Title: J&PG "The Lesson"
Author: Robin2 ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Summary: Giles and Willow are finally together but someone's trying to tear them apart.
Disclaimer: All characters from BtVS belong to Joss Whedon.
Note: To Q.
Disclaimer:All characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to Joss Whedon and Fox. I'm using them for my own pleasure. And that totally came out wrong. I'm (obviously) making no money from this. It's just my way of havin' a little fun
Giles strode through the halls of J&PG looking neither right nor left. He knew exactly where he was going and exactly what he was going to do. James's office, office number 314, third floor, corner. Easy enough to find. His plan was simple. Intimidate and maim. He didn't care about honor. In this case might would make right.
The halls were eerily silent, being well past quitting time. There was no doubt in Giles's mind that James would be there. He knew James's work schedule and he'd seen James's shining Jaguar in the parking lot -- parked sideways in the near empty lot, taking up two spaces no less. They would not be disturbed.
The office door opened and James walked out as Giles prepared to walk in and the two men collided. Giles threw out his arm, steadying James. It wouldn't do to let a careless accident ruin all his fun. What he had planned for Mr. Pader was much more... intentional.
James looked up from the stack of papers he was trying desperately not to fumble. Annoyance flashed across his sharp features and then, at the realization with whom he stood face to chest, James rolled his eyes.
"I'm on my way out," James said. He shook Giles's hold off his arm and then lowered his shoulder, trying to pass. Giles caught James by the arm and easily ushered him back in the room.
Giles backed James into the desk and then turned to close the door. He paused as the click of metal on metal hung in the air. Giles looked slowly back to James.
"This won't take long," he promised.
James frowned and put his papers aside. He crossed his arms over his Armani'd chest and tilted his head to the side. He looked bored. Giles fought a wry smile certain that the ennui wouldn't last.
"Is this about Willow?" James asked.
Giles studied his opponent a moment before he answered with a slow but short nod. "You know it is," he said keeping his voice even. He waited, letting the silence grow, letting James feel the hatred.
James shrugged and shook his head in confusion. "What? You're here because things got a little out of control?"
Giles crossed his arms over his chest and considered what James had said before nodding. He let James's dismissal of the events barb his sense of justice.
"I believe I told you to stay away from her," Giles said. He furrowed his brow as if trying to remember, but it was for show. Giles knew exactly what his warning had been. He took a step closer and lowered his voice. "I believe," he said as he slowly closed the distance between them. "I said that if you touched Willow that I would break your arm."
They stood nearly toe-to-toe but James didn't flinch. Giles narrowed his eyes and stared into the cold depths of his opponent.
"So what... you're here to break my arm?" James asked. He snorted and circled behind his desk.
"Among other things," Giles said. James underestimated him; he knew that. Yet instead of invoking the ire that it had in times before, Giles knew that it worked to his advantage.
"Hardly original," James commented as he gathered a stack of papers together and then looked at his watch. "Look, I've got an appointment --"
"I don't think so," Giles said. He didn't raise his voice but it carried over James's. Giles trailed his finger along the desk, pausing to pick up a weight and study it.
"Listen," James said. He flipped his bangs aside and managed to look annoyed. "I don't know what she told you --"
Giles looked up sharply.
"- but you're making too much out of it."
Giles put the weight down, too tempted to smash it into James's head, and tilted his head to the side. "Am I?" he asked. He felt focused. Calm. Filled with intention. He rounded the corner of the desk and looked into James's face.
He saw the light in James's eyes shift. Fear. It was blanketed with cocky swagger, but it was there. James swallowed and took a few slow steps back but Giles knew he wasn't ready to back down. He still had that swagger -- that drunken fraternity boy assuredness, and Giles was prepared to see it through. In fact, he welcomed it.
James shrugged. "So I kissed her," he said. "It wasn't as if she didn't want it --"
That was it. All James had needed to do to unleash Giles's wrath was to accuse Willow. Giles didn't try to stop himself, he watched as the back of his hand met with the side of James's face. He watched as in slow motion James stumbled back and into the wall. The sting of flesh against flesh pulled Giles in one direction. Now it started and when he finished James would be the one to beg.
Giles loomed over him, glared down at him, letting the rivulet of blood that ran from James's nose to his mouth feed his sudden bloodlust.
"Get up," Giles growled.
"You're fuckin' insane," James said. He touched his fingers to his nose and looked at his red stained fingertips. "You have no idea who you're dealing with."
Blood speckled spittle flew into Giles's face but he ignored it. Instead he reached down and hauled James to his feet. He wasn't finished yet. Not by a long shot. He pulled James close enough to feel the heat of his breath.
"Neither do you," Giles rasped and then let him go with a vicious shove. James's eyes opened wide with surprise and then narrowed into pained slits as the corner of his desk broke his fall. He arched his back away from the pain and gasped for breath but Giles was on him again. There was a debt to collect and he'd only begun.
