Pairings: Giles/Olivia, Giles/Buffy (eventually)
Warnings: Coercive Council magic. Body piercing with questionable consent issues. Violence. Sex and lots of it. Dom/sub kink, piercing kink, bondage kink. Tattoos. And more. And if that isn’t enough, the odd four-letter word. Starts mild, however.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership and am making no money.
Continued from parts 1, 2, and 3
Buffy called him that afternoon to tell him that it would be tomorrow, early. Saturday; she had no classes. He called Stamford to ask him by for tea tomorrow, saying only that it would happen in the morning. His voice was thick with inexpressible emotion when he said it. It was all still a jumble in his chest: anger and fear and longing.
He fasted in preparation. The Watcher’s handbook prescribed it. Giles thought he’d likely bring up whatever he ate anyway. His stomach was a roiling mess.
He spent the day making extensive notes on the training curriculum he wished to pursue with Buffy. He laid out a two-year schedule for teaching her yoga, meditation, the basics of magic, and serious swordsmanship. He thought he could make good estimates of how long it would take her to master various disciplines. She’d be a prodigy with anything physical, but would have trouble with the mystical topics. It was about time she got serious about them, however.
Distraction. He could put off thinking about it only so long. He finally yielded. He opened his official Watcher’s diary for the first time since January and wrote briefly about her decision to claim him, along with a summary of her current status. For the first time, he described what Angelus had done. The ritual might fail, in which case he’d want to document the conditions of the failure. If all went well, tomorrow evening he’d be doing his best to describe the ritual in clear terms, for the benefit of future Watchers and their Slayers. His hand shook as he wrote.
Giles, on a whim, pulled out his facsimile copy of the diary of the last Watcher to have undergone this. Carstairs, in the late sixties, the Watcher who’d followed his father. He found the entry. Yes, Carstairs’ handwriting had shaken too, when he’d written about his Slayer’s decision. She’d made him get a tattoo, rather tame. There it was, in Carstairs’ careful ink reproduction. One of those incomprehensible choices, an image that had meant something to Carstairs and to Leila, his Slayer, but not to Giles.
They did love their tattoos, the Slayers. Even the branding had been decorative, though if Giles remembered correctly, the poor bastard hadn’t exactly appreciated it. Blood, sex, and scarification. The Slayers’ obsessions. Somewhere in the Council library there was probably a tidy little monograph on the psychological implications of Slayer preference in claiming rituals. Somewhere in the section they never let field Watchers see, lest they run screaming away.
Giles considered that option, staring at himself in the mirror as he brushed his teeth before bed. The man who returned his gaze in that mirror tomorrow night would be different from the man staring out now. He wasn’t sure how. Even if Buffy’s mark on him was not visible, the magic would have expressed itself in him fully. That was a decision he could never renege. Even if it failed, he wouldn’t be the same tomorrow. Even if it failed, he’d bear a mark that said a Slayer had once wanted him.
Would he still be Rupert Giles? Had he ever been Rupert Giles? He had never known, would never know, who he’d be without the Council’s mark. Would Buffy ever know who she would have been if the Powers hadn’t chosen her as the Slayer? They were the same, had suffered the same ways. He would seize what had been done to him and use it to serve her. Which, perhaps, was what the Council mages had intended, when they had crafted the magic. Thousands of years of men shaped this way, to serve the Slayer. Perhaps he ought to be keeping vigil over his arms right now, kneeling with his sword propped before him, instead of thrashing restlessly in bed.
Carstairs hadn’t followed up that entry. Hadn’t written anything about how he’d felt the next day, after the ritual. There had been a gap of several days, then more of the vampire-headcount nonsense his diaries were full of. What would Giles think and feel tomorrow? Would he understand why Carstairs hadn’t written? Giles promised future generations of Watchers to do his best to write, if he were at all capable, promised not to leave them hanging and worrying as he was.
He slept little. When he did slip off, just before dawn, he dreamed of Buffy resting a spread hand on his bare chest, branding him with just the heat of her touch.
