Title: Questions Are Free, but the Answers Will Cost You
Author:
mischiefmagnet
Rating:
M
Pairing:
Buffy/Giles
Word Count:
Errr… kind of on the high end of 7000-ish. See what happens when I try to write a 'short' story? :P
Summary:
In the midst of the Council's descent on Sunnydale, Buffy and Giles receive a questionable tip regarding some information about Glory. This leads them to Willy's Bar, where they get roped into a drinking game with a tacky leather pants wearing demon.
Spoilers:
Through season 5. This story is set during the episode 'Checkpoint'; after the Council threatens to deport Giles, but before Buffy starts throwing swords at people. Very much in keeping with my recent love of the 'missing scene' approach to fic writing.
Notes:
Written in response to prompt #28 of Drunken Giles Ficathon 2010: Giles/Buffy, any rating, any time post-Helpless: the Scoobies are at a party. Buffy gets roped into a drinking game, but Giles knows she can't hold her liquor, so he takes her place, getting smashed in the process. She helps him home, and his feelings for her are revealed. Or, Buffy has to drink a demon under the table, but can't so Giles does it instead. The main thing is that Giles gets drunk in Buffy's stead, and she helps him home.
Disclaimer:
Not my toys. Just taking them out for a rather drunken and somewhat debauched spin. I'll put them back when I'm done!

Questions Are Free, but the Answers Will Cost You

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"Buffy, are you sure this is a good idea?"

"Nope."

The slayer continued on her path down the sidewalk, boot-clad feet moving at a rapid pace, blond ponytail streaming out behind her. Giles followed, a few steps behind, but hopefully running slightly ahead of his companion in the logic department. "Well then why-"

Buffy stopped and turned abruptly as they reached their destination, forcing Giles's suit-clad form to pull up short or run smack into her smaller body. She crossed her arms over her chest. "Giles, it's almost never a good idea when Anya gets her information from 'a demon around town'."

He opened his mouth to agree with her, perhaps convince her that this particular lead was so far off the charts on the scale of dubiousness that they might as well save their energy. She silenced him with a raised hand. The watcher gave a frustrated sigh and ran a rather annoyed hand through his hair.

"Just because the tip is extra suspicious doesn't mean we shouldn't check it out. Or would you rather crawl back to the Magic Box and wait for the Council to dish out more of the snarky British abuse?"

Giles glowered, peering at the entrance to Willy's Bar with evident distaste. He turned his glare on Buffy at his side, watching him, waiting with an expression of thin and slightly irritated patience upon her features. Her lips curled into a small smile as she realized the argument was over.

Pushing the grimy door open with his left arm, Giles gestured for her to enter with his right. "By all means, ladies first."

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They were here about a demon with a book. According to Anya's source, the creature in question was running about Sunnydale telling any being who heard on the same frequency that this particular ancient tome had vital information about Glory. Information that the slayer would definitely want. To Giles, it sounded like the worst type of gambit- a cunning plan with all the cunning bits removed. And yet, here they were.

Despite the supernatural majority of the clientele, Willy's Bar had the same smoky, beer-stained, flickering neon atmosphere of dive bars everywhere. The floor was sticky. Several of the barstools were missing a leg. The lights were set at a level of dimness which made Giles wonder whether they served to illuminate or conceal. Patrons of varying… stripes… huddled conspiratorially in darkened corners or lounged at the bar with an understatedly predatory stance.

There were enough demons and vampires inside of the establishment to make even the most seasoned watcher feel slightly out of his depth. Buffy, however, didn't seem to mind much at all. She marched up to the bar with confidence. The bartender jumped slightly, spinning around to face his newest customers as Buffy's palms met the bar with some force. Giles observed the interplay as Buffy raised an eyebrow and the bartender pulled nervously at his collar. As the man began to speak, it became obvious that he was the namesake and proprietor of the tavern.

His tone carried some annoyance, but with a powerful overtone of resignation. "Did you have to come on a Friday? I've got a nice busy night going and everything…"

Buffy's eyes narrowed.

Willy sighed. "…but of course there's always Saturday. SLAYER IN THE HOUSE!"

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Buffy looked around, taking stock of Willy's remaining customer base. Anyone who was left after his obligatory announcement of her presence either had no reason to fear a slayer or knew what she was capable of and stayed anyway. If their demon was here, he probably fell into the second category. There were still a few vamps. It wasn't surprising, because they could usually tell whether Buffy was in the mood to dust. Some slightly confused humans were scattered about, enjoying the unfolding floor show and wondering why Bloody Marys appeared to be so popular here.

