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Sat, Sep. 11th, 2004, 08:39 pm
kindkit: Sunnydale, October 2001: Families

Continued from here.

"I'd go running with you," Oz says, "but it wasn't ever my thing. Kind of more a moseyer. But fencing looks like chess, only live-action. Cool."

The waitress is clearing away their plates, and Oz has to curl his fingers into a fist to keep himself from grabbing the last tiny onion ring. He can't help but remember Giles, face sweaty and glowing, after training Buffy in the library, nor how he always had to cut his eyes away and keep busy with a random open book.

"I'm stuffed," Oz says, more to keep himself from thinking than anything else. "How're you doing?"

Giles nods agreement with stuffed, smiles, and realizes he's lifting the malted to his lips yet again. "Quite," he says, setting it firmly down at the edge of the table for the waitress.

The restaurant's emptying out now, parents steering reluctant, sleepy children towards the exits and couples hurrying to late film showings or whatever band's playing at the Bronze these days. Encouraging the exodus, someone has dimmed the lights and turned the music down. Everything's quieter, more intimate, comfortable in a way it takes Giles a moment to understand. Tonight, for the first time since they came back to Sunnydale, he doesn't feel strange being in public with Oz.

"I'd love to teach you to fence." Oz looks up, startled, from another attempt at cleaning his fingers with a paper serviette and spit, and Giles quirks an eyebrow at him. Usually it's Oz who lets a comment drop and picks it up five minutes later. "I think you'd be good at it." Oz is strong, quick-moving when he wants to be, and under his gentle placidity there's aggression that could do with letting out. Giles remembers the last full moon, how Oz was still restless after a day spent walking around London, how he ate a steak larger and rarer even than Giles likes, how in bed he was fierce, rough, explosive. Accept, the monks told him. Don't deny the wolf, don't chain it inside. Oz, Giles thinks, is still learning how to do that. "And you're right, fencing is chess with weapons. The thinking man's combat."

The waitress, looking as though her second wind just ran out, drops the bill on the table and takes their glasses and the mound of greasy, crumpled paper. "I suppose we ought to go," Giles says. Oz, with an expression that looks like play but isn't, whisks the bill from under Giles' fingers and counts out money. "Do you feel like staying out for a bit? Going driving or something? Or should we go back to the motel?" Although Giles knows Oz isn't as relaxed and happy as he's trying to seem, he's not sure if it'll be better to talk now or to wait a little longer.

Sun, Sep. 12th, 2004 01:07 am (UTC)

Oz isn't sure *what* he feels like doing. What he feels, period; the effects of the food are swirly, cloudy, and his brain is working three times as slowly as usual. On a good day, he usually feels a little out of synch.

"About what to do?"

Giles nods, looking patient. Relaxed, even, a little loose around the eyes and through the shoulders. Oz smiles and taps the table; Giles is waiting for Oz to decide, which, right now, doesn't seem to be a very good idea. He decided to stop by Terry's, after all.

"Let's get outside," he says and slides out of the booth, reaching for Giles' hand. "Maybe fresh air." Cool out here, the air twined with gas and exhaust and french-frier fumes, and Oz stops at the car and knuckles clear his eyes. "I'm thinking driving. Just move a little."

He really hates the motel, and the thought of being cooped up in its mint-and-Pepto color scheme makes him want to heave. Giles nods, pecks his forehead, and Oz slides into the driver's seat.

Once they're on Jenkins Street, traffic light and the windows open, Oz feels clearer. Full as anything, still slightly retarded, but getting better.

"So I'll get a sword, then," he says, turning down a side street and speeding up slightly. "Cool." He'd like to know how to move; he took karate when he was little, but once he figured out they were never going to teach him how to break through concrete blocks, he quit. "And, like, I'll make sure to pay attention. Not rip off your helmet and tackle you or anything."

Sun, Sep. 12th, 2004 01:56 am (UTC)

Giles lifts Oz's free hand and kisses along the bumps of his knuckles. "That would be considered rather unorthodox technique, yes," he says, and feels Oz's shoulders lift in a half-laugh.

For a few minutes Giles watches Oz drive and talks about fencing: foils, epees, and sabres, footwork drills, target areas. The cold, constant blast of winds blows half his words away, but he's talking more for sound than sense. Words, touch are lines thrown out to Oz, who's so quiet he could almost be dreaming but for the absent, casual skill of his hands on the steering wheel.

Oz is taking them randomly, as far as Giles can tell, through the town center, switching between populated streets and empty ones that send Giles' bones hollow, his skin tense with the thought of vampires. But they're safe enough in a moving car, and anyway there's a cross, several stakes, and a bottle of holy water in the glove compartment.

When Oz makes his third left in a row, taking them in a complete circle, Giles says, "We should be flipping a coin." Oz glances over, smiles, and Giles adds, "I always wanted to do that with you. Just drive, and leave it up to chance. But there was never time."

Oz slows down as they pass the building site where the high school used to stand. The bones of the new building stretch up towards the orange-grey, overlit sky, steel and concrete bleached pale. Anyone with eyes should be able to see it's on a hellmouth, but the school's going up anyway. Oz keeps glancing in the rearview mirror long after they've passed it.

Giles settles back into his seat, listening to the engine-hum and the wind that together sound like quiet. He remembers the long drive back from the mountains, and how they didn't speak the whole way, as though if they stayed silent they could drive for ever. Yet it's not, now, an unhappy memory. Just full, vivid as the wet shimmer of blacktop under headlights.

He's beginning to say something, an unformed hope about driving back to the mountains or up to Big Sur, when Oz pulls the car over and parks it. They're in front of Giles' old flat. "Did you mean to bring us here?" Giles asks, kissing Oz's knuckles again and then rubbing his cheek against Oz's palm. "Pity we can't go in."

Sun, Sep. 12th, 2004 02:36 am (UTC)

"If we lean forward and crush our heads together, though, we can kinda see the fountain -" Oz shifts as close against the gearshift as he can, sliding his arm around Giles' shoulders as Giles leans up to the dash. Touch, and a nice, quiet night, even if there's no breeze any more, are just what he needed. "Sucks the windows have to be up. Vamps ruin *everything*."

Giles sighs a little in reply and Oz tips his head against Giles' shoulder. There are no pedestrians out here, and there never were; he can remember crossing paths with someone else on his way back from Giles' place maybe three or four times total. Dark, and the rhythm of the car's forward motion is still humming slightly down his back and up his shins, and Oz wonders if driving acts as a tranquilizer for everyone, or just him.

"Didn't mean to come here," he says and sniffs a couple times; his nose feels runny, and his eyes burn a little, like he's coming down with something. Giles turns to look at him, but the angle's wrong, and he's still wearing his seat-belt. "I'm okay. Kind of stuffy. Anyway. Just ended up here. Like, like, going forward. From Terry's to -" Oz reaches down and unclips Giles' seat-belt, and now Giles does look at him, big dark eyes and worried line where his mouth usually is. "You. Here. Something."

The apartment building looks just the same, all intricate and piled-up, like a kid's castle made out of blocks, but the hedges and trees are higher, and it's someone else's place now. Oz draws a breath, rich with the scent of Giles and diner food, and pulls himself upright again.

"My mom's something else, huh?" he asks, and for a moment, keeps staring at the apartment building. Like going back in time, he's caught all his old shyness and awkwardness. Giles makes a soft noise, deep in his throat, and Oz inhales again before he turns to look at Giles. "Like to say I didn't remember her like that, but that'd be a lie."

Sun, Sep. 12th, 2004 03:09 am (UTC)

The sulfur-yellow streetlights, dimmed as they pass through the already-fogging window, cast shadows over the traces of Oz's expression, but Oz's eyes glint wetly as puddles. Oz sniffs again, coughs experimentally, and it's the hardest thing all night, knowing that Oz really does believe he's feeling allergies and not grief.

Giles leans over until the gearshift digs into his leg and pulls Oz against him, roughly, dragging him by the neck and the arm. "Oz," he says in a long, soft breath, wishing it was enough just to name him. But perhaps it's something, the name that isn't Danny, the name he chose for himself, because Oz inhales slowly, shakily, and molds himself bonelessly closer.

