The Definition of a Watcher

BY : ElizaShaw
Category: AtS/BtVS Crossovers > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1225
Disclaimer: I do not own BtVS or AtS. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

"No, you will not let this man in to see Mr. Giles," Edwin Willoughby spit the command at the receptionist, face flushed as he blustered.

"In that case, perhaps I might leave a message?" Wesley struggled to maintain his temper. The new Council of Watchers was hardly his first choice of places to visit, but he needed answers, and Giles was the only one he trusted to provide them.

"No you may not. Your employers will not get any foothold in this organization, so I suggest you leave. Immediately. Before I ask one of our slayers to remove you."

Giles stepped from the lift in time to hear the threat. Willoughby blocked his view of the person under threat, but that was not his immediate concern. Familiar impatience and frustration rose upon hearing that the elder watcher felt it appropriate to use slayers as his personal bouncers.

"Mr. Willoughby, is there a problem?" Giles inserted himself into the conversation, subtly indicating to Rosarina that he would handle this one and she could return to her desk. She smiled gratefully and hastened away.

"I will not permit you to allow this...this traitor into the building. Bad enough that you involved them in retrieving a slayer, but to think that you would permit an employee of Wolfram and Hart to enter these halls is...it's...it's unthinkable...that's what it is."

Giles silently counted to ten in Latin as he waited for Willoughby to run out of breath. In the meantime, he took in Wesley's unshaven and generally travel-worn appearance. Dark circles under his eyes spoke of exhaustion, and Giles wondered what disaster had brought him to the Council doors, a place to which Giles would have wagered that Wesley would never come willingly.

"I have no intention of allowing Mr. Wyndham-Price into the building, Willoughby." As Willoughby nodded stiffly, Giles turned to Wesley. "I was about to pop in to the pub down the street for dinner. Would you care to join me?"

At Wesley's nod, they walked out the door to the street, leaving a speechless Willoughby behind. Giles led them toward a pub that he had been to with Xander several times when the young man was in town. He refrained from pressing Wesley for information immediately despite his curiosity, and he sternly told himself to give up the ridiculously far-fetched hope that Wesley might be willing to return to the Council. God knew he could use the allies, but Wesley had made his choice to stay with Angel at Wolfram and Hart.

"It might be better if we had this conversation somewhere more private," Wesley suggested quietly as they approached the pub with its crowd of thirty-something London business types who had gathered to watch the night's match on tele.

Giles hesitated, then nodded. "We'll have to stop for takeaway as I'm afraid I haven't been to the grocer yet this week. That is, if my flat is acceptable?" In the light of Willoughby's greeting at the Council headquarters, he did not want Wesley to think that he was persona non grata in everyone's eyes. At Wes's nod, Giles led them away from the pub, trying to ignore his increasing concern at Wesley's secrecy.

Thai food procured, they entered Giles's small flat. The walk had been made mostly in silence, bar a few polite inquiries about mutual acquaintances. Giles noted Wesley's reluctance to give specifics about working at Wolfram and Hart and countered that reticence with his own vague answers to questions about rebuilding the Council.

As Giles dished out the Pad Thai, Curry Chicken, and rice onto plates, he watched Wesley wander to the bookcase and run his fingers over a few of the bindings as he reviewed Giles's collection. Giles's patience frayed at the politeness and verbal dancing that they had been doing since they had left the Council Headquarters, and he had to bite back a reprimand at the tactile exploration of his library. He recognized the sexual edge on his frustration as those long fingers dancing over leather bindings, eliciting images of skilled fingers being applied elsewhere, and he curtly reprimanded himself for once again entertaining old fantasies. Wesley was not in his home for pleasure, and he would not be returning to the Council as the support Giles could desperately use in the face of tradition-bound Watchers brought out of retirement to help meet the dearth of trained personnel.

The anticipatory silence had a knot resting in Wesley's stomach, and despite the enticing scents coming from the Thai food, he doubted his ability to eat. However, he appreciated Giles's efforts at hospitality, considering Wesley still had no firm evidence one way or the other about how the Watcher would receive him in light of the information he sought. He ran an index finger down the spine of Dwalin's Lunar Rites and Rituals, realizing suddenly how much he missed handling original texts rather than the manifested versions that he used daily at Wolfram and Hart.

