The World Crashing Down
TITLE: The World Crashing Down
AUTHOR: Laura Smithfirstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
RATING: NC-17 Buffy/Giles
SETTING: After Graduation Day, the Scooby gang reevaluate their lives and relationships
SPOILERS: Graduation Day part 2 (sort of)
DISCLAIMER: All characters are copyright Joss Whedon. May he forgive me for the many sins I commit in their names.
DISTRIBUTION: Ask and ye shall receive.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This one's for Kazza. Because I promised. Although I didn't keep the promise about Willow not being in it. Sorry.
The rubble that had once been the library lay scattered at
their feet. What was left of the Scooby gang - Buffy, Willow, Oz,
Xander and Giles stood amongst the pieces of stone, mortar and
book and stared down at what another night in Sunnydale had
"Well, it ain't pretty." Xander accepted the pair of gloves Giles handed him and slipped them on. "Shall we do this by section or are we just going to have at it?"
"I believe Willow has a diagram of the areas, that way we're sure to cover everything." Giles watched as a look passed over Xander's features. Glancing over at Willow and Oz, quite oblivious to the rest of them, Giles felt his heart go out to the younger boy. "I think I may have a copy, if you'd rather not."
"No. I can handle it. I'm Xander, handler of all things that result from bad relationships." He smirked. "Thanks though."
"If you'd like to talk about it?"
"There's nothing to talk about, Giles. She chose him. She loves him; she's sleeping with him. I'm history." Kicking a piece of rock, sending it rolling away from him, he met the Watcher's eyes. "Just like our friendly neighborhood school here. Besides, you've got other things to worry about."
Giles followed Xander's look with his eyes, even though he knew what he would see. Buffy was hunched down near where the back entrance of the library used to be. Where the entrance Angel would often use used to be. "I think Buffy will pull through. I think we all know it's for the best."
"Knowing, believing and convincing yourself are different things," Xander said softly. "Trust me on that one."
Giles knelt beside Buffy, handing her a pair of work gloves. "How are you?"
"Saved the world. Doin' all right."
"I had hoped that there would be fewer lies in our relationship now." He pulled on his own gloves. "It's all right to be hurting. It's all right to need comfort."
"I don't. I don't need anything." She turned to the mess at her feet and began slowly moving rocks away. They had decided they needed to destroy the demon's husk and so they'd come to dig through the rubble that had been their home away from home for so long. "Except to finish this chapter of my life. Which means finding the mayor's body, chopping it up into little pieces, burning them to a crisp, and getting a good night's sleep."
"Well then, let's get to work, shall we?"
Darkness was beginning to fall when Giles next looked up from his work. Willow and Oz were over in the vicinity of his office, he and Buffy working side by side, and Xander working where the rare book cage had been. Giles' heart clenched at the thought of so many books lost. True, they'd rescued as many as they could, but still there were several lost, possibly forever .
His back ached as he stood, grabbing the stack of books he'd managed to salvage. Most were simply school textbooks and the like, but books were books. And all books were worth saving. "Buffy?"
She jolted out of her reverie and met his eyes. The slight smile on her face showed him their earlier disagreement was past and she was working on recovering. Just as she said she would. "Didn't find tall, dark and demonic, but it is the first day."
"I found a few books. Shall we see if the others managed to recover anything? Then I thought I'd take you all out for pizza."
"Pizza?" Xander's voice reached them only seconds before he did. "I'm liking the sound of that, G-man."
"Sorry. Giles." He grinned and held out his hand. "Found something you might like."
In the fading light, Giles could barely make out the words on the cover of the book Xander held. He was about to ask when the street lamps came on. "The Codex," he breathed.
"Not the sort of thing you should just leave lying around buried under a building," Xander admonished. "But it's found, let's eat."
The three made their way over to Willow and Oz, debating where they would have dinner. As they grew closer to the couple, Xander quieted. "We're going out for pizza," Buffy stated, pulling off her gloves. "Giles' treat. Coming?"
The warmth in Willow's eyes seemed very much like a dagger straight to Xander's heart, in Giles' opinion, but he kept his mouth shut. It was not his business to try and make her realize what she was doing to her best friend. No matter that he had ample experience in the matter.
"No thanks. I think we're just going to go home." Willow smiled then blushed immediately. "To our separate homes. Because that's where we live. Not to our home, because we don't have a home and we don't live together and.Oz, you're supposed to stop me when I do that."
