SEDUCTIVE SERENADE
By Solo84

TITLE: Seductive Serenade
AUTHOR: Solo84
E-MAIL: solo84@bgshippers.com
SPOILERS: Where the Wild Things Are (Episode 18; season 4)
SUMMARY: Riley is being crappy. Buffy is awakened to the void. Giles is a sweetheart and Scoobies forever! (Notice how I’m extremely vague with the summaries for my own fic? I wonder why that is…) B/G – Just drop me a line if you’re surprised. I’d like to meet you. You astound me.
RATING: I’d say a raging, NC-17.
FEEDBACK: Always welcome. Yay! Feedback! *Happy jig*
DISTRIBUTION: My site: http://www.bgshippers.com
DISCLAIMER: They're all the property of Joss Whedon (that wonderful, wonderful man). *Sigh.* And of course those other people. The nice, sweet, kind hearted folks at the WB, distributing this good quality program to the masses and the not so lovely people over at Fox whom I’ve now ordained "The Crappy Heads."
NOTE: Okay, so I had an idea and couldn’t update until I got it out. I hope this is all right and helps to calm your frayed nerves o’ B/Gness.


Night had fallen. The iridescent stars obscured by the darkness of a looming storm. Gusts of wind played dramatically on the leaves of the few trees in the cemetery and there was a decided nip in the air. This was a night reserved for the most formidable of demons. True monstrosities seemingly sucked directly from a child’s most horrifying of nightmares.

The grass rolled, captured in the enchantingly violent wind as the first cool drop fell from above. This night may well have been reserved for the most formidable of demons, but it seemed they’d quite petulantly decided not to show… at least not those of the physical, pummelable variety.

Buffy’s familiar blonde head bobbed heavily as she executed the most doleful of sighs. Sitting on a headstone that quite effortlessly dwarfed her tiny form; she fiddled with a stake and contemplated none other than Riley. Yes indeed, the Teutonic boy from heaven. Quite a welcome contrast to the brooding man from hell (though she’d yet to admit as much consciously).

There was no denying that she missed Angel like she’d miss her own arm (had it been severed and chucked across a busy highway). She missed him, yes, but having made the decision to move on, Riley was… well, there wasn’t really a word for what he was. He certainly wasn’t a mere replacement; having patched wounds on her heart she’d imagined would be forever exposed to the ravages of life at its most agonizing. Riley was… it.

Okay, slept with Faith, yes, eww, but his sweetness more than made up for it. < And can we say lova’ divine?>

Glancing up at the sky, she sighed and swung her legs, heaving herself from the cool rock. Dusting herself off, she surveyed the area one last time and then pulled her hood over her head to block out the beginnings of a soon to be torrent.

Riley had claimed to be needed for a routine, yet necessary, scanning tactical thingy, but she knew it also had something to do with reigning in the last vestiges of his control. In other words, he didn’t think he could resist her and wanted to not be the center of chaos for at least a couple of days. Buffy had insisted on his irrationality (much to her chagrin), but he was (more or less) dead set on the break from the nooky. Of course they’d need to be apart, at least for patrol, if he was to concentrate on anything else.

"Buffy, I’m serious," he’d protested as he felt her finger run the length of his belt. "I don’t want to be responsible for getting us killed and I can’t say that I’d be able to restrain myself from…" She’s stopped him there with a sweet lingering kiss.

"Soon," she’d said grinning impishly.

"Soon?" He’d said, breathless.

"Mmm hmm…" and with that she’d left.

Buffy giggled at the memory. He’d probably had to sprint to the bathroom after that. <Poor guy.> He deserved it, though.

Shoving her stake back up her sleeve, Buffy turned to go back to the dorm and Rileyville when she heard stampeding footsteps to her rear.

"Buffy!" A familiar voice cried out. "Buffy come quick!"

She readied her stake once more and went to meet her friend half way. "Willow," she said once they’d met, "Willow, tell me. What is it? Is it Tara?"

"No, no, no. Buffy I…" She turned, annoyed. "Xander! Come on!"

"I’m all right, really. Don’t worry about me," came the not so distant reply. "Honestly. No help needed here. In fact I’ll just help myself, ‘cause, you know what? I’m a helpful guy." Stumbling up from behind a headstone, Xander approached his two friends, a twiggy, scruffy mess. "Okay, Will. Can you try not to drag me next time? Tripping over headstone? Not a giddy event. Unless, of course, you count the mild concussion."

"Yeah, fine, but we had to get Buffy. She can’t miss this and you didn’t even have to come, you neener head."

"Did you expect me to let you go a’ lurking alone, in the bush, at night in the land of hell-beasts? Willow, please, what kind of a friend do you think I am?"

"I’m only saying that I could’ve very easily found someone else to come along. Since when do you care about this anyway."

"Someone else, who? Tara? Tara, is busy. Tara has to study. Tara can’t come. You beat that over my head enough times that I knew you didn’t have any options. Setting aside my unadulterated pride at being dear Willow’s last choice, I had to really mull over my decision. I mean, there was always your happy sock puppet of love, but the no arms thing can kind of impede one looking to carry around an implement of defense."

"Look, mister…"

"Stop!" Buffy shouted. "Guys! Please, calm. What is…"

"Oh! Buffy! Sorry, yes. You need to come now. I… no time for explanation just… umm… time to sprint." Grabbing Xander’s arm once more Willow made to lead the speedy way.

"Buffy? Buffy, help."

"I will if you tell me where we’re going, Xander. Is everything all right? Is it Riley?" She said, keeping pace.

"No." He shouted back. "Nothing like that. You’ll find out."

 

* * *

The café was alight with chatter and good vibes as the teens burst through the doors. Scanning the room, Willow’s face dropped.

"Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! We’re too late."

"Too late for what?" Buffy asked, slightly breathless.

