Giles rocked back in his chair and stretched his arms over his head. He yawned. It was late, pushing midnight, and he ought to put away his books and get some sleep. He'd arranged to meet Buffy in the morning for a run, before her first class, and he would need to be awake. He'd lost himself in his reading, though, as preparation for the weekend's training with Buffy turned into pleasure: he'd been reviewing his great-grandfather's hand-written notes on The art of war. Giles had a more modern translation in his collection as well, but he preferred the elegance of that first translation. Not to mention the advantage his reading received from the nuances discussed in the translator's own commentary, written in unfaded india ink and a clear hand on the pages in front of him.
The front door opened. Giles's head snapped around: Buffy came through the doorway, fast. He stood, half in respect, half in anxiety, but she appeared well. She turned her back to him and turned the key in the bolt.
"You really should lock this thing."
"It's always unlocked if you're not here. Buffy. Do you need anything? Are you hurt?"
She came close to him but seemed distracted. "No. Just... kind of a hard patrol tonight."
She said no more. He deduced that she meant it was one of those nights when she saw the consequences of vampire predation. Why one slays vampires: because they kill humans for food and for sport. Buffy had come to him before in this mood. He'd usually made tea for her and sat with her quietly. It hadn't happened recently, not since that cursed birthday torment he'd visited upon her. Giles repeated his familiar mental oath, then allowed himself a moment of thrill. Whatever it was that had driven her away, they'd moved past. They were a team again.
"Tea?" he said.
When he returned from the kitchen, he found her seated at his desk, bent over his grandfather's manuscript.
"This guy says all war is based on deception. Is he right?"
"Yes," he said, mildly. He set her mug down on the desk at her elbow, safely away from the papers. She picked it up and sipped absently, continuing to read the translation.
"When capable, seem incapable. When active, seem inactive. When near, appear far away."
"The feint," Giles said. "When your opponent's information is bad, he makes bad decisions. This leads to opportunity for you."
Buffy nodded. Giles cast about for larger examples. Her knowledge of the history of warfare was spotty, but she'd studied the second world war, at least. He explained Operation Fortitude, and the importance of the Allied deceit. The Germans believed the main invasion would be at the Pas de Calais, so they were slow to move their troops to the real site of invasion.
"Giles, I'm not going to be commanding troops."
"No. The Slayer's battles are most often one on one. But the principle is important, whether you're leading a thousand men or just one."
Buffy tapped the manuscript page, laid flat on the desk. She frowned, and seemed not to see the page. Giles was gratified to have her close attention. Perhaps college had taught her the importance of abstract knowledge. Even a year ago, he'd had difficulty maintaining her interest through a discussion like this..
She straightened on the stool. "I get it. So. If I'm deceiving them, they're going to be deceiving me. Or trying to."
Her forefinger tapped the page again, over his great-grandfather's orderly writing. "Angel did it once. The night he captured you. I fell for it like a big moron."
Giles did not offer her comfort or denial. She had to learn from her mistakes, because when the Slayer made mistakes, humans died. Sometimes the Slayer herself died-- a thought Giles had to force himself to form. But he formed it, to keep himself alert. "Yes. How did he succeed?"
"Emotion," Buffy said, with a harsh note in her voice that was unfamiliar to him. "He fooled me because he had me upset. But I'm not in the mood for this now."
"It can wait until our next session. Sunday morning, yes? You caught me in the middle of my preparation."
Giles took the tea things away and washed up in the kitchen. They brushed their teeth in the bathroom together, closed up the flat together, went up to his bed together, like a normal couple. That was where the resemblance ended, for when he pulled his pajamas from under his pillow, she stopped him.
"No pjs. You sleep nude from now on."
He inclined his head to her. "Of course," he murmured. She'd shifted her mood, and now the Slayer was in charge. He felt himself twitch and awaken in his loose trousers. He rose further when he'd bared himself and was moving around the room nude, folding his clothing for the hamper. The stripes on his backside were still visible, and his mistress was pleased to see them. She didn't undress fully, but left on her tank top and knickers. Satin. They were slick under his fingers when she joined him under the covers and suffered him to hold her close, suffered him to kiss her. Long, slow, and deep, kisses with more tenderness than passion. The kisses were enough for him. His body was sated and weary from the effort of satisfying her over the weekend.
