Watching Her
By: Kathryn Collier

Disclaimer: Buffy, Giles, Willow, and all the other “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” characters belong to Joss Whedon.  If they belonged to me, they’d need God to help them!  Also, any other characters, including Rebecca and all the Giles’ belong to me, myself and I. Things to keep in mind while reading this story:
1. I do have a copyright on this story, so don’t archive without my name attached.
2. I am not receiving any money for this story, so don’t sue me!!!!
3. I, the author, am not responsible for any drugs that were secretly slipped into my system, thereby changing the quality of the story.
4. The story starts from Buffy’s perspective, turns omniscient, then Giles and back again, changing often.  I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out who’s talking, though.
5. I do appreciate feedback: kathryn37@hotmail.com or miss_parker37@hotmail.com Thanks, enjoy.
6. Oh, and by the by-as Faith would say-this story takes place directly after ‘Helpless’ or, Buffy’s eighteenth b-day.  Also, I realise that all subsequent eps. Ruin this, but, I don’t give a f**k!!!!!


He sat before me.  His eyes tore at my heart, how I loved this man.  He cared for me, soothing my aches, caused by lack of super human healing powers.  What words couldn’t say he made up for in actions.  Rubbing the tears from my eyes, the blood from my forehead. God!  For a while, I was sure I didn’t know the man whom I used to call Watcher.  Could I still call him that now?  For a while, I was sure he had hated me all along. That he was just waiting for this day, my eighteenth birthday, to take away all my powers and my might, to take away all the trust I thought I had earned.

That was for a while.  Now, I knew that it was his love for me that had ruined him, taken away his life’s calling.  A calling he had already sacrificed so much for.  And now, it was stolen from him, because he couldn’t stand to hurt me any longer. 

I wouldn’t apologise to him, because he didn’t deserve it.  What he did deserve however, was to know I forgave him and that I still trusted him.  I stayed his hand with my own and leveled my eyes with his.  “Giles-“ I began, but got no further, because I burst into tears.  He took me in his arms while I shook, letting all my anger go.  “How could you, Giles?  Do I mean anything to you?  Did I ever?” I couldn’t keep my doubts from surfacing.

“Buffy, you know I love you, to death and beyond.  I didn’t want to hurt you.  They forced me.” He cradled my cheek and I shrank back.

“Do I, Giles?  Do I know you love me?  You’ve never once said it!” I pushed out of the chair and headed to the library doors.

“I do, Buffy.  I love you, very much!” He held his arms out for me and tentatively,I went to him. 

“That’s all you needed to say.” I whispered, burrowing into his breast, to better hear his heartbeat.  It assured me that we were both still alive.  After the past few days, I really needed this reassurance.  Silence fell between us, our arms healing wounds words couldn’t.

“So, when are those Ice Capades?” he asked casually, but I could see how much he hurt.  For those soulful eyes he kept hidden behind unnecessary glasses didn’t sensor his feelings.  But, I wouldn’t press the issue, not until Giles wanted to talk to me.

I forced a smile, “Tomorrow night.  Wanna go, Dad.” I tried to make fun.

He grimaced painlessly, “Don’t call me that, and yes, I’d love to go.  It’s a date, no?”  He asked, looking at me above the rim of his glass.

“A date?”  I asked, my eyebrows arching playfully.  It gave me a wonderful, warm feeling to know that we had slipped back into our normal routine so easily.  Still, this matter was unresolved.  Maybe after the show, we could go for coffee.

Giles glared at me, puzzled as I burst into fits of giggle. Giles … me… date …coffee. Those were the single weirdest things my mind had ever put together.  Giles, me, and the unofficial ‘date beverage.’  The giggles continued, turning into a bought of hysteria.  Pretending to be annoyed, an exasperated Giles turned away and returned a moment later.  He must have been reading my mind, what he brought with him was so uncanny.  Two, steaming mugs of tea.  I eyed it suspiciously, took a whiff, cautious to consume it.  Then, I relaxed.  Giles would never hurt me again, I was certain of it.  He had failed his test as a Watcher because he loved me so much.  That thought brought tears to my eyes.  I felt almost unworthy of his love.  We’d never let each other down again.

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“So, Giles is taking you to the Ice Capades?  What, he looses his super awesome Watcher powers and suddenly he’s normal?” Xander complained.  “Great, now he’s going to be hounding me for that sex education book I borrowed.”

My mother gave us a lopsided smile  “I wouldn’t worry.  Mr. Giles cares very much for all of you.  He won’t let you down no matter what the stuffy English say.”

I agreed with my mother, Giles would be with us always and besides, this conversation was bringing me down.  Time for a topic switch.  “Hey, Wil, can you pass me the peanut butter which you opened since Xander couldn’t?”

Xander turned to me quickly, “Hey, I resent that!  I was trying to open it since you couldn’t.”  he lowered his voice, “Besides, for all I know, Willow was using her witchie powers on it.”

Oz spoke quietly for his girlfriend, “See, Willow would never do that.  She uses her powers for good.”
“Yeah!”  Willow piped up, “Like taking care of Amy!”

I smiled, somewhat sarcastically.  “Or maybe making her human again.”

“And maybe that too.”  Willow added less enthusiastic.

My mom looked upset at the mention of the witch, “I feel so bad about her condition.  It’s all my fault.” I gave my mother a long hug.

“Don’t worry mom, being a Slayer isn’t all kicking butt.  We do do spells.  We’ll find a way to make an Amy out of that rat!” I encouraged both Willow and my mother.

“Oh, Wil, I didn’t mean to get you down.  Let’s go watch the movie.”  I offered tucking the tapes under my arm, grabbing my sandwich and took Willow’s hand, dragging her into the living room. I felt so normal, sitting around on a Friday afternoon, watching a movie with my friends.  Not being able to kick Xander’s butt when he and Oz tickled me mercilessly.  For a minute, I thought I liked this new existence, but only for a minute.

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“Let’s see. Giles is picking me up at 7:30.  It’s six now. “  I spoke to myself out loud.  “That means I can see Angel.” I armed myself with a bag full of tiny silver crosses, a jar of holy water and five stakes, then set off to the mansion. 

“Angel, just the vamp I’ve been waiting to see!”  I exclaimed as I rushed into the living room.

“What happened to you?”  The words died on his lips and he looked strangely at me.

“Oh, this?  Nothing.”  I muttered running a hand over my cut.  I was amazed to no longer feel and opening.  “It healed!  I must be getting my slayer stuff back.”

Angel smiled, “That’s good.  I was missing you.”  He took my hand and led me to the couch, “Buffy, we need to talk.” I knew I didn’t want to hear whatever he had to say, but relented.  “I’m leaving town.” His words hit me with the impact of a freight train. I dropped to the cushion.

“This is a little sudden, isn’t it?”

“Spike was right.” Angel gave a wry smile remembering his childe’s words, “We’ll shag and we’ll fight and we’ll hate each other with every cell of our being…”

“But we’ll never ‘just be friends’.” I finished quoting my least favourite nemesis.  I frowned intently, hoping my expression would change his mind.

“It’s the only way.  I miss you every single hour of the day and being friends isn’t enough.”  He paused and I began to feel a stinging in my eyes.  “Besides, no matter how much I love you, it doesn’t change your heart.”

“What do you mean!”  I demanded hotly, not allowing myself to cry.

“I mean, Buffy, that you love someone else.”

“If you mean Scott, you’re wrong, that’s over.”  But even as I said it, I knew Angel was right.  I wasn’t sure whom I loved, if I loved anyone at all.  But, my feelings for Angel where no longer the same.

“You know what I mean.”  He whispered, also on the verge of tears. Then, he hugged with such strength and ferocity I was scared.

“Angel, you can’t just leave.  We need you here!  I mean, you always know when something’s going to happen.  Now, without Giles’ Watcher contacts, we’re vulnerable.” I tried to protest, but my former lover would have none of it.  He waved me away with his hand.  I tried one last card, “You know Angel, just because I’m not in love with you anymore, doesn’t mean I don’t love you.” Then, dejected, I left the dilapidated mansion. How could I have a good time with Giles tonight after this?

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I had the greatest time of my life.  It was a blast.  Giles and I had the most wonderful time making fun of the men in tights and oversized bunnies on ice.  Eating cotton candy was a big plus, too.  During it all, I forgot about my fight with Angel.  When I had friends like Giles and the Slayerettes, did I need a vampire?  ‘Not on the likely!’We had rode home in silence for the most part.  I figured we didn’t want to ruin the happy mood.  Once we arrived in Sunnydale, however, I didn’t feel like loosing an opportunity to talk with him.  “Can we go to your house and talk?”  I asked haltingly. He looked surprised, but passed my house and headed to his. We sat quietly and uncomfortably for a few minutes, then I went to the kitchen, taking matters into my own hands.  “Do you want tea or coffee?”  I asked, more quiet than intended.It was a simple question for most, but for Giles and me, it was loaded.  The tea wt the beverage of the old us.  The ‘us’ before I ran away. Coffee was something new for us.  It represented a different, complex relationship.

“It doesn’t matter.”  Giles replied,  “Come here, Buffy, I have something for you.”Confused, I came to him, leaving the mugs behind.  Giles had never given me a birthday present.  He’d never even given me a regular present.  I had always thought he and I had a bond deep enough not to need gifts.  He evidently felt pretty bad about the past couple weeks.The package he gave me was large and rectangular.  The wrapping was a little crinkled, but to me, it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I gently tore open the paper and lifted the lid of the manila box. Inside was the most gorgeous, purple dress I’d ever seen.  It had long sleeves, and a square, low cut neck.  As far as I could tell without trying it on, it flared out below the waist.

Giles looked at me nervously, unsure of whether I liked it.  “Giles!”  I squealed  “It’s the most perfect thing!”  He smiled openly at my outburst.  Then I saddened, I asked dejectedly, “But where will I ever wear it?” He handed me a generic birthday card and as I opened it, an airline ticket fell out.  “To England, Oh Giles!”  I flung my arms around him happily.

“I wanted you to know where I came from.  You have always so unaware of my background.  The dress is for the Russian Ballet, which will be touring London.”  He told me, still grinning ear to ear. “Just me and you?”  I heard the hopeful tone in my voice.  He nodded. 

“Giles!”  I trilled excitedly for the third time in a row and we both laughed at my exuberance. 

“And I was so afraid you wouldn’t like it.”  I slapped him playfully on the arm.  The rest of the evening seemed to pass without a hitch.  The previous week erased.  I didn’t mind.

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“Wil, Xander!  You guys, it would be easier to get on the plane without you attached.”  Reluctantly, they let me out of their embrace.  “It’s only two weeks.  You won’t even notice I’m gone.  Take care of Oz on the full moon and try to slay the vamps, without getting killed.  Faith, try and find out where Trick is stashed, you know the drill! Mom, I love you, don’t go out after dark.  All the ammo you guys need is in my room.  Love you all!  Bye!” I said all that in one breath. Giles was already on the plane, his nose in a book.   I smiled.  Some things never change.  He had saved me the window seat and I struggled to climb over his lap.  Finally, I tumbled into my capacious seat.  Ah, the advantages of first class.  Though I’ll never know how Giles afforded it.

The flight to London was long and tedious.  With changes in Houston and a layover in New York, I was exhausted.  Giles and I had given up on following the in flight film.  Some obscure movie about a Tarzan wanna-be on crack.  Then we played a short game of twenty questions, followed by dinner.  I wasn’t exactly sure what the food was, but I knew that it was something I’d slayed.  I fell asleep at some point and woke to Giles’ whispering, “Buffy, we’ll be landing soon.  Look out the window.” I didn’t want to wake up.  In sleep, I’d cuddled up under my Watcher’s arm and my head rested on his chest.  I sat up however, and was glad I did.  The view was perfect.  What would be ten a.m. in Sunnydale was seven p.m. here.  The lights of the large buildings shone through a heavy fog and twilight was on the horizon.  “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”  Giles asked. I only nodded, too distracted to answer.  I knew this would be the most magical time of my life.

We stayed in the airport hotel over night and then, Giles took me to meet his family.  They lived far out in the country.  I should have loved to live here as a child with the wide, spring flowered fields. As soon as we turned into the gravel drive, I could picture Giles growing up here.  Rose bushes, pine trees and apple trees framed the lane.  I could see Giles swinging from the branches, playing tag, and picking roses for his mother.  At this thought, I realised I knew very little about my Watcher’s childhood.  Did he have brothers or sisters? Was he a happy or depressed child?  Did he have a loving or reserved family?  And most importantly, what would they think of me, an unmannerly, American girl.

As Giles put the car in park, I began to feel slight trepidation.  It took five minutes of Giles convincing me they were dying to meet me, another two minutes of him prying me out of the car to get us to the front door. 

An elderly, kind faced lady met us there and immediately, threw her arms around Giles.  “Rupert, dear!  I’m so glad you finally made it.  We’ve been preparing for you all day. “  Then, she turned to me, barely containing her excitement.  “Is this her?  Your Slayer?”  She asked happily.

“Yes, this is Buffy Summers, mother, but I am no longer her Watcher, I told you that.”

“Oh, pish-posh, those bloody councillors are so full of kaki, they don’t know a good thing when they have one.”  She turned back to me,  “Come inside, dear, you wouldn’t want to catch a cold on your first day here.”

Inside was the most noisy, boisterous, family I’d ever seen.  Immediately, I was surrounded by young children, no more than five to ten years old each.  All of them offered to hunt down a vampire, just to see me slay it.  A few just wanted me to teach them some moves.  I was so happy that I didn’t have to keep my identity from people for once.

All at once, a hush fell over the room.  The crowd parted to let a shapely, fit, gorgeous woman through.  She scanned me quietly, nodding her head and sometimes making a tisking noise.  I looked at Giles, asking with my eyes what was going on.  He simply seemed to say, ‘just wait, you’ll see’.  Finally, she spoke.  “So, you killed the master?”

