it carries warnings for mild kink (some mellow bondage, but also references to existing body piercings) and smutty talk. It spoils some things about where I'm going in the T&P storyline, though not really in any meaningful way. Also, Giles's braces guest-star.
This commentary goes craft-heavy.
Giles knotted his tie and adjusted it in the mirror. Strange to see himself dressed like this: suit jacket and trousers, the red silk braces he’d worn so often only a year ago. The shirt didn’t fit as well as it had then. Giles had lost inches around his stomach and gained them across his shoulders.
Generally I'm not a fan of the fanfic makeover. I like Giles the way he is and I like the way he dresses. But this storyline has a makeover subplot because Buffy wants it and Giles has little choice. (The nature of the bond formed in the first story is explored further in the later stories, which are unfinished, sorry, but I think I sell it.) The opening here leans on the makeover that is fait accompli and Giles reflects on the some of the changes.
Today his bit of leather was the band around his right wrist. He wore it pushed up under his shirtsleeve. Buffy generally required that he show it, but not today. Today he was an academic, intending to offer his expertise to a colleague at the university about an artifact they’d decided to put on display. An artifact that gave Buffy the wiggins, and that Giles suspected was of vital importance to a mystery cult currently operating in LA.
Leather: Giles isn't submissive here the way he is in
So. Dress the academic. Be the academic. Stammer, as he had not stammered in months. Push his glasses up his nose and give that shy smile. Leave the sword at home. Hide the new nipple piercings under the broadcloth. Hide one version of himself, and expose the other.
Hmm. Spoil it y/n? I have written the scene where he gets those piercings.
The ear piercings, though, he could do nothing about those. Buffy had put the rings in his ears; he would suffer only Buffy to remove them. Perhaps the tweed would have further countered them? Too late. He had to leave now if he was to be on time. Giles rattled down the front steps of their house and coaxed the Citroen into motion.
The interview broke down right away, though not because of any sartorial choices Giles had made. And not from any defect of his manner. He found it easy to slide back into his prior self, easy to talk shop with a fellow historian. But the man sitting on the other side of the desk in the cluttered office was not predisposed to be friendly. Professor Williamson, degree from Tufts, just back from a year rooting around on little Aegean islands. He was young for someone so donnish, in a rumpled jumper with elbow patches. Jumpy. Deep circles were scored under his eyes. He answered Giles’s casual questions with as few words as he could. Giles wondered why he’d agreed to the interview. Perhaps he’d hoped Giles would reveal something inadvertently?
Plot breaks out! The sort of plot that might be the Demon Menace of the Week. This guy is in over his head. Not evil, probably, just incautious. A bit like Giles was in his youth, perhaps.
Giles scanned the detritus on the shelves and walls, cautiously, while attempting small-talk about the pitfalls of foreign digs and prickling national pride. No wonder he looked haunted: the man was up to his neck in demons. That was a copy of the Codex Seraphinianus wedged into the bookshelf at Giles’s elbow. Tiny, and terrifying. There was no good reason for any human to have a copy of that, and damn good reason for Giles to call the Council and alert them the second he got home.
Heh. I make joke. There is a real Codex Seraphinianus, though it's quite different from the one I invent here.
This man didn’t appear to know what he had, or it would have been locked in a silver box anointed with sanctified oil. Not sitting on a shelf where it might spontaneously open a portal to Seraphus. Ignorant, suspicious, and proof against Giles’s charm. Not likely to cooperate with the Initiative, at least.
Allusion to the real enemy of the overall T&P plot.
Giles learned nothing about the source of the artifact that he had not already known before the visit. He thought perhaps that Williamson had warmed to him somewhat during the conversation.
On his way out, he palmed the codex and slid it into his jacket pocket. This man wasn’t summoning demons, but somebody else was. And it couldn’t be left.
This is a minor character moment. He makes decisions and acts on them, taking a few risks, but with his duty clearly in mind. Also, this sort of decision is the kind that shoves plots into motion. It's choice and change.
The first thing he did when he got home was ward the book. The second thing he did was call the Council. He’d been begging them to send a team to help for weeks now. This, he thought, would finally convince them how bad the situation was. The third thing he did was pull out his references on the codex. His memory of the exact protections needed should be checked. Mucking this up would have nasty consequences.
