“Honey, I’m home.” Buffy called out, letting herself into Giles’ apartment with her dad in tow. She looked around, making sure everything looked okay. They’d only had a two hour notice that her father was in London for Dawn’s birthday and was hoping to stay with them.
Of course she couldn’t tell him that there was no “them” to stay with. Despite the wedding ceremony a year ago, they had their own flats. Legalities aside, their relationship hadn’t changed much on the outside. Her flat however didn’t have a spare room, and Giles’ was bigger, so she told him to get out their wedding photos, and put away all the Slayer related stuff for the weekend.
He hadn’t been thrilled with the unexpected company for the weekend, but he acquiesced nonetheless. She had dropped off a bag of her stuff before going to pick her dad up at the airport. It had been over an hour ago and she could see some of the things she packed were around the flat, making it seem like she actually lived there. And while the decor was certainly all Giles, there were enough momentos of hers now to make the living arrangements seem genuine.
Giles came down the hall and paused when he saw Buffy and Hank. He gave them a warm smile. “Ah, you’re home.” He walked over and wrapped his arm around his wife then shook his father-in-law’s hand. “Might I offer you something to drink? Tea? Something stronger.”
Buffy wrapped her arm around Giles’ waist. Even now they rarely ever touched, so it was odd to be this close to him, though certainly not unwelcome.
“A scotch if you have it.”
“Of course, go ahead and make yourself comfortable. Buffy, will you help me bring out drinks for everyone?” He asked, looking down at her.
She gave him a small nod and followed him to the kitchen.
“We have a problem.” He said just above a whisper, once they entered the kitchen.
“Problem? What kind of problem?” She asked, panicking, trying to think of anything that could’ve gone wrong and reacting as if each one had.
“The air mattress you forced me to buy has a hole in it.” He said. “I seem to remember a certain Slayer using a very sharp dagger to open the box.”
“It’s all I could find. Besides, why does that matter? Didn’t you finally furnish the guest room with an actual bed a few months ago?”
“Yes, however your father is sleeping in the guest room this weekend, so my bed is the only one left besides the completely useless air mattress.” He pointed out, heading for the cabinet and pulling out two tumblers and pouring two fingers of scotch in each one. He watched as Buffy took a pitcher of juice from the fridge and poured herself a glass.
“Oh…” She said, not having thought of that. She looked up at him. “I guess we’ll just have to share. I mean, we are married after all.”
“Of course, why didn’t I think of that?” He asked sarcastically. “It’s not as if it would be the first time we shared a marital bed.”
She scrunched her nose. “Ew, can you not describe it like that? Like, ever again.”
“My point still stands, Buffy. Despite us being legally married we have never acted as such. Perhaps it would be best just to tell your father about this charade.”
“No!” She said quickly, a little louder than she had meant to. She lowered her voice again. “It’s only for a few days, I don’t want to lose him again, Giles.”
He sighed, thinking it over. He knew how much this meant to her, and he could never deny her anything. He gave a simple nod before picking up the tumblers of scotch and carrying them out to the living room. He handed one to Hank, who was sitting on the sofa. He took his own seat in the chair, letting Buffy have the seat next to her father.
“Thank you for letting me stay with you this week, I know I didn’t give much notice. To be honest I didn’t think I’d be able to make it out because of work, but the meetings I had were postponed so I took a last minute flight.” He told them.
“Of course, it’s not a problem.” Giles assured him. “After all, that’s what family is for.”
Buffy beamed at her Watcher, then looked over at her dad.
“Still, I know how much privacy means to newlyweds.”
Buffy and Giles both blushed at the implication.
“N-no, really. We don’t mind.” Giles stammered, a blush creeping up his neck toward his ears.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s not like we married yesterday. It’s been a whole year. Then some, in fact. I think we can control ourselves.” Buffy added.
“Still, I don’t want to stand in the way of you two making me a grandfather, I know you’ve been trying.”
Giles, who had been mid sip, choked on his scotch at that statement and looked over at Buffy, who had the decency to look guilty.
