The Gift Revisited part 1/3
Joss, ME not mine...I wish!
"If the ritual starts, then every living creature in this and every other dimension imaginable will suffer unbearable torment and death ... including Dawn."
And there it was, as obvious and as logical as he'd ever been. Giles' words followed Buffy, haunting her as she paced around the empty space of the Magic Box workout room. He'd made absolute sense of course. It was completely clear... but Buffy didn't care. She could no more kill Dawn than one of them. Or could she?
A resolved little voice deep from within assured her that anyone who attempted to lay a hand on Dawn was risking his or her life and limb. Buffy would stop them by any means necessary. Had the monks crafted such protectiveness in her or did it come naturally?
How could Giles expect anything other than her refusal to kill her own sister? Buffy stormed over to the stationary punching bag and sent it flailing with a single hit. 'Could *he* actually take Dawn's life?' she thought and remembered he'd taken a life before out of necessity. Another strike sent the bag swaying away then returning for more punishment.
The recollection of Giles' uncharacteristic outburst sent a shudder up her spine. He'd been so angry, so severe. Another punch. He was being the Watcher he was... being Giles. She supposed someone had to be. But it still hurt. And for a flicker of an instant, Buffy pondered what her life would have been like without a Watcher, like the first Slayer. Guilt immediately followed as that indomitable little voice responded with a deafening 'Dead!' She burst forward with a rapid succession of punches as the momentarily unclaimed Watcher quietly entered the room and closed the door behind him.
Giles strolled softly toward his upset Slayer, noticing her clenching jaw as she pelted the bag with swift hits. 'I'm sorry,' he thought but knew those weren't the words she needed to hear. He was right and she knew it. He paused his approach, watching as her powerful blows connected to the worn fabric of the bag. The tape was tearing under the strain; the gear needed mending once again. If they survived this latest damned scenario he would need to replace a few items.
"You sure you're not going to tire yourself out?" He took some tentative steps forward and Buffy stopped her attack on the bag.
"I'm sure," she continued with a collage of strikes, the bag wobbling with every thrust.
"We're ... still working on ideas."
She paused, waiting for Giles to continue.
"Time's short, but... uh, best leave it to the last moment," he tried to sound convinced but his tone was unsure.
Buffy stretched her arms, keeping her eyes focused on the punching bag.
"If we go in too early and she takes us out, no chance of getting her to miss her window."
"Then we wait," she said impersonally, throwing one final devastating blow that sent the bag flying off its chain and landing a few feet away. Finally satisfied with the damage, Buffy shook off the tension in her arms and stared at the defeated bag. Giles swallowed down his apprehension as he closed the distance between them. She continued to divert her stare. It was clear she didn't understand his insensitive attitude earlier and she might not want to.
"I imagine you hate me right now," he spoke delicately. "I understand that."
"Hate..." she sighed, "... is a strong word." Buffy kept her back to him.
Giles took a few more steps, slowly testing her, trying desperately to get some sense of how angry she was. "I love Dawn."
"I know," her voice was sullen.
"But I've sworn to protect this sorry world, and sometimes that means saying and doing ... what other people can't. What they shouldn't have to," Giles could only hope she learn to appreciate his rationalization.
Buffy turned to face him, her eyes distant and unmoved. "You try and hurt her, and you know I'll stop you."
"I know," he said with a placid nod. Watcher and Slayer paused to absorb the sobering moment. How had it come to this? Buffy took a deep breath and lowered her gaze, recognizing the weightiness of the exchange. She moved to the sofa and took a seat, remaining emotionally detached as Giles followed. He paused beside the couch and glanced at her hardened face, hoping for some sign, some gesture of permission allowing him to join her.
"This is how many apocalypses for us now?" She asked plainly.
'Permission granted,' he thought. "Oh, uh, well..." he cautiously lowered his aching frame to the sofa and removed his glasses for a good tidying. "...six, at least." A jolt of pain reminded him of the fresh wound on his side. With a restrained moan, he sat back and settled into the cushions. "Feels like a hundred."
"I've always stopped them. Always won," Buffy's intense gaze stared forward, focusing on nothing but her words.
