~ Co-written with Wolfling [website]

Authors' Notes: This story was originally part of an RPG which - don't ask. You will never see. But this story was a sort of interlude, and I've edited out the RPG plot to make it a stand-alone. Hopefully it works. ;-)

This story diverges from canon after Wesley tried to kidnap Connor. It takes place approximately one year following those events, but without any of that nasty canon stuff getting in the way.


Part Two

When they finally left for London they had just enough time to get there and stop for a late meal while waiting the last hour for the library to close. Supper had been a very relaxed one at a pub not too far away from the Council's Library; relaxed until the time grew near for them to go. Wesley had managed not to think about the chance of running into someone there, for most of the day.

Now, though, as they were approaching the buidling, he couldn't help think of anything but.

"Are you going to be all right?" Rupert asked, glancing sideways at him as they walked.

"I can't help thinking I should have brought my crossbow," Wesley admitted.

Rupert smiled at him, reassuringly. "Don't worry. I'll protect you if it becomes necessary."

Wesley glanced at Rupert's hands. "You haven't got a crossbow, either," he pointed out. But he attempted to at least look as though he weren't worried.

"I won't need one."

The look on his lover's face made Wesley shiver -- and wish they'd stayed at Rupert's flat. Or possibly it was the determined edge in his voice. Or -- Wesley took a mental hold of himself, and gave himself a firm shake. Later. They had to concentrate on finding the journal, so he could rescue Connor.

Wesley turned to regard the large, silent building in front of them. There had been a time when this place had been his favorite refuge - a place where you could find a book on anything, it seemed, and spend hours lost in its writings. Since being fired, he'd missed the resources of the Watcher's Council, but it wasn't until now that he realised how much he'd missed this *place*.

"Ready?" Rupert asked.

He started to nod, then smiled and gestured towards the library. "After you."

Giles returned the smile then led the way inside. Wesley followed, the dark wood and quiet of the place enfolding him like a familiar old blanket. Even the scent was familiar, dredging up memories with a vividness he'd thought long lost. He paused, just inside the entryway and just soaked it in. The library was dark, lit only by security lighting, but he knew the aisleways well enough he felt sure he could find his way without any light at all.

Giles was watching him, still smiling. "It never changes, does it?"

"I imagine not; I hadn't..." He drew his attention away from the shadows and smiled at his companion. "I hadn't thought what it would be like. But it's coming home."

He wondered if the statement would be deemed absurd. Of all the places in England he should think of with any feelings of nostaligic longing, it should be a childhood home or playground. Not a dusty, ancient library maintained by an organization he deeply disagreed with. 'Hated', would be more accurate.

But Rupert was nodding in agreement. "I hadn't realized how much I had missed it until the first time I visited after I came back to England."

"I feel an overwhelming urge to go up to the third floor study rooms and write on the walls."

"We can do that on the way out."

"Did you bring a pen?" Wesley asked, as he walked further into the library proper. The journal they were looking for was most likely going to be in the basement.

Rupert patted his jacket pocket. "Always carry one."

"Good. As I recall, the head librarian had rather formidable spells placed on the pens here, to keep them from being stolen." He looked at Rupert. "Not that I ever tried."

"No, of course not." Rupert kept his face straight, but Wesley could see him struggling.

Wesley gave him a scowl. "I *never* stole pens from the library." He paused. "Trying to figure out how to counter the spells was merely an academic exercise."

"Did you ever succeed?"

Wesley eyes the information desk they were just walking past. "No, actually." It would be extraordinarily foolish to attempt something so absurd now, when they were supposed to be here unobserved.

But it was, bizarrely, tempting.

Rupert followed his gaze, his own expression speculative. "We'll have to compare notes sometime."

"Are you saying you managed it? Or did you predate Mrs. Wumple?"

"I'm not sure my *father* predates Mrs. Wumple. And, no, I never was able to get the counterspell *quite* right."

"It would be appropriate, somehow, for the head librarian to be immortal. I wouldn't be surprised if she were a vampire." Wesley felt safe enough saying so, since there was little chance the woman was around to overhear him. He hoped.

Rupert nodded in agreement. "I've never been entirely certain that death glare of hers was mere hyperbole."

"Perhaps we should check the journal *out* when we find it, rather than steal it?" Wesley frowned, not certain if he were joking or not.

"Perhaps." Rupert sounded equally serious.

"Let's go find it, first. If it's in a restricted section..." He winked. "You can check it out."

"It's been a while since I've lived up to my reputation as troublemaker."

"Perhaps you could get put on the Council's Library Acquisition Committee. You've said how much you enjoy serving on Council committees." He hurried ahead, out of his lover's reach, not certain if he'd get swatted, pinched, or something worse.

"You really do have an evil streak, don't you?" Giles asked as he followed.

"Rupert!" Welsey gave him a shocked look. Then he said, "If I had an evil streak I'd submit a request in your name, to be appointed to the committee." He winked.

"If you did, I may just have to resign altogether and run away." He paused. "Back to California, perhaps."

"You're... threatening?" Wesley asked, teasingly. His heart beat furiously, though, at the thought.

Rupert glanced at him. "I could be convinced," he answered carefully.

Wesley faltered a step then stopped and faced him.

"If I've made you uncomfortable--" he began, apologising.

"No! Far from it..." Wesley realised he'd stretched his hand out, and stopped short of touching Rupert.

His lover reached out, closing his fingers around Wesley's with a smile. "Good."

He smiled, and felt foolish -- his smile was quickly becoming a grin. He tried not to babble about whether Rupert really meant he wanted to come back. "That would be..." He had no idea how to describe it.

"Not a fate worse than death, I'm hoping."

Surprised, it took Wesley a moment to realise Rupert *was* just teasing. "Perhaps only a fate worse than taxes," he offered, shyly.

Rupert smiled. "Perhaps." Then he looked thoughtful. "If I was to move back, do you think I could find somewhere to stay?"

Wesley just stepped forward and put his hands on Rupert's face, and kissed him. Hard.

"Either that's a yes, or you're trying to distract me from admitting you'd turn me down."

"Yes, please." It was impossible to believe he was saying it. That he was thinking it. There was too much he had to do, too many things he'd screwed up and had to do anything to fix -- he could not possibly be standing here, thinking about inviting Rupert to live with him.

Yet he was.

This time Rupert initiated the kiss. Wesley knew that if Mrs. Wumple were in the library, she'd be down on them now like a stack of books. She'd always had a sixth sense about anyone enjoying themselves in her library, according to the stories he'd heard, as a schoolboy. He'd never done that sort of thing -- here, at any rate.

Finally, Rupert pulled back. "We should..." he began, gesturing down the corridor.

"Yes. Yes, we should. I imagine the spells against doing *that* in the library, are much harsher than for steaing pens." Wesley felt a bit breathless. He stepped back and tried to compose himself.

Rupert looked entirely too wonderful to compose very well, though. "Actually..." Rupert began, colouring.

Raising an eyebrow, Wesley folded his arms and took another step back. He faked an offended expression.

"You already knew I had a colourful past."

"In the *library*?" He didn't quite sound like Mrs. Wumple. Not yet. He cleared his throat. "You did *what* in my library?"

Rupert stared. "You know, that really is quite uncanny."

"Thank you." Wesley grinned. He didn't bother explaining how he knew the tone so well, of course. He might not have ever snogged anyone here, but he hadn't been entirely well behaved. "I think we should go find the journal, before we *do* do something we'll... or I'll, regret."

"Yes, excellent idea," Giles agreed immediately. He didn't move.

Wesley raised an eyebrow. "You're still standing there."

"So are you."

"I'm supposed to be-- following you." Wesley barely managed to avoid saying 'hiding behind'. He didn't want to remind Rupert of someone he'd failed to protect. Not now, that Rupert was finally smiling again.

Rupert raised an eyebrow. "Is that the way this is supposed to work?"

He glanced downwards. "When you're wearing jeans, yes, it is." Admitedly it was dark -- but it was not too dark he couldn't see Rupert's arse once he turned around. A blush coloured Rupert's face but he didn't lose the smile and he obligingly moved to walk ahead of Wesley. Wesley waited until Rupert was sufficiently ahead that he could see without any difficulty, then followed.

Rupert really *did* have a nice arse, no matter how much he thought he'd been teasing. Nice as the jeans were, however, he'd have to see if Rupert had any khakis.

They made their way deeper into the basement stacks, back where the light was even dimmer and the silence hung like a thick cloak. Wesley remembered being here before, so many times that he had to stop to realise there was anything unusual in it, now. He was tempted to peer around the corner of the bookshelves, to see if any of his classmates were studying.

"You're being quiet," Rupert commented, glancing back over his shoulder.

"Reflex," Wesley replied. "I was usually trying to avoid being seen, down here. Certain classmates preferred studying here whom I usually wished to avoid."

"Yes, this was the hangout when I was a student as well." Rupert gave him a wry look. "Actually, I *was* one of those students, for a while."

"You were one of the ones lying in wait to torment the poor geek who just wanted the book he needed?" As a Watcher in training, he hadn't actually been a *defenseless* geek. But compared to other watchers in training... it hadn't mattered much. He hadn't thought Rupert would have been one of the bullies.

"For a while. It's not something I'm proud of. It was back before I dropped out entirely for a while. I didn't want to be a Watcher and that made anyone who did an acceptable target."

"Mm." Wesley regarded him -- trying to fit this new information into his picture of Rupert Giles. Oddly enough, it seemed to make a sort of sense. "I suppose I should be glad I was here after you," he finally said. He wasn't sure what he thought about it, otherwise.

Rupert nodded. "I... You wouldn't have liked me back then."

"Oh, but I'm sure you would have *loved* me," Wesley said sarcastically.

"I would've," Rupert agreed dryly. "Like an owl loves a mouse. Perfect prey."

Wesley sniffed, with just a touch of pathos. "You'd have been very cruel, I just know it."

"I'd have been horrible."

Though Rupert was ahead of him and couldn't see, Wesley pouted. He knew Rupert would be able to hear it. "You'd have done things like pull my trousers down and toss me over that desk." It wasn't quite what had ever actually been done to him -- here. Boarding school, yes. But he no longer cared about boarding school, and cared very much about seeing if Rupert would growl at him in the basement of the Watcher's library.

Rupert considered as they continued walking. "Perhaps *bend* you over the desk."

"Oh, no, I'm quite sure you'd be quite forceful." Wesley glanced at it as he walked past it. Not comfortable, surely, but it looked sturdy.

"The forceful part would come after you were bent over." Rupert tossed a dangerous smile over his shoulder at Wesley. Not quite growling, though.

"Really?" Wesley mustered a sound of surprise. "I hope you're not the sort to--" He stopped, as he got an image of what he'd been about to say.

Surely his brain was joking. He was not turned on by that sort of thing. He'd never been. And he was not going to find out now if he was. Growling, yes. *That*...

He cleared his throat and kept walking.

"I was exactly that sort," Rupert told him.

Wesley tripped on something, and caught his balance before he fell. He realised he was supposed to be thinking about the journal. About Mrs. Wumple finding them. About anything except asking Rupert to stop and bend him over the desk and be exactly that sort.

Rupert glanced back at him again. "You all right?"

"I think so," he replied, more seriously than he'd expected.

Frowning slightly, Rupert stopped and turned to him. "You sure?"

He smiled, and stepped forward. Slipping his arms around his lover, Wesley placed himself in an embrace and said, "I'm all right." He was fairly certain he sounded believable, as if he were actually all right.

He felt a sigh rustle his hair as Rupert's arms closed about him. "Good."

Wesley sighed, and settled into the embrace. He knew they were wasting time they oughtn't be. But he wasn't prepared to let go right away. He was also not prepared to indulge in that voice in the back of his head, telling him the desk was sturdy enough and Rupert would probably not mind at all being asked.

"Have to admit this is nicer activity than tormenting you would be." Rupert paused. "At least the way I would've back then."

"Nicer than tormenting me the way you would now, though?" Wesley teased.

"That depends."

"On what?"

"On how you would rate being bent over a desk."

Wesley shivered.

Rupert smiled. "I'm growing to love that expression."

"That was an expression?" Wesley had thought it was his entire body, shivering.

"The one you're wearing right now. When your eyes get that slightly dazed look, like you're already imagining what we're talking about."

"I'm not imagining," Wesley denied, though anyone could tell by the sound of his voice he was imagining *something* other than looking for books in the basement of a library. "I'm thinking we should go find that journal."

"Yes, we should." Rupert didn't make any move to let him go however.

Wesley pointed in the vague direction of the stacks where old journals were kept. "I'm following you, remember?"

Rupert made to pull back, then smiled. "You have to let go first, luv."

"Mm?" Wesley looked down and realised he was still firmly wrapped in an embrace. Trying to push back embarrassment, he said glibly, "And why am I letting go, again?"

Rupert nodded in the direction of the old journals.

Wesley looked. "Oh. Quite. It's too bad we can't get someone to bring it over to us."

As he said it, he felt the cold touch at the back of his neck. He saw Rupert's eyes widen as he stared at something behind Wesley.

"If it's Mrs. Wumple, I'm running for the exit and you're on your own." He didn't think it was, of course, since last he knew Mrs. Wumple wasn't a ghost. On the other hand, there was no reason why she might not be, now.

Rupert shook his head. "Judging from the family resemblance... Wesley's Aunt Gweneth I presume?" Wesley had told him about the only relative he'd had, whom he'd truly enjoyed the company of. She'd died twenty years ago, but taken up residence in the Watcher's Council's library -- and continued to be Wesley's favorite relative.

Wesley felt another light touch on his shoulder, and knew if he didn't introduce Rupert there would come a much firmer tapping... followed by a most severe frowning. He turned slightly, without actually letting go, and smiled. "Aunt Gweneth. It's wonderful to see you again."

She smiled, graceful and proper. She was wearing a modern-style dress, though still quite modest and demure. She'd always looked terribly proper, dead or alive. She was giving Wesley an expectant look.

"Aunt Gweneth, this is Rupert Giles. My boyfriend." He glanced at Rupert as he said it. As though it weren't perfectly obvious what sort of relationship they had, from the embrace they were still in.

There was a brief flicker of... something over Rupert's face, somewhere between surprise, shock and pleasure. Then he was nodding his head to Gweneth politely. "A pleasure to make your acquaintance. Wesley speaks quite fondly of you."

Gweneth held out her hand, palm down, to Rupert. Rupert stepped forward and reached for her hand, bending over it chivalrously.

"So charming," she said. "You haven't changed a bit."

"I beg your pardon?" Rupert asked, surprised.

"I knew you as a boy," she said calmly. "So earnest, and such a kind face." She looked at Wesley. "He'll be good for you."

Rupert opened and closed his mouth, seemingly at a loss for words. "I..."

She gave him a direct look. "You will, won't you?"

The question seemed to shake Rupert out his shocked state. "Of course." The earnest way in which he said it made Wesley nervous. It was wonderful to hear, but disconcerting all the same.

"I'm pleased you came to see me," Gweneth said, ignoring Wesley's discomfort.

"We actually didn't realise you would be here. Wesley was under the impression you were haunting the library at the main headquarters."

"Oh." She looked surprised. Then she smiled. "Then you've come here to sneak about?"

"Not exactly. That just happened," Rupert said easily.

"We're looking for a book," Wesley said, quickly. "One of the old Watcher's Journals."

"It's supposed to be in that section," Rupert said, gesturing in the direction they had been heading. "We were... ahh... distracted."

"I can see." She smiled. "Shall I go look for it and leave the two of you here?" She glanced at them, still embracing.

"Uhhh..." Rupert looked at Wesley questioningly.

"I think we can..." Wesley let go of Rupert -- then took his hand. "Could you lead us to the proper stack, Aunt Gweneth?"

"Of course dear, if that's what you want."

"Well, if you left us here, when you came back you'd find us in a rather more compromising position," Wesley confessed.

Rupert coughed embarrassedly.

"It's all right," Gweneth said. "I've seen what young people do in the corners, and on these desks."

For some reason that made Rupert look even more embarrassed. "Yes, well, um..."

"Oh, I'm sure she never saw *you* doing anything," Wesley teased.

"Yes, right, shall we go see if we can find the journal?" Rupert asked with false brightness.

Wesley gave him a stern frown. "Rupert, what else did you *do* besides torment baby Watchers?"

Gweneth had drifted off, ahead of them, along the bookshelves. They followed her, several steps behind.

"Ask me again sometime. When I'm drunk."

"I'll do that." Wesley made a mental note to get Rupert drunk soon. Tonight? Perhaps tomorrow.

Gweneth glanced back. "Are you boys coming? Or shall I bring it here?"

"No, we're following," Rupert called out, then muttered under his breath, "Coming will have to wait."

Gweneth raised an eyebrow, and Wesley said, "Did I mention ghosts have extremely good hearing?"

"I knew that." Rupert smiled at him.

Wesley returned it with a stern look that said very clearly that his Aunt Gweneth was not the sort who needed to know that Wesley was having a sex life. Even if she already knew and approved.

Rupert merely lifted an eyebrow and gestured for Wesley to follow his aunt.

Wesley followed her, but gave Rupert another stern look. This one said he was perfectly willing to do something about it, if anyone tried to say anything else in front of his aunt.

Rupert's smile grew wider and a bit predatory.

Wesley suddenly realised they were having an entire conversation without any words at all. They hadn't known each other that long. Was he imagining things, or -- he wasn't sure he wanted to think about that. Wesley glanced ahead, to make sure they were not going to lose Aunt Gweneth in the stacks, when she took a turn. Then he gave Rupert another look, to test whether or not they were really communicating. This was a simple one. It said, 'Oh, really?'

Rupert moved closer, his eyes glinting with intent.

Wesley looked as self-assured as he could, turning his head to watched Aunt Gweneth float among the stacks. He knew Rupert would take it as taunting -- which was, after all, the point. He felt a light touch at the back of his neck. "Later," Rupert murmured, the one word a promise that cause Wesley to shiver.

Wesley raised an eyebrow. As though 'later' were anything to worry about? Was that *all* Rupert could do? Touch him and say later? He waited a beat for the expression to register, then called out, "Aunt Gweneth, how have you been? I'm sorry, I didn't even ask."

"I've been dead, dear," she replied. "Things don't usually change too much after that. The question should be how have you been. It's been a very long time since you were here."

"Really? I got the impression from Dennis that often things can get quite exciting, even dead. Perhaps it's merely living with Cordelia that provides the excitement."

"You didn't answer the question." Now Aunt Gweneth stopped and regarded him with a frown.

"I've been -- up and down, I suppose. As always." He glanced at Rupert. "More up lately than down," he said, feeling his face softening into a quite sappy expression.

"That I can see," his Aunt observed glancing between them.

A thought occurred, and Wesley turned back to his aunt. "Aunt Gweneth... I... there's little to no chance my father would ever want to speak to me, much less about this, much less even give his blessing..." He felt suddenly very self-conscious for asking, but she was the only member of his family he could think of who might be willing. She had already rather clearly indicated her approval. But he couldn't help wanting to ask to hear it stated, officially.

"Your father is a prat," Gweneth told him bluntly. "Always has been. I've told him so more than once. You are worth a hundred of him."

Wesley looked away, and very slowly rubbed at his throat.

Rupert wordlessly took his hand as Gweneth drifted closer. "I've always loved you, Wesley and I've always been proud of you."

"Thank you," he whispered. "I... it's nice to hear. I've always loved you too, Aunt Gweneth. I'm sorry I've not been to see you for so long."

She reached out and Wesley felt the phantom touch against his cheek. "You've had your life to lead. That's more important than spending time with the dead."

He felt a smile flicker, and wished he could just give in and agree with her. He didn't understand why it was so hard to simply say yes, you're right, but he felt guilty. Perhaps because he'd let himself forget about her, a bit, when it was clear she should have been an important part of his life.

