It was bad enough they’d had to wait out on the doorstep in the cold forever while Giles did whatever the hell it was he’d been doing when they got there. Her fingers had started to go numb, and she was certain that frostbite wasn’t reversible. How was she supposed to use her hands for fun things if half her fingers were frozen off?
When he’d finally opened his door, he was sweaty and smelled like strong whiskey. The couch wasn’t quite how it should have been, she noticed. It was out of place, which was really weird for Giles. Everything had a place. Including him, which should have been out with his guests. Instead, he’d been locked in the bathroom for the last ten minutes while everybody else sat there and twiddled their thumbs awkwardly.
Nobody was talking, everything was tense for some reason, and Anya couldn’t understand why. The whole thing was very annoying. She’d rather have been hanging out in Xander’s musty basement than sitting on the couch in Giles’ living room. Considering the rather offensive smells down there, that was really saying something. But at least Xander had a television. And a bed. And could give her orgasms.
But no, she was here. And given how long he’d been in the bathroom, Giles was probably masturbating in there. Getting his own orgasms while denying them to others. Well, maybe not. He seemed a little too reserved for that when he had company.
She was about ready to get up and find that secret stash of his. She had the feeling that when it came to Giles and alcohol, he was not the type to buy from a grocery store. He probably had his imported from England or something. No doubt a glass of it could take the edge off, liven things up, and make everybody a little less boring.
She was trying really hard to assimilate to her human life. To be a good girlfriend, and get along with her boyfriend’s people. But god, they made it so hard sometimes. Willow was finally over Oz at least, so she wasn’t whining about that all the time. She was moving on. Well, almost. But Anya had seen those sidelined glances and the blushing and the coy smiles going on with Tara. It could only mean one thing. Even if they hadn’t said anything to each other yet. They were probably both too shy to even realize that their feelings were mutual.
Giles finally stepped out of the bathroom and closed the door behind him, still looking like… Well, like he’d had a rough day and he could really benefit from somebody pampering him. She wasn’t sure he seemed the type for that though. He was drying his hands on a towel that had some suspicious red spotting. Blood, probably. She’d cleaned it off her own hands more than a few times in her eleven hundred years. She knew it when she saw it.
But why were his hands covered in blood? Was this something she wasn’t supposed to mention because everybody liked to live in their own little worlds where their stuffy old librarian friend was neither stuffy nor a librarian? Did everybody just quietly accept that this unassuming man had probably savagely beaten somebody right before they came over? Had he been cleaning up a body, and that’s why it had taken him so long to answer the door when they’d arrived?
Were any of her questions the kind that she was supposed to just keep quiet about? Probably. And when she wasn’t sure, the answer was usually yes, and then Xander would give her the look again and they’d have to talk about it later before they got to the part where they had sex. She hated it when he’d sit her down and have another one of those discussions with her.
Couldn’t discuss sex. Couldn’t tell people they were annoying. Couldn’t suggest things that normal humans wouldn’t do. It wasn’t her fault everybody was so damn sensitive and kept their thoughts to themselves. Gods forbid anybody be uncomfortable or offended by something that came out of the recently-mortal person’s mouth. She hadn’t had to worry about all this stuff for centuries. And it wasn’t that she was lacking empathy. She just thought that maybe, if everybody just said what they wanted to, there wouldn’t be all the mixed signals and weird emotions.
Apparently the blood actually was something to mention, because Willow jumped up from where she was sitting and started fussing about it in a very dramatic manner.
“Oh my god! Giles, are you okay?”
“Oh,” he smiled softly and looked down at the wash cloth in his hands. “Yes, I’m quite alright.”
“What happened?” Xander piped up. “Did something get the jump on you?”
Why was it perfectly normal for them to point out obvious things, but not her? Being human was so confusing.
“There was a-a situation earlier this evening, but it’s handled now. No cause for alarm.” He sat carefully on one of his barstools before removing his glasses and beginning to wipe them clean. “What has anybody figured out? Please tell me some kind of progress has been made over the last several days. I could do with a bit of good news.”
“Tara and I have been looking into some basic protection spells, for when we do figure out where she is. Really easy ones that should shield us from, you know, bullets and stuff.” She sounded unsure of herself about the last bit of her sentence.
“Should.” Tara clarified. “And we’re going to f-find a way to make it so that it- it definitely does.”
At least she was honest about that part.
“Oh, good. Anya, have you heard anything from uh, well, the demon community? These operatives are taking them, so it stands to reason that there-”
“Oh, yeah. They’ve got the information alright. You’re welcome, by the way. I called in a lot of favors from people. My favors!”
