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green card - part 4b

Chapter 7b

For disclaimers see part one.

7b - Interview with the INS - Buffy

Buffy watched anxiously as Giles went out onto the patio with the lady from the INS. He said something, she replied. He smiled and spoke again. This time her reply was longer and Giles frowned. Buffy could see his lips move as he said "Bloody hell'. Something was wrong. He glanced towards her and smiled reassuringly. Buffy smiled back and stepped away from the window.

As she turned back towards the others her smile collapsed. "It doesn't look good guys. She's already said something to upset him." Her face set in lines of determination. "If they make him leave, you had better be ready to decide if you want to move or stay in Sunnydale without a Slayer, cause I'm going with him."

Xander looked startled. "But, what about the Hellmouth?"

"I don't care, I'm not going to lose Giles now. If the Council wants a Slayer on the Hellmouth then they had better find a way to bring Faith out of the coma." When Xander started to speak again, Buffy waved him down. "That can wait, we need to talk. I should have told you guys this stuff already, but I was waiting for Giles to come back from the store. We didn't expect the INS to get here so early. If she wants to interview you, you'll need to know the story we discussed with Mom last night."

Willow looked puzzled for a second, then nodded. "Right, I keep forgetting that not everyone knows about vamps and demons."

"Yeah, cause if they knew, this wouldn't be happening. No one would question that a Slayer needs her Watcher. Anyway, we came up with some basic facts, and how you tell them is up to you. It would be suspicious if we all told the exact same story."

Willow looked troubled. "Buffy, is that all that this is about? Slayer/Watcher? What about Giles?"

"It's all about Giles. I'm just saying that if vamps were common knowledge Giles would never have needed to lie about why he was here. A Watcher being assigned to a Slayer shouldn't need a green card to stay with her." Buffy looked away, then back to Willow. "I love him, Will. I have since the Prom. I've finally grown up enough to admit it, at least to you. I haven't said it to him yet. Well, I did, but he didn't believe me. He thinks its part of the cover story." She grinned and a slight blush bloomed on her cheeks. "I'll tell him after everyone leaves. I told you earlier, I'm going to carpe Giles tonight."

Xander groaned and put his hands over his ears. "Please, too much information."

Willow grinned. "Shouldn't Giles have a say in the matter? What if he doesn’t want to?"

Buffy looked anxious. "Why wouldn't he want to? I mean, you guys did say that he was hot for me, right? Were you just kidding?"

"No, he's hooked. I just meant that he might think it's panic on your part and will want to wait, you know, just in case you change your mind. He'll want to make sure you won't regret it."

Buffy relaxed with a smile. "Oh, that. No prob. If he starts getting stuffy, I'll just kiss him until he surrenders. Slayer strength can come in pretty handy. Although, if that kiss in the kitchen was any indication, he won't need to be persuaded much."

Xander groaned again. "Really, really, REALLY, too much information."

Buffy and Willow laughed and they all sat down. "Ok guys, here's the sitch." Buffy proceeded to tell them story that had been created the previous night. While she was going over the part of the story that accounted for Giles' being fired, they heard laughter coming from the patio.

Going to the window they could see Giles smiling broadly at the woman from the INS. She was bent over, clutching the edge of the table and laughing so hard that tears were flowing down her face.

Willow glanced at the other two. "That looks like a good. Maybe it'll be okay."

The others nodded and they went back to the sofa to continue their conversation.

An hour later Buffy was restlessly pacing around the living room. "What is taking so long? They should be finished by now. What is she asking him?" She glanced out the window and heaved a deep sigh of relief. Giles was walking towards the door. When he entered the apartment she rushed to meet him. "Giles what took…." He cut her off by putting his hand over her mouth.

Giles could see Helen watching them through the window. "Go on out, it will be alright." He caressed her cheek gently, then gave her a quick kiss.

The kiss caught Buffy by surprise until she too saw that they were being watched. She gave a brief nod and went out to the patio. Buffy sat across from Helen, smiled tensely and said, "Hit me with your best shot."

Helen looked back at her steadily. "I'm not your enemy. I'm just here to do a job. A job that, at the moment, I'm not very happy to be doing. Regardless, it has to be done." She shuffled some papers on the table. "There will be two parts to this interview. For the first I will ask you a series of questions. I want you to answer with as little thought as possible, like doing a word association. I want you to answer first for yourself, then what you think Giles said. For example, if I asked you what you fathers' names are you would say?"

