Double Trouble

“What the devil are you doing?”

You look up to see James dressed in costume that, at first glance, reminds you of something out of the Village People. You giggle.

Giles' eyebrows have climbed down. “Would you consider letting us in on what exactly you're supposed to be?” he asks deceptively quietly as James puts down a huge bowl of treats.

With that grin you can never resist, he straightens and puts his hands on his girded hips.

“Well, it was this or an 'M and M', if I wanted something this late in proceedings, other than a sheet or a rubber mask…or one of about a hundred variations on fairy costumes, hobbits, elves or other Tolkien-esque nightmares. Even so, I had to arrange a courier. I rather like it, actually. Takes you back, doesn't it?”

Giles looks as though he would prefer anything, even an Orc, to James' spirited homage to Native American history. “You're half naked,” he points out dyspeptically, pointedly eyeing James's choice of loin cloth over buckskin pants. “And there will be children.”

“They won't all be children,” he says cheekily. “Tell you what, you feed the kids and I'll deal with their older sisters…” You clear your throat, and he looks suitably sheepish in a 'little boy caught being naughty' way. “Yes, well…you know you prefer Rupert.”

You don't know which might be glowing more, your burning face or Rupert's.

You suggest that you'll make a fresh pot of tea while they finish decorating the flat, then pause for a last look at James' impressively authentic-looking, though scant, Native American outfit, war bonnet and all. Then you shift to a more appreciative and longing glance at Rupert's back as he continues to open packages of sweets and to fill bowls with small toys and party favors.

This year he's chosen a pirate costume…at the insistence of a friend, he informed you a couple of days earlier. Apparently Xander, the young man, was adamant that both of them do homage to the film 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. After much searching, Xander was able to find Rupert a costume of which he actually approved, and which didn't look like it was straight out of a London Christmas panto.

Now here he was, looking wonderfully like an understated cinematic buccaneer in true Errol Flynn or Burt Lanacaster fashion. You've already cheekily dubbed him 'Captain Blood', for which pun you were rewarded with 'the look', which you took no notice of while you drank your fill of the large gold hoop in his left ear, full
sleeved, white shirt open to the waist, exposed golden chest hair designed to make you melt, and of course the authentic looking belt, replica dagger, flintlock and knee high boots. You know there's a cutlass somewhere too, but Rupert isn't wearing it.

Still, the current view of dark brown leather stretched over curves guaranteed to make your heart beat a little faster, and the coarse linen pulling equally across his broad back, make you glad James doesn't take it personally, because he's right. Rupert is most definitely the one for you.

Eventually you realize you had better get on with making the tea you promised. When you return to the living room with Rupert's big tea tray, replete with teapot, cups and plates of their favorites [Scottish shortbread for Giles and Double chocolate chip, chocolate fudge chunk cookies for James, who has a weakness for the American extravagances of what he and Rupert call 'biscuits'], you find Rupert trying to untangle the strings of a small parachute toy from the beadwork and quills on James' breastplate.

“Be careful,” James admonishes. “You have no idea what this cost me.”

“It's a Halloween costume,” Giles growls.

“It bloody isn't. I'll have you know this is proper Native American Regalia. It's rude to call it a costume,” James huffs. “And if you damage that you owe me a hundred and fifty quid.”

“Do I have to admit you're a relative?” Rupert asks irritably, making you giggle as he finally separates the toy from the breastplate.

James pouts almost as well as you've seen Buffy do. “I wanted it to be exactly right. Have you seen some of the right crap retail Halloween costumers offer as 'Native American costumes'?”

“Most Halloween costumes are er…'right crap',” Giles quotes. “It's supposed to be part of their charm.”

“Bollocks,” James retorts. “I notice you didn't settle for plastic eye patches, harlequin pants or a plastic sword.”

Giles snorts. “There's a difference between attempting to not make an ass of oneself and spending enough money to buy a small car on a Halloween Costume.”

“Pompous ass,” James mutters, and zeroes straight in on the tea and biscuits before anyone can ask how much the head-dress, arm bands, boots, knife, loin cloth and make up kit with authentic war paint design enclosed, actually cost.

“Idiot,” Giles returns unimaginatively, but succinctly, and drops the toy back in the bowl with the others.

Neither of them has commented on your costume yet, which is beginning to make you feel a little left out…and more than a little uncertain about your choice.

