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CHAPTER ONE

“Hello, ugly. Looks like you’ve stumbled into my part of town.”

Buffy stood in the dark alleyway clad in a leather trench coat - a stake in her right hand. She smirked at the vampire standing across from her. She had him cornered against a dumpster, his hands up in faux-surrender. Suddenly, he lunged at her.

Here we go. Time to party.

Buffy threw a left hook, knocking the vamp back several steps. He sneered, running towards her for another attempt. He threw a punch; she ducked. Buffy spun around and delivered a powerful kick to the side of his head, knocking him to the ground. She knelt down to straddle him, positioning the stake over his heart.

“Come on, that was too easy.”

“Burn, Slayer.”

Buffy laughed. She raised the stake above her head, ready to drive it through him. All of a sudden, the alleyway began to spin around her. She dropped the stake, placing a hand on the ground to steady herself. She groaned, dizzy and disoriented.

“... the hell?”

The vampire shoved his hands against Buffy’s shoulders, pushing her off of him with ease. She keeled over, her face against the hard concrete. She could hear the vamp’s retreating footsteps growing more and more distant. Slowly, she pulled herself up into a sitting position. Grabbing the stake, she stood and dusted herself off.

“Crap.”

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“Did you eat a bad burrito?”

“Maybe you’re just sleep deprived.”

“It’s a curse. Some demon is feeding on your life force.”

The gang sat around the table at The Magic Box, half a dozen books open between them. Buffy sat at the far end, still woozy from her failed slaying attempt.

“I don’t know, you guys. It came out of nowhere. One minute I was fine, and then... World’s worst teacup ride.”

Willow closed a large leather-bound book, frowning.

“There’s no reason this has to be supernatural. You might just be coming down with the flu.”

“Not the Buffster!” Xander interjected. “I refuse to believe every-day influenza is tough enough to bring the Slayer down.”

Buffy smiled. She may have felt lousy, but the gang always made it better. She glanced over at the sales counter where Giles was leaning – his face blank.

“Giles? You haven’t said much. Is it terminal?”

Giles gazed absently forward, not seeming to hear. Xander piped up.

“Earth to Giles? You in there, spaceman?”

The gang turned to stare at the older man, who still seemed utterly unaware of the attention. Buffy rose to her feet, starting towards him. Suddenly, Giles shook his head, his eyes refocussing.

“Hmm? Sorry.”

“You okay?” Buffy spoke so that only he could hear her.

“Uh, fine. Fine.” Giles’ face betrayed nothing.

“God, is this thing contagious? Maybe Giles caught it. Keep away from me,” Anya took a step away from the table, her hands up.

“No no, I’m alright,” Giles raised his voice so that the room could hear. He looked at Buffy - a small, forced smile at the corners of his mouth. “But I think you should go home and get some rest. I’ll be over tomorrow to check in on you.”

Buffy gave a smile in response.

“Okay. See you then.”

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Buffy had awoken feeling ten times worse. Her head was pounding, her vision doubled. Her morning trip to the bathroom resulted in no less than five breaks to stop and lean against a wall.

She resigned herself to a day in bed, waiting for her visit from Giles. She drifted in and out of sleep – her dreams strange and vivid. She would wake in a pool of her own sweat, sometimes accompanied by a wave of nausea.

Ugh. I hope Giles brings soup.

Dawn checked in on her throughout the day, but Buffy couldn’t bring herself to do more than groan and grunt in response to her questions.

“Don’t worry Buffy, I’ll call Giles.”

“Mmm.”

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At some point, Buffy had ended up on the sofa. She couldn’t remember walking downstairs. She couldn’t remember much of anything at all. There was a loud knocking at the door – it bounced and echoed around her aching brain.

“Mmm. Coming,” she mumbled.

Dawn rushed downstairs.

“I’ll get it! Don’t move, Buffy.”

“Mm.” She placed a cushion over her face to block out the light. It was stinging her eyes.

“Dear lord. Buffy, how are you feeling?”

A new voice greeted her. It was familiar. She should know it, if she could only remember...

“Buffy? Giles is here. He said he was coming, remember?” Dawn put a hand on Buffy’s shoulder and shook her lightly.

“That’s alright, Dawn. Why don’t you go upstairs?”

“She’s not dying, is she?”

“She’ll be quite alright. Now, please.”

Buffy thought she could hear footsteps growing quieter. Her head felt so heavy. How long had she been like this? She could feel the sofa dip underneath someone’s weight. Another hand was placed on her shoulder – but this hand was different to the first. Bigger. Warmer.

“Buffy.”

“Mmm.”

“Buffy, I need you to sit up for me.”

The cushion on Buffy’s face suddenly disappeared. The light seared her eyes.

“Ah!”

“Shh, shh. I’ll turn the light off.”

The room went dark – the pain receded slightly. Buffy blinked hard, she was slowly able to make out shapes. A large figure sat across from her on the sofa. She supposed that must be Giles.

“I’ve got something for you. It’s a draught that Willow brewed. It’s only temporary, but should work long enough for us to have a conversation without you being in too much discomfort.”

“Oh. Thanks.” It hurt to talk.

A small glass vial was placed in her hand, warm fingers curling around hers. They were comforting.

“There you are. Drink up, please.”

Buffy manoeuvred the stopper out of the vial; her hands shook as she did so. She moved it towards her mouth, almost dropping it. The warm fingers returned – they clasped her hand and tilted the vial into her mouth. It tasted foul, like ginger and milk and garlic had all been left out in the sun.

“Ugh.”

“I know. But it should help.”

She swallowed, aggravating the ache in her throat. Giles’ hand stayed wrapped around hers for a moment, before disappearing.

“I’ve brought some books with me. Let me go fetch them.”

The sofa sprung back to its usual shape. More footsteps. Buffy concentrated on her breathing – trying to keep it deep and even. After a few moments, the fog in her brain began to dissipate. Her eyes adjusted to the low light, the burning in her throat now dulled. She let out a long, relieved sigh. She felt a little bit more like a person.

She glanced over at the front door; it swung open and Giles reappeared with an armful of large books. He placed them gently down by the sofa and returned to sit next to her. Now that she could see, she realized how tired he looked. His eyes were bloodshot, and she thought he might be wearing the same clothes as yesterday.

“Giles, you look...”

“Don’t worry about me. Are you feeling better?”

“Yes.”

“Good. It won’t last long, unfortunately.”

Buffy frowned. She wasn’t looking forward to having her symptoms come rushing back.

“Did you figure out what’s wrong with me?”

Giles reached up to adjust his glasses. He looked uncomfortable.

“It was a long night, but I think perhaps I have a prevailing theory,” he spoke strangely quietly.

“Great. What kind of demon cold have I caught?”

She was making jokes again. That must be a good sign. Giles, however, did not smile. Instead, he reached down for the book on the top of his pile and placed it beside him on the sofa. He then stood up and dragged the coffee table over to them. He placed the book on top of it with a thud.

Buffy squinted down at it.

