Rifts
By Belinda

Title: Rifts
Author: Belinda Loc6401@cs.com
Disclaimer: As always, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all settings and characters therein contained are the sole property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy, & everyone else except me. Don’t sue, you won’t get anything.
Rating: probably NC-17
Spoilers: "Revelations"; I like to pretend "Band Candy" never happened.
Summary: Giles was more upset than he thought, & Joyce takes matters into her own hands. Oh, if only she knew.
Timeline: post "Revelations"
Distribution: Solo. Anyone else who wants it, just let me know.

Feedback: Be gentle. It’s my first time. Beside, with all the hair goop my muse likes to wear, flames could send my whole neighborhood up like dry tinder.


Joyce closed the front door on Mr. Giles' departing figure and shook her head. The tension between Buffy and her Watcher was so thick of late that she could barely breathe in their presence. She didn't know why they were so angry with each other, but she knew their animosity was potentially dangerous. You can't work well with someone you're not speaking to, and if she understood anything about her daughter's double life, it was that Buffy's survival often depended on the trust between her and her mentor. That trust had somehow been broken.

Joyce had tried very hard not to interfere, but this was not taking care of itself. She began to see that if she was to protect her daughter, she would have to take steps to repair the damage.

She smiled grimly, already forming a plan.

* * * *

Buffy stood at her window watching Giles' retreating form with a mixture of irritation and longing. And the longing irritated her even more, because she missed him.

The more she thought about it, the more justified she felt. Maybe she'd screwed up, but wasn't there just a teensy part of him that could understand her side of the situation. Not that the Watcher had given Buffy a chance to explain her side, mind you. That was what really stung, the fact that he never, even for a moment, listened to her.

Sure, his anger had made her contrite, the pain in his eyes had hurt her deeply, but couldn't he see that it was to avoid that very pain that she'd kept silent in the first place, and Angel wasn't the same as the creature who'd done those things to him. But he didn't see, and he just carried it on and on and just get over it already! Fine if that's the way he wants it...y'know, two can play.

So she went uber-formal on him--"yes, sir" "no, sir" "orders, Mr. Giles, sir?"--and the easy informality which had always marked their relationship was gone. In its place was an almost obsessive attention to manners. It sucked.

--Damn, I miss...she thought, softening for a moment. But, no. She couldn't allow him to win this one. What kind of precedent would that set? She knew he'd break before she did. Well, she hoped. Ok, she desperately hoped. Satisfied?

--Talking to myself now. That can't be good.

As if it weren't a bad enough scene already, she also had those stupid dreams to contend with. How was she supposed to get any rest when all she dreamed about any more was...ugh!

--Nope. Can't even dignify that with brain time.

Maybe they'd just go away.

You think?

Sigh.

* * * *

"Now , Watcher, I have you in my power," she intoned, imitating every B-movie villain who ever cluttered up a TV screen. Then she shoved, sending him sprawling naked on the bed. She crawled slowly up his body, pinning him with her superior strength. With one hand behind her head, he took her mouth in a hard, possessive kiss, his hips straining upward, struggling to complete their union. She broke the kiss.

"Is this what you want?" she teased, brushing herself against him.

"Yes!" His voice was strangled.

"Say 'please'."

He glared at her, promising retribution for this torture, but she brushed against him again and, beaten, he begged.

"Please."

Obligingly, she lowered herself onto him and set a hard, fast pace that promised to push them both over the edge in moments. Closer, closer, so close.

Damn!

Giles sat bolt upright in bed, suddenly awake. Another dream, so like the others. The only differences were the setting and the circumstances, the situation was always the same. He was either making love to, or being made love to by, Buffy, his 17-year-old Slayer.

Preposterous. And unnerving.

--What if it's...no, impossible.

It couldn't be the Bonding. She was a teen, and he...wasn't. He was far too old for her.

--What would that matter to the Bonding?

--Stop it! he argued with himself. --That's not what's happening.

