Timeline: S5-ish. Basically AU.
Synopsis: Buffy puts herself and Giles in an awkward position. The awkwardness prompts certain revelations.
Author’s Notes: 4thderevko gave me this little Bunny – “Giles and Buffy couldn't be more than 3 feet from each other without experiencing extreme physical pain” – and this is what I came up with. Thanks to wyvernwolf for being such a wonderful beta!
“Ow! Bloody hell, Buffy!”
Buffy smiled sheepishly as Giles glared at her. “Um...sorry.”
Giles rubbed his right shoulder and exhaled forcefully. “You were the one to have the brilliant idea of seeing if the manacles still worked, so please have the common decency to remember that we’re actually chained together for the time being.”
“You’re really annoyed with me, aren’t you? You only use really long sentences like that when you’re really annoyed.” When he shot her another glare, she sighed. “I really am sorry, Giles. I thought you had the key.”
“Yes, because I always have keys to items that do not belong to me. I can understand why you would think I’d have a key to an ancient set of manacles that you found in the middle of a cemetery.”
“Couldn't you...you know...magic them off?”
Giles rolled his eyes in exasperation. “Why didn’t I think of that? Abracadabra!” He waved his left hand in the air. “Poof.”
Buffy stared at him and then shook her head. “Well, you don’t have to be so snitty about it.”
“I’m not ‘snitty’...which I’m assuming is a Buffy word as it wouldn’t be found in the Oxford Dictionary. I’m frustrated and annoyed. Understandably so, I might add.”
She took a deep breath and looked into his eyes. Hers were bright and round, clearly showing her regret. Her voice was a barely audible whisper when she spoke again.
“I’m sorry, Giles.”
He sighed heavily and ran his free hand through his hair. “I suppose that I should be happy that you at least didn’t bind our dominant hands together.”
“Do you think Anya will be able to find a key that’ll work?”
“One can hope.”
She averted her eyes from his and glanced down at the ancient chains. “Sorry this is so horrible for you.”
Giles cleared his throat softly. “Would you like some tea?”
She bit her lip, the fact that he didn’t acknowledge her statement not going unnoticed. “Yeah, sure.”
He took a step towards the kitchen and stopped when she didn’t follow him. “Um...you’ll have to come with me, Buffy.”
“Huh?” She looked up and then back down at her left arm. “Oh, yeah...okay.”
He led her to the archway leading to the small kitchen and stopped again, gesturing inside with his free hand. “You’ll have to go first.”
She nodded silently and moved towards the sink. She filled the kettle as he pulled down two mugs and the canister of tea bags. She rolled her eyes as he sighed in exasperation.
“What’s wrong now?”
He glanced down at her and then lifted his right arm. As her left followed his movement, she understood his exasperation. Without saying a word, she placed the kettle on the stove and turned the knob to heat the eye.
“Thank you.” He said softly.
She merely shrugged a shoulder and leaned over to open the refrigerator, careful not to pull his arm as she did so. As she pulled out the carton of milk, he exhaled slowly.
She turned and placed the carton on the counter, refusing to meet his eyes. “It is horrible for you, isn’t it?”
He watched her for a moment, her lean fingers turning the carton in slow circles. “I’m not sure ‘horrible’ is the word I’d use.”
“Painful? Unbearable? Appalling? Detestable? Loathsome?”
She rattled off the words in quick succession, turning to face him again. As she turned, she tripped over her own feet and lost her balance. She fell onto her back, inadvertently pulling him down with her.
He groaned as his knee hit the linoleum surface and caught himself before he landed on top of her. He could feel her hot breath on his neck and he swallowed nervously as he took note of their current positions.
He was lying over her, his weight supported by his left hand next to her head and his right knee between her legs. Their bound hands caught between their bodies. He cleared his throat again and closed his eyes.
“I’m rather sure none of those words are accurate either.” He pushed himself up slightly and glanced down at her. “Are you alright?”
She nodded slowly. Noticing that her breathing pattern had changed slightly, he furrowed his brow.
“Are you sure? You fell fairly hard...” He trailed off as his eyes darted to her chest, immediately noticing the hardened peaks under her thin blouse. When he felt his cock begin to stir in response, he stood up quickly and pulled her up with him.
He reddened lightly and put his hand on her shoulder to steady her. “I’m sorry. I just...um...you’re okay, yes? Yes...um...tea.”
She narrowed her eyes in confusion as he quickly turned towards the stove. She hadn’t heard him ramble like that in months. She reached across her body and touched his right shoulder, biting her bottom lip when she felt him tense.
Before he had a chance to respond, the door swung open and Anya walked in with a smile on her face. “I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first?”
Buffy turned to face Anya, her left arm moving behind her back to keep as little pressure on his arm as possible. “Great, a choice.”
Giles lowered his head, still not turning around. “Might as well start with the bad.”