“The Slayer Encyclopaedia. Wow. Didn’t know there was one of those.”

“It’s my go-to reference for times like these. It’s... A little old-fashioned, but very useful.”

Giles’ mouth had pressed into a thin line. He was frowning, staring down at the book. Buffy felt a sudden wave of apprehension.

“Why do I feel like this is not good news?”

Giles didn’t look at her. Instead, he opened the book to a page he had bookmarked.  Buffy sat, waiting for him to explain it to her, like he always did.

Several moments passed. He said nothing.

“Well?”

“Buffy, I-“

“Just tell me, Giles.”

“I can’t. I can’t say it. Just- will you read it?”

Buffy sighed. Her head still wasn’t screwed on straight – but Giles didn’t look like he was going to change his mind. She leaned over and scanned the page.

SLAYER SICKNESS AT THE TWENTY-FIRST YEAR

If a Slayer reaches her twenty-first year without incident, she may begin to suffer from the Slayer Sickness. This involves a rapid degeneration in strength, coordination and general health. The sickness is as a result of the stresses of prolonged exposure to Slayer Power on the human body. A Slayer generally lives no more than eighteen or twenty years – and begins to quickly physically deteriorate after this period. This is to ensure a healthy succession of Slayers that will fight in their physical prime. The prognosis for Slayer Sickness is anywhere from one to three weeks*.

*If a Watcher deems their Slayer fit to continue her duties despite her advancing age, they may engage in the Coupling Ritual to sanctify the Watcher/Slayer bond and rejuvenate the Slayer’s abilities.

 

Buffy continued to stare at the page, though by now it had become an indecipherable mess. She could feel her head begin to pound.

“I’m not...”

“Buffy, I’m so sorry.”

“I’m not supposed to live this long. I have a built-in kill switch to stop me getting all old and grey.”

Giles took off his glasses and began to clean them.

“It’s cruel. Buffy, it’s not right and I sorely wish this wasn’t the way of things.”

“I guess I should be used to this kind of thing by now. Being expendable.”

Giles paused, placing his glasses on the table. He put a hand on Buffy’s knee.

“You’re not expendable. Not to the people who love you. Not to me.”

They held each other’s gaze for a moment. Giles’ eyes had a strange intensity. Buffy smiled, and they softened.

“So, what’s the ritual? Willow puts a couple of rocks in a circle and we chant some Latin?”

Giles was silent.

“Giles?”

He was no longer looking at her. He seemed to be somewhere else entirely.

“Unless... Unless you don’t think I’m fit to... What was it? ‘Continue my duties despite my advancing age?’”

“No, of course. No, that’s not it.”

“So what, Giles? We’ve done plenty of these things before.”

“Not like this.”

“I... Oh. Do we-? I mean, is there some kind of sacrifice involved?”

“I suppose that’s one way of looking at it,” Giles replied darkly.

“Giles. You’re scaring me. Just say it.”

He sighed - a long, defeated sound. He licked a finger and flipped quickly through the pages of the tome. After a moment, he stopped. He considered the page for a moment, his face utterly unreadable. He turned the book around to face Buffy.

“Here.”

WATCHER/SLAYER COUPLING RITUAL

Due to a Slayer’s reduced life-span, this ritual may be done from the time a Slayer reaches the age of sixteen. It is performed to join together the souls of the Watcher and his Slayer – bounding him to her and her to him with powerful ritual magick.  It is recommended that this ritual be done either in conjunction with or in lieu of any customary marriage ceremony in place at time of reading.  For the full details of the ritual, see The Ishtar Codex.

Buffy mouthed the words silently, her brow furrowed. After a moment, she looked up at Giles. He was still avoiding her eyes.

“I don’t understand.”

Giles closed his eyes, leaning forward to press the bridge of his nose. He spoke without looking at her.

“In less civilized times, and – honestly, as recently as twenty years ago – Watchers and Slayers would marry. It was seen as the logical thing to do. They were already spiritually linked to one another through the prophecy; he was already sworn to protect her. And, considering Slayers died young... It was a way to ensure progeny.”

Buffy stared.

“You’re telling me these old men would marry their teenage Slayers?”

“Yes. In fact, it was very much expected. Lucky for us, we live in a slightly more enlightened time.”

“So... We’re not... We don’t have to get married?”

Giles’ mouth twisted into a pained smirk.

“No, Buffy. We don’t have to get married.”

Buffy exhaled, straightening her shoulders.

“Oh. Well, that’s okay then. It’s the wrong season for it, anyway. I always thought I’d be a Fall bride-“

“Buffy.”

Giles eyes shot up to meet hers. They were impenetrably hard. Buffy searched them, trying to figure out why he was being so solemn.

Oh.

Buffy shifted in her seat, feeling a sudden discomfort wholly unrelated to her illness. Giles watched her, apprehensive.

“When it says ‘coupling’- it means... Um,” Buffy frowned, unable to make herself say the words.

“Physical,” Giles’ voice was barely louder than a whisper.

They sat in silence for a painfully long moment. Neither one looked at the other. Buffy opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Her skin felt hot; though she was sure it wasn’t a result of the fever.

After a moment, Giles closed the book with a loud thump. Buffy jumped. Giles rose to his feet and crossed the room.

“It’s utterly perverse. These were children. It was coercion, plain and simple. Those poor girls had enough to worry about.”

Buffy had a feeling he wasn’t speaking to her, but merely thinking aloud. Her own brain had stopped working some time ago. Her eyes were heavy in her head, her throat burned. Sweat was starting to collect in beads across her forehead. She was in no position to wrestle with the information she had just been given.

Giles was still pacing, muttering to himself angrily. Buffy wanted to reach out, to stop him. Tell him it was going to be okay.

“Giles.”

He stopped dead, turning to face her. He looked exhausted, the lines in his face more prominent than ever. He stayed standing in the corner of the room as he spoke – as far from her as he could get.

“Buffy, this is... I’m so sorry.”

Buffy looked over at her Watcher. He was dressed in his favourite green knit sweater, his eyes downcast. The last time she saw him this distressed, he had injected her with a syringe and taken her powers away. She was so angry then. It was the first and only time Giles had ever betrayed her.

“Is there no other way?” Her voice cracked a little. She hoped he hadn’t heard it.

Giles sighed, taking a step closer to her.

“I was up the entire night searching. Every mention of the Slayer Sickness I’ve found has taken me right back to this bloody ritual. I don’t know where else I can look. I’ve even asked the Watcher’s Council.”

Buffy scoffed. It hurt her aching throat.

“Where do they stand on all this? They probably want you to just let me die. Maybe they’ll get a shiny new Slayer that’s easier to manipulate.”

Giles shot her a look. She gave a small smile – an apology.

“They were quite divided. Some of them are old fashioned; they think that you and I should have been wed years ago.”

“Grossness,” Buffy croaked.

“Indeed. Others believe the ritual is a sacrifice worth undertaking in order to ensure your life... And the rest...”

“Think you should let me die.”

