Pairings: Giles/Xander (Xander/Faith, Xander/Larry, Giles/Ethan mentioned)
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership and am making no money.
Continued from Part 1.
On Sunday, Xander went out with Larry again, and they tried it again. It all worked great, and made Xander certain he enjoyed touching guy bits more than girl bits. But once again, something was missing, and it was utter hell talking to Larry afterward. Xander sang a line from Sgt Pepper to him, and Larry just gave him a blank stare. He didn’t get the Matrix reference either.
On Monday at lunchtime, Xander broke up with Larry, in the nicest, friendliest way he could manage. He tried to convey his undying gratitude to Larry, for helping him figure out he was gay, and giving him a safe space to explore it. He thought that using phrases like “safe space” would make Larry happy, and it did. He thought that Larry was maybe sort of relieved as well, after their amazingly awkward post-sex conversations. So that was okay, though Xander had kinda enjoyed dating somebody for that whole week. Cordy still held his long-term relationship record, and oh God, how much of a mistake had that whole thing been?
Wesley arrived on Tuesday. Giles had been tense off and on since he’d gotten that letter. Now he was right over the edge into morose, staring at this guy who’d invaded his library and was busy sneering at him and telling him he’d been sent to repair the damage Giles had done to the two Slayers. Xander went and got Buffy and sent her to him, figuring she could cheer Giles up when nobody else could. Or at least prevent him from killing this Wesley kid. Buffy achieved détente by making it clear to Giles that she still liked him.
It seemed like it might be working out all right until the first time Wesley saw action. That had been almost funny. Almost.
“Bloody fucking hell, Pryce. You can’t behave that way.”
Xander had never heard Giles swear before. But then, he’d never seen Giles this worked up about Buffy’s safety before. He was pacing the length of the circulation desk, back and forth, back and forth. Wesley stood embayed against the desk, with his chin thrust out.
Buffy and Faith weren’t in the library. Faith had never showed up to the demon fight, apparently, and Buffy had booked with Angel right afterward. It was Xander and Giles, and the new Watcher. The mini-Giles, sort of, only without the gravitas. The muscle. The chin. And, apparently, the guts.
“You offered, you actually offered, to give him the amulet to escape torture. Not to save your Slayer, not to save the world, just to save your miserable skin. Do you know where you’d be if I’d made a decision like that a year ago?”
“Dead,” said Xander. “Sucked into a vortex along with the rest of the world. Giles took it for eight hours, Wes. Eight hours in a chair with Angelus. You’ve heard of him, I trust.”
“Yes. And what was this civilian doing involved in it?” said Wesley, to Giles.
“He got me out,” Giles said, quietly. He met Xander’s gaze and held it for a moment, then they exchanged a tiny nod. “He’s faced more vampires than you have. He’s voluntarily gone out patrolling when Buffy cannot. As we all have. As you will learn to do as well.”
Giles thumped down onto the study table and sighed.
“Wesley, you’ve got to learn the facts of life on the Hellmouth. What happened tonight was… not unusual. First, you’ve got to be open to the idea that your books are wrong. Just wrong. That demons they say are dead are in fact quite alive. And second, that your life is worth less than hers. And that you might well have to lose it to save her. Or save everything from whatever bloody stupid apocalypse is threatening this time.”
“That’s not what our training is for. We’re too valuable to risk! It’s the Slayer’s lot to fight and— We don’t go on the front lines. It’s not our place.”
“Fight and what, Wesley? Fight and die, is that it? And then another is called. I don’t accept that.” Giles ran his hand through his hair. He looked exhausted and depressed.
“Mr Travers was right about you.”
“How so?” Giles asked, wearily.
“You do have a father’s love for the child. Most inappropriate.” With that, Wesley shot his cuffs and swept out of the library.
“Shit!” said Xander. “Wet behind the ears puppy. He’s gonna get her killed, Giles.”
“We can’t allow that,” Giles said, watching the library doors swing back and forth from Wesley’s abrupt exit. “I have to hope she’ll come to me when it’s serious.”
Xander got his book bag, and waited while Giles shrugged on his suit jacket and collected his attache. The two men made their way out to the car.
“What about Faith?”
Giles snorted. “She walked out yesterday afternoon rather than spend even a moment with Wesley. She doesn’t have much use for either of us, but I think even so she’ll work with me.”
When they got inside their place, Xander asked, “Do they really teach you not to care about the Slayer?”
“Really. I came here expecting… I don’t know what I expected.” Giles wandered over to the kitchen counter and picked up his bottle of Scotch. He put it down again. He spoke a little oddly. “I’d seen my father with his Slayer, so I knew it didn’t have to be impersonal. But I wanted to keep my distance.”
“And then you met Buffy.”
“And then I met Buffy. It’s odd to spend a lifetime training for a job, only to learn that the most important thing about it is something they haven’t bothered to tell me. Something you knew right out of the gate. Xander, we have to keep her alive. Make sure she knows, would you?”
“I think she figured out Wes faster than we did, but I’ll tell her anyway.”
“Thank you. Night, then.” Giles climbed the stairs to his loft, stripping off his jacket and vest as he went.
And that was how Xander and Giles allied against Wesley.