"My dad's name is Hank and Giles' is Robert."

"Exactly, just like that, your response first, then what you think he said. The second part will just be the two of us talking. You will tell me how you met Giles and what led up to your marriage. From time to time I may ask a question, just answer as truthfully as possible. Are you ready?"

Buffy nodded.

"First question. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?"

"I wanted to be an Olympic ice skater. Giles wanted to be either a fighter pilot or a grocer. He said he changed his mind from day to day."

"Next question, what was your childhood nickname?"

"Mine was Dorothy…"

"Dorothy?" Helen interrupted. "What kind of nickname is that?"

"It was cause of my ice skating. Dad used to call me his little Dorothy Hamill. Giles' nickname was Ripper." Buffy was a little worried. Ripper had been his nickname when he was running around with Ethan, so it wasn't a childhood name, but he hadn't ever mentioned another. Also, neither of these questions had been on the list that Willow had given them. This wasn't good.

"What brand of body lotion do you use and what brand of after-shave does Giles use?"

"I get my body lotion from a local shop and its called Vanilla Lace. Giles' after-shave is called Aqua Velva." Actually she didn't know what he used, but that was the name of the stuff her father used and it was the only name she could remember.

"What brand of toothpaste do you use?"

"We both use Colgate." At least she did and she didn't remember seeing anything else in the bathroom.

"What brand of breakfast cereal do you eat?"

Breakfast cereal? What kind of dumb questions were these? He ate that English stuff with wheat in the name, but she couldn't remember what it was…..oh, right. Buffy smiled. "I eat Fruit Loops; I really love the sugar rush it gives me. Giles eats Wheaties."

"What type of tea do you drink?"

"I drink whatever Giles fixes. He drinks Earl Grey, so I guess that's what I drink too." Buffy leaned forward and whispered. "I don’t really like tea, but he can't live without it, so I've never told him."

"What was your favorite toy?"

"Mine was my stuffed pig, Mr. Gordo. Giles' were model airplanes." Had to be right? He wanted to be a fighter pilot, so what else could it be?

"What is your favorite book?"

"My favorite book is" Buffy paused, blushing, "Interview with the Vampire. Giles' is Frankenstein."

Helen looked at her, puzzled. Why was Buffy blushing about that book being her favorite? She mentally shrugged and continued. "What is your favorite food?"

"Mine is pizza and Giles' is jelly donuts." Buffy chuckled. "You should see his face when he eats one. He looks like he's having an orgasmic experience."

"What is your favorite television show?"

"Mine is Friends and Giles doesn’t have one. In fact, he doesn't even own a television."

"What type of underwear do you wear?"


What type of underwear do you wear?"

"I bet Rupert got red when you asked him that." Buffy flashed her a grin.

Helen wondered at the casual way Buffy used Giles' first name when she had been consistently using his last name. True, she had stated that she was 'Rupert's' wife, but she had then slipped into using Giles. Was it just because the question brought to mind a more intimate knowledge of him than anything else had? They had given differing answers to so many of the questions, Helen wondered if she would get this one right.

"I wear bikini underwear and Rupert," Buffy paused as she flashed back to that day they had been training in the old library. Giles had flipped her and she had grabbed at his pants to pull him down as well. As she had touched his hip she realized that she didn't feel any other clothing under the tweed slacks. It had distracted her and she had loosened her hold enough for him to wriggled free. Buffy flushed red as heat again went through her. She cleared her throat. "Rupert doesn't."

A mischievous impulse made Helen ask, "Doesn't what?"

Buffy got even redder. "He doesn't wear any. You know, he goes commando?" Her eyes glazed over a bit and she unconsciously waved her hand in front of her face. In an attempt to regain a bit of control she asked Helen, "Where did that phrase come from anyway?"

Helen ducked her head to hide her smile. "I have no idea. Next question. What is your favorite movie?"

Buffy's blush, which had started to fade, came back with a vengeance. "Mine is Lady Chatterly's Lover, the version that was made in the 70's. One of the actors kinda looks like pictures I've seen of Giles during that time period. Giles' favorite is Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

Helen kept her eyes firmly on her papers, struggling to not laugh. She made a brief note to look for that movie on video. "Who is your favorite singer or group?"

"Mine is Eric Clapton and Giles' is the Bay City Rollers."

"What is your favorite color?"

"Mine is green, the color of Rupert's eyes. His is brown."