“Yes.”

“What do you think?”

Giles was silent for a long time. Finally, he crossed the room to sit again across from Buffy. He put his face in his hands, running his fingers through his hair. He reached for his glasses and put them back on his face.

“I told myself a long time ago that I would do anything for you. Kill for you, die for you. Not just because of my duty as your Watcher, but because I care for you more than anything else in this world. But this... This is beyond anything I’ve ever had to contemplate. You’ll die if the ritual isn’t performed, so I suppose it’s been answered for me. Doesn’t mean I’m not bloody furious about it.”

The words tumbled out of him rapidly and indelicately. It was rare that Buffy saw her Watcher so barely put-together. She could see he was fighting something within himself, trying hard to stay in control. He glanced up at her again.

“I know this is a silly question, but how do you feel?”

Buffy closed her eyes, smirking humourlessly.

“Besides feeling like I’m going to pass out? I’m okay.”

Giles continued to watch her, unconvinced.

“I mean- I’m not okay. I don’t think it’s quite hit me yet. It’s, um. I’m probably going to freak out about it after you’re gone.”

“I understand completely. We will have to discuss some particulars first, but I’ll leave you to rest after that.”

“... Particulars?”

Giles gave her an apologetic smile, before reaching down and producing another large book. Across it in embossed golden lettering read THE ISHTAR CODEX. It landed on the table with another unceremonious thud.

Buffy gulped.

“Oh. These are the... Instructions?”

“More or less. Give me a moment.”

He flipped through the pages, scanning their contents. After a moment he stopped, seeming to find the right one. He sat in silence, reading. Buffy could not decipher his expression.

“How bad-?”

“Shh.”

Buffy was starting to feel uneasy. She hadn’t yet stopped to actually consider the specifics of the ritual she was agreeing to. Her stomach was beginning to turn itself over, and she found it suddenly strangely difficult to look at Giles. She heard him put his glasses back on the table.

“Buffy, I’m going to have to ask you some personal questions. Please know that I ask only because they are pertinent to the ritual.”

The churning in Buffy’s stomach grew stronger. She didn’t like this one bit. All manner of possible humiliating questions raced through her mind. What would she be forced to tell him? To tell Giles – the man she thought of as a father figure? Her cheeks grew warm, and she could feel her eyes beginning to sting.

Swallowing hard, she nodded. She still couldn’t look at him.

“Thank you. Now... How many days has it been since you last menstruated?”

Buffy grimaced. She wasn’t expecting that.

“I- I don’t know.”

“Think, please. We have to be exact,” Giles’ voice was low, careful.

She thought. She remembered having to borrow a tampon from Willow after patrolling. That would have been, what? Two weeks ago? No, a little less. She furrowed her brow, counting.

“Ten. Ten days ago.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes.”

Giles ran a finger down the page, studying it.

“We have four days, then.”

“What?”

“The ritual must be performed exactly fourteen days into your cycle. That is when you are at your most fertile.”

Buffy’s entire body tensed.

“Fertile? You’re not going to... I mean-“

“It’s alright, Buffy. I’m not going to let- That is, any repercussions will be dealt with. Ishtar is the Goddess of Fertility, and her ritual demands it take place then.”

“Oh.”

Buffy’s head was starting to spin. She had to be fertile for when... When Giles...

Oh, God.

“Giles. I feel nauseous. That potion is wearing off.”

Giles stood and moved towards her, placing a hand on her forehead.

“Yes. I think that’s quite enough for now. We still have a few days to discuss the specifics. You should rest.”

He gathered up the two large books, turning for the door. He stopped, glancing over his shoulder.

“I really am sorry, Buffy. I hope you know I’m- I’m every bit as anxious about this as you are.”

Buffy looked up at him. Her vision was blurring – she had trouble making him out from all the way across the room. She tried to give him a reassuring smile, but her mouth wouldn’t move the way she wanted it to. She settled for a small nod instead.

“I know. It’s okay. Night, Giles.”

“Goodnight, Buffy.”

The door shut softly behind Giles. All at once, exhaustion hit Buffy like a tonne of bricks. She couldn’t stay upright any longer. She groggily forced herself to lie flat on the sofa, thoughts of her Watcher and ancient rituals swimming around her brain.

As soon as her head hit the cushion, Buffy disappeared into a deep, mercifully dreamless sleep.

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Chapter Text

CHAPTER TWO

Rupert sat at the head of the Magic Box table, several books opened at various pages in front of him. The store was eerily quiet without the Usual Suspects causing a ruckus. They had all enthusiastically volunteered to help him research Buffy’s illness, of course – he’d had to come up with all manner of white lies to deter them.

“No no, she’s uh, ve-very contagious, you see. And as I’ve been in close proximity to her most recently, I too may have caught it. No, best you stay away from the both of us for the next few days.”

He set his glasses down, rubbing the bridge of his nose. He’d been at it for hours now. It had to be past midnight. He wasn’t even sure why he was bothering – he already knew the answers he sought.

Don’t have to sodding like them, though.

Rupert had had very little sleep the past few days. As the ritual drew nearer, he found himself doing all he could not to fall into a blind panic. The codex was clear enough – he was confident he could perform the incantations correctly. But the rest of it... It made him sick to his stomach to dwell too long on it. He supposed, in a perverse way, Buffy was fortunate. He’d heard plenty of stories of cruel, opportunistic Watchers who took singular joy in forcing themselves on their young, pretty Slayers. Disgusting ingrates.

He wasn’t a machine. He had stolen glances before, had one or two lonely nights where he allowed certain fantasies to outstay their welcome... But he didn’t want Buffy. Not really. She was attractive, clearly – but he had grown accustomed to that over the years. He didn’t think about it anymore. If he’d worked himself into a frenzy every time she sweated through a tiny shirt, he’d be doomed. No, she was much more to him than just some plaything. Buffy was his Slayer, his charge. She felt more like a daughter to him than anything else.

And I have to... Be with her.

He pushed the book he was holding away from him with more force than was necessary. It slid across the tabletop, threatening to fall off the edge. He half-stood to catch it, but another hand wrapped around it first. The skin was pale, interrupted by chipped black fingernails.

“Leave, Spike,” Giles growled.

The vampire chuckled darkly behind him.

“One-man slumber party? Pretty sad.”

Giles peered over his shoulder, not bothering to make eye contact.

“Now is not the time. Go.”

Spike loosened his grip on the runaway book, before flicking his wrist and pushing it the rest of the way off the table.

“Whoops.”

Giles rose to his full height to face the intruder. Once, going head-to-head with Spike might have frightened him – but the device in his brain had neutered him nicely. Regardless, he was in no mood for Spike’s games.

“I know this may seem like a silly little magic shop to you – but I assure you there are all manner of things around here that I can use to cause you considerable inconvenience,” Giles snarled.

Spike smirked.

“Easy now, Ripper. I’m not here to run riot. I came to ask after the Slayer. Went round just before, but the little bit told me she wasn’t seeing anyone.”

