Third Time Lucky

Note: This is a sequel to Second Time of Asking and takes place about three months after.

"You're too hard on her."

They both are, but it's not like she's complaining, so why Giles has that edge to his voice is a mystery. She shifts position and the butterfly-wing pattern of bruises across her body tears and shreds and darkens just a little and her teeth meet the soft bulk of the pillow and tear at that.

"I'm doing what needs to be done, and if you can't see that --"

Wesley's voice... God, the two of them sound so fucking pretty with their English accents. She giggles sometimes when they're telling her to do stuff, filthy, depraved, delicious stuff, in those plum-perfect voices that make it all sound even worse.

Or better.

Depends on where you're coming from, doesn't it, and by then she's usually just coming, and in her accent, if she had one, which she doesn't, the thickly tumbling words are just hoarse and demanding and desperate and she might as well be speaking in tongues for all the notice they take of her.

Although last week, yeah, Giles must've been paying some attention to her because he slid his hand into hers when she needed that, and the fingers that are tracing the edge of a bruise, marking off hurt skin from clean and having to take the long way 'round because there's not much on her ass that isn't a rainbow of purple shading to black, got squeezed until they both heard something crack.

She's high-maintenance, yeah, but they all know that.

"I can see that my -- that she's going to be missing patrol again because you've trained her to the point of --"

Oh fuck, Giles. Not that again. Not now. Because when they're fucking and Giles and Wes are kissing, eyes open, hands busy, making even guttural grunts sound classy, it's fine, it's more than fine, and when she's kneeling between them, each hand filled with a cock, hard and slicked, and the two of them are staring up at her with identical expressions of near-feral intensity, it's way past fine and heading to perfect, but when Giles says 'my' he'd better not ever follow it with a word that rhymes with -- oh,  whatever the fuck 'Slayer' rhymes with -- because it pisses Wesley off and he's no fun like that.

And Giles can take him, yeah, in more ways than one, but that's one fight she never wants to see because now, three months after Wes turned up resurrected and looking like hell chewed him up and spat him out, she's not Giles' and she's not Wesley's because she's never going to be able to choose, but they're both hers, and damn if she wasn't so fucking stiff and sore she'd remind them of that.

"--trained her as she's supposed to be trained and if your methods hadn't been inadequate she wouldn't be --"

Out of line, there, Wesley, she thinks, feeling a stirring of anger because Giles' hand twitches against her ass and that dig hurt him, she can tell.

When Wesley's down there sucking Giles' cock like it's his favourite chew toy, pulling sounds from Giles even she can't get him to make, below the belt's fine, but in a fight? Not so much. And telling a man who thinks Buffy died because he let her down that he's inadequate is just fucking cruel.

That's her Wesley...

And they're fighting now. Fighting over her, but it's not as much fun as it should've been because she's not some fucking symbol, not some prize.

She's Faith and they're losing her as they jostle and shove for position.

Three of them, all on top.

Getting crowded.

Too much to prove, all of them.

Giles, that he's not past it.

Wes that he's not dead.

And she's just looking to believe that she matters to them both and she's starting to wonder.

"You're fired," she says clearly, but with her face mashed into the pillow it comes out as a mumble and the tennis-ball back-and-forth of polite, razor-slash-sharp comments don't slow at all.

"Fucking fired, -- now get the hell out!" she screams, and that works, that makes it past cotton and whatever the fuck the pillow's stuffed with.

She can't even turn her head to look at them because it's mean picking a side to turn to and choosing is what she won't do, ever.

She'd lose them both before she'd do that.

Maybe she already has.


Wesley's hand strokes her hair, damp with tears she didn't shed, tears that slid treacherously out of disloyal eyes. It's clinging in wet strands to her face but maybe he thinks it's sweat, which is gross but doesn't seem to be putting him off. He's not squeamish, Wes. Not at all.

"Don't tell me that you're sorry," she says thickly. "You had fun. Loved slamming me against walls. Loved watching me fall to my fucking knees."

With her hands tied behind her back and her feet hobbled, she'd been... limited in her response, to say the fucking least. Going to her knees had been deliberate though; she'd arched and wriggled and worked her hands under her ass and out, getting them in front of her as the blows from the staff he held had punished her for trying. When her bound hands became a doubled fist he'd been the one to step back...

... and then he'd taken her feet from under her and been on her before the breath had filtered back into violently-emptied lungs, hurting her and only stopping when the timer in the corner had gone off with a cheery chirp, thirty seconds after Giles had come in, sworn and started to scream at him.

"And I don't care," she carries on. "You hearing me, Giles? Because he's right. I need to get hurt sometimes. Need to remember what it's like so I don't fuck-up when I'm slaying." She closes her eyes and whispers it, but they're both listening now so she can be as quiet as she wants and know that they're still hearing every word. "But not every time. You know? Not every fucking time, Wes."

She starts to cry properly. Never cries. Never. And they're all over her, gentle hands, clumsy kisses, frantic, hissed whispers like she can't hear them...

"No, it is not my fucking period!"

Nearly kills her, but she rolls over and sits up, pushing hanks of hair back off her hot, sticky face and glaring at them.

"It's you two. It's you fucking two and I can't fucking do this --"

Astonished eyebrows. Puzzled exchanged glances. Oh, yeah, they'll bond over how to unscrew the inscrutability that she turns into every now and then, but they won't do it any other time, when their dicks aren't hard and their hands and mouths aren't hungry.


Oh, sorry, was that aloud?

"Faith, perhaps you could simply tell us what the matter is?"

Giles' eyes are tired but there's always enough strength of will to keep him going just another minute, and another. He doesn't give up, doesn't quit. Hasn't given up on her, has he, which sorta proves that.

"Could, Giles, but maybe I don't want to. Ever think about that? Ever think I might get fucking sick and tired of playing mommy to you two?"

Their noses twitch in a synchronised wrinkle and it's enough to take her anger down a notch. Barely.

"I think I speak for both of us when I say that we don't find you particularly maternal, Faith," Giles says, solemnly, a smile lurking far back and deep in his eyes.

