Buffy spent the better part of the next hour trying to concentrate on her research efforts to the accompaniment of Giles’ singing. She sat thru her Watcher’s enthusiastic renditions of The Who’s “Squeezebox” and “Magic Bus”, Cream’s “Tales of Brave Ulysses” (complete with a vocalized guitar solo), and a good dozen other pieces she didn’t recognize. His taste in music definitely needs updating, she told herself as the Brit launched into a strange tune about someone with a homburg hat and a coat that was apparently too long. Well, at least he has a good voice. The gang and I should get together and buy him some decent CDs, something actually recorded in this decade. Hmmm, I wonder if he even owns a CD player? I don’t remember seeing one in his apartment. I guess he can always buy one. After all, it’s not like he has money problems to worry about.

It wasn’t until some time later that the Brit finally put in his appearance. Looking freshly scrubbed and rejuvenated, he sauntered into the room and took a seat beside her on the sofa. He was dressed in yet another pair of loose, hip-hugging trousers, these being a dark, blueish twill. His top was a simple gray fleece sweatshirt that had obviously seen better days. It’s lower hem rode up to bare a sizeable portion of his midriff, and she could see that it was a continuing struggle of wills for the Watcher to keep his wings contained within the overstuffed back of the garment. He had managed to rein his unruly mane into a passable semblance of order, pulling the mass of curls back and tucking them behind the collar of his shirt. There were still a few tell-tale bruises marring his masculine features, but to Buffy’s astonishment, the small cut she had noticed on his chin earlier had all but disappeared. It seemed that some super-quick healing powers came along with Giles’ new demon packaging.

Pulling his legs up under him, the Brit crossed them in a yoga-like position, and tucked a heel up against each opposing thigh. It was a simple movement, but one that required a great deal more flexibility that Buffy thought her Watcher capable of at his age. Not that Giles had ever been feeble. Training a young slayer had kept him limber and in fairly good physical shape, though lately, it seemed to her that he had been taking increasingly longer to recover from the more vigorous of their exercise sessions.

As Buffy sat beside her Watcher, her eye began to idly wander over those part of his figure exposed to view. A glimmer of jealously rankled her feminine vanity. How could Giles stay so slim after eating as much junk as he had the previous day? If she’d been the one who’d packed away all those empty calories, her hips would have exploded with the extra padding, but Giles didn’t look like he’d put on a single pound. It wasn’t fair!

She continued her surreptitious sight seeing tour, allowing her gaze to slide over the Brit’s trim body. Whatever species of demon Giles was, the creatures apparently sported a lean and sleek build. Not that her Watcher had ever been pudgy. Giles might have disguised his figure in some questionable outfits over the years, but he couldn’t hide the fact that he was in fairly good shape from his slayer. After all, she was the one having actual physical contact with him.

Oh, my God! Buffy groaned inwardly. I’m starting to sound like Anya when I think. Giles and I had never had physical contact in the sense of romantic touching, or groping. We had training touch, and that’s totally different. No inappropriate type parts ever became involved. Well, maybe sometimes there was bodily contact of certain areas. Private areas. Like that time I tried to lift him, and he dodged, and instead of grabbing him around his waist I ended up with my hand on his... but that was an accident! I never intended to do it on purpose. And there wasn’t any lingering. Definitely just a touch and go touch. That’s all. Besides, Giles never even noticed what you’d done. If he had, he would have said something about it.

With a heavy sigh, Buffy continued her mental berating. Who do you think you’re kidding, Summers? You grabbed the man’s crotch. He had to have noticed. The only reason he never mentioned it was he’s too British. Probably was just as scared as you were that it happened. Only, you weren’t really so scared, were you? You tried to tell yourself it was just an accident, but you were never that clumsy. You’d been thinking about Giles, wondering about stuff that had no business being in your brain. You were thinking about him in ‘that way’.

