Title: Perchance to Dream
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Warnings: Strong sexual themes
Disclaimers: All known characters and premises belong to their respective owners. So there.
Summary: "Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." Edgar Allan Poe
Notes: A little naughty fun. Written for the 2010 Summer_of_Giles event on LJ.
The bell chimes clanked noisily against the wood as he pushed it open, no creaking despite the rickety state of the shoppe's screen door; one that had obviously seen better days. Giles idly wondered, stepping into the small confines, why a newly established business could be borne from such decaying surroundings.
He cleared his throat, expecting a musty, dirty smell to compliment the water stains near the door, the broken-tiled floor and lack of general bustling that a grand opening often gathered. He was, however, pleasantly surprised when the rich aroma of teas caressed his sense of smell, smiling inwardly at the calming effect it had on him. He stepped fully into the small store, the door swinging behind him abruptly but coming to a close with a muted hiss.
His footsteps offered the only noise in the small shoppe, which he had decidedly deemed quaint and rustic, in a charming sort of way. It was almost how a tea shoppe should be, in his imaginative state. He dusted his fingers along the counters, tracing small sample bottles of various teas, ranging from herbal to medicinal, strong, milky, creamy, loose-leaf and bagged. Boxes sat colouring the shelves, and clear jars lined the small area behind the cash, displaying ground tea leaves that just ached to be opened and inhaled.
A dark, tall and slim man popped up from behind the register, hands holding a small tea kettle in form of a smiling cat. Giles' lips twitched at the absurdity of the small kettle, before nodding politely to the man, who's smile seemed equally disconcerting and comforting all at once.
"I'm uh," he paused, lips pressed tightly together as words seemed to whisper away, his senses still overpowered by the range of aromas the teas produced. Heady, almost dizzying. "A beautiful establishment you have here, Sir," he finally managed out, once again taking in his surroundings.
"Thank you, my good man," the man smiled, his light African accent caressing each word. "Anything in particular, that suits the gentleman's fancy?"
Giles let out a small exhaled smile, before shaking his head. "I was wondering if you had anything to help relax one into slumber." He looked around, eyes scanning the large selection of teas. "Something with chamomile, or with a hint of lavender, perchance?"
He disappeared for a moment, before popping back up with equal gusto, thumping a large wooden crate on the counter, dusting it off and effectively breaking Giles out of his thoughts. "Been saving this just for you, my friend," he remarked, as he popped open the crate with curious ease. "Grown underground, in Africa."
"Underground, you say?" He asked, fingers toying with the leaves that lay nestled, in the burlap-lined crate. He bent down as he brought the crisp leaves to his nose, inhaling the scent. He felt his muscles almost immediately relax, and he blinked repose away. "Potent stuff." He rubbed the leaves between his index and his thumb, feeling the texture and listening to the slight crunch as his mind began to clear. "Did you say…underground? I would think that the leaves need sunlight to reach their full potential…"
"Worry not about the finer details, my boy. It comes rare from Africa - a friend of mine managed to barter two whole cases. Let it be known that this old man has trouble keeping tabs on Rip Van Winkle himself. A small cup before bed and dreamland couldn't come sooner. And I assure you that you will wake up refreshed. Money back guaranteed." He pushed the crate forward, motioning it with a nod. "Yours. An even one hundred."
Giles turned the crate, head cocked as he examined the ingredients, which included quite a high percentage of chamomile and what was to be expected as over-priced Ceylon. Still, there had been a beautiful sensation that still tickled his fingertips, that he couldn't ignore, and found himself drawn to teasing the leaves once more. "I'll take it."
The cash register dinged with a sale, as the African man counted to one hundred and happily shoved the money underneath the cash. "Thank you, kind Sir, for your business."
Giles tipped his head down reverently, offering the man thanks as he walked out with his purchase. He inhaled one last time as he left the pungent aroma that surrounded the tea shoppe, vowing to come back and explore more of the wide array of ingredients and products.
He opened the door to his Tramp, and placed the crate in the front seat. There was a certain serenity encompassing him, and he allowed a smile to rest on his lips as he drove towards the school. Dusk was creeping towards them, and he had promised to offer the library to Xander and Willow's needs, for the night.
The smile remained, knowing that Willow was probably long prepared for the essay due on the morrow, but Xander was the one who required the aid. And where Xander was in need, Willow, he was sure, would offer any assistance she could.