"Do you know how much I want to slap that grin off your face, love?" she says, kneeling up and placing her hands carefully on her thighs. She's naked; they're not and it doesn't matter. They're staring at her tits off and on, but that doesn't matter either. For once, she's too tired to fuck. Too beaten.

"Faith, I think I should just point out --"

"What, Wes?" She's in his face now, and she's angry enough to make his face the first her fist meets, but she keeps her hands flat and touching her skin, just hers. "Point out how you two aren't a team and so there's no way the three of us are? Point out that if we're not fucking, we're fighting, and even the fucking isn't going so well these days?"

"It isn't?" Giles' voice is quiet and calm. He's been close to her for longer and it shows sometimes. He's backed off already whereas Wesley's still fighting.

"Been faking the 'oh, oh, God yes!' bit for a couple of weeks now," she admits. She holds up her right hand and wiggles her fingers. "Meet my best buddy. That and the vibe in the top drawer over there."

Wesley's blushing, he really is, but it's mortification, not embarrassment and Giles isn't looking too happy either.

"The ... sexual element to all this isn't ... if you're unhappy... "Giles loses it and gives her a look that comes close to breaking her. "Faith, I'm so sorry."

"Not enough," she says huskily, before she breaks down and crawls into his lap to be cuddled, which isn't something anyone else could do to her and live to tell the tale, same way Wes is the only one who can stroke her hair and not have her twitching and snarling. "You two -- fighting. All the fucking time. Who's senior Watcher. Who makes me scream higher, come harder. Who matters most to me." She takes a deep breath. "You know what? It's time you two remembered something."

"And that would be?" Wesley murmurs, his gaze taking a wander over her body.

"I'm the Slayer. I'm the Chosen One. Me. Fucking me." She glances between them. "You two are fucking replaceable and don't think I won't ask for one if this carries on. Maybe then you'll quit with the power plays and give me some fucking time --"

"We give you all of our time!" Giles says, starting to get on the defensive.

"No." She's really certain about that. "You're so busy keeping an eye on him to make sure he's not getting anything you're not, that you barely know I exist." She holds out her thumb and forefinger, an inch apart. "See that? That's how close I was to falling in love with you two. That's how fucking close I was to being happy. You've spoiled it, both of you and I fucking hate you for that."

They swap glances again and she screams in frustration, hammering her fists against her leg, even though it hurts. "See? See that? That thing you do? You're close. You fuck like you care so why don't you trust each other when your cocks aren't standing to attention?"

Silence. Deep, painful silence.

"Get your fucking act together, or get the hell out," she says finally, when she's sick of waiting. "Now I'm going to sleep. And I don't want company."

The door closes behind them and she's asleep before it's stopped quivering.

Her eyes are closed, but she knows it was Wes who slammed it.


"So do you think she meant it?"

Giles stares across the room at Wesley. The man looks tired -- they both do -- but he's leaning forward eagerly, heedless of the fact that the bottle of beer held suspended between his knees, loose in his hands, is dripping condensation onto the carpet. Giles notes the progress of one drip and splash and then takes a sip from his own beer, decanted into a glass because he's older than Wesley and sometimes it shows in more ways than the obvious.

Like the grey hairs on his chest, outnumbering the brown. Wesley has them too, of course, but fewer and seemingly there just to point up the darkness of the rest of his hair in an elegantly minimalist way.

Bastard can lap him, too, when they're training, and Giles doesn't let himself think about sex because that way lies... well, something that hasn't happened yet, but if this keeps up -- oh Lord! -- continues, is inevitable.

Faith's not easy to satisfy on any level. If he hadn't come to care for her in a way he would once have thought implausible, improbable and even vaguely disloyal, he wouldn't even try,

But he does care and he's not stepping aside for Wesley.

And he cares for him, too, which makes it all so bloody complicated. Stubborn, hurting, angry Wesley, gifted with a second chance at life and too damaged to be anything but suspicious and wary. Wesley with the careful hands and eager mouth. Wesley who's so like him, and yet not, that Giles is never quite sure, never quite certain --

Rival, lover, friend, but not in equal measure. Not any more.

"Which bit in particular?" he answers finally when Wesley's starting to frown. "The part where she says she'll replace us?"

Wesley waves the bottle he's holding in a grandiose, dismissive gesture and Giles wonders if the beer's chasing more than a cup of tea, which is the last liquid he saw Wesley drink. He's wondered that before but never been concerned enough to override his scruples and search Wesley's room for hidden bottles.

"No. She can't; who else is good enough for her?"

There's an arrogant pride to that which Giles acknowledges with a private smile. Good to see Wesley's got that much self-confidence, at least. He's right, of course. There are half-a-dozen Watchers who'd be only too glad to take on the senior Slayer; the last 'real' one, as he knows she's thought of by many.

Capable, trained, sympathetic to what she's gone through -- and if they took one step towards her, he'd bring the Council down in flames before they took a second.

Well. Maybe not that. They're still recovering from the First's depredations, after all, and there's a greater good to be considered and -- no, dammit, they're not firing him twice. He contents himself with a mild, 'true', following a thoughtful look, as if he were giving it serious consideration when he wasn't and he won't.

"What, then?" Giles goes on. "The part where she hasn't been enjoying --"


Giles can't keep his grin from showing. Oh, she knows how to flick them on the raw, doesn't she? Good girl, even if it is bloody painful being on the receiving end. Wesley's flushed now, his fingers sliding restlessly along the neck of the bottle, slipping in the beaded condensation.

Impossible not to remember those fingers on him, not to wish -- Resolutely and reluctantly, Giles forces his gaze upward and his cock -- well, that can do what it wants. It usually does.

"Although, I have noticed that perhaps she hasn't been entirely... focused?"

Liar, Giles thinks kindly. You didn't notice, any more than I did, and she'll hate us for that, and who could blame her?

"What, then?" Giles asks.

But he knows, he knows...

"Faith isn't in love with me, if that's what you're worried about, Wesley. She's never told me that she is, at least,, and knowing her, I feel sure she would, as she'd get a good deal of  enjoyment out of watching my reaction."

