Continued from here."I've gotten better," Fred insisted, giving her husband a gentle nudge at his teasing about never letting her perform a spell ever again. "Just ask Willow!"Luckily, the others seemed ready to jump to her defense, providing an example of Rupert's own embarassing moment."I don't believe I've seen those boxers," Fred said, raising an eyebrow as she looked over at him with a grin. She just might have to go searching."He probably got rid of them!" Dawn said with a laugh."Aww! I bet you looked cute in them, though," Fred told him before giving him a kiss.After they finally got Martin to admit an embarrassing moment - he had once accidentally been rather a prat to his new boss the first day on her job, an admission that sent Fred into soft giggles - they talked for a little while before turning on the television to watch the BBC countdown to New Year's."You know - we live in London! We should have gone down there!" Xander said.Charlotte shook her head in disbelief. "Do you have any idea how bloody crowded it is?"Soon, it was ten seconds to midnight, and everyone counted down. As Big Ben struck the hour on the screen, a small cheer went up in the house."To another year!""And no apocalypses!"While Xander and Martin kissed, so did Charlotte and Willow, of course. Andrew leaned over to give Dawn's cheek a peck, and Lorne hugged Buffy, who kissed his forehead. Fred smiled and turned to her husband, wrapping her arms around him."Happy New Year, Rupert," she whispered before kissing him. "First of many together, I hope."
Giles was glad he'd gotten rid of the boxers years ago because he knew his wife, and he knew she would go looking for them. He sat back on the couch with Fred and listened to the rest of them share their embarrassing stories. And soon it was time to celebrate the coming of the New Year."May we celebrate them forever, love," he said, softly kissing his wife.All of them settled down long enough to discuss a few Council things before Giles got up and made up plates for all of them to take home. Soon, all of them had left, leaving Giles and Fred alone. "That was quite nice," he said as he put some of the food into the icebox.Turning, he smiled at his wife. "This time next year we'll have a family. I can't wait," he said with a smile as his hands ran under her shirt. He softly stroked the harness of her stomach and leaned forward to kiss her. When he broke the kiss, he gave her a cheeky grin. "I'll have to look into getting the guestroom cleaned out so I can sleep there when you're mean to me and kick me out of the bed when you get further along."Giles chucked at his bad joke and quickly ducked.
The night had been wonderful, but Fred was tired from having spent all day getting things ready, having come home after a long flight just the day before and being pregnant. She was looking forward to heading up to bed and cuddling up and getting some rest. Tomorrow, she just wanted to take it easy before they had to go back to work.Resting her hand over Rupert's, she returned his smile when he mentioned that they'd having their own family this time next year. But then he mentioned her getting mean and felt her jaw drop. "Hey! Maybe you should do that tonight!" she told him, choking down a bit of a laugh as she nudged him, not sure whether to be offended that he was so sure she would get bitchy him. "God, I hope I don't get all mean and hormonal."She snickered suddenly and raised her eyebrows. "Although maybe if I do, you can let me lose on the Council Board again. That ought to keep them in line," she said with a wink before taking his hand. "Now...unless you really do want to end up in the guest room, take me upstairs."
When their holiday was over, Giles and Fred returned to work. Since it was the beginning of the year, Giles had to work on a new budget for all the departments. There were long meetings with all the department heads, and the board. The board had decided to be prats and continued reject every budget Giles, and the others, came up with.Two weeks had went by and it seemed everyone was at the end of their ropes. Giles looked down at the budget on his desk, ready to present it to the board. He was seriously considering taking Fred with him this time. They seemed afraid of her. Sighing, he picked up the file and was about to head to his office door when he received a phone call from Andrew, saying one of the demons they used to train the Slayers was causing trouble.Giles jogged down to the training room where Andrew, Xander and a scared Slayer was. Xander tossed him a sword and Giles cut the demon's head off. The demon was easy to find, and could be replaced. They were also quite slimy and Giles found himself covered in red goo."Are you okay, Mister Giles?" Andrew asked."I'm fine," Giles said, picking up a towel. He got most of the slime off but still had a bit on his face and clothes. He would need a shower to get all of it off. "Call the board and tell them the meeting is postponed." Tossing the towel to the floor, Giles walked out of the training room.He went straight to the lab, knowing he had an extra set of clothes there incase something like this happened. He planned on going right to the shower but then he saw his wife and grinned."Fred," he said, walking into her office, "I'm having a horrible day. Do you think we could possibly run away from home and live on an island for the rest of our lives?"
"Fred, are you sure you're all right?" Martin asked as she sat down in her office, rubbing her head."I'm fine," she muttered before sighing and looking up. "At this rate, if they don't approve a realistic budget for the lab, I'm going to have to let two of the others go. I thought I'd finally gotten over my morning sickness...""But now the Board's making you sick?""Something like that." Shaking her head, she leaned back, opening her laptop. "I need to get this report done."Martin nodded. "I'll be out in the lab if you need me."She barely heard him, her eyes focused on the screen as she started typing up the weekly report covering the lab projects. Looking it over, she couldn't understand how the Board could think that anything they were doing was superfluous, considering what they were working on, but she didn't pretend to understand the politics of the Board. She didn't understand why they played the games they did with what was on the line.When she heard her name, she shook her head as her husband walked into the office. "That sounds nice. There was a very nice island down in the southern hemisphere I became rather fond of before--."Looking up, she trailed off as her eyes widened when she saw the red...blood? Slime? Whatever the hell it was clinging to him. Jumping up, she went over to him."What happened?" she asked, reaching out tentatively toward him. "Rupert, you're breaking out. What is this stuff?"His skin was starting to turn red - noticeable even under the red goo - so Fred quickly turned him around and hurried him to the shower area, turning on the water."Sweetie, get out of those clothes and get under the water. I'll get your other set."
