Giles walked around his desk to where Willow was standing, taking her hands in his, he raised them to his lips and kissed them. Looking deeply into her eyes, he said, “Yes, Willow... Miss Rosenberg, would you do me the greatest honor of accepting my invitation.”
Without a moment's hesitation the shy young woman nodded her head, “Yes Giles, I'd love to go out with you,” she beamed.
A smile formed on the librarian's face. “Thank you, you don't know how happy you've made me,” he said, the smile was quickly replaced with a frown.
“What's wrong?” she asked. ‘He hasn't changed his mind, already, has he?' she wondered.
“We'll have to be very careful, there are many people who would look down upon this. Your parents for one, and the school board for another... quite possibly the police” he muttered to himself.
“You aren't having second thoughts are you?” she said.
“Of course not. I hadn't given this much thought as I'd never intended to tell you how I felt,” he told her.
“Why now?” she asked.
“Last nights' events allowed me to come to the conclusion that I would have most assuredly been killed or worse without your timely intervention. I didn't want another day to go by without telling you, no matter how you might've reacted. And then there's the fact you kissed me... why did you kiss me?” he asked.
“The truth is, I don't know why I kissed you, it just felt like the right thing to do,” she shrugged.
“I see...” Giles replied frowning.
“Wait, you don't understand. I kept thinking about it and I wished...” she faltered.
“What?” longing to hear the answer. Willow couldn't face him, Giles reached over his thumb caressing her face. “What did you wish?” he whispered.
“That I didn't run into the house,” she responded quietly. “That I didn't just kiss you on the cheek.
“Oh... my dear sweet Willow. I wished for the same thing,” he replied.
“Really?” she couldn't believe that he might have wanted to kiss her in return.
Smiling, he said, “Yes... really.”
“I don't suppose?” she asked, a shy grin appearing on her face.
“No... not that I don't want to, but, um, we're still on school grounds. It would be far too dangerous to attempt anything like that,” he told her.
“You're right, um... I guess I had better get back to work,” she said.
“That's a very good idea. I'll just keep the flowers here for you, until you're ready to leave,” he told her.
“Okay, there are still a few things I need to check out before I head home anyway,” Willow replied as they walked out of his office.
The hours flew by, they both accomplished a vast amount of work in the short time they'd spent together.
“Yes,” he replied, while looking up from his books.
“Buffy isn't in any kind of danger from this is she?” the young woman asked.
Taking his glasses off, the Watcher rubbed his eyes before answering. “I'm not quite sure, I don't have all the information I need right now. Those books I sent Xander for should help tremendously.”
The redhead hung on each word, her gaze settling on his mouth, ‘His kissable mouth,' she thought to herself.
Giles noticed that she seemed distracted. “Um...” he started saying as he put his glasses back on. “Willow, I...ah... I think it's time you went home. I told Buffy that I would meet her tonight,” he said glancing at his watch.
“What?” she asked, coming back to reality.
“I have to meet Buffy shortly...”
“Oh sure, let me just get my things. I'll call my dad, he'll pick me up.”
“There's no need to do that, I'll drive you,” Giles said.
“I don't want to be a burden... “ she started to say.
“You could never be a burden,” he replied.
They left the library and headed for Giles' car. The librarian opened the car door for her, holding the flowers until she was ready, then handed them to her, closing the door. Taking his keys, he unlocked his side and stepped in, starting the engine he backed out and left the school grounds.
On the way, they talked about subjects that held an interest to them. It surprised Rupert how much they had in common.
“Why are we stopping?” Willow asked, when Giles had parked his car around the block from her house.
“Do you remember our conversation, in my office?” he asked as he turned to face her.
“Which part?” she replied.
“The one where you wished...”
“We hadn't stopped?” she asked, her heart rate picked up when it dawned on her why they hadn't gone straight to her house.
“Yes, that's the one,” he said.
“I remember,” she answered.
“Would you mind if I kissed you goodnight?” he asked.
He smiled at her response, leaning across, he ran smack into the flowers. “That wasn't exactly what I had in mind,” he said.
“Oh... Giles, I’m sorry, let me put these down,” Willow said as she placed the roses on the floorboard, when she looked back, she was staring into his face. She could smell the cologne he wore, it was spicy with a hint of musk, it suited him nicely she thought. Closing her eyes, she waited, it wasn’t long.
