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green card - part 3

Okay, chapters 5 and 6 are next.

See part one for disclaimers

Chapter 5 - Start Spreading the News

Even though it was 9:00 p.m. Sunday evening, the lobby of the Hyperion hotel was busy. Cordelia was tending to Angel's injuries while Wes and Gunn were cleaning the weapons before replacing them in the storage cabinet. When the telephone rang there was a collective groan. Cordelia put down the gauze and crossed to the desk.

"Angel Investigations, we help the helpless," she snapped in a cross voice.

"Oh, yeah, that'll encourage someone." Gunn muttered to Wes.

Cordy put her hand over the mouthpiece and glared at Gunn. "I heard that." She returned her attention to the telephone. "Hi, Willow. Don't tell me; it's the end of the world, again, and Buffy needs Angel in Sunnydale."

She listened for a few minutes, and then an astonished look came over her face. "No way." She listened more. "No. Way. This is a joke, right?" A stubborn expression replaced the astonishment. "I don't believe you. Let me talk to Buffy."

The others crowded around the desk and Angel asked, "What's going on?"

Cordy waved him into silence and listened intently. "No way. Xander, this is just some twisted idea of a joke you two are trying to make me fall for. I don't believe it. Now let me talk to Buffy." She listened intently for a few more seconds, then slammed the phone down, picked it back up, and punched in a number.

"Cordelia, has something happened to Buffy?" Wes asked in concern. She just glared at him and listened to the phone ring.

"Giles, I just talked to Willow and she told me the most unbelievable….." her voice trailed off and the astonished look returned to her face. "No way," she whispered. After a few minutes she said, "Yeah, I'll tell everyone. Bye." She hung up the phone and stared blankly at the others.

When she just continued to stare in silence, Angel waved his hand in front of her face. "Cordy, what's wrong? What did Giles say?"

She looked at him in shock. "Buffy and Giles got married yesterday."

Like puppets whose strings had been cut, Angel and Wes both sat down abruptly. They looked at each other, and in unison said, "No way."



Back in Sunnydale Giles hung up his phone and looked over at Buffy. "How thoughtful of Willow to inform Cordelia for us."

"Yeah, thoughtful, that's our Willow." Buffy shrugged. "At least it solved the problem of how I was going to tell Angel. One down, one to go. I'd better call my Dad." She approached the phone in the manner of someone about to perform an unpleasant task. Taking a deep breath, Buffy punched in her father's number and listened to it ringing.

"Hello."

"Daddy, you're there. Why are you there?"

"Perhaps, because I live here. Buffy is there a problem?"

Buffy gazed wild-eyed at Giles. "Um, no problem as such. I just wanted to tell you something and I expected to get your answering machine. It's wigging me a little that you are really there."

"To be honest, I am on my way out the door. So, what is it that you wanted to tell me?"

"No big, don't worry, just go ahead and go. I'll call back later and leave a message."

Hank gave an impatient huff. "Buffy, don't be ridiculous. I'm already on the phone, so just say what you wanted to say and get it over with." In the background Buffy could hear a female voice say, 'Hank, hurry up. The restaurant won't hold our reservation much longer.'

"Sorry to be delaying your plans for the evening, but something happened yesterday that I thought you might want to know." She paused.

After a few seconds Hank prompted gruffly, "Well, what happened that you have to tell me about it right this minute?"

Buffy smiled grimly at the phone. "I thought it was pretty important, but now I'm not so sure you will. After all, when was the last time you bothered to call and ask me about anything in my life?"

"Just tell me what it is, dammit."

"I got married yesterday." Buffy pulled the phone away from her ear and Giles could hear the squawking sounds coming from it clear across the room. When the noise finally ceased, Buffy calmly said, "Goodbye, Daddy" and hung up the phone.

She quickly picked the handset up again and punched in her mother's number. "Mom, I just talked to Daddy. Expect to get a call from him as soon as I hang up." She listened for a few seconds. "No, I don't see any reason to tell him the truth. Just go with the story we agreed on earlier." She listened some more, smiled gently and said, "Thanks, Mom. I'll talk to you tomorrow after the INS interview. Good night." She walked over and sat next to Giles on the sofa. "Anyone you need to tell?"

"The Council needs to be informed, of course, but it is only" he looked at his watch, "a little after 5 in the morning there. I'll call them later."

"Don’t they have answering machines?"

Giles looked startled for a moment. "I'm not sure, I've always called during their working hours."

"Well, personally, I'd rather leave Travers a message than talk to him. He'll probably react like Dad did."

