What's Past is Prologue
By Surnia

Title: "What's past is prologue"
Author: Surnia
e-mail: ABewley@compuserve.com
Rating: PG14 (will go up to R)
Content:  B/G. Set after A New Man. Ethan's escaped (of course!).
Disclaimer: All things Buffy belong to Joss Whedon, the WB, FOX and Mutant Enemy and  20th Century Fox Film Corporation and whoever else has a legal claim to them.
Distribution: Let me know.


Giles put down his books in disgust with a little less care than he would have normally used. What good were they in the face of a military force? It would help if Buffy were to put in an appearance and make some suggestions, but, no, she was off with Riley, no doubt smoothing his Teutonic brow - and other parts which he didn't care to dwell on. And was this because she thought Riley would solve all their problems? Not bloody likely. So much for sharing and telling me everything. Bloody hormones.

He had to get out before he exploded and completely lost it. He decided to go to the bar where he and Ethan had gone drinking. At least it would recall suitably morose memories. Good company for some serious drinking.

He slammed the door on his way out and went to the bar.

He sat down in a corner of the bar and ordered. By the time he was on his second round, someone sat down opposite him. He looked up. "Ethan!"

"Ripper!" he said, cheerfully.

"I thought they arrested you."

"For what? Come now, a little magic with those idiots and I'm away. You don't think I'd be unprepared for such matters, did you, old boy?"

"Why don't I call the police?"

"And tell them what? The boys in camouflage are not government sanctioned, although they think they are."

Giles blinked. "They're not?" they said in a tone of disbelief.

"They have connections, but not legal ones," Ethan said blithely.

"Then perhaps you could tell me why I shouldn't bash your head in?"

"Because we can work together on this."

"Ethan, you just turned me into a demon."

"But a relatively harmless demon. And I did the spell before you ran into
me."

"Why?"

"So you and your precious Slayer would get a glimpse of what's happening. It would have worn off by the next day, you know."

"Before or after Buffy killed me?"

"I was counting on your ability to stay alive, old boy, and you proved me right."

"All right, we know this Initiative is dubious. What do you suggest in the face of overwhelming force and modern weapons?"

He leaned forward and said, "Magic."

"Ethan," Giles said dangerously.

"Look, you know more than I do. Between the two of us we might be able to do something."

"And this is out of the kindness of your heart?"

"No, I'm being paid to stop them. I could cut you in."

"You can order the next round of drinks," Giles said.

Ethan grinned. He hadn't hit him or sent him packing. This was looking hopeful. Once the next round of drinks were on the table, Giles asked, "So who's paying you?"

"Customer confidentiality, old boy."

Giles glared at him silently and Ethan shrugged, "Some lawyers in Los Angeles who have some rather unusual customers. They're alarmed by possible forces which could be unleashed by what the soldier boys are doing."

Giles took a drink, thinking. Ethan recognised the signs. He was interested. He was nibbling on the bait. Ethan pressed on. "They're a danger to everyone, Rupert."

Giles put down his drink and said carefully, "And just want do you have in mind, Ethan?"

"Well, I thought we'd start with harassment."

"Harassment?"

"Sending in supernatural beasties in that they can't deal with."

"Hmm, they deal with the scientific and physical. Something that could be less than corporeal. That might unsettle them. I'm sure that they have no idea what a ward is to prevent it."

Ethan beamed. "Then you'll help?"

"Maybe. It would help Buffy."

"Absolutely! And we'll have such fun!"

"Ethan," he said in a warning tone.

"Defeating the baddies together," he added carefully.

"When?"

"Are you sober enough to do it tonight?"

Giles shrugged. "I'll have a coffee and will be fine."

"Splendid!" Ethan said, "just like old times!"

A short time later, Ethan took Giles to where he was staying. As they entered he remarked to him, "Just to demonstrate that I'm on the level. You know where to find me."

Giles grinned. "Ethan, you're so crooked you wouldn't recognise a level if you saw it!"

"Rupert, that's so --- well, true."

They both laughed. Ethan produced a book with the spell he intended to do. "Hmm," Giles said, "releasing a couple of wraiths into the complex. Interesting."

"Connected to some of those demons they've destroyed."

"And with a limited shelf-life. That's good."

"Wouldn't want them getting out of hand, would we?"

"No." He looked at Ethan and said with a smile slowly forming, "You know, this might be rather fun."

Ethan beamed. "That's my Ripper!"

Ethan wasted no time in getting the circle in place. With Giles helping him, they could release twice the number of wraiths. The sooner he had results, the larger his bonus. Not to mention satisfaction at finallt getting Ripper off the straight and narrow. The spell was quick and simple and in no time at all, some very angry wraiths were buzzing on their way to unsettle the Initiative. There would be hauntings, poltergeists and general disruption. Just the thing to shake them up.

Giles stretched luxuriously. "That was invigorating," he remarked.

"Nothing like a bit of magic for a good buzz," Ethan said. He grinned at him, "Shall we go pick up a couple of birds or do you have other ideas?'

He glared at Ethan, "Don't push it, Ethan. But I rather like the first part of the suggestion."

"Do you want to go for the sedate bar or the rowdy bar?"

"Rowdy, I think. Far better."

"Let's go, Ripper."

***

That was the first of several nights of magic followed by riotous behaviour. Giles noticed with delight that those who he knew to be commandos were looking a bit the worse for wear. He was avoiding Buffy and the others which he discovered, to his disgust, didn't take much effort. After all, as far as they were concerned, he concluded bitterly, he was a redundant useless old codger. If they only knew. Ethan reinforced his opinion with trenchant observations about their behaviour.

Giles discovered that he was actually having a good time carousing with Ethan and casting a few spells. He bought a motorcycle and the leather pants to go with them and was pleased to discover that he had no trouble pulling at all. Mind you, the magic he was positively oozing didn't hinder his attractiveness to the opposite gender.

