Meant to Be
By Viv

Pairing: Buffy/Giles, Xander/Anya, Willow/Tara
Rating: NC-17 for consentual m/f graphic sex (also contains a R-ish F/F scene).
Distribution: Please e-mail me if you want it on your site/archive, I'd be very honoured!
Feedback: Yes, but no flames please, I'm British! ;-) Constructive comments and criticism are very welcome (compliments even more so, they make me write faster!)
Disclaimer: All characters mentioned in this story belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Fox Television, etc. The story is written for the pleasure of the author and readers, and has no lucrative purpose whatsoever. Please don't reproduce this story anywhere without the author's consent. The song "It Doesn't Matter" is by Alison Krauss & Union Station and can be found on the Buffy Soundtrack. The song "Flora's Secret" is by Enya and can be found on her latest album, "A Day Without Rain".
Notes: The story is set in Season 5, after "Blood Ties", but doesn't contain much S5 plot spoilers. This story is a response to two Valentine's Day challenges:
Elissa's "Valentine & Video Cameras": Willow has gotten hold of a video camera and must record a bit of acting for her college drama course, for whatever reasons, she leaves the camera overnight or for a few days at the Magic Shop. Oh, and it's only a few days before Valentine's Day. Wackiness ensues...
What this story must have: Giles secretly confessing his love for Willow or Buffy on tape; Giles singing a silly tune or utterly romance tune to the camera; Anya confessing she has a secret shrine to some one or thing; Willow or Buffy discovering Giles confession and their reaction; a Valentine's Day sale at the Magic Shop; Giles saying "Yes, do let's bring that up as often as possible."
Gabi's " B/G Valentine 2001 challenge": Buffy and Giles decide to spent the day together since W/T and X/Anya are off doing couply things and they don't want to be depressed. 1) For some strange reason only B/G end up having sex. 2) Include as many of the following as you like: a hidden valentine card; an annoying violin player; B/G holding hands in public; water; B or G saying "No, but I'd love to try it."; B or G telling the other about an embarrassing past Valentine; Giles and/or Xander getting a rose; Xander and Tara sharing a secret; Buffy leaning against the headboard of the bed while Giles takes her from behind.


Giles sighed as he carried the camera into the training room. Willow had insisted that they do a little show on this camera that the school had loaned her. She had been given the infernal instrument for her drama class or whatever, but Willow had decided to jump on the occasion to make a little home video of the Scoobies. A keepsake, she had called it. She wanted to do it as a surprise present for Buffy's lonely Valentine's Day. They had all participated in a funny little show, apart from him. Giles had really lacked motivation to do something cheerful. Willow had pleaded with him, and he had growled that he wasn't going to make a fool of himself in front of a camera, but the little witch was really insistent. She had left the camera overnight at the Magic Box, just in case he changed his mind.

Now, Giles glumly balanced it onto the vault horse, making sure it wouldn't fall. He glanced at the visor and it showed that the stool was well in focus, a few feet away. Grumbling, Giles switched the camera on and walked to the stool, trying to hide his embarrassment and to avoid looking self-conscious. He wasn't used to being filmed, and he knew that he was certainly going to look like a complete prat on screen. But it was for Buffy's sake - he had to make an effort. He picked up his guitar and let his mind wander, tentatively playing a few chords and tuning the instrument a little. He didn't know what he wanted to sing, yet, but he knew that this was the best show he could do without looking too much of an idiot. At least he didn't stutter when he sung - well, he hoped so, anyway. He suddenly remembered a bittersweet country ballad he had once heard Buffy play in the training room. He had liked it so much that he had bought a copy, and had already practiced playing and singing it a few times. Besides, it perfectly matched his mood.

It doesn't matter what I want
It doesn't matter what I need
It doesn't matter if I cry
Don't matter if I bleed
You've been on a road
Don't know where it goes or where it leads

As he sang softly, adapting the song for his own voice, he felt the melancholy of the words wash over him. It was Valentine's Day, and it was a fairly bad time in the year for him. Jenny had been killed around that date, and that certainly wasn't something that made him want to celebrate. Not to mention that he was always desperately lonely and that everyone around him tended to unconsciously rub his nose in it. For example, Anya had all but forced him to put up banners with red hearts and to decorate the place with artificial roses. There would be special discounts on ready-made love potions, books on tantric sex, and rose quartz crystals. He couldn't really blame her, or the rest of the gang, for being happily paired up with someone. But it did make him feel lonelier. The fact that Buffy was alone for Valentine's Day, far from making things better for him, actually made him feel worse. It meant that she preferred to be alone than with him. He smiled bitterly, as he finished the instrumental bridge.

It doesn't matter what I want
It doesn't matter what I need
If you've made up your mind to go
I won't beg you to stay
You've been in a cage
Throw you to the wind you fly away

Well, of course Buffy owed him nothing. It wasn't as if he had actually ever confessed that he was wildly in love with her. That he longed to touch her. That he dreamt of her, and fantasised about her, every night. He knew that it would put a serious damper on their relationship. And things were going very well right now, now that he had just attained the perfect distance. Not too close, not too far. He didn't want to overstep his bounds and make everything crumble away. Sometimes, he wished she could understand. But she was too young. She would probably always be.

It doesn't matter what I want
It doesn't matter what I need --

Giles stopped as he heard movement in the room, behind him. Then he glowered at the intruder, put down his guitar and hopped off his stool, standing tall to face the pest.

'Spike,' he spat, irritated. The vampire was watching him, leaning against the doorframe, with a rather fascinated expression in his eyes, and a grin on his lips.

'I can't believe you, Watcher,' he sneered, striding into the room.

'What do you want?' growled Giles, irritated to have been interrupted, not to mention extremely embarrassed.

'Actually, I'd come here for a love potion. I heard they were on sale,' said Spike with a grin, walking around Giles like a predator around its prey. 'But now I just can't stop myself from asking, Watcher. Who's the lucky gal?' Giles gritted his teeth.

'I-I have no idea of what you're talking about,' he answered.

'Don't you then?' asked Spike, still circling Giles. 'You mean that you just came over all Sarah McLachlan out of the blue, eh?' Giles glared at him.

'It's certainly none of your concern,' he snapped. 'What I do in my private life is... well, private.' Spike chuckled.

'Aw, c'mon Watcher, share! We're two lovesick Englishmen, after all,' he sat down on the floor, opposite Giles, resolved to stay. Giles let out a sigh.

'What, are you still pining over Drusilla?' he asked sarcastically. Spike looked at Giles for a moment and pouted pensively, cocking his head to the side.

'Actually, I haven't thought of her in months. Completely forgot crazy old Dru.' Giles shrugged.

'I thought you vampires had this...' he gestured in the air. 'Incredible charm that allowed you to have any girl you desire.'

'Not all girls, no,' sighed Spike. 'Some are off limits, mate,' he grumbled.

'Tell me about it,' replied Giles, sighing wistfully.

'Your bird also of the unattainable kind?' asked the bleached vampire.

'God yes. She's... beautiful, intelligent... and strong, and funny... but... too young. Not interested by an old fuddy-duddy like me.'

'I wonder who it is,' mused Spike. 'It can't be Red, 'cause she's desperately gay and desperately not your kind of girl. And it couldn't be Joycie because intelligent and beautiful really don't match her style, let alone young...' Giles shot him a dirty look. 'My my, who could it be?'

'It's none of your business!' growled the Watcher, baring his teeth angrily. Spike chuckled.

'Oh bugger. For a minute there, I thought you were going to confess your desperate love for your Slayer.' Giles turned scarlet within instants. Spike burst out laughing. 'What's up, Watcher? Did I hit a sensitive spot?' Giles looked away, extremely embarrassed.

'Get out, Spike,' he murmured, taking off his glasses, to clean them with his handkerchief.

'She's hot isn't she?' asked the vampire, with a wide grin.

'Shut your filthy gob,' ordered Giles, quietly but intensely, putting his glasses into his pocket rather than back on his nose.

'But you know what, mate? She's just closed up, now. No more men. Pretty sure she'll be going down Red's path as soon as a nice little dyke comes along to seduce her.' Giles' eyes flared. Nobody spoke of Buffy like this. Taking advantage of the fact that the vampire was sitting on the ground, he landed a violent kick in his stomach. Spike rolled on the floor. He got back up, chuckling and coughing at the same time.

'You're just so pathetic. I mean, those puppy dog looks you give her all the time...' he grimaced. 'There's not one thing she can't make you do, even if it's dead humiliating. And then when you think she's not looking you just stare at her arse. Next thing we know, you'll be wanking while smelling her clothes!' Giles marched onto Spike, grabbed his shirt and shoved him up against the wall with his right hand. The left one went through the vampire's pockets, produced a lighter, and lit the flame just under Spike's chin.

'I wonder if you can actually burn a vampire by using a cigarette lighter,' he hissed in Spike's face. 'And right now I'm dying to find out!' The vampire stared at him in wonder.

'You're even more smitten than I am,' he nearly whispered. Giles blinked for a second, then closed the lighter and let go of Spike.

'What did you say?' he breathed, shocked.

'You heard me. Remember, I'm a lovesick puppy too,' he sighed. 'Maybe you'd better just burn me and put me out of my misery.' Giles rolled his eyes.

'Clear off,' he grumbled at last. Spike sighed, deciding that tonight wasn't the night where he was going to get killed, even if he asked nicely, so he did as he was told.

'And keep your filthy paws away from her!' yelled the Watcher after the foolish vampire. Spike made no answer and continued his exit. Meanwhile, Giles returned to the centre of the room, and sat down on his stool again. He was oblivious to everything that surrounded him. The only thing that went through his mind like a nail was that he was a pathetic old fool in love with the most beautiful, loveable and unattainable woman he had ever met. The shop door closed after Spike, the bell ringing faintly in the background, and Giles at last let his feelings flood him.

'Oh, Buffy,' he sighed aloud. 'I wish things could be different. If only you didn't see me like a father. If only I didn't love you so...' he sighed and pressed a hand to his forehead, firmly clamping his eyes shut against emotions that he had been keeping quiet for years. When he opened them again, the room was blurred, not only by his short-sightedness, but also by his own tears. Deciding that he had better leave before things got even worse and before someone actually saw him, Giles wiped his brimming eyes and walked out of the training room, turning the light off as he went.

The video camera sat on the vault horse, in the dark, its red light shining to indicate that it was recording. The "end of tape" signal started to flash. After two more minutes, it stopped and rewound the video.

***********

'Hello!' exclaimed Willow as she entered the shop cheerfully. Anya greeted her, and handed her the camera.

'It was in the training room. Buffy found it,' she explained curtly. Willow opened wide eyes at the ex-demon.

'What did you tell her it was doing there?' she asked, as Anya pulled a large book out from under the counter and started to study it.

'I told her that we had been preparing a surprise video for her because she would be lonely and without sex on Valentine's Day,' replied Anya, obviously engrossed in the shop's accounts book.

'And what part of "surprise" don't you understand?' cried Willow angrily. 'Valentine's Day is after-tomorrow! I can't believe you actually told her the truth!' Anya shrugged. Buffy came out of the training room at that moment and grinned at Willow.

'You're busted, Will,' she told her friend. Willow let out a long angry sigh, but smiled at Buffy.

