Title: Never Assume
Rating: PG-13 (nothing you wouldn't see on television)
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters. I am making no profit from this story. This is strictly for entertainment value.
Name: shelley (jedi penquin)
Season: any time after season three, whatever fits the story
Three requirements for your fic: cross-over with another ASHblf (Oliver Sampson for preference, but James would be great as well), a case of mistaken identity, a museum (any, including science or children's)
Three restrictions for your fic (characters, genres, ratings): Buffy being the one confused over identity, Buffy being a bitch, Giles being stand-offish
Rating preference: I don't like to restrict authors with this. Where ever s/he wants to go, I'll happily follow.
Dawn was bouncing as they waited for the customs officer to finish going through their bags. "Who do you think came to meet us? I hope its Xander. Willow did say he was going to be here for the reunion, right?"
Buffy looked at her sister sourly. "I am not letting you have coffee again for the rest of your life. Will you please calm down? Giles probably came to pick us up; after all he hasn’t seen us in almost a year."
Dawn scowled. "And whose fault is that? He wanted us to come over for Christmas, but, no, you had to stay in Rome to be near Morty."
"You could have come without me. And will you please stop calling him that? You know I hate it. Morto is Italian for dead."
Dawn shot the customs officer a look and leaned forward to whisper. "I refuse to call him 'The Immortal'; that is just so lame. Why won't he tell you his real name? It must be something really dorky, like Guglielmo." When Buffy gave her a puzzled look Dawn said, "It's Italian for William; you know, like your other two vampire boyfriends."
"Spikes' name was William. Angels' name was Liam."
"Which is Irish for William; didn't you know that?"
Before Buffy could respond they were interrupted by the sound of a person clearing their throat. They turned to see the customs officer looking at them. "You can take your bags ladies. Welcome to England."
Buffy grabbed her two bags and stalked toward the exit. Dawn rolled her eyes then smiled at the customs officer. "Thank you, I'm happy to be here." She took her bags from the counter and followed Buffy.
Oliver Sampson and his wife Sydney entered the customs area just as the last of the previous group of people exited.
"Great timing," Sydney said, "This shouldn't take very long." They walked over to the customs official.
"Is your stay in our country for business or pleasure?" the man asked.
Sydney beamed at the man. "Both. We're planning to see some sights and my husband has a job interview."
"We both have job interviews." Oliver corrected. At the man's interested look he continued. "Computer security systems."
"Ah, there's a big demand for that these days." The man opened the bag. "Do you have anything to declare?"
"Nothing," Sydney and Oliver said together, then laughed.
The man went quickly and efficiently through the bags, then opened the passports to stamp them. He raised an eyebrow at Oliver's English passport, but made no comment. He handed the passports back and said, "Good luck on your interviews. Welcome to England." He gesture for the next person in line to come forward. Oliver lifted the bags down and they departed the area.
Buffy stood near the outer doors looking around for a familiar face. Dawn walked up behind her. "What is your problem? You've been a total bitca since you agreed to come to the reunion. If you hated leaving Morty that much maybe you should have stayed there."
Before she could answer a loud "Buffy!" sounded in her ear and she was tackled from behind. "Willow," she responded, turning to hug her back, "It's good to see you." The two friends held each tightly for a few minutes, and then Willow turned to hug Dawn.
Dawn returned the hug, looking around. "Did Xander come with?"
"Sorry, he doesn’t get in until tomorrow."
Buffy cut in. "What about Giles?"
Willow looked a little uncomfortable. "Giles is really busy. He said he was sorry he couldn't meet you here, but he's looking forward to seeing you at Council headquarters." She put on a determinedly bright smile and said to Dawn. "Oh, my gosh, you're even taller. I thought the monks said they made you from Buffy. Where did all the tall genes come from?"
"Probably from my dad, whoever he was."
Willow looked puzzled. "I don't get it."
"I got curious and had a test run. The monks used Buffy's DNA to make me, but they had to have DNA from a man too, or I would have just been a clone. So, my maternal DNA comes from Buffy, but we have no idea who my dad is."
