For disclaimers see part one.
Elizabeth stood in the command area and looked towards the man sitting in her office. "The zpm's were gone?"
"Yes," Sheppard said grimly, "and not very long ago either. The room was clear of dust and debris. It's possible that the Genii knew about them but hadn't collected them until we started snooping around. Or, there's someone else out there who knew about them and collected them after we buzzed the planet. In any event, they were gone."
"He must have been disappointed."
"I think Rodney was more disappointed. Rupert seemed to think that it meant we were on the right track. He's sure that there are more listings in the data base and was eager to get back here to start looking again."
"I don't know," Elizabeth said slowly, "I think he's just better at hiding his feelings than Rodney." She turned to look at the two men standing beside her. "He really has the gene?"
"Aye," Carson replied. "The marker is very clear."
"He's as strong as I am." Sheppard commented. "The lights came on as soon as he entered the jumper. On the way to the planet I let him fly it a while." When Elizabeth looked at him in shock he gave he a crooked grin. "He's a natural. He told me that when he was a child, before he was told that he had to be a Watcher, he wanted to be a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force."
Elizabeth sighed. "I'm torn. Part of me hopes he finds a way home, but another part wants him to stay. He could be such an asset for our team."
Carson shook his head. "He will never be happy here; his heart is back in Sunnydale with Buffy."
"I know." Elizabeth gave a wry smile. "I don't think he realizes just how much he gives away when he talks about her. I think Teyla should spend more time with him. He relates to her better than any of the rest of us, possibly because she's the nearest thing we have to a Slayer. And the physical activity is good for him. It helps to wear him out and allows him to at least get a little sleep."
Sheppard nodded. "I'll talk to her."
They both looked back at Rupert, but something, some flicker at the corner of her eye, had Elizabeth looking at the gate. A wormhole had activated. The tech spoke up. "Dr Weir, it's happening again. The gate has not been engaged."
Elizabeth yelled "Rupert, get out here."
"Security to the gate room," Sheppard ordered on his com line. Armed guards streamed into the lower level.
Giles rushed out of the office, but before he could ask what the problem was, he saw the portal on the lower level. As he watched, six people stepped through. One of the six, a small blonde, took a defensive posture in front of the others.
"Buffy, no." Giles called, and hurried to the stairs.
Stepping through the portal had been very disorienting. When they got to the other side, Buffy was momentarily off balance. The first thing she was aware of was a large open space, and then soldiers with guns had rushed into the room. She moved protectively in front of the others, determined that they wouldn't be harmed. She was staring into the eyes of the closest soldier, trying to judge when to rush him, when a most loved voice said, "Buffy, no."
Buffy looked around frantically and saw him crossing an upper level, heading for a staircase. "Giles!" Completely ignoring the soldiers and their weapons, she ran up the first flight of steps, meeting Giles on the landing. He swept her into his arms and she grabbed him just as tightly.
Giles was faintly aware of Major Sheppard's voice telling the guards to leave. He knew that people moved around where they were standing on the stairs, but at this moment nothing mattered but the woman in his arms.
Buffy’s arms tightened and Giles gave an involuntary gasp. She quickly released him. “Sorry, forgot.”
Giles framed her face with his hands. “What’s a few cracked ribs among friends.” Buffy gave him a watery smile. He frowned slightly. “What on earth have you been doing to yourself? You look bloody awful.”
Behind him he heard a voice drawl, “Still the ladies man I see.”
Giles stiffened and turned around. “Ethan Rayne,” he growled, “I should have known you were involved in this.”
“Hello, Ripper.” He glanced around. “I’m happy to see that our fears were for nothing. Looks like you landed in a nice place. By the way, where are we?”
Before Giles could answer, Elizabeth spoke from the balcony. “Rupert, I assume the woman with you is your Buffy, but who are the others?”
When Elizabeth said ‘others’ Giles looked around, remembering that he had originally seen six people come through the gate, and for the first time noticed Willow, Tara, Xander and Anya. He stared at them in astonishment. They laughed and bounded up the steps. Xander stood with Buffy and watched as the girls enveloped Giles in a group hug.
Up on the balcony Rodney said to Carson, “If I had four someone’s like that waiting for me at home, I certainly wouldn’t want to be here.”
Carson nodded, “Aye, me either.” Both men sighed.
Ethan climbed the stairs and bowed over Elizabeth's hand. He smiled when he noticed the man at her side bristling a little at the attention. "Dear lady, my name is Ethan Rayne. And you are?"
"I'm Elizabeth Weir."
Ethan frowned slightly. "That name sounds familiar. Something to do with peace talks?"
"Yes, my help has been requested by many countries to mediate in border disputes."
"But, if that's the case we're still on Earth, not in another dimension. Unless it's a dimension very similar to our own. I don't understand why it was so difficult for us to find where Ripper had been sent."
