The kiss was slow and sensual, matching the soft caresses each gave to the other… a caress along a hip, a hand running along the inside of a bare thigh. His fingers fumbled with the buttons of the pajama top she’d stolen from him, and he slipped his hand inside to tease her. Her answering whimper encouraged him to continue until her hand tugged at the button of his jeans. At her whispered, “Pretty please?” he pulled away with a soft sigh.


“Giles,” she gently mocked, lying there with her pajama top half open, one hand moving to slip it off her shoulder.

He reached out to still her hand. “You’re not playing fair.”

“Didn’t anyone ever teach you that all’s fair in love and war?” She smiled, toying with a lock of her hair. “I promise I’ll respect you in the morning. Come on. You know what I want.”

Giles moved away quickly and stood up. “Buffy, we’ve talked about this,” he stammered.

She looked up at him, her lower lip quivering slightly.

“No,” Giles said, taking a step back and turning away from her. “And don’t think your pouting will get me to change my mind. It won’t.” Taking another quick look back at her, he shook his head and stared resolutely at the wall. “I mean it. I’m putting my foot down tonight, and I’ve no intention of allowing you to… to manipulate me again.”

“Giles,” she whimpered slightly, “please. I sleep so much better afterward.” She looked up beguilingly. “Haven’t I been good? I’ve been training all the time, even without my strength. And anyway, you want me to get a good night’s rest, right?”

“What of me? Am I not entitled to my own rest? Our training has been as challenging for me as it has for you. I don't know how much more I can take.” He sighed when she continued to look at him with wide, sad eyes. “I can understand once or possibly twice, but it’s been every single night this week… How am I to make tomorrow night as special as possible if I give into you on this yet again?”

"Like you don't enjoy it just as much as I do," she snorted. "Make up your mind, 'cause it's one thing or the other, you know that." She moved her leg just enough to nudge her foot in between his thighs. He jumped slightly at the unexpected contact, turning his head toward her and glaring as she deepened her look of pathos.

“Oh for the love of… This is absolutely absurd,” he muttered, moving abruptly to stalk out of her bedroom.

He was back in a moment, with his guitar in hand and a scowl on his face. She said nothing as she shifted to make room for him to sit, though there was a clear gleam of triumph in her eyes.

“Yes, you’ve won. Again. Now button that top up, or I won’t be able to concentrate well enough to give you what you went to so much trouble to get.” After he finished tuning the instrument, he looked at her and said, “Tomorrow morning, first thing, you and I are going to have a long talk about when you may and may not use your pout to get your own way. Understood?”

Buffy offered him a slow smile as she buttoned up the top, then settled down to listen to her own private concert. “Do I get to choose the song tonight?”

Without looking up, he answered, “I think not, given that you once again used unfair means to get me to accede to your demands.”


Still focused on the guitar, he asked in a mild voice, “Do you want me to sing or not?”

“Sing, please.” She smiled at him and touched his arm. “It really does help me sleep.”

He leaned over and kissed her forehead. “Pleasant dreams then, Buffy. I love you, heart and soul.”

“I love you, too,” she replied as she snuggled down under the covers.

He strummed thoughtfully for a moment before playing the opening chords and beginning to sing, “Who knows how long I’ve loved you, you know I love you still…”

Buffy gave a contented sigh, yawning as her eyes drifted shut. She was asleep before Giles reached the end of the song, unaware of the final kiss he dropped on her head before he left her room for the night.

Buffy walked slowly down the halls of Sunnydale High School. She stopped to peer through a classroom window. Inside, little girls with stakes and a mix of little boys and girls in tweed threw sparkling glitter into the air. They danced joyfully as it floated down and coated them in brilliant shimmers of light.

Buffy whispered, “But that’s supposed to be me in there.” She jumped at the tap on her shoulder.

Giles looked at her, puzzled. “You’re very late for this lesson, Buffy. I trust you have an excuse.”

Holding up her stuffed slug, Buffy turned and began to explain, “Sorry, but Stewart was planning to launch a preemptive attack last night, and he was late getting in.”

He shook his head and started down the hall past her, “You mustn’t allow your slug to interfere with your daily obligations, Buffy.” He pulled out a handkerchief. “I, for example, have a great deal of cleaning to do.” He started dusting the glass case holding the bright red scythe where it hung on the wall under a sign that read, “Break Glass in Case of Emergency.”

Buffy looked around. “I don’t understand this. Why am I here? You’re Rupert, here, right?”

“I’m Rupert to others, but not to you, Buffy.” Giles broke the glass case and carefully removed the scythe. He started down the hall.

“Why not?”

Without turning around, he said, “Because I’ll always be your Giles.”

“Do you want to be Giles because Rupert’s kind of a funny first name?” She skipped to catch up to him. “Not ha-ha funny I mean, but funny in a noble sort of way.”

