The day had been pretty much like any other day at Sunnydale.
The time was growing short. All the signs pointed to this evening being the big confrontation. There was some evil brewing, and everyone was doing his or her thing. Willow was searching the web. Buffy was practicing the moves she’d need against this, well whatever it turned out to be called. Buffy was thinking "Ugly slime monster with four arms" was descriptive enough for her, but knew Giles would want the ‘official’ name. Giles pored through his books with the "help" of Xander to find out more of this creature and hoping for something that would help defeat this threat.
Then suddenly Willow whooped, "Got it, got it. I’ve got it!"
Giles put down the book and quickly went to Willow’s side. She pointed out the relevant passages and started the printing.
"That’s great, Willow. Just what we needed." Giles put his arm around the lovely hacker, gave her a quick squeeze and kissed her briefly on the cheek. He went over to the printer and motioned Buffy over. Pointing to the printout, he started, "See, what you need to do is…."
- - - - - - -
Later that night, as Willow was brushing her hair and thinking about how they defeated the demon, she suddenly paused and thought to herself, "Did Giles hug me and *kiss* me?" Her brow wrinkled in thought. Then she shook her head. "I must be nuts, I know I kinda have a thing for Giles, but well, no way. Just no way." She paused and smiled wistfully at the mirror then continued brushing.
Buffy was wiping off her face wondering why she even put on make-up when she knew she would be fighting, when *she* thought, "Did I see Giles hug Willow? Wow, these late nights are making me punchy. Gotta get more sleep."
Xander was already in bed and drifting off to sleep when the picture of Giles hugging Willow floated through his brain. He made a resolution to stop eating salami right before going to sleep.
Giles was not much more coherent. He was also drifting off when the feel of Willow’s skin and the lovely lavender aroma of Willow came back to him. He smiled as he lay there. "Ah," he thought, "I’m going to have the good dreams tonight."
A few days later, things were quiet again. Nothing much was going on besides a history final. The core Scooby Gang was sitting around the library table. Willow was helping Xander and Buffy with the material, quizzing them and going over the textbook to point out the parts she thought would be on the test.
Giles was sitting at table with them, supposedly reading some document sent to him by the Council. In reality, he was making somewhat sardonic comments whenever Buffy or Xander made what he considered a particularly egregious historical error.
As Giles sat there, idly looking at Willow, who was on his side of the table, he found himself thinking how pretty her hair was. In fact, how pretty he had always thought Willow's hair was. Her shade of auburn seemed to always catch what little sun ever shone in the library and spring to life. He had always wanted to touch it but, of course, he hadn't. But this time, as soon as he thought of doing, he did.
He took a strand between his fingers and played with it. Her hair was so smooth and silky. He rolled the hair back and forth and then began running his fingers through her hair.
Willow had barely noticed the sensation at first. But when Giles began combing his fingers through her hair, she simply closed her eyes and enjoyed the feeling. It felt so good. Every other thought seemed to disappear from her head. The library book slipped slowly out of her hand onto the table. She could barely keep herself from purring at the sensual pleasure she felt. She tilted her head towards him.
When Willow leaned into his touch, Giles smiled to himself and shifted his chair closer to hers. He brought her hair up to his face and inhaled her sweet essence. He brushed the hair completely away from her ear and admired the shell-like, little pink darling. He wondered at the intricate secrets of her ear. He traced it with his finger and felt her shiver slightly under his touch. He gently rubbed the earlobe with his fingers.
- - - - - - -
Buffy glanced up when Willow fell silent and arched an eyebrow at the sight of Giles caressing Willows ear. She nudged Xander, who glanced first at her then over to Willow when Buffy nodded that way. He made a slight face and rolled his eyes at Buffy then went back to his history text.
"If she's not going to help me study - I'm gonna flunk this test" he thought dreamily to himself. He sighed quietly, looking at the textbook, and shook his head slowly. He put his chin in his hand and decided it was less boring to watch Willow and Giles. He lifted his eyes.