He realised he was working himself into a state, and forced himself to look up at her. "Thank you."

Aunt Gwenth gave him an exasperated look. "And I see you haven't broken the habit of taking the blame for everything." She glanced at Rupert. "You'll have to work on that."

"Oh, yes, make him do it for a change." Wesley smiled, remembering all the times she had lectured him to stand up for himself.

"Well, you haven't listened to *me* all these years. Someone will have to do it."

"Rupert shall simply have to try harder," Wesley teased. "Use smaller words. Positive reinforcement..."

"Yes, he looks like he would be good at that." The look she shot Rupert made the man blush and look away. Gweneth winked at him, sharing a conspiratorial smile.

"So, the journal should be over here," Wesley said casually, looking towards the stacks, and not letting go of his lover's hand.

"Yes," Gweneth agreed, all business once again. "It should be on those shelves there," she said, pointing at one in particular.

Wesley looked at the shelf in question. Rather, he looked *up* at the shelf. "It's a good thing one of us can float."

Gweneth turned to shoot him a fond smile. "I remember when you were little and you'd scamper up the shelves like they were a ladder."

Wesley grinned. "And you'd wait until someone was coming before scolding me for it."

"I had to warn you somehow that the coast was no longer clear."

"I know." Wesley craned his neck, reading the spines with only a little difficulty. "I don't see it up there."

Rupert had moved down the aisle a bit and was also scanning the spines. "It should be here."

"It isn't." Wesley could barely believe it, as he half-asked, hoping for someone to say they were wrong, here it was. The pelasure of teasing both his aunt and his lvoer was vanishing rapidly. "Would it be checked out? Misshelved? Perhaps it's lying somewhere nearby." He began scanning the other shelves.

"If it were checked out, the records would show -- didn't you check before you came down here?" Aunt Gweneth asked.

"The datebase yes, but not the actual physical records." Rupert frowned. "Perhaps we should."

"Yes," Aunt Gweneth said in that dry tone Wesley knew so well. "Perhaps you should. I will look on the sorting shelves on the other floors; I can do that as quickly as it will take you to see if the records indicate if is here at all."

She floated upwards, through the ceiling to the first floor.

"Would you look at the records while I look around down here?" Wesley asked.

Rupert nodded, squeezing Wesley's arm as he brushed by. "We'll find it."

Wesley just nodded, and began searching the shelves more carefully. He barely glanced away as Rupert left, and concentrated first on the nearest shelves. Someone might have laid it down after pulling it off the shelf to browse.

Once that proved fruitless, he expanded his search. By the time Rupert returned, Wesley had examined the shelves three units to either side, as well as the study carrels at either end.

Rupert's expression was solemn. "Wesley..."

"It's not here?" He didn't quite feel anything, yet, at the news. He was almost growing used to getting his hopes up then having them throughly dashed.

There was a pause before Rupert said, "The records have it listed as lost."

He didn't want to ask. He jerked his head up as he caught sight of his aunt floating back down; she shook her head when she saw him watching. Turning back to Rupert, Wesley forced himself to ask, "How long has it been lost?" Perhaps -- if it were only a matter of weeks, there was still a reasonable chance it would be found?

"The records didn't seem able to pull it down, but at least several decades."

Wesley blinked. "Oh." He suddenly realised his legs were giving out, and he fell awkwardly to the floor.

"Wesley!" Rupert dropped to his knees beside him, reaching for him.

He grabbed onto Rupert's hands, drawing himself close -- or drawing Rupert close, he wasn't sure. The book was gone. The first book they'd found that had the answer, was gone.

That drew him up. The *first* book. He looked up at all the books surrounding him, and took a deep breath. One of them would have an answer. He could stay here; perhaps his aunt would assist him. It couldn't take too long, even working only at night so no one would know. Aunt Gweneth could search during the day, of course.

"No," Rupert told him firmly, seeming to read his mind. "We'll find the answer, Wesley, I promise. But going through every book in here randomly is not the way."

"There's no need to do it randomly," Wesley said curtly. "I *can* manage basic research. I--" He caught himself, and looked apologetically at Rupert. "I didn't mean..."

"I know."

"Perhaps we can start by looking for other books which referenced that journal," Wesley said. "Someone might have copied the information down elsewhere."

He realised his aunt had floated down in front of him, and was looking at him worriedly. "What is so urgent about this journal?" she asked.

He hated to say it -- to tell her what he'd done. But he had to. "I've allowed a child -- an infant -- to be taken into Quor-toth. That journal might have the answer I need to get him back."

"We're trying to rescue a child of a... friend," Rupert said. "Wesley was badly injured trying to protect him."

"Protect," Wesley repeated, bitterly. "I'm the one who kidnapped him in the first place." His hand drifted to his throat again, then he lifted his chin and showed her. "I got this from the woman who then took him from me."

Gweneth drifted closer, reaching out to touch the scar, the tingling of her energy seeming all the stronger on the sensitive skin. "Oh my dear," she murmured, eyes sad and concerned. "What have they done to you?"

"Nothing I didn't set myself up for," Wesley said, knowing he'd be called on it. But they hadn't been there. They didn't truly know what he'd done.

"No," Rupert chided, giving him a stern look.

He shook his head, not really wanting to argue about it again. He gripped Rupert's arm and made to pull himself to his feet. Rupert pulled him up and kept pulling, until Wesley was wrapped in his arms again.

"I..." Wesley shook his head. It was hard to think.

The journal wasn't here. It was gone. Rupert didn't say anything, just hugged him tighter.

"I think... please," Wesley asked, not sure what he was asking for but knowing he needed something. Someone, rather, to do the thinking for him and decide how he was ever going to fix this. How he would ever face Angel, again? Tell him he'd failed again?

"We'll find it," Rupert told him. "We'll track down exactly when it went missing and find a way to trace it."

"We have to," Wesley whispered. He hadn't realised just how much hopes he'd placed on the journal -- on finding something, when he'd come to England. He'd apparently convinced himself that everything was going to end, soon, and now it had barely even moved forward.

This wasn't even something he could tell Angel, to build *his* hopes up, and let him believe that Wesley was accomplishing something. All that he'd found was that the information might be somewhere in the world.

He realised he was clinging to Rupert, tightly.

"It's out there. We know that know. That's more than we had."

"It's missing," Wesley snapped. "It could be destroyed. Somewhere we'll never find it." Wesley gasped for breath. "Dear god, we're never going to get Connor back..."

"Stop it," Rupert ordered. "We know there's an answer. We'll find it. Even if we have to build it from scratch."

He wanted to believe; when Rupert said it with such determination, it was hard not to. But Wesley couldn't quite ignore the fear. He found that he was willing to bury his face in his lover's shoulder, and pretend.

He felt a ghostly touch against his back as Gweneth moved closer, offering her comfort. He knew it was ridiculous -- counter productive, and no doubt they should get started right away. But he asked, anyhow. "Can we go, please? Back to your flat?" He was afraid if he so much as picked up one book, he'd never stop. Afraid that he would still fail to find anything, and Conner would be lost forever.

He couldn't deal with that knowledge anymore.

"Of course," Rupert murmured, kissing him gently.

"I'm sorry." He had no idea if he were allowed to be apoligising, and didn't care. "I'm sorry, I know we should--"

He felt Aunt Gweneth's touch again, and she said quietly, "I can begin looking. I know this library like I knew the back of my hand when I had one."

Wesley smiled briefly, despite himself. "Thank you."

"Anything for my favourite nephew."

"I'm your only nephew," Wesley said, repeating the phrase he'd said in response to that since he'd been old enough to talk.

"Funny how that works," she shot back, as she always had.

"You've eaten all the others, haven't you?" he said more quietly, remembering words he'd flung at her with delight, as a child.

She smiled and reached out to touch his cheek. "After you came along, I didn't need any others."

He returned the smile, finally feeling it a little more. "Thank you, Aunt Gweneth." He knew he'd have to come back, but the initial panic was seeming to fade. She would begin the search, then, after he'd had a chance to -- well, hide -- for a day, he would return and help.

"You're welcome, Nephew Wesley." She grinned, impishly.

Rupert cleared his throat. "It is a pleasure meeting you."

"And a pleasure seeing you again, Rupert," she replied. "I'm glad I'll be seeing more of you." She looked from Rupert to Wesley, her expression saying she *expected* to see them, and if not, she'd be very stern with them when she finally did.

"Now that I know where you are, you can count on it," Rupert promised.

"Wonderful." Aunt Gweneth looked at Wesley, still in Rupert's embrace. "Perhaps you should take Wesley home, now. I'll get started and you can come back in a few days."

"We'll be back tomorrow," Wesley said, ignoring the set look on Rupert's face. "Oh -- I've a cellphone. If you'd like you can simply ring me if you find anything before then." He gave her the number.

"I'll be in touch," she told him.

"Yes." Wesley felt there should be more to say -- but there wasn't. He turned to Rupert. "Can we...?"

"Yes." He pulled back enough to be able to start leading Wesley back up the corridor, though he didn't release his hand.

Wesley was grateful; his legs still felt shaky and he would have been glad for the excuse to sit down. Perhaps the drive back to Bath would allow him more than sufficient time to recover his composure. But for now, he was satisfied to allow Rupert to lead him out of the library.

They made their way out in silence. Wesley let himself be led back to the car, where he climbed in, leaned back in the seat, and closed his eyes. What a fucking miserable day, he told himself. Other than seeing his aunt, of course. And teasing Rupert. And waking up in his arms. And... well, it had ended as badly as the rest of the day had been good.

Then Rupert reached over and brushed the back of his hand against Wesley's cheek. He turned his head, resting it against the seat's headrest. "Thank you," he said, suspecting he was repeating himself.

"Are you going to be all right?"

"I... perhaps," he admitted. "I still can't quite... it's not *there*." He couldn't think anything but that.

"We'll find it," Rupert told him again, total conviction in his voice. "Or something. We'll find a way, Wesley."

Wesley just nodded. He would have to trust, if not his own feelings, then Rupert's. Because otherwise he'd have to admit he'd failed, again. He wasn't sure he could stand that.

Rupert watched him for a moment, then leaned over and kissed him.

Wesley gave him a faint smile. "Is that going to be your response whenever I get the least bit upset?"

"Well, if it works..."

His smile grew a tiny bit wider. "Thank you," he said with as much gratitude as he could. Mostly, he just wanted to close his eyes and have everything go away.

He got another kiss and then Rupert was pulling back and starting the car. Wesley sat quietly as they drove away from the library. He wanted to to change his mind, tell Rupert to stop the car and go back in, and start researching. It faded in the face of his fears, though -- that they would not find anything.

"We're going to have to stop for petrol," Rupert told him a few minutes later.

"All right," Wesley said absently, watching out the window but, he realised, not seeing anything. "Can we--" He cut himself off. There was little chance Rupert would think having a drink would be a good idea.

"Can we...?"


Rupert glanced over at him. "Stop for a drink?" he guessed.

Wesley felt himself flush, and looked down at his hands. He was gripping them together, tightly, and knew if he let go they'd flutter around like he was a worrisome old woman.

Instead of chastising him, Rupert simply said, "I think we could both use one. I know a place near here."

"I don't--" He tried to protest, but his voice came out so quietly, he knew he didn't sound convincing. He felt badly, and tried telling himself he was over-reacting.

He wasn't convinced.

He got another glance from Rupert. "I'd kiss you again, but I fear I'd crash the car if I did that while driving."

"Don't let's crash," he teased, though he didn't quite feel it. He took a deep breath and felt his chest shudder; another deep breath and he took firm hold of himself. Right. They'd get petrol, stop for a drink -- one drink -- and return to Bath and let this whole horrible mess wait until tomorrow.

Rupert drove them to a pub, finding a parking spot so easily that Wesley wondered if he'd used a spell. Then he stopped the car and turned to face Wesley. "Are you sure you're all right?"

"Yes. I'll be fine. I'm just..." He shook his head. If he talked about it, he'd start thinking about it again. "I want a drink."

"So do I," Rupert admitted ruefully.

"Well, then. Misery loves company." Then he gaped, and looked down. "I'm sorry, I didn't quite mean it that way."

Rupert reached over and touched Wesley's jaw gently. "I know."

"Let's get a drink," Wesley said, upset with himself but resigned to it. At least Rupert seemed willing to forgive him any insult, today. Or the moment, which was all that mattered now.

"Let's get several."

"You won't be able to drive," Wesley pointed out, though the idea actually sounded quite good.

Rupert shrugged. "We can get a room."

The idea surprised him -- not that it was a surprising idea. Wesley found himself smiling. Rupert blinked at him, then smiled back and leaned over and kissed him again.

This was a much nicer kiss. Rather, it was longer, and Wesley took the time to nibble a bit on Rupert's lower lip before they broke away. "Let's go get a drink," Wesley said, determined to keep not-thinking about anything except how nice it would be to spend the night with his lover, alone in a hotel room. They climbed out of the car and headed for the nearest pub.

As Wesley followed him towards the pub, he glanced around, wondering if he knew the area well enough to guess if there were a hotel within walking distance. He didn't see one, but no doubt they could call for a cab and pick up the car in the morning.

They went inside, found a table and sat down. They ordered their first drinks and drank them in silence. It was a welcome shock at how good the first taste of the whiskey was. Sharp, and strong, it burned his mouth and barely hit his throat before disappearing, soaked in through his skin.

It wouldn't take much for whiskey this strong to reach his bloodstream, and Wesley told himself that he would stop well before he got drunk. Too drunk.

"There's nothing quite like a good whiskey," Rupert murmured appreciatively.

"Except perhaps for a good whiskey and pint," Wesley commented. He declined to order one, telling himself he would stick with two drinks, tonight.

"True." Rupert ordered them a second round.

Wesley began to object -- Rupert had paid for the first round, it was only fair he get the second. But Rupert had already ordered. Wesley told himself he couldn't offer to get the third round, because there would be no third round. He cast about for a topic to distract them with, and finally settled on asking, "What did you think of Aunt Gweneth?"

Rupert smiled. "A remarkable -- and formidable -- woman. I would not want to be on her bad side."

"It's rather tricky, I think, to get on her bad side. Unless I'm remarkably well-favoured," Wesley added. "I've never quite got her angry with me. Not seriously so. But those she dislikes -- there don't really seem to be many." Other than Wesley's father, of course, and a few select other relatives.

"I could see the family resemblance."

"Hmm? Oh, yes, I suppose." He paused as the waitress brought by their glasses. "But she's always seemed fond of me, and it might have protected me from ever really seeing her bad side."

Rupert cocked his head to the side observing him. "I don't think she has a bad side -- at least as far as you're concerned."

"Mm. Possibly not. Which either means she's soft-hearted, or..." He took another swallow of whiskey. "Or I'm not sure what."

"An excellent judge of character."

"You're a subjective witness," Welsey protested.

"Why?" Rupert asked, resting his arms on the table and leaning forward. "Because I think you have an excellent character?"

"Because you profess to be--" Wesley stopped and glanced around, then lowered his voice. "Fond of me."

Rupert's gaze was warm on him. "Yes, very fond."

"Then you can't be expected to give a fully objective consideration," Wesley pointed out. "Especialy when you've had two drinks."

"Neither can you," Rupert pointed out reasonably.

Wesley frowned. "I wasn't describing your character, though."

Rupert smile. "I meant you can't be expected to be fully objective about yourself."

Wesley frowned, and took another drink of his whiskey. He knew objecting would only get Rupert arguing with him. He also knew he'd had several people telling him, recently, that his assessment of his character was, bluntly, wrong. Cordelia, for one, had spent an entire evening going on about it at some length.

It didn't change how he felt - but he wondered if he just felt this way because it was how things were - and not how *he* was. He knew that didn't make much sense, even inside his own head.

As if he'd heard the thought, Rupert called the waitress over and ordered them more drinks. When Wesley raised an eyebrow at him, he just shrugged. "You're thinking too much."

"I am not," Wesley argued, just to be difficult.

"Yes, you were. Your eyes go dark and distant when you're thinking."

"Really?" The observation surprised him.

Rupert nodded. "Really."

"I..." He thought for a moment about Rupert watching his face so carefully. Watching his eyes. It was unfortunate they were in a public place. He'd have liked to have given Rupert a kiss.

"You're blushing," Rupert pointed out with a smile.

"I'm thinking of doing something which would get us thrown out of this establishment," Wesley told him. "So yes, I'm blushing."

He realised that Rupert might assume he was thinking of something other than just a kiss -- and blushed slightly harder. His lover eyed him speculatively. Wesley took a last drink of the whiskey in his glass, and gestured for the waitress.

"Keep that something in mind for when we leave," Rupert told him in low husky voice.

"You're incorrigible," Wesley said sternly. Not because he minded, but because he didn't think they should leave *now*. Not until they'd had at least one more drink.

Rupert didn't deny it. "One of my better qualities."

"What are the others?" Wesley asked, challenging.

Sitting back, Rupert drained his drink while he regarded Wesley. "Listing them all could take a very long time."

"Cheater." Wesley accepted the third round from the waitress, and took a long drink.

"Your better tendencies..." Rupert mused. "You're tenacious for one thing. Once you set your mind on something, there's no stopping you."

Wesley sat up, fast. "What... No, I meant *yours*."

Rupert spread his hands. "I have the good sense to recognise your tenacity, compassion, intelligence..."

Glowering, Wesley shook his head. "No. I mean -- other than being incorrigible -- which you're doing now, by the way -- what other good qualities do you have?" Wesley paused. "Other than having a bloody nice arse, and voice, and hands."


Looking at Rupert's hands, Wesley nodded. "Your hands."

Rupert looked surprised for a moment then smiled. "What about my hands do you like?"

"What... they're wonderful," Wesley said, not sure how to articulate it. "They're warm, and strong, and... gorgeous. I'd like to be held in your arms and touched by your hands forever."

Eyes darkening at Wesley's words, Rupert reached over and briefly brushed his fingers against the back of Wesley's hand.

"Just like that," Wesley whispered. He started to take another drink, and decided what he really wanted was to leave.

"Shall we see about finding a place to spend the night?" Rupert asked, reading the desire in his face.

"Yes, I think that would be an excellent idea." Wesley swallowed, not quite nervously, but... perhaps it was just anticipation.

Rupert finished his drink and stood. "Shall we then?"

Wesley nodded, and stood, reaching for his billfold. Rupert gave him a look, but he protested, "You paid for the petrol-- er. Did we stop for petrol?" How many drinks had he had? Only three, hadn't it been? He looked down at the table and tried counting the empty glasses.

"Not yet. We'll need to get some before heading home in the morning."

"Ah. I thought... I didn't think I'd zoned out that badly." He pulled out his billfold and opened it, looking for pound notes.

"You don't have to--" Rupert began.

"Have to what?"

"Pay for the drinks. But you're going to insist, aren't you?"

Wesley blinked. He hadn't even thought... "But I suggested we stop here." He'd been the one to want a drink. It was only fair he pay for them.

"I think it was more of a mutual decision. And you are my guest."

"But I--" He sighed. He didn't feel like arguing. Not when there was something more interesting to do, as soon as they paid and got out of there. He slipped his billfold back into his pocket. He was rewarded with a smile and a brief touch to his arm as Rupert moved past him to leave the money on the table.

"When you visit LA, I'll buy the drinks," Wesley offered, feeling suddenly and inexplicably shy.

"When I visit LA, I'll let you." Rupert turned back to him. "Shall we, then?"

Wesley nodded, and finally let Rupert nudge him towards the door. He thought perhaps they *could* drive, and find a nice hotel. He'd only had -- he couldn't remember how many empty glasses he'd counted. But he realised that thinking they could drive was probably a bad idea.

They stepped outside into the cool night air. "There's a halfway decent place a few blocks in that direction," Rupert said, gesturing up the street. "One of the benefits of this pub."