She arrived around nine-thirty. She had dressed soberly, black jeans, boots, a white t-shirt, the only sign of frivolous Buffy the many silver rings on her fingers. He offered her breakfast, and made coffee for her. If she noticed he was drinking water and not his morning tea, she did not comment. She did comment on his clothes. She took one look at his snug jeans, and told him to change.
“Wear your baggy stuff,” she said. “I know you have lots of that.”
Since he’d put the jeans on just so he could look less out of place wherever it was they were going, he was happy to oblige.
Before they left his flat, he handed her his ritual knife. Silver, traced with runes that were more than mere ornamentation. The knife had a history, which she didn’t need to know, that would bring luck to their partnership. She tucked it into her boot, and they went.
Once in the car, she directed him to Sunnydale’s main street, then to the little shop they’d been in just a week before. Where she’d had that ring put in her ear, and all the other places. The sign also mentioned tattooing, and Buffy had said they did other things as well. Branding. Scarification. He still had no idea what she had planned. He parked and got out of the car. She walked across the tarmac to the shop door. He stood, hand on the roof of his car, unable to follow. What if she wanted to do what Angelus had done, in some attempt to reclaim it? The knife, the rope. He forced himself into motion through sheer strength of will, and followed her through the door.
The surfer-shaman with the unlikely name greeted them again. The shop was a little busier than it had been during the mid-week, more college students, a few scattered teens. Giles followed Buffy to a glass-topped display counter. Inside were a huge variety of little metal rings and other objects.
“Wow,” Coyote said to her. “Your phone call was massively exciting. A scene, huh?”
“Yeah, a big thing for the two of us. Special. He doesn’t know what he’s getting yet. I want it to be a surprise when it happens.”
“You’re okay?” the man asked him. “You’re looking a little freaked.”
“Just nervous,” said Giles. His hands were in fact trembling, worse than last night. He jammed them into his pockets.
The two of them conferred further over the jewelry case, in low voices. Giles had time to look around the shop and allow his terror to rise. What was she going to do to him? A tattoo? How much would it hurt? Would he be able to go through with it? Being bound?
They called him over and examined his left ear for a few moments. Coyote hummed, and nodded to Buffy. They sent him away again. Giles stood awkwardly by the lubricant display, hands deep in his trouser pockets, marveling at the variety of packaging. He’d never owned any. Massage oil had always been enough. He kept a box of rubbers in the nightstand— who didn’t?— but no flavored warming lube. Whatever that was.
At last they were ready. They had the jewelry out on the counter, a small steel ring, about the same size as the one in his ear but much thicker, and an even thicker curved bar, nearly curled around to a complete ring, with beads on each end. A piercing, then. He sighed in relief. Then he tried to imagine the metal in his body, and failed. Where would it go? What would they have to do to him to put it in? Next to that was a pair of black leather cuffs, with metal buckles. For the binding requirement of the ritual, he assumed. Not rope. Thank God. Carstairs had written that his Slayer was planning to use rope. Giles pushed memory away again. He preferred the cuffs.
They had a form for him to sign. Buffy put a hand over the top, continuing to keep the exact nature of his trial a secret. Giles paid, scribbling his name on a credit card slip without bothering to look at how much it was costing him. It didn’t matter.
Coyote led them in back, past the cubicles, to a room with a door. “I thought you’d appreciate a little more privacy. Some of the people I do mods for do scenes here.”
That word had the flavor of a term of art, though Giles didn’t know what it meant. He looked around. It had the same chair as the cubicles, like a dentist’s, and a table with objects on it. A marker. Medical supplies. Antiseptics. Needles. Coyote went over to it and started doing something with the jewelry. Giles looked away, looked at the walls. On the walls were photographs of bodies with metal in them, in places where he might soon have metal in his. There was a platform to the side, with heavy bolts in the wall above it. His mouth was dry. He decided to look at Buffy. The expression on her face was sympathetic.
Coyote spoke to him. “Giles, would you undress, please?”
Giles glanced at Buffy, nervously. “Naked,” she said. “Take it all off.” He methodically undressed, folding his clothes as he went. He hesitated with hands on the elastic of his briefs, then skimmed them off. He tucked them inside the waistband of his khakis. Giles stood next to the chair. Fear and embarrassment chased each other over his skin. And, surprisingly, arousal. She had been watching him. Her eyes were fixed below his waist.