Wesley finishes his beer. "I'm sure she would," he says dryly. "Giles, never mind her for the moment. I came here looking for a fight that first day and we both know it. You didn't let me start one and sometimes I almost wish you had."

"Faith thinks a fight started the moment you walked in and it hasn't stopped since," Giles points out. "I can't say that she's wrong." He puts his glass down on the table beside him. "Is besting me really the prime objective I think it is for you? Or am I --" He pulls a face because it's so damn American, this. "Projecting my insecurities onto you?"

"How the hell should I know?" Wesley asks, not unreasonably, standing up and making his way to the small collection of bottles in a corner cupboard. "I don't think that's what I'm trying to do. I just want to make this work. And what the hell do you have to be insecure about anyway?"

Giles reaches out as Wesley goes past and pulls Wesley down into his lap in one strong, graceless yank. Wesley struggles, but mostly just to get comfortable, lifting his legs over the arm of the chair and hooking his arm around Giles' shoulders, and then turns a mildly astonished face towards Giles.

"What are you doing?"

It's a good question. What is he doing? With Wesley's arse snug against Giles' lap, his face close enough to kiss, Giles supposes he could be forgiven for being momentarily distracted.

"She says we only get on when we're fucking," he says slowly, the arm around Wesley's waist sliding up and taking Wesley's loose T-shirt with it so that Giles' other hand has a bare, flat stomach to caress. "And I think we both know that's not enough. No matter how often we do it."

"Quite often," Wesley says, his lips twitching in a smile. "But I take your point. One can't always be --"

"Aroused?" Giles asks, letting his hand move down a little. "No. One can't. I can't, certainly." He lets Wesley's T-shirt slide down and lifts his hand to curve around Wesley's cheek. "But I can give you some time, Wesley. Time when we're not fighting, not fucking, just being... friendly."

"I'm not sure this qualifies as friendly," Wesley says but he's not moving away. "This isn't something I've ever done with a friend."

"Nor I," Giles admits ruefully. "Poor choice of words; I'm sorry."

Wesley's hand strokes slowly along the back of Giles' neck. "I've never sat on anyone's knee past the age of nine or so, either" he says. "In fact, thanks to my father's rather old-fashioned views on rods, the sparing of, what you just did brought back some rather unpleasant memories."

Giles bites back the urge to apologise. "Is that something you want to talk about?" he asks cautiously. "And please don't feel obliged to stay where you are." He tries a smile. "You're actually a little heavy, but that's an observation, not a complaint."

"I really don't want to discuss my father's disciplinary methods at a time like this. And I don't feel very at ease in this position, to be honest," Wesley says. Giles releases him at once and waits, resting his hands on the arm of the chair. Wesley sighs and stands up. "You could have just kissed me," he says. "I might have changed my mind."

"I am not, contrary to what you and Faith think, a mind reader," Giles says coldly. "I'm a man doing a job that's been complicated in a way I never foresaw and floundering."

"Complicated by me?"

It's tempting to say 'yes' and to shift the blame onto Wesley's shoulders and watch them sag and curve defencelessly inward. Wouldn't be true though.

"Faith did that all by herself," Giles says. "And I've only myself to blame for giving into her."

Wesley grins and perches on the arm of Giles' chair, his arm slipping back around Giles' shoulders. "I don't feel inclined to blame you. She's rather hard to push away."

"Try 'impossible'," Giles says with feeling. "She had my trousers around my ankles while I was still telling myself that I had the situation under control and we were making good progress in shaping a relationship based on mutual respect and a certain, necessary distance."

Wesley snorts with laughter and Giles has to join in.

"So my swift seduction in the shower that day wasn't unexpected to you, no matter how surprised I was?"

"Far from it," Giles assures him. "It's the way she does things and it's remarkably effective for the most part, as I'm sure you'd vouch for."

"We're talking," Wesley says abruptly. "Is this what you wanted?"

It is, he supposes, but the slow, gentle stir of Wesley's fingers as they push through his hair is even more pleasant. Without speaking, or waiting for a reply, Wesley slides down onto Giles' lap again, straddling him this time, something the wide, Victorian armchair makes just about possible. His hands touch Giles first, curling into the front of Giles' shirt and then relaxing and moving up to rest on Giles' shoulders, kneading them gently.

Giles runs his hands slowly up Wesley's sides, feeling the heat from his body strike through the thin, soft cotton, and then tilts his head back as Wesley kisses him.

It's possible to kiss without becoming aroused, he discovers, or at least not to the point where more than kissing is needed. He's perfectly happy and content with the unhurried, almost chaste kisses that Wesley's giving him; measured, deliberate, considered kisses, as if Wesley's starting from the beginning, as if the tongue Wesley's slowly drawing across Giles' lips has never done more than this, has never been the cause of Giles making sounds he recalls afterwards with a squirm because they're so very raw, pleading for more in a way that strips him of dignity.

"I can't do this without you, Wesley," he says, not knowing if it's entirely true, but knowing that it's what Wesley needs to hear and what Faith wants. "How we've become -- the three of us -- it's working. It was, at least. I'm willing to do whatever is needed to convince you both that it's possible."

Wesley's mouth is warm against his. "No, you're not." His tongue finally slips past Giles' parted lips and thrusts deep, fierce and possessive. "You don't know what that is, so how can you? But you'll need to be, I agree with you there."

He sits back, wincing slightly and rubbing at his legs which must feel cramped by now. "And so will I."

"You've still got that propensity for being annoyingly literal, I see," Giles says mildly.

"Fine," Wesley says, standing up. "You said it was working; Faith said she was close to loving us both. I agree. It was ... nice. But it lasted a very short while, didn't it? And the idea of us being equal, well, that was never going to work, in the training room, or the bedroom. You can't relinquish control, Giles, and Faith doesn't respond well to being bullied, however much she respects authority."

He turns away and then, after three steps towards the door, glances back, his face closed-off as it was when he arrived. "And I won't be bullied. Not any more. Not by you, or her, or anyone." His lips twist. "You think you're being very magnanimous, don't you? Not taking the obvious solution and telling me to leave?"