'Oh well... I guess you can have the video right away, as Anya *broke the surprise*,' she intoned, pressing on "rewind" and finding that it stopped right away. Good, that meant the Giles had actually recorded until the end of the video. Willow knew that she could count on him, in the end. Buffy came to stand next to her.

'It's the thought that counts,' said Buffy, laying her hand on Willow's shoulder. 'It's a really, really sweet thought, too, Will.' The witch smiled, pressing "play" to make sure it really was at the beginning. She saw the first seconds of her performance and immediately turned it off and ejected the tape.

'Here you go, then,' she said to Buffy, pleased that her friend liked the idea. 'But you mustn't watch it before Valentine's Day, all right?' Buffy nodded.

'All right,' she said, reaching out to take the tape. Willow pulled it out of her reach.

'Promise?' she asked. Buffy laughed.

'Yes, promise!' Willow put the video into her friend's hands.

'Then, Happy Early Valentine's Day,' she said. 'And, have fun with the video!' Buffy looked at it.

'I bet I will! You're really adorable, all of you!' The Slayer had a happy smile.

'By the way, where's Giles?' asked Willow.

'He went to do some kind of home delivery,' said Anya. 'I'm in charge, now,' she added, proudly.

'Home delivery?' asked Willow, and grinned. 'That would have been useful when we needed stuff for our spells, in the good ol' days!' Buffy grinned in approval.

'I told him to charge a fee, but he refused. He's a bad businessman,' stated Anya. Buffy and Willow looked at her, then at each other, and tried to refrain from chuckling.

'Okay, well, I've got to bail. See you guys later!' said Buffy. She swiftly skipped to the door, obviously delighted by the little tape that Willow had asked the others to make. The redheaded witch watched her friend leave, very satisfied with her idea. That would keep her busy while she an Tara, and Xander and Anya, did what couples do best on Valentine's Day.

***********

Buffy sat in front of her television and prepared herself for a good show, a bowl of pop-corn on her knees, a box of chocolates by her side. Yes, she was disobeying Willow's order. But it was for a good reason. She had received a rumpled postcard from Belize when she had come home from school. From Riley. Pledging his undying love, blah, blah, blah. If his love was undying, he wouldn't be staying in some jungle killing God only knew what. Buffy had immediately got furious, trashed the card, and taken her revenge by dusting three vamps. Then, when she had come home, she'd decided to stuff her face with chocolate and comfort herself in front of her friends' video. She didn't need reminders of Riley and how she had messed up with him. Okay, he hadn't been the man of her life, but he didn't need to twist the knife just when she was getting over the whole "being abandoned" thing. Again. Stupid. Men were all a bunch of jerks. With that thought, Buffy put the VCR into motion, covering her ears with a pair of earphones, so that she needn't worry about waking her Mom or Dawn.

'Hello Buffy!' said Willow, as she appeared on screen, looking all excited. Miss Kitty Fantastico was sitting on her lap. 'Well, I know you might be feeling a bit low today, seeing as it's Valentine's Day today and well, there isn't... oh you know what I mean. Tara, stop giggling, you're making the camera tremble!' Willow grinned at her girlfriend, who had obviously decided that behind the scene was better. 'Okay, so... our first performance is by a talented young pussycat. Her name is Miss Kitty Fantastico, and she is going to do the Cat Dance for you!' Music rose from Willow's stereo, it sounded like it came out of a Charlie Chaplin movie. Willow picked up the young cat by the chest and held her up on her back paws. Then, in time with the music, she made the cat shake and move its paws, so that it looked like it was dancing. Buffy chuckled at the cuteness. She heard Tara in the background giggling too, and the camera shook. When the music was over, the traumatised kitty jumped off Willow's lap and went to hide under the bed, as both witches laughed.

'Okay, now that we've finished torturing the cat...' said Willow, and the picture changed. She was suddenly in front of the Magic Box. '... we're gonna see what magic we can make for the camera!' She entered the shop, and Buffy snorted when the camera hit the corner of the door. A small witch-tiff about security and cameras ensued, but ended with giggles.

'Hi, Buffy!' exclaimed Xander as he jumped in front of the camera. 'We're here to give you tons of fun. Well, at least most of us are.' He jabbed his thumb behind him, where Willow and Giles were arguing, behind the counter. Buffy giggled aloud. It was obvious that her Watcher wasn't very keen to be filmed. He made his stern face at the pleading redhead, then addressed a short wave at the camera before moving into the back room.

'All right, so Watcher-man decided to bail, but he's British, so I'm sure you'll be understanding,' said Willow with a grin, as she came back, standing next to Xander.

'And now, for our feature presentation!' said Xander. Then the picture when black. It faded in on Willow, innocently walking through the shop, going "la-la-la" and browsing around the items. In the background, there was dark music, probably from some old horror movie or one of the New Age CDs that were on display in the shop. Suddenly, a dark shadow appeared behind Willow. She turned and screamed in terror, as Xander loomed over her, sporting a pair of plastic vampire teeth and hissing as if to bite her.

'Hey! Keep the volume down!' growled a voice from off-screen, obviously a cranky Giles. Buffy smiled fondly.

'Sorry!' cried Willow, and then started to scream again, in a hushed way. Xander grabbed her, pretending to try to bite her and they started struggling. Then Anya arrived and threw Xander off Willow. The ex-demon was holding a plastic stake in her hand. Buffy grimaced and laughed at the same time.

'I stand for love and justice! And in their name, I'm gonna punish you! I'm Buffy, the Vampire Slayer!' Exclaimed the ex-demon. There were muffled giggles in the background, and Xander did his best not to burst out laughing. Buffy was chuckling silently, recognising the famous line from that awful animated series Dawn was so fond of: Sailor Moon.

'Now die, spawn of evil!' cried Anya, hitting Xander in the chest with the plastic stake.

'Ow!! An', that hurt!' he complained. Willow hissed something quietly, and Xander looked up at the camera. 'Oh!' he said, suddenly remembering that he was being filmed. Buffy burst out laughing. 'Oh, you killed me! Argh!' he backed away, mimicking someone stabbed to death. 'Ow, argh, ow!' continued Xander, letting himself fall onto the ground, thumping his fist on the floor repeatedly in mock-agony. 'Argh, ah... ow!' he continued, kicking and writhing and generally taking way too long to die. Finally, he flopped dead. Buffy was in a hysterical fit of laughter by then and reached for a Kleenex to wipe her eyes

The picture faded out. The film started again with an empty chair. The camera was obviously sitting on the tarot table.

'Okay, it's now time for each one of us to confess one of their darkest but funniest secrets about things they love or loved, specially if those things have something to do with Valentine's Day!' said Xander, from behind the camera.

'And don't you think that because you announced this sequence, you're not going to have to do it!' teased Willow, as she sat into the chair. 'Okay, so I'm going to tell about my worst Valentine's Day ever. I was in love with this boy, whose name will remain secret.' Willow winked at the camera. 'And on Valentine's Day, I invited him over to my house. I put on my prettiest dress and made myself as beautiful as I possibly could. He arrived, all scruffy and muddy, and the first thing he did was to tread on my foot. After that, we were having a romantic dinner made up of cookies and milk, when he snuck out, supposedly to go to the bathroom. When he didn't come back after ten minutes, I went to look for him. And do you know what I found? He was raiding my drawers! He was going through them to find - no less - my Barbie Dolls! Yes! He turned out to be a kleptomaniac and a sex maniac. Because do you know what he did with those dolls afterwards? He would look under their skirts. Or worse, he would undress them! Wasn't he a pervert! Of course, I kept this secret forever, because he pleaded me not to tell his schoolmates about the incident. Oh, did I mention we were five years old?' Willow grinned broadly. Buffy was dying with laughter in front of the screen. She could just imagine what colour Xander had turned at that point, and also suspected that probably nobody in the room but Will and Xander knew about the Barbie incident. This was so cute!

'All right, Willow, I think you've said *enough*,' grumbled Xander. 'Tara, your turn!' The blonde witch took Willow's place in the seat and smiled her quirky smile.

'Okay... my darkest secret about something I loved... uhm... uh, well... I kinda had a crush on Kermit when I was a kid,' she admitted sheepishly. There was a shocked squeal in the background, from Willow.

'A frog! You had a crush on a frog!' she exclaimed. Tara grimaced.

'Sorry,' she let out softly. 'I know you have frog phobia, Willow. But you see, I thought he would turn into a prince if I kissed him,' she explained, looking in Willow's direction rather than at the camera. Willow ended up cooing.

'That's cute!' she exclaimed. Tara smiled again, shakily, and turned back to the camera.

'So... as I had a crush on him... I though... I thought I would send him a Valentine's card. And-and I did.' She grinned. 'I told my best friend at school, and she let it leak...' Tara grimaced. 'And until High School, I was called "Frog-Lover"!' She pulled her tongue out a bit.

'I'd shoot anyone who called me that,' muttered Giles from somewhere behind the camera. The camera spun around to catch the Watcher. As usual, he had his nose buried in a book. Buffy smiled again as she saw him.

'What about you, Giles? Any dark secrets about your Valentine's Day? Something you'd like to share? Something embarrassing like falling in love with a French person?' The Englishman responded by covering the camera's lens with his hand.

'Please go away,' he said politely but firmly. Xander pulled the camera away, and it was all blurred.

'Aw, see what you did to the lens!' he exclaimed, and set the camera onto the table. 'It's not cause you're half blind that you have to ruin other people's vision!' he added, and Buffy chuckled. He proceeded to clean the lens with a corner of his orange shirt, causing lots of disturbances to the picture.

'Okay, now it's my turn!' said Anya as she sat down in front to the table. 'My darkest secret about Valentine's Day was last year. Xander and I decided to try something new with sex, so I bought him a special little harness for his-MMHHH-HMMMMM!' Xander had obviously quickly handed the camera to Willow and jumped behind Anya to firmly press his hand over her mouth. She writhed under his grip.

'A harness for my passions. She bought me Prozac!' he desperately said to the camera. Buffy was laughing so much that tears uncontrollably rolled down her face. She was just sure that Anya would do something like that! Xander removed his hand from his girlfriend's mouth and quietly whispered a lecture in her ear. The ex-demon seemed peeved, rolled her eyes, and sighed, then faced the camera again.

'As Xander says that I'm not allowed to talk about our sex life, I'll make another confession... I have a secret shrine devoted to Sailor Moon.' Buffy's jaw dropped. She really hadn't expected a 1200 year-old ex-demon to be interested in kids' cartoons. 'My favourite character is Sailor Jupiter, because she's so strong that she can crush any guy who's unfaithful to her,' explained Anya with a grin. 'And the Sailor scouts remind me of the gang, except that there's no boring shop-owner who reads books all day and who doesn't give me a pay rise.' Buffy snorted. In the background, Giles muttered something incomprehensible and possibly in Latin. Anya glared at him and got up from her chair, marching towards the counter. Xander quickly jumped into the chair.

'Okay, my turn for dark confessions!' said Xander, raising his voice to try to cover Giles and Anya bickering in foreign tongues. 'Now this is something really creepy.'

'Creepier than the She-Mantis?' asked Willow from behind the camera.

'Or than Anya wanting to have sex with the two yous?' asked Tara.