A little bit more exposition worked in, to say what sort of relationship they have with the Council now.
Some time later, he felt Buffy approaching. On foot, happy, hungry. Giles straightened in his chair. God, it felt as if he’d been sitting there for hours. According to his watch, he had. The front door opened, and Buffy breezed in. She slung her bookbag onto the sofa and came over to him.
The bond established in T&P:Initiation is in action here, mildly.
“Look at you,” she said. “Full librarian mode. How’d it go?”
“Um. Badly. Buffy, about that professor. It’s worse than we thought, but no Initiative.”
“Worse?” She leaned up behind him and played with his tie.
Establishing the current state of their relationship with a gesture.
“Definitely demon-summoning threat. And by amateurs, which means we might have an incursion to deal with. I stole something from his office. He had no idea what it was, but it’s the single most dangerous book in existence. When it’s not warded. Don’t think he’ll notice any time soon, but there might be repercussions.”
“Oh boy. Fun ahead,” said Buffy.
He stood and stretched, working out the stiffness in his legs. He’d missed his afternoon workout. “Dinner? I can throw something together.”
“Naw. Let’s go out. Since you’re all dressed. Feel like sushi?”
They were at their favorite sushi bar half an hour later, in a corner table. The restaurant had light custom that evening. Buffy took the seat that positioned her with her back against the wall, where she could scan the room. As ever. She never truly stopped being the Slayer these days, even when relaxing. Once upon a time Giles would have insisted on that seat. Now he was content to trust her.
Some too on the nose character work, which I felt I had to do because I was foolishly writing this ahead of the rest of the story. I wanted to get across how much has changed between the two of them. T&P opens with Buffy being erratic about her Slaying; here she's not and Giles has relaxed about it in a way he never had before.
The waitress brought tea for Buffy and Onikoroshi for Giles without needing to ask. Giles had his first sip of sake, and sighed when he tasted it. He ordered food for them both, as usual, not telling Buffy what he was ordering, also as usual. Though she’d already begun to learn the words, and knew when he was asking for her favorites. He asked her how her classes had gone, and got her enthusiastic reaction to the reading for her 20th century novel class. He drank, she talked, and their food arrived.
Onikoroshi: the name of a real brand of sake and another joke at the same time. It means "demon slayer". And the paragraph has some less nose-banging character work for Buffy. The inclusion of details like this does several jobs in a story. First, it contributes to the moment-by-moment job of convincing the reader that the events of the story "really" happened. That is, the building of the fictional dream John Gardner goes on about that is the basis of my theory of how fiction works. I hate it when I read stories where people eat "food" for dinner: I always picture the generic cans labeled FOOD from
The details also say something about the characters or the setting or the mood: what does the viewpoint character choose to notice? What sort of Buffy enjoys her college classes and talks about them at dinner?
Tight third presents its own problems with detail-inclusion, because if you over-describe your character can seem like a hyper-aware neurotic. And because over-decoration is a problem as much as under-decoration is. Spend the words where they buy you something useful. Details move the reader's attention to whatever it is you're describing. More detais, more attention. This needs to follow plausibly whatever it is the viewpoint character is paying attention to. Use the power to set up later payoffs: Giles pays attention to the Codex because it'll matter later.
Buffy brought her discussion of The Go-Between to a halt. “Hey. Where’s your leather?”
“Wristband. Under the shirt.”
Ah. We touch on the kink a little bit here and establish how matter of fact these two are about it.
Giles stood. He shrugged off the suit coat and hung it on the back of his chair, then folded up his shirtcuffs. He sat down again, and raised his eyebrows at her.
“Excellent.” She studied him, and smiled. “I missed the suspenders, believe it or not. You’re pretty hot in those suits, you know?”
“Thank you. I always rather liked the look of the braces.” He tucked his thumb under the left brace and stroked it.
Silk braces buttoned onto his trousers to hold them up. For some reason I love imagining him making this gesture.
Buffy took a piece of nigiri from the common tray and examined it doubtfully. It was uni. He’d never ordered it for her before. Buffy ate it and made a face. “The texture… I don’t know about that. Slimy. Tastes good, though. Don’t tell me what it is.”
