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Author's Chapter Notes:
More or less season 6. Joyce is dead, but NO DAWN!!! .
Title: Life with Father
Author: Sweetdoggie (stirling_summer@yahoo.com)
Pairing: B/G
Rating: FRC
Summary: Giles’ dad moves in.
Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: No permission has been granted to use the characters. They are owned by their creator, Joss Whedon, Twentieth Century Fox, UPN, WB, and Mutant Enemy. This story is non-profit and is intended solely as entertainment. No copyright infringement is intended.

Rupert Giles hung up the phone. What was he going to do? In six weeks his eighty-year-old father was coming to Sunnydale to move in with him and there didn’t seem to be anything he could do to escape that fate. The old man would know instantly that he was in love and ten minutes after that would have figured out with whom. Giles didn’t know what he would do then. His father wasn’t one to be mealy-mouthed about things. What if he actually said something to Buffy about Rupert’s feelings?

He sat on his couch and wondered again what he was going to do. There was a knock on his door. It was she. He could always tell. Standing, he walked to the door and opened it.

“Hi, Giles.”

“Hello, Buffy. Is there a problem?” He always asked because she was his life. If anything he could do would help her for a single second, he stood ready to do it.

“No. I just thought I’d check in and see what you were up to.”

“Ah, what is that expression you use? Same old, same old?” He chuckled at her expression. “Actually, that is not quite the case.”

“What then?”

“Ah, I received a phone call from my father this morning.”

“Your father? I didn’t know he was still alive.” She looked rueful. “I’m sorry, Giles.”

“Sorry? For what?” He was genuinely puzzled.
“I’m sorry I didn’t even know you had relatives, let alone that one of them was your dad.”

“Well, why would you know? It’s not as if we ever talk about that sort of thing.” He tried to soothe her.

“Yeah, and why is that? Because we’re always too busy listening to my problems to even find out that the most important person in my life has a family.”

He looked at her happily. “I’m the most important person in your life?”

She looked surprised. “I thought you knew that.” She slapped her head. “Why would I assume that you knew that? I have to make more of an effort to tell you this stuff. It’s just that you’re like the other half of me and I forget that I haven’t told you something.”

“That’s very sweet of you to say, Buffy.”

She waved her hand. “Nah, it’s just me being stupid again. Sweet would have been to tell you six years ago.”

He blushed and couldn’t meet her eyes. “Well, urhrrum, as that may be. Come in and sit down. To get back to the subject at hand, I had a phone call from my father this morning. He wants to move to the United States and live with me. He says his health is declining and he’s too old to live alone.”

Buffy looked surprised. “Wow. Big lifestyle change for you, bachelor guy.”

He looked glum. “It’s not that I don’t love and respect my father, because I do. It’s simply that I’m a forty-two year old man and I’ve basically lived alone since I was eighteen. Plus, Father was a Watcher. He’s not going to understand why you aren’t living with me. I’ve never told him that you have a life outside Slaying…he wouldn’t understand.”

“A life I owe to you,” she told him. “You could have come here and forced me to be a typical Slayer but you let me be just a girl who Slays and that was important to me. If there’s any way I can help with your dad, just let me know.”

He was silent for a moment. “Actually, there is a way you could help me a great deal, but it means a huge imposition on you.”

“What?” She patted his knee. “Just tell me. If it’s something that I can do, I’m all yours.”

“I was wondering, um, well, would you care to move in with me? My father and I, I mean.”

“Give up my apartment and move in with you?” she asked for clarification.

“Yes.” He looked up. “If you don’t wish to do so, that’s quite all right. I’m sure I shall manage somehow but I desperately need an intermediary between my father and myself. Having a third person in the house would help enormously.”

Buffy considered his offer. She wouldn’t object to getting rid of her apartment. After her mother died, she had sold the house to pay off bills. She had kept a few pieces of furniture, but had sold the rest. Living in a real home again… “Giles? Are you going to get another apartment or a house?”

He sighed. “I suppose I had better buy a house. Something all on one level perhaps. I doubt father will be up to climbing a lot of stairs.”

“Well, I guess we could give living together a shot. It’s not like we don’t know each other pretty well already.”

“Thank you, you won’t regret it.”

“Well, if things don’t work out, there are plenty of apartments in Sunnydale,” she shrugged philosophically.

“You won’t be needing one of them,” he promised. “When would you like to look for a house?”