Again the switch to Rupert. Interesting. "Who was the first person you fell in love with?"

"My first love was a boy named Pike, and Giles' was a girl named Sara."

"Pike? That's a strange name."

"It was his last name. He used it because he thought it made him sound tough."

"Who was your last lover?"

Instead of blushing like Helen expected, Buffy paled. "Do I have to answer that?"

"It is one of the questions. This is something a person should know about the person they marry." Helen looked at Buffy in concern. "What's wrong?"

"Giles doesn't know about this, and I was hoping I wouldn't ever need to tell him." She heaved a deep sigh. Looking down at the table she muttered, "My last lover was this jerk named Parker. Giles' last lover was Olivia." Her face twisted and her voice took on a fake English accent. "Come back to bed, Ripper." Buffy looked across the patio. "Bitch," she whispered.

Helen looked at her in surprise. Somebody had some issues. She reached across the table and patted Buffy's hand. "We're almost finished, just a few more questions. What is the thing you love the most about the person you married?"

"The thing I love most about Rupert?" Her eyes stared into the distance a dreamy smile on her face. "His voice. It makes me melt." She looked back at Helen. "I had been in school here three weeks and I was trying out for the cheerleading squad. We were doing the pyramid thingy and I was on top when it collapsed. It knocked the wind out of me and I couldn't respond to anyone. Everyone was running around screaming 'get the nurse', 'call 911', stuff like that. Then Giles knelt beside me, took hold of my hand and told me everything would be okay, that he would see to it." She sighed. "His voice made me feel so safe and protected. I'm sure I fell a little bit in love with him that day."

"As for what he loves about me, I really don't know. He's so smart and sophisticated. I mean, he has an international fashion model who calls HIM when she's in the mood for great sex. By some miracle he says he loves me. I don't want to jinx it by asking him why."

"Very well, next question. Who taught you how to drive?"

"My friend Xander has been giving me lessons." Buffy frowned. "Giles said he was sent to boarding school, so I guess he learned there."

"What is your favorite piece of jewelry?"

Buffy gave Helen a blindingly bright smile. "This is my favorite piece of jewelry." She held up her left hand. "For Giles, I would say his signet ring. I've never seen him without it."

"Last question."

"Yeah!" Buffy broke in.

Helen smiled. "This has no right or wrong answer; it's purely subjective. If you were animals, what kind of animal do you see Giles as, and what kind of animal do you think he sees you as?"

"What kind of animal do I see Giles as?" Buffy frowned, eyes closed, as she thought. A memory floated to the surface of her mind. She smiled. "When I was little, Mom and Dad used to take me to the zoo. On one of our visits I saw a panther in a cage. He had been separated from the others for some reason and he was just pacing back and forth. When I looked at him he stopped and looked back at me. His eyes weren't gold like the others; they were green like Giles'." Buffy opened her eyes and looked at Helen. "Rupert is just like that panther; controlled power. You can see it when you watch him move, especially when we used to train." Her voice got dreamy again, her eyes unfocused. "The muscles on his back and arms, flexing and moving under the skin. So sleek and smooth." She sighed, then blinked and looked back at Helen, her cheeks a soft pink. "A panther."

"And how do you think he sees you?"

"Oh, I don't know, probably something small and cute like a kitten."

Helen made a note on her paper. "That was the end of the first part of our interview. Now I want you to tell me how you met Giles and about your life here in Sunnydale."

Buffy cocked her head to one side. "Before we start, can I ask you a question?"

"You can ask, but I can't guarantee that I'll answer it."

"It's just that we heard you laughing. I was wondering what was so funny?"

Again the image of Giles in the big gray bunny suit flashed into Helen's mind. A giggle escaped as she tried to control her voice. "Giles said that he thought you saw him as a rabbit. When I asked him why, he said it was because you called him a cuddle bunny. I got this picture in my mind of Bugs Bunny with Giles' face." Her eyes met Buffy's astonished ones. Both women broke down, giggling madly.

After a few minutes Helen cleared her throat, and in a still not quite steady voiced said, "Now, tell me about your life here in Sunnydale and how you met Giles."

Buffy wiped a few tears from her eyes, cleared her throat, and began. "My Mom and I moved here after her divorce from my Dad finalized. Mom decided to open her own gallery, and since Sunnydale was the only school district that would take me, it was a good thing that she found a place here that she could use for her business."

