Part 2 - Willow
Willow was surprised to enter the dorm room and see Buffy sitting on her bed and staring into space. The look on the Slayer’s face was so intense she almost felt like she was intruding.
“Buffy?” she called softly.
Her friend blinked a few times and looked over at her. “Hey, Wills,” she half mumbled.
“You weren’t in class,” Willow continued brightly, almost afraid to find out what was on the Slayer’s mind. “But don’t worry. I took lots of notes for you.”
“Oh, thanks,” Buffy said distractedly.
The witch sighed and went to sit across from her friend. “Are you mad at me? Because of how I yelled at you last night?” she ventured carefully.
“What?” the question seemed to snap Buffy out of it. “No. I’m more mad at myself. I should have known better than to think anything bad about Giles.”
“Don’t worry, Buff. He was fine when I left him last night.” She bit her lip. “Is Spike…?” Willow finished the sentence by making a staking gesture.
“No,” Buffy groaned, not meeting her eyes, “I lost him.”
“Oh… That’s okay. At least you attacked the right person.”
The Slayer had a pained look when she asked, “Is it so easy for all of you the think I’d hurt Giles, or any of you?”
“Well, you know. Sometimes when you get mad about stuff you get kinda all grrr. And you do tend to really get mad at Giles about some things.” She grimaced, “Of course, I wasn’t helping much either, I guess.”
Buffy showed a tiny smile. “You were gonna take me down if I went for him. I could see it in your eyes.”
“Couldn’t have you touching my man,” the redhead teased with a grin.
“You really wish he was, don’t you? Your man, I mean.”
Willow had a shy smile. “I… Would it be so bad if I did? Try to take a minute and think about him as just a guy, Buffy. Not a librarian, or a teacher, or your Watcher. Just another guy. He’s super smart, and kind, and funny, and brave. And he’d do anything for us. Isn’t that all we could want in a boyfriend?”
“I guess.” Buffy sat back against her headboard and pulled he knees up to her chest. “It’s just so hard not to think of him as… well Giles.”
“I know. Most the time I think he’s grateful for that. He freaks out enough when I start to flirt with him. Don’t think he could handle it coming from anyone else.” The witch got up and went to her closet for a change of clothes.
After a few minutes, Buffy spoke again. “He lets you do it because of what you guys went through together.”
Willow turned and gave her a strange look of not quite understanding. “I guess so. He can tell when I’m teasing him most the time.”
“What did Spike do to you that night?”
Her friend came and sat on the bed in front of her. “Giles told you that last night,” she answered softly.
“He told me the bare minimum. I need to know everything that happened.” There were tears threatening in the Slayers eyes that confused Willow even more.
“You never asked before.”
“That’s because I thought he just hurt Giles,” Buffy nearly shouted, then regained he composure. “I didn’t want to hear about it because Giles is always getting beaten up because of me. And I don’t like to think about it. But this is different.”
“Different? You mean because Spike hurt Giles psychologically instead of physically.”
“Yeah, and not only Giles. You, too.”
Willow hung her head and whispered, “I was just the weapon he used. The one he really wanted to get to was Giles.”
Buffy reached out and touched her arm with sudden tenderness. “That wasn’t you fault. It was that creep of a vampire.”
There was moisture in the witch’s eyes when she looked up. “I didn’t see what was happening until it was too late. When Spike told us what he wanted, Giles tried everything he could to get me out of there safely. He even offered his own life to get Spike to let me go. But I couldn’t let that happen, even if Spike agreed. So I convinced Giles that giving in was all we could do. It wasn’t until afterward that I realized what I’d done to him.”
“Don’t you mean what he did to you?”
“No,” Willow whispered. “The truth is, I wasn’t afraid that night. Spike said he was giving me to Giles and I wasn’t afraid anymore.”
“Because you knew Giles would protect you.”
“Buffy, you’re not getting it.” Willow shook her head and sighed. “I wanted it to happen. It was like my darkest fantasy was coming true. You know I’d had a crush on him for so long, since the first day I saw him. And then it was suddenly happening. I was going to have that sweet, gentle man as my first lover, and there was someone else to blame when the rest of the world told me it was wrong.” She blinked a tear away. “But the world is stupid because how could loving a man like him be wrong?”
The Slayer swallowed hard. “That was before you and Oz even…”
“Oz could smell it on us that night. He could tell exactly what happened. But he never doubted we did what we had to.”
“Well, you did. I mean, face it, you can be as hard on yourself as you want, but if there had really been any other way, Giles would have found it. Spike was going to kill you both.”