"I love you when you do that."
The quiet reply earned him a kiss from Willow. Xander took a step back and handed the Codex over to Giles. "You know, I'm not that hungry. Maybe you and Buffy could go on without me. I'm just going to go home. I'm sure Mom has something there."
Buffy watched him leave, her eyes sad. Since when had Xander's mother ever managed to have anything on the table other than a bottle of alcohol? "Xander.?"
"Night Buffy. If you patrol later, give me a call. I'll help."
He disappeared into the fading light, his head bent forward in sorrow.
Willow let Oz help her to her feet then slipped her arm around him. "We didn't find anything today, but we'll be back first thing tomorrow. We'll see you guys then?" At their nods, the young couple left, rushing hurriedly to Oz's van and solitude.
"Well, looks like it's just you and me, Giles. And I can't promise that I'm very good company."
"I'll take my chances."
An hour later, they were still sitting at the booth, a large portion of the pizza still between them. Buffy was sitting opposite him, her blue-green eyes shining. "You're lying."
"No, it's true. I was piss drunk, standing in the middle of Piccadilly Circus, singing Sex Pistols songs at the top of my lungs."
She dissolved into a fit of giggles, trying hard to picture her Watcher - her steadfast, sturdy, tweedy Watcher - doing something so outrageous. And, strangely, it wasn't that hard. All she had to do was picture him the way he'd been in the library when the Mayor had walked so audaciously into their sanctuary.
He'd been dressed down, slacks and a sweater, anger tightening the veins in his neck, pulse pounding at the base of his jaw, his hands clenched in anger. And when they'd been threatened.no, when she'd been threatened, he'd picked up the sword and sunk it firmly into the Mayor's chest.
Without thought of how the Mayor would react, even knowing it was fruitless, he'd defended her. Like a father would defend his child.
Although the emotions radiating off Giles that day hadn't seemed remotely fatherly. They'd seemed protective, animalistic. Sexual?
Shaking her head, Buffy tried to rid herself of her thoughts. She didn't need to be thinking about Giles in ways that could get her in trouble. Besides, she was supposed to be mourning Angel. He'd walked away from her. He'd left her.
And she hadn't thought of him once during the entire time they'd been here.
Guilt rushed over her as she looked at Giles. How could she be enjoying herself and entertaining.impure thoughts about her Watcher when the love of her life had left her no more than two days ago?
"Giles? I'm not all that hungry anymore. Do you think you could take me home?"
He noticed the change in her the moment it had begun. He could see her eyes darken, her demeanor change, her shoulders slump. Damn Angel for making her feel guilty for feeling alive. His leaving was supposed to have given her the freedom to be a woman again, to be happy again.
And instead, it keep her mired in the past, guilty for every moment she didn't find herself agonizing over their spent relationship. She was becoming more morose and broody with every waking hour. Xander had put it best when he'd said she was turning into Angel just to fill his place.
Giles clenched his teeth, his anger at the vampire fueled once again. As if he didn't have enough reasons to hate Angel, to curse his very existence, he could now add the fact that the vampire, no matter what he did made Buffy's life miserable.
"All right. Why don't you pass on the patrol tonight? Give yourself a chance to rest?" He motioned for the bill and removed his wallet. "I would think that saving the world once a week is more than enough, wouldn't you?"
Buffy watched his hands as he unfolded the smooth leather of his wallet and extracted the money. "Are you glad he's gone?"
His hands stilled and he looked at her. Her eyes searched his to make sure he told her the truth. "Honestly Buffy? Yes. I think he's too good at hurting you. I think that, as much as it hurts you right now, you deserve those moments of happiness that only come in the sun. I think that, no matter how much you two love each other, it's a doomed romance. Where he is eternity, you are brevity. Where he is dark, you are light. You're opposites and while opposites attract, they can also be volatile. When you bring two extremes together, you don't always get the middle ground."
"Do you hate him?"
"I hate Angelus for the torture that he lay across your shoulders. I hate Angelus for what he made you go through, what he made us all go through. But I do not hate Angel. I don't hate the man you love." His smile was thin and small but full of comfort. And kept him from adding that he didn't hate him, he was simply jealous of him.
"Thank you, Giles. For everything." She stood and moved to his side, kissing him lightly on the cheek. "Let's go?"
He nodded, watching her walk away from the table. Go. Right. As soon as his limbs started working again.