Giles exhaled, his anger giving way to simple irritation.

“Buffy is unwell. I have been researching ways to help her,” his voice sounded calmer than he felt.

“I heard she’d come down with the Slayer sniffles. Ain’t that a shame. I guess she’s all weak and helpless - would be a tragedy if someone were to find their way into her sickbed and-“

Giles punched him. His fist landed on the side of Spike’s cheek; he was sure he’d hurt himself more than he’d inconvenienced the vampire. Spike stumbled back a couple of paces, wide-eyed and grinning.

“Enough, you rank creature. I’m not interested in listening to your repulsive little fantasies-“

“Oh, I wasn’t talking about me.”

Giles’ heart palpitated. He stared at Spike. Did he mean-?

Spike laughed.

“Don’t look so terrified. I’ve been around a lot longer than you, y’know.”

Giles swallowed, clenching his teeth so hard he thought they might break.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Spike took a step towards him.

“I’ve seen plenty of Slayers in my time. Plenty of Watchers, too. I remember how it went. Uptight old men getting their cocks wet in little girls because ‘that was the way of things’. Golly, if I had a soul I might have some kind of moral opposition to that,” Spike smirked mercilessly.

“Spare me,” Giles murmured, shutting his eyes. “I know full well what went on.”

“Now what I haven’t seen much of,” Spike continued, “are Slayers that reach a ripe old age like Buffy. They get sick, and either their Watcher fucks her back to health or he lets her die. Yeah, I know how your perverted little ritual goes.”

Giles sat back down at the table, placing his face in his hands. He felt so humiliated. Spike knew about this. Of all the indignities.

“I don’t want this,” Giles managed to whisper.

“Oh, sure you do.”

Giles slammed his already-aching fist down on the table.

“No,” he breathed. “No. Buffy... She’s-she feels like...”

“What? Like your bleedin’ daughter? Please. No red-blooded man can be around that 24/7 and be thinking about baking cookies.”

Giles shot him a look.

“It turns out, some of us can. I care about her far too much to let my bloody libido get in the way.”

Spike pulled out the chair opposite Giles, the wooden legs screeching along the floor. He sat, swinging his feet up to rest on the table.

“Sounds like you’re in a bit of a pickle, Rupert.”

 “And what would you care, Spike?”

Spike pursed his lips, frowning slightly.

“I’m in love with Buffy.”

Giles rolled his eyes.

“Scoff all you want, but it’s true. Cuts me up inside to see her slippin’ away like this. Knowing that her only hope is...” He gestured vaguely in Giles’ direction. “Since her only chance at survival is you gettin’ the nerve up to show her a good time, I figure I might as well help.”

“Help?!” Giles thought he might fall over. “How in the hell do you intend to help me?”

Spike raised an eyebrow.

 “Seems to me you’ve got exactly nobody to talk to about this. Scoobies consist of near-virginal losers and a couple of dykes. I may not be a man, but I’m the closest thing you got. So, let’s talk. Man to man.”

Giles stared down at the table. It pained him, but Spike was right. He needed to unburden himself a little if he was going to focus on preparing the ritual.

Spike placed a finger underneath Rupert’s chin, forcing him to make eye contact.

“What’s got you bothered? Think you won’t be able to get it up?”

Rupert immediately regretted this decision. He swatted Spike’s hand away.

“Would you behave with some modicum of dignity for five minutes?”

Spike threw his hands up in front of him, smiling.

“Sorry. Go on.”

Rupert glared at Spike for a moment, before continuing.

“It’s Buffy,” he finally sighed, “I can’t hurt her.”

Spike leaned forward a little in his chair.

“Who says you’ll be hurting her?”

“You were right, earlier. I am an old man, forcing myself onto a helpless young woman. It’s depraved.”

Spike scoffed.

“You’re not nearly as old as her first boyfriend. He didn’t seem to have any qualms about popping Buffy’s cherry. Don’t think she did, either.”

Rupert blinked. Angel... Why hadn’t I thought of that?

“While you do have a point about Angel’s age - this is different. Angel looks like a much younger man.”

“Ah. You think she’ll be repulsed by your wrinkly old body?”

“I wouldn’t put it so indelicately,” he grimaced, “but that is certainly one concern. The last thing I want to do is make Buffy uncomfortable. I look like I could be her father.”

“I’m sure she’d rather run her hands over a torso like mine,” Spike grinned, “but you may be surprised. Lots of girls get their rocks off thinking about older men. Been that way since the dawn of time.”

Rupert removed his glasses, bunching up the bottom of his jumper to clean them.

“Have you talked to the Slayer about this?” Spike asked.

“We spoke several days ago. I showed her the texts outlining what will be expected of us.”

“Boy, there’s a good pick-up line. How’d she take it?”

 Rupert hesitated. He wasn’t sure if he should exaggerate, for Buffy’s sake.

“She seemed... Surprisingly calm about it all,” he answered truthfully.

Spike’s grin grew exponentially across his face.

“There you go, Watcher,” he laughed. “I think you two crazy kids are gonna be just fine.”

Spike swung his legs back to the floor, standing to leave. Rupert watched him, placing his glasses back on his face. The vampire stalked to the door, turning just before he reached it.

“Think of it this way, Giles,” he smiled. “Buffy’s the hottest bit of skirt you’re ever likely to get. Try and enjoy yourself.”

The door slammed shut behind him. Giles cursed under his breath. He wasn’t sure if he felt better or worse. He stood, collecting the books he had still laying out. They were of no real use to him, anyway. He walked over to the shelves and began replacing them; replaying the regretful conversation he’d just had with Spike. He supposed he was right about some things – Buffy was not a little girl. She’d had other partners. Giles may not scare her as much as he was expecting.

Just then, Giles heard movement behind him.

“Spike, I’m not interested in continuing-“

“Giles?”

He spun around. Willow was standing across from him. She had a strange look on her face.

“Oh. Willow. I told you, you should stay away-“

“Giles,” she interrupted, “just listen. I know what’s wrong with Buffy. I’m here to help.”

 


 

 

Buffy was sitting in The Magic Box. She had no idea how she got there. She was slumped in a chair, her eyes shut tight against the light.

“She’s coming to. Turn the light off.”

The light went away. Buffy’s eyes opened to two shadowy figures in front of her. She groaned, confused and uncomfortable.

“What-“

“Shh. It’s alright. We’re going to give you something for the pain.”

She could hear bubbling sounds near her ear – glass clinking, liquid pouring. There was a terrible stench of sulphur in the air. Somebody placed something in her hand.

“I’m sorry, Buffy. This one will be worse than the first one. But I promise, you’ll feel better.”

She knew that voice. She was sure she’d heard it before. A familiar hand guided her own to her mouth. She opened it dutifully, pouring the foreign substance down her throat.

 “Eugh, God,” she sputtered. It was truly horrid.

“Yes, I know. It’ll be worth it in a few moments.”

The light came back on – it didn’t sting her eyes so much this time. The fuzzy figures suddenly came into focus. Giles. And...