"You have a point. I'll call now." He thought a moment, then punched in the long series of numbers for the overseas call. There was one brief ring on the other end then a voice said, "Royal Council of Watchers, Quentin Travers speaking."

Startled, Giles said nothing. An annoyed voice said, "Hello, is anyone there?"

"Quentin, I didn't expect you to be in the office at this hour."

"Rupert, if you didn't expect me to be here, why did you call?" A note of barely concealed eagerness could be heard. "Has something happened to the Slayer?"

"Buffy is fine. She simply had some information that she thought might be of interest to the Council. I am making this call merely as a courtesy."

"Yes, yes, of course. What is it?"

"Buffy got married yesterday."

"What? Married? That's not allowed! Why didn't you stop it?"

"Must I remind you, I no longer work for you. I have not worked for you for over a year, and since I am no longer officially Buffy's Watcher, I have no say in what she does. Even if I had wanted to, I had no authority to stop her. And I didn't want to."

Next to him Buffy muttered, "That's not what you said yesterday." Giles glared at her.

"Well, I can put a stop to it. This must not be allowed to continue. Marriage will only be a distraction that will keep her from her duties. I'll put the Los Angeles branch on it. We'll get this marriage annulled. What is the name of the boy she married?"

"Quentin, are you out of your mind? Buffy is 19 years old. She is an American citizen. You have no legal authority over her. There is no way any judge would accept your petition to annul her marriage."

"I'll fly over and speak with the boy myself. Explain the facts of a Slayers life to him."

"Buffy's husband is well aware of the facts of a Slayers life. Nothing you can say will persuade him to leave her."

"We'll see about that. What is the boy's name."

"He's not exactly a boy."

"His name."

"Rupert Giles."

"WHAT???"

It was Giles' turn to pull the receiver away from his ear. When the sputtering sounds finally ceased, he spoke into the handset. "I will extend your good wishes to Buffy. Have a nice day, Quentin." He hung up the phone and turned to Buffy. "That was highly satisfying. Who else can we annoy?"

Buffy started laughing at the eager expression on Giles' face. He soon joined her. Every time one of them would come close to stopping they would look at the other and start up again. At one point Buffy wheezed, "Too bad Snyder is dead. Can you imagine what his reaction would have been?" They clutched each other, giggling wildly. Uncounted moments later Buffy realized that she was lying on top of Giles on the sofa. He was still chuckling as he reached up to wipe the tears of laughter from her face. They froze, staring at each other.

Giles cupped her cheek, his thumb rubbing her chin, just under her bottom lip. "Buffy," he began. A loud pounding on the front door startled them apart. Giles went to answer it. "Can I help you?"

A tall, good looking, young man stood weaving on the porch. He stared belligerently at Giles. "Where is she?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"Buffy. I know she's here. Where is she?" He lost his balance and had to clutch at the doorjamb to keep from falling down.

Giles could smell the alcohol on the young man's breath, even from a few feet away. Buffy walked up beside him and said, "Riley?"

Riley looked at Buffy; his expression changing to one similar to a puppy that has been disciplined and doesn't know why. "She told me you were here, but I didn't believe it. Is it true?"

Even though she had a pretty good idea exactly who he was talking about, Buffy asked, "Who told you what?"

"Willow told me you weren't her roommate anymore, that you had moved in with him." The last word was growled as he glared back at Giles.

Buffy sighed and dropped her head. "Willow told you that I moved in with Giles?"

Riley shrugged and almost lost his balance again. "Not exactly. What she said was that you had married him, but that can't be true."

Buffy's head came up and she glared at him. "Why not?"

"Because, well, look at him, he's old!"

"Giles is not old!" Buffy didn't notice Giles look at her in amazement. "He's older than me, yeah, but he's not old. And besides, it's none of your business."

"It is too my business." Riley pouted. "You’re my girlfriend. I love you and you love me. You can't marry someone else."

Buffy stared at him in shock. "Riley, I'm not your girlfriend." As both men looked at her in surprise she continued, "Well, yeah I'm your friend, and I'm a girl, but we've just been dating. You hadn't even asked me to go steady or anything, and you certainly hadn't told me you love me." She glanced at Giles in embarrassment. "All we've ever done is kiss, and was just on our last two dates."

"Well I do, love you that is, and you love me too you just don't realize it yet. As for the kissing, I was showing you that I respected you. I was waiting for a sign that you were ready for more." He leaned in closer, almost knocking Buffy over with his breath. " I know about that jerk, Parker," he whispered. Riley reared back and glared at Giles again. "Besides, what the hell kind of name is Giles? Some stuck up British name? How can you want to spend the rest of your life as Mrs. Giles whatever his last name is?"

