Summary: A phone conversation in the dark.
Warnings: Moderate kink discussed.
Word count: 4400
Prompt: 57. Phone Encounter
Notes: All Blackmail stories, in order.
Giles spent the next days occupied with the tasks of a Watcher: shelving more books rescued from his ruined library; improving his topical index to ease future research tasks; writing up notes for the next few tactics lessons with Buffy; working out to move his own physical conditioning closer to what it had once been. He took a disturbing phone call from Buffy Wednesday evening. She described implants she'd observed on Riley and his squadmates, and her nerves about Walsh. Giles had suggested she think twice before spending the night in Riley's room again, and Buffy had agreed. She'd seemed upset about something. Possibly she'd been fonder of the boy than she'd realized.
The problem of the Initiative occupied his mind throughout the day on Thursday. In the evening he methodically set out what they knew in his Watcher's journal and was dismayed to see how little they had to work with. He would have to find Spike, wherever he'd got to, and coax more information out of him. If Spike could be relied upon.
He was contemplating the poverty of his information sources when the phone rang. He moved quickly to it, for it could only be Buffy, or an emergency. It was Buffy, saying a cheerful hello to him. His shoulders relaxed; that tone of voice meant all was well.
"Hey," she said. "Willow's gone out for the night, no clue where, and so I thought I'd call you."
Giles tucked the phone between ear and shoulder and capped his fountain pen. "I'm happy you did."
"What are you up to?"
"Been updating my diary, catching up with the last few days. I was just about to head upstairs for bed." Giles shut the diary in question and slid it into the side drawer of his writing desk. The pen went into the tray in the main drawer. No glass of whisky to accompany his writing tonight; he'd restricted himself to mineral water.
"You Watchers and your diaries." Then Buffy's voice shifted, from casual to intent. "Get into bed now. I'll wait until you're in bed and naked."
"Of course," murmured Giles. That voice: one command from her and his body was wakened. He turned off his desk lamp and made his way up to his loft. He put the phone down to shed his clothing and turn the lights out. He stretched himself out across his bed. Naked on his back, on clean sheets, mere cotton this time, but soft, cool under his backside. His erection lay heavy on his belly.
"Right," he said, into the handset. "I'm in bed now."
"Are you hard?"
"Have you been driving yourself crazy every night?"
"Yes, I have. Bloody frustrating though it's been. Been waking up from erotic dreams every night, always too soon."
Giles laughed. Though if he were truly honest with her, he'd admit that it hadn't been all that difficult to hold off the first few days. Tonight it would be more trying, because her voice excited him so. "Your sympathy is false, and I know it. You enjoy it when I suffer like this."
Buffy laughed. "I'll make it worth your while."
"Yeah. Whatever you want. Have you decided what your reward is, by the way?"
"Ah. Yes. If you agree, I'd like to take you out to dinner. Somewhere decent."
"Little black dress decent?"
Giles closed his eyes for a moment and let himself imagine Buffy in a black dress, her shoulders bare, hair loose. He liked her in jeans and boots, when she looked like a warrior, but she could also carry off elegance. And he liked that too. "Mmmm, yes," he said.
"I have the perfect dress. Need to figure out shoes, though."
"Don't wear scent. I have something for you."
"How sweet! This all sounds wonderful, Giles. But not very kinky."
"Ah. But it will be, because I'll be wearing my steel cock ring and the metal plug while we're out. I'll be aching for you."
"In public? With other people seeing you all horny and panting and bulgy?" Buffy sounded uncertain. Because she didn't like the idea of a fuss in public? Giles didn't either.
"They'll not be able to tell. It'll be our secret. Nobody else will know, but I'll be hard and filled. It'll be all I can think about. Won't be able to eat, or sit still, I'll be so aroused for you."
"And I'll see it on your face, and know what it means, and nobody else will have a clue." Buffy sounded pleased now. "Then what?"
If he were lucky, very lucky, he'd be able to watch Buffy fight while they were out. It didn't matter what she did, stake a vampire, behead a demon. Just so he saw her being what she was. But he wouldn't ask her to fight any more often than Fate itself did.
