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Locked Room Problems

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Summary: While searching for a mystical object in the temple of a demonic fertility goddess, Rupert Giles finds himself imprisoned in a single room, along with a man who has been caught in the same trap for nearly sixty years. [Giles/Indiana Jones]

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Movies > Indiana JonesElizabethCulmerFR2127,5062171,81021 Oct 0721 Oct 07Yes

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Locked Room Problems

Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the intellectual property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, et al. The Indiana Jones series is the intellectual property of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Paramount Pictures, et al. No money is being made from this story and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Author's Note: I had a dream, back at the beginning of 2004, about Giles having sex with Indiana Jones. I decided that was simply too implausible to write and sidetracked the bunny into a Harry Potter story involving Bill Weasley and a Muggle librarian.

Late in 2005, the bunny came back. This time it dragged along a setting and a plot, which are much harder to ignore than a free-floating PWP idea. So I gave up and wrote the blasted story.

This story was finished in January '06, and the epilogue was finished in January '07. They draw on TV canon only.

Summary: While searching for a mystical object in the temple of a demonic fertility goddess, Rupert Giles finds himself imprisoned in a single room, along with a man who has been caught in the same trap for nearly sixty years. (This is very nearly a PWP slash story: that is, while it does have a set-up and some attempt at realism, it's still basically an excuse to make two men have sex.)



Locked Room Problems



The temple of Caiquetl, a minor fertility goddess worshipped by the Tzoteca demon clan, would not normally have been of any particular interest to the reformed Council of Watchers. However, one of the Devon coven seers had predicted a small-scale apocalypse centered in Paris, in two weeks' time. It could be harmlessly averted... with the aid of a mystical object known as Caiquetl's Eye.

Therefore, Rupert Giles stood outside the temple, sweltering in the tropical afternoon, and wished heartily that the search and retrieval teams hadn't been killed along with the bureaucrats of the old Council. As it stood, he was the only person available at short notice who could puzzle out the convoluted amalgamation of Aztec, Mayan, and Olmec that the Tzoteca used to write and cast spells. He had the best chance of identifying the Eye among the undoubtedly numerous treasures of Caiquetl's temple, and, bluntly, he considered himself more expendable than Willow or the Slayers, should the goddess take exception to this expedition.

The temple itself was fairly impressive as these things went -- although stepped pyramids were practically a dime a dozen down here on the Yucatan peninsula -- and it loomed ominously from the jungle floor. However, it seemed to be abandoned, and whatever magical shields it might have borne had long since vanished. The jungle had encroached on the structure, sending vines and moss as its advance scouts. Saplings had pried apart the outer foundation stones and grown into mature trees. Now the jungle was massing its strength to attack the pyramid's second tier.

Giles drew a deep breath and checked his supplies for the final time. Four knives -- iron, steel, silver, and bronze -- in case of demons with various natural immunities or weaknesses. Three wooden stakes, for obvious reasons. Pocket notepad and two pens, for jotting down any interesting records he chanced upon in his search. And one protective charm strung on a leather cord around his neck, courtesy of Willow; it wouldn't stop spells of any real strength, but it might buy him a second or two to duck.

He climbed the crumbling stairway in search of an entrance.

At the top of the pyramid he examined the altar, grimaced at the stain where blood had seeped so far into the stones that not even decades of rain had washed it away, and levered up the trapdoor at the edge of the open area. He started down the narrow staircase into the depths of the temple.

Torches lit themselves as Giles descended, giving silent warning that at least some magic was still active here. When he reached the heavy, delicately counterbalanced stone door to the inner sanctum, therefore, he was prepared to face demonic guardians, deadly spells, or mechanical traps.

He was not expecting to find a man sprawled on a vast obsidian throne, snoring like a faulty motorcycle engine.

Giles reached down and dragged over a handy golden object -- he didn't care to examine it too closely -- to prop the door open. Then he studied the man.

The stranger was Caucasian and seemed to be over thirty and under sixty, but his exact age was impossible to place. He wore dusty Western clothes that had clearly seen hard use, and a battered, wide-brimmed fedora that was currently pulled down to shade his eyes from the flickering torchlight. A coiled bullwhip hung from his belt.