Not that allying against him did any good, because he was a one-man wrecking crew. Giles assured Xander that Wesley was not actually evil, and that therefore Xander should not beg Buffy to strangle him with his own school tie. He was just, well, an incompetent puppy. He didn’t know any better. He was doing exactly what his training manuals told him to do, and he wasn’t old enough or wise enough about the world to know when they were bullshit.
Faith was on the loose and freaked out thanks to Wesley, and right now Xander was not feeling so good about that. In part because he had Slayer handprints around his neck, but mostly because he was now convinced she was batshit loonball and probably ought to be locked up in a Council jail. Though Giles had this idea she could be saved, which Xander thought was hopeless optimism. He was thinking that Wesley was right about this one. Totally by accident, of course, and he couldn’t do it even with a team of guys to help, but manacles were the jewelry for Faith.
He and Giles were in the bug-mobile, puttering their way over to Faith’s motel room, in case she decided to hole up there. Xander was not hoping they’d find her, and not really feeling great about visiting that rathole again. Lost his virginity, nearly lost his life, all in the crummiest place possible. Sucked to think about Faith living there, but she’d turned down Buffy’s mom’s offer of a spare room, he’d heard.
Giles hadn’t said much since he’d motioned Xander to follow him to the car. He finally talked when they were about halfway there.
“Xander, what were you thinking? Were you thinking you could win her back to our side by sleeping with her? Because I have to think Buffy is right about her. She doesn’t take her, her, her partners seriously.” Giles sounded upset.
“Actually, no. My first encounter with her was enough for a lifetime. It was kinda what clued me in that I’m gay. No, I was just trying to be a friend to her.”
“Oh,” said Giles. “You’re, uh…”
“Yeah. I bat for the other team now.” Xander was too freaked to bother keeping his big secret. He might have died tonight, and his friends wouldn’t have known the most important thing about him.
“Oh,” said Giles again. He drove in silence for a minute then said, “I had assumed, after our meeting this afternoon, that you’ve been dating Faith. When you went out.”
“Naw. I was out with Larry. The football player? Yeah, him. After being with him once I was pretty sure I was finally doing it with the right gender.”
“Gender is what words have. People have— oh, never mind. So you’re dating Larry then? Good, good.” Giles didn’t sound like he truly thought it was good, but he also didn’t sound upset any more.
“Actually, no. I kinda broke it off with him. It’s not that he isn’t nice, ‘cause he is. I just figured out that… well, he didn’t get most of my jokes. I know I’m not the smartest—”
“No, I’m not well-read and stuff, and I can’t read a zillion languages like you. But apparently I am too smart for Larry. If I’m gonna make a joke about ‘Waiting for Godot’, I kinda want the other guy to get it, you know? I, uh, well, I think smart is sexy. And, um, always have. So I’m available, and looking. And wow, it’s wild to realize that ninety percent of the people I might want to go out with are A, not gonna be interested, and B, maybe gonna punch me if I ask.” Xander reflectively rubbed his cheekbone, where his father’s fist had landed.
“Don’t… don’t worry about that too much. You’ll meet people who share your, uh, uh, interests. There are groups one can join, I believe. Uh.” Giles was way more stammery that Xander had heard him in a while.
“Yeah,” he said, looking out the car window. “I’m sure I’ll figure it out. I just got started with this.”
“Do, ah, the others know?”
“No, you’re the first friend I’ve told, believe it or not.”
“Oh! Well, uh, thank you. For trusting me. It’ll be fine, Xander.”
He didn’t know what he’d been expecting. That Giles would come out to him in a burst of mutual shareage? That wasn’t who Giles was. And for all Xander knew, Ethan had been a one-time thing and Giles was strictly about the chicks now. Why did that thought make Xander feel bummed? They pulled up outside the flea-infested Sunnydale No-Tel Motel of Misery, and Xander psyched himself up to face the chick who’d tried to strangle him. Only she turned out not to be there, to his relief.
And that was how Xander came out to Giles.
The next morning, Xander let himself sleep in a bit on his little futon in his little room, which he liked much much better than his room at his parents’ house, even though that had been about three times the size. He figured he deserved to sleep in, what with having Faith’s fingerprints scored around his neck still.
He lazed in bed, warm under the covers. He heard Giles get up, and pad around, and head into the shower. Xander dozed again, then gave up a few minutes later when he admitted he had to piss. That shower was going on longer than Giles’ showers usually went. Giles was the king champ-een of the two-minute scrub most of the time. Not this morning, though. Xander felt a little grumpy, and walked up to the door to say something sarcastic about sharing through it. Then he heard something that sounded like a moan of pain.
He panicked and cracked open the door, and froze. Giles was in the shower all right, with the curtains not quite closed. His back was to Xander. He had one hand up grabbing the rail the shower curtain hung from. His other hand was down at his waist, and moving. And he was groaning, just loud enough for Xander to hear over the shower, and saying “yeah” and “oh God”. Xander shut the door again, really quietly, and booked himself back into his little room. Shit. Giles was a guy. Giles was a guy. Giles got himself off in the shower just like Xander did. Giles was a human being. Giles had sex.
That shouldn’t have been a big staggerer, but it was.
