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Title: Finding Rupert

Author: Gilesbabe

Paring: Giles/Buffy

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to the characters created by Joss Whedon and so beautifully portrayed by the actors, especially Anthony Stewart Head. This story is strictly for the entertainment of those of us who believe this couple should be together. I am making no profit from my story and no copyright infringement is intended.

Synopsis: What if Giles had come home with Willow after her time at the coven?

Author’s Notes: I saw the challenge to have the ladies from What Not to Wear make-over Giles. I tried, but it turned out to be a very, very, very small element in my story. I did get the line "Is that a spatula under your apron or are you just happy to see me" in the story. And Giles, a la James from Manchild, in the kitchen wearing just an apron. Woo Hoo!

Feedback happily accepted at: gilesbabe@hotmail.com

Finding Rupert

Giles woke slowly, feeling something wasn't quite right. He lay with his eyes closed, the sunshine bright against his eyelids. Sunshine. Sunshine? There shouldn't be sunshine, his bedroom faced west. His eyes opened quickly and he sat upright in the bed. For a moment he didn't recognize the room, then he remembered where he was.

Sunnydale. Buffy's home. In what had been Joyce's room.

He lay back down with a sigh, squinting at the clock on the bedside table. 10:05. Dear lord. He didn't remember the last time he had slept so late. True, the flight had been unusually long with the unexpected 5-hour delay in New York. He understood the need for caution, what with recent world events, but it hadn't made the waiting any easier. Especially since the cloaking spell he had been using to hide his sword had been draining him constantly. Willow, the little minx, had thought it amusing. Then there had been the impromptu welcome home party that had lasted well into the early morning hours. Reasons enough for sleeping late. His age had nothing to do with it.

Right. And women found his gray hair and wrinkles sexy.

For a moment he thought about going back to sleep, but all those years of being an early riser had left their mark. Once he was awake he had to get up. Pushing back the covers he got out of bed, stretching to ease his aching muscles. He padded into the bathroom and took a quick shower. Grimacing slightly he picked up the clothes he had worn yesterday.

All of the years he had spent traveling back and forth the airlines had never misplaced his luggage. Until yesterday. The airline representative had promised that his bags would be on the next flight back from Hong Kong and that they would be delivered directly to Buffy's house.

Hong Kong? How on earth had his bags been put on a plane to Hong Kong? He usually carried an overnight bag with a change of clothes, just in case, but with the new security searches of carry-ons he had decided to forgo the hassle. Never again. Oh well, nothing he could do about it now. He'd see if the others had any plans for the day. Maybe an early lunch, then a quick trip to the mall for a couple of changes of clothes.

Giles smiled. Shopping. Buffy would love the opportunity to show him what to buy. He was looking forward to surprising her with his new fashion sense. Of course there was no way he would tell her how he had learned what to wear. He smirked. Or should he say, what NOT to wear? Willow had promised on everything she held dear to never tell, but he knew she would, eventually. Just as long has he wasn't around when she caved in he wouldn't mind. Telling was one thing, seeing quite another. At least there was no way Buffy would ever see his ordeal.

As he shaved, he remembered that week from Hell. Those two women destroying his clothes. The shopping trips where they would pop up from nowhere to tell him what he was doing wrong. Pulling and tugging on his shirts and slacks to test the fit. And that bloody camera following him around, recording everything. Willow and the coven members watching it all, giggling.

Giles shuddered at the memories. For someone as intensely private as himself it had seemed a worse torture than anything that Angelus had done to him; that had just been physical. It had been the knowledge that his episode of the show was to be on this week that had prompted him to make the last minute decision to accompany Willow back to Sunnydale. He wanted to be well away from anyone who would see the program and tease him about it.

As he opened the bedroom door he realized for the first time how quiet the house was. The note taped to the door explained why.

Hey Sleepyhead,

Dawn's at school and won't be home until 4:00. I'm at work until 2:00. Will's with me. She wants to swing by the Magic Box later to see Anya. Meet us there?


Giles felt a mild disappointment that Buffy wasn't at home, then a glowing sense of pride. She hadn't taken the day off work just because he was there; she was taking her job seriously. She was being responsible. It was worth the small pang of abandonment he felt.

He shook his head at his foolishness. He was a grown man, accustomed to being alone. A few hours by himself until the others were home should be no hardship. No big, as Buffy would say. Chuckling, he went downstairs and into the kitchen.

Opening the refrigerator door he scanned the shelves to see what he could fix for a quick meal. Several small containers with various leftovers didn't look very appealing. One larger container with what appeared to be some kind of soup was a possibility. He opened the vegetable bin: lettuce, carrots and tomatoes. Tomatoes. The red, ripe fruit brought to mind something that the Scoobies had loved to eat during their research sessions at his house. Something he hadn't eaten since he had been in England. A BLT sandwich. Wondering if there was any bacon, he reached to open the meat drawer.

The drawer slid against the container of soup, upsetting it. Giles grabbed frantically at the container, but liquid slipping over the sides made it slide though his hands. A wave of soup sloshed down the front of his shirt and slacks. He stood there muttering curses in several languages as he dripped on the kitchen floor.

Bloody Hell! Why today? He continued muttering as he looked for the mop to clean up the mess. Opening a door he was met by the sight of the basement stairs. Wait a minute, Joyce had had a washer and dryer in the basement. She had allowed him to use it on a few occasions. On impulse he went down the stairs. He quickly stripped off his shirt, slacks and briefs and put them in the washer. He set the dial for short cycle, put in the detergent and started the machine.

As the washer started churning, he remembered that he had nothing to put on. Even if Buffy had something he could wear, it was on the second floor. He had effectively trapped himself in the basement until his clothes were washed and dried. But why was he trapped? No one was due home for, he looked at his watch, another 3 hours. He walked around his flat in the nude all the time, why was he hesitating now? Because it was Buffy's house. If there were even the most remote chance that she would see him, he couldn't risk it.

Giles thought back to yesterday afternoon at LAX. He had told Willow to go on ahead towards the group waiting behind the security barricade. He wanted them to be focused on her, so he could see the surprise on Buffy's face when she found out he was there. The four had surged together, Xander reaching Willow first. He had picked her up and spun around, then Buffy hugged her before she was embraced by Dawn.

He had started to walk towards them, his eyes fixed on Buffy, so the shrill scream had taken him by surprise, as had the brunette tornado. Buffy's head had jerked up, scanning the area for the danger, when their eyes had met. Even as he was being tackled by Dawn, he kept his eyes locked on hers. For just an instant he was sure he had seen love, longing, in her eyes, then she had blinked and all he could see was the same joy with which she had looked at Willow. Xander had grabbed him in a bear hug, while Buffy had stood back, watching. When the others had settled down, he had held out his arms and she had walked into them. With her face pressed against his chest she had whispered, "How long can you stay?"

