blackmail

Blackmail commentary, part 2/2

DVD commentary on Blackmail, continued from commentary part 1.

5. Sweat

Buffy walked slowly around her Watcher, her new lover. He was completely naked save for the collar. He was on his knees, his thighs well-spread. His arms were folded behind his back. His eyes were closed tight. His chest and face were flushed, and he was breathing hard. No wonder. He was as hard as Buffy had ever seen a man get. His cock was leaking.

I switched to Buffy's point of view because I wanted to write the top's experiences in a scene. Partly I wanted a change of pace from T&P, which is entirely from Giles's view. (Many choices that I make for this story series are about staying away from the territory of T&P.) Plus from this point of view, we get to ogle Giles:

Giles looked different out of his clothes. Without the baggy sweaters, or the layers of suit-coat and vest and shirt, he was a man. Not a textbook with arms. A man, with hair on his chest and more on his stomach, and a little bit at the very bottom of his spine. A handsome man. That jaw was magnificent.

I'm not into the pretty boys. Handsome adult men, on the other hand... Canon!Giles hits all my weaknesses. He's smart, well-educated, book-fixated, and good with a sword. He's gentle with Buffy and Jenny both, and ferocious in Buffy's defense. My fanfiction is a series of love letters to canon!Giles, even when I'm writing him as pretty fucked up ("Dust"). It's a weakness from a pure writing perspective. Self-indulgence always is.

Buffy thought it was time to touch him. She rested her hands on his shoulders. He flinched under her, then calmed himself. She ran her hands over those shoulders, feeling the surprising muscle. Down his back, over his glutes. She spread those with her hands and bent to look at his ass. Then around to his front. He met her eyes for a moment, then cast his gaze down. She pinched his nipples, hard, and held on. He gasped and moaned and arched his back. He moved into her hands, not away.

She released him. He held his position, offering his chest to her. She stroked her thumbs over his cheekbones. He closed his eyes again. She slipped two fingers into his mouth and he sucked eagerly. It was everything Buffy had dreamed. A pliant, sensitive submissive, someone she respected deeply, someone whose surrender was valuable. A strong man, willingly going to his knees for her. She had to be worthy of him. Keep her game up.

Yeah. This is what's valuable, Buffy, and you should remember that. Also, you'll want to play with this guy's nipples more.

While Giles sucked on her fingers, she considered her next move. She'd come prepared to wing it and use his belt on him. All this gear was an unexpected bonus. She definitely wanted to hurt him tonight. Punishment was only part of it, she knew. She'd have had to hurt him anyway, to make his new status clear to him, and to give him what he craved. And for her own pleasure, of course. She was hot to see his face and hear him cry out. And see the traces she would leave on his skin.

Build anticipation by telling the reader what they're going to get next.

First, a cock ring. Buffy chose a wide leather ring, and snapped it on tight. Giles whimpered when she touched his cock. It was big, far bigger than Riley or Parker had been. It was like Angel's, who'd been more unusual than she'd realized. It felt nice, hot and smooth, hard below the skin. She played with his foreskin. Riley didn't have one, and she hadn't had the chance to explore Angel's. It was sensitive, apparently. Giles was tense under her hands as she stroked him, trembling and tight and obviously struggling not to move. He was making the most wonderful noises, soft groans and little wordless pleas.

Penises are neat. I enjoy them. But then, I'm a heterosexual woman. Note that I yield to a fandom trope and give my hero a nice large package in this story. Usually I just don't bother with the whole question, because I rarely care in real life.

Buffy let go. His hips moved, thrusting into air, then he managed to get himself back under control. It was going to be fun working him to a state where he forgot to do that. Or didn't want to any more.

Fully in erotic mode now, and sensory detail is aimed at arousing the reader. I find writing porn to be an odd experience. I need detatchment so I can do all the many things a writer has to do (control pacing and rhythm and grammar, mention enough detail to evoke the scene without overloading it, set up stuff for later, pay off stuff from earlier, blah blah). But detachment is not how you judge if something is hot or not. I have to read several times in different modes, and by the end I'm unsure if it's hot or boring or what... But emotion is the core of everything. If I'm focusing on my characters' emotions and not merely describing physical actions, I'm probably good.