"Faith wouldn't like it," Giles says automatically.

"No. She's rather determined not to hurt me again, isn't she?" Wesley looks at him thoughtfully. "I'm not sure she'd mind quite so much if you left though."

Giles meets his gaze. "I don't intend to put that to the test. Leave Faith with only you to guide her? No. And if we're to talk of bullying..." He lets his words trail off.

"Helping her to find her limits --" Wesley begins, his lips set in an angry line.

"Oh, I think that could be very useful," Giles says evenly. "If the person doing it wasn't crippled by self-doubt, insecurities and a rather disturbing taste for violence."

"Which of us are we talking about?" Wesley asks.

It's a good line to exit on, even if it's accompanied by a sneer that Giles can't help but feel is unnecessary, and this time Wesley closes the door quietly.


It sounds like a joke, he thinks. 'How many second chances does it take for you to realise that no matter where you are, and who you're with, you'll spoil it?'

And he has, he's sure of that. Taken the warm, unstinting generosity of two people with no reason to feel warmth towards him; guilt, yes, but guilt's greasy and cold, acid-green and sour, never warm, never -- and certainly no need of him when they have each other, and tossed it back at them dismissively.

Perhaps he's just overwhelmed. Either of them would have been enough; both of them is -- was --

More than he deserved.

Oh God, he's back there again, is he?

He turns and settles down with no real hope that this time he's found the perfect position in which to fall asleep within moments. That position exists, he knows it does. It's not even a position, as much as a single condition; Giles and Faith within reach.

Faith's usually in the middle, which, as she's the one who gets up to pee most, makes no sense, but somehow neither of them complain when she climbs over them, dragging the sheets down, paying toll with a sleepy kiss if they stir. Wesley always does, feeling the press of her lips on whatever part of him was closest linger until she returns and it's Giles' turn to be disturbed. She's fair in that, at least.

Once they fell asleep with him between the warm wriggle of Faith and the solid safety of Giles and he woke to find Giles' arm around him and Faith's head tucked into the crook of his own arm. He'd held still, muscles craving movement and being sternly denied, feeling utterly happy, until they both woke and stirred, and even though the sex that followed had them all exchanging smiles for the rest of the morning, those few moments where he was safe in Giles' arms and cradling Faith were what he remembered.

Wonderful. It's three in the morning, he's tired, hungover, and has somehow managed to drive Faith to the point of issuing an ultimatum -- never a good idea to push her that far -- and Giles -- doesn't want him any more.

Those kisses... and Giles had just sat there, when Wesley had wanted, oh God, what had he wanted? What had Giles expected would happen when he pulled Wesley down to his knee like that? Faith loves curling up against Giles. Wesley found them both asleep in that chair once, their heads touching, Faith's hand lost inside Giles' sweater, his arms around her in a protective circle.

The chair wasn't big enough for three, but he hadn't minded, really he hadn't.

The idea of him in Faith's place is ridiculous, though, and he doesn't know what Giles had been thinking of.

Really, the man's got to see that the current situation's untenable. Two Watchers, one Slayer? It had been a failure the first time and it was doomed the second. Giles isn't going to step aside even a little to make room for him and Wesley's waited long enough for a place of his own --

Oh God, he doesn't want to be here, alone in this room, with only the bitter consolation of knowing that the other two are as unhappy as he. Is that what he's been reduced to? Is that what he's done to them? Spoiled it for them, as much as for him? When he arrived they were so happy...

He's reached maudlin. Time to get up and get a drink of something that doesn't leave him drunker. He's wearing a T-shirt and shorts which makes it a simple matter of standing and walking out -- naked is for the three of them, when Faith doesn't give them any choice. He's been told how she waited for Giles to leave one morning and then went through his wardrobe and got rid of his pajamas.

And then lain on the bed, bare from the waist down, reading a comic and kicking her feet idly, waiting for the spanking that Giles had delivered with rather more vim than usual.

Wesley can admit to the silent darkness that he'd have rather liked to have seen that one.

Giles is such an odd combination of ruthless and indulgent when it comes to Faith. It puzzles Wesley which, these days, is a synonym for 'irritates'. He'll give into a dozen whims and still train her until her hand shakes as she reaches for a towel to blot the sweat from her face or flip her over his knee unceremoniously and administer a series of stinging slaps if she's cheeky or disobedient. Oddly, when it's done like that, as far as Wesley can see, it rarely arouses either of them, although at other times it's all it takes for Giles to get hard and fuck her until she's writhing under him, sensuous and smiling gleefully.

Wesley can whisper to the waiting night that it always gets him hard. Always.

He can't imagine Giles ever doing it to Buffy but he knows just why Faith likes it; the simplicity of the swift, expected consequence and the unspoken agreement that once given whatever she's done is past, forgiven and forgotten -- well, Wesley can certainly see the appeal of that.

And if Giles tries it with him, he'll break his bloody arm.

He pushes open the bedroom door and sees that there's a faint light coming from the front room.

He's still just drunk enough to welcome the idea of a fight. Brooding and trying, unsuccessfully, to jerk off between sheets that don't smell right because they were washed before he arrived and Faith's swapped her detergent allegiance since then, haven't sent him to sleep; perhaps he just needs to be deprived of any hope that he'll ever again sleep and wake between people who look up and smile when he walks into the room.

Giles is still in the chair but he's asleep, the dim light falling over his face, creating mystery from shadows, each crease in the skin blurred to a deceptive smoothness. Wesley drags over the ottoman trying not to think of the last time they fucked Faith over it because he's about to wake Giles up and he doesn't want to do it with a vacant, blissful look on his face. He's peeled sweat-damp skin off it himself a time or two, if it comes to that; it's the perfect height for Giles no matter who's draped over it, fingers clutching at leather, legs forced wide.

He hasn't fucked Giles yet, although Giles has made it clear that he can if he likes.

All he has to do is ask.

Sod that for a game of soldiers.