Your woodland faerie costume is subtle and not exactly the latest thing. You've had it for years, because it suits your personality and your eyes…all natural browns and greens in soft, silky layers and a flower garland with tiny daisies, both real and straw, and various herbs and ferns, twisted into your russet coloured hair. There are supposed to be large, open wings, but you long ago sought out and found a lovely set of closed ones that far better suited the shy nature of the creature you were impersonating. Not to mention how annoying and silly the bigger ones looked.

You're sure now that you should have gone for Arwen or Princess Leia, or possibly Xena, Warrior Princess, or at least something more contemporary that would capture their attention more than seems to be the case. You mentally roll your eyes at the kinds of costume that might grab James' attention. For a start you'd never fit into most of them…but your mind does wander, speculating about what might have entranced Rupert if only you'd chosen better.

At that moment you look up to find his eyes upon you, and in a way that makes you flush and suddenly start chasing your own breath.

“You haven't had your tea,” he says finally, without even a 'me hearty' after it.

You decide that an anticlimax of that magnitude requires a sugar fix and help yourself to James' cookies, which turn out to be absolutely gorgeous.

The man himself is getting restive, because his first Halloween is off to an extremely slow start and his attention span has never been his show piece. At which point, with perfect timing, the doorbell rings and both men grab their bowls and make for the door.

Four small children and their bored teenage chaperone are waiting expectantly. James gives the smallest ones first choice of the toys in his bowl, but fails to impress their chaperone, who rolls his eyes and passes.

Then it's Rupert's turn, bringing himself down to their level and asking them about their costumes as they dig into his bowl of candy. When they're done, and he's even given them all a willing demonstration of wielding his flintlock, he straightens and offers the bowl to the scruffy teenage boy, who ceases to look bored long enough to show surprise, then a flicker of appreciation as he selects several of the same, obviously favorite, candy bars for himself.

“Happy Halloween,” Giles tells them all cheerfully. James waves, and they trundle off.

When the door closes both men look pleased with themselves, but you know which one you'd like to give you your Halloween treat…

The ringing becomes more frequent and Giles manages to keep an increasingly bored James from playing tricks on the smaller visitors. He roars with laughter, however, when his brother's 'trick' on some mid-teens, of offering Jerusalem artichokes instead of sweets, results in all of them producing hitherto hidden water pistols the size of AK-47s and half-drowning him with them.

By the time the bowls are half empty, James has dried out, you've all had a turn answering the door and Rupert has declared it the busiest year ever. You've also caught him giving you several more of those looks…

This time when the bell rings, Rupert is pleasantly surprised to find his Slayer and her friends at the door. James wants to 'trick' all the girls with kisses, but they demur playfully, rolling their eyes as they moved past him. They've come, including Rupert's co-pirate, to wish Rupert a happy Halloween. Xander is dressed in red and black striped tights, white shirt, black vest, jacket, boots, a Johnny Depp scarf, earrings, mascara, wig and stylized leather eye-patch with a pewter skull and crossbones on. Unlike Giles, he *is* wearing his cutlass.

Willow has decided to be a very cheerful red M and M, and Tara is a Moon Goddess. Buffy's sister Dawn is being about as adventurous as her sister will allow, as a Goth Fairy, rather than a more conventional costume. Buffy has finally forsaken her Red Riding Hood cloak for a pretty convincing Lara Croft outfit and hairdo, but is subdued because her beau, Riley, is working tonight.

The dark haired boy smiles crookedly as he assesses his friend's costume. “Hey, Giles, lost your sword?”

Rupert lifts his arm to point to where the cutlass is hanging from the dartboard hook without looking up or interrupting his conversation with 'Lara Croft' and the merry 'M and M.'

James looks up at Xander and they end up staring at each other, Xander trying to decide whether he's impressed or about to roll about in hysterics. It's a great costume, but it's Giles' brother, the *dentist*… It's a near thing, but you can see Xander choking the giggle quite successfully. “Great…uh…costume,” he manages.

“Yes, it is,” Tara says softly, stunning in her white dress, with its faint mother-of-pearl sheen. Dawn nods agreement.

James grins widely. “Thank you,” he says charmingly, moving closer to her, and you resist the temptation to giggle, yourself.

Just then the door bursts open again and an impressive looking 'Catwoman', in a mask and an impossibly tight black leather outfit barely covering anything from the waist up, moves straight to where Xander is standing.

“An',” he says uncomfortably. “Great last minute score with the costume. The bunny suit last year really wasn't you.”

