A Thousand Miles – Part 4
By Bek Allen
Her eyes widened at the luxurious room spread before her. The entire hotel was small and cozy with twenty-eight rooms, a small restaurant, a tiny gift shop and a bar. But the room was unbelievable. The soft beige carpet lightened the dark panelled walls and the fire, already alight, warmed the room incredibly; even though it was just the end of fall and the days still had some warmth to them. The bed was large; larger than the one she’d been sleeping in for the past week with Giles.
She smiled as the young bellhop placed their bags in the centre of the room and handed the key over to Giles.
“Check out time is noon tomorrow.” The boy nodded and pulled the door closed.
“I” – “You.” The pair broke into a fit of giggles.
Giles smiled and pulled Buffy to him in a warm hug. “You, my Dear, go on and have a shower and get ready for diner. We’ll be dining at six.”
“Oh, where?” she asked, her eyes lighting up at the prospect of one last evening in London.
“It’s a surprise.” He smiled and kissed her softly. “Now go on and have your shower.”
“’Kay.” She moved towards the bathroom. “What about you?” She smiled at him, her eyes glittering with desire.
Giles laughed and shook his head. “Later, Love. And somehow, I don’t think this shower is large enough for what you have in mind.”
She pouted at him before breaking into one of her million dollar smiles. “Later, though?”
“Cross my heart.” He moved his suitcase to the bed as she giggled and closed the bathroom door.
Picking up the phone, he dialled the number for room service. Tonight, he would make their time in London unforgettable.
“Hello? Room service?” he began…
“He couldn’t have taken his shower with me?” She grumbled as she worked the taps of the small shower. ‘We couldn’t of taken his shower with us?’ She kicked the last of her clothes into a pile near the basin before stepping under the steamy water.
She wished she could stay in London with Giles forever. No Hellmouth, no Doublemeat Palace, no anything. Just her and Giles, away from the place that had been the root of their pain and separation. She smiled as she pondered the looks on her friends’ faces two days from now when she stepped off the plane in Giles’ arms.
Turning, she leaned out of the shower for her shampoo and conditioner. “Aw, man.” She sighed and stepped out of the shower onto the mat, the cool air stinging her warm skin. She opened the door and peered around it just as Giles hung up the telephone. “Sweetie?” she called to him.
“Yes, Buffy?” He rolled his eyes at her endearment.
She laughed. “Could you please pass me my bathroom bag? It’s in my suitcase.”
“Yes, dear, just a moment. Hop back in the shower and I’ll bring it to you.”
“Thank you, Rupert.” She closed the door and left him to rummage through her suitcase to find the bag.
He unzipped her case, his mind running over his plans for their final evening in London. As he shifted aside several pairs of panties and t-shirts, he noticed something nestled in the back corner of the suitcase. ‘Curiosity killed the cat, Old man,’ he reasoned with himself. He moved aside some more clothes until he came upon something interesting. “Sod the bleeding cat,” he said aloud.
He pulled away the flimsy lace bra that did its best to obscure the object from view. His eyes widened and his jaw dropped before settling into a smirk as he pulled the lilac coloured vibrator out of the suitcase. Twisting the end off, he turned it upside down to slide out a set of brand new batteries, his smirk was now replaced by his Ripper grin. He returned the batteries, making sure to screw the cap back on properly before putting the vibrator back in the suitcase and covering it with the bra. His plans for their last night in England just got better.
Giles dumped the clothes back in the suitcase before finding Buffy’s toiletries bag and flipping the lid on the case closed. ‘Knowing Buffy, Anya probably put it in there without her knowing.’ He smiled. ‘I’ll have to give her a raise when we get home.’ He gently knocked on the door to the bathroom before going in.
“Thank you, Darling,” Buffy drawled as she leaned out of the shower to take the small bag from him.
“You’re most welcome, Dear,” he replied as he sat on the toilet seat to watch her. His imagination ran rampant as he thought up images of the night to come.
“Did you organise dinner?” she asked him as she massaged shampoo through her hair before rinsing it out.
“Hmm? Oh! Dinner…Y-yes. We dine at six o’clock.” He smiled as he looked at her. “And before you ask and look at me with that sad, kitten look, it’s a surprise.” He laughed as she turned to stare at him open mouthed.
“There is not *a* look!” she told him, promptly sticking out her lower lip and widening her bright eyes.
