Years Gone By
Author: M. Jade
Summary: Willow is waiting for perfection - and finds that sometimes perfect is all it's meant to be
Rating: 12 for sensuality
If you have any comments or questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Feedback: Don't be shy
Spoilers: Post “Help”
Disclaimers: Nothing belongs to me, so there.
Distribution: My site, Level Headed, SB, BMP, WLS, ODD, USCL, ff.n, Near Her Always, Watcher Girls, the W/G list. All others please ask for permission
Notes: Answer to the Level Headed First Kiss Challenge: have your favorite LH characters and their first kiss, then tell what happens next
More Notes: Takes place mid S7, assumes Spike has recovered
Thanks: To Sam, who reminded me that love isn't perfect, and made this story possible
“Giles,” Willow called out as she entered the house. “I'm back.”
“Willow?” a voice called. She knew for sure it was Giles' voice, but she knew instantly that something was wrong. His tone was off, his words slightly slurred. She had only heard him like this on a hand full of occasions. She could tell Giles had been drinking.
“Giles!” Willow called again as she made her way to the kitchen. Just as she had feared, there was Giles, sitting at the table, a glass of scotch in front of him and the bottle on the table, within his reach. Looking at the scene, he hadn't been drinking long, judging by the amount still left in the bottle. “What's… what's going on?” Giles didn't look at her as he answered.
“Got a call. Didn't matter I'm on a bloody holiday, they called me anyway.” He casually took a drink from his glass, still refusing to look at her. “It never bloody matters.”
“Who called?” He finally looked over at her, and the look in his eyes scared her. He had a heavy look on his face, miserable and defeated.
“A friend of mine, from the coven.”
“She called to tell me that a young woman I had known has died. She… it was Randall's daughter.”
“Randall…” Willow struggled to place the name when it came to her. “Your friend that was killed by Eygon.” Giles gave a bitter laugh.
“Yes. Jessica never knew her father. Randall died before she was born. Bloody hell, I didn't even realize Gwen was pregnant when I returned to Oxford.” Giles took another drink from his glass. “Randall tried to tell me about Gwen, before he died. I didn't know about it until much later. I was too much of a selfish prat to listen to him at the time. I… Gwen was alone after Randall died. I was going back to school, trying to straighten out my life. I can't even remember giving so much as one thought to Gwen after the funeral. I was a bloody fool. She committed suicide within months of giving birth to Jessica, and I did nothing to stop it. Her world falls to pieces, and I didn't do a bloody thing!” His voice took on a bitter tone as he went on. Willow was now very worried.
“Giles, what happened wasn't your fault…”
“Jessica was passed around between various relatives after that. None of them apparently took much of an interest in her. She never stayed in one place for very long. Girl never had a real home her entire life. She got into things… drugs… she died of an overdose. I… I never did a thing for her.” Willow's heart went out to the man in front of her, who seemed to be breaking apart before her eyes.
“Giles, don't blame yourself for something you had no control over…” she tried to reason with him, but he was not in the mood to listen.
“I bloody well had control, Willow! I could have exorcised the demon from Randall; I could have at least rang Gwen. Instead, I did neither, and their child ends up paying for it.” Giles looked down and drained the glass before him. He went to grab the bottle on the table, when Willow beat him to it, scooping it off the table.
“No! Giles, this is pointless. You can't change what you've done, and you couldn't give that girl her parents back. You don't even know if that was her problem. Giles…”
“No more.” Willow had already made her way to the sink and began pouring the bottle's contents down the drain. Giles just glanced over at her. “I'm not going to let you do this, mister.” The bottle empty, she tossed it into the garbage can by the sink, then looked back to him.
“No. No, you are not going be all broody and guilty on me for no good reason. You … you can't.”
“I did nothing.”
“That's not the point, Giles. This is not your fault!”
“But I still had my hand in it, Willow,” he added, giving her a knowing glance. “I still did more than my fair share of the damage in this case, so I think a little self loathing is in order.“ She was standing beside him now, her doubts written across her face. She had rarely seen him like this, and he always managed to frighten her when she did. She automatically grabbed a chair and sat down next to him.
“Giles, this isn't doing you any good.”
“I think that's the idea,” he said matter-of-factly. “I've done many things in my life I've regretted, but Randall… Randall was the worse. I could have saved him.” Willow shook her head.
“Don't do this, Giles,” she pleaded in a small voice.