There were three demons left. One was green-skinned and three feet tall, doing a little dance over by the jukebox. Not a likely candidate. There was another sitting in the corner, cloud of smoke snaking out from beneath his hood. A bit overdramatic for her taste, but it seemed like a possibility... until Buffy looked down toward the opposite end of the bar. A large, razor-toothed demon was grinning at her. Red eyes, small black horns, and- Buffy cringed- leather pants. He had a very ancient looking book in his hand.

Grabbing Giles by the arm, she directed his attention to the end of the bar. "Looks like we have a winner."

The watcher followed Buffy's line of vision, rolling his eyes at the demon that patiently awaited them. "I suppose that's one way of putting it…"

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"Questions are free, but the answers will cost you."

Giles repressed the urge to groan. 'Questions are free but the answers will cost you'? It was right up there with 'You'll never get away with this', or 'We have ways of making you talk' on the list of exasperating clichés. Looking at Buffy out of the corner of his eye, he could see that she was equally unimpressed. Hopping onto a barstool and crossing her arms, the slayer regarded the demon expectantly. "Well? Let's get down to business. Name your price and we'll decide if what you're offering is worth our while."

The demon smirked, releasing a gurgling noise that was probably laughter. "If it were that simple, little slayer, it wouldn't be worth my while. Hmm, let's see now…" Red eyes darting around the smoke-filled room, the demon contemplated the details of his scheme. His gaze alighted upon something behind the bar, which appeared to catch his attention. "Yes, perfect," he sneered.

"I suggest a contest of sorts. If you prevail, I will give you the book containing information about your foe. If you lose, I guess you're out of luck, aren't you? I will-"

Buffy had opened her mouth to interrupt, but an irritated Giles beat her to the punch. "Get to the point, will you? What exactly are you proposing?"

Seeming quite uninterested in Giles, the demon continued to focus his attention onto Buffy, and it was to her that his answer was directed. "I demand a drinking contest between myself and the slayer."

In his mind, Giles couldn't help but assemble a series of alarming images related to Buffy and drinking. Images of reptile-worshipping frat boys and prehistorically tainted beer were only the start. He tried to stop his mind from making its usual rapid juxtapositions, but it was like trying to stop the world from turning. He saw together- in no particular order- Buffy, a bottle of hard alcohol, and a lifetime's worth of images from the recent History Channel special on the world's worst railway disasters.

His slayer's eyes telegraphed a similar message, looking to him with barely hidden panic. Yes, Buffy and alcohol really were unmixy things. And she herself wasn't afraid to go right ahead and think the phrase 'train wreck waiting to happen'. He could practically see the words playing across her countenance, and he knew she was trying to think of a way out of the situation.

"Willy, bring Bourbon! Yes, a bottle of Wild Turkey should do!"

Approaching with the bottle, bar towel slung over his shoulder, Willy looked suspiciously between the demon, the slayer, and the watcher. "A whole bottle, eh? What's the occasion?"

The demon made a self-satisfied gesture, obviously pleased with himself. "A drinking contest. Me versus the slayer!"

"Oh, you versus the slayer, is it? Sorry, bub, but I don't think that's gonna happen."

Buffy and Giles both snapped their gazes onto Willy, incredulous. The demon growled slightly. Buffy managed to articulate the thoughts of all three participants with perfect clarity when she spoke: "Huh?"

Willy frowned, wiping his hands on the bar towel. "Don't you people know the laws in this country?" He nodded toward Buffy. "If she's twenty one, then I'm a monkey's uncle. I may not run the most reputable business, but I'm still on the books with the liquor authority."

Snarling, the demon leaned across the bar threateningly. "You dare to interfere?"

"Sorry, but I can't afford to lose my liquor license. It might be mostly vamps and demons here, but I make a lot of my money selling good old fashioned alcohol. There ain't much profit in pig's blood. If I charge too much the vamps'll just jump across the bar and get it straight from the tap if you catch my drift."

Buffy tried to make her sigh of relief sound disappointed. "Oh well. Little old underage me can't have a drinking contest, so I guess you'll have to come up with something else!"

Ever the salesman, Willy brandished the bottle of cheap bourbon thoughtfully. "Well now, no need to get excited. A drinking contest isn't totally out of the question…"

The demon's red eyes narrowed. "What do you mean?"

"Well, if the slayer is out of commission, doesn't the watcher usually pick up the slack?"

Three sets of eyes were suddenly paying attention to Giles. One set had an appraising ruby glow. One was dark and nervous, trying to preserve the peace and still make a profit. The third was Buffy, and her expression was a bit more complex. In the grayish-green pools Giles could see concern, curiosity, and something else he couldn't identify. All three observers seemed to be imploring him to agree, to subject himself to this ridiculous farce of a contest.