Plates clattered onto the table, and Giles asked, "Would you care for ale? I'm afraid all I have is Samuel Smith."

"Please," Wesley turned away from the books and came to stand by the table. Good breeding dictated that business be held until after dinner, but the longer he remained in Giles's presence, the more his anxiety ratcheted up. He watched Giles move with assurance around the small kitchen, pulling two ales from the cupboard and popping them open. He gave in to the urge to disrupt the uncomfortably domestic scene.

"When did the Council begin using cyborgs?"

"What?" Giles turned quickly, sloshing beer over his wrist as the movement jarred the glass that he had poured the ale into.

"Cyborgs. We were attacked by a team of cyborgs claiming to represent the Council."

Giles finished pouring the beer and set the glasses on the table next to the plates.

"Perhaps you had better sit down and tell me what happened."

Wesley frowned. "Perhaps you had better tell me what you know about these kamikaze creations that nearly killed several of my people."

"While the Council has made its position clear on certain matters, we have not taken any action against Wolfram and Hart."

"Against me, Rupert." Wesley's cheeks flushed as he protested the political wariness of Giles's reply. "The cyborgs came at Wolfram and Hart specifically through me with information that only the Council would have had access to."

Giles sat at the table and rubbed a weary hand over his brow. "I don't know of anyone using cyborgs within the Council, Wesley. I can assure you of that much."

At the sight of Giles's clear exhaustion, Wesley attempted to moderate his voice and took the seat on the other side of the table. "Are there factions within the Council that could be working outside your agendas?"

"Tell me what happened," Giles demanded, brushing aside the accusing question that he feared might be far too accurate. For a moment he thought Wesley would refuse, but he gave a tight-lipped nod.

"A team of cyborgs attached us during a negotiation, and we were able to retrieve one that had been killed. As we conducted our investigation, another cyborg gained entrance to the office by using a spell or glamour of some sort. It...he...it ingratiated itself and stole the Staff of Devosynn to take Angel's will and make him their puppet. The cyborgs did not succeed."

"It said it was from the Council?" Giles frowned. "I'm not sure I see how that would work to smooth its welcome after our dealings over Dana. How did it, as you say, ingratiate itself?" He watched as Wesley's expression shuttered further.

"It presented itself as my father."

"I see." Giles spoke softly, his stomach twisting at the thought of a cyborg with a father's face.

"And what is it that you see, Rupert? Do you see here the traitorous ex-Watcher that the cyborgs saw? Do you see Angel as the same threat that they held him to be? A threat to be controlled and exploited simply because of his choice to take on Wolfram and Hart? Or perhaps you see the same weak point in Angel's team that you found me to be in Sunnydale?" Wesley's eyes blazed as he struck out, pushed to the offensive after the occurrences in Los Angeles and the subsequent stressful days spent with his flesh and blood father.

"How did you determine it was a cyborg?"

Caught off-guard by the question, Wesley answered starkly, "I shot him point-blank nine times in the chest. The glamour ended when the creature died."

Giles shook his head and spoke mostly to himself, "And what does it say about the Council that we could be thought capable of such cruelty and manipulation."

"It says that the more things change, the more they stay the same," Wesley answered bitterly.

"The Council has changed, and I doubt that anyone there had a hand in this...atrocity." Giles glared back, stung by the accusation.

"Atrocity. Yes, I suppose that is what you see that I have become in working for Wolfram and Hart."

"I meant the cruelty of using your father as the instrument of betrayal," Giles clarified. He hesitated before continuing, "Though I admit to being a bit shocked that you would take such an extreme action."

"He would have killed Fred. He threatened to kill me, and he would have taken Angel as a slave. Forgive me if compassion was not my first reaction."

"Dammit, Wesley, I'm not trying to condemn you for your actions, and God knows you are under no obligation to explain them to me."

Silence fell between them. Giles struggled to find the words to offer the clearly suffering man before him. He realized that Wesley's verbal attacks stemmed from the guilt and grief he must have been carrying in the wake of believing himself capable of killing his father. At the same time, he recognized the depth of the changes in the man since their days in Sunnydale, and he realized that his own reactions stemmed in part from a grief that rose in the wake of that recognition.