He didn’t even know the half of it. She really wasn’t happy about that part. Demons didn’t owe favors all willy nilly. She’d done a lot of things in her time to be owed by so many people. To call those debts in just for some information on some military operation because Buffy had been kidnapped was just ridiculous. She’d had much better things in mind. But nobody was accepting drinks as payment anymore, since she’d come down with a case of humanity. She wasn’t one of them any more, so she had to barter good and proper.
Giles was waiting for her to share what she’d learned, his eyebrows raised expectantly. “Well?”
“It’s something called-”
“The Initiative, yes.” A new voice, attached to a new man, filtered out of the bathroom. The bathroom Giles had spent so much time in after they’d arrived. Well, it made sense. That much time locked in a bathroom usually meant one of two things. One could lead to death and the other to orgasms. And since Giles wasn’t dead, it could only be the latter.
Wait. He’d just revealed the big information that she’d gone through all that trouble for. So she called in all those favors for nothing!
“Ethan is here!? That’s the situation you were dealing with? It doesn’t look very handled, Giles!” Xander stood and approached the mystery man in a menacing, albeit sexy, way.
“Well, all that time they were locked in that tiny room together, I’m sure he got handled plenty, Xander.”
Everybody in the room looked at her, with different levels of abject horror at the suggestion. Except the guy, Ethan, who smirked at her and raised an eyebrow. Like she needed any more confirmation that they had history together, and that it most definitely involved sex.
Giles was sputtering. Like they’d never been aware of him having an orgasm friend before. There was the one lady, who’d been the reason for Xander getting stuck with Spike. She’d had to give up her own orgasms so Giles could have his twice now.
“What, Xander? God, you could cut the tension between those two with a knife.” He gave her the slack jawed look, like he always did when… “Oh, this is one of those things I’m not supposed to mention, huh? Because Giles really got to the age he is without any sexual partners. For goodness sake, he was growing up during the seventies! Of course-”
The noise that came out of her boyfriend was somewhere between a whine and a yowl. “Please stop talking. Please.”
“Did you just tell me to shut up?” She squinted her eyes at him, appalled he would even dare talk to her in such a condescending way.
Maybe it was because it was Giles, and he was old, and xander thought it was gross, but… She was really not going to make excuses for him. That’s how it started every time she’d granted a wish for some poor heartbroken girl. The girl excused his behavior, he kept doing it, eventually he ended up eviscerated.
“No, no no no. I didn’t. I asked you to stop saying the horrible, horrible brain melting things. There’s a difference!”
“Both of you shut up, please.” Giles had the good brandy out, and was pouring a glass. “Ethan, I would ask how you escaped the shackles, but I don’t really care. You’d be wise to go chain yourself back up in the bathroom.”
Ethan chuckled and leaned against the door frame to the kitchen. “No, I don’t think I will. Now, I told you I came here with information-”
Giles struck him in the nose. He didn’t even spill a drop of his drink, which gave the impression that he had practice. Not something she would have expected out of Giles, but humans had all kinds of colorful pasts.
Ethan recoiled and backed his way into the kitchen, cornering himself. “Now, Rupert. Think clearly about this. You know I wouldn’t be here without good reason. Not after what happened last time.”
Anya had never really pegged Giles as a man who could ever look scary or intimidating. But there was a gloss in his eyes as he advanced on Ethan. A controlled calm that hid something very powerful just below the surface.
It had taken a lot of effort to subdue Giles’ orgasm buddy enough to tie him to a chair and duct tape his mouth shut. Then there was discussion about what to do with him: let him go, kill him, extort him? Anya’s suggestion to torture him hadn’t gone over well. Big surprise, since it seemed nothing ever did.
They’d finally settled on hearing him out, and deciding where to go after he told them everything he knew about the Initiative. Giles took great pleasure in ripping the tape from Ethan’s mouth, and the cry of pain that immediately followed.
“Start talking, or I’ll let Anya break your knee caps with a baseball bat like she wanted.”
Scary Giles was oddly attractive.
Ethan squirmed against his restraints before finally heaving a sigh.
“Right then. They’re called the Initiative. Been around since World War One. Secret government ops, sanctioned by the very level headed military this country has.” He paused, probably for dramatic effect. He seemed like the type. Anya wondered if he’d ever been approached by D’Hoffryn. He would have probably been a pretty good vengeance demon. “Word about them has been spreading in the demon world. Ever since they set up shop here on the active hellmouth, they’ve ramped up their operation. Everybody’s scared.”