"Oz," he says again, and then doesn't say anything for a while. All the words that Giles can find--and he's rummaging for them, ever more desperate--are useless and banal. Was it always that bad? How did you bear it? You must have been unhappy. Lonely. I'm sorry.

Giles rubs wide, soft circles over Oz's back and watches the window cloud. Gradually little droplets form and snake down the glass. Their breath, the moisture of their bodies.

There are, he decides, no good words to say.

"Tell me. Everything, anything. I'll listen." Love you, Giles adds, barely a whisper in Oz's ear, and cradles the back of Oz's head, bone and memory under his hand.

Sun, Sep. 12th, 2004 03:27 am (UTC)

Giles is big, and kind, and Oz can smell salt on the air, like they're four miles closer to the ocean than they actually are. But it's not the air around them, it's the air going back and forth from their mouths, hovering around them, and Oz tries to concentrate on the feel of Giles' hand through his sweater, the wick-wick of palm on wool, the fact that he's *not* back in time.

"Don't know what to say. Like, she's a nice lady. I *like* her a lot, but I used to think, sometimes, like, maybe I liked her more than she liked me?" Oz closes his eyes, because they burn and itch, and wishes they were in London. It's colder there, and you can walk the streets without thinking about vampires, and the storefronts stay lit all night. He remembers, belatedly, that Giles claims he can't read Oz's mind, and says, "Wish we were home. Like, not about Buffy or anything. Like that part. Just miss the cold."

Cold is Tibet, the van on the road through Colorado, London and Giles' suede jacket. Cold is not here; here, people put on sweaters when the calendar says to, not because they need to.

Sun, Sep. 12th, 2004 04:05 am (UTC)

Almost the only thing Giles has liked about being back in Sunnydale is the weather, the warmth and sunshine he hadn't realized he'd come to enjoy. But he knows what Oz means. Cold, even damp London cold, clarifies. There's certainty in cold, in walking fast, scarf wrapped tight, and coming home to warmth, brightness, tea and a hot bath and clinging together under a heaped-up duvet. Cold makes home more real. "We'll book the tickets," he says, working his fingers vertebra by vertebra down Oz's neck. "Tomorrow. We'll be home in a couple of weeks." He'll have to think of a way to tell Buffy they're leaving, but that, too, can wait until tomorrow.

A muscle in Giles' back clenches at the twisting, and he shifts a little to ease it. A car really isn't the best place for this talk, but now that Oz has started, Giles doesn't want to cut him off. "That can't have been easy. Your mother, I mean." Banalities again, but the words themselves aren't quite the point. "What about your father? Were you close to him, before the divorce?"

Before, Giles never asked before about Oz's family, never let himself wonder, didn't need the reminder that Oz was only seventeen. Family was a ground sown with charges of guilt, like land-mines. One ground of many. Giles didn't ask certain questions, didn't talk about the future, didn't try and stop Oz leaving him. The worst thing he did to Oz, he knows now, was give in to his guilt.

Mon, Sep. 13th, 2004 09:02 pm (UTC)

Oz rubs the back of Giles' neck as he thinks. Relief at the thought of going home - *home*, a whole other city, country, culture, but, still, *home* - mixes with old, familiar worry, sour as pickle juice.

"Don't have to book the tickets," he says, and he is thinking of Buffy's drawn face and the ghosts of bruises around her eyes. "Just talking about it's good."

He doesn't know how to talk about his family. He should be able to talk to Giles, of all people, but once he starts thinking about his dad, and Terry, his mind starts to waver and wander. And this should be easy. It's *Giles*; right now, though, that's part of the problem. Oz likes to think that he started becoming himself, who he really wanted to be, when he stepped over the threshold to Giles' apartment that first night. Thresholds keep out vampires, he's always figured, so there might other magic associated with them. That night, and ever since, even when he was alone and didn't think he'd see a familiar face again, he was himself. He was Oz, not Terry's kid or his grandma's Danny. He left them behind when he came inside and Giles kissed him.

"Let's get back to the motel, and -" Oz turns the key and pulls away from the curb, sucking his lower lip between his teeth, glancing in the rearview mirror as Giles' old building starts to shrink. Once the motor's hum is back inside his bones, he starts talking again. "My dad wasn't -. My dad was okay, before he left. Busy a lot, working split shifts and stuff. Kind of - okay, definitely, a womanizer. He's in Maryland now, I think. Building boats or something. He's got some more kids, another wife."

Sooner than he expected, they're at the motel and Oz cuts the engine, his hands still on the wheel, and looks over at Giles. Giles' face, long and handsome, soft in the dim safety lights of the parking garage, rims of his glasses bright around dark, gentle eyes.

"I don't know what I would've done, you know. If I hadn't met you. Which is, yeah, drama-queeny and stupid. But it's true."

Mon, Sep. 13th, 2004 10:52 pm (UTC)

Everyone has pet words and favored phrasings; you can use them to tell if Shakespeare or Fletcher wrote some bit of The Two Noble Kinsmen or whether an uncertain text might possibly be by Chaucer. Stupid would turn up often in an analysis of Oz's language; too often, and always about himself.

Giles grips one of Oz's hands, tightly enough to feel the flaring strength of the bone, and says, "Not stupid. Never stupid." Oz accepts it, silently, and turns his hand in Giles' until they're palm to palm, but something in his body language looks doubtful.

On the way to the elevator they don't say anything. Parking garages always make Giles tense; vampires as well as muggers like the emptiness and the concealing shadows. Once the heavy doors thump closed, though, he says, "I'm glad that it helped you, being with me. That it made you happier. Because . . . you know, we both know, that it could easily have done the opposite." A lonely boy, a man more than old enough to be his father—if Giles were reading about it, he knows what kind of ending he'd expect.

Mon, Sep. 13th, 2004 11:56 pm (UTC)

The opposite, Oz knows, is the kind of thing his grandma worried about, gay porn in the Valley and Jeffrey Dahmer and white slavery. Or something just as bad, only more banal, exploitation and misery on a personal level. And maybe Giles is right, maybe it's not stupid, exactly, to believe the stuff he believes about meeting Giles; maybe the only stupidity is how he can't express it very well.

They're at the room now, and as soon as the door clicks closed behind them, Oz takes a deep breath and turns until he's against Giles, arms around his waist. He feels more than clingy, cold-skinned and itchy-eyed; he feels like he wants to sink inside Giles and never have to leave.

"Being with you, it was like, it's like -" He looks up and kisses Giles' chin, feeling the burr of early stubble against his lips. "Changed *everything*. Keeps changing it for the better."

Tue, Sep. 14th, 2004 12:23 am (UTC)

Giles tilts his head until they're lip to lip, a still and breathing kiss, and relaxes into the familiar slow rearrangement of his insides. Coming home (even this approximation), being alone with Oz, loosens Giles' skin, untangles tensions that he never feels until this moment. "For me, too," he says, reaching under Oz's jumper and shirt and t-shirt and resting his fingers on the soft hollow of Oz's back. "You know what a mess I was in, before you came back. And then, earlier . . . I wasn't much of a person before I met you."

If there was gift, if there was rescue, it went both ways. Giles leans back against the door and scritches his nails lightly along the short hairs on Oz's neck, making him shiver. "I could almost wish I'd come to Sunnydale sooner. Had more of your life, shortened the time you were lonely. But –" It should be possible to say anything to Oz, now, but still Giles has to turn away, hang the Do Not Disturb sign outside the door and do up the locks. "That would've been disastrous, really." He turns back and kisses Oz on the forehead without quite looking at him.

Tue, Sep. 14th, 2004 12:46 am (UTC)

Oz can close his eyes and find Giles in the dark; he does that now, sliding his hand up Giles' neck and cupping his cheek, nudging his face downward until they're kissing again. Oz opens his eyes when he needs a breath but keeps his hand on Giles' face.

"Disastrous, yeah," he says quietly. "I still had my retainer until a couple months before you came." He knows what Giles meant, since he's thought about it often enough; what it would have been like to meet Giles when he was fourteen, or even six months earlier. If there was something about turning seventeen that meant something, that brought Giles here.

Oz wraps his hand in Giles' and pulls him further into the room, to the foot of the immaculately-made bed. He sits, half on Giles' lap, leg thrown over Giles' knees, and half on the velcro-rough comforter, and traces Giles' knuckles with his thumb. "I wasn't lonely, I don't think. Maybe I was. Just, mostly, kind of absent. That make sense?"