- - - - - - -
Giles loved how smooth and soft Willow's skin was. He had often thought of what it must be like. He ran his fingertips from her ear along the line of her jaw and across the upraised edge of her chin. He lightly traced her cheekbone and caressed her petal-like cheek. "I'm so glad she never wears make-up" he thought, "it's so much nicer when it's pure." He put his left arm around Willow's chair and pulled it snugly up against his own. Now all of Willow was in his reach. He moved from her cheek to the arch of her brow. She mesmerized him. He felt that he could just look and touch each and every beloved feature forever.
Willow felt like all her dreams were coming true. Giles *was* touching her. But not *just* touching. Worshipping her - with his fingers. It was the most exquisite thing she had ever experienced. She could feel his breath lightly against her hair, and she could smell that unique "Giles" smell that always made her want to just snuggle up in his arms.
- - - - - - -
Buffy yawned and noticed that Xander wasn't reading the book anymore. He was looking at couple across the table. And she didn't blame him. Anything was better than the oh-so-tedious French Revolution. She settled back in her chair and watched as Giles ran his thumb over Willow's lips.
- - - - - - -
As he did, Willow made the slightest pucker and gently kissed his thumb. Giles' trance was broken in that instant. The look on his face changed from dreamy to hungry. His fingers stilled on her face for a moment and then he leaned in until his face was right up against Willow's. He rubbed his cheek against hers in a circular motion. Then he buried his face in the crook of her neck. He let the barest touch of his lips discover the flavor of her skin. His hand went to the neck of her sweater and tugged it away from her shoulder so that Giles could have access to more of this sweetness.
Willow felt like she was drowning in sensation. To have Giles touch her with his hands had felt like heaven. Now she couldn't even think rationally with his mouth on her neck and shoulder. As he started nibbling his way up to her cheek and mouth, Willow turned slightly towards him and truly thought she would…
BRRRIIINNNGGGG!!! The sudden noise from the bell for the next class broke through the silence of the library. All four of them froze.
Xander yelped as his arm went out from under his chin, causing him to hit the table with an audible thump. Giles stared aghast at Willow as she opened her eyes and looked at him, stunned. He then pushed himself back so quickly that he knocked over his chair and got tipped out of it when it fell over. Buffy just sat there in shock staring at Willow whose eyes seemed too large to fit in her face. Willow suddenly seemed to focus on Buffy staring at her in shock, went quite white and then jumped up and dashed out of the room.
"Giles, what the hell do you think you're doing?" Xander screamed at the Watcher, as he jumped to his feet. Giles looked stunned and couldn't seem to even make a sound, although he mouth kept moving. He didn't even make a move to get up.
Giles felt, literally, floored. What had he been doing? My heavens, he had been touching Willow. This wasn't a dream; this wasn't late at night, in bed alone with his most secret desires. This was 2 o'clock in the afternoon with Buffy and Xander sitting there, watching. Giles' eyes narrowed, 'Buffy and Xander sitting there, watching?'
Buffy slowly got to her feet, barely registering that Xander was still yelling and sputtering next to her. He wasn't particularly coherent anyway. He couldn't seem to finish a sentence. Buffy felt paralyzed. She couldn't believe that she had just been sitting there watching while Giles (Giles!) had been seducing Willow (Willow!) right in front of her. What was wrong with her, to just sit there?
"How could!?! What do you?!? Why!?!" Xander still couldn't articulate anything; he was reeling from the shock. Then Giles stood up and faced him with a look he couldn't define, but it shut him up. "I don't know what I was doing. I also don't know what you two were doing. Why were just sitting there? Why didn't you do anything? Buffy. BUFFY," he said sharply. She swung her head in his direction and seemed to come to herself. As she opened her mouth to say something, Giles said, "Save it. You've got to find Willow. Make sure she's okay. Tell her..." He faltered here. "I don't know what you should tell her, but do make sure she's okay. We'll figure this out after school." He bent over to pick up the chair.