"I'll take you home again. Here. And strip naked for you. You'll put the collar on me and make me go to my knees and stay there. Deep submission."
"Put me in tight bondage. Immobilize me. And--"
"And what, Giles?"
He swallowed. "Make me suffer."
Buffy made a sound that he thought might be a groan, but wasn't sure. "Any particular way?"
"Something that leaves marks again, please. The ones from last week are nearly faded and I miss them."
How easy it was to ask for this, when one was so removed from the reality of enduring it. He'd feel differently when she came to him holding the whip, he was sure. By then it would be too late. His willful cock knew what it wanted, though. As ever. He let his fingers brush against it. Teasing himself, as she wanted.
"Do you want to come?"
Giles groaned into the receiver. He wanted it rather desperately, but he retained his manners. "If it is your pleasure, yes, I do. I'd like to come more than once."
"You think you deserve that?"
"I hope to prove it to you."
"By suffering." It was almost a question.
"That's the usual means of proving one's submission to one's mistress. Another is what you're having me do now. Do without." He moaned in half-hearted protest, and she laughed.
"Would have you masturbated this week if I hadn't told you you couldn't?"
Giles put his hand behind his head, safely away from his erection and from temptation. He looked up at his ceiling and trying to imagine how his week might have gone. "Hmm. Doubtful. I'd have been quite satisfied by the weekend, in the normal way of things."
"How often do you masturbate?"
"It varies," he said. "When I'm exhausted from our training, or injured, not at all. If I'm in good condition, I might do it every day. There are times when it doesn't come to mind, though. Might run to a fortnight without."
"That's a long time," she said, and he wondered how often she indulged herself. She was at the age when one wanted to almost constantly, if he could extrapolate from his own experiences and those of his university friends. He imagined her touching herself, a hand between her legs, another on her breast, what her face might look like, and his cock twitched against his belly.
She said, "Do you use any of your toys?"
"I might use one of the plugs from time to time, but usually not. Just my hand and a bit of slick." He didn't need the slick just now, it seemed. He dared not touch himself with anything more than fingertips, he was so worked up. Then, daring, "And you? Have you ever used toys?"
"I kinda don't own any."
"You surprise me."
"All this stuff was just fantasy for me until two weeks ago, remember. I've never even been in a porn shop. Adult bookstore. Or whatever the word is for places where you get all the stuff you have."
"So how did you learn you liked this kind of sex? Being dominant?"
"Well, um, sort of it was a party one of the high school football players threw, back when I was in LA. When I look back on it, it really upsets me that they did it and that I went. But back then, I had to do all this skeevy stuff to stay cool and popular."
Giles heard the ironic twist in her voice. He wasn't entirely sure she'd moved on from that need, but she'd at least learned to be suspicious of it.
"What happened at the party?" he said.
"They showed about seven pornos on different TVs all over the house. Most of them were awful, you know? Just people sticking things into each other for no reason at all and then pretending they liked it. No emotion at all. But then this guy played one that was leather stuff. And that one, woah. It was so real. So intense. Couldn't stop watching it. Got more turned on than I'd ever been in my life."
Giles had had a similar moment of awakening, though his own had been while reading a book he'd found in his father's library. Histoire d'O, which he'd picked up by chance, innocently, because he'd wanted practice with his French. He could imagine the expression on Buffy's face, her lower lip caught between her teeth, her pupils wide as she watched and learned what she desired.
Buffy was continuing with her story. "Some of the kids in the room were laughing at it, you know, the way people do when they're nervous. And there were two other people who were watching it the way I was."
"Did you talk to them?"
"No way. Uh huh. Way too confused and embarrassed. I hadn't gotten further than first base with my boyfriend. No way I was going to tell anybody I had all these urges to tie him up."
Giles made a sympathetic noise.
"The most I did about it until you was read books. And here's where I admit I read lots of them. There's a bookstore in LA that had a whole section for them. Written by anonymous. Or by people with pseudonyms so obvious they're cringe-worthy."
"Dreadful yet exciting," Giles said. He knew the sort. Plain covers, or arty black and white photography. Or perhaps a drawing of a single rose, with prominent thorns. And inside, a story that one judged solely by how often it mentioned the things one wanted to have happen to one. He'd read many in his university days. One-handed, half-ashamed, driven by something he wasn't sure he understood. It was odd to think of Buffy doing the same, years later.