"There was a demon and--" Before Giles could finish his sentence, Fred had rushed over to him, going on about how he was breaking out. He peered down at his skin and blinked. "Oh. I thought I was feeling a bit funny and--" Once again Fred broke him again and started to push him down to the shower. When she told him to strip and get into the shower, he gave her a cheeky look. Giles opened his mouth, ready to say something but Fred was already off and running again, saying something about extra clothes. With a shrug, he stepped into the shower, the hot water making the rash worse. He turned down the temperature and quickly cleaned himself off.Stepping out of the shower, he looked around for a towel but there wasn't one. His clothes wasn't even there. Had Fred forgotten about him? Glancing around, Giles waited for a few minutes before deciding to walk down to Fred's office. There was a back way, and he wouldn't have to walk through the lab.He set off down the hallway and walked around the corner and slipped into Fred's office. Then he froze when he saw Martin, Xander, Willow, Fred, and Charlotte all standing there."Oh my god!" Xander cried, while pointing at Giles.Soon everyone was looking at him. He quickly cupped his hands over his privates and shot a look at his wife. "I thought you said you were going to bring me my clothes!" he exclaimed as Willow and Charlotte started to giggle.
Fred hurried into her office and found the extra set of clothes Rupert had stored into there, which she quickly took back to the shower area and placed on the bench. Carefully, she picked up his discarded clothes and returned to the lab, where she put them in the bio-incinerator. Then she thought about the red splotches she had seen rising on his skin, so she started looking for the first aid kit, knowing they had ointment in their for minor chemical burns.Once she found it, she headed back to the shower area - just in time to see Andrew leaving - with her husband's clothes in his hand."Andrew!" she yelled. "What are you doing?""Taking his clothes to burn them!""But those are clean! Andrew, come back here!"She chased him down to her office to find Martin, Xander, Willow and Charlotte all trooping in through the other door. Andrew quickly slipped past them, disappearing with the clothes."Andrew, you said we should come down here?" Willow called after him."Guys, stop him!" Fred told them.Just then Xander let out a yelp, and she turned around to find her husband standing there, buck naked, trying to cover his dignity. She cringed when she saw the look in his eyes, thinking that she could have had any part in this."I--but...I did...and then Andrew...guys, tell him that I didn't have any part of this!" she pleaded."Well, how would we know that?" Xander asked. "We just got here!""XANDER!" Fred shrieked, swatting him."Ow! Is this those pregnancy hormones I keep hearing about?""Andrew, where are you?!" she yelled, hurrying out of the office to get her husband's clothes back. She was going to kill all of them.
Giles was starting to not care about who'd taken his clothes. All he knew was he wanted them back because he standing in his wife's office, while everyone gawked at him. After Fred hit Xander and ran out of the lab, Xander turned and looked at Giles."She hit me!""Welcome to my world," Giles murmured.He was starting to get a little self conscious about standing there starkers so he backed up, only to have one of Fred's instruments poke him in the backside. "Bloody hell!" he yelped, turning around to see what it was."Giles butt! I see Giles butt!" Willow suddenly exclaimed."He has arse dimples!" Charlotte added.Giles quickly turned around, his face red with a blush. He didn't think he could get anymore embarrassed. Suddenly Martin jumped and left the office. When he returned, he had a lab coat for Giles. "You can wear this," he said, holding it out."I, um, can't grab it. My hands are sort of hiding something at the moment," Giles pointed out.Martin nodded and placed the coat on Fred's desk. "Maybe we should leave so he can get dressed," he said, ushering the rest of them out of the room.Once all of them were out, Giles quickly placed the lab coat on and sat down on the edge of Fred's desk, his arms crossed like a petulant child.
"Andrew!" Fred yelled as she ran down the hall. She didn't notice the Board member she passed by, instead more interested in finding the little clothes stealer. After checking his office, she found him in Rupert's. "What the hell are you doing?!"Andrew jumped a bit, holding the clothes in front of him like a shielf. "I was just...I thought it would be funny...""To take his clothes and call the others to laugh at him!" She found herself close to tears. "He thinks I had something to do with it!""Oh! No, Fred! I didn't mean...I just wanted to--."She didn't let him finish, instead rambling on, "And now he's going to think I'm going to make him sleep in the guest room. Or he's going to make me sleep in the guest room! And I've been having a horrible day because of the damn Board and their demands, and...and...""I'm sorry. I didn't think." He shoved the clothes out to her. "Here.""No, you're going to tell him what you did.""But...!" He pulled in on himself and dropped his voice down to a whisper. "He'll kill me.""Andrew! I'll kill you!"That got him, and he nodded, walking with Fred back to the lab. They found everyone outside in the hall, and without a word, they walked past them, back through the lab to Fred's office. Andrew threw a look over his shoulder before walking in while Fred stayed out by the door."Uh...here. Sorry. I...I thought we could all use a bit of levity to break the tenseness around here," he said as he held the clothes out.
Giles continued to sit on Fred's desk, wondering if someone was going to take pity on him and get him some bloody clothes! Suddenly, Andrew came in with a sheepish look on his face and his clothes in his arms. Giles sighed and got off the desk. "Thank you, Andrew. I was beginning to think you lot had forgotten about me," he said."Mister Giles, I--""It's all right, Andrew. I'll make sure you'll get what's coming to you for being so helpful," Giles said. "Now, if you'd excuse me, I'd like to get dressed.""Of course, Mister Giles," Andrew said as he backed toward the door."Oh, Andrew," Giles said as he picked out a small sphere off Fred's desk. "Could you carry that for me. Wait for me outside.""Okay, Mister Giles," Andrew said as he stepped out of Fred's office.Giles quickly dressed and stepped out of the office to see all of them still standing there. "Andrew here is getting a raise since he was the only one who cared enough to bring my clothes to me." He grabbed the back of Andrew's neck and moved the younger man so he as facing the others. Giles whispered a few words under breath and the sphere opened up and sprayed all of them down with green slime."A little trick I picked up from one of the Slayers and it's amazing the things you can find in my wife's office when I'm sitting there, half-naked while everyone is laughing at you. You won't die from it, it's just corn syrup and green dye. Martin was nice enough to get it for me. He should get a raise." Giles gave them all a grin. "And I do hope no one steals your clothes when you shower." And with that, he turned and walked back to his office.
