Slip of the Tongue
By Saint Buffy
Slip of the Tongue
By Saint Buffy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Spoilers: Season four
Feedback: Is really lovely.
Disclaimer: They're… *sob*… they're not mine. Don't sue. This is merely my strange little tribute to the wonder.
Summary: Buffy accidentally says, well, what she means.
Author's note: This is set in the summer after season four. Apologies to whoever thought of it first, for use of the term 'Gilesmobile'.
"See ya," she called, smiling a smile which threatened to break her jaw apart, and shut the door. As soon as the latch clicked, the smile dropped from her face and she turned towards the kitchen with a heavy heart.
Buffy couldn't quite put her finger on the moment spending time with Riley had become a chore rather than a pleasure. He was the same sweet, strong boy he had been when they met- granted, with a couple of extra things on his resume than those she had known about then- and he was just as pleased to be with her. Yet somehow, since Adam had gone down- since they had lost that topic of conversation, it was hard for her to think up another.
It didn't help that she found herself comparing Riley to, well, Giles. It had started out innocently enough. One day, while they were training, Riley had given her a reproachful look for throwing him too hard in hand-to-hand, and Buffy had immediately thought, Giles never did that. After that, she couldn't stop comparing the two- Riley couldn't use a sword, and he knew nothing about the focussing techniques Giles taught her. The comparison quickly extended beyond the training room. Giles could speak five languages, and read more, while Riley sometimes had trouble with even the one. Giles could cook, draw reasonably well, play the guitar and sing, according to the others. He understood the greyer areas in the good and evil fight. Riley was trying, but he still came out with ideas that made Buffy wince with embarrassment. Giles had been her friend, her mentor and her confidant for years, helping her to understand and accept who she was, and Riley, Buffy realised, just couldn't compete.
She poured herself a drink and sighed. Without the distraction of a big evil, without even the distraction of work, during the summer, Riley was, well, boring.
The phone rang as she drained her glass. Buffy picked up the extension.
"Buffy?" It was Giles. "We might have a problem. Xander's seen a report on the news, about two people killed in Miller's Wood."
"Nice to hear from you too, Giles," Buffy said in reply. "My summer's going fine."
"Please, Buffy," he said, sounding impatient. "I'll pick you up in a few minutes. Pack some weaponry." He hung up.
Buffy replaced the receiver, shrugged and headed upstairs. Perhaps a good slay was exactly what she needed right now. She grabbed a crossbow and a couple of knives, throwing them into a bag, feeling strangely excited. It was the first time she had spoken to Giles for ages, and she was about to spend the rest of her day with him and her friends, killing something in one of the more picturesque parts of Sunnydale. There might even be more than one thing to kill. A car horn blared as she changed into a more slay-friendly top, and she grabbed her bag and headed downstairs.
Giles sat behind the wheel of his hire car with Xander beside him, and Willow waving from the back seat. Buffy bounced into the car beside the witch.
"Hey guys," she said. Willow had a book open on her lap.
"Hey Buffy. We think it's a Styxian demon," she said as the car pulled away from her house.
"Any special features?" Buffy asked.
"Buy one beheading, get a puddle-of-goo free," Xander said from the front.
"Cool. It's too hot for burials," she replied as the car sped through the streets of Sunnydale.
"How's your mom, Buffy?" Willow asked after a while. Buffy tore her eyes away from where she had been admiring the dark curls of hair on the back of Giles' head.
"Oh, she's okay," she said, smiling at her friend.
"Is she over the whole no-show thing?" Willow asked. Buffy glared at her.
"It wasn't like I never saw her, I was just… busy."
"Well, there was the whole Adam thing… kept ya kinda involved." Willow said awkwardly. Buffy shrugged.
"I think she was more pissed that she didn't know that I'd been dating Giles for ages before she met him," she said vaguely, running her fingers past a tangle in her hair.
There was a silence in the car.
"Er… Buffy…" Xander said eventually.
"You meant Riley, right?" he said.
"What? Oh!" Buffy's mind flashed over her previous words, and she mentally kicked herself, flushing a bright red that rivalled the car's taillights. "Yes. Riley. Yes, of course, Xand."