"Bloody hell," he said, meeting Buffy's eyes with one of his more withering glares. When he saw the pleading in her eyes, his features softened of their own accord. He couldn't blame her for wanting to be sure, he really couldn't. The threat of Glory was looming, and Dawn's safety was on the line. Of course Buffy would need to follow up even on the most outlandish leads, even if a certain amount of humiliation was required. His humiliation, apparently. Wild Turkey? Giles sighed in defeat. "What are the terms?"

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One bottle of bourbon, one tacky demon, and one ancient book. It certainly wasn't as catchy as that song Buffy had heard a few times before, but then again she had always wondered why anybody would want to drink a Bourbon a Scotch and a beer all at the same time. Like, alcoholic much? Plus, yuck. Not that this situation was much better. She looked over at Giles. He had an expression on his face that was a mixture of complete annoyance and steely determination. Very Gilesy, and maybe a little bit Rippery too.

She watched as Giles and the demon turned their bar stools to face each other, a shot glass for each of them waiting on the bar with the rim turned down. Buffy's eyes were drawn to her watcher's hand as he reached for the glass, slowly turning it over, feeling its contours with his deft fingers. There were a few things that Giles really didn't understand. Buffy was concerned about him, and curious. But the complexity of the situation had driven things further than that. Now that Quentin Travers and his cronies had come into play, this wasn't just about Glory or Dawn anymore. Buffy's stomach churned at the idea of losing Giles. The physical reaction was actually similar to being drunk. Out of control, panicky, with the butterflies and other tummy flutters… and she didn't even need a drop of liquor to help her get there.

In the past few months Buffy had realized that distancing herself from her watcher, the way she had during her first year of college, had been the worst mistake she could have made- even once she allowed herself to understand that part of that mistake had been her relationship with Riley. She had felt like Giles was pushing her away, so in response she went and found somebody else to be close to. Problem being, it just wasn't the same. Since she had started training with Giles again, Buffy had remembered that her strength wasn't something to be hidden, that her power as the slayer wasn't an abnormality to be studied or a freakish tendency to be ashamed of. Giles respected and nurtured her power. Riley always made her feel like it was wrong for her to be stronger than he was, especially after losing his Army super-drug enhancements.

Though Riley had never actually said it, Buffy knew that he had come to think of Giles as 'the other man' in her life. And somewhere between the time when Ethan Rayne turned Giles into a Fyarl demon and the day Buffy asked him to be her watcher again, the idea had taken root in her mind as well. The concept planted itself and gradually evolved, to the point where Buffy actually started to believe there was a pretty solid basis for the guilt trips Riley would lay on her when she spent so much time with Giles.

When it all came down to it, Riley had been right. She hadn't needed him. And Buffy's reaction to the Council's threat to deport her watcher was making her wonder if that was simply because, as long as Giles was around, there just wasn't room for another man in her life.

Buffy waited on pins and needles as Giles and the demon each took their first shot of Bourbon. The demon drank his smoothly, looking smug as he swallowed it down. Giles cringed as he knocked the whiskey back, stretching his neck from one side to the other as he placed the shot glass back onto the bar in anticipation of the next round.

He was doing this for her, she realized. And Buffy could only hope that it would turn out to be worth it, both for Dawn's sake and for ammunition to use against the Council if they chose to withhold the information they were claiming to have. Giles looked at her, reassuring green eyes unencumbered by the slightly broken glasses he had left back at the Magic Box before she dragged him here. The small smile he gave her as he raised the second shot of Bourbon to his lips had her stomach doing flip flops for a perplexing combination of reasons, some of which seemed to be just outside the grasp of her understanding.

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First shot.

The terms were, apparently, drink until you drop. Standard one and a half ounce shots, taken in relatively rapid succession. Demons weren't really much for complicated rules, so Giles found himself playing his part in a last man- last creature- upright scenario. With terrible 101 proof Bourbon.

Second shot.

He smiled at Buffy, trying to set her at ease. It appeared to work somewhat, although she was looking at him rather strangely. She had been doing that quite often lately...

Third shot.

The demon seemed to be quite unaffected by the high-test whiskey thus far. Giles knew he was being watched carefully for any sign of inebriation. The demon would be in for quite a surprise. Not that it was anything to be particularly proud of, but Giles was no slouch when it came to his alcohol tolerance.

Fourth shot.

Really the Wild Turkey wasn't too bad. Indeed, it seemed to improve in taste upon further study.

Fifth shot.

