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Author's Chapter Notes:
AUTHOR : Catherine
EMAIL : catzen20@aol.com
DISCLAIMER : The characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Sandollar Productions, Kuzui Enterprises, 20th Century Fox Television, the WB Television Network, and whoever else may have a hold on them. I do not mean to infringe upon any copyrights.
SUMMARY : See the title :)
DISTRIBUTION: Everyone who has my general permission. Others please ask first (I'll probably say 'yes')
FEEDBACK : Please.

Thanks to my great beta, Phendog

*…* Thought

He was looking at him with interest. Normally, other people were the first to engage the discussion with him, but not this man. This one was sitting here, and had been slowly nursing his drink—his first—for a while now. He couldn't tell if the man was just sitting there without any reason or if he was waiting for someone. If the latter was the case, that person was a long time in coming.

Finally, he decided to quit just watching. "Do you want another drink?" he asked tentatively.

The man raised his head to him. "Thanks, but I haven't finished that one yet." He moved his head towards his half-full drink.

"I know, but it must be warm; the ice is completely melted. Are you sure you don't want another? It's on the house."

"Well, it's just that I promised my wife I’d stop at one."

"She won't know."

"I won't presume about that. I can hardly lie to her. And believe me, you and I won't want her to be upset."

"In that case, I’ll give you a half." He winked at him, pushing the drink toward the other man.

"Yes," the man chuckled, "I think it's a good compromise."

"You seem distracted; thinking about your wife?" John tried to begin the conversation.

"Yes. Is that so visible?"

"Well, your face illuminated when you mentioned her."

John noticed that the man didn't seem surprised about that. In fact, it seemed that it was like a statement more than a revelation for him.

"But, apparently, you're conscious of that."

The man smiled lightly, "Some friends have a tendency of reminding me of that."

"She seems be very special. Does she know how lucky she is?" With his job, as a barman, John knew that things like the man seemed to have tended to be really rare. Sometimes, he wanted to yell at those men and women who lamented how bad and horrible their spouse was. But he never did; it was the part of the job. So, when he could see some people like the man in front of him, he appreciated it and was glad to do his job.

"Without a doubt, she is; and I know my luck as well."

"A man totally in love of his wife." John said.

"I'm totally objective; she's the most wonderful and caring person that I know."

John and the man smiled, "Totally objective, mister?" John joked.

"Yes," the man nodded with a smile, "and extremely serious." His tone was light, but John knew that he was as serious as he claimed.

"In that case, you're very lucky. How long are you married?"

"Two wonderful years." The man said with love in his eyes.

"Just two years. That's explaining why you are like that." John grinned.

"You're wrong. We’ve known each other for nine years, in fact. But as far as being together, we'll have been a real couple for almost four years. Even if we were already a couple before that."

John was intrigued, "I don't understand."

"In the beginning we were close, very close but not like that. I was the librarian in her high school."

"Sounds romantic." John said.

Giles opened his eyes with surprise.

John didn't understand why. He thought it was romantic that they worked together as librarian and…teacher in the same high school. What wrong with that?

John saw him look a little pensive, before Giles agreed softly, "Maybe in a way you're right."

"We were very close," Giles continued, "and I'm sure there was some gossip at the time, but we didn't pay attention. We were together and had-have-real friends. So, that wasn’t important."

"Sounds like it was you and your friends alone against the world," John said.

"You have no idea how close you are to the truth." Giles chuckled.

Decidedly, that man was more and more curious and mysterious for John. When he thought that he understood him well, the next moment, the man would say something totally unexpected. Curiously, that didn't annoy John; on the contrary, he found his presence very agreeable. The man was very pleasant.

Almost an hour passed, while Giles talked about how exceptional his wife was, about his unconditional love for her, how proud he was that she was his wife, how proud he was of her….Listening to him speaking with such a blessed face, John felt his heart completely melt. Love was marked on Giles' face. Even if he hadn't ever met her, John was sure that it was the same for his wife when she talked about her husband.

John couldn't think that he had ever seen a man like Giles, so in love, so honest…Yes, that was until she appeared in the room.

When she went into the room, every men in it was looking at her. She looked around; some men smiled at her, but she ignored them. She walked over and sat beside Giles.