Buffy pushed him to sit in the chair. His breathing went odd. She held onto his shoulders, and he leaned against her gratefully. He closed his eyes. The stranger’s touch on his penis deflated him quickly. Doing something, he didn’t know what. Showing something to Buffy and getting her approval. Dear God. His penis.
“Ready to cuff him?” Coyote asked Buffy.
Giles opened his eyes at the sensation of the cuff going around his left wrist. Buffy buckled it tight, then did the other wrist. The leather was heavy and stiff. No symbolic binding, this. He rubbed his wrists, over the leather.
Buffy led him over to the platform, and made him kneel at the edge, knees spread wide. Then he had to wait there, alone, shaking, while she consulted with the shaman again. The man who was going to stick a needle into him. He closed his eyes again. He breathed, slowly and deeply, struggling to center himself. He had to hold on. Had to hold onto himself. This was not the same. Not. Angelus had tied him with rope, face-down on a table. This was completely different.
Buffy’s touch on his shoulder startled him. He opened his eyes and met her serious gaze. She stroked his face.
“Are you afraid?”
“You’ll come through it. You’ll see. Drink this now.” She handed him a silver vial, marked with runes. The Watcher runes again. These were the drugs Stamford had given her. She pulled out the cork stopper, and Giles drank. It tasted different than what Angelus had forced down his throat. Sweet. Thick. His head reeled. His skin was hypersensitive; he gasped in shock at the brush of her hand against his as she rescued the vial.
“Buffy… do you understand what this means?”
“I think so. I’m glad it’s you. I wouldn’t want it to be anybody else.” She put her arms around his shoulders. He held her in return, cheek against her waist. He was shaking again.
“Only for you, Buffy. Nobody else.”
“It’ll be worth it. I’ll make you proud to be mine. We’re gonna be famous, Giles. You and me. History books.”
He wanted to laugh. His ambitious Slayer. How far she’d come from the girl who’d run away when he’d shown her Vampyr.
He took another breath, let it shudder out, then released her. He nodded. Coyote hovered just behind Buffy.
Buffy stood squarely in front of him, holding his gaze. She spoke formally. “I am the Slayer. I have come to claim my birthright.”
The magic stirred in his chest, that warmth that had been teasing him. He matched her tone. “I am the Watcher, born to serve the Slayer. I am yours to claim.”
Angelus hadn’t been able to make him say it. And he’d tried. Giles said it to Buffy now, and felt the heat in his blood. He had a flash of that childhood experience, of being flat on his back, blood and ash smeared on his face and chest, the magic a ball of white-hot light in his chest. As it was again now, on the edge of pain, awakened, but not yet roused. A few more breaths, and he was firmly in its grip. His senses were altered by the magic. His Slayer was a Goddess standing before him. If he had not already been on his knees, he would fall to them now. And God help him, this was arousing him.
Buffy pulled his knife from her boot and held it up to him. He raised his shaking right hand. The ache in his elbow was a distant thing. She took the knife in her left hand and cut her right palm, then his palm. The pain sparkled oddly, then spread when she gripped his hand in hers. Palm to palm, fingers entwined. Slayer blood dripping down his arm. He could feel it trickling into him, spikes of heat across his bleeding hand.
“I swear a blood oath to my Watcher. I will be worthy of the sacrifice he makes for me today.”
“I hear my Slayer’s blood oath.”
She released his slick hand. He cradled it across his chest.
Coyote was there at his side, doing something with his left ear. Giles felt something pass through the lobe, followed by the ring Buffy had chosen for him. Coyote adjusted it, then stepped back. It was heavy. It gave Giles his first idea what it would feel like to have that bar in his cock.
Buffy took his wrists and stretched them up over his head. The torn muscles in his arm stretched, and he groaned. She pinned his wrists together with a firm grip and bound them over his head, to something he couldn’t see. He heard metal clicking against metal. Blood dripped slowly down his arm from his slashed palm. He was utterly vulnerable now, exposed, helpless. He shuddered. She was going to mark him. Mark him and make him scream. Rip his secrets from him and kill him. No. Make him her Watcher. Own him, cherish him. He held her gaze with his, refusing to look at anything else.