Next, cuffs for his ankles and wrists. Buffy chose the wrist gauntlets for him. He looked good in them. He'd probably look good in a harness as well. He shook a little as she buckled the cuffs tight. Sensation overload? She paused to stroke his hair, calm him down.

She lifted him to his feet again, since that had made him groan and swear under his breath before. She grabbed a few loops of rope, then led him upstairs to his loft.

Buffy bet that she wouldn't have to improvise here. Giles would probably have a bedroom all prepared for play. And she wasn't disappointed: there were eye bolts at top and bottom of each post of his four-poster, in discreet black. Eyebolts were also spaced along the rail at the foot. Buffy thought for a moment, then bound him spread-eagled to the posts at the foot of the bed, facing in. She pulled the ropes taut, so he had no play at all. She tied the knots so all she need do was pull the tag to release him. He'd taught her those knots.

She grinned, and took a step back to look at him. Magnificent. All stretched out and helpless. The muscles in his back and arms bunched. He was testing his bonds.

"Okay?" she asked him. He nodded, though his legs were spread wide enough that it had to be a little uncomfortable.

She laid the riding crop across the bed, where he could see it, and left him there. She went downstairs and shut up the apartment for the night. She put the whips back into the box, with the exception of the flogger. She tucked that into the waistband of her jeans, in the small of her back. She snagged another bottle of water. Giles was sweating a lot, which meant he'd need water.

I'd edit that last sentence down to just the first clause. The second is unnecessary. I always find editing problems like this when I re-read my stories, which is why I usually don't. I find the experience painful sometimes. This is true even for the ones that have been beta-read. Mostly I work with my Intrepid Beta Reader on story construction issues, not line-editing issues, though she does help with some wording problems. The best line editor I've found is my husband, but he has the severe weakness of losing interest about five pages into everything. Also, he won't read smut.

When she went upstairs again she found him trembling in his bonds. She pulled off her boots and climbed onto the bed to hold him tight. "You okay, Giles?"

"Yes. God. I just... can't believe it's really happening. Wanted this so much. Can't believe you want it."

"Believe it. You are so amazingly sexy like this. I had no idea. Look at you. So hard. So helpless."

Buffy caressed his face and kissed his mouth for the first time. He returned the kiss eagerly, opening his mouth and allowing her in. He whispered her name and kissed her again. He was a pleasure to kiss. He tasted like the whisky. He smelled like leather and bay leaves and tea. He licked her lips and sighed and kissed along her jaw. God, she could do this all night. Someday soon she would.

Note writing tic in that description: the list of things Giles smells like. I noticed this trend recently and will be ruthlessly eliminating similar descriptions in future stories.

Buffy pulled away. "More of that later, mister. Right now we have the matter of your whipping to attend to." She picked up the riding crop and showed it to him. His face changed. Fear and craving at once, she thought.

She put the crop back on the bed and slid down. The guy was so magnificent out of his clothes. She laid a hand on his ass. There ought to be a law against him wearing clothes and covering this up. Buffy grinned to herself. She could make a law like that, maybe, for nights when they were alone.

She gave him one last caress down his back and took the flogger out of her belt. She swished it at the air experimentally a few times, getting the feel of it. The Slayer skills were a big help here: she had absolute confidence in her ability to swing this thing exactly as hard as she wanted to, and hit exactly what she wanted. The question was how much Giles wanted. Her plan was to start slow, build, and watch his reactions. And then take him one notch further than he thought he wanted to go.

Brace yourself, Giles. Also note that I deal with part of her inexperience issue here by observing that she's a superhero. Some skills she'll learn fast.

She knew his apartment walls were thick. Nobody had ever complained about demon fights going on inside. She wanted to hear him.

On a wicked impulse, she aimed a blow at the bedpost. The flogger tails snapped, and Giles' whole body jumped. He held himself tense, then slowly relaxed. Buffy smacked the bedpost again. He flinched again. Before he could relax this time, she swung again, this time at his ass. A very light stroke.

"What--" he said.

She swung again, a little harder. "I don't need any questions from you right now, Watcher."

She got into a rhythm with it. She wasn't hitting him hard, just enough to get his attention and keep it. Warm him up everywhere she intended to mark him with the riding crop. He'd gone silent and still after her warning, but he was definitely breathing harder. And yes, finally a gasp from him. When his gasps had built into moans, she stopped.