“Oh, yes, there is, Buffy, and you know it.” He wiped the tears of laughter from the corner of his eyes.
She stuck her tongue out at him and smiled as she rinsed the last of the conditioner out of her hair before turning off the taps and stepping out of the shower. “Are you going to have a shower now?” she asked, wrapping her hair in a towel and pulling a hotel robe around her shoulders.
“In a moment. I just want to watch you a little more.” He grinned and rose, pulling her closer to share a soft kiss.
“It always comes back to that, doesn’t it?” she asked breathlessly as they pulled apart.
“Comes back to what?” he questioned her as he began to remove his jumper and shirt.
“Being the Watcher,” she answered.
“Always,” he told her seriously. “Forever the Watcher.” He unbuttoned and unzipped his jeans before sliding them over his hips to the floor.
“Good.” She nodded for emphasis. “Forever the Watcher, forever the Slayer. Forever the lovers.”
He smiled as she walked out of the bathroom. ‘She always did have a unique way of looking at things.’ He turned on the taps and shed his new black and red heart boxer shorts. A gift from Buffy from one of their many ‘shopping for Scooby souvenirs’ trips.
“It’s almost half past five, Rupert!” she called out to him.
“Yes, Love, won’t be long!” He stood beneath the streaming water and reached for the soap.
He guided her to the lobby with his hand on the small of her back, the other people in the hotel giving them curious looks as they walked past. Giles turned and smiled lovingly down at Buffy.
“You look… st-stunning, Buffy.” His smile widened.
“You don’t look half bad yourself, Watcher man.” She grinned at him again, her heart fluttering as his gaze travelled approvingly down her body as he took in the crisp, white woollen sweater over her long, dusty pink suede skirt and tan, heeled calf-length suede boots.
“Why don’t you go and wait for me in the bar and order a drink while I go and give the key to our room to the concierge until we return from dinner?” He nodded in the direction of the bar where several people had already been seated.
“Okay. Don’t be too long,” she pouted at him teasingly.
He laughed. “I promise. Now go.” He gently pushed her towards the bar before heading off to the front desk.
“Ah, Mr. Giles. How are you finding your stay?” the middle-aged brunette enquired.
“Quite pleasant, actually.” He shook her hand. “I trust my order wasn’t too grand?”
“Oh no, Mr. Giles. Everything is set and ready to go. There is a cab outside waiting for you and your lady friend and room service is already setting things up in your room.”
He nodded. “Thank you. I trust that there will be no interruptions?”
“Of course not, Sir.” She smiled as she accepted the room key. “However, room service will return at nine o’clock tomorrow morning to clean up the room.”
“Very well. And the - ”
“The hotel’s Maitre ‘d will be waiting by the desk with your key to take you back up to your room.”
Giles smiled again at the woman. “Thank you so much, Madam. You have no idea how much it means to me.”
“You’re most welcome, Mr. Giles. Enjoy your evening.” He nodded and walked back towards the bar to find Buffy.
She was dazzling. Her smile lit the darkened bar where she was seated as she idly stirred the ice in her drink with a straw. He smiled as she waved and continued talking to the young man sitting next to her. The young man turned around to see what had caught her attention and sighed in relief at the sight of Giles.
Turning back to Buffy, the young man continued his conversation, placing his hand gently on her arm before moving it up to rest on her shoulder. She shifted uncomfortably on her seat and shrugged his hand away as Giles stalked over to the bar.
“Hello.” He gave Buffy a reassuring glance.
“D - ” She was cut off as the young man placed himself between her and Giles.
“Sir.” He held out his hand. “I was just asking your daughter if she had ever been to Washington.”
“She’s not my daughter,” Giles replied before letting go of the young man’s hand.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Your niece, then.” He turned to look at Buffy who was watching Giles and trying to stifle her giggles.
“Wrong again – uh - ” Giles’ eyes danced as the young man continued to leer at Buffy.
“Simon. Your cousin, then.” He smiled and turned back to Giles. “I was hoping your lovely young cousin would join me for a night on the town.”
Buffy’s eyes almost popped as she saw the lightening flash in Rupert’s eyes. She hardly ever saw Ripper come out to play. She giggled. “Silly Simon.”
“I beg your pardon?” He turned back to look at Buffy as she shook her head.
