This Tangle of Thorns<
by Katharine [kaffeineaddict@hotmail.com]

Pairing: Cordelia/Giles

Rating: R

Summary: Giles and Cordelia soliloquise while researching, and reflect on a forbidden attraction.

Notes: Set during late Season 3 BtVS, just a little AU

Credit where itís due: to Nabokovís "Lolita" for the poetry quoted, and a few lines, including the title, not to mention being a key influence in the writing of this fiction.

Distribution: Want, take, have, as long as I know where it went.

Disclaimer: Giles, Cordelia and BtVS are figments of Joss Whedonís imagination.

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You think heís noticed how much time I spend here? How often I volunteer to help research the latest uglies? Just sitting, idly turning pages as I carefully steal glances at him. I know all his quirks, all of his weird little habits. How he canít concentrate unless thereís a mug of tea slowly going cold in front of him. How he doesnít really need glasses, but hides behind them anyway. I wonder what the Council would say if I told them that every now and then, he licks his fingers to help prise apart stubborn pages. Destructive oils and all that. That little manoeuvre sends shivers up and down my spine. Pathetic what a glimpse of tongue can do to a girl. Sometimes, if Iím feeling even brassier than usual, Iíll let my fingers linger on his arm when I brush off an invisible fly, or my thigh graze against his under the table as I reach across him for a book. I love to see him squirm and clench his jaw, to get him all flustered until he hotfoots it into his little office to hide from the hormonal cheerleader.

I wish heíd take me into that office of his and *show* me whatís so private. In a lot of detail. Woah, coming on hot and heavy there. Desperate much? I think Sting wrote a song about this. Screw that, Iím lusting after the father figure, I take Psychology, I can draw my own conclusions. Wesley may be the next generation, but hell, who wants the Gap when you can have Todd Oldham? Who wants plastic when you can get leather?

Leather. Giles in leather. Cool it, Cordy, or youíll be the one squirming. Thereís no way he notices me, anyway. Itís just a stupid little schoolgirl fantasy. How many times has he looked away when Iíve given him the perfect opportunity to look down my top? Iím just another silly student, who hangs around just to annoy him. Damn it, if Iím sane enough to know that, why canít I stop thinking about him in *that* way?

I have this recurring fantasy that one of these days, heíll just grab me and take me, right here on this table. He'd kick his precious books onto the floor, and we'd make love, slowly, sensually. Or maybe wildly and violently, it depends what sort of day I've had. The door's locked, obviously, because eww, I so do not get off on being watched. Mocha chocolata yaya.... Skin on skin, his hands trailing towards...

"Cordelia?"

"Huh?" The sound of his voice suddenly shocks me into consciousness, and I try very hard not to look too guilty. Or turned on.

"Could you pass me that book?" I follow the line his finger draws towards a pile of books on the other side of the table.

"All the way over there?" I whine, trying to keep my voice steady. I attempt to lean over to get the book, and, failing miserably, I stand up and saunter round, fully aware that my short skirt is riding up my thighs. I wonder if he's looking? Yeah, right. Only in my dreams. Passing the book to him, I lean over a little too far, and, as always, he averts his eyes.

"Thank you..." he mumbles, ever the gentleman.

"Welcome," I mutter back, then return to staring at the book I'm supposedly reading.

These feelings I've been having, they're so wrong. If he ever found out, I'd be in for the lecture of a lifetime, then he'd probably never speak to me again.

Daydreams, delusions, they're all I have. All I ever will have. Unrequited lust.

A girl's gotta have a hobby, hasn't she?

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Words alone cannot describe her. I could compile a list of adjectives as long as this earth is old, and still it would fall short of immortalising her beauty. I am transfixed by her, caught in her web of allure, lost to this world. A mere glance sends me into a state of excruciating rapture. The frustration of it is enough to make me sob. I am a grown man, a sensible, righteous, accomplished adult, and I should have known far better than to become besotted with a student.

If I told her, how would she react? If I alerted her to my lust, to my desire? My lechery, my longing? I am quite sure she would be positively revolted. And yet, it causes me to wonder, as her hand lingers for a little to long on mine, as she leans tantalisingly low over me, is she already aware? If so, 'tis a wicked, dangerous, delicious game of hers. Her very own Monsieur Humbert has not the will nor the want to resist any advances she might make.

How I wish I could take the little vixen in my arms, and ravish her until my passion is sated, until she lacks the energy to scream my name. I cannot bear this any longer. She persists in taunting me with her presence, and yet the very nature of it decrees that it would be morally shameful to make any advances. That said, to quote an old poet: "The moral sense in mortals is the duty / We have to pay on mortal sense of beauty"....

No. She is a student. She is a friend, or at least peer, of the girl who is almost a surrogate daughter to me. She comes to aid my research, and I fantasise about her as she sits a hair's breadth away. I dream of her nubile young flesh pressed against mine, her legs wrapped around me, her hands caressing my back... bloody hell, man, what is the matter with you? She's more than half your age!

And currently gyrating and squirming in her seat, trying to find a comfortable position on the hard, wooden bench. As her thigh comes into contact with mine, I cannot help but cough as a result of the mere proximity, and reach for the cold cup of tea that I keep in front of me for just this reason. I seem to have developed a nervous reflex, a defence mechanism in the form of a coughing fit in reaction to Cordelia. In reality, I have no defence against her. She wields a power over me that is terrifying in its strength.

If her ankle continues to rest against mine, I shan't be responsible for my actions.

"Cordelia?" I ask, resorting to a desperate stratagem to force her to shift her person.

"Huh?" Her lovely eyes flash in my direction as I startle her and snap her out of what seemed to be deep concentration.

"Could you pass me that book?" I stutter, pointing to a book on the far side of the table, secure in the knowledge that she will certainly have to move to retrieve it.

"All the way over there?" she huffs, stretching towards it. Having given up, she sighs to express her profound irritation with this awkward old librarian, and stands up to walk round. If I were her father, I would refuse to let her leave the house in that outfit. As she walks, her thighs stem from a leather prison, boots that beg to be removed, and a tight skirt barely covers her tight, toned buttocks, threatening to reveal them entirely as it travels further and further up her legs with every step. My Delilah.

"Thank you..." I barely remember my manners as she hands the book to me, and immediately feign interest in the volume, hoping she is oblivious to the flush spreading over my cheeks, to my sudden need to shift positions on the bench.

"Welcome," she mutters, returning to her own almanac.

She is eighteen years old. My passion is legal. My infatuation has no officially immoral basis. She is no Lolita. But she must never know. Never have any inkling of my feelings for her. For what could I give her? A man in the autumn of his life, who would become dependent upon her just as she entered the prime of hers?

Ravishing.

Bewitching.

Entrancing.

Stunning.

Dazzling.

Hypnotising.

Radiant.

Mesmerising.

Exquisite.

Enchanting.

Captivating.

Enticing.

Riveting.

Oh, Cordelia. I have only words to play with.

FINIS