Giles paced around his flat. It felt strangely empty. Strange, because he’d been the only one in it night upon night for months. Yes, they’d reconciled, Giles and his two young friends and his Slayer. They’d become one, for a short while, in an experience of intensity Giles would never forget. They’d clung to each other afterward, spending last night dreaming together in Buffy’s living room, and he’d been grateful for the continued contact. But they’d separated again this morning. He was left to spend his day alone.
He ached for them. He wondered if they missed him the same way. They all had lovers to be with, partners to share their nights. Probably they didn’t miss him. It was late, and he had no hope they’d share evening plans with him.
Giles sighed, and went to the kitchen to put the kettle on. Before he could so much as turn on the tap, he heard a knock at the door. He trotted around to open it. “Xander,” said Giles, letting his pleasure show.
“Hey,” said Xander. He stepped through the door. “Brought you some cider. American-style. Thought we might build a fire and drink it. Or something.”
“A fire. Good idea. I’ll just… Glasses are in the cupboard.”
“Yeah, I remember where stuff is.” Xander took himself off to the kitchen. Giles popped out his back door to grab a few armfuls of the logs he had stacked just outside. The March night was crisp, as desert nights were in California. It had surprised him for a time, how sharp the contrast could be between daytime warmth and the nighttime chill. The fire would feel good. He laid kindling in the grate, then loosely balled yesterday’s newspaper over it. He opened the flue.
Xander came back, holding two glasses of cider, opaque and dark. Giles lit a long kitchen match and touched it to the newspaper in several spots. He tossed the match on top, then stood back. He took the glass that Xander handed him, and sipped. The cider tasted good. Tart. He put the glass on the mantel, then started adding logs to the fire as the kindling caught. He looked at Xander.
“What brings you here tonight?”
“I dunno. Just had a feeling that you could use some company. And that I could too. Which is weird, considering I left a kinda grumpy girlfriend to come here.” Xander shrugged. He set his glass down on the hearth and knelt to watch the fire. Giles put the screen in place.
Another knock sounded at the door. Giles looked at Xander, who shrugged again. He opened the door again. “Willow!” She grinned at him, a little abashed, then came in as he stepped aside for her. She stopped to hug him. He squeezed her gratefully.
“I come bearing chocolate,” she said.
“Hey, Wills,” said Xander.
“Come sit by the fire with us,” said Giles, hospitably. “Would you like some cider? Xander brought it. Or I could make tea.” He distributed to them some of the chocolate bar Willow had handed him.
“Cider’s cool, thanks.” Willow went over to Xander and sat next to him. The pair put their arms around each other. Giles brought Willow her glass. He turned off the overhead lights, leaving just the fire and his dragonfly lamp to light the room. He sat in the armchair nearby. The logs popped as they caught, sending sparks drifting lazily up the chimney. He’d snuck a cedar log into the mix, and it smelled heavenly. Giles felt immensely better already.
The door knocker sounded again. Giles smiled at the two friends on his hearth, and they grinned back. They knew who it had to be. Giles opened the door to confirm that indeed, it was Buffy. He opened his arms to her as she came in. She moved into his embrace and returned it one-handed. She had a canister in one hand. She handed it to him. “Keemun,” she said. “Didn’t see it in your collection last time I was here, and thought you might like some.”
“Oh!” said Giles. “Thank you. I noticed it at the shop the other day, and kept meaning to try it.”
“Hey Will, Xand.” Buffy took off her sweater and joined them on the floor in front of the fire.
“Would you like to try the tea?” Giles said. “Or Xander’s cider?”
“Cider sounds great,” Buffy said. “Tea tomorrow night or something.”
Giles brought her a glass and some chocolate, then returned to his armchair. He watched the three of them snuggled together on his floor, and was happy.
“Riley was kinda pissed that I ditched him tonight,” said Buffy. She kicked off her shoes and stuck them under the couch, out of the way.
“Anya was too. But I just felt Giles needed some company.”
“Yeah, exactly,” Buffy said. “Wanted to see Giles. And am stoked to see you guys here too.”
“Tara didn’t mind,” Willow said. “She said it was understandable we’d want to be together a lot after a working like that.”
“Understatement of the year,” Xander said. He emptied his glass, then lay back on the carpet.
The fire was burning nicely. Giles got up and poked at it, more for something to do than because it needed poking. He added another log. He relaxed back in his chair and had a piece of chocolate. He considered Tara’s assessment. At first he’d thought that was the correct explanation, just residual effects of the union. Now he wondered if it weren’t something more, perhaps something more permanent. The book he’d found the spell in had said something about lowering barriers among those involved in the union. At the time, Giles had been only too eager to lower any barriers between himself and Buffy. Now… well, he found he still didn’t mind. Even though it had lowered the barriers between him and Xander, as well as Buffy and Willow. He knew what was in the young man’s heart now, and knew it was admirable.
The fire popped. Giles yawned.
“Giles,” said Buffy. “Do you still have those extra pillows in your upstairs closet?”
“I’ll fetch them,” Giles said. He came back down with all of his pillows, even the ones on his bed, and two thick comforters. Xander got up and helped him spread them out on the carpet. It wasn’t as soft as a mattress would have been, but it was nicer than just the carpet. Giles handed out the pillows, then retreated to the armchair. He watched the three of them strip off extra layers, shoes and socks, and in the case of Xander, his shirt as well. They settled down together. He turned off the dragonfly lamp.
“Aren’t you joining us, Giles?” said Willow.
“I’m fine right here,” he said, though he did long for the touch they were sharing with each other.
Buffy crawled over to him. “At least take off your shoes and socks,” she said, and did it for him. She rubbed his feet, and that satisfied his craving a little. It wouldn’t be enough, though, not with what he ached for right there in front of him.