Anya raised an eyebrow at Buffy. “Cold?”
She gestured towards Buffy’s chest. Buffy glanced down and groaned in mortification. Anya grinned knowingly, but chose not to expand on the subject, instead addressing Giles.
“Bad news is you have no keys at the shop that’ll work.”
“I was afraid of that.” Giles muttered softly, picking up the kettle as it began to whistle.
“But, the good news is...I know a blacksmith who can forge a key that’ll work. I just need to know how old it is.”
Giles glanced down at his right wrist and the metal encasing it before taking a deep breath. “Approximately twenty-five hundred years and in interestingly immaculate working order.”
Buffy smiled proudly. “Well, that’s impressive.”
“A background in archaeology is beneficial at times.” Giles replied softly. “How long until a key can be made?”
Anya shrugged a shoulder. “A few hours maybe? I’ll go find him. Don’t go anywhere!”
Giles rolled his eyes and turned to face her. “And I had the grand idea of taking Buffy to the mall for a shopping spree.”
Anya snorted and smiled at Buffy. “Have you ever noticed how his sarcasm grows in situations like this?”
Buffy glanced at Giles with a smile on her face. Her smile faded when Giles didn’t look at her.
Seemingly oblivious to the tension in the room, Anya turned and made her way back to the door. “I’ll bring the key when it’s finished.”
As the door closed, Giles began the calming task of preparing two cups of tea as well as he could with basically one hand. Buffy watched him, allowing him to move her arm along with his when the task required the use of his right hand.
“Hm?” He mumbled as he carelessly dumped a spoonful of sugar into her mug.
“What just happened?”
He took a deep breath and poured the boiling water into the mugs. “We were arguing, you tripped and fell, pulling me down on top of you...and then Anya came in with a solution.”
She felt the burning behind her eyes that always signalled a building of tears and blinked furiously so they wouldn't fall. “Oh.”
He glanced at her quickly before picking up one mug and pushing the other towards her. “Are you alright?”
“You keep asking that.” She picked up her mug and followed him into the living room. She wanted to run from his apartment, but she had no choice but to follow him. “I’m...fine.”
He raised an eyebrow at her as he sat down on the couch. “I keep asking because I care. Your answer wasn’t very convincing, Buffy.”
She sat down beside of him, sitting as far away from him as she possibly could. “I...thought something else might’ve happened. That’s all.”
He was lifting the mug to his lips, but paused halfway at her answer and looked at her. “Such as?”
She shook her head slowly and stared at her tea. “Nothing. It’s nothing.”
“Your tv would have to be broken right now, wouldn’t it?” She stated sadly.
He regarded her carefully before placing his mug on the table next to him. “I could turn the stereo on.”
She considered it briefly before shaking her head. “I don’t feel like getting back up right now.”
“We could talk.”
She snorted and rested her head against the back of the couch. “About what?”
He bit his bottom lip and stared at his hands. His gaze moved from his right hand to her left, before travelling up her arm and pausing momentarily on her chest. He shifted uncomfortably as he felt himself begin to harden.
“Something else might have happened.” He whispered.
She looked at him quickly, her eyes widening. “Giles?”
“I need to tell you something. Not because I want to, but because it’s affecting my efficiency as your Watcher.”
He inhaled deeply, shaking his head when he realized that she was getting ready to speak. “Please, just let me get this out.”
She gave him a quick nod, turning her body to face him, the manacles rattling from the movement.
He cleared his throat and lowered his eyes. “I dream about you. I have for months now. At...at first, they were innocent dreams. You coming by after patrol to give me your report.”
He glanced at her eyes and then quickly looked away.
“However, in time the dreams...intensified. And now I find myself looking at you and...”
He hesitated for a moment, obviously collecting his thoughts. Buffy waited as patiently as she could. She hoped that she was hiding her anticipation and that her trembling was being successfully contained inwardly.
He took a deep breath and looked into her eyes. “I desperately wanted to kiss you earlier.”
“Lying over you, feeling your warm breath against my skin...” He lifted his free hand and gently rubbed the side of his neck. “I nearly gave in. Then I noticed your breathing change...”
His gaze darted to her breasts, quickly returning to her eyes. “And another obvious change...and I realized that I wanted more than to just kiss you.”
Buffy gasped softly and he cleared his throat again.
“I may have severely misjudged your reaction earlier. If I have, please accept my heartfelt apology.”
She shook her head slowly, her eyes still wide. “No misjudging.”
He gave her a nervous smile and lifted his right hand to touch her cheek, but the movement was abruptly halted as the manacles reached the end of their play. He cursed softly, having momentarily forgotten their predicament.
She returned his smile and raised her hand, the one not bound by the shackles, and placed it gently on his chest. She could feel his heart rate quicken under her touch.
“You know how well I do with relationships.”