Meanwhile Buffy was getting frustrated, She had decided not to bother Giles so that he wouldn't be in danger and become a target. She hadn't even told Riley what Giles'role was in her life. She was perplexed by the stories Riley had been telling her about the weird happenings in the complex. Probably a result of their experiments - or the Hellmouth getting its own back - she thought. At least it was distracting them. When she finally decided she should tell Giles what was happening, she found that he wasn't home. She tried a couple of times but he was never there. His mail was collected, so he wasn't away. She asked a neighbour and was told that he was frequently in and out, so she was even more perplexed. He was probably researching in some obscure library some place, she decided. Checking out their demon cross-referencing perhaps.

Then one night she decided to check out a club because Willy had told her that vamps were wary of it. Perhaps it was an Initiative, hang-out she thought.

She came into the darkened club and looked at the dance floor and her eyes narrowed. Ethan, she said to herself. Maybe he's the cause of all the fuss. He had his arms around a woman with long dark hair. Laughing, he leaned over to talk to another man whose back was to her. So, she thought, an accomplice. Her eyes dropped to the leather pants the man was wearing and the blonde who was glued to him. But at least one with a nice butt, she thought. She crossed her arms and waited as the couple moved around until he was facing her. She blinked. No. He looked over at Ethan and said something and laughed. She swallowed. Giles. It must be a spell. Ethan had put a spell on him again! She was so going to make the weasel bleed.

She made her way to them through the dance floor. "Giles!"

He looked at her in surprise and said, "Oh, hullo, Buffy. I didn't know this was your sort of place."

She glared at Ethan, "If this is another of your spells ..."

"Not guilty!" Ethan said, trying to manoeuvre his partner away from the irate Slayer.

"Giles, I'm taking you home!" Buffy insisted. Giles smirked. "To your home," she hastily amended, surprised by his reaction. He raised a suggestive eyebrow, "Where you can be Giles," she added in some confusion.

The blonde looked up at him, "Who's this and when is she going away, Rupert?"

She smiled, "A friend, love."

"Love?" Buffy said.

"Yes, pet," he said to Buffy with a mischievous glint in his eye.

"Don't you start calling me 'pet' now!"

He looked at his dance partner, "She's a bit sensitive."

The blonde looked at her with annoyance, "Why don't you go take some Valium or something?"

He told her, "Why don't you get a drink and I'll speak to her?"

She kissed him on the lips, "But I'll see you afterwards, studmuffin?'

Buffy glared as she swayed away and was surprised when Giles suddenly swept her into his arms. "What?" she asked.

"Dance," he said. He pulled her in close to him and wrapped his arms around her. She tentatively put her arms around his waist. She shivered slightly as her hands touched the leather. Damn. What was about men and leather? Remember. This is Giles. Giles in leather. She shook her head in confusion.

"Giles."

"Yes?"

"What are you doing here?"

"Hmm, let's see. Drinking, dancing and wenching."

"With Ethan?"

"With Ethan."

"How can you do this?"

"Well, as for the drinking, I put my lips to the glass and swallow. Dancing - you move in rhythm with the music. And wenching ... do you want the details?'

"No, no, no details. I mean be friends with Ethan."

"We were friends for years."

"But he's *bad*!"

"It's under control."

"You can't do this!"

"Can't I?" he asked in a voiced laced with sarcasm. "And why not!"

"Because I say it's wrong!" she said.

"Then perhaps I need to silence you," he said, bending down and clasping the back of her head to pull her towards him. He kissed her and when she gasped in surprise, he forced his tongue through her lips. She froze and found herself responding to the violent onslaught. His other hand pulled her body against him and she could feel the hardness under his leather.

He pulled away and she opened her to mouth to speak only to have his mouth descend on hers again. This time his hand left her head to join the other one on her bottom as he pulled her up against him, still slowly gyrating with the music.. He finally released her and she realised she was panting lightly and not a little disconcerted. He kissed her lightly on the lips and turned away to go and find his date, leaving a very confused Buffy standing in the middle of the dance floor. If she had turned around, she would have seen a smirking Ethan in the shadows. She shook her head and left.

********

Buffy waited impatiently outside Giles' apartment until it finally got so late that she decided that he wasn't coming home. "Probably went home with that skanky 'ho," she muttered darkly as she turned to go home.

When she got back to the dorm, she slammed the door, nearly knocking it off its hinges. Willow woke up and said, "Cranky. Row with Riley?"

"Giles!" she exclaimed.

"You had a row with Giles?" she asked.

"I saw Giles. In leather. With Ethan. With a slut."

"Expand a little."

"Giles was in a club with this blond bimbo wrapped around him wearing leather. With Ethan."

"The bimbo was wearing leather?"

"No, GILES was wearing leather."

"Giles was wearing leather," Willow repeated. "And Ethan was?"

"There. With Giles."

"I'm still a little lost. Giles had a date?"

"Yes. No. I don't know. She was wrapped around him like a, like a , like slime!" She sat down. "I'm confused. How did this happen?"

"Well, you've been busy. I guess Giles decided to get a life."

"Well, he shouldn't!"

"Get a life?"

"Get a life with Ethan and bimbo sluts."

Willow shook her head. "I understand the Ethan is bad part. But bimbos?"

"How could he do this to me?"

"Do what? Go on a date?"

"Turn into a sexy leather wearing GUY!"

"But Giles has always been sexy," beginning to recognise something of a sub-text.

"He has?"

Willow sighed. "I used to have pictures of him in my locker."

"You had a CRUSH on MY Watcher? Willow! You never told me!"

"Calm down, Buffy. Yeah, I did."

"I'm not having this conversation."

"Yes you are. You left him out in the cold and he's decided he wants to be warm."

"With Ethan and loose women. What does he have to get warm with them! He said he was 'drinking, dancing and wenching'."

Willow giggled. "Sounds like fun." Buffy glared at her. Willow was quiet a minute and then said, "Riley said that there's all sorts of weird things going on in their labs." Buffy nodded and Willow continued, "Well, if Ethan and Giles are together, do you think that they are ..."

"Doing some mojo against them?" She thought a moment and then said, "Ethan was going on about the Initiative. Could be."

"Why don't you ask Giles?"

"Right," she said, "tomorrow we are so going to have a talk."

"Good," she said. "Finally. About time."