Giles woke up in the middle of the night, startled by a soft sound. Sitting up, he was greeted by the sight of Buffy, curled up in the armchair in his bedroom, crying softly. Pushing the covers away from him, he padded quietly over to her and knelt before her. "Buffy?"
The sob was heart wrenching and not quiet in the least. She fell forward into his arms, latching onto him desperately. Giles wrapped his strong arms around her, holding her shaking body to his own.
Managing to turn around, he leaned back against the base of the chair and cradled her until her sobs gave way to soft sighs of sleep. Her golden hair caressed his bare shoulder as her head nestled underneath his chin. Stretching his legs out before them, he closed his eyes, able to sleep now that he knew she was safe.
He awoke with a start; his legs numb from the gentle weight on them. He blinked rapidly then narrowed his eyes to focus on Buffy's face. "Buffy?"
She smiled, pleased that he wasn't mad. "I didn't want to be alone last night, and Mom is still out of town. So I came here. I hope that's okay. I went to Willow's, but." She blushed. "And I didn't want to tell Xander why I wasn't at Willow's, so I came here."
"You're always welcome here, Buffy." He shifted slightly beneath her in an effort to get the circulation flowing in his legs when another theory of why it wasn't presented itself. A warm flush suffused his cheeks as he realized his body was more than aware of her closeness.
Leaning closer to him, she pressed her lips to his ear and whispered, "I'm pretending not to notice."
The soft heat of her breath worsened the condition and Giles couldn't help but groan. "Buffy."
Her eyes widened as she realized it wasn't just a typical male, morning reaction. It had something very specifically to do with her. She scrambled off his lap, her blush matching his. "Oh God, I'm sorry, Giles. I didn't mean to.oh."
"Buffy, it's quite all right. Although, if you could maybe give me a few moments to compose myself?"
She nodded enthusiastically. "Actually, have to run home and change. And I'll do that. Now. Why don't you pick me up at my house and we'll go to the library.no. I'll meet you at the library. Meeting is good. Being alone in car, not so good. I have to go."
He watched her dash out of the room, listening for the sound of the front door slamming behind her. Heaving a tired and frustrated sigh, he stood, removed the boxers he'd been fortunate enough to wear to bed the night before, and headed off to the shower.
Buffy grabbed Willow's arm and tugged her over to the stand of trees near the wreckage of the school. "I need to talk to you."
Willow's green eyes widened with worry as she watched Buffy's face. "Of course, what's wrong?"
"I think.I.never mind."
She looked at Willow then down at the ground. After a long moment of feeling Willow's eyes boring into her, she looked up at her friend again. "I gave Giles a.a."
Swallowing, Buffy bent her head again. "I gave him an erection."
"No!" She looked quickly at her friend, her eyes wide. "No! I wouldn't do that. I don't think about Giles like that!" She stopped, a warm flush suffusing her face. "Well, at least I didn't."
"But now you do?" Willow's brow furrowed. "I'm not quite following here, Buffy."
Hearing the Citroen sputtering to a stop nearby, Buffy shook her head. "I'll talk to you about it later. I don't want him hearing about it or even thinking we might be talking about it."
"He's going to see us together and assume."
Buffy thought fast. "So what did you and Oz do last night?" The giggle and blush that lit up Willow's features would distract Giles from any thoughts that they might be talking about him. Buffy looked over at Xander who was arriving as well. The hurt look in his eyes dampened her triumph. Xander looked pretty sure that he knew why Willow was giggling like a girl in love.
"All right, shall we take up where we left off yesterday?" Giles asked as he looked over the assembled group. His eyes caught Buffy's and he looked away immediately.
Buffy glanced at Willow and raised an eyebrow causing the other girl to break into giggles. Rolling her eyes dramatically, Buffy nodded. "Fine with me."
Xander picked up his gloves and walked away without a word. Sighing, Giles followed him. "Xander?"
"I don't want to talk about it, Giles. Just.just let me do what I need to do."
"I've been through it."
"What?" The younger man's brown eyes glistened with unshed tears. "What have you been through?"
"I know that you still love Willow."
"So what?" Xander's voice, normally laced with humor, was hard and sad. "Why don't you just tell me I got exactly what I deserved, which is what everyone is thinking and leave me alone?"
"I've been in love with someone who is in love with someone else." Giles sat, balancing himself on one of the crumbled walls. "Someone who loved her, was good to her."