Buffy awoke to a soft caress; fingers lightly trailing affection down her spine. Now surprisingly bare. A soft moan slipped from parted lips as she arched into the embrace, feeling warmth and security despite the assaulting intimacy.
Lips touched the small of her back, dotting whispered kisses on her goose-bump ridden skin, smoothing away shivers with a breath so gentle. So familiar.
The situation triggered alertness in her mind, and her senses finally managed to break from the intruder's fog-induced touches. She whipped around, panic and anger churning in her belly, her adrenaline-expected power forcing her to take control of the situation. However, now lying on her back, arms pinned over her head by stronger hands, she tried to observe her captor and pinpoint his weakness, instead of fight blindly.
She moved conflictingly against his touches, sometimes trying to avoid, sometimes pressing against, confused by the level of affection and care, despite the offensive situation. There was familiarity, thick in the air as she felt his lips descend, caressing the smooth planes of her belly. Her breath hitched as she felt his mouth ascend, hot breath causing her to squirm under his hold. Lips slid along the underside of her bare breast, reaching his destination. He gently bit down on her nipple, teasing her with his tongue as she continued to move underneath him, a moaned mewl disobeying her mind's reactions to her body's wanton state.
There was a lull in his administrations and she managed an arm free as she felt his controlling weight slowly slinking away from her form. Reaching over and turning on her light, she caught sight of familiar greens, darkened with arousal as he stepped back into a darkened corner of her room, his body engulfed by darkness.
She bolted out of bed, turning on her overhead light as she rushed to the very corner where he had slipped to.
She blindly reached for her sheet, wrapping it around her body as she stared at the vacated area in her room. The place where she had expected him to be, but not wanted him to be present. Her mind had accepted the familiar greens. Her body had accepted the touches and caresses. But her heart, her heart couldn't accept the person behind the invasion.
He inhaled deeply, the richly steeped tea's aroma gently caressing him awake. When he had gotten to the library, he couldn't control his desire to brew a small cup of his newly purchased addiction. He had steeped but a small amount, allowing the brew to be weak in case it was as potent as he imagined it to be. And it had - even the lightest of aroma and taste had knocked him out for a good hour, and he had been stirred awake by a giggling Xander with a marker guiltily in hand. After having washed away the mustachio'd evidence of Xander's prank, he forced a scowl in place despite the humourous upturned corners of his mouth.
Giles had returned to his work, a fresh cup of English Breakfast in hand and his mind focused on his work and on the last remembrances of his dream, vivid and life-like. He had been slightly disoriented when he had been awakened, and it had taken him a moment to realize that he was in the library. With a curly Snidely-Whiplash mustache.
A few hours had passed and Giles now found himself looking at the two with a fatherly pride, as he observed both Willow and Xander slumber on the large wooden table; one slightly more graceful than the other, he noted with a crinkled smile, as a small snore sounded from Xander's sprawled out form.
It had been a tiring night for all them. In between their giggles and poking and sneaking and teasing, they had managed to churn out quite a chunk of the significant term paper, all in Xander's favour. Whilst they tended to their own work, Giles had focused on his Watcherly research: a new Watcher's journal had surfaced, and he had volunteered to test the authenticity of it. However, the long hours and lack of sleep during the previous weeks had taken its toll and even he had felt slumber's pull.
Part of him wanted to postpone the inevitable awakening as he noticed morn's light begin to filter in.
The library's door banged open, causing all three occupants to jump, both Xander and Willow offering a muffled yelp of surprise.
"Vampires, zombies, demons, wha-?" Xander mumbled, jostled awake.
"Oh it's Buffy. Only Buffy," Willow relaxed, her eyes closed and failing to notice the anger in the Slayer's eyes. Had she seen what Giles saw, she would have reminded Xander that an angry Slayer was worse than all three demons combined.
Giles had noticed and set his cup down, without taking his eyes off Buffy. "I-is something amiss, Buffy?" He asked, taking a tentative step forward. He stood tall as she stalked towards him, and in the few seconds that she approached his form, he ran through possible reasons for her current observed state, ranging from possession to perhaps her monthly visitor.
He had little time to react as he registered her clenched fist and how far her arm had swung back. Blinding pain and a quite-concerning crunch registered on the side of his face as he found himself knocked down, just barely grasping on the edge of consciousness. The ringing in left ear started to wind down, but the ache seemed to pulse as he tasted blood. He glanced down, and a few drops fell to the floor, confirming his suspicion.
