Title: Fantasies of Mesh and Steel
Summary: Willow and Giles return to lock the library after "The Pack".
Disclaimer: It all belongs to Joss
Author's Notes: Written for the Back in the Day Challenge. Thanks to Mad Poetess and Wesleysgirl for the great betas. Thanks also to Wesleysgirl for posting Margaret Atwood's poem Variation on the Word Sleep. The poem led my brain down strange tangential paths.
Author's Website: http://www.primalglyph.lunarpages.com/jh
Author's LJ: http://www.livejournal.com/users/justhuman/
"Giles, are you all right?" Willow tried not to let her excitement seep out of every pore. There was nothing better than being with Buffy and Xander, but ... but there was something special about being with Giles, in the library--alone with Giles in the library.
Absently rubbing the back of his neck, Giles lifted his gaze from a pile of books and smiled at Willow. "Ah, yes. Thank you, Willow." Green. His eyes were green; Willow knew that. But it was at moments like this when Giles turned and looked right at her that it was really obvious. It always made Willow wish that she could climb inside and see the world from not just Giles' point of view, but from inside him.
"I'm sorry. I should be asking how you're feeling. You look a bit shell shocked, not surprising. Being chased by the forces of evil is something you never quite get used to, but being chased by a friend possessed by a hyena, I'm sure that was...." Giles cleared his throat uncomfortably. "Yes." It was those thoughts he never quite finished that intrigued Willow most. Glimpses of emotion stumbled upon through logical pathways so ingrained that Giles walked them in the dark--so dark that even Giles didn't always know where they led. Intellectually and emotionally Willow understood these things because she knew that her own dark corridors existed, but she was afraid to explore them. That quiet confidence that came from the man in front of her was something she so desperately desired for herself...and his eyes were such a beautiful green.
"I'm, I'm okay." He raised an eyebrow; Willow felt a flush rise to her cheeks. "Well, not perfect." Giles nodded and turned to lift the cage door, and Willow felt a small thrill as the iron netting slid around masculine fingers. That door wasn't just a barrier protecting ancient books and the Slayer's weapons. It was the foreboding, or maybe inviting, entrance to one of those dark places inside of Willow.
Xander's fingers had threaded the painted iron earlier in the evening, but despite the predator in him, there was something young and naive in those fingers; something old and knowing in Giles' hands; and something akin to need was spurred in Willow. Was it just the vision? The very question was a lie because she'd already known that it was the thrill of power when she'd stepped away from Xander's grasping hands. It made her want more; it made her afraid.
Speaking over his shoulder, as Giles struggled with the heavy door, "It was difficult for me tonight. I'm quite fond of you, and Buffy, and well, even Xander. The only thing perhaps more horrible than one of you being injured was the potential of having to inflict that violence. It was very brave of you to volunteer to watch Xander."
Brave? Willow wasn't sure that it was bravery that truly motivated her. Best friend, right thing to do...pathetic hope that she could make Xander look at her as someone who was girlfriend material. It was so wrong to be jealous of Buffy because Xander attempted to...to do things. She should be able to brush it all off as the effects of the possession. But she couldn't. Sometimes people said what they really felt when they were under the influence. Willow saw that in Xander's eyes every time tapped on the glass outside her bedroom in the middle of the night and slept on her floor. At the zoo he had been really sorry, and she knew he was. But the wound was still raw, and Willow didn't want to think about Xander right now.
Squirming a moment in her seat, Willow tried to look away, but Giles had stepped inside the cage and was trying to refit the door. "It was hard, but not too hard. I mean, I knew it wasn't Xander." Small white lines painted Giles' face and body, fingers embracing the thick metal. A warm flush went through Willow, traveling to places she liked quite a bit but wasn't sure she was ready to deal with anywhere but at home. She thanked whoever was listening to the thoughts rattling in her head that Giles was poking at a hinge and not looking at her face.
Metal rattled gently against metal, sending tingles down surface nerves, making Willow's skin itch in a good way--even the places she couldn't scratch. A little irrational fear whipped through Willow's brain; the kind of irrational fear that slams doors and blocks passageways, especially dark ones. Would walking through a prison of felons be this much of a turn on? Willow pushed it down and decided that it might if it were filled with Xanders, Gileses, Angels, and maybe even Percys.
"Being able to dissociate like that is a useful skill. It's the kind of skill a Watcher must develop."
With a sudden start, Willow jumped from where she had been remaining perfectly still, concentrating on the delicate sensations running beneath her clothes. "Watcher?"
And his eyes were on her again, but this time from within the metal lace. Willow very much wished that she could move her hands to touch herself. Those eyes were not the loveless predator eyes she had seen earlier. These were eyes that saw her, and Willow felt very naked. Could Giles see how turned on she was? Could he know that part of it was a simmering fantasy in the back of her mind about what it would be like to lock that door?
