The Right Place at the Right Time
Title: The Right Place at the Right Time
Feedback: please, please, please
Distribution: Cap and Solo, anybody else, of course, just tell me
Summary: A response to Cap's picture challenge, Sarah in a tank of water.
Disclaimer: They're not mine, please don't sue.
"And then I said, 'Xander, maybe you should try taking
the lid off before you do that!'"
Buffy broke into laughter at her own story, turning to see if her watcher found it equally amusing.
He had been with her a minute ago, walking along, listening to her in a way that no one but Giles ever listened. But now he wasn't there.
Buffy turned, grumbling at his slowness, and walked back to where he stood, gazing with longing into the window of a shop that they were *supposed* to have already passed.
<geez, not again.> Every time they walked this way, he stopped at this same antique shop and spent what seemed like forever pining over a very thick, boring old book.
"Do you mind if I go in and take a look?" Buffy mouthed the words with Giles as he said them, so often had they repeated this ritual. He gave her a longsuffering look and she followed him inside. The bell on the door rang as they entered the musty smelling shop. The clerk, recognizing Giles, was already unlocking the glass cabinet that held the book.
Buffy leaned against the counter, taking in the eagerness in his as he opened the leather cover. The way he caressed the pages as he turned them....she shook her head, not able to understand the allure of this inanimate object.
"Giles, you have now officially crossed over the line from harmless interest to scary obsession." She complained. "Why don't you just buy it, so you can take it home and be alone with it." She wiggled her eyebrows at her last words, receiving another look from her watcher.
He sighed, closing the book and turning it over. "There is nothing I'd like more, Buffy, but unfortunately, this particular volume costs Eight hundred dollars."
"But your new job at the college pays pretty good." She argued.
"Yes, but I only just began, and it will be a while until I can....well, ah, that is....it's just a bit much for now." Giles pushed the book away, thanking the clerk.
Buffy gave him a perplexed look. What was with that nervous stammering? Since when was he embarrassed talking about money? As she followed him out, she had a moment of clarity. She knew what Giles hadn't wanted to say. It had been a little over a year since she'd run away, but the guys had told her about how he'd maxed out all of his credit cards, flying anywhere and everywhere on a moment's notice to find her. When that means was depleted, he'd taken to driving the great distances in his car, until that, too, expired.
There was no way he could've paid off those debts on a librarian's salary. And why had he been forced to work as a librarian? Because of his insistence on staying with her. She felt melancholy settling over her as she meditated on these things. It wasn't fair. It seemed that because of her, Giles' happiness was always being diluted or taken away. Not this time, she decided. She would get him that book no matter what it was going to take.
Buffy threw her newspaper across the room in frustration, flopping down on her bed. There were no jobs. At least, none that would hire her. More importantly, none that would cooperate with her slaying duties and odd hours she kept.
"Bad time?" Willow asked, appearing in the doorway just in time to witness this tantrum. Buffy sat up, wearing a slightly embarrassed smile.
"No, come in. I could use some brain power. I need a job. Well, more importantly, I need eight hundred bucks."
Willow's eyes widened. "Wh-why? Something illegal? I mean, of course it's not something illegal, but........is it?"
"No, Will." Buffy rolled her eyes. "It doesn't matter what it's for. The main thing is getting a job. Here's what I'm looking for. 'Wanted: College student, make your own hours, must have previous experience in staking the undead.'"
"Sooo..." Willow tried to think of something encouraging to say. "Not many prospects, then? Well, let's see, what are your skills? There's the slaying, but there's not exactly a market for that skill, OK, well.....you're a really good dancer." She weakly smiled at her friend.
"Gee, stop Willow, it's going to go straight to my head if you keep going on like that." Buffy sarcastically replied. "But you might have a thing there with the dancing."
The redhead looked skeptical. "The thing with all those ads for dancers, Buffy, is that I think they mean *exotic* dancing. You know?" She couldn't believe that her friend didn't appear surprised. "Buffy! You're not.........." She didn't even finish, seeing the determined look in her friend's eyes.
Giles looked at the clock for the tenth time in the last few minutes. Seeing that the hand had not miraculously jumped forward, he put aside the stack of paperwork he'd been wading through. Actually, he hadn't been doing the paperwork at all, but had been deliberating over the behavior of his slayer the past few days. She'd been ducking out of training with obviously fake excuses, and had been very subdued whenever they'd been together. He knew her too well to miss these signs that something was off with her, but previous experiences had shown him that she wouldn't tell him until she was ready.
