TITLE: Take Me: Take Two 1/9
RATING: FRT for the fic overall but this one is safe for everyone.
SUMMARY: The first chapter is a shippy version of The Prom. A pretty big chunk of exposition is taken directly from that episode.
A/N: This is a rewrite of the first long fic I ever wrote. Back then I was Melanie Dawn so if it looks familiar I'm only plagiarizing myself.
Giles was looking for information on the Mayor's Ascension when the doors to the library burst open. It was Anya, and she looked ready to do vengeance, mortal or not.
"I feel ill and overly emotional and you're responsible, don't try to weasel out of it like the evil man you are." Anya had stalked up to his desk during her speech and she was close enough for Giles to see that she looked more upset than angry.
"I beg your pardon." Good Lord, she couldn't possibly be implying that he had abused her in some way. The last time he'd seen her Anya's anger and frustration hadn't been focused on him in particular.
"No need to beg. I don't plan on hurting you. Hurting you can come later, if you do something that merits vengeance or you like that sort of thing." Anya put both hands on Giles' desk and leaned forward, giving Giles a good view of her breasts. He brought his eyes up to meet hers and found it was a mistake. They were a soft brown that was oddly ageless and they made him ache to kiss her.
"We should talk this over in private." He had a feeling this wasn't a conversation he wanted Buffy or one of the others to interrupt. Taking Anya's arm, he led her to his cramped office and closed the door. As she made herself at home by moving a pile of books and sitting in his chair he noticed she smelled of something cool and lightly floral. Whatever she wanted, she was much too attractive and determined.
"What is it?" he asked. He stood next to his overfilled filling cabinet, the only place not taken up by furniture and clutter and stared down at her. He could easily reach out and touch her, and he had to admit that the idea was tempting.
"I just want you to take me to the prom. No one will escort me to this silly dance, so you have to take me; besides, I can tell you're going to be the only man there who will look both attractive and comfortable in formal wear." This was said in a matter-of-fact tone without any hint of flirtation and, to Giles' astonishment, all in one breath.
"Thank you, Miss Jenkins, but this is not the time for fun. The Ascension is scheduled for graduation day and we still have no idea how to prevent it," Giles said, rubbing the bridge of his nose. He reminded himself that he had got over his fondness for bad girls years ago.
"There's an Ascension coming? What are you doing sitting around reading dusty books with small print that obviously give you headaches? Let's get out of here!"
"What do you know about the Ascension?"
"I was there for an Ascension, about eight hundred years ago in the Kastka Valley above the Urals. There was a sorcerer there who achieved Ascension. Became the embodiment of the demon Lo-Hash. I was there cursing a shepherd who had been unfaithful. His wife had wished that all his sheep would lie with... anyway, I really wanted to go to the prom and now we're all going to die horribly so it doesn't matter, except that I wanted to dance with you so badly, not that you and I wouldn't dance well together… "
Anya looked so disappointed that Giles had the urge to give her a reassuring hug. To give his hands something to do he picked up a paperweight. "The Ascension is on graduation day; you will be able to attend the prom with a student as your escort. What is it with you children and your obsession with this silly dance?"
"I'm not a child; I'm over 1100 years old and you are the only male around here worth anything, Rupert Giles. You're obviously intelligent, but instead of fleeing the Ascension you're talking to me and fondling your desk accessories with your large attractive hands. You're brave. I just hope it doesn't get you killed before we can go to the prom."
Giles was flattered even if there was a possibility she thought he was only the best of very poor lot. "Regardless of your age, it would be unsuitable for me as a member of the faculty to bring a student as my date." Anya stiffened with disappointment and it occurred to Giles that the Council and Principal Snyder would approve of him turning Anya down. It wasn't the most mature motive for dancing with a former demon but he decided he didn't care. "We could have one dance if you'd like."
Anya gave him one of the brightest smiles he'd ever seen. "All right, but you have to gaze into my eyes and smile at me once, too, or it's no deal."
"I'll do my best." The sound of the class bell startled them both and it was followed closely by familiar voices in the library.
"Not too short, medium. And it had this weird sort of fringy stuff on its arms," Willow said as Giles walked in with Anya.
"What's that, a demon?" Giles asked, trying to get his mind off the prospect of having Anya in his arms and back to more important matters.
Buffy replied for Willow. "A prom dress that Will was thinking of getting. Can't you ever get your mind out of the Hellmouth?" Buffy turned back to Willow. "We'll get you a dress. You know, we should check April Fools."
Cordelia said, "Don't go there! I shop there!"