It was true, and Buffy knew it. She remembered the incident. It had happened in the library, during those first few months after she and Giles had started their training regime. She was still getting used to working with the Englishman. She’d thought him so stuffy and reserved back then, and, at least for the brief course of one a week or two, incredibly hot. Looking back on it now, she clearly recognized the symptoms of what was undoubtedly a young school girl’s crush on an older authority figure man. Psychology 101 had taught her about that kind of thing. It was fairly common, happened to lots of kids her age. There was really nothing to be ashamed about. Yet, here she was, years later, still agonizing over an event no one but her ever knew took place.

The details were still as clear and sharp in her mind as the day it all happened. She was recovering from the shock that surrounded the Master’s demise. She and Angel were trying to sort out their relationship, and she hadn’t quite worked through the issues of her own recent death. Somewhere, in all the confusion of her emotional instability, she had grasped onto Giles. After all, he was the one steady, dependable influence she had in her crazy life. While part of her was upset he had kept the knowledge of her prophesied end to himself, she had been humbled and impressed by his intention to risk his life by facing the Master on his own instead.

Of course, she didn’t let him go. The whole idea of Giles facing the Master was stupid. Suicidal. So, she’d knocked him out, and went forth to fulfill the prophecy’s demands on her own. Somehow, things managed to worked out. She did die, but was revived, and went on to defeat the vampire king. But she’d learned a vital and important lesson along the way, a lesson that the Englishman never stopped teaching her. Giles was more than just her Watcher, her “boss”. He was her partner, her protector. Her friend. Keeping her alive was more than a job to him, or even an obligation of sacred duty. He truly cared about her. And not just as Buffy, the slayer. To Giles, she was Buffy, the person.

It was in that moment of enlightenment that the seeds of her crush began. Even then she knew the feelings she had were misplaced, and she hid her infatuation with her Watcher behind a vocal wall of denial. Anything that even hinted at Giles’ manliness became the subject of her ridicule. She dissed his age, pretended his intelligence was nothing more than a joke to her, and mocked his wardrobe without mercy. All the while, her curiosity about the Brit continued to grow, as did her fascination, until, one fateful day, her inquisitiveness finally got the better of her.

As their daily training sessions fueled her girlish fantasies in forbidden directions, she began to obsess about Giles in a new and naughty way. Anya was right about the effect wrestling had on her. Like slaying, hand to hand combat, even when done under simulated training conditions, often left Buffy stimulated and craving something to eat. Or, as Faith, a fellow slayer had once crudely put it, “horny and hungry’. She found herself wondering if Giles ever felt the same. If he did, he certainly never showed any sign of it. At least, not in any way she could see. He was always controlled and collected, treating every little move with an air of detached calm. Meanwhile, she was burning with excitement, aching for relief from what felt like a perpetual state of arousal. She was amazed at how easily he seemed to ignore all the bumping and sweating as they grappled with each other in such intimate quarters. His self-discipline frustrated Buffy to no end, and she supposed that was the reason that she had done it.

She’d touched Giles.

She’d wanted to shock him, to see if there was a actually a man buried beneath all those layers of tweed and British propriety. Anyway, that was what she’d told herself. Her first attempt involved a new exercise outfit. A revealing black number, it accentuated her figure none too subtly, and though it had the desired effect on Xander, Giles acted as if he were completely oblivious to what she wore, even when she flaunted her body shamelessly under his very nose. But that only served to make her more determined than ever to get a reaction out of the dispassionate Watcher. In a series of calculated attacks, she seized every available opportunity that presented itself to hip away at the Brit’s armor-clad reserve. Finally, in a brassy move, she decided to do something she wouldn’t have normally had the nerve to attempt.

It was a bold idea, and a stupid one, too.

They were locked in a stranglehold, his arms encircling her shoulder’s from behind. She had leaned forward, lifting his body from the floor with the intention of throwing him over her head, but in a flash of wicked inspiration, she’d pretended to stumble, and instead fell forward with him to the mat. In the moments that followed, as they both rolled about trying to extract themselves from the awkward predicament, she’d boldly reached out, and in an “accidental” gesture, groped Giles’ crotch.

