Giles sat on the bonnet of the battered Honda, once again taking the passive role in an evening’s hunting. Buffy, Faith, Kennedy, and three other Slayers were infiltrating an abandoned block of flats where Buffy was sure a suck house was in operation. Giles’s task was to guard an alleyway, on the lookout for escapees through the back entrance of the building. Giles was still uneasy with waiting while his Slayer fought out of his view, but it was purely his own nerves that were at fault. He reminded himself, for perhaps the thousandth time, that Buffy had better backup than mere humans now. She had other Slayers with her, and one of them was Faith. Giles’s job was no longer to fight with her, but instead to train her companions, ensure they were skilled enough to keep her and each other alive.
He did enjoy the odd bit of vamp-staking himself, though. It was good to keep one’s hand in. So he rolled the sliver of wood between his palms and studied the alleyway in hope. Nothing moved, and he could hear no noises from the windows of the building above him.
Footfalls on tarmac behind; Giles turned, but it was only Xander, his own stake in hand, coming around the corner. “They’re in,” he said. “Andrew and Vi have the other side of the building covered.”
Giles nodded. Xander hopped up beside him onto the car, one knee bent and a trainer-clad foot tucked underneath him. “I hate the waiting,” he said.
“Watchers always do,” Giles said.
They gazed out at the alley together in silence. The night was quiet, still, or as quiet as nights ever were in an American city. Automobiles, traffic, horns honking in the distance, the sound of hip-hop playing in a house down the street, more music thudding from a car moving down the street behind them. But no sound of battle, yet. Buffy had wanted to creep in quietly and stake as many as she could without sounding an alarm. It would be possible, Giles thought, given the usual layout of a suck house. Each vampire would want its own nest, a private place to give its human client that painful ecstasy. Giles shuddered. The memory was sweet and horrific at once.
He understood why Buffy, who’d also felt fangs in her flesh, had wanted to burn it down.
Xander shifted next to him and nudged him gently. “Rona wants to get cable,” he said.
Giles sighed and set aside his melancholic mood. The television was new. They’d spotted a working set at a yard sale, and he’d given up his weekly dinner out to acquire it for the house. It had been worth it, though he’d had to make some stern rules about homework coming first. At least for the Slayers still in school.
“Can we afford cable?” he said.
“Andrew says no. He says we can steal it from our neighbors. Splice the wires, boost the signal with a little gizmo he can make, and voila! Instant HBO.”
“Did you disabuse him of this notion?”
“Yeah. Read him the riot act. We’ll have to keep an eye out to make sure he doesn’t do it anyway, just to make the girls happy.”
Giles sighed again. Andrew meant well, but his instincts were all wrong. “That boy wants to be turned over my knee.”
“Officially I’m not a fan of corporal punishment. Unofficially, yeah, might be just what the guy needs. Not enough consequences in his life. So you have my blessing: smack him next time he’s a dork. Except…”
“I think, speaking unofficially still, I’d be jealous.”
Giles’s eyes widened. He hadn’t been serious. “Jealous?”
Xander made a slow swatting motion with a cupped hand. “I might want to be the exclusive recipient of Giles-spanking. The only guy who gets to be turned over your knee.”
“Oh? Er. I hadn’t realized you, ah, were interested in such things.”
“Well, yeah, I mean, duh. When it’s you.”
“I see,” said Giles, but he wasn’t sure he did. The thought was appealing, but he hadn’t suspected Xander of being bent in that particular way. “You’ve given this some thought, then.”
“Thought, heh, yeah. If thought is the right word for quality time in the shower. I know exactly how it would go.” Xander’s voice turned dreamy. “You’d make me drop my pants first and wait over your lap with my ass in the air while you explain in detail every sin I’ve committed since the last time you spanked me.”
“My sins, yeah. You know 'em. Tell me.”
Giles cleared his throat, which had gone all strange on him, to go with the odd feeling in his chest. His racing heart. “Sins. Yes. First, the sin of committing unspeakable acts in the shower, and luring me into doing the same. Five strokes for that. The sin of making me randy on patrol, when I should be on the alert, breaking our rule. Ten strokes, I think, yes?”
“Sounds fair.” Xander’s voice was strained.
