Title: Green Raven Shantey
Pairing: Willow/Giles, Buffy/Riley, Xander/Anya, Willow/Tara implied
Summary: Giles receives a mysterious brochure to a resort and takes the gang on vacation.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Spoilers/Timeline: Day after the episode 'Restless' (end of season 4).
Distribution: My site, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask .
Author's Note: Thanks to my wonderful Betas for all of your help.
See Awards this story has won.
Green Raven Shantey
Giles wearily opened his apartment door. He tossed the keys and mail on the desk and made his way over to the whiskey bottle. He poured himself a generous portion, picked up the mail and made his way over to the couch.
It had been a couple of long, trying days. Last night's nightmares certainly explained his immediate tiredness. Almost being murdered by the First Slayer is enough to give anyone an unrestful night's sleep. He was never able to get back to a sound sleep that night.
And the days before that were, of course, taken up with preparing to fight, and take down Adam. Spike's games of trying to break the group up were tiresome as well. Of course Giles had spent most of those days in a drunken stupor. The hangover was virtually unbearable.
Giles cleaned his glasses and turned his attention to the post. Bill… worry about it later. Motorbike magazine… will put in bathroom. Vacation brochure… will go in trash.
As he starts to go to the next piece of mail his eyes are drawn back to the brochure. He had no plans to go on holiday, yet the log cabins surrounded by trees looked very inviting. He set the rest of his mail aside and began to peruse the pamphlet.
Half an hour later, after carefully reading the entire pamphlet, twice, Giles had made up his mind. He was going to treat the gang to a vacation at the Green Raven Shantey. After all, he rationalized, they had earned it.
He no longer felt exhausted as he went to the phone to call Buffy and Willow's dorm room. Buffy finally answered on the third ring.
"Hello?" she groggily asked.
"Buffy? I'm sorry, were you asleep?" he looks at his watch, realizing the time.
"Uh huh. What is it Giles? Can it wait until morning? How are you even awake? After last night I couldn't wait to get to bed."
"I must have gotten a second wind. I apologize for waking you. Could you and Willow please stop by tomorrow? And bring Xander."
"Yeah, sure. See ya then."
"Good night Buffy."
Giles was up bright and early, after a very sound sleep, anxiously waiting for the 'children' to arrive.
He was practically bouncing off the walls by the time they arrived around noon time.
He hurried them into the apartment and into seats, barely containing his excitement.
"So what's the big emergency that you had to interrupt my beauty sleep?" Buffy chided.
"Yeah G-man, you're practically giddy, which is giving me the wiggins," Xander agreed.
"Please tell us," Willow quietly added.
"How would you all feel about going away on holiday?" Giles excitedly asked. When he was met with blank stares, he continued. "Yesterday I received this brochure for the Green Raven Shantey and I thought that we could all use some rest and relaxation after defeating Adam. Here take a look for yourself." He handed them the pamphlet.
They all squished together on the couch to read through the brochure. Buffy, Willow and Xander exchanged nervous glances before they replied.
"It looks great," Buffy tentatively agreed. "It's just that Riley and I kinda wanted to spend some time together."
"Yeah, me and Anya too. She's been feeling a little unappreciated what with the whole fighting a part-human-part-demon-that-wants-to-build-an-army-of-freaks thing."
"Bring them along. Tara too. The more the merrier." He could see Xander about to object again so he added, "And I'm paying, for everyone."
"Then count us in," Xander practically jumped for joy.
"Us too," Buffy agreed.
"I'll ask Tara," Willow ventured. Something about this situation didn't feel completely right to her, but she couldn't put her finger on what was wrong. She skimmed the brochure in front of her again. On the second read-through it sounded more inviting, and it did look nice and relaxing.
"So when are we going?" Buffy bounced in her seat.
"I was thinking the day after tomorrow. I called them this morning to see if they had four rooms available this week and amazingly they did. I told the manager that I would give him a call back this afternoon to make the arrangements after I discussed the details with you."
"Well, call him back," Xander encouraged. "We can't let those rooms get away."
Two days later Giles, Buffy, Riley, Xander, Anya and Willow piled into the minivan Giles had rented for the trip. Willow explained upon her arrival that Tara wasn't comfortable going on vacation with the group. (She also hadn't seen the brochure to see how wonderful it was going to be.)
The drive to the retreat seemed to take forever, especially to Giles, who was forced to listen to the others sing travel songs and play car games. Luckily the "punch-buggy" game was nixed after Buffy nearly bruised Xander's arm after an enthusiastic punch. In reality the drive lasted for approximately two hours.
They all agreed that the trip was well worth the drive as they drove down the shady lane to the cluster of "shanties" half a mile up the road. The grounds consisted of a large wooded park with hiking trails, a small spa with a gym and swimming pool, and in the main building were a concert hall, a dining room, and a library with state of the art computer equipment as well as a diverse assortment of books.
Giles parked in front of the main building to check everyone in. The gang milled around the lobby, even more impressed about the resort than they had been. After sorting out the room keys they headed off to their individual cabins to relax before dinner. The four cabins that were assigned to the Scooby Gang were laid out such that two were right next to each other and the other two were a bit separate, from each other as well as the first two. Giles and Willow took the cabins next to each other and gave the couples their privacy.
Through the closed circuit monitoring system in the back room the resort's owner watched the new arrivals with great interest. "That was even faster than I expected," he mused to himself. "Well, Ripper, let the games begin."
The group had planned to meet at the entrance to the dining hall at 8:00pm. Giles and Willow were the first to arrive, as they had no one to wait for, or waiting for them. Buffy and Riley arrived a short time later with Xander and Anya completing the ensemble fifteen minutes later.
Once seated they all agreed that the accommodations were amazing.
"I couldn't believe how soft the bed is," Anya commented. "It has so much bounce to it. We're going to have to be careful not to bounce onto the floor tonight," she tells Xander.
"Does your room have a Jacuzzi in it?" Willow hurriedly asked, noticing the blush rising on Xander's cheeks. "I can't wait to try it out."
"I know," Buffy agreed, "a Jacuzzi for two, very romantic." She winked at Riley.
"Um, yeah," Willow shifted uncomfortably, once again reminded that her girlfriend didn't want to come.
Thankfully the food arrived soon and everyone spent the next several minutes eating instead of talking.
Giles wiped his mouth with his napkin before tossing it on the plate and commenting, "That was magnificent." He stretched a little in contentment. "Well, what would you all like to do this evening?" he asked, looking around the table.
Four sets of cheeks blushed and eight eyes stared at their plates before anyone replied. Finally Riley coughed, "Well, you see… we were kind of hoping…"
"We want to have sex," Anya stated.
Willow's mouth dropped open and Giles and Riley coughed.
"Leave it to Anya to say what everyone's thinking," Xander commented.
"Of course you would like some time alone after the past week's excitement." Giles agreed, in a roundabout way. "I should have expected that. Well, off you go."
Before dashing off, Buffy turned to Willow, "You gonna be okay? I know you're all alone here."
"I'll be fine," she answered, only a slight hint of sadness in her voice.
"And she's not alone," Giles added. "Willow, would you like to spend the evening with me?"
"That would be nice. We could explore the main building, maybe?"
"An excellent idea. You see, Buffy, Willow…" he turned to address the Slayer, but she was no where to be seen, "has me." He turned back to Willow with a hearty grin gracing his face, willing her to know how true that statement was.
They left the dining room and headed towards the concert hall. There was nothing on the schedule for that evening, so they were able to walk through and admire the space. The room echoed with their footsteps. When they spoke, they whispered, afraid to break the spell of the room. There was something about being in an empty concert space when there wasn't a performance that felt incredibly naughty. And they were thoroughly enjoying being naughty together.
At breakfast the next morning the girls decided to spend the morning at the spa, leaving the men to entertain themselves. Riley managed to convince Giles and Xander into working out in the gym for a while. Riley immediately headed for the weight machines and free weights. Giles enjoyed making use of the treadmill and punching bag. Xander opted for the swimming pool and spent the morning floating around on his back.
Meanwhile, Buffy, Anya and Willow bonded over mud baths, massages, manicures and pedicures. They had ample time to talk about the previous evening. Anya gave a bit more detail about her night in bed with Xander than the other two girls felt comfortable with. Yes, they loved Xander, but neither of them really cared to know about his bedroom technique. Eventually Buffy was able to get Anya to stop talking by telling of her night in the hot tub with Riley. Anya paid close attention, asking pointed questions, so that she could spend that night doing the same with Xander.
"So how was your evening with Giles?" Buffy finally asked.
"It was magical really," Willow sighed.
"Magical?" Anya snorted. "Were you performing magick on vacation?"
"Not that kind of magical," Willow laughed. "We walked around the concert hall."
"Doesn't sound very special to me," Buffy commented.
"Maybe you had to be there," Anya agreed.
"Maybe." Willow hesitantly agreed. "I don't know how to describe it. The room echoed when we walked or talked, so we had to be quiet and speak to each other in whispers. And the room practically vibrated with the excitement of past performances. There was this energy in the room, of anticipation, or something very much like it."
Buffy and Anya noticed the wistful expression on Willow's face and then exchanged a worried look. Hope was written clear as day in her features. They wondered what she was hoping for.
