Magic and Old Books
There was a buzz in the house, something beneath the surface noise that never seemed to abate. It was distinctly feminine, distinctly teenaged girl. Certainly the high school had hummed with it often enough, but the library had been almost a sanctuary. What would excited teenaged girls want to do with dusty books and the man that kept them?
Giles cringed as a high-pitched squeal rang through the lower floors.
Not that he hadn't been exposed to it. Buffy, Willow, Cordelia all carried that, well, girlish anticipation into his life, whether he was willing to accept it or not. Now it was one of those girls- no, women-whom he sought. Willow had retired upstairs after Buffy had explained their plan to the potentials, who apparently could not contain their energy. For them, in many ways, it was all over. They would buck up the courage, get the job done--or not.
Willow had a much more difficult task.
Pausing in the doorway of what was once Buffy's bedroom, Giles took in the sight of her, calm, collected, sitting cross-legged upon the coverlet. The scythe was balanced effortlessly on the palms of her hands, the backs of which rested upon her knees--the perfect picture of meditation.
"You're not actually concentrating, are you?" Giles spoke quietly, in the event that he was perhaps wrong.
Willow frowned, not opening her eyes. "I'm trying." She grimaced. "How could you tell?"
Moving into the room, Giles couldn't help but smile as he closed the door. "Did perfect posture ever fool anyone at the coven?"
"Well, no." There was a half smile on Willow's face, but she still did not open her eyes. She did incline her head as Giles' weight settled on the edge of he bed. "But at the coven, everyone was walking around twenty-four/seven with their magical senses tuned to high."
A longing went through him, a desire to be in Devon again, to feel that intimacy first hand. The dampness of the sea and the feel of rough wool sweaters, Giles could almost smell Ned's pipe and hear Mary singing. It wasn't an accident or a lucky happenstance that he had been there last year. It had been his retreat, his home after he had left Sunnydale, but in many ways, he never belonged.
"Yes, I remember."
"And you don't." Willow's accusation caused Giles to frown. Without opening her eyes, she tried to explain. "I mean, I'm sure you remember, but you don't walk around here with your senses turned on."
"Well, yes, a bit too much..." Was there a way to phrase this correctly without sounding like a hypocrite?
"Girl power. More the girls then the girls being powerful part, but that doesn't make it any easier to live in the middle of a sorority house." Willow had nearly reached the babble stage, and it made Giles happy and sad at the same time. He liked the babbling, and he didn't care for what had brought them to the point where she didn't do it as often.
There was a hesitation in her body, like she had something more to say. When had he learned to read her? Certainly not before she raised the dead. Before then Giles had thought he knew something about her, her limits and desires. In truth he never looked beyond the surface, for fear of what he might find inside her. If he were being perfectly honest, he didn't look too deep for fear of what he might find within himself.
Finally, Willow took a breath and said what was on her mind.
"Actually, it's kinda the problem with the scythe." Her eyes did not open, but her shoulders slumped. Giles stopped himself from saying academic things because he understood that this conversation was a part of Willow working past her own self-doubts.
"Tell me. Do you sense something from the scythe?"
Willow's tongue darted out to moisten dry lips, trying to cover her discomfort. "Buffy explained about the Guardians, the ones that even the Watchers didn't know about. This," She raised the weapon and then lowered it again. "Was forged by them in anger, anger about the men... lets be honest, the proto-watchers, chaining a girl to a rock and forcing her to be their champion."
Giles inwardly cringed. He wasn't sure about Willow's assessment of the Guardians, but he did acknowledge his own cultural, and perhaps blood relationship to those shamen. "The 'out of anger' sounds ominous."
"It means that this weapon was forged with every drive and emotion that a woman looks to for revenge, but it wasn't directed against the men that did this. It was directed into something to give her back the power that those men... took from her." Willow's features held a quiet certainty.
"Hell hath no fury... " Giles suspected that the word Willow had hesitated on was "rape," and he was thankful for her careful phrasing, but he wouldn't have argued with the other. Then Giles looked at Willow's face and read the rest. "That is the same energy that you tapped last year. That's what you're afraid of."
Willow squeezed her eyes tight and placed the scythe on the bed in front of her. "Giles, I-"
"-Made mistakes. We need to recognize mistakes, Willow, but we don't have to let them rule us."
She breathed slowly in. "I don't know how to do this; I can't. Giles. Giles, what if I lose control and abandon everyone or try to kill everyone."
"Then we fail and hopefully become known for what we believed in." Instinct made him move his hand, which immediately hesitated instead of touching her. How often had he thought about propriety with these children who were no longer children? It was perhaps long past time that he stopped allowing propriety be an excuse from distancing himself from them.
With her eyes still closed, Giles wondered if Willow had sensed the false movement of his hand. Slowly he moved that hand gently up and down Willow's spine, easing the tension there. At the same time, Giles took a deep cleansing breath, opening himself.
"Willow, the magic may go completely fine, and we still might fail."
Waves of red hair brushed her cheek as Willow shook her head. "I can't."
"You must." His voice was quite, his tone, insistent. "Willow, I can't even sense you through my hand--you aren't even trying." He rested his palm on her lower spine, gently willing stability and comfort to move from him to her. The connection grew warm with his exertion, and it was an exertion. What minor power he had held no candle to her resistance. "Please, Willow, try."