Buffy laid a steadying hand on his arm as he misjudged the distance between himself and the bar just enough for the shot glass to clatter slightly as he put it down. Dear girl. He really would do anything for her. Not that he'd ever let her know the whole truth of why. His arm tingled deliciously at her touch, even through the material of his suit jacket and the shirt beneath it.

Sixth shot.

His opponent still looked frustratingly chipper. Well as far as demons went, anyway. He didn't seem to be suffering from drunkenness or any other ill effects related to the alcohol as of yet.

Seventh shot.

It really was a good thing Giles had such a high resistance to alcohol. He wouldn't want to let Buffy down. Peeking at her out of the corner of his eye, he saw her glancing between himself and the leather pants demon with a worried expression. His slayer's concern for him made Giles feel all warm inside. Or was that the Bourbon?

Eighth shot.

Giles was experiencing a little bit of blurriness in regards to his vision, but chalked it up to the unfortunate absence of his glasses. Nothing to be alarmed about. Yes. Certainly it was nothing to do with the whiskey at all. He had barely had four… or six… how many shots had he actually had, again?

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This contest, in Buffy's opinion, had reached an alarming point. She knew Giles could handle himself pretty well, but the demon seemed to be outdrinking him. She wouldn't worry so much, if it wasn't for the expression on Giles' face. He had developed an innocuous little smile, which she recognized from the last time she had seen him drunk. It was the absent grin of a Giles who was pretty well wasted, but doing his best to hide it in a very British 'there's nothing to see here' type of way.

Something niggled at the edge of Buffy's awareness as she observed the demon, begging for entrance like a pebble being thrown against the window of her mind. Something that Giles himself had told her about demons a long time ago, in a library not so far away. It was a pretty good bet that the reason she couldn't put her finger on it was that she hadn't been paying attention at the time. It was common practice back then for Buffy's mind to wander in any number of directions whenever Giles started to lecture about demons. What they looked like, where they came from, how to kill them, which things would work and which they were immune to…

Immune! That was it! Buffy concentrated, using every ounce of the slayer focus that Giles had helped her to sharpen in their recent months of training. She closed her eyes, imagining she was back in the library at Sunnydale High listening to the measured honey tones of her watcher's voice. And she remembered.

xxxxx

Giles was sitting on the edge of the big table in the library, one foot on the ground and the other swinging slowly back and forth. There was an old book in his hands, sunlight filtering across the table and carrying the dust motes along on their lazy path.

"Buffy, you must always keep in mind that no two demons are alike. What harms or kills one type of demon will often strengthen another. In some cases, the methods needed to dispatch them can be a bit... unusual. Demon immunity is also quite complicated, so studying the texts really is important."

"What do you mean by demon immunity?" The young slayer tilted her head sideways, trying her best to focus on Giles' teachings instead of her upcoming night at The Bronze with Willow and Xander.

"Well… some demons can't be harmed by ordinary weapons. There are species with regenerative powers which are quite remarkable, not unlike your own slayer healing. Others have unique physiologies which render them invulnerable to poisons."

"All poisons?"

"Yes. They simply metabolize the toxins too quickly for them to have any effect. It would be… well, sort of comparable to a human being who can never get drunk."

Buffy quirked an eyebrow at Giles' analogy. "I'll remember that next time I meet a demon with a Cosmo in its hand."

The watcher sighed, placing the book between them on the table. "Really, Buffy. I wish you would take your studies a little more seriously. I know it must seem frightfully dull, but you never know when you may need this information."

"I thought that was what I had you for," Buffy pouted.

"That may be so, but what if I'm incapacitated or otherwise unable to help you? You may be forced to make such determinations on your own."

Crumbling under the force of his earnest expression, Buffy reached for the book, opening it with distaste. "Okay, chapter one: really ugly snarly guys…"

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Buffy looked over at the demon. There was no way to know for certain, but after eight shots shouldn't he be showing some sign of intoxication? Giles certainly was. He was still wearing that disturbing little smile, and appeared to be swaying slightly on his bar stool. The demon, with his stupid little horns and dorky leather pants, was smirking triumphantly. Buffy narrowed her eyes. He definitely wouldn't be smirking in a minute. If her suspicions were correct, she would wipe the smirk right off his face. With her fist. Or possibly a blunt object.

Her hand shot out, grabbing the demon's arm as he finished off his ninth shot of liquor. "Pardon me for interrupting, but something is really bugging me. I don't mean to be nosy, but sometimes us slayers are just plain curious about stuff. You see, one time this really smart guy was telling me about demon immunity…"

Red eyes widened in a most definitely non-bloodshot and perfectly alert sort of way, and Buffy unleashed her wrath.