Light on description of the warm-up whipping, because I'll be going heavy on the description on the main event.

She caressed his ass. It was hot under her hands. Hot and reddened and sensitive, judging by how Giles flinched when she touched him. Perfect. While she was there, she took advantage of the easy access to his cock and balls. She experimented with squeezing to see how he reacted. Beautifully: he was moaning. She paused to run a fingertip around his entrance. He made more sounds; the man was entirely alive and sensitive to everything she did. It would be neat to penetrate him, open him and plug him up. He'd confessed he loved being fucked. Next session, maybe. There was plenty of time, and no reason to give him everything he wanted at once. Maybe she'd make him beg for it.

I hate the word "entrance" for "anus", but I hate all my other options even more. Somebody give me a good euphemism, please. No, not "pucker". "Ass" might be what I'm stuck with. I'll use "backside", too, but uneasily.

She went around and climbed onto the bed to check on him.

"Buffy," he said, in a husky voice. His face was dreamy. He was sweating freely. She offered him the water bottle again. He took a sip, then shook his head.

"Doing okay?"

"Oh, God, I..."

"Did you like that?"

Eyes closed for a moment, then a nod. "Yes."

"Good. Because you're about to get more."

"Oh, God."

"You're going to scream for me. Mmm, you look scared. Good. Afterwards I'm going to let you go down on me. Would you like that?"

Giles nodded again, frantically. "Oh, God, please, yes, my Slayer."

I wrote this conversation three times. In the first draft, he was gagged and it was one-sided. Then I decided that the gag was too much and I wanted them kissing instead, for many reasons (most of them about emotion and intimacy). This is the most pared-down of the versions. I think I'd pare it down further if I were doing it again: Buffy should say less.

Buffy broke it off and got down off the bed. She took the riding crop this time. Time for the main act. She shifted her grip on the handle and considered his ass. She had to be careful now; reading wasn't the same as practical experience here. She didn't want to injure him by accidentally using Slayer strength. She'd save the savagery for the last blow. How many? Ten. Spaced out evenly, to make nice stripes. Then the last right across his butt.

Buffy rubbed the crop against Giles's legs for a moment, then flicked her wrist. The crop whistled, and it made a wonderful smack when it hit his ass. Giles went very still and tense. Buffy examined the welt closely, pressing at it with her fingers. It was dark red. She backed off a little and aimed for just below the first one. Giles jumped and then was still. She did it again, a little harder, and he made a sound. Not hard enough, she guessed. A little harder for the next one. This sort of fine control was trivial for the Slayer: it was a little game to line them up and space them perfectly, while Giles moaned and writhed and pulled at his bonds. She waited for him to come still, then struck again.

We've gone hard-core. Well, okay, not hard-core, but it's beyond a simple bondage kink scene now. Serious pain. It makes me nervous to write things like this, though I'm not sure why. Afraid of disturbing my readers? Which is a silly reason, because most of them have written scenes that are about ten times more extreme.

After the fifth, she checked on him. He was breathing in gasps and there were tears on his face. She rested her hand against his cheek, and he pushed his face into it.

"Don't fight it," she said to him. "Yield to it."

He took another deep breath.

"Scared?" He nodded. "Trust me. You have to let go and trust me."

"I do," he said. His voice was husky and whispery. He turned his head and kissed her palm. Buffy kissed his mouth again. This time he tasted salty.

Buffy slipped around behind him and caressed his ass again. It was very hot under her hands now. He whimpered a little when she scratched at the welts with her fingernail.

Editing issue: use of the word "again" twice in quick succession. Another writing problem I'm prone to. If I'd caught this earlier I'd have silently edited one of them out and updated the places it's archived.

She stepped back, and with no warning landed blow number six across his buttocks, harder than before. He cried out and pulled hard enough at his bonds to make the bed creak. Perfect. She gave him four more just as hard, moving down until the last was across the middle of his thighs. He moaned and writhed with each one. His backside was marked up beautifully.

And now the final blow. Buffy put a little Slayer into that one. Whistle, crack, and that was definitely a choked-back scream, followed by whimpering. She had indeed drawn blood. Buffy was smug. Her first whipping had gone well.

