Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present
By Aerin

TITLE: Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present
AUTHOR: Aerin
EMAIL:
aerin@buffymail.com
RATING: PG for a good bit, then I’m nervously going into the NC-17 arena.
DISTRIBUTION: New Buffy-Giles Relationshippers. Just let me know where it’s gone if you want it.
SPOILERS: Very vague references, to the theme of Gingerbread and an event from Ascension (I think - it’s not like I’ve seen it).
FEEDBACK: Um, welcome I think. This is my first ever fan fic that I’ve let anyone read, and that isn’t written solely for my pleasure.
SUMMARY: Buffy faces up to reality and the future c/o Giles’ past. B/G
DISCLAIMER: Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy / WB own all the G - PG rated stuff and anything else is the product of desperate G&B fans.
NOTES: The title comes from the book that gave me the inspiration. Whole arenas of new stuff emerged from there.

Direct thoughts are written like this < >, i.e. arguing with oneself.


She stared around at the warmth of the room Giles had declared the library (large, no direct sunlight, wooden floors, wide stretches of wall that he’d had wooden shelves built upon) and wondered if it would be invaded by memories - bad ones - like the school library and his old home. She didn’t think she’d ever forget the look on his face two months ago when he closed his eyes and said simply "I don’t think I can live with these ghosts here anymore."

Buffy knew all about that one. The ghosts of those gone, the stains of the blood, the memories of time turning to slow motion as you discovered the trap, or the bodies, or the secrets - again. They all outweighed the happy memories, especially in the dark of night.

She settled down with the boxes marked ‘Library’ that Xander and Riley had brought in. They had all helped clean, and now it was just the unpacking to finish. The guys were helping with the furniture, Giles was upstairs with his clothes, personal things, Giles-stuff, and Willow was in the kitchen. Riley had offered to be in the kitchen as well, but Willow had jittered and stuttered that she could do it alone. Giles must still have some spell stuff there, eye of newt mixed in boxes with flour and tea.

It alarmed her how easy it was to alphabetize and categorize the books. That it even occurred to her, instead of just unpacking the books onto the shelf haphazardly.

"You’re rubbing off on me, Giles," she muttered. <How much have I rubbed off on you?>

Demonology, vampire books by the hundreds, possession, haunting, history, fighting ... so where did the children’s books fit in? Remembering ‘Hansel and Gretel’ grimly, she opened one, her apprehension turning to a smile as she flicked through the pages of the charming story.

There was nothing demonic, frightening, it was just a funny, quirky tale. Innocent. She opened more, and they were the same. Unconsciously, she curled up against the shelves, lost in the timeless world of childhood, of adventures followed by milk and cookies. The beautiful illustrations sunk her into playful visions and peace.

This one was autographed.

‘To the Giles family, enjoy always’ and a squiggle that Buffy presumed was meant to be Mary Keene, the author.

<The Giles family?> Buffy checked the publishing date. <It scares me that I know to do this.>

1987. First published 1987. Giles had been in his early thirties, settled down from demon calling, but not yet called as her Watcher. Not for almost ten years.

Had he been planning a family? Had he left someone to come to America? Had she been-?

<No.> Surely she would have known. <I didn’t kill her.>

She tried to picture Giles as a father, as her father. It didn’t work. Picturing him with babies, with a little toddler, that worked. A little blonde girl like she must have been, like she could have with him - <where the hell did that come from?>

But the images played a smile on her face.

She shook herself and dug back through the box. Underneath the children’s books, the beautiful books, were some loose photographs, letters and cards. And a box wrapped in brown paper.

She put the box aside as she looked at the photos. A couple of Giles as a baby and then a child. His hair was pale curls, his eyes large. <Green eyes.> Giles with his parents, somber black and whites that helped give the family a tension, the tension that her own family photos had developed in Los Angeles. Destiny had a lot to answer for.

The photos merged into color with the girlfriends. There were a lot.