She pulled back from him and laid her fingers across his lips. "What are you doing tomorrow night? Had an idea."
"Tomorrow's my weekly dinner with Xander. I'll cancel with him if you'd like."
"No, no, do your thing with Xander. I just remembered I have a thing with Riley tomorrow, and some Initiative thing on Wednesday." She made a little sound of frustration. "Busy week. Can't get away until Saturday."
Giles kissed her again. "Saturday's fine."
"Do you mind that I'm going out with Riley tomorrow tonight?"
He shook his head. "Better to ask if he'd mind what's happening now."
Buffy sighed, but did not move away from him. "I know he would. I know. If I'm not careful it's going to end messy. He'll get hurt. He's gonna get hurt any way it works out." He could hear her regret, but also resignation. It puzzled him.
"Why not end it now, if I may ask?"
Though as Giles said the words, he worried that she might take it as instruction from him. Here he did not wish to interfere; there was a corner of him that found pleasure in the knowledge that his mistress was free to be with other men while he was constrained. But Buffy shook her head against him.
"Can't. Have to stay on good terms with him. Only way to get in good with the Initiative. The guys can only relate to me as his girlfriend." Buffy's voice was dry, and Giles could imagine her exasperation.
"Why do you-- Ah. You distrust the Initiative."
"There's something up. I don't know what yet. "
"Their goals would seem to be aligned with ours."
"I repeat tonight's homily to you."
"Ah." Giles pondered that. He wasn't sure she was right, but then he didn't have all the information she did. He'd need to quiz her further. Perhaps in the morning. There seemed to be no rush. But: "Buffy? Be sure you're at war."
"Good point. I need to think more."
He felt that thrill again, the excitement and almost trembling awe that she was accepting his tutelage again. The Slayer wanted him, wanted his advice, wanted his skills. He flashed again on that moment of surprising fantasy from their last session: her as warrior, he on his knees at her side, stamped as her man publicly and privately. He set it aside with an effort; it was not the time for fantasy, given the hour.
"Let's get some sleep," he said. "We have an early start."
She reached down and took his half-awake sex in her hand. He tried not to moan, but failed. He wakened fully in the space of three breaths. She stroked a light finger over the tip and he moaned again. "Something doesn't want to go to sleep yet," she said.
"It wants more than is good for it," he said, unsteadily.
"Sure you don't want to play?"
"Buffy, I can't-- my body isn't up to it every night. It wasn't even when I was twenty. Not the sort of things I crave, at least. I- I- I prefer to, er, play, ah, less often, and more intensely."
She released her grasp on him and rested her hands on his chest. He took them in his and laced his fingers through hers.
"You crave intensity, huh? You mean being whipped?"
"Being, ah, being whipped, yes." His voice was far too husky for his own comfort. Every word out of his mouth betrayed how much the idea moved him. Dangerous.
She tugged him close. "What else?"
He swallowed. It was easier to talk in the dark, with his face nuzzled into her shoulder, her hands tight in his, her lips on his forehead. She made him feel safe, made him feel he could say these things, confess these desires. They'd never brought him anything but misery and shame before, but now Giles thought it was safe. With her it would be. But when he answered, it was with a voice even rougher with emotion.
"Pain, pleasure, whatever you want. Submitting. Being yours. Anything that proves it to you. Being at your mercy. Handing myself over. Waiting on my knees, oh God, yes, that. Aroused and waiting on your whims. Being brought to the edge and held there. "
"Those things are good. I like those things too."
Her approval made him bold. "What else do you like, my Slayer?"
Buffy sighed, and didn't answer him right away. "The way you touch me. The way your face looks when I hurt you, or when I make you feel good. Making you feel things-- it's amazing. What I feel inside when I realize you trust me so completely. What I feel when I think that you're mine. Watching you wait on your knees for me. The way you swear under your breath when I use my strength on you."
If he hadn't had his eyes open, if he hadn't been watching her intently, half in fear, half in desire, he might have missed it. A flicker across her face, of worry and uncertainty. She wanted to please him. She was afraid she didn't.
"Buffy. My Slayer. Please hear me. Anything you choose to do to me pleases me. I'm your man. Do you understand what that means?"
