Buffy led the way into the library, talking happily about the previous night. Willow trailed behind her reluctantly, her whole body sore.
"So then, he just comes up to me and takes me in his arms. We're dancing and it's just like nothing ever went wrong between us. Although, you know, I know it did and I didn't forget that at all." She nodded and turned back to make sure Willow was listening. "So, you know, nothing happened."
"Oh. Good." Willow lowered herself gently into her chair and smiled weakly. She flinched slightly as the smooth wood made contact with the parts of her body that had been on the receiving end of his belt.
"Are you okay, Wills?"
"Sure." She smiled again, this time more convincingly.
"You sure? I know you didn't feel well when you left the Bronze last night. Did anything happen on your way home?"
*I was kidnapped by Giles, held captive and lost my virginity. Does that count? * She thought. "No. Nothing happened."
The bell rang and Buffy groaned. "Gotta get to class. Are you coming?"
"No. I've got a free period this morning. I'm just going to sit here."
"All right" The Slayer gave her friend a tight hug, missing Willow's look of sheer agony. "I'll see you at lunch."
Willow waited until Buffy had left the room before pushing her sleeves up to her elbows. She reached into her backpack and pulled out some aloe lotion. Rubbing the cool gel onto the rope burns on her wrists, she sighed.
"So you see, Principal Snyder, there is nothing here that warrants a…Oh. Hello Miss Rosenberg."
She pulled her sleeves down quickly, a red-hot blush suffusing her cheeks. "Mr. Giles. I have a report to do on the…" she paused, unable to think of anything she could possibly do a report on.
"Adverse effects of advertising on today's teen?" He asked. "Several students in your class have been looking for books on the subject." He glanced at the principal. "Can we continue this discussion at a later time?"
"You can count on it." Snyder left abruptly.
Willow seemed to deflate. "I should go."
"Please, Willow. It's imperative that we talk. You have to know that it wasn't me. I would never…"
She bit her lower lip. "You remember?"
"I was there." He nodded.
"But he…" She shook her head, angrily. "Why did you do that? Why did you kidnap me and…and hurt me?"
He stepped forward, saddened when she backed away. "I would never hurt you."
"You did." She tossed one of her textbooks at him. "You ate that damn candy knowing what it would do to you."
"No. I didn't know. I assumed it would have the same effect it did with Ms…Jo…Mrs. Summers. With her it was g...d…gentle."
"Oh, so you're nice to Mrs. Summers and me you smack with your belt?" She stood up, ignoring the aches in her body. "You tied me down and you hit me," tears overwhelmed her voice.
He strode to her side and gathered her in a tight hug. She gasped in surprise and struggled to get away from him. "Willow." His voice was firm. "Stop it. Please?"
She stopped struggling, fearing that if she didn't, he would make her.
"Other than the belt…uh, di…did I…did Ri…did I hurt you?"
Her lower lip trembled and she buried her face against his shoulder. "No," she sobbed.
"Oh." Relief flooded his voice.
She looked at him, confusion and anger and worry in her tear-filled eyes. "Don't you see? That's not what…Giles, I liked what you did to me."
"At the end, it was very…"
"Not just at the end." She whispered, bowing her head in shame.
His hand shook as he raised her eyes to his. "You did?"
He laughed delightedly. "Well, I have to admit, I'm rather happy to hear you say that. I have a tendency to keep Ripper locked up inside me a little too much, so that when I do let him lead things, he tends to be a little rougher than I like."
"I don't understand." Tears streaked down her cheeks. He leaned forward and gently kissed them away. She gasped and shuddered at his touch.
"It would be nice to be able to let him to play, every once in a while." He smiled and let Ripper show through. "If I could find someone for him to play with?"
A surge of heat went through her and suddenly, she didn't hurt any more. "If you were to look at my report cards, dating back to kindergarten, you'll see they all say I play well with others."
Giles chuckled low in his throat and released her. Walking to the doors of the library, he posted the sign stating it was closed. Turning back, he swept her up into his arms and carried her into his office, growling his intentions all the way.
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