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If her fists were questions, it could be said that they were distributed quite freely. The answers, on the other hand, did turn out to be kind of costly… as predicted by a certain demon who was currently having a three-legged bar stool smashed across his forehead. Giles looked on in amusement, taking his ninth shot of Bourbon just for the hell of it. His vision swam slightly as Buffy appeared before him, luminous in the wake of her very short-lived battle. She had her prize, the demon's book, cradled in the crook of her arm.

"Come on, let's get out of this dump."

A big toothy grin broke onto his face. "Good show, Buffy. That was bloody fantastic."

Giles slid off the barstool with catlike fluidity. His brain and his knees refused to cooperate for long, however, and he soon found himself in a drunken heap at Buffy's feet. "Damn."

He giggled.

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Getting him home had not been an easy task. For one, it sure was a good thing that Buffy knew the way to his place. Otherwise Giles would probably be stumbling his way to who knows where, and they would find him in a random ditch sometime tomorrow afternoon. The combination of no glasses and obscene amounts of whiskey was such that Buffy had to physically prevent Giles from running into several lampposts, a parked car, and in one case the side of a building. It wouldn't have been so bad, except for the looks he kept giving her every time she grabbed his arm to guide him. His drunken green gaze was definitely of the non-watcherly variety. The corner of his lips kept quirking up as he looked down at her, studying her form in a way that made her feel… confused. And tingly.

They hadn't talked much. He seemed to be concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other in sequential order, and she was trying to ignore how sexy he looked. Suit slightly rumpled, hair a little messy, tie loosened, and one shirt tail hanging out of his pants as the shirt tails of drunk people are known to do. Buffy found herself extra aware of his maleness, which probably had something to do with the five o'clock shadow he had developed over the past few hours. Or maybe it was the warm weight of his body as he had leaned himself against her on their way out the door of Willy's Bar. One way or another, Buffy's hormones were currently tap dancing all over her common sense when it came to Giles. Drunk Giles. Which just proved that she had the world's worst timing when it came to men.

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The fresh air was somewhat helpful. It had managed to clear Giles' mind at least to the point where he knew his name, which was a start. He also knew that he was very drunk. Knowing when you are drunk is an extremely important step toward reversing the situation. In his experience, you were only ever in real danger when you didn't realize how drunk you actually were… his most recent run in with Ethan Rayne being a perfect example.

If there was one thing that could make him feel more intoxicated than he actually was, it was Buffy. She clearly didn't realize what her nearness did to him, as she kept latching onto him every time he veered off a little too far in one direction or another. Each time their eyes met, he felt his self-control wear a little bit thinner. Her lips were pink and tempting, but he didn't want to meet the same fate as the demon his slayer had demolished back at the bar.

When they reached his flat Buffy tried the door, then looked at him expectantly. He realized that he must have the keys somewhere. After several minutes of checking his pockets in an entirely random order, he inevitably found them in his left pants pocket. Which was where they usually were.

As they entered the flat, Buffy made a beeline straight for the kitchen. Before Giles even had the door shut, she was brandishing the tea kettle. "Time to sober you up so that we can see what's in this book."

He made a vaguely cooperative noise, removing his suit jacket and hanging it next to the door. Next, he dispensed with his neck tie, dropping it on the desk as he passed by. Soon Giles reached his destination, the couch. He deposited himself there, pulling at the collar of his shirt as he sprawled on the cushions and put his feet on the coffee table. He watched Buffy through the kitchen window as she measured out the tea leaves. He wondered, idly, whether she ever thought of him the way he thought of her. She had told him that she couldn't bear to lose him. It seemed encouraging, but it certainly didn't mean she had come to think of him… that way. He knew the alcohol was affecting him, but he couldn't help contemplating it. Not when they were so obviously alone in his flat. At night. With nobody else around.

Groaning slightly, Giles warred within himself, both hating and loving the alcohol for how it was making him feel. Inappropriate behavior on his part was surely the last thing Buffy needed right now, not with the looming threats of Glory and the Council to worry about. He would behave himself, and maintain the status quo for her sake. He really would do anything for her. Anything except let her find out how he really felt about her. Because down that road lay madness, or possibly pain. Or both. Yes. There would be no unseemly revelations. He would just sit here drunkenly and wait for his tea.