He knows that Giles is awake even before he sits down on the ottoman, his knees brushing against Giles' but he only gets to stare into sleepy green eyes when he asks, "When you masturbate, which of us do you think about?"

Giles yawns and scrubs irritably at his face. "I'm flattered you think I've sufficient energy to do that these days. Neither of you; why would I fantasise about what I already have?"

Somehow, that's never occurred to him. His own hand slips and grips with a background of the two of them to urge him on. He's climaxed recalling the heavy, weighted curve of Faith's breast against his face as he blindly seeks the impudent point of her nipple with his tongue, been thrust over the edge by a memory that doesn't exist of Giles beneath him, head down as he pants and rides out each stroke Wesley gives him, from hand or cock...

He can't decide if he's insulted, or not.

Giles sighs and glances at his watch. "Why are we having this particular conversation now? It's very late."

"Couldn't sleep." Hopefully that, although brief, will be sufficient and he won't have to confess to tangled sheets that don't smell right and an ache of need for this man and the bitch-darling girl who's banished them both.

There's a flicker of sympathy in Giles' eyes. "I wasn't either, not really."

"You were giving a convincing imitation," Wesley tells him. They share a grin and he's trying very hard to remember that they're supposed to be fighting. Of course, Giles doesn't know that. Giles still thinks Wesley cares which of them Faith glances at first when she's at a loss, or kisses first in the morning.


It'd be so simple if that was all there was at the heart of this; a straightforward fight for first place in Faith's life. But it isn't, because that was never what he wanted, not from the first hiss of water against his skin as their hands pulled him under, took him in.

He wants to belong but not out of pity, not out of guilt. He doesn't give a fuck if Faith tortured him and Giles ignored him, belittled him and undermined him. They're past that. He's died since then, for God's sake.

He's died.

He looks at Giles and sees what Faith saw. Sees the waiting refuge, sees the strength. He crawls into Giles' lap and kisses him with his eyes closed so that he doesn't have to see the weariness.


This time Wesley isn't struggling and Giles' arms tighten around him, returning a kiss that tastes of desperation and trying, through a haze of fatigue, to work out what to say. In the end he settles for, "I wish you'd tell me what you want. I'd give it to you, you know. If I could. I don't like seeing you like this, Wesley."

"I want -- to not have to say it."

"I'm afraid you have to."

It's the voice Giles uses when Faith's pouting, and not just because she knows how very pretty she looks when she does it. It's inflexible, stern, and a little cold, and he supposes it works because he genuinely feels annoyed with her when she's like that. He's not precisely annoyed with Wesley but he does wish that the man would stop fighting an enemy that's lying dead at his feet.

Wesley's silent, his breath uneven and his fingers curled around Giles' in a painful grip. With him this close, Giles can't pretend he doesn't know how terrified Wesley is and it makes his resolve falter.

"Right. Let me guess then, and please do stop me if I get it right."

There's a faint smile on Wesley's face as he murmurs, "Twenty questions?" He shifts a little against Giles. "Put out the light?"

It's not until Giles' hand is on the switch of the lamp beside them that he remembers where he knows those words from.

"'Put out the light, and then put out the light'," he quotes slowly. "Othello before he kills Desdemona for being unfaithful, as he thinks."

Wesley shakes his head at once. "I'm not jealous of you, or her, if that's what you mean."

"Really? I am of you, a little," Giles says evenly. "You know Faith better than I ever will. You've seen her at her best and at her worst. You compel those extremes in her and I'm -- left feeling rather like bread and butter. Boring and bland."

There's a startled jerk and Wesley's face, vague in the near-darkness of the room, turns to him. "You really can't expect me to believe that."

"It's late, it's dark and I'm too tired to lie," Giles says, yawning just to prove it. "And too old to care much that you look better in leather and stubble than I ever will again. I said I was a little jealous, that's all. I can live with it." He draws his hand down the side of Wesley's face, finding the line where smooth skin ends and enjoying the scuff of roughness against his fingertips. "You can't want my job," he says thoughtfully. "It's yours already. On the Council payroll we're listed as equals and our salary, such as it is, is identical. I have no more authority than you but you do seem to feel that I have and act accordingly. There's really no need, you know. We went through the same training; you've probably killed more demons than I have by now, and you know Faith well enough to deal with her no matter how temperamental she gets."

"She listens to you," Wesley says ruefully. "She fights me. Every step of the way."

"She enjoys it and so do you," Giles says peaceably, trying to stop his eyes from closing. Holding Wesley like this is astonishingly relaxing given what they're discussing. He slips his hand behind Wesley's neck and kisses him dreamily, drowsily, just because he's there. "God, I love you," he says suddenly, not caring that he'd promised he wouldn't say that to either of them because it wasn't fair. "Wesley, this isn't going to last long; we both know that. When Faith -- well, I can't see what we have surviving her death. We'll be too busy blaming ourselves and each other to --"

"Morbid, much?" Wesley asks dryly.

Giles pokes him peevishly in the ribs. "Speak English."

Wesley chuckles. "You know what I mean. Why am I suddenly the optimistic one?" He leans his forehead against Giles'. "You can't say you love me and in the same breath tell me you'll be a distant dot on the horizon at a time when we'll need each other most. The two don't go together."

"Why would you want to be with me when Faith isn't around?" Giles asks.

"Because I --" Wesley pauses and moves back a little. "Even in the dark this isn't easy to say."

"Englishmen shouldn't fall in love," Giles says moodily. "We're hopeless at articulating it."

Wesley goes very still. "You think that I'm in love with you?" he asked. "I'm not -- I didn't say that!"

"You haven't said that you're not," Giles points out, refusing to let himself feel hurt. "And your actions do tend to indicate it, but if I'm mistaken then I do apologise."

"I don't know what I am," Wesley says. "Besides unhappy."

"We're back where we started," Giles says. "Why are you unhappy? Tell me one thing -- anything -- that's making you feel that way. It doesn't have to be deeply significant. Just -- tell me."

"You squeeze the toothpaste from the middle."