"Yeah. I read the good ones so many times they're falling apart. Been reading more this week. Different kind of book, though. This is the, I don't know what the word is, the technical kind. How-to books. The Pocket Guide to Hot Wax. Whipping for Dummies. You know."
Giles giggled, though it was half nerves. If she were learning more, she would be doing more, and he would be the grateful subject of her experimentation. Grateful afterwards, though. While he was enduring it he would say something different.
"But the books are sort of... missing the point? They're all about the gadgets. Sometimes it's like reading Cosmo. Secrets of the professional dominatrices. Ten ways to make your sub scream! But it's not about that. It's about emotions. The way you feel about what's happening. What I feel."
"Yes. That's insightful. It's how we feel about each other." Giles rubbed his jaw, worried he'd strayed too close to saying it to her.
"It's strange how much better I know you now, after two weeks of this, than after three years of hanging out with you."
"Sex is intimate to start with. And this sort even more so."
Buffy had, he wagered, paid more attention to him during that first night together than in the entire three years previous. It wasn't an equal relationship, that of the Watcher to his Slayer. He'd spent the those years giving all to her without expectation of anything returned. And why should he expect anything more from a girl who'd end by sacrificing her life for the sake of humanity? She owed him nothing.
Liar. He'd sulked when he'd felt she'd abandoned him these past months. Sulked and misbehaved and been caught at it. Such a strange thing, a man in his mid-forties, in thrall to a girl just up at university. Not strange at all in another way: he was a Watcher in thrall to his Slayer, exactly as they'd raised him to be. Field Watchers were never cold-blooded. Merrick hadn't been. Even that odd bird Wyndam-Pryce had been been attached, once he'd settled into the role. Giles simply made his worship more literal than most. Though now he wondered how many men had taken this route with their Slayers. He'd meant what he'd told Xander about the intensity of the partnership.
Buffy sighed. "I never... Did we ever touch before this? I know we did, but it feels like I never touched you once before that night. Not in any way that counted."
"We weren't close that way."
"You're so standoffish with everybody."
"It's simple good manners."
"Well, whatever it is, it's over. No more stuffiness."
"No," he said, and he smiled. Indeed, there was no hope of concealing himself when she had him bound and gasping under her hands. He would yield all his secrets to her. Had already, save for the one about how he felt for her, lest it frighten her away.
"So, Mister Not So Stuffy, tell me a secret. Tell me why the cock ring for Saturday night."
"Oh! That's no secret. Rings feel bloody good to begin with, and then when one adds the weight of metal to it-- It's rather wonderful. Hard to describe. Intensifies the sensations. It's insistent. Inescapable. My mistress is constantly present when I wear it for her. For you."
"I can hear how much you want it. In your voice."
"I do want it. So very much. That ring is in all my fantasies. I had one of you the other night that featured it."
The sure command in her voice went straight to his cock. His throat closed up and he struggled for the words.
"I'm kneeling at your side, fully clothed. But underneath, underneath I'm wearing the metal ring. And I'm penetrated by something, not sure what, but it's metal and heavy as well. Almost brutal. All underneath my clothes, so it's hidden away, but I can't think about anything else. I'm wearing your collar, too. Everyone looking at me knows I'm your man, your liegeman, because of your collar, but it's not shameful in the least. They're envious and I'm proud of myself."
The memory of the fantasy was sweet, and Giles sighed. His hand strayed down to his cock again, for a brief tantalizing touch.
"I get it. You're going to live that out Saturday night."
"A less intense version of it, yes."
"What about that collar?"
"Ah. Yes. I confess the collar is a bit of a fetish. More for emotional associations with that particular object than for the idea of collars. Ethan gave it me, and I learnt to suffer for him wearing it. For me it, ah, it's the outward proof of my submission. I'm owned when I'm wearing it. Most, um, satisfying." Giles cleared his throat. He'd blushed talking about that, as he hadn't when talking about the cock ring.
"So Ethan was into owning you."