“Oh, all right,” he said. He slipped down to the floor next to Buffy. He pulled off his jumper, but refused to remove the shirt underneath it. He curled himself around his Slayer, feeling her warm and solid and safe against his chest. Giles let the sound of his friends’ breathing lull him to sleep.
Xander walked down the steps toward Giles’ patio, a little nervous. He had a backpack slung over a shoulder, and in his arms a stack of large pizzas. Pepperoni and mushroom for him; standard veggie for Willow; artichoke hearts, garlic, and jalapeños for that sicko Giles. Buffy would eat some of all three. Assuming they showed up. Xander had bought the pizzas on a hunch, and his hunches sometimes went way bad.
He braced the pizzas against the wall for a moment and knocked. Giles opened the door, and once again flashed that big happy grin that meant Xander had at least gotten some of it right. “Pizza boy,” Xander said, completely unnecessarily. Giles beckoned him in and looked behind him.
“The others not with you?” he asked.
“Naw. Haven’t seen them yet today. I kinda expected them to be here already, actually.” Giles cleared off the kitchen counter and Xander spread the boxes across it.
“I have a feeling they’ll be by soon,” Giles said. “Let’s leave the pizza unmolested for a few minutes. If you’re capable of it.”
“Control yourself, big guy. I saw that look of lust when you smelled the garlic.” Xander patted Giles on the shoulder, then wandered to the section of flat they always called the living room. Giles had the fire laid already, just waiting for an excuse to light it. Xander grinned at that. He struck a match from the box on the mantel and set it going, the way he’d seen Giles do it last night. It was another cool night, and the day had been wet.
Somebody knocked. Xander and Giles smiled at each other. Xander answered it. Both Buffy and Willow were there. They each had bags with. They trooped in and dumped the bags next to the couch.
“I smell pizza!” said Buffy and her Slayer metabolism.
“Xander very thoughtfully brought our favorites,” said Giles. “Come and, er, tuck in.”
Giles pulled a six-pack of Coke out of his fridge. Xander grabbed a can, handed another to Buffy. Giles popped the top on one for himself, which almost made Xander do a spit-take. He managed not to do that, or snort Coke out his nose, or even tease Giles the way he might have. Somehow he just didn’t want to needle the guy any more.
He piled a plate with ‘za and flopped on the couch. When they were all munching away, he made his big announcement. “Broke up with Anya today,” he said, and waited for the reactions.
“Xander, I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Shit, Xan. What happened?”
“I dunno what happened,” Xander said. “I was watching her talk to me, not hearing anything she said, pretty much. I realized that sex aside, I just don’t really like Anya. I have nothing in common with her. She bugs me when I’m not too busy coming to notice.”
Buffy nodded sympathetically. He scarfed down about half of another slice.
“What did you say when you figured it out?” asked Willow.
He swallowed the rest of the slice before answering. “Nothing right away. It was a shocker. Made me think for a minute. Then she said, and I shit you not, that I was not allowed to spend a third night in a row with you guys instead of her. That was it. I asked her to give me my basement key back.”
“How did she react?” said Giles, quietly from his armchair.
“Not well, let me tell you. I got the full ‘you’re scorning me’ treatment. When she started in on the gross genital mutilation stuff I told her to just get out.”
“No way you should have to put with with that crap in your own place.” Buffy took the tough stance, as usual.
“Are you doing all right?” Giles said, again quietly.
“Yeah, I’m okay. It helped to know that you guys don’t really like her. And you can’t tell me otherwise. I know what goes on inside you.” That spell the other day had been an eye-opener for him in a lot of ways.
“Like we do you,” said Willow. She scooted over next to him on the couch and put her head on his shoulder. “You’ll be bummed for a while, then you’ll be okay.” Buffy scooted over on the floor and leaned against his knees.
“Bummage period greatly shortened by quality comfort like this,” he said. “Also by pizza.”
“I’ll just toss the rest of the box at you, shall I?” said Giles. He did bring another couple of slices to Xander, then plunked himself into the vacant space at the other end of the couch. Buffy slid over when he did that, and switched to leaning against Giles’ knees. Giles looked surprised, then happy again.
“So, enough about my love life. What’s going on with you guys?”
“Everything’s okay with me and Tara,” said Willow.
“I’ll pretend I wasn’t asked,” said Giles.
“Eh,” said Buffy. “Riley is still all bandaged up, and he’s off drinking tonight. Says if I won’t hang with him, he has no choice but to get drunk with the boys.”
“That’s five different kinds of bullshit,” Xander said, feeling pissed off for Buffy. You always had a choice about getting drunk.
“My word, yes,” said Giles. “Don’t let him tell you such nonsense, Buffy.”
“No fear. I know the difference between a Slayer and a doormat.”
Giles reached down and mussed up her hair affectionately. Xander knew from the union how much Giles cared about Buffy. Buffy had to know now, too. In fact, he’d clued in how much Giles cared about all of them, and how awful the last few months had been for him. Xander hoped Giles had paid attention and figured out that they all loved him right back. Maybe soon he’d be able to say something about it.
Xander and the gang hung out for the rest of the night. After the pizza was well and truly gone, Giles made some of that tea Buffy had given him. He pronounced it good, best drunk with milk. Willow tried it and said she liked it too. Buffy and Xander shrugged, and drank their mugs. Tasted like tea to them.
When bedtime came around, Giles pulled the bedding out from where he had it folded and stacked, in the hall closet. He stumped upstairs to change into pajamas, still too stodgy to strip down in front of them. Xander opened his backpack and tada! produced a toothbrush and pj bottoms to sleep in. He felt pretty smart until Buffy and Willow opened their bags to produce the same. And changes of clothes. And makeup.