He had tightened his arms. "Only two weeks. Travers has me on a special assignment. I had to threaten to quit again to get this time off."

Buffy had pulled away, looking up at him. "Special assignment? Is there some new big bad headed my way?"

"Nothing that indicates a problem for you" he assured her. "It appears that something is targeting Watchers" he broke off. "No, I'm not going to talk about work. I'm here to relax and visit with my family." He had started asking questions about Xander's job while he herded them to baggage claim.

He had been astonished to hear that the new high school had been built over the Hellmouth, with the main administration building where the old library had been. Buffy had mentioned that the office of the new principal, Robin Wood, was sitting directly over the seal. He had been amazed that Buffy had been hired as a guidance counselor. Not because he thought that she couldn't do the job, but because someone else had seen what he had always known, that she would be perfect to help troubled kids. He was a little worried how she kept going on about 'Robin' this and 'Robin' that. It was beginning to sound as if she had finally found someone worthy of her.

The sudden silence brought him back to the present. While he had been lost in thought the washer had finished. He threw the clothes in the dryer. The denim would take a lot longer to dry and his stomach was reminding him that his last meal had been over 12 hours ago. Glancing around the basement in frustration his eyes lit on an apron that he had seen Joyce wear when baking. It was the bib style, with the panel that covered the upper chest area as well as the panel below. It would provide coverage in the unlikely event that someone came home, as well as cooking protection.

Emerging from the basement, he finished cleaning the spilled soup, then took the bacon to the stove. As the bacon sizzled in the skillet a sudden pop sent a splatter of hot grease onto the apron. Giles jumped back from the stove. Good thing he was wearing the apron, the hot grease would have caused a nasty burn in a very embarrassing place. He reached over to turn on the radio sitting on the windowsill. The Eagles song 'Life in the Fast Lane' blared into the kitchen. Unconsciously, Giles started moving to the beat, dancing around as he fixed his meal.

Buffy walked into the front door of the quiet house. Looking at her watch she frowned. It was after 11:00, Giles couldn't still be asleep, could he? She thought about the lines of weariness that she had seen on his face last night. Not all of them could be attributed to the long day of travel. He wasn't getting enough rest. She was glad that Robin, after he had heard she had guests, had allowed her to move the student sessions to the morning so she could take the afternoon off. Willow had asked her to drop her off at a person who had a connection to the coven in Devon. She said that she would meet up with Buffy and Giles at the Magic Box later.

Last night on the drive to the airport to pick up Willow, she had thought how much nicer it would have been to be on her way to get Giles. Not that she wasn't happy that Willow was well enough to come home, it was just that she missed him so much. Then Dawn had screamed, and there he was, almost as if her thoughts had produced him. That look in his eyes, she wasn't sure how to describe it, but she had seen it before. Just before he had told her he was leaving. That had to mean he wasn't home to stay, that he was just here for a visit, but it had still hurt when he confirmed her fears.

She remembered the feeling of dread that had swept over her when he had started to say that something was hunting Watchers. She had tried to get him to talk more about it later, but he just ignored any questions that had to do with London or his life there. He had only wanted to talk about what was going on in their lives. She was afraid that he had pushed for this vacation because he wasn't sure he would ever have another chance to come back. Hearing some faint sounds coming from the kitchen, she headed in that direction.

The door swung open silently, thanks to the work Xander had done oiling and tightening the hinges. Buffy was met by a sight that took her breath: Giles standing almost naked in her kitchen. He was wearing an apron, but since it only covered him in the front, she had an unobstructed view of his back. She watched for a few minutes, mesmerized by the play of muscles. And his butt. Oh, my.

He had been hiding this body under the tweed during high school and those baggy sweaters later on. Some part of her knew that he had to have been in decent shape because he trained with her, but still. Those shoulders and that ass. Tight, firm, definitely squeezable. She was contemplating crossing the room and doing just that, when the bacon popped and he moved back slightly from the stove.

A shaft of sunlight from the window angled across his back, bringing the scars into high relief. Buffy felt a jab of pain so severe it almost sent her to her knees. She knew that Angelus had tortured him, but she had never known how badly. Hadn't wanted to know, she reminder herself ruthlessly. Had never asked. In her self-absorption she hadn't wanted to acknowledge that someone, that he, had been hurt because of her. Tears filled her eyes. She opened her mouth to beg his forgiveness.

Before she could say anything, Giles reached over to turn the radio on and the Eagles song 'Life in the Fast Lane' filled the room. Her tears dried up as she watched Giles' hips begin to sway to the beat of the music. Oh, my. Buffy wasn't entirely sure, but she thought she saw something in the front swinging in counterpoint to his hips. OH, MY GOD!

Watching as he moved with such unconscious grace, Buffy found herself feeling a little light headed and realized that she wasn't breathing. Just as she took a deep gulp of air Giles turned around and saw her. He shrieked and jumped, his sandwich flying apart, the pieces falling on the floor.

"Bloody Hell! Buffy, what are you doing here?" Giles stared at her in shock. When she didn't answer him immediately he had a terrible thought. "Oh, dear lord. Are Willow and Dawn with you?" As she just continued to stare he could feel himself turning red. Her eyes widened and followed the tide of red down his chest. "Buffy!" he said sharply.

Buffy jerked her eyes back up to his face. "Wow," she said dazedly. "I've never seen anyone blush all over before." At her statement, another, deeper, wave of red passed down Giles' body. Buffy giggled. "That is so cute. I just love it when you blush."

Giles moaned and closed his eyes. Cute. Just the way every man wanted the woman he desired to see him. This day could not get any worse. Unless. His eyes popped open. "Where are Willow and Dawn?"

Buffy's eyes were wandering again. Was the apron tenting out at just the right spot? Good, definite good. She heard a growl and again met his eyes. "What? Oh! Dawn is still in school and Willow wanted to visit a friend of someone in the coven. We're supposed to meet her at the Magic Box." Buffy regained her poise and grinned. "You look better in that apron than Mom did. I don't suppose I could talk you into quitting the Council and being my cook. The pay would be lousy but I can think of some great benefits. For me that is." She giggled again.

Giles stared at her in shock. Was she flirting with him? No, it had to be his imagination. Buffy couldn't possibly be suggesting... The thought trailed away as he suddenly had the mental picture of the two of them sharing the kitchen, making a meal, both dressed only in aprons. As his body responded to the image, he saw her eyes drop again, then widen. The best description he could give of the look in her eyes was pure lust. He felt his erection swell more. Dear Lord! He had to get dressed. Now.