Thinking back, she realized that what she had done was very wrong. She had violated her Watcher, taken advantage of him. Maybe it wasn’t exactly rape, but it also wasn’t right, and she would have given anything to erase the moment, for she had discovered something that had left her traumatized ever since.

Giles was a man.

Point in fact, he was a very manly man. His indifference, his poise, the calm outward composure he projected, it was all nothing more than the world’s best acting job. Giles wasn’t any less human than any other male on the planet, and her hand had encountered the one bit of hard evidence that proved that!

The revelation of the Englishman’s virility frightened her. Luckily, Giles promptly dismissed her inappropriate breech of behavior, possibly passing if off as an innocent slip of the hand. He had demurely avoided any eye contact until she could bring the flaming blush in her cheeks under control, and they had continued on with their training as if nothing had happened. No mention was ever made of the incident, though for years after she wondered what exactly had gone through his mind. There were times when, in the midst of a particular move, Giles would hesitate for no apparent reason. His reaction betrayed him, telling her that he hadn’t completely tuned out the details of that fateful training session, but then he would continue gamely on with their lesson, pretending nothing had happened.

But Buffy knew better. Although she wasn’t sure if it were her, or himself, that her Watcher didn’t trust. She tired to block the memory, overcompensating with glib humor every time a hint of Giles’ sexuality came up, and though her fears had faded over the year, slowly diminishing as their friendship evolved to new levels, she found herself once again worrying about the strange, compelling attraction that she felt for her Watcher.

Her fingers tensely gripping the book in her hands, Buffy realized with horrified regret that Giles’ could no longer be considered “safe”. Something about him had changed. From the shaggy, tousled tresses on his head, to his tightly muscled bottom he looked every bit the dreamy hunk, and no amount of fabricated insults about his age or peculiar British mannerisms could dislodge that fact from her brain. All her hard work, her carefully built verbal barriers designed to keep the generational gap between them an indomitable chasm, it was all for nothing. One teeny magical spell had washed it away, and she was left, confused and disconcerted, and helplessly drawn to her Watcher.

“Are you feeling quite alright?”

“What? Oh, uhm...”

Jolted out of her scattered musing, Buffy looked up to find Giles staring at her. His gaze was intense, and filled with a genuine concern. As she became lost in the incredible beauty of his eyes, her heart skipped a beat, and she felt herself falling into the deep, green languid pools.


Her cheeks flamed red, blushed with the color of self-conscious guilt. It had happened again. She had to be more careful, or else Giles might begin to suspect something. He was looking at her strangely even now, and as she flashed a quick smile to waylay his fears, she forced herself to concentrate on what he was saying to her.

“Is something wrong?” Giles observed with a slight frown. “You seem troubled.”

“No, no troubles here,” she smoothly lied, her fingers toying nervously with the pages of her book. “Well, except for the usual stuff. You know, I make chicken or tacos for dinner, can I pay this month’s bills, did I forget and leave the Hellmouth unlocked after the last apocalypse?”

Giles’ smile was meant to be comforting and encouraging, but instead it set her pulse racing, and her heart thudding ecstatically within her breast.

“Buffy, I can understand your apprehension,” the Brit remarked. “But believe me, as daunting as these problems may seem, in time you will learn to take them in stride.”

“I guess,” she shrugged, leaning back into the sofa’s soft cushions. “I’m not really that worried about it, anyway. Not as long as I’ve got you here to help out. You know how to handle all that kind of stuff.”

“As do you,” he gently stressed in response. “You only need give yourself the chance. You’re a very capable young woman, Buffy. I have all the confidence in the world that you’ll work through this.”

“I’m glad one of us thinks so,” she sighed.

They sat there, side by side on the sofa, each returning to their reading in silence. Several minutes passed, and after nervously clearing her throat, Buffy finally raised the courage to speak.

“So, who was she?”

Glancing up from his book, Giles frowned questioningly. “Who was who?”

“You’re friend,” Buffy replied. “The lady you met last night.”

