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Ama Unum Maxime

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Xander noticed it first. “Uh.. guys? Is that demon….?”

“Oh, gross.” Buffy punctuated this comment with a roundhouse kick to the demon’s chest. She’d seen it now too. The demon, about seven feet tall, horned, hooved, and blue, was also sporting what appeared to be a rather impressive erection. If you were going to be impressed by demon penises, that is.

Willow decidedly wasn’t. “Is that normal?” she called from her vantage point behind some benches. They were in the cemetery; they’d been out helping Buffy patrol for vamps when this thing showed up instead.

Xander snorted. “Oh, right. It’s not like the usual, run-of-the-mill giant horned devil things we run into.”

“Xander,” Willow pointed out reasonably, “we do run into giant horned devil things all the time.”

“Oh. Good point,” he said.

“Giles?” she asked. Their British librarian and erstwhile Slayer Watcher was observing the proceedings from behind the same bench as Willow. He seemed unperturbed.

“Lust demon,” he said.

“How can you tell?” Willow asked, and then, frowning, said, “…oh.”

“Quite,” said Giles.

Buffy elbowed the creature to the throat, making it retch, and then forced it to the ground in a headlock. “It’s really challenging to do this without touching…. you know,” she called to her friends.

“You’re doing great, Buff!” Xander said. “Watch the.. uh… dangly bits!”

And then, with no warning, the creature gargled out a noise, and Willow felt Giles recoil next to her. “Giles?” she asked. “Did that thing… hit you with something?”

“Spell,” he said, looking a little glazed.

“Bad spell?”

He shook his head. “Don’t know. Feels… odd.” He blinked, looking at Willow. “I think it’s passing. Whatever it was.”

The demon vanished into dust in front of them as Buffy staked it through the chest. She hopped to her feet. “Done and dusted,” she said cheerfully. “Giles, did that thing spell you?”

“Er… er, yes,” he said. “I believe so. But whatever it was seems not to have, ah, affected me.” He coughed slightly.

Willow frowned. “Are you sure, Giles?” she said. “Maybe we should keep an eye on you for a while. You know, just to be safe.”

“I assure you I’m quite all right,” he said.

“Sure, for now,” Willow told him. “But you told us a lot of spells take hours or even days to take effect. It’s still early. Want to go back to the library and do some reading on lust demons?”

“Ooh, a Saturday night in the demon section of the library. Boy, you two sure know how to have a good time,” Xander cracked. Buffy elbowed him in the side. “Ow,” he said, looking betrayed.

“Well, I suppose… I suppose it couldn’t hurt,” Giles said. “And at any rate, that’s probably enough hunting for one evening.”

“Oh, darn,” Buffy said. “And here I was hoping to get even more graveyard stuck underneath my fingernails tonight.”

“Yes, go on, Buffy,” Giles told her. “I’ll go back to the library with Willow. Though I’m really quite sure this is nothing.” He glanced at Willow again. She smiled at him.

“Yeah, probably nothing,” she agreed. But a night of reading about demons in the library is always fun, right?”

“Er… well, yes, actually,” Giles said, with the hint of a smile. “Come on, then.”

Truth be told, Willow couldn’t imagine a better way to spend a Saturday night than in the library with Giles. He was one of the few people — the only people, if she were to be brutally honest with herself — who never mocked or teased her for being smart, for liking to read, for wanting to learn things.

It was comfortable here in the library. Safe.

She turned the page of Tobin’s Spirit Guide, reading through the next section. The author unfortunately had a rather scattershot approach to organizing the information in the book. Lust demons showed up in the “Deadly Sins” section, in the “Sexual Demonology” section — which Giles had warned her about when he’d first allowed her to use this book, turning beet-red in the process — and in “Ancient Demons.”

“This book could use a better index,” she muttered under her breath.

Giles, hearing her, came over to where she sat. He leaned down over her shoulder, so close she could smell his aftershave.

“Not that one,” he said, meaning the demon illustrated on the current page. “Ours was blue. That one’s more of an… indigo.”

Willow raised an eyebrow. “You can tell that from an ink drawing?”

He nodded slightly. “The pressure of the pen strokes indicates the color. You become familiar with the system after a while.”

