Giles stood barefoot, in t-shirt and jeans and resenting even that much clothing, in the lobby of the Hyperion Hotel. His nerves jumped and his skin itched. Angel spread his hands, helpless and baffled. The Hyperion had no air conditioning. It had never occurred to him to want it. Why did they want it now?
The Santa Ana winds, Wesley said, standing behind Cordelia’s wheelchair, turning the summer night into dry hell, choking it with the desert dust and the ash of forest fires a hundred miles away. Cordelia snorted, and told Angel that it was because it was hot. She waxed long on the topic of vampires and their lack of consideration for the needs of the living, such as the need for ramp access to her room until she recovered. She was still waxing when Xander nudged Giles’ arm and dragged him over to where he’d repaired the surviving ice machine, just off what had been the lobby. Giles gratefully filled the little plastic bucket Xander gave him.
The elevator doors shut on the lobby noise, and it lurched into motion. Giles rode with the ice bucket up to the top floor, where Buffy and he had set up. Set up for what, he had no idea. Nor did he need one, just yet. Days spent lounging poolside under an umbrella, watching Buffy swim while he read, nights spent in restful talk, or restless silence. Tonight it was too hot for either, and too hot to sleep. Dry, itchy.
Anything could happen.
The elevator released him onto the stifling hallway. As he stepped from it, the lights died and the hotel sighed to silence. The doors froze, half-shut behind him. And then a moment later, voices echoing from the stairwell, as its residents called to each other. Giles was enough of a Californian now to curse PG&E and its rolling outages, and still enough Watcher that the darkness of the hallway did not trouble him. He made his sure-footed way to their door, bare feet silent on the carpet.
His Slayer, his lover, was face down on the bed, stretched out diagonally across the sheets. She was wearing a tank top and a pair of his boxer shorts, and looked ridiculous and adorable. She rolled over and sat up, head cocked.
“The building just lost power. I have ice.”
“Power’s out all over. Heard it. There was a sort of collective groan from the street.” She gestured vaguely toward the open window. The breeze coming through was hotter than the air in the room, and bone-dry.
Giles tossed the bucket to her. Buffy caught it easily. He shucked his jeans and let himself fall across the bed next to her. She was on her back, arms clasped loosely around the bucket resting on her belly. Condensation dripped down the sides. She’d rested a single ice fragment on the center of her forehead. Giles watched it melt, watched silvered droplets of water run down to her temples. He set the bucket aside on the bed. He took another piece of ice, already wet and dripping, and ran it down her nose to her lips. She opened her mouth for it, but he painted the ice across her lips, around and around. He let it rest in the groove under her nose. She twitched.
“This is called the philtrum.”
“The root is the Greek word for love. The ancient Greeks thought it was an erogenous zone.”
She smiled at him, and the ice slid down and vanished, a damp spot on the sheets. “So does modern Buffy.”
Giles let his mouth brush over her cool lips. He reached into the bucket for more ice. This piece he slid over her throat, over the pulse point of the carotid, down to the hollow at the base.
“This is the throat. It’s also an erogenous zone, according to some.”
Buffy closed her eyes. “Did the Greeks have a funny name for it?”
“I don’t know,” said Giles.
He kissed the places he’d wet with the ice, bending over her in the dim room. Salt, sweat, peaches. Far below, on the street, a car alarm howled. He reached a hand into the ice bucket and touched it to her breastbone. He traced around the edges of her neckline. Buffy shivered delicately. He pressed his lips to her damp chest, and slipped a hand under her shirt.
Anything could happen.
The car alarm silenced itself at last. The Santa Ana blew hot through the open windows. The curtains lifted and fell with it. Something metallic flapped in the street below. The only sound in their hotel room was Buffy’s gasp as he slid himself home. Giles let himself rest inside her for a moment, eyes closed. Savoring her, and the feeling in his chest. The sweet ache.
It had happened four times before, four times before this summer floating at the Hyperion. All hurried, uncertain. No opportunity for exploration, for taking his time with her. No chance to figure out what she liked, truly. Now, however, now— he had all the time he wanted. He could be patient. Though often she was not.
