RATING: PG-13 to be safe I guess

DISTRIBUTION: My site, LJ,, just email me if you are interested!

SPOILERS/CHANGES: Through “Who Are You.”  Some changes to the storyline of Season 4: [Be aware of these!!]  Buffy is not with Riley romantically, and she is very limited in her dealings with the Initiative, she doesn’t have lots of details on Adam and his parts.  The Scoobies are not breaking apart, either.  Following this story, the line jumps directly to the finish with “Primeval” and “Restless.”  

FEEDBACK: Be nice, it’s my first Buffy fanfic.  I do welcome comments, no flames!

SUMMARY: Buffy has a premonition regarding Adam and an attack on the Scoobies.  She runs to Giles, and then runs into Adam.

COUPLES: Buffy/Giles

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.

DATE:  6/10/04

    Buffy laughed maliciously as she staked her final vampire of the night’s patrol. 

    “There, finally,” Buffy sighed and smoothed her dusty jacket.  She brushed a few strands of hair behind her ear then headed back to her dorm room. 

    Willow greeted Buffy as she walked out of their shared room.  Buffy was only ten feet from the door when Willow shook her lightly.

    “Hey, Buffy, you in there?” Willow half-joked with an eyebrow raised curiously.

    “Oh, hey, Will, sorry.  What were you saying?” Buffy asked distractedly.

    “Just saying hi and I’ll be back in about an hour.  Gonna study in the common room while my laundry finishes.”

    “Okay, I need to go to bed.  Goodnight.”

    Willow walked down the hall to the stairwell with Buffy looking confused after her.  “Laundry, at two a.m.?” Buffy thought, shrugging.  She let herself into her room and began to change.

    Pulling out her PJs, Buffy thought about all the recent activity tiredly.  Adam killing people randomly, Faith’s rocky return and escape, Giles turning into a demon…Giles.  Buffy smiled thinking about him.  She could see his face clearly in her mind, the gentle, wearied face, with his ever-changing yet ever-constant eyes, his height, and his broad shoulders.  She became flushed; embarrassed her mind was always in the gutter after a good night’s slayage. 

    Yawning, Buffy got into bed.  Usually she could fall right asleep after patrolling, but tonight she felt lonely and something tugged at the back of her mind.  She was frustrated, unable to determine just what was bothering her.  Her alarm clock read 3:45 before Buffy could finally fall asleep.

    Only she couldn’t.  Willow hadn’t returned.   Why was she so worried?  Willow could take care of herself…and it was just laundry.  Buffy worried like she was Willow’s own mother, especially now with all the things that had been happening, all the body-switching and danger with Adam and the Initiative. 

    Frustrated, Buffy climbed out of bed, put on big cow slippers then padded out her door, down the hallway and towards the basement.  The laundry room was quiet, no clothes in any washer or drier, and no Willow around.  Buffy checked every study room in Stevenson Hall, then her room again.  No Willow.  Even more worried now, Buffy changed into normal clothes to go back out into the night.

    Grabbing several stakes, a switchblade, a small crossbow, and her cell phone, Buffy left the room.  She called Xander but didn’t get an answer.  Frowning, Buffy thought that was odd.  She tried Giles, who also didn’t pick up.  Weird.

    Buffy sighed, annoyed.  She began to run across campus to Tara’s room.  Finding the main door to the Hall locked, she pushed it with all her weight, gaining access easily.  She ran up several flights of stairs to Tara’s single room.  The door was slightly ajar but the lights were off.  No sound came from the room, so Buffy gently pushed the door open.

    “Will?  Tara?  Hello?  Are you guys in there?”  Buffy called in a stage whisper.  No response came.

    Buffy stepped in a few more feet, her eyes adjusting to the shadows.  Suddenly she gasped in horror, the hall light cast particularly menacing shadows onto the bed.  Buffy could make out two figures—still, pale in the shadows, and bent backwards strangely.  With quick realization, Buffy sprang towards the bed and found Tara and Willow motionless, bloody, and not breathing.