"Will, just ask somebody. Maybe it’s not over yet."

"Xander, I don’t think he’s going to…"

He held his hand up to halt her words, as he spotted a relatively accessible customer to his right. Willow defiantly observed him asking his questions.

"See, I told you it wouldn’t…"

"He’ll be on again in a couple of minutes. Apparently he’s taking a break. Happy?"

"Okay, yes, but…"

"Ah, ah, ah! No snubbing of Key Guy. He’s returned with a vengeance and will have no snottiness from the troops."

"Umm… guys, that’s Giles."

Willow glanced up. "Oh, yes!"

"What do we say?"

"Key guy forever reigns."

"Thank you."

The lights dimmed slightly and Willow and Xander both pulled Buffy to a nearby table, sure to be as inconspicuous as possible.

"Do you think he can see us?" Xander asked.

"No!" Came Willow’s exaggerated whisper. "Now shut up. It’s starting"

Softly, Giles cleared his throat. Adjusting a few strings on his guitar, he smiled up at the audience and then began to play. The tune seemed familiar to many of the people there, but the Scoobies had no idea.

The words. The words, though, seemed to hit almost painfully close to home. Buffy couldn’t help but lower the act of perpetually false cheer as she heard them sung.

~ Look in the mirror and tell me just what you see
What have the years of your life taught you to be?
Innocence dying in so many ways
Things that you dream of are lost, lost in the haze ~

He had a nice voice. Admittedly, it was very distant from the "creepy" label, but she wouldn’t go so far as to say sexy. Nice, soothing, even pleasant, but sexy? No. Giles didn’t do sexy.

~ Hold on, baby, hold on
'cause it's closer than you think,
and you're standing on the brink
Hold on, baby, hold on
'cause there's something on the way,
your tomorrow's not the same as today ~

Yes, his voice was not… creepy, < okay, perhaps maybe a smidgen sexy, but only a smidgen,> but the song sure was. Creepy in its similarities to her life (but weren’t all songs supposed to do that? Appeal to the masses?)… yet oddly motivational.

~ Don't you recall what you felt, when you weren't alone
Someone who stood by your side, a face you have known
Where do you run when it's too much to bear?
Who do you turn to in need, when nobody's there? ~

Now, how could she turn to someone when no one was there? How does that make sense? < I call for a rewrite!> She quipped internally, quite expertly diverting and repressing all at once. She’d grown remarkably skilled at the two of those… skills. Side effects? Only occasional mild cases of heartburn.

~ Hold on, baby, hold on
'cause it's closer than you think,
and you're standing on the brink
Hold on, baby, hold on
'cause there's something on the way,
your tomorrow's not the same as today ~

< You can say that again. I mean, just yesterday I was… engaged in yumminess and today I’m… listening to my watcher sing. Oh my God! My watcher sings! Giles sings! > <Buffy, not a new thing. Old news of the weird and creepy, remember?> <Ahh yes. Got it. Creepy. Check. > She paused her internal meanderings a moment to allow his creepy (sexy) bizarro (sultry) tones to engulf her. <Listen to Giles. Also check.>

~ Outside your door, he is waiting, waiting for you,
sooner or later, you know, he's got to come through
No hesitation and no holding back,
Let it all go, and you know you're on the right track ~

She sighed simultaneously with Willow and whipped her head around to see if anyone had noticed. Xander seemed surprisingly engaged as well (something she made a note to taunt him mercilessly about later).

"Remember the cash incentives, Xander. Wouldn’t want good money to go to waste." She whispered it into the air, but the desired effect was reached. She saw his shoulders tense and a subtlety sheepish glance back. "It’s all right. He’s good. It’s okay to like it." He relaxed visibly, but glared at her as best he could without actually removing his eyes from the one at center stage.

~ Hold on, baby, hold on
'cause it's closer than you think,
and you're standing on the brink
Hold on, baby, hold on
'cause there's something on the way,
your tomorrow's not the same as today ~

People started clapping boisterously as the lights went up. Willow couldn’t help but stand and cheer, uncaring of her visibility at this point. Xander followed suit and Buffy, unable to stay rudely sitting (yeah… right) leapt up, clapping, measured in her show of appreciation as well as her position. She was behind the back of another particularly impressed female customer and thus concealed from his gaze.

He bowed warmly and spotted Willow almost immediately. He smiled, which didn’t do much to quell her now raging blush.

"Willow, if anymore blood rushes to your head you’re going to explode."

Willow glanced at Buffy, unhearing. "Sexy right? What’d I say? I mean, how could you see that and not automatically go ‘hello! Sexy!?’"

"Dunno Will." Xander said reflexively.

"Huh?"

"Oh, what? I mean. What did you say? I didn’t hear you… umm…"

"Xander, what happened to the cash incentives?"

"Why does everyone keep on saying that??"

"Hello all." They turned to watch the approach of the man himself. He looked flushed and happy. That was certainly something they rarely saw from him. Though Buffy could probably name a couple other times.

"Hey Giles!" Willow piped up. "That was great! You’re so great!"

"Thank you Willow. Xander, was I less of an embarrassment this evening?"

"I never said…"

"It’s not a problem. I might’ve reacted the same in your position. Funny, you two seem to be making a habit of… Buffy? What are you doing here? I thought you and Riley were on patrol this evening."

"Yep, been there, staked that. Riley couldn’t come ‘cause of residual se… I mean, uh… physical strain on his. Um… muscles, because… because he had this really long Initiative training thingy where they did a lot of exercise type things and…"

"Buffy, I understand. It’s all right."

Buffy didn’t really know what he meant by that, but the amused twinkle in his eye was a bit disconcerting.

"Let’s go, shall we? I don’t fancy staying out too late. I need to get home in time to…"

"Giles don’t say it." Buffy piped up.

"Say what?"

"The J word."

"What? Sword? Polish?"