"Yes, if you can call it winning."
"I sacrificed Angel to save the world. I loved him so much. But I knew ... what was right," Buffy paused and Giles could see the doubt in her glistening eyes. "I don't have that now. I can't sacrifice the only family I have left."
"I don't understand. I don't know how to live in this world if these are the choices. If everything just gets stripped away. I don't see the point. I just wish that..." She looked tearfully at Giles, "I just wish we could be somewhere else, be someone else. Spend these last minutes together, just us... without anger and hurt, no arguing, no duty."
Giles gaze fell to his folded hands lying still in his lap. "All I've ever known is my duty," he mumbled under his breath.
"But instead, I have to face the possibility of sacrificing my friends... sacrificing the man I..." she choked down her cries, determined not to break down.
"You've lost so much. I understand..." Giles wanted to offer her a consoling hug but Buffy had a look of dread in her eyes. Something warned him the moment required a distant but empathetic ear.
"You don't. You really don't," Buffy turned to him as a single tear travel the length of her cheek. "I love you, Giles... but I will kill you to protect Dawn."
Giles studied the young woman's remorseful expression, taking in her warning and the raw emotion behind it. Years of working along side one another and when he finally heard the fateful words he's longed for her to speak, they were intertwined within the composition of a death threat. 'How proper for a relationship built upon the solid foundation of a Hellmouth,' he thought. But he understood. She was being Buffy. Making peace with that thought, he reached out and gently placed his hand over hers, giving her fingers a gentle squeeze.
"I expect no less of my Slayer."
Buffy's saddened expression gave way to a hint of a smile and Giles knew he'd made his decision. He strained to his feet as swells of pain washed through his tired body. "Buffy... if there is sacrifice to be made, it will be mine to make." Taking a deep breath to reassure himself that his chosen path was for the best, he looked back at her with a stony seriousness. "It's time you knew something."
"Oh God...now what?" Buffy whispered nervously.
The wounded and exhausted Watcher labored to kneel down on one knee before her, took her hand in his and gazed into her weeping eyes, "I need for you to know... I love you."
Buffy released a sigh of relief. She was sure he was going to say her head had come off or something to make an almost impossible situation even worse. He rarely admitted such feelings to her and choosing such a tense moment to admit them seemed somehow better, more meaningful.
"I love you too."
She took his tender words to be a statement reaffirming their continuing friendship. Regardless of the situation, they would always love each other. They would always be friends. She returned his affectionate squeeze and tried to pull her hand free. Giles' solid fingers held firm, not letting her retreat.
"Giles?" She grew concerned with the attentive look on his face.
"Buffy," he guided her fingers to his lips and gave them a feathery kiss as realization of what he'd meant finally sunk in. "As foolish as it sounds, I am mercilessly in love with you."
'In love? In love!' Buffy's unintentional sharp intake of breath made Giles release his hold on her now uncontrollably trembling hand.
"No... please don't panic. No need to worry. I don't anticipate you returning my feelings or even understanding them. I buried those irrational hopes long ago. But before we face whatever may come, I need you to know that I care about you more than you could possibly imagine. And beyond my better judgment, I'm willing to surrender my duty to this world for you. Dawn will not die by my hand. So...if we are destined to fail tonight, I will fall knowing I served you as you wished and that I loved you more than the world itself."
Buffy's mind raced, she was totally in awe of what Giles had declared, what he was sacrificing for her. She had no idea he cared for her that way. But with his startling revelation came inexplicable contentment. She hadn't known how much she needed to hear those words until he'd spoken them. And now, with Giles' adoring green eyes revealing his heart, Buffy had never been more certain of her own feelings.
"We're not all going to make it you know," she said softly.
"Most likely," Giles agreed solemnly.
"Then there's something I have to do."
Before he could inquire what it was, he felt the exquisite touch of her lips to his. His heart skipped a beat as the subtle perfume of her skin sent his head swimming. She was kissing him and he couldn't move, couldn't react. He remained perfectly still; worried he'd scare her away with the slightest of movements. Buffy's sensual lips pressed firmly along his bottom lip, persuading him to join in. It wasn't a dream, it was actually happening. But did he want it to happen, like this, now? If not now, it might never be. Could he live with that if he survived?
