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P>Chapter 2 - The Morning After



Buffy woke from the most marvelous dream to find that it was real. A warm male body was wrapped around hers and velvet soft lips were nuzzling the nape of her neck. A large hand slowly slid up her thigh, pushing the shirt she was wearing with it. The hand paused briefly on her stomach, pressing her gently back against a wonderful heat, then slid on up and cupped her breast. She moaned in pleasure, tilting her head to give the lips better access.


Her moan woke the other sleeper in the bed. The body behind her stiffened, the hand freezing. She heard Giles mutter a word that she had never expected to hear him say. In fact, before meeting Ripper she would have bet that Giles didn't even know that word. He pulled away, and she turned her head to see him sitting on the edge of the bed, his head in his hands. Those words that Ripper had been saying in the sewer last night were now coming from Giles. Buffy couldn't help but grin. "Potty mouth," she said.


Giles turned so fast that he almost fell off the bed. Instead of the angry young woman that he expected to see, Buffy was lying contentedly on his bed, in one of his shirts, giggling at him. He pinched the inside of his thigh. Ouch, that hurt, so he must be awake. He blinked, trying to get his mind around the situation.


Buffy, seeing the confusion in his eyes, started laughing harder. "Oh, if you could see your face. My poor Giles, don't you remember what happened yesterday?"


He blushed, turning away from her, "All too clearly."


Buffy sat up behind him and ran a teasing finger down his back. "That's so cute. I've never seen a person's back blush before." Her finger moved to gently caress the scar on his left shoulder. "Oh, Giles."


He stood up jerkily. "I'm sorry, I know the scars are ugly. I'll put on a shirt." He moved over to his dresser.


Moving swiftly, Buffy got off the bed and put her arms around him, stilling his hands on the drawer. She rested her forehead against the middle of his back, trying to find the right words. She placed a kiss on his back, and turned him around. Cupping his face in her hands she smiled and said, "Your body is beautiful. You should never be embarrassed about me seeing it."


Giles closed his eyes, remembering when he…. Ripper…. he, had said those words to her the night before. Blinking away the sudden moisture, he bent and gave he a gentle kiss. "Thank you, Luv." Leaving the shirt in the drawer, he led her back to sit on the bed. "Buffy, what are we going to do?" He frowned suddenly. "And what were you doing in my bed? I remember you saying that you would sleep on the couch."


"I was thinking, and I decided I could do it better while I watched you sleep. I didn't mean to fall asleep, but the bed was just so warm and cozy, and it was so soothing listening to your heartbeat, that I couldn't help it." She stood. "As for what we're going to do, right now I'm going to get a change of clothes out of my gym bag and take a quick shower. Then while you shower, I'll start some breakfast."


Buffy started down the stairs and Giles listened in shock as she continued, "You know, we'll need a bigger place. One with two bathrooms, cause it takes me a while to get ready most mornings. And one of them had better be attached to the bedroom, cause this thing of going downstairs to go to the bathroom ain't gonna to cut it."


Giles went to the railing and looked down. "Buffy?"


She smiled up at him. "Showers, breakfast," she made a face, "and I have to go check on Mom. Then we talk, Watcher-mine. Get that gorgeous rear in gear." She walked into the bathroom, closing the door. He heard the shower start.


Giles leaned against the loft railing. What the hell just happened? Buffy was acting as if it were the most normal thing in the world to climb into bed with him. Was talking about THEM getting another apartment because THEY would need two bathrooms. This had to be a dream. He pinched himself again.


Damn, that hurt. And he could still hear the shower running. Not a dream then, but what? Maybe she was having some kind of delayed reaction to the candy. That had to be it. Buffy would never think of him as an attractive man if she were in her right mind. No, those were his fantasies. He groaned, backing to sit on the bed, burying his face in his hands again.


He had told her about the Watcher diaries, about his dreams. He had kissed her, bitten her neck. He remembered the warm softness of her body under his on the couch. Oh, dear lord, how was he going to face her?


