usedtobeljs: (Giles Ripper t-shirt by Kathy H)
usedtobeljs ([personal profile] usedtobeljs) wrote in [community profile] summer_of_giles2017-06-20 11:41 am

FIC: Five Times Clothes Made the Man and One Time They Didn't, T, Giles/Anya

This short fic ends with a vignette in my Giles/Anya Investigations and Acquisitions 'verse (see here for most of those fics), but sections 1, 2, 3, and 5 of the "5 times" are canon-compliant.

TITLE: Five Times Clothes Made the Man and One Time They Didn't (the I&A mix)
PAIRING: mention of Giles/Ethan and canon Giles/Joyce, Giles/Anya
LENGTH: Approximately 1900 words
SUMMARY: As it says on the tin: Giles, clothes, identity.

1. London, when he's 19

"Ripper, you can't wear that to the club," Ethan says, horror in every word.

Giles looks down at the shirt and tweed jacket he'd put on that morning in Oxford. His mum had supervised his kit when he was packing for Brasenose, and he reckons she'd basically fitted him out in the style of his dad's time. He hasn't actually thought before about why the jacket feels too small, too confining, but –

"Right," he says, and drops the jacket on the floor, rolls up his sleeves, opens the top two buttons on his shirt.

"Why not take the whole shirt off? Still look like a swot, Ripper," Ethan says, and steps close enough to trace the neckband on Giles' undershirt. Before Giles reacts, Ethan kicks his ankle. Hard. "And these are the shoes of a good, good boy."

"Sod off," Giles says, and twists a fist in Ethan's sweatshirt as a warning. "They'll do for tonight."

This close, Ethan smells of weed and smoky magic. He smiles, warm, just for Giles, then kisses him. "Do find better footwear, our good, good boy."

On the way to the club, Giles passes a shop – still unaccountably open – with Doc Martens boots in the window. He fingers the money in his trouser pocket, then goes in, despite the jeers and curses Randall and Dierdre and Ethan are sending his way.

The first pair of Docs he tries fit perfectly. He stomps on the floor, lets the noise roll up his body, lets the magic in his hands start to spark. For the first time in too long, he feels right even though he knows it's wrong.

2. Sunnydale, 1997

Giles opens the suitcase he's brought on the plane (the rest of his clothes and books shipped, to arrive tomorrow). Its lid falls onto the new bed with a soft thump.

He rolls his shoulders again; he's sore from the flight. He can hear the creak of muscles twisted too tight, contorted by uncomfortable airline seat and time. But he's here, with a green card and a new post and instructions from that berk Travers on what's expected of him.

He's here to be a Watcher. He'll meet his new Slayer soon. The girl has an outlandish American name – Buffy, yes – and an already complicated history.

He smiles to himself, or is it a grimace, at the thought of his own complicated history. In one of those boxes coming tomorrow are his old battered Docs, which he can't bear to throw away.
Reflexively one hand goes to the crook of the other arm's elbow and traces the tattoo he always keeps hidden under long-sleeved shirts.

Then, after another roll of his shoulders, he pulls out a tweed jacket. It's new, although it looks old. He shrugs into it, lets it settled against his skin. It's made to measure.

He's here to be a Watcher, and this is what a Watcher wears. Right then.

3. Sunnydale, 1999

Giles takes off his flannel shirt and ties it around his waist. All this bloody chocolate is raising his body temperature, he thinks. He'd like a fuckton more of it. Hasn't tasted anything like it in…years? Something's wrong here.

But then Joyce moves closer to him, traces the neckband of his T-shirt, presses in. He remembers vaguely another night, another hand there. She smells of weed and smoke, just like that other time. The memory seems important, maybe, but then she leans into him, offering him her mouth.

Yeah, he'd like a fuckton more of that, too. He lifts her up until her toes are against his Docs and dives into the kiss.

He's warm now, and it feels sodding right.

4. Sunnydale, 2001

Morning of a new life, he tells himself. One more reinvention.

Standing there in his boxer-briefs in front of his wardrobe, he opens the doors. His gaze flicks over the last of the tweed jackets and Watcher's three-piece suits, the only ones he hasn't given away. He sees the old flannel shirt, hung amongst the dress shirts. He moves past the wrong clothes.

There is the new business suit, made to measure. It's a different weight than his tweed, more finely spun. When he puts on the trousers, they drape differently than his librarian clothes. He chooses a colour-rich shirt, also finely woven. The Italian cut makes his shoulders look broad in a different way. His tie is new, more fashionable than before.

His hand passes over his old Docs before settling on new dress shoes.

When he's put together, he drives to the Magic Box and opens the door with his key. He walks inside. He straightens his tie.

He's a shopkeeper now. This is his place.