"Right." Xander said, turning to give her a funny look. Buffy glared back at him and tried to catch Giles' eyes in the rear view. He was rigidly watching the road, although his face looked flushed- was that just the heat? She was interrupted by Willow bursting into giggles.
"Sorry. It's just- remember Professor Walsh talking about Freudian slips? Oh, except, that wasn't a Freudian slip," she added as Buffy switched her glare to her. "That must have just been a slip… no Freud," she concluded, and grinned apologetically at her best friend, still trying hard to stifle her laughter.
"No. No Freud. I meant, Riley. Mom was pissed at me because I hadn't brought Riley round to meet her. My boyfriend Riley," Buffy said, and suddenly realised she was almost shouting his name. "Sorry."
The rest of the journey was a nightmare. Buffy spent the time alternately trying to catch subtle glimpses of Giles's face and wishing she had never opened her mouth. Saying his name instead of Riley's- could she have been more obvious? She was overcome with relief as Giles pulled up by the wood, and scrambled to pull open the door almost before the car had stopped. Giles followed her round to the trunk and opened it up.
"Thanks," she said as he handed over her weapons bag. Their hands touched- the side of his warm left hand brushing against the tips of her fingers. She blushed again and pulled the bag over her shoulder.
Miller's Wood was dark and cool, a blessing after the bright heat of the sun. Xander had removed his shirt to reveal a purple and green t-shirt, and even Giles had stripped down to a shirt, rolling the sleeves up as they looked around the wood.
"Gotta love these demons' choice of location," Xander was saying as they unloaded. "It's green, it's cool…"
Buffy was watching Giles as he loaded a crossbow, wishing he would meet her eyes and noting with interest the way his blue shirt brought out corresponding colours in his green eyes… he had nice eyes, she thought, and caught herself. No, slayer, she thought sternly.
"Let's go and kill them," she said abruptly, taking a path into the woods. She took four paces before realising that she had no idea where she was meant to be going. She turned slowly. "Of course, it might help if someone told me where these Sticks guys were," she admitted with an awkward laugh. Xander stepped forward.
"The bodies were found round the north side," he said, leading the way. Willow followed him, and Buffy slowly walked after her. She felt a hand on her shoulder.
"Are you all right?" Giles asked, looking concerned. She nodded, moving to let him walk beside her. His hand dropped, and Buffy suppressed a shudder, feeling trembling waves of heat pass through her from where Giles's hand had rested. She almost stopped dead as realisation hit her. She was getting happy feelings from Giles's hand being on her bare shoulder! Giles's hand?
"Fine," she said, smiling a false for-Riley-smile. "Looking forward to the death."
He smiled uncertainly in reply, and Buffy took a shuddery breath.
"I'm glad you feel so, ah, motivated," he said quietly, looking around the path as they walked. Buffy nodded again.
"Yes. Motivated, that's me," she said, and shut her mouth quickly, cursing herself. What was happening to her? She was turning into a babbling idiot because of Giles's hand on her shoulder. Not to mention the way she could see a bit of his chest hair under the top of his shirt. And the way his eyes seemed to be sparkling in the sun…
He was giving her a funny look. Buffy tore her eyes away guiltily and focussed on the path.
She was giving him a funny look. Giles wondered guiltily if she had felt something from the sparks that took over his arm from the second he rested his fingertips on her shoulder. Had she sensed them somehow? As he watched, she looked away quickly, and he turned his attention back to the path. He had actually been pleased when Willow and Xander appeared, talking about the two unfortunate souls who appeared to have drowned on dry land. It was clearly the work of a Styxian demon; clearly a job for the slayer. He had been half surprised that Anya and Tara had not been around, but Xander and Willow seemed to be keen to reunite the original 'gang' since the spell that had defeated Adam, and anything that prevented Giles from dusting his shelves for the hundredth time in a day was fine with him. Especially anything that substituted his musings on the slayer for the real thing herself.
That moment earlier, when she said his name so casually- he had almost crashed the car. He wondered if anyone had noticed the sudden swerve it had taken- certainly, he hadn't dared to take his eyes off the road after that. The road had occasionally disappeared behind images of himself in Riley's place as it was.