'*Way* creepier!' exclaimed Xander, although he blushed at Tara's comment. 'When I said I would go interrogate Larry and find out if he was a werewolf, there was kind of a misunderstanding...' he started. Buffy raised a brow. 'I told him I knew what he was and that I understood because I'd been there to - talking about the Hyena episode, of course! Only... he misunderstood me... and he thought I was admitting to being gay!' Xander had turned a pretty shade of pink and Buffy was gasping for breath in front of the television, she thought that her sides were going to split anytime soon. Everyone in the background was giggling, even Giles snorted. 'And I'm not! I have the ex-demon girlfriend to prove it!' he exclaimed, with a nervous grin. 'But there you are, Larry went on thinking that I was gay for the whole two years we were in Sunnydale High together.'

'That is nearly as creepy as the time all the girls fell in love with you!' said Willow, chuckling. Xander grinned wider.

'You never told me all the girls fell in love with you!' exclaimed Anya from the other side of the room, marching on screen again and glaring at Xander, her hands on her hips.

'It was a spell, An',' protested Xander. 'And it *was* kinda horrible!'

'When did it happen? Did you have sex with any of them?' The camera turned towards Willow, as Anya's interrogatory continued in the background.

'Well, I think that's all, Buffy! I'll try to get Giles to do *something* for you. I mean, it's not because he's a Watcher that he just gets to watch and not do anything!' she smiled. 'So, Happy Valentine's Day, and I hope this gave you some laughs! See ya!' she made a quick gesture with her hand, and the picture faded out. Buffy smiled, happy with the lovely present that her friends had made for her.

Then the picture abruptly switched back on. It showed the training room, and it was obviously the night. Of course, she had found the camera on the vault horse and Giles' guitar and a stool still standing there, this morning - at the time, she had grumbled about it because she'd had to put them away in a safe place before she could train. But now, she realised that it had been for her, and she was pleased. Buffy saw Giles walk to the stool and strum his guitar. She smiled broadly. She had never got to see him sing, and was really curious to know what he sounded like. There was a quiet moment at first, where Giles tuned his instrument. Buffy's eyes couldn't help but wander over her Watcher's long hands. He probably wasn't aware of it, but he was a sexy beast. Buffy would deny it and would go "ew" every time the sexy factor with Giles was brought up in public, but that was just self-preservation. She didn't want anyone to know that her Watcher made some pretty steamy thoughts come into her mind, let alone have Giles find out about it.

Buffy mouthed a "wow" when she heard Giles' voice rise. She recognised the song immediately. Although it was sung by a woman on her CD, Giles had managed to adapt it to his voice. What a cute attention. Besides, it was absolutely breathtaking. She hadn't ever guessed that he had such a beautiful, rich, and emotional singing voice. He seemed really taken by the atmosphere of the song, he sounded so lonely, so sad... Buffy wondered if that was only a show, or if he really felt this way, right now. Then her brow wrinkled as she saw Spike appearing behind Giles. Damn vampire! Couldn't he ever leave them in peace? Giles stopped in mid-song, drawing a whimper from Buffy's lips. She wanted him to continue, she wanted to hear him sing! Besides, Spike was making fun of Giles... of his heartbreak. Buffy's jaw dropped with shock, as she heard Giles confess that he was pining for an unattainable woman. She felt her heart ache, not only for him, but also with what she suddenly identified as jealousy. Particularly when Spike hinted that it could be her mother Giles was after.

'Oh bugger. For a minute there, I thought you were going to confess your desperate love for your Slayer.'

A gasp escaped Buffy's throat when Spike said that sentence. And the expression on Giles' face! The shock, the embarrassment, the blush that went right down to his chest... Could it be true? She watched with disbelief as Spike said the most disgusting things about her. And as Giles kicked him across the room in anger. He had never acted so protective with her. Well, never in front of her, of course. Except for that one time, with the Mayor, when he had planted his sword into his chest... Buffy started to realise, as Spike enumerated Giles' various proofs of love, that he was right. That Giles was furious because he had been caught out. She opened wide eyes as she saw her Watcher throw the vampire against a wall and threaten him with his own lighter. They were too far away from the camera to be heard, by now, but finally, Giles released Spike. Buffy felt her heart bash in her chest wildly.

'And keep your filthy paws away from her!'

Buffy watched with shock and pleasure at how her Watcher had kicked the vampire out, at how he protected her, himself... his feelings. When he came back to sit on the stool, it was obvious that he was very upset. Buffy felt tears well up in her eyes, as she watched him sit there, sighing. She had only seen him like this twice, and that was in times of great crisis, when Eyghon had reappeared, and when Miss Calendar had been killed. She gasped as he spoke softly, to himself, to the room in general.

'Oh, Buffy... I wish things could be different. If only you didn't see me like a father. If only I didn't love you so...'

Buffy refrained from letting out a little sob. God... oh God! Giles was in love with her. And his eyes were glimmering with tears. Buffy felt her own tears roll down her cheeks uncontrollably. She was so incredibly moved by this man, who sat there alone, nearly weeping, because he loved her. Finally, he wiped his eyes and walked out. The picture went dark as he switched the lights off. Buffy quickly rewound the tape until his confession, listened to it over and over. Every time, her heart melted a little more, until she was crying uncontrollably, not with sadness, just sheer emotion. God, not only did she find him sexy, but she found him adorable too... she sniffed hard, realising that if he was so unhappy, it was because of her... but she could do something about it! She could change things for him. And she wanted to. She ejected the tape and held it close to her heart, as she switched everything off and went to bed. Everything was a great turmoil in her mind, but one thought always screamed louder than the others. She wanted to make him happy, she wanted him to smile. And she was going to do whatever she could to make this desire come true.

***********

'All right, boss, I'm off,' said Anya. Giles glared at her.

'It's only half past eleven! How am I supposed to cope with all those clients while you're away?' he grumbled.

'First of all, we've had nearly no clients today. Second, Xander is meeting me in an hour for lunch and then we'll have sex all day and night. He promised he'd give me a lovely present,' said Anya. 'So, I have to make myself pretty!' Giles rolled his eyes.

'Well, I suppose I can survive without you,' he sighed. 'Go and do... what you young people do best.'

'No orgasm friend, this year?' asked Anya, ever thoughtful, as she pulled her cardigan on. Giles glowered at her.

'When are you going to learn about tact, Anya?' he asked.

'Well, if Olivia was your girlfriend, I'd call her that. But she isn't, so I don't,' said the ex-demon matter-of-factly. Giles sighed and smirked a little.

'I see that I can't fool you,' he murmured, pulling out the large book that he had been studying all week.

'Well, I mean, you're too old to have a real girlfriend. Specially someone that young. And, she only comes now and then. So it can only be about sex,' she concluded. Giles glared at her.

'Olivia's not *that* young, and mind your own business,' he replied sharply.

'Besides, when you're with a girl you really like, you blush and stutter and look completely stupid. Xander said you were trying pick-up lines on a chair, one time.'

'Yes, do let's bring that up as often as possible,' muttered Giles, cringing at the memory. Buffy giving him advice about what to say was probably the worst thing that could ever happen to him, after, of course, the fact that she and the others had walked in on him in such an embarrassing situation in the first place.

'Anyway, I've got to go,' said Anya, shouldering her handbag.

'Yes, at this point, I'm glad you're off,' grumbled Giles, pretending to be engrossed in his reading. Anya sighed, and pulled a rose out of her bag.

'Here,' she said, sticking it under Giles' nose. He looked up at her, and then took the flower from her. It was yellow. Well, it used to be yellow, when it had been properly watered. Now it was yellow with brown edges and looked like it was going to flop to pieces within seconds.

'What is that in aid of?' he asked.

'Xander said that it's a tradition to give flowers on Valentine's Day, also to friends, specially when they're single and won't have sex.' Giles felt mildly offended, but was still pleased. It was a nice gesture, basically. Coming from Anya, it was the best he could expect.

'Thank you,' he said. 'I hope you and Xander spend a good Valentine's Day,' he added. Anya beamed.

'Thank you!' she said, and then turned to exit the shop. Giles contemplated the withering rose, deciding that it would be useless to put it in water, as it was already dead as could be. Old and ugly, just like him, he mused with a sigh. He returned his attention to his ancient manuscript.

The bell rang as the door opened, and Giles looked up from his book to see Buffy enter. She was so beautiful today that he was speechless. Her slight body was clad in a curve-hugging dress. It was cream, with a discrete pink floral pattern, and it revealed most of her long beautiful legs. Without even mentioning the top, that enhanced her incredible bust, even though she wore a pale pink cardigan over it, to keep herself warm. Her hair fell in golden curls over her shoulders, and she was generally a sight out of a dream. Giles thought that this was his most beautiful Valentine's Day vision, and that it would be enough to make him happy for the day. His thought was immediately followed by a darker one. She was going on a date with someone, obviously. She wouldn't have come into his shop all made-up and beautiful if she was just there for some training. Besides, stilettos didn't mix well with training mats. No, she was probably there to tell him that she was buggering off for the day with some random prat, just like the others had.

'Hey Giles,' said Buffy smiling broadly. She approached, and her smile dwindled slowly on her lips. 'You have an admirer?' Giles raised a brow, still too stunned to think straight, and then looked down at the rose he was holding, and smiled gently.

'Anya took pity on me because it's a tradition, and gave that to me,' he said, showing her the rose. Buffy's smile was back and she chuckled a little.

'It looks kinda battered,' she commented. Giles grinned.

'Yes, I think it probably stayed in her handbag since this morning, at least,' he said, laying the flower down onto the counter. He tried to refrain from letting his eyes wander over to her cleavage, but found that extremely difficult.

'Do you have any plans, for today?' asked Buffy, raising an eyebrow. He gestured to the heavy book on his lap.

'Research, as usual,' he said. 'As well as the shop, of course, although things are really quiet today.' Buffy smiled.

'That's not a good occupation on Valentine's Day,' she said. He shrugged.

'Commercial holiday, anyway. It's just made to push people to spend more money. At least Halloween has a real cultural rooting in ancient Celtic traditions...' he trailed off, as he saw Buffy smile at him.

'Lonely Valentine's Day for you too, huh?' she asked softly. Giles smiled wryly and nodded his head. 'You know what? The others are all away doing couple things. I think we should go out somewhere and have fun, too,' said Buffy. Giles raised a brow.

'W-where...?' was all he managed to formulate, surprised that she was actually asking *him* to go out somewhere with *her*.

'I dunno... it's a beautiful day outside. We could go for a picnic somewhere?' Giles felt his face bloom of its own volition into a wide smile.

'Don't you... well... have anything better to do... than to-to spend your day with... your old Watcher?' he asked softly. Buffy grinned.

'I just call it quality Watcher/Slayer time, that's all,' she said. 'So, you in?' Giles just couldn't believe that this was really happening. Buffy was asking him out on a picnic, dressed to kill, on Valentine's Day.

'Y-yes... j-just let me... lock up...' he realised that he had gone into stutter-mode once more. What Anya had said was true, he really did stutter only when he was crazily attracted to someone. Buffy simply smiled and sat down at the tarot table as he closed his books and locked them into a cabinet, then took care of the cash register - which was miserably empty today, anyway - and went to get his jacket. As he put it on, a pale pink envelope fell out of his inner pocket.

'Hey, Giles, you've lost something,' said Buffy, picking it up. He cringed and felt himself blush violently as she curiously twirled it in her fingers. Fortunately, he hadn't written her name on it yet.