Tue, Sep. 14th, 2004 01:10 am (UTC)

The best thing about going home, Giles thinks as he cups Oz's kneecap in his palm and tries to find a more comfortable balance, will be having a sofa again, and the big armchair by the window--furniture that might have been designed for lap-sitting.

"It does make sense." He lets his hand travel up denim and wool to the skin of Oz's neck, still a little cool from being outside. Absent could describe his own life, too. But unlike Oz, Giles was the one who made other people lonely. He was absent for Julian and then for Paul, so absent that he never understood (until almost a decade later, after Oz left him and he couldn't stop thinking, reliving) why Paul had been unhappy. Absent for people who tried to befriend him, and even, sometimes, for Olivia. "But it's . . . it's sadder than if you had been lonely."

Giles leans back on one elbow and touches Oz's cheek. Oz is thinking, eyes downturned so that his lashes catch the light, and Giles worries that all this talking is only making him feel worse. "What photos did your mother give you?" he asks, fingers sliding down to the rough tip of Oz's chin. "If you're naked in them, I'm afraid they're not going in the sitting room."

Tue, Sep. 14th, 2004 01:24 am (UTC)

Oz unbuttons his sweater and shrugs it off, then plucks the pictures out of his pocket. He remembers, too late, that the carrot cake is still in the backseat of the car, but lies down next to Giles anyway, sorting through the snapshots.

"Some school ones, other stuff. Camp, and canoeing," he says, fanning them out on the bed between them. He reaches into the back pocket of his jeans and extracts another, then adds it to the pile. "I nabbed the naked one in the yard for you. And one from the Dingoes' first gig. Not naked in that. Maybe people would've stayed if I was naked. Probably not."

He's sorting through the pictures, looking at faces he knows as well as his own dreams - Devon, Devon's mom, Eric - and several whose name he's forgotten, but Oz feels far away. Not quite in his skin, not exactly in the room, but nowhere special. Just floating. He glances up, because whatever went on between them, he could usually find a ground in Giles' eyes.

"Don't know what lonely really means," he says, pulling himself closer. "Absent sounds right. Like - it'd be cool if I'd been waiting, but that's not really it." He looks at the picture in his hand - fourteen years old, skinny as someone from Kosovo, in the damn matching t-shirts Devon made them wear that one time. Oz spent three days silk-screening the snarling dingo face onto Hanes Beefy-T's before they met with the rock god's approval. "Just. Half there."

Tue, Sep. 14th, 2004 01:55 am (UTC)

Something about the pose in the band photo is familiar. Giles rummages through the stack until he finds the shot of Oz and Devon at three, or thereabouts, naked and laughing. And the stances are so alike that it must mean something, must express a habit of mind, a whole relationship and history. Devon in front, posing—basking—in an imaginary spotlight; Oz half a step behind, shyer, ceding the attention or, maybe, pushed out of it.

But Devon is there, in photo after photo, keeping Oz company, being his friend; in the later ones, so is the other boy, Eric. "What about your friends?" Giles asks, rolling in as close as he can without crushing the photos. "Devon, especially. Did that . . . you were very close, weren't you?"

Oz inhales, pulls back to look at him, and doesn't answer. "Oz." Giles kisses him, ruffles, as best he can, Oz's stiff hair. "I'm not jealous. Well, only a little." He smiles, pushes the pictures aside, and wriggles until he and Oz are touching down the length of their bodies, which is almost close enough. And he isn't jealous, exactly. The years of Oz's life when Devon was central are years Giles couldn't have had anyway.

Tue, Sep. 14th, 2004 02:26 am (UTC)

"Shouldn't be jealous," Oz whispers, working his knee between Giles' thighs and his hand under Giles' sweater and shirt, over the warm, taut skin of his side. This is entirely different from the first - and last - time they really talked about Devon, even if they're in almost the same position, arms around each other, legs intertwined. Then, Oz was even more stammery and inept with words, and Giles was...not jealous, but careful and brittle. Like there was much, much more he wanted to say but he wouldn't let himself.

"Devon was the best friend I had before you," he says. Closing his eyes for a second, not to shut Giles out but let Devon in. Long tan fingers, laughing face, lashes longer than any girl's. "Did, like, everything with him. Didn't have to talk, or be on, or anything. Just be." He looks at Giles again and feels himself smile tightly. "But, I dunno. He was always *there*, usually, but he was - flaky. Always on the move."

His skin's warming up with every exhale from Giles, every whisper of fingers and palm down his skin, and Oz tries smiling again. It's easier, now, and he waits, hoping, for Giles to smile back.

Tue, Sep. 14th, 2004 03:01 am (UTC)

Giles hooks his leg higher, tighter, over Oz's hip, trapping him close, holding him. Oz has an arm thrust up under his shirt and the other around his neck, and Giles is working his fingers under Oz's waistband, a warm narrow cave of cloth and skin and the pressure of Giles' own calf against Oz's back. Moving, pushing towards immobility, and one of these days they really will manage to tie themselves into a knot.

"More fool Devon," Giles says, feeling his breath pool in the crook of Oz's neck. When he inhales he can smell himself and Oz, as well as beef fat and onions. "I, on the other hand, am not going anywhere." Between every few words he kisses sweet, slick skin, and the broken rhythm seems to make the words clearer, surer. "Never. You won't be able to pry me loose."

Gradually he loops his way up to Oz's mouth for light, long kisses, and runs his tongue slowly over Oz's lips. "You're mine, you see," and the words are half a gasp, shaking, the way Oz's breathing has gone trembly and quick. "You even said so. And I'm yours. And I love you so much. Entirely." He puts his mouth to Oz's ear, closes his eyes, and lets words slip out as they please. "Fervently, devotedly, passionately, adoringly. Unendingly."

The censor, the mocker in Giles' head that would normally stop him, turn him red and silent with shame at just the thought of words like this, does nothing. Lets him speak, and he's too glad, too liberated, even to fear that Oz will find him ridiculous.

Tue, Sep. 14th, 2004 03:17 am (UTC)

Oz is shivering. Like his whole body is sighing, long and longer, air and tension and everything else slipping out of him, pulling him closer to Giles, shrinking him down to what's necessary and essential. Skin, full-body contact, and the hoarse stuttery whisper of Giles' voice, vibration and sound trembling through Oz, through skin and bone, shimmering ripples and long gray shadows.

Leaving him here, safe and small and entirely himself.

Oz swallows, then again, his throat dry and scratchy, all the air gone out of him. Pressing his lips against the base of Giles' throat, against skin, stubble, jugular, he whispers back. With his head bowed like this, wrapped up in Giles like this, it's a little like church and everything like home.

"Thank you," he whispers, or prays, or admits. All of that, and he pushes his hand higher up Giles' back, dragging him closer, tighter. He's out of words, or thinks he is, but the rhythm of Giles' pulse and breathing bring more out of him. "Love you more than anything. More than any - any -"

The shivers take him over, shake words back down into heartbeat and breath, and Oz holds on. Like he's scared of something, clinging, and he can't dare look behind him to see what that is.

"I love you," he says one more time, the tremors coming from deep inside him. "Scard and happy and *love* you so much."

Sat, Sep. 25th, 2004 12:31 am (UTC)

Giles tugs up an end of the heavy, slippery duvet and folds it over Oz, tries to wrap himself around Oz more completely, but of course it's not cold that's making Oz shake bone-deep like this. Oz says so little, usually, shows so little on his face, but his body speaks everything he feels.

"Don't be-" Don't be scared, Giles starts to say, but that's a reflex, and he stops for a minute, thinks, chin pressed tight to the crown of Oz's head. Oz shifts and nudges against him, shivers slowing a little under Giles' stroking hand, and he exhales shakily when Giles says, "I know. I think they go together, being happy—being this happy--and being scared. It's so much, so big." Oz's mouth is moving slowly on Giles' throat, gentle wet suckling, counterpoint to his trembling, and Giles sighs and tilts his head back a little. "Sometimes it feels like my skin's too small to hold everything."