Carefully propping the door closed, Giles pulled off his glasses, polishing the lenses. "Yes, a Watcher. The vocation is hereditary by tradition, but new Watchers are selected all the time from sources outside the Council's normal sphere. You already know about the world beyond what most people see."
He was looking in the toolbox, searching for something to fix the door. Willow tried not to focus on that, because to make the image perfect, Giles had to have nothing--nothing but Willow on the other side of the bars to feed him and provide for his needs. Standing up, Willow reached for the tea mug and brought it to the slot. "I don't know if I'd be a good Watcher. I mean, there's that whole teaching the slayer how to fight."
Noticing the tea, Giles lifted the mug from where it was being offered. "Ta. As you might imagine, most Watchers never have the opportunity to work directly with a slayer. For the most part, Watchers hold down jobs in academia and ancient studies, but they all have a mystical studies to which they devote much of their time."
As Giles' attention returned to the tools, Willow stepped forward slightly, allowing her aching breast to lightly graze the cage, mindful that her movements needed to be casual. "Are you saying that I could be a good watcher?" Her breath hitched as a taut nipple rolled over the thin metal. I mean, didn't you tell Buffy that you've been studying since you were ten?"
Willow was very glad that part of her brain was able to carry on this conversation as Giles knelt in the cage, refastening the door with thick bolts. Scratching her earlier objection about the tools, Willow found her blood racing at the idea of Giles laboring to lock himself in.
"I found out when I was ten. Most children from Watcher families attend a special academy, but some members did not even know of our existence until their more advanced years."
Erotic. That was the word, but Willow never actually used it in a sentence even when it would be appropriate, because it just made her blush--like she was doing now as Giles tugged on the hinge, making sure it was tight. She could feel the key fully defined against her thigh through the thin lining of her skirt.
"I-" Squeak. The squeak was bad, and her body was hot, and he was so close but so very not touchable. Willow felt suddenly that there was an electricity passing through the metal from her on the outside and him dependant on her from the inside. It was making Willow flustered. "I mean-" Oh god, her brain was losing track as he mopped a bit of sweat from his brow and then bore down on the wrench again.
"Willow." His voice was calming. His eyes held her in place. "Willow, I think you would make an excellent watcher if you were interested. You are intelligent, clever and have a quiet authority when you are in your area of expertise. I quite admire all that about you." Willow wondered if he would admire that authority if she used it to keep him locked inside, feeding him through the slot, making him ask humbly for books and tea which she would always give him. Making him to want only her presence, making him want to touch...
Catching her breath, Willow's eyes followed the long line of Giles' body as he stood and began working on the top hinge. "Really? That's cool. I mean my parents always tell me that I can do great things and yeah, I've got the grades. But being a watcher...that would be cool. People trust you to take care of things; keep things safe."
Frowning at the bent metal, Giles forced one bold in, tightening it. "Yes, it can be like that, taking care of the whole human race at times. The pack certainly did quite a job on this. I'll have to call a welder in the morning, but I think this will keep any intruders out of the weapons for tonight." Giles stepped back, inspecting the hinges. Willow closed the door.
There was a dampness between her legs, seeping into her panties, making her feel so dirty, but so good. Willow knew that she was about to get into trouble, because that's what happened when you locked your teacher in a cage, but god...the feeling at having locked that door...
Crossing his arms in front of his chest, Giles nodded at the lock. "Well, go on; test it. Make sure I've done my job." With a blush and a smile, Willow grabbed hold of the mesh and pulled hard. It rattled, but didn't budge. He wanted her to test him; maybe he wouldn't mind cage life.
With a nod and a grunt, Giles stepped up and fiercely shook the door, causing Willow to jump half a step back. Remembering that she was in charge, she smoothed her hand over the key, smiling when the door held. There was something in Giles' face, in the movement of muscles beneath the tweedy clothes. The cage with the half-mended door wouldn't actually hold him, but he didn't seem desperate to leave. Very different than Xander, who needed to bluster and seize control. This consensual surrender even though Willow knew that it was only her perception...it made those hidden places between her legs throb.
"It would seem that I've done a decent job of it. If you would be so kind..." Giles gestured with his glasses at the lock.
With the smile that her mother called impish and Xander once, jokingly, called sultry, Willow slowly pulled the key from her pocket. "What's the magic word?"
"Wil-" Giles had his annoyed British guy look on his face as he rubbed his forehead, but then he gave a little sigh and a bit of a smile. "Very well. Willow, may I please be let out of the cage?"
Willow couldn't breathe as she turned the key in the lock.
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