"How halfway is halfway?" Wesley frowned at the surrounding buildings, visions of a *nice* hotel fading rapidly. He wasn't sure why, but the thought of he and Rupert in a hotel room engendered images of a large, luxury hotel room, with huge bath -- large enough for two, and soft, egyptian cottons sheets on the bed.

He realised he was probably inebriated, and set about to follow Rupert to the halfway decent place.

"It's not the Ritz, but I don't think you'll be disappointed."

"Is there a likely to be a decent sized bathtub?" He realised too late he'd just said that out loud. He might be thinking about Rupert's hands, and warm water, a soapy washrag, and the utter lack of needing to be anywhere for hours. But he didn't need to be saying so.

Rupert shot him a surprised look, that quickly turned speculative and was joined by a smile. "As a matter of fact, it does."

Wesley didn't answer, just turned his head away to try to hide the blush. Perhaps by the time they reached the hotel and checked in, Rupert would forget about his comment.

"We haven't any luggage."

"No, we don't," Rupert agreed.

"Er... we can't check in at a nice hotel," Wesley said, stopping in the middle of the sidewalk. "With no luggage -- they'll think--"

"That we're being prudent and taking a room for the night instead of driving after an evening of drinking," Rupert finished. He paused then added, "If it would make you feel better, we could get two rooms..."

"No!" He didn't question the sudden bereft feeling that offer gave him.

Rupert smiled at him. "Good. I'd much rather... be prudent in the same room as you."

Wesley frowned, slowly. "We have to be prudent?"

"Only as far as the prudent thing to do with a private room and a lack of clothing is to shag each other senseless."

Slowly, Wesley smiled. "By all means, let's be prudent."

They made their way to the hotel, which turned out to be small but very well appointed. The room they were given was full of antique furniture including a truly *impressive* bed and the promised large bathtub.

Standing in the middle of the room, Wesley found himself quite relieved at the comfort of the room. He felt like going about and opening all the drawers, and poking through all the cabinets to see what there was.

Rupert was standing back, watching him with an amused smile. "I trust it meets with your approval?"

"It's perfect." Wesley walked over to the bed, and pulled back the duvet far enough to touch the sheets. Cool, crisp, and very much begging to be lain about upon. "It's been a long time," he mused.

"Since this afternoon," Rupert said deadpan.

"Hmm?" Wesley looked up, surprised. "Oh. No, I... nevermind." He knew he was blushing again, and decided to ignore it. "I believe you said something about prudent shagging."

"Yes, I did, didn't I?" Rupert walked across the room, eyes never leaving Wesley's.

Shivering slightly, Wesley just stood there and waited for him.

He stopped when he was right in front of Wesley and asked in a husky voice, "What did you want to do back in the pub?"

"I... um..." Wesley tried to remember. He was shivering, again -- or possibly tingling. Something was making it hard to think of anything other than Rupert, so close to him.

"Was it something like this?" Rupert asked, leaning over and kissing Wesley deeply.

If it wasn't, it ought to have been, Wesley told himself as he wrapped his arms around Rupert, and kissed him back. He felt a hand press against his back, and he moaned softly. Rupert released his mouth only to skim over his face with light nuzzles and caresses.

Wesley shivered, and tried to think of what he'd wanted to ask, earlier. What had he wanted, there in the pub? His brain was buzzing lightly, enjoying the feel of his lover's mouth on his skin, and it was hard to recall clearly.

"What do you want?" Rupert murmured against his skin. "Or should I use my imagination?"

"What do you imagine?" Wesley asked.

Rupert pulled back and looked at him speculatively. "Many, many things. Like... stripping you and tasting every millimeter of your skin."


His lover's warm chuckle washed over him like another caress. "Or I could take you into the tub and... take you."

Wesley felt his eyes threatening to roll into his skull. There was something wrong with the suggestion, however, despite how much he was already pulling at his shirt buttons. "Your cast," he suddenly remembered.

He watched Rupert glance down at his arm and grimace briefly. "Yes, that would complicate things."

"You... perhaps..." Wesley tried to think of a good position, even as he continued to remove his shirt.

"I could..." The speculative look was back in Rupert's eyes again. "I could lie back and tell you what to do...?"

Wesley tried to get his voice to work so he could say 'yes'.

"Wesley? Would you like that?"

He nodded.

Rupert smiled at him. "Struck speechless are we?"

Wesley gave him a stern look. And said nothing. He did feel his cheeks start to burn, though, and he fiddled with the last two buttons of his shirt.

"Right then." Rupert leaned in and kissed him lingeringly, then moved to sit on the edge of the bed. "First thing would be to get rid of your clothes."

The last two buttons seemed to come undone on their own. Wesley dropped his shirt on the floor, watching Rupert's reaction.

Rupert's eyes darkened as he deliberately raked his gaze up and down Wesley's form. "I may need to reconsider and go back to my first suggestion about tasting you all over."

"Yes," Wesley agreed. Why couldn't they do both? His hands went down to the fly of his trousers, and he tried to get the top button undone. It kept slipping out of his fingers, somehow.

"Do you need some help?"

"Oh, no, I've almost got it." Wesley noticed how Rupert seemed to be staring at his hands. Or... something near his hands. He tugged at the button, ineffectively.

"You sure?"

He popped open the top button. "I've got it." Then he slid his hands down to the next one. And tugged. Didn't quite undo it.

Rupert's mouth was twitching, as if fighting the urge to smile.

"Sorry," Wesley said smoothly. "It seems my trousers are a bit tight."

"Yes, I had noticed that." Rupert was still rather staring.

Wesley smiled, and let himself get the second button undone. He wondered if there was any sort of time limit, before he had to be undressed. Well, check-out was 11am -- surely he'd need to be undressed by *then*. Preferably undressed and sleeping it off.

"Come here," Rupert murmured, crooking a finger in a come hither gesture.

He went forward, dropping his hands from his trousers.

Rupert took over undoing the buttons, making a faster job of it than Wesley had been, even one handed. "I want to see you," he said in way of explanation.

"I'm not going anywhere," Wesley said, amused.

"Good. Then you won't be needing these pants in the immediate future."

"I've not even got my trousers off, yet. And you're already eyeing my undershorts?"

Rupert glanced up at him, amused. "I'm planning ahead."

"Then you'll be removing my shoes... at some point before you get to my pants?" Wesley teased. Actually, he didn't mind if Rupert went directly to pulling his trousers and underwear down, as far as his knees. Or mid-thigh. Or just pulled his cock out...

"I was leaving the complication of shoes to you, while I... deal with more pressing matters." He briefly brushed his hand against Wesley's cock.

"Ah!" Wesley gasped, his hips pushing forward reflexively.

"Hmm, I like that sound." Rupert did it again.

Wesley gasped again, letting it extend into a groan. He found himself wavering, and held himself steadily upright. Rupert leaned forward and pressed a kiss to Wesley's bare stomach. He gasped again, identical to the one before.

He wanted to be stripped fully, and laid out on the bed. Or held, in the warmth of the tub and Rupert's arms. Or -- anything. Being bent over a desk in the library's basement... He gasped again, at the thought, and felt himself growing more aroused.

Another kiss and Rupert was leaning back. "I want you naked. Now," he demanded, his voice almost a growl.

Wesley kicked off his shoes, and pushed down his trousers and underwear. He tried to kick them free without moving away from Rupert's touch. Rupert rewarded him with another kiss, pulling him closer.

He gave Rupert a smile, when he was released, and asked, "What else would you like?"

The smile he got back was enough to send a shiver down his back. "For you to undress me."

He placed his hands on the collar of Rupert's shirt. As he caressed the fabric, and the warm skin beneath it, he asked, "How shall I begin?"

"Undo my shirt."

Wesley let one finger trail down to the topmost button, keeping his eyes on Rupert's as he slowly opened the shirt. He let his fingers trace skin as he worked his way down, feeling the way his lover moved udner his touch. He wanted to stop and kiss each inch of skin he was uncovering, but he hadn't been told to do so. He could feel Rupert's gaze on him the entire time, knew if he looked up, he'd see those green eyes burning into his.

He finally got the shirt undone, and he slipped his hands underneath it. "And now?"

"Remove the shirt."

He moved his hands easily, pushing the shirt away as he slid his hands over Rupert's torso. Wesley got the shirt off Rupert's shoulders, then down his arms, taking care to get the sleeve over the cast without catching it.

Again, he wanted to stop here, and touch, and kiss. Instead he asked, "Now what?" He tried to ignore how hard his erection had grown, simply by taking off his lover's shirt.

Rupert slid a hand behind Wesley's neck and pulled him into a passionate kiss. "Shoes," he murmured against Wesley's mouth. "Then everything else."

Wesley inclined his head, then sank slowly to his knees in front of Rupert. Knowing he made the very picture of humble servant, Wesley picked up Rupert's right foot and removed his shoe. He let his fingers wander up and down Rupert's leg before moving to the other foot and removing his other shoe.

He glanced up, without raising his head. Rupert was watching him, mouth curled up in an approving half smile. Wesley shivered, and continued caressing Rupert's legs, teasing his socks down, then off, before moving up his legs as far as he could push the trouser legs out of the way.

"Your trousers?" he asked, though Rupert had already said 'everything else'.

Rupert cleared his throat before replying, "Yes."

He leaned forward, resting his hands on Rupert's knees. "How would you like me to remove them?" he asked.

"How...?" Rupert repeated, then Wesley saw comprehension dawn in his eyes. He gave Wesley a wicked smile that sent a shiver down Wesley's spine. "Why don't you be creative?"

"Shall I?" Wesley asked, though he knew what Rupert meant. Exactly what he'd been hinting at, by leaning so close... with his hands well out of the way.

He watched Rupert's face as he leaned forward, enjoying the way his face grew distracted with arousal. Then he looked down, at the zipper of Rupert's trousers, and carefully placed his teeth on the pull.

He heard a soft gasp, quickly swallowed, but other than that, Rupert remained silent.

Wesley got the pull firmly between his teeth, and slowly began moving his head downwards. His chin nudged Rupert's erection as he moved, and he knew from experience that his breath would be felt through the underwear.

"Yes," Rupert murmured, encouragingly, voice shading towards a growl.

The sound encouraged him -- as though he needed any. But he continued, pulled the zipper open with his mouth. When the trousers were open enough to slip off, he looked up again, letting his chin rest beside Rupert's erection.

"Wesley..." *That* was a definite growl.

"Yes?" He drew the word out, letting his breath flow. He licked his lips, slowly.

"Aren't you supposed to be doing something?"

"Removing your trousers," Wesley answered promptly. He slid his hands up, and caught the waistband.

"You might want to move a little faster..."

"Why is that?" he aked, moving his hands still as slowly, pulling the trousers down.

"Because I can't fuck you with them still on," Rupert growled.

Wesley shivered, and very nearly ripped them off. He forced himself to just pull the trousers off, then stand up -- letting Rupert see him, nude and aroused and so ready for him. "You're going to fuck me?" he asked, reaching for Rupert's undewear and catching his thumbs on his lover's cock as if accidently.

Rupert caught his breath at the touch. "I was planning on it."

"How exactly are you going to fuck me?" Wesley asked, amazed at his ability to still speak calmly, when what he wanted was to tear Rupert's pants off and sit down on his cock.

"How do you want me to fuck you?"

Swallowing, Wesley tried to respond to the question. 'Any way' seemed to the only real answer.

"Wesley? I asked a question..." There was a hint of warning in Rupert's tone that sent another shiver through Wesley's frame.

"I-- yes," he said quickly, though he realised that wasn't the proper answer. "Fuck me, please." Again, not the answer, but he didn't care *how*.

"I will," Rupert promised. "But finish what you're doing first."

Wesley started, then moved quickly, pulling Rupert's underwear down. He let his fingers linger as he pulled the fabric over Rupert's cock, but he had to remind himself he had to keep going, when he would have liked to stop there, and put his mouth over the head.

"Come here," his lover commanded, once the last piece of clothing had been discarded.

Wesley moved forward, instantly. Rupert leaned back until he was lying prone. He reached up and pulled Wesley down to kiss him, devouring his mouth. Wesley stretched out, above him, holding his weight up with his hands, and Rupert kissed him. He let his legs press against Rupert's bare legs, and rubbed, slightly.

"Fuck me?" he whispered.

Rupert bestowed on him a wicked smile. "That's the plan."

"Please?" he whispered again, because despite touching him, now, both of them naked and aroused -- Rupert wasn't fucking him.

"We need something."

"Yes?" They needed to be fucking. Perhaps he needed to reposition himself? He tried scooting his knees forward, to better allow Rupert access.

Rupert gripped his hips to stop him. "Lube," he clarified.

"Hm?" Welsey blinked. "Oh... uh..." He tried to think. They'd had nothing with them, had they? Nothing in the car, and they certainly hadn't packed an overnight bag. If he had to run out to a chemist's, he wasn't sure he'd make it in time.

"The bathroom?" Rupert suggested. "There should be lotion or something we can use."

"What? Yes... yes." Wesley hesitated, then pushed himself off the bed. He paused there, looking down at Rupert. He smiled.

Rupert returned the smile, eyes warm. Wesley didn't move. "The faster you get it, the faster I can fuck you," Rupert reminded him.

Wesley leapt towards the bathroom. He didn't have to run, the bathroom was close enough. But he rushed in and began looking around. Lotion? All he saw was soap. Then he spotted the basket of complimentary toiletries -- which included shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. He grabbed them all, and the box of tissues and carried them back to the bed.

Rupert was watching him, that same devouring smile on his face the entire time. Wordlessly, he held the bottles out to Rupert. Rupert took them and once again commanded, "Come here."

Wesley went forward, willingly. His cock was aching, now, he suddenly realised. His lover guided him until he was sitting straddled over him, then fumbled with the bottle of the lotion. Wesley tried to wait, holding back a gasp as he thought about what he wanted. He leant down and kissed Rupert, hard.

He was kissed back just as hard, as Rupert slid a finger down the cleft between his buttocks, brushing over his opening. He gasped, pushing himself back towards Rupert's hand. Rupert teased him for a moment, brushing against, but not pressing inside. Growling, Wesley tried to push himself against Rupert's hand.

Rupert pulled his hand away. "Don't move."

Instantly, he stilled. It was difficult, because he could almost feel Rupert's hand -- near his skin, the warmth and presence of it encouraging him to push back again.

"Good," his lover praised, once again teasing around Wesley's opening without actually pushing in.

Wesley held himself still, but allowed himself to whimper.

"Tell me what you're feeling, what you want." The finger slipped just a little ways inside.

"I..." He gasped, trying to speak. "Want you. Need you. Inside me, with me. Touching..." He was rocking ever so slightly, and tried to hold himself still.

"I am touching you." Rupert pushed his finger in all the way, then slowly began fucking him with it.

Wesley gasped, and it turned into a loud, harsh cry. His legs trembled and he wanted to push back, but dared not move in case Rupert was cruel enough to tease. Not that it wouldn't be just as good -- some other night. Right now he wanted his lover, in him, the two of them locked together. One finger became two and they unerringly found that spot that made him see sparks.

Wonderful as it felt, it wasn't enough, and he tried to bring his head down for a kiss, without moving so much that Rupert stopped or worse, moved his hand away.

Rupert's fingers instantly stilled, though they remained where they were. "Did you want something?"

"Please. Kiss me. Fuck me... I need you," he whispered, realising again he'd begun to move -- back and forth in short motions he hadn't intended, and could barely still.

He watched as Rupert's eyes darkened even more with arousal, then whimpered as Rupert pulled his fingers away. A second later the small bottle of lotion was pressed into his hand. "Get me ready."

Fumbling with the bottle, he managed somehow to open it without spilling the liquid onto the bedsheets. Catching it in his hand, instead, he then covered Rupert's cock, generously, with lotion. Rupert groaned loudly, whole body arching into that touch.

Soon he was ready, and Wesley closed the bottle and tossed it onto the floor. He positioned himself above Rupert, and, hands braced against the mattress, he asked, "Please?"

"Yes," Rupert growled, catching and holding his gaze.

Wesley swallowed. "Tell me," he asked.

Rupert darted his tongue out to lick his lips. "Let me fuck you."

Nodding quickly, eagerly, Wesley started to lower himself. He paused, waiting to see if Rupert had meant for him to do so, or if he wanted to command him.

He got growled at.

He smiled, enjoying the delicious shiver that sound always gave him. He lowered himself more, stopping before he felt the tip of Rupert's cock against his arse.

Rupert growled again. "Wesley..."

Shivering again, Wesley lowered himself until Rupert's cock brushed his arse. Nowhere near his opening, and he moved -- teasing Rupert for a moment, dangerously -- before reaching back and guiding Rupert inside him.

Easing himself down onto his lover's cock was like being spread and filled and surrounded, all at once. He breathed out, relaxing his muscles, fighting the urge to lean forward and wrap himself around his lover. He had to be careful of Rupert's injured ribs; it was, after all, why they hadn't simply thrown Wesley down on the bed and let Rupert fuck him all night. The thought pulled another whimper out of his throat.

Rupert had held his breath as Wesley had lowered himself and now let it out in a long groan. "God, yes..."

He sat there, weight on his bent knees and arse just begging for him to move, to fuck himself as hard as he could. But he sat there, still, and gave himself a moment to feel. And a moment to tease Rupert back, of course. He squeezed his muscles, once, around Rupert's cock.

Rupert bucked upwards with a curse. Wesley rode him up, then let himself down more gently, letting Rupert slide out a bit as he did so.

He had no idea how long he could keep this up, but he decided he'd like to try for as long as he could. Perversely, the desperation he'd felt when it was just Rupert's fingers inside him, had gone, now that he had more.

After that one convulsive movement, Rupert stilled, only his quickened breathing and heavy lidded gaze showing how aroused he was. Wesley lowered himself all the way down, again taking his weight onto his legs rather than let it rest on Rupert. Then he pushed himself up, slowly, before lwoering himself again -- fucking himself slowly, and gently.

It was going to drive him mad to do so for long.

All the while Rupert watched him, all the pentup heat and tension carried along his gaze. Wesley tried to continue moving slowly, but his body was begging for more. He squeezed his muscles again around Rupert's cock as he descended. That earned him another involuntary arch upwards from his lover and his name being said in the most wonderful half growled, half breathless voice.

It made Wesley move faster, hoping he could make him sound that way again. Pushing himself up and down, Wesley began to fuck himself more earnestly. Rupert was panting now, little sounds of pleasure that were almost moans, almost growls interspersed among the harsh breathing. He reached up and touched Wesley, running his fingers over his stomach, his thighs, but avoiding his cock.

Growling, Wesley realised he couldn't spare a hand of his own, if he wanted to keep up the pace of his fucking. He moved faster, a bit, squeezing his muscles every time he moved down. Then he switched to every time he moved upwards.

Rupert's hips were moving in concert with his now, and Rupert's hand was moving closer and closer to his cock though still not touching it. Wesley moved to fuck himself harder, holding himself up with his arms and pushing back, sharply as he could. He watched Rupert's face, screwed up a bit in his arousal. Without thought, Wesley moved more -- taking care not to let Rupert slip out, fully, but otherwise moving as much as he dared, slamming himself down to fuck himself as much as he could.

Then Rupert finally closed his hand around Wesley's cock. He gasped, and shuddered; fucking himself down on Rupert's cock then forward into Rupert's hand, he would not last much longer. Rupert growled, "Come for me," and he was lost.

He came, hard and desperate again, crying out in a strangled, incoherent voice. He wanted to be fucked, now, hard as possible, but he was losing his purchase on the bed. Arms shaking, he knew he wouldn't be able to hold himself up for much longer. Rupert moved his hands to Wesley's hips holding tightly as he thrust upwards as hard as he could.

Wesley shouted, and felt the wonderful, amazing release; legs slick with sweat, sliding against Rupert's torso, cock held tight and arse fucked, hard, he found himself shaking, and dizzy, and lots of other things he couldn't quantify because his brain was melting.