After lunch the group broke into couples again. Buffy wanted to explore the woods with Riley and Anya wanted to check out the hot tub with Xander. Willow and Giles decided to take a leisurely walk around the property and do a little forest exploration themselves.
As they walked around they discussed their mornings. Giles commented on how good it had felt to simply lose himself in the physical exertion of a workout. It has been ages since he had done so. Willow offered up an image of Xander doing any kind of physical exertion, causing a long and hearty laugh, both agreeing that the pool suited him. As Willow described her morning of pampering Giles tried, in vain, not to imagine her spending the morning in nothing but a towel or robe, or less.
As they entered the forest the same sense of awe they had felt the previous evening returned to them. The forest held a different kind of peace and quiet than the concert hall had, yet it was just as powerful, perhaps even more so. Their conversation died on their lips as they slowly walked down the dirt paths. Giles paused and put his hand on Willow's arm to stop her as well. Off to his left side, not a dozen feet away, was a family of deer eating lunch. Giles' arm made its way around Willow's shoulders and hers found its way around his waist. They stood together, watching the deer, for what seemed like hours.
A loud crash broke the silence and the deer scattered. Before they could react, Buffy and Riley came crashing through the trees, half clothed. They stopped in their tracks at the sight of Willow and Giles with their arms around each other, mindless of their own appearances.
"Uh, hi guys," Willow started. "It's a nice day for a walk in the woods isn't it?"
"Ah yeah," Riley agreed, pulling on his t-shirt.
Buffy quickly pulled her top on as well. "We found this really nice clearing a little further up with this big moss covered rock…" Giles' look of mortification was enough to stall the rest of that sentence. "So what were you guys doing?"
"Actually we were enjoying the *serenity* of nature." Giles pointed out.
Willow clarified, "There was a family of deer eating right over there," she pointed to the spot near where Buffy and Riley and come from, "and we were watching them."
"I always knew you liked to watch," Buffy commented. Giles glared at her. "Sorry, Giles, I couldn't help myself."
"That's alright. Willow and I weren't done exploring yet, so we'll leave you to finish what you were doing."
"We were pretty much done," Riley started, until Buffy elbowed him. "But we could definitely explore some more, just us."
"We'll see you at dinner then?" Willow asked.
"Actually, we were planning on ordering room service tonight, if that's okay with you."
"That's fine Buffy. We'll see you tomorrow then."
The two "couples" separated and went on with their explorations.
When they returned to the main building there was a message for Giles from Xander saying that he and Anya were planning on ordering room service too, and they'd meet up again in the morning.
"I guess that you're stuck with me for a while longer," Giles said.
"I'm not stuck," Willow argued. "I enjoy spending time with you. I'm just sorry that you're stuck with all of us."
"It was my idea for this trip Willow. Therefore I am no more stuck than you are," he smiled. "Did you want to eat in the dining hall or would you prefer to order room service as well?"
"I thought we were going to spend the evening together?" she worriedly exclaimed.
"And so we shall. I meant that we could order room service, together, from one of our rooms, if you would like."
"Oh," she blushes. "Let's do that. I've never ordered room service before. It always sounded so decadent."
"Well then, that's exactly what we should do," Giles decided. "My room or yours?"
"Mine. Just give me an hour first? I want to take a shower and rinse the dust off before dinner."
"Of course. I think that I'll do the same. I'll be there in a hour." Giles kissed her cheek to seal the promise before heading off to his cabin.
The microphones and cameras hidden throughout the main building easily picked up Willow and Giles' conversation.
Ethan sat back in his chair with a satisfied grin. "Well, well, Ripper old man," he said to the screen, "It looks like I was wrong, for a change. But this is much more interesting. Then again, you always did enjoy a challenge. I thought for sure you'd have paired off with the Slayer by now, but it looks like you fancy the witch, and a gay one at that. This will be fun."
Ethan brought up the resort's room assignments on the computer to double check on Willow's cabin's name. He then instructed the kitchen staff that any food that was ordered from that cabin was to have a special ingredient added to all of the items.
As he had already observed, the spell surrounding the resort was definitely having the desired effect upon his guests, but there was nothing wrong with helping things along.
He chuckled to himself as he switched on the cameras and microphones in Willow's cabin. For good measure he activated the ones in Giles' room as well. May as well get the pre-show entertainment as well as the show, seeing as he already had the technology installed.
Willow phoned Tara when she got back to her cabin. It had been over two days since they had last spoken and she really missed her.
The phone rang several times before the machine picked up. 'That's strange,' Willow thought. 'I told her that I'd give her a call this evening, no matter what. Where is she?' She listed to Tara's sweet voice on the recording, "H-hi. You've re-reached Tara's room. I-I'm not here right now, so please l-leave a message, i-if you want t-to that is." Beep. "Hi Tara, it's me, Willow. I'm having a good time on the retreat. I really wish that you were here, because it's all couples except for me and Giles, so he and I have been spending a lot of time together. In fact, I need to go and shower because we're going to order room service in my room tonight. I'll try to call again before he gets here if there's time. Bye."
Tara sat staring at the machine as she listened to Willow's message. When she first heard Willow's voice she had almost picked up the phone, but she didn't, for the same reason that she hadn't gone on the trip. Willow had sounded so sad at first, until she mentioned Giles, then she sounded completely content. It pained her to admit it, but Tara could feel the bond between Willow and the ex-watcher. The energy between them was so strong that it scared her sometimes. Tara knew it was only a matter of time before Willow realized that Giles was in love with her and dropped her like a hot potato. She knew that she was only a means for Willow to hide her feelings towards Giles, regardless of the fact that Tara really liked her, was falling in love with her. Tara hadn't wanted to be trapped in the middle of nowhere in case this was the weekend that Willow realized her mistake. And she had a very strong feeling that this was it. She decided that if Willow called back that evening that she would break up with her. At least Giles would arrive soon afterwards to help ease her pain. She lay on her bed, cuddling Miss Kitty Fantastico close to her and quietly wept.
Willow showered, letting the hot water and the scent of her shampoo try to relax her. Anxious thoughts swirled through her head regarding Tara's whereabouts. 'Could she be out with another woman? Don't be ridiculous. Tara would never cheat on you like Oz did. Maybe she was just at the magic store or in the cafeteria. She could be any number of places instead of here with you.'
She dried herself off and went into the bedroom to figure out what to wear. When she had packed she wasn't sure what to bring, so she brought a little bit of everything, including a nice dress. She opted to wear this, but stay barefoot, as she wasn't going anywhere. She dried her hair and finished her makeup with time to spare. Good, she'd be able to try Tara again.
This time Tara picked up on the second ring. "Hello?"
"Hi, it's me again. Did you get my message?" Willow anxiously asked.
"Y-yes, I did. I-I was just grabbing something to eat in the cafeteria."
"That's what I hoped, figured. So what have you been doing while I've been gone? Meet up with anyone interesting?"
"Nothing really," Tara picked up on the panic in Willow's voice at the thought that she could be with someone else. As much as it would pain her to do this, she knew it had to be done. "Actually, I met up with this girl from the Wicca group. I thought I'd give it another chance and there was this really pretty girl who wasn't there before. We went out for coffee and a bite to eat afterwards."
"That's nice," Willow tried to be supportive, but memories of betrayal loomed just beneath the surface. "So you were just trying to show her that there are some of us who actually practice magick and don't just bake and dance?"
"Not exactly," she lied. "I'm sorry Willow, but things got a little carried away."
"How do you mean?"
"It's over Willow. I want to be able to explore this new relationship and I can't do that if I'm tied down to you."
"What?" Willow yelled. "You can't be serious. I've only been gone for a couple of days! You can't have moved on already."
Tara winced at the anger and denial in Willow's voice, but she continued, "I have. I-I guess that there wasn't as much between us as we thought. Magick can do that sometimes; create an illusion of feelings. That's all we really had in common anyway."
"It's not, there was other stuff."
"You know deep down I'm right." Tara knocked on her desk to make is sound like someone was at the door. "Look, she's at the door, I've gotta go. I'm sorry Willow. Good-bye."
Willow stared blankly at the phone as she replaced it on the base. "No," she said in disbelief. "No," she said in denial. "No," she yelled in anger. She repeated the word over and over again until she could no longer speak through her tears. She curled up on the floor, bawling her eyes out.
Giles knocked on Willow's door right on time. He had dressed in khakis and a nice shirt for the evening. He had been ready for half an hour, but wanted to give her the agreed upon amount of time. He didn't want to appear to be too eager to be without her company.
He began to worry when she didn't open the door after a minute or two had passed. He knocked again, calling out to her. His breath caught at the sight that greeted him when the door finally opened. Tears were streaming down Willow's beautiful face and she was shivering in her sleeveless dress.
"Willow, dear, what happened?" he asked, stepping into the room and closing the door.
Willow immediately burrowed her face into his chest and sobbed, "Tara. Broke. Up. With." Sob, sob. "Me."
Giles stroked her hair in complete disbelief. "When did this happen?"
"Ten minutes ago. On the phone." She pointed at the offending object. She still had her face buried in Giles' chest. She was still sniffling, but she could at least speak again.