'Do you have *another* secret admirer?' she asked, raising a brow and handing him back the envelope. He nearly sighed with relief, and took it from her, pocketing it again.

'When did you become so interested in my love life?' he asked, trying to divert her attention, and making his way towards the door. Buffy followed, and they were soon both out on the street.

'I've always been interested in your love-life!' said Buffy. He smirked back at her, locking the Magic Box's door carefully. The day was truly beautiful, the sky was deep blue and the sun shone brilliantly. He wondered if he'd even need his jacket.

'Oh yes, I forgot... to watch, and mock, and laugh,' he said, smiling wryly. Buffy's expression seemed vaguely hurt by his sarcasm. Giles frowned a little, surprised that she was suddenly so sensitive to his auto-derision. But the expression flittered so fast over her face that he wondered if he hadn't imagined it. Her smile soon came back.

'Come on, Watcher-guy, let's go and buy ourselves some lunch,' she said. Without asking for any permission, she took his hand in hers, and pulled him down the street. He followed, and gently squeezed her fingers in his. He felt as if he were boiling inside, as if this was really the most beautiful of his fantasies coming true. Or perhaps he was dreaming? Perhaps he had fallen asleep with Anya's shabby yellow rose in his hand and was imagining all this? If he was, he never wanted to wake up.

'What would you like to eat?' asked Giles, feeling more and more comfortable with the fact that they were holding hands. In public, no less. He was surprised that Buffy wasn't embarrassed by the fact that people might see them. Perhaps it was just a daughterly sort of gesture, he rationalised. Yes, that was probably it.

'I was thinking sushi. There's a great take-away close-by. You like?' she asked.

'Actually, I don't know if I like. I've never had any,' he replied, smiling.

'Giles, you know, the world doesn't stop at cheddar and cucumber sandwiches!' teased Buffy, squeezing his hand harder. He smiled. 'So you've never had sushi, you stuck-up Brit, you?'

'No, but I'd love to try,' he replied, smiling gently.

'You're not just saying that to make me happy, are you? Cause if you're going to freak out when you find out that the fish isn't cooked, it's not going to be any good, you know,' warned Buffy. He chuckled.

'You obviously haven't lived in London, where jellied eel is one of the local specialities.' Buffy pulled her tongue out slightly.

'That sounds disgusting,' she commented.

'More than raw octopus?' asked Giles, raising a brow. Buffy giggled.

'I hate octopus, it's chewy and icky. Salmon and tuna are great, though,' said Buffy, as they arrived in front of the shop.

'I trust you to choose something nice, then,' he said, following her inside. Buffy ordered various assortments of sushi to take away. He offered to pay for the meal, but she insisted on treating him to it. They walked out of the shop, him carrying the bag of food, and still feeling like he was in heaven.

'Where do you want us to eat, then?' asked Giles, as he noticed that Buffy was walking back towards the Magic Box.

'I was thinking Breaker's Woods, maybe that druidic clearing you did your retreat in?' she suggested. He smiled.

'Yes, I saw a very nice spot over there... a clearing next to a river...' he said. God, if that didn't sound terribly romantic. He tried to remind himself that he wasn't on a date with her, she had just... well, offered to spend the day with him, to relieve their loneliness.

'That sounds just great,' said Buffy, smiling. 'Let's go!' Giles smiled back at her, and they made their way to his car.

***********

'A rose for the man I love,' said Anya, holding out a beautiful red rose to Xander. Her boyfriend smiled tenderly at her, and picked the lovely flower out of her hand. They were walking through the park, arms wrapped around each other's waists, after their romantic dinner in a small Italian restaurant.

'That's really cute An', although it's usually the guy who's supposed to give flowers...' he said.

'I read up on it. They say women can offer flowers and to pay for meals too, now. I gave a yellow one to Giles, for friendship. And you get a dark red one...' she grinned.

'For blood and entrails?' he asked, poetically. Anya pouted.

'No, for passionate love,' she said, disappointed. Xander grinned at her.

'Just joking, An', don't mind me. It's a lovely thought,' he said, waving the rose around as he spoke. He heard a faint buzzing noise, but it soon disappeared.

'So, what kind of romantic display have you prepared, for us to have sex in?' asked Anya, squeezing Xander's hand. He grinned.

'If I tell you, it won't be a surprise, will it?' he said, as they approached his flat. Anya smiled happily, looking forward to the afternoon of wild sex they were going to have. If Xander didn't feel very inspired, she had brought along a book that would help them with positions. They arrived in front of the door, and Xander scooped Anya into his arms to give her a long tender kiss. Gently, he ran his fingers over her cheek. Then, with the rose he had just been given, he slowly started to trace the form of his girlfriend's lips. And suddenly, she screamed with pain and bolted backwards, holding her hands to her face.

'Anya! What's wrong?' cried Xander, trying to help her. She responded by driving her elbow into his stomach, while she was flailing her arms in pain. Xander grunted and gabbed her shoulders. It was then that he saw her extremely swollen, deep red upper lip.

'God Anya! What happened?' he asked, shocked.

'Humpthing thtung me!' was the clearest sentence Anya could say with her turgescent mouth. Xander stared at her, then at the rose, and noticed a bee crawling out of it. He rolled his eyes. Trust bees to come out in this season, in Sunnydale!

'Bee sting... does it hurt?' Anya elbowed him in the stomach again.

'What do you think?!' she growled angrily. Xander rolled his eyes and sighed, drawing his girlfriend into his apartment, to tend to her wound. What a fine Valentine's Day this was going to be!

***********

'So, what do you think of sushi?' asked Buffy with a smile. She already knew the answer to that, seeing as Giles had wolfed down a dozen already. He smiled at her. He had been doing a lot of that lately, and she was loving it. It was a great change from the depressing expression he had on the video.

'It's wonderful. Don't know why I never tried it before,' he said, taking a swig of water from a bottle they had brought along. They were sitting on a blanket in the middle of a green meadow - Buffy knew that Giles *always* had a blanket in his car, just in case they got demon goo on them, or fell into the water or something. There were bluebells everywhere in the wood, giving off a wonderful scent, which mingled with the smell of moss, earth and mushrooms. The sun shone beautifully, and the brook that ran through the forest made a wonderful background sound, along with the birds chirping in the trees. Giles had chosen *the* romantic spot. Maybe he wasn't aware of her intentions yet, but it was obvious that his mind was working on the same lines. Buffy smiled wider. He seemed to notice her smiling, and raised a brow, curious.

'You look rather happy,' he commented. She nodded.

'That's 'cause I am. It's a beautiful sunny day, I'm in a lovely place, there's not one monster in sight, the food is great and I have your company. Things couldn't be more perfect.' She was nearly sure that she caught Giles blushing a little, as she said those words. He was getting cuter by the minute. Actually, she was having a hard time keeping her hands to herself, she always wanted to reach out, touch his hands, his arms, his face... more. But he was British, after all, and he needed some time to adapt. So she held back.

'I'm pleased... it-it isn't often that... well, we can just relax and-and enjoy life,' he said, pushing his glasses back on his nose. He looked away a little. 'I-I sometimes wish I could have given you... well, you all... more times like these,' he continued, a little sadly. Buffy felt herself melt, and put a hand over his gently. He stared at it, as if he didn't believe his eyes.

'You did great, Giles,' she said. 'You're my one and only Watcher. And more,' she added. Giles looked up, his eyes glimmering with something that she could only identify as hope. She simply smiled and shrugged a little. He returned his attention to the food, dipping a sushi in the soy sauce, holding it with his fingers. They'd given up on using chopsticks after Buffy's shrimp sushi has jumped out of her grip and landed into the sauce, causing a minor flood on the blanket. Buffy couldn't help but gaze hungrily at him. He looked so good in his pale grey suit and cream shirt. He had got rid of his tie and jacket and left them in the car, and now, his sleeves were rolled up, and the two top buttons of his shirt was open. He looked incredibly sexy. And the way he ate was so sensual. It was obvious that he just let the sensation from his taste buds take over, and that food was a really blissful experience for him... God, if he was like that about food, how would be about sex? Buffy bit her lip, trying to control that thought, and also looked down at her sushi tray. A lustful smile formed on her lips.

'Hey, jellied-eel-man,' she said. He looked up at her and smiled crookedly. 'Have you tasted eel sushi?' she asked.

'I don't believe so... but I'm not a connoisseur such as you, I might have just not realised.'

'Wanna taste?' she asked, picking the piece of food off the tray.

'With pleasure. I'll let you know if it tastes like London food,' he added with a grin. Buffy dipped the sushi in the sauce, and then leant towards him, holding her hand under the moist rice to avoid anything dripping.

'Open up, then,' she said, smiling cheekily. He looked taken aback first, as if he didn't quite know what to say or do. Obviously, this was going against his strict English etiquette. But he ended up smiling and leaning towards the food she was holding out for him. Her smile broadened as he took a bite and savoured it. His lips had nearly brushed over her fingers, and that mere thought of that was giving her warm shivers all over.

'Nice?' she asked, as he swallowed. He grinned.

'Lacks the jelly,' he said, a little breathlessly. Buffy giggled.

'Want more?' she asked, knowing that her voice had become quite suggestive. Giles blushed a little, and nervously brushed a hand through his hair.

'I...' he started, smiling shyly. Buffy leaned over closer. She was fully aware that he was probably having a great view of her cleavage. Surely enough, he wasn't able to finish his sentence, obviously fascinated by what she was flaunting.

'C'mon, eat up,' commanded Buffy, and pushed the rest of the sushi between his lips. There was the slightest swirl of his tongue against the tip of her fingers, and she removed them slowly from his mouth, lightly running her middle finger down his lower lip. They both pulled back suddenly, blushing. Buffy was surprised at her own reaction, at how intensely her body responded to such a small thing. She had no idea that raw fish was an aphrodisiac. Giles coughed and sniffed a little, all of a sudden, and when Buffy looked up, he was wiping his eyes with the corner of his handkerchief.

'What happened?' she asked him. 'Swallowed the wrong way?' He shook his head and chuckled a bit.

'No, it was... the mustard, I suppose... went right up to my nose,' he explained, still sniffling.

'Oh, wasabi!' she exclaimed. 'I know what you mean, it's real strong.' He laughed a little.

'You obviously have never eaten at a proper Indian restaurant,' he said.

'Have too!' retorted Buffy. Every time he was condescending with her, she just needed to fight back and wipe that smug look off his face. Even if he was right.

'Were there real Indian people doing the cooking?' he asked. Buffy pouted.

'No-o-o-o,' she drawled, chastised. 'Show off,' she added, after a beat. He grinned.

'This reminds me of one of the most awful Valentine's Day I spent,' said Giles, gulping down some water. Buffy put on an outraged expression.

'Oh well gee, thanks, next time I won't bother!' she intoned angrily. He looked up at her and a wave of panic crossed his face. He was just so easy to scare.

'I-I-I... no, I was referring to the-the curry, n-not to...' he picked up the mischievous glimmer in her eye. 'You were pulling my leg, right?' he sighed, relieved.

'It just works every time,' she said happily. He glared at her. 'So, tell me about your worst Valentine's Day ever!' she encouraged him. He sat back and fished a maki-sushi out of its container, smiling a little as he idly dipped it in the sauce.

'It was during my dark phase in London. Ethan and I went out for a curry,' he started. Buffy raised a brow.

