Walking her sister into the kitchen, Buffy suddenly felt overwhelmed by a strange, unexplained sensation. It was kinda like the nagging cramps that she got when a vampire was close by, only not so evil, and centered lower in her abdomen. The vibe wasn’t threatening. In fact, it was pleasant, kind of like a mild tingle. Still, it disturbed her, as did the palatable presence that seemed to be following her about, looming over her shoulder like some great, hulking vulture as she made her way across the room toward the sink.
Her slayer alarm bell began to ring out a warning. Buffy could sense her pulse quickening, and she spun around, only to discover her Watcher standing directly behind her. All right, so maybe not exactly a vulture, she thought, regarding the Brit with his over-sized wings, but definitely of the large and bird-like.
“What do you think you’re doing?” she demanded, glaring at the startled Englishman. Beside her, Dawn was busy rummaging in the cupboards, looking for a baking pan, and the noisy metallic clatter punctuated the slayer’s terse query.
“I-I thought I might lend a hand with the preparations,” Giles stammered hesitantly.
“Not dressed like that, you won’t,” the blonde countered pointedly. She allowed her eye to rove disapprovingly up and down the Englishman’s towel-wrapped figure. “This kitchen is rated strictly PG. Dawn’s not old enough for the Naked Chef Follies, and the last thing I want to see is the British remake of American Pie. I suggest you go find those clothes you were looking for when you fell out my bedroom window, and then, when you’re decent, we’ll talk about who gets to lick the spoon.”
“Clothes. Yes, erm, right,” the Brit hemmed with an uncomfortable glance down at his skimpy covering. His cheeks colored a pink, self-conscious blush as he slowly inched backward across the kitchen. “That would be an excellent idea, indeed.”
With a sheepish grin, Giles turned, and with a fluttering breeze of wing and feathers, dashed off, retreating to the sanctuary of the nearby back room to find something to wear.
Watching the Brit’s hasty departure, Buffy shook her head. Demon Giles was every bit as weird as regular Giles, maybe even more so. With a contemptuous sniff, she knelt down next to her sister a hand to assist with her pan quest.
“We have so got to get him changed back tonight,” she pronounced in an exasperated grumble. “If we don’t, I may have to kill him.”
Dawn frowned, her eyes narrowing to study her sibling’s face. “You are joking, aren’t you?” she asked, an edge of worry creeping into her voice. “I mean, you wouldn’t really kill Giles just because he’s a demon? He’d have to be evil, too, right?”
“I think we’ve already established the evil part with the singing,” Buffy replied with a sarcastic sneer.
Locating the pan she wanted, she stood up, and set it aside on the center island workstation. Then, she opened a cupboard drawer, and pulling various measuring utensils, began to lay them out beside the pan she had found.
“But, you’re right,” she sighed as she mentally inventoried the accumulation of baking equipment. “I couldn’t hurt Giles. Not after everything he’s done for me. For us,” she corrected. “Besides,” she continued, her tone lightening. “I’ve managed to go this long without staking Spike. What could Giles possibly do that would make him worse than Mr. Big Bad himself.”
“Not much, I guess,” Dawn replied. Bending down into the cupboard again, she brought out a hefty ceramic mixing bowl to add to her sister’s pile of tools. “And, so far, he seems to be pretty harmless. You know, for a demon. Plus,” she giggled, an impish grin curling across her face. “I looked, and Anya was right.”
“About what?” Buffy asked innocently.
“About the butt thing.”
Buffy’s head jerked up. She halted in mid-reach, her fingers above the crock of wooden spoons on the counter. With shocked, disbelieving eyes, she stared at her younger sib, and gasped.
“What...you mean, you actually checked out Giles’…” Words failed the stunned slayer, and with a shuddering grimace, she choked out the question that was burning with such repulsion in her brain. “Why?”
“Everybody else was looking at it,” the teen retaliated with a defensive pout.
“Everybody? What everybody? Everybody who?” Buffy demanded.
“Anya, Willow, Tara, Xander…”
“Xander?” Buffy’s voce hit an impossible octave. The offending onslaught of information was too much to handle, and she shook her head, attempting to rid herself of the distasteful imagery. “That’s it,” she declared, throwing up her hands in a gesture of defeat. “You people are all sick.”
“Right,” Dawn snorted. “Like you weren’t doing it, too. I saw the way you were staring at him. All oogly-eyed and smiling. I’m pretty sure there was even some drool involved.”
Lifting a hand to her lips, Buffy unconsciously wiped at her mouth. Her face was thankfully dry. She was about to heave a relieved sigh, when Dawn burst out in a hysterical paroxysm of titters. A bright red blush flamed the blonde’s face. She’d been had. Her sister hadn’t seen anything.
“Gotcha ” the teen howled. Grabbing her stomach, Dawn doubled over in another wave of delighted giggling. “Can’t deny it. You think Giles is a hottie What a perv. I can’t wait to tell the guys.”
Buffy glared menacingly at her younger sib. Stifling an overwhelming urge to strangle the teen, she chewed thoughtfully at her lip. All hope was not yet lost. She still had an ace up her sleeve, and she was just about desperate enough to play it. After all, she was the slayer, and she wasn’t about to give up her dignity without a fight.
“That’s right. Go ahead and laugh,” she smirked at the younger girl. “I’m sure Xander will think it’s absolutely hilarious. Especially when I tell him the part about you saying he copped a look at Giles’ butt.”
“What? Oh ” Dawn frowned, her laughter fading fast. She hadn’t thought about that. She liked Xander. She didn’t want him thinking she’d called him some kind of a sexual degenerate. “No, no ” she protested. “You-you can’t tell him that ,” she pleaded desperately with her vengeful-minded sibling. “Look, I promise, I won’t say anything about you and Giles, only please, please, please don’t tell Xander I saw what he did.”
Grinning slyly, Buffy winked at her sister. “It’ll be our little secret. And, for the record?” She challenged the teen with a disdainful grimace. “There is no me and Giles. And, it wasn’t his butt I was checking out. It was… his wings.”
“His wings,” Dawn repeated, nodding vigorously. She was unconvinced, but knew better than to debate her sister on that one. At least for the moment.
Setting aside their differing opinions, the two Summers’ women retired to separate sides of the island counter. In a show of sisterly truce, they put aside any further discussion about Watchers, or the visual status of the anatomical parts thereof, and gathering together the necessary ingredients, started in on the first of their baking projects.