Two hands grabbed his wrists and pulled. Buffy was kneeling on the floor in front of him, clothes damp, water still beading on her skin, hair wrapped in a towel.


"I figured it would be hitting you about now. I'm not the one who was under the influence of anything yesterday, and I'm not under the influence of anything now. This is real, as real as it gets around here, and I’m not going to change my mind." She pulled him to his feet, gently shoving him towards his closet. "Clothes, shower, shave. I'll fix breakfast, as long as you don't mind scrambled eggs and toast. Then check on Mom. THEN talk." She gave him a little shake. "Okay?"


Giles drew a deep breath, smiling at her shyly. "Scrambled eggs and toast will be fine." He went into his closet, wondering what to wear. It was Saturday, no school, so no need for a suit, but part of him wanted the security of the tweed. He reached for a pair of dress slacks.


Buffy stuck her head in the closet. "Those jeans you were wearing yesterday made you look yummy. Got another pair?"


He jumped and glared at her. "No, that was my only pair."


"I foresee shopping trips in the future, but for now those gray slacks with that green Henley, the one that matches your eyes, will do." She retreated.


Giles stood blinking at his clothes. She thought he looked 'yummy' in blue jeans? She knew that he had a shirt that matched his eyes? He would have been willing to bet that she had never noticed what he wore, and he wasn't a betting man. This day was becoming more and more bizarre.



Giles stood frowning at the damage on the side of the jeep. Buffy grimaced. "I know, Mom's gonna have a hissy. She'll probably never let me have the keys again, and it was so totally not my fault. Willow and Oz are my witnesses. Some guy ran a red light and hit me, then took off."


"Speaking of keys, where are they?"


"You were driving. You probably put them in your jeans."


"No, I checked." Giles looked in the window and saw the keys dangling from the ignition. He banged his head against the window. "Bloody hell, I don't believe I did that. We're lucky it's still here."


Buffy giggled. "There's my cranky Watcher. I wondered how long it would take him to make an appearance."


Giles gritted his teeth. "Just get in the bloody car."


Buffy climbed in the jeep, still giggling. Giles looked over at her, planning to reprimand her for her levity, then caught the faint note of hysteria in her voice. He looked closer and saw the panic in her eyes. "Buffy, I'm sure your Mother is fine."


"What if Snyder is still there? Giles he saw things; heard things. You say you remember everything that happened. What if he remembers?"


"We'll handle it together. Watcher/Slayer. If he really does understand and accept, it could make things at school a lot easier."


"That's my Watcher, always the optimist. And what if he doesn’t accept, it could make things a lot worse."


"That's my Slayer, always the pessimist; that's why we make such a good team. We cancel each other out, cosmically speaking."


Buffy beamed a smile at him. "I love you." At his shocked look she continued, "I always have, in a Watcher-y, Giles-y way. But I came to the conclusion around 4:30 this morning that I'm in love with you too. And if smoochies with Rupert Giles are even half as good as the ones with Ripper Giles, I say we head for Las Vegas the day after graduation."


Giles eyes flared with heat. "Buffy!" He lunged across the gearshift towards her.


She pressed her hand against his chest to stop him. "Easy there, Watcher-mine. Still 17. Jail bait. Until I'm 18 we need to be careful, no making out in cars. Especially not in broad daylight in front of your apartment building."


"Then you shouldn't say things like that." He settled back in his seat, giving her a smoldering look. "Just wait until we get back here for our talk. I'll show you smoochies."


Buffy felt her insides flutter. "Is that a threat?"


His smile was pure Ripper. "No, Luv, a promise."


A few minutes later they pulled up in front of Buffy’s house. She sat, staring at the front door. Giles got out, went around and opened her door. He took her hand. "It will be alright. Come on." They went up the walk, opened the front door and entered the house. Buffy could hear voices coming from the kitchen. She shuddered and pointed in that direction. As they came to the kitchen door, they paused, listening to the conversation.


