Title: Precious Burdens
Disclaimers: Buffy & Co. belong to Joss Whedon, Kazui, Fox, etc.
Distribution/Archive: Ask first.
Summary: Giles spends an afternoon caring for a precious burden.
Thanks rumidha for the beta.
The sun shone down warmly on Rupert Giles as he cradled his very precious burden close to him. The soft pink of the bundle he held contrasted with the blue of his denim shirt, and he couldn’t help but smile every time he looked down into his precious daughter’s eyes. It was the first really warm spring day of Noelle’s life, and he had brought her to the park for her first little outing into the sun.
He set up her little bouncy walker and slipped her into it, letting her experience the sensation of sun-warmed grass on her bare feet for the first time. She squealed and laughed at the tickling sensation and he laughed too, delighted by the smile on her face. He watched her as she learned to love the grass and the sunlight, and was charmed every time he looked at her and saw how much she looked like her mother.
The sun was warm for this late May afternoon, and he rolled up the sleeves of his shirt to just below his elbow, hiding the tattoo on his left arm more out of habit than out of shame. Then he immersed himself in playing with his daughter.
She was such a bright child, both in intelligence and disposition, that it quite took his breath away. She reached out for his hands as he teased her with a toy, laughing when he let her catch him and squealing when he didn’t. They played this game for several minutes before she became bored with it and wanted out of her walker.
He lifted her carefully and set her on the grass after checking for ants and other crawlies. She sat happily for several minutes, pulling at the unfamiliar texture with chubby hands and tossing the blades in the air. He watched her carefully and when he started having to rescue bits of grass and dirt from her mouth, back she went into the walker. She fussed at him over that quite vehemently, and to distract her, he cleaned her hands with a baby wipe and presented her with a small amount of plain Cheerios.
With the appearance of food, all was forgiven, and she burbled contentedly at him as she ate. He pulled a book out of the diaper bag and settled against the back of the bench, flipping through until he found his bookmark, and beginning to read aloud to her in a soft voice. She didn’t understand the words, and wouldn’t for a number of years, but she paid close attention to the sound of his voice as he regaled her with the antics of Mr. Toad, Mr. Badger, and their friends.
Just about the time Noelle ran out of cereal, she and her father both looked up at the sound of a familiar voice from across the park. “Daddy! Daddy!”
Giles stood, turned, and knelt down with his arms out as his son came towards them, little arms pumping as he ran full-tilt into his father’s embrace. “Hi, Daddy!”
“Hello, Trevor!” Giles exclaimed, lifting the little boy up high and then pulling him close to hug him. He sat down again on the bench with his four-year-old son in his lap. “How was school?”
“Boring!” Trevor pronounced flatly. “And Dhyana Patil kissed me on the playground.” He made a face.
Giles fought back a laugh, but his lips twitched. “I see. I’m terribly sorry.” He looked around. “But where is your mother?”
In answer to his question, a pair of arms came around his neck from behind and a warm kiss was placed behind his right ear. “Right here, honey,” she replied, her hands sliding from his shoulders down his arms to tickle the fine hairs there. “Have I ever told you that you’ve got seriously sexy forearms?”
He blushed. “No, I… I don’t believe you have.”
“Mummy? What’s sexy?”
There was a long moment of silence, and then her chagrined voice spoke again. “Oops.”
Giles laughed. “Something you’ll know about once you get older,” he answered his son. Then he turned his head and kissed his wife. “How was your day, dear?”
“Fabulous, as usual,” she replied, coming around the bench to snuggle up next to him. “Dawn called, said she was sorry she missed you, and she’ll be here next week.”
“Excellent. I look forward to her visit.”
“She’s bringing something called Casimir along with; supposedly it has extremely nice shoulders.” His wife’s lips twitched slightly.
“Oh, dear.” Giles couldn’t help but grin. “Sounds serious.”
She simply rolled her eyes and pulled the baby out of her walker. “How’s my little Peaches?” she asked, rubbing noses with the baby until Noelle giggled. Then she stood. “Well, as much as I hate to cut this short, I need to get Little Miss here home and fed. I’m starting to leak, if you know what I mean.”
“Indeed I do,” Giles replied, gathering his things quickly. He handed the book to Trevor to carry, and picked up the walker and diaper bag himself. “And I imagine our Little Fellow would like some supper as well.”
“Yes, please!” Trevor exclaimed. “Come on Mummy; come on Daddy! I want some supper!”
As the sun began to sink behind the trees, Giles smiled at his wife. Twelve years they had known one another now, from the Hellmouth to London and Bath, through the restructuring of the Council and her own retirement to begin raising their little family, and he loved her now even more than he had twelve years ago when she had walked into his library and told him unceremoniously what he could do with his vampires and his prophecies. He leaned over and kissed her gently. “I love you, Buffy.”
She smiled up at him over their daughter’s head. “I love you too, Giles.”
Walking close, occasionally bumping shoulders, they followed their son home for supper.