'You and Ethan, as in, you were together?' she asked, suddenly wondering if she really wanted to know that. Giles cleared his throat.

'Never you mind,' he replied evasively. Buffy dropped the subject. She would have time to discover that later, if ever. 'Anyway, we didn't have that much money, so we went to a really grotty place. First of all, we were served the most disgusting gunk I had ever tasted. I don't even want to begin to imagine what they'd put in it, but I'm fairly sure that some of it came from the sewers. Ethan wolfed his - and mine - down, of course...' he shook his head, smirking. 'And then this violin player came to harass us. You know, the kind whose violin just whines and whines until you get a headache.' Buffy chuckled.

'What did you do to him?' Giles grinned. There was a faint feral glimmer in his eye, just like when he had been high on Band Candy.

'Ethan "accidentally" spilled a pint of lager on him,' he said. 'He also managed to blame the violinist for it, and got him to pay for another one.' Buffy laughed.

'That was not very fair-play, Giles,' she said teasingly. He smirked.

'Oh, but it was only fair after such a torture,' he said. 'Of course, after that, Ethan threw up everywhere, because something in the curry was obviously off, and he was sick for two days after that. Rather charming, don't you think?' he asked, smiling, and scoffing his sushi.

'Just the idea of having dinner with Ethan Rayne is enough to make me nauseous,' she said with a smirk.

'I'm pretty sure you would have said the same about me, at the time. Ethan just didn't... well, grow out of it, I suppose.' Buffy smiled at him gently.

'I don't think so,' she murmured, delicately eating another sushi. 'I mean, I was pretty freaked out when you and Mom were teenagers, but it was more about the fact that you were... you know...' she wrinkled her nose a little.

'Gross?' he supplied. Buffy smirked.

'Well, I was gonna say "together", but if you want me to say "gross", I can,' she replied. He blushed a little.

'I'm still awfully sorry... and embarrassed by that whole incident,' he murmured.

'Hey, it's in the past. Besides, that wasn't my point. My point was that even if I was a bit wigged by you at sixteen... well... you were still Giles.' He smiled softly. 'And I'm pretty sure that even if you were a macho thug, you had some qualities.' He smirked.

'I suppose,' he muttered. 'Somewhere buried deep down under my rebellious streak and my delinquent tendencies.' Buffy smiled gently.

'It was a part of you. And I like you. Ergo, I like that part too,' she said. Giles stared at her for a moment, blinking. Buffy had hardly realised that she was being so affectionate before the words had come out of her lips. And she meant them. But it obviously came as a surprise to him. Or perhaps it had only been her use of a Latin word.

'Yes well... we'd better eat up, before this stuff goes off in the sun,' said Giles gruffly, looking back at his food. Buffy smiled. British stiff upper-lip. She was going to see to it. She was going to see to both his lips, actually. She grinned to herself and turned back to enjoy her food.

***********

Willow grabbed Tara's waist and pulled her closer to her, ravaging her mouth with her tongue. Her girlfriend moaned and writhed under her, pulling her into their bedroom. There were pink candles everywhere, and rose quartz crystals scattered around the room. All the different magicks that would lead to explosive sex. Well, those, and a drawer-full of carefully selected battery operated items. And a bowl of whipped cream. The two witches fell onto the bed, their limbs entwining, fingers raking through each other's hair. They were interrupted by a long plaintive meow from Miss Kitty Fantastico. Grinning at each other, they resumed their activity, tongues eagerly dancing, hands seeking ways to get under each other's clothes, passion rising in their wombs. Another meow sounded out. It was closely followed by retching sounds. The two girls sat up in bed, and spied their kitten throwing up its meal - the third time in a couple of hours.

'Is that... normal... for a cat to do?' asked Willow, grimacing. Tara went over to the young cat and scooped it up into her arms. But once she touched its belly, the cat hissed and kicked to be let down.

'I-I think she's sick,' said Tara. 'They don't usually barf that much, even with hairballs.'

'Oh Goddess!' exclaimed Willow all of a sudden, her eyes widening.

'What?' asked Tara, turning around to look at her girlfriend. Willow picked up one of the round rose quartz crystals that were lying around on various surfaces. Tara's eyes widened as she realised what her girlfriend was hinting.

'No, she wouldn't...' she murmured. Willow grimaced.

'I'm pretty sure she'd eat anything she can play with,' she said.

'I'm gonna call the vet,' said Tara, standing up and running to the phone. Willow sighed and gently stroked the cat's fur.

'It's gonna be okay, Miss Kitty. The doc's gonna make it all better.' So much for their romantic afternoon. Willow grumbled a little as she went to fetch the cat's carrier basket. Maybe things would go quite fast, maybe it wasn't serious at all, and they could do their little Valentine's Day party later in the day.

***********

Giles smiled at Buffy, while he carefully rolled up his trousers and followed her onto the stones, into the middle of the brook. They had decided - or rather, Buffy had persuaded him - to do a little unconventional walk in the river's bed, to cool themselves off after their long basking in the sun. The water was hardly a couple of inches deep anyway, so there was no chance for them to drown or hurt themselves. They had left their shoes and the blanket in the meadow, knowing that nobody would be around, anyway. Buffy beamed at him as he approached, an expression that he had been savouring a lot for the last couple of hours.

'You sure this is a good idea?' he asked, smiling. 'It would be a shame to ruin your dress with water or mud or whatnot,' he said, examining the beautiful dress once more. She had taken her cardigan off, to reveal her naked shoulders and spaghetti straps. She was really flaunting a lot of herself today, and he was thoroughly enjoying it. Buffy shrugged.

'It's okay, I'm not the kind of person who slip--' she punctuated her sentence by losing her foot on a mossy stone and nearly falling backwards into the water. Giles was there to catch her shoulders, though. He nearly gasped as her warm skin filled his hands. She grinned at him sheepishly.

'I see exactly what you mean,' he mocked gently. She straightened, and took hold of his hand again.

'Luckily, I have you,' she said, squeezing his fingers a little. She smiled at him once more, with this mysterious look in her eyes that he couldn't quite decipher. She had been rather provocative during the meal, as well as tender and affectionate. He wasn't sure what to make of it. Actually, he had decided to enjoy it while it lasted, rather than let millions of questions and foolish hopes go through his mind. However, it was sometimes quite difficult for him to keep his desire in check. Some things she said, the way she had fed him, slightly slipped her fingers over his lips... he was happy to have had a napkin over his lap at the time, to hide his immediate natural reaction. It was slowly dawning on him that she wasn't acting like a daughter with her father, or like a student with her teacher. She was acting like a woman with a man. He sighed at himself, for letting his mind wander like this yet again.

'So, are you enjoying the day, so far, Giles?' asked Buffy suddenly. He realised that she had already led him quite far up the river, while he was lost in thought.

'Absolutely,' he replied softly, trying to tone down the emotion in his voice. 'It's probably the best ever...' he chuckled, a little sadly. 'I think that I can count Valentine's Days where I actually had company on the fingers of one hand,' he said. He felt her squeeze his hand again.

'Perhaps it wasn't meant to be,' she said softly, still looking straight ahead rather than towards him.

'Well yes... I think Watchers... and... well, and Slayers, unfortunately... are meant to be... alone. Not let anything get in the way of the job...'

'But we're not,' said Buffy, stopping so that she could turn towards him. He stared at her face for an instant, taking in the changing colours of her eyes. One instant they were green, and the other they turned blue. He was always fascinated by those eyes. 'Alone, that is. We're not alone. We always have each other.' He could only stare in amazement. Those were the exact words he had written in his Valentine's letter to her - the one he hadn't dared to give her and would probably burn when he got home. He felt tears make his eyes misty, and turned away from her.

'Yes...' he replied softly, trying to sound casual. 'I suppose we do.' There was a long silence, until he gently tugged at Buffy's hand. 'Come, let's go on,' he said, motioning her to follow him. They remained awkwardly silent as they walked side by side. Thoughts were shooting through his mind, colliding, mixing. He didn't know what to think. He didn't dare to think that she was actually implying... something more than their Watcher/Slayer relationship. He didn't want to face the disappointment if it didn't turn out to be true.

'Giles, you remember that Willow was going to make a Valentine's Day video tape for me?' asked Buffy gently. Giles took a moment to bring that back into his mind. He had been very distracted at the time, generally moping and grumbling.

'Oh, yes, yes I do...' he said. Then he remembered the song he had been playing for her. And the events that had followed. Horror started to fill him, as he wondered when he had switched the camera off. If he had switched it off. Good Lord, he was fairly certain that he had, at one point. Hadn't he? He turned to her, panic making his blood run cold.

'You... d-did you watch it?' he asked, trying to sound as calm as possible. Buffy nodded.

'I watched it. Actually... I got a stupid postcard from Riley, and it got me a bit depressed, so I watched it a couple of days ago, already,' she said quietly.

'Buffy, I'm sorry...' Giles sighed. 'I'm not sure my performance heightened your spirits...' She smiled at him gently.

'You have a great voice. I really loved it... although it was kinda sad... lonely...' Giles nodded a little, shuddering at the thought of what might have followed his song. 'Then I saw Spike come in and mess with you,' she said. Giles stopped dead and looked away, panic seizing his chest. 'I saw how you kicked his butt,' she continued, standing still by his side. 'And I heard what you said to the camera afterwards... that you loved me.'

'Oh Good Lord...' breathed Giles, taking off his glasses and pocketing them, clapping his hand over his forehead, closing his eyes from the situation. He wanted to be anywhere but here. She knew, now she was aware of how he felt... why had she brought him here? To let him down gently? To mock him?

'I know you didn't mean for me to know, Giles,' murmured Buffy, gently stroking his hand in hers. 'But it's a good thing I found out. Cause... Giles... it took a whole two seconds for me to realise that I felt the same.' He trembled, not daring to look at her, drawing a rasping breath. 'Giles, I love you too. I just guess my feelings were so strong I repressed them.' There was a silence, during which her words echoed over and over in his mind, until he finally realised that she had really said them, that she really was stroking his hand in hers, and that all this wasn't a dream. He turned to her, and found that he still couldn't look at her, because it made his heart flutter. He let go of her hand, reeling in the emotions that overwhelmed him.

'Buffy I-I...' he stuttered, stepping away from her. 'I... need time to...' he raised a hand to his forehead, massaging it slightly, as if it would help his mind focus again. She had just admitted that she felt the same - sweet Jesus, this had to be a dream.

'Hey, Giles be caref--' let out Buffy suddenly, but he didn't ever hear the rest of her sentence. He felt himself slipping, falling, endlessly, his mind still spinning with thoughts. Then he landed hard on the pebbles that littered the bottom of the stream, on his backside. He shook his head, slightly stunned by his abrupt fall. Then he saw Buffy standing over him. Her worried expression was soon replaced by a smile that lit all her face. At last, everything seemed to be as it was meant to be. He loved her, and she loved him. It wasn't a fantasy anymore - it was reality. A reality where the water was running over his trousers and sleeves, soaking them through, a reality where his back was bruised by the sharp pebbles, a reality where Buffy's hand reached out to him, to help him up. Giles smiled.