"So Buffy is this, Slayer, and the librarian, Mr. Giles, is her Watcher? What exactly does that mean, and does stuff like last night happen very often?"


Giles pushed open the door. "It means that Buffy is the one Chosen by the Powers that Be to protect this world from evil. I have been honored to be picked to assist her in whatever why I can. And things similar to last night happen often enough to make life interesting."


"I, for one, could live with life being a little less interesting." Buffy said dryly.


"Me too." said Joyce. "When I found out about all of this, I couldn’t believe it, didn’t want to believe it. Although it did explain a lot that had happened."


Snyder frowned. "You said she was chosen. How?"


"We don't know. At any given time there are hundreds of Potentials around the world. The Council has never been able to predict which would be Called as the Slayer."


"The Council?"


Giles sighed. "Every explanation I give will lead you to ask another question. Allow me to try to tell everything from the beginning, and see if that makes things clearer."


"Oh, no," Buffy moaned, "he's going to give 'The Speech'."


Giles gave her a reproachful look. "A modified version."


"Right, it only takes two hours instead of four."


"And every interruption will make it take longer."


Snyder looked at Joyce. "Are they like this all the time?"


"Usually."


Giles cleared his voice, sending everyone his best teacher's glare. "In the beginning, this planet was not the paradise that is commonly believed. It was inhabited by demons. At some time, lost in pre-history, mankind developed and started a war with the demons for control of the world. At some point during this war, a girl was gifted by the Powers. She became stronger, faster, with enhanced senses, better able to fight the demons.


"Whether being gifted changed her, or she was already mutated to some degree that allowed her body to accept the powers, there is no way to know. Current council scientists have discovered that all Potentials have an extra base pair in their DNA. This is what no doubt allows them to be stronger and faster, even without Slayer power. It is believed that this difference in the DNA is what has allowed Council seers to find Potentials when they are born. A marker, so to speak, that magic can detect."


"Hey," Buffy protested, "I haven't heard this part before."


"I never thought you would be interested." When Buffy started to speak, he silenced her with a look. "Save your questions for the end. If I may continue?" Everyone nodded.


"Again, it's not recorded when the existence of the Slayer first became known to others. The Council originally was a group of sorcerers who had banded together to fight demons. When they were made aware of a being with a magical aura who was better at fighting the demons than the average person, they started observing her. They discovered that when she was killed, the magic transferred to another. Over time a working relationship was established. Once a Slayer was found, a Council member would offer to form a partnership. If she accepted, a magical bond was created to link the two, and usually when the Slayer was killed, he died as well."


Buffy drew in her breath sharply, but Giles waved her off. "Later."


"The Council was puzzled by how the Slayer was chosen. It clearly wasn't passed down through family lines since Slayers never became pregnant. They started to routinely check girls passed the age of puberty for this magical aura. They called these girls Potentials. When a Potential was found, a man was assigned to live near her family to protect her and teach her basic fighting skills. This was the beginning of the Watchers. Since girls were routinely married as soon as they could produce a child, most Watchers arranged to marry their Potentials."


"Another thing that was noticed was that no girl over the age of 20 was ever Called. The Watcher was therefore instructed to refrain from any kind of intimate behavior with his Potential until it was certain that she would not be Called. As more Potentials were discovered, it was hoped that the daughters of the ones who had not been Called would carry the same magical aura, thereby creating bloodlines of possible Slayers. To the dismay of the Council, these girls usually gave birth to males, and the few females who were born did not possess the aura.


"This is how the system worked, for many generations. Eventually, it was decided to start checking the girls at a younger age, and it was discovered that the aura was there from birth. More Watchers were recruited, most to strictly gather and compile information on demons and magic. It also became common practice to assign two Watchers, posing as father and son, to each Potential. One would be an older man who would guard the girl during her childhood. This older Watcher would keep detailed records of her life and events in the village. This was the beginning of the diaries. The other would be a younger man, usually in his teens, a Watcher in training who would marry the girl at the appropriate time."