"Not precisely. Ethan was pure sadist. He had no interest in dominance, not for himself. He liked seeing me in pain. And I needed pain. For a time it worked."
"Did you love him?"
Buffy was silent for a time, and so was he. Ethan, oh Ethan. Giles missed him, longed for him, with a tiny corner of his heart. But it was impossible. They'd grown apart even while they'd been together, and the final betrayal had been too much for even someone as besotted as he to forgive. Too many years of bitterness. And he loved someone else now. He wondered if he'd ever dare tell her. Surely she knew? Surely she would guess, after that confession about Ethan?
But when she spoke again, she'd moved on to another topic.
"You said you weren't with lots of men. And never again as a bottom."
Giles shifted and turned onto his side in bed. His erection had softened a little. He took himself in hand again and thought about how to explain it to her. "I'm fussier about men than about women. Sounds a bit silly now I say it, because I've not much been a Lothario with women. But men need to have something that wakens that urge in me."
The need to strut, to tomcat about, to sink his teeth into their necks, rather than to have his neck bitten. He'd found himself impatient with shallow men who were interested only in his muscles and the size of his prick. He liked difficult men, he'd found, men who frustrated him a bit.
"No guys recently?"
"I've not met any I was attracted to in more than passing. No opportunity here in Sunnydale."
"How about Wes? Was he cute?"
"He was a bit of all right," Giles said, thinking how much Pryce would have hated being described that way. He'd certainly been maddening enough, though too much of a rival for Buffy's favor to awaken Giles's desire.
"He pinged my gaydar pretty hard, but when Cordy went for him I thought I had to be wrong. She's reliable. Do you know what Wes is?"
"We didn't share confidences. Bisexual, perhaps?"
"What, are all you Englishmen bi?"
"Alas, no. We are less all-fired insecure about it than you Americans. So touchy about your masculinity."
Buffy laughed. "Was thinking exactly that the other day. How sexy Riley would be with a plug in his ass, and how far and fast he'd run if I held one up and said, hey baby. Not like you. You love it. I love watching you move when I'm teasing you with it."
Giles's cock made its wishes most emphatically known again. "Mmm."
"Thinking about you playing with my arse. About what you'll do Saturday. Can't bear the wait."
"But you'll have to."
Buffy laughed. "I love how happy you sound when you say that. You're frustrated but you're loving every second of it."
"Is that strange to you?"
"Yes and no. I don't really get how sex works for you yet, but liking being teased isn't weird. The only thing you do that is weird is the paying for it thing. That sort of freaks me out. You gave somebody money to do it to you."
Giles let go of himself and shifted onto his back again. He pinched the bridge of his nose and squeezed his eyes shut.
"I, um, this is difficult to confess, but I've been to, ah, professionals more than once. It's different in England to here. It's not illegal, for one thing. One is safer. Both sides are safer."
"But why do it at all?"
Giles sighed. Now they were in territory he found genuinely shameful. "I was desperate. Sometimes the need builds in me until I just can't bear it any more. It's all I can think about. It's worst when I'm most lonely. If there's someone in my life, I'm better balanced. Even if she doesn't wish to indulge me."
"Did you and Olivia do this stuff?"
"Olivia was what you call vanilla."
"So you hadn't done it since Jenny."
"No. I was starved for it. Jenny spoiled me, rather, with how experienced she was. By far the most experienced lover I've had. She took me much further than I'd been before. Gave me a taste for more extreme play."
"What was the most extreme thing she did to you?"
"Ah. Remember I told you I once did something that reminded her you came first?"
"Jenny punished you, you said."
"Harshly. It was quite the most extreme thing we did together. She used the flogger with the metal tips."
"Extreme is the word. That's a heavy flogger. I'm kinda shocked, actually."
"The incident shocked us as well."
"By how far you went?"
"No, not exactly. More by how much we both craved going that far. And how satisfied we both were. She told me the next day, when we talked it over, that she'd been searching for an excuse to punish me that harshly. I think I knew it, and handed her one."