"Buffy! What the hell?" Xander was up immediately, followed by an equally terrified Willow. He grabbed her arms, pinning them behind her back, a quiet sigh of relief as she allowed him to pull her away from her Watcher.
"You disgust me!" She spat out at the man still on the floor, glasses off to the side and blood staining the corner of his lips.
He placed a hand to his cheek and stared at the floor, surprise and another look that neither three could decide what it was, flitting across his face.
"Buffy, what happened? What did Giles do?" Willow asked, taking a tentative step towards the angry Slayer.
She wrestled out of Xander's weak hold and for a moment, they all believed her to rush the older man, still half lying on the floor.
"How could you break our trust? Was it worth our relationship, Watcher? Was it worth it to touch me like that, last night? Did you get off on it?" She yelled, tears stinging her eyes.
Xander and Willow took a step back, their eyes resting on Giles, who had remained silent, unmoving save for eyebrows that seemed to jump in a frightful manner.
"Um, Buffy…Giles was here all last night." Willow's soft voice, laced with her nervous signature, filtered through, though it did nothing to calm the irate Slayer.
"Yeah Buffster. He even fell asleep for a bit, but we were all here, the whole night. Remember, Willow volunteered to help me finish," he jerked forward as she elbowed him in the side, "um, start my term paper due today?"
Her breath hitched as she swiped the tears from her eyes. She too, kept her gaze locked with the Watcher, who still had his leveled with the floor. "R-really? He…you were here all night?" Her breathing was coming out in short spurts, close to hyperventilating. She turned around, her hand to her mouth as she searched the library for answers she knew she wouldn't find.
"I swear it to you, Buff," Xander offered, filling in for Giles's silence.
She turned to face her Watcher, sincere apologies in her eyes and trembling embarrassment on her lips. "I…"
Willow wrapped an arm around Buffy's shoulder, guiding her friend to the bathroom. "Come, let's get you cleaned up a bit."
Xander watched Giles as he watched Buffy's retreating form. The younger man's eyes narrowed before he walked over, offering him a hand.
Giles took it graciously and as soon as he was up, leaned back and sat on the table.
A few moments later, Xander returned with an ice pack and handed it to the Watcher, who took it without removing his eyes from the direction to which the Slayer had just fled.
"So…um…pretty crazy accusation, huh? As if you'd take advantage of Buffy…" Xander began, making some tea for Giles. He spied some loose tea, sitting in an unmarked tin. A quick sniff and Xander felt himself relax. This was exactly what Giles needed, after the commotion, he thought. "And no offense," he continued, "it's not like you could, either. I mean, she's like, the Slayer. Wham blam kablam! You should check out what she did to your face!"
Giles glared at the young man's back, ignoring the lack of tact. "Yes, well, her fist and my jaw have unfortunately already been acquainted," he mumbled, wincing at the pain that jolted the left side of his jaw.
"What I'm curious about though…" Xander began, offering a cup to Giles, who politely declined, surprising both giver and receiver. "We know that Buffy probably had a dream or confused you with someone else - and God I hope it's the first one, but…" Xander leveled his eyes with the Watcher's. "How come you looked so guilty? How come you didn't defend yourself, stand up for yourself?"
Giles opened his mouth and then closed it promptly, his eyes quickly following suit as he cowered behind a lowered gaze.
Xander's patience was strong, the Watcher noted, as the young man merely leaned against the table beside him, slurping the cup of tea noisily. Purposefully noisy, knowing that such a noise was high on his list of peeves. A stubborn streak stabbed Giles, and he shoved a hand into his pocket, the other still holding the ice pack to his jaw. He'd remain silent until the younger man tired himself from the silence, or worse yet, had to go to class. His gaze still remained glued to the floor, and it was only when a pair of all-too-familiar open-toed flats came into view, did he register his almost hypnotic inactivity.
He allowed his eyes to skirt across her face, blinking rapidly as he forced his gaze to travel elsewhere. He couldn't meet her stare, and it wasn't due to fear. Well there was a level of fright, but it was not due to the possibility that she would lash out physically at him again. No, his queasiness lay in what could be a coincidence, but their Hellmouthy location seemed to scream otherwise.