When the Scoobies show up later, Anya takes an uncomfortably prolonged survey of him. He braces himself for one of her usual insults, but instead she smiles. "That's perfect, Giles. You look right for the proprietor of a store. You look…rich."

"I'm not," he says. "But thank you."

Her fingers brush against the sleeve of his jacket, linger just a moment too long. "That material has a nice hand."

When did the shop get so warm, he'll have to turn down the thermostat, he thinks, but he smiles as he moves away. She's right.

5. Devon and Sunnydale, 2002

Dark on these Devon hills, uneven stone under his old boots, cold, rain on the wind.

Giles notices these facts, but only distantly. He's more concentrated on what's to come, on the catastrophe he hopes to stop across the sea.

His long coat, unbuttoned, ripples in that chilly wind.

"Ready?" Gillian Harkness says to the coven and to him.

He nods.

The six women in the stone circle raise their hands, chanting. Fire leaps from standing stone to standing stone, making its own wind. The world smells of smoke and magic.

Hands on him, sparks through wool, a howling in the dark –

And then he's nowhere, he's everywhere, he's out of the world.

And then he lands. The shock of it reverberates up his legs, through his fingers. His coat, unbuttoned, ripples in one last gust from where he's been. He needs the reminder, and the armour--

Because he's just outside the Magic Box, his and Anya's safe place, and the darkness of Willow's magic surrounds him. He can hear her inside, can feel Buffy's distress from here. Anger rises.

No, he has to be in control.

He pulls everything inside, concentrates, and opens the door. Willow is taunting Buffy now. Part of him grieves, but he'll save that for later.

Boots planted on the threshold, he raises his hands, lets the good power come. It feels right in this moment of wrongness. His aim is true.

"I'd like to test that theory."

6. London, 2017

"David did what?" Anger pulses in Giles's voice.

Anya winces, her hands going to his arms and holding on as if to keep him still. "I know you're mad, honey, but—"

"My boots. He took my boots without asking."

"Yes, and wrecked them when the Alart demon crashed the Watcher Academy party and spewed Alart blood everywhere. We've established that."

"But my boots." His still functional, 40-odd-year-old Docs. They've meant something to Giles all these years, there in his wardrobe. Sometimes they've been a purposeful reminder of times he wanted to forget; sometimes they've been a good reminder of the self he didn't always want to repress. They've carried him through magic and through quotidian joys.

And now they've been destroyed by the acid in a sodding Alart demon's blood, because his son – "Why did David take them?"

Anya slides her arms under the long overcoat Giles is still wearing after his dinner with Jools, Oliver, and Harry at the Traditionalists, in the move she's made a thousand thousand times since they've been together. Then she hugs his waist and rests her head against his heart. His anger fades just a bit at his touch, and for some reason he remembers that horrible night long ago in the Magic Box, when she had hugged him in the wreckage Willow had wrought. Anya anchors him in the best ways, he thinks, and leans into her embrace.

"The thing is," she says, her lips against his white dress shirt, "that the party was supposed to honour Watchers of the past. And so he dressed as you."

"That's, er…Oh." He loses his words in the rush of chaotic emotion that her revelation inspires. Except, "I didn't wear those boots when I was a Watcher."

"Oh, please," she says in a familiar, weary protest. "You've always been a damn Watcher, okay? Always."

This is a dance they've done a thousand thousand times too, and he hides his smile against her hair. Then, "So why didn't he take the old tweed jacket, then, instead of my boots?"

"Sorry, Dad," says David from the front hall, and "Um, because I wore it, Giles-Dad," says Tariq.

Giles looks up. David – sock-footed, no ruined boots – hovers in the archway. He looks so much like the young Ripper, Giles thinks with a start, but he's much more grounded, thanks to his mother. Beside him is Tariq, still wearing the tweed jacket. The adoptive son stands in a mirror-pose to the birth-son –

"You are so very much your father's sons," Anya sighs.

"Yeah," Tariq says, and David finishes, "'Cos we were the ones who took down the Alart, Dad! With that spell you taught us last month with the creature on the tors!"

Even as Giles opens his mouth to respond, Anya tugs on his belt loops, and he loses his train of thought. When her hand slips below his waistband, his mind goes in another direction entirely. "Right. Er, yes. Well, let's debrief in the morning –"

"Because I'm taking your father upstairs now to comfort him for the loss of his boots," Anya announces.

David and Tariq look at each other. "We'll stay down here for a while, then," David says, and Tariq mutters, "For a long while," and David mutters in return, "And maybe headphones will be in order."

Giles thinks briefly about responding to the boys, but Anya's hands slide away from his back. He takes her now free hand, already moving. "Er, not a bad idea," he says, and smiles.