He grabbed Buffy's wrist, and instead of hauling himself up, he pulled her down to him, into the water. She shrieked and giggled as he attracted her into his arms and pressed her hard against his chest, gripping her waist, feeling her comfortably settle on his lap and wrap her arms around his neck. She grinned at him and rubbed her nose against his. His hands went over the silky material of her dress and he could actually feel her breasts pressing into his shirt. He took hold of the back of her head and pressed her lips to his, kissing her hungrily. She let out a small gasp as he claimed her mouth, running his tongue over the edge of her lips, letting it slip inside and find hers. He hardly believed how intense he was being, how he was totally unable to hold back, how he just wanted to have her, to give himself to her, to hold her and touch every inch of her body. Buffy was responding in kind, wild with passion, holding him tight against her, pressing her body against his as if to mould herself into him.

'Giles,' she moaned gently, between two feverish kisses.

'Hm?' was all he could formulate. He was too busy plundering her mouth to make an elaborate answer.

'Maybe we should go somewhere less... wet...' she gasped, although she showed no sign of stopping the erotic movements of her lips against his.

'Mh-hm,' he replied absently, running his fingers through her soft locks. She chuckled a little, and gently pushed away from him, to look at him. Her eyes were shining and her lips were swollen by their frantic kissing. She was the most beautiful sight he had ever beheld.

'You're really in a hurry, aren't you?' she asked gently, tracing his lips with the tip of her nail. He smiled weakly.

'I... I suppose that... I'm scared that I'm going to wake up anytime now,' he breathed. Buffy shook her head and smiled, then gently kissed his lips. She drew back before he could pull her into another embrace, and stood up.

'This is for real, Giles. Come,' she said softly, holding out her hand. He grasped it, and hauled himself out of the water, back into her arms. He pressed her to him once more, and she stretched up on tiptoe to kiss his lips gently. This time, their embrace was tender and warm, as Giles felt happiness fill his every pore. She was his, and it wasn't a dream. He traced down the curve of her spine with his fingers, making her shiver. Slowly, she broke their kiss again.

'Let's get back to the meadow,' she whispered. Giles set her free, and she started to walk, holding his hand tight. After a while, she pulled him against her and wrapped an arm as far as it would go behind his back. He slipped his arm around her shoulder, and they walked together, entwined, over the stones.

'Buffy,' he said softly. 'Just... to make sure this isn't all a dream... would you mind...' he trailed off, at loss with words. 'How did you come to realise... what you felt for me?' he asked. Buffy's nails gently clawed at his back, causing delicious tingles to shoot down his spine.

'Well... it didn't take long for me to find out that you were... cute. Desirable,' she said, smiling shyly. 'I mean... there was tension between us, specially when we trained... that kind of tension that makes you all tingly inside.'

'And I thought I was the only one feeling that,' he murmured, smiling.

'Then... I dunno when exactly. Maybe it was when I stopped seeing you like just a Watcher. You know, after Travers fired you, you stopped being stuffy-librarian-guy. I mean, in front of me, of us. You showed us the real you.' Giles' hand gently moved up and down her arm. He had hardly noticed it himself, but it was true. He had become the rebel he used to be in his youth. The person people didn't mess around with. Not quite Ripper, but not exactly Giles anymore, either.

'It was then that I consciously accepted that you were... well, a man. Not just Giles. Even before that, nobody touched my Watcher. Specially not Faith, or my Mom...' she grimaced a little, and Giles smiled.

'I'd noticed you were rather possessive, yes,' he said.

'Yeah, well, anyway... there was still Angel, at the time,' she murmured. 'And after he went, there was that episode with Olivia...' Giles looked down at her, raising a brow.

'That bad, was it?' he asked gently. Buffy smirked and nodded.

'Oh yeah. I was already feeling low at the time, and... well, I just couldn't take it. Not only that you were with someone, but also that you didn't want me around anymore, so... well... I guess I got back at you real hard, eh?' Giles nodded.

'Yes, you can say that again... you really made me hurt, you know? Particularly when you seemed to be worshipping this Walsh hag.' Buffy cackled.

'You really didn't like her, did you?' she asked.

'Just as much as you liked Olivia,' he replied sarcastically, hugging her to him.

'Ooh, that bad. Although Maggie did earn points for referring to herself as "the Evil Bitch Monster of Death"...' Giles burst out laughing.

'Pretty accurate, I think. Anyway... yes, it was a dreadful year... I...' he sighed. 'I must admit that by the end, I-I... was very seriously considering a one-way return flight to England.' Buffy looked at him with wide eyes.

'I didn't know that,' she whispered. 'I'm so sorry... I think I really overdid it with the carelessness... I mean, after Angel bailed on me, and then finding that you were trying to get a life that didn't include me... well... I just wanted to forget about everything, everyone else.'

'I know. I suggest we settle on saying that we both acted like fools,' he said with a smile, laying a small kiss on her temple.

'Fine by me. Anyway... I realised what was important and what wasn't, in my life... after that incident with the first Slayer, then with Dracula... I realised how much I needed you. Way more than any other man in my life. And slowly... you know, it was just obvious. We are meant to be together.' He smiled gently and stopped, to look at her.

'You're absolutely right,' he murmured. 'It was our destiny to be Slayer and Watcher... and it's our destiny to be together. To love each other.' She smiled, tearfully and he drew her into his arms for another long and sensual kiss.

***********

Xander sighed as he binned the rose petals that he had scattered all over the bedclothes. His apartment had been specially prepared for a romantic day. He had gourmet food in the fridge, so that he could just pop it into the oven for their dinner... but now he was going to be able to chuck that out too. Anya sat grumbling on the couch, wrapped in a blanket.

'Are you feeling any better, An'?' he asked, coming to sit down by her. She glared at him.

'No, I'm not. And you're stupid,' she repeated for the thousandth time that afternoon. This time, he exploded.

'Oh come *on*! Who had the idea of buying me a rose? I mean, okay women do it sometimes, but that's in theory, in books, in feminist magazines!'

'I see, you didn't like my little gift to you. Well it doesn't matter because I can't give you the rest anyway, now that I'm all swollen and horrible!'

'Hey, you don't look that bad...' started Xander comfortingly. She shot him a dirty look.

'But it *hurts* like hell, Xander. I can't even kiss you, and I nearly fainted on the way to the hospital!' She growled. He rolled his eyes.

'Yes, I remember that, the taxi-driver made me pay extra for helping carry you out,' he said sarcastically. 'But hey, nothing's too expensive for my rose-giving, bee-sting-allergic ex-demon!'

'Oh God, I can't believe you're breaking up with me on Valentine's Day!' exclaimed Anya, her eyes widening. Xander stopped in his tracks, realising how mean he had been.

'Sorry, An,' he said, rubbing her shoulder gently. 'I'm not breaking up with you. I'm just frustrated.' Anya rolled her eyes.

'I've always said that men only think about their orgasms,' she growled, pouting.

'No, not *that* kind of frustrated,' he exclaimed. 'I was just looking forward to a romantic day with you, I had dinner ready and everything, and it was going to be great. Instead, you got a bee sting and an anaphywhatever shock thingy and nearly passed out. It's kind of not as much fun.' Anya nodded sadly.

'Well, I guess the day is ruined. If only I still had my powers, I'd just curse all bees in the world!' she grumbled.

'Look, we can do this any other day in the year. Right now let's concentrate on you getting better, okay?' he said gently, running a hand through her hair. The ex-demon finally smiled up at him.

'Really? With the candles and rose petals and the gifts?' Xander nodded.

'Each one of them,' he said. 'Except maybe the rose petals. I think they bring bad luck.' Anya smiled.

'Okay no roses. Or bees,' she squeezed Xander's hand.

'Right. Do you want some soup? Chicken and stars?' Anya nodded, and he got up to busy himself in the kitchen, cursing all Valentine's Days, past and future.

***********

Buffy shivered as she felt Giles unzip her dress very slowly. Their eyes were locked, and he had a feral, highly sexy expression on his face. Her knees were turning to jelly. He had already thrown off his soaked trousers and laid them on the blanket to dry, and her dress was soon going to follow. Her breath was laboured now, and she trembled with desire. Giles had worked her into a frenzy by trailing the tip of his fingers lightly all over her arms and by provocatively licking and kissing her lips and throat. Her body was burning for his, she wanted him to take her now, hard and fast... but obviously he had suddenly decided to tease her until she screamed. His hot hands slipped under the spaghetti straps of her dress and made it slip down her shoulders. It slowly fell to the ground, pooling around her feet. She felt Giles' gaze move down her body, fascinated by the lace underwear that still cupped her breasts and hid her most intimate places. His hands slowly ran down her shoulders.

'You're so beautiful,' he breathed. His fingers continued to slide up and down her naked arms. Then he grabbed her to him with an unexpected force. Buffy moaned under his sudden passion, hugging him tight against her, hungrily kissing him. She draped herself around him, wrapping her thighs around his, holding his head to stroke his hair and cheek as they kissed, pressing his chest tight against hers. His hands went to her hips, firmly holding her against him, so that he could carefully lower her to the ground, under him. Buffy groaned as her back made contact with the cool grass, and smiled up at Giles.

'I think someone has too many clothes on,' she murmured, taking hold of his shirt and unbuttoning it. He watched her work, motionless, as Buffy discovered his chest. She ran her hands into the sprinkling of hair, before teasing his nipples slightly. Giles squirmed against her, moaning softly. Buffy grinned seductively and slowly ran her tongue from his breastbone up to his jaw, while she fondled his body. He pressed his erection into her thigh, panting heavily and holding her tight. Buffy grabbed his neck and kissed him again savagely, raw desire making her hips move of their own volition against him. Soon, he shrugged off his shirt, and threw it, with her dress, onto the blanket. Then his lips returned to hers, wildly sucking, his teeth gnashing now and then at her tender skin. Buffy moaned and whimpered with desire. The only thing that separated them was their underwear. She could feel his bulge - it seemed huge - against her body, and she was burning to discover it.

'I want you Giles,' she mewled as he kissed her throat. 'I want you so bad...' He sucked on her skin a little, before looking up at her.

'I want you too, Buffy... God I've been dreaming of this moment for years...' he slipped the straps of her bra off her shoulders, and lifted her a little to rid her of it. She smiled, resting on her elbows to help him undress her completely. When he had removed the delicate garment from her, he gazed down at her body, a fascinated expression on his face. His hot hand came to cup one of her breasts, and she arched into his touch, moaning. She was soaked and burning in her belly, she clenched her thighs harder around his to relieve some of the tension that was building in her. His fingers rubbed against her sensitive nipples, before gently pinching the hardening buds, drawing moans and sighs of pleasure from her throat. Buffy's hands explored his back, running over his hot skin, slightly scratching him when his touch became unbearably pleasurable. Their hips were moving erotically, thrusting, rubbing against anything in their reach. Her hands closed on his buttocks as his lips melded with hers once more, and she grazed them, slipping her hands inside his boxer shorts. He growled with pleasure and bucked harder against her.

'Buffy... protection...' he managed to say, licking at her ear, sucking the lobe between his lips and toying with it, with the tip of his tongue.

'Huh... I'm on the pill...' she moaned. 'Never did it without a condom before... I'm clean...' she managed to explain, tugging at his shorts to pull them off his buttocks.

