Fandom: BtVS Rating: FRAO (eventually) Pairing: Willow/Giles of course! with a very brief mention of Willow/Kennedy (the skanky bitch) Setting: AU Post-'Chosen' Summary: Life after the destruction of Sunnydale. If you couldn't tell, I suck at summaries. Spoilers: None Status: WIP Feedback: Pretty please. Constructive criticism is always welcome and appreciated. If you want to flame me, well okay; I have cattle prods. And chainsaws. Disclaimer: I don't own these characters (if I did Willow would be with Giles where she belongs!); I just hijack them and take them out for a joyride every now and then. Also, I have no beta, so any and all mistakes are solely mine. Author's Notes: I would like to dedicate this to </a></strong></a>velvetwhip and </a></strong></a>toimhseachan for their unfailing encouragement, to </a></strong></a>purplefeen just for being such a fabulous friend, and to </a></strong></a>dragonydreams for getting me hooked on Willow/Giles in the first place!
Willow awakened a short time before they landed. Giles was sipping a cup of tea and making notes on an airsickness bag. She stretched slightly, then rubbed her eyes.
"Ah, so you're awake," Giles turned to her.
"I think so," Willow turned her head from side to side, attempting to work out the kinks that had developed from sleeping in an awkward position, "How much longer?"
"They just announced that we're about 20 minutes from landing," he answered.
"Wow, I was out that long? I feel like all I do is sleep!" Willow exclaimed in a whisper
"Well you're recovering from a very physically draining experience coming on the heels of an extended period emotional stress," he explained, "I'd say your body is simply recuperating from this whole ordeal."
"I guess you're right," she agreed, as she moved to stand, "If you'll excuse me, I have to...uh..."
"Certainly," he moved to let her out.
Willow headed down the aisle to the tiny lavatory. After answering nature's call, she splashed some cold water on her face, trying to clear the fuzziness from her brain. She returned to her seat and slid into it just as the 'Fasten Seat Belts' light began flashing. She clutched at her armrests and closed her eyes tightly.
Giles smothered a grin at her actions as he fastened his own seatbelt.
Later, as they stood at the baggage claim area, Willow was saddened at the sight of the solitary gym bag that contained all she had in the world now. A few articles of clothing, a brush and comb, toothbrush, toothpaste and the shampoos from the hotel room. Giles' bag was no bigger, but he had his possesions here in England. She had virtually nothing. She already missed her laptop. She hoped that when they set up the new Council, she would be able to get a new one.
They passed through Customs and began to make their way out of the bustling airport. As they reached the sidewalk and Giles paused to locate a taxi, Willow realised she had no idea where they were going.
"Are we going to your place in Westbury?" she questioned, not looking forward to a train or car trip on top of the long flight.
"Er, no," he moved to hand her into the waiting taxi, "The Council kept an apartment here in London should there be reason for a Watcher and his Slayer to come here. We'll be staying there. I've already phoned the housekeeping staff to expect out arrival."
"Cool," she relied. "'Cause, y'know, I wasn't really looking forward to more travelling today."
"I think we've done enough travelling for a while. We'll stay at the apartment while I try to discover what is left of the Council and we go about rebuilding it."
They settled in the taxi for the ride to the Council's apartment. Willow flinched at the traffic passing on the 'wrong' side, a reaction that Giles thought adorable. Soon enough, they were pulling up in front of a high-rise apartment building that was much nicer than Willow was expecting. A doorman opened the door for her and Giles.
"Hullo, Mr. Giles," he greeted them, "Are you going to be staying with us for a while this time?"
"Yes, I think so, Gerald," he responded, "This is Miss Rosenberg. She'll be staying with me as well."
"Very good, sir"
Wiilow followed Giles, wide-eyed at the luxury of the building that housed her new home. She rode the elevator in silence, which Giles mistook to be continued tiredness. In reality, she was speechless. She'd never seen any place so fancy. Looking down at her hastily purchased jeans and top, she felt very much out of place. She trailed after Giles as Gerald led the way to the apartment. He unlocked the door then handed Giles they key.
"Good to have you with us again, sir" he tipped his hat and returned to the elevator.
