Under My Thumb Ch. 14bybadgirl298©
Willow stealthily made her way up the path to Giles' apartment. She looked left and right, wary of both human and demon interference. Thankfully, the path was clear. She reached the front wall of his Spanish style apartment and peaked in the small window.
Giles lay there on the couch. He was clearly sleeping, his glasses rested crookedly on his nose. His feet were propped up on the coffee table, one of them was untied. An abandoned glass of brandy was beside him on the table. He had a thick volume of demon lore open on his lap. Gathering her courage, Willow went to the door and quietly turned the knob. As expected, it eased open. Geez, Giles, at least lock your door. There are demons running around, you know.
She had decided to come to his place for information. The items she was seeking weren't located in the library. She didn't think Angelus reappeared over getting a 'happy.' If it hadn't been her or Buffy who gave him a happy. . . no one did. She knew it wasn't Drusilla, Spike hadn't said anything. Angel wasn't the type of vamp to stray. . .if you call sleeping with three people not straying. . .scratch that. . .two people and demon. . .well, one witch, a Slayer, and a vampire. The soul was supposed to be permanent now. The most likely explanation was that something went wonky with her spell.
After Jenny's family had taken some of her personal possessions from her apartment, Giles had removed several volumes that dealt with vampires from her private collection. He had also kept the knapsack Willow had produced with Jenny's notes in it. Included in those effects was a treatise on the soul restoration spell. Though Giles probably hadn't bothered to look at it. It was a small book but might contain some clues. She'd run across it once before but had been forced to hide it when he'd walked in the room.
Normally, she would have waited until a better time but she didn't think she could afford to with an angry Angelus having a hissy fit in Sunnydale. Who knows what he would do. Besides, its not like she could ask to see those materials without arousing Giles' suspicions. With any luck, she could fix the spell and no one would be the wiser. She crept to the bookcase. Giles stirred and mumbled something unintelligible. She froze. He scrunched down in his seat and went back to sleep.
Willow quickly walked to the bookcase and began to unload the books. Giles always laid the books with the goods behind the regular ones. She couldn't believe that he thought he could hide them from her with that low tech of a solution. Unfortunately, the materials she was seeking weren't there. She heard Giles move behind her. Willow ducked down behind an overstuffed chair. "Jenny?" He murmured, hopefully. It killed her, he sounded like a little boy.
He sat up straight on the couch. She saw him look at his wristwatch. "Dear Lord, it's 2 A.M." He rolled his neck and stood up. Willow kept quiet. She heard him sigh as he began walking up the stairs which creaked as he stepped on them. He reached the top of the stairs and went in his room. Willow sighed in relief. She listened for the door to his bedroom to shut and made her way back to the bookcase. She began unloading all of the other shelves.
Buffy crept inside Willow's open French doors. "Wills? You okay?" She had noticed signs of a struggle on the veranda, namely the uprooted daisies. Though, what kind of lame demon who used flowers to fight was beyond her. "Wills?"
"That's called breaking and entering, you know." Angelus said. He was lying on her bed in the darkness.
"Angel." She said, recognizing the voice. "I didn't break, I just entered. And I know you're old but you must have heard of lights." Buffy snapped on the light switch on the wall and gave him a look."What are you doing here anyway? Is Willow okay?"
"She's fine, Buff–"She looked up sharply. "Y. Buffy. She just stepped out." Angelus clenched his jaw. It was all he could to not walk over and back hand her. She was the reason he'd been saddled with the soul yet again. The only thing that stopped him was his Willow. It was too bad. Slayer's blood would go a long way to soothe his bad mood. But he didn't think Willow would appreciate dead Slayer on the carpet.
"Since when do you visit Willow?" She asked suspiciously.
"Since tonight." Angelus was distracted by her computer, the screen was glinting in the light. "Do you know how imaginative Willow is?" He'd been itching to read her little stories ever since his soul has stumbled across them.
"Can't say that I do. But why are you here?"
"Why shouldn't I be here?" He said silkily. "Willow is a very. . ." He paused, his look suggestive. "Interesting girl."
