"Let's go out tonight...?" Giles asked as he leaned over the counter. He realised he sounded almost like Buffy. He was pleading with his 'Watcher' for a night off. He smiled. Angel's face was a picture as he washed Willow's dishes. He dried his hands and nodded.
"OK. Do you want to scare up some trouble at the Bronze?" Giles reached for his old leather jacket.
Angel led the way, keeping to the shadows. Rupert kept pace with him, thinking about what he would do if Willow were there and what he would do if she weren't. He stopped suddenly thinking of all the other times he'd been to the Bronze since vacation started. Angel looked back at him.
"What's the matter Rupert? C'mon, it's not far now. Nervous?" Giles nodded. He looked very much on edge. Angel moved off again, this time with Giles in tow. They went inside and the smoky atmosphere caught Giles' attention immediately. He breathed deep, catching the faintest scent of Willow near the door. He smiled and walked through the crowds. He was nearly at the back of the club when he realised he had lost Angel. Willow sat in the booth by herself...He was nearly there, nearly safe, when somebody pulled his arm and he was in a dark corner.
"Why, it's Ripper..." His eyes focused on a knife, then on the man wielding it. "Long time, no see. How the hell have you been? We missed your custom, " Giles tried to leave but he was slammed back against the wall. It hurt and he growled softly. His eyes turned yellow in the darkness. His attacker smiled nervously.
"Alright, Rip. Just saying 'hello' and 'don't be a stranger.'" He put a small fold of paper into his jacket pocket. "On the house." He left the building by the back door. Giles stayed by the wall until Angel found him. He was sweating and ready to bolt somewhere to use his 'gift'. Angel dragged him into the light.
"What have you done, Giles?" He flung him to the wall. "Tell me what you've taken!"
"I haven't taken anything! What the fuck's the matter with you? You're all over me like a disease... Why exactly? My eyes have changed? Well if they have, it's your fault. I'm off... " Angel caught his arm to stop him but he was quicker. He got to the door and bolted. He didn't stop running until he got to his own house.
He opened the door and raced up the stairs to his room. He sat on the bed and took out the fold of paper given to him in the Bronze he opened it with shaking hands and stared at the white powder for the longest time. He licked his lips nervously, took a breath and smelt all its impurities; still his nose itched. He sniffed and closed his eyes on his reflection, he saw the "ghost" of months before, eyes red-rimmed and arms punctured and scarred. He took a breath, opened his eyes and strode to the bathroom, crumpled the paper and contents into the toilet bowl, and then returned to his bedroom to sleep.
He woke naturally the next day at sunset. After a shower and breakfast, he wandered into his spare room, now vacated and sterile smelling, thanks to Willow. There was a box on the bed. He didn't remember having a box that shape. He opened it and smiled.
Thank you, Chloe.
"Yes, Buffy, I was looking after him. He stayed with me for a few months during vacation but he's gone now and I don't know where he's gone." Angel was answering Buffy's questions on the wrong end of a stake. Willow hung about behind Buffy, anxious for any word and grateful that Angel had not named her in the plot.
Someone walked into the clearing carrying sports hold all. He was self-assured and wore tweed. Only one man would be like that. Willow ran to him and gave him a hug. "Rup. Giles!..I was so...." She stopped. Not Giles. Who?
"Xander!" Buffy screeched. Angel heaved a sigh of relief and slipped away.
"Hi, thanks for the welcome. Said I'd be back in tweed. Where's G-man? Shouldn't he be on patrol with you?" Xander was in full investigation mode. That's what the Watchers had decided he was good at. The fake reports had fooled them but not him. He knew the author too well.
"He's been gone for ages. He was staying with Angel but he says Giles left and he doesn't know where he is now."
"OK. So, Buffy, you don't have a Watcher until he returns so I'm your temporary Watcher. Willow, do some searching. No-one can sink without trace, not even you, Buffy, we'll find him."
They all had their tasks for the following day. They retired for the night. Xander did not go back home. He never wanted to go back home ever again. He had a new family now, one that was missing its father. He wouldn't rest until Giles was found. He settled back in the chair in his hotel room and wrote in the first page of his diary. His first Watcher diary.