Buffy moved back onto the bed, where she could see his face. More tears. He was flushed, and breathing hard. His chest and sides were dripping with sweat. She pushed his wet hair off his forehead, tenderly. She held the crop to his lips and he kissed it.

Buffy lifted his chin so he met her eyes. "You're mine now. If you need anything, you come to me and ask for it. I'll give it to you. Anything, Watcher. Understood?"

More possessiveness, which is something I love seeing from Buffy. If any of you want to write me some fic with Buffy going all possessive about her Watcher, I'll shiver with pleasure.

"Understood, my Slayer. Thank you." His voice was strained, and he was sagging against the ropes. Time to let him down. And besides, Buffy as hot as she'd ever been in her life. Hot and wet and open, all wrapped up in her jeans. She knew what she wanted from Giles next.


6. Taste

Buffy released Giles from the ropes. He slumped over the bedrail, then made an effort and stood up straight. He put his hands behind his back again, without being prompted. He'd been excellent all evening, keeping himself in submissive postures and making sweet gestures like kissing her boots, even now when he had just endured a whipping. Buffy felt a wave of affection for him rush over her. Such courage he'd shown, letting her do this to him. Trusting her so much, when she'd been so erratic before.

She slipped an arm around his waist and helped him over to the bed. She arranged him on his side curled around her with his head in her lap. She stroked his hair and face. He looked drained but serene, his eyes heavy-lidded. She fed him water in slow sips. He drank and sighed and wrapped his arms around her legs.

Here I'm hoping I did a good job of describing the post-scene state. Giles has just been through a physical trial. His bloodstream is fizzing with chemicals. He still aroused, but he's drained and in an altered state.

"How you doing? How do you feel?"

His voice was a little slurry when he answered. "Hurts. 'Ll hurt for days. So good, I feel so good. So-- oh, yeah, please, oh.."

She had taken his erection in hand and was caressing him slowly. He closed his eyes and thrust into her hand, almost involuntarily. The control she'd seen him display earlier had been stripped from him, possibly by the pain, possibly by the semi-trance he was in. Endorphin haze. He made little sounds, soft groans, more pleas to her to touch him.

Time for pleasure for him, now. And for her.

We've had the hurt; now we get the comfort. And the outright sex.

"Would you like to come tonight?"

His hand tightened on her knee. "Please, yes, Buffy, please, God, wanna come for you."

"You will, because you have been so good. But not until I tell you you may. Understood?"

"Understood, my Slayer." He kissed her leg where his face rested.

She cupped his balls, gave them a good squeeze, then released him. He whimpered in protest and opened his eyes. "On the floor, please. On your knees."

Giles shook himself and came out of his haze a little. Not fully. He was in a state Buffy had never imagined him in, mind on hold for the demands of his body. He knelt on the floor and spread his knees wide without being asked, but his face was still transformed by pleasure and desire and strain. His cock was red, urgently erect between those spread thighs. Buffy wondered which demand was foremost in his mind: the darkening stripes across his buttocks, or that cock? Or were they all mixed up?

I'm going with "all mixed up" here, Buffy.

He was fully alert now and watching her. He licked his lips again, a signal to Buffy that something in front of him was desirable. Her. It had to be her. Buffy stood, and removed her shirt. Yes, it was her. He was riveted, mouth a little open, body shifting forward slightly.

Buffy stripped slowly, carefully, methodically. She knew she looked good, and knew that Giles would like her tone, all the muscle that said she was his deadly Slayer. And indeed he watched her eagerly, moaning a little as she revealed his goddess to him. At the last she turned her back on Giles and bent to remove her panties. He groaned behind her and muttered something in that husky voice. She turned to him.

Buffy is desirable. A flash of Buffy's bare sex is desirable.

"What was that?"

His gaze moved everywhere on her, returning again and again to her sex. "So beautiful. You said I could--- you said you'd let me-- God, want to so much. Please? Let me taste you?"

Buffy smiled down at him and ran her fingers through his hair. "Yeah, you can. Make me happy. Make me want to let you do this again."

She sat on the edge of his bed, heels on the edge of the frame. She tugged Giles over to kneel before her.

"How should I... may I use my hands?"

"Use your imagination. Do your best. Worship me."

"God, yes, Buffy, I will, I do."