He pictured himself again, in Riley's place, by her side, listening to her problems, making her laugh, secure in her heart… in her bed…
A noise to his left distracted him, and Buffy had already launched herself into action. Two Styxian demons appeared, unmistakable in their appearance- they looked exactly like two huge fish with arms and legs and rather extraordinary teeth. Buffy tackled one, and he went for the other, ducking as it came towards him.
"Sword, please!" Buffy shouted between punches. Willow scrambled towards the bags as Xander and Giles held the other demon down. The demon put its arms around Giles' neck, and he choked- it was as if he was submerged in icy water. He gasped for air, splashing through water that wasn't there. Dimly he heard a thud as Buffy finished the first demon. Seconds later, someone pushed his head down, out of the way as Buffy's sword swung through the air, decapitating the demon. Giles fell to his knees, gulping and gasping in air painfully, clutching at his throat.
"Giles! Giles, are you okay?" she asked anxiously, dropping to her knees beside him. His colour was returning to normal, she noticed with relief, but he was still making terrible noises-
"Fine, thanks," he choked out, and accepted Xander's hand. He stood up a little shakily and cleared his throat. "Well. That's that, then," he said hoarsely.
Buffy smiled at him, then stood up, hoping her look hadn't been too goofy. "And thanks for distracting the demon," she said teasingly. Giles gave her a look, but smiled.
"All in the line of duty," he said, and cleared his throat again. "Let's get back to the car."
The gang turned and picked up their bags, carefully avoiding the pools of green goo that signified where the demons had fallen. Buffy slung her bag over her shoulder and set out down the path again, keeping an eye on her watcher. To check that he was okay, she told herself. Not to notice how his hair looked all sexy, ruffled up as it was- she stopped herself again. She couldn't quite remember when she had started thinking these sorts of things whenever she was around Giles, but it was very, very, disturbing. He was Giles, she reminded herself. Watcher-Giles. Book-Giles. Tweed-Giles. She still liked Riley, of course, she was with Riley, so she was just… admiring the scenery.
"That's all," she murmured to herself.
"Hm?" Giles asked. Buffy coloured.
He gave her a look, but all he said was, "There's the car."
"You know, I think I miss the Giles-mobile," Xander said from behind them as they approached the car.
Buffy was the last to be dropped off. She sat in silence, desperately thinking of something to say, as Giles drove the rest of the way back to her house. The demise of the Giles-mobile, as upsetting as it was to Xander, seemed to have improved Giles's driving. There was none of the anxiety Buffy usually felt, none of the tension in her muscles where she would try and compensate for the car's jerky movements, or the quick prayers to whoever was listening to get her through the next bend when the car made that noise. Not the banging noise or the strange rude noise… That Noise, the one solely reserved for Giles's old car.
"What?" he asked, as perceptive to her feelings as ever.
"Nothing. I just realised I kinda miss your old car too."
Giles smiled, but didn't lose the concerned look he had given her.
"Are you sure you're all right? You've been awfully quiet today," he said gently, pulling up outside her house. Buffy smiled at him, noticing the small lines around his eyes that always appeared when he was worrying about her. Her own special lines.
"I'm fine," she said, giving him a wide smile, the first truly happy one she had had all day. He smiled back, one of his special shy grins that only lasted a second, and it lit up his whole face, making her feel a corresponding lift in her heart.
"If you're still worried about that… slip of the tongue you made earlier, I assure you…" he said kindly, "I know you meant nothing by it."
Buffy stared, open-mouthed, for a second, and then grabbed for the door handle.
"Oh. I mean, thank you. And for the ride back. Thank you for that also," she babbled, and leapt out as he said goodbye, dragging her shoulder bag with her.
As she shut the door, for the second time that day, her face fell and she headed to the kitchen for some juice-flavoured comfort.
"I know you meant nothing by it." His words replayed themselves in her head, the kindness behind them lost. When he brought the subject up, her first thought had been I can't believe he mentioned it, but as he continued, she felt nothing but horror. Had she meant nothing by it?
"Time for some Slayer soul-searching, I think," she said aloud, and headed up to her room.
