She slipped her hand into his, palm to palm, fingers interwoven. He simply molded his own hand around her own. In that moment, she felt the beginning. In that moment, they made their choice. And they just kept walking, never missing a beat.
This field was familiar to her feet, after a summer of wandering it for hours, pushed to restlessness by guilt and pain and fear. Another year gone, and here she was again. Here they were again. Wandering in the night, surrounded by grasses whispering in the breeze, underneath a sky full of fast-moving clouds, backlit by moonlight.
His hand was cold. Their hips bumped with each step, and they had to slow down to keep their balance. That was ok. They had nowhere to be. There was nowhere else they wanted to be.
She didnt have to look over to see him. He was everywhere here, and so he surrounded her. It made her feel safe in a way nothing else ever had. The same way his apartment in Sunnydale had been so much *him*, this place was as well. Everything here was him. Only here wasnt a place he had shaped, it was the place that had shaped him. She didnt feel that way about Sunnydale and herself. Sunnydale didnt build anything. It wasnt a real home. Not even to someone born and raised there. It was a transient place, with soil not fertile enough for roots to take hold. Cordelia had been right. Who wouldnt want to leave there?
This place, though. This place was like solid ground after years of standing on shifting sand.
They stopped, on the edge of a gentle rise, looking out over a wide sea of grass, watching the wind paint silver ripples through the field. He squeezed her hand, and then let go, but only to wrap his arm around her shoulder, and pull her against his side. She leaned her head on his arm and hugged his waist. He turned his head and kissed her hair. She just sighed, a deep and content sigh, strong enough to move her whole body against his.
And they held each other. She knew that together they must have been just a single form in the night, standing still and wrapped around each other as the world moved around them. She also knew that later, they would touch each other, love each other. She could wait. This was enough now, being next to him, having his arm around her, and her arm around him, and feeling their bodies together, like they were meant to be. It made her warm inside, even in the chill of the breeze. She could feel him breathing, and she loved him. Loved him with a certainty so bright and pure, it burned inside.
Shed thought, for awhile, that she never would again. Love. Her heart had been burned black, by Oz, by Tara. But her love for him was a seed planted when she was young, wrapped in a coat of the innocence of a fifteen-year-old. The fires had done nothing but temper it, split open that shell and let it grow, a tiny sapling in a devastated forest.
Then he moved, took her hand again, and gestured back the way theyd come.
Shall we? he said, and he was half-turned away from her, the moonlight falling in sharp bands of silver and deep shadow across his face. The cold air between them was intolerable, and so she stepped close again, and looked up at him, watching her own fingers cut shadows across his cheek as she touched him there. Hed aged a decade in the last year. She didnt know how shed missed it. But she had, and that made her ache inside.
His eyes questioned her as she traced her finger back along his cheekbone, found the deepened lines around his eyes under his glasses, then slid down to the corner of his lips. Then over his lips. His skin was soft there, a delight under sensitive fingertips. Her own lips parted with an audible click, and then so did his own, and she felt a hint of dampness there that sent a tingle through her, before she pulled her fingers away.
Willow, he said, and the only other time hed said her name like that was when shed been hurting him. But that was over. That wasnt now. That was gone, and forgiven. Because here they were, one year later, back at square one, and it wasnt because they were slipping backwards. It was absolution. It was <i>tabula rasa</i>, clean slate. Only this time, it wasnt magically induced and artificial. It was real.
Rupert, she said, because to call him Giles now seemed ludicrous. And the name made him smile. And then, even better, or maybe just almost as good, because seeing him smile was such a miracle, he was bending forward, and his own chilly fingers were on *her* face, and those soft lips were on her own. It was just pressure, one touch, light, quick, nearly chaste.
But when he straightened, his eyes still locked onto hers, she was tingling all over, and smiling, and he was still smiling, and their hands were still knotted together, and his was even finally warming up in her own. And that was their first kiss. And it had been perfect.
She was so happy, she wanted to jump up and down, she wanted to applaud, she wanted to shout to the world See? There *can* be happy endings! And she felt her smile change to a grin, a wide grin, and she saw it echoed in him, in the flash of his teeth in the moonlight, in the joy dancing in his eyes.