“We need to go home,” she hisses, cheeks flushed. “It's the leather…I want you to take it off with your teeth…”

James looks extremely impressed, but Rupert clears his throat loudly and offers everyone supper, instead.

It's a rowdy affair, with the doorbell ringing less and less as it gets too late for the younger ones to be out. You enjoy watching Rupert with his friends, though the young people and James seem to be doing most of the laughing and talking.

It's more that you rarely see Giles looking quite so relaxed or content. And then you realize…they're all here. For once he doesn't have to worry about where any of them are, or if they're safe.

You smile up at him when he brings you a drink and a slice of pie, then grow warm all over yet again when you find his eyes smoldering at you above his beautiful smile.

“Enjoying yourself?” he asks. “I'm afraid we haven't had much time to ourselves…”

You continue to smile back. It's been wonderful to spend Halloween with him. He's been so busy lately both of you have barely had time to continue the tentative dating you started the night you heard him at the Espresso Pump and couldn't take your eyes off him. Until he finally felt someone watching him and looked straight at you. It was one of the best days of your life when he came over between sets and asked you to join him for coffee and cake, waiting patiently for your invitation before sliding into your booth.

You tell him how much you're enjoying yourself, and how funny James is, flirting with Willow and Tara and making Dawn laugh uproariously, wishing all the time that they were all gone and only the two of you were left to finish Halloween together.

No sooner has the thought formed than Xander has piped up to ask who is still going to their planned Horror marathon at the cinema. Not surprisingly all the Scoobies put up their hands. Dawn immediately asks James if he wants to come too.

He lets his gaze move from Lara Croft to the pretty red-headed M and M and the ethereal Moon goddess, and agrees enthusiastically.

“If you're going, for God's sake put some pants on,” Giles growls as James moves to follow the others out the door.

You collapse in giggles after a sulky James carefully removes his magnificent war bonnet and trudges down to the bathroom.

“Everyone else is going to be in their costumes,” you point out, feeling like Rupert might have been a little mean.

“Everyone else is actually *in* their costumes,” he retorts a little impatiently. “James isn't quite used to Los Angeles yet. That costume is far too expensive to wear out, and that loincloth was quite likely to have got him arrested, particularly since he's going to be in the company of younger people, as it were…

You subside. He's right again, though it's pretty obvious that he regrets spoiling his brother's fun too; the burden of being the smarter, older…by fifteen minutes… brother, you suspect.

Moments later James has come back down in jeans, a collarless black shirt that takes your breath a little, and a designer jacket, tailor made and cut immaculately. Now you know where James is keeping all his things, given that he's sleeping on the couch. He's even removed the war paint and replaced his diamond stud and gold choker chain. You approve heartily and tell him so. He's an adorable big silly and you love him nearly as much as Rupert.


James smiles widely and comes over, taking your face between his hands and brushing your lips with his. “Happy Halloween, love,” he says mischievously. “Have fun.” Then he looks over at his brother and grins even more mischievously.

“And don't do anything I wouldn't do…”

When the door closes behind him, you both blink. The place is silent and when the buzz of chatter from the gang waiting outside for James has subsided, along with the clatter of them crossing Rupert's terrace, you realize the street has also fallen silent.

It's approaching the 'Witching Hour' and there's nobody else in the world but the two of you.

He moves close and takes you in his arms without another word. The mixed up scent of him: cologne, candy, exertion, and leather swirls together with the heat of his lips as they take yours, and kiss you lingeringly and thoroughly.

When you eventually surface all you can focus on are those eyes, that mouth.

“James was right,” you manage to get out and almost giggle when you realize your breathless effort actually sounds sultry and sexy.

The impulse vanishes quickly when he trails his fingers down the line of your throat, all the way to the sensitive, creamy skin just above your cleavage, first taking your breath, then making your heart race, the advent of which he is only to well aware now.

He smiles rakishly and bends his head to trail those velvety lips over your sensitive ear, and down the soft flesh of your throat.

“Hello,” he says, in what should be a whimsical voice, but emerges as a sensual growl.

“Hello,” you whisper back between moans, then a gasp when he kisses that same sensitive spot.

“What would you like to do tonight?” he asks, trailing his mouth over most of skin above the line of your dress.

“Mmm,” you moan, your brain rather beyond being able to add two and two at this point.

“Me too,” he agrees, a grin in his voice, and gently unhooks the back of the costume.
You shiver and accept the invitation, shrugging slowly out of the flimsy fairy fabric and letting it slide in liquid motion, to the floor, in a fern-coloured pile.