“My dad was telling me last time we talked on the phone how much he wanted grandkids, so I decided to share with him that we were trying for a baby.”
“Yes, of course. As he should know. I just thought we were going to keep it a secret a bit longer, until we knew it would actually happen.” He said gently. “I’m not a young man anymore, and it isn’t necessarily a given that I’ll be able to provide you with children.”
It was true, it’s not as if he’d been to a fertility clinic to see if he even could have children, but the biggest obstacle was of course the fact that their entire relationship was a sham. The cruel irony was that he wanted all these things with her, marriage, children, maybe even a dog or two. Here he was getting everything he wanted and none of it was real.
Ever since their first kiss, at their wedding, his feelings for her began to change. Deepen. He still held the highest regard for her as a friend and colleague, but he had also begun to fall in love with her. It didn’t help that after their first kiss, at their wedding, Buffy went out of her way to reiterate that this was all for her dad, and thanked him for being so understanding.
If only she knew. It seemed with every second they spent with her father, the situation seemed to spiral more and more out of control. He wondered how much longer they could possibly keep it together.
“I’m sure if it comes to that, Rupert, my dad will understand.”
Giles woke slowly to the sound of rain against his window, he pulled his companion closer and closed his eyes again. It was another drizzly day in London. During the years he lived in California, he would often close his eyes during one of the few occasions it rained, and he would pretend he was back in England.
Now he found himself thinking about Sunnydale, how much more simple life was, when he didn’t have an international demon-fighting organization to run, when he was responsible for just the one Slayer and not several hundred, and of course in Sunnydale he hadn’t faked a marriage with the love of his life.
That thought woke him right up, and he remembered Buffy was in bed with him, her back pressed against his chest. While he may not have been consciously aware of who was in bed with him, a certain part of his anatomy seemed to have been and he knew he needed to extract himself from the situation before Buffy woke up.
He pulled his arm from around her and was about to roll over when he noticed her head turn slightly and her eyes open. She gave him a sleepy smile and turned to face him. “Morning,” she muttered, snuggling against his chest.
He held his breath and did his best to pull his hips away from her. “Good morning.” He replied, his voice strained.
“What time is it?” She asked, yawning.
He glanced at the clock on the nightstand. “Still early. You can go back to sleep if you’d like, I’m going to get up.” He blushed at his choice of words.
Buffy couldn’t hide the amusement in her eyes as she looked up at him.
“I-I’m going to shower.” He said, quickly getting out of bed.
“I guess I don’t need to tell you to save me some hot water.” She teased good naturedly.
She had forgotten how nice it was to wake up next to someone. With the Council, the Slayers, and playing single mom to her little sister, she wasn’t exactly dating much to begin with, and when she married Giles, fake or not, it didn’t feel right to date anyone else.
She heard the shower start and she finally looked at the clock. Giles was right, it wasn’t even six yet. She pulled Giles’ pillow down and curled around it, intent on getting a couple more hours of sleep. The sound of the rain against the window relaxed her, reminding her of her favorite Englishman, and the few times he allowed himself to admit how he missed the rain when he lived in California. It wasn’t long before she was back in the land of the unconscious.
When she woke up again it was nearly eight and she heard voices coming from the other room. She got out of bed and found her father and Giles sitting at the table eating breakfast and talking. She smiled as she watched them for a moment before making her presence known.
He felt Buffy’s gaze and he looked up, giving her a small smile. He excused himself from the table and made her a plate of food. He placed it on the table after she took the seat next to his. She thanked him and started eating as the men continued their conversation. She nearly spit out her food when she realized they were talking about her father possibly moving to England.
“What?” She croaked out. “When did you start thinking about that?” She asked, suddenly feeling panicked. It was one thing to keep up appearances for a weekend, but if her dad moved to England permanently she would never be able to keep up the ruse.
“I’ve been thinking about it ever since we reconnected. I’ve already missed so much of yours and Dawn’s lives, I’d hate to miss anymore. Besides, if I’m going to be a grandfather, then I want to be close by so I can see my grandkids grow up.”
