See Prologue for disclaimer.
Chapter 11 Adjustments
While Buffy brought Aria into the house, Giles brought everything else. After he brought in the last of the items he watched Buffy from the hall. She was sitting on the couch; just staring at her child; still in the car seat. He became concerned when he noticed Buffy looked scared. Setting down what was in his hands he came over to her.
“Buffy, is anything wrong?” he glanced at the sleeping infant but nothing seemed amiss there.
“Giles, I can’t do this. I can’t be the Slayer and a mom. What am I gonna do when I have to go out at night?”
Giles knelt in front of her, took her hands in his and said, “Buffy believe me when I tell you, you are the best Slayer there has ever been. Joyce has shown you everything you need to be an excellent mother. You also have Willow, Tara, Xander and Anya who are anxious to assist in caring for Aria.” He brushed her bangs back from her eyes; giving her a warm smile. You don’t have to do this alone.”
Buffy threw her arms around him, his arms automatically wrapping around her. She gave a light squeeze which he reciprocated. In a small quiet voice she asked, “What if, one night, I don’t come back? Who will take care of Aria then?”
“Buffy, you mustn’t think that way. You cannot let negative thinking enter your mind and distract you from your task. Make Aria your reason to win and return each day … please.” His pleading tone had her in tears again.
“Giles, you know as well as I that my death is a possibility; I need to plan for this.”
“Shh …” Giles attempted to calm her but Aria decided to choose this moment to cry for food.”
As Buffy settled back on the couch. Giles lifted Aria out of the seat, “Um … it will be a moment. She needs a change.” Once Aria was comfortable with a dry diaper Giles placed her in Buffy’s arms. “Whilst you nurse her I shall set up the monitor in the nursery and get the other items put away.”
“You’re the best.”
Their first day home with Aria was drawing to a close; it actually went quite well. Aria slept most of the time; which was expected and nursed every two hours. Buffy was getting ready to go out on patrol when Aria began to cry.
“Giles I didn’t think this through. I can’t tell the vampires to wait while I go home to feed the baby.”
“You have still been … um … pumping, yes?”
“I have some in the freezer.” She paused. “Now that I’m feeding her all the time when will I have time to pump?”
“I’ve done some research and …” Giles began.
“Of course you have.” Buffy instantly felt bad for the tone she used, “I’m sorry I guess I’m a little frustrated.”
“I understand.” He said then continued, “What I found out is, there are several things you can try and do what works for you. You can pump one b-b…” try as he might he could not get the word out, “… side while nursing Aria with the other or pump for half an hour after feeding her. There are other ideas I can have Willow print them out for you.”
“Thank you and by the way the word is breast.” She said jokingly
Giles gave a short glare then said, “You are welcome … You could forgo patrol tonight; it is her first night home.”
“Yeah but somebody’s gotta do it.”
“I’ll go …” Buffy began to shake her head, “Buffy; I’ll bring the crossbow and only take the shot if it is clear. It would be more recon than anything else. This way you can build a strategy on the best way to take them out.”
“Take Xander with you.” She saw he was about to protest. “I will feel much better if you have someone watching your back.”
Giles returned from the ‘recon’ patrol at two in the morning. The lights downstairs were off letting him know Buffy was up stairs and probably in bed all ready. He ascended the stairs then stepped into the nursery. Aria was so tiny in the full size crib he almost didn’t see her. He double checked the monitoring system then kissed two fingers of his left hand and placed them on her shoulder. Tip toeing back out of the room he nearly knocked Buffy over.
He spun and caught hold of her, “Sorry.” He whispered.
“Giles, what are you doing?”
He signaled for her to follow him. He led her into the master bedroom which still contained his things. They never seemed to find the time to change rooms. She entered the bedroom after he did. Closing the door half way he said, “I was looking in on Aria and didn’t want to wake her. How did it go tonight?”
“Fine, I just put her to bed ten minutes ago. How was patrol? Was Anya pissed because you had Xander out so late?”
“There are a couple of places we need to go back to, in the daylight.” He removed the light jacket he was wearing and hung it in the closet.
When he didn’t continue she asked, “And Anya?”
“Giles … Xander was with you, right”
“Yes, of course.”
“During all of patrol?”
He turned his back and began to unbutton his shirt. “Well … Xander mentioned he had to, to be to work early. I-I told him to go home.”
“I can’t have you out there alone at night. If anything were …”
She was interrupted by the sound of the apnea alarm going off. The two adults rushed into the nursery. While Buffy checked on Aria, Giles reset the alarm and double checked the machine to ensure it was set up properly. He glanced to Buffy, who was gently rubbing Aria’s shoulder and back.