    “No!  Oh my God, no!”  Buffy sighed and shook the girls, desperately attempting to wake them from their eternal slumber.  She felt their blood which had stopped running, but was still warm.  She cradled their heads in her lap, rocking back and forth, sobbing.

    “Who...Why...Why couldn’t I…Oh God no…”Buffy sputtered and wept into the redhead’s hair when the light from the hall was suddenly blocked.  She looked up and gasped, startled.  Adam.

    He stood before her, head cocked in childlike curiosity at Buffy holding her dead friends.  His face broke into a smile.  “Five down, you to go.”  With that, he lunged at her.

    Buffy sat straight up in bed, shaking.  She looked to her right and saw Willow sleeping peacefully.  The clock read 5:30.  Frustrated and afraid of what she saw and felt in her dream, Buffy put her head in her knees, curling her arms around herself.  She rocked back and forth, breathing slowly until she calmed down.  It was nearly six before she could fall asleep again.

    The sun streamed into Buffy’s eyes.  Frowning with annoyance, the Slayer awoke.  Her clock now read 11:25 but Buffy still felt like it was the middle of the night.  At least it was Saturday.  So maybe she could even sleep a little more…

    Her pleasant thoughts of drifting away into another nap were rudely interrupted by the phone ringing.  Grumbling, she picked up the receiver.

    “Mmm…hello…”  Buffy asked groggily and without enthusiasm.

    “Buffy, you’re awake!  Great.  Look, I’m hanging with Tara today, just wanted to let you know.  Call her room if you need anything.  The number’s on the dresser, okay?  Hey Buffy, are you still there?  You okay?”  Willow paused when she got no reply.

    “Hmm?  Oh yeah, I’m here.  That’s fine.  Have fun, bye,” Buffy hung up and rolled over.  As she did she suddenly remembered her nightmare.  The same confusion tugged at her mind as she shuddered.  She had to talk with Giles.  Now.

    A half hour later, Buffy was at Giles’ apartment door, knocking.  It was unlocked, as usual, so she entered after knocking three times with no response—just to be polite.  She was cautious and confused as she entered the small foyer, calling for her Watcher. 

    “Giles?  Are you here?  Hello?”  Buffy continued into his living room and listened to hear signs of life.  Her body tightened involuntarily as she remembered her dream when she couldn’t reach Giles.  Surely Adam hadn’t gone after…but it had felt so real…

    Her fear worsened as she heard a clash, bang, and a British accent spouting muffled curse words from a room beyond the kitchen.  She ran towards the sounds.

    “Giles?  Giles!  What hap—” She was cut off by the sight of Giles sprawled on the floor of his downstairs bathroom, his head bruised, glasses off and tools littered all around the room.

    “Oh, Buffy,” Giles nodded and winced as she helped him to his feet.  “I didn’t hear you come in.”

    “Sorry, I did knock,” she replied.  Buffy suddenly realized she was still holding Giles’ hand, and let go abruptly.  She took a step back and surveyed the scene—messy bathroom, Giles in an old white tee and faded jeans, barefoot.  His hair was tousled as he held one side of his skull.

    “Yes, well.  What brings you so early on a Saturday, Buffy?”  He frowned, but his voice held genuine interest.

    “Oh, um, actually, I have to talk with you, you know, only if you’re free.”

    “I think I’ll have to give up on the bloody pipe for now.  Damn near broke open my skull.  What is it you need to discuss?”  He led them to the couch where Buffy tensed up from fear, worry, and the sudden closeness of them on his couch.

    “I had a dream—a nightmare—last night.  About Adam,” she began.  Giles frowned.

    “A prophetic dream?” 

    “It felt like one…it felt too close, too real not to be one, I think.”  She looked down and swallowed back the tears she felt coming.

    “What happened in your dream?”  Giles asked gently, sensing her worry.   

    “Well, I was…looking for Willow, but c-couldn’t find her.  I called everyone, but got no answers…then I found…her.  And Tara.”  She paused, taking a fraction of a second to glance in his deep, sensitive eyes.  “They were dead.”  Giles looked down, momentarily overcome.

    “What about Adam?  Had he…?”