Buffy went to bed and as soon as she closed her eyes started to dream of Giles in leather pants on a motorcycle.

~~~~

After her classes, Buffy checked again at Giles' apartment. He still hadn't come home. His mail wasn't collected. Frustrated, she decided to come back that evening. Still not there. She'd patrol and then come back. Dammit. She was turning into a stalker. She was so going to make Ethan bleed for this.

She came back late after patrol and Giles was still not there. Grumbling about his unreasonable new life style, she used a key he had given her for emergencies and let herself in. She turned on one of the table lamps and went to the kitchenette and opened the refrigerator. She poured herself a glass of milk and went back to the main room and sat down. Now what? she thought. She so needed to talk to him and where the Hell was he? Doing stuff with the bimbo? Why were men never there when you needed them? She blinked a minute. Well, need as in need to talk, not need as in need - as in leather-encased flesh need. She drank her milk. Why did he have to do that and make everything so complicated.

And Ethan. Why Ethan? Okay, Ethan was an old friend or enemy or enemy friend. And he wasn't trying to take Giles away, was he? He probably knew all sorts of people and things Giles could do. How dare he! Giles would stay because ... because.

She took another drink of milk. Because she ignored him and lied to him and kept secrets and failed to report and took advantage of him and ... She took another drink. This was not sounding good. Maybe he *was* going to go off somewhere with Ethan to do magic and drink and dance and wench and wear leather trousers and kiss like ...

She looked at the glass. It was empty. She so going to have to talk him. How dare he decide to leave! He wouldn't, would he?

She looked around in sudden alarm. What if he didn't come back? What if he'd already left? Like Oz left. She raced upstairs to the bedroom and opened the closet and drawers. Phew! Most of his clothes were still here. Unless he decided to dump all the tweedy stuff he never wore any more and just leave. In leather on a motorcycle. He wouldn't. He couldn't, she insisted to herself.

She had mentally exhausted herself with her mental circles. She decided to have a quick nap on the bed so that she wouldn't miss him and soon fell asleep.

A couple hours later Giles came in. He was surprised to see the light and looked around cautiously. Then he noticed his mail in a pile and an empty glass with some milk in the bottom. Buffy must have been and left the light on, he thought. He threw his leather jacket down on the sofa and yanked off his boots. He'd look up the reference he came back for in the morning. He went up the stairs, pulling off his t-shirt as he went.

He froze when he got to the top of the stairs and saw the female body on his bed. No, not again. She moved and he breathed again. Buffy. He smiled wryly. On his bed. Well, that's a sight he thought he'd never see.

He sat down on the edge of the bed and pushed her hair back from her face. She looks deceptively frail when she's asleep, he thought. He brushed her lips with his thumb and she made an incomprehensible sound. Feeling rather impish, he bent over and kissed her lips. Her eyes flew open. Poised above her were a pair of familiar green eyes. Her eyes dropped down. On top of a shirtless torso. On top of those leather trousers. Eyes up. Eyes up.

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"Well," he said dryly, "I was planning on going to bed. It is something that one normally does in one's bed."

Riled, she said, "Well, it doesn't seem like you do it much anymore!"

He smiled, "What, sleep in beds? I assure that I've been sleeping in beds more often than I did when I was your Watcher."

"You *are* my Watcher. I don't care what the Council says!"

"That's not what's at issue. It would appear that Riley's your Watcher." There was a slight distaste in his voice when he said his name.

"No, he's my boyfriend."

"Right," he said, "Angel's replacement. Your new primary loyalty. I suppose he can watch your back like Angel used to do."

She sat up straight, eyes flashing. "That's not fair!"

"It is," he stated. "I realise that you tend to be rather self-involved, but not normally delusional."

"I'm not self-involved! I'm the Slayer! I put my life on the line for people!"

He sighed. "When you're being the Slayer, Buffy, you're magnificent. When you're being Buffy Summers is when you're self-involved."

"I'm not! Magnificent?"

He smiled a little wearily and said, "When was the last time you told me what was happening with the Initiative? In spite of the fact that there are those among them who would like to see us dead?"

"Recently! Very recently!"

"When?"

"Well, okay, I've been a little busy."

"Weeks," he stated.

She pouted. "Okay, I messed up majorly with the reporting business. I can do better!"

He turned away. "You just don't get it, do you?" His expression hardened and he stood up and walked around the bed and started to undo his trousers.

"What are you doing?" Buffy asked, wide-eyed.

"Taking off my trousers and going to bed. It is *my* bed. Do what you like."

She watched in shock as he proceeded to do just that. Wearing just his boxers, he turned to the bed and said, "If you don't mind, I'd like to get under the covers."

She moved and he pulled back the covers and got into bed. He crossed his arms and closed his eyes.

Buffy stood there not quite knowing what to do. Was he blowing her off? "I'm not going until we talk!" she said.

"We talked," he stated.

"No, we didn't!" she insisted.

"Oh? Did we not cover something?"

"Yeah, lots. Like, why did you kiss me?"

"When? Tonight? To wake you up. Last night? To shut you up."

"Well, it felt like more than that!"

He opened his eyes, and said, "Did it?"

Uncomfortable under his gaze, she started to shift nervously and then said, "Who was the blonde?"

He said, "That was, Mary or Marianne or some such name."

"Oh, it was casual?"

"Very casual," he said with a knowing tone.

"There. You see. Casual sex. Is very dangerous. You can catch all sorts of things!"

"If you don't use condoms."

"Giles, this is very immature."

He laughed and said, "Buffy, I've been sexually active for a good number of years. I am well aware of the facts of life." He looked at her. "Speaking of casual sex, did you remember to use protection with that Parker character?"

"Of course, I did. Wait a minute. That's none of your business!'

"Nor is what I do," he said reasonably.

She sat down on the edge of the bed, feeling a little defeated. Pulling her hair behind her ear, she changed tact and asked, "So, have you and Ethan being doing something to the Initiative?" He smiled smugly. "I'll take that as a yes. Is it dangerous?"

"Why? Do you want to let them know?"

"Giles! That is so unfair!"

His eyes glittered. "Perhaps it is. I should warn you, Buffy. Magic is a bit like drinking. I'm far more likely to snap at you than repress. Perhaps for your own sake, you should go."

"You want me to go?"

"Don't you want to go and snog your little soldier? Oh, sorry, you're already up to shagging."

Stung by his tone, she said, "I don't understand."

"Not surprising," he muttered.

