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She propped her chin on his chest, only inches away from his eyes. "Hi. And? Welcome back."

Giles waited for his breathing to return to normal before he spoke, but couldn't hold back a tentative, delighted smile before that. "Mmmmm... I should say so." He curved an arm around her waist. "Welcome, indeed."

Kate grinned, then licked a quick stripe across his lips before he could catch her tongue, apple-tangy and warm. "I'm glad you stayed."

"So am I."

His gaze was soft on her face, and very slightly amazed. How had this happened? She was going to wait longer. She was going to tell him things. Her screw-ups, her new career, the darkness she hunted, her father, Angel, the drinking... instead, she'd blurted out, "Do you want to come in?" And, well. Here they were, two a.m. and wide awake, the sheets kicked to the foot of the bed.

Kate was the same age as Jenny. The only real similarity, aside from stunning looks. All the things he'd wanted to give Jenny, all the things he'd missed the chance to say, Kate had now heard. And she didn't know about... anything. Not Buffy, not Ethan, not the meaning of the tattoo she'd kissed as she'd stripped off his shirt. Olivia had known more, and look how that ended when she finally understood his stories. Maybe because she'd finally understood him.

Oh, she was going to break his heart.

He was going to say she was crazy, and once he did....

Giles pulled her closer just as Kate shut her eyes, and laid her head within the hollow of his chest.