    “He was there, and he said ‘Five down, you to go.’  Then he leapt at me…and then…I woke up.”  Buffy was visibly shaken and Giles reached instinctively for her, pulling her closer to him.  Upon their close contact, Buffy let everything else go.  She started sobbing in his shirt, terrified at the prospect of losing all her friends this way.  She clung to him as he smoothed her hair and calmly spoke in her ear.

    “Shhh…hush, darling, it will all be all right.”  He hoped she could hear confidence, not worry, in his voice.  After a few minutes she quieted and nodded into his chest.  Then she pulled away, much to his chagrin.

    Buffy gave a slight, nervous laugh and dried her cheeks.  “Heh, look at me, falling apart like this,” she tried to smile even as her eyes welled up again.  She looked down at Giles’ hand resting on her own.  She gave it a squeeze then looked directly into his eyes.  “I just can’t lose you guys,” she said, chin trembling.

    “Oh, Buffy,” he pulled her to him again, allowing her the emotional release she needed.  Buffy couldn’t deny how wonderful it felt to be held by Giles.  Riley wasn’t the same as the strong, protective, guiding and passionate man that was now comforting her.  He was her constant.

    Giles couldn’t believe what was happening.  This much contact was rarely seen in their Slayer-Watcher relationship.  Only now could he feel her feel something new, something exciting and vibrant.  He relished in it.  Of course, Giles had felt it for years, almost since he had first met Buffy.  There was no denying his true, hidden, unspoken feelings for her.

    While held in his warm embrace, Buffy realized how much she truly loved Giles.  Not as a father, but as a man.  A person who she wished needed her like she needed him.  Only she could never say it; how wonderful and secure she had felt…how sweet it could be…

    She shook her head and pulled back again.  Giles brushed away the residual tears and handed her a tissue.  Smiling gently, Buffy whispered to him with great need, “Don’t leave me.”

    “Buffy, I would never, ever, leave you.  I am going nowhere.  I am always here for you,” he emphasized gently.  She nodded her acceptance of his truth.

    “So is it a premonition?  Do you think…Oh God I hope not…” Buffy trailed off.

    “I honestly don’t know, Buffy.  You have to tell me how powerful it was.  However I believe it can be averted.  There has been relatively little activity from Adam for several days, I think, unless Riley—” he faltered, coming to his name, remembering that he and Buffy had seemed friendly.  “Unless Riley has indicated anything from the Initiative,” he finished.

    She shook her head and looked off into space, thinking.  “I’m hungry Giles.  I need some serious foodage.”

    “How about we go grab a bite together, then?  It is almost 12:30 and now I haven’t eaten since this morning’s tea.”

    “Sounds good to me, let’s go.”

    They left together, feeling somewhat better.  Giles frowned as Buffy walked to the door before him.  ‘Is this like a date?’ Giles asked himself, blushing. ‘At least she didn’t seem to mind.’

    At 10:30 that evening, Buffy got a call on her cell phone as she was walking towards Shady Hill Cemetery.  Her phone number was only given to Giles, the Scoobies, her Mom and Riley, and everyone knew it was only for emergencies.  Puzzled and a little worried, Buffy answered.  She was relieved to hear Giles on the other end.

    “Buffy, good.  Heading on patrol?”

    “Um, yeah.”

    “Good.  Well, I thought maybe I would call you at the top of every hour while you’re out with a check in of everyone.”

    “You’ll call everyone hourly?”

    “Yes, then call you to let you know things are well.”

    Buffy beamed, pleased at his extra thoughtfulness.  “That’s so sweet, and it’ll make me feel better.  Just…don’t be worried if I don’t answer right away, I may be in the middle of some serious slayage.”

    Giles’ stomach tightened, of course he would worry.  “Fine.  I’ll just keep trying until I get you.”

    She smiled again.  “Okay, gotta go.  Oh and Giles?”



    He could hear her smile and hoped some of her tension would fade away.  Buffy walked deeper into the cemetery and spotted two vamps milling around a mausoleum. 

    “Finally, some action,” she said to herself as she launched forward.

