Author's Note: This is my contribution to a fic "challenge" on the GASP! Anthony Stewart Head Internet mailing list. At the beginning of "The Dark Age", Buffy and Willow are playing a game called "Anywhere But Here". The fic challenge asked challengers to come up with ABHs for any of ASH's characters.

Rupert Giles et. al. belong to Joss Whedon and the WB; I'm just playing with them. No copyright infringement intended.

Anywhere but Here....

By Jeanne DeVore

I've overslept and am running late. Rupert Giles is due here at any moment and I've just finished with my shower. He's promised to show me around London on this, my last day off before I start work on my new job. I don't want to wreck it he was so nice when I met him in the British Museum yesterday, I don't want him to think I'm a space cadet. However, my hair is wet and I'm barely managing to stumble into clothes when there's a knock on the door of my tiny hotel suite.

I know I must look like hell, but there's nothing for it. I run to the door, making sure I've actually managed to fasten my jeans, and open it, words of apology already on my lips.

He holds up a hand to stop me. "No need to apologize; we were out rather late last night." I smile, remembering an evening of fascinating conversation, a long walk through London's streets, ending up in a late-night bookstore and coffee bar, and talking until they kicked us out at midnight.

He's still talking and I force my attention back. "We're not on any sort of time schedule," he says, "so I thought you might like to see my favorite way to spend a Sunday morning." From under his arm he produces the Sunday Times. And in his hand is a sack of scones. "I assume you have tea?"

It takes me a minute to realize what he's suggesting (I must still be half asleep). But then I smile. "Of course," I say, and he closes the door behind him, moving into the tiny sitting room and setting the paper down.

I had already put the kettle on to boil when I first woke up, hoping against hope I'd have time for a cup of tea before I left, so the water is still hot. It's the work of a few minutes to make a pot of tea and bring it and the mugs over to where Rupert has settled himself on the small sofa, newspaper at his side. "Which section do you want?" he asks.

"You mean besides the ad from Harrods?" I smile, pouring out two cups. "Let me start with the Arts section."

He peels off the section and holds it for me as I settle next to him, handing him his mug. I reach into the sack and pull out a scone, breaking it in two and handing him half. And then I settle back, sipping my tea and reading the Sunday Times the way I love to spend Sunday mornings at home, too.

We're perfectly at ease together, drinking our tea, munching our scones, reading our paper, occasionally stopping to read each other some interesting bit, sometimes discussing something one of us had read in an article. Until the teapot is empty, the scones are gone, and most of the paper has been perused. It's only then that we notice we've lost almost two hours. What a blissful way for time to pass.

"Well," he says, "do you still want to see some more of the sights?"

"Of course," I answer. I go into the bedroom to find shoes and socks while he cleans up the tea things. I come out and practically bump into him in the hallway.

Now the awkwardness sets in; here's this good looking man whom I'm terribly attracted to, and I've been entertaining him in my hotel room all morning. But either he doesn't notice my discomfort, or he chooses to ignore it.

He smiles at me; he's got the most wonderful smile.... "By the way," he says softly, brushing my now-dry hair away from my neck with gentle fingers, "I didn't say this when I got here and I should have." He leans down and gives me a tender kiss. "But good morning."

With that he helps me on with my coat and escorts me out of the suite. It's going to be a good day....