love.”
She snorted a laugh and adjusted the straps on the flamethrower. “You just want to watch me, huh?”
He grinned, but didn’t confirm nor deny.
Which pretty much confirmed that she was correct.
* * *
By the time she opened the door, his heart was racing. He was painfully hard and had had to stop himself from pulling her to a halt more than once on the way back to the house. He followed her inside, blindly closing and locking the door as he watched her carefully return the flamethrower back to its box. He placed the crossbow on the table as he made his way to her.
“Hm?” He murmured, coming to a stop right behind her.
She closed her eyes as he placed his hands on her shoulders, gently squeezing before sliding his hands down her arms. “Please don’t tell me you want tea right now.”
He chuckled softly and turned her to face him. His fingertips stroked the back of her hand before he curled his fingers around her palm.
“Tea is the furthest thing from my mind right now.”
“Good.” She whispered, sliding her hand up his chest as she leaned up and kissed him.
He returned her kiss, allowing her to set the pace. They kissed slowly, deeply…hands roaming, fingers plucking at buttons. And then her tongue slid against his…and a groan rumbled in his chest. He felt her touch through the material of his shirt…and then felt the heat of her palms against his chest. And then her fingernails lightly scraped over his left nipple.
The next thing she knew, he had pushed her against the nearest wall and had easily picked her up. The kiss intensified as he guided her legs around him, the unmistakeable sensation of his erection pressing against her causing her tremble in his arms.
And then she tore her mouth from his as he rocked his hips against her. Her nails dug into her shoulders as she moaned his name. He smiled, pausing his motion as he tenderly brushed the hair back from her face.
“You are…lovely.” He whispered thickly as she tightened her legs around him, increasing the pressure of his erection against her.
“Please tell me you have condoms with you.” She blurted before biting her lip.
He blinked slowly, as if he were translating her words. And then he shook his head. “I, uh…no. No, I don’t. I…wasn’t expecting this.”
She loosed her grip on his shoulders and blew out a shaky breath. “Me neither.”
He looked at her for a long moment and then smiled sweetly. “It’s okay, love. We can…continue this later. When we’re both better prepared…”
“Or we could just…not worry about it and…” She trailed off at the look on his face at that suggestion. “Yeah, I know. It was worth a try though.”
As she loosened her legs and moved as though she were going to slide her feet back to the ground, he narrowed his eyes. “What are you doing?”
“Buffy, there are other things we can do…if you want.” When she merely stared at him, he smiled and slid his hands underneath her thighs. He held her against him as he stepped back from the wall and turned towards the hall that lead to the bedrooms. “Touching…tasting…talking. We can continue this.”
Her fingers played with the hair at the back of his head as he slowly carried her towards the hallway. He was obviously giving her time to change her mind if she wanted.
“The three Ts of Rupert Giles…” She said with a smile, before leaning forward and placing a warm open-mouthed kiss on the side of his neck.
He swallowed as she flicked her tongue against his skin, kissing her way up to his ear. She gently tugged at the small stud in his earlobe, causing him to groan softly. She smiled and traced her tongue along the shell of his ear before whispering to him.
“You should get us to the bedroom now, Giles.”
Then she leaned back slightly and looked at him. His pupils were enlarged, the green of his irises were a shade she’d never seen before – the amber patch in his left seemed to almost glow. His arousal was very clear…in more ways than what she could feel pressing against her as he picked up his pace and entered the hallway. She hoped he could see in her eyes what she could see so clearly in his.
She chuckled softly as he stepped into the bedroom and closed the door. And then she looked confused as he gently laid her on the bed and leaned over her to place a kiss at the juncture of her shoulder and neck.
He smiled against her skin, his fingers gently stroking her abdomen before pulling the button free on her jeans. “Yours was closer.”
“In a hurry?” She laughed as he started to pull the zipper down.
His fingers paused and he lifted his head to look into her eyes. She licked her lips and quickly unbuttoned the top three buttons of his shirt.
“Because…I am.” She continued, running her foot along the back of his thigh as he pulled the next two buttons free.