But if it wasn't the Bonding, then he was trapped in a Nabokov novel.

Even if it were, the dreams only had the effect of making a bad situation worse where he and Buffy were concerned. He knew she thought he was still angry, and he knew he should set her straight, but he was so uncomfortable around her that he couldn't think, and because of his silence the situation continued to deteriorate.

Another irritating thing about the dreams was that they always stopped, without fail, right before...completion, and that left him damnably aroused.

--However, it would be terribly embarrassing to be having wet dreams at my age, he decided philosophically.

Besides, if these dreams did indicate that a Bonding was possible, it would mean that Buffy was having them too, and that was too horrifying to contemplate.

Giles sighed and rose, shaking off sleep to face another day.

* * * *

"You're dreaming about having sex with Giles?!"

"Louder, Wil. I don't think they quite heard you on Mars," Buffy hissed, looking around to see if anyone had noticed the outburst.

"Sorry, but...Giles?" Willow asked more quietly.

"I know, I know, I'm an aberration, a freak of nature. But, hey, at least he's younger than my last boyfriend."

"Not many people aren't."

"Not helping, Wil," Buffy sighed.

"Sorry," she said again. "So...tell me about them," she added a little reluctantly.

"They're weird. I mean, the sex is normal, as I understand it, being so inexperienced, and all. But the weirdness is twofold. The dreams always stop at the same point. Just as I'm about to..." she glanced at Willow, "ah...finish...I wake up. Every time."

"Is it the same dream?"

"No. Never. I've never had exactly the same dream twice. Sometimes I'm seducing him, sometimes he's seducing me, different setting, different mood, different clothes, but always the same sitch. Me and Giles getting pelvic. This one is off the creep scale. The second weirdness is that..." she hesitated.

"What?"

"It feels like a vision," she admitted falteringly.

"You mean, like prophecy?"

"Yeah. That's the creepiest part. Well, that and the fact that I'm kinda starting to look forward to it."

"You are?" Willow asked, shocked.

"Well...I mean they're really good dreams," Buffy said, sharing a giggle with her best friend. "So, anyway, I need your help, you know, with the whole prophecy thing."

"What can I do?"

"One night when he's out of the library, could you raid his Watcher diaries and stuff and find out if there's anything to this?"

"Why not just ask him?"

"Yeah, I can see that conversation: 'So Giles, I'm having dreams about boinking you. Think it means anything?'"

"Point taken. When do I raid the Cavern of Useless Knowledge?"

Off Buffy's look, "Sorry, Xanderism."

"Tonight," Buffy said, shaking her head. "I'll think of some reason to drag him away. Maybe we can go somewhere and fight."

* * * *

"You did what?!?" Buffy stared at her mother, outraged.

"You two can't keep this up," Joyce said. "It's tearing you both apart, even if you won't see it. You depend on each other. Now, I don't pretend to understand everything about the world you two walk in, and the root of this problem is most likely none of my business, but the result certainly is. Buffy, this could get you killed, and I won't have it. I don't know why you insist on being such children, but it stops now. I've rented the cabin for the entire weekend, so you'll have plenty of time, and you will go, if I have to drag the both of you by the hair, lock you in, and stand guard over the door."

"But, Mom," Buffy sputtered, "Sunnydale, the Hellmouth?"

"I'm sure we can cope without you for one weekend."

"Has Giles agreed to this?" the girl demanded, flailing.

"He will," she answered, and Buffy believed her, because if Willow's resolve face was formidable, then Joyce's was well nigh invincible. "Go upstairs and pack, you leave tomorrow afternoon." When Buffy continued to hesitate a hint of steel crept into the older woman's voice.

"Now, Buffy."

"Ok, ok," Buffy said, turning to obey as Joyce reached for the phone.

* * * *

Giles, for his part, had been utterly incapable of producing anything even remotely resembling a coherent argument against this enforced holiday. While he heard his traitorous mouth agreeing to the plan, in his mind he was gibbering.

