Title: Lover's Knot
Author/Date: Gilescandy '11
Rating: 18
Pairings: Giles/Willow, Giles/Spike
Warnings: Angst, forced sexual contact, notions of rape.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Joss et al. I just play with them.
Timeline: Season three, Lover's Walk
Summary: In the episode "Lover's Walk", what if Spike had captured Willow and Giles? How far would our favorite librarian go to protect one of his girls?
Note: This was inspired a lot by the wonderful story "Lover's Retreat" written by Elisabeth. The 'what if' just wouldn't leave me alone, so this is my version of how it could have happened.

Willow walked into the empty library and quickly scooted around the counter to retrieve the keys for the book cage. As her fingers touched the keys, Giles appeared in his office doorway and greeted her, making her nearly jump out of her skin.

"I apologize if I startled you, Willow ," Giles said with amusement and just a touch of suspicion in his gentle voice. "Was there something you needed?"

"Eh… Yes, I mean, no, I mean… Aren't you supposed to be camping or something?" Willow fidgeted uneasily.

"Yes." Giles smiled at the girl's guilty blush. "But I got caught up in some reading and found that I wouldn't be able to set up camp before losing the light. I will go first thing in the morning." He closed the book he'd been holding, placing a finger inside to keep his page. Walking toward Willow , he removed his glasses. "Now, let's hear your reason for being in the empty school library at this hour, shall we."

"I… I just wanted to borrow a book. For research," she squeaked. Willow 's gaze darted around, avoiding his face. She couldn't take that fatherly, nonjudgmental, caught-you-in-the-act look he could give her better than anyone else.

"Tell me what you're up to, Willow." He smiled.

"Well, I'm hoping she's up to giving me what I need," a familiar voice drifted from the dark of the stacks.

"Spike!" Giles growled, moving towards the danger to get between the vampire and the girl.

Spike vaulted the banister and landed in front of the Watcher with a toothy grin. "Don't worry, Mate. Not gonna hurt your little bit. Just need her to do a little somethin' for me."

"Willow is not doing anything that involves you at all." Giles dropped the book and his glasses and lunged at the vampire. The next instant, he was flying backwards and colliding with the counter. The all too familiar darkness of unconsciousness quickly closed in on him.

Spike strode towards Willow with a sloppy smirk. "You're coming with me, Little One." He easily slung the bigger man over his shoulder. "And if you don't do what I tell you, I'll just take it out on your big, strong protector here."

"All right," Willow agreed and followed. "Just don't hurt him anymore."




Bam… Bam… Bam… Giles slowly came to as the sound of pounding drilled through his aching head. His low moan of pain made Willow drop the piece of wood she was trying to break through the door with, and hurry to check on him. The girl sat on the edge of the strange bed, placing a light hand on his shoulder in an attempt to help him focus.

"What happened?" Giles groaned, pressing a palm to his temple to keep his head from splitting open.

Willow spoke quietly in consideration of his headache. "It was Spike, remember? He kidnapped us from the library."

"I remember. Please tell me I got at least a couple of swings in before he knocked me senseless."

The girl smiled at him. "You fought very bravely. I'm sure he'll feel the lumps you gave him… That is, once he sobers up."

Giles couldn't help returning a small smile, knowing that Willow was lying to him. He gave a heavy grunt of pain as he sat up. "What does Spike want with you anyway?" he asked, rubbing his eyes.

"Well… He told me the whole story. It seems Drusilla broke up with him and cheated on him with a chaos demon. I think he's really bad off because first he cried on my shoulder, then he threatened to kill you, then he cried some more and threatened to cut my face with a broken bottle, then he drank some more and threatened to kill you again…" Willow thought a moment. "Geez, have you ever noticed how many bad guys seem to want you dead?"

"It has occurred to me," Giles rubbed a hand through his hair. "And to answer the question…"

"Oh yeah… He wants me to do a love spell to get Dru back for him."

The Watcher looked at her with worried eyes. "And what would give him the idea that you could do a love spell?"

Willow began to fidget again and looked down. "Probably because he saw me in the magic shop earlier, buying supplies."

"Willow," Giles gently lifted her chin to make her look him in the eyes. "What have you been conjuring? I've warned you before that magick is not a game."

"I know," she whined, "and you can scold me about it later. But shouldn't we try to get out of here while he's gone?"

"Of course… Where did he go anyway?"

"Oh, I told him I needed a book that I left at Buffy's house." The girl smiled proudly.

"Very good… And it won't take much for Buffy to think of checking Spike's last known lair. I am assuming from the charred décor that we are in the factory." Willow nodded at his assessment.

"Sorry, Kiddies, didn't quite make it to the Slayer's." Both of the prisoners whipped their heads around to see Spike standing at the bottom of the stairs.




At the high school, Buffy was entering the library to start her nightly workout routine. She only made it a few steps before Xander, Cordelia, and Oz entered behind her.

"Hey, Buffster," Xander called. "We were supposed to meet Willow here to go bowling. You seen her?"

"No. I just got in from my first patrol."

Cordelia leaned on the counter. "Why don't you ask Giles? The guy practically lives here, right?"

"He's not here," Buffy answered. "He was going on a little retreat in the mountains this weekend."

"Um… Guys," Oz was staring intently at something on the library floor. "I'm getting the feeling he might not have made it that far."

Xander walker over and picked up the book lying opened, pages crumpled against the floor.

"What? Someone dropped a book," Cordelia shrugged.

Buffy shook her head. "Oz is right. Giles would never treat a book like that."

"And he wouldn't go anywhere without these." Oz picked up a cracked pair of glasses.

"But who would want to kidnap Willow and Giles? Talk about boring conversation," Cordelia sighed.

"I don't know about Willow ," Xander growled, "but I can think of someone with a history of snatching Giles. Among other things…"

"Don't start," Buffy snapped. "But we will go to Angel's place. See if he's heard anything… He'll want to help."




Giles stood, pulling Willow behind him, the massive size of his body in comparison to hers completely obscuring the girl from Spike's view.

"You just forget about her, Spike. I'll do whatever kind of spell you want."

Spike looked the older man up and down with an amused smirk. "I guess you might have a bit of magick buried somewhere deep inside all the tweed, Watcher. But the little girl has untapped power that I'm betting will taste so very good." The vampire stuck his nose in the air and inhaled deeply. "Oh yes… And her power's not the only way she's untapped…"

"Hey," Willow peered around Giles' shoulder. "I thought we had this whole 'having' talk and agreed that there'd be none of that."

Spike took a few slow strides toward them. The prisoners backed away, Giles always keeping his protective position. "You see," the vampire laughed, "that's one of the lovely perks of being a bad guy. You get to change the rules and nobody's surprised."

"If you even touch her, you'll never get your love spell."

Spike released a loud, joyous, spine-tingling laugh. "Don't need it anymore. A funny thing happened on the way to the Slayer's house. I ran into a gang of ponces that used to work for me. Seems someone wants me run outta town. Oh, but you should have seen it, Mate. I haven't been in a brawl like that in ages." Spike let out a softer, more reminiscent laugh. "Made me realize what I really need to do. I need to show Drusilla I'm still the demon I used to be, the demon she fell in love with."

"She's not here," Giles rumbled. "I suggest you go find her and leave us alone."

"Yeah… I was about to do that. But then I thought… What better way to get back into practice than to come and take a pretty, little witch's virginity? And the fact that she's the Slayer's best friend… Well, that's the kind of bonus that just makes my non-beating heart quiver."

"Giles?" Willow whimpered.