He slept on the floor again, between two hot chicks. He hoped they didn’t notice that he was feeling kinda horny. Actually it would be cool if they did notice. Giles once again was all cuddled up to Buffy. Willow maybe wanted to get near him, Xander thought, but Giles was still too shy.
They’d have to start working on that.
The next night it was Buffy’s turn to drag up to Giles’ door ahead of the others, in need of some extra comfort. Or maybe in need of milking it a little. She wasn’t sure. She knew was she was supposed to be feeling bad, but somehow she couldn’t quite work up to it. She let herself in, and slung her duffel into the hallway. She had broken down and packed a bunch of clothes, so she wouldn’t have to hit the dorm tomorrow unless she’d forgotten a book there or something. Riley had definitely been giving off the wanna-get-pushy vibe, and being absent from the push zone was probably sound tactics.
Giles was in the kitchen, cooking. She smelled good stuff, though she couldn’t really name it. Giles tended to explore the range of cooking that came with the word “cuisine” tacked on the end, which was out of Buffy’s expertise. She marched in and gave him a hello hug. He kissed the top of her head, hands full with a potholder and a wooden spoon.
“Can I do anything?”
“Yes, please. Chop the salad makings, if you would. They’re all over there, next to the cutting board.”
“Cool. Slayer good with knives.” Buffy knew this from experience. She could chop veggies like that chick in “The long kiss goodnight”, complete with pin-the-tomato-on-the-door finish. No fancy camera cuts necessary. She let rip with the slice-age. This was the fun part of cooking.
Giles was beating something in a little bowl with a fork. “Dressing,” he said to her, holding it out for her to sniff. It was vinegary and mustardy and made her mouth water.
“You can make that at home?”
“Of course, you silly girl.”
Just then Willow came in from the campus, then Xander, a little sweaty from work. His construction job had picked up again today, as they’d heard when he’d called in that morning.
“Xander, you just have time for a quick shower before dinner,” said Giles.
“What, you don’t like my manly scent? Yeah, okay, stench.” He vanished into the bathroom with his bag.
Buffy ranged plates across the counter, and Giles served onto them from his array of pans. Xander reappeared as Willow was distributing forks. “My timing is impeccable as always,” he said. “Missed the cooking, showed up for the food.”
“There’ll be the washing up,” said Giles, picking up his plate. Xander groaned. The three followed Giles to sit around the coffee table. No need for a fire tonight. It had been nice out.
Once the munching was underway, Buffy let loose with her news. “Exactly none of you will be surprised to hear that I dumped Riley today.”
“So I gotta ask about protocol here,” said Xander. “Would it be rude of me to cheer?”
“I don’t think so,” said Giles. “Er, sorry, Buffy. Riley didn’t attempt to get on with any of us. At least Anya tried.”
Only Willow’s sweet face quivered with sympathy. “You sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah, truly, Will. I had one of those epiphany things, like Xan had yesterday. Riley and I had absolutely zero chemistry. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I kept pretending because he was cute, and normal. I had this dumb theory that if I weren’t the Slayer, Riley would be exactly what I’d go for.”
Giles made a scoffing noise.
“Yeah, I know. Pre-Slayer Buffy liked ‘em spicier, and Slayer Buffy needs more spicier-er. Even the sex was bland with Mr Iowa.”
“Bland?” said Willow.
“You know, five minutes of foreplay, ten minutes of oral, then the guy climbs on top and whales away. I think the army drilled him on it.”
“I think his problem was that he wasn’t getting drilled,” said Xander. Willow smacked him. “No, seriously.”
“I’m no expert,” said Giles, “but I suspect Xander is right.”
“Whatever,” said Buffy. “I am officially uninterested in Finn sexuality from this moment onward. I much more interested in whatever the heck this is on top of the rice. It is unbelievably yummy.”
Giles blushed. “Thank you. It’s from my new Thai cookbook. Green curry.”
Xander cleaned up after dinner with some token bitching. Buffy had some homework to do, a paper to write for her lit class. Giles also seemed to have some writing to do, sitting at his desk with a leather-bound book and his favorite fountain pen. Willow was re-copying her anthro notes with color-coded pens, which Buffy personally felt was a bit much, but it made Will happy so it was cool. She made some good progress on her paper. When she felt stuck, she just channeled her inner Will and Giles, which was way less like a metaphor now than she would have believed possible.
Around eleven, Giles stood up and stretched.
“I’m sleeping in the loft tonight,” he said, a little awkwardly. “My back can’t take much more of this. You lot are half my age.” Buffy ran upstairs to inspect the loft. Yeah, he’d put all the pillows on the bed. He might be acting like he was choosing to sleep alone, but secretly he was hoping they’d all go with.
“Is there room for us all?” asked Xander.
“Totally,” said Buffy, looking down at him over the railing. “We’ll have to get friendly. Ha, ha. Should be good, though. Cali king bed. Giles, you musta bought a new one some time while I wasn’t looking. Which, yeah, okay, was pretty much the entire time since Thanksgiving. Sorry.” This last quietly to him, as he came up behind her.
“Buffy, love, I understand. It’s okay. You’re here now.” He slipped his arms around her waist from behind, and snugged her back against his wide chest. Giles felt good. Strong, sheltering. Not safe, exactly. He was too definitively masculine to be safe. But not dangerous. He smelled good, too. Buffy liked his soap. One of the nice things about crashing in his place and using his shower in the mornings was the chance to use his soap, and carry that woody Giles-smell around with her all day. It had been one of the things Riley had complained about, actually, that she didn’t smell like his girl any more. ‘His girl.’ Fooey.
The bad thing about sharing Giles’ shower, however, was that there were four of them. And his water heater was tiny. Buffy wondered if it would be okay to suggest that they go in on a bigger place together. She was pretty sure Xander would jump at the chance. Willow probably would, depending on the Tara sitch. Giles was the big unknown. He might freak, or he might be quietly overjoyed. Buffy rubbed his arm gently, pushing his sweater back so she could touch his skin. He looked nice once you peeled all the layers off him. A bit muscly, just enough chest hair to be sexy, a few scars here and there that let you know he had lived and fought alongside a Slayer. Pity he was so shy about his body.