“Willow?”

Willow gave a small, nervous wave. “Hi Buff. Is it working?”

Buffy groaned, reaching up to rub her eyes. Her elbow nudged something – a small cauldron sat on the table next to her. It smelled awful.

“I... Yeah. Yeah, it’s all coming back to me now. God, it’s like I can’t remember anything from the last few days.”

Giles chimed in. “You’ve been asleep, mostly. A small mercy, I suppose. At least you’ve not been awake and suffering.”

Buffy looked up, meeting her Watcher’s eyes. Something flickered in her brain; it was trying to tell her something. Suddenly, her eyes widened.

Giles.

He seemed to notice the change in her expression – he hurried to busy himself with various items on the table.

Willow gave her a sympathetic look. “I’m sorry, Buff. This must be so awful.”

Giles glanced over his shoulder at the redhead, seeming to be listening very carefully.

“S’okay,” Buffy replied.

Giles placed himself between the two women before anything else could be said. “Uh- yes, well. I’m going to go and prepare the ritual. Willow, stay here with Buffy. Try and keep her... Calm.”

Buffy frowned. Those words should mean something to her, but her brain was still fuzzy.

Giles collected a couple of books from the table, before heading to the back training room. He paused, turning for a moment to look at Buffy. His face seemed pained. The door closed softly behind him – some of the tension in the room leaving with him.

Willow took a seat beside Buffy. She began anxiously tapping her fingers against the tabletop. Buffy shot her a look. She stopped.

The air was heavy between them.

“You know.” Buffy croaked.

Willow bit her lip. She looked apologetic.

“Giles didn’t tell me. I figured it out on my own. Plus, I-I had to know what it was so I could find the right potion. I’m sorry, Buffy,” the words tumbled out of her mouth too fast.

“It’s okay. As long as it’s just you who knows.”

“Oh, of course. Scout’s honour,” Willow held up three fingers, before making a face and lowering them just as quickly. “Sorry.”

They sat in silence for a while, the cauldron bubbling softly between them.

“Are you- Uh, how are you feeling? I mean... God, Giles...”

“Yeah. It’s a lot. To be honest, I’ve been trying to avoid thinking about it.”

Willow nodded, avoiding her gaze. She sighed and placed a hand on top of Buffy’s.

“I know it’s... You know. Kind of icky, on account of it being Giles. But-but I know he’ll be good to you. He would never hurt you.”

Buffy gave her a small smile. Willow always tried so hard.

“You’re right. He’ll be kind, I know he will. But it doesn’t stop me feeling like I’m about to... Do it with a family member.” Buffy suppressed a shudder.

“You know, I had such a crush on him back when I still liked men. Sixteen-year-old Willow would have been so jealous,” she glanced at Buffy, unsure if her humour would be appreciated.

“I’ll be sure to give you a full report,” Buffy smirked.

“Oh, jeez. M-maybe don’t,” Willow laughed noiselessly. Buffy joined in, chuckling despite herself.

Just then, the door to the backroom reopened. Giles stepped through, holding something in his arms. He looked at the two girls and cocked an eyebrow.

“I’m glad to see you’ve been able to find the funny side to all this,” he muttered dryly.

Buffy turned her body to face him.

“Is it time?”

“Yes.” He looked at Willow. “Thank you for your help.”

“Of course,” Willow stood. Collecting her things, she headed for the front door. She stopped to give Buffy a small wave. Buffy returned it.

Willow mouthed good luck before disappearing onto the street.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

CHAPTER THREE

The ensuing silence was painful. Buffy could only stare at Giles’ shoes, her heart thumping in her chest. Giles crossed the room slowly, extending an arm. Buffy glanced up. She realized what he was holding; a navy blue bathrobe. He was holding a second for himself.

Buffy reached her hand out – embarrassed to realize it was shaking like a leaf. She took the robe with murmured thanks. It was soft. She tried to focus on the feel of it between her fingers.

“I’ve set up a privacy partition in the backroom. You can change there,” Giles’ voice was as soft as the robe in her hands. He extended an arm toward the door, bidding her go through it. She stood, letting her vertigo dissipate before crossing the room and stepping through the door.

The room was almost unrecognizable. Her training equipment was gone – the concrete floor had been covered instead in red silk sheets. They had some kind of pattern on them, but Buffy couldn’t figure out what. Dotted across the floor were various statuettes of women; some held weapons in their hands, others clutched their wombs. All along the windowsill were lit candles. They gave off a faint floral aroma.

Buffy was equal parts impressed and terrified by Giles’ efforts. She wasn’t sure how much of this was required by the ritual, and how much was simply him trying to make her comfortable. As promised, there was a black privacy partition set up at the back of the room.

Buffy swallowed hard. It was all becoming too real.

“I’ll stay out here. We can change at the same time.”

She didn’t turn to acknowledge him. She approached the partition, hugging the bunched-up robe to her chest. She stepped behind it, the weight of Giles’ concerned gaze now momentarily lifted.  Buffy’s face contorted involuntarily – she let out a single, silent sob. She dropped the robe and placed her face in her hands. She quickly wiped any tears away, fighting to keep her breathing in check.

She changed swiftly and unthinkingly – if she stopped to consider her naked body, she might never emerge from behind the screen. Buffy often lamented that her Slayer strength and training resulted in a less-than-feminine body. She wasn’t sure what Giles expected. Hell, she wasn’t sure what she expected.

What do old men look like naked?

A thousand strange thoughts swimming around her mind, Buffy tied the robe tight and stepped out from behind the partition. Giles was already changed – his back was to her. He was fussing with some book or other. Buffy suspected he was just trying to give her a moment to adjust.

“Okay,” her voice wavered. Giles turned slowly, his face careful. He beckoned her closer to him. She took several steps, each one requiring more courage than the last. Buffy tried her best to keep her face blank – or at the very least, not wide-eyed in terror.

They stood a few feet away from one another, neither one seeming to know how to proceed.

“I think perhaps we should both, erm. De-robe at the same time. Save any excess embarrassment.”

Buffy nodded. With trembling fingers, she clumsily untied the robe. She clutched at it, holding it closed while she tried to steady her breathing. Giles held her gaze, his eyes warm and patient.

“Okay... On three?” Buffy hated how feeble her voice sounded.

“Whatever you’d like,” his voice was calm, even. She wondered how he stayed so composed.

 “Giles, are you- are you nervous?” Buffy felt stupid for even asking.

The corners of Giles’ mouth twitched.

“Terrified.”

“You don’t look it.”

He reached out a hand and placed it gently against her cheek. She could feel it. He was trembling, too.

“Oh.”

A wave of unexpected courage swept through her at that moment. She nodded at him, signalling that she was ready. She heard him draw in a long breath through his nose.

“Okay. One... Two...”

Buffy peeled the robe off of her shoulders, letting it drop to her feet. The air in the room had a slight chill to it – she could feel the hairs on her arms standing on end. She tried to resist the urge to cover herself with her hands, but settled for clasping her palms together in front of her crotch. She peered down, realizing she had a patch of light-coloured hair that she had forgotten about.