The Watcher spun around and wrapped his arms around the girl, pulling her as deep into his broad chest as he could. "Don't worry," he whispered soothingly. "I won't let him lay one finger on you."

The vampire tilted his head to take in the sweet scene before him. Now that was an interesting idea. A way to hurt the Slayer's best friend and destroy her Watcher, all at the same time. And all he'd have to do was watch. Oh the joy of true evil! A twisted smile curled Spike's lips and he began to speak in syrupy, friendly tones.

"Oh, come on, Watcher. It's been forever since I've had a sweet, young thing. I'm sure you know all about that."

Giles faced the vampire once more with hatred and determination on his face. "Fine, Spike. If you're so desperate for a shag, why settle for a child?"

"Hey, I am eighteen." Willow 's voice was so small Spike likely didn't catch the comment, but Giles' hand clamping down on her wrist warned her to stay quiet.

"You know a little girl can't be enough to satisfy you. Why don't you try someone who knows how to fuck?" He spread his arms, half offering, half daring the vampire.

Willow stood behind the Watcher, her eyes wide. Did that just come out of Giles' mouth?

"Now that's a hero; willing to throw yourself on the sword, as it were, for one of your little gang. And, while I'm sure riding you into the ground would be a fun, albeit short, experience, I have something a bit different in mind."

Another whimper from Willow brought Giles' arms back to form a protective cocoon around her.

"I'm feeling rather generous at the moment," Spike cooed, holding onto the bedpost and swinging back and forth. Both prisoners looked at him with distrusting eyes, waiting to hear what his idea of generous would be. "Since I'm thinking I'm not the only one here in need of a bit of action, I give you a gift, Watcher. I'll let you have her… But I get to watch!"

Willow felt all the air go out of Giles' lungs. "What do you mean, let him have me? Will you let us go?"

"If I'm satisfied… But only after the game."

"I can't," Giles' voice was hollow. "You can't make me do that. I won't treat her that way."

Spike smiled, reveling in the fact that he had found a torture even Angelus could not have dreamt up. "Well, that would be the game, Rupert. This is a kind of 'it's you or me' deal. And I'm sure, in all those lovely, little books you have, you've read somewhere about all the naughty things William the Bloody likes to do to those poor, innocent virgins."

Willow let out a small yip, and her fingers dug into the material at the front of Giles' shirt as she caught on to exactly what kind of game Spike wanted to play. She looked up, but Giles was staring over her head, not willing to look at her.

His voice was more resolute when he finally said, "No deal, Spike. I will not let you make me hurt Willow . Let her go and I'll submit to anything you can think to do to me. Torture me to death, fuck me to death, even bore me to death. If you let her go, I won't fight you."

"Noble," Spike mused, "But you're forgetting one thing." In an instant, Spike was standing behind Giles, one hand clamped bone-crushingly tight on his shoulder and the other gripping the hair at the top of his head, pulling it to one side. The vampire's sharp fangs scraped along the Watcher's vulnerable neck as he spoke. "I'm the one making the rules for this game. Who will be here to protect her after I tear your throat out? Better, I could easily drain you just enough so that you can helplessly watch me rip your little bit apart from the inside out before you die."

Willow watched in terror. The expression on Giles' face never showed fear, but she could feel his heart beating. It was racing like that of a small bird caught in a net, threatening to pound through the walls of his chest. She had to do something. Even if Spike didn't bite him, she feared he might just have a heart attack.

"We'll do it!" she screamed, trying to conceal the squeak in her voice. "Don't hurt him and we'll do whatever you want."

"I see why you like this one, Mate," Spike chuckled, backing away and slipping back into his human mask. "She's a smart little bird."

Giles, at last, looked down into Willow 's eyes, his own threatening to flood. "You don't have to do this," he whispered, tenderly brushing a lock of hair behind her ear. "I'll find a way to get you out of here. I promise."

"Giles, if he didn't even make it to Buffy's house, she might not know we're in trouble. If there's even a small chance that we'll both live through this, I'm going to take it."

"Do you understand what it is he wants me to do? I don't want to hurt you, Willow ."

"Oh, I understand," Willow swallowed hard. "And… research girl here. I know everything that's supposed to happen."

"That's not what I mean. I can't… I'm not supposed to…" Giles' eyes drifted to the floor. "This should be special for you. With someone you really care about and who really cares about you. I'll hurt you by taking all of that away."

With a light touch of her small hand, Willow raised his chin to make him look her in the eyes again. "But, Giles, you are the gentlest, most caring man I've ever met. I know you could never do anything to hurt me. Plus, I know I care about you because I'd do just about anything to help you. And, I'm pretty sure you care about me because… Hey, offered to have gay sex with a demon so I wouldn't have to."

"Willow…" Giles shook his head.

"Hey… Resolve face here… Don't make me have to get all… all… aggressive on you."

Giles pulled her head to his chest and held her tight. She was so small, so innocent. His mind raced for any other possibility of escape. Any possibility he could overpower Spike. Anything he could offer that the vampire wouldn't be able to resist. But there was no hope. And if he did go through with this evil game and they by some chance survived, how was he ever going to forgive himself?




Oz's blue van pulled up outside of the mansion on Crawford Street . The four teenagers looked at each other, worry plainly written on all their faces.

"You guys stay here," Buffy ordered. "I'll go in and ask if Angel knows anything."

Xander slid the door open. "I'm coming with you."

"It'll be faster if--" The look on Xander's face stopped Buffy's argument.

As Buffy ran through the door, Angel rose from his seat, surprised to see her. He could tell from the expression on her face that she was near panic.

"What's wrong, Buffy? Has something happened?"

"They're gone," she began quickly, "Willow and Giles."

As the conversation continued, Angel was well aware of Xander entering the mansion behind Buffy and slowly skirting the edge of the room. The boy made his way to the curtain that hung in the doorway of what was now the bedroom. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Xander push the material aside and lean his head in, scanning the room intently. Angel wasn't going to stop him, wasn't even going to draw attention in case Buffy might feel the need to stop him.

How could he blame the young man for being suspicious? Last time Xander came to this place, he did find his friend there. He found Giles in ruins, ravaged by cruel torments dispensed from Angel's own hands. He had seen the pleasures of the demon that lurks within. Angel didn't expect that he could ever win back what little trust there had been between them in the first place.

"We'll find them," the vampire reassured Buffy. "Whoever took them must know how important they are to you. You have to believe they're alive somewhere." He placed a hand on Buffy's shoulder, and gave a short nod as Xander approached them. "You guys go see if you can get anything out of Willie. I'll check some of my underground sources, then meet you at his bar."




Willow extracted herself from the Watcher's grasp and took his hand, leading him to the foot of the bed, where she sat. With an infuriatingly self-satisfied grin on his face, Spike sat in a wooden chair by the wall and rocked it back and forth.

Giles looked over at his demonic audience with a mixture of hatred and surrender in his eyes. "Y-you wouldn't happen to have a… a…"

"What the hell would a vampire need with a condom?" Spike laughed.

With a grumble consisting of a few choice curse words, Giles squatted down in front of where Willow was sitting. "Are you sure about this?" he asked, needing to hear her conviction again.

"Am I sure about my choice between you and Spike?" She spoke in a calm, gentle voice, sensing that his mind was in a state of complete chaotic distress over this. "Absolutely positive that I choose you." She reached out, her hand hesitating in mid-air for a moment before continuing on to lightly brush through the hair over his left ear. The boundaries of touching him in such an intimate manner seemed a moot point now. "In fact, with the choice between you and most the non-demon males on earth, I think my answer would be the same."