Giles smiled behind his hand. He ate a piece of salmon, then a little ginger.
Buffy borrows my own opinion about uni. Tastes good, but I can't get past the texture.
“So. Those suspenders. Braces. Whatever. Did you know I had fantasies about them?”
“Good lord. I thought I was ew-worthy back then.”
Buffy waved her teacup at him. “That was so about making sure you didn’t think I had a crush on you. I thought you would wig. Funny how things work out, huh?”
Buffy protested way too much whenever she saw Giles in a sexual context. Either it was really obnoxious or it was over-compensation. Since I want to like Buffy and not think of her as a childish brat, I interpret generously.
Giles quirked a little smile. This was gratifying. “Mmm. What were your fantasies?”
“Oh, you know, the usual. My, isn’t it hot in here, Mr Giles. Why yes it is, Miss Summers. Allow me to undo your cute yet strangely alluring and most definitely mature dress.”
Heh. Buffy taking a stand.
Giles finished off the goma wakame and set the bowl aside. “Library?”
“Definitely library. That table. Me sitting on top of it, you standing in front.”
Giles ate the other piece of uni. “Which dress? The, er, green and white one that looked like curtains? Impossibly short?”
A reference to that absurd dress she wore in "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date", a season one ep where Buffy has a crush on a poetry-reading risk-taker. How could Joyce have let her out of the house wearing that?
“Oh, my God, you remember that dress? Yeah, okay, let’s go with that one. I’ve got high boots on, and I can see you looking at my legs as I sit on the edge of the table.”
“Mmm, I can imagine it. How do the braces enter in?”
“Aha. He asks the crucial question.” Buffy pointed at him with her chopsticks. “You step up to me, and kiss me, all soft and melting at first. One hand on my thigh, tentative, right at the edge of my dress. One hand at the back of my head. Nervous and stammery, until I start taking over. I loosen your tie and undo the top two buttons of your shirt, not breaking the kiss.”
Buffy's fantasy, not anything that happened in reality. I am unlikely to write pre-"Helpless" library encounters.
Giles leaned forward toward her across the table, sushi forgotten. Buffy continued.
“Then I slide your braces down your shoulders. I unbutton them from your pants and loop them around your wrists. You break off the kiss, then, and stare at me. You’re startled. But I’ve already got your hands tied with the braces.”
“Good Lord. Even back then, you wanted, er…?” Giles indicated the band around his right wrist.
“Yeah. Even then, I had an idea what I liked in a man. Smart. Handsome. Strong. Big chest. Hands tied behind his back and begging me to keep going.”
You go, Buffy.
Giles’s breath caught. He looked away from her, and picked up his sake glass.
“Are you excited yet?”
He froze, then continued raising his glass to his lips. He drank, and put it down. She held his gaze. “Are you?”
These two snark at each other still. It's a sign of love.
“Good.” Buffy dabbed some wasabi onto a piece of maguro, and bit it in half. “Stay that way. When we get home, I’m going to want to play.”
“Bloody hell, woman.” Giles adjusted the napkin in his lap.
Giles didn’t bother replying. He emptied his glass, and thought about ordering more. He’d have to let her drive if he did. He raised the glass and signaled to the waitress. Buffy smiled at him, all innocence on the surface, all wicked promise simmering underneath where only her Watcher could read it.
The bond in action again, in a more frivolous use.
“Do you wanna hear what happens next?”
“Yes, Buffy,” he said. It came out a little hoarse.
“Mmm,” said Buffy, through her mouthful of salmon. “Sec.” Giles looked down at his food, and realized he was too worked up to eat any more. Already. All it took was that smile, that promise, that certainty that later in the evening he would be bound and gasping under her hands.
The usual trick with parallel constructions: repeat it three times and the reader is sure it's not an accident. Repeat it four times and they get bored. This is why things always come in threes.
His second glass came. He muttered a quick “domo domo” to the waitress, without taking his eyes from Buffy.
Buffy drank some tea. “Kay. Where was I?”
“My hands, behind my back. Tied with my own braces. I’m surprised.”
Giles is now entirely drawn into helping Buffy create a fantasy. They're collaborators from here on.
