Giles slept until wakened by the late morning sun in his face. He stretched and yawned. He wondered what the time was, but didn’t bother to look just yet. There was no hurry. Instead he rolled onto his side and propped his head on a hand to watch Buffy lying next to him.
The breeze through their windows was warm but not stifling for the first time in days. The weather had turned, and the wind was coming from the west. Giles could smell the ocean in it, under the scent of smoke. The night had been troubled. He’d awakened several times to find Buffy standing at the open window, her back and shoulders tense. He’d allowed himself to sleep, trusting that she would wake him if she needed anything from him. She hadn’t, and she seemed to have set aside the tension some time in the early morning and come to bed to sleep.
Her eyes were closed yet, but Giles knew she was awake. She was lovely with her hair rumpled and creases from the pillows on her face. He slipped his arm over her waist and eased himself closer to her. Her body was hot to his touch, lithe, hard with muscle, so small. Unlike any woman he’d taken to his bed before, but she was the Slayer. His Slayer, that is, since there were eleven more Slayers in the Hyperion. But this one was his. In all ways. Without opening her eyes, she reached up to him and pulled him down into a kiss. A fusty morning kiss, open-mouthed and sloppy, and he was deep enough in love to find it sweet. He rolled her onto her back and settled himself where he could kiss her throat. She made a sound he knew to interpret as pleasure and rested her hands on his shoulders. He slid downward so he could kiss the tips of her breasts and lick her to arousal.
“Good morning to you, too,” she said to him. Giles did not bother to reply; his mouth was better occupied. She ran her fingers through his hair slowly. “You were right, by the way. About the well-fucked thing.”
“Kinda weird. Like you’re still there. So you like being a back-door man, huh?”
That brought him to a halt. He felt his face flushing, though he had thought himself beyond embarrassment with Buffy. “From time to time,” he said.
“Who knew? Well, Ethan did, I guess.”
Giles levered himself up onto his elbows so he could see her face. “Buffy–”
“I know that sound. That’s the sound of Giles being nervous.”
Giles cleared his throat. “Are you sure it’s all right?”
“Are you worried?”
“I confess I am. I was a bit, ah, peremptory last night. When we, er.”
She stroked the hair at his temples in a gesture he knew was meant to soothe, but he still felt guilt tweaking him. She’d cried, after all, though she was smiling at him now.
“Silly guy,” she said.
“Indulge me. Reassure me.”
Buffy sighed, and her fingers in his hair went still. “Okay, mister worry pants. You weren’t treating me like I was made of glass. But you weren’t being nasty, either. You wanted me to feel good. The point of sex is to feel good, isn’t it? To make the other person feel good.”
“Well, yes. Ideally.”
“It made you feel good too, you know. You were way turned on by it, and that was neat. So any time you want to do it again–” She trailed off.
Giles shook his head, and said, “Don’t say that just because I liked it. There are too many things that we both want.”
“No, I mean, what I’m saying is I liked it. I want to do it again some time.”
“Very well. I shall bear that in mind,” he said, formally. But she’d said what he needed to hear, and he believed her. He would ask her for it now and then, when the urge took him.
“Now where were you before you went all wiggy on me?”
Giles flashed a smile at her. “I believe I was kissing your breasts.”
“That was a good place. Go back there.”
Instead Giles nuzzled the valley between her breasts. Her ribs were too prominent beneath them. He wanted to feed her up. He slid himself further down, and examined the pink line on her side where the Turok Han had injured her. It had been a long time healing, but it finally seemed to be fading. She might bear a scar. He kissed that, too, and indulged himself by imagining it would make it heal faster.
He licked her belly. Her muscles tightened and she giggled. He smiled and kissed his way down, wriggling down on the bed until he was settled comfortably between her thighs. He paused before he touched her, and said, “You must tell me what you like. Now that you know what I like.”
“You’re close to one of the things I like.”
“Oh, am I?”