“But what about your job, Dad? And what about, uh… I can’t remember her name, the woman you were seeing a while back? The one that works at your firm. I mean, you can’t just pack up and move to another country… Can you?” She asked, babbling nervously.
“You and Dawn are the only family I have left, Buffy. That’s… The other stuff will work itself out.”
She forced a smile. “That’s great, Dad.” As much as she loved the thought of her Dad moving to England to be closer to her, she felt a knot in her stomach growing out of guilt. If he moved out here now, there’s no way they would be able to keep this up. Not only would he find out she lied, but he would’ve uprooted his entire life based on that lie.
She felt a comforting hand on her knee and she looked over at Giles, who was still eating with his left hand, not letting on that he was even doing anything. She was grateful for his silent strength, it was always there when she felt like she had none of her own.
Later that night Buffy climbed into bed in her usual t-shirt and shorts. Giles was dressed similarly, but she was surprised when he picked up his pillow and a blanket and made his way over to the chair in the corner of the room.
“Giles, what are you doing?” She asked incredulously. There was no way he could possibly be thinking about sleeping in that chair.
“Well it hardly seems appropriate to be sharing a bed after…” He trailed off, his cheeks turning a bright shade of pink.
She rolled her eyes. “After you woke up with a completely involuntary morning erection?” She asked, not even the least bit embarrassed by that word. “I’m not a teenager anymore, Giles. I’ve shared a bed with men before, both as lovers and as friends. And maybe I shouldn’t have made those off color jokes about it, but I honestly don’t think any less of you because of your condition this morning.” She assured him. She reached out and tugged on his hand. “Come on, get in bed. I promise not to accuse you of molesting me if you wake up with another morning salute.”
Giles rolled his eyes but did as she asked, taking his place on the bed.
“Besides, I haven’t woken up next to anyone in a long time, and it was kind of nice.” She admitted, turning on her side to face him.
He looked over at her. “I take it there aren’t any new men in your life.” He ventured. In Sunnydale he often knew way more than he wanted to about her personal relationships. Even when she spent a year in Rome, Dawn would regale him with stories of Buffy’s latest disaster. Her word, not his. However, since they moved to England she had been surprisingly tight lipped.
“Nope. Strictly a single white Slayer life for this chosen one.” She revealed. “Our whole situation is confusing enough, it wouldn’t be fair to anyone to bring another person into it.”
His breath hitched as her hand came up and started playing with his shirt as she nervously continued. “I mean, how would that even go? Hey, I’m Buffy, I’m a twenty-five year old vampire Slayer. I’m married to the greatest guy in the world, but even though it’s legally binding the marriage is all a show so my dad will love me again. Want to grab a coffee? I hope the café is big enough for me and all my Buffy-baggage.”
He sighed and gently placed his hand on top of hers, then let their joined hands slide onto the bed between them as he turned to face her.
“Buffy, you are a beautiful, vibrant, and caring woman. Any man would be lucky to have you on his arm. And while our situation is hardly ideal, I don’t want you to miss out on the things your father thinks I’m providing for you, marriage, kids, or anything else you may want. I never wanted to be the one to stand in your way of having those things. You’re not the only Slayer now, and you have the opportunity to lead a normal life… or at least as normal as our lives could ever be.” He looked at her, grief etched clearly across his face. “I don’t want to be the reason you don’t have the life you deserve.”
She squeezed his hand and tried to blink back a few tears. She just wished he could see that he deserved to have all those things too.
A single tear slipped down her face and he reached out with his thumb to wipe it away.
She looked up at him, her breath caught and she leaned forward, her own hand coming up to his face and kissed him softly.
He was surprised when he felt her lips on his, but he responded to her kiss with gentle passion, his hand on her cheek moving to the back of her head and tangling in her hair. He didn’t think any kiss could be more perfect than the first one they shared at their wedding, but he was wrong. She moaned into his mouth and before he knew it he was on his back with Buffy on top of him, straddling him.