"Well, Riley right? Buffy was seeing him then."
Dawn shook her head. "I hacked into the military data base to check. Riley's DNA is on file and he's not it."
"Did you check all of the DNA data bases?"
"No, I didn't even have the time to check all of the military. I'm not as good a hacker as you are, I kept getting shut out. Plus the fact I was in Italy. I was afraid I would get traced back and everyone would think it was some kind of terrorist group trying to get info on the U.S. military."
"Well, they did have the whole world to choose from, and the way you learn languages so easily it was probably some Mensa genius." The two girls had started walking, not noticing that Buffy wasn't following them. Willow turned to say something to Buffy, saw she wasn't there and looked back.
Oliver and Sydney took their bags and headed for the taxi stand. While they were waiting for their turn, Sydney put a hand on his arm. "I'm sorry."
He looked at her in surprise. "Whatever for, love?"
"That you had to spend all that time on the run with me, that you couldn't come home before now because of me."
"Sydney, we've been over this before. The Committee was after me long before I found you. I don’t regret one single minute of the time we've had together. It's pleasant to be back in England, but my home is with you where ever you are. Never forget that." He pulled her into his arms and kissed her.
Sydney returned the kiss with enthusiasm, and when the taxi pulled up the driver had to clear his throat a couple of times before they stopped. "Do you want this taxi, or do you want to keep snogging?"
The couple laughed and parted. Oliver handed the bags to the driver and helped Sydney into the taxi. The driver settled behind the wheel. "Where to, gov?"
The driver nodded and they drove away.
Buffy was standing where they had left her looking off to her right, a puzzled expression on her face. Willow and Dawn went rushing back. "Buffy, what's wrong?"
"I thought you said Giles was too busy to come to the airport."
"Then why is he over there kissing some blonde?"
She pointed, but when Willow and Dawn looked they only saw a taxi drive away. They looked back to Buffy questioningly. "He was right there!" she insisted. "He and this blonde were wrapped all around each other. And he was dressed really weird. He had on blue jeans and a denim shirt and he wasn't wearing his glasses. You could have told us he was involved with someone." Buffy started to stomp off.
Willow and Dawn exchanged speculative looks, then darted after her. "Um, Buffy, the car is this way." Willow pointed back the other direction. She and Dawn exchanged looks again. "Giles isn't involved with anyone that I know about, but I haven't been in London for a while. I do know that he said he had a Council meeting that he had to attend and that that was why he couldn't pick the two of you up."
Buffy face was set in a scowl. "He's the head of the Council; he could have postponed the damn meeting if he really wanted to meet us. I know what I saw."
Willow whipped a cell phone out of her pocket, hit speed dial #3 and after a few minutes said, "Susan, its Willow. I hate to ask you to interrupt the meeting, but could you give Giles a message from me?" She listened, her face showing shock. "No, no problem, I can handle it. Thanks."
"He's not there. He canceled the meeting. Said there was an emergency he had to take care of. He's been gone over an hour."
"Huh! I told you I saw him." Buffy started off again, stopped, and looked back at Willow in irritation. "What's the damn car look like?"
Giles sat in the back of the Council car, closed his eyes and sighed. He really was getting too old for this nonsense. That had been the third new Slayer in the past month that he had had to best in hand to hand combat before she would accept training. Thank God none of those girls had had any kind of self-defense training before getting their Slayer powers. A few of the girls had this incredible superiority complex when they came to the school for training. He had to show them that they could still be defeated and how better than to have an OLD, NORMAL, MAN take them down. There had to be another way, a way that didn't involve him getting knocked around. He needed to discuss this with the core Council members. Thankfully, the reunion was this week and they would all be in London.