Ripper’s girlfriends looked wild and sexy, and the pictures were never posed, but party pictures, snapshots of memory. But there were more of the other pictures. Redheads. Brunettes. Photos of Giles at birthday parties, laughing and perhaps drunk. <When is Giles’ birthday?>

An exotic Arabic-featured girl. Blondes. Giles happy and content. Giles in casual gear, completely eschewing tweed. <Sexy.> <What???> <Kind of Harrison Ford here.>.

Giles with his arm around a lovely blonde woman, looking into her eyes. A picture of the same blonde, same blue dress. She was laughing, her hands by her face, a sparkling engagement ring on her hand. <Engagement ring?>

Buffy turned the photograph slowly. Giles’ familiar writing stretched across the back.

‘Annabel, at the party, Dec 14 1987’. The way he wrote Annabel was different. Loopier, yet more intense. As though he loved the word on the page, even if it were only her name. <Who is Annabel? Who is Annabel?>

She picked up one of the letters that had fallen beside her. ‘Rupert’ was written on it, in a woman’s hand. She knew it was Annabel who had written it. Who else would have laid such loving intensity into the ‘R’? <I would have.> <No you wouldn’t. You hide behind ‘Giles’. Keep your feelings at a distance.> <Shut up!>

She opened the pages, dry with years of storage, but with the dustless story of being read and re-read every now and then. Maybe every December. <December. When I never think about what to get Giles for Christmas.>

It was dated. March 31, 1988.

Rupert

Letters like these are always hard to write. But this one most of all.

We had always hoped that we could survive, despite the duties we both had to fulfill, despite the fact that every day we would wake unknowing as to whether it would be our last. I always said that every marriage thinks that, that every marriage does not know that.

It was last night that I discovered that there is a significant difference. Other marriages have a partnership which starts with hope. You and I, that is different. You go out to face death. And one day you will not return.

You know what happened. You know more than I. ‘Laura Elizabeth St. Claire, 16, and Arthur David Longden, 49, were found yesterday, apparent victims of an animal attack.’ Rupert, I don’t even know the name that will be in front of yours when I one day read that article, who you will die for.

It is a noble calling, your blood, your future, your destiny. I thought I could accept it. I thought I could live with it. I thought I could bury a brave man, but I find I can’t at all.

I am so sorry.

I love you,

Annabel

She refolded the letter, carefully slipping it back in the faded envelope. She drew a sharp breath, realizing she had been holding it in.

<Buffy Anne Summers.> That was the name. What age? Who knew? What was Giles’ middle name? Would they die together?

<I couldn’t live if I killed you.>

Buffy leaned back against the shelves, back straight, needing the wood support. Her hands riffled through the pictures to look at Annabel again.

<Hello Annabel.>

Was she alive? Probably. Happily married, 2.5 kids. And Giles, Giles was here.

<Is that enough?>

<Could it be enough?>

Her hands found the box again, pulling it into her lap. It was the size of a jewelry box. Heavy.

It had her name on it.

The downstroke of the ‘B’ was bold, the ‘u’ round, the ‘f’s were curved. The ‘y’ had a curl on the tail. <Written with love.>

She unwrapped it, and stared at the polished wooden box underneath.

<If it had my name on it, then it’s for me.> <It’s not your birthday.> <It has my name on it.>

Buffy lifted the glossy lid.

It was a book and two small velvet bags.

She took the book out first. Flicking it open, she read the words silently.

Buffy?

If this is you reading this, then smile bravely, you’re a strong girl and you’ll go on. If you aren’t Buffy, you will no doubt sleep better if you put the book down.

I loved you so much. I am so sorry if I did something stupid.

All the times we clashed, all the times we cried, this is to make up for those, and maybe help you through the nights. Don’t regret anything.

It was a cruel thing to wish, but I always hoped that we would go together. All of a sudden, I realized, how intertwined we are. Inseparable. Unwilling to go on alone. And yet now you have to. I am so sorry.

Good luck. Be good, be careful, watch your back, and maybe try to be obedient every now and then?

I love you.

Rupert

Her lip trembled. Tears filled her eyes, and dropped, as she looked through the pages. All the events of her life were in here, as Giles went home and spilled his love and regrets onto these pages.