"I need to know if anyone in the Council is responsible. I need to know whether to expect this type of attack again." Wesley broke the silence, wanting to be done with this conversation and away from the emotionally-charged atmosphere. He had expected Giles to condemn his actions as excessive. He condemned himself for that, despite reassurances that his friends had given to the contrary. More damningly, he blamed himself for not sussing out the cyborg's true nature before the confrontation reached that fatal point.

"The Council's only policy with respect to Wolfram and Hart is avoidance. I had to argue at great length before gaining support for sending Andrew to you."

"And even then, that collaboration was simply to use our resources."

"We betrayed your trust, yes." Giles admitted. "Since then there has been no discussion of having any interaction with Wolfram and Hart at all."

"So we have another, unknown enemy to contend with." Wesley felt somewhat relieved by the hope that the Council truly had not been behind the attack. However, that meant that he still needed to find out who was.

"Does that surprise you?" Giles asked mildly.

"No. Wolfram and Hart had many enemies before we took over the LA branch. I had hoped that we would not be confronted by animosity from all sides, however."

Giles looked down at his hands, accepting the accusation. He reached for his glass and took a long sip of the ale as he gathered his thoughts.

"Wolfram and Hart has been a force of evil across multiple dimensions for longer than the Council has existed." To his shame, he felt sorrow rise, and he continued speaking past the lump forming in his throat. "Yet you seem to believe that it will not corrupt you at best or destroy you at worst." He paused. "Or perhaps that should be the other way around."

"Being destroyed as the best case scenario?" Wesley regarded Giles carefully. At one time, he had wanted to please and prove his worth to this man as much if not more than he wanted to prove it to his father. In those early days in Sunnydale, his overly formal attention to Council policies acted as a cover for his insecurities and nearly pathological need for approval. During his years in Los Angeles, he had come to admit to himself that attraction to the older Watcher had complicated matters as well and had only made his eventual departure in shame that much more painful. Now as he sat in Giles's home, he found himself wanting not approval, but acceptance and recognition of the choices that had been made.

Wesley cleared his throat and continued. "Fred believes absolutely that our good intentions and use of Wolfram and Hart's resources will prevail. Lorne believes in Angel and follows him from that trust. Charles wants the power and prestige that he would not have had otherwise. But Angel," he hesitated, "Angel simply wants to destroy as much of Wolfram and Hart's power and undo as much of their work as possible before they destroy us."

"And you?"

"I believe Angel is right, but I doubt I have his optimism about how much damage we can do before the end." Wesley spoke baldly, knowing that the resignation to his own death would be revealed in that admission. Since Jasmine, the world had seemed even harsher and without pleasure than it had previously. He had little desire to remain in it, but his own belief in the need to make some kind of difference still held strong enough to prevent him from simply abandoning the fight entirely.

Giles stared down at his plate of long-gone-cold Thai food as Wesley sipped at his ale. Silently he rose and scraped the food into the garbage bin. The thought of eating nauseated him in the face of Wesley's stark acceptance of his own destruction.

"I don't condemn you for taking the actions that you did with the cyborg." Giles turned to face Wesley, watching the surprise flit across the other man's face before wariness returned. "As Watchers, we are trained to take whatever actions are necessary to secure the safety of those around us. Particularly the safety of those who matter to the continued well-being of the world."

"Somehow I'm not sure that being told I've done what a good Watcher would do is particularly comforting."

"Perhaps it shouldn't be," Giles acknowledged. He gestured to Wesley's uneaten meal and, in response to the quick head shake, he took the plate to send a second uneaten meal into the bin.

"It was foolish of me to hope that you would return to the Council someday." Giles spoke with his back to Wesley, unable to voice his deeper grief that he would never have the opportunity to know this changed version of the man who could have understood the pressures and pains inherent in the job they performed.

Wesley fidgeted with his glass, uncertain how to respond to the genuine expression of regret. Despite his arguments with the cyborg version of his father, hearing in that authentic statement that he would not only be welcome but wanted by the Council began to heal some of the damage done by his dismissal years ago.

When he returned to the table, Giles picked up his glass and gestured to the living area, indicating that they give up the pretense of the genial meal altogether. Debating briefly whether to simply take his leave, Wesley followed, settling in the overstuffed chair next to the floor to ceiling bookcase as Giles sat back on the sofa.