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Buffy's heart jumped into her throat when she walked back into the living room with the tea tray and saw Giles perched enticingly on the couch, looking very relaxed and casual with the first two buttons of his shirt undone. She really wished her mind would stop playing these tricks on her, or else she would be jumping Giles' alcohol-impaired bones in no time. Not that he looked like he would mind. That was the problem. He was watching her quietly as she set the tea things down on the coffee table. She could feel the heat from his glance, although her traitorous body was probably just imagining it. She sat down at the opposite end of the couch, glancing at her watcher out of the corner of her eye. Oh boy was she in trouble. Better try to concentrate on the dusty old demon book, because certain other things in the room were getting a bit too intense.

When he started fixing himself a cup of tea, she relaxed just slightly. Seeing him do such a familiar, normal activity was reassuring. It helped her to tamp down the inappropriate feelings she was having. They had been building for awhile, even since before Riley left if she were honest with herself. But in this situation, with the fear of losing him if the Council followed through with their threat to revoke his green card, she felt like her judgement was compromised.

Giles had scooted a little bit closer in order to reach the teapot, and she felt his leg pressing against hers as he leaned back against the cushions and drank his tea. The book… yes… just concentrate on the book and everything will be fine…

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It was difficult not to think about it while she was so near; what it would feel like to hold her in his arms, how her lips would taste against his. He probably wasn't doing a very good job of hiding his attraction at present, because she kept looking at him nervously out of the corner of her eye. He leaned back, drinking the tea in hopes of clearing his mind. He couldn't resist the urge to let his leg brush against hers. The contact could easily be explained away as incidental. She didn't move away, just kept looking at the first page of the demon text. A careful observer could see that her breathing was slightly uneven, like somebody trying very hard to stay calm.

Alcohol was a funny thing. He had been in love with Buffy for so long that he had tucked her away into a blind spot in his brain, keeping her there to avoid noticing things like how pretty she looked in the dim light or how she reacted to an innocent touch. The whiskey, however, had opened up that particular Pandora's Box in his mind to the point where his awareness was full of her. He found himself smelling her perfume, admiring her delicate features, looking hungrily at her small hands as they turned a page of the book…

He had years of practice in not noticing these things. Yet, after one bottle of cheap booze he was this close to losing the battle. Sighing, he refilled his tea cup and prayed for strength.

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Well this was frustrating, in more ways than the obvious. The book was very old and dusty, with no pictures. Not even those little etchy ones that vaguely show what the page of text is about. Buffy had no idea what language it was in. She looked over at Giles. After two cups of tea, he was starting to look a bit less dangerous. Surely he must have sobered a little bit by now? Maybe at least enough to help her look at the book.

"Giles, do you know what language this is?"

Buffy knew that asking was a mistake almost before the words left her mouth. At her query, Giles put down his cup and saucer and obediently slid his body toward hers, stretching one arm along the back of the couch behind her and pressing his chest against her arm while he tried to get a good look at the text. Her pulse was pounding like a jackhammer as Giles leaned over her shoulder. His neck was next to her face, and she could smell the fading remnants of the cologne he had used earlier in the day.

"Hmm. It looks Babylonian, but I can't really see all that well in this light. Could be Sumerian. I'm not entirely…"

His words trailed off as he raised his glance away from the book and met her eyes. Buffy froze, lost in the green depths. She could see everything in that moment. Her feelings, her confusion, the desire she had been trying to hide even from herself for months… it was all reflected back to her several times over in Giles' expressive gaze.

The buildup was finally too much, and she could feel the dam breaking. Without giving it another thought she brought her hands up to grasp both sides of his open shirt collar, dragged his face just that little bit closer, and pressed her lips insistently against his.

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If he didn't react at first, it was because she couldn't possibly be kissing him. The rational part of Giles' mind just assumed that the still somewhat drunken part was getting carried away with its fantasies. After a few moments of motionless shock, he felt her whimper and brush her lips back and forth over his in an attempt to coax a response. Oh. Fucking hell, she was kissing him. And if a response was what she wanted, she was about to get it.

His right arm dropped from the back of the couch onto her shoulders, winding down around her back and hauling her closer. His other hand came up, fingers brushing against the softness of her cheek. Buffy melted against him as he sucked her bottom lip between both of his own and gave it a small bite. She inhaled sharply, body shuddering pleasurably, and Giles used the opportunity to sweep his tongue into her mouth.

A sound of unrestrained pleasure erupted from his throat as she crawled into his lap, straddling one of his legs. Releasing the two-handed death grip she had on his shirt collar, she began to touch him. Her hands were tentative at first, one sliding to the nape of his neck and the other into his shirt to stroke his chest. The touches soon became bolder, her fingers pressing into his flesh as his arm tightened its hold. He pressed his hand into the small of Buffy's back, wanting more of her body against his own. She seemed perfectly agreeable with that suggestion, winding her arms around his neck.