She ran her hand up to the tattoo of Eyghon on his arm and traced it lightly with her finger. "You're not going to do anything like that, are you?"

"I'm not a fool, Buffy. Well, perhaps I am, but not a suicidal one."

He looked at her . Her head was bowed and her face hidden by her hair as she traced the tattoo with her finger. "I don't want to lose you," she said.

"I rather thought that I had been discarded."

"No, it's not true! I've just ... I mean ... he needs help."

"And?" He shook his head and said, "Well, go help him then."

Stung again, she looked up with tears glistening. Was he pushing her away again?

He sighed. "Buffy, really, you had best go. I'm on an extremely short fuse at the moment."

"But we're a team."

His eyes darkened, "We *were* a team," he stated. "You've opted for something else."

"I haven't!" she insisted. "I wanted to get information without endangering you - all of you."

"Well, you haven't been very forthcoming with your information of late. If you remember, I had to hear from Willow that Riley was a commando."

"That was a mistake. I admitted that. I really thought that I had told you."

"Really," he said.

"It's like I meant to tell and then thought I had. Maybe I'm becoming a bimbo."

He chuckled and she glared at him. "What's so funny?"

"You as a bimbo."

"That's not funny. In any case, I came to talk about you and Ethan and bim .... and doing magic stuff."

"Look, it's working, isn't it? So there's no problem."

"Ethan's magic is always a problem!"

"When he's on his own. I'm making sure it's under control."

"Under control. So you're under control? And what about your drinking and wenching?"

"I am an adult, you know, and I'm quite entitled to enjoy myself. You seem to be enjoying yourself."

"Giles, please!"

"Please what? Stop having a life in chance you decide to deem to drop by?"

"I-I..."

"Don't. That fuse is getting shorter by the second."

"Giles..."

"Just go," he hissed.

She quickly got up and turned away so that he wouldn't see the tears starting to slip from her eyes. When he heard the front door close, he closed his eyes and then sat up again. "Sod this for a game of soldiers," he muttered. He got up and poured himself a drink and stared out the window into the dark. "That was pleasant, wasn't it?" he mused. "Very congenial." He had come back, thinking perhaps he was getting too involved with Ethan and a little bit too fond of the post-magic activities. Then as soon as he saw Buffy, his anger had come back and descended on him like a dark cloud. Damnable creature, he muttered. Why couldn't he be sensible and detached?

He knocked the drink back and got dressed again, deciding to rejoin Ethan for the night. He was bloody well not going to be a lapdog, waiting for some crumbs to be tossed his way or to be trodden underfoot.

Buffy went back to the dorm and sat down miserably on her bed. Willow was already asleep. She kicked off her shoes and crawled under the covers, finally allowing the tears to come.


The following morning when she woke up, Willow and, noticing her expression, Willow demanded, "Okay, what happened? You look terrible."

"Giles more or less told me to get lost," she replied sadly.

Willow frowned, "Giles would never tell you to get lost."

"He says we're not a team any more."

"Oh, well, that's sorta true. I mean, you spend all your time with Riley."

"Riley is nice and normal and completely the opposite of Angel and he can get inside the Initiative."

Willow frowned and said, "Is this rebound or compensation?'

Buffy sighed, "He's just nice and safe and predictable."

"And boring and not Angel?"

"Well, yeah."

"Like comfort food?"

"Well..."

"And where does this leave Giles? I thought you were going to keep him informed."

"I did! And I haven't forgotten him! And it's complicated."

"While you've been ignoring him? Looks to me like you've decided you don't need him, and I bet it looks the same to him." She frowned. "Maybe we all have neglected him. I've been doing my magic with Tara and Xander and Anya are doing stuff I'd rather not think about."

"It's not that," Buffy pleaded. "Giles is important. Completely important. It's just that. I don't know. When I almost killed him after I thought he was dead, it was like ... like losing part of me. I don't want him to get killed or even hurt! So Riley can find out this stuff and Giles will be safe. Does that make sense?"

"In a convoluted way. Buffy, it's his life. He's chosen to fight the forces of darkness. The thing is ... Giles is way more complicated that Riley. He's done all his dark mojo as well and he's got this sort of wildness tucked away inside. So if he's not fighting, he might get bored and, well, go a little wild."

"Okay, that explains the drinking, wenching part. What about Ethan?"

"And Giles being wild means Giles doing dangerous stuff."

"Great. That is so not good."

"Well,  maybe he's decided to use Ethan. You said that there was weird stuff going on with Riley's crew?"

"Yeah. He sorta admitted it was them."

"So he's decided to help. Except with magic. Better than attacking them with weapons!" She frowned.

"What?" Buffy said anxiously, noticing her expression.

"I just hope he doesn't let Ethan make him really cut loose. Tara said he had the vibes of a powerful sorcerer."

"I thought he hadn't done all that much magic - besides the experiments when he was young."

"Disinformation?" she said.

Buffy looked miserable. "What am I going to do, Will?"

"What do you want to do?"

"Beat the bad guys, have Giles there and have a life?"

"Have Giles there? Like a rug?"

"No, no, no!

"What really happened last night, Buffy? What aren't you saying?"

"He said he had a short fuse and I should leave. And he kissed me."

He told you to leave and kissed you."

"When he was dancing."

"He was dancing again?"

"No before. And to wake me up."

"That makes two."

"Yeah, twice."

She frowned and said, "You never mentioned that. So what's wrong?"

"And I'm wigged."

Why?"

"Because it was really nice. Especially the one at the club."

"Better than Riley?" she asked, becoming ever more intrigued.

"Yeah, more. More intense. Like Angel intense. More than Riley."

"Cause you two are closer in a whole lot of ways."

"Will, what am I going to do?"

"I think you should think what you can to do to involve Giles. He needs to be involved with what's going on. 'Cause there's no telling what he might do otherwise."

Buffy sighed. "I'll see if Riley's got any news and then I'll try and find Giles. I only hope he's bimbo-free when I find him, or I'm going to be seriously cranky."

****

She found that Riley was completely perplexed about what was happening in the complex. It appeared to be haunted. He told Buffy that some of the soldiers were so jumpy that they'd accidentally zapped the others. Forrest was insisting that it was all done to the incompetence of whoever designed the complex because ghosts didn't exist. Buffy suppressed a smile and didn't mention Giles's role in what was happening. She was really going to stroke Giles' ego with this. Unfortunately stroking conjured up some other images which caused her to blush. Riley asked if she was all right. She said that she hadn't gotten enough sleep and beat a hasty retreat.