<But when did he stop? When did he wrap it?>

She opened it at the last page of words.

Hello, love

I’m tired and I don’t think there is much more to add. Things are changing ahead. Things have changed. Do you get that feeling, too, and wonder if it is your death coming close? At the big moments?

Or maybe it’s just late, and dark, and that hour of the night when you cannot seem to find the light (where are you when I need you, sweet?).

Four years since we met, a new year about to start. A new millennium, apparently, but these things hardly seem important when you have demons to kill, a heart to keep, such more necessary things. But something is coming, love. I’ll be with you there (or will have).

All my love,

Rupert

Oh - the presents. One is like your claddagh ring that you ended up giving away (but no such consequences here). A memory, a symbol of destiny and what you cannot - could not - keep. Destiny involves sacrifice, right to its core. You know that.

But it’s lovely, and I thought you might like it.

The other. The other I had made a couple of years ago. I should have given it to you long before, but it ended up being something more than a pretty trinket. Imbued with strength, protected with crucifixes, blessed by everything I could find that was holy, and it looks like an engagement ring. Oh dear. But in the last months, it has given me the strength, the joy, the reasons for continuing to fight.

Thank you, Buffy.

Always,

Rupert

She opened the bags, tears now streaming from her eyes. The first one was Annabel’s ring, and she slipped it on her right hand. It was so beautiful.

The second ring was hers, had been hers for a long time. It was a flawless large diamond set in white gold. On either side of it pink diamonds formed small crosses, embraced by carved whorls. Inside were engraved crucifixes separating tiny Latin mottoes.

She had no idea what they said.

It didn’t matter.

Buffy started to sob, the choked sobs that swirled up every now and then if you let them. She cried for her parents, for her friends, for her lovers. She cried for herself and Giles. She cried for his parents, for his friends, for his lovers. For Giles and Annabel, Giles and Jenny, Giles and Buffy. For Ripper. For the children.

When she had sobbed her throat raw and eyes dry, and heart still, she packed the books and memories away. She had entered armed with a marker, for anything that had been packed in the wrong place. She scratched out ‘Library’ and wrote ‘Personal’ in its place.

She smiled softly at it, written with love.

The brown wrapping paper went to the rubbish bag with the other packing paper. Except for the square she folded into the book, the square bearing her name. <Book in the box. Box under arm. Rings on fingers. Two more boxes of books, but it looks late. I wonder if I’m dusty. Would it matter?>

She had offered to help him find some more furniture on the weekend. As she looked at the library from the door, she thought big, comfortable chairs would be perfect, chairs to curl up in. <Together.> <To read!> <To the children?>

Once more she looked inside her heart before she left. Angel had crashed those dreams to the ground. The guys she’d dated since? They were just ... God, they were window-shopping. Not the real thing.

Not like this.

Buffy took a deep breath, opened the door, and rejoined the world.

She saw Willow first.

"Ugh, Buffy, good timing. I’m finished with the kitchen, so now we can finally have a drink. Giles says he’s going to ‘fair perish of thirst’ if he doesn’t get some tea. Xander just makes dry noises."

"Dry noises?"

"Ahhh, ahhh, that sort of thing," Willow answered, sticking her tongue out and doing tragic faces. "Riley thinks we’re all weird."

"He might be right," Buffy smiled. "What do you think?" <Will you still be my friend when I announce I’m in love with my forty-something year old Watcher?>

"Weird is good."

<Thank you.>

Willow looked at her a moment, consideringly. "Hey, are you allergic to dust and stuff? Your eyes are puffy ... Buffy."

Buffy laughed softly. "Will, I’m the Slayer. I’m practically non-allergic."

"True. But ..."

"Just dealing with some memories. You know how it is when you pack, or unpack. Everything you touch has a story."

"Yeah. But ... Giles memories?" Willow looked at her searchingly. <Does she know? Suspect? Am I blind?>

"Even Giles memories, Will."

"I guess so." Willow’s understanding smile gave her strength, support.