It wasn’t just a theoretical thing, suddenly. Giles wasn’t just a guy who’d had sex with another man in the distant past. He was a guy who had sex now. Had had sex with Miss Calendar. Had just made himself come in a room ten feet away from Xander. Xander pictured that, the way Giles had been moving his hips, and all the blood went rushing right out of his head and into his groin. Giles with his hand on himself, Giles with his face squinched up like Larry’s had been, Giles coming on Xander’s stomach that way. Only he would know what he was doing, based on what Ethan had written about in those letters, and it would be amazing like Ethan had claimed it was. And maybe they’d do that thing Xander had only just begun to think about doing, not just hands and mouths, and with that Xander had to dive into his sweatpants with both hands. It only took about ten seconds and then he was breathing hard and his sweatpants were a total mess.
Xander wiped himself off with them and balled them up to wash later on, then changed into a fresh pair. He still had to piss. Shower wasn’t running any more. He took a deep breath and walked out.
Giles emerged from the bathroom a moment later, wearing weekend-jeans, but no shirt. He had a towel around his neck, and his hair was wet. Xander couldn’t take his eyes off Giles’ chest, suddenly. It was the same chest in the photos, but not. It was heavier, and softer in the stomach, with more hair everywhere, but still so sexy. Sexier, in fact. The tawny fuzz, the muscles that never showed under those jackets and vests, God. And the hair on the stomach disappearing down was just like in those photos.
“Good morning, Xander,” said Giles. He rubbed his head with the towel absently and moved off to the kitchen. There was no sign on his face, though he had a kind of sleepy relaxed expression that holy crap, Xander had seen before on him. Which meant he’d been doing it all along. Which again, should not have been a staggerer, because Xander had been doing it all along too.
Xander stumbled into motion and finally got into the bathroom and did his morning stuff, turning this over in his mind the whole time. He got into the shower on autopilot and sudsed himself up with Giles’ soap.
Now that he’d thought these things once, he couldn’t unthink them. Giles was sexy. Giles was all the stuff he’d told Giles himself he was looking for in a guy. Giles was smart, and sarcastic, and competent, and brave. Experienced. Powerful. And smart, had he mentioned smart? And he’d been into guys at least once in his life. Xander realized he’d been building a thing for Giles since the moment he’d read those letters. If Larry had been ten times more exciting than Faith, Giles was ten times more exciting than Larry. Xander wanted Giles to show him everything. Wanted Giles to be the first guy inside him.
Sweet mother of God, Giles was a pear.
He had to make it happen. Had to figure out how. What did Giles like? Was he still into guys? Would he consider a younger guy?
And that was how Project Seduce Giles commenced.
Xander saw no sense in waiting. One near-death experience had him convinced that other even closer-to-death experiences might follow, so why waste time? When he got out of the shower he hopped on the phone with the one person he thought could put him on the true path to sexual happiness. Well, to be honest, the one person he could talk to about this stuff at all right now.
“Hey, Buffy, can I ask you a favor? Can you meet me at the mall around noon? I have a technical question for ya. No, can’t talk here. Thanks, dude. Lifesaver.”
Xander found Buffy at the sugary milky coffee place, as promised. Buffy was looking kinda down. She pushed a mocha at him, then sat playing with the straw in the whipped cream on hers.
“Hey. Wanted to tell you something. It’s good you’re talking to Giles instead of Wesley, ‘cause, man, that guy. He means well, but he’s without clue. Giles tells me all kinds of stuff these days, you know, when we’re hanging out, and hanging out with Giles is way less sconeriffic and stuffy than you might expect. But anyway, Buffy, Wesley. Total pencilneck.”
“Yeah, Xan, I kinda already picked up on that. I have no choice but to work with him, though. And do his stupid evaluations and stuff. Giles, I dunno. It seems to me like I just bug him. Especially at three in the morning.”
“No way, Buffy. You’re the first thing he thinks about when he wakes up, and the last thing he thinks about when he goes to sleep. Trust me, here.”
“How come he never says anything?” Buffy made herself busy playing with the rings on her fingers.
“Oh, man, he’s total shy guy about that stuff. He’ll never say anything first. You want to know how he feels about his Slayer, you tell him how you feel about your Watcher first.”
“He’s not my Watcher any more.”
“Don’t be a dork. Wesley couldn’t Watch if you glued binoculars to his face.”
“But he’s supposed to.”
“So, okay. Start calling Wesley at three in the morning, then. I’m sure Giles wouldn’t mind being able to sleep. He bitches about that a lot.”
“Not a bad idea, Xan. I’ll try it. Okay, that’s enough of the angst-fest that is the Slayage right now. What’s up? What’s your technical question?”
Xander took a fingerful of whipped cream from his mocha and ate it. This was scary. Scarier than coming out to Giles had been. But he could do it, dammit. Buffy was his friend. “First, an announcement. I’m, uh. I’m gay.” Buffy stared at him. “Light in my loafers. Queer as a three dollar bill. Into people of the guy persuasion.”
“You? Really? You sure?”
“Yeah. Tried one of each and figured out which one was more fun.”
Buffy hopped up and came around the table to hug him briefly. “Wow. Never saw this coming, Xan. Thanks for telling me. Does anybody else know?”