He groaned and his right hand moved down to her waist, there was no way to hide the reaction his body was having to their activities. She didn’t seem to mind, pressing her body closer to his. If she wasn’t careful he was going to end up embarrassing himself, it had been far too long since he’d had any kind of release that wasn’t by his own hand.
He broke off the kiss after a minute and looked up at her. “Buffy?” He asked, making sure she knew what she was doing, and who she was doing it with.
“Giles.” She replied, her hand moving underneath his shirt. “Please.” She whispered softly.
He never could deny her anything.
He pulled her face back down to his and rolled them over so he was on top, his hips resting between her strong thighs. He pulled back after a few minutes, much to her dismay, but only to pull his shirt over his head and toss it aside. He watched as her hands moved to explore the new expanse of skin he revealed. He knew he wasn’t in as good of shape as he had been when they’d been actively training, but he was still fit for his age, though a bit softer around the middle than he liked to admit.
He moved to sit back on his knees and he encouraged her to sit up as well. Once she did, he reached down and removed her shirt, leaving both of them in their shorts. He gave her a nervous smile, sure that any moment now he’d wake up in bed, by himself, and find this entire encounter was all just a dream. A very pleasant dream, that would leave him aching for release, but a dream nonetheless.
He groaned as she tangled her fingers in his hair and pulled his face back to hers. He lowered her onto her back again and resumed his position between her legs as he deepened the kiss. His lips explored all along her jaw and neck before taking a pert nipple into his mouth, while one of his free hands coaxed her leg to wrap around his waist.
She gasped out his name, wanting more of him. All of him. She reached down and started pushing his boxers down his hips, needing there to be nothing between them.
Needing her as desperately as she needed him, he pulled away just long enough to rid her of her own shorts, letting out a surprised gasp when he saw she wore nothing underneath. His mind was hazy with lust, thoughts of driving inside her, moving toward their release.
He wanted to savor the moment, but they were both too far gone, their desire to explore replaced by a demand for union. He placed one hand on the pillow, by her head, and the other guided himself. As he sank all the way inside her he had to hold himself still so he wouldn’t come, as she moaned his name and her fingers clenched against his hips.
He whispered her name and his lips brushed against hers momentarily. Her eyes fluttered open, her gaze meeting his as he started moving at a languid pace, the urgency gone now that they were joined. Her hips met each of his thrusts and soon they were moving faster, nearing their release.
He felt her muscles clench around him, her mouth open and eyes shut, and he came with one final thrust.
He kissed her breathlessly and turned so they were on their sides. “That was…” He trailed off, not even sure if he could find the words to adequately describe how he was feeling. For a man who knew so many words, in many languages, he couldn’t seem to find the one to perfectly encapsulate this moment.
“Wow?” She asked, with a teasing grin.
He laughed and pulled her closer. “Yes, I suppose that would be accurate.” He said, placing a kiss in her hair.
She hugged him a little tighter. “Maybe in a little bit we could wow again?”
He couldn’t help but laugh again. “I think that can be arranged.” He muttered before kissing her again.
Giles awoke the next morning finding Buffy gloriously nude in bed with him. He felt hot as the memories of the night before raced through his mind. It had been everything he’d imagined, plus some. He never thought when this all started that she could ever return his affections.
He placed a kiss on her forehead and watched as she opened her eyes and looked up at him, a smile on her face. Her hair was a mess, but to Giles she’d never looked more beautiful.
“Hey.” She said softly, giving him a shy smile.
“Good morning.” He said, his voice low and husky.
She felt a stab of arousal. She couldn’t believe how easily he could turn her on.
She was about to kiss him but they were interrupted by a loud crash from the kitchen, followed by cursing.
She smiled in amusement. “At least we don’t have to fake that we’ve slept together.” She said.
She saw a flicker of hurt flash across his face, but he quickly schooled his features. “No, I suppose we don’t.” He said, his voice tight, controlled, nothing like it had been a moment before.