    By midnight, Buffy had cleaned up half a dozen vampires, an unusually heavy evening.  This worried her a little, but remained thankful there was no sign of Adam…yet.

    Buffy was just hanging up from Giles’ second call-in to confirm everyone’s safety and living status when Buffy sensed someone—something—behind her.  She whipped around, ready to strike when she stopped suddenly.  Tall above her was Adam.  “Slayer.”  He grinned.

    Muttering a mantra of encouragement including several obscenities, Buffy lunged with a kick towards Adam.  The impact forced Buffy flat on her back, but Adam hardly flinched.  He picked her up from the ground where she writhed in pain.  He held her by the back of the neck, pressing his metallic fingers deep into her skin.  Kicking and struggling, she tried to free herself.  Buffy was able to get a punch to his head, the vulnerable skin side, with her elbow.  He lost a little of the grip he held on her.  This window was all she needed.  With a kick to his side and then to his knees, she was down and running away.  Adam’s long strides shortly overtook her, however.

    “You thought this would be easy, human?” He almost laughed.

    Buffy whimpered and twisted in pain as his large, demonic hand held her tightly again by the neck.  She gasped for air and tried to get his hand off her.  He lifted her almost two feet off the ground and continued to speak to her.

    “You have no idea of my plans.  I want to explore and discover.  Why must you continue to get in my path?”

    Buffy tried to reply, but found it difficult to simply breathe.  Instead a small shout escaped from her throat.

    “No.  Instead I must continue on my growth.  So very interesting.  You shall now die.”  As he said ‘die,’ Adam released a hidden arm-sword from his part Polgara demon lineage and stabbed Buffy in her gut, clean through.  She screamed as he did, then he pulled it out quickly and dropped her face-down into the grass, narrowly missing a marble headstone.  She lay still, hoping he would just leave, for she could not easily move.

    Amazingly, Adam did just leave.  Once it was quiet and clear, Buffy tried to sit up and stop the bleeding.  The blood flowed out of her fast and easy, staining her body, clothes and the grass around her.  Even with Slayer healing powers, this was bad.  She was able to sit up, leaning against the headstone near her.  Buffy could feel herself beginning to fade, knowing she could pass out at any moment.  Fumbling for her phone, Buffy dialed Giles.

    Giles had called the Scoobies to his place to do more research and keep them together in an attempt to make his hourly check-ins with Buffy a little easier.  Willow was checking into the Initiative on her computer with Tara’s help.  Anya, adamant about not helping was asleep on a chair, and Xander helped Giles with book work.  It was only about twenty minutes since Giles had called Buffy at midnight when he heard his phone ring.  Concerned, he answered quickly.

    “Giles?” Buffy almost whispered into the phone.

    “Buffy?  What’s happened?  Buffy!  Are you all right?  Buffy?!...” His voice rose as he heard her moan in pain and sigh.  He could only imagine…

    “Adam.  Bad.  Shady Hill…oh Giles, help me,” Buffy managed.

    “Oh, God, Buffy,” he said almost to himself.  “I’m coming now.”

    The Scoobies, including Anya, were up and going instantly.  They geared up and Giles took some medical supplies.  If it was mystical he wanted to get to her first.  He hoped with all his heart, soul and energy he would not be too late.

    What only took a matter of minutes seemed like hours to Buffy as she tried to stop her blood from flowing so freely from her wounds.  She was losing strength quickly.  Soon putting pressure on her wounds was even becoming too much for her.

    Giles ran to her as fast as he could once they parked at the cemetery entrance.  He could feel her pain; feel her slipping away, even from a distance.  He had to get to her…and fast.  Luckily she wasn’t too deep into the cemetery.

    Her face was pale, even in the dim moonlight.  Buffy was sweating and bleeding heavily.  She had already lost a lot of blood, he could tell.  Giles gently scooped Buffy up into his arms, cradling her head.  “Shh, hang in there, love,” he whispered as she groaned in pain from movement.  She gripped his shirt, holding on for dear life.  Giles kissed the top of her head as his eyes misted over.  He knew this was almost too much for him to take care of.  He took Buffy to the ER in his car with the rest following in Xander’s car.