Her reassurance brought the tiniest smile to his lips and a slight red tinge to his cheeks. In his current position, the brightest of what little light there was in the room fell across his eyes. Willow had had very few chances to study them without the interfering distortion of his glasses and at that moment they captivated her. They were spectacular. Two crystal clear pools of emerald green, with a brilliant patch of amber at the leftmost side of the left iris. They were so soft, looking at her with such gentle kindness. It was impossible not to get lost in those eyes.

She almost missed it when he started speaking seriously to her again. "I have been tested and I'm clean," he said quietly. Willow blinked several times at his sobering statement. "And I promise you, no matter what happens, I will not… um… r-release inside you."

For a moment she could only manage to stare at him. More words she never expected to hear from Giles' mouth. "Oh… Yes… That's… uh… probably good."

They both jumped at the sound of Spike clapping his hands together and rubbing them expectantly. "Right! Now that we're all on board with having a bit of fun here, let's get to some strippin'." His captives blinked at him. "Come on. The whole point of watching a skin show is the skin."

Willow 's hands tentatively moved towards the hem of her smooth, pink sweater, but Giles caught them and held them in place. He looked into her eyes until he was certain she understood, and then stood to face the vampire.

"I'll strip, Spike," he said, beginning by pulling off his vest. The jacket of his suit had been left at the library. "Willow stays as she is."

"What makes you think I want'a eyeful of your rotting carcass?"

"Because you're a vampire. To a vampire flesh is flesh, the shape in comes in is of little concern to you."

Spike nodded. "True. Okay, she's your gift, Watcher. If the clothed girl thing is what turns you on, I say go for it." Soon the shirt and the undershirt disappeared and Giles was working on his belt buckle. "What have we here?" Spike laughed, catching sight of the tattoo just above the crook of the Watcher's left elbow. "The mark of a disciple of the Sleep Walker. Maybe you weren't just tryin' to blow smoke up me before." He grinned at Willow . "Looks like you might be in for something of a treat, Little Red. Someone who knows how to fuck, if I remember right."

"Willow knows all about my past with Eyghon," Giles spat as his pants dropped down his legs. "In fact, she's the one who found the means of defeating the demon. Something you might do well to remember."

"Yeah, I'll shake in my boots later if you don't mind," Spike chuckled, his eyes unashamedly taking in the body of the now naked Watcher.

Giles returned to a kneeling position in front of Willow . As he attempted to capture her focus again, the girl's eyes darted around. She tried desperately not to let him catch the few quick glances down she made. He silently cursed himself, realizing that he just unceremoniously stripped off in front of a girl who might never have even seen a completely naked man before. His expression softened as he endeavored to put her at ease.

"It's all right," he said gently. "You may look. In fact, you should look." As her dark, doe-like eyes slowly, timidly wandered down his exposed nudity, part of him hoped she wouldn't like what she found. Perhaps, if she realized just how old and worn he was, she would not be so resolute in this course of action. He watched her intently for the slightest hint of repulsion, easily willing to take a bruised ego over any chance of losing this young lady's trust.

Willow let her eyes drift over his chest. It was broad and showed his toned musculature. There was a forest of fine hair spread across it, somehow bringing the sense that this was a man. Her realm of experience with bared male chests had been Xander and Oz, both smooth, and both boys. She got stuck there for a few moments, mesmerized by the steady rise and fall motion it made with his breathing. She followed the forest as it narrowed down his abdomen. The way he was holding his body showed the tensed strength of his core. There were scars scattered here and there. Healed wounds from battles she knew he would never tell her of. Farther down was a pair of strong and defined thighs. And nestled in between those… Willow 's eyes shot back up to his chest. It looked as steady and strong as it felt when he was holding her.

Her hand drifted forward, wanting to feel what was there, but she stopped it, trying to find the words to ask permission. She almost jumped when Giles took the hand that was left in limbo and placed it on his chest for her. Willow 's sweet smile and the feel of her light fingers playing through his chest hair sent warm waves through him. Giles shuddered and shoved the feelings aside, telling himself it was inappropriate to react in such a way to her, no matter what the circumstances.

"Tell me what you're thinking," he murmured softly, after giving her time to study him.

The fire-haired girl opened her mouth to answer, then closed it. Opened it again. No words. Finally, she managed, "Do you really want to know?"

"Please," his voice held a mixture of relief and a hint of rejection as he was sure she'd tell him she didn't want him touching her.

With her fingers still tracing delicate patterns on his chest, Willow sighed, "I'm beginning to think that tweed is evil." He blinked at her in confusion. Willow 's smile grew. "Giles, do you really not realize how handsome you are?"

The Watcher closed his eyes as more of the warm waves of arousal washed through him. This shouldn't be happening. Damn Spike!




Buffy dragged Willie from behind the bar and held him up against a wall. "Listen. My friends are in trouble and I don't have the time or patience to play this little 'protecting your customers' game tonight. Tell me what you've heard, or start bleeding."

"All right," the bartender waved his hands in supplication. "I can't say that I've heard any talk of a new big bad in town after you personally. But there was a group of vamps in here earlier. Seems that whoever they work for gave 'em orders to go after some loose canon that just rolled into town. Their boss wants this guy run off for some reason." He protected his face as Buffy threatened a punch. "I don't know who it is. They never mentioned a name… I swear."

"Fine. Just tell us which way they went." Willie pointed. "When Angel shows up send him after us."

"Will do," the snitch called after the exiting group of teens. "Always a pleasure when you stop by."




"What do you know," Spike grinned from his perch. "Smell that it the air, Watcher? Looks like you won't have to hold her down while she fights and screams after all. Pity, that's my favorite part."

Giles looked up at Willow with a tilt of his head. He was trying desperately to ignore the vampire, but couldn't shut out the words.

Willow shifted uneasily under his questioning gaze, feeling what Spike could smell. Her mind raced for something to say to him that wouldn't make him think any less of her. "It's just that," she stammered, clamping her mouth shut on 'you look so cute when you do that little head tilt thing'. Then she sat up tall. "It's the natural reaction of the post-adolescent human body when presented with such stimuli." She gave a nod of her head as punctuation.

The girl exhaled the breath she'd been holding when Giles finally smiled at her effort. "Of course," he answered softly. "Spike," Giles growled at their captor, but didn't take his eyes from Willow . "I don't care how impatient you get. Her body is not ready for this yet and I won't do what you want until it is."

"I've got all night, Mate. Drag it out as long as you want. I don't expect any interruptions." Normally Spike would be losing patience at all the stalling, but this was different. He could feel every extra second eating away at the Watcher's mind and his heart. He knew how much turmoil the man was in and could sense how much he was now fighting his own demons. The whispers deep inside him of buried longings and the secret want to stoop to the level of the vampire.

Giles gently directed Willow to lie back on the bed. He supported his weight on one arm as he leaned over her and tenderly ran his other hand overtop of her clothing. He could feel her trying to relax under his touch. She was trying to make her body do what she thought it was supposed to be doing.

"Willow," he whispered, attempting to distract her with conversation. "You don't have to do anything. Just breathe and trust me. Can you do that?"

Willow nodded with a small gulp as she watched his hand brush down the center of her sweater.