The thought of the reunion had him reflexively reaching for his glasses to polish them. His hand brushed his nose. If he remembered correctly he still had a spare pair at the office, but he would need to call the optometrist about another replacement pair. The girl had been untrained, but she had learned fast, watching his moves and mirroring them. He was beginning to be afraid that he wouldn't be able to defeat her when she had swept his glasses off his face and stomped on them, smirking at him. The rush of anger had Ripper coming to the surface and all his prohibitions against hurting her had disappeared. When he pinned her to the mat a few seconds later he could see fear in her eyes. He had seen it on the faces of the spectators as well. He knew the story would go around the training facility like wildfire. He smiled in satisfaction. He didn’t think anyone would be challenging him any time soon.
Giles opened his eyes to check the time and was slightly startled at the sight of the denim shirtsleeve. He really should have taken the time to change clothes before sparing with that girl. He sighed. At least one of the Watcher trainees had something he could wear. The thought of his ruined clothes was forgotten when he noticed what time it was. Damn. Buffy and Dawn's plane had landed over an hour ago. He could only hope that customs had been slow, or that they had gotten stuck in traffic, and that he would have enough time to get changed before they arrived at headquarters.
The way she had left him still hurt. They had been in London a little over a month, all of them living together in a house he had rented. Buffy had seemed to be completely involved with the plans for the training facilities, offering many good suggestions. He had finally gotten control of the Council funds, and had set-up bank accounts for everyone. Two days later he had come home to find Buffy and Dawn gone, a short note with something about taking Dawn on vacation the only explanation.
He hadn't seen or talked to her since. Dawn wrote every week and called once a month, but from Buffy? Nothing. He had had hopes last Christmas, only to be disappointed. Apparently she couldn't leave her latest pet vampire. Damn her.
He drew in a deep breath, staring blindly out the window. She was only going to be here for the reunion, a week at most. He would be polite, professional. He would harden his heart and not let her in again.
Buffy stood; arms crossed, foot tapping the floor. Her body language shouted that she was wasting her time being here. Dawn gave her an annoyed look but kept talking to Willow. Susan, Giles' executive assistant, continued to work, occasionally glancing at Buffy. Giles had talked about her so many times that Susan had expected…….Well she wasn't sure what she had expected, but it hadn't been this spoiled brat.
The outer doors opened and Giles walked in. Dawn squealed and ran over, grabbing him in a bear hug. By a supreme effort Giles managed to not wince and returned her hug.
Willow stared at Giles' clothes in disbelief while Buffy leaned over and hissed, "See, I told you I saw him at the airport."
Giles looked over Dawn's shoulder at Buffy and saw her glaring at him. He sighed. Bloody hell. What was her problem now? He hadn't even had a chance to say hello and she was already angry. Dawn felt his sigh and pulled back to look up at him in inquiry. He noticed that she didn't have to look very far.
"Dear lord, Dawn, I believe you've grown. You'll catch up to me soon." He pulled her back to him for another brief hug. "I'm glad you could come." He looked back over at Buffy. "I'm happy you could make it as well, Buffy. There are some things that the core Council needs to discuss, and since everyone will be here this will be the perfect time." He gave her a polite smile.
Buffy eyes widened, and for just a moment he thought he saw hurt in them, then she blinked and the glare returned. "Yeah, well, I hope you don't have all our time planned. I've got things I want to do."
"I have very few things planned for you." He frowned. "If you had joined in on the two conference calls last month most of the Council business would already be taken care of. You did agree that anything deemed important enough to be brought to the attention of the core members required full participation before the matter could be resolved."
Buffy opened her mouth to reply, but Giles waved her off. "This isn't the time for that. You just arrived. I'm sorry I couldn't meet you at the airport, but things are rather busy here just now. In fact I had to postpone a meeting due to an emergency at the training site." He glanced down at himself. "If you'll excuse me, I'll go change. There was a problem and my suit was damaged. Thankfully, one of the Watcher trainee's is a similar size and had something I could borrow."
Buffy was incensed. "Well if you had given me some notice about the meeting I might have been able to listen in, but no, you had to call at the last minute. Am I supposed to sit at home every night in case you call?"