It was only a few seconds later that Rupert froze, eyes going glazed and unseeing, muscles trembling as he came with Wesley's name on his lips. Wesley remained where he was -- propped up on trembling arms, wanting to collapse forward. But he held himself up and watched as Rupert came, feeling his thrusts and wishing for more, even as they died away.

As Rupert began to relax, Wesley leaned forward and kissed him deeply. He was enfolded in an embrace and kissed back just as hard.

He shifted his legs out from under him without breaking the kiss, scooting down to lie beside Rupert. "Thank you."

Rupert smiled at him. "Thank *you*."

"Oh, no, thank *you*," Wesley returned, barely holding back his grin.

"Wesley..." Rupert's mouth started to curve upwards.

"Yes, Mr. Giles?" he said with utter solicitousness.

The smile on Rupert's face became full blown. "I could get used to this."

"Really? High-count cotton sheets and room service? Or the fucking?"

"Which do you think?"

"Both?" He stretched out, enjoying the feel of the bed. It was huge, and soft, and he felt like he could sleep forever. His arse ached, very faintly, and his entire body felt worn out.

Rupert's hand slid over his skin as he moved. "Mostly just not being alone. Though the fucking isn't too shabby."

Wesley kissed him again. "I'm very happy, myself. With everything."


"Er... there is one thing."

Rupert turned his head to meet Wesley's gaze. "And that would be?"

"I need to go clean myself off. I've lotion in my arse."

Giles woke to what was becoming the familiar sensation of another warm body curled up against his own. Without opening his eyes, he moved to snuggle closer, allowing himself to drift in that drowsy state that's half asleep, half awake. The warmth in his arms shifted, slightly at first then, after a moment's stillness, started slowly moving away. Reflexively he tightened his grip.

The body stopped trying to move away, but neither did it move back into the snuggle. After another moment, it tried shifting stealthily away again. Giles made a wordless sound of protest, trying to hold onto both his morning drowse and the warm body trying to sneak away.

There was a wide-awake voice saying, dryly, "Really, Rupert. It isn't as though I'm leaving."

Giving up the last vestiges of sleep, Giles opened one eye to meet Wesley's gaze.

Wesley was very obviously trying to control a smile. "Am I going to have to stop using the bathroom in the mornings?" he asked, trying to sound stern and failing, because of the way he was trying not to smile.

"Is that really an option?" Reluctantly, Giles loosened his hold.

"It will have to be, if I never get let out of bed." Wesley smiled, then, and leaned over to kiss him.

"An enticing idea," Giles said, when his mouth was released.

"We'll start tomorrow, and I'll stop drinking liquids in the evening."

"Which means I have to let you go now."

"Or you can explain to the hotel staff why they need to come re-make the bed."

Giles snuck one more kiss, then released Wesley. "You better go, then."

"You're very kind." Wesley spoke very properly, but then gave him another kiss which was anything but. Then he slipped out of bed and was headed for the bathroom.

Giles watched him go, appreciating the view and said as much. Wesley paused at the door, and glanced over his shoulder -- perhaps it was just coincidence that he'd rested his weight on one leg, to contract the muscles in his buttocks?

"You better go while you still can," Giles advised in an almost growl.

"What could possibly happen to me, standing in a doorway?" Wesley asked, innocently. He started to take a step forward -- which flexed his thigh muscles, and buttocks.

"Do you remember what happened to you standing in the doorway of my bedroom a couple of nights ago?"

Frowning thoughtfully, Wesley continued to stand there. His lips moved as he thought to himself, and he absently rubbed a hand up and down his chest. "Was someone with me?"

"How soon they forget."

Wesley 'hmmed', consideringly, and continued on into the bathroom. He stopped before closing the door, half-turned towards Giles and presenting a rather lovely profile, and gave Giles a smile. Then he closed the door.

"Tease," Giles said softly to the closed door, smiling and shaking his head. Yawning, he leaned back against the pillows and closed his eyes, not quite being able to recapture the dozing state but letting his mind drift.

He heard the flush of the toilet, then the water running in the sink. He smiled, anticipating Wesley returning to bed any moment... then he didn't. He waited a few more moments, then opened his eyes and stared at the closed door. "Wesley?" he called out.

"Mm? Yes?" There were some faint noises, as though Wesley were moving about.

"What are you doing?"

"Mm? Oh, just... looking around."

"At what? It's a bathroom." He got out of bed and walked over to the bathroom door.

"It's a very nice bathroom," Wesley said, bizarrely, through the door.

"It's still just a bathroom."

He heard a muffled thumping, then Wesley said, "It's a very sturdy bathroom. Quite spacious."

Quite curious now, Giles tried the door knob and, finding it unlocked, opened the door. He found Wesley, still quite nude, standing in the middle of the bathroom. He didn't appear at all startled to find Giles poking his head in. "Did you need to use the facilities?" he asked, quite politely.

"Not at the moment. I just thought I'd come and see what had you so fascinated. Can I come in?"

"Of course." Wesley gestured, inviting him inside.

Giles entered, looking around him. "It's a bathroom," he observed.

"Yes. Hmm. Stand over here," Wesley told him, waving him over to a spot beside the wall.

Obligingly he moved as directed. "Should I be worried?"

"No, not at all. You were wondering what held my interest. I thought I'd show you."

There was a glint in Wesley's eyes that made Giles smile. "I put myself in your hands."

"Good. Then stand right here." He nudged Giles against the wall, then glanced over his shoulder.

Giles tried to follow the path of his gaze but only saw the other wall of the bathroom.

"Good. Right there," Wesley said, confoundingly -- then he was on his knees and Giles found his cock being swallowed.

Giles swallowed his initial cry of surprise and braced himself on the wall behind him. "Oh *that*," he said faintly.

He heard a mumble that might have been a reply, but in fact it was a low vibration that started in Welsey's throat and ended around and inside Giles' cock. He moaned at the sensation, and brought his good hand forward to tangle in Wesley's hair. Wesley was, he thought hazily, really very good at this. Not just in taking him by surprise, but the way his mouth and his tongue...

He groaned again as that tongue did something that made him see stars. Much more of that and he was going to have trouble standing. Hands appeared on his hips, and pressed him against the cold tile wall. Giles was quickly losing track of everything but the mouth surrounding him and the pleasure and tension it was building with every movement.

With a long, slow pull, Wesley brought his mouth down the length of Giles' cock, then up again until only the very tip was in his mouth. For a moment Giles thought he'd take his mouth away -- then Wesley descended, completely. He heard someone yelling as he tried to thrust his hips forward, but was held fast.

Wesley did...*something*, and he felt it throughout his cock and possibly his entire body. He was tensing up all over and knew he wasn't going to last much longer. Not with Wesley doing that and, oh dear lord, *that*.

Wesley didn't move away, though, and the realisation that he wasn't *going* to, was all the more Giles could take. With a wordless cry, the pleasure overwhelmed him driving the world away. Wesley's mouth never left him, hands gripped his hips tightly. It was a wonder he didn't fall, though maybe that was all Wesley's doing.

He rode out his climax, his non-casted hand clasping Wesley's shoulder hard in an effort to maintain his balance. Wesley didn't stop, merely slowed down, leaving his mouth on Giles' cock through and after his orgasm. Giles groaned, body shivering with the aftershocks.

Suddenly, then, Wesley was standing in front of him, leaning very slightly against him. When Giles pried his eyes open to look, he found Wesley grinning quite mischeviously and pleased with himself.

It was an expression that couldn't help but pull an answering smile from Giles. "You're very good at that."

"Thank you, sir." His expression was, for a moment, pure schoolboy -- mischief bound in facade of innocence.

Unable to resist any longer -- not that he'd been trying all that hard -- Giles closed the scant distance between then and kissed Wesley deeply. Wesley seemed to fall against him -- body going loose and limp, with one notable exception.

Breaking the kiss, Giles slid a hand down between their bodies to curl around the exception. "You seem to have a problem here."

"Problem?" Wesley's smile seemed to grow a shade moer aused -- if that were possible. "I wouldn't call it a problem, exactly."

"Something that requires assistance, then perhaps?"

"I believe I'm... up for that."

"So I see," Giles replied, tightening the grip he had on Wesley's erection.

Wesley gasped, and his eyes half-closed.

"That's it," he encouraged, sliding his fingers along the length, brushing his thumb against the head.

With a soft moan, Wesley thrust his hips forward. He shifted his hands, placing them flat on the wall Giles was leaning against to hold his weight off Giles a bit.

"You're so..." He trailed off, placing nipping kisses along Wesley's jawline and down to his throat.

There was a incoherent noise, that might have been a question, but may have simply been due to what Giles' hand, and mouth were doing. Wesley's eyes were now fully closed, Giles noticed.

He traced the sensitive skin of the scar on Wesley's throat with his tongue, his hand moving down to squeeze his balls gently.

"Rupert!" his lover gasped, impossible to tell if he were encouraging him, or warning.

He nipped teasingly at the skin beneath his mouth. "Do you want me to stop?" he asked, moving his hand back up to slowly stroking Wesley's cock.

There was a whimper that sounded very much like 'please don't or I'll be very cross'. The thrust of Wesley's cock into his hand seemed to make that rather more of a demand. Chuckling, he nipped again and let his hand start moving in a rhythm dictated by Wesley's gasps and the way that he was pushing his hips against Giles' grip.

Soon enough, Giles felt as though he needn't do anything but hold his hand, curled around the cock that Wesley was moving -- fucking himself on Giles' hand more and more urgently.

It was...amazing. Beautiful, arousing... Moving back enough to watch Wesley's face, Giles began in a low voice to tell Wesley exactly how he looked.

Wesley groaned, louder and harder, and began thrusting faster. His eyes were squeezed shut, as though afraid if he looked, he'd lose his pace.

"You're enough to tempt a saint like this," Giles continued, deliberately pitching his voice more huskily, "so focused and abandoned all at once. Seeing you like this, I just want to bend you over the sink and take you."

Wesley jerked, and his breath caught; silently, but with compressed, nearly violent motion, he came. Giles continued to stroke Wesley through his climax, murmuring barely audible soothing words of love.

Without warning, Wesley seemed to collapse, as though his strings had been cut. He fell against Giles, barely holding himself back from fairly squashing him -- as though Wesley had enough weight to do so. Giles shifted so that he could wrap his arms around his lover and help support him.

With that support, Wesley simply fell against him, and snuggled. Giles sighed contentedly and held him close. For a moment, neither of them moved. Wesley, in particular, seemed perfectly content to stay where he was. In fact, by the way he wasn't moving at all, one might suspect him of falling back asleep.

Giles nudged him. "If you're going to go to sleep on me, we should go back to bed."

"Yes, all right," Wesley agreed in a clear, awake voice. But he didn't move.

"I'm not up to carrying you at the moment..."

Wesley slipped his arms around Giles' waist, and held himself close, without holding too tightly. Experimentally, Giles took a stop forward and tried to guide Wesley in the direction he wished him to go without releasing him.

"I'm not going to sleep," Wesley said, not budging. "Therefore we don't have to move."

"The bed is more comfortable," Giles said, trying again.

"Ah." Wesley raised his head and stepped back, loosening his grip. "What time are we due to check out?" he asked.

Immediately, he missed the physical closeness. "Check out is eleven. We have a couple of hours yet."

"Only a couple of hours? God, how long did we sleep in?" Wesley headed for the bathroom door.

With a resigned sigh, Giles gave up on the idea of more snuggling and turned his mind to more practical matters as he followed Wesley out of the bathroom.

Wesley was headed towards the dresser. He stopped as he caught sight of the clock. "I had no idea it was so late." He turned, apparently unaware that he was still nude and now rather sticky.

"We didn't get to sleep until late," Giles pointed out.

"True. Though that isn't exactly unusual -- for either of us." Wesley glanced at him, expresion briefly turning apologetic. For what, though, he didn't say. "I suppose... oh." He was looking at the pile of clothing they'd left on a chair.

Giles followed his thought processes. "We didn't exactly pack for this."

Wesley smiled. "I suppose these will do for now. Not as though we..." He trailed off, frowning.

"Not as though we...?" Giles repeated, stepping closer.

"Were going anywhere," he finished, again apologetically.

Ah. He opened his mouth to agree and found himself saying instead, "I want to go to her grave."

That brought a sad, but pleased smile to Wesley's face. "All right." He nodded.

Decision made, he tried to put it from his mind for the moment by concentrating on details, like getting ready. "After we bathe and get dressed."

"Would you like some help?" Wesley asked, straight-forwardly -- then he blushed. He didn't glance away, though, acting as though he didn't mind that it sounded the way he hadn't actually meant it.

"I won't turn you down."

Wesley smiled, and nodded easily. "Why don't we do that now, then go find some breakfast."

Wesley wondered again if he should have argued against coming. Or brought Rupert here yesterday. Or...something. Anything other than what they'd ended up doing, which was dawdling over bath and breakfast, and driving out to the cemetary shortly before noon.

Neither of them had had much of an appetite, but for once it was him coaxing Rupert to eat something, teasing him at one point with threatening him with the exact same threats Rupert had made him, days before.

Now, though, Wesley thought maybe an empty stomach was a better idea. If *he* were nervous -- how much more so was Rupert? He glanced over again, having not wanted to sit and stare at his lover as they sat in the car, parked just inside the gates of the cemetery.

Giles was staring out the windshield, face closed and expressionless. "I've spent too much time in cemeteries."

Wesley said nothing. He'd been to exactly three funerals, in his life. Once, as a very young boy, to a grandmother's funeral whom he could barely now remember. Once to Aunt Gweneth's funeral. That had been less of a sad occasion, because he'd already met her ghost before she'd been buried. She'd threatened to attend, but had been shouted down by her brother.

The third funeral had been a friend, and a tragedy, suddenly occurred to him Jonathan had been buried in this exact same cemetery. But still, he knew it was still nothing like Rupert's experiences.

"You get comfortable in them after a while," Rupert continued, unaware of Wesley's slight distraction. "I used to bring a thermos of tea and helped Buffy study between slayings even, back when she was in high school." His expression got even grimmer. "But it's different when you're visiting for personal reasons."

"Yes," Wesley said softly, and felt incredibly stupid. Of *course* he'd meant for that reason. Slaying vampires, not... that he'd merely buried too many friends. Though he probably had that, as well, as he recalled from having read through Rupert's journals. He wanted to offer that they turn around, and go. But he was afraid that wasn't the right thing to do.

Rupert took a deep breath and reached for the door handle.

Wesley realised he hadn't asked this, yet, and so he did now. "Do you want me to accompany you?"

That got him a startled look. "I thought...yes. Please."

"Of course," Wesley nodded, and he reached for his own door handle.

They got out of the car, then, and headed towards the edge of the grass. Wesley had called and got the location of the grave, but waited to make sure Rupert was ready, before leading him on.

Rupert started down the path, but stopped after a couple of steps. "I should've brought flowers."

"There was an arrangement at the funeral," Wesley reminded him. He held his hand out.

Rupert stared at it for a heartbeat then gratefully reached out and took it.

Wesley held his hand firmly. "It's all right, Rupert," he said quietly. Even though it wasn't, and they both knew it. But Rupert nodded and once again started moving down the path towards Clarissa's grave.

They walked along the path between graves, Wesley making note of the rows and plots. Finally, he saw the freshly dug grave in the spot which should be Clarissa's. His hand tightened, reflexively.

He glanced at Rupert, saw his gaze rooted to the fresh grave. His hand was squeezed back and then released, and Rupert moved forward towards the grave. Wesley stayed back, close enough that if Rupert spoke, or reached for him, he'd be there. But a step or two away, so he had the illusion of privacy.

For a long moment Rupert was silent, staring at the ground. Finally he stirred and spoke, without looking away. "This is something I never wanted to get so familiar with."

"Who would?" Wesley asked, softly. But he knew -- every Watcher knew. If you were picked to oversee the Slayer, you went in knowing your task would be done when you stood above her grave.

"She had her whole life ahead of her. Should've been worried about school and boys and whatever else teenagers worry about these days. Not demons and saving the world."

Wesley frowned, slightly, glancing at Clarissa's headstone. He knew very little about what Clarissa had been trying to do -- but he hadn't gathered that it had been as serious as saving the world. Surely someone would have provided her with assistance before Rupert, if so.

"If I had been faster, anticipated more, found another solution..." Rupert trailed off, staring at the grave.

He knew this litany, though. Long, too long familiar with it. But there was no answer to it, that he had ever found. Except whiskey, which he'd brought none of, he thought, darkly amused.

"I fail and she dies." Rupert laughed, the sound holding nothing resembling humor. "It's becoming rather old and predictable."

"I wish I knew what to say," Wesley whispered, not sure if interrupting him -- now, before he got himself spinning down that spiral of self-loathing -- was a good idea, or if Rupert needed to get it all out, true or not.

"There's nothing to say. All the times I've stood in front of a grave -- all the times I stood in front of *her* grave -- I never found the words."

Now he knew he was confused. This was the first time -- oh. Of course. It wasn't really Clarissa's grave he was seeing. At least, not only hers.

Rupert sighed and shook his head. "And I still don't know what they are. The only ones I can find are 'I'm sorry.'"

Wesley knew from experience that those words never felt like enough. But he stepped forward, and carefully placed his hand on Rupert's back. There was nothing he could say, but at least he could remind his lover that he wasn't facing this alone.

Rupert seemed to start under his touch at first, then relaxed, some of the tension in his shoulders loosening. Wesley remained where he was, still unable to say anything that would help, but carefully wrapped his arm around Rupert.

"Clarissa reminded me of her, y'know. The way she was when we first met."

"Did she?" Wesley hoped no one asked him, later, what Rupert was talking about.

"Oh yes. She was just so full of life," Rupert smiled, "and attitude." The smile faded. "She wanted it all to just go away, but she couldn't turn her back on where she was needed. Even when she knew she was going to die."

"It sounds," Wesley said, carefully as he could, "as though she didn't waste her life."

"Oh never. Never that."

Wesley nodded.

"It makes me feel so old and useless and used up... It should have been me."

"It most certainly should *not* have been!" Wesley exploded, though he realised after he'd spoken, that his reasons might be entirely selfish. Rupert started again and turned to look at Wesley, surprise in his eyes. Wesley scowled at him. "I prefer you *here*."

Some of the anguish eased in Rupert's expression and he even managed a tiny ghost of a smile. "Thank you."

Wesley leaned over and kissed him, deliberately ignoring the fact they were, technically, in public. Anyone who saw them here, could just... deal.

"Thank you," Rupert repeated, the words heartfelt.

"I love you," he said, simply. The words weren't anything he expected to say -- but he knew they were true.

There was a startled look on Rupert's face, then, "I love you, too" Rupert said back, more of the tension leaving his body.

Wesley gave him a gentle hug, and turned his head back to the headstone. Rupert did the same thing, moving out of Wesley's embrace and stepping closer and reaching out to touch the stone. While there was still nothing to say, Wesley felt that Rupert, at least, was no longer merely focusing on his failure at the girl's death.

"Uncle Rupert?"

Startled by the new voice, both men turned to see a young teenage girl standing behind them. Wesley dropped his hand, trying to be surreptitious about it. The girl was dressed in black, holding a small bouquet of flowers. Her eyes were tired, as though she'd already been worn out from her grief.

"Wendy." Rupert took a step towards the girl. "I didn't--"

She immediately moved forward, and encased him in a hug. The look on Rupert's face was complete shock, even as he slowly brought his arms up to hug the girl back.

"I'm so sorry," Wendy said, her voice muffled by Rupert's coat. She looked about 14 or 15, with her long black hair pulled back into a ponytail making her look perhaps younger than her real age. Wesley was surprised by her presence -- by her use of 'Uncle.' He wasn't the only one surprised, to judge by Rupert's reaction.