"Oh. What happened to the Jeopardy?"

"Ah… well, perhaps if it’s on…"

"I said don’t say it."

"I didn’t."

She sighed. "All right. Forget it. Nevermind. Let’s get you home for that sword polish."

"Giles, you’re guitar!" Willow squeaked.

"It’s fine. I leave it here nights if I plan to return the following evening."

"Ahhh…" She paused. "Okay then."

 

* * *

The rain had passed, but the roads were still slick, as the group made their way to their respective abodes. They’d strolled in a relatively comfortable silence, but Willow was about to explode, she couldn’t make it all the way home without asking.

"Buffy?" Willow whispered to her friend. "Pssst! Buffy?"

Buffy sighed. "Yes, what? What is it Will? You just interrupted a perfectly good Riley daydream… or, nightdream."

"Oh, sorry, it’s not important."

"No, what?"

"Really, it’s not…"

"What???" Buffy’s whisper was loud enough to draw Xander’s now suspicious attention.

"Okay, grumpy bunny. I just wanted to know what you thought of Giles."

"What do you mean what I thought of…"

"His singing. The song. The earring etc."

"Ahh…" she paused. "There was an earring? Since when."

"Look for yourself." Willow subtly (or, at least, her version of subtly) indicated his left ear.

Buffy gaped at it for a moment or two. "Umm… that’s… new. Definitely new. I second Xander’s mid-life thought."

"See!" He piped up in a whisper.

"Hey! Private conversation. Did we say you could join in?"

"All right Buff. Continue chatting about your petty little girly things. I’ll just be over here being manly. Manly Xander. Yep, people flock from miles around to request an audience with the wonder that is me."

"I."

"Giiiiles!" Buffy exclaimed.

"Sorry, however, I’d also like to point out that I’m not deaf."

Willow sighed and dragged Buffy to the rear of the guys. "Okay, I’m hoping they can’t be frustrating ninnies from this distance. Anyway, answer please."

"Answer what?"

"Oh. Come. On! The Giles question."

"Oh that. Yeah, it was good."

"What was good?"

"The singing, the song and the… earring." She finished, with a glance to him.

"Would you go so far as to say maybe… oh, I don’t know… sexy??"

"I guess… only a smidgen, though."

"Ah ha! I knew it!" The guys whipped around to look at them. "Well, I did… quit that."

Buffy laughed. "Hey Will, you know you’re my best friend right?"

"Yeah."

"Good, ‘cause you are."

"I’m having a serious case of selective listening up here and am becoming increasingly offended." Xander shouted back.

"Oh for God’s sake! Xander, you and Willow are like a unit. Two peas in a pod. It’s a package deal. Will’s my best friend, so you’re included under that label."

"All right then." He said indignantly.

Giles didn’t comment.

A noise from the rear signaled their approach, but the vampires were on them before they could react. One of them grabbed Willow by the throat, just as Buffy spun, snapping her foot up to crack him in the head. He stumbled backwards, but remained undeterred.

"Okay, I find I’m a very tolerant person. Agist, racist, sexist. None of them my staples. I do, however, have this unrivaled hate for demons of many varieties and an uncannily cruel habit of killing most. I don’t like it when you threaten my friends. Threats give me hives, and a bad case of blinding rage. Say you’re sorry."

With a low growl he lunged for her. She spun with him and staked him in the back as he stumbled past.

"Oops. Didn’t say it. Your loss." Turning around she saw Xander struggling with one of the vamp’s compatriots and Giles just staking another. Willow still coughed a little and Buffy looked at her, concerned, while still keeping an eye on the deceptively still night.

"Will, are you all right?"

"Yeah…" She said, her voice obviously strained.

"Yeah, right." Buffy responded with a smirk.

"No really," she said, straightening. "It’s just a tad sore."

"A tad."

"Yes. A tad."

"Okay, fine…" Buffy glanced up, fully expecting nothing, as had been the case on her last few perusals. "Hoooly crap. Umm… Willow, can you run? Can you find someone? Riley. Can you find Riley? We need… help."

Willow looked in the direction of Buffy’s gaze. It looked like there were about fifty of them, vampires and demons, just standing a few yards away. "Um… I think I can" <More like, I hope I can.>

"Okay, you… wait, you can’t go alone. You and Xander. You and Xander go and find Riley. I think he’s… I don’t know where he is. Just…"

"It’s all right, Buff. We’ll get him. Xander?" They both heard the anguished cry of the demon as its vessel was dusted.

"Yeah, I’m good. I’m ready. I’m… okay, please tell me that’s a mural. Dead Men on Parade… or…"

"Xander, go! We need help. Giles and I can hold it down ‘till you get back." <More like, I hope we can.> "Giles?"

"Yes, Buffy…" He said, his voice strained in battle as he managed to stake the last of their attackers.

"Look." She pointed and Giles’ gaze followed the direction of her finger.

"Oh dear… that’s um… Xander and Willow, you go…"

"We’ve already covered that. Giles, can we do this?"

"I should hope so."

"All right, guys go… through a backyard or something. I don’t predict anyone making it through the wall of demons over there and," she glanced to the opposite side, sure of what she’d find, "and there. Um… now!"

"K, Buff. You guys be careful!" came Xander’s retreating reply as he followed Willow between two nearby houses.

"Okay, Giles we…" When she looked back at him, his expression was unreadable. "Umm… need to. Okay, why aren’t they coming?"

"It appears as though they’re waiting for something."

"Okay, yes, I got that, but…" And then something appeared. "Adam… oh my God." They both watched as he took his position to the front of the right flank. "Giles?"

"Yes, Buffy? I’m right here." He said, placing his hand on her shoulder to reinforce his presence.

"I’m really hoping Riley gets here soon."

"Yes, remarkably, so am I."