I nodded, “Yeah.”

“But, you didn’t kill Angelus?”  She accused. Who was this woman, questioning me.  What gave her the right to put down my methods?  I refused to rise to her bait, “No, I just slept with him.”  I replied, with anger.
The woman hummed lightly for a second, then she smiled, “I like your spirit.”  She remarked, “You remind me a lot of me when I was your age.”

“If you don’t mind me asking,” I began, “Who exactly are you?”

“Why, I’m Rupert’s great grandmother.  Rebecca, the Vampire Slayer.”  I stared, open mouthed at her for a few minutes and that only made her smile broaden.  “I know, you’re wondering, ‘how is this possible?’  We have plenty of time.  Maybe we should retire to the conservatory, for tea?”  I simply nodded and she led me away from everyone else, including Giles. “So, you have any stories to tell about your tenure on the Hellmouth?”  She asked conversationally. 

“Actually, I was more interested in you.” I told her.

“You want to cut to the chase.  Alright; fine.  I was taught from age eight to fight vampires.  At twelve, I was activated.  Tina, the then slayer, had been killed by the master, and I was next in line.  My Watcher was one Jeffrey Giles, English Gentleman and head of the Watcher council.  My parents sent me to live with him immediately and I was furious.  He was reserved, suffocating, and harsh.  He never allowed me out of the house unless it was to go on my rounds or go after a particular demon. He forced me to dress like a lady when slaying, five layers of skirts, high laced boot, even a corset.  I hated him with a passion. As I grew older, however, I grew very close to him.  He was my only companion besides Lila, my dressing woman.

“He not only had me trained by the best martial artists, but he had me taught by the best tutors in all of Europe. 

“It was the summer of 1880 when my eighteenth birthday came.  Jeffrey had been acting very odd lately, teaching me about gemstones, which he had never shone an interest in before.  I studied, however, learning all the names except the large, cerulean one, with a vane down the middle.  Whenever I tried to call the name in my mind, I fell into what seemed like a coma.  This went on for quite sometime, and as it went, so did my powers. 

“I was out fighting an extremely smelly demon when the name of the stone suddenly came to me.” Rebecca stood above Drosophilic, a grin of pleasure on her face.  Soon, she’d be home celebrating the freedom that came with adulthood.  “Sorry, Droso, can’t stick around, I’ve got a party to attend.”  She raised the heavy sword above her head and suddenly, a cold chill fell over her.  When she recovered, the weight of the metal in her hand caused her to stumble to the ground.

She looked up to see the demon had got up and now looked down at her with a leering smile.  “Now who’s in control, Slayer?” Becca tried to stand, but Droso tossed her back to the grassy grave. 

“Please, don’t hurt me.”  She begged, slinking along the ground towards the well-lit street.  When the demon began to follow, she sprung to her feet, tore off her skirts and ran as fast as she could. Rebecca reached the door of Jeffrey’s mansion in nothing more than a pair of men’s breeches and her corset.  Lila met her there and tossed a shawl over Becca’s shoulders.  There wasn’t time for her to change, however, because as soon as she stepped inside, Jeffrey caught her by the wrist and drug her back outside.

“What the hell are you doing?”  She demanded of her Watcher.  “I was just chased home by a that bloody demon Drosophilic.  I lost my strength.  I can’t fight him.”  Her protests seemed to fall on deaf ears. 

Jeffrey looked at her with remorse and sadness, “I’m sorry, Rebecca, I can’t help you this time.”  He avoided looking her in the eye as he tossed her over the back of his riding horse, Spotlight, and hit it with the reigns.  Immediately, the horse took off in a preordained direction. Becca held on for dear life because she didn’t have the strength to pull her self into a sitting position.  Finally, Spotlight stopped and Becca was thrown from his back. 

“Where did you take me, Spotlight?” She demanded of the horse, as if it would respond.  When it simply neighed, Becca gave it a look of disdain.  “You’re a lot of help.” She stood, knowing full well that her body would be aching all over the next day.  This was not her evening. She stood in a before a large house.  The place frightened her.  It was as if the house had a spirit and it was corrupt.  She heard echoes of shrieks and evil laughter.  Echoes of things long dead.  Becca turned back to mount Spotlight, only to find him heading towards the open door of the colossal domicile.  “Spotlight, no!” She yelled, but it was no use.

Part of Rebecca pleaded with her to turn away and run home.  The other part of her was shocked that she’d even consider leaving this place that evidently needed her Slaying technique.  Finally, her conscience won out and she followed the errant stallion.

The forbidding entrance loomed directly in front of Becca and she hesitated before stepping into the grand hall.   Something wasn’t right here.  From all outward appearances, the residence was abandoned.  The lit candles that seemed to be everywhere proved otherwise.  Becca still heard the eerie sounds emanating from the walls.  Children laughing, the sound of music boxes.  Then, the sounds were replaced by shrieks and wails.  Finally, silence took over and the cycle began again. White linens were draped over all the furniture and hung from many points in the room, obstructing Becca’s view.  Why had Jeffrey sent her here without telling her what was in store?  As she turned this thought over in her mind, she suddenly felt a great sense of horror sweep through her.

Jeffrey had often told her that most Slayers never lived past their eighteenth birthday.  Rebecca always thought he meant they died before they reached it.  Now, she wondered if the died on their birthday.  Maybe it was no coincidence that Becca lost her powers on this day and maybe that was the reason she had been sent here.  Maybe she was sent here to die.

She heard clapping in the distant end of the hall, a noise that previously hadn’t been heard here.  This wasn’t an echo either, it was being done here and now.  Footsteps approached from the storybook surroundings and Becca began to reconsider her decision to stay.  Then, she saw him and was paralysed.  The vampire that stood before her was so exquisite she couldn’t bring her eyes off him even as he turned into his demonic state.  He had long red hair that streamed down his shoulders in waves and eyes so blue-green, they were startling.  He held Becca’s eyes with his and seemed to read her mind.

“Running will do you no good, Rebecca.”  He informed her with an undoubtedly English accent.

“Who are you?  What do you want from me?” She asked, shaking.  The strap of her corset fell, leaving her feeling more vulnerable than she already was.  The vampire reached out and put the strap back in its place.

“I won’t hurt you Rebecca, that would ruin my plans.” He told her, taking her hand and guiding her up the stairs. Oddly enough, Rebecca felt safer with this vampire than she usually did around humans.  Maybe it was because she had a connection with vampires. She could sense he intended her no ill will.

 “Do you know what’s wrong with me?” She asked the lovely vampire.

“Do you trust your Watcher?” He asked her.

“Yes.  Of course, he’s cared for me for the past six years of my life.  Why do you ask?”

“He’s the reason you have lost your powers.  It’s a test, given to any Slayer who reaches adulthood.”  They reached the landing and he led her to a lavish bedroom.  “Spotlight was supposed to take you somewhere else, where a vampire known as Jonathan would hunt you.  If you killed him, using your brains in place of brawn you would be honoured by the council.  Otherwise, you would die and a new slayer would come into place.”

“I don’t have any reason to believe you.”  Rebecca protested, not wanting to be convinced of what he said.  “You’re a vampire, I should be fighting you.”

“But you won’t.  I know it, we have a connection, Becca.” He lowered her onto the bed and tried to kiss her.  Becca slipped out from under him.

“Wait!” she ordered, resting on her knees.  “How do I know that you aren’t the test.  You haven’t even told me your name.  And if Spotlight was supposed to take me somewhere else, why did he bring me here.”

“Becca!” he uttered, reaching for her, “Spotlight is one of us now.”

“You turned a horse into a vampire?” she asked incredulously  “This is insane.  I must be dreaming.”

“This is no dream, Rebecca, everything that takes place here will haunt you for the rest of your life.  You can walk out that door, or, you can spend the night with me.  Either way, you loose.”

“Who are you?” she hissed, confused

“My name is William Blake, perhaps you’ve heard of me?”

“Heard of you?  I know enough about you to write a book.  I and my tutor in the supernatural have even given you a nick name.”  Rebecca told William looking at him with a great deal of more respect. 

“Oh, really?  I have to hear this.” He told her smiling.

“Well, we based it on the way you kill.  How do you like the name Spike?”

“Oh you’ve got flair, Becca.” Then, he leaned in for a kiss.  This time, she allowed him.  “Do you want to be like me?” Spike asked.Becca knew she had to say no, but the taste of him was so intoxicating, she nodded her head yes.  He tossed her long, blonde hair from her shoulder and placed his lips on the curve of her neck. 

Becca hesitated, “Will it hurt?”

“Not for long.” He assured her and before she could offer any more resistance, he sunk his teeth into her jugular.   “Are you ready?” he asked the nearly dead Slayer.  He saw her attempt to answer, but she was too weak.  Quickly, he slashed his wrist and offered it to her.  With strength she didn’t know she had, Rebecca grabbed it and brought it to her mouth.

Before she realised what was happening, Becca writhed off the bed in pain.  She felt the evil ripple through her, but being the Slayer, she was too strong to be taken over.  Finally, she fell dead to the mattress.  Spike looked down at her with affection.  ‘Score one for William’, he thought to himself.  It was the second Slayer he’d killed, while Angelus had not killed any.  And now, Rebecca was his.

Rebecca opened her eyes and looked around the room with her new vision.  “William,” she whispered, “Show me what other advantages come with my new body.”

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Giles paced the foyer of his large home.  She should be home by now. Lila ran into the room breathless.  “Master!” she cried frantically, “Jonathan’s protectors have come.  Becca never arrived.”

Jeffrey turned to her, trying to remain calm.  “What do they think happened to her?”

“They don’t know, Master.  They said Spotlight arrived rider-less. There wasn’t even a clue as to where she went.”

“She didn’t have a chance to gain control of the horse.  Unless she fell off, she should have arrived.  Did they search the surrounding areas.”  Jeffrey asked rubbing his chin.

“Yes, Sir.  They’ve looked everywhere they could think to.” Lila informed him, afraid for her Mistress’s life.

“Have the council see which vampires and demons are in town.  One might have taken advantage of Rebecca’s weakened state.” Jeffrey suggested. 

“Yes, Mr. Giles.” Lila turned and left.  She didn’t notice the worried look on her master’s face as he considered the possibilities.

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“William?”  Becca queried, turning to him, “Why aren’t we depraved like the others?”

“You, Becca, are not evil because of you Slayer soul.  Nothing could take away the good in your heart.”

"And you?”

“I’m not a good vampire.  At least not completely, the demon did take my soul.  Angelous saw to that.  After he left me, I met a vampire known as Armand.  He was a different breed of vampire.  A kind that don’t loose their souls.  He taught me to overcome the hate in my soul.  I haven’t completely, but I try.”

“Can I stay with you?”  Rebecca asked him, scared at the idea of having to brave this new existence on her own.

“There’s no way you can travel with me.  As soon as the others found out, they would kill you.  A Slayer who has been embraced is still a Slayer.”  William gazed at her with sorrow.

“So what, you’re leaving me.” Becca asked.  “Why did you change me if you were going to desert me?”

“We still have all of today together.”  He replied, sincerely.

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“I returned to Jeffrey that evening.  He already knew what had happened and he had the council search night and day to find a cure for me.  The best they could do was curse me.  They made it so I would age somewhat as a normal human would.  I add one year to my life for every ten years.  Eventually I will die of old age.

Jeffrey and I married when we discovered I was pregnant with William’s child.  Or should I say children.  “Ariana and Thomas Giles were born on April thirtieth, 1891.  The rest, as they say, is history.”As Rebecca finished her narrative, I found myself staring, mouth agape at the vampire before me.

“Excuse me.”  I said faintly, forcing myself to walk, not run, from the room.

Giles was waiting for me outside in the hall, I could see the worry on his face.  I guess that I’d never even considered it before but I could feel the slightest cramping in my abdomen.  I took an involuntary step back.  “Giles.”  I spat out, “How do I trust you?”  I could see the pain in his eyes, but I wasn’t going to spare him this.  I deserved to know how he let this crucial information go unnoticed in all our conversations. 

“Just wait until this evening.  I promise I’ll tell you when we’re alone.”  I decided he was right.  Tonight would be soon enough.  And if he didn’t live up to his promise, I’d hold a stake to his heart till he did.

It took me awhile to feel at ease with all these vampires swarming around me but, by dinner, I realised they were as normal as could be expected.  Sure, Rebecca didn’t eat, but everyone else had a healthy serving of your basic food groups, meat, veggies, bread.  No blood was present anywhere.  After dinner, the children were sent to bed and the adults headed to the game room for cards.  I observed the game for two rounds and then began to play.  It was after three games and four hours, that Giles and I said goodnight.

I was quiet and patient the entire ride home, I didn’t want to make Giles angry and loose this opportunity to talk with him.  I was surprised when instead of going to a hotel, we arrived at a small log cabin.  “Where are we?” I asked, tired.

“This is my summer home.  I lived here until I moved to Sunnydale.” He unlocked the door and we dropped our luggage. The first thing I saw was the beautiful grand room.  It had a cathedral ceiling, fireplace, television and coffee table.  There were also burgundy and forest green couches and loveseats.  “Would you like the grand tour?” Giles asked, taking my arm.  The next room over was the kitchen.  There was an island/bar in the centre along with a several barstools.  The room was yellow and white checked, giving it a capacious, cheerful feeling.  There was a door that was closed next, but Giles told me to save it for last.

He took me upstairs and showed me his bedroom.  There was a large bed in the centre with an intricate headboard.  On either side, there were nightstands made of cherry and matching dresser.  Finishing off the room was a fireplace and television.  I couldn’t be more specific, because I only had a brief look.

“The next is for you.  I decorated it when I came up last summer, in case you should visit.” I twisted the knob and immediately loved the room.  The entire room was done in cream, ivy, and peach colours.  The bed was round with curtains and was covered in pillows and matching drapes hung from the large bay window.  There was a white dresser and t.v. along with a large fireplace.  Giles had decorated the room with fairy tales.  Glass characters from all the Disney movies sat on the dresser top.  Fairies perched on flowers, crouching on waterfalls and climbing trees adorned shelves on the walls.  “Do you like it?” Giles asked, expectantly. 