"Hi, I hope that this seat was free," she said, to Giles with a seductive smile, John notice. And here, all his foundations and what he thought about Giles fell on the floor when he saw him respond to her with a devilish smile.

John couldn't believe it. For almost an hour, that man had talked to him about his beautiful and wonderful woman, and when a young woman appeared, he acted like a…John was lost by his attitude toward that woman. That was right, she was lovely but…

He saw them, flirting outrageously. He didn't understand. How had he had been so wrong about him? Maybe he was become too old for that job, wanting too much to see things where they weren't, wanted to think that love, fidelity and all these other things still existed in the world. He had thought with his conversation with Giles that they were, but now, seeing him, flirting so openly with this young woman, he knew that all his dreams were flying away.

He shook his head sadly.

"How long do you plan to stay in town?" Giles asked her, caressing her hand.

"Don't know," she shrugged, and then looking in his eyes, she added sexily, "that depends."

"Interesting." Giles chuckled with desire. John could see it in his eyes; they had become darker. He sighed in defeat.

"What do you think about continuing this conversation somewhere a little more private?" he heard Giles ask her.

"I think that would be a nice idea." She wetted her lips then said, "I was afraid that you would never ask." Their eyes were locked on each other.

"John," Giles called him, but he had not broken the contact with that woman.

"Yes," John said in a neutral tone.

"A bottle of champagne, please." Giles asked him.

"Yes, sir."

John took a bottle from under his bar; he was getting up when he heard something that completely caused him to turn.

"So, your room or mine?" the woman asked to Giles, her eyes dancing.

John heard him laugh, and reply in an amused tone, "Why? I didn't know there was a difference."

"I hope not! Husband-mine." She grinned.

"I hope not as well." He kissed her hand— no, John realized when he looked better—he kissed her third finger where there was a beautiful wedding ring.

"You," John stammered, "You and…you." He put his finger from Giles to Buffy.

Buffy and Giles were looking at him with surprise, and then Giles remembered, "That's right; I haven't introduced to you my wife, yet. John, I have the great honour to introduce to you Buffy Summers, my wife. Buffy, this is John, the-"

"The barman," she finished for him with a tender smile.

"Yes," Giles grinned.

"Nice to meet you, John." Buffy smiled.

"John, are you feeling well?" Giles asked, a little worried, seeing John was smiling like a mad man.

John nodded happily, "You can't know how good I feel." Then, looking at them, "Oh, so, you weren't a teacher." John was thoughtful.

"Huh!?" That was Buffy's reaction, while Giles looked at him questioningly.

"Never mind." John smiled.

Buffy's attention was drawn by the drinks on the bar, "Giles?" she raised an eyebrow.

"Yes, love."

"I thought you swore to stick to just one." She crossed her arms over her chest, sounding not very happy.

"And I did."

She looked at him with suspicion.

"I swear," he said boyishly.

"Hmm," she wasn't convinced.

"He tells you the truth." John intervened.

Buffy turned to him with 'Okay, you’d better have a good explanation, because if not…' Then, John understood and believed what Giles had told him earlier about 'We don’t want to upset her.'

"He drank only one, but in two glasses."

She looked at him, waiting for his explanation.

"Yes, love." Then Giles explained to her that John had given him only a half-drink the second time. Not more. The drink half full was in fact his first drink.


"I swear it," he said with a sexy-boyishly smile, "and John may confirm it." He pleaded with him.

"And I will."

"Okay." Buffy agreed.

Both men were relieved that a big drama had been avoided.

They shared conversation for a moment. There were some good laughs; eventually, Buffy and Giles decided it was time for them to call it a night.

They said bye to John, and when Giles asked 'How much for the champagne?' John replied to him that it was a gift for him.

Giles and Buffy thanked him warmly; at that John retorted to them that it was him who thanked them for being…them.

He saw them go out of the room, Giles' arms protectively and possessively, John thought, on his Buffy.

He was looking them, when he heard Giles asked her, "What did you do all that time?"

"Giles, Dawn, Willow and I were shopping," she answered him like it was evident.

"Of course," he chuckled, "where was my mind."

That was the last thing that John heard from them. As he saw the happily couple go away, John smiled. Today had been a good day, and he was glad to do his job. With a last look at them, he thought with relief that "There is still hope for the world, after all."


June 7th, 2006

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