Rupert leaned in once more placing his lips on hers. He couldn’t believe how incredibly soft and warm they were. He felt his hand reach up and caress her face, wanting to memorize the contours of it. He would let Willow control the intensity of the kiss as he didn’t want to frighten the young woman.
Willow felt something stir inside of her, but wasn’t sure what it was. She wasn’t exactly frightened of it – it made her want to figure out what was causing the sensation. Whatever it was, she was determined to let it happen, wondering where it would lead her. Willow had only seen people kiss on television or in the movies – her parents – didn’t count, they were her parents and she never had the nerve to look whenever she came across it at school. It made her feel as if she were intruding on something private. Thinking back to the examples she had seen, Willow hesitantly parted her lips.
Giles couldn’t believe the sensations coursing through his body when he felt her tongue shyly explore his lips. He parted his as well, wondering what she would do.
‘Oh... Wow!’ she thought when she felt Giles doing the same thing. “Did I do something wrong?” she asked, when she felt the sudden departure of his lips on hers.
“No,” he replied, “It just that...”
“What?” she wanted to know what had brought the kiss to an abrupt end.
“You haven’t kissed many people have you Willow?” Looking down the young woman nodded her head. Alarmed that he might have offended her, Rupert quickly told her, “Willow, please look at me,” he waited until she faced him. “When you parted your lips, I thought you wanted me to do the same and when I did... well, nothing happened. I thought you might have changed your mind,” he explained.
“No... I really liked it. I liked it better than last night,” she answered quickly before looking down briefly. “I just don’t know what to do next. I mean I’ve seen movies,” she offered.
“Oh... Willow. I wish I had more time, but I really must get to Buffy,” he said.
“I understand. Buffy has to come first. She’s the Slayer and you’re the Watcher,” she replied.
“Yes and right now more than ever, do I wish it wasn’t true, but my duty to Buffy must come before anyone or anything else. That doesn’t mean my feelings for you aren’t important to me, you must believe that,” he said.
“I do. I guess you’d better drop me off before it gets any later. You don’t want to keep her waiting,” she said.
“Thank you Willow,” Giles said as he started the car once more and drove her home. “I’ll see you tomorrow then?” Giles asked after finally arriving in front of the Rosenberg residence.
“If I don’t see you sooner,” Willow replied, when they reached her front door.
“Goodnight, sleep well,” he said as he quickly placed a kiss on her cheek.
“You too, be careful,” she said, going inside, she leaned against the door after closing it. Sighing, she pushed herself from the door and made her way upstairs to her bedroom, smelling the roses he had given her.
“So what took you?” Buffy asked when Giles finally arrived.
“I’m sorry I’m late, I had to drop Willow off first. Shall we get going?” he said.
“What are we doing?” she began, when she saw something that made her stop in her tracks. She walked over to him and picked a rose petal from his jacket, she looked at him questioningly.
“Ah, yes, that must have come from the flowers Willow had with her in the car,” he explained.
“Willow... our Willow?” Buffy asked incredulously.
“Yes, Miss Rosenberg,” he said.
“I wonder who gave her flowers,” the Slayer thought out-loud.
“As to your earlier question Buffy, we are here because this would make an excellent training ground for you,” he said trying to distract the teenager.
“This dump?” she asked.
“Um, yes. This dump as you call it is the best place for you. It’s deserted for starters, has been for years, I believe you’ll find it very instructional. After you,” he moved aside to let the Slayer go pass him.
“Where, or how did you find this place Giles?” Buffy asked, as she entered the warehouse.
“I do have resources Buffy. I’ve had traps designed to suit your specific fighting style, which was no easy task, let me tell you. You have exactly one hour to get through. Each time you train, the set-up will be changed. This way you won’t become accustomed to it,” he said as he walked her to the beginning of the course.
“So I get in and out without hurting myself, right?”
“Yes, that’s correct. Buffy do be careful, there are some surprises built-in, and if you’re not concentrating, it could be very dangerous.”
“Thanks for the pep talk Giles,” she said as she walked to the stairs that marked the starting point.
“If at anytime you wish to stop, let me know. I’ll be monitoring you from that room there,” he said pointing to a room set in the back of the warehouse.
“That bad huh?” she asked, “All right see you later,” Buffy said as she started climbing the stairs.
“If you’re not out in the time allowed, I’ll shut everything down, and you’ll be directed to the exit. Is that understood?” he asked her.
“I’ve got it, one hour,” she replied.