"I do? Well, I don't think that I can stop something that ingrained, but I'm sure the household budget could stretch to separate tubes of toothpaste. Another one?"

Wesley takes a shallow breath. "I want -- I need to fuck you, Giles. It's not part of some power struggle between us, it's not to prove a point. I just want to."

"Then why haven't you?" Giles asks him gently. "I've given you plenty of chances, but you never seemed --"

"I don't want to be given anything!" Wesley snaps, his hands coming up to rest, hot and shaking against Giles' face. "I just want to fuck you, Giles. I want you there, mine, I want to feel you come the way I feel Faith. I want to bloody well fuck you until you stop --"

"Stop what?" Giles asks when Wesley's voice trails away. "Wesley --"

"Stop being so in control," Wesley whispers. "I want to break you, Giles. I want to see you lost and unsure, I want to hear you beg and I want to see you cry."

"You don't have to fuck me to get that," Giles whispers back. "Just tell me you're leaving and you'll see me broken."

Wesley shakes his head, his hands heavy on Giles' shoulders. "I haven't finished," he says. "I want to do that to you because then we'll be equal. Then we'll be the same. Faith knows. She's done it. You're too strong. Too fucking strong and I love you, yes, you're right, I do, but I love her more because I've seen her break and I'm not sure you can."

"You really don't know me, do you?" Giles says wonderingly. "Not break? Strong and in control? You see me like that and you're seeing what you want to see, not the truth. I do what I have to but don't ever think it's easy. And don't ever think you and Faith aren't equally capable of that, because you are." He feels indignation rise. "You want to fuck me? Fuck me. Get off my bloody knee, take me into our bedroom, tell Faith to stop sulking and move over and then do whatever the hell you want to do to me." He smacks his hand against Wesley's chest, rocking him back. "Just don't dress it up in melodrama and don't make more of it than it is."

Wesley gets up, leaving Giles shivering with the loss of his warmth until Wesley's hand slips into his and pulls him up into a kiss. Wesley's mouth is hard against his and Giles doesn't hold back his response to that, which is why, when they step apart, breathing heavily and head towards their room, Wesley's tongue is licking his lower lip reflexively to soothe the sting.

Faith's awake and the air feels disturbed somehow as if someone's run through it recently. Giles knows damn well she was listening at the door and wonders how much she heard.

"Told you two to get the hell out," she says, snapping on the bedside light and glaring at them.

"And we did," Wesley says, peeling his T-shirt off. "Weren't we good? Now we're back."

Faith transfers her narrow-eyed stare to Giles who shrugs and follows Wesley's example and begins to undress. "It's proving difficult to sleep apart, Faith, and not particularly useful either."

"Bed feels big," she admits. Her glare intensifies. "You going to tell me you love me any time soon?" she asks Giles. Her head turns. "And what about you? Want to fuck my ass, too, Wes?"

Wesley smiles. "I'd love to," he says with more composure than Giles is feeling. "But you'll have to wait your turn."

She nods, looking thoughtful. "Yeah. You want to do Giles first. I get that." She tilts her head and grins at them both. "Want his ass rare, medium, or well-done?"

"I'm sorry?" Giles says, feeling a stirring of unease. "I don't quite understand --"

"Yeah, you do, Giles. We're teaming up to make you whimper. Sounds like a plan to me." She studies her hand. "Ever been spanked by a woman, Giles?"

"Once. It tickled," he says, wishing he wasn't naked because with his cock jerking to attention at her words it really doesn't matter how calmly defiant he sounds; he's fooling no one.

Faith wriggles out of the sheets and kneels on the bed, spreading her thighs. She's quite clearly wet. "I haven't forgotten what you did to me that time I tickled you, Giles. No tickling. Swear." She brings her hands together with a sharp crack and Wesley's breath catches on a groan that tells Giles he's on Faith's side, as if there was ever any doubt. "Just whimpering."

It's not easy. However much he might want this -- and he wants them together again enough that he'd do this even if he didn't -- it's not easy to walk to the bed with some attempt at dignity and lie down on his stomach, legs apart slightly and his face burning.

"Going to tell me before I start?" Faith asks.

"No," Giles says, folding his arms and burying his head in them. The bed creaks as Wesley joins them and he flinches as Wesley's hand trails down his back and comes to rest, warmly possessive against his backside. He can't help tensing, just a little.

"Move your hand, Wes," Faith says.

Giles rolls to his back and stares up at them both. "Before you start --"

"Yeah, Giles," Faith says softly, leaning down. "No problem. And we'll kiss it better afterwards, too."

Her lips are gentle against his and her hair falls across his face as she turns to kiss Wesley.


Faith stares at her hand and then prods the reddened, swollen palm. It's throbbing, beating in time with the pulse between her legs. She's slippery down there, messy and hot, but when she drags her hand through the sticky slickness, just for an instant her hand feels cooler. Then the heat from her cunt strikes up and her hand burns again, twice as hot.

She whimpers, and she's not sure why. Maybe it's the thrum from her clit after the heel of her hand rubs against it. Maybe it's the flare of lust, uncompromising and so very fucking serious in Wesley's eyes as he watches her bring her hand to her mouth and lick at it, short little flicks of her tongue as she tries to catch her breath and blow the skin cool, with her juices coating it, clinging and rich.

Maybe it's because, out of the corner of her eye, she can see Giles and what she's done to him.

With a soft moan, she twists around and runs her damp hand over the skin she's marked and bruised, bringing it to her mouth over and over, long, wet swipes of her tongue now, drawing her palm over Giles' ass and breathing on it.

She's hearing the sounds he makes but she's not listening, not while they're still sounds, not words. With a frantic moan that barely makes it past her lips, she puts both hands on him and bends over, kissing the hurt better, licking and blowing and kissing, and --

"Faith." Wesley's hands cover hers, brown against the pale skin of Giles' back, carefully avoiding the flushed, mottled-scarlet skin below. "He's all right."

She gazes at him. "No! I hurt him. I hurt him and I didn't mean to, I just --"

"Enjoyed it a little too much to stop?"