Willow heard a noise and grabbed a cross from her bedside drawer. Someone was coming in through the window. Her breath froze in her throat and she thought of yelling for her parents in the next room. The figure was dressed in black and it stalked toward her small bed menacingly, she shrank back against her pillows, her eyes round and staring.
The stranger's head bent and looked as though he were sizing her up. Please, don't hurt me, she gasped as his hand reached out and tore the bedcovers from her prone form. She shut her eyes and breathed a name...
"Willow..." Rupert murmured.
That was all they had to say to each other. He knelt over her and eased back his hood and mask. Willow reached up to pull him down for a torrid kiss, she moaned into his mouth as he caressed her breasts and then eased his fingers into her tight pussy, her heat and wetness increasing with his erotic massage of her clit.
It thrilled him when he found a new sensitive spot. He wanted to teach her all he knew in one night but if the Gods were willing they would have many nights. Their love was hot and passionate, near rape in its intensity but both Willow and Rupert needed it, demanded it and lusted it for it.
Since becoming the WatcherSlayer, Rupert found all his tastes subtly changed, he had a hunger for life and new experiences, the feeling of being charged with power was like a drug, a feeling he knew well.
Willow scratched and snarled to a climax. He held her head steady with his fingers knotted in her hair, tugging her still getting her attention. They gazed into each others eyes and made a pact of lust her tongue darted up and met his lips he puled her head down as his cock throbbed for release in her sucking pussy, Willow moaned in frustration and he smiled cruelly down at her.
"Want it, eh Witch? How much?" he asked and withdrew and speared into her slowly, she groaned. "Hmm? Little pussy all tight and hot for Ripper?"
"YES! Damnit! Fuck me! Hard and fast..." He grinned and slipped his hands beneath her shoulders gripping hard enough to leave bruises and hugging her close to him..
"OK" he said lightly and pummelled her into oblivion.
He opened his eyes and saw her watching him. The day was just beginning. He smiled at her and she dipped her head to kiss him. Her lips were soft and warm and he was hot and hard. She guided him in carefully and they made love gently, like a flowing river, changing to rapids and finally a cascade that left them both breathless. They kissed again and Willow's mother called her for breakfast. Giles fell out of the bed with shock.
"Your parents are here?" He searched for a clock. Half past seven. "My God I'm late! Sorry, love, I've got to go."
"It's OK, go. You're at the library?" He nodded as he dressed quickly. "See you there." Willow whispered as he launched himself out of the window and ran effortlessly down the street.
Buffy had heard a rumour that there was a new librarian starting today and she was being extra nice and supportive to Willow. Buffy was still freaked about having Xander as her Watcher until a replacement arrived but Willow's feelings were more important. She and Giles had been very close. At times it made her jealous. They approached the library doors and Willow took a deep breath. Her face was flushed. They opened the doors quietly.
The new librarian had his back to them. He was bending to get some books out of a box. Willow sighed. Buffy tore her gaze away from the man in front of her and looked anxiously at her friend. Another crush on another librarian? The girls weren't breathing, just watching as the muscles of his back moved sinuously under the soft cotton shirt. They sighed together as he straightened. His jeans remained moulded to his body. Willow moaned, biting her lip to stop the sound. Buffy nudged her friend in the ribs and swallowed, attempting to moisten her throat before giving her 'Welcome to the Hellmouth, er, library' speech.
He deposited some books on a nearby table and turned slowly with a shy smile on his face.
"Giles!" Buffy Screeched. Willow laughed at her friend's reaction. Then the two girls swooped on him. Xander came in and heard the noise but couldn't see anyone.
"Hello? Someone in distress?" he called. Looking under the table he saw Giles with girls all over him."
"Yes, me. Help me up, Xander?" Giles extended his hand and Xander helped him to stand. They hugged briefly.
"Welcome home." Xander whispered.
"My God! Xander. You're wearing tweed! You've passed your finals, well done. As you can see I've re-attired," he said, referring to his clothes.
Xander studied the librarian. He couldn't put his finger on it but there was something different about him. Willow glued to his body? No, that wasn't it. WILLOW GLUED TO GILES' BODY! Giles laughed at the young man's expression. Willow got the giggles. Buffy was serious.