Their tongues wrestled pleasurably. Giles reached a hand down to grasp Buffy's leg, repositioning it so that both his legs were between hers. She broke the kiss and moaned against his lips, grinding her center against his rapidly growing erection. Delicious shudders traveled up and down his spine when their eyes met. She reached up, brushing her fingers tenderly across his lips. He closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against hers.

It was his every fantasy come to life, and he wasn't about to let it slip away. "Buffy, do you… should we go upstairs?"

She arched her body against his in response, placing a kiss on his eyebrow. "Uh huh. As soon as possible."

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If undressing each other was introduced as an Olympic sport, Buffy and Giles would be gold medal contenders. Well, maybe more like silver. There might be a points deduction for the number of times they had to stop and kiss on their way up the stairs. There was no lack of artistic interpretation, but some of the clothes did get ripped. Okay, so the bronze medal wasn't looking half bad. When she felt Giles' teeth scraping the flesh of her neck, the slayer decided they had better things to do than stand on a podium anyway.

Buffy was absolutely floating on a cloud of desire when she first felt the heat of Giles' flesh against hers. They kissed wildly, falling to the mattress as their limbs began to get tangled. Giles looked down at her, moving both their bodies upward so that her head rested against the pillows. His fascinated gaze traveled over her face and her exposed flesh, taking her in with wonder. He carefully reached up and freed her hair from its ponytail, dragging his hand through the golden locks and brushing his fingertips against her scalp. The way his eyes devoured her made her feel incredibly sensual, and ready for so much more.

"God you're beautiful," he said, beginning to place slow kisses along the side of her neck. "I want to make love to you so badly…"

In response to his statement, Buffy pulled his face back to hers and kissed him hard, stroking her hands over his shoulders and upper back. His legs were sandwiched with hers, and she dragged one foot up the back of his thigh. Her knee brushed against his side, and she felt his cock grow even harder where it lay pressed against her hip. Curious, she reached a hand between them and stroked it. Giles released a sexy growl, thrusting against her fingers.

Taking advantage of his momentary distraction, Buffy flipped their positions so that she was on top. Giles squirmed beneath her, reaching up to touch her breasts. He caressed them gently, and then rubbed his thumbs over her nipples. Her head rolled back in abandon as he pinched one of the pink buds and then stroked it with his palm. Buffy's fingers trailed up and down Giles' abdomen as his hands wandered her skin, teasing and finding sensitive spots she didn't even realize she had. It would make sense, after all this time, for him to know her body almost better than she knew it herself. Leaning forward so that her chest brushed against his, Buffy placed several soft kisses on his lips, his chin, the hollow of his throat.

As her kisses trailed lower still, Buffy rubbed her heated center against Giles' thigh, desperate for some friction. His hand flew to her hip, squeezing and holding her body against his. In short order he allowed his thumb to stray toward her arousal, and Buffy cried out as he crooked the digit and rubbed it against her clit. He pressed the bud with slow circular motions that brought her to an unbelievable point of arousal. Her breathing was uneven, hands braced against his shoulders. She brought her face closer to his, lips almost touching. "Giles, I need you."

She let him take control, then. Kissing her slowly, he rolled her onto her back. His hand was still stroking her center, teasing her opening and causing jolts of pure pleasure. Her hips moved of their own accord, seeking his velvety hardness. The tip of his cock was soon at her entrance. His lips slid to her ear as he pushed forward, filling her slowly. "Fuck, Buffy, you feel so good. Better than I ever imagined. Oh…"

The feeling of his breath against her ear and his impassioned words set Buffy aflame, and her inner walls squeezed around Giles' deliciously thick cock of their own accord. "Yes," she breathed, trying to move her legs even further up his sides to draw him deeper. One of his hands slid down, hooking under her knee and pushing her leg up and out. Rolling his hips, he moaned into the side of her neck, using his other hand to grip her shoulder. They both gasped as he drew his arousal most of the way out of her channel and then pushed it slowly back in.

Soon they were rocking against each other in perfect synchronicity, caught in an unbelievably erotic rhythm. Giles kept his grip on Buffy's leg, opening her up so that his hips could drive closer, cock striking deeper with every thrust. Buffy ran her fingernails down his back, one arm winding around his waist to take in more of the sensation of his body thrusting against her. Small noises began to emerge from her throat, her body unable to contain the evidence of her pleasure.

Giles seemed to realize that Buffy was drawing close to an orgasm. He changed the trajectory of his thrusts just slightly, and white hot sparks exploded behind the slayer's eyes. She screamed his name, her head thrashing back and forth on the mattress. "Oh my God… Giles!"