She turned the page. After a moment of study, he said, “Not that one either. Horns are too short.”

Willow frowned. “Giles?” she asked. “Are you… hot?”

He stood abruptly, staring at her quizzically. “I beg your pardon?” he said.

“You feel like a space heater. You’re, like, radiating heat. Do you have a fever?”

His eyebrows knitted together. “I… I don’t believe so. I suppose i could find a thermometer…”

Willow reached out and took his wrist, eliciting a gasp from the man she touched. “Pardon,” he muttered. “Surprised me.”

“You’re burning up,” Willow said. “Giles, this has to be the spell.”

“Yes,” he said, staring at his wrist where she held him. “Yes, I imagine so.”

She let go. “That can’t be good,” she said. “We need to find out what that thing was and how to reverse the spell. Do you have any other books on lust demons?”

He took his glasses off and closed his eyes, pinching his nose with his forefingers. With his glasses off, he looked vulnerable and open. Willow felt a stab of worry.

“Perhaps,” he said at last. “Give me a moment,” and he disappeared into the stacks. Willow went back to paging through Tobin’s. They’d find the demon and reverse the spell. They’d done this sort of thing before and this time would be no different. Surely not.

Giles would be all right. He had to.

You’re sick, Rupert, he thought to himself. Sick and perverse.

He liked Willow; he always had. And in the past year, as she’d matured, he’d found himself rather more than liking her. Rather more indeed. She was smart, studious, warm, witty, everything a man would want in a woman. Not to mention that she was slender and lovely, with stunning red hair. He’d always had a weakness for gingers.

But he’d suppressed it, as a man of his age should do when confronted with a woman of her age. He’d suppressed it quite ruthlessly, allowing himself no more than the occasional long glance, the very occasional brush against her skin. And if he leant over her shoulder to read something a few too many times, well, that was a liberty that the school librarian could be indulged in, surely.

He had done nothing inappropriate, nor would he. “Nor would I,” he repeated aloud. And yet… just now, when she’d touched his wrist, he’d stiffened. Not enough so that she’d noticed. But rapidly enough so that he’d felt lightheaded.

She is 18 years old, he told himself. And you are an old man. Control yourself.

He held the back of his hand to his neck. Willow was right; he was burning with fever. And yet he felt no aches, no pains, no chills. Nothing that you would normally associate with the onset of a virus.

It was the spell. He’d known the demon had hit him, and he’d known it was a particularly nasty spell. He’d hoped it had somehow dissipated, somehow missed him. But it clearly had not. And if it was the cause of his…inappropriateness, a moment before…

Perhaps it would be best for Willow to leave. Before he did something he’d truly regret. He thought again of her hand contacting his wrist, and exhaled as a wash of pleasure flowed through him. He was half-hard again just thinking about it.

I can’t go back there. I can’t face her. I’m sick. Disgusting.

He breathed in deeply. Perhaps he could continue to pretend that nothing was wrong, apart from the fever. He’d find the books he sought, they could locate the spell reversal, and then all would be well again. He’d go back to admiring Willow from afar, and she’d never have to know anything was amiss. If he sent her away now, he’d have no help, and if the spell worsened…

You’re making excuses for keeping her near, a small part of his brain thought. But he ignored it. His plan was good. It was safe. Willow would be fine, and so would he.

She would never know anything was wrong.

When he returned to Willow, he deposited the books near her. “I think one of those may be helpful,” he said. She smiled up at him from where she sat at the desk and brushed a stray lock of hair away from her forehead. Giles fought to control his breathing. I must not let her know.

“Willow,” he said, “I am feeling a bit…peaked, actually. Would you mind continuing the research while I… have a sit?”

Her brow furrowed with concern. “Sure, Giles. Do you want to go home? I can keep reading here if you want.”

“Er.. no, Willow. Thank you. I’ll stay. I’d just rather… sit, for a moment.”

He needed to be away from her gaze. As soon as he’d set eyes on her again, he’d felt the rush of blood, felt his heart pick up speed. It was the lust demon’s spell, had to be. He’d never suffered this sort of lack of control before. The smart thing would have been to send Willow away. Far away. But he couldn’t quite bring himself to do it.