I love you, she said, instead.
He stared, for a moment, the grin faltering. Then, sudden and ferocious, he grabbed her with both arms and crushed her against him, in a powerful hug the likes of which she hadnt gotten since... since hed realized she was alive back in senior year, that time with the vampire double thing.
And then they were both shaking against each other, and it wasnt fear or cold or shock or any of the things shed shaken with over the last seven or eight years. It was laughter. It was joyful, free, wonderful laughter.
God, I love you, too, he said, when he could speak, and then he loosened his arms, but only a little, and she snuggled up against his chest. She could feel the heat of his heart through his sweater, and she could feel it beating, so she moved her free hand to it, pressed down over it. He reacted, shifting like high-strung thoroughbred, and then reached up between them to lay his hand over her own.
Now, then? he said, his voice light.
So they walked back, silently, their hands clasped again, intertwined the way their bodies wanted to be. The way they would be, once they got inside, away from the breeze and the bite of the night air.
No one saw them come in, or climb the stairs, or walk together into his room and shut and lock the door behind them. It was better that way, to have him just to herself, for this one night. To not have Buffys reflexive, embarrassed intolerance, or Xanders strained confusion. They understood this, but the others wouldnt. Not right away.
She leaned back against the door, and he walked to the side of the bed, reached down and turned on the bedside lamp, then straightened up and turned to face her. This wasnt the first time shed felt this. Hed held her in his arms in this very room, curled around her like a living blanket, whispered against her skin, words of comfort, and shed clung in turn to him. Shed wanted more, then, but she hadnt known how to ask. Had feared it would destroy what they had, and shed needed that far too badly to risk it. Now though, that feeling was stirring again. Wanted more. Wanted everything. She could feel it between them, and it felt very much like magic. A web was slowly weaving between the across the space, made of hot, liquid threads, and with every moment, the web drew a little tighter, the urge to go to him, to feel his body against hers again, grew a little stronger.
Instead, she looked at him, drinking in her fill without shame or nerves for the first time. She just let her gaze move over him, knowing how it would feel to him, like being painted with fire. He was breathing harder than usual, deep breaths, that moved his chest and raised his shoulders. His coat shifted in time with his breaths, closing a bit on each inhalation, falling open with each exhalation. His hands were curled, but loosely, at his sides, tensing a bit every moment or two, maybe with the effort of restraint. Maybe with nervousness. Maybe both. His eyes were on her, just as intently as hers were on him, and in an instant, she felt desirable, wanted. She relaxed a little more, letting the hard wooden door hold her up, letting her body loosen with sensuality. She saw his eyes darken, his hands clench, and she smiled, just a little, knowing the effect she had on him.
He shrugged off his coat, tossed it onto the armchair, and then sat on the edge of the bed. Smiled, and placed his hand on the comforter beside him. Join me, the gesture said.
She fought it, just a little longer, just to feel the want peak inside of her, just to let her body cry out its desire to be near him, to touch him, to fill her senses with his male scent, to let the growing fire be soothed by his cool, strong hands. She wanted him, so much. Had for so long. Shed dreamed of kissing him since the day shed met him. Now, it was an inferno inside her.
Do you want me? she said, and the words were loud against the silence that had built between them.
Lord, yes, he whispered, and his voice was raspy, as though he hadnt spoken in years.
I want you, too, she said, as she peeled away from the door, walked towards him. Her limbs felt heavy, like walking through deep, warm water. Instead of sitting beside him, she drifted down on her knees in front of him, sat back on her heels, and laid her hands on his knees, because she had to touch him. *Had* to. His knee caps were hard and real under her hands, and that was such a thrill. He looked down, and his eyes darkened, and his lips parted again, and he was suddenly breathing in soft, sharp pants. She ran her hands, once, slowly up and down the outside seam of his jeans on his thighs.
She could smell him here, faintly: masculine desire, sweat and musk. Not enough. Not enough, though. She knew that she could get more. If she just...