Giles again proved illusive. He wasn't at home and she couldn't find him in any bars or clubs. She made a few sweeps and ran into some extremely jumpy commandos.

"What's happened?" she asked when she recognised Graham as one of them.

"Something swept through the complex, knocked out all the electricity and released all the hostiles. Our tasers had no effect whatsoever on it."

"What was it?"

"Big, red skin, horns. We all retreated to a safe area, but there were quite a few injuries."

"No fatalities?" He shook his head. "So where did big red go?"

"No idea. It just disappeared."

"Poof! No more demon?"

"Exactly. We're trying to mop up the escapees."

"Right. I'd keep an eye out for big red demons with horns."

He frowned and she suddenly realised that she hadn't asked about Riley. "Is Riley okay?"

"Fine. His unit's on the other side of the campus."

"Okay. Cool." She walked away, slightly puzzled at herself. She had been thinking about Giles and whether he was responsible and completely forgot about Riley. Jeesh, what is it me?

She patrolled and saw several of the escapees who were busy running away. She shrugged. They all had implants, didn't they? Not her concern. She went back to Giles' apartment after her usual unfruitful search for Giles. Damn, that man was becoming more illusive than certain vampires.

She let herself in and wondered if she should wait again and whether he was going to shoo her off. It was not long this time before Giles came in. Her eyes dropped down to his tight jeans and she mentally rebuked herself for being disappointed about the lack of leather while enjoying the tight jeans. He looked tired but buzzing.

"Giles?"

His eyebrows went up. "Buffy. Again. Are you moving in?"

"I was waiting for you."

"Better than Godot."

"What?"

"Never mind. Problems?"

She grinned and said, "I heard the Initiative had a big bad red demon appear, do some damage and then vanish."

She noticed his lips twitch. "And?" he asked.

She walked up to him, "And I'm thinking that smacks of magic."

"Quite possibly."

"And I bet I know who's responsible?"

His lips twitched again and said, "Yes?"

She grabbed his jacket and pulled on it, "Come on, Giles, give!"

"What do you want me to give you?" he asked with a glint in his eye.

She blinked and then she felt an urge to beat him at his own game. "What do you want to give me?" she asked with a smirk.

Recognising what she was up to, Giles smiled and said, "Are you sure you want to know?"

She brought herself a little closer. "Yeah, I want to know. What do you want to give me?"

"A number of things," he replied.

"Such as?"

His hand suddenly snaked out to grab her head as he dragged her to his mouth for a passionate kiss, similar to the one in the club but even more intense. Buffy responded in kind, determined not to be overwhelmed in this contest. Eventually they stopped, panting. He said, "That's one."

She swallowed hard, wondering just how far he could be pushed in his present mood. The safe part of him had definitely taken a walk for the moment. "What else then?" she asked, her stomach doing a surprising little flip.

His grin got more feral. He grabbed her and hoisted her around his hips and turned so that her back was against the wall and started to grind his hips against her, which was when she realised that he was quite serious as he continued to grind his erection against her interspersed with his tongue licking her ear while his teeth nibbled at the lobe. She gasped at the surprising sensory overload which encouraged him to slip his hand between her legs.

"Giles!" she gasped in surprise.

"And that's another one," he whispered fiercely.

She looked at him wide-eyed, wondering how far this could go and gasped again as his fingers played tantalisingly with the edge of her panties. His eyes looked darkly into hers and he said, "You should be careful about asking questions if you're not prepared for the answers."

She swallowed and then managed to respond, "Who says I'm not prepared for the answers?"

"Or are you just whistling in the wind?"

"Wind?"

He smiled, eyes not leaving her as he continued with what he was doing. Almost mesmerised by his green eyes, she realised that he was waiting to see what she was going to do. Dozens of possibilities ran through her mind. She swallowed again. Courage, girl, she told herself. Even Giles as Ripper would never hurt her. She put her hands on his arms and ran them slowly along his arms to his shoulders and down again. She looked up into his eyes again.

He smiled again and suddenly ripped the panties off. She gasped again and noticed that he was still watching her carefully. This was a very different watching though. She pulled herself closer to his hand and he grinned as he stroked her, just letting the side of his finger pass frustratingly inside her, making her whimper. He continued to tease her, looking smug when she pushed her hips toward him.

"Giles!" she said in frustration.

"Yes?" he asked innocently. "Do you need something?"

"Yes!" she exclaimed, "you're driving me crazy!"

"And that differs from how you usually treat me in what way?"

She tried to wriggle closer, but it was impossible in her position. "Because I don't mean to do it if I do it and I don't really do it even if I do it ... and please!"

He chuckled and pulled her to him. Supporting her by her bottom he turned and carried her up the stairs. He deposited her on the bed and kissed her. She made a pleased sound and put her hands under his shirt and ran her nails along his back. Giving her lips a lick, he sat back and yanked off his shirt and then reached down to remove hers, noticing with approval the absence of a bra. It was his turn to lick his lips as he looked down at her. She felt her nipples harden at the predatory look on his face just before he swept down to capture a breast in his mouth.  She groaned. Somewhere she had imagined Giles to be a gentle and resistant lover, even though logic told her that someone with a past called Ripper was unlikely to be so. His teeth bit and nibbled at her, hard enough to hurt without causing injury She scraped his back in return.

She arched off the bed as his hand moved up between her legs and clamped her legs around him. He started to suck at the throbbing vein on her neck and then bit her shoulder. She cried out, suddenly feeling her body convulse in pleasure. Oh God, what is it with me and getting bitten, she thought. And necks. God, a Slayer shouldn't be turned on by necks.

Giles was now licking the spot he had just bitten and she moved her head to the side to encourage him to continue. He blew in her ear again and she shivered. She grabbed his head and sought his mouth. He tasted of scotch and mint, she noticed. And how did he know about those sensitve spots?

And then the phone rang. They pulled apart and he looked at it. Bugger. Only one person would call him this last - except for the person who was under him at the moment. He reached over and picked up. A minute later he put it down and swore. He shifted and got off the bed, picking up his shirt.

"Giles?!" Buffy said,

"I have to go."

She sat up, grabbing for her top. "It's Ethan, isn't it?"

"Not serious. Just need to sort something out."

Without phasing he was down the stairs, putting on his shoes and grabbing a jacket and out the door, leaving a very perplexed Buffy behind.