Coyote’s gloved hands were on his cock again. Cold, from something swabbed on him. Something slid up inside him. He flinched, and Buffy placed a hand flat on his chest. He had a flash of the feeling of her hand in his dream, burning him. “Breathe, Giles,” she said.
Buffy nodded to Coyote, then met his desperate gaze again.
Buffy spoke. “Are you my Watcher?”
Giles responded shakily. “I am your Watcher.” He took a deep shuddering breath. “I surrender myself to you. I am your Watcher. Your— Ah! Oh God.” He cried out at the pinch of the needle going into his cock, and deeper, then the feeling of something thick and hard following it in and out. And then the magic exploded out from his chest, fire roaring in his blood. Steel bands around him. A live wire from his heart to his groin. The brand marks on his right arm burning as they had when new. Buffy’s searing hands on him and the burning-hot ring in his cock the only things he could feel. Euphoria. Arousal. Freedom.
“Your Watcher. Yours. Oh, Buffy Buffy Buffy. God.” He didn’t know what he was saying. Endorphins and magic sang in his blood.
The flames burned out. He surfaced out of it, breathing as if he’d been running, sweat dripping down his face and chest.
“Do I have a Watcher?” Buffy asked. She looked into his eyes. He blinked. She was still glowing.
“Yes, oh God yes.”
She hugged him tight for a moment, then released him and stepped behind him. She unbound his wrists. He braced himself shakily with his uninjured hand. Coyote was already cleaning off the other, taping the wound. It was indeed a deep bond. He could feel her wrapped around him. And God, yes, he could close his eyes and know exactly where she was, the way he knew where his hands were. She was in his heart now. Why had he been afraid of this? He looked down at himself. The ring went in through the bottom, a shade off-center, then out through his slit. He had expected to be horrified, for it to be something that he tolerated only as as sign that Buffy had chosen him. Instead it was the sexiest thing he’d ever seen. The sensation of it inside him was astonishing.
“Beautiful,” said Buffy, leaning forward to take a close look.
“Yes,” Giles said. “What is it?”
“That’s a Prince Albert,” said Coyote. “And a good-looking one. You have a nice penis.” Giles blushed.
“That was just a moment of pain. Hardly hurt at all.” He was stunned to realize it. Most of his reaction had been the magic. The knife-cut on his palm had hurt much more, and was still hurting more.
The piercing was bleeding a bit. Coyote told him it would, off and on for the next couple of days, particularly if he got hard. Giles was having difficulty preventing himself from getting hard already. Buffy’s arm around his shoulders, the tickle of her hair on his bare back, her scent: he was drunk on his goddess Slayer. He concentrated on the blood on his penis, on the pain in his hand, and sobered a little. Coyote sang a soft chant over it for a moment, a request for quick healing and cleanliness. Then he wrapped it in gauze.
Giles stood gingerly, and staggered when the nausea hit. Whether it was the aftereffects of the magic or the endorphins, he couldn’t say. Coyote pushed him to sit on the platform, head between his knees. He breathed himself further down. When he stood again, Buffy had a hand under his good elbow. Giles was handed a photocopied sheet with instructions. Buffy took charge of it while he got dressed again. She unbuckled the cuffs and told him they were his now. What he would do with them, he had no idea.
He was aware of the ring’s weight with every step he took. Now he understood her command to wear loose clothes.
He embraced Coyote and thanked him. “No, thank you,” Coyote said. “It was a privilege to do a favor for the Slayer. That was a powerful ritual.”
“Two weeks for the ear?” Buffy asked.
“Yeah, needs time to rest. Come back in after that and we’ll stretch up. Give the PA about six.” Coyote wished them luck as they left.
Buffy drove him home. His head was swimming enough that it was safer to have her drive, which was saying a great deal. She stopped at a drugstore and came out with a bag of things she said he’d need; he just nodded and slouched back in the passenger seat. By the time he limped through his front door, he was feeling less euphoric, and drained.
