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Step into Love

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A pounding on the door stirred Giles awake. By the time he reached the bottom stair, the door swung open and Riley rushed in carrying a bloody Slayer in his arms. “She needs a hospital.”


Jolted awake by the sight of his bleeding Slayer, he ran to the couch and cleared the books he had left there. Riley laid her down.  


“Then why did you take her here?”


“You were closer,” Buffy spoke softly. Giles looked down at her, she looked a mess. Surely, it is bad, but a bloodied white shirt always altered your perception of an injury. He studied her face for pain, her coloring, and pupils. He reached down to touch her forehead with the back of his palm, and she was neither cold nor hot. She pleaded with him, “No hospital.” 


Riley interrupted, “She was insistent, but I think we need to call 911.”


With a slight hand gesture, Riley moved back out of the way and Giles crouched next to his Slayer and slowly peeled her shirt up. Revealing four large claw marks, he asked, “What did this?”


 It was indeed bad, and the entire length of her injury is masked by her undergarments.


“A demon,” Riley said roughly.


He bit his lip instead of lashing his tongue, “Clearly, but what kind?”


Buffy supplied, “A Pikachu.”


His eyebrows knitted together, translating her language, “A Pikasneese?” 


“Bless you.” She winced as she chuckled. 


“Buffy, this isn’t funny. Riley is right. You should see a doctor. It’s a small miracle this isn’t a toxic scratch.” 


“No, I need my Watcher. Fix me up.”


Groaning in hesitation, he inspected her wound closer. The outer lacerations would heal fine on their own, but the muscle was ripped through on the center cuts. 


With urgency Riley spoke, “Don't we need to ya’ know… Get her to the ER?”


“Be quiet.” He turned his attention back to the precious bundle on the couch. “Buffy, I can suture you up…”


His wrinkles in his forehead never bode well for her, but she pressed on. “Spiffy. Let’s get on it.”


It had been so long since she asked him for anything, let alone patched her up. “Your injury is quite severe, if I stitch you up, you may very well have a scar, despite your healing. I’d much rather...”


“No, Giles.” She was resolved. “You know me best. Please?”


Giles got to his feet, feeling some of his bones shift and crack, “Very well.”


Riley threw his hands up in exasperation, “You’re seriously not going to take her to the ER?”


He dismissed him. “It is not her wish.”


His Slayer’s boyfriend began continued to raise his voice, “And you just bend to her will? She has lost a quart of blood. At least!” 


Buffy was not incompetent or totally self-sacrificing. If she needed a doctor, she would ask. Right now, she was specifically asking not to go to the hospital.


From the couch she called out, “Riley, you need to leave”. 


“No! He doesn't have your best interest at heart.”


Leaving them to their quarrel, he went to the kitchen to fetch the first aid-kit. He kept his ear out as he collected his things.


“I’m the Slayer. He’s my Watcher.” 


Riley scoffed, as if that was enough to make him complacent. “I don’t understand!”


“Exactly! That’s why I’m bleeding all over his couch in the first place!” She tried to sit up and the pain shot through her. 


Riley’s flinch was response to her wince. He saw the determination in her eyes and called tonight a loss.  Softly, she said, “I’ll call you tomorrow.” 


A few long strides, Riley was at her side. He kissed her forehead. He glared hard at Giles, “I will go take care of the hostile's corpse.” He exited as quietly as possible in defiance of his anger.


Her relief was palpable as soon as he was out of sight. “Giles, how bad is it?” 


Giles returned to the table with an arm full of supplies. He extended his palm with two pain killers in his hand and raised a glass of water. With a hint of vulnerability, she asked, “You won’t leave me tonight, right?”


“Never,” he said softly.


Finding a comfortable sitting position, she swallowed the pills. She suspected he was waiting for them to kick in as he unpacked their necessities as the water on the stove began to bubble.


Giles reached out and slid his hands behind her back to situate her better. “Let’s see the extent of your wound.” 


She raised the hem of her shirt as far as she could reach before Giles had to intervene and help remove it completely. Setting it aside, his assumptions were correct, it was more extensive than it looked, but she would heal.


 He stammered, “I’ll need to.. To remove your bra… Unless you choose to go to the hospital, we can still leave.”


A strong hand gripped his shoulder, “It’s no big, Giles. They’re just boobs. ” She knew this made him uncomfortable but she really just wanted to get it over with.  She reached back to unclasp it herself but cried out. 


“Yes, yes. You’re right. Sometimes I forget that not all Americans share the aversion to the bare human form.”


He reached behind her with undid it with expert ease. How much experience does he have?


His inspection of her au naturel state was purely tactical. She reached down to touch herself but he swatted her hand aside. The longest claw mark ran right down her chest, “You are very lucky. Another quarter inch to the right any he would have slashed your nipple.”