We had our moment of liking penises earlier. Now we have our moment of liking woman-parts. Which body part I have no satisfactory word for, dammit. I don't like the sound of "cunt", "pussy" makes me think about juvenile James Bond novels, and "quim" is not my culture's slang. The Latin words all suck: "vulva", forsooth. So I say "her sex" here, and hope it works.

Giles kissed her bare feet, one at a time, on the instep. He slid his hands up her legs, rubbed his face against the inside of her knees. He parted her thighs gently, easing her open. His avid gaze did not move from her sex. Buffy leaned back on her elbows and watched his face. This didn't always work for Buffy. Sometimes she was slow to respond to it. But she'd let him have fun, let him get her all excited.

And I go for slow burn again. I figure my audience is mostly women. Entirely women? Most of us enjoy this experience, so let's ride along with Buffy. Giles begins with a gesture that mingles his submission and respect with his aim to arouse.

He kissed the inside of her knee, then brushed his lips over the other knee. He switched from left to right, slowly moving up her thighs to her sex, kissing softly, flickering his tongue on her skin. His breath was hot and damp. Buffy felt herself open for him, and he hadn't even touched her directly. He was breathing over her, brushing his hand over her mons. Was he ever going to lick her?

No! He was kissing up her belly, nuzzling her navel, rubbing his face against her. He stopped just below her breasts. He was leaning against her, his arms around her. His skin was hot against her belly and back. He kissed between her breasts, then looked up at her.

"May I?"

"Yeah," she said, breathless.

He ran his tongue gently up her breast and licked around the aureole before closing his lips around her nipple. He sucked and licked. Buffy felt herself harden under his mouth. He moved his head to the other breast, and kissed it to arousal. Buffy cradled his head in her arms. His hair was damp under her hands. He looked up and met her eyes as he sucked. Buffy had never seen Giles look so happy as at that moment.

Emotion, not just physical action. But also I try to be concrete about the physical. Not just to name it, but to make it feel real by calling out specifics about the experience.

She pushed him gently down, and he released her to lick his way downward again, as slowly as he had made his way up. When he finally kissed her sex, she shook in a single hard spasm. Anticipation, shock, a thrill running from her sex out. He teased at her clitoris, tracing delicately from her opening up with a tongue-tip then moving away. Buffy moaned, wondered distantly if she should be that out of control, then decided she didn't care. Because his tongue was tracing around her again, and she knew it wasn't going to be a matter of if, but how many times. She let her head fall back. Let herself make noise for him as he teased her again and again.

He thrust his tongue into her, then withdrew. Buffy moaned in protest, then had to bite it back because he'd slid a finger into her and was sucking her clit gently and flickering his tongue over her, and it was already building in her, already inevitable. The wave broke over her, and she cried out and shuddered around him. He eased off and kissed her soothingly. Then just when the waters had receded, he slid another finger into her and licked hard, once, twice, and she was shuddering again. He would have done it a third time, but she pulled herself together enough to stop him with a hand in his hair.

Yeah, take charge of him, Buffy. And note his moment of vanity again:

He leaned his head against her thigh and smiled up at her. His face glistened with moisture, with sweat and her juices. He didn't seem to care. He looked almost smug. Next time she'd tie his hands behind his back, make him work harder. But for now, Buffy was happy she hadn't. He knew what to do with the privilege, how to use those fingers.

I often imagine Giles with an oral fixation. It's those canonical lollipops and bananas. He'll love doing this for men and women both.

"Nice," she told him. Her voice was unsteady.

"Thank you, my Slayer," he said, still with that faintly smug expression.

Her hands were trembling from her orgasms, but she had enough control of her body to lift him to his feet again and push him back onto the bed. He winced when his backside met the bedsheets; no more smug look. She clipped his wrists together, then ran a loop of rope through another one of those convenient eyebolts. Giles' bed was serious. Seriously convenient. Which was the point. He must have done this a whole lot with Miss Calendar, Buffy realized. Okay, not the time to think about that. Instead, think about Giles, all spread out underneath her, legs apart, panting, rocking his hips in an effort to entice her, to brush himself against her.

Or maybe it was just that he was completely out of control now that she'd bound him again. It was amazing. Buffy sat back on her heels and stroked a hand over his thighs and watched him writhe. She shifted to kneel between his thighs and run her hands up his flanks, over his chest, and back down. Slow soothing massage. He settled under her hands.