“Giles knows. Just Giles and you so far. Oh and Gay Larry the football player, cause he was kinda my first.”
“You going public?”
“Slowly. Slowly. Yeah. I’m afraid Wills will be mad at me.”
“Nah. Tell her. She’s been your buddy for, like, fourteen out of your eighteen years now? Jeez. What’s your technical question? How to put on a condom?”
“Ha bloody ha. Buffy, you said once that your best friend at Hemery was gay, yeah?”
“Yeah. He was pretty fun.”
“So you’re totally all over what’s hip and in and attractive vis-a-vis guys who like other guys.”
“I wouldn’t say that, Xan. But I do know how to be stylish on a budget.”
“That is the skill I need. Will you help me with a makeover?”
“Want loafers to look light in?”
“Nah. There’s a guy I met. Kind of an older guy.”
“A little older than that.”
“O-oh! Older. Gotcha.”
“And I wanna catch his eye. Look hot. You know. Show off what I got. Only I have no idea how.”
Buffy eyed him almost shrewdly. “If the guy is into younger men, you might not have to do anything. Just be available. Especially if he’s seeing a lot of you.”
“Nah, trust me. I have to get his attention. Isn’t there something like Cosmo for guys? Twenty wardrobe tips for catching his eye? Make up dos and don’ts? Uh, let’s just go with don’t there, but you catch me.”
Buffy leaned back and slurped her mocha. “I think I can do something. What’s our budget?”
“Um. I have some cash. Couple hundred.”
“Where’d you get that? Giles giving you an allowance?”
“I had a college fund.”
“Color me shocked.”
“I worked summers and saved enough to pay for two semesters at lovely UC Sunnydale. Only, well, there will be no college for me. It will be all about the making a living thing. So what the hell. I’ll burn a couple hundred on looking hot. Make it count, Buff.”
“Trust me, Xan. One thing about the Slaying is, you learn to make your clothes budget stretch. Old Navy first. Let’s go.”
Xander emptied his paper cup of coffee-sugar-goo, and followed Buffy through the mall, past the potted plants, past the carts selling crappy jewelry and watches, past the sunglasses kiosks and the inevitable Spencer Gifts, to the stores marked by the ever-practical Buffy as high-value targets. The Slayer sized him up, and threw a pile of clothes at him.
“It’s more sophisticated. He’s older. You don’t have dandruff, do you?”
“No. No! But Buffy, I wear size large in those shirts.”
“Yeah, and that’s why you’re getting medium. Put it on. See what I mean? Biceps. Except for these tank tops. You’re getting XL in those, so they flop around a lot.”
“My arms are kinda eh. Especially in comparison with his. He’s got muscle.”
“He does? I thought— I mean, he does, huh? Okay. That’s the other thing I can do for you. I can give you a workout routine guaranteed to give you pecs and biceps in thirty days. Saw it in Men’s Health.”
“What were you doing reading that?”
“Keanu on the cover.”
Xander sighed, and paid for his collection of new shirts. It was way less than he’d expected.
“Pants next,” said Buffy, and she led him to a place he never shopped at because of general poverty. “You are getting one pair of button-fly Levis,” Buffy informed him. “Tight. Then we spend the rest on cheap knockoff jeans that will fall apart in a year but that’s okay, by then you’ll have him.”
She then poured him into a pair of faded Levis that he had to admit looked great. Not as good as Giles had in faded jeans, but still good. She showed him a trick with the buttons: leave one undone, and you look bulgier. Xander was impressed. Then she made him try on other jeans, the baggier kind that rode low on his hips and showed the top of his underwear. She barged in on him in the dressing room and made him pose. Which first made him cringe, then he realized, what the hey. It was kinda nice to have the sexual tension aspect of the friendship just vanish. At the last second, she threw a package of colored stretch boxers on his pile.
“I don’t need underwear!”
“Are any of yours sexy? I just saw the pair you’re wearing now, and I’m going with no.”
“Uh, whatever you say, boss.”
And that was how Buffy made over Xander.
The next morning saw Xander in tank top and spandex gym shorts, trying not to worry about his crotch too much. He stood in front of the fireplace, fiddling with the hand weights Buffy had lent him. He had her exercise regimen as well. He stared at her scrawl, trying to make out how many reps of the shrugs he should do. A set of twenty, maybe. Those were okay. A hundred pushups? Man, he could maybe do twenty-five. But if it took a hundred to get a chest that Giles would notice, okay.
Xander did forty pushups. The last ten were a bitch. He lay on his face for a while, wondering if this was worthwhile. Giles was still asleep, it being a weekend morning and Giles generally preferring not to appear downstairs before ten. So he couldn’t even grunt and moan the way he did in gym class when forced to do pushups.
He rolled over and started with the situps. He forgot how many of those Buffy said to do. Probably he should just do them until he hurt too much to continue.
“That situp does nothing.”
“Huh wha?” Xander opened his eyes and saw Giles standing over him, bemused. His hair was all rumpled from sleep. He had on pajama bottoms and no shirt. Again with the no shirt. Xander closed his eyes again. If he left them open, he’d start regretting the spandex gym shorts more than he had words to express.