I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking,” the Watcher countered hesitantly. With a peeved scowl, Buffy snapped the book in her lap closed, and turned to face her companion.

“It’s a simple question, Giles. You went out last night. To a bar. And you were with someone. All I’m asking you is who she was.”

The Brit’s expression became contemplative, his mouth slightly opened as he hesitated, formulating his reply. Buffy thought she could detect a telltale blush creeping across his guarded features, and the trace of something else, something feral and predatory, gleaming in his eyes.

“What makes you think I’d met up with anyone last night?” Giles returned, his voice carrying an indignant edge. “Going out for a pint doesn’t necessarily equate with having been with someone. And what makes you think she was female?”

“Well, unless the place was doing a Rocky Horror Picture Show participation night and you went dressed as Dr. Frankenfurter, I think the lipstick you were wearing on your collar, and that hissy ‘tude of yours means my assumption is one of fair grounding.”

Giles blanched visibly at the accusation, as if there were some painful reason he was unwilling to divulge the details of his previous night’s activities, and for a minute, Buffy thought he might actually be considering denying her charge with a lie. But she gave him one of her patented “don’t fool with your slayer” looks, and the Englishman wisely gave in, stammering out his confession.

“It-it isn’t as it seems,” Giles anxiously flustered. Lowering his gaze, he avoided the blonde’s reproachful stare as he gathered the compromised shreds of his dignity. “I didn’t go there to-to be with her. We simply happened to meet. It was all very innocent.”

“Giles, when a guy starts saying it was all very innocent, that’s usually a dead giveaway things were anything but.”

The Brits huffed indignantly. “I don’t see why you insist on making this more than it is,” he grumbled. “I’m a responsible adult, and I needn’t have to explain myself to the likes of you!”

“And believe me, under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have had the slightest inclination to be a buttinsky into your, and I shudder as I say the words, ‘love life’,” the slayer retaliated. “But you’re not acting at all sane about this. I mean, did you even stop to think what might have happened if Ms. Ruby Red Passion Kissylips had decided she was desperate enough to go for it? There she is, thinking she’s met some nice, normal guy, and then she finds out what you really are? You know, a...a-”

“Demon?” Giles finished with a droll lift of one eyebrow. “Or perhaps it was my embarrassing tenure as a librarian that you thought she might find so terribly shocking.”

“Yeah, well, that would probably do it, too,” Buffy pouted.

“Buffy...” The Watcher sighed in weary exasperation. “As difficult as it may be for you to comprehend, there are some of us out there who don’t find a career in academia the pariahic stigma you consider it to be.”

“Well, there’s still the demon thing,” the blonde petulantly reminded the Watcher. “And take if from me, that’s something most people don’t take too kindly to. What would your friend have said if she’d gotten a gander at those honking big wings of yours?”

“It just so happens that she found them to be quite attractive, thank you,” Giles groused back haughtily in retort.

Buffy felt her jaw drop open in surprise. “Sh-she saw them?” she gasped almost tremulously. “ didn’t bother her, you know, that you...that they...”

“No, it didn’t,” Giles asserted firmly in reply. When the slayer continued to stare at him in bewildered disbelief, he frowned. “Buffy, the woman was in a room filled with demons. It hardly would hardly have shocked her to discover that I was one, too.”

“I guess not,” the slayer pouted in concession. She waited a few beats, digesting that information, then hesitantly proffered her next question. “So, was she pretty?”

Buffy had been going for a studied nonchalance, but instead her voice had come out in a timid squeak.

His nose back in his book, Giles barely heard the slayer’s query. It was only after Buffy cleared her throat, the abrupt noise breaking through his concentration, that he acknowledged her with a glance.

“Your friend.” Buffy found herself frowning, and there was a hint of jealousy in her tone that she couldn’t seem to hide. “Was she, you know, pretty?”

“I suppose,” Giles shrugged, his grin tilting at a faintly lecherous angle in spite of himself. “Yes, I’d say she was attractive.”