"Xander, you better get along to class. And take Willow's books with you." Xander nodded numbly and gathered up the textbooks as Buffy made her way quickly out of the library to look for her best friend.
- - - - - - -
When the children were gone, Giles ran his fingers through his hair and made his way into the office. Slumped in his chair, he wished, not for the first time, that he kept some Scotch at the library. He couldn't believe what he had done. He couldn't believe that Willow had not only let him do it but also seemed to enjoy it. ('It's only what you always wanted, old man' said a voice in his head. He told it to shut up.) This may have been one of his most secret fantasies come true but he had never, NEVER, included Xander and Buffy as voyeurs. And why *had* they just sat there and watched? Giles was sure something strange was going on.
Buffy was frantic. Besides being "totally wigged" by what she had just seen ('and casually watched' - Buffy also told her inner voice to shut up), she couldn't seem to find Willow. And she was going to be late to class. She knew that shouldn't be as important, but it had taken her a lot of hard work to catch up and be allowed back in school. She didn't want to mess that up. The second bell rang, and she darted in the classroom. To see Willow sitting in her usual place. Looking pale, to be sure, and somewhat stressed out, but there. Buffy slid in her seat.
Xander had gone to his next class feeling like a zombie. When that bell had rung and what he was seeing had penetrated, he first felt like exploding. The shock of it - Willow looking so sensuous and sexy. And Giles, ewww, he couldn't even finish that thought. He turned his shock outward and just started yelling. But then Giles had stood up and asked him why he had just watched. Well, it had silenced him. Because he didn't know. And what kind of person was he, to just sit and watch while someone... pawed at his best friend. He couldn't believe what he'd done. He had failed her. He put Willow's books on her desk and sat in his own seat. A few seconds before the bell rang, Willow slid into her seat. Somehow Xander couldn't make himself say anything to the very rigid back that was presented to him. Then right as the bell rang, in came Buffy.
Willow had never felt more confused. She had been in Paradise and then rudely flung right back into real life. When she had opened her eyes to see Giles' horrified face, she thought she would die. And then, when he had flung himself away from her, and she had looked up to see that Buffy and Xander had witnessed her humiliation - it was too much. It was all too much. She just had to get away. She ran for the nearest bathroom and bolted into a stall.
He had touched her. He had touched her like she had always wanted him to - from the first moment she'd seen him in the library and helped him put away some books. She thought at first that it was just some crush that would fade. But it didn't. It only got stronger. The more she knew of him, his compassion, his strengths, even his weaknesses - they only made him more appealing to her. He could speak to her like a equal and didn't treat her like some backward child. He expected her to be strong - so she was strong. He approved of her intelligence - so with him she wasn't afraid to show how smart she was. He even let her tease him and didn't get all stuffy the way most adults did. She knew Buffy thought he was stuffy - but Buffy didn't know what stuffy really was. And sexy!? How could you NOT consider that accent to be sexy?
But now this. Something had happened. Something to make him touch her - and he'd hated it. She didn't know if she could ever face him again. She didn't know if she could ever face Buffy or Xander again either, after what they'd seen. But she had to get to class. She could hear the other girls in the bathroom leaving. She had a perfect attendance. She couldn't ruin that. She had plenty of practice pretending things hadn't happened. She'd put it into play. She'd go to class, and she'd never discuss this. Never. Willow came out of the stall and splashed some water on her face to bring some color in her cheeks. Then she went to class. She ignored Xander, who looked like his best friend had died ('and maybe, to him, I have' she thought sadly) and ignored Buffy when she got into the class just after the bell.
'I'll be like Scarlett O'Hara,' she thought to herself. 'I'll think about this tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.' She took a deep breath and answered "Here" to roll call.
Willow had tried very hard to concentrate in class. She'd managed to avoid looking at or talking to either Xander or Buffy for the whole hour. When the bell rang, she sprang up and tried to make it to the door - she just couldn't face them yet.