“Sounds fair, what?”
Xander shuddered. “Sounds fair, sir.”
Giles adjusted his trousers, which had become most uncomfortable. “But most of all, the sin of taunting me, egging me on into spanking you because you think it’ll be pleasure. I explain to you how you’ll regret that before I’m through, how exquisitely red and sore your arse will be. How you’ll be refraining from sitting down, finding poor excuses to stand. As many strokes as I can deliver with my bare hand for that, don’t you think?”
“Oh God, yes, Giles, sir.”
“And then I ask if you’re ready for me to begin.”
“Yessir. Please spank me now, sir. I’m ready.”
Giles was gratified to note that Xander did not spoil the effect by giggling.
“I think not. I think I begin by plugging you. A big plug, something you protest you can’t bear it’s so wide. Because I’m going to take you after I spank you, and I’m going to be impatient. Won’t want to wait. And besides, you’ll feel it move inside you with every blow. Every time my hand comes down on your arse, you’ll flinch and clench around it.”
“Holy cyberdildonics, Batman. I think I’m gonna come in my pants.”
“Don’t,” Giles said, putting all the steel he had into his voice. He was gratified to hear Xander gulp, see his throat work and his tongue flick against his upper lip. His hair was edged with sweat at his temples. Giles imagined what his face would look like near the end of the spanking, wet with tears and sweat and strained with desire.
“Tonight? I mean, tonight, sir?”
Giles made himself look away from Xander’s face, his wide eyes, his parted lips, and make at least a pretense of watching the alley. “Perhaps. If this ends well. If not tonight, the next chance we get.”
Giles allowed himself to stare full at Xander again, to drink in the longing on his face, and to make his sincerity clear. “I promise.”
“Do you even own a plug?”
“Er, ah, not yet.”
“Take care of that, would ya?”
Xander hopped up to stand on the car and scan around. Giles thought he saw motion in a corner, but too small and low to be a vampire. Rats, probably. There were times when he missed Sunnydale’s small-town neatness. City filth was universal. Though so were rats, he supposed. He’d seen them in Sunnydale’s alleyways and rubbish tips. He forced himself to admit that it was merely nostalgia that had him thinking of that town with any affection.
Xander popped down onto the pavement by way of the bumper, which made Giles wince. The car couldn’t take much abuse. Then Xander stretched. His shirt rode up, exposing his flat stomach and the trail of hair leading down from his navel. Giles’s turn to lick his lips.
“So, hey, kinky guy, you’ve been holding out on me. You didn’t tell me you did this stuff.”
Giles flushed, but hoped it was too dim in the alleyway for Xander to see it. “As with you, it’s more fantasy than experience. But I have done a few things. And now that I know you’re interested, I can suggest some other, ah, activities for us.”
“Now? I mean, er–”
“Got anything better to do?”
Listen for sounds of his Slayers in trouble, Giles did not say. There were three of them in the building, the three most experienced and most skilled, and Buffy would probably refrain from arson this time. Probably. He made himself let go his urge to cut short the conversation and run in after them. Then he realized that Xander was likely doing it on purpose, to keep him distracted and calm.
“Bondage,” he said, abruptly. “I’d like to tie you up and see if it drives you wild. Spank you when you’re bound and helpless. Blindfold you and tantalize you. Give you more intense sensations than spanking. Turn you on while other people are watching and you have to control yourself. Mark you somehow, with my teeth or with bruises. Something other people can see and know I did to you.”
Xander’s hand rose to his neck, to the place where Giles liked to nibble on him. He’d thus far refrained from biting as hard as he wanted. “Oh, God. Really?”
“Just one problem.”
“I wanna do all that stuff to you, too.”
Giles’s breath came short. He hadn’t anticipated this. “Yes?”
“Yeah. Plus I want to tie you up and tickle your feet and sides until you think you’re gonna die from laughing. You’re way ticklish and I know it and you’re not gonna get away with it much longer, mister.”
Giles’s turn to groan. Xander knew all his weaknesses, from his rarely-indulged passion for chocolate to his preference for candle-lit love-making, and into far more embarrassing territory than even that.
“Was thinking about this when you pissed on me and got off on it. You like messes more than you admit.”