"There's a vampire in here..." She moved cautiously round the room. Xander's expression said it all. He should have got that! Giles would have. But Giles was looking at Buffy, his eyes following her as she stopped in front of him.
"Giles, it's you. Why am I picking you up as a vampire?"
Giles ignored her question. "Tea?" They all filed into his office. The door was missing. Everyone sat down while he made tea. It was a ritual they had all missed. Finally he was settled behind his desk, warming his hands on his mug. He smiled at Willow.
"First I'd like to thank the two people who saved me, one I love." He smiled at Willow and her stomach did a flip, "and one I hated. Angel. He picked up the pieces and Willow put me back together. I can't ever thank them enough. I'd be dead now..." His voice ran out and he took a swallow of tea. Buffy was fidgeting in her seat. "Yes, Buffy?"
"You didn't start drinking again did you?" Her eyes were luminous with tears. This was going to be so difficult for them.
"No, I didn't drink, Buffy." He found himself pacing behind his desk, nervousness claiming him. He rubbed his neck absently to try and relieve some tension there.
"Drugs." The word was barely audible. He finally had the courage to look them all in the eye. He leaned against his desk and folded his arms loosely.
"I used to lock the door," he gestured to the missing door, "and use practically anything..." He closed his eyes and shuddered at the memory. God this was difficult!
"I had to block Chloe's death from my mind. I couldn't get my head round that. It Was a horrible way" He swallowed, his voice cracking. "To die." He took a deep breath to steady himself, tears threatening. "I should have been able to save her..." His voice faltered, at last overflowing with grief.
Xander wiped his eyes. He had his own memories of Chloe to contend with. She was a fantastic lover. Kind and considerate and would tease him so gently. She wanted him near at the end so he would see she was happy and freed from pain. He had never witnessed such joy as when the souls flowed through her body as she lay dying in his arms. He hadn't been able to weep until now. Chloe had embraced death, welcoming it as a blessed release. It seemed wrong to be sad at the moment of her death.
Giles lifted his head. He sniffed back the last of his tears. Willow was crying, as was Xander. Buffy was silent, dry-eyed.
"Buffy, you're very quiet."
"Why didn't you talk to us? Any of us? How could you just go off and... and do what you did... You could have died..."
"I know that, Buffy."
"Did you want to die? Is that it?" Buffy ploughed on, "Where was your Destiny, your Sacred Duty?" She was almost screaming at him now. He had always been so strong and dependable. Now...now he was just like everyone else, flawed.
Giles eyes flashed yellow and he growled low in his throat. Willow shifted uneasily in her seat and Buffy automatically gripped the stake in her pocket.
"Just where were you when I needed you?" He questioned Buffy angrily. He paced towards her, his eyes burning. "I was fine! Good Old Giles, he'll be OK". His tone dripped sarcasm. "His sister's just died, let's have a party!" He stopped pacing and rested his hands on his desk. He glared at them all sitting on his couch. He knew he was frightening them but this was who he was now, so tough!
"When you had the 'wake', I'd been using for a week and you didn't notice. If any of you had, I could have stopped and spared myself a lot of pain." He straightened and began to pace again. This time Xander was the target. "But no, I am part of the wallpaper. A walking text book that you all laugh at." He stopped abruptly and sat down at his desk. "Well, no more. From now on I'm freelance. You do what the Hell you want!" He pointed at Xander. "You... You're promoted to Chief Watcher." His eyes were empty as his gaze raked over his 'children'. He rested his eyes on Willow and his anger evaporated. He didn't want to frighten her anymore.
"Off to class." His voice finally under control. They all trooped out. Willow was the last to leave.
"Will you be alright? I'll come in at lunch..." She asked hopefully.
"Yes, thank you, Willow.... Can you... say I'm sorry..." She nodded and left his office. He rested his elbows on the desk and his head in his hands. His mind raced. He had to get rid of this feeling. If this was three months ago. He left the office and went out to the catalogue desk. Soon he was engrossed in one of his favourite activities, cross-referencing! It did him good to let fly occasionally. He would make it up to them sometime. Snyder came in. Giles' eyes rolled skyward.
"I saw that, Mr.Giles. I came in because your argument could be heard in the corridor. I knew that they would get to you eventually. Just what is a 'Watcher', Mr. Giles?" Giles thought quickly. Nope, couldn't answer that one.
