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Giles surveyed his living room, shaking his head slowly. Buffy, Xander and Willow had come over for the night, in theory, to watch a movie. It appeared instead that a small, food-driven hurricane had blown through, leaving popcorn, soda cans and napkins in its wake.

“We’ll clean that up,” Willow offered, catching sight of his expression.

“We will?” Xander asked, grunting when Willow elbowed him. “We will!”

“Well, some of us will,” Buffy amended, “I have to go on patrol.” It wasn’t quite a smirk on her face as she stood up, grabbing her jacket and making sure the stake didn’t show when she slid it into the waistband of her trousers.

“Buffy,” Giles said, before she could make her escape, “you helped make the mess, you should help clean up. The vampires will wait ten minutes.”

The pout probably would’ve melted her father’s heart, but Giles wasn’t her father, and she kicked at the floor. “Oh, all right,” she said, and came back to help her friends.

Oh, damn. Giles rubbed his forehead. He wasn’t supposed to be the adult, was he? The substitute father? How had that happened? He’d never really considered children of his own. “I-I will be back,” he grumbled, stepping into the kitchen. Yes, a shot of whiskey would be appreciated at this moment. Just not because he was suffering from fatherhood syndrome.

No. That wasn’t it at all.

A crash came from the living room, followed by Xander’s, “Oops! I’ll uh…pay for that. Yeah.”

Perhaps a second shot was in order.