“Good luck,” he told her as he went to the monitoring room. Switching on the hidden cameras located throughout the course, he was able to keep track of Buffy’s progress.
There were times his hand hovered above the over-ride button, which would have shut the mechanisms down, each time he was about to push it, she surprised him.
“Giles... can you hear me?” Buffy asked.
“Yes, I can. Do you wish me to shut it down?” he asked her.
“No, I just wanted to see if you were there, that’s all,” she replied, as she barely managed to avoid the knife that came shooting at her. “You weren’t kidding about this being dangerous were you?”
“No, I wasn’t. I’m sorry to have to put you through this, but you must be prepared for any contingency,” he explained.
“Got it,” she said.
Buffy had managed to complete the course with time to spare. Giles was waiting for her at the exit when she finally came out. “That was excellent Buffy,” he said as he handed her a towel and a bottle of water.
“Thanks...” Buffy wiped the sweat from her face, and drank half of the bottle.
“That’s enough for tonight, we’ll do this twice a week,” he told her walking back to the monitoring room. He wanted to get the tape he’d made of the exercise to study it. “Buffy, under no circumstances are you attempt the course by yourself, is that understood?”
“Alone, very bad. I understand,” she replied.
They left the warehouse unaware that they were being photographed.
“So, how did things go with Buffy last night?” Willow said to Giles, as he sat down next to her.
“They went very well, thank you. How are you doing?” he asked briefly placing his hand on hers.
“I had some trouble sleeping,” she replied smiling at the gesture, opening a math book she’d brought with her.
“Are you all right?” Giles asked, concerned.
“Oh, I’m fine. I kissed a handsome man last night, and let’s say sleep wasn’t one of my top priorities,” she said teasingly.
“Really. Is it anyone I know?” he asked, staring at the open section of her book.
“I think you’ve actually might have met him. He tall, very good looking, speaks with an English accent,” she told him.
“I do believe I know the person in question. I can only say that he is a very lucky chap indeed,” he said.
“Hey, don’t you two have anything else to do except being cooped up in here?” Xander asked them, carrying a package under his arm. “Here you go. That was one weird book store you sent me to Giles,” he told the librarian.
“Thank you Xander. If you’ll excuse me, I have some reading to do. Willow, I’m sure you’ll solve that math question in no time,” he said standing up and left for his office. Xander took the opportunity to take his place, and sat next to Willow.
“Wills, are you okay?” he asked his best friend.
“I’m fine, why?” she replied, closing her book.
“Well, you seem distracted these last couple of days, and I hardly ever see you. When I do, you’re always in here, come on, let’s Bronze tonight, wadda you say?”
“Xander, I’ll just be in the way of you and Cordelia,” she told him.
“Oh, Cordy won’t be there, she’s got some shindig to go to tonight, way too formal for me. So say you’ll go with me... please,” he used his infamous lost puppy dog look on her.
If it had been anyone else, she would have laughed and walked away, or at least she’d like to think she’d do that, but she couldn’t do it to her oldest friend. “Okay Xander, you’ve talked me into it...”
“Great, I’ve got something’s to do for mom, I’ll meet you there around eight?” he asked.
“Sure, eight’s fine.”
“Cool, see you later,” Xander said as he got up and left the library.
Shaking her head, Willow wondered if she would always have feelings for him. ‘How am I going to tell Giles?’ Getting up from the desk, Willow walked towards his office. Peeking in, she watched as he went through the books Xander had brought in. Smiling to herself, she stepped into the room, wondering how long it would be before he noticed her standing there. She decided to clear her throat, when it seemed like he wasn’t going to look up at all.
“Yes, can I help you?” he said without looking up from the book.
Shaking her head, Willow moved closer to him, checking behind her quickly. Taking his head in her hands, turning him to face her.
“What’s going...” he started, when she stopped the rest of the question by kissing him.
She let her hands run through his soft hair. She wanted the kiss to linger, but she released him, gasping for breath.
“On... “ he sputtered.
Laughing, Willow moved around to the front of his desk, “It was the only way I could think of to get your attention Giles,” she said.
Brushing his hair back into place with his hands, he knew he should have been very upset with her behavior. Anyone could have walked by and caught them. “Willow,” he began.
“I know, I know, bad Willow,” she said. “I wanted to let you know that I’m going with Xander to the Bronze tonight.”
For a brief moment he thought his world had come to a complete and sudden end, until he recalled the way she had kissed him just seconds before. “I think that a splendid idea Willow. What time are you going to meet Xander?” he asked.