He breathed in sharply, and then breathed out, Christ, Willow, because shed caught his knees in her hands, shifted them apart, opened him up for her and now she was leaning in close, her body tightening in want and anticipation. For a moment, just a moment, she distracted herself, turned her face towards his inner thigh and nuzzled him there. He said her name again, and she couldnt wait any longer.
She buried her face against the source of that scent, the source of that irresistible attraction, and she wondered how she could have ever thought she was repulsed by this. He was hard already, and she opened her mouth against him, finding the shape of him through thick denim with her tongue. And the best part really, was his reaction, the way he groaned, and sagged back, scrabbling his arms around behind him to get support, his whole body arching back, and his hips rising a little against her mouth. And that, that small pseudo-thrust, was enough to send another blinding bolt of lust through her, as she felt an echoing emptiness throb inside of herself.
She leaned forward, up onto her knees, even as he gave up and dropped flat on his back on the bed, and she opened her mouth wider, pressed against him, sucking through the damp cloth.
Oh, god, he said. Please...
She forced herself to slow down, tightened the reins on her desire, and began to explore. Breathing deeply, letting his scent fill her, like a drug, driving her to a dizzying high. Up there, near his belt buckle, trapped in his pants, she found the head of his cock, curled her lips around it as much as she could and sucked, and bit, just a little, just enough to let him feel her, and his hips jolted up against her. That small moment, that small loss of control... powerful, addictive. She dragged her lips down the covered length of him, found his testicles and nudged them with her nose, flicked her tongue over them, feeling mostly the thick seam of his jeans, but still knowing what was there. Shed wanted to do this for as long as shed known how to want it.
And then, it just wasnt enough. She needed everything.
She stood up, and he looked up at her, face flushed, one hand flung back over his head, the other on his chest, fingering his nipple through his shirt. Goddess, he was exquisite, unabashed and at home in his sexuality. Shed always known this man was there, under the tweed, under the bitter sarcasm, under the pain of a hard life. This man who was sprawled across the bed, still touching himself, his legs still splayed apart and honest, not even trying to hide the bulge or the damp spots in his jeans. Even wanting her to see. See what shed done to him. See what he wanted to do to her. He watched her through eyes that drowsed half-closed.
She trembled, and then sat down beside him on the bed, his warm thigh solid against her own. As she lay down, he shifted as well, up onto his side, so that they lay facing each other, looking into each others eyes. He reached out to touch her after a moment, trailing one knuckle slowly down and up her arm. She gently slipped off his glasses, and he took them from her hand, leaned back, just for a moment, to reach behind himself and drop them on the nightstand, and then he was facing her again, rubbing her arm again, looking into her eyes as though they were a vast vista, as though he could see for miles inside them.
Not so gay, after all, she said, and he huffed a small laugh, his eyes drifting closed for a moment.
Seems not, he answered, in a whisper. His hand dropped off of her arm at the wrist, and he unbuttoned her jeans. Unzipped her fly. His fingers slipped into the open V and drifted back and forth over the white cotton of her panties. It made her want. Made her mind go to thoughts of him burying his hands inside her. His cock inside her. She could feel herself, wet and hot between her legs, a slow movement of liquid as her arousal rose.
Definitely not, she said, and her voice was a little tight.
He swooped in suddenly, lavishing kisses up her throat from her shoulder to the hollow behind her ear, and she tensed and giggled, and rolled onto her back, and he followed her over, still kissing her. And then, her legs flopped apart a bit in the new position, and his hand pushed down into her jeans, and his fingers rubbed over her through her panties, and they both stopped for a moment, and he lifted up a bit, and looked down into her eyes.
God, youre wet, he said, like it was a revelation, and his eyes were even a bit wide. He looked almost childlike in his amazement. And suddenly, she could understand why. Because, he was hard... for *her*. For HER. Willow. And she was wet for him. And here they were. *They* were, after all of this time. They were here, together. She finally had him, her Giles, her Rupert, the man who had defined for her what shed wanted in a lover. Oz had had his mind, his calm eyes. Tara had had his wisdom, his gentleness. This was the man shed ached for in high school, with a passion that had, once or twice, led to frustrated, late-night tears. Who had been the one solid thing left in her life when everything had fallen apart.