I think I'll revisit this one, too, because it's the center of my characterization of him here-- he needs somebody to help him let go of the control he keeps over himself.

"Yeah, that's it, sweetie. Relax. I've got you. Yeah, like that."

And she's tender to him.

Buffy took a cue from him, and kissed her way slowly up his legs to where his cock lay along his belly. She hovered there for a moment, not touching him. Giles groaned. He'd lifted his head and was watching her. Next time she'd blindfold him and surprise him.

My theory is that when you're sucking somebody's cock you're in a position of power over them. A very sensitive body part is in your control: teeth are sharp and jaw muscles are powerful. (Freudians must be terrorized by it. But people who take Freud seriously get what they deserve.) As with Giles' act earlier, Buffy is about to give her lover pleasure and isn't thinking in power terms.

She licked him from root to tip. Giles bucked, so she did it again. Licked him all over until he was moaning non-stop, and then pulled away. She straddled him and took his cock in her hand, positioned it just so. Let the tip slide inside. Another little shock-shiver of anticipation as it slid in, her body gathering itself for pleasure to come. Giles thrust his hips up, trying to push himself all the way inside. Buffy rose and stayed just beyond him, tantalizing him.

And now the intercourse. Which is something I enjoy, as het chick, so I'm happy to write it. Buffy on top, returning to something in the opening section where Riley didn't like it when she was on top.

"Hold still," she said. Giles froze in place.

She lowered herself onto him slowly, as slowly as she could. He filled her wonderfully, stretching her just enough. He held himself still, as ordered, but it was a near thing. His eyes were closed and his lips were moving, repeating something under his breath that Buffy couldn't catch.

He was all the way inside now. It was good, so good. Buffy moved over him slowly, until the urgency built and she had to go faster, had to seek the finish. One hand on his chest, pinching his nipple, one hand on herself, circling, Giles's cock moving inside her-- Buffy felt the wave rising rising again, cresting, taking her and carrying her.

When she could think again, she looked down at her Watcher. Giles was still hard and thrusting inside her. His face was desperate.

"Please," he said, "God, please, have mercy. I can't--"

Orgasm control is one of those basic dominance issues. I probably won't turn it into a huge kink, but it'll be there as a common aspect of their play.

"Go ahead, Giles. Come now." She reached down to where their bodies joined and flicked the cock ring open. Giles thrust up under her. She moved down to meet him, and he was coming, bucking and gasping and crying out her name and swearing. His face was everything she'd wanted to see: pained, ecstatic, wild, completely out of control. When he was still again, she stretched herself out on top of him, head on his chest. He softened inside her. He was sweaty and rumpled and flushed all over. About as un-stuffy as a man could be.

And now both our heroes have had their orgasms. I haven't used a lot of four-letter words in this story thus far, have you noticed? Just "cock", which is a word fandom is used to that the rest of the English-speaking world maybe isn't. But for the rest, I've stayed clear of the cruder approach to prawn. Also, I've avoided what I call "the hydraulics", mostly. My thinking was, again, focus on emotion instead of pistons and fluids.

Buffy rolled off him and undid his cuffs. Giles flexed his arms and legs and groaned. He sat up and found the water bottle and drank. Buffy reclined on her side and watched him. He splashed some of the water on his face, then drained it dry.

"You okay?"

"Mmm." He wrapped his arms around her and burrowed his face into her shoulder.

"That was what you needed?"

"Perfect, my Slayer. Thank you." His voice was a mumble against her. Buffy realized he was already more than halfway asleep. Well, she couldn't blame him.

That had been good. More work than she'd realized it would be, but it had been satisfying work. Giles' face, his cries, the way he'd writhed under her blows: it had been amazing and exciting. Better than she'd expected. The thrill of having so much power over somebody else, of knowing that somebody else had granted her that power. And then the feeling afterward that she'd done right by him, and taken him where he'd needed to be taken. This was good. This was what she wanted.

A brief bit of sequel to the scene (narrative sense, not bdsm sense) of this section. The next section will be sequel to the story as a whole. The hero reflects on what was learned during the preceeding crisis point, and makes decisions that lead to the next one. Also, it's my last moment of Buffy POV here, so I have to give her at least a little reflective moment.