    “Hang on, Buffy.  You’ll make it.  Don’t leave me, hang on.  Listen to my voice.”  Giles’ continued assurance helped keep Buffy grounded even as her mind swirled.  He held one of her hands as he drove, squeezing tight, letting her know he was still there.  She looked at him though her eyes were dimming, she could feel his love for her.  She understood he wouldn’t leave her. 

    Upon reaching the hospital, Xander and Tara held the doors open as Giles swept in carrying Buffy gently but tightly.  Willow ran to the desk and pointed nurses to the bleeding Buffy.  Giles found an empty gurney and raced towards it.  Holding her head and still speaking to her, he laid Buffy right on it, not asking for permission.  “One moment, love,” he smiled slightly as he let her go.  She was reaching for his hand, needing him dearly.  Anya and Tara stood protectively by the bed, patting her shoulder and holding her hand respectively.  The original Scoobies argued with nurses at the desk, ignoring the turning heads by other worried people in the ER waiting room. 

    “Dammit, don’t you understand what’s happened here?” Giles’ voice was flooded with emotion—fear, love, pain and anger, the anger winning this part of the conversation. 

    “Hold on one second, please, sir,” one nurse said gently, disappearing behind some curtains.

    “She may not have one second!” Xander called after her.  Giles shot him a look he could only respond to with chills going down his back.  At that moment Xander truly understood how deadly Giles could be as Ripper, and how much he loved Buffy to bring that powerful of emotions out in him.

    Giles went to Buffy’s side and stroked her hand and her ghastly white cheek.  She was sweating but was frigidly cold.  There was little time now, and Giles’ hope waned.

    “Don’t let me die here,” Buffy pleaded in a whisper.  “Not here.”

    Tears began to flow from her eyes and Giles just held her, not worrying about his own choking sobs.  “Oh my dear Buffy.  I will do everything I can for you.  You will not die.”  He hoped she could hear the conviction in his voice this time.  She appeared convinced as she turned her head.

    Suddenly two doctors and several nurses appeared at Buffy’s bed.  They eased Giles away from her, even as they both reached for each other, trying to touch fingertips.  Buffy’s face was full of fear and it broke Giles’ heart.  “We’re going to take Miss Summers into emergency surgery, uh, Mr. Giles,” a male nurse said.  “It doesn’t look too good, though, sir.  Just so you are aware of the gravity of the situation.”

    Giles gave him the same glare he gave Xander.  “You will pull her through,” Giles spoke low and even, taking the nurse back.  He just nodded to the others and left.


    Joyce was able to arrive just as Buffy was going into surgery.  She arrived looking a mess.  It had been an hour and a half of silent wait and worry in the ER when Willow finally spoke up.

    “Giles, what exactly happened to Buffy?” she asked quietly.

    “It was Adam.  Somehow he-he must have…” he trailed off, realizing he never did find out exactly what happened.  As a Watcher, he slipped.  “But he didn’t kill her, maybe he didn’t intend to.  He certainly is capable, from what Buffy has told me.  Still…” something just didn’t fit right to him.

    “Didn’t Buffy say Adam was all demon parts?  Maybe he had some long sharp part,” Xander offered, shrugging.

    “Maybe he had a sword,” Anya put in.

    “Do demons need swords?” Tara asked.

    “Usually not,” Giles was deep in thought.  “Most have defenses built into their physiology, boosted senses or extra strength, or…Tara, Anya, would you go back to my flat and retrieve a few books for me?”  He jotted a few down on a scrap paper.

    They nodded and took Xander’s car back.  It was not fifteen minutes before they returned with arms full of books.

    “Wow, Giles, you really can’t waste any time can you?” Xander attempted to tease, unknowingly hitting a sore spot to Giles.

    “I care about Buffy more deeply than you could understand,” he growled.  “If what Adam did to her—” he faltered and removed his glasses to rub the bridge of his nose.  “If it’s mystical or demonic in any fashion, she’ll need my—our—help more than the doctor’s can give.”