After she had gotten a bit used to the feel of his hand, he continued, "May I touch your skin, Willow?" She nodded and smiled at the warmth of his large hand as it snuck under her sweater and caressed her stomach. "Now close your eyes for me." Willow complied, settling more comfortably on the bed. "There's only one thing I want you to remember from this night," his voice drifted over her as his fingers danced up the side of her abdomen. "This is what it's supposed to feel like when a gentleman touches you. If anyone ever touches you with any less reverence or tenderness, as a lovely young lady like you should be treated, you tell me and I'll deal with him."

Willow giggled, partly because he found a ticklish spot, but mostly because she knew he meant what he said.

"Now, may I touch your br… move up to your… c-chest?" Giles couldn't help the hitch in his breathing when she nodded.

She felt his fingers play at the bottom curve of her bra and her body craved the feel of more, cried for the sensations he could teach her.

As just his fingertips began peeking under the satin of her bra, he spoke again. "With your eyes closed, I want you to imagine me being anyone you'd like. You can pretend I'm Oz…"

She slowly shook her head. "You don't feel like Oz," she murmured.

"Then pick any fantasy man you find attractive. Maybe someone you've seen on TV, an actor or singer perhaps."

"Mmm… Like the cute guy in those old coffee commercials my mom still has on video," she smiled.

"Quite." Giles was surprised that he knew the pop culture reference.

As his fingers slowly pushed the material of her bra up and out of the way, Willow couldn't help a tiny moan at the sensation of his fingers brushing across her hardening nipple. Then she began to feel something odd. Giles' hand was trembling. Giles never trembled. Not when staring down an apocalypse beast, not even when a vampire is millimeters from sinking it's fangs into his neck. But he was shaking now, touching her so intimately.

Willow wanted so much to find a way to make this easier for him. To make him feel as comfortable as he was making her. To chase away his fear that she would blame him for what was happening. She swallowed as she made up her mind, hoping that what she had decided to tell him would make things better and not worse.

She felt his fingers still for a moment as she began to speak. "I think I've decided who I want to imagine you being."

"Oh yes?" he murmured, as he continued building sensations in her body.

"I want you to be my secret high school crush."

Giles chuckled, "The way you feel about Xander isn't really a--"

"Not Xander," Willow smiled. "I don't know about England , but in American high schools it's almost mandatory for a girl to pick someone older to have a crush on. Kind of an example…"

"And do I know this older boy?" Giles questioned, putting a hint of the protector back in his voice.

"You should," she whimpered, squirming a bit as he rolled his finger around a now pebbled nipple. "He's on the faculty."

His mind ran through the list of the younger teachers and assistants at the school. "Perhaps if you tell me who it is, I can help you pretend I am he," he failed to hide his curiosity.

"I've had the biggest crush on him ever since the day I went to school and discovered we had a handsome, new librarian."

Giles' eyes leapt up and found hers, now open and watching his face intently, a hopeful smile dancing on her lovely lips. "Oh Willow ," he breathed out a shuddering sigh. She lightly brushed her fingers down his arm, delighting in the fact that his hand had stopped trembling. Leaning over her, a blink of his eyes allowed a single tear to escape and run down to hang from his cheek.

Willow 's hands ran up his arms to his shoulders and she used his strength to lift herself enough to kiss the tear away with her soft lips. "Its okay, Giles," she breathed in his ear, "You may."

As the Watcher moved down her body to reposition himself for the next step, his mind was again warring against itself. Her unwavering trust, her permission, and her admitted attraction to him was all making this easier. But that was the problem. He knew he shouldn't be with her like this, not ever. Nothing should make the situation easier on him, and the feeling that it was frightened him more than the very pleased vampire in the corner ever could.

He placed a gentle hand on her knee and slowly began moving it up under her skirt. A thrill spiked through him as he felt the top of her stockings and his fingers caressed the bare skin of her inner thigh. Her flesh felt so soft, so firm, so young. He had to force himself to remember to breathe as he brushed his knuckles against her cotton panties and heard a happy little squeak come from Willow . His fingers moved along her hip and around to the smooth roundness of her rump. Her hips rolled and pitched with his movements, her body drawing him in, craving more.

She let a moan escape when he finally allowed his fingers to duck under the material of her panties and brush along the curly hair of her mound. Willow lifted her hips, a silent plea to remove the obstructing garment, and he obliged. His sure and practiced fingers ran all along her surface, waiting for her to settle into the current sensation before moving her up to the next. Her cry of pleased surprise at his first stroke of her sensitive nub shot through him like an arrow. The knowledge that he shouldn't was being overrun by the joy of being there with her to help her discover this new world of sensual pleasure.

Giles watched the beautiful expressions that danced across her face as he continued his ministrations. He was amazed that even in this awful place with their dark situation, she seemed to be able to let everything go and follow him to the new heights of pleasure he could show her. Seeing her like this, he couldn't understand why she didn't have boys her own age lining up to show her these things ages ago. That thought was quickly followed by the thought that he would probably kill any boy who took advantage of her in such a way.

By this time, having superhuman vampire senses was no longer necessary. The sweet scent of her intense arousal permeated the air and Giles couldn't help breathing it in. It was intoxicating, and he fought to keep his focus. He could feel she was very wet now. His thumb ran down her valley and pressed into her secret heat, staying still and giving her time to adjust to this first stretching sensation.

He could feel her building rapidly, letting the new waves of sensation wash over her. Quickly flipping his hand, he continued working her with his thumb while inserting one, then two, and finally three fingers. Trying to prepare her for the next encounter, to stretch her enough that the pain he would surely cause would be limited. He could feel it coming, her tight muscles hugging his fingers, her hips rising to meet even more of his hand. She was right there and he doubted she even knew it. A sudden need rushed over him. The need to push her to her climax, to give her the release her body so openly craved. Before his mind could fight him, he lunged forward under her skirt. He closed his eyes and replaced his thumb with his burning mouth, sucking her pulsating nub into a tender kiss. She bucked against him as he teased with tongue and lips, his fingers sliding in and out. At last she exploded, washing her passage with her glowing essence, screaming out at her climax.

Giles pulled back, placing soft, loving kisses along her thigh, and watched her as she rode it out and began to calm. A half-smile tugged at his lips at the discovery that she was a giggler. As she murmured and giggled her way back from the high he had given her, Giles tried hard to silence the nagging in his mind. He could still smell her, taste her on his lips. He could pick out his name amongst her murmurs. She was so beautiful at that moment. And Spike had not laid one finger on her. He could regret later. He could beat himself up and contemplate slitting his own wrists for what he had done to her later. Right now he had to be there for her, be the strong man she needed him to be. She needed him to protect her from the demon in the room. And at that moment, Spike presented more of a danger than the demons lurking within the Watcher.

He stretched up over her to place a tender kiss on her forehead, and then on the tip of her nose. As he pulled back, Willow caught the back of his neck and lifted up to place one more kiss on his lips. It was chaste and innocent. No more than a thank you. The gesture of kind reassurance brought tears back to threaten in his eyes as he returned to watch her from the foot of the bed.

"Very nice overture, Mate," Spike said as he walked over, clapping. "For a while there I was afraid you might have to leave the poor lass hanging. But I guess you do have some skills they don't teach at that damned council of yours."

"Offer's still on the table if you want to try me for yourself, Spike," Giles growled, keeping his eyes on Willow . "All you have to do is let her go."

"If I didn't know better, I'd think you were hot for me, Old Man," Spike laughed. "But I couldn't do that. I couldn't take away this special time you have with the sweet, young, innocent, little girl you're about to steal the flower from. What kind of monster would that make me?"