The surprise seemed to morph into disbelief before Rupert's expression settled into a more precise one of caring and grief. "I'm sorry, too," he said softly. "More than I can express."

Wendy didn't speak again, for a moment, then she said in a rush, "I'm sorry you couldn't come to her funeral but mum was so mad but I know it's just because she didn't listen when Clarissa tried to tell her about it. Mum said she was being silly and didn't know. She tried to tell me but... I didn't understand what she was talking about."

"Oh child..." He pulled back enough to look into her face. "Nor should you have. Neither of you should have had to deal with... any of this."

Wendy looked up at him, her face streaked as she cried. Her voice was only barely shaking, though. "She tried to tell mum. She even tried to find someone dad used to work with. Your Council. But nobody believed her. Even I thought... she'd done it before, told a big story a couple years ago. She'd broken up with Robert and started talking about how he'd been turned into a vampire. He wasn't -- he was at the fineral yesterday. And when she was younger she told all kinda of stories, but everyone knew she was just getting them out of dad's books. But -- I guess she kinda ruined her... her credibility."

Rupert frowned. "She contacted the Council?"

Wendy nodded. "Well, someone in dad's old addressbook. I don't think she got the *real* Council. Just... someone who worked there."

Rupert's frown deepened. "They still should have..." He trailed off and focused back on Wendy. "I'm sorry no one would help her."

Wendy seemed to hug him tighter; Wesley saw the gasp of discomfort Rupert silenced, and Rupert didn't try to stop her despite the pain of his ribs.

"I'm sorry," he repeated. "Clarissa was right this time. She was very brave, and she saved..." He cleared his throat. "Saved the city at least. And she saved me."

Wendy's eyes went big. "She did?" She sounded like a much younger girl... and like her older sister may have just become her new hero.

Rupert nodded and even managed a bittersweet smile. "You have every reason to be proud of her."

Slowly, Wendy gave him a half-smile. Then it faded, and she said, "I'm sorry. That she died."

"So am I. She deserved...more. Better." Rupert's eyes were clouded, but Wesley saw that Wendy didn't seem to notice.

She nodded, and glanced down at her sister's grave. "Thank you for believing her," she said, quietly.

"I..." Wesley saw many different emotions flash across Rupert's face, saw him close his eyes briefly, then open them again, expression now determined. "Wendy," he reached into his pocket and pulled out a pad and pen, quickly writing something down, "if you ever... need someone to believe you, I want you to call me."

Wendy nodded, looking slightly bewildered. But she took the paper Rupert gave her, and slipped it into her pocket. She took a step forward and knelt, placing the flowers on the grave. She looked up. "She would have died anyway, you know. Even if you hadn't believed her and gone to help her." Her eyes looked eerily old, in that moment. "She would have gone anyway."

It was obvious that the control Rupert was barely holding on to, almost broke at that. He merely nodded, then shook his head, seemingly not trusting his voice enough to speak. Wendy stood, brushing the dirt from her knees. She looked at Wesley, as though suddenly realising he was there. She didn't bother introducing herself, and Wesley saw no reason to do so either.

She looked back at Giles, and said, "I have to get going." She seemed at a loss, as though wondering if she was supposed to do or say something more -- societal niceties of meeting someone at a grave, that she didn't know about.

Rupert nodded. "Take care of yourself," he told her. "Don't let..." He gestured around them, "overwhelm everything else."

Wendy nodded, though it was clear she didn't understand how that was possible. Her grief was showing again, eyes beginning to glisten. But she said nothing more, and Rupert let her go. Wesley slipped his hand back into Rupert's, as she walked away. He could feel a tremor go through Rupert's form, as he tried to hold strong emotions back.

Wesley actually had his mouth open, before he realised the absurdity of his remark. Smiling, he said it anyhow. Rupert could probably use the amusement. "Shall I make us some tea?" he asked, casual and proper as his mum had taught him.

That seemed to break through the emotional dam and Rupert gave a rusty, slightly hysterical sounding chuckle. Quickly, Wesley tugged him around, and embraced him. Rupert latched onto him, holding on with all his strength as he buried his face against Wesley's neck.

Wesley made no move to adjust his grip or even shift his weight to make Rupert think he had to stop. Holding on as hard as he could, he let Rupert fall apart as much as he liked. Finally, Rupert pulled back enough to kiss Wesley.

Wesley kissed him easily, willingly -- again not caring a whit if anyone saw. He was mildly shocked at his daring -- but Rupert needed him more than he needed to be prudent.

"Thank you," Rupert said.

"You're welcome." Thanks were hardly necessary, he thought. But there was no need to discuss it.

Rupert looked back at the gravestone and let out a long sigh. Turning back to Wesley, he said, "Let's go home."

With a glance over his shoulder, Wesley nodded.

As they headed back to the car, Rupert added, "And then you can make some tea."

"Of course." Wesley paused, then realised he probably wouldn't be back in England for a very long time. He stopped, and when Rupert looked up, curious, he asked, "Do you mind if I take a moment to visit another gravesite?"

"Of course not." Rupert hesitated. "Do you want me to come with you or wait here?"

"You're welcome to come along," Wesley said, smiling. "He's been dead quite a long time, now. I just thought... I'm here. I ought to stop and say hello."

"While we're in the neighbourhood..." Rupert smiled slightly. "All right."

Wesley kept hold of Rupert's hand, and led him away from Clarissa's grave, towards Jonathan's. It had been nearly four years since he'd last been here -- four years since he'd been in *England*, so obviously he hadn't been here, since.

But it felt odd to go see his grave now. Good, but... not anything he'd anticipated doing, even when he'd arrived at Rupert's flat and learnt they'd be coming to London to see Clarissa.

"Whose grave are we visiting?" Rupert asked hesitantly. "And please feel free to tell me it's not a subject you want to discuss."

"His name is Jonathan," Wesley said, easily. "You remember Greg?"

Rupert nodded.

"Jonathan was... mm." Wesley thought about just how open-minded Rupert was. "A friend. Our lover, for a short time."

"Ah." Rupert glanced sideways at him. "What happened?"

"He died just over six years ago, of AIDS."

Rupert stopped short, turning to face Wesley and reaching for his other hand. "You and Greg, you didn't..."

"Hmm?" Wesley stopped, momentarily confused. Then he found himself caught between a smile, and a frown. He opted for stern -- because being stern seemed to make Rupert get stern, back. He found he rather liked a stern Rupert. "Are you asking me if I'm irresponsible enugh not to ever be tested? Regularly and often? Or not mention if I were HIV positive before engaging in a sexual relationship with you?"

Dismay flashed through Rupert's eyes. "I didn't mean it like that -- I just," he reached out and caressed Wesley's cheek, "you're all right?"

Nodding, Wesley said, "I'm all right. He was never a great love of my life. He was a very good friend, and an extremely frustrating flatmate who got by on his looks and charm." He grinned, remembering just how often Jonathan had got out of paying his third of rent by explaining how he'd had to pay for some repair or emergency or lent to a friend, even as he slowly stripped out of his clothes and offered to pay by tomorrow at the latest.

"Ah." Rupert's mouth lifted in a half smile. "I know the type."

Leading them past a large family plot, Wesley saw Jonathan's grave, up ahead. It had some flowers on it, though they look wilted. He glanced at the gravesites surrounding Jonathan's and saw, not to his surprise, several more with identical bouquets.

"Even after he got sick, he was... irrepressible." Wesley grinned suddenly. "I don't mean that Jonathan wasn't nice. But he was a bit shallow." They stopped on front of the grave, and Wesley looked at the headstone. He remembered when they'd picked it out -- he and five of Jonathan's other friends and ex-lovers had debated the epitaph for hours.

Jonathan had left a request, but as it had involved language not suitable for general audiences, they'd been unable to get the funeral home to order it. They'd ended up with 'friend to all' which was the same spirit of Jonathan's original.

Wordlessly, Rupert slid an arm around Wesley's waist as they stood there. Wesley stared at the headstone. "I wish we'd been able to put 'fuck-puppy' on the headstone."

That got another surprised sputtering laugh from his lover.

Wesley grinned. "For some reason, they wouldn't let us use it."

"I can't imagine why."

He could feel Rupert relaxing, a little more, now. He tried to think of more amusing stories, to relay. There were, not surprisingly, many of them. They kept them both distracted, if not entertained, for the remainder of the drive home.

Giles had found himself in a quiet reflective mood on the drive home, content to let Wesley carry the majority of the conversation, the other man regaling him with stories that unfailingly seemed to draw smiles from him. He had no idea if Wesley were making any of the stories up -- he wouldn't put it past him. But it was possible that this 'Jonathan' had actually done all these things.

Regardless, it made for a much easier drive back, than the drive to London had been.

"Thank you," he said quietly, as they were walking back into his flat.

Wesley looked briefly startled, before saying, "You're welcome." He hung up their coats, and gave his shirt a doubtful look. But instead of heading to change out of yesterday's clothes, he asked, "Shall I make us some tea?" His lips quirked a bit, perhaps in reminder of the offer he'd made at the gravesite.

Giles smiled at that. "I'll help you."

They headed into the kitchen, and began getting tea ready. It was interesting to note how easily Wesley worked alongside him. It would be so easy -- too easy -- to get used to having him there fulltime. It was frightening, and disconcerting, to notice how quickly he'd gained that opinion.

"Do you want anything... substantial for lunch?" Wesley asked. "Or something light?"

"I'm not really all that hungry," he admitted, though he censored his subconscious' addition of 'for food.'

"Just tea, then?" Wesley repeated.

"Tea and you," he wasn't able to resist saying.

Wesley's hands stilled, and he looked up -- a shy smile warring with worry in his eyes. "Before, or after tea?"

"My first inclination is to say both." He reached out and covered Wesley's hand with his own, trying not to think too deeply about some of the darker reasons why he wanted Wesley right now.

"I imagine you'd spill the tea," Wesley said, voice teasing but his eyes serious.

"Have the tea after, then."

Wesley took his hand, and encouraged him to moved forward with a gentle tug. "Bedroom? Kitchen table?" he teased.

Giles had to suppress a moan at the images that question brought to mind. "Table," he growled, pulling Wesley to him.

"Or I suppose you could bend me over the desk," Wesley said, very casually, as though his cock were not already straining against his trousers.

Giles could feel his eyes glazing over. "Maybe next time." He nipped at Wesley's jawline, then moved to whisper in his ear, "This time I want you naked, laid out on the table with your legs up and apart so I can see everything before I fuck you."

He heard Wesley whimper, then he was moving, quickly, trying to remove his clothing as fast -- or faster -- than humanly possible. Giles took a step back and just watched, letting his gaze do all the touching for him as Wesley stripped.

It wasn't long at all before Wesley stood before him, naked, waiting, cock already straining upwards. He stood there, hands fluttering a bit as though not sure if he should -- or could -- stand still and be watched.

He had to swallow another moan at the sight, but he grimly held onto his control as he moved closer, circling around Wesley without touching. He could see Wesley tensing, trying to relax, trying not to move. He began shifting slightly, one foot to the other, after a moment and grew noticably awkward.

Giles stopped behind him, close enough that Wesley could feel his heat. "Do you want me to fuck you?"

"Please," Wesley whispered, voice shaking just a little.

Briefly, he wrapped his arm around Wesley's waist, pulling him back so he could ground his still covered cock against Wesley's arse, letting him feel how hard he was. Wesley sighed, and Giles felt him relax, suddenly, even as he gasped in arousal.

He thrust against him a couple of times before whispering right in Wesley's ear, "Then get up on the table." Then he let go. Wesley scooted back towards the table, pausing as he hit the edge. He slid himself up on it carefully, as though not certain it wouldn't collapse under him. Giles smiled, having to restrain himself from reaching out and touching again right then. That wasn't what he had in mind. "Lie back," he encouraged.

"My arse is sticking to the tabletop," Wesley remarked, but he did as instructed.

"Do I need to flour you down?"

Wesley blinked. Blinked again. "You've done this before," he accused.

"Not in a good many years." He reached out and laid a hand on Wesley's thigh. "Does that bother you?"

"No, of course not," Wesley replied, easily, and sincerely. "As long as I'm not being graded on the curve."

"Believe me," Giles told him fervently, "you have nothing to worry about, no matter how you're graded." He leaned over and kissed Wesley before pulling back again. "Should I get the flour?"

Wesley lifted one buttock off the table. "It depends on if you want me to move, once I've laid down."

He thought about it, picturing Wesley writhing on the table under his gaze, his touch. "Yes," he finally said. "I think I do."

Wesley was watching him, seemingly drawn in by something. He swallowed, then nodded. "Flour, then."

His voice had gone suddenly husky and rough. It sent a shiver down Giles' spine that he was unable to completely suppress as he moved to get the flour. Wesley got back off the table and watched, as Giles brought the flour canister over.

Setting the canister down on the edge of the table, Giles liberally dusting the wood, then turning to Wesley. "Come here."

Wesley stepped closer, turning around as though to lay down again. Giles stopped him with a touch, then he raised his hand and brushed flour covered fingers down Wesley's spine. There was a noise, a sort of half gasp, half strangled something, that he'd never heard Wesley make before. It was intriguing and he repeated the movement to see if he could provoke it again.

It did, slightly louder this time. He heard Wesley catch himself, though, swallowing the noise.

"Don't," he ordered, letting his fingers trail lower, dusting flour over Wesley's buttocks. "I want to hear you."

He felt Wesley shifting, again, wavering a little -- pressing himself back against the touch of Giles' hand. There was a soft sigh, as though Wesley was trying, self-consciously, to let himself vocalise.

"That's it," he encouraged, pressing a finger down Wesley's cleft.

A gasp, then, obviously reflexive and not intended, as Wesley tensed and pressed himself back. Giles continued to tease him for a few seconds, murmuring more encouragement, but stopped when he began to lose track of what he had planned.

Wesley was breathing a bit hard, though he seemed to be trying to inhale deeply, once Giles had stopped. Giles patted his lover's arse once then stepped back. "Lie down."

He did so, getting onto the table more easily, now that his skin no longer stuck to the polished wood. He pushed himself back, until his arse was several inches away from the table and he could rest his heels on the edge.

"Spread your legs," Giles ordered.

After only a second's hesitation, Wesley did so, resting his head flat on the table.

"Wider." He reached out and touched Wesley's thighs, pushing gently, guiding. "I want to be able to see all of you."

Wesley shivered, but pushed his feet wider apart. Not, Giles thought, as wide as he might have gone. He was breathly deeply, now, and slowly, and his cock was completely hard, flat against his stomach.

The sight was almost enough to make Giles come, without so much as touching himself. He paused, taking a few deep breaths of his own to steady his control. Wesley lifted his head and looked at him, frowning slightly, one eyebrow raised in confused question.

Giles brushed a hand against Wesley's cock. "You're enough to tempt a saint." Giles touched him again, unable to resist, but then forced himself to step back. "Touch yourself."

Wesley raised his hand immediately, moved towards his cock, then stopped, started again, and carefully laid his hand on his cock. He closed his eyes, sighing at the touch, but didn't move his hand.

"You can do better than that," Giles chided. "Show me what you want."

"I..." He stopped, and moved his hand -- then stopped it as well. "I can't."

"You can't?" Giles moved closer, covering Wesley's hand with his own. "You're that close?"

"No, I..." Wesley swallowed, and glanced up at the ceiling before looking down, to meet Giles eyes. "I can't... with you only watching," he said, voice barely a whisper. "When you aren't touching me."

"It bothers you that much?"

Wesley didn't answer, but he glanced away. His expression seemed upset, almost ashamed. He hadn't lost any of his arousal, but Giles had a feeling that would change if he kept pushing.

Instead, Giles tugging gently on Wesley's hand until he sat up enough for Giles to kiss him. "It's all right."

"I'm sorry," Wesley said instantly. "I'm just nervous. If you want--"

Giles kissed him again. "This isn't about making you uncomfortable."

Wesley sighed. "I'm sorry."

"It's all right," Giles repeated. "If you can't touch yourself, I'll just have to touch you."

There was a half-smile. "I think I'm comfortable with that."

"Good. Because it would be rather difficult to fuck you without touching."

The half-smile grew a bit wider, and this time the shyness was appealing, looking put-on rather than a sign of discomfort. The smile also required kissing, Giles decided, and did so, letting his tongue linger and explore Wesley's mouth.

There was no longer any tension heightening the lines of Wesley's body. He was pressed against Giles with a desperate urgency that made it very difficult not to push him back and fuck him right there.

But he didn't want this to be over that fast so he forced himself to release Wesley's mouth. "Lie back," he murmured against his lips before moving back.

Wesley laid back, resuming his position. He kept his head up, this time, though, and watched Giles carefully -- waiting to see what he did.

Giles considered, running a hand down his lover's chest as he regarded him. "So, touching yourself, no; my touching you, yes... how do you feel about food?"

Wesley blinked. "You want tea now?"

"Not quite. I was thinking more along the lines of using food on you."

There was a lovely stupefied expression on Wesley's face. His jaw dropped slightly, then it closed. Then it dropped again. "Er, what? Sorry? You want off me?"

Giles smiled. "While I won't rule that out, what I'm picturing is seeing what I can find in the fridge to fuck you with."

Wesley's eyes went wide. "You *what*?" He sounded shocked -- but his cock seemed to like the idea very much.

"I want to..." Giles slid a hand along Wesley's thigh, up to the crease where it met his body, "raid the fridge," his hand continued moving, brushing his balls, "then fuck you with what I find," and finally skimmed lightly over his opening.

Wesley swallowed. "I... see. Um... Oh, dear."

Giles paused. "Does that mean no?"

"That means I recall having done the shopping, and I've suddenly remembered what's in the refrigerator."

Relaxing enough to smile again, Giles nodded. "It's quite well stocked if I recall from the brief look I got earlier."

"I think...ah..." Wesley raised his head. "I've never done this before."

"If you're not comfortable with this..."

"No! I don't mean... I just... Are you sure?" He suddenly sounded much younger, wondering if it was really all right if they dropped their trousers behind the grounds keepers' shed.

It was so very endearing that Giles thought he might've fallen for him right then if he wasn't already completely besotted. "I love you."

That made Wesley's half-smile spread into a wide, but still shy, grin. "So what do you propose...fucking me with?" He was blushing, but he sounded interested.

Giles returned the smile. "Shall I see what I can find?" He moved over to the fridge and opened it, then gathered up a number of likely items.

Wesley remained lying on the table, but he craned his head around, to watch. Coming back over, Giles laid everything on the table beside the flour tin that was still sitting there from earlier. He noticed that Wesley seemed to be staring at one item in particular.

"See something you like?" Giles asked, reaching out and picking up the green banana that was holding Wesley's attention so.

Wesley didn't reply, or even nod -- but he didn't look away from the banana. In fact, Giles thought Wesley's legs might have...twitched, a bit wider.

"I'll take that as a yes." He brought the banana down and traced it down Wesley's thigh.

Wesley's legs trembled - and yes, they were *definitely* opening a bit wider. "I... I mean... are you sure?" He sounded like someone who wanted to be told yes, it was perfectly natural to want to be fucked by a piece of dildo-shaped fruit.

It made Giles want to fuck him, even more. If that were possible. "I'm sure." Giles skimmed the banana along the length of Wesley's cock. "I want to watch your face while I fuck you with this."

There was a strangled whimper, that sounded very much like the noise he'd heard earlier. Yes, the banana was definitely the right choice. Reaching for the bottle of oil he'd grabbed to use for lube, he coated the banana with it, making sure that Wesley could follow his every move. He was very definitely doing so; eyes fixed on Giles' movements, his breathing was beginning to get that lovely, ragged edge to it.

"You ready?" Giles asked, after the banana was sufficiently oiled.

"I...I--" Wesley seemed to be having trouble speaking, but he nodded, urgently.

