This Time Around
Chapter Thirteen - The More Things Change, The More They Change

written by Rainne

Buffy's eyes flew open in the dark as a scream echoed through the house. She took a moment to realize that it had not in fact been her own waking-up-from-a-nightmare scream, only making that realization when the scream echoed out through the house again. She threw the covers off and ran barefoot down the hall, pushing a door open and entering the second bedroom quickly.

"Hey, hey, shh," she murmured. She leaned over the railing of the bed and lifted a small body in her arms. "Shh," she whispered again, rubbing the tiny back soothingly. She paced with the slight form in her arms for a few moments, until the screams had quieted to angry little hiccups, then smiled down into not-quite-focused, bright green eyes. "Are you hungry, sweetie?" she asked quietly.

The baby's response was another furious hiccup and Buffy smiled, reaching up with her free hand to unbutton the man's work shirt she wore. Then she moved to sit in the big, comfortable rocking chair in the corner and guided the tiny head to her breast. As the greedy mouth latched onto its meal, she looked up to see a large form standing in the nursery doorway. "Hey," she greeted softly.

"Hello, love," Giles responded, moving into the room and rubbing slightly at his eyes. "Fell asleep in the Black Chronicles again. Is it snack time already?"

She nodded. "Your son has quite an appetite."

He smiled proudly at her words, reaching down to gently touch the downy head. The tiny eyes were squeezed shut in an agony of concentration as the small one focused his entire being on his feast. Giles's hand brushed over Buffy's, which cupped the baby's head, and he smiled at her. "Thank you, love," he said softly.

She smiled up at him. "No. Thank you."

He leaned over and touched her lips with his. She leaned up into the kiss, a chaste pressing of lips with all the force of their shared love behind it. When they separated, they stared into one another's eyes for a long time. Giles's hand came up to brush Buffy's hair back behind her ear and she leaned into the caress, then looked down suddenly into her son's wide open eyes. "Hey, Chris."

Chris waved a fist at his parents and fussed until his mother switched arms, guiding his head to her other breast. "Little piglet," she teased him lovingly. He ignored her in favor of sustenance.

"My word," Giles exclaimed. "He's certainly hungry!"

"You're telling me," Buffy replied dryly.

Giles moved to the side of her, putting his arm around Buffy's shoulders and watching their son eat until he was full. Then he laid a towel over his shoulder and took the baby, patting his back firmly while Buffy buttoned up her shirt again. Chris resisted manfully for as long as he could before giving forth a milky burp. He was subsequently rather bewildered when both his parents praised him softly, but then he was too busy having his diaper changed to worry about it. After that, his mother picked him up again and held him, which was the part he liked best. She rocked him gently, holding him close and humming softly in her sweet soprano voice, his father's baritone providing a soothing counterpoint until Chris was once again sound asleep.

When the baby was laid back in his bed, Giles and Buffy retreated back to their own bedroom. His hands were warm and suggestive on her waist as she led him into the room, and then they tightened convulsively when she gave a muffled shriek of surprise and jumped back into him.

A man was sitting at Buffy's makeup table, dressed in white linen pants and a similar shirt. He had dark hair and eyes and a Mediterranean complexion. "Buon giorno, ma belle," the man said in a florid Venetian accent. "It has been a very long time, has it not?"

Buffy pressed herself back against Giles, suddenly feeling very undressed in just her shirt. "What? Who the hell are you?"

"You do not remember me?" the man asked. Very slowly, his form began to shift. It changed into that of an old man, in or near his nineties, with crazy white hair and long, bony fingers. "My dear," he continued in a British accent. "I am crushed."

Buffy gasped. "You!"

The man gave a wheezy laugh. "Yes, I, indeed," he replied. "And how do you enjoy your life now? Any regrets? Any wishes for change?"

"None," Buffy replied definitely, her hands moving to cover Giles's on her waist. "I love my life and I wouldn't change it for anything."

The old man smiled. "Very good!"

"Who or what are you?" Giles inquired dangerously.