Buffy didn’t have time to contemplate his reservations; with a nod of his head, Adam triggered the first round of attack. Ten demons from each side converged on the two at center. Giles took on two as Buffy staked the first moving on to the rest of her approaching nine.

"Giles! Are you all right?" She shouted, just as she delivered a roundhouse kick to her attackers right side, doubling him over in time for the clean stake.

"Yes, Buffy, pay attention." He said, struggling to keep his demon from choking him, and apparently succeeding. Buffy whipped around at his words, just as another demon managed to deeply scratch her throat.

"Ow!" Buffy shouted. "That hurt! What kind of a sissy fights with their nails anyway?" Leaping forward in anger, she belted him in the head, with her decidedly undamaged fist and kneed him hard in the gut just as one of his friends seized her from the rear.

"Buffy!" Giles shouted, ignoring the rest of the minions behind him in favor of helping his slayer. Sprinting up behind her captor, he pulled a knife from his ankle and rammed it through its head. Buffy spun away and easily, almost gracefully dispatched the other.

<Oh shit!> "Giles, look…!" He turned, but it was too late, a demon, with what looked to be a wooden arm, clubbed Giles hard over the head and moved to finish off his now bleeding, unconscious prey. "Oh no you don’t" She said, whipping her foot up to strike him in the head, while she (almost simultaneously) grabbed his wooden arm and flung it’s entire hulking mass over her head to the cement below. "Friends don’t let friends attack slayer’s friends. You demons should have a motto like that." She said, punching him so hard in the chest that her fist entered it’s body. "Yep, that’s gonna hurt when. Eww… okay, demon innards." She said, as the demon in question melted into the ground.

"Giles, are you all…" Turned, she spotted the remaining vamps leaning over her insatiate watcher. Running to his aide, Buffy dispatched them all in a furious tornado of arms, legs and stakes. The dust nearly choked her. Coughing she leaned over his body. The blood on his head still dripped, but appeared to be coagulating. <He’s going to feel that in the morning.> This has got to be his worst concussion yet. In times like these she wondered, without humor, if his body had perhaps withstood too many. She didn’t want to contemplate how many she herself had been responsible for. <Probably all of them.> <Shut up.> "Giles, you idiot! Why’d you have to go do that again. I can take care of myself you know…"

She glanced up and immediately began to question that statement as the next round of demons came her way. "Riley, where are you." Standing up she made not to protect herself, but to guard Giles… of course, that would probably protect herself quite handily. For awhile anyway and the others would be there soon… she hoped.

* * *

Tired. That’s all she could think, was tired. She’d made it through the next round and was half way through a third when she saw Forrest come out from where her two friends had entered, what seemed like hours, but was probably mere minutes before. Straight ahead she saw Riley and Graham, both armed to the teeth. Willow came from behind Forrest and Xander from behind her. They all jumped into the fray.

Riley kneed an approaching vamp and shot off a few deadly blows into the crowd. The blast took down many, but certainly not all of the demons. Staking the one gasping at his feet, he signaled Graham to take the left.

"Go rally the squad and wait for the signal. I don’t need to tell you to shoot to kill."

Graham nodded and went over to collect the rest of the Initiative that were now shrouded in the bushes of the park. Riley saw Forrest going hand to hand with a couple and then he spotted Buffy. She looked ragged as he sprinted to her aide. Her face lit up when she spotted his approach.

"Riley, thank God!"

"Buffy, are you okay? Are you hurt?" He grasped her shoulder tenderly.

"No, I’m good. Just a bit tired."

"All right, well Graham has a squad at the ready, but I don’t know if they’re going to be needed."

Looking up Buffy saw the demons retreating down the street. Adam still stood where he had at the beginning. Riley called Graham out when they saw him begin to approach. Adam stopped a couple of meters away and observed Riley, his weapon cocked and at the ready.

"That was fascinating." He said sounding… fascinated. "The slayer." He regarded Buffy. "You guarded this man with skill. I imagine you will be a worthy adversary."

"Okay, listen you big…"

"That was a test. You’ve performed impressively. I look forward to our next meeting." He glanced at Riley before turning to leave.

When Adam looked to be at a reasonable distance, Riley retracted his gun.

"Okay, what was that??" Buffy asked, not really needing or wanting an answer. Apparently this wasn’t it and the next fight would prove to be far more difficult. Not something she was looking forward to.

"I have no idea." Riley looked after Adam thoughtfully.

"Well, it was certainly… interesting. That guy creeps me out. I’m so not looking forward to ‘our next meeting.’ Is everyone all right?" Buffy glanced about the gathering crowd. Willow and Xander looked all right, a little worn down from their run, maybe, but otherwise uninjured. Forrest seemed to have sustained a gash on his left cheek and Graham and the rest of the Initiative guys hadn’t had to enter the fight.

"Graham, you can take the troops back to headquarters for a debriefing. I’m going to stay here and…"

"Yeah, no, good. I got it." Graham smirked at Riley, glanced at Buffy and then moved to follow his orders.

"Forrest, you can…"

"Yup. No prob chief." He too smiled and followed Graham back to the squad. "Try to go easy on her this…"

"All right! Just go." Riley was irritated and Forrest loved it. Once they’d left, he turned back to the others. An explanation for their behavior died on his lips as he heard a groan come from the ground.

"Omigod! Giles!" Buffy knelt at his side, moving to sit him up. "Are you all right? Can I get you… do you think you can make it home? Is, is… umm… how does your head feel."

"Rather painful actually." His voice reflected it. "Are Xander and Willow…?"

"They’re good. We’re all good. Adam kind of… well, it was a test, apparently there’s more."

He chuckled. "I should’ve known that would be too easy."

"Yeah, well I’m mad at you."

"What?"

"Can you try maybe not to get yourself killed. It would make my life easier."