He sat gingerly in the wooden chair behind his desk. The desk was large and solid enough to hide his condition, which was now completely beyond his control. He hadn’t been this hard since he was a teenager. It was becoming uncomfortable, and he vaguely wished that he could unbutton his trousers to relieve the pressure.

Giles blinked. “All right,” he muttered, “that’s the last straw.”

From across the room, Willow’s head shot up. “Giles?” she said. “What did you say?”

“Willow,” he said, “I think you should go home. Get some rest.”

She frowned. “But we need to fix you, Giles.”

“It can wait until morning.”

She shook her head. “You’re burning up. If this were medical, you’d be at the ER already. I don’t think it can wait until morning. And honestly, you don’t sound like yourself.”

I imagine not, he thought.

“Anyway, I’m staying,” she said. Then, looking directly at him, she said, “So that’s that,” and smiled.

He thought of kissing that mouth, of feeling her lips pressed against his own. He looked down to find his hands trembling. He clasped them together to stop it.

I tried, he thought to himself. God help me, I tried.

All right,” he said weakly. “Let me know if you… if you find anything.”

Willow looked over at Giles for about the twentieth time, and just like the previous nineteen times, his glance flicked away as soon as she did. He was watching her. Staring at her, actually. It was starting to get a little bit weird.

Well, he is feverish, she reminded herself. And starting to look distinctly un-Giles-like. He’d slumped in his chair and pulled his tie loose. The suit jacket had gone some time ago and was now tossed casually over an adjacent chair. And he’d run his hands through his hair so many times that it was sticking out in all directions.

She read the next line of the text she’d been working on. “Gharnifex,” she said aloud. “This one looks really promising, Giles.”

“What… what did you say?” he said. His voice was raspy and low.

“Gharnifex,” she repeated. “The drawing here is nearly identical. I’m having some trouble with the text, though. It’s in some kind of weird calligraphy I can’t quite make out.”

“God, no,” Giles whispered, and then, “Willow, you need to go.”

“What?” she said, confused.

“You need to go now.”

“Giles, what are you talking about?”

“Gharnifex is… his curse is…I’d hoped…” He glanced down at the book he’d been reading and then swallowed hard. “Look, just trust me, you need to leave.”

“I’m not leaving you like this!” she said. “Are you crazy? You’re so hot you could fry an egg on your forehead, and you’ve been shaking like a leaf for the last half hour! You’re not going to fix this yourself!”

“I’m not going to fix this at all,” he muttered.

Willow stood up. “Giles, you’re freaking me out,” she said, and she started towards him.

“No!” he shouted, and then, steadying himself, “Willow, don’t come near me. Please.”

She stopped where she was. “Is it the curse? Do you know what it is?

Giles barely nodded. “Yes, Willow, I do. And you cannot help me. Please. Please, I am begging you, please leave. Leave me.”

His eyes were red-rimmed and his hands were trembling, even though he was gripping the edge of the desk with white knuckles. His forehead was beaded with perspiration. She had never seen him look this way, not ever.

“You’re scaring me, Giles,” she said softly.

“As well I should be,” he hissed. “Get out.”

She shook her head. “I’m going to keep reading. Or you can save us both a lot of time and just tell me.”

“I can’t,” he said. “Please don’t ask me to do this.”

His gaze was almost palpable; he hadn’t stopped staring at her once. Willow felt the beginnings of a frightening idea begin to form. “You don’t want to tell me what it is,” she said aloud, “even though you always tell me everything about research.” She took a step forward, with flutters in her belly. She thought she knew what this was. And she wasn’t leaving.

Could you? she thought. With Giles? Another step forward.

“Please,” he said. His eyes never left her.

“You’re burning with fever and you’re shaking. And you’ve been hiding behind that desk for hours, even though normally you love to pace.”

One more step.

“This spell was cast by a lust demon.”

She was nearly at his desk now. “Willow,” he rasped. “Don’t.”

“What would happen,” she said, working hard to keep her voice steady and even, “if I were to do this?” She reached towards him to brush her fingers against his cheek. But before she could even make contact, he’d grabbed her hand with his own, so fast she’d barely seen his arm move.

They stayed like that for several moments, eyes locked, his hand holding hers tight.

“Giles,” she said at last, losing the battle to keep the quaver out of her voice, “tell me what you need.”