"You're the kind of monster I kill!" Giles stood to face the vampire. "Don't make the mistake that I'm holding you any less responsible because you're using my body as a weapon against her instead of your own. One day I will catch up to you and make you pay for what you're doing to her."

Spike cocked his head and clucked his tongue. "Yeah, yeah, sure," he mocked, his eyes looking considerably lower than the Watcher's face. "Looks to me like your stallin', Rupert. She sure is ready for you, but you don't seem to have anything to give her at the moment. Even the taste of a pretty girl on your tongue can't get you going? Why didn't you just say you were too old and needed a, what do these Americans call it, pinch hitter?"

"You can hardly expect me to maintain arousal with you hanging over my shoulder threatening to rape Willow and murder us both? If you are determined to make me play your sadistic game, just back off. I assure you Willow will be able to give me all I need to continue."

Spike threw his hands up and backed into the darkness with demented glee on his face. "On to the main event then."




"There was a fight here. Knock down, drag out, by the look of things," Buffy commented as they searched the alleyway.

"More stakes and dust over here," Cordelia called.

Oz nodded. "At least it looks like the only casualties were vamps."

"That's good," Xander sighed, "But it still puts us no closer to finding Willow and the Big Guy."

"I think this one might give us our answers." Angel emerged from the shadows dragging a smaller male vampire by the collar. "I caught him hiding from whatever went down here."

The vampire swung around, trying to fight his way free. "I wasn't hiding," he whined. "I was just waiting for a good time to pounce."

"I'd say you waited long enough," Buffy announced, striding toward him. "This fight is long over and done."

"Slayer!" the prisoner squeaked. "I didn't do anything. Just following orders. Please don't kill me."

"I'll tell you what. You give me the information I need to find my friends, and I'll let you live until the next time I see you."

"Anything," he screeched. "What do you want to know?"

"Who was this loose cannon you were sent to take care of?"

The vampire looked around at all the expectant eyes staring at him. "All right. It was Spike. The boss wanted us to run Spike out of town."

"I should have known," Angel grumbled as the prisoner took the opportunity to break his grip and run for it.

"Just let him go," Buffy ordered when the others turned to chase him down. "Where would Spike hole up around here?"

"He's not the most inventive," Angel commented. "Best bet would be back at the factory."

"That's clear on the other side of town," Xander kicked at a piece of wood. "And we left the van back the other way."

"I know Spike," Angel tried to be calming. "He wouldn't take them to just outright kill them. He thinks he's smarter than he is. He'll keep them alive for whatever plan brought him here."

"And if Drusilla's with him?" Xander countered. "You already gave her a taste of Giles. How long do you think he'll last in her clutches again?"

Angel hung his head in shame as a look of bewilderment crossed Buffy's face. "What is that supposed to…" she started. "You know what, later. You three go back to get the van. Angel and I will make the run across town. Meet at the factory. And if you get there first and even suspect Spike's still around, wait for one of us."

With a quick nod, the Slayer and vampire sprinted one way while the three humans ran the other.




Giles crawled onto the bed and lay on his side next to Willow , purposely presenting his back to the vampire. He propped himself on an elbow to speak to her. "How are you doing?" he whispered.

She looked over at him, her dark green eyes still sparkling. "I'm fighting a little with my stupid brain. It just won't shut up and let me be."

"I know exactly what you mean." He let a small smile fall across his lips. "If you change your mind, all you have to do is say so. One word from you and I'll end this and find another way to deal with Spike."

"Another way?" Willow propped herself up so she could look him straight in the eyes. "You mean like getting him ticked off enough to kill you so I'll be stuck here to try and fend him off all alone? I don't think so."

"He won't kill me," Giles assured her. "He's having too much fun using me as his weapon of choice against you."

Willow leaned forward to whisper in his ear. "If what you just did to me was supposed to be an attack, I think I prefer it to a lot of other weapons he could have chosen." Giles closed his eyes at the feel of her hot breath ghosting past his cheek and ear. A shiver ran through his entire body. She had the voice of an angel and she smelled just as heavenly.

He swallowed hard past the lump in his throat. "You know that after… Things will never be the same."

"I know." She brought her fingertips to his cheek. "But I also know that you and I have a friendship that has survived the end of the world, a couple of times. If anyone can make it through this and come out stronger, it's us. We can do it together."

"W-Willow," Giles gulped her name. His next words could barely be heard, "I need you to touch me."

She looked at him with a slightly confused expression for a moment, then her eyes drifted down to his slowly growing erection. "Oh," she peeped. "Tell me… I've never…"

"Don't worry. You can't hurt me. Just let me feel you." His whole body jumped as one delicate finger cautiously brushed along his manhood. She smiled at the strangled yelp she pulled from him when her heated hand wrapped around him, making him grow harder. He pulled her head to him and whispered into her ear. "I need you to seduce my body, Willow . You are already in my heart. Your touch can silence the shoulds and shouldn'ts of my mind. The way you touch me can make me think only of you." He gave a shuddering breath as she stroked him to the fullness of his arousal. "Your touch is so good. You feel like heaven."

His words were making her shiver, too. No one had ever spoken to her like that. The power over him that he had given her, the knowledge that she had the ability to do such things to a man like him, it was almost overwhelming. His whispers in her ear brought the hum back to her skin and the fire back to her blood.

She brought him all the way up. He was so hard he ached. "Oh, you're so good at that," Giles panted. "You can't imagine what you're doing to me. What you're making me want to do." He reached down to still her hand. Giles opened his eyes and stared intently into hers. He managed to choke out, "Willow, may I-"

The girl placed a finger on his lips, silencing the question. Leaving it there, she kissed it, pressing just hard enough that her lips made contact with his around it. "Yes," she murmured against him.

Giles rolled into position atop her, pulling her skirt up just enough to be out of his way. He paused, a jolt of excitement shooting through him at the feeling of her wet curls brushing his tip. He groaned, "Tell me you want this. Tell me you want me."

"Giles," she grabbed his ears and pressed his forehead to hers, "I want you."

His moan echoed through the room as his hips slowly pushed forward. She was still so tight, so untouched. As his swollen tip slipped in and she squeezed around it, he paused to steady himself. He had to stay in control. Be slow and gentle. Not let the beast have her, let the beast hurt her. He breathed deeply to regain some of his composure.

Then a thought. What if this was as far as he had to go? What if he could trick Spike into thinking he had taken her without having to completely penetrate her? A cold hand found its way between his thighs and solidly squeezed his testicles, causing his hips to jump forward, completely impaling Willow . The girl screamed beneath him, and he held her against his chest remaining perfectly still while she recovered.

The voice of the vampire felt like acid in his ear. "Noticed you get a bit stuck there, Old Boy. Thought I'd give you a hand."

Giles turned his head and hissed, "I'll kill you for this, Spike."

Willow 's small hands on the sides of his face brought him back to her tear-filled eyes. "Forget him," she whispered. "I need you here with me. Be here with me."

The Watcher swallowed hard and nodded against her forehead. When he was sure her breathing was steady, he slowly began to let her feel him move inside her. He pulled out and began to thrust in a slow, easy rhythm, her moans rumbling right through his chest.

Was he really feeling that? Were her hips rising to meet him? Were her hands exploring the landscape of his body? Were her legs spreading wider to give him more access? And then he began to feel something more. The reserves of power stored deep inside her began to wash over him. The memories of magical highs long cast aside with the days of Ethan and Eyghon. It all flashed through him and he watched in slow motion as she raised her chin with a groan of passion, stretching her lovely neck before him.