--Are you out of your mind, woman?! Do you have any idea what I might do to your daughter if I'm left alone with her for an entire weekend?

But the plan was laid, and he went to pack, as close to panic as he'd ever been.

--Nabakov novel, indeed, he thought, feeling more like Lo's doomed lover every moment.

* * * *

"Hey, Buffy," Willow greeted nervously as she opened her bedroom door. "What's up?"

"What isn't?" Buffy grumped. "What did you find out?"

"Right, 'cause I was research girl last night, so I'm having knowledge girl tonight, right?" Willow responded in her I've-had-coffee voice.

"And now is a good time for quality sharing of said knowledge," Buffy prompted.

"Ok, but, promise not to stake me, being just the messenger and all?"

"Willow."

Sitting on the edge of her bed like her legs had just gone numb, Willow began her story. After a moment, Buffy had to sit down, too.

"Reader's Digest condensed version," she began. "Once every 50 or so generations, Slayer's generations that is, a mystical bond becomes possible for the Slayer and her Watcher. It's a bond that grows out of the love they already have for each other, but it changes that love into something deeper, more profound, and infinitely more powerful."

"'Powerful', how?"

"If the call of the Bonding is responded to, both Slayer and Watcher, especially the Watcher, become stronger, faster, harder to kill. Their aging slows. In fact, some accounts say that the Watcher’s aging will even reverse until a kind of equilibrium is reached between them. They become true partners, equals in strength and stamina."

"Ok. And this has what to do with naughty dreams?" Buffy urged, sensing her friend's reluctance.

"Sex is a major part of the old magics. It was often symbolic of power. In this case, though, it's not just symbolic, it's necessary. When the Slayer/Watcher pair begin to have erotic dreams about each other, that means the power is available, but to claim that power, they must... act on their dreams."

That's when Buffy had to sit.

"So Giles and I have to have sex?"

"If you want the power."

"What happens if we don't?"

"Then eventually it will go away, but it will never come again. This is the only shot you get, Buffy, and you'd better decide soon, because I couldn't find anything that said how long the urge would last."

"Well," Buffy said, squirming just a little, "it will probably decide itself this weekend."

"How's that?"

"You know how he was all mad at me about keeping Angel a secret?" Willow nodded. "Well, he's kinda continuing the anger motif."

"Still no joy, huh?" Willow said sympathetically.

"I can't begin to describe how much joy there's not. You're the one who called him the emotional marathon man. And it worries Mom so much that she's decided an intervention is in order. She rented a cabin in the woods, or mountains, or something, and Giles and I are to spend the weekend sorting out our differences."

"Oh, man," the redhead moaned, and Buffy nodded.

"Behold the irony: Giles is probably the one man in the world besides my dad that she would trust alone with me like that, and he's probably the only one I would actually end up having sex with if left alone. Catch 22, much? (Pause) To tell you the truth, there's a not-so-tiny part of me that is excited by all this. While the rest of my body shrieks in horror, that part of me is really looking forward to this weekend. Shivers."

"Well...he is handsome. Some may even find him sexy."

"Yeah," Buffy said wistfully, then caught herself. --Ugh! "So, we have sex, we get the power, we come home, and life goes on, right?"

"Not exactly."

"Why, 'not exactly'?"

"It's a Bonding, Buffy." At the other's blank look, she continued. "'Bonding' is an old word for marriage."

"I'm reasonably sure you're speaking English," the Slayer said after a brief silence, "but somehow the words make no sense."

"I told you the love you share will become deeper and more profound. Once the Bonding is consummated, the pair are linked forever in a love relationship stronger than marriage. You could choose to end a marriage, but the Bond can never, ever be broken. The up side is that you'll both be so deeply in love that you wouldn't want to break it, anyway. And neither of you will have to worry about the other cheating."

Buffy sat, absorbing this for a moment, totally missing the guilty flash in Willow's eyes.