“Around eight,” she replied, feeling disappointed that Giles really didn’t seem to mind that she went out with Xander.
“You will be careful? I wouldn’t want anything to happen to you... or Xander,” he added hastily.
Nodding her head, “Yeah, we’ll be careful,” glancing down to her wristwatch, she knew she had to hurry, if she wanted to meet Xander on time.
“Call me... please, when you get home, otherwise I shall worry myself silly,” he asked her.
“It might be late... “ she replied.
“Doesn’t matter,” he said.
“Okay. I’ll call you later, bye Giles,” Willow said.
“Goodnight. Willow, have a good time,” Giles told her as he stood up from his desk. ‘Don’t let anything happen to her,’ he thought to himself as he watched the woman he loved walk out of the library.
Willow had to admit that she’d had a wonderful time with her oldest friend. She couldn’t believe some of the questions he had asked her, but it was Xander and nothing he said should surprised her after all these years.
It was well after midnight when Xander’s father dropped her off at home. Xander walked her to her door, making sure she had locked it before leaving. Willow saw her parents, they had asked if she had had a good time, she told them some of the questions he’d asked, Mrs. Rosenberg laughed out-loud, and Willow could hear her father muttering something like, “I don’t know about him.” She kissed them both goodnight and went to the bathroom to brush her teeth.
Walking into her room and closing the door, Willow sat on her bed she stared at the flowers. ‘I still can’t believe he gave them to me,’ she sighed. They were very beautiful, the dark red petals glistening with the water she had added to them before she had gone to school that morning. She reached over for the phone, and dialed Giles telephone number while she kicked-off her shoes.
“Hello?” a male voice asked.
“Giles?” Willow responded.
“Yes. Willow is that you?”
“It’s me. I just got home a few minutes ago, are you all right? You sound different.”
“I’m fine, I fell asleep. Buffy and I were training tonight, and I believe I may have over done it,” he replied.
“Oh, Giles, I didn’t mean to wake you...”
“That’s quite all right, I did ask you to call me when you returned. How did your evening with young Mr. Harris go?” he asked her.
“It was fun, I’m glad I went. We haven’t spent that much time together, not since he and Cordelia, you know,” she said.
“Would you like to go out tomorrow, perhaps a picnic? There is a spot that I go to, whenever I need to take a break, I think you might like it,” he asked her.
“A picnic, I’d love to go with you Giles,” she replied.
“If you’d like, you could call me by my Christian name. It seems silly to have you use my surname all the time,” he said.
“Okay, Rupert,” she said, smiling.
“Would you hold on a second?” she asked.
“Of course,” he replied. He listened as she placed the receiver down, he thought he could hear... ‘Don’t go there old man, get your mind out of the gutter.’
“I’m back,” she said.
“That’s quite all right, you didn’t take long at all. I don’t mean to pry, but may I ask you a question?”
“Shoot,” she replied.
“You weren’t perhaps... um, changing your clothes just then, were you?”
“You’ve got good ears Rupert, I didn’t have a chance before I called you,” she told him.
“Oh,” he muttered.
“Is there something wrong?” she asked, thinking she might have offended him somehow.
“No, nothing...nothing at all. It’s just that I’ll have that mental image to contend with while I’m sleeping,” he replied.
“Rupert, I had no idea,” she said.
“It’s all right. The truth of the matter is, I... I find you very attractive Willow and well, without sounding forward, this will give me something to dream about,” he told her.
“Really?” she asked, pleased for some reason.
“Yes, really,” he answered, as his mind began racing, a grin appearing on his face as he thought about the hacker standing in front of him, slowly undressing...
“Um... I’m sorry, did you say something,” he replied, shaking himself.
“No, I... I wanted say, um, I’ve thought about, well, actually, I’ve dreamt about us,” she couldn’t continue without feeling embarrassed.
“It gives me hope,” he replied.
Willow could feel a smile grow on her face.
“I should let you get some sleep. I’ll call you later, we’ll discuss the picnic then, all right?” he asked.
“Okay, talk to you later, pleasant dreams Rupert,” she said.
“Pleasant dreams Willow, goodnight,” he replied. ‘I love you,’ he added silently. He waited until she hung up before doing the same, locking his fingers behind his head, he sighed as he thought about her.
“Gosh!” Willow exclaimed. Getting into bed, she reached over and turned off the light, and let her mind wander, not surprisingly on Rupert Giles.