"Buffy I…"

"Yeah, you were rescuing me, but Giles, I don’t need rescuing. I’m Buffy. Slaygal. I would’ve gotten away from that guy eventually and I don’t want to have to worry about you going into ‘death wish’ mode every time I find myself in a jam."

"Buffy, really, I’m quite all…"

"No! Uh uh. That’s not going to fly with me mister, I…"

"Buffy?" Riley piped in. "Why did you bring him in the first place."

Buffy found herself irritated at the interruption and the question. "What do you mean?" She looked at him expecting a response. When she got none she continued. "I didn’t bring him, we were walking and we were attacked. And anyway, what’s wrong with me bringing him?"

"Well, he’s obviously not trained to be in the field and at his age I just don’t think it’s wise."

"You." Buffy didn’t know why, but she was getting really angry now. She stood and was oddly rather more intimitating at 5’3" than Riley at 6’2." "You don’t think it’s wise? Now what would be wise, Riley, in your expert opinion. We live in Sunnydale. We live in the world. The world is dangerous. Giles… no one, can just sit around in their house all the time because they’re afraid of what might happen if they go outside. It’s dangerous. And let me assure you, Giles, likely has had a great deal more experience in these situations than you." <Okay, hostile much?>

"I’m only saying that… Buffy, look at him. He’s injured. It obviously wasn’t that easy for him to…"

"He’s injured because he was trying to save me."

"You just said…"

"I don’t care what I just said. I was talking to Giles, not you."

"Buffy, I’m really capable of fighting my own battles, thank you."

"Was I talking to you?!" She said glaring down at him. "Riley, you wanted time apart so let’s be…"

"Buffy, I…" Giles attempted to hoist himself up, but slid back to the ground when his legs wouldn’t hold him.

"Oh! Giles, I’m sorry." She went back to his side. "I… okay, we need to get you to a hospital."

"Really, Buffy, I’m fine there’s no need to… ah!" he cried and she glanced down to where her hand brushed. It looked as though a Polgara had skewered him in the side and the blood there was flowing freely.

"Oh God. Umm… yes, hospital now. Xander! Willow!" When they approached, she continued. "Guys, I need you to help me carry him. Riley? Do you have a car, or a tank, or a field motorcycle or something? We need to get him there, like, now." Their recent tiff was all but forgotten in the wake of recent urgency.

"I… yeah, just around back."

"Buffy, please, I don’t…."

"Be quiet Giles. We’re carrying you and that’s it." Buffy was worried at how weak he was beginning to sound. As they hoisted him up, they all saw, but didn’t comment on the large pool of blood, still moist, running down the sidewalk.

Once they made it to Riley’s truck they lifted a now unconscious Giles into the back. Buffy stayed with him during the short ride to the hospital. Worry didn’t even begin to describe the emotion she now felt coursing through her body.

* * *

Buffy sat and listened as the monitors beeped. Thankfully Giles was asleep this time and decidedly not comatose. She really did hate when he did that. Unfortunately… or fortunately, this had been the worst of the aftermaths.

Willow sat, asleep, on his other side and Xander paced non-stop.

"Xander." He looked up, eyes glazed. "Can you quit it, please?" He stopped and sat heavily in a chair at the head of the room. "Thank you." They’d managed to convince the hospital staff to let them stay. It had been surprisingly easy. Buffy figured it had something to do with the fact that they were regulars. And when you were regulars in an emergency ward it was only courteous to allow for some lenience upon request.

Riley had gone, of his own volition, to get them all some water. When he returned, peaking his head through the door, it felt… wrong. It shouldn’t feel wrong, he was her boyfriend. There really wasn’t any reason for it, but it still did. <It’s not his place.> Her mind kept repeating. This wasn’t for him to see. This wasn’t for him to participate. This was a Scooby dilemma, a Scooby struggle, a Scooby moment. She laughed at that ridiculous name. Obviously he’d heard.

"Feeling better I see?" He whispered, entering quietly.

"I’m feeling fine. Giles is feeling better." He handed her her water and did the same for the others. Willow’s he placed on the table to her side. Then he pulled up a chair and sat next to Buffy.

"All right. That’s good, right?"

"Of course it’s good," she said unnecessarily.

"Buffy, I was just joking a little. The mood is a little heavy. I was thinking it needed a brightener."

She sighed. "Yeah, Riley, I know. I’m just… I’m just not in the mood right now. The doctors said it was a relatively clean wound. They were able to close it with twenty stitches but that’s a lot. Even for the hellmouth. Of course, he’d lost a lot of blood, so they had to deal with that and… as was expected… or hoped, the concussion didn’t cause any serious damage."

"Well, good then."

"Yeah." She said absently. Riley moved to entwine their fingers and Buffy didn’t resist. She couldn’t explain why it made her feel so dirty, but it did. Sitting next to Giles like this and having happy, fluffy, quality boyfriend time just didn’t seem right… at all. She untwined their hands. "Riley, I think… I think you’d better go." He looked at her, a bit wounded. "No, it’s… I just want to be alone with Giles for a bit, okay? I’ll see you tomorrow. That’s ‘soon’ enough, isn’t it?" She said, waggling her eyebrows.

He stood and smirked down at her. "Yeah. I understand. I’ll see you tomorrow then." He leaned down to kiss her sweetly on the cheek. Buffy made an ‘mmm’ sound that was supposed to seem pleasurable, but, to her ears, seemed a bit patronizing.

Riley walked out somewhat worried, not commenting on the fact that she wasn’t alone with Giles. She was alone with Willow, Xander and Giles. He hadn’t wanted to push her. He supposed they’d need to talk, but not now.

Back in the room, Buffy played with Giles’ fingers. She didn’t want to wake him, but she had to feel him, his life. When she felt him stir, she removed her hand, a bit sheepish.

"Buffy?" He said, his voice raspy from sleep.