She sat on the couch and pulled him down next to her, then made him lie with his head in her lap. He gazed up at her, content and joyful. What a sight he must be: black eye, arm in a sling, hand bandaged. He hurt all over, but none of that mattered. He could feel her inside. It was like sitting in that mausoleum had been like, with her nestled against his chest, only all the time.
“You okay?” she asked.
“Oh, yes. Sore, mind you.”
“Bet you never thought you’d end up with a PA.”
“Goodness, no. I’d heard the term, but had no idea what it was. Never thought I’d have anything of the sort other than the one in my ear. And what are you planning for that, by the way?”
“Eh, nothing much,” Buffy said, evasively. “Just wanted something visible as well as the big important one.”
“Ah.” She rubbed his chest and he sighed happily. He’d done it. She’d done it.
“Let’s see this class schedule of yours, then.” She pulled a diagram out of a pocket and handed it to him. He pointed out the obvious holes. “Tuesday and Thursday afternoons starting at three, weapons training. Sunday mornings, if you’re amenable, for the meditation and mystical topics. We can do that here, where we’ll have some privacy. I trust you have your own physical fitness program well in hand?”
“Well, sort of. I go running. I figured out that if I don’t do something, I start going nuts. Can’t sit still in class more than five minutes.” He looked up at her sternly. “Yeah, I know, this kind of slacking is why I’ve been having trouble on patrol.”
“What is your sleep schedule like? Still what it was in high school?” She shook her head, and he decided not to ask what it was. “I’d suggest you go back on it. Nap at five, as long as you need. Dinner, then your evening plans, then patrol until one, or whenever is necessary. Meet me at six every weekday morning for workouts. There must be some place on campus you can suggest for that.”
She rubbed his chest some more. “There’s a field with a track around it that would be perfect. I’ll show you where when you drop me off at campus this afternoon. Do we start on the mystic stuff tomorrow?”
“Yes, let’s not waste time. Come by around nine? We can start any time you stop by. Don’t eat breakfast first. I’ll feed you later.”
“Speaking of which.” He tried to sit up, but fell back against her with a groan. The drug had long since faded, but his head was swimming again.
“Giles, when’s the last time you ate anything?”
“A little breakfast yesterday. I’ve been fasting. Recommended for the Watcher.”
“Recommended for Watchers, maybe, but not for peeps getting pierced. Your blood sugar has got to be tanked. Let’s get some food into you.” She helped him sit up on the couch, then popped into his kitchen. She brought him orange juice in one of his pint beer glasses and watched him drink it down. She took the glass away and came back with it full again. “Drink that slowly. I’ll scarf up some lunch for you.” He lay back on his sofa cushions, sipping at the juice. It felt nice to be fussed over rather than fussing. He suspected he’d be doing a lot of fussing in the coming months. Producing a lot of sudden late-night meals. Giving impromptu massages. Listening to tales of boyfriend woe. Well, worry about those demands when he got there. For now, Giles let himself go limp and enjoy it.
It was going to be all right. He was still Rupert Giles. He didn’t belong to the vampire. He belonged to Buffy.
Buffy appeared with grilled tomato and cheese sandwiches on plates. Giles ate gratefully.
“Oh!” said Buffy. She reached into her boot and pulled out the ritual knife. It had blood congealing on it, his and Buffy’s. She held it carefully, respectfully. When Giles laid a hand on it, he felt why. He could still feel the potency in their blood, and in the blade. The bond magic had left its mark on the blade. The knife had a long history, and the Gileses had worked magic with it for centuries. His own grandmother had likely used it when her Slayer had bonded with her. For this ritual to have affected the blade at all meant it had been deep magic.
“Would you get me a cloth, Buffy? From the weapons chest. There’s a bag on top.” Buffy came back with the cleaning supplies, but declined to hand them to him.
“I’ll do that,” she said. “Tell me how.”
He handed her the knife, laid across his palms.
TO BE CONTINUED in Part 2, "Consolidation", which involves demons, vampires, men in fatigues with rifles, the Council, secret organizations, Xander's ankle, Scooby tattoos, and the Bond magic in action.