Now is one of those times, and he's catching Oz's shivers, skin drum-tight and vibrating. It's always been like this, immoderate, frightening, and Giles remembers trying to explain love to Oz and finding no definition but pain. "My Oz, sweetheart, love you," he whispers, bruised with it, closed eyes tearful and stinging. Perhaps someday it'll be different, all calm sweetness, all ordinary happy days. Perhaps they'll get used to love, but Giles doesn't really believe it.

Sat, Sep. 25th, 2004 01:00 am (UTC)

"So big," Oz echoes. Love for Giles, happiness at finally being with him, they are huge as whales, heavy as the sea a mile down, crushing pressure and perfect dark. Giles' voice is scratchy, warbling nearly physically down the center of Oz's bones and across the back of his throat. Like he sounded the first few weeks after Oz got to London; even when Giles was laughing, his voice was scored with old tears.

Oz rolls onto his back, pulling Giles with him through the intricate knots of their limbs, and kisses the edge of his chin. Old tears, salty and too familiar, and love and happiness flash inside-out, whales going as flat and insubstantial as clouds, bright and weightless. That's the scariest thing, how quickly things can change, how all these *feelings* depend on the two of them.

"Giles -" He cranes up, lifting off Giles' glasses and kissing his damp eyelids, sliding his palms down Giles' cheeks. So big, so scary and contingent. He wants to wash Giles' face clean of tears, make everything all right, and at the same time he wants to stay here, looking up, letting Giles feel as much as he always does, but visibly. Wants to taste tears and feel Giles' chest heave and let it all soak into himself. "Don't want to fuck up. Love you, don't want to fuck up. Just. Just. Don't know how not to."

Giles' mouth opens, a dark line swallowing the shadows of the room, but Oz shakes his head. He doesn't want instruction, or advice, or heavy-handed guidance; he's not Buffy, he doesn't need that.

Whales, and clouds, water and air, and Oz wraps his arms around Giles' neck, wiggling until he's more firmly underneath Giles.

"Never did this before," he whispers, and wonders a moment later what kind of secret he's telling. "Feeling like this. Not even, not, you know. The first time."

Sat, Sep. 25th, 2004 11:16 pm (UTC)

Giles presses his face into Oz's shoulder, leaving faint damp tear-marks on the t-shirt, and breathes in until he feels his ribs push against Oz's. "Sorry." In the last six weeks he's cried more than in the previous twenty years; at first he was embarrassed, then not, and lately he's beginning to be embarrassed again. "I'm – it's just these big emotions, you see. They start to leak out round the edges." He smiles, and Oz smiles back and touches his face, softly, fingertips and then palm. His hand is shaking a little, and Giles steadies it with his own, turns his head to kiss Oz's wrist and the warm hollow of his palm.

Without his glasses, Giles' vision has gone soft, gauzy, but with stronger colors; Oz looks younger and his eyes are deeply blue-green, oceanic. All expression is blurred out of him, but Giles can feel it in the quickness of his breathing, the shivers that rattle him even under the weight and warmth of Giles' body. "It's all new, isn't it?" he says, whispering as Oz whispered, as people whisper in cathedrals or under the night sky, small in the face of the grand and terrible. "When I used to imagine you coming back, I thought it would all be like it was before. But we're not the same."

Strange, how not the same always sounds like a lament, even when it's not. Giles leans down closer, slides a hand under Oz's neck, and adds, "It's not that I love you more now. That sounds as though I didn't -. Not more. But differently. I . . . I understand you better now, I think. It's, it's . . . something like the difference between hearing a song and playing it." Kissing along the outside of Oz's ear, letting his breathing fall into time with Oz's, Giles wonders how much of the change is simply that he's paying more attention now. It's astonishing that they lasted as long as a year, preoccupied and distant as he often was.

Sat, Sep. 25th, 2004 11:47 pm (UTC)

When he came back to Sunnydale the first time, went to Giles' house and found Willow there, Oz thought then that everything could be the same. Same, but better, tamped-down wolf fears and a steadier Oz. He learned just how wrong, how ridiculous, it was to hope for the same. Nothing stays still, and everything shreds to hell under claws and tasers. He went to the mountains and didn't let himself think about what lay behind.

"Not the same at all," he says, still in that low voice, barely more than a whisper. Giles' face is as big as the moon above Oz's own, his kisses like whispers, trailing and looping, and Oz turns into the kiss, tastes Giles' lips and the dispersed salt of tears. One hand on the back of Giles' skull, fingers in soft hair, and he adds, "I - I, like. I'm pretty glad it's different. Glad you let me in."

Sun, Sep. 26th, 2004 12:13 am (UTC)

Sometimes, in the first couple of weeks after Oz came back, Giles fretted himself into sleeplessness thinking about how he might not have answered the doorbell, how he might have missed the second chance that he certainly didn't deserve. But now he knows that if he hadn't answered, Oz would've waited, would've kept trying, however long it took.

"I'm glad you came to find me," he says. "Glad that you hiked down the mountain and took slow, overcrowded buses and hitchhiked and flew fourteen hours and took more buses and a ferry and the underground and rang my doorbell." He kisses Oz's cheekbone, the hollow under it that's still a little too pronounced, and adds, "I wish you hadn't starved on the way, but I'm glad you came. Glad –" His voice drops back into an almost-whisper, suddenly hoarse and scratchy in his aching throat, and he shifts as though he can get even closer to Oz's warmth. "Glad you thought I was worth it."

Sun, Sep. 26th, 2004 12:26 am (UTC)

They've discovered so many new ways to lie this close, arms wound each other, chins tucked into the hollows of shoulders, cheeks rasping and lips brushing. But it's never quite enough; there's always one more restless squirm closer, one tighter grip of a hand in hair or shirtcollar. Oz opens his legs wider, until his thighs burn, and shifts downward, sliding his hands up to Giles' elbows.

"Worth it," he says, and bites off the always. He didn't let himself think about Sunnydale, about the same changing while he was away, but Giles was different. Giles he knew down to his skin and ache of muscle; he didn't think about Giles because Giles was already there. "Always were there. Just like being within reaching distance instead of halfway around the world." Giles sighs raggedly and Oz drags his lips up Giles' cheek and across one eyebrow. "It's okay. It's - it's big stuff. Too big for my teeny brain."

He tightens his hold on Giles, trusting body far more than brain.

Sun, Sep. 26th, 2004 01:34 am (UTC)

With a huge stretch that makes Oz oof and grunt under his shifting weight, Giles reaches to switch off the lamp. He wants everything to disappear—Sunnydale, the ugly motel room, the bed that isn't theirs—and this gray semidarkness is the best he can manage.

Oz feels closer now that touch has to take the place of vision, and for a few moments Giles lies silent, concentrating on the topographies of Oz's body mapped through his own skin and nerves. He can't quite believe what Oz does, that they were always, in some way, together. Memory and longing don't make connection, don't make gold to airy thinness beat, they just make loneliness. Donne knew almost everything about love, but that's one thing he got wrong.

Such big things, too much for either of them to understand, really.

"You know," he says lightly, kissing Oz on the forehead, "if you keep calling yourself stupid, we're going to have a row." It took Giles a long time to understand that Oz really meant it, that it wasn't a joke or a boy's embarrassed attempt at modesty.

There's . . . something, a catch in Oz's breath or a quiver of his muscles, and Giles runs his hands along Oz's sides to soothe it away. Within reaching distance is so much better than being apart. "Trust me. I can't abide stupid people. They bore me, and you have never bored me, not for a moment."

Giles rolls onto his side to stroke Oz's belly and chest, kisses a wet, wandering trail along his neck, and wonders if any amount of reassurance can ever undo all of Oz's lonely self-disdain.

Sun, Sep. 26th, 2004 02:16 am (UTC)

There's no point in arguing with Giles, even if he is, Oz knows, truly wrong. Giles knows logic *and* fencing, and Oz would never win. He doesn't even want to think about things like winning and losing where Giles is concerned.

"Do trust you," Oz says, and turns a little, worming his arm under Giles' head, closing his eyes. He's alone here under his lids, even with Giles pressed up against him, and he's lost. Looking up at whales and clouds again, not understanding a thing beyond the fact that Giles doesn't lie. Doesn't *ever* lie.