This day had been tedious. First, he'd been assigned all of the department's paperwork, meaning that every month he would be responsible for endless forms, requests, and reports. Then, he had been "invited" to his insufferable bosses bachelor party, which was to be held at a strip club notorious for its sleazy dancers. The professor who'd delivered the invite had politely explained that all staff invited *would* attend. It almost made him long for the days of answering to Snyder.
And what would he tell Buffy? As if on cue, she came sailing into his office.
"Hi!" She greeted him enthusiastically, surprising him by giving him a kiss on his cheek. He was immediately suspicious.
"What." He asked, giving her the most watcherly look he could muster while still under the influence of having been kissed by her, no matter how chastely.
"Nothing, can't I just be in a good mood?" She ruined this argument by scowling at him. "Okay, okay, you win. Can I please have tonight off? It's the last night, I promise."
"Fine." He answered, grateful that he would not have to divulge where *he* would be going tonight. He had a feeling she would be completely repulsed. Although Buffy had the feeling that something was going on with her watcher, she wasn't going to rock the boat. If he said fine, then fine it was.
Giles looked around the smoky room, feeling more uncomfortable than he could ever remember feeling. There was a time when he would've felt right at home with the pounding music and half nude women. But right now all he could think about is what Buffy would say if she found out where he was.
He glanced over at his coworkers who were guffawing loudly at an off-color joke someone had just told. He stirred his drink, then, fed up with the whole situation, poured the entire glass of whiskey down his throat. After the burning sensation had subsided, he got up, making his way through the crowd to the bar for another. As he waited, he took in his surroundings. Up on the stage there were a couple of strippers performing. They looked as though they had been around the block a couple times, but the men in this place weren't really the type to care. On the stage, there was a staircase leading up to a platform, which held a large glass tank of water. Inside was a woman, he couldn't tell what she was wearing, if anything, but the way she moved held his attention. He threw down some money on the counter, moving closer to get a better look. The other dancers were obvious and cheap looking, but the girl in the water moved gracefully, in such a way that was erotic in a subtle way.
Giles approached the stage, leaning against a post as he emptied his glass again. He could see now that she wore a black bra and panties, leaving little to the imagination. He was hypnotized by her slow, seductive movements as she swayed in the water, and felt his body reacting to her. But still he watched, holding his breath as she ducked her whole head under the water for the first time. She rose to her knees, running her hands over her hair to stop the flow of water cascading down her face. She shook her head, and, tearing his gaze off of her breasts, which were now above the waterline, he moved his gaze up to her face.
Giles felt as though he had crashed into a concrete wall. His body was paralyzed, rivers of shock shooting through his veins. The goddess in the water was Buffy.
After a few moments, when the shock began to subside, the anger set in. He sorted through several different reasons as to why his slayer would be in a place like this, doing such a thing, and couldn't come up with one good one. He looked around at all the men, staring and hollering up in her direction. She was standing now, dancing, gyrating her hips, now running her hands up and down her body-Giles dropped his glass on the floor, striding across the floor, pushing people out of the way.
Buffy was cold. The other girls had told her it would be cold in here, but at least in the tank she could keep her clothes on, not the case with the stage dancers. She gritted her teeth, trying to keep her mind somewhere else. This was her last night. After tonight she'd have enough money to buy Giles his beloved book. She heard roaring laughter, along with some vulgar comments shouted her way, and closed her eyes. She pictured the ecstatic look on Giles face when she presented him with his gift.
When Buffy opened her eyes, the first thing she saw was the sight of a large man practically running up the stairs toward her. She stopped in her tracks. Despite her slayer strength, she was out of her element, and couldn't stand the thought of any disgusting drunk pigs trying to touch her. Where were the bouncers that were supposed to be watching her? She looked down and saw one lying out cold on the floor, his nose bleeding profusely. She regarded the stranger with new alarm, then horror.
"Giles?" Her whisper was drowned out by the din, but he saw her speak his name.
She wanted to die. Standing here practically naked, her wet outfit clinging to her body, shivering with cold, and now fear. She could feel his eyes burning a path down her body, and saw the rage in his eyes. The only time Buffy had ever seen him look like this was with Ethan, whom he hated.
For a few seconds, they stood in silence, until he grabbed her, picked her up, and dragged her down the stairs. Her humiliation gave way to her own anger as she struggled to get away, but his strength seemed to have increased by sheer fury. Giles burst through a door marked "private," relieved that no one was inside. He locked the door behind them, pinning her against the wall.
"What are you doing!" He choked, gripping her arms so tightly she squirmed in discomfort. In response to her movements, he pushed her harder against the wall.