"Buffy, would you please go into the other room?"


"I need to go to the basement and get my clothes out of the dryer."

"I'm not stopping you." She smiled innocently, batting her eyes. "Go right ahead."

"Buffy!" he growled in exasperation. What was wrong with her, surely she understood why he...At the gleam in her eye he silently groaned. Oh, she understood. Taking a deep breath he said, "Buffy, please go into the other room and allow me to regain some small part of my dignity."

To his surprise she didn't reply with a smart-ass quip. Instead her face softened into an affectionate smile. "My poor Giles. I'm such a trial for you, aren't I? It doesn't matter what situation you're in, you could never lose your dignity." She turned and walked back to the doorway. She stopped just before going through the door.

Her head turned back to him and he braced himself at the look of mischief in her eyes. She was going to say or do something outrageous, he just knew it.

"Giles, I do have one question for you."

Here it comes. "What, Buffy?"

"Are you hiding a spatula under that apron, or are you just happy to see me?" Giggling at the look on his face, Buffy exited the kitchen.

Giles felt his face again turn red. "Bugger!" he swore and stalked over to the basement door. Shutting it firmly behind him, he went down the stairs and over to the dryer, muttering curses all the way. He torn off the apron and looked down at his arousal. Dammit, he couldn't go back upstairs like this. Looking around he saw an old utility shower in one corner. Turning the cold water on full, he stepped in.

A few bone freezing minutes later his problem was solved. He used the apron to dry off, somewhat, then dressed in the warm clothes. Giles took a deep breath, and in much the same manner of a man approaching the guillotine started climbing the stairs. When he opened the door into the kitchen, Buffy was cleaning up the mess his sandwich had made when he dropped it. "I would have taken care of that," he said gruffly.

Buffy turned and again caught her breath. Wow, he looked almost as good now as he had before. Snug black denim slacks, and a black chambray shirt that fitted as though it had been made just for him. His hair was rumpled and still wet from his shower, there was a glint of sliver in his left ear, and he was still barefoot. Yum.

"I know, but since I was responsible for you dropping it I felt that I should do the clean up."

"Thank you. Have you eaten yet?"

"No, lunch for the staff is usually at 12:00."

"If you'll give me a few minutes to finish getting ready, I'll take you out to lunch. If you didn't have other plans."

"My only plans had been to ask you the same thing. Where do you want to go?"

"If you don't mind, I thought the food court at the mall. I want to pick up a few items of clothing to wear until my luggage arrives. I had hoped you would help me shop."

"You want me to help you buy clothes?" At his nod, she crossed the room, grabbed his hand and led him through the house to the stairs. Giving him a gentle push up the first step she said, "Hurry, I want to get you to the mall before you change your mind."

Giles chuckled as he went up the stairs. Buffy watched, then turned back into the living room. Damn, had he always looked that good? Staring out the front window she cast her mind back, remembering how he looked when they first met, and how he changed over the years. No, she decided. He hadn't always looked that good. But he had looked that good when he had come back to fight Willow. She had noticed then. That was the first time she had allowed herself to think of Giles as a man, not just her Watcher. He had radiated power and self-confidence.

Wait, that wasn't quite true. The first time she had seen him as a man had been back when Amy's Mom had tried to kill her. She had only known him a couple of weeks and had still been fighting her Calling. She remembered how it had felt when he carried her in his arms, the power in the room when he had cast the spell that had saved her life. She had jokingly called him a God, but in truth she had been a little wigged by the dreams she had had the next few nights. And that had been while he was still wearing the tweed!

That was when she had started spending more time with Angel, telling herself that Giles was old and stuffy. But the man who had cast that spell hadn't been stuffy, and his body certainly hadn't felt old when she was in his arms. It had been warm, hard, and so alive. Full of energy and vitality.

Giles is the perfect example of the old saying clothes makes the man, she decided. Only in his case it was clothes hides the man. He had used the tweed, and then later the baggy sweaters, to hide behind. Buy why?

Buffy remembered Giles the night he had been affected by the cursed candy.

Remembered how he had behaved around Ethan Rayne.


In trying to put Ripper firmly in his past, he had gone too far the other way and had buried his true self; deep inside the Watcher.

As she heard him coming down the stairs, Buffy turned. New glasses, earring, boots instead of shoes, denim jeans instead of slacks, shirt open at the top. Silver cross gleaming on a chain around his neck. Those were the same clothes he had been wearing yesterday. What made the difference? Why was she suddenly so aware of him? Was it just because she had seen him without the clothes? Seen the natural strength and grace of his body's movements when he thought he was alone.

This man was not Giles, but he wasn't Ripper either. This man was Rupert. This is the man he always should have been. The thought brought a small stab of pain. Someone had helped him to find himself again, and it hadn't been her. For the first time she wondered if he was dating, if he had someone special to go back to. Someone who had helped him pick out those clothes. Maybe that was the real reason he couldn't stay, not Travers and his job with the Council.

Buffy put a smile on her face. "That was quick, you must really be hungry because I can't see you being so eager to go shopping." She walked over to him and linked an arm through his. "We definitely have to get you a robe. I don't want Dawn to see you like I did, she'd never recover from the sight." At his hurt look she continued, "Well after seeing all your studly goodness she'd never be able to settle for another man, and she can't have you. You're mine." At Giles' bemused look, she giggled and led him out the door.

Sunnydale High School Principal Robin Wood stood in the doorway watching the students leaving the campus. So few parents came to pick them up. In the week that school had been in session he continued to marvel at the casual way the parents of Sunnydale treated their children. It was a miracle any of them survived to grow up. He had become even more vigilant since learning that a Hellmouth was directly under the school. Seeing Buffy's jeep pull up he prepared to go ask his favorite part-time guidance councilor if she had had a pleasant afternoon off with her visitors.

Instead of Buffy, a man emerged from the car. Tall, dressed all in black, he exuded power. For just a moment, Robin thought it was the man who raised him after his mother's death. That was impossible, of course. He had died six years ago. Robin walked over to the car.

"I'm Principal Wood. Can I help you?"

The man removed his mirrored sunglasses. Now that he was closer, Robin could see the silver earring in the man's left ear, and the silver cross around his neck. He extended his right hand. "I'm Rupert Giles. I'm here to pick up Dawn Summers." After shaking hands, Giles removed a note from his shirt pocket. "Here is Buffy's permission for me to take Dawn with me." He handed the note to Robin. Both men eyed each other closely.