Buffy looked at him with pity. "I'm sorry, Riley. You're really sweet, and we had a lot of fun together, but I don't love you. I love Giles; I have for a long time. And we are married. We got married in Las Vegas yesterday."

When Giles heard Buffy say that she loved him, his heart skipped a beat, then he realized that she was just following the story that they were planning to tell the INS. He frowned, what had Riley meant when he said, 'that jerk, Parker'? Buffy had started speaking again, so he turned his attention back to her.

"Giles is his last name. He doesn't like his first name, and when he went to Oxford the instructors there called him by his last name, so it kind of stuck. I'm very happy at the thought that I'll be spending the rest of my life as Mrs. Rupert Giles."

Riley looked from her to Giles and back again in bewilderment. "But, he's old."

Buffy shook her head. "No, Riley, older, not old. Love, real love, doesn’t look at the body; it looks at the soul. He is the other half of me." She stepped forward and touched his cheek gently. "I'm sorry."

For just a minute Riley looked like he was going to accept what she had said and leave. Then he straightened up and looked belligerent again. He pushed his way between them into the apartment. "No, I don't believe it. We had a date Friday night, and you were supposed to meet me again on Saturday. How could you be dating me when you say you were in love with someone else?" He folded his arms and swayed back and forth in front of them. "Explain that, go on, I want to hear it."

Buffy and Giles exchanged glances. "This might take some time. Perhaps you should sit down and I'll make some tea." Giles headed for the kitchen.

Buffy threw Riley an exasperated look, said, "I'll help you" and headed for the kitchen. Riley stumbled over to the sofa and plopped down on it.

Buffy moved close to Giles and whispered. "Now what?"

"We tell him the story we are going to tell the person from the INS," he whispered back.

"What if he doesn't buy it?"

"We have to make him believe it. If the INS questions people on campus about you, they will find out that you have been dating him. He must be made to believe that you were only dating him because you thought you couldn't be with me."

Buffy's back was to the pass though. "What's he doing?"

"He's watching us."

"Kiss me."

"What?"

"We're supposed to be newlyweds. Kiss me." When he hesitated she reminded him, "Giles, people are going to expect PDA's from newlyweds."

He frowned slightly. "PDA's?"

"Public displays of affection. Smoochies."

"Is there some rule that says I must be the one to initiated these, uh, smoochies?" Giles grinned at her. "Why don't you kiss me?"

"Is that a dare, Watcher-mine?"

"If you choose to take it as such."

Buffy grinned back at him. "You are so going down." She hooked a hand behind his head and pulled him toward her. Just before their lips touched, Giles murmured in a voice so low that she wouldn't have heard it except for Slayer hearing, "If only." She had an instant to be startled, and then she was lost in the wonder of his kiss.

The back of her head fit perfectly in the palm of his hand, his fingers spearing thorough her hair as he moved her slightly to get a better angle. His lips urged hers apart and his tongue slid wetly into her mouth. Oh, wow! He was a way good kisser. This was much better than her Moms' memories, and those had been pretty hot.

His other arm pulled her snug against him as he took a couple of steps to the right and lifted her slightly, sitting her on the counter. She automatically opened her legs and he pressed forward against her. Buffy became aware of a shrill whistle and an annoyed voice on the edge of her consciousness. She jerked back from Giles, startled at how quickly she had lost control. He looked just as startled and backed away from her. He cleared this throat. "I’d best get the kettle."

Buffy realized that the shrill whistle was the teakettle that Giles had just put on the burner. The water was boiling already? How long had they been kissing? She turned to see Riley in the kitchen doorway. "You don’t have to make out with the old guy while I’m here, " he remarked sourly. "Can’t you wait until I’m gone?"

If looks could kill, Riley would have died right then. "Giles. Is. Not. Old. Get over yourself. And its not considered making out when you’re married. Go back to the living room, we’ll bring the tea out in a minute." She hopped down from the counter and crossed the room to where Giles was fiddling with the tea tray.

Giles turned away to tend to the teakettle, drawing a deep breath and blinking rapidly. Dear lord. He couldn’t believe that he had lost control so quickly. He had almost taken her right there, in the kitchen, with that young man in the next room. He drew another deep breath. He had frightened her. That look on her face when he had pulled away, it had been the same panic stricken expression he had seen on her face at the wedding.

His hands moved automatically and prepared the tea. He could hear Buffy talking behind him, but the words didn’t come through his inner monologue. He had to assure her that it had been a mistake, a mistake that wouldn’t be repeated. He couldn’t stand the thought that she was afraid of him. A hand gently caressed his back, and he jumped, startled. He turned around and saw Buffy standing there, smiling nervously.