"That sounds so cold-blooded. What if the girl wanted to marry someone else?" Joyce asked.


"Joyce, until the mid 1800’s arranged marriages were common everywhere in the world, and the average age difference between the couple was 12 years. The older Watcher would usually approach the girls’ family when she was five or six and arrange the future marriage to his ‘son’. The girls would have been raised with the knowledge that they would marry this young man. Love was never supposed to enter into the equation. This is still the practice in a few cultures today. In fact, when the Council seers today spot a Potential in one of those countries, they simply send a representative to buy the infant. The girl is then raised at a Council compound."


"Giles, that’s terrible. How can you condone something like that?" Buffy asked, outraged.


"I never said I condoned the practice, although the girls are probably living better lives than if they had been left with their parents. Even today, there are places where baby girls are killed because they are considered of no value." Giles looked at Buffy, his eyes filled with pain.


Giles turned away from her, pacing to the far side of the kitchen. "We're getting off the subject. As I said before, this was the procedure the Council followed until a little over a hundred years ago. Many of the records of that time are missing, but from what I was able to piece together, the son of the head of the Council was Watcher for the active Slayer. Due to the common practice of bonding, when she was killed, he died as well. It was shortly after that occurrence that the method of training the Potentials was changed.


"Before, she had continued to live with her family until her marriage to her Watcher. Her family knew about her possible Calling, and actively participated in her early training. The new Council rules changed that. It was decided that allowing her to remain close to her family was a distraction, that if she became the Slayer it would make her vulnerable to the enemy. Marriage was forbidden, any intimate contact of any kind was forbidden." Giles blushed slightly.


"Earlier I mentioned that in the beginning, when it was noticed that Potentials over the age of 20 were never Called, I said that their Watchers were instructed to avoid intimate contact with the girls until they reached that age. Human nature being what it is, that rule wasn't followed very well, especially since most Watchers were relatively close to their Potentials age. Many of the older diaries have quite explicit details of their personal lives." Giles looked out the window, avoiding the other's gaze.


"Most who broke the prohibition did so by following the letter of the rule, rather than the intent. Intimate contact was taken to mean penetration of the female by the male. Anything else was seen as permissible." He cleared his throat, his face red. "They were a very randy lot who were quite inventive." Giles glanced at Joyce. "This is the main reason I never let Buffy or the others read any of the Watcher diaries."


"It was during this time of change that the first women Watchers were recruited. While that particular group of men was in charge of the Council, the only Watchers put in charge of Potentials were women or men over the age of 50. All methods of acquiring and training Potentials emphasized isolating the girls. This is when 'The Speech' was invented. One girl in all the world, etc. etc."


"It was also during this time that the life expectancy of the Slayer began to fall. Very few girls were reaching the age of 20, because very few girls were surviving more than six months after they were Called. The practice of Watcher/Slayer bonding was also halted. It was considered a waste of valuable resources for the Watcher to die with their Slayer. The emphasis switched from the Slayer to the Watchers. The Council decreed that they were the most important part of the fight against evil in this world, and that the Slayers were only a tool to be used."


"I'd show them tool, bunch of stupid old pricks." Buffy growled.


"Buffy, watch your language." Joyce scolded. "Although I agree with you, you shouldn't say such things."


"Sorry, Mom."


Giles smiled faintly. "I remember hearing arguments between my Grandmother and my Father about that. Gran felt that the Slayer was more important, and Father followed the Council party line. After Father was given a Potential he was seldom at home and Gran did her best to impress upon me that my first duty would be to my Slayer and no one else, especially not the Council. I promised her that if I were given a Potential I would follow her teachings, although after my little rebellion I never expected to be given a chance to put them into practice."


Buffy giggled. "No wonder you were so eager that first day. I was your science experiment."