“I’m sorry, Simon. But Rupert isn’t my dad.” She moved to step around him. “And he’s not my uncle, cousin or brother.” She leaned up and kissed Giles’ cheek. “He’s my boyfriend and my soul mate.” She turned on her heel and smiled, pulling a very dumbfounded Giles behind her and leaving an equally dumbfounded Simon standing at the bar, while his friends laughed and cheered Buffy and Giles for putting their ignorant friend back in his place.
Giles smiled and lead her to the front door. “That wasn’t very nice, Buffy.”
She turned to him, her eyes shining with laughter. “But it was fun.” She giggled as she pulled him close to her as the walked out of the great glass doors. “The look on your face when he assumed I was your daughter.” She gasped for air between giggles. “It was priceless, Rupert! I mean, if I had to sum up that look in one word, I’d have to use ‘Ripper’. You would’ve throttled him if I hadn’t of been standing there.”
“Bloody right I would’ve.” He turned her around to face the street. “Close your eyes,” he commanded softly.
She did as he asked and smiled. It wasn’t until she felt the cool silk sliding over her cheeks that she panicked. Her hands flew to her face as she tried to turn back towards him.
“Shhh, Love, relax. I will never do anything to hurt you, you know that,” he whispered softly as he tied the scarf around her head, making sure she couldn’t see.
“What are you doing?” She ran her fingers gently over the dark coloured silk.
“We are going to dinner, but it’s a surprise. And if you show up with your eyes wide open seeing everything, it won’t be a surprise.”
“Oh.” Her hands continued to graze the silk.
“D-don’t you trust me B-buffy?” His tone dropped. He’d gone from sexy, gruff Giles to worried and unsure Giles.
“Oh, Honey! I trust you. I’m just worried.” She turned on tiptoe and felt her hands up to his face. “It’s just, sometimes the dark still scares me.” She leaned up and kissed his cheek softly. “I trust you with my life, Rupert. I always have. Now, take me to my surprise dinner, please? Otherwise, you’ll have a hungry slayer on your hands.” She smiled at him beneath the silk and tugged on his hand. “So, lead the way because - ”
“A hungry slayer is a cranky slayer, and a cranky slayer is never any good.” He guided her to the waiting cab and smiled and nodded. He motioned with his hand for the driver to drive around the block three times and slipped him fifteen pounds. The driver nodded in silent agreement and moved away from the curb.
Buffy snuggled into the arms of her watcher as the taxi rode in circles. “So, where are we going, Rupert?” she asked politely as he let his fingers stroke her arm.
“Someplace special, where we can talk, and someplace that is most definitely a surprise.”
“Talk? About what?” She turned her head towards him and waited for his response. “Are you having second thoughts about coming home with me?” She felt her heart rate increase as the cab began to slow down.
“What? Oh no, Buffy! I just feel that it’s time I stopped being reclusive about things and tell you a little about my past.” He kissed the top of her forehead and unbuckled his seat belt as the taxi pulled back in front of the hotel.
“Okay.” She felt him shift against her and heard the door open. “Are we there already?” She slid across the seat and stepped out into the cool night air.
“Yes, Dear, we are.” He paid the cab driver and led Buffy up the stairs and to the front desk where the Maitre ’d was standing with their room key in his hand.
“Ah, Monsieur. We have your special table waiting,” he replied as Giles told them his name and the reservation for two he’d made earlier.
“Special?” Buffy turned to Giles again as he lead her through the lobby and into the elevator.
“Yes, I didn’t want anyone to annoy us tonight, so I made special reservations at the best restaurant for a private dining room.” He waited patiently as the elevator doors slid open and the Maitre ‘d led them back to their room.
“Enjoy your evening, Monsieur, Mademoiselle.” He passed the key to Giles before turning around and heading back down the hallway.
Taking a deep breath, Buffy sighed as she heard Rupert unlocking a door. “Rupert, what is that smell?” She stepped inside the door, gently knocking the wall as she did so. “Oomph. Ow. Sorry.” She rubbed her elbow.
“Oh, Buffy, I’m terribly sorry, here, let me.” He led her inside and pulled the door closed. He turned her to face the table where he’d had room service set up a lovely, candlelit dinner for two. There were several bunches of roses and several thick candles sprawled across the writing desk and chest of drawers. He undid the knot at the back of her head, letting the silk scarf fall around her neck.