He was seeing the future. Seeing Willow as the beautiful and powerful woman she would become. And in that one moment she was his. Giles buried his face in her neck and murmured, "My Willow. So beautiful. My Willow ."

Soon he could feel his own climax approaching and had to still himself within her to keep from breaking his promise. He rose up on his knees, keeping himself inside her and furiously worked her with his fingers, building her to her next release. She was nearly there as Giles' left hand shot down to grab the hard cock of a naked Spike that had appeared beside him. His hand clamped down in a viselike grip on the vampire as he felt Willow 's inner muscles contract and convulse around him before she finally curled onto her side in a fit of giggles, as beautiful as ever.

"Come on, Mate. Looked so good, I thought I'd have a go myself."

Giles wheeled on the vampire, roaring, "Nobody touches MY WILLOW!" With his left hand never releasing Spike's cock and his right gripping the vampire's throat, he forced the demon back until they collided with the wall.

Spike laughed, knowing he could easily overpower the Watcher, but wanting to see how far he would go.

"Is this how you like it, Spike? Rough and strong?" Giles spat, sliding his hand along the vampire's cock in a grip so tight he threatened to tear skin. "I bet I know what you like." Giles spun him around, pressing his cheek into the wall and putting his full weight to the demon's back. "All that time with Angel and Drusilla… You like to be dominated, don't you Spike. You were the bitch."

Spike groaned as the Watcher pumped him in the blistering grip. He could feel the hard, warm cock pressing between the cheeks of his buttocks, still slick with the juices of the girl.

"You gonna rape me now too, Rupert?" Spike laughed with a hint of fear.

"I'll do whatever I must to keep you away from those I care about." Giles pressed his hips harder into Spike's behind. "You think you can take what I can do to you, Demon? Maybe I'll be the one to tear you apart from the inside out."

The threatening words in his ear, the hardness poised to rip into his ass, and the electricity that seemed to be building in the large hand still punishing his penis was more than Spike could take. With a loud cry he came fast and hard, and leaned, dazed against the wall.

The vampire squirmed around to be face to face with Giles, paying no heed to the forearm still crushing in on his throat. "You were right about one thing. It's been ages since anyone managed to do that to me." He grinned, his chest heaving in a mock copy of a human reaction to orgasm. "Startin' to think I should keep you around awhile and see what else you can do."

The rumble in Giles' chest was deep and menacing. "Deal's done, Spike. You will leave Willow and me alone now."

"Hey, I'm in charge here," Spike almost whined. "Maybe I should just turn you and keep you as my bitch."

"Look at me, Spike. The Master, even Angelus, never gave a second thought to turning me. Why do you think that is?"

"Probably because they wouldn't be able to stand listening to you forever," Spike sniped.

"Look in my eyes and tell me what you see."

For the first time, Spike let himself be locked into the burning, green gaze. The Watcher's eyes were like two hard-edged jade stones, formed into deadly projectiles ready to pierce a soul. Darkness bled out into the left, threatening to take over, to swallow him whole. The war that raged in those eyes was on a scale the vampire had never seen. The ever-present blackness, churning, roaring, trying to break free from the chains of the powerful soul that bound it.

"What do you see, Spike? If you take my soul, what will the demon that replaces me inherit?"

"Bloody hell," Spike breathed. "There'd be nothing left of this world for the rest of us."

"Even your mad little trollup, Drusilla, didn't turn me, though she wanted to. I could feel it when she was in my mind, Spike. She liked what she found there. It tickled her. Just like I could feel her body tremble when I kissed her. Although, if your performance for me was any indication, I'm not surprised she was intrigued by a man who could, how shall I say, go the distance for her. "

"That's it, Watcher!" Spike finally used his superior strength to spin Giles around into biting position. "Dru is my girl, and you're going to die for saying those things about her." Spike's fangs appeared but, before he could bite down, Giles' attention was drawn to another sound in the room and he simply walked out of the vampire's grasp. "Oh, very clever," Spike said, mainly to himself. "I see what you were trying to do, Watcher. You wanted me to kill you so you wouldn't have to live with yourself. Well, too bad. I'm onto you… you git."

Willow was crying quietly. Giles reached out toward her, but couldn't bring himself to touch her, not even to comfort her. He turned and sat on the bed.

Willow felt the movement of the mattress and looked up to find his back toward her. She got off the bed and walked around in front of him. "Giles?" He wouldn't look at her. His eyes just stared into nothingness. He was almost catatonic.

Suddenly Willow understood. This man, the strongest man she had ever known, the one she looked up to and respected as much as anyone in her life, now sat before her, broken. The demon had chosen a weapon he had no defense for. It had used her to break him.

The anger that welled up in her was blinding. "Spike!" she screamed. As she turned, every piece of debris in the room levitated. "I'll kill you for using me to hurt him." With that, all the floating debris shot towards the empty chair in the corner. Spike was gone, the only trace of him, scattered, empty bottles of booze.

Soft muttering was coming from the man on the bed. "Willow. I was supposed to protect her. She's crying. It was me. The monster. I'm the monster."

Willow knelt to try to put her face into Giles' line of vision. But, because he would not focus on her, she couldn't tell if he was even seeing her there. She reached to place a hand on his knee and he flinched at her touch. "Giles, please come back to me. I still need your help." Beginning to get scared, she yelled at him, "I wasn't crying because of what you did! What we did."

His eyes finally blinked into focus.

"There you are," her voice was soft again. "You did it. Spike's gone." His only response was to blink. "You want to know what I was thinking about that made me cry a little, don't you?" Willow blushed under his stare. "I was thinking that I was lucky. There have only been three guys that I've ever dreamed about in that way. I was thinking that I was lucky to have my first be one of those guys." She hadn't noticed that he'd been holding his breath until he finally exhaled. "Please, Giles, say something to me. Tell me what's going on in there."

He let out a soft whisper, "Doesn't make it right."

"I know. And I know nothing I say will ever convince you that you did the right thing." Willow sighed. "When Spike knocked you out and I had to face him alone, I was terrified. By then you were there, and I knew you would protect me. And Spike never touched me again."

"He didn't have to," the Watcher groaned, putting his face in his hands.

Willow let out an exacerbated breath and lowered her eyes. At that point a not so small problem caught her attention. "Giles, you're still…"

"Don't worry about it," he grumbled.

"But I can help…" she began to lean forward. Giles' hand shot down to block her approach to his hard flesh.

"No, Willow . I can't let… I won't violate you again." A growl hid in his deep sigh. "It will go away on its own."

Willow got up and sat beside him on the bed. Before he could stop her, she managed to slide her slender hand onto his chest. As she expected, his heart was still racing. "You're forgetting who I am," she said, hiding her concern behind a smile. "Queen of the nerds. Acer of Biology and Anatomy classes. Your body is still producing adrenaline. You're not going to be able to relax for quite a while." She pouted slightly for him. "And, if what Xander has told me is correct, I think you're already hurting." Willow paused, placing a hand back on his knee where it had been before, trying not to push him too hard. "Please let me help you, Giles."

"No," came in the form of a noncommittal grunt.

"Then you leave me no choice. I'm going to have to use the ultimate weapon on you. Logic!" Willow smiled gently as his shoulders slumped a bit. Their group of friends was made up of many personality types, but she had learned that the closest to her own was Giles. In the few times they were not trying to avert a crisis, the two of them would enjoy challenging each other to logic games. While the others quickly got bored, they would use the rules of logic to convince each other that the sky was green or water was a solid. So far the score was pretty even, and a groan from Giles was an admission that she was perfectly capable of changing his mind.