"This whole discussion may be mootville anyway," she began again, grasping at straws. "I mean, he's mad at me, right, so why would he want to get frisky with me?"

"What if he's not mad at you?" Willow suggested as the idea hit her. "You know how he gets when he's nervous. If this is really a Bonding call, that means he's having the dreams too, and if that doesn't make him nervous, vamps don't poof when you stake 'em."

A slow smile spread across the Slayer's face. "You have a point. If that's the case, then all I have to do is," her smile faded, "overcome his nervousness and his deeply ingrained sense of British decorum, and convince the most tightly wound, uptight, and proper man I have ever met that fornicating with a 17-year-old is in his best interests."

"Have a nice weekend," Willow replied limply.

* * * *

The ride to the cabin was torture. Each was acutely aware of the other's proximity and their own desire, and equally unable to think of something, anything, to talk about to fill the trip. Lucky for them both it was only a couple of hours long, but in certain circumstances a couple of hours can stretch to an eternity.

* * * *

"Ok, we're here," Buffy stated. "Now what?" She looked shyly at her Watcher, who was feigning great interest in the decor of the cabin in order to avoid having to look at her. Suddenly, she just couldn't stand it anymore.

"Giles, please talk to me," she begged brokenly, tears standing in her eyes. "Please, please, don't hate me anymore. I can't stand it."

He turned toward her, surprise plain on his face. "I never hated you. I love you."

She flew into his arms, sobbing into his shoulder, and he held her, desire momentarily pushed aside by the need to give comfort. Calling himself fifty different kinds of dirty bastard, he silently berated himself for allowing it to go on this long. He hadn't realized how badly he'd wounded the girl.

"Buffy, forgive me. I should've put a stop to this days ago. I just...didn't know what to say to put it right."

"It's not true, you know," she said, pulling back enough to look him in the eye without leaving his arms.

"What's not true?"

"That I don't respect you. It's not true. You're the single most important person in my entire life. I just...panicked. I didn't know what to do. I knew how much it would hurt you and the others, and I was afraid one of you might try to hurt him, and I just..."

"I know. I do understand. I was just angry and hurt, and more than a little terrified. It was a shock. Please understand that when I see him, for a moment I still see the face of my torturer. That rather mucks with my objectivity. But, I do know that Angel and Angelus are two different creatures. I'm trying, Buffy. Give me time?"

Smiling, she laid her head back on his shoulder. "Sure. Time I got."

"Do you still love him?" he heard himself ask.

She tensed. "He needs me. He's weak."

"That's not what I asked."

She hesitated, leaving his arms. "I don't know. I guess so. I mean that kind of love doesn't just go away." She looked at him again. "Do I still see happily ever after? No. Too much happened. Too much has changed. He can't be my husband, my lover, father of my children. There's way too much that he can't give me, and anything I give him would tear away his soul. I can't run that risk again. So, no. I'll always love him, but not like that. It hurts too much."

"I'm sorry, love. I'm so sorry."

He reached for her and she nearly melted in his embrace. "I love you, Giles," she sighed.

"I love you, too."

And, just like that, the rift was sealed.

They held each other for a long time, long enough for both to begin to notice exactly how long. The warmth of his hands moving along her spine caused an answering warmth in her body, and she tingled in places where there was usually a distinct lack of tingle. She wondered, not for the first time, if he'd been hearing the Call, or if she was just having a mid-teen crisis. Well, late-teen. Was there such a thing? Sure.

Realizing he was becoming intoxicated by the scent of her hair, he moved away from her before she could notice the effect she was having on his body.

"Well," he said briskly, "now that's settled, what shall we do with the rest of our weekend?"

--I bet I could come up with something, she thought shamelessly. Then, suddenly, she was possessed of a desire to be very childish.

"I know!" she said in her best little girl voice. "Let's play!"

Her mentor smiled indulgently, if a trifle nervously. "What shall we play?"

Poking him squarely in the ribs, she cried, "Tag, you're it!" and sprinted through the cabin door. Chuckling, shaking his head, the Watcher gamely gave chase.