"No, no, it wasn't like that," Giles started to protest, then looked at her. "Buffy." He said reproachfully.


"Okay, I understand about the Council and about Watchers, and some of the stuff you said about Slayers, but if you are Buffy's Watcher why were you only assigned to her two years ago." Snyder looked between the two. "I read both of your files, you were here two months before Buffy transferred here."


Giles looked at Buffy, then down at the floor. Buffy looked out the window. "My first Watcher, Merrick, was killed protecting me. A vampire named Lothos and a group of his followers came after me and were attacking kids at the prom. The only way I could kill most of them was to set fire to the gym and block the doors." She hunched her shoulders. "Everyone was thanking me for saving them, until the police and firemen got there. Then I became this crazy girl who set the gym on fire to make trouble for my ex-boy friend. I was arrested and put under psychiatric observation when I tried to tell them the truth. Merrick was dead, so he couldn't tell them and when I called the phone number he had given me if I needed help, they said they couldn't get involved."


"What?" Joyce and Giles both exclaimed. Giles got in first. "Buffy, you called the Council and they refused to help you? Who did you talk to?" Giles started pacing the kitchen, agitated. "You were the Slayer, how dare they refuse to help you." He turned to Buffy, taking her by the shoulders. "I want to know who the bloody pillock was that refused to help you."


"I don't know, he didn’t tell me his name."


Giles pulled her to him for a hug. "I'm sorry you had to face that alone." He drew away, frowning. "Now I understand that I was lied to as well. When I was informed that Merrick was dead and I was to be your new Watcher I was also told that your parents had taken you away on holiday. They said that arraignments had been made to bring you to guard the Hellmouth, but that due to certain circumstances your family couldn't move to Sunnydale until after the beginning of the school year. I was told that my cover for being with you was as the school librarian and I was to be there at the start of school."


"That explains that," Snyder said, "but something I don't understand is why is Buffy living with her Mother. Didn't this Merrick take her away for training when she was little? You did say that is Council policy, right?"


"They missed me." Buffy said. Snyder looked puzzled,


Giles gave her an exasperated look. "Somehow, the Council seers failed to locate Buffy. Not once, but every time they cast the locator spell for 15 years it failed to spot her aura. This is the cause of a great deal of concern. If it happened with her, how many other girls have been missed."


‘Lucky them," Buffy murmured.


"While I agree that any girl who is not removed from the love and support of her family is fortunate, do you really wish what happened to you on another girl?" Giles remarked.


"No and yes." Buffy smiles at him. He gave her a puzzled look. "No, I don’t want it to happen to anyone else, but if it did, yes, I hope they would get Watchers like you and Merrick."


Giles blushed slightly and lowered his head, "Thank you, Buffy."


"So let me get this straight. The Council didn’t know about you being a Potential until you were 15 years old. That’s when they sent this guy, Merrick, to be your Watcher."


Buffy and Giles again exchanged a glance, this time Giles answered. "When the previous Slayer was killed, the Council waited for a Watcher to inform them which Potential had become the Slayer. No call arrived. Messages went out, and all Watchers reported back that none of the Potentials had been Called. The Council was in a panic. There was fear that whatever power that had imbued the Slayer had been destroyed when the last Slayer was killed. Several of the Potentials were tested to see if they still had their magical auras, and they did.


"Merrick was the one who raised the possibility that a girl had somehow been missed, and that she was the new Slayer. The Council seers declared this to be impossible, and other ideas were discussed. Merrick went to a coven of powerful witches in Devon and asked them to cast the spell. It pinpointed Buffy."


Giles halted for a moment, looked searchingly at Buffy, then continued. "Merrick wrote in his diary that the leader of the coven told him that Buffy's being hidden was a sign from the Powers That Be. They are unhappy with the way the Council has been training the Slayers. Isolation doesn't make a Slayer stronger; it makes her weaker. She needs to be connected to the people she is destined to protect. Merrick was intending to allow Buffy to live as normal a life as possible, with her parents. He came on his own, to see her and begin her training."