“You want me to go with you?”

“Yes, of course. It will be your home too.”

“I’m free now,” she told him. “I don’t have to be at work again till tomorrow.”

At the mention of her job, he frowned. “I wish you would go back to college. Teaching martial arts to children is not even coming close to your potential.”

“No, but it pays pretty good.” She patted his knee again. “It’s OK, Giles. I might take a course now and then, maybe work toward my degree or maybe not. It’s not a burning issue with me these days.”

“I just hate to see you wasting your life on menial jobs when you could do so much more.”

“Like what, Giles? I’m not being flip here, but I’m still the Slayer and I still have all the baggage that comes with that job description. Any work I get is secondary to my calling. It puts food on the table and clothes on my back but it isn’t my life. And I’m finally OK with that. This isn’t the life I would have chosen but it does have its perks, one of which is, I get to be with you. I wouldn’t trade that just to be a normal girl again.”

“That’s a very kind thing to say, my dear, but I would make the trade for you. All I’ve wanted for the past six years has been to keep you alive, sane and relatively happy.”

She grinned up at him. “You know, this is starting to sound like the plot of an O. Henry story where each person gives up the thing they value most so the other person can benefit from it but then finds out that what the other person valued most was the thing they gave up or something.”

He chuckled. “A good thing then that we are not actually given a choice.”

“Yeah, you bet.” She stood up and stretched. “What do you say about going to a realtor this morning? If we only have six weeks, we’ll want to get the ball rolling A.S.A.P.”

He stood as well. “Let me get my coat.”

The real estate agent had six homes that met their criterion. Buffy and Giles looked at the first three and dismissed them as unsuitable even at first glance. One was totally indefensible, with floor to ceiling windows in the dining room, another didn’t have enough bathrooms, and the third had a massive yard that neither of them wanted to maintain. After getting a little better feel for what they wanted, the agent took them to a section of slightly older homes with smaller yards. They liked the first house he showed them and started dickering on the price.

Giles let Buffy handle the haggling. Not only was she better equipped for it, she was ruthless. He would have settled several thousand dollars ago, but she kept picking at things and getting the price knocked down. They finally settled on a price, which included a new roof and paint for the entire place. Closing took an additional week because Giles’ credit history had to be investigated. The real estate agent looked impressed when his inquiries came back.

“You know, with your financial status you could easily afford a bigger home,” he told Giles.

“Thank you, but what we have is sufficient.” The last thing Giles wanted was to maintain an opulent
house. If he were left to himself, he would have his bedroom, a kitchen, a library and a bathroom; anything else was superfluous. Buffy would, of course, require more and he was perfectly prepared to give it to her. He wanted to give her everything. Since she would soon be living with him, he would shortly have the opportunity to make her see him as a man and not just as a Watcher.

When the house was painted, they began moving their furniture in. Buffy had a full bed, a couch, a dining room table, six chairs, and a dresser. Giles had seven floor-to-ceiling bookcases, a king size bed, a chest of drawers and a bedside table. Together, they went out and purchased another full size bed for his father, another dresser, three overstuffed chairs for the living room, a kitchen table with matching chairs, a coffee table and six lamps.

They pooled their dishes, towels, and household supplies. Buffy had her mother’s fine china and Giles had his grandmother’s silver. “Actually, we aren’t doing too bad on supplies. We can get more as we need them,” she told him.

The house, a medium size ranch-type dwelling, had two-and-a-half baths, a finished basement, and four bedrooms. Buffy picked a smallish room as her own. Giles was surprised. “You could have a larger one.”

“Nah. All I need to do is sleep and dress here. The closet’s big enough and the view isn’t bad.” Her window looked out on the back yard.

Giles bought an entertainment center that housed a good-sized television, his stereo and a CD player for Buffy’s music and a brand new DVD/Video player. They put her couch in front of it and tested it out with a movie that night.

Giles’ father was due to land in LA the next day at noon so they drove down that morning. The Watcher was a mass of nerves. Buffy spent an hour sitting in the airport soothing him but he was still as jumpy as a long tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs, as she pointed out.

He gave her a look and settled down with a sigh. “I suppose you think I’m being ridiculous about this.”

“No. Why would I? You’re dad’s a very important figure in your life and of course you’re nervous about seeing him after all these years. It’s natural and expected. If I’d have known he was still alive, I’d have insisted you visit him during one of our slow times.”