Giles set aside his utter bafflement for a moment and looked around the room. Gold, silver, obsidian, and other precious materials lay scattered in irregular heaps. Stone and clay tablets were stacked more neatly along the far wall, behind the obsidian throne, as if someone, sensibly, considered them more important than the stereotypical treasures. The walls were carved with Tzotecan inscriptions, which Giles itched to examine more closely; however, the writings were interspersed with graphic illustrations of various ritual sacrifices the Tzoteca performed in honor of Caiquetl, and those were... a bit stomach-turning, to put it mildly.

He still had no explanation for the sleeping man.

Well, if the fellow proved hostile, he could call on Willow for an emergency transportation spell and return with appropriate backup. With that comforting thought in mind, Giles walked across the room and tapped the man on the shoulder.

The stranger jerked upright in a heartbeat and had his whip in hand and ready to use within another second. Then his eyes caught up with his reflexes, and he stared blankly at Giles.

"The hell?" he muttered.

"Yes, quite," said Giles. "Who are you, and what on earth are you doing here?"

The man slid off the obsidian throne and watched Giles warily. "I don't give my full name to strangers, not in this place. Call me Jones. And I'd like to know who you are and what you're doing here. More to the point, how'd you hear about this temple in the first place?" His accent was American, Giles noted, and he needed a shave.

"Call me... Ripper," Giles said slowly; Jones's point about the danger of names was well made. He decided to reveal a bit of information in hopes of getting a reaction he could read. "I'm looking for a myst-- an object known as Caiquetl's Eye."

Jones closed his eyes and said, fervently, "Oh, fuck."

Giles blinked. "What?"

"You said the magic words," Jones said, as he grabbed Giles's arm and ran. Suddenly, the torches quenched themselves and plunged the room into stygian darkness. Jones lunged for the doorway, but a horrible crunch and the hollow boom of stone on stone echoed through the room, and his outstretched hand slapped against rock instead of finding an opening.

"Fuck," Jones said again, and dropped Giles's arm. "God damn it. I've been down here too long -- if I'd been thinking, I would've gotten you out before asking."

As the torches flickered back to life, Giles studied the doorway. The heavy stone door had swung shut, sheering the hapless gold doorstop in half, and now formed a nearly seamless line with the walls. There was no handle on this side and no way to force anything around the door to use as a lever. 'Fuck' seemed to be a reasonable summation of the situation.

Jones trudged back to the throne and dropped heavily onto the seat. "Welcome to my private hell," he said. "Unless you can command dark powers stronger than a goddess, you're not getting out any time soon." He tipped his head back to lean against the stone headrest, and then raised one hand to the brim of his hat. "...Say, what year is it out there?"

"2006," said Giles, who was beginning to have a bad feeling about this. He tried to send a call to Willow, but his thoughts slammed into a shield at the edge of the room. Yes, a very bad feeling.

"2006," Jones said slowly. "Two thousand and six. Know how long I've been stuck in here, Ripper? Fifty-nine goddamned years. And you're the first human I've seen in all that time. Tell me, have we reached the moon, or Mars? What happened with the Ruskies? Any new lost civilizations come to light? More atomic bombs dropped? People finally admit that magic and gods are real? What the hell's been going on out there?"

Giles gave in and took off his glasses to polish; the habitual gesture was comforting, gave him something to do with his hands, and prevented him from focusing on Jones's slightly desperate expression. "Ah, yes, the United States sent several humans to the moon, although the Russians reached space first. The Soviet Union and its satellite Communist regimes broke apart around 1990; the new great threat is terrorists, particularly Islamic extremists. I haven't paid much attention to human archaeology, but I don't believe any significant lost civilizations have been found. Nuclear weapons have not been used again in war, but far too many have been used in tests. And the-- the cult of denial is as strong as ever."

Fifty-nine years, he thought. Good God. How was the man still sane? What kept him from ageing? It could be his own power, something about the spells on this room, a gift from Caiquetl...

"Human archaeology?" Jones asked.

Giles cursed himself. Of course any man who knew enough to ask those questions, and to casually assume that Giles might be a sorcerer, would notice the relevant bit of information. "I study demonic cultures," he admitted, which was true enough, though misleading.

Jones grinned in pure relief, white teeth flashing in his tanned face, and Giles revised the upper limit of the man's age -- well, his age upon entering this trap -- down by fifteen years. Jones couldn't possibly be over forty-five, physically.