Giles, regretfully, pried the dejected girl away from his body and looked into her eyes, still wet with unshed tears. "Come and sit on the couch with me and tell me what happened."
Willow shook her head no, but allowed Giles to lead her by the hand to the small couch in the living room part of the room. She curled up on the couch as Giles went to fetch a glass of water from the bathroom. While he was there he grabbed her robe. When he returned he busied himself with lighting a fire in the fireplace.
He allowed Willow to collect her thoughts some more as he went to the phone and ordered dinner for them. He knew that she wouldn't want to eat much, but figured that she should be able to keep down some pasta. He knew how much she loved Ziti. He also ordered a bottle of wine as well as all of the chocolate items on the menu.
He returned to Willow, sitting beside her on the couch. Immediately she moved over to lean against him and he put his arm around her shoulders.
Gently he asked, "Do you think you can tell me what happened now?"
Willow sighed and nodded against his chest. She took another deep breath and related her conversation with Tara.
Giles couldn't believe what he was hearing. He never got to know Tara very well, but she certainly didn't appear to be the type to cheat. In fact, he had thought that she was completely head-over-heels in love with Willow. And he knew that Willow cared very much for Tara as well, although he suspected not nearly as deeply. He also remembered how devastated Willow was when Oz had cheated on her. If the wolf hadn't skipped town Giles would have given the boy a severe beating for hurting Willow.
"It just doesn't make any sense," Willow stated. "Tara knew that Oz had cheated and what it did to me. How could she do the same thing? I never would have suspected that it was even in her to do such a thing."
"Nor I. I'm afraid I have no answers for you. Could she have had another reason for the break up and said the one thing that she knew would hurt you most?"
"You mean you think she lied?" Willow sat up to look into his face, disbelief clearly written on hers.
"Perhaps. As I said, I didn't know her very well. She was always a bit distant around me."
"She told me once that you two radiated similar energies. Maybe it acted as a repellant? She was always very attuned to the energies a person projects. Remember when she was able to tell that Faith had switched bodies with Buffy? She knew right away that it wasn't really Buffy."
'My God, she knew I am in love with Willow,' Giles thought. 'Could that be what this break up is about?' Out loud he asked, "Tell me again why Tara didn't come away this weekend."
"Oh, she said that she wasn't really comfortable enough with the group to spend a weekend in the middle of nowhere with us. I tried to reassure her that I would be there, but she was adamant about not coming, especially after I told her that you didn't have a girlfriend to bring. I thought that she just didn't want you to have to spend all of your time alone..."
"Please bear with me through a couple more questions, Willow." Giles interrupted. He needed to know if his suspicions were about to be confirmed. If Tara had broken up with Willow after her message saying that he and Willow had been spending a lot of time alone together, then maybe she suspected that Willow might reciprocate his feelings.
"Did Tara ever say, specifically, what it was that we shared in common?" he asked.
"Actually, she was pretty vague about it. I just assumed that it had to do with magick since she's been practicing for like ever. Why, do you know what she was talking about?"
"Perhaps." Luckily he didn't have to expand any further because there was a knock at the door. Willow jumped a bit at the noise, but recovered quickly as Giles went to answer the door. He directed the young man with the large tray of food to set it down on the table in front of the fireplace. He signed the bill, tipped the young man and ushered him out.
"Do you think that you can eat something Willow?" Giles asked as he uncovered the feast.
"I don't know," she started. "Ooh, Ziti," she exclaimed, picking up the plate and a fork. She took a bite and happily sighed. "Mmm. This is my favorite, thanks Giles."
"I thought it was. Now eat up." He filled the two wine glasses and handed one to Willow before starting on his own plate of pasta. They ate in silence for a time, enjoying the food, the fire and the company.
Before Willow finished off her plate Giles warned her, "Don't fill up on the pasta." He lifted the cover off of the desert plate, revealing an assortment of chocolate cakes, chocolate mousse, chocolate chip cookies, and just plain chocolate. "I understand from Buffy that this type of situation calls for chocolate."
Willow set her plate aside and hugged Giles fiercely. "Thank you Giles. It is perfect. How is it that you always know just what I need?" She lightly kissed his cheek before reaching for a piece of triple layer chocolate fudge cake.
After another hour of talking, eating and drinking Willow stretched and yawned.
"Sorry Giles," she apologized.
"It's quite alright," he chuckled. "I'd say that you deserve to be tired. Crying takes a lot out of you. I should be going then so that you may get some rest."
"Could…" she started. "Could you stay?"
"Of course," he smiled. "The couch is comfortable enough."
"No," she blushed. "I meant, could you stay with me, in my bed. Could you just hold me tonight?"
Giles' heart leapt. "Of course. Why don't you go and get ready for bed while I tidy up the room."
"Okay." Willow gathered the robe close to her and shuffled into the bedroom and closed the door.
Giles allowed himself a brief moment to imagine her changing for bed before going about the business of refilling the tray with dirty dishes and setting the tray outside. He knocked on the door to see if it was safe for him to enter.
"Come on in," he heard through the wood. Giles extinguished the lights in the room and made sure the door was locked before entering the room.
Willow was already in the bed, with the covers tucked up under her chin. She pulled back the bedclothes for Giles to join her. He sat on the bed and carefully removed his shoes and socks. He emptied his pockets and removed his shirt (he left on the undershirt), belt, watch and glasses. He quickly used the facilities and decided that he could no longer delay the sweet torture that awaited him.
He slid under the covers and Willow immediately molded her body to his, resting her head on his chest. Giles rested his hand at the small of her back and somehow managed to suppress the groan of desire when he felt the smooth satin of Willow's nightgown.
As she was drifting off to sleep Willow mumbled, "Thank you Giles. I love you."
"And I you," he quietly reciprocated as he joined her in slumber.
"Damn," Ethan commented. "That's all! They exchange 'I love you's as they fall asleep. They should be going at it like rabbits like the rest of them by now. Granted the girl was just dumped, and Ripper does have that noble streak. Alright, never let it be said that Ethan Rayne can't show compassion. I'll ease off for tonight, but tomorrow all bets are off."
Willow awoke to the sounds of birds welcoming the new day. She felt the body spooned behind her and immediately thought that Tara was with her. Then she remembered that Tara had dumped her, on the phone no less, last night. Who could be in the bed with her then?
A strong hairy arm snaked around her waist, holding her close. The tattoo on the arm was all the clue that she needed... Giles. 'That's right, I asked Giles to stay with me,' she remembered. She couldn't deny how good and right it felt waking up in his arms.
Willow rolled over so that she was now facing the sleeping man beside her. Giles looked so peaceful asleep. She gently reached out and traced the crinkles around his eyes and around his lips. Her hand continued to explore the features she had known and loved for years. He looked different today though. Perhaps it was because Giles was asleep, in a bed, lying next to her. She never imagined that a moment like this would happen. Yes, she had dreamed about it, fantasized about it, but she never believed that this moment would happen. She couldn't get over how incredibly right this felt. Like she had done it hundreds of times before and would do so hundreds of times again.
Giles had woken up around the same time that Willow had. He was just as awed about the reality of the situation as Willow. Not knowing that Willow was awake yet he decided to enjoy the situation as much as he could before she kicked him out of her bed. He had cautiously circled his arm around Willow's middle, pulling her close. He loved the way her body fit so well against his.
He felt Willow stir and turn over to face him. He closed his eyes, feigning sleep, not wanting the night to be over yet. It took all of his willpower not to react when he felt Willow's gentle touches on his face. He was relieved that she was no longer pressed against his body so that she wouldn't feel his body's response to her caresses. He knew it was wrong to be aroused, Willow needed comfort from him, not this. Unfortunately his body didn't always listen to his brain, especially around Willow. He wondered if this felt as perfect and right to Willow as it did to him. How natural it felt, as if this is how it should always be.
Giles' eyes fluttered open and he slowly smiled at Willow's beautiful face. "Good Morning," he softly greeted her, idly running his hand up and down the small of her back.
Willow shuddered at the gentle caress. "Good morning," she blushed. She couldn't believe that the simple caress could arouse her so easily. Willow's hand was now resting on Giles' chest, above his heart and she could feel its rapid pounding. Feeling emboldened by the early hour and the contentment of the moment she slowly lifted her face to Giles'.
Giles held his breath as Willow drew closer to his mouth. He knew that any sudden move on his part would probably scare Willow away and that was the very last thing he wanted. After an eternity he finally felt Willow gently press her lips against his. Giles responded to the kiss, pulling Willow closer. What began as a tentative question rapidly grew in intensity and passion. Willow's hands slid up to run through Giles' already tussled hair, holding him firmly in place. After an eternity of bliss they separated, panting harshly.
"Good morning, indeed," Giles breathed. When his heartbeat had returned to near normal he observed, "I take it you're feeling better this morning?"
"Yeah," Willow sheepishly admitted. "Should I apologize? For kissing you?"
"What do you think," he growled. "As much as I hate to ruin this moment, might I ask why you kissed me?"
"I don't know," Willow shrugged. "I guess it just felt right. It felt natural, you know. Like we've done this before."
"I know exactly what you mean." Giles kissed her again.
"I suppose that I should be going," Giles sighed when they let up for air.
"Aww, can't we just stay here for the morning?" Willow pouted.