For his part, Giles was surprised to see that the Robin Buffy had talked so much about the last 24 hours was black. Not that would matter to her; it didn't matter to Giles either. Looks, including the color of a person's skin was the least important measure of an individual's true worth. Doing a quick mental review of what she had said, he couldn't remember Buffy giving any kind of description of Robin. She had just talked about things he had said or done. Definitely a point in his favor, at least as far as Giles was concerned, was how protective Robin was of the students. He had approached Giles as soon as he had gotten out of the car. Dawn appeared to be in good hands at school.

Now that he was closer, Robin could see that the man was older than he appeared from a distance. Strands of silver in his hair glowed in the sunlight. Lines and wrinkles in his face spoke of years of experience. But his eyes were a vivid green, glowing with vitality, and his body was trim and muscled. Again, Robin was sub-consciously reminded of his former guardian. He opened the note.


This is Rupert Giles, my Watcher. I trust him with my life. Even more, I trust him with Dawn's. It's okay for him to pick her up.


Robin looked at Giles in surprise. "You're Buffy's Watcher? Why don't you live here in Sunnydale? A Watcher should be near his Slayer." He took an involuntary step back at the sudden chill in Giles' eyes.

"How do you know about Buffy being the Slayer?" Giles asked in a dangerous voice.

"We had some unexpected visitors in the basement on the first day of school. Buffy is a remarkable fighter. She was surprised that I wasn't freaked out by seeing her in action until I explained that I knew about Slayers."

Giles raised an eyebrow in question.

"My Mother was a Slayer. Her Watcher raised me after she was killed."

"That's impossible. There are no records of a Slayer ever giving birth."

"Her Watcher felt it was better for all involved that the Council not know about me. Shortly after she was killed, his brother and his family were killed in an automobile accident. He told the Council I was his orphaned nephew and he asked to be retired so he could raise me."

"What was your Mother's name and when did she die?" Before Robin could respond the men's attention was taken by a shrill shriek across campus.

Dawn walked out the main doorway of the school with her two friends Marcy and Janice. Janice was complaining about the amount of homework their English teacher had given them, when Marcy broke in.

"Look at the hunk over there with Principal Wood."

The girls turned their heads, and Dawn gave an involuntary shriek. The next moment she was racing across the lawn yelling "Giles!"

The moment Giles saw Dawn, and had realized that nothing was attacking her, he relaxed from his instinctive battle mode. By the time the teenager reached him he was laughing. He caught her as she threw herself into his arms. "Easy, Dawn. You'd think you hadn't seen me for years instead of just last night."

"I'm just happy that you're still here."

Giles frowned slightly. "Dawn, I didn't fly all the way from England to turn around and leave the next day. I told you I was going to be here for two weeks." As Dawn shook her head, he thought back. "You're right, I told Buffy, not you."

Dawn gave him a bright smile. "Did Buffy send you to pick me up?" At his nod she continued, "Can you give my friends a ride home too?"

"I don't think I should, I don't have their parents permission."

Dawn pouted at him. Giles laughed again and tapped his index finger against her lips. "That won't work for you."

She scowled. "Why not, it works for Buffy."

"She's Watcher's pet, just ask Xander. In any event, we're not going home. Buffy and Willow are waiting for us at the Magic Box." Giles glanced over at the other two girls. Suddenly Dawn grabbed his arm and hugged it to her. He looked down and saw a triumphant smile on her face. "What are you up to, young lady?" Looking at the other girls again Giles could see disappointment on their faces.

Before he could say anything, Robin said in a low voice, "I don't see anything wrong with giving the girls a ride home. Buffy vouches for you, and I would be seeing them get in the jeep with you. Besides, I don't think either girl's parents are home at this time of day to object." Robin shook his head. "I don't see how so many of the children grow up around here with the level of neglect that I've seen."

Dawn looked up at Giles pleadingly. "Please, Giles. We were going to walk to Marcy's house then Buffy and Janice's Mom were going to pick us up there. You know, safety in numbers. It wouldn't take very long to drop them off."

Giles sighed; he knew when he was out-gunned. "Very well, I'll take them to Marcy's house. You can explain to Buffy why we're late."

"You're the best, Giles." Dawn gave him a quick hug and ran over to her friends. The girls started whispering and giggling, sneaking peaks at Giles.

"Dear lord," Giles groaned.

Robin laughed. "Better you than me. Seriously, thank you for taking the girls' home. I know they'll reach Marcy's safely."

Giles nodded. "As you heard me tell Dawn, I'll be here for another two weeks. I would like to get with you at some point and talk about your mother." When Robin started to speak, Giles cut him off. "This would be totally confidential. Nothing you tell me would go further. I have no desire to focus the Council's attention on you."

Robin nodded. "I'll have to think about it." He turned and walked back into the school.

Giles looked over at Dawn and her friends. "All right, young ladies, into the jeep." He put his sunglasses back on and slid behind the wheel. The girls all climbed into the back seat. When Dawn closed the door, she said, in a haughty tone, "Home, Giles." The girls started giggling again.

Waiting until they wound down, Giles looked in the rear view mirror at Dawn. "We're not moving until you fasten your seat belts, and I need to know where I'm taking you."

"Sorry, Giles. Marcy lives at 6800 E. Orange Tree Lane. It's about half way between the school and our house." Giles could hear the clicks as the seat belts were fastened. He started the jeep and pulled away from the curb. The short trip was held in relative silence, although he could hear muffled whispers.

When he pulled up in front of Marcy's house, Dawn jumped out with the other girls. "I'll just be a minute, Giles. Promise." The three rushed up the sidewalk and stood looking at him from the doorway. There was a burst of giggles, then the other two shut the door and Dawn returned to the jeep. As she opened the door to the back, Giles said "Get in front, I'm not your bloody chauffeur."

Dawn giggled again, and got in the front seat. Giles stared at her silently until she took the hint and fastened her seat belt. As Giles started the car, Dawn turned on the radio. At Giles' muttered, "Bloody hell" Dawn laughed and starting singing along.

After dinner, Giles was helping Buffy clean the kitchen. As he wiped the dishes he said, "You sent me to pick up Dawn because you knew Principal Wood would come out to the jeep and you wanted me to meet him."

"Yes, I thought you would be interested in meeting the son of a Slayer."

"What has he told you about his mother?"

"Very little. He doesn't remember much on his own; she was killed when he was four years old. His mother's Watcher raised him, and he was pretty bitter. He did tell me one thing." Buffy paused.

When she didn't continue, Giles prompted, "What?"

"The vampire who killed his mother left a note for her Watcher. He bragged that she was the second Slayer he had killed. The note was signed Spike."

"Spike. Bloody Hell! Does he know that Spike lives in Sunnydale?"