“Crunches are the only stomach exercise worth doing. Let me show you.”
Giles stretched out on the floor next to Xander and demonstrated the proper form for stomach crunches, the kind that touched elbows to opposite knees. He did them seemingly effortlessly, even though his stomach had some pudge on it. Training the Slayer had to be good for something, Xander guessed.
“You try them. I’ll brace you.”
Xander lay down again and curled himself up. Crap, these were a lot harder than the gym class situps had been. After about four, he was really feeling it. Giles held him in place and said encouraging things. Oh God, Giles was touching his ankles. Warm, dry hands. Giles could run them right up his legs to his thighs… Xander’s spandex-related disaster was now in progress. It was one thing to let a guy know you were interested. It was another to thing to get a hard-on right in his face when you still weren’t sure if he had gone entirely straight or was still bi.
Xander bounced up and ran for his room.
“I’m good, I’m good! Thanks, Giles!” Xander closed his door and leaned his forehead against it, breathing hard.
Well, at least Project Show Off Xander’s Manly Body had accomplished goal one: get Giles to look.
Xander showered and dressed, by which time the embarrassing evidence of his Giles-fixation had faded. At the last second before he left his little room, he recalled Buffy’s advice about flaunting his chest, and took off his t-shirt. Then he chickened out, and carried it with him, so he could look like he was just in the middle of getting dressed.
Giles was in the kitchen, now wrapped up in a bathrobe, frying bacon and making omelets. Giles was as good at the omelet thing as he was making everything else Xander had had the privilege of tasting. Xander had tried to cook, but Giles had swiftly decreed that Xander would chop, dice, and slice, but was banned from all activities involving pans over heat.
Xander loomed in the kitchen, looking over Giles’ shoulder at the bacon cooling on a bit of paper towel.
“Get away from those. I’m saving half for sandwiches.”
“Mmm. I think this is my favorite thing about living with you.”
“Oh?” Giles turned to look at Xander, who was an inch behind him, then ripped his glasses off his face and began polishing them on his bathrobe.
“You’re the most amazing cook.”
“Uh, r-right. Go, uh, um, get plates or uh something. For the uh, whatever it is I’m making. Omelets.” Giles turned his back on Xander, who sadly shrugged on his too-tight black t-shirt. Because apparently showing off his skinny chest made Giles miserable.
And that’s how it went for the next few weeks. Xander did his exercise regimen every morning, isometrics and handweights, on the floor in front of the fireplace. Giles hovered upstairs until Xander was done. It was beginning to get to him. The guy seemed to be a nervous wreck all of a sudden. Xander was thinking it was time to just quit.
Somewhere in the middle of this, Giles had a birthday. He wouldn’t tell them how old he was, but Buffy made a face and said she knew already. She’d pinched his wallet and looked at his license, and that was how she knew when his birthday was at all. Giles got very tense at that, but Buffy let it go. They had cake in the library, and Giles blushed when they all gave him little presents. Xander had a makeup experiment to do for his chem class, so he dropped off the In-n-Out t-shirt he’d bought for Giles, pounded him on the back, snagged a slice of cake, and had to book. What with the Bunsen burner accident, he didn’t get back until the little party had broken up. The Dingoes were playing at the Bronze that night, and Xander diffidently asked Giles if he wanted to go. See Oz, hang out on his birthday, you know. Giles gave him a puzzled look, and declined. So Xander left the birthday guy home alone and took off for a night of pogoing while the Dingoes attempted to play their latest songs.
Afterward, he found Giles ensconced in his armchair, with yet another library book with a different sailing ship on the cover, by the same writer. He was in his bathrobe, with white pajama legs stretched out on the footstool. And bare feet. Xander had conceived a certain lust for Giles’s bare feet, a lust he was beginning to think was hopeless. They were turning into great buddies, just not the sort of buddies he wanted to be.
“Evening, Xander. Did you have a good time?”
“Yeah. Oz only screwed up two solos.”
“Did Willow notice?”
“She never does.”
They shared another one of those conspiratorial grins. Xander had found the guitar in Giles’ closet, and knew his secret.
“Was going to make myself some cocoa before bed. Want some?”
“Yeah. With marshmallows? Awesome.”
Giles put a marker in his book and got up. The bathrobe was open, revealing pjs Xander hadn’t seen before. They had a big print on them, of…
“Woodstock? You’re wearing Woodstock pajamas?
Giles smiled in a completely goofy way. “Do you like them? Birthday present from Buffy. She said she’d given you a pair of Snoopy pajamas, so we match.”
“Yeah. Yeah, she did. You’re really wearing them?”
“Hmm? Yes. Why not?” Giles got out the milk and a pan, and started heating it.
Cocoa. A kid drink. Giles thought they matched when he wore those pajamas. That meant he thought Xander was a total kid. Xander leaned his head against the kitchen counter and stifled a groan.
And that was how Xander decided that he was probably never going to get anything but broccoli.
That Friday night, Giles stood at the hearth with a glass of what Xander had learned was Scotch and soda. Giles went for that when he wanted whisky but wasn’t drinking because he was stressed or freaked. Tonight he looked puzzled but in a good mood.