"The head of the Council, a man named Travers, was furious and tried to have Merrick recalled. A Council vote overruled him. It was felt, and this was supported by the reports that Merrick was sending back, that to replace him would be detrimental to Buffy’s training."


Snyder looked at Buffy in amazement. "So you didn’t know anything about all this until after you were the Slayer?"


"Yeah, happy 15th birthday. I woke up that morning and felt kinda funny. Then I broke almost everything I touched, because I didn’t know how to adjust my grip. My whole body was buzzing with all this energy that I didn’t know what to do with. It was a freaky couple of days, then it got even weirder. This old guy showed up and told me I had a destiny. He gave me the whole ‘one girl in all the world’ speech and expected me to jump up and down in joy that I had been Chosen. I told him to get lost. He told me that it was dangerous for me to ignore what he was saying, that the Slayer aura would draw the vampires to me. He told me that if I came with him that night, he could prove everything he was telling me."


Buffy looked thoughtful. "Thinking about it now, there must have been some sort of Watcher/Slayer bond thing going then, because there is no other reason that I can think of why I went out to meet him." She turned to her mother. "Mom, if you had ever seen him you would have called the police. He looked like the stereotypical child molester. Wrinkled brown raincoat, hat, straggly gray hair, scruffy beard. The first time he walked up to me I was expecting him to say ’Do you want some candy little girl’."


She blinked back sudden tears. "But he was the sweetest man I had ever met up till then. Even sweeter than Daddy. I’ll never forget the look in his eye when Lothos was holding him hostage. Lothos threatened to kill him if I didn’t surrender. Merrick told me to run, to save myself, and he meant it, I could see it in his eyes. He thought my life was more important than his. I was frozen; I just stood there and watched when Lothos put that stake in his heart. Merrick looked at me with such love, and his last words were, Buffy run." She broke down, sobbing.


Joyce and Snyder looked on, horrified, as Giles pulled her into his arms. "He died the way he wanted; protecting his Slayer. His diary is full of how proud he was of you. In many ways you were the daughter he never had."


"I should have protected him, but I just froze. I was so scared. I failed him, just like I failed you. I didn’t protect you from Angelus. He almost killed you, Giles, and it would have been my fault."


"No, Buffy. I should have been safe in the library with Kendra. It’s not your fault." Buffy raised her head and started to speak, but Giles placed a finger over her lips. "We have been over this before. It was not your fault; it was what was. It is in the past, and we have no way to go back to change it." He stared down into her eyes for a long moment. She nodded. Giles pulled her to him for a quick hug, then let her go, giving her his handkerchief.


Snyder drew a deep breath. "So, you have no choice in this, you’re stuck being the Slayer."


"Until I die, again."


"Die again?"


"Yeah, I already died once. This vampire called The Master drowned me, but Xander had followed me and he pulled me out and did CPR." Buffy turned to Giles, "I bet that Travers guy did handsprings when he heard another Slayer had been Called. At least until you let him know I was still around."


"Yes, well, he did seem rather astonished at the notion of two active Slayers. It has never happened before in Council memory. In fact, they are currently wondering if another Slayer will be called when you die again, or if you are out of the loop, so to speak." Giles looked resolute. "They’ll have a bloody long wait before they find out, if I have anything to say about it."


Joyce looked shaken. "You never told me that you died."


"Sorry, Mom, you didn’t know about the Slaying then, and there didn’t seem to be a need for you to know later. It happened over a year ago, nothing you could do about it now. Kendra was the one Called when I died, then when she was killed by Drucilla, Faith was Called."


"Faith, she’s that dark haired girl that I’ve seen you with lately?"


"Yeah, she’s kinda scary sometimes, really likes the slaying. I think from some things she’s said that her Watcher was really hard on her when she was growing up."


Snyder turned to Giles, "If you have the time, I’d really like to hear more about all this. How many of the things that have happened at school are due to vampires?"