“I’m your Watcher, Buffy. That comes before everything.”

She leaned against him and took his hand. She brought it to her lips and placed a kiss on his palm. “Thank you, Giles.”

His hand burned from the soft imprint of her lips. He wondered if he could return her gesture without her guessing his secret love of her. He settled for gripping her hand tightly and drawing it to his chest for a moment. “Thank you, Buffy.”

They called his father’s flight and he and Buffy waited anxiously for the sight of the old man. From her vantage point of twenty-two years, eighty sounded older than dirt to Buffy so she was deeply surprised when a white-haired, slightly older version of Giles came sauntering down the ramp. His eagle eyes swept the area and lit upon his son. They shifted down slightly and took in the small blonde woman standing beside him. The Slayer. Not just a Slayer, but The Slayer. He cleared the ramp and walked to his son.

“You’re looking older, boy.”

“You’re not, sir.” The two men sized each other up for a moment before pulling each other into a tight hug.

Buffy stood by looking pleased. Giles stepped back from his father and surreptitiously brushed away a tear. “Father, I’d like you to meet Buffy Summers, my very dear friend.”

Buffy stepped forward and took the older man’s outstretched hand using it to pull him into an embrace. Slipping her hands around his shoulders, she dropped a kiss on his cheek. “Welcome home, Mr. Giles.”

It was Sylvester Giles’ turn to wipe away a tear. “You’ve done my son proud, young lady.”

She smiled at him and he actually blinked, nearly blinded by the brilliance. “He’s a man that inspires pride, Mr. Giles. I think he’s the best man in the entire world. I’m so glad you’ve come. Now we have more family to love.”

Sylvester Giles hadn’t been part of a real family since his wife had died. He cleared his throat and looked at his son. “Is she always this welcoming?”

“Always,” Giles agreed with a soft smile at his Slayer.

They gathered up the old man’s baggage and lugged it to Giles’ car. Buffy hopped into the back seat. “You guys should bond.” She leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially in Giles senior’s ear, “ Maybe you can convince him to get a new car.”

“I heard that, Buffy!” Giles growled.

She just grinned at him in the rear view mirror. Sylvester hid a smile of his own in his hand. This girl was a very good influence on his boy.

It took them almost three hours to get back to Sunnydale due to traffic. As Giles drove through the town, Buffy pointed out all the sights to his father.

“There’s the old high school. Giles blew it to smithereens. It’s the current location of the Hellmouth,” she explained helpfully. “Two principals got eaten there. Oh, and look across the street there, that’s Giles’ store, the Magic Box. We hang out there a lot.” A bit further on he was treated to descriptions of the cemeteries and the various beasties to be found in each one. She relayed a dozen stories of Giles’ bravery and by the time they pulled up in front of the new house he was practically speechless.

“You and I need to have a little chat, son.”

“Ah, yes. Well, perhaps when Buffy goes on patrol?” Giles shot her a glance that she wasn’t sure how to interpret but she didn’t think he was entirely happy.

They carried the elderly man’s bags into the house and Giles showed him to the room they had decorated for him. “Would you like to rest, father?”

Sylvester sighed. “I am tired, but I hate to sleep when I haven’t seen you for such a long time.”

Giles smiled. “You rest. I’ll be here when you wake.”

His father reluctantly went off to take a short nap.

Buffy and Giles walked to the kitchen. “I like your dad.”

“I believe he likes you as well.”

“What do you think he wants to talk to you about?”

“I imagine I’m going to be thoroughly tongue-lashed for not filling in all the details of our lives for him. I’ve told him how proud I am of you and how many apocalypses you have averted, but I rather skimped on detail since I feared it would only upset him if he knew how many times we have narrowly escaped death.”

She came up behind him and put her arm around his waist. “Dummy. Your dad loves you to pieces, even I can see that. He needs to know about stuff so he can deal, Giles. He was a Watcher; he knows the score.”

Giles sighed and slipped his arm over her shoulders. It felt so very good to be holding her even if it was platonic. “So, your advice is to tell him everything?”

She leaned her head against his chest. “I guess so. My mom always resented that I kept stuff from her. It was to protect her, but that didn’t really matter, you know? Your dad, well, it’s different. He knows about Watchers and Slayers and the evil we fight. I’m betting he could handle it.”