* * * *

Buffy ran, laughing, through the trees. She knew she could easily outdistance the older and somewhat less supernaturally endowed Watcher, but it was more fun to tease him. She glanced back over her shoulder and grinned as she ran. His answering grin turned to alarm, and she looked ahead just in time to narrowly avoid slamming headlong into a tree. As she sidestepped, she tripped over a root and went sprawling. He was so intent on watching her that he didn't see what she'd tripped over and promptly tripped over it himself, landing almost on top of her as she turned over. Winded, they could only lie there.

After a moment, he lifted his head, and when their eyes met, they both started laughing. Giles propped himself up on his elbow, but made no attempt to disengage himself from her.

"Caught you," he declared with a teasing glint in his eye.

"No you didn't. If I hadn't tripped--"

"But you did trip, and therefore, I win," he positively gloated.

"No fair," Buffy pouted, and then it finally registered to her the position they were in. A snippet from one of her dreams ran through her head, and her labored breathing abruptly had nothing to do with their take-no-prisoners game of tag.

She could see the heat in his eyes as well, mixed with confusion, as though he didn't quite know what was happening.

--Please, please, she urged him silently, and as though in response to her thoughts, he leaned down and brushed his lips against hers. The kiss was feather light, chaste at first, but he increased the pressure and she parted her lips in invitation. Flicking her tongue against his lips, she encouraged him, and after a brief hesitation, he accepted what she offered. It was tender, gentle, neither asking too much nor giving too little, and altogether the sweetest kiss she'd ever been given. And then it was over.

Abruptly, as though he realized what was happening, he pulled away and rocked back onto his knees. For a moment, they simply gazed at each other, she with a shy half-smile, he with that endearingly befuddled expression she loved so much.

"We should...get back to the house. It'll be dark soon."

"Whatever you say," she replied meekly, extending her hand for assistance.

His eyebrows raised at her tone, he helped her up, and when he saw she wasn't going to relinquish his hand, he stammered, "Well...let's be off...then...shall we?"

"Lead the way," she said, still holding tightly to his hand. He sighed as he turned and began to walk, and she bit back a giggle.

--This is going to be an interesting weekend, she thought happily, for she finally knew, beyond a doubt, that he'd been having the dreams, too.

Right on the brink of binding herself to this man forever, she found she was no longer afraid.

* * * *

"Giles, you gotta see this!" Buffy called from the window seat.

"What is it?" he asked, glancing up from the book he'd buried his nose in when they'd finished the dinner dishes almost two hours ago.

--To avoid talking about what happened, no doubt, she had thought then. --Let's see, Ostrich:sand::Giles:book. Yep, that fits.

Now she merely flapped her hand at him in a "come hither" gesture and said, "It worked, come see!"

He finally laid aside his tome, rose, and walked warily to the window. Seizing his hand, she pulled him down behind her on the bench and pointed with her free hand at the two raccoons busily munching on the pile of fruit the two of them had left outside for just this purpose.

"Aren't they adorable?" she breathed.

"How can you tell? I can barely see them."

"Slayers have excellent night vision, Near-Sighted Guy," she answered archly.

He shot her a scathing look that left her completely unscathed.

"I still don't think this was a good idea," he said, returning his gaze to the nocturnal feast. "Raccoons tend to be pests. We feed them, and next you know they'll be breaking into the house and stealing food."

"Spoil my fun," Buffy responded, mock-pouting. "Thank you, Scrooge McDuck."

"Look, if you intend to keep calling me names, I shall simply return to my book," he scolded, only mostly teasing.

"No! I'll stop," she promised, clutching his hand in both of hers, instantly contrite.

They were silent, then, absorbing each other's nearness. Buffy began to stroke the back of the hand she had imprisoned. Giles breathed in the scent of her hair, then shook himself.

"Pretty night," he commented, trying hopelessly to break the mood.