Xander looked good too. Buffy contemplated him as he popped up into the loft, in his jammy bottoms, chest bare. No hair, which she thought meant he was just young and hadn’t had time to grow it yet. Nice pecs and biceps. Flat tummy, with a line of dark hair disappearing down into the jammies that was starting to make Buffy curious. “Hey,” said Xander. “Do I get Giles-hugs too?”
“Come here,” said Giles, surprising Buffy. He shifted her into his left arm, and stretched out his right for Xander. He held them both tight. Buffy looked up and saw that his eyes were closed. She met Xander’s gaze and they smiled at each other. They both stretched up at the same time and kissed the nearest Giles cheek. He made a happy sound, and kept his eyes closed.
Just then Willow appeared. “Let me in on the hug action,” she said. Xander and Buffy each stuck an arm out, and she tucked herself in. Giles leaned down and kissed her forehead. That Hello Kitty nightshirt was just too adorable. Buffy liked cute-Will better than earth-momma-Will, so she approved of the nightie. It was a little see-through. Buffy peeked, and thought about Sappho-land and what might be good about it. Maybe not good in general, because she couldn’t see herself jumping Tara’s bones, nice as Tara was. But Willow, probably. Buffy rubbed her hand up and down Will’s back.
It was all too good for words, at least for any words Buffy had. Maybe word-guy Giles had some, or babble-girl Willow. She’d long since moved on from feeling it was weird. It was just a thing that had happened because of the unification spell. They knew each other now, inside and out, and a little bit of everybody was inside everybody else. They were complete when they were together.
Buffy’s opinion was that it was going to turn out to be a good thing for the Slaying. When the next crisis came up, they would be a tight unit. They’d trust each other. They’d know how to work together without even talking about it. Nobody was gonna come between them again.
Giles let go at last. “Must brush my teeth,” he said. He took his pajamas out of one of the lower drawers in his bureau.
Buffy watched him head downstairs. When she heard the bathroom door click behind him, she got onto the bed with Xan and Will. “Giles is scared,” she said.
“Yeah, I can feel it,” said Xander. “He has a really hard time letting people in.”
“He wants it, though. He looked so lost and lonely the other night, Buffy, until you went over to him and made him cuddle with us.”
“So that’s what we have to do,” Xander said. “Just keep on making sure he’s with us. He’s getting there.”
“Gently though,” Buffy said. “Lots of TLC.” She got up, then, and fished her nightie out of the drawer she’d put it in earlier, and changed.
Giles trailed through the house, putting the lights out behind himself. Buffy slipped out of bed when he came upstairs and made him get in next to Willow. She got under the covers on his other side. He was a little tense at first, uncertain, then he melted when Willow snuggled up to him.
“Good night, Mary-Ellen,” said Xander.
“Good night, Ben,” Willow said.
Buffy stifled a snicker. No sense encouraging them.
Willow showed up at home a bit late the next night, sniffling. The others had held up dinner, waiting for her. They held it up some more to gather around her and console her. They could probably guess, but she had to say it anyway.
“Tara?” said Buffy.
“Yeah,” Willow said, wiping at her nose. Giles handed her one of his handkerchiefs. She blew, and got herself together, mostly. “I think we can still be friends. I hope so, anyway.”
“We all like her,” said Xander. “It’s just…”
“Yeah, I know. She’s not one of us. She wanted to make love this afternoon, and I couldn’t. All that passion was just gone.” It had been bewildering. She could still appreciate Tara, know she was a good person, know even that she was sexy. But there was a wall there now. It was the spell. She’d tried to explain it to Tara, and Tara had known almost before she started what she was going to say.
It had been the first sense Willow had that the spell had cost them something. Had Xander really been all that out of sync with Anya? Did Buffy really have no connection with Riley? Willow thought probably those relationships would have ended, eventually. Not as soon as they did. Not as definitively. The union had chopped those three people right out of their lives. They none of them would be getting close to anybody else, ever.
If she had to balance the books, she’d say that she got way more from it than she’d paid. The four of them would be together for the rest of their lives, or until the union broke somehow. Which was a sad thought. But until then, they had something nobody else could give them, something profound and deep and wonderful. Willow was going to treasure it.
They ate dinner together solemnly. Not sadly, just quietly. Willow felt the strong support of the other three around her. They all touched her, stroked her a little when they passed near her. She understood what Xander had meant the other night, about the quality comfort. Her mind was already turning away from the people she’d been with before, from Tara and from Oz, to her three new life partners.
Wow, that’s what they were. That thought carried Willow through dinner, and doing the dishes, and settling down to her differential equations homework.
At bedtime, they all just headed right up to Giles’ loft. Their loft. Their big bed. Buffy had already appropriated a drawer. Willow went looking to see if she could find some more space in Giles’ armoire. The man was organized in ways she hadn’t dreamed of before this. If only she had the drawer space! She found he’d cleared space already for them.
Xander stripped down right there in the loft, to Snoopy boxers. Willow squealed to see them. She’d given them to him a couple of years before for his birthday. He flopped himself back on the bed. “Was too warm in the long pants last night,” Xander said. “That comforter plus you guys next to me was hella hot.”
“Agreed,” said Buffy. She left off the bottoms of her sushi pjs. The top was long enough to cover her butt, just barely. Willow appreciated the view of the high-cut lace underneath. Buffy always had done sexy better than Willow had. Willow had cute nailed, though. She knew that.