~~~~~

Ethan was not having a pleasant time with their 'minor' demon they had sent to trouble the Initiative. It refused to leave and kept reappearing, smashing things, and then disappearing again. An extremely harassed Ethan had retreated into a protective magical circle and watched the demon as it railed at him while destroying whatever it could lay its claws on.

When Giles arrived outside the house he realised what was happening. He paused outside, thinking. Somehow the spell was still lingering and the demon not disappearing when it should have done so. It must be a side effect of the Hellmouth, he thought. He just had to reach Ethan so that they break this magical short circuit by an extra dismisal. He stood and watched the flash of red light from the window for a time. It was regular. Excellent. He probably had three minutes to reach Ethan. He just hoped that Ethan had the necessary ingredients with him inside the circle.

He waited for the flash of light and then opened the door, kicking it closed after him and dashed upstairs to the room where he knew Ethan would be. He joined him in the circle just as the demon made another appearance. Seeing Giles there in the circle with Ethan, it roared in fury and hurled a vase across the room.

"Took your time," Ethan grumbled.

"I was busy," Giles gritted out.

"Oh," Ethan asked, "do I know her?'

"Shut up, Ethan. Do you have the ingredients?"

"All ready, Ripper. You're the last essential part." A picture was hurled across the room, and Ethan grimaced. He had rather liked that picture. "What do you say about sending our little friend here home - sooner rather than later?"

"The sooner the better. We really do have to allow for amplification of spells by the Hellmouth."

"Live and learn."

"If you live long enough to learn," Giles grumbled. "Things like this can get you killed."

"All right. All right. No real damage done."

"This time," Giles snapped.

They faced each other and began to chant while the irate demon literally whizzed around the circle in a frenzy. When they finished chanting, there was a bellow of frustration as it simply popped out of existence and back to its own dimension.

Ethan grinned and said, "That's a relief. Now you can get back to your 'business'."

"Shut up, Ethan."

"Oh, Rupert, you're not serious about someone? Oh dear, oh dear."

"Ethan, don't push it."

"Fine. Be ratty. Off you go then."

Giles shook his head, stepped out of the circle, and looked around and then turned to Ethan, "Shall we clean up or go out?"

"Whatever," Ethan said, recognising his mood and somewhat surprised by it.

Giles started to pick things up and Ethan leaned against the wall to watch him. "You know, Rupert," he remarked casually, you usually only get this moody when your Slayer's involved."

"Shut up, Ethan," Giles snapped.

"Ah," he concluded, "it *is* her. Did she tick you off for being a naughty boy, then?"

"Shut your gob, Ethan, before I do it for you."

Ethan decided to leave it for the moment. There was enough time for needling later. Hmm, he thought, he's a bit wound up for the shirking duty lecture. His eyes glittered slightly as a thought occurred to him.


Buffy stayed at Giles', hoping that he'd some back after doing whatever he had to go with Ethan. Come morning, she was still alone. She despondently made her way back to the campus, muttering a litany of complaint to herself. What is with me and men! Now they disappear before instead of afterwards! Is that worse or better? That was soon replaced by worry. What if something had happened to Giles? Demons, magic and Ethan spelled trouble, as literally spelled. Maybe she should have followed him to make sure that he didn't become demon chow. She frowned. After class she was going to find Giles. Just to make sure he was all right.

After her classes, she set out to look for him, leaving Willow in hack mode trying to locate where Ethan and Giles had used credit cards recently or if Ethan was registered in a hotel.

Her first stop was Giles's apartment. He still wasn't home, so she was perplexed about what to do next. It was the kind of situation in which she would ask Giles for advice. She went to the bar where she had seen him before and then jogged back to the dorm, images of Giles being torn to pieces by demons floating through her head.

She practically knocked the door off its hinges when she burst in the room and blurted out, "Anything?"

Willow sighed and said, "The magic shop - which we knew anyway. Various bars or ATMs near bars." She handed Buffy a piece of paper. "There are bars near most of the withdrawals. And Ethan isn't listed in a hotel, at least not under his name."

Buffy looked at the list and Willow said, "Most of those are in one part of the town." Willow nodded and Buffy said, "So I need to go and check the area."

Several bars later as sunset approached, she passed through the park and saw a familiar figure sitting on a bench. She cautiously approached from the side.

"Giles?"

"Buffy."

She sat down beside him and said, "It's nearly sunset."

"Yes, I noticed."

"You do have a stake?" He gave her a severe look. "Of course you do. You didn't come back last night. I was worried. I mean, you and Ethan and demons."

"It's fine. We just needed to contain it. Forgot to allow for the Hellmouth."

"Oh. Did that take all night?"

"No."

"Oh." He was silent, not looking at her. "Giles, last night ..."

"I apologise. The combination of drink and magic often makes one behave in an entirely inappropriate manner."

"Oh. It was just, just like ... I don't know. You didn't mean anything?"

She noticed the tension increase in his face. "I'm terribly sorry if I offended you."

"Offend? No offending. Other than you disappearing."

He gave her a bleak look. "I rather thought that I had already disappeared for you."

"That's not fair."

"Isn't it?"