Buffy wrapped a hand around her Watcher's collar, and fell asleep.


7. Shivers

Giles woke slowly. He was relaxed and at peace. He was aware first of sensation: the weight of someone's body sprawled over his back, a delicious burn across his backside and thighs that he hadn't felt in ages. Then scent, the smell of a woman on his face and hands. He came fully awake, and remembered whose weight it was across him, in whose body he'd been allowed to spend himself, whose hand had granted him those welts. That hand was moving idly across them now, caressing him. She'd left the collar on him all night. Gratifying. He moaned, softly, to let her know he was awake. He spread his legs further, to make himself more accessible to her, but otherwise held himself still. As still as he could, given the urge to move, to rock his hips. To be inside her again.

The morning after: sore and aching and still in a bit of a mess. Sheets will need washing.

She'd been glorious.

Giles has no regrets.

Her weight left him, and he felt the bed shift as she moved. She settled between his knees. "You look amazing. The whip marks. My marks on you."

Giles turned a little on the bed and looked back at her. "It was a privilege to be marked by you," he said.

Her hand rested on his buttocks. "I broke the skin in two places," Buffy said. "Not very much. Scabbed over already."

Giles shivered. That last blow... he'd already been floating free on waves of pain when she'd landed that. If she'd asked him, he'd have begged her not to. But that was why he didn't leave it up to himself.

Trust.

"So a cane would have been better, huh?"

"Traditional. And it feels... Well. Good. Leaves beautiful stripes."

Hook for future bit of business.

"Hmm. I'd like to see that, because these are pretty great. They're really dark where I hit you harder." She pressed at his bruised thighs again. Giles breathed in shakily. It hurt. Not urgently, not unbearably. Enough that he would be constantly aware of it for a couple of days. Constantly aware that he had a mistress now. He shivered again, this time in anticipation.

She tugged gently at his collar. "Turn over."

His backside was not happy to be pressed against anything, not even his smooth sheets. Giles winced. He'd be controlling that wince for days. Exactly what he'd wanted. Buffy was watching him intently, he realized. Best to let her know how good she'd made him feel.

"Thank you," he said, putting all of himself into the words. Her face lit up.

"When would you like to do this again?" she said.

"That extreme? I, ah--"

"That was a special occasion. I mean, lighter play." She ran two fingers around his nipples, as if to demonstrate what she meant by lighter.

"Buffy, any time. I am yours now. Your Watcher, your lover, any time you need me in either role."

"For more vanilla stuff, too?" She sounded more tentative.

Giles smiled up at her. "It would be a pleasure."

She hadn't mentioned whether she was still with Riley or not. Giles assumed he would find out. Exclusivity did not matter to him, at least not sexually. It was far more important to him that she not train with the Initiative. And he would use his new rights as her Watcher to demand that, later. When they talked about what he wanted from her.

Fandom tends to be fussier about these issues than I am. My theory is: you never know what the rules are for a relationship when you're on the outside. Let the couple wrangle it out themselves.

She unbuckled his collar and set it on the nightstand. Giles rubbed at his neck.

"You miss it?"

"Mmm."

"Here," she said. "A present." She kissed his neck, over the carotid, where a vampire would feed. Over his pulse. Then she shocked him by biting. He cried out and dug his fists into the sheets, struggling to keep himself motionless under her. His cock hardened; so predictable it was. When she released him he was frozen for a moment, wondering from the sting if she'd drawn blood. Then he snarled and lunged up. Caught her by surprise and pinned her down. She laughed in delight and let him hold her down, let him penetrate her, let him drive hard. Wrapped her legs around him and drew him in deep.

I make a point here: that we're not talking constant trembling submission from Giles in this story. He's still his own snarky self. They're equals. And they're complicated human beings.

Giles rode her hard and fast, chasing his release single-mindedly. He felt her shudder around him once, twice, before he found what he sought. He cried out again and lost himself in her. He fell back beside her afterward, breathless and laughing.

"I should punish you for that," Buffy said, but he could hear that she was laughing as well.

"It will have been worth it," Giles said. He tugged her closer, and she snuggled into his shoulder. He felt wonderful. Relaxed, alive. Happy.

See, I think catharsis exists.

"You're giggly," Buffy said. "Never seen you giggly. Or so happy."

He petted her hair. "M'always like this afterward."