Before Giles could answer Joyce broke in, "Lee, why don’t you and Mr. Giles go to the living room; you can be more comfortable there. Buffy and I will make some tea and bring it in."


Buffy and Giles looked at each other, eyebrows raised. "Lee?" Buffy mouthed. Giles looked back at Snyder. "If I recall correctly, the nameplate on your desk has R as your first initial."


Snyder blushed, "It’s a family name, I don’t use it very often."


"I think it’s a wonderful name, different and unique. I don‘t understand why you don‘t like to use it." Joyce said.


Buffy looked at Snyder with sympathy. "Unique, huh? Bet you had trouble at school when you were a kid." Buffy glanced at Joyce. "I can relate. Come on, spill, what is it?"


Snyder looked at the floor and said, in a voice so low that if Buffy hadn’t been the Slayer she wouldn’t have heard, "Raleigh."


"Raleigh? You mean like, Sir Walter?" Snyder cringed. "Wow, harsh."


"You should try going through boys preparatory school with the same name as a comic strip character." Giles murmured. At their blank looks he continued. "In England, Rupert Bear is as famous as Mickey Mouse is here."


Buffy and Joyce giggled. Snyder looked at Giles with a new understanding, and the two men left the kitchen. Buffy turned to her mother.


"Mom, does this morning mean that Snyder is going to be in your life on a regular basis?"


"Do you have a problem with that?"


"Well, until this morning, he hasn’t been very understanding of things. He kicked me out of school and only let me back in because Giles forced him. He’s always threatening to suspend me or Willow or Xander, and he’s been trying to get Giles fired."


"Like you said, that was before this morning. Or rather, before yesterday. He saw quite a lot last night, and I answered some questions when we got back here. I think you’ll find that he’s going to be a lot more supportive of you and Mr. Giles."


Buffy silently filled the teapot and put it on the stove. "But he’s so different from Daddy. Can you be happy with him?"


"Buffy, yes, he is not like you‘re father, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And no one is talking about anything permanent. But as the candy started wearing off, we started talking and we found that we have a lot in common. It will be nice to have a grown-up to talk to now and then, someone to take me out to dinner. Someone I can talk to about the vampires and demons. Someone I can fix a nice dinner for every once in a while."


"Mom, Giles would be happy to talk to you about all that stuff. All you had to do was ask."


"Honey, I know Mr. Giles would explain anything I asked him about, but I need another adult I can talk to. One who will understand my frustration because he is as much in the dark about all of this as I am. Does that make sense?"


"Well, okay I guess. But he better be nice to you or I’ll sic Ripper on him." Buffy gave her mother a hug.


Joyce went over to the cupboard, then stopped and turned back. "I just remembered! Did you save the babies?"


"Yep, mission accomplished. I fried the demon. Got Giles too; had to do a little first aid on him after we got back to his place. I stayed to make sure he was okay, but I fell asleep. It's a good thing he didn't have some kind of reaction and need to go to the hospital."


Joyce looked her over, frowning. "Weren’t you wearing a different outfit yesterday?"


"Yeah, got demon goo all over it, had to toss it. I always keep a couple of changes at Giles’ just in case I get messed up on patrol. I stop and change there so you won’t see the clothes and worry." Buffy focused her attention on preparing the tea.


Joyce felt that something wasn’t quite right, but didn’t want to question her further. She remembered how possessive ’Ripper’ had been of ’His Slayer’. There were some definite vibes between the two, but Joyce was sure that Mr. Giles would never cross the line. She turned back to the cupboard to get out the cups and some cookies.


Buffy relaxed. She hated lying to her mom, but Joyce wasn’t ready to hear about her and Giles yet. Besides, no matter how much Snyder seemed to be on their side, if he found out about her and Giles he could get him deported. So, no telling Mom, because she would be sure to tell Snyder. Giles wouldn’t like it, but he would agree.



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