Giles, who had turned to enter his office, stopped. It was a moment before he turned back to face her, his expression carefully blank. "I see no purpose in discussing it further." He took a deep breath, looking over at Dawn with a slight smile. "Think about where you want to go for lunch. I'll just be a moment." He entered his office, closing the door with a snap.
Buffy looked at the closed door in disbelief. She started to speak, when Willow grabbed her arm and hissed next to her ear, "I don't know what your problem is, but just cool it. Giles works very hard and he has been looking forward to this reunion and I don't want you spoiling it for him."
Buffy started at Willow, wide-eyed. "Spoil it for him? What about me? He's acting like he hardly knows me. I'm his Slayer."
"Some Slayer," Dawn snorted, "you haven't even talked to him for almost a year. I agree with Willow. Either straighten up or go back to Rome. Don't spoil things for the rest of us."
Buffy stared at the two for a moment, then spun around and stood looking out of the window. Dawn and Willow shrugged and stood quietly together. The group waited in an uncomfortable silence until the door to the inner office opened and Giles emerged.
Giles glanced around the room and frowned briefly at the sight of Buffy standing alone. "Susan, please call my optometrist and have two more pairs of glasses sent over. I thought I had a pair in the office still, but I couldn't find any. And can you please send someone to pick up my spare suits at the cleaners?"
"Of course, Giles. Mr. Abernathy called and would like an appointment this afternoon. I told him you didn't have any time available, but he insisted that I ask."
"Do I have any openings tomorrow?"
"Your nine o'clock cancelled."
"Call him back and tell him that nine tomorrow will be the soonest I can see him. What time is Xander's flight due in?"
Willow spoke up. "Nine-thirty."
Giles sighed. "Can you pick him up?"
He glanced over at Buffy, who still hadn't turned around. "If you wouldn't mind, I need all of you to be here Wednesday at eleven to help me interview a married couple."
"Interview for what?" Dawn asked.
"We've been having trouble keeping someone in charge of security out at the training facilities. This man comes highly recommended and his wife is an expert in computer security. Since I know very little about computers, Willow I will need you to question her and test her abilities. Buffy," he looked over at the window and saw that she had turned around, "I especially need your input on whether or not you feel he can handle Slayer trainees."
Buffy nodded, "Of course, Giles."
Giles gave her a brief smile. "Very well." He turned back to Dawn. "Have you decided where you want to go for lunch?"
Dawn gave a little bounce. "Hard Rock Café."
Giles gave a little groan. "Dawn, all of the different restaurants in this city and you want to eat hamburgers?"
"Giles!!!! It's the first one. And they have all that stuff that belonged to the Beatles there."
Giles smiled. "That's different, of course. Hard Rock Café it is."
Buffy sat quietly in the corner of the back seat, listening to Dawn and Giles talking. She looked out of the window, blinking back tears. Stupid dream.
She thought back to when they were all living together here. It had almost seemed like home, comfortable and safe. Then she had had that dream, the dream where she and Giles were lovers. It had been so sharp, so clear. Like a prophecy dream. She had panicked, taken Dawn, and ran.
She had been so embarrassed by her reaction that she couldn't talk to Giles on the phone for the first couple of weeks, but when she felt she could, he stopped asking for her and she was too proud to make the first move.
Buffy knew that Andrew had passed on the information about her dating the Immortal. If anything she had thought that that would get Giles to call her, but still nothing. Not that anything serious was going on between her and the Immortal. He wasn't really evil anymore; humanity had sort of rubbed off on him. He was just lonely, but once he had the reputation it was hard to loose. He had liked it when she told him that Dawn had given him a nick-name, even if was Morty, but she couldn't let Dawn know that. The reputation thing again.
She had wanted to come back for Christmas, had wanted to see Giles so badly, but she had the dream again and she chickened out. Dawn had been angry with her, but not so angry that she had come to England and left Buffy alone over the holidays. Dawn has assumed it was because of Morty, but Buffy had told him she was going out of town and he had left Rome as well.
