Summary: Willow's in for a surprise when she finds out her crystal necklace is more than it seems.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Distribution: My site/LJ, my W/G archive: Hairy Eyeball, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Thanks: to my wonderful Betas (velvetwhip, emeraldswan & KallieRose) for all of your help.
Note: This was written for the Watchers' Firsts Fic-a-thon. My keywords were: Confession, Sewer, Anxiety
The beams of light bobbed along the wet surfaces surrounding them. The lights moved in the unsteady patterns of someone walking or searching for something. Giles and Willow were doing both.
The only sounds that could be heard were those of the water running next to them, their steps as they tried not to slip on the slick stone surface they walked on, their shallow breathing from trying not to inhale too much in the rank underground tunnel, and the occasional sound of rats scurrying out of their path.
Willow put a hand to her mouth as the stench of the sewer threatened to bring up her lunch. Although lately it seemed like almost anything would make her throw up. It was strange; she felt fine otherwise, but she seemed to have thrown up nearly every day for the last week or so.
"How much farther?" she asked, hoping she didn't sound too much like a petulant child.
"Not very," Giles answered, looking back over his shoulder at Willow. He noticed that she looked a little peaked. He hoped it hadn't been a mistake bringing her along. He could have searched for the artifact alone, but he could admit to himself that he had longed for an excuse to spend some time alone with her.
Willow breathed a sigh of relief when Giles' words proved true and they came to the opening they were looking for.
"Why is it that people feel the need to hide their booty in the most disgusting places?" she asked, as they set their flashlights down to focus on the writing carved into one of the walls.
"Perhaps to prevent people like us from absconding with it?" Giles proposed.
"Well, yeah," Willow agreed. "So, what does it say?"
"Give me a moment," Giles mumbled, running his fingers over the text. He continued to speak under his breath as he tried to work out whether or not this was a warning or instructions.
Willow wandered around the room, resisting the urge to shudder. She silently marveled at the situations she found herself in since becoming a Scooby. Her thoughts were interrupted by Giles' excited exclamation at having figured out what the writing on the wall was.
"Nothing to worry about," he assured Willow. "It's merely an epitaph for the gentleman lying over there," he gestured to the statute lying on the sarcophagus in the center of the room.
"Does it say anything about where exactly the whatever-it-is is hiding?"
"The scabbard," Giles supplied, "should be buried on or near our good friend here."
"Why are we just looking for a scabbard? Why not the sword? Wouldn't that be where the real power is?" Willow questioned as she started helping Giles to look around the room.
"I have the sword," he dismissively answered. "The sword, while a formidable weapon, is not, in and of itself, what made it one to be feared. Come help me move this lid," he requested, before continuing with his story. "While the scabbard was worn, no harm could come to the bearer of the sword."
"Haven't I heard this story before?" Willow asked, straining to help Giles shift the lid of the sarcophagus in order to look inside.
"Probably. It was not the only one of its kind."
"Then why are we looking for it? If others exist, why do we need it? It's not like you're going to go out sword-fighting any time soon," Willow pointed out. She was a little surprised by the spark of lust the image of Giles sword-fighting elicited. She hadn't had lusty Giles thoughts in a long time.
"I thought it wouldn't hurt to have it around. Both Buffy and I have had occasion to use a sword when fighting one demon or another. I knew the scabbard to the sword that I possessed was buried somewhere in Sunnydale, and figured a little insurance never hurt."
"True," Willow had to agree. "But isn't that cheating?"
"If it comes down to my life or a demon's, who would you prefer to have the edge?" Giles asked, hoping she'd say him.
"You, silly," she laughed. "Okay, I get it."
With a final shove they managed to turn the lid enough to see what lay within. Willow retrieved her flashlight and shone it inside the tomb, bending over to see better. The stale scent of musk and decay was more powerful inside the sealed coffin. The nausea she'd been fighting rose up and sent her running to the corner to purge itself.
Giles was at her side in a moment, rubbing her back and asking if everything was all right.
"I'm fine," Willow insisted.
"You are most assuredly not 'fine'," Giles countered, "if you are being sick in the corner." He pressed his hand to her forehead, frowning when she didn't appear to have a fever.
"See?" Willow peevishly asked. "No temp. I'm fine."
"How do you know?" Giles persisted.
"Because I've been doing it all week," Willow spit out before she even realized that she'd done so. When she did, her eyes went round and her cheeks flushed.
"You've been sick for a week and allowed me to drag you into the sewers?" Giles asked, aghast that he could have contributed to making her illness worse.
"I feel fine," Willow insisted. "I just throw up sometimes."
Not wanting to discuss it further, Willow turned back to the sarcophagus and, after taking a deep breath, looked inside once again.
As her back was turned, she missed the horrified look of realization settle on Giles' face. His skin whitened and he stumbled backwards until his back was against the wall. He wasn't even aware of removing his glasses in order to clean them, the ritual act not comforting him as it normally would. How could it, when he had just found out that he was going to be a father, and the mother had no recollection of having made love to him?