Giles laughed despite himself, out of sheer nerves. This conversation had him on edge. “Don’t have any desire to repeat that experiment.”
“But see, that’s the cool part. We did it, and now we know.”
“I see your point. I’m not averse to experimentation.”
“Good.” Xander nodded, and said it again, with a poke at Giles’s stomach. “Good. 'Cause I want to do all this stuff to you. I have a big long list. Ways I want to make Rupert Giles writhe and scream and come. And then I want you to do 'em all to me. We’ll figure out who likes what and then do some more of those things.”
“Is that a promise?”
This time Xander looked him full in the face. “I promise.”
“Then–” Giles broke off and stood.
“I hear it,” said Xander: the sound of fighting in the building above them, dim shouts and smashes. “Show time.”
Just another Saturday night brawl, with demons. Giles felt his whole body tense in a new way, and a wave of guilt constrict his chest. Distractions were no good, when his Slayers were fighting. The door opened and someone ran out. A woman, half-dressed, with her hand pressed to the inside of her elbow. Blood ran down her arm and dripped from her wrist. Victim, then. Giles let her pass. He shifted to get a better view of the door, so he could intercept anything moving with demonic speed.
Sound overhead-- Giles looked up. A window burst outward, showering wood and glass and the body of a man down upon them. The body landed with a sickening crack and thud ten feet from the car. Giles and Xander gaped for a moment, then there came a shout from above: Buffy peering down at them from two stories up.
“Vampire delivery!” she said to them, cheerfully, then vanished.
Xander gaped up at the window. “Vampire? Oh!”
Giles was in motion, stake in the ready position, but the vampire was already on its feet. Swaying, but up and moving and aware of them and angry, its demon-face on display. Giles feinted and the vampire weaved and swore. It lashed out at him with an inhumanly fast fist. Giles dropped and executed a sweep-kick that brought it down. Xander pounced and had a stake in its chest before Giles had even regained his feet.
The pile of dust lay between them on the stained and filthy street. Xander returned the stake to one of the many pockets on his military fatigues. Giles cocked his head to listen, but the building over them was silent once again. The fight had moved deeper inside, perhaps, or was over already.
Giles breathed himself through the adrenaline rush. The taste of metal in his mouth, and the shakes, and then the strange joy he’d never been able to understand. Fight, live, and then fuck. Did Xander feel it? Giles paced the length of the building and back, willing himself to calm down.
“That was remarkably efficient of you,” he said to Xander, when he thought his voice would be steady again.
“Lesson I learned a while back. Buffy can banter. If I try it, I’m dead.”
“Rather. Plunge and move on.” Giles made a staking gesture, deliberately ambiguous, and Xander snickered. Then he grabbed Giles by the shirt and pulled him close.
“That’s what I’m going to do to you. Plunge. Plunge. Make sure you know your ass is mine.”
Giles gripped Xander’s hand where it was tangled in his jersey, at his neck. “Do you doubt it?”
“I know it’s mine. Going to prove it, though. Want to put my hand up inside you, all the way up. You ever done that?”
Giles shook his head. Xander tugged him closer, until their foreheads were pressed together.
“You willing to try it?”
Giles nodded. There was fear mixed in with the anticipation in his chest. He’d heard of this before, had read about it. It could hurt. It could be profound. He had no idea what he’d make of it. But he would experience it, because Xander wanted him to.
“Good.” Xander let go of his shirt. Giles smoothed out the twists, tugged it down over his belt. His hands were shaking, but he had to admit it was thrilling. He’d never have guessed this would happen.
“If you hate it, you’ll tell me?” Xander seemed uncertain now.
“Yes, I’ll tell you.”
“You really want to?”
“Anything you want to do,” Giles said, quietly. “Anything you want to do to me, anything you want me to do to you. I’m happy to try everything with you.”
Xander kissed him, right there in the street, one hand tangled in his hair, the other gripping the collar of his shirt again. Giles kissed him back, let himself forget where he was again. Then he pulled away and touched his finger to Xander’s mouth.
“Later. We should–”
“Yeah. Business first.”
Giles perched himself on the car bonnet again. Xander sat alongside Giles, snugged up close. And there they waited, the pair of them, shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, waiting for whatever happened next.