"No. Giles, there's something I need to tell you about Spike. Something I didn't tell you when you were here before." Buffy looked towards the living room. "Let's go out on the porch." She led the way out the back door. They sat on the steps. As Buffy continued to sit in silence, staring at her hands, Giles took one and held it comfortingly.

"Buffy, whatever it is can't be that bad. Tell me."

She took a deep breath and faced him. "Xander is the only one who knows this. He promised not to tell the others." She glanced away then turned back. "When I was involved with Spike I didn't like myself very much, but I couldn't seem to stop. I kept telling him it was over, and then I would go back again. Something finally happened that made me see how self-destructive I was being, and how it was affecting Dawn. I went to Spike and told him it was over, but he didn't believe me. He laughed and said I would be back like I always had.

"That night I got in a fight with a couple of demons. It was pretty bad: broken ribs, broken arm, lots of cuts and bruises. When I got home I felt so weak, I knew I would never be able to stand up long enough to take a shower, so I decided to take a bath." Buffy looked away again. Giles could see that her breathing had increased. She swallowed hard a couple of time and took another deep breath.

"Spike came into the bathroom. He..he..wouldn't believe me when I said no. If Xander hadn't come home..." she trailed off.

Giles felt a rage rise up in him such as he had never felt before. In a carefully controlled voice he said, "He tried to rape you."

Buffy just nodded, looking down at the ground.

"You staked him, of course."

Buffy shook her head. "I was too weak, and I didn't have a stake with me in my own bathroom. I thought I would be safe there." Giles could see a tear fall off her cheek. "It was partly my fault. I had been giving him mixed signals, he thought that once we got started I would change my mind like I had before."

"Don't make excuses for him. I don't care if you had stripped naked and danced in front of him, no means no. He should have left you alone." Giles was trembling with anger.

Buffy looked back at him. "Giles, there's something you're forgetting. Something I kept forgetting. He's not human. He's a demon. A demon that doesn't have a human concept of right or wrong. It only knows what it wants, and it wanted me. He kept saying that because I had been having sex with him that I must love him." Buffy looked away again.

"I screamed at him, told him that he was a soulless demon, that only something without a soul could claim to love someone and then do what he had done. I told him I would never love him. He looked so shocked, then Xander started pounding on the door and he left through the window. Xander went to his crypt the next morning, but he wasn't there. We looked for him for a couple of days, then that whole thing with Warren killing Tara and Willow flipping out came up and we stopped looking. We figured he had left Sunnydale because he was afraid I would come after him when I was strong enough."

"But he hadn't left?" Giles was already making plans for finding Spikes new lair and killing him. Slowly and painfully.

"No, he had left. He's back now. He's living under the high school."

"You know where he is and you've let him live?"

Buffy turned troubled eyes back to Giles. "He has a soul now" she whispered.


"He had found out about this demon in Africa that would give him a soul after he had preformed some ritual. He went to get a soul so I would love him."

Giles stared at her, shocked.

"He's still a vampire, and he still has the chip, so he can't feed from humans. He's pathetic, Giles. He's haunted by all the things he's done to people since he was turned. I remember Angel telling me how he had a breakdown that lasted for almost a century when he got his soul back. That's what Spike is like now. He just sits in the dark, crying and whimpering, remembering the people he's killed. Every time he sees me he begs me to forgive him for the things he did."

Giles continued to stare at her in silence. Bloody hell, he thought, another vampire with a soul.

"Giles, please don't say anything to the others. I'm the only one who knows he's back. I found him the first day of school. I don't know how long he had been there, but he was close to starving. He hadn't eaten, because he's afraid to be around people. I've been taking him expired blood from the blood bank."

"You're feeding him?" Giles stood up and started pacing the yard. "I don't bloody believe this. Why bother with the blood bank, why don't you just let him drain you, like you did with Angel?" At her shocked gasp he looked at her. Buffy shrank back on the step. Anger was coming from him in almost visible waves. "What is it with you and vampires? You're the Slayer. You're supposed to kill them, not nurse them back to health."

"Honestly, I started to stake him. In fact he begged me to stake him. I started to put him out of his misery, like putting down a wounded animal. I'm ashamed to admit that I was sort of enjoying seeing him like that. I felt it served him right after everything he had done to people since he had been turned, after everything he had done to us." She paused, looking back out over the yard.

"Buffy, that's natural." Giles sat back beside her.

"Then I thought of Angel. And I thought of what you said to Willow when she brought me back."

Giles gave her a puzzled look.

"You know, that she shouldn't have been able to do it, that she didn't have that level of power. Obviously, the Powers That Be had something to do with my coming back. They knew I was needed here, although it took me a while to accept that. So, maybe, the Powers had something to do with Spike re-gaining his soul. He may have some important part to play in some upcoming fight against evil. Or maybe he's supposed to become like Angel and help others. I'm not sure why, but all I know is that I was all ready to dust him, then suddenly I couldn't."

Buffy looked back at Giles. "Are you disappointed in me?"

Giles sat looking at her, remembering what he said to Ben just before he killed him. 'Buffy's not like us, she's a hero'. It was a large part of her strength as a Slayer, as a human being. Of course she couldn't stake Spike now that he had a soul, it was against her nature.

But she did have a point. The Powers might have something to do with Spikes' transformation, although it didn't seem very likely. It would be prudent to keep an eye on him. To keep on eye on Spike, he would need to be in Sunnydale. He could use Spike as an excuse to move back. That thought had Giles smiling.

Buffy had been watching Giles face as various expressions flowed across it. When he suddenly smiled, she was at a loss. What was he thinking about? She hadn't said anything that would make him smile.

"I'm not disappointed in you. You are just following your instincts to protect the weak. This issue with Spike may require some research. I'll call Travers tomorrow and tell him that I'll be staying longer." Giles looked at her. "That is, if you don't mind having a house guest who will be staying for an indeterminate amount of time."

Buffy broke into a brilliant smile and threw her arms around him. "Of course you can stay. You can stay as long as you like. You can even move back, we'll find room for your things. Oh, Giles, it would be wonderful if you stayed. I've missed you so much." She drew back self-consciously. "We've all missed you."

Giles gently cupped her cheek in his left hand. "I've missed you too, so very much." He saw a look in her eyes that gave him the courage to lower his mouth to hers. Her eyes widened slightly, but she didn't move. Just before their lips met, Dawn yelled from inside the kitchen.

"Buffy, Giles, where are you?" They pulled apart as the door flew open. "There you are! Come on, it's just about to start." Dawn turned and rushed back into the house.

"What is she going on about?"

Buffy blinked, then cleared her throat. "There is a show on TV tonight that we both like."