"Maybe because we're not still on Earth," said a voice behind him. Ethan turned and saw that the others had mounted the stairs as well. He wondered if Ripper was even aware that he and Buffy were standing with their arms around each other.
Giles glanced over at Elizabeth, then gave Ethan a sardonic smile. "Welcome to Atlantis."
A little over two hours later the tour for the Sunnydale contingent ended when they entered the break area for a bite to eat. They had broken into little groups, each member curious about the others life and experiences. Teyla had split off with Anya and Xander; the subject of her training with Giles had come up and they were interested in hearing about it.
Carson and Rodney formed a group with Tara and Willow. Things had been a little awkward at first, until Rodney had explained that he was interested in their ability to do magic, not interested in them as women. Whatever disappointment Carson might have felt when he found out about the girls he kept to himself.
Ethan and Elizabeth had hit it off right away and John Sheppard followed around behind them, scowling. Buffy and Giles had walked close together, always touching in some way, speaking quietly. Ethan looked over at them and smiled. "I'm glad we found Ripper. I don't know how much longer she would have lasted without him."
Elizabeth looked confused. "Why do you call him Ripper?"
"It goes back to when we first met. London, late 70's. He had run away from Oxford and was living on the streets. Rupert wasn't the kind of name that lent to survival, so he made one up that sounded tougher. Not that he couldn't be tough when he needed to be. Oh, no, Ripper was a proper choice." Ethan grinned. "It's habit now, more than anything, although I could call him Rupert if I chose. I use Ripper when I want to irritate him. Or Buffy."
"He left Oxford? But the information we have said he has a Doctorate from Oxford."
"There was a group of us that lived together then. Like I said, it was the 70's in London. You name it; we tried it, although nothing caused as good a high as doing magic." Ethan's smile died. "There was an accident; a friend died. Rupert swore to never perform magic again. He returned to Oxford and after that went back to the Council. We hadn't seen each other for almost twenty years when I moved to Sunnydale and discovered that he was there."
He smiled again, that wicked, little boy, smile. "I've spent the last four years popping in and out of their lives, livening things up for them. All of this" he waved his hand around, "was an accident. This isn't where Ripper was supposed to go. The demons I hired to do the spell screwed it up, and because Buffy flipped out and killed all of them, it took us the better part of a week to figure out some way of finding where he had gone."
"Obviously you still do magic. Why did you hire someone else to do the spell?" Sheppard glared at him suspiciously.
"I didn't want them to know I was responsible. I had another deal going and I thought things would be easier if Ripper wasn't around." Ethan glanced at the pair sitting so close together in the corner. "I didn't know about the bond, or how being so far apart would affect them. The way things were the last time I saw them I didn't think she would know, or even care, if he was gone for a week." Ethan looked back at Elizabeth. "I may be a scoundrel, but I'm not an outright villain. I never intended permanent harm to either of them."
Sheppard continued to glare. "Well you know what they say about good intentions."
"I already know that I'm going to hell, dear boy. A few more spells won't change that." Ethan glanced back over at Buffy. "And it may be quite soon. The people I had the other deal with didn't take too kindly to my backing out. Only the fact that Buffy hasn't let me out of her sight the last few days has kept me alive. I think when we return to Sunnydale I should go to my vacation hideaway for a while."
"And speaking of returning to Sunnydale," he raised his voice slightly causing the conversations in the other groups to stop, "we should probably be on our way."
Giles stood, turning to look at Buffy as she stood as well. "He's right. You need to get some rest before patrol this evening."
"We just got here. Can't we stay one night?" Willow looked around at the others, who nodded. "There's so much more to see, and I really want to fly in a shuttle and travel through the gate. You told us earlier," she appealed to Ethan, "that last night you didn't find a single vampire or demon to kill. One night away won't hurt. Please?" She looked over at Elizabeth. "That is, if we're not in the way."
"We have plenty of room, an entire city as a matter of fact. I see no problem with you staying one night. John?" She turned to Sheppard.
"As long as they stay in the areas that have already been checked out, it should be okay."
"Buffy!" Everyone looked around at Giles' cry of alarm to see Buffy slumped over in his arms. Carson hurried over and felt for the pulse in her neck.
"Heartbeat strong, but rapid. Let's get her to the infirmary."
"I don't think that's necessary," Ethan said. "She hasn't slept more than two hours a night since this happened. We found Ripper so her body has decided that it doesn’t need to be on red alert anymore. She just needs a good night's sleep."
"If that's the case, he's probably right." Carson checked her pulse again. "Still strong, and it seems to be slowing a bit. It's up to you Rupert. Take her to the infirmary or take her someplace where she can sleep."
Giles looked helplessly at Elizabeth. "Where?"
"Why don't you take her to your room? You could take the papers you were transcribing and work on them while you keep on eye on her."