“Oh.” The tiny whisper belied the slayer’s disappointment. “And I suppose you guys had a couple drinks, and then, what? Talked?”

Picking nervously at the edges of the book in her lap, Buffy’s eyes darted nervously, roaming everywhere about the room but toward Giles as she waited, impatiently, for his answer. Part of her was anxious to know the details of his outing so that she could put her mind at ease, prove to herself that nothing possibly could have happened. After all, this was Giles she was talking about. Mr. Stuffy Tweed and Tea Bookman himself. But there was another little voice screaming in her head, and its said that said Giles was far to sexy and delicious for any woman in her right mind to pass up, and she feared that the worst were true. Her Watcher had been out having way too much fun the previous night.

Her apprehension telegraphed itself clearly to the amused Watcher. Suspecting he was the reason behind her discomfort, Giles’ eyes lit up with devilish mischief. The temptation to tease his slayer quickly got the better of him, and calmly setting his book aside, he lounged back against the cushions with calculated deliberation, spreading out his lean length to its full advantage as he gave up his attention to the young girl beside him.

“Yes, we talked,” he replied, his sly smile playing at the corners of his mouth as he watched for her reaction. “And then we shared a few glasses.”

“You mean you had some drinks,” she translated peevishly.

“I believe that is what I said.”

Ignoring her Watcher’s pointed glare, Buffy prompted him to continue. “And then what?”

“Well,” the Brit frowned, pausing a moment before replying. “Then we danced.”

Buffy’s breath caught on itself. An almost imperceptible movement, Giles might not have noticed it if he hadn’t been observing her with such close attention. The corners of his mouth tweaked delicately upward in a self-satisfied smirk, and he chortled inwardly, enjoying the discomforted expression that fell over his slayer’s face.

“Danced?” Buffy echoed the word in stunned disbelief. “You don’t mean like...” She gulped, her distress squeaking in her voice. “ public, where people could see you?”

“Well, the lights were fairly dim,” he hemmed contemplatively, purposely drawing out her agony further. “You know how poorly lit Willy’s place is. Especially where we were sitting, back in that corner, behind the pool table. Between the smoke and the burnt out lamps, one practically needs a pair of night vision goggles just to find their own hand. Though I suppose, when we stepped out onto the dance floor, we were somewhat more conspicuously visible.”

A soft groan escaped the slayer’s throat. An image of her Watcher huddled in the dark with some flirtatious hussy flashed through her head. She could almost see the woman pawing at Giles with her painted nails, her over-endowed bosom straining dangerously against the front of her blouse as she planted her ruby-red lipstick smudges all over his collar. Shuddering, she fought back the strange surge of jealousy that suddenly heated her body, and slumping back against the sofa cushions, she shook her head in mortified disapproval of the Brit’s confessed activities.

“How could you do this to me?” she moaned. Her voice had summoned all the righteously dismayed fervor it could as she wailed out her complaint. “Thanks to you, I’ll never be able to show my face in that place again! Well, at least it was only Willy’s,” she continued, her defensive diatribe waning only slightly in its angst. “I mean, nobody who’s actually anybody ever goes there. Now, if that had been The Bronze, then things would have been direly serious. I could pretty much have kissed any pretense of my social life good-bye if someone had seen you in there.”

Giles’ lower lip projected outward in a show of indignation. Shifting on the sofa, he leveled a glower upon the slayer. “Phyllidia seemed to find my dancing skills perfectly acceptable,” he grumbled with a leaden and haughty sniff.

“Phyllidia?” Buffy snorted, barely able to stifle her guffaw. “Now there’s a granny name if I ever heard one. Sounds like some kind of plant. Phyllidiadendrum. Or an ingredient in your toothpaste. New Dentacream White, now with the brightening power of Phyllidium!”

She was giggling now, her conscience relieved by this new picture of her Watcher’s drinking companion that she had conjured up in her mind, an elderly-type woman with blue hair, safe and matronly, dressed in chintz and fake pearls. Of course, the shade of ruby red lipstick she’d found smudged on Giles’ shirt didn’t quite fit in the whole grandma scheme, but she figured there was some innocent explanation, like the old biddy had gotten too tired while dancing, and rested her head on the Brit’s shoulder and...