"Then you know what Caiquetl wants for a sacrifice?" Jones asked. "She drops in sometimes. I've learned enough Tzotecan to know that she'll open the door for a sacrifice, but she doesn't like anything I've tried so far. I don't have any animals here for the usual method, so..."

One blatantly obvious solution popped into Giles's mind, but he kept it to himself. The coming apocalypse simply wasn't serious enough for human sacrifice to become an option; if worst came to worst, Willow and the French Slayers were perfectly capable of stopping events without him and Caiquetl's mysterious Eye. "Yes, well," he said, "I'm afraid the Tzoteca and other Central American demons are not my specialty. Perhaps if I had more information..."

Jones picked up on the prompt. "Normally she doesn't care about people wandering into this temple -- I get the sense that the Tzoteca moved around the turn of the century, and the things they left here aren't important to her. But she's very protective of the Eye. Anybody who wants it has to prove his worth and dedication with a sacrifice. No sacrifice, no Eye, and no getting away to try again." He shrugged and adjusted his hat; Giles wondered if he was balding underneath it.

"A test to acquire the Eye," Giles said thoughtfully. "I need it in order to stop a-- a problem in France. Why were you looking for it?"

Jones shrugged again. "I'm an archaeologist; it's what I do. And I have -- had, if it's 2006 out there -- a reputation for taking strange cases. I would've brought some friends for backup, but they were busy taking advantage of the tension with the Ruskies to get into places the government didn't want us. It's amazing what you can get away with if you convince the army you might find useful weapons."

He closed his eyes. "They must all be dead now. Fifty-nine years. Goddamn."

Jones, Giles mused. An archaeologist named Jones, vanished in '47, reputation for strange cases... "Oh dear Lord."

Jones sat up straighter. "What? Think of something?"

"You're Indiana Jones," said Giles. "Ark of the Covenant, Holy Grail, Sankara stones, Oracle of Delphi, Merlin's tomb, the occult collection at the American National Museum -- you're Indiana Jones! Bloody hell, no one's ever going to believe I met you."

Jones grinned again, the white flash of teeth that gave a boyish cast to his tough, weather-beaten face. "I'm famous?" he asked. "I like it. But that doesn't get us out."

"True," Giles said absently. Henry 'Indiana' Jones, Jr. Good God, the man was a legend! The Council had followed his exploits for years, taking note of his expertise, of the way events coalesced around him, and of his reluctance to spread the details of the magic he encountered -- all very important qualities. If he hadn't vanished, the Council probably would have offered Jones a consultant's position around 1950.

And the man had spent the last half-century trapped in a single room in the temple of a demonic fertility goddess. How had he held onto his sanity?

"Ripper. Come in, Ripper." Jones snapped his fingers in Giles's face, calling his attention back from his mental wandering. "Any ideas for getting out of here?"

"Ah..."

"Right," Jones said. "Can you read Tzotecan?"

"To-- to a certain degree."

"That's a hell of a lot better than nothing. I'm pretty sure the tablets are irrelevant -- mostly calendars, war records, things like that -- but I'd bet the writing on the walls describes the pictures. We don't have any demons handy, and I'm not quite desperate enough to kill you, but those are sacrifices. Maybe they wrote down alternatives."

"It's certainly a place to start," agreed Giles. So Jones had thought of human sacrifice as well. That wasn't particularly surprising, given the sorts of place he was reputed to have explored, and the sorts of object he often retrieved -- but that 'not quite desperate enough' was said in a deceptively casual tone that made Giles think the distance between 'enough' and 'not quite' was exceedingly slim.

He pulled out his notepad and a pen and began to study the walls.

An indeterminate time later -- it was impossible to keep track of the sun's cycle, his watch had mysteriously stopped, and he never seemed to get hungry, thirsty, or particularly tired -- Giles was forced to admit defeat. "Nothing but death and elaborate methods for carving up various internal organs," he told Jones as the other man conjugated Latin verbs on the floor, using priceless gold-dust makeup to write.

"That figures," Jones said with a gusty sigh. "Damn. Say, do you play chess?"

"Yes," said Giles, wondering at the non sequitur.