"Yes, I suppose I could."
"Fine, you go ahead. I'll send someone down with the paperwork shortly." They all watched as Giles carried Buffy from the room. Elizabeth turned to Ethan. "How long do you think it will take for him to fall asleep?"
"Ten minutes, tops." Everyone laughed and resumed their conversations.
Giles entered his room and placed Buffy gently on the bed. He stood for a few minutes, watching her sleep, then he bent down and removed her shoes. He picked up the light blanket from the end of the bed and draped it over her. She moved restlessly on the bed. Giles sat on the edge and smoothed her hair away from her face. At his touch she calmed.
He sat there for a few more minutes, but the quiet, and knowing that she was safe, had him relaxing a little too much. He felt himself falling asleep sitting there, so he started to stand. Buffy sat bolt upright, clutching at his shirt.
"NO! Don't leave."
"Buffy, I'm not leaving. I'm just going to sit in the chair."
"No. Stay here with me. Please?" She looked at him imploringly, tugging on his shirt as she lay back down. "Please, Giles, just for a while."
He looked at her for a long moment. “Move over.” When Buffy shifted over to the other side of the bed, Giles lay down. She inched back towards him and put her head on his shoulder. Buffy gave a little sigh and nestled closer, falling back to sleep after just a few breaths. Giles watched her and felt his own body begin to relax. He moved a bit, finding a better position, and Buffy clutched at his shirt again. When he stopped moving her hand released the material and pressed flat over his heart. He felt the empty places in his soul begin to fill, and he slid into a deep sleep.
When Buffy awoke she was momentarily disoriented, but the familiar scent and the heartbeat beneath her ear brought the memories flooding back. Giles. Her hand pressed gently against the chest it was resting on and she smiled. He was real. They had found him.
She sighed and lay quietly, reflecting on yesterday’s events. She had almost drifted back to sleep when Giles moved. He gave a slight jerk and tensed as he woke up. There was no movement for several minutes, then he cautiously tried to slip away from her body.
Buffy tightened her arms. “Good morning.”
Buffy angled her head so she could see his face in the dimness of the room. “That’s assuming it is morning. Any idea what time it is?”
Giles moved his left arm from around her waist and peered at his watch. “My watch has 5:30 so it would appear that it is still morning.” He lowered his arm and eyed her uncertainly.
Buffy gazed back at him, making her face as grave as possible. “Giles, I have something really, really, important to ask you.”
He frowned in concern. “Yes, Buffy?”
“Where is the bathroom?” She watched as the solemn expression on his face was chased away by laughter. Giles started giggling. Buffy hit him lightly on the arm. “Stop that. Don’t make me laugh, or you’ll be sorry. I really need to pee.” His body vibrated with the effort to stop the laughter. “GILES! Moving not helping. Where?”
Giles was laughing so hard the bed was shaking. He pointed across the room. Buffy rolled off the bed and scurried to the door. Several minutes later, very relieved, she re-entered the bedroom. Glancing around she frowned slightly when she saw that Giles was no longer on the bed. Before she could call out, Buffy noticed another door, one that appeared to lead outside. She crossed the room, stepping through the doorway and out onto a small balcony.
Buffy saw Giles turn away from the railing, but before he could say anything her attention was drawn by the night sky. “Wow. Look at all of those stars. You can’t see anything like that in Sunnydale.” She crossed the balcony and put her arm around Giles, nestling close to him.
“This is real, isn’t it? Really another planet, another galaxy.”
Giles stood still, uncertain how to respond to her physical closeness. After a few moments, when she didn’t move away from him, he replied, “Yes, this is real, and very far from home.” He hugged her gently. “I was worried about you.”
“I was too. Worried about you, I mean. We had no idea where you had gone, or how to get you back.” She tightened her arms briefly. “I threatened Ethan, told him I would kill him if we didn’t find you. I think I would have done it.”
“No, you wouldn’t have. You are a woman of honor. Killing a human would be against your true nature.”
“For Ethan I would have made an exception.”
“Buffy,” Giles began.
“Not a problem now. We found you. I’ll let him live.” Buffy frowned up at him. “What’s with that weird chick?”
Giles gave her a puzzled look. “Whatever are you talking about?”
“You know, Rupert this and Rupert that.”
Giles stared at her blankly while he thought about what she had said. “Weir, Buffy, her name is Weir. Elizabeth Weir. Everyone here calls me Rupert. It was a refreshing difference.” He regretted the words as soon as they were out. Buffy stiffened and pulled away, turning to look out over the ocean. Giles moved behind her and bent forward to speak against her ear. “But I missed being Giles. Especially when I was training with Teyla. It seemed very strange to be called Rupert while I was wielding a quarterstaff.”