"Yeah." She took a deep breath. "It's nights like this when dreams come true," she finished bravely.

He closed his eyes in despair. "Dreams?" he choked.

"You've been having them, too, haven't you?" she asked matter-of-factly, turning to pin him with her gaze.

"I--"

"I know about the Bonding, Giles. I know everything." She leaned back against him and tilted her face up, offering.

--Ye gods, how could she know? he thought frantically.

"Buffy..." he tried to protest. But he couldn't resist her. Not her. Not now. He bent to kiss her and lost himself in the magic that was his Slayer.

* * * *

Endless moments later, he again broke the kiss. "Buffy, I don't think you understand--"

"I do understand. I told you, I know everything. I had Willow research it--" --Oops!

"Willow knows?!"

She turned to him then, kneeling on the seat. "I couldn't ask you about it. It would've been way too freaksome."

"So instead you involve Willow."

"She's my best friend, Giles. Honestly, I would've told her anyway."

"And if we do this, if we make love, will you tell her that, too?"

"Yes."

He sighed and waved away the digression, trying again to reason with her. But an ever stronger part of him wanted to let her convince him.

"Buffy, it's forever. Do you understand? The Bonding can never be broken. Once it's done, it's done for all time, world without end. We would be bound to each other for the rest of our lives, for eternity. Do you really want that?" --Please, say no, because I can't.

"To have your love forever? How can you even ask?" She straddled his lap, forcing him to look her in the eye. "We would be, both of us, twice as powerful as we ever dreamed. We'd be stronger, live longer, and best of all, we'd have each other. Yes, I want that. Very much." She tilted her head, smiling. "Don't you?"

--Saynosaynosaynosayno!

"Yes," he surrendered, pulling her to him, and kissing her with all the passion that had been building since the dreams began. Gone was the gentle uncertainty that had marked their previous kisses. This one was born of hunger, need, desperation. His mouth blazed a fiery trail down her neck and the tiny, still rational part of her mind mused on how much she must trust the man to bare her throat to him like this. She arched her back, offering, and he trailed kisses along her collarbone, then moved down to bury his face between her breasts.

"Wait," she breathed, and he groaned as she backed off the bench and stood in front of him. "Why don't we go upstairs?" She reached for him and he took her hand, allowing her to lead him into the loft.

They stopped by his bed and she turned to him, reaching to unbutton his shirt. He bent to claim her lips, and his hands stole under her soft, light sweater. He ran the pads of his thumbs over her nipples, causing her to shiver even through the fabric of her bra.

He pulled his hands back in order to shrug out of his shirt, then turned his attention to the buttons of her sweater. They continued their kisses until they were almost completely unclothed. When he was clad only in his boxers, and she in her lacy matching bra and panties, he took her by the shoulders and gently pushed her away. Holding her gaze with his, he placed his hand over her heart, and when she had followed suit, he spoke.

"This night, I bind myself to you, body, mind, heart, and soul, with ties unbreakable, for all eternity."

And the words of the ritual response came unbidden to her lips, as though she'd known them all her life.

"This night I declare we are one flesh, one spirit, bound together in purpose and in love. As it once was written, so let it now be done."

As she finished, she became aware of twin tingling sensations, in her hand, and in her chest, under his hand.

"Well, that was weird," she said shakily.

"It's all right, love," he assured her. "It's supposed to happen."

"And you couldn't have warned me, why?" she grumped, still shaken.

He merely chuckled and bent to kiss her. She began to relax almost immediately, and by the time he lifted her and placed her in the bed, she'd completely recovered. She could sense the power in the room, hovering just on the edge of her perception, but she knew it was a part of this, and she wasn't afraid.

She whimpered when he broke away from her and moved to rummage around in his suitcase. When he returned with a box of condoms in his hand, however, she began to giggle.

"What?"

"You...ah...came prepared, I see."

"Hmm?"

She gestured to his hand, and he looked at the box as though seeing it for the first time.