“Like it?  I almost forgot I was mad at you!” I turned to him and smiled radiantly. After showing me the large bathroom for us to share, he led me to the closed door.  The inside was the most breathtaking library I’d ever seen.  Books were on every wall, each of which went to the ceiling.  In the central part of the room was a round pole that went through the roof to form a chimney.  Undoubtedly, there was a fireplace in the pole and around the entire circumference was a television screen.  Giles really went all out when it came to interior decorating.  Off to the right, the carpet made way for a hardwood dancing floor.  A CD and radio box stood to the side.  “Giles, I’m impressed.” I commended him.  Then, I drug him to a high back chair and lowered him into it.  I sat on the footrest and laid my arms across his lap.  “Speak, Giles.  I want to know everything.” He hesitated, looking very perplexed.  I raised my eyebrows expectantly, “Giles…” 

“Well I gather you know that I’m a quarter vampire.”

“Oh, no, I’m upset cause your last name’s Giles.” I replied sarcastically.  “Besides, how’s that possible?  I didn’t know vampires could have children.  I pretty much figured they were sterile.  Low body temperatures.  The like.”

“Spike, as you’ve noticed, isn’t your average vampire.  He doesn’t seem particularly inclined to chaos.  He does enjoy it, but he doesn’t cause it.  Spike doesn’t have a problem killing when he needs to feed, but he doesn’t kill for no reason.”

I considered this thoughtfully.  Spike had come to me because he didn’t want the world destroyed.  He wasn’t mean to my mother, in fact, he was downright polite.  I guess I’d never noticed it before.  “But that doesn’t explain you.  I mean, the fact that you exist.” I pointed out.

“I was getting to that.” He said impatiently, smiling slightly.  “We know Spike was sired by Angelus, but, there is a long period of time after that in which Spike was unaccounted for.  After he was embraced, Spike was injured very badly and Angel left him.  Now, according to Rebecca, the vampire Armand saved him.

“Armand is a different breed of vampire.  He’s also the oldest known vampire ever.  Some consider him even more powerful than the master.  Armand’s breed have a unique complex when it comes to their souls.  His breed doesn’t loose their souls, but, for the most part don’t have a problem killing.

“Some of the Watchers believe that during his illness, Spike was given some of Armand’s blood.  If this is true, then perhaps Spike gained the advantages of Armand’s breed.  Since we know so little about this different breed, we can assume they have the ability to produce offspring.”  Giles paused to calculate my response.

“Okay, I’ll bite-excuse the pun-but I’m still ticked off.  Why didn’t you ever tell me this before?”

“Well…” He was cut off when we heard a phone ring.  “Excuse me.”  Giles slipped out from under me and went to the nearest phone, I was left in my reverie.

“We have a problem.”  Giles informed me as he entered the library, “That was your new Watcher on the phone.”

"Oho.” I hissed playfully, “I bet he’s pretty pissed.” Giles spared me a smile.

“He’s a little more that ‘pissed.’”

“Well then, he can be, for all I care.  You’re still my Watcher as far as I’m concerned.” I needed to let him know we’d get through this.  We always had before.

“No, Buffy, I can’t let you be disgraced because of me.”

“Giles-“ I tried.
“NO!  We’ll have to head back tomorrow.” I strode across the room in three big steps and enveloped him in a strong hug. 

“Giles, there is no way you are getting me on a plane tomorrow.” I thought for a minute, “Or a boat, or any other mode of transportation in the direction of Sunnydale.  Are we understood?  I would do anything-I can’t stress anything enough-anything to prove to the damn council that they can’t take us away from each other.”

Now it was his turn to protest, “Buffy…” I placed my fingers over his lips.

“Hush, Giles.  Understood?”  I used my most authoritative tone of voice.  He nodded, grinning.  “Now, as I understand it, we’re going out tomorrow morning.  I’ve had a long day and I’m going to sleep.”  I turned and bounced out of the room, leaving Giles still amused, alone.

************************************************************************

24 hours earlier in Sunnydale:

“Buff’s gone, man.” Xander commented, slouching in his chair. 

“Yeah,” Oz replied with his usual poker face on.  “That’s what happens when people leave the country.  For the most part.” Willow beamed at her boyfriend’s wit, but Xander just flashed him an evil look.

“Yeah, sure, if you want to look at it like a smart person would.”

Willow spoke up next, “Well, I’m glad the two of them are spending time together, especially after the recent events.”

Now, Xander looked down-write hurt, “Well, yeah, that too, if you want to look at it from a different perspective.” The doors flew open and in stepped the most handsome man Willow had even seen.  And believe me, Willow had seen her share of hot guys.  Oz glanced at the clock.  It read 11:13.  ‘A little late for visitors.’ 

“Can we help you?” Willow asked haltingly, “The school’s closed.”

“Then what, may I ask, are you three students doing here?” the Pierce Brosnian look-alike demanded.

Xander took his stab at it, “We asked you first!” he practically shouted.  “Sorry, I realise that wasn’t very mature.”  He added belatedly when Willow poked him in the rib. 

“Which one of you is Buffy Summers?”  He went on, ignoring Xander completely.

“Hey, what’s with all the questions, we don’t even know who you are, or what you’re doing here.”  Willow pointed out.   Oz squeezed her waist, offering his support.

“Look, I don’t have time to toy with children, Buffy Summers, please.”

“Buff’s gone, man.” Oz whispered, echoing Xander’s earlier statement. Before the man could reply, Cordelia burst into the room. 

“Good, you freaks are here!  Well, not you Oz, cause you’re pretty cool.  And not you, whoever you are, cause I don’t know you and not you Giles,” she called out just in case he was around, “Cause you never did anything to piss me off.”

Willow rolled her eyes and Xander followed in sync.  “What is it you want, Cordy?” Wil asked, restless. For the first time, Cordelia took in the people around her.  “Where the hell’s Buffy?” she demanded of the group. Willow sighed, Oz smiled, Xander rolled his eyes and the man frowned.  No one answered.  “So, what you’re all deaf, dumb and mute now?” Still, no one spoke.  Finally Cordelia relented.  “Look, grab some holy water, crosses, stakes and your brains and get your asses out in the parking lot, pronto.” Nobody moved, “NOW!”  Everyone sprung to action except the still nameless man.  “Hey, you too, well manicured man!  Chop, chop, chop!  If you can be in the library of a school at this time of night, you are plenty weird enough to help us.” The man seemed taken aback by Cordelia’s brazenness, but he to leapt to action as well.  “Thank you!”  Cordy shouted.

She led them to the parking lot and instantly, they realised the predicament.  Faith, Angel and four vamps were locked in mortal combat.  After three minutes of rough and tumble, the home team pulled out ahead.  Faith collapsed breathlessly against Angel, “You’re pretty good at this.” She commented, “Why you leaven town?  I could really use your help.”  Angel smiled lopsidedly and Faith smiled sympathetically. “I gottcha.  I’m down with that.”

“Buffy Summers?” the undesignated man once again asked, this time referring to Faith.  She stood.

“Sure, Whatever, man.  Hey, who’s up for pizza, my treat.  Slaying always makes me hungry.” Then she looked Xander up and down and grabbed him for a kiss.  “Not to mention, horny.”  The two of them smiled, heading up the group. Oz and Willow followed and Cordelia sighed disgustedly.

“Come on!” She urged, pulling Mr. Anonymous along with her, “They’ll expect me to give them a ride.Cordelia slouched against Faith’s bed, half-empty pizza box on her lap and wine cooler in her hand, “And then, the stairs fell through and I landed on a huge pole.  Wanna see?” she yanked up her dress and showed Faith and Nameless her scar.

“Wow,” Faith slurred, “That’s one hell of a scar!” the unknown man looked uncomfortable, but sympathetic. Willow hiccuped, then reached out to poke the underside of Cordy’s breast.

“What’s that?” she asked.

“You know, I don’t know!  See there was this really hot guy in Tahiti.”

Before she could get any further, she was cut off, “My name is Gregory Giles and its imperative that I speak with the Slayer.”

“That’d be me.” Faith replied, then tugged at Angel’s shirt, “So, let’s see your tattoo, Big Boy.”

But the Giles part caught Xander’s attention, “Are you related to Giles.  Giles is my hero, You’re Giles.” Then, he passed out on the floor. Gregory realised this was going nowhere. 

“Oh, hand me the bloody bottle.” Brighten Giles looked disgustedly at the six unconscious bodies around the floor.  He began to clap his hands loudly and constantly until they began to groan. 

Cordelia stood, “Who are you?”

“Buffy Summers?” Brighten asked.

“No, I don’t think that’s who you are.  Great!  Hey, people!  Its another Rupert Giles wanna be.  Willow and Xander ignored her, sinking under the covers.  Gregory and Faith raced to the toilet and Oz stood up.

“How many twins can Giles possibly have?” Oz wondered out loud.

“What time is it?” a voice called from the closet.

“Oh, about noon, I’ll close the blinds for you.” Cordelia called out. Angel tumbled out, full game face on.  “Ewe, ugh!” Cordy shrieked.

“Hey, man your face…Well, what Cordelia said.” Oz offered in explanation to her outburst.

Brighten looked disgusted, “What have I got myself into?”

“It looks like a brothel.” A voice from the doorway commented, “Is our younger brother here?”

“Yes, Niles, he’s in the bathroom, having, I believe the term is ‘hang over’.”

The door burst and Angel ducked under the bed, “Who are they?” He asked, pissed.

The bombshell blonde on the right spoke, “I’m Cecilia Giles and this is my twin, Veronica.”

“A pleasure, I’m sure!” Our favourite sarcastic brunette commented. Willow chose that moment to bolt upright. 

“Hey, uh, guys, what’s going on?” she asked as Gregory stumbled out of the bathroom and onto the bed.

“It’s your regular Giles family reunion.” Oz told his girlfriend.

“It would be if our dear Rupert were to be found.” Cecilia snorted.

Xander sat up a second later, looking thoroughly confused, “Oh my god, Its Giles and Giles and Giles!” Willow rubbed his arm sympathetically.  

“We need to find the Slayer, Buffy!” Niles shouted over the confusion.

“Hey, X, I’m going out for a burger.  You five by five?” Faith asked, pulling off her night-gown and exposing her now naked body to everyone before pulling on a pants and sweater.

Xander gulped, “Yeah, F, I’m five by five.”

Cordelia frowned, then spoke, “I’ve already missed most the day, I’m not going to bother.” Then, she left the room behind the other two.

Willow jumped up quickly, “Oh my God!  Oz, were going to be late for school.  We are already late for school.  Oh, Snyder’s going to kill me!”  Oz wrapped his arm around her to bring her in for a kiss.  Willow relaxed.

“I’ve only got a little while before you need to lock me up.  How bout we go see a movie?”

“I just love my werewolf, don’t you?” she asked of the present occupants of the room.

“To death.  Hey could you guys give me a ride to somewhere underground?” Angel asked, wrapping himself in a sheet.  Oz shrugged and Willow nodded yes, then they left, Angel calling out, “Lock the door when you leave!” And then, there was blessed silence.  None of the Giles’ could believe that they had been so blatantly ignored.

Then, the door burst open, “I am Richard Blake, and I’m looking for Buffy Summers.”

“Oh, take a number!” Veronica told him, forlornly.

“But, I’m her new Watcher.”

“Who cares?” Cecilia asked, then led the rest of her siblings out the entrance, still in search of the youngest.

************************************************************************

Taking a deep breath, I turned to Giles, “This place is perfect!  Not a vamp in sight!  May we move the Hellmouth here?”

Giles smiled at my excited state, “Come on, now we go to Big Ben.”

I frowned, “Is he like a demon or something?” Giles laughed at me and I was taken aback.  He looked and sounded young and beautiful. 

“Buffy, Big Ben is a clock tower!”

“Oh.” I grumbled, pretending to be hurt.  I burst into a huge smile and linked arms with Giles.  Together, we set off.

Later that evening, I sat before the bathroom mirror.  The dress was perfect.  It cupped my breasts and pushed them together and elevated them.  Directly below them was the empire waist, which flared out slightly to my ankles.  I wore my hair down in loose curls, topped with amethyst stones on a few strands here and there.  It was made into a flower at the end with multicoloured stones.  With it were my earrings and my ring.  I felt like a princess!  Nothing was going to ruin this evening.

Giles was dressed in a tuxedo, looking like the perfect gentleman.  I loved the way his eyes lit up when he saw me, “I’m speechless, Buffy.” I blushed appropriately and returned the compliment.

As I sat in the roomy box seat, I realised I was proud to be on Giles’ arm.  I saw the disapproving glares of women who had wanted Giles for themselves.  This night was turning out to be more a social event than a show.

“Evelyn, Jennifer, this is Elizabeth.” I whipped my head to him when he used my full name instead of ‘Buffy.’  The two brunettes I had just been introduced to made their dislike for me evident.  I extended my hand and it was moment before either woman would take it.  Next, came Candice, who was only a few years older than myself.  She was kind, loud and seemed to want only to please.  Finally came Aaron.  He was about Gile’s age but not nearly as handsome.  He had a bookish quality that reminded me of Willow.

Tea was served after the first half of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ finished.  I smiled politely at every joke, answered every question and endured every amount of hostility.  After the show, we returned to Jennifer’s house.  She owned a large estate, it reminded me of a palace.  Before we could enter, I felt a horrible cramping, “Giles!” I hissed and everyone turned to stare.

Jennifer gasped, “Rupert, vampires!” I pushed everyone behind me and faced the three large vampires,  “What are you doing?  You’re going to be killed!  Let Rupert and myself handle it!”

Jennifer called out, “Elizabeth!” she yelled in vain.