With one quick and fluid movement Giles grabbed James's head and brought it down to his knee with a resounding crack of shattered cartilage.
"I warned you," he said as James's head flew up and back. Giles caught it easily, steadying the confused man once more before digging his fingers into James's biceps. There would be bruising there, too. Just like Willow. Giles grabbed James's arm and twisted until James let out a strangled cry and nearly folded in half.
"I'm sorry," James sputtered trying his best to bend in the direction Giles jerked his arm. Giles blinked. Words. Words that reeked of insincerity. He inhaled deeply and steeled himself for what had to be done. If anything Giles was a man of his word.
"Oh, God," James begged, his face pale, but Giles didn't wait. In one smooth jerk the sound of cracked bone and tortured cry filled the office. James's coloring faded to near gray and he fell into a chair with an anguished groan. James's eyes rolled up in pain and his breath escaped in broken gasps.
Giles stepped back from the sight and cocked his head to the side taking in the scene that played before him. It was a clean break, obviously very painful. There was only one more thing to do. Giles gripped the chair and leaned over James and waited until they were once again eye-to-eye. He wanted no misunderstandings.
"Next time I will break more than this," he promised. He stood straight and then turned on his heel. He was finished. Giles paused at the door, looking back once more as James cradled his limp arm and attempted a glare. Giles shook his head and closed the door quietly behind him.
Willow nestled into Giles's side and lifted his hand again. He felt the cool pad of her thumb rub softly against his scraped and raw knuckles and he leaned down to kiss the top of her head. Willow kissed his hand and then laced her fingers with his. They shared a small smile, one of understanding and knowing. She knew where he'd gone though they both pretended she didn't. Giles closed his eyes and leaned his cheek against her soft hair. She smelled of shampoo and toothpaste and all things Willow and he let it sooth him.
His intellect barraged him with taunts of knowing better, of testosterone induced vigilante justice, but something deeper much more primal howled its satisfaction. Justice, vengeance had been served and Willow was once again safe in his arms.
Giles tightened his hold on her shoulder and ran the tips of his finger over the soft t-shirt she wore. Tonight had been the chosen night -- dinner, dancing, making love in front of the fireplace -- perhaps seeing tears in her eyes when he finally worked up the nerve to propose. But that was before everything had happened. Giles's smile felt far away as he thought of the evening he'd planned.
It was okay though, he decided. He could wait -- not too long, but he could wait until life settled down, until they could put this behind them. He didn't want any clouds over them when he asked her to be his forever. He wanted her to look back on his proposal with unfettered happiness -- without the remotest possibility of associating it with -- Giles felt his insides clench and inhaled deeply. He wanted that for her, for them.
"It's late," Willow mumbled into his chest but she made no move to get up. "We should get some sleep."
Giles nodded his agreement but he too stayed put. He wasn't ready yet to break from the comfortable cocoon they'd managed to weave. They shared a few more minutes of silence and then in a silent and mutual decision stood and started to their bedroom. Giles held Willow's hand as she took each step, cradling her ribs as James had cradled his arm, and Giles felt another surge of vindication. An eye for an eye.
He stayed by her side, helping her balance, patiently waiting as she painstakingly ascended the steps and he was suddenly shamed as yesterday's images of her struggle to climb the steps sparked the guilt. Instead of helping her, carrying her if need be, Giles had planned his revenge. His fear and anger had consumed him and in hindsight he'd been no good for her. Giles closed his eyes and grasped Willow's elbow, steadying her.
Willow's grateful smile warmed his soul. Finally, he was doing the right thing for her. He'd worked through much of his terror and rage against what had happened and now he could truly be the man she needed.
When they reached their room Willow turned to him and Giles pressed his lips to her forehead in a soft kiss and then as she lifted her head to him he kissed her mouth. Their lips met twice in slow succession and then Willow melted gingerly into him. They held each other in the room's darkness and swayed to a private song.
"I -- I can help you now," he whispered in the room's darkness hoping she understood, hoping that she forgave him for his earlier incompetencies. Her green eyes shone up at him with the hall's light and Willow tiptoed and kissed his chin.
"I'm not broken," she assured him quietly. "Just a little bruised. I'm gonna be okay." She paused and then smiled softly their secret bright in her eyes and added. "We both are."
Giles nodded and then lowered his head for another kiss. Willow opened her self to him and their souls reached for each other in understanding. As they had before and would continue to do they found security within each other. As Giles helped Willow undress and then slipped the thin cotton gown over her slender arms and shoulders he recognized that though her bruises were dark and vicious against her cream colored skin, they would heal.
He watched as she crawled into their bed and waited while she'd found a comfortable position and then arranged himself around her. Tomorrow life would intrude again but for tonight, they were content to stay in their cocoon far away from the world and let their love mend their souls.
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