"Okay, I've been a little distracted."

"Indeed," he agreed in a knowing tone.

"Giles, that's not fair! I wanted to find out what's happening with the Initiative without putting you in danger! I haven't even told Riley that you're a Watcher! He thinks that you're just someone with a knowledge of all this stuff."

He sighed. "It doesn't take a very high IQ to work out who would have a knowledge of all this stuff around a Slayer. Riley may not work it out, but I'm quite sure that his superiors will.

"Oh."

"Indeed."

She reached out to touch his hand and he jerked. She squeezed it and he shook slightly and then withdrew it, crossing his arms, thereby making his hands inaccessible.

"So, are you and Ethan doing more spell stuff?" she asked.

"Not at the moment. Perhaps in a couple of days, depending on what happens."

By now the sun had set unnoticed. "Are you going back to your place?" she asked.

"I'm not sure." He bent forward with his elbows on his thighs and head in his hands. "I'm not at all sure."

So involved were they in the conversation that they didn't notice the vampire approach them from behind the bench. Suddenly Buffy found herself being lifted over the back of bench by a cold arm wrapped around her neck. She struggled, trying to get a purchase against something but the Vampire was tall and her legs dangled in the air and she was finding it difficult to breathe. Suddenly she was on the ground, dust settling over her.

She jumped up to see Giles standing there with a stake in his hand. "Ever alert," she said. She ran her hand through her hair. "Eech. Vampire dust in the hair."

He looked at her with an the oddest look she had ever seen. Intense, showing a cauldron of emotions bubbling away under the surface. Finally he said levelly, "Well, I'd best be getting on."

He turned and left, leaving Buffy now completely perplexed. Striding on, he started muttering to himself about being a damned idiot.

Buffy headed back the way she came, hoping for vampires to slay. No such luck. Willow was reading when Buffy came in.

"Find him?"

Buffy nodded and sat down.

"Oh, not good then?"

"Alive and kicking. Definitely kicking."

"Did you two talk?"

"Well, I spoke and he spoke. Words were spoken."

"But not really communication.?"

"He apologised."

"And?"

"Willow, is there something wrong with me? Some repulsiveness I don't notice which sends men running? Do I radiate loser vibes or something?"

"Ah," Willow said, "this is not about Watcheriness, is it?" Buffy just looked miserable. "So what really happened last night?"

Buffy licked her lips nervously and started to fidget. Willow's eyes opened wider and said, "Buffy, you didn't ... you know, do anything?"

Buffy sighed, "Almost, and then the phone rang and he had to run off to stop demony stuff with Ethan."

"And this was a good thing or a bad thing? Not the phone thing, but the almost thing?"

Buffy looked even more miserable. "I don't know. I .... God, I can't believe I'm having fuzzy feelings about Giles."

"Well, you better de-fuzz 'cause if you're just fooling around, it's not fair to him. And Id be very very mad."

"How do I know what it is? Why are things so complicated? God, the tormented impossible love was simple compared to this. It's all these different levels."

Willow sat up straighter and cross-legged on her bed. "Right, let's sort this mess out. First, Riley."

"Riley?"

"How do you feel about Riley?"

"He's nice and normal - except for the demon hunting thing - sweet, considerate, wholesome, polite."

"And?"

She grimaced and said, "And a little boring."

"Okay, Riley boring. Check. And is Angel definitely of the past?"

"Yep. Definitely, I can't handle that whole impossible love thing. Not to mention the lurking."

"We're back to Giles."

"Giles is Giles."

"And the fuzzies?"

"I never thought of him like that until I saw him in leather when I didn't know it was him. And he was suddenly a guy and I can't un-guy him now." She muttered, "And he looks really good in leather."

Willow giggled. "He was always a guy."

"Okay, let's not go into crush territory. So what do I do now? He really didn't want to see me or talk to me or anything. He was really distant."

Willow was quiet for a time. "He's probably afraid that you'll push him away completely."

"Hey, I'm the one who gets dumped."

"Buffy, this is Giles."

"What do I do?"

"You're going to have to make a move."

"I did and he pulled away."

"Buffy, you're the Slayer. How hard did you try? It's going to take a bit of effort so that he knows that you're not fooling around with him."

"I'd never do that to Giles!"

"Maybe not on purpose. But you have lied to him."

"Okay, right."

"And hidden things from him."

"Okay."

"And done things behind his back."

"All right, all right! I'm a bad person!." After a moment she added, "You're saying I have to throw myself at him?"

"Throw is so strong."

"Okay, so first I have to get him to stay in one place and then ... move on from there."

"Buffy."

"What?"

"Just be sure that's what you want first. Cause if you don't really want that, well, I don't think Giles would be able to take it."

She nodded, and then got up to decide what she was going to wear. An hour later, she knocked on his door. He opened it almost immediately, wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

"Hi!" she said, cursing herself for being so nervous and so obvious about it.

"Hello," he said, a little puzzled.

Buffy got in before he could tell her he was busy. She quickly glanced around. No women wearing Giles' shirts. That was of the good. No open bottles of Scotch. No Ethan. She turned around, fidgeting nervously. "Can we talk?"

"Of course."

She gestured at the sofa and he sat down, giving her a quizzical look.

She sat down beside him and then felt a rising tide of uncertainty starting to overwhelm her. What if he thought she was a complete idiot - or worse, nymphomaniac - an immature nymphomaniac? "Umm, Giles."

"Yes, that is my name."

She flashed a look at him. "I *know* that. It's... it's about us."

"Yes?" he replied, his expression immediately becoming unreadable. It suddenly occurred to her that he was expecting some dismissal and bracing himself for it. My God, had she done that to him?

"There isn't enough of us."

"You want to expand our group? Or replace it with a cleansed version of the paramilitaries?" he said tightly.

"No, no! I mean us - as in me and you us."

"Ah, 'us'. Well, Buffy, I must say, I no longer know what you want. And I'm no longer sure that there is an 'us'."

"Maybe I just haven't known what *I* want."

"Well, that's not surprising."

"I wish you wouldn't do that! You must know what I'm talking about! You've always known what I really mean when I ramble!"