"Yeah Giles, I’m here." She said, scooting her chair over, attentive.

"Can I…" Just then Xander shot across the room.

"Giles. G-man! You’re good. You’re all right, right?"

"Umm… yes, Xander, but I would be better if I could have some water."

"Oh! Well, I finished mine, but you can have Buffy’s. Here" He reached over and handed it to him. Buffy observed the exchange, irritated.

"Oookay, Xander-spazz. Try not to excite the patient and… all right, can you please go back to your corner!" Xander retracted from his hovering position, just as Willow stirred. Stretching in her chair she yawned and glanced over at her friends.

"Oh! Giles, you’re awake! Are you okay…? I mean. Are you okay now?"

"Yes, Willow and I’ll also be better if Xander could resist his inherent mothering urge. Xander please, what Buffy said."

Grumbling Xander went over grabbed his chair and pulled it closer to the bed. "Happy?"

"Quite."

They were all silent for a moment and then broke out in giggles. Of course they ended with a shout from Giles, as he, in his own words "felt as though he may have busted a stitch."

* * *

The next morning the hospital released Giles at his own fervent insistence, telling him that "he’d better rest or he would indeed ‘bust a stitch.’" They gave him various ointments and the Scoobies vowed to force him to use them. It would be tough, but they all had confidence in their pouting power… and if all else failed they could call in their secret Buffyized weapon.

They accompanied Giles back to his apartment, much to his irritation.

"Giles, I really think…"

"Xander, please, just go."

"Honestly. We could…"

"Xander…"

"Okay, all right. I’m gone."

Giles stood on his threshold. "Buffy? Willow? Did you two intend to help me with the ointment?"

"I… okay, I’ll go Giles, but… oh! Hey, Giles! Your guitar!"

He chuckled. "I imagine it will be all right, Willow. Don’t worry."

"All right. You rest. You see the resolve face?" She gave it to him. "There. I’ll see you guys later."

"Where’re you going?" Buffy asked Willow as Giles stepped in ahead of her.

"Oh, I guess. I don’t know. Tara and I had planned to practice some spells and then maybe engage in a girly movie field trip. You? Oh! Did you want to come? You could come."

"Nah. I’m gonna’ stay here and talk to Giles first. You know. ‘Piece of my mind’ time."

"Ahh. Okay, go easy on him, though." Willow smiled. "See ya later!"

"K, bye Will!" Buffy watched her go and then entered the still open front door. "Giles?"

"Right here Buffy." She followed his voice and found him in the kitchen, leaning down to fish out a teapot.

"You probably have like fifteen of those don’t you."

"Close." He smirked at her. "How can I help you, miss?"

"Ha ha very funny, but not good enough…"

"I won’t do it again."

"Oh. Come. On! There’s no way you’re going to make me believe that."

"Well, it’s the truth. You know I’m a man of my word"

"Yeah, well I don’t think that applies here."

"Indeed it does. From now on I will resign myself to watching you suffer and die."

"Okay Mr. Snarky and ‘heeey!’ I didn’t say…"

He turned to face her. "What didn’t you say? What I said? No, you didn’t, but you implied it. Buffy, you may be super-human, but you’re still human. You’re still mortal, you can die and I won’t allow it."

"You won’t allow it? Now look here, I don’t take…. Okay, that was nice, but…"

"But what?"

"I… Giles, why do you have to be so crappy sometimes? I don’t want you to die either."

"Well, that’s good to hear isn’t it." He murmured, busying himself with filling the teakettle.

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing Buffy, I…"

"No, you can’t just say that and shut up about it. I want to know what exactly you meant by that. Did you think I wanted you to die?"

He turned to her. "Lately, I find the answer to that question a little on the uncertain side."

"That’s ridiculous! I can’t believe you would think…"

"Is it? Is it so ridiculous? Buffy, for the past year it seems as though I’ve quite nearly been dead to you. When we are together I find I’m almost constantly ignored or insulted. Is that intentional, or have you just found there’s no more use for the old man and may as well just wean him out gracefully. I truly hate to break it to you Buffy, but your tactics lack a great deal of care and as far as grace is concerned…"

"Giles, you have no right to say these things to me. I just went through hell trying…"

"To save me? I’m sorry Buffy, but it’ll take more than a couple hours worth of attention to do that. I said I wouldn’t leave you, but do you realize how many times I’ve contemplated doing just that? I’m always there for you and still I remain your lowest priority. I’m quite shocked that you aren’t with Riley right now. How long is it going to take for him to recover his ‘muscle.’"

"Giles!"

"What is it?" He said, getting right in her face. "I’m Giles, right? How in heaven could I have any knowledge of the male anatomy??? Good Lord! I’m floored! Aren’t you?"

She could feel the lump in her throat, but pushed it back. "I… Giles, you have no right…"

"To what? To comment on your life? To express any sort of distaste at my treatment? To stop pretending?" When she didn’t respond he turned to whisper into her ear. "Riley needs you luv. Best go to him." With that he turned and ascended the staircase. "You’re more than welcome to let yourself out." Buffy almost moved to do just that, but the chill of his words stopped her.

Riley needed her. Of course Riley needed her. He was Riley, but what did he mean by that? Did he need her more? That didn’t make any sense unless…. <Oh_my_God…> That just wasn’t possible… and yet. And, of course, what about her? She hadn’t thought of Riley since his retreating back had left the hospital room that evening. The only thing occupying her mind since then had been Giles. Was Giles okay? Would he hate her for letting it happen? Why was he wearing an earring? When would she get to hear him sing again? Did he plan on waking up anytime soon? How sexy was he when… umm, and the list goes on. Giles.