"I would love nothing more, but we did say we'd meet the others for breakfast."
"Goddess, I'd forgotten about them." Willow sat up, frantically looking about the room, as if they were hiding in the shadows.
"I suppose I should be flattered," Giles chuckled, sitting up as well. Reluctantly he got out of the bed and started refilling his pockets, putting on his socks and shoes and glasses. He left his shirt open, figuring he'd be removing it again when he returned to his room to shower.
Willow got up as well, sliding her robe on. She held his hand as she followed Giles to the door. She lingered with him on the small porch. Neither of them was sure of how to say goodbye. Giles leaned down and gently kissed her. "I'll see you shortly," he said as he left. Willow stayed to watch him until he was inside his cabin before heading back in.
Xander stood, mouth agape, at the sight before him. He rationalized that his eyes must have been playing tricks on him. All this fresh air was doing things to his brain. He did not just see Giles leave Willow's room first thing in the morning. He did not see Giles and Willow kiss. He did not see his best friend in her robe kissing a man goodbye with his shirt unbuttoned. Isn't Willow supposed to be gay?
Xander dropped the flowers he had picked as a surprise for Anya and ran back to his cabin for a reality check. The sooner they all got to breakfast, and the truth, the better.
Ethan arrived at his office early, ready to get things under way. He flipped on the monitors in Willow's room and it was empty. Shortly she returned from outside and headed for the bathroom.
"I wonder what she was doing outside in her robe this early," Ethan mused. He rewound the recording from her cabin for the last several hours. Just to make sure he wouldn't miss anything he went back six hours. Willow and Giles were asleep together. He fast-forwarded through the night; the only thing changing was their positions on the bed. He zoomed the camera closer to the figures on the bed. He so loved digital recording systems. Finally, after sunrise, he saw Giles and Willow open their eyes. He set the tape to play at the regular speed and watched as Giles pulled Willow closer to him. "Now it's getting interesting. How far will you go Ripper?"
Ethan watched the slow seduction with interest. "Not quite what I had hoped for, but it's something to work with. The girl obviously has feelings for Ripper. After that kiss, things should move along quite easily. They said something about meeting the rest for breakfast. I must inform the kitchen staff."
"No way." Buffy insisted when Xander told her what he had seen.
"Way. Why would I make something like that up?"
"Because you're trying to pull my leg. You're making a joke, a really bad, gross, icky joke."
"Believe me, Buffy. Never in a million years would I ever think of something like this ever happening, even as a joke."
"So let me get this straight," Buffy grimaced as she got an image of what she was about to repeat. "You saw Giles, my watcher, with his shirt unbuttoned, coming out of Willow, my best, gay, friend's cabin and she was only wearing a robe. Then he kissed her, on the mouth. Is that what you're trying to tell me?"
"Yes." He shuddered. "There has to be a reasonable explanation for that right?"
"Maybe he just slept on the couch. I mean, Willow wouldn't cheat on Tara, especially not with Giles."
"I don't know about that," Anya interjected. "She's cheated before." She glared at Xander.
"Yeah, but that was just a fluke, a clothes fluke. And she was devastated when Oz cheated on her. She would never do something like that, again."
"There could be any number of explanations," Riley agreed. "Why don't we just ask them at breakfast."
"You mean ask them straight out what's going on?" Xander asked in disbelief. He looked at Buffy for confirmation of this bizarre idea being proposed.
She shrugged. "It might work."
The group was waiting at the entrance to the dining hall when Giles arrived. He had a silly grin on his face at the thought of seeing Willow again. The grin did not go unnoticed by the others, their fears beginning to be confirmed. He almost missed the accusatory glares being sent his way by Buffy and Xander.
"Where's Willow?" he asked when he reached the group.
"Shouldn't you already know that?" Xander sneered.
"Hey guys," Willow beamed as she joined the conversation. "Isn't this a beautiful morning?" She stole a look at Giles, not sure how to be around him around the others.
Giles was trying very hard to keep his hands off of Willow and stuffed them in his pockets so that he wouldn't hold her hand or put his arm around her. All he could think about was being close to Willow, yet he didn't want to embarrass her in front of her friends. He never wants to make her uncomfortable.
"Yeah, real beautiful." Xander deadpanned. "Let's eat."
As they approached the table, Giles pulled out a chair for Willow. She was surprised by the gesture, but sat in the proffered chair. Buffy and Xander moved to sit on either side of Willow, but Giles wasn't about to be separated from her and quickly took a seat next to her. Xander and Buffy exchanged nervous looks and took their seats.
Once everyone was seated and had ordered Giles reached under the table for Willow's hand. The need to touch her was overwhelming.
After several meaningful stares and gestures of Buffy's head, Xander voiced what was on everyone's mind.
"Speaking of beautiful mornings... I woke up early this morning and thought I'd surprise Anya with some hand picked wildflowers. On my way back to the cabin I saw the strangest thing." He paused to see if Willow or Giles were going to interrupt him, but they didn't seem to know what he was getting at.
"What did you see," Giles asked, instantly on guard. "Is it something that we need to worry about?"
"That's what I'm trying to figure out," Xander hinted. "I was walking back past your cabin Willow when I saw Giles leaving and..." he couldn't even finish the sentence, but then again, they already knew what happened next.
"Bugger," Giles said under his breath. 'I guess the cat is out of the bag.'
"What do you have to say for yourselves?" Buffy demanded in her best disappointed mother voice.
"And what about Tara?" Anya asked. "I didn't think you suffered cheaters."
"I didn't cheat," Willow adamantly stated, the color rising in her cheeks in anger. "I'm not the one who cheated," she added, tears starting to fill her eyes.
"It's all right, luv," Giles comforted. "Perhaps you should start from the beginning. They don't know what happened."
"Oh yeah, I forgot. It feels like it was so long ago, not just last night." Willow took a deep breath, steeling herself to relate her humiliation. "Last night, before dinner, I called Tara to let her know how much I missed her and wished she was here. She wasn't there so I left a message on the machine. After I showered, to get rid of the dust from walking in the woods, I called her again and this time she answered." Her voice started to crack, but she continued. Giles rested a hand on her shoulder in support. "Tara told me that she had met someone else and wanted to explore this new relationship and couldn't do that if she was tied down to me." Tears were now freely flowing down her cheeks. "She's the one who cheated, not me."
Giles pulled his chair closer to Willow and gathered her up in his arms, allowing her to cry on his shoulder. He picked up the story, "Willow and I had arranged to order room service in her room earlier seeing as how you were all doing likewise. I arrived shortly after her phone call with Tara. She was crying her heart out and we spent the evening talking. Willow asked me to stay and hold her after her emotional evening and I wasn't about to refuse."
Willow had calmed down a bit and continued, "When I woke up this morning, with Giles, suddenly everything seemed right with the world."
"So you had sex." Anya concluded. All of the men shifted uncomfortably.
"No," Willow laughed. "We kissed."
Buffy and Xander both let out sighs of relief, although clearly still wigged about the kiss.
"So what, are you guys a couple now?" Riley asked.
"To be honest, we haven't discussed it yet." Giles stated, slightly embarrassed.
"And what if we were? What would be wrong with that?" Willow asked.
"Everything," Buffy practically shouted. After the entire dining room looked in their direction she continued in a quieter voice, "I mean, don't get me wrong, I love you both, but come on, do you really think you could make a relationship work?"
"Why couldn't we?" Giles demanded.
"Because you're old," Xander exclaimed. "And what about you Willow, what happened to being gay? What, Oz cheated on you so you became gay? Then Tara cheated on you and you're straight again?"
"That is way harsh Xander. So I'm a little confused? Maybe I'm bi. It's allowed. Maybe Tara was just an experiment? Why does a person's gender have to matter when you love them?"
"You were in love with a woman?" Riley asked in confusion. Where had he been?
"I don't know," Willow admitted. "I really liked being with her, maybe I did love her. It certainly hurt the same to find out she'd cheated on me."
"Then how could you be kissing Giles the next day?" Buffy accused.
"That's enough Buffy. And you too Xander. Willow, you don't have to put up with this right now. Come, let's get out of here." Giles stood to leave and, holding hands, left with Willow in tow.
"Well, that went well," Anya concluded.
"What are we going to do about this?" Xander posed to the group. "We're not just going to let them start dating are we?"
"No, we have to make them see how bad that would be." Buffy agreed.
"Shouldn't we let them work this out on their own. What's so wrong with them getting together?" Riley asked.
"Besides, trying to break them up will only push them together. I've seen it happen before," Anya agreed.
"No, we'll make them see things straight; if it's the last thing we do." Buffy stated, leaving no room for argument.
Everyone finished off their breakfasts in silence. Each feeling more justified with every bite.
Ethan was practically dancing for joy in his office. "Well now, that's more like it. Before long Ripper and his witch will be all over each other to spite the others if for no other reason. And the rest of them won't even speak to them after that. This is even better than preoccupying the Slayer with Ripper. Soon they won't even want to be in the same room together. I'm going to have to agree with the witch, this is a beautiful morning."
"Giles, could you please slow down," Willow panted. "We're away from them, I don't thing we're being chased."