"I'm the Watcher..." Xander's voice was clear and cold in the library.
"Ah, Mr. Harris, back from England. Come to catch up on your studies?" Snyder looked gleeful.
"Xander graduated from my old college. He only needed one to one tutoring to improve his grade average. What is it now, Xander?" Giles returned the favour.
"A+. I also read Latin." Xander smiled at his Principal's shocked expression. Giles was impressed.
"Well, what can one say? Couldn't be your influence could it, George?" Xander and Giles wore the same expression. Neither blinked. Snyder backed off, shaking his head. Giles grinned at Xander when the library doors shut.
"That was fun. Remember last time?" Xander nodded. "Can you read Latin?" It was Xander's turn to smile.
"Read a dictionary, that's as far as I got. I was needed here. You, O' Chief Watcher, are supposed to complete my training." Giles hung his head and smiled ruefully. "We still need you, Giles. All of us, and a bit of ribbing means we love you, y'know."
"I know. Come round to the house tonight and I'll tell you what I did in vacation."
"Sounds like the title of a book..." Xander quipped.
Giles was quiet for a moment. "It very nearly was..."
He approached the cathedral with great trepidation. He hadn’t crossed holy ground in over two hundred years and now with his precious bundle hugged snugly to his chest he was prepared to plunge his hands into a font for his charge.
He slipped inside just as the priest closed the doors for the evening. Angel squinted at the glare of the harsh electric light then smiled as he smelled the alter wine, candle grease and incense all familiar bringing back memories of his childhood and his first wafer. Of course by the time he was a youth he was more attracted to the “blood of Christ” than to his “body.”
The wriggling bundle in his arms brought him back to the present. His golden orbs sought out a cowering priest. Angel had been unaware of his change to vampiric visage, it must have been the holy influence of “mother church.”
"Good evening, Father. I have a child for you to baptise" Angel held out the book and waited for the horror struck look to fade. The priest backed away clutching his rosary.
"This child is innocent!" Angel growled round his fangs. The priest continued to back up until he thumped into a resistant body behind him. He glanced up over his shoulder and started muttering a stream of "Hail Mary's" The figure was tall and silent clad in black from head to foot. He extended a long index finger toward the child. The plump priest blotted the sweat from his face and nodded.
They gathered at the font, Christenings did not usually take place at midnight so they didn't have the usual godparents. Just Angel, Willow and the Watcher-Slayer.
Willow looked on the babe and smiled, Angel had washed it's robe and wrapped it snuggly for its last Earthly duty. The church door banged, and the priest jumped splashing water from the font onto Angel's skin he hissed in pain then became quiet, the water had also splashed onto the book and he felt a pulse at the delicate wrist.
The priest halted mid verse as Angel plunged his hands into the font screaming in agony he held on desperately to the wriggling child emerging from its pages.
"Liam, you are LIAM!" He screamed and yanked his scalded hands from the Holy pool.
The baby cried.
Willow sniffed back her tears as the shivering infant drew it's first breath and blinked open it's huge brown eyes. Angel, held Liam close and kissed his soft cheek.
"Welcome home darlin'" Angel murmured
The Watcher Slayer moved to the baby and then slipped his arm round Willow's waist as if to say 'we've got to work on one of those'
"Sir, " the priest interrupted, Angel looked at him, his face human once more."You have brought forth a child in darkness into the light. Please, can I ask that you give Liam, to the woman who came in during the ceremony? She can't have children, though she prays constantly for them."
Angel looked where the priest indicated. Liam, smacked him firmly on the nose, and Angel sucked his fingers playfully. He walked over and knelt by the woman. A brief sideways glance was all it took to see the woman's pain, rosary knotted round her fingers and her lips moving faster than he could decipher.
Liam babbled and stretched out his hand to the woman and tangled his fingers in her hair. She turned round, tears rolling down her face.
"Do you want this lady to be your mam? Liam?" Angel asked. Liam wriggled and arched away from his protector, Angel's cold heart cracked. He kissed him once and then handed him to the dumbstruck mother.
Liam smiled and the mother wept and drenched the baby with kisses.
The vampire walked silently into the night, letting his own tears dry on his skin.
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