He looks at you appreciatively, sliding his hands down your arms from the points of your shoulders, then across to your body, tracing its contours with a firm but gentle touch, until he reaches your hips. He slides his hands around to rest on the smooth curves of your buttocks and you shudder helplessly, moving instinctively into the circle of his arms again, trying to get as close to him as possible.

At this point you become aware how much he's enjoying himself, and lean in even further, even moving a little provocatively against him, and glad that you chose a lace, fuchsia-coloured g-string to wear under the costume and nothing else….

Rupert obviously also appreciates your taste, because he's lifting your face again and lowering his head. The kiss is amazing, everything you imagined it might be, and heat is rapidly spreading throughout your body from your, now almost molten, core. You are aching for him to simply sweep you up and take you, so that when he does lift his head from the kiss and shift his weight to pick you up, you cannot help but shudder and groan in anticipation.

Upstairs, he lowers you, tormentingly slowly, enjoying the contact, but allowing you to find your feet eventually. You are breathing heavily now, and even he is a little disheveled and flushed. You decide it's your turn to show him exactly how attracted you are to this strong, yet surprisingly gentle man.

You slide your hands inside his shirt, delighting in the feel of your Pirate's warm, hard body, especially since you can hear barely audible pleasure noises escaping from his busy lips as you explore every inch of his chest. You play with the delightfully soft hair sprinkled across it, rubbing your fingers and palms over every muscle and sinew, every contour of both his chest and his back under the coarse fabric. Finally, you do what you've been wanting to do since the front door closed. You open the shirt and pull it off.

Far from sating any part of you, the sight of him standing there dressed in nothing but side-laced, leather pirate pants and boots is making every nerve ending in your body do somersaults. You resist an overpowering urge to whimper aloud and allow yourself to be pulled in for another searing kiss, shivering as your breasts flatten against the golden hair of his chest.

This kiss continues, becoming a kind of lovemaking of its own, both of you striving harder and harder to claim each other's mouths, each other's skin, each other's souls…

It's not until you attempt to unhook the pants, that either of you pauses. You both giggle at your inability to defeat the unusual fastenings. Giles undoes them before pointing out that the boots need to come first. You push him back on the bed and help to pull the snug-fitting footwear off, one at a time.

As soon as you're done, he lays back on the bed and stretches out like a cat. It's something so different, so not the way you normally visualize him, that it actually sends shivering mini-orgasms, or pre-orgasms, shuddering up your spine, made worse when your eye makes its way down to the movement in the groin of the open leather pants. You waste no time at that point, taking hold of the cuffs and pulling them off, with a sexy back arch from him to take the weight off the seat.

Not quite commando. In order to limit the number of seams under the tight leather Rupert has acquired himself a red, men's thong, or perhaps G-string was a better description. Again, so entirely not what you were expecting that your loins almost explode.

This time Giles realizes what's going on and colors a little himself, but his expression is sheepish, not erotic. “I borrowed them from James. He went shopping on Rodeo Drive the other day and I needed something comfortable to wear under the pants. They are infernally tight, and hugging. I look ridiculous, don't I?”

You immediately realize that he's completely misinterpreted. You wish he'd noticed your previous reaction so that he would realize exactly what he's doing to you.

“God, no,” you protest swiftly. “It's you…you have no idea what you're doing to me…I've almost…you look so…” You stop, flustered. “Rupert, every time you do something I'd never expect from you, my body all but spontaneously combusts. Somebody should have told you a long time ago how much power you have over women's bodies.”

He laughs, openly and full of good humor. “Hardly. You have no idea how long it's been, outside of a friend passing through for a few days last year, since anyone has even noticed me as a man…of the male variety.”

You climb onto the bed alongside of him and move your body to fit into the side of his.

“Well, the waiting is over,” you tell him, tracing his nipples slowly with a pearl- colored nail and watching him react. “Because if I don't have you soon you'll be vacuuming up bits of exploded bookstore owner from your flat for days.”

He laughs again and pulls you onto him, to catch your lips and kiss you again. You both giggle as you part, then your smile fades as desire flares again. You follow an urge to trail one of your hands down his long body, past his navel and under the band of his G-string. He draws a very loud breath as your fingers close around him. Your whole body shudders. It's been a very long time.

“God…” he groans as you do things you think he'd like, and you know then that it's been a very long time for him, too.