But before she had gotten more than a few steps, Buffy took her by the arm.
"Willow," she hissed. "We have to talk."
"No." The redhead shook her head vehemently. "No talking. Talking is bad. Never talk." She tried futilely to tug her arm out of Buffy's grasp. Xander stood there watching the two of them, not sure if he should interfere.
"Look," said Buffy, "I know you're mad at us. We're sorry. We don't know what happened."
"Mad at you?" Willow questioned, finally looking Buffy in the eye. She saw a very upset and very contrite Slayer. Looking over at Xander, she saw that he was jittering from foot to foot, the way he always did when he was embarrassed at some mistake he'd made. "Why do you think I'd be... What did you guys see in the library?"
Buffy dropped her arm, turned bright red, and took a step back. As she opened her mouth to say something, Mrs. Franklin came over to them. "I'm glad you three like my class so much. But I think your next teacher is going to want you to show up there."
"Oh, right. Sorry, Mrs. Franklin," said Willow. "Later."
"Right, Giles said in the library after school," Xander offered. Willow turned lightly pink at the mention of Giles' name. She gulped and then nodded. The three dispersed to their next class.
- - - - - - -
By the time the school day had ended, Giles had calmed down somewhat. He wasn't very clear on what had happened, but he did know it was, as Buffy so succinctly put it "hellmouthy". He did NOT lose control like that. Particularly with this young woman and in front of those two. He had come up with what he hoped was a way to figure out what had happened and ensure that it didn’t happen again.
'Is that what you *really* want?' came the little voice in his head. Giles wearily told it to shut up - once again. What he wanted and what he *could* have were two different things. He was, god help him, old enough to know the difference. Also, he felt more in control when he had plans and rules and checklists. More control was definitely called for here.
When the last bell of the day rang, he was standing behind the checkout counter. A few minutes later the doors opened and the Slayer and her Slayerettes came in, reluctantly. No one seemed to be able to meet anyone else's eyes.
"Here." Giles held out some papers. "Take one of these and please answer the questions as best you can."
"What's this for?" asked Buffy, looking at the paper. "I thought we were going to, um, talk about, huh, today. I mean at lunch. I mean. Oh you know what I mean."
"We need to get a better understanding of what did happen. It was a very strange event." Willow winced at Giles' words. "Recollections of phenomena such as this can get tainted if we all start talking about it. We'll influence each other and start saying we saw things or did things that didn't really happen because someone else mentioned it. Also, there are some questions here to, I hope, help us narrow down the list of possibilities as to why this occurred."
Buffy shrugged and went to the table. She plopped down, looked at the table, and then scooted her chair back a little. Willow blushed slightly as she took her paper. She walked towards the table, but stopped when it came fully into her view. She then pivoted and went to the stairs instead. Xander having given Giles a suspicious look, which Giles returned blandly, also took a paper. He also didn't make it to the table. He chose the opposite staircase to sit upon. Giles stayed behind the counter and started filling out the questions.
There was no sound for a while excepting the scratching of pencils across paper. Then Xander broke out, "What did I have to eat the last two days? G-Man, have you got some more paper?" Willow giggled slightly and then put her hand up to her mouth, as if to stop the sound. Giles sighed and said, "You can use your own paper, Xander." After a brief pause, he continued, "And I asked you not to call me that." Giles was sure his attempt to react normally sounded forced, but it was best to start as you meant to go along, as his mother always said. Buffy followed up a few minutes later, "These are some weird questions, Giles. Are you sure this is necessary?" "Yes Buffy, I really think it will help."
Willow, as usual, was the first to turn her paper over and see the questions on the other side. She squeaked, turned bright red and put her face in her hands. She said something, but it was too muffled to hear. Giles looked concerned, "Willow, are you okay?" She lifted her head slightly, "How much, gulp, detail do you want for these, ahem, questions?" Buffy looked interested and turned the paper over. When she read the first question: "Please describe what you saw during the event," she looked a little taken aback, but when she read the second: "Please describe what you felt during the event," she gave Willow a very sympathetic glance.