'Same here...' he breathed, kissing her lips again. 'Except for the pill part,' he added with a grin. She chuckled and pulled him tighter against her, using her toes to wrench his underwear off. Giles turned on his side to rid himself of his shorts, causing Buffy to moan, frustrated by the sudden loss of contact with his skin. He smiled at her, laying a finger on her lips. She smirked back, and looked down at what he was revealing. He was thick and strong, just like she had imagined. And as hard as steel, by the look of it... Buffy ran her hand down his body, to lightly slip her fingers over and around his erection. Giles moaned and pressed into her hand. Buffy spread the moisture from his head all over his length, before bringing her finger back to her lips and tasting him. In the meantime, Giles had started to run his hand over her naked body, fondling her breasts, stroking her flat belly, and finally arriving to her panties. He ran his fingers down the lace, lightly rubbing against her clitoris. Buffy immediately let out a gasp of pleasure, and wriggled her hips to show him that she wanted to get rid of her underwear. He smiled at her wolfishly, and bent over to kiss her lips again. As his tongue ran against hers and danced with it, his fingers slipped under the material of her underwear, to stroke her burning core. Buffy gasped and let out a small cry.

'God, Giles, please...' she moaned, taking hold of his member and slowly caressing him. He took hold of her wrist and removed her hand, kissing and licking her palm, while one of his fingers slipped around her entrance. Buffy shuddered with pleasure. Then, slowly, he dragged her panties down all the way to her knees. She gratefully kicked them off, and grabbed him to her again. She wanted to feel his skin against hers, covering her completely, warming her, loving her with his every pore. Her thighs parted to let him lay between them, to make him rub his erection against her soaked centre. Giles kissed her again, pressing his entire body to hers. His chest hair tickled her over-excited nipples, her arms wrapped around his back, and her hips had gone into an uncontrollable frenzy of bucking.

'Giles, please, I want you inside me...' she sighed, parting her thighs wider, hopefully arching her hips up to help him enter. He smiled against her lips, kissing her, and she felt his hips slightly move away from hers. Then she groaned as she felt the head of his cock at her entrance. She gasped and panted for air, waiting for long seconds before he slowly sunk into her. Buffy cried out with pleasure, raking his back with her nails, when her body greeted him at last, closing around him, never to let him go again. They were one now, one, forever. She cried out his name, tightly wrapping her legs around his hips, pressing him inside her as deep as he would go. Giles moaned into her ear, and started to thrust in her, slowly at first. She felt herself tighten even more, deep inside her belly, and growled, and bucked her hips against his, meeting his movements, rubbing her body against his as much as she possibly could. Giles' breath in her ear was laboured, punctuated with gasps and short cries of pleasure, as his movements became more and more urgent. With every thrust, she was closer, her body contracted a little more, her sheath closed harder onto his shaft.

'I'm coming...' she mumbled, holding him tighter. He growled loudly into her ear with excitement, and plunged deeper, harder inside her. 'Giles... oh my God!' She hardly heard her own scream when her body exploded, ecstasy pulsating through her, causing her to grab him harder, to actually bite down on his shoulder to drown her cries. Giles slammed hard into her, while she still climaxed, she heard him let out a grunt, then a growl of pleasure. He quivered inside her, and moaned as she clamped down on him. She mixed her voice with his as he finally cried out, as his pleasure spurted out into her womb. They were one, now, one voice, one breath, one heartbeat, one mind, one pleasure.

Buffy took in a long gasp of air, feeling herself still tremble and pulsate in the aftermath of her climax. Giles let himself collapse over her, panting, moaning, and she held him tight in her arms. She didn't care if he was squashing her, she just wanted him to be there, in her, over her, with her, for ever and ever. Giles finally rolled to the side, bringing her with him, so that he was still deeply embedded in her. Buffy smiled at him lovingly, and kissed his lips gently. He gazed at her with his jade eyes, and for the first time since she had met him, she saw the melancholy entirely lift from them. She felt her own eyes go misty with tears.

'I love you,' he murmured gently, kissing her again and holding her close into his warmth. She nestled into his arms, laying her head against his strong shoulders.

'And I love you too, Rupert,' she whispered. 'Happy Valentine's Day.' He grinned.

'Yes, it really is,' he answered, plundering her mouth again with his tongue. 'I think we'd better make a habit of it.' She chuckled and snuggled up to him, listening to the soft sound of his breath and heartbeat, to the water flowing next to them and to the birds singing in the trees. It was indeed a very happy Valentine's Day.

***********

Tara let out a long sigh when she and Willow returned into the room with the empty cat basket. The candles, the gemstones - stupid gemstones! - and the vibrating "broomsticks", all these romantic things seemed really shallow after what had happened with Miss Kitty.

'It's so empty in here without her,' sighed Willow, sitting down on the bed. Tara sat down by her and took her hand.

'I know. She really brought life into this place,' she murmured.

'It's all dead and quiet now that she's not there,' moaned Willow.

'She truly was the cutest and cleverest kitten ever,' added Tara.

'I keep on thinking that she'll just come running onto the bed or rolling around on the floor, meowing for her food. And then, I remember she's gone.' Tara nodded, and they remained silent for a while, sending their best thoughts to Miss Kitty Fantastico, praying to any god goddess of small animals to bless her.

'She will be okay, won't she?' asked Willow, suddenly, wide-eyed. Tara stroked Willow's hair gently and nodded.

'I'm sure she will. The vet said that she just needed some time before she got over the anaesthetic,' she said soothingly.

'But what if she gets complications? What if the dog in the cage next door has rabies or bad breath or if it barks all night and she can't sleep?' Tara quietened her by laying a finger on her lips.

'Hush, now. She'll be fine. The doc said that it would be, we can trust him.' Willow nodded sadly.

'It just isn't the same anymore without her here,' she moaned. Tara nodded.

'I know. Here, let's get some warm milk before we go to sleep,' she said.

'Aw...' whined Willow. 'That was her favourite. I'm gonna miss her so much tonight!' Tara nodded.

'Come, if we don't sleep, we won't be able to pick her up tomorrow morning.' Willow nodded.

'I know, I know...' she sighed. Tara drew her girlfriend against her and gently kissed her forehead.

'It'll be okay, let's just rest now,' she whispered again, gently holding Willow against her. She didn't know herself if she was going to be able to find any rest, while their feline friend was away at the vet's.

***********

'Rupert! Look what you've done to the sheets!' giggled Buffy, wiping the ice cream off the bedclothes and licking her fingers. They both sat naked in bed, Buffy curled between his thighs, her back against his stomach, using his chest as a pillow. He had been feeding her Cookies 'n Cream ice cream, while she read the love letter he had awkwardly tried to hide in his jacket earlier in the day. It seemed like centuries away now. Everything had gone so fast between them. He was still trying go take in the reality of it all.

'I don't think that's the worst thing they'll ever see,' he grinned and kissed her shoulder. Buffy wriggled back against his chest, sighing happily.

'You should write more, Rupert,' she said with a smile. 'You are a real poet, you know that?' She nuzzled his shoulder and folded the letter again to carefully put it away in the elegant pearly pink envelope that he had chosen for her.

'I'm happy you like my style,' he answered softly, revelling in the simple pleasure of having her hot naked body snuggled against his. There was a comfortable silence, as they both relaxed after their incredibly intense lovemaking. After their passionate encounter in the woods, they had driven home and hadn't even made it to the bed before jumping onto each other again.

'Why didn't I realise before?' said Buffy suddenly. 'Like, before I had that yeuchy thing with Parker?' she grumbled.

'Realise what, luv?' he asked, wrapping his hands around her waist.

'That you're the only man that I was meant to be with,' she said, twisting her head back to beam up at him. Giles lowered his head to kiss her lips lightly.

'Perhaps because you weren't ready yet?' he offered, stroking her skin absent-mindedly.

'Yeah. I guess I needed a rebound guy, before facing the real thing, again,' she murmured. Giles glowed with happiness and started trailing kisses along her face, down her shoulder.

'The real thing?' he asked, although he knew perfectly well what she meant. He just wanted to hear her say it again.

'True love,' she said, moulding her body into his. 'You're the best thing that's happened to me in like... my whole life.' He smiled at her, and tried to find something light-hearted to say, to refrain from melting into a puddle of emotions, a state that hardly befitted his British self-control.

'Without forgetting this ice cream, of course,' he said, handing her another spoonful. Buffy giggled and licked the spoon clean.

'How come you had that in your freezer, anyway? I didn't think that you had ice cream in England,' she teased. He chuckled. 'Come on, big guy, how did that tub of yumminess land into your freezer... oh wait. If Olivia has something to do with it, I don't want to know.' Giles grinned.

'God, are you possessive!' he exclaimed, flattered.

'I'm not possessive!' she argued. 'It's just that... you're very, very old and it's... gross,' she intoned. Giles responded by making the half melted ice-cream drip between her breasts, down her stomach. Buffy squealed and wriggled at the contact of the freezing liquid, giggling uncontrollably.

'Rupert Giles, stop that immediately!' she cried, outraged. He continued, drizzling the cream onto her nipples, holding her firmly so that she couldn't escape. She finally ripped the tub of ice cream out of his hand and turned to face him, glowering at him. He grinned at her smugly, observing the delicate patterns of melted ice cream on her chest and stomach.

'Did I hear the gong for round three?' he asked innocently. Buffy replied by throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him savagely. He chuckled as he felt the sticky dessert against his chest.

'Oi!' he cried, trying to push her away and failing miserably. 'You're getting it all over me, too!' he complained between two burning kisses.

'Too bad for you, I'm gonna have to lick you clean...' said Buffy with a grin, rubbing her chest against his some more, before slowly going down his throat, licking and suckling as she went. He laughed and lay back, savouring the sensation of her tongue on his skin. She dutifully lapped up all the sticky mess from his chest, taking advantage of her position to tease his nipples again, too. He groaned with pleasure as heat started to shoot through him, going down to his groin. Buffy's lips went lower, polishing off his stomach, her tongue slipping inside his navel. Then she reached for the ice-cream again, and let it drip down his lower belly. Giles squirmed at the cold liquid on his skin and let out a long moan. He could feel it drip down to his stirring penis. Buffy followed the trail of cream down his stomach and onto his hardening member. Her tongue ran down it slowly, and he groaned, feeling himself come back to life again.

'Hmm, you taste nice,' said Buffy softly. 'I wonder what would happen if we mixed flavours...' She smeared ice cream over the tip of his penis and sucked it off slowly, swirling her tongue at it. Giles gasped and felt his erection growing again quickly as Buffy sucked and licked it, adding more ice cream then cleaning him off. He was completely hard and extremely excited when she was finished with him. Her lips trailed back up his heaving chest, and she straddled his hips, grinning. He smirked back. She wasn't going to get away with teasing him like this so lightly.

Before she knew it, Giles grabbed Buffy's hips and threw her down onto the bed, under him. He held her down by her wrists and started trailing small kisses all the way down her throat, as she moaned gently. When he arrived to the intricate pattern of cream he had drawn on her breasts, he started to lick carefully, following the lines. It was like going through a labyrinth, and Buffy responded noisily, writhing underneath him, as if she wanted to be freed. Giles knew perfectly well that she could toss him aside any time she wanted, but that she enjoyed being dominated by him. His lips finally started down her stomach, as he let go of her wrists to stroke her breasts instead. Buffy giggled under his tongue, and he pressed harder, to avoid her ticklish reaction. Her laughter soon turned into soft gasps and moans, as he arrived closer to her soaked nether lips. He smiled up at her, and ran his tongue all around her inner thighs, without ever touching her pussy.