Now this, the reunion. She couldn't miss this, even though she had had that damn dream again last night. Sharper, clearer, and oh so very real. She and Giles together in a whirlpool bathtub. The room had been lit by candles and she could see their reflections in the mirror behind the sink. It had looked so right, seeing herself in his arms.
She had been a nervous wreck all morning and as a result she had snapped at Dawn. But again Dawn assumed she knew the reason and Buffy didn't dissuade her. She wasn't sure how she would react when Giles met them at the airport. It had never occurred to her that he wouldn't be the one to pick them up. Then the shock of seeing him kissing that blonde.
Stupid dream. Stupid Buffy for thinking for even a moment that it might be true. She didn’t think she could take it if she and Giles were to become lovers, only to have him leave her like the others had. Her fear of losing him had made her run away, and that had made her lose him.
Buffy glanced at Giles out of the corner of her eye. God, he looked so hot. Dark brown slacks, a green button up shirt with the top two buttons undone, and a thin sliver hoop in his left ear. His hair was a little longer than he had been wearing it when she last saw him, and it was ruffled as if he had been running his hands through it. She didn’t remember his eyes being so green. Maybe it was because he wasn't wearing his glasses.
Buffy sighed. Stupid dream.
In their suite at Claridge's Sydney stood on the balcony looking out at the city. Arms slid around her waist and she leaned back against her husband. "It's hard to believe that we're really here. Oh, Oliver, it's just like I imagined. I hope we get the jobs, I would love to live here."
"If we get these jobs or not I'm sure we can find something here. It's like the man at customs said, there's a need for good computer security experts." He kissed under her right ear. "But you're looking at the wrong view, love, I'm in here." Sydney chuckled. "Come back to bed."
Sydney turned in his arms. "Oliver, I love you, so much that I will never be able to tell you, but this is my first time in London. I want to spend the day doing touristy things. The bed will still be here when we get back."
Oliver heaved a deep sigh, looking at her mournfully. "The thrill is gone. Our sex life has been relegated to night time."
Sydney started giggling. "Oh, and I suppose the last two hours didn't happen?" Oliver smiled. Sydney pouted at him. "Oliver, just one tourist thing today. Please?"
He brushed a quick kiss across her lips and released her. Turning, he crossed the room to the suitcases and pulled out a pair of dark brown slacks, along with a green button down shirt. As he walked into the bathroom he asked, "Where is it you want to go?"
Sydney picked out her own outfit and followed him into the bathroom. "The Science Museum."
"The Science Museum?. I thought you would want to go shopping." His eyes met hers in the mirror. "Isn't there anyplace else you would like to go?"
"I really want to see their exhibit on nanotechnology. I would like to go to Harrods as well, but that can wait until tomorrow. When Sam and I were little, Mom told us about how she and Daddy met. It was in the food halls at Harrods. I've always wanted to see the place, just to see if it still looked the way she remembered. Besides, I need a new nightgown. You ripped the one I was wearing when you took it off last night."
Oliver grinned. "I don't know why you insist on wearing something to bed; it always ends up on the floor."
"And usually in pieces."
Oliver moved behind her, once again circling her with his arms. He started kissing down her neck, pushing the collar of her blouse aside to nibble on her collarbone.
Sydney leaned back, closing her eyes. When his hands began to wander, she straightened and pushed him away. "Oliver, you agreed." When she met his hot gaze she almost weakened, but taking a deep breath Sydney left the bathroom. Picking up her purse she looked back and smiled. "Be a good boy and let me visit the Science Museum today and I'll let you buy me some new nightgowns tomorrow."
He raised an eyebrow. "You'll let me buy?"
"You want to rip them up, you can pay for them."
Oliver gave her a wicked grin. "Deal."
Buffy was strolling through the exhibits at the Science Museum. All the stores in the area and Dawn had wanted to come to a museum. Buffy shook her head. Willow was probably right; the monks had hijacked the genes of some Mensa guy. Too bad there was no way to find out who; it would be funny to see Dawn walk up to some total stranger and say 'Hi, Daddy.'