He rushed into speech. "The tea’s ready. Let’s go into the other room."

A puzzled look crossed her face. "Giles?"

"We’ll discuss it after he’s gone. Right now we need to convince him that the situation is genuine." Giles picked up the tray and gestured with it for her to precede him from the kitchen.


Two hours later, a much more sober, but still upset, Riley left to go back to his dorm. After a brief argument in the kitchen, Giles drove him. Buffy had wanted to walk him back, but Giles had pointed out that since they had just spent the last two hours telling him that Buffy didn't love him, if she went with him it would be sending the wrong signal.

Giles spent the drive time trying to figure out how he was going to approach what had nearly happened in the kitchen. He knew how he really wanted to approach her. He wanted to pick her up, carry her up to the bed and finish what they had started. After all, they were married. He had the certificate and the ring to prove it. All those thoughts that kept flashing through his mind were perfectly legal. Well, for the most part. He had never needed to know the laws pertaining to consensual sex in America, so a couple of them might be questionable.

He sat in the car in the parking lot, staring up at the lighted windows of the flat, trying to gain control of his rebellious libido. Two years; what a joke. He hadn't been able to keep his hands off her for 48 hours. The memory swept over him again. Her scent, her taste, the feel of her body pressed against his.

The panicked look on her face when she pulled away.

He banged his head against the steering wheel. Bloody hell, two years.

Heaving a deep sigh, he got out of the car and walked up the steps to the flat. When he opened the door the sight of a tear-stained Buffy sitting opposite Willow on the sofa met him. He slammed the door shut and stalked across the room. "Willow, what have you done to upset Buffy now?" He stopped abruptly when Willow turned her head and he saw that she was crying as well.

"No, Giles, it's a good. Will and I have been clearing some things up. We're cool again." Buffy smiled at him and wiped the tears away. She leaned forward and picked up some paper that were lying on the coffee table. "Willow did a major hack job and brought some things for us to study. These are samples of things that the INS person might be asking us about."

Giles took the pages and began to leaf through them. He looked at Willow in concern. "As much as Buffy and I appreciate this, I do hope you won't get in trouble. This is the government; there would be very stiff penalties if they caught you."

Willow made a brushing away gesture with one hand. "Don't worry, it was no big." Willow looked at him uncertainly. "Giles, there is something I'd like to talk to you about. In a few days, you know, after all this is over."

"Willow, I very much fear that this will take more than just a few days. Is this something that we can handle tonight?"

"I don't think so." She looked away for a moment, then back at Giles. "These last couple of days, I feel like something was in me, controlling me, making me do some of those things. I was talking to Tara about it earlier, and she said she could sense a dark power around me. It scares her." Willow's eyes again filled with tears. "It scares me too."

Giles stared at her in that focused, unfocused, way that Willow knew meant that he was looking at her aura. He frowned, blinked, and re-focused on her face. "There is something distorting the colors of your aura, but just around the fringes, not next to you. It's possible the anger you were feeling allowed it to temporarily penetrate to you, but now that you and Buffy have made peace, it has been forced back out. I don't believe that you are currently in any danger."

"But I could be?"

"Anything to do with magic can be dangerous. Meditate and try to remain as calm as possible until we have the time to research this." Giles crossed to where Willow was setting and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. "I truly believe that you are not in immediate danger. It's even possible that meditation alone will take care of the problem."

Giles took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I would feel better if we knew how long this business with the INS was going to take." He replaced his glasses, and sighed. "If you feel at any time that you are being controlled again, come to me at once. Otherwise, you and Tara come over after classes on Friday and we'll look into it then."

Willow stood up and gave Giles a hug. "Thanks. And speaking of class, I have one at 8 in the morning. I'd better get back to the dorm and try to get some sleep."

Giles seemed to just realize how late it was. He frowned. "Willow, you didn't walk over here alone, did you?"

She shook her head. "I took a cab."

"Well there's no need for the expense. I'll drive you to the dorm."

Buffy shook her head. "I think it's my turn. I'll walk Will home and do a quick patrol." The girls walked to the door. Buffy turned and said, "You could take the time to see how many of those questions you can answer. We'll go over them when I get back." She paused then walked quickly back over to where Giles was standing. She reached up and gave him a quick kiss. "Need to practice those PDA's." Buffy and Willow left, giggling.

Giles stood staring at the closed door for a long time, then pulled himself together, sat down, and started studying the papers Willow had brought.


