Spin The Giles
by Meg & glossolalia

A frat party, UC Sunnydale. Fall, 1999

Already, Giles can't quite recall what brought him here. He's sitting on the floor, his shoes off, and he's not wearing a tie. Of course, he hasn't worn a tie regularly since the school blew up, so perhaps that's not so unusual. But his shirt is slightly untucked and his glasses are smeared and he has nothing to polish them on.

It's dark in this room and the music is playing rather loudly, and if he closes his eyes, he could be back in Tottenham, circa 1975; the beer and pot fumes are just the same, the incense's smoke is rolling in the same useless waves around their heads, and people's sweat, this close, smells just as sour-sweet.

Of course, that would mean that the fairly inebriated Willow draped against his shoulder is Ethan, and while both of them are slight and too bony for their own good, he'd like to think Willow has more sense than the erstwhile Master Rayne.

Oh, look. Oz is refilling his beer. So kind.

"The game," Buffy says, lifting an empty wine bottle, and should a Slayer have a bottle of wine? He's not sure. "Is Spin the Bottle."

Everyone else is applauding, so Giles claps, too. It's only polite.

Xander attempts to tap him on his other shoulder, reaching across Anya, but instead he drops his hand and lets it slide down Giles' crumpled dress shirt. "Giles man, you sure you know how to play this?" A concerned stare.

Met with his own, patented, did you really have to ask that question? stare. Xander grins. "Okay, then. Looks like Giles is going first."

Now Giles wasn't expecting that. Oz hands him the beer, and tips his own in salute. A gesture from a comrade in arms, or perhaps just a gesture from one who is about to watch Giles meet his doom. With this bunch (and with the fuzzy variant of alcohol thrown into the mix), one never knows.

The wine bottled is passed sloppily around the circle, from Buffy to Oz to Willow, who dumps it in his lap. Not quite as empty as Buffy had thought, but he's too far gone to care about the spreading stain near the knee of his khakis. He lifts it, examining the remaining contents, enough for a gulp. He drains the bottle, and before he can lose his nerve, quickly places it in the middle of the circle.

Anya, Xander, Buffy, Oz, Willow.

He spins. Quick rattle of glass on hardwood floor, that slows unevenly, so the bottle moves slightly across the wood. He barely dares look at it when he hears it stop.

Buffy crows, "Giles has to kiss Anya!"

It could have been worse. Much worse. He could have landed on Buffy, and had to stumble to his feet, stammer some pathetic excuse, flee into the night. Anya has been human for a while now, and if the bites and hickeys Xander fails to hide with mock-turtleneck collars and the odd scarf are anything to go by, she probably knows her stuff.

"That's not fair," Anya says. "What if I don't want to kiss Giles? This doesn't seem entirely egalitarian."

Xander is whispering in her ear, and Anya nods along, her eyes widening.

"So then I spin? What if it lands on Willow? I don't have to kiss Willow, do I?"

Giles clears his throat. The longer he has to wait, the more surely his nerve is going to fail. Anya looks over at him, then at Xander, then back to Giles. Her face tightens and she gives a single, short nod before clambering across the circle on her knees.

Suddenly, Giles has a lapful of very determined girl who smells like raspberry lip gloss and Ajax. He blinks hard, breathes through his mouth, and purses his lips to peck hers.

Anya, apparently, has other ideas, and she squirms against him, wrapping an arm around his neck and pulling back his head, licking his lower lip until Giles can't help but open his mouth, and then she's kissing him in what would count as cardio-pulmonary resuscitation if it didn't feel quite so good.

His face tightens and heats up, and Giles presses her shoulder down until he's kissing her and she only pulls away, flushed and breathing hard, when Xander says, "Okay. Librarians can kiss. Can we move on?"

"No," Anya says and fixes her hair. "New game. Giles spins every time. It's only fair to the rest of you."

Giles launches into a half-hearted protest, but Buffy beats him to it. "Anya, that's not the way the game is played."