Her mom was still out at the gallery, Buffy remembered as she flopped down on her bed. It was still far too hot, although the line between the heat in her face and the embarrassment also lodging there had already been breached far too many times for her to tell where one ended and the other began.
She took a deep breath and shut her eyes. Hardly the most difficult task she had ever performed, but still, this time, the simple action was a test. A test she failed immediately.
Giles's face leapt easily on to the screen of the insides of her eyelids, moving like an intimate cinema of her own. He smiled at her, different smiles she remembered from past occasions, and there was a replay of the walk through the woods, with a lingering section on the touch of his hand on her shoulder.
Bad slayer, she thought, screwing up her eyes so the picture disappeared behind a burst of red and yellow flashes. When her non-vision cleared, she concentrated on her boyfriend.
Riley's cheerful face appeared, grinning his big boyish grin at her, then smiling down at her in the Bronze. She remembered being wrapped contentedly in his arms as someone sung something in the background, and let her mind slip to the sex that had followed the occasion. His hands on her body, his arms around her, his mouth. She imagined running her fingers through his chest hair, over that tattoo on his arm; imagined the feel of his mouth on her skin, its perfect shape running over her-
She bolt upright, staring at the wall, mouth open in horror. That was Giles! His body in her mind! Her watcher's body about to do all sorts of bad things to her and she was as aroused by the thought as she ever had been by Riley's best intentions. Her evil, wicked mind refused to stop and offered her up image after wonderful image until Buffy's whole body was aching for him.
She groaned, wanting to ease the wet ache between her legs but hating to admit it was even there. Her heart was thundering, her breathing uncontrollable, and still the eager movie in her mind was racing on, growing ever more X-rated.
Buffy swore, and pushed herself to her feet. Seconds later, she was out of the house, stumbling hurriedly through the familiar route from her house to her watcher's.
Music was playing when she arrived, some sort of fast paced jazz she dimly heard as she waited for the door to open.
"Buffy!" Giles seemed completely shocked to see her. She stared up at him for a moment, absurdly surprised to see him still wearing exactly what he had been earlier; her ever-helpful mind had been dressing him in his dressing gown, or that red shirt she liked, or nothing at all, although now she thought about it, he was unlikely to open the door when he wasn't wearing anything… she quickly dragged her mind back on topic. "You knocked! Are you all right?"
"You joke. Funny," she said nervously as he let her past, into the living room. She looked around, feeling awkward.
"Is there something wrong?" he asked, shutting the door and coming to hover over her in his usual, concerned way.
She stared at him for a moment. Her mind had finally caved in the presence of the real thing, and she was free from the crazy Buffy movies, but unfortunately, her mind seemed to have taken away her ability to form sentences as well. All she could think of at that moment was reaching out and touching his chest. She hadn't thought about what she would say to him, and suddenly the scenario her mind had come up with, where she threw herself at him and began to rip off his clothes, didn't seem like such a good idea.
"I, erm, just thought I'd come round and see how you…" look, her mind supplied, look, or feel, or- "Are."
He was looking at her strangely.
"Oh. Um, would you like a drink? Tea?" he asked, backing hastily towards the kitchen.
"Yes! Please," she said, a little too fast, eager to put some distance between them so she could think again.
She watched his back as he disappeared into the kitchen. Her mind leapt back into action, imagining the feel of his broad, hot shoulders under her hands, imagining running her hand down the line of his spine. She shuddered and went to sit on the couch.
Giles interrupted her thoughts by setting the tea tray down in front of her. Buffy gave a start and smiled up at him.
"Thanks," she said. Giles settled in the armchair opposite, watching her quietly for a moment. He opened his mouth, then obviously thought better of whatever he was about to say, and shut it again. After a moment, he started again.
"Have you heard the myth about Miller's Wood?" he asked unexpectedly.
"No," Buffy sighed, expecting it to be a monster thing, but to her surprise, Giles launched into a story about two lovers who were separated during a storm, somewhere in the woods, and only found each other when they had survived various natural disasters.