The enthralling sensation of Buffy's slim fingers gliding up his arm and along his shoulders broke his spell of internal conflict. She actually wanted this, wanted him? As her teasing digits came to rest on the back of his neck, she lured his mouth to join in with a gentle stroke of her tongue along his slightly opened mouth. After a full minute of strenuous denial, Giles finally gave into temptation, savoring her moistened lips as if they were a final meal.
Every taste made him yearn for more. With mild encouragement from Buffy's hands, he carefully maneuvered his body toward the couch, taking a seat next to her. She deepened the kiss, growing bolder with every nibble and suck. Giles hands roamed the landscape of her slender frame, equally restrained and ambitious in their exploration.
They parted, searching each other's eyes for awareness of the significant affair. Buffy leaned in, nuzzling her forehead to Giles' stubbled chin. Her fingers fidgeted along the base of his shirt as she tried to work out what to say, how to tell him what she felt.
"I want nothing more than to be with you," Giles whispered against her heated skin. "But it's for you to choose." His face fell forward, gently nudging her forehead with his.
"This is the first time I've felt free since...forever."
Buffy shut her eyes, banishing all distractions and worry, concentrating only on the sound of his heartbeat and the call of his desire.
"Take me away, Giles. Make me forget all of this."
Her fingers found their way underneath his shirt and lightly brushed the dimpling flesh of his chest. They came together with heightened exhilaration, lips joining in a fiery dance. The kiss turned more vigorous as the playful jousting of their tongues quickly drove each to crave more contact. Suddenly their clothing seemed a burden neither one could bear. If they were condemned that night, then they would make damned sure to erase any possible regrets between them.
"The song is too loud! The water will hear." Tara rushed toward the back.
"Tara, baby..." Willow hurried after the confused young woman heading for the backroom. "I think Giles and Buffy need some alone time."
"But the blinds are lifted..." Tara muttered nervously as she took hold of the doorknob. Willow reached her just as she quietly peeked into the workout room.
"Tara!" Willow ordered with a stern whisper, taking control of the open door as Tara giggled from the brief view she'd stolen of the backroom's activities.
Willow began to discretely shut the slightly open door, wanting to give Watcher and Slayer their privacy.
"We don't have much time, Giles," Buffy pleaded.
"Are you sure this is what you want?" his low growling voice made Buffy melt. She needed him so bad it ached.
"I've never been more sure. I need to feel you inside... please ... "
Willow paused in shock at the sensual words and tone of Buffy's voice. This was definitely not Watcherly/Slayerly conversation going on back there. The redheaded witch caught a glimpse of the impassioned embrace of the predestined twosome. Buffy's head fell back in delight as Giles nibbled enticingly along her neck. The door shut closed vigorously and Willow gasped at the abruptness of her action. Had they heard her? The subtle continuation of moans and grunts put her at ease and she glanced back at the others who looked on with curiosity.
"Lookin' a bit rosey there Will. Something wrong?" Xander asked, hoping that the prizefight that had started earlier wasn't going for a second round in the back.
"Is Giles yelling again?" Anya asked with a furrowed brow. "I don't like it when he yells."
"Um, no... no yelling," Willow responded cautiously and stepped forward, trying to get out of hearing range of the frisky couple shut away behind the door.
"What's going on back there?" Spike asked with a drag of a cigarette. "Still bickering over nibblit?"
"No... no bickering." Willow felt her face flush more.
"Sex and sorrow!" Tara blurted out and scampered to the front door, eagerly clawing at the lock. "Murderer's saying goodbye..." she whimpered as a tear shimmered down her cheek. "Goodbye."
"I think she's getting worse," Anya suggested as Tara continued to ramble on incoherently. "Time must be shorter than we anticipated. Perhaps we should interrupt their conversation?"
"Give 'em a minute. I mean...more than a minute." Willow didn't know how to stop herself from spiraling into an incomprehensible stuttering mess as she struggled to allow Buffy and Giles their tender moment. "I think they need a bit more time to... um, work things off...I mean out. Work things out!"