"Raise your legs, hold them back out of the way."

Wesley did so, quickly. Giles paused for a few seconds, caught by the image in front of him. He had to take a few deliberate calming breaths before he felt able to continue without coming in his trousers. Raising his head slightly, Wesley looked at him again, slightly confused, and more than slightly impatient.

He opened his mouth to try and explain but wasn't able to get any further than, "You're..." So he just smiled and gave Wesley what he was waiting for. Giles placed the banana against Wesley's opening and began slowly pushing it into him.

Wesley whimpered, then pulled his legs up, even farther. "Oh...god," he gasped.

Giles silently echoed that sentiment as he continued pushing at the same slow constant speed, watching the fruit disappear into Wesley. As it went, Wesley's whimper turned into a groan -- which grew louder as Giles kept pushing.

"That's it," he encouraged, when all but the stem was inside. "Let me know what you're feeling."

Wesley's head hit the table with a thud, as he moaned louder. He was panting, now, and his cock was leaking with precum. He looked only moments away from his orgasm, in fact. It was...breathtaking. Giles let go of the banana and stepped back, wanting a moment to drink in the sight.

Wesley lay there, lost in himself, moaning and gripping his legs more tightly. Giles heard the gasp, then Wesley's stomach muscles began to contract harder. He raised his head again, searching for Giles' face. He gasped again, trying to inhale, and managed a broken, "Don't... watch.." then he dropped his head again and his breathing slowed.

"Sorry," Giles murmured, caressing the back of a trembling thigh in apology. "You want me to keep touching?"

"Don't *stare* at me," Wesley said, desperately. "Not...I don't--" He was trying to explain, but his arousal was drowning him out.

"Hush..." Giles told him, as he stroked Wesley's abdomen in a calming manner. "No staring," he promised. He reminded himself to make sure he had his hand on Wesley's body, somewhere, at all times.

Nodding, Wesley laid his head down again, and just breathed. Panted, though the urgency of his arousal seemed to have dimmed. His cock was no less hard, but he didn't seem on the edge of orgasm anymore.

Giles reached for the stem of the banana, pulling it slowly out before pushing it back in again. Wesley nearly shouted, arcing his back and nearly dropping his legs. The rough whimper punctuated his breaths, and suddenly he was right back on that edge.

Giles repeated the motion, holding back a groan of his own. He watched Wesley's jaw tighten, cutting off the noises, just as Wesley's body began to tremble. "That's it," he said again, a catch in his own voice, as he continued to thrust the banana into his lover. "I'm going to make you come just from this. And then I'm going to fuck you."

"You...are..." Wesley's voice was harsh, and his entire body tensed as though he were about to break. Then he jerked, once, and lost his grip on his left leg, as he came, violently -- and silent.

Giles groaned as if he was the one coming. With fingers that were suddenly trembling, he quickly freed his cock, slicking it with oil, then pulled the banana from Wesley's body. Positioning himself, he pushed into Wesley in one hard thrust.

Wesley was still coming, not changing a single motion of his orgasm as Giles slid inside.

"Oh god..." Giles moaned, unable to hold still. He fucked Wesley fast and deep, his breath coming in ragged gasps as he tried to hold onto the last of his control. But he felt Wesley moving, and heard him groan, long and drawn out, and that seemed to end any hope of control.

His movements became more desperate and he panted for breath as he felt his climax building, knowing there was no way he could stop it now.

"Rupert," Wesley said quietly, and his voice was aching with need. "Fuck me."

With a growl that seemed to come right up from his cock, Giles did just that, grabbing Wesley's hips and holding him steady as he slammed into him over and over.

Each thrust was pulling him deeper into pleasure, closer to coming. He was shaking from head to toe and involuntary grunts and moans were being forced from him with every movement. It felt like one long orgasm, that just kept getting more and more intense. He could hear Wesley's voice, low and rough and urging him on, echoed with grunts of pleasure and soft words he didn't quite hear.

He shouted as the world whited out with his coming. He felt Wesley's legs wrap around him, holding him more or less upright. By the time his climax was trailing off into aftershocks, it was pretty much all that was holding him up.

Wesley put his hands on Giles' arms, and when he was able to focus, he saw Wesley smiling at him in amusement.

"What's so funny?" he asked, his own mouth curving up in a smile of his own.

"I might never be able to... eat a banana ever again."

Giles laughed. "I think it may have just become one of my favourite foods."

That made Wesley blush again. He shifted his hips -- not quite dislodging Giles. Catching his breath at the sensation, Giles pulled Wesley up close enough to be able to kiss him. The kiss was deep, and lazy, but as it continued Wesley grew more demanding, hungrier for his mouth.

"More?" Giles asked, pulling back enough to speak, his body reacting to Wesley's hunger.

"I--" Wesley went back to the kiss. Then he whispered, "Please," without quite looking at him, and Giles understood that he was asking for more of the kinky sex, not just 'please fuck me again'.

"With the banana?" he asked nibbling on Wesley's lips. "Or something else?"

There was a noncommital noise, that was probably intended to mean 'whatever you want'. And if there was a more arousing thing than having your lover give himself over to you so totally, Giles wasn't sure he'd ever encountered it. He kissed Wesley again, the hunger on his side now.

Wesley moved in his arms, pressing himself up against Giles. The heat of Wesley's skin reminded Giles that he was still dressed. He considered stopping long enough to disrobe, but that would involve...stopping.

Besides, Wesley didn't seem to mind. He was pulling himself closer, legs still wrapped around Giles' waist. He pressed his groin as close to Giles' as he could, grinding as though he were already... yes, in fact he was, growing hard again.

And he wanted more kinky sex. With food. A sudden plan exploded fully formed in Giles' brain and he pulled back and grinned at Wesley. Wesley looked at him, confused and aroused. His cheeks were flushed, though not, this time, with embarrassment. "What..?"

"I think it's time for dessert."

Wesley frowned, with mock-distrust. "We haven't had tea, yet."

Giles smiled. "Do you want to stop and have tea first?" he asked, knowing what the answer was going to be.

"Of course not," came the expected ansawer. "I'm just wondering what you have in mind."

"I told you." He reached for another banana, made sure Wesley could see him getting it ready. "Dessert."

"I..." Wesley's mouth stayed open, and his eyes seemed fixated on the banana. "We don't...if you'd rather...something else." But he was obviously only trying to be polite, if not quite coherent.

"Oh, there'll be something else," Giles assured him, moving the banana down between Wesley's legs, but not touching him with it yet. "But we need to start with the basics."

"I..." Wesley swallowed. "Should I ask? Or...lie back and trust you?" He grinned.

"Do you?" he asked, Wesley's words touching a raw spot in his psyche.

Wesley nodded, a serious expression appearing on his face. "I trust you," he said, very calmly, in that same roughed-voice that made Giles want to fuck him all over again.

Giles shook his head minutely, part of him wanting to deny it: too many people who had trusted him had ended up dead. But another, bigger part of him, looked into Wesley's eyes and had to accept what he saw there, couldn't help but feel the trust and love and *belief* of the other man wrap around him like a warm blanket.

Wesley scooted forward -- stretching his legs a bit to push himself fully against Giles -- and kissed him. He kissed Wesley back, putting all of his own love and wonder and belief into it, knowing that for some things there were never words to sufficiently describe.

"What would you like to do to me?" Wesley asked, flirtatiously. As though he *had* to flirt, naked and freshly fucked as he was.

Giles couldn't resist kissing him one more time. "I want you to...lie back and trust me," he said when he finally released his lover's mouth.

Wesley immediately did so, settling easily and quite a bit more comfortably than he had the first time.

"Now where was I?" Giles asked, watching Wesley wriggle a bit as he got comfortable. The banana was still in his hand and he brought it up into Wesley's line of vision. Wesley's eyes went dark and unfocused. "Ah yes," Giles continued, as if just remembering. "The basics." And with that he brought the banana back down between Wesley's legs and breached his body with it.

Wesley grunted, once, then he sighed, loudly as his body relaxed as he was fucked. There was a little whimper, at the end of the sigh, as his muscles tightened. Giles moved it in and out leisurely, letting the speed be dictated by Wesley's reactions. Wesley seemed caught between needing it all, right now -- hard and fast -- and being so lost in what Giles was doing, that it should be drawn out for as long as possible.

Since drawing it out was exactly what Giles had in mind, he gradually slowed the thrusts down at the same time making them deeper until he finally pushed the banana in all the way to the stem and let it go.

Wesley's breathing slowed, as well -- though the ragged, drawn out arousal didn't fade in the slightest. Stepping back, Giles took a few seconds just to appreciate the sight of Wesley laid out so before him, but turned towards the fridge before he could be accused of staring. He needed to get the other ingredients. Wesley waited for him, as patiently as a man could in his situation.

"I should make you talk, while I'm getting all of this ready," Giles said conversationally.

"Talk?" Wesley sounded shocked. And very distracted. "God... about what?" His words were split with sharp, shallow breaths.

"Anything. The weather, what you think about Maleck's treatise on vampire family structures, what you like on your banana split."

There was no response, right away. When he glanced back, he could see Wesley frowning at the ceiling, obviously trying to find out if he had any working brain cells to conduct a conversation. "I don't normally...I tend to use chocolate syrup."

There was a note in his voice that said Wesley might be much more able to simply beg for more than form complete sentences. "Chocolate syrup, right." He had a bottle of that somewhere...ah, there it was. "Anything else?"

"I don't...usually eat banana splits. I don't... please, just whatever you want. Just get back here and do something," Wesley begged.

"Just one more question," Giles said as he gathered everything and brought it over to the table. "Do you have any objection to *being* a banana split?"

"Not if it involves sex," Wesley said, breathlessly.

"What do you think?" Giles asked, reaching down and twisting the banana teasingly. Wesley cried out, stiffening -- then pushing himself towards Giles' hand. Giles obliged him for a few seconds, twisting and jostling the banana, but leaving it buried deeply inside Wesley.

Wesley was moaning, losing any semblence of control once more. When Giles left the banana alone, again, he gasped and begged, "Please."

Giles shook his head. "Have to add the other ingredients, first." He reached for the container of ice cream, settling it in the crook of his casted arm before grabbing the scoop in his good hand.

But Wesley was either ignoring him, or thought that more begging would hurry him along. He was started to move, on the table -- writhing a bit, as though possibly trying to find something to push against to fuck himself. He whimpered and whispered "Please" again, adding other things like 'fuck me' and 'hurry'.

Scooping out some of the ice cream, Giles brought the now cold metal untensil up against Wesley's balls.

"Aaaaah!" Wesley nearly surged up off the table.

"Easy," Giles soothed, though he didn't pull the scoop away, moving with Wesley's movements to keep it in place.

"That's *cold*!" Wesley protested, writhing more, trying to move away. Giles noted that his cock did not grow any softer -- in fact... it seemed rather that Wesley *liked* it. Despite his protests.

"Ice cream usually is," he agreed, moving the scoop up to brush against that hard cock. Wesley gasped even louder, jerking away. Trying, rather, though his moans sounded just as aroused as they ever did.

When he reached the tip of Wesley's cock, Giles turned the scoop around, letting the head sink into the ice cream it contained. Wesley reacted instantly -- sitting up, trying to get his hands on Giles' to push them away.

"Too much?" Giles asked, pulling the scoop away, but very slowly.

"That's *cold*," Wesley snapped again, and his cock was very definitely not nearly as rock hard as it had been. But -- interestingly enough, it wasn't as softened as Giles had intended, to slow down the incipent orgasm Wesley had been too near to.

Perhaps because by sitting up, Wesley had to have jostled the banana that was still seated in him. Indeed, as Giles watched, he could see Wesley's hips making little thrusting movements that were continuing to stimulate him.

The grip on his hands shifted; Wesley was suddenly holding onto him for better leverage. His eyes closed and mouth opened, as he lost himself in trying to push against the table.

Giles brought the ice cream up against Wesley's cock again. Groaning, Wesley tried to push him away without interrupting his movements. But Giles held on, keeping the head of Wesley's cock pressed into the ice cream.

Wesley was still moving, pushing his hips back and forth, apparently having found an almost nearly perfect angle. He kept trying to move away from the ice cream, but couldn't get anywhere, especially given the way he was clinging to Giles.

His head fell back, then he pushed it forward, and Giles could see him losing the last vestage of control even as he continued shifting around, trying to escape the cold sensation on his cock and fuck himself as hard and desperately as he could.

Caught up in the absolute lust that was on Wesley's face, all Giles could do was continue to apply the ice cream. And stare. Wesley didn't notice, or was beyond caring. He was concentrating on fucking himself -- suddenly gasping in a strangled voice as he found the angle he needed. It didn't move him any further away from the ice cream on his cock, but that no longer seemed an issue.

Moving quickly, Giles pulled the scoop away, dipping it back in the container for new, non-melted ice cream, pushing it against Wesley's cock again as soon as it had been replenished.

The resulting gasp was as annoyed and aroused as before, and his thrusting motions sped up. But he was too close to coming to do more than hang onto Giles and let him do whatever he wished as he fucked himself against the table and began to scream.

Captivated, all Giles could do was hang on and watch Wesley.

Wesley began shouting, loudly, and gripping him more tightly, face screwed up in an expression of pain. Each shout came with each hard thrust, buidling as though the orgasm was harder to reach than any previous. He was shoving his cock against the scoop in Giles' hand, apparently the friction more desirable than the cold was detracting.

Leaning in, Giles whispered in his lover's ear, "Wesley, come for me."

The loud, wrenching scream was twisted from Wesley's throat, and his body jerked and he came, violently, loudly. His entire body was being wrung tight, as his grip on Giles' arms let go, suddenly, the grip of his legs around Giles' waist the only thing holding him.

Giles had been so caught up in watching Wesley, that the sudden surge of his own climax took him totally by surprise.

He kept his eys on Wesley, though, wanting to see him through the end of his orgasm, watch him as he even now fell silent, throat still tight and body still tensed as his cock still thrust, in tiny motions, against the scoop and ice cream Giles was holding in place. He felt Wesley shudder, then gasp and slowly collapse.

Giles grabbed him and pulled him forward, letting the weight of Wesley settle in his arms. Wesley moved easily enough -- like a rag doll in his arms, murmuring as he let Giles tug him around. He groaned, though -- long and drawn out -- and he shifted his hips.

Right. The banana. Giles eased Wesley back on the table and removed it. Wesley sighed, and his legs fell to either side. Sprawled back on the table, he looked completely, utterly debauched.

He also looked barely awake. He did, however, pry an eye open and ask, "Do you want...anything?"

"I'm good," he replied, with a fond smile.

Wesley pried open the other eye, with what looked like supreme effort. He looked down at Giles' cock. "You're not..."

"I was. You were very inspirational."

Wesley blinked, looking quite suprised. "I didn't even notice."

"You were rather...distracted." He smiled again. "And distracting."

Wesley smiled, sleepily. He closed his eyes, and breathed deeply -- looking for all the world as though he might fall asleep right there.



"Wouldn't you be more comfortable napping on the couch? Or the bed?"

"Where will you be?" Wesley asked, without opening his eyes.

Looking at him, all Giles wanted to do was curl up around him somewhere warm and comfortable. "Where do you want me to be?"

"Spooned up behind me." Wesley opened his eyes. His expression was dark and sleepy, that half-awake honesty that showed Giles just exactly what Wesley was thinking and feeling.

He was utterly irresistable. "I think that can be arranged. Though not on the table."

Wesley smiled, wide and brilliant and totally unself-conscious. "I should get off the table, is that what you're saying?"

"Yes." Giles held out his good hand to him.

Wesley took the hand and sat up without actually using Giles' counter-balance to pull himself up. He looked down at him, and the table, and his nose wrinkled. "Good lord, what a mess."

Giles looked around, at the flour-dusted table, bananas, oil and ice cream, along with the other foodstuffs he'd collected but hadn't gotten around to using. "It is a bit..."

"I think we should put some of that away before it's ruined." Wesley nodded towards the food on the counter, as he slid off the table. He reached out to grab Giles' shoulder, as his legs wobbled.

Automatically Giles' arms went around him, to help hold him up. "Easy there."

"I think a nap would be excellent, after we clean the kitchen a bit." Wesley grinned.

"That would involve letting go of you, wouldn't it?"

"Not necessarily." Wesley looked around. "I think as long as we rescue the ice cream and put the rest of the...ingredients, back in the fridge, we can go to bed. Er, without letting go." Wesley was blushing, suddenly, as he tried not to look at the ice cream. Then he yawned. "I'm sorry, I don't feel coherent at the moment."

He looked so adorable that Giles had to kiss him. "I'll take that as a compliment."

"Good. Then later you can explain to me what I said." He moved, then, towards the counter to start the tidying up.

Giles tightened his hold, keeping him in place. He reached out and grabbed the ice cream container. "This goes back in the freezer, the rest can wait."

Wesley nodded, putting his hand on the back of a chair, propping himself up. But he gave Giles a dirty glare. "Remind me to speak to you about that ice cream."

"I look forward to it," Giles said, giving his lover a totally unrepentant smile as he put the ice cream away.

"That was...uncivilised," Wesley said, sounding almost sincerely annoyed.

"But the banana was the epitome of good etiquette."

There was a pause, then Wesley said in an embarrassed tone, "I can't believe I did that."

Giles moved back to Wesley's side, wrapping his arms around him once again. "You've never played with food before?"

Wesley shook his head. "Of all the things I've ever let be done to me, food was never one of them." He paused, frowned slightly, but then shook his head.

That statement brought up a complicted knot of jealousy, worry and curiosity. "What things have you let be done to you?" Giles asked softly.

"What? Oh, I only meant -- those strange men at the bars who took me home for the night." He smiled, as though what he'd said was perfectly normal. "You might have noticed I'm rather a...bottom. Hence, the things done to me, rather than otherwise."

The jealousy faded a little, though the worry got stronger. "What kind of things are we talking about?"

Wesley frowned. "Like being fucked. What -- are you jealous?" He smiled, very slightly, and sounded pleased.

In the face of that, Giles admitted, "I'm not completely jealousy-free."

"I'd offer names and phone numbers, so you could threaten to beat them each up, but I'm sure I never actually got them all."

Giles didn't let himself get distracted -- too much -- by the impish grin. "You were... taking chances."

Wesley's smile vanished. "Well, at the time I didn't mind."

Giles kissed his forehead. "I'm sorry." Wesley blinked at him, looking surprised. "There have been times in my life when I've felt like that -- took stupid chances because I didn't care what happened to me."

Wesley's gaze as he offered this confession but he managed it. "Not now?" The question wasn't so much a question, as asking for confirmation.

"Not now," he confirmed softly. "You?"

The smile almost came back. "I'm...getting there," he said with the tone of confession.

Giles kissed him lingeringly. "We'll keep working at it."

"We should get this mess taken care of," Wesley said when he'd been released. He nodded at the rest of everything Giles had brought out.

"Later. I have a request to fulfill first." He kissed him again. "Somebody mentioned spooning?"

"As long as the spoon does not have ice cream in it, yes."

"Just me, this time."

"That's all right, then."


"Bed." Wesley nodded, and kissed him lightly.

Wesley was doing what he always did, this time of day -- research. He'd been reading as quickly as he could, searching the journals for references to Quor-toth, dimensional travel, or anything that looked even remotely like it might be usful to finding a way to rescue Connor.

If he didn't glance up from his book, he might have almost forgot he wasn't in his own flat, doing what he'd been doing daily for the last several months. Almost, but for two things. He was reading journals that Rupert had acquired from the Watcher's Library, and he was happy.

The reason for the second thing was sitting at the table nearby, equally engrossed in research, books piled all around him. There wasn't even anything noticeable to remind Wesley as he read that Rupert was nearby. Engrossed as he would get in his book, there was no noise to remind him he wasn't alone. Rupert wasn't sitting directly in his line of sight; when he looked up, he had to turn his head to see him.