Giles smoothed back the hair over her mons. He touched his tongue to her and she made a pleased sound. Her fingers clutched in his hair for a moment, then she relaxed.
“I definitely like that.”
“Are you sure?”
“If you insist,” Giles said, and did it again. He knew, of course, that she liked this a great deal, and hadn’t had much experience of it before taking him to her bed. Though he had rather a higher opinion of Riley Finn now than he’d held back when Finn had been his rival. Finn had at least treated her well and given her pleasure. They did not speak about Spike; Giles suspected any such conversation would be painful for both of them.
He set aside thoughts of her other lovers, and concentrated on flickering his tongue against her. She sighed and relaxed under him. Her thighs parted further. She was beautiful to him, though all women were. He liked this complexity, the challenge of discovering what worked best for each of them. And for Buffy, just now, who’d discovered something new about herself-- Giles let his thumb drift, slicking it up, moving ever-further down until it rested over her arse. No jump this time, just a moan, so he let his thumb circle around, as his tongue was moving on her clit. He settled into the steady rhythm she liked best and let the soft sounds she made guide him. God, he liked doing this, liked the taste, the scent, the sounds she made. Perhaps later he would tell her that he liked this rather better than the other thing. Especially when it was mutual. Perhaps she would touch him the way he was touching her. Or even-- He pressed his thumb into her, going deep in one sharp motion, and she surprised him by coming. She raised her hips, straining upward, arse clenching around his thumb, gasping, shuddering, then subsiding on the bed under him. Giles held still, for he’d learned that any further touch would be too much for her immediately afterward.
He withdrew himself from her gently and rested his head on her belly, waiting for her. At last she shifted and stretched and stroked his hair again.
“That was a nice way to wake up.”
“Let’s swap. You sit up here and I’ll take care of you.”
“I’m fine for now. We should get up and make an appearance. Xander has a project for me.”
The truth was that he wasn’t fully erect, though of course he was excited. He was still sated from last night’s session. One of the curses of middle age, that he was not ready and randy every hour of the day. He wished he could be for her, because she deserved as much pleasure as she wanted. All the pleasure there was in the world to be felt, if he could arrange it. Backways, frontways, sideways, upside-down if she wanted it.
“Rain check for tonight, then.”
Giles knelt up between Buffy’s knees and wiped his face against his forearm. She grinned at him and said, “Wow, you look wrecked.”
“And you are loveliness personified. Especially with your hair like that. Magnificent.”
“You’re abusing sarcasm again.”
“Abusing? This is what it’s made for.”
She shoved him aside playfully, and he rolled onto his back. He swatted at her buttocks as she stood, but she dodged out of the way and Giles subsided back onto the bed. He rubbed at his messy face again, fruitlessly. He needed another shower.
“I wonder what happened last night,” Buffy said. “It smelled like fire for hours. But the wind has changed now.”
“Brushfires in the hills. Common during the Santa Ana winds.”
“Yeah, maybe. Wrong time of year for that.”
The doubt in her voice was clear enough that Giles sat up and swung his feet off the bed. He reached for his glasses on the nightstand. There she was, standing at the window again, with that tension in her shoulders. He said, “Did you, ah, was it mystical?”
Buffy came away from the window and scooped her her tank top from the floor. She tossed it onto the bed and stood for a moment staring past him. “Wasn’t demonic,” she said, slowly, “but something didn’t feel exactly right about it. I kept dreaming about that giant wolf. But I woke up every time before things started making sense.”
Buffy focused on him and her expression was wry. “I know what that sound means too. It means book time. Though we’re sort of book-free at the moment.”
“Perhaps Wesley will lend me some to consult.”
“Or Angel, if you can promise me you won’t yell at him again.”
“I shall behave myself. Besides, Cordelia was doing a fine job of that last night.”
“He is being kind of a butthead. Shower time again, Watcher. Come on.”
Buffy held out her hand to Giles. He took it and followed her out of the room. And thus began another day in Los Angeles.