Buffy didn't like his tone. "Geez, Angel. Jailbaiting much? Isn't she a little young for you?"
"She's your age." Angelus pointed out.
"But I've grown up faster. One of the fringe benefits of world save-age." Willow was a beautiful, intelligent girl. But Angel had a passel full of emotional baggage and a homicidal bad side. The young redhead would only be hurt by his taciturn ways. It was her duty to set him straight.
"I really don't think my relationship with Willow is any of your business." He said, trying to appear affronted. Maybe he should cry. Soulboy seemed to do that a lot. He tried to look tearful but he couldn't pull it off. He decided to go for bland indifference.
"There's a relationship?" Buffy asked. She wasn't sure how she felt about that. On one hand, she knew that she could never be with Angel again. But on the other, she didn't really enjoy the thought of him being with her best friend.
"Has been for a while." He said, relishing the hurt in her eyes. Perhaps he'd sate his need for revenge on the Slayer instead of Willow. After all, it was Buffy's fault that Willow had performed the ritual. It would be a bloodless revenge but it would still be painful."You could say that I've felt like this about anyone else. She's special to me." It was the truth. . .in a way. Only his soul had loved Buffy.
Buffy's jaw tightened. Her ex-boyfriend and her friend had gotten together when she wasn't looking. "Well, I guess congratulations are in order."
Why did Giles keep it so hot in here? Maybe he was going Grandpa on her. If they didn't watch him, he'd start wearing funny hats and talking about the inflated price of fruit. She shrugged off her jacket and removed her outer shirt, leaving her in a lavender tank top. She felt naked without them but she couldn't concentrate on her work when she was sweating so much.
She sighed and turned her attention to the last stack of books. She read through the stacks and didn't find anything she needed. Willow kicked the back of the couch. She'd been through everything. The shelves, the stacks of books on the floor, even Giles desk. Only to find nothing, nada, zip, zilch. Where else could he be hiding it? Her gaze rested on the staircase. He wouldn't hide it in his room, would he? He just might, after all, he was a clever man. Giles might have figured out that she wouldn't go there to access off-limits information. . . he was wrong, of course. "Dammit." She muttered under her breath.
She ascended the stairs and opened his door gently. She shut it just as quietly. She kept her eyes closed, fearing being exposed to a naked Giles. She didn't think she could survive that. Thankfully, he was lying in bed clothed in a pair of pyjamas, covers strewn over his body. Thank God. She went to the bureau beside his bed and began opening drawers.
Unfortunately, all she came up with was underwear, socks, some undershirts, and. . . a pair of handcuffs? Well, that's strange. Why would Giles keep handcuffs in his bedroom. . . .wait a minute, handcuffs in the bedroom? Blech! She dropped them like a hot potato. She really didn't want to know what those were used for. She stared at her hands, she should probably wash them. And then use some bleach.
But they jangled on their way to connect with the floor, landing with a soft 'thunk' on the carpet next to his bed. Giles bolted upright in the bed, used to being a light sleeper. "Who's there?" He called and it wasn't in the faltering, scared librarian tone, it was Ripper's Cockney accent. He meant business.
"Willow. It's just Willow, Giles." She said, bending down quickly. She stuffed the handcuffs in her jeans pocket. What if he'd caught her going through his drawers?
He turned on the lamp beside his bed. "Willow? I-is something wrong? Are you alright?" He picked his glasses up from the night stand and put them on to blink at her owlishly. "Is it Buffy or–"
"No. Nothing. Everything's fine." She couldn't tell him about Angelus' reappearance. It would only upset him. And possibly cause a fatality. She didn't know whether it would be Angelus or himself. Either way, it wasn't a good idea.
"Then why are you here? Are you in some trouble?"
"N-no, I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be fine?" She babbled, desperately trying to appear normal. "I-I--"
"Why are you here?" He patiently repeated.
"Because. . .uh..."