"I was just trying to do everyone a favor." She's eyeing Giles in a distinctly appraising way, and Giles is trying to make sure he's not actually catching Xander licking his lips out of the corner of his eye. Instead, he spots the beer Oz poured for him, and takes another drink. Taste of Anya is washed from his mouth (getting ready for the next go-round, he supposes).

Buffy has taken charge of the game, drunkenly ordering Willow to spin. Willow reaches for bottle, and spins it by the neck. Giles still has the cup at his mouth when the bottle stops at him.


He's going to need to have a talk with Willow one of these days about the use of unnecessary magick. But he doesn't exactly have time for that as she's leaning eagerly into him, knees sliding sideways across the floor, her hands planted on either side of his hips. Hadn't Buffy been telling him over the summer that she suspected Willow might have had a crush on him?

The slight buzz of magicks is a taste he had long forgotten, but here, on soft feminine tongue with the smell of beer overpowered by the smell of soap and even a hint of Oz, it brings out something in him that he thought he had buried beneath layers of tweed and upper crust accents.

But then again, he isn't wearing tweed right now, is he? Instead, he's kissing Willow (internal voice declaring it's only fair that he prove Xander right).

She pulls back, breathless and wide-eyed, and stuttering his name mixed with Oz's. He looks around the circle, almost challengingly. Xander's staring at him hard, while Oz has one of those infuriatingly indescribable looks on his face, but maybe there's a hint of want in his eyes. Anya's face is lit up with the self-satisfied smirk that she only gets when talking about sex in embarrassingly public places. And Buffy's turning the tables on him once again, watching him, the way his hand instinctively reaches out to push Willow's hair back and the slight tremor in his moving fingers that he'd like to pretend isn't there. Her eyes are one part troubled and one part trouble, confusion and the slow burn of desire making her dangerous.

"Okay. New game," Buffy declares. "Giles spins every time."

Bloody hell.

Giles straightens his shoulders, cracks his knuckles - Jesus, that's a disgusting sound; now he remembers why he stopped - and closes his eyes. Unlike the girl again slumped against him, idly playing with his shirtsleeve, he doesn't need magic. And it's nice to hide in the dark and be safe, for a moment at least, from the acquisitive gleam in Anya's eyes.

He spins and sits back, folding his arms and watching the bottle wobble to a stop.

Not Anya again. Please. She leans over, half across Xander's lap, until Buffy pushes her away to reveal one very wide-eyed and compulsively coughing Xander.

"Xander?" Willow says wonderingly. She tugs on Giles's sleeve until he looks down at her. "You're not going to -. With Xander? But -"

Oz pulls one knee up to his chest and rests his chin on it. Says quietly, "Will."

"But -"

Xander's coughing slows a bit and he smoothes one palm over his hair. Giles misses his short hair; he used to look so young with that hair, but these days, he seems almost to be letting himself go to seed. Hair's a little too long and there's a new slight blur of pudginess around his jaw. Perhaps he's just finally filling out his frame.

"Shall we?" Giles asks.

Xander nods, eyes darting, and this time Giles is sure he does lick his lips. He lets Xander come to him; if they're going to change the rules on him, then he's going to remain where he's comfortable. Xander won't look at him, but grasps his shoulder firmly and presses his closed mouth against Giles'.

Hardly a kiss. A waste of his time, in fact.

Giles curls his hand into the boy's overlong hair and tilts his head the other way until Xander squeaks lowly, parting his lips enough for Giles to nibble his way in, and then Xander sinks a little against him, warm solid weight, and he tastes, as they all must, of beer and secondhand smoke, but as his hand flexes and releases on Giles' shoulder, he murmurs and begins kissing back.

Xander has learned well from his patchily bizarre romantic escapades, and Giles is gripped by a sudden, cold certainty that this is probably one of the few things Xander has ever excelled at. But he's not about to complain, or stop. He tugs the silky hair between his fingers a little more firmly and kisses more deeply, until Xander is shivering against him, eyes closed but fluttering, as in REM sleep.