When Fred noticed that Andrew had the dye pack that she had been intending to use as a tracking mechanism in an experiment, she was about to ask Rupert what he was doing when he turned the younger man around to face the others. He wasn't going to...? Quickly, she ducked out of the way, managing to avoid the mess that went flying everywhere.As her husband left the lab, she looked at her friends for a moment - part of her wanted to laugh but part of her was still upset. Did Rupert still think she had any part in this? He hadn't even said a word to her before he had left. And she was sure he intended for her to get hit by that dye pack.Leaving Martin to direct the others to the shower so they could get cleaned up, Fred hurried out of the lab and followed Rupert back to his office. He seemed rather pleased with him.When she entered the office, she shut the door and crossed her arms. "I had nothing to do with any of that, you know," she told him. "I was worried about what that stuff was doing to your skin because I had no idea what it was, so I went to get ointment for you after I got your clothes, and next thing I know, Andrew's running down the hall with them, and the others are there, and you're yelling at me like I had betrayed you or something! And then you use the dye pack that I had been planning to use as a tracking mechanism in my experiment, only now I have to wait until I can get another one, which means I'm not going to have the report ready for the next Board meeting, and they're already making noises about slashing my budget and staffing even more that the budgets we've been trying to get them to okay because they don't seem to think I'm getting things done!"Finishing, she turned and leaned her head against the wall, taking a few deep breaths as she rubbed her stomach. She wasn't going to get sick again, she told herself. She wasn't going to get sick again. She prayed their daughter would listen and not revolt on her."I...I should probably get back to the lab and make sure that they haven't killed Andrew or something," she said though she couldn't make herself move away from the wall.
Giles had just sat down at his desk when Fred came in, and shut the door behind her. He opened his mouth to speak but was cut off when his wife started to ramble. And the more she rambled, the more guilty he felt. He hadn't known the sphere was for one of her projects, and was now wishing Martin would've told him instead of letting him use it."Fred," he began as he stood from his desk. He reached behind her and locked his door before leading her over to the couch. Once there, he sat her down and then sat beside her. "I'm sorry I snapped at you, love," Giles softly said as he brushed her hair away from her face. "And I'm sorry I used one of your research projects in order to act like a child and get the others back."He was worried about the amount of stress she seemed to be under lately and pulled her closer so she could lean against him. "I'm rather worried about you, love. I know the board hasn't been cooperating but you should let me worry about that, all right? I don't want you to get sick," he whispered as he softly rubbed her stomach.
After Rupert locked his office door, Fred let him pull her over to the couch to sot down. She suddenly felt bad for having gone off the way she had and took a deep breath, closing her eyes as his fingers brushed her temples."Well, you weren't exactly in the greatest of positions," she told him. "Andrew did steal your clothes." She paused, remembering everyone's look when they had found themselves covered in green goo and found her lips turning up slightly into a smile. "And actually, I guess it was kind of funny, considering they didn't expect you to do that them."As she leaned against him, she started feeling better and wrapped her arms around him. She could feel the tension she had been feeling all day start to melt away as he rubbed her stomach. "I know I should," she admitted. "It's just hard sometimes. Martin and I have worked so hard on that lab, so having them threaten the things they have...it's hard to just stand aside and no something."She tilted her head and looked up into his eyes. "I promise that I'll try not to worry," she told him as she rested a hand over his on her stomach. "Don't need our little girl born with a tension headache because mommy was a nervous wreck."Pausing for a moment, she furrowed her brow. They had fallen so easily into referring to their baby as a girl, but they hadn't had a chance to talk about names at all. She knew it was possibly way too early, but a part of her wanted to name their baby. She always wanted to know what sort of names Rupert liked."Have you...are there any names you've thought about? For the baby?" she asked, wondering what he would think when she told him some of the ones she liked.
Giles was relieved that Fred was starting to relax in his arms. He knew stress wasn't good for them, and could even prolong morning sickness. But, he wasn't about to tell Fred that and upset her even more. He did know he was going to have a little chat with the board about the budget. According to one of the Council's accountants, there was plenty of money to cover their budgets with plenty to spare.When Fred brought up the subject of names, Giles raised his eyebrows. "Anything but Rupert," he murmured before nuzzling her hair. He had never been fond of his name, especially since there was a series of popular children's books with a bear named Rupert. "I sort of like the name Katherine, or perhaps Madeline."He shrugged a little. "I thought perhaps we would find out if we were having a girl or not," Giles said, even though he'd gotten used to the idea of having a little girl. "How about you, love? Have you got any names?"
"I like Rupert," Fred told him with a smile. "It happens to be the name of my favorite guy in the whole world."She liked the names that he suggested. Madeline reminded her of one of her favorite authors when she was a kid, Madeleine L'Engel. She had loved her books and had wanted to prove that tesseracts were possible before she had gotten pulled into history and had intended on getting her degree in that. Of course, when she had switched to Physics, she had considered revisiting the idea but had never had a chance."I'd like to find out if we're having a girl - just so we know for sure. I certainly feel like we're having a girl. Ever since New Zealand, it's just felt right to refer to her as a girl, but yeah, I think we should know." She smiled. "I'll ask Doctor Lester at my next appointment. I think he mentioned I'll be having ultrasound soon anyway."She then blushed a little when he asked what names she liked, thinking about another one of her favorite authors when she had been growing up. There had been two sets of fiction books on her shelves that had been thumbed through so many more times that any of the others. "You might...you might think it strange, but there was a name I always liked where I was growing up. Did you ever read the Chronicles of Prydain? There was a princess in there, named Eilonwy. I always thought that would be a beautiful name for a little girl."She shrugged, not suring what he would think of it now that she had mentioned it outloud. "If you think it's too silly, we can look at other names."