They sprawled all over the top of the bedcovers, giggling a little. Xander cuddled up behind her, arm over her waist. She turned in his arms to face Buffy. Willow moved in and sneaked a quick kiss, nothing too sloppy or wiggy. Buffy snickered.
She heard a throat clearing. Giles was over at his closet door, opening it and sticking his shoes away. On a shoe tree, of course. Xander was fiddling around, running a hand over her and over Buffy. Willow sighed. Giles closed the closet door and came over to the bedside. Willow watched his gaze rove over all three of them before he cast it down at his feet. He was in full jammies.
Buffy harumphed, and got up. She decisively took Giles’ pajama top off. “You’re going to boil in that, Brit-guy,” she told him. Willow would have done the same, but Buffy was willing to get pushier with Giles than she was. Giles was Buffy’s Watcher, which gave her some extra rights over him. Besides, he was obviously comfier with Buffy to start with. Though Willow knew she’d eventually get him to relax with her. Eventually.
Giles extracted the top from Buffy’s grip, and put it back on. He buttoned it all the way up to the neck. Willow decided that now was a good time to get a teeny bit pushy, and went over. She undid three buttons. She rubbed his chest a little, just a brief hello to the triangle of fuzz exposed. Giles cleared his throat again, then got into bed without saying anything or doing the buttons up.
Willow got comfort privileges, sandwiched in between the two guys. This time Giles turned on his side to face her, and snuck an arm around her. Xander did the same, stretching his arm out far enough to be over both her and Giles. Buffy got in next to Xander, and then they all went to sleep. Willow didn’t drop off right away. She was thinking about the fact that Xander had an erection, and it was right up against her butt, and she didn’t mind. Maybe not so gay now? Or maybe she’d been bi all along. Confusing.
The last thing she noticed before she dropped off was that Giles was hard, too, where she’d unconsciously slipped her leg up between his.
The next night was a Friday night. Willow and Buffy had their psych class, taught by somebody a whole heckuva lot more normal than Walsh had ever been, with the usual weedy graduate TA instead of a soldier boy. Buffy whispered to Willow that she wanted to do a fluffy sexy food dinner thing that night. Not too heavy. Willow asked Buffy what food was sexy, to which Buffy replied that she’d hoped Will would have some ideas about that. Buffy didn’t actually seem to need any suggestions, when it came time to shop. Willow was along for the Slayer-ride down the aisles to collect fruit and sparkling cider and bread and cheese, clinging with feet tucked onto the undercarriage of the shopping cart while Buffy spun giggling, terrorizing the stock clerk.
“An orgy of domesticity,” Buffy told Willow later, in their kitchen. Willow watched Buffy do the slicing thing she loved doing, showing off. Giles also watched, from the safety of the other side of the pass-through, with that little glow on his face he got watching his Slayer in action.
Willow laid it all out on a tray, which Buffy carried out to the living room. Giles dug around in a cabinet and pulled out a bottle of white wine, and four glasses from their spots hanging under the cupboards. He poured some for all of them, which made Willow feel very adult and sophisticated. She swirled it around and sipped and wondered exactly she was supposed to be noticing and liking about it. It was okay, she guessed, maybe a tiny bit sweet. German name, but a California winery. Buffy seemed to be enjoying it. And Giles had nearly finished his glass already. Though maybe that was nerves. Buffy was pouring him some more.
Xander mostly ignored his glass and munched olives and bread.
“Hey,” said Willow. “I was thinking earlier today, which is something I try to do every day at least a little bit, ‘cause, you know, brains are good.”
“Brain and brain,” murmured Xander.
“I was thinking that maybe we needed a bigger place, you know?”
“Bigger water heater,” said Buffy, immediately.
“Anything that’s not a basement is okay by me,” Xander said.
“Ah,” said Giles. “The classifieds are on my desk. I, erm, took the liberty of marking a few places I thought might be suitable. The rental market in Sunnydale is very favorable at the moment. Frankly, it was favorable three years ago when I moved here.”
“What? No one wants to live on a Hellmouth? Go figure!” said Xander.
“Good work, Giles,” said Buffy, taking charge. “Go for it.”
Willow giggled. “Giles knows exactly what kind of place we all want.”
“I do,” he said. “I’ll start looking at properties after this weekend.”
After dinner, Giles lit the fire again. It was a little on the warm side in the apartment, but Willow thought that was good planning. Maybe clothes would be coming off.
Xander sat her down on the carpet in front of the hearth. He pulled her close and kissed her. Willow loved the feel of Xander, the life-long familiar smell of him close to her. She remembered how much she’d liked it back in high school, when they’d had their disastrous fling. She’d never really let go of the longing for him. The kissing got serious. Xander’s hands began to wander. He found his way inside Willow’s blouse, and she whimpered.
She heard a sudden chair-scrape. They broke off to look up. Giles had stood up from his desk. He looked embarrassed. “I’ll, uh, leave you to it. I have some reading to do.” He took his book and fled upstairs. Willow was sad to watch him. She beckoned Buffy over. The three put their heads together.
“Plan of action?” Xander whispered.
Willow had thought this through earlier. “Seduction. We gotta get him excited before he knows what’s happening to him.”
“Get started right in front of him,” Buffy whispered. “Love each other where he can see us and hear us. He won’t be able to resist.”
Xander said, “And then we gotta concentrate on him for a little. Payoff will be huge, I think.”
“Yeah,” said Buffy. “Once we get to him, he’ll go up like, um, a dry thing. That burns.”
Xander said, “I brought some supplies. Condoms. And lube.”
Willow giggled. “I brought some too. Stopped at that women-positive place at lunchtime. I felt silly, ‘cause last time I was there it was for gay stuff. You know, dolphin-shaped vibrator.”
“Woah. Didn’t know they came in animal shapes. Well, I brought some flavored massage oil. Whatcha gonna do with the lube, Xan?”