She grimaced.

“Oh, God. I’m sorry, I hadn’t even thought about doing anything-“

Giles placed both hands on her shoulders lightly. The contact made her skin prickle.

“Buffy, shh. It’s alright. I promise you, I have no expectations.”

Buffy slowly released the breath she had been holding, though she was still cringing a little. Giles gave the smallest hint of smile. She didn’t think he had even looked down yet.

“Besides... I’m a little, uh. Old-fashioned,” he eyed her carefully, gauging her reaction.

My Watcher just told me his pubic hair preferences. This is beyond weird.

She gave a small smirk. Giles returned it. They stood like that for a moment, their eyes locked. After a moment, Buffy slowly dropped her gaze, letting her eyes inch down the man in front of her.

Giles’ shoulders were broad, his arms more well-muscled than she had anticipated. There was a small tuft of dark grey hair in the centre of his chest, as well as a smattering around his nipples. He had no visible abdominal muscles – like Angel or Riley – but he was in excellent shape for his age. Buffy wasn’t sure what she had expected, but she was pleasantly surprised.

She glanced back up, intending to give him a compliment. He was no longer looking at her face. His eyes were raking themselves down her body. Buffy shivered, but did not attempt to cover herself.

“Buffy, you are...”

“I know. Bony and a little lopsided. I think the right is bigger than the lef-“

“No. No, Buffy. You are... Magnificent,” Giles voice was as low as she’d ever heard it.

Her cheeks grew warm again. She exhaled, relieved.

“You’re not so bad yourself.”

“Oh. Thank you. Years of training you have kept me from becoming too much of a portly old man, fortunately.”

“I guess you’re welcome,” Buffy joked.

Giles chuckled – an easy, light sound. It made Buffy happy to hear it.

“Now, Buffy. You’ll see there are five points laid out on the ground. I need you to lie on your back, placing your head on the largest point, and your hands and feet on the smaller ones.”

Buffy glanced down. He was right; there was a large white symbol painted onto the sheet on the ground. It was made up of lines and circles, and – Buffy realized – was roughly the same size as her. She cast another glance at Giles, who nodded once.

She knelt down, careful to try and retain some of her dignity, and placed her backside in the middle of the symbol. She peered behind her, trying to line up the back of her head with the largest circle. She lay herself down, exhaling loudly as she did so.

“Scoot yourself up a little. That’s it.”

There was nothing between the sheet and the cold concrete floor underneath it. It was very uncomfortable. Giles must have noticed Buffy’s frown.

“Sorry, yes. I know it’s not very luxurious. I’ve got some cushions set aside for later.”

He was trying not to look at her. Buffy appreciated his manners, though she still felt utterly exposed. Giles crossed the room and returned with a book, holding it open and muttering something in Latin. If Buffy were in a better humour, she might have laughed at the sight of a naked Giles holding a large spell book.

Before she could give it any more thought, her hands and feet began to grow warm. She glanced down; golden light was emanating from the floor beneath her.

“Stay still, Buffy. This will only take a moment.”

Buffy watched the ribbons of light rise up around her. They were beautiful. They twisted and turned, forming shapes and symbols in the air that looked like the one she was laying on. Giles was still muttering incantations, his face in the book. She wanted to tell him to stop – to watch the light with her. She felt so warm, the gold ribbons wrapping themselves around her. She barely noticed Giles crouch down beside her.

“Buffy, I need you to say these two phrases. Pronunciation doesn’t matter, just say them out loud.”

Buffy glanced up at the book Giles was holding in front of her. The words were swimming on the page. She could barely focus.

“Mmm.”

“Buffy, please. Try and concentrate.”

Buffy scrunched her eyes up, trying to remember why she was there. The light felt so good against her body; she could hardly think about anything else. Finally, she managed to pull herself out of the stupor and look at the page.

EGO IUNGERE. EGO CREO.

“Ego... Um.”

“That’s it. Quickly now.”

“Ego ee-yoon-gehr-eh. Ego cree-oh.”

All at once, the light disappeared. Buffy gasped – she felt parts of her body grow hot, before returning to normal. Her head spun. What had just happened?

A hand appeared in front of her. Buffy clasped it and was pulled up into a sitting position. Giles was kneeling next to her, his eyes searching.

“Are you alright?”

Buffy took a deep breath, steadying herself.

“I-I think so. That was... Something else.”

 “The codex is vague on the function of that part of the ritual. Only that it must be done before anything else, to appease the goddess. You seemed to be in pain, are you sure you’re alright?”

Buffy blushed. She looked down at the floor.

“That, um. That wasn’t pain.”

Giles studied her face, confused. After a moment, his face slackened as he realized her meaning.

“Ah.”

“Yeah.”

 “Was it... Pleasant? That is to say – I wouldn’t want you to be forced into feeling something you didn’t want to feel.”

“It was nice. Unexpected, but nice.”

Giles placed a hand on her bare knee, rubbing circles with his thumb.

“That is the only formal part of the ritual, Buffy. Everything from here is up to us. Except...”

Buffy met his eyes. It was his turn to look embarrassed.

“Except?”

Giles sighed, his hand dropping away.

“There’s no delicate way to put this, Buffy.”

Buffy let out a humourless laugh.

“We’re both naked, Giles. Delicacy packed its bags a long time ago.”

He gave a pained smile in response.

“I suppose you’re right. The codex stipulates that I must... Err. Finish. Inside you,” Giles voice grew smaller and smaller.

“Right. Because the Watcher and Slayer were meant to make babies,” Buffy’s voice was completely flat.

“Yes. But, uh – I hope you don’t mind – Willow included something else in the concoction she gave you. A kind of... Magickal contraception. You won’t have to fear any repercussions.”

Buffy stared forward.

“Wow. You thought of everything.”

Giles leaned toward her, his brow furrowed with concern.

“I really wanted to make this as painless as possible for you, Buffy.”

She looked up at him, forcing herself to give a minute smile.

“I know. I appreciate it.”

They sat in silence for a while, neither looking at the other. Buffy concentrated on her breathing; trying to find the courage to reach a hand out to Giles. She knew the second she did, there’d be no turning back. She’d enter into something she didn’t feel the slightest bit prepared for.

Thankfully, Giles interrupted her internal conflict.

“I want to leave this up to you. How would you like to proceed? I can... Erm- I’m happy to do anything you ask of me,” he spoke softly.

Buffy could see the colour in his cheeks. She felt sorry for him. It couldn’t be any easier for Giles than it was for her, and he was the one who had to actually... Perform. Her sympathy spurred her on - she wanted to help make things easier for him too.

She took a deep breath.

“Why don’t you get those cushions you mentioned?” She hoped her tone sounded something close to encouraging.