Buffy nodded, but then said, "No. Sort of. I'm starting to figure out it's complicated."
"In this it's simple. Do what you wish with me. Take what you want from me. I will enjoy it, because it's proof I'm yours. So long as you're here with me. So long as you show up on Sunday to train with me. Do you understand?"
"Yeah. Think so."
"So tell me what you demand of me, my Slayer. Shall I fetch a flogger for you to use on me?" He didn't know which emotion was strongest in him: fear that she'd take up his challenge, or longing for it.
She took a deep breath, another. Then she unlaced her fingers from his and gripped his wrists. "No, you were right before. You need your space. You have your breaking point too."
"Yes, I do." He kept his gaze upon her steady, but she didn't flinch away. Instead she grasped him hard enough to hurt, and he was the one who flinched.
"Stupid to injure you or push you too far. Also, wrong to give you exactly what you want. You're not going to sleep yet, Watcher."
Giles saw Buffy smiling in the dark. That intent smile, again, focused inwardly and not so much on him: she was anticipating something. He shivered against her and his treacherous cock hardened and betrayed him further.
"Yeah, that's it," she said. "Mind games work, don't they. And I know what else does."
She moved, Slayer-fast, and had him on his back, wrists pinned together over his head. She held him down while he gasped. He could fight her, if he wanted. She was stronger but he had four stone on her, at least, and more experience. But he didn't want to. He lay under her and panted.
"Like that, Watcher?"
"Yes, yes, you know it, I do."
"I like it too." Then her teeth were in his neck, where she'd bitten him before. Giles froze, then arched up into her but she'd pulled back again already. His neck burned. Once again he wondered if she'd drawn blood. Slayers and vampires, teeth in his neck, God, what was he that he craved this?
"I tell you what else. I like sex."
He breathed out an unsteady laugh. "Who doesn't?"
Buffy smiled at him again, and brushed a kiss over his lips. So strange, such a gentle caress after the ferocity. He had no idea what she would do next.
"How much do you like it? Do you masturbate?"
"You heard me."
Giles blinked, but could not answer for a moment. She tightened her grasp on his wrists, where they were crossed over his head, until he gasped out his answer. "Yes."
"Not any more you don't. Not without permission. Yeah. Swearing under your breath-- you like that."
"Yes, I do." Taking command of him, making his submission just a little deeper. Giles was unsure whether it would be difficult or not. If she used him as frequently as she had so far, he'd be more than sated enough to comply. If she made him wait for it, however, he'd be in trouble.
"I might want to watch you do it, or I might want you to go for a while without coming at all. Either way, you don't come without my express permission." She grinned. "Maybe I'll ride you and leave you tied up all night wanting it."
Giles groaned. She knew. She'd make it hard on him.
"In fact... Yeah. This is what I want. You're going to play with yourself every night until Saturday, but you're not going to let yourself come. You're going to work yourself up into a lather and then stop. If you don't, I'll know."
She would, too. He'd be unable to keep it a secret from her. He'd confess it the moment she fixed her gaze upon him.
"Yes, my Slayer." His voice-- he could barely speak.
"Don't get any cute ideas about thinking I want you to disobey so I can get harsh with you. I want you to be in a frenzy."
"I will be anyway," he whispered.
"Obey and we'll act out a fantasy for you. You pick."
"Yes, my Slayer."
"Good. Now you get to go to sleep, all hard and hot and bothered."
She released him and shifted herself away from him. Giles turned to face her. He rubbed his wrists where her fingers had dug into them. He might have bruises. What was he, that the thought of those bruises excited him further? What would he ask her to do? Renew them? He looked into her eyes and saw that she was just as aroused as he was, her breath coming just as short as his. He wondered what she would do if he simply took her now, pushed her back and covered her and satisfied them both. His erection rested against her thigh. He shifted himself and rubbed against her, just for a moment. Her skin was hot. The craving was strong in him, even more because she'd forbidden it. Touch himself, stroke and squeeze, come on her, mark her as his own.
Giles closed his eyes and leaned forward and brushed his lips against hers. Buffy turned away from him and nestled back against his chest. What was he? He was hers. He'd hunger until Saturday night and enjoy every moment of it.