So softly was it whispered that the emotion behind it drew his attention immediately, blocking out the voices in his head, blocking out the visual distractions. His eyes blinked to hers, and remorse and fear were present, dancing amongst embarrassment.
"Quite alright, Buffy. I uh…" His sigh was louder than he expected, and his tongue slipped out to dab at the blood that still seemed to stain his lips.
"No…I punched first and asked questions later," she began, arms crossed protectively around her. Her head was tilted downwards and she shifted her weight nervously. "I…I hate myself for not trusting you, for not believing that you'd never hurt me like that."
"I wouldn't," he offered her strongly.
"I know!" She exclaimed. "I just felt so…so violated. And I couldn't do anything, Giles! That's what's freaking me out the most! It's like my Slayer powers were zilched or something."
He pulled out a chair, a tentative hand on her shoulder guiding her to sit down. "Sit, explain," he coaxed her gently, taking a seat on the edge of the desk, beside her. "From the beginning."
"It's…kinda graphic. A little. I mean, think softcore porn. Except it wasn't really about the sex, well it didn't feel like that. It felt…meaningful, like it was about pleasuring me and not the pervert who was assaulting me."
In her babbling frenzy, she missed Giles's wince, as shameful eyes were cast down.
"There was like, touching and kissing my skin and…it could have been romantic had it not been some creep."
"And your ire towards me fits in where?" He asked, slightly tense as he kept his eyes on the floor, not daring to look, or perhaps secretly imagining it with his mind's eye.
"It was in my room, and like, this guy is touching me. And I managed to get free cos I'm pinned and my strength has vanished, and I turned on the light. And…" She stared at his knee, watching it shake nervously. "And it was you. Your eyes," she allowed her gaze to slide up, to look into those very eyes that she witnessed. "And I went to turn on my overhead light and you vanished. Into a corner of my room. Just gone…just…I couldn't believe it, Giles. I didn't want to, but I could still feel your hands and lips on my skin, on my stomach and my -"
"- enough!" He yelled, standing up abruptly. He brushed a hand through his hair, a breath of defeat exhaled as he tried to bring his emotions into check.
She sat bone-still, scared by his uncharacteristic outburst.
He looked over his shoulder as Xander and Willow tentatively approached, having heard the volume of his voice.
"So…do we know what um, caused this misunderstanding? Do you think it's a demon?" Willow asked, looking at Xander to see if he too witnessed the tension in Giles' features.
"Incubus perhaps…" He glanced toward his Slayer, his voice firm but somewhat distracted, even deemed careless. "Perhaps you disturbed a grave or it picked up your scent from another demon?"
"So yay, research time?" Willow exclaimed with feigned happiness, a strong desire to mend whatever rift was forming.
Giles swallowed hard, eyes focused on the troubled expression on Buffy's face. "I will research as you all have classes to attend. I will call on you should I find any pertinent information," he paused, a quick breath before addressing his Slayer, "Buffy?"
She stood up, standing in front of him, eyes wide. "Yes?"
His eyes focused on her mouth as her lips formed the simple word. "I implore you to stay at home tonight. I would much rather see you safe - who knows if this demon is able to affect you during waking hours as well as slumber."
She nodded her consent and he wondered just how much this event had shaken her.
"Off to classes then," he smiled, knowing that they even discerned the lack of honesty behind it.
The day was off to a grim start, coupled with a lack of proper sleep from all members of the party.
"Oh erm, Buffy?" He touched her shoulder as she prepared to leave with Willow and Xander in the lead. He waited until the other two had exited the library before looking towards his Slayer. "For um, for what it's worth? I am sorry -"
"- Giles!" Buffy cut him off. "I should be the one groveling at your feet! I hit you! When you didn't do anything!" Her voice softened, and she let her fingers ghost the bruise forming on his jaw. "You have nothing to be sorry about."
He watched her withdraw her hand after a moment of soft bliss, feeling the heat of her fingers on his skin as his eyes had closed of their own volition. His eyes followed her departure, watching as the doors swung shut. "I have so much to be sorry about," he whispered softly.
He sat down abruptly at his desk, cracking his knuckles as his mind raced to locate a specific area to begin his research. Her recounting of her…experience, had matched his dream to a close likeness.