“What’s the hold up?” she said.
“You said you wanted it slow. It’s a night for slow. And deep.”
Slow and deep to soothe jumping nerves and itching skin. Buffy wrapped her legs around his waist and snugged him close. Her belly, flush against his, was cool and damp from the ice. Her body felt wonderful around him, warm and slick and soft. So sweet. Inexperienced in so many ways, despite her earlier partners. She was curious, however. About sex. About him. About the city around them. Curious and eager for all of life.
He lifted his head to kiss her mouth. Her eyes crinkled, and she giggled against his lips.
“Sorry. Just thinking about you and, you know.”
“Who?” Giles kissed her neck again.
She moved under him, rocking her hips up, and he took the hint and began to move. More slowly than she thought she wanted, withdrawing himself in a long slow tease, then holding himself motionless again until she rose to meet him.
“What brings him to mind?” Giles said, and thrust back in.
Buffy groaned, but could not be dissuaded. “Can’t imagine that guy liking it slow.”
He withdrew himself again. “He’s like you. Impatient. Insatiable.”
Buffy snorted. “Impatient, imprudent, imprisoned.”
“Oh, goodness, no. He sent me a series of mocking postcards from Las Vegas a week later.” They’d been entirely salacious. Giles hadn’t been able to meet the eyes of his postman for weeks.
“You really slept with him. Then he turned you into a demon.”
“Mmmm. Most ungrateful of him.”
She’d dragged parts of the story from him in the first days they’d been here, after she’d seduced him the first time. Seduced? No. All she’d had to do was kiss him, and he’d handed himself over to her again, utterly. He did have a bad habit of giving himself over completely to lovers. Though perhaps it would work out better this time. Hope springs eternal. Difficult not to feel hopeful, here in bed with his Slayer, her restless fingers exploring his chest, stroking down his flanks, striving to tease him into going faster.
His control did not waver. He counted heartbeats, and made her wait.
“You and Ethan. Dating. Can’t picture it.”
Giles laughed. “Dating somehow isn’t… wild enough a word for it.”
“Love isn’t the right word, either. Monomania. Mutual immolation. A year of madness. And sex. And most extraordinary highs. We tried to climb into each other’s skins.”
Buffy made a thoughtful sound, and mussed the hair at his temples. “Can’t picture you in bed, either. Trying to imagine what you did, with him. That night.”
Giles studied his Slayer. There was something in her face, something intense. Restless and unsatisfied. “You want to know what we did?”
“I’ll show you.” Giles withdrew abruptly and knelt over her. He growled at her. “Roll over. Now.”
“Oh my God,” Buffy said, faintly, but she rolled onto her face.
He arranged the pillows under her so her arse was raised to him. He caressed it with the same slow patience he’d shown earlier, when he was painting her skin with ice. Her skin was ghostly pale in the dim light from the windows. He couldn’t see his goal, but he could find it well enough. Brush his fingers around it and make her flinch and tremble with anticipation. Touch her everywhere but that one place, drawing all her attention there.
Giles reached to the nightstand where she had a wide jar of some thick lotion. She’d been using it on her elbows and hands. He screwed off the top and scooped out some onto the fingers of his right hand. It smelled like coconut, not too sweet. He slicked it over himself generously, not lingering. His breath had gone short at the thought of what he was about to do. She’d never been taken this way. He would be the first.
Another scoop of the cream. The coconut scent was strong, and he knew he’d be thinking of this moment every time she used it from now on. He stroked it over and around her, finally touching her.
She jumped. “Oh God.”
“Be still,” with the growl in his voice.
“Just, just… I’m nervous.”
He leaned forward and kissed between her shoulder blades. “I’ll stop if you wish,” he said, softly, all the bluster gone. It was the wrong approach to use with her.
“S’okay. Please. I want to. I’ve always wondered—”
He let his left hand stroke up and down her back, while his right waited.