He rested his cheek on her hair and drew her closer by wrapping his other arm around her. She went into his arms as if made for him, slipping her hands under his jacket so she could stroke his shirted back. It was all he could do to refrain from tilting her face up and raining kisses down upon her. Neither of them saw his father standing at the door watching the scene nor heard him withdraw silently back into his room.

Slowly, Giles released Buffy. It felt like he was tearing out his heart to do so, but he knew that he could hold her no longer without raising her suspicions. He cleared his throat.

“Well, I suppose I should look into preparing supper.”

She smiled at him. “I love a man that cooks.”

“So, the way to your heart is through your stomach?” Giles teased her.

“I’m beginning to think not,” she replied somewhat cryptically as she walked back to the door. “I need to head over to the store for a little while. I left my favorite stake over there.”

“Be careful, my dear.”

“I will. I’ll come right home after patrol.”

“I’ll keep your supper warm.” He smiled down at her.

“Thanks. I’ll bag a baddie for you tonight.”

He simply shook his head and watched her leave. After puttering around the kitchen for another hour, he heard his father stir. He put the teakettle on.

Sylvester Giles ambled into the kitchen sniffing the scent of freshly brewed tea appreciatively. His son sat a mug of tea down before him at the table. Sylvester drew up a chair and studied his boy.

“So, Rupert, it seems there are a few things you’ve neglected to mention to your poor old father.”

“I did what I thought best at the time,” Rupert grumbled.

“I want to see your Watcher’s diaries. I know it’s the only way I’ll learn anything.”


“Would you rather I ask young Buffy?”

“That’s blackmail!”

“Yes. Very wrong of me, no doubt. Strangely, I don’t really care about that.”

Giles sighed and glared at the older man. “Very well. You may read the diaries on the condition that you do not tell Buffy you are reading them.”

“You love her very much, don’t you?”

“Yes.” Giles suddenly found his feet very interesting as he avoided his father’s eagle eyes.

“She seems very fond of you.” It wasn’t exactly a question.

Giles sounded bitter when he spoke. “Yes. She is fond of me. Fond is not what I wish, however.”

“You have a few years on her,” the older man pointed out. He wasn’t being judgmental.

“I am more than aware of that, father, as is Buffy.”

“Do you mean that she doesn’t love you because she’s concerned with the age difference?” The older man sounded slightly outraged.

“No, not at all. She simply doesn’t see me as a man. I’m her Watcher and she appreciates that role, but, well, that’s as far as it goes.”

“But you’d like more?”

Giles ran a hand over his face. “God, yes. I love her to distraction. I realize that the best I can ever be to her is her Watcher, but I do want more. I dream about her every night. I think about her every day. I’m rather pathetic, actually.”

His father touched him on the shoulder. “Nothing pathetic about being in love, my boy. You simply need to make your Buffy see you as a man. You need to sweep her off her feet and marry her, Rupert. You’re not getting any younger, you know.”

“Mother was quite a bit younger than you, father. How did you catch her attention?”

“We were training one afternoon. She had knocked me down but I tripped her and she fell on top of me. Before I knew what I was doing, I kissed her.”

“She was eighteen. Younger than Buffy.”

“Yes. We knew when her eighteenth birthday rolled around that she wouldn’t be called as a Slayer, that she was safe. I married her a week later and I never regretted it.”

“You were many years older than her.”

“Twenty years.”

“How did you manage it? Wasn’t society against you?”

“Oh, there were comments, but times were different then and we weren’t living in the States where they are rather more judgmental about this sort of thing. Mostly people called me an old fool and pitied my poor child bride to be tied to me in marriage.”

“Did, did the age gap bother mother?”

The old man smiled somewhat wolfishly. Rupert was reminded rather sharply of Ripper. Apparently he came by the trait honestly.

“No. She never complained.” He declined to say more but his look was deeply satisfied.

“Buffy hasn’t been living with me long. I was hoping that she might see me as more than a Watcher if she lived with me.”

His father raised his eyebrows, but merely pursed his lips before speaking. “I’m not going to ask why you let her live alone, Rupert. I’m sure you had your reasons, but now you must make every effort to attract her,” he paused. “Why don’t you ask her out to dinner?”

Rupert looked at him in surprise. “You want me to win her, don’t you?”

“Of course, son. This girl is your other half. You should be together.”

Rupert sighed. “I wish she could see that.”

His father patted him on the shoulder. “She will.”

