Title: Disease
Author: velvet_midnight
Fandom: BtVS
Pairing/Character: Willow Rosenberg/Rupert Giles
Notes: written for table two at 100_situations. prompt 001: Disease

The first time Willow stayed the night at Giles' apartment through the night, she was scared and sweaty and shaky. She also happened to be sick; not a natural sickness, but a serious demon-y plague, complete with fever, delirium, and speaking in tongues.

Giles was stuck with double duty, research and recovery, while Buffy went hunting for the demon's lair; Xander was taking care of Oz while he was all wolf-y; and her parents were out of town, so it fell to Giles to find a cure and keep Willow alive long enough for the cure to be relevant.

She wanted to help, but when she tried to convey that she was fine enough to read, her voice deepened and the words came out in some Eastern European-sounding language.

“Hungarian?” he scratched his head, translating.

She spoke again, trying to talk around the strange-feeling words.

“Oh!” his eyes widened as he comprehended; his brow furrowed as he understood. “No, Willow; you're sick. Stay up here and rest.”

She pouted, put on the puppy-dog eyes; he sat down on the edge of his bed and put a hand to her head, stroking her damp red hair.

“Willow, if it weren't your life in danger, you know you're the first person I'd ask.” His eyes were kind behind the glasses; his hand was cool against her fevered skin as his fingertips touched her forehead.

But you need me, she said, in perfect English, in her head. It came out in Latin. He smiled.

“Yes, I need you.” He stood up. “And right now, I need you to rest.” He held up a hand as she tried to speak. “I will find the cure and Buffy will find your demon. Now rest.”

Willow nodded and laid her head back on the pillow; Giles smiled and, almost awkwardly, leaned down to press his lips to her forehead. Willow shivered, whether from the effect of him or from her sickness, she didn't know. He pulled back and she smiled at him, tiredly, closing her eyes until she heard him turn to descend the stairs. Opening her eyes, she watched him as far as she could; heard him mess around in the kitchen and put the kettle on; sigh and sit down, opening a thick tome.

She fell asleep to the faint, faint sound of his breathing and old pages flipping.

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