I didn’t move until the vampire lashed out, cutting my sleeve, “You bastard, Giles bought me this dress!” I began a vicious attack.  The poor vamp barely got a hit in before I dusted him.  The second hurried to replace him.  Jennifer, Evelyn and Aaron looked on in amazement, while Candice remained a safe distance away.  I pounded the undead to a bloody pulp, then, staked him.  The other vampire ran.

Clapping caused everyone to turn to the house.  “Spike.” I greeted the vampire on the front porch.

“How?  Why?  What?” Evelyn asked, but was ignored.

“Rupert, how’s my favourite grandson?”  Giles sneered at him, so Spike moved on to me.

“Slayer!” he acknowledged with affection.  Then, he grabbed me.  Before I could protest, he kissed me, hard.  Giles looked pissed, the women gaped and Aaron was in hiding.  When Spike stopped, he was in full game face, “I like the taste of you, pet!” he leered. Giles jerked him away from me, violently.  Spike raised his hands in defeat, flipping a cigarette out of his pocket.

“What are you doing here?” I asked, with a tired sigh, “and where’s Drusilla?”

“Oh, I left her.  I’ve got a new pet now.” He turned to the clearing and called out, “Princess!”

“Spike, you know I don’t like being called Princess, that’s what you called her!” The voice came from the strawberry blonde vampire approaching us.  She had light brown-green eyes and regal features.  She was dressed in Spike’s duster and it appeared like nothing else.  I raised my brows in question.

“Oh, right, Tiger!” Spike amended.  “Rupert, Slayer, this is Sara, my childe.” He placed a lanky arm around her waist, drawing her close. 

“That still doesn’t explain what you’re doing here.” I pointed out.

“It’s like this, Slayer, some big shit is going down in little Sunnydale.”

“Elaborate, you’re beginning to sound like Angel.”  I told him.  Spike practically growled at me.  This seemed to please Sara, who in turn, nipped at his neck.

“Down, girl.” I joked.

Spike sneered, “Funny!  Here it is.  Your new Watcher’s there, and he don’t know what the hell is going on.  The Slayer and Xander are shaggin’.  Angel and Cordelia are spending too much time with each other.  Finally, all your sisters and brothers are looking for you about some prophecy thingy.”

Giles looked startled and Spike took a drag, “Look, it’s been great fun, but Sara and I are going to paint the town red, literally!” Spike shrugged, “Gotta go, hungry!” he wiggled his brows at me, “Elizabeth!” he snickered, running off.

“William!” I shouted back, but he didn’t hear me.

I stared, indignant, as my grandfather pressed his body, and lips against Buffy’s.

Big things in Sunnydale!  That was almost laughable.  Who cared what possessed Faith to sleep with Xander?  I wasn’t worried about Angel and Cordelia.  Even if he were stupid enough to sleep with her, she wouldn’t be stupid enough to sleep with him.  The only thing that could be a problem were my siblings running into Buffy’s Watcher. 

“Jennifer, I’m sorry we can’t stay.  We’ll walk through the park to my house.  I have to call Brighten.” I took Buffy by the arm and led her away. The park was gorgeous at night.  It was actually a path through the woods.  Every few yards there were cul-de-sacs with gardens of different themes.  Buffy immediately fell in love with the place and I promised to bring her back in the morning.  Our walk was peaceful with quiet conversation.  That is, until Drusilla lept on Buffy out of nowhere.  Her assault was wild and furious, she didn’t seem to wear down easily and soon, I began to worry for Buffy.  My Slayer fell to the ground, panting, looking around herself wildly, for a stake, for any weapon, for my help.  I rushed to her side, pulling her to her feet and placing myself in front of her.  It was an odd gesture, considering she could hold her own against anyone, but I did it anyway. 

Drusilla examined us with a careful eye, then smiled, “I won’t kill you.” She said finally.

“Oh, yay!” Buffy gibed.  God, sometimes I wanted to take her over my knee and spank her.  Drusilla was going to leave us be, couldn’t she be content with that. Drusilla had luckily ignored Buffy and was dancing around in the clearing.  “You two are important to the future.  I won’t harm you.  My visions are my friends.  They tell me good things.”

“I bet.” The Slayer quipped.  She had rested her hands on my waist and I felt an excited rush from her touch. 

“I’ll leave you two be, now.” Dru said with a knowing smile, “You have futures to live.  Besides, Miss Edith is calling to me.” She pranced away, humming non-sequitors.

“Well, that was a bit, um, interesting.” I confided to Buffy.  I felt her head nodding against my shoulder.  I turned to her, keeping the close space between us.  Her hands lingered low on my hips longer than necessary.  She gazed up at me, through dark lashes, a shy smile playing on her lips.  ‘Her full, pouty, kissable lips.’  “Giles?” she asked, wondering, I guess, what was happening between us. I pushed her from me, collecting myself.  Then I noticed a cut, above her right breast.  I rushed to where she rested, against a smooth, stone wall.

“You’re hurt.” I stated the obvious, running my fingers over the gash. Forgetting, however momentarily, my attraction towards the woman.

“I’ve been hurt much worse.  Without you even noticing.” She pointed out, innocently.  I realised her point and tried to move away from her. I couldn’t do it this time. Here was the most ravishing woman I’d ever meant.  I had shared my deepest secrets and darkest fears with her on a number of occasions.  She had been a constant source of love and friendship always.  Even when I had hurt her beyond imagination, she took me back.  I loved her with an intensity I’d tried to rid myself of through Jenny.  It hadn't worked.  So now, when she stood before me with a glimmer of sweat covering her body.  Her hair fluttering in the spring air.  Her breasts, beneath my hands, heaving with her breath, I was supposed to let her go? It wasn’t possible. Slowly, pointedly, I lowered my lips to her cut.  With the lightest pressure, I grazed the imperfection.  I felt her intake of breath and looked up to her eyes.

I suddenly felt very uncomfortable in my current position.  Giles had turned unexpectedly and now, our faces were mere inches apart.  Still, I couldn’t bring myself to move my hands from his hips.  “Giles?” I asked, not sure what was about to happen between us.  My voice seemed to clear his head and he pushed me away from him. Dejected, I moved to a nearby wall, resting against its cool surface. After a few seconds, Giles moved towards me again.

“You’re hurt.” He told me, as if I didn’t notice. An odd feeling came over me.  I’d been hurt a lot a number of times, he’d never said anything before.  Except maybe a distracted, ‘How are you?’  I vocalised this thought.

He nodded absently, and ran his padded fingers over my chest.  I shivered.  He appeared to be thinking something over in his mind, so I remained silent.  Perhaps on a whim, or more likely on something else-although it didn’t matter-Giles did the unexpected.  He kissed me.  The pressure was barely there, just a graze across my chest.  Then, he looked up at me, a devious grin on his face.

I couldn’t speak, my voice wouldn’t allow it.  I tried to convince myself this was wrong, but no part of me felt that way.  On the contrary, this was too right for words.  And, with that sexy, evil smile playing across his lips, I couldn’t resist.  I half nodded and Giles dipped his head again. This time, his mouth latched onto the curve of my neck, sucking and nipping.  Then, he bit me hard, and I knew he left a bruise.  I didn’t mind, though.  It was his way of claiming me.  He began a trail of kisses up my neck to my chin and then my ear.  Meanwhile, Giles had grabbed the material of my dress and was lifting it exposing my bare legs.  His teeth located an especially sensitive bit of skin and I cried his name out.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I realised that this was both the craziest and the best thing that ever had or would happen to me.  I told Giles this, but not in so many words, “Giles,” I paused and corrected myself, “Rupert, I love you.”

He brought his eyes to mine, our noses brushing.  I could see the pure joy in his eyes, along with desire, love and friendship, “You don’t know how long I’ve waited to hear those words.” He brought his lips to mine in the sweetest, slowest, purest kiss I’d ever know.  I would never be satisfied with anything else.  His words interrupted my revelry and I focused on his lips as he said, “I love you, My Slayer!” I fastened onto his mouth again, this time in a ferocious assault.  Then, I was in heaven.  I had never felt anything like this.  Of course, I’d only had one man before, but still, this was as good as it can get.  When I came back down to earth, I was resting my head on his chest and he mimicked the action.

************************************************************************

Brighten stood before the five teens and one vampire, trying to explain the situation.  This was a rather hard task, considering they were in the middle of a dance club with base jolting everything.  “You don’t understand, it is imperative my brother hears this prophecy.  It will come true soon, if it hasn’t already.  I need to know where he and Buffy are.”

“Oh, is that all?  They’re in England.” Willow said distractedly, “Staying at his house.” 

Brighten stared at them in disbelief, then replied, “Thank you.” He grabbed his coat and headed to the door.

“You guys,” Willow took everyone’s attention, “I think they’re going to England.”

“Let’s go!” Faith suggested and everyone followed Brighten to the airport.

“Oh, oh, window seat!” Xander called out.

“No fair, I called dibs on the way over!” Cordelia protested.

“I don’t really care but I’m not sitting by the window.” Angel told them. 

“Your elbow’s in my side!” Cordelia shouted, pushing Faith into a different seat. Brighten rubbed his forehead, what had possessed him to bring these children along.

“Rupert, dear brother,” he whispered under his breath, “I’m going to kill you.”

Willow whined, “Oz, come sit with me!” She directed her boyfriend who had been sitting between Angel and Xander.

“Hey, do we get little peanuts and pop?” Xander demanded.

“Vodka, strait up.” Brighten ordered, resigned.  All his brothers and sisters seconded the order.

 

I sat astride Giles naked body, toying with his hair, “You know, Giles, I’m really considering sending Drusilla a thank you note.  What’d ya think?”

He grinned openly at me, placing a hand at the nape of my neck a bringing me towards him.  “I think,” he told me, before closing the distance between our lips, “That’s the most brilliant idea I’ve ever heard.”

After breaking the kiss, I batted his chest playfully. “You were just making fun of me.” I accused.

“Never, Elizabeth.” He said with mock seriousness. 

“Elizabeth.  How did you know?”

“It was in the Watcher’s books.  How was I to locate you without your name?”

“It’s just so odd to be called that.” I explained, “Like calling you Rupert.”

“I like that.” He informed me, “But, you can call me whatever you like. And I’ll only use names that you prefer.”

“I like Elizabeth, Buffy, too.” I smiled, kissing him again, then again.  I couldn’t seem to get enough.  “Rupert.”

“Buffy.”

“Giles.”

“Elizabeth.”

“Lover.”

“Soul mate.” Tears filled my eyes at his use of that term.  Tears of joy, that is. 

“That’s right.” I stated firmly, “Forever.  Forever!” We kissed again, and I made a mark on his neck identical to my own, cutting the skin with my teeth.  He rolled me beneath him and together, we made love, the whole evening long.

We slowed down around ten thirty the next evening, and finally ventured out of Giles’ bedroom.  I felt at home wearing his boxers and an old T-shirt.  It was like we’d been a couple forever.I stood in the kitchen, making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, humming happily to myself.  My hips swaying, I sauntered down the hallway to the library where Giles was reclining on a sofa, “Hey, you.” I exclaimed setting down my snack and resting on my lover’s lap. He stood before I could make myself comfortable and led me to the wooden dance floor.  We didn’t turn on any music-we danced to our own song.  Undulating against one another, he brought tradition to the floor, I brought youth.  Together, we made an awesome, seductive combination.

“You know, Giles, if everyone saw us, they’d really flip out.” Then, like something out of a fairytale, my words came true.  The library doors burst open to emit Willow, Xander, Cordelia, Oz, Angel, Faith and a group of men and women I’d never seen before.  Faith wiggled her brows at us.  Cordelia looked puzzled.  Xander let out a girlie scream.  Oz was his usual self.  Willow had the oddest expression on her face and Angel was the epitome of shock. “Hi guys!” I said, trying to act nonchalant.  Apparently, it didn’t work.

“Rupert Giles!” One of the blonde twins in the door shouted, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I slid the hand that was on Gile’s waist further around, stressing my possession of him. 

Giles replied, “Veronica, how are you, dear?”

The woman strode across the room and tried to pull us apart, “Do you know what her new Watcher would say if he found out?  Do you?  He’d say he was going to get the council after you, that’s what he’d say!” She retained her hold on my man, longer than she should have.  I cleared my throat and she turned to me.  “And you, little missy!  What did you think you were doing running off with a new Watcher on the way?”

“Um, hello, you come storming in here and expect me to answer you?  Who the hell are you?”

“Veronica Giles, Rupert’s sister.” I must admit, I let out a relieved sigh at this news.  She continued on her tirade.  “We get to Sunnydale and look for you two everywhere, to no avail.  Even worse, your little friends wouldn’t tell us where you were.  Children!”

Willow grinned, sheepishly, “We thought maybe, they were bad guys.” I smiled sympathetically.

Giles let me go and reluctantly, I did the same.  He led me to the door, “Buffy, these are my brothers, Brighten, Niles and Gregory and this is my sister, Cecilia.” I shook each hand as the name was said and smiled.  This was so surreal.  I was here, shaking hands with Giles’ in his boxers and T-shirt, nothing else, how embarrassing was that.  Plus, my friends couldn’t seem to grasp the situation.  So what else was new.

“Okay, now that that’s all cleared up, what are you all doing here?” I asked, annoyed. 

Oz shrugged, “Free plane ride?” The rest of the Slayers and Slayerettes nodded.

Brighten shuddered, “It’s about a new prophecy.  Concerning your slayer.  I couldn’t interpret all of it, that’s why I needed to find you, before the Watcher did.”

“Oh great!  Is it another ‘world coming to an end’ thing?  Cause, if it is, I’m going to go get laid!” Cordelia shouted.

“Do shut up, Cordelia!” Rupert, Niles, Gregory and Cecilia said in unison.  Cordelia looked upset, but said nothing.

“Do you have the scroll with you?” Rupert asked.  Brighten pulled it from his ever-present briefcase and brought it to my lover.  He led us to a table and everyone huddled around him, looking over his shoulders. 