Riding the wave of her shattering arousal, Giles pounded his length in and out of her tight and scorching heat until he felt his own climax take hold. Still in the throes of her own pleasure, Buffy wrapped her arms and legs around her new lover, wanting to feel every tremor of his body as his cock pulsed inside of her. His arms were clutched tightly around her, incredible declarations of love spilling almost incoherently from his mouth.

For several minutes after, the slayer and her watcher rode the aftershocks of their lovemaking. Buffy had never felt something so incredible, like mini orgasms shooting through her core at the smallest nudge of his hips. As his breathing evened out, Giles raised his head to look at her, brushing a few slightly sweaty strands of hair tenderly away from her face. The love in his eyes was making her insides flutter, and when their lips met in a featherlight touch, she never wanted him to stop kissing her. "Giles?"

"Yes, love?"

She smiled at the endearment, stroking his slightly stubbled cheek affectionately. "Don't stop, okay?"

He answered with a rather seductive grin of his own. "I won't. Not tonight, anyway. Not unless you tell me to."

"Mmm…" Buffy drew him down for another kiss. She hoped it was going to be a very long night…

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Giles woke slowly, feeling rather tired but strangely… relaxed. He had a vague recollection of being extremely drunk in the recent past, but his sleep-hazy mind was suspiciously bereft of pounding headache or other typical hangover symptoms.

It occurred to him that he was naked.

Stretching his limbs, he felt a warm something cuddled against his side. His right arm was asleep, because part of the something was on top of it.

He opened his eyes, and tried not to panic when he saw a naked slayer in bed beside him, tousled golden head resting at the crook of his shoulder. Giles looked around wildly, gradually remembering the events of the previous night. Oh God, what had he done? Well, he could remember what they'd done, at any rate… all three times.

Sensing his movements, Buffy awakened. Far from looking alarmed, she smiled sleepily and propped her chin on her hands, leaning across his chest. "Mmm, good morning."

"Errr… yes. G- good morning, Buffy."

She frowned slightly. "Uh-oh, stutter guy is here. You didn't forget everything that happened last night, did you? Because that would make this kinda embarrassing."

"No, I remember. I just… I'm sorry, Buffy. I never meant to-"

"To what? Sleep with me? I really hope that isn't what you're trying to say, because I was hoping it meant… a little more than that."

"I… you were?" Giles was slightly confused. He felt like he had taken advantage of her in his drunken, uncontrolled state. And yet she was saying… what was she saying, exactly?

Buffy leaned forward, very naked and not seeming to mind that fact at all. Softly, she pressed her lips against his. After several pleasurable minutes spent enjoying her kisses, Giles managed to come up for much-needed air. "Buffy? What did you want it to mean?"

Her expression was tender, but teasing. "Hmm, that's a loaded question. If you want the answer, it's gonna cost you."

Sighing, he decided he might as well play along. "Name your price."

Snuggling against him, she draped one arm across his torso. "Information. Tell me what you feel, Giles. And don't try to change the subject."

For a moment he was quiet, wondering how they had reached this point. He had never intended for her to know, didn't even think she would want to. But their night together had been more than amazing, and he couldn't deny what he felt for her in the face of what they had shared.

"Buffy," he whispered, "I love you."

A thousand-watt smile lit her face, and it was just for him. "See how easy that was? You even answered your own question."

Before he could wrap his mind around her response, Giles' mouth was far too pleasantly engaged to bother asking any more questions for quite some time.

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Later that day…

"Buffy?" Giles had finally gotten around to examining the book he and Buffy had obtained in their ill-fated drinking contest. With the aid of his spare reading glasses, he was hoping to find at least a few scraps of useful information in the tome, but that was seeming rather unlikely in the face of his first discovery about its origins.

"Yeah?" she yelled down from the loft, "Did you figure out what language it is yet?"

"Errr, yes, actually."

She leaned over the bannister, regarding him hopefully. "Well, what is it?"

"I… well, I'm rather sure it's…"

"Get that adorable mouth working, Giles!"

"It's Klingon."

"WHAT?"

"I really don't think this book is going to be of much help, Buffy."

She came running down the stairs, hurrying to look over his shoulder. "I thought you said Babylonian?"

"Unfortunately not," he frowned.

Throwing her hands up, she leaned against the edge of the desk. "Well that's just great. So, the Council's tests?"

"I'm afraid we don't have much choice." He took her hand, trying to calm her.

Deflating, she slid her arms around his neck in a loose embrace. After a thoughtful pause, she tilted her head. "Are you sure punching Quentin Travers is totally out of the question?"

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