“I just realized that Buffy hasn’t disrupted my sleep in weeks. I feel almost good. I wonder if she’s been slacking off.”
“Don’t think so. Think she’s been bugging Wes late-night.”
“I told Buffy to call Wes instead of you. I figured you needed the sleep and Wes could… You don’t look happy about that.”
“I told you the exact opposite.”
“Yeah, I know, and I told Buffy that she shouldn’t trust Wes with the serious stuff. I just thought that… I mean, you seemed pretty worked up about needing to sleep and I thought maybe when you get old or something…” Xander trailed off. This wasn’t coming out at all the way he wanted it to.
Giles was staring at him and looking miffed. “Thank you, Xander.”
“I just wanted to do something nice for you.”
Giles snorted. “Oh, yes, taking steps to replace me with an incompetent. I bloody well appreciate that. Xander, don’t try to think.” He took a gulp of his drink and thunked the glass down on the mantel.
“And there you go again with the treating me like a kid!” Xander stuck out his jaw.
“What the fuck do you want, anyway? To sleep or to have Buffy bug you or to fucking whine about it all the time?”
Now that he was going, Xander couldn’t stop.
“And you’re so, so, so… I can’t believe you were ever young! Sometimes you make Wesley look cool. I mean, you’re so stodgy, with your sleeping in, and your reading a book on your birthday instead of going dancing with me, and your hot cocoa and your stupid Woodstock pajamas and the way you’re just entirely oblivious to everything! You’re driving me nuts.”
He stomped over to Giles and stared at him. Giles was two inches taller than Xander, and where did he get off being taller? Then Xander realized that Giles smelled good, like whisky and wool and Earl Grey tea. Damn him!
“You should come with a fucking warning label, you know that? Looks sexy, talks sexy, but hasn’t had fun since 1978. Do not fall in love with this guy ‘cause the only thing he does these days is books. If I’d stripped naked and painted ‘take me now’ on my chest you wouldn’t have fucking noticed.”
“I beg your pardon?”
Xander realized what he’d just said, and panicked. He took off out the door, fast.
And that was how Xander nearly blew it.
For lack of anywhere else to go, he went downhill, toward the Pacific. When he got to the boardwalk, he found the hole in the chainlink fence and went in. Giles had said— Giles this, Giles that, dammit— that it was a peaceful place to think. He went straight to the ruined carousel. He thunked himself down the benches that was supposed to look like a horse-drawn carriage. Only this one had two unicorns drawing it.
For the first ten minutes or so, Xander was just pissed off. Then he started thinking.
“Oh fuck me,” said Xander, to the wreck. “On second thought, don’t. I don’t deserve it. I am the world’s biggest idiot.”
He was going to have to find another place to live, though maybe Giles would be nice and would give him a few days to pack and leave instead of just throwing him out. He slumped on the bench. This might make a good place to crash. Except for the vampires. What a screwup. He could have dealt with the heartbreak if he’d just kept his mouth shut for a few more months, until he could get a job and afford his own place. Maybe he would have to drop out.
Some time later, he saw a flashlight shining around. Giles followed the light a minute later. He stood next to the bench for a moment, then sat down. Xander shifted to make room for him. Giles didn’t say anything.
Xander contemplated the butts of the battered unicorns. One of them still had its horn. “I’m sorry,” he said. Giles stayed quiet.
Xander tried again. “I shouldn’t be allowed to talk sometimes.”
Giles just stared up at the roof of the carousel. Then he said, “I don’t mind it when Buffy wakes me up. It’s my reason for being here. I just… enjoy complaining. To my friend. To you.”
“Oh. Yeah. I get it.”
They were both quiet, while Xander waited for Giles to say “but” and then drop the blade down on the back of his neck. Eventually he couldn’t stand waiting, and decided to nudge the guillotine himself.
“I understand if you feel you don’t want me around any more. I’ll start looking for another place. It’s okay. I know it was really dumb of me to think it was even possible. You think of me as a kid.”
“Xander. I don’t.”
“Think of you as a kid.”
“I didn’t realize. That you were, uh, trying to get my attention. You were? Truly?”
“To go dancing with you, or whatever it was you said?”
“Well, that was just a start.”
“What you see in a washed-up ex-Watcher…”
“Oh, that’s the easy part. It’s you know, that stuff about fruit again. Girls are apples, and they’re nice, but they lack that certain oomph. And oranges. Boys, hey, they’re okay. I like licking juice off my fingers just fine. Both of those will keep me from going hungry. But I didn’t figure out what I wanted until I saw a pear. And now I can’t get pears off my mind. Or at least this one pear. Smart, way smart. Experienced. Not a boy in any way. Hair on his chest, oh my God. He’ll know what the deal is. He’s been everywhere and done everything and he looks fucking amazing in a three-piece suit and in tight jeans and in any damn thing I’ve ever seen him wearing. Including Woodstock pajamas. Which made my brain melt.”
“Oh?” Giles looked at him sidelong.
“Yeah,” said Xander.
“No. Not once you get to know him.”
“I see.” Giles was silent for a while. Well, at least he wasn’t laughing.
“I realize I have just made a spectacular idiot of myself in all possible ways. You probably still want to throw me out of your house.”