“I need you to leave,” he said.

“No,” she said. “What you really need.”

“I won’t tell you,” he said. He still held her hand, and she could feel the heat of the fever burning inside him.

“Then I’ll figure it out myself,” she said, and snatched the book from his desk before he could react.

“Willow!” he cried, but he didn’t move from where he sat at the desk. The frightening idea grew in her mind. She looked down at the page he’d been reading.

Ama unum maxime vis,” she read aloud, sounding the words out slowly. “Aliter, ignus absumet.” She furrowed her brow. “Ignis, that’s burning,” she said. “Your fever.”

“Willow,” Giles said. “Don’t.”

She ignored him. “Ama, that’s love. And unum, one. Love the one. Love the one you most… The most love… hold on.”

Her eyes widened slightly as the translation fell into place for her. “Love the one you want the most. Or you will burn,” she said.

“Clever Willow,” he muttered, looking away from her.

“So you have to… oh. Oh,” she said, her cheeks turning red. “But Giles, just… who is it? Maybe they’ll…”

He lifted his eyes toward her and one corner of his mouth twitched.

“Oh my God,” she said. And sank heavily into a nearby chair. The book slid from her opened hands and onto the floor with a heavy thump.

Giles rested his face in his hands. “Please. Please go now, Willow. You understand now why you must.”

“If I go,” she said, “you’ll burn.”

“If you don’t go,” he said, “I’ll… I’ll… I’ll not be able to control myself.” The lines in his face were hard and terrifying. “I will hurt you, Willow.”

She shook her head, looking down at her lap. “No, Giles. You’d never hurt me. I know that.”

“I can’t control this,” he whispered. “And Willow… if you stay, I will hurt you. Read the next line.”

She blinked in surprise, then picked the book up from where it had fallen. She found the page, then pronounced the next line carefully: “Amantem laedere, aliter ignus absumet.”

This time he didn’t wait for her to translate. “Hurt the one you want the most, or you will burn. It has to… it has to hurt,” he said. He looked away, unable to meet her eyes.

She folded her hands neatly in her lap. Her eyebrows knitted together in thought. Finally, she looked up at him.

“It’s really me?” she asked. “Your… your ama unum maxime?”

He gave a quick, stiff nod. “I’m afraid so,” he said. “I am so very sorry. I… I never meant for you to know.”

“Me,” she said, looking down at her hands.

“Willow,” Giles said, with a strained voice,  “I… I don’t want to hurt you, but I want you right now. I want that very badly. You really must go.”

“If I do, you’ll die,” she said.

He shook his head. “No, Willow. No, I won’t. The spell is powerful, but not fatal.”

“Then what does it mean, burn?” she asked. Her hands were still folded tightly against each other. Giles answered without looking at her, head turned deliberately away.

“It means that I’ll have this fever, be hot to the touch. And that I’ll….”

She raised her head to look at him. “You’ll what?”

I’ll go insane with wanting you, I won’t be able to think of anything else, do anything else, until I have you.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “I won’t die. So you needn’t do anything to save me.”

She watched him. Giles, still in his button-down shirt, his knuckles white where they gripped the table, his glasses laid haphazardly across a nearby book. She wondered, suddenly, how he’d look while he was inside her; the thought made her insides twist with a terrified excitement.

He wants you, Willow. He just said.

She thought about Giles. About his easy smile, his tweed suits, his clever hands. About the way he treated her…and about the way he wanted her. Not just today, not just from the spell. His ama unum maxime. He wanted her always.

And don’t you want him? The thought spiraled lazily through her. She knew the answer, catching her lower lip in her teeth.

“Maybe I want to, Giles,” she said. “Maybe I want to do something with you.”

The color drained from his face, leaving livid patches of red on his cheekbones. “Don’t,” he said. “Don’t tease.”

She rose. “Not teasing,” she said, and walked across the room to where he sat behind his desk. “Stand up,” she said.

“Willow,” he said from between gritted teeth, “if I stand up, I will not be able to stop myself.

She reached for him, intending to touch his hair, but he caught her wrist first and pulled her towards him; she stumbled and he guided her into his lap, gracefully and effortlessly. “God forgive me,” he said, and then he drew her close and bent his mouth to hers. She opened to him easily, responding to his touch. His kiss was needful and urgent, but skilled. Willow found her hands touching the rough stubble on his cheeks, then sliding into his mussed hair.