    Xander looked down.  “Hey, I’m sorry, I was just joking around.”

    Giles nodded and held his head in his hands.  “I’m just so worried—” his voice cracked and he tried to swallow a sob.  Willow sat next to him and held him.

    “We all are, Giles.  Shh, let us help.  Come on, she’s going to be fine,” Willow rocked him gently as his tears flowed into her bright red hair.  He nodded and sat up, flipping pages in a demon index.  Suddenly he stopped.

    “Hey, didn’t Buffy fight one of those with the Initiative a while ago?”  Willow asked, recognizing the Polgara etching.

    Giles murmured to himself the suddenly leapt up, pacing.  “Of course!  Yes, she did.  They took his arm, see here,” he pointed to another etching, “that has sword-like inserts that can be triggered when in combat.  They are as efficient as any sword.”

    “W-was the sword thingie, y’know, poisoned?” Tara asked what everyone wanted to know.

    “Thankfully, no,” came the reply, but Giles did not stop pacing.  “At least we understand a little more of what we’ll be facing in Adam.”

    The hospital clock read 3:15.  Everyone except Giles and Joyce was asleep in their lover’s arms in the uncomfortable waiting room chairs.  He sighed and rubbed his temple methodically.  If he slept now, he might miss something, might not be able to help, something that pained him to think of.  By 3:30 one doctor returned in full scrubs.  He had a serious look and met Giles’ expectant gaze hesitantly.

    “Well, doctor…?” Joyce asked nervously.  Joyce stood by Giles, her arms folded tightly around her.

    “She’s lost a lot of blood,” the doctor began, “but she’s stabilized.  She is strong and her body is so far responding favorably.”  Upon seeing their more relaxed faces, the doctor held up his hands.  “She still has much recovering to do.  She’s a very lucky girl.”  The doctor looked down.

    “May we see her now?”  Giles asked, glancing behind him at the sleeping bunch.

    “She’s sleeping, but I suppose.”

    Giles and Joyce smiled and followed the doctor to the ICU room.  It was bland, smelled sterile and slightly cramped.  He frowned when he saw Buffy hooked up to several machines and an IV.  Joyce rushed in first, not having seen Buffy before she left for patrolling.  He left her alone for several minutes until Joyce left the room, evidence of crying still clinging to her face.  Giles gave her a slight hug then she motioned for him to go in.

    “Buffy…” he whispered to himself almost, the image of her pulling at his heart.  He sat next to her still body, holding her hand in his own.  “Hang on, love.  I’m here.  I will always be here.  I’m so sorry, Buffy, if only I—” his voice faltered.  “If only I was there, could’ve taken the blow for you…hang on, just hang on.  I-I need you, Buffy.  Without you, I am nothing.  I need to take care of you.”  Having expressed his feelings aloud finally was exhausting to Giles.  He hung his head, not holding back the tears, when he felt a soft hand on his shoulder.  It was Joyce.

    “Oh-Joyce, oh, I’m-I’m sorry.  Please, sit here,” he stumbled over words as he reluctantly got up to offer his seat and leave. 

    “Mr. Giles—Rupert,” she stopped him as he was beginning to leave.  “I heard you.”

    He groaned inwardly.  ‘Bloody hell.  Good show, Rupert, her mother will forbid you from anything now, you’ll never see her again.’  His thoughts raced as he slowly turned to face her.  She looked down but continued.

    “I understand.  I understand how much you love her.  But please—” she looked directly at him now, “be careful with her.”

    “I would never do anything to hurt her, ever.  She-she doesn’t even know.  And that’s how it shall remain.”

    Joyce nodded.  “I know she cares for you though.  She may not always say it or truly express it, but I know.  I can just…tell.”  Giles’ heart leapt as he thought back to earlier in the day with Buffy’s dream.  It certainly had seemed that she cared.  Then he realized what Joyce was saying.  Were these words…her blessing?  His heart filled at the possibility, but he knew in his head it could never be.

    She half-smiled at him, which he returned.  “You should get some sleep,” she told him.