They heard the front door close and footsteps walking through the house. “Giles? You here?”

“In the kitchen, Buffy,” he called.

She came in and both men were alarmed to see blood running down her shoulder and arm. She grinned at them in reassurance.

“Hey guys, I’m OK. This is just a little scratch.”

Sylvester pulled out a chair for her. “I think we’ll be the judges of that, young lady. Rupert, your medicine kit?”

Giles was already pulling the kit from the cupboard. He made Buffy sit backwards on the chair so her shoulder was exposed. Her shirt was ripped down the back and the wound extended from her upper arm to under her shoulder blade. It was deep and Giles tut-tutted as he cleaned it. “You should have stitches.”

“You do it if you need to,” she told him.

“We’ll need to remove your shirt.” He looked at his father for a moment.

The older man caught his glance. “I can leave if you’d prefer, Buffy.”

“Nah. I’m wounded, you guys are taking care of me. Be pretty stupid to get all modest about something that dumb. Besides, I wear less to the beach.” She tried to pull the shirt over her head but the wound was painful.

Giles stopped her with a touch and simply cut the top off. “What do you think, father?”

“If we just tape it shut and she takes it easy for a day, it should heal without scaring.”

Giles wiped the blood from her back and disinfected the nasty slice. Buffy gasped when the antiseptic hit the wound. He taped it closed and put a gauze pad over the entire cut, then unfastened her bra so she wouldn’t have to struggle to remove it later.

She stood up a little shakily. “Thanks. If you don’t mind, I’m going to bed.”

He nodded. “Yes, sleep as late as you want. You’ll need to give me details about this attack later.”

She grinned tiredly. “Nothing special tonight, Giles. Six vamps brought to a dusty conclusion.”

He held her arm and helped her to her room. “Where at?”


“Sleep well, Buffy.” He dropped a light kiss on her hair.

She smiled sleepily and went into her room barely staying awake long enough to strip off her shoes, jeans and bra before falling face down into her mattress.

In the kitchen, Giles and his father were conferring as Giles cleaned up the medical supplies.

“Six vampires! Are we having an invasion?” Sylvester asked.

“No,” Giles sighed tiredly. “It’s more like business as usual.”

“You mean your Slayer regularly fights against multiple vampire attacks?”

“Yes. It’s not that unusual for us, for her, rather. Vampires, demons, hellhounds…oh Lord, I don’t know, killer robots, Gods, Frankenstein monsters…she’s done it all. Just about the only thing we haven’t faced are extraterrestrials. I’m waiting for the Martians to attack any day.”

“Rupert, that’s extraordinary! I’ve never heard of a Slayer lasting as long as Buffy has facing those kinds of odds on a regular basis. Does the Council know about this?”

Giles looked at his father, fire in his eyes. “Of course the bloody Council knows. Why do you think they keep trying to take her away from me? I was fine when she was an untrained child that they didn’t expect to live more than a month, but once she showed how wonderful she was, they all wanted her. The best Slayer since the first and they had thrown her away on a Watcher who didn’t follow policy, didn’t care about the rules. It absolutely eats Travers up.”

“He always was a fool.”

Buffy woke up starving. She had missed supper due to her wound and felt like she could eat a horse. Slowly making her way to the bathroom, she peeled the tape off her shoulder and tried to look at the wound. It was healed. Good. She had to work today and didn’t want it breaking open and bleeding. It put the kids off.

She brushed her hair and teeth, pulled on a loose tee shirt and a pair of jeans before heading to the kitchen in bare feet. She was surprised that she had stolen a march on her Watcher. He was normally an early bird. She grinned and put the kettle on before opening the refrigerator and browsing around for food. She found the leftovers that Giles had saved for her last night and popped them into the microwave.

Hearing a sound, she turned around to see Sylvester Giles standing in the doorway. His hair was standing straight up. She grinned at him.

“Rough night?”

“I can’t stop thinking about you facing six vampires.”

She waved her hand. “I do it all the time, Mr. Giles. This is the Hellmouth. If somebody isn’t trying to start an apocalypse, then they’re planning to bring back some ancient evil.”

“I just don’t see how you manage.”

She smiled at him. “Sometimes, I don’t. I’ve died twice. It kinda takes the thrill out of it, you know?”

He looked startled. “I beg your pardon? Did I understand you to say you’ve died twice?”

“Didn’t Giles tell you?”