She watched as he sat up and pulled on his boxers before heading to the bathroom. She sat up, watching the door slam, stunned. She couldn’t figure out what she said to make him angry with her. She bit her lip and got out of bed, pulling on her clothes. He probably wouldn’t want to see her when he got out so she decided it would be best to leave, telling her dad on her way out that she had last minute errands to run before the party.
Giles stood in the shower, letting the warm water wash over him. He couldn’t believe he’d been so foolish. Of course last night hadn’t meant anything to Buffy, except to complete the charade. He’d made love to her and she just wanted to keep the lie going.
He scrubbed his body clean, but no matter what he did he couldn’t forget the way she had felt against him last night, surrounding him. It was torture to have her so close, yet still so far. He just hoped when he got out, he wouldn’t have to face her.
Buffy spent the day with her sister at their apartment, setting up for the party and trying to forget the heartbroken look on Giles’ face that morning. She couldn’t understand how things could go so wrong so quickly. The night before had changed everything, and yet it had changed nothing. It didn’t change the way she felt about him, she’d been in love with him for a while, but it did give her hope that maybe he could want her too. Though now it seemed unlikely.
She didn’t see Giles again until the party was in full swing. He tried to slip in without being noticed, but she was hyper aware of him. As soon as he opened the door she could sense his presence.
There were a lot of people at the party, but they could only avoid each other for so long. Eventually their paths met when Buffy went to get another drink and found Giles nursing a scotch. She froze in the doorway to the kitchen. They locked eyes. If she turned back now it would be obvious she was avoiding him.
It took a minute but she eventually worked up the nerve to continue into the kitchen. She was only a couple of feet away from him when she ladled more punch into her cup. He didn’t move, instead he looked straight ahead, completely ignoring her.
She turned to face him. “So this is how it’s going to be from now on?” She asked, slamming her cup onto the counter, hard enough for a bit of the red liquid to slosh out onto the white tile countertop.
“I’m not doing anything, Buffy. You made your feelings perfectly clear this morning, I’m just trying to make this easier for both of us.” He said, setting his scotch on the counter.
“What feelings?” She asked, raising her voice. “What did I make perfectly clear, because I’ve gotta say things from my end aren’t clear at all.” She said, not noticing that they’d attracted an audience.
“I tried to understand. I tried to help. I followed along with this charade because I knew how much it meant to you to have your father in your life again. But you’re so bloody blind you don’t even realize what this is doing to me. What it’s like to have you so close and yet so far.” He ran his fingers through his hair. “Your little quip this morning about not having to tell your father was rather telling of your motivations for last night.”
“Tell me what?” Buffy’s father stepped into the kitchen, past the group standing outside listening. He looked at his daughter. “Buffy?”
Buffy’s eyes widened and she looked between her father and Giles. She could try to continue the lie, salvage it in some way, but she knew if she did then any hope she had of fixing things with Giles would be lost.
“I-” She was so confused, she just wanted to run, between her and the front door stood all her closest friends and family, there was no way out. She looked over at Giles, pleading for help, but he just stood there, watching her, letting her decide their future. She took a shaky breath. “Dad, I have something that I need to tell you. When you called last year, I was mad at you. I thought if I told you I was engaged to someone older it would make you angry. But the opposite happened, you cared, you genuinely wanted me to be happy. And you asked to be a part of my life again. I… So I asked Giles for help. I didn’t realize how much I wanted your approval until I got it. I couldn’t let you down, so he agreed to pretend to be my fiancé.” She took another breath, her heart was hammering in her chest, but she could finally breathe, it felt freeing to finally tell the truth.
“It was never supposed to go as far as it did. When we went through with the wedding, the paperwork was mistakenly filed and our fake wedding was suddenly very real, but we still… we still went on as if this was all fake. Nothing really changed until I got the call from you that you were in England for Dawn’s birthday.” She looked at Giles, he wore a neutral expression. “That’s the truth.” She said, turning back to her dad.
“I know I should be angry with you.” Her father told her. “I am to some extent, and not just because that wedding cost me a small fortune. I’m mostly mad at myself, that you felt you had to lie to get me to care about you. I know I haven’t been the best father, or even an adequate one these last few years, but I do love you, Buffy. And… I’ve been lying too.”