"I'm sorry Willow. But I need as much detail as possible to correlate our experiences. I know it'll be hard." Xander looked up and opened his mouth. But for once, he thought better of the quip he had been about to make. Everyone went back to filling out the forms.
- - - - - - -
The better part of an hour had passed. Willow had turned in her paper first and then quickly walked into the stacks. She simply could NOT watch Giles read what she had written. Buffy and Xander finished shortly thereafter. They both returned to their previous spots. Giles read through them all, fairly quickly and looked up. "Willow," he called out. "Please come back down. We need to talk about this now."
Willow slowly came out from the stacks. She came about halfway down the stairs and stopped. "I'm good here."
"Yes," said Giles. "I've noticed that we've all distanced ourselves, physically, from each other. I think, for the time being, it's a good idea. The accounts match up fairly closely, barring some personal viewpoint variation." He glanced quickly at Willow and then back down at the papers in his hand. "But considering how much time you three, in particular, spend together, there is a remarkable lack of cohesion amongst the questions designed to see if there was a common pattern to our last few days. We did not eat the same foods. We did not participate in the same activities. In fact, this time at lunch was the first time in, I believe, three days that we have all been in the same room at the same time. So it may be that our physical proximity sets the off the phenomena."
"What?" asked Xander.
"He means maybe this only happens when we get near each other," answered Willow.
"Right, thank you. I think all agree that this was something imposed on us from outside. I would doubt if either you," he nodded at Buffy, "or Xander would calmly sit there in the usual way of things, if I started to.. um, well, started, if Willow and .. well, if we began.."
Willow took pity on the befuddled Watcher, "We know what you mean, Giles. I believe that if that had happened in the, uh, 'usual way of things'," Willow mimicked Giles speech, "Xander would have immediately started making retching noises."
"Well I should hope so," said Xander. "It's just, just disgusting. I mean, Willow is just, you know, a kid, and Giles is so, so, OLD." Willow and Giles both glared at Xander and Giles responded sarcastically, "Yes, thank you, Xander, for putting it so clearly." Willow transferred her glare to Giles. 'Great, he thinks I'm a kid too. Can this day get any more humiliating?' she thought to herself. 'Oooh, don't jinx it, don't jinx it.'
"Since we don't know the conditions of this, let's just call it this event; we don't know what triggers it. We'll need to be careful of each other to make sure that disagreeable event this never happens again."
Willow felt like she wanted to cry. 'Well, lovely,' she thought to herself, 'I did jinx it.' Out loud she said, "Fine, wouldn't want any chance of a repetition of that horrible event. If you think proximity is the culprit, I'll leave." Willow quickly went down the steps, very deliberately avoided Giles and went right out the swinging doors.
"What? You don’t have to..." Giles trailed off, looking after Willow, confusion apparent in his eyes.
"Oh good one, Giles. Why don't you just say that Willow has the sex appeal of a slug?" Buffy got up and gathered her things together.
"But why would she want *him*…" Xander queried.
"That's irrelevant. No girl likes to be told that she's disagreeable. Look, I'll need to talk to her about this. Can I skip patrol? This is way more important, right?" Buffy wheedled.
"No. No skipping patrol. This may be important but people aren't going to die because of it. They might if you don't patrol."
"Well, where's Faith?"
"That's an excellent question, Xander. And one I intend to ask her as soon as she shows up. I do wish the Council would assign that girl her own Watcher. Nonetheless, since she has slipped the leash, as it were, Buffy you'll have to take up the slack."
"Great, once again I have to be the 'responsible girl'. I wish I wasn't so nice."
Giles smiled, "I'm rather glad, myself." Buffy wrinkled her nose at him and left. She was thinking that it might be considered odd that she hadn't really felt uncomfortable around him after the first minute or two.