"Because. . . .?" He prompted, noting her clothing. She looked unWillowish tonight. There were no outrageous colors or childish sayings on her clothes. The clothes actually fit her, they weren't too big and poorly tailored.
"I-I-I was w-worried. About you." She sputtered.
"About me?" He asked.
"Yes, y-y-you have been all grievy and non-verbal since. . .since. . .you know. " She was talking about Jenny's death.
"Yes, I know." He shook off the familiar shroud of sorrow that accompanied her name, an image of her face, the smell of her perfume. Giles put a hand to his forehead, focusing on the present. "I see. A-and you decided to have a talk with me about it in the middle of the night."
"I-I was afraid you couldn't sleep." Willow lied. "I. . .wanted to help you with that. Cuz sleep, it's important."
"My brandy did that quite well for me , thank you."
He couldn't just kick her out of here, she didn't have everything she needed."But. . .but. . ."
"But what, Willow? I'm very tired and need a full night's rest. What can't wait til morning?"
A homicidal vampire with a thirst for vengeance running around Sunnydale? "I can't leave!" She wailed, going to her knees beside the bed. "I-I. . .I'm so worried about. . .er, you."
He was touched and his face softened. "I'm fine, Willow. Really." He reached out and chucked her under the chin.
"You see, I-I--" She said, trying to formulate a lie. "I wanted to do something to help you sleep."
"Something to make me sleep? Like a-a-a sleeping pill or a dull book perhaps?" He was mystified by the workings of her mind.
"Yeah, uh, uh." A what? A spell? From a spell book. Yeah, that's it. One that contains one of those rare soul restoration rituals. That wouldn't fly with Giles. "That is. . " He was looking at her pocket with disbelief. "What's wrong?"
"What are you doing with those?" He asked, indicating the cuffs with the nod of his head.
"Oh!" She took them out of her pocket. "How'd those get there? Wow, huh, you never know what you'll find in your jeans. Like tissues, or a dollar bill, or a stick of gum, or. . .or"
"Or a pair of steel handcuffs? Your telling me you just happened to have those in your jeans?" His face flamed red and he kept staring at the shiny object in her pants. "W-Willow, what was the real reason you came here?" He licked his lips, because his mouth had gone dry.
Giles had somehow added two and two and gotten five. He thought she had come to his room to seduce him.
"So, you two have. . .have you been–"
"What? Intimate?" Another one of those sly smiles. "Completely."
"Completely? How could you. . .how could you. . ."
"Well, I know you aren't that experienced, Buff. . .y. But I'm pretty sure you got the gist of it last time." He sighed. "But if you insist. First, a man put's his–"
"That's enough! What's wrong with you tonight? You could give a Cordelia a run for her money in the bitchy department. What I meant was, you've been broken up with me for , like, five minutes. And suddenly you're all over her?"
"I wouldn't call it 'suddenly', Buff. ..y." Angelus grinned, stretching back on Willow's bed. He stroked the right hand side pillow. "Did you know she sleeps on the right side of the bed? With her hand tucked under her chin, like a child."
Willow did sleep on the right side of the bed. Buffy had been to her house for a couple of sleep overs. "It wasn't sudden." She parroted. "So you two were doing. . .whatever. . . behind my back? Willow wouldn't do that to me! And you couldn't have-" Then, her eyes filled with horror. "It had to be HIM!" She wasn't getting it. But she did realize the passion, the possession in Angel's eyes. "What exactly are you saying? He was stalking her and then she fell for him? Or you?"
"I wouldn't call it stalking, exactly." Though, he'd basically coerced her into becoming his girlfriend.
"Then what would you call it? Exactly?" She said, her jaw clenching.
"I thought you figured it out earlier."
"Figured out what?" She snapped.
"It was and is mutual. We're in love."
"Love?" Buffy whispered, her eyes filled with tears. She had only processed the part about Angel being in love. With someone other than her. "So soon?" Her face turned to the side and she tried to hold back a sob before she whirled and dashed from the room. She couldn't help her reaction. Even though they were no longer together, she couldn't picture him falling for someone else. She had been the only person he had loved in all of his two hundred and fifty years. She was special to him.