"Someone who left her for her own good," Xander added softly, almost questioningly.
The look of surprise and horror on Giles' face caused Xander to laugh. "You're in love with Buffy."
"I.Wh.I." Giles took a deep breath. "How did you know?"
"Willow.was in love with me for years. I know the signs."
Giles nodded, a slight frown on his face. "If you knew, why."
"She was my best friend, my.my rock. I was scared to love her back, scared I'd lose her." He shrugged. "Guess I was destined to lose her anyway."
"Take a chance Giles."
"You can. You have to." He glanced over at Willow who was talking with Buffy from the warmth of Oz's embrace. Xander looked away quickly. "Trust me, the alternative sucks."
"What do you think they're talking about?" Willow asked softly. Both Oz and Buffy looked at her incredulously before realizing she really didn't seem to know.
"School," Buffy said quickly. "Giles is probably offering to help him so that he can get the credits he needs to graduate."
Willow nodded. "Well, we'd better get to work if we're going to find the mayor.demon thingy."
Buffy smiled at both of them before moving over to where she and Giles had been working the day before. How could Willow suddenly be so blind where Xander was concerned? Were people always blind to the ones who loved them?
"So Buffy, when does your mother return from her trip?"
She glanced up at Giles. "Not for another day or two." Suspicion crept into her voice. "Why?"
Blushing, Giles slipped on his gloves. "Well, I thought I might offer to let you stay at my apartment again, only all evening this time, rather than have you frighten me in the early morning hours."
"Really Giles?" Relief seemed to ease her features as she smiled. "That would be." She stopped suddenly.
"What?" He knelt down beside her. "What is it?"
"You're wearing jeans. And a T-shirt. And." she looked down at his feet. "And hiking boots."
"I was wearing something rather similar yesterday."
"Yeah, but yesterday you were just Giles. After this morning you're." she blushed and snapped her mouth closed.
She shook her head, refusing to answer.
Pressing the advantage, Giles leaned closer until their faces were mere inches apart. "I'm what?"
Swallowing hard, Buffy met his eyes. "You're a man," she whispered harshly before stumbling to her feet and running away.
Giles opened the door to his apartment and stepped
inside. Closing it behind him, he leaned against it and
heaved a sigh. He was covered in dust, dirt, grime and,
thanks to the pieces of the mayor's demonic body they'd managed
to find, a strange green substance that was beginning to make his
Pushing off the wood, he staggered to the steps and started upstairs.
"I hope the invitation still stands."
He turned around, surprised to see Buffy sitting on his couch staring into the dark fireplace. "You're always welcome here, Buffy. You should know that."
"I wasn't sure you'd want me around after my behavior today. After what I did when we woke.and for running away."
He clenched the handrail of the stairs tightly and managed a smile. "Buffy, you're going through a very difficult period in your life right now. Separation is never easy; especially when it is for reasons you don't necessarily agree with. But you will survive, you will thrive, and you will be stuck with me no matter what your behavior."
"So you're angry?"
He laughed softly. "Buffy, what happened this morning in my bedroom wasn't done out of malice, it was done out of innocence."
"I'm not an innocent Giles. Hell, even Willow isn't an innocent anymore."
"Did you do it deliberately, Buffy? Were you trying to get a reaction out of me?"
"No. I don't.didn't think of you that way. At least I didn't until it happened. And now," she stood and glared at him instead of the burnt bricks, "now, I can't seem to think of anything else."
Giles started to say something then stopped. Taking a deep breath, he exhaled slowly before speaking. "I'm going to take a shower and wash away these layers of dirt and who knows what else. When I'm done, we'll discuss this. All right?"
She considered it for a moment before nodding. "All right. But we need to talk about this. We have to talk about this. I don't want.I couldn't live with myself if we ended up like Xander and Willow."
Giles shed his filthy clothes and turned the spray of the shower on, holding his hand under the stinging needles of water until it was hot enough to soothe his tired muscles. He stepped into the stall, adjusting the head so that the harsh pressure beat down on his bent neck.
He closed his eyes, leaning against the wall of the shower, wondering how he was going to resolve the situation embodied by the beautiful girl downstairs. He loved her, he needed her. But he wasn't sure that he had the right to ask her to want and need the same things from him.
But to not tell her.would they end up much as Xander and Willow had? Would he cling to his long-buried and expertly suppressed emotions until they ate him up inside? Would he harbor them until he stared sullenly at her with some other man, wishing he'd had the courage to say what was in his heart?