Helen frowned. "I don't understand. Sunnydale was the only school system that would take you?"

"Yeah. Pike, my boyfriend back in LA, was a bit of a troublemaker." Please, Pike, wherever you are, forgive me, Buffy thought. "I bought the whole 'I'm not bad, just misunderstood' routine and went out with him. My friends at school tried to warn me, but there was all this stuff going on at home and he seemed to know all the right things to say to make me feel that someone cared. I got caught out after curfew with him a couple of times and started to get a bit of a rep. This made me even more sure that he was really a good guy, cause I knew that we weren't doing anything wrong." Buffy looked over at Helen, who nodded her understanding.

"So when it came time for the Prom, I asked Pike to go with me and he agreed. It was okay, at first, then some of the snob crowd started picking on him. He went ballistic, started this big fight, and got kicked out. To get even, he snuck back in and started a fire in the bathroom. Even though I had nothing to do with it, because I had brought him I got blamed too and was kicked out of school."

"How terrible for you," Helen said sympathetically.

"Dad used it as an example of how my Mom was a bad mother and tried to get custody of me, but because I was 15 the judge told me I could choose who I wanted to live with and I chose Mom. Dad has never really forgiven me; I haven't seen him since that day in the courtroom. Oh, he calls, occasionally, and says he's coming to see me, but he always finds an excuse to not come."

"So that's how I came to Sunnydale. My first day of school I was really nervous, but the principal, Mr. Flutie, was really sweet. He made me feel welcome, said that he wouldn't judge me on my past. He gave me my class schedule and said that due to being in his office I was already late for my first class, so I should just skip it and familiarize myself with the school. He also told me that I needed to get the reading list from the librarian, so I decided to do that first."

"Walking into the library was weird, because nobody was there. At my old school the library had been one of the big meeting places, but here it was empty. I looked around and saw this really cute guy in an incredibly ugly suit standing behind the counter, so I walked over and asked him for the reading list. He just stared at me. I waved my hand in front of him and asked him if he was a statue and what the heck was he doing wearing tweed in California."

"He blushed and stuttered and finally got out that he was Mr. Giles, the librarian, and he went into his office to get the list. He was just so yummy when he blushed, so I decided to see if I could make him do it again. When he came back out of the office I checked him out in a pretty obvious way, and sure enough he got all red. I told him that even in the tweed he was a real Hugh Grant and that I was going to call him Giles cause the 'Mr' was too stuffy. He was still stuttering and stammering when I left the library."

"Starting at a new high school was kinda hard. Most of them had known each since forever and all the cliques had been formed. I retreated to the library and met Willow and Xander." Buffy smiled briefly. "Xander was a bit of a wannabe letch, but he was too nice to really be one. Willow was afraid that I would make fun of her because she liked being in the library. They were the first kids here that accepted me, no questions asked. They've been my best friends ever since."

"Giles told me that you were the focal point, that they formed a family around you. Willow the sister you could share things with, Xander the brother you always wanted and he was the father that didn't leave."

"He's right about Will and Xand, but I never thought of him as a father. It's probably hard for you to believe since he's only a couple of years younger than my Dad, but I've never considered Giles an authority figure." Buffy shrugged. "I don't know how to explain it, but he's always felt like an equal to me. Like I needed him to complete me." She shook her head in frustration. "I know I'm not saying this right. I'm not saying that I've been in love with him from the beginning, after all I was attracted to Angel as soon as I met him, and Giles loved Jenny, but there has always been love, of some kind."

"How did you feel about Giles and Jenny?"

"I liked Jenny, and we all teased Giles terribly about wanting to date her, but I didn't think she was right for him."

"Why not?"

"Jenny never understood his love of books. She was always telling him that in the future books would become obsolete; that everything would be stored in computers. She called him stuffy and a fuddy-duddy."

Buffy gave Helen a sheepish look. "Now that I think back on it, I think I was a little jealous because she was the only other person who could make him blush and stutter."

Helen smiled her understanding, and then frowning glanced down at her papers. She flipped through a few, then said, "Could we back up a minute? You said the name of the principle was Mr. Flutie, but Giles said that the principle's name was Mr. Snyder."

"Principle Flutie was killed by a pack of wild dogs a couple of months after I got here. Snyder was the Vice Principle and he took over. If he had been in charge I wouldn't have been allowed to even start school. The first day he was Principle he came into the library and told me that I was a troublemaker and the first time I made a mistake he was going to get rid of me."