Chapter 6 - Let's Face the Music and Dance

Helen Cavanaugh, investigator for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, drove past the sign that read Welcome to Sunnydale. She had worked for the INS for 15 years, so this was not her first assignment, but something about this case didn't feel right. She wished, not for the first time, that she had studied the file on Rupert Giles before she mailed the letter. So many things didn't add up.

First being that he wasn't 'Mr.' Giles, he was Dr. Giles. The man had a Ph.D. in Egyptology from Oxford. He had worked for 10 years as a curator at the British Museum, and had been named head of the Egyptology department a scant five months before he quit. She had spent quite a bit on time on the telephone speaking with his former boss. Dr. Reynolds had been a well spring of information; all of it even more puzzling.
Rupert Giles had been a model employee; never late, took very few personal days, willing to fill-in in other departments during vacations. He was the man the museum used for special fund-raisers because he could make the dullest subjects come alive for everyone. He was a natural teacher, and worked especially well with younger people. He had seemed very happy in his position.

Then, out of the blue, he had gone to Dr. Reynolds and had given his notice. Effective immediately. He had told Dr. Reynolds that he had been given an opportunity to do research for a book. This in itself wasn't that unusual, most of the museum's employee's had written books. What had been unusual was the book's subject matter. Not Egyptology, the field in which he was an expert, but Native American cultures of the desert Southwest.

Dr. Reynolds had said that he had tried to talk Rupert into taking a sabbatical, rather than quitting, so he wouldn't lose his job at the museum. He had also offered the museum's sponsorship for his visa and green card, but Rupert said that those had already been arraigned through the private corporation that was funding his research. He also turned down the offer of the sabbatical, saying that he didn't know how long the research would take and he didn't want to leave the museum short handed.

Dr. Reynolds said that he had reluctantly accepted Rupert's resignation. He had accompanied him back to his office and watched as he cleared his personal belongings out of his desk. The two men had shook hands at the employee's entrance and that was the last he had seen or heard of Rupert Giles. That had been four years ago.

The next telephone call she had made was to RCOW Ltd., the private research firm that had sponsored Dr. Giles. She had wanted to know why they had withdrawn their sponsorship, since there had been no reason given in the information she had received. The man she had spoken to, a Mr. Travers, had refused to give any details, saying only that Dr. Giles had broken the terms of their contract. Then this morning, just before she left the office, Mr. Travers had called her.

His voice had been filled with anger, and he had demanded to know when Dr. Giles was being deported. He had ranted about the inefficiency of the American government in allowing a man to remain in their country for 14 months after his sponsorship had been removed. When she had asked why he was so passionate about it now, when he had seemed so indifferent last Thursday, he had become almost incoherent. After he had calmed down, somewhat, he had ended the conversation with another demand. He wanted her to call him, personally, as soon as Dr. Giles' deportation date had been finalized. He had given her his home number, saying he wanted her to call him there, not at the office.

Helen gave a little huff. She was not a betting woman, but right now she would be willing to bet that the withdrawal of Dr. Giles' sponsorship had been the result of some personal business between the two men. From the two very different conversations they had had Mr. Travers had struck her as the kind of man who would not hesitate to use the power of the company he worked for to further his own agenda. But, why hadn't he pushed to have Dr. Giles deported 14 months ago, and what had happened since last Thursday to make him so angry?

Fourteen months without sponsorship and ten months since the school had blown up leaving him without a job. What was keeping him in America? More specifically, what was keeping him in Sunnydale? Was there something about the research for his book that could only be done here? When she had first learned that he hadn't had a job for so long, she suspected that he was working somewhere and being paid under the counter. Then she had received his financial records. Dr. Giles was a wealthy man.

He had paid the rent on his apartment a year in advance. He had bought a car, true a used one, but it hadn't been cheap, and had paid for it with cash. All of his bills were paid on time, and his credit cards were paid in full each month. There were two things that stood out. Two years ago he seemed to have spent the school's summer vacation traveling. No noticeable pattern to the trips, but all of them had appeared to be last minute since no prior reservations had been made. And all of the trips had been paid for with cash. In fact, the DEA had watched him quite closely in the beginning, and then they had lost interest when it became clear that he wasn't carrying drugs.

Other than prescription drugs, that is. He had apparently been robbed, and injured quite severely just prior to the first of the trips. She hadn't been able to get a copy of his medical records, but a clerk at the hospital had been most helpful. Dr. Giles appeared to be accident-prone. The clerk said that until ten months ago, he had been a regular visitor, his usual injury a concussion.

Ten months ago. When the high school blew up. The evidence would seem to indicate that someone at the school had been abusing Dr. Giles and for some reason he had been afraid to report it. But that didn't make sense, and it didn't fit in with all the other information she had on the man.