Giles releases him slowly, almost reluctantly, and pats Xander's shoulder fondly. "Your manhood is safe, Xander."

Xander nods, his lips already swollen, as he scrambles back to the (relative) safety at Anya's side.

Giles surveys the circle and runs his hands through his own hair. Rolls his shoulders and grins; he'd forgotten just how exhilarating a simple kiss can be, how it plucks at every nerve from lips to knee, sets them tingling and ticking.

"Who's next?"

There's an awkward silence while the circle stares at each other, but Giles is looking straight ahead, confident on the waves of the kissing and the alcohol and the buzz of it all. On the fact that this could very well make them all realize that he is, in fact, not a eunuch.

Finally the silence, moving past awkward and into impenetrable, is broken by Anya. "Well, if no one else is going to go, I can take another turn. I have no problem with that. Taking one for the team!"

Xander looks at her, swiveled head and disbelieving eyes.

"Go team?" She pouts slightly and leans against him, fingers toying with his pants where his knees are folded back underneath him. He's hunched as well, taking up the least amount of space, and he's tilted to the right a bit, either the beer taking its toll, or from Anya's shoulder digging into his arm. He's sneaking glances at Giles, more specifically, at Giles' lips, but then he moves his hand firmly over Anya's, as if to reassure himself now that his world's become a snowglobe that's been tipped upside down and rightside up again.

Only Buffy and Oz are left. He has lost all his temerity over kissing Buffy, uncaring now about propriety and Watcher's decorum. If Travers could only see him now. Although, the look on his face would probably be worth the inevitable disgrace that would leak its way down the ranks of the Council. But Giles had already taken that route. Might as well live life on the dangerous side these days. He glances directly across the circle to his slayer, who (either unknowingly or unabashadly) is staring him down with flickers of want and confusion in her eyes.

Giles is suddenly sharply certain that the night's events are out of the realm of experience for all of them.

Buffy looks down at the bottle, and reaches out, leaning over. Curves and muscle, curls and the sharp relief of her jaw. She slowly taps the neck until it's pointed directly at her.

Giles is halfway across the circle before he realizes what he's doing; lips meeting hers chastely, dry, until she slides her hand up to where his neck meets hair behind his ear, and she tugs gently on the small curl there and it resonates and makes him shudder. She bites on his lower lip, and the last thought Giles has before surrendering to the kiss is, she's so small.

Her kiss is lightning, flashes and echoes and over before he knows it. She bites him at the underside of his jaw, corner of his neck, not quite hard enough to leave a mark, and he wonders if it's the wine, or the slayer, or the slayer drunk on wine that causes the ironic sexual ode to vampirism. He's on his knees in the middle of the circle, closed eyes beneath his glasses, and he's afraid to look at her while her hand stays on his thigh and the other in his hair, afraid to look at her this close and see something he doesn't want to. Or worse, something he does want to.

Xander clears his throat and the moment is broken. Buffy retreats back to her spot in the circle, and Giles is left in the middle, unusually the center of attention, breathing hard, reeling slightly, too many faces to look at all at once.

The only one left is the quiet boy with the fingernails painted black, who's sitting next to his girlfriend patiently as she steals sips from his beer and makes out with the high school librarian. And at this point, Giles supposes, why the hell not?

Everyone he's kissed so far, he has known. Even Anya, not even a year old as a human, he roughly understands in her yapping, mercurial frankness and bony, hopeful beauty.

Or, more rightly, he went into each kiss thinking he understood the other, then found confirmation and new evidence in the kiss. Xander, the forgotten boy, fumbling yet deeply carnal; Willow, sheathed in magicks she doesn't need, eager yet shy; Buffy, his Buffy (and thank God he's drunk enough that for now he can shove aside the sour seep of near-incestuous guilt), strong and fair and so hungry; but Oz -

Oz, he does not know. He is small and sharp, impenetrable and inscrutable. Gnomic and cryptic, all sidewise, sliding glances and faint expressions as brief as cloud formations. He is unlike the others, does not belong, has never joined their relentless, near-desperate play at normality.