And the most amazing part was, she could see every one of those years of wanting, of loving, shining back at her in his eyes.
Slowly, almost experimentally, he began to move his finger, up and down her opening, held back by just a layer of damp fabric. She wrapped her arms around his shoulder and canted her hips up.
Yes, she said, Oh, thats so good.
Oh, love, he said, and then, Scoot back a bit.
He was pulling his hand away, and she blinked at him, a bit confused by the cessation of sensation. Then, the wool in her mind cleared a bit, and she squirmed backwards until she was really on the bed, not just half-on, half-off. He stood up, down by where her feet were sticking off the side of the bed, and leaned over, and hooked his fingers under the waistband of her jeans and her underwear.
He looked up at her, meeting her eyes.
Like he had to ask. She was about to say yes, but then, she grinned wickedly, and said, You first.
He grinned back, and straighten up and took a step back. Sweater and undershirt were first, swept off with one gesture and cast aside. She missed the removal of his shoes, because she was too busy staring at his bare torso. Shed actually never seen him with his shirt off. The closest shed come to that was seeing him in a robe. He had a dusting of chest hair that tapered off down to his stomach. The Eyghon tattoo on his forearm. A twisted scar, just under his left nipple, from the javelin those knights had thrown at him.
His hands were at his waist, unbuttoning his jeans. And suddenly, she had a moment of panic.
Uh, she said.
She could tear her eyes away from shape in his jeans.
Ok, please dont take this the wrong way, but... but... its kinda been awhile, and... and... actually, could we maybe wait on the full frontal nudity bit?
He looked nonplussed, with his brow a bit furrowed, like he was trying to decide whether or not he should be offended, so she continued quickly.
Its not that I dont, dont want this. Its just. Um. Slow is good. But, but, not too slow. Just... just... you know?
She practically melted with relief as she saw understanding dawn in his eyes, and he smiled gently.
Ah. Of course. Um. Would... er... boxer shorts be acceptable? These jeans are... rather uncomfortable at the moment.
Uh, sure. Yeah. Thats all right.
Thank god, thats a relief, he said as he shucked his jeans, and kicked them away. She giggled as he came back over to the bed, and leaned over her, bracing himself with one hand planted into the covers next to her hip. He trailed one finger along the waistband of her pants and raised his brow in askance.
So he did, gently sweeping her pants and underwear down her legs and off. The air was cool on her damp skin, and she wriggled a little deeper into the comforter. He was staring at her, as shed probably been staring at him a few moments ago.
Hey, she said, teasingly, You just gonna stand there, or are you planning on getting hands on?
He grinned, that roguish, I-used-to-be-a-bad-boy grin, and then he was crawling onto the bed, over her, stopping, on his elbows and knees, when his face was just inches above her own.
Hi, she said, like she really was just seeing him for the first time. His only response was to lean in and kiss her again. At first it was just light, quick, like butterfly wings against her lips. Then, she curved her hand behind his head, feeling his hair catch on her fingers, and pulled him down to her, and he sighed against her, and then she slipped her tongue between his lips. He made a soft sound, and his tongue shifted against hers, wet and hot and slick, and she could feel his teeth, taste him.
She didnt know how long they stayed like that, slowly exploring, tongues nudging and nuzzling together like blind, newborn puppies. He tasted so good, felt so good. His breath tickled her skin, and every now and then, she would let her eyes open for a moment, see a flash of his face, lax with pleasure, eyes shut and his lashes casting shadows across his cheek. Once, when shed opened her eyes, shed found his open as well. Hed smiled against her lips, then closed his eyes and pressed back into the kiss.
She had one hand on his bare shoulder, loving the feeling of warm skin, but after awhile, she began to feel light tremors in his muscles, strain from holding this position too long, and she broke the kiss, pulling back and moving her hand from his shoulder to his jaw.
Hmm? he said, nuzzling his face up next to hers again.