Helen gave a quick look at her directions. Yes, that was the apartment complex, there on the right. She pulled into the parking lot and turned off the car. She picked up the file folder from the seat beside her. Rupert Giles, 41 years old, brown hair, green eyes. The picture appeared to have been taken when he worked in the school library. Brown tweed suit jacket, matching vest, brown tie, white shirt, dark rimed glasses. Cute, in an ‘absent minded professor’ way. The pose, the clothes, everything about the picture tried to say 'school teacher'. So why did she get the message, 'this man is dangerous'?

Enough speculation, it was time to meet the man himself. Helen exited the car and walked up the steps to the apartment. She paused a moment, looking around the tiny courtyard. This was a very nice place; it seemed to have a feeling of peace and security. And she was stalling. She really wasn't looking forward to this interview.

Helen gathered her resolve and knocked on the door. After a few minutes it was answered by a young girl with red hair, green eyes, and the strangest combination of clothes Helen had ever seen anyone wear. The girl said, "Can I help you?"

"I was looking for Rupert Giles. Does he live here?"

"Oh, sure, this is his place, he’s just not here right now. Are you the person from Immigration?" When Helen nodded, the girl turned and called, "Buffy, it’s the lady from Immigration."

Another young girl, this one a blonde, walked over to the door. "Don’t make her stand out there." She waved Helen forward. "Come on in. Rupert went to the store and he should be home any time. I’m Buffy, this is my friend Willow and that is my friend Xander. Please have a seat and make yourself comfortable."

"Thank you. My name is Helen Cavanaugh, and I’m from the Los Angeles office of the INS. If you don't mind my asking, what is your connection to Dr. Giles?"

The blonde smiled. "As I said, my name is Buffy, and I'm Rupert's wife."


Buffy sat listening to Willow and Xander arguing amicably. It was nice to see her friends getting along again, especially after the last couple of days, but part of her wished they would leave so she could take a nap. Last night she and Giles had again lay awake next to each other. She had dozed off a couple of time, and she was pretty sure he had too, but neither of them had slept any length of time. Any movement on his part had her wide awake. He had tried to sleep on the couch, but she had overruled him.

***********

"Giles, were you planning to sleep on the couch for the next two years? We have to get used to it so we might as well start tonight."

Giles had looked uncomfortable. "I had thought we could move to a two bedroom apartment. That way we would each have our own room. I can sleep on the sofa until then."

"Giles, if we move to a two bedroom apartment we might as well put a big neon sign on the door saying ‘not real marriage’. They would kick you out of the country for sure. We’re both adults. We can share a bed to sleep. It’s no big."

Giles looked away, his face reddening. "I have been told by previous partners that I tend to," he paused, took a deep breath and continued, "hold onto anyone who is in the bed with me. I don’t want you to be nervous or uncomfortable. I would never intentionally force you to do anything, but I can’t control what I do in my sleep."

"You mean you’re a cuddle bunny? No prob. It’ll be like having a giant Mr. Gordo." When Giles had looked at her incredulously, she smiled. "Giles, I know you. You would never do anything to hurt me. It will be a little awkward at first, but it’ll be okay. You’ll see."

**************

If last night were anything to go by, it would take quite a while before things were okay. She just hoped that they got comfortable with each other before she started suffering from sleep depravation. A sleepy Slayer made mistakes, and mistakes could get a Slayer killed.

They had given up on trying to sleep shortly after sunrise. Buffy frowned. Now that she thought of it, why hadn’t either one of them stayed in bed and napped after the other got up? Fuzzy thinking, the first sign of lack of sleep. In any event, it wouldn’t have been possible to sleep this morning anyway. They had been downstairs only long enough to put the kettle on for tea when Xander and Willow had come bursting through the door.

Willow said that she had declared it an original Scooby day, just the four of them. She had made sure that Tara wasn’t upset at not being included, and when assured by Tara that she understood, Willow had gone to pick up Xander. Anya had fussed a bit, but Xander had promised her a special evening if she would stay home today. Buffy didn’t want to know what a special evening entailed, she was just happy that Anya wasn’t there to upset Giles by making comments about orgasms.

Giles had fixed tea and toast for the two of them, then stated that if Xander was going to be spending the day he needed to go the grocery store. Buffy looked at the clock. He had been gone almost two hours, so he would probably be back any time now. Not enough time for a nap anyway, even if Willow and Xander did leave. Not that they showed any signs of leaving.