“What does it say, Rupert?” I asked, earning more glares from my friends.

“When they come together, Three Slayers, Three Watchers, Two witches, Four vampires, The love of ages shall conquer all It will happen, when the blue moon rises, the great one shall conceive And her offspring shall be like a phoenix, Rising in a flame of glory and burning the evil down.”

“Oh, is that all.  I only have to get pregnant.  You know, I was hoping I was going to die!” I replied, on the verge of hysteria.  Me, have a child.  The idea terrified me.  Giles tried to take my hand, but I pulled away.  “NO!  Please, give me a minute.”

“What happen to forever, Elizabeth?” He asked me, and I could see he felt rejected.

“I’m scared.” I told him and then let him hug me.  We had forgotten the spectators, this was about us anyway, not them.  I met his lips half way and let him kiss away my doubts.

“I love you, Buffy.  And, if we make a child, I’ll love it as well. I’ll be here for you regardless of what happens.” He tilted my chin so I was forced to look him in the eye.  I shook my head, barely, relinquishing control to him in this area.

“So, when’s this Blue Moon thingie?” I asked my love, lacing my fingers through his.

“I believe it’s Saturday.  That gives us a while to interpret it.  I believe the three Slayers are you, Faith and Rebecca.  The three watchers?  I have no idea.  Two witches?  Willow and another I don’t know.” Rupert informed me.

“Spike, Angel, Sara and Dru are the vamps, right?” I asked, trying to be of help to my brilliant mate.

“That’s right, Elizabeth.” He smiled down at me “Can I assume you’re resigned to your fate?”

“As long as it’s your child, I don’t mind.” I reassured him.  “Cause I love you.” Then we kissed again.  Everyone in the room either “Ugh!” ed or “Awe!” ed and I felt myself blushing.  “Alright everyone!  Since we have a few days before the event, we don’t need to stay up all night worrying about it.  Therefore, we can go to sleep now.”

“Yeah, I see sleep happening in this scenario!” Faith interjected. Xander nudged her from one side, Willow from the other.  This only earned a wry smile from the younger Slayer.

“So, where are we supposed to sleep?” Xander asked, rubbing his hands together, “Coed living arrangements are fine.” Now, Willow poked him.  It was good to see my friends weren’t too affected by my new relationship.

“Um, right.  Well, I suppose that you can decide who will sleep with whom amongst yourselves.  There are two guest bedrooms and Buffy’s room.  Extra sheets are in the hall closet.”  Giles led everyone down the hall to the first bedroom.  Cecilia, Veronica and Brighten accepted this room and slammed the door in the others’ faces.

Next, we headed upstairs.  Willow, Oz and Angel took my room and everyone else took the leftover room.  After giggles erupted from both rooms and everything had settled down, including bathroom activity, I ran a hot bath.

I was so absorbed in the warm liquid and crinkling bubbles, I didn’t notice my Giles had entered until he slid into the large tub with me.  I immediately sunk into his chest and guided his arms around me.

“Giles,” I whispered huskily, “We’re going to have a baby.” I felt his chest heave with laughter and I turned in his embrace, “It’s not funny, young man!  Just wait ‘til mom finds out.  She’ll wig!” Giles laughter turned into hysteria and I gave up, sighing.

“Marry me?” He asked, softly, tentatively.  My mouth dropped in shock. I tried to reply but all that came out of my lips were unintelligible sounds.

“Never mind.” He amended, averting his head.

“No way, Rupert Giles!  You’re not getting out of this with a never mind.  I want a ring, on this finger!” I gestured to my third finger, “By tomorrow!” I could see Giles fighting back more laughter and this time I joined him, “Elizabeth Anne Giles.  Does have a nice ring to it.” I commented, kissing my lover soundly, my actions leading further than that.

I woke up late the next afternoon and could hear all kinds of noises from downstairs.  I stretched, savouring each sensation that was a reminder of my lovemaking with Giles.  After lying in bed a few more minutes, I headed towards the kitchen. 

Everyone was there except Angel, Faith and Xander, all of them still sleeping.  One of the twins, I believe Cecilia, was engaged in a debate with Oz over the finer points of lycanthropy.  Willow was busy flipping pancakes with her mind.  Cordelia and Gregory were fighting over who got the lighter pancake while Brighten looked on in disgust.  Everyone else, that being Rupert, Veronica and Niles, was relaxing at the table, discussing their family and their younger years.

As I entered the kitchen, Giles pulled me into his lap and offered me a glass of orange juice.  I took it with a smile and downed the entire beverage in one gulp.  Everyone was staring at me, “Thirsty.” I said with a sheepish grin.  “So, what’s on today’s schedule?”

“Evelyn invited us to her house this evening for a masquerade party, until then, however, the day is free.  I was thinking you and I should go shopping this afternoon,” he said that with a wink and my heart skipped a beat, “As should everyone else who attends, you do need costumes.”

“Shopping, yeah!” Willow exclaimed, causing the pancake in mid-air to fall to the pan.

“Way to go, Wills!” I cheered, snuggling up to my honey, and was interrupted by a sleepy Cordelia.

“I hate PDA!” She declared while pulling us apart, but, she was smiling.

“Pancakes are ready!” Willow called out and everyone descended on the high stacked plate of confections.

“How about this one?” Giles asked, holding up a large, diamond shaped diamond.

I turned my head thoughtfully, “Nah, too big.” I replied, pushing it away.  Giles sighed, deeply, letting out a haggard breath. 

“Buffy, the last four have been too small.  I go to the next size up and now it’s too big?  I don’t understand!” I rubbed his back, lightly.

“You know, I’m just a little worried.  I’ll go find the guys and pick out costumes and leave you here to shop.  Love ya!” I pecked him lightly on the cheek, then ran off.

I found Willow, Faith, Cordelia and the twins in a costume shop on the second floor.  Cautiously, I looked for any sight of Ethan before touching the outfits.

“How about this one, Buffy?” Cordy asked, holding up a teal and gold gown, complete with an intricate golden mask.

“I like, much.  Of course, you’ve got the best taste in the world…” I began.

“What do you want?  You never pay me complements.”

I tilted my head in agreement, “Help me pick out something that will knock Rupert unconscious!”

“Will do, under one occasion.  Never call Giles Rupert again, at least while I’m around.” She pleaded.

I felt absolutely royal.  Cordelia had chosen a sleek peacock design dress that flared at the ankles.  She had also done my hair, adding peacock feather. Finishing off the ensemble was a deep green and blue mask.  Giles was indeed pleased with the combination.  In fact, more than pleased, although I couldn’t guess why.

Willow looked gorgeous in her short, orange and yellow swinger’s dress and cute cap.  Oz, of all things to be, was a werewolf.  The rest of the group looked good as well.  Angel just vamped out.  Faith went all out and actually wore clothing without holes in them.  All in all, everyone was decked. After dinner, which included Faith starting a food fight (much to Brighten chagrin) and Xander whining about the different silverware, we retired to the garden.

“Now,” Evelyn declared, “The festivities begin.  Each of you will be given a partner.  Then, you will be led to separate starting lines of my labyrinth.  The first team to make it to the centre, wins.  Once everyone is there, the dancing will begin.” I manoeuvred my way over to Giles, making sure we were partners.  I told him, with a determined smile, we were going to win.  My lover only smiled. 

Once we were alone, at our own little start line, Giles handed me a small, velvet box.  Knowing what was in the box didn’t make the anticipation any less sweet.  I popped up the lip and immediately realised why Giles had liked my dress.  As you already know, conventionalism is pretty much lost on us, so a diamond simply wouldn’t do.  Instead, Rupert had bought me the most beautiful emerald, surrounded by sapphires.

My heart caught in my throat, “Put it on me.” I requested. At a leisurely pace, he slid the deliciously chilled gold band onto my forefinger, kissing the palm once he had finished.  We smiled at each other like children, deliriously happy.  I kissed him, but pulled away quickly, “I’m still intent on winning this game.  Are you with me?” He nodded and we set off.

After what seemed like a million twists and turns, we bumped into Willow, Faith, Cordelia and Niles.

“I guess it would be kind of dumb to ask if you guys knew the way to the centre, right?” Cordelia asked.

“The point would be moot, yes.” Giles replied and Cordelia scowled.

“Do you think you’ll ever be able to speak American?” She asked, sarcastically, pushing past us, “Come on, I have to be the winner!” She announced, and we followed dutifully.  While Giles, Faith and Niles discussed the difficulties of being a slayer in the 90’s Willow, Cordy and I lagged behind. That was when Cordelia, the brilliant observer noticed my ring.

We had been dutifully trudging through the maze my arm looped in Willow’s, listening to Cordy bitch about Xander and Faith when it happened.

“She had the nerve to take off all her clothes right there, in front of everyone!  Willow was there, you can even ask her!” I turned from her to Willow, who shook her head in agreement.

“Oh, Cordelia, I’m sorry.” I replied, placing an arm around her waist in sympathy.  She put her hand over mine and felt the large stone on my finger.

“What’s this?” She asked, pulling my hand off her hip and bringing it to her face.  “Oh, my, God!  Buffy!  Do you know what this is?” Cordelia demanded, shaking my hand for emphasis.  This outburst had drawn the attention of everyone present.

Willow had begun to examine the emerald, and gave me an expectant look, “Well…” I began nervously, looking at Rupert for support.  He gave me the impression that he’d just been run over by a steam truck.

Faith sauntered over and grabbed my finger, “You!  G-man!  That’s one big ass stone!” She commented.

I smiled uneasily, “Well, Rupert-that is-Giles proposed to me?” I phrased it as a question, just to make sure it was all right with everybody.

Willow gave me a face that seemed to show the least amount of comprehension.  “Like, proposal in the sense that you’re getting married?” 

I couldn’t help but smile at my best friend, “Yeah, that’s usually what it leads to.”

“Oh, okay.” She said weakly.

“Okay, People!  You’ve had enough of a break!  Back to navigating the maze!” Cordelia shouted, pushing the group along.

I laced my fingers through Gile’s before moving forward “They took that pretty well.”

************************************************************************

Forty-five minutes and an angry Cordelia later, we reached the end of the labyrinth.   Despite all of our dead ends, we were still the first to be finished.  After we were all given our choice of candies or flowers, we were set loose to do what we wanted until everyone else arrived. 

I paused a moment to take in the beautiful setting.  Lights were strung over everything, giving off a bright glow, swimming in the darkness.  A large white canopy had been set up just in case of rain and the rest of my team was under it, showing Niles the newest dance moves. I felt a sudden pang of sadness.  This life I was living right now was so carefree.  I had my friends, my lover, fun.  I wondered why I couldn’t always have this quiet reflecting time.

A cold hand brushed my shoulder and I turned to face Angel.  I forced a smile on my face.  “What’s wrong?” He asked, still loving me.  He stroked my cheek gently and I leaned into the hug he offered me.  It was odd, being friends with Angel, but I liked it.

“I’m thinking about how fat I’m going to get!” I remarked, off-handily. 

“Come on, I think Xander and Cordelia are fighting over party favours. We better go break it up.” I looped my arm through his and we headed away.

Cordelia was stomping her foot repeatedly, “Giles!  You’re a grown-up, make him give me the chocolates!” She tugged on Rupert’s jacket insistently.  My fiancÚ saw Angel and myself approaching and glared at me imploringly.

I slipped up behind Xander and pulled the confections out of his hand before he realised what was going on.  He whipped around to face me, mock distress on his face, “Et Tu, Buffy?” I grinned wryly at him.  “All my friends turning on me!  And all I wanted was a little dark chocolate!” He moped for a second longer than broke into a broad smile when he saw Willow, also bearing a box of chocolates.  “Hey, Will…” I didn’t hear the rest, instead, I returned Cordelia her candy and approached Giles, “Oh, yeah!  You’re going to be great with children!” My dear Englishman gave me an expression of defence.

“Says who?” He demanded.

“Poor Rupert!  You’re never going to learn what humour is, are you?” I admonished then drug him onto the impromptu dance floor.

“Spike, you’re going to wear a hole in that rug!” Sara exclaimed, trying to calm the pacing vampire.  “What’s wrong, lover?” She asked, wrapping her delicate frame around his.

“It’s this blue moon prophecy.  I’m afraid something’s going to happen to Rupert and the kids.  Or Buffy.” He informed the girl.

“The Slayer?  Why on earth are you worried about her?” Sara demanded, stepping away from the blonde vamp and placing her hands on her hips.Spike turned to her, a blank expression on his face.  How could he convey his feelings to someone who didn’t have any? 

“It’s not important.” He told her, brushing the tiny female vampire aside.  Besides, he himself was confused.  It was very unlike him to care for anyone, but he did.  Rupert, Brighten, Veronica, all of his grandchildren were dear to his heart.  It was odd, especially since they were all either Watchers, Watchers-in-training, or Ex-Watchers.  Still, anything that might hurt them-i.e. Buffy dying-would crush Spike.  ‘Oh, I must be crazy!  Spent too much time around Dru.  Turning into a pansy, like Angel.  Being upset over a Slayer’s death when I’ve already killed two!’  Spike sighed disgustedly at himself.

I lie in the library, slouching against Faith, sweat streaming down both our bodies.  Xander looked on with adoration, Willow and Angel with sympathy, and The Giles’ with concern. 

“Really you two, we need you at peak efficiency!  If we want everyone to survive, we must be ready!  Drusilla is a formidable enemy, and the witch might be dark.”

“Yeah, the world may be destroyed, yada, yada, yada.” I replied mockingly.  “We’ll be fine.  There are three of us.”

I felt Faith jump against my back,  “Three?” She asked, “Where was I when this information was revelled?”

“Evidently, not listening.” Giles admonished.  “Rebecca is on her way over.  She had to wait until sunset to travel.”

