nothing but the light of the moon
by Kessica

It was quite the change of pace to see Buffy in bed surrounded by books, glasses slung low on her nose, and a laptop perched precariously on her bent knees. For Giles, it was quite the change of pace to see Buffy in a bed that that didn't involve a hospital or some sort of life threatening injury. Times were different now, and they'd been living in this motel for almost a full week now. He knew that they were drug store glasses used for a little magnification and that she found them fashionable and felt smarter when she wore them. He knew the books were there because he'd left them, not because she was reading them. The laptop had been rented from a library once and they now considered it theirs.

He was starting to think that splitting up was not such a good idea. They only ever heard from Willow and, on occasion, Dawn and Xander who were still pretending that they weren't having sex. It wasn't that one of her best friends was sleeping with her younger sister; it was that her younger sister was sleeping with anyone. Though Giles knew that Dawn wasn't so very young anymore, no matter what year she was born. Or created. Buffy was more proficient computer wise then Giles had ever suspected. It was her youth and Willow's influence, but the laptop had wireless technology that she could get to work anywhere they went, as long as they were downtown in a fairly large city. It always worked best if they were near a Starbucks.

"Where are we?" she asked, pulling his gaze from the Denny's across the street back to his slayer.

"About twenty miles outside Atlanta." he answered, rubbing his eyes and plopping into the poorly upholstered chair by the window. Buffy sighed, and cracked her knuckles.

"She doesn't say exactly, but I think Willow is out of the country." He didn't respond. "Do you want me to tell her where we are?"

"Does it matter? We won't be here by the time she reads it anyway."

"E-mail, Giles, she gets them pretty quick." she said, reminding him and waving him off.

"That's not the point." he muttered and she pressed her lips together. It was an old fight and they still didn't know who was on what side. Neither of them was comfortable with the constant movement and travel on less the meager funds, but there were so many new girls. They'd started fifteen training groups already and it seemed like they could go on doing it forever. Buffy was no longer special, she was simply old. Giles was feeling more out of shape and worn out then he ever had in his life.

"Well", she started and then stopped, changing her mind. "It's nearly 2:00am. Why don't we just get some sleep and start off on a better foot with the sunrise, okay?" He nodded but he knew she never really slept. She tossed and turned all night, moaning and muttering her restless dreams, until he rolled over to face her and put a warm hand on her forehead and one on her chest, where her collarbone was becoming more and more pronounced, and she would quiet for an hour or two.

He pulled off his sweater and slid into the bed next to her in sweats and a raggedy t-shirt. Their clothes were a little worse for the wear. It seemed preposterous to buy clothing when they could barely afford a place to sleep, food, and weapons to fight with. After all, there were still vampires and other things that went bump in the night to deal with. She put the computer on the night stand, pushed the books to the floor and turned off her lamp. He turned off his and rolled away from her until the sun rose.

No matter how restlessly she slept for the majority of the night and no matter how he tried to maintain his own space, Buffy always managed to be tangled with him by daylight. This day was no exception. Her hair was always everywhere. He pulled it off his clothing, out of his hairbrush, and if he were to drag his fingers across the floor, there would be strands and strands in his hands. At first it frightened him until she assured him it was normal for most girls with long hair. Then, it had sort of disgusted him, as other people's hair will, even Buffy's. Finally, she had cut it off, close to the scalp. Now, about three inches in length, he was starting to find it all over again, but he'd gotten used to it and while short hair suited her (anything would really, he thought) he missed the longer version. She claimed to love it, it was easy to take care of and Giles found her neck exquisite, but he thought she missed it too. This morning it was tickling the underside of his noise and he woke with a start that jolted her awake as well. She pulled her leg from between his and pushed herself off his chest and out of the bed, straight into the bathroom. She no longer took an hour to get ready, fifteen minutes at most. It was something he had thought her incapable of. But he was always surprised by her, even now. Even after all these years.

"Buffy, I've been thinkingŠ" he said, when she came out with a towel around her shoulders in yesterday's clothes. She was so skinny.

"You want to stop."

"Yes. No. Stop this, I want to stop the constant moving, the being poor, putting the girls before our own health." he said, sitting up in bed. He looked rumpled and grey. He felt that way, too.

"You want to buy a house in the suburbs and get a nine to five job instead?" she questioned, snidely.