“Well, your prior choices haven’t exactly been stellar.” When she snorted a laugh, he flushed lightly. “I’m not saying that I’m stellar. But...I’m not a vampire and I’m not a soldier intimidated by your Calling.”
She moved a little closer to him, her fingers rubbing gentle circles over his heart. “And what are you?”
“A man bound to you by destiny.” He glanced down at their bound hands and gave a wry smile. “And, for the moment, shackles.”
When she laughed softly, he began to relax.
“I can’t promise you the world, Buffy. I can’t even make promises as to where this will go.” He lifted his left hand and gently stroked her hair. “But, I’d like to find out. If you’re willing, that is. I mean...I, well...”
She chuckled and leaned forward, placing a chaste kiss across his lips. “You’re very cute when you stammer. But, you’re sexier when you’re confident.”
He tilted his head slightly, his eyes sparkling in the soft light of the room. “Sexier?”
“Mm-hm.” She smiled as her fingers toyed with his tie.
“You, uh...think I’m sexy?”
Her smile turned to a grin as she carefully straddled his thighs. “No. I know you are. And you know what makes you so sexy?”
He swallowed as she brushed her fingers through his hair. “No.”
“The fact that you don’t know how hot you are.”
She exhaled deeply when she settled on his lap, feeling the unmistakable sensation of his burgeoning erection underneath her.
“I’d like to take this slow, Giles. I want more...just like you. But...I’d like to see how it works itself out. You know?”
A smile tugged at his lips as he nodded. “Yes, I do.”
She glanced at his lips as she loosened his tie. “But, if you don’t kiss me soon – ”
The rest of her sentence was lost as he slipped his left hand to the back of her head and pulled her mouth to his. A groan rumbled in her chest as he skilfully nudged his tongue between her lips, their bound hands resting on her left thigh.
Her right hand moved to his shoulder, gripping tightly when his tongue touched hers. Her body trembled as he stroked the underside of her tongue with the tip of his. She could feel his erection growing harder underneath her and wondered if she’d made the right suggestion of taking things slowly.
When he felt her shift on his lap, he groaned and pulled away from the kiss. He stroked her cheek tenderly and fought to catch his breath.
“We should...stop now.”
She rested her forehead against his and sighed. “Not sure if I want to.”
“Buffy – ”
She interrupted him with a soft admission that made his heart literally skip a beat.
“I love you.”
She lifted her head and gazed into his eyes. “I know we should stop. I know we should take this slow. But, you need to know that I love you. And you need to know that this isn’t a game to me.”
She took a deep breath and carefully moved to his side. “And if this is any less than that to you...then we really should stop. Because I think you’re the only man in the world who has the power to shatter my heart.”
Giles stared at her. To say that he was shocked by her admission would be an understatement. When she lowered her eyes, he swallowed the lump in his throat.
“Yeah?” She answered softly, staring at their shackled hands and aching to lace their fingers together.
“You...need to look at me, please.”
She exhaled slowly, mustering her courage to look into his eyes. When she did, he smiled warmly and lifted his left hand, tenderly stroking her cheek with his thumb.
“I’ve loved you, in one way or another, since the first day I met you.”
She furrowed her brow as she thought over his words. “One way or another?”
He nodded, clearing his throat as he began to explain. “I loved you for the child you were. So adamant that you were not going to be the Slayer any longer. I loved you for the Slayer you became. Dedicated and, often times, infuriating.”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “Well, yay me.”
He chuckled softly. “Let me finish.”
“I hope it gets better.” She mumbled.
“I watched you grow and as you grew, my love for you grew...and changed.” He licked his lips and smiled. “It is true that I loved you much as a father would love his daughter, but that was never an accurate description. I think that a certain person confused the protective love I felt for you with…paternal love. Over the years, I’ve discovered that the things that would often frustrate or annoy me became things that I found utterly charming about you.”
“Giles...” She whispered, leaning into the hand that was still caressing the side of her face.
“I do love you, Buffy. In fact...I believe I have fallen in love with you over the past few months.” He leaned forward and brushed his lips across hers. “And you should know...this is no game to me either.”
She was quiet for a moment and then sighed. “I know we kinda tease you about being the ‘word guy’ and all, but...I think I wouldn’t mind hearing all of that all over again.”
He kissed her again, pulling back before passion took over once more. “This is why I think it’s very important that we take this slowly. I would love to take you upstairs and make love with you right now, please know this. But, you are so very precious to me...and I need for us both to be sure this is what we want.”
She tilted her head slightly, a smile tugging at her lips. “You’re as scared as I am, aren’t you?”
“Terrified, actually.” He responded with a smile. “And, I…I think that we may have gone a little too far…”
She automatically glanced down at his groin and reddened when she saw the noticeable bulge in his trousers. “Oh…I’m sorry.”