It's too laboured and hoarse to sound much like Giles, but it's words that aren't 'please' and 'Faith' and 'stop', panted out when he's too short of breath to cry them out and that's good enough for her.

"Giles! Fuck, Giles, I'm sorry --"

He rolls over, which has to hurt, but when she sees the state he's in, she knows why he's done it. He's hard, cock quivering and rigid, as messed-up and slicked-up as she is.

"It's fine, Faith," he says. "You didn't do more than I wanted you to, I promise." His gaze goes to Wesley. "Would you have stopped her?"

Wesley reaches out for Faith's hand and Faith feels his fingers stroke her palm and watches his cock -- as hard as Giles' -- jerk as he feels the rough, hot skin. "I don't know. Yes. If I'd thought it was too much for you."

"I thought you wanted it to be too much. Wanted to break me."

There's enough challenge there to wipe away Faith's guilt. Still Giles. She's glad about that. She's not sure what Wesley wants, not really, but she's not going to be the one who hurts either of them, not again.

Doesn't mean she didn't enjoy what she just did though, at least while she was doing it. Doesn't mean she's not thinking, just a little, what it would be like to have Wesley stretched out and there for her, waiting for her hand to come down and strike, again and again. She pictures him over Giles' knee, pictures him tied, long arms, long legs, spread-eagled and waiting, and swallows.

She'd feel guilty about her thoughts if she hadn't seen Wesley's face as she spanked Giles and seen how he'd got off on it, tongue passing over his parted lips, eyes wide, his hand dropping to his cock, fondling it absently as he watched, too lightly to do more than tease himself, smiling when Giles begged.

Wesley isn't always all that nice.

Giles and Faith don't give a fuck.

He's theirs.

"No," Wesley says softly. "I wanted to break you."

Giles arches an eyebrow, as if to ask how, and she sees the slight trace of panic flash over Wesley's face, banished when Giles glances down at his cock and then brings his hand to it, stroking his fingertips along it and shuddering. Wesley grabs his wrist and slams it against the bed. "I don't think so, Giles."

Faith sits back on her heels and lets Giles carry on orchestrating his own downfall without protest. Wesley might be able to get Giles so desperate to come that he's ready to beg -- and, yeah, now she thinks about it, it'd do him good, same as it does her good to have Wes and Giles beat her now and then when they train. Everyone needs to lose once in a while. Everyone needs to see life from that side of the fence and to admit that they're not always the strongest.

It's why she lets Giles punish her and it's why he let her do it to him.

Which is a good start, but not enough, so she hopes Wesley realises that Giles is still the one in charge and does something to change that, or Giles is going to fall asleep with a smug smile, not a happy one, and that won't do it for him or Wes.

"Wes?" she asks nudging him with her foot because he's staring at Giles like he can't see anything but Giles and it's pissing her off. "He's a Watcher. Make him watch."

He turns blind, blank eyes on her. "Watch what?"

She holds back a sigh, but the eye roll is involuntary. "Us, Wes, us."

It still takes one, two, three seconds to click and maybe she's still the best at torture because she just knows Wes hadn't thought past fucking Giles and stopping at the crucial moment, which would've been cutting off his own nose and all that shit.

This way Wes can come as much as he wants, and so can she, thank fucking Christ, and because Giles has shared a lot more with her in the darkness than his body, she knows just how to do this.

It's going to bring back one or two memories for Wes as well, but you know what, she's still mad as hell that they've been acting the way they have and she doesn't care.

Giles starts to struggle as his hands are pulled behind him and tied, really doesn't look happy as his ankles are lashed to the chair legs and when Faith straddles his lap and kisses him, wet and hot, with his cock pressed against her belly, he turns his face away.

Wesley's fingers thread through Giles' hair, mother-gentle, and then his hands clamp down and hold Giles' head in place so that Faith can kiss ruler-straight lips until they yield to her whispered words as much as the kisses, words that don't make much sense, because she's telling him it's going to be all right, and she's talking about a time that for Giles might as well be a hundred years away, because he wants to come now and he's not going to get to do that.

And the hard chair seat must be hell on his ass.

They put the chair at the end of the bed and they fuck while Giles watches them, unable to look away, although he tries. Faith couldn't not watch if it was Giles and Wes. Just couldn't. When they fuck, it's hard and sweaty and real and she's captivated, enraptured and caught.

It's no different for Giles.

She slides down on Wesley's cock, her back turned to him, leaning forward and slipping her hands down until they grip Wesley's ankles, giving him a nice view of her ass, and giving Giles a pouting, melting smile and a blown kiss. The chair's close enough to the end of the bed that she can see the throb of blood in Giles' cock, watch it darken and twitch as she moans and sits back, riding Wesley and feeling him slam up into her.

He stops and she lies back on his chest, kicking her legs out straight. It's awkward, and it's more by luck than anything else that Wesley's cock's still in her when she's settled, head turned for his kisses, Wesley's hand fumbling for her clit and finding it for a few moments before slipping down to trace around her hole, and what's filling it, spreading it.

Giles is staring at them, eyes angry, chest heaving up and down with quick, shallow breaths.


But this isn't quite right still. It's three of them in this, after all, not two, and she wriggles off Wes and crawls to the bottom of the bed.

"What are you doing?" Wesley asks.

"Come here," she tells him. "We're leaving Giles out, and that's not fair."

Wesley joins her and they start to touch Giles, kissing him -- and it's Wesley who can't stop once he starts, who cups Giles' head in his hands, making guttural, hoarse sounds as he pushes his tongue deep, and if she didn't know better, she'd say it was Wesley who looks the most imploring, not Giles, who's kissing him back with surprising gentleness.

Faith's kisses her way down Giles' body, chest and arms, then gets off the bed and goes around to kneel behind the chair. Her fingers touch the clenched, bound fists until they slacken into curved hands again, with fingers she can lick and suck.

She gets a sound from Giles with that and smiles.

Back on the bed, after one long look at Wesley, who's just fucking going to town here, as if he's never had the chance to kiss Giles, which just isn't true, his hands all over him, his mouth open and hungry, she goes right for first prize.