She watched him while he talked. His face was animated, more relaxed than he usually let it be; the marks around his eyes faded as he told the story. She was lulled by his voice, the fevered state of her mind and body dissipating as the wash of his voice calmed her back into the soft couch. His eyes still drew her, pulled her in, and their indescribable colour was fascinating. She remembered her tea after a while, and picked it up to drink, imagining briefly the lingering taste of tea she might find on his mouth.
"…So, he got to his feet, looked around him, and at that moment the storm, the fierceness of the rain which had-" he gestured the movement gracefully with his hand, "poured all night, all faded away. He could see her at last, within reach, clearer than anything else around them." He stopped to gulp back some tea, and Buffy watched him, amazed by how apt his words were for describing how she felt. As if the storm and horror of the years behind them had suddenly been lifted, and suddenly he was in front of her, her watcher, within reach. Her man.
"That's beautiful," Buffy croaked.
Giles gave a start.
"Hm," he said, swallowing his tea hurriedly. "It's getting late."
Buffy glanced around, surprised to notice how the light had suddenly left the room, in complete contrast to the blinding brightness she felt inside. She rose.
"Oh, yeah," she said awkwardly, as he stood up as well. "Patrol time."
"Are you taking Riley with you?" he asked.
"No," she answered, wishing he hadn't brought the soldier into what had been a perfect afternoon. "I don't need him."
"Take care," he said. Every evening when she saw him before patrol, he asked her that, and it was never routine. Every time, his words seemed full of concern, of fear for her safety. She smiled weakly at him.
"Always," she said simply, and turned to go. Her mind was playing tricks on her again, and she could feel him moving behind her, hear the quiet hush of his breath as they moved towards the door.
"Call me when you get in, so I know you're safe?" he asked as she turned by the door. Buffy couldn't look at him. She couldn't see the appeal that would be in his eyes, asking her to set his mind at ease. Her heart racked her chest, her legs felt faded- even her vision suddenly felt faint in the darkened apartment.
"Okay," she said, and smiled weakly at him. "Thanks, I- I enjoyed the chat."
He smiled back.
"Well, any time," he said easily, opening the door for her.
She hesitated as she crossed the threshold. Go on, go on, her mind shouted at her.
"Buffy…?" he said, and she turned back, still barely able to meet his eyes.
"I just wanted to say," she said thickly, "I did mean something by it."
He searched her eyes and his memory for a moment, then shook his head, obviously coming up blank.
"Before. In the car. You said you knew I didn't mean anything by it, but I did." Now she had started, she wished she hadn't; it was all coming out wrong.
"About you. The thing I said in the car about you," she explained slightly hysterically, and his face cleared.
"Well obviously I didn't mean my mom was upset because she didn't know we were dating," Buffy interrupted, babbling frantically as he stood over her, "Because we aren't, so that wouldn't have made sense. Not that this is making any…" she took a deep breath, and looked him straight in the eyes. He was staring back at her, obviously trying to grasp the disconnected carriages of her train of thought.
"Buffy, I-" he began, then shook his head. "What do you mean?"
His face was so close, staring down, eyes holding her on the spot. She took a step forward, and his hand reached out automatically as if to touch her arm, before turning away again. She looked away.
"Nothing. I'm sorry, I guess I'm just tired," she lied, kicking herself for chickening out and probably making him think she was losing her slayer marbles. She could feel his worried gaze as she looked at the floor by their feet.
"Best get an early night tonight, then," he suggested gently, and she looked up one last time.
Suddenly she was in his arms; she had thrown herself crazily at him, pulling his warm body as close as she could and he wasn't turning away, she realised in a second of blurred triumph, his mouth was coming down on hers instead and they were kissing, staggering on their feet as the full force of their passion finally came home.
She heard the door being kicked shut, and hauled herself wantonly up around his waist as his tongue thrust into her mouth, thrusting against her own tongue and making her whole body shudder with longing.
The back of the door, or possibly the wall, was up against her back, and he was pushing himself against her, holding her as close as she tried to hold him. Her breath began to come in desperate gasps and she pulled her mouth reluctantly away to feast on his jaw and throat. He let her kiss him for a moment, the whole of his body heaving beneath her arms with the strength of his breathing and his emotion, then dropped his head, pushing the side of her t-shirt away so he could bite her collarbone, gently but somehow with huge passion, so that she groaned and pulled his head closer.