“I was such a fool. Today, my musings have only lead me to believe that I am a fool, and not just about Randall. So many things,” he added with a sigh. He placed his hand on hers, looking into her eyes. She almost tried to pull back, but chose not to. She decided to let him vent. “All these years gone by… I took most of what I've done in stride. Did my best to accept what I've done. Tried my best to keep my regrets to a minimum. Still… I have them. Randall… Jenny, perhaps… and you.” Willow's eyes got big. She wasn't sure where he was going with this.
“Me?” she asked, her eyes growing wider.
“I should have done this a long time ago,” he intoned, then he bent his head towards hers, pressing his mouth to hers in a searing kiss. It was rough and inelegant, hasty and full of pent up yearning. She was scared of it at first. His kiss was verging on bruising and violent, she knew she had to end it, but she found herself yielding to him. Dammit, she was even kissing him back. She opened her mouth slightly, to allow him access, and she could feel his tongue slowly sweep across hers. This wasn't how it was supposed to be, and she knew it. Giles was supposed to be the stable one, the one she could always count on, not the man sitting with her in the kitchen, his tongue down her throat, drunk enough she could smell the alcohol on his breath. He used his free hand to grab her waist and pull her towards him. Before she knew it, she was practically sitting in his lap, and she couldn't say she didn't like it. From Willow's new seat, she could tell exactly what he wanted, the only question was if she would give it to him. Finally, they parted, still remaining close, their lips inches apart.
“Giles… this is wrong…” she breathed, gripping his shoulder.
“Of course we're wrong, Willow,” he whispered, stroking her hair, “we always were.”
“Still, we shouldn't be doing this,” she replied weakly, she was losing her will to resist him. At that moment, she wasn't sure she even wanted to at all.
“No, we shouldn't,” he agreed, then began to kiss her again with the same fury. She didn't resist him, pressing her body closer to his. She felt his hands snake around her torso, ending in front, his fingers nimbly undoing to buttons of her blouse, and she made no effort to stop it. She knew she should stop him, but she didn't. Her mind was swimming with all the things that could go wrong, all the reasons why she should end it right there, only she found her heart guiding her hands to the hem of his shirt, lifting it. Giles ended the kiss to allow her to pull his shirt over his head, and she ran her hands along his bare chest.
“You know we shouldn't be doing this,” she whispered, leaning her head against his.
“No regrets,” Giles answered in a husky voice. “No more damn regrets.” With that he kissed her again soundly. Even once they parted again, he continued his assualt on her senses, trailing kisses along her collarbone. She let out a soft moan as his hands began to caress her thighs.
"We're going to have a lot of explaining to do," she panted.
Willow didn't know at one point she had dozed off, but it was mid afternoon by the time she awoke. She found herself lying in her bed, a sheet lazily draped over her, and Giles was lying beside her. She groaned as she laid her head back on her pillow. “Great,” she muttered under her breath.
“We at least managed to make it to the bed… once,” Giles mused from beside her.
“Well, it's certainly not something we'll soon forget.”
“Undoubtedly,” he agreed. She was hesitant, but decided to dare and ask him something.
“Giles, what happens now?” He glanced over to her, looked into her eyes.
“Must you ask that?”
“Yes. Giles, we…”
“I am aware of what we have done, Willow,” he cut her off gently. “I… you know I'm supposed to leave for England in two days. I'm only supposed to be here in Sunnydale on holiday.”
“So what, we just forget about it, is that what you want?” she said, anger seeping into her voice. She was now on the defensive. “Act as if nothing ever happened?”
“No, Willow, that is not what I want. I'm only saying that this is more complicated than either of us would like it to be,” he pointed out. “There are my responsibilities in England, you have your own here, and… you're so young, love…”
“Is this really about the age thing, cause let me tell you, not such a big deal here.” She had calmed down some, but was still upset.
“It's not only about that Willow. ‘From beneath you, it devours.' You know as well as I do that something's coming here. Something horrible. You're needed here, more than ever now. We still don't know what's coming, much less how to begin to bloody prepare for it. I'm making great progress with the coven, and we need all the help we can get at this point.” He reached over and swept an errant strand of her hair from her face.
“Giles, I just… I want…” He placed his hand along her face gently.
“It doesn't matter what we want, Willow, or how badly we want it. Sometimes it's simply not possible.”
“You can't believe that,” she replied, her voice nearly quivering.
“I know that I would like nothing more than for you and I to be able to make up for all the years we missed together. At the moment, that‘s not possible..” He leaned over and kissed her gently on the forehead. “Always know that I wanted today more than you'll ever realize, Willow.”
“So you're leaving,” she said quietly.