"I asked you a question!" He demanded, beginning to wonder if his anger stemmed from her unbelievably dangerous and trashy behavior, or the fact that he had been so powerfully aroused as he had watched her.
"Giles...." Buffy was having trouble thinking. First of all, she had definitely never seen her watcher look like *this*, even with Ethan, he was definitely angry, but he looked sexy, too, all riled up like that. Or maybe it was the way his body was pressing against hers. He had never, ever been forceful with her, even when she had deserved it, but now, here he was, wanting to kill her and all she wanted was to rub up against him. Maybe it was the seductive atmosphere, or maybe it was just the moment, but Buffy acted on that impulse. She wiggled against him, seeing the reaction in his eyes, and feeling it in his body.
His grip tightened, and he brought his face down closer to hers. She could smell the liquor on his breath and wondered just how much he had been drinking, and if it was enough for him to do something he wouldn't normally do. Testing, Buffy lifted her face to his, standing on her tiptoes, and touched her lips to his, running her tongue across his bottom lip, tasting the whiskey.
Her watcher froze, his eyes closed, and she knew he was leaving the next move to her. She wildly wondered what she was doing, but she hadn't experience this kind of intense desire before. Ever. If she had ever felt this way with Angel, he would've been a demon a thousand times over, but this was something new. Buffy brought her lips to his again, this time kissing him until he began to respond with the same passion that she knew he was feeling. He released her arms, shedding his coat, tie and shirt in record time as she disposed of his belt.
Giles knew he would regret it later, but didn't care. He slipped his hand inside the black panties, and began stroking her with his fingers. She moaned against his shoulder, and wrapped her legs around his waist to increase her pleasure. He backed up, carrying her with him, and sat down on a sofa, the whole while exploring her body with his hands and mouth.
Buffy tugged off his pants and boxers, straddling him on the couch. They didn't speak, the only sound in the room was of their heavy breathing and an occasional groan against the loud music and hubbub of the club. She looked deeply into his eyes, searching for any sign that he didn't want this. He was doing the same.
"I want this, Giles." She answered the unspoken doubt. He nodded, not wanting to break the spell. She lowered herself onto him, driving him into her fully, watching his face as she began to rock slowly. The pleasure he was experiencing was so wonderful for her to watch, she couldn't tear her eyes from him, even as she felt herself nearing her climax. He knew she was close, and moved them into a lying position, now both thrusting feverishly together. She was no longer cold, they were both sweaty and panting, and Buffy kept repeating his name without realizing what she was doing. "Giles, Giles, Giles....." The sound of her cries sent him over the edge, and as he came, he whispered his avowal of love to her.
She was cold. Even under the warm body of her watcher, she shivered, causing Giles to reluctantly sit up and begin to dress.
"Where are your clothes?" He asked, frowning as he remembered why he had dragged her in here in the first place.
"Um, in here. This is the dressing room." She explained, pulling on her clothes in record time. She braced herself for a lecture, but he gathered her into his arms, holding her gently.
"What just happened?" She asked.
"Well.....I don't know, but it was wonderful." He admitted. "I don't think that this is the place to discuss it. This isn't really the place for anything." He injected as much meaning as he could into those words, and she looked down.
"Giles, I know you want some answers, and we need to talk about what just happened, but I need to go now. I'll come over tomorrow, and explain everything then."
She hurried out of the dressing room, leaving no signs of ever being there, but a wet bikini on the floor, and an exhausted watcher on the couch.
Giles looked out the window again. It was already............he sighed. Eight O'clock. It seemed much later since her had gotten up at the crack of dawn, preparing for he and Buffy's talk.
Finally, the doorbell rang and his beautiful slayer stood before him, holding a box. A present, judging by the shiny wrapping paper. She looked at him shyly, taking off her jacket.
"Here" She held out the box to him. "This is for you." Giles obediently took the package and sat down, ripping the paper.
When he opened the box, he couldn't believe what was inside. The book, His book, which he had so desperately desired was inside. A wave of emotions rushed over him, gratitude, love, and happiness. He felt himself choking up, and shook his head at her. He could never express to his Slayer what he was feeling right now. But she had seen his reaction and grinned, running to him and embracing him.
"I love you" She explained, loving his confused, thrilled expression. Suddenly he realized where she had gotten the money for the book.
"Buffy........" He couldn't bring himself to be angry with her after such sacrifice on her part, and after two such marvelous gifts. She braced herself for the inevitable lecture. "I love you as well."
The two lovers kissed, the girl breaking away prematurely,
"Giles" She said innocently, "Can you tell me what you were doing there last night?"
He gulped, then smiled. "Well, I guess I was just in the right place at the right time."