He immediately stopped and Willow nearly tripped over him. "So sorry. I wanted to put as much distance between us and them as possible." He looked around at their surroundings. "Where are we exactly?"
"Did you get us lost?" Willow asked playfully.
"I certainly hope not. Ah, yes, now I recognize where we are. We're not far from the pond."
"Let's go there then. I suppose it's as good a place as any for a serious talk," Willow offered.
They continued on in silence, each gathering their thoughts. They found a bench near the pond and nervously sat beside each other.
"Shall I start?" Giles began. Willow nodded. Giles cradled one of her hands in both of his. "First, I want you to know that I will respect any decision that you make Willow. After all, you must have a lot going through that beautiful mind of yours." Giles ran his hand through her hair as he said this and Willow leaned into the caress. "If it helps your decision at all, I want you to know that I love you. I have loved you for some time, and I will continue to love you, regardless of whether you wish to pursue this or not."
"Thank you Giles, that does help. I won't lie; I am so confused right now. I don't know if it would be wise to jump into something with you so soon after being dumped by Tara. I also can't deny how badly I want to... want you. I don't want you to be some rebound guy though. I'd never want to hurt you like that. Because I love you too," she finished quietly.
Willow pulled Giles into a fierce hug, afraid to let go. When she finally pulled back she gave a little laugh. "Well, that certainly didn't solve anything."
"No," Giles chuckled with her. "I suppose not. Might I suggest that we simply allow things to progress naturally, with no pressure from either one of us for something more? I would never want to do anything to lose you as a friend, Willow. Although I would be thrilled to be something more."
"I think that all sounds really good, Giles. No pressure is definitely a good thing. Should we seal the deal with a kiss?" she mischievously asked.
"An excellent idea," he agreed.
Both had only intended on a short, friendly kiss. However, the moment their lips touched all intentions melted away and all they could feel was their desire for the other. Mouths willingly opened and tongues entwined, each trying to devour the other. Hands roamed through hair and over backs. Willow lightly ran her nails along Giles' spine. In response, Giles ran his hands along Willow's sides and torso, his thumbs teasing the sides of her breasts. Willow moaned into his mouth, encouraging his actions.
When oxygen started to become an issue they separated. "I guess we should let that be our answer," Willow finally managed to say.
"I'd say so. Might I ask a favor of you in that case?"
Giles blushed a little as he asked, "Could you... if it wouldn't be too strange... could you please call me Rupert?"
"I think I can manage that, Rupert."
"So what's the game plan?" Xander asked as they left the dining hall.
"I think the old 'divide and conquer' plan would be best." Buffy stated.
"Good idea. So who do you want?"
"I think I'd have more luck getting through to Giles than any of you."
"Okay, then I'll take Willow." Anya glared at Xander so he quickly added, "Talk to Willow. I'll talk to her."
"That's better," Anya mumbled. "I'll be at the spa while you're doing that. I want no part of this."
"I'll be in the gym," Riley agreed. "I don't want to get in the middle of this either."
"Wimp," Buffy commented. "All right, fine. Xander and I can handle this."
"So where do you think they went? Back to one of their rooms?" Xander practically gagged as he made this suggestion.
"May as well check there first. If they're not there then we should probably wait for them because they'll have to go back sooner or later."
"I vote for sooner," Xander replied.
When they reached Willow and Giles' cabins the group split up.
"Good luck," Riley said to Buffy as he headed off to get his gym clothes.
"Yes, good luck alienating your friends," Anya agreed as she made her way to be pampered.
After watching them leave Buffy and Xander each took to their prey's cabin and knocked.
"Here goes nothing," Xander whispered as he waited.
An hour later Willow and Giles headed back towards their cabins. They strolled casually along the paths, holding hands, without thought to anything or anyone aside from themselves. They were shocked back into reality when Buffy and Xander accosted them, both looking extremely anxious.
"It's about time you showed up," Xander exclaimed.
"Where have you two been? And what have you been up to?" Buffy demanded. She thought about what they could have been doing and quickly amended, "Wait, don't tell me. I don't want to know."
Giles and Willow shared an amused glance.
"Was there something you wanted to say to us Buffy? Such as an apology?" Giles inquired.
"I don't have anything to apologize for," she firmly stated.
"Me neither," Xander agreed before he could be accused of something.
Giles sighed. "Very well. Is there something that you wanted?"
"Yes." Buffy grabbed Giles by the arm and dragged him into his cabin as Xander did the same to Willow.
Ethan's attention was caught as he saw Buffy pulling Giles into his cabin and Xander pulling Willow into hers.
"What have we here? By the looks on their faces I'd say we're in store for an argument or two. Oh joy."
Ethan double checked to make sure he was recording the activities in both rooms. He didn't want to miss a minute of any of this.
"Now what is this all about?" Giles demanded when Buffy released his arm and locked his door.
"You and Willow of course."
"Ah. What about us?" Giles dreaded the answer, but had to ask.
"What the hell are you thinking?"
"I'm thinking that the woman that I have been in love with for years has finally told me that she loves me as well."
"I am thinking that I am no longer going to have to drink myself into a stupor out of loneliness and can now have a lifetime of happiness with the woman I love."
"Perhaps you would like to tell me what I'm thinking so that I can give you the answer you want."
"You are thinking that you are in a position to take advantage of my best friend when she's hurting over the breakup with her girlfriend." Buffy informed him.
"Buffy, you know perfectly well that I would never take advantage of Willow, or anyone for that matter."
"Oh yeah, what about my mother?"
"That wasn't me, exactly, you know," Giles tried to reason. "It was Ethan and that damn Band Candy. And if I remember correctly, your mother wasn't exactly an unwilling participant. I believe she instigated things the second time…"
Buffy covered her ears with her hands. "Enough. That's just gross."
Giles smirked, allowing himself a brief moment to remember that night with Joyce. He certainly learned that Buffy's stamina wasn't necessarily because she was the Slayer.
Buffy noticed the far-away look on Giles' face and made gagging noises to get his attention again.
"So what, you go from my mother to my best friend? Can't you have a relationship that doesn't involve me?"
"How soon she forgets," Giles said more to himself than to Buffy. "Apparently you've forgotten being traumatized by Olivia's visits. I believe that you voiced your… disgust at me having a private life at that time."
"I did not forget," Buffy insisted, even though she momentarily had. "I just repressed it. She was younger than you too, wasn't she? And Ms. Calendar."
"I don't see what that has to do with…"
"You just keep going younger and younger, you… cradle robber!"
"Now that is uncalled for. Believe it or not, Buffy, but my entire world does not revolve around you. And Willow is certainly old enough to know her own mind. Or are you saying that she is incapable of choosing whom she loves?"
"Well," Buffy looked abashed. "Just take a look at her track record. First she was in love with Xander for like, ever. Then she dated Oz, okay werewolf, need I say more? From Oz she rebounded into Tara, a woman. Now she's rebounding into you – a fossil. I'd say that her taste is off."
"What exactly about us being together has you so upset?" Giles sat on his couch and gently asked, knowing that a shouting match wouldn't solve anything.
Buffy thought for a moment before giving her answer. "Willow is my best friend and she's like a sister to me. You're kinda like a father. So it'd be like incest."
"As flattered as I am that you think of me like a father, Buffy, you know that I am not. Just as Willow is not really your sister."
Buffy sat down as well. "Yeah, I know. But that's how it feels. Don't you sometimes think of me as a daughter."
"You know that I do. I was sacked from the Council for my fatherly feelings as you recall."
"So if you see me like a daughter, then don't you see the others as your children too?"
"Xander is more like a nephew really," Giles chuckled. He sobered to continue, "However, I have never viewed Willow as a surrogate child, or any relation."
"Why not?" Buffy sulked.
"I have always thought that Willow was wise beyond her years. Her thirst for knowledge is amazing. Her courage and loyalty to her friends is fierce. She is cautious when undertaking new activities. Shall I go on?"
"Is there nothing that I can do to convince you that Willow and I are meant to be?"
"I'm sorry Giles, but I don't think so. Willow can't seem to make up her mind as to which gender she prefers and I don't want you hurt in case she's really gay. You can't seem to be with someone your own age, and I don't want Willow hurt when you do. You're both like family to me. So no, I'm afraid that I can't support this relationship."
"I'm sorry that you feel that way, Buffy, but I'm not about to give Willow up after waiting for so long to have this chance to love her. If there's nothing more I can say, then I think you should go. I'll see you when it's time to check out tomorrow."
Giles unlocked the door and held it open for Buffy. She sat on the couch, stunned at being kicked out for a minute before she finally stood to leave. At the door she quietly said, "I hope you can live with this decision Giles. You've chosen your lover over your daughter. I hope you're prepared for the consequences."
Ethan watched as Giles closed the door and leaned against it. He had been a little worried for a few minutes there when he thought that Ripper had convinced the Slayer of his love for the Witch. Lucky for him that she couldn't see past her own feelings. He glanced at the monitor for Willow's room and saw the boy shake his head and leave. He watched as Willow stood looking out the window after the boy, then she left herself. Ethan focused back on Giles' room.
He didn't have to wait long.
Willow knocked on Giles' door and he opened it immediately, having been leaning against it since Buffy left. She flew into Giles' arms, hugging him tightly.
"Oh Rupert, it was awful," she wailed.