“I don't think either of us have a choice in the matter,“ he corrected her.
“So we have a few moments together and then ignore it completely? You go your way, I go mine?” His body went rigid when her heard her.
“Willow, being with you has been one of my greatest wishes, for longer than I had the right to wish it. More than you may ever realize. For right now, we must remain apart, circumstance dictates that, but we can't believe it will always be that way. Things change, they always do, and some day, hopefully very soon, fate will allow us to have our time together. Right now, we both know that's not to be. It‘s not fair, it's not what we want, but that‘s the way it has to be.” He leaned over, placing a soft kiss on her lips. “God, I'm sorry,” he added a barely audible voice. Willow laid back and tried not to cry.
“So you'll be there and I'll be here…”
“We have to believe this can work, Willow,” he pointed out.
“I want to,” she assured him. “I'm still processing the fact that we've been together, in a naked way.” He pulled her to him, holding her.
“We will be again, Willow. Somehow.” She laid back closer to him. They laid back like that for a few moments, enjoying the solitude.
“This is nice,” she mused.
“I agree. Unfortunately, Buffy and Dawn will be home soon. I'd prefer they not find us like this.”
“Right. Naked not good. We should take care of that.”
“Yes we should.”
“Are you going to be okay?” Buffy asked Willow as they stood together by the gate in the airport.
“Yes, go find the others and get your snacks,” Willow instructed her with the best smile she could muster at that moment.
“Okay,” Buffy said happily as she turned and walked down the hall to join the others and Willow sat back down in her chair with a small sigh.
“Won't be much longer before he boards that plane,” Spike observed as he joined her, sitting down in the chair next to her.
“No, it won‘t,” Willow agreed, trying to keep the grumpiness out of her voice. “I'm still surprised you came to see him off.”
“Ah, as much as Giles and I hate each other, we have an understanding. No blood shed in public or in front of the kiddies. Beside, I'm kind of curious to see how he's going to see you off. I would love to see Buffy's face when he snogs you senseless at the gate,” Spike explained, a grin forming on his face.
“What…” Willow said with a shocked stutter. “How did you… We didn't say a thing…”
“Oh, come on, Red. I could smell you and Giles all over each other the other night. You can't tell me he didn't shag you.” Willow found herself blushing by this time. “By the look on your face, it must have been quite…stimulating.”
“Um… first, that's gross, and second, I don't see how it's any of your business.” She tried to hide her embarrassment by doing her best to be indignant.
“You're probably trying to plan your next little shag fest…”
“I don't know when or if he's even coming back,” Willow admitted in a sad voice. "There may never be a next time."
“Of course he's coming back. He won't be able to stay away from you for too long, Red. He'll find a way. You've started something with him, and neither of you will let it end here.” Spike gave her a pointed look.
“I don't know how we're going to do it,” Willow sighed.
“What are you expecting, Red? Perfection?” He didn't wait for Willow to answer. “You can wait for perfection to come along all you bloody well please, but you're never going to find it. Trust me.” Spike's gaze veered off, and he found himself unconsciously looking to where Buffy had been a few moments before. He looked back to Willow. “Don't let him go.” Willow looked at him, and for once she felt she understood the situation.
“I won't.” Just then, the others began to come back into the waiting area. Giles was first, chatting with Buffy, and they were followed by Dawn, then Xander, and Anya, all of them carrying some type of food or drink, except for Giles, who was placing a magazine in his carry-on bag. The group stayed together and kept chatting for a little while longer, until a voice over the PA system announced the boarding for Giles' flight. Giles began his good-byes, even reluctantly shaking hands with Spike, but he saved Willow's good-bye for last.
“Good-bye, love,” He whispered as he hugged her. “Don't think of this as an end, but a beginning, of something new for both of us.
“I know,” she whispered back. She slowly leaned over and met his mouth in a heady kiss. The others gazed on, too stunned to say anything, but the shock was written across their faces, all but Spike, with a look of pure mirth on his. Willow and Giles paid them no heed, releasing their passion and frustration, their joy and pain. It was going to be a long road, yet both seemed eager to take it. Finally they parted, a smile on both their faces.
“We'll have to do that again,” Giles commented quietly.
“I'll hold you to that,” Willow replied with a mock-serious look on her face.
“Gladly.” Giles gave a looked to the others, then walked to the gate and onto the ramp, leaving the others behind. Willow had a lazy smile on her face as she watched Giles leave. Finally, Buffy broke the silence.
“Okay, we… we missed something.”
“I guess you did,” Willow answered casually as she began to walk towards the exit and into the night.
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