His head lifted as a cool breeze sent goose bumps along his overheated skin. He was about to turn when strong, thin arms wrapped around his waist. "Don't think so much, Giles. Just feel."
Her body pressed against his, her breasts crushed to his back as her arms tightened around his waist. He grasped her hands, tugging gently at them. "Buffy..."
"I've been thinking about this all day, Giles. I've been thinking about what you mean to me, what we meant to each other. You've always been there for me, you don't ask anything of me, but you expect everything. And I give it to you."
"And I wondered why. I wondered why I was so willing to do what you wanted me to, despite the fact that sometimes I hate what I am more than anything in this world. And I figured it out. I'm only sorry it took me three years to do it. I guess I can't make fun of Xander any more."
He closed his eyes, ignoring his heart pounding in his chest. "And what is it you think you've figured out?"
Her hands smoothed across his stomach, then slipped south, trailing along his wet thighs. "I don't think, Giles. I know. I've figured out that I.that I love you."
"And I love you, Buffy. But there are so many different kinds of love."
She shook her head, her damp hair whipping against his back. "No. Don't try and make me think you love me like a father loves a daughter. Don't try and make me think you love me because I'm your responsibility. A daughter doesn't give her father an erection."
Her hands moved up his thighs to grasp the object of discussion. He felt the already hardened flesh tighten as her small, capable hands began stroking it. "One would hope."
"I promised myself after Angel came back from hell that I would never lie to you, Giles." She released his throbbing member and grasped his shoulders, forcing him to turn to face her. With great effort he kept his eyes focused on her face and not on the luscious nude body presented before him. "I'm not lying now. I love you. I want you." The blue eyes grew serious. "Angel's gone. In more ways than one."
Giles closed his eyes, willing himself to think clearly. Her warm hands traced the rivulets of water down his skin as her breath sent the blood thundering through his veins. With infinite slowness, he raised his hand and placed it against her cheek. "Buffy," he whispered softly, bending his head down to meet her lips with his own.
Buffy slid her arms up his chest and wrapped them around his neck, standing on tiptoe to be closer to him. Giles' hand left her cheek, fumbling around behind her for the faucet. Turning the water off, he opened the stall door, picked Buffy up, coaxed her legs around his waist and stepped out of the shower. As his feet landed on the cool cotton of his bath mat, he bent forward setting her on the towel draped across the closed toilet seat.
Buffy moaned in protest as his lips left hers. Her blue eyes opened slowly, desire burning like banked fires in their depths. "Giles?"
He smiled at her, grabbing a towel off the rack. Opening it and holding it out to her, he tilted his head questioningly. "Let me dry you off?"
She stood obediently, her arms held out at her sides as he slowly began moving the soft towel over her wet skin. He dried her carefully, the towel moving in small, methodical circles, massaging her tense muscles as it moved.
When she was finally completely dry, Giles grabbed a bottle of lotion from the bathroom counter and opened it. Buffy sighed in contentment as his strong, dry hands began rubbing the lotion all over her skin. Her knees trembled as he sank to the floor in front of her, his hands slipping between her legs to smooth the creamy lotion along her inner thighs. "Giles?"
"I'm not sure I can stand much longer. I mean, I'm at the end of my Slayer strength as it is."
Standing, he set the lotion bottle aside and picked her up in his arms. "Well, how is your Slayer stamina?"
"Try me?" She whispered into his ear as she lay her head against his shoulder and began nuzzling his earlobe.
With a soft growl, Giles pushed his bedroom door open with his foot and carried her to his bed. "I fully intend to."
He tossed her softly onto the comforter, smiling in delight as she sprawled with abandon over the spread. Her skin was a delicate golden color and the taut lines of her defined muscles were softened by her ample curves. She watched him watch her, knowing that he was truly looking at her for the first time. With a soft giggle, she ran her hands up her stomach then cupped her breasts. Feeling his eyes on her, she began kneading the creamy flesh with her hands before moving her fingers up to pinch each nipple into high relief.
Happy with the soft groan she heard him utter as he sank to his knees on the end of the bed, she ran her hands back over her stomach and down her thighs, bringing them back up to rub the soft mound of dark golden curls.
Giles caught her hands and shook his head. "No my dear, I'm afraid you're not going to get to have all the fun." Pulling her hands to her sides, he held them there as he leaned forward and placed a trail of kisses along her firm stomach.