He finished pulling her zipper down and then shifted in between her thighs, tightening his fingers against the soft denim of her jeans as she pushed his shirt off of his shoulders. She looked up at him, her fingers stroking the hair on his chest before lightly fingering his nipple. She grinned as he shuddered, closing his eyes in pleasure. And then she leaned up and covered the sensitive flesh with her mouth.
He inhaled sharply at the contact and opened his eyes. She sucked for a moment, then bathed his nipple with her tongue before pulling back and smiling at him.
“I think I like the three Ts of Rupert Giles.” She murmured.
“Your version, at least.” He mumbled as she unbuckled his belt.
“Show me yours.” She whispered, her tone heavy with desire.
His eyes flashed for just a moment before he grinned and lowered his mouth to hers.
* * *
“Holy shit…” She gasped, staring up at the ceiling.
He grinned, breathing heavily as he laid next to her, a sheen of sweat covering his body. “That was – ”
“Fucking amazing.” She interrupted with a laugh, turning her head to look at him. “And if that’s what you can make me feel without getting your dick involved, I’m in for it…”
He glanced down at his softening cock resting against his thigh. “Fairly certain my dick was involved…”
She laughed loudly and rolled onto her side facing him. He grinned as she draped her leg over his as she ran her fingers through the sweat-dampened hair on his chest.
“You know what I mean, Rupert…”
“That…is much more arousing than I expected it to be.” He sighed, continuing when he read the question in her eyes. “My given name on your lips. It’s just a name. A name I don’t hear nearly as often as my surname. But, when you say it…in that tone. Fucking hell…”
She pressed a kiss just above his nipple and then rested her head on his upper arm so she could still look at his face. He closed his eyes, a small smile on his lips…and she thought he looked the most at peace that she had ever seen him.
“Can you come to Navan with me?” She asked softly, sliding her hand down his torso until it rested on a thick band of scar tissue that had formed years earlier.
He opened his eyes and looked at her curiously. “I thought you were coming to London with me?”
“Mm. I am. But, I need to get all of my stuff…and it’s still in Navan. And…I kinda don’t want to be away from you…”
He smiled and leaned into her, kissing her lips softly. “I can come to Navan with you.”
“Saying that…it’s going to take a while to get used to the noise in London again.”
He nodded slowly and then exhaled a deep breath. “I’ve been thinking of maybe relocating Council headquarters.”
A slow smile appeared on her face as understanding hit. “You kept your family’s property, didn’t you?”
“We can get out of London…where things are quieter, where we can think and…” He licked his suddenly dry lips and continued with a cautious tone. “…be together?”
“Are you asking me to help you relocate? Or asking me to help you with Council stuff? Or asking me to live with you in the country?”
“Yes.” He whispered.
“So…all of the above?”
“Yes.” He swallowed, placing his hand on her knee…which was resting on his hip. “Or…any of the above. We…could head the Council together.”
“Head Watcher and Head Slayer?” She asked playfully. “Sounds like fun.”
“The, uh…the property is large. There’s an old farmhouse on the back end…we, uh…well, we could make it our home…”
She smiled at the boyish uncertainty in his tone. “That sounds…funner.”
He stared at her for a moment. “Funner?”
“I love that you can’t help but question my words.” She laughed warmly and kissed him. “What I mean is…if you’re serious, I’m serious too.”
“This isn’t exactly how I expected this trip to pan out.” He admitted, his eyes bright with emotion.
“Nope, not at all. But, I think it panned out pretty much perfectly…what do you think?”
“I think I’m oddly grateful for a clan of Crowns, fire, and an old converted barn in the middle of nowhere in Wales.”
She grinned and shifted her body, curling her leg completely over him as she pushed herself up to look down at him. “I love you too, Rupert.”
He chuckled and pulled her down for a kiss. A kiss which he deepened quickly for a few seconds before moving his mouth to her throat.
Maybe they could move into his room in a few minutes. The sheets on his bed were…dry.
She snorted a laugh and murmured “for now”.
That was the moment he realised that he’d voiced that thought aloud.
He laughed as well.
And kissed her again.
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