Lunch had been uncomfortable, at least for her. None of the others seemed to feel that anything was wrong. Giles had smiled and laughed with Dawn and Willow, but every time he looked at her he closed up. She found herself snipping at him, trying to get a reaction. All she got was bruised legs from where Dawn and Willow had kept kicking her under the table.
After lunch Giles had taken them to the hotel. Dawn had been ecstatic when she found it was only a half a mile from the Hard Rock. She was probably going to walk there for lunch every day while they were in London. For the first time since Buffy had seen him at Council headquarters, Giles had smiled, really smiled at her. Then he seemed to remember whom it was he was smiling at and shut down again. In a voice so polite he could have been a tour guide, he told her he had chosen this hotel for two reasons. One was the wide variety of stores that were in the area and the other was that the Victoria and Albert Museum complex was less than a mile away. Dawn had mentioned in their last phone call that she wanted to visit the Science Museum and see the nanotechnology exhibit. He had stepped onto the balcony of the suite and pointed out various items of interest then he had given Dawn another hug, nodded briefly at her, and left Willow in charge of getting them settled into their suite.
Buffy sighed. She wanted Giles to fight with her, yell at her, anything except this polite indifference. Damn dream.
Buffy walked into another room. She really should have stayed at the hotel; this wasn't her thing, even though it was interesting. The Move Over Einstein exhibit had been fun, especially the part about trying to make Internet shopping safer by creating unbreakable codes. The Science in the 18th Century exhibit had really been an eye-opener. It had made her realize how much of the technology she took for granted would have been incompressible to the brightest minds of that time. She looked around, wondering where Dawn and Willow had gone.
Across the room her eye was caught by a flash of green. She frowned slightly and moved a little to the right to see around an exhibit. Giles? Giles was here? He had said that he needed to get back for the meeting that he had postponed that morning. Maybe some of the others couldn't come back so it had been canceled. He must have come looking for them. She started to wave to get his attention.
A tall blonde stepped between them, grabbing Giles' hand and tugging him off to show him something. Buffy blinked. It was the woman from the airport. Giles laughed and pulled her back into his arms for a quick kiss.
Buffy turned away, not wanting to watch. Dawn rushed up to her babbling about showing her something, but Buffy wasn't really listening. Dawn finally realized that she didn't have her attention. "Buffy, what's up?"
"Giles and that woman from the airport are here."
Buffy gestured behind her. Dawn looked around the room. "Where?"
Buffy huffed and turned around. "There," she pointed, but the couple was gone. "They were right there. He was kissing her again." At Dawn's skeptical look she said, "They were there. It wasn’t my imagination."
"Maybe it was someone who kinda looks like Giles."
"Dawn, he wasn't that far away. Brown slacks, green shirt, I could even see the hoop in his left ear. It was Giles and that bimbo from the airport." Buffy hunched her shoulders. "I know you probably want to stay here longer, but I going back to the hotel. I'll see you and Willow later." She looked around, then headed for the exit.
Dawn gazed after her speculatively, then shrugged and went to find Willow.
After picking Xander up the next morning, Buffy decided that she wanted to check out Harrods. Dawn had giggled and handed Willow a 5 pound note. When Buffy looked puzzled Dawn explained, "We had a bet on which store you would go to first. I said Harvey Nichols and Willow said Harrods."
"Do you want to come with?"
"Shopping? Do you have to ask? I've been saving my money for months for this trip. Let's go!"
Willow picked up her purse and followed the others. She stopped at the door and turned back to Xander. "Did you want to come too? We can wait a while if you wanted to shower and change first."
Xander smiled. "You go ahead. I'll be here for a month; I can go shopping for my stuff later. Right now I just want to decompress a little." Willow nodded and the girls left.
Not even an hour later Buffy found herself wandering aimlessly through Harrods. She had been trying on shoes, but nothing had caught her eye. In fact, she was bored. She left Dawn and Willow going ga-ga over some boots and had found the lingerie department. Listlessly Buffy walked among the displays looking for something new.