Willow took the words as the comfort they were meant to be and showed a soft smile. “Spike thought he was gonna torture me that night. Instead he gave me a gift I’ll cherish forever.”
Buffy couldn’t help an embarrassed chuckle. “Can’t believe I’m asking this, but I guess that means the old man was pretty good, huh?”
The redhead giggled, too. “Don’t ask if you can’t handle it, because I will tell you,” she teased.
“Hey, I caught you trying to suck his face off. I think my trauma level is pretty much maxed.” Then a serious glint entered her eyes. “You really aren’t upset your first time wasn’t with Oz?”
“I did love Oz, still do,” Willow sighed. “But… are you upset your first time was with Angel? I mean, don’t think about what happened after. Just remember that night. How he made you feel. Would you have rather your first time was with somebody young and out for himself… like Parker? Sorry, that wasn’t a fair comparison,” she cringed at her friend’s shiver. “Don’t get me wrong, Oz was good and did his best for me. But Giles…”
“Better,” Buffy finished automatically.
“I’ve never felt so treasured in my entire life.”
“So he didn’t hurt you like he thinks he did.”
Willow smirked. “Sometimes Giles is a clueless and innocent old man. He has no idea what dirty little secrets lurk in the minds of young girls.”
Buffy held back a laugh at how much her statement mirrored what he had said earlier. “So… When I caught you guys last night…”
“You were there yesterday. I thought we’d lost him. He was dead and I’d never get to see him again. He came home and noticed I’d been crying, so he was trying to comfort me. That’s when you showed up with no warning.”
“I’m so sorry, Willow,” Buffy shook her head. “I was so focused on finding my Watcher, I didn’t even notice you were going through something like that.”
“In all fairness, I held it together pretty well. Until I was alone with nothing left to do and it all came crashing down on me.” She looked up with a small smile. “You know, that was only the third time he’s ever really kissed me.”
“But, I thought…”
Willow shook her head slowly, “It’s not like Spike said. We don’t steal away every chance we get and make out. The first time was after Oz sent for his stuff and he made me tell him what was wrong. He kissed me to show me I was still worth loving. The second was when Olivia left him and he was the one who needed comforting.”
“And the third was when you thought he’d died,” Buffy finished softly. “I can’t believe that bitch dumped him.”
With a chuckle, Willow said, “I bet he’d be surprised to hear you say that.”
“Because I called him old and gross...”
“And you’re surprised we didn’t think you’d want to know what really happened between us that night?”
Buffy snorted in spite of herself. “I’m trying here. It’s just wiggy to think about. It’s you and Giles. Makes my brain wanna short circuit or something.”
“He was so scared,” Willow whispered almost to herself. “I’ve never seen him like that before. He was shaking.”
“Giles? Giles doesn’t get scared.”
“That’s just it, Buffy. We were trapped in that basement and he was facing down Spike. He even made Spike mad enough at one point to grab him and put his fangs to his throat. But, through all that, Giles never showed how frightened he was. I was the one who had to make it stop and promised Spike we’d do anything he said. Then Spike made him strip, and somehow Giles talked him into letting me stay dressed. At that point he seemed more pissed off than anything else. I didn’t know where to look or what to do. But suddenly Giles was kneeling in front of me and telling me I should look at him.”
The Slayer screwed he face up and murmured, “Eww.”
“Buffy, he was stunning. Sure he’s not a model, but I had never seen a man look like that in real life. I’m sure he thought seeing what I was getting would make me change my mind. He has no idea how handsome he really is. Not that we had spent much time reminding him.”
“Is that why you like to flirt with him now? Just to remind him he’s handsome?”
“One of the reasons.” Willow was blushing at the memory. “Before I could catch my breath, he was telling me how he wasn’t going to hurt me and then he started touching me. Nowhere they’d make you point out on a doll, but just so I could see how it felt to be touched in a loving way. He also asked permission before doing every little thing. It was so sweet, but kinda annoying at the same time. But it was when he started touching me that I felt it. His hands where trembling. We’ve seen that man stare down so many horrible things without even a flinch, but touching me like that scared him.”
“Do you think he thought you’d hate him for it?”
“Maybe. I think he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was doing something very wrong. He even wanted me to imagine he was someone else so I didn’t have to completely be with him. So, I did the only thing I could think of that might help him. I told him about my crush. I told him that the only one I really wanted him to be… was him.”
“And that made him feel better?”