"Great! I taught Caiquetl how to play, but there's not much to do between her visits. The spell keeps me from going crazy, but it doesn't stop boredom. At least with you here I can talk to someone who answers."

"Ah, right," said Giles. Insanity, he decided, was in the eye of the beholder, and in his view, a bullwhip had a reach advantage over knives. If Jones thought he was sane, Giles had no intention of arguing with him.

Jones had marked out a board on the floor and had apparently talked Caiquetl into reshaping some of her heaped gold and silver into chessmen. "Gold is white, silver is black," Jones said as he set out the pieces. "I figured the silver would tarnish so the colors would make sense, but nothing changes in here. Doesn't matter anyway."

The game was close, but Giles finally managed to checkmate Jones after nearly an hour. "Fantastic!" Jones said. He grinned. There were, Giles thought as he watched that flash of excitement, certainly worse people with whom to be trapped in a demonic temple.

"You'd think a goddess would be hard to beat, but she's terrible at chess," Jones said as they set up their pieces again. "She's a real demon at checkers, though -- pardon the pun."

"Have you suggested Go?" asked Giles as Jones moved a pawn two squares forward.

Jones shrugged and uncrossed his legs, leaning back on his left hand instead. "I'm terrible at Go, so no. A few more years, though, and I might've been bored enough for that... or suicide. Caiquetl says she's never had a failed supplicant hold out as long as I have."

"That's, ah, hardly reassuring," said Giles.

"Wasn't meant to be," Jones responded easily. "I'm hoping if you're nervous enough, you'll have a sudden epiphany on how to get out. New perspective and all that."

"I see." Giles advanced a pawn and tried to think of an acceptable sacrifice that didn't involve death. He supposed he might try carving out Jones's appendix, presenting it to Caiquetl, and hoping that Willow could transport them to a hospital before the man bled to death, but he didn't think Jones would be terribly enthusiastic about that plan.

They played three more games -- Giles managed to win the first, but after that Jones seemed to have found his measure, and won the next two. Giles found his strategies fascinating. At first glance, Jones was entirely straightforward and brash, but if one took him on face value, one soon learned that he used that surface recklessness to maneuver his opponent into traps. If his occasional smiles were a reliable indicator, Jones seemed to find Giles's own more roundabout play equally interesting.

Finally Giles sighed and collected his silver pieces at the side of the board. "I believe I'm played out for the moment. How soon should we expect Caiquetl to visit?"

Jones shrugged. "She comes when she comes. Actually," he said, raising his voice, "I'm surprised she hasn't shown up already, since you're new here. She can't keep her beak out of things."

Giles had just enough time to wince before a loud gong shivered through the air, throbbing at the lower edge of human hearing, and the goddess herself appeared on the obsidian throne, coalescing out of a shimmer of rainbow light. "You did that on purpose," hissed Giles.

Jones grinned.

Caiquetl cleared her throat with a musical cough, drawing Giles's attention back to the throne. The goddess was roughly humanoid, like her Tzoteca worshippers, but her body was covered in iridescent scales, her face drew forward into the hooked beak of a bird of prey, and instead of hair, a glorious crest of scarlet feathers spilled down her back. She tapped her clawed fingers on the arms of her throne.

"Who comes to seek one's favor?" she asked. Her voice rustled like faint cymbals, and the air was heavy with power.

Giles hesitated for a moment, and then decided that a goddess, demonic or not, could certainly discover his name if she wanted to. He might as well save her the trouble. "I, Rupert Giles, seek the Eye of Caiquetl the Most Glorious, to prevent an incursion from the lower planes."

Caiquetl cocked her head and examined him first through one eye, and then through the other. "What do you offer as a sacrifice?"

"Er..."

The goddess sighed. "One did not want to believe that all humans were as ignorant as dear Indiana, but it appears that one was mistaken." She looked both men up and down; Jones slouched, and Giles ordered himself not to fidget. Then Caiquetl smiled, her beak gaping open and her round eyes crinkling into fat crescents. "Still, one now has two humans as guests, and you now have options. Will you fight to the death for one's favor?" She gestured, and two smooth sticks studded with sharpened chips of obsidian appeared to hang before her throne.

Giles and Jones exchanged a long, measuring look. "Still not that desperate," Jones said. "You?"