When Fred told him her choice of names, Giles slowly blinked. "That's certainly an unique name," he said, not knowing what else to say. He figured they'd name his daughter something people could actually pronounce. "Is it a name the author just made up, or is there any meaning behind it? It almost sounds like one of those names Andrew makes up for himself when he plays those games."It was then that Giles realized how condescending he was being about the name. The name obviously was something Fred liked, especially if she'd been thinking of it since she were a child. "Not that it's not a nice name, mind you. I-I'm just a bit curious is all," he quickly added, hoping it was enough to keep Fred from crying, or making him sleep in the guestroom.His hand started to rub small circles on her stomach again in hopes it would make her over look what he'd said to her about the name. "What...what would you like for a middle name then?" he asked, giving her a smile.
When Rupert just looked at her, Fred suddenly wanted to shrink down, feeling very silly for liking the name so much. She had just always thought it was pretty, especially since the Chronicles of Prydain had been fairly popular when she had been a kid, partly because of the movie."It...it was made up," she told him, now definitely wishing that she had never brought it up, even when Rupert told her he was just curious. He didn't like the name. She could tell. And even though she had feared that he would, part of her was a little upset that he wad too. "But Lloyd Alexander based it on Welsh naming patterns, so a lot of people used to think that it was an actual Welsh name."She shrugged and swallowed, blinking a few times. It was just a name, so it was silly to get upset about it, especially since there were so many other pretty names out there. She was sure they'd find something. Like Madeline. They could name her Madeline. "I...hadn't actually thought about a middle name. Maybe after one of our mothers? But then the other one might feel left out, and I don't want to give her two middle names..." She shook her head. "I don't know."She sat back, looking up at the ceiling. "Maybe this isn't the best time to choose a name. We don't even know for certain she is a girl. It might be a boy, and then we'd have to decide on something totally different. Eilonwy'd be really dumb for a little boy."
Giles felt his heart sink when he saw the look on Fred's face. He'd hurt her feelings because he was a prat and had to act like a complete wanker when she'd made a suggestion. It was quite obvious it was a name she loved, and had loved for quite some time. And he'd hurt her feelings because he couldn't had been diplomatic about things.When she started to quickly blink her eyes, Giles frowned. He knew Fred well enough to know when she was trying to hold back her tears. "Hey," he whispered as she looked away and turned her attention to the ceiling. He placed a hand on the side of her face and nudged it so she was looking at her. "I'm sorry, Fred. I shouldn't had acted that way."Leaning forward, he softly kissed her and placed his forehead against his. "How about we wait, hmm? We can find out what we're having and then in a few weeks we can discuss the names again, all tight?" he quietly asked as he stroked her cheek. He then glanced over at the clock and sighed. "I have a meeting with Willow in about ten minutes. I wish I could just stay here with you for the rest of the day."He kissed her again and leaned back, his hand still cupping her face. "I'm going to leave early today, and actually be home when you're home instead of hours later. How about we do something relaxing tonight? Maybe a nice meal, and then laze about for the rest of the evening? I'll make whatever you want. Even if it's nothing more than a chocolate cake," he said with a smile.
"I...it's..." Fred tried to tell Rupert when he apologized. She knew it was silly to get so worked up over something like a name - she guessed she hadn't realized just how much she had always liked it until now. Repeating those stories and others over and over to herself had been one of the few things to keep her sane in Pylea even as she had forgotten other things about herself and her life growing up in Texas. "Maybe we should wait. We might find another name in the meantime that we find we like even better."She kind of wished that he could just stay with her too, especially since she had seemed to have traded morning sickness for uncontrollable hormones and emotions. But she knew that life didn't stop just because she was pregnant. Plus, she had always sworn that she wouldn't be one of those mothers-to-be who became helpless because she was carrying a child. Even if she wanted to just curl up in bed."I'd like that," she said when he said he'd try to get home around the same time she did. "And I think soup and sandwiches would be really nice."She would always remember that as the first meal he had made for her. Lifting her head, she gave him a gentle kiss. "Go see Willow. I'll see you when you get home."
The weeks slowly went by and Fred and Giles found out that they were indeed having a daughter. Both of them were excited about it and started to buy baby things geared toward a girl. The Council finally allowed the budget to pass, much to everyone's relief and things seemed to be getting back to normal.It was a few days after Valentine's Day when Giles received a phone call from an old Council employee, and the news wasn't good. The first place he went was to the board, but they deny all of his requests to stop what was about to happen. Deep down he knew he would have to do it on his own, with help from the people he trusted the most so he called a meeting with Fred, Xander, Willow, Martin and Charlotte.Once all of them were in the upper floor board room, Giles had Willow ward the door before he started. "I received a phone call from an old employee of the Council by the name of Drogyn," he explained as he looked at all of them. "He's a guardian of a place called the Deeper Well. It's a burial ground for ancient ones, and one is missing. It goes by the name of Illyria and it's ended up in Los Angeles."He looked over at his wife and frowned a little. Giles didn't know how to say what he needed to say next. "It's been sitting in customs but Charles Gunn sighed for it to be delivered to the firm. It'll be there in two days and if Illyria is released into this world, it'll reek havoc on all of mankind," he said before looking at the others. "The Council has forbidden me from going but I'm still going there to stop it. I'll understand if none of you want to help since you'll be going against the wishes of the Council."