"I would like to have a permanent address and perhaps a job again, yes. I don't think that's asking too much." he said, and he felt like yelling and being violent but they were both quiet and unmoving.

"I'm not keeping you here, Giles." She said, pulling the towel down and tossing it on her side of the bed where it lay in a damp heap, thin and white and almost transparently threadbare.

"Oh, Buffy." he said, pushing the blanket away and feeling trapped in the small room that smelled of wet dog. "I don't want to leave you. I want to get a permanent address with you and when I come home from my jobŠ we could be normal. I never thought I would be begging you for this, as you so often did me, but I want you to be a normal woman."

"What about all the girls who have no idea why they are suddenly like they are?" she asked. "What about evil and hell mouths and demons?" she asked. "I've been doing this for so long. I remember who I was before and I don't want that again, even if I could have it. I only know how to fight."

"I could teach you to live." he offered softly. She smiled at the sweetness of the gesture.

"I'm not exactly hirable. I mean, sure, saving the world all the time is impressive, but it doesn't exactly have its own space on resumes." she looked around the room, its shabby furniture and mute decoration.

"I can see you're tired of it. I don't expect our life to be glamorous, just our own. I don't ask much of you Buffy, the world has already asked far too much, but I don't want to leave you and I don't want to do this nomad impersonation any longer." He walked over to her, pulled her to the window to stare out at the world with him, the sun shining for the first time in days. It was summer and the air was humid and the warm rains had stopped for the moment.

"We need to set up a system. Willow has been saying this for a while. The groups we've already set up, who've been training for a while need to be able to not only be self sufficient, but help other girls get started too. They should travel around, not me. Don't you think I could be of more use if I were stationary, easy to find when situations arise that they've never dealt with?" She was taking his idea and running with it. He realized that neither of them wanted to continue but both were too afraid to say anything.

"I think that would be much more helpful. Eventually, I think we could turn that into a business. Create a profit so we won't have to work." He'd been thinking about this for a long time.

"In England?" she asked, still staring out the window.

"Wherever you want." he said. She smiled.


"Anything else, hon?" Buffy asked, pouring more decaf into the man's mug.

"No thanks." He said, turning back to the sports page. It was a scorcher out and the diner was buzzing with activity. She went to the kitchen to get table six's burgers when the doors opened and three girls came in looking frazzled and on edge.

"We're looking for Buffy." they called and the diner quieted.

"I'm right here." Buffy said, "Wait outside." they didn't question her, and she recognized one of the girls from Salt Lake City. She put the burgers in front of the old ladies and they didn't ask for anything else. Out on the porch, the girls were pacing. "Who sent you?" she asked immediately.

"Faith." a short, Mexican girl replied. It was a name Buffy hadn't heard in over a year. She and Giles had assumed the worst; after all, they were on the Cleveland hell mouth, despite having all of the backup they could handle.

"Go two miles down that road." Buffy pointed at a dirty road leading south. "It'll take you out of city limits and onto Slayer property. You'll see the house and Mr. Giles will greet you and help you until my shift ends." They raised their eyebrows at the oldest living slayer pouring coffee and serving sandwiches. "We gotta eat, you know. I'll be there in a few hours." she said. They started walking away immediately. "Wait!"

"Yeah?" The tall one with dark brown hair replied, the one from Salt Lake.

"Welcome to New Mexico."


"They were exhausted, I put them to bed." He said when she bounded up the porch, her now shoulder length bob bouncing with her.

"What do they want?"

"Well, Robyn Wood is dead and Faith, unfortunately, lost her left hand." Buffy made a face of horror and disgust.

"God, that sucks!"

"Yes, I would assume so. She sent them along because of Willow."

"Willow? What about her?"

"When's the last time you spoke with her?" he asked.

"I dunno, a few months I guess. Sometimes communication gets a little sporadic depending on where she is." she said, looking at him closely. He was avoiding eye contact, like he did when he had bad news. "Why?"

"It seems that Faith was in constant contact with her, but the messages have stopped rather suddenly. The Wicca's cannot locate her presence anywhere."

"Is she dead?" Buffy asked, sinking into the wooden rocker that was on the porch when they moved into the small adobe.

"Either that or she doesn't want herself to be found." he said.

"Was it naďve to think that the Scooby Gang would be together forever?" she asked looking up at him with plain worry across her features.