Giles is a very good kisser, she thought with some surprise.

He pulled away abruptly, leaving her slightly breathless. “I can’t even stop myself from doing this,” he said, sounding ragged and hoarse. “Soon I won’t be able to stop myself from… from completing the requirements. That’s why I need you to leave, Willow.” His hand slid along her back; his other hand along the outside of her thigh, pushing up the hem of her skirt. “You have to go now, before I… before I do something I will very much regret.”

Willow wriggled herself into a more comfortable position, eliciting a harsh gasp from the man she straddled.

“Do you really want me to go, Giles?” she said. One of his hands was now tangled in her hair, and the other was on her bare hip, inside her skirt. She could feel his erection pressing into her.

“You’re 18,” he whispered. “18 years old.”

“That’s true,” she agreed.

“And the way this spell works… I will most certainly hurt you, Willow. I’ll have to. And I would… I would rather die than do that.”

She leaned forward so that her lips brushed his ear. “Giles,” she whispered, “I don’t mind if you hurt me that way.”

The naked need in his eyes sent a thrill through her belly. She knew she wouldn’t leave tonight until she’d given herself to him, and she knew that he would take her. I just need him not to hate himself afterward, she thought.

He moaned. “Willow, you have no idea…”

“Giles,” she said, “I can feel you.” She rocked against him for emphasis. His hand on her hip drifted down to her inner thigh. “Tell me how you imagined it,” she whispered, faintly surprised at her own boldness.

“I can’t,” he said, but his hand drifted even further, his thumb tracing circles onto her skin. “I can’t expose you to my… to my filth.”

“You wanted me,” she said. “You’ve thought about it. Tell me,” she said again. “Please.” She touched her lips to the hot skin at his throat and he hissed, the sound of steam rising from a hot stove. “Please,” she whispered against him.

“Here in the library,” he said, so softly she could barely hear. “You’re reading a book, bent over the table, and I…” Willow traced her tongue along his throat and he let out a long, low moan, arching his hips upward into her. “I… take you. From behind. While you’re still reading. I… correct you.”

“Correct me?” she asked, lifting an eyebrow.

“Your pronunciation. You read aloud, and I correct your pronunciation. While I am inside you.” It was a thought he’d only allowed himself to entertain for the briefest of moments, always when he was alone in his own darkened room. He could scarcely believe he’d just said it aloud to her.

Willow suppressed a small smile. It was just so… Giles. Though the heat between her legs was a testament that the idea had appeal. “Which book?” she said.

“Willow…”

Which book?” She ground her hips into him for emphasis and was gratified to see his eyes roll back into his head for a moment.

“Tobin’s,” he said, giving in. “The Latin section at the back.”

Willow carefully pushed herself up off Giles’ lap, standing between him and the desk. She turned around, slowly and deliberately, so that her back was to him and she faced the desk, where Tobin’s rested. “That book is right here,” she said.

In the silence that followed, Giles’ harsh breathing was the only sound. Willow steeled her nerves. I am going to do this, she thought.

“Would you…like me to read from it?” she said.

Her voice, her posture, even her skirt and blouse, matched almost exactly the way this fantasy had played out in his mind. The last shreds of Giles’ resistance dissolved. He rose, gripped her waist with his hands, and pushed her forward, bending her over the desk. “Yes,” he said. “Yes, I’d like that very much indeed.” He pushed her skirt up to her waist, revealing thighs and hips that were even smoother and more rounded than he’d imagined. Her underpants he removed with a hard tug, tearing them as they came off. She gasped in surprise and he leaned forward, pinning her to the desk.

“Last chance, Willow,” he said, his voice low and urgent. Blood pounded hot and fast in his head. Even if she were to change her mind, he didn’t know if he could stop now. His desire consumed him.

She said nothing, but she turned the book to a random page in the back section. Her red hair was falling out of her braid, and he could see her ribcage rising and falling through her thin blouse. She must be terrified, he thought distantly. He found with faint dismay that he did not particularly care.

In a high, wavering voice, she read out, “E tenebris tantis…oh my god, Giles… Giles!”