"Did Glory get to you to Red?" Spike quipped. "I don't fancy storming into the mix sporting nothing but fists and fangs. We need to rally up some weapons. Slayer's got to get with a plan or lil bits gonna be a few pints shy of a life!"
"We can grab supplies from Giles' place and we have the stash in the backroom," Xander suggested and stood up. "I'll make a run to G-man's with a shopping list, Spike can scrounge up whatever's here."
"In a minute..." Willow tried to listen for a hint of activity. Just how long were they going to need? Of all the times for these two to wake up...
Giles struggled to remove his shirt; his recent wound throbbing with every motion. But he couldn't refuse this moment, he needed this, he needed her. And more importantly, she needed him. Buffy saw his discomfort and brushed his hands away. She took control, directing her attention to his trousers, working to unbuckle the belt and unzip the fly. She watched his smiling eyes with fascination as she lowered the zipper. A hint of a grin played along his lips while her hands crept closer to reaching their destination.
'What are you grinning about?' she thought.
His hand caught hers, holding firm and mysteriously as he stared into her eyes, panting feverish breathes. The movement had been so sudden; she'd thought she'd done something wrong at first. His intentions became apparent when he rested her palm over his throbbing bulge and let out a restrained gasp.
"Feel what you do to me?"
Though it was said sensually, in an excited instant, Buffy couldn't help but wonder if it was Giles' way of making her realize what he'd struggled with when he was around her. Just how long had he suffered these feelings for her? She'd had her initial sparks way back during the prom and now, to be finally realized... it was nearly a rebirth for her. A little nod of acknowledgement and a impishly smile were all the warning she gave as her resting palm curved around to further feel the detail of his shape, his girth. He hummed his approval of the gesture, involuntarily driving his hips into her welcoming grasp. Buffy gradually gathered down the fabric shielding his pulsing member and Giles searched her eyes for appreciation of what he had to offer her.
"I do this to you?" she purred as her fingers encircled the shaft. "You're amazing."
"Only with you."
He watched Buffy glide her grasp along his length, enjoying the curiosity in her eyes and the feel of her tender touch. The inevitable results of her actions brought on a certain urgency for release and he tried to withdraw. But it was her turn to hold him captive, taunting him with the clumsy fumbling of her thumb as her other hand glided down his chest, scratching over the fabric and drawing along his side. An abrupt grimace of pain shot over Giles' face and Buffy pulled back. Creases of worry wrinkled her brow as her gaze fell on a small stain of blood soaking through his shirt at the side she'd accidentally prodded. She shot him a concerned look that he dismissed with a gentle kiss.
"It's nothing," he assured her as he lifted her shirt and nuzzled to her chest. "It's all nothing."
His sweltering tongue glided along her perked nipples sending waves of tingles to every nerve. Buffy delighted in the attention, relishing the ripples of pleasure Giles eager lips brought to her. It was as if he knew every inch of her, studied every nook and fold. She couldn't get enough. Her fingers worked to undo her pants and she felt his powerful fingers joining hers in the quest.
Giles slipped a hand within the inviting depth of her loosened pants, wasting no time in stirring up trouble with a wayward finger. Buffy's hips bucked from the erotic spasms his mischievous prodding induced. Her restless fingers searched for an anchor to steady her increasingly swaying body. Giles breath caught as her animated hand groped wildly at his exposed flesh. She silenced his groan with her mouth, seizing upon his lips once more as she struggled to free herself from the confines of her pants. He aided with the task as best he could, settling forward on the edge of the couch, positioning himself ready for what was to follow.
"Precautions?" he whispered.
"Covered," she answered with a smile as she tossed her panties aside. 'That's why she was in love with this man, he was forever thinking of her, protecting her.' It was then she realized the change in her words, 'In love'. She was in love with Giles.