They entered the living room, where Riley and Xander were sprawled on two of the chairs. The room was still basically furnished, with no cushions or throws or plants, just the furniture, a rug on the floor, a couple of lamps and Giles’ infrequently used television, video and stereo.

Willow bustled off to the kitchen, and Buffy moved to the couch. She sat on it nervously, perched on the edge. Her heart was thudding, and she felt the enormous change hovering over her life in every beat. Her stomach fluttered like a butterfly exhibit at a zoo.

"Whaddaya think, Buff?" Xander asked, lifting himself up with a groan. "Not exactly art deco modern masterpiece, but it feels homey."

"Giles says to think about what colors you want to go for for the bits and pieces to finish it off. Seeing as it’s new background colors and stuff." Riley added. "Sponsored shopping - ain’t that a girl’s dream?"

"Well, you know," Buffy demurred. "I’m just making sure we don’t end up with plaid and tweed ... or, actually, any tweed."

"I heard that."

She sucked in her breath. He was there. He was standing at the bottom of the stairs, a picture frame in his hands. She turned to him, looked at him. Really looked at him.

He was so tall. A little taller than Angel had been, slimmer, but his skin was darker, golden. His eyes were wise, green, amused. His mouth ... how had she never noticed that his mouth could look so irresistible, so wickedly amused? His face, again unlike Angel’s, had the lines of his story written across it. He was beautiful.

"And, surprise, I’m not actually even in tweed today. Tweedless." A frown crossed his face. "That could be taken rather differently in England. Of course I am, despite being tweedless, fully dressed."

"I think that one went over their heads, Giles," Willow told him as she stepped in, distributing sodas to Xander and Riley. "Tea’ll still be a minute," she added, curling up in another chair.

Which left Giles the couch. With her. Her heart thudded.

Giles sat beside her, placing the frame on the table. Her, Willow, Oz, Xander and Cordelia. An old picture, from high school, in happier times for most of them.

"The books?" he asked cautiously as he settled, and she saw him wince just a little.

"Giles, the books are fine. Alphabetized. Categorized. Not catalogued, but I presume you already have that under control."

"Er, yes. All systematically, cross-referenced, etc. I’m so stuffy, give me a scone." Giles looked at her wryly as Xander snorted.

"Scone? Oh, I didn’t-" Willow started, but Giles calmed her.

"Only a little joke, Willow. History. Unpacking always gives one the chance to see one’s history - one’s dirty laundry - again."

"Buffy said the same thing earlier."

"Did she?" he questioned mildly, and turned to her. He froze as he saw the ring on her right hand, the one closest to him. The quirk of his mouth faded, and she could see him swallow as the kettle sung its song. His eyes were wide, brilliant, terrified.

"Breathe, Giles," she said softly.

Xander had heard her, and added his two cents. "Don’t worry, G-man, Buff will keep your secrets. But you really should wash those socks, y’know."

"Er, ah, absolutely. Frightful condition," Giles murmured, his eyes burning into her. She could tell he didn’t know what to say, his mouth working silently.

"I’ll help you out with them later," she told him firmly.

"Oh, er, yes," he stammered out, then looked away as Willow handed him his tea.

Buffy sipped at her tea as the others chattered. Every now and then he would look at her with eyes that seared into her, but also plainly spoke of a desire to bolt from the room. Why was he so scared? <Am I scared?> <No. It’s Giles. Rupert. Rupert.>

"So, are you guys training tonight?" Riley asked.

<’Fraid so, Riley. Goodbye. Thank you for shopping with us.>

"Er, um, y-yes, I believe ..." He broke off and looked at her.

She smiled and nodded. "Yup, it’s true. Watcher, Slayer, doing the Watcher-Slayer thing."

"You know, that sounds kind of kinky, Buff. You gonna let us stay for once?" Xander interjected.

"Sure thing, Xand. You wanna be slayed, I’ll Slay. You want Giles to watch, he’ll Watch."

He squirmed. "Yeah, you know, second thoughts?"

She laughed at him.

They collected their various things and left moments later. She hugged Willow at the door, and, surprised, Willow hugged hard back.

"Buff, are you okay? Really?" she whispered as they squeezed.