“If you’re trying to get out of training by flattering me,” Giles said, as he entered the library, “you should use words like ‘handsome’ and ‘rakish.’ You’ll have far better luck, I assure you.”

Buffy pushed past him. “Here again? I’m sure I learned everything I need to know already. Another lesson would just interfere with preparation, preparation, preparation.” She picked up blunt-end scissors from the table, observing, “Still, a Slayer must always know her weapons.”

“Yes, she must,” said Giles, polishing away a smudge on the sharp edge of the scythe. “Do you have everything you need?”

She touched the pile of red construction paper and said, “I thought I did. But not everything is in front of me.”

Giles sat down next to her, placing the scythe on the floor beside him. “That’s because you have to finish putting it together.”

“Would fairy dust help? ‘Cause the baby Slayers and Watchers were playing with some in the health ed classroom a little while ago.” She stood up. “I could go get it right now.”

“Sit down, Buffy.” He tugged on her arm until she sat again. “Fairies are of absolutely no use to you, and their dust is impossible to get out of the carpet.”

Buffy picked up a piece of construction paper and carefully began to cut. When she finished, she held up the paper doll and said, “It doesn’t look right.”

“Be that as it may,” said Giles, touching it lightly, “you must still beware the Native American.”


“The aboriginal will prove to be a frustrating opponent.” Giles took the paper doll from her hands and flapped it in her face. “Do you see what I mean?”

“That’s really irritating, Giles.”

Na dean maggadh fum.” He frowned, then repeated himself once more, adding, “É muito importante para você recordar isso.

“I didn’t understand a word you just said.” She frowned as she watched Giles fold the paper doll into an origami stake.

“Of course not,” he murmured, handing her the stake, which had turned into Mr. Pointy. “And that, by the way, won’t work against him.”

“Him who? The Indian?”

Giles sighed, sounding greatly put upon. “I told you what to look for. 'Indian' is neither politically correct nor accurate.”

“This is the last time I let Xander put anchovies on Willow’s head.” She paused before adding, “That made a kind of sense that isn’t. What’s wrong with me?”

“It might be that your hair is wound too tightly.”

“My hair?” She raised a hand to touch it, then got a panicked look on her face. She ran to the girls’ bathroom, looked in the mirror and screamed when she saw the banana curls on either side of her head.

Buffy woke with a start and immediately grabbed at her hair. She sighed in relief as she wound her hands through the straight locks and then looked around, puzzled. “Just what the fuck was that all about?” she asked the empty room. “I did the dreaming thing last week.”

The small figure tripped over a rock and stumbled, just barely catching himself before he fell flat on his face. When he was relatively stable and upright again, he called out mournfully, “Darlin’ Nell, where’d you go, my sweet?”

When there was no answer after a few minutes, he took off again through the cemetery, following a meandering path and bouncing off trees and bushes and gravestones much the way a pinball did.

He stumbled again, landing hard against a pine tree. After begging the tree’s pardon, he fumbled around with the buttons on his trousers, breathing a sigh of contentment as he relieved himself against the trunk.

“Xander Harris, if you ever sneak anchovies onto my pizza again, you’re a dead man,” Buffy said quietly, picking up a hairbrush. She dragged it through her hair with fierce strokes, calming down only when her hair started floating on end.

She smoothed her hair down, muttering, “On the other hand, at least the cheese man didn’t cometh tonight. That’s gotta count for something.”

She put the brush down and turned to go back to her room but stopped before she reached the door. After a long moment, she turned again and crept into Giles’ room instead.

He stumbled to a halt and pulled a bottle from his coat pocket, drinking deeply of its contents. “Sweet Nell. Why’d you leave your funny little Fergus? I’d’ve married you. One of these centuries.”

A badger paused in his nightly rounds at the sound of a huge belch then continued on his way.

The moon was bright enough for Buffy to see Giles sprawled out on his stomach. He wore the matching bottoms to her pajama top and nothing else. Reaching out to touch his hair, she pulled her hand back quickly as he snorted and rolled away from her and onto his back. When it was clear that he wasn’t about to wake up, she bent toward him again.

His sheets were a tangled mess, and she straightened them out a bit before moving carefully to sit on the edge, tucking her feet under the covers. She straightened her legs and moved down the bed until she was lying on her side so she could see him. Buffy touched his lips, jumping slightly when he reacted.

Still asleep, Giles mumbled, “Hokey-Pokey, my ass.” Then he rolled once more, this time toward Buffy.

She froze when his arm landed across her, barely breathing as he pulled her in close. He buried his face in the pillow next to her head and settled down again. It was only a few minutes more before Buffy closed her eyes and followed suit.


Previously   Credits

previously prologue credits act 1 act 2 act 3 act 4 end credits