He wondered briefly if it could be teleportation while slumbering, but that would negate both Willow and Xander's testimony of his presence. Perhaps an incubus was pestering her dreams, he reasoned, and began to search through his materials for exorcising said demon. His first and foremost purpose, in life, in his heart…was to protect Buffy.
He prepared himself a cup of his new tea, needing the comfort it offered him. He'd be able to fight off the imminent slumber, but his body was too tense to accomplish any work.
She felt familiar weight on her body, pinning her down once more to the bed. Her breaths quickened, her pulse seemed to beat through her skin as she felt hands…hands known trace warmth and comfort across her skin. Fingers teased goose-bumps until hands were clasped above her head, holding her victim and cherishing her at the same time.
She could see him clearly in the moonlight; the glint of his spectacles as the moon's rays filtered in through her window. His mouth was hot and wanting, and it tasted her skin, tongue slipping to wet the skin right behind her ear. She let out a mewl of protest, but even her own body was unsure of the intent: was it because he had started this, or because he had stopped.
His body pressed hers into the mattress, a welcomed weight despite the situation forced. She wondered idly if it wasn't such an invasive scenario, would the likeness of his presence be welcomed? Lips teased along her soft skin, tasting and nipping and biting and branding.
She felt herself being marked for his own, as teeth sunk in pleasurably against the softness of her neck, causing her to gasp and press raised hips against his. She felt his arousal hard and waiting against her thigh, and she wondered whatever manifestation this was, she wondered if intercourse was this…demon's intent.
She breathed into his mouth as it closed over her own, soft lips sliding before grasping her lower lip between two gentle teeth. Her own tongue snaked out and she forced her mind to accept it as a means to ward off these unwanted advances, but there was an unacknowledged need brewing within.
Her hand shot out as his mouth continued to caress, drawing a rhythmic movement of her hips to push against him. Fingers numbly reached the phone, knocking it off the receiver and on to its side. His mouth was unyielding and knowing it was Giles but not Giles at the same time, brought on a certain level of arousal that left her breathless and gasping and grasping for more.
The figure withdrew suddenly, melting into the same darkness that he had the night before.
This time, she didn't bother searching the area. This time, she didn't bother turning on the lights. No, this time, breathless and wanting, she dialed the all-too familiar number, panting his name as his sleep-laden answer whispered through the ear-piece.
Giles walked through the nearly-empty hallways, his mind in a daze over the last two days. Twice now he had dreamed and twice…she had felt. His thoughts were interrupted as someone ran into him, his folders thrown up in surprise and papers raining down all around.
"Hey! Why don't you watch where you're going, asshole!"
An eyebrow raised, Giles' lips pressed into a thin line. He wondered how much his lack of sleep could affect his self-control. Without a word, he bent down and began to pick up the papers, only to be quickly joined by the offending person.
"Uh, I'm sorry Sir, Mister Giles. I uh, didn't know it was you."
Giles's eyes picked up the bright white lettering on the red and yellow varsity jacket, and he finally placed the face.
"Yes, Mister Spencer," he began cooly, as he placed the papers back in his folder, his attention on his task, rather than the student. "I suggest we both should pay attention whilst walking in the hallways from now on and perhaps avoid such colorful language in the future - dear Lord, what happened to your eye?"
Giles cocked his head to the side, his previous train of thought gone as he observed the deeply bruised eye of the varsity football captain's otherwise pristine face. He grimaced openly.
"Football practice, you know? I uh, wasn't paying attention." The young man nodded towards the librarian's jaw. "What about you? Book fall off a shelf or something?"
Giles offered him a glare, before dismissing him with a wave. "Yes, something like that." He let out a tight sigh through clenched teeth, before continuing on his way to the library.
He placed a warm cup of tea in front of her, hoping it be a balm for her tired soul. He inhaled the scent of his English Breakfast before taking a comforting sip, he too feeling exhaustion. He offered a small smile towards his Slayer, who was staring at him with an expressionless gaze, quite zombie-like.
"Ah good, you're here," he greeted both Xander and Willow, who came in together and offered the Slayer a sympathetic smile. "Buffy had another occurrence last night. I've been doing some research on incubi, which is what we think is perhaps visiting Buffy at night, manifesting itself as…a person of familiarity in order to ease her into doing its bidding. Of course, this is just a theory given the information she has relayed from her dreams -"
"- Guys! You will not believe the crazy dream I had!" Xander exclaimed, ignoring the shocked look the Watcher threw at him.