"Idealistic, maybe, or hopeful. I wished for it, too." he admitted, pulling her onto her feet. "I made dinner." She followed him into the small house, through the living room and into the tiny kitchen/dining room. There was a bathroom and two bedrooms, one in which the girls were sleeping. They owned four acres of the desert, though, and had plans for training facilities. Someday, when they had more income then Buffy's waitressing and the occasional odd job that Giles left for, but for now the girls came there sporadically.

Buffy pushed her enchilada around her plate but she was worried about Willow. She didn't think she was dead. For some reason, Buffy thought she would know when that happened.

When the girls woke, Buffy was gone again, her night shift at the local bar. She was pretty enough to bring all the men in to drink and strong enough to hold her own and she made enough tips for the two jobs and little sleep to be worth it. Besides, she didn't want Giles working. She liked him to be around in case any problems arose. Such as three slayers showing up half starved and looking like hell. The girls had delivered the message and Giles insisted that they stay a few days to recover while Buffy decided what to do.

It wasn't that Buffy didn't have a room of her own. In fact, the three slayers were asleep in it right now. But, even if they hadn't been there, Buffy would have slept with Giles. They had traveled around for so long on such a small budget that she just felt more comfortable with him by her side, snoring. She came in around three and he was asleep with the bedside lamp on for her. She pulled off her alcohol drenched clothes and took a quick shower in the attached bathroom. When she came out in a white tank top and a pair of his boxers that she had long claimed as her own, he was awake and smile when she crawled into bed. He wrapped his arms around her and turned off the light, with his nose in her short, wet hair.

The girls said nothing about Buffy shacking up with her watcher. She, as the oldest living slayer at twenty seven, was too well respected. They didn't know anything about Buffy and Giles's history or their life in New Mexico or the life that had led them to the desert.

"Do you think we could help if we went to Cleveland?" Buffy asked, but Giles shook his head.

"There are hundreds of well trained slayers guarding that hell mouth, Buffy. I think fighting has never been the answer in regards to Willow. We need magic."

"We need Dawn." Buffy said. She looked at the girls. "Do you think you could find my sister and bring her here?"


Dawn had become adept in many things, including joining a coven and learning magic the way Willow should have. Had there still been a watcher's council, there was no doubt that Dawn would have been a member. Buffy and Giles waited almost three weeks with no communication before Dawn arrived.

Buffy still trained. Vampires liked to search her out from time to time, only the strongest. It would be quite the prize to kill Buffy. She had to stay strong and always on alert, especially as she grew older. Giles wasn't a spring chicken either and she had to protect him as well, though he was still strong. His hair was almost completely white now but his arms were thick and hard and he could keep up with Buffy's training coarse better then one would expect.

At night, when Buffy didn't have to work and Giles was home, they would sit on the porch and watch the stars. They would talk about Sunnydale and England and all the places they'd still love to go and to see. They talked about family and all those they had lost.

"Giles, haven't you ever wanted children?" Buffy asked one evening, holding a blanket around her shoulders watching the winter sun set from inside. There was snow on the ground.

"Of course, but I resigned myself early on that I did not lead a lifestyle conducive to a family. Not in the conventional sense."

"I think we should still add children to the list." She said it coyly and Giles blushed but did not dissuade her. The irony was not lost on them when Dawn showed up late into her pregnancy. Xander had not come, to the disappointment of the original Scoobies, but Buffy could not contain herself at seeing her sister.

"It's been too long, Dawnie." Buffy scolded as they sat on the porch that night, Giles already in bed if only to give them some sisterly time.

"I know. I kept meaning to come, meaning to visit but once I got pregnant it was even harder to get away."

"I'm glad you made the journey safely. You know that Willow is missing? Three slayers came and told me about Faith, that all communication had stopped." she said.

"Willow stopped communicating with Faith, but not with me. I know she's okay, and I wouldn't worry. She's out there doing her thing. She'll come back when she's ready." Buffy had so many more questions but didn't want to intrude upon the witch-y vibe so she closed her mouth content to be with family.


Willow came on the same day as the baby. Buffy was at the diner, which was dead. It was between rushes and so she was making herself a sandwich when Giles walked in looking somewhat frantic.

"Buffy, it's time."


"Dawn, she's not sick, she's in labor." he said. She looked around and decided she had no choice just but to close the diner. When the next waitress came, she'd open again. She locked the door and followed her Watcher down the road.

Dawn was on Buffy's bed moaning with tears streaming down her face.