Giles ushered Willow into their new home, and she stared, openmouthed, at the opulence. Slowly, she began to explore. Heavy, rich drapes covered the enormous expanse of windows in the living room. Ornately carved furniture. Carpet so thick she thought she would sink to her ankles in it. A huge kitchen, fully stocked with food. Peeking down one hallway, she saw a small room lined with filled bookshelves. At the end of the hallway she spotted a bedroom, done in shades of blue and grey.
Giles stepped up behind her and cleared his throat.
"Er, your bedroom is at the end of the other hall," he explained.
Curious, she turned and went to see her room. Her eyes widened at the enormous room, with a huge four poster bed in cherry wood, with matching armoire, dresser and chest. A puffy, quilted coverlet in burgundy pulled back to reveal forest green sheets beneath. Peering into a room off one wall, she saw a bathroom with a large sunken tub and separate shower stall. Turning back to the bedroom her eyes lit up. There, on a beautiful antique desk sat a brand new laptop.
"Did you..." she began, overwhelmed.
"Yes, well," he blushed slightly, "I was certain you would miss the one you lost in Sunnydale and thought you might like this one. I know nothing about those infernal contraptions, but I was assured it was top of the line..."
He stopped, concerned when he saw her eyes fill with tears.
"Do you not like it? Is there something wrong?"
"Oh, Giles, " she threw her arms around him, "It's perfect."
He awkwardly put his arms around her, afraid the feelings for her he'd kept hidden for so long would be revealed in the embrace. After a moment spent relishing holding her small form, he disentagled himself.
"Tea!" he suddenly exclaimed,"I don't know about you, but I could use a cup about now."
"Sure, that sounds good," Willow was slightly puzzled be the abrupt change in mood, but then remembered that Giles had never been the touchy-feely type. Embarrassed at having made him feel uncomfortable, she silently followed him out of her room.
"Why don't you make yourself comfortable while I make the tea?" he suggested, moving into the kitchen.
Wilow settled herself on the overstuffed sofa. A short while later, Giles came in bearing a tea tray laden with tea pot, cups, creamer, sugar, and a small plate of cookies and crackers.
"I thought you might be hungry," he commented as he set the tray down.
She took the offered cup and a cookie and sank back into the cushions of the sofa.
"I am, but I'm afraid the couch is gonna eat me," she joked, "The Council kept this place for Watchers and Slayers? It's so..."
"Er, well, this is what I call the 'reward apartment.' Quentin kept this for Slayers and Watchers that pleased him. There's another for those who didn't. It's much less nice. Smaller, more...utilitarian. I thought you would like this one better when I thought of a place for us to stay."
"Like it? I love it!" she smiled, then glanced down at herself, "But I don't fit in here. I look like a poor relation come to visit her rich relatives."
"Tomorrow, if you like," he offered, "We could go shopping so you can find some more clothes. You certainly need more than you picked up in Los Angeles."
"Giles!" she teased, "You're actually volunteering to go shopping? Are you feeling okay? Did some demon take over your body in the kitchen?"
"Er, well, no, but we can't have you running around naked," he broke off abruptly at the images his unthinking remark conjured in his mind.
Willow's cheeks pinkened and she took a hasty sip of tea.
"Shopping would be good," she murmured. Somehow the thought of being naked with Giles wasn't as bad an idea as she thought it would have been.
'Weird,' she thought, 'Guess I'm just still tired from everything,'
Giles was trying desperately to rid his mind of the lascivious thoughts of a nude Willow and himself. She certainly would never think of such things. He was too old, probably a father-figure, and besides she was 'gay now.' Hoping for anything to develop between them was an exercise in futility. He needed to be satisfied with the friendship they shared.
They finished the remainder of their tea in silence. As he set his cup down, Giles turned to Willow.
"It's late, almost midnight. Perhaps we should try to sleep and get ourselves adjusted to the new time. Jet lag should help somewhat."
"Yeah. But first I want to try out that bathroom of mine. I'm feeling a little icky after that long flight."
"Of course. I believe I shall do the same. Good night, Willow."
Giles stood in the hot spray of his shower, his mind drifting to picture Willow doing the same or reclining in a steaming tub.
'Get over it, old man,' he told himself, 'She'll never see you like that.'
Willow climbed into the large bed and cuddled under the covers. Her new room didn't really feel 'hers' yet, but hopefully it would soon. Perhaps tomorrow she could pick up a few things to make it seem to belong to her. Despite all the sleep she'd been getting her eyelids felt heavy and she fell asleep quickly.