“I can’t say he felt better. He actually looked at me and started crying. I kissed his cheek and told him it would be all right. That was enough to help him go on and give me my first major… Oh, you don’t want to know about that.”
Buffy forced her eyes open. “It’s Giles,” she whined. “Imagining it makes my head hurt.”
Willow giggled. “He just wanted to help prepare my body so he wouldn’t hurt me.”
“Great,” the Slayer groaned. “So it wasn’t what I thought. Only now I know my Watcher is good at foreplay.”
“Did you ever doubt he would be?” Willow laughed.
“Stop that,” she warned at the teasing. “Go back to what Spike was doing.”
“Well, Giles was letting me rest for a minute. And I could hear them talking. Spike was teasing him that he didn’t think he’d be able to make me… you know. Giles wasn’t happy. He was threatening Spike, and I think he offered himself again to get him to let me go. But Spike was having too much fun forcing Giles to feel like the bad guy. So he said no and told Giles to continue.”
“And that’s when…”
“That’s when Giles was suddenly lying next to me on the bed. He was asking me if I was all right. And he told me I could still change my mind. By then I was sure Spike would kill him if he tried anything stupid, so I wasn’t going to risk that. He said that things would never be the same between us again. I guess he was right. We wouldn’t have let ourselves get as close as we are now. But I think I like us better this way. I mean, you’re still my best friend, and Xander, but Giles is…”
“…Someone who’s been there through good and bad, and is strength when you need him and not afraid to be weak when he needs you.”
“Wow,” Willow breathed. “I guess you do understand.”
“There are some things,” Buffy smiled sadly. “Then what…?
“Well… Then he asked me to help him because he wasn’t… um… ready, yet. His voice sounded so small when he asked, almost like he couldn’t believe I ever would. The little sounds that he made and the looks that crossed his face… I’d never felt that kind of power before. Being able to do that to a man like him. It was amazing. And then--”
“Ok, skip! I can’t hear this.”
Willow chuckled understandingly. “At the last moment he froze and I didn’t think he could bring himself to do it, but Spike did something to him to force him to. That was the only instant of pain I felt that night and it was Spike’s fault.” She nodded as Buffy tried to retreat from the image. “He was so gentle. He made sure I did and he didn’t. That was when I caught a glimpse of Spike standing there naked. He’d changed his mind about me. But then they were both gone.”
“Spike… that lying bastard,” the Slayer hissed.
“I’m not sure what happened between them, but next time I caught sight of them Spike was about to bite Giles again. It scared me and I started to cry. Then Giles came back to me. That’s when he collapsed and I finally realized what it all had done to him. He was almost catatonic. Spike disappeared, and I… um… got Giles dressed, and that’s when you found us.”
“He was so quiet that night. We all thought it was pain or something. But he was so withdrawn because…”
“Because of what he thought he’d done to me. That’s why I had to stay with him that night. I thought… He was so sad and being so hard on himself… I thought he might…”
“Just like he said he would have,” Buffy whispered under her breath.
Willow didn’t catch it and continued, “I’m glad you came to ask me about it, Buff. It’s been all this time, but Giles is still a little fragile on the subject. Especially now that you know. No telling how he’d react.”
A tear ran down the Slayer’s cheek. “Willow, I didn’t know. I went to him first this morning.”
“Oh God, Buffy, you didn’t do anything to him, did you?”
“No… I’m not even sure what I went there for in the first place anymore, but when I showed up he was expecting me to… Will, he wanted me to punish him. Said he deserved it for what he did to you. He was so… I couldn’t be angry with him anymore.”
“And you left him there alone after that?” Willow stood and began gathering her things.
“He swore he was okay, and he basically ordered me to go. Xander was going to be there any minute and I think he needed some time alone. But Xand can take care of him. He won’t do anything stupid with…”
“Buffy, it’s eleven am. Xander isn’t even up yet. We need to go check on him.”
The Slayer stood, her face an angry mask again, but the tears still stood out in her focused eyes. “Giles can’t be this broken! If he is, what hope is there for the rest of us? He’s the strongest…”
“It’s alright,” Willow tried to sooth when her voice broke. “I’m sure I’m over-reacting. He’s been fine all this time.”
“No, he’s not. You know it, and this morning I finally saw it. You go take care of your man, Will. I have a vampire to deal with.” With that, Buffy stormed out of the room.
Willow could only watch, her jaw hanging open at the cryptic comment. After a moment, she whispered, “Oh no,” and rushed to go.