Arching toward his lips, Buffy moved her hips off his bed, parting her legs further to allow him better access. Giles moved forward on his hands and knees, a predatory look in his eyes. His hands caressed her thighs, much as they had when he had applied the lotion to them, before sliding in between and moving them even further apart.
His soft chuckle radiated sexiness as he nuzzled her inner thigh. The vibrations thrilled along her spine, sending warm, moist heat through her body directly to her already damp sex. "Do you want me to touch you, Buffy?"
"Please?" She whispered fervently, her hands running through his still damp hair. "Please, Rupert?"
The sound of his name on her lips was like a shot of desire running through him. Parting the dark lips of her sex with his thumbs, he bent his head and sent a shaft of warm air across the engorged nub of her clitoris.
He inhaled the scent of her, a mixture of lotion and sweat, excitement and sex. With frustrating slowness, he placed his tongue against the opening of her passage then swept it upward to tangle with her clit. He danced around the hard flesh, circling it with the tip of his tongue before licking it with short, rapid flicks.
Buffy shuddered around him, her body sweating with need and desire, built up over a year of sexual frustration and repression. "Tell me love," he whispered against the hot flesh as his tongue finally dipped back into her wet passage, "Have you been good or have you taken care of the ache in other ways?"
She moaned, grinding against his tongue in response. He took pity on her, replacing his tongue with a long finger that slipped easily inside the well-lubricated channel. The long-unused muscles clenched around the invader, drawing it deeper inside her.
Giles gently pumped the finger inside her, his other hand supporting his head as he watched her react to his touch. Her hands were clenching and unclenching in the bedspread and her mouth was open as she struggled to breathe. Her breasts danced with each heaving breath, the rosy red nipples hard and tight against the golden flesh.
With practiced ease, Giles slipped another finger inside her. Buffy hissed in response, before settling back into a hazy bliss. Watching her intently, he waited until she grew content with the intensity of the thrusting before slipping yet another finger deep inside her and increasing the momentum of each thrust.
Buffy's whole body shook with each breath as she felt herself grow closer and closer to her orgasm. Giles fingers were buried inside her, his breath stirring the curls between her thighs. Her muscles tightened even further around him, as his thumb pressed to her clit and began rubbing.
Crying out, Buffy arched off the bed, pressing hard to Giles as her orgasm rushed through her, bathing his hand in her juices.
Buffy lay still, unable to control the tremors running through her body as she tried to relax. Giles still lay between her legs, a smile of satisfaction on his face. "Why are you smiling?" she asked softly.
"Because you are." Kissing her thigh, he slowly removed his fingers from inside her, relishing every shiver that accompanied his movements.
Buffy watched, fascinated, as he got to his knees between her legs, his erection throbbing with the need for release. Sitting up, she reached out with a tentative finger, taking the bead of moisture poised at the tip onto her finger.
Unable to help himself, Giles' body surged forward at her touch. Buffy ignored his closeness, instead staring at her finger as she brought it to her lips.
"Buffy." Giles groaned, watching her suck the moisture from her finger. His mind filled with vivid images of her lips wrapped around his cock.
She licked her lips. "You taste awfully good, Giles." Changing positions quickly, she knelt before him. They sat there, both on their knees, volumes of emotion passing through their soft glances. "But I want more than just a taste."
In an instant, she had him pinned to the bed. Bending forward, she slipped the tip of his cock between her lips before sliding the entire length of him into her mouth.
Before he could react, she pulled away and was straddling him. "Buffy."
"Don't worry Rupert." She took his cock and guided it to her wet opening. "There's nothing to worry about."
They breathed as one as he imbedded himself inside her, filling her.
"You're so hot," she sighed, adjusting her body as she began moving above him.
Reaching up, he gently massaged her breasts, rolling the hard nipples between his fingers. Pinching them lightly, he was rewarded with a throaty moan and a swift increase in the pulsing rhythm of her thrusts.
Buffy's nails dug into his chest as their strokes increased, her breathing growing shallower. His hands moved to her hips, taking control of their movement, forcing his body against hers, rolling his hips with each upward motion.
"Ru.ru.ru.pert," she panted as one of his hands slipped over her damp thigh to her wet, slippery clit.
The insistent pressure sent her tumbling over the edge as he thrust hard and growled her name, shooting his climax deep inside her.
Buffy managed to disengage their bodies and lay at his side. "Um. Wow."