"Ha! Found it," Willow called out, carefully removing the jeweled scabbard from the depths of the sarcophagus. "Giles, look; it's beautiful."
Seeing Giles' white face, she hurried over to him. "Giles? What's wrong? Is this not it?"
Replacing his glasses, Giles shook his head to try to clear it. "Yes, that's it." He took a deep, steadying breath. "Willow, I believe that I know the cause of your nausea."
"Really?" Willow excitedly asked. "Is there a bug going around?"
"Um, no. This may sound like a very personal question, but please humor me." He paused for Willow to nod her head in acquiescence. "When was your last period?"
Willow's brow scrunched up in confusion. "Um, I don't know. It's been a while now that you mention it. Why would that mat-- Oh my Goddess! You don't think? But I can't be. I haven't even had sex in six months!"
Giles blushed, hating himself for what he was about to tell her. "You have," he quietly stated.
"How would you know that?" Willow asked him, beginning to panic. "Was I raped? Did I block it out? Do a memory spell?"
"No, you weren't raped," Giles rushed to reassure her. "However, a memory spell was used."
"What? Why? How do you know?" Willow rushed to ask, then in barely a whisper, "Who was it?"
Meeting her tear-filled eyes, Giles admitted, "It was me."
He didn't have to wait long for Willow's reaction.
"WE HAD SEX AND YOU ERASED MY MEMORY?!?" she yelled, backing away from him. "Why would you do such a thing? I trusted you and you took advantage of me!"
"No, it wasn't like that," Giles rushed to say, taking a step towards her. "I know you don't remember, but you asked me to do it. You thought things would be awkward between us afterwards and begged me to make us forget."
"But you only erased my memory!" she protested. "Not yours."
"I didn't want to forget," Giles admitted. "I'd wanted to make love to you for far too long to forget the only time that I knew it could happen."
"How…How did it happen? Why?" Willow nervously asked.
"Do you want me to tell you or would you like your memory of that night back?" Giles asked.
A tear slipped down Willow's cheek. Wrapping her arms around her waist, Willow whispered, "I want to remember."
Stepping up to her, Giles lifted the necklace Willow wore - a simple quartz crystal hanging from a silver chain. "I'll need this."
Willow nodded and Giles removed the necklace. Setting it on the ground, he brought his heel down on it, shattering the crystal. Willow gasped as the memory came rushing back to her.
Six weeks ago…
It was the day after the fiasco of the 'My Will Be Done' spell. The gang had just left, but she'd stayed behind to clean up the kitchen after all her baking. When she'd finished in the kitchen, she returned to the living room to apologize to Giles again for blinding him.
He'd been sitting in his chair, reading. She took a moment to appreciate how sexy he looked doing nothing but reading, then quickly shoved those thoughts aside. It wasn't her fault she'd always found an intelligent man sexy, especially this intelligent man. She'd been lusting after him for years, after all. She didn't deserve him though. She never had, and now she knew that she never would.
Tears of self-disgust pricked her eyes, and before she could wipe them away, Giles looked up and caught her.
He was instantly at her side. "Willow, what's wrong?"
She shook her head. "It's nothing. I'm a little emotional lately. As evidenced by my spell yesterday."
"Your feelings are not nothing," Giles insisted, pulling her over to sit on the sofa.
"I-if you'd like, you can tell me what's bothering you," he offered.
"I can't," Willow insisted. "I know you don't like talking about emotional stuff. I'll be fine, eventually."
"You need to grieve, Willow. Things like what happened yesterday may continue to happen if you keep bottling up your emotions. You have a relationship to grieve over; those feelings won't just go away because you don't think about them."
Willow snorted; he had no idea how true that was. "I know that I need to grieve. I'll have a lifetime to learn how though. I know now that no one is going to ever want to love me. I'm not even good enough to be broken up with properly. Oz had to send for his stuff as a way of breaking things off. He couldn't even do it in person."
When Willow risked a glance up, she was surprised to see shock on Giles' face, along with a hint of anger.
"Willow, you don't truly believe that, do you?"
"Of course I do. I've always known that I'm not desirable," Willow said.
"You have no idea how wrong you are." Giles' voice was filled with wonder at how poorly she saw herself.
"I'm not wrong," Willow insisted. "Who would want me? Not Xander. He never wanted me until Oz did. But I obviously wasn't enough to keep him interested. Who else? You?" she laughed.
Giles debated whether to come clean about his long-time lust for this girl or to continue denying it. The hurt look in her eyes made his decision for him.
Leaning in, Giles whispered against her lips, "Yes," before brushing his against hers. He paused, waiting for her to pull back in repulsion. When that didn't happen, he kissed her properly, melding their lips together.
Willow whimpered into the kiss, her arms going around Giles' neck as she shifted closer. She'd dreamed for years of what his kiss would feel like, and it was even better than her fantasies.