Buffy glanced around the apartment. They had been busy and now all of Giles’ books had been replaced on the shelves. Mixed in among them were things of hers. She smiled. It looked right, like they belonged together. She became aware that Willow was standing in front of her, grinning. "What?"

"So, did you carpe Giles last night?"

Xander groaned. "Please, no details, not in front of me. Wait until I’ve gone."

Buff blushed. "No, I didn’t carpe Giles last night. Come on, Will, this is Giles we’re talking about. Stuffy British guy. He needs to get comfortable with the fact that I’ve invaded his space."

Willow laughed. "I think you are the one who needs to get comfortable. I saw his face at the wedding chapel. He was ready to jump you right there."

Buffy stared at her, open-mouthed. Willow turned to Xander. "Xand, help me out here. Giles is hot for her, right?"

Xander shrugged. "I can’t say about the chapel, but when you were laying on the sofa Saturday, he looked like he wanted to be on there with you. Then yesterday on the plane, if I hadn’t opened my mouth he would have kissed you."

"Then, why hasn't he tried anything when we're alone? After all, we're married. It would be legal."

"Maybe he thinks you don't want him. Does 'old and gross' ring any bells?"

Buffy moaned and hid her face in her hands. "That was just my inner bitca talking cause that woman was coming down the stairs in just his shirt, smiling."

Willow grinned. "I bet, after we go home, if you were to come downstairs wearing just his shirt you'd find out what she was smiling about." Xander looked a little sick, but nodded his agreement.

Buffy smiled, "Ya think?" She unconsciously raised her hand to her mouth, remembering the kiss in the kitchen last night. She also remembered his ‘if only’ when she had said he was going down. Oh, my. That brought a whole new image to mind, especially when she knew just how good he was with that tongue. "Uh, guys, whatever you do, don’t come over early tomorrow. In fact, don’t come over at all for the next couple of weeks unless we call." She giggled, feeling giddy with anticipation. "I’m going to carpe Giles." Willow and Xander glanced at each other and started laughing.

There was a knock on the door. Willow being the nearest, answered it. On the doorstep was a short, slightly plump woman, with nut-brown hair. Willow said, "Can I help you?"

The woman looked a little startled. "I was looking for Rupert Giles. Does he live here?"

"Oh, sure, this is his place, he’s just not here right now. Are you the person from Immigration?" When the lady nodded, Willow turned and called, "Buffy, it’s the lady from Immigration."

Buffy walked over to the door. "Don’t make her stand out there." Buffy waved the woman forward. "Come on in. Rupert went to the store and he should be home any time. I’m Buffy, this is my friend Willow and that is my friend Xander. Please have a seat and make yourself comfortable."

"Thank you. My name is Helen Cavanaugh, and I’m from the Los Angeles office of the INS. If you don't mind my asking, what is your connection to Dr. Giles?"

Buffy smiled at the woman. "As I said, my name is Buffy, and I am Rupert’s wife."


Out in the parking lot, Giles sat in the car gathering up the nerve to enter the apartment. He had seen Willow open the door for the woman just as he was pulling in the drive. Why now, why couldn't she have come later this afternoon. Maybe he would have had a chance to sneak off somewhere and take a nap. It had been three days since he had any sleep to speak of, and he was feeling groggy.

He tried to remind himself that he used to work long hours with little sleep doing research for Buffy. This was different. Her life wasn't hanging in the balance, so he wasn't getting the surge of adrenaline he needed to keep going. Although, if you wanted to look at it in that way, this situation was endangering her. She said she needed him to feel complete. If they made him leave, she could lose her concentration, and that would be dangerous. Buffy in danger. That was all he needed. He could feel the familiar rush energizing him.

Time to face the music.

He opened the boot of the car and retrieved two of the sacks of groceries. He would send Xander and Willow down for the rest. Taking two at a time he hurried up the steps, crossed the patio and went through his front door just in time to hear Buffy say, "It's all due to you that we got married. When I read your letter it scared me so much that I confessed my feelings to Rupert, and he admitted that he felt the same. An hour later we were on our way to Vegas."

"There was a little more to it than that" he remarked, mildly.

"Rupert," Buffy exclaimed, her face lighting up. She rushed across the room towards him, but he took a step back.

"Careful, there are eggs in this bag." Buffy frowned at him, but he only grinned. "You know I prefer my eggs poached, not scrambled." He turned to the others. "Willow, Xander, if you would be so kind as to fetch the rest of the groceries?" They nodded and left while he continued on into the kitchen. As he began putting things away, he called through the window, "Buffy, have you offered our visitor anything to drink?"

