“Ow!” Giles twisted his body to see the young woman standing behind him on the porch steps. “Anya. Any particular reason you decided to poke me? Again.”
She pointed to the cigarette between his fingers. “I was just checking. Everyone knows smoking is evil. And you don’t smoke.”
“I most certainly do.” He took a long drag, blowing the smoke into a white cloud. “Especially after spending days on end training a group of rambunctious teenagers.”
“Is that why you came out here?” She parked herself on the step beside him. “To get away from them?”
“I did think two minutes alone with myself would be a pleasant luxury, yes.” He shot her a pointed look. “Far too much to expect, I gather.”
She ignored the comment. “Do you ever feel lonely? Being so much older than the others?”
Irritated, he flipped ash onto the lawn. “I’m hardly ancient.”
“No,” she replied. “I am.” Sighing deeply, she looked up into the evening sky. “If the light from a star takes a thousand years to reach the earth, then I was here when it first shone. I’m old, Giles.” She bent her head, tears glistening on her eyelashes. “I don’t belong here.”
He tossed the cigarette and ground it under his heel. “You’re as much a part of us as anyone.”
“No. No I’m not.” She wiped the tears with the end of her sleeve. “I’m not a Slayer, or a Watcher. I’m not family. I’m just Xander’s old irritating girlfriend, who people put up with because they don’t know what to do with me.”
“Whom.” He patted her hand. “And that isn’t true.”
“Yes it is. I sucked as a vengeance demon, and I suck as a human. I don’t have a job, or a purpose. Nobody will even have sex with me. I’m just here.”
He put his arm around her as fresh tears fell. “Don’t underestimate yourself. You were invaluable in contacting Beljoxa’s Eye. You have a vast resource of demonic knowledge. You’re bright and funny.” He looked into her eyes. “And you’re a lovely woman.”
She sniffed back her tears. “Even with this hair?”
“I particularly like that hair.” Twisting a lock of it between his fingers, he added, “It goes rather well with your face.”
She smiled at him. “Would you like to kiss me? And before you reject me, remember that I’m feeling very vulnerable and unattractive.”
“I wasn’t going to reject you.” Pressing his lips against hers, he felt her melt against him. The memory returned, of a lingering kiss cut too short by the end of a spell. This time, the sound of crickets and cool night air were the only magic required.
“Is there someplace we could be alone?” she sighed.
“Not really. Not here.”
“Then this will have to do.” Her mouth sought his again, intensifying in its exploration. So intent were they, they didn’t hear the back door open.
Buffy stared in shocked surprise, then felt Spike grab her arm, pulling her back into the kitchen. “But…”
“Let them be.” He opened the door of the refrigerator, pulling out a soda and passing it to Buffy. “Few enough moments for happiness these days. Give them that.”
Buffy placed the cola on the counter, folding her arms across her chest. “It’s not that. It’s just…”
She pouted as she looked up into his face. “That’s our porch.”