"I...don't seem to recall buying these, much less packing them," he said, troubled.

--Uh, oh. He's slipping into Research Mode, she thought. --Can't have that.

Aloud, she said, "I guess the Great Roofie Spirit took care of it, then, and regardless," rising to her knees to pluck the box from his hand and deposit it on the nightstand, "we can figure it out later, ok? Don't go all librarian on me now."

He grinned self-consciously. "Sorry."

"Don't sweat it," she said, her answering grin devilish. She laced her fingers behind his neck and pulled him down on top of her into a searching kiss. Their hands were everywhere at once, quickly divesting each other of what remained of their clothing. Giles paused a moment to gaze down at Buffy.

"You are so lovely." He lowered his mouth to her breast and she moaned low in her throat, tangling her fingers in his hair to hold him fast as he sucked and nibbled at her peak.

--The other one now, please, Giles! She wanted to cry out, but her voice kept getting caught. He seemed to hear her, though, because he moved to enslave her other breast while his hand replaced his mouth at the first.

Nothing had ever felt so good. It was almost overwhelming, yet she craved more. Her anxiety when his mouth left her breast turned to anticipation when he began to blaze a trail of kisses down the flat plane of her stomach, and she realized his intended destination. She closed her eyes and waited, barely breathing, her fingers still twined in his hair.

When his trail of kisses began to inch down her leg, she redirected him with a gentle, but very firm tug on his hair. Smiling, he moved to her inner thigh and upward, but slowly.

"Giles," she managed, "please don't tease me."

"Buffy," he whispered, almost as though asking permission.

"Now!" she commanded, and nearly sat bolt upright when he obeyed. He explored, tasting, feasting on her, before turning his efforts on that one, oh-so-tiny spot. She squirmed on the bed, arching her back, incoherent in her pleasure. He drove her to the brink and pulled away. She watched him slide up her body, her breath coming in erratic gasps, and then he kissed her, reaching with one hand for a condom. He sat back on his haunches, and while he tore open the tiny package, she beheld for the first time the evidence of his need. Her eyes went wide with surprise, then heavy-lidded with desire, and before she could stop herself, she reached to enclose him in her hand. He hissed as she began clumsily to stroke him and, for a moment, could only stare at her through passion-bright eyes.

"That's enough of that," he said finally, restraining her eager hand. She bit off an automatic mewl of protest when he placed the condom in her captured hand. Guiding her through the necessary actions, he allowed her to sheathe him, then pinned both her hands in one of his, above her head. With his free hand, he guided himself to her opening, and paused.

Buffy tore her gaze from the place where they were almost joined and met his eyes, both questioning and pleading. Summoning all his willpower, Giles made one last stab at sanity.

"We can still stop this. Once I enter you, there will be no turning back, but it's not too late yet. Are you certain--absolutely certain--that this is what you want?" He ached to have her, but he had to give her one last chance to say no.

She only smiled. Pulling her wrists free of his grip, she hooked one arm around his waist and drew him to her. He took her mouth in a hungry kiss and, at the same moment, plunged into her. He swallowed her gasp as he settled into a quick, pounding rhythm.

"Wrap your legs around me," he ordered, then buried his face in the crook of her neck. She obliged, catching her breath again as the movement sent him even deeper into her. Her hands roamed his back restlessly, and she tightened like a coiled spring as the sensations built inside her.

"Giles!" she begged, unable to further articulate her plea.

He raised his head and captured her face in his hands. "Soon now, love," he assured her. "Very soon. Don't fight it, just let it happen." So close. This was where the dreams always ended, right before the wave broke. --Not this time, Giles exulted. --Almost there. He gazed at his beloved's face, joy surging through his soul even as pleasure began to surge through his body.

Buffy stiffened, her eyes opening wide as the shock wave finally hit her full force. Her voice lodged in her throat, and she could only scream silently as the unbearable pleasure arced through her body like an electric current. The feel of her spasms sent Giles over the edge, and he followed her, falling through wave after wave of absolute, perfect bliss.