But somehow, even at his most engrossed in the Annals of Robgren the Runt, Wesley knew where he was, and who was nearby. He didn't need any external reminders -- he felt it, throughout his body clear down to his bones.

And it wasn't just from the fucking.

Rupert glanced up and met his gaze, lips curling upwards in a faint smile when he caught Wesley watching him. Wesley returned the smile reflexively, then looked back down at his book. He had a feeling he would have been happy to sit there and stare back, but that wouldn't get them anywhere. It wasn't difficult to remind himself how much time he'd lost, and how urgent it was to finish reading everything they had.

Even if it was nice to have a reason to stop, sometimes. Stop for a cuddle or a kiss or more. But he felt too tired to have sex, at the moment. Though if Rupert brought his book over and laid on the couch and they could -- no. He told himself he was being absurd.

He heard the sound of papers rustling and looked up to see Rupert closing the book he was reading and standing. "I was thinking of making lunch. Anything in particular that you'd like?"

"Hmm?" Wesley looked up, and found himself distracted, for a moment. A weird moment of vertigo, when the sheer normality of the situation struck him. He was actually here, in England, in Rupert Giles' flat. Rupert Giles, who professed to love him, and most certainly displayed an affection for his body.

Rupert Giles, who was currently smiling at him, amusement clear in his eyes. "What would you like to eat?"

Wesley shook himself. "Oh. Anything's fine. I'm not hungry--" He stopped, and stammered quickly before Rupert could scold him. "I'm not feeling particular."

"Sandwiches all right?"

"That'll be fine," Wesley agreed.

He wondered what Rupert would do when Wesley was back home and couldn't feed him the way he'd been doing, off and on, this week. That made him think about going home, again. He'd been trying not to do so, knowing that he didn't have to. So far it had always clearly been too soon to consider it.

But now...

He watched Rupert head off into the kitchen to prepare them both lunch. Now it was evident that Rupert was recovered enough, both physically and emotionally, to once again take care of himself. The funeral was over, and there really was nothing else for Wesley to stay for. Other than wanting to, but -- he couldn't exactly abandon his life in LA and hide here forever.

But he didn't want to leave.

When Rupert came back in the room a few minutes later carrying a plate of sandwiches, he took one look at Wesley and frowned. "What's wrong?"

"Oh, nothing, I... was just thinking." And he couldn't exactly not broach the subject. "About when I should...I'll have to...head home." He didn't look up, and the words felt swallowed up in his throat as he said the last two.

"Oh." Rupert sat the plate down on the coffee table and sat beside him. "Are you thinking of going soon?" he asked, not looking at Wesley as he did so.

"I...I'm starting to think about it. There isn' don't need me to...that is..." Very suave, he told himself, ruefully. He took a deep breath. "I should go back." He picked up a sandwich but didn't bite into it.

"Of course, if you feel you must..." Rupert stammered. "But--"

Wesley looked up, feeling suddenly, absurdly, relieved. "I don't want to, either."

Rupert met his gaze and Wesley saw a relief that matched his own in his lover's expression. "Good. I was afraid I was the only one."

"But... I can't simply stay. I..." Wesley felt himself beginning to stammer, again, and said firmly, "All my books are in Los Angeles." It wasn't quite the real reason he couldn't stay right where he was, but he thought Rupert would understand.

"You'll have to go back and tie up everything in America, of course." Rupert hesitated. "But if you decided to return to England, I would be very happy to share my flat with you -- and your books."

Wesley couldn't control the grin that came -- he didn't bother trying. There were some soft, jabbering questions in his head about practical matters which he ignored, in favour of saying, "I'd love to." He knew, of course, that there were a hundred reasons why he shouldn't. But he hadn't been happy in a very long time. He couldn't quite bring himself to let go of it, now.

The smile Rupert gave him then lit up his whole face and threatened to steal his breath away. "I'd been thinking of ways I could ask you."

"Oh?" Wesley set his sandwich down. This sounded much more interesting. "What ways?"

"Everything from buying extra book shelves, through hiding your plane ticket, to getting down on my knees and begging you to stay," Rupert replied, with rueful humour.

"Hiding my plane ticket?" Wesley smiled. "That actually would be difficult, as I haven't purchased the return ticket, yet." The image of Rupert on his knees was enticing...though not the image of him *begging*.

"Ah. Well, then, I guess I would have had to fall back to seducing you into staying." He said it innocently, as though he weren't looking at Wesley like he was thinking of doing so, at the moment.

"Oh? And... what would you have done? Perhaps I should say 'no', just to make you ask," Wesley teased.

Rupert leaned over, close enough that Wesley could feel his breath against his ear, and murmured in a husky growl, "Would you like me to show you?"

"I..." It was suddenly very difficult to think. He tried to think of a reason to say 'no'. He tried to figure out why he was trying to think of a reason to say 'no'.

"Well?" Rupert all but purred in his ear.

"I'm afraid I might fall asleep on you," he said, reluctantly. Wesley'd had more exercise this week than he'd had all year -- much as he loved having sex with Rupert, he realised he felt a bit worn out by it all.

Rupert immediately backed off, expression going from seductive to concerned.

"I'm sorry," he began, wishing instead he'd said something that would reassure Rupert and clear the concerned look from his face.

"If you've felt pressured--"

Wesley smiled. "Did you ever hear me saying no, not now, let's wait?"

"No," Rupert said slowly, "though there were a few times you weren't able to say anything at all."

"Because I had something in my mouth?" Wesley asked, all innocent and guileless.

Rupert blinked, then that wonderful slow smile that Wesley was learning to love spread across his face. "Or you had something somewhere else."

"True. It's *very* difficult to talk when I have a book in my hands."

"You know, you do innocent far too well."

Wesley blinked, looking sincerely startled. Even if it was faked as well. "Far too well?" He frowned, a very, tiny bit. "Shouldn't I be innocent?"

Rupert snorted. "I have one word to say to that: bananas."

Wesley discovered every last train of thought had suddenly derailed. Disappeared, in fact.

Smiling, Rupert reached out, picked up a sandwich and held it up to Wesley's mouth. "You should eat. Keep your strength up."

Wesley took the sandwich and peeled back the bread, suspiciously. It appeared to be a normal ham and cheese sandwich. He nodded, satisfied.

"One would think you didn't trust my food preparation skills," Rupert commented with just a hint of a pout.

"I was just checking for sliced banana," Wesley said blithely.

"That would be a waste of bananas, don't you think?"

"I--" Wesley thought perhaps he ought stop trying to hold a conversation. He ought not think about bananas, or things he was too tired to do. Or let be done to him, which really wouldn't require him to *do* anything but lie there.

Perhaps he should eat his sandwich. He stared at the ham and cheese. Or he could let Rupert show him one of the things he was going to do, to seduce him into staying.

"Something wrong with the sandwich?"

Wesley looked up. "Sandwich?" He tried to decide if he cared about lunch. "Do you want to fuck me again, instead?" he asked, startling himself a bit. But it was Rupert's fault for growling, he decided.

Rupert stared at him for a heartbeat then leaned in and kissed him hungrily. "Always," he said when he moved back again. Then, distressingly, he said, "But you need to eat and, if what you were saying is true, a nap wouldn't be out of order either." But he gave Wesley a grin that made him shiver. "*Then* I'll fuck you."

Wesley wasn't certain he hadn't dropped his sandwich. He was too busy looking at Rupert, looking at that grin and that look in his eyes... Vertigo hit, again, and he was astounded.

He opened his mouth, and heard the words he was going to say and snapped his mouth shut. The words didn't go away, of course, and the look Rupert gave him made him realise he'd probably be talked into saying them.

Rupert kissed him again. "I love you."

"I love you, too." Even if he was wondering why -- why Rupert loved him, why any of this was actually happening. Wondering what dream he was having, that made Rupert ask him to live together.

Rupert watched him for a minute, then with a sigh that was exasperated but still managed to convey fond affection, he tugged Wesley to him until he was cradled in Rupert's embrace, his back to Rupert's chest. "Ask me what you need to hear."

Wesley sighed. "I don't need to hear anything. I'm just... I'm sorry."

The embrace tightened. "You've nothing to be sorry for."

"For doubting you, yes. I should be." Even though he knew Rupert would only tell him he was wrong to doubt. Even though he knew Rupert was probably right.

He heard Rupert sigh, softly. "Never apologise for your feelings." He felt a kiss dropped at the side of his temple. "And if you ever need reassurance, please ask for it. If you need anything from me, please ask for it."

Wesley sighed, again, and said nothing. He turned his face to press it against Rupert's arm, perversely finding comfort in the touch that he couldn't ask for out loud.

"I want you here," Rupert murmured. "I want you in my life, in my flat -- and in my bed. I love you."

Wesley had to close his eyes. He knew the words -- had been hearing them all week. Had been hearing them for weeks, in the email, now that he knew -- believed -- what Rupert had been saying. Why he so desperately wanted to tell Rupert no, he didn't, couldn't possibly, now -- now that it was sounding like everything he could ask for?

"You're allowed to be happy."

"What for?" slipped out, though he didn't open his eyes and didn't try to drag the words back.

"Because you wear your heart on your sleeve and you desperately want to help anyone who needs it, no matter the cost to yourself. You're a good person and you care." He heard the smile in Rupert's voice as he continued. "You're Wesley."

It seemed like an insufficient reason. It had never been enough, before. So now... He slipped his hand under Rupert's arm, and held onto it, half-snuggling himself. Everything had happened so fast and the whirlwind was only now beginning to slow down.

Rupert hugged him tighter. "And I'm quite prepared to keep repeating this as often as it takes."

"It might be rather a lot," Wesley said, apologising.

"That doesn't matter. I love you."

"I hate to...try your patience," he said, quietly.

Rupert chuckled, the sound warm in his ears. "I've been Buffy Summers' Watcher for seven years now. Believe me when I say that my patience is boundless."

"I'm not--" he began, and stopped. There were so many ways he could take that to bolster his doubts, so many things he could say to himself to remember why the name Buffy Summers wasn't one he wanted to hear, whether in comparison to himself or not.

He suspected half of those thoughts weren't quite right, turned to suit some purpose of self-doubt. At the moment, he just wanted to say nothing, listen to Rupert, and...believe him.

"Not that I'm comparing you to Buffy," Rupert was quick to add. "I want to do totally different things to you than I can even think about when Buffy is involved."

Surprised, Wesley laughed. "I find that part reassuring," he said, feeling a bit better, and feeling more surprised by that as well.

"I rather suspect she would as well," Rupert continued in the same vein.

"I-- have you...told her?" Wesley asked, finally opening his eyes and looking up at Rupert.

Rupert sighed. "No, not yet. I've been thinking about doing it soon, though."

He paused, then nodded. He certainly couldn't blame Rupert for feeling less than eager. Although-- Wesley grinned. "Can you do it when I can either see her face or overhear her reaction?"

"I suppose I can call her and you can listen on the second line," Rupert offered. "She'll be home, this time of day."

"You don't have to," Wesley said, not meaning for Rupert to do so *now*. He wasn't even sure why he'd wanted to observe Buffy's reaction. It was likely to be discouraging.

"Actually, I should." Rupert's gaze turned rueful. "Besides this news will hopefully shock her out of yelling at me some more about my getting injured."

"She isn't done yelling at you?" Welsey asked, feigning innocence. Not quite as smoothly as before, but good enough for the purpose.

"I fear she may not be for quite some time," Rupert said, with an amused but resigned tone.

Wesley grinned, and teased, "I'm sure if she thinks you need scolding, you do. She seems rather an intelligent young woman."

"You just want to watch me get yelled at," Rupert accused good naturedly.

Wesley looked shocked. "I *don't*. Well, not entirely. Actually, yes. You look adorable when you're being scolded."

Rupert sighed and shifted, reaching for the phone that sat on the table beside the couch. Wesley decided he wanted to sit opposite him, so he could see Rupert's face. But when he tried to move out of his lover's embrace, Rupert's arms tightened around him, holding him in place. Wesley sighed, very put-upon and exagerated, and simply shifted about so he could see, hear, and remain where required. He kissed a spot on Rupert's chest as he settled himself.

Picking up the phone, Rupert dialed a number then put the phone to his ear, tilting it in such a way that Wesley could hear through the receiver as well. This was the best moment, he knew, to tell Rupert that it really wasn't necessary. But -- he realised he wanted to hear Rupert tell someone. Wanted to hear Rupert defend him against whatever Buffy would say against him, he admited to himself with some shame.

Rupert kissed him briefly as they listened to the phone ring. On the second ring, Welsey heard a young female voice answer. "Summers residence!"

"Hello, Dawn," Rupert said, smiling.

"Giles! Giles! What's up, is anything wrong, why are you calling? Buffy's in the basement; do I need to go get her?"

"Breathe, Dawn," Rupert advised with a smile. "Nothing's wrong. And yes, I would appreciate it if you could get Buffy."

"Nothing's wrong? Cool! Hey, I got an 'A' on my English paper!"

Rupert met Wesley's eyes with amused tolerance as he responded. "That's excellent."

Wesley just smiled at him, and waited.

"Oh! Guess who sat with us at lunch! Toby Wilcox!" Dawn's voice reached a tone only teenage girls and bats could achieve.

Wincing, Rupert pulled the receiver away from his ear. "I trust you've seen this Wilcox boy in sunlight?"

"Yes," she said, the unspoken 'duh' perfectly audible. "Buffy's even met him. Sort of. They were about ten feet away from each other when Buffy dropped me off at school one morning. I think there was eye contact. She agrees that he is *such* a hottie."

"Speaking of Buffy, can I--"

"So, how are you?" Dawn asked. "I heard about the -- um, am I not supposed to mention it? Does everything still hurt? Your ribs, I mean?"

"I'm feeling much better, thank you. My ribs are healing nicely. I was hoping--"

"Is Wesley still there? Buffy said he went over to help you recouperate."

"Yes." Rupert smiled at him as he answered. "He's still here."

"Is he, I mean -- I didn't think you liked him. Are you OK with him being there? Is he driving you nuts? Is he taking care of you?" She sounded skeptical, and surprised.

"He's taking excellent care of me." Wesley could feel the warmth in his lover's gaze. "And I'm very okay with having him here. More than that, even."

"Really? You know, you sounded all funny when you said that," she accused.

"Did I?" Rupert looked a bit flustered. Wesley tried giving him a reassuring smile.

"Giles? Do you like Wesley, now? I mean -- you guys are friends?"

"Very much so." His voice got softer, his eyes not leaving Wesley's. "In fact, we're even more than that."

There was no immediate response. Then, very carefully, Dawn asked, "Are sound like Dana when Eddie finally asked her to go out. Are you saying he's your boyfriend?"

"Yes." The simple statement seemed much greater than one word had any right to be. Wesley squirmed a bit, not even certain if he were pleased, or uncomfortable.

Dawn was asking, "Really?"

"Yes, really." Rupert's voice was calm and steady.

"Oh my god!" Dawn shrieked -- and it was, if Welsey's interpretation of teenage female squealing was correct, a happy shriek.

Rupert winced and pulled the receiver away from his ear, exchanging a wry look with Wesley.

"Do you suppose she doesn't mind?" Wesley asked. He could hear Dawn screaming for Buffy, shouting something like 'you have to'.

"I believe she can force herself to adjust to it," Rupert replied dryly.

Wesley laid his head down, and waited for the screaming to stop. Finally he heard Buffy's voice. "Hello?"

"Hello, Buffy." Rupert's voice warmed with affection for his Slayer.

"Giles, why is Dawn dancing around the room?"

Again he held Wesley's gaze while he answered, "Because she just found out that Wesley is my boyfriend."

There was no sound at all -- except, of course, for the distant sound of Dawn's voice.


"I don't think I heard you right," Buffy said. "Because what I thought I heard wouldn't make Dawn this happy. Or at all."

And there it was. Wesley knew he'd been expecting it -- but it didn't make it easier to hear. He tensed, and Rupert held onto him more tightly.

"Why?" Rupert asked bluntly, his voice on the surface reasonable, but holding a note of threat underneath.

"Why? Giles -- Wesley? The same Wesley we all know and...well... Did you hit your head? Oh! It's a spell, right? I can... um... not ask Willow...find someone else to ask."

"It's not a spell," he responded with weary patience. "And I didn't hit my head."

Wesley gave him a very gentle hug which Rupert returned.

Over the phone, Buffy sounded as though she'd gone into Slayer-solves-the-problem mode. "So...what did you say, exactly? And... *why* would you say that?"

"Dawn asked if Wesley was my boyfriend. I told her yes. And I said it because it's true."

"OK, I'm not getting this. Why is it true?"

"What are the usual reasons for a relationship? for each other. We like being together. We want to continue being together."

"Wesley." Buffy sounded like she wasn't sure what language they were each speaking.

Wesley closed his eyes. Maybe he should go into the bedroom, and not listen. Rupert's arm tightened around him and the threat in his voice was no longer quite so hidden. "Yes. And I'd thank you to stop sounding like I've lost my mind."

"But you've lost your mind, Giles. This is *Wesley*. Right? Not some other Wesley who isn't a total dork?"

"Buffy!" Rupert's tone was sharp and rebuking.

"What?" She didn't sound rebuked.

Welsey tried again, to get off the couch, and away. Rupert still wouldn't let him go. "I called to let you know of this development in my life. I'd hoped you'd be happy for me that I've found someone I care enough about to have a relationship with. I didn't call to listen to you be judgmental and dismissive of both someone I care very much about and my own feelings and choices. Perhaps I should just hang up because I don't want to talk to someone who is going to be disrespectful and rude."

"I... but... I'm not! Giles -- I'm happy for you, really. I mean I would be if it weren't..." She trailed off, then said, a bit petulantly, "But it's *Wesley*. He's so not your type!"

There was a dim shout, from Dawn, "I think he's cute!"

Rupert was frowning. "This is exactly what I'm talking about. You have no idea what my type is. And you have no idea who Wesley is now either."

"I don't know who Wesley is?" Buffy sounded surprised.

"Have you even spoken to him since he left Sunnydale?" Rupert asked. "Do you have even an inkling what he's been through since then? What he's done?"

"What's he's done? What -- he's become all... non-dork, non-sacrifice my friends guy?"

Wesley sighed. He tried, half-heartedly, to get up again. As expected, Rupert wouldn't let him go.

"No," Rupert replied firmly, seeking out Wesley's gaze as he spoke. "More like sacrifice himself for his friends."

Wesley looked away. He didn't need to have his life explained, to Buffy. He was beginning to feel as though talking Rupert into this had been a very bad idea. Perhaps they should have stopped, with Dawn.

"Well, goody for him. Giles -- have you forgotten everything he did and said, when he came to *replace* you?"

Rupert took a deep breath, obviously trying to control his temper. "I remember. That doesn't change how I feel now."

"'re serious?"

"What, did you think I was joking?"

"Well, no... but -- Giles, you have to admit weird things happen. A lot. Even if you aren't living over a Hellmouth right now, I still am. I wasn't exactly thinking this morning when I got up that you'd be calling to tell me you're dating Wes -- wait, you're dating a *guy*?"

Despite himself, Wesley chuckled.

That pulled an unwilling smile from Rupert. "You hadn't figured out that I'm bisexual?"

"Giles, I don't think about you having *any* sex. But... ok... I think I need to sit down."

There was a short silence, which was then filled with Dawn clamouring "Lemme talk to him! If you're going to be rude!"

"Are you?" Rupert asked.

"I... I don't know. I think I need to... think about this." There was another pause, then Dawn's voice came on, loud and firm.

"I think it's *great*! He's cute, and I remember when he was in his tuxedo for Prom. Are you *really* dating Wesley? How long? When did this happen?"

Rupert smiled, eyes bright with humor. "Yes, I'm really dating Wesley. We've been...interacting for about two months."