Buffy spun around and looked at him in alarm. “Training? What do you mean, training?” Giles tried to step back but Buffy grabbed his arms. “Giles, what about training?” She looked deep into his eyes, then released him, her face the picture of outrage. “You’ve been training someone else? You’re MY Watcher. You’re not supposed to train anyone else. How could you?”
Giles was surprised by the verbal attack. He made the mistake of trying to respond. “Now, Buffy”
She cut him off. “Don’t you ‘Now, Buffy’ me mister. First you wore that Hef robe while Olivia paraded around in front of me in your shirt, and then I had to watch the Draco babes crawling all over you , but now you tell me you’re training another Slayer?” Buffy threw up her hands and stomped back into the room. She stormed across the room and out into the hallway.
Giles stood on the balcony, stunned into immobility. He looked at her retreating figure, blinking rapidly, while his mind tried to process what had just happened. He came to a conclusion, then immediately discarded it. It wasn’t possible. But he couldn’t think of another reason. He shook his head. There had to be some other explanation. Before he could move off the balcony, Buffy came back into the room and glared at him.
“I was asleep when you brought me here. Where the hell is everyone else?”
Giles approached her cautiously. “I don’t know. The last time I saw the others they were in the break area, but that was over six hours ago. I would imagine Elizabeth assigned them to rooms and they are sleeping.” He was amazed to see Buffy grimace when he said the other woman’s name. In anyone else he would have assumed the reaction to be jealousy, but that would mean……No. He must be imagining things. After all he was rather short on sleep.
Ah, that was it. He was still asleep and this was one of those dreams that he had from time to time. He frowned slightly. But if Buffy was behaving this way because this was a dream, then perhaps the entire day had been a dream and she wasn’t really here. No, if this had been one of those dreams Buffy would have been kissing him now, not looking at him like she wanted to stake him. Not to mention Ethan. He had stopped having dreams where Ethan played a staring role a long time ago. He jerked back when fingers snapped in front of his nose.
“Earth to Giles. Hello, are you in there?” Buffy’s scowl deepened. “Daydreaming about your new Slayer?”
“Buffy, Teyla is not a Slayer. She is merely a young woman who has had to fight a deadly enemy all of her life. Since her father’s death she hasn’t had a proper training partner, someone to help her hone her fighting techniques. I offered to help her in exchange for an opportunity to learn new moves to teach you when I returned home.”
Buffy half turned away and hunched her shoulders. “I’m surprised you were thinking about coming back to Sunnydale, after all you had made plans to leave once before. It would have been easy to just stay here and forget about me, about all of us.”
“I rather thought that it would easier for you to forget about me. Before Dracula came to town it had been how long since you had spoken with me?” Giles drew a deep breath, fighting back an unexpected surge of anger. “I didn’t choose to come here, Buffy. Of course I was trying to find a way home. I would never leave you without telling you first.”
“But you would leave me.”
“If I felt that you didn’t need me any more.”
“I’ll always need you, Giles.”
“I’m sure you feel that way at the moment. All children think they need their parents, from time to time, when they are first trying their wings.”
Buffy scowled at him. “I already have two parents, and they are quite enough. I’ve never thought of you as my parent, Giles. You are the one who thinks of me as your daughter.”
Giles frowned back. “What are you talking about? I’ve never thought of you as my daughter.”
“Slayer then. Same difference.”
Giles turned away, afraid she would see his thoughts on his face. Daughter! If she only knew. In the past it had been normal for Watcher and Slayer to be married. It had only been in the past 50 years or so that the Council had changed that. He had read accounts in some of the older journals that would be considered pornographic if published. There had been so many dreams since he had admitted his feelings to himself, dreams of her as his lover, his wife. And she thought that he considered her his daughter. It would be funny if it wasn’t so frustrating. He had to be careful of what he said.
Giles drew in another deep breath, but before he could speak there was a soft knock on his door. “Come in.”
The door slid open and Teyla stood in the doorway. “Good morning, Rupert. I hope I’m not disturbing you. We were wondering if you would have the time for one more training session before you left.”
Giles turned back to ask Buffy. He was surprise to see her frowning again. ‘We?’ she mouthed silently. Her frown deepened into a scowl. Anger flared in him again. If she believed he thought of her as a daughter, then he would treat her like one. ‘Behave,’ he mouthed back. Buffy’s eyes widened in outrage but he turned back to Teyla before she could respond.
Smiling gently, Giles said, “I would enjoy one last training session. Perhaps you and Buffy could spar together.”
Teyla was looking over his shoulder and there was a brief expression of surprise on her face before she returned her gaze to his. She raised an eyebrow, gave her slight bow, smiled and said, "I, too, look forward to sparing with Buffy." She turned and headed down the corridor.
Giles wondered what Buffy had done behind his back, but refused to look. "Are you coming?" There was no verbal answer, nevertheless Buffy pushed past him and stalked down the hallway behind Teyla. Giles sighed and followed.