"I wish Xander had come," she sobbed when her sister rushed in and Giles loitered at the door.

"Giles, call and ambulance." she said and tried to soothe her sister. "Is there any way we can reach him? Can he get here soon?" Dawn shook her head.

"I knew I would probably have the baby here. We talked about it." she said.

"Why didn't you tell me that, you brat?" she said, but Dawn started to moan again and all was forgotten. When Giles heard the knock and saw Willow standing patiently on the porch he didn't know whether the impending birth or Willow's timely arrival was the most surprising.

"Giles, you haven't seen the signs? You really are in the middle of nowhere out here." she said when the Watcher's jaw was still not off the floor.

"Signs?" he managed finally.

"Dawn, the activity in Cleveland, the stars, the wind, the earth, everything has been pointing to it and I've been away preparing. The prophecy is coming true." They could hear Dawn panting in the other room and Buffy speaking softly. Where was that damn ambulance and what was Willow talking about??

"Willow, I haven't a clueŠ"

"This baby isn't ordinary, Giles. This baby is special beyond anything you or I have ever seen."


It was, of course, a girl and by the time the ambulance came, everything had already happened. They checked the baby and stitched up Dawn but didn't insist that the new mother or child come with them. Buffy got them to leave by promising she'd bring them into the nearest hospital in the morning.

Willow had been locked in the back bedroom for over an hour with Giles, most probably telling him about this prophecy. Dawn was resting and Buffy taking care of the new baby, waking up Dawn every two hours to breast feed her. She called in sick to the bar and to the diner for the next few days. With such short notice, she deserved to be fired but the occupants of the small town knew that there was something different, something special about Buffy so they held their tongues. They had seen enough haggard girls come and go and there was that one time that a fight broke out behind the bar and Buffy went to settle it. She came back in and when they asked her what happened to the man, she said, "What man?" and they never did see him ever again. They felt protected when she was there so if she wanted a few days off, so be it.

The baby was small and pink and whimpered if she stopped holding her. She had gone to the diner to use the payphone to try to reach Xander but no one picked up so she left a cryptic message about the baby being born and to let him know that Dawn was okay. She said nothing about Willow.

She tried to guess what kind of baby it could be. When it gripped her finger it didn't feel stronger then normal. It hadn't moved anything with its mind or sprouted horns or anything. Was it a new breed of slayer? Was it a witch like her sister and best friend? She didn't want to interrupt Willow or Giles. She knew they would tell her in their own time.

Dawn was still out of it by morning but wanted to hold the baby and to talk to her sister.

"Have you decided on a name?" Buffy asked after she brought Dawn a tray of breakfast and given her the sleeping baby.

"Xander wanted it to be a boy. Something about too many women in his life, but I told him from the beginning it was a girl. I just knew." she said, gazing at the tiny person she had made. "If it were a boy, which I knew it wasn't, Xander wanted to name it Eugene. Which, um, never but I said yes because I knew it wouldn't come to that."

"Eugene? That's awful." Buffy agreed, smiling at the intricate workings of Xander's mind.

"We hadn't decided on a definite name yet, but we'd thrown around a few choices. Joyce for mom, maybe, or he liked Sarah. I want Natalie, or Eve maybe. Because of the prophecy." she said, tiredly.

"The prophecy?" Buffy goaded, glancing at the closed door that had been closed for over 12 hours now.

"Yeah, you know, like Adam and Eve? It's a little cheesy I know but she is the First, after all." It was a name that Buffy hadn't heard in years now. The First was evil and the tiny baby Dawn held was anything but.

"I don't understand." she said. She could see she was losing Dawn to sleep.

"She's the reincarnation of the first good. She's pure." Dawn muttered. "Didn't Willow tell you?" and then Dawn was sleeping, her baby clutched to her.

She was about to knock on the door when it opened and an exhausted Willow stepped out.

"He's asleep. I was going to tell you but I can see by your expression Dawn has already told you some of it." she said. "Do you have food?"


They walked down to the diner so they could talk and be served and Buffy was tired of cooking. At the diner, in the kitchen that she and Giles' shared, when she ran away to be Anne, she could still smell the Doublemeat Palace. She was far past the minimum wage humdrum of that part of her life but still, there was something about a sizzling patty that made her stomach clench.

Willow ordered tea and a club sandwich and Buffy drank water and ate an omelet.