“Do you know where the base is located?” Giles interjected, urgency in his voice.
“You know I just realized something, mate.” He glanced at each of them, a smile forming. “Looks like your Slayer is missing from this meeting. That wouldn’t have anything to do with your bad mood, would it?”
The slap Giles delivered echoed off the walls.
“Ethan, we have a critical situation. You will tell me what you know or so help me God…”
“First of all, ouch. I don’t know how many times I have to tell you that I’m giving this information to you freely. I came back here for you, Rupert. To keep you safe. Rest assured they won’t stop at vampires and demons. They’ll go for anybody remotely exceptional- including you and me, and your slayer. The operation is run by, and I’m quoting my source in this one, ‘some old bitch by the name of Walsh’. Seems she’s very popular with her subjects.”
Giles blinked slowly. His mouth opened, then closed again. He looked very much like a gaping fish.
“You’re quite certain your source is accurate? Trustworthy? They wouldn’t feed you false information?”
“Not a doubt in my mind. Considering the truth spell I put on him, he hardly had a choice in the matter, did he?”
“Wait, Walsh? As in Maggie Walsh, my psychology professor? No way. That’s not possible.”
Willow looked rather disturbed. Rightly so, if it really was her professor that had kidnapped her best friend and was probably experimenting on her for the last couple of weeks. And then carried on in lectures as if nothing was happening. Anya wondered idly if there was anybody on the hellmouth that didn’t have some secret double life going on.
“Giles, he has to be lying. We need to do a truth spell. Make sure this is-is good information. We can’t just take him at his word! I mean, after the whole Halloween thing, and the, the you being a teenager thing.”
Willow looked from Giles, to Tara, and back to Giles, her mouth still hanging open from the shock. Giles and Tara looked at each other, then back to Willow. There was a lot of glancing, and no talking, and Anya figured she may as well be the one to say what everybody else was thinking.
“It’s not going to work on somebody as powerful as he is. And even if it did, that just confirms that he’s telling us the truth about the information he got. Either way, we still can’t know for sure and it would be a huge waste of time.” At Willow’s disgruntled look, Anya threw her hands up. “Look, you want to find Buffy. We get that. And you don’t want to just jump the gun on the first bit of info that comes your way. So go investigate. Look into the people she’s close to.”
“I hate to admit it, but Anya makes several good points, Willow. Ethan is far too experienced in magics for a truth spell to work on him. It’s willpower controlled, and I’m afraid none of us would be able to, uh, over power him.”
He shifted uncomfortably on his feet, and Anya couldn’t help but notice the way he was specifically avoiding eye contact with Ethan. Willpower, indeed. She’d seen that before, hundreds of times as a vengeance demon. She had no doubt there was history between the two, that neither had ever really moved past. Ethan was… Well, way more confident in his sexuality than Giles was.
“That’s not true, Giles. You could do it. You were going to do one on Spike, right?”
Willow had that gleam in her eyes, like magic was the solution here somehow. Clearly, she wasn’t ready to accept that certain people were just horrible psychopaths, and no amount of magic was ever going to change that. Anya hadn’t met this Walsh person, but if Giles was willing to take Ethan at his word, everybody else should have too.
“Spike was a different situation entirely.” Giles was stern, now. “In any case, I’m not willing to do the spell, and that’s the end of it. Willow. Maggie Walsh is not what she seems.”
Tara stepped in front of Willow and placed her hands on her shoulders gently. Oh, yeah. There’s definitely romantic things happening there.
“We can take a closer look at her without using magic. And I can scry again, w- without being in a rush. And we still have to find out who the commandos are, r-right? So, you and me can work on that, together.”
“Well, while you’re out staring into crystals, why don’t you look into what exactly three-fourteen is, will you?” Everybody turned back to Ethan, who had been quietly observing the arguing up to that point. “Look, I couldn’t get anything clear about it. Demons go in there, and they don’t come back out. And if they do, they aren’t talking. It’s got them all scared. I’d wager that whatever it is those people are doing? That’s where you’re going to get your answer.”
Tara nodded. “I’ll see what I can find out.”
Now that their weekly Scooby meeting finally seemed to be over, Anya and Xander could go back to his musty basement and do much more enjoyable activities. Namely, the kissing and the getting naked and the having orgasms. Even though now, he’d probably want to talk things over and give her a lecture about not mentioning Giles’ sex life before they could actually have their own. The things she put up with for a man with a nice penis. Oh well, it was worth it. Most of the time.
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November 26, 2020 20:54