Giles nodded and stood up. Buffy averted her gaze, aware of what was now very close to her face. She glanced down at the untidy hair between her legs. Regardless of what Giles said, she would have liked a chance to take care of herself before this. She felt less self-conscious now that they had seen each other, but she was still extremely nervous about what was to come. This was a kind of closeness she’d only experienced with two other people before. In some ways, it was still new. She wasn’t nearly as seasoned as she imagined Giles to be.

“If you’ll stand up, I can lay these out”, Giles had returned with an armful of large, fluffy cushions. It was an endearing image; Buffy couldn’t help but smirk. She got to her feet and stepped off of the sheet. Giles began strategically placing the cushions down – they spanned about the same amount of space as a double bed.

When he was done, he turned to her. He looked a little sheepish.

“Drink? I uh, brought scotch.”

Buffy laughed, nodding. She should have thought of that. Giles smiled, producing a flask out of the jacket that was now lying on the floor. He held it out to her.

“Ladies first.”

She took it from him, her fingers curling around his as she did so. She felt his skin against hers keenly. It was nice. She met his eyes – he looked as though he was thinking the same thing. She unscrewed the top of the flask, tipping it into her mouth. It burned. She made a face – Giles laughed.

“Sorry. Perhaps I should have chosen wine,” he chuckled.

“No, no. It’s... Eugh. Great.”

Giles took the flask back from her, stealing several mouthfuls.

“Well, in any case. It might make things a little easier.”

He placed the flask on a nearby table, never dropping his eyes from hers. He paused, seeming to consider something. She matched his gaze – trying to seem braver than she actually felt. Buffy knew there was no more time left to stall or make jokes. This was going to happen. Giles crossed the room to her, stopping to stand a hair’s width away from her. She was forced to look up to see his face. His eyes burned. Some other places in Buffy burned, too. He placed a warm hand on her hip, the other reaching up to cup her cheek.

They stayed like that for a moment, looking into one another.

Giles smelled good, she suddenly realized. Like scotch and books and some old cologne she would never like on anybody else. Had she ever been this close to Giles? She could make out the fine stubble along his jaw line – the mismatched colours in his irises. Buffy supposed – as far as Watchers went – she could do far worse.

Be brave, Buffy.

Rising up on her toes, Buffy closed the distance between them. She pressed her lips softly against his, matching him by placing a hand on his hip. Giles tensed for a fraction of a second, before parting his lips slightly and snaking his hand around to hold the back of her head. They breathed and sighed against each other, their hands tracing a path around their bodies.

Giles drew a finger across Buffy’s collarbone, causing her to shiver slightly. Their mouths broke apart; his hand dipped down to softly cup her breast. Buffy exhaled, her head tilting back. Giles placed a line of kisses along her newly exposed neck – eliciting a small moan from her.

“Hmm,” Giles hummed, “that’s a lovely sound.”

Buffy’s moan turned into a giggle. She ran her hands across Giles’ chest, playing with the fine hairs she found there. Giles began to roll her nipple between his index finger and thumb – Buffy’s mouth fell agape. She breathed heavily, her head rolling back around to rest against Giles’ shoulder. He raised his other hand, giving her other breast equal attention. She moaned, the sound muted against his warm shoulder.

Buffy’s hand trailed its way down Giles’ stomach; she stopped a second to play with the hair there as well. Giles let out a low chuckle, placing his hand over hers and guiding it slowly downward. He pulled back to look at her, asking a silent question. Buffy gave a wry smile, letting her hand continue its journey to wrap itself around his manhood. She bit her lip and looked down; it was completely hard.

The size was about halfway between Angel’s and Riley’s, the main difference being the smattering of dark grey hair above it. It was pretty - as pretty as they could be. Buffy tightened her grip around it, earning the first moan she had heard from Giles. It was a low, encouraging sound. She decided she liked it a lot.

“That’s a nice sound too.” She slowly began to run her hand along his length.

“Oh, Buffy,” he whispered.

She removed herself from his embrace and knelt down on the pile of cushions, extending a hand to him in invitation. He knelt next to her, brushing the hair out of her face lightly. They kissed again, more forcefully this time. Giles parted Buffy’s lips with his tongue, running it along her teeth. Her hand returned to his cock, caressing the head slowly. It was already wet.

Giles cradled the back of Buffy’s head, guiding her down on her back. The cushions were much more comfortable than the concrete, Buffy noted. She gazed up at Giles, who was looming squarely above her – looking down at her with an expression she could only describe as hungry. Sparks of electricity surged through her body as his fingers traced patterns along the inside of her thigh. They moved up, up, up – so close to the right spot. He paused suddenly.

“May I?” He asked, his voice hoarse.

He’s asking permission. The part of Buffy that wasn’t so turned on was overwhelmed by sweetness. She chewed her bottom lip, looking up at him with dark eyes. She nodded once.

Her hips bucked suddenly – Giles had landed perfectly on her most sensitive spot, ghosting over it with two fingers. He gradually added pressure, pressing small circular motions. Buffy shut her eyes tight, unable even to make noise. A little voice in the back of her mind quietly ruminated on how much better Giles was at this than anyone else she’d been with. Her hands gripped his arms, fingertips digging into warm flesh. He returned to placing kisses along Buffy’s neck and collarbones, stopping every now and then to suck gently at her skin.

Giles took his other hand and placed it just below his first; a single finger mapping circles around the outside of her entrance. He smiled at her. Buffy looked at him, questioning. He withdrew his hand, holding it up to show her. His fingertips were slick and wet. Buffy blushed, laughing again.

“I think that’s a good sign,” he murmured into her neck.

“Mmm,” her fingernails clawed at his back, urging him on.

Giles repositioned himself, shifting his weight onto one elbow. Still stroking her on the outside, he gently pushed a finger into her. Buffy could feel the resistance – her walls slowly allowing the intrusion. She moaned again, and this time Giles joined her. He moved his hand back and forth, slowly increasing his pace. Buffy pressed herself against him, increasing the friction against her mound.

“Harder, please,” she whispered, kissing him along his jaw line. Giles did as he was bid, simultaneously rubbing and thrusting his fingers in and out of her. Buffy started to feel the tell-tale building of pressure from low in her belly. Her nails dug deeper into his back, though he didn’t seem to feel it. Tiny beads of sweat were beginning to collect along his forehead as he watched her intently, breathing in time with his motions.

The pressure was building; Buffy’s eyes were beginning to roll into the back of her head. She was trying to speak, but it came out instead as a series of gasps and moans.

“Giles, ungh- don’t stop...”

Her eyes shot open as her body began to explode in fits of ecstatic spasming. Giles never once broke his rhythm as he watched her. Buffy looked up at him, her mouth hanging open. She bucked against him once, twice, three times – before gasping for air and pushing at his chest lightly. He slowed to a stop, withdrawing his fingers from her. He wiped them on a nearby cushion and put his palm against her cheek. He smiled warmly down at her.

“That was... A nice surprise,” Buffy managed.

Giles laughed. “Very much so.”

Buffy buried her face in her hands, giddy and embarrassed. Giles lay down next to her, rubbing her shoulder lightly.