“Right. Yeah. You’re breathing hard. I run my hand down your chest and stop with my fingers over the top button of your pants. You’re begging me with your eyes, but you’re afraid to say anything.”
“Afraid it’ll jar myself awake. Because I must be dreaming.”
“So I’ll pinch you to prove you’re not. On your nipples, both at once. Hard. You moan for me, but don’t pull away. If anything, you move closer. So I do it again.” Buffy must have seen the longing he was completely unable to keep from his face. “Pinch your nipples. Do it, right now. No one will see you.”
Giles obediently reached up and pinched himself, fast, hard enough to make himself gasp. Buffy smiled over her tea mug.
I consider this to be the single kinkiest thing that happens in this story.
“Good. Now a reward. I unzip you all the way, and push your trousers down to your knees. You’re wearing— what are you wearing?”
“Boxers. Silk boxers. Black.”
Is this what Giles is wearing as he speaks? Or is he fantasizing? I think he's drawing from reality.
“Tented out. Like your boxers are right now.”
He raised his glass to her, ironically, and drank a long swallow.
“Silk boxers are new to me, so I spend some time running my hands all over them. Your completely cute butt. Your legs. All that nice jogging muscle. And of course the part of you that’s saluting me eagerly. But I avoid touching that, because it makes you frantic, every time I come close but don’t touch.”
“I can imagine,” Giles said. He had extensive experience with how much Buffy loved doing that to him. And how much he loved it when she did.
Is it clear that these two play with each other in a lighthearted way? I think they're in a serious context, but Buffy's not a grim person at heart. Nobody who'd volunteer to wear that dress could be grim. They have fun even as they fight the undead.
“I think right about now is where you say something about how somebody could walk in on us, any time. Snyder, or one of the gang. Let them walk in, I say, and I pull down your boxers, to just above your knees. You’re all tied up in your own clothes. Your cock is standing straight out, and it’s twitching.” Buffy tilted her head. “I never really looked at it before you got the PA, ya know? I can imagine it, though. And what you do when I finally touch it.”
Well, Buffy, you never saw it before the day you had a guy stick a needle through it, now, did you?
“Mmm, please.” He would be standing as still as he could manage, struggling to make himself available to her, but he’d be unable to fight the urge to thrust, to push into her hand.
First use of the title word. I think the title came last, when I was doing a final editing pass, and I saw how often I'd used it.
“Hmm, okay, it goes one of two ways here. Sometimes I sloooowly slide up my dress to reveal that I’m not wearing anything, but I think, given the teenyness of that particular dress, there’s no way I went without. I am wearing lacy green panties. Match the dress. Tres cute. Should I rip them off in a moment of urgency or tease you by easing them off?”
What? The same panties as in the other story? Purely accidental. Lace + green == Buffy.
“Please do take them off slowly. I assume I may look at what is revealed?”
I like the diction contrast here. Fanfic is all about getting voice right. We all take terrible liberties with character, is my secret opinion, but when we get the voices right our readers follow us along the garden path.
“So oblique you are, all indirect and polite. Yeah, you can ogle. You’re staring. You also look like you’re going to panic any second, but you’re incredibly turned on and panting like I can’t believe. It’s cool to see my careful, buttoned-up Watcher barely in control of himself. So I hook my legs around behind your waist and pull you close. Slayer strength. Not that you’re pulling away.”
The logistics of taking her on the table, with his hands trapped behind his back… Giles shoved practicality aside. “And then what?”
“You tell me.”
Buffy's flipped it and is making him build the fantasy.
Giles glanced around, fast. Nobody nearer than three tables away, and the wait staff busy elsewhere. “God. I slide myself into you. You’re hot and wet, so tight around me. I hold perfectly still, just feeling you. It’s all I can do not to spend straight away.”
“I say you better dare not come until I tell you to. And you say, ‘yes, Buffy’ in that voice you’re talking in now, the one that says you’d do anything.”
Giles looked around guiltily again. He hated having his back to the room. Anyone might be behind him, and listening. And Buffy might give him no sign, if she decided she wanted to see him squirm.
“So, er, may I, that is, I assume that I then do my best to satisfy you?”