"I like it. Nice not to be all grim and Depeche Mode about it."

This line makes me laugh. But I'm also making another statement about tone.

"Pardon?"

"Never mind. Anyway. I don't want you hiding that hickey, mister. No turtlenecks today."

Giles touched the place on his neck gingerly. She hadn't quite drawn blood, but he'd have an obvious bite mark. A woman's bite. He shivered a third time. Marked, publicly and privately.

Cough.

"As you wish. What do you want me to say when someone asks where I got it?"

"Be evasive. For now. Let's keep this secret for a couple of days."

Giles sat up, lifting Buffy with him. "Secret?"

"For a little. Riley, um--" She faltered.

Giles made a thoughtful sound. She was probably making this decision emotionally, not rationally. "We'll talk about that today. Purely in tactical terms. When secrecy is useful. When it's a liability. Come along, then. Shower, breakfast, and then we'll start making you the Slayer again."

And I set my hooks for my sequel.

She took his hand and allowed him to lead her from his bed. Their bed. Giles grinned, and shivered again. Anticipation was sweet.

End on a happy note, because at heart I am a sentimental fool and I like it when my couples find joy with each other. End part 1. Part 2 introduces new issues.

This got a lot longer as I wrote. The original story was much shorter and more terse about everything. The rewrites just before posting were extremely useful. I had two goals for each revision: keep them sensual, and keep them around 1500 words. The word count goal bounded the task, so it never overwhelmed me. The fact that the story shape was already known also gave me confidence to fill in the details with freedom.

I had thought of this as a one-shot, but I can rarely leave things that way. Once I've invested in characters and settings, I want to let them loose and see what they do. And there's the temptation of the season 4 setting, and all the stuff I'd left dangling with Buffy and Riley. Not to mention sixty-two more stinkin' prompts to use. So I have me a series on my hands. Part 2 (which I'll comment upon when I recover from doing this one) introduces new issues.

Structurally:
1. Problem statement.
2. Decision.
3. Exploration; character movement.
4. Emotional intensity raised.
5. Kink; tension raised.
6. Sex; tension released.
7. Sequel; decisions.

The second part follows this pattern roughly. It was kinda unconscious, though, so I don't feel bound by it. I will, however, try to keep my story arcs in seven-prompt groups.
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I agree with you about catharsis. It doesn't even have to be sex, really, not that I think from your comments that you're bounding it that way.

I say this because I did have an experience I cannot describe as anything other than profound and cathartic. It kicked me out of a depressive episode, and the memory of it is still quite powerful.
My depressive episodes have also ended with intense emotional experiences after which things were just different. Can be difficult to explain to other people. "And then one day I just got over it." "Reconnection" part 1 is about that kind of thing, too.
Yeah. I've even tried talking about the experience with my therapist but I can tell she's not really getting it. For me, it wasn't entirely out of the blue, it was prompted by a movie I saw actually, which makes it sound, I don't know, shallower that it really was. I came out of it thinking that even though I didn't see how it could happen, that there was still hope for coming out of all this walking, and I need to be able to hold on to that.
That's actually exactly what happens to Woody Allen's character in Hannah and Her Sisters. He's suicidal and watches a Marx Bros movie that completely changes his outlook.
Sorry. That was dumb. I shouldn't have spoiled. Forget what I said and just watch the film--it's wonderful!
I often imagine Giles with an oral fixation. It's those canonical lollipops and bananas. He'll love doing this for men and women both.

I love that you use this. You said that in Hazy Solos, and I thought it was perfect. Of course, canon has been influenced by ASH's fondness for hand props.
A character in a TV show is a complicated construction. It's the actor + the producer + the writers + the directors, all working together to build the fictional person. There's a lot of ASH's work in Giles, from the clothes to the props to the business with the handkerchief. But Giles is more than ASH. (He's a lot smarter and better educated, for one thing, which is not meant as insult to ASH because Giles is smarter and better educated than me, too.)
It is indeed sad to hear Mr.P does not read your B/G smut - Mr. Budgie is very happy whenever you write new 'Blackmail'.
Oh Giles, you ardent swain you. *happy sigh*
I suspect him of reading more than he lets on. But if he finds it at all interesting or upsetting or badly-written or well-written, he never says a word to me. Sigh.