When Oz opens his eyes, Giles is kissing the base of his neck, looking up at him through dark lashes, and Oz can't help but smile. He feels Giles smile back, feels it in a stretch of lips and crinkling-up of eyes.

"You're not just saying that." It isn't a question, but Oz adds, "You're - Jesus, Giles."

The shivers have receded and he's warm and still now, but under Giles' hands and mouth, he's starting to shiver for entirely different reasons. "Love you. God."

Sun, Sep. 26th, 2004 03:01 am (UTC)

Giles can hear the strained afterecho of thought and doubt in Oz's voice, the effort of it, the leap of faith. It was easier for Oz to trust Giles with his body, with the wolf, easier to cross oceans and hemispheres for him, than to believe what Giles has said. Or even believe that Giles believes it.

Bodies, he knows, are easier for Oz; touch is solider for him, more reliable. Giles works them closer, leg over Oz's thighs and arm across his back. "Love you," he says, and tilts Oz's chin up, draws his thumb over Oz's lips until he opens them, sucks the thumb-tip into his mouth. "All of you. Your big clever brain and your ginger hair and your-" He swallows hard as Oz licks the pad of his thumb, then suddenly pulls the length of it into wet soft heat. "Your mouth, and your lovely skin, and your backbone . . . " Giles traces softly down it with his free hand, one slow fingertip after another, then over the jut of Oz's hip, matching movement to words. "And the little hollow here under the bone, and your navel, and your ribs, and your . . . nipple." A flick of the fingernail and Oz takes a sharp breath, and Giles kisses him, deep and breathless.

Sun, Sep. 26th, 2004 03:17 am (UTC)

Words twining around touch, and the pressure of Giles' mouth draws Oz upward, wraps his arm tighter around Giles' neck, and kisses him back with all the words he can't figure out how to say. He tugs at the neck of Giles' shirt, plucks and pulls until Giles rears up, breathing hard through an open mouth, as Oz yanks shirt and sweater over his head in one motion.

Balancing on one hand, then the other, Giles hangs over him, and Oz twists at the waist and pushes upward, up and farther up, even as he pulls Giles back down. "All of you," he repeats into the whorls of Giles' ear, making it words and a kiss simultaneously. "You. Your brain and heart and *skin* and -" They're rolling their hips, and Oz isn't sure who started it.

He pulls back, a little, smoothing down Giles' hair. "Trust you. Believe you. Like nothing, no one, else. *Want* you, too. All of that."

Giles' eyes are dark, hooded, intense, and Oz studies him for several long moments before the pressure in his chest, the one that tells you to rise to the pool surface, hauls him forward, returns him to the kiss.

Mon, Sep. 27th, 2004 11:43 pm (UTC)

Oz is pitched fiercely upward, kissing him as intently, mindfully, as he does everything—reading, observing, even washing the crockery. Zen, one could say, but Oz was like this long before Tibet; it's some quality of his own, this focus that's also flow and surrender. Giles pulls him up tighter, closer, and sinks down into the kiss, the slow thrust of tongues and sudden light nips, both their bodies pushing for more contact. Sinks down into Oz, because Oz kisses like himself, unmistakable and perfect, and touching him is always deeper than skin.

When he breaks away, breathing hard, Giles can feel Oz's body imprinted on his own, down to the whorls of the seashell around his neck. "Want," he says, laughs, because he's pulling Oz's t-shirt up around his neck, grasping hard for skin, licking Oz's chest and rubbing half-stiff against his thigh, and want hardly needs a word right now. "God, yes." He raises his head and looks into the pale blur of Oz's face, the watchful shadows of his eyes. "So beautiful," he says, slowly, because this is another thing he can't bear to let Oz doubt. "Beautiful and fucking sexy." Dark as it is, he knows when Oz smiles, feels it, feels himself smiling back. "Even when we're not fucking. But especially-" – he drags the flat of his tongue suddenly down Oz's chest, flicks around the shallow dip of his navel – "when we are."

Shushing away Oz's protesting noise, Giles slips further down the bed and takes off Oz's boots and socks. His feet are warm, a little sweaty, but Giles kisses them anyway, toes and arch and bony ankles, gripping tightly when Oz tries to pull away. He pushes the loose legs of Oz's jeans above his knees and works his way up, finally wriggling his tongue into the sensitive crevice behind Oz's bent knee. "Beautiful," he says again, and buries his face in the inside of Oz's thigh, tasting denim and the faint, alluring closeness of Oz's skin.

Tue, Sep. 28th, 2004 12:21 am (UTC)

Dizziness inside, twirling slowly where his bones used to be, just under skin half a size too small, and Oz draws breath like he's still getting used to the mechanism of it. He could flounder and sink in Giles' words, start worrying and wondering how Giles believes what he does about Oz, how and why, but then Giles will slide the flat of his palm over Oz's stomach, like he's doing now, and there's no worry, just heat and safety, and Oz spins up again, hooking his hands under Giles' arms and tugging him up.

In the shadows, Giles looks haunted for a moment, breathing heavily, and Oz slides downward, kissing a chain around his neck, sucking hard on his Adam's apple, rocking and twisting his hips until they're rubbing against each other on every move.

"Glorious, man," Oz breathes, reaching between them and fumbling at Giles' fly. Giles takes compliments about as well as Oz does, but he's got the upper hand in giving them, in the size of his vocabulary and the breadth of his confidence. Oz breathes in the sweaty air off Giles' chest and looks back up. "Like, like - handsome and the whole world and *you*."

The button pops and he works the fly down and grins at Giles. "But your pants are kind of in the way."

Tue, Sep. 28th, 2004 01:08 am (UTC)

Such clever fingers, agile, insinuating into Giles' flies, skimming over the cloth of his pants, brushing his cock and then suddenly tightening, and Giles' "Are they?" comes out breathy and faint. Oz laughs soundlessly, a heave of shoulders and chest, and delves down for Giles' balls, fondling through cotton. All of him small and nimble, moving in Giles' arms, under his frantic tongue and his hands that can't quite catch and hold.

Giles tips himself forward and straddles Oz flat on the bed, untangles their arms long enough to pull Oz's t-shirt the rest of the way off, and kisses him. A little rougher than before but still slow, and Giles' hands travel Oz's trapped body, tugging his hair and circling his wrists, sliding down the insides of his raised arms, finding their way to the waistband of Oz's jeans and then under, nail-flats and knuckles teasing on thin fabric.

"You know," he says, starting to crawl down Oz's body, licking and gently biting, "in the way . . . isn't . . . necessarily . . . bad." Oz's cock is a high ridge in the denim, and Giles lowers his face to it as Oz bucks up, pleading. Open mouth to the cloth, drawing a wet outline of the shaft, and Giles murmurs in echo as Oz groans.

Tue, Sep. 28th, 2004 01:29 am (UTC)

It's nothing as concrete and literal as an order - stay still, do what I say - nor any particular gesture that Giles gives that holds Oz here, hovering inside his own skin, breath raking rustily through his chest, hips' rocking freezing painfully. It's Giles, and the need and want flowing over his face, through his hands and out his mouth. Scrape of lips rasping on denim and the fierce glint in his eye, and it's nothing like an order.

It's more like asking for *permission*. Let me, please, let me feel this and help you feel this. Just like the first night, when he smothered Oz with his mouth and hands and taught him, almost secondarily, what it can feel like to accept pleasure, that it's okay, welcome, desired. It's how Giles changed Oz from the very first.

So Oz listens to himself moan and brings his knees up and raises his head and watches Giles nibble a track down the side of his fly, and the sensation is sharp but muffled, a carnival staining the sky with lights and noise, but it's around the corner and Oz can't stop it when his hips rise again and his hand pushes through Giles' hair.

"Giles, please, *god* -" Long, drawn-out suck on the head of his cock, too much and not nearly enough and Oz's head falls back and the ceiling swings into view. "Giles, amazing -"

Tue, Sep. 28th, 2004 02:08 am (UTC)

Giles' tongue is raw, bitter with the detergent-and-fluff taste of the fabric, and his mouth aches hollowly. There's a phantom taste, dark and briny, in the back of his throat; the taste of Oz's cock, memory and teasing need. Every push of Oz's hips brings it up sharper.