He just is, a small truth, wholly himself and utterly missable unless you're looking for him.

Giles looks for him now as the circle shifts and murmurs restlessly. Narrow shoulders, prominent collarbone in his faded, clinging undershirt, a twist of white neck porcelain-bright and -sharp, as he soothes away another spasm of Willow's worry.

Oz looks back at Giles over her head, white fingers, black nails, in her red hair, sylvan-deep eyes regarding Giles.

Dark green eyes, sharp and botanical, beneath ginger brows. Red and green on white, blood and pines in the snow, and he is a beast.

The world's quietest, gentlest werewolf, but Giles' gut squirms and contracts at the thought. He swallows, reminds himself that he's already kissed Anya, still far more of a demon than Oz would ever be, and Buffy. Giles knows, as you know childhood nightmares still, more clearly and surely than reality, the source of a Slayer's power, what was done, who she is. In comparison, a werewolf is a sport, a minor monster, relegated to the edge of the page to cavort in marginalia.

Oz blinks now as he shifts behind Willow and Giles wets his lips, guilt and regret already creeping in for his reflexive, fearful disgust at the boy. The least he can do, the best he can offer Oz, this boy who didn't ask for any of this, is to meet him halfway.

Outside the circle, just behind a Willow hunched forward, fist against her mouth.

"Excuse me? I can't see," Anya protests. "Willow's blocking -"

Oz, on his knees, touches Giles' chest, palms his wrinkled shirt and ducks his head. "Hey -"

His shoulder is strong, more solid for all its apparent delicacy, under Giles' hand, and as Giles kisses the smooth curve of Oz's forehead, Oz's fingers tighten in his shirt. Pull him closer as he tilts back his head.

No guilt here, nor pseudo-Ripper balls. Just need, need to touch and taste the angles, mysterious and little-known as a new continent, of Oz's face, of him, and Giles keeps his eyes open as Oz parts his lips, still staring, and when their mouths meet, he could swear one, no, both, of them sighs. Nails in his chest hair, another cool hand on his neck, and Giles shivers at the elemental simplicity of this, the sweet taste of juniper and starlight on a strong tongue twining over his, the kaleidoscopic depth of Oz's eyes blurred by cinnamon lashes, and when Oz nudges forward, Giles falls back, arm around the thin, twisting waist that makes him think of vines, ivy and kudzu, narrow and fiercely strong. He pulls Oz with him, Oz's lip in his teeth, Oz's tongue painting curlicues and runes over his mouth. Oz's hair is rough and scratchy under Giles' hand, then, as he pushes his fingers through, soft beneath, underbrush full of rabbits and secrets, and he shudders atop Giles, squirming, kissing him as deeply as any youth, with all the desperation and hunger Giles has felt from the others, but with a grace, swooping and certain, that is entirely foreign and ageless. Oz pinches Giles' jaw, thumb pressing against his windpipe, as he trails his mouth over Giles' cheek, up to his eyes, and when he kisses Giles' lids, Giles sees blood flower and pump under the gentle pressure.

Oz is unmapped, primeval, Arcadian, and when Giles buries his face in the dip of his neck, when he smells the musky blur of a man's sweat and the hints of pelt and hunt, tangled and free-flowing, there, Giles groans, bites down, trying to break white skin, sucking up a bruise, leaving a mark. Oz grunts, clutches him closer, and someone else, far away and inconsequential, coughs.

Giles turns his head, and Oz's face is just before his, right there, all over again, calm expression and stormy eyes. Lips red and swollen, almost obscene on such a boyish face, but he kisses Giles softly, eases away all the crudity and ignorance as he smoothes down Giles' hair.

"Right," Buffy says, miles away, small-voiced and beautiful. "Guess that's Game Over."


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