He turned on his side to face her. "Are you all right?"
"Very all right."
He smiled, raising his hand to stroke her damp hair from her flushed cheek. "I must say I've never been more.pleasantly surprised."
She smiled, amused at the sight of him struggling for words. "Pleasantly surprised?"
His smile transformed into a full-fledged grin. "A rather inadequate way to say I love you, isn't it?"
Buffy shook her head, moving closer. "You can say it however you like, Rupert. I'll always know what you mean."
Buffy stepped out of Giles' car and smiled at Willow. The other girl was sitting on a bench under one of the few remaining trees, watching Xander as he picked through the rubble. When Giles joined her, she squeezed his hand and looked up at him. "Can you give me a second?"
"Want to tell her our news?"
She nodded, grinning widely. "That is job number one. Job number two is trying to do something about their friendship." She nodded toward Xander. "He's hurting, she's happy and I don't want to see them lose everything that's between them."
"Are you sure that you should? You could cause irreparable damage to their relationship."
Her blue eyes were sad. "Giles, they don't have a relationship anymore. Besides, I'm way happy. I can't stand to see one of my best friends so sad."
Pulling her close to him, he dropped a quick kiss on her head. "I don't know that you can help."
"I have to try." She hugged him back, pulling away reluctantly and starting toward Willow.
She called out to her, giving the other girl time to look away from Xander. Willow looked over and smiled. "Hey."
"Hey." Sitting next to her on the bench, Buffy looked over the concrete mass. "Where's Oz?"
"Practice. He'll be here later."
"Cool." Buffy nodded, wondering exactly what to say. "Um.you know yesterday, when you were wondering what Xander and Giles were talking about? You do know it wasn't really about school, right?"
Buffy sighed. "You don't do clueless as well as him, Will. And Oz isn't here to distract you."
It was Willow's turn to sigh. "What am I supposed to do, Buffy? I'm happy with Oz. Very happy. And I don't want Xander to be hurt, but I." She stopped. "He's hurt me more times than anyone ever. And it.it feels good to see him suffering a little of what I had to suffer."
"Some of that suffering was your own fault."
"I know. But it still feels good to know that he's experiencing a little of what it was like for me."
"Is it going to feel good when you're not friends anymore?"
"Are we still friends now? Ever since we got caught, we don't touch, we hardly talk, we.we used to talk to each other on the phone every night, even when we spent the day together. I haven't spoken to him on the phone in forever. Is that friendship?"
"Maybe.maybe the restrictions are too harsh?" Buffy watched the object of their discussion as he carefully picked his way across the wreckage over to Giles. "You're obviously totally with Oz now. Maybe you could ease up on the things you can't do?"
"I don't know."
"Willow, it's killing him to see you and Oz together."
"I can't help that."
"It might help if he felt like he was still your friend." Buffy thought of something and looked intently at her friend. "You are over Xander, aren't you?"
Willow blushed and looked away. "Of course."
Shaking her head, Buffy stood. "Come on. I've got something important to tell you."
"I've got something important to tell everybody."
They walked over to where Giles and Xander were standing. Xander smiled at Buffy, looking away as soon as he met Willow's eyes. "So today we find big, black and scaly and destroy him?"
"That's the plan," Buffy agreed. "But before that, I wanted to tell you and Will something. I.." She looked over, calmed by Giles' reassuring smile. "I wanted you guys to know that I'm okay.with the whole Angel thing." She noticed Giles' frown. "I mean really okay because.well, because I realized someone else has my heart. I just couldn't see it for so long."
Reaching for Giles' hand, she smiled. "I couldn't see what was right in front of me. So I'm.I guess Giles and I are kind of.dating?"
She looked at her friends, expecting to have to defend her decision. Instead she was greeted with knowing smiles.
"You guys are okay with this?"
Willow nodded and moved over to give both Buffy and Giles hugs. "We guys were expecting it. It seemed kind of."
"Inevitable," Xander finished for her.
Willow smiled at him and nodded, her gaze locked with his. "Inevitable."
"So, shall we go destroy yet another of Buffy's enemies remains?" Xander asked Willow. "And maybe leave these two alone for a bit?"
Willow nodded, starting for the area where they'd uncovered part of the carcass the day before. Stumbling, she fell forward into Xander's arms.
He helped steady her. "Okay, Wills?"
Impulsively, she hugged him tightly. "Yeah. Now I am."