Xander, realizing he was now alone with the Watcher, said, "Well, I think I'll be going. Because, you know, I'm just no good with awkward situations." He started walking for the door. Just as he reached the doors, Giles said, "Really, I would have thought you'd had plenty of practice." He smiled ironically at the affronted boy. Xander, not being able to think of anything clever to say, contented himself with a glare and left. 'Man,' he thought to himself as he walked down the school halls, 'am I ever going to feel comfortable around Giles or Willow again? It’s like thinking of your parents having sex. Ugh.' He sighed deeply and headed Bronze-ward.
"Willow. Willow!" Willow stopped reluctantly and turned to face Giles. Giles tried not to look too self-conscious.
"I'm sorry I have to bother you between classes, but I was wondering if you could give me some help in the library after school?" Giles spoke a little more loudly than usual trying to look as normal as possible. He then lowered his voice. "I do need your help. Something came in from the Council, and it requires your expertise."
Willow wouldn't meet Giles' eyes. She opened her mouth, and Giles knew from the look on her face, that she was going to refuse him. Giles cut her off before she could speak. "Please, Willow. Look, you have every right to be furious with me about what I said yesterday. I didn't express myself very well."
"No, you expressed yourself eloquently." Giles winced to hear the pain in her voice.
"No I didn't." Giles looked around to make sure no one near and lowered his voice a little bit more. "You are an attractive girl, Willow. But I a not a boy. I am a grown man. An old man, in comparison to you, no wait," he held up his hand to stop what Willow had been about to say. "What happened at lunch yesterday was illegal and morally wrong. I'm faculty; you're a student. That's what I meant when I said, um, that word. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings."
"Oh, Giles." Willow looked up at him, and their eyes met. Suddenly she didn't know why they were disagreeing with each other. Everything was fine. There were no problems. He was just being Giles. Darling Giles. So conscientious. She looked at him sweetly. Giles watched the pain disappear like magic from her eyes to be replaced by her beautiful, bewitching smile. He didn't even remember what he was just talking about or why it had felt uncomfortable to talk to Willow. How could he ever feel uncomfortable with his own Willow?
Sitting in his math class, Xander suddenly wondered why he had been so down the last day. He remembered that he was upset. He just didn't remember why.
Buffy was also sitting in her class, trying to remember what it was about yesterday that was so bugging her. 'Oh well,' she thought to herself. 'It's not like I thought I was going to get a great grade on the history test anyway.' She shrugged mentally and started thinking instead about that cool purse she was going to see if she could talk her mother into buying.
Back in the hallway, Willow raised her voice, "So help in the library after school? Sure, I can do that." She lowered it again, "What exactly do you need help with?"
"I've been sent something on one of those, those, flopsy disks. You know I can't use that idiot box."
Willow chuckled and shook her head. "Rupert Giles, I swear you talk like that on purpose." She reached out and straightened his tie and fluffed up his pocket handkerchief. "Flop-pee, flop-pee disk. Flopsy is a rabbit. And you know the idiot box is the TV. Buffy must have told you that 100 times." She gave him a rueful look as she patted his chest. "I have to go. I'll see you after school in the library."
As she passed the head cheerleader in the hallway, Cordelia said, "Quite the little mother hen, aren't you?" Willow looked back at her blankly. 'What?' Willow thought to herself.
- - - - - - -
Willow entered the library. "Rupert, where are you?" she called out.
"Right here," said Giles, popping up from behind the counter.
"Where's Buffy?" asked Willow. "Isn't she supposed to be practicing here this afternoon?"
"Yes," answered Giles. "But Buffy came through here like a whirlwind right after school. In and out the door in less than five minutes by my watch, but complaining the whole time about no time to practice because she *had* to do something with her mother."
"Oh, okay." Willow headed for the computer. "Where's this, ahem, flopsy disk you're interested in?" Willow gave Giles a cheeky grin.
"That's right, make fun of the computer-impaired."