“What?” Buffy asked, afraid to know the answer.
“I didn’t take time off work to come out here for Dawn’s birthday.” He said. He looked back at his younger daughter. “That’s not to say I wouldn’t have, sweetheart, I just didn’t have to.” He looked back at Buffy. “Maryanne left me, and I’ve been… well, let’s just say I was let go from the firm. When you told me you and Rupert were going to try for a baby, I figured now was the perfect time to move out here, to be closer to you and Dawn and any grandchildren. There’s nothing keeping me in L.A. any longer.”
“Would you still want to move out here?” She asked. “Even though you know the truth now?”
“More than ever,” he told her. “Plus, I’m still holding out hope that you and Rupert will bless me with a grandchild.”
“Dad, the wedding. It was… It wasn’t real.” She pointed out.
“Maybe, but that doesn’t mean the feelings weren’t.” He told her.
Buffy locked eyes with her husband, both cautious and curious about where the conversation was going.
“I’ve seen how you look at each other. And what are the chances the fiancé you described to me would match Rupert so perfectly, unless you weren’t already thinking of him when you told me?”
Buffy stepped closer to Giles. “What do you think, Giles? Do you think you can forgive me?” She asked softly.
“I think that can be arranged.” He told her.
She stepped forward and wrapped her arms around him, hugging him tightly. She only pulled back when he let out a small grunt of discomfort by the strength of her grasp. She looked up at him sheepishly. “He’s right you know. I love you.”
Giles’ smile widened and he leaned down, capturing her lips with his. There was a round of applause from their friends and family.
“I’ve been lying too.”
Buffy and Giles pulled apart and found Dawn stepping forward.
Nobody spoke until the sound of Dawn’s boyfriend falling unconscious to the floor broke the silence. Then suddenly Dawn found her entire family laying into her about being too young and too irresponsible.
She gave them a couple of minutes before shouting at them to be quiet. “Okay. Now that the attention is back on me. I just want to assure you that I’m not pregnant, and remind you that this is my birthday party. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for one day, at my party, to be the center of attention. Even though I am glad that Buffy and Giles have stopped being complete morons and figured out they’re perfect for each other.”
Buffy laughed and hugged her sister. “I see your point. I’m sorry.” She said.
“I’m not, I’ve wanted to strangle the two of you all day. I’m glad I don’t have to, I’d hate to be arrested for murder on my birthday. Besides, now that you’re married and dating your husband, I can assume that pretty soon I’m going to have this whole apartment to myself, which is a way better gift than the sweater you got me last year.”
Now that the truth was revealed, and her relationship with Giles was still technically new, Buffy stayed at her own apartment after the party. An apartment that, she shared with her sister only days ago, didn’t even feel like home anymore with the absence of a certain British gentleman.
She looked at her clock. It was a little after two, but there was no way she was going to get any sleep. So she got out of bed and changed into a pair of jeans and made her way out of her flat, only stopping to leave a note for Dawn telling her to meet at Giles’ place for breakfast. A half-hour later she was using her key to let herself into the flat she’d called home the last couple of days.
His bedroom door was closed and she quietly made her way inside and took a seat at the edge of his bed. He looked peaceful when he slept. She smiled and shook his arm gently.
Giles’ eyes snapped open, but then he relaxed when he saw what, or rather who, had woken him. “Buffy, what are you doing here? I thought you were staying with Dawn.”
“I couldn’t sleep.” She said honestly.
“Is something the matter?” He asked, sitting up against his headboard, worried she might have changed her mind about them.
“I was just thinking.” She said. “We’re married, doesn’t that mean I’m entitled to half of everything you own?” She asked.
“Yes, I suppose it does.” He said, wondering where she was going with this at, he looked over at his clock, two-thirty in the morning.
A grin spread across her face and she placed her hand on his chest. “Including half of this bed?”
He laughed and pulled her to him. “Yes, including half of this bed.” He said in her ear, as she settled in his arms. “But you have the whole of my heart.”