Giles shook his head and made a tsk-tsk noise. "Buffy, television? Who is the newest heart throb that Dawn just can't miss seeing."

Buffy giggled as she led the way though the house. "It's not like that. When I got the bills caught up I had the cable turned back on. There are a lot of good shows on some of those stations. Dawn has gotten stuff she could use for her homework from shows on the Discovery Channel." The two stepped into the living room. Giles frowned slightly as he saw a panic stricken look on Willow's face.

"The best thing about having cable again is that they picked up BBC America. Now I can hear English accents any time I want to." Buffy blushed slightly. "There is a show that's on with an actor that kinda looks like you. Have you heard of it? The show is called Manchild. Not that the character acts like you at all, but the resemblance is spooky."

As soon as Buffy had said BBC America, Giles had a very bad feeling. Sure enough, he could hear the music for that infernal show starting. He froze in place, wanting desperately to run, but his legs wouldn't cooperate.

Dawn was bouncing in her seat on the couch. "Yeah, Manchild is neat. Buffy freaked a couple of weeks ago; the character of James was walking around naked, not that you really saw anything. Furniture hid him some of the time and he had on an apron the rest of the time." Dawn gave Giles an appraising look, then gave her head a little shake. "Come on, sit down. I love this show. Trinny and Susanna are so cool. The make-overs are great."

Buffy and Giles glanced at each other, both blushing. The memory of that afternoon had faded somewhat, but Dawn's chatter had brought it to the surface. Buffy was amazed to realize that even though the character of James reminded her of Giles, she had completely forgotten about the television episode when she saw the real thing. Giles looks better naked she thought, and blushed brighter. She was pulled out of her musings by Dawn's loud exclamation.

"Oh, my God! Willow that's you! Trinny and Susanna made you over? Why didn't you tell us? That is so cool!"

Buffy looked at the screen and saw the camera closing in on Willow. She heard a soft moan beside her and turned to Giles. To her amazement he was so pale that she thought he might faint. His eyes looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Before she could ask him what was wrong she heard Willow's voice on the television.

"No, thank you. I'm happy with the way I dress."

"My dear, you should be arrested by the fashion police for wearing that outfit," Trinny said.

"Trinny, she's American, that explains it. I've heard that they are doing a show like ours in America, let them catch her. We have enough people here who need our help." Susanna stated.

"Yeah, I know a guy here who could really use your fashion advice." Willow turned red and clapped a hand over her mouth. "My bad. Forget I said anything."

Trinny and Susanna looked at each other. "He must be really bad if SHE thinks he needs our help," Trinny said. "Who is this man and where do we find him?"

Willow just stared at them stricken, but the young woman with her gave them a wicked grin and pointed behind them. "He's coming now."

The camera turned, and walking towards them down the sidewalk, in full Watcher tweed, was Giles. The camera turned back to the two fashion divas. They stared, speechless. Finally Susanna said, "Tweed, in this weather? With a waistcoat as well as the jacket. And those glasses do nothing for his face."

Willow's voice is heard commenting, "He wears suspenders too."

Trinny nodded. "He definitely needs our help."

Across the room, Dawn squealed, "Giles! No wonder you look so hunky now. Susanna and Trinny gave you a make over."

Buffy watched Giles pale even more and sway slightly. She grabbed his arm to steady him. "Giles?" she questioned softly. Nothing. She moved in front of him and took his face between her hands. "Rupert?" In the background she could hear the voices of the women arguing with him about his clothes.

Giles blinked, drawing a deep breath. Dawn and Buffy were about to see him being humiliated. Focusing, he could see Buffy looking at him in concern. He gave another moan and pulled away from her, turning to run down the hallway to the kitchen. There was the sound of the back door slamming.

Buffy turned to Dawn. "Record that, I want to watch it later." Grabbing some stakes and the sword that Giles had brought with him, she followed him from the house. As she had feared, he hadn't stayed in the yard, but had rushed off into the night.

Buffy paused for a moment, closing her eyes and drawing on the connection between them that had been missing since he had returned to England. It was faint from lack of use, but it was there. He seemed to be headed in the direction of his old apartment. She hurried after him.

Halfway there she heard a struggle ahead. Running towards the noise, she saw her worst fear. Giles was being attacked by a group of vampires. Even as she tried to run faster, she threw a stake, hitting one with deadly accuracy. The creature exploded into dust, warning his fellow attackers that someone was helping their would-be victim.

Using the momentary distraction, Giles pulled free from the two vampires that were holding him and dropped to the ground. He rolled, sweeping the feet from under them, and stood just as Buffy reached him. She tossed him his sword. Working in tandem they soon dispatched the vampires.

Buffy reached for Giles arms, pulling him in front of her. "Are you alright?" She looked him over carefully, running her hands up his arms to his neck, then moving her fingers lightly along his scalp to feel for bumps.

Giles stood still, paralyzed by the sensation of her fingers running through his hair. The adrenaline still surging through his body screamed at him to pull her into his arms and kiss her senseless. To push her to the ground and claim her as his mate. His entire body was trembling from the fight for control. He closed his eyes, breathing deeply, trying to calm down.

Buffy finished feeling for bumps and found none. She drew back slightly, looking him over again, but saw no obvious damage. Looking back at his face, she saw his eyes were closed, his jaw was clenched and he was taking deep breaths. She gave him a little shake. "Are you alright?" He nodded.

A sudden wave of anger had her smacking his shoulder. When his eyes opened in amazement she yelled, "What the hell do you think you were doing? You left the house without a weapon! If I hadn't come after you they would have killed you. Or they might have turned you. You have to be more careful, I can't lose you." Sudden tears had her clutching him tightly, burying her face against his shirt. "I can't lose you."

The feeling of her body pressed against his snapped the tenuous thread of his control. Giles slid one arm around her, pulling her tighter against his body. His other hand tangled in her hair, lifting her face to his. He had one glimpse of her startled expression before he closed his mouth over hers.

Hot. Wet. So good. At last. Mine. The words tumbled through both minds.

The next coherent thought in Buffy's mind was the rough feel of tree bark against her bare back. She pulled her mouth away from Giles' and realized that they had somehow moved from the sidewalk to a small group of trees on the edge of a playground. Her legs were tight around his waist and his hands were roaming her back and sides. Her shirt was pushed up to allow him easier access while his hips pulsed against her, pinning her to the tree.

Buffy caught her breath as Giles, who had moved his attention to her neck when she pulled away, found a very sensitive spot. She drew a deep breath and tried to concentrate. Her eyes scanned the playground. How had they ended up here? She grabbed his head and lifted. The look in his eyes momentarily stunned her. Unfettered by his glasses, his eyes glowed incandescent green, full of hunger and desire. Hunger for her. He started to kiss her again.