"I myself am dipping into my road trip fund to procure a shiny new tux, so look for me to dazzle even if I'm going stag," Xander chimed in, his words trailing off at the end as he looked at Cordelia.
"Well, if you need a date we could go together, but I've promised one dance to Giles," Anya said to Xander.
"Sure, why not, you were already a demon once. It's got to mean the odds are in favor of you staying human until after our date. But why would you want to dance with Giles? Does he even know anything newish?" Xander asked.
"Like you have room to talk, John Travolta," Cordelia muttered.
"The last newfangled dance I learned was the minuet, but I think I'll be able to manage a waltz. Now, can we please talk about the matter at hand? The day of the Mayor's Ascension is fast approaching and we know very little of what to expect." Giles was a little deflated at how soon Anya had found a date, and with Xander of all people. He supposed it could have been worse; at least the annoying prig of a Watcher had his eyes glued solely on Cordelia.
"Well, what about the pages that Will stole from the Mayor's book?" Xander said. "Look, she put her life on the line there, pal. Don't tell me they're useless."
"On the contrary, no, we, uh, we know the Ascension refers to a human transforming into a demon, the living embodiment of an immortal. And on graduation day, our Mayor Wilkins is scheduled to do just that. Anya here may be of further help as she was once present for an Ascension."
"Yes, Lo-Hash was ... It-it decimated the village within hours. Maybe three people got out. I've seen some horrible things in my time. I've been the cause of most of them, actually, but this..." Giles pulled out a chair for Anya who was trembling.
"Ahem, I'm sorry, but Lo-Hash was a four-winged soul killer, am I right?" Giles nodded at Wesley in agreement and the younger Watcher continued to speak. "I was given to understand that they're not that fierce. Of all the demons that we've faced..."
"You've never seen a demon." Giles was the only one focused solely on Anya and for a moment he could clearly see her true age reflected in her eyes.
Buffy raised her hand. "Uh, excuse me? Kind of professionally, four years running."
"All the demons that walk the earth are tainted; human hybrids like vampires. The Ascension means that a human becomes pure demon. They're different," Anya explained. "For one thing, they're bigger."
"The trouble is, we don't know which demon the Mayor is going to become," Giles said. "There are thousands of species."
Buffy was out of her seat now, pacing to get rid of her agitation. "Giles, we get it. Miles to go before we sleep. But especially if we're all gonna vaporize or something on graduation day, we deserve a little prommy fun. One night of glory; not too much to ask.
Giles watched the young people on the dance floor with parental-like pride. Buffy had got her night of glory, and her friends had at least got the fun to go with it. Now, if he could only get rid of the thorn in his side…
At that moment said thorn spoke up. "Mr. Giles. I'd like your opinion. While the last thing I want to do is model bad behavior in front of impressionable youth, I wonder if asking Miss Chase to dance would..."
"For God's sake, man, she's eighteen. And you have the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone. Just have at it, would you, and stop fluttering about." Giles' dilemma wasn't quite so simple. Was Anya the eighteen-year-old she appeared, the innocent babe she sometimes seemed, or every bit of the blood-soaked 1100 years she proudly claimed? It was all academic, anyway. Giles might have done some foolish things in his youth, but he wasn't stupid enough to become involved with the former vengeance demon. He'd only promised her one dance and a smile while looking into her eyes. It was that bit that had him worried.
When Wesley finally walked off to ask Cordelia to dance, Giles looked for Anya and spotted Buffy instead. "You did good work tonight, Buffy."
"And I got a little toy surprise."
Giles wondered again if Buffy's habit of hiding her deepest emotions, usually behind quips, was a Slayer trait or one that predated her calling. "I had no idea that children en masse could be gracious."
"Every now and then, people surprise you." Buffy said
Giles looked up to see Angel entering the dance. "Every now and then…" Giles took her umbrella, handling the tacky looking thing with carefully. The work a Slayer did was rarely noticed outside of the Council. This was Buffy's World Cup; her Oscar. He watched as Buffy met Angel at the door. She had wanted one night of fun. Giles' smile was bittersweet; Angel might ultimately hurt her again but it looked like she would have her night.
"I knew you'd look wonderful in a tux, but then you even look good in pink. Is that taffeta?" Anya asked, nodding at the award.
The lecture he'd given himself earlier about not getting involved with a former demon was forgotten. She was smiling at him and he didn't need to be reminded to smile back and look into her eyes. When some watered-down cover of Wild Horses started to play Giles asked her to dance. It had been a long time since he'd danced and he was fairly sure it had been at least as long for Anya. They were no Fred and Ginger but they moved together well with a natural give and take. If Giles hadn't stopped thinking he would've been worried about that.