"OK," she continued. "I'm thinking you would like to keep this as something between us, seeing how the others might not get how heroic the action you took really was. So, what if they are looking for us? And what if they found us now, with you in this state? How much harder would it make your role as our teacher and mentor if we've all seen you naked with a raging boner?"

"Willow…" Giles groaned, his hands in his own hair, grasping with white-knuckled grips.

She softened her voice. "Let me help you now and this whole thing will be over." With a feather light touch, she ran her hand up his thigh and onto his lower abdomen where it gently rested. "You told me I felt like heaven. Did you lie to me?"

There were tears in his eyes when he turned to look at her. He shook his head slowly, his choked voice nearly inaudible. "You are an angel."

"Close your eyes," she whispered to him. As she tenderly moved her hand to encircle him, Giles grabbed hold of the bedpost beside him and the quilt below him. He was too tired to fight anymore. And everything Willow had said was true. The back of his mind was whispering something about one more sin to throw on his pyre, but soon even it was silenced as he was washed away on Willow 's soft, magical touch. It didn't take her long. After all that had happened, his body was ready to let go. And when the tidal wave finally washed over him, everything ugly and wrong disappeared, if only for a minute or two.

When Giles came back to full awareness, he saw that Willow had torn a piece from the dirty quilt and cleaned him up the best she could. She stood and handed him the undershirt from his pile of discarded clothing. Kneeling again before him, she held his pants open to help him dress.

"Willow," he said softly, accepting the help. "I'm sure you are aware of this. But, because of the… uh… encounter we've had, you might have the urge to touch me more often and with more familiarity than in the past. I-It's the natural response of your hormones, and I will never fault you, but at school and in front of the others…"

"I know. People might start getting the wrong idea. As for our friends, I don't think they'd be too surprised that I'd want to be close to the man who saved me from Spike. At least for a while."

She smiled reassuringly at him as she draped the last article of clothing, his tie, around his neck. It was left hanging loose, and she noted that he should wear his ties like that more often. They both jumped when they heard banging at the door.

A voice called, "They're in here!" The door shattered, and splintered inward.

First to the bottom of the stairs was Angel. He froze there as he saw Giles stand and face him, wide-eyed. Willow quickly grabbed the Watcher's hand and stood in front of him, a reversal of positions they'd taken when Spike was there. Buffy was next down and stood smiling beside Angel. Then the rest of the scoobies filed in, Xander, Oz, even Cordelia, each taking a position of protection between the men, trying to silently assure Giles that they would not let Angel near him. The only one in the room who seemed oblivious to the tension of this first encounter between their dear friend and the vampire that nearly tortured him to death was Buffy.

"I should go," Angel finally said to her. She opened her mouth, but he interrupted. "I'm glad we found them safe. You should take care of them now." With that he left.

The teens turned and scanned the two captives, searching for any obvious injuries.

"You guys all right?" Xander asked.

"We will be," Willow smiled wearily.

Buffy looked around the room. "Where's Spike," she growled.

The red-head answered, "He's gone now. Left a little while ago."

"He didn't do anything to you, did he?" Oz stepped closer to his girlfriend.

Willow grinned and wrapped her arm around Giles'. "He tried. But the hero here didn't let him lay one finger on me."

"Wow, Giles," Xander clapped him on the shoulder. "You beat off Spike all by yourself? Way to go, Big Guy! Thanks for taking care of our girl." Giles groaned deeply, and Willow squeezed his hand in support. Xander took it as a groan of pain. "You don't look so good." He turned to Willow . "How bad did he get hurt?"

"We should get him home," Willow said softly.




In the courtyard of Giles' building, the kids gathered and barely noticed as the Watcher slipped into his doorway and disappeared. Willow stopped the others from entering behind him.

"Thanks guys, but I don't think he's ready for everyone to crowd him yet."

Buffy shrugged, "All right, do you want us to take you home now?"

"I," Willow looked down, "I really think I should stay with him tonight."

Xander's face turned serious. "Spill it, Will. What did Spike do to him? Do we need to go back on Watcher-watch? At least it will be easier with more of us around this time."

Willow looked at her best friend sadly. "I don't know that yet. What I do know is tonight it has to be me because I'm the only one who knows what happened to him." She quickly held her hand up to stop the oncoming questions. "And I'm the only one who's gonna know. If you guys want to help him through this, never ask him exactly how he saved me from Spike."

Xander, Cordelia, and Oz nodded slowly.

"Wait a minute," Buffy looked at them confused. "What is Watcher-watch?"

Xander stared at her, trying to suppress the anger he still had at her never asking about that time. "It was that first month or two after… After Angel," he kept a calm and even tone to his voice. "He was fine during the day when we were all at school. But then he told Willow about the nightmares. Add to that the stress of worrying about you… We decided that we had to do something before we went to school one day and he wasn't there. So we rotated shifts, and didn't let him spend a night alone. He always protested," the others nodded at this, "until he inevitably woke up screaming and was happy to have a real person there to assure him nobody was crawling around in his mind."

"I didn't know," Buffy whispered.

"He didn't want you to," Willow said.

Xander continued, "It was about the time his physical wounds healed up that he started sleeping through the night. If you ask me, he still has the nightmares; he just deals with them now."

"Poor Giles," Buffy took a step toward the door.

Willow blocked her. "Your pity won't help him. Especially, not tonight. Please, just let me take care of him tonight and we'll see how he's doing in the morning."

The gang nodded and headed back to the van. Oz stayed and pulled Willow into a hug.

"If, at some point, it might help," he whispered to her. "Tell him I forgive him, too."

Willow looked at him, shocked. "You can tell what happened?"

Her boyfriend kissed her head. "I can smell him on you."

"And you're not mad?"

"I would be, if all I smelled was his lust. But that's overpowered by his fear, and desperation, and sorrow."

Willow cringed, "Do you think the others could smell anything?"

"No," Oz assured her. "The layer of old soot from that place covers most everything else. They would have to have the wolf's nose." He smiled at her. "Go take care of him. I'll come back to check on you in the morning and bring you some clean clothes." Willow gave him a grateful kiss and slipped the keys to her empty house into his hand before turning to go through the Watcher's door.




Willow was in no way surprised to find Giles as he was. Sitting on his couch, staring into the empty fireplace. His left hand was clutching a full bottle of scotch. He hadn't yet opened it, good sign, but he also hadn't bothered to pick up a glass, bad sign. She sighed deeply, and walked around to stand before him.

"You shouldn't be here, Willow ," his voice ground quietly.

"And where should I be?" she asked with a tone of gentle care. "At home alone, with my parents out of town?"

"I'm sure any of the others would gladly stay with you and look after you." His eyes hadn't yet shifted from the fireplace.

"I'm sure, too. But, Giles, who will care for you? You forget that I've seen that look on you before. It's the look that makes me want to get all the sharp implements out of the house. Since, in this house, that would be impossible, I'm not going anywhere until I know you're going to be all right." As he didn't have an answer to that, she went to sit by him on the couch. Not too close, sensing his uneasiness, but close enough to make the room seem a little less empty. "We both know that this isn't really going to help anything." She pulled the bottle from his hand, fully aware that she could never have taken it if he didn't allow her to, and placed it on the end table. "And I wasn't about to send any of the others in here to ask you endless questions. I told you we'd get through this together, and we will."