Unfettered by his glasses? Buffy stopped his head. "Giles, where are your glasses?" No response. "Rupert!" She gave him a little shake. He blinked and his eyes returned to normal. He dropped his arms and tried to back away, but since Buffy's legs were still wrapped around his waist he took her with him. She relaxed her legs and slid to the ground.

"Where are your glasses? For that matter, where is your sword?"

Giles glanced around, refusing to met her eyes. "I, I, I don't know. Where are we?" He turned away, his voice muffled as he started, 'Buffy, I'm"

"One hell of a kisser." she interrupted. "I suspected we'd be good together, but I never imagined that we'd go nuclear from just a kiss."

Giles froze, turning slowly back to her, shocked. "What?"

"First things first, we have to find your glasses and your sword. Then we need to go home to talk about this. We were lucky something didn't come along, I certainly wasn't in any shape to fight."

Buffy started moving towards the sidewalk, scanning the ground for the glasses and sword. She turned to say something to Giles to find him still standing near the tree, staring blankly at her. He said, in a bewildered voice, "You've suspected that we would be good together? You've actually thought of me in a, a, " he swallowed, "a sexual way?"

Out of the corner of her eye Buffy saw the sword, and a couple of feet away, the glasses. She picked them up and returned to where Giles still stood, stunned. She gently placed the glasses on his face, running caressing fingers along his jaw. "A lot since you came back to fight Willow. Before that off, and on for five years. Had a few dreams before that even, but I tried not to think about them because I was sure you'd never think of me that way."

Giles blinked rapidly. This had to be some kind of dream. Buffy saying that she had been attracted to him, had thought of him as a man, for over five years. She linked an arm through his and started walking back towards her house. He stopped abruptly. "No. What about Angel? Or Riley?"

"After Angel, sort of. You looked so hot at the Prom. Then when you stuck the sword in the mayor after he threatened me, it made me feel protected, special. That night I had a really, really, hot dream about you. It wigged me a little, because I thought I should be sad since Angel was leaving. So I pulled away and paid more attention to him. Then I spent the summer thinking. I used the excuse of that vampire to come see you, to see if the feelings were still there."

Giles closed his eyes, shaking his head. "And found me with Olivia." He looked at her, amazed. "You were jealous? That's what the old and gross was about?"

Buffy nodded, blushing.

Giles sighed. "I was embarrassed when you found me with Olivia, I felt as though you had caught me cheating on you. Then I got angry with myself for feeling embarrassed, and I transferred it to you. Sorry, Luv."

"I was so angry with you. It made no sense, we hadn't said anything to each other, but I felt that you belonged to me. I wanted to rip your shirt off her, grab her by her hair and toss her out of the apartment. How dare she call you Ripper, you were MY Giles." Buffy huffed.

"Then I proved how grown up I was by jumping in bed with the first guy who smiled at me. The only thing that would have been dumber would have been running off to Angel. When the morning after with Parker was so sucky I did think about going to talk to him, but I couldn't face Angel and tell him the reason I slept with a jerk who dumped me the next day was because I was mad at you."

The image flashed through Giles' mind of what Angel's face would have looked like if Buffy had done that. He started giggling, escalating to laughter at the look on Buffy's face. The thought that Buffy had slept with that boy to make him, Giles, mad, and not because Angel had left her, was almost too much to comprehend. "What about Riley?"

"Riley. At first, before I knew about the Initiative, Riley was about being normal. Then when I found out that he already knew about vamps and demons, it seemed even better, because I didn't have to hide anything." Buffy paused, considering. "In the end though, Riley was just a nice guy I was using. I'm not normal; I'm the Slayer. He couldn't handle that and I couldn't be less than what I am."

"I don't understand how anyone could want you to be less than yourself. You're magnificent." Giles picked Buffy up and swung her around. "Oh, Luv, what a pair of fools we've been. So much time lost."

Buffy slid back to the ground, hugging him briefly, before once again linking her arm through his and heading back towards her house. "Maybe, but maybe not. I'm not sure we would have lasted if we had gotten together then. I had a lot of growing up to do, and you needed to find Rupert again."

Giles frowned as they walked for a few minutes in silence. Reaching the house, Buffy led him around to the back porch. Sitting down on the steps, Giles asked in a puzzled tone, "Find Rupert? I don't understand. What do you mean, find Rupert?"

Buffy took a deep breath. "I'm not sure I can explain it right. I only realized this earlier today. You, the way you look now. You've found yourself, the man you were always supposed to be. You found Rupert again. Not Giles, and not Ripper. Rupert."

Buffy looked deep into his eyes but only saw confusion. "When you were little, you were Rupert. Then your father told you that you had no choice, that you had to be a Watcher. That was when you started being Giles. All the things you learned, every time you were reminded that being a Watcher was your destiny, you were pushed further away from Rupert.

"Then something snapped, and you rebelled. It was like a pendulum that had been pushed as far as it could go one direction, so it swung past the middle going the other way. You became Ripper. All the things you did as Ripper kept the pendulum going in that direction. Then there was the whole thing with Eyghon and Randall dying. Because you are a man of strong emotions, your reactions were just as strong and you rejected anything that was part of your life as Ripper, especially magic.

"So the pendulum went back the other way and you became Giles again, the perfect Watcher. Eventually you were sent here, where I threw your life into chaos, making you pull a little bit of Ripper back into your life. You hadn't even been here a month when you had to cast a spell to save me. Ethan, Snyder, Eyghon again, Angelus, and a dozen other things that made you use the Ripper part of you always ended up making you cling tighter to the Giles part. It wasn't until last year when you had to leave me so I would learn to be alive again that you had a chance to find yourself."

Buffy chuckled a little. "I know from your reaction to the start of that show that you feel that what happened with Trinny and Susanna was bad, but I think they were the last push needed to bring you back to being Rupert. It's all I've been able to think since I saw you last night. You look so comfortable and at ease with yourself. You look happy, happier than I've ever seen before."

The chuckle dissolved into giggles. "Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think Giles would have been at ease enough to dance around my kitchen in only an apron. Now, Ripper would have just gone naked, he wouldn't have cared if he was caught."

Giles smiled at her. "Oh, and what about Rupert?"

Buffy put her arms around his neck. "Rupert would be comfortable enough with his body to be nude, but considerate enough of others to not be totally naked in order to save anyone who came in embarrassment."

"Would he be embarrassed?"

"Rupert is a deeply private person; he would be embarrassed if he were caught unaware. Now if it were someone he cared about, who he knew cared about him, there wouldn't be a problem."