After several moments of silence and mutual staring into dark brown ale, Giles let out a broken chuckle. "I find myself at a bit of a loss for what to say."

"What do you mean?" Wariness had Wesley on edge as he waited for the lecture that he realized he expected.

"You've as much as admitted that working with Wolfram and Hart is tantamount to being destroyed. We're going to lose all of you," Giles looked up. "More to the point, I'm going to lose you." Giles flushed, but held Wesley's gaze. "You're not the man that I knew in Sunnydale, and I deeply regret that I won't have the opportunity to know the man you have become."

"Oh," Wesley blinked and glanced away, unable to maintain eye contact as his mind raced.

"You see my dilemma over topics for small talk," Giles noted wryly, retreating from the moment of stark honesty.

Wesley gathered his spiraling thoughts, profoundly shaken by Giles's statement and afraid of reading it wrong. "What is it you want to know about the man I've become?"

"I think I'll switch to something stronger if we're going to have this conversation." Giles stood and crossed to the liquor cabinet in the kitchen and extracted a bottle of scotch, raising it in question to Wesley, who nodded. Giles poured the drinks and returned with them, handing one to Wesley and allowing himself to enjoy the brush of warm fingers against his own as Wesley accepted the drink.

He returned to his place on the sofa and took a long sip, feeling a vague sense of unreality as he realized that he intended to answer the question honestly. He cradled the glass in his hands and looked squarely at Wesley, taking in the stubbled face and wary expression. "I want to know what your skin feels like under my hands. I want to know your taste on my tongue. I want to hear your voice in my ears. I want to experience the strength of your body as I push against you and the feel of my cock deep inside you."

Wesley set his glass on the table beside his chair. He fought against his deep-seated insecurities to accept the sincerity of Giles's words. Recognizing that the next day would bring his return to Los Angeles, most likely for the last time, he moved to kneel in front of the sofa, reaching out to take the moment that was on offer.

"This is what my skin feels like under your hands." Wesley guided Giles's right hand to his face. He closed his eyes as strong fingers stroked over his cheek and down his neck. He heard the glass of scotch set aside as a second hand joined the first to undo buttons and skim over his chest.

"Wesley," Giles spoke a barely hoped question as he felt his cock surge to life in response to the unexpected gesture of acceptance.

Wesley opened his eyes to see his own want and need reflected back to him. He slid his hands up Giles's thighs, letting them rest as he reached Giles's hips, and he leaned forward to whisper against scotch-laced lips. "This is what I taste like on your tongue."

Giles opened to Wesley's hard kiss, sliding his tongue to explore the mouth flavored with scotch and beer. He pulled Wesley's body closer to him, moving to the edge of the sofa to wedge his legs around the warm torso of the man who knelt before him. In response, Wesley gripped the strong thighs more tightly and deepened the kiss, desperate to get closer, to lose himself in Giles.

After several long moments, Giles pulled back, concerned at the frantic whimpers that escaped the other man.

"Rupert, please." Wesley tried to blink away the tears that had gathered, "For tonight. Know me. Know me."

"Shhh," Giles hushed him and stood, pulling Wesley up with him and gathering him close, uncertain what had precipitated the desperation that had the body in his arms shaking. "I have you." He stroked his hands down Wesley's back, biting back a groan as their erections ground together. "God, I've wanted you for so long."

Wesley buried his face in Giles neck and held on fiercely against the emotions that battered through him. Fear over what he had done, what he had become, had him shaking and he bit back the sobs that wanted to escape as he recognized the certain death that awaited him on his return. His carefully constructed façade crumbled, and he took a shaky gasping breath as he burrowed against the strong chest.

"Please, I need..." he whispered thickly, his hands pulling Giles shirt up so that he could touch skin.

"Yes," Giles answered, shifting his hips to drag his erection over Wesley's. He stepped away and cupped Wesley's cheek, brushing away a tear. "I will know you, taste you, have you," he promised, watching the words give back Wesley a measure of self-control. He offered a slow kiss, tongues sliding slowly against one another. Carefully, he directed Wesley toward the bedroom, walking backward so as not to release his hold.

Wesley welcomed the slow kisses, allowing the promise of more to soothe the need to be touched and taken.

"You want so much to be known," Giles murmured. "Don't hide from me tonight. I want all of you."