He leaned back and closed his eyes wearily, 'You mean since Angel's gone."

"Yes. No. I mean, Angel is this wild passionate thing, but I can't see myself going for ice cream with him or any of that stuff. And then Riley's perfect for pizza, picnics and ice cream, but he's so dull. And safe."

"So this is about your love life. Perhaps you should be talking to Willow."

"This is about me wanting both danger and security, along with love."

"Hmm," he said, eyes still closed.

Buffy shifted uneasily. He wasn't going to make this at all easy, was he? Okay, action was called for. She got onto to her knees on the sofa so that she could reach up and kiss him. She felt him start but otherwise there was no reaction other than the tension which could be felt in his lips. Obstinate Englishman! She kissed him softly and then started to trace his lips with her tongue. This time she felt him jerk. He started to protest by saying, "Buf-," but as soon as his lips parted, her tongue darted inside.

She felt him move again, trying not to respond and to prevent him getting up, she promptly scooted over to straddle him, never letting go of him. It was her turn to grind herself against him, and it was having a definite effect, she noted foggily.

Giles suddenly pulled her away, "Buffy, what are you doing?"

"I thought that was obvious," she replied, licking her lips.

"Is this some sort of dare?" he asked.

She was stung by the accusation. Did he really think that of her? She couldn't think of what to say. Evidently she didn't need to answer that because he obviously did think that.

He sighed and said, "Sorry. That was uncalled for. Why are doing this?"

"I don't know. Because it seems right? Because we're a team and I need you."

"Buffy, if you need help, I will be here."

"But it's not enough, is it?'

He looked away for a moment and said quietly, "I manage."

She grabbed his face and said, "I don't want it to be like that. And you're not managing. You're calling up things with Ethan and doing stuff with mindless bimbos!"

"Bimbos?" he repeated.

"Never mind. At least Olivia had a brain. What happens if you call up something really bad? Again."

"You'll just have to trust me. I'm no longer of an age to try the most dangerous thing around just because it's the most dangerous."

She rubbed his nose with hers and said, "I really really can't loose you." She kissed him again.

Giles said, "Buffy, if you continue with what you're doing, you'll change things - forever. Is that what you want?"

"We won't know unless we try." She wriggled closer, "And, mister, you owe me for running out last night."

"Well," he said, "the demon was being a damned nuisance. And I must confess that Ethan's timing was a worse damned nuisance."

She trailed her hands over his chest. "Well, no demons tonight. No magic - at least not spelly demon stuff. Just us."

He captured her small hands in his and looked earnestly at her, "Buffy, if this is a game, it really will be too much."

"I'd never do that to you."

"No, I don't think you would," he said. He pulled her in for another of those intense kisses which short-circuited her brain. As he paused to breathe, he said, "But you must admit, this is very sudden."

"No, not sudden. Just not recognised until now. You know, when I thought you were gone, I would have fought the entire army for you."

"Really?" he asked, hands dropping to her hips as he licked her ear.

"Mmm-hmm," she muttered as she decided to test whether his neck was as sensitive as hers. Hearing the sound he made as she nibbled at it, she decided that it was and licked his ear.

Again he pulled her back. She noticed a battle raging in his eyes. "Buffy?"

She sighed. Had she really made him distrust her motives that much? "Giles, I've really been thinking about this - for a change, instead of my usual grabbing at anything available. You're the only one I can trust - completely, and so I didn't think. You were always there. You disappearing made me realise what you mean to me."

"Buffy, I will stay as long as you need me. You don't need to ensnare me with your feminine wiles to ensure I stay. I'm already ensnared."

"Feminine wiles?" she repeated and then turned a little coy, "You think I've got feminine wiles?"

He gave a deep chuckle and said, "Very feminine. Very wiley."

"Oh good," she said, unbuttoning his shirt and letting her hands explore his chest. "And I just want to ask, where did you get those leather trousers?"

"They go with the bike."

"Nice," she said, "and so are the jeans. Suits you. Why the tweed?"

"Watcher dress code."

"They have a dress code?"

"Enforced by a barrage of disapproving stares."

"Oh, I know that one. Maybe getting sacked was a good thing then?"

He chuckled and holding her hips, rose and changed position, pushing the table aside with his leg as they ended up on the floor with him on top of her. "Perhaps it was."

"Ohhh, very dominant," she said with a grin, shifting her position and then flipping him over. She ended on top, straddling him. "But I'm the Slayer. You know, I like this position," she said.

"I recall being in this position before, with you holding a knife in your hand."

She smiled seductively and yanked her top off over her head. "Not quite the same," she grinned.

Catching his breath, he quickly covered her breasts with his hands and agreed, "No, not quite."

She shifted a bit further down his body and wiggled, giggling when he groaned. "Vixen! Not fair," he complained.

She moved further down and then reached for the button and zipper of his jeans. Zipping it down, she looked up at him and found him grinning at her.

"What?" she asked.

"Just enjoying the view," he remarked.

"That's what I'm going to do," she remarked, tugging the jeans down as she moved down his body.

Once she got them off, with a great deal of effort, as she had forgotten about the shoes, she removed her skirt and crept back up his body. He grabbed her head and kissed her possessively. She responded in kind, each pressing for a semblance of dominance.

Breaking off the kiss, she put her nose against his skin and inhaled deeply. Something about his smell had always been so comforting - cologne, Earl Grey, books. Now it was mixed with something buzzy - danger, magic, perhaps some well-concealed part of him. Perhaps it had always been there, unrecognised. Now it was intoxicating. She nibbled and sucked at his neck, trying to taste as well as smell it.

He growled as she sucked at the vein. He wanted nothing more than to lift her up and onto to him immediately. But she deserved more than a quick shag. He pulled her face from his neck and kissed her again and whispered, "Upstairs, love. Let's do this right the first time."

She shook her head, "Beds are not good. Every time I go to bed with someone, I wake up alone."

"Not this time, love," he said, kissing her more gently this time and then flipping over and gathering her into his arms as he headed for the stairs.

"Giles," she said.

"What?" he asked.

"Unplug the telephone."

END