They sat in silence for a long while. Willow searching desperately for something to say to him that would ease the burden he was forcing on himself. She could only guess what kind of flogging his mind was inflicting on him. The girl knew he felt like he'd committed an evil far beyond that which they have killed demons for. What she couldn't figure out was why she didn't feel the same way. When she looked at him now, she didn't see the monster he obviously thought he'd become. She just saw Giles, the man who was willing to do anything he had to in order to keep all those he'd chosen to protect safe. Yes, there might have also been a new found respect for what he hides under all that tweed, and a bit of envy for his past and future lovers… But that was beside the point. He was still Giles.

Willow finally let out a long sigh. It was already late, and this silence wasn't going to fix the problem between them. "I think you already know I've forgiven you," her voice seemed small in the still room. "And Oz said to tell you that he forgives you, too."

"Oz knows," Giles mumbled. "Of course, it's only right for you to tell him."

"I didn't have to. He said could smell…"

"Werewolf senses," he nodded slowly. "The boy could probably smell me all over you. Just as well. Next full moon I can forget to lock the cage and he might well rip my bloody head off."

"Why are you doing this? Everyone thinks you're a hero. I think you're a hero. Why can't you forgive yourself?"

He looked at her for the first time since they'd left the factory. His eyes were red-rimmed and hollow. "Don't you get it?" He raised his voice. "Willow, I raped you!"

The girl's heart stopped at his tone and his harsh words. He had never yelled at her before, for any reason. But she stood her ground. Unwilling to give one inch until the matter was resolved. "Y-you… You… I could just as easily say that I raped you," she countered in a loud but calm voice. "I'm the one who agreed to Spike's demands. I'm the one who talked you into giving in. It's not like you wanted to do it…"

His fist came down hard on the arm of the couch and he stood abruptly. "But I did!" he shouted, stalking toward the fireplace. "Part of me wanted… A large part of me enjoyed being with you. The way you made me feel…" The Watcher leaned his head against the cool surface of the mantle. "I should have never let it happen," he grumbled to himself.

Willow 's eyes went wide. She couldn't help the warm flush that went through her. It had been clear that he was working very hard to make the experience as non-traumatic and enjoyable as possible for her. But the thought that she could make him feel… anything. A small smile curved her lips. Her voice returned to its caring, even tone. "Do you know what that makes you?"

"A despicable, lecherous old beast that should be put down as soon as possible," Giles snarled into the fireplace.

"Maybe," she stifled a chuckle. "But I was going to go with human. And worse, a man." She heard him let out a growl that must have shaken his entire body. "I'm sorry, Giles, but I've spent most of my high school life watching you face down demons and whatever else it is that wants to end the world on any particular day. I've seen you overcome torments the likes of which most people on this planet will never even imagine. Excuse me if I don't feel like pitying you because having se… making lo… being with me made you feel good."

"You don't understand. You're still my student, Willow . I'm not supposed to look at you like--"

"Like what? Like I'm a woman? Or even just a female?" Willow stood. She was on a roll and she liked it. "Or maybe you're just afraid that one of us will stop looking at you as nothing more than a walking textbook. Ever think of that? Huh?"

Giles turned to look at her, a hint of confusion mixed with the self-loathing on his face. "This isn't like you, Willow ."

"I know," she laughed and bounced on her toes a few times. "It's kinda fun. For some reason I feel more confident tonight. More relaxed than I have been for a really long time." She smiled at the blush climbing his neck and decided the only way to bring him back was going to be to start pushing. "I wonder. Do you think that could have been your influence?" His color grew even higher, and it egged her on. "I'm beginning to think that's the way a girl should go. Find an older, experienced man to show her the ropes and everything. Hey, maybe you could teach a class. Dr. Giles' sex education for high school girls."

"That's enough," Giles groaned.

"Do you get it now?" Willow said seriously. "You told me the only thing I was supposed to remember from this night is the way a gentleman should make me feel. And that's what I remember. And damned if I'm going to let you crawl into a black hole of despair for being the one who gave me that memory."

Giles let his gaze drop to the floor and muttered something under his breath that Willow couldn't quite catch. She thought it sounded like something about the meaning of 'making a woman,' but decided to let it pass. At least he wasn't arguing with her anymore, and that usually meant he would finally surrender to her care.

She reached a hand out to him and said, "Come with me." He didn't move. Willow sighed and took his hand. This wasn't over by a long shot. Since he'd left her to take on Spike, he hadn't touched her again. She was grateful that he still allowed her the contact he knew she needed. But he never initiated it. She wondered if he ever would after what happened.

With the big man in tow, she headed to the bathroom. Giles didn't fight. Willow indicated the shower and, with a quirky grin, asked if he would be needing help. His cheeks turned a shade of crimson as he answered in the negative. She heard the water start as she entered the kitchen to put the kettle on. Then she took a quick sprint up the stairs.

Willow stopped for a moment as she entered his bedroom. A sad smile crossed her face when she saw that it was just how she remembered. He hadn't moved the large recliner they had carried up to the room for the last time they took on the responsibility of caring for him. The chair still held the pillow and blanket she remembered falling asleep with during those long nights. It was a sad yet fulfilling time for her. Helping him change the bandages on his back, watching as their doctoring made his wounds heal. Being there to talk to him when the dreams got so bad they threatened to overwhelm him. Just letting him know he hadn't been completely abandoned as the days wore on.

Now, here she was again, after another round of torture for the stalwart Watcher. Only, this time worse. There were no physical wounds to bandage, no broken bones to heal. This time the foe chose to pit him against his own inner turmoil. The healing to be done here was all psychological. And, as the weapon used to inflict his torment, she was determined to be the instrument of his healing.

She went to his dresser and pulled out a set of pajamas for him. Down stairs, she was able to slip the clothing through the cracked bathroom door and onto the sink just before the tea kettle whistled her back to the kitchen. She chose something soothing from his collection of flavors, something that always helped him sleep before. And with the tea steeping in the pot, she added a cup, cream, and sugar to the tray and placed it on the coffee table for him. Now there was a choice, he could accept the tea or return to the booze. She would know how bad things were by what he would be drinking when her turn in the shower was over.

One more quick trip up the stairs to find something she could change into. "You would think that Buffy'd have an emergency stash here or something," she muttered to herself. The best she could do was one of Giles' sweat suits. She would swim in it, but at least it would be warm and comfortable.

The bathroom door opened as she crossed the living room with the bundle in her arms. "My turn," she smiled brightly at him, hiding the fact that she was still worried and very tired.

Willow let out a happy sigh when she re-entered the living room and found a tea cup in his hand. Giles heard her and looked up. He smiled at the sight of his large, blue sweat suit draping off of her.

"That's the first real smile I've gotten in a long time," she grinned at him. "Looks good on you."

"Willow, you're going to have to stop teasing me."

"I know," she chuckled. "But don't blame me for getting a few more in while I have the chance." He closed his eyes and gave a nod of surrender. "Are you ready to go to bed?"

"Very much so."

After dousing all the downstairs lights, they trekked up to the bedroom. Giles crawled wearily into bed and told her good night. Willow turned off the lamp and looked at her chair for a moment. Then she made a decision.

She grabbed the pillow and blanket, and muttered, "You know what, I was kidnapped today, too." With a resolute face, she lay down beside Giles, atop his comforter, and spread the blanket over herself. After a few minutes, when he didn't move or protest, a wicked smile crossed her lips. With an exaggerated worry in her voice, she whispered, "You aren't going to try to jump my bones in the middle of the night, are you?"

In response, his hand slid over to take hers and squeezed. Willow gave a relived sigh. That was what she had been waiting for. "We're gonna be all right," she breathed out into the room.




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