The motion of looking down made her cry out once again. Needing to minimize the motion she asked, “Where do I need to be? This really sucks a lot.”


“Further down, flat on your back.” He guided her down so she wouldn't need to use her core. Washing away the dried blood from the outside in and cleansing her skin with antiseptic, he told he was pleased the bleeding has stopped. As he began threading the needle, she chortled.


“What’s so funny?”


“You’re basically ‘Stitches-R-Us’.


He cocked his head in silent agreement. The tiny, but brief smile she saw reminded her how modest he is. It made her miss him more...


How they had become so distant were interrupted by his large hands on her stomach. “I don’t need to remind you this will be uncomfortable, do I?”


She saw the hesitation, “No, I trust you, Watcher-Mine.”


Her comment threw him off. “... Right,” he covered. 


His hands were steady and his stitches were were consistent. Each puncture and pull was laced with equal pain and comfort as he delivered 24 sutures to her midsection. 


Using butterfly closures for the less deep claw marks, he leaned back to assess his work. “If feel anything out of the ordinary or pain, please tell me.” She nodded, her eyes slightly glassed over.  Gently helping her forward, he wrapped feet of gauze around her torso. Buffy slumped back, uncaring of her nude form. Giles patted her knee, “Let me get you some pajamas.” 


Returning quickly, he helped her dress in one of his long sleeved navy shirts. It was so large, it almost hung to her knees, and she said she didn’t need pants. Using one of his patented eyebrow raises, he encouraged her to drink half a bottle of gatorade.


“Do you think you can make it upstairs?”


With the pain, and the pain medication, she shook her head. 


The couch was comfortable, but it was too small. He offered, “I can carry you. Would that be amenable?”

A sloppy ‘yea,’ slipped from her lips. He deftly maneuvered her off the couch into his arms and carried her to the loft, placing her on the left side of the bed as he turned down the sheets. Shifting her under the covers, he sat down next to her he inquired, “What did you mean that you were bleeding because of Riley?”


Her head rolled towards him, “He doesn’t understand.”


“You mentioned that.” 


“I mean, they’re out there with their super tech and thingies, and they deal, but not like…” She paused, “He doesn't take me seriously.”


If she didn’t have Slayer hearing, she never would have heard him call him an idiot under his breath.


“Were were arguing, that girls are just as strong, but their macho man-ness believe girls belong in the kitchen or something. That they aren’t fighters.” He reached out and squeezed her hand. “That’s when the demon came up.”


“Ah." He patted her hand, "Get some sleep Buffy.” He stood and turned out the lights. 


Her soft voice called out his name, “Will you stay up here tonight?” 


He hesitated, but magic between them tugged at him. “Uh, sure. Let me change.” Soon she felt the bed dip with his weight. She reached out her hand and poked his ribs on accident. He outstretched his hand and wrapped her small hand in his, “Better?”


Sleepily, she mumbled, “Slayer, Watcher, In-Sync… Good.” 


It was around 8am when Giles began to stir. Buffy had pressed herself against his entire left side. It was fairly unobtrusive, but unseemly given their positions. He began to separate himself when her eyes opened. Her blonde hair disheveled, her green eyes struggling to focus on him, the tiny flecks of gold reflecting around her irises, making her look like a goddess to him. She held his gaze, taking in the emerald color of his, thinking how rare it was to meet someone with eyes the same color as hers. 


They were more rich, deceptively powerful. She concealed the shutter it caused with a yawn and sprawled out more fully over him like a cat claiming their spot. Her back pressed against his chest. “Feeling better are we?”


“Ugh… Dunno’. He slid out from underneath her. She claimed more of the space once he was kneeling before her. 


Glad she was looking more like herself he told her, “Lift your shirt, you bed hog.”


It was too early to make sense of anything, so she did as she was told and pulled his shirt up to her breasts. She pulled it up to her breasts. He pressed two fingers against her sternum. She whined a little bit, but there was no seepage. “If you’d like to shower here, we can re-wrap it after. Do you have classes today?” 


Crossing her arms against her chest she considered lying, but they were far past that phase. “At noon.” She cried out dramatically, “But I have been gashed! No need to go class today.” 


He backed off the bed and when he reached the foot, he yanked her at her ankles and pulling her forward for a reaction. She squealed and was on her feet in an instant looking up at him, waving her finger in his face. “No fair. No testing me before coffee.” 


“You were gashed, you’re healing now.” His eyes were sparkling. “I’ll make you breakfast.” He was almost out of the room, “Oh, your bathing materials are in the hallway closet in a box on the bottom.”


“You moved my stuff?”


There was a sadness to his lilt, “You haven’t been around.”