'Giles, please...' she moaned. He smiled and shook his head, then grabbed her waist and flipped her onto her stomach. She squealed in protest, but he lay heavily over her, nibbling at her shoulder, kissing the delicate folds of her ears. When he let melted ice-cream trickle all the way down her spine, she shivered uncontrollably and squirmed against his body. He spread it out with his hands, then started to lick his way down her back, giving particular attention to her highly sensitive spine. She moaned and writhed under him, pressing herself into the bed, already moving her hips uncontrollably. Giles grinned and raised her buttocks off the mattress, holding her hips up under his strong arm, when his lips arrived to her lower back. He licked her buttocks, gently nibbling at them, causing her to gasp and moan. Her face was buried in the pillows now, and he could feel heat rising from her burning core. Slowly, he lowered his mouth to her swollen pussy, and ploughed over it with his tongue. Buffy cried out with delight and her entire body shook. Giles ran his tongue over her again and again, before gently slipping it into her tight entrance. He could see her raking her nails through the pillows, moaning loudly under his ministrations. Before she could come, he stopped. She moaned with disappointment, and turned her head a little to look at him. The lustful expression in his eyes made her smile knowingly.

Giles knelt behind her and slipped his hard cock against her clit. She bucked and cried, her hands grabbing the headboard for support. Giles took hold of her hips to control her movements, making sure that she didn't come too soon. He slowly pressed the head of his penis inside her dripping opening, and she moaned again ecstatically. With a smile, Giles thrust slow and deep inside her. He pulled out nearly completely, before entering her again entirely. Buffy gasped and tried to move, but he held her firmly, taking control of both their pleasure. His left hand snaked around her waist and started to stroke her swollen bud as his thrusts picked up speed. Buffy broke into a frenzy of cries and gasps. She held the headboard tight, pressing her face against it, grinding her breasts into the pillows as Giles increased his rhythm, rubbing her nub between his finger and thumb, steadily bringing her to the edge. Buffy's moans and cries became louder, she shook her golden mane wildly as her head nearly hit the oaken panel of Giles' bed, while he felt her sheath tighten around him, her incredible muscles holding him in an iron grip. He growled loudly and took hold of her waist, slipping an arm under her chest to knead her heavy breasts in his hands, pumping faster and faster inside her.

'Oh God Giles, oh God, oh God...' was all she could mumble as his fingers stroked her, as his member filled her completely, as his fingertips grazed at the sensitive flesh of her breasts. He could feel her climax build up, feel the tensing of her stomach, and then the sudden fluttering of her muscles as she screamed into the pillow, bucking her hips wildly, ecstasy washing over her. His loins were boiling, he was close too, and he could feel her twitch and quiver around him, her orgasm going on forever, her cries and moans dwindling only to grow again suddenly. He thrust hard into her, feeling her coming and coming uncontrollably, feeling her draw him into her never-ending orgasm.

'Buffy!' his rasping shout filled the room as his body shook with pleasure, as semen burst out into her tight channel in violent spasms of ecstasy. Giles moaned and moaned as the sensation slowly faded. Buffy's cries also turned to sweet whimpers and gasps, and Giles let himself tumble over her back, wrapping his arms around her waist. Panting and sighing, Buffy looked back at him and grinned.

'Remember when I called you a god, a few years back?' asked Buffy breathlessly. Giles grinned and nodded, kissing her shoulders and hair.

'Let me alter that to sex god,' she panted. He chuckled a little and licked at her shoulder, slowly withdrawing from her, to lay on his side and pull her into his arms.

'Only thanks to you...' he murmured, kissing her ear, feeling sleep start to claim him. 'I'm only whole with you...' he whispered, holding her tight, never to let her go.

'And me with you...' she replied, just as sleepily. Soon, the two lovers had fallen into a deep slumber, completely spent and happy.

***********

Lying in the long grass close beside her
Giving her the name of the one the moon loves
This will be the day she will remember
When she knew his heart was
Loving in the long grass close beside her
Whispering of love and the way it leaves them
Lying in the long grass in the sunlight
They believe it's true love --

'CUT THE MUSIC ALREADY!' screamed Anya suddenly. Xander and Tara, who had been sitting at the tarot table, both nearly jumped out of their skins at the ex-demon's cry. Happy strings and layered feminine voices had been filling the Magic Box since this morning, and it was true that Giles had been listening to it a little loud. The volume was slightly lowered, in the end, as the Watcher hummed along while he read some enormous volume.

'Anya,' hissed Xander. She approached, her lip still quite swollen, and an extremely pissed off expression on her face.

'What?' she snapped. Xander gestured to Giles and whispered.

'He was alone on Valentine's Day, okay? You could cut him some slack. Maybe New Age music cheers him up,' he whispered. Anya rolled her eyes.

'Listening to Enya all day does not cheer *me* up. I don't want to be happy and I don't want to "soothe my spirit and heart". I'm in a bad mood and I want to listen to heavy metal until my ears fall off,' growled Anya. Xander smiled sympathetically.

'Actually... I-I kinda like Giles' music too,' said Tara, grimacing a little. Anya sighed and gestured dramatically.

'Are we ex-demons cursed forever?' she grumbled, as she walked back behind the counter. 'First I'm underpaid, then I get stung by a bee, and now I have to cut my stupid boss some slack 'cause...' the rest of her sentence faded out in the background, swallowed up by the music. Tara smiled sympathetically at Xander.

'H-how was your Valentine's Day, then?' asked Tara. Xander rolled his eyes.

'A real nightmare. Anya got stung by a bee on her lip. Not only did it hurt like hell, it also gave her some allergic reaction and she nearly passed out on the way to hospital. So when we came back, we were sort of not in smoochie mood. Anyway, we couldn't have smooched if we'd wanted too, seeing as her lip was as big as New Jersey.' Tara nodded.

'Huh, we didn't have the nicest day, either,' she muttered.

'Oh yeah?' asked Xander. 'What happened to you two? Did you fall off your broomsticks?' Tara grinned a little, then her face straightened.

'No... it-it was Miss Kitty Fantastico. She swallowed one of our crystals. We had to get her to the vet, and we waited until the op' was finished before going home... leaving her there. And... well, we were missing her too much, so...' she shrugged and grimaced a little.

'Wow, that's really bad luck. I think we're cursed. Don't you witches have a spell to take off Valentine's Day curses?' asked Xander. Tara laughed a little. The bell on the door rang as Willow came in.

'Hello!' she exclaimed happily. Tara got up with a squeal and ran to her girlfriend. She was carrying Miss Kitty in her basket.

'How is she?' asked Tara, opening the door to stroke the sleepy kitten inside.

'She's fine! The doc' said she has to wear one of those silly kitty-collars that go all around her head so she doesn't pull the stitches,' said Willow happily. Tara let out a sigh of relief. Xander came along and Willow smiled at him.

'So, uh, Tara here tells me that your little kitty was a party pooper yesterday?' he asked Willow. The redhead nodded and shrugged.

'Never mind. We'll do it some other day,' she said resignedly. 'It's not like it's some magical day, after all. It's just a commercial holiday, like Halloween, except that Halloween has its roots in real pagan rituals, whereas Valentine's Day...' Tara chuckled.

'I think she's a bit bitter,' she said softly, grinning.

'Well, don't worry, Will, our Valentine's Day sucked. I've lived through Apocalypses that were more fun than that,' said Xander. Willow smiled.

'Did you have a row with Anya?' she asked.

'No,' replied Xander. 'No, she had a row with a bee. Hence, the lip from Hell,' he said, pointing at his girlfriend. She was sulking in a corner, putting price tags on various objects that had arrived in the latest shipment.

'Well, at least we were lucky to spend our day with the one we loved, even though it wasn't much fun,' said Willow with a sigh. Tara smiled and closed the cage again.

'Yeah, Giles and the Buffster seem to always be alone on Valentine's Day. Poor guys,' commented Xander. The door opened with a tinkle, and Buffy entered. She was beaming.

'Hey guys!' she exclaimed, smiling enormously. Giles turned around as he heard her voice and set his book down onto the table.

'Wow, you look in a good mood!' said Willow, surprised. Buffy gave her a big hug, then turned to give one to Xander, too.

'Yes, and it's all thanks to your great video!' she said. Willow beamed.

'Really? You liked it so much! That's cool!' she exclaimed excitedly.

'How did you like my performance as the Dying Vampire?' asked Xander. Buffy giggled.

'You were great, you were all great!' she said with a dreamy smile, looking towards Giles.

'Well, that'll teach us, Wills. Next year, we all curl up in front of the TV with a home video and popcorn. At least, we won't have any bad surprises then!' said Xander.

'You kidding, Xand?' asked Buffy. 'I didn't spend my day indoors, yesterday.' She smiled coyly and fingered the string that held her top closed. 'I had a date.'

'You! Oh! That is so unfair!' exclaimed Willow over-excitedly. 'Tell me all about, go on share!' she ordered. Buffy grinned broadly.

'Okay. So we went on a picnic in the woods, and then there was the whole ice cream thing,' she added, smirking mischievously. Giles cleared his throat, behind the counter, shooting her a "thank you for giving out those details" look.

'Were there smoochies? What does he look like? Where does he live? How did you meet him?' asked Willow all in one breath. Buffy chuckled.

'Yes, gorgeous, not far from here, known him for years,' replied Buffy, purposefully striding behind the counter.

Willow opened wide eyes and Xander yelped. Tara simply smiled and Anya rolled her eyes, as they all watched Buffy give her Watcher a very warm and intimate greeting with her lips.

'Okay, Will, have you been messing with a "my will be done spell" again?' asked Xander. Willow slapped his hand.

'Xander!' she growled, taking another look at the Watcher and the Slayer, who were embracing on the chair, whispering sweet words to each other. They looked adorable together.

'I knew it! I knew he couldn't be listening to happy music without having had lots of orgasms!' growled Anya.

'W-well, it *was* kinda obvious,' said Tara.

'That Giles got a happy yesterday? Yeah, figures,' said Xander, thinking of how lightly he had got off with breaking a 50$ Amazonian fertility statuette.

'N-no, I meant... hadn't you ever noticed how those two are meant to be together?' asked Tara, smiling. Xander and Willow stared at each other, then at Tara.

'I had. But when I asked Xander if they were having sex he said I was a crazy person,' said Anya sharply, crossing her arms. Xander shrugged apologetically.

'No fair, they got a great Valentine's Day, and we didn't,' said Willow, pouting. Tara grinned and took the redhead's wrist in her soft hand.

'Why don't we go and catch up with them?' she whispered in Willow's ear. Willow turned to her girlfriend.

'Do we have ice cream?' she murmured back. Tara grinned and nodded, and the two witches both turned to leave.

'Well, if you're going to have sex in here, clean up after you and - you break it, you buy it,' said Anya to an oblivious Buffy and Giles, joining Xander and taking his hand. She grinned up at him. 'My lip has stopped hurting. How fast do you think we can get back to your place?' Xander grinned at her and kissed her lips.

'Let's try for light speed, yeah?' he said, wrapping his arm around her shoulder and walking to the door. He shot a last glance at the lovers kissing on the chair, and smiled broadly at them. Tara was right, in the end. Those two really looked like they belonged together. He didn't bother to disturb the couple by saying goodbye and exited the shop with his girlfriend in his arm, happy that he and all his friends had at last found true love.

 
The END