She… she loved Giles. <I love Giles? I don’t love Giles.> Giles was ‘eww,’ Giles was not capable of sex appeal. Giles was Giles… wait no. That’s what he said. <No, he’s not just Giles. He’s…> She heard the shower start upstairs. <…a man… Giles is a man. Giles is a man who’s taking a shower… I love Giles, he’s a man and he’s taking a shower. Put two and two together Buff.>

Okay, what had come over her? This wasn’t the way she thought. Her thought patterns involved Riley and slayage, Riley and kissing, Riley and sex, Riley and… <Whoa, that’s one hullava’ lot of Riley.> This was just so bizarre to her. Riley was sweet, sexy, loved her and thought… Giles was old. <Hey, Giles isn’t old!> <Since when?> <Since Riley said it.> <What’s that supposed to mean.> <It means that Riley distracted me and then brought me clarity. And… well, only I’m allowed to make fun of Giles. Willow was right.>

She smiled at that. Giles was sexy. He was…! She paused to think about that. Wow.

How old was he anyway? Oh wait. They’d just had a fight. She had to fix that. How could she fix that? <Yes… that’s it.> She grinned, devilishly. <Good idea, me. I’m glad I thought of it.>

 

* * *

Sneaking up the stairs, she first peaked into his bedroom. He wasn’t there and that only made her grin wider. <All the better.> She thought, sneaking inside.

* * *

Giles languished under the fall of the heated water. He hadn’t heard the door close and that worried him. He didn’t want to have to face her again today, not after the argument they’d had. It’d been too much. He’d said too much and he wouldn’t be surprised if she drifted even further from him now. Perhaps even cut him off completely because of it.

Lost in his thoughts, Giles missed the click of the bathroom door. Buffy didn’t, though and swore internally. When there came no response, the grin returned. <It’s now or never, Buffy. Ready to change your world?> Taking a deep breath she shucked his robe, opened the shower door and climbed, soundlessly in behind him.

<Whoa, okay nice… is it hot in here or is it…? Okay, of course it’s hot in here, the water is hot.> Nice to know Giles liked hot showers too. That’s one similarity that would come in handy in future.

Buffy watched him, his hands pressed against the wall as the water cascaded down his back, over the swell of his remarkably well-formed behind and on, in little rivulets, down his legs. And what legs they were. Buffy found herself licking her lips in curiosity. He was indeed, very very nice.

Reaching out, she lightly touched his back. The water was so heavy that it didn’t register. She continued, lightly running her hand up his back. Giles spun around.

"Buffy??? Good Lord! What are you…" Not giving him time to finish Buffy pressed herself against his body and slid her hands down his thighs. "…doing?" He breathed as her hands ran back up his legs to cup his butt.

Buffy didn’t respond. "How’re your stitches Giles?"

"They’re… they’re okay, but…"

"Shhhh…" she said pressing a finger to his lips. "That’s good to here." She smirked up at him and smoothed her hand over his chest allowing it to slowly descend, seizing his rapidly hardening cock. "How does that feel?"

"It…" Giles leaned his head back against the stall, breathless. "It… ah!" He gasped as she squeezed. "That… Buffy, please, you don’t know what you’re doing, you…" He didn’t know what to say as he watched her slide down his body, kissing his wound on the way to the floor. "Buffy?"

"It’s all right, Giles, just relax." His erection had grown brutally hard and she sucked at the pre-cum before it could be washed away.

"Buffy, please don’t…"

Buffy licked his head once more and then slid her mouth further down the shaft. Giles gasped and his hands flew to the sides of the stall, holding himself up in a strained impression of a spread eagle. She sucked once, hard, and he couldn’t help but thrust. She smiled around him. <That’s a boy.> One of her hands went up, brushing past his scrotum. Hesitating only for a moment, she experimentally entered him with two of her fingers.

Giles screamed and she grazed him with her teeth, heightening the sensation. Then it was all he could do not to not to thrust himself all the way past her throat. She sucked, and licked and tortured him pleasantly, her fingers now sliding in and out of his tight passage.

He took one of his hands from the wall and slid it into her hair, needing her to suck harder, and so she did. Sliding her mouth back up his shaft she grazed her teeth over the crown, grabbed the base with her other hand, licked him with her tongue and shoved her fingers so far up his ass he nearly collapsed from the pleasure.

"Buffy, Christ!" He said and then he was coming hard, so hard his legs nearly refused to hold him and Buffy took it all, licking up every last bit of him, before he slid to the floor. They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. Giles didn’t know what to say. "Buffy what… what was that?"

"Umm… I love you? And that was sort of payback."

"You… excuse me I don’t know if I… well, I suppose I would have heard you correctly considering recent events, but why? Payback for what?"

"I don’t know, payback for everything, payback for this year. Payback for Riley and Parker and… everything. Payback for drifting."

"What?"

"Away from you." Buffy slid in between his spread legs, and once against him noticed the evidence of his once more, raging desire. "Jeez, Giles, you are quick. Even Riley… okay, you didn’t want to here that, but he called you old, so… it deserves mentioning."

Giles simply smiled at her. "Get on me luv. I think the payback is over. Just be careful of my kind of okay stitches." Buffy grinned impishly and straddled her watcher, his erection pressed between the both of them. Giles groaned as she squirmed. "You don’t play fair," he said, pushing her away for a moment. He allowed his eyes to glide over her body, the very definition of open and ready… for him. "You do know that you’re remarkably beautiful, right?"

"I… okay, now look who doesn’t play fair. I don’t care how much of a sweetheart you are, just shut up and fuck me."

"Buffy, your langua… ahh!" He finished as she impaled herself, hard, upon his shaft. His legs spread wider and his hands went to her bottom, encouraging her to ride him faster as he began to thrust from below. Buffy slid up and down his propped thighs as she thrust against him. There was no room for words. Tilting her head back she gasped with the force of her lust.