Once again as if on cue, the door opened to reveal Rebecca.  Really, my life was turning into a Hollywood movie.  She was dressed in a pair of biker shorts and a tight midriff.  I couldn’t quite grasp the fact that the curvy, vivacious young woman was Rupert’s great grandmother.  She bounced across the room and hugged all her grandchildren together.

“Oh, my dears, how are you?” She didn’t wait for an answer before she slid to the ground beside Faith and me.

“Becca.” I acknowledged, nodding my head.

“Buffy!  And you must be Faith!” Rebecca cheered, grasping the other slayers’ hand and shaking vigorously.  “I’m ready to train.  It’s been forever since I’ve had a good workout session!”

Faith stared at Rebecca with suspicion, then doubled with pain.  “A vampire!” She declared, looking around her for the undead opponent.  I grimaced.

“Faith, Rebecca’s the vampire.” I tried to explain.  There was a collective mouth dropping in the room and everyone took a step back.

“A vampire?” They chorused.

“Do grow up!” Rebecca ordered, standing.  “I guess there will be no fighting with you just yet.  Buffy?”

I stood and took a fighting stance a safe distance away from Faith. After I felt comfortable in my position, I beckoned the vampire/slayer. She rushed forward quickly and began her attack without delay.  Rebecca aimed low, making it extremely hard for me to ward off her punches, kicks and jabs.  Eventually, she stood above me, smiling down.

“Good show, love!” she enthused, offering me a hand.  Groaning, I took it and allowed myself to be pulled up.

“Screw you.” I replied with out my usual spunk then slunk over to my lover, rubbing my hip, though the pain was already subsiding.

Giles sat me down, “Really, grandmother, was that necessary?”

“Grandmother?” Xander, Faith and Willow shouted in unison.

“Oh, really.  You can’t be shocked by too much after all you’ve seen and heard.” Becca replied.  They seemed to see the truth in her statement.  “Good, because we’ve got a prophecy to fulfil in two days, and I’m counting on all of you for help.”

“Okay, who put you in charge?” I demanded of the older slayer.  Becca only raised a brow in answer Giles came between us, and lifted his hand to silence us. 

“Buffy, Grandmother, this is going to be a very trying weekend.  We need co-operation, not chaos.  Is that understood.”

“Yes, Rupert.” I said begrudgingly, then looked at Becca, who refused to agree.

Instead, she turned to Faith and the rest of the gain, “Who’s ready to get their ass kicked?  Come on.” Faith still refused to stand, Angel looked terrified at the idea of competing against the woman who had just knocked me down.  That left Oz, Xander and Willow, none of whom seemed to be thrilled at the concept.

“I think I’ll just be heading to bed.” Willow said faintly.

“Me, too.” Xander replied and they both headed out of the room, Oz not far behind.

Cordelia looked kind of pissed off.  “I can’t believe this!  None of you are going to fight her?  What’s wrong with you all?” She glared at us, waiting for a response.  “Well, if no one else is gonna, I will.”

“Cordelia…” I warned, but she ignored me.  Then, I shrugged my shoulders.  It might be funny to watch Cordy get the shit beat out of her.  Too bad the rest of the Scooby Gang wasn’t here to see it. But Cordelia didn’t give Becca the chance to start the fight like I did.  Instead, she began the pummel the vampire with abandon, every once in a while adding a quip, like myself.  After a few seconds of the shock, Rebecca returned the abuse with her own.  A few minutes later, Cordy lie on the floor with a cracked lip and an already bruising cheek. Still, I had to admire her strength.  She’d surprised me, keeping Becca going longer than I myself had. 

“Well then,” Cordelia stated, sitting up and struggling to stand, “I think I did a pretty decent job.  Better than any of you wimps!” She swayed slightly and I caught her in my arms.  I hefted her up and began to carry her out.  Great, now I had an unconscious bitch on my hands.

“I’m going to go clean her up and put her to bed.  Maybe you can injure
a few more helpless people while I’m gone.” I hissed in a venom filled
voice.

I refused to wake up, I knew the pounding in my head would only get worse.  I felt a cool, damp rag brush over my face.  My stinging cheek, my split lip, both were aching horribly.  And my throat hurt.  Someone must have been reading my mind, because a cool stream of water trickled past my mouth and down my throat.

My eyes fluttered open and I was happy to see that the lights had been lowered as not to hurt my head.  Buffy was above me, cradling my head in her lap.  She seemed to realise my consciousness and looked down into my face.

“Feeling better?” She asked me. I should have replied with one of my biting quips, making her feel bad for caring about me.  That’s most likely what she expected.  Instead, I nodded my head no and felt a few tears try to escape. “Why’d you do it?” Buffy asked, brushing my hair back gently, continuing her care of my features.

“Cause…” My voice started to break, “Because, I wanted to be useful.  I wanted you guys to think I was more that just a rich snob.  And, I wanted you to like me.”

Buffy looked down at me with such care and friendship in her eyes that I didn’t mind the fact she was using the same tone she’d use to placate a baby, “Oh, Cordelia, I do like you, a lot.  I’ve always admired your sincerity and how you can bury your emotions, not let others know how they make you feel.  You don’t need to prove yourself to me.” I smiled through my tears, realising how awkward this situation was.  Buffy evidently felt the same way, but was trying to as hard as she could to grin and bear it.  “Now, tell me, what’s wrong?  Why do you all the sudden have a need for my approval?”

I sniffled and sat up, looking Buffy in the eye.  “It’s Xander, and Faith.” I told her, crushed.  “Did he really hate me so much that he moved onto her so quickly.”

Buffy obviously didn’t know how to respond she tried to answer a couple times before moving to the bed and patting the mattress beside her.  I sunk onto Giles’ comforter and then Buffy began to talk.  “I don’t know how you feel, exactly.  Angel and I were a completely different situation.  All I do know is that Xander cares for you very much, but he’s sure you no longer do.  He doesn’t care about Faith like he does you.  And I know Faith couldn’t care less what happens.  You should let him know he has a chance, no matter how small it is.  Then, let the grovelling begin!” she added with a wicked smile.

I let out a little giggle and sighed contentedly.  How weird it was that I was lying on Mr. Giles bed being comforted by Buffy Summers of all people.  Still, I was happy and relaxed against Buffy’s thigh, gazing up at her.  It wouldn’t be like this always.  I couldn’t always have this rapport.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  You can’t be someone you aren’t.  I wish I could.  I wish Buffy would be my friend like she and Willow are.  Some people just can’t be that lucky.

Buffy was playing with a loose strand of my hair, staring into space. She has her own world.  I don’t think she shares it with many people. That’s what makes her so special.  She lets herself dream of a better place.  It can’t be easy for her, with all she’s seen.  I admire and resent her.  She’s everything men dream about.  Mysterious, Beautiful, Fit, Dangerous.  And people say they want to be like me?  But, she’s so sad.  That makes me upset, to see such beauty and fire quashed.  Yeah, that’s right, I use big words, scary, huh?  Anyway, I wish I knew how to cheer her like Giles and Willow and everyone else.  Instead, it’s ‘Shut up, Cordelia!’  So depressing.

“What are you thinking?” I asked, and she snapped out of her trance.

“Just about Saturday.  You know, the usual.  Should I wear my purple or green tank top to fight the vamps in?  Also is someone going to die?  Will the world be destroyed?  Am I going to be in major need of plastic surgery when I’m done?  The usual.” She flashed me a crooked smile, but she was happy and that was good.

 

“Okay, remind me again why we’re at the circus?” I asked doubtfully, looking at my Watcher.  It was here, the blue moon, that is.  Shining in all its blue glory.  Everyone was loaded down with weapons in every available pocket or opening.  We were prepared for anything.  Except being led to the circus grounds, that is. 

Giles spared a glance in my direction.  “It’s my belief that Drusilla enjoys child like entertainment.  I assumed that with the circus in town, she would naturally visit it.”  I stared at Rupert as if he had sprouted wings.  Still, I didn’t say a word.  Instead, I gave him my Jack Nicholson eyebrow lift and turned away. 

Xander faltered when we reached the entrance.  He looked terrified, “I’m scared of clowns.” The rest of the group struggled to control their laughter.  I slung an arm around my friend’s shoulder and ushered him towards the tent.

“Don’t worry, Xand, I’ll protect you.” I promised, then took deep breath and stepped inside.

My heart stopped beating and I turned back at once to push Xander, Willow, Oz and Cordelia away.  “You guys should really stay out here.  You know?  Stand guard.”  They gave me doubtful looks, but remained outside.

Everything was dead.  The Families, the animals, the workers were all dead.  I’d never seen such a horrible display of violence.  They were in various positions, some praying, some running, most too frightened to move.  I hadn’t been in time to save them.  “Did Drusilla do this?” I asked, barely able to control my anger.

“Oh, come on, pet.  Do you really think Dru is capable of this kind of destruction?  I think not.  No, something a whole lot worse.  I think you may have misread your prophecy.”  Spike paused for effect then continued.  “Perhaps you read Watcher when what was written was Warlock.”

Giles seemed to be a great deal more worried about this than I was.  I asked, “So, what?  It’s just three guy witches, they’re probably not even bad.”

“Wrong, doll.  The common misconception is that Warlock is a male witch.  Actually, it means spell breaker.  Not very nice people either, male or female.  And I’d say from the looks of this place, you’ve got some extremely nasty ones on your hands.”

“Way to miss-read your prophecy, Giles.” I accused, suddenly feeling not equipped for tonight.

“Oh, not to worry, love.” Spike chimed cheerfully, “You’ve got me and Sara on your side.  They only have Dru and her mindless minions.” He smiled, happy with himself for doing a good deed.

“You know, all of the sudden I feel safe and secure.” I told him with a sarcastic tone and ‘you are so damn stupid!’ look.

Sara approached, appearing just as crazy as Drusilla, if not prettier. She was a little more enthusiastic than Dru, however.  Sara didn’t stand on the sidelines, she was a real player.  She didn’t seem too evil, though.  “Hello Slayers.” She said in a defeated tone, as if Spike were making her be kind.

“Okay, Spike, since you know so much about what’s going on, where are the baddies now?”

I shook my head with disgust.  How could I be so stupid to read Warlock as Watcher?  Now, hundreds of innocents had lost their lives and it was my fault.  I spared a glance to the backseat to hear Spike and Buffy trading insults.  I only caught the tale end of Buffy’s last remark. 

And saw the vampire smile,  “Yeah, so, you’re roots are showing.”

“So are yours!  What’s up with that anyway?  A vampire dyeing his hair?  Come on!” She quipped.

“But at least I have an excuse for my roots showing.  I don’t have a reflection.  So, what’s yours.”

Buffy opened then closed her mouth, angered.  “I hate you!” She replied, perplexed.  Spike laughed at her openly.

“Oh, nice work love!” He told her mockingly.  She stuck her tongue at him which only caused him to laugh louder and harder.  After a moment he tried to keep a strait face.  “Look, pet,”

Buffy interrupted him, “I am not your pet.” Spike ignored her and continued to speak.

“How about another peace treaty?  As much as I enjoy seeing you flustered, we do need you and my dear grandson to see it safely through the evening.  Right?”

She paid no attention to his proffered hand, but spoke with sugary sweetness, “Oh, of course, Spike.  Because I dream every night of you to come to my rescue.”

They continued their bickering, but I returned my attention to the road, smiling.  Veronica leaned against me, “What are you smiling about, little brother?” she asked, grinning at my sudden change of moods. “I shouldn’t be, should I?  I’m about to have the battle of my life.” I laughed distortedly, a sad laugh.

“But,” my wise sister pointed out, “You’re doing it for her.  And she loves you.  So that makes it right.”  Oh, the wisdom that came from older sisters.  I’d always turned to Veronica when I was younger, instead of Cecilia.  CeCe had been the wild, free spirit.  Veronica was the one who looked before she lept. 

Buffy’s laughter broke my reverie.  I turned back to see Spike with the oddest expression on his face and Buffy doubled over.  She was so beautiful.  And Veronica was right.  As long as it was for someone I loved, getting killed was great! 

Suddenly, Spike sobered, “This is it!  Dru’s here I know it.”  It didn’t look like the sort of place that would attract the female vampire.  I parked outside the dilapidated train yard and looked around for any signs of activity.  There was nothing more than a few pieces of metal that had fallen from old boxcars.  The perfect setting for evil.  I stood outside the closest car, waiting for Buffy to decide on a course of action.  She had a look of deep concentration on her face, checking out the structure, make and damage of each.  Finally, she nodded to me and I quietly led my band of miss-matched heroes to her side. 

We started to move forward but found ourselves stuck where we stood.  Spike shouted out in frustration as we saw Drusilla descend from the nearest train.  She wore her trademark red dress and it swirled around her body as she headed strait for her ex-lover, a sick smile on her face.  “Spike’s been a bad boy.  He went away during the light and now he has another.” I only understood part of what she was saying, the rest were her crazy ruminations.

Drusilla began to stroke Spike’s cheek, then reared back and slapped him. “Bad doggy.” She commented with a little bark.

I felt Buffy’s hand on my arm, squeezing slightly, “Giles, what’s going on.  I didn’t know Drusilla had the ability to freeze people.” Fortunately, Dru was ignoring us, so I turned to my Slayer, “I don’t believe she’s doing this.  She’s most probably joined forces with the Warlocks.” I turned my attention back to the female vampire, now twirling around Angel, murmuring mixed praise and rebukes.  I heard Buffy snort at the behaviour.  I couldn’t help but smile, even in our current predicament. 

I focused my attention back on the open rail car to see more figures pouring out.  At the head of the group were Trick and the Mayor, both smiling at out current predicament.  “Ladies and Gentlemen,” Trick addressed the large gathering of vampires and Warlocks behind him, “Looks like we have some crashers.  What are we going to do about that?” The various growls that were heard were answer enough.  The male vampire behind Trick advanced on Buffy and I struggled to stop him, but it was no good.  Just as he was about to lower his fangs to her neck, he turned to dust.  I turned to see Joyce and Amy along with two women and one man I’d never seen before.  I didn’t think it odd to see Amy there, in human form anyway, I was more concerned about the civilians.

