24,000 words of GB soulbonding wingfic.
Um. Not sure which one will demand to be finished first, but they're both looking like nice meaty substantial stories.
Readercon followup, part deux: The concom sets things right, at least in my opinion. Which is good, because I think Mr P nearly went again this year and might be wanting to go next year.
Here is a snippet of the BG soulbonding wingfic thingie, which, as the snippet hints at, is set immediately post-Helpless. It is yet another post-Cruciamentum Watcher/Slayer thingie.
Giles's courtyard looked the way it always did: little fountain running, plants in pots, jasmine all over the walls not yet flowering. The bricks were spotted with rain that had threatened, growled, and then backed off. Buffy could feel his soul warm inside her. Soul? Something. His mood, his consciousness, his state of being. The strange connection she'd woken with, the thread of awareness of Giles. Was it reciprocal?
Xander hammered cheerfully on the door. It opened immediately, for Giles was there already. Buffy was afraid to look, but there he was, whole, seemingly unchanged, smiling faintly. Bare feet, loose black gymastics pants, a gray t-shirt that was snug across his shoulders and dark with sweat under his arms. He wasn't wearing glasses and the bruise over his cheekbone was a deep purple. His eyes flashed in the dim flat as the door opened. Reflective. Hers had to be doing the same thing. One of their friends had to have noticed.
"Hello, Buffy," he said, quietly. "Willow. Oz. Xander." There was something oddly formal in the greeting, spoken as it was by a Giles in so much less clothing than usual. No three-piece suit. No tie. They filed past him into the quiet of his flat.
No more abbatoir. The apartment was back to its usual state, all strange objects and pretty glass lamps and stacks of books. It smelled like incense, which was normal. The furniture had been moved aside to make an open space in front of his fireplace. That plus the sweat under his arms meant he'd been doing yoga. Buffy moved into the space and stretched. What positions had he been doing? He was speaking with Willow just then, accepting a hug from her, smiling at her with his eyes crinkled up, saying something reassuring. He looked different than he had two days ago, somehow, and not just the eyes. His arms looked different. His chest in that snug shirt.
"Would you care for tea?" he said, as polite as ever. Without waiting for an answer he whisked himself back into the kitchen. Buffy watched the others distribute themselves on his couch. She went over and sat on his loft steps, out of the way, where the guys would have to turn to see her. Now that she was near him the sense of his being was stronger. It tickled at her.
They'd had sex that night. The second time in her life she'd done it, and it had once again been no comforting experience, no respite. Though it had ended better, she had to admit that. No souls lost. Giles had been more himself afterwards than before. More a Watcher. And she'd been more a Slayer.
There was chatter in the apartment among her friends, as they teased Giles about his firing in a way that made it clear they cared for him. Simple human love, expressed simply. Giles responded as expected, with the dry wit they'd come to describe as Gilesiness. He was signaling situation normal to them. The Council wasn't exactly a daily concern for those guys, so the importance of Giles being cast out could be minimized for them easily.
The kettle whistled and the conversation went quiet. Buffy listened to the sounds of Giles moving in the kitchen. Cupboards opening, china clinking, water pouring, cellophane rustling. And then the sound of a tray being set upon his coffee table, and Xander exclaiming over the little cookies.
Giles came to her first with cup on saucer. On the saucer was one of those protein bars he kept in his office desk. Emergency high-calorie food. Buffy gave him a crooked smile. She could probably have eaten two of them. Or a cow.
Willow was next. "Ooh, we get the nice china today. We rate," she said.
"It is a formal call, is it not?" Giles's voice was light.
"A sympathy call," said Xander. "Commiseration and tea and cookies. We provide the commiseration, you provide the cookies."
"Biscuits." Giles handed Xander his cup.
"A cookie by another other name tastes as sweet." Xander dunked and bit.
Next Oz, then Giles poured for himself last. Buffy waited for him to hold his cup before she tasted her tea. It was tea. Giles-tea. She didn't like it for itself but it was more what it stood for. Late-night talks in the library, Giles pouring from a thermos. The same thermos deployed on miserable wet patrols. Warm, milky, sweet, comforting to her because it meant comfort to Giles and it had always made her feel easier to see him soothed. Even before this.
They drank together, watching each other across the room. The thread of connection burned inside her. She needed to ask Giles about it. Would they ever leave? Would they ever stop talking about what Giles had done to her?
"How did Buffy get her powers back?" Willow said.
"The drugs wore off, yeah? Can't keep a Slayer down." Xander took another cookie.
"There is a curing ritual, as you know very well," Giles said, quietly, to Willow not Xander. Buffy's irritation rose until she could barely keep it hidden. If Giles was irritated, he was better at hiding it.
"Well, it's good you did it. Because of the vampires and stuff."
"As you say." Giles stood up, gathered the tea things, and stalked off with them into the kitchen.