He chuckled, shaking his head lightly. “There is absolutely nothing to be sorry for, Buffy. This…” He cleared his throat and gestured vaguely. “This is a common reaction.”
“Okay, yeah…I took sex-ed in school, Giles. I do actually know how it works.”
“I actually meant that it's a common reaction to you.”
“Oh.” Buffy’s face reddened deeply. “Well, I’ve never seen you have that reaction to me before.”
“You haven’t been sitting on my lap with your tongue in my mouth before.” He grinned as her blush deepened further.
“You also haven’t been here when I’ve awakened after a particularly stimulating dream about…us. Nor have you been here after you’ve left for the evening.” When Buffy laughed, he rolled his eyes. “You know what I mean, Buffy.”
“Yeah, it was just a Buffy way to say it. It makes me laugh when you talk like me.”
He grinned and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I’m glad to be a source of amusement for you.”
She returned his grin and leaned forward, glancing at his lips. “I really want to kiss you again.”
He raised an eyebrow, his tongue darting out to moisten his lips. “Do you?”
“Uh-huh.” She looked back into his eyes and placed her right hand on his thigh, their bound hands wedged between them on the couch. “Can I?”
He nodded slowly, whispering as she moved closer to his lips. “If you’ll allow me to hold you afterwards.”
“I think I’d really like that.” She whispered back just before she covered his mouth with hers.
The kiss was slower this time. The passion was still there, and growing with each passing second, however the urgency seemed to have calmed. They savoured one another, allowing their hands to explore as much as they could as the kiss deepened.
The kiss came to a natural end, both of them sighing as Buffy laid her head on Giles’ chest. He gently rubbed her back with his left hand as she moved their bound hands to a more comfortable position.
“I think this is the safest I’ve ever felt.” She whispered softly.
“Your arms…my new favourite safe place.”
He smiled and carefully repositioned himself, stretching out along the couch with her nestled against his chest. “I love you, Buffy.”
She laced the fingers of her left hand with his right, mindful of the cool metal linking their wrists. “I love you, Giles.”
He recognized the weary tone of her voice and tenderly kissed the top of her head. “Rest now.”
“Mm-hm.” She mumbled, her eyes already closed.
He shifted once more and then closed his eyes, the most relaxed he had felt in years.
* * *
Anya opened the door and smiled when she realized they were asleep. She quietly made her way around the couch, arching an eyebrow when she saw the linked fingers and the protective way Giles was holding Buffy to his chest.
She pulled the newly forged key out of her pocket and leaned over, easily slipping it into the lock on the manacles. As they clicked open, Giles opened his eyes.
Anya looked down at him and smiled. “Didn’t mean to wake you. The key worked.”
He glanced at their shackle-free wrists and smiled graciously. “Thank you, Anya.”
She tilted her head slightly. “Is this a new thing?”
Giles took a deep breath, but made no effort to let go of Buffy’s hand. “Very.”
Anya’s smile widened. “A secret thing?”
“For the moment.” He replied, glancing down when Buffy shifted in her sleep. “Would you mind keeping this to yourself for the time being?”
“Are you going to hurt her?”
Giles furrowed his brow as he looked at her. “Pardon?”
Anya crossed her arms over her chest. “I may not be a demon anymore, but I still have friends who are. If you hurt her – ”
“I have no intentions of hurting her in any way, Anya.”
“Do you love her?”
He instinctively tightened his hold on Buffy as he nodded. “I do.”
Anya grinned and lowered her arms. “Your secret’s safe. But, don’t expect people to be surprised when you tell them.”
Giles merely looked at her questioningly. Anya chuckled softly and placed the key on the coffee table.
“We’ve just been waiting for the two of you to see what’s right in front of you. For the record, you had one month left before we started Plan G.”
Anya nodded happily. “We figured you’d be the hardest to convince, so we were gonna start with you. Plan G. G for Giles.”
Giles smiled in amusement. “I had deduced what the ‘G’ stood for.”
“Well, now we don’t have to start it.”
Giles raised an eyebrow at her. “Do I want to know what this plan consisted of?”
Anya grinned as she shook her head. “Probably not.”
Giles chuckled softly as she abruptly turned and walked to the door. As she opened the door, she turned back around.
“Just…make each other happy, Giles.”
Giles gave her a nod, his eyes sparkling in the light. “Would you mind turning the light off before you leave?”
Anya laughed gently and flipped the switch before walking outside, closing the door behind her.
Buffy shifted again, mumbling incoherently as she made herself more comfortable. Giles briefly considered taking her upstairs. The bed would be much more comfortable than the couch, but he didn’t have the heart to disturb her.
Instead, he carefully reached over and pulled the afghan from the back of the couch, draping it over their bodies. As she snuggled against him, he smiled and closed his eyes again. His back would scream at him in the morning, he knew.
Funny thing was…he didn’t care.