"Right," Giles said, the word a rough grunt, and he clears his throat as he tugs at the line of cold brass buttons. "Now they are in the way." Oz lifts and wriggles eagerly, almost more hindrance than help, but finally Giles manages to peel away Oz's jeans and pants. Now he's got Oz, naked boy, swollen cock dark in the dimness and the unbarriered smell of his skin, like yeast and caves and hot mineral-sedimented pools. He rests his forehead on Oz's belly, breathing, stroking the tops of his spread thighs while Oz trembles, waiting.

Giles slides his mouth past Oz's cock, just brushing it with his cheek, and rubs and sniffs in the coarse hair. He can almost taste Oz now, really, and then his lips touch the base of Oz's cock and Oz whines and twists urgent fingers into his hair. "Oz," he whispers, breath pooling between his skin and Oz's, and he licks, toys at the shaft with wet lips, going higher as Oz tenses. Vein throbbing under his tongue, Oz not breathing until Giles comes to the salt-wet tip and closes his mouth around it, sucks, and then Oz wheezes and half-shouts. Giles extends an arm up, fingers stroking in time with his mouth, playing over Oz's staccato-heaving chest and plucking at his nipples, and his own lungs burn and want really isn't a big enough word.

Tue, Sep. 28th, 2004 02:26 am (UTC)

Oz loses whatever small capacity he has for words at moments like this. He can breathe, painfully, and repeat Giles' name again and again, and swear, but it is otherwise silent now. Subvocal, at any rate, wet mouth-sounds and whistle of breath and his own little yelps when Giles' nail scores one nipple, then the other, like he's playing an ancient instrument.

He goes up on one elbow, his other hand locked in Giles' hair, and he's trying like hell not to move, but Giles' mouth is wide, and deep, and closer to any kind of real home than he's ever known. Slick and hot, and his tongue keeps shifting and wrapping and teasing, and he looks up, eyes sweeping over Oz's face, and they're crinkled up in a smile and Oz's hips jerk, heat spinning and fanning through him and increasing as Giles tightens his lips and twists his head and Oz thrusts again, helplessly, head lolling back, then forward, finding Giles' eyes.

Thrumming heat, beating through him, Giles sucking hard enough to take Oz's cock out by the root and grunting encouragingly at him, and Oz knows this isn't going to be drawn-out, languourous and playful. Big feelings, they're all so big and Giles has him, hand cupping his ass, pushing Oz deeper and tighter inside, and it's going to be all right, even as his skin freezes and his spine slides down to candlewax and he pulls Giles' hair.

"Giles, Giles, want *you*, please, Gi -"

Tue, Sep. 28th, 2004 03:09 am (UTC)

There's a hard shudder through Oz's body, almost a seizure-clench, and Giles drives his mouth down, takes Oz chokingly deep. Halfway through saying his name, Oz's voice cracks into a wail and his cock swells and pulses in Giles' mouth. Bittersweet flood, spurt after spurt that Giles swallows in two fast gulps, and before he can breathe Oz is pulling him up by the wrist and the hair, every limb wrapped tightly around him. Oz kisses him insistently, panting into his mouth, tongue slurping and tasting, as hungry as he was before. The sound of Giles' laugh is muted to something low and intimate, vibration of flesh on flesh.

Usually Oz is dreamy and vague after orgasm, but now it seems to have given him sharp new energy. His hands and mouth make quick, shifting patterns of heat on Giles' body, and he strips Giles naked in what seems like an instant. And then more hot hands wandering along Giles' thighs and hips, seeking, sometimes gliding over his cock without lingering, and Giles rocks against Oz's touch and buries his face in Oz's sticky hair. Tongue circling Giles' nipple, the barest brush of teeth that sends a wash of heat shivering across his skin, and he wants and wants and he's saying, "Wait, please wait, wait, Oz, wait."

He kisses the corner of Oz's mouth that's curled into a puzzled frown. "I want . . . so much, fuck." Wanting has buried language, crowded it out, so Giles nudges Oz until he rolls to his side, then pulls him into a tight spoon. "That's it. I, I want you with me." In this position he can almost touch all of Oz; he slides a hand down to Oz's cock, still wet from Giles' mouth, and closes his fingers around it. "Want you hard again. Want to fuck you." Giles rolls his hips, pushing his cock against the curve of Oz's arse, mouths the back of his neck, and wishes he had more hands.

Fri, Oct. 1st, 2004 03:11 am (UTC)

Giles' chest against Oz's back, scratchy and damp, his knees tucked behind Oz's calves, his arm under Oz's neck, folding down over his chest, and everywhere, his skin is warm and wide, enfolding Oz, adhering and clinging. Oz wiggles under Giles' hand, drawing a shaky breath -- he's still shivering, maybe he didn't ever really stop -- and his cock's heating and getting heavier.

He keeps thinking about that first night, about Giles' wide, insistent hands and the breaks in his voice, and how *small* Oz felt then, inexperienced and desperate to pretend he wasn't, that he deserved to be there. Like the shivers, maybe he hasn't stopped feeling that, but Giles won't let him think like that for very long. Giles' mouth is moving up Oz's neck, whispering and promising, and it's heat and pressure as well as sound. Want you with me, Oz keeps hearing, threading through all of Giles' words, and he nods, licks his lips, and nods again.

"Want to," he says and swallows, covering Giles' arm with his own and gripping Giles' elbow, "want to be with you. Just, just -- please. Inside of me?"

He has to squeeze shut his eyes, see red and yellow starbursts behind his lids, and he thinks about permission. About letting someone, Giles, love him and touch him and letting it happen, however scary it is. Because when Giles is inside him, Oz is stretched and reformed and full, and he's not sure if it's politically correct to feel that he's whole and happy then, but he is. Fear has a way of dragging the truth out of his mouth.

"Want to be with you," he says again. "Completely, all the time."

Sat, Oct. 2nd, 2004 01:27 am (UTC)

"Yes," Giles whispers, lips prickled by the short-clipped hairs at Oz's nape. "Yes," although he's not sure what completely means or how they can have it, whether they can graft to each other like trees, find a door to each other's thoughts, whether if he touches Oz enough he can somehow touch him entirely, know him and have him.

Curved together like this, echo of bodies, when he moves his hand over Oz's skin it's like touching himself. "Always," he says, pressing the center of Oz's chest where he can almost feel the heartbeat through the bone. One more happy and terrifying thing, huge thing, the biggest promise he can make. "I'll always stay with you. Sleep with you every night, kiss you awake in the mornings. Won't let you be lonely." Rough-voiced, he's half-crying again, and Giles shivers in the way cathedrals and Bach make him shiver, because it's almost too much truth to bear. It ought to feel like tempting fate, but it's not even a promise, really. Acknowledgement, admission. He's with Oz, belongs to him, and he won't leave of his own accord.

Oz makes a low sound and looks back at him, narrowed searching eyes and open mouth to be kissed, and Giles kisses him, presses their bodies closer, matching arch for hollow. Oz is molded to him, rippling liquid under his touch, and they fit together so well, everywhere, and Giles' cock glides along the cleft of Oz's arse and he groans. "Want to be inside you," and Oz is already pushing back against him, wanting, his cock starting to lengthen as Giles strokes it. Slicking himself with lube, Giles keeps talking—"Want to be inside you, feels so good, love it so much"—because Oz likes it, because it makes Oz sigh and tremble, just like Giles' slippery finger circling his hole, just like the head of Giles' cock against it and the slow push of Giles' hips. "That's it, that's it, open for me, Oz, god, you feel so good, oh fuck-"

Inside, unmoving for a moment, straining for breath, and being inside Oz has always been the best thing. "My Oz, my treasure, my miracle," Giles says, starting to move now as Oz sighs and tips his head back. He's always been a miracle, a wonder, from those early days when Giles coaxed with tongue and fingers and words, finding his way little by little inside Oz, inside his trust and his body. "Inside you. Love you, love this."

Sat, Oct. 2nd, 2004 02:27 am (UTC)

Giles presses his face, damp with sweat and probably also with tears, against Oz's shoulder and when he inhales, his chest expands against Oz's shoulder-blades and Oz tries to inhale, to swell, with him. There's no breath to be had, nothing but the heated pressure of Giles inside him and the skimming heat of his hands up and down Oz's chest and the slow thrumming of his words, vibration and sound, in Oz's ear.