Pretty underwear was one of Buffy's weaknesses. After becoming the Slayer she had tried to counterbalance the need to be tough with something that allowed her to feel feminine. Silky, frilly bras and panties helped. She had just picked up a blue silk see-through bra when behind her a male voice purred, "That would look splendid on you, love."
Buffy drew in a sudden breath. Giles! He was standing behind her. She started trembling and was trying to think of something to say in reply when she heard a woman's voice giggle softly.
"And how do you think it will look on the floor?"
Buffy dropped the bra and sagged against the display. He wasn't talking to her. She felt movement and a body brushed against her. "I beg your pardon," Giles said. Buffy turned her head slightly and watched the pair walk past. Giles eyes brushed across her face, showing no sign of recognition.
She swayed slightly, feeling a pain as sharp as when she had been stabbed during the fight with the First. It was Giles, no question; she would know that voice and that face anywhere. The woman was the blonde that Buffy had seen him with before. As Buffy watched they continued to browse, arms around each other. She was frozen, unable to move while they picked out several sexy nightgowns.
"Buffy, look at these boots. Aren't they just…..Buffy what's wrong?" Buffy turned her head to see Willow and Dawn standing next to her. Her throat was tight and she felt that if she tried to say anything she would only start to cry. She gestured towards Giles, and saw Willow and Dawn's eyes widen. Buffy looked back in time to see Giles bend down and kiss the blonde. A small sob escaped her.
"Will, I have to go. I can't stay here and watch them." Buffy rushed towards the elevator. The others followed quickly. The trio walked back to the hotel in silence. When they entered the suite Buffy ran into the bedroom, slamming the door behind her. Willow started after her, but stopped at the door when she heard Buffy crying.
Xander sat up on alarm. "What's wrong?"
Willow and Dawn looked at each other helplessly. They were shocked by seeing Giles kissing that woman, and by Buffy's reaction to it. Dawn gave a brief run down of the other times that Buffy had claimed to see Giles with a blonde, but how neither she nor Willow had seen him, until today.
Xander gave the bedroom door a worried look. "She finally figured it out?"
Willow nodded. "But it looks like it's too late, Giles has found someone else." Willow sighed in frustration. "Why did she have to leave? Things were going so well. If she had just stayed a little longer, maybe she would have realized sooner."
Dawn glanced towards the door and lowered her voice. "Uh, guys? That's why we left. Buffy talks in her sleep and I've heard some pretty interesting dreams. And, uh" Dawn blushed, "I read her diary. She felt that Giles needed time to forgive her about Spike."
Willow looked stunned. "But, what about the Immortal?"
"Morty's really not that bad, and there's nothing serious between them."
Xander choked. "Morty?"
Dawn grinned. "You know, Mort, short for Immortal?"
The others chuckled slightly, but soon sobered. They all looked towards the bedroom door. "What are we going to do?" Dawn asked.
"Nothing we can do, " Willow sighed.
Giles glanced at his watch again. 10:55. Thank God it was almost time for the interview. The others had been acting very strange since they had arrived. Xander was looking at him accusingly. Willow was bewildered, Dawn was angry, and Buffy……Buffy looked as fragile as she had when her mother died. She was pale, with dark circles under her eyes, as though she hadn't slept last night. She refused to look at or talk to him.
Giles sighed. He hadn't slept well himself. His ribs were still bothering him and he had a suspicion that he had cracked one during the fight. The optometrist hadn't replaced his glasses yet, so he had a headache from eyestrain. He just wanted this day over with so he could go back to his flat and relax. The intercom buzzed. "Yes, Susan."
"Um, Giles, your eleven o'clock appointment is here." Susan's voice sounded strange.
"Very well, send them in." Giles rose to his feet to great the couple.
"Uh, okay." He frowned. Something was wrong; Susan was a consummate professional. By the tone of her voice, something had rattled her badly. Giles took a couple of steps to the left, bringing himself within easy reach of the swords on the wall. Xander realized that there might be a problem and he moved over next to Giles. Willow and Dawn also took defensive postures. Buffy continued to sit, oblivious to the tension in the room.