They heard a little intake of air; Giles and Buffy both exhaled the breathes they were holding. After a few minutes they left Aria’s room. Buffy leaned into Giles and gave a sigh of relief. “If I haven’t said it before, thank you so much for being here. I don’t think I could have handled that on my own.”
“You’re welcome.” He gave her a quick hug then they separated and he headed to the bed room, “It’s late, I’ll see you in the morning.”
She watched as Giles headed into the master bed room. Her eyes lingered on his retreating backside. What am I doing? This is Giles my Watcher. Not someone to be ogling. But he does have a nice butt.
Giles was up and through the threshold of the nursery just as the alarm on the A/B monitor sounded. He hit the silent button while he checked Aria her color looked good. Then he reset the machine and checked Aria again. He couldn’t see her chest rise or fall so he put his hand gently on her back. Not feeling any movement; he started to massage her arm and back to see if this would get her to breathe again. With no response, Giles disconnected the monitor and lifted her out of the crib. The motion of being lifted triggered her to breathe and Giles relaxed.
He changed her diaper then sat in the rocker they had placed in the room. Gently setting the chair in motion he said to the wide eyed infant, “Aria you can’t keep doing this. I’m not a young man and you are going to give me a heart attack.” Staring down at her, he marveled at her elfin features. She gave a tiny yawn. He smiled and began to hum then sang:
I like your eyes. I like your nose. I like your mouth.
Your ears, your hands, your toes.
I like you face. It's really you. I like the things you say and do.
There's not a single soul that sees the skies.
The way you see them through your eyes.
And aren't you glad, you should be glad.
There's no one, no one exactly like you.
He glanced up and saw Buffy leaning in the doorway. “That was pretty, what’s the name of that one?”
“No One, Like You.”
“Who’s it by?”
“An American artist, John Denver. You probably don’t …”
“You listened to John Denver?” Buffy was taken a back with this revelation.
“Some. Did the alarm wake you?”
“Alarm, her alarm went off again?” Buffy sounded worried.
“Yes, but as you can see she is wide awake and from her squirminess I am guessing she is hungry.”
“Yeah, my breasts feel like they are about to burst.”
Giles couldn’t help but look at the topic of discussion. They were definitely larger and fuller. His gaze lingered longer than was appropriate. When he realized what he was doing he glanced back to Aria, “Yes … um …” He stuttered then stood to let Buffy take his place.
Placing Aria into her arms his right hand inadvertently brushed her left breast which instantly made him blush and regions south stir. Bloody hell, this is not what she needs right now; or ever from me.
“Can, can I get you anything … water, juice?” he asked quickly so he could leave the room and calm his overheated body.
“A big ole glass of water would be great, thanks.”
He returned with what she asked for plus an English muffin with strawberry jam. “Thought you could use a bite too.”
“I will leave you two alone and see you in the morning; goodnight.”
“Night.” Buffy said though she was a little perplexed; Giles usually hung around while she nursed Aria.
Giles was in his room, pacing. How could I have been so careless? This is my slayer, I’ve no right … Bloody hell, I love her with every breath and fiber of my being.
He stripped out of his clothes and put on a pair of pajamas. Then laid on his bed, he could really use a drink right now but he had stayed away from alcohol since Aria’s birth. He repositioned himself on the bed to get more comfortable then closed his eyes.
A few minutes passed then he heard a light rapping on his door. “Giles are you awake, can I come in?”
After making sure his lower half was covered he gave her the okay to come in.
Buffy opened the door then entered the room. Sitting on the edge of the bed she played with the hem of her pajama top. “Giles, can I … may I sleep in here? I’m afraid I won’t hear the alarm if I’m down the hall.”
“Of course, let me gather a few things and I’ll just …”
She set her hand on his arm. “I was kind of hoping you’d stay too.”
“Buffy, I-I …”
“Why not we’ve slept in the same room before.” He looked at her perplexed. “The movie night when we were all visited by the First Slayer, remember.”
“Yes, but …”
She caressed his arm absentmindedly as she spoke, “Giles, please. I’m not asking for anything more than to be held until I fall asleep.”
Though he thought it was a very bad idea, he pulled back the cover from the space beside him. She climbed in stretching out next to him, placing her head on his chest. He wrapped his left arm around her shoulders and placed a kiss to the top of her head. “G-goodnight, Buffy.”
Two hours later the A/B monitor sounded again. Aria was fine and wide awake waiting for a feeding. Giles couldn’t find any obvious problems with the machine so while Buffy changed and nursed Aria he went to get some more water for her. He watched the two for a bit then went back to bed. Somebody has to be awake tomorrow to take care of the daily tasks. He thought.To be continued in Living Arrangements