Finally revealed from the waist down, Buffy moved into Giles' lap, wrapping her legs around him and shifting forward, pressing her moist curves against his eager flesh. They paused breathless and anxious, silently considering the monumental change in their relationship that was unfolding. Buffy smiled lovingly at the man that for all the turmoil and struggle, for all the teasing and off color remarks, had stood by her, supporting her, loving her. Without any reservations or inhibitions, she lifted herself up, allowing him to situate the head of his pulsing flesh and she came down, embracing him with one unwavering motion. He filled her whole as no one before. She began to rock as Giles rose up to meet her tempo, muscles working to steady the rhythm. The couple shared a fleeting kiss and stared absorbedly into each other's eyes as they swayed toward a unity they'd never known. They moved to the music of their hearts, driving toward a quickening pace until the dance had escalated beyond the control of either one.
Soon the panting breaths and gentle pushes gave way to lavish moans and untamed thrusts. Giles could feel his orgasm overtaking him and strained to hold it back as Buffy began to quiver around him, drawing out new sensations with every jolt of her hips. She bit back a scream as he filled her again and again with his pounding flesh, feeling her own body succumbing to the pleasure. He continued to thrust upward, bating her with every lunge to release herself but she wouldn't let go. It was something he craved, seeing her flooded with passion and brought over to the freedom of release. With a brisk maneuver, he took hold of her and turned them around on the couch. He sat her down and guided her to lie back as her took over the work of bringing her to her climax. She grasped white-knuckled at the couch cushions as Giles plunged deeper. Once he'd returned to the rhythm, he began to vary his strokes with slight elevations of his hips, trying to touch every nerve hidden within her. A muffled groan encouraged his journeying of her. He was drawing her out, taking every ounce of stress and emotional punishment she'd ever suffered and replacing it with him, only him.
"Harder..." she growled and Giles followed her command, driving forward until her breaths became grunts then groans. Soon her voice failed as Giles poured into her, spilling his passion as she finally let go and allowed her orgasm to claim her. He strained to continue, making sure she'd achieved every bit of pleasure she deserved. The gentle caress of her fingertips entangling the glistening and unruly curls of his hair told him he could relax and enjoy the fruits of his labor. She smiled as Giles' weary head came to rest on her chest.
"Remember... when you asked if... I was going to tire myself out?" she panted.
"Hmmm?" Giles couldn't respond yet, his body still trying to come down from the moment.
"Well... I'm tired." She ran her fingers through his ashen strands, fascinated by how his hair curled when damp.
"In a satisfied kind of way, I hope," he asked.
She kissed the top of his head and gave him a playful pat on the back. "Filled to the brim with satisfaction."
"I'm afraid we don't have much time to recover," Giles wheezed regretfully and pulled out his handy handkerchief, offering it to her for clean up.
"Fates awaitin' eh?" She smiled briefly as she tended to the mess then stood up just before Giles had a chance to steal one last touch. Contented with her tidying, she tossed the rag back to Giles and grabbed her pants, hurriedly dressing. Giles tended to himself as he watched her prepare to face the others.
"Are you alright?" he asked, concerned at the sudden air of seriousness that had befallen her. She straightened up, zipped up her pants and rearranged her top. She glanced back at Giles who was straining to his feet to follow her example.
"As alright as someone whose about to face a god could be," she responded glibly. Giles brow crinkled with the remark and she felt bad for making light of the situation. "Thank you...for telling me, for giving me this."
"I should be thanking you." Giles stepped forward and she held up her hand to stop his advance.
"Giles, really. It means so much to me. I spend so much time killing, destroying. I needed a reminder of what it's all for. And for a moment, when I was looking into your eyes and I felt your heartbeat... I remembered. Thank you."
"Buffy, we can get through this," Giles urged.
"Yeah, if I do my job...if I take lives."
"We will do everything we can to avoid hurting innocent..."
"The spirit guide told me ... that death is my gift. Guess that means a Slayer really is just a killer after all."
"I think you're wrong about that," Giles offered sincerely. "You gave me my life back tonight."
"But it doesn't matter, does it?" Buffy lowered her head. "It's not enough. My love's not enough. It can't save her... or you."
Buffy's smile was gone, her cold eyes glancing up for one last look at the man that a moment ago brought her such pleasure and now, could bring her so much pain with his death.
"If you die tonight...if Dawn dies, I'm done with it. I'm quitting." And with that, Buffy walked out leaving Giles alone to contemplate an unknown future.