    “Yes, well…I suppose you’re right.  You’ll, um, wake me, if…” he didn’t even want to finish the sentence.

    “Of course.  And, Rupert?”


    “Thank you.”

    Giles returned to the waiting room where he found Xander awake.  Anya was still snoozing, as were Willow and Tara.  Giles walked over to Xander and put a hand on his shoulder. 

    “I apologize for snapping at you earlier,” he began.

    Xander shrugged and playfully hit him in the arm.  “No big.  I’m sorry, too,” his eyes were sincere.

    “Well, she’s asleep.  She’s not out of the woods as of yet, though, I’m afraid.  Stable, but…”  Giles sighed.

    “Sleep, Giles.  You’re no good to us half-awake.”

    “Take the girls home as well—they should rest.  You too.  Get some sleep.  I’ll call as soon as I know anything further.”

    Reluctantly, Xander woke up the sleeping beauties and led them to his car.  They all crashed at Giles’ apartment, so he would only have to make one call.

    Two quiet days passed as Buffy recovered, still in the hospital.  Giles and Joyce alternated being with her all day.  She slept through the two days, worrying everyone around her.

    “She’s not in a coma though, right?  Because two slayers in a coma could be a bad thing,” Willow worried as the gang headed over to the hospital after classes ended on Monday. 

    Little change—the same for the third day in a row.  Her heart rate had been improving, but she showed no signs of waking yet.

    Joyce had left an hour ago, around lunchtime, taking Tara and Willow home with her when Giles decided to just stay in and sit with the sleeping Slayer.  He read through spell books and history books—the normal kind of history, taking notes for Buffy so she wouldn’t be so far behind in her studies.  Tara and Willow were taking care of her other classes.

    Around the Gilded Ages, Giles looked up at the sound of a change in Buffy’s breathing.  She was stirring, shifting her head and arms slightly.  “Buffy?” he dared.  A small noise escaped her and he leaned forward expectantly.  “I’m here, Buffy.”

    She turned her head, facing him, and her eyes fluttered open.  She blinked several times and frowned.  “Giles?” she asked him weakly.

    “Yes, I’m here, darling.  I’m here!” he gripped her hand and she squeezed lightly back.  “Thank God,” he sighed under his breath.

    “Wh-what’s happened?  I don’t remember after you put me on a bed…” her voice trailed off. 

    “You had surgery three days ago, but you’ve been doing well, and now you’re awake.  We’ve been researching Adam’s demon parts and doing your homework here, everyone has been taking turns patrolling with Riley.”  He smiled fondly at her response of rolling her eyes.  He called to Xander to get a doctor from the door.  Instantly there were several in the room.  Giles began to step aside and out, but Buffy’s panicked face kept him rooted next to her.

    Xander called everyone and they quickly returned.  Buffy was checked over thoroughly by doctors and friends and was awarded freedom—tomorrow.

    “I’m so sorry, everyone.  Thank you for taking over patrolling and helping me out.  And thank you,” she looked at Giles intently, “for saving my life and being here.”  He blushed at her kind words, but could only smile and squeeze her hand.

    Joyce hugged her daughter and they spoke for a few moments before Giles ushered everyone out for their privacy.  A matter of minutes later, Joyce exited and approached Giles.  “She wants to see you, Rupert.”

    Giles turned to Jell-O inside and nodded.  He was able to get a stiff “of course” out as he headed towards where Buffy lay in wait.

    She was sitting slightly up.  Her hair had been brushed and the color was all returning to her glowing face.  She smiled when she saw him enter.

    “Giles,” she said softly.

    “Yes, Buffy.  How are you feeling?”

    “Better.  Sore, but doing better.  You?”

    He was taken aback with her genuine interest.  “Relieved.  Happy.”  He took her hand again, trying not to hurt her.  She gripped him tightly, letting him know it was okay.

    “Good.  Thank you, Giles, for everything.  I don’t say it enough, I know.  You’ve hardly left, haven’t you?”  She reached forward to trace the dark circles under his eyes but he stopped her, taking her other hand. 