"Do you have any idea why Giles is calling this meeting?" Martin asked as he and Fred walked up to the board room on the upper floor.She shook her head and shrugged. "I have no idea, but it we're having it in the other board room, it must be...well, not good, at the very least. Of course, I guess it's something we should be used to around here."She didn't want to say, though, that if they were going to the back-up room that the something bad had to do with the Council Board.And sure enough, that's exactly what it was. Fred listened as her husband explained what was going on. When she mentioned Charles' part in the whole matter, she felt her jaw dropping. He had signed for the sarcophagus of an ancient demon to be delivered to the firm?Why in the hell was the Council refusing to help? She didn't understand this at all."I'll go with you," she told him. "I know Charles, so I'll be able to help you if he's hiding something."And this time, she'd be ready. She knew that they weren't the same people that she had left behind so many months ago now."I'll go too," Andrew offered."The rest of us should probably stay here," Charlotte suggested. "Run interference for the three of you. If anyone else goes, it's really going to call attention to what we're doing. At least with the four of us staying behind, we can do a better job of hiding that the three of you are gone."They could see that she was right. They couldn't afford for anymore of them to go. Martin needed to stay to run the lab, and Willow could better cover for Giles and Andrew with Charlotte's help."So when do we leave?" Fred asked.
Giles nodded when Andrew offered to go with, and agreed no one else should go with them. When Fred asked her question, he looked over at Andrew. "As soon as Andrew books our flight. Make sure it's the latest flight that leaves," he told the younger man. "And don't make the reservation using the Council's phone or internet service.""Understood, Mister Giles," Andrew said as he left the room.Giles turned and looked at the rest of them. "I don't want any of you to discuss this over Council e-mail or their phones. Use your personal mobiles to ring each other, understood?" he asked. All of them nodded so he stood. "If anyone asks, I'm telling the Council I need time away because Fred's parents need us in Texas. And since I'm not going to be here, I'm giving Andrew a well-deserved holiday.""Got it," Willow said as she and the others stood too.All of them filed out and Giles turned to his wife before walking over to her. "Are you sure you'll up for this, love?" he asked, rubbing the small roundness of her stomach. "It might get a bit sticky when we go to the firm and I know how much it hurt you before."
Rupert's idea that they would tell everyone they were going to see her parents in Texas was a good idea, Fred thought as she listened to her husband issuing everyone with their instructions. She knew that they'd all stick to it to the story.Once they were gone, Fred stood, looking up at Rupert as he joined her and placed his hand on her stomach, rubbing gentle circles over where their daughter was growing inside her. She could see the worry in his eyes, but there was no way she was letting him go back to Los Angeles without her. Not if he was going to be dealing with Charles and Angel."I'll be okay," she promised him, resting her hand over his. "At least this time, I know what to expect. I know that they're not the same people anymore. But I need to go with you. Like I said, I know Charles. Even though he's changed, I know what he can be like."Leaning up, she kissed her husband softly before heading for the door. "I should get back down to the lab and get some things done before we leave. Everything's supposed to look like it's normal, right? I see you in about an hour then."
Giles still didn’t think it was a good idea for Fred to go to Los Angeles with him. Illyria was something they’d never faced before, and if they couldn’t stop her from rising, then things were going to get bad. He didn’t want to expose his wife, or unborn child to it. Yet, Fred wanted to go and he knew nothing would sway his wife once she had her mind set on something.After Fred left the lab, Giles made his way back to his office. Andrew came in and handed him the itinerary for their trip without saying a word before leaving again. Giles placed the piece of paper into his trouser pocket and quickly finished his paperwork before packing up and leaving his office.On the way to the lab, he ran into Peter and had a brief conversation with him. Peter was his only friend on the board, and he felt comfortable enough to tell him what they were doing. And he was relieved when Peter agreed to run interfence with the board while they were gone.After his conversation with Peter, Giles finished his walk to the lab and stood outside of it for a moment, and watched his wife. When she reached up to take something off a shelf, he could see the outline of her pregnant stomach, and smiled. That was their daughter in there.He knocked on the glass and when Fred turned to look at him, he pointed toward her office. Giles then went into Fred’s office and sat down to wait for her.
When Fred reached the lab, Martin was working on their experiment as though nothing was going on. She smiled at him and walked over, sitting down next to him and speaking to him about what they were doing. They worked through what they had been planning, getting everything running and then setting it to sit overnight."Don't worry," Martin whispered. "I'll make sure nothing happens to it.""I know you will."While he disappeared to take care of something else, Fred got up and looked over another experiment that had been running for a week now. It still was nowhere near completion, but she needed to add some more alcohol to the solution, so she reached up and pulled it down. As she rocked back onto her heels, she heard a knock and turned to find Rupert standing there. She smiled, nodding when he pointed toward her office.Quickly, she finished up everything she needed to have done in the lab. Then she walked into her office and shut the door. The blinds were drawn since she had wanted some privacy earlier. Walking over to him, she slipped onto his lap, knowing that they would probably be too busy to have any time to themselves before they left since they would have to get ready to fly to L.A. She knew she couldn't say anything about what they were about to do, though - she'd have to watch her words, just in case someone was listening. She wouldn't but it past them."I love you, you know," she murmured as she leaned forward and kissed him softly before touching her forehead to his. "Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones making me sappy, but I'm so glad I met you. I don't think I say that often enough."She knew it wasn't the hormones - she just wanted to make sure he knew before they went back there.
Giles raised his eyebrows when Fred sat down on his lap. Not that he was complaining. He rather liked having her there. Returning her kiss, he smiled and said, "I love you too, and I thank the fates everyday I found you, love," he quietly said before he leaned forward and kissed her again. If he had his way, he wouldn't leave the office but he knew they had to go home and pack."As much as I love you on my lap, and I'm sure you can probably feel it too, we really ought to head to the house," he said as his hands roamed over her pregnant belly. "We have some packing to do before we go to the airport. Everything has been set up and the plane takes off in about five hours."Giles frowned a little when he remembered what happened the last time they'd left the country. Fred had gotten sick, but he was hoping it wouldn't happen this time since she was now in her second trimester. He made a mental note though to pack some peppermint tea incase she became queasy again. They would also have to leave out instructions for Charlotte and Willow about how to care for Molly, who was no longer a puppy."We should go, love," he whispered as he gently prodded her off his lap. He stood up and tugged on his trousers before picking up his briefcase. He then waited for her to grab her things before he slipped on his coat and took her hand.