The man stood and bowed. "My name is Mordrek. Destiny demon, at your service."

"Destiny demon?" Giles repeated.

"Destiny demon," Mordrek confirmed.

"Boy," Buffy quipped, "they've got a demon for everything these days."

Mordrek glared at her, then began to speak, his form shifting as he did so until he looked like Luke Skywalker - light saber and all. "Here's the story. In an alternate timeline of a galaxy not very far from here, the Powers That Be stepped back one day and took a look at the fabric of Fate. When they did so, they found a hole in it. They looked closer at that hole and found that someone or something had somehow been unraveling certain threads and reweaving them in its own image. They knew that something had to be done about that, because the light was being subverted for dark purposes. Enter yours truly, whose job it is to find what's wrong at the micro level and fix it. Lo and behold, Buffy Summers, it turns out to be you. You, in a little restaurant in Rome, drinking yourself to death slowly because your friends don't want you around but they won't let you kill yourself. And so I think to myself, you know, the last time I saw these crazy kids, they were taking down a Hellmouth. What happened? So I start digging and I find out that yeah, somebody's been tinkering. So I go get approval and I tinker back. You're a good kid, Buffy. You did better than anybody expected."

Buffy leaned back against Giles, thinking of the book she'd found in her pillowcase. "I had good help."

Mordrek nodded. "That you did," he replied. "So everything's good now, yeah?"

Buffy nodded. "Everything's great. I have. everything I could ever have wanted." She paused, then added, "I have a son."

"I saw," Mordrek replied, smiling a little. "Congratulations, kiddo." Gradually, the destiny demon was becoming transparent as he spoke. "Well, I'd better get back to it. You two crazy kids have a good life, you hear?" With those words, he was completely gone.

Buffy and Giles stood there for a long moment, simply holding one another. Then she turned to face him. "So all's right with the world," she said lightly.

"So it would seem," Giles returned. One of his large hands moved up to gently cup the side of her face and she leaned into the caress, her eyes searching his.

Downstairs, his father's grandfather clock began to chime the hour. When the twelfth stroke of midnight had faded completely, he smiled down at her. "Happy birthday, love," he said, stroking her hair back gently with his other hand.

She beamed up at him. "The happiest," she said simply.

"Are you sure?" he suddenly asked her earnestly. "Buffy, I'm sure you never imagined turning twenty-one married to a man over twice your age and having a four-month-old baby to care for. Tell me: are you truly happy?"

Buffy smiled up at him. "Giles, over the last few years, we've been through so much. The other me, my mom getting sick, those crazy monks with their glowy key thing, that goddess that was chasing them, my mom getting well, my mom getting married -" here she paused to roll her eyes dramatically, "- but through all of it, you've always been there for me. You've been my rock, the one crazy thing in my whole crazy world that makes any kind of sense." She paused again for a moment, remembering a time when she'd said the same words to another man, a man who could no longer be that for her. Then she laid her hand on top of his. "How could I not love the man who was that for me?" she whispered. "How could I not want his child when that blessing was given to me? How could I resent a life that gives me everything I ever wanted in all the ways I never knew I wanted it?"

Giles felt his breath stop at her exquisite words. He stared down into her eyes for a long moment, and then bent to capture her lips in a tender kiss. She whimpered into his mouth and he deepened the kiss, finding her tongue with his own and caressing it gently. When he released her to look into her eyes, she was nearly vibrating with desire. He moved to cup her face with his other hand as well, both hands on her cheeks now, ducking his head to capture her lips and love her again with his mouth. As her arms came up around his back, he began to simply walk her backwards toward the bed. When he felt her calves bump against the side of the bed he stopped, his hands sliding slowly, worshipfully down her neck to the collar of the shirt she wore - one of his - slowly undoing the buttons along the front of the shirt and pushing the garment open, then pushing it gently off her shoulders. It slithered to the floor with a muffled hiss which was echoed by her when he moved his mouth to the pulse point beneath her left ear and sucked gently.