“Xander… I’d have to throw myself out if that sort of idiocy were a crime.”
“Let me… I… God. How do I say this? There’s a young man I know. He’s amazingly brave, and honorable, and he’s cheerful in the face of setbacks that would crush some people. He has… the most amazing dark eyes. And a mouth that smiles so much. I’ve been thinking for weeks now how much I like making that mouth smile. How lovely that smile is. How much it makes me want to kiss it. When I learned that he was gay, I was in torment. I admitted to myself I wanted him. I found myself acting like a fool around him. But he would never consider somebody so much older than he. So stodgy. Somebody he didn’t think would be interested in him.”
“Oh, man, there was considering. So much considering.”
“I thought you were playing for somebody else. I couldn’t imagine why else you were changing your clothes and behavior so much.”
“I was trying so hard to get you to notice.”
“I think you’re better off being yourself.”
“Oh, we’re a fine pair.”
“So, uh, you noticed?”
“I noticed. Xan. Consider my attention caught.”
Xander let his head lean against Giles’ shoulder for a few minutes. Giles slipped his arm around Xander. His hand rubbed circles on Xander’s arm. Xander sighed. This was good. But it could be better. There could be kissing.
Xander tugged at Giles’ tie and got him to lean down. Giles brushed his lips against Xander’s, made a soft sound, then took Xander’s face in his hands and did it again.
And that was how Xander kissed Giles for the first time.
The kiss went on for a while, and eventually tongue got involved. Giles sure knew what he was doing there. So had Cordelia, but Giles had this quiet way of being in charge and taking what he wanted that made Xander’s stomach flutter.
And then hands started wandering, and Xander dared to let his hands drift near Giles’ waist. Then there was mutual hand-wandering and hip-grinding, and Xander realized he was humping himself against Giles’ leg and Giles was doing something very close.
Then something growled next to them, and said, “Two for the Tunnel of Death, I see.”
Xander looked up. A vampire, of course. They were idiots. They’d been sitting there making out in a known vamp nest area.
“Do you bloody mind?” Giles didn’t seem upset.
The vamp just snarled. Xander had a sick feeling in his stomach. He hadn’t brought any stakes, any holy water, any anything. They were fucked, and not in the good way. Adrenaline hit his bloodstream, and with it stupid courage. He flung himself at its legs and knocked it over.
“Run, Giles! Get out of here!”
Xander broke the horn off the unicorn and brandished it at the vamp. It came at him and he thrust and of course the horn did no good because it was plastic. The vamp slammed into him and carried him down onto the floor. Xander tried to roll away, but the vamp had him by the throat. This was it. He was going to die. Then a scream, and the grip on his throat faded. Dust showered over him where he lay on the concrete. Giles stood poised with stake in hand, standing over Xander’s legs.
“Hey. Well. The Watcher comes through with the stake.”
“I never leave the house without at least one.”
“You’re a wise man.”
Xander’s breath came back to normal. He stayed on his back, for some reason, staring up at Giles. Giles lounged against the nearest horse, a black one with a red bridle. It was nearly intact. Giles looked very sexy leaning like that, with his elbow across its back, the stake still in hand.
“It’s late. We should head home,” he said.
Home. That sounded good. “We can wear our matching pajamas,” Xander said, grinning.
“Xan, I hope neither one of us will feel the need to wear anything to bed for many months.”
Xander’s smile vanished, to be replaced with a glassy-eyed stare. He gulped. “Yeah. Okay. When do we get started on that?”
“As soon as we get home. Come on.”
Giles pulled Xander up by a hand, and held onto the hand. Giles led him to where he’d parked the Citroen. They paused once for a long sloppy kiss before Giles started the car. Giles took the direct route, and cheated a bit at the four-way stops. At the one stoplight on El Camino, Giles slipped a hand over Xander’s thigh and lingered over the bulge in his jeans. Xander pressed himself up against it happily, thinking about what was gonna happen soon, until Giles had to take it away to shift when the light changed. He put it back again as soon as he could.
“God, Xan. So eager.”
He parked the Citroen in the usual spot. He turned off the engine and looked over at Xander. “All right?” he said.
Xander lunged over and tried to kiss Giles again, only he missed and kissed his chin at first, until Giles got them lined up properly. He let it go on only for a minute before breaking off. “This’ll be better inside,” he said, and Xander was out of the car in a flash.
They got inside the door, then Giles closed it and shot the bolt home. He had Xander pinned up against the door in the next second. He kissed Xander again with that insistent sloppy mouth, all tongue and teeth and lick. And more licking, on Xander’s lips and then down his throat. He found the spot that made Xander moan, right where throat met shoulder, then bit. Xander begged him to bite harder, and Giles obliged. Then he pulled back and looked down at the hickey. He fingered it and grinned, a relaxed piratical grin that showed all his teeth. Xander swallowed. Wild ride beginning now.
Giles looked up and met Xander’s eyes. “Get that shirt off. Been teasing me for days with that chest, God, show it to me now.”