Her senses were going wild, smelling his smell all around her, tasting him in her mouth, feeling his hair beneath one hand and the material of his shirt in the other, scrunched up in her fist, against his back, and feeling his heart beating wildly against her breast. Their mouths met again, and she felt his legs begin to give way under the pressure of their combined emotion and lowered hers as he slid her to the floor, knocking over a chair piled with books and papers as he moved, so that as they landed on the floor, his things were scattered around them.
He immediately rolled them, still kissing deeply, unbearably sweetly, and one hand began to roam over her body, touching her neck, squeezing her breast so that she cried out his name against his mouth, sliding over her stomach. She could feel his hardness pressed against her leg and couldn't resist moving her thigh against it until he groaned and broke the kiss, pressing his mouth against the side of her forehead and thrusting uncontrollably against her.
"Buffy," he murmured against her skin, sending yet more shivers through her. She wrapped both legs around him, trying to envelop him completely as his hands stroked her body. "I love you."
"I love you," she replied immediately, feeling her eyes fill as she realised how right this was, how right they were, and pulled him more fiercely against him, only just managing to rein in her slayer strength. "God, I love you."
He responded by taking her mouth again, fiercely, demanding, taking possession of her. She gasped as one hand appeared beneath her t-shirt, and wriggled to help him get her out of it, fumbling at the buttons on his shirt in her need to free him. He flung her top to one side, and her bra quickly followed it so that she squirmed beneath his gaze, open, watching the almost stunned expression he wore as he looked at her. A second later, his shirt adorned the nearest lamp and they were pressing themselves together, skin to flushed skin for the first time, crying out in pleasure.
His skilled fingers worked her out of her pants in seconds, and his soon followed until they were both bare, stretched out on the floor, kissing once again. He seemed to be slowing down, taking more time to explore, driving her crazy until at last she grabbed his teasing hand and stared up at him.
"Giles, for fuck's sake," she whispered desperately, and he stared at her for a second before lowering himself to lie against her body, moving so she could feel his tip at her entrance. She arched back, glorying in the slight sensation, and screamed out as he drove inside her, pushing himself into her wet core. They both froze as they were completed, and Buffy stared unseeingly over his shoulder, mouth wide, feeling nothing except the absolute clarity of their union. A second later, they both began to move, and were suddenly frantic, kissing everything that came into reach, moving across the floor until Giles braced himself with his hands by her head, thrusting into her relentlessly, deeply, so hard and wide she thought she would burst, and she did, coming with another shout as she bucked over and over against him. He was still thrusting, his body moving incredibly over her, around her, his upper arms stroking her breasts as he moved up and down, kissing her face and her neck and shoulders, and suddenly her eyes opened wide as he came inside her, giving a strangled cry, pouring himself into her before he collapsed into her arms.
She held him. Wrapped her arms around his head and shoulders as their breathing returned to normal, staring blindly at the ceiling, unable to process the wonder of their lovemaking. His breath blew warmly into her neck and she cradled him closer, wrapping her legs around him again, kissing the side of his head over and over again.
"I love you so much," she said, voice choked, and he raised his head to kiss her mouth.
"Me too," he murmured between kisses, voice sounding equally unsteady, "And I am never letting you go."
He sounded so fierce and so certain that all she could do was bring his head back down against her neck and hold on as a wave of love enveloped her, so strong she was sure it would never end.
After a while, he looked up, and seemed to notice the mess of clothes and furniture and books around them for the first time.
"Oh dear," he said, his voice wonderfully slurred. "I just tidied up."
Buffy giggled and squirmed, feeling him still inside her. He groaned in response and stilled her with a firm grip on her hips. "Stop it," he ordered with a grin.
"Or what?" Buffy asked, smiling adoringly up at him. He shook his head, letting his fingers explore her face. Buffy shut her eyes and shuddered at the sensation.
"You never simply do what I say," he said tenderly, kissing her mouth deeply again. She moved her hips, deliberately provocative, and felt an answering thrust from his hardening shaft.
"No," she said when they broke their kiss. "Aren't you glad?"