Fred could very definitely feel what she was doing to her husband, and as much as she wanted to be with him right then, she knew that he was right. They had a lot to do to get ready to fly to Los Angeles. Of course, as far as the Council knew, they were heading to Texas to see her parents. In a way, she kind of wished that they were going there and not back to that firm again; it definitely would have been nicer.Moving when he gave her a gentle nudge, she stood up and walked over to her desk, disconnecting her laptop from the Council network and shutting it. There was no way she was going to leave it behind for any of the Board to snope through while she was gone, even if it was password and magic protected. That had been Willow's idea. Once she had slid it into her bag, she grabbed her coat and put it on, then took her husband's hand, walking out into the lab with him."We'll see you later," she told Martin."Night, Fred." He then mouthed, Be safe. She smiled softly and nodded.As soon as they got back to the house, they quickly set about getting packed. Fred hoped they wouldn't be gone too long. She hated it when they had to leave Molly behind. Their puppy had grown up so fast, and she hoped that the same thing wouldn't happen with their daughter.After saying goodbye to Molly - following lots of face licking and whining - they headed to the airport, taking Rupert's car. When they arrived, they checked in and headed back through security, where they met Andrew."This is the first time I've been back to California since we left," he mentioned when it came time to board the plane. "Spike's really there?"Fred nodded and petted the younger man's arm. "He is.""I can't wait to see him again."
Shortly after they arrived at the airport, and got checked in, the boarding announcement was made for their flight. Taking his wife's hand, Giles walked toward the boarding gate and walked into the plane. Once they were seated, he made sure Fred was properly buckled in before the plane took off.The three of them discussed their plans, in hushed voices, until it was time to take a short nap. By the time Giles woke up, they were getting ready to land in Los Angeles. He didn't like being here, especially after what happened the last time they had gone to Wolfram and Hart. He knew he would kill anyone who tried to hurt his wife and unborn child.Getting off the plane, they went through customs and picked up their luggage before going to the rental car counter. Giles rented a car under a false name, not wanting the Council to be able to track them down. He was going to do this without their help.Once he had the keys to the car, the three of them went out to it and Giles put the luggage in the boot. "We should go to the firm first and see what's going on," he suggested to Fred and Andrew. "Ready?"
One thing about having reached her second trimester...Fred actually slept on the plane, which was not normally something she did. She curled up against her husband and was soon out. It made the flight go much faster, however, as she woke up not that long before the were due to land. After they had gotten the rental car, Fred looked over at Andrew, both of them nodding at Rupert's question. Based on what he had told them, they couldn't afford to waste any time. If that demon was released, they knew they were going to have much more of a problem on their hands that just the Council.It didn't take them long to get to the Wolfram and Hart building though Fred wasn't sure if that was because she was suddenly feeling very nervous about walking back in there again or if it was because it really wasn't that far from the airport. Or maybe it was because they were heading toward the city's bastian of evil, and it had a tendency to suck people in.Once Rupert had parked the car, they got out and headed into the building, Fred taking her husband's hand. They went up to the main office reception lobby, and when they exited from the elevator, Fred put her free hand over her abdomen, suddenly having a bad feeling. Maybe she shouldn't have come. But she wanted to help Rupert, and she knew Angel and Charles.Speaking of who..."What are you doing here?" she heard him saying. "You two kidnap Lorne and then come back?"Fred rolled her eyes as she turned to look at Charles, rather enjoying the look on his face when he saw her fully. "We didn't kidnap Lorne. And we didn't really want to come back, but something you did sort of meant we had to.""What do you mean by that?"
When Gunn suddenly popped up, Giles held his wife's hand tighter. "You signed something a few days ago to get something out of customs," he said, giving Gunn a leveled gaze. "Something dangerous.""Yeah, but it's not dangerous. The doctor said it was some equipment that needed to be signed for," Gunn said with a smug look. "You came all the way from England about a peice of equipment?""It's more than that you fool!" Giles said with a glare. "It's an old one. An ancient demon and by you signing for it, you've brought it into our world. What in the bleeding hell is so important that you had to doom us for it? Now, where is it?"Gunn crossed his arms and looked at all of them. "Look, the doctor said it was equipment for the lab. I didn't think it was anything else!" he said in defensive of himself."We is it now?" Giles asked. "And you better be truthful with us.""It's either down in the lab or on the delivery dock. You can't get down to the dock unless someone's with you," Gunn explained.Giles thought about it for a moment and looked at Fred. "Go down to the lab with Andrew and see if it's there. Don't touch it. Call me on my mobile if it is. I'll go with Gunn down to the dock," Giles said as he leaned over and softly kissed his wife. "Andrew, take care of her.""I will, Mister Giles."
Fred couldn't believe it - Charles had gotten some kind of implant to make him all smart, lawyer-guy, and he hadn't actually investigated what he had been signing for, instead trusting the word of some doctor who obviously worked for Wolfram and Hart. Part of her wanted to ask him what had happened to streetwise man she had known, the guy who had been her friend.When Rupert suggested that she go down to the lab, she nodded, looking over at Andrew. She knew why he had sending him with her, and while she might have normally protested that she could take care of herself, here she didn't mind it whatsoever. Knowing that Andrew was staying with her made her feel better.As Rupert and Gunn headed for the dock, Fred and Andrew headed upstairs, Fred remembering the way to the lab from her previous visit. When they reached the entrance, they walked in, she immediately saw Knox, the guy who had creeped her out so much that last time. He looked up, frowning for a moment until recognition dawned, and a smile crossed his face."Hey...Fred Bu--Giles! What are you doing here? Have you finally decided to take up the job offer? I have to say, I didn't think they'd want you to after a few months ago. They weren't too happy when you disappeared with the green guy."Fred shook her head. "No, I didn't. Andrew and I are here looking for an item. A sarcophagus. Charles Gunn said it was either down on the loading dock or here.""Sarcaphogus? You mean, like a bit stone coffin box?" Knox asked. "Yeah...we had something like that delivered earlier. Had no idea where it came from, though. I thought I was supposed to be getting new equipment."There was something about the way he was acting that Fred didn't like, so she was grateful when Andrew moved closer to her. "Just show us, Geek Boy," Andrew told him."Look who's talking," Knox snorted.He led them back to an isolation room. Through the window, Fred could see a large stone sarcophagus and knew that they had found what they were looking for. Quickly, she fumbled her phone out and dialed her husband."Rupert?" she said when he answered. "It's here. I'm looking at it right now."