“I’ve done this many times. It’ll be all right. It’ll feel good. Relax. Like that, yes. Let yourself melt. Trust me. I know what you’re feeling. Mmmm.”
She hummed along with him, and he knew she was finally where he wanted her to be. He let his fingers find their goal again. She let out a breath, and he felt her settle further under his hands.
“That’s right. Feel that? So many nerve endings there. So sensitive. Some people reach orgasm just from this. Yes, that’s it. Let me in.”
He slid his finger in, taking his time, caressing. He hadn’t done this since that night with Ethan. He liked it as much as he always had. The idea that there was no part of his partner’s body off-limits. No part of his own body, for that matter. The idea of the last secrets revealed. Buffy at last responded with a pleased sound.
“Do you like how it feels?”
“Yes. Never thought.”
“Nobody ever touches us here. It’s forbidden. Dirty. Secret.” She opened further for him on those words, and began to move, pushing back just the tiniest bit onto his questing fingers. “Do you like that it’s dirty?”
She hesitated, then nodded.
Giles leaned over her back, holding her close. “My dirty sweet girl. I like that you like it. I want you to feel good.”
On those words he entered her, pressing himself just inside. Buffy moaned and tightened around him. Giles held himself motionless and counted heartbeats again, willing himself not to come right away, not to lose control yet.
“Yeah. Go slow?”
“Ah. She wants it slow. She begs me to be slow.”
Buffy laughed. Giles moved, again with infinite patience, easing himself into her. He caressed her everywhere he could reach. She’d always had exquisite control, and she trusted him. She was trembling under him, covered in sweat. So was he. He pressed on until he was all the way inside. He held himself snug against her backside and gulped in deep breaths.
“You okay?” She sounded uncertain.
“God. Yes. Trying not to come. So tight. Feels so— You have no idea.”
“What’s the hold up?” she said, and he heard laughter in her voice. His heart turned over.
“Slow and deep, my love. A night for slow and deep.”
And slow and deep it was, two fingers caressing her, one hand on her hip to brace himself as he moved. Giles tested his own patience to the limits, and beyond. She was close, he could feel it, hear it in her voice, in the way her breath had begun to come ragged.
She squeezed him and he thought he might die. Die, or come. Or both. He swore, and slammed into her hard. Hard and fast and deep and everything he’d wanted to hold himself back from, but he was beyond control now. Listening to her cry out beneath him, his hand on her clit and his body hard against hers, the hot dark night and no one around them, just her tight arse and his cock inside it. She was coming, shuddering underneath him and around him, and Giles clutched her hip and held himself motionless inside her and let go.
Too hot to collapse on her, though he knew his weight wouldn’t trouble her. He rolled onto his back and breathed. Waited for his heart to slow, counting. God.
“Bloody hell. That was fantastic. Hell.”
She sniffled, and guilt shot through him. Giles rolled onto his side and touched her shoulder.
“Buffy, I ought to have asked. I’m sorry. Lord. What’s—” He pulled her close and kissed her wet face.
“No, I’m okay. Just too much. It felt… you know what it felt like. Intense. Different. Sort of… like you saw all of me.”
“Ah.” He kissed her shoulder. This he understood. “Are you worried about what I saw?”
“No. Yes. Sorry, incoherent Buffy.”
Giles kissed her and nuzzled her hair. “I respect you completely. I like making you feel good. You deserve it.”
She giggled through her tears and leaned up against him. Her skin was hot and sweaty. He sighed with relief. She was all right. “Intense, yes, that’s the word,” he said.
“No kidding. I’ll still feel it tomorrow.”
“One of the pleasures. Feeling one’s self well-fucked the next morning.”
Buffy disengaged from him. Giles let himself slump back onto the bed. The sheets were damp beneath him. She sat up and stretched.
“So, Ethan left you well-fucked, huh?”
Giles laughed softly. “Usually the reverse. Though there were some times—”
“Tell me about them in the shower. In the nice long cool shower. In the dark.”
But as she said the words, the lamp by the bedside clicked on, and the ceiling fan creaked into motion. Someone in the street below cheered.