"Certainly, what's the point of being a computer geek if you don't get to poke fun at the non-geeky? It's one of the only perks." Willow's giggled quietly at Giles' expression.
"Here." Giles handed her the diskette. "There's supposed to be some sort of database on it." He stood behind her as she inserted the disk and casually rested his hand on her shoulder. Then he watched as she typed in her commands.
"Is this one, entitled Demonic Data?" Willow turned slightly and looked up at Giles.
"Yes, that's the one."
"Well, are you searching for something in particular or what?"
"Not at the moment. Can you print it out?"
Willow turned back to the computer. "Welllll, I could. Do you have two boxes of paper? Rupert, look," she pointed to the screen, "this has nearly 1000 pages of data. It's too large to print. It's been set up to be a searchable database. You plug in any information you have," Giles watched her face as her fingers flew over the keyboard, and she became caught up by what was on the screen, "such as habits, physical characteristics, attack patterns and this will pull up a list that matches that with a comparable...," Willow trailed off after looking up and seeing that Giles was not looking at the computer.
He shook his head slightly, as if to clear it "I'm sorry. Searchable. Right. Um, so no printing?" he asked hopefully.
"No printing." She said firmly. "But I can show you how to use this. Really, it will be a great help. Sit down here and you'll drive, I'll navigate." She caressed his cheek lightly. "You're a, ahem, grown man. You'll get this."
As Giles sat down in the chair, he muttered, "Haven't you ever heard the phrase 'can't teach an old dog new tricks'?"
Willow leaned in, propping her elbows on Giles' shoulders, and saying in his ear, "Hmmm, so what, um, *old* tricks do you know?" She gave him a tender look.
"If you keep whispering in my ear, you're going to find out," Giles said mockingly. "You're supposed to be teaching me, not distracting me." Willow sighed theatrically as she stepped back.
"Fine, fine. What ever you say... Old dog." Giles arched an eyebrow at her.
She pointed at the mouse, "Move that over and click where it says Search. On the table, move the mouse along on the table. Giles, I've shown you this before!" Willow leaned back in and placed her hand on top of his to help him guide the mouse. She turned her face turned slightly to address him, "I know you're doing *this* deliberately, Mr.-don't-distract-me."
"I just need a lot on, hum, 'hands-on' training."
She turned back to the screen, "Yes, well, demonic database, stopping the vampires, saving lives, you remember that, right? We’d better watch how, um, ‘hands-on’ we get." Willow said saucily.
"You're no fun anymore."
Willow turned to him in astonishment. "Rupert, I never thought I'd hear you quote Monty Python!"
"I *am* British, you know," he responded. They paused for a moment grinning at each other.
"Hey, guys," sounded Xander's voice from the library doors. Willow and Giles looked up and saw Xander stroll into the room. "Anything going on here?"
"It depends on what you mean by going on. Giles and I are just going over some computer stuff. Buffy left about 20 minutes ago to go shoe shopping with her mom."
"What!" Giles turned completely around dislodging Willow from his shoulders. He faced her with an affronted look on his face. "Do you mean to tell me that she's put off practicing to go shopping?! That girl, I swear..." Giles muttered to himself while Willow looked slightly guilty at giving away Buffy.
"So, can I hang out here?" asked Xander.
"You need to ask?" queried Willow.
"Okay then," said Xander and came in. "I have to wait for Cordy to finish cheerleading practice."
"And the reason you're in the library instead of drooling in the gym is..." Willow made a sweeping motion with her hand.
Xander looked a little abashed. "They threw me out. They said I was distracting. How could I be distracting? I was just sitting there." Now Xander looked peeved.
"Could it be," asked Willow as she turned Giles around to face the computer again, "the, um, noises you make when one of the girls gets particularly, now what was that phrase?" She cocked her head to one side, "Oh yes, bendy?"
"Those were appreciative noises. And in no way did they resemble 'grunts from the primordial male.' And what's primordial mean, anyway? Cuz I'm thinking I got insulted."