Cmere, she said, and then maneuvered herself back further on the bed, until she was actually properly aligned on it, with her head on the pillows. He followed her, moving as if simply by instinct, and draped himself along her side, his weight warm and comforting and arousing. In a moment, they were kissing again, but this time, their hands were free. His hand slid up under her shirt, cupping and squeezing her breast through her bra. She ran hers over his back, enjoying his soft skin and male body. She wondered if someday she would miss womens bodies. She thought maybe she would. But right now, she was perfectly happy with his masculinity. Reveling in his masculinity.
That, in fact, seemed like something he needed to know, so the next time they came up for air she said, Just so you know, Im reveling in your masculinity.
She loved feeling him laugh. When he stopped, he looked up with eyes shining, and said, Im glad.
I noticed, she said, still feeling frisky, as she reached down and wrapped her hand around his erection, which had been resting against her thigh. He jolted and made a strangled sound, and reached down to hold her wrist. But he didnt make any move to pull her hand away or control her, so she began to stroke him, restrained by the fact that she was holding him through the fabric of his boxers.
Ok, she said, with camped-up bravado, after a frustrating moment, Time for the nudity. Im ready.
They separated. She sat up, long enough to rid herself of shirt and bra, and he lifted his hips and pushed off his boxers, then let them drop off onto the floor. She stared. He was hard, which shed *known* but it was different somehow to see it. His cock was flushed red, bigger than the other erection shed ever seen, and flat against his stomach. That feeling stirred inside her, that deep, primal want. Weird how that could look so beautiful. And...
Different? he said, and he glanced down at himself looking slightly concerned, as though not sure what he might find.
Oh, she said, as she let herself down beside him, I just mean... well, Oz was, um, you know. Circumcised.
Ah, he said, relaxing, Good, then.
She grinned at him, then reached towards him. Then paused.
Please, by all means, he said, quickly, and she could hear the amusement in his voice.
She touched him, with her hand stretched out flat at first. His cock was warm, and very firm, but the skin moved with her hand. She curled her fingers around him again, running her hand up and down once.
Yessss, he said, Tighter, please...
She gripped him firmly as she began to stroke him, slowly. He pressed his shoulders back against the bed and groaned softly.
Oh, yes. God, Willow...
For a few moments, he just lay back and let her touch him, then he rolled up onto his side and trailed his hand down her side and then in between her legs. She bent one knee up to give him access and kept stroking him, as his fingers slid around the outside of her, and then pushed inside of her.
She wriggled on the bed as he penetrated her, moaned softly. But kept up her slow rhythm, running her hand up and down his cock. He pressed closer to her, massaging deep inside of her with two fingers. She was breathing hard, feeling the pleasure build, feeling her hips begin to roll in an instinctual rhythm. She loved that she could open her eyes and see him. Watching her. Love softening his features, his eyes.
His dick was like warm iron in her hand, and she wondered if it hurt, being hard like that.
Does it hurt? she asked, and she smiled at the small, quizzical crease that formed between his eyes.
Being... you know, so hard like this.
He smiled, twisted his fingers inside of her, and it made her move her hips, angle her body a little closer to his. Felt so good, having him inside her. Her muscles clenched around his fingers for a moment.
Not really, he said. It feels good. Kind of demanding.
Oh, she said. Then, Oh! So, whats it demanding, huh? She grinned at him, and waggled her eyebrows. Then she let go of him, and just rubbed him a little, with her palm flat. He hummed softly and shut his eyes, rolled his head back. She reached a little lower, cupped her hand around his testicles, feeling them move. His own hand went still inside her, his breathing ragged.
You like that? she said, knowing the answer, but wanting to hear it.
He said, God, yes.
She kept her hand on his balls, brushed her thumb over his cock.
Want more? she asked, looking at him, his eyes closed, his nipples hard, his side shining in the lamp light with a light coat of sweat. Goddess, he was beautiful.
Yes, he said, a breath of a word, like a prayer.
Do you have, uh... she paused, suddenly struck by what she was about to ask him, like having an out of body experience. Wow, she thought, Im about to ask Giles if he has: Any... you know, condoms?
Uh, was his answer. He opened his eyes, and for a moment, he looked so adorably perplexed, she just had to kiss him. So she did, draping herself over him and losing herself once more to his lips and his tongue. As they kissed, he moved his fingers inside her again, slow, even strokes that made her ache with want, made her feel desperately empty.