Breathless, reshaped into tightening skin and beating heart, everything thin and tense and *full*, Oz still tries to answer, tries to hook words into the moment and hold himself here. He's curved into Giles, tense and shuddering, and his voice sounds a little broken. Fear crawls over him, cold pawprints like insects, tiny, everywhere, and he wishes he knew what was so scary.

"Just me, just here --" Not a miracle, he thinks he should say, but he can't, because he and Giles are moving together, shaking together. "All yours, not lonely."

A lot broken, his voice and his ribs hurt like they're grinding together in the hot pleasure stoking through him, and it all hurts and feels wonderful. He reaches back, arm passing under Giles', a reverse embrace curving around the small of Giles' back, and the reach strains and burns like the cock inside him and Oz holds on.

"Love you, and this, and this is the best, better than anything --"

His fingers slip against Giles' sweat and his own face is hot and wet and Oz twists, reaching, hoping, kissing Giles.


Sat, Oct. 2nd, 2004 03:23 am (UTC)

Kissing from this position is only approximate, the corners of their mouths rubbing together, teeth in the way, necks and tongues straining for more, deeper. Giles' whole body strains, trying to answer Oz's shudders and reaching, Oz's need and his own. Trying for completely.

"Yes," he says into Oz's mouth, although he'd like to deny it, to be as strong and sure as Oz deserves. Close as this, inside Oz, holding him and licking at his open lips and Oz wants him, loves him, trusts him, and he's scared. He has everything he wants, there's no pleasure better than this, no happiness half as solid, and he's scared. "Too happy," he says. "So good, so right, and I don't-"

The words fade down into rough breathing, into the staticky ache under his skin that's heat and fear and all his feelings, emotion fit to crackle and burn and stand his hair on end. Panting sobbing breaths, out of time with the slow thrusts of his hips, the tight slide of muscle around his cock, the deep grinds and circling movements and sideways stutters that make Oz inhale in loud gasps. Everything melts together, pleasure and panic, sweat and tears and the pounding of his heart, and the acid fear in his blood just makes him harder, makes him roll into another thrust while tears run down into the mouth that's sucking up Oz's salt sweat. He's got one hand working Oz's cock, the other stroking his face, and Oz is crying too. Giles pushes two wet fingers into Oz's mouth, lets him taste everything.

Sat, Oct. 2nd, 2004 03:52 am (UTC)

Inside, everything's a contradiction, grinding fear and blooming, overwhelming heat, but outside, Oz is melting, sticking to Giles and gluing himself closer. Breathing now, helplessly, sucking in air and Giles' fingers, tasting them, all slick and salt, crooking over Oz's tongue. They're twisting in his mouth, Giles' cock twisting and pressing deeper inside him, Giles' hand twisting and pulling Oz's own cock, and there are so many whirlwinds, blur of sweat and sting of tears.

So much turning and melting, and Giles' breath is almost a howl through Oz's ear and under his skin, like the hot wind preceding the line of a forest fire, burning before any flames arrive. Oz pushes back, and tightens, swivelling his hips, remembering somehow, in the midst of all this, all this confusion and blurry, formless fear, to react and think of Giles, of pleasure answered and returned and increased.

Giles hitches in a breath and stills for half a moment, and in the silence between breaths and the stillness, Oz forgets to feel scared and just, simply, overwhelmingly feels. Maybe he's melted all the way through fear, maybe he's become pure liquid and heat, maybe -- definitely -- the pressure and presence of Giles are just what he needed.

He sucks hard on the fingers, pushing them out with his tongue and drawing them back in, heedless of teeth, crying low in his throat as Giles grips him harder, more firmly, and Oz bears down and grips him back, pummelling his fist against Giles' back, pushing him harder. The rhythm of his own hips smoothes down from snapping, down into something sweeping and calming, and he pulls Giles *closer*. Giles slides his fingers free, patting Oz's cheek, cupping it and holding it, and Oz is panting, his eyes still leaking and nose running and he ought to be embarrassed, but he's not.

"Love you, more and more, Giles, so much. Right here, promise, always, I swear."

Mon, Oct. 4th, 2004 12:03 am (UTC)

Just weeks ago Giles asked Oz not to make promises, and they've made dozens, maybe hundreds, since then. Sometimes groaned out amid the flesh sounds of sex, like now, Giles' "Always, always with you" blending into wet slurps and kisses; sometimes whispered in sleepy darkness; sometimes even said in the blunt and searching light of day.

Somewhere along the way Giles started to believe them, to trust their intent if not their words. It's not mistrust that's making his breath come through gravel and ice, his eyes and face burn with salt even as his body goes unstrung, uncoordinated by pleasure. It's something else, larger and deeper, primal. Miracle, he thinks, fragments of words spinning bright in his head as he wraps his arm crushing-tight around Oz's chest and pulls him closer yet. Sacred and awe-ful, overwhelming. Like stars, like magic, like god.

He's blind, shaking, pushing deeper and fast into Oz's body, into goodness and faith and love, repeating Oz's name like incantation, like prayer. His own body too tight, too small, caged in bone and shrouded in skin, and he's sobbing, pushing to free himself, and then a bursting heat and joy that racks him, shuddering, coming and opening and Oz is there, in his arms and around him and there, always.

Mon, Oct. 4th, 2004 12:27 am (UTC)

Giles is coming, and Oz twists, straining, trying to see it, as he *feels* it wracking through him, a heavy cascade uneven and overpowering, like books down stairs and pool balls off the edge of a table. He only catches sight of the edge of Giles' mouth, twisting and panting, and his eyes, shut, then open, whites blinding in the dark, and Giles' hand slips off Oz's cock, then slaps back in place, and he's gasping in Oz's ear, pulling him back and down, mouth closing on Oz's shoulder even as the last of orgasm shakes through him.

Oz can still hear his name, in the wheezes and whistles of Giles' breaths, and each syllable plucks on another nerve, lighting him up from the inside, and he's half-sunk onto Giles, Giles still deep inside him, and Giles speeds his hand as he kisses up to Oz's ear and the light brightens and glows, takes him over, and the last thing he hears before he slides into dumbness and orgasm is his name, Giles' voice, whispered.

Slip-sliding, melting, incandescent, and as he bucks, shooting, into Giles' hand, his name pulls him back, nerves and sound, hand-over-hand until he's shivering in Giles' arms and cold with sweat and naming Giles in turn.

"Giles," he croaks, breathes, and repeats. Drops his head and kisses the arm wrapped around his chest, then leaves his mouth there. "Oh, *god*, Giles. Always with you."

Mon, Oct. 4th, 2004 01:22 am (UTC)

Giles' bones have turned to wet clay, his muscles to limp, half-deflated balloons, and he's sure he can't move far enough to kiss Oz the way he'd like to. "Me too," he says, and hears his own voice like it belongs to someone else, someone drifting off into glowing opium dreams. "Promise." Slowly, at the pace of trance or narcosis, his hand moves up Oz's belly, over his own arm, touches Oz's face, slides sticky fingers over Oz's lips in a translated kiss.

Although Giles' body moves, shaken by his surf-loud pulse and the vast, raw lungfuls of air he's hauling in, humming with the after-rumbles of orgasm, everything feels still. He used to think it was in Oz, that stillness, that golden calm that's like afternoon sunlight and the smell of clover and high, motionless clouds. He used to think Oz possessed it, felt it all the time, and that once in a while he was lucky enough to share. But Oz is only Oz, young and nervous and often sad, and right now Oz is panting in his arms, shivering a little and trying to push closer, anything but still.

Oz is a wonder and a miracle, but he's not a font of serenity. Not a saint or a bodhisattva, not a god. Whatever this peace is, this fragile and contingent heaven, they make it between them. And that's better; Oz deserves better than idolization.

Around the edges of warm stillness he's been drifting in, the world begins to come back. Giles' nose is blocked, tears are drying into a prickling mask on his face, and he's cold. Gently, he frees one arm from Oz's grasp and pats for the duvet. Most of it is rucked up under their bodies, but he can just tug the edges around for some warmth. Oz murmurs a little, twists his shoulders in a catlike stretch, and then tucks himself back against Giles' body. "I love you." Giles kisses the spot between Oz's shoulderblades, slowly follows the vertebrae up to his neck. "Not scared now. Just happy."