"We do not wish to kill each other, Most Glorious Caiquetl," said Giles.

Caiquetl sighed again. "A pity. One's Tzoteca are most diligent at their sacrifices, but one grows weary of seeing nothing but bound and helpless prisoners carved up for one's amusement. The uncertainty of a battle lends salt to the death." She banished the primitive swords and gestured again; this time, a small clay pot appeared in her hands. "However, blood is not the only way to bring life to the crops and the people."

Giles blinked, and plucked off his glasses; if he polished them long enough, he wouldn't have to think about the implications of Caiquetl's words.

Jones elbowed him in the side. "Ripper. Did she say what I think she said?" he whispered.

"Ah, that depends. Wha-- what did you hear?"

Jones motioned to the pot, and then waved his hand between himself and Giles. "Us, well... She's a fertility goddess."

"Ah, yes, that is what she implied."

"Right." Jones bared his teeth in something that might pass as a smile, if one hadn't previously seen the genuine article. "Can we think moment, lady?" he asked in abominably accented Tzoteca.

Caiquetl nodded graciously, though her beak gaped in a small smile. Giles had the disquieting feeling that she was laughing at them.

"Look," Jones said in a low, insistent whisper, "if there's a way out, we're taking it. Even if we have to fuck while she watches."

"I am not an imbecile," said Giles, glaring at Jones, "and I need that Eye. Shall we flip for positions?"

Jones seemed slightly taken aback, but he dug a gold coin from his trouser pocket. "Done this before, have you?"

"I... yes. In my youth." Giles resolutely refrained from polishing his glasses again. "Have you?"

Jones shrugged. "A couple times. Digs get lonely, and not a lot of women come along -- came along, I guess, in my day. Heads or tails?"

Giles winced internally at the innuendo one could read into that question, and said, "Heads." Jones flipped the coin, caught it, and slapped it down onto his wrist. Caiquetl's face stared up at them from the gold circle. "Ah, right. I would prefer to be on top, unless we can get by without penetration."

"Don't get squeamish," Jones said. Then he grinned. "This is damn fast, but I might've asked you myself under other circumstances. Go get that pot and let's get through this -- I want out. We can hash everything else out later."

Under other circumstances, Giles though a bit wildly, he might have met Jones as one of his grandfather's contemporaries and never had to worry about the magnetic quality of the man's smile. But Jones was right; that could wait until later. He faced Caiquetl and cleared his throat. "Most Glorious Caiquetl, we unworthy ones agree to this sacrifice. However, we are ignorant and request clarification so that our offering may find favor in your sight." He paused, tried to figure out how to phrase the next bit less bluntly, and then gave up. "Among humans, fertility rites usually involve a man and a woman, to symbolize the generation of life. Exactly how are two males supposed to perform your rite?"

His voice was more plaintive than he would have preferred, and Caiquetl seemed to know it. Her beak gaped in soundless avian laughter. "If one instructs you, how shall one judge your worth? Humans are renowned for versatility. As for the generation of life... if your offering is worthy, one will take care of the rest."

"Take care of the rest?" Jones muttered. "I don't like the sound of that."

"Do you have any other ideas for escape?" hissed Giles out of the corner of his mouth. "No? Then shut up and let me get that pot. And, ah, put something on the floor; I don't want to bruise myself more than I absolutely have to."

Giles approached the throne and held out his hands, ducking his head in a gesture of respect; he was not going to prostrate himself like the Tzoteca in the wall carvings, but he didn't want to irritate the goddess either. Caiquetl placed the clay pot into his hands, and Giles backed away slowly. The pot itself was fine work, if undecorated, and its contents seemed to be a golden-colored, mildly greasy lotion. A heavy, sugary scent wafted upward, and Giles stifled a sneeze. Bloody hell, they were going to come out of this smelling like a cross between a sweet shop and a perfume counter.

The girls would never let him hear the end of this.

Jones had spread his jacket on the stone floor, and was in the process of undressing. As Giles set down the pot, Jones yanked his arms out of his sleeves and moved on to unbuckle his belt.

"Is it strictly necessary to be naked?" asked Giles, clutching his own belt. "If we must have an audience--"

"The lady wants entertainment," Jones interrupted, "she gets entertainment. Don't turn yellow on me, Ripper. Strip."