"Totally, Willow. I’m just appreciating what I have for once." She nudged her best friend out the door. <I’ll tell her all tomorrow. Maybe all. Do you think we’ll?> She blushed.

She pushed the door shut and rested against it, facing him.

"Giles. Rupert. Hi." Suddenly, she felt so shy.

"Buffy." He sat back down on the couch, more of a folding thing, really. Collapsing, strengthless. "I-I saw ..."

She held up her right hand. Annabel’s ring, so lovely.

"The past," she said as she walked to him. "Which I’ll know all about someday soon." She held up her left hand as she sat down, closer than before. "This is what I know now. And the future. A future." Her eyes were serious on his.

"The book?"

"I read the first page, and the last. But it’s not really the last page, Giles."

He stared. Frowned. "How, exactly? As in, I’m not ... gone ... yet?"

She gave him a brilliant smile in return. "As in that was the revelation, and we still have to write the story. Maybe even sequels. In fact, I’m thinking TV serial options. This is no after school special, Giles."

"The revelation?"

"You love me. I love you." She said it so simply, so calmly, so firmly. She wasn’t nervous at all, any more. It was facts. Irrevocable. Destiny - sweet destiny, for once, not bitter or flawed.

"Truly?" he breathed.

"Oh, yes." She gazed into his eyes, searching them as she searched for the right words for the moment. "One of those moments when you realize how right everything will be in the future. That you’re fated to be what you are, and to make up for all our tears, someone sent us to be together. That, finally, we can make a future, because we know who we are and what we’re doing, and that time after time, we do actually have a chance."

He shut his eyes as he listened, but she felt no fear, because she knew he was journeying the same path she had that afternoon. Saying goodbye to the memories. Letting go of the hurt. Preparing to be in one hell of a love for the rest of his life.

"I -"

It didn’t matter about words, then, did it?

"Do you love me?" she whispered tenderly.

"God, yes. Years. You were my student. You were my fantasy. Finally, though, you’re just me." He smiled softly at her, a dazed, happy beyond belief smile.

"You, me. Watcher, Slayer. Rupert, Buffy. Mom, Dad. You, me," she smiled back.

"Mum and dad?" He repeated, eyebrows raised.
"I was hoping. Suddenly." Her smile was now a full grin.

"I’d given up on that hope."

"So had I. And suddenly, here I am with a future. A future with you." <I can’t stop smiling. Has anything ever felt like this?>

"Do you want that ring to mean it?" He took her hand, rubbing over it with his thumb and then circling the white gold band.

She couldn’t answer, her lips parting and her eyes wide, but no sound coming forth.

An expectant, smirk of a smile touched his lips, and he drew her into his arms. He lowered his head as she raised hers, and tenderly, they kissed for the first time.

Tastes swirled through her. Tea. Freshness. The scent of him. The feel of his lips. The pressure of his tongue at her mouth, then in it.

He drew back for breath, and she went with him, placing small kisses at the corner of his mouth and on his cheek.

"Rupert," she whispered.

"Marry me," he whispered back, resting his forehead against hers. "Marry me."

She drew her breath. Stroked his cheek. Couldn’t stop the sweet tear from trickling out her eye.

"Oh, yes. Yes so much."

"That went easier than I thought."

She kissed him again. Tongues touching. Her hands on his face. The bands of her matched rings cool against his face.

"Have you thought about it often?" she asked as they drew breath.

"Once or twice," he replied casually. "A day. Actually, more often I thought of this." He kissed her again, slowly, tenderly. She could sense the passion held in check. <Should I let him away with it?> <Are you kidding?>

She kissed his lips, his cheek, hot touches by his ear. "What’s the boldest thing you ever imagined me doing?" she breathed into it as she kissed.

He pursed his lips, eyes on hers. He blinked. "Er. Ah. B-boldest?"

"Tell me," she smiled, eyes shining with love.

"Slicing off my clothes and ravishing me on the library office desk, I expect, then. Of course, sometimes it was the other way around." His eyes were on her mouth as he spoke, and unconsciously she licked her lips.

