TITLE: First Time
PAIRING: Giles/Anya, sort of
LENGTH: 910 words
WARNING: Character death (not Giles).
SUMMARY: AU Season Six. Halloween night, and Giles gets a call. It's not who he thinks.
Giles stretched out his aching legs, closed his eyes, and thanked all gods he could name for the gift that was Halloween – both in terms of the remarkable profit the Magic Box had accrued in the day’s mad trading, and in terms of most Sunnydale villains calling a truce on All Hallows’ Eve.
He refused to think about the year Spike had wreaked havoc on Halloween, and Ethan, and… no. Complete refusal. And Spike, irritating and worrying as he was, had certainly been helpful in the last months of loss and recovery.
Giles further refused to think about Anya replying to Xander’s after-hours announcement of their proposal with a flat negative. The two had been shouting at each other within moments, Anya about Xander’s silence for months and her understanding it was over, Xander about Anya’s wandering affections – which at that point Anya had looked at Giles, frozen in horror and horrified, profoundly guilty joy at the news of their break, and said sharply, “Go now before you hear something you shouldn’t.”
He had collected the rest of the Scoobies and deposited them at Buffy’s house before retreating here to his hotel room. And now… now he just wasn’t going to think about it.
He couldn’t stop thinking about it. Her. Anya.
They had grown so much closer over the summer, and when he’d returned from England and she’d thrown herself into his arms, he’d felt a strange click of understanding. She was amazing, strong, beautiful, exceptionally annoying, and yet…. There was something real when they were together.
And now she was free.
“You weren’t going to think about that,” he said aloud, chiding himself, and then got to his feet. A drink downstairs in the hotel lounge, yes. That would aid forgetfulness.
Before he could grab his jacket, however, the phone rang. He answered, and Anya’s voice poured out of the receiver in tears and rage, “Giles! Giles, can you come here? Back? To the Magic Box? I need to talk to you, and it can’t, it just can’t wait.” The line was disconnected before he could even reply.
He was out the door before he could think.
As he crossed the lobby downstairs, however, he glanced into the lounge as he passed – and Anya, her lovely fingers around a tumbler of Scotch, looked back at him from her perch on a bar stool. She startled and then waved.
“Giles,” she called across the threshold, “wait. Wait, I was going to come see you as soon as I finished this drink for courage.”
“Anya.” He stood there in the dimly lit hotel lobby, hands unclenching from the fists he hadn’t known he’d made, a fear-shiver running up his back. “Er, did you just call me?”
After tossing back her drink, she slid off the bar stool and came to meet him. “Nope. I was going to tell you face-to-face the thing I didn’t want to say in front of Xander, and – why did you think I called you?”
He touched her shoulder, felt warmth and tensile strength and reality. “Because I just received a call asking me to come to the Magic Box. It, er, sounded like you.”
“But I’m here. So who was there?”
They looked at each other for a long moment, and then he took her hand. “Do you want to go with me to check it out? Or, um, we could have a drink first….”
“No, we need to check on our shop! And then drink and talk and possibly have sex,” she said, already tugging on their link.
He found nothing to argue with in her summation. But that fear-shiver along his spine went deeper.
After ascertaining that his emergency kit in the boot of his hired car was fully stoked with stake, knife, sword, and the proper ingredients for repulsion-spells, they drove through an eerily silent Sunnydale night to their shop. They parked in front – illegally, but Giles thought it was justified.
The lights were on inside. The shutters were half-closed, however, so they couldn’t see more than a glow, couldn’t hear more than a low murmuring of… a single voice? He couldn’t tell.
“I don’t like this,” they said in unwitting, soft-voiced unison, and clasped hands, and sat in silence for a long moment. He couldn’t think of anything good that might be in their shop at this time of night. (Except perhaps Spike doing his usual light thieving, but even so.)
Suddenly, a clatter – the shutters were open all the way, and there were the shoplights, and there was Xander peering out of the front window.
“What is he doing there? I locked up after he left!” Anya said sharply, albeit still sotto voce.
And Giles’ fear-shudder stopped, cohering into a cold, sure dread. “Anya,” he started, and then swallowed hard. “Anya, did Xander walk home alone?”
“I don’t know if he got home, I just saw him leave…. Oh. Oh.” In her voice was the same sure dread.
From behind Xander slid a darkness, feminine and long-nailed, beautiful and sharp-fanged. Giles knew her, knew the horrible sweet taste of her from a poisoned nightmare years ago, knew her tricks. Knew this was all too real.
Xander wasn’t peering at them. His body was sat against the window to trap them, but their Xander was gone.
“Drusilla,” Giles whispered, and took Anya’s hand.
He didn’t know if it was the first time Drusilla had hunted on a Sunnydale Halloween night, but he vowed it would be the last.