“I swear I didn’t know, man,” Gunn said as he punched his security code in so they could get into the loading area. “He told me it was a piece of equipment when I signed the piece of paper. If I would’ve known it was a demon, I would’ve never done it!”Giles merely nodded. He couldn’t believe someone could be so stupid to sign something at Wolfram and Hart, without even looking into it. Fred had told him all of them had changed, but Giles didn’t think stupidity was one of their main vices now. “I suppose,” he said as Gunn opened the door.They walked over to the security officer and Giles stood back to let Gunn speak to him. His eyes scanned the room, in hopes he’d see the coffin. It didn’t seem to be there and he was about to turn and say something to Gunn when his mobile started to ring.It was Fred, and they’d found it. “Don’t go near it, love,” Giles said. “We’ll be right there.”Ringing off, he looked over at Gunn. “It’s down in the lab,” he said as both of them ran over of the loading dock.
When Rupert told her to stay put and not touch, she nodded even though he couldn't see her. "Okay," she whispered before ending the call and closing the phone, her eyes still riveted on the sarchophagus. She had never seen anything like it in her life, and knowing what was in there scared the hell out of her. Her hand moving to cover her belly protectively, she involuntarily took a step back...And ran right into Knox. She hadn't even realized he had been standing so close behind her. Suddenly, she felt very, very cold."Beautiful, isn't it?" he asked."I've...I've never seen anything like it." She prayed that Rupert got up there quickly. She was starting to think that maybe she and Andrew should go meet him, but she had no idea what way he would be coming up or even where the dock was in this building."You should see it up close. It's even more amazing."Fred shook her head and stepped away. "No. That's okay, really. We'll stay..."Knox suddenly grabbed her arm. "I insist.""Hey, Dweeb King, let her go!" Andrew demanded, reaching out to pull Knox away from her. Before he could, though, Knox backhanded him with something that looked like a PDA, sending him sprawling onto the floor. Fred stood in shock for a moment, not believing what was happening, then started struggling, but Knox was strong - stronger than he looked."Let me go!" she yelled. "Someone help!""The lab's soundproof." Knox grinned, pulling her over to the door to the isolation room and opening it to let them in. "You know, when I met you a few months ago, I knew you'd be perfect as soon as I saw you, but I didn't think I'd be lucky enough to have this opportunity. I thought I'd have to find someone else.""Wh--what?" Frightened for her and her baby's life now, Fred started struggling harder, kicking and using her free hand to try to hit him. He grabed her other arm and jerked her over to the sarcophagus."You'll be a God, Fred," he told her softly."I'm pregnant. Please let me go.""Not for long.""NO!"Despite her violent protestations and struggles, he tugged her hand out toward a round crystal on the sarcophagus. Just as her hand hit it, a hidden compartment opened."FRED!"The next thing she knew, something knocked her and Knox, and she tumbled to the ground. Gasping, she grabbed her stomach as a slight pain shot through her and looked up to find Andrew leaning over the sarcophagus, coughing. Knox was on the floor, almost halfway across the room, but she didn't care about him, only her friend."Andrew?" she asked, stumbling to her feet and over to him."I...I breathed something in," he mumbled. "Came out of that..."Fred felt her heart seize.
With Gunn on his heels, Giles ran through the firm in the direction he remembered the lab being. When they got to it, his chest tightened as he looked down through the window and saw Andrew and Fred standing by the coffin. Hadn't he told Fred not to go around it? In his research, Giles had read inhaling the dust infected you with the demon.Running in, he grabbed Fred and pulled her back. "Didn't I bloody tell you to stay away from it, Fred?" he asked as Knox ran from the lab."Knox...brought her in...here and...made her open...it," Andrew hoarsely said. "I breathed in something." He looked up at Giles, with blood dripping from his nose."I'll call medic," Gunn said as he jogged over to the room's intercom.Giles pulled Fred and Andrew away, and looked at his wife. He helped her sit down in one of the chairs before going back to Andrew. "All right, Andrew?" he asked as the younger man slumped against a table."It hurts, Mister Giles. Kind of like having a light saber stuck in your chest," Andrew whispered.Giles looked up and saw a team of doctors, and Angel, rushing into the lab. They placed Andrew on a stretcher, and he went over to Fred. "Can you walk, love, or do you need me to carry you?" he asked."What happened?" Angel asked them."Knox just tried to kill my wife and unborn child, and when I see the bastard again, I'm going to kill him myself," Giles hissed.
When Fred heard Rupert's voice, she looked up at him, still a bit disoriented and overwhelmed by what had just happened. She wanted to tell him that she hadn't wanted to touch it, but Andrew told him instead, and when she saw his nosebleed, tears came to her eyes. She let Rupert help into a chair and hugged herself, her stomach fluttering - whether it was the baby or her nerves, she couldn't tell; she just knew that she had almost been...infected? Killed? And Andrew had stepped into harm's way for her, and now...now...She watched as Angel and some doctors came in to take Andrew to medical and felt herself starting to tremble. Andrew was hurt. He could die. She looked up at her husband as he came over and offer to carry her. "I--I think I can walk..." she told him, standing up. She hadn't physically been hurt, and she wanted to be there for Andrew - it was the least she owed him after what he had done.Then Angel asked his question, and Fred felt rage trembling through her.Angel's eyes opened wide in surprise as he looked over at her. "Fred, you're preg--but Knox is...he's a weasel, but he wouldn't--.""He did!" she suddenly yelled, her voice hoarse from grief and worry, cutting Angel off, as she grabbed on to her husband for support. "And do you even realize what you just said?! Before you came here, you would have looked at any employee of this place with suspicion, just because they worked here! Now, you seem to think there's nothing wrong with the people here! You've let them suck you in and change you. I don't even know who Charles is anymore! I don't even know who you are! The Charles and Angel I knew would never have trusted anyone here! My baby almost died because of you, Charles! I almost died! And now Andrew...he's...oh, God, Rupert..."She turned to him, tears in her eyes. "He's going to die, isn't he? You said that demon in there was--it's going to kill him. That's what Knox intended...for it to kill me and take over my body. That's what he meant by me becoming a God."Turning on Angel, she rushed at him and pushed at him hard, railing on him even though it was probably useless, considering his vampire strength. "Why did you agree to this?! Why?! After Wesley died for you because of this place! Now, Andrew is going to die because some prick wanted to kill me too!"