Giles stroked her hair. "I'm afraid I fared no better with Buffy."
"Why can't they see how happy we can make each other?"
"I wish I knew." Giles brought Willow over to the couch and they sat holding each other as he related his conversation with Buffy to her.
"Xander tried the whole father-figure line too. I told him that you have never treated me as a child, therefore I never saw you as a father-figure. You always treated me as an equal. I think that's one of the reasons that I fell for you."
"What else did Xander say?" Giles asked.
"He said that it would be like Rogue falling for the Professor," she huffed.
"I beg your pardon?"
Willow sat back and looked into his confused face. "Sorry, they're X-Men, only Rogue's a girl and Professor X is the old guy who is in charge. You know Xander and his pop-culture comic book references."
"Ah, yes. Please continue."
"I tried to explain to him how comfortable I am with you; even when I was with Oz or Tara I could always come to you when something was bothering me, or I needed help with something. And you helped me to learn magick, even after you tried to stop me, because you knew it would be safer than me doing it on my own. Xander just couldn't get past the age thing."
"Yes, and Buffy couldn't see beyond her familial views of the group."
"I told Xander that I wasn't going to let him get in the way of me being with you though."
"I said the same to Buffy."
"So it's us against the world?"
"It appears so," Giles sighed. "Are you certain this is what you want?"
"More than anything."
"Thank the gods." Giles kissed her, feeling that there had been way too much talking and not enough kissing in the last hour. The couple that no-one-else-wanted-to-be spent the remainder of the afternoon on the couch.
Buffy was waiting for Xander at his cabin when he huffed up. "I take it you didn't have any luck either?" she asked.
"Nada." Xander plopped down on the porch steps next to Buffy. "What do we do now?"
"I don't know if there's anything we can do. Talking isn't going to get us anywhere. Giles basically told me to leave him alone until it's time to go home tomorrow."
"Yeah, I got the same thing from Willow."
They sat in silence for a few minutes. Eventually Buffy stood. "I'm going to go find Riley."
"I'd better go find Anya and let her get in her 'I told you so's before dinner."
"Do you want to meet up for a bonfire tonight?"
"I'll bring the s'mores."
Ethan finished watching the recording from Willow's room, pleased that her confrontation seemed to have mirrored Giles'.
"If I know Ripper like I think I do, he's not going to be leaving his room again tonight. No need to get into another fight when he could spend the night making love to the little witch. I think that housekeeping should make a few additions to tonight's turndown service, just to be on the 'safe' side."
Riley had a roaring fire going just after the sun set in a fire pit between his and Buffy's cabin and Xander and Anya's.
"Boy, you military guys sure can do just about anything," Xander commented as he and Anya approached the fire.
"Actually, I learned how to do this from my pop on our annual camping trips back in Iowa."
"Fascinating," Anya said, clearly bored. She dumped the bag of s'mores ingredients on the ground and asked, "Now how does this work?"
Xander carefully explained, "First you toast the marshmallow over the fire. When it's all nice and toasty you put a piece of the chocolate on half of the graham cracker. Then you put on the marshmallow. Then you put the other half of the graham cracker on top, making a sandwich."
"Oh, okay." Anya opened the bag of marshmallows, took one out and held it over the fire. When the heat became too much, she dropped it into the flames. "Ow, that hurt."
"No, An, honey. You put the marshmallow on a stick to toast it."
"Well why didn't you say so?"
"Buffy should be back with some good sticks soon. She left scour the woods just before you got here," Riley offered. "Speak of the devil."
"Hey guys, anyone need a stick?" Buffy asked as she walked up with four nice thin, long sticks.
"Gimme," Anya grabbed one and stuck a marshmallow on the end, then placed the stick right in the flames. Before anyone noticed that the stick was too low, it caught on fire. "Xander, this is dumb. Look, my stick caught on fire."
Xander took a stick from Buffy and offered to make a s'more for her. Buffy joined Riley on the other side of the fire and they started toasting marshmallows as well. After a while Anya decided that she wanted to try again and headed into the woods to find herself a new stick.
"Did you come up with any new ideas about Willow and Giles," Xander asked.
"None good. I just keep imagining them kissing and start to freak." Buffy cringed.
"Hey, I got the visual," Xander complained.
"I still don't see why you want to break them up. They seem like they'd be a great couple. Aside from the age difference they have an awful lot in common," Riley tried to reason.
"How are you not weirded out by their age difference? It would be like you suddenly dropping me to go out with Professor Walsh; I mean before she was killed."
"Well, she was a brilliant woman," Riley rationalized. At Buffy's look of horror he quickly added, "Not that I was interested. I'm just saying, from an objective point of view..."
Riley's backpedaling was interrupted by Anya running back to the fireside, screaming. Xander was up in a flash, "An, what's the matter? Is there something out there?"
"It was awful, just look." She pointed to where she had come from. A moment later two rabbits hopped to the edge of the clearing. Buffy, Riley and Xander burst out laughing.
"It's not funny," Anya whined. "They were just waiting for me to trip over a root so that they could hop all over my tender flesh."
Willow and Giles sat in front of another fire in his cabin. Willow was giggling as Giles tickled her, laughing himself.
"Alright, alright, I give," Willow gasped out in between giggles.
Giles sat back with a smug look on his face. They had been playing 'Truth or Dare' and Willow wasn't answering her question.
"The vamp me," Willow blushed. "She kinda got me thinking. I mean, she obviously liked both, and despite what Buffy said, I knew she was wrong about a vampire not being anything like the human they were. Not that I started looking to be with a woman. I mean, I was back with Oz then, and I had been attracted to Xander for years, and secretly I was attracted to you too," she admitted. "But I was at least open to the possibility, and then Tara came into my life." Willow sighed.
"Well, she was rather… inspirational." Giles noticed Willow's look of curiosity so he continued. "It was that night that I realized how much I loved you. When I thought that you were dead… that your soul was gone… it was excruciating. Besides," he chuckled, "it did get you dressed up in that leather outfit."
"Giles, you looked?" Willow blushed, secretly pleased.
"Well, I, uh, that's besides the point. At any rate, I didn't mean to upset you with thoughts of Tara. I was merely curious as to how your relationship with her came about. If you remember, I was rather shocked to learn that you were more than friends. Although, had you stayed with her, I would have supported your decision. I've only ever wanted you to be happy." Giles caressed her cheek as he finished.
"I am happy. I'm more than happy. Thanks to you." Willow leaned over and kissed him. Giles tangled his hands in her hair as he deepened the kiss, holding her tight against him. Willow ran her hands up his chest, pushing his denim shirt off his shoulders and down his arms. Once his hands were free she repeated the gesture, this time sliding his t-shirt up as she brushed her fingers against his bare chest. Giles growled low in his throat as he broke the kiss to remove the shirt completely.
Willow took the opportunity to explore his firm chest with her mouth. With the little control he had over his motor functions Giles clawed at Willow's shirt, pulling it from her jeans. He clutched at her back as Willow began nibbling one of his nipples. Willow giggled slightly as the hair on his chest tickled her face.
Giles pulled Willow away from him so that he could remove her t-shirt and she quickly removed her bra. Their mouths met for a brief, hungry kiss before Giles started kissing his way down Willow's neck, pausing to nip at her pulse point. After what felt like a tortuously long time, he finally reached her breasts. Giles pulled back for a moment to admire the pale skin and hardened rosy nipples before engulfing her left breast. Willow cried out as his mouth and tongue bathed her flesh as his hand cupped her other breast. Every nerve in her body tingled with desire. When she thought that she couldn't stand the pleasure any longer he switched his attentions and she drowned in her pleasure. With one last flick of his tongue Giles sat back, admiring Willow's flushed skin and glassy eyes.
As she came back to her senses Willow's dreamy look became predatory. Giles instantly recognized the look and his pulse quickened. Willow crawled up his chest to whisper in his ear in a voice he barely recognized, "My, what a wicked tongue you have. Let's see what else you can do with it." She stood and unfastened her jeans; she stepped out them and headed for the bedroom. When she reached the door she looked back at Giles, still sitting on the floor staring after her. She disappeared into the room and Giles came to his senses and bolted after her.
Willow was stretched out on the bed, on her side, completely nude. Giles stripped off his jeans and crawled onto the bed and over Willow's body as she turned onto her back.
"What took you so long?" she breathed.
"I have no idea," he honestly answered. "Perhaps I can make it up to you?"
"I'm sure you can think of some way," she smiled, running her hands over his back and buttocks.
Giles shivered and leaned down to kiss her. Willow ran her nails up and down his back. When Willow slid her hands under the waistband of his briefs and around to the front he finally broke the kiss. He started kissing his way down her body, pausing to flick at her nipples again, before continuing across her belly to the juncture of her thighs. Willow moaned in anticipation and readily raised her hips to show her eagerness.
Giles caught her eyes as he ran his fingers along her labia. Her parted her folds and with a finger, moaning slightly himself at how wet she was. Slowly he entered her with a solitary finger. Willow's muscles tightened at the intruder, unused to the sensation. She relaxed, allowing Giles to continue the stimulation. Soon he was able to add a second finger. Willow closed her eyes when Giles lowered his head to kiss her clitoris. He stroked the nub with his tongue, quickly bringing Willow to orgasm. Giles gave a small thanks that Willow's cabin was his only neighbor, as her cries would surely have been heard by anyone else nearby.