“I was kinda hoping Giles,” said Xander. Willow giggled again.
“Think he’ll be interested in it?” said Buffy.
“The idea scared the heck out of me at first, then Anya got me to do it. Took it right up the butt. And I’m here to say, ooh la la. Giles will like it.” Xander had a look of possessive anticipation.
Well, that was news. Willow hadn’t pegged Xander as kinky boy. At least he’d gotten something useful out of those months with Anya. They’d probably gone through the Joy of Sex like it was a checklist. Knowing Anya, there’d probably been an actual checklist. Willow stopped that line of speculation short right there.
Willow got her stuff out and handed it to Xander. Xander followed Buffy up the stairs. Willow ran around shutting up the apartment for the night, then went up.
Giles sat in the comfy chair he had up next to his bed, book in one hand and a full wineglass in the other. The lamp standing just behind the chair was the only light left on in the apartment, now that Willow had switched things off downstairs. Giles watched Willow move into the loft a little nervously. “What have you lot got planned?”
“It’s okay, Giles. Just going to relax a little,” said Willow. Buffy went to stand behind the armchair. She rubbed Giles’ shoulders. He put the book down, and sipped.
“Hey, big guy. Where’s the best place to put these?” Xander held up the two boxes of condoms.
Giles flushed very red and stammered. “Nightstand. Top drawer.”
Xander pulled it open and looked around inside. “Hey, even more. Nice! Japanese brand. And more lube! Unopened. Well, looks like we have enough to get through the week. And we got some more cool stuff in here too.”
Giles had his face in his hands. “Xander, I beg you. Stop.” Willow went over to him and rubbed his back. Xander came over as well and put a hand on Giles’ shoulder.
“Hey, I’m sorry. I know you’re shy guy.”
“It’s all right. I invited you to look. My fault,” Giles said, through his hands.
“No, really, it was me.” Xander bent and kissed Giles’ red ear. Buffy made a frustrated face at him from behind Giles’ back. She kept rubbing his shoulders, and Giles slowly put down his hands. He picked up his glass again. That was how it was going to be, Willow guessed. He wanted it as much as they did, planned for it just like they did, but had inhibitions to get past. Probably he was upset about how much younger they were. And who knows, maybe there was something about his Slayer, too.
But the magic couldn’t be denied. They were one, now, somewhere deep inside.
Xander had unbuttoned his shirt. He held out his hand to her, and invited her onto the big bed. Willow got up with him. They picked up where they’d left off downstairs, kissing each other slow and soft. Xander knew all the places to touch her, and was so tender. Just like she’d remembered him. She was more hesitant with him, because it had been a long time. Xander undid her blouse, and took it off. She’d gone braless today, thinking of this moment tonight. Xander seemed to appreciate it, saying, “oh yeah” then bending down to kiss her breasts. Willow loved that. She lay back on the pillows and ran her fingers through Xander’s hair, urging him on. Soft and thick, a little springy. Nice hair.
Eventually they managed to get all their clothes off. Willow was spending a lot of time kissing Xander. She licked her way down his chest and over his tummy. She kissed his thighs, then tried out kissing the other Xander-bits right there. Xander said, “Mmm, please, yeah, suck me, Will. Do it.”
Xander scooched himself back against the headboard. Willow lay between his legs. “I’ve never done this before,” she said, looking up a little anxiously.
“It’s okay, Will. Just do what’s fun, and stop when you feel like it. Anything you try will feel good.” Xander stroked her face.
Willow got started slowly, running her hands all over Xander’s body, over the fur between his legs, then over his penis. It was bigger than Oz’s had been, definitely thicker. But Oz had been all-over compact, and Xand was a bigger guy. She licked the top, cautiously, all around that ridge, and surprise! It wasn’t yucky. It was like concentrated essence of Xander. And he made a nice sound when she did it, which was fun. Willow decided to give the project a thorough analytical basis: exactly which things would make Xander make the most noise? Or make him thrash hardest? Hands cupped around his balls like this? Squeezing a little? Scraping her teeth oh so gently up and down? Taking him all the way in as deep as she could, lips tight around him?
After a while, it seemed like anything would make him moan, then he was warning her, and then he was exploding into her mouth in sharp pulses and it was totally okay. Willow swallowed, and thought it was nice to have some of Xander inside her, part of her now. Though maybe that thought was too weird to say out loud.
Xander slumped back and looked like he’d be out of commission for a few minutes. Willow was all worked up. She looked over at Buffy and Giles. Buffy was sitting on Giles’ lap, with her arms around his neck. Willow beckoned, and Buffy nodded.
“Coming with me, Giles sweetie?”
Giles closed his eyes and shook his head. “Go ahead,” he said, in a funny voice. “I’m fine.”
Buffy gave Giles a long kiss, then got off his lap. She stripped off, efficiently, like she wasn’t feeling like wasting any time. She crawled right over to Willow and grabbed her for a long, sloppy kiss. She was different from Tara under Willow’s hands, a lot harder and stronger. But she had the same girl-bits, which Willow knew and loved. Buffy seemed to want to jump right into the whole same-sex experience feet-first. Or tongue-first. Maybe Willow could convince Buffy to use that tongue somewhere else.
As it turned out, yes. Easily. Willow got on her back, letting Buffy crawl on top where she’d have more control and could bail out if she wigged. Not that Buffy was looking like wigging. She gave her body to Willow with total trust.
Now this Willow was an expert on. She was pretty sure she could turn Buffy into quivering jelly before Buffy knew what was happening. Okay, she hadn’t expected this competitive streak to be there. Didn’t matter. Willow figured that the urge to bring her friend to orgasm after orgasm was totally cool. Buffy was easy. Buffy was fun. Buffy had erogenous zones on her erogenous zones. If Riley hadn’t been able to figure this out, then Riley had been a big dope. Buffy was a quivering mass in no time at all. Buffy surprised her, though, by figuring out which Willow-buttons to push pretty fast, and by maintaining control even when shuddering around Willow’s tongue. Slayer skill, probably. Very handy.