Buffy, however, her eyes trained on Giles, did pick up his quick emotional change, and she stared at him, curiosity prickling.
"I dreamed that I was on the football team! And that jerk Vince Spencer? He kept gunning for me during the whole game. So I score the winning touch-down, naturally and he goes to pick a fight with me. Right in front of that babe, Shannon Jones."
Both Willow and Buffy made a face, and Giles rolled his eyes warmly at the thought of Xander's one-track mind.
"So anyway, I knock him clear until Tuesday! It was fantastic. One, huge pow!"
"Right in the kisser?" Willow added, her tongue peeking out from her toothy smile.
"Actually his eye, but close." Xander pointed at her, nodding proudly to himself.
"Oh! Giles got that Giles-look! Something always exciting and learning happens when Giles gets that Giles-look!" Willow exclaimed, excitement somewhat contagious as the other two Scoobies perked up.
"I saw Mister Spencer in the hallway just now. He uh…he told me it was a football accident," Giles mumbled distractedly. He glanced at Xander, walking up to him and looking at him over the rims of his glasses. "Could it be…?" He began, walking away just as suddenly, theorizing and muttering to himself.
"O….kay, who else thinks that Giles has gone wacko?" Xander asked, his hand already raised as he stared at the Watcher with raised eyebrows.
Both Buffy and Willow raised their hands, though small teasing smiles rested on their lips.
He shot them all a glare before sitting down at the desk. "I never thought it possible but…perhaps some form of manifestation can occur, where one's dreams can prove to be another's reality? The body, per se, isn't transported to the slumbering location, but…"
"Oh!" Xander exclaimed, "because I dreamed of bashing Spencer's eye and his eye is totally messed up right now!" The young man paused, eyes staring off into the distance. "That is so cool!" He sat down quickly at the table, resting his head on his folded arms. "I'm going to try to dream that I won the lottery!"
Giles turned his attention to Willow. "And you? Do you remember what you dreamed of last night?"
"I dreamed that I only got a 99% on my Algebra test! Ugh, talk about nightmare!"
Both Buffy and Xander shot Willow a filthy look, which she innocently ignored.
"See, we have no way of knowing if it's just me, now, cos Wills always gets 99%. That occurs whether she dreams it or not!" Xander bemoaned teasingly.
"It's not just you, Xander…" Giles muttered softly, eyes staring straight ahead. He refused to meet his Slayer's pressing gaze, wondering if it was a confused look or a now-knowing look. He didn't want to find out if she had figured out the situation, that his dreams were often if not always riddled with her and a desired intimacy, one so long dreamed and yet never obtainable. A punishment as well as a pleasure.
"Why? What have you been dreaming about…" Xander began before taking in Buffy shocked look, directed solely at her Watcher who was seemingly ignoring her presence. His eyes took in Giles's shame and the light red tint that dusted his cheeks. "Oh," he offered to start, followed by another "oh" as he put more pieces of the puzzle together. "Damn Giles! Have you been having naughty dreams about Buffy and now they are actually happening in reality?"
"Yes, thank you for your tact, Xander." Giles sighed, embarrassment sitting like a knotted weight in the pit of his stomach. He felt nauseous and bit his lip, eyes closed as he tried to contain his strong desire to run to the nearest lavatory.
He heard his Slayer calling him, heard the same panic she had offered this morning, when she woke him in the early hours of the morn. She had told him that the incubus had visited again, had relayed all the information of the dream and he reacted as if it had all been new. But in essence, he had visually relieved it with growing arousal, having felt her mouth beneath his, and still feeling her body move against his administrations. He had lied, betrayed and almost raped her, through selfish and lascivious dreams. He was every bit the pervert and creep that she had described with a hated grit.
"Giles," her voice tried to coax a response out of him again.
The moment her hand touched his shoulder, he dropped his cup of tea and marched towards his office, slamming the door shut behind him. He grabbed his wastepaper basket and heaved the dry toast and small amount of tea that he had consumed in the morning.
He sat back on the floor, leaning against his desk as he pushed basket to the side. Head tilted back against the cool wood of his desk, he closed his eyes and wondered how he'd be able to face his Slayer again.
He knew, he could feel it in his bones: trust had been severed.
And without trust, he knew neither of them would ever survive the fight against the darkness.