Willow pulled Giles back up to her and moved to kiss him. He started to protest that he should rinse his mouth, but Willow countered, "I'm used to it," and kissed him. Giles decided that perhaps Willow having dated a woman wasn't such a bad thing after all as he thoroughly kissed her back.
As they kissed Willow rolled Giles onto his back and she started to work his briefs over his hips. Giles broke the kiss to remove them himself. When he returned to kiss Willow he found that she was no longer there, but was instead kissing her way down his body, much as he had just done to her. When she neared his groin he, much like Willow, let out an anticipatory moan. Willow licked her lips and poised them just above his erection. She met Giles' eyes and warned, "Now it's been a while since I've done this, so give me some leeway."
She flicked her tongue out to catch the drop of moisture at the tip before running her tongue around the head. At Giles' growl of approval Willow slid as much of his erection into her mouth as she could. She pulled back and went a little bit further. She continued the slow movements until she managed to take all of him into her mouth and throat. Giles started to pant, "Oh God, Willow," over and over again until he climaxed in her mouth.
Willow sat back with a satisfied look on her face. "So, how'd I do?"
"I... you... I..." was all that he could manage.
"Wanna go play in the Jacuzzi?" she mischievously asked.
Giles answered her with a ragged sigh and slight nod of the head. Willow bounced off to the bathroom to start filling the tub, leaving Giles to regain the use of his limbs.
Ethan could barely contain his excitement, quite literally. His erection was painfully pressing against his jeans from the show Willow and Giles had unknowingly given him. This recording was definitely going in his personal collection, he decided. He congratulated himself on a job well done and headed off to find one of the maids to help him celebrate. He figured that he could watch the rest of the "show" tomorrow.
"Rupert, I can't find them," Willow called into the bathroom where Giles was drying himself off.
"I think I left my glasses on the night table," he called back.
"Rupert," Willow squealed.
"What is it, luv?" he asked, rushing into the room, tying a towel around his waist.
Willow held up several condoms that had been sitting out on the night table. "Did you leave these here?" she asked, wide-eyed.
Giles looked completely shocked and bewildered. After a couple of false starts he managed to say, "I honestly have no idea where those came from. I certainly never would have presumed... Been so forward... Of course, I hoped... Oh, bloody hell."
"It's okay," Willow giggled. "I didn't think you had. I guess this really is a full service resort." Willow walked up to Giles and slid her hands up his bare chest and around his neck, pulling him down into a kiss. Giles cupped her face, holding her to him as he kissed her back.
Willow pulled back, with an impish gleam in her eyes. She ran her hand along the top of the towel, against his abdomen. "So, you up for making use of all the amenities this place has to offer?" she asked. Giles moaned as she slid her hand under the towel, causing it to fall to the floor, and lightly grasped his growing erection. "I see that you are," she smiled.
Giles cupped her face again, forcing her to look into his eyes. "Are you absolutely certain this is what you want?" he forced himself to ask.
Keeping her eyes locked on his, Willow slipped out of her robe and pressed her body against Giles'. "What do you think?" she purred.
Giles swept her up into his arms and set her down on the bed. He kissed her as he stretched out next to her on the bed. They explored each other's bodies with their hands as they shared long, slow, sensuous kisses. Intuitively the both knew that this act would change everything for them, and neither was in a rush for it to be over anytime soon.
Eventually Giles allowed his hand to run between Willow's thighs and she eagerly parted them for him. She began to lightly stroke his erection just as he began circling her clit. Giles finally broke the kiss to take one of her nipples into his mouth, increasing the speed of his fingers. Willow's hand convulsively squeezed Giles. She felt the orgasm welling up inside her and reluctantly pushed Giles away from her, releasing him to do so.
"No," she begged at his confused expressing, "I'm ready, I want you inside me. Please, make love to me."
"Anything, darling," Giles responded. "It would be my infinite pleasure."
Willow reached to the nightstand and with shaking fingers handed a condom to Giles. He quickly donned it and settled himself over Willow. Giles guided himself to her opening and locked eyes with Willow. In a voice full of emotion he declared, "I love you, Willow," as he entered her.
Willow gasped at the sensation and echoed Giles' words, "I love you too."
They kissed as Giles began a slow pattern of entry and withdrawal, rolling his hips with each forward thrust. Willow reflexively dug her nails into his back each time their pelvises met. She buried her head in the crook of his neck, occasionally nipping at the sweaty flesh.
Giles pulled back slightly so that he could once again suckle Willow's breasts. Willow writhed underneath him, feeling her climax beginning deep within her. She raised her hips faster against him, increasing their pace. Giles growled and matched her efforts, knowing he was close as well. Willow cried out, "Rupert," as she her body became rigid and her orgasm swept through her. Moments later Giles cried out her name and joined her in oblivion.
After moments that felt like hours Giles lifted his head from Willow's shoulder and disentangled their bodies. He rolled onto his side and disposed of the condom and then pulled Willow into his arms. She snuggled into him, content to just be held.
"Thank you," she whispered, holding him tightly.
He stroked her hair and smiled, "For what?"
Willow looked into his face. "For loving me. Not just physically, but emotionally as well."
Giles squeezed her tighter against him and told her in a voice that left no room for doubt, "I do love you, with every fiber of my being."
"Sleepy now," Willow mumbled, already drifting.
"Then sleep. I'll be here when you wake." Giles pulled the covers over their bodies, kissed the top of her head, and joined her in slumber.
Giles woke to the sound of the shower running. He blindly reached for Willow before he realized that she must be in the shower. He was smiling as he got out of the bed and headed for the bathroom. He stood in the doorway for a minute to admire Willow through the glass door before opening it to join her.
Willow yelped as cold air rushed at her from the open stall door. She relaxed when she saw Giles step into the stall with her. He slid his arms around her and pulled her into a deep kiss, leaving her breathless. "Good morning darling," he greeted her, stepping under the spray.
Willow stood with a dreamy look on her face for several moments until she realized that she still had shampoo in her hair. Willow circled her arms around Giles and turned him away from the water. "Good morning yourself," she agreed, tilting her head back to finish rinsing her hair. The position also pushed her breasts out and Giles simply couldn't refuse such an appealing invitation.
"Rupert," she gasped, grabbing onto his shoulders as her knees weakened when he took one of her breasts into his mouth.
He pulled back and innocently asked, "What?"
"Oh, you know what," she grinned. "Now can I finish my shower so that we can play?"
"I was rather hoping to play now," Giles grinned back and went about proving his point.
He picked up the washcloth and got it nice and soapy. Then he gently, teasingly, began to wash Willow's body. The roughness of the cloth, combined with the gentle movements aroused her in a way she never thought possible. Willow leaned back against the wall of the shower stall, unable to stand on her own. Giles gently pulled her away from the wall so that he could rinse the soap from her body, allowing her to lean back against him instead.
Giles ran his hands over Willow's torso, helping to remove the suds from her skin. Giles lowered his head an began to kiss his way from behind her ear to her shoulder as his hands came up to cup her breasts and tease her nipples. Willow's hands held onto his thighs, keeping him close to her, and needing something to hold on to. She could feel his arousal rubbing enticingly against her buttocks and couldn't help letting an "Mmm" escape her lips.
Giles smiled against her skin and slid his left hand down her belly and between her legs. He ran his fingers through the hair covering her mound and then slowly, gently, parted her lips and slid a finger deep inside her, his thumb massaging her clit. The angle was awkward, but Willow's groan made it worthwhile. She reached back, twisting slightly, so that she could kiss him. Willow was already on edge from her washing, so not surprisingly, it didn't take long for Willow's muscles to clamp down on Giles' fingers. She lightly bit his lower lip as she climaxed, shaking under the onslaught of sensation. Willow was still leaning heavily against Giles as he removed his fingers from inside her.
"Oh, wow," she managed to say. Giles turned her around and kissed her soundly. They both jumped as the water suddenly cooled off and then laughed realizing how long they'd been in there. Giles reached around and shut off the water and took Willow back in his arms.
"I suppose we should get out of here," Willow sighed against him.
"I suppose so," he agreed and opened the door for her.
They took turns drying each other off, Willow paying close attention to Giles' erection.
"Well now, what are we going to do with you?" she playfully asked.
"Whatever you wish," he replied, fully meaning it.
"Well then," Willow backed into the bedroom, pulling Giles with her. She laid him on the bed and fitted him with a condom. She positioned herself over his erection and lowered herself onto him. Giles held onto her hips, helping to guide her movements. They established a quick pace, insistently driving each other towards climax. They called out each other's names as they orgasmed within seconds of each other.
"Do we really have to go home today?" Willow pouted, tracing patterns around his nipples.
"I'm afraid that we do," Giles answered, sounding just as unhappy about it.
"What if... What if..." Willow was afraid to put the question into words.
"What if what?"
"What if everything goes back to the way it was when we get back? What if you don't feel the same way about me when we get back to 'real life'? What if..." Giles cut her off with a kiss.
"Willow, I loved you for a long time before we came here. That is not going to stop because we return to our lives. Yes, this has been a magical weekend, but because of who you are, not where we are."