His briefs come off and for the next few minutes you delight in seeing how loud, and how many, noises you can cause to pass those lips. When it sounds like he's teetering on the edge, you let go of him and lift your head so that you can move back up and over his long body, delighted when his hands slide over your butt and draw off your G-string, with just a little help from you.

Before you can do anything else, however, you find yourself rolled over, so that you are lying on your back looking up into the most beautiful eyes.

The kiss lasts for a long time, then he playfully nibbles your neck before working his way down to tease and caress your breasts until he has you making noises not dissimilar to those he was making earlier. When you're not sure you can stand much more, he continues his journey, trailing lips and tongue over the soft flesh of your belly until he finally reaches his goal.

What he's doing to you leaves you barely able to think straight, and not really wanting to. By the time he has you crying out and arching demandingly, you suddenly realize he's stopping. You think you'll go into meltdown, but he's not going away.

Instead he's moving back over you. You slide your hands up his back as he settles between your willing thighs, delighting in his body as he finds your waiting entrance and slides home with a pleasurable groan almost as loud as your own.

Your lovemaking is wild and passionate. His stamina is impressive and your versatility and imagination provocative enough to challenge it. He is finally done in by your last change of position, with your hips curled upward to give him even greater access and to take even more of him. You are both moving faster and more urgently, writhing and moaning as you both build to a crescendo.

Then you feel it, managing a single “Oh God…Giles!” as your brain goes into whiteout and your body thrashes and pulsates to the avalanche of pleasure crashing over it. Your ecstasy is redoubled when you become aware that he's following you, your own pleasure stimulating him to frenzied final strokes, until he arches in ecstasy, a guttural exclamation all he can manage as his body continues to convulse with pleasure.

You slowly come down together, aware that you've done something extraordinary, and that you've both made a discovery tonight.

Rupert lowers himself to lie beside you and draw you into his arms, where you curl up against his chest, never wanting to move from there again.

“All right?” he asks very softly, a note of concern in his voice.

*All right??* you think a little hysterically, then take a breath and try to find the words. “I think…I think I'm falling in love,” you confess hesitantly, reassured by the warmth of his chest beneath your cheek.

The slight rocking of his torso tells you he's chuckling silently. “I'm very glad to hear it,” he says finally, “because I've been in love with you for weeks, it and it might have been a little awkward otherwise…”

You consider thumping him for making fun of you, but then you realize what he said and move yourself up to look at him.

“You love me too?”

He touches your face almost wonderingly. “Is that so hard to believe?”

You stare into the soft green eyes. It kind of is, but you don't know how to tell him you never dared believe it was possible…until now. You are about to try when a door opens noisily downstairs. Instead, you swiftly lean in and claim his lips, exhilarated when he claims yours back, any need for explanations suddenly completely superfluous.

Just as swiftly both of you part and smile at each other, aware that you're not alone.
Neither of you really have a clue what you're going to do next, so things are considerably simplified when James calls from the bottom of the stairs.

“Are you decent, or shall I leave again?”

“Go away,” Giles yells out uncharitably.

“Shall I take the Moet with me as well then?”

Rupert looks at you and you crumble, giggling silently, and nod.

“All right,” he yells, pulling the quilt up around the pair of you, “you can come up now.”

James comes in with an open champagne bottle and three glasses. “There was a change of plan,” he explains, sitting on the end of the bed. “Something about a nest and fun and going to Buffy's house for supplies. I rather suspected which way the wind was blowing, so I brought this to celebrate…and as an apology if I managed to spoil anything by coming home prematurely.” Giles' jaw drops, and you're sure your own mouth is open. “It's been obvious for a lot longer than the two of you have realized.” He hands both of you chilled glasses, grins and pours champagne into them. “I'm glad to see you've finally caught up with the rest of us. Bottoms up.”

After two glasses of champagne, James stands up again. “And now, I'm off to the Hyatt.” His smile widens at your mutual surprise. “My back can't take another night on that couch, and besides, I know my brother far too well. See you both tomorrow.”

He turns on the landing and salutes you with the bottle. “Trick or Treat,” he says cheekily.

Then his expression grows a little more serious, regarding you both with great affection. “Happy Halloween,” he says, and then he's gone.

Rupert looks at you tenderly.

“Happy Halloween,” he says as the two of you slide down into the covers again.

“Mmmm,” is the best you can do in reply, as Rupert immediately proceeds to make your Halloween even happier…

* * *