In fact, he was certain that was how it had gone. She'd bought the flogger, showed it to him as a curiosity, and put it away. Two weeks later, he'd given her the excuse, and when she'd taken it out again, he'd felt a strange satisfaction. There were portions of the evening Giles could not remember clearly, though he remembered the prelude and the aftermath vividly. The memory of pain faded, as he had learned from other, less pleasant experiences. The memory of the emotions did not, and his emotions that evening had been intense.
"But you needed the excuse? You couldn't just do it?"
"It wants ritual. Ceremony. A reason."
"Right, I get it," Buffy said. She was silent for a moment, then said, "Ritual provides a context, and sets it aside from regular life. Makes it a special event. You know how to act during it, and you know when it's over."
"Buffy, you continually surprise and delight me. Where have you learned this?"
"The psych textbook. Been reading ahead. And I was reading this book about myths. It's pretty interesting. More interesting than class. Though there's one I can take next year about it that looks sort of cool."
Giles smiled in pure joy, halfway across town from his clever Slayer. University had caught her at last. He said nothing, lest teasing dissuade her.
"So you did your harsh punishment ritual."
"Indeed. I spent the weekend laid up in bed in her flat."
"Wow. Face down, I bet."
"Yes, rather. She fussed over me ridiculously. Fed me, indulged me, dressed me in soft clothes. Not that she let me come. I had to wait days before she allowed me."
Buffy made a thoughtful sound. "You liked that," she said. It was not a question; he'd managed to make that aspect of his sexuality clear to her.
"Not so much the going without entirely, as that she took control of it, if you take my meaning."
"You really like that. I mean, really deeply."
"Yes. This week has been, um, profound. I think about you constantly. Constantly aware that I've pledged to obey you. That I've submitted to you."
"Do you like that more or less than being whipped?"
Giles shifted himself on the bed. Just the sound of Buffy saying that word make him burn with longing and fear. "Difficult. They're both ways I prove myself to you. But I think-- oh, Lord, confessing this." His voice dropped to a whisper and his breath came fast. "I need the whipping more. Ethan had me right."
"Tell me," she said. Her voice was as quiet as his was. "What's the difference?"
Giles sought for the words. How to make her understand something he only half-understood himself?
"This is frustrating, but sweet. Arousal is sweet. Thinking about you is sweet. The other is-- God. Terrifying." Giles's hand on the phone receiver was wet with sweat. He was terrified already, by the idea of handing himself over to her for it, of begging her for it. And then enduring it. As he would Saturday night. "I need it. So much."
Giles rubbed his face and smiled ruefully, though she couldn't see him. "Yes, it's all a bit of a tangle inside my head, I'm afraid. Never managed to sort it out."
"Yeah, I'm getting that. Less complicated for me, I guess."
"Likely just as complex, in different ways. You've yet to explore your own sexuality as much as I have. I've had more time."
"I'm still getting over the shock that there's somebody who wants the things I want. For so long I've fantasized about this. I wanted to do it to guys. Tie them up and whip them. I was afraid nobody would ever want to do it in real life. And now I've found you."
"Folie a deux," Giles murmured.
"Indeed we are. Watcher and Slayer."
Buffy giggled, then was silent for a time. Giles listened to her breathe and was content. He turned on his side and pulled a blanket over his legs. When had she been with him last? Monday evening. And in two nights she'd be with him again. He stretched his legs then curled himself around a pillow, with the blanket pulled a bit higher. He wanted her there, in his bed, cradled against his chest, rather more than he wanted any of the things they'd talked about. Sex was not everything.
"Hey," Buffy said.
"What are you thinking?"
"I wish you were here. I feel better when I know you're safe."
She was silent for a moment, and he was afraid she'd pull away, but then she said, "Yeah. Me too. But I can't be. I need to do this thing with Riley. The Initiative is going to be a problem."
"I agree. Do what you must. I'll tug on some contacts I have and see what I can learn."
"'Kay. I should get some sleep. Nine am class, and somebody has ordered me to run five miles tomorrow morning."
Giles smiled. "Right, then. Call me when you get in from patrol? It doesn't matter what time."
"I'm not going out again tonight, don't worry."
"I know what you meant. Night, Giles."
"Goodnight." He swallowed the endearment he'd wanted to use.
He waited until he heard the click of her ringing off before he turned off his phone.
Continued in "Steel".