    “We were so worried, and I didn’t want you to wake up and find yourself alone.  I would never do that to you.”

    Buffy could feel his sincerity.  She trusted Giles completely and loved him so much.  Even in her vulnerable state she felt compelled to tell him the truth.

    “Giles, when Adam attacked me, the only thing I could do—the only thing I wanted…” she stopped, losing her nerve.

    “What, Buffy?  Please tell me,” Giles looked at her with nonjudgmental eyes.

    “I just wanted you.  To be with me.  I knew if-if I died, I wanted the last thing I’d ever see, the last person I’d be with…to be…you.”

    Giles looked into her deep, honest eyes.  How long had he felt the same depth of love for her?  Never had he ever thought she would be able to return that kind of love.  He had been content to love her from afar, only dreaming she’d love him this way back.  He blinked and touched her wet cheek.  Stroking her face, he knew he wasn’t dreaming.

    “Well, say…something,” Buffy pleaded, afraid she’d scared or disgusted him.

    “Oh, Buffy!” He sat up slightly and engulfed her small trembling body within his strong arms in a hug.  “Buffy I have loved you…for years.  I never thought…” his voice faded to a whisper as he saw a gleam of joy spark in her eyes.

    “I love you,” she stated simply, but full of care and passion.

    “And I love you,” he replied.  He leaned down to her face, resting their foreheads together.  “Forever.”  Buffy lifted up her face and gently kissed his lips.

    His surprise and joy overtook him and he kissed her back.  Their kiss deepened as they held each other tightly.  They pulled away only to allow themselves to breathe. 

    “I suppose this means I should call you Rupert now, huh?” Buffy asked, a glint of mischievousness in her eye.

    “If you like, my love.”  He smiled and stole a few more kisses.  A small, happy squeal escaped her as she opened her mouth and welcomed him in with her tongue.

    Giles stayed by her side all day until her mother came in the evening.  She stayed for half the night, allowing Giles some attempt at sleep.  He slept fitfully, however, anxious and excited over the day’s stresses and joys.

    When he arrived around 4 a.m., Buffy was fast asleep.  She looked peaceful and happy—like any normal girl.  Giles frowned, second-guessing himself for a moment, whether he truly had a right to love her.

    Joyce popped her head in the room to say goodnight before she left.  She noticed Giles studying Buffy’s face intensely.

    “Rupert?  Everything all right?”

    “Hm?  Oh, yes, yes.”

    “Buffy told me.”

    “Told you…what, exactly?”

    “That she loves you and you told her you love her.”

    “Yes, she did, and I did as well.  I love Buffy with every fiber of my existence, and I will die loving her that much.  I want to be with her, take care of her, support her, love her, for the rest of our lives.”  Giles realized he was rambling, but he hoped Joyce understood what he was truly asking. 

    “I know.  I understand that.  Buffy loves you and wants to be with you as well.  She asked me earlier if I approve.  I’m not wild about it, but I know you will be good to her forever, so I guess I do.”  Joyce looked at him, smiling.

    “Thank you, Joyce.”

    “She asked to go home with you once—no, she said ‘go home to you’—later today, when they check her out.”

    Giles’ heart skipped a beat, go home to him; it was as if they were already a couple.  “Only if you approve, Joyce.”

    “Yes, take care of her.  I’ll visit tonight.  Goodnight now.”

    Giles was so thrilled he couldn’t fall asleep again.  He just sat next to her, holding her hand, watching her as she slept.  ‘Beautiful,’ he thought.  ‘Lovely.  My lovely Buffy.’

    By two p.m., Buffy was all ready to sign out.  Giles carried her carefully to his Citroen and kissed the top of her head as he laid her in the passenger seat.

    “Thank you for letting me go home with you,” Buffy said as they drove to Giles’ apartment.

    “My flat is your home, as well, Buffy,” Giles said quietly, “if you’d like it to be.”

    “Anywhere you are, Rupert, is my home.  You are my home.”

    “My foundation.”

    Buffy blushed with love and gazed into his eyes at a stoplight.  They leaned in for a kiss, even as the light changed to green.