He held Xander against the door by his hips. Xander wriggled out of the shirt as fast as he could. It was what Ethan had written about, that easy command, that casual competence. Xander would do anything Giles asked right then. He was rewarded immediately by another hard bite on the shoulder, then Giles’ mouth against his nipples, that wonderful obscene mouth that knew how to do everything. If people knew what this guy was like, if people only knew, all Giles would have to do is walk into a room and crook a finger and he’d have anybody he wanted.
He had his lips on Xander’s ear now, mouthing the earlobe and making Xander groan, while his hand worked on the buttons of Xander’s fly. He kissed his way down to Xander’s chest, then went gracefully down onto his knees, taking Xander’s jeans and briefs down with him.
“Lovely,” he said, his eyes on Xander’s cock standing up before him. He grasped Xander’s hips again, and held him still, and leaned forward so slowly, until Xander thought he was going to die if Giles didn’t touch his cock, if he didn’t feel more than just hot breath. Oh god, that was Giles’ mouth on the head and his tongue fluttering on the underside and his teeth scraping just a tiny bit, so hot and wet and so unbefuckinglievably good. Yeah, this was heaven, this was it, this was what he wanted out of life. Xander braced his hands on Giles’ shoulders to keep from falling over. Xander opened his eyes and looked down and watched his cock slide over Giles’ lips, Giles’ cheeks hollowed, his eyes closed, and oh god, which one of them was groaning? Xander couldn’t help moving his hips, pushing against Giles’ hands. Giles let him, let him slide in deeper across his tongue.
Then he did something that let Xander thrust way in, to the back of his throat, and Xander closed his eyes and came before he could gasp in another breath. Giles swallowed around him, which was amazing, then pulled back a little. He licked Xander clean, then licked his own lips and looked up with a little self-satisfied smile.
“God, you taste fantastic,” he said. “Been too long since I did that.”
Xander thought that Giles on his knees, licking his swollen lips, eyes half-shut, was the hottest thing he’d ever seen in his life. It made all those naked men in porn mags look lame. And Giles hadn’t taken off any of his clothes at all.
Xander had to kiss him right that second, so he tried to kneel next to Giles. But his jeans were bunched up around his shins and he actually ended up sprawled on the floor with his chest against Giles’ knees. Giles laughed at him, a little, but in a happy way, and pulled Xander up onto his lap to kiss. Xander could taste himself in Giles’ mouth.
“Let’s go to bed,” said Giles. He helped Xander up, and they ran upstairs, to that inner sanctum. Xander got his sneakers off, then shoved his jeans down and got them out of the way for good. He turned to watch Giles, who had shed jacket and vest, and had pushed his red braces down from his shoulders. Xander watched Giles methodically undress and hang everything up. He had a naked guy on his bed, and he was sending scorching looks over at said guy, but he still hung up his suit and put his shirt in the hamper. Xander swore Giles was doing it in a deliberately sexy way. How the hell could you make shutting your closet door sexy? By looking over your shoulder with a little smile while you did it, apparently.
At last he stretched himself out on the bed next to Xander, who was staring. Cause, wow, Larry had looked different, sort of tighter and smaller and way more circumcised and with less hair because Larry had told him that waxing was in according to all the magazines he’d read, and holy shit, Xander was babbling inside his own head. He wet his lips, and looked at Giles’ half-awake cock lying across his heavy balls and his thigh. Xander reached down and touched it, cautiously, tentatively, taking it in his hand and feeling it thicken. That awesome soft skin over hardness feeling. Xander was hard again already, just from touching Giles, just from the feeling of another man’s cock in his hand, of stroking it slowly and hearing Giles suck in his breath.
He had to taste it. Xander scooted down and got himself face-to-face with Giles’ penis which was terrifying and fascinating all at once. This was supposed to fit in his mouth? All the way in? Xander started with some tentative licks. Giles groaned. Xander then tried going down, and getting into his mouth, only crap, there went his teeth.
“Stop that!” Giles pulled Xander up.
“I just wanted to… can’t I return the favor?”
“You don’t know how yet. That was… it takes practice.”
“You’ll get the practice, Xan.”
Giles whispered in his ear. “I will take you every way a man can be taken. I promise. And I will teach you to take me in all those ways. Patience.” He tapped his fingers against Xander’s mouth. Xander nodded. Giles kissed him again, and that kiss was gentle.
“Now,” he said, taking Xander’s hand. “Let me show you something I like.”
And that was how Xander had sex with Giles for the first time.
The phone was ringing. Xander heard it, but didn’t much feel like moving. This was Giles’ bed he was in. Giles’ shoulder his head was on. He was warm and completely, mind-bogglingly satiated and happy.
“Bloody hell,” said Giles in a muzzy voice. He reached over and grabbed the cordless handset without bothering to sit up. “Hello? Buffy, good morning. What— I see. Lovely. You certain? I can— No, don’t fuss. I have some contacts who may help. Let’s meet at lunchtime. Library. Right, then.” He hung up.
“Sup?” said Xander, from his position curled against Giles’ shoulder.
“Faith again. Trying to seduce Angel, apparently. And the Mayor has been putting out feelers for a sorcerer powerful enough to take away his soul.”
“Great,” said Xander, stretching against Giles’ side. “I’ll go make the coffee.”
“Not just yet,” said Giles.
And that was how Xander Harris’ three decades as Rupert Giles’ lover began.