Her hands gripped his shoulders tightly and she moaned low in her throat as he moved his lips in a sensuous, wet trail down to her collarbone, then across her throat and up the other side of her neck to nibble gently on the scar he found there. His hands were warm on her back, stroking the soft skin gently from her shoulder blades to her waist.

Her hands moved to the buttons of his shirt, flicking them open one by one, her fingers trailing tiny electric shocks through the crisp hairs on his chest, down to his stomach and then around to his back under his shirt, clawing gently, a feather-light preview of things to come. He growled softly against her neck, his hands moving to support her body as he leaned forward, laying her back on the bed. He stood above her and looked down at her for a long moment. God, she was beautiful, with her hair falling down around her, her skin glowing and healthy. She wasn't as thin as she'd been in the months before her pregnancy and he liked that; he thought she looked better with roundness in her cheeks and softness in her hips.

His hands trailed softly down her body, from her tanned shoulders down around breasts large with motherhood, across the flat plane of her tummy which had so recently housed his firstborn son, and down her long thighs to her knees. He pushed her knees apart gently and knelt between them, pressing gentle kisses to the inside of each thigh, moving slowly upward until he was at her sex. Then he pressed another kiss to the dark curls he found there and looked up into her eyes. "I love you, Buffy," he said softly.

"I love you, too," she whispered, her breath already coming faster, and then arched up with a gasp as he moved to devour her tender pussy with his mouth. He stroked her with his tongue, finding all the different, secret places that made her moan and writhe and cry out; he circled her clit with his tongue and sucked it gently, then moved down lower to slide his tongue deep into her channel, gently but insistently holding her thighs apart with his hands as he did so. He'd learned from experience the folly of letting her clamp her legs down around his neck or torso.

She came, crying out his name in an agony of ecstasy. He continued licking her, bringing her down gently until the throbbing of her sex calmed and her cries quieted into soft whimpers. Then he stood, shucked his pants and underwear, and covered her body with his own.

Buffy raised her arms to wrap them around Giles's torso, pulling him down to kiss her even as she raised her hips, allowing his thick, erect cock access to her body. He slid home within her, both of them groaning in completion as he seated himself firmly inside her and rocked forward slightly more, reveling in the feel of her snug sheath. He bowed his head next to hers, whispering words of love in her ear as he slowly pulled back out and then rocked forward again, delighting in the soft sigh of pleasure that found its way out of her mouth.

They loved slowly, barely moving, just letting the passion and pressure build between their two bodies. Finally, when he couldn't stand it any longer, he leaned down and gently bit the scar on her neck. Her fingernails clawed into his back and as though a floodgate has been opened, his thrusts began to speed up, becoming wilder, fiercer and faster. Her soft sounds of pleasure became moans and then cries as he drilled into her body deeply, rolling his hips on each upstroke to catch her sensitive clit with his rough hairs.

Suddenly her back arched, her nails digging into his flesh. She let out a wordless cry and came explosively, her walls clenching around him, milking him. He thrust twice more into her rippling channel and then cried out as well, feeling his seed explode from him into her body. He bowed over her, his face buried in her neck, allowing the joy to course through his body.

After a long time, he moved a hand under her back and rolled them both onto their sides, then onto his back. He was still semi-hard, and her body weight kept him buried in her, even though they were both quite satisfied and she was tired; he had noticed that since the baby's birth she tired easily. He cuddled her to his chest and reached for the blanket, pulling it over them and gently kissing her sweaty temple. "My God, I love you."

"I love you, too," she whispered back. "Always."

Then they both slept. And somewhere on another plane, the Powers That Be smiled, knowing that things had gone right this time around; everything was as it should be and the world was moving once again in its proper course. And Mordrek, the Destiny Demon, raised an eyebrow as a tiny new thread was introduced into the fabric of Fate. He leaned forward and studied it closely, and grinned. "A little girl this time, huh? Crazy kids." Shaking his head, he vanished off on another mission.