“Pike? Jenny?” Buffy asked shocked, then with an incredulous stare, turned to the last girl, “Claudia?” She evidently could believe she was seeing the three teenagers with her mother and that they were carrying crossbows.

“What?  We’re like here to like slay vampires.” Claudia told Buffy.

Jenny shook her head excitedly, “Yeah!”

“Totally.” Claudia agreed.

I groaned inwardly, remembering my old friends’ behaviour.  How could I have ever liked them?  Even Cordelia was nicer, more excepting and truer than Claudia and gang.  Of course, if I weren’t the slayer, I would be just like them still, or maybe dead.  Either way, it didn’t matter. 

They were here to help and the vampires wouldn’t wait forever.  “Help us get unstuck.” I urged and the two girls exchanged ‘how do we do that’ looks.  “Find the warlock that put the spell on us and do bad things to him till he lifts the spell.” 

Comprehension dawned on the girls’ faces and they began a crusade, dusting vamps trying to avoid getting ashes on their clothes.  Pike was busy beating the Mayor to a pulp, but it didn’t seem to matter.  The Mayor was as good as invincible.  Joyce was meanwhile engaged in a battle with Trick.  Actually, it wasn’t a battle.  It was Trick side stepping my mother’s every move.  On a different occasion, under different circumstances, that sight might be funny.  Now, it was deadly. I was trying to lunge forward when I fell flat on my face, letting out an “Oof!” everyone around was making similar noises as they were suddenly released from the grip on our feet.  Quickly, I pushed off the ground and offered my paramour a hand.  Then, I rushed into battle, Giles by my side.

It seemed as though we were winning.  Vampires were being dusted left and right and the once crowded area was quickly becoming unpopulated.  That’s when it happened.  Blue light, from the moon suddenly lit our setting, like a stage light.  The mayor advanced on me, with a sickening grin.  Oh, how I wished I could kill him.  Despite our efforts, he hadn’t been harmed.  Faith ran up to him, ready to place a deadly blow.  Instead, he grabbed her throat, crushing it.  I tried to move, but he motioned to one of the remaining Warlocks and I was stuck again.  Helpless as tears began to stream down Faith’s tan cheeks.

“Bee!” She cried out and I struggled vainly, hoping against hope.  It was no good. She fell limp and the Mayor tossed her aside carelessly. 

“Faith!” I yelled, trying again to reach her side.

“Well, that was a little unnerving.  Mister Trick, perhaps you’d like to handle the other Slayer.”

“My pleasure, Mister Mayor.” Trick drawled, gliding towards me.  There was a silence that hung in the air as he came nearer.  “I’ve never had the blood of a Slayer, but I hear it’s mighty tasty.”

Cordelia, who had thus far watched from the sidelines was once again amazed by everyone’s inaction.  She watched as Willow grabbed a fallen stake from the ground and ran up behind Trick, only to be stopped by one of the few vampires left.  I looked to her forlornly as the Vampire morphed and lowered her teeth.  Willow didn’t move, or shriek or even cry.  Instead, she brought her eyes to mine, saying a silent goodbye. 

That’s when Cordelia took action.  Using a well-known cheerleading move, she flew across the distance between herself and Willow in a perfect front handspring.  She grabbed the stake and drove it home before anyone had time to react.  Then, she tossed me the piece of wood. 

Trick saw the transaction and stepped back from me.  He threw the mayor a saucy salute then took off, the remaining four minions followed him. The Mayor gave a slightly disturbed look towards the retreating man, then pulled a small tape recorder from his breast pocket.  “Note to me; Fire Mr. Trick upon return to Sunnydale.” 

“Okay, now I know you aren’t stable.” I commented, drawling his attention back to me.

“Ah, yes, the other Slayer.” He turned to the two warlocks and Drusilla. 

“She’s yours.  And don’t make the same mistake Trick did.”  Then, the unwounded, unbeatable Mayor left the train yard.

Drusilla clapped her hands ecstatically, jumping around the clearing.  The warlocks-one female, around twenty-five with blonde ringlets, the other male, about seventeen with long black hair-leered at my friends and me.  “Let’s make it fun.” Drusilla suggested, “A game.  Let them run and scream.  Oh, what great fun it’ll be.” She looked at the two others for permission.  They gave it to her.

We hadn’t made it far when we heard the familiar chanting issued by Amy’s lips.  Willow joined in and the two held hands, I watched amazed as the glow of the moon grew brighter and darker all at once.  Then, it became blinding and I was forced to close me eyes.  Once I could sense the flash had faded, I tentatively looked around.  All that was left of our nemeses was a whimpering Drusilla and no proof the others had existed.  Willow and Amy were collapsed on the ground and we ran to their sides.  Gently, I ran a hand over Willow’s face, trying to coax her into the waking world.  Slowly, she emerged, along with Amy.  I collected her in my arms, pulling her in the tightest hug ever and only let go when she alerted me she couldn’t breath.

Brighten came running over with a frantic look on his usually unflappable face.  I realised then that I hadn’t seen him since the beginning of the fight.  “It’s Niles, Gregory and Xander.  They were hurt during the fight, along with some of the others.”

I rushed to the other side of the train where I found not only those above, but Oz and Claudia in various states of damage.  “Let’s get them to the hospital.” Giles suggested, and those of us unharmed set about helping our friends.  Once everyone had left, besides Rupert and myself, I returned to Faith’s side.

“Why did she have to die, Giles?” I asked, kneeling beside her.  It was such a pointless question.  I knew why.  She was the Slayer and they are born to die.  I already had once, I know I would again.  Giles placed his hand on my shoulder and I covered it with my own, pulling him down behind me.  Then, he slipped his arms around my waist and I rested against his chest.

“Do you want me to carry her?” He asked after a few seconds of silence. I shook my head then stood, lifting her in my arms and drawling her close.  Then I carried her to the car, preparing myself for all the pain I was going to see when I arrived at the hospital.  Knowing that tonight, I was expected to make a baby.

When we got to the hospital, I found most of my group in the waiting room, pacing frantically.  I had already given my report to the police officer about the entire incident, including Faith’s death.  I had been shocked when, after making up a fabrication, Giles told the truth.  I mean about the Vampires and everything.  As he led me away, he explained that here, with the Watcher’s headquarters, everything was different.  English people were much more knowledgeable about the undead population.  It was definitely more convenient. 

As I walked into the room, I was immediately hugged by all of my friends, including my mother.  “Oh, my baby, are you all right?” She asked, holding on and refusing to let go.  I endured the embrace as long as possible.

“I’m as well as can be expected, mom.  So much has happened.  I guess this was inevitable.” I then escaped from her into Giles’ arms. She looked shocked, and a bit hurt that I’d retreat to him instead of my own mother at this time, but I couldn’t help it.  The only place I felt safe was with Rupert and I wasn’t going to sacrifice my feelings for my mom’s.  We waited there for about three hours before we saw a doctor.  The entire time I caught up with Pike and Jenny, and was surprised to find that after I left, they had taken up slaying full time.  Odd choice of work but when you’re as rich as Jenn and Claudia and as careless as Pike, I guess it doesn’t matter.

After a few hours, a doctor emerged and everyone stood, bracing themselves for bad news.  “They’re all doing pretty well.” Everyone let out a sigh of relief.  “Mr. Harris still hasn’t woken up, he lost a lot of blood.”

“Can we see him?” I asked eagerly pushing through the crowd.  The man led us to a room where Niles and Xander were resting.  My mother, Willow and Cordelia rushed to Xander’s side to be sure he was all right.  I stood back, watching with great sadness.  If it weren’t for me, Xander would be at home and safe.  I fell into my lover’s chest, my new source for strength and wished us away from here.

Giles pulled back and looked down at me, reading my thoughts.  “I’ll take you home.” He put his hand in mine and led me away.

 

We didn’t talk the way home or once we arrived.  I took a quick shower, then threw on Rupert’s terrycloth robe.  When I returned to his room, he had made me a plate of different fruits and I greedily polished it off. I turned to him from my place on the floor and studied him intently.  He rested against the headboard, his emerald shirt unbuttoned, his legs clad in rarely seen tight blue jeans.  My eyes travelled from his bare feet to his well-formed body, resting on his face.  He wasn’t wearing his glasses, so I could see his green eyes, sparkling in the soft light. Under its own control, my gaze slipped to his lips.  In calm, measured movements.  I rose to my knees and crawled onto the bed.  Giles didn’t move, allowing me to set the stage for this evening.  I ran my hands up his muscled legs and to his chest, pushing the undone shirt off his shoulders.  Softly and deliberately slow, I placed gentle kisses across his breast and neck, nibbling my way to his mouth.  I took his lips with mine and rested against him.

“Giles,” I whispered, our lips brushing a second time as I spoke, “I love you so much.” He returned my words with a brilliant smile and soft tones, making my heart shatter.  I trapped his fingers in mine, holding tight.  We lay like that for a long time, my head on his heart, listening to the steady, familiar beat.  I could stay this way forever, reassured of life and love.  Giles eventually got his hands away from mine and secured them at the base of my skull.

“Buffy, make love to me.” He requested, and I straitened above him.

“I’d love nothing more.” I admitted, lowering my mouth to his waiting one.

She was truly a vision, my very own angel.  She wore a traditional cream gown with long sleeves, square neck and low back.  It was tight only until it had to make way for her swelling belly.  Then, it flared out to her ankles.  She carried cream coloured lilies in her right hand and stood with her father.  The moon and candlelight sparkled off her blonde curls, which had grown long recently.  Atop the free mane was a glittering tiara with a single veil.  She glanced up at me, letting the curtain of curls slip apart.  She had an impish, half smile on her face. Willow was directly behind her wearing a beautiful black gown with an empire waist.  Her fiery red hair had been pulled back, only a few curling strands escaped.  Cordelia, Amy, and the new slayer, Anya finished off the train of women, each wearing the same dress as Willow. Oz, Angel, Niles and Gregory were to escort them down. 

The music continued to play and Buffy finally coaxed her father to lead her down the aisle to me.  Some of my younger nieces ran around, dropping petals of various flowers on the ground.  She reached my side, letting go of her father and placing her hand in mine. 

The rest of the service went by in a blur.  All I remember was the powerful feeling of love that seemed to emanate from Buffy.  Then, I heard the priest proclaim, “I now pronounce you man and wife.” She wrapped her arms around me in a death grip and brought my lips to hers and I was dimly aware as the priest continued, “May I present mister and misses Rupert Giles.”

“I feel like I’m going to burst!” I exclaimed, rolling over in bed and pulling the covers up, “I don’t wanna go to school today.” I whined.  Giles would hear none of it.  He gently grabbed my shoulders and took me out of the warm haven, despite my protests.

“I agreed to let you continue fighting until your eighth month as long as you continued school.  No going back.” He ran a hand over my large stomach then behind my back, hugging as tightly as he could with the enormous boundary between us.  I sighed contentedly, not wanting this moment to end.  I was in my ninth month of pregnancy and my second month of college and I was less than eager to go into the crowded classrooms.  The only consolation was the fact that Rupert had received a job in the library, so I could slip down to see him whenever I wanted.

I knew the baby was coming soon.  It was only a matter of days, or maybe minutes.  I really didn’t want to go into labour in mister Bosts’ history class, still, Giles somehow forced me into my first class of the day, pausing briefly to plant a kiss on my forehead.

I settled into my seat next to Cordelia and immediately she began to tell me about her date the previous evening.  Of all the universes cruellest tricks, signing Cordy up to the same college as me was the worst.  Actually, she wasn’t that bad.  Despite what she’d have people think, Cordelia was one of the kindest people I knew.  When no one was looking, she’d grab my books and take me to my next class.  On nights when Giles was busy, she’d come over to the house and make dinner, keeping me company all night.  I patiently listened until Bost entered and began to lecture.

At lunch, Cordelia went to a near-by restaurant to reserve seats while I went to drag my husband along with us.  I strode into the library, feeling the oddest sense of longing for Sunnydale, but, I quickly repressed it.  “Rupert?” I called out, not seeing him.  A couple students from my French class snickered.

“Rupert?” one repeated, “his name is mister Giles.  A big geek if you ask me.”

“Good thing I didn’t then.” I returned sarcastically.  Growing impatient, I called out again.  “Rupert?  Where are you?”  I looked around the rows of books helplessly.  Sometimes my dear husband was impossible to draw away from the books.

“What do you want him for?  It’s Buffy, right?” The boy asked, walking up to me.  I was disgusted.  I mean, here I was, visibly pregnant, wearing a wedding band and still men hit on me.

“Giles, get your ass out here now!” I yelled and was glad to get a response.  My errant lover peaked out from behind the stacks.

“Elizabeth.” He called out, walking down to me, his arms outstretched. 

“Did you need something?” He pulled me into a quick hug and then released, fascinated, as always with playing with my stomach.

“Would you stop it?   She’s not doing anything right now.  Listen, Cordelia’s got reservations down at some fancy place and she wants the Giles to join her.  You up to it?” I ignored the blatant stares in our direction as I toyed with the hair at the base of Rupert’s neck.

“Let me get my coat.” When he turned to leave, I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen.  It was stronger than the previous ones.  Not a kick or a cramp, something much more painful.  Then, I felt it again.  I stumbled to the nearest chair, which broke immediately under the strength in my grip.  Giles rushed to my side and the boys were asking if they could help in any way.  The pain was so bad, I couldn’t answer, but Giles did. 

“Call Cordelia Chase, her phone number is in my office.  Tell her Buffy Giles has gone into labour.”

I thought about my life, as I lay on the hospital bed, realising I was damned.  I wanted to go into labour at home, where no one would be a witness except my husband.  For once, I wanted to have a semi-normal event take place in my life.  Not on the likely. 