Laughing slightly, Giles responded, "Primordial means original or first, and I believe that Cordelia," with a slight questions in his voice - Xander nodded, "was comparing you to a caveman."
"I knew I had been insulted."
"Well, Xander, after all... Cordy was talking to you. In front of her cheerleading friends. What did you expect?"
"Yeah, I know. She says she's cool with us as a twosome, but I don't know. Do you think..."
"Xander." Giles said strongly. "We are not, thank heavens, here to discuss your love life - or lack of same. Willow is trying to teach me how to use this dread ma...," Giles trailed off at the minatory look in Willow's eyes. He sighed and then continued, "Teach me to use this computer. It will help Buffy, and us, to stay alive and to fight evil."
"Right, fine. I'm always second. I get it." Xander threw up his hands and wandered over to the shelving cart and picked up a few books. Willow turned back to Giles and began again with the mouse tutorial. As Xander continued shelving the returned books, Giles began to understand, just a little of how this whole "computer thing" worked.
An hour passed. Giles leaned back and arched his back. "This is worse than reading all night."
"I know. The tension all goes to your shoulders. Here." Willow began to rub Giles' shoulders. "Wait, take off your jacket. I can get to the knots better." Giles removed his jacket and placed it over the stair railing. Willow set to work. As she kneaded his shoulders and neck, Xander came out of the stacks and watched the two casually, as he leaned over the railing. "Can I get in on that next, Will? All this shelving has really taken it out of me."
"Yeah right." Xander made a puppy dog face. "Oh, okay. As soon as I finish with Rupert." Willow worked for a few more minutes on his neck and shoulders and then said, "There. That should help." Giles stood up and put his jacket back on. "Thank you. That feels great. You're not only an excellent teacher; you're a good masseuse. Is there no end to your talents?" he asked suggestively as he leaned over and started to kiss Willow lightly on the lips. Playfully, Willow turned her head and slid sideways, calling out, "Your turn, Xander." This caused Giles to miss not only her lips but also her entire face, AND he nearly tripped. She giggled some more. As Xander reached the last step and started to head for the chair, Cordelia came in the library.
"All done. Ready to go. Come on, Xander." Xander huffed slightly but gathered his things together and headed out. "You guys okay?" he asked as he was nearly out the door.
"Yes, fine. I'll drive Willow home," said Giles. When he turned back, Willow had covered her mouth to keep from giggling. "What's so funny?"
"You may be an 'old dog', but Xander is definitely more, hum, housebroken." Willow's giggles spilled forth. Giles just smiled. "Get your things together," he said. "I'll take you home now."
- - - - - - -
As Giles' Citroen pulled up in front of the Rosenberg's house, he asked, "Are your parents home?" "No, out of town, as usual." "Ahhh, then I'll walk you to the door to make sure you're safely home."
Giles took Willow's hand as she came out of the car, and they walked up the path hand in hand. When they reached the porch, Giles turned to Willow and took her other hand in his. "I'm glad we were able to put our awkwardness behind us what ever caused it. I treasure you and I treasure our relationship, Willow, and I don't want anything to jeopardize it. You are very precious to me."
Willow blushed a little and looked downwards. "I do know what you mean, Rupert. I think you're one of the best things in my life. I don't know what I'd do without you." She looked up at Giles and then stepped forward. Giles folded her in his embrace and rested his cheek on her hair. He squeezed a little more tightly for a moment and then stepped back. "Well, to bed with you, young woman. School tomorrow, you know."
Willow entered her house and watched at the door as Giles drove off. She sighed to herself upon closing the door and headed for the kitchen. 'It is nice that things are back to normal,' she thought to herself, 'and I really liked what happened at lunch yesterday. I wish Giles would touch me like that more often.’ She sighed dreamily.
- - - - - - -
Somewhere in the night, someone was chuckling to himself. "This IS going to be amusing," he thought. "Even more so than I had planned."
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