Her breath was sudden and deep, as if she had been holding it. The rise and fall of her breast spread her worry and nervousness further into the room, but it was as if a door had been unlocked and the power moved between them. It was warm, inviting, and in Devon, they had both been taught to acknowledge that.
Sliding further into the bed, Giles moved behind Willow, both of his hands moving in circles across her back. He lied to himself, thinking that he needed to calm her and that this was the only way.
"I need an anchor to try this."
"Shall I get someone else, Xander, or perhaps Kennedy?" Giles pushed revelations about pierced tongues from his mind.
"No. It needs to be a man and yeah, Xander is the best grounding force on the face of the planet." Giles could feel her love in that statement, the unbreakable bond between the two of them. "I need someone who can follow the magical flow. I need you."
Giles' hands paused as he took that in. So very rarely did anyone express a need for him in something other than a demand. Truth be told, he was frightened--not of the same things that Willow feared, but the level of intimacy that she seemed to need and worse, how he might react to it. "Willow..."
And he was undone. Any resistance was banished by her voice. Slowly his hands began to move again and through them, he reinforced the magical connection between Willow and himself. Slowly she shifted, raising herself to her knees, allowing them to spread comfortably apart. Giles followed suit, pressing his chest to her back and resting his hands upon her waist as if they were preparing for an elaborate dance. That was probably a good description of what they were about to embark on.
Confidence returned somewhat to Willow's voice as she spoke. "The whole history of the slayer has been about seizing power, manipulating it. We're going to take it back, balance it, give it back." Willow's fingers caressed wood and metal and magic.
Knowing his part, Giles said, "First, we breathe." Air moved in through his nose, filling his lungs and belly. Willow followed suit, falling into the rhythm that he set. It was comfortable--comfortable in a way that was uncomfortable. His body was responding in familiar ways to the magic--to the intimacy. Giles questioned his ability to aid her in this manner.
"See, not so easy." There was a hint of teasing in Willow's voice, which he heard in his mind as much as his ears.
"It's okay. Been a long time since I moved a guy like that." Giles did not look in a mirror to confirm that his face must be beet red. Then Willow's hands were on his, strangely passing him comfort, and then they squeezed down, her voice full of emotion. "Haven't done magic like this since Tara."
Taking her hands in his, they breathed together, sharing sympathy and grief as Giles wrapped his arms about her. When the moment had passed, he brought her hands once again to the scythe and moved his own to her narrow waist.
Soon there was no sense of time, only a sense of Willow, who was with him and then again, not. Though her body only moved to breathe, in her mind there was a dancing with the scythe, a dance with death. Giles could see it all and sensed that he could not be a part of it. He had one role, to hold onto Willow.
He breathed, and she moaned.
At first Giles thought it pain, but it was evidently something different, something that made his heart pound and breath come faster. Through his half-lidded eyes he could see the scythe held high in her hands but in his mind's eye, it floated before her, held by her will. Willow's hands were upon his, pushing them down, pushing them in.
In her breath there was a need, and he met it with his own.
The slow grind of Giles' hips into Willow's back, demanding attention, demanding connection. One hand eased into the waistband of her skirt, moving down to dark and hidden. His other hand moved up, caressing the flat expanse of her belly and the satin of her bra.
Willow moaned, and Giles whimpered into her neck.
She was drifting into the scythe, lured by its spell, but with his hands he pulled her back, tangling her body in skirts as the scythe moved down onto the bed. The wood and metal were granted the caress of her lips.
Giles never fully let her go, holding her fast with his mind. This was as much her will as his, because if Willow truly wanted to go, there would be no way to stop her. With his hands, he stroked the quivering place between her thighs, easing back skirts.
"Tell me your secrets," she whispered, the tension building between herself and the reluctant scythe that did not wish to share with a woman who was not the slayer. Giles could no longer see the boundaries, could not distinguish the edges.
His cock stroked where his hands had been, slick and hard with the wet magic flowing from her. Pressing his chest to Willow's back, Giles answered her plea for secrets. "I have wanted you for a very long time."
Her head turned, mouth meeting his. Willow stole his breath.
His slid into her, slow, cautious at first. The scythe flashed in anger and desire. Giles buried himself deep, crushed by her tightness, delighting in her warmth. Willow moaned her pleasure to him, her frustration to the scythe and jerked her hips, demanding more. One of his arms held her while he began to move, pistoning in and out of everything that was Willow. His hands wandered, capturing small breasts, freeing them, pinching round swollen nipples.
She bit the scythe, holding back sounds that she was shouting in her mind.
Before he could think, before he could act, Willow and the scythe became one in the mists of the magic. There was darkness there, and Giles with no borrowed magic could only hold her, love her.
He called to Willow.
The world collapsed inside out, as she was suddenly moving through him, her magic penetrating him, dragging out pleasure with every caress.
The scythe whispered its secrets.
Giles' fingers caressed her hard, small bit of flesh, swollen with desire. Willow shook and cried, writhing in fulfillment. Her body held him tight.
Giles cried out silently into Willow's back. His body had only the rhythm of release. When he could sense the world again, Giles collapsed on his side, careful not to fall on Willow. She in turn took his movement as an invitation, collapsing onto his chest.
With sleepy green eyes, she smiled at him, "I've always liked dusty books."