Angelus threw his head back and laughed throatily. "I never get tired of seeing her brokenhearted in a bedroom."
They both started speaking at once.
"Oh, no! Giles I–"
"Willow, that's very. . ."
"I mean I like you but not like. . ."
". . .very beautiful young woman but far too young for. . ."
Giles finally held out his hand to her. "You first."
She took in a large gulp of air. "Giles, I really like you. In fact, I used to have a crush on you back when you first came to Sunnydale." The Watcher looked abashed by the comment but he was pleased. To think that a vibrant young lady like Willow found him attractive, well, that was flattering. "You were so sophisticated and intelligent and that accent. . .but that's not the poi--"
"I-I never new you felt that way about me." A fuller blush bloomed on his cheeks.
"Well, I did. But I didn't come here to. . .to. . ." How could she put this? "Make love to you, Giles." Dear God, she'd just said 'make love to you, Giles.' Aack!
His gaze slid down to the handcuffs. "I-I-I see. You came to do something a little more, er, exotic."
"Huh?" Then she followed his gaze. "Oh! Oh, no! NO! Ooh. Nasty." She caught herself as a hurt look came into his eyes. "Oh. . .Giles, no. Not that. I'm ewwwing at the cuffs because that's well, different. But the rest of it. . . you are a handsome OLDER man." She stressed, hoping he could just leave it at that.
"Are you saying I'm too old to do something . . .,er, differently?"
"No, not at all! You can do. . .that, with whoever." Hopefully someone else. Hey! Wait a minute. "Oh my God! Does that mean you and Miss Calender were–"
"That is none of your affair, young lady." He said, sitting up straighter, trying to appear more adult.
She was angered at being put in her place so casually. "None of my affair? Well, I think it is. Just who's holding the handcuffs, here, Mr.?" She twirled them in her fingers. "Maybe I don't like your tone."
"Maybe I don't like yours." He challenged. What happened to his timid little protege? "How would you like me to phone your mother and father?"
"Fine. How about I tell them I'm standing in your room half dressed? Somehow, I don't think it's me that they'd be upset with."
"Willow! I most certainly was not going to do anything. . . unseemly with you."
"You didn't look THAT upset to see me here with these, Giles."
"Mr. Giles to you, young lady. What did you really come here for?"
Her shoulders slumped. "Fine, I came here for information."
He relaxed. "On what?"
"The soul restoration ritual."
"What do you need the information for?"
Here was the big moment. Should she tell him? Would he help her? Could she get out of her without telling him? "I'm just unsure of the spell. I wanted to double check it."
"You think of this now?" He stared into her eyes, almost to the depths of her soul. "What aren't you telling me?"
"I may have. . .uh, made a small mistake."
"A small mistake? Like what?"
"Maybe Angelus isn't as gone as we thought he was." She hedged.
"He could still gain control of Angel's body?" Giles pressed.
She sighed. She was in over her head. And God know, Giles would pester her to death until she told him the truth. "He already has."
Giles slid out of bed. "We have to warn Buffy."
"Too late." The door swung open and Buffy stepped in the room. "It took me about a half an hour to figure it out." She turned to Giles. "I went to Willow's room after she showed up at my house seriously wigged about something. I found 'Angel' on her bed. It was really Angelus." She turned to the hacker. "Wasn't it Willow?" She nodded imperceptibly. "Apparently, Willow and he have had some sort of a. . .thing."
"A thing?" Giles asked, perplexed.
"I forgot. You're British. I think they were doing the deed." She pinned Willow with her eyes. "Weren't you?"
"Uh, a d-d-deed may have been done."
Meanwhile, Giles had figured out what was going on. "Willow! How could you? He's a soulless, evil, murderous creature." He broke off, shaking his head. "I'm very disappointed in you." He and Buffy both crossed their arms, glaring at her reprovingly.
Willow tossed the handcuffs at their feet. "Hey, I'm not the only pervert here! Giles had handcuffs in his drawers so he can do something 'different'."
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