The door opened and a tall blonde woman entered the room, closely followed by a man. They took a few steps forward, stopped abruptly, then two voices simultaneously said, "Bloody hell!" Buffy's head whipped around in shock.
There was a long moment of silence then Dawn said, "This is definitely freaksome."
Giles and Oliver stared at each other in disbelief, then both men turned to look at Buffy when she said. "It was you."
Dazedly, Buffy walked over to Oliver. She reached up and touched the silver hoop in his left ear. "It was you, wasn't it?"
Oliver jerked his head back. "I beg your pardon?"
"The airport, the Science Museum, and yesterday afternoon at Harrods." Buffy turned to Willow. "It wasn't Giles." She turned back to Oliver gesturing at Sydney. "She is the one you were kissing." Buffy turned and threw herself into Giles' arms. "It was him, it wasn't you. It wasn't you."
Giles tightened his arms automatically. He looked down at the blonde head burrowing against his chest. "Buffy," he began.
Buffy looked up, lifting her hand to touch the silver hoop in his left ear. She gave it a gentle tug. "I had a prophecy dream and I panicked and ran away. Please tell me its not too late."
Giles looked at her with concern. "A prophecy dream? What was it about and why did it make you leave? Did it show you in some kind of danger here? Buffy you should have come to me, we would have figured a way around it."
Buffy smiled. "I suppose it depends on your definition of danger." She looped a hand behind his head and pulled it down to whisper in his ear.
Giles' face flushed deep red and he pulled back to look at Buffy in surprise. Her smile disappeared and she looked worried. "Was my dream wrong? Is it too late?"
Giles closed his eyes and drew a deep breath. He reached over the tapped the intercom. "Susan, cancel all my appointments for the rest of the week. Re-schedule them at the person's first opportunity." Giles' gaze swept the room. "Willow, you, Xander and Dawn take Mr. and Mrs. Samson out to the training facilities and show them around." He looked at Oliver. "If you still want the job when you find what it's really about, you're hired. We can discuss salary and so forth tomorrow." He looked back down at Buffy. "We are not to be disturbed for the rest of the day; we have a few things to clear up and a wedding to plan." He pulled Buffy to him and kissed her.
Xander and Willow gave each other a high five and Dawn squealed, rushing over to hug the pair. Sydney and Oliver looked at each other, puzzled. Xander went over and offered his hand to Oliver. "My name is Xander Harris and I'm your tour guide today." They shook hands. "This is Willow Rosenberg, the happy teenager is Dawn Summers and we'll tell you all about the other two on the way." He opened the door and made a sweeping gesture.
Willow crossed over to Buffy and Giles. She gave them a quick hug and pulled Dawn away. "You can tell them how happy you are later. They need some time alone now."
The group left the room, closing the door behind them. Buffy stepped away from Giles, suddenly self-conscious with him. Before she could speak Giles said, "We can't stay here. Regardless of what Susan says, if I'm here people will try to get in to see me." He embraced her from behind and whispered in her ear. "We need to research that dream of your."
Buffy melted back against him. "Research. Yeah, we need to research." She turned to face him. "Lead the way, Watcher-mine."
They left the office.
A short time later, Buffy felt Giles ease himself into the tub behind her. His arms encircled her, urging her to lean back. She opened her eyes and looked directly into the mirror across the room. She smiled.
Giles' reflection smiled back at her. "Is this the dream?"
Buffy turned and settled astride his lap. "This is better. This is real."
Giles caressed her check. "I don't know, it looks a lot like some of my better dreams. How do I know I won't wake up alone again."
Buffy pressed a kiss to his chest, just over his heart. "You will never wake up alone again, and neither will I. I love you Giles, so very much."
"And I you, beloved. So very much."
Soon they would join for the first time. Later Buffy would tell him about the last two days of misery. Giles would tell her about the cocky new Slayers and his solution to the problem. The Immortal would be explained, and other misunderstandings cleared up. But for now they were content to just hold each other and rejoice in their love.