"Interacting? Is that grown-up speak for having sex? Because I do know about that stuff."

"That's more details about my personal life than I am comfortable with sharing. But I'm referring to having conversations, leading up to his arrival in England."

"It *is*? You've -- wait, I thought he only went to England, like, a week ago. How could you-- um. I don't wanna go there, OK?"

"Good. Neither do I," Rupert said primly.

Wesley gave Rupert a raised eyebrow and semi-shocked look. He didn't quite feel up to teasing, but a remark like that really should have him saying, loud enough for Dawn to hear, something about the cyber-sex they never had.

Only he was sure Buffy would hear Dawn's reaction, and wouldn't that go over well for convincing her he was all right?

He could hear Dawn saying, "So, um. Buffy's making motions at me like I'm supposed to mention the long distances charges, but I think she just doesn't want to think about you kissing Wesley." Dawn then asked, in an evil-sounding tone, "Is he a good kisser?"

Wesley buried his face in Rupert's shirt.

"He's an excellent kisser," Rupert told her, the smile clear in his voice.

Dawn giggled, then he heard, "Buffy, stop it! We can be late."

"Am I interrupting something?"

"No, Buffy just thinks if we don't get going right away, the grocery store will run out of food and the cleaners will give away her jacket. I wanna hear about you and Wesley."

"He's right here. Would you like to talk to him?"

Wesley sat up, fast, staring at Rupert in horror. He missed whatever Dawn's response was to the question.

Rupert smiled at him as he answered, "Well, if you're sure..."

Wesley frowned -- but now that he'd got free of Rupert's tenacious hold, he moved to sit at the other end of the sofa. His lover let him go, but watched him with concern as he continued talking. "Do you have any other burning questions you need to ask me?"

From over here, Wesley couldn't hear what Dawn was saying. He watched his lover's face, though, to gauge the embarrassment quotent of her question.

Rupert smiled, eyes lit with a quiet fierce happiness. "Yes, it is, Dawn, very much so."

Wesley wasn't sure what her question was -- but he found himself smiling, as well. He wanted to resume the cuddle, in fact... so he did.

"--being dragged away," he heard Dawn saying as he once again settled against Rupert. "I'm glad you called, Giles, and that you're happy."

It sounded as though she really meant it. It was... nice, he realised. Even if he hadn't really thought about Dawn's opinion of their relationship. It was nice she liked it.

"Thank you," Rupert said softly. "That does mean a lot."

"I'll email you about Toby," Dawn said. "And you can email me all about Wesley and we can talk and -- Buffy! Let go of my arm! I'm *coming*!"

"Goodbye, Dawn," Rupert managed to get in before the line was disconnected.

Wesley glanced up at him, as he hung up the phone.

Rupert let out a long shakey breath. "That went..."

"Dawn seemed pleased," Wesley said quietly.

That got a smile out of his lover. "To put it mildly."

"She's just happy to have someone to talk about boys with," Wesley teased.

"Dear god, I hope not," Rupert replied with a shudder.

"You don't want to talk about me?" Wesley asked, with a hint of hurt.

"You, I can discuss quite happily all day. But I don't want to have to keep track all the Toby's and Kevin's and David's."

"Because it's much more difficult than remembering each subspecies of Truelian demon?"

"Oh, much more difficult. Trying to keep up with a adolescent girl's affections is...bewildering."

Wesley tsked, and shook his head. "Didn't you do the same thing when you were her age? Or were you dreadfully straight?" Not that *he* had been anything like a 16 year old girl, in high school. Mostly because of fear of his father finding out he even looked at boys that way.

But teasing Rupert was more fun than thinking about what Buffy had said. And what she hadn't said.

Rupert chuckled. "More like simply dreadful. I was rather all attitude and agressiveness back then."

"Back then?" Wesley repeated, cheekily.

"I've mellowed."

"Oh, dear."

His lover chuckled again.

Wesley sighed, more or less content, and dropped the effort to tease his lover. Though he didn't think he really wanted to know, he found himself starting to ask, "Do you think...Buffy will..."

Rupert's arms around him tightened. "Buffy has never reacted well to surprises that challenge the accepted order of things in her mind. But she has a good heart. She'll come around."

"Yes, I noticed that in the last four years she's come around to thinking better of me," he said, surprised he'd let the bitterness show. He'd thought he had stopped caring, a long time ago, about what *Buffy* thought of him.

He heard Rupert sigh. "Buffy has never been one to look much beyond the things that affect her directly. One can hardly blame her -- being the Slayer is often more than enough to deal with. But it does mean that she probably hasn't thought about you, one way or the other, since you left Sunnydale."

That actually made him feel a little better. He was used to being ignored, at any rate. It was almost like-- he cut the thought off, before it could get morbid. "Thank you for telling her," he said.

"I'm not going to hide you, Wesley."

"Can I hide myself, behind you?" he asked, lightly.

Rupert turned serious, his embrace tightening. "Whenever you need to."

Wesley just 'hmmed', and said nothing. He closed his eyes, letting that drop, as well -- the matter of Buffy and what she thought of him.

He felt Rupert's fingers slide through his hair, rubbing at his scalp. "Still tired?"

"Hmmm," was all he could manage.

The caress continued. "Then rest."

"Mm. If you 'sist," he muttered. He snuggled, just a bit, taking care of Rupert's ribs.

"Love you," Rupert murmured softly.

Wesley returned the sentiment, though he was fairly sure, in that still-awake portion of his brain, that he hadn't said it audibly.

Several hours later, they were in the living room, and Giles was watching Wesley sleep. He'd tried reading, but found that he kept getting distracted. In the end he gave in, and put the book aside.

Wesley was on the sofa, motionless -- looking for all the world as though he would stay there all evening and through the night. He'd been reading for awhile, then at some point set his book down and he hadn't moved since. There was a plate of uneaten sandwiches sitting on the floor beside the sofa, alongside the book Wesley had been reading that morning. Giles frowned at that a little; he'd have to make sure Wesley ate a good supper.

As he watched, though, Wesley stirred. Shifted a bit, then reached out. His hand hit air, and Giles could see the realisation that he'd fallen asleep on a sofa, rather than a bed. The odd thing was the expression on his face that appeared right before he opened his eyes and looked over to see him.

"Sleep well?" Giles asked, smiling gently, worried at the way Wesley was staring at him.

"Yes, I think... have I slept for a week, or does it just feel that way?" He rubbed at his head, obviously trying to wake himself up.

"Not a week, just a couple of hours. You obviously needed it." He got up and moved to sit on the edge of the couch beside Wesley.

"I seem to recall you being *on* the couch, when I fell asleep." Wesley sounded confused, and a bit put out.

"I was." Reaching out, he entwined his fingers with Wesley's. "I got up."

"So I notice. Er -- apparently I didn't notice." Wesley smiled, half-diffidently.

Giles smiled. "You noticed."

Now he looked surprised. "I did? I don't remember. What...I didn't do anything embarrassing, did I?"

"You asked what I was doing, I told you, you said all right and went back to sleep." He ran his thumb along the back of Wesley's hand as he spoke.

"Mm. Doesn't sound too bad. Though I honestly don't remember it." He tilted his head, slightly. "I don't think I've ever done that before."


"Not that anyone's *told* me, of. But -- no, I usually don't...sleep through my conversations with people."

"It really wasn't much of a conversation," Giles assured him. " was something of a compliment. That you trust me enough to do that."

The shy smile widened, a bit. "Falling asleep *on* you wasn't?" he teased.

"You mean aside from the drool?" Giles teased back.

"I what?" Wesley looked horrified. "Good lord, I'm sorry."

He waved the apology away with his casted arm. "Considering what we've been up to, a little drool isn't going to phase me. Speaking of..."

But Wesley was still wide-eyed with horror. "I'm sorry. I don't think... I didn't realise I did that sort of thing."

"Wesley," Giles said, a touch sternly, just enough to get his lover's attention. "Stop apologising. I was just teasing you. And everyone drools in their sleep."

"Sorry," Wesley said, and he rubbed his lower lip as though afraid he was drooling *now*.

Risking his ribs, Giles leaned over and caught that lip between his own. Wesley seemed startled for a moment, then kissed him back readily.

"Er..." Wesley said, when he could.

"Don't worry about it," Giles said firmly.

"Actually, I was going to say...I'm rather starving."

Mentally revising the tentative plans he had for the evening, Giles just smiled at him. "What would you like to eat?"

"Whatever, is fine with me." At least he sounded like he didn't care because he'd eat anything, rather than because he didn't want anything.

"Sandwiches?" Giles asked, reaching for the discarded plate.

"And a salad and soup?"

"All right. You start with these and I'll go see to the rest."

Wesley took the plate and began eating. When Giles headed for the kitchen, though, Wesley stood and followed -- bringing the plate along. Not adverse to the company, Giles only raised an eyebrow questioningly at him. He also noticed one half of one of the sandwiches was already gone. Wesley leaned against one of the counters, setting the plate beside him.

"You are hungry," Giles observed. Wesley seemed to be eating with the single-minded intensity of the starving, and seemed to be showing the same intensity in staying close to Giles. He paused long enough to say, "I feel as though I haven't eaten in...well, a while." He flushed, a little, and looked at his sandwich.

"That's good. I like to see you eat."

"Do you?" Wesley looked up, one eyebrow raised. "Anything in particular?" His bold tone said absolutely nothing about sandwiches.

It was the tone, voice slightly deeper with the ghost of roughness, that sent a shiver of arousal down Giles' spine. "You keep talking to me in that voice and dinner will be delayed."

Wesley actually looked stymied for a moment, torn between his options.

Giles sighed, picked up another sandwich and held it to Wesley's mouth. "Eat quickly."

Wesley looked at him, quite sultrily. "As you command."

"I've got plans for you, after you eat," Giles told him, watching him take bites out of the sandwich in Giles' fingers, feeling his tongue brush his fingertips occasionally.

"You have?" Wesley asked, as he took another bite, giving Giles' finger another lick.

Another shiver ran down Giles' spine and his jeans were becoming a bit...tight. "Yes. In the bedroom."

"Ah." Another small bite, and a long, slow lick as though catching up some crumbs. Then Giles was holding only one bite more of sandwich, which Wesley took into his mouth, whole.

Including Giles' fingers, which got sucked gently as Wesley took the food from his hand. Giles caught his breath. "Are you still hungry?"

"Do you have another sandwich?" Wesley asked, looking directly at him, and it was difficult to tell if he was asking because he was hungry, or aroused.

Tearing his eyes away from his lover's, Giles looked down at the plate. "One more," he answered, picking it up and holding it out to Wesley like the last one. Which Wesley ate, like the last one -- right from his hand, with plenty of light touches and half-lidded looks.

When he was halfway through the sandwich, Wesley bent his head slightly and brushed his cheek against Giles' hand. His patience breaking, Giles leaned in and claimed Wesley's mouth hungrily.

Wesley embraced him, bringing Giles close to his body, and Giles could feel Wesley's arousal, as well as taste it, along with the flavour of ham, bread, and cheese, in Wesley's mouth. Wesley rubbed his cock against Giles' groin, invitingly.

"Let's go to the bedroom," Giles murmured, when he pulled back enough to speak.

"I thought we were having dinner?" Wesley asked, innocently.

"I'll feed you," he promised. "Among other things."

Wesley's eyes went dark. "You'll feed me?"

"I'll feed you," Giles repeated, letting a little bit of the growl into his voice. "And I'll fuck you."

"At... the same time?" Wesley seemed to have forgotten how to use his voice -- or perhaps it was intentional, that it dropped instantly to that rough edge that went right to Giles' cock.

Giles just smiled, took Wesley's hand and began leading him toward the bedroom. Wesley followed, stumbling slightly.

He led Wesley right into the bedroom, turning him to face the bed. He'd put clean sheets on the bed and laid out in clear view the things he planned to use.

Wesley came to a stop, staring at the items. He made a noise, as though trying to speak, then, "I don't see any dinner."

"There's finger food in the fridge. I'll go get it," He made a show of running his gaze over his lover from head to toe, "while you get ready."

"Ah; I should set the table, then?" Wesley teased. Giles kissed him, and headed out of the bedroom while he still could.

Giles quickly gathered up all the finger foods he'd prepared earlier and headed back, not really wanting to leave Wesley alone. He found his lover lying naked in bed, eyes closed and looking for all the world sound asleep. Setting the tray down, Giles settled on the edge of the mattress. Wesley opened his eyes immediately, and smiled, lazily and uninhibited.

Giles returned the smile, feeling his heart turn over. "Dinner?" he asked, knowing himself completely besotted.

"You were serious?" Wesley asked, and he sounded and looked as though he had fallen into a doze, or had been about to.

"Of course." He tried to keep his voice only mildly surprised.

"I half-expected you to come back with bananas." Wesley tried to push himself up, and got as far as one elbow. He stopped there, and reached out with his other hand, inviting Giles to join him.

"Actual food this time," Giles encouraged, moving to shift the pillows behind Wesley, letting him relax back against them. "Humor me?"

Wesley settled himself, and gave the plate a dubious look. "If you insist," he said -- as though he had any actual objection.

Giles picked up one of the crackers, covered with the dip he'd made and held it to Wesley's mouth. Wesley gave him a surprised look, then raised his hand to take the cracker.

"No," Giles said, pulling it away, then when Wesley had dropped his hand again, bringing it back to his lover's lips.

An eyebrow went up, and his expression said clearly he didn't think Giles was serious. But when Giles simply held the cracker there, Wesley opened his mouth obediently. Giles fed the cracker to him, then reached for another that had cheese and meat piled on it.

He waited for Wesley to finish eating the first, then held out the second one. Wesley hesitated before opening his mouth, but then he did, accepted the next cracker. He chewed for a moment, then said, "I really can feed myself."

"Of course you can," Giles agreed, holding out another cracker. Wesley gave him a half-hearted dirty look, then ate it. "This is supposed to be fun, you know," Giles murmured after several minutes of steadily feeding his lover.

"I thought you were doing it to make sure I ate."

"No, for that, I would just sit here and look sternly at you until you did."

"Then...why exactly are you feeding me?"

Giles just raised an eyebrow. Wesley kept looking at him dubiously for a moment, then relented and let Giles continue feeding him. He switched to a few pieces of cut fruit, and gradually he realised Wesley had leaned over against him. He smiled at the warm, welcome weight against his body and fed Wesley a piece of chocolate.

He ate it readily, and pressed himself a bit closer. Wondering if there was a correlation, so he fed his lover another piece of chocolate. Wesley snuggled a bit more, and relaxed against him as he ate the chocolate. When Giles glanced down, he was rather taken aback to see the look of wonder and contentment on Wesley's face.

"What are you thinking?" he asked gently, as he fed yet another piece of chocolate.

"I-- No one's ever done this," Wesley said quietly.

He followed this piece with a kiss. "Then it's about time someone did."

"It's...peculiar," Wesley said after he'd been kissed.

"How so?"

"I'm not..." He stopped, and considered it. "It just feels so..." Giles saw him figure out what it felt like, and Wesley flushed, and said nothing.

"So...?" Giles asked leadingly, curious now.

Embarrassed now, Wesley turned his face away, but said, "Nurturing."

"And this is a bad thing?"

Wesley didn't respond. He did try to reach for something from the plate, though. Giles made no move to stop him, though he was beginning to worry about having said or done the wrong thing again.

"I'm not used to it," Wesley admitted, after nibbling on a slice of apple.

"Do you think you could get used to it?" Giles asked.

There was another pause, before Wesley said sincerely, "I don't know."

It took a moment before Giles could manage to ask, "Do you want to try?"

That made him tense, immediately. "I--"

Giles fought the urge to grab onto him tighter. "I don't want to make you uncomfortable..." he stammered, truly afraid that he was pushing too hard and he may end up pushing Wesley away.

But Wesley grabbed onto *him*, tighter, and held him still. "Don't go." He sounded alarmed, as though he'd heard Giles' thoughts.

"I'm not going anywhere," he reassured, something easing in his chest as he allowed himself to pull Wesley close.

"I...I'm not used to this. I...don't get used to it, then lose it. But I don't want to lose the way this feels."

"You won't." But even as he said it, Giles knew he couldn't make that promise. But Wesley didn't call him on it. He stayed where he was, holding onto him. "Stay," Giles murmured. He wanted more time, needed more time.

"I can't stay long," Wesley whispered. There was a note of finality that was softened by honest regret.

He sighed. "I know." And he did. There was too much unfinished business for Wesley back in LA. Despite his invitation for Wesley to live with him, he knew Wesley couldn't just let go of his life and take up a new one here.

As if reading his thoughts again, Wesley looked at him, steadily. "But I won't stay away long."

Giles tightened his embrace. "Good. Because otherwise I may just have to come looking for you."

"Would you seduce me?"

"I plan on doing that regardless."

"Good. I'll be sure to rest up before you arrive."

He kissed Wesley lingeringly. "You'll need it."

"I think...I should start now," he said, in apology.

"Have you had enough to eat?"

"It depends on who you ask," Wesley replied, cheekily.

"I'm asking you." Giles paused. "This time."

Wesley raised one eyebrow. But then he just smiled, a bit ruefully. "I'd still rather sleep. That is...if you aren't getting up...?"

"I can if you need something. God knows you waited on me enough when you first got here."

"No, I meant...I'd rather have a nap, with you here. Unless you needed to get up."

"Oh." He was surprised more at the fact that he was surprised; apparently the conversation they'd shared this evening had shaken his confidence more than he had realised. "No," he said softly. "This is the only place I need to be right now."

"Good," Wesley replied, and he shifted his grip a little, further away from any bandages or bruises, and closed his eyes.

Giles wasn't tired himself yet, but settled in to watch his lover sleep. The evening hadn't gone like he'd planned, but at least this was how he had envisioned it ending.

He lay there and soaked up the feel and the sight of having Wesley asleep in his arms, storing up the memory for the future when he was alone again.

Wesley was sitting in the living room at Giles' computer while he did the washing up from breakfast. It was a simple enough chore, he was certainly recovered enough from his injuries to do dishes. His arm twinged as he reached for a cup, and told himself firmly that he'd been getting rather a lot of exercise lately.

Very nice exercise, in matter of fact. He glanced over to where Wesley was sitting -- and saw a disturbed expression come onto Wesley's face. Giles set the cup and rag down and quickly went into the living room.


It was a second before Wesley looked up. "Cordelia. She emailed."

Giles felt something still, inside. Although surely if it were one of his own, someone would have rung. Unless-- "What's wrong?"

"She says Connor's back."

"He's-- that's...." Giles trailed off. That should be a good thing, but it was clear from Wesley's expression it was not. Unless he was simply too stunned to react?

"He's grown. A teenager."

Stunned, indeed. "A..." Some part of his mind said, quite rationally, that it wasn't in the least bit surprising that the two dimensions progressed at different rates. He could name fifteen others, off-hand, where time moved even more quickly. Giles shook his head.

"I have to go." Wesley stood up, no longer looking at him. "I have to get back to Los Angeles."

"I...yes, of course." He told himself this wasn't in the least bit surprising, either. Despite their talk of moving in together -- it had just been talk. But duty called. Giles bit his tongue over asking if Angel would even accept Wesley's presence again. Whether he would forgive Wesley -- if Wesley would finally forgive himself.

"Giles..." Wesley couldn't keep his eyes on him; glancing at him, looking away. Guilt, that he had to go. Giles wanted to reassure him.


"Come with me." It was a whisper.

As though he expected the answer to be 'no.' Giles walked over and took Wesley's hand. "Of course." There were a lot of things to be done, before they could fly back to LA. Packing, phone calls -- a stop at the Watcher's library to let Aunt Gweneth know they'd found the boy. Although it would still be useful to find the missing journal, find the spell. But they'd let her know the urgency of the task was gone.

It was going to be all right, now. Giles was certain.