"Ah, right. Yes, of course." Giles crouched down to untie his boots, trying to not look at Jones. Rationally, he knew he would have to look at the other man sooner or later -- and he certainly wouldn't mind looking -- but concepts such as modesty existed for a reason, and it was easier to shut out Caiquetl if he also shut out Jones. Giles shucked his clothes as quickly and efficiently as possible, and laid his shirt and trousers on the floor next to Jones's clothes.

"Not much of a bed," Jones said wryly as he removed his hat; Giles noted absently that he wasn't in the least balding, just rumpled. "At least there's no sand. You won the toss -- how're we doing this?"

"Quickly, I think," said Giles. He looked at Caiquetl's gape-beaked smile and flinched; at least when he'd let Ethan fuck him in public the first time, they'd been in the midst of a coven orgy, drunk on magic, and he'd been certain that none of the others were actually watching him, as such. "Entertainment..." He hummed tunelessly, thinking.

"Right. Blow job to start with, but don't finish me. Then I'll stretch you -- as theatrically as I can -- and finally we'll fuck. Are you flexible enough to lie on your back, or would you prefer to be on your knees?"

Jones gave Giles a look that he recognized all too well from his own mirror, the 'My God, are all people born after [fill in blank] completely brainless?' stare. "Ripper. I'm the wrong side of forty. Almost fifty, actually."

"Knees it is then," said Giles, flushing; he could feel the blood rising all over his body, except in the immediately relevant area. Well, presumably Jones could fix that. "Oh, get on with it before I go completely mad."

Jones sank to his knees with a slight creak and reached forward. His fingers were cool and dry, and slightly rough with callus, as they closed around Giles. Jones smiled, and Giles felt blood rush downward. Christ, it had been too bloody long since he'd had sex if just a touch could do this, no matter how magnetic that smile was.

Then Jones bent forward and scraped his teeth over Giles's head, and Giles wasn't thinking anymore, just hot and wet, and riding that fine, shivering line between pleasure, pain, and the residual ticklishness that both Ethan and Olivia had known exactly how to bring out. Jones seemed to know too; he brushed his fingertips over Giles's thighs, skimmed along the crinkled hair without actually touching flesh, pulled back to breathe over moist skin, and it was almost too much--

"Fuck, stop," Giles panted, grabbing Jones's hair. "Losing it."

Jones grinned, pulled one last time, hard and rough, and untangled Giles's hands from his hair. "You," he said, as he shifted to balanced on all four limbs, "are fucking easy. And you owe me -- grab that pot."

Giles obeyed, hurrying to coat his fingers in the perfumed lotion and stroke down between Jones's arse cheeks, testing. He reached around to roll Jones's balls, felt himself smile, hard and sharp, when the other man hissed, and then he slipped one finger into Jones's arse. "I'm easy? I rather think," -- he panted as Jones shoved backwards and rubbed against him -- "that it takes one to know one, as the saying goes." He swiped his finger around, then shoved in another as he stroked along Jones's cock.

Jones growled. "Do it!" he said.

"You're sure?"

"Yes!"

Well, if he had no objections, Giles certainly didn't. He pulled out his fingers, splashed more lotion on himself, lined them up, and pushed.

After that, it was a bit blurry. He hadn't fucked anyone but women, not since Ethan, and there was no point in going for bums when you had a cunt wet and waiting; he'd forgotten how tight this could be, how hard it was to keep his hand moving on someone else's cock, how goddamn hot it was to hear groans in baritone instead of treble. It wasn't better, but sex was sex, and sex was good, and bloody fucking Christ sometimes he missed being a shit-for-brains teenage punk and going after this without worrying about things like family and paperwork and apocalypses, and--

He whited out for a second as he came.

As Giles blinked back to awareness, he felt another hand working beside his and Jones shuddered underneath him, spurting over their hands and their clothes. Bloody hell, he'd forgotten that part. He'd not only come out of this smelling like a perfumed whore, but a perfumed whore with semen on his shirt.

The girls would never let him hear the end of this.

"I think," Jones said between gulps of air, "that theatricality got lost somewhere along the line. Ow. Next time, you take bottom."