Sliding her arms around his neck, Buffy enjoyed the feel of the water cascading down her back as she ground her body mercilessly against his. Her watcher was groaning her name so loudly that she was surprised the neighbors didn’t hear. Of course, maybe they did and had left because of it… or maybe they hadn’t left and… <‘Eww’ bad thoughts. Giles, though. Giles was a good thought.>

Pulling back a bit she looked at his face, his eyes were closed and his face seized by the urgent pleasure of their coupling. <God, I love him. This is so new… and I love him.> Reaching back she slid one of her hands down his thigh as she rode him, his expression distracted her from the hand that crept between her legs. He pressed hard on her clit and that was the end, she screamed his name in shock and her muscles began to clench around him, milking him, bringing him over the edge with her. He embedded his teeth in her shoulder as he came down, the pleasure shooting through his body almost too much to take.

When he finally relaxed, Giles kissed the marks he’d made and leaned his forehead against her shoulder, as he gasped for air. "Buffy…" He breathed. "Buffy, this is an odd time to confess, I suppose, but… God, I love you. I have for… since… oh God, I don’t know! It seems like forever." He tilted his head to look at her and reached up to hold her face between his two hands. "You are so… so beautiful… I…" and then he couldn’t stop it, the tears came and he released her face to hold her entire body to him, trying not to disturb his healing wound, but not caring much either way.

"Okay, Giles… you’re going to make me cry in a minute. It’s all right, really."

"Please, Buffy don’t do that to me again." He said into her neck. Buffy didn’t even need to ask what he meant. She knew.

"Giles… shhh… don’t worry, I have a feeling you’re kind of stuck with me now… umm… literally and figuratively." She said, glancing down between the small crack in their bodies.

"Pardon?" He said, pulling away a bit.

"Giles, c’mon, look."

He looked where she pointed and started chuckling. "Yes, we did make rather a big mess. What’s say we shower and… well, take it from there."

"All right Mr., but no funny business," she poked his chest. "I’d prefer not to get all pruney today, got that? And of course I have things to do, friends to tell, people to break up with."

"Friends to tell?"

"Hey, what about the ‘people to break up with?’ That’s significant."

"Umm… yes, but ‘friends to tell?’"

"You’re cute when you’re nervous, you know that?"

"It’s been said." Suddenly Buffy leaned down to kiss him, his lips parted willingly for her. They sat like that for five minutes enjoying each other’s touch and presence before separating.

"Mmm…" She said sincerely. "First kiss. Very nice. I give you a ten."

He raised his eyebrows. "You do, do you?"

"Mmm hmm…"

"I’ll give you a ten," He said, quickly changing their positions so that she was now lying beneath him. Buffy shrieked. "That’s right, luv. And don’t you forget it."

When they finally escaped the stall Buffy felt not only pruney, but raisiney as well.

* * *

"Hey Jude, don’t be a…"

"Giles?"

"Hmm?"

"Pick something else."

"Oh," he chuckled, "sorry." Buffy, now draped in one of her lover’s <My lover! Eeep!> shirts, sat cross legged on the floor at his feet. He’d slipped on some sweatpants, and had positioned himself comfortably on the couch.

"No guitar, but a sexy voice." She’d said. "Sing to me?"

She looked so lovely, how on earth could he have refused?

"All right, what would you suggest?"

"I suggest nothing. Make with the serenade. It’s my job to simply languish in my man’s sultry tones."

Giles sighed. "Ah. Indeed. All right, umm… how about this?"

~ I love you for sentimental reasons
I hope you do believe me
I'll give you my heart ~

Buffy smiled and crawled up onto the couch next to him. He lifted his arm and she nestled into his side.

~ I love you and you alone were meant for me
Please give your loving heart to me
And say we'll never part ~

He sung directly to her, and rubbed her back in small, soothing circles.

~ I think of you every morning
Dream of you every night
Darling, I'm never lonely
Whenever you are in sight ~

"You’re such a sweetie, you know that?" Giles smiled without breaking stride.

~ I love you for sentimental reasons
I hope you do believe me
I've given you my heart ~

"Giles, you are… there just aren’t words for what is you…" She leaned up and kissed his mouth. He pulled her to him and she slid neatly into his lap. As the kiss deepened she spread her legs, straddling him.

"Buffy…" Giles gasped, rapidly re-heating.

"Mmm…" She said kissing him hard.

"Buffy," he said again, "Buffy, I think… I think we have company."

"What?" She said, distracted.

"Umm… luv?" She looked up.

"What is it Giles?"

He glanced to the left and she followed his gaze. There stood three gaping mouths attached to three shocked teenagers.

"Willow… Willow my eyes. Please, there’s something wrong with my eyes." Willow snapped out of it and glanced at him, irritated. "What?"

Then Willow glanced at Tara. "Honey?" Tara looked at her.

"I know I haven’t been around long but… wow… this is new."

"Guys?" Buffy interrupted. "We can explain, but…" She looked back at Giles. "…but later."

"Umm… Buffy?"

"Will, c’mon."

"No, Buffy, I mean… it’s not me… or us. Umm… Xander? Xander, help me out here."

"Riley’s outside Buff, he… he wanted to talk to you."

"Oh." Buffy looked at them then and Giles’ expression shifted to that of concern. "Well, in that case, tell him… tell him we’ll talk later," she finished turning back to wipe the grin off her watcher’s face. "You watch it or I just might have to…"

"What, dearest?" She smiled and leaned down to whisper in his ear. "Buffy!" He croaked, his face flushing.

"Is it just me or are you guys feeling like…"

"Let’s go, Xander." Turning, the gang exited, slamming the door behind them.

"Hey Giles?"

"Mmm?"

"How old are you anyway?"

"Old enough, luv."

"On come on." Giles smirked and leaned in to whisper conspiratorially in her ear.

Buffy’s eyes lit up. "Man, you’re good… I mean even Riley… oh wait, too much information again." Giles laughed.

"Never"

END