The tears of laughter she had been struggling with suddenly went dry as Buffy hiccuped and sat up. Her eyes cast over her Watcher’s svelte form, and the slayer realized in dismay that Giles could easily have his pick of any woman he wanted, and there was no reason to believe that he would want less than the best. An earlier comment about Phyllidia finding his wings attractive came rushing back to taunt her, and her eyes suddenly widened in horror, adding the facts together. For her to see his wings, Giles had to have taken off his sweater to show them. A topless Giles, a secluded corner of a bar, low lights, alcohol and music, lipstick on his collar... None of this was heading in a direction anywhere near good!

Giles could see the shock in his slayer’s disbelieving expression. A tickle of impish glee teased at his lips, and he regarded the blonde with brash assurance.

“Is something wrong, Buffy?” he coyly prompted, his throat purring the words almost suggestively. He could sense the girl’s discomfort.

“W-wrong?” She echoed his query in a piteous squeak. “Uhh, mmm, n-no. Nothing, uh, wrong,” she lied. A blush suddenly flamed her cheeks, and she shyly ducked her head, pretending she’d developed an interest in her shoes. “Wh-what makes you think anything’s wrong?”

Giles grinned. Buffy was obviously unsettled by the fact he’d spent time with a woman, and though he hadn’t come right out and said so, he had dropped enough hinted innuendo for her to conclude what had gone on between himself and his so called “lady friend”, Phyllidia. Apparently, the idea disturbed the young blonde, and not just in the usual “Ewww, you’re old and it’s gross” kind of way. He could swear that he saw a touch of jealousy hidden within his slayer’s anxious expression, and his smile grew broader, pleased to think that he could affect such an emotion from her, whether she admitted it freely or not.

Buffy shifted uncomfortably on the sofa. She didn’t like the way Giles was looking at her. Her Watcher’s eyes were almost predatory, and glinted with an incendiary green fire that made her heart pound fast and furious with her chest. She told herself she wasn’t going to look at him, but the tantalizing draw of his gaze became impossible to resist, and as she raised her head, their eyes locked upon each other, and a tiny shudder ran up her spine, quickening her thumping heartbeat even faster. A tiny groan escaped from Buffy’s throat as a powerful, mesmerizing fog wound its way into her brain. Oh, God! She inhaled sharply, suddenly overcome by dozens of forbidden thoughts at once.

Look at those lips. I bet she kissed them. Probably enjoyed it, too. I know I would. And those arms! So strong and manly. I wish I could feel them around me now, holding me. It would be heaven!

As if reading her mind, Giles moved closer until his warm body gently pressing up against her side. Without hesitation, she leaned in, narrowing the gap between them even more. She didn’t flinch as the Brit slid an arm around her shoulders and pulled her against him. Her heart fluttered a beat, then raced as she waited with breathless anticipation, every nerve inside her tingling as Giles’ lowered his face to her own. She felt her eyelids begin to droop heavily, her tongue unconsciously running over her dry lips, wetting them in excited expectation of the kiss to come.

The providential jangle of a telephone ring startled Buffy back to reality. She blinked, a tiny “Eeeep!” escaping her pursed lips. Instantly she perceived the embarrassing position she was in, and with a repulsed shudder, she jerked back, ripping herself out of her Watcher’s embrace. For a brief moment she sat there, too shocked to breath, and then the phone rang again. With a relieved prayer, she leapt to her feet, thankful for any excuse that would get her out of the room, and in a mad scramble, she dashed off to answer the phone.

Her brain was still whirling with the incomprehensibility of what she had almost done as she practically ripped the receiver off of the wall. She’d nearly kissed him! Kissed Giles! How gross was that? And it wasn’t just some friendly peck on the cheek she’d been about to give him, either. Oh, no! It was going to have been a full-blown passion fueled smoocheroo, right on the lips! Why would she want to do that? She must have been insane!

