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Disclaimers: The usual. Song belongs to Lonestar
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The only ground I ever owned was sticking to my shoes
Now I look at my front porch and this panoramic view
I can sit and watch the fields fill up
With rays of glowing sun
Or watch the moon lay on the fences
Like that's where it was hung
My blessings are in front of me
It's not about the land
I'll never beat the view
From my front porch looking in


As the sun dropped below the tops of the pines, Rupert Giles sat back contentedly and reflected on the previous several days’ work. He’d stepped off the plane this afternoon to the greetings and delighted squeals of his wife and their lovely brood of children, coming home to this forty-acre haven south of Tuscaloosa, Alabama to his first home-cooked meal in over a week and the incredible comfort of having his familiar things all about him. Seven Slayers in seven days, and in seven different countries, could really take a lot out of a man. When supper had been finished and the children noisily helping their mother clear up, he’d grabbed his guitar from its stand and stepped out the French doors and onto the wraparound porch, moving to his favorite spot to sit and pick out simple tunes, clearing his mind and relaxing.

He was picking out a tune he’d heard on the local country radio station a few days before he left, one that had really caught his attention because it so perfectly described his life. He began to strum it, trying to recall the words and doing a fairly good job of it. He didn’t notice when the sounds of cleanup from the kitchen ended, nor did he notice when his wife stepped out through the French doors to hear what he was singing, so intent was he on his music and his need to get the words down pat, to express his joy with his life and his happiness at being home.

There's a carrot top that can barely walk
With a sippy cup of milk
A little blue eyed blonde with shoes on wrong
'Cause she likes to dress herself
And the most beautiful girl holding both of them
And the view I love the most
Is my front porch looking in, yeah


It was so apt, he thought, looking out for a long moment over the cotton fields adjacent to the yard. While his home was certainly beautiful, the thing that made it the joy that it was, was his wife and his children and the love that they all shared together. He smiled, thinking of his wife, not knowing that she was standing silently behind him. So many years they had worked side-by-side, supporting and helping one another, making mistakes, making amends. He knew that his life would be empty without her.

Their shared love for one another had come as a bit of a surprise for both of them and had not been revealed in the most auspicious of ways – both of them piss-drunk, swapping memories of a time when they’d lived and worked in a town which was now a crater. But when the alcohol wore off the next day, they realized that they both felt the same way without it – and that they both felt the same way about each other. The next logical step had been taken, and they’d been ribbed unmercifully by their friends, who’d apparently had a betting pool to see how long it would take the two of them to get together.

I've traveled here and everywhere
Following my job
I've seen the paintings from the air
Brushed by the hand of God
The mountains and the canyons reach from sea to shining sea
But I can't wait to get back home
To the one he made for me
It's anywhere I'll ever go and everywhere I've been
Nothing takes my breath away
Like my front porch looking in


Finding the Slayers, though, that was his job. And it took him away from her more than he ever wanted it to. But she insisted that he go, that he do this job, fulfill this duty, even as she fulfilled her own in a new way. Once the Slayer, the only force standing between humanity and evil, she was now retired, and had turned her focus from protecting life to creating it. Within six months of their starting a relationship, they were preparing for a child. And within ten months after the first birth, they were preparing for the second. And then the third. He was delighted – he wanted as many children as she was willing to give him – and she was quite surprised to discover just how content she was to give him those children, to dedicate her life to being their mother. It wasn’t a role she’d ever seen herself playing in her life.

She explained it to him one night by candlelight, as they lay snuggled together in bed, listening to a winter storm howl around the outside of their farmhouse and awaited the births of the twins – children numbers four and five. As a teenage Slayer, she’d felt that her life bore an expiration date and that love, marriage and family had been things which would be forever denied her. Now that they were clearly not denied her, she wanted to revel in them. It was certainly not a position he’d ever expected her to take, but to hear her say those words had caused his heart to swell in love for her so strong that he thought he might weep.

There's a carrot top that can barely walk
With a sippy cup of milk
A little blue eyed blonde with shoes on wrong
'Cause she likes to dress herself
And the most beautiful girl holding both of them
Yeah the view I love the most
Is my front porch looking in


He began to sing the words softly, putting his love for his wife and his children into his voice, and had almost finished making it all the way through the song when a burst of childish giggles gave him pause. He turned to see his wife sitting on the wicker bench not far from him, smiling, one hand resting on the slight swelling of her abdomen which heralded the imminent arrival of child number six. Beside her on the floor sat three-year-old Jenny and Joyce, the twins and the only girls so far. Standing in the doorway were five-year old Alex, seven-year-old William, and eight-year-old Rupert Giles IV. He smiled at his family, turning to face them all, and picked up the song where he’d broken off.

I see what beautiful is about
When I'm looking in
Not when I'm looking out


His wife smiled at him, a serene and happy expression that he had once despaired of ever seeing on her face. Her love for him shone in her eyes, and her love for their children showed in every gesture she made toward them. The boys gathered close behind their mother, watching their father and waiting for him to finish.

There's a carrot top who can barely walk
With a sippy cup of milk
A little blue eyed blonde with shoes on wrong
'Cause she likes to dress herself
And the most beautiful girl holding both of them
Yeah the view I love the most
Oh, the view I love the most
Is my front porch looking in
Yeah
Oh, there's a carrot top who can barely walk
A little blue eyed blonde with shoes on wrong, yeah
And the most beautiful girl
Holding both of them
Oh, yeah


He finished the last chord and his rapt audience applauded as they always did, and then the children, all laughing, scattered to the four winds. Giles moved to the wicker bench and seated himself next to his beloved, gathering her into his arms and resting his chin on her forehead. “It’s all true, you know,” he said to her softly. “Every word of it.”

“I know,” Buffy replied. “For me, too. Always.”

They held one another close and watched as the last rays of the sun faded away, leaving the sky over the cornfields a deep velvet black, littered with the tiny sparkles of stars. Crickets began to sing and the children came out armed with jars to catch the lightning bugs which flickered all about the yard. Their voices were raised in childish laughter and the parents held one another close, reveling in the unexpected joy that was their shared life.

--FIN--
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