“Oh my God…” she gasped. “It’s fabulous. You did all of this?” Turning, she looked up at him, unshed tears glistening in her eyes.
“W-well, I or-organised it. Rang r-room service.” His blush crept up from the collar of his shirt to the top of his head.
“You are truly the most amazing man I’ve ever met, Rupert.” She hugged him and pulled his head down to hers for a soft kiss. They pulled apart at the soft growl that came from Buffy’s stomach. It was her turn to blush. “Sorry, I guess I’m just a little more hungry then I thought.”
“That’s okay, Love. We should eat before it gets cold.” He moved to the table and pulled the chair out for her.
She smiled as she sat. “Thank you.”
He removed the lid from the dishes that sat on a serving cart. “Chicken kiev. Steamed asparagus, roast potatoes, steamed baby carrots, peas, and a small side salad.” He slid her plate in front of her. “And for desert, mud cake, with white chocolate mousse.”
“Rupert! You’re spoiling me.” She smiled as he sat down with his own plate and began to pour champagne into their glasses.
“Well, you deserve a little spoiling now and then.” He smiled and unfolded his napkin, placing it in his lap.
“Well, after tonight, don’t ever expect me to eat any of Dawn or Willow’s cooking, because I won’t. So, I hope you know how to cook this.” She grinned and sipped her champagne. He smiled and cut into his chicken.
They ate in companionable silence, each of them nursing their own private thoughts. After the main course had been finished, Buffy rose to begin clearing the table. She smiled as she stopped to sniff at a large bunch of roses. She sighed and kept cleaning up the table. When she finally sat down, she took a moment to stare at Giles. She was completely in love with him. When she had been in Heaven, he had been the only thing missing. Her mother was there, her grandmother, her Aunt. Even Merrick had made guest appearances while she was there. But now, she realised that there were some things in life worth living for.
“Buffy?” He looked at her. “Are you okay?”
“Hmm? Oh, I’m fine, Giles, just zoned for a bit. Thinking about something actually. I’m sorry.” She smiled apologetically at him and reached for her dessert.
“Fine. Now, as I was saying, I have something terribly important to d-discuss with you.”
“You have my undivided attention.” She smiled and licked at the white chocolate mousse that covered her fork.
“B-Buffy. We’ve worked rather closely for six years. A-and I feel that now would be the perfect time to tell you about m-my family and your f-first Watcher, Merrick.”
She looked up at him with questioning eyes. “What about Merrick?”
“It’s a long story. But I believe you are quite ready to hear this. When we first met, I was going to tell you, but I felt that you weren’t ready to handle my past.”
“Giles, what is it? I’m starting to worry.” She reached for his hand. “I can handle anything, you know that.”
Giles removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. He patted his pocket before removing a fresh white kerchief, making sure that the small jeweller’s box was tucked safely inside.
“Giles, you’re stalling.” Buffy sipped her champagne slowly.
“I’m about to share my past with you, Buffy. At least allow me to try and put it all in perspective.”
“I’m sorry, Rupert.” She bowed her head as he returned his glasses to his face.
“It’s quite all right Buffy. I guess I’m just nervous. I didn’t mean to snap, Love.” He leaned across the table and cupped her cheek. “I have to tell you this, though. I need you to understand a lot about me, about where I come from.”
She leaned into his hand, the warmth of his skin spreading straight to her heart. “Are you afraid I won’t?”
“I’m afraid of a lot of things. Mostly afraid that you’ll hear this and run off to see that pillock, Steven or Simon from the bar.” He wiped away the small tear that fell down her cheek with his thumb. “I love you, Buffy. You have to know that and whatever I’m going to tell you, I’m only saying it because I don’t want to lose you.”
“Rupert, I didn’t come thousands of miles to tell you that I love you just to get up and leave at the first sign of trouble. I think it’s safe to say that I’m a sure thing.” She reached over and touched his cheek softly. “I don’t scare easily. Not anymore. You know my track record with guys, Rupert. And I haven’t run from any of them. They’ve all run from me.” She wiped at her eyes with her other hand and looked him square in the face. “You and me, it’s a sure thing. We’re destiny. You can’t change that.”
He smiled and kissed her knuckles as he placed it back on the table. “Well, if you’re sure…”
“I’m very, very sure, Rupert.” She picked up her spoon and resumed eating her dessert.