His hand caressed her check, his fingers moving gently across her lips. "He wouldn't mind being nude in the kitchen with someone he cared for?"

Buffy mimicked his actions, caressing his lips. "No. In fact he might invite her to join him in the freedom of cooking in the nude."

Her words brought back the vision he had earlier in the kitchen. The two of them cooking a meal together, wearing only aprons. He took a deep breath, trying to stay in control.

Buffy saw his eyes flare bright with desire, then return to normal. She ran her fingers through his hair, tugging him gently toward her. "Rupert" she murmured, "kiss me."

He gave a shaky chuckle. "Oh, Luv, I don't think this is a good time to, how did you put it, go nuclear? We're still outside, and it's a little crowded in the house."

"I can go spend the night at Marcy's or Janice's house" Dawn's voice came from the darkness of the porch.

"And I can go stay with Moria's friend Colleen" Willow chimed in.

The two sitting on the steps moaned softly and gently bumped their foreheads together. Giles began cursing under his breath. Buffy giggled. "Look on the bright side. No one's saying 'Ewwweww'." She raised her head and looked at Dawn. "Why aren't you making retching noises? You have every other time you've seen me kissing anyone."

Dawn huffed. "Because you're finally kissing the right man. Took you long enough. I thought the two of you would never get a clue."

Giles shook his head. This day was just too strange. "You don't have a problem with Buffy and I being together?"

"Well, duh. You're supposed to be together. Watcher/Slayer. You're destined. Everyone could see it but the two of you. Even Mom knew," Dawn grimaced. "Well, not in the beginning, but we talked about it after Buffy started college. At first she was a little wigged about it, mainly because of the candy thing, then she was fine with it. She never liked Riley."

Buffy and Giles stared at each other in shock. "Mom thought Giles and I should have a thing? Why didn't she say anything to me?"

"She was afraid of the reverse psychology thing. You know, if she said it was okay, then that would be the last thing you'd do." Dawn's voice got shaky. "That last morning, at breakfast, Mom said she had a dream the night before. About you and Giles being married with a couple of kids. She said you looked so happy."

Buffy scrambled to her feet and pulled Dawn into a hug, wiping the tears from her cheeks. "I bet Mom's up in heaven laughing her head off because it took us so long."

Giles repeated, in a stunned voice, "Joyce thought Buffy and I should be a couple?" He shook his head. "This is not happening. I'm still in London, in my flat, and this is just a very vivid dream. The alarm is going to go off any minute now and I'll wake up alone."

Buffy looked at Dawn, who just rolled her eyes. Buffy stepped back over beside Giles, and reaching down, pinched his right earlobe.

"Ouch! What the hell do you think you're doing?" Giles rubbed his ear as he frowned at her.

"Just proving that you're awake." Buffy leaned over and whispered in his ear, "And if you think that this is a dream so far, wait until we're alone." She kissed his ear. "There I made your boo boo all better."

There was a gagging noise from Dawn. "Okay, I SO don't want to watch this. I'm going to call Marcy and see if I can stay there tonight." She flounced back into the house.

Buffy murmured, "One down, one to go."

Giles choked back a laugh. Willow giggled, "I'm sorry, but I really don't know Colleen well enough to stay with her. I do have a suggestion."

"So, suggest."

"You guys take the upstairs, I stay downstairs and I'll put a soundproofing spell on the bedroom so I won't hear anything." Willow blushed, "Assuming that there's anything to hear. Not that I'm implying that you'll be noisy, although Buffy was really loud with Riley...." She put her face in her hands. "I'll stop now."

Buffy looked at Giles, a little nervous about this reference to a former lover. He flashed her a very wicked grin. "So you're noisy in bed? I've been told I'm more than a bit vocal myself," he murmured near her ear.

Buffy matched his grin and turned back to Willow. "Great idea, Will. See you in the morning." She grabbed Giles' hand and pulled him to his feet. They started into the house, but ran into Dawn, who was coming back out.

"I hope you two are quiet, I do have school tomorrow you know.' Dawn glared at them.

"What about staying at Marcy's?"

"She and Janice got into Marcy's folks adult videos after I left this afternoon. They've both been grounded; straight home after school, no staying at each others houses until parents come home and no overnight visitors for a month."

"Don't worry about it, Willow's going to do a soundproofing spell around the bedroom. You won't hear a thing. Good night." Buffy continued into the house, still pulling a now red-faced Giles behind her.

Dawn and Willow looked at each other across the darkness of the porch, then broke into giggles. After a few minutes they managed to calm down and went back into the house. As they passed the bottom of the stairs on the way into the living room they heard a masculine voice moan, "I love you so much."

Willow blushed, but put her hand over her mouth to stifle the giggles that erupted again. Moving quietly, she went up the stairs and stopped outside the bedroom door. She summoned the power and created the spell to prevent sounds from leaving the room. Willow stood for a moment, feeling the gentle buzz that came with the proper use of magic, then turned to go back downstairs. Dawn was waiting in the living room.

"The spell will last until they open the door." Willow smiled at the face the younger girl made. "You won't hear a thing, I promise, but if it will make you feel better we could have a slumber party down here."

"With movies and popcorn?"

"Okay, but we can't stay up too late, you said it yourself, you have school tomorrow."

Dawn looked at Willow pleadingly. "Can't I stay home tomorrow? It's Friday, and I don't have any tests, honest. Giles is only going to be here for two weeks, I'd like to spend some time with him."

Willow looked at her incredulously and pointed to the ceiling. "You think that he's going to go back? Besides, it's up to Buffy if you can stay home, and I don't think you want to interrupt them right now. You should just plan on going to school tomorrow."

Dawn plopped down onto the couch, pouting. Willow looked back with her 'resolve' face. After a few minutes Dawn broke the standoff. She glanced up at the ceiling. "Do you really think he's going to stay?" Willow nodded. Dawn broke into a big grin. "Okay, school tomorrow, so just one movie, but I get to choose." She rushed over to the cabinet, picked out a video and put it into the machine. The two went to the kitchen and made microwave popcorn then returned to the living room and started the movie.

Willow chuckled, settling down on the couch next to Dawn. Clueless was one of her favorite movies, and it seemed that Dawn was subconsciously commenting on Buffy and Giles. The movie, with it's main character discovering that she was in love with the person who had always been right in front of her, was an appropriate choice. Glancing over at Dawn and seeing that she was engrossed in the movie, Willow let her eyes again move upward.

Even though she tried not to, she couldn't help but imagine what was happening in the bedroom. She smiled. Finding Rupert, indeed.

The End

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