Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (tv)
Characters: Giles/Willow
Summary/Teaser: Willow is healing. Giles is helping.
Warnings: hetsex, though not too graphic
Spoilers: S6
Notes: Written for gentle_thorns for trkkr47’s Core Four ficathon. The request: willow, giles; angst, smut and a happy ending. not necessarily in that order except for the ending; one of the 13 languages giles can read, scotch and magic.
Word Count: 1339

Standard Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and co. own the characters, I'm just playing with them. I do, however, own this story, so don't steal it. Archive it anywhere; just ask first.

Feedback is always appreciated. Make me blush with praise or rip apart the story with criticism, or both.


Healing
by Elizabeth Scripturient

When Willow had first come to England with Giles, she would awaken screaming and crying in the middle of the night. Not from the memories of what had happened to her or what she had done, but from the flood of global pain. She was learning how to mask it, to turn it into mere background noise of sorts, but when she slept and her brain relaxed, all the pain would resurface.

Giles would run to her room and hold her sweaty shaking body. Soon she took to sleeping in the same bed as him, as she found she slept more calmly with another warm body next to hers. He spooned against her, wrapping his strong arms around her torso. She murmured "Tara" once, and he just held her closer, knowing the pain of having lost a loved one forever. More times than he cared to count, really.

One night, Willow rolled over and, pressing against Giles’ body, kissed him.

He held her in his arms, but when she broke the kiss he whispered, "I'm not Tara."

"I know that," she said softly, a catch in her throat. "And I don't care. Is that so bad, that I don't care?"

"There's always a point at which you find you've moved on. At some point you're going to want someone who isn't Tara, and that's okay."

"But this is so soon." She was crying now.

"It always feels like too soon," he whispered, and kissed the tears off her cheeks.

Then, softly, he kissed her top lip. She kissed him back hungrily, achingly.

She unbuttoned his silk pajama top, massaging his torso with her hands, reveling in feeling flesh against her skin again, remembering how years ago she had dreamt of this.

She pulled off her nightgown, wanted to feel his flesh against hers.

He kissed the hollow of her neck, feather kissed the lines of her collarbones, kissed her breasts, sucked on her nipples, heard her groan as he bit one gently.

When his mouth moved further down her chest she moved abruptly, bringing her mouth back to level with his, pushed down at the elastic waistband of his pajama pants.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes Giles, oh god yes. Please."

He groped for the bedside table, but Willow pulled him back to bed. "I trust you."

Giles sighed. "There are some things one should never trust," he said, his hand on her belly. He got out of bed, took off his pants, and pulled a condom out of the top drawer of the bedside table.

He returned to bed, condom in hand. She took him in her arms, kissing him passionately. He hardened and pulled the condom on. She pressed her body against his, but he hesitated.

"Giles, it's okay. I'm not a virgin. Remember Oz?"

***

"Giles, I'm so bad."

Giles bent over the back of the chair Willow was curled up in and kissed the top of her head. "You've been saying that for months now."

"Doesn't make it any less true," she pouted.

"And what have you done this time?" he asked indulgently.

"You know what I've done," she said. "And what I did."

"Willow, we can't change the past."

"I probably could, if I really wanted to."

Giles looked at her sternly.

She wanted to say "kidding" but couldn't.

Giles poured himself a scotch. He had long since learned it was never too early for something like that. He sat down in a chair opposite her and sipped it, waiting for her to continue.

"I'm still recovering from the mad revenge spree I went on, and already I'm sleeping with someone else."

"A new relationship is usually part of the healing process."

"Is that what this is? A relationship?"

"Do you want it to be?"

"I... God, Giles, I've loved you for longer than I ever loved Tara. I mean, not that I didn't love her. God, I loved her so much. I still do. I miss her so much. But I've loved you for years, and I want you so much."

Giles put down his scotch. He walked over to the chair Willow was curled up in and edged his way in, pulling her onto his lap. "I love you, too, Willow," he said, and he held her as she cried softly. Eventually she calmed down.

"Giles, am I evil?"

"Would I still be here if I truly believed you were evil?"

"Well, you did have that thing with Ethan."

"I was young and foolish then. And Ethan is not, nor has he ever been, evil."

"Okay, fine.” A pause. “But that still doesn't mean I’m not evil."

"Willow, has the coven taught you nothing? Have you really paid so little attention the whole time you've been here? We are more than the sum of our actions. You are not defined by what you have done."

“Giles! This is different. Okay, so I'm still working on my guilt from having tried to destroy the whole world but hi, that's kind of a big thing. But I'm working on that. But this is different. This is like a betrayal of Tara, loving someone else, being with someone else. And, I know it doesn't make it okay, but I went all veiny 'cause I loved Tara so much, and if I love someone else, if I don't love her, then it's like, I had no right to do any of that. And that's scary. I mean, I know no one ever has the right to do the things I did, but I guess I've been holding on to this little bit of self-righteousness, that like, it was just the littlest bit okay for me to do it, because I was so goddamn in love. And so, if I lose that, I have to face the wrongness of what I did, full-on all painful and raw, no protection."

Giles hugged her tightly.

"Okay, so I guess does all come back to me and my guilt about trying to end the world. But it's not just about that. I also feel like I'm betraying Tara. Isn't that terrible? I didn't think of it that way when I was killing people or trying to end the world, even though of course Tara wouldn't want me to do those things, but I start to be happy again, with someone else, and suddenly I think I'm betraying her."

"There is a spell you may be interested in," he said slowly. Willow got up and followed him into his library, watched him search the bookshelves and then pull a particular volume down and flip through it.

"It lets you, get in touch with the departed -- in a sense. It's usually used by people who are haunted by guilt. It allows the survivor to, ask for absolution from the departed... to ask the departed for forgiveness, or to bestow approval."

"Wow."

"The spell is in ancient Sanskrit, and it invokes the essence of the departed. You can use words to speak to the departed if that makes it easier for you, but she won't actually speak back to you. People usually report a feeling of peace coming upon them, but whatever they report, it's always in terms of feelings, never actual words."

Willow nodded. "I want to try it."

"Okay." Giles lit a candle and placed it in front of Willow. He then pointed to a page in the book. "Read this passage, focusing on the candle and thinking of Tara. Repeat it until you begin to feel her presence. Once you feel her, you can stop and begin speaking directly to her -- out loud or in your mind." Willow nodded. "I can leave the room if that would make you feel more comfortable."

She shook her head. "No, I think I want you here."

"As you wish."

As Willow chanted, the room grew hazy, and soon she was quiet. After a while she began to smile. When she opened her eyes, the haze began to dissipate. She turned to Giles. "Thank you. Thank you."


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