“That was... The first time someone’s done that for me,” Buffy admitted quietly.

“Hmm?”

“Made me- Um. Made me cum.” She was blushing again.

Giles sat up on his elbow to look at her. “Oh.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I’ve-I do it to myself all the time,” Buffy cringed. What a choice of words.

Giles chuckled. “Some men are brutes. Or, they’re simply uneducated. I’m sorry you’ve not been exposed to better.”

Buffy smiled, perhaps a little sadly. He was right – she’d clearly been missing out. Giles returned to stroking her hair, humming under his breath.

“Do you-“ Buffy started, “Uh, do you think we should...?”

“Shh, shh. I’d rather give you a moment to recover.”

Buffy could hardly believe it. Sure, Angel and Riley weren’t selfish lovers, but they also weren’t very patient. Sex was always the highest priority, and Buffy was expecting the same from Giles. To see that not all men were obsessed with their penises was... Kind of refreshing.

Buffy took inventory on her physical condition – parts of her were still throbbing, and she was still stuck in a kind of post-orgasm brain fog. She cast her eyes down Giles’ body. He was still half-hard. She trailed a clumsy hand down his torso.

“Buffy, are you sure?”

“I’d better return the favour,” she smiled lazily.

She gripped him, her hand moving up and down at a moderate pace. Giles groaned, turning to lie flat on his back. Buffy sat up, kneeling over him. He ran his hands gently along her arms, the sparks she had felt earlier starting to return. She eyed him, considering. She thought about using her mouth, but decided against it for reasons she couldn’t quite articulate to herself. After a few seconds, Giles sat up, stopping Buffy’s hand.

He leant in to kiss her. They were smaller, more chaste kisses this time. Buffy thought they were sweet. Giles ran his hands down her sides, stopping to place a hand on either side of her waist.

“Like this,” he murmured – guiding Buffy to assume a kneeling position over him. She went with him, his warm hands strong against her. She perched above him, kept upright on her knees. He had her positioned right above his length, his eyes burning into hers.

Buffy reached out to cup his face, as he had done to her. Giles smiled and pushed his cheek into her hand. Then, never breaking eye contact, he guided her down onto him. Buffy sucked in a sharp breath through her nose as she felt him push inside her. Much bigger than a couple of fingers, Buffy felt her walls stretch around him, throbbing against him.

“God, Buffy.”

Giles looked down to where they had joined; Buffy had trouble reading his expression. It was one part overwhelmed, another... Wistful? She decided to ignore it – opting instead to focus on the feeling of Giles filling her, thrusting slowly in and out of her.

They stayed like that for a while, before Buffy’s thighs began to ache. Giles must have sensed her discomfort – he grabbed her again by her waist and placed her carefully down on her back. He climbed atop her, holding himself in his hand. Buffy propped herself up on her elbows as Giles guided himself in. He moved a hand around to rest between her shoulder blades, holding her closer to him.

Buffy watched him – he had his eyes closed now. His brow was furrowed, he seemed to be concentrating deeply. His breaths were deep and long, matching his thrusts. She continued to stroke his face, his hair, his shoulders. She was still a little sensitive after her orgasm, but his presence inside her was warm and comforting. She felt safe.

Giles began to move faster, his grip on her back grew tighter. He opened his eyes, gazing down at Buffy intently. She gave a smile, trying to show him that she was okay. The corner of his mouth twitched, but he was too preoccupied to do much else besides gasp and perspire. As his pace picked up, he began to vocalize. Buffy listened to his moans, pleased that he was able to let go with her.

She felt Giles’ fingers dig into her back, his thrusting becoming more and more forceful. The force stirred something in Buffy; she began to moan with him as he climbed higher and higher towards his end. Finally, he crashed against her with a long, drawn-out shudder.

“Guh- Buffy-“

Buffy could feel him twitching inside her. She imagined his seed covering her walls, dripping down to her entrance. She’d never been come in before – she thought she’d be able to feel it. Buffy stroked Giles’ hair as he clutched her tightly, breathing heavily into her neck.

She looked up to see a mist of golden light above them. She wondered how she hadn’t noticed before.

“Giles, look,” she whispered.

He disentangled himself from her, his head tilting upwards.

“Ah,” he murmured, “I believe we have successfully fulfilled the ritual.”

They sat side by side, watching the energy slowly dissipate around them. Buffy reached out to clasp Giles’ hand – his fingers tightened around hers.

 


 

 

Buffy stood in the restored training room, tentatively striking the dummy in front of her. She was taking it slow – her powers were still returning. Giles had been giving her a wide berth since last night, she supposed he was trying to be polite.

She tensed, launching into a spinning kick that landed at about shoulder height on the dummy. She stumbled, dizziness suddenly overwhelming her.

“I think you’ll want to take it a little easier than that,” a voice came from behind her.

Buffy turned – Giles was leaning against the doorframe, a navy blue sweater clad across his torso. She averted her gaze for a second; briefly recalling what was underneath it. She gave him a tired smile, taking a seat against the wall. Giles stayed where he was, hesitant.

“What, you won’t even sit next to me now?” Buffy asked playfully.

Giles’ mouth twitched, he unfolded his arms and crossed the room to sit with her. It was the closest they’d been since last night. It wasn’t uncomfortable, Buffy realized.

“How are you feeling?”

“I’m okay. Still aching and tired, but I can feel myself getting stronger.”

He smiled. “That’s very good news.”

She returned the smile, before looking down at her knees. She had no idea what to say to him.

“Giles, I-“

“It’s alright, Buffy. We don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.”

Her hands fidgeted in her lap. “No, I-I want to. I think it’s important.”

She saw Giles nod out of the corner of her eye. He stayed silent, giving her space to speak.

“I just wanted to say... Thank you. I know that sounds weird, but- Um. It was a hard thing. For both of us,” she finally met his gaze, “but you made it easier.”

Giles’ eyes softened – Buffy realized he was probably worried she’d start crying.

“You’ve been remarkably mature about everything, Buffy. Not only that, but you were very generous. Last night could very easily have been... Well, terribly awkward and painful. I honestly expected as much. But you- You were kind. You didn’t have to be.”

Buffy sighed, relieved that the tension was dispersing. She cared for Giles very much – she had been worried that their relationship would be forever changed after the ritual. They knew things about one another they had no right to know. Buffy realized she’d never be able to think of him as something akin to a father figure again – it would be too strange. She supposed they would have to live in the middle; between lovers, friends, family.

“What now?” Buffy asked, a little afraid of the answer.

Giles placed a hand on her knee. It felt the same as it ever did, but faintly different.

“The usual mayhem and chaos, I expect.”

He stood to leave. He paused, placing a kiss gently on Buffy’s cheek. Without stopping to look at her, he disappeared back into the front of the store.

Staring at the space her Watcher occupied a moment ago, Buffy lifted a hand – lightly touching her cheek.

“Mayhem and chaos,” she whispered, smiling to herself.