Mon, Oct. 4th, 2004 01:48 am (UTC)

"Ought to be a word for...for this," Oz says, tongue thick and lips somehow burning and frozen-raw simultaneously. Giles is pressing his forehead against the back of Oz's skull and Oz pitches his voice lower. "For when you're all molassesy and slow but your muscles are, like, stuttering."

Giles gives a hard, teeth-clenching shudder and Oz reaches down, lifting his legs, to try and free more of the comforter. He gets a corner and pushes it back over Giles' hip, fingers grazing sweat-cold skin and Giles tries to push it up Oz's chest.

"Still, you --" Oz says as he wriggles back and replaces the comforter, scratchy and annoying as it is, over Giles. Giles chuckles slightly, a slow rumble that's almost indistinguishable from a shiver, but Oz can feel Giles' lips stretching and curving against his neck. From overwhelming, whale-huge emotions to *this*, all loagy and comfortable, and it's not like he's feeling *anything* less powerful. Just slower and surer, currents rather than riptides. "Weird, huh? How the big stuff isn't always scary."

Mon, Oct. 4th, 2004 02:47 am (UTC)

"I'd say yes," Giles says, catching the corner of the duvet before it can slither back down to the bed, "but it's awfully nice to have a break from the scariness." The big thing, they call it, the real thing, the scary thing—at some point love stopped being a strong enough word. All words stopped being strong enough. Or perhaps they need that vagueness for this mutable emotion, able to shimmer through the spectrum from terror to delight to peaceful bliss and yet not change its nature.

In all the fuss and maneuvering with the duvet, Giles' soft cock has slipped partway out of Oz's body; he leans close and lies still, trying to keep the contact as long as he can. "Nice that sex makes the fear go away." With a fingertip, he draws a descending spiral around Oz's nipple. "I think we'll need to have lots . . . and lots . . . and lots . . . of sex." Oz writhes, half laughter and half ticklish shiver, and Giles can't help sighing as his cock slides free. There should be a way to come and not have it be over.

He leans up on an elbow and kisses Oz, one of the slow, aimless after-sex kisses that they both like. "You make me so enormously happy," he says, and sucks an earlobe, cold with all the tiny metal hoops, into his mouth. Happy and scared and amazed, and as he licks and nips and Oz's hand clenches hard, possessively, on his hip, he thinks that maybe there's another reason they don't name this feeling. A sane, propitiatory terror, like Jews substituting adonai for yahweh, giving no voice to the power, putting it in no bounds.

Sucking Oz's earlobe until it's warm and swollen in his mouth, moving down his neck, Giles forgets to hold onto the duvet. He laughs when it slides away, dropping him out of philosophy and back to chilled skin and the rough-greasy feel of polyester, and when Oz asks what he's laughing at he just shakes his head. "Should we have a shower, or should we just get under the covers and hope that we won't be permanently glued together by morning?"

Mon, Oct. 4th, 2004 03:31 am (UTC)

The kisses tug Oz back towards full awareness, so while he's still slow and shivery inside, Giles' mouth is dragging him up toward warmth, toward where it's full and light. He takes a breath and feels hollow inside, now that Giles has pulled out, achey and stretched. Maybe, technically, it hurts, but it's still amazing, feeling an absence where there's usually nothing. And that, Oz thinks, should be something to think about. Later.

"Shower," he says, twisting all the way around until his chest is flush against Giles', rubbing his head into the curve of Giles' neck. "'cause I'm sticky and cold and snotty. And it'll warm up the room." Sitting up, Oz rubs his nose and smells hamburger fat and onion-ring grease on himself and grimaces. "And diner food is *stinky*."

Giles matches his grimace, and Oz slides down the bed, hampered by the twisted-up comforter and limbs that won't obey him, kissing a slow and windy trail over Giles' hip and down his thigh. At the foot of the bed, he kneels, then stands, extending his hand and pulling Giles up to his feet.

They both stumble, and Oz laughs again, wrapping his arm around Giles' waist, heading for the bathroom. It's only the oddest times, like now, that he remembers the height difference, and that's another thing, like feeling an absence, that he needs to think through. How do emotions change someone's size?

Inside, under the steam, Oz's hands slipping down Giles' back and over his ass, it's too hot to think about anything beyond soap and rinse. He braces one hand on the wall and goes up on tiptoe, kissing Giles hard and long until hot water's running out their mouths.

"Got a lot to think about," he says, breaking and reaching for the soap, working it over Giles' chest. "Parents, and family, and *you* and all this stuff. So how come I feel so good?" Giles looks down, concern shimmering through a grin, and he looks handsome and exhausted and full of light. Oz swallows and nods; he's all the way awake now, water stinging his skin and Giles playing with his hair. "Right, sex. Cool."

Sat, Oct. 16th, 2004 12:12 am (UTC)

"Cool, yes," Giles says, trying and failing to wind a short hank of Oz's hair around his finger. Cool seems as good a word as any, better than most, at least in Giles' foggily contented state. Sex is cool, love is cool, Oz is cool, and it's really very strange that this bit of slang, as old as Giles himself, hasn't fallen into disuse and contempt. Cool, apparently, is cool.

They shower together so much that they've got something of a routine, a choreography of soap and shampoo and rinsing that gets them clean with maximum touching and no elbows in faces or ribs. "Let me know, will you?" Giles says as he works the last shampoo out of Oz's hair. "What you think about, I mean." Oz knuckles water out of his eyes and nods seriously. "I like to know what's going on in there." Giles taps Oz's forehead, then kisses the spot, leaning a little heavily into him. In the last five hours he thinks he's run through every emotion he possesses, always intensely; plus there was a rich meal and sex, and all after a day spent helping Anya with the shop inventory. Giles feels exactly like the worn mop they clean the Magic Box floor with.

As usual, Oz seems to know without being told. They've taken a couple of hour-long showers in this motel, exploiting the endless hot water, but this time they're back in bed in less than ten minutes. After a little nosing and kissing, testing out the lingering mint of toothpaste and the cold, squeaky softness of wet hair, they subside into stillness and quiet. "Thank you," Giles says, half-whispering. "For taking me with you. For . . . for telling me so much." There's more to say, but he can't hold back an enormous yawn. "Sleepy. Or-" he smiles at Oz, who's looking thoughtful – "Am I wrong, and it's really another kind of yawn altogether?"

Sat, Oct. 16th, 2004 12:48 am (UTC)

"Definitely sleepy," Oz says, rubbing Giles' shoulder through the blanket and tucking it more snugly around his neck. "Though only you really know for sure."

Giles blinks, his lips rubbing together, and then his eyelids stay shut. Pulling closer and sliding down a little, working his hand under the deadweight of Giles' arm, Oz kisses the shallow dimple at the center of Giles' chin and stays there. "You're welcome," he adds, butting his forehead gently against Giles' mouth so he knows he doesn't have to answer. It feels weird, being thanked for anything, but especially for bringing Giles along, for needing him so much.

Sighing heavily, sleepily, Giles pushes Oz onto his back, steamrolling him flat, splaying arm and leg over him. Oz buries his face in the soapy heat of Giles' neck and closes his eyes. His head aches, right in the front, and his eyes are still burning, as if soap dripped in and he somehow didn't notice. But Giles murmurs something, not exactly in English, and closes his fingers around the tattoo on Oz's bicep, and they ought to be in London. These are feelings for London, for eight thousand miles between him and Terry, him and Sunnydale, and the hellmouth and all these stupid childhood memories. His dad, and the way Devon looked the morning after they had real sex for the first time, probably the only time Devon ever looked thoughtful *and* regretful, and the creak of the last swing at Wilkins Park, and the smell of Eric's father's herb garden, all rosemary and thyme growing to state-fair-level proportions.

Memories pulling long and thin, transparent, looping electrically through his aching, thunderous head, but Giles' weight is real, and even when he talks in his sleep, he's got the accent.

Oz kisses Giles' neck, breathes in warm skin and sweet sighs, and hopes he'll sleep soon. Even if he doesn't, he's got an armful of Giles, and there are much worse ways to spend the night.