Taking a deep breath, Buffy forced her fingers to ease back on the tightly quaking death grip she had on the telephone. Mustering all the calm she could, she spoke politely into the receiver.

“Hello, Summers’ residence.”


“Willow?” Buffy frowned, recognizing her friend’s voice. Why was Willow calling her? She was supposed to be in class.

In reply, a loud crash reverberated through the receiver, followed by a chorus of screaming voices.

“Buffy,” Willow was shouting, trying to make herself heard above the noise of ominous crashes in the background. “We’ve got angry demons here. They’re really tearing up the campus. We could use some help.”

“Where, what kind, and how many?” she shot back.

“Outside the Science building, north side. Tall yellowy guys with pimply bumps all over, walrus tusk teeth, only on the bottom, not the top. Really super strong, too, with long fingers, and longer nails. And there’s lots of ‘em, so you might want to bring along an extra weapon or two. And hurry!”

“I’m on it.”

There was the distinct shatter of breaking glass and more shrieking, and then the phone went dead.

Any emotional baggage she might have carried was instantly tossed aside as Buffy strode back into the living room and made a bee-line for her weapon’s chest behind the sofa.

“Will says there’s a nasty sitch brewin’ at the Science lab,” she informed her Watcher as she threw open the trunk and began rooting through the selection of armaments. “They could use a hand, pronto like.”

Giles was all business as he jumped to his feet. Scurrying around the sofa, he joined Buffy at the cache of weapons.

“Did she say what it was?”

“Demons,” she replied, digging several stakes out of the chest and stuffing them into a pant pocket. “Yellow walrus types with long fingers. Lots.”

“Of fingers?” the Brit queried curiously.

The slayer paused, pouting thoughtfully. “I’m not sure. I think lots of demons, but I guess she could have meant fingers, too. Ring any bells for you?”

“I’m afraid not. But then...” Giles sheepishly spread his arms, gesturing to indicate his own person. “It isn’t like I can claim to be an expert on demonic species when I can’t even tell you what I am.”

Buffy shrugged, casually dismissing her Watcher’s lack of additional forthcoming information.

“No big,” she replied. “I’m sure we’ve got something in here that’ll kill ‘em nice and dead.”

Reaching back into the trunk, Buffy pulled out a broad bladed medieval chopper with sharp, curved indentations on its multiple-pointed tip. It was a weapon worthy of illustration in the Maciejowski Bible, and as she tested its weight, swinging it lightly at her side, she decided that it would do just perfectly for what she had in mind.

“When in doubt, try something sharp,” the slayer grinned, twirling the oversized knife end over end.

Bending over the open trunk, Giles withdrew a long, delicate katana sword from the bountiful stock of implements stored within. With a deft flick of his wrist, he brought the impressive weapon upward into a position of readiness, as if anticipating an attack. There was a strangely fierce gleam in his green eyes, which shone with the all wild intensity of a tiger on the hunt. Beneath his sweater, his wings quivered and jumped, trembling against the thin material that restrained them. Every muscled inch of the Watcher’s tense body screamed out an eagerness to do battle, and Buffy felt a wave of tiny goose bumps crawled along her flesh as she silently counted herself lucky that the Brit would be fighting with her, and not against her. She would hate to have to face Giles’ wrath at the wrong end of that dangerous looking blade.

Slamming the weapon’s chest shut, she jerked her chin toward the front door, beckoning her Watcher to follow as she headed out.

“Grab your car keys, Tweety, and let’s get motoring,” she quipped over her shoulder. “We’ve got ourselves some students to rescue.”

With a gleeful chortle, Giles dropped into step at his slayer’s heel, dogging her like a shadow as she bolted out of the house and made her way across the yard to where his rental car sat parked at the curb. Soon the pair and their weapons were ensconced in the vehicle and speeding away down the street, on their way toward the campus of UC Sunnydale, each anxiously looking forward to kicking some serious demon booty.

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