Buffy looked away, then back at Helen. "Did Giles tell you about the stuff that happened that caused me to run away?"


"There is one thing he couldn't have told you, because he didn't know. When I came to talk to him after Mom kicked me out of the house, I found the library trashed and that exchange student, Kendra, dead. Snyder found me kneeling next to her body. He grabbed me, dragged me to his office and called the police. I tried to tell him that I didn't do it, that I had just found her, but he kept gloating about how he was going to enjoy seeing the police put me in handcuffs. I had to knock him out to get away before the police arrived."

"Xander got back from taking Willow to the hospital at the same time the police got there and he told them about the gang attack and that I hadn't even been there when it happened, but I didn't know that. I thought I was wanted for murder. That's why I didn't try to get in touch with anyone. I was afraid if I called them and the police found out about it they would be arrested for being an accessory."

"I had been gone almost four months when one day I just couldn't take it anymore. I had to know how everyone was, so I decided to risk sneaking home. I found that it had all been for nothing, that the police didn't want me after all. Mom tried to get me back in school, but Snyder refused. Giles got me back in by pulling a Ripper and threatening to take my story to the newspapers. Snyder backed down because he was afraid of a bad reaction from the school board, but from that day on he was always looking for something he could use to get rid of us both."

"What do you mean, pulling a Ripper?"

"When Giles lived on the streets in London, he went by the name of Ripper." Buffy chuckled. "I guess Rupert wasn't macho enough. Anyway, he can still be pretty intimidating when he puts his mind to it. I call it pulling a Ripper. He doesn’t to it very often, which makes it more effective when he does. I remember the first time I saw him do it; it was a kinda scary change, sorta like Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde. This guy he had run around with back in the day came to Sunnydale and tried to blackmail him about some of the stuff they had done. You know, sex, drugs and rock and roll? Everything about Giles changed; voice, eyes, body language. He told the guy to tell anyone anything he wanted, that he wouldn't give him a penny, then he grabbed him by his hair and threw him out of the library."

"I can understand how that would frighten you."

"It only scared me for a minute, then I thought it made him even sexier. But it really weirded Jenny out. She wouldn't go out with him for a while after that. Jenny had trouble with the fact that the blushing guy she called a fuddy-duddy had such a wild past."

Helen remembered her reaction to Giles' photograph. Dangerous man indeed. She was glad that her intuition was still batting a thousand. She nodded. "You said that you felt love of some kind from the beginning, and you just said that you thought of him as sexy when he would go into 'Ripper' mode, so just exactly when did you realize that you were in love with him?"

"The night of the Prom. I walked into the gym and saw him across the room and literally lost my breath. I mean, he had always looked good in that 'tweedy college professor' way, but that night, the sight of him in a tux, wow." Buffy shook her head. "There just aren't words."

"I had been all bummed out because Angel had stood me up, then I saw Giles and some part of my mind said, 'Angel who?'. We spent the whole evening on opposite sides of the gym sneaking peaks at each other. When they started the last song he walked over to me and I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest. He smiled, and started to say something, then his face went blank and he turned me around. Angel was standing in the doorway."

"I felt guilty cause Angel was pretty upset and I didn't really care, so I paid a lot of attention to him. Then the dork made this big speech about how he would always love me, but we couldn't be together, and he walked away leaving me standing in the middle of the dance floor. When Giles came over to he was so sweet. He kept saying things, trying to make me feel better, and he offered to take me for ice cream. I couldn't respond because I didn't know how to tell him that I wasn't feeling that bad. I mean, for two years I had been going on and on about how much I loved Angel, and then it was like someone had flipped a switch. It was just gone. I couldn't tell anyone, especially Giles, cause it seemed so flighty and immature."

"Giles mentioned that you avoided him after the Prom. He thought that he had given away his feelings and that you were afraid of him."

"Afraid of him?" Buffy looked astonished. "Why would he think that? I could never be afraid of Giles."

"Because of what had happened with the stalker, what was his name?" Helen looked back through her notes, but before she could find it she heard Buffy whisper, "Zachary Kralic."

Helen looked up to see Buffy close her eyes, her face pale. In an instinctive effort to ease the pain she saw in the young girls' face, Helen reached across the table and laid her hand on Buffy's. "It's alright, you don't need to talk about it. Giles was pretty explicit about what happened."