Giles, over her protests that she's been doing this for years, has taught her a lot about sucking cock. Or maybe he's just shown her how he likes it, but Wesley never complains so perhaps there's a universally approved way or something.

The state he's in now, she could have a mouthful of come in about thirty seconds if she went all out, but that's not the plan. So while Wesley's being about as subtle as a smack in the face, she takes her time, although it's killing her because she loves feeling their cocks fill her, mouth or cunt, and Giles smells good, dammit, smells sexy, and she wants to taste him and swallow around him and instead she's working her way around the head of his cock, little pointed-tongue licks, hummingbird fast, cleaning him up and getting nowhere, because the more she does it, the wetter he gets.

He's not the only one.

She turns her head and sees, with a gasp of outrage, that Wesley's got one hand on his dick and is this close to coming, the tip of his cock bumping and rubbing over Giles' stomach.

"No fucking way, Wes," she hisses, tugging on his shoulder. "Not like that."

He tears his mouth off Giles' and they both look at her as if they've forgotten how to speak and are astonished that she can.

"Going to let you take a rest now, Giles," she says. "Back to watching ..."

She grabs a pillow and places it at the end of the bed, level with Giles' spread knees. Then she lies down with her head on it and Wesley straddles her, bracing his hands on Giles' shoulders, and his cock pushes into her waiting mouth. Must be quite a view for Giles, but as Wesley's fucking back to kissing him again, he's missing it.

She takes a certain pleasure in biting down on Wesley's cock -- not hard, not really -- and reaching over her head to grab at Giles', the angle too awkward for her to do much more than brush over his balls, but enough to remind them that she's there.

And Wes finally gets to talking, intense and low, making Giles answer him, making him talk.

"Do you wish you were free, Giles? Wish it was your cock fucking Faith's mouth, your hands on me?"

"Yes," Giles says. "You know I do."

"Tell us," Wesley demands. "Tell us that you want us."

His cock slips free of Faith's mouth  and he slides down and starts to fuck Faith as if he can't help it, panting and flushed, his eyes closed, each thrust sparking shivers and chills because she's so fucking close...

"How can you not know it?" Giles says tensely. "How can you kiss me and live with me and fuck me and spend hour after hour with me and not know that I love you both? What the hell am I doing wrong that you have to ask, that we're doing this?"

Wesley stops and shakes his head. "I don't know," he admits, sounding defeated as he moves off Faith. "I just know that it's not enough. I don't --"

"Will you make me fucking come and then talk?" Faith screams. Her body's aching and jangling with frustration. "Fuck, Wes..."

"Poor Faith," Giles says without an ounce of sarcasm and she wants to sob with gratitude, because Giles knows her, knows she's not good at waiting and if self-denial had a face, she's punch it bloody. "Wesley's holding back -- and making you suffer terribly -- because he wants to fuck me, don't you, Wesley? And although I'm sure he's quite capable of coming twice, he's not sure how long he can keep me like this."

There's a trace of amusement in Giles' voice as he goads Wesley and it has Faith's eyes narrowing. He's supposed to be all on edge and he's the calmest of them all.

She scrambles up and stands with her legs spread wide, brushing his face with her tits until he gets the message and begins to suck at a nipple, teasing it with his teeth. She wraps her hand around his cock and lowers herself onto it slowly, inch by fucking inch.

Slayer. Leg muscles to die for. She could take ten minutes doing this and she wouldn't even be trembling at the end, but she's a Slayer who's in a hurry, so as Giles gasps and her tit slips free of his mouth, she slams down on his waiting cock, riding him hard, taking what she needs and feeling Wesley's hands on her as she does it, warm on her back and then sliding between her legs to the pooled wetness there.

His slick finger jabs up into her ass and she comes, crying out and sobbing, hearing them whisper her name, feeling her body shake and clutch and shatter.

She collapses against Giles and she's not sure what she's saying but Wesley moves to untie Giles and he's still hard inside her, but she doesn't care about that; she just wants his arms around her and  she gets that the instant that he's free.

"Shh, Faith, shh." Giles sounds a little concerned and he's trying to push her back so that he can see her face.

She shakes her head and squirms closer to Giles, breathing in his scent, the tickle of hair on his chest familiar and as reassuring as the steady thump of his heart.

"Faith, you need to let us --"

Wesley sounds apologetic and she's dimly surprised at that because Wesley never says sorry and makes it sound good.

Then Giles makes this soft, needy sound and she remembers how she felt a few minutes ago and sighs, turning to kiss Wesley who's white-faced and looking as far from being together-guy as you can get.

She doesn't know what she expects when they fuck. Not for it to take long, not after all this build-up. Not for it to be anything like the miracle Wes seems to think that it will be.

And maybe it isn't, but it's close enough. Giles moves to the bed and kneels on it, looking at Wesley and waiting. There's no patience in his eyes, and that's not what Wesley needs anyway. He needs want and desperation and love and that's pouring off Giles now.

Faith gets the lube and tosses it to Wesley who catches it deftly and does what needs to be done to himself, biting down on his lip.

"Please, Wesley," Giles says, and there's nothing fake about it. "Fuck me? Please?"

Wesley puts his arms around Giles and kisses him again, pushing him back without breaking the kiss, slicking him up and still not stopping, his mouth on Giles' the whole time. By the time he's inside Giles, fucking him with slow, steady strokes, Faith's crying and she's not the only one.

Giles comes, his hand stretched out, groping for Faith's. She gives him the one that's still throbbing and hangs on as his climax robs him of speech and sense of self.

Then they watch Wesley come and hold him and kiss him and tell him that they love him.

And just as they're falling asleep, with Wesley between them, Giles reaches across and takes Faith's hand.

"Going to tell me now?" she whispers, in the last moments before sleep takes her.

"Again?" he asks and that doesn't make sense, because he's never told her. She'd have remembered. "Oh, very well. I love you, Faith."

Wesley mumbles something and his arm tightens around her.

It feels different sleeping on the edge of the bed but Faith doesn't mind.

It's safer this way.

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