Before she knew it, Willow felt that taste in the back of her throat that meant she was nearly there, then she was saying something, she didn’t even know what, then she was coming with Buffy over her and Xander rubbing her feet.
Xander was all re-energized, it seemed. Maybe watching two women do it right next to you got men going. Or maybe it was just being nineteen. Willow had to sack out for a little, but Slayer stamina kicked in for Buffy, who was up and getting acquainted with those delicious Xander kisses.
“Just so you guys know,” Buffy said. “I’m on the Pill. If you’re clean, I’m good.”
“Music to my ears,” said Xander. Willow watched him kneel between Buffy’s legs. They both looked at her spread open before them, unashamed. Willow hadn’t seen a lot of women, but she thought Buffy was pretty, all clean lines and muscle. Judging by Xander’s face, he thought so too. Willow sneaked a peek at Giles. He was watching as well, drinking in Buffy with an awed and longing look. He had a hand cupped over the front of his jeans.
Xander slid himself home inside Buffy and groaned. “You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting for this,” he said.
“Oh yes, we do,” Willow said, grinning at him.
“Oh, yeah. Right.” Xander withdrew and thrust once, hard. Buffy said “yeah”. At that Xander went into motion, hard and fast. Buffy lifted her legs and draped them over his shoulders. Willow watched, fascinated. She’d never thought she’d be able to watch two people do it in person, so close to her. So close she could touch them. It was amazingly exciting to hear them and watch their bodies coming together. Willow knelt up and moved to where she could touch both of them at once. Xander slowed down a little and grinned at her. “C’mere,” he said. His fingers found Willow’s clit, circling around her, and just like that Willow came again and again, hanging onto Xander so she wouldn’t collapse.
She fell back on the bed when she’d had enough, and watched Xander and Buffy finishing. Their faces were so neat when they came, all red and squinchy and ecstatic. Willow could watch that every night for the rest of her life.
They hugged for a while afterwards, calming down and letting the sweat cool. Xander tugged at Willow’s arm, and pointed over at Giles. Giles’ eyes were closed, and his hand was moving slowly over the front of his jeans.
“Giles?” said Buffy, getting up.
He froze in place, looking horribly guilty. Buffy went over to him and put her hand over his. Willow got up and went to him and knelt in front of him. Xander came over too.
He was caught. Buffy held his hand in place, over his crotch, pressing down. He wanted to writhe against it, he was so desperately randy. Instead he hung his head, ashamed. Willow and Xander caressed his face and hair, lifting his chin until he was forced to meet their eyes.
“What do you want?” Buffy asked him. She kissed his lips, then asked again. Was that Xander’s hand on him, stroking his cock? God, it was. They knew what he wanted already; they had to. But they were insisting that he say it. He struggled to speak.
“All of you,” Giles said at last. “I want all three of you.” Willow pulled him to his feet. Xander’s hand stopped stroking and started unbuttoning. “Oh god, I can’t. Please. I need you so much and I can’t.”
“Ssh,” said Willow. “It’s okay. We’ll make it okay for you. We know what you need.” She lifted his shirt over his head. Xander slid his jeans down his hips. Buffy followed with his boxers, gently lifting the elastic over his cock. He stepped out of them obediently.
They guided him onto the bed. Buffy encouraged him to kneel up with his legs spread wide. The three of them surrounded him, hands on him, touching him everywhere, on his face, around his neck, over his chest, across his stomach, down his back, between his legs, along his cock, down his thighs. They knew him. Their fingers laid him bare. He had no secrets left.
He lunged to get off the bed. Buffy pinned him in place, her strong hands holding his together and still. He trembled against her. He watched Willow roll a condom onto Xander and slick lubricant onto it. Willow’s hands again, on his backside, clever fingers cool and slippery, sliding in and opening him, while Buffy stilled his helpless thrusts. Xander kissed him when he began to moan, wide mouth fastening wet over Giles’, his tongue tracing Giles’ lips. Giles realized he had surrendered. He had chosen to give himself to them. He stopped pushing against Buffy. He yielded his mouth to Xander, allowing his broad tongue in deep. Xander and Willow both pulled away and Giles whimpered in protest. Buffy laid a finger across his lips. “Don’t worry,” she said. “Xander isn’t going far.” And Xander hadn’t gone far, just around behind him. Giles felt the head of Xander’s cock nudge him.
“Okay?” said Xander.
“Yes, god, yes,” said Giles. “Take me take me take me.” Xander had begun invading him at the first yes, splitting him impossibly wide. The burn and the pleasure were both wonderful. Buffy still held him, giving him something to brace against. She’d moved a hand down to cup his balls, which was also wonderful.
“So tight,” Xander said. “Tight and virginal.” He pushed himself in a little further.
“I am,” Giles said. “Jesus. Xander.”
“Am I the first?” Xander said, voice rough in Giles’ ear.
“The first, the only, oh god, so good.”
Xander slipped deeper inside him, sheathed all the way. He held still a moment, letting Giles feel his body sunk deep inside. The feeling stunned him. He had never imagined it. He was utterly open and exposed. Giles’ cock twitched against his belly, painfully hard. Something soft touched it, soft and wet. He opened his eyes and looked down. Buffy, tasting him, and watching his face. He met her eyes and stayed locked on her as she mouthed her way down. He watched as she bent over him and took him in deep, her tongue stroking him. He almost came just at the sight of her lips closing over him.
Xander started moving just then, slowly pulling out then pushing himself back in. Giles cried out. Willow took his chin and turned him to face her. She looked him deep in the eyes.