He could wait no longer, sliding himself into her, holding her hips tightly while he pushed the entire length of his cock inside her body. She arched her back and shifted her hips, finding a more comfortable position.

It felt…indescribable.

“Continue, Miss Rosenberg,” he ground out through clenched teeth. He was going to Hell already; may as well indulge himself on the way there.

E.. E tenebris tantis tam clarum…”

He gave her a hard, deep thrust. “Clar-UM.”

Clar-UM,” she repeated. He stroked inside her again. “Clar… Clar-UM extollere lumen…Giles, god, you’re really big,” she gasped.

“I said continue.” His voice, harsh and rasping, was barely recognizable. Her outburst had excited him past any remaining control he’d had; he began thrusting into her at a hard, regular cadence.

“…extollere lumen qui primus…” She was gasping, and mispronouncing about half of the words at this point.

“I expect better of you, Miss Rosenberg,” he grunted, punctuating each word with a hard thrust, shoving her against the desk with the force of his body.  Papers cascaded onto the floor, and a drawer banged open. “Ex-TOLL-er-e LU-men.” Her hands flexed and twitched uselessly on the smooth surface of the table. She opened her mouth to speak but instead of Latin conjugates, all that emerged was a high sobbing wail. Without thinking, he wound a hand through her hair and pulled sharply backward, forcing her body into an arch and exposing her neck. His cock was buried inside her, and her squirming and twisting felt bloody unbelievable.

“Does it hurt?” he hissed.

“Yes!” she sobbed. Fat tears rolled down her cheeks and dripped onto Tobin’s. He wondered what hurt her more; having him jammed deep inside her, or having her hair pulled, or maybe being shoved against his desk. It didn’t matter. What mattered is that he was fucking her, and that she hurt. Gharnifex’s curse. He thrust into her again, hard and artless, seeing fresh tears slide down her cheeks. It was the most erotic thing he’d ever seen in his life. He slowed inside her to savor the sensation, slick and tight and hot, and the sight of the squirming girl bent over his desk. He knew she would never speak to him again after this, not ever, but in this moment, with every nerve ending in his body raw and screaming, it seemed almost worth it.

“Don’t stop,” she cried suddenly, “Giles, don’t you dare stop.”

“God help me, I won’t,” he said, and slammed himself into her hard enough to shift the solid oak desk by a full inch.

Another hard thrust, and another, and then the orgasm tore through him like a forest fire, lasting for seemingly ages while he held Willow tightly beneath him and listened to her cries.

Afterward, she laid still and he said nothing, waiting for his racing heart to return to normal, and not trusting his legs to hold his weight just yet. When he finally withdrew, she made a quiet noise. “Are you all right, Willow?” he said urgently, cursing himself for not having asked immediately.

“Mm,” she said, pushing herself up off the desk and turning to face him. Her hair was undone, loose around her shoulders. He’d torn her blouse at some point. Her skirt was still rucked halfway up to her hips and her bottom lip was swollen from where she’d bitten it. She is stunning, he thought in despair. He hadn’t wanted it this way. If he just could have said something, done something, before this…monstrosity occurred. If he’d just been strong enough to resist the curse.

If.

“Are you?” she said. “Curse?”

He did a quick inventory of himself. The fever was gone. The compulsion was gone. He was still attracted — god, more than attracted — to the woman who stood before him, but the desperate, terrible need to possess her had left him.

“I’m all right now, Willow. I’m…” His voice broke briefly. “I’m so sorry. I’m so very sorry.”

“No,” she said, and impossibly she was reaching towards his face, taking it between her cool, soft hands and drawing him closer. “Don’t you dare be sorry.” She touched her lips to his.

He pulled back. “You would be within your rights to never speak to me again,” he said.

Oh, Giles, she thought. She wondered what past history of his led him to believe that after an experience like… like that, she could never want to speak to him afterward.

The corners of her mouth lifted. “If I never speak to you again… then how will you correct my Latin?” she said. His body stiffened against hers, but before he could speak, she whispered, “you’re not the only one with an ama unum maxime, Rupert Giles.”

One long moment, during which his world shifted on its axis and time seemed to stop.

Max-i-ME” he said hoarsely, and then his mouth was on hers again, and he was lost.