When Fred asked her question, Giles slowly nodded her head. "The dust will infect him and turn his insides to liquid, and then Illyria will take over his body. He'll lose everything, even his soul," he quietly said before Fred tore out of his grip and went after Angel and Gunn.He wanted to pull her back but didn't. Everything Fred was saying was the truth. Angel had turned his back on being the champion and had fallen for the riches Wolfram and Hart had offered him. The vampire, who'd said he was atoning for his sins, was doing nothing but creating more sins for him to brood over and atone for. Like allowing Fred to almost be killed."Fred!" Giles sternly said as he pulled his wife off Angel. "We need to get you to medical." He turned and looked at Angel and Gunn. "I want the two of you to stay away from Andrew and Fred from now on.""But--" Angel began.Giles didn't listen. Instead, he led Fred down to medical and had the doctor check her out. It would seem Andrew had reacted in time and Fred hadn't inhaled any of the dust. When the doctor gave her the all-clear, they walked over to Andrew's room but Giles stopped when he saw Knox looking around one of the corners."I'll be back soon, love," Giles said as he kissed Fred's cheek and slipped out of the room.He followed Knox down into what looked like a weapon room. When the Knox saw him in there, he started to laugh. "I was so close. Fred would've been the perfect shell for Illyria before her little dweeb of a friend pushed her out of the way," he said with a laugh.Giles flew across the room and pinned Knox against the wall. "You almost killed my wife and unborn child!" he hissed as he placed his arm against Knox's throat."The baby wouldn't have felt a thing as it was turned to liquid. Or, if it would've been lucky, Fred would've miscarried it before she died," Knox choked out.Giles shook with anger and before he could think of what he was doing, he had his free hand out and was muttering a spell. One of the knives from the wall flew across the room and landed in Giles' hand. "Go to hell," he whispered as he pushed the knife into Knox's gut and twisted it. He held Knox there until he stopped breathing. Then Giles allowed the man to slump to the floor.
When Rupert pulled her away from Angel, Fred sagged against him, feeling as though every ounce of energy in her had been sapped. Tears were streaming down her face. Andrew was going to die because of her. She and their baby were safe, but at what cost? It wasn't fair. Charles and Knox were responsible for this being here, but now Andrew was the one that was paying.She let her husband take her to medical to have a doctor check her out. "I didn't want to touch it," she told Rupert softly as she was examined, wanting him to know that she hadn't ignored what he said. It was an irrational fear that filled her that somehow he thought she had touched it on purpose - she knew that she was too curious for own good sometimes. "He grabbed me and forced me into the room and made me touch it. I tried to stop him. I swear I tried."When the doctor told her that she was fine, she was more relieved for the baby than she was for herself - she didn't think she could have dealt with it if anything had happened to their daughter. They hadn't even had a chance to name her yet. She couldn't lose her.Once they were finished, they went to Andrew's room, where Rupert left her, disappearing down the hall. She watched after him for a moment, feeling her throat tightening - she had seen Knox and knew what her husband was probably going to do. If she hadn't felt so shakey, she would have gone after the dorky bastard herself, but right now, Andrew was dying, and she wanted to be with him."Hey," she said, walking into the room and sitting down next to his bed. He opened his eyes, looking up at her as he drew in a labored breath."Hey...you okay?"Fresh tears came to her eyes as she took his hand. "Thanks to you.""Couldn't...couldn't let him...hurt you. Giles loves you...too much...""Oh, Andrew," she breathed, feeling her heart ache. "Just rest, okay? Conserve your strength.""I'm gonna die, aren't I? I heard the doctor talking."She bit her lip, not wanting to answer him but not wanting to lie."It's okay. I should have...I should have died a long time ago. I did bad things. Guess I just...just had to...redeem myself. Like...like...""Like Darth Vader?" she asked softly.A smile spread across Andrew's lips. "Yeah...like Darth Vader." He paused, a frown crossing his face. "I'm never gonna see that last movie now."Suddenly, they heard a voice from the door to the room. "Andrew, you like like shit, mate."The young man raised his head, his frown turning into a big smile. "Spike! You're really here! Oh, God, I missed you."The blond vampire crossed the room and came to stand by the bed. "I missed you too. Heard you were all heroic and saved old Rupes' wife here."Fred nodded, squeezing Andrew's hand tight. "He was very brave." She looked over toward the door. "Rupert went after Knox, I think. He was the one--.""I know," Spike interrupted her. "Saw 'em down in the weapons room, which was why I came to find out what happened. Knoxious ain't gonna try to hurt you anymore, pet. Your husband made sure of that."Taking a deep breath, Fred felt her throat tighten a bit as she nodded, remembering Rupert's reaction to Siedel. "Good." She turned to Andrew and pushed his hair back from his forehead. "Hear that, Andrew? Rupert got him.""Yeah," Andrew murmured. He looked over at Spike, reaching up to take his hand. "You'll stay, Spike? Please?"He looked down at the sick young man on the bed for a moment, pain in his eyes. "Yeah...yeah, I'll stay. Promise."