“Very well, then. I suppose I should begin at the very beginning. With my grandparents.” She gave him a curious look and motioned for him to continue.
“My grandfather, Robert Merrick, was - ”
“Oh my God. Merrick.” She cut him off. “My… my first Watcher was, your… your.” Her tongue felt swollen and her throat became dry. Her hands shook as she reached for her glass of champagne.
“Yes, Buffy. He was my grandfather. My grandmother, Annabelle Merrick, was his Slayer. She died at the hands of Lothos several years before I was born. She lived a-and slayed until her fortieth birthday. My other grandmother, Miranda, was a Watcher as well by that time, and waiting for her own orders regarding a slayer. Merrick and Annabelle married out of convenience. They had been working together under the guise of teacher and student. Much like us. They married while Annabelle was only seventeen.”
Giles paused for a moment to collect his words. He was starting to get choked up already.
“She fell pregnant with my mother – Elizabeth – when she was twenty. It was after Elizabeth’s twentieth birthday. When Miranda had just been issued with a Slayer and the slayer had succeeded, quite by accident, to slay one of Lothos’ most favoured childer, and in turn, he slayed the young slayer, and by way of vengeance toward Miranda, he came after Annabelle and slaughtered her. Much like Angelus did to J-jenny.”
He couldn’t control his tears any longer, the emotion and pain he felt for his family welling up inside him as he thought of his dear mother’s own mother being slaughtered in the same fashion as his Jenny.
Buffy’s own tears were now coursing down her cheeks as she took in all that Giles was saying. Their dessert was long forgotten as she wiped her tears with her napkin. After a few moments, they had composed themselves long enough for Giles to continue.
“After Annabelle’s death, my grandfather took it upon himself to hunt down Lothos and seek his own revenge for the pain he caused my family. It was when the Council was looking for you, that he found Lothos. And, the Council, sick and tired of hearing about Merrick’s plans for revenge, assigned him to you. Hoping that he’d kill two birds with one stone. Killing Lothos and himself. Leaving the Council to assign a new Watcher to you. Funnily enough, the Head of the Council - ”
“Travers?” she whispered.
“No, not Travers. Sarah Pritchard assigned me as your Watcher. Our family had a great reputation amongst the Watcher’s Council. Five previous generations of Watchers, each one succeeding in keeping their Slayer alive until their eighteenth birthday. Some longer in other cases. It was this reputation that gave me the chance to be your Watcher.” He looked at her and attempted to blink back his tears. “I’m sorry that it took me so long to share this with you. I’ll understand if you want to return alone.” He looked at his hands as they sat on the table, twisting and untwisting his napkin.
“Giles.” She sniffled and wiped her nose with her own napkin. “I think you did the right thing. If you would’ve told me everything when I first came to Sunnydale. I would have rebelled even worse then what I did. I may have even possibly become like Faith. I think you saving it until now was the right thing to do. I’m not going to leave just because your grandfather was my first Watcher. If it means anything, Merrick was a wonderful man and a great Watcher. He kept me safe, when the Council has failed to do so. The only other person to succeed in doing that is you.” She reached across the table for his hand.
“Thank you, Buffy.” He smiled and lifted her hand to his lips, softly kissing the knuckles. She smiled and stood to move to her suitcase. His grip on her hand stopped her. “There is one more thing before you get ready for bed.”
She turned and looked at him. “You’re great, great, great-Aunt Mergatroid is my great, great, great-Grandmother Mildred?” She raised an eyebrow as he moved from his chair to one knee in front of her.
“As… interesting… as that prospect may sound. No. That is not it.” He smiled and reached into his breast pocket, removing the small suede jewellers box. “Merrick had these made especially for him and Annabelle. The small amethyst heart with two diamonds on either side is an engagement ring. The other one is a wedding band. The inscription says ‘Carpe Noctem’. Seize the Night. I’d like them to be yours. I’ll wear the matching one. The diamonds stand for strength and everlasting ties – the things that make us Slayer and Watcher. The amethyst stands for love, friendship, peace, sleep, dreams, and psychic ability – all things that are imperative to being The Slayer. And the sapphire,” he said, holding up his hand with the ring on it, “is for wisdom and protects against the evil eye. The virtues that are imperative to being a Watcher.”
Buffy burst into tears and fell to her knees in front of the man she loved. “Are you asking…”
“Are you accepting?” He removed the jewelled ring and held her left hand out.