Her eyes smoldered as he spoke. "Sounds fun. But seeing as we don’t have a library any more, do you think upstairs would work out okay?"

"Buffy, we only just declared our feelings ... I don’t want to rush you into anything."

"Giles. We’re engaged. We have a little leeway. Besides," she pouted. "I really, really want to."

"Well, in that case ..." he murmured, nipping lightly at her throat. She pressed into him as if struck, a ragged moan bursting from her throat.

"Rupert. Well, hell." He was so warm, so alive. Hot passion mixed with tender love. She kissed him once more, hard.

"Race you." Buffy whispered, and bolted up the stairs.

She could hear him laughing as he followed her, in quite the hurry. Of course she was in his open, light-filled bedroom first, kicking off her shoes at the door, and throwing herself in delight onto the bed. Buoyancy filled her, that and sweet desire. Tense, waiting for fulfillment, but happy desire.

He stood at the doorway, staring at her as she sat back on the bed, her arms braced behind her.

"Rupert, get over here. And get me out of these clothes." Her voice was husky, and it seemed to send a shiver through him. He strode towards her, pausing only to slide off his sneakers.

He pounced on her, settling his weight upon her so that she was crushed into the soft bed. His lips trailed fiery paths along her mouth, her chin, her neck and shoulders. His hands were naughty, touching everything they could. They learnt the weight of her breasts, the curves of her stomach and hips, the lines of her arms, her butt and her legs, cupped firmly the gentle mound that grew damp beneath her jeans.

"You’re outrageous," she breathed at him between kisses, and did some touching of her own. They were both urgent, acknowledging the years of frustrated passions. Everything she touched was so beautiful, the firmness of his butt, the strength she could feel in his arms, the long legs he nudged between hers, opening her to that other marvelous thing, the hard length that held so much promise. She cupped him back, feeling him surge against her hand.

He yowled at her, and with one last, deep kiss, his tongue plunging into her mouth, swirling with hers, then parting, he let his mouth trail to her breasts. In a single, smooth movement, he pushed both her tank top and bra straps down, exposing her breasts to his hot mouth. He teased her expertly, circling the right aureole with his tongue, and the left with his right thumb. Perfectly matched, his tongue and thumb circled closer to her nipples, as his left hand stroked her side and hip, then slid over her butt to draw her closer to him.

Her breathing was ragged and she was incredibly turned on by his eagerness, his single-minded yet talented passion. <No more quiet Watcher.> Her thoughts were scattered as he released her long enough to yank off her top. He was eager without being rough, and she shivered under his gaze as he unclipped her bra and threw it clear across the room. He devoured her with his eyes, then sank to kiss her once more. He caressed her as his tongue surged into her, matching his mouth with the strokes of his hand, on her nipple and between her legs. She kissed him back as passionately, running her hands over his chest then lifting his T-shirt over his head.

Buffy slid her hands over him, marveling again at the warmth. Instead of smooth, here was a man whose crisp hair could be stroked and swirled with her fingers. He had a fine body for an older man, toned by constant exercise and training. She looked at him as he had looked at her, admiring him, and then flesh met flesh as they embraced. Her nipples tingled against the chest hair, the warm feel of him. Tongues wrapped together as arms encaptured each other. So close, so fitted.

She attacked his belt with trembling fingers, and as she unzipped his jeans, his straining cock burst free from his boxer shorts. Her eyes rose to his, wide, as she broke their kiss. She dropped her gaze, and encircled the thrusting flesh with her hands. She stroked him, feeling the velvet skin in her hands, feeling the tautness in him as he tried to maintain control. <Big enough to give a girl more than a few flutters.> That really should be said out loud.

"You’re marvelous," she said intently, and thrust her tongue into his mouth as she stroked the full length of him. He groaned against her mouth.

"Buf - Buffy, I don’t think I can take much more of this," he murmured, and regretfully, she drew her fingers lingeringly down him, then sat back.

"Get the hell out of those jeans, Giles," she ordered, and as he stood and finished stripping, she did the same. Standing opposite him in her panties, he reached out and halted her when her fingers touched the lace waistband.