Separating, Giles admitted, "I want you. Gods, I've wanted you for so long."
"I…" Willow honestly had no idea what to say. She'd never imaged that Giles could want her back. "Show me."
He knew it was her grief talking, her need to feel wanted. He didn't care. With a quick thankful prayer that he'd sent Spike out for the evening, Giles took her hand and led her up to his bed.
He made love to her slowly that night, despite their haste in getting him inside her. In the frenzy of activity leading up to the act, neither one had stopped to think of protection.
Afterwards, they'd lain in bed, both a little shell-shocked.
"I can't believe we just did that," Willow whispered. "It was great, don't get me wrong; but we just had sex."
"Yes, I was there," he reminded her, rolling onto his side to try to read her expression. He didn't care for what he saw. "Do you regret it?"
Willow nibbled her bottom lip as she tried to work out her feelings. "I don't know," she finally answered. "Would you hate me if I said, a little?"
A pained look crossed Giles' face. "I could never hate you. It hurts, but I think that I can understand."
"It's just… it all happened so fast. And I don't love you, not like that, not yet at least."
"Yet?" Giles couldn't help asking.
Willow blushed. "I'm not ready to see if I could love you. It's too soon. My heart still hurts from Oz's betrayal."
"I don't like it, but I understand," Giles said. "So what now? Do we pretend that this didn't happen?"
"I don't think that I can. I mean, how am I supposed to be around you now without picturing you naked?"
"It will be rather difficult," Giles agreed.
"I wish there were some kind of spell that would make us forget. You know, so that there wouldn't be any awkwardness."
"You don't want to remember?" Giles painfully asked. He hoped that the verbal stake to his heart wasn't too apparent.
"I do but I don't. It's not that I want to go back in time and undo it. I just don't want the memory to interfere with our friendship or our work."
Giles closed his eyes to debate whether or not to admit to knowing a spell that would work. He'd never used it himself, but Ethan and others he knew had used it to remove one night stands from their partners' memories, in their youth.
Finally, he said, "I know a spell."
"You do?" Willow asked in surprise. "Do I want to know why you do?"
"No," Giles confirmed.
"Okay. So what do I need to do?"
"You won't have to do anything. Get dressed and I'll meet you downstairs."
"Okay. But first…" Willow pulled Giles to her for one last deep kiss.
When it ended they both slipped out of the bed. Willow showered before putting her clothes back on. When she emerged from the bathroom, Giles was holding the crystal pendant and he recited the spell, giving her the necklace when it was over.
Willow wasn't surprised to find herself crying when she returned to the present. She sought out Giles and found him sitting against the wall, his forehead resting on his knees.
"I'm so sorry," she said, kneeling in front of him.
"What?" Giles looked up, surprised. He'd expected more yelling, not apologies.
"You only did what I asked, and I accused you of raping my body and my mind. How have you been able to look at me?"
Giles smiled softly. "It hasn't been easy," he acknowledged. "You have no idea how many times I wanted to take you in my arms and kiss you senseless, or more."
Willow felt herself flush with warmth at that idea. Without her memory of that night, it would have shocked her, but it wouldn't have been an unwelcome action. Now, knowing that Giles returned her…lust, for lack of a better word, Willow found herself wishing he would.
Fingering the chain in her hands, Willow said, "You know, I wondered why you gave me that necklace out of the blue. You'd said it was to help me remember what a good person I was."
"That was true. The fact that it was the key to your memories of that night did not detract from the fact that you are a good, and desirable, woman."
Willow blushed and stood. Silently, she began to gather up their belongings and headed out of the room. Giles followed her, thinking that he'd embarrassed her enough for the time being. As much as he longed to kiss her, or even hold her in his arms, he knew it wasn't the time for such action.
Upon surfacing, Willow shyly said, "I think I might be ready now."
"Ready for what?" Giles asked, having been thinking about how to properly clean off the scabbard so that he wouldn't think about trying to get Willow back into his bed.
"To love you." Willow secretly smiled, enjoying the shocked look of disbelief on Giles' face.
"What?" Giles repeated, hardly believing his ears.
"That is, if you still want me?" Willow nervously proposed. "We are going to have a baby together, after all."
"Good lord, I'd nearly forgotten. We're… you're… I'm… a baby," he stuttered.
Willow laughed, the sound music to his ears. "You're not upset about that?" he asked in disbelief.
"I might be later. But right now, I'm just happy that it's your baby that I'm going to have. I think I'll need more time to process all of this."
"By all means," Giles said. "It's a lot for both of us to take in. I want you to know, whatever may happen between us, that I will be a good father."
"I know you will," Willow smiled up at him. "Now, if you don't mind, I think I need a nap."
"Of course. I'll drive you home," Giles offered.
"Actually, I was thinking we could take it at your place, together?"
"Are you asking me to sleep with you?" Giles chuckled.
"Wouldn't be the first time, would it?" she cheekily replied.
"No. No it wouldn't."