Buffy blushed, "No, I forgot." She looked at Helen. "Would you like something to drink? We have bottled water, iced tea, or lemonade. The tea is herbal, no caffeine."

"Lemonade will be fine, thank you." Helen watched as he filled a glass with ice and added the lemonade. Just as he exited the kitchen, the others returned with more bags of groceries.

"This is all, G-man." Xander said.

"Thank you, you know where everything goes. And please"

"Don’t call me G-man." The three chorused. Giles smiled, shook his head, and carried the lemonade over to where Helen was sitting. He handed her the glass. "I’m Rupert Giles, and I assume that Buffy introduced the others?"

Helen automatically took the glass while her brain went on hold. This was the man in that picture? Oh, my. The geeky teacher was gone. Definitely gone. His hair was a little longer and ruffled as though he had been in a high wind. Dark green polo shirt and faded, snug, black jeans. Stylish wire rim glasses, and oh, my god, an earring. Most of the men she knew didn’t look that good at 31, let alone 41.

She frowned. 41. She glanced back at Buffy. And he was married to that child? She felt a surge of disappointment. Marrying someone to stay in the country meant instant jail time followed by deportation. She couldn’t believe that someone so smart would have done something so stupid.

"Dr. Giles, you do realize that marrying so soon after receiving my letter can be considered a suspicious act? I will need to investigate this supposed marriage very closely."

Before Giles could respond, Buffy interrupted angrily, "What do you mean supposed? We got married. I can show you the license."

"Buffy, calm down, we discussed this on Saturday. It was the primary reason why I wanted to wait until after this interview."

Still frowning, Helen looked back at Giles. "If you wanted to wait, why did you go ahead with the marriage?"

Giles ducked his head and ran his hand through his hair. Looking up, he met her eyes, sheepishly. To her amazement she could see a faint blush cover his cheeks. "She was crying." There was a puzzled look on Helen's face, so he continued, "Seeing her in tears was like being stabbed in the heart. I would do anything she wanted to stop them." He gave a little shrug and looked back down at the floor.

"Wow, really? Anything?" Buffy gave a wicked grin. "You are so going to regret saying that in front of me."

"Oh, dear lord," Giles moaned softly.

"Dr. Giles" Helen began.

"Please, just Giles. I don't use the doctor here. Everyone calls me Giles."

"Giles, I will need to speak to the two of you, separately. Is there another room we can go to?"

Giles shook his head. "The bedroom is in the loft, and as you can see there is no wall between the two rooms." He gestured. "The kitchen has the pass through. The only room that is separate is the bathroom, and I don't think you want to interview us in there."

Helen gave a little huff of laughter. "Nooo, I don't think so." She thought for a moment. "What about using the patio? There is a table and chairs there and it's a beautiful day. We could talk out there and Buffy could stay in here with her friends."

Giles nodded. "That sounds like a good solution. I'll bring a pitcher of water." He went into the kitchen. Buffy followed.

"What are you going to tell her?" she whispered.

"I'll tell her what we discussed with your mother." He cupped her cheek with his hand. "This will work, Buffy. Regardless, whatever happens, I won't leave you, I promise."

She briefly nuzzled her face against his hand, then grinned up at him. "Still need to practice those PDA's."

He returned her grin and said, "Is this better?" Before she could react he slid his hand behind her head and pulled her forward. Mouths met and opened, merging hotly. Two sets of arms reached and pulled the other closer. Later, much later, Giles heard Xander's voice.

"Um, guys? Guys? GUYS?? Other people here."

Giles pulled back and looked toward the voice, seeing Xander's embarrassed face, with Willow's grinning one right behind. He looked back to Buffy and saw her blinking at him, her eyes glazed.

After a moment she cleared her throat, grinned, and said, "You keep putting me on the counter."

He looked down. Sure enough, she was again sitting on the counter and he was again between her legs, pressing against her center. "Just leveling the playing field, so to speak." He flushed and stepped back. "Buffy" he began.

Buffy put her fingers over his mouth. "Later, husband mine. Go talk to the nice lady from the INS."

Giles caught her fingers as she pulled away, brought her hand back to his mouth, and pressed a kiss to her palm. "Later." Giles quickly filled a pitcher with ice and water, got two glasses from the cupboard and returned to the living room. The lady from the INS, he suddenly realized that he didn't know her name, was watching him with a strange look in her eyes.

For the first time, Giles was afraid. Afraid that he wouldn't be able to keep his promise to Buffy. He gestured towards the door with the pitcher. "After you."

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
dingobrilliant
Apr. 11th, 2007 11:37 pm (UTC)
it's so cute that Xander and Willow are all about the buffy/giles!!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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