Giles stood beside me the entire time, holding my hand, urging me to let out my pain on him.  If I did that, he’d end up with a few crushed bones.  Cordelia entered not long after, letting me know Mom, dad, Willow, Xander and the rest of the gang were on their way.  She too took a place next to me and silently held my hand.

It hurt, really bad.  That much was duh.  But there was something else going on that only I was aware of.  I knew the doctors would never find anything out of the ordinary, it was fate doing it’s work.  I didn’t make a noise, except the occasional grunt or gasp, feeling calm knowing that something was about to happen that would change everything.Four hours later, Willow, Oz and Angel arrived.  They all live in New York and had hopped the next plane out to Boston they could catch. Xander was the next to show.  He drove as fast as possible from Pennsylvania since he couldn’t afford a ticket.  It wasn’t until nine hours later, when my child finally decided to come out, that my parents and Anya showed up.

Everyone was forced to leave except Giles, who continued to be my silent support while I pushed my darling Rahina out of my body and into existence.  She was such a sight.  Soft, red-gold hair shimmered in the bright hospital lights and her green eyes were full of life.  She didn’t cry at all, prompting the doctors to worry, but not me.  They laid her down on my lap and her gentle, tiny hands wrapped around my thumb, taking it to her mouth.

“She’s thirsty.” The nurse told me in hushed tones, “You said you wanted to breast feed, now is the best time to start.”  Giles settled behind me and played with our daughter’s hands and feet while she latched onto my nipple and began to tug.  I rested against my husband’s chest, happy one last time.

“Rupert, there’s another.” I advised him, nearly fifteen minutes later. He looked shocked, but believed my intuition.  Quickly, just in time for my next set of contractions, he hailed a doctor.

They urged me to push, promising this would be the last, then I could rest, but I felt the strength and the life seeping out of me.  I knew it wasn’t fair, but there was nothing I could do about it. 

I heard someone shout, “It’s a boy.” I opened my eyes forcibly and saw Giles holding our son in his arms, looking down at me with awe. 

“Let me see him, please.” My husband heard the quality of my voice and suddenly understood, he nodded gravely and handed me the tiny boy with brown curls and blue eyes, just as perfect as his sister.

“Go get the others.” I urged and he turned without preamble, retrieving my family and friends.

When they entered, I held my twins on my lap, watching them play together.  They all looked as if they would cry and I hated myself for putting them through this.  “Oh, I love you all so much.  I don’t have the words for it.” Each took their turns kissing me and bidding their goodbyes, till I came at last to my husband.  “Giles, what am I going to do without you?” I asked in a hushed voice, pulling him to me with what little strength I had left.  He lowered his lips to mine and I kissed him with my last breath.

The joy that should come from having children was over-shadowed by my wife’s death.  I was allowed to take the twins home the next day because of their exceptional health.  The funeral was the following day.  She was buried in the Slayer’s cemetery, in England, where few slayers had the privilege to be put.  The head of the council spoke highly of her, but generically.  Willow’s speech made us angry with life.  Xander prompted sad laughter.  Cordelia caused tears.  When it came time for me to speak, I wondered how I’d ever make myself go on. 

Christmas came and the twins were thrilled with the tree and the lights.  When I heard them giggle, I was reminded of their mother and I wished her by my side.  I had found a package in her drawer that she had bought months ago and had saved for today.  Once Nicholas and Rahina were tucked in bed, I decided to open the present.  It was a small jewellery box, with soft satin lining.  Inside was as small ring with four birthstones, as if she knew we would have twins all along.  An emerald, my birthstone, an amethyst, Buffy’s and two pale green stones for the twins.  All was set in a delicate gold band.  With silent tears, I slid the ring onto my finger.

“I miss you Buffy.” I whispered, lost.

************************************************************************

“Papa!  Papa!” I turned to the door upon hearing Nicholas’ voice.  He and Rahina burst through the screen, laughing wildly.  Rahina, her strawberry hair floating behind her, sprung into my arms.  “Oh, Papa!” She murmured, when I took her in my arms and spun her around.  Nicholas waited until we sat before he climbed onto my lap as well.

“How was the first day of Kindergarten?” I asked, running my fingers through their hair.

Rahina frowned, then wondered out loud, “Papa, do others know about vampires?”

I laughed lightly, “No, darling, other people do not, nor do they want to.  A select few will believe you, but wait until you’re older, I promise.”

“Alright!  Papa?” Rahina continued, “When are we going back to England?” I had wished I wouldn’t have to answer that question.  Although the twins were raised at my home in Algernon, England, I had decided to move back to Sunnydale when Anya had died.  Wesley and Richard tried their hardest to help Rosalyn and Penny fight demons, but they needed me.  Not to sound egotistical, but neither of them had ever been able to handle the Hellmouth like myself.

“Yes, Pa, I miss Uncle Gregory.” Nicholas informed me.  The two stared at me with wide eyes.

“I know and we’ll visit, but I’m needed here.  Besides, you’ll get to see Grandma Joyce a lot more often now.” The children looked sceptical.  “In fact, I think she said she was going to bake some cookies for an after school snack.  You better go check.” After a second’s hesitation, they barrelled out the front door and I was left with a large grin on my face.  I called Joyce and told her of the impending doom, then asked her to watch the twins for me.  I needed to head to the library.  Penny and Rosalyn had just been freed from school and were probably in their favourite hangout. 

I entered the old spook, so to speak and found the girls training in the centre.  I studied their form.  They were nothing like Buffy or Faith.  They thought too much about their moves.  I guess it was good, but improvising could get you out of a lot of trouble.  I felt a great sorrow pass over and suddenly would give anything to be with Buffy again.  Even if not with her in the lover’s sense.   Just to have her every day.  I used to think it ironic she died in childbirth when she put her life in danger constantly.  Now, I knew it was unfair.  She had died to make some cosmic balance.  “Keep up the good work.” I acknowledged quietly on my way to the office.  Things were getting better.  If I could sit in this office again, then perhaps I would someday over come the pain of my wife’s death.

************************************************************************

I entered the house I knew so well, travelling down the short hallway.  It was night time and the house was shining only with the dull light of candles.  I followed them and the sound of music.  Then, I came to the familiar kitchen, where I’d grown up, to witness this event myself. 

“Happy Birthday Dear Nicholas and Rahina!  Happy Birthday to you!” Everyone cheered and the two teenagers blew out two sets of fifteen candles.

My eyes lit up at the sight of them.  Nicholas was so handsome.  He was tall and lean, but muscular as well.  I knew his grandfather had got a hold of him though.  His hair had been bleached blonde and only a few dark roots shone through.  His blue eyes were sparkling with laughter as he teased his sister unmercifully.  Rahina, she was decidedly feminine.  Her red-blonde hair that reached to her waist was half down, half in small braids.  She was smaller than her brother, but only by an inch or so.  She pushed him away from her wonderfully endowed body, but I could see the laughter in her green eyes as well. 

They had a tiny gathering of friends, not unlike my own.  I knew how hard it was to be a superhero and have a social life.  Giles, Willow and the rest of the gang were here as well.  I studied them each in turn. Willow had grown out of her child like looks and had matured into a beautiful woman.  She was head of her own company now.  Some computer line.  I don’t know.  She was single and proud of it, of course she was only thirty three.  She still had time.

Xander was a police officer.  How funny is that.  I never imagined him as the type, but if the shoe fits.  He had married to a woman named Gillian, smart, pretty and tolerant of his stupidity.  They seemed extremely happy raising their two sons with a moderate income.Then came Cordelia.  The now famous celebrity photographer had arrived with the twin’s favourite stars on her arm.  She was as gorgeous as ever and even though she was way above the rest of the gang now, she still found time to visit.

I knew Oz wouldn’t be found.  He had been killed by Penny two years ago.  It was necessary.  He had escaped his confinements one evening and there was no way to stop him.  His body had grown immune to the tranquillisers.

Angel, Spike and Sara stood in the corner, watching but not participating.  They served as protection for the rest of the gang and informants.  After my death, Angel had moved back to Sunnydale to help with the Slayers and Watchers.

Finally, my eyes rested on my husband.  To the outside observer, he was happy, content.  I knew better.  Maybe he was temporarily at peace, but there was pain in his eyes.  He was as handsome as I remembered even with grey sprinkled through his hair.  For a fifty-two year old, he looked good.  He tried to calm our sparring children, but was ignored.  I reached out for his smiling face, but, of course, my hand slipped past.  Despite the fact there was no possible way for him to feel me, appeared startled.  He searched the area where I stood and for a moment, it seemed he noticed me.

“Papa?” Rahina’s cultured English accent broke his concentration.  “Are you alright?” She asked, placing a hand on his arm.

“I’m fine.” He replied with a nostalgic smile.  I watched the evening progress and my family left for their house, I followed Rupert to his bedroom.  As he undressed and prepared for bed, I tapped my foot impatiently.  The clock read eleven fifty three.  Seven more minutes until I was allowed a final good-bye with my soul mate. 

When the chimes began to ring, I felt the long forgotten pull of gravity.  I slowly was lowered to the ground.  By the twelfth ring, I felt alive again, for the first time in fifteen years.  Silently, I made my way to the bed, slipping between the covers and wrapping my arms around Rupert.  He jumped in my embrace and turned to face me.

“Buffy?” He gasped, seemingly hurt and confused.

“It’s me.” I whispered and pulled his head to my chest, allowing him to weep.  “Sh.  It’s all right.  I’m here now.”

“How long?” He asked, always pessimistic.  I smiled sadly.

“Only a day.  But it’s a day none the less.” I watched his eyes scan over me.  He wouldn’t see any difference from the day I died; ghosts don’t age.  “Rupert!  I’ve missed you so much.” I lowered my lips to his and kissed him senseless.  Our entire time together had been less than a year and I wasn’t going to give up my chance with him now.

We made love the whole evening, reaffirming our devotion to one another.  When I lie in his arms, his fingers running over my shoulder and back, he told me, “There has never been anyone else.  I will always love only you.”  I felt the tears stinging my eyes, but held back.  The time for crying would be later.  This was the time for loving. 

I looked at the clock on the nightstand.  “It’s seven, Rupert.  Do you think you should wake the children?  I’d love to see them.” He placed a last kiss on my lips and threw on a pair of pants before leaving me.  I slipped out of the bed and studied my husband’s room.  On the dresser were my graduation picture and a wedding picture.  I ran my hand over the glossy photograph.  We were so happy then.  We had no idea of my impending death.

I opened the top drawer and was surprised to find my old clothing still situated next to his.  What a sentimental fool Rupert was.  The clothes were too old to wear, however, so I grabbed a large shirt of Rupert’s and tossed it on over a pair of his tighter jeans.  I had to wear a belt, but it fit well enough. 

I heard Rahina and Nicholas fighting with their father about not wanting to go to school.  They sounded a lot like me, but happier than I had ever been.  Then, I heard them approaching the bedroom door.  “Papa, what’s going on?” Nicholas asked, hesitating outside.

He didn’t respond, instead, he pushed the door open and allowed the twins to see for themselves.  The two stood there, with mouths wide open, not sure what they were seeing. 

“Mama?” Rahina asked, startled and unsure.  “This isn’t possible.  Is this possible, Papa?” She turned to Rupert, evidently wanting to believe, but not allowing herself to.

“Children, for some reason, your mother has been permitted to spend one day with us.  I suggest we don’t waste it.”  After a second’s hesitation, the two teenagers raced to me and threw their arms around me.  I couldn’t recall a time I felt so complete, even more so when Rupert joined in the embrace.

“Wanna go for ice cream?” I asked them, still not releasing.  “I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.  Rahina and Nicholas shook their heads eagerly, and ran to get dressed. 

“I called the others while I went to wake the kids.  They’re going to meet us at the parlour.  You’ll get to meet Penny and Rosalyn, they’ve always wanted to know you.”

I smiled fleetingly.  “I’m more excited about seeing my friends and family.  What about your family?  How are they?” I had always wondered if Brighten would ever be happy or if Cecilia would ever settle down.“Well, you know us Giles’.  Bachelors for life!  I think our marriage rather angered them.” He jested and I smiled.

“I’m a Giles now, and I don’t appreciate you talking that way about my brothers and sisters.” I sighed contentedly.  Oh, this felt so perfect.  Why couldn’t I spend every morning this way?

The children re-entered at that minute and we headed out the door together.  As we walked down the street, Nicholas was busy filling me in on his latest soccer achievement while Rahina was telling how she had made the football team, despite Snyder’s objections.  “So that troll is still there?” I asked shocked.

“Yep!  In fact, last week, he turned down an offer for a really nice, well-behaved school in Rhode Island.  Says he prefers living in Sunnydale.  I think he’s some kind of monster.” Nicholas told me.

“Yeah, Papa, can we slay him?” Rahina asked with a hopeful note in her voice.

Rupert laughed at the twins and pushed them along, “I’ll look into it.” He replied happily.

When we entered the shop, Willow, Xander, Cordelia and my mother at once grabbed me in an embrace.  I hugged them back eagerly, wishing this day to never end.  Willow pulled me to a table and immediately I sat down and allowed everyone to tell me what all I’d missed.

After eating, we went to my mother’s house where I was seated on the couch while they presented to me all the pictures of all the events I never got to see.  When dusk came around, so did Angel, Spike and Sara, who I was surprised to see had stuck around.  Angel swept me up in a bear hug and Spike mumbled something about being glad I was here.  I smiled at his embarrassment and enfolded him in my arms as well. I knew I’d have to leave soon and it was harder than I imagined it would be.  But as I readied my self to disappear once again, I realised I was so very lucky to have been given this day.  I moved from my spot on the couch and settled into my husband’s lap.  He held me close, letting me know he’d never let go.

“I love you.” He told me those words repeatedly, until they became a mantra and lost real meaning to anyone but Rupert and myself.  After a few minutes, my voice mingled with his, stating the same words again and again.

END