Dresser drawer, he murmured between their wet lips. His fingers sliding out of her was a loss, leaving her bereft, so she wasted no time digging through the drawer. When she found one, she tossed it over onto his chest. He grinned at her, ripped the packet open and took out the latex circle as she crawled back over to him. The sight of him rolling it on himself unexpectedly captivated her, his hands, touching himself. He must have noticed her looking, because he briefly tightened his grip, and pumped himself once, with slow deliberation.
The heat pulsed through her again, and she stretched out beside him, looked into his eyes. He rolled up onto his side, facing her, and reached down, gently coaxed her leg up over his hip. The tip of his cock was brushing against her opening.
She drew in a long, shuddering breath.
His hand was on her arm, his eyes on hers.
He kissed her lips, then slid his hand from her arm to the small of her back. All it took for him to slide inside of her was a small shifting of his hips.
Oh, good. That was... she groaned, shut her eyes. Felt him. Inside her. Goddess, so good. His hand, splayed across her back, pulled her closer. He rolled his hips once, a gentle thrust. Then again. Moving inside her, solid and real. Overwhelming. Powerful.
Oh thats... she said, but that was all.
Pace slow, easy. Both of them moving, instinct and desire their only guides, everything else lost in the pleasure, the intimacy of their connection. He kissed her throat, hint of a hot, wet tongue under her chin, kissed her lips when she blindly turned towards him.
Flush against each other, the heat of their bodies a furnace between them, damp skin against damp skin, his chest pressed against her breasts, his arm around her body, trapping her own. Her leg hooked around his, resting just below his ass, feeling his muscles moving with his--their--slow rocking. His breath was damp and hot on her cheek. His cock a deep, perfect ache inside her.
So good, he whispered, then kissed her, then said, Love you. So much. So long.
Wanted to reply in kind, but could barely find the lung power to keep breathing. Ground her pelvis hard against his own, wanting him deeper, drowning in the feeling.
Gripped his arm hard, and he seemed to understand, rolled them over, his body crushing her against the mattress, but it was good, perfect. He reached down, curled one hand around her thigh and tugged, kissing her deeply, plunging deep into her. She got it, lifted her legs and wrapped them around his back, and suddenly, she could feel the difference, feel him sliding deeper inside of her.
She cried out, softly, wordlessly; her hand grasped at nothing behind his back.
And he was driving into her, braced over her, his arms on either side of her. Smooth, long strokes, no time in between to catch her breath. Nothing but pleasure, darkening her vision, roaring in her ears. Above her, his eyes were closed tight, his teeth bared, his body tense with it. Lust, love, passion. She was dizzy, could barely feel the sheets beneath her back.
So close. Floating on it, driven by it. Made another inarticulate sound that somewhere in her mind had once been a Yes.
Then it hit her, knocked her down and bowled her over, no air to breathe, no way to know which way was up, which way was down, couldnt hear anything but the roaring in her ears. Felt like her whole body was a knot, suddenly drawn tight, and she gripped her legs hard around his waist, yanked him down, deep inside her as her world turned inside out.
Hard pulses, wracking her body, too good, almost, to even stand, to even believe. Everything contracted around her, and she could feel nothing but his dick inside of her, her own body, shaking. His hand, touching the side of her face, stroking her hair back. Tender. Soothing.
It let her down slowly, left her melted on sweaty, warm sheets, gasping. Aftershocks shivering through her as he moved inside her. He was gentle now, moving slowly. His eyes were open now, looking down at her, and his lips were parted just slightly.
As she watched, his eyes fluttered closed, and he tilted his head back. She could see his shoulders shake a little. Hear his breath, a little ragged. It wasnt until he pressed deep into her and froze there, trembling, that she realized what she was seeing. He was coming. Quietly. Intensely.
The only sound he made in the whole thing was a soft ah, and then he dropped down beside her on the bed, panting softly. She rolled up onto her side and cuddled close to him, and they lay, twined together, as their bodies slowly calmed and cooled.
He slipped his hand into hers, palm to palm, fingers interwoven. And that was the beginning.