His overcoat is tossed over the bannister. His shoes are left at the top of the stairs. His jacket and tie are gone before they make it all the way into their bedroom, although he keeps the tie in one hand.

And he spins her around until her back is pressed against the door. They've given up their old standing shags – he's not as young as he used to be – but she curls her leg around his thigh anyway and arches in. Her hands grasp his shoulders. "Honey," she says.

He kisses away whatever she was going to say next, all the while untying her dressing gown and letting it slide to the floor. She's got one of his old pyjama shirts on underneath, and he begins to unbutton with practiced fingers.

"No clothes," he murmurs, and she whispers, "No clothes…Oh, nice hand, honey."

"Darling," he says, flicking her nipple in the way that makes her moan, and with the other hand brings her wrists above her head. "Time for the tie."

Sometime later, sprawled naked in their bed, he watches Anya (now wearing his dress shirt, unbuttoned) collect their strewn clothes. Then he closes his eyes and smiles at himself.

Despite all losses, Giles is right with the world.
stateless82: (Default)

[personal profile] stateless82 2017-06-20 10:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Yay! I loved all of it, but the last has to be my favorite.
blueswan: (Default)

[personal profile] blueswan 2017-06-20 11:09 pm (UTC)(link)
I enjoyed this so much. Lovely.
0_ruthless_0: (Default)

[personal profile] 0_ruthless_0 2017-06-21 08:23 am (UTC)(link)
Wow. Just /wow/. Thanks for this lovely little piece. You write so vividly, I loved every moment of it!
dhw: (Default)

[personal profile] dhw 2017-06-21 10:14 am (UTC)(link)
Aww, this was lovely! I especially liked the last set. Very sweet.

Nice work!

(And Docs are deffo the ultimate footwear choice!)
il_mio_capitano: (Default)

[personal profile] il_mio_capitano 2017-06-22 08:27 am (UTC)(link)
Lovely as always! The joy of Docs.

I liked the magic box suit one. Giles has always been one for dressing up in disguise.
janus_74: (Default)

[personal profile] janus_74 2017-06-22 02:11 pm (UTC)(link)
Very nice :)
alhbooks: Cat sleeping in alcove over fire. (Default)

[personal profile] alhbooks 2017-06-22 05:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Lovely vignettes! Rainkatt and I are playing yarns today at their place on the coast...
feliciacraft: (anya)

[personal profile] feliciacraft 2017-06-22 08:24 pm (UTC)(link)
This is all kinds of wonderful! Thank you especially for giving us happy Giles/Anya! :)
dragonyphoenix: (Morticia)

[personal profile] dragonyphoenix 2017-06-22 11:23 pm (UTC)(link)
Lovely. I particularly like the first one, where he feels right in the stomping boots.
sonneta: my username, with a butterfly (Default)

[personal profile] sonneta 2017-06-23 01:09 am (UTC)(link)
Ooh, nicely done. :) I like the idea of Giles's clothing reflecting different identities he puts on.
protoneoromantic: (Default)

Love the Anya/Giles love

[personal profile] protoneoromantic 2017-06-23 05:04 am (UTC)(link)
These two are such a great couple and the weaving together of the six scenes into a coherent Giles is just gorgeous.
quaggy: Eun-chan with her head tilted (Pensive)

[personal profile] quaggy 2017-06-23 03:31 pm (UTC)(link)
I really enjoyed these peaks into Giles's past, especially the pre-series Giles. And who hasn't gone into mourning over the demise of a beloved article of clothing? I once nearly cried once when my favorite pair of dressy sandals broke beyond repair.
Edited 2017-06-23 15:34 (UTC)
sparrow2000: (Default)

[personal profile] sparrow2000 2017-06-23 04:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh yes, I could see all of these scenes unfolding so vividly. These very gorgeous, and definitely make me want to go discover the rest of this 'verse.

So many great lines I could quote, but this one in the first piece really got to me - "For the first time in too long, he feels right even though he knows it's wrong." So wonderfully evocative.
freixenet: (Default)

[personal profile] freixenet 2017-06-27 03:30 pm (UTC)(link)
Love this! I had forgotten how much I love Giles/Anya. Great story, L.
gilescandy: (Default)

[personal profile] gilescandy 2017-06-28 05:48 am (UTC)(link)
Giles and his many suits of armor. I loved it all. Very nice work.
littleotter73: pondering (Default)

[personal profile] littleotter73 2017-07-06 06:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Giles/Docs new OTP! LOL Seriously though, who can't identify with a perfectly worn pair of shoes?

Really well done vignettes that take us through various important points in his life. Thanks! :)
the_huffster: (Default)

[personal profile] the_huffster 2017-07-14 03:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Nicely done! And poor Giles...losing his Docs after all those years