“Take this gift, Giles,” she said. “We love you.” She kissed him.
Giles plundered her mouth, tasting Buffy on her lips, Xander on her tongue. When her fingers pinched his nipples and held on hard, he was undone, completely out of control and overwhelmed by sensation. He thrust forward into Buffy’s mouth, pulled back and impaled himself further on Xander’s cock. His moans spiraled up into full-throated cries, stifled by Willow’s mouth on his. He tore himself away from her to cry out his climax with head thrown back, shouting “yes” with each hard throb loosed into Buffy’s throat.
The three of them petted him down, Willow licking the tears from his face, Buffy gently kissing his chest, Xander holding him up with strong arms around his waist, still hard inside him. He made as if to pull out, but Giles grabbed his hands.
“Xander, please,” Giles said, gasping. “Stay inside. Need to feel you.”
“Yeah okay,” said Xander, voice thick with arousal. “Gonna come inside all three of you tonight. Make you mine.” He pushed Giles gently down onto the bed. Willow slipped a pillow under his hips. He spread his legs and offered himself up. Xander started moving inside him again, strong and slow. Giles moaned and whimpered as Xander found the magic spot over and over. Willow was close against his side, doing he didn’t know what with Xander.
Buffy moved over in front of him, her knees on either side of his face.
“Return the favor?” she said.
“Come down where I can reach you,” he said. She slid under him, knees up, feet tucked under his shoulders. It was all he could do to concentrate. His mouth trembled against her as Xander continued to thrust steadily. He traced around her opening with his tongue. He could taste Xander’s seed inside her. He was getting hard again, cock rubbing against the pillow under him. He licked up her center once, slow and strong, and found her clit. He didn’t know whether she liked it soft or hard, and couldn’t find breath to ask. His muscles were still trembling in the aftermath of orgasm. He braced himself on his right hand and slid his left around where he could reach her. He penetrated her in both places at once with thumb and finger and she cried out, clenching down on his hand. He thrust gently into her, licking at her in sync. She was so wet and tasted so good, like sex, like his Slayer.
Xander was moving faster inside him, pushing hard and deep. He could hear the other man groaning above him, and Willow’s voice urging him on. He writhed underneath Xander, bucking back into his pushes wantonly. He tried to keep a steady pace with Buffy, but Xander was clutching his hips and shouting, cock twitching as he came inside Giles. Then he was pulling out, and Giles wanted to weep at the loss. The ache was fantastic. He was still hard, still rubbing himself into the pillow, and Buffy was still unsatisfied in front of him. He could give her the strong pace she needed now. He listened to the cries of his beloved Slayer as his fingers moved within her, his tongue fluttering against her. Willow and Xander were talking to her, encouraging her, telling her to come. And then she was coming, shaking around his fingers, calling his name.
Giles sat up and mopped off his face. Buffy lay sprawled out beneath him, eyes closed, sated. Xander lay back as well, chest covered in sweat. Willow was next to him. He leaned against her, nuzzling into her hair, soaking in her scent of ritual herbs, patchouli, soap. She was lovely.
“What are we going to do about this?” asked Willow. She stroked her palm up along his erection. His breath came ragged.
“Willow,” he said, “I should very much like to…”
“Yes?” She stroked him again. He kissed her. So sweet.
“May I, may I make love to you?”
Her answer was to open another condom, this time for him. She handed it to him and he rolled it on, stroking himself and looking her in the eye. She lay back, between Xander and Buffy, and beckoned him down to lie over her. He entered her in one smooth thrust, knowing she would be slick and ready from her earlier orgasms. Then he remembered he had to be the first man who’d been inside her since Oz, last year. But she was beaming up at him, so she was fine. She wrapped her legs around his, her heels tucked comfortably behind his knees. She giggled as he moved inside her, happy little laughs that grew into gasps when he brought his thumb down to touch her clitoris.
“Gonna go on the pill,” Willow said to him.
“So you can go bare inside me.”
“Yes, please, oh.”
“Yeah,” said Xander. “Wanna pump it into my Willow. What you think, Buffy?”
“I wanna see Giles come,” said Buffy. “I couldn’t see his face before. Wanna see him now.”
Giles felt himself get closer from just those words. “Willow first,” he managed to say, ever the gentleman.
“You hear that, Will?” Xander said. “Giles wants you to come. Wants to hear you. Wants to feel you all around him.”
Buffy’s hand took over for his. Giles leaned forward and braced himself up over Willow’s face. He bent down and kissed her nose. Xander’s hands were on her breasts, caressing. “Come for us, Willow,” he whispered. He could feel the beginnings of her orgasm, her legs stiffening, her breath going short. Then it was on her, and her body was spasming around his. He buried himself deep inside and let go for the second time, crying out wordlessly. He fell forward across her.
Some unknown time later, somebody was helping him to sit up. He took off the condom and tied it, tossed it at the bin. His backside burned. Somebody had bitten his neck, hard. He was sore all over, and sticky. He looked at the three of them, sitting around him, looking just as rumpled as he must be. Giles was deeply happy.
He pulled Xander to him and kissed him. “Next time,” he said, hoarsely, “you’re going to come in my mouth, and then I’m going to fuck you so hard. All three of you. You’re all mine. I love you all.”
“It’s entirely mutual,” said Xander. Willow and Buffy laughed. They coaxed him to lie down. Somebody rescued the duvet from the floor and spread it over them. Giles rested his head on somebody’s shoulder, he no longer knew or cared whose, and fell into sleep, perfectly relaxed at last.
9335 words; reading time 32 min.
tags: c:buffy, c:giles, c:willow, c:xander, core-four, sex:first-time, polyamory, scoobies, season:04, sex:group, f:btvs, p:buffy/giles/willow/xander, p:buffy/riley, p:xander/anya, p:willow/tara, s:core_four