Wesley's cock surged in response, and he took a gasping breath.

Giles slid his hands down to undo Wesley's trousers and shift them down to crumple to the floor. He dragged his fingers over the cotton boxers that held Wesley's cock, enjoying the rock of Wesley's hips toward him. He gave one last thrust of his tongue into Wesley's welcoming mouth.

"Undress yourself."

Wesley quickly complied and watched as Giles did the same, uncovering a strong chest covered with more grey hair than brown and a hard cock above heavy balls. He reached to rake his fingers through the chest hair on his way to a dark brown nipple, enjoying Giles's sharp intake of breath.

Giles grasped Wesley's wrist to pull him to the bed and gently maneuvered them so that Wesley lay on his back with Giles next to him on his side.

"Please," Wesley arched against the hand that came to rest on his cock.

Moving his hand down to tug gently on Wesley's balls, Giles enjoyed the whimpers that escaped as Wesley writhed.

"You're so beautiful, so strong." Giles surged up, pushing Wesley's knees apart to kneel between them and take his mouth in a brutal kiss, enjoying the power in the legs that came up to grip around his waist. "So bloody gorgeous," he reiterated as he resumed stroking Wesley's cock.

"No," Wesley denied, unconsciously letting the word fall brokenly from his lips.

"Yes," Giles countered, dragging his fingers from Wesley's cock to cup his cheek. His heart had clenched at the denial, knowing he was hearing a lifetime's worth of insecurities and rejection in that single word. He refused to let Wesley go to back to Wolfram and Hart believing that lie.

"I know you. I see you. I want you." Giles punctuated each statement with a fierce kiss, nearly growling out his assertions, enjoying the strength with which Wesley's lips and tongue met his. He pushed his hard cock against Wesley's, wanting to touch and take and taste everywhere.

As he felt himself nearing climax, Giles pulled back to gain some control. He leaned over to the bedside table and fumbled for lube and a condom. He turned back to see Wesley watching him with lust-darkened eyes. As Giles settled back to open the condom, Wesley reached for the lube.

With lube-slick fingers, Wesley began to prepare himself as Giles ripped open the condom and rolled it on.

"Yes," Giles growled as Wesley slid three fingers inside himself.

With his other hand, Wesley reached out to curve his fingers around Giles latex-covered cock.

"Feel your cock deep inside me," Wesley panted in invitation, lifting his legs as Giles moved forward to press the tip of his erection against the stretched hole.

"Rupert," Wesley groaned as he felt himself stretched and filled.

"God, yes," Giles gasped as he slowly moved deeper, feeling Wesley's body adjust to him. When he was buried as deep as he could go, he wrenched his eyes open to stare at the man beneath him.

"I feel you," Giles promised. "I know you. I want you." I could love you, he admitted silently, knowing that it would change nothing of Wesley's decision to return to his life in Los Angeles.

Wesley breathed against the fullness inside him, finding a peace that blossomed into a grin he could not suppress. He rocked his hips slightly in encouragement, and Giles responded by thrusting, increasing the speed and force until they were both lost to the sensations coursing through them.

With a few quick pulls to his cock, Wesley came, clenching around Giles, enjoying the strained groans that emerged in response. Floating in a post-orgasmic stupor, he reveled in each of Giles's thrusts and reached up to kiss the face of his lover as he sensed the pending orgasm.

Giles moaned into Wesley's mouth as his orgasm ripped through him. He hung onto the moment until the arm propping him up began to shake, and he had to withdraw. They negotiated the tangle of arms and legs to settle on the bed with Giles sprawled out on his back, Wesley resting against his side, cheek pressed to Giles's chest.

"Thank you," Wesley murmured.

"Thank you," Giles returned, wanting to say more, but not finding the words.

Sleep came more quickly than Wesley could have predicted, but Giles lay for a long time gently stroking his hands over the other man's back and arms until sleep finally claimed him as well.

In the late morning, Giles unsurprisingly woke alone. He rose from the bed and pulled his robe around him as he walked into the main room to verify that Wesley had, indeed, left. On the kitchen counter he found a note.

Rupert,

I rely on your words here as I relied on your strength last night:

As Watchers, we are trained to take whatever actions are necessary to secure the safety of those around us. Particularly those who matter to the continued well-being of the world.

Thank you.

Wesley


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