The older man looked stern. “That boy has some explaining to do. Tell me your story, dear.”

“Well, the first time, I was sixteen. I fought the Master and he bit me and then threw me into a pool of stinky water to drown. One of my friends had followed me and when the Master left he did that CPR thing and revived me. We got another Slayer out of that one. Then, things went on like they do here and last year, I fought a God. I won but there was this nasty portal thing that could only be closed by the blood of a Slayer. I jumped into it and died. The Powers that Be weren’t done with me and sent me back about three months later.”

He sat there with his mouth open unable to form any sort of response.

“You OK?”

“Good Lord! I had no idea. Does the Council know about this, this tendency of yours for resurrection?”

She grinned. “Giles didn’t tell them about the last time. They got sort of shirty about me not staying dead the first time around. You know how they are.”

“Why do you call him Giles?”

She tipped her head sideways. “I think, back when I first came to Sunnydale, I was very angry at being the Slayer. I thought it was over for me and then here’s this guy telling me that I was just starting out. I remember him introducing himself the first time. I was in the school library and he tapped me on the shoulder. I just about jumped out of my skin. He used to be able to sneak up on me. He said he was Rupert Giles, then he whapped this huge book about Vampires down on the desk. I freaked. I couldn’t remember his name. I mean, he could have been called Bugs Bunny and I wouldn’t have remembered by that time. For about two weeks after that, I thought Giles was his first name. After that, it just seemed silly to go around calling him, Mr. Giles or Rupert. He was just Giles and that’s what we stuck with.”

“It could be confusing if you call him Giles and me, Mr. Giles. Why don’t you call me Father? I’d be honored if you would.”

“I’d really like that, father.” She grinned and poured him a cup of tea.

He smiled at her. “You mentioned that Rupert used to be able to sneak up on you. I’m assuming that is no longer the case?”

“It’s funny. He used to be able to walk up behind me and I never heard him. Now, I can feel him. We were at the Bronze the other night. It’s a nightclub. Anyhow, it was really crowded but I could tell exactly where he was all the time. I feel it right here.” She indicated a place just under her breastbone.

He nodded. “I’ve heard of that happening to Slayers and their Watchers. Rupert can find you as well, can he not?”

“Yeah. Sometimes when I’m out patrolling and he doesn’t even know where I am, he can find me. I guess I never thought about it before. Does it mean something?”

He hesitated. Ah well, in for a penny, he thought. “It generally means that the Watcher and the Slayer are bonded, one heart, one soul. How do you feel about my son, Buffy?”

She blushed and looked down. “I feel like he’s the other part of me, taller, older, smarter, and, well, a guy, but still part of me. Is that weird?”

“Do you love him?”

“Of course! He’s been my best friend forever. How could I not love him?”

“I didn’t mean as a friend. Could you love him as a man?”

Neither of them heard Rupert in the hall. He hung back, waiting for Buffy to answer his father’s question.

“You mean like would I want him to be my boyfriend?”

“Actually, I was thinking of something a little more permanent and stable than that.”

“Oh.” Buffy tipped her head sideways as she thought. “I don’t really know. We haven’t been about romance. I have noticed how handsome he is…I like his hair and you know how he stutters sometimes when he gets flustered? That is just too cute. He makes me feel safe, warm and protected. He cares about me the way no other person on the planet could. His eyes are so expressive. One time when Ethan changed him into a Fyarl demon, I almost killed him, but I recognized his eyes at the last minute.” She sighed. “Oh no! Shoot! Now what am I gonna do? How come you had to tell me I’m in love with my Watcher?”

Sylvester grinned. It was so reminiscent of his son that she blinked. “You were close to figuring it out, my dear. Now, what are you going to do with my boy?”

“He thinks of me as a daughter,” Buffy told him morosely. “I haven’t got a clue as to how to get past that.”

A board creaked under his foot and Giles found himself pinned by two pairs of piercing eyes.

“Buffy, I’ve never thought of you as my daughter. You are my Slayer, my dear friend, and the woman I love, but you are not my child.”

“You love me?”

“God! I’ve been in love with you for at least three years. When I saw you walk into that dance your senior year, my heart fell at your feet. I’m rather surprised you didn’t trip over it,” he quipped.

She grinned. “I guess I was too busy tripping over my big dumb crush on Angel.”

“Can you bring yourself to love me, Buffy?”