"I love you so much," Willow declared. "Now that that's settled I should probably go pack."
"Of course, darling," Giles agreed. "Then I suppose we have to meet up with the other to check out."
"Ugh. The drive home is going to be pure torture if we have to listen to them tell us why we can't be together for two hours."
"Maybe they'll behave themselves," Giles ventured, doubting the words as he spoke them.
"If not, then I could just do a mute spell on them."
"Just kidding," she grinned.
Everyone was waiting for Willow and Giles when they arrived in the lobby, holding hands. Buffy rolled her eyes at the sight but held her tongue. She really didn't want to get into another fight.
"Hey guys," Willow ventured.
"Good Morning," Riley answered. Buffy glared at him, but he stood his ground. "How was your evening?"
"It was great, how was yours?"
"Horrible!" Anya supplied. The others burst out laughing. "I was nearly trampled to death by two bunnies," she complained.
Giles and Willow couldn't help the burst of laughter that escaped, but quickly sobered.
"That must have been horrible for you," Willow tried to sound sympathetic.
"It was," Anya agreed. "And they just sat around the fire laughing at me."
"I'm sorry," Xander apologized, again. "But the way that you came running out of the woods shrieking to get away from the rabbits was pretty funny."
"So you had a bonfire?" Giles asked, helping to get Anya away from more talk of bunnies.
"Yes," Buffy answered coldly. "We were out enjoying nature last night. Do I even want to know what you to did?"
"Probably not," Willow blushed.
Buffy screwed her face up with a look of complete disgust. Xander made gagging noises and choked out, "Very scary visual place."
"You had sex," Anya stated. "Did you have lots of orgasms?"
"Anya," Giles barked and Willow's blush deepened. "That is none of your business."
"Well, good for you," she patted Willow on the shoulder.
"Can we please get out of here?" Buffy sulked.
"Of course." Giles went to the front desk to settle the bill. "Is the proprietor in today?" Giles inquired at the desk. "I would like to compliment him on the resort in person if possible."
"Let me check," the hostess answered. "You're in luck, he just arrived a few minutes ago. Come right this way."
Had Ethan been watching the lobby monitors he would have run and hid. Unfortunately for him, he was busy watching the recordings from Giles' cabin of the previous evening and didn't see what was happening. At the knock on the door he pressed pause and demanded, "Who is it?"
The hostess opened the door a little saying, "I'm sorry to disturb you sir, but one of the guests wished to speak with you."
"Very well," he waved her to allow him in.
Giles walked through the door and stopped in his tracks. He gasped, "Ethan."
After a moment of shock at seeing Giles, Ethan grinned, "Hello Ripper."
Giles took a menacing step towards him. "You own this resort?"
"Actually, yes, I do." Giles noticed the monitor behind Ethan showing him and Willow on his bed. Ethan continued, "And I see that you have thoroughly enjoyed your stay here."
"You..." Giles tried to tamp down the anger building inside of him. "You videotaped us? You were spying on us?" Faster than Ethan had anticipated Giles had him pinned against the wall with his arm against his larynx.
"I can explain," he managed to say. Giles eased up a little, curious at how Ethan was going to try to worm his way out of this one. "The cameras were there before you came. They're for security purposes."
"And why don't I believe you?" Giles sneered.
"Perhaps because you are a very untrusting individual. That always was your problem. Never could take anything at face value." He was cut off by firmer pressure against his throat.
Just then Willow entered the office, curious about what was keeping Giles. She took a second to take in the scene before her. "Oh my gosh, Ethan Rayne." She turned on her heel to get Buffy.
"Now how is your little witch going to feel after seeing you being violent for no reason?" Ethan tried to bait Giles.
"I don't think you have to worry about Willow. She knows that I wouldn't harm you unless you deserved it, which you always do. No doubt she went to inform Buffy and Riley of your presence here." Ethan paled slightly.
Willow dragged a protesting Buffy into the room, "What is it Willow? Why can't you just tell me..." she saw Giles pinning Ethan to the wall. "Ethan," she said with disgust.
Everyone else had followed Buffy and Willow into the room. Riley pushed his way to the front of the crowd.
"How did you get out of military custody?" he demanded.
"Yeah," Buffy agreed, "The last I saw you, you were being taken into custody, hauled off in handcuffs."
"Yes, well, I was able to convince them that it was all a big misunderstanding and they let me go," he smugly replied.
"And what are you doing here?" Giles demanded.
"Conducting a business and having a bit of fun while I'm at it." Ethan simply answered.
"I take it that this is no coincidence that we are at *your* resort is it?" Giles surmised.
"Of course not, you were invited, by me."
"You knew this was Ethan's place?" Buffy accused.
"Of course not," Giles insisted. "Do you really think that I would have come here willingly if I had?"
"Who knows? You're doing all kinds of strange things lately," Buffy retorted.
"Hey," Willow exclaimed. "Standing right here."
"No offense Will," Buffy apologized.
"Whatever." Willow's face lit up, "That's it!"
Everyone turned to stare at her. "What's it?" Xander asked.
"Green Raven Shantey," Willow said, waiting for someone else to get the clue. "Something bothered me about the name from the moment I saw it." More blank stares met her, except for Ethan of course. "It's an anagram. If you mix up the letters is spells Ethan Rayne's Revenge."
"Well done," Ethan congratulated her. "I didn't think any of you would catch that. Quite genius of me if I do say so myself. You certainly picked a smart one, Ripper."
"Oh do shut up." Giles released Ethan and sat him in the chair, knowing that he wouldn't get far if he tried to escape. "So what have you done to this place?"
"It's harmless really," Ethan drawled. "Just a simple inhibition reducer/emotion enhancer spell surrounding the property and mixed in with the food."
"You played with our emotions?" Willow accused.
"You mean they're not really in love?" Buffy asked, the hope obvious in her voice.
"On the contrary, they are very much in love," Ethan countered. "The spells surrounding this place only made them realize it. It is also why the rest of you reacted so strongly. Pity though, Willow isn't the one I thought Ripper was going to bed." He stared pointedly at Buffy as he spoke.
"Ew, ew, ew and ew." Buffy shivered at the idea. "You wanted me and Giles to... to... I can't even say it."
"Have sex," Anya was happy to finish for her.
"Could you please stop saying that?" Buffy whined. "Xander, don't you have anything to say?"
Xander's eyes had been glued to the monitor Ethan had paused earlier. He had a slightly horrified, slightly curious look on his face. "What? Sorry," he blushed. "Don't look over at the monitors if you want to keep your breakfast."
All eyes immediately turned to look at the monitor and Giles quickly moved to try to shut it off.
"You were watching us?" Willow asked Ethan. At his smug look she slapped him. "You had no right to invade our privacy like that."
"Who knew Giles had such a good body?" Anya muttered. She turned to Xander, "Do you think you'll look that good at his age?"
Xander blushed and quietly reprimanded, "Anya."
"Hand over the recordings," Giles demanded. "All of them, and from all of our cabins." The others paled, realizing that they had been watched too.
"Oh come on," Ethan pleaded. "Can't a guy have some fun?"
"No," they all answered.
Ethan retrieved several CD-ROMs and handed them to Giles, inwardly grinning at the knowledge of back-up copies. "Very well."
"Can we have ours?" Anya asked. "I'd like to see how we looked," she innocently whispered to Xander.
"Please, take them," Giles handed her a couple of the disks.
"What are we going to do with him?" Willow asked.
"Beat the crap out of him?" Buffy tried.
"I would like nothing better," Giles agreed. "However, I think we should just let him be. He hasn't really done us any lasting harm. I believe allowing him to fester with the knowledge that he hasn't hurt us will be punishment enough."
"Oh yes," Ethan was quick to agree. "I have certainly learned my lesson."
"Yeah, right," Willow said sarcastically.
"Come along Willow," Giles entreated, "Let's get out of here." He slid his arm around her shoulders and turned to leave. He called back over his shoulder, "If any of the rest of you have anything to say to Ethan, I suggest you do it now and we'll meet you at the car."
Anya and Xander left quietly, holding close the recordings from their room, trying to figure out the best way to watch them.
"Oh, I have a few things to say to you," Buffy said with a feral grin. She punched him once, but it was enough to knock him out. She took Riley's hand and joined the rest outside.
Once they were on the road Willow turned in her seat to speak to Buffy. "So are we going to be okay? I mean, now that you know that we really do love each other."
"I don't know. It still doesn't feel right to me, but maybe with time..." Buffy trailed off.
"Oh thank you Buffy," Willow squeezed Buffy's hand since she couldn't hug her from the front seat. "What about you Xander?"
"Like Buffy said, maybe with time... I mean part of me was afraid that he was just taking advantage of you. But if Ethan was right, and the place enhanced your emotions, then I guess that I could probably accept you as a couple."
"As much as it pains me to admit," Giles added, "Ethan was telling the truth. And I owe him a debt of gratitude that his spell, as wrong as it was, allowed us to finally admit our feelings."
"I told you they were meant for each other," Riley quietly said.
"Thank you Riley," Willow told him.
Willow turned back to Giles and rested her hand on top of his. "Let's go home."
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Copyright© June 2003