"I don't think she will be super strong or have tons of power or be able to move things with her mind, but she has a destiny." Willow said. "We just have to raise her right and wait to see what it is."

"That's what you and Giles talked about for hours and hours?" Buffy asked, surprised. "I mean you probably used bigger words but still."

"No, first we caught up and talked about everything that had been happening to you and me and the slayers and Faith. Oooh, I made her hand grow back, it was awesome. I wrote the spell myself. She says it punches just like new." Willow said, and Buffy was happy for Faith. "Then we talked about what the new baby might have to offer, what the prophecy said and what we thought might happen, but it's all just guesswork really."

"It's good to see you. When I think about you, you know, I think of your hair. I forget how white it is." Buffy said, reaching out to touch a lock. She expected it to feel like straw, like hair that had been dyed with peroxide but it was soft as silk.

"I tried to dye it once when I was trying to blend in somewhere but it didn't hold. But you! So short, it looks nice." she said.

"I think Giles likes it better." Buffy admitted, resisting the urge to reach up to her own head. She missed the long hair and the glamour of pretty clothes and braids down her back but that part of her life was over. "Will you stay for a while? At least until Xander shows up?"

"I can stay. Giles and I spoke of setting up the system for good. Making the slayer empire completely organized and profitable. You shouldn't have to waitress or bartend or do anything you don't want to do." Willow said. "You took care of us all for so long, Buffy. None of us will forget that."


That night in bed, something happened that hadn't before. Willow had magicked herself a bed in the living room and Dawn and the baby slept fitfully in the guestroom that still had all of Buffy's things inside and outside the sky was filled with dim stars and a full moon. Buffy walked through town on a patrol. It was unusual but she wanted to be extra safe since the people most important to her in the world where all in this tiny town. She found nothing but the light of the moon made her skin tingle and gleam. She felt powerful and happy and young though she was old for her occupation.

She came into the house silently and stood at the foot of the double bed watching Giles sleep with his open mouth and fluttering eyelids. He was always full of dreams. Instead of changing into her pajamas, she took off her clothes and climbed into bed. She wanted him to feel what she was feeling, like electric currents in her blood. He woke up when her weight made the bed shift and squeak and reached for his glasses on the night stand. She grabbed his wrist and instead of glasses, she directed his hand to her cheek, her bare shoulder, her naked waist. She didn't say anything and his breath caught right before he kissed her.


Buffy could tell that Giles wanted to leave. Not her, they were still happy at night and didn't bicker during the day, but to leave the desert, to leave their little house and Buffy's two jobs, to leave New Mexico. They had been there for years now and when Buffy thought about it, she realized she hadn't been fair to him. He'd grown up in England which was lush and wet and green and had to give up his prime years of adulthood in a place like Sunnydale where everything was never ending ­ the monsters and the weather. To take some him somewhere more remote and more dry was almost cruel. There wasn't even an ocean breeze nearby this time.

Buffy had needed the desert to heal. She'd always learned the most in the bright, vast, sandiness. She learned about her past there, talked to the first slayer. She'd lived in the desert all her life. Now, though, things were good and she felt happy and complete and normal at times. She wanted him to be happy as well.

Xander had come and gone, taking his young family with him. Willow had promised to not disappear and followed the baby, vowing to spend her life protecting the child until her gifts blossomed and revealed themselves.

"Be careful about pledging your life to protect another, Willow." Buffy had warned but the Wicca shrugged.

"I feel as if I've been chosen." Willow said.

"I love you."

"I love you, too, Buffy." Willow had said, hugging her.

After a week of just Buffy and Giles, her two jobs and his being on the phone and internet perfecting the system Willow set up, Buffy found herself growing bored.

"Okay." she said.

"Okay?" he repeated, looking up, his glasses low on his nose. She pushed them up with her pointer finger.

"Where do you want to go now?"

"Go?" he asked, confused.

"In the world. Wherever you want." She said. "Giles, I know this isn't where you would have chosen to live and it was where I needed to go but I'm ready now to build a life together, a real life that isn't hidden in the middle of a desert where I have to work two jobs and the plumbing is questionable. We have an income now and I want to live in a city." she said. "I want to live somewhere that you love. Where you can do something that you love instead of sit around waiting for problems to come up."

He smiled.

"Have you ever been to Scotland? There is quite a large museum in Edinburgh that I think needs a curator."

"Then let's go."


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