The second time Willow spent the night with Giles, he drank lots of coffee while she was in charge of bringing the sugary goodness. They sat in the middle of one of the many graveyards in Sunnydale, surrounded by headstones and moonlight.
“I'm so cold,” she whined, crossing her arms and shivering. “Why is it so cold?”
“Cold?” Giles snorted into his coffee. “This isn't cold.”
“Well, maybe not for you, Mr. I Lived In England Where It Rains All The Time.”
“Actually, that's a lie. It rains a lot, but not all the time. There is, in fact, sunlight and warmth.” A pause. “During the summer, at least.”
She giggled; there was silence.
“Could you…tell me a story?” she asked, her voice small and shaky, sounding like she had the first time he had met her, three years ago.
He looked over at her, but could only see her outline. “What do you want to hear about?”
He shuddered; chugged the last of his third latte.
“London —the last time I saw it—is a dirty, messy place. As it is a city, poverty and crime aren't extinct, but it was a lot worse in my time. It's also beautiful.” He smiled softly; Willow leaned closer, into him, and he opened his arms to let her in. “It's alive; you can feel it, humming along your skin, in your head. The magics of the city work their way into you and more often than not, that's not healthy. But it makes you feel more aware of your living, more alert, intoned to the people than ever before.” He stopped suddenly and Willow could feel his fingers shaking against her arm; his whole body quivered and Willow didn't like it. Giles didn't squirm; when he hugged you, it was solid, like wood or rock or other solid things. He didn't shake.
“Are you okay?” Willow asked, pressing her ear to his chest. His heart was pumping just a bit harder than normal and his breathing was pretty even, but still he shivered.
“I will be fine,” he said, looking down at her. The quivering stopped and Willow looked up at him. She'd thought many times about kissing Giles—sometimes it was him in her dreams instead of Oz; that made her feel all guilty—but never as strong had the thought come to her than right then.
“You'd like it,” he said quietly, looking away. Still Willow stared up at him, half willing his face to turn towards hers, half hoping she could sleep for a long, long time, if only he would keep telling her stories and hug her.
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