She stood and took his hand. “I do love you, Giles. I guess we need to do some talking.”

“Yes, I daresay you’re right.”

Sylvester sighed. “For heaven’s sake, you two act like convent raised virgins! Rupert, you kiss that girl, right now.”

Giles grinned down at Buffy. “Buffy, my father says I have to kiss you now. I’ve tried to be a dutiful son, so I suppose…”

She put her hand against his chest. “I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble with your dad. I guess you should kiss me.”

He pulled her against him, slipped his hand behind her back and kissed her for all he was worth. Sylvester was becoming alarmed about their lack of oxygen when they finally broke apart. Buffy leaned on Giles chest and tried to regain a smidgen of her equilibrium.

The elder Giles sipped on his tea, acting as if he saw his son find his other half every day of the week. “I suppose you need to make plans, lad.”

Giles looked up at his father, his eyes glazed with happiness. “Plans?”

“I’m expecting a wedding.”

“Wedding?” The sound of two voices squeaking the word in shock was very amusing to the elder Giles.

He sighed and tried to look impatient, but it was hard to hide his grin. “Yes, a wedding. Your lives are precarious. You don’t have time to shilly-shally about, dawdling with an engagement. I’m an old man and I want to see you both settled down and happily married before I die.” He crossed his arms. “Get on with it.”

Rupert wasn’t entirely sure his legs would support him any longer so he dropped heavily into a kitchen chair. Since he hadn’t released Buffy, she followed him down and landed on his lap. He tucked his arms around her and positioned her more comfortably before continuing the conversation with his father.

“I suppose we could arrange a small ceremony—all our friends are here.” He looked down at the girl in his arms. “What do you think, love?”

She looked slightly shell-shocked. “You want me to get married? To you? Like, soon?”

Giles squeezed her. “Is there any point in waiting?”

“Wh, what if we aren’t compatible?”

He grinned rather wolfishly. “You feel very pattable to me, my heart.”

She rolled her eyes. “Giles!”

He looked down at her seriously. “I love you, dearest. I’ve loved you for years. All I want is for you to be happy. We can be married tomorrow or if you want an engagement, we could do that. Whatever makes you happy.”

“How about a date? I want dates. I want dancing and romance. You are not getting off the hook that easy, buddy!”

He feigned disappointment. “Damn. Well, if I must, I suppose I could manage to take you to dinner and dancing. Where would you like to go? Paris is nice this time of year.”

She smiled at his words. “You are just too sweet, but you know we can’t leave the Hellmouth. I guess I’d settle for dinner at that French place outside of town.” She had a thought and frowned sternly at him. “No snails, though.”

“They’re rather good, actually. Baked in the shell and smothered in garlic butter. I think you’d like them.”

She looked revolted. “No snails. No bugs of any sort. And let me tell you, if you actually eat a snail, we are so not kissing again.”

He sighed. “I suppose I must make allowances. You Americans and your plebeian tastes!”

“Hey! I’ve watched British cooking shows. I’ve seen those two fat ladies cook. It’s a wonder they haven’t poisoned themselves by now. Nothing was actually ‘done’ and their bill for butter must have been huge. The cholesterol count was probably in the six digit range on some of that stuff.”

“They’re famous chefs.”

“Yeah, ‘cause the world knows England for its cuisine.”

He pinched her. “When I take you to England and you get to taste some real English cooking, you’ll change your tune.”

She stroked his face. “Someday, I’d like to go to England with you.” She knew it would never happen. She was born to die in Sunnydale, fighting to keep the Hellmouth closed and had accepted that fate years ago. Still, he was sweet to pretend otherwise and she wouldn’t bring him down by allowing reality to intrude.

“Will you marry me, Buffy?”

“Eventually, yeah. But not tomorrow.”

“How about next week?”

She pretended to think it over. “I think I have a free day next week.”

“I wish we could go on a honeymoon, but Sunnydale is simply too active at this time of year.” He sounded fretful.

She shrugged. “Don’t worry about it. All we need is each other.”

Sylvester stood and clapped them both on the shoulders. “Congratulations my children. I’m so happy for you.”

Giles blushed. “Thank you, father.”

Buffy leaned around her new fiancé and kissed his dad. “Yeah, thank you. Ten minutes of talking to you and suddenly my life is changed forever,” she grinned.

Giles nodded his agreement. “Father has a way about him.”
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