"Don’t. I’m going to tongue you through your knickers, love." His voice was harsh, strained, yet anticipatory.

Her fingers fell away and she gazed at him in shock. Her mouth parted, and she licked her lips nervously.

"Mmmmm, okay," she whispered, her voice a little choked. <This will be a first.>

She lay back upon the bed, and he kissed her lingeringly, stroking her through the damp cotton of her panties. <Knickers, that’s - Oooooh!>

Buffy pressed against Giles’ fingers urgently as he blindly found what he sought. She raised her body to him, arching off the bed, thrusting her tongue deeper into his mouth. When he broke the kiss, a soundless cry emerged from her lips, continuing as his mouth made its way to her core.

He licked like a cat at her center, lapping up the moisture she gave him. She squirmed underneath him as he stroked the bud of her clitoris with his tongue. He pushed his hot, wet mouth further against her, his tongue delicately probing her sweet scented lips, and she felt the ecstasy building within her.

"Let go, sweetie, let go," he murmured, as she thrashed lightly against him. Her moans grew as his tongue explored, and pushing against him, she felt her world collide with heaven. He cradled her with his mouth as she throbbed against him, and a smirk crossed his lips as she calmed, relaxing back into the mattress.

He rose back to kiss her, and she tasted herself on his lips and tongue.

"You are so amazing," she told him tenderly.

"We’re only half there," he grinned. "I love you."

"Love you," Buffy replied, but he closed her words off with more kisses. They were deeper, more intense, and during them he caressed her breasts and belly with one hand while sliding off her thoroughly damp panties with the other.

She was aware of this, but lost in the kiss. His fingers were now on her sex, caressing like his tongue, only firmer. She noticed in the back of her mind, but her thoughts were primarily upon running her fingers through his hair, and clasping one arm around his shoulders to keep him close to her, to keep their sweat-slicked flesh together.

Reality sent Buffy arching against Giles’s fingers as he slid not one, but two joint fingers directly into her. They moved easily within her, sliding in her slick juices. He curved them into her, slid out, slid back, slid out. She gasped against his ear, and he repeated the move with three fingers. His tongue matched his thrusts, and she surged back against both his mouth and fingers.

"Rupert," she said desperately, feeling herself ready again. "God, please, come into me."

"I think that that is definitely a good idea," he muttered back, his voice and body tense. He balanced himself with one arm, the other caressing her cheek, and guided himself to her entrance. He paused, straining, and she held her breath momentarily.

Giles held her eyes as he slowly, surely pushed into her. Buffy drew in her breath, adjusting to the feel of him. He was bigger than anything she had experienced, fuller, thicker, hotter, harder. His flesh parted hers, sank into her, opened her.

She broke the stare by throwing her head back, and when she brought it back she saw his eyes closed, savoring her. He was deep, and taut, every muscle in his body straining to hold back.

"Giles. Rupert. More," she begged, and his eyes lazily opened, matched by a slow, sensual smile.

"Love you," he returned, and withdrew almost fully to plunge into her again, deeper, harder, faster. So clichéd, but true. "Jesus," he added with pleasure, and left to surge again. She whimpered as he thrust, feeling her orgasm build again inside her. The length of him penetrated to her core, making the moment so irreversibly a connection between them. They were one.

His thrusts were wilder now, and her cries more abandoned. Every time he entered her she felt stripped to the bone with love. She knew he felt the same. Their passion ran all through them, bones, heart, blood and mind.

"Buffy, love," he muttered in desperation, tensing, and she answered him by arching towards him once more, mindlessly.

"Giles!"

He slammed into her, filling her to the core. She took him in, and convulsed around him, a cry ripping from her throat. He yelled as his own release washed through him, and she felt his warm seed flood into her. She felt complete as she never had, and stroked his shoulders as he collapsed against her, his head curling into her shoulder.

Moments later, he spoke for the first time since the change.

"Buffy."

"Rupert," she answered softly, running her fingers through the damp curls his hair had become. "Rupert."

Together instead of alone. A far better chance for a future.

END