Buffy swallowed hard. In a low voice she said, "It wasn’t so much the thought that he was going to rape me; although that would have been bad I could have survived it. He told me he was going to kill me, and I believed him. I could see it in his eyes. He was going to kill me and then kill my Mom. I fought him for as long as I could, but he was just too strong. He had me down and was pulling off my clothes when the door flew open and there was Giles." Buffy gave Helen a watery smile. "My tweedy hero."

Buffy blew her nose. "Then that jerk Travers was there and he didn't care about how much my Mom or I were hurt, all he cared about was that Giles had called the police. He fired Giles, saying that his 'father's love' for me had made him betray his employer. Giles told him to kiss off. At first I was scared that Giles would have to go back to England, but after a while, when no letters came telling him that he had to leave, I just forgot about it."

Helen nodded and made some notes on her pad. "Then why did you start avoiding him after the Prom? If that was when you realized that you loved him, I would have thought you would have started trying to attract his attention."

"Well, like I said, Travers had said that Giles loved me like a father, and he didn't deny it, so I thought if I suddenly started coming onto him he would get freaked. I decided that he needed time to see me as a woman, not a substitute daughter. I also thought that he would think I needed time to get over Angel, even though I didn't. So I spent the summer working in my Mom's gallery, learning about art and artifacts. I also read a lot of books about Native American cultures so I would be able to talk with him about his research. I had these incredibly hot dreams about him, about making love with him. I only had the one experience with Angel, so it was mostly imagination, but my imagination turned out to be pretty vivid. I had planned to stay away until the holiday break at school, but I hadn't seen him all summer and one morning a couple of weeks into the quarter, after another dream filled night, I skipped a class and came over to his apartment."

Buffy looked away. "I should have realized that something was going on, cause the door was locked. When I came back, after I ran away, he promised me his door would always be unlocked, so if I needed a place to go I could come to him. Anyway, I knocked and it seemed to take forever for him to open the door and when he did I almost jumped him right then. He looked so sexy standing there in his robe. It was pretty obvious that he had just got out of bed, his hair was all rumpled and it looked like he didn't have anything else on. It was like something out of one of my dreams, except he wasn't happy to see me. In fact, he frowned and started to shut the door, like I was the last person he wanted to talk to."

Buffy scowled. "Then she came down the stairs, wearing one of his shirts. She slinked over and put her arms around him and asked when he was coming back to bed. He didn't even look embarrassed that I had caught him with her." Buffy gave a huff. "How dare he have another woman in his bed, he was mine. I demanded to know what was going on and he got all snarky with me. He told me to grow up, that he wasn't the school librarian anymore and that he had the right to a private life."

Buffy ducked her head, staring at the patio paving. "I don't remember everything I said to him, just that I was trying to hurt him as much as he had hurt me. I do remember that I said he was too old and the thought of him having sex was gross. I ran back to the dorm and cried for a while, then I decided if he could have sex with other people, I could too. There was this guy in one of my classes that had been hitting on me and I went looking for him."

Buff got up, went over to the patio wall and stared over the parking lot. "What I didn't know was that Parker was a total sleaze. He made a game out of seeing how many girls he could get into bed on the first date." She shook her head. "I was an easy target. When I woke up the next morning he had already left his room and when I saw him later he acted like he could hardly remember my name. It was really embarrassing."

"I can imagine it was." Helen said sympathetically.

"I know Parker boasted about his conquest to some guys, cause I saw whispering and smirking while I was walking around campus. I went back to my dorm room, and there was a message from Giles on the answering machine, but I couldn't talk to him. Not after what I had done. He kept calling, and Willow didn't understand why I wouldn't call him back, or go to his place. She knew about Parker, but she didn't know about Olivia. I just couldn't go over there and risk seeing her again."

"After a couple of weeks I thought that I could talk to him without getting all emotional, but I didn't know how to make the first move, so I didn't do anything. It was a couple of months later that the thing with everyone not being able to talk happened. Will's folks were out of town, and so was my Mom, so we went to Giles' and Olivia was there. So, of course, I thought they were living together and that I had lost any chance that I might have had with him. There had been this guy in my Psych class that had been asking me out, but after the mess with Parker I hadn't wanted to risk it. Anyway, when everything was back to normal he asked me out again and I accepted."

"I really feel bad about Riley. He's a nice guy, and we had fun together, but there were no sparks, at least not for me. From things he was saying last night, he thought we had a future."