“You may assume that, yes, Mr Stuffy. You ‘do your best’ to make my brains leak out my ears.”
“And that this effort ends with you on your back on the table, touching yourself with one hand while you bite the other in a vain attempt not to cry your pleasure to the entire school?”
“Ooh, nice variation there. I like that idea.”
“Did you come?”
“You told me not to. So I haven’t.”
“But you’re close. I can tell by how red your face is, and by your breathing. And by the way you’ve finally broken down and started begging me.”
Giles had reached that point in reality. “Buffy. Please.”
“Please finish your dinner, so we can go home.”
Buffy grinned at him and crumpled her napkin on the table. Giles raised two fingers and signaled for the check.
This is where I ended it. The next tagfic request was for a continuation, and it took me a year to write it. Because, hmm, well, I wanted to write more T&P proper first, and I didn't manage to do that. And when I did write it, I wrote this sort of start at a continuation, just to break the ice and get myself going again.
Giles signed the credit card slip and returned his wallet to his pocket. Buffy's face was alight with promise, and he was nearly breathless with anticipation of what would happen when they got home. They'd both been busy the last few days, with no time to play, in any sense. He stood, and went around to hold her chair for her. He slipped on his jacket.
"Hands behind your back," she murmured to him. "Grab your right wrist. Pretend I've got you tied up."
Second kinkiest thing in this story.
He put his hands behind his back, and at that moment ceded all control to her. He bit his lip to contain a moan. He followed her out of the restaurant. All his awareness was drawn down to his cock, heavy and awkward and sensitive, in loose trousers that did nothing to disguise his arousal. But that wasn't his problem to worry about. And nobody ever noticed.
Buffy opened the Citroen's passenger door and held it. He got in a little awkwardly, hands still behind his back. She got into the driver's seat and started the car. Buffy fastened his seatbelt for him and let her hands linger on his thighs. She slowly stroked a hand over him, between his legs. He thrust himself up against her. She liked him wanton, vocal, and writhing, and he was happy to oblige.
I have a minor Citroen fetish which has never truly been satisfied. It's such an absurd choice-- obviously it's an important statement about Giles's character. But what does that statement mean? Pure eccentricity? The cues in "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and the Buffy origin story say that he's just arrived in Sunnydale, sent ahead of Buffy. So he had to have bought it used, just then. Or what? Tell me the Citroen origin story, please. Tell me about Buffy's first ride in it. Tell me about the first time they steamed up the windows on patrol. Tell me about what happened before he fell asleep in it in "Phases". Don't make me do all the work here!
"Want me to tie your hands with your braces?"
"N-not until we get home. Too dangerous. Oh, god, Buffy."
Right, where were we? Oh yes, Giles being fondled by Buffy in said Citroen while he voluntarily holds his hands behind his back.
She gave him one last hard squeeze and released him. She drove them up to his little house in the Sunnydale hills, through winding streets. Every traffic light and stop sign was an opportunity for her to tease him further, and she took full advantage. Giles was breathing hard and sweating when she pulled into their driveway. Though some of that was his usual reaction to her driving.
She opened his door and unlatched his seatbelt. Giles stood awkwardly, wrists still crossed behind his back. She made as if to close the door behind him, the stopped. She tilted her head.
"What is it?"
Buffy held a finger to her lips and closed her eyes for a moment. Giles felt her slipping into a state of alert. He took his hands from behind his back. He rolled his shoulders to loosen himself up. Buffy was already in motion, heading toward Xander's cottage.
Practical non-smutty bond effect. Giles knows what Buffy needs at any time. It's intended to help the Slaying, and here it does. Showing him adjust to his new reality is the point of the two stories between the existing one and this one. Gah. I need to write them.
Giles followed, and caught up to her as she flattened herself against the wall below a window. He slipped a stake from his jacket pocket, but she shook her head. "Demon," she mouthed. Giles nodded and put it back. Damn this monkey suit! It didn't have his usual range of armament. He'd grown used to the boots with their knife sheaths.
Buffy leapt, and smashed in through Xander's window, feet-first. Giles followed.
And we end on a teaser, and next time someone requests it on tagfic I'll write the next bit and probably not take a year to do it.