Giles closed his eyes in mortification as the rest of the world came back to him. He had just fucked a man -- a man who was nearly his grandfather's age, discounting spells! -- in front of a demonic goddess, so she'd let them out of her temple. And Jones was suggesting that there might be a next time?

He shoved that thought aside for later consideration, when he had time to decide whether he was horrified or delighted.

"One is impressed." Caiquetl's voice drifted over them like the rustle of metallic leaves. "One might have wished for a longer rite, but one cannot fault your enthusiasm. One accepts the sacrifice and the gift of life. You may take the Eye and leave." A polished sphere of agate appeared before her throne and floated over to Giles, who stood and cupped his hands around it. Someone had carved a stylized eye on one side and filled that outline with gold, flush to the surface of the stone. He could feel power thrumming in its depths.

"Lady," Jones said, interrupting Giles's thoughts, "can please clean clothes before you leave?"

"What?"

"Shut up," Jones hissed, pointing to their spattered shirts. "You want to walk out of here wearing that?"

"Well, no," acknowledged Giles. "But you shouldn't ask her for irrelevant things -- who knows when her goodwill might run out?"

Jones gave him an ironic look as Caiquetl's beak gaped in a smile. She waved her clawed fingers, and Giles found himself dressed in clothes that were mysteriously clean of semen, sweat, and dirt. He bowed hastily, tugging Jones down beside him.

"One grows weary of this plane," Caiquetl said, "though one will miss dear Indiana's company, and one regrets that time prevents greater acquaintance with you, Rupert Giles. The door is opened. Depart."

She vanished in a reverse shower of light, and Giles turned involuntarily to face the heavy stone door. It was indeed open. Jones grabbed his arm and wasted no time running through into the torch-lit corridor, whereupon he pulled off his hat, sank to his knees, and touched the floor as if he weren't quite certain he'd finally escaped his prison. Giles understood the sentiment.

After a minute, Jones clapped his hat back on and they walked upward through the temple until they reached the open trap door on top of the stepped pyramid. The blood-stained altar looked exactly as it had when Giles first saw it, however long ago that had been -- a day or three, he thought, but there was no way to be sure, not here.

Jones looked at the encroaching jungle with slightly wide-eyed interest. "This was a lot better preserved when I went in," he said. "Guess Caiquetl figures the jungle's a better protection than spells -- after all, anything strong enough to be useful is an electric sign that something worthwhile's lying around." He shook his head. "Damn. Fifty-nine years. It's going to be hell, trying to adjust."

"Mmm," said Giles as he slipped the Eye into his pocket. He felt somewhat responsible for Jones at this point, and perhaps he owed the man a 'next time,' as he'd implied. That would be... acceptable. More than acceptable, to be honest. It was long past time to stop letting Ethan colour half his sexuality.

"You could come with me," he offered. "The organization I work for has an-- an understanding of those whom time has passed by. If nothing else, we can get you a new identity, or perhaps reconstruct pieces of your old one." Even if Jones decided against a second time, at least Giles would briefly have an adult male companion to help guard his sanity amongst hordes of teenage girls and young women.

Jones looked at him sideways. "That's some organization -- magic, demons, a 'situation' in France, shady dealings, a man who doesn't get shaken by a goddess popping up in front of him... And you just study demonic cultures. Right." Giles attempted to look innocent, or at least not too suspicious. Jones sighed. "Right. I might as well, at least until I've got my feet back under me -- if nothing else, we should keep in touch in case that 'sacrifice' has nasty side-effects. So, where's your transportation?"

"Here," said Giles, touching his protective charm and casting his thoughts toward Willow, hoping she was still searching for him. "Hold on."

He grabbed Jones's arm as Willow's teleportation spell swept over him, winced as the man overbalanced and hugged him for support, and hoped that for once he'd be able to get through a full explanation before somebody jumped the gun. It would be a true pity to lose Jones to an overeager Slayer before they had a chance to... talk.

They materialized to feminine gasps and squeals, and Giles smiled. For once, he thought he might not bother to stamp out the rumors that inevitably spread through headquarters if he so much as shook a person's hand.

"Welcome to 2006 and the Council of Watchers," he said as he and Jones untangled themselves. To himself, he added, 'Welcome home.'



AN: Thanks for reading, and please review! I'm particularly interested in knowing what parts of the story worked for you, what parts didn't, and why.
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