"Things he said last night?"

"Yeah, he showed up here drunk around 9:30 last night. He just couldn't get why I married Giles. He kept going on and on about Giles being old. I tried to explain, yeah he's older than me, but he's not old. I had to break it to him that I had only been dating him because I thought I couldn't have Giles. He didn't take that too well. We talked to him for over two hours, but I'm not sure we convinced him. It's not like I had promised to marry him or anything. I hadn't even told him I loved him and we had only kissed twice, but he had this whole life already planned for us. He even said that we hadn't had sex yet because he was being a gentleman, cause he had heard about Parker. Like it was only his decision."

"Buffy, you need to understand, this isn't my decision to make either. I give my recommendation to my superiors and they are the ones who will decide. Regardless of what I say, they may choose to not believe that this is a real marriage. They may decide to deport Giles anyway."

"Then I'll just go to England with him. He finally knows I love him, and he says he loves me. We won't be separated again."

Helen, who had been expecting tears, was impressed with Buffy's calm acceptance. She smiled. "You said that Riley had a hard time accepting your marriage, but you haven't said how anyone else has reacted. What about your friends and your Mother."

"Well, Willow was the one who did the research and said that marriage to an American citizen was the only way for Giles to stay here. She knew how I felt about him, cause I told her after she met Olivia…what?"

"What do you mean, what?"

"You started smiling all of a sudden. I didn't say anything funny."

Helen grinned again. "You get this strange look on your face every time you say Olivia's name. Like you had just tasted something sour."

"I don't like her. I will never like her. And I don't like the taste of olives, so I guess maybe I associate the two when I say her name." Buffy grinned ruefully. "Mature much?"

The two laughed together and Buffy continued. "Anyway, like I said it was Willow's idea, but she knew how I felt and she told me this morning that she knew Giles loved me too. She felt that she was just giving us an excuse to do something we wanted but had been afraid to go for. Xander said that he knew how I felt about Giles back in high school, and that by the way Giles acted Saturday he knew he felt the same. Xander said he was happy for us, but didn't want any details. Mom," Buffy paused. "Mom freaked when we first told her, but she came around. She's not happy, but she said she won't interfere."

"What about your Father? Does he know yet?"

Buffy grimaced. "I called him last night. He went ballistic, but he didn't call back after I hung up and he hasn't called today, so I guess it just shows how much he really cares."

Helen stacked her paper together. "Well, that concludes our interview. I would like to speak with your friends now."

"Do you want me to send them out here, or do you want Giles and me to get lost for a while so you can talk to them in there?" Just as she finished speaking Buffy's eyes got wide.

Helen turned around to see what Buffy was staring at, and saw an attractive woman coming up the steps from the parking lot.

"Mom, what are you doing here?"

"I just stopped by to see if the man from the INS had been here yet, and if any decisions had been made."

"INS is still here. Mom, this is Ms. Cavanaugh from the INS. Ms. Cavanaugh, this is my Mom, Joyce Summers."

"Mrs. Summers, I was just getting ready to speak with Buffy's friends. If you have the time, perhaps you could join us. If I can interview the three of you together, it could expedite matters."

Joyce gave Buffy a panicky look but said, "Of course, now would be as good a time as any."

Helen turned back towards the apartment and saw Giles standing in the open doorway. "If it's alright with you, I'll just speak to the others here. Since I won't be going into the same depth of information that I did with the two of you, this should only take around an hour, perhaps less. It's up to you if you want to stay here on the patio or go away and come back later." She gathered up her briefcase and the pad of notes and went into the apartment. Joyce shrugged and followed her, giving Giles a gentle shove out the door before she closed it.

Buffy and Giles looked at each other uncertainly. "What do you want to do?" Giles asked.

"I want to go in there and hear what they're saying, but that's not a option. How about we go over to Mom's? We can be comfortable there. Maybe pick up some lunch on the way?"

"How can you want to eat at a time like this?"

"I don't want to eat, but I haven't eaten anything except that toast you made me this morning for the past three days. Slayer metabolism demands fuel. I need to eat." She held out her hand and Giles could see the visible tremors.

Giles took her hand and gently kissed it. "Then eat you shall. Do you have a preference?"

"No, just food."

"Then we shall go to the first drive-through we see and get something to take to your Mother's." Holding hands they went down the steps to his car and drove away.

Helen, who had been watching through the window, turned back to the others and said, "Let's begin."

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