On the heals of their near mind-shattering climax came another sensation. An almost-pleasure, not-quite-pain began to pass through them both.

"What's happening?" Buffy cried out in alarm, clutching her Watcher to her like a shield.

"It's all right, Buffy," he gasped. "All right...all right...all right..." he repeated over and over, almost like a mantra. Buffy wept and shuddered uncontrollably. Just when she felt she could bear it no longer...it stopped. Just like that, it was over.

"It's done," Giles panted. "The Bonding is complete." He rolled off of her and removed the condom, then took his still weeping lover in his arms, both comforting and taking comfort. When the storm passed, Buffy raised herself to meet his eyes.

"Giles," she began uncertainly, "is that gonna happen every time we...do this?"

"Which part?" he teased gently.

"You know. That whole teeth rattling, I-just-stuck-my-head-in-a-power-transformer sensation."

He chuckled. "No. Our power will continue to grow with each, ah, session, but never again to anywhere near that degree."

"Good, 'cause the rest of it was great and all, but I don't think I could take that last part again. I felt like I was crawling out of my skin."

"No worries," he said, borrowing one of her pet phrases.

Satisfied with his answer, she smiled, wheels turning. "In that case..."

He raised an eyebrow, prompting her.

"Exactly how much stamina do you have now?"

He grinned and pulled her down for a heated kiss.

* * * *

Buffy sighed as the car pulled up in front of her house.

"I can't believe it's over," she said. They had spent the weekend alternately talking deep talks and making mad, passionate love. She hadn't wanted it to end.

"It will never be over, love," the Watcher chided.

"You know what I mean. We can't be free with it here. We have to hide, at least for a year or so. That's gonna be so hard."

"I know," Giles sighed, taking her hand, "but it's worth it, don't you think?"

"Of course it is! I love you, Giles."

"I love you, too, Buffy. Be happy."

"I'm happy. I'm Happy Girl. See, I'm all Cheshire." She grinned to demonstrate, making him laugh. Still smiling, she continued, "I just wish..."

"I know, love. So do I."

They sat for a moment, just being together.

"You'd better go inside, now."

"Yeah. See you tomorrow."

"Tomorrow, then."

They couldn't kiss. Joyce or the neighbors might see. So they simply shared a tender look, eyes filled with love. She snagged her tote from the back seat and got out of the car.

* * * *

"How was your trip, sweetheart? Did you have fun?"

"Yep, lots."

"What did you and Mr. Giles do?"

Buffy nearly choked on her orange juice. --Well, Mom, we thumped like bunnies all weekend long, she thought maniacally. "Uh...you know...woodland stuff. Mostly we talked." --And almost twenty percent of that was actual truth.

"So, I guess you two managed to heal that breach, huh?" Joyce asked in her very best I'm-not-going-to-say-I-told-you-so voice.

"Yeah, Giles and I did some major bonding," Buffy allowed, smiling inwardly. "We are now totally breach free."

"Good. I'm glad that's settled."

"Me too. You know," she said suddenly, "I think I'm gonna call Willow." She sprinted up the stairs leaving her mother wondering...

--Oh, well. She may be the scourge of the undead, but she's still a teenager, I guess.

She shook her head, returning to her paper.

* * * *

Several hours later, the Slayer walked up to her Watcher's door. She'd told Willow all she'd dared over the phone and promised to give details tomorrow. She'd tried to sleep, but the night beckoned and, unsurprisingly, her wanderings brought her here.

--Please be awake, she begged silently and rang the bell.

Moments later, she heard him on the other side of the door. He opened the privacy hatch to see who it was and the corners of his eyes crinkled with his smile.

"Hi," Buffy said simply.

He closed the hatch and opened the door, looking at her with one eyebrow raised.

"I couldn't wait until tomorrow," she supplied.

His smile widened as he stood aside to allow her entry and then closed the door behind her.

END